January 07, 2004

How Cold Is It?

Its colder that a witch's tit out there! Charlene agrees...in fact she brought up an interesting point: where did that phrase come from? I've done a little digging and came up with the following from The Straight Dope:

...witch's tit (or witch's teat, to use the older spelling) supposedly left a marking that witch hunters and courts would look for on the body of an accused person. Supposedly, witches would suckle their familiars, and sometimes the Devil himself, from this "unholy" body part. To find these marks, as well as insensitive spots on the skin called devil's marks--caused by the Devil's claws or teeth--the suspects were stripped, shaven, then closely examined for any blemishes, moles, or even scars that could be labeled as diabolical. To find marks invisible to the eye, the examiner would poke the victim inch by inch with a blunt needle (called a bodkin) until they found a spot that didn't feel pain or bled. Discovery of these marks or spots--one supposes they would be considered cold since they were a sign of communion with the Devil--would be "proof" of the person's dealings with Scratch, so they would be shown in full court before the execution.

Learn something new everyday, huh?

Posted by Chris at January 7, 2004 08:53 AM

I always wondered where that saying came from...however, the explanation still befuddles me. Oh well :)

Posted by: Kristi at January 7, 2004 08:57 AM

I have wondered too! Thanks for the info! and it sure is cold out there!

Have a good one!

Posted by: dewnut at January 7, 2004 09:10 AM

Ahh, witches teats.

Where would we be without them?

Posted by: Marie at January 7, 2004 09:22 AM

i like my description over at her site better. ;-)

Posted by: tj at January 7, 2004 09:57 AM

And, just to add to the mix, inquisitors had special retractable tools that made it appear they were poking a "witch" and getting no reaction or blood. Diabolical in itself.

Posted by: Alicia at January 7, 2004 10:54 AM

You know, they still call the 'nipple' of a baby bottle a 'teat' in the UK :) and a 'pacie' is called a 'dummy' which is short for 'dummy teat' or 'fake tit'... took a little getting use to that one did!

Posted by: Amber at January 7, 2004 11:02 AM

all I know is those witches had it rough.

tj did have a good explanation too I admit - Celts and Witches - oh my ;D

Posted by: Charlene at January 7, 2004 11:27 AM

Hmmm ...Always wondered myself about that saying. Thanks for the info on that. Thank goodness we've come along way from the days of witch hunts. *gasp*

Posted by: seger at January 7, 2004 12:50 PM

I was wondering about that saying a few days ago actually. It always confused me because I couldn't figure out why a Witches tit would be any colder than anyone elses lol.

Posted by: Jaded Angel at January 7, 2004 01:53 PM

Propaganda! That's why, JA. Bloody propaganda. Kind of like when we said the Germans didn't even have a word for peace back in WWII.

[/rant] :)

Posted by: Alicia at January 7, 2004 02:17 PM

I always wondered about that. LOL.

Posted by: Jane at January 7, 2004 02:48 PM

the phrase i like the best describes canadian winters is: It is cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey. Where does the brass monkey allegory come from anways?

Posted by: shaners at January 7, 2004 08:03 PM

Who would have known... LOL thanks for explaining!

Posted by: Rachel in Alaska at January 7, 2004 08:37 PM

Thanks for the info. I was going to look it up myself, but you got there first. Even better when you "just read" and don't have to locate.

Thanks again,


Posted by: cassie-b at January 8, 2004 04:01 PM

So Chandler from Friends would of had a rough time in Ye Olde Country then! His third nipple/nubbin and all

Posted by: Fluffy at January 12, 2004 05:56 PM