In Reply to: Sweating cobs and neatas posted by Gary Martin on February 05, 2009 at 11:22:
: : : 'Sweating cobs and neatas'. What is the origin of this phrase? I believe it is something to do with the Navy and rum?
: : Is it a "phrase" at all? Google finds no hits for it, although just "sweating cobs" gives about 200. Where did you hear/read it? I've never heard "sweating cobs" in the UK - is it a US phrase? (Just guessing, but among the meanings of "cob" are "an Irish name for the Spanish silver dollar" or "cobblestone"; either of which could be a metaphor for really big drops of sweat.) (VSD)
: I've come across 'sweating cobs' in the UK, but only in the distant past. My father used to say that he was 'sweating cobs through a tin hat'. By cobs, I think he meant 'lumps of coal'.
Sorry, Lynne - misreading things in my earlier response. That should have neen "spot on" to you for the Navy link.
My main reason for coming back was to correct an error or two. Attercop, not attercob. From http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-att1.htm:
The word is Old English, from attor, poison + cop, the head. (Cop, or coppa, was also used by itself to mean a spider, so cobweb ought really to be spelled copweb.) The name was given to spiders in the mistaken belief that they were all poisonous to humans.
I mentioned adders above, too. I shouldn't have. No connection, that I'm aware of. (GC)