John McIntyre

In a word: trencherman

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 working vocabulary. This week's word:

If you enjoy your food, pitch into it with gusto and a good appetite, and do not care to be styled a glutton, trencherman (pronounced TRAN-cher-man) is a good word to have beside your plate.
It's a very old word in English, deriving from trencher, which is, variously, a knife, a wooden board on which to cut and serve meat, or a piece of bread on which food is served. Caxton writes in 1490, "They sette hemselfe atte dyner, & made trenchers of brede for to putte theyr mete vpon.*
A trencherman, a person of good appetite, would eat the meat and, after the gravy had soaked into the stale bread on which it was served, consume the bread, too.
The Anglo-French word trenchour comes from the Old French trancheur, which derives from the Latin truncare, "to cut."
Example: From Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing" " He is a very valiaunt trencher man, he hath an excellent stomacke."
*You will note the very old, and respectable, practice in English of ending a setence with a preposition.