One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Soup or stew.
- ‘Leek pottage was especially popular - but the crops used depended on what a peasant had grown in the croft around the side of his home.’
- ‘For this is all about capitalism - the transfer of loyalties bought for a mess of pottage, or more precisely the chance of a better television deal for the new and unlikely bedfellows.’
- ‘I added barley to what remained and boiled it until we had a thick pottage.’
- ‘The pottage would be thickened with oats, barley or bread.’
- ‘So, Horace's simple dish would have been a vegetable stew or pottage, and it is most likely that the lagani added to it were small squares or strips of fried dough.’
- ‘Every day, the pupils would have milk or milk pottage for breakfast, a vegetable-based dinner at midday, and broth with a piece of bread for supper.’
- ‘Most meals would have been some form of stew, soup or pottage cooked in a cauldron over the central hearth of the house.’
sell something for a mess of pottage
archaic Sell something for a ridiculously small amount.
- ‘They have sold their golden birthright of American liberty for a mess of coward's pottage.’
- ‘It is a bargain of which thousands, like Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, have repented, but many, unhappily, like Esau, have repented too late.’
- ‘Is this what it was all for - jettisoning our heritage for a mess of pottage?’
- ‘It is being replaced by trust which is bought and sold and loyalty which is expected and demanded for a mess of pottage.’
- ‘He is charged with giving up a distinctively Christian identity and selling its birthright for a mess of pottage.’
- ‘I have a sense we have sold our birthright for a mess of pottage, which has been the main benefit of unrestrained mass immigration of recent years.’
- ‘Don't sell your birthright for a mess of pottage.’
- ‘A spokesman for the Action Group, said: ‘It is selling the public inheritance for a mess of pottage.’’
- ‘So decadent, in fact, that they now have nothing to defend and will sell their souls and anything else, even their votes, for a mess of pottage.’
Middle English (as potage): from Old French potage ‘that which is put into a pot’. Compare with potage and porridge.
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