belfry / bats in the belfry
The word belfry, believe it or not, originally had nothing to do with bells. Belfry is from the Old French berfroi, meaning a wooden siege tower. The word first appears in English c.1300 in the romance Kyng Alisaunder found in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 622:
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Alisaunder and his folk…Fast assaileden her walle Wiþ berefrei.
(Alexander and his army…fast assailed her wall with a belfry.)
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