Robin Hood could bear any wind but a thaw wind
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-10-16. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-02-14.
The exact meaning of the expression Robin Hood could bear any wind but a thaw wind, with variations such as "stand" for "bear", "anything" for "any wind", is uncertain, but I think it is testimony to the reality of the experience of wind chill. Uttering this expression would thus amount to an (implicit) assertion that a windy day with temperatures above feezing point can feel colder than a calm day with temperatures below 0C°.
Collections and lists
- Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), p. 290.
- Hermentrude. 'Lancashire Proverbs', Notes & Queries, Series 3, vol. VIII (1865), pp. 494-95, lists 25 proverbs, including "Robin Hood could bear any wind but a thaw wind".
"How long run we on through these great blubbering waves, ere we end our voyage? This night wind is worse than a Robin Hood's thaw."
- Gilchrist, R. Murray. The Dukeries (London, Glasgow and Bombay, 1913), p. 24.
- Turner, J. Horsfall. The History of Brighouse, Rastrick, and Hipperholme; with Manorial Notes on Coley, Lightcliffe, Northowram, Shelf, Fixby, Clifton and Kirklees (Bingley, Yorkshire, 1893), p. 203, cites a few Robin Hood proverbs, including this 'As I shiver whilst writing these lines, I remember the force of the Brighouse saying, "Robin Hood feared nought but a thaw wind."'
- See Wikipedia: Wind chill. I know from experience that winter typically feels colder in windswept, open Denmark than in sheltered but colder areas of southern Norway.
- Hermentrude cites an 1864 Lancashire dialect text, reprinted in Ormerod, Oliver; March, Henry Colley. The writings of Oliver Ormerod (Rochdale, 1901), pp. 105-238, as his source of the majority of the proverbs. I have not found the Robin Hood proverb in Ormerod.
- Roby, John. Traditions of Lancashire. Second Series (London, 1831), vol. II, p. 251.