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Cap and Bells

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Wearing the cap and bells. Said of a person who is the butt of the company, or one who excites laughter at his own expense. The reference is to licensed jesters formerly attached to noblemen’s establishments. Their headgear was a cap with bells.

“One is bound to speak the truth … . whether he mounts the cap and bells or a shovel hat [like a bishop].”—Thackeray.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Canterbury
Canterbury Tales
Canting Crew (The)
Canucks
Canvas
Canvas City (A)
Caora
Cap
Cap (the verb)
Cap Verses (To)
Cap and Bells
Cap and Feather Days
Cap and Gown
Cap in Hand
Cap of Fools (The)
Cap of Liberty
Cap of Maintenance
Cap of Time
Cap-acquaintance (A)
Cap-money
Cap-a-pie