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 defined by Grose as “Potatoes. It is a common joke against the Irish vessels, to say they are loaded with fruit and timber, that is, potatoes and broomsticks”. There was no end of similar phrases, with Irish apples, Irish footballs, Irish grapes and Irish lemons all meaning the same thing, ie, potatoes.
The Irish Apricots phrase wasn’t recorded before the end of the eighteenth century, so it was perhaps quite a new reference when Grose wrote about it. It was used more commonly in the early nineteenth century, but has since fallen out of use.