DUN. An importunate creditor. Dunny, in the provincial
dialect of several counties, signifies DEAF; to dun, then,
perhaps may mean to deafen with importunate demands:
some derive it from the word DONNEZ, which signifies GIVE.
But the true original meaning of the word, owes its birth
to one Joe Dun, a famous bailiff of the town of Lincoln, so
extremely active, and so dexterous in his business, that it
became a proverb, when a man refused to pay, Why do not
you DUN him? that is, Why do not you set Dun to attest
him? Hence it became a cant word, and is now as old as
since the days of Henry VII. Dun was also the general
name for the hangman, before that of Jack Ketch.
And presently a halter got,
Made of the best strong hempen teer,
And ere a cat could lick her ear,
Had tied it up with as much art,
As DUN himself could do for's heart.
Cotton's Virgil Trav. book iv.