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Origin of "company of rogues"

Posted by R. Berg on February 03, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of "company of rogues" posted by scott bruce on February 03, 2003

: Anyone know the origin of the phrase "company of rogues?" It's not Shakespeare, I searched. I have a 1652 usage in a Petition against an English merchant. Thanks for your help.

From the Oxford Engl. Dict., 1st ed., "rogue," n.:

1. One belonging to a class of idle vagrants or vagabonds. Now arch. as a legal term.
For the legal definition, see the Act 14 Eliz. c. 5 [section] 5.
. . . 1600 BRETON "Pasquil's Madcappe" Wks. (Grosart) I. 6/1 He shall . . . in a iacket and a paire of broages Goe passe among the company of roages.