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British Dictionary definitions for attercop

attercop

noun archaic, or dialect
  1. a spider
  2. an ill-natured person

Word Origin

Old English attorcoppa, from ātor poison and possibly cop head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Examples from the Web for attercop

Historical Examples

  • The ettercap is the poison-spider, and should be spelt "Attercop."

    Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1

    The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.


Word Origin and History for attercop

n.

"spider," Old English attorcoppe, literally "poison-head," from ator "poison, venom," from Proto-Germanic *aitra- "poisonous ulcer" (cf. Old Norse eitr, Old High German eitar "poison;" German eiter "pus," Old High German eiz "abscess, boil;" Old English atorcræft "art of poisoning") + copp "top, summit, round head," probably also "spider" (cf. cobweb and Dutch spinne-cop "spider").

Amptes & attircoppes & suche oþer þat ben euere bisy ben maide to schewe man ensaumple of stodye & labour. [Elucidarium of Honorius of Autun (Wycliffite version) c.1400]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper