Adam Smyth’s LRB review of Mr Collier’s Letter Racks: A Tale of Art & Illusion at the Threshold of the Modern Information Age by Dror Wahrman starts with an excursus on the varied fates of printed matter:

Most printed texts lived very briefly, and then were gone for ever. About one in ten thousand 16th-century broadside ballads survives today. Where did printed pages go to die? Some were used for lining pie dishes; for lighting pipes; for wrapping vegetables at Bucklersbury Market, or drugs at the apothecary’s, or (according to Henry Fitzgeffrey) ‘to dry Tobacco in’. ‘Great Iulius Commentaries lies and rots,’ the poet and waterman John Taylor wrote, ‘as good for nothing but stoppe mustard pots.’ Sir William Cornwallis kept ‘pamphlets and lying-stories and two-penny poets’ in his privy, and many texts were ‘pressed into general service’, as Margaret Spufford put it in Small Books and Pleasant Histories (1981), as toilet paper. Books were pulled apart to serve in the binding and endpapers of later books, the pages of an unwanted Bible perhaps padding the spine of an unholy prose romance. A Booke of Common Prayer (1549) in Lambeth Palace Library has endpapers made from a broadside almanac of 1548; the Folger Shakespeare Library copy of The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng (1521), John Skelton’s great poem of drunkenness, survives only because it was used as waste paper for the binding of another book. To read an early modern book was to confront the broken, recycled material remains of former texts, and the effect is of a kind of memory or haunting: of a book remembering its origins. Thomas Nashe imagined his printed pages being used to wrap expensive slippers (‘velvet pantofles’), ‘so they be not … mangy at the toes, like an ape about the mouth’. As Leah Price showed recently in How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain, we can do many things to books other than read them.

This reminded me of the more pressing need for reuse during the terrible Petrograd winter of 1919; Viktor Shklovsky is writing (in his 1970 book of criticism and reminiscence Тетива [Bowstring]) about his friend and fellow literary theorist Boris Eikhenbaum:

Boris had two rooms. He lived in the small one, so he could be warmer; he would sit in front of the iron stove on the floor on top of a pile of books and read them, tearing pages out of them and pushing the rest into the stove. He was a very educated man with a superb knowledge of Russian poetry and periodicals. In those years he passed his library through fire.

The original Russian:

У Бориса две комнаты. Жил он в маленькой, чтобы было теплее; сидел перед железной печкой на полу на груде книг, читал их, вырывал из них страницы и засовывал остальное в печку. Он был очень образованным, превосходно знавшим русскую поэзию и русскую журналистику человеком. В те годы провел он свою библиотеку сквозь огонь.


  1. Basel still has a tradition of broadside ballads. During their Fasnacht parade, they pass out single sheets of satirical songs written in the local dialect.

  2. I suppose the <х> in his surname is pronounced with a real /x/. My fiancée laughs at me when I have trouble managing /x/ after [i], in (Persian) words like گریختن I will say [goriçtæn] if I don’t pay close attention. Deutsch mag ich, aber die Sprache hat meine Zunge umformiert!

  3. David Marjanović says

    the <х> in his surname




  4. Эйхенбаум

  5. Desinformiert.

  6. Umformiert! I didn’t particularly want to say that people who have trouble with /x/ after front vowels have deformed tongues, and the word I chose, which does exist, means what I did want to say. It’s not really comparable, »umformieren« is a much rarer word, but this reminds me a little of the time I came across an earnest German teenager who assured me that »Greis« was not a word.

  7. Stu Clayton, what’s going on? What have you done with Grumbly Stu? Is this like Bombay becoming Mumbai; change for the sake of it? I liked Grumbly Stu. I suppose next we’ll have to call you Sir Stuart or Prof. Clayton.

  8. I was struck today: what an odd-looking word “thoroughfare” is.
    (A notice at the entrance of a car park said “No public thoroughfare”.)

  9. Crown, “Stu Clayton” is just a rebranding of the same reliable product, as you guessed (and yourself practice continually). I want to expand into more serious markets, you see. But my friends are welcome to call me “Grumbly” here, my old nom de fume. It gives them an opportunity to display awareness of historical continuity.

  10. “and yourself practice continually”: look, Grumbly, J ap Crown speaks British English, so it’s “practise”.

  11. British, is it? I was just thinking the same thing and wondering whether it was just me who spelt the verb with as S. I’m glad to know there’s a whole group of us. Same with license.
    Does ‘thoroughfare’ look as peculiar to you today as it did yesterday, dearie?

  12. Garrigus Carraig says

    “Stu Clayton”, indeed. The only constant is change. O tempora o mores.

  13. dearie: In the US the word “thoroughfare” usually means a street or road, rather than passing through. So here the notice, I mean sign, at the entrance to the car park, I mean parking lot, would probably have said “no through traffic”. (Or possibly “not a public thoroughfare”.)

  14. Heh. JC links to this very comment thread, making the point that some names (links) always refer to the same thing.

  15. No, that’s just what happens from an <a href=””> tag when I forget to paste in the right URI. I don’t remember which one I intended, but here’s the Wikipedia article and the story itself (PDF).

  16. David Marjanović says

    Worst spambot attack I’ve ever seen. 😮
    From the surnames thread:

    ‘Kemp’ = No. kjempe “giant” (< “big, strong guy” < “fighter” < the VLat. champion word). I didn’t know that.

    German Kämpfer “fighter”, Kampf “fight/struggle” (noun), kämpfen “fight/struggle” (verb).
    I’ve seen the unshifted Kämpe, apparently somewhere between “fighter” and “champion”, in a fantasy setting.
    From this thread:

    Umformiert! I didn’t particularly want to say that people who have trouble with /x/ after front vowels have deformed tongues, and the word I chose, which does exist, means what I did want to say. It’s not really comparable, »umformieren« is a much rarer word, but this reminds me a little of the time I came across an earnest German teenager who assured me that »Greis« was not a word.

    …Exactly; I’ve never encountered it before. The closest I know is umgeformt. And Greis is purely literary; a functionally illiterate teenager can’t possibly know it.

    I was struck today: what an odd-looking word “thoroughfare” is.
    (A notice at the entrance of a car park said “No public thoroughfare”.)

    Durchfahrt! A passage through something, both the act of passing and the way where it happens.

  17. Exactly. No throughfare.
    “Thorough” in English has specialized semantically to the sense “through and through”, to the extent that I have to remind myself that it’s originally the same word as “through”. (Knowing a little German helps.)
    If the word “throughput” had been coined a few centuries earlier, it might have been “thoroughput”.
    And “fare” has come to mean “what you pay to ride in the vehicle” rather than the ride or journey itself, so that we don’t necessarily think of traveling when we see the words “welfare” or “farewell”.

  18. Trond Engen says

    Thanks, I knew the Latin prodigy of the kjempe family, but not that the Kemps belonged there. Or that the German branch was so productive.

  19. *sigh* thoroughput, not thoroughout
    (Fix by Hattic magic? Unless your arms are too tired from shoveling spam.)

  20. Trond Engen says

    It might have to do with stress rather than time of coinage.

  21. Trond Engen says

    Oh, I thought you meant ‘throughout’.

  22. Trond Engen says

    Oh, and broadside ballads in the local dialect. Traditional broadside ballads around here were usually written in a literary or biblical register, although often mixed with, er, miselevated colloquialisms. But I’ll rush to admit that I have my knowledge almost entirely from parodies.

  23. Worst spambot attack I’ve ever seen. 😮
    Oh, I’ve seen worse. That was only 200 or so; I’ve had to clean out over 600 from a single thread. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
    Fix by Hattic magic?

  24. Thorough, which was not only a thorough policy, but a policy of going through with it. Fortunately, it failed, and there was no absolute monarchy in England.

  25. Trond Engen says

    John: Thanks. May I suggest that as an alternative etymology of Tory?

  26. which actually does exist
    In some sense, perhaps. When I try to find out online about umformieren, I keep getting redirected to umfirmierien ‘rebrand’. Ah, this commercial age! So what does the former actually mean?
    “fare” has come to mean “what you pay to ride in the vehicle”
    Similarly, in AmE tuition has come to mean not ‘the act of teaching’ but ‘what you pay for being taught’ (BrE (tuition) fees). Ah, this commercial country!
    And just to infect you all with an earworm about fares,, made famous by Mark Twain, exhibiting marvelous examples of entrainment (with actual trains, even):
    Conductor, when you receive a fare,
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
    A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare,
    A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare,
    A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare,
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
    Punch, brothers! punch with care!
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
    Reading that link told me a lot about buff: the colors of the (U.K.) Whig party were blue and buff, and they were also the colors of the (U.S.) Continental Army. So from one point of view, the American Revolution was simply a faction fight within the Whig party.

  27. So what does [umformieren] actually mean?
    It means “reassign roles in a group”, for instance positions to players in a soccer team. Being sport-shy, I don’t know what English word or words might be used here.

  28. Shuffle ? Umformieren has a sport context feel, for me anyway. A cabinet shuffle is a Kabinettsumbildung.

  29. “what you pay to ride in the vehicle”
    or of course “the rider who is paying it” to a cabbie

  30. Thanks, Hrumbly.
    Trune, I doubt it. Tories and Whigs didn’t show up until the next reign (plus one Lord Protector). Wentworth, the architect of Thorough, was executed in 1641; the Tories were not heard of until 1678. The Irish etymology was certainly believed at the time, as the diarist and Nonconformist minister Oliver Heywood had it:

    I being at Wallingwells, Oct. 24, 1681, they were discoursing about a new name lately come into fashion for Ranters, calling themselves by the name of Torys. Mrs H. of Chesterfield told me of a Gentleman who was at their House, and had a red ribband in his Hat. She asked him what it meant. He said it signified that he was a Tory. ‘What’s that?’ said she. He answered, “An Irish Rebel.” Oh, dreadful that any in England dare espouse that interest. I hear further that this is the distinction they make instead of Cavalier and Roundhead. Now they are called Torys and Wiggs, the former wearing a Red Ribband, the other a Violet. Thus men begin to commence war. The former is an Irish Title for outlawed persons, the latter a Scotch title for fanaticks or dissenters, and the Tories will Hector down and abuse those they have named Wiggs in London and elsewhere frequently.

  31. It’s only Tories with a capital T who aren’t heard of until 1678, the word is older. The Irish etymology is still current. The OED has a much better history of the word than Wikipedia does and it keeps going into the 20c. :

    Tory, n. and a.
    [Anglicized spelling of Irish *tóraidhe, -aighe (tɔːrije) ‘pursuer’, implied in the derivative tóraigheachd, tóraidheachd pursuit: cf. the syncopated Sc. Gaelic tòrachd pursuit, pursuing with hostile intent, f. Ir. tóir to pursue, tóirighim I pursue.
    The OIr. agent-nouns in -(a)id and -(a)ige fall together in mod. Irish in -(a)idhe or -(a)ighe, whence the uncertainty of the spelling; the native form has not been found in writing, outside of dictionaries. In some Irish Dictionaries, the meaning is given as ‘a pursued or persecuted person’, hence an ‘outlaw’, which is not without historical suitability: but the best Irish etymologists agree that the form of the word is that of an agent-noun.
    The following passage has what at first sight appears to be the same word, but the date makes this impossible. The writer is treating of the diversity of North American Indian languages, and Torries was possibly an Indian word:—
    1634 W. Wood New Eng. Prosp. ii. xviii. 92 When any ships come neare the shore, they [Tarrenteens, Indians of Maine] demand whether they be King Charles his Torries, with such a rumbling sound [of r], as if one were beating an unbrac’t Drumme.]
    A.A n.
    1. a.A.1.a In the 17th c., one of the dispossessed Irish, who became outlaws, subsisting by plundering and killing the English settlers and soldiers; a bog-trotter, a rapparee; later, often applied to any Irish Papist or Royalist in arms. Obs. exc. Hist.
    1646 (Jan. 22) Exam. P. Congan in Cal. Ormonde MSS. N.S. (1902) I. 105 Some others of the Irish called Tories. 1646 Maj. W. Cadogan in Calr. Ormonde MSS. (1899) II. 39 (May 17), Divers that had served under Finglas, Rowen and Welsh and such as had been Tories. 1647 Proclamation 2 Nov. (MS. Trinity Coll. Dublin, F. 3. 18. No. 22) Roberies‥comitted by the Tories and Rebells upon the Protestants and others adhering to the Protestant partie. 1650 Whitelock Mem. 12 July (1732) 464/1 That eight Officers‥riding upon the Highway [in Ireland], were murder’d by those bloody Highway Rogues called the Tories. 1652 (Dec. 18) in Cal. St. Papers, Dom. 41, I took the little island in Waterford river, and beat off Sturlock, the great Tory. 1656 Blount Glossogr., Banditi,‥in the north of England, Moss-Troopers; in Ireland Tories. 1657 Burton Diary 10 June, Major Morgan.‥ We have three beasts to destroy, that lay burdens upon us,—1st, is a public Tory, on whose head we lay 200l., and 40l. upon a private Tory’s.‥ 2d. beast, is a priest, on whose head we lay 10l., if he be eminent, more. 3d. beast, the wolf, on whom we lay 5l. a head if a dog; 10l. if a bitch. 1675 Essex Papers (Camden) I. 307 Wee, the undernamed parrish priests in the County of Kyery,‥doe undertake and faithfully promise‥That in our respective congregations wee shall publike and solemnly declare, and denounce, all toreys, murtherers, thieves & Robors. 1676 Coles Dict., Tories, Irish Out-laws. 1681 E. Murphy State Ireland §1 Being a cruel Murderer, Rebel and Tory. 1693 G. Story Contn. Hist. Wars Irel. 50 They [Rapparees] never can be reputed other than Tories, Robbers, Thieves, and Bogg⁓trotters. 1707 Irish Act 6 Anne, c. 11 An Act for the more effectual suppression of tories, robbers, and rapparees. 1769 Dublin Merc. 16–19 Sept. 3/2, 24 heifers‥were‥driven‥into a bog by tories, robbers and rapparees out in arms. 1849 Macaulay Hist. Eng. ii. I. 257 The bogs of Ireland‥afforded a refuge to Popish outlaws, much resembling those who were afterwards known as Whiteboys. These men were then [temp. Chas. II] called Tories.
    †b.A.1.b Extended to (a) robbers or bandits of other races, as Border moss-troopers, Scottish Highlanders, (b) Rajput marauders or outlaws. Also (c) fig. Obs.
    (a) [1651 Mercurius Scoticus 28 Oct., The Highlanders under Marquesse Huntley and Lord Balcarras‥are now betaking themselves to the High-wayes to play the Tories and Robbers.] 1653 Col. Lilburne Let. to Cromwell 16 Oct. (Clarke MSS. LXXXVI. lf. 109b), Argyll tells mee hee cannott advise mee to advance further, though hee suffer never soe much by those Tories. 1654 R. Baillie Lett. & Jrnls. (1841) III. 255 The discussing of the Northern Tories would cost him bot a few weeks labour. a1661 Fuller Worthies, Cumbld. (1662) i. 216 The‥Earl of Carlisle, who routed these English-Tories [i.e. moss-troopers] with his Regiment. 1680 J. Kirkton Hist. Ch. Scot. ii. (1817) 67 Among the tories in the Highlands. 1690 Ibid. v. 158 Middleton had undertaken to command the tories on the hills in Cromwell’s time.
    (b) 1662 J. Davies tr. Mandelslo’s Trav. i. 25 These Racboutes are a sort of High-way men or Tories. Ibid. 237 The distractions which then shook the State wherein there were eight Armies of Tories, or common Rogues.
    (c) 1687 Kirby & Bishop Marrow of Astrol. i. 43 And now I must‥drop down a little lower to the Sphere of Mars, who is termed a Tory amongst the Stars.
    2.A.2 With capital T: A nickname given 1679–80 by the Exclusioners (q.v.) to those who opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York (a Roman Catholic) from the succession to the Crown.
    According to Roger North Examen (1740) ii. v. ⁋9 The Bill of Exclusion ‘led to a common Use of slighting and opprobrious Words; such as Yorkist. That‥did not scandalise or reflect enough. Then they came to Tantivy, which implied Riding Post to Rome.‥ Then, observing that the Duke favoured Irish Men, all his Friends, or those accounted such by appearing against the Exclusion, were straight become Irish, and so wild Irish, thence Bogtrotters, and in the Copia of the factious Language, the Word Tory was entertained, which signified the most despicable Savages among the Wild Irish’. See also whig.
    1681 [see tantivy B. 2]. 1681 O. Heywood Diaries, etc. 24 Oct. (1881) II. 285 A new name lately come into fashion for Ranters calling themselves by the name of Torys.‥ A gentleman‥had a red Ribband in his hat,‥he said it signifyed that he was a Tory, whats that sd. she? he ans. an Irish Rebel.‥ I hear further since that‥instead of Cavalier and Roundhead, now they are called Torys and Wiggs. 1681 Dryden Abs. & Achit. To Rdr., Wit and fool are consequents of Whig and Tory; and every man is a knave or an ass to the contrary side. a1685 Earl of Dorset Whigs & Tories in Coll. Poems 15 The Fools might be Whigs, none but Knaves shou’d be Toryes. a1734 North Exam. ii. v. (1740) 321 Thus the Anti-exclusioners [c 1679] were stigmatised with Execration and Contempt, as a Parcel of damn’d Tories, for diverse Months together. Ibid. 324 The Faction‥had found a sarcasmous Name to fling upon the Loyallists,‥that of Tory, the same as savage Brute and Idiot.
    3. a.A.3.a Hence, from 1689, the name of one of the two great parliamentary and political parties in England, and (at length) in Great Britain.
    The party sprang from the 17th century Royalists or Cavaliers, and its members at first were more or less identical with the Anti-Exclusionists or ‘Tories’ in sense 2. For some years after 1689 the Tories leant more or less decidedly towards the dethroned House of Stuart; but upon the accession of George III they, as a party, abandoned this attitude, retaining the principle of strenuously upholding the constituted authority and order in Church and State, and of opposing concessions in the direction of greater religious liberty. In opposition to the growing demands of Liberalism (see liberal 5), a consistent antagonism to measures for widening the basis of parliamentary representation, or tending to impair the exclusive privileges of the Church as by law established, became their most marked characteristic; but this has in course of time undergone many modifications. As a formal name, ‘Tory’ was superseded c1830 by Conservative, merged after 1886 (when the Conservatives were joined by many who had previously belonged to the Liberal party, in opposing Home Rule for Ireland) in that of Unionist. But ‘Tory’ is still retained (1) colloquially; (2) as expressing attachment to a policy either more old-fashioned (cf. old or high Tory in b), or more positive and constructive than that of ordinary Conservatism (cf. Tory democracy, C. 3); (3) in hostile usage, identifying the party with the bigotry and opposition to reform and progress charged upon earlier Toryism. Opposed originally and during the 18th c. to Whig; later to Liberal, and (still more) to Radical.
    1705 G. Lockhart Let. to Dk. Athole 15 Oct. in 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. viii. 62 Her Majesty having now, more than ever before, devoted herself and interest to the Whigs, the Torys have no hopes of being succesfull in allmost anything‥during this parliament. 1710 Swift Jrnl. to Stella 7 Nov., The Queen passed by us with all Tories about her; not one Whig:‥and I have seen her without one Tory. 1711 Addison Spect. No. 126 ⁋8 The Knight is a much stronger Tory in the Country than in Town, which‥is absolutely necessary for the keeping up his Interest. 1718 [see high-flyer 3]. 1735–8 Bolingbroke Parties viii. Wks. 1809 III. 132 The real essences of Whig and Tory were thus [in 1689] destroyed, but the nominal were preserved. 1741 Hume Ess., Parties Gt. Brit. (1758) 45 A Tory, therefore, since the revolution, may be defined in a few words, to be a lover of monarchy, tho’ without abandoning liberty; and a partizan of the family of Stuart. 1755 Johnson, Tory. (A cant term, derived, I suppose, from an Irish word signifying a savage.) One who adheres to the ancient constitution of the state, and the apostolical hierarchy of the church of England: opposed to a whig. 1781 ― in Boswell (1906) II. 396 The prejudice of the Tory is for establishment; The prejudice of the Whig is for innovation. A Tory does not wish to give more real power to Government; but that Government should have more reverence. 1806 T. W. Coke Let. 23 Sept. in Parr’s Wks. (1828) VII. 246 It was‥a glorious victory of the Whigs over the Tories. 1827 Hallam Const. Hist. III. xvi, To a tory the constitution, inasmuch as it was the constitution, was an ultimate point,‥from which he thought it altogether impossible to swerve; whereas a whig deemed all forms of government subordinate to the public good. 1830 Macaulay Ess., Southey’s Coll. (1865) I. 115/2 A Tory of the Tories‥won and wore that noblest wreath, ‘Ob cives servatos’. 1831 Arnold Apr., in Life & Corr. (1845) I. vi. 303 The old state of things is gone past recall, and all the efforts of all the Tories cannot save it. c1832 Borrow in Knapp Life (1899) I. xiv. 144 As the question is, or will shortly be, Tory or Radical, we say Tory! and advise every honest man to say so too. 1833 Gen. P. Thompson Exerc. (1842) II. 329 The Tories in Great Britain are defunct;‥they are all vaccinated into ‘Conservatives’. 1839 Queen Victoria Jrnl. 9 May, I said‥that I never talked politics with them [the Ladies], and that they were related, many of them, to Tories. 1843 Penny Cycl. XXV. 82/2 From the Revolution down to the present time the struggle between the two parties‥has been a struggle by the Tories on behalf of the Church, to invest it with political power and privileges, and against the increase of the power of the people in the state, through the House of Commons. 1844 Macaulay Ess., Chatham (1865) II. 361/2 If‥ we look at the essential characteristics of the Whig and the Tory, we may consider each of them as the representative of a great principle.‥ One is, in an especial manner, the guardian of liberty, and the other of order. One is the moving power, and the other the steadying power of the state. 1882 M. Arnold Irish Ess., etc. 164 The Conservatives, or, as they are now beginning to be called again, the Tories. 1886 T. E. Kebbel Hist. Toryism viii. 364 The Tories are for administrative reform: the Radicals for social revolution. 1892 Saintsbury Earl of Derby Pref. 5, I define a Tory as a person who would, at the respective times and in the respective circumstances, have opposed Catholic Emancipation, Reform, the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and the whole Irish Legislation of Mr. Gladstone. 1895 Oman Hist. Eng. xxxix. 636 The generation of Tories who had grown up during the great French war, had forgotten the old liberal doctrines of their great leader Pitt. Ibid. xlii. 700 Down to 1865, the Liberals and the Conservatives alike retained in a great measure the characteristics of their forefathers the Whigs and Tories.
    b.A.3.b With various qualifications, as
    high Tory, high-flying T., a Tory of ‘high’ principles; in 17–18th c. a High-Church Tory, a ‘Church and King’ man: cf. high-flyer 3a; later, a thorough, old-fashioned, or reactionary Tory; Jacobite T., a Tory of Jacobite principles, or tending to Jacobitism; old T., a Tory of a non-modern type; in quot. 1827, a Jacobite Tory; ultra T., a Tory of extreme principles or opinions.
    1713 Swift Jrnl. to Stella 9 Apr., The Bishop of Chester, a *high Tory, was against the Court. 1827 Scott Jrnl. 3 Sept., The King‥probably looks with no greater [favour] on the return of the High Tories. 1842 Mem. M. T. Sadler x. 335 One‥whom it is customary‥to hold up to popular abhorrence as a ‘bigot’, a ‘borough-monger’, and a ‘high Tory’. 1863 G. Pryme Autobiog. Recoll. 12 Nov., I have been told by at least two high Tories that they could not discover by my lectures what political sentiments I held.
    1738 Bolingbroke Lett. ii. Patriot King (1856) 165 What gives obstinacy without strength‥to the *Jacobite-tories at this time?
    1827 Hallam Const. Hist. (1876) III. xv. 125 note, The thorough-paced royalists, or *old Tories [c 1690]. 1850 H. Martineau Hist. Peace I. iii. xi. 555 We have, what the old Tories have not and cannot conceive of. 1886 T. E. Kebbel Hist. Toryism viii. 366 The first Factory Bill‥was introduced by the typical old Tory, Mr. Sadler. 1895 Oman Hist. Eng. xxxix. 646 When O’Connell’s agitation grew formidable, and the old Tories urged him to repress it by force, he [Wellington] refused.
    1833 Croker 25 Mar., in Kebbel Hist. Toryism v. (1886) 254 [Sir R. Peel] foresaw that Radicals and *ultra-Tories would unite against him. 1862 Knight Pop. Hist. Eng. VIII. vi. 109 The measures‥hardly came up to the expectation of the ultra-Tories of that day [1819].
    4. a.A.4.a U.S. Hist. A member of the British party during the Revolutionary period; a loyal colonist.
    (These were orig. ‘Tories’ in the English political sense, who naturally continued loyal to the King.)
    [1774 J. Adams in Fam. Lett. (1876) 7 Dr. Gardiner, arrived‥from Boston, brings news of a battle at the town meeting, between Whigs and Tories. 1774 ― Wks. (1854) IX. 336 The tories were never, since I was born, in such a state of humiliation as at this moment.] 1775 Pennsylvania Even. Post 1 July 278/1 The Whigs and Tories at Georgia are disputing with each other, and Governor Wright is much alarmed for his safety. Ibid. 18 July 309/2 The Tories in Georgia are now no more, the province is‥about to choose Delegates to send to the Congress. 1776 M. Cutler in Life, etc. (1888) I. 54 The ships lay down below the castle with the soldiers and tories and their families on board. 1776 Ann. Reg. 29 Many of the well-affected (or Tories, which was the appellation now given to them throughout America) thought it prudent‥to seek the same asylum. 1777 [implied in Toryess below]. 1821 J. F. Cooper Spy xxix, Washington will not trust us with the keeping of a suspected Tory, if we let this rascal trifle in this manner with the corps.
    b.A.4.b During the American Civil War, applied in the Confederate states to a Union sympathizer.
    1862 Southern Confederacy (Atlanta, Georgia) 3 May 3/1 The other prisoners‥are all sharp, intelligent-looking men—no hard looking cases like Yankee prisoners, and East Tennessee tories usually are. 1866 W. Reid After the War 402 Ef you fetch any d― tories heah, that went agin their State, and so kin take the oath,‥’twill soon be too hot to hold ’em. 1953 T. C. Bryan Confederate Georgia ix. 152 In the fall of 1864 bands of Tories were plundering northeast Georgia.
    5.A.5 transf. Applied to any one in foreign countries or former ages holding views analogous to those of the English Tories; also, one who is by temperament or sentiment inclined to conservative principles.
    1797 J. Boucher View Amer. Rev. Pref. 22 Every man capable of forming an opinion‥is, in some degree, either a Whig or a Tory. Now the American revolution was clearly a struggle for pre-eminence between Whigs and Tories. 1827 Hallam Const. Hist. (1876) III. xvi. 201 The names whig and tory are often well applied to individuals. 1836 Arnold Let. 28 Nov., in Life & Corr. (1845) II. 65 Men are all Tories by nature, when they are tolerably well off. 1841 Ibid. 26 June ibid. I. ix. 267 After all, those differences in men’s minds which we express, when exemplified in English politics, by the terms Whig and Tory, are very deep and comprehensive,‥they seem to be the great fundamental difference between thinking men. 1860 Russell Diary India II. x. 191 Purrus Ram and Khoom Dass‥fear greatly‥that the Tories of Bussahir will triumph.
    B.B adj.
    1. a.B.1.a That is a Tory; of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a Tory or Tories; consisting of or constituted by Tories; also, having the principles or aims of a Tory; supported or recognized by the Tory party; Conservative.
    1682 Dryden Loyal Brother Epil. 3 He’s neither yet a Whigg nor Tory-Boy. 1682 ― Dk. Guise Epil. 44 A kind of Bat‥With Tory Wings, but Whiggish Teeth and Claws. 1689 Evelyn Diary 15 Jan., There was a Tory party (as then so call’d) who were for inviting his Majesty [Jas. II] againe upon conditions. 1693 Rokeby Diary 15 Aug., It is a Tory complaint agt a Whigg. 1694 Ibid. 2 Apr., A Tory Bigot. 1710 Swift Jrnl. to Stella 5 Dec., [They] drank Mr. Harley’s, Lord Rochester’s, and other Tory healths. 1711 Addison Spect. No. 81 ⁋2 [She] has most unfortunately a very beautiful Mole on the Tory Part of her Forehead. a1734 North Exam. ii. v. (1740) 322 He has split the former Church of England into two Churches, the Tory Church, and the Whig Church of England. 1735–8 Bolingbroke On Parties viii. Wks. 1809 III. 136 This inconsiderable faction could not be deemed the tory party, but received the name of jacobite with more propriety. 1738 ― Lett. ii. Patriot King (1750) 165 Men who had sense,‥before that moment, thought of nothing, after it, but of setting up a tory King against a whig King. 1776 Pennsylvania Even. Post 18 July 356/1 Yesterday several Tory prisoners were sent to Halifax jail. 1791 Boswell Johnson 11 June an. 1784, We drank ‘Church and King’ after dinner, with true Tory cordiality. 1826 Scott Jrnl. 15 Dec., The Tory interest was weak among the old stagers, where I remember it so strong. 1830 Gen. P. Thompson Exerc. (1842) I. 306 The advice of the English High Church and Tory party has been taken; and the Bourbons are driven from France. 1886 T. E. Kebbel Hist. Toryism viii. 398 The Tory revival was but the twin sister of the Anglican revival. Ibid. ix. 468 In its defence of the Monarchy, the Church, and the territorial Constitution of the country, the Tory party has never faltered.
    b.B.1.b With various qualifications: see A. 3b.
    1791 Boswell Johnson 11 June an. 1784, A sermon (1772)‥, full of high Tory sentiments. 1827 Scott Jrnl. 11 Aug., A High Tory Administration would be a great evil at this time. 1850 H. Martineau Hist. Peace II. v. xvii. 445 It was cheering to see‥high tory and deep radical chemists helping out one another’s information about soils and manures. 1854 Earl of Aberdeen 6 Jan. in Lett. Q. Victoria (1908) III. xxiii. 2 The base and infamous attacks made upon the Prince‥chiefly‥in those papers which represent ultra-Tory or extreme Radical opinions. 1862 Knight Pop. Hist. Eng. VIII. xviii. 320 The expectations of the ultra-Tory party that the Reform Bill [1832] would be repealed. 1895 Oman Hist. Eng. xl. 667 Benjamin Disraeli,‥who combined high Tory notions on Church and State with extreme Radical views on certain social questions. 1908 Lett. Q. Victoria I. i. 6 The ultra-Tory party, who had opposed to the last the Emancipation of the Catholics and the Reform Bill.
    2.B.2 In extended or transferred senses: see A. 5.
    1832 Gen. P. Thompson Exerc. (1842) II. 7 The Catilinarian conspiracy‥was manifestly a plot in a green bag, and Cicero a Tory Secretary for the Home Department. 1837 Ibid. IV. 367 To pick holes in the history of the Greek republics, on the strength of the remains of the Tory poets of that time. 1899 R. H. Charles Eschatology v. 162 It [Ecclesiasticus] is uncompromisingly tory, and refuses to admit the possibility of the new views as to the future life. Ibid. vi. 204 The still orthodox and tory view found in the Old Testament.
    C.C Phrases and combinations.
    1.C.1 Used advb. in phr. to talk Tory, vote Tory.
    1827 Scott Jrnl. 21 July, Nobody talks Whig or Tory just now. 1913 Ch. Q. Rev. Jan. 452 He had the manhood to stand by his chapel and refuse to vote Tory.
    2.C.2 Comb., as Tory-Radical n. and adj.; Tory-Irish, Tory-leaning, Tory-ridden, Tory-voiced adjs.; Tory-Williamite, a Tory who supported or adhered to William III.
    1696–7 Rokeby Diary (Surtees) 51 Mr. Ratcliff, sheriff of Devonshire, is a Tory-Williamite. 1834 Tait’s Mag. I. 387/2 The Governor, save on the question of slavery, the black niggers, and the Church, latterly became a sort of Tory-Radical. 1836 K. of Belgians 18 Nov., in Lett. Q. Victoria (1908) I. v. 53 An infamous Radical or Tory-Radical paper, the Constitutional, which seems determined to run down the Coburg family. 1894 Westm. Gaz. 21 Sept. 2/3 Cases like mine, where in Tory-ridden villages the overseers resent both Liberal and women voters. 1898 Ibid. 24 Mar. 2/2 It must in the long run be a new Tory-Irish understanding. 1908 W. Churchill in Nation 7 Mar. 812/2 The pressure of Tory-voiced discontent.
    3. a.C.3.a Tory democracy, combination of Toryism with democracy; democracy under Tory leadership; new or democratic Toryism; progressive Conservatism.
    1867 Ld. Salisbury in Q. Rev. CXXIII. 539 It was not till the earlier struggles of the session were over‥that the project of Tory democracy, which had been so long and so sedulously concealed, was at last given to the world. 1879 Spectator 21 June 776 Tory democracy—Jingoism is its proper name. 1884 Pall Mall G. 29 Nov. 3/2 We would venture to lay very long odds that Tory Democracy is much more likely to come in with a boom than to go out with a fiz. 1885 Gladstone Let. to Ld. Acton 11 Feb. in Morley Life (1903) III. viii. x. 173 ‘Tory democracy’‥is no more like the conservative party in which I was bred, than it is like liberalism. In fact less. It is demagogism, only a demagogism‥living upon the fomentation of angry passions, and still in secret as obstinately attached as ever to the evil principle of class interests. 1910 S. J. Low in Encycl. Brit. VI. 346/2 (Lord Randolph Churchill) By this time [1882] he had definitely formulated the policy of progressive Conservatism which was known as ‘Tory democracy’. He declared that the Conservatives ought to adopt, rather than oppose, reforms of a popular character, and to challenge the claims of the Liberals to pose as the champions of the masses.
    b.C.3.b So Tory democrat, one who professes or supports Tory democracy. Also Tory democratic a.
    1868 Daily News 2 Dec., Constitutionalist, tory, and tory democrat, are the names between which their choice wavers. 1885 E. W. Hamilton Diary 15 June (1972) II. 885 It was R. Churchill’s way of protesting publicly against a revival of the old Tory Cabinet‥without any infusion of fresh (Tory-democratic) blood. 1902 Daily Chron. 29 Aug. 4/5 The policy of the advanced Tory Democratic section. 1903 Westm. Gaz. 14 Jan. 2/2 Recommended‥to the electors‥on the ground that he is a ‘Tory Democrat’, in which hybrid political creature it is roundly declared ‘there is really more of true, old-fashioned Liberalism than in the Liberal Party to-day’. 1910 Encycl. Brit. VI. 976/2 Lord Randolph Churchill called himself a ‘Tory democrat’.
    Hence (chiefly nonce-wds.) †ˈTorycal a. [after historical] = Tory adj.; ˈTorydom, the realm or rule of Tories; ˈToryess, a female Tory (in quot. in sense 4); Toryˈistic a., inclined to Toryism; ˈToryize v., trans. = Toryfy; ˈToryship (humorous), the personality of a Tory.
    1682 Thoresby Diary 14 July, Had some ineffectual discourses‥with the *Torycal Papists.
    1859 W. Chadwick Life De Foe ii. 104 The bill passed; and, thanks to *Torydom, there it remains! 1908 M. Baring Russian Ess., etc. Ded. 11 Here, they thought, was the voice of officialdom, Torydom, and hypocrisy speaking.
    1777 Franklin Let. Wks. 1889 VI. 67 You must know she is a *Toryess as well as you, and can as flippantly call rebel.
    1899 Howells in Literature 1 July 692 By a curious irony of fate he came to stand in later years for something *toryistic to men who were fighting other anti-slavery battles.
    1887 L’pool Mercury 5 Jan., He was the first to show that London might be *Toryised. 1890 Pall Mall G. 22 Aug. 2/1 A narrow little clique—fossilized and Toryized to an almost incredible degree.
    1793 Parr Let. to Routh 12 June, Wks. 1828 VII. 652 Farewell, and believe me‥your *Toryship’s friend and servant.

    Something that’s a little sad about pasting the OED is that we lose the colours that separate the citations from the definitions, the italics and the bolded dates. Consequently it’s much less easily read. This is something that will be overcome within the next ten years, I suppose, but until then it’s slightly annoying. We really need colours – at least, I do.

  32. A link is worth a thousand words.

  33. Stu, linking the OED is fairly pointless, as most people don’t have access to it. From my viewpoint, pasting OED sections into Language Hat comments is an act of noblesse oblige.

  34. Yes, I agree with John. (Although perhaps “C.C Phrases and combinations” could have been omitted as not adding much to the understanding of the word.)

  35. I hoped my remark might elicit thought about the similar “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Does this expression extol conciseness, does it claim that sight has primacy over speech ? But a picture is useless to a blind person, or an author who can’t draw.
    I fully expected the reply that OED links work only for subscribers. The OED passage reproduced above is as close to a picture as you can get with words, short of a fax.

  36. linking the OED is fairly pointless, as most people don’t have access to it

    Ta-da, freely available archive capture of Tory in the 1989 edition, as formatted online (pre-2023), with a great deal of helpful whitespace. This was, of course, almost entirely unrevised from 1913, except for sense “4.b During the American Civil War, applied in the Confederate states to a Union sympathizer” added in the 1986 Supplement, along with one earlier example each for “Tory democracy” and “Tory democrat”.

    Make your donations right now at so that this can continue to be linkable; they have a donor match through December 31.

    The OED’s full revision (2022) added more details to the Irish etymology, with Welsh cognates (in case anybody doubted that Trond was kidding).

  37. Trond Engen says

    I think I was at least half-serious at the time. As I remember it, the Irish word was well attested in Irish English, but the borrowing into English English and semantic development less so. The Thoroughs might explain the latter.

  38. David Eddyshaw says

    with Welsh cognates

    Cognate with Welsh rhedeg “run”, assuming that the Wiktionary etymology here is right:

    It is not an etymological connexion which would have spontaneously occurred to me …

  39. Trond: the borrowing into English English and semantic development less so

    Did the OED entry answer your questions? The 2022 revision unfortunately dropped the Oliver Heywood quote from 1681 seen above, but antedated it with a ballad from 1678 (visible online thanks to the Huntington Library in California):

    1678 The Tory’s Name was Lashing Tom; The Whigg was called Toney; And yet the Urchin, most Men say, Wants neither Wit nor Money.
    Excellent Ballad Tom Tory & Toney Whigg (single sheet)

    David E: Cognate with Welsh rhedeg “run”

    OED does give that as a cognate to Irish tóir, although they stop at “the same Celtic base” and don’t follow Wiktionary, Pokorny, and AHD in taking that Celtic base back to PIE.

  40. Wiktionary:

    From Old Irish tóir, from Proto-Celtic *to-wo-ret (“running up to”), from *reteti (“to run”), from Proto-Indo-European *Hret- (“to run, roll”).

    As I said here:

    Old Irish has the most complicated verbal morphology I’ve ever had the pleasure of studying; a drastic reduction of unstressed syllables that took place before the Old Irish period turned a language that looks rather like Latin in the few grave inscriptions we have (and that probably would have been as easy to learn) into a nightmare of vanishing morphemes. This particularly affects verbs, which very often have prefixes that in prototonic forms (stress on the first syllable, meaning the prefix) get mashed into the verb stem with appalling results. Thus the deuterotonic (normal) form of the verb ‘they say’ is as-berat, with the stress on -ber-, but the prototonic form is -epret.

  41. Trond Engen says

    ktschwarz: Did the OED entry answer your questions?

    I was going to say yes, but actually no. I’m not sure they can handwave away the oldest attestation just like that. King Charles his Torries in 1634 is right in the middle of the period when “the Thorough Party” ruled for the king against a fiercely Protestant and anti-royal Parliament.

    I’ve also just learned that Wentworth was Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1632 until he was called back to England as adviser to King Charles in 1639. In Ireland he imposed what was seen as Thoroughs policy with tough means. A semantic association may actually have happened there, either in Wentworth’s time or shortly after, in the runup to the Civil War. The early attestations under OED’s sense 1 a. are from the 1640’ies and -50’ies and smack of disbanded units of soldiers loyal to the Crown.

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