Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 232

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….

Oaths

This is a snapshot of the period, defined by Grose as “the favourite oaths of the thieves of the present day are, ‘God strike me blind!’, ‘I wish my bloody eyes may drop if it is not true!’ ‘So help me God!’ and ‘Bloody end to me'”. The word usage here for ‘oaths’ is an older meaning, which is that meaning a swear word, whereas now it just tends to mean a solemn promise.

Since the word isn’t used so much in the swearing manner, it has fallen in usage over the last two centuries.