"the press," by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including "the mob" (1752), "the lawyers" (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. ["Memoir of James Currie, M.D.," 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, — as they are now justly styled, — a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, "Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College," 1834]
also hoochie-coochie, hootchy kootchy, "erotic suggestive women's dance" (involving a lot of hip-grinding), 1898, of obscure origin, usually associated, without evidence, with the Chicago world's fair of 1893 and belly-dancer Little Egypt (who might not even have been there), but the word itself is attested from 1890, as the stage name of minstrel singer "Hoochy-Coochy Rice," and the chorus of the popular minstrel song "The Ham-Fat Man" (by 1856; see ham (n.2)) contains the nonsense phrase "Hoochee, kouchee, kouchee."
To-day, however, in place of the danse du ventre or the coochie-coochie we have the loop-the-loop or the razzle-dazzle, which latter, while not exactly edifying at least do not serve to deprave public taste. ["The Redemption of 'Old Coney,'" in Broadway Magazine, April 1904]
The Cucking-stool was a means adopted for the punishment of scolds and incorrigible women by ducking them in the water, after having secured them in a chair or stool, fixed at the end of a long pole, serving as a lever by which they were immersed in some muddy or stinking pond. [Willis's Current Notes, February 1851]
early 13c., from verbal noun from cuck "to void excrement," from Old Norse kuka "feces," from PIE root *kakka- "to defecate." So called because they sometimes resembled the old close stool of the pre-plumbing days, a portable indoor toilet that looked like a chair with a box under the seat. Old folk etymology made the first element a corruption of cotquean. For second element, see stool. Also known as trebucket and castigatory, it was used on fraudulent tradesmen, in addition to disorderly women, either for public exposure to ridicule or for ducking.
"evening before the first day of the new year," c. 1300; "þer þay dronken & dalten ... on nwe gerez euen." The Julian calendar began on January 1, but the Christian Church frowned on pagan celebrations of this event and chose the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) as its New Year's Day. The civic year in England continued to begin January 1 until late 12c., and even though legal documents then shifted to March 25, popular calendars and almanacs continued to begin on January 1. The calendar reform of 1751 restored the Julian New Year in England. New Year's was the main midwinter festival in Scotland from 17c., when Protestant authorities banned Christmas, and continued so after England reverted to Christmas, hence the Scottish flavor ("Auld Lang Syne," etc.). New Year's gathering in public places began 1878 in London, after new bells were installed in St. Paul's.
1761, "any disabled person or thing;" especially Stock Exchange slang for "defaulter."
A lame duck is a man who cannot pay his differences, and is said to waddle off. [Thomas Love Peacock, "Gryll Grange," 1861]
Sometimes also in naval use for "an old, slow ship." Modern sense of "public official serving out term after an election" is recorded by 1863, American English. The quote attributed to President Lincoln ("[A] senator or representative out of business is a sort of lame duck. He has to be provided for") is from an anecdote of 1878.
It is well known to everybody who knows anything of its history, that this court [Court of Claims] was made a sort of retreat for lame duck politicians that got wounded and had to retreat before the face of popular condemnation. That is just exactly what it was for, a safe retreat for lame ducks; and it was so filled up; (etc.) [Sen. John P. Hale, New Hampshire, Congressional Globe, Jan. 12, 1863, p.271]
1824; said to have been given as a toast by Sir William Curtis (1752-1829), a beloved lord mayor of London in the 1820s, who seems to have been a figure of fun to whom many mangled phrases were attributed. Among the toasts he is alleged to have given at public dinners were "The Female Ladies of London;" "The three C's—Cox, King, and Curtis;" and "The three R's—Reading, Writing, and Rithmetic."
It has been very much the fashion amongst a class of persons to attribute to Sir W. C. ... a vulgarity and ignorance of speech which are by no means consistent with his character and conduct. The worthy and hospitable baronet has a rapid mode of speech, but it is always correct ; and although some eccentricities are mixed up in his composition, he is highly honourable, and has been a very useful member of society, particularly to his London constituents. [The Mirror, Jan. 29, 1825]
After listing some examples, the article continues:
It is, however, very certain, that at a city festival some years ago, having indulged very freely, he fell asleep, when some wag, choosing to consider him dead, wrote his epitaph, which was found next morning pinned to the baronet's dress coat:—
"Here lies the great Curtis,
Of London, Lord May'r:
He's left this here world,
And gone to that there."