Boxin’ the fox
Posted: 08 May 2007 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I came across this phrase in a child’s book ‘Boxin’ the fox’....it means ....to rob an orchard, has anyone any idea as to origin

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Posted: 08 May 2007 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Aesop? Sort of the reverse of “sour grapes”.

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Posted: 09 May 2007 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Could you please be more specific, Michael?  What is the title and the author?  That might give more of a clue.  As far as I can see, it’s pretty standard Irish slang.  See here.

Someone in my company recently made reference to an orchard in such and such a part of their area being long since gone and reminiscing of the those days of childhood when it was deemed a great and daring adventure to rob an orchard though words like ‘rob’ was never used. In Cork it was ‘slockin’ and in Dublin it was ‘boxing the fox’. We decided that indeed the past was a different country and things were done differently then.

link (My emboldening)
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Posted: 09 May 2007 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Cassell:

box the fox, to phr. [20C] (Irish) to rob fruit from an orchard. [ety. unknown]

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Posted: 09 May 2007 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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ElizaD - 09 May 2007 02:47 AM

Could you please be more specific, Michael?  What is the title and the author?  That might give more of a clue.  As far as I can see, it’s pretty standard Irish slang.  See here.

Someone in my company recently made reference to an orchard in such and such a part of their area being long since gone and reminiscing of the those days of childhood when it was deemed a great and daring adventure to rob an orchard though words like ‘rob’ was never used. In Cork it was ‘slockin’ and in Dublin it was ‘boxing the fox’. We decided that indeed the past was a different country and things were done differently then.

link (My emboldening)

ElizaD...The book was called PENNY APPLES.....I can’t remember the authors name

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Posted: 09 May 2007 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I read a book a while ago by Bill Cullen (a successful Irish businessman) called It’s a Long Way From Penny Apples - I wonder if that was it?

Anyway, I’ve found an earlier citation of “boxing the fox” in “Notes and Queries”.  Its subtitle varies - something like “a medium of intercommunications for literary men, artists, antiquaries, genealogists, etc.,” published in London in 1849. Here‘s as much as I could make out from the quoted passage:

… the slang synonym for stealing fruit from an orchard.  Is the term common to the puerility of the British Island; and if so, what is the meaning of the word “boxing”?  W. A. Henderson. Dublin

Sadly, I can’t find the reply.

Edit: even earlier in 1844:
From The public and private life of lord chancellor Eldon, with selections from his correspondence By Horace Twiss

I remember once being carried before a magistrate for robbing an orchard; ‘boxing the fox’ as we called it

The wiki page on Lord Chancellor Eldon:

John Scott was educated at Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School. He was not remarkable at school for application to his studies, though his wonderful memory enabled him to make good progress in them; he frequently played truant and was whipped for it, robbed orchards, and indulged in other questionable schoolboy freaks

(my emboldening).

I wonder if this suggests that the phrase was also used in the UK?

[ Edited: 09 May 2007 01:25 PM by ElizaD ]
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