Week eighty-seven: PISHOGUE (probability 21227), by David Sutton

PISHOGUE (with variants PISHEOG and PISHOGE) comes from the Irish piseog, charm or spell and means sorcery or superstitious nonsense: 'She was full of pisheogs, like hanging a St Brigid's cross near where she was doing the churning to ward off anyone stealing the butter'. More rarely it can mean a fairy or witch, and is used in this sense by Kipling in 'Puck of Pook's Hill' when he refers to 'Pishogues, leprechauns, night-riders, pixies, nixies, gnomes and the rest'.

In its primary sense it seems to be equivalent to the Scottish CANTRAIP, a charm or incantation; this has variant spellings CANTRAP and CANTRIP. Doubtless the sort of thing a GALDRAGON might use to render one SPELLSTOPT — GALDRAGON being an obsolete Shetlands word for a witch, revived by Sir Walter Scott, and SPELLSTOPT meaning spellbound, prevented from moving by an enchantment.


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