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Whittle (A)

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A knife. (Anglo-Saxon hwytel, a knife; hwæt, sharp or keen.)

“Walter de Aldeham holds land of the king in the More, in the county of Salop, by the service of paying to the king yearly at his exchequer two knives [whittles], whereof one ought to be of that value or goodness that at the first stroke it would cut asunder in the middle a hasle-rod of a year’s growth, and of the length of a cubit, which service ought to be … on the morrow of St. Michael … The said knives [whittles] to be delivered to the chamberlain to keep for the king’s use.”—Blount: Ancient Tenures.

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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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