"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Upper Crust

Why were members of the aristocracy called the upper crust ? At one time the loaves were baked on the floor of the oven and the lower part of the loaf became charred before the top was baked. This lower part would be cut off and given to the swine (or the servants depending upon the household) while the family and important guests got the upper crust.


  1. Have you come across GALLIMAUFRY, by Michael Quinton (OUP, 2008)? It's a collection of odd and old words described as "a hodgepodge of our vanishing vocabulary". I have only skimmed through it, and it looks fascinating.

  2. Oooops! Sorry, that's Michael Quinion.

  3. Hello Ian, I haven't come across it - sound like another to add to my enormous list of books to be read. Thanks.