Word of the Day : May 24, 2021
Did you know?
“You shall chouse him of Horses, Cloaths, and Mony,” wrote John Dryden in his 1663 play Wild Gallant. Dryden was one of the first English writers to use chouse, but he wasn’t the last. That term—which may derive from a Turkish word, çavuş, meaning “doorkeeper” or “messenger”—has a rich literary past, appearing in works by Samuel Pepys, Henry Fielding, Sir Walter Scott, and Charles Dickens, among others, but its use dropped off in the 20th century. In fact, English speakers of today may be more familiar with another chouse, a verb used in the American West to mean “to drive or herd roughly.” In spite of their identical spellings, the two chouse homographs are not related (and the origin of the latter is unknown).
In Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, the miserable Mr. Cruncher fumes, “If I ain’t … been choused this last week into as bad luck as ever a poor devil of a honest tradesman met with!”
“Why should not my friend be choused out of a little justice for the first time?” — David Garrick, The Irish Widow,1772