Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 119

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….

Field Lane Duck

This sounds delicious, it’s defined by the dictionary as “a baked sheep’s head”. Field Lane was a street in London, near to where Saffron Hill is today near to Holborn, where stolen goods were commonly sold. That area gained a reputation for deceit, thieves and stolen products, so anything related to Field Lane would be known as something just a little fraudulent. The phrase was primarily a late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century one, becoming less commonly used when Field Lane disappeared in the mid-nineteenth century. So anyone buying meat that they thought was something a little decadent might well have been considerably disappointed.