from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One of a class of paupers or pensioners, or licensed beggars, in Scotland, to whim annually on the king's birthday were distributed certain alms, including a blue gown; a beadsman.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a former order of paupers in Scotland, also called the king's beadsmen, to whom the king annually distributed certain alms on condition of their praying for his welfare.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The bluegown, in short, is no waif and stray, no product of social corruption, or mere obnoxious parasite, but