One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An English country dance; the tune for this.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in John Playford (c1622–c1686), music publisher. Originally from the name of a certain Roger of Coverley (also Coverlay, Coverly), about whom nothing definite is known. In later use from Sir Roger de Coverley, the name of a lovable but somewhat ridiculous English country squire, a character in a series of short stories by J. Addison published in the journal Spectator in 1711. It seems more likely that Addison's fictional character was modelled on a historical person called Roger of Coverley (with alteration of of in his surname to de, apparently for the purpose of portraying him as a descendant of a noble family) than that he was named after the dance. However, attempts to identify a historical Roger of Coverley have not been successful.
Sir Roger de Coverley/sə ˈrɒdʒə də ˈkʌvəli/
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