Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Modern Flash Dictionary

I suppose a flash dictionary, written in 1848, might be considered the urban slang of its time. In the book, Sinks of London Laid Open, an addendum includes a list of the flash spoken in the late Regency period. I'm am curious as to how long it would have taken slang, from any class of people during that time, to actually find it's way to print.

Here is a list A-B:

Academy: brothel, bagnio
Angelics: young, unmarried ladies
Anointed: knowing, ripe for mischief
Arm props: crutches
Back slums: low unfrequented parts in the metropolis
Badgers: murderers
Baggage: slut, a common prostitute
Balm: a lie
Bark: an Irishman
Barking irons: pistols
Barnacles: spectacles
Beak: a justice of the peace, a magistrate
Betty: a small picklock
Billing: the sexes humbugging one another; courting
Bingo: spirituous liquors
Black box: lawyer
Bleeder: a lie
Bobtail: a lewd woman
Bounce: to lie
Boxed: locked up
Breeze: kicking up, an exciting disturbance
Brusher: a gull glass 
Bub: guzzle, drink
Bulldogs: pistols
Buntlings: petticoats
Button: a bad shilling
Buz: pickpocket
Bye-blow: a bastard

Interesting how many phrases there were for lying!

What are some of the interesting words and phrases you've read in historical writing?

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