The Romance of Language: Word for the Week 3/24/17


Francesco Brunery, artist

“To taste; as, pree my sneeshin, taste my snuff.”

–from John Jamieson’s Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish            

                                                                                                                                                   Language, 1825

To taste. The Scotch think this phrase, “I preed her mouth,” a poetical way of saying “I kissed her.” Its literal translation into common English, “I tasted her mouth,” doesn’t sound like poetry, while its Cumbrian form, “I teasit her feace,” sounds like anything rather than poetry. The different versions of the phrase illustrate the difference of character on the two sides of the border.

–Alexander Gibson’s Folk Speech of Cumberland, 1880

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