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As stated before, the dictionary will supply numerous other instances. The Celtic languages have contributed many Cant and vulgar words to our popular vocabulary. These have come to us through the Gaelic and Irish languages, so closely allied in their material as to be merely dialects of a primitive common tongue. This element may arise from the Celtic portion of our population, which, from its position as slaves or servants to its ancient conquerors, has contributed so largely to the lowest class of the community, therefore to our Slang, provincial, or colloquial words; or it may be an importation from Irish immigrants, who have contributed their fair proportion to our criminal stock.

There is one source, however, of secret street terms which in the first edition of this work was entirely overlooked,—indeed, it was unknown to the original compiler until pointed out by a correspondent,—the Lingua Franca, or bastard Italian, spoken at Genoa, Trieste, Malta, Constantinople, Smyrna, Alexandria, and all Mediterranean seaport towns. The ingredients of this imported Cant are, as its name denotes, many. It has been introduced to the notice of the London wandering tribes by the sailors, foreign and English, who trade to and from the Mediterranean seaports, but it must not be confounded with the mixture of Irish, English, and Italian spoken in neighbourhoods like Saffron Hill and Leather Lane, which are thronged with swarms of organ-grinders from all parts of Italy, and makers of images from Rome and Florence,—all of whom, in these dense thoroughfares, mingle with our lower orders.

It would occupy too much space here to give a list of the words used in either of these Babel-like tongues, especially as the principal of them are noted in the dictionary. In the early part of the last century, when highwaymen and footpads were plentiful, and when the dangerous classes were in larger proportion to the bulk of the population than they are now, a great many new words were added to the canting vocabulary, whilst several old terms fell into disuse.

In the large towns of Ireland and Scotland this secret language is also spoken, with of course additions peculiar to each locality. A singular feature, however, in vulgar language is the retention and the revival of sterling old English words, long since laid up in ancient manuscripts. Johnson and Mr. Walker—yet both crack, in the sense of excellent, and crack up, to boast or praise, were not considered vulgarisms in the time of Henry VIII.

Shakspeare also used many words which are now counted dreadfully vulgar. Shakspeare was not the only vulgar dramatist of his time. Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Brome, and other play-writers, occasionally, and very naturally, put Cant words into the mouths of their low characters, or employed old words which have since degenerated into vulgarisms.

Another slang has been manufactured by transposing the initial letters of words, so that a mutton chop becomes a ch utton m op, and a pint of stout a st int of p out; but it is satisfactory to know that it has gained no ground, as it is remarkable for nothing so much as poverty of resource on the part of its inventors.

It is certainly too puerile a specimen of work to find place here. The subject was not long since brought under the attention of the Government by Mr. Another very curious account was taken from a provincial newspaper, published in , and forwarded to Notes and [28] Queries , [25] under the head of Mendicant Freemasonry.

Every door or passage is pregnant with instruction as to the error committed by the patron of beggars; as the beggar-marks show that a system of freemasonry is followed, by which a beggar knows whether it will be worth his while to call into a passage or knock at a door. Let any one examine the entrances to the passages in any town, and there he will find chalk marks, unintelligible to him, but significant enough to beggars.

If a thousand towns are examined, the same marks will be found at every passage entrance. The passage mark is a cypher with a twisted tail; in some cases the tail projects into the passage, in others outwardly; thus seeming to indicate whether the houses down the passage are worth calling at or not.

Almost every door has its marks; these are varied. In some cases there is a cross on the brickwork, in others a cypher; the figures 1, 2, 3 are also used. Every person may for himself test the accuracy of these statements by the examination of the brickwork near his own doorway—thus demonstrating that mendicity is a regular trade, carried out upon a system calculated to save time, and realize the largest profits. Provincial residents, who are more likely to view the foregoing extract with an eye of suspicion than are those who live in a position to constantly watch for and profit by evidences of the secret intercommunication indulged in by the dangerous [29] classes, should note, in favour of the extract given, how significant is the practice of tramps and beggars calling in unfrequented localities, and how obvious it is that they are directed by a code of signals at once complete and imperious.

It is bad for a tramp who is discovered disobeying secret orders. He is marked out and subjected to all kinds of annoyance by means of decoy hieroglyphs, until his life becomes a burden to him, and he is compelled to starve or—most horrible of alternatives—go to work. They, in fact, represented the worst kinds of the two classes. The law has comparatively recently improved these nondescript gentry off the face of the country, and the hawker of the present day is generally a man more sinned against than sinning.

Another use is also made of hieroglyphs. Charts of successful begging neighbourhoods are rudely drawn, and symbolical signs attached to each house to show whether benevolent or adverse. It was obtained from the patterers and tramps who supplied a great many words for this work, and who were employed by the original publisher in collecting Old Ballads, Christmas Carols, Dying Speeches, and Last Lamentations, as materials for a History of Popular Literature.

The reader will, no doubt, be amused with the drawing. The English practice of marking everything, and scratching names on public property, extends itself to the tribe of vagabonds. On the map, as may be seen in the left-hand corner, some Traveller [29] has drawn a favourite or noted female, singularly nicknamed Three-quarter Sarah. Where did these signs come from?

How strange it would be if some modern Belzoni, or Champollion—say Mr. That the Gipsies were in the habit of leaving memorials of the road they had taken, and the successes that had befallen them, is upon record. It would be hardly fair to close this subject without drawing attention to the extraordinary statement that, actually on the threshold of the gibbet, the sign of the vagabond was to be met with! One gentleman writes from Great Yarmouth to say that, whilst residing in Norwich, he used frequently to see them on the houses and street corners in the suburbs.

Another gentleman, a clergyman, states that he has so far made himself acquainted with the meanings of the signs employed, that by himself marking the characters gammy [33] and flummuxed on the gate-posts of his parsonage, he enjoys a singular immunity from alms-seekers and cadgers on the tramp.

This hint may not be lost on many other sufferers from importunate beggars, yet its publication may lead to the introduction of a new code. In the night-time a cleft stick is placed in the fence at the cross roads, with an arm pointing down the road their comrades have taken. The marks are always placed on the left-hand side, so that the stragglers can easily and readily find them.

Slang is the language of street humour, of fast, high, and low life. Cant, as was stated in the chapter upon that subject, is the vulgar language of secrecy. It must be admitted, however, that within the past few years they have become almost indivisible. They are both universal and ancient, and appear to have been, with certain exceptions, the offspring of gay, vulgar, or worthless persons in every part of the world at every period of time.

The only objection that can be raised to this idea is, that Slang was, so far as can be discovered, traditional, and unwritten, until the appearance of this volume, a state of things which accounts for its many changes, and the doubtful orthography of even its best known and most permanent forms. Slang is almost as old as speech, and must date from the congregating together of [35] people in cities.

It is the result of crowding, and excitement, and artificial life. We have traces of this as far as we can refer back. Martial, the epigrammatist, is full of Slang. It is often full of the most pungent satire, and is always to the point. Old English Slang was coarser, and depended more upon downright vulgarity than our modern Slang. It was a jesting speech, or humorous indulgence for the thoughtless moment or the drunken hour, and it acted as a vent-peg for a fit of temper or irritability; but it did not interlard and permeate every description of conversation as now.

It was confined to nicknames and improper subjects, and encroached but to a very small extent upon the domain of authorized speech. Indeed, it was exceedingly limited when compared with the vast territory of Slang in such general favour and complete circulation at the present day. Still, although not an extensive institution, as in our time, Slang certainly did exist in this country centuries ago, as we may see if we look down the page of any respectable History of England.

Here is a field of inquiry for the Philological Society, indeed a territory, for there are thirty thousand of these partisan tracts. Later still, in the court of Charles II. These Slang phrases contained the marrow of his arguments stripped of all superfluous matter, and they fell with ponderous weight and terrible effect upon his opponents. How crammed with Slang are the dramatic works of the last century! The writers of the comedies and farces in those days must have lived in the streets, and written their plays in the public-houses, so filled are they with vulgarisms and unauthorized words.

In Mrs. The scene in which the two Simon Pures, the real and the counterfeit, meet, is one of the best in the comedy. Goldsmith, even, certainly coined a few words as occasion required, although as a rule his pen was pure and graceful, and adverse to neologisms. This also was brimful of Slang. Other authors helped to popularize and extend Slang down to our own time, and it has now taken a somewhat different turn, dropping many of the Cant and old vulgar words, and assuming a certain quaint and fashionable phraseology—familiar, utilitarian, and jovial.

There can be no doubt that common speech is greatly influenced by fashion, fresh manners, and that general change of ideas which steals over a people once in a generation. But before proceeding further into the region of Slang, it will be well to say something on the etymology of the word. The word Slang is only mentioned by two lexicographers—Webster and Ogilvie. The origin of the word has often been asked for in literary journals and books, but only one man, until recently, ever hazarded an etymology—Jonathan Bee.

How far he succeeded in this latter particular, his ridiculous etymology of Slang will show. Slang is not an English word; it is the Gipsy term for their secret language, and its synonym is Gibberish—another word which was believed to have had no distinct origin. It is not worth while troubling the reader with a long account of the transformation into an English term of the word Slang, as it is easily seen how we obtained it.

Hucksters and beggars on tramp, or at fairs and races, associate and frequently join in any rough enterprise with the Gipsies. Modern philologists give the word Slang as derived from the French langue. This is, at all events, as likely as any other derivative.

Any sudden excitement or peculiar circumstance is quite sufficient to originate and set going a score of Slang words. Nearly every election or public agitation throws out offshoots of excitement, or scintillations of humour in the shape of Slang terms—vulgar at first, but at length adopted, if possessing sufficient hold on the public mind, as semi-respectable from sheer force of habit. There is scarcely a condition or calling in life that does not possess its own peculiar Slang.

Every workshop, warehouse, factory, and mill throughout the country has its Slang, and so have the public schools and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. A writer in Household Words No. Speaker in his chair, to the Cabinet Ministers whispering behind it—from mover to seconder, from true blue Protectionist to extremest Radical—Mr. The universality of Slang is extraordinary. Let any person for a short time narrowly examine the conversation of his dearest and nearest friends, or even analyse his own supposed correct talk, and he shall be amazed at the numerous unauthorized, and what we can only call vulgar, words in constant use.

One peculiarity of the growth of Slang is the finding of new meanings for old words. As, however, we do not make our language, nor for the matter of that our Slang, for the convenience or inconvenience of foreigners, we need not pursue this portion of the subject further. Sound contributes many Slang words—a source that etymologists frequently overlook. Vulgar words representing action and brisk movement often owe their origin to sound, as has before been remarked.

Fashionable or Upper-class Slang is of several varieties. There is the Belgravian, military and naval, parliamentary, dandy, and the reunion and visiting Slang. English officers, civilians, and their families, who have resided long in India, have contributed many terms from the Hindostanee to our language. The extension of trade in China, and the English settlement of Hong Kong, have introduced among us several examples of Canton jargon, that exceedingly curious Anglo-Chinese dialect spoken in the seaports of the Celestial Empire.

While these words have been carried as it were into the families of the upper and middle [45] classes, persons in a humbler rank of life, through the sailors and soldiers and Lascar and Chinese beggars that haunt the metropolis, have also adopted many Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Chinese phrases. As this dictionary would have been incomplete without them, they are carefully recorded in its pages. Concerning the Slang of the fashionable world, it has been remarked that it is mostly imported from France; and that an unmeaning gibberish of Gallicisms runs through English fashionable conversation and fashionable novels, and accounts of fashionable parties in the fashionable newspapers.

Yet, ludicrously enough, immediately the fashionable magnates of England seize on any French idiom, the French themselves not only universally abandon it to us, but positively repudiate it altogether from their idiomatic vocabulary. If you were to tell a well-bred Frenchman that such and such an aristocratic marriage was on the tapis , he would stare with astonishment, and look down on the carpet in the startled endeavour to find a marriage in so unusual a place.

If you were to talk to him of the beau monde , he would imagine you meant the world which God made, not half-a-dozen streets and squares between Hyde Park Corner and Chelsea Bun House. If you were to point out to him the Dowager Lady Grimgriffin acting as chaperon to Lady Amanda Creamville, he would imagine you were referring to the petit Chaperon rouge —to little Red-Riding Hood.

Carew, we are told, should be Mr. The pronunciation of proper names has long been an anomaly in the conversation of the upper classes of this country. It must not be forgotten, however, that the pronunciation of the upper classes, as regards the names of places just mentioned, is a relic of old times when the orthography was different.

The [47] middle-class man is satisfied to take matters the modern way, but even he, when he wishes to be thought a swell, alters his style. In fact, the old rule as to proper names being pronounced according to individual taste, is, and ever will be, of absolute necessity, not only as regards the upper and middle, but the lower classes. A costermonger is ignorant of such a place as Birmingham, but understands you in a moment if you talk of Brummagem. Why do not Pall Mall exquisites join with the costermongers in this pronunciation?

It is the ancient one. When members get excited, and wish to be forcible, they are now and again, but not very often, found guilty of vulgarisms, and then may be not particular which of the street terms they select, providing it carries, as good old Dr. The term comes from America, where caucus means a meeting simply.

Who that occasionally passes near the Houses of Parliament has not often noticed stout or careful M. Military Slang is on a par, and of a character, with dandy Slang. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the great public schools, are the hotbeds of fashionable Slang. Growing boys and high-spirited young fellows detest restraint of all kinds, and prefer making a dash at life in a Slang phraseology of their own to all the set forms and syntactical rules of Alma Mater.

Many of the most expressive words in a common chit-chat, or free-and-easy conversation, are old university vulgarisms. The Slang words in use at Oxford and Cambridge would alone fill a volume. For numerous other examples of college Slang the reader is referred to the Dictionary. Religious Slang, strange as the compound may appear, exists with other descriptions of vulgar speech at the present day.

On the contrary, and in justice to the clergy, it must be said that the principal disseminators of pure English throughout the country are the ministers of our Established Church. Yet it cannot be denied that a great deal of Slang phraseology and expressive vulgarism have gradually crept into the very pulpits which should give forth as pure speech as doctrine.

This is an error which, however, has only to be noticed, to be cured. We hear that Mr. It is applied to every person, book, or place not impregnated with Recordite principles. A ludicrous misunderstanding resulting from this phraseology is on record this is not a joke.

I rode over there to-day, and found the street particularly broad and cheerful, and there is not a tree in the place. In the Essay to which reference has been made, the religious Slang terms for the two great divisions of the Established Church receive some explanation.

What can be more objectionable than the irreverent and offensive manner in which many Dissenting ministers continually pronounce the names of the Deity—God and Lord? This is, though a Christian impulse, hardly in accordance with our modern times and tolerant habits. Many young preachers strive hard to acquire this peculiar pronunciation, in imitation of the older ministers.

What, then, can more properly be called Slang, or, indeed, the most objectionable of Slang, than this studious endeavour to pronounce the most sacred names in a uniformly vulgar and unbecoming manner? If the old-fashioned preacher whistled Cant through his nose, the modern vulgar reverend whines Slang from the more natural organ. Honesty of purpose and evident truthfulness of remark will, however, overcome the [55] most virulent opposition.

The terms used by the mob towards the Church, however illiberal and satirically vulgar, are fairly within the province of an inquiry such as the present. Particular as lawyers generally are about the meanings of words, they have not prevented an unauthorized phraseology from arising, which may be termed legal Slang. Lawyers, from their connexion with the police courts, and transactions with persons in every grade of society, have ample opportunities for acquiring street Slang, of which, in cross-questioning and wrangling, they frequently avail themselves.

It has been said there exists a literary Slang, or the Slang of Criticism—dramatic, artistic, and scientific. It is easy to find fault with this system of doing work, whilst it is not easy to discover another at once so easily understood by educated readers, and so satisfactory to artists themselves. Discretion must, of course, always be used, in fact always is used by the best writers, with regard to the quantity of technical Slang an article will hold comfortably.

Overdone mannerism is always a mistake, and generally defeats its own end. Properly used, these technicalities are allowable as the generous inflections and bendings of a bountiful language, for the purpose of expressing fresh phases of thought, and ideas not yet provided [57] with representative words. To show his partiality to the subject, he once amused his readers with two columns on Slang and Sanscrit, from which the following is taken:—. While, however, the spirit of allegory comes from the East, there is so great a difference between the brevity of Western expression and the more cumbrous diction of the Oriental, that the origin of a phrase becomes difficult to trace.

It is the only word which seems a proper appellation for a great deal which we are obliged to hear and to read every day of our life. The universality of Slang is proved by its continual use in the pages of Punch. Who ever thinks, unless belonging to a past generation, of asking a friend to explain the stray vulgar words employed by the London Charivari?

Many other highly respectable journals often use Slang words and phrases. This is, however, dangerous ground. There exists, too, in the great territory of vulgar speech what may not inappropriately be termed Civic Slang. It consists of mercantile and Stock Exchange terms, and the Slang of good living and wealth. But before proceeding further in a sketch of the different kinds of Slang, it may be as well to speak here of the extraordinary number of Cant and Slang terms in use to represent money—from farthings to bank-notes the value of fortunes.

It is noticeable that coined pieces, and sums which from their smallness or otherwise are mostly in use, receive a commensurate amount of attention from promoters of Slang. The antiquity of many of these Slang names is remarkable. Little, as a modern writer has remarked, do the persons using these phrases know of their remote and somewhat classical origin, which may, indeed, be traced to a period anterior to that when monarchs monopolized the surface of coined money with their own images and superscriptions.

They are identical with the very name of money among the early Romans, which was pecunia , from pecus , a flock. These coins were frequently deeply crossed on the reverse; this was for the [65] convenience of easily breaking them into two or more pieces, should the bargain for which they were employed require it, and the parties making it had no smaller change handy to complete the transaction.

This remark will safely apply to most descriptions of money; and it must not be forgotten that farthing is but a corruption of fourthing, or, literally, fourth part of a penny. The representative coin of the realm was often in olden times made to break up,—but this by the way.

It simply means to give change. We thence gather, however, that the prow of a vessel would appear to have been the more ordinary device of the reverse of the brass coin of that ancient period. There are many other Cant words directly from a classic source, as will be seen in the dictionary. These are, though, very venial offenders compared with those ghouls, the advertising undertakers, who employ boys, loaded with ghastly little books, to follow up the parish doctor, and leave their horrible wares wherever he calls.

If society, as has been remarked, is a sham, from the vulgar foundation of commonalty to the crowning summit of royalty, then do we perceive the justness of the remark in that most peculiar of peculiarities, the Slang of makeshifts for oaths, and sham exclamations for passion and temper. These apologies for feeling are an addition to our vernacular, and though some argue that they are a disgrace, for the reason that no man should pretend to swear or curse who does not do so, it is some satisfaction to know that they serve the purpose of reducing the stock of national profanity.

In a casual survey of the territory of Slang, it is curious to observe how well represented are the familiar wants and failings of life. Used in an uncomplimentary sense. Some think the term is derived from Abigail Hill Mrs.

Abraham-man , a vagabond, such as were driven to beg about the country after the dissolution of the monasteries. They are well described under the title of Bedlam Beggars. Lear , ii. Added to the List , a euphuism current among sporting writers implying that a horse has been gelded.

Admiral of the Red , a person whose very red face evinces a fondness for strong potations. Afternoon Farmer , one who wastes his best opportunity, and drives off the large end of his work to the little end of his time. Against the Grain , in opposition to the wish. Aggerawators corruption of Aggravators , the greasy locks of hair in vogue among costermongers and other street folk, worn twisted from the temple back towards the ear.

This style of adorning the head is, however, fast dying out, and the everyday costermonger or street thief has his hair cut like any one else. The yearly militia drill may have had a good deal to do with this alteration. Albertopolis , a facetious appellation given by the Londoners to the Kensington Gore district. Now obsolete. All of a Hugh! All-overish , neither sick nor well; the premonitory symptoms of illness.

All-rounder , a shirt collar going all round the neck and meeting in front. Once fashionable, but little worn now. All Serene , an ejaculation of acquiescence. Some years back a popular street cry. An artisan would use the same phrase to express the capabilities of a skillful fellow-workman. Always used as a term of encomium. Also a term much in use among sporting men and expressing want of form, or decadence. Almighty Dollar , an American expression representing the manner in which money is worshipped.

Modernly introduced by Washington Irving in The idea of this phrase is, however, far older than the time of Irving. It seems almost obvious that the term must have been applied, not to dollars certainly, but to money, long before the time of Irving. American Tweezers , an instrument used by an hotel-sneak which nips the wards end of a key, and enables him to open a door from the opposite side to that on which it has been locked.

Anointed , i. Product of the squeamishness of the age which tries to thrust away fact by the use of fine words. Apartments to Let , a term used in reference to one who has a somewhat empty head. The last of all was called St. Apple-pie Bed , a trick played at schools on new comers, or on any boy disliked by the rest.

One of the sheets is removed, and the other is doubled in the middle, so that both edges are brought to the top, and look as if both sheets were there; but the unhappy occupant is prevented getting more than half-way down, and he has to remake his bed as best he can. This trick is sometimes played by children of a larger growth.

Apple-Cart , the human structure, so far as the phrases with which it is connected are concerned. Appro , contraction of approbation, a word much in use among jewellers. Atomy , a diminutive or deformed person. Attic Salt , wit, humour, pleasantry. Partly a reference to a suggestive portion of Grecian literature, and partly a sly hit at the well-known poverty of many writers.

Audit Ale , extra strong ale supposed to be drunk when the accounts are audited. Auld-Reekie , an affectionate term for the old town of Edinburgh. Derived from its dingy appearance. Aunt Sally , a favourite figure on racecourses and at fairs, consisting of a wooden head mounted on a stick, firmly fixed in the ground; in the nose of which, or rather where the nose should be, a tobacco-pipe is inserted.

Awake , or FLY , knowing, thoroughly understanding. The phrase is not confined to any section of society. Babes , the lowest order of KNOCK-OUTS which see , who are prevailed upon not to give opposing biddings at auctions, in consideration of their receiving a small sum from one shilling to half-a-crown , and a certain quantity of beer.

They can, however, even after this agreement, be secured on the other side for a little longer price. There is no honour among thieves—at all events not among auction thieves—nowadays. Back , to support by means of money, on the turf or otherwise. Probably from the action of a cat when preparing to give battle to an enemy.

Back-end , that portion of the year which commences with October. This phrase is peculiar to the turf, and has its origin in the fact that October was actually, and is now nearly, the finishing portion of the racing season. Metaphor borrowed from the stables. Back Slang It , to go out the back way. Back-Hander , a blow on the face with the back of the hand, a back-handed tip. Also a drink out of turn, as when a greedy person delays the decanter to get a second glass.

Anything done slyly or secretly is said to be done in a back-handed manner. Backer , one who places his money on a particular man or animal; a supporter of one side in a contest. Virgil has an almost similar phrase, in pejus ruere , which means, by the way, to go to the worse. Bad , hard, difficult. Bad Lot , a term derived from auctioneering slang, and now generally used to describe a man or woman of indifferent morals. Badminton proper is made of claret, sugar, spice, cucumber peel, and ice, and was sometimes used by the patrons of the Prize Ring as a synonym for blood.

Bagman , a commercial traveller. This word is used more in reference to the old style of commercial travellers than to the present. Bags , trousers. Bags of mystery is another phrase in frequent use, and refers to sausages and saveloys. Bag of tricks , refers to the whole of a means towards a result. Originally the London bakers supplied the retailers, i. Bald-Faced Stag , a term of derision applied to a person with a bald head.

Ballast , money. A rich man is said to be well-ballasted. If not proud and over-bearing he is said to carry his ballast well. The probability is that a nobleman then first used it in polite society. The term is derived from the Gipsies. Banded , hungry. From the habit hungry folks have of tying themselves tight round the middle. Bank , to put in a place of safety. Bantling , a child; stated in Bacchus and Venus , , and by Grose , to be a cant term.

This is hardly slang now-a-days, and modern etymologists give its origin as that of bands or swaddling clothes. Quite as probably from the sanitary arrangements which have in hot climates counselled the eating of BANYANS and other fruits in preference to meat on certain days. Term used in connexion with an expression too coarse to print. Barge , a term used among printers compositors to denote a case in which there is an undue proportion of some letters and a corresponding shortness of those which are most valuable.

Bark , an Irish person of either sex. From this term, much in use among the London lower orders, but for which no etymology can be found, Ireland is now and then playfully called Barkshire. Among touting photographers he is called a doorsman. Term used by footpads and thieves generally. Hence a marine term for goggles, which they resemble in shape, and for which they are used by sailors in case of ophthalmic derangement.

Barney , an unfair race of any kind: a sell or cross. Also a lark, jollification, or outing. Barn Stormers , theatrical performers who travel the country and act in barns, selecting short and tragic pieces to suit the rustic taste. Hence the West country proverb—. The word BASH , among thieves, signifies to flog with the cat or birch. Baste , to beat, properly to pour gravy on roasting meat to keep it from burning, and add to its flavour. Also a sewing term. Bastile , the workhouse. Bat , to take an innings at cricket.

Bat , pace at walking or running. Battells , the weekly bills at Oxford. Batty , wages, perquisites. Used metaphorically as early as Beach-Comber , a fellow who prowls about the sea-shore to plunder wrecks, and pick up waifs and strays of any kind.

Saxon , BEAG , a necklace or gold collar—emblem of authority. Bear , one who contracts to deliver or sell a certain quantity of stock in the public funds on a forthcoming day at a stated place, but who does not possess it, trusting to a decline in public securities to enable him to fulfil the agreement and realize a profit. Both words are slang terms on the Stock Exchange, and are frequently used in the business columns of newspapers.

It was the practice of stock-jobbers, in the year , to enter into a contract for transferring South Sea stock at a future time for a certain price; but he who contracted to sell had frequently no stock to transfer, nor did he who bought intend to receive any in consequence of his bargain; the seller was, therefore, called a BEAR , in allusion to the proverb, and [80] the buyer a BULL , perhaps only as a similar distinction.

The contract was merely a wager, to be determined by the rise or fall of stock; if it rose, the seller paid the difference to the buyer, proportioned to the sum determined by the same computation to the seller. Warton on Pope. Bear-Leader , a tutor in a private family. Bear-up and Bearer-up. Beater-Cases , boots. Nearly obsolete. Trotter cases is the term nowadays. Bed-Fagot , a contemptuous term for a woman; generally applied to a prostitute. Several otherwise sensible and excellent M.

Beeline , the straightest possible line of route to a given point. When a bee is well laden, it makes a straight flight for home. Originally an Americanism, but now general. Beeswing , the film which forms on the sides of bottles which contain good old port wine.

Hence the term. The expression was made popular by being once used by Leech. Bell , a song. Bellows , the lungs. With the P. Bender , a sixpence. Probably from its liability to bend. In the days when the term was most in use sixpences were not kept in the excellent state of preservation peculiar to the currency of the present day. Bendigo , a rough fur cap worn in the midland counties, called after a noted pugilist of that name. They are a modification of the common Scotch cap, and have peaks.

Bene , good. Benjamin , coat. Beong , a shilling. Best , to get the better or BEST of a man in any way—not necessarily to cheat—to have the best of a bargain. Bester , a low betting cheat, a fraudulent bookmaker. Betting Round , laying fairly and equally against nearly all the horses in a race so that no great risk can be run. Commonly called getting round. B Flats , bugs. Biddy , a general name applied to Irish stallwomen and milkmaids, in the same manner that Mike is given to the labouring men.

A big red-faced Irish servant girl is known as a Bridget. Big-wig , a person in authority or office. Bilbo , a sword; abbrev. Bilk , a cheat, or a swindler. Formerly in general use, now confined to the streets, where it is common, and mostly used in reference to prostitutes. Billingsgate when applied to speech , foul and coarse language. Many years since people used to visit Thames Street to hear the Billingsgate fishwomen abuse each other.

The anecdote of Dr. Johnson and the Billingsgate virago is well known. Billy , a silk pocket-handkerchief. Belcher , darkish blue ground, large round white spots, with a spot in the centre of darker blue than the ground. Also stolen metal of any kind.

Billy-hunting is buying old metal. A Billy-fencer is a marine-store dealer. Billy was a real person, semi-idiotic, and though in dirt and rags, fancied himself a swell of the first water. Occasionally he came out with real witticisms. He was a well-known street character about the East-end of London, and died in Whitechapel Workhouse. A BIT is the smallest coin in Jamaica, equal to 6d.

Bit usually means the smallest silver coin in circulation; also a piece of money of any kind. Probably because undergraduates consider tea only fit for old women. The term BITE is also applied to a hard bargainer. Swift says it originated with a nobleman in his day. Originally a Gipsy term. Cross-biter , for a cheat, continually occurs in writers of the sixteenth century. Bittock , a distance of very undecided length. It is also an old English term. Biz , contraction of the word business; a phrase much used in America in writing as well as in conversation.

Military officers in mufti , when out on a spree, and not wishing their profession to be known, speak of their barracks as the B. Black and White , handwriting or print. Blackbirding , slave-catching. Term most applied nowadays to the Polynesian coolie traffic. Blackguard , a low or dirty fellow; a rough or a hulking fellow, capable of any meanness or cowardice. Johnson says, and he cites only the modern authority of Swift.

But the introduction of this word into our language belongs not to the vulgar, and is more than a century prior to the time of Swift. Malone agrees with me in exhibiting the two first of the following examples:—The black-guard is evidently designed to imply a fit attendant on the devil. To this smutty regiment, who attended the progresses, and rode in the carts with the pots and kettles, which, with every other article of furniture, were then moved from palace to palace, the people, in derision, gave the name of black guards ; a term since become sufficiently familiar, and never properly explained.

Blackleg , a rascal, swindler, or card cheat. Probably it is from the custom of sporting and turf men wearing black top-boots. Black Maria , the sombre van in which prisoners are conveyed from the police court to prison. Black Monday , the Monday on which boys return to school after the holidays.

Also a low term for the Monday on which an execution took place. Blackwork , undertaking. The waiters met at public dinners are often employed during the day as mutes, etc. Bladder-of-Lard , a coarse, satirical nickname for a bald-headed person. From similarity of appearance. Blarney , flattery, powers of persuasion.

A castle in the county of Cork. It is said that whoever kisses a certain stone in this castle will be able to persuade others of whatever he or she pleases. Bladh is also flattery; hence the connexion. Blazes , a low synonym for the infernal regions, and now almost for anything. Bleed , to victimize, or extract money from a person, to sponge on, to make suffer vindictively.

Blether , to bother, to annoy, to pester. Blew , or BLOW , to inform, or peach, to lose or spend money. Blind-Half-Hundred , the Fiftieth Regiment of Foot; so called through their great sufferings from ophthalmia when serving in Egypt. Blind Monkeys , an imaginary collection at the Zoological Gardens, which are supposed to receive care and attention from persons fitted by nature for such office and for little else.

Another form this elegant conversation takes, is for one man to tell another that he knows of a suitable situation for him. They wont want no physic when they sees your mug. Blinker , a blackened eye. Also a hard blow in the eye. Bloated Aristocrat , a street term for any decently dressed person.

Blob from BLAB , to talk. Block , the head. Also a street obstruction. Since the great rise in the price of meat there has been little necessity for butchers to make block ornaments of their odds and ends. They are bespoke beforehand. Blood , a fast or high-mettled man. Blood-money , the money that used to be paid to any one who by information or evidence led to a conviction for a capital offence. Nowadays applied to all sums received by informers.

Blood-Red Fancy , a particular kind of handkerchief sometimes worn by pugilists and frequenters of prize fights. Bloody , an expletive used, without reference to meaning, as an adjective and an adverb, simply for intensification. See the condition of the flowers on a dinner-table by the time the company rise. Blow a Cloud , to smoke a cigar or pipe—a phrase used two centuries ago.

Most likely in use as long as tobacco here—an almost evident conclusion. Thomas Hood used to tell a story:—. However, I accepted the terms conditionally—that is to say, provided the principle could be properly carried out. Accordingly, I wrote to my butcher, baker, and other tradesmen, informing them that it was necessary, for the sake of cheap literature and the interest of the reading public, that they should furnish me with their several commodities at a very trifling per-centage above cost price.

Blow Up , to make a noise, or scold; formerly a cant expression used among thieves, now a recognised and respectable phrase. Blowing up , a jobation, a scolding. Blowen , originally a showy or flaunting female, now a prostitute only. Bludger , a low thief, who does not hesitate to use violence, literally one who will use a bludgeon.

Blue , said of talk that is smutty or indecent. From the colour of his uniform. Blue , or BLEW , to pawn or pledge. Actually to get rid of. Blue Bellies , a term applied by the Confederate soldiers during the civil war in America to the Federals, the name being suggested by the skyblue gaberdines worn by the Northern soldiers. Blue Billy , the handkerchief blue ground with white spots sometimes worn and used as a colour at prize-fights.

Also, the refuse ammoniacal lime from gas factories. Blue Bottle , a policeman. This well-known slang term for a London constable is used by Shakspeare. In Part ii. The beadles of Bridewell whose duty it was to whip the women prisoners were clad in blue. Blue Devils , the apparitions supposed to be seen by habitual drunkards. Form of del. Blue Murders. Probably from desperate or alarming cries.

A term used more to describe cries of terror or alarm than for any other purpose. Blue-Pigeon-Flyer , sometimes a journeyman plumber, glazier, or other workman, who, when repairing houses, strips off the lead, and makes away with it. This performance is, though, by no means confined to workmen.

An empty house is often entered and the whole of the roof in its vicinity stripped, the only notice given to the folks below being received by them on the occasion of a heavy downfall of rain. The term FLYER has, indeed, of late years been more peculiarly applied to the man who steals the lead in pursuance of his vocation as a thief, than to him who takes it because it comes in the way of his work.

Blues , a fit of despondency. Blues , the police. Bluey , lead. Most likely, though, from the colour, as the term is of the very lowest slang. Blunt , money. Far-fetched as this etymology seems, it may be correct, as it is borne out by the analogy of similar expressions.

Blurt Out , to speak from impulse, and without reflection, to let out suddenly. In spite of the nose over the gate the probability is the real name was Brasinium. It is still famous for its beer. Boat , originally to transport; the term is now applied to penal servitude.

Bob , a shilling. Bob-a-nob , a shilling a-head. This shows how little they think of the meanings of the phrases most in use among them. Bobbish , very well, clever, spruce. These terms are now almost obsolete, so far as the pursuits mentioned are concerned.

Bog-Oranges , potatoes. As, however, the majority of the lower classes of London do believe that potatoes were indigenous to, and were first brought from the soil of Ireland, which is also in some parts supposed to be capable of growing nothing else, they may even believe that potatoes are actually BOG-ORANGES. Bog-Trotter , satirical name for an Irishman.

This has been changed since the extensive alterations in the building, or rather pile of buildings, and the words are now the property of the Bethnal Green Museum. The name is now given to a dried fish bummelow , much eaten by natives and Europeans in Western India. Bone , to steal or appropriate what does not belong to you. Boned , seized, apprehended. Bone , good, excellent. Bone-Grubber , a person who hunts dust-holes, gutters, and all likely spots for refuse bones, which he sells at the rag-shops, or to the bone-grinders.

The term was also applied to a resurrectionist. Bonneting is often done in much better society than that to be found in the ordinary gaming rooms. A man who persuades another to buy an article on which he receives commission or per-centage is said to BONNET or bear-up for the seller.

Booby-Trap , a favourite amusement of boys at school. It consists in placing a pitcher of water on the top of a door set ajar for the purpose; the person whom they wish to drench is then made to pass through the door, and receives the pitcher and its contents on his unlucky head. Books are sometimes used.

Book , an arrangement of bets against certain horses marked in a pocket-book made for that purpose. The BOOKMAKER is distinguished from the backer by its being his particular business to bet against horses, or to lay, while the backer, who is also often a professional gambler, stands by the chance of a horse, or the chances of a set of horses about which he supposes himself to be possessed of special information.

When a bookmaker backs a horse in the course of his regular business, it is because he has laid too much against him, and finds it convenient to share the danger with other bookmakers. Books , a pack of cards. Term used by professional card-players. Derived from the circumstance that prisoners on board convict ships were chained to, or were made to crawl along or stand on the booms for exercise or punishment.

Boon-Companion , a comrade in a drinking bout. Boon evidently corruption of BON. Booze , drink. The term is an old one. Boozing-Ken , a beer-shop, a low public-house. Bore , a troublesome friend or acquaintance, perhaps so called from his unvaried and pertinacious pushing; a nuisance; anything which wearies or annoys. That this was not so, the constant use of the word nowadays will prove. Please to recollect that this species of BORE is a most useful animal, well adapted for the ends for which nature intended him.

He alone, by constantly returning to the charge, and repeating the same truths and the same requests, succeeds in awakening attention to the cause which he advocates, and obtains that hearing which is granted him at last for self-protection, as the minor evil compared to his importunity, but which is requisite to make his cause understood. Bore Pugilistic , to press a man to the ropes of the ring by superior weight.

In the world of athletics to BORE is to push an opponent out of his course. This is a most heinous crime among rowers, as it very often prevents a man having the full use of the tide, or compels him to foul, in which case the decision of the race is left to individual judgment, at times, of necessity, erroneous.

Bosh , nonsense, stupidity. The term was used in this country as early as , and may be found in the Student , vol. Bosh , a fiddle. Bos-Ken , a farmhouse. Boss , a master. Boss-Eyed , said of a person with one eye, or rather with one eye injured, a person with an obliquity of vision. Bostruchyzer , a small kind of comb for curling the whiskers. Bother , trouble or annoyance. Blother , an old word, signifying to chatter idly.

Bottle-Holder , originally a term in prize ring parlance for the second who took charge of the water-bottle, which was an essential feature in all pugilistic arrangements. Bottom , stamina in a horse or man. Power to stand fatigue; endurance to receive a good beating and still fight on. Pierce Egan was very fond of the word. Botts , the colic or bellyache. Burns uses it. See Death and Dr. Botty , conceited, swaggering.

Bouncer , a person who steals whilst bargaining with a tradesman, a swindler, or a lie of more than ordinary dimensions. Bounder , a four-wheeled cab. Because of its jumping motion over the stones. Also a University term for a TRAP , which generally has a very rough time of it on the country roads. Bow-Catcher , or KISS-CURL , a small curl which a few years back used to be, and probably will be again some day, twisted on the cheeks or temples of young—and often old—girls, adhering to the face as if gummed or pasted.

In old times this was called a lovelock, when it was the mark at which all the Puritan and ranting preachers levelled their pulpit pop-guns, loaded with sharp and virulent abuse. Hall and Prynne looked upon all women as strumpets who dared to let the hair depart from a straight line upon their cheeks. In the days of the Civil Wars, the very last thing a Cavalier would part with was his love-lock. Bowdlerization , a term used in literary circles to signify undue strictness of treatment caused by over-modesty in editing a classic.

Bowlas , round tarts made of sugar, apple, and bread, sold in the streets, especially at the East-end of London. Box the Compass , to repeat the thirty-two points of the compass either in succession or irregularly. Brads , money.

Properly a small kind of nails used by cobblers. Both pugilistic and exchangeable terms. Bran-New , quite new. Brass , impudence. In some artillerymen stationed at Norwich were directed to prove some brass ordnance belonging to the city. Brazen-Faced , impudent, shameless. Quarles in his Emblems says—. Bread-Bags , a nickname given in the army and navy to any one connected with the victualling department, as a purser or purveyor in the Commissariat. Five-and-twenty is the price, but yer shall have them for 20s.

Break Shins , to borrow money. Also among schoolboys to be well flogged. Breef , probably identical with BRIEF , a shortened card used for cheating purposes; thus described in an old book of games of about —. When you cut to your adversary cut at the ends, and then it is a chance if you cut him an honour, because the cards at the ends are all of a length. Thus you may make breefs end-ways as well as sideways.

About the highest compliment that in one word can be paid one man. Bridge , a cheating trick at cards, by which any particular card is cut by previously curving it by the pressure of the hand. Investments Flat Front Dress Pants. Investments Casual Dress Pants. Investments Polyester Dress Pants. Investments Red Dress Pants. Investments Dress Pants in San Francisco.

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Malone agrees with me in exhibiting the two first of the following examples:—The black-guard is evidently designed to imply a fit attendant on the devil. To this smutty regiment, who attended the progresses, and rode in the carts with the pots and kettles, which, with every other article of furniture, were then moved from palace to palace, the people, in derision, gave the name of black guards ; a term since become sufficiently familiar, and never properly explained.

Blackleg , a rascal, swindler, or card cheat. Probably it is from the custom of sporting and turf men wearing black top-boots. Black Maria , the sombre van in which prisoners are conveyed from the police court to prison. Black Monday , the Monday on which boys return to school after the holidays. Also a low term for the Monday on which an execution took place. Blackwork , undertaking.

The waiters met at public dinners are often employed during the day as mutes, etc. Bladder-of-Lard , a coarse, satirical nickname for a bald-headed person. From similarity of appearance. Blarney , flattery, powers of persuasion. A castle in the county of Cork. It is said that whoever kisses a certain stone in this castle will be able to persuade others of whatever he or she pleases.

Bladh is also flattery; hence the connexion. Blazes , a low synonym for the infernal regions, and now almost for anything. Bleed , to victimize, or extract money from a person, to sponge on, to make suffer vindictively. Blether , to bother, to annoy, to pester. Blew , or BLOW , to inform, or peach, to lose or spend money.

Blind-Half-Hundred , the Fiftieth Regiment of Foot; so called through their great sufferings from ophthalmia when serving in Egypt. Blind Monkeys , an imaginary collection at the Zoological Gardens, which are supposed to receive care and attention from persons fitted by nature for such office and for little else.

Another form this elegant conversation takes, is for one man to tell another that he knows of a suitable situation for him. They wont want no physic when they sees your mug. Blinker , a blackened eye. Also a hard blow in the eye. Bloated Aristocrat , a street term for any decently dressed person. Blob from BLAB , to talk. Block , the head. Also a street obstruction. Since the great rise in the price of meat there has been little necessity for butchers to make block ornaments of their odds and ends.

They are bespoke beforehand. Blood , a fast or high-mettled man. Blood-money , the money that used to be paid to any one who by information or evidence led to a conviction for a capital offence. Nowadays applied to all sums received by informers. Blood-Red Fancy , a particular kind of handkerchief sometimes worn by pugilists and frequenters of prize fights.

Bloody , an expletive used, without reference to meaning, as an adjective and an adverb, simply for intensification. See the condition of the flowers on a dinner-table by the time the company rise. Blow a Cloud , to smoke a cigar or pipe—a phrase used two centuries ago. Most likely in use as long as tobacco here—an almost evident conclusion. Thomas Hood used to tell a story:—. However, I accepted the terms conditionally—that is to say, provided the principle could be properly carried out.

Accordingly, I wrote to my butcher, baker, and other tradesmen, informing them that it was necessary, for the sake of cheap literature and the interest of the reading public, that they should furnish me with their several commodities at a very trifling per-centage above cost price. Blow Up , to make a noise, or scold; formerly a cant expression used among thieves, now a recognised and respectable phrase. Blowing up , a jobation, a scolding. Blowen , originally a showy or flaunting female, now a prostitute only.

Bludger , a low thief, who does not hesitate to use violence, literally one who will use a bludgeon. Blue , said of talk that is smutty or indecent. From the colour of his uniform. Blue , or BLEW , to pawn or pledge. Actually to get rid of. Blue Bellies , a term applied by the Confederate soldiers during the civil war in America to the Federals, the name being suggested by the skyblue gaberdines worn by the Northern soldiers. Blue Billy , the handkerchief blue ground with white spots sometimes worn and used as a colour at prize-fights.

Also, the refuse ammoniacal lime from gas factories. Blue Bottle , a policeman. This well-known slang term for a London constable is used by Shakspeare. In Part ii. The beadles of Bridewell whose duty it was to whip the women prisoners were clad in blue.

Blue Devils , the apparitions supposed to be seen by habitual drunkards. Form of del. Blue Murders. Probably from desperate or alarming cries. A term used more to describe cries of terror or alarm than for any other purpose. Blue-Pigeon-Flyer , sometimes a journeyman plumber, glazier, or other workman, who, when repairing houses, strips off the lead, and makes away with it.

This performance is, though, by no means confined to workmen. An empty house is often entered and the whole of the roof in its vicinity stripped, the only notice given to the folks below being received by them on the occasion of a heavy downfall of rain. The term FLYER has, indeed, of late years been more peculiarly applied to the man who steals the lead in pursuance of his vocation as a thief, than to him who takes it because it comes in the way of his work.

Blues , a fit of despondency. Blues , the police. Bluey , lead. Most likely, though, from the colour, as the term is of the very lowest slang. Blunt , money. Far-fetched as this etymology seems, it may be correct, as it is borne out by the analogy of similar expressions. Blurt Out , to speak from impulse, and without reflection, to let out suddenly. In spite of the nose over the gate the probability is the real name was Brasinium.

It is still famous for its beer. Boat , originally to transport; the term is now applied to penal servitude. Bob , a shilling. Bob-a-nob , a shilling a-head. This shows how little they think of the meanings of the phrases most in use among them. Bobbish , very well, clever, spruce. These terms are now almost obsolete, so far as the pursuits mentioned are concerned. Bog-Oranges , potatoes. As, however, the majority of the lower classes of London do believe that potatoes were indigenous to, and were first brought from the soil of Ireland, which is also in some parts supposed to be capable of growing nothing else, they may even believe that potatoes are actually BOG-ORANGES.

Bog-Trotter , satirical name for an Irishman. This has been changed since the extensive alterations in the building, or rather pile of buildings, and the words are now the property of the Bethnal Green Museum. The name is now given to a dried fish bummelow , much eaten by natives and Europeans in Western India. Bone , to steal or appropriate what does not belong to you.

Boned , seized, apprehended. Bone , good, excellent. Bone-Grubber , a person who hunts dust-holes, gutters, and all likely spots for refuse bones, which he sells at the rag-shops, or to the bone-grinders. The term was also applied to a resurrectionist. Bonneting is often done in much better society than that to be found in the ordinary gaming rooms. A man who persuades another to buy an article on which he receives commission or per-centage is said to BONNET or bear-up for the seller.

Booby-Trap , a favourite amusement of boys at school. It consists in placing a pitcher of water on the top of a door set ajar for the purpose; the person whom they wish to drench is then made to pass through the door, and receives the pitcher and its contents on his unlucky head. Books are sometimes used. Book , an arrangement of bets against certain horses marked in a pocket-book made for that purpose.

The BOOKMAKER is distinguished from the backer by its being his particular business to bet against horses, or to lay, while the backer, who is also often a professional gambler, stands by the chance of a horse, or the chances of a set of horses about which he supposes himself to be possessed of special information. When a bookmaker backs a horse in the course of his regular business, it is because he has laid too much against him, and finds it convenient to share the danger with other bookmakers.

Books , a pack of cards. Term used by professional card-players. Derived from the circumstance that prisoners on board convict ships were chained to, or were made to crawl along or stand on the booms for exercise or punishment. Boon-Companion , a comrade in a drinking bout. Boon evidently corruption of BON. Booze , drink.

The term is an old one. Boozing-Ken , a beer-shop, a low public-house. Bore , a troublesome friend or acquaintance, perhaps so called from his unvaried and pertinacious pushing; a nuisance; anything which wearies or annoys. That this was not so, the constant use of the word nowadays will prove. Please to recollect that this species of BORE is a most useful animal, well adapted for the ends for which nature intended him. He alone, by constantly returning to the charge, and repeating the same truths and the same requests, succeeds in awakening attention to the cause which he advocates, and obtains that hearing which is granted him at last for self-protection, as the minor evil compared to his importunity, but which is requisite to make his cause understood.

Bore Pugilistic , to press a man to the ropes of the ring by superior weight. In the world of athletics to BORE is to push an opponent out of his course. This is a most heinous crime among rowers, as it very often prevents a man having the full use of the tide, or compels him to foul, in which case the decision of the race is left to individual judgment, at times, of necessity, erroneous.

Bosh , nonsense, stupidity. The term was used in this country as early as , and may be found in the Student , vol. Bosh , a fiddle. Bos-Ken , a farmhouse. Boss , a master. Boss-Eyed , said of a person with one eye, or rather with one eye injured, a person with an obliquity of vision. Bostruchyzer , a small kind of comb for curling the whiskers.

Bother , trouble or annoyance. Blother , an old word, signifying to chatter idly. Bottle-Holder , originally a term in prize ring parlance for the second who took charge of the water-bottle, which was an essential feature in all pugilistic arrangements.

Bottom , stamina in a horse or man. Power to stand fatigue; endurance to receive a good beating and still fight on. Pierce Egan was very fond of the word. Botts , the colic or bellyache. Burns uses it. See Death and Dr. Botty , conceited, swaggering. Bouncer , a person who steals whilst bargaining with a tradesman, a swindler, or a lie of more than ordinary dimensions. Bounder , a four-wheeled cab. Because of its jumping motion over the stones. Also a University term for a TRAP , which generally has a very rough time of it on the country roads.

Bow-Catcher , or KISS-CURL , a small curl which a few years back used to be, and probably will be again some day, twisted on the cheeks or temples of young—and often old—girls, adhering to the face as if gummed or pasted. In old times this was called a lovelock, when it was the mark at which all the Puritan and ranting preachers levelled their pulpit pop-guns, loaded with sharp and virulent abuse.

Hall and Prynne looked upon all women as strumpets who dared to let the hair depart from a straight line upon their cheeks. In the days of the Civil Wars, the very last thing a Cavalier would part with was his love-lock.

Bowdlerization , a term used in literary circles to signify undue strictness of treatment caused by over-modesty in editing a classic. Bowlas , round tarts made of sugar, apple, and bread, sold in the streets, especially at the East-end of London. Box the Compass , to repeat the thirty-two points of the compass either in succession or irregularly.

Brads , money. Properly a small kind of nails used by cobblers. Both pugilistic and exchangeable terms. Bran-New , quite new. Brass , impudence. In some artillerymen stationed at Norwich were directed to prove some brass ordnance belonging to the city. Brazen-Faced , impudent, shameless.

Quarles in his Emblems says—. Bread-Bags , a nickname given in the army and navy to any one connected with the victualling department, as a purser or purveyor in the Commissariat. Five-and-twenty is the price, but yer shall have them for 20s. Break Shins , to borrow money.

Also among schoolboys to be well flogged. Breef , probably identical with BRIEF , a shortened card used for cheating purposes; thus described in an old book of games of about —. When you cut to your adversary cut at the ends, and then it is a chance if you cut him an honour, because the cards at the ends are all of a length. Thus you may make breefs end-ways as well as sideways. About the highest compliment that in one word can be paid one man.

Bridge , a cheating trick at cards, by which any particular card is cut by previously curving it by the pressure of the hand. Briefs , cards constructed on a cheating principle. English translation, by J. Hotten, , p. Brim , a violent irascible woman, as inflammable and unpleasant as brimstone, from which the word is contracted. Briney , the sea. Broad-Brim , originally applied to a Quaker only, but now used in reference to all quiet, sedate, respectable old men. Broad-Faking , playing at cards.

Broads , cards. Broadsman , a card-sharper. See Broad-faking. Broady , cloth. Evidently a corruption of broadcloth. Brosier , a bankrupt. Brother-Chip , originally fellow carpenter. Almost general now as brother tradesman of any kind. Brother-Smut , a term of familiarity. Brown , a halfpenny. Brown Study , a reverie. Very common even in educated society, but hardly admissible in writing, and therefore considered a vulgarism. Brown Talk , conversation of an exceedingly proper character, Quakerish.

Compare BLUE. Bruiser , a fighting man, a pugilist. Brum , a counterfeit coin. Corruption of Brummagem , for meaning of which see Introductory Chapter. Bub , drink of any kind. See ante. Bubble , to over-reach, deceive, to tempt by means of false promises. Acta Regia , ii. Buckled , to be married. Also to be taken in custody. Both uses of the word common and exchangeable among the London lower classes. Bubbley-Jock , a turkey, or silly boasting fellow; a prig. Both names, no doubt, from its cry, which is supposed by imaginative persons to consist of the two words exactly.

Buck , sixpence. Probably a corruption of Fyebuck. Buckhorse was a man who either possessed or professed insensibility to pain, and who would for a small sum allow anyone to strike him with the utmost force on the side of the face.

Shakspeare uses the word in the latter sense, Henry IV. Buckra , a white man. They probably first learned it from a missionary. Buckshish has taken up a very firm residence in Europe—may, in fact, on a much larger scale than that of Asia, be said to have always had an existence here. Buckshish is a very important item in the revenues of officials who hold positions of considerable importance, as well as in those of their humbler brethren.

Probably also, on the lucus a non lucendo principle, because its use made one incapable of budging. The term was once applied to those who took false oaths for a consideration; but though the word has fallen into disuse there is no particular reason for imagining that the practice has. Buffer , a woman employed in a Sheffield warehouse to give the final polish to goods previously to their being plated. Buffer , a dog.

The BUFFER of a railway-carriage doubtless received its very appropriate name from the old pugilistic application of this term. Buffle-Head , a stupid or obtuse person. Buggy , a gig, or light chaise. Common term in America and in India, as well as in England.

Bull , one who agrees to purchase stock at a future day, at a stated price, but who simply speculates for a rise in public securities to render the transaction a profitable one. Should stocks fall, the BULL is then called upon to pay the difference. See WORK. Bull , term amongst prisoners for the meat served to them in jail. Also very frequently used instead of the word beef.

Bulldogs , the runners who accompany the proctor in his perambulations, and give chase to runaways. Bullet , to discharge from a situation. The use of the term is most probably derived from a fancied connexion between it and the word discharge. Bull the Cask , to pour hot water into an empty rum puncheon, and let it stand until it extracts the spirit from the wood.

The mixture is drunk by sailors in default of something stronger. Bully , a braggart; in the language of the streets, a man of the most degraded morals, who protects fallen females, and lives off their miserable earnings. Bullyrag , to abuse or scold vehemently; to swindle one out of money by intimidation and sheer abuse.

Bum , the part on which we sit. Bumble , to muffle. Bumble-footed , club-footed, or awkward in the gait. Bumble , a beadle. Bumble-Puppy , a game played in public-houses on a large stone, placed in a slanting direction, on the lower end of which holes are excavated, and numbered like the holes in a bagatelle-table.

The player rolls a stone ball, or marble, from the higher end, and according to the number of the hole it falls into the game is counted. It is undoubtedly the very ancient game of Troule-in-madame. Bumclink , in the Midland counties the inferior beer brewed for haymakers and harvest labourers. Derivation obvious. Bum-Curtain , an old name for academical gowns when they were worn scant and short, especially those of the students of St.

Any ragged or short academical gown. Bummarees , a term given to a class of speculating salesmen at Billingsgate market, not recognised as such by the trade, but who get a living by buying large quantities of fish from the salesmen and re-selling them to smaller buyers. The word has been used in the statutes and bye-laws of the market for upwards of years. It has been variously derived. One of them is to blow up codfish with a pipe until they look double their actual size.

Of course when the fish come to table they are flabby, sunken, and half dwindled away. Bummer , literally one who sits or idles about; a loafer; one who sponges upon his acquaintances. Bumper is used in sporting and theatrical circles to denote a benefit which is one in reality as well as in name. Bumptious , arrogant, self-sufficient. Bunce , Grose gives as the cant word for money.

Bundling , men and women sleeping together, where the divisions of the house will not permit of better or more decent accommodation, with all their clothes on. Bundling was originally courting done in bed, the lovers being tied or bundled up to prevent undue familiarities. The practice still obtains in some parts of Wales. Bung , to give, pass, hand over, drink, or to perform almost any action.

BUNG up, to close up, as the eyes. Also, to deceive one by a lie, to CRAM , which see. The expression arose from a speech made by a North Carolina senator named Buncombe. Almost every prison has a nickname of this kind, either from the name of the Governor, or from some local circumstance.

Burke , to kill, to murder, secretly and without noise, by means of strangulation. From Burke, the notorious Edinburgh murderer, who, with an accomplice named Hare, used to decoy people into the den he inhabited, kill them, and sell their bodies for dissection.

Bishop and Williams were their London imitators. Also, a kiss, abbreviation of Fr. Shillibeer started the first BUS in London. A shillibeer is now a hearse and mourning coach all in one, used by the very poorest mourners and shabbiest undertakers. Bus , business of which it is a contraction or action on the stage, so written, but pronounced BIZ. See BIZ. Business , the action which accompanies dialogue. Busk , to sell obscene songs and books at the bars and in the tap-rooms of public-houses. Sometimes it implies selling other articles.

Busting , informing against accomplices when in custody. Butcha , a Hindoo word in use among Englishmen for the young of any animal. Butcher , the king in playing-cards. When card-playing in public houses was common, the kings were called butchers, the queens bitches, and the knaves jacks. The latter term is now in general use.

Probably because, under any circumstances, a butcher would rather not wear a black hat. White hats and black bands have, however, become genteel ever since the late Prince Consort patronized them, though they retain a deal of the old sporting leaven. At any mock or sham auction seedy specimens may be seen. Probably from the connexion of buttons with Brummagem, which is often used as a synonym for a sham.

Perhaps because button-making is a sorry occupation. Butty , a word used in the mining districts to denote a kind of overseer. Buz , to share equally the last of a bottle of wine, when there is not enough for a full glass to each of the party. Whoever breaks the rule pays a fine, which is thrown on the table, and the accumulation expended in drink for the company.

But the Licensing Act and a zealous police are fast clearing them all out. Buz-Bloke , a pickpocket who principally confines his attention to purses and loose cash. Gloak was old cant for a man. Buz-napper , a young pickpocket. Buz-man , an informer; from BUZ , to whisper, but more generally a thief. Figures were dressed up, and experienced tutors stood in various difficult attitudes for the boys to practise upon. When clever [] enough they were sent on the streets.

Dickens gives full particulars of this old style of business in Oliver Twist. Buzzer , a pickpocket. The term is older than is frequently imagined—vide Bacchus and Venus p. By Jingo , an oath or exclamation having no particular meaning, and no positive etymology, though it is believed by some that JINGO is derived from the Basque jenco , the devil.

Our abbreviation, which certainly smacks of slang, has been stamped with the authority of the Legislature, and has been honoured by universal custom. Cabbage , pieces of cloth said to be purloined by tailors. Any small profits in the way of material. Cabbage , to pilfer or purloin. Said to have been first used in the above sense by Arbuthnot. Cabby , popular name for the driver of a cab. This title has almost supplanted the more ancient one of jarvey.

Caboose , the galley or cook-house of a ship; a term used by tramps to indicate a kitchen. Cackling-Cove , an actor. Cad , or CADGER from which it is shortened , a mean or vulgar fellow; a beggar; one who would rather live on other people than work for himself; a man who tries to worm something out of another, either money or information. Johnson uses the word, and gives huckster as the meaning, in which sense it was originally used.

Cad , an omnibus conductor. Of late years the term has been generically applied to the objectionable class immortalized by Thackeray under the title of snob. A great deal of caddism is, however, perpetrated by those who profess to have the greatest horror of it—the upper classes—a fact which goes far to prove that it is impossible to fairly ascribe a distinctive feature to any grade of society.

Cadge , to beg in an artful, wheedling manner. Cadging , begging, generally with an eye to pilfering when an opportunity occurs. Cagmag , bad food, scraps, odds and ends; or that which no one could relish. Calculate , a word much in use among the inhabitants of the Western States U.

Caleb Quotem , a parish clerk; a jack of all trades. From a character in The Wags of Windsor. California , or Californians , money. Term generally applied to gold only. Derivation very obvious. Also to give in, yield, at any game or business. Camesa , shirt or chemise. This latter is the more likely etymology, as anyone who visits the various quarters where Irish, Italians, and a mongrel mixture of half-a-dozen races congregate and pig together, will admit.

Cannibals , the training boats for the Cambridge freshmen, i. Torpids is the usual term for the races in which these men and machines figure. Cantankerous , litigious, bad-tempered. An American corruption probably of contentious. Cap , a false cover to a tossing coin. The term and the instrument are both nearly obsolete. Capper-Clawing , female encounter, where caps are torn and nails freely used. The word occurs in Shakspeare , Troilus and Cressida , act v.

Caravan , a railway train, especially a train expressly chartered to convey people to a prize fight. Caravansera , a railway station. In pugilistic phraseology a tip for the starting point might have been given thus. Carboy , a general term in most parts of the world for a very large glass or earthenware bottle. Card , a character. A cloak with this name was in fashion in the year It received its title from its similarity in shape to one of the vestments of a cardinal.

Also mulled red wine. Carney , soft hypocritical language. Also, to flatter, wheedle, or insinuate oneself. Carnish , meat, from the Ital. Caroon , five shillings. Carrier-Pigeon , a swindler, one who formerly used to cheat lottery-office keepers. Carrots , the coarse and satirical term for red hair. An epigram gives an illustration of the use of this term:—. Carry Corn , to bear success well and equally. Carry me Out! Profanely [] derived from the Nunc dimittis Luke xi.

Nautical term —from carrying on sail. Carts , a pair of shoes. Cart-wheel , a five-shilling piece. Casa , or CASE , a house, respectable or otherwise. Among young ladies at boarding-schools a CASE means a love-affair. Case now means any unfortunate matter. Case , a bad crown-piece. Half-a-case , a counterfeit half-crown. There are two sources, either of which may have contributed this slang term.

Caser is the Hebrew word for a crown; and silver coin is frequently counterfeited by coating or CASING pewter or iron imitations with silver. Cask , fashionable slang for a brougham, or other private carriage. Not very general. Cast , to assist by lightening labour. Castor , a hat. Mostly used in pugilistic circles. Indeed many hangers-on of the P. Cat , to vomit like a cat. Cat and Kitten Sneaking , stealing pint and quart pots and small pewter spirit measures from public-houses.

Catchbet , a bet made for the purpose of entrapping the unwary by means of a paltry subterfuge. A piece of paper smeared with a sweet sticky substance which is spread about where flies most abound, and in this sense not particularly humane. Catch-penny , any temporary contrivance to obtain money from the public; penny shows, or cheap exhibitions.

Also descriptions of murders which have never taken place. Catchy similar formation to touchy , inclined to take an undue advantage. Caterwauling , applied derisively to inharmonious singing; also love-making, from the noise of cats similarly engaged.

Catever , a queer, or singular affair; anything poor, or very bad. Variously spelled by the lower orders. Cat-lap , a contemptuous expression for weak drink. Anything a cat will drink is very innocuous. Cats and Dogs. It is said to rain cats and dogs when a shower is exceptionally heavy. A sea term, meaning light and occasional breezes occurring in calm weather. Caulk , to take a surreptitious nap; sleep generally, from the ordinary meaning of the term; stopping leaks, repairing damages, so as to come out as good as new.

Caulker , a dram. Caulker , a too marvellous story, a lie. Choker has the same sense. Caution , anything out of the common way. The phrase is also used in many ways in reference to places and things. Metaphor taken from the sinking of an abandoned mining shaft. Chaff , to gammon, joke, quiz, or praise ironically. Chaff , jesting. In the Ancren Riwle , A. Phrase derived from the Workshop. An ordeal for drunkenness used on board ship, to see whether the suspected person can walk on a chalked line without overstepping it on either side.

Two chalk lines are drawn wide apart on the deck or floor, and the boy to be punished places a foot on each of these lines, and stoops, thereby [] presenting a convenient portion of his person to the boatswain or master. Chance the Ducks , an expression signifying come what may. From the helplessness of a suitor in Chancery. This opportunity was of very rare occurrence when the combatants were at all evenly matched.

Change , small money. The overplus returned after paying for a thing in a round sum. Used by Byron in his Critical Remarks. An undergrad is expected to attend seven out of the fourteen services in chapel each week, and to let four or five be morning chapels. Chaunt , to sing the contents of any paper in the streets. Chaunter-culls , a singular body of men who used to haunt certain well-known public-houses, and write satirical or libellous ballads on any person, or body of persons, for a consideration.

Strange as it may appear, there are actually two men in London at the present day who gain their living in this way. Very recently they were singing before the establishment of a fashionable tailor in Regent Street; and not long since they were bawling their doggrel rhymes outside the mansion of a Norfolk M. Chaunters , those street sellers of ballads, last copies of verses, and other broadsheets, who sang or bawled the contents of their papers.

Chaw-bacon , a rustic. Derived from the popular idea that a countryman lives entirely on bread and fat bacon. A country clown, a joskin, a yokel, a clodcrusher. These terms are all exchangeable. Cheap Jacks , or JOHNS , oratorical hucksters and patterers of hardware, who put an article up at a high price, and then cheapen it by degrees, indulging all the time in volleys of coarse wit, until it becomes to all appearance a bargain, and as such it is bought by one of the crowd.

The popular idea is that the inverse method of auctioneering saves them paying for the auction licence. Checks , counters used in games at cards. In the Pacific States of America a man who is dead is said to have handed or passed in his checks.

The gamblers there are responsible for many of the colloquialisms current. Chee-Chee , this word is used in a rather offensive manner to denote Eurasians, [58] or children by an English father and native mother. Cheek by Jowl , side by side—said often of persons in such close confabulation that their faces almost touch.

In the last CHIZ means a thing—that is the thing, i. Term very common. Cheesecutter , a prominent and aquiline nose. Also a large square peak to a cap. Caps fitted with square peaks are called cheesecutter caps. Cheesemongers , once a popular name for the First Lifeguards. Cherry-colour , either red or black, as you wish; a term used in a cheating trick at cards.

When the cards are being dealt, a knowing one offers to bet that he will tell the colour of the turn-up card. The sum being named, Mr. It may be as well for the habitually unfortunate to know that wagers of this kind are not recoverable even according to the sporting code, which disacknowledges all kinds of catch-bets. Cherry-merry , a present of money. Cherry-merry-bamboo , a beating.

Possibly because in some places their heads alone are visible. Chicken-hearted , cowardly, fearful. With about the amount of pluck a chicken in a fright might be supposed to possess. Chill , to warm, as beer. Chip of the Old Block , a child which physically or morally resembles its father.

Brother chip , one of the same trade or profession. Originally brother carpenter, now general. Chisel , to cheat, to take a slice off anything. Chitterlings , the shirt frills once fashionable and worn still by ancient beaux; properly the entrails of a pig , to which they are supposed to bear some resemblance. Chivalry , coition. Probably a corruption from the Lingua Franca.

Chive , a knife; also used as a verb, to knife. Chivey , to chase round, or hunt about. Chokey is also very vulgar slang for prison. Chock-Full , full till the scale comes down with a shock. Choke Off , to get rid of. Bulldogs can only be made to loose their hold by choking them. Choker , a cravat, a neckerchief. White-choker , the white neckerchief worn by mutes at a funeral, waiters at a tavern, and gentlemen in evening costume.

Chop , in the Canton jargon of Anglo-Chinese , this word has several significations. It means an official seal, a permit, a boat load of teas. From the Turkish , in which language it signifies an interpreter. Gifford gives a curious story as to its origin:—. From the notoriety which attended the fraud, and the magnitude of the swindle, any one who cheated or defrauded was said to chiaous , or chause , or CHOUSE ; to do, that is, as this Chiaous had done.

Past and Present. Chiaus , according to Sandys Travels , p. Chow-Chow , a mixture, food of any kind. Also chit-chat and gossip. Christening , erasing the name of the maker, the number, or any other mark, from a stolen watch, and inserting a fictitious one in its place. Chubby , round-faced, plump. Probably from the same derivative as CHUB , which means literally a fish with a big head.

Provision for an entertainment. Chuck a Jolly , to bear up or bonnet, as when a costermonger praises the inferior article his mate or partner is trying to sell. See Chi-ike. Chuck up , to surrender, give in—from the custom of throwing up the sponge at a prize-fight in token of yielding. Chuff it , i. Chull , make haste. Chum , an intimate acquaintance. A recognised term, but in such frequent use with slangists that it almost demands a place here. Chum , to occupy a joint lodging with another person.

Latin , CUM. Chumming-up , an old custom amongst prisoners before the present regulations were in vogue, and before imprisonment for debt was abolished; when a fresh man was admitted to their number, rough music was made with pokers, tongs, sticks, and saucepans. Chummy , a chimney-sweep—probably connected with chimney ; also a low-crowned felt hat.

Sometimes, but rarely, a sweep is called a clergyman—from his colour. Chump , the head or face. Also one end of a loin of mutton. A half-idiotic or daft person is said to be off his chump. Church a yack or watch , to take the works of a watch from its original case, and put them into another one, to avoid detection. Sometimes called an Alderman. Clack-box , a garrulous person, so called from the rattle formerly used by vagrants to make a rattling noise and attract attention.

It was a wooden dish with a movable cover. Claggum , boiled treacle in a hardened state, hardbake. Clap is also a well-known form of a contagious disease. Clapper , the tongue. Said of an over-talkative person, to be hung in the middle and to sound with both ends. Clap-trap , high-sounding nonsense. Claret , blood. Otherwise Badminton —which see. Class , the highest quality or combination of highest qualities among athletes.

The term as used this way obtains to a certain extent among turfites. Clawhammer coat , an American term for a tail-coat used in evening costume. Also known as a steel-pen coat. Clean contrary , quite different, opposite. Clean out , to ruin, or make bankrupt any one; to take all he has got, [] by purchase, chicane, or force. De Quincey, in his article on Richard Bentley, speaking of the lawsuit between that great scholar and Dr.

Click , a knock or blow. Click-handed , left-handed. Clicker , a female touter at a bonnet shop. In Northamptonshire, the cutter out in a shoemaking establishment. Clincher , that which rivets or confirms an argument, an incontrovertible position.

Also a lie which cannot be surpassed, a stopper-up, said to be derived as follows:—Two notorious liars were backed to outlie each other. Clipper , a fine fast-sailing vessel. Applied also as a term of encomium to a handsome woman. Clipping , excellent, very good. Clipper , anything showy or first-rate. Clock , a watch. Clout , or RAG , a cotton pocket-handkerchief. Probably St. Clover , happiness, luck, a delightful position—from the supposed extra [] enjoyment which attends cattle when they suddenly find their quarters changed from a barren field to a meadow of clover.

Cly , a pocket. This pronunciation is still retained in Norfolk; thus, to CLY would mean to pounce upon, to snatch. Coach , a private tutor. Originally University, but now general. Any man who now trains or teaches another, or others, is called a coach. To coach is to instruct as regards either physical or mental acquirements.

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