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Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Fifteen

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the Coronavirus crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored…..


The dictionary defines this word as “the shopman of a bow-wow shop, or dealer in second hand clothes, particularly about Monmouth Street, who walks before his master’s door, and deafens every passenger with his cries of ‘clothes, coats or gowns – what d’ye want gemmen? what d’ye buy?”.

The bow-wow shop is, according to the dictionary, a shop where the servant bites and the master barks, an interesting thought….

Monmouth Street in the eighteenth century was known for its clothes shops, later being lost and becoming Shaftesbury Avenue when that street was expanded. In a bid to bring back the name, Great St. Andrew Street was renamed as Monmouth Street in the 1930s.