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Etymology of Cobble

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A professional shoemaker in Columbiana, Ohio, wonders why the words cobbler and cobble have negative connotations, given that shoemaking is a highly skilled trade. The notion of cobbling something together in a haphazard or half-hearted way goes back to the days when a cobbler’s task was more focused on mending shoes, rather than making them. But Grant quotes a passage from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which such a tradesman articulates the nobility of his profession: “I am, indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes; when they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.” This is part of a complete episode.

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