Q From Anne Fairbrother: Does Mayfair, the area in London, just mean a place where a fair was held on May 1st?
A The area in London with that name is indeed so called because it used to be the site of a very big May fair, held each year from the first of May for 15 days. It was suppressed in 1764 because it had become too rowdy, and the rich residents of the houses that had by then begun to be built in the area didn’t like the noise. There were many fairs held in Britain at the beginning of May, in part a perpetuation of the ancient celebration of Beltane, but mainly because it was a good time of year for farmers to meet and trade.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added pieces
Zoilism; Fish-faced; Poach; Immensikoff; Habiliments; The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker; Agister; The Word at War; Not so green as you’re cabbage-looking; Peely-wally; Draw a line in the sand; Porphyrogeniture; Set one’s cap at; Epicaricacy; Furthest and farthest; Hide one’s light under a bushel; Jentacular.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!