Partlet

Mrs. Partlet’s personality and social standing both are implied in her family name, which the OED (229) defines as “A word used as the proper name of any hen, often Dame Partlet; also applied like ‘hen’ to a woman.” Bosdêt (43) says the name first surfaced in English literature as “Pertelate” in Chaucer, and has medieval connections with a village priest’s mistress. Surely this racier reference has nothing whatsoever to do with the good, virtuous and amiable Zorah Partlet.

Context: 

Mrs. Partlet –– a Pew-opener

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