Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Ninety-Six

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….


Defined as “a disposition liable to be cheated, an unsuspecting nature, open to imposition”, this word is perhaps of passing interest insomuch as it’s actually the same word as gullible, just an earlier spelling of it. The word ‘gull’ meant to hoodwink someone, or to fool them, so somewhere along the line, the words got muddled up and ‘cullability’ became gullibility. Gullible only evolved as a word from the beginning of the nineteenth century, making it one of the more modern words in the English language (and that isn’t a test of someone’s gullibility to believe that).