codpiece
Posted: 01 September 2007 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi there, could anyone tell me the origin of the word “codpiece”? As I´ve seen in wykipedia (< Middle English codpece = cod ‘bag, scrotum’ + pece ‘piece’) is a flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers to provide a covering for the genitals. It would be held closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. Why cod is related to a bag or scrotum?
Thanks in advance

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Posted: 01 September 2007 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Why cod is related to a bag or scrotum?

I assume that your question is about the fish and it’s relationship to the scrotum.  I don’t think that there is one.  But then I may have misunderstood our question.

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Posted: 01 September 2007 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome to wordorigins!

The “cod” in “codpiece” isn’t “cod” the fish*.  “Cod” is an old English word meaning “bag”, now obsolete, but cited in the OED from around 1000 up through the 18th century (in later uses meaning a purse, i.e., a bag for money). The relation between bag and scrotum I trust is clear.

*Actually, the name of the fish might be derived from “cod” = bag.  The etymology is uncertain, but the OED says: “One suggestion is that this is the same word as COD n.1, as if = ‘bag-fish’, from its appearance.” (The cod has a large mouth and belly, and if held head up with the mouth gaping open, does bear a certain resemblance to a sack or bag.)

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Posted: 02 September 2007 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A traditional (more than 50 years old at least - Geoffrey Willans put it into the mouth of Nigel Molesworth, but certainly didn’t invent it) British school joke defines school food as ”The Piece of Cod that Passeth all Understanding”.

[ Edited: 02 September 2007 08:38 AM by Syntinen Laulu ]
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