Flibbertigibbet

One of the five fiends that possessed “poor Tom.” Shakespeare got it from Bishop Harsnet's account of the Spanish invasion, where we are told of forty fiends which the Jesuits cast out, and among the number was Fliberdigibet. Shakespeare says he “is the fiend of mopping and mowing, who possesses chambermaids and waiting women” (King Lear, iv. 2). And, again, that he “begins at curfew and walks till the first cock,” giving men pins and needles, squint eyes, hare-lips, and so on. (Shakespeare: Lear, iii. 4.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Related Content