|GAB, or GOB. The mouth. Gift of the gab; a facility of speech, nimble
tongued eloquence. To blow the gab; to confess, or peach.
GAB, or GOB, STRING. A bridle.
GABBY. A foolish fellow.
GAD-SO. An exclamation said to be derived from the Italian word cazzo.
GAFF. A fair. The drop coves maced the joskins at the gaff; the
ring-droppers cheated the countryman at the fair.
TO GAFF. To game by tossing up halfpence.
GAG. An instrument used chiefly by housebreakers and thieves, for propping
open the mouth of a person robbed, thereby to prevent his calling out for
GAGE. A quart pot, or a pint; also a pipe. .
GAGE, or FOGUS. A pipe of tobacco.
GAGGERS. High and Low. Cheats, who by sham pretences, and wonderful
stories of their sufferings, impose on the credulity of well meaning
people. See RUM GAGGER.
GALIMAUFREY. A hodgepodge made up of the remnants and scraps of the
GALL. His gall is not yet broken; a saying used in prisons of a man just
brought in, who appears dejected.
GALLEY. Building the galley; a game formerly used at sea, in order to put
a trick upon a landsman, or fresh-water sailor. It being agreed to play at
that game, one sailor personates the builder, and another the merchant or
contractor: the builder first begins by laying the keel, which consists of
a number of men laid all along on their backs, one after another, that is,
head to foot; he next puts in the ribs or knees, by making a number of men
sit feet to feet, at right angles to, and on each side of, the keel: he
now fixing on the person intended to be the object of the joke, observes
he is a fierce-looking fellow, and fit for the lion; he accordingly places
him at the head, his arms being held or locked in by the two persons next
to him, representing the ribs. After several other dispositions, the
builder delivers over the galley to the contractor as complete: but he,
among other faults and objections, observes the lion is not gilt, on which
the builder or one of his assistants, runs to the head, and dipping a mop
in the excrement, thrusts it into the face of the lion.
GALLEY FOIST. A city barge, used formerly on the lord mayor’s day, when he
was sworn in at Westminster.
GALLIED. Hurried, vexed, over-fatigued, perhaps like a galley slave.
GALLIPOT. A nick namefor an apothecary,
GALLORE, or GOLORE. Plenty.
GALLOPER. A blood horse. A hunter. The toby gill clapped his bleeders to
his galloper and tipped the straps the double. The highwayman spurred his
horse and got away from the officers.
GALLOWS BIRD. A grief, or pickpocket; also one that associates with them.
GAMES. Thin, ill-shapped legs: a corruption of the French word jambes.
Fancy gambs; sore or swelled legs.
GAMBADOES. Leathern cases of stiff leather, used in Devonshire instead of
boots; they are fastened to the saddle, and admit the leg, shoe and all:
the .name was at first jocularly given.
GAMBLER. A sharper, of tricking, gamester.
GAME. Any mode of robbing. The toby is now a queer game; to rob on the
highway is now a bad mode of acting. This observation is frequently made
by thieves; the roads being now so well guarded by the horse patrole; and
gentlemen travel with little cash in their pockets.
GAME. Bubbles or pigeons drawn in to be cheated. Also, at bawdy-houses,
lewd women. Mother have you any game; mother, have you any girls? To die
game; to suffer at the gallows without shewing any signs of fear or
repentance. Game pullet; a young whore, or forward girl in the way of
GAMON. To humbug. To deceive, To tell lies. What rum gamon the old file
pitched to the flat; how finely the knowing old fellow humbugged the fool.
GAMON AND PATTER. Common place talk of any profession; as the gamon and
patter of a horse-dealer, sailor, &c.
GAN. The mouth or lips. .
GANDER MONTH. That month in which a man’s wife-lies in: wherefore, during
that time, husbands plead a sort of indulgence in matters of gallantry.
GANG. A company of men, a body of sailors, a knot of thieves, pickpockets,
&c. A gang of sheep trotters; the four feet of a sheep.
GAOLER’S COACH. A hurdle: traitors being usually conveyed from the gaol,
to the place of execution, on a hurdle or sledge.
GAP STOPPER. A whoremaster.
GAPESEED. Sights; any thing to feed the eye. I am come abroad for a little
GARNISH. An entrance fee demanded by the old prisoners of one just
committed to gaol.
GARRET, or UPPER STORY. The head. His garret, or upper story, is empty, or
unfurnished; i.e. he has no brains, he is a fool.
GARRET ELECTION. A ludicrous ceremony, practised every new parliament: it
consists of a mock election of two members to represent the borough of
Garret (a few straggling cottages near Wandsworth in Surry); the
qualification of a voter is, having enjoyed a woman in the open air within
that district: the candidates are commonly fellows of low humour, who
dress themselves up in a ridiculous manner. As this brings a prodigious
concourse of people to Wandsworth, the publicans of that place jointly
contribute to the expence, which is sometimes considerable.
GAWKEY. A tall, thin, awkward young man or woman.
GAYING INSTRUMENT. The penis.
GAZEBO. An elevated observatory or summer-house.
GEE. It won’t gee; it won’t hit or do, it does not suit or fit.
GELDING. An eunuch.
GELT. Money, GERMAN.—Also, castrated.
GENTLE CRAFT. The art of shoeniaking. One of the gentle craft: a
shoemaker: so called because once practised by St. Crispin.
GENTLEMAN COMMONER. An empty bottle; an university joke, gentlemen
commoners not being deemed over full of learning.
GENTLEMAN’S COMPANION. A louse.
GENTLEMAN’S MASTER. A highway robber, because he makes a gentleman obey
his commands, i.e. stand and deliver.
GENTLEMAN OF THREE INS. In debt, in gaol, and in danger of remaining there
for life: or, in gaol, indicted, and in danger of being hanged in chains.
GENTLEMAN OF THREE OUTS. That is, without money, without wit, and without
manners: some add another out, i.e. without credit.
GENTRY COVE. A gentleman. .
GENTRY COVE KEN. A gentleman’s house. .
GENTRY MORT. A gentlewoman.
GEORGE. Yellow George; a guinea. Brown George: an ammunition loaf.
GERMAN DUCK. Haifa sheep’s head boiled with onions.
GET. One of his get; one of his offspring, or begetting.
GIB CAT. A northern name for a he cat, there commonly called Gilbert. As
melancholy as a gib cat; as melancholy as a he cat who has been
caterwauling, whence they always return scratched, hungry, and out of
spirits. Aristotle says, Omne animal post coitum est triste; to which an
anonymous author has given the following exception, preter gallum
gallinaceum, et sucerdotem gratis forniem.
GIBBERISH. The language of thieves and gypsies, called Pedlars’ French,
and St. Giles’s Greek: see ST. GILES’S GREEK. Also the mystic language of
Geber, used by chymists. Gibberish likewise means a sort of disguised
language, formed by inserting any consonant between each syllable of an
English word; in which case it is called the gibberish of the letter
inserted: if F, it is the F gibberish; if G, the G gibberish; as in the
sentence How do you do? Howg dog youg dog.
GIBBE. A horse that shrinks from the collar and will not draw.
GIBLETS. To join giblets; said of a man and woman who cohabit as husband
and wife, without being married; also to copulate.
GIBSON, or SIR JOHN GIBBON, A two-legged stool, used to support the body
of a coach whilst finishing.
GIFTS. Small white specks under the finger nails, said to portend gifts or
presents. A stingy man is said to be as full of gifts as a brazen horse of
GIFT OF THE GAB. A facility of speech.
GIGG. A nose. Snitchel his gigg; fillip his nose. Grunter’s gigg; a hog’s
snout. Gigg is also a high one-horse chaise, and a woman’s privities. To
gigg a Smithfield hank; to hamstring an over-drove ox, vulgarly called a
GIGGER. A latch, or door. Dub the gigger; open the door. Gigger dubber;
the turnkey of a jaol.
To GIGGLE. To suppress a laugh. Gigglers; wanton women.
GILES’S or ST. GILES’S BREED. Fat, ragged, and saucy;
Newton and Dyot streets, the grand head-quarters-of most of the thieves
and pickpockets about London, are in St. Giles’s Giles’s parish. St.
Giles’s Greek; the language, called also Slang, Pedlars’ French, and
GILFLURT. A proud minks, a vain capricious woman,
GILL. The abbreviation of Gillian, figuratively used for woman. Every jack
has his gill; i.e. every jack has his gillian, or female mate.
GILLS. The cheeks. To look rosy about the gills; to have a fresh
complexion. To look merry about the gills: to appear cheerful.
GILLY GAUPUS. A Scotch term for a tall awkward fellow.
GILT, or RUM DUBBER. A thief who picks locks, so called from the gilt or
picklock key: many of them are so expert, that, from the lock of a church
door to that of the smallest cabinet, they will find means to open it;
these go into reputable public houses, where, pretending business, they
contrive to get into private rooms, up stairs, where they open any bureaus
or trunks they happen to find there.
GIMBLET-EYED. Squinting, either in man or woman.
GIMCRACK, or JIMCRACK. A spruce wench; a gimcrack also means a person who
has a turn for mechanical contrivances.
GIN SPINNER. A distiller.
GINGAMBOBS. Toys, bawbles; also a man’s privities. See THINGAMBOBS.
GINGER-PATED, or GINGER-HACKLED. Red haired: a
term borrowed from the cockpit, where red cocks are
GINGERBREAD. A cake made of treacle, flour, and grated ginger; also money.
He has the gingerbread; he is rich.
GINGERBREAD WORK. Gilding and carving: these terms are particularly
applied by seamen on board Newcastle colliers, to the decorations of the
sterns and quarters of West-Indiamen, which they have the greatest joy in
GINGERLY. Softly, gently, tenderly. To go gingerly to work: to attempt a
thing gently, or cautiously.
GINNY. An instrument to lift up a great, in order to steal what is in the
GIP from gups a WOLF. A servant at college.
GIRDS. Quips, taunts, severe or biting reflections.
GIZZARD. To grumble in the gizzard; to be secretly displeased.
GLASS EYES. A nick name for one wearing spectacles.
GLAYMORE. A Highland broad-sword; from the Erse GLAY, or GLAIVE, a sword;
and MORE, great.
GLAZE. A window.
GLAZIER. One who breaks windows and shew-glasses, to steal goods exposed
for sale. Glaziers; eyes. .—
Is your father a glazier; a question asked of a lad or young man, who
stands between the speaker and the candle, or fire. If it is answered in
the negative, the rejoinder is—
I wish he was, that he might make a window through your body, to enable us
to see the fire or light.
GLIB. Smooth, slippery. Glib tongued; talkative.
GLIM. A candle, or dark lantern, used in housebreaking; also fire. To glim;
to burn in the hand. .
GLIMFENDERS. Andirons. .
GLIMFLASHY. Angry, or in a passion. .
GLIM JACK. A link-boy. .
GLIMMER. Fire. .
GLIMMERERS. Persons begging with sham licences, pretending losses by fire.
GLIMSTICK. A candlestick. .
GLOBE. Pewter. .
GLOVES. To give any one a pair of gloves; to make them a present or bribe.
To win a pair of gloves; to kiss a man whilst he sleeps: for this a pair
of gloves is due to any lady who will thus earn them.
GLUEPOT. A parson: from joining men and women together in matrimony.
GLUTTON. A term used by bruisers to signify a man who will bear a great
deal of beating.
GNARLER. A little dog that by his barking alarms the family when any
person is breaking into the house.
GO, THE. The dash. The mode. He is quite the go, he is quite varment, he
is prime, he is bang up, are synonimous expressions.
GLYBE. A writing. .
GO BETWEEN. A pimp or bawd.
GO BY THE GROUND. A little short person, man or woman.
GO SHOP. The Queen’s Head in Duke’s court, Bow street, Covent Garden;
frequented by the under players: where gin and water was sold in
three-halfpenny bowls, called Goes; the gin was called Arrack. The go, the
fashion; as, large hats are all the go.
GOADS. Those who wheedle in chapmen for horse-dealers.
GOAT. A lascivious person. Goats jigg; making the beast with two backs,
GOB. The mouth; also a bit or morsel: whence gobbets. Gift of the gob;
wide-mouthed, or one who speaks fluently, or sings well.
GOB STRING. A bridle.
GOBBLER. A turkey cock.
GODFATHER. He who pays the reckoning, or answers for the rest of
thecompany: as, Will you stand godfather, and we will take care of the
brat; i.e. repay you another time. Jurymen are also called godfathers,
because they name the crime the prisoner before them has been guilty of,
whether felony, petit larceny, &c.
GOG. All-a-gog; impatient, anxious, or desirous of a thing.
GOG AND MAGOG. Two giants, whose effigies stand on each side of the clock
in Guildhall, London; of whom there is a tradition, that, when they hear
the clock strike one, on the first of April, they will walk down from
GOGGLES. Eyes: see OGLES. Goggle eyes; large prominent eyes. To goggle; to
GOING UPON THE DUB. Going out to break open, or pick the locks of, houses.
GOLD DROPPERS. Sharpers who drop a piece of gold, which they pick up in
the presence of some unexperienced person, for whom the trap is laid, this
they pretend to have found, and, as he saw them pick it up, they invite
him to a public house to partake of it: when there, two or three of their
comrades drop in, as if by accident, and propose cards, or some other
game, when they seldom fail of stripping their prey.
GOLD FINDER. One whose employment is to empty necessary houses; called
also a tom-turd-man, and night-man: the latter, from that business being
always performed in the night.
GOLDFINCH. One who has commonly a purse full of gold.
GOLGOTHA OR THE PLACE OF SCULLS. Part of the Theatre at Oxford, where the
heads of houses sit; those gentlemen being by the wits of the university
GOLLUMPUS. A large, clumsy fellow.
GOLOSHES, i.e. Goliah’s shoes. Large leathern clogs, worn by invalids over
their ordinary shoes.
GOOD MAN. A word of various imports, according to the
place where it is spoken: in the city it means a rich man;
at Hockley in the Hole, or St. Giles’s, an expert boxer;
at a bagnio in Covent Garden, a vigorous fornicator; at
an alehouse or tavern, one who loves his pot or bottle;
and sometimes, though but rarely, a virtuous man
GOOD WOMAN. A nondescript, represented on a famous sign in St. Giles’s, in
the form of a common woman. but without a head.
GOODYER’S PIG. Like Goodyer’s pig; never well but when in mischief.
GOOSE. A taylor’s goose; a smoothing iron used to press down the seams,
for which purpose it must be heated: hence it is a jocular saying, that a
taylor, be he ever so poor, is always sure to have a goose at his fire. He
cannot say boh to a goose; a saying of a bashful or sheepish fellow.
GOOSE RIDING. A goose, whose neck is greased, being suspended by the legs
to a cord tied to two trees or high posts, a number of men on horseback,
riding full speed, attempt to pull off the head: which if they effect, the
goose is their prize. This has been practised in Derbyshire within the
memory of persons now living.
GOOSEBERRY. He played up old gooseberry among them; said of a person who.
by force or threats, suddenly puts an end to a riot or disturbance.
GOOSEBERRY-EYED. One with dull grey eyes, like boiled gooseberries.
GOOSEBERRY WIG. A large frizzled wig: perhaps from a supposed likeness to
a gooseberry bush.
GOOSECAP. A silly fellow or woman.
GORGER. A gentleman. A well dressed man. Mung kiddey. Mung the gorger; beg
child beg, of the gentleman.
GOSPEL SHOP. A church.
GOREE. Money, chiefly gold: perhaps from the traffic carried on at that
place, which is chiefly for gold dust.
GORMAGON. A monster with six eyes, three mouths, four arms, eight legs,
live on one side and three on the other, three arses, two tarses, and a
*** upon its back; a man on horseback, with a woman behind him.
GOTCH-GUTTED. Pot bellied: a gotch in Norfolk signifying a pitcher, or
large round jug.
TO GOUGE. To squeeze out a man’s eye with the thumb:
a cruel practice used by the Bostonians in America.
To GRABBLE. To seize. To grabble the bit; to seize any one’s money.
GRAFTED. Cuckolded, i.e. having horns grafted on his head.
To GRAB. To seize a man. The pigs grabbed the kiddey for a crack: the
officers, seized the youth for a burglary.
GRANNUM’S GOLD. Hoarded money: supposed to have belonged to the
grandmother of the possessor.
GRANNY. An abbreviation of grandmother.
GRAPPLE THE RAILS. A name used in Ireland for whiskey.
GRAPPLING IRONS. Handcuffs.
GRAVE DIGGER. Like a grave digger; up to the a-se in business, and don’t
know which way to turn.
GRAVY-EYED. Blear-eyed, one whose eyes have a running humour.
TO GREASE. To bribe. To grease a man in the fist; to bribe him. To grease
a fat sow in the a-se; to give to a rich man. Greasy chin; a treat given
to parish officers in part of commutation for a bastard: called also,
Eating a child.
GREAT INTIMATE. As great as shirt and shitten a-se.
GREAT JOSEPH. A surtout. .
GREEDY GUTS. A covetous or voracious person.
GREEK. St. Giles’s Greek; the slang lingo, , or gibberish.
GREEN. Doctor Green; i.e. grass: a physician, or rather medicine, found
very successful in curing most disorders to which horses are liable. My
horse is not well, I shall send him to Doctor Green.
GREEN. Young, inexperienced, unacquainted; ignorant. How green the cull
was not to stag how the old file planted the books. How ignorant the booby
was not to perceive how the old sharper placed the cards in such a manner
as to insure the game.
GREEN BAG. An attorney: those gentlemen carry their clients’ deeds in a
green bag; and, it is said, when they have no deeds to carry, frequently
fill them with an old pair of breeches, or any other trumpery, to give
themselves the appearance of business.
GREEN GOWN. To give a girl a green gown; to tumble her on the grass.
GREEN SICKNESS. The disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.
GREENHEAD. An inexperienced young man.
GREENHORN. A novice on the town, an undebauched young fellow, just
initiated into the society of bucks and bloods.
GREENWICH BARBERS. Retailers of sand from the pits at and about Greenwich,
in Kent: perhaps they are styled barbers, from their constant shaving the
GREENWICH GOOSE. A pensioner of Greenwich Hospital.
GREGORIAN TREE. The gallows: so named from Gregory Brandon, a famous
finisher of the law; to whom Sir William Segar, garter king of arms (being
imposed on by Brooke, a herald), granted a coat of arms.
GREY BEARD. Earthen jugs formerly used in public house for drawing ale:
they had the figure of a man with a large beard stamped on them; whence
probably they took the name: see BEN JONSON’S PLAYS, BARTHOLOMEW FAIR, &c.
&c. Dutch earthen jugs, used for smuggling gin on the coasts of Essex and
Suffolk, are at this time called grey beards.
GREY MARE. The grey mare is the better horse; said of a woman who governs
GREY PARSON. A farmer who rents the tithes of the rector or vicar.
GRIG. A farthing. A merry grig; a fellow as merry as a grig: an allusion
to the apparent liveliness of a grig, or young eel.
GRIM. Old Mr. Grim; death.
GRIMALKIN. A cat: mawkin signifies a hare in Scotland.
GRIN. To grin in a glass case; to be anatomized for murder:
the skeletons of many criminals are preserved in glass cases, at Surgeons’
GRINAGOG, THE CAT’S UNCLE. A foolish grinning fellow, one who grins
GRINDERS. Teeth. Gooseberry grinder; the breech. Ask bogey, the gooseberry
grinder; ask mine a-se.
TO GRIND. To have carnal knowledge of a woman.
GROATS. To save his groats; to come off handsomely: at the universities,
nine groats are deposited in the hands of an academic officer, by every
person standing for a degree; which if the depositor obtains with honour,
the groats are returned to him.
GROG. Rum and water. Grog was first introduced into the navy about the
year 1740, by Admiral Vernon, to prevent the sailors intoxicating
themselves with their allowance of rum, or spirits. Groggy, or groggified;
GROG-BLOSSOM. A carbuncle, or pimple in the face, caused by drinking.
GROGGED. A grogged horse; a foundered horse.
GROGHAM. A horse. .
GROPERS. Blind men; also midwives.
GROUND SWEAT. A grave.
GROUND SQUIRREL. A hog, or pig. SEA TERM.
GRUB. Victuals. To grub; to dine.
GRUB STREET. A street near Moorfields, formerly the supposed habitation of
many persons who wrote for the booksellers: hence a Grub-street writer
means a hackney author, who manufactures booss for the booksellers.
GRUB STREET NEWS. Lying intelligence.
TO GRUBSHITE. To make foul or dirty.
GRUMBLE. To grumble in the gizzard; to murmur or repine.
He grumbled like a bear with a sore head.
GRUMBLETONIAN. A discontented person; one who is always railing at the
times or ministry.
GRUNTER. A hog; to grunt; to groan, or complain of sickness.
GRUNTER’S GIG. A smoaked hog’s face.
GRUNTING PECK. Pork, bacon, or any kind of hog’s flesh.
GUDGEON. One easily imposed on. To gudgeon; to swallow the bait, or fall
into a trap: from the fish of that name, which is easily taken.
GULL. A simple credulous fellow, easily cheated.
GULLED. Deceived, cheated, imposed on.
GULLGROPERS. Usurers who lend money to the gamesters.
GUM. Abusive language. Come, let us have no more of your gum.
GUMMY. Clumsy: particularly applied to the ancles of men or women, and the
legs of horses.
GUMPTION, or RUM GUMPTION. Docility, comprehension, capacity.
GUN. He is in the gun; he is drunk: perhaps from an allusion to a vessel
called a gun, used for ale in the universities.
GUNDIGUTS. A fat, pursy fellow.
GUNNER’S DAUGHTER. To kiss the gunner’s daughter; to be tied to a gun and
flogged on the posteriors; a mode of punishing boys on board a ship of
GUNPOWDER. An old Woman. .
GUTS. My great guts are ready to eat my little ones; my guts begin to
think my throat’s cut; my guts curse my teeth: all expressions signifying
the party is extremely hungry.
GUTS AND GARBAGE. A very fat man or woman. More guts than brains; a silly
fellow. He has plenty of guts, but no bowels: said of a hard, merciless,
GUTFOUNDERED. Exceeding hungry.
GUT SCRAPER, or TORMENTOR of CATGUT. A fiddler.
GUTTER LANE. The throat, the swallow, the red lane.
See RED LANE.
GUTTING A QUART POT. Taking out the lining of it: i. e. drinking it off.
Gutting an oyster; eating it. Gutting a house; clearing it of its
furniture. See POULTERER.
GUY. A dark lanthorn: an allusion to Guy Faux, the principal actor in the
gunpowder plot. Stow the guy: conceal the lanthorn.
GUZZLE. Liquor. To guzzle; to drink greedily.
GUZZLE GUTS. One greedy of liquor.
GYBE, or JYBE. Any writing or pass with a seal.
GYBING. Jeering or ridiculing.
GYLES, or GILES. Hopping Giles; a nick name for a lame person: St. Giles
was the tutelar saint of cripples.
GYP. A college runner or errand-boy at Cambridge, called at Oxford a
scout. See SCOUT.
GYPSIES. A set of vagrants, who, to the great disgrace of our police, are
suffered to wander about the country. They pretend that they derive their
origin from the ancient Egyptians, who were famous for their knowledge in
astronomy and other sciences; and, under the pretence of fortune-telling,
find means to rob or defraud the ignorant and superstitious.
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