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 loose stone in a pavement, under which water lodges, and on being trod upon, squirts it up, to the great damage of white stockings”. Since the word ‘beau’ was used to mean a foppish man, I assume this was a problem for men and women alike. I can’t imagine that the the phrase was ever much used, I can’t find much evidence of it being in common usage. It’s a nice phrase to use though, if anyone writes to their local council to complain about a damaged pavement, they should certainly include it.