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Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Ninety-Three

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….


Defined by the dictionary as “Northumberland, from the particular croaking the pronunciation of the people of that county, especially about Newcastle and Morpeth, where they are said to be born with a burr in their throats, which prevents their pronouncing the letter r”.

This is a handy reminder of the videos produced by Simon Roper on the evolution of language, although the word that was chosen by, I assume, southerners could have been a little more polite about the residents of Newcastle. I’m not sure that the term was that widely used, given that it appears very rarely in print. And, it’s a reminder of the shifting county boundaries, Newcastle was once part of Northumberland, before being defined as its own county and now it’s been shunted into Tyne and Wear.