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By Billingsgate Bubble


1. Abusive and coarse language; profanity.

‘On the other hand, the Englishman has the satisfaction of Billingsgating to his heart’s content the highest officials; they accept objurgation with spaniel fawning.’ Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1905).

Not that common in the UK anymore, certainly not outside of London, but used occasionally in dear old America. Because of Watergate and all the other awfully named ‘something-gate’ incidents that have followed, many Americans believe Billingsgate to be one of theirs. A grand old American word. Erm, sorry. It’s actually British and predates Watergate by some margin. And it has a history as colourful as what it means.

For those who don’t know, Billingsgate…

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Welcome! three times a week, I bring you a variety of interesting words and their origins. These words are archaic, rare, obsolete, foreign, ‘untranslatable’, dialectal, invented, and many more. Ultimately, I love words and this blog is their celebration. For further info, please click the About Me & the Blog tab.
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