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.
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.
Thank you, R. I shall enjoy the feeling of unsettlement that will now ensue when I hear that gentleman’s name.