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John Quincy Adams
In a word: catchpoll

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:   CATCHPOLL This very old word (the Oxford English Dictionary displays an Old English citation from A.D. 1050) has fallen sadly into disuse. In the Middle Ages a catchpoll was a tax collector. The word derives from the medieval Latin cacepollus and Old French cachepol, ultimately from the Latin pullus or fowl. It means, literally, “chase-fowl.” The sense is that attempting to collect taxes was like chasing chickens around the barnyard. Over time the word came to...