Ale-dagger

(An) A dagger used in self-defence in ale-house brawls.

“He that drinkes with cutlers must not be without his ale-dagger.” (1589). (See N.E.D.) Pierce Pennilesse says: “All that will not ... weare ale-house daggers at your backes [should abstain from taverns].”

See Shakespeare Society, p.55.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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