Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 213

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….

Moss

I’m pleased that Grose explained this definition, otherwise it might have bemused me. It’s “a cant term for lead, because both are found on the tops of buildings”, with cant meaning a word used by the criminal fraternity. Although lead theft might be thought of as a modern crime, it has been a problem for centuries, with it being a specific criminal offence (with the threat of the death penalty as this was a capital crime) in the eighteenth century to be found with stolen metal.