Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 102

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the current health crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored….

Devil’s Guts

This is defined by the dictionary as “a surveyor’s chain: so called by farmers, who do not like their land should be measured by their landlords”. The phrase goes back to at least the mid-seventeenth century, although it fell out of common usage in the nineteenth century.

And it’s easy to see how the phrase evolved….