"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


The word cadge is usually used to mean to beg; to obtain something by wit or guile; or even to convince someone to do something they might not normally do.

The word is also used for a circular frame on which 'cadgers' carry hawks for sale or to go hawking. The Canadian Chickadee discovered that the origin of cadge as a word meaning to beg may originally have come from this use in hawking:-
"Regarding "cadge": Here's what Thomas Costain said about it in his book, "The Three Edwards" (Doubleday & Co., c. 1958) on pp. 39-40 in the section on falconry:

'An important if indolent member of the retinue was always the cadge-boy. From his shoulders was suspended a wooden frame which held, before the start of the hunt, the birds to be used.' The section then goes on to describe the various kinds of birds used, etc. before continuing: 'Once the hunters had reached a cleared space and released their birds, the cadge-boy, with nothing but an empty frame on his back, loafed about for tips. Thus came into general usage the word "cadge."'

The modern portable equivalent is a small plastic frame - which I found illustrated on a number of sites including Merlin Falconry.

A larger frame for displaying the birds rather than carrying them was also called a cadge on some sites such as Raphael Falconry.


  1. I'm curious as to how you choose the next word or phrase to blog about?

  2. I tend to choose words that I come across in crosswords or books and which I either have to look up or which I think have an interesting story to tell. In addition, quite a few have been suggested by readers over the months.