Insult of the Week: “You double-distilled ould sthrap”

This week’s insult is provided by William Carleton’s The Black Prophet: A Tale of Irish Famine (1847). Following Condy Dalton’s admission of love for another woman, a furious Sarah M’Gowan returns home where her stepmother Nelly pushes her┬áto boiling point… “You’re all out of it,” replied Nelly; “her blood’s up, now, an’ I’m not prepared…

London language in 19th century novels

I pricked up my ears (figuratively speaking) at this intriguing post by Roger Pocock of the Windows into History blog, in which he discusses a list of local words from late 18th and early 19th-century London. This fascinating list was first published in 1803, in Samuel Pegge’s book Anecdotes of the English Language: Chiefly Regarding…