Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 223

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….


A very short and sweet definition, meaning simply “nothing”. Grose is one of the first people to define this word, so it is listed as being from the late eighteenth century when he published his dictionary, but it was likely in use much earlier. It’s a derivation of the German word “nichts”, which has the same meaning.

Using Google Ngram’s full time frame over several centuries, the word has remained in relatively constant use. The earlier dates are statistically probably erroneous though. As an irrelevant aside, I’m surprised that this word didn’t become more mainstream and didn’t slip into the vernacular.