GLOSSARY OF TERMS used in Isaac McCoy


adze.  A curved tool for shaping wood.

ague.  A combination of fever and chills.

bateau.  A flat-bottomed boat with pointed bow and stern, flaring sides.

bombazette.  A thin plain- or twill woven worsted cloth with a smooth inish.

coatee.  A close-fitting coat with short skirts or tails.

collier.  A coal miner.

capote (long o, silent e).  A heavy blanket coat with attached hood.

coppice.  A thicket of small trees.

dearborn wagon (lower case).  A four-wheeled carriage with curtained sides.

dirk.  A spring-loaded knife with a straight blade 6-8" long, sharp on both sides toward the point.

dogtrot.  An open-air passage connecting two parts of a cabin.

factotem.  A person having many diverse responsibilities; general servant.

fiddlehead.  The coiled head of a young fern frond.

flag (as used in constructing a wigwam).  A wild iris.

fly-flapper.  A ceiling fan made of laths and linen cloth.

fowling piece.  A shotgun for shooting birds and small animals.

garret.  A room directly under the roof.

gig.  A two-wheeled carriage.

haversack.  A knapsack-like bag that is worn over one shoulder.

hobble.  To impede movement, or something used to impede movement. Horses were hobbled by spanceling them or tying their front legs together loosely.

hogshead.  A large barrel.

kipper.  To cure fish by the use of salt and smoke.

lancet.  A small folding knife.

levee.  A reception.

lucifer match (lower case).  A friction match with a tip of antimony sulphide and potassium chlorate.

metawuk.  Medicine dance.

mite societies.  Missionary groups named after the biblical widow’s mite, which was a coin worth one-eighth of a cent.

moccasin (game).  Indian version of modern shell game. They hid a large bullet within a semi-circle of mocccasins lying on a dressed deerskin.

open-faced camp.  A three-sided shed or a cave dug into a hillside with blankets and/or skins covering the front.

pallet.  A straw-filled tick or mattress.

pirogue.  A large dugout canoe, sometimes modified by being split lengthwise and inserting a board down the middle for width.

puncheon.  A log split or adzed flat on one side. Used flat side up for loft floors.

punk.  Dry, spongy wood found in knots on tree trunks and large limbs.

queue.  A braid of hair worn hanging at the back of the head.

quoits.  A ringtoss type of game in which a flattened ring of iron or a circle of rope is thrown at an upright pin.

roundabout.  A short, close-fitting jacket worn by men and boys.

scratch.  A short wig.

spancel.  A rope tied to a clog (land anchor, such as a rock or log); used to hobble a horse.

spatterdashes.  Footwear protectors, later called “spats.”

stroud.  A blanket made of strouding, a coarse woollen cloth.

suite.  The personal staff attending a ruler or other dignitary.

sutler.  A civilian provisioner with a shop on an army post. 

tallow.  Solid white livestock fat.

Tetzel.  Johann Tetzel (c. 1460-1519), a Leipzig, Germany, preacher who sold papal indulgences.

tick.  A mattress encased in a sturdy cotton fabric called ticking.

tinder.  Kindling

tow.  A tuft or frayed knot of wood.

wampum.  Beads of polished shells strung on strands, belts, or sashes and used as money, ceremonial pledges, and ornaments.