Whig - wig

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Whig and wig form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these.

  • Whig, which may be used as a noun and as an adjective, is the name of an obsolete political party, one of the two first parties to arise in Britain as an essential organization in Parliamentary politics. (The other was the Tory party.) The Whigs were the party that rejected James II in 1688, and in general supported the Hanoverian kings. In earlier times, Whig was the term applied in Scotland to the extreme Presbyterians who supported the Covenant, and were rebels to the Stuarts, siding with the English Parliamentarians in the Civil Wars of the mid-seventeenth century.
    • In the British American colonies, whig was used for two parties:
      • those rebels that supported the American Revolution of the late eighteenth century, and
      • "a party formed in 1834 from a fusion of the National Republicans and other elements opposed to the Democrats; it ... was succeeded in 1856 by the Republican party (OED).
Etymological note: Whig was an insulting term, derived from whiggamore, which OED derives from 'to whig' ~ 'to drive [hard]' a 'mare' (~ horse). Its earliest use was for 'a yokel', 'peasant'; 'uncultivated rural poor person'.
  • A wig is an artificial form of hair, designed for cosmetic or formal purposes, and worn as a covering for the head.