I will beat thee like a stockfish. Moffet and Bennet, in their Health's Improvement (p. 262), inform us that dried cod, till it is
beaten, is called buckhorn, because it is so tough; but after it has
been beaten on the stock, it is termed stockfish. (In French, etriller quelqu'un, a double carillon, “to a pretty tune.”)
“Peace! thou wilt be beaten like a stockfish else.” —Jonson:
Every Man in his Humour, iii. 2.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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