One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A long pole used to hold a match for firing a cannon.
- ‘The presence of copper alloy priming wire and a carved linstock - a staff for holding a lighted match for firing cannons - suggest that he might have been a master gunner.’
- ‘He grabbed his linstock, slipped down the hatchway, grabbing the remaining match.’
Late 16th century: from earlier lintstock, from Dutch lontstok, from lont ‘match’ + stok ‘stick’. The change in the first syllable was due to association with lint.
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