in American Senator

Chapter 06 – Not in Love

vulgar lover

Reginald Morton is angry that he asked Mary Masters to walk with him when he thinks she had been expecting Lawrence Twentyman.  In his head, Reginald calls Twentyman Mary’s “vulgar lover.”  In English, this word means “lacking in sophistication” or “distasteful,” making it a fitting descriptor for Reginald to use given his state of mind and the man being described.  However, Trollope may also be calling into play the word’s etymology:  it comes from the adjective vulgaris, meaning “having to do with the common people.”  Reginald considers himself and to an extent Mary members of the elite and thus above Larry Twentyman.  The use of the word could signal to the reader both Reginald’s problem of personal distaste with Larry Twentyman and a larger societal problem of class preference and division.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OED.



Mr. Runciman Anglicizes his pronunciation of the Classically derived “equery,” thus identifying his social class.  Linguistic distinctions of class are being doubly reinforced here, since Mr. Runciman suggests that the well-to-do John Morton may keep an “ekkery” rather than a “coachman” or “groom.”  [CKC & RR 2012]