1. ADJ. Of precisely nine inches in length.
2. N. Slang. Denoting someone who claims or might claim to have a nine inch…eh…member, but who is clearly either fibbing in order to impress, or who has not proven his…prowess, by showing it off. Similar in usage to the modern adaptation of calling a particularly odious male a “dick”.
1. “The bit of string was dodrantal.”
2. “What a drunk dodrantal. Someone toss him on his arse before he drops his britches.” or “Don’t listen to that braggart. He’s a dodrantal if ever there was one.”
The secondary usage was one specifically unique to the docks of the late sixteen hundreds. Particularly in the pubs in and around the Cranes, or the bear pits across the Thames in Southwark.
I should discuss the reason it became used in the secondary way, despite the obvious reference to…eh…length, which inevitably turns human minds to thoughts of measuring their sexual organs (someone please explain this to me because I find it absurd).
So let’s look at the original term, and then why the adaptation, shall we?
Dodrantal comes from the Latin word dodrans, which was a term of measurement denoting what we in English commonly refer to as a hyphenated contraction: two-thirds, three-fifths, etcetera. It was also a coin, which was three quarters of another coinage value. Anyway, the point is that nine inches is three-quarters of a foot. And so, the word dodrantal was born.
However, false etymologies make for excellent puns, and as you know, I’m rather partial to puns. In the Scotch, Irish and Welsh Gaelic, “dod” or “daud” has a meaning varying from “sullen, sulking, angry” to “glob or large lump”. And “rant” as you know, means “to talk loudly and longly on a topic, to expound” but in those days, it actually meant something similar to the word “rave”, except that it denoted a kind of hysterical joy or overly humorous and boisterous demeanor.
So you see… A man who talks about the length of his cock is really a sullen, man raving about his lump.
Now you can swear like a 17th century dock worker from Ireland.
I’ve edited it
“or the bear pits
“ I’m sorry?
Bear baiting, cock fighting, that sort of thing. It was a pastime of the period. I would have included cock-fighting, but given the subject matter of the term, I thought it best to avoid the confusion.
I think i’m gonna need to remember bear-fighting as common pass-time.
It wasn’t bear fighting. It was bear baiting. Read about it. It was positively horrifying as a practice. It often involved a bear being trapped and chained while it was attacked by hungry dogs, poked with sticks, singed with torches. The point was to see what the bear could withstand and what would happen when it became enraged.