I am on a roll with The Weight of Words this week. Microsoft Word keeps telling me that titch isn’t really a word. Every time I type it, the red squiggles instantly appear beneath it. Since I used it in yesterday’s blog post, I feel obliged to pay homage to tiny, little titch.
I first heard titch as a teenager while trying to explain to the stylist about to perm my hair into a mass of curls that would make any teen of the ‘80s green with envy exactly how little hair I wanted removed prior to perming. She assured me that any hairdresser would understand I wanted nothing more than the dead ends cut off if I simply told him or her to cut just a titch. Lo and behold, to this day, her advice holds true.
Titch is informal British for a small person. The slang originated in the 1930s from Little Tich, the stage name of Harry Relph, an English music-hall comedian of small stature. Apparently, Relph earned the nickname because he resembled Arthur Orton, the Tichborne claimant.
Somewhere along the way, it came to mean a small amount, to tut-tut someone in disapproval, or a small child.
I’ll have a titch of coffee before I go.
Titch—you ate all the cake and didn’t save me any?
He’s just a titch of a thing who hasn’t grown much in the past year.
Fortunately, you will not need to expend several cans of Aqua Net to employ the word titch.