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Pilgarlic or Pillʹd Garlic (A)


One whose hair has fallen off from dissipation. Stow says of one getting bald: “He will soon be a peeled garlic like myself.” Generally a poor wretch avoided and forsaken by his fellows. The editor of Notes and Queries says that garlic was a prime specific for leprosy, so that garlic and leprosy became inseparably associated. As lepers had to pill their own garlie, they were nicknamed Pil-garlics, and anyone shunned like a leper was so called like-wise. (To pill = to peel; see Gen. xxx. 37.)

⁂ It must be borne in mind that at one time garlic was much more commonly used in England than it is now.

“After this [feast] we jogged off to bed for the night; but never a bit could poor pilgarlic sleep one wink, for the everlasting jingle of bells.”—Rabelais: Pantagruel, v. 7.

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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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Piganey or Pigsnie
Pike’s Head (A)
Pilate Voice
Pilate’s Wife
Pilatus (Mount)
Pilgarlic or Pilld Garlic (A)
Pilgrim Fathers (The)
Pillar Saints
Pillar to Post
Pillars of Heaven (The)
Pillars of Hercules (The)
Pilot Balloon (A)
Pilot Fish