Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Seven

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…..

Avoir du Pois Lay

This is a pretty niche phrase, meaning “the stealing of brass weights off the counter of shops”. It’s so niche, it’s another phrase that must have been incredibly localised, as I can’t find any mention of this term in old newspapers or books, nor any logic to how it evolved. But I like that there’s a specific phrase for it, perhaps there should be one for stealing beer glasses from pubs…..