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….
The dictionary ends the realm of the marginal random now with this definition of “Mr. Hickenbothom; a ludicrous name for an unknown person, similar to that of Mr. Thingambob. Hickenbothom, ie, a corruption of the German word ickenbaum, ie, oak tree”.
And I can add absolutely nothing to this, as I can’t find any other evidence that this is where the word did originate from. I’m also not entirely sure why a word meaning oak tree would be chosen. But English is a beautifully quirky language.
I suspect that the surge in mentions at the early nineteenth century was simply just this dictionary….