Word of the Week: To Cut

Nov 16, 2010 by

To renounce acquaintance with any one is to CUT him. There are several species of the CUT. Such as the cut direct, the cut indirect, the cut sublime, the cut infernal &c. The cut direct is to start across the street at the approach of the obnoxious person in order to avoid him. The cut indirect is to look another way, and pass without appearing to observe him. The cut sublime is to admire the top of King’s College Chapel, or the beauty of the passing clouds, til he is out of sight. The cut infernal is to analyze the arrangement of your shoe-strings, for the same purpose.

- From 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose.

FOOTNOTE: I absolutely love old dictionaries. If, like me, you spend hours looking up words like Mopsie and Bumfodder (or even Grumbletonians) you might want to check out The First English Dictionary of Slang 1699 which has just been published by the Bodleian Library, having been out of print for 300 years. Thanks to @ShireHistories for posting this on Twitter yesterday.

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  1. Sewicked

    I have a word of the day calendar; Forgotten English by Jeffrey Kacirk. Today it’s ‘inbread: the extra loaf or loaves allowed by a baker in each dozen; [creating a baker's-dozen] – St. James Murray’s New English Dictionary, 1901. From it, I’ve also learned that at one different verbs were used for carving of poultry & small game (like ‘display that crane’ or fract that chicken’). If you used the wrong word it showed a lack of education.

  2. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the heads-up. Particularly enjoyed “farting-crackers” for breeches. [Apologies for going scatological: you can rely on me.]

  3. admin

    Thanks for your comments folks. Sewicked, I’ve never heard of ‘fract’ before, what a great word (‘to break’ according to my online dictionary). And I could elaborate on similar words, Scrapiana, from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, but they really are too vile to go into :D

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