1811 Dictionary
of the Vulgar Tongue

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Random term RSS/XML Daily The Devil's Dictionary, the original Aesop's Fables The Devil's Dictionary X
or LADY ABBESS, A bawd, the mistress of a brothel.
Blows given on the palm of the hand with a twisted handkerchief, instead of a ferula; a jocular punishment among seamen, who sometimes play at cards for wackets, the loser suffering as many strokes as he has lost games.
A lady's waiting-maid.
Naked. CANT.
Abram Cove
A cant word among thieves, signifying a naked or poor man; also a lusty, strong rogue.
Abram Men
Pretended mad men.
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.--Campbell's Academy; the same, from a gentleman of that name, who had the contract for victualling the hulks or lighters.
To cast up one's accounts; to vomit.
Ace of Spades
A widow.
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.
A cuckold, from the horns planted on the head of Acteon by Diana.
Active Citizen
A louse.
Adam Tiler
A pickpocket's associate, who receives the stolen goods, and runs off with them. CANT.
Adam's Ale
Addle Pate
An inconsiderate foolish fellow.
Addle Plot
A spoil-sport, a mar-all.
Admiral of the Blue
who carries his flag on the main-mast. A landlord or publican wearing a blue apron, as was formerly the custom among gentlemen of that vocation.
Admiral of the Narrow Seas
One who from drunkenness vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite to him. SEA PHRASE.
Loose, turned adrift, discharged. SEA PHRASE.
(CAMBRIDGE), A certificate from the apothecary that you are INDISPOSED, (i. e.) to go to chapel. He sports an Aegrotat, he is sick, and unable to attend Chapel. or Hall. It does not follow, however, but that he can STRUM A PIECE, or sport a pair of oars.
Affidavit Men
Knights of the post, or false witnesses, said to attend Westminster Hall, and other courts of justice, ready to swear any thing for hire.
A demand after the first given in has been discharged; a charge for pretended omissions; in short, any thing disagreeable happening after all consequences of the cause have been thought at an end.
Against the Grain
Unwilling. It went much against the grain with him, i.e. it was much against his inclination, or against his pluck.
ALL-A-GOG. Anxious, eager, impatient: from the Italian AGOGARE, to desire eagerly.
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.
A roasted turkey garnished with sausages; the latter are supposed to represent the gold chain worn by those magistrates.
A draught on the pump at Aldgate; a bad bill of exchange, drawn on persons who have no effects of the drawer.
Ale Draper
An alehouse keeper.
Ale Post
A may-pole.
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.
All Nations
A composition of all the different spirits sold in a dram-shop, collected in a vessel into which the drainings of the bottles and quartern pots are emptied.
Struck dumb, confounded. What, sweet one, all-a-mort? SHAKESPEARE.
The five alls is a country sign, representing five human figures, each having a motto under him. The first is a king in his regalia; his motto, I govern all: the second, a bishop in pontificals; motto, I pray for all: third, a lawyer in his gown; motto, I plead for all: fourth: a soldier in his regimentals, fully accoutred; motto, I fight for all: fifth, a poor countryman with his scythe and rake; motto, I pay for all.
A verbal or lump account, without particulars, such as is commonly produced at bawdy-houses, spunging-houses, &c. Vide DUTCH RECKONING.
The man is in his altitudes, i.e. he is drunk.
A trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, frequently played on board ships in the warm latitudes. It is thus managed: A large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it. Over the whole is thrown a tarpaulin, or old sail: this is kept tight by two persons, who are to represent the king and queen of a foreign country, and are seated on the stools. The person intended to be ducked plays the Ambassador, and after repeating a ridiculous speech dictated to him, is led in great form up to the throne, and seated between the king and queen, who rising suddenly as soon as he is seated, he falls backwards into the tub of water.
Ambassador of Morocco
A Shoemaker. (See Mrs. Clarke's Examination.)
A lawyer who takes fees from both plaintiff and defendant, or that goes snacks with both parties in gaming.
He said Yes and Amen to every thing; he agreed to every thing.
Amen Curler
A parish clerk.
Ames Ace
Within ames ace; nearly, very near.
A jeering name for a Quaker.
Amuse, To
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.
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.
A pickpocket caught in the fact, and punished with the discipline of the pump or horse-pond.
Bring your a-se to an anchor, i.e. sit down. To let go an anchor to the windward of the law; to keep within the letter of the law. SEA WIT.
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.
Angling for Farthings
Begging out of a prison window with a cap, or box, let down at the end of a long string.
A girl who is got with child, is said to have sprained her ankle.
Anodyne Necklace
A halter.
Anthony or Tantony Pig
The favourite or smallest pig in the litter.--To follow like a tantony pig, i.e. St. Anthony's pig; to follow close at one's heels. St. Anthony the hermit was a swineherd, and is always represented with a swine's bell and a pig. Some derive this saying from a privilege enjoyed by the friars of certain convents in England and France (sons of St. Anthony), whose swine were permitted to feed in the streets. These swine would follow any one having greens or other provisions, till they obtained some of them; and it was in those days considered an act of charity and religion to feed them.
Ape Leader
An old maid; their punishment after death, for neglecting increase and multiply, will be, it is said, leading apes in hell.
(CAMBRIDGE.) Men who are plucked, refused their degree.
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.
or LAW LATIN. Barbarous Latin, vulgarly called Dog Latin, in Ireland Bog Latin.
Apothecary's Bill
A long bill.
Apple Cart
Down with his apple-cart; knock or throw him down.
Apple Dumplin Shop
A woman's bosom.
Apple-pye Bed
A bed made apple-pye fashion, like what is called a turnover apple-pye, where the sheets are so doubled as to prevent any one from getting at his length between them: a common trick played by frolicsome country lasses on their sweethearts, male relations, or visitors.
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.
Aqua Pumpaginis
Arbor Vitae
A man's penis.
Arch Dell
or ARCH DOXY, signifies the same in rank among the female canters or gypsies.
Arch Duke
A comical or eccentric fellow.
Arch Rogue
DIMBER DAMBER UPRIGHT MAN. The chief of a gang of thieves or gypsies.
Hot. CANT.
A boat or wherry. Let us take an ark and winns, let us take a sculler. CANT.
Ark Ruffians
Rogues who, in conjunction with watermen, robbed, and sometimes murdered, on the water, by picking a quarrel with the passengers in a boat, boarding it, plundering, stripping, and throwing them overboard, &c. A species of badger. CANT.
In his armour, pot valiant: to fight in armour; to make use of Mrs. Philips's ware. See C--D--M.
Arrah Now
An unmeaning expletive, frequently used by the vulgar Irish.
Ars Musica
A bum fiddlle.
To hang an arse; to hang back, to be afraid to advance. He would lend his a-e and sh-te through his ribs; a saying of any one who lends his money inconsiderately. He would lose his a-e if it was loose; said of a careless person. A-e about; turn round.
Arsy Yarsey
To fall arsy varsey, i.e. head over heels.
KING ARTHUR, A game used at sea, when near the line, or in a hot latitude. It is performed thus: A man who is to represent king Arthur, ridiculously dressed, having a large wig made out of oakum, or some old swabs, is seated on the side, or over a large vessel of water. Every person in his turn is to be ceremoniously introduced to him, and to pour a bucket of water over him, crying, hail, king Arthur! if during this ceremony the person introduced laughs or smiles (to which his majesty endeavours to excite him, by all sorts of ridiculous gesticulations), he changes place with, and then becomes, king Arthur, till relieved by some brother tar, who has as little command over his muscles as himself.
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.
Breeches; coat, waistcoat, and articles.
As Fat as a Hen in the Forehead
A saying of a meagre person.
or AX MY A-E. A common reply to any question; still deemed wit at sea, and formerly at court, under the denomination of selling bargains. See BARGAIN.
An assignation.
Athanasian Wench
or QUICUNQUE VULT. A forward girl, ready to oblige every man that shall ask her.
Mine aunt; a bawd or procuress: a title of eminence for the senior dells, who serve for instructresses, midwives, &c. for the dells. CANT. See DELLS.
A church.
Autem Bawler
A parson. CANT.
Autem Cacklers
AUTEM PRICKEARS. Dissenters of every denomination. CANT.
Autem Cackletub
A conventicle or meeting-house for dissenters. CANT.
Autem Dippers
Anabaptists. CANT.
Autem Divers
Pickpockets who practice in churches; also churchwardens and overseers of the poor. CANT.
Autem Goglers
Pretended French prophets. CANT.
Autem Mort
A married woman; also a female beggar with several children hired or borrowed to excite charity. CANT.
Autem Quaver Tub
A Quakers' meeting-house. CANT.
Autem Quavers
Avoir Du Pois Lay
Stealing brass weights off the counters of shops. CANT.
Acquainted with, knowing the business. Stow the books, the culls are awake; hide the cards, the fellows know what we intended to do.
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