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Week sixty-two: SALAMON (probability 12017), by David Sutton

SALAMON is a word used in old oaths that supposedly refers to the Mass; vagrants swore 'by the salamon'. The origin is obscure.

A number of other such words from the fraternity of the road and/or the criminal underworld have found their way into the Scrabble list, among them:

CUFFINa chap, a fellow. A 'queer cuffin' was a justice of the peace; I don't believe that the epithet necessarily alluded to the sexual orientation of representatives of that learned profession, but simply reflected an aversion to having anything to do with them.
DARBIEShandcuffs. There is no DARBIE* or DARBY*.
DARKMANSnight. There is no DARKMAN*.
HARMANa constable. In the plural, HARMANS can mean the stocks.
KINCHINa child, from the German Kindchen.
LIBKENa place to sleep, an abode.
TOBYthe road. The 'high toby' was robbery by a highwayman on horseback; the 'low toby' was robbery by a highwayman on foot. Presumably after enough successful low tobies a highwayman could afford to graduate to the high toby, though then you have to balance the advantages of increased mobility against the additional costs of oats, stabling etc. But of course, the economics of highway robbery are not relevant to most Scrabble players, so I'll stop there.

   













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