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

Betwattled

The dictionary defines this as “surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses” and I’ve no idea how this has fallen out of common usage as it’s quite a catchy word…. It was more commonly used in the west country and was in use from at least the sixteenth century, so it remained used for three centuries at least.

Although used relatively rarely in written English, it’s clear from this graph that it has remained in use to a small degree. There’s been a recent uptick in its usage as well, although Susie Dent did mention the word on Countdown, so that might have been the cause of that.