1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose is part of HackerNoon’s Book Blog Post series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here: [LINK TO TABLE OF LINK]. Section C
CABBAGE. Cloth, stuff, or silk purloined by laylors from their employers, which they deposit in a place called HELL, or their EYE: from the first, when taxed, with their knavery, they equivocally swear, that if they have taken any, they wish they may find it in HELL; or, alluding to the second, protest, that what they have over and above is not more than they could put in their EYE.—When the scrotum is relaxed or whiffled, it is said they will not cabbage.
CAB. A brothel. Mother: how many tails have you in
your cab? how many girls have you in your bawdy house?
CACAFEOGO. A sh-te-fire, a furious braggadocio or bully
CACKLE. To blab, or discover secrets. The cull is leaky,
and cackles; the rogue tells all. CANT. See LEAKY.
CACKLER. A hen.
CACKLER'S KEN. A hen roost. CANT.
CACKLING CHEATS. Fowls. CANT.
CACKLING FARTS. Eggs. CANT.
CADDEE. A helper. An under-strapper.
CADGE. To beg. Cadge the swells; beg of the gentlemen.
CAFFAN. Cheese. CANT.
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.
CAGG MAGGS. Old Lincolnshire geese, which having been plucked ten or twelve years, are sent up to London to feast the cockneys.
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.
CALVES HEAD CLUB. A club instituted by the Independents and Presbyterians, to commemorate the decapitation of King Charles I. Their chief fare was calves heads; and they drank their wine and ale out of calves skulls.
CALIBOGUS. Rum and spruce beer, American beverage.
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.
CAMBRIDGE OAK. A willow.
CAMBRADE. A chamber fellow; a Spanish military term. Soldiers were in that country divided into chambers, five men making a chamber, whence it was generally used to signify companion.
CAMESA. A shirt or shift. CANT. SPANISH.
CAMP CANDLESTICK. A bottle, or soldier's bayonet.
CAMPBELL'S ACADEMY. The hulks or lighters, on
board of which felons are condemned to hard labour.
Mr. Campbell was the first director of them. See
ACADEMY and FLOATING ACADEMY.
CANARY BIRD. A jail bird, a person used to be kept in
a cage; also, in the canting sense, guineas.
CANDLESTICKS. Bad, small, or untunable bells. Hark!
how the candlesticks rattle.
CANDY. Drunk. IRISH.
CANE. To lay Cane upon Abel; to beat any one with a cane or stick.
CANNISTER. The head. To mill his cannister; to break
CANNIKIN. A small can: also, in the canting sense,
CANT. An hypocrite, a double-tongue palavering fellow.
CANT. To cant; to toss or throw: as, Cant a slug into
your bread room; drink a dram. SEA WIT.
CANTICLE. A parish clerk.
CANTING. Preaching with a whining, affected tone, perhaps a corruption of chaunting; some derive it from Andrew Cant, a famous Scotch preacher, who used that whining manner of expression. Also a kind of gibberish used by thieves and gypsies, called likewise pedlar's French, the slang, &c. &c.
CANTERS, or THE CANTING CREW. Thieves, beggars, and gypsies, or any others using the canting lingo. See LINGO.
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
CAPTAIN. Led captain; an humble dependant in a great family, who for a precarious subsistence, and distant hopes of preferment, suffers every kind of indignity, and is the butt of every species of joke or ill-humour. The small provision made for officers of the army and navy in time of peace, obliges many in both services to occupy this wretched station. The idea of the appellation is taken from a led horse, many of which for magnificence appear in the retinues of great personages on solemn occasions, such as processions, &c.
CAPTAIN COPPERTHORNE'S CREW. All officers; a saying of a company where everyone strives to rule.
CAPTAIN LIEUTENANT. Meat between veal and beef, the flesh of an old calf; a military simile, drawn from the officer of that denomination, who has only the pay of a lieutenant, with the rank of captain; and so is not entirely one or the other, but between both.
CAPTAIN PODD. A celebrated master of a puppet-shew, in
Ben Johnson's time, whose name became a common one
to signify any of that fraternity.
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
CARROTS. Red hair.
CARROTTY-PATED. Ginger-hackled, red-haired. See
CARRY WITCHET. A sort of conundrum, puzzlewit, or
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.
CARVEL'S RING. The private parts of a woman. Ham Carvel, a jealous old doctor, being in bed with his wife, dreamed that the Devil gave him a ring, which, so long as he had it on his finger, would prevent his being made a cuckold: waking he found he had got his finger the Lord knows where. See Rabelais, and Prior's versification of the story.
TO CASCADE. To vomit.
CASE. A house; perhaps from the Italian CASA. In the canting lingo it meant store or ware house, as well as a dwelling house. Tout that case; mark or observe that house. It is all bob, now let's dub the gig of the case; now the coast is clear, let us break open the door of the house.
CASE VROW. A prostitute attached to a particular bawdy house.
CASH, or CAFFAN. Cheese; CANT. See CAFFAN.
CASTER. A cloak. CANT.
CASTOR. A hat. To prig a castor; to steal a hat.
CASTING UP ONE'S ACCOUNTS. Vomiting.
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 AND BAGPIPEAN SOCIETY. A society which met at
their office in the great western road: in their summons,
published in the daily papers, it was added, that the kittens
might come with the old cats without being scratched.
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 HARPING FASHION. Drinking cross-ways, and not, as
usual, over the left thumb. SEA TERM.
CAT IN PAN. To turn cat in pan, to change sides or
parties; supposed originally to have been to turn CATE or CAKE
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
CAT MATCH. When a rook or cully is engaged amongst
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,
CATTLE. Sad cattle: whores or gypsies. Black cattle,
CAVAULTING SCHOOL. A Bawdy-house.
CAULIFLOWER. A large white wig, such as is commonly worn by the dignified clergy, and was formerly by physicians. Also the private parts of a woman; the reason for which appellation is given in the following story: A woman, who was giving evidence in a cause wherein it was necessary to express those parts, made use of the term cauliflower; for which the judge on the bench, a peevish old fellow, reproved her, saying she might as well call it artichoke. Not so, my lord, replied she; for an artichoke has a bottom, but a **** and a cauliflower have none.
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.
CHALKERS. Men of wit, in Ireland, who in the night amuse themselves with cutting inoffensive passengers across the face with a knife. They are somewhat like those facetious gentlemen some time ago known in England by the title of Sweaters and Mohocks.
CHALKING. The amusement above described.
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.
CHATTER BROTH. Tea. See CAT LAP and SCANDAL BROTH.
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.
CHEEK BY JOWL. Side by side, hand to fist.
CHEEKS. Ask cheeks near cunnyborough; the repartee of a
St. Gilse's fair one, who bids you ask her backside, anglice
her a-se. A like answer is current in France: any one
asking the road or distance to Macon, a city near Lyons,
would be answered by a French lady of easy virtue,
'Mettez votre nez dans mon cul, & vous serrez dans les
CHEESE-TOASTER. A sword.
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, because cherubims and 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 BUTCHER. A poulterer.
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.
CHILD. To eat a child; to partake of a treat given to the parish officers, in part of commutation for a bastard child the common price was formerly ten pounds and a greasy chin. See GREASY CHIN.
CHIMNEY CHOPS. An abusive appellation for a negro.
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
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
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;
Choak, chicken, more are hatching: a like consolation.
CHOAK PEAR. Figuratively, an unanswerable objection: also a machine formerly used in Holland by robbers; it was of iron, shaped like a pear; this they forced into the mouths of persons from whom they intended to extort money; and on turning a key, certain interior springs thrust forth a number of points, in all directions, which so enlarged it, that it could not be taken out of the mouth: and the iron, being case-hardened, could not be filed: the only methods of getting rid of it, were either by cutting the mouth, or advertizing a reward for the key, These pears were also called pears of agony.
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.
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
CHOPPING, LUSTY. A chopping boy or girl; a lusty
CHOPS. The mouth. I gave him a wherrit, or a souse,
across the chops; I gave him a blow over the mouth,
CHOP-STICK. A fork.
CHOUDER. A sea-dish, composed of fresh fish, salt pork,
herbs, and sea-biscuits, laid in different layers, and stewed
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
CHRISTENING. Erasing the name of the true maker from
a stolen watch, and engraving a fictitious one in its place.
CHRISTIAN PONEY. A chairman.
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.
CHURCH WARDEN. A Sussex name for a shag, or cormorant, probably
from its voracity.
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.
CITY COLLEGE. Newgate.
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.
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
CLAPPER CLAW. To scold, to abuse, or claw off with the
CLAPPERDOGEON. A beggar born. CANT.
CLARET. French red wine; figuratively, blood. I tapped
his claret; I broke his head, and made the blood run.
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
CLEAN. Expert; clever. Amongst the knuckling coves he
is reckoned very clean; he is considered very expert as
CLERKED. Soothed, funned, imposed on. The cull will
not be clerked; i.e. the fellow will not be imposed on by
CLEYMES. Artificial sores, made by beggars to excite
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.
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.
CLOSH. A general name given by the mobility to Dutch seamen, being a corruption of CLAUS, the abbreviation of Nicholas, a name very common among the men of that nation.
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
TO CHUCK. To shew a propensity for a man. The mors chucks; the wench wants to be doing.
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.
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.
COB, or COBBING. A punishment used by the seamen for petty offences, or irregularities, among themselves: it consists in bastonadoing the offender on the posteriors with a cobbing stick, or pipe staff; the number usually inflicted is a dozen. At the first stroke the executioner repeats the word WATCH, on which all persons present are to take off their hats, on pain of like punishment: the last stroke is always given as hard as possible, and is called THE PURSE. Ashore, among soldiers, where this punishment is sometimes adopted, WATCH and THE PURSE are not included in the number, but given over and above, or, in the vulgar phrase, free gratis for nothing. This piece of discipline is also inflicted in Ireland, by the school-boys, on persons coming into the school without taking off their hats; it is there called school butter.
COBBLE. A kind of boat.
TO COBBLE. To mend, or patch; likewise to do a thing in a bungling manner.
COBBLE COLTER. A turkey.
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 ALLEY or COCK LANE. The private parts of a woman.
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.
COCKLES. To cry cockles; to be hanged: perhaps from the noise made whilst strangling. CANT.—This will rejoice the cockles of one's heart; a saying in praise of wine, ale, or spirituous liquors.
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
COCK YOUR EYE. Shut one eye: thus translated into apothecaries
Latin.—Gallus tuus ego.
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? The king of the cockneys is mentioned among the regulations for the sports and shows formerly held in the Middle Temple on Childermas Day, where he had his officers, a marshal, constable, butler, &c. See DUGDALE'S ORIGINES JURIDICIALES, p. 247.—Ray says, the interpretation of the word Cockney, is, a young person coaxed or conquered, made wanton; or a nestle cock, delicately bred and brought up, so as, when arrived a man's estate, to be unable to bear the least hardship. Whatever may be the origin of this appellation, we learn from the following verses, attributed to Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, that it was in use, in the time of king Henry II.
Was I in my castle at Bungay,
Fast by the river Waveney,
I would not care for the king of Cockney;
i.e. the king of London.
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. Do they bite, master? where, in the cod piece or collar?—a jocular attack on a patient angler by watermen, &c.
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. To make a coffee-house of a woman's ****; to go in and out and spend nothing.
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
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 BURNING. A punishment inflicted by private soldiers on their comrades for trifling offences, or breach of their mess laws; it is administered in the following manner: The prisoner is set against the wall, with the arm which is to be burned tied as high above his head as possible. The executioner then ascends a stool, and having a bottle of cold water, pours it slowly down the sleeve of the delinquent, patting him, and leading the water gently down his body, till it runs out at his breeches knees: this is repeated to the other arm, if he is sentenced to be burned in both.
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
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.
COLIANDER, or CORIANDER SEEDS. 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
COOL NANTS. Brandy.
COOL TANKARD. Wine and water, with lemon, sugar, and
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!
COMFORTABLE IMPORTANCE. A wife.
COMMISSION. A shirt. CANT.
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.
COMPLIMENT. See CHRISTMAS.
COMUS'S COURT. A social meeting formerly held at the
Half Moon tavern Cheapside.
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?
CONNY WABBLE. Eggs and brandy beat up together. IRISH.
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.
CONVENIENT. A mistress. CANT.
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.
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 ABBESS. A bawd.
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 counterfeiting the falling sickness.
COUNTRY HARRY. A waggoner. CANT.
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,
COURT OF ASSISTANTS. A court often applied to by young
women who marry old men.
COW. To sleep like a cow, with a **** at one's a-se; said
of a married man; married men being supposed to sleep
with their backs towards their wives, according to the
All you that in your beds do lie,
Turn to your wives, and occupy:
And when that you have done your best,
Turn a-se to a-se, and take your rest.
COW JUICE. Milk.
COW'S BABY. A calf.
COW'S COURANT. Gallop and sh—-e.
COW ITCH. The product of a sort of bean, which excites an insufferable itching, used chiefly for playing tricks.
COW'S SPOUSE. A bull.
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.
CRAB LOUSE. A species of louse peculiar to the human body; the male is denominated a cock, the female a hen.
CRAB SHELLS. Shoes. IRISH.
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.
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.
CRASHING CHEATS. Teeth.
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
CREEPERS. Gentlemen's companions, lice.
CREW. A knot or gang; also a boat or ship's company. The canting crew are thus divided into twenty-three orders, which see under the different words:
1 Rufflers 2 Upright Men 3 Hookers or Anglers 4 Rogues 5 Wild Rogues 6 Priggers of Prancers 7 Palliardes 8 Fraters 9 Jarkmen, or Patricoes 10 Fresh Water Mariners, or Whip Jackets 11 Drummerers 12 Drunken Tinkers 13 Swadders, or Pedlars 14 Abrams.
1 Demanders for Glimmer or Fire 2 Bawdy Baskets 3 Morts 4 Autem Morts 5 Walking Morts 6 Doxies 7 Delles 8 Kinching Morts 9 Kinching Coes
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
CRIBBAGE-FACED. Marked with the small pox, the pits
bearing a kind of resemblance to the holes in a
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.
CRISPIN'S LANCE. An awl.
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 BACK. Sixpence; for the reason of this name, see
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
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. One who helps solicitors to affidavit men, or false witnesses.—'I wish you had, Mrs. Crump;' a Gloucestershire saying, in answer to a wish for any thing; implying, you must not expect any assistance from the speaker. It is said to have originated from the following incident: One Mrs. Crump, the wife of a substantial farmer, dining with the old Lady Coventry, who was extremely deaf, said to one of the footmen, waiting at table, 'I wish I had a draught of small beer,' her modesty not permitting her to desire so fine a gentleman to bring it: the fellow, conscious that his mistress could not hear either the request or answer, replied, without moving, 'I wish you had, Mrs. Crump.' These wishes being again repeated by both parties, Mrs. Crump got up from the table to fetch it herself; and being asked by my lady where she was going, related what had passed. The story being told abroad, the expression became proverbial.
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.
CUNDUM. The dried gut of a sheep, worn by men in the act of coition, to prevent venereal infection; said to have been invented by one colonel Cundum. These machines were long prepared and sold by a matron of the name of Philips, at the Green Canister, in Half-moon-street, in the Strand. That good lady having acquired a fortune, retired from business; but learning that the town was not well served by her successors, she, out of a patriotic zeal for the public welfare, returned to her occupation; of which she gave notice by divers hand-bills, in circulation in the year 1776. Also a false scabbard over a sword, and the oil-skin case for holding the colours of a regiment.
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.
CUNNY-THUMBED. To double one's fist with the thumb inwards,
like a woman.
C**T. The chonnos of the Greek, and the cunnus of the Latin
dictionaries; a nasty name for a nasty thing: un con Miege.
CUP OF THE CREATURE. A cup of good liquor.
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
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.
CURSE OF SCOTLAND. The nine of diamonds; diamonds, it is said, imply royalty, being ornaments to the imperial crown; and every ninth king of Scotland has been observed for many ages, to be a tyrant and a curse to that country. Others say it is from its similarity to the arms of Argyle; the Duke of Argyle having been very instrumental in bringing about the union, which, by some Scotch patriots, has been considered as detrimental to their country.
CURSE OF GOD. A cockade.
CURSITORS. Broken petty-fogging attornies, or Newgate solicitors. CANT.
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
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.
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Grose, Francis. 2004. 1881 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved April 2022 from https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5402/pg5402.html
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