[“In th’ rug & on th’ hustings!” Zippy, October 27, 2015.]
The Oxford English Dictionary first records husting in use around 1030. The now-obsolete meaning: “an assembly for deliberative purposes, esp. one summoned by a king or other leader; a council.” The Dingburg hustings comes much later:
the temporary platform from which, previous to the Ballot Act of 1872, the nomination of candidates for Parliament was made, and on which these stood while addressing the electors. Hence, contextually, the proceedings at a parliamentary election.The Dictionary’s first citation is from Thomas D’Urfey’s Wit and Mirth; or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719): “What Tricks on the Hustings Fanaticks would play.”
All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)
1:05 p.m.: Chris of Dreamers Rise writes in a comment, “You’ve left out the fun part, which is the etymology of “husting” from húsþing — “house thing” — with “thing” meaning assembly, as in the present Icelandic Alþingi.”
Intent on getting the meaning, I never thought to look at the etymology: from the Old Norse hús-þing , “house-assembly, a council held by a king, earl, or other leader, and attended by his immediate followers, retainers, etc., in distinction from the ordinary þing or general assembly of the people” (OED). The þ is the thorn, th. Thus hús-thing.
Had I thought to switch to the OED’s full-entry view, I probably would have noticed the etymology. But I would not have known about the Alþingi.
[I did my best in this post to avoid any pun about a Battle of Hustings.]