One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, Scottish, Northern
1A tall, ungainly, or awkward person (usually a woman).
2A rude, coarse, or lewd girl or woman.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Peter Levens (fl. 1552–1587), lexicographer. Probably originally from gammer (although this is first attested slightly later) + stang. In later use, especially when denoting a man, perhaps reanalysed as being related to either gomerel or gangrel; such association is probably reflected also by the form gammerstel.
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