Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An English variety of large cooking apple.
  • n. Archaic The human head.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a large cooking apple

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An apple, large and round like the head.
  • n. The head; -- used contemptuously.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An apple.
  • n. The head.
  • n. Also costerd.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old North French, possibly from coste, rib (from its ribbed appearance), from Latin costa; see kost- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • At length, I suppose the lad either guessed the secret of his birth or something of it was communicated to him; and the disgust which the paughty Hieland varlet had always shown for my honest trade became more manifest; so that I dared not so much as lay my staff over his costard, for fear of receiving a stab with a dirk, as an answer in Gaelic to a Saxon remark.

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • The term, which derived from the words costard (a type of apple) and monger (a seller) is particularly associated with the original "barrow boys" of London who would sell their produce from these wheeled market stalls.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Freeshots Feilbogen in his rockery garden with the costard?

    Finnegans Wake

  • Take him over the costard with the hilts of thy sword, and then we will chop him in the malmsey-butt in the next room.

    The Life and Death of Richard the Third

  • As varieties of the Apple, mention is made in documents of the twelfth century, of the pearmain, and the costard, from the latter of which has come the word costardmonger, as at first a dealer in this fruit, and now applied to our costermonger.

    Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure

  • But tell me; how was there a costard broken in a shin?

    Act III. Scene I. Love’s Labour’s Lost

  • A wonder, master! here’s a costard broken in a shin.

    Act III. Scene I. Love’s Labour’s Lost

  • Take him over the costard with the hilts of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey-butt in the next room.

    Act I. Scene IV. The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

  • Nay, come not near th’ old man; keep out, che vor ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be the harder.

    Act IV. Scene VI. King Lear

  • I will knog his urinals about his knave’s costard when I have goot opportunities for the ’ork: pless my soul!

    Act III. Scene I. The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Comments

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  • Costard, a clown, a character in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.

    "I am no clownish Costard, prating for your delectation."
    Tooth and Nail: A Novel Approach to the SAT by Charles Harrington Elster and Joseph Elliot (1994)

    April 5, 2011

  • What is actually monged by a costermonger, according to the OED: a kind of apple.

    September 25, 2008