Words at Play : Funny-Sounding and Interesting Words

#5: Billingsgate

Definition:

coarsely abusive language

Example:

"Modern billingsgate betrays puerile imbecility of pundits" — headline in the Rome (GA) News-Tribune, March 4, 2006

About the Word:

Since the 14th century, Billingsgate has been the name of a fish market in London, England – a fish market at one time notorious for its merchants' vulgar language.

We find an allusion to the merchants' crude talk in 16th century British chronicler Raphael Holinshed's description of a messenger's language, which he said was "as bad a tongue ... as any oyster-wife at Billingsgate."

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May 30, 2015
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