green gown


green gown
   obsolete
   an indication of unchastity in an unmarried woman
   On the eve of May Day, convention allowed the lads and lasses to spend all night in the woods, supposedly gathering flowers. During the night, many dresses were stained by the grass of the meadows:
    Then some greene gowns are by the lassies worne In chastest plaies. (Sidney, 1586)
    ... she had the salutation 'with a greene gowne'... as if the priest had been at our backs, to have married us. (G. A. Greeene, 1599, quoted in ODEP)
   The green sickness was:
    The disease of maids occasioned by celibacy (Grose).
   To give green stockings was to commit the solecism of getting married before your elder sister.

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

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