A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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As a noun. Ten; especially as a unit of exchange: a parcel of ten hides or skins. Roundabout (Old English dicor) from Latin decuria, a company or parcel of ten; decem, ten. In trade with the American Indians, dicker became a verb, to deal in skins; hence, to bargain, haggle, barter, trade. By extension, a dicker, a lot, a large but vague number or amount, as in Philip Sidney's ARCADIA (1580) Behold, said Pas, a whole dicker of wit.


A magic horse, which can convey one instantly whithersoever one may desire. Also used of a very swift steed. In the 16th and 17th centuries, usually the phrase Pacolet's horse was used; later pacolet alone -- as now a frankenstein is often used for Frankenstein's monster. Pacolet was the name of a dwarf (in the romance of Valentine and Orson) who made a magic horse of wood that could transport him instantly to any desired place. Thus Philip Sidney, discussing the drama's 'unity of place' in his APOLOGY FOR POETRIE (1580) said: I may speake . . . of Peru, and in speech digresse from that, to the description of Calicut; but in action, I cannot represent it without Pacolets horse. The pacolet is the western equivalent of the magic carpet.
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