Definition of skimmington in US English:

skimmington

noun

historical
  • A procession made through a village intended to bring ridicule on and make an example of a nagging wife or an unfaithful husband.

    • ‘I think it's high time we bring back the skimmington ride, this time with a bluesy rock n’ roll beat.’
    • ‘Athough skimmingtons and charivaris differed from place to place, they all contained similar elements.’
    • ‘A skimmington appears in Samuel Butler's ‘Hudibras,’ a poem that may have inspired Hogarth to try his hand at the topic.’
    • ‘Other marital irregularities in Burbage at later periods gave cause for skimmingtons, which are recorded in 1625 and 1835.’
    • ‘The hue and cry of this rough popular justice, akin to Europe's chiarivari and skimmingtons, led to the abusive oratory.’

Phrases

  • ride skimmington

    • historical Hold a skimmington procession.

      • ‘The poor Tories are suffering the most cruel persecutions; some have been obliged to ride skimmington.’
      • ‘The plaintiff declares, that he is a hackney- coachman, and that the defendant with an intent to disgrace him did ride Skimmington.’

Origin

Early 17th century: perhaps from skimming ladle, used as a thrashing instrument during the procession.

Pronunciation

skimmington

/ˈskimiNGtən/