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Sleave

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The ravelled sleave of care Shakespeare: Macbeth). The sleave is the knotted or entangled part of thread or silk, the raw edge of woven articles. Chaucer has “sleeveless words” (words like ravellings, not knit together to any wise purpose); Bishop Hall has ‘sleaveless rhymes” (random rhymes); Milton speaks of “sleeveless reason” (reasoning which proves nothing); Taylor the water-poet has “sleeveless message” (a simple message; it now means a profitless one). The weaver’s slaie is still used. (Saxon, slæ, a weaver’s reed; Danish, slöjfe, a knot.)

“If all these faile, a beggar-woman may

A sweet love-letter to her hands convay,

Or a neat laundresse or a hearb-wife can

Carry a sleevelesse message now and than.”


Taylor’s Workes, ii. 111 (1630).

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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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Slang
Slang
Slap-bang
Slap-dash
Slap-up
Slate
Slate Club (A)
Slate One (To)
Slating (A)
Slave
Sleave
Sleck-stone
Sledge-hammer
Sleep (Anglo-Saxon slæpen)
Sleep like a Top
Sleeper (The)
Sleeping Beauty
Sleepless Hat (A)
Sleepy Hollow
Sleeve
Sleeve of Care

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Sleeve of Care