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A rearing Spanish mustang. Feaguing a horse can make it appear more lively.


Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Dutch vegen (to sweep, to strike), from Middle Dutch vēghen (to cleanse), from Old Dutch *fegōn (to cleanse), from Proto-Germanic *faginōną (to decorate, make beautiful), from Proto-Indo-European *pōḱ-, *pēḱ- (to clean, to adorn). Cognate with Danish feje (to sweep), German fegen (to cleanse, scour, sweep), Icelandic fægja (to polish), Swedish feja (to sweep). More at fay, fair, fake.


feague (third-person singular simple present feagues, present participle feaguing, simple past and past participle feagued)

  1. To increase the liveliness of a horse by inserting an irritant, such as a piece of peeled raw ginger or a live eel, in its fundament.
    • 2004, Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (Discworld; 33), London: Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-60342-3; republished London: Corgi Books, 2014, ISBN 978-0-552-16768-0, page 251:
      Run along to Hobson's Livery Stable and tell them I want a good fast horse, right? Something with a bit of fizz in its blood! Not some feagued-up old screw, and I know the difference! I want it here in half an hour! Off you go!
    • 2013, Patrick Taylor, An Irish Country Collection: Seven Complete Novels, New York, N.Y.: Forge Books, →ISBN:
      “... One of those chaps over there said someone feagues his horse. What the hell’s ‘feague’?” / O’Reilly’s sides heaved. “Feague? You’d know it as a different expression, but it’s a trick unscrupulous horse dealers use to make a horse look better than it is. You can judge a horse’s spirit by the way it carries its tail.” / “That’s what he said.” / “So,” said O’Reilly, “just before the buyer comes to look at the beast, the dealer sticks a clove of ginger up its rectum. Feagues the poor creature.” / The thought made Barry wince.
  2. (obsolete) To beat or whip; to drive.
  3. (obsolete) To subject to some harmful scheme; to ‘do in’.
    • 1672, William Wycherley, Love in a Wood, or, St James's Park. A Comedy, as it is Acted at the Theatre Royal, by his Majesties Servants, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for H[enry] Herringman, at the sign of the Blew Anchor, in the Lower-Walk of the New Exchange, OCLC 863466563, Act I, scene i; republished as Love in a Wood, or, St James's Park. A Comedy. As it is Acted by their Majesties Servants, London: Printed by T[homas] Warren for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold by R. Bentley, J[acob] Tonson, F. Saunders, and T. Bennet, 1694, OCLC 18111987, page 7:
      Sir Sim[on Addlepot]. I will carry the Widow to the French Houſe. / [Mrs.] Joyn[er]. If ſhe will go. / Sir Sim. If ſhe will go? why, did you ever know a Widow refuſe a treat? no more than a Lawyer a Fee, Faith and troth, yet I know too, No treat, ſweet words, good meen, but ſly Intrigue, That muſt at length, the jilting Widow feague.
    • 1690, T. D. (Thomas d'Urfey), “Canto II: Monday's Walk”, in Collin's Walk through London and VVestminster, a Poem in Burlesque, London: Printed for Rich[ard] Parker at the Unicorn under the Royal Exchange in Cornhill, and Abel Roper near the Devil-Tavern in Fleet-street, OCLC 11768239, page 84:
      [W]hen Cataline a League / Had made[,] the Senators to fegue, / And ſtrumpet had told Marcus Tully, / The cloſe intentions of that Bully, / He not ſo much the cauſe revenging / O'th'State, as t'hinder his own ſwinging, / Made the beſt ſpeech to quell that ſtrife, / (Tis ſaid) that e're he made in's Life, []
  4. (obsolete) To have sexual intercourse with, to fuck.
    • 1668, George Etherege, She Wou'd if She Cou'd, a Comedy. Actes at His Highnesse the Duke of York's Theatre, London: Printed for H[enry] Herringman, at the sign of the Blew Anchor in the lower walk of the New Exchange, OCLC 934407274, Act III, scene iii, line 286, page 49:
      Come, brother Cockwood, let us get 'em / To lay aſide theſe masking Fopperies, and then / We'll fegue 'em in earneſt: Give us a bottle, Waiter.
    • 1673, Henry Nevil Payne, The Morning Ramble, or The Town-humours: A Comedy. Acted at the Duke's Theatre, London: Printed for Thomas Dring, at the White Lyon, next Chancery-Lane end in Fleet-street, OCLC 7154364, Act I, scene i, page 11:
      Chor[us]. [] See, yonder ſits Well-born with his pretty Wife. / [] Shee ſeeks for her Gallant, and he o'my Life / Hath a mind to be feaguing yon Vizor-Mask-Whore.
Related termsEdit
  • (to have sexual intercourse with): feak, feek (slang, Ireland)

Etymology 2Edit

Possibly from Dutch feeks, probably from vegen (to sweep, strike): see etymology of feague (verb) above. Compare Middle English vecke (old woman).


feague (plural feagues)

  1. (obsolete) An unkempt, slatternly person.
    • 1664, Henry Bold, Poems Lyrique, Macaronique, Heroique, &c., London: Printed for Henry Brome [...], OCLC 12212826:
      So Jack enters: / And trips up staires, as quick, as come penny, / Where we find, what's before good company! / Three female idle feaks, who long'd for pigs head.
    • [1955, Joseph T[wadell] Shipley, Dictionary of Early English, New York, N.Y.: Philosophical Library, OCLC 319511, page 261:
      Feague (also feak, q.v.) as a noun, was used of a slattern, a sluttish woman.]