Wednesday 4 January 2012


This morning, as I incinerated my breakfast, I was reminded of the etymology of the word rasher, as in a rasher of bacon. There are two theories on the subject. The first rather tedious one is that it's cognate with razor and therefore means a thin strip that has been cut off.

However, the first etymologist to tackle the rasher was John Minsheu (1560-1627). He, in his Ductor in Linguas, gives an explanation that is much more fun, though not necessarily much more true.

A Rasher on the coales, q. rashly or hastily roasted.

This does, at least, tally with my experience.

Every damn morning.


  1. This calls to mind a lovely quatrain from Thomas Hood's "Lament of Toby, the Learned Pig" from 1830, in which the Pig, lamenting his downcast state as a freak of nature, briefly indulges in self-destructive thoughts:

    For sorrow i could stick myself—
    But conscience is a dasher;
    A thing that would be rash in man
    in me would be a rasher!