Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Such Language! Part 26

More wordly wonderment and wackiness, with some help from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. What's your favorite word this week?

Cream-pot love: Such as young fellows pretend to dairy-maids, to get cream and other good things from them. (My brother Augustus brings a posy every week to our cook and swears eternal devotion, but we all know it’s simply cream-pit love.)

Plump currant: I am not plump currant; I am out of sorts. (Overindulgence in Cook’s strawberry rhubarb curd tarts might explain why he is not in plump currant this evening.)

Inexpressibles: Breeches. (Augustus swore he hadn’t had a single tart, but suspicious red stains on his inexpressibles told a different tale.)

Fire shovel: He or she when young, was fed with a fire shovel; a saying of persons with wide mouths. (Augustus’s long devotion to Cook might explain why he appears to have been fed with a fire shovel, but Papa’s mouth is similarly wide.)

Gallied: Hurried, vexed, over-fatigued, perhaps like a galley slave. (Poor Cook tends to look more than a little gallied when Augustus is home from school during holidays.)

May bees: May bees don’t fly all the year long; an answer to anyone who prefaces a proposition with, It may be. (Augustus hopes that maybe the strawberries will have a longer season this year; in response, Cook was heard to mutter something about May bees.)

Hum durgeon: An imaginary illness. (Grandmama’s latest hum durgeon involves an infirmity in her spleen; her liver is undoubtedly relieved to have the week off.)

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