Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 157

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….


How beautiful, this is defined simply as “snails in their shells”, although to make matters more complex, this is also a term in Norfolk for a hedgehog. This is likely from the word ‘dodman’, meaning an animal with a hill on its back, from the words ‘dod’ meaning hill and ‘man’ in this instance just meaning an animal. It was being used from as early as the sixteenth century and was most commonly used in East Anglia.

The words stayed in use until the beginning of the twentieth century, but has now faded into obscurity.