Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 187

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….


I’m not quite sure where Grose got this definition from, as it differs from other accounts on how lazybones evolved, which remains a commonly used word today to describe someone as lazy. He defined it as “an instrument like a pair of tongs, for old or very fat people to take any thing from the ground without stooping”. I prefer his definition though, ‘tongs for very fat people’ to that presented in etymological dictionaries, which just says that it evolved from the word ‘lazy’ being added to ‘bones’, to represent a person.

It’s one of the few words in the dictionary which is much more in use today than it was when Grose published his book.