Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 237

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….

Ottomy

This is defined by Grose as “the vulgar word for a skeleton”, although I’m not convinced that it’s actually that vulgar. The word is now archaic, but it was also spelled as ‘Otomy’, which is the explanation from where it likely came. That’s from the Greek word for cutting and words ending in ‘otomy’ generally mean cutting into something. And there’s not much more than can be cut away on a skeleton….. Most European languages have a word similar to skeleton, but this is a nicer one, it’s a shame this word didn’t take over I think.