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Adoption

Adop′tion

Adoption by arms.

An ancient custom of giving arms to a person of merit, which laid him under the obligation of being your champion and defender.

Adoption by baptism.

Being godfather or godmother to a child. The child by baptism is your godchild.

Adoption by hair.

Cutting off your hair, and giving it to a person in proof that you receive him as your adopted father. Thus Boson, King of Arles, cut off his hair and gave it to Pope John VIII, who adopted him.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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