Sirloin of Beef

A corruption of Surloin. (French, surlonge.) La partie due baeuf qui reste aprèsqu'on en a coupél'épaule et la cuisse. In Queen Elizabeth's “Progresses,” one of the items mentioned under March 31st, 1573, is a “sorloyne of byf.” Fuller tells us that Henry VIII. jocularly knighted the surloin. If so, James I. could claim neither wit nor originality when, at a banquet given him at HOGTON Tower, near Blackburn, he said, “Bring hither that surloin, sirrah, for tis worthy of a more honourable post, being, as I may say, not sur loin, but sir loin.”

“Dining with the Abbot of Reading, he [Henry VIII.] ate so heartily of a loin of beef that the abbot said he would give 1,000 marks for such a stomach. `Done!' said the king, and kept the abbot a prisoner in the Tower, won his 1,000 marks, and knighted the beef.” - See Fuller: Church Ilistory, vi. 2, p. 299 (1655).

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