Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 219

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….

Neck Stamper

This is defined by Grose as “the boy who collects the pots belonging to an alehouse, sent out with beer to private houses”. The phrase dates from the early part of the seventeenth century, but the word origins are confused, it’s not known whether the boy stamped about with bottles around his neck or whether the boy stamped about carrying bottles by their neck (I can think of someone who would do that, stamped is a variant of stomped). It’s also interesting to establish why this job was necessary, who were these boys delivering to? There would have been no end of pubs near to where people lived, so maybe it was to the ill, infirm or those who didn’t fancy heading off into a busy pub.