Jemmy

a name found in engravings of the eighteenth century, was James Worsdale, the painter and dramatic writer (died 1767).

A housebreaker's crowbar. A variant of Jimmy, Jenny, Jinnie, and a diminutive of engine. Similarly a “spinning-jinnie” is a small engine for spinning. These crowbars generally take to pieces that they may be slipped into the pocket.

Jemmy

The head of a slaughtered sheep. There are “boiled jemmies,” “baked jemmies,” and “sanguinary jemmies” (raw sheep's heads). The tradition is that James IV. of Scotland breakfasted on a sheep's head just before the battle of Flodden Field (Sep. 9, 1513).

“Mr. Sikes made many pleasant witticisms on jemmies, a cant name for sheep's heads, and also for an ingenious implement much used in his profession.” —Dickens: Oliver Twist.

Jemmy

A great-coat. So called from the Scotch cloth called jemmy.

Jemmy

Spruce, fine. A diminutive of gim, spruce or smart (Anglo-Saxon gemei). Gimcrack means an ornamental toy, a pretty ornament of no solidity. (See below, Jemmy Jessamy.)

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