Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Sixty-Four

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…..


Simple definition to this one, “cathedral” means in this context something which is “old-fashioned, such as a cathedral-bedstead”. The word itself derives from Greek, with the Latin word “cathedra” meaning seat, which became the seat of the Bishop, which is the Cathedral. But, in this context, I can’t see that this phrase was ever much used, all references to cathedral bedsteads simply lead to on-line versions of this dictionary.

But, I’ve taken a real liking to using this word. If I want to criticise something (or more likely someone) as being old-fashioned, I can refer to them as having cathedral thinking. They’ll think I mean elegant or authoritative, but I’ll actually just mean out-of-date. Marvellous.