• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Skimmington A word employed in the phrase, To ride Skimmington; that is to ride on a horse with a woman, but behind her, facing backward, carrying a distaff, and accompanied by a procession of jeering neighbors making mock music; a cavalcade in ridicule of a henpecked man. The custom was in vogue in parts of England.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n skimmington 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. These were followed by a crowd, hooting and making “rough music” with horns, pans, and cleavers. The word commonly appears in the phrase to ride (the) skimmington. Compare the north-country custom of riding the stang.
    • n skimmington A disturbance; a riot; a quarrel.
    • n skimmington A charivari.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Skimmington skim′ing-ton a burlesque procession intended to ridicule a henpecked husband: a riot generally
    • Skimmington Also Skim′ington, Skim′merton, Skim′itry
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Etymol. uncertain. Perhaps the name of some notorius scold


In literature:

Almost at the instant of her fall the rude music of the skimmington ceased.
"The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy
Roberts, of Lyme Regis, forwarded to Sir Walter Scott some interesting notes on skimmington-riding.
"Bygone Punishments" by William Andrews
Skimmington, old ceremony of, 443.
"Folk-lore of Shakespeare" by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer