Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Ninety-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….


Francis Grose, the author of this dictionary was a London man, albeit well-travelled, but that might show through with the definition of this word, which is “oatmeal and water, or milk; a mess much eaten in the north”. A mess sounds fairly accurate, although the word ‘north’ here is really primarily referring to Scotland, which is where Grose did spend some time whilst researching other books.

No modern dictionary seems to give the word origin here, but crowdie is a Scottish cheese and so the word origin is likely the same. Likely deriving from ‘crud’ and ‘ie’ which has the same origins as curd, so simply curdy, which could mean lumpy and thick.