broomstick

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broomstick

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:01 pm

Why is it that witches are supposed to ride broom sticks (i.e. a stick from the broom tree) but usually depicted as riding besoms - broom sticks with twigs attached, for sweeping?
Submitted by John Barton (New Plymouth - New Zealand)
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broomstick

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:15 pm

John, That’s because smart witches knew that there was no such thing as a broom tree (it’s a shrub) and that ‘brooms’ – “an implement for sweeping, a besom, originally made of twigs of broom, heather, etc. fixed to a stick or handle but now the generic name for a besom of any material” (‘twigs, straw bristles'), realized that riding the bristle end would not only be painful but would produce an unwanted torque which would cause them to rotate!

(Oxford English Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary)
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Ken G – August 12, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:29 pm

OK - fair enough, and thanks Ken. Though the brooms where I lived (Essex coast) grew large enough to have sticks.
Reply from John Barton (New Plymouth - New Zealand)
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