Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 196

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….


Grose defined this in the same way that the word is used today, “an opening, or means of escape. To find a loophole in an act of parliament, ie, a method of evading it”. A loophole is another word for an arrowslit, the narrow windows which archers could fire arrows from with minimal chance of being hit back. The meaning of evasion comes from around the seventeenth century, with the word loop coming from the Dutch ‘lûpen’, meaning ‘to watch’.

The word came into more common usage in the late nineteenth century and has remained in use since then.