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Skains-mate

or Skeins-mate. A dagger-comrade; a fencing-school companion; a fellow cut-throat. Skain is an Irish knife, similar to the American bowie-knife. Swift, describing an Irish feast, says, “A cubit at least the length of their skains.” Green, in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier, speaks of “an ill-favoured knave, who wore by his side a skane, like a brewer's bung-knife.”

“Scurvy knave! I am none of his skainsmates.” —Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4.

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