While reading the works of William Laud in the edition by William Scott, I came across a description (No 2 on page 345) where it seems the Scots are upset about a ritual in which a priest turns his back to those present.

Laud uses the term "hinder parts," and I'm wondering if it just means his back side (so that they're upset about the priest looking in the other direction), or if it could actually be an expression for "bottom", and the uproar is due to them feeling that the priest is turning his derrière towards them.

Does anybody know a source where I could find out such things? It would be helpful if it is possible to cite the source in an academic paper.

Thanks to everybody who answered! Here's the entire paragraph where the term occurs:

It seems to be no great matter, that without warrant of the Book of England, the presbyter going from the north end of the table, shall stand during the time of consecration at such a part of the table where he may with more ease and decency use both his hands; yet being tried, it importeth much: as that he must stand with his hinder parts to the people; representing (saith Durand) that which the Lord said to Moses, 'Thou shalt see my hinder parts.'"

William Laud, The History of Troubles and Tryal Of the Most Reverend Father in God, William Laud, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, in: William Scott, The Works of the Most Reverend Father in God, William Laud, D.D., Sometime Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Vol III, Oxford: Parker, 1853, p. 345

Note: The title of the chapter has been added by the editor, but the author is still Laud; anyone who is interested can find much of his work digitized on archive.org. This one, for example, can be found here.

  • 2
    Though I've already answered, I think the question would be more suitable with the context of 'hinder parts'—perhaps a full sentence or two from your text.
    – user85526
    Jul 29, 2014 at 20:43

3 Answers 3


According to the NOAD and many other dictionaries, it would seem that it's always been a general term for the back of something.


The term "hinder parts" also appears several times in the King James Bible, also vaguely used, and unclear as to whether they mean "butt" or not. I found a hint, here, where it says:

God smote the Philistines in the hinder parts, and put them to a perpetual reproach, when he plagued them with the emerods.

"Emerods," here, being of course specific to the butt, or anus. I don't know if this solves it completely, but to me it shows that [a long time ago] the expression was also at least sometimes used to refer to one's… well… hind parts.

I additionally googled hinder parts with your author's name, and found here a context in which it's used. I don't know if it's the same as what you're looking at, but check it out:

yet being tried, it importeth much : as that he must stand with his hinder parts to the people ; representing (saith Durand) that which the Lord said to Moses, Thou shall see my hinder parts ip ,

By itself, I find it hard to imagine in the context "thou shall see my hinder parts" that "hinder parts" just means his literal back.

  • Thank you for your answer! You found precisely that passage I talked about, I added it to my post, sorry for not doing that earlier. And I came to the same conclusion. I also think, it's really just the back. I'll make this the accepted answer, it fits my question best. Thank you! Jul 30, 2014 at 10:41
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    I presume that 'emerods' is the same as 'h(a)emorrhoids'.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jul 30, 2014 at 16:23
  • And you are correct ^.^
    – user85526
    Jul 30, 2014 at 16:28

Even if the technical meaning of the phrase refers to the posterior side of something, this could be a euphemism. Ultimately the context will give you a better answer than a study of the phrase itself. Without knowing the context, the idea of someone turning their back on me is much less uproarious than someone aiming their butt at me.

  • I think, after a careful rethinking of the whole passage, that it's really just the back. Thank you for your efforts! I added the source to my post, if you're interested. Jul 30, 2014 at 10:40

Hinder adj:

  • (prenominal) situated at or further towards the back or rear; posterior: the hinder parts.

Source:Collins English Dictionary

Hinder (adj,) source: Etymonline.com

  • "situated in the rear, toward the back," late 14c., probably from Old English hinder (adv.) "behind, back, afterward," but treated as a comparative of hind (adj.). Related to Old High German hintar, German hinter, Gothic hindar "behind." Middle English had hinderhede, literally "hinder-hood; posterity in time, inferiority in rank;" and hinderling "person fallen from moral or social respectability, wretch."

Ngram shows a decreasing use of the expression 'hinder parts' which appears to have been quite common before the 19th century.

  • 1
    Thank you for your research too! I think, I'll be careful and just stick with it as "back". I added the entire source, if there's any interest for that. Jul 30, 2014 at 10:42

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