One of the seniors or elders. Now applied to a class of
magistrates in corporate towns. In London an alderman is the chief
magistrate in a ward appointed by election. There are also aldermen of
the Country Council.
A turkey is called an alderman, both from its presence in
aldermanic feast, and also because of its red and purple colours about
the head and neck, which make it a sort of poultry alderman.
An alderman in chains,
by a similar effort of wit, is a turkey hung with sausages.
A burglar's tool; a crowbar for forcing safes. So
called from the high rank it holds with burglars.
A cant term for half-a-crown. An alderman as
chief magistrate is half a king in his own ward; and half a crown is
half a king.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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