In Terry Pratchett's novel, "The Wyrd Sisters", the word "latty" is frequently used. From the context I can figure out that it means some kind of cart (used by traveling performers in the story), but I could not find it in any dictionary. Does it mean what I think it does? Where does it come from, in what time period was it used?

If you do not "just remember it" from somewhere, please include your sources in the answer, so I could check myself next time. Thank you! :)

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    From: "Philip Resheph" at [email protected]: "I wonder if anyone can recall any instances of Polari in the Pratchett canon. Re-reading Wyrd Sisters I was struck by 'latty', which only in TP seems to mean 'cart'. Latty was, as aficionados of Round the Horne will know, the Polari word for flat or home." // I'd say a DIY term (I can't find it in a dictionary), and thus off-topic here as it doesn't seem to have caught on (and so isn't in the English lexicon).. Commented May 5, 2015 at 22:46
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about a non-standard term. Commented May 5, 2015 at 22:48
  • I cannot recall ever hearing this word. My guess, absent any context, would be that it's referring to a "latrine".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 22:50
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    @EdwinAshworth That is not an acceptable close reason. Even words used in thieves’ cant are fair game, let alone Polari. Now you are just discriminating against . . . well, I prefer not to say, but you are.
    – tchrist
    Commented May 5, 2015 at 23:26
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    @EdwinAshworth: We accept questions about dialects and slang all the time. Even if it’s a minority use, it’s still English.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 6:06

2 Answers 2


It's mid 19th century theatrical slang for a bed. From the Italian 'letto', it's also in the form 'letty'. It can be found in A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, & Cant, Albert Barrere, 1890, and also in Slang and Its Analogues by John S. Farmer & W.E. Henley, 1896.

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    Good sleuthing. I note that Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, eighth edition (1984) identifies letty and the variant forms latty and lettary as meaning "A bed; a lodging" and traces its use as far back as 1859.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 5:20
  • OED has it from 1846 'Lord Chief Baron' Swell's Night Guide 71 While the old rum cull‥cannot wag from his Letty,‥the accumulation of dirt thrives monstrously. Also from the same source to scarper the letty (scarper also being of [probably] Italian origins)
    – Frank
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 5:33

Latty meaning is from West Africa, Liberia. It is from a particular tribe in Liberia called "Vai" And the Vai group of People are from Grand Cape Mount. My name is Latty, And this name was given to me by my grand Father.

Latty meaning is Conflic, Confusion or Liberian says "Palava" The name is place on a Child for certain purpose. When my Mother Born me, according to her, she and my father used to make confusion like whet other love do. So when i came on earth, My grand father said Latty ark-bank ( meaning Palava end) and the name i grew up with the name. and it my name.

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    The question is about the English word "latty" used by the author Terry Pratchett. i doubt the Vai word "latty" has any connection.
    – MetaEd
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 18:34

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