spitting


spitting
   Though real or pretended spitting 'for luck' or to repel *witchcraft and the *evil eye is an ancient device, concern for hygiene and good manners makes it rare now. However, there are many references to people spitting on a *coin for luck, especially one unexpectedly found or given, or won in a bet; spitting on one's hands before fighting, or when embarking on a tough piece of work, was still done by schoolboys in the 1950s (Rad-ford, Radford, and Hole, 1961: 318-20; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 372-4). Children spit on seeing or doing anything reckoned unlucky (Opie and Opie, 1959: 206-20). They lick a finger before making cross-my-heart or cut-my-throat gestures when swearing to the truth of something, often with the formula:
   My finger's wet, my finger's dry, Cut my throat if I tell a lie. (Opie and Opie, 1959: 126-8)
   Another widespread and ancient belief was that spittle had healing properties, especially if used early in the day, before eating or drinking anything; it was applied to sore eyes, warts, cuts and grazes, babies' rashes, birthmarks, and even deformities in babies (Radford, Radford, and Hole, 1961: 319-20).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spitting — or expectoration is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth. It is normally considered rude and a social taboo in many parts of the world, though spitting can still be occasionally observed in some places. It is… …   Wikipedia

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  • Spitting — Spit Spit, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spitted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spitting}.] [From {Spit}, n.; cf. {Speet}.] 1. To thrust a spit through; to fix upon a spit; hence, to thrust through or impale; as, to spit a loin of veal. Infants spitted upon pikes.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spitting — adj. Spitting is used with these nouns: ↑image …   Collocations dictionary

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  • spitting — SYN: expectoration (2) …   Medical dictionary

  • spitting — The worst kind of insult was to spit into someone s face (Num. 12:14; Matt. 26:67), but sometimes Jesus spat in the performance of healings (Mark 7:33) …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • spitting — n. act of expelling saliva from the mouth, expectorating adj. that spits, that ejects saliva from the mouth spɪt n. saliva; act of ejecting saliva; pointed rod on which meat is roasted; perfect likeness; light rainfall or snowfall; narrow… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • spitting — spit·ting …   English syllables

  • Spitting cobra — refers to any one of several species of cobras that have the ability to spit or eject venom from their mouth when defending themselves against predators. The spit venom is harmless to intact skin. However, it can cause permanent blindness if… …   Wikipedia