Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 170

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….

Itchland

Grose’s definition of this word, which is simply “Scotland”, doesn’t actually hint at how negative and offensive it was meant. For a period in the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century, the Scots were referred to this in this way by the English, suggesting that they had lice and were infested. And, this was nothing new in terms of insults, the same word had been used against the Welsh in the seventeenth century.

It seems that English-Scottish relations improved by the 1820s or so, as the word went out of usage. Quite why it has made something of a return in the twentieth century, I’m not sure, perhaps it’s just in articles about the past….