General *charms to staunch blood are dealt with under *bleeding, but there are also some specific methods aimed at stopping nosebleeds. It could certainly be argued that few people in modern England would rely on verbal charms and sympathetic magic to stop bleeding from real wounds, but the realm of the nosebleed is still susceptible to 'folk medicine' and belief. The most-quoted cure in modern tradition is to put a key down the back of the sufferer, but it has been difficult to find out how old this belief is, being recorded only since the 19th century (N&Q 4s:7 (1871), 91; Black, 1883). A ribbon or thread tied round the neck was another regular cure, and a detailed note in Folk-Lore (23 (1912), 349) records the use of a special 'bloodstone', worn round the neck on a knotted red silk thread. In earlier times, others preferred to wear a *toad round the neck (Gutch, 1901: 170, quoting a manuscript of c.1600) but this is claimed as a remedy for many ailments. Cobwebs placed in the nostril were recommended by some, while one man at least claimed that moss which had grown on a human skull was particularly effective (Black, 1883: 96-7).
   A sudden nosebleed has long been taken as a sign of bad luck to come, especially if it takes the form of two or three drops of blood only. Opie and Tatem list examples from 1180 through into the late 19th century, and Samuel Pepys recorded in his Diary (6 June 1667): '. . . But it was an ominous thing methought, just as he was bidding me his last adieu, his nose fell a-bleeding, which run in my mind a pretty while after'. Occasional sources distinguish between the left (bad luck) and right (good luck) nostrils (see Lean, 1903: ii. 289).
   ■ Porter, 1969: 83-4; Black, 1883: 62, 76, 96-7, 111, 183, 190-1; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 287-8; Lean, 1903: ii. 52, 288-90; Forbes, 1971: 293-316.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nosebleed — Nose bleed , n. 1. A bleeding at the nose. [1913 Webster] 2. (Bot.) The yarrow. See {Yarrow}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nosebleed — ► NOUN ▪ an instance of bleeding from the nose …   English terms dictionary

  • nosebleed — [nōz′blēd΄] n. a bleeding from the nose; nasal hemorrhage; epistaxis …   English World dictionary

  • nosebleed — n. 1) to have a nosebleed 2) to stop a nosebleed 3) a light; severe nosebleed * * * [ nəʊzbliːd] severe nosebleed a light to have a nosebleed to stop a nosebleed …   Combinatory dictionary

  • nosebleed — I. noun Date: 1848 an attack of bleeding from the nose II. adjective Date: 1978 extremely or excessively high < seats in the nosebleed section > < nosebleed stock prices > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nosebleed — [[t]no͟ʊzbliːd[/t]] nosebleeds also nose bleed N COUNT If someone has a nosebleed, blood comes out from inside their nose. Whenever I have a cold I get a nosebleed …   English dictionary

  • nosebleed — UK [ˈnəʊzˌbliːd] / US [ˈnoʊzˌblɪd] noun [countable] Word forms nosebleed : singular nosebleed plural nosebleeds an occasion when blood comes out of someone s nose …   English dictionary

  • nosebleed — Yarrow Yar row, n. [OE. yarowe, yarwe, [yogh]arowe, AS. gearwe; akin to D. gerw, OHG. garwa, garawa, G. garbe, schafgarbe, and perhaps to E. yare.] (Bot.) An American and European composite plant ({Achillea Millefolium}) with very finely… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nosebleed — nose|bleed [ˈnəuzbli:d US ˈnouz ] n if you have a nosebleed, blood suddenly starts flowing from your nose …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • nosebleed — noun (C) have a nosebleed to have blood coming out of your nose …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English