One of the swallow tribe. Dies derives the word from St. Martin, but St. Martin's bird is the raven.
Martin. The ape, in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
A jackass is so called from its obstinacy. “Il y a plus d'un ane qui s'appelle Martin.”
“Martinus, qui suam acrius quam par est opinfonem tuetur; cujus modi fuit Martinus juris consultus celebris sub Friderico I., a quo (inquit Baronius, A.D. 1150) in vulgare proverbium ejus durities in hanc usque diem pertransut, ut Martinum appellent, qui suae ipsius sententue singulari pertinaci studio, in haerescat. Fuit et Martinus Grosia, legum professor in academia Bononiensi.” —Du Cunge (Art. Martinus)
Martin. (See All My Eye.)
Martin, in Dryden's allegory of the Hind and Panther, means the Lutheran party; so called by a pun on the name of Martin Luther.
Parler d'autre Martin. There are more fools than one in the fair. This phrase is very common. (See Bauduin de Seboure: Romans, ch. viii. line 855; Godefroid de Bouillon, p. 537; La branche des royaux lignage, line 11,419; Le Mystère de S. Crespin ct St. Crespinien [2nd day], p. 43;Reynard the Fox, vol. ii. p. 17, line 10,096, vol. iii. p. 23, line 20,402, etc.)
Another phrase is “Parler d'autre Bernart,” from bernart- a jackass or fool.
Or vos metron el col la hart Puis parleron d'autre Bernart.
Le Roman du Renart, iii p. 75.
“Vous parlerés d'autre Martin.”
Ditto, p. 28.
For a hair Martin lost his ass. The French say that Martin made a bet that his ass was black; the bet was lost because a white hair was found in its coat.
Girt like Martin of Cambray —in a very ridiculous manner. Martin and Martine are the two figures that strike with their marteaux the hours on the clock of Cambray. Martin is represented as a peasant in a blouse girt very tight about the waist.
St. Martin. Patron of drunkards, to save them from falling into danger This is a mere accident, arising thus: The 11th November (St. Martin's Day) is the Vinalia or feast of Bacchus. When Bacchus was merged by Christians into St. Martin, St. Martin had to bear the ill-repute of his predecessor.
St. Martin's bird. A cock, whose blood is shed “sacrificially” on the 11th of November, in honour of that saint.
St. Martin's cloak. Martin was a military tribune before conversion, and, while stationed at Amiens in mid winter, divided his military cloak with a naked beggar, who craved alms of him before the city gates of Amiens. At night, the story says, Christ Himself appeared to the soldier, arrayed in this very garment.
St. Martin's goose. The 11th of November, St. Martin's Day, was at one time the great goose feast of France. The legend is that St. Martin was annoyed by a goose, which he ordered to be killed and served up for dinner.
As he died from the repast, the goose has been ever since “sacrificed” to him on the anniversary. The goose is sometimes called by the French St. Martin's bird.
St. Martin's jewellery. Counterfeit gems. Upon the site of the old collegiate church of St. Martin's le Grand, which was demolished upon the dissolution of the monasteries, a number of persons established themselves and carried on a considerable trade in artificial stones, beads, and jewellery. These Brummagem ornaments were called St. Martin's beads. St. Martin's lace, or St. Martin's jewellery, as the case might be.
St. Martin's lace. A sort of copper lace for which Blowbladder Street, St. Martin's, was noted. (Stow.)
St. Martin's rings. Imitation gold ones. (See above.)
St. Martin's tree. St. Martin planted a pilgrim's staff somewhere near Utopia. The staff grew into a large tree, which Gargantua pulled up to serve for a mace or club, with which he dislodged King Picrochole from Clermont Rock. (Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel.)
Faire la St. Martin or Martiner. To feast; because the people used to begin St. Martin's Day with feasting and drinking.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894