When Botch Meant the Opposite of Botch

May 5th, 2014

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When Botch Meant the Opposite of Botch

Office du Jerriaisdictionary, vocabulary

Slate dêrengl’ye: “When Botch Meant the Opposite of Botch

How botch became the mot juste for a royal screwup, however, is curious, since “to botch” did not originally mean “to mess up.” In fact, it meant the opposite. The word’s earliest known citation, with the spelling bocchyn, is in a 14th century translation of the Old Testament’s Second Chronicles, which gives an account of the reign of Josiah, who collected money to refurbish the Temple of Solomon.

En Jèrriais, j’avons boûtchîn (ou boûtchage) – chein tch’est boûtchi ou bôtchi, épis boûtcheux (l’Dictionnaithe cite “Ch’n’est pon un ouvriyi, ch’est un boûtcheux!” et d’mande si l’A. “to botch” veindrait d’la même réchinne… tchi qui sait?)

Slate comments on the history of the English word botch – the Dictionnaire Jersiais-Français speculates in the entry for verb boûtchi / bôtchi whether it might have the same derivation as the English word. Especially interesting in the Slate article is the first attestation in English of bocchyn which, whether by coincidence or common origin, seems very similar to our boûtchîn = bad workmanship.