Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. (noun) The furcula or wishbone of a fowl's breast.
The 'merrythought' is so called from the sport of breaking it between two persons of whom each pulls at one of the two ends, to determine which is to be married first, or which is to have a wish gratified that has been mentally formed for the occasion, the winner being the one who gets the longer fragment.
“I have known the shooting of a star spoil a night's rest, and have seen a man in love grow pale and lose his appetite upon the plucking of a merrythought.”
“After legs are taken off, enter knife into the top of breast, and cut under merrythought or wishbone so as to loosen it, lifting it with the fork.”
“The prospect of this indulgence, the Candidate, the pictures, all combined to elevate the spirits of the children in no ordinary degree; so much so indeed that Petrea had the boldness, whilst they were regaling on roast chicken, to propose to the Candidate that the picture of the girl and the rose-bush should be put up for a prize on the breaking of a merrythought between them; promising, that if she had the good fortune to win it, she would give as a recompense a picture of her own composition, which should represent some scene in a temple.”