March 31st, 2004

WotD: Just looking

Today's WotD is fairly topical, as I've just been asked to explain its meaning by one of my American colleagues. One of his clients had used it in relation to a document they were viewing ... he said 'Let's have a butcher's at it'. Obviously the client wasn't suggesting that the local Butcher be dragged into the meeting to give his opinion. Said colleague then legged it down to Mockney Central to get the gen!


• noun
1 a person who cuts up and sells meat as a trade.
2 a person who slaughters animals for food.

PHRASES have (or take) a butcher’s Brit. informal have a look.
butcher’s from butcher’s hook, rhyming slang for a look.

DERIVATIVES butchery noun.

ORIGIN Old French bochier, from boc ‘he-goat’.

Again (have/having a)butcher's is a fairly common term in London and is used regularly in police shows and soap operas, usually as an indicator to the character's origins. I'm sure it's not a word used by the Royal Family!

I had a request by email for some further info on 'cockney rhyming slang' and it's origins. So, courtesy of

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