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The old beak

Posted by David FG on June 04, 2006

In Reply to: The old beak Posted by Julia Dodd 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.)