A variation of the French perruque, Latin pilucca, our periwig cut short. In the middle of the eighteenth century we meet with thirty or forty different names for wigs: as the artichoke, bag, barrister's, bishop's, brush, bush [buzz], buckle, busby, chain, chancellor's, corded wolf's paw, Count Saxe's mode, the crutch, the cut bob, the detached buckle, the Dalmahoy (a bob-wig worn by tradesmen), the drop, the Dutch, the full, the half-natural, the Jansenist bob, the judge's, the ladder, the long bob, the Louis, the periwig, the pigeon's wing, the rhinoceros, the rose, the scratch, the she-dragon, the small back, the spinach seed, the staircase, the Welsh, and the wild boar's back.
“An ye faover the clough, there will be but ae wig left in
the parish, and that's the minister's.”
Make wigs. A perruquier, who fancied himself “married to immortal verse,” sent his epic to Voltaire, asking him to examine it and give his “candid opinion” of its merits, The witty patriarch of Ferney simply wrote on the MS. “Make wigs, make wigs, make wigs,” and returned it to the barber-poet. (See Sutor, Stick to the cow.)
(A). A head. Similarly, the French call a head a binette. As “Quelle binette! ” or “Il a une drole de binette! ” M. Binet was the court wig-maker in the reign of Louis XIV. “M. Binet, qui foit les perruques du roy, demcure Rue des Petils-Champs. ” (Almanack des addresses sous Louis XIV.)
“Fleas are not lobsters, dash my wig.”
War (Anglo-Saxon). The word enters into many names of places, as Wigan in Lancashire, where Arthur is said to have routed the Saxons.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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