I know I promised not to babble on about the general election, but hope I will be forgiven for sharing with you this important note. Thanks to Gaw over at Ragbag, I learned that ‘Clegg’ is another word for a horse-fly. Here is the full OED definition, with handy quotations for use when a Liberal Democrat canvasser comes a-pounding at your door:


Also 5 clege, 6 clegge, 7-9 clegg.

A gadfly, horse-fly, or breeze.

a1449 W. BOWER in Fordun’s Scotichron. (1759) II. 376 The unlatit woman..pungis as the cleg. 1483 Cath. Angl. 66 A Clege. 1570 LEVINS Manip. 53 A clegge, flée, solipunga. 1656 Burton’s Diary (1828) I. 308 Sir Christopher Pack did cleave like a clegg, and was very angry he could not be heard ad infinitum. 1658 ROWLAND Moufet’s Theat. Ins. 936 The English [call it] a Burrel-fly, Stowt, and Breese: and also of sticking and clinging, Cleg and Clinger. 1855 ROBINSON Whitby Gloss., Clegs, the large grey flies which torment horses and cattle in summer. ‘He sticks like a cleg.’ 1872 Daily News 24 Aug., For animals of their size, ‘clegs’ are exceedingly light-footed.

b. Comb., as cleg-stung adj.

1808 MAYNE Siller Gun in Pop. Poems Scotl. (1862) 136 Like cattle prodit with a prong, Or cleg-stung fillies.

2 thoughts on “Cleggmania

  1. When this particular politician is referred to on the wireless, it’s hard to avoid hearing ‘Mystic Leg’, and to ward off the unsettling visions that result.

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