Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Seventy-Five

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…..


The dictionary definition is simply “a fork”, with the first usage of the word in English being at the end of the seventeenth century. It’s too far back in history to work out, but it’s likely that the ‘chop’ meant quick and had been picked up from travellers to China.  At some stage, the word became an alternate name for a fork, before more recently returning to its original meaning.

The use of the word chopstick over time, a relative surge since the 1970s. I’m a little surprised though that people at the beginning of the nineteenth century would be freely using the word chopstick, I thought it was a word brought into the English language much later on.