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a game in which marbles are rolled at one another, similar to bowls
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


In past times Ash Wednesday kicked off the English marbles season. Throughout Lent men and boys played competitive marble games with one another. The marbles season ended on Good Friday, which was known as Marble Day in Surrey and Sussex, regions where the game was particularly popular. After that time anyone caught playing marbles might be forced to forfeit them. Some researchers believe that the practice of playing marbles on Good Friday may have come from Holland or Belgium. At least one writer suspects that the game of dice that the Roman soldiers played at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:24, Luke 23:35, John 19:24) inspired the association between marbles and Good Friday.

The village of Tinsley Green, near Crawley in Sussex, hosts a marbles championship every year on Good Friday. The competition dates back to the year 1600, when, according to legend, a local girl convinced her suitors to compete for her favor by playing a game of marbles. Today the tournament winner is declared the "Champion of Great Britain" and receives a silver cup.

Further Reading

Harrowven, Jean. Origins of Festivals and Feasts. London, England: Kaye and Ward, 1980. Hole, Christina. British Folk Customs. London, England: Hutchinson and Company, 1976. Howard, Alexander. Endless Cavalcade. London, England: Arthur Barker, 1964.
Encyclopedia of Easter, Carnival, and Lent, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2002


(From the mainstream "lost his marbles") The minimum needed to build your way further up some hierarchy of tools or abstractions. After a bad system crash, you need to determine if the machine has enough marbles to come up on its own, or enough marbles to allow a rebuild from backups, or if you need to rebuild from scratch. "This compiler doesn't even have enough marbles to compile hello, world."
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in classic literature ?
. This Marble Is here placed by their surviving Shipmates.
'When you came in, I was just wondering whether this figure here had not accidentally got loosened from the wall behind it.' He laid his hand on the marble forehead, for the third time.
Pretty soon a bolt was cautiously withdrawn and the marble door swung slowly open.
But it occurred to him that he might as well have the marble he had just thrown away, and therefore he went and made a patient search for it.
In this Chapel is a marble chest, in which, they told us, were the ashes of St.
"The Liquid of Petrifaction has accidentally fallen upon my dear wife and Unc Nunkie and turned them into marble," he sadly replied.
There was the quarry of perfect marble on Hafler's quarter section.
A central aisle led from the doorway the full length of the great hall, terminating at the steps of a marble dais upon which a man sat in a great throne-chair.
It was upon the marble table that the mystery was to be enacted, as usual.
And yet, as she saw him coming across the marble floor of the audience chamber of Tario of Lothar, his fine eyes filled with apprehension for her safety, his splendid figure personifying all that is finest in the fighting men of martial Mars, she could not believe that any faintest trace of perfidy lurked beneath so glorious an exterior.
No sooner had they clambered up the cliff, than they discerned the tall marble towers of the palace, ascending, as white as snow, out of the lovely green shadow of the trees which surrounded it.
"I don't want to be a marble statue!" he protested.