witch balls


witch balls
   Large, heavy glass balls coated with glossy reflecting silver, gold, or brightly coloured paint, first made about 1690, and popular in the 19th century; or a smaller type from the late 18th century, with swirling multi-coloured patterns. Both were meant to hang in cottage windows; their purpose was to attract and neutralize the *evil eye of a passing witch, either by reflecting it back upon her or by puzzling her with the pattern. Plain glass balls filled with bright tangled threads were thought to have the same effect. Alternative names are 'wish ball' and 'watch ball'; the latter is sometimes explained by saying that the ball grows dull if there is infection 'in the air', and so should be watched for a warning.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Witch balls — Witch Witch, n. [OE. wicche, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; perhaps the same word as AS. w[=i]tiga, w[=i]tga, a soothsayer (cf. {Wiseacre}); cf. Fries. wikke, a witch, LG. wikken to predict, Icel. vitki a wizard, vitka to bewitch.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Witch — Witch, n. [OE. wicche, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; perhaps the same word as AS. w[=i]tiga, w[=i]tga, a soothsayer (cf. {Wiseacre}); cf. Fries. wikke, a witch, LG. wikken to predict, Icel. vitki a wizard, vitka to bewitch.] [1913 Webster] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Witch grass — Witch Witch, n. [OE. wicche, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; perhaps the same word as AS. w[=i]tiga, w[=i]tga, a soothsayer (cf. {Wiseacre}); cf. Fries. wikke, a witch, LG. wikken to predict, Icel. vitki a wizard, vitka to bewitch.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Witch meal — Witch Witch, n. [OE. wicche, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; perhaps the same word as AS. w[=i]tiga, w[=i]tga, a soothsayer (cf. {Wiseacre}); cf. Fries. wikke, a witch, LG. wikken to predict, Icel. vitki a wizard, vitka to bewitch.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Witch ball — A witch ball is a hollow sphere of plain or stained glass hung in cottage windows in 18th century England to ward off evil spirits, witch s spells or ill fortune, though the Witch s Ball actually originated among cultures where witches were… …   Wikipedia

  • witch ball — 1. a decorated blown glass ball. 2. (in the 18th century) a hollow sphere of colored glass hung in the window of a house to protect it against witchcraft. [1865 70] * * * ▪ glass sphere       a hollow glass sphere, sometimes as large as 7 inches… …   Universalium

  • balls — It s an old wives tale that testicles can be used to measure hot temperatures to within a few degrees. Hot as balls is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit; hotter than balls is anything hotter. (See witch s tit.) South Carolina in the summer is hotter… …   Dictionary of american slang

  • witch's\ tit — It s an old wives tale that the mammary gland of a female, magic practicing individual can be used to gauge cold temperatures. Cold as a witch s tit means freezing or slightly above freezing. Any temperature below freezing is colder than a witch… …   Dictionary of american slang

  • balls — It s an old wives tale that testicles can be used to measure hot temperatures to within a few degrees. Hot as balls is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit; hotter than balls is anything hotter. (See witch s tit.) South Carolina in the summer is hotter… …   Dictionary of american slang

  • witch's\ tit — It s an old wives tale that the mammary gland of a female, magic practicing individual can be used to gauge cold temperatures. Cold as a witch s tit means freezing or slightly above freezing. Any temperature below freezing is colder than a witch… …   Dictionary of american slang