Curious glimpses of old English words, Western customs, social history, holidays  and etiquette–one day at a time.

candle_guyHave you ever wondered what a bowelhive (a Scottish intestinal ailment), a dabbit (a small amount; less than a dab), a celebaterian (a bachelor), an opscheplooper (an uninvited dinner guest), or a bloacher (any large animal) might be? If you can enlarge something, can you also ensmall it? And what caused London’s Top Hat Riot of 1797, the bizarre prosecution of animals and objects in the Middle Ages, and Lady Godiva’s famous ride in the buff?

Each year the Forgotten English Calendar offers readers a brimming cartful of once indispensable terms and rough-hewn folklore. Sign up for the Forgotten English daily email (above) or buy the paper calendar for factual but lively, light-hearted, and thought-provoking explanations to these questions and many others, accompanied by a startling array of vintage line drawings. As Shakespeare commented in Othello, “These are fond paradoxes to make fools laugh in the alehouse.”