What is snot?
Snot is the burned part of the candle wick. Snotty candles would nicely illuminate supper in a cosh.
What is a cosh?
A cosh is a small hut or cottage to retire to after doing your daily darg.
What is darg?
Darg is a days work.
What you have just read comes from-what a reviewer most likely would say- is a delightful little book. The book is “Poplollies and Bellibones” subtitled “A celebration of Lost Words.” It was written by Susan Kelz Sperling and published by Penguin in 1977. It is for those who love words, history, culture, and etymology. It is not a big thick reference book coming in at 113 pages. Thus the word delightful, or charming, or fun; take your pick.
It has fun words like squiddle-to waste time with idle talk -something I trust I am not doing at the moment. But there are also a couple of words like floccinaucinihilipilfication, a word that I doubt any person of that time would use, unless said person was an ancestor of William F. Buckley, a known sesquipedalian who never met a long word he disliked, nor a short word he liked. You will find sesquipedalian in your dictionary, but not that long word which means the habit of belittling.
Most of the words in the book come from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and though these words may now be dead, like Japanese soldiers found in caves years after World War 2 who had no idea the war was over, there may be isolated pockets where these words may still be in use, though the odds of that are slim to none.
Beyond the fun of the book is something else. It shows how over centuries language changes. I remember in college having to read Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in its original 14th century English. Pronunciation was like trying to speak a foreign language; understanding the writing made more difficult. Seven centuries later you can see how new words arise replacing certain words for too many reasons to cover in a blog. Consider it is changing even today. A tweet comes not from a bird, but from an account. A selfie is now a picture portrait. Language changes by many means; technology, culture, slang, are just three methods.
I am not sure the book I mentioned is in print anymore. On Amazon you find a listing of editions that are being offered as new and used, but I think the links are to sellers and not to Amazon itself. But I will leave you with an ancient activity called ‘flapdragon,’ the fun sport of catching raisins in bowls of flaming brandy or drinking the brandy without getting burned as a tribute to one’s mistress. Even bar drinking games have changed.