Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 244

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….


This word is defined by Grose as “to cry peccavi, to acknowledge one’s self in an error, to own a fault: from the Latin Peccavi, I have sinned”.

The word was commonly used in the past, but has now become archaic, despite it being a word which is actually quite useful in clearly describing a behaviour. As Grose says, the origins are from the Latin word peccāvī, but perhaps the phrase “mea culpa” was instead just more appealing…. As might be expected from the Latin roots, the derivative word remains in usage in Italy.