Wednesday 22 August 2012


With the publication of The Horologicon approaching, I thought I'd do a few posts of words that didn't make it in. There's a little over two thousand strange words in there, but there were, nonetheless, poor animals that didn't make it into the ark because I couldn't weave them in.

For example, in the section of office politics, I somehow failed to include catch-fart, which is defined in Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785) thuslyly:

A footboy; so called from such servants commonly following close behind their master or mistress.

As many modern bosses have a catch-fart following them around, the term is still eminently usable, and eminently comprehensible after a moment's thought.


  1. Looking forward to the publication of The Horologicon. Now reflecting on how much sweeter life is, in retirement, if only because of the absence of catch-farts!

  2. As both my sister and I have an interest in etymology, she bought a copy of The Etymologiccn for us to share. But I gave it up in disgust at the erroneous and misleading entry on Pantaleon. Once he became Christian he took the name 'Panteleimon', meaning 'All-merciful' Therefore he cannot be referred to as Saint Pantalon, as that is not a Christian name.

    See the OrthodoxWiki article: "They named him Pantaleon, which means in all things like a lion, but when he converted to Christianity, he changed his name to Panteleimon, which means all-merciful."

  3. Come on 'Anonymous26 August 2012 04:43', you, "...gave it up in disgust at the erroneous and misleading entry ...". over one entry that you didn't quite agree with.

    Kenn Norris

  4. So, one would think that an appropriate name for children who follow their teacher around, annoying them with questions, instead of sitting with their hands up. Serves them right...hehe

  5. I dont suppose I am the only person to draw it to your attention, but Grose's own, annotated copy of the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is for sale here: