Okay, so English may not be the gentlest, kindest kid on the block. It steals from other languages, and protects Arbitrary Rules by stabbing Logic right through the heart.
Difficult to learn, perhaps, but oh so easy to love.
So shoot me. I like words.
Language is the dress of thoughts. [Samuel Johnson]
Which is why I'm so psyched about Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
|Here's an original|
No, I wasn't looking for new ways to be vulgar. Granted, the preface DOES allow that the book can teach men to talk bawdy before their papas without fear of detection, and abuse their less spirited companions, but that certainly wasn't the reason I ordered it. No. Of course not. It was done purely in the name of intellectual research. How about you? Curious about some of the words in this dictionary?
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words, best of all. [Winston Churchill]
Well, Winnie, these words are definitely old:
- abbess: mistress of a brothel
- ace of spades: a widow
- all-a-mort: to be struck dumb
- babes in the wood: criminals in stocks or pillory (Interesting how the meaning of this expression has changed, isn't it?)
- blind cupid: backside
- bob tail: a lewd woman or impotent man
- bread and butter fashion: one atop the other, as in John and his maid were found lying bread and butter fashion.
- cat: common prostitute
- cold pig: a punishment for sluggards who lie in bed too long. The bedclothes are pulled off, and cold water is thrown on them.
- dugs: a woman's breasts
- elbow shaker: a dice player
- flash the hash: vomit
- glazier: someone who breaks windows to steal goods for sale (Another one whose meaning has morphed.)
- gospel shop: church
- hempen widow: one whose husband was hanged
- oven: great mouth
- rum doxy: fine wench
- shoot the cat: vomit from too much liquor
- snoozing ken: brothel
- strip me naked: gin
- twiddle diddles: testicles
- twiddle poop: effeminate-looking man
Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne. [Quentin Crisp]
That's just a sampling of some of the euphemisms and cool expressions in this dictionary. What's really cool is this book, which was a big hit when written by Francis Grose in 1811, is once again available. Whether you're like me, and just get a kick out of exploring the changes in our language, or if you're writing a book that takes place in that time period, it's a terrific reference book. (And I got my e-version through Amazon for FREE!)
I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. [Jane Wagner]
Nah, no complaints here.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.