noun (archaic or dialect)
a spider
an ill-natured person
Historical Examples

The ettercap is the poison-spider, and should be spelt “attercop.”
Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1 The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.


“spider,” Old English attorcoppe, literally “poison-head,” from ator “poison, venom,” from Proto-Germanic *aitra- “poisonous ulcer” (cf. Old Norse eitr, Old High German eitar “poison;” German eiter “pus,” Old High German eiz “abscess, boil;” Old English atorcræft “art of poisoning”) + copp “top, summit, round head,” probably also “spider” (cf. cobweb and Dutch spinne-cop “spider”).

Amptes & attircoppes & suche oþer þat ben euere bisy ben maide to schewe man ensaumple of stodye & labour. [Elucidarium of Honorius of Autun (Wycliffite version) c.1400]


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