Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Sixty-Three

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…..

Cat’s Foot

The dictionary defines this as “to live under the cat’s foot, to be under the domination of a wife, hen-pecked”. Slightly intriguing that the ‘hen-pecked’ phrase has survived, whereas ‘cat’s foot’ seems to have been lost, particularly as there’s something quite quaint about the latter option. Georgette Heyer used the phrase in her books, but otherwise it’s now becoming archaic. Incidentally, the book defines ‘cat’ as “a prostitute” or “a cross old woman”.