Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Seventy-One

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…..

Chaw Bacon

This beautiful phrase, now more commonly just one word, is defined as “a countryman, a stupid fellow”. ‘Chaw’ is an old English variant of the word chew and the combination of the bacon element, which was traditionally seen as a poor man’s food (well, and women and children) so it’s the equivalent of a country bumpkin.

The phrase dates back to at least the early eighteenth century, but it seemed to have a resurgence in the late nineteenth century before falling back into obscurity.