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

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Francis Grose

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 N

Section N

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.

NANNY HOUSE. A brothel.

TO NAP. To cheat at dice by securing one chance. Also
  to catch the venereal disease. You've napt it; you are

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.

NAPPER OF NAPS. A sheep stealer. CANT.

NAPPY ALE. Strong ale.

NASK, or NASKIN. A prison or bridewell. The new nask;
  Clerkenwell bridewell. Tothil-fields nask; the bridewell
  at Tothil-fields. CANT.

NATION. An abbreviation of damnation: a vulgar term used
  in Kent, Sussex, and the adjacent counties, for very.
  Nation good; very good. A nation long way; a very long

NATTY LADS. Young thieves or pickpockets. CANT.

NATURAL. A mistress, a child; also an idiot. A natural
  son or daughter; a love or merry-begotten child, a bastard.

NAVY OFFICE. The Fleet prison. Commander of the
  Fleet; the warden of the Fleet prison.

NAY WORD. A bye-word, proverb.

NAZAKENE FORETOP. The foretop of a wig made in imitation of Christ's head of hair, as represented by the painters and sculptors.

NAZY. Drunken. Nazy cove or mort; a drunken rogue
  or harlot. Nazy nabs; drunken coxcombs.

NEB, or NIB. The bill of a bird, and the slit of a pen.
  Figuratively, the face and mouth of a woman; as, She holds
  up her neb: she holds up her mouth to be kissed.

NECK STAMPER. The boy who collects the pots belonging
  to an alehouse, sent out with beer to private houses.

NECK VERSE. Formerly the persons claiming the benefit of clergy were obliged to read a verse in a Latin manuscript psalter: this saving them from the gallows, was termed their neck verse: it was the first verse of the fiftyfirst psalm, Miserere mei,&c.


NEEDLE POINT. A sharper.

NEGLIGEE. A woman's undressed gown, Vulgarly termed a

NEGROE. A black-a-moor: figuratively used for a slave.
  I'll be no man's negro; I will be no man's slave.

NEGROE'S HEADS. Brown leaves delivered to the ships in

NESCIO. He sports a Nescio; he pretends not to understand any thing. After the senate house examination for degrees, the students proceed to the schools, to be questioned by the proctor. According to custom immemorial the answers MUST be Nescio. The following is a translated specimen:

    Ques. What is your name?—Ans. I do not know.
    Ques. What is the name of this university?—Ans. I do not
    Ques. Who was your father?-Ans. I do not know.
     This last is probably the only true answer of the three!

NETTLED. Teized, provoked, out of temper. He or she has
  pissed on a nettle; said of one who is peevish or out of

NEW COLLEGE STUDENTS. Golden scholars, silver bachelors,
  and leaden masters.

NEW DROP. The scaffold used at Newgate for hanging of criminals; which dropping down, leaves them suspended. By this improvement, the use of that vulgar vehicle, a cart, is entirely left off.

NEW LIGHT. One of the new light; a methodist.

NEWGATE BIRD. A thief or sharper, frequently caged in

NEWGATE SOLICITOR. A petty fogging and roguish attorney,
  who attends the gaols to assist villains in evading

NEWMAN'S LIFT. The gallows.



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.

NICKIN, NIKEY or NIZEY. A soft simple fellow; also a diminutive of Isaac.

NICKNACKS. Toys, baubles, or curiosities.


NICKUMPOOP, or NINCUMPOOP. A foolish fellow; also one who never saw his wife's ****.


NIG. The clippings of money. Nigging; clipping. Nigler,
  a clipper. Cant.

NIGGLING. Cutting awkwardly, trifling; also accompanying
  with a woman.


NIGHTINGALE. A soldier who, as the term is, sings out at the halberts. It is a point of honour in some regiments, among the grenadiers, never to cry out, become nightingales, whilst under the discipline of the cat of nine tails; to avoid which, they chew a bullet.

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. See 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.

NINE LIVES. Cats are said to have nine lives, and women
  ten cats lives.

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.

NO CATCHY NO HAVY. If I am not caught, I cannot be hurt.
  Negro saying.

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

NONE-SUCH. One that is unequalled: frequently applied

NONSENSE. Melting butter in a wig.

NOOZED. Married, hanged.

NOPE. A blow: as, I took him a nope on the costard.

NORFOLK CAPON. A red herring.

NORFOLK DUMPLING. A nick name, or term of jocular reproach to a Norfolk man; dumplings being a favourite food in that county.

NORTH ALLERTONS. Spurs; that place, like Rippon,
  being famous for making them.

NORTHUMBERLAND. Lord Northumberland's arms; a black
  eye: so called in the last century.

NORWAY NECKCLOTH. The pillory, usually made of Norway

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 a woman.

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.

NUTCRACKERS. The pillory: as, The cull peeped through the nutcrackers.

NUTMEGS. Testicles.

NYP, or NIP. A half pint, a nip of ale: whence the
  nipperkin, a small vessel.

NYP SHOP. The Peacock in Gray's Inn Lane, where
  Burton ale is sold in nyps.

NYPPER. A cut-purse: so called by one Wotton, who in the year 1585 kept an academy for the education and perfection of pickpockets and cut-purses: his school was near Billingsgate, London. As in the dress of ancient times many people wore their purses at their girdles, cutting them was a branch of the light-fingered art, which is now lost, though the name remains. Maitland, from Stow, gives the following account of this Wotton: This man was a gentleman born, and sometime a merchant of good credit, but fallen by time into decay: he kept an alehouse near Smart's Key, near Billingsgate, afterwards for some misdemeanor put down. He reared up a new trade of life, and in the same house he procured all the cut-purses about the city, to repair to his house; there was a school-house set up to learn young boys to cut purses: two devices were hung up; one was a pocket, and another was a purse; the pocket had in it certain counters, and was hung about with hawks bells, and over the top did hang a little sacring bell. The purse had silver in it; and he that could take out a counter, without noise of any of the bells, was adjudged a judicial NYPPER: according to their terms of art, a FOYSTER was a pick-pocket; a NYPPER was a pick purse, or cut-purse.

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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