These terms were in use when I was a boy in South London back in the 1930s/1940s. My grandmother would tell me to "Rime up well." or "Get well rimed up." when I was going to go outdoors on a cold day and when I came back I would say "I'm going to get unrimed", meaning 'take off and hang up my outdoor clothes'. I used the term today and had to explain it to my wife who said she'd never heard it. Now I can't see it in the O.E.D. Sixth Edition (2007) or anywhere else
I think I got this one. As Chappo suggests in the comments, rime is a coating. Moreover, while the dictionary definition he provides seems to indicate it is usable as a synonym for any kind of coating, I have only ever heard it used to describe the kind of frost that you get which thinly covers all the surfaces of a damp area once the temperature drops.
As it relates to your grandmother of South London, there's a lot to like about this etymology. First, rime is likely prevalent in South London due to the climate; it is liable to occur whenever a foggy day goes under freezing. Next, it is easy to see that she was asking you to get bundled up to protect against cold weather, which is indicated by the presence of rime on surfaces. Finally, it has a nice metaphorical component to it, wherein you protect yourself against the cold with your own coating, suggesting a sort of wordplay that, as an ugly American who has never been, I think of as rather prevalent in the British Isles.
Coming at this from a different angle, more of a linguistics view.
The word rime originated in Germanic and Dutch, becoming a part of Old English, it then fell out of use in Middle English, and was revived in Modern English around the 18th century when various writers began to start using it again.
The meaning of rime in this context was a thin, white coating of ice formed by rapidly freezing water vapour, such as dew forming ice on blades of grass.
I can't find any information on exactly where the word came into use as putting on layers of clothing, but it would be logical to assume it had something to do with the definition of a thin layer of ice on a surface.
What is also interesting, is how the word came from being used rarely, to being picked up in 18th century literature, and then taking on multiple meanings, also being used as an alternative spelling of 'rhyme', in the classic Rime of the Ancient Mariner, released in 1834.
protected by Community♦ Aug 6 '16 at 14:11
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