1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue: Section M by@francisgrose
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1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue: Section M

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1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

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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 M

Section M

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;

MAD TOM, or TOM OF BEDLAM, otherwise an Abram
  Man. A rogue that counterfeits madness. CANT.

MADAM. A kept madam; a kept mistress.


MADE. Stolen. CANT.

MADGE. The private parts of a woman.


MAGG. A halfpenny.

MAGGOT BOILER. A tallow-chandler.

MAGGOTTY. Whimsical, capricious.

MAGNUM BONUM. A bottle containing two quarts of wine.

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.

  Paul, i.e. borrowing of one man to pay another.

MAN TRAP. A woman's commodity.

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

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.

MARRIED. Persons chained or handcuffed together, in order to be conveyed to gaol, or on board the lighters for transportation, are in the cant language said to be married together.

MARROWBONES. The knees. To bring any one down on his marrow bones; to make him beg pardon on his knees: some derive this from Mary's bones, i.e. the bones bent in honour of the Virgin Mary; but this seems rather far-fetched. Marrow bones and cleavers; principal instruments in the band of rough music: these are generally performed on by butchers, on marriages, elections, riding skimmington, and other public or joyous occasions.

MARTINET. A military term for a strict disciplinarian: from the name of a French general, famous for restoring military discipline to the French army. He first disciplined the French infantry, and regulated their method of encampment: he was killed at the siege of Doesbourg in the year 1672.

MASON'S MAUND. A sham sore above the elbow, to counterfeit a broken arm by a fall from a scaffold.



MASTER OF THE WARDROBE. One who pawns his clothes
  to purchase liquor.

MATRIMONIAL PEACE-MAKER. The sugar-stick, or
  arbor vitae.

MAUDLIN DRUNK. Crying drunk: perhaps from Mary
  Magdalene, called Maudlin, who is always painted in

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

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.

MEN OF KENT. Men born east of the river Medway, who are said to have met the Conqueror in a body, each carrying a green bough in his hand, the whole appearing like a moving wood; and thereby obtaining a confirmation of their ancient privileges. The inhabitants of Kent are divided into Kentish men and men of Kent. Also a society held at the Fountain Tavern, Bartholomew Lane, A.D. 1743.

MERKIN. Counterfeit hair for women's privy parts. See

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.

MESS JOHN. A Scotch presbyterian teacher or parson.

MESSMATE. One who eats at the same mess, companion or

METTLE. The semen. To fetch mettle; the act of self pollution.
  Mettle is also figuratively used for courage.

METTLESOME. Bold, courageous.

MICHAEL. Hip, Michael, your head's on fire. See HYP.

MIDSHIPMAN'S WATCH AND CHAIN. A sheep's heart and pluck.

MILCH COW. One who is easily tricked out of his property; a term used by gaolers, for prisoners who have money and bleed freely.

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.

MOHAIR. A man in the civil line, a townsman, or tradesman: a military term, from the mohair buttons worn by persons of those descriptions, or any others not in the army, the buttons of military men being always of metal: this is generally used as a term of contempt, meaning a bourgeois, tradesman, or mechanic.

MOIETY. Half, but vulgarly used to signify a share or portion: as, He will come in for a small moiety.

MOLL. A whore.

MOLL PEATLY'S GIG. A rogering bout.

MOLL THOMPSON'S MARK. M. T. i.e. empty: as, Take away this bottle, it has Moll Thompson's mark upon it.

MOLLY. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.

MONDAY. Saint Monday. See SAINT.

MONEY. A girl's private parts, commonly applied to little children: as, Take care, Miss, or you will shew your money.

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.

MONKS AND FRIARS. Terms used by printers: monks are sheets where the letters are blotted, or printed too black; friars, those letters where the ink has failed touching the type, which are therefore white or faint.

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.

MOON RAKERS. Wiltshire men: because it is said that some men of that county, seeing the reflection of the moon in a pond, endeavoured to pull it out with a rake.

MOONSHINE. A matter or mouthful of moonshine; a trifle, nothing. The white brandy smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex, and the gin in the north of Yorkshire, are also called moonshine.

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.

MORNING DROP. The gallows. He napped the king's pardon
  and escaped the morning drop; he was pardoned, and
  was not hanged.

MORRIS. Come, morris off; dance off, or get you gone.
  allusion to morris, i.e. MORISCO, or Moorish dancing.

MORT. A woman or wench; also a yeoman's daughter. To
  be taken all-a mort; to be confounded, surprised, or motionless
  through fear.

MOSES. To stand Moses: a man is said to stand Moses
  when he has another man's bastard child fathered upon
  him, and he is obliged by the parish to maintain it.

MOSS. A cant term for lead, because both are found on the
  tops of buildings.

MOSSY FACE. The mother of all saints.

MOT. A girl, or wench. See MORT.

MOTHER, or THE MOTHER. A bawd. Mother abbess: the same. Mother midnight; a midwife. Mother in law's bit; a small piece, mothers in law being supposed not apt to overload the stomachs of their husband's children.

MOTHER OF ALL SAINTS. The Monosyllable.




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.

To MOW. A Scotch word for the act of copulation.

MOW HEATER. A drover: from their frequent sleeping on hay mows. CANT.

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

MUD LARK. A fellow who goes about by the water side
  picking up coals, nails, or other articles in the mud. Also
  a duck.

MUFF. The private parts of a woman. To the well wearing
  of your muff, mort; to the happy consummation of
  your marriage, girl; a health.


MUGGLETONIANS. The sect or disciples of Lodowick

MULLIGRUBS. Sick of the mulligrubs with eating chopped
  hay: low-spirited, having an imaginary sickness.

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.

MUM GLASS. The monument erected on Fish-street Hill,
  London, in memory of the great fire in 1666.

MUMBLE A SPARROW. A cruel sport practised at wakes and fairs, in the following manner: A cock sparrow whose wings are clipped, is put into the crown of a hat; a man having his arms tied behind him, attempts to bite off the sparrow's head, but is generally obliged to desist, by the many pecks and pinches he receives from the enraged bird.

MUMMER. The mouth.

MUMPERS. Originally beggars of the genteel kind, but since used for beggars in general.

MUMPERS HALL. An alehouse where beggars are harboured.

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.


MUNSTER HEIFER. An Irish woman. A woman with thick legs is said to be like a Munster heifer; i.e. beef to the heels.

MURDER. He looked like God's revenge against murder; he looked angrily.

MURPHIES. Potatoes.

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.

MUTTON. In her mutton, i.e. having carnal knowledge of a woman.

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.


MYRMIDONS. The constable's assistants, watchmen, &c.

About HackerNoon Book Series: We bring you the most important technical, scientific, and insightful public domain books. This book is part of the public domain.

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

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org, located at https://www.gutenberg.org/policy/license.html.


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