Will “garden hose ban” make it into the dictionary?
‘Do you have ‘dares?’ asked my husband, falling into his Two Ronnies Routine of the “Four Candles”, in which he likes to play not only the shopkeeper but also the customer, with disastrous results. In both tights and the garden hose in the sketch, the pipe was originally the same word.
Pipe meant the leggings or pants that our Germanic ancestors wore. In some contexts, it has long retained the archaic plural pipe. When Nebuchadnezzar, in his rage, ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be thrown into the fiery furnace, they were bound “in their coats, their breeches, and their hats,” according to the 1611 translation. In the pleasant name A Pisgah view of Palestine (Pisgah referring to the summit of Mount Nebo from where Moses saw the Promised Land), written during the Civil War while waiting for things to get better, which they did not, Thomas Fuller explains that “by pipe we don’t understand downbut cheeky‘, which he thought Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego wore for warmth, ‘Babylon, being a somewhat more northern climate and colder country than Iudea.’ Maybe.
In a Latin glossary of around 1100, pipe is the translation of caligathe boot-sandal worn by Roman infantrymen, who gave the name Caligula (“bootikins”) to the little boy who, aged 24, became emperor, resenting his nickname as a disgrace.
In the 14th century, in pipe intended to supply a hose to a man. Francis Thynne, Chaucer’s Elizabethan publisher, noted that his name was French, “in English signyfyinge he who shueth or hooseth a manne”.
As for to forbid, it began as the name of a proclamation or a call to arms. Later it applied to the proclamation of an excommunication and, with the conventional spelling bans, a formal notice of marriage. The ban on garden hoses falls into the same category in the WD as “a prohibition of horse flesh as food for Christian men”. The dictionary does not have time to process a garden hose ban as an inconspicuous thing, though the phrase pops up in its pages in a quote illustrating the use of water company. I’m afraid there will be many more references in the future to garden hose bansthan the ban on horse meat.