Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Fifty-Five

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 as a criminal’s word for a pickpocket. The interesting element about this is that some people think that this is the origin of the phrase “busman’s holiday”, which dates back to at least the 1880s. It would be that the pickpocket was always working even when they’re on holiday, such would be the nature of their ‘trade’. I’m not sure that this is the actual origin, but I do prefer this version.