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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Brrrr January 19, 2006 7:28 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Of Interest
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I know they are saying the temperature is going to get in the 60s (F) but right now it’s cold as a witch’s titty! Now, you might ask, “How do you know how cold a witch’s titty is?” Let’s just say I knew a few witches back in college. That may lead you to ask, “So, just how cold is a witch’s titty” to which I would have to say, “now we’ve gone too far!”

Now, the expression “cold as…” is rather common despite its potential offensiveness. I had to find the origin.

The simple explanation is that “colder than a witch’s tit” is just a vivid metaphor, like “hotter than the hinges of hell.” Since a witch is in league with Satan, presumably she has no maternal feelings. Thus the medium by which she would suckle a child is, well, cold as a witch’s tit.

But there’s some history behind this wisecrack. A 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 wer 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.

Is this accurate? I don’t know. I just only searched briefly since I’m on a deadline.

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