A ship's bottom is that part which is used for freight or stowage. Goods imported in British bottoms are those which come in our own vessels. Goods imported in foreign bottoms are those which come in foreign ships. A full bottom is where the lower half of the hull is so disposed as to allow large stowage. A sharp bottom is when a ship is capable of speed.
“Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.” —Ruskin: True and Beautiful, p. 426.
“If one of the parties ... be content to forgive from the bottom of his heart all that the other hath trespassed against him.” —Common Prayer Book.
He was at the bottom of it. He really instigated it, or prompted it. Never venture all in one bottom —i.e. one ship. “Do not put all your eggs into one basket.”
“My ventures are not in one bottom trusted.” —Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, i. 1.
(Nick ), the weaver. A man who fancies he can do everything, and do it better than anyone else. Shakespeare has drawn him as profoundly ignorant, brawny, mock heroic, and with an overflow of self-conceit. He is in one part of Midsummer Night's Dream represented with an ass's head, and Titania, queen of the fairies, under a spell, caresses him as an Adonis.
The name is very appropriate, as the word bottom means a ball of thread used in weaving, etc. Thus in Clark's Heraldry we read, “The coat of Badland is argent, three bottoms in fess gules, the thread or. ”
“When Goldsmith, jealous of the attention which a dancing monkey attracted, said, `I can do that,' he was but playing Bottom.” —R. G. White.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894