Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 234

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….

Oil of Barley

I like this rather lovely little phrase, defined by Grose simply as “strong beer”. The first bit of the phrase, the ‘oil of’ was commonly used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to describe many things, with the barley reference dating to at least as early as the seventeenth century.

The phrase lingered on in usage until relatively recently, where it sadly finally seems to have gone out of the vernacular.