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faggot, n. and adj.

Keywords:
Quotations:
Forms:  ME fagat, ME fagete, ME fagett, ME fakettes (plural), ME fakettis (plural), ME–16 faget, ME 16 faggett, ME–16 faggott, ME–16 ffagott, ME– fagot, 15 faggit, 15–16 faggat, 15–16 fagget, 15–16 fagott, 15– faggot; Eng. regional 18 facket, 18 facket, 18 fagget, 18 faggett, 18 fakket, 18 vaggot, 18– faggit; Sc. pre-17 fagattis (plural), pre-17 faggat, pre-17 fagget, pre-17 faggottis (plural), pre-17 fagote, pre-17 fagottis (plural), pre-17 17– faggot; See also faggald n.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymons: French fagot, faget.
Etymology: < Anglo-Norman faget, (plural) fagotes  , Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French fagot (French fagot  ) bundle of sticks (for firewood, filling ditches, etc.) (12th cent.), bundle of similar objects (14th cent.), of unknown origin.
 
Compare post-classical Latin fagatus  , fagettus  , fagottus  , fagotus   (12th cent.; frequently from 13th cent. in British sources), Old Occitan fagot   (c1500), Italian fagotto  , fangotto   (14th cent.; compare fangot n.).
Quot. c1312 at sense A. 1a   apparently shows a switch to the English word in a Latin document, since other items in the list in which the word appears are given in the nominative case.
 
With sense A. 9   compare discussion at faggot vote n.
 A. n.
 I. A bundle or bunch, and related senses.
 1.

 a. A bundle of sticks, twigs, or brushwood tied together for use as fuel.See also fire faggot n. at fire n. and int. Compounds 2a.

c1312   in J. Raine Wills & Inventories N. Counties Eng. (1835) I. 18 (MED)   iiijc fagotis xviij d.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) II. xvii. cxlix. 1047   Þornes..beþ ybounde to knucches oþer to fakettis and ybrende in ouenes.
a1450   Castle Perseverance (1969) l. 1961   Wyth a faget on myn hond for to settyn on a fyre.
1478   in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 77   The price of the c fagotes iij s. vj d.
a1525  (?1474)    Coventry Leet Bk. (1908) II. 399 (MED)   His ffagott of wodde of an ob. schal-be iij schaftmond and a halfe a-bout and a yerde of lenthe.
1567   Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 106   As the flame burning, quhair it can find The faggat.
1649   W. Blith Eng. Improver vii. 42   Thou must take good greene Faggots.
1673   Converted Fryar 7   Having sent for some Fagots, and procured Fire, he took his Beads..and the whole Habit of his Order, and there very reverendly Burnt them.
1729   F. Midon Hist. Masaniello 51   They carried Faggots upon their Backs, and Fire and Pitch in their Hands.
1770   O. Goldsmith Deserted Village 133   To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn.
1821   J. Clare Village Minstrel I. 128   Goody begg'd a helping hand To heave her rotten faggot up.
1866   J. E. T. Rogers Hist. Agric. & Prices I. xviii. 424   In all probability the fagot was of very various sizes.
1938   Manch. Guardian 19 Feb. 10/5   Soon there is only a glowing mass of ash which fades to greyness; then another faggot is thrown on and up goes the blaze again.
2014   D. C. Manners Limitless Sky v. xliv. 131   He was carrying..fresh faggots for the fire tied across his back.

c1312—2014(Hide quotations)

 

 b. A long, cylindrical bundle of twigs or brushwood used in construction or military operations, esp. for filling in marshy ground or for strengthening the sides of embankments, ditches, or trenches. Now hist. and rare.

1408–9   Acct. Exchequer King's Remembrancer (P.R.O.: E 101/44/11(3)) m. 2   In vj fagottes long'..pro schorres & postes pro supportacione dicte barg'.
c1450  (c1400)    Sowdon of Babylon (1881) l. 285   Fagotis to hewe..And fille the Dikes faste anoon.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VI f. cxij   Castyng faggottes into the diches.
1570   G. Fenton tr. J. de Serres Disc. Ciuile Warres Fraunce ii. 135   The catholikes were busie to releue their breaches with beds, faggots, and other matters apt to fill vp.
1603   R. Knolles Gen. Hist. Turkes 1064   He..would oftentimes himselfe carrie a fagot..before him vpon his horse, for the raising of the mount.
1656   T. Lancaster tr. F. Strada Siege of Antwerp 102   Hee diligently applyed himselfe to the causey of Covenstene, and carefully fortifyed it, being repaired with pyles, faggots, and earth.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 165. ¶3   The Black Prince..filled a Ditch with Faggots as successfully as the Generals of our times do it with Fascines.
1794   C. Hassall Gen. View Agric. Carmarthen 27   Laying the wood along the drain, is not the thing, even if it be made into faggots.
1809   Ess. Theory & Pract. Art War II. 414   Faggots and sand-bags are placed between the gabions, to resist any quick discharge of musketry.
1882   R. S. Burn Pract. Directory Improvem. Landed Prop. I. ii. iv. 195/2   A very simple method of confining the banks, such as by planking, or fascines, or faggots with earth backing.
1951   A. W. Boyd Country Parish iii. 35   Great use was made of ‘gorse-kids’ (faggots) which were laid in drains and as a foundation for roads.

1408–9—1951(Hide quotations)

 
 2.

 a. A faggot (sense A. 1a), used in the burning alive of people regarded as heretics; (hence by metonymy, in singular with the) this method of execution. Also, esp. in to carry (also bear) a faggot and variants: a punishment in which a person regarded as a heretic, or a person who has recanted heresy, must publicly carry a faggot for a certain time as a mark of shame. Cf. stake n.1 1b. Now hist.See also fire and faggot at Phrases 1   and to fry a faggot at Phrases 2.

?a1425   Mandeville's Trav. (Egerton) (1889) 35 (MED)   Scho was ledd and bun by a stake and fagotes of thornes and oþer wode laid aboute hir.
a1438   Bk. Margery Kempe (1940) i. 36 (MED)   I wold þu wer in Smythfeld, & I wold beryn a fagot to bren þe wyth.
1530   Thorpe's Examinacion To Rdr. sig. A.ij   Other that for feare of deathe haue abiured and caryed fagottes.
1563   J. Foxe Actes & Monuments 985/1   Running out of Germanye for feare of the fagot.
1631   R. Byfield Doctr. Sabbath Vindicated 51   The wheele, greediron, racke and faggot.
1649   Bp. J. Hall Resol. & Decisions iii. v. 274   Fagots were never ordained by the Apostle for arguments to confute hereticks.
1721   J. Strype Eccl. Memorials I. viii. 86   He should go before the cross bare-headed..carrying a faggot on his shoulder.
1741   I. Watts Improvem. Mind i. xiv. 195   Mitres or Faggots have been the Rewards of different Persons according as they pronounced these consecrated Syllables, or not pronounced them.
1807   J. Barlow Columbiad iv. 144   Racks, wheels and crosses, faggots, stakes and strings.
1899   J. M. Faulkner Hist. Oxfordshire xii. 149   They [sc. the heretics of Burford] were once to bear a faggot at a general procession of heretics at Uxbridge.
1957   Irish Times 2 Mar. 6/2   Those disquieting thoughts which were got rid of in ages of faith by means of the faggot and the rack.
1999   M. Dowling Fisher of Men v. 108   Eventually they recanted, and carried the faggot at Paul's Cross.

?a1425—1999(Hide quotations)

 

 b. An embroidered or painted figure of a faggot, which people regarded as heretics, or those who had recanted heresy, were obliged to wear on their sleeve. Chiefly hist. Now rare.

1570   J. Foxe Actes & Monumentes (rev. ed.) II. 944/1   Constrayned..to weare a fagot vppon his coate all his lyfe.
1655   T. Fuller Church-hist. Brit. v. 165   Cruelty still continued and increased on the poor Lollards (as they call them) after abjuration, forced to wear the fashion of a faggot wrought in thread, or painted on their left sleeves, all the dayes of their lives.
1682   England's Remembrancer 45   He should on either sleeve wear an Embroidered faggot as a badg all his Life time.
1718   Popish Cruelty Display'd 26   They should wear the Badge of a Faggot in Flames on their Cloaths.
1746   Eng. Traveller I. 53   Some of them were enjoin'd to wear the Form of a Faggot on their Sleeve, and others were branded on the Cheek with the Letters, L for Lollard, and H for Heretick.
1826   Q. Rev. Sept. 340   He must..have worn a faggot worked in his coat, to be a mark of infamy and suspicion as long as he lived.
2003   B. Moynahan God's Bestseller ix. 119   His abject petition for forgiveness..was accepted..and the stipulation of the silken faggot was dropped.

1570—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 3.

 a. A bundle or bunch of reeds, herbs, flowers, etc.; esp. a small bunch of herbs for seasoning a dish. More generally: a bundle of anything bound or clustered together.

1447–8   in S. A. Moore Lett. & Papers J. Shillingford (1871) ii. 88 (MED)   The dore of the said towre..is so stondynge open and fakettes, hors, and dong, and myche other ungodely thyng..broghte theryn.
a1450  (▸1408)    tr. Vegetius De Re Militari (Douce) (1988) 121   Þey mowe [make] hemselue scheues or fagettis or knycches..of drye reedis, and þerevppon legge hir liȝt armoure and so drawe ouer liȝt cariage teyed to here hors tail.
1489   Caxton tr. C. de Pisan Bk. Fayttes of Armes i. xiv. sig. Ciijv   Fagotis and bondellis of rede.
?1542   H. Brinkelow Complaynt Roderyck Mors xiii. sig. D1v   Yet must he..pryuyly beare a fagot of russhes in his chamber.
1555   R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worlde i. ii. f. 5v   They founde faggottes of the bones of mennes armes and legges.
1652   Mercurius Britannicus No. 1. 11   The High and Mighty States of Holland..have let slip their Rampant bugbear, with a Welch faggot of arrows at his back.
1723   J. Nott Cook's & Confectioner's Dict. sig. D6v   A Faggot of sweet Herbs.
1736   Compl. Family-piece i. ii. 94   A little Faggot of Thyme, Savory, and Parsley.
1846   Catholic Weekly Instructor 4 July 323/1   A small faggot of rough shrubs, which served as a bed for his wearied limbs.
1904   Jrnl. Obstetr. & Gynæcol. 6 281   An increase in the number of cells causes the projection of bunches or faggots of cells into the lumen of an alveolus.
1931   E. Linklater Juan in Amer. 111   Red-eye himself, carrying a great faggot of Easter lilies.
2012   Western Daily Press (Nexis) 25 Aug. 10   Three sticks of celery, 20 whole black peppercorns, large faggot of herbs—thyme, parsley and bay leaves.

1447–8—2012(Hide quotations)

 

 b. Metallurgy. A bundle of iron or steel rods bound together, in later use often containing scrap metal to be reused. Now hist.Formerly: spec. such a bundle weighing 120 lb (approx. 54.4 kg).

1540   Act 32 Henry VIII c. 14 §2 in Statutes of Realm (1963) III. 761   Item for every Last of faggottes of yron iiij s.
1640   in J. Entick London (1767) II. 181   For a faggot of steel 0 1d.
1657   Bk. of Values Merchandize Imported 57   Steel called Steel Wisp or Long, per Fagot or per hundred weight, containing an hundred and twelve pound..02l.
1721   N. Bailey Universal Etymol. Eng. Dict. (at cited word)   A Faggot of steel, the quantity of 120 lb. Weight.
1733   South Carolina Gaz. 6 Jan. 3/1 (advt.)    Best sweeds iron in bars, english steel in small faggots, grind stones.
1775   Chester Chron. 11 Dec.   Forty half faggots steel, ten bundles German steel.
1825   ‘J. Nicholson’ Operative Mechanic 338   This is termed a faggot [of iron], being about 12 or 14 inches long, and six inches square.
1881   W. W. Greener Gun & its Devel. 221   The bars were then..fastened into a faggot.
1920   D. A. Low Pocket-Bk. Mech. Engineers 294   Rivet iron bars are rolled from faggots of selected scrap-iron.
2011   T. Cooper How to read Industr. Brit. ii. 48   Using tilt hammers, bundles or ‘faggots’ of blister steel bars could be forge-welded.

1540—2011(Hide quotations)

 

 c. Newfoundland. A stack of split and salted whole cod (arranged with their skins facing outwards) which have been exposed to the sun at various stages during the drying process. Cf. water horse n. 2.Also (Canad. regional) with reference to pollack being prepared and stacked in a similar manner; see quot. 1851.

1667   J. Yonge Jrnl. (1963) (modernized text) 58   By night, or in wet weather, it's [sc. the drying fish] made up in faggots (as they call it), that is, 4 or five fishes with the skin upwards, and a broad fish on top.
1726   in C. G. Head 18th Cent. Newfoundland (1976) 74   Some time after this they lay them together in small heaps, about a dozen or 14 of them, what they call faggots, this they doe always in the evenings or when it Rains, & Spread them again in the mornings.
1851   M. H. Perley Rep. upon Fisheries Bay of Fundy in Rep. on Sea & River Fisheries New Brunswick (1852) 115   After pollack are split [on Deer Island, Bay of Fundy], they are washed, and lightly salted... At night, they are piled on the flakes, in heaps called ‘faggots’.
1861   L. De Boilieu Recoll. Labrador Life 37   The fish having been ‘turned’ each evening, about the third day they are put in faggots.
1936   N. Smith 52 Years at Labrador Fishery 17   After the first day's sun it would be made up in small faggots, not more than a half-quintal to each faggot.
1996   M. E. Fergusson Making Fish: Salt-cod Processing on East Coast Newfoundland (M.A. thesis, Memorial Univ. Newfoundland) 157   For an interspersed day or two the fish could be put in faggots to press out or ‘sweat’.

1667—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

4. A long, thin strip of candied orange or lemon peel; a small bundle of such strips. Obsolete.

1702   J. K. tr. F. Massialot New Instr. Confectioners 55 in Court & Country Cook   Both yellow and white Faggots are made after the same manner: The former are those Parings which are made of the first Peel of the Orange.
?1750   E. Lambert Art of Confectionary 11   The Lemons ought to be pared twice over..; so will you have two Sorts of Faggots.
1861   W. Jeanes Mod. Confectioner v. 49   For Faggots, take some of the preserved Prawlings, about twenty or thirty pieces, and tie them round with narrow coloured ribbon, and then crystallize them.

1702—1861(Hide quotations)

 

 5. A ball or (occasionally) patty of chopped or minced meat (esp. pig's liver or other offal), mixed with bread, suet, herbs, etc., and sometimes wrapped in caul fat. Cf. rissole n.   Usually in plural.

1815   R. Rylance Epicure's Almanack 62   Peripatetic restaurateurs, of whom may be purchased hot soup, baked faggots, grey peas boiled, and peas-pudding.
1858   G. A. Sala Journey due North 308   The curious viands known in cheap pork-butchery..as Faggots.
1901   Times 3 Oct. 13/3   In a tub was 30lb. of chopped meat, also bad, which was intended for faggots.
1937   A. J. Cronin Citadel 199   Her paper bag..burst open revealing two beef faggots, the cheapest meat that Aberalaw provided.
2004   Western Mail (Nexis) 1 Mar. 15   The contorted faces had nothing to do with the indigestibility of the school dinner faggots.

1815—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 II. Extended uses.

 6. fig. and in figurative contexts. A collection of people or things considered or treated as though bound together in a group or class. Cf. bunch n.1 4, bundle n. 3a. Now rare.Often used contemptuously.

1548   A. Bacon tr. B. Ochino Serm. i. sig. A.vii   I make one fagott and boundell of all my offences present, past, and to com, and geue them to Christe.
1650   W. Cradock in C. H. Spurgeon Treasury of David (1874) IV. Ps. lxxxiii. 1   That he may..gather the wicked into one fagot..that they may be destroyed together.
1742   H. Walpole Let. 10 June in Corr. (1954) XVII. 450   My fagot of compliments.
1782   I. Reed Baker's Biogr. Dramatica II. 335/2   A faggot of utter improbabilities.
1846   W. Howitt Aristocracy of Eng. i. 5   Kingcraft and priestcraft, bound up in the great faggot of aristocracy, became the dreadful abomination of desolation.
1854   R. W. Emerson Quotation & Originality in N. Amer. Rev. Apr. 545   The psalms and liturgies of churches are..a fagot of selections gathered through ages.
1939   L. MacNeice Autumn Jrnl. xvi. 65   She gives her children neither sense nor money Who slouch around the world with a gesture and a brogue And a faggot of useless memories.

1548—1939(Hide quotations)

 

 7. Brit. Army. A man who is temporarily hired as a dummy soldier to make up the required number at a muster of troops, or on the roll of a company or regiment. Cf. passe-volant n. 2. Now hist. and rare.Probably with reference to the use of faggots of wood to fill ditches, etc. (see sense A. 1b   and cf. quot. a1625).

[a1625   J. Fletcher Bonduca ii. i, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Gggg2v/2   Tell the great General, my Companies are no fagots to fill breaches.]
1689   T. Plunket Char. Good Commander 12   His Muster-Rolls with Faggots are not pil'd.
1709   Brit. Apollo 9–11 Feb.   You may be some Faggot to pass at a Muster.
a1753   P. Drake Memoirs (1755) II. iii. 75   The Adjutants..came to treat and settle with me about the Fagots (Men deficient of the Number of Workmen, ordered from each Regiment).
1849   Belfast News Let. 15 May   In ancient times, it was not uncommon for a colonel to muster his liverymen, and fill up the blanks with faggots, and then draw pay for a full regiment.
1987   J. Childs Brit. Army William III i. 28   Company commanders from the old army were past masters at filling up their ranks with ‘faggots’ at the last possible moment before a muster.

1689—1987(Hide quotations)

 
 8.

 a. Chiefly Irish English, Sc., and Eng. regional. derogatory. A woman, esp. one considered to be troublesome, useless, or slatternly; frequently with modifying adjective, as old faggot, lazy faggot, etc. Often as a term of abuse or contempt. Occasionally also with reference to a man or an animal. Cf. bundle n. 2g.Earliest in appositive use.
 
Earlier currency is perhaps indicated by quot. 1591, which may represent an example of or a pun on sense A. 2a.

[1591   T. Lodge Catharos f. 4v   I appoynt thee no more..constancie, but to brawle rather than burne: a filbert is better than a faggot, except it be an Athenian she handfull.]
1722   E. Ward Parish Gutt'lers 48   One Dol Gulpin, big with Child, A Faggot-Drab.
1796   T. W. Tone Diary 4 July in Life (1826) II. 144   Rot her, the dirty little faggot, she torments me.
1840   New-Yorker 21 Mar. 8/2   So —— you infernal faggot. I'll down with you if you don't let me pass.
1862   Mrs. H. Wood Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles II. xxi. 233   She..struck at me, she did, the good-for-nothing faggot!
1890   A. Lowson John Guidfellow xi   I kent fine 'at the auld faggot was carryin' on wi' that kind o' tamfoolery.
1925   D. H. Lawrence Refl. Death Porcupine 176   To me she [sc. a cow] is fractious, tiresome, and a faggot.
1969   Sunday Mirror 9 Feb. 35   'Urry up wi' that glass o' beer, you lazy faggot!
1987   S. MacGowan & J. Finer Fairytale of New York (transcribed from song, perf. ‘The Pogues’, feat. K. MacColl)    You scumbag, you maggot You cheap lousy faggot Happy Christmas your arse I pray God it's our last.
1996   D. Healy Bend for Home xii. 66   Mrs Smith wants a cherry cake at five, my mother would say. Does she, the faggot.

1722—1996(Hide quotations)

 

 b. Eng. regional (southern and south-eastern), Sc., and Irish English (northern). A naughty or mischievous child, esp. in young faggot, little faggot, etc. Frequently as a term of rebuke or reproach.

1859   J. C. Hotten Dict. Slang 36   You little faggot, you!
1886   W. H. Long Dict. Isle of Wight Dial. 120   Come here, ye young faggot.
1889   ‘M. Gray’ Reproach of Annesley I. ii. ii. 64   A onbelieven young vaggot! I never zee such a mayde vur mischief.
1904   A. H. Cocks Bucks. Vocab. in Rec. Bucks. (1909) 9 140   What be doin' in that there dirt, you young fagot?
1948   M. Carbery & E. Grey Herts. Heritage 81   A pa'cel o' yoong faggits, that's what ye are.
1990   L. Todd Words Apart 70   That wee faggot biz up to mischief mornin', noon an night.

1859—1990(Hide quotations)

 

 c. slang (orig. and chiefly N. Amer.). Frequently derogatory and offensive. A homosexual man, sometimes spec. one considered to be effeminate; (occasionally) a lesbian. Also more generally: any man considered to be effeminate; (as a term of abuse or contempt) a weak or cowardly man or boy; a sissy. Cf. fag n.5The usual sense in N. Amer.Sometimes (esp. in later use) used as a more neutral or positive term, esp. of self-reference, by homosexual men. Cf. adjectival use at sense B.Dated to 1905 in E. Partridge Slang To-day & Yesterday (1937) (in ed. 1 (1933) dated to 1915), but without supporting evidence. In quots. 19131, 19132 with reference to young men performing a song and dance in drag.

1913   J. Reed Let. 7 Apr. (N.Y., Shubert Arch., CF108, Box 161)    Mr. Max Hoffmann is very anxious to put on their vaudeville revue, to do this it will be necessary to cut out the ‘Garden of Girls’ scene,..also to eliminate ‘The Fagot Number’.
1913   J. Reed Let. 1 May (N.Y., Shubert Arch., CF108, Box 161)    I am sending another one of the ‘Fagets’ home this week; they are getting almost beyond control.
1914   L. E. Jackson & C. R. Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Slang 30   All the fagots (sissies) will be dressed in drag at the ball tonight.
1926   E. Hemingway Sun also Rises xii. 119   Abraham Lincoln was a faggot. He was in love with General Grant.
1936   J. Dos Passos Big Money (1937) 273   He wiggled his hips like a woman when he talked. The first thing Marge thought was how on earth she could ever have liked that fagot.
1961   H. M. Hughes Fantastic Lodge x. 223   These chicks..were homos and faggots.
1962   H. Kane Killer's Kiss xxvii. 207   Duffy was no queen, no platinum-dyed freak, no screaming faggot.
1984   M. Amis Money 187   I just got razzed by some faggots... They called me a breeder.
2003   G. Keizer God of Beer iv. 26   Getting squeezed into a locker or being called a faggot or a pussy.

1913—2003(Hide quotations)

 

 9. Brit. Politics. A vote for a particular candidate or party fraudulently contrived by nominally transferring sufficient property to a person who would not otherwise be qualified to vote; = faggot vote n.   Now hist.

1775   S. Douglas Hist. Cases Controverted Elections I. 210   The practice of making such conveyances about the time of an election, had long prevailed in the borough..and the votes so made, are known by the name of faggots.
1817   Parl. Deb. 1st Ser. 1368   These faggots..returned the two members to the House of Commons.
1879   Daily News 16 Apr. 6/6   He..had not the slightest doubt he would win, unless he were to be swamped by faggots.
1906   Scotsman 19 Jan. 11/5   I have no doubt that the small majority by which he held that ‘puppet’ seat was largely owing to Radical faggots.
1997   H. C. G. Matthew Gladstone 1809–1898 (2001) 299   ‘Faggots’ only worked when the numbers were small and the pledges well-known and reliable.

1775—1997(Hide quotations)

 

10. Nautical. A place where casks are stored. Obsolete. rare.

1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. 287   Fagot, a billet for stowing casks.

1867—1867(Hide quotations)

 

 11. Eng. regional (Cornwall). A clandestine or dishonest arrangement or agreement. Cf. faggot v. 6. rare.

1880   T. Q. Couch E. Cornwall Words in M. A. Courtney & T. Q. Couch Gloss. Words Cornwall   Faggot,..a secret and unworthy compromise.

1880—1880(Hide quotations)

 
 B. adj.

  slang (orig. and chiefly N. Amer.). Frequently derogatory and offensive. Of, characteristic of, or relating to homosexual people, esp. men; designating a homosexual person, esp. a man. Also more generally of any man, esp. as a term of abuse or contempt: effeminate; (in extended use) lacking power or vigour; weak, cowardly; ineffectual. Cf. fag adj.Sometimes (esp. in later use) used as a more neutral or positive term, esp. of self-reference, by homosexual men; see, for example, quot. 1987.

1948   H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye i. vi. 60   ‘You faggot son-of-a-bitch,’ I said to Mason.
1969   H. R. Brown Die Nigger Die! ii. 17   Even J. Edgar Hoover, with his faggot ass, admits that more Black folks kill Black folks than Blacks kill whites.
1987   J. Lee Pleasure Palace xviii. 197   Don't fight it, darling. Let go. Abandon yourself to our faggot life-style. Believe me, sweet thing, I can vouch for it.
1992   J. Mowry Way Past Cool 133   Pussy little faggot gun be shootin pussy little bullets.
2012   J. R. Angelella Zombie lxii.   Smells like a faggot girl and his faggot girlfriend are doing faggot things together in very faggot ways.

1948—2012(Hide quotations)

 

Phrases

 P1. fire and faggot (also faggots) and variants: the punishment of being burnt alive for heresy; cf. sense A. 2a   and fire n. 11. Now hist.A Parliament held in Leicester in 1414 passed the Suppression of Heresy Act (2 Hen. V St. 1, c.7) which called for the hanging and burning at the stake of heretics, esp. Lollards. It was nicknamed the ‘Fire and Faggot Parliament’, but this does not seem to have been a name used at the time.

1528   Lett. & Papers Henry VIII IV. ii. 2227   In casting prangs for to cast fyre and faggott.
?1533   Tyndale Expos. Mathew Prol. f. vi   Callynge them heretickes at the first choppe, and threateninge them with fier and faggottes.
1566   tr. Against Detestable Masse sig. bv   Oh how muche doe you deserue to haue the fire and fagot, blasphemers and heretickes.
1610   J. Boys Expos. Dominical Epist. & Gospels 232   Excommunication, exile, losse of goods, imprisonment, depriuation, haue bin reputed euermore fit punishments for heretikes: but fire and fagot is not Gods law, but canon shot.
1667   M. Poole Dialogue between Popish Priest & Protestant (1735) 101   You answer our Arguments with Fire and Faggot.
1759   J. Wesley Let. 17 Nov. (1931) IV. 325   You speak..as authoritatively..as if you had the full papal power in your hands, and fire and faggots at your back!
1847   Liverpool Mercury 13 July 6/5   For leaders we take bigots, and for representatives, monks, who would bring us back, if they could to the days of fire and faggot.
1888   J. Gairdner in Dict. National Biogr. XIII. 30/2   It is not easy to answer arguments in prison, with fire and faggots in the background.
1919   Sat. Rev. 22 Feb. 176/1   In the reign of Mary, because of his Protestant views, he was threatened with fire and faggot.
1950   Scotsman 9 June 6/7   It would be very easy for me to bring to his notice the barbarous outrages of certain fanatical Christians. No one needs to be reminded of the days of ‘the fire and the faggot.’
2010   H. Trevor-Roper & J. Robertson Hist. & Enlightenm. v. 71   The doctrine of the Trinity..had become the badge of orthodoxy in the fourth century, and had been defended by fire and faggot ever since.

1528—2010(Hide quotations)

 

P2. to fry a faggot : to be burnt alive for heresy. Obsolete.

1554   Dialogue or Familiar Talke betwene Two Neighbours sig. A.iiv   These heritickes tell vs so, but I trust to see a good mani of them fry a faggot for this geare.
1577   R. Holinshed Chron. II. 1573/1   A great meyny of them..had died for it in Smythfielde, in frying a Fagot.
1621   R. Montagu Diatribæ Hist. Tithes 44   You deserued to fry a fagot.
1662   J. Barbon Λειτουργία Θειοτέρα Ἐργία 84   To charge the faithful Sons of this Church, with tendencie to Popery, when the Composers of the Liturgie fry'd a fagot in opposition thereto.
1812   J. West Loyalists I. vi. 169   He loved tyrants, and would have made us fry a faggot, had not the light of my preaching broke in upon his darkness.
1859   S. Hopkins Puritans I. xix. 532   ‘If you were well served,’ said another Commissioner, following the clew which the Dean had given, ‘you should fry a fagot.’

1554—1859(Hide quotations)

 

Compounds

 

 C1. General attributive and objective.

?1518   Cocke Lorelles Bote sig. C.j   With lollers lordaynes and fagot berers.
1584   R. Scot Discouerie Witchcraft v. i. 91   Three witches of great wealth..assalted a faggot-maker.
1593   Tell-Trothes New-yeares Gift sig. B3v   Began to beelabour her..with a faggotstick.
1659   Unbiased Statesman 10   A fagot-band to hold the little and great, short and long, and sorts and sizes together.
1678   J. Brandon Τὸ Πῠρ Τὸ Αἰώνιον 32   The case would be no worse with them, in respect of the Fire of Hell, than the case of Malefactors, in respect of the Faggot-fire, here on Earth.
1704   tr. P. Baldæus Descr. Ceylon in A. Churchill & J. Churchill Coll. Voy. III. 727/2   Boats came..to fetch Faggot-wood.
a1774   O. Goldsmith tr. P. Scarron Comic Romance (1775) II. i. 7   The maid followed puss, with a faggot-stick in her hand.
1820   T. Mitchell in tr. Aristophanes Comedies I. p. l   Originally a faggot-maker, his mode of tying up bundles excited the attention of Democritus.
1841   Morning Post 16 Dec.   If an election were to come on before the faggot freemen will have been enabled to register, the return of a Conservative Member would be secure.
1862   Birmingham Daily Post 16 Apr. 4/5   Radial bars, each curved outwards, showing the form and section of these faggot bars.
1912   Sat. Rev. 7 Sept. 297/2   There is a faggot-stack and a wood-pile, constantly replenished with odd timber from a felling or a wind-fall branch.
1974   P. O'Brian Chian Wine & Other Stories 62   Bottled gas or electricity had replaced the faggot-bearers.
2015   Carmarthen Jrnl. (Nexis) 17 June 57   These [challenges] included pizza decorating and a burger and faggot-making competition.

?1518—2015(Hide quotations)

 
 C2.

faggot brief   n. Law colloq. Obsolete a dummy brief (brief n.1 7a) used by a barrister who is not engaged on a case, in order to appear employed; cf. sense A. 7.

1844   Bentley's Misc. 15 271   Reporting with intense zeal and industry, or affecting to report; or perusing the faggot brief.
1869   All Year Round 6 Feb. 225/2   The passing fat red bags full of anything but faggot briefs..diffused an air of respectability.

1844—1869(Hide quotations)

 
 

  faggot drain   n. a drain made by placing faggots (see sense A. 1b) at the bottom of a trench and then covering them with earth.

1802   Commerc. & Agric. Mag. June 416   He contented himself with making a few bush or faggot drains.
1925   Weekly Irish Times 14 Feb. 18/1   Under suitable conditions faggot drains may be expected to last for 20 years or more.
1993   Financial Times 27 Nov. ii. p. xv/8   A system of trenches is the answer to a poorly-drained area, but the cheapest possibility is to trust Hellyer and choose a faggot drain instead.

1802—1993(Hide quotations)

 

  faggot filling stitch   n. Embroidery a decorative stitch used to fill a large area, consisting of a series or group of stitches each resembling a bundle of sticks, formed by sewing three small vertical stitches and joining them together in the middle with one or two horizontal ones.More usually called sheaf stitch, sheaf filling stitch.

1934   M. Thomas Dict. Embroidery Stitches 182   Sheaf filling stitch, also known as faggot filling stitch.
1957   M. B. Picken Fashion Dict. 121/1   Fagot filling-stitch, group of parallel stitches tied together at center to form a bundle.
2006   M. Webb Embroidery Stitches iii. 169/1   Faggot filling stitch is a composite stitch used on plain- and even-weave fabrics.

1934—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  faggot iron   n. Metallurgy (now hist.) iron in the form of bars or masses, produced by welding together a faggot of iron (see sense A. 3b).Cf. faggoted adj. 2.

c1503   R. Arnold Chron. f. lxxxx/2   Faget yerne.
1600   Court Rec. in H. Stevens Dawn Brit. Trade E. Indies (1886) I. 99   Ther shalbe provided furthe some convenient quantety of faggot iron being in small barres fitt to be converted in to nayles.
1844   New-Orleans Commerc. Bull. 24 Dec. (advt.)    1500 bales assorted hoop, hand and faggot Iron.
1911   Proc. 12th Ann. Convent. Amer. Railway Engin. Assoc. 398   Fagot iron..generally contains much scrap and may be wholly scrap.
2013   J. N. Miksic Singapore & Silk Road of Sea viii. 327   Iron bars, and also ‘faggot iron’, were still traded and used as currency in Borneo in the nineteenth century.

c1503—2013(Hide quotations)

 

faggot-spray   n. Obsolete rare small twigs or pieces of brushwood discarded when making faggots.

1669   J. Evelyn Kalendarium Hortense (ed. 3) 57   Put some rubbish of Lime-stones..Fagot-spray, or the like at the bottom of the Cases.

1669—1669(Hide quotations)

 

  faggot steel   n. Metallurgy (now hist.) steel in the form of bars or masses, produced by welding together a faggot (see sense A. 3b); (also) steel contained in a faggot, esp. if suitable for welding together in this way.Cf. faggoted adj. 2.

1765   Public Advertiser 6 Feb. (advt.)    Iron Pots and Kettles, with sundry other Sorts of Ironmongers Ware, blistered and faggot Steel.
1831   J. Holland Treat. Manuf. Metal I. 234   The article known among dealers by the appellation of faggot steel.
1947   Times of India 15 Apr. 4/5   From Glasgow—60 cases cut teak;..502 bdls. faggot steel; 180 cases rum.
2007   C. Evans & G. Rydén Baltic Iron in Atlantic World Eighteenth Cent. ii. 139   Blister steel was routinely drawn out into slimmer bars, so-called ‘faggot steel’, suitable for artisans to work up.

1765—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  faggot stitch   n.  (a) Needlework a decorative stitch used to join two pieces of material together, in which the thread is crossed or twisted when forming each stitch to create a lace-like open network between the two pieces;  (b) Knitting a stitch used to create loose, lacy work.

1854   Godey's Lady's Bk. Sept. 288/2   Pretty collars and cuffs are made by rows of fine linen bobbin [lace] set together with an open fagot stitch.
1903   Daily Chron. 13 June 8/4   A lace and canvas epaulette pelerine, the seams of which are separated by faggot-stitch.
1943   M. Thomas Bk. Knitting Patterns (1972) 135   Faggot Stitch in knitting has..this difference—the knitted fabric is not cut and decoratively rejoined, but stitch and fabric are made at the same time, so the position of the Faggot Stitch lines must be planned out beforehand.
2007   J. Pawlowski Field Guide Knitting 183   A close cousin to herringbone faggot stitch patterns, purse stitch chooses to purl two stitches together, rather than knit.

1854—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  faggot stitching   n. Needlework the action or result of ornamenting fabric or a garment using faggot stitch (faggot stitch n. (a)).

1891   Boston Post 11 Apr. 8/4   Feather stitching, faggot stitching, tiny tucks and all the many dainty tricks of the needle, of which only a French nun is mistress.
1928   Sunday Express 3 June 8   The frills, which were not more than half an inch wide, were set in with faggot stitching.
2013   @zawann 27 Oct. in twitter.com (O.E.D. Archive)    A fine brocaded metallic silver-grey and black flapper dress with faggot stitching to the front pane.

1891—2013(Hide quotations)

 

faggot-waisted adj. Obsolete rare (of a garment) having a series of pleats at the waist resembling a bundle of sticks.

1581   B. Rich Farewell Militarie Profession sig. Dd.iij   Their Dublettes sometyme faggotte wasted aboue the Nauill, sometymes Cowebeallied belowe the flanckes.

1581—1581(Hide quotations)