faggot, n. and adj.
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.
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 historical and rare.
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 historical.See also fire and faggot at Phrases 1 and to fry a faggot at Phrases 2.
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 historical. Now rare.
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.
b. Metallurgy. A bundle of iron or steel rods bound together, in later use often containing scrap metal to be reused. Now historical.Formerly: spec. such a bundle weighing 120 lb (approx. 54.4 kg).
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 (Canadian regional) with reference to pollack being prepared and stacked in a similar manner; see quot. 1851.
†4. A long, thin strip of candied orange or lemon peel; a small bundle of such strips. Obsolete.
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.
6. figurative 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.
7. British 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 historical and rare.Probably with reference to the use of faggots of wood to fill ditches, etc. (see sense A. 1b and cf. quot. a1625).
a. Chiefly Irish English, Scottish, and English 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.
b. English regional (southern and south-eastern), Scottish, and Irish English (northern). A naughty or mischievous child, esp. in young faggot, little faggot, etc. Frequently as a term of rebuke or reproach.
c. slang (originally and chiefly North American). 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 North America.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.
9. British 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 historical.
†10. Nautical. A place where casks are stored. Obsolete. rare.
slang (originally and chiefly North American). 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.Some early examples may instead show use of the noun as a modifier.
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 historical.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.
†P2. to fry a faggot : to be burnt alive for heresy. Obsolete.
C1. General attributive and objective.
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.
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.
† faggot-spray n. Obsolete rare small twigs or pieces of brushwood discarded when making faggots.
faggot steel n. Metallurgy (now historical) 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.
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.
faggot stitching n. Needlework the action or result of ornamenting fabric or a garment using faggot stitch (faggot stitch n. (a)).
† faggot-waisted adj. Obsolete rare (of a garment) having a series of pleats at the waist resembling a bundle of sticks.
► indicates date of composition for this text (as opposed to date of documentary evidence). More