Robin Hood - Silene dioica
|Folk name||Robin Hood|
|Binomial name||Silene dioica|
|Used where||West of England [South West?]|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-13. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-08.
'Robinhood' is listed in James Orchard Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words (1847) as a popular name for red campion, Silene dioica. According to Halliwell, the name was then used in the West of England. He may have chosen the spelling 'Robinhood' because this was the form under which the name appeared in the first known (1844) source to mention it (see Quotations section below).
Red campion is a herbaceous flowering plant of the family Caryophyllaceae that grows on damp, non-acid soils, in roadsides, woodlands and rocky slopes. It is found natively in much of Europe.
Look up an' let the evemen light
But sparkle in thy eyes so bright
As thāe be oben to the light
O' zunzet in the west
An' lè's stroll here var hafe an hour
Wher hangèn boughs damiake a bow'r
Upon theōs bank wi' eltrot flow'r
An' Robinhoods a-drest.
- Halliwell, James Orchard, compil. A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century (London, 1847) (and editions of 1850, 1852, 1852, 1855, 1860, 1865, 1869, 1872, 1874, 1881, 1889, 1904, 1970, 1973), vol. II, p. 688 s.n. Robinhood.
- Wright, Thomas. Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English, containing Words from the English Writers Previous to the Nineteenth Century which are no longer in Use, or are not used in the Same sense. And Words which are now used only in the Provincial Dialects (London, 1857), vol. II, p. 806, s.n. Robinhood.
- N.E.D., vol. VIII, pt. I, p. 736, s.n. Robin Hood, sb., 3 b.
- Halliwell, James Orchard, compil. A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century (London, 1847), vol. II, p. 688 s.n. Robinhood.
- Barnes, William. Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect: with a Dissertation and a Glossary (London; Dorchester, 1844), p. 105.
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Field of red campion or Robinhood at Goodygrane / Rod Allday; Creative Commons.