|PACKET. A false report.
PACKTHREAD. To talk packthread; to use indecent language well wrapt up.
PAD. The highway, or a robber thereon; also a bed. Footpads; foot robbers.
To go out upon the pad; to go out in order to commit a robbery.
PAD BORROWERS. Horse stealers.
TO PAD THE HOOF. See To BEAT THE HOOF.
PADDINGTON FAIR DAY. An execution day, Tyburn being in the parish or
neighbourhood of Paddington. To dance the Paddington frisk; to be hanged.
PADDY. The general name for an Irishman: being the abbreviation of
Patrick, the name of the tutelar saint of that island.
PAINTER. I’ll cut your painter for you; I’ll send you off; the painter
being the ropfe that holds the boat fast to the ship. SEA TERM.
PAIR OF WINGS. Oars.
TO PALAVER. To flatter: originally an African word for a treaty, talk, or
PALLIARDS. Those whose fathers were clapperdogens, or beggars born, and
who themselves follow the same trade: the female sort beg with a number of
children, borrowing them, if they have not a sufficient number of their
own, and making them cry by pinching in order to excite charity; the males
make artificial sores on different parts of their bodies, to move
PALL. A companion. One who generally accompanies another, or who commit
PAM. The knave of clubs.
PANNIER MAN. A servant belonging to the Temple and Gray’s Inn, whose
office is to announce the dinner. This in the Temple, is done by blowing a
horn; and in Gray’s Inn proclaiming the word Manger, Manger, Manger, in
each of the three courts.
PANNY. A house. To do a panny: to rob a house. See the Sessions Papers.
Probably, panny originally meant the butler’s pantry, where the knives and
forks, spoons, &c. are usually kept The pigs frisked my panney, and nailed
my screws; the officers searched my house, and seized my picklock keys. .
PANTER. A hart: that animal is, in the Psalms, said to pant after the
fresh water-brooks. Also the human heart, which frequently pants in time
of danger. .
PANTILE SHOP. A presbyterian, or other dissenting meeting house,
frequently covered with pantiles: called also a cock-pit.
PANTLER. A butler.
PAP. Bread sauce; also the food of infants. His mouth is full of pap; he
is still a baby.
PAPER SCULL. A thin-scull’d foolish fellow.
PAPLER. Milk pottage.
PARELL. Whites of eggs, bay salt, milk, and pump water, beat together, and
poured into a vessel of wine to prevent its fretting.
PARENTHESIS. To put a man’s nose into a parenthesis: to pull it, the
fingers and thumb answering the hooks or crochets. A wooden parenthesis;
the pillory. An iron parenthesis; a prison.
PARINGS. The chippings of money. .
PARISH BULL. A parson.
PARISH. His stockings are of two parishes; i.e. they are not fellows.
PARISH SOLDIER. A jeering name for a militiaman: from substitutes being
frequently hired by the parish from which one of its inhabitants is drawn.
PARK PAILING. Teeth.
PARSON. A guide post, hand or finger post by the road side for directing
travellers: compared to a parson, because, like him, it sets people in the
right way. See GUIDE POST. He that would have luck in horse-flesh, must
kiss a parson’s wife.
PARSON’S JOURNEYMAN. A curate.
PARSON PALMER. A jocular name, or term of reproach, to one who stops the
circulation of the glass by preaching over his liquor; as it is said was
done by a parson of that name whose cellar was under his pulpit.
PARTIAL. Inclining more to one side than the other, crooked, all o’ one
PASS BANK. The place for playing at passage, cut into the ground almost
like a cock-pit. Also the stock or fund.
PASSAGE. A camp game with three dice: doublets, making up ten or more, to
pass or win; any other chances lose.
PAT. Apposite, or to the purpose.
PATE. The head. Carroty-pated; red-haired.
PATRICO, or PATER-COVE. The fifteenth rank of the ing tribe; strolling
priests that marry people under a hedge, without gospel or common prayer
book: the couple standing on each side of a dead beast, are bid to live
together till death them does part; so shaking hands, the wedding is
ended. Also any minister or parson.
PATTERING. The maundering or pert replies of servants; also talk or
palaver in order to amuse one intended to be cheated. Pattering of
prayers; the confused sound of a number of persons praying together.
TO PATTER. To talk. To patter flash; to speak flash, or the language used
by thieves. How the blowen lushes jackey, and patters flash; how the wench
drinks gin, and talks flash.
PAVIOUR’S WORKSHOP. The street.
TO PAUM. To conceal in the hand. To paum a die: to hide a die in the palm
of the hand. He paums; he cheats. Don’t pretend to paum that upon me.
PAUNCH. The belly. Some think paunch was the original name of that
facetious prince of puppets, now called Mr. Punch, as he is always
represented with a very prominent belly: though the common opinion is,
that both the name and character were taken from a celebrated Italian
comedian, called Polichenello.
PAW. A hand or foot; look at his dirty paws. Fore paw; the hand. Hind paw;
the foot. To paw; to touch or handle clumsily.
PAW PAW TRICKS. Naughty tricks: an expression used by nurses, &c. to
TO PAY. To smear over. To pay the bottom of a ship or boat; to smear it
over with pitch: The devil to pay, and no pitch hot or ready. SEA
TERM.—Also to beat: as, I will pay you as Paul paid the Ephesians, over
the face and eyes, and all your d---d jaws. To pay away; to fight
manfully, also to eat voraciously. To pay through the nose: to pay an
To PEACH. To impeach: called also to blow the gab, squeak, or turn stag.
PEAK. Any kind of lace.
PEAL. To ring a peal in a man’s ears; to scold at him: his wife rang him
such a peal!
PEAR MAKING. Taking bounties from several regiments and immediately
deserting. The cove was fined in the steel for pear making; the fellow was
imprisoned in the house of correction for taking bounties from different
PECCAVI. To cry peccavi; to acknowledge one’s self in an error, to own a
fault: from the Latin PECCAVI, I have sinned.
PECK. Victuals. Peck and booze; victuals and drink.
PECULIAR. A mistress.
PED. A basket. .
PEDLAR’S FRENCH. The language. Pedlar’s pony; a walking-stick.
To PEEL. To strip: allusion to the taking off the coat or rind of an
orange or apple.
PEEPER. A spying glass; also a looking-glass. Track up the dancers, and
pike with the peeper; whip up stairs, and run off with the looking-glass.
PEEPERS. Eyes. Single peeper, a one-eyed man.
PEEPING TOM. A nick name for a curious prying fellow; derived from an old
legendary tale, told of a taylor of Coventry, who, when Godiva countess of
Chester rode at noon quite naked through that town, in order to procure
certain immunities for the inhabitants, (notwithstanding the rest of the
people shut up their houses) shly peeped out of his window, for which he
was miraculously struck blind. His figure, peeping out of a window, is
still kept up in remembrance of the transaction.
To PEER. To look about, to be circumspect.
PEERY. Inquisitive, suspicious. The cull’s peery; that fellow suspects
something. There’s a peery, tis snitch we are observed, there’s nothing to
PEG. Old Peg; poor hard Suffolk or Yorkshire cheese. A peg is also a blow
with a straightarm: a term used by the professors of gymnastic arts. A peg
in the day-light, the victualling office, or the haltering-place; a blow
in the eye, stomach, or under the ear.
PEG TRANTUM’S. Gone to Peg Trantum’s; dead.
PEGO. The penis of man or beast.
PELL-MELL. Tumultuously, helter skelter, jumbled together.
PELT. A heat, chafe, or passion; as, What a pelt he was in! Pelt is also
the skin of several beasts.
PENANCE BOARD. The pillory.
PENNY-WISE AND POUND FOOLISH. Saving in small matters, and extravagant in
PENNYWORTH. An equivalent. A good pennyworth; cheap bargain.
PENTHOUSE NAB. A broad brimmed hat.
PEPPERED. Infected with the venereal disease.
PEPPERY. Warm, passionate.
PERKIN. Water cyder.
PERRIWINKLE. A wig.
PERSUADERS. Spurs. The kiddey clapped his persuaders to his prad but the
traps boned him; the highwayman spurred his horse hard, but the officers
PET. In a pet; in a passion or miff.
PETER. A portmanteau or cloke-bag. Biter of peters; one that makes it a
trade to steal boxes and trunks from behind stage coaches or out of
waggons. To rob Peter to pay Paul; to borrow of one man to pay another:
styled also manoeuvring the apostles.
PETER GUNNER, will kill all the birds that died last summer. A piece of
wit commonly thrown out at a person walking through a street or village
near London, with a gun in his hand.
PETER LAY. The department of stealing portmanteaus, trunks, &c.
PETER LUG. Who is Peter Lug? who lets the glass stand at his door, or
PETTICOAT HOLD. One who has an estate during his wife’s life, called the
PETTICOAT PENSIONER. One kept by a woman forsecret services.
PETTY FOGGER. A little dirty attorney, ready to undertake any litigious or
bad cause: it is derived from the French words petit vogue, of small
credit, or little reputation.
PHARAOH. Strong malt liquor.
PHILISTINES. Bailiffs, or officers of justice; also drunkards.
PHOENIX-MEN. Firemen belonging to an insurance office, which gave a badge
charged with a phoenix: these men were called likewise firedrakes.
PHOS BOTTLE. A. bottle of phosphorus: used by housebreakers to light their
lanthorns. Ding the phos; throw away the bottle of phosphorus.
PHRASE OF PAPER. Half a quarter of a sheet. See VESSEL, PHYSOG.
PHYSOG. The face. A vulgar abbreviation of physiognomy.
PHYZ. The face. Rum phyz; an odd face or countenance.
PICAROON. A pirate; also a sharper.
PICKANINY. A young child, an infant. NEGRO TERM.
PICKING. Pilfering, petty larceny.
PICKLE. An arch waggish fellow. In pickle, or in the pickling tub; in a
salivation. There are rods in brine, or pickle, for him; a punishment
awaits him, or is prepared for him. Pickle herring; the zany or merry
andrew of a mountebank. See JACK PUDDING.
PICKT HATCH. To go to the manor of pickt hatch, a name for some part of
the town noted for bawdy houses in Shakespeare’s time, and used by him in
PICKTHANK. A tale-bearer or mischief maker.
PICTURE FRAME. The sheriff’s picture frame; the gallows or pillory.
To PIDDLE. To make water: a childish expression; as, Mammy, I want to
piddle. Piddling also means trifling, or doing any thing in a small
degree: perhaps from peddling.
PIECE. A wench. A damned good or bad piece; a girl who is more or less
active and skilful in the amorous congress. Hence the (CAMBRIDGE) toast,
May we never have a PIECE (peace) that will injure the constitution. Piece
likewise means at Cambridge a close or spot of ground adjacent to any of
the colleges, as Clare-hall Piece, &c. The spot of ground before King’s
College formerly belonged to Clare-hall. While Clare Piece belonged to
King’s, the master of Clare-hall proposed a swop, which being refused by
the provost of King’s, he erected before their gates a temple of CLOACINA.
It will be unnecessary to say that his arguments were soon acceded to.
PIG. A police officer. A China street pig; a Bow-street officer. Floor the
pig and bolt; knock down the officer and run away.
PIG. Sixpence, a sow’s baby. Pig-widgeon; a simpleton. To pig together; to
lie or sleep together, two or more in a bed. Cold pig; a jocular
punishment inflicted by the maid servants, or other females of the house,
on persons lying over long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed
clothes, and leaving them to pig or lie in the cold. To buy a pig in a
poke; to purchase any thing without seeing. Pig’s eyes; small eyes.
Pigsnyes; the same: a vulgar term of endearment to a woman. He can have
boiled pig at home; a mark of being master of his own house: an allusion
to a well known poem and story. Brandy is Latin for pig and goose; an
apology for drinking a dram after either.
PIG RUNNING. A piece of game frequently practised at fairs, wakes, &c. A
large pig, whose tail is cut short, and both soaped and greased, being
turned out, is hunted by the young men and boys, and becomes the property
of him who can catch and hold him by the tail, abpve the height of his
PIGEON. A weak silly fellow easily imposed on. To pigeon; to cheat. To
milk the pigeon; to attempt impossibilities, to be put to shifts for want
of money. To fly a blue pigeon; to steal lead off a church.
PIGEONS. Sharpers, who, during the drawing of the lottery, wait ready
mounted near Guildhall, and, as soon as the first two or three numbers are
drawn, which they receive from a confederate on a card, ride with them
full speed to some distant insurance office, before fixed on, where there
is another of the gang, commonly a decent looking woman, who takes care to
be at the office before the hour of drawing: to her he secretly gives the
number, which she insures for a considerable sum: thus biting the biter.
PIGEON’S MILK. Boys and novices are frequently sent on the first of April
to buy pigeons milk.
To PIKE. To run away. Pike off; run away.
PILGRIM’S SALVE. A sirreverence, human excrement.
PILL, or PEELE GARLICK. Said originally to mean one whose skin or hair had
fallen off from some disease, chiefly the venereal one; but now commonly
used by persons speaking of themselves: as, there stood poor pill garlic:
i.e. there stood I.
PILLALOO. The Irish cry or howl at funerals.
PIMP. A male procurer, or cock bawd; also a small faggot used about London
for lighting fires, named from introducing the fire to the coals.
PIMP WHISKIN. A top trader in pimping.
PIMPLE. The head.
PIN. In or to a merry pin; almost drunk: an allusion to a sort of tankard,
formerly used in the north, having silver pegs or pins set at equal
distances from the top to the bottom: by the rules of good fellowship,
every person drinking out of one of these tankards, was to swallow the
quantity contained between two pins; if he drank more or less, he was to
continue drinking till he ended at a pin: by this means persons
unaccustomed to measure their draughts were obliged to drink the whole
tankard. Hence when a person was a little elevated with liquor, he was
said to have drunk to a merry pin.
PIN BASKET. The youngest child.
PIN MONEY. An allowance settled on a married woman for her pocket expences.
PINCH. At a pinch; on an exigency.
PINCH. To go into a tradesman’s shop under the pretence of purchasing
rings or other light articles, and while examining them to shift some up
the sleeve of the coat. Also to ask for change for a guinea, and when the
silver is received, to change some of the good shillings for bad ones;
then suddenly pretending to recollect that you had sufficient silver to
pay the bill, ask for the guinea again, and return the change, by which
means several bad shillings are passed.
To PINCH ON THE PARSON’S SIDE. To defraud the parson of his tithe.
PINCHERS. Rogues who, in changing money, by dexterity of hand frequently
secrete two or three shillings out of the change of a guinea. This species
of roguery is called the pinch, or pinching lay.
To PINK. To stab or wound with a small sword: probably derived from the
holes formerly cut in both men and women’s clothes, called pinking. Pink
of the fashion; the top of the mode. To pink and wink; frequently winking
the eyes through a weakness in them.
PINKING-DINDEE. A sweater or mohawk. IRISH.
PINS. Legs. Queer pins; ill shapen legs.
PIPER. A broken winded horse.
PISS. He will piss when he can’t whistle; he will be hanged. He shall not
piss my money against the wall; he shall not have my money to spend in
PISS-BURNED. Discoloured: commonly applied to a discoloured grey wig.
PISS MAKER. A great drinker, one much given to liquor.
PISS POT HALL. A house at Clapton, near Hackney, built by a potter chiefly
out of the profits of chamber pots, in the bottom of which the portrait of
Dr. Sacheverel was depicted.
PISS PROPHET. A physician who judges of the diseases of his patients
solely by the inspection of their urine.
PISS-PROUD. Having a false erection. That old fellow thought he had an
erection, but his—was only piss-proud; said of any old fellow who marries
a young wife.
PISSING DOWN ANY ONE’S BACK. Flattering him.
PISSING PINS AND NEEDLES. To have a gonorrhea.
PIT. A watch fob. He drew a rare thimble from the swell’s pit. He took a
handsome watch from the gentleman’s fob.
PIT. To lay pit and boxes into one; an operation in midwifery or
copulation, whereby the division between the anus and vagina is cut
through, broken, and demolished: a simile borrowed from the playhouse,
when, for the benefit of some favourite player, the pit and boxes are laid
together. The pit is also the hole under the gallows, where poor rogues
unable to pay the fees are buried.
PITT’S PICTURE. A window stopt up on the inside, to save
the tax imposed in that gentleman’s administration. PARTY WIT
PIT-A-PAT. The palpitation of the heart: as, my heart went pit-a-pat.
Pintledy-pantledy; the same.
PITCH-KETTLED. Stuck fast, confounded.
PITCHER. The miraculous pitcher, that holds water with the mouth
downwards: a woman’s commodity. She has crack’d her pitcher or pipkin; she
has lost her maidenhead.
PLAISTER OF WARM GUTS. One warm belly’dapped to another; a receipt
frequently prescribed for different disorders.
PLANT. The place in the house of the fence where stolen goods are
secreted. Any place where stolen goods are concealed.
To PLANT. To lay, place, or hide. Plant your wids and stow them; be
careful what you say, or let slip. Also to bury, as, he was planted by the
PLATE. Money, silver, prize. He is in for the plate; he has won the KEAT,
i.e. is infected with the venereal disorder: a simile drawn from hofse-racing.
When the plate fleet comes in; when money comes to hand.
PLAY. To play booty; to play with an intention to lose. To play the whole
game; to cheat. To play least in sight; to hide, or keep out of the way.
To play the devil; to be guilty of some great irregularity or
PLUCK. Courage. He wants pluck: he is a coward. Against the pluck; against
the inclination. Pluck the Ribbon; ring the bell. To pluck a crow with
one; to settle a dispute, to reprove one for some past transgression. To
pluck a rose; an expression said to be used by women for going to the
necessary house, which in the country usually stands in the garden. To
pluck also signifies to deny a degree to a candidate at one of the
universities, on account of insufficiency. The three first books of
Euclid, and as far as Quadratic Equations in Algebra, will save a man from
being plucked. These unfortunate fellows are designated by many
opprobrious appellations, such as the twelve apostles, the legion of honor,
wise men of the East, &c.
PLUG TAIL. A man’s penis.
PLUMB. An hundred thousand pounds.
PLUMMY. It is all plummy; i.e. all is right, or as it ought to be.
PLUMP. Fat, full, fleshy. Plump in the pocket; full in the pocket. To
plump; to strike, or shoot. I’ll give you a plump in the bread basket, or
the victualling office:
I’ll give you a blow in the stomach. Plump his peepers, or day-lights;
give him a blow in the eyes. He pulled out his pops and plumped him; he
drew out his pistols and shot him. A plumper; a single vote at an
election. Plump also means directly, or exactly; as, it fell plump upon
him: it fell directly upon him.
PLUMP CURRANT. I am not plump currant; I am out of sorts.
PLUMPERS. Contrivances said to be formerly worn by old maids, for filling
out a pair of shrivelled cheeks.
PLYER. A crutch; also a trader.
POINT. To stretch a point; to exceed some usual limit, to take a great
stride. Breeches were usually tied up with points, a kind of short laces,
formerly given away by the churchwardens at Whitsuntide, under the
denomination of tags: by taking a great stride these were stretched.
POISONED. Big with child: that wench is poisoned, see how her belly is
swelled. Poison-pated: red-haired.
POKE. A blow with the fist: I’ll lend you a poke. A poke likewise means a
sack: whence, to buy a pig in a poke, i.e. to buy any thing without seeing
or properly examining it.
POKER. A sword. Fore pokers; aces and kings at cards.
To burn your poker; to catch the venereal disease.
POLE. He is like a rope-dancer’s polo, lead at both ends; a saying of a
stupid sluggish fellow.
POLISH. To polish the king’s iron with one’s eyebrows; to be in gaol, and
look through the iron grated windows. To polish a bone; to eat a meal.
Come and polish a bone with me; come and eat a dinner or supper with me.
POLL. The head, jolly nob, napper, or knowledge box; also a wig.
POLT. A blow. Lend him a polt in the muns; give him a knock in the face.
TO POMMEL. To beat: originally confined to beating with the hilt of a
sword, the knob being, from its similarity to a small apple, called
pomelle; in Spanish it is still called the apple of the sword. As the
clenched fist likewise somewhat resembles an apple, perhaps that might
occasion the term pommelling to be applied to fisty-cuffs.
POMP. To save one’s pomp at whist, is to score five before the adversaries
are up, or win the game: originally derived from pimp, which is Welsh for
five; and should be, I have saved my pimp.
POMPAGINIS. Aqua pompaginis; pump water. See AQUA.
POMPKIN. A man or woman of Boston in America: from, the number of pompkins
raised and eaten by the people of that country. Pompkinshire; Boston and
PONEY. Money. Post the poney; lay down the money.
PONTIUS PILATE. A pawnbroker. Pontius Pilate’s guards, the first regiment
of foot, or Royal Scots: so intitled from their supposed great antiquity.
Pontius Pilate’s counsellor; one who like him can say, Non invenio causam,
I can find no cause. Also (Cambridge) a Mr. Shepherd of Trinity College;
who disputing with a brother parson on the comparative rapidity with which
they read the liturgy, offered to give him as far as Pontius Pilate in the
POPE. A figure burned annually every fifth of November, in memory of the
gunpowder plot, which is said to have been carried on by the papists.
POPE’S NOSE. The rump of a turkey.
POPS. Pistols. Popshop: a pawnbroker’s shop. To pop; to pawn: also to
shoot. I popped my tatler; I pawned my watch. I popt the cull; I shot the
man. His means are two pops and a galloper; that is, he is a highwayman.
POPLERS. Pottage. .
PORK. To cry pork; to give intelligence to the undertaker of a funeral;
metaphor borrowed from the raven, whose note sounds like the word pork.
Ravens are said to smell carrion at a distance.
PORKER. A hog: also a Jew.
PORRIDGE. Keep your breath to cool your porridge; i. e. held your tongue.
PORRIDGE ISLAND. An alley leading from St. Martin’s church-yard to
Round-court, chiefly inhabited by cooks, who cut off ready-dressed meat of
all sorts, and also sell soup.
POSEY, or POESY. A nosegay. I shall see you ride backwards up
Holborn-hill, with a book in one hand, and a posey in t’other; i.e. I
shall see you go to be hanged. Malefactors who piqued themselves on being
properly equipped for that occasion, had always a nosegay to smell to, and
a prayer book, although they could not read.
POSSE MOBILITATIS. The mob.
POST MASTER GENERAL. The prime minister, who has the patronage of all
posts and places.
POST NOINTER. A house painter, who occasionally paints or anoints posts.
Knight of the post; a false evidence, one ready to swear any thing for
hire. From post to pillar; backwards and forwards.
POSTILION OF THE GOSPEL. A parson who hurries over the service.
POT. The pot calls the kettle black a-se; one rogue exclaims against
POT. On the pot; i.e. at stool.
POT CONVERTS. Proselytes to the Romish church, made by the distribution of
victuals and money.
POT HUNTER. One who hunts more tor the sake of the prey than the sport.
Pot valiant; courageous from drink. Potwallopers: persons entitled to vote
in certain boroughs by having boiled a pot there.
POTATOE TRAP. The mouth. Shut your potatoe trap and give your tongue a
holiday; i.e. be silent. IRISH WIT.
POTHOOKS AND HANGEKS. A scrawl, bad writing.
POT-WABBLERS. Persons entitled to vote for members of parliament in
certain boroughs, from having boiled their pots therein. These boroughs
are called pot-wabbling boroughs.
POULAIN. A bubo. FRENCH.
POULTERER. A person that guts letters; i.e. opens them and secretes the
money. The kiddey was topped for the poultry rig; the young fellow was
hanged for secreting a letter and taking out the contents.
POUND. To beat. How the milling cove pounded the cull for being nuts on
his blowen; how the boxer beat the fellow for taking liberties with his
POUND. A prison. See LOB’S POUND. Pounded; imprisoned.
Shut up in the parson’s pound; married. POWDER
POWDER MONKEY. A boy on board a ship of war, whose business is to fetch
powder from the magazine.
POWDERING TUB. The same as pickling tub. See PICKLING TUB.
PRAD LAY. Cutting bags from behind horses. .
PRAD. A horse. The swell flashes a rum prad: the e gentleman sports a fine
PRANCER. A horse. Prancer’s nab.; a horse’s head, used as a seal to a
counterfeit pass. At the sign of the prancer’s poll, i.e. the nag’s head.
PRATE ROAST. A talkative boy.
PRATING CHEAT. The tongue.
PRATTS. Buttocks; also a tinder box. .
PRATTLE BROTH. Tea. See CHATTER BROTH, SCANDAL BROTH, &c.
PRATTLING BOX. The pulpit.
PRAY. She prays with her knees upwards; said of a woman much given to
gallantry and intrigue. At her last prayers; saying of an old maid.
PREADAMITE QUACABITES. This great and laudable society (as they termed
themselves) held their grand chapter at the Coal-hole.
P---K. The virile member.
PRICK-EARED. A prick-eared fellow; one whose ears are longer than his
hair: an appellation frequently given to puritans, who considered long
hair as the mark of the whore of Babylon.
PRICKLOUSE. A taylor.
PRIEST-CRAFT. The art of awing the laity, managing their consciences, and
diving into their pockets.
PRIEST-RIDDEN. Governed by a priest, or priests.
PRIG. A thief, a cheat: also a conceited coxcomical fellow.
PRIG NAPPER. A thief taker.
PRIGGERS. Thieves in general. Priggers of prancers; horse stealers.
Priggers of cacklers: robbers of hen-roosts.
PRIGGING. Riding; also lying with a woman.
PRIGSTAR. A rival in love.
PRIME. Bang up. Quite the thing. Excellent. Well done. She’s a prime
piece; she is very skilful in the venereal act. Prime post. She’s a prime
PRIMINAKY. I had like to be brought into a priminary; i.e. into trouble;
PRINCE PRIG. A king of the gypsies; also the head thief or receiver
PRINCES. When the majesty of the people was a favourite terra in the House
of Commons, a celebrated wit, seeing chimney sweepers dancing on a
May-day, styled them the young princes.
PRINCOD. A pincushion. SCOTCH—Also a round plump man or woman.
PRINCOX. A pert, lively, forward fellow.
PRINCUM PRANCUM. Mrs. Princum Prancum; a nice, precise, formal madam.
PRINKING. Dressing over nicely: prinked up as if he came out of a bandbox,
or fit to sit upon a cupboard’s head.
PRINT. All in print, quite neat or exact, set, screwed up.
Quite in print; set in a formal manner.
PRISCIAN. To break Priscian’s head; to write or speak false grammar.
Priscian was a famous grammarian, who flourished at Constantinople in the
year 525; and who was so devoted to his favourite study, that to speak
false Latin in his company, was as disagreeable to him as to break his
PRITTLE PRATTLE. Insignifi talk: generally applied to women and children.
PROG. Provision. Rum prog; choice provision. To prog; to be on the hunt
for provision: called in the military term to forage.
PROPERTY. To make a property of any one; to make him a conveniency, tool,
or cat’s paw; to use him as one’s own.
PROUD. Desirous of copulation. A proud bitch; a bitch at heat, or desirous
of a dog.
PROVENDER. He from whom any money is taken on the highway: perhaps
provider, or provider. .
PROPHET. The prophet; the Cock at Temple Bar: so called, in 1788, by the
bucks of the town of the inferior order.
PRUNELLA. Mr. Prunella; a parson: parson’s gowns being frequently made of
To PRY. To examine minutely into a matter or business. A prying fellow; a
man of impertinent curiosity, apt to peep and inquire into other men’s
PUBLIC MAN. A bankrupt.
PUBLIC LEDGER. A prostitute: because, like that paper, she is open to all
PUCKER. All in a pucker; in a dishabille. Also in a fright; as, she was in
a terrible pucker.
PUCKER WATER. Water impregnated with alum, or other astringents, used by
old experienced traders to counterfeit virginity.
PUDDINGS. The guts: I’ll let out your puddings.
PUDDING-HEADED FELLOW. A stupid fellow, one whose brains are all in
PUDDING SLEEVES. A parson.
PUDDING TIME. In good time, or at the beginning of a meal: pudding
formerly making the first dish. To give the crows a pudding; to die. You
must eat some cold pudding, to settle your love.
PUFF, or PUFFER. One who bids at auctions, not with an intent to buy, but
only to raise the price of the lot; for which purpose many are hired by
the proprietor of the goods on sale.
PUFF GUTS. A fat man.
PUFFING. Bidding at an auction, as above; also praising any thing above
its merits, from interested motives. The art of puffing is at present
greatly practised, and essentially necessary in all trades, professions,
and callings. To puff and blow; to be out of breath.
PUG. A Dutch pug; a kind of lap-dog, formerly much in vogue; also a
general name for a monkey.
PUG CARPENTETER. An inferior carpenter, one employed only in small jobs.
PUG DRINK. Watered cyder.
PUGNOSED, or PUGIFIED. A person with a snub or turned up nose.
PULLY HAWLY. To have a game at pully hawly; to romp with women.
PULL. To be pulled; to be arrested by a police officer. To have a pull is
to have an advantage; generally where a person has some superiority at a
game of chance or skill.
PUMP. A thin shoe. To pump; to endeavour to draw a secret from any one
without his perceiving it. Your pump is good, but your sucker is dry; said
by one to a person who is attempting to pump him. Pumping was also a
punishment for bailiffs who attempted to act in privileged places, such as
the Mint, Temple, &c. It is also a piece of discipline administered to a
pickpocket caught in the fact, when there is no pond at hand. To pump
ship; to make water, and sometimes to vomit. .
PUMP WATER. He was christened in pump water; commonly said of a person
that has a red face.
PUNCH. A liquor called by foreigners Contradiction, from its being
composed of spirits to make it strong, water to make it weak, lemon juice
to make it sour, and sugar to make it sweet. Punch is also the name of the
prince of puppets, the chief wit and support of a puppet-show. To punch
it, is a term for running away. Punchable; old passable money, anno 1695.
A girl that is ripe for man is called a punchable wench. Cobler’s Punch.
Urine with a cinder in it.
PUNK. A whore; also a soldier’s trull. See TRULL.
PUNY. Weak. A puny child; a weak little child. A puny stomach; a weak
stomach. Puny, or puisne judge; the last made judge.
PUPIL MONGERS. Persons at the universities who make it their business to
instruct and superintend a number of pupils.
PUPPY. An affected or conceited coxcomb.
PURL. Ale in which wormwood has been infused, or ale and bitters drunk
PURL ROYAL. Canary wine; with a dash of tincture of wormwood.
PURSE PROUD. One that is vain of his riches.
PURSENETS. Goods taken up at thrice their value, by young spendthrifts,
PURSER’S PUMP. A bassoon: from its likeness to a syphon, called a purser’s
PURSY, or PURSIVE. Short-breathed, or foggy, from being over fat.
PUSHING SCHOOL. A fencing school; also a brothel.
PUT. A country put; an ignorant awkward clown. To put upon any one; to
attempt to impose on him, or to make him the but of the company.
PUZZLE-CAUSE. A lawyer who has a confused understanding.
PUZZLE-TEXT. An ignorant blundering parson.
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