Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Although of unknown etymology it seems that the original meaning of the term referred to a curiously indeterminately valued silver coin—anywhere between one and one-half to three and one half pence, it seems to have lodged itself in the language with a figurative sense first with the circa 1604 (when the particular coin was also common-currency) stage-production of Thomas Heywood’s comedy, The Wise Woman of Hoxton, as a bargain of a dowry in exchange for a marriage commitment. Dandiprat came to signify first someone small in stature and then someone of small character, a contemptible, insufferable person—but not all connotations are necessarily negative.