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Cosh as in Blackjack #180718
12/06/08 07:43 PM
12/06/08 07:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 22
Vermont, USA
Dean_Whitlock Offline OP
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Dean_Whitlock  Offline OP
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Vermont, USA
Years ago, I read a story in which a character used the word Cosh to name a makeshift weapon that consisted of a hard weight in a sleeve or sock. I would like to use it in a story, but now can't find any reference to it in the Concise OED. However, the COED also lacks a reference for either blackjack or sap as clubs (lots of other meanings listed). I believe these are both American terms, which gives me hope that my memory of cosh is correct and that it, too, is American in origin. If so, I'd also like to know when it was coined (hopefully prior to 1853, the time of my story). For that matter, I'd like to know when blackjack was coined. Anyone out there with better resources than I?

Many thanks,
Dean

Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Dean_Whitlock] #180721
12/06/08 10:43 PM
12/06/08 10:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
tsuwm Offline
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tsuwm  Offline
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this too shall pass
according to W3(unab.), a cosh is a British blackjack..

Etymology: perhaps from Romany kosh, koshter stick, skewer
chiefly Britain : a weighted weapon usually similar to a blackjack; also : an attack with a cosh


as for blackjack (ca. 1889), from the same source..

[black + jack (instrument)] : a small striking weapon typically consisting at the striking end of a leather-enclosed piece of lead or other heavy metal and at the handle end of a strap or springy shaft that increases the force of impact

Last edited by tsuwm; 12/06/08 10:56 PM.
Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: tsuwm] #180722
12/06/08 11:17 PM
12/06/08 11:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,632
Land of the Flat Water
LukeJavan8 Offline
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LukeJavan8  Offline
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Land of the Flat Water
Sometime in the last month or so, we had a gang member attacked by another with a rock in a sock. Could that be cosh? I saw boys
playing target practice in the West Bank a few years back, using socks loaded with rocks, similar, I suppose, to the sling David used on Goliath - tho' in that case the rock was released, whereas herein the whole sock accompanied the rock.


----please, draw me a sheep----
Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: LukeJavan8] #180725
12/07/08 03:31 AM
12/07/08 03:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,067
Tasmania
The Pook Offline
old hand
The Pook  Offline
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Tasmania
Usually a cosh is a sock filled with sand.

Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Dean_Whitlock] #180735
12/08/08 04:18 PM
12/08/08 04:18 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 23
Ireland
A
Andrew Robinson Offline
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Andrew Robinson  Offline
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Ireland
Will 1860s-80s do OK?

OED:

Cosh (meaning no. 3):
A stout stick, bludgeon or truncheon; a length of metal used as a life-preserver; also (dial.), a stick; a school cane; a caning. Phr. under the cosh, at one's mercy, helpless.

1869 ‘A MERCHANT’ 6 Yrs. in Prisons vii. 76 The coshman (a man who carries a ‘cosh’ or life preserver). a1889 in Barrère & Leland Dict. Slang (1889) s.v., The officer..sought to give the finishing coup de grâce with his cosh. 1893 H. T. COZENS-HARDY Broad Norfolk 83 Words which I have been accustomed to hear in common use... Cosh,..a stick. 1896 A. MORRISON Child of Jago i, The cosh was a foot length of iron rod, with a knob at one end, and a hook (or a ring) at the other. 1898 WRIGHT Eng. Dial. Dict. s.v., Cosh, ..a caning at school. War[wickshire]. You will get the cosh. 1904 Daily Chron. 29 Sept. 4/5 ‘Coshes’pieces of lead pipe, known to the police as life-preservers. 1925 FRASER & GIBBONS Soldier & Sailor Words 64 Cosh, the bludgeon carried by night patrols men and trench raiders. Ibid. 138 Kosh, a name for a trench club, or knobkerry, used in trench raids. 1927 Weekly Dispatch 23 Oct. 4 A truncheon, or, in prison vernacular, ‘kosh’. 1958 F. NORMAN Bang to Rights I. 37 In the nick where you are under the cosh..most of the screws seem to take a sadistic delight in makeing [sic] things as uncomfortable as they can for you. 1959 ‘M. AINSWORTH’ Murder is Catching i. 19 Clench a newspaper over a handful of coins and you've got a comfortable little cosh. 1959 I. & P. OPIE Lore & Lang. Schoolchildren xvii. 374 Amongst children one of the most common names for the cane is ‘the cosh’. 1960 Observer 24 Jan. 7/2 As for the Criminal Justice Act, it could be very useful to have all the villains under the cosh, as they expressed it. It made it much easier to get information. 1965 Spectator 15 Jan. 67/1 All chains gone from the boys' lavatories to make coshes.

Blackjack (meaning no. 9):
A weapon consisting of a weighted head and short pliable shaft, used as a bludgeon. Hence as v., to strike with a blackjack. U.S.

1889 in Cent. Dict. 1895 Denver Times 5 Mar. 8/5 During the scuffle Miss Alderfer, Knapp's niece, saw the ‘black jack’ up his sleeve,..and as a result, swore out the concealed weapons charge. 1904 N.Y. Even. Post 10 Mar. 1 This position..was not such as the body would have taken had Newman been struck with a blackjack or other weapon. 1905 Ibid. 2 Sept., ‘I got a partner there [sc. in the penitentiary],’ Red said,..‘blackjacked a man.’ 1934 J. M. CAIN Postman always rings Twice iv. 31 She was to..clip him from behind with a blackjack I had made for her out of a sugar bag with ball bearings wadded down in the end. 1946 ‘P. QUENTIN’ Puzzle for Fiends (1947) xv. 106 Perhaps you gave a ride to a hitchhiker who blackjacked you.

Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Andrew Robinson] #180741
12/09/08 12:44 AM
12/09/08 12:44 AM
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Faldage Offline
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I gotta admit, when I first read the subject line in this thread I wondered what hyperbolic cosines had to do with vingt-et-une

Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Faldage] #180754
12/09/08 04:36 PM
12/09/08 04:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,632
Land of the Flat Water
LukeJavan8 Offline
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LukeJavan8  Offline
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Land of the Flat Water
All the chains gone from the boys' lavatories to make coshes!
Reminds me of the delightful movie from Ireland, I believe, the War of the Buttons. Socks filled with buttons?


----please, draw me a sheep----
Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: LukeJavan8] #180889
12/12/08 07:38 PM
12/12/08 07:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 23
Ireland
A
Andrew Robinson Offline
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Andrew Robinson  Offline
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Ireland
Strange little movie, that. My wife played recorder on the sound track.

Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Andrew Robinson] #180891
12/12/08 09:57 PM
12/12/08 09:57 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,632
Land of the Flat Water
LukeJavan8 Offline
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LukeJavan8  Offline
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Land of the Flat Water
Thanks for the info Andrew. Your wife played the recorder for it, imagine! It is a small world, it is, when one makes a comment on this site and runs into someone with info like that.
I enjoyed the movie, and I even have it. At first I had no idea what cutting off another "lad's" buttons could start. But it proves controversy can exist over anything, I guess. Thanks for letting me know that others have seen it,and I am not alone in
that.


----please, draw me a sheep----
Re: Cosh as in Blackjack [Re: Andrew Robinson] #180909
12/13/08 11:40 PM
12/13/08 11:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Louisville, Kentucky
Jackie Offline
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Jackie  Offline
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Louisville, Kentucky
My wife played recorder on the sound track. Oh, Andrew, that's so cool! (Sorry, I've not seen the movie, but.) Do you play anything? Yes, I know I've left myself wide open, with that one.

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