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Found under a gooseberry bush

Posted by James Briggs on December 16, 2010 at 13:46

In Reply to: Found under a gooseberry bush posted by ESC on December 15, 2010 at 21:13:

: : : What is the origin of phrase "found under a gooseberry bush"?

: : "Gooseberry bush" was a 19th-century slang term for pubic hair. Go figure, as they say! (VSD)

: Gooseberry is a verb meaning to steal clothes from a clothesline. Also, picking a gooseberry bush. A gooseberry bush is a clothesline ripe for the picking. “Dictionary of American Regional English,” Volume II, D-H, by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1991, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Page 936.

Here's what my 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue says about "gooseberry":

GOOSEBERRY. He played up old gooseberry among them ; said of a person who, by force or threats, suddenly puts an end to a riot or disturbance.
GOOSRBERRY-EYED. One with dull grey eyes, like boiled gooseberries.
GOOSEBERRY WIG. A large frizzled wig : perhaps from a supposed likeness to a gooseberry bush.