One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A chair to which a disorderly person was tied and then ducked into water or subjected to public ridicule as a punishment.
- ‘Rogues and vagabonds are often stocked and whipped; scolds are ducked upon cucking-stools in the water.’
- ‘The cucking-stool, a very elaborate engine of the law, cost 1L. 3S. 4D.’
- ‘The sole exception is the ‘cucking-stool’ which did not require water - this could be located anywhere but was usually placed outside the offenders house.’
- ‘This rather expensive cucking-stool must have been in very frequent use in the good town of Kingston; for in the old account books there are numerous entries of money paid for its repairs.’
- ‘In Scotland ‘flyting queans’ sat in ignominy in cucking-stools.’
Middle English: from obsolete cuck ‘defecate’, of Scandinavian origin; so named because a stool containing a chamber pot was often used for the purpose.
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