• Paul Anthony Jones

Hawch-mouthed

(adj.) prone to swearing, liable to swear in every situation

a grawlix replacing a swear word

Another of this week’s most popular words was hawch-mouthed, defined as a word for “someone who swears in all situations, regardless of how inappropriate it may be”.

According to the English Dialect Dictionary, hawch or hoach is an old dialect word from the southwest of England, which as a verb can be used to mean “to eat badly” or “to make a loud noise with the lips or mouth in eating.”

More broadly, it refers to doing anything messily or unpleasantly with the mouth—which is where the adjective hawch-mouthed comes it; as the EDD puts it, a hawch-mouthed person, or hawch-a-mouth, is a “foul-mouthed, blustering person” who “talks indecently”, “makes much noise in eating,” and is “coarse, vulgar, or profane in speech”. And you can provide your own examples of that.

To hawch-and-haugh, meanwhile, is to spit or noisily clear the throat, while if you’re bide and hawchy, according to an 1886 Glossary of Dialectal and Archaic Words and Phrases Used in the West of Somerset, then you’re standing around doing nothing except eating. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


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