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Billy Barlow

A street droll, a merry Andrew; so called from a half-idiot of the name, who fancied himself “some great personage.” He was well known in the East of London, and died in Whitechapel workhouse. Some of his sayings were really witty, and some of his attitudes really droll.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Billy Barlow from Infoplease:

  • Billy Barlow - Billy Barlow A street droll, a merry Andrew; so called from a half-idiot of the name, who fancied ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: B - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "B"

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