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Sport a Door or Oak

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To keep an outer door shut. In the Universities the College rooms have two doors, an outer and an inner one. The outer door is called the sporting door, and is opened with a key. When shut it is to give notice to visitors that the person who occupies the rooms is not at home, or is not to be disturbed. The word sport means to exhibit to the public, as, “to sport a new equipage,” “to sport a new tile [hat],” etc.; whence to have a new thing, as “to sport an ægroʹ-tat [sick-leave];” or merely to show to the public, as “sport a door or oak.” The word is a contraction of support. (French, supporter, to sustain, carry; Latin, supporto.)

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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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Splice the Main Brace
Spoke (verb)
Spoke (noun)
Sponge
Spontaneous Combustion
Spoon
Spoon (A)
Spooning
Spoony
Sporran (Gaelic)
Sport a Door or Oak
Sporting Seasons in England
Spouse (Spouze, 1 syl.)
Spout
Sprat
Spread-eagle (To)
Spread-eagle Oratory
Spring Gardens (London)
Spring Tide
Sprout-kele
Spruce