Words rich in history

The term 'latchkey children' has become popular in the last 20 years, but where did the term 'latchkey' come from? Two hundred years ago, it was part of the average American's everyday vocabulary. Here are some other 18th-century words. Can you match them to their definitions below?

1. Sawyer

2. Latchkey

3. Pap

4. Spoon meat

5. Trencher

6. Noggin

7. Ship's biscuit

8. Hogshead

9. Firebox

10. Doughboy

11. Firkin

12. Tankards, tasters, and sneakers

A. Large and (progressively smaller) drinking cups.

B. Pudding, or any other food you can't eat with a fork.

C. A sand-filled iron box used for cooking aboard ships.

D. A mix of water and flour; the first food that Pilgrim babies ate.

E. A large barrel for storing molasses or cider.

F. A wooden peg at the end of a string, used for pulling up the latch to open a door.

G. Wet flour fried in fat (still a county-fair favorite).

H. A tough, dry biscuit the size of a dinner plate eaten by sailors and passengers on a ship.

I. An eight-sided mug with a handle; also a slang term for a person's head.

J. A dish made of wood or bread, used today to hold chili or soup.

K. A small wooden cask for butter, fish, or liquids.

L. Someone who turns logs into lumber.


(1) L; (2) F; (3) D; (4) B; (5) J; (6) I; (7) H; (8) E; (9) C; (10) G; (11) K; (12) A.

SOURCES: 'Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners,' by Lucille Recht Penner; Webster's Dictionary.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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