from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. (noun) A burlesque procession formerly held in ridicule of a henpecked husband; a cavalcade headed by a person on horseback representing the wife, with another representing the husband seated behind her, facing the horse's tail and holding a distaff, while the woman belabored him with a ladle.
- n. (noun) A disturbance; a riot; a quarrel.
- n. (noun) A charivari.
Almost at the instant of her fall the rude music of the skimmington ceased. The roars of sarcastic laughter went off in ripples, and the trampling died out like the rustle of a spent wind.
Thomas Hardy fans will be familiar with the 'Skimmington ride'. This was the old practice whereby, when someone had affronted communal morality, a mob would gather outside the culprit's house to make a loud noise by banging pots and pans together while shouting abuse.
Wallace Stanton, a young man, was shot last night and wounded seriously while participating in what is known as a 'skimmington' at Starlight, Sullivan County.
The origin of this word is uncertain. However, according to World Wide Words, it 'probably derives from a skimming ladle, shown in early illustrations wielded by an enraged wife.'