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Dun in the Mire

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To draw Dun out of the mire. To lend a helping hand to one in distress. The allusion is to an English game, explained by Mr. Gifford in his edition of Ben Jonson, vii. 283. A log of wood is brought into a room. The log, called Dun, is supposed to have fallen into the mire, and the players are to pull him out. Every player does all he can to obstruct the others, and as often as possible the log is made to fall on someone’s toes. Constant allusion is made to this game.

“Sires, what? Dun is in the mire.”—Chaucer: Protogue to Maunciples Tale.


“If thou art dun weʹll draw thee from the mire.”



“Well done, my masters, lend’s your hands;

Draw Dun out of the ditch.

Draw, pull, helpe all. So, so; well done.”


Duchesse of Suffolke (1631).

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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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Dumb Crambo
Dumb Dog (A)
Dumb Ox of Cologne (The)
Dumb-waiter
Dummy
Dummies
Dump
Dumps
Dun
Dun Cow
Dun in the Mire
Dunce
Dunciad
Dunderhead
Dundreary (Lord)
Dungaree
Dunghill!
Dunghill
Dunkers
Dunmow
Dunmow Flitch