Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 18th Century and Regency Thieves Cant


18th Century and Regency Thieves' Cant

Cant - A Gentleman's Guide

Check out my Canting eBook

Strictly speaking, a distinction should be made between general slang terms and terms only used by the London underworld. These distinctions are hard to make and I will leave it to the experts. Since thieves would also use general slang it is not unreasonable to regard the whole as the way thieves would have spoken.

I have divided the terms up into fairly arbitrary subject categories (see the menu on the left). I am happy to receive feedback on how this might be better done.

Cant: A Gentleman's Guide

A quick note that my book Cant: A Gentleman's Guide is available in both print and ebook format. Click on the cover image on the right for more details.

If you would like a free ebook copy for review, email me via stephen at and let me know your preferred format (MOBI or ePUB).

Source Material

I have used three sources: Collection of Canting Words from Nathan Bailey's 1737 The New Canting Dictionary and the 1811 Lexicon Balatronicum based on Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue and the glossary from the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux, published in 1819.. I have included a fuller discussion of canting sources on a separate page.

Database Search

Database Search

I have put both dictionaries into a Cant Database Search facility. This has the complete (or nearly complete) contents of both Bailey and The Lexicon but a lot of the 1811 ones will appear in the "Uncategorised" category. I am getting them categorised but it is a slow, manual process.

Listed by Category

I have also added some categorised pages. These are mostly complete for Bailey and Vaux but much of The Lexicon is still not in there. Pages are: