John-a-Nokes

[or Noakes (1 syl.)]. A simpleton.

“John-a-Nokes was driving a cart toward Croydon, and by the way fell asleepe therein. Meane time a good fellow came by and stole away his two horses. [John] awakening and missing them, said, `Either I am John-a-Nokes or I am not John-a-Nokes. If I am John-a-Nokes, then I have lost two horses; and if I am not John-a-Nokes, then I have found a cart.” —Copley: Wits, Fits, and Fancies (1614).

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