The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the current health crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored….
This is another charming little phrase, defined as “where every one plays or signs a different tune”. I’m not sure if the dictionary meant signed as a conductor or meant to say ‘I, but the effect is still the same. The phrase is probably from the late seventeenth century, as worsening relations between Britain and the Netherlands led to some new derogatory language about the country. So, it likely started as an insult about the ability of Dutch musicians, but the phrase is still used today about a performance that goes a bit wrong and isn’t in harmony. There seems to be more harmony, if I can be excused for using that word again, between the British and the Dutch today though, such is progress,