|NAB, or NAB CHEAT. A hat. Penthouse nab; a large hat.
To NAB. To seize, or catch unawares. To nab the teaze; to be privately
whipped. To nab the stoop; to stand in the pillory. To nab the rust; a
jockey term for a horse that becomes restive. To nab the snow: to steal
linen left out to bleach or dry.
To NAB GIRDER, or NOB GIRDER. A bridle.
NACK. To have a nack; to be ready at any thing, to have a turn-for it.
NAILED. Secured, fixed. He offered me a decus, and I nailed him; he
offered me a crown, and I struck or fixed him.
NANNY HOUSE. A brothel.
TO NAP. To cheat at dice by securing one chance. Also to catch the
venereal disease. You’ve napt it; you are infected.
NAPPING. To take any one napping; i.e. to come upon him unexpectedly, to
find him asleep: as, He caught him napping, as Morse caught his mare.
NAPPER. The head; also a cheat or thief.
NAPPER OF NAPS. A sheep stealer. .
NAPPY ALE. Strong ale.
NASK, or NASKIN. A prison or bridewell. The new nask;
Clerkenwell bridewell. Tothil-fields nask; the bridewell at Tothil-fields.
NATION. An abbreviation of damnation: a vulgar term used in Kent, Sussex,
and the adjacent counties, for very. Nation good; very good. A nation long
way; a very long way.
NATTY LADS. Young thieves or pickpockets. .
NATURAL. A mistress, a child; also an idiot. A natural son or daughter; a
love or merry-begotten child, a bastard.
NAVY OFFICE. The Fleet prison. Commander of the Fleet; the warden of the
NAY WORD. A bye-word, proverb.
NAZAKENE FORETOP. The foretop of a wig made in imi-tation of Christ’s head
of hair, as represented by the painters and sculptors.
NAZY. Drunken. Nazy cove or mort; a drunken rogue or harlot. Nazy nabs;
NEB, or NIB. The bill of a bird, and the slit of a pen. Figuratively, the
face and mouth of a woman; as, She holds up her neb: she holds up her
mouth to be kissed.
NECK STAMPER. The boy who collects the pots belonging to an alehouse, sent
out with beer to private houses.
NECK VERSE. Formerly the persons claiming the benefit of clergy were
obliged to read a verse in a Latin manuscript psalter: this saving them
from the gallows, was termed their neck verse: it was the first verse of
the fiftyfirst psalm, Miserere mei,&c.
NECK WEED. Hemp.
NEEDLE POINT. A sharper.
NEGLIGEE. A woman’s undressed gown, Vulgarly termed a neggledigee.
NEGROE. A black-a-moor: figuratively used for a slave.
I’ll be no man’s negro; I will be no man’s slave.
NEGROE’S HEADS. Brown leaves delivered to the ships in ordinary.
NESCIO. He sports a Nescio; he pretends not to understand any thing. After
the senate house examination for degrees, the students proceed to the
schools, to be questioned by the proctor. According to custom immemorial
the answers MUST be Nescio.
NETTLED. Teized, provoked, out of temper. He or she has pissed on a
nettle; said of one who is peevish or out of temper.
NEW COLLEGE STUDENTS. Golden scholars, silver bachelors, and leaden
NEW DROP. The scaffold used at Newgate for hanging of criminals; which
dropping down, leaves them suspended. By this improvement, the use of that
vulgar vehicle, a cart, is entirely left off.
NEW LIGHT. One of the new light; a methodist.
NEWGATE BIRD. A thief or sharper, frequently caged in Newgate.
NEWGATE SOLICITOR. A petty fogging and roguish attorney, who attends the
gaols to assist villains in evading justice.
NEWMAN’S LIFT. The gallows.
NEWMAN’S TEA GARDENS. Newgate.
NEWMAN’S HOTEL. Newgate.
To NICK. To win at dice, to hit the mark just in the nick of time, or at
the critical moment.
NICK. Old nick; the Devil.
NICKNAME. A name given in ridicule or contempt: from the French nom de
niqne. Niqne is a movement of the head to mark a contempt for any person
NICK NINNY. A simpleton.
NICKIN, NIKEY or NIZEY. A soft simple fellow; also a diminutive of Isaac.
NICKNACKS. Toys, baubles, or curiosities.
NlCKNACKATORY. A toyshop.
NICKUMPOOP, or NINCUMPOOP. A foolish fellow; also one who never saw his
NIFFYNAFFY FELLOW. A trifler.
NIG. The clippings of money. Nigging; clipping. Nigler, a clipper. .
NIGGLING. Cutting awkwardly, trifling; also accompanying with a woman.
NIGHT MAGISTRATE. A constable.
NIGHTINGALE. A soldier who, as the term is, sings out at the halberts. It
is a point of honour in some regiments, among the grenadiers, never to cry
out, become nightingales, whilst under the discipline of the cat of nine
tails; to avoid which, they chew a bullet.
NIGHTMAN. One whose business it is to empty necessary houses in London,
which is always done in the night; the operation is called a wedding. See
NIGMENOG. A very silly fellow.
TO NIM. To steal or pilfer: from the German nemen, to take. Nim a togeman;
steal a cloak.
NIMGIMMER. A physician or surgeon, particularly those who cure the
NINE LIVES. Cats are said to have nine lives, and women ten cats lives.
NINNY, or NINNYHAMMER. A simpleton.
NIP. A cheat. Bung nipper; a cutpurse.
NIP CHEESE. A nick name for the purser of a ship: from those gentlemen
being supposed sometimes to nip, or diminish, the allowance of the seamen,
in that and every other article. It is also applied to stingy persons in
NIPPERKIN. A small measure.
NIPPS. The sheers used in clipping money.
NIT SQUEEGER, i.e. SQUEEZER. A hair-dresser.
NO CATCHY NO HAVY. If I am not caught, I cannot be hurt.
NOB. A king. A man of rank.
NOB. The head.
NOBTHATCHER. A peruke-maker.
NOCK. The breech; from NOCK, a notch.
NOCKY BOY. A dull simple fellow.
NOD. He is gone to the land of nod; he is asleep.
NODDLE. The head.
NODDY. A simpleton or fool. Also a kind of low cart, with a seat before it
for the driver, used in and about Dublin, in the manner of a hackney
coach: the fare is just half that of a coach, for the same distance; so
that for sixpence one may have a set down, as it is called, of a mile and
half, and frequently a tumble down into the bargain: it is called a noddy
from the nutation of its head. Knave noddy; the old-fashioned name for the
knave of trumps.
NOISY DOG RACKET. Stealing brass knockers from doors.
NOKES. A ninny, or fool. John-a-Nokes and Tom-a-Stiles; two honest
peaceable gentlemen, repeatedly set together by the ears by lawyers of
different denominations: two fictitious names formerly used in law
proceedings, but now very seldom, having for several years past been
supplanted by two other honest peaceable gentlemen, namely, John Doe and
NOLL. Old Noll; Oliver Cromwell.
NON-CON. A nonconformist, presbyterian, or any other dissenter.
NONE-SUCH. One that is unequalled: frequently applied ironically.
NONSENSE. Melting butter in a wig.
NOOZED. Married, hanged.
NOPE. A blow: as, I took him a nope on the costard.
NORFOLK CAPON. A red herring.
NORFOLK DUMPLING. A nick name, or term of jocular reproach to a Norfolk
man; dumplings being a favourite food in that county.
NORTH ALLERTONS. Spurs; that place, like Rippon, being famous for making
NORTHUMBERLAND. Lord Northumberland’s arms; a black eye: so called in the
NORWAY NECKCLOTH. The pillory, usually made of Norway fir.
NOSE. As plain as the nose on your face; evidently to be seen. He is led
by the nose; he is governed. To follow one’s nose; to go strait forward.
To put one’s nose out of joint; to rival one in the favour of any person.
To make a bridge of any one’s nose; to pass by him in drinking. To nose a
stink; to smell it. He cut off his nose to be revenged of his face; said
of one who, to be revenged on his neighbour, has materially injured
NOSE. A man who informs or turns king’s evidence.
TO NOSE. To give evidence. To inform. His pall nosed and he was twisted
for a crack; his confederate turned king’s evidence, and he was hanged for
TO NOSE. To bully.
NOSE BAG. A bag fastened to the horse’s head, in which the soldiers of the
cavalry put the oats given to their horses: whence the saying, I see the
hose bag in his face; i.e. he has been a private man, or rode private.
NOSE GENT. A nun.
NOSTRUM. A medicine prepared by particular persons only, a quack medicine.
NOTCH. The private parts of a woman.
NOTE. He changed his note; he told another sort of a story.
NOUS-BOX. The head.
NOZZLE. The nose of a man or woman.
NUB. The neck; also coition.
NUBBING. Hanging. Nubbing cheat: the gallows. Nubbing cove; the hangman.
Nubbing ken; the sessions house.
NUG. An endearing word: as, My dear nug; my dear love.
NUGGING DRESS. An out-of-the-way old-fashioned dress, or rather a loose
kind of dress, denoting a courtesan.
NUGGING-HOUSE. A brothel.
TO NULL. To beat: as, He nulled him heartily.
NUMBERS. To consult the book of numbers: a term used in the House of
Commons, when, instead of answering or confuting a pressing argument, the
minister calls for a division, i.e. puts the matter to the vote.
NUMBSCULL. A stupid fellow.
NUMMS. A sham collar, to be worn over a dirty shirt.
NUNNERY. A bawdy house.
TO NURSE. To cheat: as, they nursed him out of it. An estate in the hands
of trustees, for the payment of bdebts, is said to be at nurse.
NUTS. It was nuts for them; i.e. it was very agreeable to them.
NUTS. Fond; pleased. She’s nuts upon her cull; she’s pleased with her
cully. The cove’s nutting the blowen; the man is trying to please the
NUTCRACKERS. The pillory: as, The cull peeped through the nutcrackers.
NYP, or NIP. A half pint, a nip of ale: whence the nipperkin, a small
NYP SHOP. The Peacock in Gray’s Inn Lane, where Burton ale is sold in nyps.
NYPPER. A cut-purse: so called by one Wotton, who in the year 1585 kept an
academy for the education and perfection of pickpockets and cut-purses:
his school was near Billingsgate, London. As in the dress of ancient times
many people wore their purses at their girdles, cutting them was a branch
of the light-fingered art, which is now lost, though the name remains.
Maitland, from Stow, gives the following account of this Wotton:
This man was a gentleman born, and sometime a merchant of good credit, but
fallen by time into decay: he kept an alehouse near Smart’s Key, near
Billingsgate, afterwards for some misdemeanor put down. He reared up a new
trade of life, and in the same house he procured all the cut-purses about
the city, to repair to his house; there was a school-house set up to learn
young boys to cut purses: two devices were hung up; one was a pocket, and
another was a purse; the pocket had in it certain counters, and was hung
about with hawks bells, and over the top did hang a little sacring bell.
The purse had silver in it; and he that could take out a counter, without
noise of any of the bells, was adjudged a judicial NYPPER: according to
their terms of art, a FOYSTER was a pick-pocket; a NYPPER was a pick purse,
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