woolsack

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From wool +‎ sack.

Noun[edit]

woolsack (plural woolsacks)

  1. A bag or bale of wool.
    • 1794, Hester Lynch Piozzi, Thraliana, 23 January:
      We shall never beat the French says one, why truly replied I, 'tis like kicking at a Woolsack—there is perpetual Resistance made, & a strange Elasticity [] .
  2. A seat made of wool; (specifically) the traditional seat of the British Lord Chancellor (since 2006 of the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords); hence (by metonymy) the Lord-Chancellorship.
    • 1817 December 31 (indicated as 1818), [Walter Scott], chapter 11, in Rob Roy. [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co. []; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 82790126:
      “O rare-painted portrait!” exclaimed Rashleigh, when I was silent—“Vandyke was a dauber to you, Frank. I see thy sire before me in all his strength and weakness; loving and honouring the King as a sort of lord mayor of the empire, or chief of the board of trade—venerating the Commons, for the acts regulating the export trade—and respecting the Peers, because the Lord Chancellor sits on a woolsack.”
    • 1830, John Galt, The Life of Lord Byron[1]:
      On entering the House, he is described to have appeared abashed and pale: he passed the woolsack without looking round, and advanced to the table where the proper officer was attending to administer the oaths.
    • 1895, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, The Evil Guest[2]:
      Well, Dick," rejoined Sir Wynston, merrily, "if both are to be fulfilled, or neither, I trust you may never sit upon the woolsack of England."
    • 1902, John Lord, Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII[3]:
      But when the Lord Chancellor left the woolsack to congratulate him, and with a smiling face extended his hand, the embittered young peer bowed coldly and stiffly, and simply held out two or three of his fingers,--an act of impudence for which there was no excuse.
  3. Synonym of corestone