(A) A licensed huckster, who was obliged to wear a
badge. By 5 Eliz., c. 12, it was enacted that “Badgers were to be
licensed annually, under a penalty of #5.”
“Under Dec. 17, 1565, we read of ‘Certain persons upon Humber side
who ... by great quantities of corn two of whom were authorised
badgers.’” —State Papers (Domestic Series).
(To) To tease or annoy by superior numbers. In allusion
to the ancient custom of badger-baiting. A badger was kennelled in a
tub, where dogs were set upon him to worry him out. When dragged from
his tub the poor beast was allowed to retire to it till he recovered
from the attack. This process was repeated several times.
It is a vulgar error that the legs of a badger are shorter on one
side than on the other.
“I think that Titus Oates was as uneven as a badger.” —Lord
Drawing a badger
is drawing him out of his tub by means of dogs.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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