Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Fifty-Three

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the Coronavirus crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored…..

Bundling

There’s quite a long definition for this in the dictionary, which is:

“A man and woman sleeping in the same bed, he with his small clothes, and she with her petticoats on; an expedient practised in America on a scarcity of beds, where, on such an occasion, husbands and parents frequently permitted travellers to bundle with their wives and daughters. This custom is now abolished. See Duke of Rochefoucalt’s Travels in America”.

Theodore Zeldin wrote about this in An Intimate History Of Humanity, noting that it was actually a more common practice than the dictionary suggested, as it was practised in England, Wales, the Netherlands (where it was known as kweesten) and even Afghanistan. There’s a Wikipedia page on the subject, and a book entitled Little Known Facts about Bundling in the New World was published in the United States.