Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 19th Century Thieves Cant in Australia

James Hardy Vaux and Thieves' Cant in 19th century Australia

In September of the year 1800, James Hardy Vaux was sentenced to transportation for seven years. His crime was stealing a handkerchief valued by the jury at elevenpence. The amount was significant. If they had valued it just one penny higher, Vaux could have been hanged. As it was, he arrived in Sydney in December 1801 aboard the Minorca.

When the seven years were up he returned to London but was caught robbing a jeweller's shop and sentenced to death. Fortunately, his sentence was commuted to transportation for life and he ended up back in Sydney in 1810. You can find a good summary of his life at the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online.

In 1819 Vaux published his Memoirs. Of particular interest to us is the Glossary which contains 714 cant and slang terms used by the criminal underclasses.

I have arranged the glossary into subject headings as part of my general Thieves' Cant project but, given the Australian connection, it seemed worth reproducing the glossary on its own page.

19th Century Thieves' Cant in Australia
Animals : Birds
GALANEYa fowl.
Animals : Cats and Dogs
BUFFERa dog.
Animals : Horses
PRADA horse.
Animals : Sheep
Animals : Vermin
Body : Buttocks
NANCYthe posteriors
Body : Excrement
DANNAhuman, or other excrement.
Body : Eyes
LAMPSthe eyes; to have queer lamps, is to have sore or weak eyes.
Body : Face
MUGthe face ; a queer mug is an ugly face.
Body : Hair
STRUMMELthe hair of the head. To get your strummel faked in twig, is to have your hair dressed in style.
Body : Limbs
FAMthe hand.
FORKSthe two fore-fingers of the hand; to put your forks down, is to pick a pocket.
GAMSthe legs, to have queer gams, is to be bandylegged, or otherwise deformed.
MAULEYthe hand.
MITTENSthe hands.
PINSthe legs.
Body : Mouth
MUFFan epithet synonymous with mouth.
Body : Neck
SQUEEZEthe neck.
Body : Nose
CONKthe nose.
WEAR ITto wear it upon a person, (meaning to wear a nose, or a conk,) is synonymous with nosing, conking, splitting, or coming it, and is merely one of those fanciful variations so much admired by flash people.
Body : Tongue
MANCHESTERthe tongue.
Clothing : Breeches
KICKSEYSbreeches; speaking of a purse, &c., taken from the breeches pocket, they say, it was got from the kickseys, there being no cant term for the breeches pocket. To turn out a man's kickseys, means to pick the pockets of them, in which operation it is necessary to turn those pockets inside out, in order to get at the contents.
Clothing : Coats and Cloaks
CARDINALa lady's cloak.
JERVIS'S UPPER BENJAMINa box, or coachman's great coat.
TOGa coat; to tog, is to dress or put on clothes : to tog a person, is also to supply them with apparel, and they are said to be well or queerly tog'd, according to their appearance.
Clothing : Gloves and Rings
FAWNEYa finger-ring.
FAWNIED or FAWNEY-FAM'Dhaving one or more rings on the finger.
Clothing : Handkerchiefs
CLOUTa handkerchief of any kind.
FOGLEa silk-handkerchief.
KENTa coloured pocket-handkerchief of cotton or linen.
LAWNa white cambric handkerchief.
Clothing : Hats
CASTORa hat.
KELPa hat; to kelp a person, is to move your hat to him.
Clothing : Other Clothing
Clothing : Pockets
CLYa pocket.
GARRETthe fob-pocket.
HADDOCKa purse ; a haddock stuffed with beans, is a jocular term for a purse full of guineas !
HOXTERan inside coat-pocket.
PITthe bosom pocket in a coat.
ROUGH-FAM or ROUGH-FAMMYthe waistcoat pocket.
SACKa pocket; to sack any thing is to pocket it.
SALT-BOX-CLYthe outside coat pocket, with a flap.
SKINa purse, or money bag.
SLIPthe slash pocket in the skirt of a coat behind.
Clothing : Related Terms
CANT OF DOBBINa roll of riband.
DOBBINriband. See Cant.
DUDSwomen's apparel in general.
SWAGWearing-apparel, linen, piece-goods, &c., are all comprehended under the name of swag, when describing any speak lately made, &c., in order to distinguish them from plate, jewellery, or other more portable articles.
TOG'D OUT TO THE NINESa fanciful phrase, meaning simply, that a person is well or gaily dressed.
TOGS or TOGGERYwearing-apparel in general.
Clothing : Shirts, Shifts and Petticoats
FLESH-BAGa shirt.
KEMESAa shirt.
SMISHa shirt.
Clothing : Shoes and Stockings
Clothing : Wigs
JASEYa wig.
Crime : Burglary
CRACKto break open; the crack is the game of house-breaking; a crack is a breaking any house or building for the purpose of plunder.
GOODa place or person, which promises to be easily robbed, is said to be good, as, that house is good upon the crack ; this shop is good upon the star ; the swell is good for his mantra; &c. A man who declares himself good for any favour or thing, means, that he has sufficient influence, or possesses the certain means to obtain it; good as bread, or good as cheese, are merely emphatical phrases to the same effect. See Caz.
JUMPa game, or species of robbery effected by getting into a house through any of the lower windows. To jump a place, is to rob it upon the jump. A man convicted for this offence, is said to be done for a jump.
KNAPPING A JACOB FROM A DANNA-DRAGThis is a curious species of robbery, or rather borrowing without leave, for the purpose of robbery ; it signifies taking away the short ladder from a nightman's cart, while the men are gone into a house, the privy of which they are employed emptying, in order to effect an ascent to a one-pair-of-stairs window, to scale a garden-wall, &c, after which the ladder, of course, is left to rejoin its master as it
MILL A GLAZEto break a window.
MORNING-SNEAKgoing out early to rob private houses or shops by slipping in at the door unperceived, while the servant or shopman is employed in cleaning the steps, windows, &c.
SHUTTER-RACKETthe practice of robbing houses, or shops, by boring a hole in the window shutter, and taking out a pane of glass.
SNEAKThe sneak is the practice of robbing houses or shops, by slipping in unperceived, and taking whatever may lay most convenient; this is commonly the first branch of thieving, in which young boys are initiated, who, from their size and activity, appear well adapted for it. To sneak a place, is to rob it upon the sneak. A sneak is a robbery effected in the above manner. One or more prisoners having escaped from their confinement by stealth, without using any violence, or alarming their keepers, are said to have sneak'd 'em, or given it to 'em upon the sneak. See Rush.
STARThe star is a game chiefly practised by young boys, often under ten years of age, although the offence is capital. It consists of cutting a pane of glass in a shop-window, by a peculiar operation called starring the glaze, which is performed very effectually by a common penknife; the depredators then take out such articles of value as lie within reach of their arm, which if they are not interrupted, sometimes includes half the contents of the window. A person convicted of this offence is said to have been done for a star.
Crime : Cheats and Tricks
BUCKETTo bucket a person is synonymous with putting him in the well. See Well. Such treatment is said to be a bucketting concern.
DROPthe game of ring-dropping is called the drop.
DROPto give or present a person with money, as, he dropp'd me a quid, he gave me a guinea. A kid who delivers his bundle to a sharper without hesitation, or shopkeeper who is easily duped of his goods by means of a forged order or false pretence, is said to drop the swag in good twig, meaning, to part with it freely.
GARDENto put a person in the garden, in the hole, in the bucket, or in the well, are synonymous phrases, signifying to defraud him of his due share of the booty by embezzling a part of the property, or the money, it is, fenced for; this phrase also applies generally to defrauding any one with whom you are confidentially connected of what is justly his due.
HOLESee Garden.
LIFEby this term is meant the various cheats and deceptions practised by the designing part of mankind ; a person well versed in this kind of knowledge, is said to be one that knows life; in other words, that knows the world. This is what Goldsmith defines to be a knowledge of human nature on the wrong side.
PALMING-RACKETsecreting money in the palm of the hand, a game at which some are very expert.
PLAY A-CROSSWhat is commonly termed playing booty, that is, purposely losing the game, or match, in order to take in the fiats who have backed you, (see Bridge) while the sharps divide the spoil, in which you have a share. This sort of treachery extends to boxing, racing, and every other species of sport, on which bets are laid; sometimes a sham match is made for the purpose of inducing strangers to bet, which is decided in such a manner that the latter will inevitably lose. A-cross signifies generally any collusion or unfair dealing between several parties.
RINGING or RINGING-INto ring is to exchange; ringing the changes, is a fraud practised by smashers, who when they receive good money in change of a guinea, &c., ring-in one or more pieces of base with great dexterity, and then request the party to change them.
SHARPINGswindling and cheating in all their various forms, including the arts of fraud at play.
SLANGto defraud a person of any part of his due, is called slanging him ; also to cheat by false weights or measures, or other unfair means.
SLANG WEIGHTS or MEASURESunjust, or defective ones.
STINGto rob or defraud a person or place is called stinging them, as, that cove is too fly ; he has been stung before; meaning that man is upon his guard ; he has already been trick'd.
WELLto well your accomplice, or put him in the well, is explained under the word Garden, which see.
Crime : Other Crimes
AREA SNEAK or AREA SLUMthe practice of slipping unperceived down the areas of private houses, and robbing the lower apartments of plate or other articles.
BETTER-RACKETgoing about to respectable houses with a letter or statement, detailing some case of extreme distress, as shipwreck, sufferings by fire, &c. by which many benevolent, but credulous, persons, are induced to relieve the fictitious wants of the impostors, who are generally men, or women, of genteel address, and unfold a plausible tale of affliction.
BILLIARD SLUMThe mace is sometimes called giving it to 'em on the billiard slum. See Mace.
BIT-FAKINGcoining base money.
BLUE-PIGEON FLYINGthe practice of stealing lead from houses, churches, or other buildings, very prevalent in London and its vicinity.
BODY-SNATCHERa stealer of dead bodies from churchyards; which are sold to the surgeons and students in anatomy.
BUZto buz a person is to pick his pocket. The buz is the game of picking pockets in general.
CAT and KITTEN RIGthe petty game of stealing pewter quart and pint pots from public-houses.
CLOUTINGthe practice of picking pockets exclusively of handkerchiefs.
CROSS-FAMto cross-fam a person, is to pick his pocket, by crossing your arms in a particular position.
CUESee Letter Q.
DANNA-DRAGcommonly pronounced dunnickdrag. See Knap A Jacob, &c.
DRAWto dram a person, is to pick his pocket, and the act of so stealing a pocket-book, or handkerchief, is called drawing a reader, or clout. To obtain money or goods of a person by a false or plausible story, is called drawing him of so and so. To draws. kid, is to obtain his swag from him. See KID-RIG.
HIGH-TOBYthe game of highway robbery, that is, exclusively on horseback.
HOISTthe game of shop-lifting is called the hoist ; a person expert at this practice is said to be a good hoist.
KNUCKLEto pick pockets, but chiefly applied to the more refined branch of that art, namely, extracting notes, loose cash, &c., from the waistcoat or breeches pockets, whereas buzzing is used in a more general sense. See Buz.
LAGGING MATTERany species of crime for which a person is liable on conviction to be transported.
LETTER Qthe mace, or billiard-slum, is sometimes called going upon the Q, or the letter Q, alluding to an instrument used in playing billiards.
LODGING-SLUMthe practice of hiring ready-furnished lodgings, and stripping them of the plate, linen, and other valuables.
MACEto mace a shopkeeper, or give it to him upon the mace, is to obtain goods on credit, which you never mean to pay for ; to run up a score with the same intention, or to spunge upon your acquaintance, by continually begging or borrowing from them, is termed maceing, or striking the mace.
MOUNTto swear, or give evidence falsely for the sake of a gratuity. To mount for a person is also synonymous with bonnetting for him.
ORDER-RACKETobtaining goods from a shopkeeper, by means of a forged order or false pretence.
PEAR-MAKINGinlisting in various regiments, taking the bounty, and then deserting.
PRIGTo steal; to go out a-prigging, is to go a-thieving.
QSee Letter Q.
RACKETsome particular kinds of fraud and robbery are so termed, when called by their flash titles, and others Rig; as, the Letter-racket, the Order-racket; the Kid-rig ; the Cat and Kitten-rig, &c., but all these terms depend upon the fancy of the speaker. In fact, any game may be termed a rig, racket, suit, slum, &c., by prefixing thereto the particular branch of depredation or fraud in question, many examples of which occur in this work.
RAMPto rob any person or place by open violence or suddenly snatching at something and running off with it, as, I ramp'd him of his montra; why did you not ramp his castor ? &c. A man convicted of this offence, is said to have been done for a ramp. This audacious game, is called by prigs, the ramp, and is nearly similar to the Rush, which see.
RIGSee Racket.
RUSHthe rush, is nearly synonymous with the ramp ; but the latter often applies to snatching at a single article, as a silk cloak, for instance, from a milliner's shop-door ; whereas a rush may signify a forcible entry by several men into a detached dwelling-house for the purpose of robbing its owners of their money, &c. A sudden and violent effort to get into any place, or vice versa to effect your exit, as from a place of confinement, &c., is called rushing them, or giving it to 'em upon the rush.
SCAMPthe game of highway robbery is called the scamp. To scamp a person is to rob him on the highway. Done for a scamp signifies convicted of a highway robbery.
SERVEto serve a person, or place, is to rob them ; as, I serv'd him for his thimble, I rob'd him of his watch ; that crib has been served before, that shop has been already robbed, &c. To serve a man, also sometimes signifies to maim, wound, or do him some bodily hurt; and to serve him out and out, is to kill him.
SLUMSee Racket and Lodging-slum.
SMASHINGuttering counterfeit money; masking of queer screens, signifies uttering forged bank notes. To smash a guinea, note, or other money, is, in a common sense, to procure, or give, change for it.
SNUFFINGgoing into a shop on some pretence, watching an opportunity to throw a handful of snuff in the eyes of the shop-keeper, and then running off with any valuable article you can lay hands on; this is called snuffing him, or giving it to him upon the snuff racket.
SPANKto spank a glaze, is to break a pane of glass in a shop window, and make a sudden snatch at some article of value within your reach, having previously tied the shop-door with a strong cord on the outside, so as to prevent the shopman from getting out, till you have had full time to escape with your booty; to spank a place, is to rob it upon the spank ; a spank is a robbery effected by the above means.
SPICEthe spice is the game of footpad robbery ; describing an exploit of this nature ; a rogue will say, I spiced a swell of so much, naming the booty obtained. A spice is a footpad robbery.
TOBYto toby a man, is to rob him on the highway ; a person convicted of this offence, is said to be done for a toby. The toby applies exclusively to robbing on horseback; the practice of footpad robbery being properly called the spice, though it is common to distinguish the former by the title of high-toby, and the latter of low-toby.
TOW or TOWLINESee Line. To tow a person out; that is, from his premises, or post: is to decoy him there from by some fictitious story, or other artifice, while your pall seizes the opportunity of his absence, to rob the place he has imprudently quitted.
WATER-SNEAKrobbing ships or vessels on a navigable river, or canal, by getting on board unperceived, generally in the night. The water-sneak, is lately made a capital offence.
Crime : Places
FLASH-CRIB; FLASH-KEN or FLASH-PANNYa public-house resorted to chiefly by family people, the master of which is commonly an old prig, and not unfrequently an old-lag.
Crime : Related Terms
ARM-PITSTo work under the arm-pits, is to practise only such kinds of depredation, as will amount, upon conviction, to what the law terms single, or petty larceny ; the extent of punishment for which is transportation for seven years. By following this system, a thief avoids the halter, which certainly is applied above the arm-pits.
BEEFstop thief! to beef a person, is to raise a hue and cry after him, in order to get him stopped.
BESTto get your money at the best, signifies to live by dishonest or fraudulent practices, without labour or industry, according to the general acceptation of the latter word; but, certainly, no persons have more occasion to be industrious, and in a state of perpetual action than cross-cores; and experience has proved, when too late, to many of them, that honesty is the best policy; and consequently, that the above phrase is by no means a-propos.
BISHOPSee Christen.
BONNETa concealment, pretext, or pretence; an ostensible manner of accounting for what you really mean to conceal; as a man who actually lives by depredation, will still outwardly follow some honest employment, as a clerk, porter, newsman, &c. By this system of policy, he is said to have a good bonnet if he happens to get boned; and, in a doubtful case, is commonly discharged on the score of having a good character. To bonnet for a person, is to corroborate any assertion he has made, or to relate facts in the most favourable light, in order to extricate him from a dilemma, or to further any object he has in view.
BRACE UPto dispose of stolen goods by pledging them for the utmost you can get at a pawnbroker's, is termed bracing them up.
CAPsynonymous with Bonnet, which see.
CHANTan advertisement in a newspaper or handbill; also a paragraph in the newspaper describing any robbery or other recent event; any lost or stolen property, for the recovery of which, or a thief, &c., for whose apprehension a reward is held out by advertisement, are said to be chanted.
CHRISTENobliterating the name and number on the movement of a stolen watch ; or the crest, cipher, &c., on articles of plate, and getting others engraved, so as to prevent their being identified, is termed having them bishop'd or christen'd.
COMEA thief observing any article in a shop, or other situation, which he conceives may be easily purloined, will say to his accomplice, I think there is so and so to come.
COME ITto divulge a secret; to tell any thing of one party to another; they say of a thief who has turned evidence against his accomplices, that he is coming all he knows, or that he comes it as strong as a horse.
COVERto stand in such a situation as to obscure your Pall, who is committing a robbery, from the view of by-standers or persons passing, is called covering him. Any body whose dress or stature renders him particularly eligible for this purpose, is said to be a good cover.
CROSSillegal or dishonest practices in general are called the cross, in opposition to the square. See Square. Any article which has been irregularly obtained, is said to have been got upon the cross, and is emphatically termed a cross article.
CROSS-CRIBa house inhabited, or kept by family people. See Square Crib.
DOa term used by smashers ; to do a queer half-quid, or a queer screen, is to utter a counterfeit half-guinea, or a forged bank-note.
DO IT AWAYto fence or dispose of a stolen article beyond the reach of probable detection.
DO THE TRICKto accomplish any robbery, or other business successfully ; a thief who has been fortunate enough to acquire an independence, and prudent enough to tie it up in time, is said by his former associates to have done the trick ; on the other "hand, a man who has imprudently involved himself in some great misfortune, from which there is little hope of his extrication is declared by his friends, with an air of commiseration, to have done the trick for himself; that is, his ruin or downfall is nearly certain.
DOWNsometimes synonymous with awake, as, when the party you are about to rob, sees or suspects your intention, it is then said that the cove is down. A down is a suspicion, alarm, or discovery, which taking place, obliges yourself and palls to give up or desist from the business or depredation you were engaged in; to put a down upon a man, is to give information of any robbery or fraud he is about to perpetrate, so as to cause his failure or detection; to drop down to a person is to discover or be aware of his character or designs ; to put a person down to any thing, is to apprize him of, elucidate, or explain it to him ; to put a swell down, signifies to alarm or put a gentleman on his guard, when in the attempt to pick his pocket, you fail to effect it at once, and by having touched him a little too roughly, you cause him to suspect your design, and to use precautions accordingly ; or perhaps, in the act of sounding him, by being too precipitate or incautious, his suspicions may have been excited, and it is then said that you have put him put him down, or spoiled him. See Spoil It. To drop down upon yourself, is to become melancholy, or feel symptoms of remorse or compunction, on being committed to jail, cast for death, &c. To sink under misfortunes of any kind. A man who gives way to this weakness, is said to be down upon himself.
FAKE AWAY; THERE'S NO DOWNan intimation from a thief to his pall, during the commission of a robbery, or other act, meaning, go on with your operations, there is no sign of any alarm or detection.
FRISKto search; to frisk a cly, is to empty a pocket of its contents; to stand frisk, is to stand search.
GAMEevery particular branch of depredation practised by the family, is called a game; as, what game do you go upon ? One species of robbery or fraud is said to be a good game, another a queer game, &c.
HANKa spell or cessation from any work or duty, on the score of indisposition, or some other pretence.
IN ITto let another partake of any benefit or acquisition you have acquired by robbery or otherwise, is called patting him in it: a family-man who is accidentally witness to a robbery, &c., effected by one or more others, will say to the latter, Mind, I'm in it; which is generally acceded to, being the established custom; but there seems more of courtesy than right in this practice.
JACKETto jacket a person, or clap a jacket on him, is nearly synonymous with bridging him. See Bridge. But this term is more properly applied to removing a man by underhand and vile means from any birth or situation he enjoys, commonly with a view to supplant him ; therefore, when a person, is supposed to have fallen a victim to such infamous machinations, it is said to have been a jacketting concern.
JOBany concerted robbery, which is to be executed at a certain time, is spoken of by the parties as the job, or having a job to do at such a place ; and in this case as regular preparations are made, and as great debates held, as about any legal business undertaken by the industrious part of the community.
LIGHTto inform of any robbery, &c., which has been some time executed and concealed, is termed bringing the affair to light; to produce any thing to view, or to give up any stolen property for the sake of a reward, to quash a prosecution, is also called bringing it to light. A thief, urging his associates to a division of any booty they have lately made, will desire them to bring the wag to light.
LINEto get a person in a line, or in a string, it to engage them in a conversation, while your confederate is robbing their person or premises ; to banter or jest with a man by amusing him with false assurances or professions, is also termed stringing him, or getting him in tow; to keep any body in suspense on any subject without coming to a decision, is called ketping him in tow, in a string, or in a tow-line. To cut the line, or the string, is to put an end to the suspense in which you have kept any one, by telling him the plain truth, coming to a final decision, &c. A person, who has been telling another a long story, until he is tired, or conceives his auditor has been all the while secretly laughing at him, will say at last, I 've just dropped down, you've had me in a fine string, I think it's time to cut it. On the other hand, the auditor, having the same opinion on his part, would say, Come, I believe you want to string me all night, I wish you'd cut it; meaning, conclude the story at once.
LOOK AT A PLACEwhen a plan is laid for robbing a house, &c., upon the crack, or the screw, the parties will go a short time before the execution, to examine the premises, and make any necessary observations ; this is called looking at the place.
NIBBLEto pilfer trifling articles, not having spirit to touch any thing of consequence.
NO DOWNSee Fake Away, &c.
OUT OF TWIGto put yourself out of twig, is to disguise your dress and appearance, to avoid being recognised, on some particular account; a man reduced by poverty to wear a shabby dress is said by his acquaintance to be out of twig; to put any article out of twig, as a stolen coat, cloak, &c, is to alter it in such a way that it cannot be identified.
PALLa partner; companion; associate; or accomplice.
PLANTTo hide, or conceal any person or thing, is termed planting him, or it; and any thing hid is called, the plant, when alluded to in conversation ; such article is said to be in plant; the place of concealment is sometimes called the plant, as, I know of a fine plant; that is, a secure hiding-place. To spring a plant, is to find any thing that has been concealed by another. To rise the plant, is to take up and remove any thing that has been hid, whether by yourself or another. A person's money, or valuables, secreted about his house, or person, is called his plant. To plant upon a man, is to set somebody to watch his motions; also to place any thing purposely inhis way, that he may steal it and be immediately detected.
PUT UPto suggest to another, the means of committing a depredation, or effecting any other busiuess, is termed, putting him up to it.
PUT UP AFFAIRany preconcerted plan or scheme to effect a robbery, &c., undertaken at the suggestion of another person, who possessing a knowledge of the premises, is competent to advise the principal how best to proceed.
REIGNthe length or continuance of a man's career in a system of wickedness, which when he is ultimately bowled out, is said to have been a long, or a short reign, according to its duration.
ROW IN THE BOATto go snacks, or have a share in the benefit arising from any transaction to which you are privy. To let a person row with you, is to admit him to a share.
SELLto sell a man is to betray him, by giving information against him, or otherwise to injure him clandestinely for the sake of interest, nearly the same as bridging him. (See Bridge.) A man who falls a victim to any treachery of this kind, is said to have been sold like a bullock in Smithfield.
SHIFTERan alarm, or intimation, given by. a thief to his pall, signifying that there is a down, or that some one is approaching, and that he had, therefore, better desist from what he is about.
SINGLE-HANDEDrobbery by yourself, without a pall.
SLYAny business transacted, or intimation given, privately, or under the rose, is said to be done upon the sly.
SNITCHto impeach, or betray your accomplices, is termed snitching upon them. A person who becomes king's evidence on such an occasion, is said to have turned snitch; an informer, or tale-bearer, in general, is called a snitch, or a snitching rascal, in which sense snitching is synonymous with nosing, or earning it.
SOLDSee Sell.
SOUNDto sound a person, means generally to draw from him, in an artful manner, any particulars you want to be acquainted with ; as, to sound a kid, porter, &c., is to pump out of him the purport of his errand, the contents of his bundle, or load, &c., that your pall may know how to accost him, in order to draw the swag. See Draw and Kid-rig. To sound a cly, is to touch a person's pocket gently on the outside, in order to ascertain the nature of its contents.
SPEAKcommitting any robbery, is called making a speak; and if it has been productive, you are said to have made a rum speak.
SPEAK TOto speak to a person or place is to rob them, and to speak to any article, is to steal it; as, I spoke to the cove for his montra; I robb'd the gentleman of his watch. I spoke to that crib for all the wedge; I robb'd that house of all the plate. I spoke to a chest of slop ; I stole a chest of tea. A thief will say to his pall who has been attempting any robbery, " Well, did you speak? or, have you spoke.'" meaning, did you get any thing?
SPOIL ITto throw some obstacle in the way of any project or undertaking, so as to cause its failure, is termed spoiling it. In like manner, to prevent another person from succeeding in his object, either by a wilful obstruction, or by some act of imprudence on your part, subjects you to the charge of having spoiled him. Speaking of some particular species of fraud or robbery, which after a long series of success, is now become stale or impracticable from the public being guarded against it, the family will say, that game is spoiled at last. So having attempted the robbery of any particular house or shop, and by miscarrying caused such an alarm as to render a second attempt dangerous or impolitic, they will say, that place is spoil'd, it is useless to try it on any more.
SPOKE TOalluding to any person or place that has been already robbed, they say, that place, or person, has been spoke to before. A. family man on discovering that he has been robbed, will exclaim, I have been spoke to; and perhaps will add,for such a thing, naming what he has lost Spoke to upon the screw, crack, sneak, hoist, buz, &c. &c., means robbed upon either of those particular suits or games. Upon any great misfortune befalling a man, as being apprehended on a very serious charge, receiving a wound supposed to be mortal, &c., his friends will say, Poor fellow, I believe he 's spoke to, meaning it is all over with him.
STAGto turn stag was formerly synonymous with turning nose, or snitching, but the phrase is now exploded.
STALLa violent pressure in a crowd, made by pickpockets for the more easily effecting their depredatory purposes ; this is called making a rum stall in the push.
STALL UPTo stall a person up, (a term used by pickpockets,) is to surround him in a crowd, or violent pressure, and even sometimes in the open street, while walking along, and by violence force his arms up, and keep them in that position while others of the gang rifle his pockets at pleasure, the cove being unable to help or defend himself; this is what the newspapers denominate hustling, and is universally practised at the doors of public theatres, at boxing matches, ship-launches, and other places where the general anxiety of all ranks, either to push forward, or to obtain a view of the scene before them, forms a pretext for jostling, and every other advantage which the strength or numbers of one party gives them over a weaker one, or a single person. It is not unusual for the buz-coves, on particular occasions, to procure a formidable squad of stout fellows of the lower class, who, though not expert at knuckling, render essential service by violently pushing and squeezing in the crowd, and, in the confusion excited by this conduct, the unconcerned prigs reap a plentiful harvest, and the stallers up are gratified with such part of the gains acquired, as the liberality of the knuckling gentlemen may prompt them to bestow. This coup de guerre is termed making a regular stall at such a place, naming the scene of their operations. See Stall.
STINKWhen any robbery of moment has been committed, which causes much alarm, or of which much is said in the daily papers, the family people will say, there is a great stink about it. See Wanted.
SUITin general synonymous with game; as, what suit did you give it to 'em upon ? in what manner did you rob them, or upon what pretence, &c., did you defraud them ? One species of imposition is said to be a prime suit, another a queer suit: a man describing the pretext he used to obtain money from another, would say, I draw'd him of a quid upon the suit of so and so, naming the ground of his application. See Draw. A person having engaged with another on very advantageous terms to serve or work for him, will declare that he is upon a good suit. To use great submission and respect in asking any favour of another, is called giving it to him upon the humble suit.
THROUGH IT or THROUGH THE PIECEgetting acquitted on an indictment, or surmounting any other trouble, or difficulty, is called getting through it, or thro' the piece ; so, to get a man through it, &c., is to extricate him by virtue of your counsel and friendly assistance ; sometimes called pulling him through it
TRICKSee Do The Trick.
TRIGa bit of stick, paper, &c., placed by thieves in the keyhole of, or elsewhere about, the door of a house, which they suspect to be uninhabited; if the trig remains unmoved the following day, it is a proof that no person sleeps in the house, on which the gang enter it the ensuing night upon the screw, and frequently meet with a good booty, such as beds, carpets, &c., the family being probably out of town. This operation is called trigging the jigger.
TYE IT UPto tye up any particular custom, practice, or habit, is synonymous with knifeing, stowing, turning it up, or stashing it. To tye it up is a phrase, which, used emphatically, is generally understood to mean quitting a course of depredation and wickedness. See Square, and Do The Trick.
UNPALLEDa thief whose associates are all apprehended, or taken from him by other means, is said to be unpalled, and he is then obliged to work single-handehanded.
UPON THE SUIT&c. See Suit.
WANTEDwhen any of the traps or runners have a private information against a family person, and are using means to apprehend the party, they say, such a one one is wanted; and it becomes the latter, on receiving such intimation to keep out of the way, until the stink is over, or until he or she can find means to stash the business through the medium of Mr. Palmer, or by some other means.
WEEDto pilferer purloin a small portion from a large quantity of any thing; often done by young or timid depredators, in the hope of escaping detection, as, an apprentice or shopman will weed his master's lob, that is, take small sums out of the till when opportunity offers, which sort of peculation may be carried on with impunity for a length of time ; but experienced thieves sometimes think it good judgment to weed a place, in order that it may be good again, perperhaps for a considerable length of time, as in the instance of a warehouse, or other depot for goods, to which they may possess the means of access by means of a false key ; in this case, by taking too great a swag, at first, the proprietors would discover the deficiency, and take measures to prevent future depredation. To weed the swag is to embezzle part of the booty, unknown to your palls, before a division takes place, a temptation against which very few of the family are proof, if they can find an opportunity. A flash-cove, on discovering a deficiency in his purse or property, which he cannot account for, will declare that he, (or it, naming the article,) has been wedded [weeded?] to the ruffian.
WEIGH FORTYterm used by the police, who are as well versed in flash as the thieves themselves. It is often customary with the traps, to wink at depredations of a petty nature, and for which no reward would attach, and to let a thief reign unmolested till he commits a capital crime. They then grab him, and, on conviction, share (in many cases) a reward of 40l., or upwards; therefore these gentry will say, Let him alone at present, we don't want him till he weighs his weight, meaning, of course, forty pounds.
WORKTo work upon any particular game, is to practise generally, that species of fraud or depredation, as, He works upon the crack, he follows housebreaking, &c. An offender having been detected in the very fact, particularly in cases of coining, colouring base-metal, &c., is emphatically said to have been grab'd at work, meaning to imply, that the proof against him being so plain, he has no ground of defence to set up.
Crime : Thieving in General
GIVE IT TOto rob or defraud any place or person, as, I gave it to him for his reader, I robb'd him of his pocket-book. What suit did you give it them upon? In what manner, or by what means, did you effect your purpose ? Also, to impose upon a person's credulity by telling him a string of falsehoods ; or to take any unfair advantage of another's inadvertence or unsuspecting temper, on any occasion ; in either case, the party at last dropping down, that is, detecting your imposition, will say, I believe you have been giving it to me nicely all this while.
GO OUTto follow the profession of thieving; two or more persons who usually rob in company, are said to go out together.
KNAPto steal; take ; receive ; accept; according to the sense it is used in ; as, to knap a clout, is to steal a pocket-handkerchief; to knap the swag from your pall, is to take from him the property he has just stolen, for the purpose of carrying it; to knap seven or fourteen pen'worth, is to receive sentence of transportation for seven or fourteen years ; to knap the glim, is to catch the venereal disease ; in making a bargain, to knap the sum offered you, is to accept it; speaking of a woman supposed to be pregnant, it is common to say, I believe Mr. Knap is concerned, meaning that she has knap'd.
Ma KNAPSee Knap.
NAILto nail a person, is to over-reach, or take advantage of him in the course of trade or traffic ; also, to rob, or steal ; as, I nail'd him for (or of) his reader, I robbed him of his pocket-book ; I nail'd the swell's montra in the push, I picked the gentleman's pocket of his watch in the crowd, &c. A person of an overreaching, imposing disposition, is called a nail, a dead nail, a nailing rascal, a rank needle, or a needle pointer.
NEEDLE(see Nail) to needle a person, is to haggle with him in making a bargain, and, if possible, take advantage of him, though in the most trifling article.
PINCHto purloin small articles of value in the shops of jewellers, &c.., while pretending to purchase or bespeak some trinket. This game is called the pinch - I pinch'd him for a fawney, signifies I purloined a ring from him ; Did you pinch any thing in that crib ? did you succeed in secreting any thing in that shop ? This game is a branch of shoplifting; but when the hoist is spoken of, it commonly applies to stealing articles of a larger, though less valuable, kind, as pieces of muslin, or silk handkerchiefs, printed cotton, &c. See Hoist.
SHAKEto steal, or rob; as, I shook a chest of slop, I stole a chest of tea ; I've been shook of my skin, I have been robbed of my purse. A thief, whose pott has been into any place for the purpose of robbery, will »ay on his coming outt Well, is it all right, have you shook ? meaning, did you succeed in getting any thing? When two persons rob in company, it is generally the province, or part, of one to-shake, (that is, obtain she twagg), and the other to carry, (that is, bear it to a place of safety.
Death : Death
CROAKto die.
Death : Hanging
CRAPthe gallows.
SCRAGGING-POSTthe gallows.
Entertainment : Dice Games
DISPATCHESfalse dice used by gamblers, so contrived as always to throw a nick.
TATT-BOXa dice-box.
Entertainment : Gaming
BROADScards; a person expert at which is said to be a good broad-player.
CLEANED OUTsaid of a gambler who has lost his last stake at play; also, of a flat who has been stript of all his money by a coalition of sharps.
FLATSa cant name for playing-cards.
FLY THE MAGSto gamble, by tossing up halfpence.
LEVANTING or RUNNING A LEVANTan expedient practised by broken gamesters to retrieve themselves, and signifies to bet money at a race, cockmatch, &c., without a shilling in their pocket to answer the event. The punishment for this conduct in a public cockpit is rather curious ; the offender is placed in a large basket, kept on purpose, which is then hoisted up to the ceiling or roof of the building, and the party is there kept suspended, and exposed to derision during the pleasure of the company.
POST or POST THE PONEYTo stake, or lay down the money, as on laying a bet, or concluding a bargain.
SKINto strip a man of all his money at play, is termed skinning him.
TOM BRAY'S BILKlaying out ace and deuce at cribbage.
TOM BROWNtwelve in hand, or crib.
Entertainment : Related Terms
CHAUNTa song; to chaunt is to sing; to throw of a rum chaunt, is to sing a good song.
FRISKfun or mirth of any kind,
GAFFto gamble with cards, dice, &c., or to toss up.
LARKfun or sport of any kind, to create which is termed knocking up a lark.
RUMPUSa masquerade.
YARNyarning or spinning a yarn, is a favourite amusement among flash-people; signifying to relate their various adventures, exploits, and escapes to each other. This is most common and gratifying, among persons in confinement or exile, to enliven a dull hour, and probably excite a secret hope of one day enjoying a repetition of their former pleasures. See Boned. A person expert at telling these stories, is said to spin a fine yarn. A man using a great deal of rhetoric, and exerting all his art to talk another person out of any thing he is intent upon, the latter will answer, Aye, Aye, you can spin a good yarn, but it won't do; meaning, all your eloquence will not have the desired effect.
Entertainment : Sports
BULL-HANKERSmen who delight in th« sport of bull-hanking; that is, bull-baiting, or bullock-hunting, garnet which afford much amusement, and at the same time frequent opportunities of depredation, in the confusion and alarm excited by the enraged animal.
HANKa bull-bait, or bullock-hunt.
Entertainment : Tricks and Cheats
BRIDGEto bridge a person, or throw him over the bridge, is, in a general sense, to deceive him by betraying the confidence he has reposed in you, and instead of serving him faithfully, to involve him in ruin or disgrace; or, three men being concerned alike in any transaction, two of them will form a collusion to bridge the third, and engross to themselves all the advantage which may eventually accrue. Two persons having been engaged in a long and doubtful contest or rivalship, he, who by superior art or perseverance gains the point, is said to have thrown his opponent over the bridge. Among gamblers, it means deceiving the person who had back'd you, by wilfully losing the game; the money so lost by him being shared between yourself and your confederates who had laid against you. In playing threehanded games, two of the party will play into each other's hands, so that the third must inevitably be thrown over the bridge, commonly called, two poll one. See Play Across.
GRAYa half-penny, or other coin, having two heads or two tails, and fabricated for the use of gamblers, who, by such a deception, frequently win large sums.
Food and Drink : Ale, Beer and Porter
LUSHbeer or liquor of any kind.
Food and Drink : Brandy and Gin
MAXgin or hollands.
Food and Drink : Drink in General
BUBa low expression signifying drink.
Food and Drink : Drunk
FLOOR'Da person who is so drunk, as to be incapable of standing, is said to be floor'd.
LUSHto drink ; speaking of a person who is drunk, they say, Alderman Lushington is concerned, or, he has been voting for the Alderman.
LUSH or LUSHYdrunk, intoxicated.
LUSHY-COVEa drunken man.
Food and Drink : Food
BLOODY-JEMMYa sheep's head.
BULL-DOGa sugar-loaf.
BUM-CHARTERa name given to bread steeped in hot water, by the first unfortunate inhabitants of the English Bastile, where this miserable fare was their daily breakfast, each man receiving with his scanty portion of bread, a quart of boil'd water from the cook's coppers!
CAZcheese; As good as caz, is a phrase signifying that any projected fraud or robbery may be easily and certainly accomplished ; any person who is the object of such attempt, and is known to be an easy dupe, is declared to be at good at caz, meaning that success is certain.
CRACKERa small loaf, served to prisoners in jails, for their daily subsistence.
GEORGYa quartern-loaf.
GRUBvictuals of any kind ; to grub a person, is to diet him, or find him in victuals ; to grub well, is to eat with an appetite.
SANDmoist sugar.
Food and Drink : Non-alcoholic Drink
Food and Drink : Related Terms
BANDSTo wear the bands, is to be hungry, or short of food for any length of time; a phrase chiefly used on board the hulks, or in jails.
LAGto make water. To lag spirits, wine, &c., is to adulterate them with water.
Food and Drink : Tobacco
STEAMERa tobacco-pipe.
Household : Bedrooms and Chambers
DABa bed.
SHINERa looking-glass.
Household : Household Building
BACK-JUMPA back-window. See JUMP.
BACK-SLANGto enter or come out of a house by the back-door; or, to go a circuitous or private way through the streets, in order to avoid any particular place in the direct road, is termed back-slanging it.
CRIBa house, sometimes applied to shops, as, a thimblecrib, a watch-maker's shop ; stocking-crib, a hosier's, &c.
GLAZEa glass-window.
JIGGERa door.
JUMPa window on the ground-floor.
LUMBERa room.
SLUMa room.
SNOOZEto sleep; a snooze sometimes means a lodging; as, Where can I get a snooze for this darky instead of saying a bed.
Household : Jewellery, Trinkets and Watches
MONTRAa watch.
ONIONa watch-seal, a bunch of onions, is several seals worn upon one ring.
SLANGA watch chain, a chain of any kind; also a warrant, license to travel, or other official instrument.
THIMBLEa watch.
THIMBLEDhaving, or wearing a watch.
YACKa watch (obsolete.)
Household : Miscellaneous
FEEDERa spoon.
FI'PENNYa clasp-knife.
MONKEYa padlock.
SLOP-FEEDERa tea-spoon.
SMUTa copper boiler, or furnace.
SNOWclean linen from the washerwoman's hands, whether it be wet or dry, is termed snow.
STICKShousehold furniture.
YOKUFFa chest, or large box.
Household : Related Terms
DUB UPto lock up or secure any thing or place ; also to button one's pocket, coat, (fc.
SLOURto lock, 'Secure, or fasten; to slour up is also to button up; as one's coat, pocket, &c.
SLOUR'D or SLOUR'D UPlocked, fastened, buttoned, &c.
UNBETTYto unlock. See Betty.
UNDUEto unlock, unfasten, &c. See Dub up.
UNSLOURto unlock, unfasten, or unbutton. See Slour. Speaking of a person whose coat is buttoned, so as to obstruct the access to his pockets, the knucks will say to each other, the core is slour'd up, we must unslour him to get at his kickseys.
Household : Tools and Candlesticks
BACK-SLUMa back room; also the back entrance to any house or premises; thus, we'll give it 'em on the back-slum, means, we'll get in at the backdoor.
CHIVa knife ; to chiv a person is to stab or cut him with a knife.
CHURYa knife.
GLIM-STICKa candlestick.
HOGa shilling; five, ten, or more shillings, are called five, ten, or more hog.
JACOBa ladder ; a simple half-witted person.
SIR SYDNEYa clasp knife,
Men : Clever and Sly
FLYvigilant; suspicious; cunning; not easily robbed or duped; a shopkeeper or person of this description, is called a fly cove, or a leary cove ; on other occasions fly is synonymous with flash or leary, as, I'm fly to you, I was put flash to him, &c.
LEARYsynonymous with fly.
Men : Clumsy, Stupid and Foolish
FLATIn a general sense, any honest man, or square cove, in opposition to a sharp or cross-cove; when used particularly, it means the person whom you have a design to rob or defraud, who is termed the flat, or the flatty-gory. A man who does any foolish or imprudent act, is called a flat; any person who is found an easy dupe to the designs of the family, is said to be a prime fiat. It's a good flat that's never down, is a proverb among flash people ; meaning, that though a man may be repeatedly duped or taken in, he must in the end have his eyes opened to his folly.
GO-ALONGERa simple easy person, who suffers himself to be made a tool of, and is readily persuaded to any act or undertaking by his associates, who inwardly laugh at his folly, and ridicule him behind his back.
JOSKINa country-bumbkin.
MILESTONEa country booby.
MOUTHa foolish silly person; a man who does a very imprudent act, is said to be a rank mouth.
SPOONYfoolish, half-witted, nonsensical; a man who has been drinking till he becomes disgusting by his very ridiculous behaviour, is said to be spoony drunk ; and, from hence it is usual to call a very prating shallow fellow, a rank spoon.
Men : Fighters, Bullies and Cowards
FLASH-MANa favourite or fancy-man; but this term is generally applied to those dissolute characters upon the town, who subsist upon the liberality of unfortunate women; and who, in return, are generally at hand during their nocturnal perambulations, to protect them should any brawl occur, or should they be detected in robbing those whom they have picked up.
Men : Important
NIBa gentleman, or person of the higher order. People who affect gentility or consequence, without any real pretensions thereto, are from hence vulgarly called Half-nibs or Half-swells; and, indeed, persons of low minds, who conceive money to be the only criterion of gentility, are too apt to stigmatize with the before-mentioned epithets any man, who, however well-bred and educated, may be reduced to a shabby external, but still preserves a sense of decorum in his manners, and avoids associating with the vagabonds among whom he may unfortunately be doomed to exist.
SWELLa gentleman ; but any well-dressed person is emphatically termed a swell, or a rank swell. A family man who appears to have plenty of money, and makes a genteel figure, is said by his associates to be in swell street. Any thing remarkable for its beauty or elegance, is called a swell article; so a swell crib, is a genteel house; a swell mollisher, an elegantly-dressed woman, &c. Sometimes, in alluding to a particular gentleman, whose name is not requisite, he is styled, the swell, meaning the person who is the object of your discourse, or attention; and whether be is called the swell, the cove, or the gory, is immaterial, as in the following (in addition to many other) examples: I was turned up at China-street, because the swell would not appear; meaning, of course, the prosecutor : again, speaking of a person whom you were on the point of robbing, but who has taken the alarm, and is therefore on his guard, you will say to your pall, It's of no use, the cove is as down as a hammer ; or, We may as well stow it, the gory's leary. See Cove and Down.
Men : Insult/Negative Description
CARRY THE KEGa man who is easily vexed or put out of humour by any joke passed upon him, and cannot conceal his chagrin, is said to carry the keg, or is compared to a walking distiller.
NEEDY-MIZZLERa poor ragged object of either sex ; a shabby-looking person.
SCOTa person of an irritable temper, who is easily put in a passion, which is often done by the company he is with, to create fun; such a one is declared to be a fine scot. This diversion is called getting him out, or getting him round the corner, from these terms being used by bull-hankers, with whom also a scot is a bullock of a particular breed, which affords superior diversion when hunted.
SCOTTISHfiery, irritable, easily provoked.
Men : Lovers and Lechers
PENSIONERa mean-spirited fellow who lives with a woman of the town, and suffers her to maintain him in idleness in the character of her fancy-man.
Men : Men in General
COVEthe master of a house or shop, is called the Cove; on other occasions, when joined to particular words, as a cross-cove, a flask-cove, a leary-cove, &c., it simply implies a man of those several descriptions; sometimes, in speaking of any third person, whose name you are either ignorant of, or don't wish'to mention, the word cove is adopted by way of emphasis, as may be seen under the word Awake.
GILLa word used by way of variation, similar to cove, gloak, or gory; but generally coupled to some other descriptive term, as a flash-gill, a toby-gill, &c.
GLOAKsynonymous with Gill, which see.
GORYa term synonymous with cow, gill, or gloak, and like them, commonly used in the descriptive. See Flat and Swell.
Men : Poor and Ragged
BUSHY-PARKa man who is poor is said to be at Bushy park, or in the park.
PARKSee Bushy-park.
RAG-GORGYa rich or monied man, but generally used in conversation when a particular gentleman, or person high in office, is hinted at; instead of mentioning his name, they say, the Rag-gorgy, knowing themselves to be understood by those they are addressing. See Cove, and Swell.
Men : Praise/Positive Description
BANG-UPA person, whose dress or equipage is in the first style of perfection, is declared to be bang up to the mark. A man who has behaved with extraordinary spirit and resolution in any enterprise he has been engaged in, is also said to have come bang up to the mark; any article which is remarkably good or elegant, or any fashion, act, or measure which is carried to the highest pitch, is likewise illustrated by the same emphatical phrase.
BOUNCEa person well or fashionably drest, is said to be a rank bounce.
OUT-AND-OUTERa person of a resolute determined spirit, who pursues his object without regard to danger or difficulties; also an incorrigible depredator, who will rob friend or stranger indiscriminately, being possessed of neither honour nor principle.
SQUAREall fair, upright, and honest practices, are called the square, in opposition to the cross. Any thing you have bought, or acquired honestly, is termed a square article; and any transaction which is fairly and equitably conducted, is said to be a square concern. A tradesman or other person who is considered by the world to be an honest man, and who is unacquainted with family people, and their system of operations, is by the latter emphatically styled a square cove, whereas an old thief who has acquired an independence, and now confines himself to square practices, is still called by his old palls a flash cove, who has tyed up prigging. See Cross and Flat. In making a bargain or contract, any overture considered to be really fair and reasonable, is declared to be a square thing, or to be upon the square. To be upon the square with any person, is to have mutually settled all accompts between you both up to that moment. To threaten another that you will be upon the square with him some time, signifies that you'll be even with him for some supposed injury, &c.
STAUNCHa resolute faithful associate, in whom one may place implicit confidence, is said by his palls to be a staunch cove.
Men : Related Terms
CHUMa fellow prisoner in a jail, hulk, &c.; so there are new chums and old chums, as they happen to have been a short or a long time in confinement.
FLASHa person who affects any peculiar habit, as swearing, dressing in a particular manner, taking snuff, &c., merely to be taken notice of, is said to do it out of flash.
HALF-FLASH AND HALF-FOOLISHthis character is applied sarcastically to a person, who has a smattering of the cant language, and having associated a little with family people, pretends to a knowledge of life which he really does not possess, and by this conduct becomes an object of ridicule among his acquaintance.
Misc : Clubs and Societies
RUSSIAN COFFEE-HOUSEa name given by some punster of the family, to the Brown Bear public-house in Bow-street, Covent-garden.
Misc : Documents
CHANTa cipher, initials, or mark of any kind, on a piece of plate, linen, or other article; any thing so marked is said to be chanted.
SCREEVEa letter, or written paper.
Misc : Happy and Sad
NUTS UPON ITto be very much pleased or gratified with any object, adventure, or overture; so a person who conceives a strong inclination for another of the opposite sex, is said to be quite nutty, or nuts upon him or her.
NUTS UPON YOURSELFa man who is much gratified with any bargain he has made, narrow escape he has had, or other event in which he is interested, will express his self-satisfaction or gladness by declaring that he is, or was, quite nuts upon himself.
Misc : Houses and Shops
CABINa house.
CHANDLER-KENa chandler's shop.
DORSEa lodging ; to dorse with a woman, signifies to sleep with her.
KENa house ; often joined to other descriptive terms, as, flash-ken, a bawdy-ken, &c.
LUSH-CRIB or LUSH-KENa public-house, or gin-shop.
PANNYa house.
SPELLthe play-house.
SQUARE-CRIBa respectable house, of good repute, whose inmates, their mode of life and connexions, are all perfectly on the square. See Cross-crib.
Misc : Lies
GAMMONflattery; deceit; pretence; plausible language ; any assertion which is not strictly true. or professions believed to be insincere, as, I believe you're gammoning, or, that's all gammon, meaning, you are no doubt jesting with me, or, that's all a farce. To gammon a person, is to amuse him with false assurances, to praise, or flatter him, in order to obtain some particular end ; to gammon a man to any act, is to persuade him to it by artful language, or pretence; to gammon a shopkeeper, &c., is to engage his attention to your discourse, while your accomplice is executing some preconcerted plan of depredation upon his property ; a thief detected in a house which he has entered, upon the sneak, for the purpose of robbing it, will endeavour by some gammoning story to account for his intrusion, and to get off with a good grace; a man who is, ready at invention, and has always a flow of plausible language on these occasions, is said to be a prime gammoner ; to gammon kishy or queer, is to pretend drunkenness, or sickness, for some private end.
WRINKLEto lie, or utter a falsehood.
WRINKLEan untruth.
WRINKLERa person prone to lying; such a character is called also a gully, which is probably an abbreviation of Gulliver, and from hence, to gully signifies to lie, or deal in the marvellous.
Misc : Miscellaneous
JUDGEMENTprudence ; economy in acting ; abilities, (the result of long experience,) for executing the most intricate and hazardous projects ; any thing accomplished in a masterly manner, is, therefore, said to have been done with judgement; on concerting or planning any operations, one party will say, I think it would be judgement to do so and so, meaning expedient to do it.
Misc : Miscellaneous Adjectives
BENDERan ironical word used in conversation by flash people ; as where one party affirms or professes any thing which the other believes to be false or insincere, the latter expresses his incredulity by exclaiming bender! or, if one asks another to do any act which the latter considers unreasonable or impracticable, he replies, O yes, I'll do it - bender ; meaning, by the addition of the last word, that, in fact, he will do no such thing.
MYNABSme, myself.
OUT-AND-OUTquite; completely; effectually. See Serve and Fake.
PLUMMYRight; very good; as it should be; expressing your approbation of any act, or event, you will say, That's plummy, or It's all plummy; meaning it is all right.
PRIMEIn a general sense, synonymous with plummy; any thing very good of its kind, is called a prime article. Any thing executed in a stylish or masterly manner, is said to be done in prime twig. See Fakement, and Gammon The Twelve.
QUEERbad; counterfeit; false; unwell in health.
ROCK'Dsuperannuated, forgetful, absent in mind ; old lags are commonly said to be thus affected, probably caused by the sufferings they have undergone.
RUMgood, in opposition to queer.
SHOOKsynonymous with rock'd.
SNIVan expression synonymous with bender, and used in the same manner.
TATS AND ALLan expression used out of flash, in the same manner as the word bender; and has a similar meaning.
TO THE NINES or TO THE RUFFIANThese terms are synonymous, and imply an extreme of any kind, or the superlative degree.
WALKERan ironical expression, synonymous with bender, and used in the same manner.
YELLOWjealous; a jealous husband is called a yellow gloak.
Misc : Miscellaneous Terms
AWAKEan expression used on many occasions; as a thief will say to his accomplice, on perceiving the person they are about to rob is aware of their intention, and upon his guard, state it, the cove's awake. To be awake to any scheme, deception, or design, means, generally, to see through or comprehend it.
BAD HALFPENNYWhen a man has been upon any errand, or attempting any object which has proved unsuccessful or impracticable, he will say on his return, It's a bad halfpenny ; meaning he has returned as he went.
BREAKING UP OF THE SPELLthe nightly termination of performance at the Theatres Royal, which is regularly attended by pickpockets of the lower order, who exercise their vocation about the doors and avenues leading thereto, until the house is emptied and the crowd dispersed.
BUSTLEany object effected very suddenly, or in a hurry, is said to be done upon the bustle. To give it to a man upon the bustle, is to obtain any point, as borrowing money, &c., by some sudden story or pretence, and affecting great haste, so that he is taken by surprise, and becomes duped before he has time to consider of the matter.
COME TO THE MARKto abide strictly by any contract previously made ; to perform your part manfully in any exploit or enterprise you engage in; or to offer me what I consider a fair price for any article in question.
CRAB 'Daffronted; out of humour; sometimes called, being in Crab-street.
DICKY or DICK IN THE GREENvery bad or paltry ; any thing of an inferior quality, is said to be a dicky concern.
DINGABLEany thing considered worthless, or which you can well spare, having no further occasion for it, is declared to be dingable. This phrase is often applied by sharps to a fiat whom they have cleaned out; and by abandoned women to a keeper, who having spent his all upon them, must be discarded, or ding'd as soon as possible.
DO IT UPto accomplish any object you have in view ; to obtain any thing you were in quest of, is called doing it up for such a thing ; a person who contrives by nob-work, or ingenuity, to live an easy life, and appears to improve daily in circumstances, is said to do it up in good twig.
DOLLOPa dollop is a large quantity of any thing ; the whole dollop means the total quantity.
DOWN AS A HAMMER, DOWN AS A TRIPPETThese are merely emphatical phrases, used out of flash, to signify being down, leary,fly, or awake to any matter, meaning, or design.
DRIZlace, as sold on cards by the haberdashers, &c.
DRUMMONDany scheme or project considered to be infallible, or any event which is deemed inevitably certain, is declared to be a Drummond; meaning, it is as sure as the credit of that respectable banking-house, Drummond and Co.
FANCYany article universally admired for its beauty, or which the owner sets particular store by, is termed a fancy article ; as, A fancy clout, is a favourite handkerchief, &c. ; so a woman who is the particular favourite of any man, is termed his fancy woman, and vice versa.
FLAT-MOVEAny attempt or project that miscarries, or any act of folly or mismanagement in human affairs is said to be a flat move.
GUNa view; look; observation; or taking notice ; as, there is a strong gun at us, means, we are strictly observed. To gun any thing, is to look at or examine it.
HAMMERISHdown as a hammer.
HANKto have a person at a good hank, is to have made any contract with him very advantageous to yourself; or to be able from some prior cause to command or use him just as you please ; to have the benefit of his purse or other services, in fact, upon your own terms.
HIS-NABShim, or himself; a term used by way of emphasis, when speaking of a third person.
LEATHER-LANEany thing paltry, or of a bad quality, is called a Leather-lane concern.
LILLa pocket-book.
MOVEany action or operation in life; the secret spring by which any project is conducted, as, There is move in that business which you are not down to. To be flash to every move upon the board, is to have a general knowledge of the world, and all its numerous deceptions.
NIX or NIX MY DOLLnothing.
OLIVERthe moon.
OLIVER IS IN TOWNa phrase signifying that the nights are moonlight, and consequently unfavourable to depredation.
OLIVER WHIDDLESthe moon shines.
OLIVER'S UPthe moon has risen.
ONE UPON YOUR TAWa person who takes offence at the conduct of another, or conceives himself injured by the latter, will say, never mind, I'll be one upon your taw ; or, I'll be a marble on your taw; meaning, I'll be even with you some time.
PIT-MANa pocket-book worn in the bosom-pocket.
POUND ITTo ensure or make a certainty of any thing; thus, a man will say, I 'll pound it to be so ; taken, probably from the custom of laying, or rather offering ten pounds to a crown at a cock-match, in which case, if no person takes this extravagant odds, the battle is at an end. This is termed pounding a cock.
POUNDABLEAny event which is considered certain or inevitable, is declared to be poundable, as the issue of a game, the success of a bet, &c.
PULLAn important advantage possessed by one party over another; as in gaming, you may by some slight, unknown to your adversary, or by a knowledge of the cards, &c., have the odds of winning considerably on your side; you are then said to have a great pull. To have the power of injuring a person, by the knowledge of any thing erroneous in his conduct, which leaves his character or personal safety at your mercy, is also termed having a pull upon him, that is (to use a vulgar phrase) that you have him under your thumb. A person speaking of any intricate affair, or feat of ingenuity, which he cannot comprehend, will say, There is some pull at the bottom of it, that I 'm not fly to.
PUSHa crowd or concourse of people, either in the streets, or at any public place of amusement, &c., when any particular scene of crowding is alluded to, they say, the push, as the push, at the spell doors ; the push at the stooping-match, &c.
RANKcomplete; absolute, downright, an emphatical manner of describing persons or characters, as a rank nose, a rank swell, &c. &c.
RUGGINS'Sto go to bed, is called going to Ruggins's.
SCHOOLa party of persons met together for the purpose of gambling.
STASHTo stash any practice, habit, or proceeding, signifies to put an end to, relinquish, or quash the same ; thus, a thief determined to leave off his vicious courses will declare that he means to stash (or stow) prigging. A man in custody for felony, will endeavour, by offering money, or other means, to induce his prosecutor's forbearance, and compromise the matter, so as to obtain his liberation ; this is called stashing the business. To stash drinking, card-playing, or any other employment you may be engaged in, for the time present, signifies to stow it, knife it, cheese it, or cut it, which are all synonymous, that is, to desist or leave off. See Wanted.
STRETCHFive or ten stretch, signifies five or ten yards, &c.; so in dealing for any article, as linen, &c., I will give you three hog a stretch, means, I'll give three shillings a yard. See Hog.
SWAGa bundle, parcel, or package ; as a swag of snow, &c. The swag, is a term used in speaking of any booty you have lately obtained, be it of what kind it may, except money, as Where did you lumber the swag? that is, where did you deposit the stolen property ? To carry the swag is to be the bearer of the stolen goods to a place of safety. A swag of any thing, signifies emphatically a great deal. To have knap'd a good swag, is to have got a good booty.
TINNYa fire; a conflagration.
TURNIPSto give any body turnips signifies to turn him or her up, and the party so turned up, is said to have knap'd turnips.
WACKto sharp or divide any thing equally, as wack the blunt, divide the money, &c.
WACKa share or equal proportion as give me my wack, that is, my due part.
YORKa look, or observation; a flash-cove observing another person (a flat) who appears to notice or scrutinize him, his proceedings, or the company he is with, will say to his palls, That cove is yorking as strong as a horse, or, There is York-street concerned.
YOURNABSyourself; an emphatical term used in speaking to another person.
Misc : Time
Misc : Weather
JERRYa fog or mist.
Money : Coinage
BEANa guinea.
BENDERa sixpence.
BOB or BOBSTICKa shilling.
BRADShalfpence; also, money in general.
BULLa crown, or five shillings.
COACH-WHEELa dollar or crown-piece.
CROOKa sixpence.
DUCETwopence is called a duce.
FADGEa farthing.
GROCERYhalf-pence, or copper coin, in a collective sense.
HALF A BEAN, HALF A QUIDhalf-a-guinea.
HALF A BULLhalf-a-crown.
JOGUEa shilling; five jogue is five shillings, and so on, to any other number.
KICKa sixpence, when speaking of compound sums only, as, three and a kick, is three and sixpence, &c,
MAGa halfpenny.
QUIDa guinea.
SCREENa bank-note.
SPANGLEa seven-shilling piece.
TANNERa sixpence. Three and a tanner, is three and sixpence, &c.
TILBURYa sixpence.
Money : General Terms for Money
BITmoney in general.
BUSTLEa cant term for money.
DUESThis term is sometimes used to express money, where any certain sum or payment is spoken of; a man asking for money due to him for any service done, or a blowen requiring her previous compliment from a familyman, would say, Come, tip us the dues. So a thief, requiring his share of booty frem his palls, will desire them to bring the dues to light.
DUESThis word is often introduced by the lovers of flash on many occasions, but merely out of fancy, and can only be understood from the context of their discourse ; like many other cant terms, it is not easily explained on paper: for example, speaking of a man likely to go to jail, one will say, there will be quodding dues concerned, of a man likely to be executed ; there will be topping dues, if any thing is alluded to that will require a fee or bribe, there must be tipping dues, or palming dues concerned, &c.
RIBBANDmoney in general.
STAKEa booty acquired by robbery, or a sum of money won at play, is called a stake, and if considerable, a prime stake, or a heavy stake. A person alluding to any thing difficult to be procured, or which he obtains as a great favour, and is therefore comparatively invaluable, would say, I consider it a stake to get it at all; a valuable or acceptable acquisition of any kind, is emphatically called a stake, meaning a great prize.
WEEDING DUESspeaking of any person, place, or property, that has been weeded, it is said weeding dues have been concerned. See Dues.
Money : Good Money and Bad
BROWNS and WHISTLERSbad halfpence and farthings ; (a term used by coiners.)
QUEER or QUEER-BITbase money.
QUEER SCREENSforged Bank-notes.
SHANcounterfeit money in general.
WHISTLERSSee Browns And Whistlers.
Money : Other Money Terms
LOBa till, or money-drawer. To have made a good lob, is synonymous with making a good speak.
LUMBERto lumber any property, is to deposit it at a pawnbroker's, or elsewhere for present security; to retire to any house or private place, for a short time, is called lumbering yourself. A man apprehended, and sent to gaol, is said to be lumbered, to be in lumber, or to be in Lombard-street.
READERa pocket-book.
SPOUTto pledge any property at a pawnbroker's is termed spouting it, or shoving it up the spout.
Money : Pecuniary Status
BREECH'Dflush of money.
BUSH'Dpoor; without money.
IN TOWNflush of money ; breeched.
SEEDYpoor, ragged in appearance, shabby.
STAINESa man who is in pecuniary distress is said to be at Staines, or at the Bush, alluding to the Bush inn at that town. See Bush'd.
UP IN THE STIRRUPSa man who is in swell street. that is, having plenty of money, is said to be up in the stirrups.
Money : Related Terms
COME TO THE HEATHa phrase signifying to pay or give money, and synonymous with Tipping, from which word it takes its rise, there being a place called Tiptree Heath, I believe, in the County of Essex.
SLANGING-DUESwhen a man suspects that he has been curtailed, or cheated, of any portion of his just right, he will say, there has been slanging-dves concerned.
Money : Silver and Gold
RIDGEgold, whether in coin or any other shape, as a ridge-montra, a gold watch; a cly-full of ridge, a pocket full of gold.
WEDGEsilver; as a wedge-feeder, a silver-spoon, &c.; but silver coin, as well as silver plate, are both comprehended under the name of wedge. See Ridge, anand Speak To.
Money : Special Payments
GARNISHa small sum of money exacted from a new chum on his entering a jail, by his fellow-prisoners, which affords them a treat of beer, gin, &c.
Mr PALMERSee Palm.
PALMto bribe, or give money, for the attainment of any object or indulgence; and it is then said that the party who receives it is palmed, or that Mr. Palmer it concerned.
REGULARSone's due share of a booty, &c. on a division taking place. Give me my regulars, that is, give me my dividend.
Occupations : Bailiffs, Beadles and Constables
BUM-TRAPa sheriff's officer or his follower.
CHARLEYa watchman.
HORNEYa constable.
PIGS or GRUNTERSpolice runners.
QUOD-COVEthe keeper of a gaol.
ROLLERShorse and foot patrole, who parade the roads round about London during the night, for the prevention of robberies.
SCOUTa watchman.
TRAPSpolice officers, or runners, are properly so called ; but it is common to include constables of any description under this title.
Occupations : Coachmen and Waggoners
DRAG-COVEthe driver of a cart.
JACK-BOYa postillion.
JERVISa coachman.
VARDO-GILLa waggoner.
Occupations : Doctors and Midwives
FINGER-SMITHa midwife.
Occupations : Inn-keepers and Vintners
FLASH-COVE or COVESSthe landlord or landlady of a flash-ken.
Occupations : Judges and Law-enforcers
BEAKa magistrate ; the late Sir John Fielding, of police memory, was known among family people by the title of the blind beak.
DUB-COVE or DUBSMANa turnkey.
Occupations : Other Occupations
DEATH-HUNTERan undertaker.
DUB AT A KNAPPING-JIGGERa collector of tolls at a turnpike-gate.
FIBBING-GLOAKa pugilist.
FLUE-FAKERa chimney-sweeper.
LAGGERa sailor.
MILLING-COVEa pugilist.
NULLING-COVEa pugilist.
RESURRECTION-COVEa stealer of dead bodies.
Occupations : Related Terms
CHARLEY-KENa watch-box.
SCOUT-KENa watch-house.
Occupations : Servants
SLAVEYa servant of either sex.
Occupations : Soldiers
GALLOOTa soldier.
SWODDY or SWOD-GILLa soldier.
People : People of Various Types
YOUKELLa countryman, or clown.
Places : Places
CHINA STREETa cant name for Bow Street, Covent Garden.
GAFFa country fair; also a meeting of gamblers for the purpose of play ; any public place of amusement is liable to be called the gaff, when spoken of in flash company who know to what it alludes.
MONKERYthe country parts of England are called The Monkery.
Places : Travel
PETERa parcel or bundle, whether large or small; but most properly it signifies a trunk or box.
POGUEA bag, (probably a corruption of poke.)
Punishment : Fetters
SLANGSfetters, or chains of any kind used about prisoners; body-slangs are body-irons used on some occasions.
Punishment : Pillory
STOOPthe pillory is called the stoop ; to be stoop'd, is to be set on the pillory.
STOOPING-MATCHthe exhibition of one or more persons on the pillory. See Push.
Punishment : Prisons and Imprisonment
BASTILEgenerally called, for shortness, the Steel; a cant name for the House of Correction, Cold-BathFields, London.
PITCHERNewgate in London is called by various names, as the pitcher, the stone pitcher, the start, and the stone jug, according to the humour of the speaker.
QUODa gaol. To quod a person is to send him to gaol. In quod, is in gaol.
SALT-BOXESthe condemned cells in Newgate are so called.
STARTSee Pitcher.
Punishment : Related Terms
BONEDtaken in custody, apprehended; Tell us how you was boned, signifies, tell us the story of your apprehension; a common request among fellow-prisoners in a jail, &c., which is readily complied with in general; and the various circumstances therein related afford present amusement, and also useful hints for regulating their future operations, so as to avoid the like misfortune.
BOWLED OUTa man who has followed the profession of thieving for some time, when he is ultimately taken, tried, and convicted, is said to be bowled out at last. To bowl a person out, in a general sense, means to detect him in the commission of any fraud or peculation, which he has hitherto practised without discovery.
DONEconvicted ; as, he was done for a crack, he was convicted of house-breaking.
DRAKEDducked; a discipline sometimes inflicted on pickpockets at fairs, races, &c.
GAMMON THE TWELVEa man who has been tried by a criminal court, and by a plausible defence, has induced the jury to acquit him, or to banish the capital part of the charge, and so save his life, is said, by his associates to have gammoned the twelve in prime twig, alluding to the number of jurymen.
GRABto seize; apprehend; take in custody; to make a grab at any thing, is to snatch suddenly, as at a gentleman's watch-chain, &c.
GRAB'Dtaken, apprehended.
HOBBLEDtaken up, or in custody; to hobble a plant, is to spring it. See Plant.
Mr PULLENSee Pull or Pull Up.
NIBB'Dtaken in custody.
PATTER'Dtried in a court of justice; a man who has undergone this ordeal, is said to have stood the patter.
PULL or PULL UPto accost; stop; apprehend ; or take iato custody; as to pull up a Jack, is to stop a post-chaise on the highway. To pull a man, or have him pulled, is to cause his apprehension for some offence; and it is then said, that Mr. Pullen is concerned.
PULLED, PULLED UP or IN PULLTaken in custody; in confinement.
SCURF'Dtaken in custody.
TURNED UPa person acquitted by a jury, or discharged by a magistrate for want of evidence, &c., is said to be turned up. See Swell.
Punishment : Transportation
LAGto transport for seven years or upwards.
LAGa convict under sentence of transportation.
LAG SHIPa transport chartered by Government for the conveyance of convicts to New South Wales ; also, a hulk, or floating prison, in which, to the disgrace of humanity, many hundreds of these unhappy persons are confined, and suffer every complication of human misery.
LAGGING-DUESspeaking of a person likely to be transported, they say lagging dues will be concerned.
OLD LAGa man or woman who has been transported, is so called on returning home, by those who are acquainted with the secret. See Lag.
WINDa man transported for his natural life, is said to be lag'd for his wind, or to have knap'd a winder, or a bellowser, according to the humour of the speaker.
Punishment : Whipping
PUZZLING-STICKSthe triangles to which culprits are tied up, for the purpose of undergoing flagellation.
RUMP'Dflogged or scourged.
TATto flog or scourge.
TEAZEto flog, or whip.
Religion : Children
KIDa child of either sex, but particularly applied to a boy who commences thief at an early age ; and when by his dexterity he has become famous, he is called by his acquaintances the kid so and so, mentioning his sirname.
KINCHENa young lad.
TODDLERan infirm elderly person, or a child not yet perfect in walking.
Religion : Marriage
Religion : Religion
KIRKa church or chapel.
Rogues : Beggars
CADGEto beg. The cadge is the game or profession of begging.
CADGE-GLOAKa beggar.
Rogues : Cheats and Sharpers
DROP-COVEa sharp who practises the game of ring-dropping.
MACE-GLOAKa man who lives upon the mace.
NOB-PITCHERSa general term for those sharpers who attend at fairs, races, &c., to take in the flats at prick in the garter, cups and balls, and other similar artifices.
SHARPa gambler, or person, professed in all the arts of play; a cheat, or swindler; any cross-cove, in general, is called a sharp, in opposition to a flat, or square-cove ; but this is only in a comparative sense in the course of conversation.
Rogues : Counterfeiters and Coiners
BIT-FAKERa coiner. See Fake.
FAKEMAN-CHARLEY; FAKEMENTAs to fake signifies to do any act, or make any thing, so the fakement means the act or thing alluded to, and on which your discourse turns ; consequently, any stranger unacquainted with your subject will not comprehend what is meant by the fakement; for instance, having recently been concerned with another in some robbery, and immediately separated, the latter taking the booty with him, on your next meeting you will inquire, what he has done with the fakement? meaning the article stolen, whether it was a pocket-book, piece of linen, or what not. Speaking of any stolen property which has a private mark, one will say, there is a fakeman-charley on it; a forgery which is well executed, is said to be a prime fakement; in a word, any thing is liable to be termed a fakement, or a fakeman-charley, provided the person you address knows to what you allude.
SMASHERa man or woman who follows the game of smashing.
Rogues : Cutpurses and Pickpockets
BUZ-COVE or BUZ-GLOAKa pickpocket; a person who is clever at this practice, is said to be a good buz.
CLY-FAKERa pickpocket.
DUMMY-HUNTERSthieves who confine themselves to the practice of stealing gentlemen's pocketbooks, and think, or profess to think, it paltry to touch a clout, or other insignificant article ; this class of depredators traverse the principal streets of London, during the busy hours, and sometimes meet with valuable prizes.
KNUCK; KNUCKLER or KNUCKL1NG-COVEa pickpocket, or person professed in the knuckling art.
READER-HUNTERSSee Dummy-hunters.
TOPto top a clout or other article (among pickpockets) is to draw the corner or end of it to the top of a person's pocket, in readiness for shaking or drawing, that is, taking out, when a favourable moment occurs, which latter operation is frequently done by a second person.
UNTHIMBLEto unthimble a man, is to rob, or otherwise deprive him of his watch.
UNTHIMBLEDhaving been divested of one's watch.
Rogues : Gypsies and Pirates
ROMANYa gypsy; to patter romany, is to talk the gypsy flash.
Rogues : Highwaymen and Footpads
HIGH-TOBY-GLOAKa highwayman.
SCAMP or SCAMPSMANa highwayman.
SPICE GLOAKa footpad robber.
TOBY-GILL or TOBY-MANproperly signifies a highwayman.
Rogues : Housebreakers
CRACKSMANa house-breaker.
SCREWSMANa thief who goes out a screwing.
Rogues : Other Specialists
CROSS-COVE or CROSS-MOLLISHERa man or woman who lives upon the cross.
DRAGSMANa thief who follows the game of dragging.
KID-RIGmeeting a child in the streets who is going on some errand, and by a false, but well fabricated story, obtaining any parcel or goods it may be carrying ; this game is practised by two persons, who have each their respective parts to play, and even porters and other grown persons are sometimes defrauded of their load by this artifice. To kid a person out of any thing, is to obtain it from him by means of a false pretence, as that you were sent by a third person, &c.; such impositions are all generally termed the kid-rig.
MILL-DOLLan obsolete name for Bridewell house of correction, in Bridge-street, Blackfriars, London.
PETER-HUNTINGtraversing the streets or roads for the purpose of cutting away trunks, &c., from travelling carriages; persons who follow this game, are from thence called peter-hunters, whereas the drag more properly applies to robbing carts or waggons.
PINCH-GLOAKa man who works upon the pinch.
PUTTER UPthe projector or planner of a put-up affair, as a servant in a gentleman's family, who proposes to a gang of housebreakers the robbery of his master's house, and informs them where the plate, &c., is deposited, (instances of which are frequent in London) is termed the putter up, and usually shares equally in the booty with the parties executing, although the former may lie dormant, and take no part in the actual commission of the fact.
RINGING CASTORSsignifies frequenting churches and other public assemblies, for the purpose of changing hats, by taking away a good, and leaving a shabby one in its place ; a petty game now seldom practised.
SNEAKSMANa man or boy who goes upon the sneak.
TINNY-HUNTERSpersons whose practice it is to attend fires, for the purpose of plundering the unfortunate sufferers, Under pretence of assisting them to remove their property.
Rogues : Other Terms
KIDDYa thief of the lower order, who, when he is breeched, by a course of successful depredation, dresses in the extreme of vulgar gentility, and affects a knowingness in his air and conversation, which renders him in reality an object of ridicule ; such a one is pronounced by his associates of the same class, a flash-kiddy, or a rolling-kiddy. My kiddy is a familiar term used by these gentry in addressing each other.
Rogues : Perjurers
MOUNTERa man who lives by mounting, or perjury, who is always ready for a guinea or two to swear whatever is proposed to him.
Rogues : Receivers
FENCEa receiver of stolen goods ; to fence any property, is to sell it to a receiver or other person.
Rogues : Related Terms
BLOW THE GAFFa person having any secret in his possession, or a knowledge of any thing injurious to another, when at last induced from revenge, or other motive, to tell it openly to the world and expose him publicly, is then said to have blown the gaff upon him.
CONKa thief who impeaches his accomplices ; a spy ; informer, or tell-tale. See Nose, and Wear It.
DUMMYa pocket-book ; a silly half-witted person.
NOSEa thief who becomes an evidence against his accomplices; also, a person who seeing one or more suspicious characters in the streets, makes a point of watching them in order to frustrate any attempt they may make, or to cause their apprehension; also, a spy or informer of any description.
QUEER-BAILPersons of no repute, hired to bail a prisoner in any bailable case ; these men are to be had in London for a trifling sum, and are called Broomsticks.
SPLITto split upon a person, or turn split, is synonymous with nosing, snitching, or turning nose. To split signifies generally to tell of any thing you hear, or see transacted.
Rogues : Rogues in General
FAMILYthieves, sharpers and all others who get their living upon the cross, are comprehended under the title of "The family."
FAMILY-MAN or WOMANany person known or recognised as belonging to the family ; all such are termed family people.
FILEa person who has had a long course of experience in the arts of fraud, so as to have become an adept, is termed an old file upon the town ; so it is usual to say of a man who is extremely cunning, and not to be over-reached, that he is a deep file. File, in the old version of cant, signified a pickpocket, but the term is now obsolete.
FLASH-MOLLISHERa family-woman.
JUDGEa family-man, whose talents and experience have rendered him a complete adept in his profession, and who acts witha systematic prudence on all occasions, is allowed to be, and called by his friends, a fine judge.
NIBBLERa pilferer or petty thief.
PRIGA thief.
Rogues : Tools of the Trade
BETTYa picklock; to unbetty, or betty a lock, is to open or relock it, by means of the betty, so as to avoid subsequent detection.
DARKYa dark lanthorn.
DUBa key.
FOSS or PHOSa phosphorus bottle used by cracksmen to obtain a light.
GLIMa candle, or other light.
JEMMY or JAMESan iron-crow.
PETER-HUNTING-JEMMYa small iron crow, particularly adapted for breaking the patent chain, with which the luggage is of late years secured to gentlemen's carriages; and which, being of steel, case-hardened, is fallaciously supposed to be pcoof against the attempts of thieves.
ROOKa small iron crow.
SCREWa skeleton or false key. To screw a place is to enter it by false keys ; this game is called the screw. Any robbery effected by such means is termed a screw.
TOOLSimplements for house-breaking, picklocks, pistols, &c., are indiscriminately called the tools. A thief, convicted on the police act, of having illegal instruments or weapons about him, is said to be fined for the tools.
Sex : Madams and Pimps
COVESSthe mistress of a house or shop, and used on other occasions, in the same manner as Cove, when applied to a man.
Sex : Prostitutes
BLOWENa prostitute ; a woman who cohabits with a man without marriage.
BURICKa prostitute, or common woman.
MOTTa blowen, or woman of the town.
Sex : Sex
DAB IT UPto dab it up with a woman, is to agree to cohabit with her.
Speech : Cant
CONCERNEDIn using many cant words, the lovers of flash, by way of variation, adopt this term, for an illustration of which, see Bolt-in-tun, Aldebmas Lushington, Mr. Palmer, &c.
FAKEa word so variously used, that I can only illustrate it by a few examples. To fake any person or place, may signify to rob them ; to fake a person, may also imply to shoot, wound, or cut; to fake a man out and out, is to kill him ; a man who inflicts wounds upon, or otherwise disfigures, himself, for any sinister purpose, is said to have faked himtelf; if a man's shoe happens to pinch, or gall his foot, from its being overtight, he will complain that his shoe fakes his foot sadly ; it also describes the doing any act, or the fabricating any thing, as, to fake your slangs, is to cut your irons in order to escape from custody ; to fake your pin, is to create a sore leg, or to cut it, as if accidentally, with an axe, &c., in hopes to obtain a discharge from the army or navy, to get into the doctor's list, &c.; to fake a screeve, is to write any letter, or other paper; to fake a screw, is to shape out a skeleton or false key, for the purpose of screwing a particular place ; to fake a cly, is to pick a pocket; &c., &c., &c.
FLASHthe cant language used by the family. To speak good flash is to be well versed in cant terms.
FLASH-SONGa song interlarded with flash words, generally relating to the exploits of the prigging fraternity in their various branches of depredation.
Speech : General
CRACK A WHIDto speak or utter: as, he crack'd some queer whids, he dropt some bad or ugly expressions : crack a whid for me, intercede, or put in a word for me.
DROP A WHIDto let fall a word, either inadvertently or designedly.
FLASHto be flash to any matter or meaning, is to understand or comprehend it, and is synonymous with being fly, down, or awake; to put a person flash to to any thing, is to put him on his guard, to explain or inform him of what he was before unacquainted with.
MANGto speak or talk.
OFFICEa hint, signal, or private intimation, from one person to another; this is termed officeing him, or giving him the office ; to take the office, is to understand and profit by the hint given.
PATTERto talk ; as, He patters good flash, See.
THROW OFFto talk in a sarcastical strain, so as to convey offensive allusions under the mask of pleasantry, or innocent freedom ; but, perhaps, secretly venting that abuse which you would not dare to give in direct terms ; this is called throwing off, a practice at which the flash ladies arc very expert, when any little jealousies arise among them. To begin to talk flash, and speak freely of robberies past, or in contemplation, when in company with family people, is also termed throwing off; meaning to banish all reserve, none but friends being present; also, to sing when called on by the company present. See Chaunt
WHIDDLEto speak of, or mention any thing, as, Don't you whiddle about so and so, that is, don't mention it.
WHIDDLERa talkative or tell-tale person, who is not fit to be trusted with a secret.
WHIDSwords. See Crack A Whid.
Speech : Quiet
CHEESE ITThe same as Stow it.
KNIFE ITSee Cheese It.
PETER-THATsynonymous with Stow-that.
STASH ITSee Stow It, which has the same meaning.
STOWto stow any business, employment, or mode of life, is the same as to stash it, &c. See Stash.
STOW or STOW-MANGINGan intimation from one flash-cove to another in a mixed company to be silent, or drop the subject, he was upon. See Mang.
STOW THATWhen a person advances any assertion which his auditor believes to be false, or spoken in jest, or wishes the former to recant, the latter will say, stow that, if you please, or, cheese that; meaning don't say so, or that's out of the question.
STOW, STOW IT or STOW FAKINGan intimation from a thief to his pall, to desist from what he is about, on the occasion of some alarm, &c. See Awake.
Transport : Carriages and Carts
DRAGa cart. The drag, is the game of robbing carts, waggons, or carriages, either in town or country, of trunks, bale-goods, or any other property. Done for a drag, signifies convicted for a robbery of the beforementioned nature.
JACKa post-chaise.
LOCK-UP-CHOVEYa covered cart, in which travelling hawkers convey their goods about the country, and which is secured by a door, lock, and key.
RATTLERa coach.
RUMBLE-TUMBLEa stage-coach.
VARDOa waggon.
Transport : Ships
ANDREW MILLER'S LUGGERa king's ship or vessel.
SWIMMERa guard-ship, or tender; a thief who escapes prosecution, when before a magistrate, on condition of being sent on board the receiving-ship, to serve His Majesty, is said by his palls to be swimmered.
Verbs : Run
BOLTto run away from or leave any place suddenly, is called bolting, or making a bolt: a thief observing an alarm while attempting a robbery, will exclaim to his accomplice, Bolt, there's a down. A sudden escape of one or more prisoners from a place of confinement is termed a bolt.
BOLT-IN-TUNa term founded on the cant word bolt, and merely a fanciful variation, very common among flash persons, there being in London a famous inn so called; it is customary when a man has run away from his lodgings, broke out of a jail, or made any other sudden movement, to say, The Bolt-in-tun is concerned; or, He's gone to the Bolt-in-tun; instead of simply saying, He has bolted, &c. See Bolt.
DOUBLEto double a person, or tip him the Dublin packet, signifies either to run away from him openly, and elude his attempts to overtake you, or to give him the slip in the streets, or elsewhere, unperceived, commonly done to escape from an officer who has you in custody, or to turn up a flat of any kind, whom you have a wish to get rid of.
MIZZLEto quit or go away from any place or company ; to elope, or run away.
Mr NASHSee Nash.
NASHto go away from, or quit, any place or company ; speaking of a person who is gone, they say, he is nash'd, or Mr. Nash is concerned.
OUT OF THE WAYa thief who knows that he is sought after by the traps on some information, and consequently goes out of town, or otherwise conceals himself, is said by his palls to be out of the way for so and so, naming the particular offence he stands charged with. See Wanted.
Verbs : Verbs
BOUNCEto bully, threaten, talk loud, or affect great consequence; to bounce a person out of any thing, is to use threatening or high words, in order to intimidate him, and attain the object you are intent upon; or to obtain goods of a tradesman, by assuming the appearance of great respectability and importance, so as to remove any suspicion he might at first entertain. A thief, detected in the commission of a robbery, has been known by this sort of finesse, aided by a genteel appearance and polite manners, to persuade his accusers of his innocence, and not only to get off with a good grace, but induce them to apologize for their supposed mistake, and the affront put upon him. This masterstroke of effrontery is called giving it to 'em upon the bounce.
BUFFTo buff to a person or thing, is to swear to the identity of them; swearing very positively to any circumstance, is called buffing it home.
BUG or BUG OVERTo give, deliver, or hand over; as, He bug'd me a quid, he gave me a guinea; bug over the rag, hand over the money.
CRABto prevent the perfection or execution of any intended matter or business, by saying any thing offensive or unpleasant, is called crabbing it, or throwing a crab ; to crab a person, is to use such offensive language or behaviour as will highly displease, or put him in an ill humour.
DINGto throw, or throw away ; particularly any article you have stolen, either because it is worthless, or that there is danger of immediate apprehension. To ding a person, is to drop his acquaintance totally; also to quit his company, or leave him for the time present; to ding to your pall, is to convey to him, privately, the property you have just stolen ; and he who receives it is said to take ding, or to knap the ding.
FAMto feel or handle.
FLASHto shew or expose any thing ; as I flash'd him a bean, I shewed him a guinea. Don't flash your sticks, don't expose your pistols, &c.
GNARLto gnarl upon a person, is the same as splitting or nosing upon him ; a man guilty of this treachery is called a gnarling scoundrel, &c.
HANG IT ONpurposely to delay or protract the performance of any task or service you have undertaken, by dallying, and making as slow a progress as possible, either from natural indolence, or to answer some private end of your own. To hang it on with a woman, is to form a temporary connexion with her; to cohabit or keep company with her without marriage.
NAP the BIBto cry; as, the mollisher nap'd her bib, the woman fell a crying.
NOB ITto act with such prudence and knowledge of the world, as to prosper and become independent without any labour or bodily exertion; this is termed nobbing it, or fighting nob work. To effect any purpose, or obtain any thing, by means of good judgment and sagacity, is called nobbing it for such a thing.
NOSEto nose, is to pry into any person's proceedings in an impertinent manner. To nose upon any one, is to tell of any thing he has said or done with a view to injure him, or to benefit yourself.
NUTto please a person by any little act of assiduity, by a present, or by flattering words, is called nutting him; as the present, &c., by which you have gratified them, is termed a nut.
PICK-UPto accost, or enter into conversation with any person, for the purpose of executing some design upon his personal property ; thus, among gamblers, it is called picking up a fiat, or a mouth: sharpers, who are daily on the look-out for some unwary countryman or stranger, use the same phrase ; and among drop-coves, and others who act in concert, this task is allotted to one of the gang, duly qualified, who is thence termed the picker-up; and he having performed his part, his associates proceed systematically in cleaning out the flat. To pick vp a cull, is a term used by biowens in their vocation of street-walking. To pick a person up, in a general sense, is to impose upon, or take advantage of him, in a contract or bargain.
QUEER ITto spoil it, which see.
STAGto stag any object or person, is to look at, observe, or take notice of them.
STALL OFFa term variously applied; generally it means a pretence, excuse, or prevarication - as a person charged with any fault, entering into some plausible story, to excuse himself, his hearers or accusers would say, O yes, that's a good stall off, or, Aye, aye, stall it off that way if you can. To extricate a person from any dilemma, or save him from disgrace, is called stalling him off; as an accomplice of your's being detected in a robbery, &c., and about to be given up to justice, you will step up as a stranger, interfere in his behalf, and either by vouching for his innocence, recommending lenity, or some other artifice, persuade his accusers to forego their intention, and let the prisoner escape ; you will then boast of having stalled him off in prime twig. To avoid or escape any impending evil or punishment by means of artifice, submission, bribe, or otherwise, is also called stalling it off. A man walking the streets, and passing a particular shop, or encountering a certain person, which or whom he has reasons for wishing to avoid, will say to any friend who may be with him, I wish you'd stall me of from that crib, (or from that cove, as the case may be) meaning, walk in such a way as to cover or obscure me from notice, until we are past the shop or person in question.
TIPto give, pay, or bribe. To take the tip, is to receive a bribe in any shape ; and they say of a person who is known to be corruptible, that he will stand the tip. The tip is a term frequently used to signify the money concerned in any dealings or contract existing between parties ; synonymous with the dues. See Dues.
TODDLEto walk slowly, either from infirmity or choice. Come, let us toddk, is a familiar phrase, signifying, let us be going.
TOUTto tout a person, is to watch his motions ; to keep tout, is to look out, or watch, while your pall is effecting any private purpose. A strong tout, is a strict observation, or eye, upon any proceedings, or person.
TRY IT ONto make any attempt, or. essay, where success is doubtful. So to try it on with a woman, signifies to attempt her chastity.
TURN UPto desist from, or relinquish, any particular habit or mode of life, or the further pursuit of any object you had in view, is called turning it up. To turn up a mistress, or a male acquaintance, is to drop all intercourse, or correspondence, with them. To turn up a particular house, or shop, you have been accustomed to use, or deal at, signifies to withdraw your patronage, or custom, and visit it no more. To quit a person suddenly in the street, whether secretly or openly, is called turning him up. To turn a man up sweet, is to get rid of him effectually, but yet to leave him in perfect good humour, and free from any suspicion or discontent ; this piece of finesse often affords a field for the exercise of consummate address, as in the case of turning up a fiat, after having stript him of all his money at play, or a shopkeeper, whom you have just robbed before his face of something valuable, upon the pinch, or the hoist.
TURN UP A TRUMPto be fortunate in getting a good stake, or by any other means improving your finances.
TWIGany thing accomplished cleverly, or as it should be, is said to be done in twig, in good twg, or in prime twig. A person well dress'd is said to be in twig. See Drop, Gammon The Twelve, and Out Of Twig.
YORKTo stare or look at any person in an impertinent manner, is termed yorking; to york any thing, in a common sense, is to view, look at, or examine it.
Violence : Violence
BASHto beat any person by way of correction, as the woman you live with, &c.
CUTTING-GLOAKa man famous for drawing a knife, and cutting any person he quarrels with.
FIBa stick. To Jib is to beat with a stick ; also to box.
FIBBING-MATCHa boxing match.
FLIPto shoot.
FLOORto knock down any one, either for the purpose of robbery, or to effect your escape, is termed flooring him.
MILLto fight. To mill a person is to beat him.
Violence : Weapons
BARKING-IRONSpistols; an obsolete term.
POPSPistols; an obsolete term.
STICKa pistol.
Women : Women in General
JUDYa blowen ; but sometimes used when speaking familiarly of any woman.
TITTERa young woman or girl.