woolsack

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

wool +‎ sack

Noun[edit]

woolsack (plural woolsacks)

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  1. A wool bale or cushion, the traditional seat of the Lord Speaker in the British House of Lords.
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Volume I, Chapter 11,[1]
      “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[2]:
      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[3]:
      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[4]:
      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.