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…..
Definitions don’t get much shorter than this, it simply means “left-handed”. There seems nearly no mention of this phrase in the printed record and I was hoping to work out how this quirky term had evolved. That plan failed, as all I can see is that it was in use between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.
I did discover though, whilst trying to see if this derived from cats paw somehow, that cats are left or right-handed. This, I have decided, is more interesting to me than what I had set out to find. So, I have no idea how this phrase evolved, but I will now watch cats to see whether they are left-handed or right-handed.