|CABBAGE. Cloth, stuff, or silkpurloined by laylors from their
employers, which they deposit in a place called HELL, or their EYE: from
the first, when taxed, with their knavery, they equivocally swear, that if
they have taken any, they wish they may find it in HELL; or, alluding to
the second, protest, that what they have over and above is not more than
they could put in their EYE.—When the scrotum is relaxed or whiffled, it
is said they will not cabbage.
CAB. A brothel. Mother: how many tails have you in your cab? how many
girls have you in your bawdy house?
CACAFEOGO. A sh-te-fire, a furious braggadocio or bully huff.
CACKLE. To blab, or discover secrets. The cull is leaky, and cackles; the
rogue tells all. . See LEAKY.
CACKLER. A hen.
CACKLER’S KEN. A hen roost. .
CACKLING CHEATS. Fowls. .
CACKLING FARTS. Eggs. .
CADDEE. A helper. An under-strapper.
CADGE. To beg. Cadge the swells; beg of the gentlemen.
CAFFAN. Cheese. .
CAGG. To cagg; a military term used by the private soldiers, signifying a
solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time; or, as the
term is, till their cagg is out: which vow is commonly observed with the
strictest exactness. Ex. I have cagg’d myself for six months. Excuse me
this time, and I will cagg myself for a year. This term is also used in
the same sense among the common people of Scotland, where it is performed
with divers ceremonies.
CAG. To be cagged. To be sulky or out of humour. The cove carries the cag;
the man is vexed or sullen.
CAG MAGG. Bits and scraps of provisions. Bad meat.
CAGG MAGGS. Old Lincolnshire geese, which having been plucked ten or
twelve years, are sent up to London to feast the cockneys.
CAKE, or CAKEY. A foolish fellow.
CALF-SKIN FIDDLE. A drum. To smack calf’s skin; to kiss the book in taking
an oath. It is held by the St. Giles’s casuists, that by kissing one’s
thumb instead of smacking calf’s skin, the guilt of taking a false oath is
CALVES. His calves are gone to grass; a saying of a man with slender legs
without calves. Veal will be cheap, calves fall; said of a man whose
calves fall away.
CALVES HEAD CLUB. A club instituted by the Independents and Presbyterians,
to commemorate the decapitation of King Charles I. Their chief fare was
calves heads; and they drank their wine and ale out of calves skulls.
CALIBOGUS. Rum and spruce beer, American beverage.
CALLE. A cloak or gown. .
CAMBRIDGE FORTUNE. A wind-mill and a water-mill, used to signify a woman
without any but personal endowments.
CAMBRIDGE OAK. A willow.
CAMBRADE. A chamber fellow; a Spanish military term. Soldiers were in that
country divided into chambers, five men making a chamber, whence it was
generally used to signify companion.
CAMESA. A shirt or shift. . SPANISH.
CAMP CANDLESTICK. A bottle, or soldier’s bayonet.
CAMPBELL’S ACADEMY. The hulks or lighters, on board of which felons are
condemned to hard labour. Mr. Campbell was the first director of them. See
ACADEMY and FLOATING ACADEMY.
CANARY BIRD. A jail bird, a person used to be kept in a cage; also, in the
ing sense, guineas.
CANDLESTICKS. Bad, small, or untunable bells. Hark! how the candlesticks
CANDY. Drunk. IRISH.
CANE. To lay Cane upon Abel; to beat any one with a cane or stick.
CANNISTER. The head. To mill his cannister; to break his head.
CANNIKIN. A small can: also, in the ing sense, the plague. An hypocrite, a double-tongue palavering fellow.
ICLE. A parish clerk.
ING. Preaching with a whining, affected tone, perhaps a corruption of
chaunting; some derive it from Andrew , a famous Scotch preacher, who used
that whining manner of expression. Also a kind of gibberish used by
thieves and gypsies, called likewise pedlar’s French, the slang, &c. &c.
ERS, or THE ING CREW. Thieves, beggars, and gypsies, or any others using
the ing lingo. See LINGO.
ERBURY STORY. A long roundabout tale.
TO CAP. To take one’s oath. I will cap downright; I will swear home. .
TO CAP. To take off one’s hat or cap. To cap the quadrangle; a lesson of
humility, or rather servility, taught undergraduates at the university,
where they are obliged to cross the area of the college cap in hand, in
reverence to the fellows who sometimes walk there. The same ceremony is
observed on coming on the quarter deck of ships of war, although no
officer should be on it.
TO CAP. To support another’s assertion or tale. To assist a man in
cheating. The file kidded the joskin with sham books, and his pall capped;
the deep one cheated the countryman with false cards, and his confederate
assisted in the fraud.
CAP ACQUAINTANCE. Persons slightly acquainted, or only so far as mutually
to salute with the hat on meeting. A woman who endeavours to attract the
notice of any particular man, is said to set her cap at him.
CAPER MERCHANT. A dancing master, or hop mercbant; marchand des capriolles.
FRENCH TERM.—To cut papers; to leap or jump in dancing. See HOP MERCHANT.
CAPPING VERSES. Repeating Latin Verses in turn, beginning with the letter
with which the last speaker left off.
CAPON. A castrated cock, also an eunuch.
CAPRICORNIFIED. Cuckolded, hornified.
CAPSIZE. To overturn or reverse. He took his broth till he capsized; he
drank till he fell out of his chair. SEA TERM.
CAPTAIN. Led captain; an humble dependant in a great family, who for a
precarious subsistence, and distant hopes of preferment, suffers every
kind of indignity, and is the butt of every species of joke or ill-humour.
The small provision made for officers of the army and navy in time of
peace, obliges many in both services to occupy this wretched station. The
idea of the appellation is taken from a led horse, many of which for
magnificence appear in the retinues of great personages on solemn
occasions, such as processions, &c.
CAPTAIN COPPERTHORNE’S CREW. All officers; a saying of a company where
everyone strives to rule.
CAPTAIN LIEUTENANT. Meat between veal and beef, the flesh of an old calf;
a military simile, drawn from the officer of that denomination, who has
only the pay of a lieutenant, with the rank of captain; and so is not
entirely one or the other, but between both.
CAPTAIN PODD. A celebrated master of a puppet-shew, in Ben Johnson’s time,
whose name became a common one to signify any of that fraternity.
CAPTAIN QUEERNABS. A shabby ill-dressed fellow.
CAPTAIN SHARP. A cheating bully, or one in a set of gamblers, whose office
is to bully any pigeon, who, suspecting roguery, refuses to pay what he
has lost. .
CAPTAIN TOM. The leader of a mob; also the mob itself.
CARAVAN. A large sum of money; also, a person cheated of such sum. .
CARBUNCLE FACE. A red face, full of pimples.
To CAROUSE. To drink freely or deep: from the German word expressing ALL
CARRIERS. A set of rogues who are employed to look out and watch upon the
roads, at inns, &c. in order to carry information to their respective
gangs, of a booty in prospect.
CARRIERS. Pigeons which carry expresses.
CARRION HUNTER. An undertaker; called also a cold cook, and death hunter.
See COLD COOK and DEATH HUNTER.
CARROTS. Red hair.
CARROTTY-PATED. Ginger-hackled, red-haired. See GINGER-HACKLED.
CARRY WITCHET. A sort of conundrum, puzzlewit, or riddle.
CART. To put the cart before the horse; to mention the last part of a
story first. To be flogged at the cart’s a-se or tail; persons guilty of
petty larceny are frequently sentenced to be tied to the tail of a cart,
and whipped by the common executioner, for a certain distance: the degree
of severity in the execution is left to the discretion of the executioner,
who, it is said, has cats of nine tails of all prices.
CARTING. The punishment formerly inflicted on bawds, who were placed in a
tumbrel or cart, and led through a town, that their persons might be
CARVEL’S RING. The private parts of a woman. Ham Carvel, a jealous old
doctor, being in bed with his wife, dreamed that the Devil gave him a
ring, which, so long as he had it on his finger, would prevent his being
made a cuckold: waking he found he had got his finger the Lord knows
where. See Rabelais, and Prior’s versification of the story.
TO CASCADE. To vomit.
CASE. A house; perhaps from the Italian CASA. In the ing lingo it meant
store or ware house, as well as a dwelling house. Tout that case; mark or
observe that house. It is all bob, now let’s dub the gig of the case; now
the coast is clear, let us break open the door of the house.
CASE VROW. A prostitute attached to a particular bawdy house.
CASH, or CAFFAN. Cheese; . See CAFFAN.
CASTER. A cloak. .
CASTOR. A hat. To prig a castor; to steal a hat.
CASTING UP ONE’S ACCOUNTS. Vomiting.
CAT. A common prostitute. An old cat; a cross old woman.
CAT-HEADS. A Woman’s breasts. .
TO CAT, or SHOOT THE CAT. To vomit from drunkenness.
CAT AND BAGPIPEAN SOCIETY. A society which met at their office in the
great western road: in their summons, published in the daily papers, it
was added, that the kittens might come with the old cats without being
CAT CALL. A kind of whistle, chiefly used at theatres, to interrupt the
actors, and damn a new piece. It derives its name from one of its sounds,
which greatly resembles the modulation of an intriguing boar cat.
CAT HARPING FASHION. Drinking cross-ways, and not, as usual, over the left
thumb. SEA TERM.
CAT IN PAN. To turn cat in pan, to change sides or parties; supposed
originally to have been to turn CATE or CAKE in pan.
CAT’S FOOT. To live under the cat’s foot; to be under the dominion of a
wife hen-pecked. To live like dog and cat; spoken of married persons who
live unhappily together. As many lives as a cat; cats, according to vulgar
naturalists, have nine lives, that is one less than a woman. No more
chance than a cat in hell without claws; said of one who enters into a
dispute or quarrel with one greatly above his match.
CAT LAP. Tea, called also scandal broth. See SCANDAL BROTH.
CAT MATCH. When a rook or cully is engaged amongst bad bowlers.
CAT OF NINE TAILS. A scourge composed of nine strings of whip-cord, each
string having nine knots.
CAT’S PAW. To be made a cat’s paw of; to be made a tool or instrument to
accomplish the purpose of another: an allusion to the story of a monkey,
who made use of a cat’s paw to scratch a roasted chesnut out of the fire.
CAT’S SLEEP. Counterfeit sleep: cats often counterfeiting sleep, to decoy
their prey near them, and then suddenly spring on them.
CAT STICKS. Thin legs, compared to sticks with which boys play at cat. See
CAT WHIPPING, or WHIPPING THE CAT. A trick often practised on ignorant
country fellows, vain of their strength, by laying a wager with them that
they may be pulled through a pond by a cat. The bet being made, a rope is
fixed round the waist of the party to be catted, and the end thrown across
the pond, to which the cat is also fastened by a packthread, and three or
four sturdy fellows are appointed to lead and whip the cat; these on a
signal given, seize the end of the cord, and pretending to whip the cat,
haul the astonished booby through the water.
* To whip the cat, is also a term among tailors for working jobs at
private houses, as practised in the country.
CATAMARAN. An old scraggy woman; from a kind of float made of spars and
yards lashed together, for saving ship-wrecked persons.
CATCH CLUB. A member of the patch club; a bum bailiff.
CATCH FART. A footboy; so called from such servants commonly following
close behind their master or mistress.
CATCH PENNY. Any temporary contrivance to raise a contribution on the
CATCH POLE. A bum bailiff, or sheriff’s officer.
CATCHING HARVEST. A dangerous time for a robbery, when many persons are on
the road, on account of a horse-race, fair, or some other public meeting.
CATER COUSINS. Good friends. He and I are not cater cousins, i.e. we are
not even cousins in the fourth degree, or four times removed; that is, we
have not the least friendly connexion.
CATERPILLAR. A nick name for a soldier. In the year 1745, a soldier
quartered at a house near Derby, was desired by his landlord to call upon
him, whenever he came that way; for, added he, soldiers are the pillars of
the nation. The rebellion being finished, it happened the same regiment
was quartered in Derbyshire, when the soldier resolved to accept of his
landlord’s invitation, and accordingly obtained leave to go to him: but,
on his arrival, he was greatly surprised to find a very cold reception;
whereupon expostulating with his landlord, he reminded him of his
invitation, and the circumstance of his having said, soldiers were the
pillars of the nation. If I did, answered the host, I meant CATERpiliars.
CATERWAULING. Going out in the night in search of intrigues, like a cat in
CATHEDRAL. Old-fashioned. An old cathedral-bedstead, chair, &c.
CATTLE. Sad cattle: whores or gypsies. Black cattle, bugs. .
CAVAULTING SCHOOL. A Bawdy-house.
CAULIFLOWER. A large white wig, such as is commonly worn by the dignified
clergy, and was formerly by physicians. Also the private parts of a woman;
the reason for which appellation is given in the following story: A woman,
who was giving evidence in a cause wherein it was necessary to express
those parts, made use of the term cauliflower; for which the judge on the
bench, a peevish old fellow, reproved her, saying she might as well call
it artichoke. Not so, my lord, replied she; for an artichoke has a bottom,
but a **** and a cauliflower have none.
CAUTIONS. The four cautions: I. Beware of a woman before.—II. Beware of a
horse behind.—III. Beware of a cart side-ways.—IV. Beware of a priest
CAW-HANDED, or CAW-PAWED. Awkward, not dextrous, ready, or nimble.
CAXON. An old weather-beaten wig.
CENT PER CENT. An usurer.
CHAFED. Well beaten; from CHAUFFE, warmed.
CHALKERS. Men of wit, in Ireland, who in the night amuse themselves with
cutting inoffensive passengers across the face with a knife. They are
somewhat like those facetious gentlemen some time ago known in England by
the title of Sweaters and Mohocks.
CHALKING. The amusement above described.
CHAP. A fellow; An odd chap; A strange fellow.
CHAPERON. The cicisbeo, or gentleman usher to a lady; from the French.
CHAPT. Dry or thirsty.
CHARACTERED, or LETTERED. Burnt in the hand. They have palmed the
character upon him; they have burned him in the hand, .—See LETTERED.
CHARM. A picklock. .
CHARREN. The smoke of Charren.—His eyes water from the smoke of Charren; a
man of that place coming out of his house weeping, because his wife had
beat him, told his neighbours the smoke had made his eyes water.
CHATTER BOX. One whose tongue runs twelve score to the dozen, a chattering
man or woman.
CHATTER BROTH. Tea. See CAT LAP and SCANDAL BROTH.
CHATTS. Lice: perhaps an abbreviation of chattels, lice being the chief
live stock of chattels of beggars, gypsies, and the rest of the ing crew.
.—Also, according to the ing academy, the gallows.
CHATES. The gallows.
CHAUNTER CULLS. Grub-street writers, who compose songs, carrols, &c. for
CHAUNT. A song.
TO CHAUNT. To sing. To publish an account in the newspapers. The kiddey
was chaunted for a toby; his examination concerning a highway robbery was
published in the papers.
CHAW BACON. A countryman. A stupid fellow.
CHEAPSIDE. He came at it by way of Cheapside; he gave little or nothing
for it, he bought it cheap.
CHEATS. Sham sleeves to put over a dirty shift or shirt.
CHEEK BY JOWL. Side by side, hand to fist.
CHEEKS. Ask cheeks near cunnyborough; the repartee of a St. Gilse’s fair
one, who bids you ask her backside, anglice her a-se. A like answer is
current in France: any one asking the road or distance to Macon, a city
near Lyons, would be answered by a French lady of easy virtue, ‘Mettez
votre nez dans mon cul, & vous serrez dans les Fauxbourgs.’
CHEESE-TOASTER. A sword.
CHEESE IT; Be silent, be quiet, don’t do it. Cheese it, the coves are fly;
be silent, the people understand our discourse.
CHEESER. A strong smelling fart.
CHELSEA. A village near London, famous for the military hospital. To get
Chelsea; to obtain the benefit of that hospital. Dead Chelsea, by G-d! an
exclamation uttered by a grenadier at Fontenoy, on having his leg carried
away by a cannon-ball.
CHEST OF TOOLS. A shoe-black’s brush and wig, &c. Irish.
CHERRY-COLOURED CAT. A black cat, there being black cherries as well as
CHERUBIMS. Peevish children, becausecherubimsand seraphims continually do
CHESHIRE CAT. He grins like a Cheshire cat; said of anyone who shews his
teeth and gums in laughing.
CHICK-A-BIDDY. A chicken, so called to and by little children.
CHICKEN-BREASTED. Said of a woman with scarce any breasts.
CHICKEN BUTCHER. A poulterer.
CHICKEN-HAMMED. Persons whose legs and thighs are bent or archward
CHICKEN-HEARTED. Fearful, cowardly.
CHICKEN NABOB. One returned from the East Indies with but a moderate
fortune of fifty or sixty thousand pounds, a diminutive nabob: a term
borrowed from the chicken turtle.
CHILD. To eat a child; to partake of a treat given to the parish officers,
in part of commutation for a bastard child the common price was formerly
ten pounds and a greasy chiu. See GREASY CHIN.
CHIMNEY CHOPS. An abusive appellation for a negro.
CHIP. A child. A chip of the old block; a child who either in person or
sentiments resembles its father or mother.
CHIP. A brother chip; a person of the same trade or calling.
CHIPS, A nick name for a carpenter.
CHIMPING MERRY. Exhilarated with liquor. Chirping glass, a cheerful glass,
that makes the company chirp like birds in spring.
CHIT. An infant or baby.
CHITTERLINS. The bowels. There is a rumpus among my bowels, i.e. I have
the colic. The frill of a shirt.
CHITTY-FACED. Baby-faced; said of one who has a childish look.
CHIVE, or CHIFF. A knife, file: or saw. To chive the darbies; to file off
the irons or fetters. To chive the bouhgs of the frows; to cut off women’s
CHIVEY. I gave him a good chivey; I gave him, a hearty Scolding.
CHIVING LAY. Cutting the braces of coaches behind, on which the coachman
quitting the box, an accomplice robs the boot; also, formerly, cutting the
back of the coach to steal the fine large wigs then worn.
CHOAK. Choak away, the churchyard’s near; a jocular saying to a person
taken with a violent fit of coughing, or who has swallowed any thing, as
it is called the wrong way;
Choak, chicken, more are hatching: a like consolation.
CHOAK PEAR. Figuratively, an unanswerable objection: also a machine
formerly used in Holland by robbers; it was of iron, shaped like a pear;
this they forced into the mouths of persons from whom they intended to
extort money; and on turning a key, certain interior springs thrust forth
a number of points, in all directions, which so enlarged it, that it could
not be taken out of the mouth: and the iron, being case-hardened, could
not be filed: the only methods of getting rid of it, were either by
cutting the mouth, or advertizing a reward for the key, These pears were
also called pears of agony.
CHOAKING PYE, or COLD PYE, A punishment inflicted on any person sleeping
in company: it consists in wrapping up cotton in a case or tube of paper,
setting it on fire, and directing the smoke up the nostrils of the
sleeper. See HOWELL’S COTGRAVE.
CHOCOLATE. To give chocolate without sugar; to reprove.
CHOICE SPIRIT. A thoughtless, laughing, singing, drunken fellow.
CHOP. A blow. Boxing term.
TO CHOP AND CHANGE. To exchange backwards and forwards.
To chop, in the ing sense, means making
dispatch, or hurrying over any business: ex. The AUTEM
BAWLER will soon quit the HUMS, for he CHOPS UP the WHINERS;
the parson will soon quit the pulpit, for he hurries over
the prayers. See AUTEM BAWLER, HUMS, and WHINERS,
CHOP CHURCHES. Simoniacal dealers in livings, or other ecclesiastical
CHOPPING, LUSTY. A chopping boy or girl; a lusty child.
CHOPS. The mouth. I gave him a wherrit, or a souse, across the chops; I
gave him a blow over the mouth, See WHERRIT.
CHOP-STICK. A fork.
CHOUDER. A sea-dish, composed of fresh fish, salt pork, herbs, and
sea-biscuits, laid in different layers, and stewed together.
TO CHOUSE. To cheat or trick: he choused me out of it.
Chouse is also the term for a game like chuck-farthing.
CHRIST-CROSS ROW. The alphabet in a horn-book: called Christ-cross Row,
from having, as an Irishman observed, Christ’s cross PREFIXED before and
AFTER the twenty-four letters.
CHRISTENING. Erasing the name of the true maker from a stolen watch, and
engraving a fictitious one in its place.
CHRISTIAN PONEY. A chairman.
CHRISTIAN. A tradesman who has faith, i.e. will give credit.
CHRISTMAS COMPLIMENTS. A cough, kibed heels, and a snotty nose.
CHUB. He is a young chub, or a mere chub; i.e. a foolish fellow, easily
imposed on: an illusion to a fish of that name, easily taken.
CHUBBY. Round-faced, plump.
CHUCK. My chuck; a term of endearment.
CHUCK FARTHING. A parish clerk.
CHUCKLE-HEADED. Stupid, thick-headed.
CHUFFY. Round-faced, chubby.
CHUM. A chamber-fellow, particularly at the universities and in prison.
CHUMMAGE. Money paid by the richer sort of prisoners in the Fleet and
King’s Bench, to the poorer, for their share of a room. When prisons are
very full, which is too often the case, particularly on the eve of an
insolvent act, two or three persons are obliged to sleep in a room. A
prisoner who can pay for being alone, chuses two poor chums, who for a
stipulated price, called chummage, give up their share of the room, and
sleep on the stairs, or, as the term is, ruff it.
CHUNK. Among printers, a journeyman who refuses to work for legal wages;
the same as the flint among taylors. See FLINT.
CHURCH WARDEN. A Sussex name fora shag, or cormorant, probably from its
CHURCH WORK. Said of any work that advances slowly.
CHURCHYARD COUGH. A cough that is likely to terminate in death.
CHURK. The udder.
CHURL. Originally, a labourer or husbandman: figuratively a rude, surly,
boorish fellow. To put a churl upon a gentleman; to drink malt liquor
immediately after having drunk wine.
CINDER GARBLER. A servant maid, from her business of sifting the ashes
from the cinders. CUSTOM-HOUSE WIT.
CIRCUMBENDIBUS. A roundabout way, or story. He took such a circumbendibus;
he took such a circuit.
CIT. A citizen of London.
CITY COLLEGE. Newgate.
CIVILITY MONEY. A reward claimed by bailiffs for executing their office
CIVIL RECEPTION. A house of civil reception; a bawdy-house, or
nanny-house. See NANNY-HOUSE.
CLACK. A tongue, chiefly applied to women; a simile drawn from the clack
of a water-mill.
CLACK-LOFT. A pulpit, so called by orator Henley.
CLAN. A family’s tribe or brotherhood; a word much used in Scotland. The
head of the clan; the chief: an allusion to a story of a Scotchman, who,
when a very large louse crept down his arm, put him back again, saying he
was the head of the clan, and that, if injured, all the rest would resent
CLANK. A silver tankard. .
CLANK NAPPER. A silver tankard stealer. See RUM BUBBER.
CLANKER. A great lie.
CLAP. A venereal taint. He went out by Had’em, and came round by Clapham
home; i.e. he went out a wenching, and got a clap.
CLAP ON THE SHOULDER. An arrest for debt; whence a bum bailiff is called a
CLAPPER. The tongue of a bell, and figuratively of a man or woman.
CLAPPER CLAW. To scold, to abuse, or claw off with the tongue.
CLAPPERDOGEON. A beggar born. .
CLARET. French red wine; figuratively, blood. I tapped his claret; I broke
his head, and made the blood run. Claret-faced; red-faced.
CLAWED OFF. Severely beaten or whipped; also smartly poxed or clapped.
CLEAR. Very drunk. The cull is clear, let’s bite him; the fellow is very
drunk, let’s cheat him. .
CLEAVER. One that will cleave; used of a forward or wanton woman.
CLEAN. Expert; clever. Amongst the knuckling coves he is reckoned very
clean; he is considered very expert as a pickpocket.
CLERKED. Soothed, funned, imposed on. The cull will not be clerked; i.e.
the fellow will not be imposed on by fair words.
CLEYMES. Artificial sores, made by beggars to excite charity.
CLICK. A blow. A click in the muns; a blow or knock in the face. .
TO CLICK. To snatch. To click a nab; to snatch a hat.
CLICKER. A salesman’s servant; also, one who proportions out the different
shares of the booty among thieves.
CLICKET. Copulation of foxes; and thence used, in a ing sense, for that of
men and women: as, The cull and the mort are at clicket in the dyke; the
man and woman are copulating in the ditch.
CLIMB. To climb the three trees with a ladder; to ascend the gallows.
CLINCH. A pun or quibble. To clinch, or to clinch the nail; to confirm an
improbable story by another: as, A man swore he drove a tenpenny nail
through the moon; a bystander said it was true, for he was on the other
side and clinched it.
CLINK. A place in the Borough of Southwark, formerly privileged from
arrests; and inhabited by lawless vagabonds of every denomination, called,
from the place of their residence, clinkers. Also a gaol, from the
clinking of the prisoners’ chains or fetters: he is gone to clink.
CLINKERS. A kind of small Dutch bricks; also irons worn by prisoners; a
TO CLIP. To hug or embrace: to clip and cling. To clip the coin; to
diminish the current coin. To clip the king’s English; to be unable to
speak plain through drunkenness.
CLOAK TWITCHERS. Rogues who lurk about the entrances into dark alleys, and
bye-lanes, to snatch cloaks from the shoulders of passengers.
CLOD HOPPER. A country farmer, or ploughman.
CLOD PATE. A dull, heavy booby.
CLOD POLE. The same.
CLOSE. As close as God’s curse to a whore’s a-se: close as shirt and
CLOSE-FISTED. Covetous or stingy.
CLOSH. A general name given by the mobility to Dutch seamen, being a
corruption of CLAUS, the abbreviation of Nicholas, a name very common
among the men of that nation.
CLOTH MARKET. He is just come from the cloth market, i.e. from between the
sheets, he is just risen from bed.
CLOUD. Tobacco. Under a cloud; in adversity.
CLOVEN, CLEAVE, or CLEFT. A term used for a woman who passes for a maid,
but is not one.
CLOVEN FOOT. To spy the cloven foot in any business; to
discover some roguery or something bad in it: a saying
that alludes to a piece of vulgar superstition, which is,
that, let the Devil transform himself into what shape he
will, he cannot hide his cloven foot
TO CHUCK. To shew a propensity for a man. The mors chucks; the wench wants
to be doing.
CLOUT. A blow. I’ll give you a clout on your jolly nob;
I’ll give you a blow on your head. It also means a handkerchief. . Any
pocket handkerchief except a silk one.
CLOUTED SHOON. Shoes tipped with iron.
CLOUTING LAY. Picking pockets of handkerchiefs.
CLOVER. To be, or live, in clover; to live luxuriously.
Clover is the most desirable food for cattle.
CLOY. To steal. To cloy the clout; to steal the handkerchief.
To cloy the lour; to steal money. .
CLOVES. Thieves, robbers, &c.
CLUB. A meeting or association, where each man is to spend an equal and
stated sum, called his club.
CLUB LAW. Argumentum bacculinum, in which an oaken stick is a better plea
than an act of parliament.
CLUMP. A lump. Clumpish; lumpish, stupid.
CLUNCH. An awkward clownish fellow.
TO CLUTCH THE FIST. To clench or shut the hand. Clutch fisted; covetous,
stingy. See CLOSE-FISTED.
CLUTCHES. Hands, gripe, power.
CLUTTER. A stir, noise, or racket: what a confounded clutter here is!
CLY. Money; also a pocket. He has filed the cly; he has picked a pocket. .
CLY THE JERK: To be whipped. .
CLYSTER PIPE. A nick name for an apothecary.
COACH WHEEL. A half crown piece is a fore coach wheel, and a crown piece a
hind coach wheel; the fore wheels of a coach being less than the hind
TO COAX. To fondle, or wheedle. To coax a pair of stockings; to pull down
the part soiled into the shoes, so as to give a dirty pair of stockings
the appearance of clean ones. Coaxing is also used, instead of darning, to
hide the holes about the ancles.
COB. A Spanish dollar.
COB, or COBBING. A punishment used by the seamen for petty offences, or
irregularities, among themselves: it consists in bastonadoing the offender
on the posteriors with a cobbing stick, or pipe staff; the number usually
inflicted is a dozen. At the first stroke the executioner repeats the word
WATCH, on which all persons present are to take off their hats, on pain of
like punishment: the last stroke is always given as hard as possible, and
is called THE PURSE. Ashore, among soldiers, where this punishment is
sometimes adopted, WATCH and THE PURSE are not included in the number, but
given over and above, or, in the vulgar phrase, free gratis for nothing.
This piece of discipline is also inflicted in Ireland, by the school-boys,
on persons coming into the school without taking off their hats; it is
there called school butter.
COBBLE. A kind of boat.
TO COBBLE. To mend, or patch; likewise to do a thing in a bungling manner.
COBBLE COLTER. A turkey.
COBBLER. A mender of shoes, an improver of the understandings of his
customers; a translator.
COBBLERS PUNCH. Treacle, vinegar, gin, and water.
COCK, or CHIEF COCK OF THE WALK. The leading man in any society or body;
the best boxer in a village or district.
COCK ALE. A provocative drink.
COCK ALLEY or COCK LANE. The private parts of a woman.
COCK AND A BULL STORY. A roundabout story, without head or tail, i.e.
beginning or ending.
COCK OF THE COMPANY. A weak man, who from the desire of being the head of
the company associates with low people, and pays all the reckoning.
COCK-A-WHOOP. Elevated, in high-spirits, transported with joy.
COCK BAWD. A male keeper of a bawdy-house.
COCK HOIST. A cross buttock.
COCKISH. Wanton, forward. A cockish wench; a forward coming girl.
COCKLES. To cry cockles; to be hanged: perhaps from the noise made whilst
strangling. .—This will rejoice the cockles of one’s heart; a saying in
praise of wine, ale, or spirituous liquors.
COCK PIMP. The supposed husband of a bawd.
COCK ROBIN. A soft, easy fellow.
COCK-SURE. Certain: a metaphor borrowed front the cock of a firelock, as
being much more certain to fire than the match.
COCK YOUR EYE. Shut one eye: thus translated into apothecaries
Latin.—Gallus tuus ego.
COCKER. One fond of the diversion of cock-fighting.
COCKNEY: A nick name given to the citizens of London, or persons born
within the sound of Bow bell, derived from the following story: A citizen
of London, being in the country, and hearing a horse neigh, exclaimed,
Lord! how that horse laughs! A by-stander telling him that noise was
called NEIGHING, the next morning, when the cock crowed, the citizen to
shew he had not forgot what was told him, cried out, Do you hear how the
COCKSHUT TIME. The evening, when fowls go to roost.
COD. A cod of money: a good sum of money.
CODDERS. Persons employed by the gardeners to gather peas.
CODGER. An old codger: an old fellow.
COD PIECE. The fore flap of a man’s breeches. Do they bite, master? where,
in the cod piece or collar?--a jocular attack on a patient angler by
CODS. The scrotum. Also a nick name for a curate: a rude fellow meeting a
curate, mistook him for the rector, and accosted him with the vulgar
appellation of Bol—ks the rector, No, Sir, answered he; only Cods the
curate, at your service.
COD’S HEAD. A stupid fellow.
COFFEE HOUSE. A necessary house. To make a coffee-house of a woman’s ****;
to go in and out and spend nothing.
COG. The money, or whatsoever the sweeteners drop to draw in a bubble.
COG. A tooth. A queer cog; a rotten tooth. How the cull flashes his queer
cogs; how the fool shews his rotten teeth.
TO COG. To cheat with dice; also to coax or wheedle, To cog a die; to
conceal or secure a die. To cog a dinner; to wheedle one out of a dinner.
COGUE. A dram of any spirituous liquor.
COKER. A lie.
COKES. The fool in the play of Bartholomew Fair: perhaps a contraction of
the word COXCOMB.
COLCANNON. Potatoes and cabbage pounded together in a mortar, and then
stewed with butter: an Irish dish.
COLD. You will catch cold at that; a vulgar threat or advice to desist
from an attempt. He caught cold by lying in bed barefoot; a saying of any
one extremely tender or careful of himself.
COLD BURNING. A punishment inflicted by private soldiers on their comrades
for trifling offences, or breach of their mess laws; it is administered in
the following manner:
The prisoner is set against the wall, with the arm which is to be burned
tied as high above his head as possible. The executioner then ascends a
stool, and having a bottle of cold water, pours it slowly down the sleeve
of the delinquent, patting him, and leading the water gently down his
body, till it runs out at his breeches knees: this is repeated to the
other arm, if he is sentenced to be burned in both.
COLD COOK. An undertaker of funerals, or carrion hunter.
See CARRION HUNTER.
COLD IRON. A sword, or any other weapon for cutting or stabbing. I gave
him two inches of cold iron into his beef.
COLD MEAT. A dead wife is the beat cold meat in a man’s house.
COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie
too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them,
and throwing cold water upon them.
COLD PUDDING. This is said to settle one’s love.
COLE. Money. Post the cole: pay down the money.
COLIANDER, or CORIANDER SEEDS. Money.
COLLAR DAY. Execution day.
COLLEGE. Newgate or any other prison. New College:
the Royal Exchange. King’s College: the King’s Bench prison. He has been
educated at the steel, and took his last degree at college; he has
received his education at the house of correction, and was hanged at
COLLEGE COVE. The College cove has numbered him, and if he is knocked down
he’ll be twisted; the turnkey of Newgate has told the judge how many times
the prisoner has been tried before and therefore if he is found guilty, he
certainly will be hanged. It is said to be the custom of the Old Bailey
for one of the turnkeys of Newgate to give information to the judge how
many times an old offender has been tried, by holding up as many fingers
as the number of times the prisoner has been before arraigned at that bar.
COLLEGIATES. Prisoners of the one, and shopkeepers of the other of those
COLLECTOR. A highwayman.
TO COLLOGUE. To wheedle or coax.
COOK RUFFIAN, who roasted the devil in his feathers. A bad cook.
COOL CRAPE. A shroud.
COOLER. A woman.
COOLER. The backside. Kiss my cooler. Kiss my a-se.
It is principally used to signify a woman’s posteriors.
COOL LADY. A female follower of the camp, who sells brandy.
COOL NANTS. Brandy.
COOL TANKARD. Wine and water, with lemon, sugar, and burrage.
COLQUARRON. A man’s neck. His colquarron is just about to be twisted; he
is just going to be hanged. .
COLT. One who lets horses to highwaymen; also a boy newly initiated into
roguery; a grand or petty juryman on his first assize. .
COLTAGE. A fine or beverage paid by colts on their first entering into
COLT BOWL. Laid short of the jack by a colt bowler, i.e. a person raw or
unexperienced in the art of bowling.
COLT’S TOOTH. An old fellow who marries or keeps a young girl, is said to
have a colt’s tooth in his head.
COLT VEAL. Coarse red veal, more like the flesh of a colt than that of a
COMB. To comb one’s head; to clapperclaw, or scold any one: a woman who
lectures her husband, is said to comb his head. She combed his head with a
joint stool; she threw a stool at him.
COME. To come; to lend. Has he come it; has he lent it?
To come over any one; to cheat or over reach him.
Coming wench; a forward wench, also a breeding woman.
COMING! SO IS CHRISTMAS. Said of a person who has long been called, and at
length answers, Coming!
COMFORTABLE IMPORTANCE. A wife.
COMMISSION. A shirt. .
COMMODE. A woman’s head dress.
COMMODITY. A woman’s commodity; the private parts of a modest woman, and
the public parts of a prostitute.
COMMONS. The house of commons; the necessary house.
COMPANY. To see company; to enter into a course of prostitution.
COMPLIMENT. See CHRISTMAS.
COMUS’S COURT. A social meeting formerly held at the Half Moon tavern
CONGER. To conger; the agreement of a set or knot of booksellers of
London, that whosoever of them shall buy a good copy, the rest shall take
off such a particular number, in quires, at a stated price; also
booksellers joining to buy either a considerable or dangerous copy.
CONGO. Will you lap your congo with me? will you drink tea with me?
CONNY WABBLE. Eggs and brandy beat up together. IRISH.
CONSCIENCE KEEPER. A superior, who by his influence makes his dependants
act as he pleases.
CONTENT. The cull’s content; the man is past complaining:
a saying of a person murdered for resisting the robbers. .
CONTENT. A thick liquor, in imitation of chocolate, made of milk and
CONTRA DANCE. A dance where the dancers of the different sexes stand
opposite each other, instead of side by side, as in the minuet, rigadoon,
louvre, &c. and now corruptly called a country dance.
CONUNDRUMS. Enigmatical conceits.
CONVENIENT. A mistress.
CONVENIENCY. A necessary. A leathern conveniency, a coach.
COOPED UP. Imprisoned, confined like a fowl in a coop.
COQUET. A jilt.
CORINTH. A bawdy-house. .
CORINTHIANS: Frequenters of brothels. Also an impudent, brazen-faced
fellow, perhaps from the Corinthian brass.
CORK-BRAINED. Light-headed, foolish.
CORNISH HUG. A particular lock in wrestling, peculiar to the people of
CORNY-FACED. A very red pimpled face.
CORPORAL. To mount a corporal and four; to be guilty of onanism: the thumb
is the corporal, the four fingers the privates.
CORPORATION. A large belly. He has a glorious corporation; he has a very
CORPORATION. The magistrates, &c. of a corporate town. Corpus sine ratione.
Freemen of a corporation’s work; neither strong nor handsome.
COSSET. A foundling. Cosset colt or lamb; a colt or lamb brought up by
COSTARD. The head. I’ll smite your costard; I’ll give you a knock on the
COSTARD MONGER. A dealer in fruit, particularly apples.
COT, or QUOT. A man who meddles with women’s household business,
particularly in the kitchen. The punishment commonly inflicted on a quot,
is pinning a greasy dishclout to the skirts of his coat.
COVE. A man, a fellow, a rogue. The cove was bit; the rogue was outwitted.
The cove has bit the cole; the rogue has got the money. .
COVENT, or CONVENT GARDEN, vulgarly called COMMON GARDEN. Anciently, the
garden belonging to a dissolved monastery; now famous for being the chief
market in London for fruit, flowers, and herbs. The theatres are situated
near it. In its environs are many brothels, and not long ago, the lodgings
of the second order of ladies of easy virtue were either there, or in the
purlieus of Drury Lane.
COVENT GARDEN ABBESS. A bawd.
COVENT GARDEN AGUE. The venereal disease. He broke his shins against
Covent Garden rails; he caught the venereal disorder.
COVENT GARDEN NUN. A prostitute.
COVENTRY. To send one to Coventry; a punishment inflicted by officers of
the army on such of their brethren as are testy, or have been guilty of
improper behaviour, not worthy the cognizance of a court martial. The
person sent to Coventry is considered as absent; no one must speak to or
answer any question he asks, except relative to duty, under penalty of
being also sent to the same place. On a proper submission, the penitent is
recalled, and welcomed by the mess, as just returned from a journey to
COVEY. A collection of whores. What a fine covey here is, if the Devil
would but throw his net!
TO COUCH A HOGSHEAD. To lie down to sleep. .
COUNTERFEIT CRANK. A general cheat, assuming all sorts of characters; one
conterfeiting the falling sickness.
COUNTRY HARRY. A waggoner. .
COUNTRY PUT. An ignorant country fellow.
COUNTY WORK. Said of any work that advances slowly.
COURT CARD. A gay fluttering coxcomb.
COURT HOLY WATER, COURT PROMISES. Fair speeches and promises, without
COURT OF ASSISTANTS. A court often applied to by young women who marry old
COW. To sleep like a cow, with a **** at one’s a-se; said of a married
man; married men being supposed to sleep with their backs towards their
wives, according to the following proclamation:
All you that in your beds do lie, Turn to your wives, and occupy:
And when that you have done your best, Turn a-se to a-se, and take your
COW JUICE. Milk.
COW’S BABY. A calf.
COW ITCH. The product of a sort of bean, which excites an insufferable
itching, used chiefly for playing tricks.
COW’S SPOUSE. A bull.
COW’S THUMB. Done to a cow’s thumb; done exactly.
COXCOMB. Anciently, a fool. Fools, in great families, wore a cap with
bells, on the top of which was a piece of red cloth, in the shape of a
cock’s comb. At present, coxcomb signifies a fop, or vain self-conceited
CRAB. To catch a crab; to fall backwards by missing one’s stroke in
CRAB LANTHORN. A peevish fellow.
CRAB LOUSE. A species of louse peculiar to the human body; the male is
denominated a cock, the female a hen.
CRAB SHELLS. Shoes. IRISH.
CRABS. A losing throw to the main at hazard.
CRABBED. Sour, ill-tempered, difficult.
CRACK. A whore.
TO CRACK. To boast or brag; also to break. I cracked his napper; I broke
THE CRACK, or ALL THE CRACK. The fashionable theme, the go. The Crack Lay,
of late is used, in the language, to signify the art and mystery of
CRACKER. Crust, sea biscuit, or ammunition loaf; also the backside.
Farting crackers; breeches.
CRACKING TOOLS. Implements of house-breaking, such as a crow, a center
bit, false keys, &c.
CRACKMANS. Hedges. The cull thought to have loped by breaking through the
crackmans, but we fetched him back by a nope on the costard, which stopped
his jaw; the man thought to have escaped by breaking through the hedge,
but we brought him back by a great blow on the head, which laid him
CRACKSMAN. A house-breaker. The kiddy is a clever cracksman; the young
fellow is a very expert house-breaker.
CRAG. The neck.
CRAMP RINGS. Bolts, shackles, or fetters. .
CRAMP WORDS. Sentence of death passed on a criminal by a judge. He has
just undergone the cramp word; sentence has just been passed on him. .
CRANK. Gin and water; also, brisk, pert.
CRANK. The falling sickness. .
TO CRASH. To kill. Crash that cull; kill that fellow. .
CRASHING CHEATS. Teeth.
CRAW THUMPERS. Roman catholics, so called from their beating their breasts
in the confession of their sins. See BRISKET BEATER, and BREAST FLEET.
CREAM-POT LOVE. Such as young fellows pretend to dairymaids, to get cream
and other good things from them.
TO CREEME. To slip or slide any thing into the hands of another. .
CREEPERS. Gentlemen’s companions, lice.
CREW. A knot or gang; also a boat or ship’s company.
CRIB. A house. To crack a crib: to break open a house.
TO CRIB. To purloin, or appropriate to one’s own use, part of any thing
intrusted to one’s care.
TO FIGHT A CRIB. To make a sham fight. BEAR GARDEN TERM.
CRIBBAGE-FACED. Marked with the small pox, the pits bearing a kind of
resemblance to the holes in a cribbage-board.
CRIBBEYS, or CRIBBY ISLANDS. Blind alleys, courts, or bye-ways; perhaps
from the houses built there being cribbed out of the common way or passage;
and islands, from the similarity of sound to the Caribbee Islands.
CRIM. CON. MONEY. Damages directed by a jury to be paid by a convicted
adulterer to the injured husband, for criminal conversation with his wife.
CRIMP. A broker or factor, as a coal crimp, who disposes of the cargoes of
the Newcastle coal ships; also persons employed to trapan or kidnap
recruits for the East Indian and African companies. To crimp, or play
crimp; to play foul or booty: also a cruel manner of cutting up fish alive,
practised by the London fishmongers, in order to make it eat firm; cod,
and other crimped fish, being a favourite dish among voluptuaries and
CRINKUM CRANKUM. A woman’s commodity. See SPECTATOR.
CRINKUMS. The foul or venereal disease.
CRIPPLE. Sixpence; that piece being commonly much bent and distorted.
CRISPIN. A shoemaker: from a romance, wherein a prince of that name is
said to have exercised the art and mystery of a shoemaker, thence called
the gentle craft: or rather from the saints Crispinus and Crispianus, who
according to the legend, were brethren born at Rome, from whence they
travelled to Soissons in France, about the year 303, to propagate the
Christian religion; but, because they would not be chargeable to others
for their maintenance, they exercised the trade of shoemakers: the
governor of the town discovering them to be Christians, ordered them to be
beheaded, about the year 303; from which time they have been the tutelar
saints of the shoemakers.
CRISPIN’S HOLIDAY. Every Monday throughout the year, but most particularly
the 25th of October, being the anniversary of Crispinus and Crispianus.
CRISPIN’S LANCE. An awl.
CROAKER. One who is always foretelling some accident or misfortune: an
allusion to the croaking of a raven, supposed ominous.
CROAKUMSHIRE. Northumberland, from the particular croaking the
pronunciation of the people of that county, especially about Newcastle and
Morpeth, where they are said to be born with a burr in their throats,
which prevents their pronouncing the letter r.
CROAKERS. Forestallers, called also Kidders and Tranters.
CROCODILE’S TEARS. The tears of a hypocrite. Crocodiles are fabulously
reported to shed tears over their prey before they devour it.
CROCUS, or CROCUS METALLORUM. A nick name for a surgeon of the army and
CROKER. A groat, or four pence.
CRONE. An old ewe whose teeth are worn out; figuratively, a toothless old
CRONY. An intimate companion, a comrade; also a confederate in a robbery.
CROOK BACK. Sixpence; for the reason of this name, see CRIPPLE.
CROOK YOUR ELBOW. To crook one’s elbow, and wish it may never come
straight, if the fact then affirmed is not true—according to the casuists
of Bow-street and St. Giles’s, adds great weight and efficacy to an oath.
CROOK SHANKS. A nickname for a man with bandy legs. He buys his boots in
Crooked Lane, and his stockings in Bandy-legged Walk; his legs grew in the
night, therefore could not see to grow straight; jeering sayings of men
with crooked legs.
CROP. A nick name for a presbyterian: from their cropping their hair,
which they trimmed close to a bowl-dish, placed as a guide on their heads;
whence they were likewise called roundheads. See ROUNDHEADS.
CROP. To be knocked down for a crop; to be condemned to be hanged. Cropped,
CROPPING DRUMS. Drummers of the foot guards, or Chelsea hospital, who find
out weddings, and beat a point of war to serenade the new married couple,
and thereby obtain money.
CROPPEN. The tail. The croppen of the rotan; the tail of the cart. Croppen
ken: the necessary-house. .
CROPSICK. Sickness in the stomach, arising from drunkenness.
CROSS. To come home by weeping cross; to repent at the conclusion.
CROSS DISHONEST. A cross cove; any person who lives by stealing or in a
CROSS BITE. One who combines with a sharper to draw in a friend; also, to
counteract or disappoint. .—This is peculiarly used to signify entrapping
a man so as to obtain CRIM. COM. money, in which the wife, real or
supposed, conspires with the husband.
CROSS BUTTOCK. A particular lock or fall in the Broughtonian art, which,
as Mr. Fielding observes, conveyed more pleasant sensations to the
spectators than the patient.
CROSS PATCH. A peevish boy or girl, or rather an unsocial ill-tempered man
TO CROW. To brag, boast, or triumph. To crow over any one; to keep him in
subjection: an image drawn from a cock, who crows over a vanquished enemy.
To pluck a crow; to reprove any one for a fault committed, to settle a
dispute. To strut like a crow in a gutter; to walk proudly, or with an air
CROWD. A fiddle: probably from CROOTH, the Welch name for that instrument.
CROWDERO. A fiddler.
CROWDY. Oatmeal and water, or milk; a mess much eaten in the north.
CROW FAIR. A visitation of the clergy. See REVIEW OF THE BLACK CUIRASSIERS.
CROWN OFFICE. The head. I fired into her keel upwards; my eyes and limbs
Jack, the crown office was full; I s—k-d a woman with her a-e upwards, she
was so drunk, that her head lay on the ground.
CRUISERS. Beggars, or highway spies, who traverse the road, to give
intelligence of a booty; also rogues ready to snap up any booty that may
offer, like privateers or pirates on a cruise.
CRUMMY. Fat, fleshy. A fine crummy dame; a fat woman. He has picked up his
crumbs finely of late; he has grown very fat, or rich, of late.
CRUMP. One who helps solicitors to affidavit men, or false witnesses.—‘I
wish you had, Mrs. Crump;’ a Gloucestershire saying, in answer to a wish
for any thing; implying, you must not expect any assistance from the
speaker. It is said to have originated from the following incident:
One Mrs. Crump, the wife of a substantial farmer, dining with the old Lady
Coventry, who was extremely deaf, said to one of the footmen, waiting at
table, ‘I wish I had a draught of small beer,’ her modesty not permitting
her to desire so fine a gentleman to bring it: the fellow, conscious that
his mistress could not hear either the request or answer, replied, without
moving, ‘I wish you had, Mrs. Crump.’ These wishes being again repeated by
both parties, Mrs. Crump got up from the table to fetch it herself; and
being asked by my lady where she was going, related what had passed. The
story being told abroad, the expression became proverbial.
CRUSTY BEAU. One that uses paint and cosmetics, to obtain a fine
CRUSTY FELLOW. A surly fellow.
CUB. An unlicked cub; an unformed, ill-educated young man, a young
nobleman or gentleman on his travels: an allusion to the story of the bear,
said to bring its cub into form by licking. Also, a new gamester.
CUCKOLD. The husband of an incontinent wife: cuckolds, however, are
Christians, as we learn by the following story:
An old woman hearing a man call his dog Cuckold, reproved him sharply,
saying, ‘Sirrah, are not you ashamed to call a dog by a Christian’s name
?’ To cuckold the parson; to bed with one’s wife before she has been
CUCUMBERS. Taylors, who are jocularly said to subsist, during the summer,
chiefly on cucumbers.
CUFF. An old cuff; an old man. To cuff Jonas; said of one who is knock-kneed,
or who beats his sides to keep himself warm in frosty weather; called also
Beating the booby.
CUFFIN. A man.
CULL. A man, honest or otherwise. A bob cull; a good-natured, quiet fellow.
CULLABILITY. A disposition liable to be cheated, an unsuspecting nature,
open to imposition.
CULLY. A fog or fool: also, a dupe to women: from the Italian word
coglione, a blockhead.
CULP. A kick or blow: from the words mea culpa, being that part of the
popish liturgy at which the people beat their breasts; or, as the vulgar
term is, thump their craws.
CUNNINGHAM. A punning appellation for a simple fellow.
CUNNING MAN. A cheat, who pretends by his skill in astrology to assist
persons in recovering stolen goods: and also to tell them their fortunes,
and when, how often, and to whom they shall be married; likewise answers
all lawful questions, both by sea and land. This profession is frequently
occupied by ladies.
CUNNING SHAVER. A sharp fellow, one that trims close, i.e. cheats
CUNNY-THUMBED. To double one’s fist with the thumb inwards, like a woman.
CUP OF THE CREATURE. A cup of good liquor.
CUPBOARD LOVE. Pretended love to the cook, or any other
person, for the sake of a meal. My guts cry cupboard;
i.e. I am hungry
CUPID, BLIND CUPID. A jeering name for an ugly blind man: Cupid, the god
of love, being frequently painted blind. See BLIND CUPID.
CUR. A cut or curtailed dog. According to the forest laws, a man who had
no right to the privilege of the chase, was obliged to cut or law his dog:
among other modes of disabling him from disturbing the game, one was by
depriving him of his tail: a dog so cut was called a cut or curtailed dog,
and by contraction a cur. A cur is figuratively used to signify a surly
CURBING LAW. The act of hooking goods out of windows:
the curber is the thief, the curb the hook.
CURE A-SE. A dyachilon plaister, applied to the parts galled by riding.
CURLE. Clippings of money, which curls up in the operation. .
CURMUDGEON. A covetous old fellow, derived, according to some, from the
French term coeur mechant.
CURRY. To curry favour; to obtain the favour of a person be coaxing or
servility. To curry any one’s hide; to beat him.
CURSE OF SCOTLAND. The nine of diamonds; diamonds, it is said, imply
royalty, being ornaments to the imperial crown; and every ninth king of
Scotland has been observed for many ages, to be a tyrant and a curse to
that country. Others say it is from its similarity to the arms of Argyle;
the Duke of Argyle having been very instrumental in bringing about the
union, which, by some Scotch patriots, has been considered as detrimental
to their country.
CURSE OF GOD. A cockade.
CURSITORS. Broken petty-fogging attornies, or Newgate solicitors. .
CURTAILS. Thieves who cut off pieces of stuff hanging out of shop windows,
the tails of women’s gowns, &c.; also, thieves wearing short jackets.
CURTAIN LECTURE. A woman who scolds her husband when in bed, is said to
read him a curtain lecture.
CURTEZAN. A prostitute.
CUSHION. He has deserved the cushion; a saying of one whose wife is
brought to bed of a boy: implying, that having done his business
effectually, he may now indulge or repose himself.
CUSHION THUMPER, or DUSTER. A parson; many of whom in the fury of their
eloquence, heartily belabour their cushions.
CUSTARD CAP. The cap worn by the sword-bearer of the city of London, made
hollow at the top like a custard.
CUSTOM-HOUSE GOODS. The stock in trade of a prostitute, because fairly
CUT. Drunk. A little cut over the head; slightly intoxicated. To cut; to
leave a person or company. To cut up well; to die rich.
TO CUT. To renounce acquaintance with any one is to CUT him. There are
several species of the CUT. Such as the cut direct, the cut indirect, the
cut sublime, the cut infernal, &c. The cut direct, is to start across the
street, at the approach of the obnoxious person in order to avoid him. The
cut indirect, is to look another way, and pass without appearing to
observe him. The cut sublime, is to admire the top of King’s College
Chapel, or the beauty of the passing clouds, till he is out of sight. The
cut infernal, is to analyze the arrangement of your shoe-strings, for the
TO CUT BENE. To speak gently. To cut bene whiddes; to give good words. To
cut queer whiddes; to give foul language. To cut a bosh, or a flash; to
make a figure.
TO CUTTY-EYE. To look out of the corners of one’s eyes, to leer, to look
askance. The cull cutty-eyed at us; the fellow looked suspicious at us.
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