Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Colder than a witches tit

Where did that expression come from?

I Googled it and this is what I found from The Phrase Finder website:

The simple explanation is that "colder than a witch's tit" is just a vivid metaphor, like "hotter than the hinges of hell."
Since a witch is in league with Satan, presumably she has no maternal feelings. Thus the medium by which she would suckle a child is,well, cold as a witch's tit.

But there's some history behind this wisecrack. A witch's tit (or witch's teat, to use the older spelling) supposedly left a marking that witch hunters and courts would look for on the body of an accused person. Supposedly, witches would suckle their familiars, and sometimes the Devil himself, from this "unholy" body part. To find these marks, as well as insensitive spots on the skin called devil's marks--caused by the Devil's claws or teeth--the suspects were stripped, shaven, then closely examined for any blemishes, moles, or even scars that could be labeled as diabolical. To find marks invisible to the eye, the examiner would poke the victim inch by inch with a blunt needle (called a bodkin) until they found a spot that didn't feel pain or bled. Discovery of these marks or spots--one supposes they would be considered cold since they were a sign of communion with the Devil--would be "proof" of the person's dealings with Scratch, so they would be shown in full court before the execution.

So now you know!

Who wouldn't be labled as a witch under that kind of examination. What the fa? Where did these people come up with this crap?

Oh and I don't mean anything bad towards Wiccans by using the term witch in this post. I happen to like Wiccans a great deal, I was just cutting and pasting.

It's not really colder than a witches tit here, but it's quite nippy out!

Hmmm, I wonder if that has any similar meaning? Nippy - tits?

Ok - as you can see I'm getting a bit over the top with this post, but that's just where my brain was going today.

Keep yer tits warm!

5 comments:

the only daughter said...

'tis one of my favorite sayings. good to know some of the lore.

it's cold here too. witch's tit cold.

dive said...

Ah, Christians; they've got such a lot to answer for.
I hope for their sake there's an afterlife so they can go somewhere warm and be treated the way they treat others.

I like Tom Waits' phrase: "Colder than a well-diggers ass", which is what it's like over here at the moment.

neetzy said...

I've never heard that expression before! Back in the day you could be considered a witch for just about anything...left-handed (you)red-haired (daughter D), cynical (me), wearing black (my daughter A, your daughter C) There go all the women in our family. Just think, Sarah Palin's church was actively involved in modern day witchhunts! Ha!

Vic Hubbard said...

There's good and bad in all religions. The bad always comes from a belief that my religion is the only real path to god. That becomes the fatal flaw.
Oh and yes, I'm sure nippy is from the physical reaction to cold. I just like to say "Ooh, looks like the turkey's done" :D

Aphro-ME-siac said...

I love your blog... just had to say it.