Regency Lingo

Slang, lexicon, cant, lingo.  Find your Regency dictionary of popular language here.  Links go to post with etymological details.  Most of this list is taken from The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (available online by the Gutenberg Project ) so yes, there are some words that are very vulgar indeed.

ABBESS, or LADY ABBESS, A bawd, the mistress of a  brothel.

ABIGAIL. A lady’s waiting-maid.


ABRAM COVE. A cant word among thieves, signifying a  naked or poor man; also a lusty, strong rogue.

ABRAM MEN. Pretended mad men.

TO SHAM ABRAM. To pretend sickness.

ACADEMY, or PUSHING SCHOOL. A brothel. The Floating  Academy; the lighters on board of which those persons  are confined, who by a late regulation are condemned to  hard labour, instead of transportation.


ACCOUNTS. To cast up one’s accounts; to vomit.

ACORN. You will ride a horse foaled by an acorn, i.e. the   gallows, called also the Wooden and Three-legged Mare.   You will be hanged.—See THREE-LEGGED MARE.

ACT OF PARLIAMENT. A military term for small beer, five  pints of which, by an act of parliament, a landlord was  formerly obliged to give to each soldier gratis.

ACTEON. A cuckold, from the horns planted on the head   of Acteon by Diana.


ADAM’S ALE. Water.

ADDLE PATE. An inconsiderate foolish fellow.

ADDLE PLOT. A spoil-sport, a mar-all.

ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. One who from drunkenness   vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite to   him. SEA PHRASE.

ADRIFT. Loose, turned adrift, discharged. SEA PHRASE.

AGAINST THE GRAIN. Unwilling. It went much against  the grain with him, i.e. it was much against his  inclination, or against his pluck.

AGOG, ALL-A-GOG. Anxious, eager, impatient: from the   Italian AGOGARE, to desire eagerly.

AGROUND. Stuck fast, stopped, at a loss, ruined; like a   boat or vessel aground.

AIR AND EXERCISE. He has had air and exercise, i.e. he   has been whipped at the cart’s tail; or, as it is generally,   though more vulgarly, expressed, at the cart’s a-se.

ALE DRAPER. An alehouse keeper.

ALE POST. A may-pole.

ALL-A-MORT. Struck dumb, confounded. What, sweet  one, all-a-mort? SHAKESPEARE.

ALL HOLIDAY. It is all holiday at Peckham, or it is all holiday   with him; a saying signifying that it is all over   with the business or person spoken of or alluded to.

ALL HOLLOW. He was beat all hollow, i.e. he had no   chance of conquering: it was all hollow, or a hollow thing,   it was a decided thing from the beginning. See HOLLOW.

ALTAMEL. A verbal or lump account, without particulars,  such as is commonly produced at bawdy-houses,  spunging-houses, &c. Vide DUTCH RECKONING.

ALTITUDES. The man is in his altitudes, i.e. he is drunk.

AMBIDEXTER. A lawyer who takes fees from both plaintiff  and defendant, or that goes snacks with both parties  in gaming.

AMEN CURLER. A parish clerk.

AMEN. He said Yes and Amen to every thing; he agreed to  every thing.

AMES ACE. Within ames ace; nearly, very near.

TO AMUSE. To fling dust or snuff in the eyes of the person  intended to be robbed; also to invent some plausible tale,  to delude shop-keepers and others, thereby to put them  off their guard. CANT.

AMUSERS. Rogues who carried snuff or dust in their pockets,  which they threw into the eyes of any person they  intended to rob; and running away, their accomplices  (pretending to assist and pity the half-blinded person)  took that opportunity of plundering him.

ANGLERS. Pilferers, or petty thieves, who, with a stick  having a hook at the end, steal goods out of shop-windows,  grates, &c.; also those who draw in or entice unwary persons  to prick at the belt, or such like devices.

ANKLE. A girl who is got with child, is said to have sprained  her ankle.

APE LEADER. An old maid; their punishment after  death, for neglecting increase and multiply, will be, it is said, leading apes in hell.

APOSTLES. To manoeuvre the apostles, i.e. rob Peter to   pay Paul; that is, to borrow money of one man to pay   another.

APOSTLES. (CAMBRIDGE.) Men who are plucked, refused their degree.

APOTHECARY. To talk like an apothecary; to use hard or  gallipot words: from the assumed gravity and affectation  of knowledge generally put on by the gentlemen of this  profession, who are commonly as superficial in their  learning as they are pedantic in their language.


APPLE CART. Down with his apple-cart; knock or throw   him down.

APPLE DUMPLIN SHOP. A woman’s bosom.

APRIL FOOL. Any one imposed on, or sent on a bootless  errand, on the first of April; which day it is the custom  among the lower people, children, and servants, by dropping  empty papers carefully doubled up, sending persons  on absurd messages, and such like contrivances, to impose  on every one they can, and then to salute them with  the title of April Fool. This is also practised in  Scotland under the title of Hunting the Gowke.

APRON STRING HOLD. An estate held by a man during  his wife’s life.

ARCH DUKE. A comical or eccentric fellow.

ARSY YARSEY. To fall arsy varsey, i.e. head over heels.

ARTICLES. Breeches; coat, waistcoat, and articles.

ARTICLE. A wench. A prime article. A handsome girl.   She’s a prime article (WHIP SLANG), she’s a devilish good   piece, a hell of a GOER.

ASSIG. An assignation.

AUTEM. A church.


AWAKE. Acquainted with, knowing the business. Stow the  books, the culls are awake; hide the cards, the fellows  know what we intended to do.

BABES IN THE WOOD. Criminals in the stocks, or pillory.

BABBLE. Confused, unintelligible talk, such as was used at  the building the tower of Babel.

BACK BITER. One who slanders another behind his back,   i.e. in his absence. His bosom friends are become his back   biters, said of a lousy man.

BACKED. Dead. He wishes to have the senior, or old   square-toes, backed; he longs to have his father on six   men’s shoulders; that is, carrying to the grave.

BACK UP. His back is up, i.e. he is offended or angry; an  expression or idea taken from a cat; that animal, when  angry, always raising its back. An allusion also sometimes  used to jeer a crooked man; as, So, Sir, I see somebody  has offended you, for your back is up.

BACON. He has saved his bacon; he has escaped. He has a  good voice to beg bacon; a saying in ridicule of a bad voice.

BACON-FACED. Full-faced.

BACON FED. Fat, greasy.

BACK GAMMON PLAYER. Same sex oriented male.

BACK DOOR (USHER, or GENTLEMAN OF THE). Same sex oriented male.

BAD BARGAIN. One of his majesty’s bad bargains; a  worthless soldier, a malingeror. See MALINGEROR.

BAG. He gave them the bag, i.e. left them.

BAG OF NAILS. He squints like a bag of nails; i. e.  his eyes are directed as many ways as the points of a bag  of nails. The old BAG OF NAILS at Pimlico; originally  the BACCHANALS.

BAGGAGE. Heavy baggage; women and children. Also a  familiar epithet for a woman; as, cunning baggage,  wanton baggage, &c.

BAKERS DOZEN. Fourteen; that number of rolls being allowed   to the purchasers of a dozen.

BAKER-KNEE’D. One whose knees knock together in   walking, as if kneading dough.

BALDERDASH. Adulterated wine.

BALLOCKS. The testicles of a man or beast; also a vulgar   nick name for a parson. His brains are in his ballocks,   a cant saying to designate a fool.

BALUM RANCUM. A hop or dance, where the women are   all prostitutes. N. B. The company dance in their   birthday suits.

BALSAM. Money.

BAM. A jocular imposition, the same as a humbug. See   HUMBUG.

TO BAM. To impose on any one by a falsity; also to   jeer or make fun of any one.

TO BAMBOOZLE. To make a fool of any one, to humbug or   impose on him.

BANDBOX. Mine a-se on a bandbox; an answer to the   offer of any thing inadequate to the purpose for which   it is proffered, like offering a bandbox for a seat.

BANBURY STORY OF A COCK AND A BULL. A roundabout,   nonsensical story.

BANDOG. A bailiff or his follower; also a very fierce   mastiff: likewise, a bandbox. CANT.

BANG UP. (WHIP.) Quite the thing, hellish fine. Well  done. Compleat. Dashing. In a handsome stile.  A bang up cove; a dashing fellow who spends his money  freely. To bang up prime: to bring your horses up in a  dashing or fine style: as the swell’s rattler and prads are  bang up prime; the gentleman sports an elegant carriage  and fine horses.

TO BANG. To beat.

BANGING. Great; a fine banging boy.

BANTLING. A young child.

BAPTIZED, OR CHRISTENED. Rum, brandy, or any other   spirits, that have been lowered with water.

BARGEES. (CAMBRIDGE.) Barge-men on the river.

BARKER. The shopman of a bow-wow shop, or dealer in  second hand clothes, particularly about Monmouth-Street,  who walks before his master’s door, and deafens every  passenger with his cries of—Clothes, coats, or gowns—what  d’ye want, gemmen?—what d’ye buy? See BOW-WOW SHOP.

BARKSHIRE. A member or candidate for Barkshire, said of   one troubled with a cough, vulgarly styled barking.

BARKING IRONS. Pistols, from their explosion resembling   the bow-wow or barking of a dog. IRISH.

BARN. A parson’s barn; never so full but there is still room,   for more. Bit by a barn mouse, tipsey, probably from an   allusion to barley.

BARNACLE. A good job, or snack easily got: also shellfish  growing at the bottoms of ships; a bird of the goose  kind; an instrument like a pair of pincers, to fix on the  noses of vicious horses whilst shoeing; a nick name for  spectacles, and also for the gratuity given to grooms by the  buyers and sellers of horses.

BARREL FEVER. He died of the barrel fever; he killed  himself by drinking.

BARROW MAN. A man under sentence of transportation;  alluding to the convicts at Woolwich, who are principally  employed in wheeling barrows full of brick or dirt.

BARTHOLOMEW BABY. A person dressed up in a tawdry  manner, like the dolls or babies sold at Bartholomew fair.

BASKET. An exclamation frequently made use of in cock-pits,  at cock-fightings, where persons refusing or unable  to pay their losings, are adjudged by that respectable  assembly to be put into a basket suspended over the pit, there  to remain during that day’s diversion: on the least demur  to pay a bet, Basket is vociferated in terrorem. He grins  like a basket of chips: a saying of one who is on the broad  grin.

BASKET-MAKING. The good old trade of basket-making;  copulation, or making feet for children’s stockings.

TO BASTE. To beat. I’ll give him his bastings, I’ll beat  him heartily.

BASTING. A beating.

BASTONADING. Beating any one with a stick; from baton,   a stick, formerly spelt baston.

BATCH. We had a pretty batch of it last night; we had a   hearty dose of liquor. Batch originally means the whole   quantity of bread baked at one time in an oven.

BATTNER. An ox: beef being apt to batten or fatten those   that eat it. The cove has hushed the battner; i.e. has   killed the ox.

BATCHELOR’S FARE. Bread and cheese and kisses.


BATTLE-ROYAL. A battle or bout at cudgels or fisty-cuffs,  wherein more than two persons are engaged: perhaps from  its resemblance, in that particular, to more serious  engagements fought to settle royal disputes.

BEAN. A guinea. Half bean; half a guinea.

BEAR. One who contracts to deliver a certain quantity of  sum of stock in the public funds, on a future day, and at  stated price; or, in other words, sells what he has not got,  like the huntsman in the fable, who sold the bear’s skin  before the bear was killed. As the bear sells the stock he  is not possessed of, so the bull purchases what he has not  money to pay for; but in case of any alteration in the price  agreed on, either party pays or receives the difference.  Exchange Alley.

BEAR-GARDEN JAW or DISCOURSE. Rude, vulgar language,  such as was used at the bear-gardens.

BEAR LEADER. A travelling tutor.

BEARD SPLITTER. A man much given to wenching.

BEARINGS. I’ll bring him to his bearings; I’ll bring him to  reason. Sea term.

BEAST. To drink like a beast, i.e. only when thirsty.

BEAST WITH TWO BACKS. A man and woman in the act of  copulation. Shakespeare in Othello.

BEATER CASES. Boots. Cant.

BEAU-NASTY. A slovenly fop; one finely dressed, but dirty.

BEAU TRAP. A loose stone in a pavement, under which  water lodges, and on being trod upon, squirts it up, to the  great damage of white stockings; also a sharper neatly  dressed, lying in wait for raw country squires, or ignorant  fops.

BED. Put to bed with a mattock, and tucked up with a  spade; said of one that is dead and buried. You will go up  a ladder to bed, i.e. you will be hanged. In many country  places, persons hanged are made to mount up a ladder,  which is afterwards turned round or taken away, whence the  term, “Turned off.”

BEDFORDSHIRE. I am for Bedfordshire, i.e. for going to bed.

BEDIZENED. Dressed out, over-dressed, or awkwardly ornamented.

BED-MAKER. Women employed at Cambridge to attend  on the Students, sweep his room, &c. They will put their  hands to any thing, and are generally blest with a pretty  family of daughters: who unmake the beds, as fast as they  are made by their mothers.

BEEF. To cry beef; to give the alarm.

BEETLE-BROWED. One having thick projecting eyebrows.

BEETLE-HEADED. Dull, stupid.

BEGGAR MAKER. A publican, or ale-house keeper.

BEGGAR’S BULLETS. Stones. The beggar’s bullets began  to fly, i.e. they began to throw stones.

BELCH. All sorts of beer; that liquor being apt to cause  eructation.

BELCHER. A red silk handkerchief, intermixed with yellow  and a little black. The kiddey flashes his belcher; the  young fellow wears a silk handkerchief round his neck.

TO BEAR THE BELL. To excel or surpass all competitors, to  be the principal in a body or society; an allusion to the  fore horse or leader of a team, whose harness is commonly  ornamented with a bell or bells. Some suppose it a term  borrowed from an ancient tournament, where the victorious  knights bore away the BELLE or FAIR LADY. Others derive  it from a horse-race, or other rural contentions, where bells  were frequently given as prizes.

BELLOWS. The lungs.

BELLYFULL. A hearty beating, sufficient to make a man   yield or give out. A woman with child is also said to   have got her belly full.

BELLY CHEAT. An apron.

BELLY PLEA. The plea of pregnancy, generally adduced by  female felons capitally convicted, which they take care to  provide for, previous to their trials; every gaol having, as  the Beggar’s Opera informs us, one or more child getters,  who qualify the ladies for that expedient to procure a respite.

BELLY TIMBER. Food of all sorts.

BELL SWAGGER. A noisy bullying fellow.

BELLWETHER. The chief or leader of a mob; an idea  taken from a flock of sheep, where the wether has a bell  about his neck.

BENE. Good—BENAR. Better. Cant.

BENE BOWSE. Good beer, or other strong liquor. Cant.

BENE COVE. A good fellow. Cant.

BENE DARKMANS. Goodnight. Cant.

BENESHIPLY. Worshipfully. Cant.

BEN. A fool. Cant.

BENISH. Foolish.

BERMUDAS. A cant name for certain places in London,  privileged against arrests, like the Mint in Southwark,  Ben. Jonson. These privileges are abolished.

BESS, or BETTY. A small instrument used by house-breakers  to force open doors. Bring bess and glym; bring the  instrument to force the door, and the dark lantern. Small  flasks, like those for Florence wine, are also called betties.

BET. A wager

BETTY MARTIN. That’s my eye, Betty Martin; an answer   to any one that attempts to impose or humbug.

BETWATTLED. Surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses;   also bewrayed.

BEVER. An afternoon’s luncheon; also a fine hat; beaver’s  fur making the best hats

BEVERAGE. Garnish money, or money for drink, demanded   of any one having a new suit of clothes.

BIDDY, or CHICK-A-BIDDY. A chicken, and figuratively  a young wench.

TO BILK. To cheat. Let us bilk the rattling cove; let us   cheat the hackney coachman of his fare. Cant. Bilking a   coachman, a box-keeper, and a poor whore, were formerly,   among men of the town, thought gallant actions.

BILL OF SALE. A widow’s weeds. See HOUSE TO LET.

BILLINGSGATE LANGUAGE. Foul language, or abuse. Billingsgate is  the market where the fishwomen assemble to  purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes,  they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners  a little on the left hand.

BING. To go. Cant. Bing avast; get you gone. Binged  avast in a darkmans; stole away in the night. Bing we to  Rumeville: shall we go to London?

BINGO. Brandy or other spirituous liquor. Cant.

BIRD-WITTED. Inconsiderate, thoughtless, easily imposed  on.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER. Rogues of the same gang.

BIRTH-DAY SUIT. He was in his birth-day suit, that is,  stark naked.

BIT. Money. He grappled the cull’s bit; he seized the  man’s money. A bit is also the smallest coin in Jamaica,  equal to about sixpence sterling.

TO BITE. To over-reach, or impose; also to steal.—Cant.—Biting  was once esteemed a kind of wit, similar to the  humbug. An instance of it is given in the Spectator: A  man under sentence of death having sold his body to a surgeon  rather below the market price, on receiving the money, cried, A  bite! I am to be hanged in chains.—To bite  the roger; to steal a portmanteau. To bite the wiper, to  steal a handkerchief. To bite on the bridle; to be pinched  or reduced to difficulties. Hark ye, friend, whether do  they bite in the collar or the cod-piece? Water wit to  anglers.

BLAB. A tell-tale, or one incapable of keeping a secret

BLACK AND WHITE. In writing. I have it in black and  white; I have written evidence.

BLACK ART. The art of picking a lock. Cant.

BLACK A-SE. A copper or kettle. The pot calls the kettle  black a-se. Cant.

BLACK BOOK. He is down in the black book, i.e. has a  stain in his character. A black book is keep in most regiments,  wherein the names of all persons sentenced to punishment  are recorded.

BLACK BOX. A lawyer. Cant.

BLACK EYE. We gave the bottle a black eye, i.e. drank it  almost up. He cannot say black is the white of my eye;  he cannot point out a blot in my character.

BLACK GUARD. A shabby, mean fellow; a term said to be  derived from a number of dirty, tattered roguish boys, who  attended at the Horse Guards, and Parade in St. James’s  Park, to black the boots and shoes of the soldiers, or to do  any other dirty offices. These, from their constant attendance  about the time of guard mounting, were nick-named  the black-guards.

BLACK JACK. A nick name given to the Recorder by the   Thieves.

BLACK JACK. A jug to drink out of, made of jacked leather.

BLACK JOKE. A popular tune to a song, having for the  burden, “Her black joke and belly so white:” figuratively  the black joke signifies the monosyllable. See MONOSYLLABLE.

BLACK INDIES. Newcastle upon Tyne, whose rich coal  mines prove an Indies to the proprietors.

BLACKLEGS. A gambler or sharper on the turf or in the cockpit:   so called, perhaps, from their appearing generally in   boots; or else from game-cocks whose legs are always black.

BLACK MONDAY. The first Monday after the school-boys   holidays, or breaking up, when they are to go to school,   and produce or repeat the tasks set them.

BLACK SPY. The Devil.

To BLAST. To curse.

BLEEDERS. Spurs. He clapped his bleeders to his prad;   be put spurs to his horse.

BLEEDING CULLY. One who parts easily with his money,   or bleeds freely.

BLEEDING NEW. A metaphor borrowed from fish, which   will not bleed when stale.

BLESSING. A small quantity over and above the measure,  usually given by hucksters dealing in peas, beans, and  other vegetables.

BLIND. A feint, pretence, or shift.

BLIND CHEEKS. The breech. Buss blind cheeks; kiss  mine a-se.

BLIND EXCUSE. A poor or insufficient excuse. A blind ale-house,  lane, or alley; an obscure, or little known or frequented  ale-house, lane, or alley.

BLIND HARPERS. Beggars counterfeiting blindness, playing  on fiddles, &c.

BLINDMAN’S BUFF. A play used by children, where one  being blinded by a handkerchief bound over his eyes,  attempts to seize any one of the company, who all endeavour  to avoid him; the person caught, must be blinded in  his stead.

BLIND CUPID. The backside.

BLINDMAN’S HOLIDAY. Night, darkness.

BLOCK HOUSES. Prisons, houses of correction, &c.

BLOCKED AT BOTH ENDS. Finished. The game is blocked  at both ends; the game is ended.

BLOOD. A riotous disorderly fellow.

BLOOD FOR BLOOD. A term used by tradesmen for bartering  the different commodities in which they deal. Thus a  hatter furnishing a hosier with a hat, and taking payment  in stockings, is said to deal blood for blood.

BLOOD MONEY. The reward given by the legislature on the   conviction of highwaymen, burglars, &c.

BLOODY BACK. A jeering appellation for a soldier, alluding   to his scarlet coat.

BLOODY. A favourite word used by the thieves in swearing,   as bloody eyes, bloody rascal.

BLOWER. A pipe. How the swell funks his blower and  lushes red tape; what a smoke the gentleman makes  with his pipe, and drinks brandy.

TO BLOW THE GAB. To confess, or impeach a confederate.   Cant.

BLOW-UP. A discovery, or the confusion occasioned by one.

A BLOWSE, or BLOWSABELLA. A woman whose hair is  dishevelled, and hanging about her face; a slattern.

BLUBBER. The mouth.—I have stopped the cull’s blubber;  I have stopped the fellow’s mouth, meant either by gagging  or murdering him.


TO SPORT BLUBBER. Said of a large coarse woman, who   exposes her bosom.

BLUBBER CHEEKS. Large flaccid cheeks, hanging like   the fat or blubber of a whale.

BLUE, To look blue; to be confounded, terrified, or disappointed.   Blue as a razor; perhaps, blue as azure.

BLUE BOAR. A venereal bubo.

BLUE DEVILS. Low spirits.

BLUE FLAG. He has hoisted the blue flag; he has commenced   publican, or taken a public house, an allusion to   the blue aprons worn by publicans. See ADMIRAL OF   THE BLUE.

BLUE PIGEONS. Thieves who steal lead off houses and   churches. Cant. To fly a blue pigeon; to steal lead   off houses or churches.

BLUE PLUMB. A bullet.—Surfeited with a blue plumb;   wounded with a bullet. A sortment of George R—’s   blue plumbs; a volley of ball, shot from soldiers’ firelocks.

BLUE SKIN. A person begotten on a black woman by a  white man. One of the blue squadron; any one having  a cross of the black breed, or, as it is termed, a lick of  the tar brush.


BLUE RUIN. Gin. Blue ribband; gin.

BLUFF. Fierce, surly. He looked as bluff as bull beef.

BLUFFER. An inn-keeper. Cant.

BLUNDERBUSS. A short gun, with a wide bore, for carrying  slugs; also a stupid, blundering fellow.

BLUNT. Money. Cant.

TO BLUSTER. To talk big, to hector or bully.

BOARDING SCHOOL. Bridewell, Newgate, or any other   prison, or house of correction.

BOB. A shoplifter’s assistant, or one that receives and carries   off stolen goods. All is bob; all is safe. Cant.

BOB. A shilling.

BOBBED. Cheated, tricked, disappointed.

BOBBISH. Smart, clever, spruce.

BOB STAY. A rope which holds the bowsprit to the stem or  cutwater. Figuratively, the frenum of a man’s yard.

BOB TAIL. A lewd woman, or one that plays with her tail;  also an impotent man, or an eunuch. Tag, rag, and bobtail;  a mob of all sorts of low people. To shift one’s bob;  to move off, or go away. To bear a bob; to join in chorus  with any singers. Also a term used by the sellers of game,  for a partridge.

BODY SNATCHERS. Bum bailiffs.


BOG HOUSE. The necessary house. To go to bog; to go to   stool.

BOLT UPRIGHT. As erect, or straight up, as an arrow  set on its end.

TO BOLT. To run suddenly out of one’s house, or hiding  place, through fear; a term borrowed from a rabbit-warren,  where the rabbits are made to bolt, by sending  ferrets into their burrows: we set the house on fire, and  made him bolt. To bolt, also means to swallow meat  without chewing: the farmer’s servants in Kent are  famous for bolting large quantities of pickled pork.

BONES. Dice.

BONE BOX. The mouth. Shut your bone box; shut your  mouth.

BONE PICKER. A footman.

BONED. Seized, apprehended, taken up by a constable. CANT.

BOLUS. A nick name for an apothecary.

BONESETTER. A hard-trotting horse.

BOOBY, or DOG BOOBY. An awkward lout, clodhopper, or  country fellow.

BOOBY HUTCH. A one-horse chaise, noddy, buggy, or   leathern bottle.

BOOKS. Cards to play with. To plant the books; to place   the cards in the pack in an unfair manner.

BOOK-KEEPER. One who never returns borrowed books.  Out of one’s books; out of one’s fevor. Out of his books;  out of debt.

BOOT CATCHER. The servant at an inn whose business   it is to clean the boots of the guest.

BOOTY. To play booty; cheating play, where the player  purposely avoids winning.

BO-PEEP. One who sometimes hides himself, and sometimes  appears publicly abroad, is said to-play at bo-peep.  Also one who lies perdue, or on the watch.

BORDE. A shilling. A half borde; a sixpence.

BORDELLO. A bawdy house.

BORE. A tedious, troublesome man or woman, one who   bores the ears of his hearers with an uninteresting tale;   a term much in fashion about the years 1780 and 1781.

BORN UNDER A THREEPENNY HALFPENNY PLANET, NEVER TO BE WORTH A GROAT.   Said of any person remarkably unsuccessful in his attempts or   profession.

BOTCH. A nick name for a taylor.

BOTHERED or BOTH-EARED. Talked to at both ears by different  persons at the same time, confounded, confused. IRISH  PHRASE.

BOTHERAMS. A convivial society.

BOTTLE-HEADED. Void of wit.

BOTTOM. A polite term for the posteriors. Also, in the  sporting sense, strength and spirits to support fatigue; as  a bottomed horse. Among bruisers it is used to express  a hardy fellow, who will bear a good beating.

BOUGHS. Wide in the boughs; with large hips and posteriors.

BOUGHS. He is up in the boughs; he is in a passion.

TO BOUNCE. To brag or hector; also to tell an improbable  story. To bully a man out of any thing. The kiddey  bounced the swell of the blowen; the lad bullied the  gentleman out of the girl.

BOUNCER. A large man or woman; also a great lie.

BOUNCING CHEAT. A bottle; from the explosion in  drawing the cork. CANT.

BOUNG. A purse. CANT.

BOUNG NIPPER. A cut purse. CANT.—Formerly purses  were worn at the girdle, from whence they were cut.

BOOSE, or BOUSE. Drink.

BOOSEY. Drunk.

BOWSING KEN. An ale-house or gin-shop.

BRACKET-FACED. Ugly, hard-featured.

BRAGGET. Mead and ale sweetened with honey.

BRAGGADOCIA. vain-glorious fellow, a boaster.

BRAINS. If you had as much brains as guts, what a clever  fellow you would be! a saying to a stupid fat fellow. To  have some guts in his brains; to know something.

BRAN-FACED. Freckled. He was christened by a baker,  he carries the bran in his face.

BRANDY-FACED. Red-faced, as if from drinking brandy.

BRANDY. Brandy is Latin for a goose; a memento to  prevent the animal from rising in the stomach by a  glass of the good creature.

BRAT. A child or infant.

BRAY. A vicar of Bray; one who frequently changes his  principles, always siding with the strongest party: an  allusion to a vicar of Bray, in Berkshire, commemorated  in a well-known ballad for the pliability of his conscience.

BRAZEN-FACED. Bold-faced, shameless, impudent.

BREAD AND BUTTER FASHION. One slice upon the  other. John and his maid were caught lying bread and  butter fashion.—To quarrel with one’s bread and butter;  to act contrary to one’s interest. To know on which  side one’s bread is buttered; to know one’s interest, or  what is best for one. It is no bread and butter of mine;  I have no business with it; or rather, I won’t intermeddle,  because I shall get nothing by it.

BREAK-TEETH WORDS. Hard words, difficult to pronounce.

BREAKING SHINS. Borrowing money; perhaps from the  figurative operation being, like the real one, extremely  disagreeable to the patient.

BREAD. Employment. Out of bread; out of employment.   In bad bread; in a disagreeable scrape, or situation.

BREAD BASKET. The stomach; a term used by boxers.   I took him a punch in his bread basket; i.e. I gave him   a blow in the stomach.

BREAST FLEET. He or she belongs to the breast fleet; i.e. is   a Roman catholic; an appellation derived from their custom   of beating their breasts in the confession of their sins.

BREECHED. Money in the pocket: the swell is well   breeched, let’s draw him; the gentleman has plenty of   money in his pocket, let us rob him.

BREECHES. To wear the breeches; a woman who governs   her husband is said to wear the breeches.

BREECHES BIBLE. An edition of the Bible printed in  1598, wherein it is said that Adam and Eve sewed figleaves  together, and made themselves breeches.

BREEZE. To raise a breeze; to kick up a dust or breed a  disturbance.

BRIDGE. To make a bridge of any one’s nose; to push the  bottle past him, so as to deprive him of his turn of filling  his glass; to pass one over. Also to play booty, or  purposely to avoid winning.

BRIM. (Abbreviation of Brimstone.) An abandoned woman;  perhaps originally only a passionate or irascible  woman, compared to brimstone for its inflammability.


BRISTOL MILK. A Spanish wine called sherry, much   drunk at that place, particularly in the morning.

BRISTOL MAN. The son of an Irish thief and a Welch   whore.


BROGANIER. One who has a strong Irish pronunciation or  accent.

BROGUE. A particular kind of shoe without a heel,   worn in Ireland, and figuratively used to signify the   Irish accent.

BROTHER OF THE BLADE. A soldier           BUSKIN. A player.           BUNG. A brewer           QUILL. An author.           STRING. A fiddler.           WHIP. A coachman.

BROTHER STARLING. One who lies with the same woman,   that is, builds in the same nest.

BROUGHTONIAN. A boxer: a disciple of Broughton,   who was a beef-eater, and once the best boxer of his day.

BROWN BESS. A soldier’s firelock. To hug brown Bess; to   carry a firelock, or serve as a private soldier.

BROWN GEORGE. An ammunition loaf, A wig without   powder; similar to the undress wig worn by his majesty.

BROWN MADAM, or MISS BROWN. The monosyllable.

BROWN STUDY. Said of one absent, in a reverie, or   thoughtful.

BRUISER. A boxer; one skilled in the ar of boxing  also   an inferior workman among chasers.

BREWES, or BROWES. The fat scum from the pot in   which salted beef is boiled.

TO BRUSH. To run away. Let us buy a brush and lope;  let us go away or off. To have a brush with a woman; to  lie with her. To have a brush with a man; to fight with  him. The cove cracked the peter and bought a brush;  the fellow broke open the trunk, and then ran away.

BRUSHER. A bumper, a full glass. See BUMPER.

BUB. Strong beer.

BUBBER. A drinking bowl; also a great drinker; a  thief that steals plate from public houses. CANT.

THE BUBBLE. The party cheated, perhaps from his  being like an air bubble, filled with words, which are  only wind, instead of real property.

TO BUBBLE. To cheat.

TO BAR THE BUBBLE. To except against the general  rule, that he who lays the odds must always be adjudged  the loser: this is restricted to betts laid for liquor.

BUBBLY JOCK. A turkey cock. SCOTCH.

BUBBLE AND SQUEAK. Beef and cabbage fried together.  It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking whilst  over the fire.

BUBE. The venereal disease.

BUCK. A blind horse; also a gay debauchee.

TO RUN A BUCK. To poll a bad vote at an election.—IRISH   TERM.

BUCK BAIL. Bail given by a sharper for one of the gang.

A BUCK OF THE FIRST HEAD. One who in debauchery  surpasses the rest of his companions, a blood or choice  spirit. There are in London divers lodges or societies of  Bucks, formed in imitation of the Free Masons: one was  held at the Rose, in Monkwell-street, about the year  1705. The president is styled the Grand Buck. A buck  sometimes signifies a cuckold.

BUCK’S FACE. A cuckold.

BUCK FITCH. A lecherous old fellow.


BUCKET. To kick the bucket; to die.

BUCKINGER’S BOOT. The monosyllable. Matthew  Buckinger was born without hands and legs; notwithstanding  which he drew coats of arms very neatly, and  could write the Lord’s Prayer within the compass of a  shilling; he was married to a tall handsome woman,  and traversed the country, shewing himself for money.

BUCKLES. Fetters.

BUDGE, or SNEAKING BUDGE. One that slips into houses  in the dark, to steal cloaks or other clothes. Also  lambs’ fur formerly used for doctors’ robes, whence they  were called budge doctors. Standing budge; a thief’s  scout or spy.

TO BUDGE. To move, or quit one’s station. Don’t budge  from hence; i.e. don’t move from hence, stay here.

BUDGET. A wallet. To open the budget; a term used  to signify the notification of the taxes required by the  minister for the expences of the ensuing year; as To-morrow  the minister will go to the house, and open the  budget.

BUFE. A dog. Bufe’s nob; a dog’s head. CANT.

BUFE NABBER. A dog stealer. CANT.

BUFF. All in buff; stript to the skin, stark naked.

BUFF. To stand buff; to stand the brunt. To swear as a   witness. He buffed it home; and I was served; he   swore hard against me, and I was found guilty.

BUFFER. One that steals and kills horses and dogs for   their skins; also an inn-keeper: in Ireland it signifies a   boxer.

BUFFER. A man who takes an oath: generally applied to   Jew bail.

BUFFLE-HEADED. Confused, stupid.

BUG. A nick name given by the Irish to Englishmen;  bugs having, as it is said, been introduced into Ireland by  the English.

TO BUG. A cant word among journeymen hatters, signifying  the exchanging some of the dearest materials of  which a hat is made for others of less value. Hats are  composed of the furs and wool of divers animals among  which is a small portion of beavers’ fur. Bugging, is  stealing the beaver, and substituting in lieu thereof an equal  weight of some cheaper ingredient.—Bailiffs who take  money to postpone or refrain the serving of a writ, are  said to bug the writ.

BUG-HUNTER. An upholsterer.

BUGABOE. A scare-babe, or bully-beggar.

BUGAROCH. Comely, handsome. IRISH.

BUGGY. A one-horse chaise.

BUGGER. A blackguard, a rascal, a term of reproach. Mill   the bloody bugger; beat the damned rascal.

BULK AND FILE. Two pickpockets; the bulk jostles the   party to be robbed, and the file does the business.

BULKER. One who lodges all night on a bulk or projection   before old-fashioned shop windows.

BULL. An Exchange Alley term for one who buys stock   on speculation for time, i.e. agrees with the seller, called   a Bear, to take a certain sum of stock at a future day, at a   stated price: if at that day stock fetches more than the   price agreed on, he receives the difference; if it falls or is   cheaper, he either pays it, or becomes a lame duck, and   waddles out of the Alley. See LAME DUCK and BEAR.

BULL. A blunder; from one Obadiah Bull, a blundering   lawyer of London, who lived in the reign of Henery VII.   by a bull is now always meant a blunder made by an Irishman.   A bull was also the name of false hair formerly   much worn by women. To look like bull beef, or as bluff   as bull beef; to look fierce or surly. Town bull, a great   whore-master.

BULL. A crown piece. A half bull; half a crown.

BULL BEGGAR, or BULLY BEGGAR. An imaginary  being with which children are threatened by servants  and nurses, like raw head and bloody bones.

BULL CALF. A great hulkey or clumsy fellow. See   HULKEY.

BULL CHIN. A fat chubby child.

BULL DOGS. Pistols.

BULL HANKERS. Persons who over-drive bulls, or  frequent bull baits.

BULL’S EYE. A crown-piece.

BULL’S FEATHER. A horn: he wears the bull’s feather; he  is a cuckold.

TO BULLOCK. To hector, bounce, or bully.

BULLY. A cowardly fellow, who gives himself airs of  great bravery. A bully huff cap; a hector. See HECTOR.

BULLY BACK. A bully to a bawdy-house; one who is  kept in pay, to oblige the frequenters of the house to submit  to the impositions of the mother abbess, or bawd; and  who also sometimes pretends to be the husband of one of  the ladies, and under that pretence extorts money from  greenhorns, or ignorant young men, whom he finds with her.  See GREENHORN.

BULLY COCK. One who foments quarrels in order to rob   the persons quarrelling.

BULLY RUFFIANS. Highwaymen who attack passengers   with paths and imprecations.

BULLY TRAP. A brave man with a mild or effeminate   appearance, by whom bullies are frequently taken in.

BUM. the breech, or backside.

TO BUM. To arrest a debtor. The gill bummed the  swell for a thimble; the tradesman arrested the  gentleman for a watch.

BUM TRAP. A sheriff’s officer who arrests debtors.  Ware hawke! the bum traps are fly to our panney; keep a  good look out, the bailiffs know where our house is  situated.

BUM BAILIFF. A sheriff’s officer, who arrests debtors; so  called perhaps from following his prey, and being at their  bums, or, as the vulgar phrase is, hard at their a-ses.  Blackstone says, it is a corruption of bound bailiff, from  their being obliged to give bond for their good behaviour.

BUM BRUSHER. A schoolmaster.

BUM BOAT. A boat attending ships to retail greens,  drams, &c. commonly rowed by a woman; a kind of  floating chandler’s shop,

BUM FODDER. Soft paper for the necessary house or  torchecul.

BUMFIDDLE. The backside, the breech. See ARS MUSICA.

BUMBO. Brandy, water, and sugar; also the negro name for  the private parts of a woman.

BUMKIN. A raw country fellow.

BUMMED. Arrested.

BUMPER. A full glass; in all likelihood from its convexity  or bump at the top: some derive it from a full glass  formerly drunk to the health of the pope—AU BON PERE.

BUMPING. A ceremony performed on boys perambulating  the bounds of the parish on Whit-monday, when they  have their posteriors bumped against the stones marking  the boundaries, in order to fix them in their memory.

BUN. A common name for a rabbit, also for the monosyllable.  To touch bun for luck; a practice observed among  sailors going on a cruize.

BUNDLING. A man and woman sleeping in the same bed, he  with his small clothes, and she with her petticoats on; an  expedient practised in America on a scarcity of beds, where,  on such an occasion, husbands and parents frequently  permitted travellers to bundle with their wives and daughters.  This custom is now abolished. See Duke of Rochefoucalt’s  Travels in America,

BUNTLINGS. Petticoats. CANT.

BURN CRUST. A jocular name for a baker.

BURNT. Poxed or clapped. He was sent out a sacrifice, and  came home a burnt offering; a saying of seamen who have  caught the venereal disease abroad. He has burnt his  fingers; he has suffered by meddling.

BURR. A hanger on, or dependant; an allusion to the field  burrs, which are not easily got rid of. Also the Northumbrian  pronunciation: the people of that country, but  chiefly about Newcastle and Morpeth, are said to have a  burr in their throats, particularly called the Newcastle  burr.

BUSHEL BUBBY. A full breasted woman.

BUSK. A piece of whalebone or ivory, formerly worn by  women, to stiffen the forepart of their stays: hence the  toast—Both ends of the busk.

BUSS BEGGAR. An old superannuated fumbler, whom none  but beggars will suffer to kiss them.

BUS-NAPPER. A constable. CANT.


BUSY. As busy is the devil in a high wind; as busy as a hen  with one chick.

BUTCHER’S DOG. To be like a butcher’s dog, i.e. lie by the   beef without touching it; a simile often applicable to   married men.

BUTCHER’S HORSE. That must have been a butcher’s   horse, by his carrying a calf so well; a vulgar joke on an   awkward rider.

BUTT. A dependant, poor relation, or simpleton, on whom   all kinds of practical jokes are played off; and who serves   as a butt for all the shafts of wit and ridicule.

BUTTERED BUN. One lying with a woman that has just lain   with another man, is said to have a buttered bun.

BUTTON. A bad shilling, among coiners. His a-se makes  buttons; he is ready to bewray himself through fear. CANT.

BUZMAN. A pickpocket. CANT.

BUZZARD. A simple fellow. A blind buzzard: a  pur-blind man or woman.

BYE BLOW. A bastard.

CACKLE. To blab, or discover secrets. The cull is leaky,   and cackles; the rogue tells all. CANT. See LEAKY.


CADGE. To beg. Cadge the swells; beg of the gentlemen.


CAGG. To cagg; a military term used by the private soldiers,  signifying a solemn vow or resolution not to get  drunk for a certain time; or, as the term is, till their cagg  is out: which vow is commonly observed with the strictest  exactness. Ex. I have cagg’d myself for six months.  Excuse me this time, and I will cagg myself for  a year. This term is also used in the same sense among  the common people of Scotland, where it is performed  with divers ceremonies.

CAG. To be cagged. To be sulky or out of humour. The  cove carries the cag; the man is vexed or sullen.

CAG MAGG. Bits and scraps of provisions. Bad meat.

CAKE, or CAKEY. A foolish fellow.

CALF-SKIN FIDDLE. A drum. To smack calf’s skin; to  kiss the book in taking an oath. It is held by the St.  Giles’s casuists, that by kissing one’s thumb instead of  smacking calf’s skin, the guilt of taking a false oath is  avoided.

CALVES. His calves are gone to grass; a saying of a man  with slender legs without calves. Veal will be cheap,  calves fall; said of a man whose calves fall away.

CALLE. A cloak or gown. CANT.

CAMBRIDGE FORTUNE. A wind-mill and a water-mill,  used to signify a woman without any but personal endowments.


CANARY BIRD. A jail bird, a person used to be kept in   a cage; also, in the canting sense, guineas.

CANK. Dumb.

CANNISTER. The head. To mill his cannister; to break   his head.

CANNIKIN. A small can: also, in the canting sense,   the plague.

CANT. An hypocrite, a double-tongue palavering fellow.   See PALAVER.

CANT. To cant; to toss or throw: as, Cant a slug into   your bread room; drink a dram. SEA WIT.

CANTERBURY STORY. A long roundabout tale.

TO CAP. To take one’s oath. I will cap downright; I will  swear home. CANT.

TO CAP. To take off one’s hat or cap. To cap the quadrangle;  a lesson of humility, or rather servility, taught  undergraduates at the university, where they are obliged to  cross the area of the college cap in hand, in reverence to  the fellows who sometimes walk there. The same ceremony  is observed on coming on the quarter deck of ships of  war, although no officer should be on it.

TO CAP. To support another’s assertion or tale. To assist  a man in cheating. The file kidded the joskin with sham  books, and his pall capped; the deep one cheated the  countryman with false cards, and his confederate assisted  in the fraud.

CAP ACQUAINTANCE. Persons slightly acquainted, or only  so far as mutually to salute with the hat on meeting. A  woman who endeavours to attract the notice of any particular  man, is said to set her cap at him.

CAPER MERCHANT. A dancing master, or hop merchant;  marchand des capriolles. FRENCH TERM.—To cut papers; to  leap or jump in dancing. See HOP MERCHANT.

CAPPING VERSES. Repeating Latin Verses in turn, beginning  with the letter with which the last speaker left off.

CAPON. A castrated cock, also an eunuch.

CAPRICORNIFIED. Cuckolded, hornified.

CAPSIZE. To overturn or reverse. He took his broth till  he capsized; he drank till he fell out of his chair. SEA  TERM.

CAPTAIN QUEERNABS. A shabby ill-dressed fellow.

CAPTAIN SHARP. A cheating bully, or one in a set of  gamblers, whose office is to bully any pigeon, who, suspecting  roguery, refuses to pay what he has lost. CANT.

CAPTAIN TOM. The leader of a mob; also the mob itself.

CARAVAN. A large sum of money; also, a person cheated  of such sum. CANT.

CARBUNCLE FACE. A red face, full of pimples.

CARDINAL. A cloak in fashion about the year 1760.

To CAROUSE. To drink freely or deep: from the German  word expressing ALL OUT.

CARRIERS. A set of rogues who are employed to look out  and watch upon the roads, at inns, &c. in order to carry  information to their respective gangs, of a booty in  prospect.

CARRIERS. Pigeons which carry expresses.

CARRION HUNTER. An undertaker; called also a cold  cook, and death hunter. See COLD COOK and DEATH  HUNTER.

CARROTS. Red hair.

CARROTTY-PATED. Ginger-hackled, red-haired. See   GINGER-HACKLED.

CARRY WITCHET. A sort of conundrum, puzzlewit, or   riddle.

CART. To put the cart before the horse; to mention the  last part of a story first. To be flogged at the cart’s a-se or  tail; persons guilty of petty larceny are frequently  sentenced to be tied to the tail of a cart, and whipped by the  common executioner, for a certain distance: the degree  of severity in the execution is left to the discretion of the  executioner, who, it is said, has cats of nine tails of all  prices.

CARTING. The punishment formerly inflicted on bawds,  who were placed in a tumbrel or cart, and led through  a town, that their persons might be known.

TO CASCADE. To vomit.

CASTER. A cloak. CANT.

CASTOR. A hat. To prig a castor; to steal a hat.


CAT. A common prostitute. An old cat; a cross old woman.

CAT-HEADS. A Woman’s breasts. SEA PHRASE.

TO CAT, or SHOOT THE CAT. To vomit from drunkenness.

CAT CALL. A kind of whistle, chiefly used at theatres, to   interrupt the actors, and damn a new piece. It derives   its name from one of its sounds, which greatly resembles   the modulation of an intriguing boar cat.

CAT IN PAN. To turn cat in pan, to change sides or  parties; supposed originally to have been to turn CATE or CAKE  in pan.

CAT’S FOOT. To live under the cat’s foot; to be under the  dominion of a wife hen-pecked. To live like dog and cat;  spoken of married persons who live unhappily together.  As many lives as a cat; cats, according to vulgar  naturalists, have nine lives, that is one less than a woman.  No more chance than a cat in hell without claws; said of  one who enters into a dispute or quarrel with one greatly  above his match.

CAT LAP. Tea, called also scandal broth. See SCANDAL   BROTH.

CAT MATCH. When a rook or cully is engaged amongst   bad bowlers.

CAT OF NINE TAILS. A scourge composed of nine strings   of whip-cord, each string having nine knots.

CAT’S PAW. To be made a cat’s paw of; to be made a tool  or instrument to accomplish the purpose of another: an  allusion to the story of a monkey, who made use of a cat’s  paw to scratch a roasted chesnut out of the fire.

CAT’S SLEEP. Counterfeit sleep: cats often counterfeiting  sleep, to decoy their prey near them, and then suddenly  spring on them.

CAT STICKS. Thin legs, compared to sticks with which  boys play at cat. See TRAPSTICKS.

CAT WHIPPING, or WHIPPING THE CAT. A trick often  practised on ignorant country fellows, vain of their strength,  by laying a wager with them that they may be pulled  through a pond by a cat. The bet being made, a rope is  fixed round the waist of the party to be catted, and the  end thrown across the pond, to which the cat is also  fastened by a packthread, and three or four sturdy fellows  are appointed to lead and whip the cat; these on a signal  given, seize the end of the cord, and pretending to whip  the cat, haul the astonished booby through the water.—To  whip the cat, is also a term among tailors for working  jobs at private houses, as practised in the country.

CATAMARAN. An old scraggy woman; from a kind of float  made of spars and yards lashed together, for saving  ship-wrecked persons.

CATCH CLUB. A member of the patch club; a bum bailiff.

CATCH FART. A footboy; so called from such servants   commonly following close behind their master or mistress.

CATCH PENNY. Any temporary contrivance to raise a   contribution on the public.

CATCH POLE. A bum bailiff, or sheriff’s officer.

CATCHING HARVEST. A dangerous time for a robbery,  when many persons are on the road, on account of a  horse-race, fair, or some other public meeting.

CATER COUSINS. Good friends. He and I are not cater  cousins, i.e. we are not even cousins in the fourth degree,  or four times removed; that is, we have not the least  friendly connexion.

CATERPILLAR. A nick name for a soldier. In the year  1745, a soldier quartered at a house near Derby, was desired  by his landlord to call upon him, whenever he came  that way; for, added he, soldiers are the pillars of the  nation. The rebellion being finished, it happened the same  regiment was quartered in Derbyshire, when the soldier  resolved to accept of his landlord’s invitation, and  accordingly obtained leave to go to him: but, on his arrival,  he was greatly surprised to find a very cold reception;  whereupon expostulating with his landlord, he reminded him of  his invitation, and the circumstance of his having said,  soldiers were the pillars of the nation. If I did, answered the  host, I meant CATERpiliars.

CATERWAULING. Going out in the night in search of   intrigues, like a cat in the gutters.

CATHEDRAL. Old-fashioned. An old cathedral-bedstead,   chair, &c.

CATTLE. Sad cattle: whores or gypsies. Black cattle,   bugs. CANT.


CAUDGE-PAWED. Left-handed.

CAULIFLOWER. A large white wig, such as is commonly  worn by the dignified clergy, and was formerly by physicians.

CAUTIONS. The four cautions: I. Beware of a woman  before.—II. Beware of a horse behind.—III. Beware of a cart  side-ways.—IV. Beware of a priest every way.

CAW-HANDED, or CAW-PAWED. Awkward, not dextrous,  ready, or nimble.

CAXON. An old weather-beaten wig.

CENT PER CENT. An usurer.

CHAFED. Well beaten; from CHAUFFE, warmed.

CHAP. A fellow; An odd chap; A strange fellow.

CHAPERON. The cicisbeo, or gentleman usher to a lady;  from the French.

CHAPT. Dry or thirsty.

CHARACTERED, or LETTERED. Burnt in the hand. They  have palmed the character upon him; they have burned  him in the hand, CANT.—See LETTERED.

CHARM. A picklock. CANT.

CHARREN. The smoke of Charren.—His eyes water from  the smoke of Charren; a man of that place coming out  of his house weeping, because his wife had beat him, told  his neighbours the smoke had made his eyes water.

CHATTER BOX. One whose tongue runs twelve score to the  dozen, a chattering man or woman.


CHATTS. Lice: perhaps an abbreviation of chattels, lice  being the chief live stock of chattels of beggars, gypsies,  and the rest of the canting crew. CANT.—Also, according  to the canting academy, the gallows.

CHATES. The gallows. CANT.

CHAUNTER CULLS. Grub-street writers, who compose  songs, carrols, &c. for ballad-singers. CANT.

CHAUNT. A song.

TO CHAUNT. To sing. To publish an account in the newspapers.   The kiddey was chaunted for a toby; his examination   concerning a highway robbery was published in   the papers.

CHAW BACON. A countryman. A stupid fellow.

CHEAPSIDE. He came at it by way of Cheapside; he gave   little or nothing for it, he bought it cheap.

CHEATS. Sham sleeves to put over a dirty shift or shirt.   See SHAMS.

CHEEK BY JOWL. Side by side, hand to fist.


CHEESE IT; Be silent, be quiet, don’t do it. Cheese it, the  coves are fly; be silent, the people understand our discourse.

CHEESER. A strong smelling fart.

CHELSEA. A village near London, famous for the military  hospital. To get Chelsea; to obtain the benefit of that  hospital. Dead Chelsea, by G-d! an exclamation uttered by  a grenadier at Fontenoy, on having his leg carried away by  a cannon-ball.

CHEST OF TOOLS. A shoe-black’s brush and wig, &c. Irish.

CHERRY-COLOURED CAT. A black cat, there being black   cherries as well as red.

CHERUBIMS. Peevish children, becausecherubimsand seraphims   continually do cry.

CHESHIRE CAT. He grins like a Cheshire cat; said of anyone   who shews his teeth and gums in laughing.

CHICK-A-BIDDY. A chicken, so called to and by little children.

CHICKEN-BREASTED. Said of a woman with scarce any breasts.


CHICKEN-HAMMED. Persons whose legs and thighs are bent  or archward outwards.

CHICKEN-HEARTED. Fearful, cowardly.

CHICKEN NABOB. One returned from the East Indies with but  a moderate fortune of fifty or sixty thousand pounds, a  diminutive nabob: a term borrowed from the chicken turtle.

CHINK. Money.

CHIP. A child. A chip of the old block; a child who either  in person or sentiments resembles its father or mother.

CHIP. A brother chip; a person of the same trade or calling.

CHIPS, A nick name for a carpenter.

CHIRPING MERRY. Exhilarated with liquor. Chirping glass,  a cheerful glass, that makes the company chirp like birds  in spring.

CHIT. An infant or baby.

CHITTERLINS. The bowels. There is a rumpus among my   bowels, i.e. I have the colic. The frill of a shirt.

CHITTY-FACED. Baby-faced; said of one who has a childish look.

CHIVE, or CHIFF. A knife, file: or saw. To chive the   darbies; to file off the irons or fetters. To chive the bouhgs   of the frows; to cut off women’s pockets.

CHIVEY. I gave him a good chivey; I gave him, a hearty Scolding.

CHIVING LAY. Cutting the braces of coaches behind, on   which the coachman quitting the box, an accomplice robs   the boot; also, formerly, cutting the back of the coach to   steal the fine large wigs then worn.

CHOAK. Choak away, the churchyard’s near; a jocular saying   to a person taken with a violent fit of coughing, or who   has swallowed any thing, as it is called the wrong way.

CHOAKING PYE, or COLD PYE, A punishment inflicted  on any person sleeping in company: it consists in wrapping  up cotton in a case or tube of paper, setting it on  fire, and directing the smoke up the nostrils of the sleeper.  See HOWELL’S COTGRAVE.

CHOCOLATE. To give chocolate without sugar; to reprove.   MILITARY TERM.

CHOICE SPIRIT. A thoughtless, laughing, singing, drunken fellow.

CHOP. A blow. Boxing term.

TO CHOP AND CHANGE. To exchange backwards and forwards.  To chop, in the canting sense, means making  dispatch, or hurrying over any business: ex. The AUTEM  BAWLER will soon quit the HUMS, for he CHOPS UP the WHINERS;  the parson will soon quit the pulpit, for he hurries over  the prayers. See AUTEM BAWLER, HUMS, and WHINERS,

CHOP CHURCHES. Simoniacal dealers in livings, or other   ecclesiastical preferments.

CHOPPING, LUSTY. A chopping boy or girl; a lusty   child.

CHOPS. The mouth. I gave him a wherrit, or a souse,   across the chops; I gave him a blow over the mouth,   See WHERRIT.


CHOUDER. A sea-dish, composed of fresh fish, salt pork,  herbs, and sea-biscuits, laid in different layers, and stewed  together.

TO CHOUSE. To cheat or trick: he choused me out of it.   Chouse is also the term for a game like chuck-farthing.

CHRIST-CROSS ROW. The alphabet in a horn-book: called   Christ-cross Row, from having, as an Irishman observed,   Christ’s cross PREFIXED before and AFTER the twenty-four   letters.

CHRISTENING. Erasing the name of the true maker from   a stolen watch, and engraving a fictitious one in its place.


CHRISTIAN. A tradesman who has faith, i.e. will give credit.

CHRISTMAS COMPLIMENTS. A cough, kibed heels, and a snotty nose.

CHUB. He is a young chub, or a mere chub; i.e. a foolish  fellow, easily imposed on: an illusion to a fish of that  name, easily taken.

CHUBBY. Round-faced, plump.

CHUCK. My chuck; a term of endearment.

CHUCK FARTHING. A parish clerk.

CHUCKLE-HEADED. Stupid, thick-headed.

CHUFFY. Round-faced, chubby.

CHUM. A chamber-fellow, particularly at the universities  and in prison.

CHUMMAGE. Money paid by the richer sort of prisoners  in the Fleet and King’s Bench, to the poorer, for their  share of a room. When prisons are very full, which is  too often the case, particularly on the eve of an insolvent  act, two or three persons are obliged to sleep in a room. A  prisoner who can pay for being alone, chuses two poor  chums, who for a stipulated price, called chummage,  give up their share of the room, and sleep on the stairs,  or, as the term is, ruff it.

CHUNK. Among printers, a journeyman who refuses to  work for legal wages; the same as the flint among taylors.  See FLINT.

CHURCH WORK. Said of any work that advances slowly.

CHURCHYARD COUGH. A cough that is likely to terminate  in death.

CHURK. The udder.

CHURL. Originally, a labourer or husbandman: figuratively  a rude, surly, boorish fellow. To put a churl upon a gentleman;  to drink malt liquor immediately after having drunk wine.

CINDER GARBLER. A servant maid, from her business of   sifting the ashes from the cinders. CUSTOM-HOUSE WIT.

CIRCUMBENDIBUS. A roundabout way, or story. He   took such a circumbendibus; he took such a circuit.

CIT. A citizen of London.


CIVILITY MONEY. A reward claimed by bailiffs for executing   their office with civility.

CIVIL RECEPTION. A house of civil reception; a bawdy-house, or nanny-house. See NANNY-HOUSE.

CLACK. A tongue, chiefly applied to women; a simile drawn   from the clack of a water-mill.

CLACK-LOFT. A pulpit, so called by orator Henley.

CLAMMED. Starved.

CLAN. A family’s tribe or brotherhood; a word much used  in Scotland. The head of the clan; the chief: an allusion  to a story of a Scotchman, who, when a very large  louse crept down his arm, put him back again, saying he  was the head of the clan, and that, if injured, all the rest  would resent it.

CLANK. A silver tankard. CANT.

CLANK NAPPER. A silver tankard stealer. See RUM BUBBER.

CLANKER. A great lie.

CLAP. A venereal taint. He went out by Had’em, and came  round by Clapham home; i.e. he went out a wenching,  and got a clap.

CLAP ON THE SHOULDER. An arrest for debt; whence a   bum bailiff is called a shoulder-clapper.

CLAPPER. The tongue of a bell, and figuratively of a man   or woman.

CLAPPER CLAW. To scold, to abuse, or claw off with the   tongue.


CLARET. French red wine; figuratively, blood. I tapped  his claret; I broke his head, and made the blood run.  Claret-faced; red-faced.

CLAWED OFF. Severely beaten or whipped; also smartly poxed or clapped.

CLEAR. Very drunk. The cull is clear, let’s bite him; the   fellow is very drunk, let’s cheat him. CANT.

CLEAVER. One that will cleave; used of a forward or   wanton woman.

CLEAN. Expert; clever. Amongst the knuckling coves he   is reckoned very clean; he is considered very expert as   a pickpocket.

CLERKED. Soothed, funned, imposed on. The cull will   not be clerked; i.e. the fellow will not be imposed on by   fair words.

CLEYMES. Artificial sores, made by beggars to excite   charity.

CLICK. A blow. A click in the muns; a blow or knock   in the face. CANT.

TO CLICK. To snatch. To click a nab; to snatch a hat.   CANT.

CLICKER. A salesman’s servant; also, one who proportions   out the different shares of the booty among thieves.

CLICKET. Copulation of foxes; and thence used, in a  canting sense, for that of men and women: as, The cull  and the mort are at clicket in the dyke; the man and  woman are copulating in the ditch.

CLIMB. To climb the three trees with a ladder; to ascend  the gallows.

CLINCH. A pun or quibble. To clinch, or to clinch the   nail; to confirm an improbable story by another: as, A   man swore he drove a tenpenny nail through the moon;   a bystander said it was true, for he was on the other side   and clinched it.

CLINK. A place in the Borough of Southwark, formerly   privileged from arrests; and inhabited by lawless vagabonds   of every denomination, called, from the place of   their residence, clinkers. Also a gaol, from the clinking   of the prisoners’ chains or fetters: he is gone to clink.

CLINKERS. A kind of small Dutch bricks; also irons worn   by prisoners; a crafty fellow.

TO CLIP. To hug or embrace: to clip and cling. To clip   the coin; to diminish the current coin. To clip the king’s   English; to be unable to speak plain through drunkenness.

CLOAK TWITCHERS. Rogues who lurk about the entrances   into dark alleys, and bye-lanes, to snatch cloaks from the   shoulders of passengers.

CLOD HOPPER. A country farmer, or ploughman.

CLOD PATE. A dull, heavy booby.

CLOD POLE. The same.

CLOSE. As close as God’s curse to a whore’s a-se: close as  shirt and shitten a-se.

CLOSE-FISTED. Covetous or stingy.

CLOTH MARKET. He is just come from the cloth market,  i.e. from between the sheets, he is just risen from bed.

CLOUD. Tobacco. Under a cloud; in adversity.

CLOVEN, CLEAVE, or CLEFT. A term used for a woman  who passes for a maid, but is not one.

CLOVEN FOOT. To spy the cloven foot in any business; to  discover some roguery or something bad in it: a saying  that alludes to a piece of vulgar superstition, which is,  that, let the Devil transform himself into what shape he  will, he cannot hide his cloven foot

CLOUT. A blow. I’ll give you a clout on your jolly nob;  I’ll give you a blow on your head. It also means a  handkerchief. CANT. Any pocket handkerchief except  a silk one.

CLOUTED SHOON. Shoes tipped with iron.

CLOUTING LAY. Picking pockets of handkerchiefs.

CLOVER. To be, or live, in clover; to live luxuriously.   Clover is the most desirable food for cattle.

CLOWES. Rogues.

CLOY. To steal. To cloy the clout; to steal the handkerchief.   To cloy the lour; to steal money. CANT.

CLOVES. Thieves, robbers, &c.

CLUB. A meeting or association, where each man is to spend   an equal and stated sum, called his club.

CLUB LAW. Argumentum bacculinum, in which an oaken  stick is a better plea than an act of parliament.

CLUMP. A lump. Clumpish; lumpish, stupid.

CLUNCH. An awkward clownish fellow.

TO CLUTCH THE FIST. To clench or shut the hand. Clutch  fisted; covetous, stingy. See CLOSE-FISTED.

CLUTCHES. Hands, gripe, power.

CLUTTER. A stir, noise, or racket: what a confounded   clutter here is!

CLY. Money; also a pocket. He has filed the cly; he   has picked a pocket. CANT.

CLY THE JERK: To be whipped. CANT.

CLYSTER PIPE. A nick name for an apothecary.

COACH WHEEL. A half crown piece is a fore coach wheel,  and a crown piece a hind coach wheel; the fore wheels of  a coach being less than the hind ones.

TO COAX. To fondle, or wheedle. To coax a pair of stockings;  to pull down the part soiled into the shoes, so as to  give a dirty pair of stockings the appearance of clean ones.  Coaxing is also used, instead of darning, to hide the holes  about the ancles.

COB. A Spanish dollar.

TO COBBLE. To mend, or patch; likewise to do a thing in  a bungling manner.


COBBLER. A mender of shoes, an improver of the understandings of  his customers; a translator.

COBBLERS PUNCH. Treacle, vinegar, gin, and water.

COCK, or CHIEF COCK OF THE WALK. The leading man  in any society or body; the best boxer in a village or  district.

COCK ALE. A provocative drink.

COCK AND A BULL STORY. A roundabout story, without  head or tail, i.e. beginning or ending.

COCK OF THE COMPANY. A weak man, who from the desire of being the  head of the company associates with low  people, and pays all the reckoning.

COCK-A-WHOOP. Elevated, in high-spirits, transported with joy.

COCK BAWD. A male keeper of a bawdy-house.

COCK HOIST. A cross buttock.

COCKISH. Wanton, forward. A cockish wench; a forward  coming girl.

COCK PIMP. The supposed husband of a bawd.

COCK ROBIN. A soft, easy fellow.

COCK-SURE. Certain: a metaphor borrowed front the cock  of a firelock, as being much more certain to fire than the  match.

COCK YOUR EYE. Shut one eye: thus translated into apothecaries

COCKER. One fond of the diversion of cock-fighting.

COCKNEY: A nick name given to the citizens of London,  or persons born within the sound of Bow bell, derived  from the following story: A citizen of London, being in  the country, and hearing a horse neigh, exclaimed,  Lord! how that horse laughs! A by-stander telling him  that noise was called NEIGHING, the next morning, when  the cock crowed, the citizen to shew he had not forgot  what was told him, cried out, Do you hear how the COCK  NEIGHS?

COCKSHUT TIME. The evening, when fowls go to roost.

COD. A cod of money: a good sum of money.

CODDERS. Persons employed by the gardeners to gather  peas.

CODGER. An old codger: an old fellow.

COD PIECE. The fore flap of a man’s breeches.

CODS. The scrotum. Also a nick name for a curate: a rude  fellow meeting a curate, mistook him for the rector, and  accosted him with the vulgar appellation of Bol—ks the  rector, No, Sir, answered he; only Cods the curate, at  your service.

COD’S HEAD. A stupid fellow.

COFFEE HOUSE. A necessary house.

COG. The money, or whatsoever the sweeteners drop to  draw in a bubble.

COG. A tooth. A queer cog; a rotten tooth. How  the   cull flashes his queer cogs; how the fool shews his rotten   teeth.

TO COG. To cheat with dice; also to coax or wheedle, To   cog a die; to conceal or secure a die. To cog a dinner;   to wheedle one out of a dinner.

COGUE. A dram of any spirituous liquor.

COKER. A lie.

COKES. The fool in the play of Bartholomew Fair: perhaps  a contraction of the word COXCOMB.

COLCANNON. Potatoes and cabbage pounded together in a   mortar, and then stewed with butter: an Irish dish.

COLD. You will catch cold at that; a vulgar threat or  advice to desist from an attempt. He caught cold by  lying in bed barefoot; a saying of any one extremely tender  or careful of himself

COLD COOK. An undertaker of funerals, or carrion hunter.   See CARRION HUNTER.

COLD IRON. A sword, or any other weapon for cutting or   stabbing. I gave him two inches of cold iron into his beef.

COLD MEAT. A dead wife is the beat cold meat in a man’s   house.

COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on  sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off  all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water  upon them.

COLD PUDDING. This is said to settle one’s love.

COLE. Money. Post the cole: pay down the money.


COLLAR DAY. Execution day.

COLLEGE. Newgate or any other prison. New College:  the Royal Exchange. King’s College: the King’s Bench  prison. He has been educated at the steel, and took his  last degree at college; he has received his education at  the house of correction, and was hanged at Newgate.

COLLEGE COVE. The College cove has numbered him, and if he  is knocked down he’ll be twisted; the turnkey of Newgate  has told the judge how many times the prisoner has been  tried before and therefore if he is found guilty, he certainly  will be hanged. It is said to be the custom of the Old Bailey  for one of the turnkeys of Newgate to give information to  the judge how many times an old offender has been tried,  by holding up as many fingers as the number of times the  prisoner has been before arraigned at that bar.

COLLEGIATES. Prisoners of the one, and shopkeepers of  the other of those places.

COLLECTOR. A highwayman.

TO COLLOGUE. To wheedle or coax.

COOK RUFFIAN, who roasted the devil in his feathers. A  bad cook.

COOL CRAPE. A shroud.

COOLER. A woman.

COOLER. The backside. Kiss my cooler. Kiss my a-se.   It is principally used to signify a woman’s posteriors.

COOL LADY. A female follower of the camp, who sells   brandy.


COOL TANKARD. Wine and water, with lemon, sugar, and   burrage.

COLQUARRON. A man’s neck. His colquarron is just about   to be twisted; he is just going to be hanged. CANT.

COLT. One who lets horses to highwaymen; also a boy newly  initiated into roguery; a grand or petty juryman on his  first assize. CANT.

COLTAGE. A fine or beverage paid by colts on their first   entering into their offices.

COLT BOWL. Laid short of the jack by a colt bowler, i.e.   a person raw or unexperienced in the art of bowling.

COLT’S TOOTH. An old fellow who marries or keeps a young   girl, is said to have a colt’s tooth in his head.

COLT VEAL. Coarse red veal, more like the flesh of a colt   than that of a calf.

COMB. To comb one’s head; to clapperclaw, or scold any  one: a woman who lectures her husband, is said to comb  his head. She combed his head with a joint stool; she  threw a stool at him.

COME. To come; to lend. Has he come it; has he lent it?   To come over any one; to cheat or over reach him.   Coming wench; a forward wench, also a breeding woman.

COMING! SO IS CHRISTMAS. Said of a person who has long   been called, and at length answers, Coming!



COMMODE. A woman’s head dress.

COMMODITY. A woman’s commodity; the private parts of  a modest woman, and the public parts of a prostitute.

COMMONS. The house of commons; the necessary house.

COMPANY. To see company; to enter into a course of prostitution.


COMUS’S COURT. A social meeting formerly held at the   Half Moon tavern Cheapside.

CONFECT. Counterfeited.

CONGER. To conger; the agreement of a set or knot of  booksellers of London, that whosoever of them shall buy  a good copy, the rest shall take off such a particular number,  in quires, at a stated price; also booksellers joining to  buy either a considerable or dangerous copy.

CONGO. Will you lap your congo with me? will you drink  tea with me?

CONSCIENCE KEEPER. A superior, who by his influence   makes his dependants act as he pleases.

CONTENT. The cull’s content; the man is past complaining:   a saying of a person murdered for resisting the robbers. CANT.

CONTENT. A thick liquor, in imitation of chocolate, made   of milk and gingerbread.

CONTRA DANCE. A dance where the dancers of the different  sexes stand opposite each other, instead of side by side, as  in the minuet, rigadoon, louvre, &c. and now corruptly called a  country dance.

CONUNDRUMS. Enigmatical conceits.


CONVENIENCY. A necessary. A leathern conveniency, a coach.

COOPED UP. Imprisoned, confined like a fowl in a coop.

COQUET. A jilt.

CORINTH. A bawdy-house. CANT.

CORINTHIANS: Frequenters of brothels. Also an impudent,  brazen-faced fellow, perhaps from the Corinthian  brass.

CORK-BRAINED. Light-headed, foolish.

CORNED. Drunk.

CORNISH HUG. A particular lock in wrestling, peculiar to  the people of that county.

CORNY-FACED. A very red pimpled face.

CORPORAL. To mount a corporal and four; to be guilty  of onanism: the thumb is the corporal, the four fingers  the privates.

CORPORATION. A large belly. He has a glorious corporation;  he has a very prominent belly.

CORPORATION. The magistrates, &c. of a corporate  town. Corpus sine ratione. Freemen of a corporation’s  work; neither strong nor handsome.

COSSET. A foundling. Cosset colt or lamb; a colt or   lamb brought up by hand.

COSTARD. The head. I’ll smite your costard; I’ll give   you a knock on the head.

COSTARD MONGER. A dealer in fruit, particularly apples.

COT, or QUOT. A man who meddles with women’s household  business, particularly in the kitchen. The punishment  commonly inflicted on a quot, is pinning a greasy  dishclout to the skirts of his coat.

COVE. A man, a fellow, a rogue. The cove was bit; the  rogue was outwitted. The cove has bit the cole; the  rogue has got the money. CANT.

COVENT, or CONVENT GARDEN, vulgarly called COMMON  GARDEN. Anciently, the garden belonging to a  dissolved monastery; now famous for being the chief  market in London for fruit, flowers, and herbs. The  theatres are situated near it. In its environs are  many brothels, and not long ago, the lodgings of the  second order of ladies of easy virtue were either there, or  in the purlieus of Drury Lane.


COVENT GARDEN AGUE. The venereal disease. He broke  his shins against Covent Garden rails; he caught the  venereal disorder.

COVENT GARDEN NUN. A prostitute.

COVENTRY. To send one to Coventry; a punishment inflicted  by officers of the army on such of their brethren  as are testy, or have been guilty of improper behaviour,  not worthy the cognizance of a court martial. The person  sent to Coventry is considered as absent; no one must  speak to or answer any question he asks, except relative  to duty, under penalty of being also sent to the same place.  On a proper submission, the penitent is recalled, and  welcomed by the mess, as just returned from a journey to  Coventry.

COVEY. A collection of whores. What a fine covey here  is, if the Devil would but throw his net!

TO COUCH A HOGSHEAD. To lie down to sleep. CANT.

COUNTERFEIT CRANK. A general cheat, assuming all sorts  of characters; one conterfeiting the falling sickness.


COUNTRY PUT. An ignorant country fellow.

COUNTY WORK. Said of any work that advances slowly.

COURT CARD. A gay fluttering coxcomb.

COURT HOLY WATER, COURT PROMISES. Fair speeches and promises,  without performance.

COURT OF ASSISTANTS. A court often applied to by young  women who marry old men.


COW’S BABY. A calf.

COW’S COURANT. Gallop and sh—-e.

COW-HANDED. Awkward.


COW ITCH. The product of a sort of bean, which excites an  insufferable itching, used chiefly for playing tricks.


COW’S THUMB. Done to a cow’s thumb; done exactly.

COXCOMB. Anciently, a fool. Fools, in great families,  wore a cap with bells, on the top of which was a piece of  red cloth, in the shape of a cock’s comb. At present,  coxcomb signifies a fop, or vain self-conceited fellow.

CRAB. To catch a crab; to fall backwards by missing one’s  stroke in rowing.

CRAB LANTHORN. A peevish fellow.

CRABS. A losing throw to the main at hazard.

CRABBED. Sour, ill-tempered, difficult.

CRACK. A whore.

TO CRACK. To boast or brag; also to break. I cracked his  napper; I broke his head.

THE CRACK, or ALL THE CRACK. The fashionable theme,  the go. The Crack Lay, of late is used, in the cant  language, to signify the art and mystery of house-breaking.

CRACKER. Crust, sea biscuit, or ammunition loaf; also the  backside. Farting crackers; breeches.

CRACKISH. Whorish.

CRACKING TOOLS. Implements of house-breaking, such as  a crow, a center bit, false keys, &c.

CRACKMANS. Hedges. The cull thought to have loped by  breaking through the crackmans, but we fetched him back  by a nope on the costard, which stopped his jaw; the man  thought to have escaped by breaking through the hedge,  but we brought him back by a great blow on the head,  which laid him speechless.

CRACKSMAN. A house-breaker. The kiddy is a clever  cracksman; the young fellow is a very expert house-breaker.

CRAG. The neck.

CRAMP RINGS. Bolts, shackles, or fetters. CANT.

CRAMP WORDS. Sentence of death passed on a criminal by  a judge. He has just undergone the cramp word; sentence  has just been passed on him. CANT.

CRANK. Gin and water; also, brisk, pert.

CRANK. The falling sickness. CANT.

TO CRASH. To kill. Crash that cull; kill that fellow. CANT.


CRAW THUMPERS. Roman catholics, so called from their  beating their breasts in the confession of their sins. See  BRISKET BEATER, and BREAST FLEET.

CREAM-POT LOVE. Such as young fellows pretend to  dairymaids, to get cream and other good things from them.

TO CREEME. To slip or slide any thing into the hands of   another. CANT.

CREEPERS. Gentlemen’s companions, lice.

CRIB. A house. To crack a crib: to break open a house.

TO CRIB. To purloin, or appropriate to one’s own use,   part of any thing intrusted to one’s care.

TO FIGHT A CRIB. To make a sham fight. BEAR GARDEN  TERM.

CRIBBAGE-FACED. Marked with the small pox, the pits  bearing a kind of resemblance to the holes in a  cribbage-board.

CRIBBEYS, or CRIBBY ISLANDS. Blind alleys, courts, or  bye-ways; perhaps from the houses built there being cribbed  out of the common way or passage; and islands, from  the similarity of sound to the Caribbee Islands.

CRIM. CON. MONEY. Damages directed by a jury to be  paid by a convicted adulterer to the injured husband, for  criminal conversation with his wife.

CRIMP. A broker or factor, as a coal crimp, who disposes  of the cargoes of the Newcastle coal ships; also persons  employed to trapan or kidnap recruits for the East Indian  and African companies. To crimp, or play crimp; to  play foul or booty: also a cruel manner of cutting up fish  alive, practised by the London fishmongers, in order to  make it eat firm; cod, and other crimped fish, being a  favourite dish among voluptuaries and epicures.

CRINKUM CRANKUM. A woman’s commodity. See SPECTATOR.

CRINKUMS. The foul or venereal disease.

CRIPPLE. Sixpence; that piece being commonly much bent  and distorted.

CRISPIN. A shoemaker: from a romance, wherein a prince  of that name is said to have exercised the art and mystery  of a shoemaker, thence called the gentle craft: or rather  from the saints Crispinus and Crispianus, who according  to the legend, were brethren born at Rome, from whence  they travelled to Soissons in France, about the year 303,  to propagate the Christian religion; but, because they  would not be chargeable to others for their maintenance,  they exercised the trade of shoemakers: the governor of  the town discovering them to be Christians, ordered them  to be beheaded, about the year 303; from which time they  have been the tutelar saints of the shoemakers.

CRISPIN’S HOLIDAY. Every Monday throughout the year,  but most particularly the 25th of October, being the  anniversary of Crispinus and Crispianus.


CROAKER. One who is always foretelling some accident  or misfortune: an allusion to the croaking of a raven,  supposed ominous.

CROAKUMSHIRE. Northumberland, from the particular  croaking the pronunciation of the people of that  county, especially about Newcastle and Morpeth, where  they are said to be born with a burr in their throats, which  prevents their pronouncing the letter r.

CROAKERS. Forestallers, called also Kidders and Tranters.

CROCODILE’S TEARS. The tears of a hypocrite. Crocodiles  are fabulously reported to shed tears over their prey before  they devour it.

CROCUS, or CROCUS METALLORUM. A nick name for a  surgeon of the army and navy.

CROKER. A groat, or four pence.

CRONE. An old ewe whose teeth are worn out; figuratively,   a toothless old beldam.

CRONY. An intimate companion, a comrade; also a confederate   in a robbery.

CROOK. Sixpence.

CROOK BACK. Sixpence; for the reason of this name, see   CRIPPLE.

CROOK YOUR ELBOW. To crook one’s elbow, and wish it  may never come straight, if the fact then affirmed is not  true—according to the casuists of Bow-street and St.  Giles’s, adds great weight and efficacy to an oath.

CROOK SHANKS. A nickname for a man with bandy legs.  He buys his boots in Crooked Lane, and his stockings  in Bandy-legged Walk; his legs grew in the night, therefore  could not see to grow straight; jeering sayings of men  with crooked legs.

CROP. A nick name for a presbyterian: from their cropping  their hair, which they trimmed close to a bowl-dish,  placed as a guide on their heads; whence they were likewise  called roundheads. See ROUNDHEADS.

CROP. To be knocked down for a crop; to be condemned  to be hanged. Cropped, hanged.

CROPPING DRUMS. Drummers of the foot guards, or Chelsea  hospital, who find out weddings, and beat a point of  war to serenade the new married couple, and thereby  obtain money.

CROPPEN. The tail. The croppen of the rotan; the tail  of the cart. Croppen ken: the necessary-house. CANT.

CROPSICK. Sickness in the stomach, arising from drunkenness.

CROSS. To come home by weeping cross; to repent at the   conclusion.

CROSS DISHONEST. A cross cove; any person who lives by   stealing or in a dishonest manner.

CROSS BITE. One who combines with a sharper to draw in  a friend; also, to counteract or disappoint. CANT.—This  is peculiarly used to signify entrapping a man so as to obtain  CRIM. COM. money, in which the wife, real or supposed,  conspires with the husband.

CROSS BUTTOCK. A particular lock or fall in the Broughtonian  art, which, as Mr. Fielding observes, conveyed more  pleasant sensations to the spectators than the patient.

CROSS PATCH. A peevish boy or girl, or rather an unsocial  ill-tempered man or woman.

TO CROW. To brag, boast, or triumph. To crow over any  one; to keep him in subjection: an image drawn from a  cock, who crows over a vanquished enemy. To pluck a  crow; to reprove any one for a fault committed, to settle a  dispute. To strut like a crow in a gutter; to walk proudly,  or with an air of consequence.

CROWD. A fiddle: probably from CROOTH, the Welch name  for that instrument.

CROWDERO. A fiddler.

CROWDY. Oatmeal and water, or milk; a mess much eaten   in the north.

CROW FAIR. A visitation of the clergy. See REVIEW OF   THE BLACK CUIRASSIERS.

CROWN OFFICE. The head. I fired into her keel upwards;   my eyes and limbs Jack, the crown office was full; I s—k-d   a woman with her a-e upwards, she was so drunk, that her   head lay on the ground.

CRUISERS. Beggars, or highway spies, who traverse the   road, to give intelligence of a booty; also rogues ready to   snap up any booty that may offer, like privateers or pirates   on a cruise.

CRUMMY. Fat, fleshy. A fine crummy dame; a fat woman.   He has picked up his crumbs finely of late; he has   grown very fat, or rich, of late.

CRUMP-BACKED. Hump-backed.

CRUSTY BEAU. One that uses paint and cosmetics, to obtain  a fine complexion.

CRUSTY FELLOW. A surly fellow.

CUB. An unlicked cub; an unformed, ill-educated young  man, a young nobleman or gentleman on his travels: an  allusion to the story of the bear, said to bring its cub into  form by licking. Also, a new gamester.

CUCKOLD. The husband of an incontinent wife: cuckolds,  however, are Christians, as we learn by the following story:  An old woman hearing a man call his dog Cuckold, reproved  him sharply, saying, ‘Sirrah, are not you ashamed  to call a dog by a Christian’s name?’ To cuckold the  parson; to bed with one’s wife before she has been churched.

CUCUMBERS. Taylors, who are jocularly said to subsist,  during the summer, chiefly on cucumbers.

CUFF. An old cuff; an old man. To cuff Jonas; said of one  who is knock-kneed, or who beats his sides to keep himself  warm in frosty weather; called also Beating the  booby.

CUFFIN. A man.

CULL. A man, honest or otherwise. A bob cull; a good-natured,   quiet fellow. CANT.

CULLABILITY. A disposition liable to be cheated, an   unsuspecting nature, open to imposition.

CULLY. A fog or fool: also, a dupe to women: from the   Italian word coglione, a blockhead.

CULP. A kick or blow: from the words mea culpa, being  that part of the popish liturgy at which the people beat their  breasts; or, as the vulgar term is, thump their craws.

CUNNINGHAM. A punning appellation for a simple fellow.

CUNNING MAN. A cheat, who pretends by his skill in  astrology to assist persons in recovering stolen goods: and  also to tell them their fortunes, and when, how often,  and to whom they shall be married; likewise answers all  lawful questions, both by sea and land. This profession  is frequently occupied by ladies.

CUNNING SHAVER. A sharp fellow, one that trims close,   i.e. cheats ingeniously.

CUP OF THE CREATURE. A cup of good liquor.

CUP-SHOT. Drunk.

CUPBOARD LOVE. Pretended love to the cook, or any other   person, for the sake of a meal. My guts cry cupboard;   i.e. I am hungry

CUPID, BLIND CUPID. A jeering name for an ugly blind   man: Cupid, the god of love, being frequently painted   blind. See BLIND CUPID.

CUR. A cut or curtailed dog. According to the forest laws,  a man who had no right to the privilege of the chase, was  obliged to cut or law his dog: among other modes of  disabling him from disturbing the game, one was by depriving  him of his tail: a dog so cut was called a cut or  curtailed dog, and by contraction a cur. A cur is figuratively  used to signify a surly fellow.

CURBING LAW. The act of hooking goods out of windows:   the curber is the thief, the curb the hook. CANT.

CURE A-SE. A dyachilon plaister, applied to the parts galled   by riding.

CURLE. Clippings of money, which curls up in the operation. CANT.

CURMUDGEON. A covetous old fellow, derived, according  to some, from the French term coeur mechant.

CURRY. To curry favour; to obtain the favour of a person  be coaxing or servility. To curry any one’s hide; to beat  him.

CURTAILS. Thieves who cut off pieces of stuff hanging out  of shop windows, the tails of women’s gowns, &c.; also,  thieves wearing short jackets.

CURTAIN LECTURE. A woman who scolds her husband  when in bed, is said to read him a curtain lecture.

CURTEZAN. A prostitute.

CUSHION. He has deserved the cushion; a saying of one  whose wife is brought to bed of a boy: implying, that  having done his business effectually, he may now indulge or  repose himself.

CUSHION THUMPER, or DUSTER. A parson; many of whom   in the fury of their eloquence, heartily belabour their cushions.

CUSTARD CAP. The cap worn by the sword-bearer of the   city of London, made hollow at the top like a custard.

CUSTOM-HOUSE GOODS. The stock in trade of a prostitute,   because fairly entered.

CUT. Drunk. A little cut over the head; slightly  intoxicated. To cut; to leave a person or company. To cut  up well; to die rich.

TO CUT. (Cambridge.) To renounce acquaintance with any  one is to CUT him. There are several species of the CUT.  Such as the cut direct, the cut indirect, the cut sublime,  the cut infernal, &c. The cut direct, is to start across the  street, at the approach of the obnoxious person in order to  avoid him. The cut indirect, is to look another way, and  pass without appearing to observe him. The cut sublime,  is to admire the top of King’s College Chapel, or the beauty  of the passing clouds, till he is out of sight. The cut  infernal, is to analyze the arrangement of your shoe-strings,  for the same purpose.

TO CUT BENE. To speak gently. To cut bene whiddes;  to give good words. To cut queer whiddes; to give foul  language. To cut a bosh, or a flash; to make a figure.  CANT.

TO CUTTY-EYE. To look out of the corners of one’s eyes,   to leer, to look askance. The cull cutty-eyed at us; the   fellow looked suspicious at us.

DAB. An adept; a dab at any feat or exercise. Dab,   quoth Dawkins, when he hit his wife on the a-se with a   pound of butter.

DACE. Two pence. Tip me a dace; lend me two pence.   CANT.

DADDLES. Hands. Tip us your daddle; give me your hand.   CANT.

DADDY. Father. Old daddy; a familiar address to an old  man. To beat daddy mammy; the first rudiments of  drum beating, being the elements of the roll.

DAGGERS. They are at daggers drawing; i.e. at enmity,   ready to fight.

DAIRY. A woman’s breasts, particularly one that gives   suck. She sported her dairy; she pulled out her breast.

DAISY CUTTER. A jockey term for a horse that does not  lift up his legs sufficiently, or goes too near the ground,  and is therefore apt to stumble.

DAISY KICKERS. Ostlers at great inns.

DAM. A small Indian coin, mentioned in the Gentoo code  of laws: hence etymologists may, if they please, derive  the common expression, I do not care a dam, i.e. I do  not care half a farthing for it.

DAMBER. A rascal. See DIMBER.

DAMME BOY. A roaring, mad, blustering fellow, a scourer  of the streets, or kicker up of a breeze.

DAMNED SOUL. A clerk in a counting house, whose sole  business it is to clear or swear off merchandise at the  custom-house; and who, it is said, guards against the crime  of perjury, by taking a previous oath, never to swear truly  on those occasions.

DAMPER. A luncheon, or snap before dinner: so called  from its damping, or allaying, the appetite; eating and  drinking, being, as the proverb wisely observes, apt to take  away the appetite.


DANCERS. Stairs.

DANDY. That’s the dandy; i.e. the ton, the clever thing;   an expression of similar import to “That’s the barber.”   See BARBER.

DANDY GREY RUSSET. A dirty brown. His coat’s dandy   grey russet, the colour of the Devil’s nutting bag.

DANDY PRAT. An insignificant or trifling fellow.

To DANGLE. To follow a woman without asking the question.  Also, to be hanged: I shall see you dangle in the  sheriff’s picture frame; I shall see you hanging on the  gallows.

DANGLER. One who follows women in general, without  any particular attachment

DAPPER FELLOW. A smart, well-made, little man.


DARBY. Ready money. CANT.

DARK CULLY. A married man that keeps a mistress, whom  he visits only at night, for fear of discovery.

DARKEE. A dark lanthorn used by housebreakers. Stow  the darkee, and bolt, the cove of the crib is fly; hide the  dark lanthorn, and run away, the master of the house  knows that we are here.

DARKMANS. The night. CANT.

DARKMAN’S BUDGE. One that slides into a house in the  dark of the evening, and hides himself, in order to let some  of the gang in at night to rob it.

DART. A straight-armed blow in boxing.

DASH. A tavern drawer. To cut a dash: to make a figure.

DAVID JONES. The devil, the spirit of the sea: called  Necken in the north countries, such as Norway, Denmark,  and Sweden.


DAVY. I’ll take my davy of it; vulgar abbreviation of affidavit.

TO DAWB. To bribe. The cull was scragged because he  could not dawb; the rogue was hanged because he could  not bribe. All bedawbed with lace; all over lace.

DAY LIGHTS. Eyes. To darken his day lights, or sow up   his sees; to close up a man’s eyes in boxing.

DEAD CARGO. A term used by thieves, when they are   disappointed in the value of their booty.

DEAD HORSE. To work for the dead horse; to work for   wages already paid.

DEAD-LOUSE. Vulgar pronunciation of the Dedalus ship of   war.

DEAD MEN. A cant word among journeymen bakers, for   loaves falsely charged to their masters’ customers; also   empty bottles.

DEADLY NEVERGREEN, that bears fruit all the year round.   The gallows, or three-legged mare. See THREE-LEGGED   MARE.

DEAR JOYS. Irishmen: from their frequently making use   of that expression.

DEATH HUNTER. An undertaker, one who furnishes the   necessary articles for funerals. See CARRION HUNTER.

DEATH’S HEAD UPON A MOP-STICK. A poor miserable,  emaciated fellow; one quite an otomy. See OTOMY.—He  looked as pleasant as the pains of death.

DEEP-ONE. A thorough-paced rogue, a sly designing  fellow: in opposition to a shallow or foolish one.

DEFT FELLOW. A neat little man.

DEGEN, or DAGEN. A sword. Nim the degen; steal the  sword. Dagen is Dutch for a sword. CANT.

DELLS. Young buxom wenches, ripe and prone to venery,  but who have not lost their virginity, which the UPRIGHT  MAN claims by virtue of his prerogative; after which they  become free for any of the fraternity. Also a common  strumpet. CANT.

DEMURE. As demure as an old whore at a christening.

DEMY-REP. An abbreviation of demy-reputation; a woman  of doubtful character.

DERBY. To come down with the derbies; to pay the money.



DEVIL’S DAUGHTER. It is said of one who has a termagant  for his wife, that he has married the Devil’s daughter, and  lives with the old folks.

DEVIL DRAWER. A miserable painter.

DEVIL’S DUNG. Assafoetida.

DEVIL’S GUTS. A surveyor’s chain: so called by farmers,  who do not like their land should be measured by their  landlords.

DEVILISH. Very: an epithet which in the English vulgar  language is made to agree with every quality or thing;  as, devilish bad, devilish good; devilish sick, devilish well;  devilish sweet, devilish sour; devilish hot, devilish cold,  &c. &c.

DEUSEA VILLE. The country. Cant.

DEUSEA VILLE STAMPERS. Country carriers. Cant.

DEW BEATERS. Feet. Cant.

DEWS WINS, or DEUX WINS. Two-pence. Cant.

DEWITTED. Torn to pieces by a mob, as that great statesman   John de Wit was in Holland, anno 1672.

DIAL PLATE. The face. To alter his dial plate; to   disfigure his face.

DICE. The names of false dice:   A bale of bard cinque deuces   A bale of flat cinque deuces   A bale of flat sice aces   A bale of bard cater traes   A bale of flat cater traes   A bale of fulhams   A bale of light graniers   A bale of langrets contrary to the ventage   A bale of gordes, with as many highmen as lowmen,    for passage   A bale of demies   A bale of long dice for even and odd   A bale of bristles   A bale of direct contraries.

DICK. That happened in the reign of queen Dick, i. e.   never: said of any absurd old story. I am as queer as   Dick’s hatband; that is, out of spirits, or don’t know what   ails me.

DICKY. A woman’s under-petticoat. It’s all Dicky with   him; i.e. it’s all over with him.

DICKED IN THE NOB. Silly. Crazed.

DICKEY. A sham shirt.

DICKEY. An ass. Roll your dickey; drive your ass. Also   a seat for servants to sit behind a carriage, when their   master drives.

TO DIDDLE. To cheat. To defraud. The cull diddled   me out of my dearee; the fellow robbed me of my sweetheart.   See Jeremy Diddler In Raising The Wind.

DIDDEYS. A woman’s breasts or bubbies.


DIGGERS. Spurs. Cant.

DILIGENT. Double diligent, like the Devil’s apothecary;  said of one affectedly diligent.

DILLY. (An abbreviation of the word DILIGENCE.) A public  voiture or stage, commonly a post chaise, carrying  three persons; the name is taken from the public stage  vehicles in France and Flanders. The dillies first began  to run in England about the year 1779.

DIMBER. Pretty. A dimber cove; a pretty fellow. Dimber  mort; a pretty wench. CANT.

DIMBER DAMBER. A top man, or prince, among the canting  crew: also the chief rogue of the gang, or the completest  cheat. CANT.

DING. To knock down. To ding it in one’s ears; to  reproach or tell one something one is not desirous of hearing.  Also to throw away or hide: thus a highwayman who  throws away or hides any thing with which he robbed, to  prevent being known or detected, is, in the canting lingo,  styled a Dinger.

DING BOY. A rogue, a hector, a bully, or sharper. CANT.

DING DONG. Helter skelter, in a hasty disorderly manner.

DINGEY CHRISTIAN. A mulatto; or any one who has, as the  West-Indian term is, a lick of the tar-brush, that is, some  negro blood in him.

DINING ROOM POST. A mode of stealing in houses that  let lodgings, by rogues pretending to be postmen, who  send up sham letters to the lodgers, and, whilst waiting  in the entry for the postage, go into the first room they see  open, and rob it.

DIP. To dip for a wig. Formerly, in Middle Row, Holborn,  wigs of different sorts were, it is said, put into a  close-stool box, into which, for three-pence, any one  might dip, or thrust in his hand, and take out the first  wig he laid hold of; if he was dissatisfied with his prize,  he might, on paying three halfpence, return it and dip  again.

THE DIP. A cook’s shop, under Furnival’s Inn, where many  attornies clerks, and other inferior limbs of the law, take  out the wrinkles from their bellies. DIP is also a punning  name for a tallow-chandler.

DIPPERS. Anabaptists.

DIPT. Pawned or mortgaged.

DIRTY PUZZLE. A nasty slut.


DISGRUNTLED. Offended, disobliged.

DISHED UP. He is completely dished up; he is totally ruined.  To throw a thing in one’s dish; to reproach or twit one with  any particular matter.

DISHCLOUT. A dirty, greasy woman. He has made a napkin  of his dishclout; a saying of one who has married his  cook maid. To pin a dishclout to a man’s tail; a punishment  often threatened by the female servants in a kitchen,  to a man who pries too minutely into the secrets of that  place.

DISMAL DITTY. The psalm sung by the felons at the gallows,   just before they are turned off.

DISPATCHES. A mittimus, or justice of the peace’s warrant,   for the commitment of a rogue.

DITTO. A suit of ditto; coat, waistcoat, and breeches, all   of one colour.

DISPATCHERS. Loaded or false dice.

DISTRACTED DIVISION. Husband and wife fighting.

DIVE. To dive; to pick a pocket. To dive for a dinner;  to go down into a cellar to dinner. A dive, is a thief who  stands ready to receive goods thrown out to him by a little  boy put in at a window. Cant.

DIVER. A pickpocket; also one who lives in a cellar.

DIVIDE. To divide the house with one’s wife; to give her  the outside, and to keep all the inside to one’s self, i.e. to  turn her into the street.

DO. To do any one; to rob and cheat him. I have done  him; I have robbed him. Also to overcome in a boxing  match: witness those laconic lines written on the field of  battle, by Humphreys to his patron.—’Sir, I have done  the Jew.’

TO DO OVER. Carries the same meaning, but is not so briefly  expressed: the former having received the polish of the  present times.

DOASH. A cloak. Cant.

DOBIN RIG. Stealing ribbands from haberdashers early in  the morning or late at night; generally practised by women  in the disguise of maid servants.

TO DOCK. To lie with a woman. The cull docked the dell  all the darkmans; the fellow laid with the wench all night.  Docked smack smooth; one who has suffered an amputation  of his penis from a venereal complaint. He must  go into dock; a sea phrase, signifying that the person spoken  of must undergo a salivation. Docking is also a punishment  inflicted by sailors on the prostitutes who have  infected them with the venereal disease; it consists in cutting  off all their clothes, petticoats, shift and all, close to  their stays, and then turning them into the street.

DOCTOR. Milk and water, with a little rum, and some nutmeg;  also the name of a composition used by distillers,  to make spirits appear stronger than they really are, or,  in their phrase, better proof.

DOCTORS. Loaded dice, that will run but two or three  chances. They put the doctors upon him; they cheated  him with loaded dice.

DODSEY. A woman: perhaps a corruption of Doxey. CANT.

DOG BUFFERS. Dog stealers, who kill those dogs not  advertised for, sell their skins, and feed the remaining dogs  with their flesh.

DOG IN A DOUBLET. A daring, resolute fellow. In   Germany and Flanders the boldest dogs used to hunt the boar,   having a kind of buff doublet buttoned on their bodies,   Rubens has represented several so equipped, so has Sneyders.

DOG. An old dog at it; expert or accustomed to any thing.  Dog in a manger; one who would prevent another from  enjoying what he himself does not want: an allusion to  the well-known fable. The dogs have not dined; a  common saying to any one whose shirt hangs out behind. To  dog, or dodge; to follow at a distance. To blush like a  blue dog, i.e. not at all. To walk the black dog on any  one; a punishment inflicted in the night on a fresh prisoner,  by his comrades, in case of his refusal to pay the usual  footing or garnish.

DOG LATIN. Barbarous Latin, such as was formerly used  by the lawyers in their pleadings.

DOG’S PORTION. A lick and a smell. He comes in for only  a dog’s portion; a saying of one who is a distant admirer  or dangler after women. See DANGLER.

DOG’S RIG. To copulate till you are tired, and then turn  tail to it.

DOG’S SOUP. Rain water.

DOGGED. Surly.

DOLL. Bartholomew doll; a tawdry, over-drest woman,   like one of the children’s dolls at Bartholomew fair. To   mill doll; to beat hemp at Bridewell, or any other house   of correction.

DOLLY. A Yorkshire dolly; a contrivance for washing, by   means of a kind of wheel fixed in a tub, which being turned   about, agitates and cleanses the linen put into it, with   soap and water.

DOMINE DO LITTLE. An impotent old fellow.

DOMINEER. To reprove or command in an insolent or   haughty manner. Don’t think as how you shall domineer   here.

DOMMERER. A beggar pretending that his tongue has been   cutout by the Algerines, or cruel and blood-thirsty Turks,   or else that he yas born deaf and dumb. Cant.

DONE, or DONE OVER. Robbed: also, convicted or hanged.   Cant.—See DO.

DONE UP. Ruined by gaming and extravagances. Modern   Term.

DOODLE. A silly fellow, or noodle.

DOUBLE. To tip any one the double; to run away in his or  her debt.

DOUBLE JUGG. A man’s backside. Cotton’s Virgil.

DOVE-TAIL. A species of regular answer, which fits into  the subject, like the contrivance whence it takes its name:  Ex. Who owns this? The dovetail is, Not you by your  asking.

DOWDY. A coarse, vulgar-looking woman.

DOWN HILLS. Dice that run low.

DOWN. Aware of a thing. Knowing it. There is NO DOWN.  A cant phrase used by house-breakers to signify that the  persons belonging to any house are not on their guard,  or that they are fast asleep, and have not heard any noise  to alarm them.

TO DOWSE. To take down: as, Dowse the pendant. Dowse  your dog vane; take the cockade out of your hat. Dowse  the glim; put out the candle.

DOWSE ON THE CHOPS. A blow in the face.

DOXIES. She beggars, wenches, prostitutes

DRAG. To go on the drag; to follow a cart or waggon, in  order to rob it. CANT.

DRAG LAY. Waiting in the streets to rob carts or waggons.

DRAGGLETAIL or DAGGLETAIL. One whose garments are  bespattered with dag or dew: generally applied to the  female sex, to signify a slattern.

DRAGOONING IT. A man who occupies two branches of  one profession, is said to dragoon it; because, like the  soldier of that denomination, he serves in a double capacity.  Such is a physician who furnishes the medicines, and  compounds his own prescriptions.

DRAIN. Gin: so called from the diuretic qualities imputed  to that liquor.

DRAM. A glass or small measure of any spirituous liquors,  which, being originally sold by apothecaries, were estimated  by drams, ounces, &c. Dog’s dram; to spit in  his mouth, and clap his back.

DRAM-A-TICK. A dram served upon credit.

DRAPER. An ale draper; an alehouse keeper.

DRAUGHT, or BILL, ON THE PUMP AT ALDGATE. A bad   or false bill of exchange. See ALDGATE.

DRAW LATCHES. Robbers of houses whose doors are   only fastened with latches. CANT.

TO DRAW. To take any thing from a pocket. To draw a  swell of a clout. To pick a gentleman’s pocket of a  handkerchief. To draw the long bow; to tell lies.

DRAWERS. Stockings. CANT.

TO DRESS. To beat. I’ll dress his hide neatly; I’ll beat him  soundly.

DRIBBLE. A method of pouring out, as it were, the dice  from the box, gently, by which an old practitioner is  enabled to cog one of them with his fore-finger.

DRIPPER. A gleet.

DROMEDARY. A heavy, bungling thief or rogue. A purple  dromedary; a bungler in the art and mystery of thieving.  CANT.

DROP IN THE EYE. Almost drunk.

TO DRUB. To beat any one with a stick, or rope’s end:  perhaps a contraction of DRY RUB. It is also used to signify  a good beating with any instrument.

DRY BOB. A smart repartee: also copulation without  emission; in law Latin, siccus robertulus.

DRY BOOTS. A sly humorous fellow.

DUB THE JIGGER. Open the door. CANT.

DUCE. Two-pence.

DUCK. A lame duck; an Exchange-alley phrase for a   stock-jobber, who either cannot or will not pay his losses,   or, differences, in which case he is said to WADDLE OUT OF   THE ALLEY, as he cannot appear there again till his debts   are settled and paid; should he attempt it, he would be   hustled out by the fraternity.

DUCKS AND DRAKES. To make ducks and drakes: a   school-boy’s amusement, practised with pieces of tile,   oyster-shells, or flattish stones, which being skimmed   along the surface of a pond, or still river, rebound many   times. To make ducks and drakes of one’s money; to   throw it idly away.

DUCK LEGS. Short legs.

DUDDERING RAKE. A thundering rake, a buck of the  first head, one extremely lewd.


DUDS. Clothes.

DUFFERS. Cheats who ply in different parts of the town,  particularly about Water-lane, opposite St. Clement’s  church, in the Strand, and pretend to deal in smuggled  goods, stopping all country people, or such as they think  they can impose on; which they frequently do, by selling  them Spital-fields goods at double their current price.

DUGS. A woman’s breasts.

DUKE, or RUM DUKE. A queer unaccountable fellow.

DUKE OF LIMBS. A tall, awkward, ill-made fellow.

DULL SWIFT. A stupid, sluggish fellow, one long going on  an errand.

DUMB ARM. A lame arm.

DUMB-FOUNDED. Silenced, also soundly beaten.

DUMPS. Down in the dumps; low-spirited, melancholy:  jocularly said to be derived from Dumpos, a king of Egypt,  who died of melancholy. Dumps are also small pieces of  lead, cast by schoolboys in the shape of money.

DUN. An importunate creditor. Dunny, in the provincial  dialect of several counties, signifies DEAF; to dun, then,  perhaps may mean to deafen with importunate demands:  some derive it from the word DONNEZ, which signifies GIVE.  But the true original meaning of the word, owes its birth  to one Joe Dun, a famous bailiff of the town of Lincoln, so  extremely active, and so dexterous in his business, that it  became a proverb, when a man refused to pay, Why do not  you DUN him? that is, Why do not you set Dun to attest  him? Hence it became a cant word, and is now as old as  since the days of Henry VII.

DUNAKER. A stealer of cows and calves.

DUNEGAN. A privy. A water closet.

DUNGHILL. A coward: a cockpit phrase, all but gamecocks  being styled dunghills. To die dunghill; to repent, or shew  any signs of contrition at the gallows. Moving dunghill;  a dirty, filthy man or woman. Dung, an abbreviation of  dunghill, also means a journeyman taylor who submits to  the law for regulating journeymen taylors’ wages, therefore  deemed by the flints a coward. See FLINTS.


TO DUP. To open a door: a contraction of DO OPE or OPEN.   See DUB.

DURHAM MAN. Knocker kneed, he grinds mustard with   his knees: Durham is famous for its mustard.

DUST. Money. Down with your dust; deposit the money.   To raise or kick up a dust; to make a disturbance or riot:   see BREEZE. Dust it away; drink about.

DUSTMAN. A dead man: your father is a dustman.

DUTCH COMFORT. Thank God it is no worse.

DUTCH CONCERT. Where every one plays or signs a   different tune.

DUTCH FEAST. Where the entertainer gets drunk before   his guest.

DUTCH RECKONING, or ALLE-MAL. A verbal or lump  account, without particulars, as brought at spungiug or  bawdy houses.

DUTCHESS. A woman enjoyed with her pattens on, or by a  man-in boots, is said to be made a dutchess.

DIE HARD, or GAME. To die hard, is to shew no signs of  fear or contrition at the gallows; not to whiddle or squeak.  This advice is frequently given to felons going to suffer the  law, by their old comrades, anxious for the honour of the  gang.

EARNEST. A deposit in part of payment, to bind a bargain.


EASY. Make the cull easy or quiet; gag or kill him. As  easy as pissing the bed.

EASY VIRTUE. A lady of easy virtue: an impure or prostitute.

TO EDGE. To excite, stimulate, or provoke; or as it is  vulgarly called, to egg a man on. Fall back, fall edge; i.e.  let what will happen. Some derive to egg on, from the  Latin word, AGE, AGE.

ELBOW GREASE. Labour. Elbow grease will make an oak   table shine.

ELBOW ROOM. Sufficient space to act in. Out at elbows;   said of an estate that is mortgaged.

ELBOW SHAKER. A gamester, one who rattles Saint Hugh’s   bones, i.e. the dice.

ELLENBOROUGH LODGE. The King’s Bench Prison. Lord   Ellenborough’s teeth; the chevaux de frize round the top   of the wall of that prison.

ELF. A fairy or hobgoblin, a little man or woman.

EMPEROR. Drunk as an emperor, i.e. ten times as drunk as  a lord.


ENSIGN BEARER. A drunken man, who looks red in the  face, or hoists his colours in his drink.

EQUIPT. Rich; also, having new clothes. Well equipt;  full of money, or well dressed. The cull equipped  me  with a brace of meggs; the gentleman furnished me with.  a couple of guineas.

ESSEX LION. A calf; Essex being famous for calves, and   chiefly supplying the London markets.

ESSEX STILE. A ditch; a great part of Essex is low marshy   ground, in which there are more ditches than Stiles.

ETERNITY Box. A coffin.

EVES. Hen roosts.

EVE’S CUSTOM-HOUSE, where Adam made his first entry.   The monosyllable.

EVES DROPPER. One that lurks about to rob hen-roosts;  also a listener at doors and windows, to hear private  conversation.

EVIL. A halter. Cant, Also a wife.

EWE. A white ewe; a beautiful woman. An old ewe, drest  lamb fashion; an old woman, drest like a young girl.

EXECUTION DAY. Washing day.

EXPENDED. Killed: alluding  to the gunner’s accounts,  wherein the articles consumed are charged under the title  of expended. Sea phrase.

EYE. It’s all my eye and Betty Martin. It’s all nonsense, all  mere stuff.

EYE-SORE. A disagreeable object. It will be an eye-sore as  long as she lives, said by a limn whose wife was cut for a  fistula in ano.

FACE-MAKING. Begetting children. To face it out; to  persist in a falsity. No face but his own: a saying of one  who has no money in his pocket or no court cards in his  hand.

FACER. A bumper, a glass filled so full as to leave no room  for the lip. Also a violent blow on the face.

FADGE. It won’t fadge; it won’t do. A farthing.

TO FAG. To beat. Fag the bloss; beat the wench; Cant.   A fag also means a boy of an inferior form or class, who   acts as a servant to one of a superior, who is said to fag him,   he is my fag; whence, perhaps, fagged out, for jaded or tired.   To stand a good fag; not to be soon tired.

FAGGER. A little boy put in at a window to rob the house.

FAGGOT. A man hired at a muster to appear as a soldier.  To faggot in the canting sense, means to bind: an allusion  to the faggots made up by the woodmen, which are  all bound.

FAITHFUL. One of the faithful; a taylor who gives long  credit. His faith has made him unwhole; i.e. trusting  too much, broke him.

FAIR. A set of subterraneous rooms in the Fleet Prison.

FAKEMENT. A counterfeit signature. A forgery. Tell  the macers to mind their fakements; desire the swindlers  to be careful not to forge another person’s signature.

FALLALLS. Ornaments, chiefly women’s, such as ribands,   necklaces, &c.

FALLEN AWAY FROM A HORSE LOAD TO A CART LOAD.   A saying on one grown fat.

FAMILY MAN. A thief or receiver of stolen goods.

FAM LAY. Going into a goldsmith’s shop, under pretence  of buying a wedding ring, and palming one or two, by  daubing the hand with some viscous matter.

FAMS, or FAMBLES. Hands. Famble cheats; rings or  gloves. CANT.

TO FAMGRASP. To shake bands: figuratively, to agree  or make up a difference. Famgrasp the cove; shake hands  with the fellow. CANT.

FAMILY OF LOVE. Lewd women; also, a religious sect.

FANCY MAN. A man kept by a lady for secret services.

TO FAN. To beat any one. I fanned him sweetly; I beat  him heartily.

FANTASTICALLY DRESSED, with more rags than ribands.

FART. He has let a brewer’s fart, grains and all; said of   one who has bewrayed his breeches.

FART CATCHER. A valet or footman from his walking   behind his master or mistress.


FARTLEBERRIES. Excrement hanging about the bottom.

FASTNER. A warrant.

FAT. The last landed, inned, or stowed, of any sort of  merchandise: so called by the water-side porters, carmen, &c.  All the fat is in the fire; that is, it is all over with us: a  saying used in case of any miscarriage or disappointment  in an undertaking; an allusion to overturning the  frying pan into the fire. Fat, among printers, means void  spaces.

AS FAT AS A HEN IN THE FOREHEAD. A saying of a meagre person.

FAT CULL. A rich fellow.


FAULKNER. A tumbler, juggler, or shewer of tricks; perhaps  because they lure the people, as a faulconer does his  hawks. CANT.

FAYTORS, or FATORS. Fortune tellers.

FAWNEY RIG. A common fraud, thus practised: A fellow  drops a brass ring, double gilt, which he picks up before  the party meant to be cheated, and to whom he disposes  of it for less than its supposed, and ten times more than  its real, value. See MONEY DROPPER.

FAWNEY. A ring.

FEAGUE. To feague a horse; to put ginger up a horse’s  fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make  him lively and carry his tail well; it is said, a forfeit is  incurred by any horse-dealer’s servant, who shall shew a  horse without first feaguing him. Feague is used,  figuratively, for encouraging or spiriting one up.

FEAK. The fundament.

To FEATHER ONE’S NEST. To enrich one’s self.

FEATHER-BED LANE. A rough or stony lane.

FEE, FAW, FUM. Nonsensical words, supposed in childish  story-books to be spoken by giants. I am not to be frighted  by fee, faw, fum; I am not to be scared by nonsense.

FEEDER. A spoon. To nab the feeder; to steal a spoon.

FEET. To make feet for children’s stockings; to beget  children. An officer of feet; a jocular title for an officer  of infantry.

FEINT. A sham attack on one part, when a real one is meant  at another.

FELLOW COMMONER. An empty bottle: so called at the  university of Cambridge, where fellow commoners are  not in general considered as over full of learning. At  Oxford an empty bottle is called a gentleman commoner  for the same reason. They pay at Cambridge 250 l. a year  for the privilege of wearing a gold or silver tassel to their  caps. The younger branches of the nobility have the  privilege of wearing a hat, and from thence are denominated HAT  FELLOW COMMONERS.

FEN. A bawd, or common prostitute. CANT.

TO FENCE. To pawn or sell to a receiver of stolen goods.  The kiddey fenced his thimble for three quids; the young  fellow pawned his watch for three guineas. To fence  invariably means to pawn or sell goods to a receiver.

FENCING KEN. The magazine, or warehouse, where  stolen goods are secreted.

FERME. A hole. CANT.

FERMERDY BEGGARS. All those who have not the sham  sores or clymes.

FERRARA. Andrea Ferrara; the name of a famous sword-cutler:   most of the Highland broad-swords are marked   with his name; whence an Andrea Ferrara has become   the common name for the glaymore or Highland   broad-sword. See CLAYMORE.

FERRET. A tradesman who sells goods to youug unthrift   heirs, at excessive rates, and then continually duns them   for the debt. To ferret; to search out or expel any one   from his hiding-place, as a ferret drives out rabbits; also   to cheat. Ferret-eyed; red-eyed: ferrets have red eyes.

FETCH. A trick, wheedle, or invention to deceive.

FEUTERER. A dog-keeper: from the French vautrier, or  vaultrier, one that leads a lime hound for the chase.

TO FIB. To beat. Fib the cove’s quarron in the rumpad   for the lour in his bung; beat the fellow in the highway   for the money in his purse. CANT.—A fib is also a tiny lie.

FICE, or FOYSE. A small windy escape backwards, more   obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies   charged on their lap-dogs. See FIZZLE.

FID OF TOBACCO. A quid, from the small pieces of tow   with which the vent or touch hole of a cannon is stopped.   SEA TERM.

FIDDLE FADDLE. Trifling discourse, nonsense. A mere   fiddle faddle fellow; a trifier.

FIDDLESTICK’S END. Nothing; the end of the ancient  fiddlesticks ending in a point; hence metaphorically used  to express a thing terminating in nothing.

FIDGETS. He has got the fidgets; said of one that cannot   sit long in a place.

FIDLAM BEN. General thieves; called also St. Peter’s sons,   having every finger a fish-hook. CANT.

FIDDLERS MONEY. All sixpences: sixpence being the  usual sum paid by each couple, for music at country  wakes and hops. Fiddler’s fare; meat, drink, and money.  Fiddler’s pay; thanks and wine.

FIELD LANE DUCK. A baked sheep’s head.

FIERI FACIAS. A red-faced man is said to have been served  with a writ of fieri facias.

FIGDEAN. To kill.

FIGGER. A little boy put in at a window to hand out  goods to the diver. See DIVER.

FIGGING LAW. The art of picking pockets. CANT.

FIGURE DANCER. One who alters figures on bank notes,  converting tens to hundreds.

FILCH, or FILEL. A beggar’s staff, with an iron hook at  the end, to pluck clothes from an hedge, or any thing out  of a casement. Filcher; the same as angler. Filching  cove; a man thief. Filching mort; a woman thief.

FILE, FILE CLOY, or BUNGNIPPER. A pick pocket. To  file; to rob or cheat. The file, or bungnipper, goes  generally in company with two assistants, the adam tiler, and  another called the bulk or bulker, Whose business it is to  jostle the person they intend to rob, and push him against  the wall, while the file picks his pocket, and gives’the booty  to the adam tiler, who scours off with it.  CANT.

FIN. An arm. A one finned fellow; a man who has lost   an arm. SEA PHRASE.

FINE. Fine as five pence. Fine as a cow-t—d stuck with   primroses.

FINE. A man imprisoned for any offence. A fine of eighty-four   months; a transportation for seven years.

FINGER IN EYE. To put finger in eye; to weep: commonly  applied to women. The more you cry the less  you’ll p-ss; a consolatory speech used by sailors to their  doxies. It is as great a pity to see a woman cry, as to  see a goose walk barefoot; another of the same kind.

FINGER POST. A parson: so called, because he points out   a way to others which he never goes himself. Like the   finger post, he points out a way he has never been, and   probably will never go, i.e. the way to heaven.

FINISH. The finish; a small coffee-house in Coven Garden,   market, opposite Russel-street, open very early in the   morning, and therefore resorted to by debauchees shut out   of every other house: it is also called Carpenter’s coffee-house.

FIRING A GUN. Introducing a story by head and shoulders.   A man wanting to tell a particular story, said to the   company, Hark! did you not hear a gun?—but now we are   talking of a gun, I will tell you the story of one.

TO FIRE A SLUG. To drink a dram.

FIRE PRIGGERS. Villains who rob at fires under pretence  of assisting in removing the goods.

FIRE SHIP. A wench who has the venereal disease.

FIRE SHOVEL. He or she when young, was fed with a fire   shovel; a saying of persons with wide mouths.

FISH. A seaman. A scaly fish; a rough, blunt tar. To   have other fish to fry; to have other matters to mind,   something else to do.

FIT. Suitable. It won’t fit; It will not suit or do.

FIVE SHILLINGS. The sign of five shillings, i.e. the crown.   Fifteen shillings; the sign of the three crowns.

FIZZLE. An escape backward,

FLABAGASTED. Confounded.

FLABBY. Relaxed, flaccid, not firm or solid.

FLAG. A groat. CANT.—The flag of defiance, or bloody flag   is out; signifying the man is drunk, and alluding to the   redness of his face. SEA PHRASE.

FLAM. A lie, or sham story: also a single stroke on a drum.   To flam; to hum, to amuse, to deceive. Flim flams; idle   stories.

FLAP DRAGON. A clap, or pox.

To FLARE. To blaze, shine or glare.

FLASH. Knowing. Understanding another’s meaning. The  swell was flash, so I could not draw his fogle. The  gentleman saw  what I was about, and therefore I could not  pick his pocket of his silk handkerchief. To patter flash,  to speak the slang language. See PATTER.

FLASH. A periwig. Rum flash; a fine long wig. Queer  flash; a miserable weather-beaten caxon.

To FLASH. To shew ostentatiously. To flash one’s ivory;  to laugh and shew one’s teeth. Don’t flash your ivory, but  shut your potatoe trap, and keep your guts warm; the  Devil loves hot tripes.


FLASH KEN. A house that harbours thieves.

FLASH LINGO. The canting or slang language.

FLASH MAN. A bully to a bawdy house. A whore’s bully.

FLAT. A bubble, gull, or silly fellow.

FLAT COCK. A female.

FLAWD. Drunk.

FLAYBOTTOMIST. A bum-brusher, or schoolmaster.

To FLAY, or FLEA, THE FOX. To vomit.

FLEA BITE. A trifling injury. To send any one away with  a flea in his ear; to give any one a hearty scolding.

To FLEECE. To rob, cheat, or plunder.

FLEMISH ACCOUNT. A losing, or bad account.

FLESH BROKER. A match-maker, a bawd.

FLICKER. A drinking glass. CANT.

FLICKERING. Grinning or laughing in a man’s face.

FLICKING. Cutting. Flick me some panam and caffan;  cut me some bread and cheese. Flick the peter; cut off  the cloak-bag, or portmanteau.

To FLING. To trick or cheat. He flung me fairly out of it:   he cheated me out of it.

FLINTS. Journeymen taylors, who on a late occasion refused  to work for the wages settled by law. Those who submitted,  were by the mutineers styled dungs, i.e. dunghills.

FLIP. Small beer, brandy, and sugar: this mixture, with  the addition of a lemon, was by sailors, formerly called Sir  Cloudsly, in memory of Sir Cloudsly Shovel, who used  frequently to regale himself with it.



TO FLOG. To whip.

FLOGGER. A horsewhip. CANT.

FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old  one.

FLOGGING COVE. The beadle, or whipper, in Bridewell.

FLOGGING STAKE. The whipping-post.

TO FLOOR. To knock down. Floor the pig; knock down   the officer.

FLOURISH. To take a flourish; to enjoy a woman in a hasty   manner, to take a flyer. See FLYER.

TO FLOUT. To jeer, to ridicule.

FLUMMERY. Oatmeal and water boiled to a jelly; also   compliments, neither of which are over-nourishing.

FLUSH IN THE POCKET. Full of money. The cull is   flush in the fob. The fellow is full of money.


FLUTE. The recorder of a corporation; a recorder was an   antient musical instrument.

TO FLUX. To cheat, cozen, or over-reach; also to salivate.   To flux a wig; to put it up in curl, and bake it.

FLY. Knowing. Acquainted with another’s meaning or  proceeding. The rattling cove is fly; the coachman  knows what we are about.

FLY. A waggon. CANT.

FLY-BY-NIGHT. You old fly-by-night; an ancient term of  reproach to an old woman, signifying that she was a witch,  and alluding to the nocturnal excursions attributed to  witches, who were supposed to fly abroad to their  meetings, mounted on brooms.

FLY SLICERS. Life-guard men, from their sitting on  horseback, under an arch, where they are frequently observed  to drive away flies with their swords.

FLYER. To take a flyer; to enjoy a woman with her  clothes on, or without going to bed.

FLYERS. Shoes.

FLY-FLAPPED. Whipt in the stocks, or at the cart’s tail.

FLYING CAMPS. Beggars plying in a body at funerals.

FLYING GIGGERS. Turnpike gates.

FLYING HOUSE. A lock in wrestling, by which he who   uses it throws his adversary over his head.

FLYING PASTY. Sirreverence wrapped in paper and   thrown over a neighbour’s wall.

FLYING PORTERS. Cheats who obtain money by pretending  to persons who have been lately robbed, that they  may come from a place or party where, and from whom,  they may receive information respecting the goods stolen  from them, and demand payment as porters.

FLYING STATIONERS. Ballad-singers and hawkers of penny  histories.

FLYMSEY. A bank note.

FOB. A cheat, trick, or contrivance, I will not be fobbed off  so; I will not be thus deceived with false pretences. The  fob is also a small breeches pocket for holding a watch.

FOG. Smoke. CANT.

FOGEY. Old Fogey. A nickname for an invalid soldier:  derived from the French word fougeux, fierce or fiery.

FOGLE. A silk handkerchief,

FOGRAM. An old fogram; a fusty old fellow.

FOGUS. Tobacco. Tip me a gage of fogus; give me a   pipe of tobacco. CANT.

FOOL. A fool at the end of a stick; a fool at one end, and   a maggot at the other; gibes on an angler.

FOOL FINDER. A bailiff.

FOOLISH. An expression among impures, signifying the  cully who pays, in opposition to a flash man. Is he  foolish or flash?

FOOT PADS, or LOW PADS. Rogues who rob on foot.

FOOT WABBLER. A contemptuous appellation for a foot  soldier, commonly used by the cavalry.

FOOTMAN’S MAWND. An artificial sore made with unslaked  lime, soap, and the rust of old iron, on the back  of a beggar’s hand, as if hurt by the bite or kick of a horse.

FOOTY DESPICABLE. A footy fellow, a despicable fellow;  from the French foutue.

FOREFOOT, or PAW. Give us your fore foot; give us your hand.

FOREMAN OF THE JURY. One who engrosses all the talk  to himself, or speaks for the rest of the company.

FORK. A pickpocket. Let us fork him; let us pick his  pocket.—’The newest and most dexterous way, which is,  to thrust the fingers strait, stiff, open, and very quick,  into the pocket, and so closing them, hook what can  be held between them.’ N.B. This was taken from a  book written many years ago: doubtless the art of picking  pockets, like all others, must have been much improved  since that time.

FORLORN HOPE. A gamester’s last stake.

FORTUNE HUNTERS. Indigent men, seeking to enrich  themselves by marrying a woman of fortune.

FORTUNE TELLER, or CUNNING MAN. A judge, who tells  every prisoner his fortune, lot or doom. To go before the  fortune teller, lambskin men, or conjuror; to be tried at  an assize. See LAMBSKIN MEN.

FOUL. To foul a plate with a man, to take a dinner with him.


FOUNDLING. A child dropped in the streets, and found, and   educated at the parish expence.

FOUSIL. The name of a public house, where the   Eccentrics assemble in May’s Buildings, St. Martin’s Lane.

Fox. A sharp, cunning fellow. Also an old term for a  sword, probably a rusty one, or else from its being dyed red  with blood; some say this name alluded to certain swords  of remarkable good temper, or metal, marked with the  figure of a fox, probably the sign, or rebus, of the maker.

FOX’S PAW. The vulgar pronunciation of the French  words faux pas. He made a confounded fox’s paw.

FOXED. Intoxicated.

FOXEY. Rank. Stinking.

FOXING A BOOT. Mending the foot by capping it.

FOYST. A pickpocket, cheat, or rogue. See WOTTON’S GANG.

TO FOYST. To pick a pocket.

FOYSTED IN. Words or passages surreptitiously interpolated   or inserted into a book or writing.

FRATERS. Vagabonds who beg with sham patents, or briefs,   for hospitals, fires, inundations, &c.

FREE. Free of fumblers hall; a saying of one who cannot   get his wife with child.

FREE AND EASY JOHNS. A society which meet at the Hole   in the Wall, Fleet-street, to tipple porter, and sing bawdry.

FREE BOOTERS. Lawless robbers and plunderers: originally  soldiers who served without pay, for the privilege of  plundering the enemy.

FREEHOLDER. He whose wife accompanies him to the alehouse.

FREEMAN’S QUAY. Free of expence. To lush at Freeman’s   Quay; to drink at another’s cost.

FREEZE. A thin, small, hard cider, much used by vintners  and coopers in parting their wines, to lower the price of  them, and to advance their gain. A freezing vintner; a  vintner who balderdashes his wine.

FRENCH CREAM. Brandy; so called by the old tabbies  and dowagers when drank in their tea.

FRENCH DISEASE. The venereal disease, said to have been  imported from France. French gout; the same. He suffered  by a blow over the snout with a French faggot-stick;  i.e. he lost his nose by the pox.

FRENCH LEAVE. To take French leave; to go off without  taking leave of the company: a saying frequently applied  to persons who have run away from their creditors.

FRENCHIFIED. Infected with the venereal disease. The  mort is Frenchified: the wench is infected.

FRESH MILK. Cambridge new comers to the university.

FRESHMAN. One just entered a member of the university.

FRIBBLE. An effeminate fop; a name borrowed from a  celebrated character of that kind, in the farce of Miss in her  Teens, written by Mr. Garrick.

FRIDAY-FACE. A dismal countenance. Before, and even  long after the Reformation, Friday was a day of abstinence,  or jour maigre. Immediately after the restoration of king  Charles II. a proclamation was issued, prohibiting all  publicans from dressing any suppers on a Friday.

TO FRIG. Figuratively used for trifling.

FRIG PIG. A trifling, fiddle-faddle fellow.

FRIGATE. A well-rigged frigate; a well-dressed wench.

FRISK. To dance the Paddington frisk; to be hanged.

TO FRISK. Used by thieves to signify searching a person whom they have robbed. Blast his eyes! frisk him.

FROE, or VROE, A woman, wife, or mistress. Brush to your  froe, or bloss, and wheedle for crop; run to your mistress,  and sooth and coax her out of some money. DUTCH.


FROSTY FACE. One pitted with the small pox.


FRUITFUL VINE. A woman’s private parts, i.e. that has   FLOWERS every month, and bears fruit in nine months.

FRUMMAGEMMED. Choaked, strangled, suffocated, or   hanged. CANT.

FUBSEY. Plump. A fubsey wench; a plump, healthy   wench.

FUDDLE. Drunk. This is rum fuddle; this is excellent   tipple, or drink. Fuddle; drunk. Fuddle cap; a drunkard.

FUDGE. Nonsense.

FULHAMS. Loaded dice are called high and lowmen, or  high and low fulhams, by Ben Jonson and other writers of  his time; either because they were made at Fulham, or from  that place being the resort of sharpers.

FULL OF EMPTINESS. Jocular term for empty.

FULL MARCH. The Scotch greys are in full march by the  crown office; the lice are crawling down his head.

FUMBLER. An old or impotent man. To fumble, also  means to go awkwardly about any work, or manual  operation.

FUN. A cheat, or trick. Do you think to fun me out of  it? Do you think to cheat me?—Also the breech, perhaps  from being the abbreviation of fundament. I’ll kick your  fun. CANT.

TO FUNK. To use an unfair motion of the hand in plumping  at taw. SCHOOLBOY’S TERM.

FUNK. To smoke; figuratively, to smoke or stink through  fear. I was in a cursed funk. To funk the cobler; a  schoolboy’s trick, performed with assafoettida and cotton,  which are stuffed into a pipe: the cotton being lighted, and the  bowl of the pipe covered with a coarse handkerchief, the  smoke is blown out at the small end, through the crannies  of a cobler’s stall.

FURMEN. Aldermen.

FURMITY, or FROMENTY. Wheat boiled up to a jelly. To  simper like a furmity kettle: to smile, or look merry about  the gills.

FUSS. A confusion, a hurry, an unnecessary to do about   trifles.

FUSSOCK. A lazy fat woman. An old fussock; a frowsy   old woman.

FUSTIAN. Bombast language. Red fustian; port wine.

FUSTY LUGGS. A beastly, sluttish woman.

TO FUZZ. To shuffle cards minutely: also, to change the  pack.

GAB, or GOB. The mouth. Gift of the gab; a facility  of speech, nimble tongued eloquence. To blow the gab;  to confess, or peach.

GAB, or GOB, STRING. A bridle.

GABBY. A foolish fellow.

GAD-SO. An exclamation said to be derived from the   Italian word cazzo.

GAFF. A fair. The drop coves maced the joskins at the   gaff; the ring-droppers cheated the countryman at the fair.

TO GAFF. To game by tossing up halfpence.

GAG. An instrument used chiefly by housebreakers and  thieves, for propping open the mouth of a person robbed,  thereby to prevent his calling out for assistance.

GAGE. A quart pot, or a pint; also a pipe. CANT.

GAGE, or FOGUS. A pipe of tobacco.

GAGGERS. High and Low. Cheats, who by sham  pretences, and wonderful stories of their sufferings, impose on  the credulity of well meaning people. See RUM GAGGER.

GALIMAUFREY. A hodgepodge made up of the remnants   and scraps of the larder.

GALL. His gall is not yet broken; a saying used in prisons   of a man just brought in, who appears dejected.

GALLEY. Building the galley; a game formerly used at  sea, in order to put a trick upon a landsman, or fresh-water  sailor. It being agreed to play at that game, one  sailor personates the builder, and another the merchant or  contractor: the builder first begins by laying the keel,  which consists of a number of men laid all along on their  backs, one after another, that is, head to foot; he next  puts in the ribs or knees, by making a number of men sit  feet to feet, at right angles to, and on each side of, the  keel: he now fixing on the person intended to be the object  of the joke, observes he is a fierce-looking fellow,  and fit for the lion; he accordingly places him at the head,  his arms being held or locked in by the two persons next  to him, representing the ribs. After several other  dispositions, the builder delivers over the galley to the  contractor as complete: but he, among other faults and  objections, observes the lion is not gilt, on which the builder  or one of his assistants, runs to the head, and dipping a  mop in the excrement, thrusts it into the face of the lion.

GALLEY FOIST. A city barge, used formerly on the lord   mayor’s day, when he was sworn in at Westminster.

GALLIED. Hurried, vexed, over-fatigued, perhaps like a   galley slave.


GALLIPOT. A nick namefor an apothecary,


GALLOPER. A blood horse. A hunter. The toby gill clapped his  bleeders to his galloper and tipped the straps the  double. The highwayman spurred his horse and got  away from the officers.

GALLOWS BIRD. A grief, or pickpocket; also one that   associates with them.

GAMES. Thin, ill-shapped legs: a corruption of the French   word jambes. Fancy gambs; sore or swelled legs.

GAMBADOES. Leathern cases of stiff leather, used in  Devonshire instead of boots; they are fastened to the saddle,  and admit the leg, shoe and all: the name was at first  jocularly given.

GAMBLER. A sharper, of tricking, gamester.

GAME. Any mode of robbing. The toby is now a queer  game; to rob on the highway is now a bad mode of  acting. This observation is frequently made by thieves;  the roads being now so well guarded by the horse patrole;  and gentlemen travel with little cash in their pockets.

GAME. Bubbles or pigeons drawn in to be cheated. Also,  at bawdy-houses, lewd women. Mother have you any  game; mother, have you any girls? To die game; to  suffer at the gallows without shewing any signs of fear or  repentance. Game pullet; a young whore, or forward  girl in the way of becoming one.

GAMON. To humbug. To deceive, To tell lies. What   rum gamon the old file pitched to the flat; how finely the   knowing old fellow humbugged the fool.

GAMON AND PATTER. Common place talk of any   profession; as the gamon and patter of a horse-dealer, sailor,   &c.

GAN. The mouth or lips. Cant.

GANDER MONTH. That month in which a man’s wife-lies   in: wherefore, during that time, husbands plead a sort of   indulgence in matters of gallantry.

GANG. A company of men, a body of sailors, a knot of   thieves, pickpockets, &c. A gang of sheep trotters; the   four feet of a sheep.

GAOLER’S COACH. A hurdle: traitors being usually   conveyed from the gaol, to the place of execution, on a   hurdle or sledge.

GAP STOPPER. A whoremaster.

GAPESEED. Sights; any thing to feed the eye. I am come   abroad for a little gapeseed.

GARNISH. An entrance fee demanded by the old prisoners   of one just committed to gaol.

GARRET, or UPPER STORY. The head. His garret, or  upper story, is empty, or unfurnished; i.e. he has no  brains, he is a fool.

GAWKEY. A tall, thin, awkward young man or woman.


GAZEBO. An elevated observatory or summer-house.

GEE. It won’t gee; it won’t hit or do, it does not suit or  fit.

GELDING. An eunuch.

GELT. Money, GERMAN.—Also, castrated.

GENTLE CRAFT. The art of shoeniaking. One of the gentle   craft: a shoemaker: so called because once practised   by St. Crispin.

GENTLEMAN COMMONER. An empty bottle; an university   joke, gentlemen commoners not being deemed over full   of learning.


GENTLEMAN’S MASTER. A highway robber, because he  makes a gentleman obey his commands, i.e. stand and deliver.

GENTLEMAN OF THREE INS. In debt, in gaol, and in danger   of remaining there for life: or, in gaol, indicted, and   in danger of being hanged in chains.

GENTLEMAN OF THREE OUTS. That is, without money,   without wit, and without manners: some add another   out, i.e. without credit.

GENTRY COVE. A gentleman. CANT.

GENTRY COVE KEN. A gentleman’s house.   CANT.

GENTRY MORT. A gentlewoman.

GEORGE. Yellow George; a guinea. Brown George: an  ammunition loaf.

GERMAN DUCK. Haifa sheep’s head boiled with onions.

GET. One of his get; one of his offspring, or begetting.

GIBBERISH. The cant language of thieves and gypsies,  called Pedlars’ French, and St. Giles’s Greek: see ST.  GILES’S GREEK. Also the mystic language of Geber,  used by chymists. Gibberish likewise means a sort of  disguised language, formed by inserting any consonant  between each syllable of an English word; in which case it  is called the gibberish of the letter inserted: if F, it is the  F gibberish; if G, the G gibberish; as in the sentence  How do you do? Howg dog youg dog.

GIBBE. A horse that shrinks from the collar and will not  draw.

GIBLETS. To join giblets; said of a man and woman who  cohabit as husband and wife, without being married;  also to copulate.

GIBSON, or SIR JOHN GIBBON, A two-legged stool, used to  support the body of a coach whilst finishing.

GIFTS. Small white specks under the finger nails, said to  portend gifts or presents. A stingy man is said to be  as full of gifts as a brazen horse of his farts.

GIFT OF THE GAB. A facility of speech.

GIGG. A nose. Snitchel his gigg; fillip his nose. Grunter’s  gigg; a hog’s snout. Gigg is also a high one-horse  chaise, and a woman’s privities. To gigg a Smithfield  hank; to hamstring an over-drove ox, vulgarly called a  mad bullock.

GIGGER. A latch, or door. Dub the gigger; open the  door. Gigger dubber; the turnkey of a jaol.

To GIGGLE. To suppress a laugh. Gigglers; wanton women.

GILES’S or ST. GILES’S BREED. Fat, ragged, and saucy;  Newton and Dyot streets, the grand head-quarters-of most  of the thieves and pickpockets about London, are in St. Giles’s  Giles’s parish. St. Giles’s Greek; the cant language,  called also Slang, Pedlars’ French, and Flash.

GILFLURT. A proud minks, a vain capricious woman,

GILL. The abbreviation of Gillian, figuratively used for   woman. Every jack has his gill; i.e. every jack has his   gillian, or female mate.

GILLS. The cheeks. To look rosy about the gills; to have   a fresh complexion. To look merry about the gills: to   appear cheerful.

GILLY GAUPUS. A Scotch term for a tall awkward   fellow.

GILT, or RUM DUBBER. A thief who picks locks, so called  from the gilt or picklock key: many of them are so  expert, that, from the lock of a church door to that of  the smallest cabinet, they will find means to open it;  these go into reputable public houses, where, pretending  business, they contrive to get into private rooms, up  stairs, where they open any bureaus or trunks they happen  to find there.

GIMBLET-EYED. Squinting, either in man or woman.

GIMCRACK, or JIMCRACK. A spruce wench; a gimcrack  also means a person who has a turn for mechanical  contrivances.

GIN SPINNER. A distiller.

GINGAMBOBS. Toys, bawbles; also a man’s privities. See   THINGAMBOBS.

GINGER-PATED, or GINGER-HACKLED. Red haired: a   term borrowed from the cockpit, where red cocks are   called gingers,

GINGERBREAD. A cake made of treacle, flour, and grated   ginger; also money. He has the gingerbread; he is   rich.

GINGERBREAD WORK. Gilding and carving: these terms  are particularly applied by seamen on board Newcastle  colliers, to the decorations of the sterns and quarters of  West-Indiamen, which they have the greatest joy in defacing.

GINGERLY. Softly, gently, tenderly. To go gingerly to   work: to attempt a thing gently, or cautiously.

GINNY. An instrument to lift up a great, in order to steal   what is in the window. CANT.

GIP from gups a WOLF. A servant at college.

GIRDS. Quips, taunts, severe or biting reflections.

GIZZARD. To grumble in the gizzard; to be secretly  displeased.

GLASS EYES. A nick name for one wearing spectacles.

GLAYMORE. A Highland broad-sword; from the Erse GLAY, or GLAIVE, a sword; and MORE, great.

GLAZE. A window.

GLAZIER. One who breaks windows and shew-glasses, to  steal goods exposed for sale. Glaziers; eyes. CANT.—Is  your father a glazier; a question asked of a lad or young  man, who stands between the speaker and the candle, or  fire. If it is answered in the negative, the rejoinder  is—I wish he was, that he might make a window through  your body, to enable us to see the fire or light.

GLIB. Smooth, slippery. Glib tongued; talkative.

GLIM. A candle, or dark lantern, used in housebreaking;  also fire. To glim; to burn in the hand. CANT.


GLIMFLASHY. Angry, or in a passion. CANT.

GLIM JACK. A link-boy. CANT.


GLIMMERERS. Persons begging with sham licences,  pretending losses by fire.


GLIMSTICK. A candlestick. CANT.

GLOBE. Pewter. CANT.

GLOVES. To give any one a pair of gloves; to make them  a present or bribe. To win a pair of gloves; to kiss a man  whilst he sleeps: for this a pair of gloves is due to any lady  who will thus earn them.

GLUEPOT. A parson: from joining men and women together  in matrimony.

GLUM. Sullen.

GLUTTON. A term used by bruisers to signify a man who   will bear a great deal of beating.

GNARLER. A little dog that by his barking alarms the   family when any person is breaking into the house.

GO, THE. The dash. The mode. He is quite the go, he  is quite varment, he is prime, he is bang up, are  synonimous expressions.

GLYBE. A writing. CANT.

GO BETWEEN. A pimp or bawd.

GO BY THE GROUND. A little short person, man or woman.

GO SHOP. The Queen’s Head in Duke’s court, Bow street,  Covent Garden; frequented by the under players: where  gin and water was sold in three-halfpenny bowls, called  Goes; the gin was called Arrack. The go, the fashion;  as, large hats are all the go.

GOADS. Those who wheedle in chapmen for horse-dealers.

GOAT. A lascivious person. Goats jigg; making the beast  with two backs, copulation.

GOB. The mouth; also a bit or morsel: whence gobbets.  Gift of the gob; wide-mouthed, or one who speaks fluently,  or sings well.

GOB STRING. A bridle.

GOBBLER. A turkey cock.

GODFATHER. He who pays the reckoning, or answers for  the rest of thecompany: as, Will you stand godfather, and  we will take care of the brat; i.e. repay you another  time. Jurymen are also called godfathers, because they  name the crime the prisoner before them has been guilty  of, whether felony, petit larceny, &c.

GOG. All-a-gog; impatient, anxious, or desirous of a thing.

GOG AND MAGOG. Two giants, whose effigies stand on  each side of the clock in Guildhall, London; of whom  there is a tradition, that, when they hear the clock strike  one, on the first of April, they will walk down from their  places.

GOGGLES. Eyes: see OGLES. Goggle eyes; large prominent eyes. To   goggle; to stare.

GOING UPON THE DUB. Going out to break open, or pick   the locks of, houses.

GOLD DROPPERS. Sharpers who drop a piece of gold,  which they pick up in the presence of some unexperienced  person, for whom the trap is laid, this they pretend to  have found, and, as he saw them pick it up, they invite  him to a public house to partake of it: when there, two  or three of their comrades drop in, as if by accident, and  propose cards, or some other game, when they seldom fail  of stripping their prey.

GOLD FINDER. One whose employment is to empty necessary  houses; called also a tom-turd-man, and night-man:  the latter, from that business being always performed in  the night.

GOLDFINCH. One who has commonly a purse full of gold.   Goldfinches; guineas.

GOLGOTHA OR THE PLACE OF SCULLS. Part of the Theatre  at Oxford, where the heads of houses sit; those  gentlemen being by the wits of the university called sculls.

GOLLUMPUS. A large, clumsy fellow.

GOLOSHES, i.e. Goliah’s shoes. Large leathern clogs, worn  by invalids over their ordinary shoes.

GOOD MAN. A word of various imports, according to the  place where it is spoken: in the city it means a rich man;  at Hockley in the Hole, or St. Giles’s, an expert boxer;  at a bagnio in Covent Garden, a vigorous fornicator; at  an alehouse or tavern, one who loves his pot or bottle;  and sometimes, though but rarely, a virtuous man

GOOD WOMAN. A nondescript, represented on a famous  sign in St. Giles’s, in the form of a common woman, but  without a head.

GOODYER’S PIG. Like Goodyer’s pig; never well but when  in mischief.

GOOSE. A taylor’s goose; a smoothing iron used to press   down the seams, for which purpose it must be heated:   hence it is a jocular saying, that a taylor, be he ever so   poor, is always sure to have a goose at his fire. He cannot   say boh to a goose; a saying of a bashful or sheepish   fellow.

GOOSE RIDING. A goose, whose neck is greased, being suspended   by the legs to a cord tied to two trees or high posts,   a number of men on horseback, riding full speed, attempt   to pull off the head: which if they effect, the goose is   their prize. This has been practised in Derbyshire within   the memory of persons now living.

GOOSEBERRY. He played up old gooseberry among them;  said of a person who, by force or threats, suddenly puts an  end to a riot or disturbance.

GOOSEBERRY-EYED. One with dull grey eyes, like boiled   gooseberries.

GOOSEBERRY WIG. A large frizzled wig: perhaps from a   supposed likeness to a gooseberry bush.

GOOSECAP. A silly fellow or woman.

GORGER. A gentleman. A well dressed man. Mung  kiddey. Mung the gorger; beg child beg, of the gentleman.

GOSPEL SHOP. A church.

GOREE. Money, chiefly gold: perhaps from the traffic  carried on at that place, which is chiefly for gold dust.  CANT.

GORMAGON. A monster with six eyes, three mouths, four  arms, eight legs, live on one side and three on the other,  three arses, two tarses, and a *** upon its back; a man on  horseback, with a woman behind him.

GOTCH-GUTTED. Pot bellied: a gotch in Norfolk signifying   a pitcher, or large round jug.

TO GOUGE. To squeeze out a man’s eye with the thumb:   a cruel practice used by the Bostonians in America.

To GRABBLE. To seize. To grabble the bit; to seize any   one’s money. CANT.

GRAFTED. Cuckolded, i.e. having horns grafted on his   head.

To GRAB. To seize a man. The pigs grabbed the kiddey   for a crack: the officers, seized the youth for a burglary.


GRANNUM’S GOLD. Hoarded money: supposed to have  belonged to the grandmother of the possessor.

GRANNY. An abbreviation of grandmother; also the name  of an idiot, famous for licking, her eye, who died Nov. 14,  1719. Go teach your granny to suck eggs; said to such  as would instruct any one in a matter he knows better than  themselves.

GRAPPLE THE RAILS. A cant name used in Ireland for  whiskey.


GRAVE DIGGER. Like a grave digger; up to the a-se in   business, and don’t know which way to turn.

GRAVY-EYED. Blear-eyed, one whose eyes have a running   humour.

TO GREASE. To bribe. To grease a man in the fist; to  bribe him. To grease a fat sow in the a-se; to give to a  rich man. Greasy chin; a treat given to parish officers in  part of commutation for a bastard: called also, Eating a  child.

GREAT INTIMATE. As great as shirt and shitten a-se.


GREEDY GUTS. A covetous or voracious person.

GREEK. St. Giles’s Greek; the slang lingo, cant, or gibberish.

GREEN. Doctor Green; i.e. grass: a physician, or rather  medicine, found very successful in curing most disorders  to which horses are liable. My horse is not well, I shall  send him to Doctor Green.

GREEN. Young, inexperienced, unacquainted; ignorant. How   green the cull was not to stag how the old file planted the   books. How ignorant the booby was not to perceive   how the old sharper placed the cards in such a manner   as to insure the game.

GREEN BAG. An attorney: those gentlemen carry their   clients’ deeds in a green bag; and, it is said, when they   have no deeds to carry, frequently fill them with an old   pair of breeches, or any other trumpery, to give themselves   the appearance of business.

GREEN GOWN. To give a girl a green gown; to tumble her   on the grass.

GREEN SICKNESS. The disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.

GREENHEAD. An inexperienced young man.

GREENHORN. A novice on the town, an undebauched young  fellow, just initiated into the society of bucks and bloods.

GREENWICH BARBERS. Retailers of sand from the pits at  and about Greenwich, in Kent: perhaps they are styled  barbers, from their constant shaving the sandbanks.

GREENWICH GOOSE. A pensioner of Greenwich Hospital.

GREGORIAN TREE. The gallows: so named from Gregory   Brandon, a famous finisher of the law; to whom Sir William   Segar, garter king of arms (being imposed on by   Brooke, a herald), granted a coat of arms.

GREY BEARD. Earthen jugs formerly used in public house  for drawing ale: they had the figure of a man with a large  beard stamped on them; whence probably they took  the name: see BEN JONSON’S PLAYS, BARTHOLOMEW FAIR,  &c. &c. Dutch earthen jugs, used for smuggling gin on  the coasts of Essex and Suffolk, are at this time called  grey beards.

GREY MARE. The grey mare is the better horse; said of   a woman who governs her husband.

GREY PARSON. A farmer who rents the tithes of the rector   or vicar.

GRIG. A farthing. A merry grig; a fellow as merry as a  grig: an allusion to the apparent liveliness of a grig, or  young eel.

GRIM. Old Mr. Grim; death.

GRIMALKIN. A cat: mawkin signifies a hare in Scotland.

GRIN. To grin in a glass case; to be anatomized for murder:  the skeletons of many criminals are preserved in glass  cases, at Surgeons’ hall.

GRINAGOG, THE CAT’S UNCLE. A foolish grinning fellow,   one who grins without reason.

GRINDERS. Teeth. Gooseberry grinder; the breech. Ask   bogey, the gooseberry grinder; ask mine a-se.

TO GRIND. To have carnal knowledge of a woman.

GROATS. To save his groats; to come off handsomely: at  the universities, nine groats are deposited in the hands of an  academic officer, by every person standing for a degree;  which if the depositor obtains with honour, the groats are  returned to him.

GROG. Rum and water. Grog was first introduced into the  navy about the year 1740, by Admiral Vernon, to prevent  the sailors intoxicating themselves with their allowance of  rum, or spirits. Groggy, or groggified; drunk.

GROG-BLOSSOM. A carbuncle, or pimple in the face, caused  by drinking.

GROGGED. A grogged horse; a foundered horse.


GROPERS. Blind men; also midwives.



GRUB. Victuals. To grub; to dine.

GRUB STREET. A street near Moorfields, formerly the supposed  habitation of many persons who wrote for the booksellers:  hence a Grub-street writer means a hackney author,  who manufactures booss for the booksellers.

GRUB STREET NEWS. Lying intelligence.

TO GRUBSHITE. To make foul or dirty.

GRUMBLE. To grumble in the gizzard; to murmur or repine.   He grumbled like a bear with a sore head.

GRUMBLETONIAN. A discontented person; one who is always   railing at the times or ministry.

GRUNTER. A hog; to grunt; to groan, or complain of sickness.

GRUNTER’S GIG. A smoaked hog’s face.

GRUNTING PECK. Pork, bacon, or any kind of hog’s flesh.


GUDGEON. One easily imposed on. To gudgeon; to swallow  the bait, or fall into a trap: from the fish of that name,  which is easily taken.

GULL. A simple credulous fellow, easily cheated.

GULLED. Deceived, cheated, imposed on.

GULLGROPERS. Usurers who lend money to the gamesters.

GUM. Abusive language. Come, let us have no more of   your gum.

GUMMY. Clumsy: particularly applied to the ancles of   men or women, and the legs of horses.

GUMPTION, or RUM GUMPTION. Docility, comprehension,   capacity.

GUN. He is in the gun; he is drunk: perhaps from an allusion   to a vessel called a gun, used for ale in the universities.

GUNDIGUTS. A fat, pursy fellow.

GUNNER’S DAUGHTER. To kiss the gunner’s daughter; to  be tied to a gun and flogged on the posteriors; a mode of  punishing boys on board a ship of war.

GUNPOWDER. An old Woman. CANT.

GUTS. My great guts are ready to eat my little ones; my  guts begin to think my throat’s cut; my guts curse my  teeth: all expressions signifying the party is extremely  hungry.

GUTS AND GARBAGE. A very fat man or woman. More  guts than brains; a silly fellow. He has plenty of guts, but  no bowels: said of a hard, merciless, unfeeling person.

GUTFOUNDERED. Exceeding hungry.


GUTTER LANE. The throat, the swallow, the red lane.   See RED LANE.

GUTTING A QUART POT. Taking out the lining of it: i. e.   drinking it off. Gutting an oyster; eating it. Gutting a   house; clearing it of its furniture. See POULTERER.

GUY. A dark lanthorn: an allusion to Guy Faux, the principal   actor in the gunpowder plot. Stow the guy: conceal the   lanthorn.

GUZZLE. Liquor. To guzzle; to drink greedily.

GUZZLE GUTS. One greedy of liquor.

GYBE, or JYBE. Any writing or pass with a seal.

GYBING. Jeering or ridiculing.

GYLES, or GILES. Hopping Giles; a nick name for a lame   person: St. Giles was the tutelar saint of cripples.

GYP. A college runner or errand-boy at Cambridge, called   at Oxford a scout. See SCOUT.

HABERDASHER OF PRONOUNS. A schoolmaster, or   usher.

HACKNEY WRITER. One who writes  for attornies or   booksellers.

HACKUM. Captain Hackum; a bravo, a slasher.

HAD’EM. He has been at Had’em, and came home by Clapham;  said of one who has caught the venereal disease.

HAIR SPLITTER. A man’s yard.

HALBERT. A weapon carried by a serjeant of foot. To get  a halbert; to be appointed a serjeant. To be brought to  the halberts; to be flogged a la militaire: soldiers of the  infantry, when flogged, being commonly tied to three halberts,  set up in a triangle, with a fourth fastened across  them. He carries the halbert in his face; a saying of one  promoted from a serjeant to a commission officer.

HALF A HOG. Sixpence.

HALF SEAS OVER. Almost drunk.

HAMLET. A high constable. Cant.

HAMS, or HAMCASES Breeches.

HAND. A sailor. We lost a hand; we lost a sailor. Bear a  hand; make haste. Hand to fist; opposite: the same as  tete-a-tete, or cheek by joul.

HAND AND POCKET SHOP. An eating house, where ready  money is paid for what is called for.

HAND BASKET PORTION. A woman whose husband receives   frequent presents from her father, or family, is   said to have a hand-basket portion.

HANDLE. To know how to handle one’s fists; to be skilful   in the art of boxing. The cove flashes a rare handle to   his physog; the fellow has a large nose.

HANDSOME. He is a handsome-bodied man in the face; a   jeering commendation of an ugly fellow. Handsome is that   handsome does: a proverb frequently cited by ugly women.

HANDSOME REWARD. This, in advertisements, means  a   horse-whipping.

To HANG AN ARSE. To hang back, to hesitate.

HANG GALLOWS LOOK. A thievish, or villainous appearance.

HANG IN CHAINS. A vile, desperate fellow. Persons  guilty of murder, or other atrocious crimes, are frequently,  after execution, hanged on a gibbet, to which  they are fastened by iron bandages; the gibbet is commonly  placed on or near the place where the crime was committed.

HANG IT UP. Score it up: speaking of a reckoning.

HANG OUT. The traps scavey where we hang out; the officers  know where we live.

HANGER ON. A dependant.

HANK. He has a hank on him; i.e. an ascendancy over  him, or a hold upon him. A Smithfield hank; an ox,  rendered furious by overdriving and barbarous treatment.  See BULL HANK.

HANKER. To hanker after any thing; to have a longing  after or for it.

HANS IN KELDER. Jack in the cellar, i.e. the child in the  womb: a health frequently drank to breeding women or  their husbands.

HARD. Stale beer, nearly sour, is  said to be hard. Hard  also means severe: as, hard fate, a hard master.

HARD AT HIS A-SE. Close after him.

HARE. He has swallowed a hare; he is drunk; more probably  a HAIR, which requires washing down,

HARK-YE-ING. Whispering on one side to borrow money.

HARMAN. A constable. CANT.


HARMANS. The stocks. CANT.

HARP. To harp upon; to dwell upon a subject. Have  among you, my blind harpers; an expression used in throwing  or shooting at random among the crowd. Harp is also  the Irish expression for woman, or tail, used in tossing  up in Ireland: from Hibernia, being represented with a  harp on the reverse of the copper coins of that country;  for which it is, in hoisting the copper, i.e. tossing up,  sometimes likewise called music.

HARRIDAN. A hagged old woman; a miserable, scraggy,  worn-out harlot, fit to take her bawd’s degree: derived  from the French word HARIDELLE, a worn-out jade of a horse  or mare.

HARRY. A country fellow. CANT.—Old Harry; the Devil.

HARUM SCARUM. He was running harum scarum; said of  any one running or walking hastily, and in a hurry, after  they know not what.

HASH. To flash the hash; to vomit. CANT.

HASTY. Precipitate, passionate. He is none of the Hastings  sort; a saying of a slow, loitering fellow: an allusion to the  Hastings pea, which is the first in season.

HASTY PUDDING. Oatmeal and milk boiled to a moderate  thickness, and eaten with sugar and butter. Figuratively,  a wet, muddy road: as, The way through Wandsworth is  quite a hasty pudding. To eat hot hasty pudding for a  laced hat, or some other prize, is a common feat at wakes  and fairs.

HAT. Old hat; a woman’s privities: because frequently  felt.

HATCHES. Under the hatches; in trouble, distress, or debt.

HATCHET FACE. A long thin face.

HAVIL. A sheep. CANT.

HAVY CAVY. Wavering, doubtful, shilly shally.

HAWK. Ware hawk; the word to look sharp, a bye-word  when a bailiff passes. Hawk also signifies a sharper, in  opposition to pigeon. See PIGEON. See WARE HAWK.

HAWKERS. Licensed itinerant retailers of different commodities,  called also pedlars; likewise the sellers of news-papers.  Hawking; an effort to spit up the thick phlegm, called  OYSTERS: whence it is wit upon record, to ask the person  so doing whether he has a licence; a punning allusion to the  Act of hawkers and pedlars.

To HAZEL GILD. To beat any one with a hazel stick.

HEAD CULLY OF THE PASS, or PASSAGE BANK. The top  tilter of that gang throughout the whole army, who  demands and receives contribution from all the pass banks in  the camp.




HEARTY CHOAK. He will have a hearty choak and caper  sauce for breakfast; i.e. he will be hanged.

HEATHEN PHILOSOPHER. One whose breech may be seen  through his pocket-hole: this saying arose from the old  philosophers, many of whom depised the vanity of dress to  such a point, as often to fall into the opposite extreme.

TO HEAVE. To rob. To heave a case; to rob a house.   To heave a bough; to rob a booth. CANT.

HEAVER. The breast. CANT.

HEAVERS. Thieves who make it their business to steal  tradesmen’s shop-books. CANT.

HECTOR. bully, a swaggering coward. To hector; to  bully, probably from such persons affecting the valour of  Hector, the Trojan hero.

HEDGE. To make a hedge; to secure a bet, or wager, laid  on one side, by taking the odds on the other, so that, let  what will happen, a certain gain is secured, or hedged in,  by the person who takes this precaution; who is then said  to be on velvet.

HEDGE ALEHOUSE. A small obscure alehouse.

HEDGE CREEPER. A robber of hedges.

HEDGE PRIEST. An illiterate unbeneficed curate, a patrico.

HEDGE WHORE. An itinerant harlot, who bilks the bagnios  and bawdy-houses, by disposing of her favours on the  wayside, under a hedge; a low beggarly prostitute.

HEELS. To he laid by the heels; to be confined, or put in   prison. Out at heels; worn, or diminished: his estate or   affairs are out at heels. To turn up his heels; to turn up   the knave of trumps at the game of all-fours.

HEEL TAP. A peg in the heel of a shoe, taken out when it   is finished. A person leaving any liquor in his glass, is   frequently called upon by the toast-master to take off his   heel-tap.

HELL. A taylor’s repository for his stolen goods, called  cabbage: see CABBAGE. Little hell; a small dark covered  passage, leading from London-wall to Bell-alley.

HELL-BORN BABE. A lewd graceless youth, one naturally   of a wicked disposition.

HELL CAT. A termagant, a vixen, a furious scolding woman.   See TERMAGANT and VIXEN.

HELL HOUND. A wicked abandoned fellow.

HELL FIRE DICK. The Cambridge driver of the Telegraph.  The favorite companion of the University fashionables,  and the only tutor to whose precepts they attend.

HELTER SKELTER. To run helter skelter, hand over head,  in defiance of order.

HEMP. Young hemp; an appellation for a graceless boy.

HEMPEN FEVER. A man who was hanged is said to have  died of a hempen fever; and, in Dorsetshire, to have been  stabbed with a Bridport dagger; Bridport being a place  famous for manufacturing hemp into cords.

HEMPEN WIDOW. One whose husband was hanged.

HEN-HEARTED. Cowardly.

HEN HOUSE. A house where the woman rules; called also  a SHE HOUSE, and HEN FRIGATE: the latter a sea phrase,  originally applied to a ship, the captain of which had his  wife on board, supposed to command him.

HENPECKED. A husband governed by his wife, is said to   be henpecked.

HEN. A woman. A cock and hen club; a club composed   of men and women.

HERE AND THEREIAN. One who has no settled place of   residence.

HERRING. The devil a barrel the better herring; all equally   bad.

HERRING GUTTED. Thin, as a shotten hering.

HERRING POND. The sea. To cross the herring pond at   the king’s expence; to be transported.

HERTFORDSHIRE KINDNESS. Drinking twice to the same   person.

HICK. A country hick; an ignorant clown. CANT.

HICKENBOTHOM. Mr. Hickenbothom; a ludicrous name  for an unknown person, similar to that of Mr. Thingambob.  Hickenbothom, i.e. a corruption of the German  word ickenbaum, i.e. oak tree.

HICKEY. Tipsey; quasi, hickupping.

HIDE AND SEEK. A childish game. He plays at hide and  seek; a saying of one who is in fear of being arrested for  debt, or apprehended for some crime, and therefore does  not chuse to appear in public, but secretly skulks up and  down. See SKULK.

HIDEBOUND. Stingy, hard of delivery; a poet poor in invention,  is said to have a hidebound muse.

HIGGLEDY PIGGLEDY. Confusedly mixed.

HIGH EATING. To eat skylarks in a garret.

HIGH FLYERS. Tories, Jacobites.

HIGH JINKS. A gambler at dice, who, having a strong  head, drinks to intoxicate his adversary, or pigeon.

HIGH LIVING. To lodge in a garret, or cockloft

HIGH PAD. A highwayman. CANT.

HIGH ROPES. To be on the high ropes; to be in a passion.

HIGH SHOON, or CLOUTED SHOON. A country clown.

HIGH WATER. It is high water, with him; he is full of  money.

HIGHGATE. Sworn at Highgate—a ridiculous custom formerly  prevailed at the public-houses in Highgate, to administer  a ludicrous oath to all travellers of the middling  rank who stopped there. The party was sworn on a pair  of horns, fastened on a stick: the substance of the oath  was, never to kiss the maid when he could kiss the mistress,  never to drink small beer when he could get strong, with  many other injunctions of the like kind; to all which was  added the saving cause of “unless you like it best.” The  person administering the oath was always to be called  father by the juror; and he, in return, was to style him  son, under the penalty of a bottle.

HIKE. To hike off; to run away. CANT.

HIND LEG. To kick out a hind leg; to make a rustic bow.

HINNEY, MY HONEY. A north country hinney, particularly   a Northumbrian: in that county, hinney is the general   term of endearment.

HISTORY OF THE FOUR KINGS, or CHILD’S BEST GUIDE TO   THE GALLOWS. A pack of cards. He studies the history   of the four kings assiduously; he plays much at cards.

HOAXING. Bantering, ridiculing. Hoaxing a quiz; joking   an odd fellow. UNIVERSITY WIT.

HOB, or HOBBINOL, a clown.

HOB OR NOB. Will you hob or nob with me? a question  formerly in fashion at polite tables, signifying a request or  challenge to drink a glass of wine with the proposer: if the  party challenged answered Nob, they were to chuse whether  white or red. This foolish custom is said to have  originated in the days of good queen Bess, thus: when  great chimnies were in fashion, there was at each corner  of the hearth, or grate, a small elevated projection, called  the hob; and behind it a seat. In winter time the beer  was placed on the hob to warm: and the cold beer was  set on a small table, said to have been called the nob; so  that the question, Will you have hob or nob? seems only  to have meant, Will you have warm or cold beer? i.e.  beer from the hob, or beer from the nob.

HOBBERDEHOY. Half a man and half a boy, a lad between   both.

HOBBLED. Impeded, interrupted, puzzled. To hobble;   to walk lamely.

HOBBLEDYGEE. A pace between a walk and a run, a dog-trot.

HOBBY. Sir Posthumous’s hobby; one nice or whimsical  in his clothes.

HOBBY HORSE. A man’s favourite amusement, or study,  is called his hobby horse. It also means a particular kind  of small Irish horse: and also a wooden one, such as is  given to children.

HOBBY HORSICAL. A man who is a great keeper or rider  of hobby horses; one that is apt to be strongly attached  to his systems of amusement.

HOBNAIL. A country clodhopper: from the shoes of country   farmers and ploughmen being commonly stuck full of   hob-nails, and even often clouted, or tipped with iron.   The Devil ran over his face with hobnails in his shoes;   said of one pitted With the small pox.

HOBSON’S CHOICE. That or none; from old Hobson, a   famous carrier of Cambridge, who used to let horses to the   students; but never permitted them to chuse, always   allotting each man the horse he thought properest for his   manner of riding and treatment.

HOCKS. vulgar appellation for the feet. You have left   the marks of your dirty hocks on my clean stairs; a frequent   complaint from a mop squeezer to a footman.

HOCKEY. Drunk with strong stale beer, called old hock.   See HICKEY.

HOCKING, or HOUGHING. A piece of cruelty practised by  the butchers of Dublin, on soldiers, by cutting the tendon  of Achilles; this has been by law made felony.

HOCUS POCUS. Nonsensical words used by jugglers, previous  to their deceptions, as a kind of charm, or incantation. A  celebrated writer supposes it to be a ludicrous corruption  of the words hoc est corpus, used by the popish priests in  consecrating the host. Also Hell Hocus is used to express  drunkenness: as, he is quite hocus; he is quite drunk.

HOD. Brother Hod; a familiar name for a bricklayer’s  labourer: from the hod which is used for carrying bricks and  mortar.

HODDY DODDY, ALL A-SE AND NO BODY. A short clumsy   person, either male or female.

HODGE. An abbreviation of Roger: a general name for a   country booby.

HODGE PODGE. An irregular mixture of numerous things.

HODMANDODS. Snails in their shells.

HOG. A shilling. To drive one’s hogs; to snore: the noise  made by some persons in snoring, being not much unlike  the notes of that animal. He has brought his hogs to a  fine market; a saying of any one who has been remarkably  successful in his affairs, and is spoken ironically to signify  the contrary. A hog in armour; an awkward or mean  looking man or woman, finely dressed, is said to look like  a hog in armour. To hog a horse’s mane; to cut it short,  so that the ends of the hair stick up like hog’s bristles.  Jonian hogs; an appellation given to the members of St.  John’s College, Cambridge.

HOG GRUBBER. A mean stingy fellow.

HOGGISH. Rude, unmannerly, filthy.

HOGO. Corruption of haut goust, high taste, or flavour;  commonly said of flesh somewhat tainted. It has a  confounded hogo; it stinks confoundedly.

HOIST. To go upon the hoist; to get into windows  accidentally left open: this is done by the assistance of a  confederate, called the hoist, who leans his head against the  wall, making his back a kind of step or ascent.

HOITY-TOITY. A hoity-toity wench; a giddy, thoughtless,  romping girl.

HOLIDAY. A holiday bowler; a bad bowler. Blind man’s   holiday; darkness, night. A holiday is any part of a   ship’s bottom, left uncovered in paying it. SEA TERM. It   is all holiday; See ALL HOLIDAY.

HOLY FATHER. A butcher’s boy of St. Patrick’s Market,   Dublin, or other Irish blackguard; among whom   the exclamation, or oath, by the Holy Father (meaning   the Pope), is common.

HOLY LAMB. A thorough-paced villain. IRISH.

HOLY WATER. He loves him as the Devil loves holy water,  i.e. hates him mortally. Holy water, according to the  Roman Catholics, having the virtue to chase away the Devil  and his imps.

HOLLOW. It was quiet a hollow thing; i.e. a certainty, or  decided business.

HONEST MAN. A term frequently used by superiors to inferiors.  As honest a man as any in the cards when all the  kings are out; i.e. a knave. I dare not call thee rogue for  fear of the law, said a quaker to an attorney; but I wil  give thee five pounds, if thou canst find any creditable  person who wilt say thou art an honest man.

HONEST WOMAN. To marry a woman with whom one has  cohabitated as a mistress, is termed, making an honest  woman of her.

HONEY MOON. The first month after marriage. A poor  honey; a harmless, foolish, goodnatured fellow. It is all  honey or a t—d with them; said of persons who are  either in the extremity of friendship or enmity, either  kissing or fighting.

HOOD-WINKED. Blindfolded by a handkerchief, or other  ligature, bound over the eyes.

HOOF. To beat the hoof; to travel on foot. He hoofed it  or beat the hoof, every step of the way from Chester to  London.

HOOK AND SNIVEY, WITH NIX THE BUFFER. This rig  consists in feeding a man and a dog for nothing, and is  carried on thus: Three men, one of who pretends to be  sick and unable to eat, go to a public house: the two well  men make a bargain with the landlord for their dinner,  and when he is out of sight, feed their pretended sick  companion and dog gratis.

HOOKEE WALKER. An expression signifying that the story   is not true, or that the thing will not occour.

HOOKED. Over-reached, tricked, caught: a simile taken   from fishing. **** hooks; fingers.


TO HOOP. To beat. I’ll well hoop his or her barrel, I’ll  beat him or her soundly.

TO HOP THE TWIG. To run away. CANT.


HOP-O-MY-THUMB. A diminutive person, man or woman.  She was such a-hop-o-my thumb, that a pigeon, sitting  on her shoulder, might pick a pea out of her a-se.

HOPKINS. Mr. Hopkins; a ludicrous address to a lame or  limping man, being a pun on the word hop.

HOPPING GILES. A jeering appellation given to any person  who limps, or is lame; St. Giles was the patron of  cripples, lepers, &c. Churches dedicated to that saint  commonly stand out of town, many of them having been  chapels to hospitals. See GYLES.

HOPPER-ARSED. Having large projecting buttocks: from   their resemblance to a small basket, called a hopper or   hoppet, worn by husbandmen for containing seed corn,   when they sow the land.

HORNS. To draw in one’s horns; to retract an assertion   through fear: metaphor borrowed from a snail, who on the   apprehension of danger, draws in his horns, and retires to   his shell.

HORN COLIC. A temporary priapism.

HORN MAD. A person extremely jealous of his wife, is  said to be horn mad. Also a cuckold, who does not cut  or breed his horns easily.

HORN WORK. Cuckold-making.

HORNIFIED. Cuckolded.

HORSE BUSS. A kiss with a loud smack; also a bite.

HORSE COSER. A dealer in horses: vulgarly and corruptly  pronounced HORSE COURSER. The verb TO COSE was used by  the Scots, in the sense of bartering or exchanging.

HORSE GODMOTHER. A large masculine woman, a  gentlemanlike kind of a lady.

HORSE LADDER. A piece of Wiltshire wit, which consists  in sending some raw lad, or simpleton, to a neighbouring  farm house, to borrow a horse ladder, in order to get up  the horses, to finish a hay-mow.

HORSE’S MEAL. A meal without drinking.

HOSTELER, i.e. oat stealer. Hosteler was originally the  name for an inn-keeper; inns being in old English styled  hostels, from the French signifying the same.

HOT POT. Ale and brandy made hot.

HOT STOMACH. He has so hot a stomach, that he burns  all the clothes off his back; said of one who pawns his  clothes to purchase liquor.

HOUSE, or TENEMENT, TO LET. A widow’s weeds; also  an atchievement marking the death of a husband, set up  on the outside of a mansion: both supposed to indicate  that the dolorous widow wants a male comforter.

HOYDON. A romping  girl.

HUBBLE-BUBBLE. Confusion. A hubble-bubble fellow;  a man of confused ideas, or one thick of speech, whose  words sound like water bubbling out of a bottle. Also an  instrument used for smoaking through water in the East  Indies, called likewise a caloon, and hooker.

HUBBLE DE SHUFF. Confusedly. To fire hubble de shuff,  to fire quick and irregularly. OLD MILITARY TERM.

HUBBUB. A noise, riot, or disturbance.

HUCKLE MY BUFF. Beer, egg, and brandy, made hot.

HUCKSTERS. Itinerant retailers of provisions. He is in   hucksters hands; he is in a bad way.

TO HUE. To lash. The cove was hued in the naskin;   the rogue was soundly lashed in bridewell. CANT.

TO HUFF. To reprove, or scold at any one; also to bluster,   bounce, ding, or swagger. A captain huff; a noted bully.   To stand the huff; to be answerable for the reckoning in   a public house.

HUG. To hug brown bess; to carry a firelock, or serve as a   private soldier. He hugs it as the Devil hugs a witch:   said of one who holds any thing as if he was afraid of losing   it.

HUGGER MUGGER. By stealth, privately, without making  an appearance. They spent their money in a hugger  mugger way.

HUGOTONTHEONBIQUIFFINARIANS. A society existing in   1748.

HULKY, or HULKING. A great hulky fellow; an over-grown   clumsy lout, or fellow.

HULVER-HEADED. Having a hard impenetrable head; hulver,  in the Norfolk dialect, signifying holly, a hard and  solid wood.

TO HUM, or HUMBUG. To deceive, or impose on one by  some story or device. A humbug; a jocular imposition,  or deception. To hum and haw; to hesitate in speech,  also to delay, or be with difficulty brought to consent to  any matter or business,

HUMS. Persons at church. There is a great number of hums  in the autem; there is a great congregation in the church.

HUM BOX. A pulpit.

HUM CAP. Very old and strong beer, called also stingo.   See STINGO.

HUM DRUM. A hum drum fellow; a dull tedious narrator,  a bore; also a set of gentlemen, who (Bailey says) used to  meet near the Charter House, or at the King’s Head in St.  John’s-street, who had more of pleasantry, and less of mystery,  than the free masons.

HUM DURGEON. An imaginary illness. He has got the  humdurgeon, the thickest part of his thigh is nearest his a-se;  i.e. nothing ails him except low spirits.

HUMBUGS. The brethren of the venerable society of humbugs  was held at brother Hallam’s, in Goodman’s Fields.

HUMMER. A great lye, a rapper. See RAPPER.

HUMMING LIQUOR. Double ale, stout pharaoh. See PHARAOH.

HUMMUMS. A bagnio, or bathing house.

HUM TRUM. A musical instrument made of a mopstick, a  bladder, and some packthread, thence also called a bladder  and string, and hurdy gurdy; it is played on like a violin,  which is sometimes ludicrously called a humstrum; sometimes,  instead of a bladder, a tin canister is used.

HUMP. To hump; once a fashionable word for copulation.

HUMPTY DUMPTY. A little humpty dumpty man or woman;  a short clumsy person of either sex: also ale boiled  with brandy.

TO HUNCH. To jostle, or thrust.

HUNCH-BACKED. Hump-backed.

HUNG BEEF. A dried bull’s pizzle. How the dubber  served the cull with hung beef; how the turnkey beat the  fellow with a bull’s pizzle.

HUNKS. A covetous miserable fellow, a miser; also the  name of a famous bear mentioned by Ben Jonson.

HUNTING. Drawing in unwary persons to play or game.   CANT.

HUNTING THE SQUIRREL. An amusement practised by  postboys and stage-coachmen, which consists in following  a one-horse chaise, and driving it before them, passing close  to it, so as to brush the wheel, and by other means terrifying  any woman or person that may be in it. A man whose  turn comes for him to drink, before he has emptied his former  glass, is said to be hunted.

HUNTSUP. The reveillier of huntsmen, sounded on the   French horn, or other instrument.

HURDY GURDY. A kind of fiddle, originally made perhaps   out of a gourd. See HUMSTRUM.

HURLY BURLY. A rout, riot, bustle or confusion.

HUSH.  Hush the cull; murder the fellow.

HUSH MONEY. Money given to hush up or conceal a robbery, theft,  or any other offence, or to take off the evidence  from appearing against a criminal.

HUSKYLOUR.  A guinea, or job.  Cant.

HUSSY.  An abbreviation of housewife, but now always  used as a term of reproach; as, How now, hussy? or She  is a light hussy.

HUZZA.  Said to have been originally the cry of the huzzars  or Hungarian light horse; but now the national shout of  the English, both civil and military, in the sea phrase  termed a cheer; to give three cheers being to huzza thrice.

HYP, or HIP. A mode of calling to one passing by. Hip,  Michael, your head’s on fire; a piece of vulgar wit to a  red haired man.

HYP.  The hypochondriac: low spirits. He is hypped; he  has got the blue devils, &c.

JABBER.  To talk thick and fast, as great praters usually  do, to chatter like a magpye; also to speak a foreign  language. He jabbered to me in his damned outlandish  parlez vous, but I could not understand him; he chattered  to me in French, or some other foreign language, but  I could not understand him.

JACK.  A farthing, a small bowl serving as the mark for  bowlers. An instrument for pulling off boots.

JACK ADAMS.  A fool. Jack Adams’s parish; Clerkenwell.

JACK AT A PINCH,   A poor hackney parson.

JACK IN A BOX, A sharper, or cheat. A child in the mother’s  womb.

JACK IN AN OFFICE,   An insolent fellow in authority.

JACK KETCH.  The hangman; vide DERRICK and KETCH.

JACK NASTY FACE. A sea term, signifying a common  sailor.

JACK OF LEGS. A tall long-legged man; also a giant, said  to be buried in Weston church, near Baldock, in Hertfordshire,  where there are two stones fourteen feet distant,  said to be the head and feet stones of his grave. This  giant, says Salmon, as fame goes, lived in a wood here, and  was a great robber, but a generous one; for he plundered  the rich to feed the poor: he frequently took bread for  this purpose from the Baldock bakers, who catching him  at an advantage, put out his eyes, and afterwards hanged  him upon a knoll in Baldock field. At his death he made  one request, which was, that he might have his bow and  arrow put into his hand, and on shooting it off, where the  arrow fell, they would bury him; which being granted,  the arrow fell in Weston churchyard. Above seventy  years ago, a very large thigh bone was taken out of the  church chest, where it had lain many years for a show,  and was sold by the clerk to Sir John Tradescant, who,  it is said, put it among the rarities of Oxford.

JACK PUDDING. The merry andrew, zany, or jester to a  mountebank.

JACK ROBINSON. Before one could say Jack Robinson; a  saying to express a very short time, originating from a  very volatile gentleman of that appellation, who would call  on his neighbours, and be gone before his name could  be announced.

JACK SPRAT. A dwarf, or diminutive fellow.

JACK TAR. A sailor.

JACK WEIGHT. A fat man.

JACK WHORE. A large masculine overgrown wench.

JACKANAPES. An ape; a pert, ugly, little fellow.

JACKED. Spavined. A jacked horse.



JACOB. A soft fellow. A fool.

JACOB. A ladder: perhaps from Jacob’s dream. CANT. Also  the common name for a jay, jays being usually taught to  say, Poor Jacob! a cup of sack for Jacob.

JACOBITES. Sham or collar shirts. Also partizans for the  Stuart family: from the name of the abdicated king, i.e.  James or Jacobus. It is said by the whigs, that God  changed Jacob’s name to Israel, lest the descendants of  that patriarch should be called Jacobites.

JADE. A term of reproach to women.

JAGUE. A ditch: perhaps from jakes.

JAIL BIRDS. Prisoners.

JAKES. A house of office, a cacatorium.


JANIZARIES. The mob, sometimes so called; also bailiffs,  their setters, and followers.

JAPANNED. Ordained. To be japanned; to enter into holy  orders, to become a clergyman, to put on the black cloth:  from the colour of the japan ware, which is black.

JARK. A seal.

JARKMEN. Those, who fabricate counterfeit passes, licences,  and certificates for beggars.

JARVIS. A hackney coachman.

JASON’S FLEECE. A citizen cheated of his gold.

JAW. Speech, discourse. Give us none of your jaw; let us  have none of your discourse. A jaw-me-dead; a talkative  fellow. Jaw work; a cry used in fairs by the sellers of  nuts.

JAZEY. A bob wig.

IDEA POT. The knowledge box, the head. See KNOWLEDGE   BOX.

JEFFY. It will be done in a jeffy; it will be done in a short   space of time, in an instant.

JEHU. To drive jehu-like; to drive furiously: from a king  of Israel of that name, who was a famous charioteer, and  mentioned as such in the Bible.

JEM. A gold ring. CANT.

JEMMY FELLOW. A smart spruce fellow.

JEMMY. A crow. This instrument is much used by housebreakers. Sometimes called Jemmy Rook.

JENNY. An instrument for lifting up the grate or top of a   show-glass, in order to rob it. CANT.

JERRYCUMMUMBLE. To shake, towzle, or tumble about.

JERRY SNEAK. A henpecked husband: from a celebrated  character in one of Mr. Foote’s plays, representing a man  governed by his wife.

JESSAMY. A smart jemmy fellow, a fopling.


JESUITICAL. Sly, evasive, equivocal. A jesuitical answer;   an equivocal answer.

JET. A lawyer. Autem jet; a parson.

JEW. An over-reaching dealer, or hard, sharp fellow; an  extortioner: the brokers formerly behind St. Clement’s  church in the Strand were called Jews by their brethren  the taylors.

JEW. A tradesman who has no faith, i.e. will not give credit.

JEW BAIL. Insufficient bail: commonly Jews, who for a  sum of money will bail any action whatsoever, and justify,  that is, swear to their sufficiency; but, when called on, are  not to be found.

JEW’S EYE. That’s worth a Jew’s eye; a pleasant or agreeable  sight: a saying taken from Shakespeare.

JIBBER THE KIBBER. A method of deceiving seamen, by  fixing a candle and lanthorn round the neck of a horse,  one of whose fore feet is tied up; this at night has the  appearance of a ship’s light. Ships bearing towards it, run  on shore, and being wrecked, are plundered by the inhabitants.  This diabolical device is, it is said, practised by the  inhabitants of our western coasts.

JIG. A trick. A pleasant jig; a witty arch trick. Also a  lock or door. The feather-bed jig; copulation.

JIGGER. A whipping-post. CANT.

JILT. A tricking woman, who encourages the addresses of   a man whom she means to deceive and abandon.

JILTED. Rejected by a woman who has encouraged one’s   advances.

JINGLE BOXES. Leathern jacks tipped with silver, and   hung with bells, formerly in use among fuddle caps.   CANT.

JINGLE BRAINS. A wild, thoughtless, rattling fellow.

JINGLERS. Horse cosers, frequenting country fairs.

IMPOST TAKERS. Usurers who attend the gaming-tables,   and lend money at great premiums.

IMPUDENT STEALING. Cutting out the backs of coaches,   and robbing the seats.

IMPURE. A modern term for a lady of easy virtue.

INCHING. Encroaching.

INDIES. Black Indies; Newcastle.

INDIA WIPE. A silk handkerchief.

INDORSER. A sodomite. To indorse with a cudgel; to drub  or beat a man over the back with a stick, to lay CANE upon  Abel.


INKLE WEAVERS. Supposed to be a very brotherly set of  people; ‘as great as two inkle weavers’ being a proverbial  saying.

INLAID. Well inlaid; in easy circumstances, rich or well   to pass.

INNOCENTS. One of the innocents; a weak or simple person,   man or woman.

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE. The inside of a **** and the outside   of a gaol.

JOB. A guinea.

JOB’S COMFORT. Reproof instead of consolation.

JOB’S COMFORTER. One who brings news of some   additional misfortune.

JOB’S DOCK. He is laid up in Job’s dock; i.e. in a salivation.   The apartments for the foul or venereal patients in St.   Bartholomew’s hospital, are called Job’s ward.

JOBATION. A reproof.


TO JOB. To reprove or reprehend. CAMBRIDGE TERM.

JOB. Any robbery. To do a job; to commit some kind of  robbery.

JOCK, or CROWDY-HEADED JOCK. A jeering appellation for  a north country seaman, particularly a collier; Jock being  a common name, and crowdy the chief food, of the lower  order of the people in Northumberland.

TO JOCK, or JOCKUM CLOY. To enjoy a woman.

JOCKUM GAGE. A chamber-pot, jordan, looking-glass, or   member-mug. CANT.

JOGG-TROT. To keep on a jogg-trot; to get on with a slow   but regular pace.

JOHNNY BUM. A he or jack ass: so called by a lady that  affected to be extremely polite and modest, who would  not say Jack because it was vulgar, nor ass because it  was indecent.

JOINT. To hit a joint in carving, the operator must think  of a cuckold. To put one’s nose out of joint; to rival one  in the favour of a patron or mistress.

JOLLY, or JOLLY NOB. The head. I’ll lump your jolly  nob for you; I’ll give you a knock on the head.

JOLLY DOG. A merry facetious fellow; a BON VIVANT, who  never flinches from his glass, nor cries to go home to  bed.

JOLTER HEAD. A large head; metaphorically a stupid fellow.

JORDAIN. A great blow, or staff. I’ll tip him a jordain if  I transnear; i.e. I’ll give him a blow with my staff, if I  come near him. CANT.

JORDAN. A chamber-pot.

JORUM. A jugg, or large pitcher.

JOSEPH. A woman’s great coat. Also, a sheepish bashful  young fellow: an allusion to Joseph who fled from Potiphar’s  wife. You are Josephus rex; you are jo-king, i. e.  joking.

JOSKIN. A countryman. The dropcove maced the Joskin   of twenty quid; The ring dropper cheated the   countryman of twenty guineas.

JOWL. The cheek. Cheek by jowl; close together, or cheek   to cheek. My eyes how the cull sucked the blowen’s   jowl; he kissed the wench handsomely.

IRON. Money in general. To polish the king’s iron with   one’s eyebrows; to look out of grated or prison windows,   or, as the Irishman expresses them, the iron glass   windows. Iron doublet; a prison. See STONE DOUBLET.

IRONMONGER’S SHOP. To keep an ironmonger’s shop by   the side of a common, where the sheriff sets one up; to be   hanged in chains. Iron-bound; laced. An iron-bound   hat; a silver-laced hat.

ISLAND. He drank out of the bottle till he saw the island;   the island is the rising bottom of a wine bottle, which   appears like an island in the centre, before the bottle is   quite empty.

IVORIES. Teeth. How the swell flashed his ivories; how   the gentleman shewed his teeth.



JUGGLER’S BOX. The engine for burning culprits in the  hand. CANT.

JUKRUM. A licence.

JUMBLEGUT LANE. A rough road or lane.

JUMP. The jump, or dining-room jump; a species of robbery  effected by ascending a ladder placed by a sham lamp-lighter,  against the house intended to be robbed. It is so  called, because, should the lamp-lighter be put to flight,  the thief who ascended the ladder has no means of escaping  but that of jumping down.

JUMPERS. Persons who rob houses by getting in at the windows.   Also a set of Methodists established in South   Wales.

JUNIPER LECTURE. A round scolding bout.

JURY LEG. A wooden leg: allusion to a jury mast, which  is a temporary substitute for a mast carried away by a  storm, or any other accident. SEA PHRASE.

JURY MAST. A JOURNIERE mast; i.e. a mast for the day or  occasion.

JUST-ASS. A punning appellation for a justice.

IVY BUSH. Like an owl in an ivy bush; a simile for a  meagre or weasel-faced man, with a large wig, or very  bushy hair.

KATE. A picklock. ‘Tis a rum kate; it is a clever picklock.   CANT.

KEEL BULLIES. Men employed to load and unload the coal   vessels.

KEELHAULING. A punishment in use among the Dutch  seamen, in which, for certain offences, the delinquent is  drawn once, or oftener, under the ship’s keel: ludicrously  defined, undergoing a great hard-ship.

TO KEEP. To inhabit. Lord, where do you keep? i.e.  where are your rooms? ACADEMICAL PHRASE. Mother, your  tit won’t keep; your daughter will not preserve her virginity.

TO KEEP IT UP. To prolong a debauch. We kept it up   finely last night; metaphor drawn from the game of shuttle-cock.

KEEPING CULLY. One who keeps a mistress, as he supposes,   for his own use, but really for that of the public.


KELTER. Condition, order. Out of kelter; out of order.

KELTER. Money.

KEMP’S MORRIS. William Kemp, said to have been the original   Dogberry in Much ado about Nothing, danced a morris   from London to Norwich in nine days: of which he   printed the account, A. D. 1600, intitled, Kemp’s Nine   Days Wonder, &c.

KEMP’S SHOES. Would I had Kemp’s shoes to throw after   you. BEN JONSON. Perhaps Kemp was a man remarkable   for his good luck or fortune; throwing an old shoe, or shoes,   after any one going on an important business, being by the   vulgar deemed lucky.

KEN. A house. A bob ken, or a bowman ken; a well-furnished  house, also a house that harbours thieves. Biting  the ken; robbing the house. CANT.

KEN MILLER, or KEN CRACKER. A housebreaker. CANT.

KENT-STREET EJECTMENT. To take away the street door:  a method practised by the landlords in Kent-street, Southwark,  when their tenants are above a fortnight’s rent in  arrear.

KERRY SECURITY. Bond, pledge, oath, and keep the  money.

KETTLEDRUMS. Cupid’s kettle drums; a woman’s breasts,  called by sailors chest and bedding.

KETTLE OF FISH. When a person has perplexed his affairs  in general, or any particular business, he is said to have  made a fine kettle of fish of it.

KICKS. Breeches. A high kick; the top of the fashion. It  is all the kick; it is the present mode. Tip us your kicks,  we’ll have them as well as your lour; pull off your breeches,  for we must have them as well as your money. A kick;  sixpence. Two and a kick; half-a-crown. A kick in the  guts; a dram of gin, or any other spirituous liquor. A  kick up; a disturbance, also a hop or dance. An odd kick  in one’s gallop; a strange whim or peculiarity.

To KICK THE BUCKET. To die. He kicked the bucket  one day: he died one day. To kick the clouds before the  hotel door; i.e. to be hanged.

KICKSEYS. Breeches.

KICKSHAWS. French dishes: corruption of quelque chose.

KID. A little dapper fellow. A child. The blowen has  napped the kid. The girl is with child.

TO KID. To coax or wheedle. To inveigle. To amuse a  man or divert his attention while another robs him. The  sneaksman kidded the cove of the ken, while his pall  frisked the panney; the thief amused the master of the house,  while his companion robbed the house.

KID LAY. Rogues who make it their business to defraud  young apprentices, or errand-boys, of goods committed to  their charge, by prevailing on them to execute some trifling  message, pretending to take care of their parcels till they  come back; these are, in cant terms, said to be on the  kid lay.

KIDDER. A forestaller: see CROCKER. Kidders are also  persons employed by the gardeners to gather peas.

KIDDEYS. Young thieves.

KIDDY NIPPERS. Taylors out of work, who cut off the  waistcoat pockets of their brethren, when cross-legged on  their board, thereby grabbling their bit. CANT.

KIDNAPPER. Originally one who stole or decoyed children  or apprentices from their parents or masters, to send  them to the colonies; called also spiriting: but now used  for all recruiting crimps for the king’s troops, or those of  the East India company, and agents for indenting servants  for the plantations, &c.

KIDNEY. Disposition, principles, humour. Of a strange  kidney; of an odd or unaccountable humour. A man of  a different kidney; a man of different principles.

KILKENNY. An old frize coat.

KILL CARE CLUB. The members of this club, styled also  the Sons of Sound Sense and Satisfaction, met at their  fortress, the Castle-tavern, in Paternoster-row.

KILL DEVIL. New still-burnt rum.

KILL PRIEST. Port wine.

To KIMBAW. To trick, cheat or cozen; also to beat or to  bully. Let’s kimbaw the cull; let’s bully the fellow.  To set one’s arms a-kimbaw, vulgarly pronounced a-kimbo,  is to rest one’s hands on the hips, keeping the elbows  square, and sticking out from the body; an insolent  bullying attitude. CANT.

KINCHIN. A little child. Kinchin coes; orphan beggar  boys, educated in thieving. Kinchin morts; young girls  under the like circumstances and training. Kinchin  morts, or coes in slates; beggars’ children carried at their  mother’s backs in sheets. Kinchin cove; a little man. CANT.

KING’S PLATE. Fetters.

KING’S WOOD LION. An Ass. Kingswood is famous for  the great number of asses kept by the colliers who inhabit  that place.

KING’S BAD BARGAIN. One of the king’s bad bargains; a   malingeror, or soldier who shirks his duty.


KING JOHN’S MEN. He is one of king John’s men, eight   score to the hundred: a saying of a little undersized man.

KING OF THE GYPSIES. The captain, chief, or ringleader  of the gang of misrule: in the cant language called also the  upright man.

KING’S PICTURES. Coin, money.

KINGDOM COME. He is gone to kingdom come, he is dead.

KIP. The skin of a large calf, in the language of the   Excise-office.

KISS MINE A-SE. An offer, as Fielding observes, very  frequently made, but never, as he could learn, literally  accepted. A kiss mine a-se fellow; a sycophant.

KISSING CRUST. That part where the loaves have touched  the oven.

KIT. A dancing-master, so called from his kit or cittern, a  small fiddle, which dancing-masters always carry about  with them, to play to their scholars. The kit is likewise  the whole of a soldier’s necessaries, the contents of his  knapsack: and is used also to express the whole of different  commodities: as, Here, take the whole kit; i.e. take  all.

KIT-CAT CLUB. A society of gentlemen, eminent for wit  and learning, who in the reign of queen Anne and George  I. met at a house kept by one Christopher Cat. The  portraits of most of the members of this society were painted  by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of one size; thence still called the  kit-cat size.

KITCHEN PHYSIC. Food, good meat roasted or boiled. A  little kitchen physic will set him up; he has more need of  a cook than a doctor.

KITTLE PITCHERING. A jocular method of hobbling or  bothering a troublesome teller of long stories: this is done  by contradicting some very immaterial circumstance at  the beginning of the narration, the objections to which  being settled, others are immediately started to some new  particular of like consequence; thus impeding, or rather  not suffering him to enter into, the main story. Kittle  pitchering is often practised in confederacy, one relieving  the other, by which the design is rendered less obvious.

KITTYS. Effects, furniture; stock in trade. To seize one’s  kittys; to take his sticks.

KNACK SHOP. A toy-shop, a nick-nack-atory.

KNAPPERS POLL. A sheep’s head. CANT.

KNAVE IN GRAIN. A knave of the first rate: a phrase  borrowed from the dyehouse, where certain colours are said to  be in grain, to denote their superiority, as being dyed with  cochineal, called grain. Knave in grain is likewise a pun  applied to a cornfactor or miller.


KNIGHT OF THE POST. A false evidence, one that is ready  to swear any thing for hire.

KNIGHT OF THE RAINBOW. A footman: from the variety  of colours in the liveries and trimming of gentlemen of  that cloth.

KNIGHT OF THE ROAD. A highwayman.


KNIGHT OF THE THIMBLE, or NEEDLE. A taylor or stay-maker.



KNIGHT AND BARROW PIG, more hog than gentleman. A  saying of any low pretender to precedency.

KNOB. The head. See NOB.

KNOCK. To knock a woman; to have carnal knowledge of  her. To knock off; to conclude: phrase borrowed from  the blacksmith. To knock under; to submit.

KNOCK ME DOWN. Strong ale or beer, stingo.

KNOT. A crew, gang, or fraternity. He has tied a knot  with his tongue, that he cannot untie with his teeth: i.e.  he is married.

KNOWING ONES. Sportsmen on the turf, who from  experience and an acquaintance with the jockies, are supposed  to be in the secret, that is, to know the true merits or  powers of each horse; notwithstanding which it often happens  that the knowing ones are taken in.


KNUCKLES. Pickpockets who attend the avenues to public  places to steal pocket-books, watches, &c. a superior kind  of pickpockets. To knuckle to, to submit.

TO KNUCKLE ONE’S WIPE. To steal his handkerchief.


KONOBLIN RIG. Stealing large pieces of coal from coalsheds.

LACED MUTTON. A prostitute.

LACING. Beating. I’ll lace your jacket handsomely.

LADDER. To go up the ladder to rest; to be hanged.

LADY. A crooked or hump-backed woman.

LADY OF EASY VIRTUE. A woman of the town, an impure,  a prostitute.

LADYBIRDS. Light or lewd women.


LAG. A man transported. The cove was lagged for a drag.   The man was transported for stealing something out of a   waggon.

LAG FEVER. A term of ridicule applied to men who being   under sentence of transportation, pretend illness, to avoid   being sent from gaol to the hulks.

TO LAG. To drop behind, to keep back. Lag last; the   last of a company.

LAGE. Water. CANT.

LAGE OF DUDS. A buck of linen.


To LAMB, or LAMBASTE. To beat. Lamb pye; a beating:  from lambo.

LAMB’S WOOL. Apples roasted and put into strong ale.

LAMBSKIN MEN. The judges: from their robes lined and   bordered with ermine.

LAMP. An eye. The cove has a queer lamp. The man   has a blind or squinting eye.

LAND. How lies the land? How stands the reckoning?  Who has any land in Appleby? a question asked the man  at whose door the glass stands long, or who does not  ciculate it in due time.

LAND LOPERS, or LAND LUBBERS. Vagabonds lurking  about the country who subsist by pilfering.

LAND PIRATES. Highwaymen.

LANK SLEEVE. The empty sleeve of a one armed man.   A fellow with a lank sleeve; a man who has lost an arm.

LANSPRISADO. One who has only two-pence in his pocket.  Also a lance, or deputy corporal; that is, one doing the  duty without the pay of a corporal. Formerly a lancier, or  horseman, who being dismounted by the death of his  horse, served in the foot, by the title of lansprisado, or  lancepesato, a broken lance.

LANTHORN-JAWED. Thin-visaged: from their cheeksbeing almost  transparent. Or else, lenten jawed; i.e. having  the jaws of one emaciated by a too rigid observation of  Lent. Dark lanthorn; a servant or agent at court, who  receives a bribe for his principal or master.

LAP. Butter-milk or whey. CANT.

LARK. A boat.

LARK. A piece of merriment. People playing together jocosely.

LARRY DUGAN’S EYE WATER. Blacking: Larry Dugan  was a famous shoe-black at Dublin.

LATCH. Let in.

LATHY. Thin, slender. A lathy wench; a girl almost as   slender as a lath.

LATITAT. A nick-name for an attorney; from the name of   a writ.

LAVENDER. Laid up in lavender; pawned.

LAUGH. To laugh on the wrong side of the mouth; to cry.  I’ll make him laugh on the wrong (or t’other) side of his  mouth.

LAUNCH. The delivery, or labour, of a pregnant woman;  a crying out or groaning.

LAW. To give law to a hare; a sporting term, signifying to  give the animal a chance of escaping, by not setting on  the dogs till the hare is at some distance; it is also more  figuratively used for giving any one a chance of succeeding  in a scheme or project.


LAY. Enterprize, pursuit, or attempt: to be sick of the  lay. It also means a hazard or chance: he stands a queer  lay; i.e. he is in danger. CANT.

LAYSTALL. A dunghill about London, on which the soil  brought from necessary houses is emptied; or, in more  technical terms, where the old gold collected at weddings  by the Tom t—d man, is stored.

LAZY. As lazy as Ludman’s dog, who leaned against the   wall to bark. As lazy as the tinker, who laid down his   budget to f—t.

LAZY MAN’S LOAD. Lazy people frequently take up more   than they can safely carry, to save the trouble of coming   a second time.

LAZYBONES. An instrument like a pair of tongs, for old or   very fat people to take any thing from the ground without   stooping.

LEAF. To go off with the fall of the leaf; to be hanged:  criminals in Dublin being turned off from the outside of  the prison by the falling of a board, propped up, and moving  on a hinge, like the leaf of a table. IRISH TERM.

TO LEAK. To make water.

LEAKY. Apt to blab; one who cannot keep a secret is said  to be leaky.

LEAST IN SIGHT. To play least in sight; to hide, keep  out of the way, or make one’s self scarce.

LEATHER. To lose leather; to be galled with riding on  horseback, or, as the Scotch express it, to be saddle sick.  To leather also meant to beat, perhaps originally with a  strap: I’ll leather you to your heart’s content. Leather-headed;  stupid. Leathern conveniency; term used by  quakers for a stage-coach.

LEERY. On one’s guard. See PEERY.

LEFT-HANDED WIFE. A concubine; an allusion to an  ancient German custom, according to which, when a man  married his concubine, or a woman greatly his inferior,  he gave her his left hand.

LEG. To make a leg; to bow. To give leg-bail and land  security; to run away. To fight at the leg; to take  unfair advantages: it being held unfair by back-sword  players to strike at the leg. To break a leg; a woman who has  had a bastard, is said to have broken a leg.

LEGGERS. Sham leggers; cheats who pretend to sell smuggled  goods, but in reality only deal in old shop-keepers or  damaged goods.

LENTEN FARE. Spare diet.

LETCH. A whim of the amorous kind, out of the common  way.

LEVITE. A priest or parson.

TO LIB. To lie together. CANT.


LIBBEN. A private dwelling-house. CANT.

LIBKEN. A house to lie in. CANT.

TO LICK. To beat; also to wash, or to paint slightly over.  I’ll give you a good lick o’ the chops; I’ll give you a good  stroke or blow on the face. Jack tumbled into a cow  t—d, and nastied his best clothes, for which his father stept  up, and licked him neatly.—I’ll lick you! the dovetail to  which is, If you lick me all over, you won’t miss—.

LICKSPITTLE. A parasite, or talebearer.

LIFT. To give one a lift; to assist. A good hand at a  dead lift; a good hand upon an emergency. To lift  one’s hand to one’s head; to drink to excess, or to drink  drams. To lift or raise one’s elbow; the same.


LIFTER. A crutch.

LIG. A bed. See LIB.

LIGHT BOB. A soldier of the light infantry company.

LIGHT-FINGERED. Thievish, apt to pilfer.

LIGHT-HEELED. Swift in running. A light-heeled wench;  one who is apt, by the flying up of her heels, to fall flat on  her back, a willing wench.

LIGHT HOUSE. A man with a red fiery nose.

LIGHT TROOPS. Lice; the light troops are in full march;  the lice are crawling about.


LIGHTNING. Gin. A flash of lightning; a glass of gin.

LIKENESS. A phrase used by thieves when the officers  or turnkeys are examining their countenance. As the  traps are taking our likeness; the officers are attentively  observing us.

LILIPUTIAN. A diminutive man or woman: from Gulliver’s  Travels, written by Dean Swift, where an imaginary  kingdom of dwarfs of that name is described.

LILY WHITE. A chimney-sweeper.

LILY SHALLOW. (WHIP SLANG) A white driving hat.

LIMBS. Duke of limbs; a tall awkward fellow.

LIMB OF THE LAW. An inferior or pettyfogging attorney.

LIMBO. A prison, confinement.

To LINE. A term for the act of coition between dog and  bitch.

LINE OF THE OLD AUTHOR. A dram of brandy.

LINE. To get a man into a line, i.e. to divert his attention   by a ridiculous or absurd story. To humbug.

LINGO. Language. An outlandish lingo; a foreign tongue.   The parlezvous lingo; the French language.


LION. To tip the lion; to squeeze the nose of the party  tipped, flat to his face with the thumb. To shew the  lions and tombs; to point out the particular curiosities of  any place, to act the ciceroni: an allusion to Westminster  Abbey, and the Tower, where the tombs and lions are  shewn. A lion is also a name given by the gownsmen of  Oxford to an inhabitant or visitor. It is a standing joke  among the city wits to send boys and country folks, on  the first of April, to the Tower-ditch, to see the lions  washed.

LIQUOR. To liquor one’s boots; to drink before a journey:  among Roman Catholics, to administer the extreme unction.


LITTLE BREECHES. A familiar appellation used to a little  boy.

LITTLE CLERGYMAN. A young chimney-sweeper.

LITTLE EASE. A small dark cell in Guildhall, London,  where disorderly apprentices are confined by the city  chamberlain: it is called Little Ease from its being so low  that a lad cannot stand upright in it.

LITTLE SNAKESMAN. A little boy who gets into a house  through the sink-hole, and then opens the door for his  accomplices: he is so called, from writhing and twisting  like a snake, in order to work himself through the narrow  passage.

LIVE LUMBER. A term used by sailors, to signify all landsmen  on board their ships.

LIVE STOCK. Lice or fleas.

LOAF. To be in bad loaf, to be in a disagreeable situation,   or in trouble.

LOB. A till in a tradesman’s shop. To frisk a lob; to rob   a till. See FLASH PANNEY.

LOB. Going on the lob; going into a shop to get change   for gold, and secreting some of the change.

LOBCOCK.  a dull inanimate  fellow.

LOBKIN. A house to lie in: also a lodging.

LOBSTER. A nick name for a soldier, from the colour of his  clothes.

LOCK. A scheme, a mode. I must fight that lock; I must  try that scheme.

LOCK. Character. He stood a queer lock; he bore but an  indifferent character. A lock is also a buyer of stolen  goods, as well as the receptacle for them.

LOCK HOSPITAL. An hospital for venereal patients.

LOCK UP HOUSE. A spunging house; a public house kept  by sheriff’s officers, to which they convey the persons they  have arrested, where they practise every species of  imposition and extortion with impunity. Also houses kept  by agents or crimps, who enlist, or rather trepan, men to  serve the East India or African company as soldiers.

LOCKERAM-JAWED. Thin-faced, or lanthorn-jawed. See   LANTHORN JAWED.


LOGGERHEAD. A blockhead, or stupid fellow. We three  loggerheads be: a sentence frequently written under two  heads, and the reader by repeating it makes himself the  third. A loggerhead is also a double-headed, or bar shot  of iron. To go to loggerheads; to fall to fighting.

LOLL. Mother’s loll; a favourite child, the mother’s darling,

LOLL TONGUE. He has been playing a game at loll tongue;  he has been salivated.

LOLLIPOPS. Sweet lozenges purchased by children.

TO LOLLOP. To lean with one’s elbows on a table.

LOLLPOOP. A lazy, idle drone.

LOMBARD FEVER. Sick of the lombard fever; i.e. of the  idles.

LONG ONE. A hare; a term used by poachers.

LONG. Great. A long price; a great price.

LONG GALLERY. Throwing, or rather trundling, the dice   the whole length of the board.

LONG MEG. A jeering name for a very tall woman: from   one famous in story, called Long Meg of Westminster.

LONG SHANKS. A long-legged person.

LONG STOMACH. A voracious appetite.

LONG TONGUED. Loquacious, not able to keep a secret.   He is as long-tongued as Granny: Granny was an idiot   who could lick her own eye. See GRANNY.

LONG-WINDED. A long-winded parson; one who preached   long, tedious sermons. A long-winded paymaster; one   who takes long credit.

LOO. For the good of the loo; for the benefit of the company   or community.

LOOBY. An awkward, ignorant fellow.

LOOKING AS IF ONE COULD NOT HELP IT. Looking like a  simpleton, or as if one could not say boh! to a goose.

LOOKING-GLASS. A chamber pot, jordan, or member mug.

LOON, or LOUT. A country bumkin, or clown.

LOONSLATE. Thirteen pence halfpenny.

LOOPHOLE. An opening, or means of escape. To find a  loophole in an act of parliament; i.e. a method of  evading it,

LOP-SIDED. Uneven, having one side larger or heavier than   the other: boys’ paper kites are often said to be lop-sided.

TO LOPE. To leap, to run away. He loped down the dancers;   he ran down stairs.

LOUSE. A gentleman’s companion. He will never louse a  grey head of his own; he will never live to be old.

LOUNGE. A loitering place, or gossiping shop.

LOUSE BAG. A black bag worn to the hair or wig.

LOUSE HOUSE. The round house, cage, or any other place of confinement.

LOUSE LADDER.  A stitch fallen in a stocking.

LOUSE TRAP. A small toothed comb.

LOUT.  A clumsy stupid fellow.

LOWING RIG.  Stealing oxen or cows.

LOW PAD. A footpad.

LOW TIDE, or LOW WATER. When there is no money in  a man’s pocket.

LOWRE. Money.  Cant.

LUBBER. An awkward fellow: a name given by sailors to  landsmen.

LUCK, or GOOD LUCK. To tread in a surreverence, to be  bewrayed: an allusion to the proverb, Sh-tt-n luck is good  luck.

LUD’S BULWARK. Ludgate prison.

LUGS. Ears or wattles.  See WATTLES.

LULLABY CHEAT. An infant.  Cant.

LULLIES. Wet linen.  Cant.

LULLY TRIGGERS.  Thieves who steal wet linen.  Cant.

LUMB. Too much.

LUMBER. Live lumber; soldiers or passengers on board a  ship are so called by the sailors.

LUMBER TROOP. A club or society of citizens of London.

LUMBER HOUSE. A house appropriated by thieves for the   reception of their stolen property.

To LUMP. To beat; also to include a number of articles   under one head.

To LUMP THE LIGHTER. To be transported.

LUMPERS.  Persons who contract to unload ships; also   thieves who lurk about wharfs to pilfer goods from ships,   lighters, &c.

LUMPING. Great. A lumping penny worth; a great quantity   for the money, a bargain. He has’got a lumping penny-worth;   frequently said of a man who marries a fat woman.

LUN.  Harlequin.

LURCH. To be left in the lurch; to be abandoned by one’s   confederates or party, to be left in a scrape.

LURCHED.  Those who lose a game of whist, without scoring five,   are said to be lurched.

LURCHER. A lurcher of the law; a bum bailiff, or his setter.

LURRIES. Money, watches, rings, or other moveablcs.

LUSH. Strong beer.

TO LUSH. To drink.

LUSHEY. Drunk. The rolling kiddeys hud a spree, and got  bloody lushey; the dashing lads went on a party of pleasure,  and got very drunk.

LYE. Chamber lye; urine.

MACCARONI. An Italian paste made of flour and eggs.  Also a fop: which name arose from a club, called the  Maccaroni Club, instituted by some of the most dressy  travelled gentlemen about town, who led the fashions; whence  a man foppishly dressed, was supposed a member of that  club, and by contraction styled a Maccaroni.

MACE COVE. A swindler, a sharper, a cheat. On the  mace; to live by swindling.

MACHINES. Mrs. Phillips’s ware. See CUNDUM.

MACKEREL. A bawd: from the French maquerel. Mackerel-backed;   long-backed.

MADAM. A kept madam; a kept mistress.

MADE. Stolen. CANT.

MAGG. A halfpenny.

MAGGOT BOILER. A tallow-chandler.

MAGGOTTY. Whimsical, capricious.

MAGNUM BONUM. A bottle containing two quarts of wine.   See SCOTCH PINT.

MAHOMETAN GRUEL. Coffee: because formerly used   chiefly by the Turks.

MAIDEN SESSIONS. A sessions where none of the prisoners   are capitally convicted.

MAKE. A halfpenny. CANT.

MAKE WEIGHT. A small candle: a term applied to a little   slender man.

MALINGEROR. A military term for one who, under pretence   of sickness, evades his duty.

MALKIN, or MAULKIN. A general name for a cat; also a  parcel of rags fastened to the end of a stick, to clean an  oven; also a figure set up in a garden to scare the birds;  likewise an awkward woman. The cove’s so scaly, he’d  spice a malkin of his jazey: the fellow is so mean, that he  would rob a scare-crow of his old wig.

MALKINTRASH. One in a dismal garb.

MALMSEY NOSE. A red pimpled snout, rich in carbuncles  and rubies.

MAN OF THE TOWN. A rake, a debauchee.

MAN OF THE TURF. A horse racer, or jockey.

MANOEUVRING THE APOSTLES. Robbing Peter to pay   Paul, i.e. borrowing of one man to pay another.

MAN OF THE WORLD. A knowing man.

MAN, (CAMBRIDGE.) Any undergraduate from fifteen to thirty.   As a man of Emanuel—a young member of Emanuel.

MANUFACTURE. Liquors prepared from materials of English   growth.

MARE’S NEST. He has found a mare’s nest, and is laughing  at the eggs; said of one who laughs without any  apparent cause.


MARINE OFFICER. An empty bottle: marine officers being  held useless by the seamen. SEA WIT.

MARPLOT. A spoil sport.

MARRIAGE MUSIC. The squalling and crying of children.



MASTER OF THE WARDROBE. One who pawns his clothes   to purchase liquor.

MAULED. Extremely drunk, or soundly beaten.


MAUNDING. Asking or begging. CANT:

MAWKES. A vulgar slattern.

MAWLEY. A hand. Tip us your mawley; shake hands.   with me. Fam the mawley; shake hands.

MAW-WALLOP. A filthy composition, sufficient to provoke   vomiting.

MAX. Gin.

MAY BEES. May bees don’t fly all the year long; an answer  to any one who prefaces a proposition with, It may be.

MEALY-MOUTHED. Over-modest or backward in speech.

MEDLAR. A fruit, vulgarly called an open a-se; of which  it is more truly than delicately said, that it is never ripe  till it is as rotten as a t—d, and then it is not worth a  f—t.

MELLOW. Almost drunk.

MELTING MOMENTS. A fat man and woman in the amorous congress.

TO MELT. To spend. Will you melt a borde? will you  spend a shilling? The cull melted a couple of decusses  upon us; the gentleman spent a couple of crowns upon us.  CANT.

MEMBER MUG. A chamber pot.

MEN OF STRAW. Hired bail, so called from having straw  stuck in their shoes to distinguish them.

MERRY ANDREW, or MR. MERRYMAN. The jack pudding,  jester, or zany of a mountebank, usually dressed in a  party-coloured coat.



MAN OF THE WORLD. A knowing man.

METTLESOME. Bold, courageous.

MILK AND WATER. Both ends of the busk.

TO MILK THE PIGEON. To endeavour at impossibilities.

MILLING COVE. A boxer. How the milling cove served  the cull out; how the boxer beat the fellow.

MILL. A chisel.

To MILL. To rob; also to break, beat out, or kill. I’ll  mill your glaze; I’ll beat out your eye. To mill a bleating  cheat; to kill a sheep. To mill a ken; to rob a house.  To mill doll; to beat hemp in bridewell. CANT.

MILL LAY. To force open the doors of houses in order to  rob them.

MILLER. A murderer.

MINE A-SE ON A BANDBOX. An answer to the offer of any  thing inadequate to the purpose for which it is wanted, just  as a bandbox would be if used for a seat.

MINE UNCLE’S. A pawnbroker’s shop; also a necessary  house. Carried to my uncle’s; pawned. New-married  men are also said to go to their uncle’s, when they leave  their wives soon after the honey moon.

MINIKIN. A little man or woman: also the smallest sort  of pin.

MINOR CLERGY. Young chimney sweepers.

MINT. Gold. A mint of money; common phrase for a   large sum.

MISCHIEF. A man loaded with mischief, i.e. a man with   his wife on his back.

MISH. A shirt, smock, or sheet. CANT.

MISH TOPPER. A coat, or petticoat.

MISS. A miss or kept mistress; a harlot.

MISS LAYCOCK. The monosyllable.

MITE. A nick name for a cheesemonger: from the  small  insect of that name found in cheese.

MIX METAL. A silversmith.

MOABITES. Bailiffs, or Philistines.

MOB; or MAB. A wench, or harlot.

MOBILITY. The mob: a sort of opposite to nobility.

MOLLY. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow.

MONEY DROPPERS. Cheats who drop money, which they  pretend to find just before some country lad; and by way  of giving him a share of their good luck, entice him into a  public house, where they and their confederates cheat or  rob him of what money he has about him.

MONGREL. A hanger on among cheats, a spunger; also a  child whose father and mother are of different countries.

MONKEY. To suck the monkey; to suck or draw wine, or  any other liquor, privately out of a cask, by means of a  straw, or small tube.  Monkey’s allowance; more kicks  than halfpence. Who put that monkey on horseback without  tying his legs? vulgar wit on a bad horseman.

MONOSYLLABLE. A woman’s commodity.

MOONCURSER. A link-boy: link-boys are said to curse the  moon, because it renders their assistance unnecessary;  these gentry frequently, under colour of lighting passengers  over kennels, or through dark passages, assist in robbing  them. Cant.

MOON-EYED HEN. A squinting wench.

MOON MEN. Gypsies.

MOP. A kind of annual fair in the west of England, where  farmers usually hire their servants.

To MOP UP. To drink up. To empty a glass or pot.

MOPED. Stupid, melancholy for want of society.

MOPSEY. A dowdy, or homely woman.

MOPSQUEEZER. A maid servant, particularly a housemaid.


MORGLAG. A brown bill, or kind of halbert, formerly   carried by watchmen; corruption of MORE, great or broad,   and GLAVE, blade.

MORT. A woman or wench; also a yeoman’s daughter. To   be taken all-a mort; to be confounded, surprised, or motionless   through fear.

MOT. A girl, or wench. See MORT.

MOUCHETS. Small patches worn by ladies: from the French  word mouches.

MOVEABLES. Rings, watches, or any toys of value.

MOUSE. To speak like a mouse in a cheese; i.e. faintly or  indistinctly.

MOUSETRAP. The parson’s mousetrap; the state of matrimony.

MOUTH. A noisy fellow. Mouth half cocked; one gaping  and staring at every thing he sees. To make any one  laugh on the wrong, or t’other side of his mouth; to make  him cry or grieve.

MOUTH. A silly fellow. A dupe. To stand mouth; i.e.  to be duped.

MOWER. A cow.

MUCK. Money; also dung.

MUCKWORM. A miser.

MUCKINDER. A child’s handkerchief tied to the side.

MUD. A fool, or thick-sculled fellow; also, among printers   the same as dung among journeymen taylors. See   DUNG.

MUD LARK. A fellow who goes about by the water side   picking up coals, nails, or other articles in the mud. Also   a duck.


MUM. An interjection directing silence. Mum for that; I  shall be silent as to that. As mute as Mumchance, who  was hanged for saying nothing; a friendly reproach to any  one who seems low-spirited and silent.

MUMCHANCE. An ancient game like hazard, played with  dice: probably so named from the silence observed in playing  at it.

MUMMER. The mouth.

MUNDUNGUS. Bad or rank tobacco: from mondongo, a  Spanish word signifying tripes, or the uncleaned entrails  of a beast, full of filth.

MUNG. To beg.

MUNS. The face, or rather the mouth: from the German  word MUND, the mouth. Toute his muns; look at his face.

MUSHROOM. A person or family suddenly raised to riches  and eminence: an allusion to that fungus, which starts up  in a night.

MUSIC. The watch-word among highwaymen, signifying  the person is a friend, and must pass unmolested. Music  is also an Irish term, in tossing up, to express the harp side,  or reverse, of a farthing or halfpenny, opposed to the head.

MUTE. An undertaker’s servant, who stands at the door of  a person lying in state: so named from being supposed  mute with grief.


MUTTON MONGER. A man addicted to wenching.

MUZZLE. A beard.

MUZZLER. A violent blow on the mouth. The milling  cove tipped the cull a muzzler; the boxer gave the fellow  a blow on the mouth.

NAB, or NAB CHEAT. A hat. Penthouse nab; a large  hat.

To NAB. To seize, or catch unawares. To nab the teaze;  to be privately whipped. To nab the stoop; to stand in  the pillory. To nab the rust; a jockey term for a horse  that becomes restive. To nab the snow: to steal linen  left out to bleach or dry. CANT.

NACK. To have a nack; to be ready at any thing, to have  a turn-for it.

NACKY. Ingenious.

NAILED. Secured, fixed. He offered me a decus, and I  nailed him; he offered me a crown, and I struck or fixed  him.

TO NAP. To cheat at dice by securing one chance. Also   to catch the venereal disease. You’ve napt it; you are   infected.

NAPPING. To take any one napping; i.e. to come upon   him unexpectedly, to find him asleep: as, He caught him   napping, as Morse caught his mare.

NAPPER. The head; also a cheat or thief.

NEGLIGEE. A woman’s undressed gown, Vulgarly termed a   neggledigee.

NETTLED. Teized, provoked, out of temper. He or she has  pissed on a nettle; said of one who is peevish or out of  temper.



To NICK. To win at dice, to hit the mark just in the nick  of time, or at the critical moment.

NICK. Old nick; the Devil.

NICKNAME. A name given in ridicule or contempt: from  the French nom de niqne. Niqne is a movement of the head  to mark a contempt for any person or thing.

NICK NINNY. A simpleton.

NICKNACKS. Toys, baubles, or curiosities.


NICKUMPOOP, or NINCUMPOOP. A foolish fellow


NIG. The clippings of money. Nigging; clipping. Nigler,   a clipper. Cant.

NIGGLING. Cutting awkwardly, trifling; also accompanying   with a woman.


NIGHTMAN. One whose business it is to empty necessary  houses in London, which is always done in the night; the  operation is called a wedding.

NIGMENOG. A very silly fellow.

TO NIM. To steal or pilfer: from the German nemen, to   take. Nim a togeman; steal a cloak.

NIMGIMMER. A physician or surgeon, particularly those   who cure the venereal disease.

NINNY, or NINNYHAMMER. A simpleton.

NIP. A cheat. Bung nipper; a cutpurse.

NIP CHEESE. A nick name for the purser of a ship: from  those gentlemen being supposed sometimes to nip, or  diminish, the allowance of the seamen, in that and every  other article. It is also applied to stingy persons in  general.

NIPPERKIN. A small measure.

NIPPS. The sheers used in clipping money.

NIT SQUEEGER, i.e. SQUEEZER. A hair-dresser.

NIX. Nothing.

NOB. A king. A man of rank.

NOB. The head.

NOBTHATCHER. A peruke-maker.

NOCK. The breech; from NOCK, a notch.

NOCKY BOY. A dull simple fellow.

NOD. He is gone to the land of nod; he is asleep.

NODDLE. The head.

NODDY. A simpleton or fool. Also a kind of low cart,  with a seat before it for the driver, used in and about  Dublin, in the manner of a hackney coach: the fare is  just half that of a coach, for the same distance; so  that for sixpence one may have a set down, as it is  called, of a mile and half,  and frequently a tumble  down into the bargain: it is called a noddy from the  nutation of its head. Knave noddy; the old-fashioned  name for the knave of trumps.

NOISY DOG RACKET. Stealing brass knockers from doors.

NOKES. A ninny, or fool. John-a-Nokes and Tom-a-Stiles;  two honest peaceable gentlemen, repeatedly set together  by the ears by lawyers of different denominations: two  fictitious names formerly used in law proceedings, but  now very seldom, having for several years past been  supplanted by two other honest peaceable gentlemen,  namely, John Doe and Richard Roe.

NOLL. Old Noll; Oliver Cromwell.

NON-CON. A nonconformist, presbyterian, or any other   dissenter.

NONE-SUCH. One that is unequalled: frequently applied   ironically.

NONSENSE. Melting butter in a wig.

NOOZED. Married, hanged.

NOPE. A blow: as, I took him a nope on the costard.

NOSE. As plain as the nose on your face; evidently to be  seen. He is led by the nose; he is governed. To follow  one’s nose; to go strait forward. To put one’s nose  out of joint; to rival one in the favour of any person.  To make a bridge of any one’s nose; to pass by him in  drinking. To nose a stink; to smell it. He cut off his  nose to be revenged of his face; said of one who, to be  revenged on his neighbour, has materially injured  himself.

NOSE. A man who informs or turns king’s evidence.

TO NOSE. To give evidence. To inform. His pall nosed and  he was twisted for a crack; his confederate turned  king’s evidence, and he was hanged for burglary.

TO NOSE. To bully.

NOSE BAG. A bag fastened to the horse’s head, in which  the soldiers of the cavalry put the oats given to their  horses: whence the saying, I see the hose bag in his  face; i.e. he has been a private man, or rode private.


NOSTRUM. A medicine prepared by particular persons  only, a quack medicine.

NOTCH. The private parts of awoman.

NOTE. He changed his note; he told another sort of a  story.

NOUS-BOX. The head.

NOZZLE. The nose of a man or woman.

NUB. The neck; also coition.

NUBBING. Hanging. Nubbing cheat: the gallows. Nubbing  cove; the hangman. Nubbing ken; the sessions  house.

NUG. An endearing word: as, My dear nug; my dear love.

NUGGING DRESS. An out-of-the-way old-fashioned dress,  or rather a loose kind of dress, denoting a courtesan.


TO NULL. To beat: as, He nulled him heartily.

NUMBERS. To consult the book of numbers: a term used  in the House of Commons, when, instead of answering or  confuting a pressing argument, the minister calls for a  division, i.e. puts the matter to the vote.

NUMBSCULL. A stupid fellow.

NUMMS. A sham collar, to be worn over a dirty shirt.

NUNNERY. A bawdy house.

TO NURSE. To cheat: as, they nursed him out of it. An  estate in the hands of trustees, for the payment of  bdebts, is said to be at nurse.

NUTS. It was nuts for them; i.e. it was very agreeable to  them.

NUTS. Fond; pleased. She’s nuts upon her cull; she’s  pleased with her cully. The cove’s nutting the blowen;  the man is trying to please the girl.

OAF. A silly fellow.

OAFISH. Simple.

OAK. A rich maa, a man of good substance and credit.  To sport oak; to shut the outward door of a student’s  room at college. An oaken towel; an oaken cudgel. To  rub a man down with an oaken towel; to beat him.

OATS. He has sowed his wild oats; he is staid, or sober,  having left off his wild tricks.

OATHS. The favourite oaths of the thieves of the present  day are, “God strike me blind!” “I wish my bloody eyes  may drop out if it is not true!” “So help me God!”  “Bloody end to me!”

OAR. To put in one’s oar; to intermeddle, or give an   opinion unasked: as, To be sure, you must put in your   oar!

OCCUPY. To occupy a woman; to have carnal knowledge  of her.

ODDFELLOWS. A convivial society; the introduction to  the most noble grand, arrayed in royal robes, is well  worth  seeing at the price of becoming a member.

OFFICE. To give the office; to give information, or make   signs to the officers to take a thief.

OGLES. Eyes. Rum ogles; fine eyes.


OIL OF GLADNESS. I will anoint you with the oil of gladness;   ironically spoken for, I will beat you.

OLD. Ugly. CANT.

OLD DOG AT IT. Expert, accustomed.

OLD HAND. Knowing or expert in any business.

OLD HARRY. A composition used by vintners to adulterate  their wines; also the nick-name for the devil.


OLD MR. GORY. A piece of gold.

OLD NICK. The Devil: from NEKEN, the evil spirit of the   north.

OLD ONE. The Devil. Likewise an expression of quizzical   familiarity, as “how d’ye do, OLD ONE?”

OLD PEGG. Poor Yorkshire cheese, made of skimmed   milk.

OLD POGER. The Devil.

OLD STAGER. One accustomed to business, one who knows  mankind.

OLD TOAST. A brisk old fellow. CANT.

OLD DOSS. Bridewell.

OLIVER’S SCULL. A chamber pot.

OLLI COMPOLLI. The name of one of the principal rogues   of the canting crew. CANT.

OMNIUM GATHERUM. The whole together: jocular imitation   of law Latin.

ONE IN TEN. A parson: an allusion to his tithes.

ONE OF US, or ONE OF MY COUSINS. A woman of the  town, a harlot.

ONION. A seal. Onion hunters, a class of young thieves  who are on the look out for gentlemen who wear their  seals suspended on a ribbon, which they cut, and thus  secure the seals or other trinkets suspended to the watch.

OPEN ARSE. A medlar. See MEDLAR.

OPTIME. The senior and junior optimes are the second  and last classes of Cambridge honors conferred on taking  a degree. That of wranglers is the first. The last  junior optime is called the Wooden Spoon.

ORGAN. A pipe. Will you cock your organ? will you  smoke your pipe?

ORTHODOXY AND HETERODOXY. Somebody explained these  terms by saying, the first was a man who had a doxy of  his own, the second a person who made use of the doxy  of another man.

OSCHIVES. Bone-handled knives. CANT.

OSTLER. Oatstealer.

OTTOMY. The vulgar word for a skeleton.

OTTOMISED. To be ottomised; to be dissected. You’ll be  scragged, ottomised, and grin in a glass case: you’ll be  hanged, anatomised, and your skeleton kept in a glass  case at Surgeons’ Hall.

OVEN. A great mouth; the old woman would never have  looked for her daughter in the oven, had she not been there  herself.

OVERSEER. A man standing in the pillory, is, from his  elevated situation, said to be made an overseer.

OUT AT HEELS, OR OUT AT ELBOWS. In declining circumstances.

OUTRUN THE CONSTABLE. A man who has lived above his  means, or income, is said to have outrun the constable.

OUTS. A gentleman of three outs. See GENTLEMAN.

OWL. To catch the; a trick practised upon ignorant country  boobies, who are decoyed into a barn under pretence  of catching an owl, where, after divers preliminaries, the  joke ends in their having a pail of water poured upon their  heads.

OWL IN AN IVY BUSH. He looks like an owl in an ivy  bush; frequently said of a person with a large frizzled wig,  or a woman whose hair is dressed a-la-blowze.

OWLERS. Those who smuggle wool over to France.

OX HOUSE. He must go through the ox house to bed; a saying   of an old fellow who marries a young girl.

OYES. Corruption of oyez, proclaimed by the crier of all   courts of justice.

OYSTER. A gob of thick phlegm, spit by a consumptive   man; in law Latin, UNUM VIRIDUM GOBBUM

P’S. To mind one’s P’s and Q’s; to be attentive to the   main chance.

P.P.C. An inscription on the visiting cards of our modern  fine gentleman, signifying that they have called POUR  PRENDRE CONGE, i.e. ‘to take leave,’ This has of late been  ridiculed by cards inscribed D.I.O. i.e. ‘Damme, I’m off.’

PACKET. A false report.

PACKTHREAD. To talk packthread; to use indecent language  well wrapt up.

PAD. The highway, or a robber thereon; also a bed. Footpads;  foot robbers. To go out upon the pad; to go out  in order to commit a robbery.

PAD BORROWERS. Horse stealers.


PADDINGTON FAIR DAY. An execution day, Tyburn being   in the parish or neighbourhood of Paddington. To dance   the Paddington frisk; to be hanged.

PADDY. The general name for an Irishman: being the   abbreviation of Patrick, the name of the tutelar saint of that   island.

PAINTER. I’ll cut your painter for you; I’ll send you off;   the painter being the ropfe that holds the boat fast to the   ship. SEA TERM.


TO PALAVER. To flatter: originally an African word for a  treaty, talk, or conference.

PALLIARDS. Those whose fathers were clapperdogens, or  beggars born, and who themselves follow the same trade:  the female sort beg with a number of children, borrowing  them, if they have not a sufficient number of their own,  and making them cry by pinching in order to excite  charity; the males make artificial sores on different parts of  their bodies, to move compassion.

PALL. A companion. One  who generally accompanies  another, or who commit robberies together.

PAM. The knave of clubs.

PANNAM. Bread.

PANNIER MAN. A servant belonging to the Temple and  Gray’s Inn, whose office is to announce the dinner. This  in the Temple, is done by blowing a horn; and in Gray’s  Inn proclaiming the word Manger, Manger, Manger, in  each of the three courts.

PANNY. A house. To do a panny: to rob a house. See  the Sessions Papers. Probably, panny originally meant  the butler’s pantry, where the knives and forks, spoons,  &c. are usually kept The pigs frisked my panney, and  nailed my screws; the officers searched my house, and  seized my picklock keys. CANT.

PANTER. A hart: that animal is, in the Psalms, said to   pant after the fresh water-brooks. Also the human   heart, which frequently pants in time of danger. CANT.

PANTILE SHOP. A presbyterian, or other dissenting meeting   house, frequently covered with pantiles: called also   a cock-pit.

PANTLER. A butler.

PAP. Bread sauce; also the food of infants. His mouth is  full of pap; he is still a baby.

PAPER SCULL. A thin-scull’d foolish fellow.

PAPLER. Milk pottage.

PARELL. Whites of eggs, bay salt, milk, and pump water,  beat together, and poured into a vessel of wine to prevent  its fretting.


PARTIAL. Inclining more to one side than the other,  crooked, all o’ one hugh.

PASS BANK. The place for playing at passage, cut into   the ground almost like a cock-pit. Also the stock or   fund.

PASSAGE. A camp game with three dice: doublets, making   up ten or more, to pass or win; any other chances   lose.

PAT. Apposite, or to the purpose.

PATE. The head. Carroty-pated; red-haired.

PATTERING. The maundering or pert replies of servants;   also talk or palaver in order to amuse one intended to be   cheated. Pattering of prayers; the confused sound of a   number of persons praying together.

TO PATTER. To talk. To patter flash; to speak flash, or   the language used by thieves. How the blowen lushes   jackey, and patters flash; how the wench drinks gin, and   talks flash.


TO PAUM. To conceal in the hand. To paum a die: to  hide a die in the palm of the hand. He paums; he cheats.  Don’t pretend to paum that upon me.

PAUNCH. The belly. Some think paunch was the original  name of that facetious prince of puppets, now called  Mr. Punch, as he is always represented with a very  prominent belly: though the common opinion is, that both  the name and character were taken from a celebrated Italian  comedian, called Polichenello.

PAW. A hand or foot; look at his dirty paws. Fore paw;  the hand. Hind paw; the foot. To paw; to touch or  handle clumsily.

PAW PAW TRICKS. Naughty tricks: an expression used  by nurses, &c. to children.

TO PAY. To smear over. To pay the bottom of a ship or  boat; to smear it over with pitch: The devil to pay, and  no pitch hot or ready. SEA TERM.—Also to beat: as, I will  pay you as Paul paid the Ephesians, over the face and eyes,  and all your d—-d jaws. To pay away; to fight manfully,  also to eat voraciously. To pay through the nose: to pay  an extravagant price.

To PEACH. To impeach: called also to blow the gab, squeak,  or turn stag.

PEAK. Any kind of lace.

PEAL. To ring a peal in a man’s ears; to scold at him: his  wife rang him such a peal!

PECCAVI. To cry peccavi; to acknowledge one’s self in an  error, to own a fault: from the Latin PECCAVI, I have sinned.

PECK. Victuals. Peck and booze; victuals and drink.

PECKISH. Hungry.

PECULIAR. A mistress.

PED. A basket. CANT.

PEDLAR’S FRENCH. The cant language. Pedlar’s pony;   a walking-stick.

To PEEL. To strip: allusion to the taking off the coat or   rind of an orange or apple.

PEEPER. A spying glass; also a looking-glass. Track up  the dancers, and pike with the peeper; whip up stairs,  and run off with the looking-glass. CANT.

PEEPERS. Eyes. Single peeper, a one-eyed man.

PEEPING TOM. A nick name for a curious prying fellow;  derived from an old legendary tale, told of a taylor of  Coventry, who, when Godiva countess of Chester rode at  noon quite naked through that town, in order to procure  certain immunities for the inhabitants, (notwithstanding  the rest of the people shut up their houses) shly peeped  out of his window, for which he was miraculously struck  blind. His figure, peeping out of a window, is still kept  up in remembrance of the transaction.

PEEPY. Drowsy.

To PEER. To look about, to be circumspect.

PEERY. Inquisitive, suspicious. The cull’s peery; that  fellow suspects something. There’s a peery, tis snitch  we are observed, there’s nothing to be done.

PEG. Old Peg; poor hard Suffolk or Yorkshire cheese. A  peg is also a blow with a straightarm: a term used by the  professors of gymnastic arts. A peg in the day-light,  the victualling office, or the haltering-place; a blow in the  eye, stomach, or under the ear.

PELL-MELL. Tumultuously, helter skelter, jumbled together.

PELT. A heat, chafe, or passion; as, What a pelt he was  in! Pelt is also the skin of several beasts.

PENNY-WISE AND POUND FOOLISH. Saving in small matters,   and extravagant in great.

PENNYWORTH. An equivalent. A good pennyworth;   cheap bargain.

PENTHOUSE NAB. A broad brimmed hat.

PEPPERY. Warm, passionate.


PET. In a pet; in a passion or miff.

PETER. A portmanteau or cloke-bag. Biter of peters; one  that makes it a trade to steal boxes and trunks from behind  stage coaches or out of waggons. To rob Peter to  pay Paul; to borrow of one man to pay another: styled  also manoeuvring the apostles.

PETER GUNNER, will kill all the birds that died last summer.  A piece of wit commonly thrown out at a person  walking through a street or village near London, with a  gun in his hand.

PETER LAY. The department of stealing portmanteaus,   trunks, &c.

PETTICOAT HOLD. One who has an estate during his wife’s   life, called the apron-string hold.

PETTICOAT PENSIONER. One kept by a woman forsecret   services.

PETTISH. Passionate.

PETTY FOGGER. A little dirty attorney, ready to undertake  any litigious or bad cause: it is derived from the French  words petit vogue, of small credit, or little reputation.

PHARAOH. Strong malt liquor.

PHILISTINES. Bailiffs, or officers of justice; also drunkards.

PHOENIX-MEN. Firemen belonging to an insurance office,   which gave a badge charged with a phoenix: these men   were called likewise firedrakes.

PHOS BOTTLE. A. bottle of phosphorus: used by housebreakers   to light their lanthorns. Ding the phos; throw   away the bottle of phosphorus.

PHRASE OF PAPER. Half a quarter of a sheet. See VESSEL, PHYSOG.

PHYSOG. The face. A vulgar abbreviation of physiognomy.

PHYZ. The face. Rum phyz; an odd face or countenance.

PICAROON. A pirate; also a sharper.

PICKING. Pilfering, petty larceny.

PICKLE. An arch waggish fellow. In pickle, or in the  pickling tub; in a salivation. There are rods in brine, or  pickle, for him; a punishment awaits him, or is prepared  for him. Pickle herring; the zany or merry andrew  of a mountebank. See JACK PUDDING.

PICKT HATCH. To go to the manor of pickt hatch, a  cant name for some part of the town noted for bawdy  houses in Shakespeare’s time, and used by him in that  sense.

PICKTHANK. A tale-bearer or mischief maker.

To PIDDLE. To make water: a childish expression; as,  Mammy, I want to piddle. Piddling also means trifling,  or doing any thing in a small degree: perhaps from peddling.

PIECE. A wench. A damned good or bad piece; a girl  who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress.  Hence the (CAMBRIDGE) toast, May we never have  a PIECE (peace) that will injure the constitution. Piece  likewise means at Cambridge a close or spot of ground  adjacent to any of the colleges, as Clare-hall Piece, &c.  The spot of ground before King’s College formerly belonged  to Clare-hall. While Clare Piece belonged to King’s,  the master of Clare-hall proposed a swop, which being  refused by the provost of King’s, he erected before their  gates a temple of CLOACINA. It will be unnecessary to say  that his arguments were soon acceded to.

PIG. A police officer. A China street pig; a Bow-street  officer. Floor the pig and bolt; knock down the officer  and run away.

PIG. Sixpence, a sow’s baby.  Pig-widgeon; a simpleton.  To pig together; to lie or sleep together, two or more in  a bed. Cold pig; a jocular punishment inflicted by the  maid seryants, or other females of the house, on persons  lying over long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the  bed clothes, and leaving them to pig or lie in the cold. To  buy a pig in a poke; to purchase any thing without seeing.  Pig’s eyes; small eyes. Pigsnyes; the same: a vulgar  term of endearment to a woman. He can have boiled  pig at home; a mark of being master of his own house:  an allusion to a well known poem and story. Brandy is  Latin for pig and goose; an apology for drinking a dram  after either.

PIG-HEADED. Obstinate.

PIG RUNNING. A piece of game frequently practised at  fairs, wakes, &c. A large pig, whose tail is cut short, and  both soaped and greased, being turned out, is hunted by  the young men and boys, and becomes the property of him  who can catch and hold him by the tail, abpve the height  of his head.

PIGEON. A weak silly fellow easily imposed on. To pigeon;  to cheat. To milk the pigeon; to attempt impossibilities,  to be put to shifts for want of money. To  fly a blue pigeon; to steal lead off a church.

PIGEONS. Sharpers, who, during the drawing of the lottery,  wait ready mounted near Guildhall, and, as soon as  the first two or three numbers are drawn, which they receive  from a confederate on a card, ride with them full  speed to some distant insurance office, before fixed on,  where there is another of the gang, commonly a decent  looking woman, who takes care to be at the office before  the hour of drawing: to her he secretly gives the number,  which she insures for a considerable sum: thus biting  the biter.

PIGEON’S MILK. Boys and novices are frequently sent on  the first of April to buy pigeons milk.

To PIKE. To run away. Pike off; run away.

PILL, or PEELE GARLICK. Said originally to mean one  whose skin or hair had fallen off from some disease, chiefly  the venereal one; but now commonly used by persons  speaking of themselves: as, there stood poor pill garlick:  i.e. there stood I.

PILLALOO. The Irish cry or howl at funerals.

PIMP. A male procurer, or cock bawd; also a small faggot  used about London for lighting fires, named from introducing  the fire to the coals.

PIMP WHISKIN. A top trader in pimping.

PIMPLE. The head.

PIN. In or to a merry pin; almost drunk: an allusion to  a sort of tankard, formerly used in the north, having silver  pegs or pins set at equal distances from the top to the  bottom: by the rules of good fellowship, every person  drinking out of one of these tankards, was to swallow  the quantity contained between two pins; if he drank  more or less, he was to continue drinking till he ended at  a pin: by this means persons unaccustomed to measure  their draughts were obliged to drink the whole tankard.  Hence when a person was a little elevated with liquor,  he was said to have drunk to a merry pin.

PIN BASKET. The youngest child.

PIN MONEY. An allowance settled on a married woman  for her pocket expences.

PINCH. At a pinch; on an exigency.

PINCH. To go into a tradesman’s shop under the pretence  of purchasing rings or other light articles, and while  examining them to shift some up the sleeve of the coat.  Also to ask for change for a guinea, and when the silver  is received, to change some of the good shillings for bad  ones; then suddenly pretending to recollect that you had  sufficient silver to pay the bill, ask for the guinea again,  and return the change, by which means several bad shillings  are passed.

To PINCH ON THE PARSON’S SIDE. To defraud the parson  of his tithe.

PINCHERS. Rogues who, in changing money, by dexterity  of hand frequently secrete two or three shillings out of  the change of a guinea. This species of roguery is called  the pinch, or pinching lay.

To PINK. To stab or wound with a small sword: probably  derived from the holes formerly cut in both men and women’s  clothes, called pinking. Pink of the fashion; the  top of the mode. To pink and wink; frequently winking  the eyes through a weakness in them.

PINKING-DINDEE. A sweater or mohawk. IRISH.

PINS. Legs. Queer pins; ill shapen legs.

PIPER. A broken winded horse.

PISS-BURNED. Discoloured: commonly applied to a discoloured   grey wig.

PISS MAKER. A great drinker, one much given to liquor.


PIT. A watch fob. He drew a rare thimble from the swell’s  pit. He took a handsome watch from the gentleman’s  fob.

PIT. To lay pit and boxes into one; an operation in midwifery  or copulation, whereby the division between the  anus and vagina is cut through, broken, and demolished:  a simile borrowed from the playhouse, when, for the benefit  of some favourite player, the pit and boxes are laid together.  The pit is also the hole under the gallows, where  poor rogues unable to pay the fees are buried.

PIT-A-PAT. The palpitation of the heart: as, my heart   went pit-a-pat. Pintledy-pantledy; the same.

PITCH-KETTLED. Stuck fast, confounded.

PITCHER. The miraculous pitcher, that holds water with  the mouth downwards: a woman’s commodity. She has  crack’d her pitcher or pipkin; she has lost her maidenhead.

PLATTER-FACED. Broad-faced.

PLAY. To play booty; to play with an intention to lose. To  play the whole game; to cheat. To play least in sight;  to hide, or keep out of the way. To play the devil; to be  guilty of some great irregularity or mismanagement.

PLUCK. Courage. He wants pluck: he is a coward.  Against the pluck; against the inclination. Pluck the  Ribbon; ring the bell. To pluck a crow with one; to  settle a dispute, to reprove one for some past transgression.  To pluck a rose; an expression said to be used by women  for going to the necessary house, which in the country usually  stands in the garden.

PLUMB. An hundred thousand pounds.

PLUMMY. It is all plummy; i.e. all is right, or as it ought  to be.

PLUMP. Fat, full, fleshy. Plump in the pocket; full in  the pocket. To plump; to strike, or shoot. I’ll give  you a plump in the bread basket, or the victualling office:  I’ll give you a blow in the stomach. Plump his peepers,  or day-lights; give him a blow in the eyes. He pulled out  his pops and plumped him; he drew out his pistols and  shot him. A plumper; a single vote at an election. Plump  also means directly, or exactly; as, it fell plump upon  him: it fell directly upon him.

PLUMP CURRANT. I am not plump currant; I am out of   sorts.

PLUMPERS. Contrivances said to be formerly worn by old   maids, for filling out a pair of shrivelled cheeks.

PLYER. A crutch; also a trader.

POGY. Drunk.

POINT. To stretch a point; to exceed some usual limit, to  take a great stride. Breeches were usually tied up with  points, a kind of short laces, formerly given away by the  churchwardens at Whitsuntide, under the denomination  of tags: by taking a great stride these were stretched.

POISONED. Big with child: that wench is poisoned, see  how her belly is swelled. Poison-pated: red-haired.

POKE. A blow with the fist: I’ll lend you a poke. A poke   likewise means a sack: whence, to buy a pig in a poke,   i.e. to buy any thing without seeing or properly examining it.

POKER. A sword. Fore pokers; aces and kings at cards.   To burn your poker; to catch the venereal disease.

POLE. He is like a rope-dancer’s polo, lead at both ends;   a saying of a stupid sluggish fellow.

POLISH. To polish the king’s iron with one’s eyebrows; to be  in gaol, and look through the iron grated windows. To  polish a bone; to eat a meal. Come and polish a bone  with me; come and eat a dinner or supper with me.

POLL. The head, jolly nob, napper, or knowledge box;   also a wig.

POLT. A blow. Lend him a polt in the muns; give him a   knock in the face.

TO POMMEL. To beat: originally confined to beating with  the hilt of a sword, the knob being, from its similarity to  a small apple, called pomelle; in Spanish it is still called  the apple of the sword. As the clenched fist likewise  somewhat resembles an apple, perhaps that might occasion the  term pommelling to be applied to fisty-cuffs.

POMP. To save one’s pomp at whist, is to score five before  the adversaries are up, or win the game: originally derived  from pimp, which is Welsh for five; and should be, I  have saved my pimp.

POMPAGINIS. Aqua pompaginis; pump water. See   AQUA.

POMPKIN. A man or woman of Boston in America: from,  the number of pompkins raised and eaten by the people  of that country. Pompkinshire; Boston and its dependencies.

PONEY. Money. Post the poney; lay down the money.

POPS. Pistols. Popshop: a pawnbroker’s shop. To pop;  to pawn: also to shoot. I popped my tatler; I pawned my  watch. I popt the cull; I shot the man. His means are  two pops and a galloper; that is, he is a highwayman.

PORK. To cry pork; to give intelligence to the undertaker  of a funeral; metaphor borrowed from the raven, whose  note sounds like the word pork. Ravens are said to smell  carrion at a distance.

PORRIDGE. Keep your breath to cool your porridge; i. e.  held your tongue.

POSEY, or POESY. A nosegay. I shall see you ride backwards  up Holborn-hill, with a book in one hand, and a  posey in t’other; i.e. I shall see you go to be hanged.  Malefactors who piqued themselves on being properly  equipped for that occasion, had always a nosegay to smell  to, and a prayer book, although they could not read.


POST MASTER GENERAL. The prime minister, who has  the patronage of all posts and places.

POST NOINTER. A house painter, who occasionally paints  or anoints posts. Knight of the post; a false evidence,  one ready to swear any thing for hire. From post to  pillar; backwards and forwards.

POSTILION OF THE GOSPEL. A parson who hurries over the   service.

POT. The pot calls the kettle black a-se; one rogue   exclaims against another.

POT. On the pot; i.e. at stool.

POT HUNTER. One who hunts more tor the sake of the  prey than the sport. Pot valiant; courageous from drink.  Potwallopers: persons entitled to vote in certain  boroughs by having boiled a pot there.

POTHOOKS AND HANGEKS. A scrawl, bad writing.

POT-WABBLERS. Persons entitled to vote for members of  parliament in certain boroughs, from having boiled their  pots therein. These boroughs are called pot-wabbling  boroughs.

PRAD. A horse. The swell flashes a rum prad: the  e gentleman sports a fine horse.

PRANCER. A horse. Prancer’s nab.; a horse’s head, used  as a seal to a counterfeit pass. At the sign of the prancer’s  poll, i.e. the nag’s head.

PRATE ROAST. A talkative boy.

PRATING CHEAT. The tongue.


PRATTLING BOX. The pulpit.

PRAY. She prays with her knees upwards; said of a woman   much given to gallantry and intrigue. At her last prayers;   saying of an old maid.



PRIG. A thief, a cheat: also a conceited coxcomical  fellow.

PRIG NAPPER. A thief taker.

PRIGGERS. Thieves in general. Priggers of prancers;  horse stealers. Priggers of cacklers: robbers of hen-roosts.

PRIGGING. Riding; also lying with a woman.

PRIGSTAR. A rival in love.

PRIME. Bang up. Quite the thing. Excellent. Well  done. She’s a prime piece; she is very skilful in the  venereal act. Prime post. She’s a prime article.

PRIMINAKY. I had like to be brought into a priminary;   i.e. into trouble; from PREMUNIRE.

PRINCOX. A pert, lively, forward fellow.

PRINCUM PRANCUM. Mrs. Princum Prancum; a nice,  precise, formal madam.

PRINKING. Dressing over nicely: prinked up as if he  came out of a bandbox, or fit to sit upon a cupboard’s  head.

PRINT. All in print, quite neat or exact, set, screwed up.   Quite in print; set in a formal manner.

PRISCIAN. To break Priscian’s head; to write or speak  false grammar. Priscian was a famous grammarian, who  flourished at Constantinople in the year 525; and who  was so devoted to his favourite study, that to speak false  Latin in his company, was as disagreeable to him as to  break his head.

PRITTLE PRATTLE. Insignificant talk: generally applied  to women and children.

PROG. Provision. Rum prog; choice provision. To prog;  to be on the hunt for provision: called in the military  term to forage.

PROPS. Crutches.

PROPERTY. To make a property of any one; to make  him a conveniency, tool, or cat’s paw; to use him as one’s  own.

PROVENDER. He from whom any money is taken on the   highway: perhaps provider, or provider. CANT.

PRUNELLA. Mr. Prunella; a parson: parson’s gowns being  frequently made of prunella.

To PRY. To examine minutely into a matter or business.  A prying fellow; a man of impertinent curiosity, apt to  peep and inquire into other men’s secrets.

PUBLIC MAN. A bankrupt.

PUCKER. All in a pucker; in a dishabille. Also in a   fright; as, she was in a terrible pucker.

PUDDINGS. The guts: I’ll let out your puddings.

PUDDING-HEADED FELLOW. A stupid fellow, one whose  brains are all in confusion.


PUDDING TIME. In good time, or at the beginning of a   meal: pudding formerly making the first dish. To give   the crows a pudding; to die. You must eat some cold   pudding, to settle your love.

PUFF, or PUFFER. One who bids at auctions, not with an   intent to buy, but only to raise the price of the lot; for   which purpose many are hired by the proprietor of the   goods on sale.

PUFF GUTS. A fat man.

PUFFING. Bidding at an auction, as above; also praising  any thing above its merits, from interested motives. The  art of puffing is at present greatly practised, and essentially  necessary in all trades, professions, and callings.  To puff and blow; to be out of breath.

PUG. A Dutch pug; a kind of lap-dog, formerly much in   vogue; also a general name for a monkey.

PUG CARPENTETER. An inferior carpenter, one employed   only in small jobs.

PUG DRINK. Watered cyder.

PUGNOSED, or PUGIFIED. A person with a snub or turned   up nose.

PULLY HAWLY. To have a game at pully hawly; to romp with women.

PULL. To be pulled; to be arrested by a police officer.  To have a pull is to have an advantage; generally where  a person has some superiority at a game of chance or  skill.

PUMP. A thin shoe. To pump; to endeavour to draw a  secret from any one without his perceiving it.

PUMP WATER. He was christened in pump water; commonly  said of a person that has a red face.

PUNCH. A liquor called by foreigners Contradiction, from  its being composed of spirits to make it strong, water to  make it weak, lemon juice to make it sour, and sugar to  make it sweet.

PUPPY. An affected or conceited coxcomb.

PURBLIND. Dim-sighted.

PURSE PROUD. One that is vain of his riches.

PURSENETS. Goods taken up at thrice their value, by young   spendthrifts, upon trust.

PURSER’S PUMP. A bassoon: from its likeness to a syphon,   called a purser’s pump.

PURSY, or PURSIVE. Short-breathed, or foggy, from being   over fat.

PUSHING SCHOOL. A fencing school; also a brothel.

PUT. A country put; an ignorant awkward clown. To  put upon any one; to attempt to impose on him, or to  make him the but of the company.

PUZZLE-CAUSE. A lawyer who has a confused understanding.

PUZZLE-TEXT. An ignorant blundering parson.

QUEER, or QUIRE. Base, roguish, bad, naught or worthless.   How queerly the cull touts; how roguishly the fellow looks. It also means odd, uncommon. CANT.

QUEER AS DICK’S HATBAND. Out of order, without knowing   one’s disease.

TO QUEER. To puzzle or confound. I have queered the  old full bottom; i.e. I have puzzled the judge. To queer  one’s ogles among bruisers; to darken one’s day lights.

QUEER WEDGES. Large buckles.

QUEER KICKS. A bad pair of breeches.

QUEER MORT. A diseased strumpet. CANT.

QUEER NAB. A felt hat, or other bad hat.

QUEER PRANCER. A bad, worn-out, foundered horse; also  a cowardly or faint-hearted horse-stealer.

QUEER ROOSTER. An informer that pretends to be sleeping,   and thereby overhears the conversation of thieves in   night cellars.

QUEER STREET. Wrong. Improper. Contrary to one’s   wish. It is queer street, a cant phrase, to signify   that it is wrong or different to our wish.

TO QUIBBLE. To make subtle distinctions; also to play   upon words.

QUICK AND NIMBLE. More like a bear than a squirrel.   Jeeringly said to any one moving sluggishly on a business   or errand that requires dispatch.

QUID. The quantity of tobacco put into the mouth at one  time. To quid tobacco; to chew tobacco. Quid est  hoc? hoc est quid; a guinea. Half a quid; half a guinea.  The swell tipped me fifty quid for the prad; the gentleman  gave fifty pounds for the horse.

QUIDS. Cash, money. Can you tip me any quids? can  you lend me some money?

QUIFFING. Rogering.

QUILL DRIVER. A clerk, scribe, or hackney writer.

QUIZ. A strange-looking fellow, an odd dog. OXFORD.

QUOTA. Snack, share, part, proportion, or dividend. Tip   me my quota; give me part of the winnings, booty, or   plunder. CANT.

RABBIT. A Welch rabbit; bread and cheese toasted, i.e.   a Welch rare bit. Rabbits were also a sort of wooden   canns to drink out of, now out of use.


RABBIT SUCKERS. Young spendthrifts taking up goods on   trust at great prices.

RACK RENT. Rent strained to the utmost value. To   lie at rack and manger; to be in great disorder.


RAG. Bank notes. Money in general. The cove has no   rag; the fellow has no money.

RAG. A farthing.

TO RAG. To abuse, and tear to rags the characters of the  persons abused. She gave him a good ragging, or ragged  him off heartily.

RAG CARRIER. An ensign.

RAGAMUFFIN. A ragged fellow, one all in tatters, a tatterdemallion.

RAILS. See HEAD RAILS. A dish of rails; a lecture, jobation,   or scolding from a married woman to her husband.

RAINBOW. Knight of the rainbow; a footman: from being  commonly clothed in garments of different colours. A  meeting of gentlemen, styled of the most ancient order of  the rainbow, was advertised to be held at the Foppington’s  Head, Moorfields.

RAINY DAY. To lay up something for a rainy day; to   provide against a time of necessity or distress.

RAKE, RAKEHELL, or RAKESHAME. A lewd, debauched   fellow.


RAM CAT. A he cat.

RAMMISH. Rank. Rammish woman; a sturdy virago.

RAMMER. The arm. The busnapper’s kenchin seized my   rammer; i.e. the watchman laid hold of my arm. CANT.

TO RAMP. To snatch, or tear any thing forcibly from the   person.

RAMSHACKLED. Out of repair. A ramshackled house;   perhaps a corruption of RANSACKED, i.e. plundered.

RANDY. Obstreperous, unruly, rampant.

RANGLING. Intriguing with a variety of women.

RANK. Stinking, rammish, ill-flavoured; also strong, great.  A rank knave; a rank coward: perhaps the latter may  allude to an ill savour caused by fear.

RANK RIDER. A highwayman.

To RAP  To take a false oath; also to curse. He rapped  out a volley; i.e. he swore a whole volley of oaths. To  rap, means also to exchange or barter: a rap is likewise an  Irish halfpenny. Rap on the knuckles; a reprimand.

RAPPER. A swinging great lie.

RASCAL. A rogue or villain: a term borrowed from the  chase; a rascal originally meaning a lean shabby deer, at  the time of changing his horns, penis, &c. whence, in the  vulgar acceptation, rascal is conceived to signify a man  without genitals: the regular vulgar answer to this reproach,  if uttered by a woman, is the offer of an ocular demonstration  of the virility of the party so defamed. Some derive  it from RASCAGLIONE, an Italian word signifying a man.  without testicles, or an eunuch.

RAT. A drunken man or woman taken up by the watch,  and confined in the watch-house. CANT. To smell a rat;  to suspect some intended trick, or unfair design.

RATS. Of these there are the following kinds: a black rat   and a grey rat, a py-rat and a cu-rat.

RATTLE. A dice-box. To rattle; to talk without consideration,  also to move off or go away. To rattle one off;  to rate or scold him.

RATTLE-PATE. A volatile, unsteady, or whimsical man or   woman.

RATTLE-TRAPS. A contemptuous name for any curious   portable piece of machinery, or philosophical apparatus.

RATTLER. A coach. Rattle and prad; a coach and horses.


RATTLING MUMPERS. Beggars who ply coaches. CANT.

READER. A pocket-book. CANT.

READY. The ready rhino; money. CANT.

RECKON. To reckon with one’s host; to make an erroneous  judgment in one’s own favour. To cast-up one’s reckoning  or accounts; to vomit.

TO RECRUIT. To get a fresh supply of money.

RECRUITING SERVICE. Robbing on the highway.

RED FUSTIAN. Port wine.

RED LANE. The throat. Gone down the red lane; swallowed.


RED LATTICE. A public house.

RED RAG. The tongue. Shut your potatoe trap, and   give your red rag a holiday; i.e. shut your mouth, and   let your tongue rest. Too much of the red rag (too much   tongue).

REMEDY CRITCH. A chamber pot, or member mug.

REP. A woman of reputation.

REPOSITORY. A lock-up or spunging-house, a gaol. Also  livery stables where horses and carriages are sold by  auction.

RESCOUNTERS. The time of settlement between the bulls  and bears of Exchange-alley, when the losers must pay  their differences, or become lame ducks, and waddle out  of the Alley.

RESURRECTION MEN. Persons employed by the students  in anatomy to steal dead bodies out of church-yards.

REVERENCE. An ancient custom, which obliges any person  easing himself near the highway or foot-path, on the  word REVERENCE being given him by a passenger, to take off  his hat with his teeth, and without moving from his station  to throw it over his head, by which it frequently falls  into the excrement; this was considered as a punishment  for the breach of delicacy, A person refusing to obey this  law, might be pushed backwards. Hence, perhaps, the  term, SIR-REVERENCE.

REVERSED. A man set by bullies on his head, that his  money may fall out of his breeches, which they afterwards  by accident pick up. See HOISTING.


RIB. A wife: an allusion to our common mother Eve,  made out of Adam’s rib. A crooked rib: a cross-grained  wife.

RIBALDRY. Vulgar abusive language, such as was spoken   by ribalds. Ribalds were originally mercenary soldiers   who travelled about, serving any master far pay, but   afterwards degenerated into a mere banditti.

RIBBIN. Money. The ribbin runs thick; i.e. there is   plenty of money. CANT. Blue ribbin. Gin. The cull   lushes the blue ribbin; the silly fellow drinks common   gin.

To RIBROAST. To beat: I’ll ribroast him to his heart’s   content.

RICH FACE, or NOSE. A red pimpled, face.

RIDER. A person who receives part of the salary of a place  or appointment from the ostensible occupier, by virtue  of an agreement with the donor, or great man appointing.  The rider is said to be quartered upon the possessor, who  often has one or more persons thus riding behind him.

RIDGE. A guinea. Ridge cully; a goldsmith. CANT.

RIFF RAFF. Low vulgar persons, mob, tag-rag and bob-tail.

RIG. Fun, game, diversion, or trick. To run one’s rig  upon any particular person; to make him a butt. I am  up to your rig; I am a match for your tricks.

RIGGING. Clothing. I’ll unrig the bloss; I’ll strip the  wench. Rum Rigging; fine clothes. The cull has rum  rigging, let’s ding him and mill him, and pike; the  fellow has good clothes, let’s knock him down, rob him,  and scour off, i.e. run away.

RIGHT. All right! A favourite expression among thieves,  to signify that all is as they wish, or proper for their  purpose. All right, hand down the jemmy; every thing is  in proper order, give me the crow.

RIGMAROLE. Roundabout, nonsensical. He told a long  rigmarole story.

RING. Money procured by begging: beggars so called it  from its ringing when thrown to them. Also a circle formed  for boxers, wrestlers, and cudgel-players, by a man  styled Vinegar; who, with his hat before his eyes, goes  round the circle, striking at random with his whip to  prevent the populace from crowding in.

TO RING A PEAL. To scold; chiefly applied to women.   His wife rung him a fine peal!

RING THE CHANGES. When a person receives silver in  change to shift some good shillings and put bad ones in  their place. The person who gave the change is then  requested to give good shillings for these bad ones.

RIP. A miserable rip; a poor, lean, worn-out horse. A   shabby mean fellow.

RIPPONS. Spurs: Rippon is famous for a manufactory of   spurs both for men and fighting cocks.

ROARATORIOS AND UPROARS. Oratorios and operas.

ROARING BOY. A noisy, riotous fellow.

ROARER. A broken-winded horse.

ROARING TRADE. A quick trade.

TO ROAST. To arrest. I’ll roast the dab; I’ll arrest the  rascal.—Also to jeer, ridicule, or banter. He stood the  roast; he was the butt.—Roast meat clothes; Sunday or  holiday-clothes. To cry roast meat; to boast of one’s  situation. To rule the roast; to be master or paramount.

ROCKED. He was rocked in a stone kitchen; a saying  meant to convey the idea that the person spoken of is a  fool, his brains having been disordered by the jumbling of  his cradle.

ROGER. A portmanteau; also a man’s yard. Cant.

ROGER, or TIB OF THE BUTTERY. A goose. Cant. Jolly   Roger; a flag hoisted by pirates.

TO ROGER. To bull, or lie with a woman; from the name   of Roger being frequently given to a bull.

ROGUES. The fourth order of canters. A rogue in grain;   a great rogue, also a corn chandler. A rogue in spirit; a   distiller or brandy merchant.

ROMEVILLE. London. Cant.

ROMP. A forward wanton girl, a tomrig. Grey, in his  notes to Shakespeare, derives it from arompo, an animal  found in South Guinea, that is a man eater. See HOYDEN.

ROOK. A cheat: probably from the thievish disposition of  the birds of that name. Also the cant name for a crow  used in house-breaking. To rook; to cheat, particularly  at play.

ROPES. Upon the high ropes; elated, in high spirits,  cock-a-hoop.

ROSE. Under the rose: privately or secretly. The rose  was, it is said, sacred to Harpocrates, the God of silence,  and therefore frequently placed in the ceilings of rooms  destined for the receiving of guests; implying, that  whatever was transacted there, should not be made public.

ROSY GILLS. One with a sanguine or fresh-coloured countenance.

ROTAN. A coach, cart, or other wheeled carriage.

ROT GUT. Small beer; called beer-a-bumble—will burst  one’s guts before it will make one tumble.

ROVERS. Pirates, vagabonds.

ROUGH. To lie rough; to lie all night in one’s clothes:  called also roughing it. Likewise to sleep on the bare  deck of a ship, when the person is commonly advised to  chuse the softest plank.

ROUGH MUSIC. Saucepans, frying-paps, poker and tongs,  marrow-bones and cleavers, bulls horns, &c. beaten upon  and sounded in ludicrous processions.

ROULEAU. A number of guineas, from twenty to fifty or  more, wrapped up in paper, for the more ready circulation  at gaming-tables: sometimes they are inclosed in ivory boxes,  made to hold exactly 20, 50, or 100 guineas.

ROUND DEALING. Plain, honest dealing.

ROUNDHEADS. A term of reproach to the puritans and  partizans of Oliver Cromwell, and the Rump Parliament,  who it is said made use of a bowl as a guide to trim their  hair.

ROUND ROBIN. A mode of signing remonstrances practised  by sailors on board the king’s ships, wherein their  names are written in a circle, so that it cannot be  discovered who first signed it, or was, in other words, the  ringleader.

ROUND SUM. A considerable sum.

ROUND ABOUT. An instrument used in housebreaking.  This instrument has not been long in use. It will cut a  round piece about five inches in diameter out of a shutter  or door.

ROUND MOUTH. The fundament. Brother round mouth,  speaks; he has let a fart.

ROUT. A modern card meeting at a private house; also an  order from the Secretary at War, directing the march  and quartering of soldiers.

ROW. A disturbance; a term used by the students at   Cambridge.

ROW. To row in the same boat; to be embarked in the   same scheme.

ROYAL SCAMPS. Highwaymen who never rob any but   rich persons, and that without ill treating them. See   SCAMP.

ROYAL STAG SOCIETY. Was held every Monday evening,   at seven o’clock, at the Three tuns, near the Hospital   Gate, Newgate-street.

ROYSTER. A rude boisterous fellow; also a hound that   opens on a false scent.

TO RUB. To run away. Don’t rub us to the whit; don’t  send us to Newgate. CANT.—To rub up; to refresh: to  rub up one’s memory. A rub: an impediment. A rubber;  the best two out of three. To win a rubber: to  win two games out of three.

RUBY FACED. Red-faced.

RUFF. An ornament formerly worn by men and women  round their necks. Wooden ruff; the pillory.

RUFFIAN. The devil. CANT.—May the ruffian nab the  cuffin queer, and let the harmanbeck trine with his kinchins  about his colquarren; may the Devil take the justice,  and let the constable be hanged with his children about  his neck. The ruffian cly thee; the Devil take thee.  Ruffian cook ruffian, who scalded the Devil in his feathers;  a saying of a bad cook. Ruffian sometimes also means,  a justice.

RUFFLES. Handcuffs. CANT.

RUFFLERS. The first rank of canters; also notorious rogues  pretending to be maimed soldiers or sailors.

RUFFMANS. The woods, hedges, or bushes. CANT.

RUG. It is all rug; it is all right and safe, the game is   secure. CANT.

RUG. Asleep. The whole gill is safe at rug; the people   of the house are fast asleep.

RUM. Fine, good, valuable.

RUM BECK. A justice of the peace. CANT.

RUM BITE. A clever cheat, a clean trick.

RUM BLOWEN. A handsome wench. CANT.

RUM BLUFFER. A jolly host. CANT.

RUM BOB. A young apprentice; also a sharp trick.

RUM BOOZE. Wine, or any other good liquor. Rum boozing   welts; bunches of grapes. CANT.

RUM BUBBER. A dexterous fellow at stealing silver tankards   from inns and taverns.

RUM BUGHER. A valuable dog. CANT.

RUM BUNG. A full purse. CANT.

RUM CHUB. Among butchers, a customer easily imposed  on, as to the quality and price of meat. CANT.

RUM CHANT. A song.

RUM CLOUT. A fine silk, cambric, or holland handkerchief.   CANT.

RUM COD. A good purse of gold. CANT.

RUM COLE. New money, or medals.

RUM COVE. A dexterous or clever rogue.

RUM CULL. A rich fool, easily cheated, particularly by  his mistress.

RUM DEGEN. A handsome sword. CANT.


RUM DIVER. A dextrous pickpocket. CANT.

RUM DOXY. A fine wench. CANT.

RUM DRAWERS. Silk, or other fine stockings. CANT.


RUM DUBBER. An expert picklock.

RUM DUKE. A jolly handsome fellow; also an odd eccentric  fellow; likewise the boldest and stoutest fellows lately  among the Alsatians, Minters, Savoyards, and other  inhabitants of privileged districts, sent to remove and guard  the goods of such bankrupts as intended to take sanctuary  in those places. CANT.

RUM MORT. A queen, or great lady. CANT.

RUM NAB. A good hat.

RUM NANTZ. Good French brandy. CANT.

RUM NED. A very rich silly fellow. CANT.

RUM PAD. The highway. CANT.

RUM PADDERS. Highwaymen well mounted and armed.   CANT.

RUM PEEPERS. Fine looking-glasses. CANT.

RUM PRANCER. A fine horse. CANT.

RUM QUIDS. A great booty. CANT.

RUM RUFF PECK. Westphalia ham. CANT.

RUM SNITCH. A smart fillip on the nose.

RUM SQUEEZE. Much wine, or good liquor, given among  fiddlers. CANT.

RUM TOPPING. A rich commode, or woman’s head-dress.

RUMFORD. To ride to Rumford to have one’s backside new   bottomed: i.e. to have a pair of new leather breeches.   Rumford was formerly a famous place for leather breeches.   A like saying is current in Norfolk and Suffolk, of Bungay,   and for the same reason.—Rumford lion; a calf.   See ESSEX LION.

RUMP. To rump any one; to turn the back to him: an  evolution sometimes used at court. Rump and a dozen;  a rump of beef and a dozen of claret; an Irish wager,  called also buttock and trimmings. Rump and kidney  men; fiddlers that play at feasts, fairs, weddings, &c.   and live chiefly on the remnants.

RUMPUS. A riot, quarrel, or confusion.

RUSSIAN COFFEE-HOUSE. The Brown Bear in Bow-street,  Covent Garden, a house of call for thief-takers and runners  of the Bow street justices.

RUSTY. Out of use, To nab the rust; to be refractory;  properly applied to a restive horse, and figuratively  to the human species. To ride rusty; to be sullen; called  also to ride grub.

RUSTY GUTS. A blunt surly fellow: a jocular misnomer of   RESTICUS.

RUTTING. Copulating. Rutting time; the season, when   deer go to rut.

SACHEVEREL. The iron door, or blower, to the mouth   of a stove: from a divine of that name, who made himself   famous for blowing the coals of dissension in the latter   end of the reign of queen Ann.

SACK. A pocket. To buy the sack: to get drunk. To   dive into the sack; to pick a pocket. To break a bottle   in an empty sack; a bubble bet, a sack with a bottle in   it not being an empty sack.

SAD DOG. A wicked debauched fellow; one of the ancient  family of the sad dogs. Swift translates it into Latin by  the words TRISTIS CANIS.

SADDLE. To saddle the spit; to give a dinner or supper.  To saddle one’s nose; to wear spectacles. To saddle a  place or pension; to oblige the holder to pay a certain  portion of his income to some one nominated by the donor.  Saddle sick: galled with riding, having lost leather.

SAINT. A piece of spoilt timber in a coach-maker’s shop,  like a saint, devoted to the flames.

SAINT GEOFFREY’S DAY. Never, there being no saint of  that name: tomorrow-come-never, when two Sundays  come together.

SAINT LUKE’S BIRD. An ox; that Evangelist being always  represented with an ox.

SAINT MONDAY. A holiday most religiously observed by  journeymen shoemakers, and other inferior mechanics. A  profanation of that day, by working, is punishable by a  fine, particularly among the gentle craft. An Irishman  observed, that this saint’s anniversary happened every  week.

SAL. An abbreviation of SALIVATION. In a high sal; in the  pickling tub, or under a salivation.


SALMON-GUNDY. Apples, onions, veal or chicken, and  pickled herrings, minced fine, and eaten with oil and  vinegar; some derive the name of this mess from the  French words SELON MON GOUST, because the proportions of  the different ingredients are regulated by the palate of the  maker; others say it bears the name of the inventor, who  was a rich Dutch merchant; but the general and most  probable opinion is, that it was invented by the countess  of Salmagondi, one of the ladies of Mary de Medicis, wife  of King Henry IV. of France, and by her brought into  France.

SALMON or SALAMON. The beggars’sacrament or oath.

SALT. Lecherous. A salt bitch: a bitch at heat, or proud  bitch. Salt eel; a rope’s end, used to correct boys, &c. at  sea: you shall have a salt eel for supper.

SAMMY. Foolish. Silly.

SANDWICH. Ham, dried tongue, or some other salted meat,  cut thin and put between two slices of bread and butter:  said to be a favourite morsel with the Earl of Sandwich.

SANDY PATE. A red haired man or woman.

SANGAREE. Rack punch was formerly so called in bagnios.

SANK, SANKY, or CENTIPEE’S. A taylor employed by  clothiers in making soldier’s clothing.

SAPSCULL. A simple fellow. Sappy; foolish.

SATYR. A libidinous fellow: those imaginary things are   by poets reported to be extremely salacious.

SAUCE BOX. A term of familiar raillery, signifying a bold   or forward person.

SAVE-ALL. A kind of candlestick used by our frugal forefathers,   to burn snuffs and ends of candles. Figuratively,   boys running about gentlemen’s houses in Ireland, who   are fed on broken meats that would otherwise be wasted,   also a miser.

SAUNTERER. An idle, lounging fellow; by some derived   from SANS TERRE; applied to persons, who, having no lands   or home, lingered and loitered about. Some derive it   from persons devoted to the Holy Land, SAINT TERRE, who   loitered about, as waiting for company.

SAW. An old saw; an ancient proverbial saying.

SAWNY or SANDY. A general nick-name for a Scotchman,  as Paddy is for an Irishman, or Taffy for a Welchman;  Sawny or Sandy being the familiar abbreviation or  diminution of Alexander, a very favourite name among the  Scottish nation.

SCAB. A worthless man or woman.

SCALD MISERABLES. A set of mock masons, who, A.D.  1744, made a ludicrous procession in ridicule of the  Free Masons.

SCALDER. A clap. The cull has napped a scalder; the   fellow has got a clap.

SCALY. Mean. Sordid. How scaly the cove is; how   mean the fellow is.

SCALY FISH. An honest, rough, blunt sailor.

SCAMP. A highwayman. Royal scamp: a highwayman  who robs civilly. Royal foot scamp; a footpad who  behaves in like manner.

TO SCAMPER. To run away hastily.


SCANDAL PROOF. One who has eaten shame and drank  after it, or would blush at being ashamed.

SCAPEGALLOWS. One who deserves and has narrowly escaped  the gallows, a slip-gibbet, one for whom the gallows  is said to groan.

SCAPEGRACE. A wild dissolute fellow.

SCARCE. To make one’s self scarce; to steal away.

SCARLET HORSE. A high red, hired or hack horse: a pun  on the word HIRED.

SCAVEY. Sense, knowledge. “Massa, me no scavey;”  master, I don’t know (NEGRO LANGUAGE) perhaps from the  French SCAVOIR.

SCHEME. A party of pleasure.

SCHISM MONGER. A dissenting teacher.

SCHISM SHOP. A dissenting meeting house.

A SCOLD’S CURE. A coffin. The blowen has napped the  scold’s cure; the bitch is in her coffin.

SCHOOL OF VENUS. A bawdy-house.

SCHOOL BUTTER. Cobbing, whipping.

SCONCE. The head, probably as being the fort and citadel  of a man: from SCONCE, an old name for a fort, derived  from a Dutch word of the same signification; To build a  sconce: a military term for bilking one’s quarters. To  sconce or skonce; to impose a fine. ACADEMICAL PHRASE.

SCOT. A young bull.

SCOTCH GREYS. Lice. The headquarters of the Scotch  greys: the head of a man full of large lice.

SCOTCH PINT. A bottle containing two quarts.

SCOTCH BAIT. A halt and a resting on a stick, as practised  by pedlars.

SCOTCH CHOCOLATE. Brimstone and milk.


SCOTCH MIST. A sober soaking rain; a Scotch mist will  wet an Englishman to the skin.

SCOTCH WARMING PAN. A wench; also a fart.

SCOUNDREL. A man void of every principle of honour.

SCOUR. To scour or score off; to run away: perhaps from  SCORE; i.e. full speed, or as fast as legs would carry one.  Also to wear: chiefly applied to irons, fetters, or  handcuffs, because wearing scours them. He will scour the  darbies; he will be in fetters. To scour the cramp ring;  to wear bolts or fetters, from which, as well as from  coffin hinges, rings supposed to prevent the cramp are  made.

SCOURERS. Riotous bucks, who amuse themselves with  breaking windows, beating the watch, and assaulting  every person they meet: called scouring the streets.

SCOUT. A college errand-boy at Oxford, called a gyp at   Cambridge. Also a watchman or a watch. CANT.


SCRAGGY. Lean, bony.

SCRAGG’EM FAIR. A public execution.

SCRAP. A villainous scheme or plan. He whiddles the   whole scrap; he discovers the whole plan or scheme.

SCRAPE. To get into a scrape; to be involved in a   disagreeable business.

SCRAPER. A fiddler; also one who scrapes plates for   mezzotinto prints.

SCRAPING. A mode of expressing dislike to a person, or  sermon, practised at Oxford by the students, in scraping  their feet against the ground during the preachment;  frequently done to testify their disapprobation of a proctor  who has been, as they think, too rigorous.

SCRATCH. Old Scratch; the Devil: probably from the  long and sharp claws with which he is frequently  delineated.


SCRATCH PLATTER, or TAYLOR’S RAGOUT. Bread sopt in   the oil and vinegar in which cucumbers have been sliced.

SCREEN. A bank note. Queer screens; forged bank notes.   The cove was twisted for smashing queer screens; the   fellow was hanged for uttering forged bank notes.

SCREW. A skeleton key used by housebreakers to open a   lock. To stand on the screw signifies that a door is not   bolted, but merely locked.

TO SCREW. To copulate. A female screw; a common   prostitute. To screw one up; to exact upon one in a   bargain or reckoning.

SCREW JAWS. A wry-mouthed man or woman.

SCRIP. A scrap or slip of paper. The cully freely blotted  the scrip, and tipt me forty hogs; the man freely signed  the bond, and gave me forty shillings.—Scrip is also a  Change Alley phrase for the last loan or subscription.  What does scrip go at for the next rescounters? what  does scrip sell for delivered at the next day of settling?

SCROBY. To be tipt the scroby; to be whipt before the  justices.

SCROPE. A farthing. CANT.

SCRUB. A low mean fellow, employed in all sorts of dirty  work.

SCRUBBADO. The itch.

SCULL. A head of a house, or master of a college, at the  universities.

SCULL, or SCULLER. A boat rowed by one man with a  light kind of oar, called a scull; also a one-horse chaise  or buggy.

SCULL THATCHER. A peruke-maker.

SCUM. The riff-raff, tag-rag, and bob-tail, or lowest order  of people.

SCUT. The tail of a hare or rabbit; also that of a woman.

SCUTTLE. To scuttle off; to run away. To scuttle a  ship; to make a hole in her bottom in order to sink her.

SEA CRAB. A sailor.

SEA LAWYER. A shark.

SEALER, or SQUEEZE WAX. One ready to give bond and  judgment for goods or money.

SECRET. He has been let into the secret: he has been  cheated at gaming or horse-racing. He or she is in the  grand secret, i.e. dead.

SEEDY. Poor, pennyless, stiver-cramped, exhausted.

SEES. The eyes. See DAYLIGHTS.

SERVED. Found guilty. Convicted. Ordered to be  punished or transported. To serve a cull out; to beat a  man soundly.

SERAGLIO. A bawdy-house; the name of that part of the   Great Turk’s palace where the women are kept.

SEND. To drive or break in. Hand down the Jemmy and   send it in; apply the crow to the door, and drive it in.

SET. A dead set: a concerted scheme to defraud a person   by gaming.

SETTER. A bailiff’s follower, who, like a setting dog   follows and points the game for his master. Also   sometimes an exciseman.

TO SETTLE. To knock down or stun any one. We settled   the cull by a stroke on his nob; we stunned the fellow   by a blow on the head.

SEVEN-SIDED ANIMAL. A one-eyed man or woman, each   having a right side and a left side, a fore side and a back   side, an outside, an inside, and a blind side.

SHABBAROON. An ill-dressed shabby fellow; also a mean-spirited person.

SHAFTSBURY. A gallon pot full of wine, with a cock.

To SHAG. To copulate. He is but bad shag; he is no able   woman’s man.

SHAG-BAG, or SHAKE-BAG. A poor sneaking fellow; a man   of no spirit: a term borrowed from the cock-pit.

SHAKE. To shake one’s elbow; to game with dice. To   shake a cloth in the wind; to be hanged in chains.

SHAKE. To draw any thing from the pocket. He shook  the swell of his fogle; he robbed the gentleman of his silk  handkerchief.

SHALLOW PATE. A simple fellow.

SHALLOW. A WHIP hat, so called from the want of depth   in the crown. LILLY SHALLOW, a WHITE Whip hat.

SHAM. A cheat, or trick. To cut a sham; to cheat or deceive.   Shams; false sleeves to put on over a dirty shirt, or   false sleeves with ruffles to put over a plain one. To sham   Abram; to counterfeit sickness.

TO SHAMBLE. To walk awkwardly. Shamble-legged:   one that walks wide, and shuffles about his feet.

SHANKER. A venereal wart.

SHANKS. Legs, or gams.

SHANKS NAGGY. To ride shanks naggy: to travel on foot.   SCOTCH.

SHANNON. A river in Ireland: persons dipped in that river   are perfectly and for ever cured of bashfulness.

SHAPES. To shew one’s shapes; to be stript, or made peel,   at the whipping-post.

SHAPPO, or SHAP. A hat: corruption of CHAPEAU. CANT.

SHARK. A sharper: perhaps from his preying upon any  one he can lay hold of. Also a custom-house officer, or  tide-waiter. Sharks; the first order of pickpockets.  BOW-STREET TERM, A.D. 1785.

SHARP. Subtle, acute, quick-witted; also a sharper or  cheat, in opposition to a flat, dupe, or gull. Sharp’s the  word and quick’s the motion with him; said of any one  very attentive to his own interest, and apt to take all  advantages. Sharp set; hungry.

SHARPER. A cheat, one that lives by his wits. Sharpers  tools; a fool and false dice.

SHAVER. A cunning shaver; a subtle fellow, one who  trims close, an acute cheat. A young shaver; a boy.  SEA TERM.

SHAVINGS. The clippings of money.

SHE HOUSE. A house where the wife rules, or, as the term  is, wears the breeches.

SHE LION. A shilling.

SHE NAPPER. A woman thief-catcher; also a bawd or pimp.

SHEEP’S HEAD. Like a sheep’s head, all jaw; saying of a  talkative man or woman.

SHEEPISH. Bashful. A sheepish fellow; a bashful or  shamefaced fellow. To cast a sheep’s eye at any thing;  to look wishfully at it.


SHELF. On the shelf, i.e. pawned.


SHERIFF’S BALL. An execution. To dance at the sheriff’s  ball, and loll out one’s tongue at the company; to be  hanged, or go to rest in a horse’s night-cap, i.e. a halter.




TO SHERK. To evade or disappoint: to sherk one’s duty.

TO SHERRY. To run away: sherry off.

SHIFTING. Shuffling. Tricking. Shifting cove; i.e. a   person who lives by tricking.

SHIFTING BALLAST. A term used by sailors, to signify   soldiers, passengers, or any landsmen on board.

SHILLALEY. An oaken sapling, or cudgel: from a wood   of that name famous for its oaks. IRISH.

SHILLY-SHALLY. Irresolute. To stand shilly-shally; to   hesitate, or stand in doubt.


SHINE. It shines like a shitten barn door.

SHIP SHAPE. Proper, as it ought to be. SEA PHRASE,

SH-T SACK. A dastardly fellow: also a non-conformist.  This appellation is said to have originated from the  following story:—After the restoration, the laws against  the non-conformists were extremely severe. They  sometimes met in very obscure places: and there is a tradition  that one of their congregations were assembled in a barn,  the rendezvous of beggars and other vagrants, where the  preacher, for want of a ladder or tub, was suspended in  a sack fixed to the beam. His discourse that day being  on the last judgment, he particularly attempted to describe  the terrors of the wicked at the sounding of the trumpet,  on which a trumpeter to a puppet-show, who had taken  refuge in that barn, and lay hid under the straw, sounded  a charge. The congregation, struck with the utmost  consternation, fled in an instant from the place, leaving  their affrighted teacher to shift for himself. The effects  of his terror are said to have appeared at the bottom of  the sack, and to have occasioned that opprobrious appellation  by which the non-conformists were vulgarly distinguished.

SH-T-NG THROUGH THE TEETH. Vomiting. Hark ye,   friend, have you got a padlock on your a-se, that you sh-te   through your teeth? Vulgar address to one vomiting.

SHOD ALL ROUND. A parson who attends a funeral is said   to be shod all round, when he receives a hat-band, gloves,   and scarf: many shoeings being only partial.

SHOEMAKER’S STOCKS. New, or strait shoes. I was in   the shoemaker’s stocks; i.e. had on a new pair of shoes   that were too small for me.

TO SHOOLE. To go skulking about.

TO SHOOT THE CAT. To vomit from excess of liquor;  called also catting.

SHOP. A prison. Shopped; confined, imprisoned.

SHOPLIFTER. One that steals whilst pretending to purchase  goods in a shop.

SHORT-HEELED WENCH. A girl apt to fall on her back.

SHOT. To pay one’s shot; to pay one’s share of a reckoning.   Shot betwixt wind and water; poxed or clapped.

SHOTTEN HERRING. A thin meagre fellow.

To SHOVE THE TUMBLER. To be whipped at the cart’s  tail.


SHOVEL. To be put to bed with a shovel; to be buried.  He or she was fed with a fire-shovel; a saying of a person  with a large mouth.

SHOULDER FEAST. A dinner given after a funeral, to   those who have carried the corpse.

SHOULDER CLAPPER. A bailiff, or member of the catch   club. Shoulder-clapped; arrested.

SHOULDER SHAM. A partner to a file. See FILE.

SHRED. A taylor.

SHRIMP. A little diminutive person.

TO SHUFFLE. To make use of false pretences, or unfair  shifts. A shuffling fellow; a slippery shifting fellow.

SHY COCK. One who keeps within doors for fear of bailiffs.

SICE. Sixpence.

SICK AS A HORSE. Horses are said to be extremely sick  at their stomachs, from being unable to relieve themselves  by vomiting. Bracken, indeed, in his Farriery, gives an  instance of that evacuation being procured, but by a  means which he says would make the Devil vomit. Such  as may have occasion to administer an emetic either to  the animal or the fiend, may consult his book for the  recipe.

SIDE POCKET. He has as much need of a wife as a dog of  a side pocket; said of a weak old debilitated man. He  wants it as much as a dog does a side pocket; a simile  used for one who desires any thing by no means necessary.


SIGN OF A HOUSE TO LET. A widow’s weeds.

SIGN OF THE: FIVE SHILLINGS. The crown.          TEN SHILLINGS. The two crowns.          FIFTEEN SHILLINGS. The three crowns.

SILENCE. To silence a man; to knock him down, or stun   him. Silence in the court, the cat is pissing; a gird upon   any one requiring silence unnecessarily.


SILK SNATCHERS. Thieves who snatch hoods or bonnets  from persons walking in the streets.

SILVER LACED. Replete with lice. The cove’s kickseys  are silver laced: the fellow’s breeches are covered with  lice.

SIMEONITES, (at Cambridge,) the followers of the Rev.   Charles Simeon, fellow of King’s College, author of   Skeletons of Sermons, and preacher at Trinity church; they   are in fact rank methodists.

SIMKIN. A foolish fellow.

SIMON. Sixpence. Simple Simon: a natural, a silly fellow;   Simon Suck-egg, sold his wife for an addle duck-egg.

TO SIMPER. To smile: to simper like a firmity kettle.

SIMPLETON. Abbreviation of simple Tony or Anthony, a  foolish fellow.

SIMPLES. Physical herbs; also follies. He must go to  Battersea, to be cut for the simples—Battersea is a place  famous for its garden grounds, some of which were formerly  appropriated to the growing of simples for apothecaries,  who at a certain season used to go down to select their  stock for the ensuing year, at which time the gardeners  were said to cut their simples; whence it became  a popular joke to advise young people to go to Battersea,  at that time, to have their simples cut, or to be cut for  the simples.

TO SING. To call out; the coves sing out beef; they call   out stop thief.

TO SING SMALL. To be humbled, confounded, or abashed,   to have little or nothing to say for one’s-self.

SINGLE PEEPER. A person having but one eye.

SINGLETON. A very foolish fellow; also a particular kind  of nails.

SINGLETON. A corkscrew, made by a famous cutler of  that name, who lived in a place called Hell, in Dublin;  his screws are remarkable for their excellent temper.

SIR JOHN. The old title for a country parson: as Sir John  of Wrotham, mentioned by Shakespeare.


SIR LOIN. The sur, or upper loin.

SIR REVERENCE. Human excrement, a t—d.

SIR TIMOTHY. One who, from a desire of being the head   of the company, pays the reckoning, or, as the term is,   stands squire. See SQUIRE.

SITTING BREECHES. One who stays late in company, is   said to have his sitting breeches on, or that he will sit   longer than a hen.

SIX AND EIGHT-PENCE. An attorney, whose fee on several   occasions is fixed at that sum.

SIX AND TIPS. Whisky and small beer. IRISH.

SIXES AND SEVENS. Left at sixes and sevens: i.e. in   confusion; commonly said of a room where the furniture,   &c. is scattered about; or of a business left unsettled.

SIZE OF ALE. Half a pint. Size of bread and cheese; a   certain quantity. Sizings: Cambridge term for the college   allowance from the buttery, called at Oxford battles.

To SIZE. (CAMBRIDGE) To sup at one’s own expence. If a  MAN asks you to SUP, he treats you; if to SIZE, you pay  for what you eat—liquors ONLY being provided by the  inviter.

SIZAR (Cambridge). Formerly students who came to the  University for purposes of study and emolument.  But at present they are just as gay and dissipated as their  fellow collegians. About fifty years ago they were on a  footing with the servitors at Oxford, but by the exertions  of the present Bishop of Llandaff, who was himself a  sizar, they were absolved from all marks of inferiority  or of degradation. The chief difference at present between  them and the pensioners, consists in the less  amount of their college fees. The saving thus made induces  many extravagant fellows to become sizars, that  they may have more money to lavish on their dogs,  pieces, &c.

SKEW. A cup, or beggar’s wooden dish.

SKEWVOW, or ALL ASKEW. Crooked, inclining to one side.

SKIN. In a bad skin; out of temper, in an ill humour.   Thin-skinned: touchy, peevish.

SKIN. A purse. Frisk the skin of the stephen; empty   the money out of the purse. Queer skin; an empty   purse.

SKIN FLINT. An avaricious man or woman,

SKINK. To skink, is to wait on the company, ring the bell,  stir the fire, and snuff the candles; the duty of the youngest  officer in the military mess. See BOOTS.

SKINS. A tanner.

SKIP JACKS. Youngsters that ride horses on sale, horse-dealers  boys. Also a plaything made for children with  the breast bone of a goose.

SKIP KENNEL. A footman.

SKIPPER. A barn. CANT.—Also the captain of a Dutch  vessel.

TO SKIT. To wheedle. CANT.

SKIT. A joke. A satirical hint.


SKULKER. A soldier who by feigned sickness, or other  pretences, evades his duty; a sailor who keeps below in  time of danger; in the civil line, one who keeps out of  the way, when any work is to be done. To skulk; to  hide one’s self, to avoid labour or duty.


SKY FARMERS. Cheats who pretend they were farmers  in the isle of Sky, or some other remote place, and were  ruined by a flood, hurricane, or some such public calamity:  or else called sky farmers from their farms being IN  NUBIBUS, ‘in the clouds.’

SKY PARLOUR. The garret, or upper story.

SLABBERING BIB. A parson or lawyer’s band.

SLAG. A slack-mettled fellow, one not ready to resent an   affront.

SLAM. A trick; also a game at whist lost without scoring   one. To slam to a door; to shut it with violence.

SLAMKIN. A female sloven, one whose clothes seem hung   on with a pitch-fork, a careless trapes.

SLANG. A fetter. Double slanged; double ironed. Now  double slanged into the cells for a crop he is knocked  down; he is double ironed in the condemned cells, and  ordered to be hanged.

SLANG. Cant language.

SLAP-BANG SHOP. A petty cook’s shop, where there is  no credit given, but what is had must be paid DOWN  WITH THE READY SLAP-BANG, i.e. immediately. This is a  common appellation for a night cellar frequented by  thieves, and sometimes for a stage coach or caravan.

SLAPDASH. Immediately, instantly, suddenly.

SLASHER. A bullying, riotous fellow. IRISH.

SLAT. Half a crown. CANT.

SLATE. A sheet. CANT.

SLATER’S PAN. The gaol at Kingston in Jamaica: Slater  is the deputy Provost-marshal.

SLATTERN. A woman sluttishly negligent in her dress.

SLEEPING PARTNER. A partner in a trade, or shop, who  lends his name and money, for which he receives a share  of the profit, without doing any part of the business.

SLEEPY. Much worn: the cloth of your coat must be extremely   sleepy, for it has not had a nap this long time.

SLEEVELESS ERRAND. A fool’s errand, in search of what   it is impossible to find.

SLICE. To take a slice; to intrigue, particularly with  a   married woman, because a slice off a cut loaf is not missed.


SLIPPERY CHAP. One on whom there can be no dependance,   a shuffling fellow.

SLIPSLOPS. Tea, water-gruel, or any innocent beverage   taken medicinally.

SLIPSLOPPING. Misnaming and misapplying any hard   word; from the character of Mrs. Slipslop, in Fielding’s   Joseph Andrews.

SLOP. Tea. How the blowens lush the slop. How the   wenches drink tea!

SLOPS. Wearing apparel and bedding used by seamen.

SLOP SELLER. A dealer in those articles, who keeps a  slop shop.

SLOUCH. A stooping gait, a negligent slovenly fellow.  To slouch; to hang down one’s head. A slouched hat:  a hat whose brims are let down.

SLUBBER DE GULLION. A dirty nasty fellow.

SLUG. A piece of lead of any shape, to be fired from a  blunderbuss. To fire a slug; to drink a dram.

SLUG-A-BED. A drone, one that cannot rise in the morning.

SLUICE YOUR GOB. Take a hearty drink.

SLUR. To slur, is a method of cheating at dice: also to   cast a reflection on any one’s character, to scandalize.

SLUSH. Greasy dish-water, or the skimmings  of a pot   where fat meat has been boiled.

SLUSH BUCKET. A foul feeder, one that eats much greasy food.

SLY BOOTS. A cunning fellow, under the mask of simplicity.

SMABBLED, or SNABBLED. Killed in battle.

TO SMACK. To kiss. I had a smack at her muns: I kissed  her mouth. To smack calves skin; to kiss the book, i.e.  to take an oath. The queer cuffin bid me smack calves  skin, but I only bussed my thumb; the justice bid me  kiss the book, but I only kissed my thumb.

SMACKSMOOTH. Level with the surface, every thing cut away.

SMACKING COVE. A coachman.

SMALL CLOTHES. Breeches: a gird at the affected delicacy  of the present age; a suit being called coat, waistcoat,  and articles, or small clothes.

SMART. Spruce, fine: as smart as a carrot new scraped.

SMART MONEY. Money allowed to soldiers or sailors for  the loss of a limb, or other hurt received in the service.

SMASHER. A person who lives by passing base coin. The  cove was fined in the steel for smashing; the fellow was  ordered to be imprisoned in the house of correction for  uttering base coin.

SMASH. Leg of mutton and smash: a leg of mutton and   mashed turnips. SEA TERM.

TO SMASH. To break; also to kick down stairs. CANT.   To smash. To pass counterfeit money.

SMEAR. A plasterer.


SMELLER. A nose. Smellers: a cat’s whiskers.

SMELLING CHEAT. An orchard, or garden; also a nosegay.   CANT.

SMELTS. Half guineas. CANT.

SMICKET. A smock, or woman’s shift.

SMIRK. A finical spruce fellow. To smirk; to smile, or   look pleasantly.

SMITER. An arm. To smite one’s tutor; to get money   from him. ACADEMIC TERM.

SMITHFIELD BARGAIN. A bargain whereby the purchaser  is taken in. This is likewise frequently used to express  matches or marriages contracted solely on the score of  interest, on one or both sides, where the fair sex are bought  and sold like cattle in Smithfield.

SMOCK-FACED. Fair faced.

TO SMOKE. To observe, to suspect.

SMOKER. A tobacconist.

SMOKY. Curious, suspicious, inquisitive.

SMOUCH. Dried leaves of the ash tree, used by the smugglers  for adulterating the black or bohea teas.

SMOUS. A German Jew.

SMUG. A nick name for a blacksmith; also neat and spruce.

SMUG LAY. Persons who pretend to be smugglers of lace  and valuable articles; these men borrow money of  publicans by depositing these goods in their hands; they  shortly decamp, and the publican discovers too late that he has  been duped; and on opening the pretended treasure, he  finds trifling articles of no value.

SMUGGLING KEN. A bawdy-house.

TO SMUSH. To snatch, or seize suddenly.

SMUT. Bawdy. Smutty story; an indecent story.

SMUT. A copper. A grate. Old iron. The cove was lagged  for a smut: the fellow was transported for stealing a  copper.

SNACK. A share. To go snacks; to be partners.

TO SNABBLE. To rifle or plunder; also to kill.

SNAFFLER. A highwayman. Snaffler of prances; a horse   stealer.

TO SNAFFLE. To steal. To snaffle any ones poll; to   steal his wig.

SNAGGS. Large teeth; also snails.


SNAP DRAGON. A Christmas gambol: raisins and almonds  being put into a bowl of brandy, and the candles  extinguished, the spirit is set on fire, and the company  scramble for the raisins.

TO SNAP THE GLAZE. To break shop windows or show  glasses.

SNAPPERS. Pistols.

SNAPT. Taken, caught.

SNATCH CLY. A thief who snatches women’s pockets.

SNEAK. A pilferer. Morning sneak; one who pilfers early  in the morning, before it is light. Evening sneak; an  evening pilferer. Upright sneak: one who steals pewter  pots from the alehouse boys employed to collect them.  To go upon the sneak; to steal into houses whose doors  are carelessly left open. CANT.

SNEAKER. A small bowl.

SNEAKING BUDGE. One that robs alone.

SNEAKSBY. A mean-spirited fellow, a sneaking cur.

SNEERING. Jeering, flickering, laughing in scorn.

SNICKER. A glandered horse.

TO SNICKER, or SNIGGER. To laugh privately, or in one’s   sleeve.

TO SNILCH. To eye, or look at any thing attentively: the   cull snilches. CANT.

SNIP. A taylor.

SNITCH. To turn snitch, or snitcher; to turn informer.

TO SNITE. To wipe, or slap. Snite his snitch; wipe his  nose, i.e. give him a good knock.

TO SNIVEL. To cry, to throw the snot or snivel about.  Snivelling; crying. A snivelling fellow; one that whines  or complains.

TO SNOACH. To speak through the nose, to snuffle.

SNOB. A nick name for a shoemaker.

TO SNOOZE, or SNOODGE. To sleep. To  snooze with a  mort;  to sleep with a wench. CANT.

SNOOZING KEN. A brothel. The swell was spiced in a  snoozing ken of his screens; the gentleman was robbed of  his bank notes in a brothel.

SNOW. Linen hung out to dry or bleach. Spice the snow;  to steal the linen.

SNOUT. A hogshead. CANT.

SNOWBALL. A jeering appellation for a negro.

TO SNUB. To check, or rebuke.

SNUB DEVIL. A parson.

SNUB NOSE. A short nose turned up at the end.

SNUDGE. A thief who hides himself under a bed, in Order  to rob the house.

SNUFF. To take snuff; to be offended.

TO SNUFFLE. To speak through the nose.

SNUFFLES. A cold in the head, attended with a running at  the nose.

SNUG. All’s snug; all’s quiet.

TO SOAK. To drink. An old soaker; a drunkard, one that   moistens his clay to make it stick together.

SOCKET MONEY. A whore’s fee, or hire: also money paid   for a treat, by a married man caught in an intrigue.

SOLDIER’S BOTTLE. A large one.

SOLDIER’S MAWND. A pretended soldier, begging with a  counterfeit wound, which he pretends to have received at  some famous siege or battle.

SOLDIER’S POMATUM. A piece of tallow candle.

SOLDIER. A red herring.

SOLFA. A parish clerk.

SOLO PLAYER. A miserable performer on any instrument,  who always plays alone, because no one will stay in the  room to hear him.

SOLOMON. The mass. CANT.


SONG. He changed his song; he altered his account or  evidence. It was bought for an old song, i.e. very cheap.  His morning and his evening song do not agree; he tells a  different story.

SOOTERKIN. A joke upon the Dutch women, supposing  that, by their constant use of stoves, which they place  under their petticoats, they breed a kind of small animal in  their bodies, called a sooterkin, of the size of a mouse,  which when mature slips out.

SOP. A bribe. A sop for Cerberus; a bribe for a porter,  turnkey, or gaoler.

SOPH. (Cambridge) An undergraduate in his second year.

SORREL. A yellowish red. Sorrel pate; one having red  hair.

SORROW SHALL BE HIS SOPS. He shall repent this. Sorrow  go by me; a common expletive used by presbyterians  in Ireland.

SORRY. Vile, mean, worthless. A sorry fellow, or hussy;  a worthless man or woman.

SOT WEED. Tobacco.

SOUL CASE. The body. He made a hole in his soul  case; he wounded him.


SOUNDERS. A herd of swine.

SOUSE. Not a souse; not a penny. FRENCH.

SOW. A fat woman. He has got the wrong sow by the ear,  he mistakes his man. Drunk as David’s sow; see DAVID’S  SOW.

SOW’S BABY. A sucking pig.

SOW CHILD. A female child.


SPANGLE. A seven shilling piece.

SPANK. (WHIP) To run neatly along, beteeen a trot and  gallop. The tits spanked it to town; the horses went  merrily along all the way to town.

SPANISH. The spanish; ready money.

SPANISH COIN. Fair words and compliments.



SPANISH PADLOCK. A kind of girdle contrived by jealous  husbands of that nation, to secure the chastity of their  wives.

SPANISH, or KING OF SPAIN’S TRUMPETER. An ass   when braying.

SPANISH WORM. A nail: so called by carpenters when they   meet with one in a board they are sawing.

SPANKS, or SPANKERS. Money; also blows with the open   hand.


SPARK. A spruce, trim, or smart fellow. A man that is  always thirsty, is said to have a spark in his throat.

SPARKISH. Fine, gay.

SPARKING BLOWS. Blows given by cocks before they close,  or, as the term is, mouth it: used figuratively for words  previous to a quarrel.

SPARROW. Mumbling a sparrow; a cruel sport frequently  practised at wakes and fairs: for a small premium, a booby  having his hands tied behind him, has the wing of a cock  sparrow put into his mouth: with this hold, without any  other assistance than the motion of his lips, he is to get the  sparrow’s head into his mouth: on attempting to do it, the  bird defends itself surprisingly, frequently pecking the  mumbler till his lips are covered with blood, and he is  obliged to desist: to prevent the bird from getting away, he  is fastened by a string to a button of the booby’s coat.

SPARROW-MOUTHED. Wide-mouthed, like the mouth of a  sparrow: it is said of such persons, that they do not hold  their mouths by lease, but have it from year to year; i.e.  from ear to ear. One whose mouth cannot be enlarged  without removing their ears, and who when they yawn  have their heads half off.

SPATCH COCK. [Abbreviation of DISPATCH COCK.] A hen just   killed from the roost, or yard, and immediately skinned,   split, and broiled: an Irish dish upon any sudden occasion.

TO SPEAK WITH. To rob. I spoke with the cull on the   cherry-coloured prancer; I robbed the man on the black   horse. CANT.

SPEAK. Any thing stolen. He has made a good speak; he   has stolen something considerable.

SPECKED WHIPER. A coloured hankerchief. CANT.

SPICE. To rob. Spice the swell; rob the gentleman.

SPICE ISLANDS. A privy. Stink-hole bay or dilberry creek.   The fundament.

SPIDER-SHANKED. Thin-legged.

TO SPIFLICATE. To confound, silence, or dumbfound.

SPILT. A small reward or gift.

SPILT. Thrown from a horse, or overturned in a carriage;  pray, coachee, don’t spill us.

SPINDLE SHANKS. Slender legs.

TO SPIRIT AWAY. To kidnap, or inveigle away.


SPIT. He is as like his father as if he was spit out of his  mouth; said of a child much resembling his father.

SPIT. A sword.

SPIT FIRE. A violent, pettish, or passionate person.

SPLICED. Married: an allusion to joining two ropes ends by  splicing. SEA TERM.

SPLIT CROW. The sign of the spread eagle, which being  represented with two heads on one neck, gives it somewhat  the appearance of being split.

SPLIT CAUSE. A lawyer.

SPLIT FIG. A grocer.

SPLIT IRON. The nick-name for a smith.

SPOONEY. (WHIP) Thin, haggard, like the shank of a spoon;  also delicate, craving for something, longing for sweets.  Avaricious. That tit is damned spooney. She’s a spooney  piece of goods. He’s a spooney old fellow.

SPOIL PUDDING. A parson who preaches long sermons,  keeping his congregation in church till the puddings are  overdone.

TO SPORT. To exhibit: as, Jack Jehu sported a new gig   yesterday: I shall sport a new suit next week. To sport   or flash one’s ivory; to shew one’s teeth. To sport timber;   to keep one’s outside door shut; this term is used in the   inns of court to signify denying one’s self. N.B. The   word SPORT was in great vogue ann. 1783 and 1784.

SPUNGE. A thirsty fellow, a great drinker. To spunge; to   eat and drink at another’s cost. Spunging-house: a bailiff’s   lock-up-house, or repository, to which persons arrested are   taken, till they find bail, or have spent all their money: a   house where every species of fraud and extortion is practised   under the protection of the law.

SPUNK. Rotten touchwood, or a kind of fungus prepared   for tinder; figuratively, spirit, courage.

SPOON HAND. The right hand.

TO SPOUT. To rehearse theatrically.

SPOUTING CLUB. A meeting of apprentices and mechanics  to rehearse different characters in plays: thus forming  recruits for the strolling companies.

SPOUTING. Theatrical declamation.

SPOUTED. Pawned.

SPREAD. Butter.

SPREAD EAGLE. A soldier tied to the halberts in order to  be whipped; his attitude bearing some likeness to that  figure, as painted on signs.

SPREE. A frolic. Fun. A drinking bout. A party of   pleasure.

SPRING-ANKLE WAREHOUSE. Newgate, or any other gaol:   IRISH.

SQUAB. A fat man or woman: from their likeness to a   well-stuffed couch, called also a squab. A new-hatched   chicken.

SQUARE. Honest, not roguish. A square cove, i.e. a   man who does not steal, or get his living by dishonest   means.

SQUARE TOES. An old man: square toed shoes were   anciently worn in common, and long retained by old   men.

SQUEAK. A narrow escape, a chance: he had a squeak for  his life. To squeak; to confess, peach, or turn stag.  They squeak beef upon us; they cry out thieves after  us. CANT.

SQUEAKER. A bar-boy; also a bastard or any other child.  To stifle the squeaker; to murder a bastard, or throw It  into the necessary house.—Organ pipes are likewise called  squeakers. The squeakers are meltable; the small  pipes are silver. CANT.

SQUEEZE CRAB. A sour-looking, shrivelled, diminutive   fellow.

SQUEEZE WAX. A good-natured foolish fellow, ready to   become security for another, under hand and seal.

SQUELCH. A fall. Formerly a bailiff caught in a barrack-yard  in Ireland, was liable by custom to have three tosses  in a blanket, and a squelch; the squelch was given by letting  go the corners of the blanket, and suffering him to  fall to the ground. Squelch-gutted; fat, having a prominent  belly.

SQUIB. A small satirical or political temporary jeu d’esprit,  which, like the firework of that denomination, sparkles,  bounces, stinks, and vanishes.

SQUINT-A-PIPES. A squinting man or woman; said to  be born in the middle of the week, and looking both  ways for Sunday; or born in a hackney coach, and looking  out of both windows; fit for a cook, one eye in the  pot, and the other up the chimney; looking nine ways at  once.

SQUIRE OF ALSATIA. A weak profligate spendthrift, the  squire of the company; one who pays the whole reckoning,  or treats the company, called standing squire.

SQUIRISH. Foolish.

SQUIRREL. A prostitute: because she like that animal, covers  her back with her tail. Meretrix corpore corpus alit.  Menagiana, ii. 128.


STAG. To turn stag; to impeach one’s confederates: from  a herd of deer, who are said to turn their horns against  any of their number who is hunted.

TO STAG. To find, discover, or observe.

STAGGERING BOB, WITH HIS YELLOW PUMPS. A calf  just dropped, and unable to stand, killed for veal in Scotland:  the hoofs of a young calf are yellow.


STALLING. Making or ordaining. Stalling to the rogue;  an ancient ceremony of instituting a candidate into the  society of rogues, somewhat similar to the creation of a  herald at arms. It is thus described by Harman: the upright  man taking a gage of bowse, i.e. a pot of strong drink,  pours it on the head of the rogue to be admitted; saying,—I,  A.B. do stall thee B.C. to the rogue; and from henceforth  it shall be lawful for thee to cant for thy living in all  places.

STALLING KEN. A broker’s shop, or that of a receiver of  stolen goods.

STALLION. A man kept by an old lady for secret services.


STAMMEL, or STRAMMEL. A coarse brawny wench.

STAMP. A particular manner of throwing the dice out of  the box, by striking it with violence against the table.



STAND-STILL. He was run to a stand-still; i.e. till he could   no longer move.

STAR GAZER. A horse who throws up his head; also a   hedge whore.

TO STAR THE GLAZE. To break and rob a jeweller’s show   glass. CANT.

STARCHED. Stiff, prim, formal, affected.


START, or THE OLD START. Newgate: he is gone to the   start, or the old start. CANT.

STARTER. One who leaves a jolly company, a milksop; he   is no starter, he will sit longer than a hen.

STARVE’EM, ROB’EM, AND CHEAT’EM. Stroud, Rochester,  and Chatham; so called by soldiers and sailors, and not  without good reason.

STAR LAG. Breaking shop-windows, and stealing some article  thereout.

STASH. To stop. To finish. To end. The cove tipped  the prosecutor fifty quid to stash the business; he gave  the prosecutor fifty guineas to stop the prosecution.

STATE. To lie in state; to be in bed with three harlots.

STAY. A cuckold.

STAYTAPE. A taylor; from that article, and its coadjutor  buckram, which make no small figure in the bills of those  knights of the needle.

STEAMER. A pipe. A swell steamer; a long pipe, such  as is used by gentlemen to smoke.

STEEL. The house of correction.

STEEL BAR. A needle. A steel bar flinger; a taylor, stay-maker,  or any other person using a needle.

STEENKIRK. A muslin neckcloth carelessly put on, from  the manner in which the French officers wore their cravats  when they returned from the battle of Steenkirk.

STEEPLE HOUSE. A name given to the church by Dissenters.

STEPHEN. Money. Stephen’s at home; i.e. has money.

STEPNEY. A decoction of raisins of the sun and lemons in   conduit water, sweetened with sugar, and bottled up.

STEWED QUAKER. Burnt rum, with a piece of butter: an   American remedy for a cold.

STICKS. Household furniture.

STICKS. Pops or pistols. Stow your sticks; hide your  pistols. CANT. See POPS.

STICK FLAMS. A pair of gloves.

STIFF-RUMPED. Proud, stately.

STINGRUM. A niggard.

STINGO. Strong beer, or other liquor.

STIRRUP CUP. A parting cup or glass, drank on horseback   by the person taking leave.

STITCH. A nick name for a taylor: also a term for lying   with a woman.

STITCHBACK. Strong ale.

STIVER-CRAMPED. Needy, wanting money. A stiver is a   Dutch coin, worth somewhat more than a penny sterling.

STOCK. A good stock; i.e. of impudence. Stock and    block; the whole: he has lost stock and block.


STOCK JOBBERS. Persons who gamble in Exchange Alley,  by pretending to buy and sell the public funds, but in  reality only betting that they will be at a certain price, at  a particular time; possessing neither the stock pretended  to be sold, nor money sufficient to make good the payments  for which they contract: these gentlemen are known  under the different appellations of bulls, bears, and lame  ducks.

STOMACH WORM. The stomach worm gnaws; I am hungry.

STONE. Two stone under weight, or wanting; an eunuch.   Stone doublet; a prison. Stone dead; dead as a stone.

STONE JUG. Newgate, or any other prison.


STOOP-NAPPERS, or OVERSEERS OF THE NEW PAVEMENT.   Persons set in the pillory. CANT.

STOOP. The pillory. The cull was served for macing and   napp’d the stoop; he was convicted of swindling, and   put in the pillory.

STOP HOLE ABBEY. The nick name of the chief rendzvous   of the  canting crew of beggars, gypsies, cheats,   thieves, &c. &c.

STOTER. A great blow. Tip him a stoter in the haltering   place; give him a blow under the left ear.

STOUP. A vessel to hold liquor: a vessel containing a size   or half a pint, is so called at Cambridge.

STOW. Stow you; be silent, or hold your peace. Stow  your whidds and plant’em, for the cove of the ken can  cant’em; you have said enough, the man of the house  understands you.

STRAIT-LACED. Precise, over nice, puritanical.

STRAIT WAISTCOAT. A tight waistcoat, with long sleeves  coming over the hand, having strings for binding them  behind the back of the wearer: these waistcoats are used in  madhouses for the management of lunatics when outrageous.


STRANGER. A guinea.

STRANGLE GOOSE. A poulterer.

To STRAP. To work. The kiddy would not strap, so he  went on the scamp: the lad would not work, and therefore  robbed on the highway.

STRAPPER. A large man or woman.

STRAPPING. Lying with a woman. CANT.

STRAW. A good woman in the straw; a lying-in woman.   His eyes draw straw; his eyes are almost shut, or he is   almost asleep: one eye draws straw, and t’other serves the   thatcher.

STRETCH. A yard. The cove was lagged for prigging a   peter with several stretch of dobbin from a drag; the   fellow was transported for stealing a trunk, containing   several yards of ribband, from a waggon.

STRETCHING. Hanging. He’ll stretch for it; he will be   hanged for it. Also telling a great lie: he stretched stoutly.

STRIKE. Twenty shillings. CANT.


STROKE. To take a stroke: to take a bout with a woman.

STROLLERS. Itinerants of different kinds. Strolling morts;  beggars or pedlars pretending to be widows.


STRONG MAN. To play the part of the strong man, i.e.  to push the cart and horses too; to be whipt at the cart’s  tail.

STRUM. A perriwig. Rum strum: a fine large wig.   (CAMBRIDGE) To do a piece. Foeminam subagitare. CANT.

To STRUM. To have carnal knowledge of a woman; also to  play badly on the harpsichord; or any other stringed  instrument. A strummer of wire, a player on any instrument  strung with wire.

STRUMPET. A harlot.

STUB-FACED. Pitted with the smallpox: the devil ran  over his face with horse stabs (horse nails) in his shoes.

STUBBLE IT. Hold your tongue. CANT.


STUM. The flower of fermenting wine, used by vintners to  adulterate their wines.

STUMPS. Legs. To stir one’s stumps; to walk fast.

STURDY BEGGARS. The fifth and last of the most ancient  order of canters, beggars that rather demand than ask  CANT.

SUCCESSFULLY. Used by the vulgar for SUCCESSIVELY: as  three or four landlords of this house have been ruined  successfully by the number of soldiers quartered on them.  IRISH.

SUCH A REASON PIST MY GOOSE, or MY GOOSE PIST. Said   when any one offers an absurd reason.

SUCK. Strong liquor of any sort. To suck the monkey;   see MONKEY. Sucky; drunk.

To SUCK. To pump. To draw from a man all be knows.   The file sucked the noodle’s brains: the deep one drew   out of the fool all he knew.

SUCKING CHICKEN. A young chicken.

SUDS. In the suds; in trouble, in a disagreeable situation,  or involved in some difficulty.

SUGAR STICK. The virile member.

SUGAR SOPS. Toasted bread soked in ale, sweetened with   sugar, and grated nutmeg: it is eaten with cheese.

SULKY. A one-horse chaise or carriage, capable of holding   but one person: called by the French a DESOBLIGEANT.

SUN. To have been in the sun; said of one that is drunk.

SUNBURNT. Clapped; also haying many male children.

SUNDAY MAN. One who goes abroad on that day only, for  fear of arrests.

SUNNY BANK. A good fire in winter.

SUNSHINE. Prosperity.

SUPERNACOLUM. Good liquor, of which there is not even  a drop left sufficient to wet one’s nail.

SUPOUCH. A landlady of an inn, or hostess.

SURVEYOR OF THE HIGHWAYS. One reeling drunk.

SURVEYOR OF THE PAVEMENT. One standing in the pillory.

SUS PER COLL. Hanged: persons who have been hanged   are thus entered into the jailor’s books.

SUSPENCE. One in a deadly suspence; a man just turned   off at the gallows.

SUTRER. A camp publican: also one that pilfers gloves,   tobacco boxes, and such small moveables.

SWABBERS. The ace of hearts, knave of clubs, ace and  duce of trumps, at whist: also the lubberly seamen, put  to swab, and clean the ship.

SWAD, or SWADKIN. A soldier. CANT.

To SWADDLE. To beat with a stick.

SWADDLERS. The tenth order of the canting tribe, who not   only rob, but beat, and often murder passenges. CANT.   Swaddlers is also the Irish name for methodist.

SWAG. A shop. Any quantity of goods. As, plant the swag;   conceal the goods. Rum swag; a shop full of rich goods.   CANT.

SWAGGER. To bully, brag, or boast, also to strut.

SWANNERY. He keeps a swannery; i.e. all his geese are  swans.

SWEATING. A mode of diminishing the gold coin, practiced  chiefly by the Jews, who corrode it with aqua regia. Sweating  was also a diversion practised by the bloods of the last  century, who styled themselves Mohocks: these gentlemen  lay in wait to surprise some person late in the night, when  surrouding him, they with their swords pricked him in  the posteriors, which obliged him to be constantly turning  round; this they continued till they thought him sufficiently  sweated.

SWEET. Easy to be imposed on, or taken in; also expert,  dexterous clever. Sweet’s your hand; said of one dexterous  at stealing.

SWEET HEART. A term applicable to either the masculine   or feminine gender, signifying a girl’s lover, or a man’s   mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a   heart.

SWEETNESS. Guinea droppers, cheats, sharpers. To sweeten   to decoy, or draw in. To be sweet upon; to coax, wheedle,   court, or allure. He seemed sweet upon that wench; he seemed to   court that girl.

SWELL. A gentleman. A well-dressed map. The flashman  bounced the swell of all his blunt; the girl’s bully frightened  the gentleman out of all his money.

SWELLED HEAD. A disorder to which horses are extremely  liable, particularly those of the subalterns of the army.  This disorder is generally occasioned by remaining too  long in one livery-stable or inn, and often arises to that  height that it prevents their coming out at the stable door.  The most certain cure is the unguentum aureum—not  applied to the horse, but to the palm of the master of the inn  or stable. N. B. Neither this disorder, nor its remedy,  is mentioned by either Bracken, Bartlet, or any of the  modern writers on farriery.

SWIG. A hearty draught of liquor.

SWIGMEN. Thieves who travel the country under colour of  buying old shoes, old clothes, &c. or selling brooms, mops,  &c. CANT.

TO SWILL. To drink greedily.

SWILL TUB. A drunkard, a sot.

SWIMMER. A counterfeit old coin.

SWIMMER. A ship. I shall have a swimmer; a cant phrase  used by thieves to signify that they will be sent on board  the tender.

TO SWING. To be hanged. He will swing for it; he will  be hanged for it.


TO SWINGE. To beat stoutly.

SWINGING. A great swinging fellow; a great stout fellow.   A swinging lie; a lusty lie.

SWINDLER. One who obtains goods on credit by false pretences,  and sells them for ready money at any price, in order  to make up a purse. This name is derived from the German  word SCHWINDLIN, to totter, to be ready to fall; these  arts being generally practised by persons on the totter, or  just ready to break. The term SWINDLER has since been  used to signify cheats of every kind.

SWIPES. Purser’s swipes; small beer: so termed on board   the king’s ships, where it is furnished by the purser.

SWISH TAIL. A pheasant; so called by the persons who   sell game for the poachers.

TO SWIVE. To copulate.

SWIVEL-EYED. Squinting.

SWIZZLE. Drink, or any brisk or windy liquor. In North   America, a mixture of spruce beer, rum, and sugar, was so   called. The 17th regiment had a society called the Swizzle   Club, at Ticonderoga, A. D. 1760.

SWORD RACKET. To enlist in different regiments, and on   receiving the bounty to desert immediately.

SWOP. An exchange.

SYEBUCK. Sixpence.

SYNTAX. A schoolmaster.

TABBY. An old maid; either from Tabitha, a formal  antiquated name; or else from a tabby cat, old maids being  often compared to cats. To drive Tab; to go out on a  party of pleasure with a wife and family.

TACE. Silence, hold your tongue. TACE is Latin for a  candle; a jocular admonition to be silent on any subject.

TACKLE. A mistress; also good clothes. The cull has   tipt his tackle rum gigging; the fellow has given his   mistress good clothes. A man’s tackle: the genitals.

TAFFY, i.e. Davy. A general name for a Welchman, St.   David being the tutelar saint of Wales. Taffy’s day; the   first of March, St. David’s day.

TAG-RAG AND BOBTAIL. An expression meaning an assemblage  of low people, the mobility of all sorts. To tag  after one like a tantony pig: to follow one wherever one  goes, just as St. Anthony is followed by his pig.

TAIL. A prostitute. Also, a sword.

TAKEN IN. Imposed on, cheated.

TALE TELLERS. Persons said to have been formerly hired  to tell wonderful stories of giants and fairies, to lull their  hearers to sleep. Talesman; the author of a story or  report: I’ll tell you my tale, and my talesman. Tale bearers;  mischief makers, incendiaries in families.

TALL BOY. A bottle, or two-quart pot.

TALLY MEN. Brokers that let out clothes to the women of  the town. See RABBIT SUCKERS.

TALLYWAGS, or TARRYWAGS. A man’s testicles.

TAME. To run tame about a house; to live familiarly in a  family with which one is upon a visit. Tame army; the  city trained bands.

TANDEM. A two-wheeled chaise, buggy, or noddy, drawn   by two horses, one before the other: that is, AT LENGTH.

TANGIER. A room in Newgate, where debtors were confined,   hence called Tangerines.

TANNER. A sixpence. The kiddey tipped the rattling cove  a tanner for luck; the lad gave the coachman sixpence for  drink.

TANTADLIN TART. A sirreverence, human excrement.

TANTRUMS. Pet, or passion: madam was in her tantrums.

TANTWIVY. Away they went tantwivy; away they went   full speed. Tantwivy was the sound of the hunting horn   in full cry, or that of a post horn.

TAP. A gentle blow. A tap on the shoulder;-an-arrest.   To tap a girl; to be the first seducer: in allusion to a beer   barrel. To tap a guinea; to get it changed.

TAPPERS. Shoulder tappers: bailiffs.

TAPE. Red tape; brandy. Blue or white tape;  gin.

TAPLASH. Thick and bad beer.

TAR. Don’t lose a sheep for a halfpennyworth of tar: tar is  used to mark sheep. A jack tar; a sailor.

TARADIDDLE. A fib, or falsity.

TARPAWLIN. A coarse cloth tarred over: also, figuratively,  a sailor.

TARRING AND FEATHERING. A punishment lately infliced  by the good people of Boston on any person convicted,  or suspected, of loyalty: such delinquents being “stripped  naked”, were daubed all over wilh tar, and afterwards put  into a hogshead of feathers.

TART. Sour, sharp, quick, pert.

TARTAR. To catch a Tartar; to attack one of superior  strength or abilities. This saying originated from a story  of an Irish-soldier in the Imperial service, who, in a battle  against the Turks, called out to his comrade that he had  caught a Tartar. ‘Bring him along then,’ said he. ‘He  won’t come,’ answered Paddy. ‘Then come along yourself,’  replied his comrade. ‘Arrah,’ cried he, ‘but he  won’t let me.’—A Tartar is also an adept at any feat, or  game: he is quite a Tartar at cricket, or billiards.

TAT. Tit for tat; an equivalent.

TATS. False dice.

TATLER. A watch. To flash a tatler: to wear a watch.

TAT MONGER. One that uses false dice.

TATTERDEMALION. A ragged fellow, whose clothes hang  all in tatters.

TATTOO. A beat of the drum, of signal for soldiers to go  to their quarters, and a direction to the sutlers to close the  tap, anddtew nomore liquor for them; it is generally  beat at nine in summer and eight in winter. The devil’s  tattoo; beating with one’s foot against the ground, as done  by persons in low spirits.

TAW. A schoolboy’s game, played with small round balls  made of stone dust, catted marbles. I’ll be one upon your  taw presently; a species of threat.

TAWDRY. Garish, gawdy, with lace or staring and discordant  colours: a term said to be derived from the shrine  and altar of St. Audrey (an Isle of Ely saintess), which  for finery exceeded all others thereabouts, so as to  become proverbial; whence any fine dressed man or woman  said to be all St Audrey, and by contraction, all  tawdry.

TAWED. Beaten,


TAYLE DRAWERS. Thieves who snatch gentlemens swords  from their sides. He drew the cull’s tayle rumly; he  snatched away the gentleman’s sword cleverly.

TAYLOR. Nine taylors make a man; an ancient and  common saying, originating from the effeminacy of their  employment; or, as some have it, from nine taylors having  been robbed by one man; according to others, from the  speech of a woollendraper, meaning that the custom of  nine, taylors would make or enrich one man—A London  taylor, rated to furnish half a man to the Trained Bands,  asking how that could possibly be done? was answered,  By sending four, journeymen and and apprentice.—Puta  taylor, a weaver, and a miller into a sack, shake them  well, And the first that, puts out his head is certainly a  thief.—A taylor is frequently styled pricklouse,  assaults on those vermin with their needles.

TAYLORS GOOSE. An iron with which, when heated,  press down the seams of clothes.

TEA VOIDER. A chamber pot.

TEA GUELAND. Ireland. Teaguelanders; Irishmen.

TEARS OF THE TANKARD. The drippings of liquor on a   man’s waistcoat.

TEDDY MY GODSON. An address to a supposed simple   fellow, or nysey,

TEIZE. To-nap the teize; to receive a whipping. CANT.

TEMPLE PICKLING. Pumping a bailiff; a punishment  formerly administered to any of that fraternity caught  exercising their functions within the limits of Temple.

TEN IN THE HUNDRED. An usurer; more than five in   the hundred being deemed usurious interest.

TENANT AT WILL, One whose wife usually fetches him   from the alehouse.

TENANT FOR LIFE. A married man; i.e. possessed of a   woman for life.

TENDER PARNELL. A tender creature, fearful of the least  puff of wind or drop of rain. As tender as Parnell, who  broke her finger in a posset drink.

TERMAGANT. An outrageous scold from Termagantes, a  cruel Pagan, formerly represented in diners shows and  entertainments, where being dressed a la Turque, in long  clothes, he was mistaken for a furious woman.

TERRA FIRMA. An estate in land.

TESTER. A sixpence: from TESTON, a coin with a head on it.

TETBURY PORTION. A **** and a clap.

THAMES. He will not find out a way to set the Thames  on fire; he will not make any wonderful discoveries, he is  no conjuror.

THATCH-GALLOWS. A rogue, or man of bad character.

THICK. Intimate. They are as thick as two inkle-weavers.

THIEF. You are a thief and a murderer, you have killed a  baboon and stole his face; vulgar abuse.

THIEF IN A CANDLE. Part of the wick or snuff, which falling  on the tallow, burns and melts it, and causing it to  gutter, thus steals it away.

THIEF TAKERS. Fellows who associate with all kinds of  villains, in order to betray them, when they have committed  any of those crimes which entitle the persons taking  them to a handsome reward, called blood money. It is  the business of these thief takers to furnish subjects for a  handsome execution, at the end of every sessions.

THIMBLE. A watch. The swell flashes a rum thimble;  the gentleman sports a fine watch.

THINGSTABLE. Mr. Thingstable; Mr. Constable: a ludicrous  affectation of delicacy in avoiding the pronunciation  of the first syllable in the title of that officer, which in  sound has some similarity to an indecent monosyllable.

THINGUMBOB. Mr. Thingumbob; a vulgar address or nomination  to any person whose name is unknown, the same  as Mr. What-d’ye-cal’em. Thingumbobs; testicles.

THIRDING. A custom practised at the universities, where  two thirds of the original price is allowed by the upholsterers  to the students for household goods returned to them  within the year.

THIRTEENER. A shilling in Ireland, which there passes for  thirteen pence.

THOMOND. Like Lord Thomond’s cocks, all on one side.  Lord Thomond’s cock-feeder, an Irishman, being entrusted  with some cocks which were matched for a considerable  sum, the night before the battle shut them all together in  one room, concluding that as they were all on the same  side, they would not disagree: the consequence was, they  were most of them either killed or lamed before the morning.

THOMAS. Man Thomas; a man’s penis.

THORNS. To be or sit upon thorns; to be uneasy, impatient,  anxious for an event.

THORNBACK. An old maid.

THOROUGH CHURCHMAN. A person who goes in at one door   of a church, and out at the other, without stopping.

THOROUGH-GOOD-NATURED WENCH. One who being asked   to sit down, will lie down.

THOROUGH GO NIMBLE. A looseness, a violent purging.

THOROUGH COUGH. Coughing and breaking wind backwards   at the same time.

THOROUGH STITCH. To go thorough stitch; to stick at nothing;   over shoes, over boots.

THOUGHT. What did thought do? lay’in bed and beshat  himself, and thought he was up; reproof to any one who  excuses himself for any breach of positive orders, by  pleading that he thought to the contrary.

THREE TO ONE. He is playing three to one, though sure to  lose; said of one engaged in the amorous congress.

THREE-PENNY UPRIGHT. A retailer of love, who, for the  sum mentioned, dispenses her favours standing against a  wall.

THREE-LEGGED MARE, or STOOL. The gallows, formerly  consisting of three posts, over which were laid three  transverse beams. This clumsy machine has lately given place  to an elegant contrivance, called the NEW DROP, by which  the use of that vulgar vehicle a cart, or mechanical  instrument a ladder, is also avoided; the patients being left  suspended by the dropping down of that part of the floor on  which they stand. This invention was first made use of for  a peer. See DROP.

THREE THREADS. Half common ale, mixed with stale and  double beer.

THREPS. Threepence.

TO THROTTLE. To strangle.

THROTTLE. The throat, or gullet.

TO THRUM. To play on any instrument sttfnged with wire.  A thrummer of wire; a player on the spinet, harpsichord,  of guitar.

THRUMS. Threepence.

THUMB. By rule of thumb: to do any thing by dint of   practice. To kiss one’s thumb instead of the book; a vulgar   expedient to avoid perjury in taking a false oath.

THUMMIKINS. An instrument formerly used in Scotland,   like a vice, to pinch the thumbs of persons accused of   different crimes, in order to extort confession.

THUMP. A blow. This is better than a thump on the back  with a stone; said on giving any one a drink of good liquor  on a cold morning. Thatch, thistle, thunder, and thump;  words to the Irish, like the Shibboleth of the Hebrews.

THUMPING. Great! a thumping boy.

THWACK. A great blow with a stick across the shoulders.

TIB. A young lass

TIBBY. A cat.

TIB OF THE BUTTERY. A goose. CANT. Saint Tibb’s  evening; the evening of the last day, or day of judgment:  he will pay you on St. Tibb’s eve. IRISH.

TICK. To run o’tick; take up goods upon trust, to run in  debt. Tick; a watch. SEE SESSIONS PAPERS.

TICKLE TEXT. A parson.

TICKLE PITCKEB. A thirsty fellow, a sot.

TICKLE TAIL. A rod, or schoolmaster. A man’s penis.

TICKRUM. A licence.

TIDY. Neat.

TIFFING. Eating or drinking out of meal time, disputing   or falling out; also lying with a wench, A tiff of punch,   a small bowl of punch.

TILBUKY. Sixpence; so called from its formerly being the   fare for Crossing over from Gravesend to Tilbury Fort.

TILT. To tilt; to fight with a sword. To run full tilt   against one; allusion to the ancient tilling with the lance.

TILTER. A sword.

TIM WHISKY. A light one—horse chaise without a head.

TIMBER TOE. A man with a wooden leg.

TINY. Little.

TO TIP. To give or lend. Tip me your daddle; give me  your hand. Tip me a hog; give me a shilling. To tip  the lion; to flatten a man’s nose with the thumb, and, at  the same time to extend his mouth, with the fingers, thereby  giving him a sort of lion-like countenauce. To tip the  velvet; tonguing woman. To tip all nine; to knock  down all the nine pins at once, at the game of bows or  skittles: tipping, at these gaines, is slightly touching the  tops of the pins with the bowl. Tip; a draught; don’t  spoil his tip.

TIP-TOP. The best: perhaps from fruit, that growing at  the top of the tree being generally the best, as partaking  most of the sun. A tip-top workman; the best, or most  excellent Workman.

TIPPERARY FORTUNE. Two town lands, stream’s town,  and ballinocack; said of Irish women without fortune.

TIPPLE. Liquor.

TIPPLERS. Sots who are continually sipping.

TIPSEY. Almost drunk.

TIRING. Dressing: perhaps abbreviation of ATTIRING. Tiring   women, or tire women: women that used to cut ladies   hair, and dress them.

TIT. A horse; a pretty little tit; a smart little girl.   a *** or tid bit; a delicate morsel. Tommy tit; a smart lively   little fellow.

TIT FOR TAT. An equivalent.

TO TITTER. To suppress a laugh.

TITTER TATTER. One reeling, and ready to fall at the least  touch; also the childish amusement of riding upon the  two ends of a plank, poised upon the prop underneath its  centre, called also see-saw. Perhaps tatter is a rustic  pronunciation of totter.

TITTLE-TATTLE. Idle discourse, scandal, women’s talk,   or small talk.

TITTUP. A gentle hand gallop, or canter.

TIZZY. Sixpence.

TOAD EATER. A poor female relation, and humble companion,  or reduced gentlewoman, in a great family, the standing  butt, on whom all kinds of practical jokes are played  off, and all ill humours vented. This appellation is derived  from a mountebank’s servant, on whom all experiments  used to be made in public by the doctor, his master; among  which was the eating of toads, formerly supposed poisonous.  Swallowing toads is here figuratively meant for swallowing  or putting up with insults, as disagreeable to a person  of feeling as toads to the stomach.

TOAD. Toad in a hole; meat baked or boiled in pye-crust.  He or she sits like a toad on a chopping-block; a saying  of any who sits ill on horseback. As much need of it  as a toad of a side-pocket; said of a person who desires  any thing for which he has no real occasion. As full of  money as a toad is of feathers.

TOAST. A health; also a beautiful woman whose health is  often drank by men. The origin of this term (as it is said)  was this: a beautiful lady bathing in a cold bath, one of  her admirers out of gallantry drank some of the water:  whereupon another of her lovers observed, he never drank  in the morning, but he would kiss the toast, and immediately  saluted the lady.


TOBY LAY. The highway. High toby man; a highway-man.   Low toby man; a footpad.

TOBACCO. A plant, once in great estimation as a medicine:

       Tobacco hic    Will make you well if you be sick.        Tobacco hic   If you be well will make you sick.

TODDY. Originally the juice of the cocoa tree, and afterwards   rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg.

TODDLE. To walk away. The cove was touting, but  stagging the traps he toddled; be was looking out, and  feeing the officers he walked away.

TODGE. Beat all to a todge: said of anything beat to mash.

TOGE. A coat. Cant.


TOGS. Clothes. The swell is rum-togged. The gentleman   is handsomely dressed.

TOKEN. The plague: also the venereal disease. She tipped   him the token; she gave him a clap or pox.

TOL, or TOLEDO. A sword: from Spanish swords made at   Toledo, which place was famous for sword blades of an   extraordinary temper.

TOLLIBAN RIG. A species of cheat carried on by a woman,   assuming the character of a dumb and deaf conjuror.

TOM T—DMAN. A night man, one who empties necessary   houses.

TOMBOY. A romping girl, who prefers the amusement used   by boys to those of her own sex.

TOM OF BEDLAM. The same as Abram man.

TOM CONY. A simple fellow.

TOM LONG. A tiresome story teller. It is coming by Tom  Long, the carrier; said of any thing that has been long  expected.

TOM THUMB. A dwarf, a little hop-o’my-thumb.

TOMMY. Soft Tommy, or white Tommy; bread is so called  by sailors, to distinguish it from biscuit. Brown Tommy:  ammunition bread for soldiers; or brown  bread given to  convicts at the hulks.

TO-MORROW COME NEVER. When two Sundays come  together; never.

TONGUE. Tongue enough for two sets of teeth: said of  a talkative person. As old as my tongue, and a little older  than my teeth; a dovetail in answer to the question, How  old are you? Tongue pad; a scold, or nimble-tongued  person.

TONY. A silly fellow, or ninny. A mere tony: a simpleton.

TOOLS. The private parts of a man.

TOOL. The instrument of any person or faction, a cat’s  paw. See CATS PAW.

TOOTH Music. Chewing.

TOOTH-PICK. A large stick. An ironical expression.

TOPPER. A violent blow on the head.

TOP ROPES. To sway away on all top ropes; to live  riotously or extravagantly.

TO TOP. To cheat, or trick: also to insult: he thought to  have topped upon me. Top; the signal among taylors  for snuffing the candles: he who last pronounces that word  word, is obliged to get up and perform the operation.—to  be topped; to be hanged. The cove was topped for  smashing queerscreens; he was hanged for uttering forged  bank notes.

TOP DIVER. A lover of women. An old top diver; one  who has loved old hat in his time.


TOP LIGHTS. The eyes. Blast your top lights. See CURSE.

Top SAIL. He paid his debts at Portsmouth with the topsail;  i.e. he went to sea and left them unpaid. SCT soldiers  are said to pay off their scores with the drum; that  is, by marching away.

TOPER. One that loves his bottle, a soaker. SEE TO SOAK.

TOPPING FELLOW. One at the top or head of his profession.


TOPPING COVE. The hangman. CANT.

TOPPING MAN. A rich man.

TOFSY-TURVY. The top side the other way; i.e. the  wrong side upwards; some explain it, the top side turf  ways, turf being always laid the wrong side upwards.

TORCHECUL. Bumfodder.



TORY. An advocate for absolute monarchy and church  power; also an Irish vagabond, robber, Or rapparee.

TOSS POT. A drunkard.

TOSS OFF. Manual pollution.

TOTTY-HEADED. Giddy, hare-brained.

TOUCH. To touch; to get money from any one; also  to arrest. Touched in the wind; broken winded.  Touched in the head; insane, crazy. To touch up a  woman; to have carnal knowledge of her. Touch bone  and whistle; any one having broken wind backwards,  according to the vulgar law, may be pinched by any of  the company till he has touched bone (i.e. his teeth) and  whistled.


TOVT. A look-out house, or eminence.

TOUTING. (From TUERI, to look about) Publicans  fore-stalling guests, or meeting them on the road, and begging  their custom; also thieves or smugglers looking out to see  that the coast is clear. Touting ken; the bar of a public  house.

TOW ROW. A grenadier. The tow row club; a club or   society of the grenadier officers of the line.

TOWEL. An oaken towel, a cudgel. To rub one down   with an oaken towel; to beat or cudgel him.

TOWER. Clipped money: they have been round the tower   with it. CANT.

TO TOWER. To overlook, to rise aloft as in a high tower.

TOWER HILL PLAY. A slap on the face, and a kick on the   breech.

TOWN. A woman of the town; a prostitute. To be on   the town: to live by prostitution.

TOWN BULL. A common whoremaster. To roar like a   town bull; to cry or bellow aloud.

TO TRACK. To go. Track up the dancers; go up stairs.   CANT.

TRADING JUSTICES. Broken mechanics, discharged footmen,  and other low fellows, smuggled into the commission  of the peace, who subsist by fomenting disputes, granting  warrants, and otherwise retailing justice; to the honour  of the present times, these nuisances are by no means, so  common as formerly.

TRADESMEN. Thieves. Clever tradesmen; good thieves.

TRANSLATORS. Sellers of old mended shoes and boots,   between coblers and shoemakers.

TO TRANSMOGRAPHY, or TRANSMIGRIFY. To patch up   vamp, or alter.

TO TRANSNEAR. To come up with any body.

TRAP. To understand trap; to know one’s own interest.

TRAP STICKS. Thin legs, gambs: from the sticks with  which boys play at trap-ball.

TRAPS. Constables and thief-takers. CANT.

TO TRAPAN. To inveigle, or ensnare.

TRAPES. A slatternly woman, a careless sluttish woman.

TRAVELLER. To tip the traveller; to tell wonderful  stories, to romance.

TRAVELLING PIQUET. A mode of amusing themselves,  practised by two persons riding in a carriage, each  reckoning towards his game the persons or animals that pass  by on the side next them, according to the following  estimation:

  A parson riding a grey horse, witholue furniture; game.   An old woman under a hedge; ditto.   A cat looking out of a window; 60.   A man, woman, and child, in a buggy; 40.   A man with a woman behind him; 30.   A flock of sheep; 20.   A flock of geese; 10.   A post chaise; 5.   A horseman; 2.   A man or woman walking; 1.

TRAY TRIP. An ancient game like Scotch hop, played on  a pavement marked out with chalk into different  compartments.

TRENCHER CAP. The square cap worn by the collegians.  at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

TRENCHER MAN. A stout trencher man; one who has a  good appetite, or, as the term is, plays a good knife and  fork.

TRESWINS. Threepence.

TRIB. A prison: perhaps from tribulation.

TRICKUM LEGIS. A quirk or quibble in the law.

TRIG. The point at which schoolboys stand to shoot their  marbles at taw; also the spot whence bowlers deliver the  bowl.

TO TRIG IT. To play truant. To lay a man trigging; to  knock him down.

TRIGRYMATE. An idle female companion.

TRIM. State, dress. In a sad trim; dirty.—Also spruce or  fine: a trim fellow.

TRIM TRAM. Like master, like man.

TRIMMING. Cheating, changing side, or beating. I’ll  trim his jacket; I’ll thresh him. To be trimmed; to be  shaved; I’ll just step and get trimmed.

TRINE. To hang; also Tyburn.

TRINGUM TRANGUM. A whim, or maggot.

TRINING. Hanging.

TRINKETS. Toys, bawbles, or nicknacks.

TRIP. A short voyage or journey, a false step or stumble,   an error in the tongue, a bastard. She has made a trip;   she has had a bastard.

TRIPE. The belly, or guts. Mr. Double Tripe; a fat   man. Tripes and trullibubs; the entrails: also a jeering   appellation for a fat man.

TO TROLL. To loiter or saunter about.

TROLLY LOLLY. Coarse lace once much in fashion.

TROLLOP. A lusty coarse sluttish woman.

TROOPER. You will die the death of a trooper’s horse,  that is, with your shoes-on; a jocular method of telling  any one he will be hanged.

TROT. An old trot; a decrepit old woman. A dog trot; a  gentle pace.

TROTTERS. Feet. To shake one’s trotters at Bilby’s ball,  where the sheriff pays the fiddlers; perhaps the Bilboes  ball, i.e. the ball of fetters: fetters and stocks were  anciently called the bilboes.

To TROUNCE. To punish by course of law.

TRUCK. To exchange, swop, or barter; also a wheel  such as ship’s guns are placed upon.

TRULL. A soldier or a tinker’s trull; a soldier or tinker’s  female companion.—Guteli, or trulli, are spirits like women,  which shew great kindness to men, and hereof it is  that we call light women trulls. RANDLE HOLM’S  ACADEMY OF ARMORY.

TRUMPERY. An old whore, or goods of no value; rubbish.

TRUMPET. To sound one’s own trumpet; to praise one’s  self.

TRUMPETER. The king of Spain’s trumpeter; a braying  ass. His trumpeter is dead, he is therefore forced to  sound his own trumpet. He would make an excellent  trumpeter, for he has a strong breath; said of one having  a foetid breath.

TRUMPS. To be put to one’s trumps: to be in difficulties,  or put to one’s shifts. Something may turn up trumps;  something lucky may happen. All his cards are trumps:  he is extremely fortunate.


TRUNK. A nose. How fares your old trunk? does your  nose still stand fast? an allusion to the proboscis or trunk  of an elephant. To shove a trunk: to introduce one’s  self unasked into any place or company. Trunk-maker  like; more noise than work.


TRY ON. To endeavour. To live by thieving. Coves who  try it on; professed thieves.

TU QUOQUE. The mother of all saints.

TUB THUMPER. A presbyterian parson.

TUCKED UP. Hanged. A tucker up to an old bachelor or  widower; a supposed mistress.

TUFT HUNTER. A it anniversary parasite, one who courts  the acquaintance of nobility, whose caps are adorned with  a gold tuft.

TUMBLER. A cart; also a sharper employed to draw in   pigeons to game; likewise a posture-master, or rope-dancer.   To shove the tumbler, or perhaps tumbril; to-be   whipt at the cart’s tail.

TO TUNE. To beat: his father tuned him delightfully:   perhaps from fetching a tune out of the person beaten, or   from a comparison with the disagreeable sounds of instruments   when tuning.

TO TUP. To have carnal knowledge of a woman.

TUP. A ram: figuratively, a cuckold.

TURF. On the turf; persons who keep running horses, or  attend and bet at horse-races, are said to be on the turf.

TURK. A cruel, hard-hearted man. Turkish treatment;  barbarous usage. Turkish shore; Lambeth, Southwark,  and Rotherhithe side of the Thames.


TURNCOAT. One who has changed his party from interested  motives.

TURNED UP. Acquitted; discharged.

TURNIP-PATED. White or fair-haired.

TURNPIKE MAN. A parson; because the clergy collect  their tolls at our entrance into and exit from the world.

TUZZY-MUZZY. The monosyllable.

TWADDLE. Perplexity, confusion, or any thing else: a  fashionable term that for a while succeeded that of BORE. See  BORE.

TWANGEY, or STANGEY. A north country name for a taylor.

TWEAGUE. In a great tweague: in a great passion. Tweaguey;  peevish, passionate.

TO TWEAK. To pull: to tweak any one’s nose.

TWELVER. A shilling.


TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

IN TWIG. Handsome; stilish. The cove is togged in  twig; the fellow is dressed in the fashion.

TO TWIG. To observe. Twig the cull, he is peery;  observe the fellow, he is watching us. Also to disengage,  snap asunder, or break off. To twig the darbies; to knock  off the irons.

TWIST. A mixture of half tea and half coffee; likewise   brandy, beer, and eggs. A good twist; a good appetite.   To twist it down apace; to eat heartily.

TWISTED. Executed, hanged.

TO TWIT. To reproach a person, or remind him of favours   conferred.

TWITTER. All in a twitter; in a fright. Twittering is   also the note of some small birds, such as the robin, &c.


TWO HANDED PUT. The amorous congress.

TWO THIEVES BEATING A ROGUE. A man beating his   hands against his sides to warm himself in cold weather;   called also beating the booby, and cuffing Jonas.

TWO TO ONE SHOP. A pawnbroker’s: alluding to the   three blue balls, the sign of that trade: or perhaps to its   being two to one that the goods pledged are never redeemed.

TWO-HANDED. Great. A two-handed fellow or wench;   a great strapping man orwoman,

TYE. A neckcloth.

TYBURN BLOSSOM. A young thief or pickpocket, who in   time will ripen into fruit borne by the deadly never-green.

TYBURN TIPPET. A halter; see Latimer’s sermon before.   Edward VI. A. D. 1549.

TYBURN TOP, or FORETOP. A wig with the foretop  combed over the eyes in a knowing style; such being  much worn by the gentlemen pads, scamps, divers, and  other knowing hands.

TYKE. A dog, also a clown; a Yorkshire tyke.


VAGARIES. Frolics, wild rambles.

VAIN-GLORIOUS, or OSTENTATIOUS MAN. One who  boasts without reason, or, as the canters say, pisses more  than he drinks.

VALENTINE. The first woman seen by a man, or man seen  by a woman, on St. Valentine’s day, the 14th of February,  when it is said every bird chuses his mate for the ensuing  year.

TO VAMP. To pawn any thing. I’ll vamp it, and tip you  the cole: I’ll pawn it, and give you the money. Also to  refit, new dress, or rub up old hats, shoes or other wearing  apparel; likewise to put new feet to old boots. Applied  more particularly to a quack bookseller.

VAMPER. Stockings.

VAN. Madam Van; see MADAM.

VAN-NECK. Miss or Mrs. Van-Neck; a woman with large  breasts; a bushel bubby.

VARDY. To give one’s vardy; i.e. verdict or opinion.

VARLETS. Now rogues and rascals, formerly yeoman’s servants.

VARMENT. (Whip and Cambridge.) Natty, dashing. He is  quite varment, he is quite the go. He sports a varment  hat, coat, &c.; he is dressed like a gentleman Jehu.

VAULTING SCHOOL. A bawdy-house; also an academy  where vaulting and other manly exercises are taught.

VELVET. To tip the velvet; to put one’s tongue into a  woman’s mouth. To be upon velvet; to have the best  of a bet or match. To the little gentleman in velvet, i. e.  the mole that threw up the hill that caused Crop (King  William’s horse) to stumble; a toast frequently drank by  the tories and catholics in Ireland.


VENUS’S CURSE. The venereal disease.

VESSELS OF PAPER. Half a quarter of a sheet.


VICE ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. A drunken man  that pisses under the table into his companions’ shoes.


VINCENT’S LAW. The art of cheating at cards, composed of   the following associates: bankers, those who play booty;   the gripe, he that betteth; and the person cheated, who   is styled the vincent; the gains acquired, termage.

VINEGAR. A name given to the person who with a whip   in his hand, and a hat held before his eye, keeps the   ring clear, at boxing-matches and cudgel-playing; also,   in cant terms, a cloak.

VIXEN. A termagant; also a she fox, who, when she has   cubs, is remarkably fierce.

TO VOWEL. A gamester who does not immediately pay  his losings, is said to vowel the winner, by repeating the  vowels I. O. U. or perhaps from giving his note for the  money according to the Irish form, where the acknowledgment  of the debt is expressed by the letters I. O. U. which,  the sum and name of the debtor being added, is deemed a  sufficient security among gentlemen.

UNCLE. Mine uncle’s; a necessary house. He is gone to  visit his uncle; saying of one who leaves his wife soon after  marriage. It likewise means a pawnbroker’s: goods pawned  are frequently said to be at mine uncle’s, or laid up in  lavender.

UNDERSTRAPPER. An inferior in any office, or department.

UNDER DUBBER. A turnkey.

UNFORTUNATE GENTLEMEN. The horse guards, who thus  named themselves in Germany, where a general officer  seeing them very awkward in bundling up their forage,  asked what the devil they were; to which some of them  answered, unfortunate gentlemen.

UNFORTUNATE WOMEN. Prostitutes: so termed by the   virtuous and compassionate of their own sex.

UNGRATEFUL MAN. A parson, who at least once a week   abuses his best benefactor, i.e. the devil.


UNICORN. A coach drawn by three horses.

UNLICKED CUB. A rude uncouth young fellow.

UNRIGGED. Undressed, or stripped. Unrig the drab; strip  the wench.

UNTRUSS. To untruss a point; to let down one’s breeches  in order to ease one’s self. Breeches were formerly tied  with points, which till lately were distributed to the boys  every Whit Monday by the churchwardens of most of the  parishes in London, under the denomination of tags: these  tags were worsteds of different colours twisted up to a size  somewhat thicker than packthread, and tagged at both  ends with tin. Laces were at the same given to the  girls.

UNTWISTED. Undone, ruined, done up.


UP TO THEIR GOSSIP. To be a match for one who attempts  to cheat or deceive; to be on a footing, or in the secret.  I’ll be up with him; I will repay him in kind.

UPHILLS. False dice that run high.


UPPER STORY, or GARRET. Figuratively used to signify the  head. His upper story or garrets are unfurnished; i.e.  he is an empty or foolish fellow.

UPPING BLOCK. [Called in some counties a leaping stock,  in others a jossing block.] Steps for mounting a horse.  He sits like a toad on a jossing block; said of one who  sits ungracefully on horseback.

UPPISH. Testy, apt to take offence.

UPRIGHT. Go upright; a word used by shoemakers, taylors  and their servants, when any money is given to  make them drink, and signifies, Bring it all out in liquor,  though the donor intended less, and expects change, or  some of his money, to be returned. Three-penny upright.  See THREEPENNY UPRIGHT,

UPRIGHT MAN. An upright man signifies the chief or  principal of a crew. The vilest, stoutest rogue in the  pack is generally chosen to this post, and has the sole  right to the first night’s lodging with the dells, who  afterwards are used in common among the whole fraternity.  He carries a short truncheon in his hand, which he calls  his filchman, and has a larger share than ordinary in  whatsoever is gotten in the society. He often travels in  company with thirty or forty males and females, abram  men, and others, over whom he presides arbitrarily. Sometimes  the women and children who are unable to travel,  or fatigued, are by turns carried in panniers by an ass, or  two, or by some poor jades procured for that purpose.

UPSTARTS. Persons lately raised to honours and riches  from mean stations.

URCHIN. A child, a little fellow; also a hedgehog.

USED UP. Killed: a military saying, originating from a  message sent by the late General Guise, on the expedition  at Carthagena, where he desired the commander in chief  to order him some more grenadiers, for those he had were  all used up.

WABLER. Footwabler; a contemptuous term for a  foot soldier, frequently used by those of the cavalry.

TO WADDLE. To go like a duck. To waddle out of  Change alley as a lame duck; a term for one who has not  been able to pay his gaming debts, called his differences,  on the Stock Exchange, and therefore absents himself  from it.

WAG. An arch-frolicsome fellow.

WAGGISH. Arch, gamesome, frolicsome.

WAGTAIL. A lewd woman.

WALKING CORNET. An ensign of foot.

WALKING POULTERER. One who steals fowls, and hawks  them from door to door.

WALKING STATIONER. A hawker of pamphlets, &c.

WALKING THE PLANK. A mode of destroying devoted  persons or officers in a mutiny or ship-board, by blindfolding  them, and obliging them to walk on a plank laid  over the ship’s side; by this means, as the mutineers suppose,  avoiding the penalty of murder.

WALKING UP AGAINST THE WALL. To run up a score,   which in alehouses is commonly recorded with chalk on   the walls of the bar.

WALL. To walk or crawl up the wall; to be scored up at a   public-nouse. Wall-eyed, having an eye with little or   no sight, all white like a plaistered wall.

TO WAP. To copulate, to beat.

WAPPER-EYED. Sore-eyed.

WARE. A woman’s ware; her commodity.

WARE HAWK. An exclamation used by thieves to inform   their confederates that some police officers are at hand.

WARM. Rich, in good circumstances. To warm, or give   a man a warming; to beat him. See CHAFED.

WARMING-PAN. A large old-fashioned watch. A Scotch   warming-pan; a female bedfellow.

WARREN. One that is security for goods taken up on credit  by extravagant young gentlemen. Cunny warren;  a girl’s boarding-school, also a bawdy-house.

WASH. Paint for the face, or cosmetic water. Hog-wash;   thick and bad beer.

WASP. An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a   sting in her tail.

WASPISH. Peevish, spiteful.

WASTE. House of waste; a tavern or alehouse, where idle  people waste both their time and money.

WATCH, CHAIN, AND SEALS. A sheep’s head And pluck.

WATER-MILL. A woman’s private parts.

WATER SNEAKSMAN. A man who steals from ships or  craft on the river.

WATER. His chops watered at it; he longed earnestly for it.  To watch his waters; to keep a strict watch on any one’s  actions. In hot water: in trouble, engaged in disputes.

WATER BEWITCHED. Very weak punch or beer.

WATERPAD. One that robs ships in the river Thames.

WATERY-HEADED. Apt to shed tears.

WATER SCRIGER, A doctor who prescribes from inspecting  the water of his patients. See PISS PROPHET.


WEAR A—E. A one-horse chaise.

WEASEL-FACED. Thin, meagre-faced. Weasel-gutted;  thin-bodied; a weasel is a thin long slender animal with a  sharp face.

WEDDING. The emptying of a neoessary-hovise, particularly  in London. You have been at an Irish wedding,  where black eyes are given instead of favours; saying to  one who has a black eye.

WEDGE. Silver plate, because melted by the receivers of  stolen goods into wedges. CANT.

TO WEED. To take a part. The kiddey weeded the swell’s  screens; the youth took some of the gentleman’s bank  notes.

WEEPING CROSS. To come home by weeping cross; to  repent.

WELCH COMB. The thumb and four fingers.

WESTMINSTER WEDDING. A match between a whore   and a rogue.

WET PARSON. One who moistens his clay freely, in order   to make it stick together.

WET QUAKER. One of that sect who has no objection to   the spirit derived from wine.

WHACK. A share of a booty obtained by fraud. A paddy   whack; a stout brawney Irishman.

WHAPPER. A large man or woman.

WHEEDLE. A sharper. To cut a wheedle; to decoy by   fawning or insinuation. Cant.

WHEELBAND IN THE NICK. Regular drinking over the   left thumb.

WHELP. An impudent whelp; a saucy boy.

WHEREAS. To follow a whereas; to become a bankrupt,  to figure among princes and potentates: the notice given  in the Gazette that a commission of bankruptcy is issued  out against any trader, always beginning with the word  whereas. He will soon march in the rear of a whereas.

WHET. A morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed  to whet or sharpen the appetite.

WHETSTONE’S PARK. A lane between Holborn and Lincoln’s-inn  Fields, formerly famed for being the resort of  women of the town.

TO WHIDDLE. To tell or discover. He whiddles; he  peaches. He whiddles the whole scrap; he discovers all  he knows. The cull whiddled because they would not  tip him a snack: the fellow peached because they would  not give him a share, They whiddle beef, and we must  brush; they cry out thieves, and we must make off. Cant.

WHIDDLER. An informer, or one that betrays the secrets  of the gang.

WHIMPER, or WHINDLE. A low cry.

TO WHINE. To complain.

TO WHIP OFF. To run away, to drink off greedily, to  snatch. He whipped away from home, went to the alehouse,  where he whipped off a full tankard, and coming  back whipped off a fellow’s hat from his head.

WHIP-BELLY VENGEANCE, or pinch-gut vengeance, of  which he that gets the most has the worst share. Weak  or sour beer.

WHIPPER-SNAPPER. A diminutive fellow.

WHIPSTER. A sharp or subtle fellow.

WHIPT SYLLABUB. A flimsy, frothy discourse or treatise,  without solidity.

WHIRLYGIGS. Testicles.

WHISKER. A great lie.

WHISKER SPLITTER. A man of intrigue.

WHISKIN. A shallow brown drinking bowl.

WHISKY. A malt spirit much drank in Ireland and Scotland;  also a one-horse chaise. See TIM WHISKY.

WHISTLE. The throat. To wet one’s whistle; to drink.

WHISTLING SHOP. Rooms in the King’s Bench and Fleet  prison where drams are privately sold.

WHIT. [i. e. Whittington’s.] Newgate. Cant.—Five rum-padders  are rubbed in the darkmans out of the whit, and  are piked into the deuseaville; five highwaymen broke out  of Newgate in the night, and are gone into the country.


WHITE FEATHER. He has a white feather; he is a coward;  an allusion to a game cock, where having a white leather  is a proof he is not of the true game breed.

WHITE-LIVERED. Cowardly, malicious.

WHITE LIE. A harmless lie, one not told with a malicious   intent, a lie told to reconcile people at variance.

WHITE SERJEANT. A man fetched from the tavern or ale-house   by his wife, is said to be arrested by the white serjeant.

WHITE SWELLING. A woman big with child is said to have   a white swelling.

WHITEWASHED. One who has taken the benefit of an act  of insolvency, to defraud his creditors, is said to have been  whitewashed.

WHITHER-GO-YE. A wife: wives being sometimes apt to   question their husbands whither they are going.

WHITTINGTON’S COLLEGE. Newgate; built or repaired by   the famous lord mayor of that name.

WIBBLE. Bad drink.

WICKET. A casement; also a little door.

WIDOW’S WEEDS. Mourning clothes of a peculiar fashion,  denoting her state. A grass widow; a discarded mistress.  a widow bewitched; a woman whose husband is abroad,  and said, but not certainly known, to be dead.

WIFE IN WATER COLOURS. A mistress, or concubine;  water colours being, like their engagements, easily effaced,  or dissolved.

WIGANNOWNS. A man wearing a large wig.

WIGSBY. Wigsby; a man wearing a wig.

WILD ROGUES. Rogues trained up to stealing from their  cradles.

WILLOW. Poor, and of no reputation. To wear the willow;  to be abandoned by a lover or mistress.

WIND. To raise the wind; to procure mony.

WINDFALL. A legacy, or any accidental accession of property.

WINDMILLS IN THE HEAD. Foolish projects.

WINDOW PEEPER. A collector of the window tax.

WINDY. Foolish. A windy fellow; a simple fellow.

WINK. To tip one the wink; to give a signal by winking  the eye.

WINNINGS. Plunder, goods, or money acquired by theft.


WINTER’S DAY. He is like a winter’s day, short and dirty.

WIPE. A blow, or reproach. I’ll give you a wipe on the  chops. That story gave him a fine wipe. Also a handkerchief.

WIPER. A handkerchief. CANT.

WIPER DRAWER. A pickpocket, one who steals handkerchiefs.  He drew a broad, narrow, cam, or specked wiper;  he picked a pocket of a broad, narrow, cambrick, or coloured  handkerchief.

TO WIREDRAW. To lengthen out or extend any book, letter,   or discourse.

WISEACRE. A foolish conceited fellow.

WISEACRE’S HALL. Gresham college.

WITCHES. Silver. Witcher bubber; a silver bowl. Witcher   tilter; a silver-hilted sword. Witcher cully; a silversmith.

TO WOBBLE. To boil. Pot wobbler; one who boils a   pot.

WOLF IN THE BREAST. An extraordinary mode of imposition,  sometimes practised in the country by strolling  women, who have the knack of counterfeiting extreme  pain, pretending to have a small animal called a wolf in  their breasts, which is continually gnawing them.

WOLF IN THE STOMACH. A monstrous or canine appetite.

WOOD. In a wood; bewildered, in a maze, in a peck of  troubles, puzzled, or at a loss what course to take in any  business. To look over the wood; to ascend the pulpit,  to preach: I shall look over the wood at St. James’s on  Sunday next. To look through the wood; to stand in the  pillory. Up to the arms in wood; in the pillory.

WOOD PECKER. A bystander, who bets whilst another  plays.

WOODCOCK. A taylor with a long bill.

WOODEN HABEAS. A coffin. A man who dies in prison is  said to go out with a wooden habeas. He went out with  a wooden habeas; i.e. his coffin.

WOMAN OF ALL WORK. Sometimes applied to a female  servant, who refuses none of her master’s commands.

WOOL GATHERING. Your wits are gone a woolgathering;  saying to an absent man, one in a reverie, or absorbed  in thought.

WOOLLEY CROWN. A soft-headed fellow.

WORD GRUBBERS. Verbal critics, and also persons who  use hard words in common discourse.

WORD PECKER. A punster, one who plays upon words.

WORD OF MOUTH. To drink by word of mouth, i.e. out   of the bowl or bottle instead, of a glass.

WORLD. All the world and his wife; every body, a great   company.

WORM. To worm out; to obtain the knowledge of a secret   by craft, also to undermine or supplant. He is gone to   the diet of worms; he is dead and buried, or gone to   Rothisbone.

WRANGLERS. At CAMBRIDGE the first class (generally of  twelve) at the annual examination for a degree. There  are three classes of honours, wranglers, senior optimes,  and junior optimes. Wranglers are said to be born with  golden spoons in their mouths, the senior optimes with  silver, and the junior with leaden ones. The last junior  optime is called the wooden spoon. Those who are not  qualified for honors are either in the GULF (that is,  meritorious, but not deserving of being in the three first  classes) or among the pollot [Proofreaders Note: Greek Letters]  the many. See PLUCK, APOSTLES, &C.

WRAP RASCAL. A red cloak, called also a roquelaire.

WRAPT UP IN WARM FLANNEL. Drunk with spirituous  liquors. He was wrapt up in the tail of his mother’s  smock; saying of any one remarkable for his success with  the ladies. To be wrapt up in any one: to have a good  opinion of him, or to be under his influence.

XANTIPPE. The name of Socrates’s wife: now used to  signify a shrew or scolding wife.


TO YAM. To eat or stuff heartily.

YANKEY, or YANKEY DOODLE. A booby, or country  lout: a name given to the New England men in North  America. A general appellation for an American.

YEA AND NAY MAN. A quaker, a simple fellow, one who  can only answer yes, or no.

YELLOW. To look yellow; to be jealous.

YELLOW BELLY. A native of the Fens of Licoinshire; an  allusion to the eels caught there.


TO YELP. To cry out. Yelper; a town cryer, also one  apt to make great complaints on trifling occasions.

YEST. A contraction of yesterday.

YOKED. Married. A yoke; the quantum of labour performed  at one spell by husbandmen, the day’s work being  divided in summer into three yokes. Kentish term.

YORKSHIRE TYKE. A Yorkshire clown. To come Yorkshire  over any one; to cheat him.

YOUNG ONE. A familiar expression of contempt for another’s  ignorance, as “ah! I see you’re a young one.” How  d’ye do, young one?

TO YOWL. To cry aloud, or howl.

ZAD. Crooked like the letter Z. He is a mere zad, or  perhaps zed; a description of a very crooked or deformed  person.

ZANY. The jester, jack pudding, or merry andrew, to a  mountebank.

ZEDLAND. Great part of the west country, where the   letter Z is substituted for S; as zee for see, zun for sun,

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