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5 in phrr clear quill, pure ~ and varr, usu with the: Something that is genuine and unadulterated; “the real thing”; hence adjs pure-quill (rarely real-quill) genuine. [Etym unknown] Note: The meaning of “clear quill” in the first quot below is obscure and it is possible that it does not belong here.
1808 Times (Boston MA) 2 July 118/1, “M. N.” introduces his third “essay” on woman with modestly informing the public, that he will not condescend to continue amusing them with his essence of nihility. . . Unless he abounds in “the clear quill” I think he has in this respect shewn himself void of foresight; for without any doubt the women would soon have bought him off . . from his satires. 1835 Rural Repository 12.63, ‘Do you want to buy a rale prime lot of butter?’ said a Yankee notion dealer, who had picked up a load from fifty different places, to a Boston merchant. ‘What kind of butter is it?’ said the merchant. ‘The clear quill; all made by my wife, from a dairy of forty cows; only two churnings.’ 1853 Buffalo Commercial Advt. (NY) [8 Jan 3]/7, [Advt:] Just received by express, a very handsome solid Silver Tea Set, which . . will remain in my store for a few days, for the gratification of those fond of feasting the fancy on the [‘]‘clear quill.” 1854 Janesville Daily Gaz. (WI) 23 Aug /5, [Advt:] Pure Liquors—for Medicinal purposes, which are warranted free from all adulterations, and none are sold at our establishment but the pure quill. 1872 WI State Jrl. (Madison) 2 Sept 1/7, They claim that they are as ever the pure quill Democrats and that the Greelyite ones are bogus. 1884 Lewis Sawed-Off Sketches 23, There’s hairs of six different colors sticking in the splinters, and these blood-stains are the pure quill. 1887 Robinson Uncle Lisha’s Shop 66 wVT, “That’s the clear quill, ’Niram,” said the publican, pouring a spoonful into a glass and smelling and tasting it. “The clear quill, fourth proof.” 1887 Onaga Democrat (KS) [17 Feb 3]/4, To be sure it isn’t a city dude, and doesn’t possess the finish and gloss of the real “quill,” but it is guarranteed [sic] to have as few brains and as much assurance, as the genuine article. 1888 Detroit Free Press (MI) 22 July 17/6 eTN, When religun is religun, an’ it’s the pure quill an’ no water in it, there’s never one of us but kin take it in large doses. 1901 Robinson Sam Lovel’s Boy 9 wVT, He was a clear quill, an’ could see furder wi’ his one eye ’an most could wi’ tew. 1916 DN 4.327 KS, Quill. . . Anything of a high degree of excellence. The pure quill with a bead on it. . . “That tobacco is the pure quill.” 1919 Alexandria Daily Town Talk (Alexandria–Pineville LA) 24 Feb 6/1, You were the clear quill always square and hard to beat. 1935 Davis Honey 330 OR, To prove that his product [=rattlesnake oil] was the pure quill, he also exhibited as a side-attraction a row of half-gallon fruit-jars, each containing one large live rattler. 1936 AmSp 11.317 Ozarks, Pure quill. . . The genuine product, unadulterated and undiluted. 1940–41 Cassidy WI Atlas , The clear quill— pure, genuine. 1947 Green Bay Press–Gaz. (WI) 23 June 6/2, For this is clear quill treason, . . that can hardly be ignored or brushed aside. 1949 Peattie Cascades 142 Pacific NW, Real-quill logging began on the bottoms of the Cascades’ foothills with the California gold rush. 1958 Julian Apple Day  csCA, That’s what I’m a-telling you, the pure quill truth about my old pal, Pegleg Smith. 1959 VT Hist. 27.153, Pure quill. . . The best of anything. Rare. 1981 Wellman Lost & Lurking 40 sAppalachians, I’d been a-knowing about witches all my born days. I mean the pure quill, the sure-enough fact of the thing. 1999 Billings Gaz. (MT) 10 Mar sec A 4/2, [Letter:] This Kosovo Liberation Army . . , they’re pure quill Albanian fighting men, and their openly avowed intent is someday soon to make Kosovo a part of Albania.
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