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….
There’s something quite brilliant about any dictionary definition which starts “a piece of Wiltshire wit”. It carries on to define the ‘wit’ as “this consists of sending some raw lad, or simpleton, to a neighbouring farm house, to borrow a horse ladder, in order to get up the horses, to finish a hay mow“. No doubt much hilarity ensued….
Ironically, a horse ladder is very much a thing now, although the rugged types of Wiltshire would have course never needed anything like that. I’m not sure that the term was ever much in common usage, but it’s a lovely little phrase in any event.