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From quake +‎ buttock. The word was rare before the 20th century but appears to have experienced a revival.



quakebuttock (plural quakebuttocks)

  1. (formerly obsolete, rare, now humorous) A coward.
    Synonyms: quakebreech; see also Thesaurus:coward
    • c. 1613, Thomas Middleton; William Rowley, “Wit at Several Weapons. A Comedy.”, in Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. [], [part 2], London: [] J[ohn] Macock [and H. Hills], for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, and Richard Marriot, published 1679, OCLC 1015511273, Act I, scene i, page 358:
      See what theſe times are grown to, before twenty / I ruſh'd into the world, which is indeed / Much like the Art of ſwiming, he that will attain to't / Muſt fall plump, and duck himſelf at firſt, / And that will make him hardy and advent'rous, / And not ſtand putting in one foot, and ſhiver, / And then draw t'other after, like a quake-buttock; [...]
    • 1987, Nancy Springer, chapter 14, in Mindbond (A TOR Book), New York, N.Y.: Tom Doherty Associates, →ISBN; republished as Mindbond (Sea King Trilogy; 2), New York, N.Y.: Open Road Integrated Media, 2014, →ISBN:
      Not fitting speech, Kor. Quakebuttock, some would have called him. Coward. But I knew he was no coward, and though I wanted to rail at him in anger, heartache would not let me. Not yet.
    • 1993 fall, Mike Wenthe, “‘Song of Prude: You and I’ in the Key of F-flat”, in Deborah Forbes and Josh May, editors, The Archive, volume 106, number 1, Durham, N.C.: Undergraduate Publications, Duke University, OCLC 1040014134, page 36:
      From hurtful facts I fain won't hide / (I'm not that quakebuttock, weak type who'd / Turn face from fear: I never shied / From vulgar verities others shooed), [...]
    • 2001, Jamie O’Neill, chapter 6, in At Swim, Two Boys, London: Scribner, →ISBN, page 147:
      And looking back, it seemed to Jim that he had never prayed for himself at all but for this other boy that his mind's eye watched, a rawney-looking molly of a boy, the son of a quakebuttock, a coward himself, praying that he should hear his calling and join the brothers like Our Lady wished and not to be so inconsiderate.
    • 2006, Roger McGough, “Prayer to Saint Grobianos, the Patron Saint of Coarse People”, in Selected Poems, London: Penguin Books, →ISBN, page 152:
      Have pity on we poor wretched sinners / We blatherskites and lopdoodles / Lickspiggots and clinchpoops / Quibberdicks and Quakebuttocks.
    • 2011, Tom Clempson, “Registration”, in One Seriously Messed-up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Sam Taylor Jack Samsonite, London: Atom, →ISBN:
      'You really do look like you're going to cry,' Em replied (with her mouth). 'Are you sure you're all right?' / 'Yes!' I insisted. 'I'm not a complete quakebuttock, you know!' / Yes! (Quakebuttock is a new word I learned weeks ago and have been meaning to slip into conversation ever since.)

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