Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day 245

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….

Peck

This is defined by Grose as meaning “Victuals. Peck and booze; victuals and drink”, with victuals being a now mostly archaic word for food, so, “food and drink”. The word is derived from the verk ‘pekken’, or to pick, most commonly used now when referring to birds. The word ‘peckish’, which Grose defines separately as meaning ‘hungry’ could have evolved in one of two ways. It could mean feeling hungry and wanting to pick at food (from the ‘pekken’ verb), or it could have derived more directly from the word meaning food.

And the usage of ‘peck’ and ‘peckish’ over time…