OT:Heard on American Dad: daughter Hayley singing a song about...

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Tue Apr 6 14:52:56 UTC 2010

> As for "place of little ease," surely you jest.
> JL

Would I ever.

Captain Francis Grose's definition is more colourful and specific than the
usual "(small, cramped) dungeon":

     Little Ease

"A small dark cell in Guildhall, London, where disorderly apprentices are
confined by the city chamberlain: it is called Little Ease from its being so
low that a lad cannot stand upright in it."

Definition taken from The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally
by Francis Grose.

Note the absence of any mention of sanitary facilities, thus naturally
leading to an extension of the phrase.

The lexical progress of the term was carried to its logical extreme in
Glasgow English, where the "dunnie" (clearly related to or derived from
"dungeon") or outhouse behind a tenement, frequently contained within itself
the even smaller "cludgie" (or "little ease").


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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