E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Between Tom and Jack there is a vast difference. Jack is the sharp, shrewd, active fellow, but Tom the honest dullard. Counterfeits are Jack, but Toms are simply bulky examples of the ordinary sort, as Tomtoes. No one would think of calling the thick-headed, ponderous male cat a Jack, nor the pert, dexterous, thieving daw a Tom. The former is instinctively called a Tom-cat, and the latter a Jack-daw. The subject of Jack has been already set forth. (See JACK.) Let us now see how Tom is used:
Tom o Bedlam (q.v.). A mendicant who levies charity on the plea of insanity.
Tom-cat. The male cat.
Tom Drums entertainment. A very clumsy sort of horse-play.
Tom Farthing. A born fool.
Tom Fool. A clumsy, witless fool, fond of stupid practical jokes, but very different from a Jack Pudding, who is a wit and bit of a conjurer.
Tom Long. A lazy, dilatory sluggard.
Tom Lony. A simpleton.
Tom Noddy. A puffing, fuming, stupid creature, no more like a Jack-a-dandy than Bill Sikes to Sam Weller.
Tom Noodle. A mere nincompoop.
Tom the Pipers son. A poor stupid thief who got well basted, and blubbered like a booby.
Tom Thumb. A man cut short or stinted of his fair proportions. (For the Tom Thumb of nursery delight, see next page.)
Tom Tidler. An occupant who finds it no easy matter to keep his own against sharper rivals. (See TOM TIDLERS GROUND.)
Tom Tiller. A hen-pecked husband.
Tom Tinker. The brawny, heavy blacksmith, with none of the wit and fun of a Jack Tar, who can tell a yarn to astonish all his native village.
Tom Tit. The Tom Thumb of birds.
Tom-Toe. The clumsy, bulky toe, bulk without spirit vast. Why the great toe? For that being one o the lowest, basest, poorest of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost. (Shakespeare: Coriolanus, i. 1.)
Tom Tug. A waterman, who bears the same relation to a Jack Tar as a cart-horse to an Arab. (See TOM TUG.)
Great Tom of Lincoln. A bell weighing 5 tons 8 cwt.
Mighty Tom of Oxford. A bell weighing 7 tons 12 cwt.
Old Tom. A heavy, strong, intoxicating sort of gin.