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

Alternative formsEdit


Etymology 1Edit

From Dutch vegen ‎(to sweep, 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, adorn). Cognate with German fegen ‎(to cleanse, scour, sweep), Danish feje ‎(to sweep), Swedish feja ‎(to sweep), Icelandic fægja ‎(to polish). More at fay, fair, fake.


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

  1. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) To decorate or improve in appearance through artificial means.
  2. 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 978-1-4668-5430-7:
      “... 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.
  3. (obsolete) To beat or whip; to drive.
    • 1681, Thomas Otway, The Souldiers Fortune: A Comedy. Acted by Their Royal Highnesses Servants at the Duke's Theatre, London: Printed for R. Bentley and M. Magnes, at the Post-House in Russel-Street in Covent-Garden, OCLC 5291125; republished as “The Soldier's Fortune”, in The Works of Thomas Otway. In Three Volumes. With Notes, Critical and Explanatory, and a Life of the Author, by Thomas Thornton, Esq., volume II, London: Printed for T. Turner, 87, Strand, (successor to John MacKinlay); by B. M‛Millan, Bow Street, Covent Garden, 1813, OCLC 9503722, Act 5, page 391:
      Beau[gard]. Hark ye, ye curs, keep off from snapping at my heels, or I shall so feague ye.
    • 1792, Thomas Holcroft, Anna St. Ives: A Novel, volume III, London: Printed for Shepperson and Reynolds, No. 137, Oxford-Street, OCLC 642417602, page 128:
      I begind to ſmell a rat! And there I talked with t'other Miſſee. I a ferretted and a feagued and a worked and a wormed it all out of ſhe.
    • 1890, Walter Scott, The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, 1825–32, from the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford, Edinburgh: David Douglas, OCLC 80639712, page 238:
      February 22.—Very rheumatic. I e'en turned my table to the fire and feagued it away, as Bayes says.
  4. (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, []
  5. (obsolete) To have sexual intercourse with, to fuck.

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.