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Re: The old beak

Posted by James Briggs on June 04, 2006

In Reply to: Re: The old beak posted by David FG on June 04, 2006

: : I am wondering where the phrase 'the old beak' or 'up before the beak' comes from. I am sure it relates to being sent before the magistrate (or judge) for some misdemeanour but cannot locate anything on it's meaning, history or the source.

: 'Beak' seems to be of unknown origin: it means not only a Magistrate, but also (formerly) a policeman and a schoolmaster (presumably by extension.)

: DFG

My Collins dictionary says 'theives jargon. 19C'. This is certainly supported by my 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, which gives DFG's definition of Judge, Policeman, etc.