Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Forty-Eight

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 “wallet”, and also “a term used to signify the notification of taxes required by the Minister for the expenses of the ensuing year”. At the end of the eighteenth century, the phrase “open the budget” with reference to the Chancellor’s monetary decisions had started to come into use, but it wasn’t a widespread word for financial figures and that only came at the end of the nineteenth century when the “open the” fell off the phrase.

Back to the word wallet, it came into the English language in the fifteenth century from the French word for a leather bag or purse, which was bougette, which in turn had derived from Latin. Shakespeare used the word in reference to meaning a purse and it was used frequently in written and verbal communications.