Archiver > OXFORDSHIRE > 2002-01 > 1012290886

From: Stephanie Jenkins <>
Subject: Re: [OXF] Sowgelder?
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 07:54:46 +0000
In-Reply-To: <8a.1323da7c.298762a8@aol.com>

Dear Ginny

Below is the Oxford English Dictionary definition of SOW-GELDER, followed
by the secondary meaning of GELD, which showing that female animals as well
as males can be gelded.

Female pigs have no use except for breeding and eating (unlike female cows,
chickens, etc.) So if you want to eat them, I presume you have to geld them
if they are kept in a mixed herd. Maybe a farmer can confirm this.


One whose business it is to geld or spay sows.

c1515 Cocke Lorell's B. 4 Here is gylys Iogeler of ayebery, And hym
sougelder of lothe bery. 1530 PALSGR. 273/1 Sowe geldre, chastrevx de
trvyes. 1596 NASHE Saffron Walden Wks. (Grosart) III. 169 Vpon euerie stage
hee hath beene brought for a Sicophant and a Sow-gelder. c1614 FLETCHER,
etc. Wit at Sev. Weapons IV. ii, Why thou sawcy issue of some travelling
Sow-gelder, What makes love in thy mouth? 1654 WHITLOCK Zootomia 131 They
never use any of this stuff to their Sow-gelder, or Farrier. a1722 LISLE
Husb. (1757) 407 A sow-gelder that had cut for me, cut four pigs for a
neighbouring farmer. 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones IV. viii, Old Echepole, the
sowgelder. 1820 SHELLEY d. Tyr. I. 70 Call in..Moses the sow-gelder. 1857
BORROW Romany Rye xvii, Two respectable-looking individuals, whether
farmers or sow-gelders, I know not.

b. In references to the horn blown by the gelder to announce his arrival at
a place.

1604 MIDDLETON Father Hubburd's T. Wks. (Bullen) VIII. 73 Winding his pipe
like a horn..which must needs make him look like a sow-gelder. 1621 BURTON
Anat. Mel. III. ii. III. iii. (1651) 472 There needs no more..but a cryer
to go before them..or for defect a Sowgelder to blow. 1673 [R. LEIGH]
Transp. Reh. 135 You are disturb'd with the tooting of a sow-gelders horn.
1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 251 4 The Sowgelder's Horn has indeed something
musical in it, but this is seldom heard within the Liberties.

Hence sow-geldering vbl. n.

1664 BUTLER Hud. II. i. 718 Semiramis..Who..laid foundation Of
Sow-geldering operation.



b. To extirpate the ovaries of (a female), to spay.

1557 TUSSER 100 Points Husb. liii, Geld marefoles. 1607 TOPSELL Four-f.
Beasts (1658) 521 The female also is gelt or splayed. 1621 BURTON Anat.
Mel. III. iii. IV. ii. (1651) 623 The Lydians used to geld women whom they
suspected. 1862 J. WILSON Farming 36 It seems to have been the practice..to
'geld fillies' as well as colts. 1869 in Lonsdale Gloss.


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