Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Thirty-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…..

Book-Keeper

I really like the definition of this term, not anything about accountants, but “one who never returns borrowed books”. As a side issue, there’s a small debate about why book-keeper is hyphenated, with a few people suggesting that in this case it would really be bookskeeper, which is a clunky term, hence why a hyphen developed. This interested me, and going back to the late seventeenth century, the word is usually spelt book-keeper. There must be a whole field of study about the evolution of the hyphen, which I suspect is more intriguing than it might at first sound. I do need to get out more…..