from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A specter; a nursery bugbear of frightful aspect: usually coupled with bloody-bones.
  • noun The cream which rises on the surface of raw milk, or milk that has not been heated.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A specter mentioned to frighten children.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • In 1828 he complains that he has been annoyed by a lady, because he had printed "in the 'Review'" a rawhead and bloody-bones story of her father, Major

    Angling Sketches

  • Still, that would not have answered; even the biographer's enemy could not be cruel enough to ask him to let this real grievance, this compact and substantial and picturesque figure, this rawhead-and-bloody-bones, come striding in there among those pale shams, those rickety spectres labeled WET-NURSE, BONNET-SHOP, and so on -- no, the father of all malice could not ask the biographer to expose his pathetic goblins to a competition like that.

    In Defence of Harriet Shelley

  • A good story of more recent date, I must also note, of a well-known priest in Dublin, who being asked by Mr. Balfour one day whether the people under his charge took for gospel all the rawhead and bloody-bones tales about himself, replied, "Indeed, I wish they only feared and hated the devil half as much as they do you!"

    Ireland Under Coercion (2nd ed.) (1 of 2) (1888)

  • He indemnified himself, however, by the liberal allowance of desperate battles, grisly executions, and rawhead and bloody-bone stories, with which he astonished the servants 'hall.

    Waverley: or, 'Tis sixty years since


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