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The 'Forty-five is the familiar name given, originally mostly by sympathizers, to the Jacobite rising of 1745-6, starting in the Scottish highlands, in favour of the exiled Stuart dynasty. There were two important Jacobite risings in the 18th century, threatening the possibility of the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, of which the 'forty-five was the last: the first was the 'fifteen, of 1715-6.

Those who are not sympathizers call The 'Forty-five the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-6. It was led by 'Bonny Prince Charlie (the Young Pretender), who led his army as far into England as Derby. They retreated from the superior Hanoverian forces into Scotland, where at the battle of Culloden (near Inverness) they were routed on 16th April 1746. The prince went into hiding, and after many adventures, escaped to France in September. This was the end of any realistic hopes for the restoration of the Stuarts. Forty-Five may be written as '45. If it is written as words, it may be marked with various uses of hyphen (or none) and capital letters.

A Jacobite who had joined Prince Charles' army was said to have been "out in the Forty-five"; his father might have been "out in the Fifteen".

OED (1897; revised by 1968)records three other meanings of Forty-Five which may be useful to readers of AWE:

  • "b. Card-playing. A game in which each trick counts five and the game is forty-five. Also forty-fives.
  • c. A revolver of ·45 calibre. U.S.
  • d. A 45 r.p.m. 7-inch microgroove gramophone record; also written 45." (The other usual sizes of mechanical record-players were the 78, and the l.p., which played at 33 1/3) r.p.m.)