woolly back

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See also: woollyback and woolyback

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The Liverpool Echo suggests two possible origins for the term, both dating back to the early 1900s:

  • It may be a term for scab workers brought into the city from surrounding towns to manually load and unload ships in the Liverpool docks; unloading ships, the dockers would carry the woollen bales on their backs, leaving wool on their clothes.[1]
  • It may be a term for men who delivered coal into Liverpool from mines surrounding the city, who wore sheep fleece to protect their backs.[1]

Another suggestion is that it could have originated in the Middle Ages from non-resident Welsh and English people trying to avoid the entry fee at the Chester city walls on market day by sneaking in the livestock entrance with a sheep on their back.

Noun[edit]

woolly back (plural woolly backs)

  1. (Liverpudlian slang, now historical) A non-Liverpudlian person who travels to Liverpool, especially to work at the docks.
  2. (Liverpudlian slang, pejorative) A person from the area surrounding Liverpool such as Prescot, Runcorn, Skelmersdale, St. Helens, Southport, Wigan, Widnes, and the Wirral.
  3. (Britain, slang) Any unsophisticated person from the countryside.
  4. (US, slang) Any Welsh person.

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References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Fred Fazakerley, Scouse English (2001), pages 24 and 29
  • Eric Partridge, The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: J-Z (2006), page 2121