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Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Thirty-Two

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…..

Blue Flag

I’ve never heard of this phrase, but the dictionary defines it as “he has hoisted the blue flag; he has commenced publican, or taken a public house, an allusion to the blue aprons worn by publicans”. Other dictionaries at the time also referred to it as being a name for those becoming fishmongers, for the same reason of the blue aprons. The term now is better known for representing clean beaches, but I like the phrase, which was used between the mid-eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries.