|WABLER. Footwabler; a contemptuous term for a foot soldier, frequently
used by those of the cavalry.
TO WADDLE. To go like a duck. To waddle out of Change alley as a lame
duck; a term for one who has not been able to pay his gaming debts, called
his differences, on the Stock Exchange, and therefore absents himself from
WAG. An arch-frolicsome fellow.
WAGGISH. Arch, gamesome, frolicsome.
WAGTAIL. A lewd woman.
WAITS. Musicians of the lower order, who in most towns play under the
windows of the chief inhabitants at midnight, a short time before
Christmas, for which they collect a christmas-box from house to house.
They are said to derive their name of waits from being always in waiting
to celebrate weddings and other joyous events happening within their
WAKE. A country feast, commonly on the anniversary of the tutelar saint of
the village, that is, the saint to whom the parish church is dedicated.
Also a custom of watching the dead, called Late Wake, in use both in
Ireland and Wales, where the corpse being deposited under a table, with a
plate of salt on its breast, the table is covered with liquor of all
sorts; and the guests, particularly, the younger part of them, amuse
themselves with all kinds of pastimes and recreations: the consequence is
generally more than replacing the departed friend.
WALKING CORNET. An ensign of foot.
WALKING POULTERER. One who steals fowls, and hawks them from door to door.
WALKING STATIONER. A hawker of pamphlets, &c.
WALKING THE PLANK. A mode of destroying devoted persons or officers in a
mutiny or ship-board, by blindfolding them, and obliging them to walk on a
plank laid over the ship’s side; by this means, as the mutineers suppose,
avoiding the penalty of murder.
WALKING UP AGAINST THE WALL. To run up a score, which in alehouses is
commonly recorded with chalk on the walls of the bar.
WALL. To walk or crawl up the wall; to be scored up at a public-nouse.
Wall-eyed, having an eye with little or no sight, all white like a
TO WAP. To copulate, to beat. If she wont wap for a winne, let her trine
for a make; if she won’t lie with a man for a penny, let her hang for a
halfpenny. Mort wap-apace; a woman of experience, or very expert at the
WARE. A woman’s ware; her commodity.
WARE HAWK. An exclamation used by thieves to inform their confederates
that some police officers are at hand.
WARM. Rich, in good circumstances. To warm, or give a man a warming; to
beat him. See CHAFED.
WARMING-PAN. A large old-fashioned watch. A Scotch warming-pan; a female
WARREN. One that is security for goods taken up on credit by extravagant
young gentlemen. Cunny warren; a girl’s boarding-school, also a
WASH. Paint for the face, or cosmetic water. Hog-wash; thick and bad beer.
WASP. An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a sting in her tail.
WASPISH. Peevish, spiteful.
WASTE. House of waste; a tavern or alehouse, where idle people waste both
their time and money.
WATCH, CHAIN, AND SEALS. A sheep’s head And pluck.
WATER-MILL. A woman’s private parts.
WATER SNEAKSMAN. A man who steals from ships or craft on the river.
WATER. His chops watered at it; he longed earnestly for it. To watch his
waters; to keep a strict watch on any one’s actions. In hot water: in
trouble, engaged in disputes.
WATER BEWITCHED. Very weak punch or beer.
WATERPAD. One that robs ships in the river Thames.
WATERY-HEADED. Apt to shed tears.
WATER SCRIGER, A doctor who prescribes from inspecting the water of his
patients. See PISS PROPHET.
WEAR A—E. A one-horse chaise.
WEASEL-FACED. Thin, meagre-faced. Weasel-gutted; thin-bodied; a weasel is
a thin long slender animal with a sharp face.
WEDDING. The emptying of a neoessary-hovise, particularly in London. You
have been at an Irish wedding, where black eyes are given instead of
favours; saying to one who has a black eye.
WEDGE. Silver plate, because melted by the receivers of stolen goods into
TO WEED. To take a part. The kiddey weeded the swell’s screens; the youth
took some of the gentleman’s bank notes.
WEEPING CROSS. To come home by weeping cross; to repent.
WELCH COMB. The thumb and four fingers.
WELCH FIDDLE. The itch. See SCOTCH FIDDLE.
WELCH MILE. Like a Welch mile, long and narrow. His story is like a Welch
mile, long and tedious.
WELCH RABBIT, [i. e. a Welch rare-bit] Bread and cheese toasted. See
RABBIT.—The Welch are said to be so remarkably fond of cheese, that in
cases of difficulty their midwives apply a piece of toasted cheese to the
janua vita to attract and entice the young Taffy, who on smelling it makes
most vigorous efforts to come forth.
WELCH EJECTMENT. To unroof the house, a method practised by landlords in
Wales to eject a bad tenant.
TO WELL. To divide unfairly. To conceal part. A phrase used by thieves,
where one of the party conceals some of the booty, instead of dividing it
fairly amongst his confederates.
WELL-HUNG. The blowen was nutts upon the kiddey because he is well-hung;
the girl is pleased with the youth because his genitals are large.
WESTMINSTER WEDDING. A match between a whore and a rogue.
WET PARSON. One who moistens his clay freely, in order to make it stick
WET QUAKER. One of that sect who has no objection to the spirit derived
WHACK. A share of a booty obtained by fraud. A paddy whack; a stout
WHAPPER. A large man or woman.
WHEEDLE. A sharper. To cut a wheedle; to decoy by fawning or insinuation.
WHEELBAND IN THE NICK. Regular drinking over the left thumb.
WHELP. An impudent whelp; a saucy boy.
WHEREAS. To follow a whereas; to become a bankrupt, to figure among
princes and potentates: the notice given in the Gazette that a commission
of bankruptcy is issued out against any trader, always beginning with the
word whereas. He will soon march in the rear of a whereas.
WHET. A morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed to whet or
sharpen the appetite.
WHETSTONE’S PARK. A lane between Holborn and Lincoln’s-inn Fields,
formerly famed for being the resort of women of the town.
TO WHIDDLE. To tell or discover. He whiddles; he peaches. He whiddles the
whole scrap; he discovers all he knows. The cull whiddled because they
would not tip him a snack: the fellow peached because they would not give
him a share, They whiddle beef, and we must brush; they cry out thieves,
and we must make off.
WHIDDLER. An informer, or one that betrays the secrets of the gang.
WHIFFLES. A relaxation of the scrotum.
WHIFFLERS. Ancient name for fifers; also persons at the universities who
examine candidates for degrees. A whiffling cur, a small yelping cur.
WHIMPER, or WHINDLE. A low cry.
TO WHINE. To complain.
WHINYARD. A sword.
TO WHIP THE COCK. A piece of sport practised at wakes, horse-races, and
fairs in Leicestershire: a cock being tied or fastened into a hat or
basket, half a dozen carters blindfolded, and armed with their cart whips,
are placed round it, who, after being turned thrice about, begin to whip
the cock, which if any one strikes so as to make it cry out, it becomes
his property; the joke is, that instead of whipping the cock they flog
each other heartily.
WHIP JACKS. The tenth order of the ing crew, rogues who having learned a
few sea terms, beg with counterfeit passes, pretending to be sailors
shipwrecked on the neighbouring coast, and on their way to the port from
whence they sailed.
TO WHIP OFF. To run away, to drink off greedily, to snatch. He whipped
away from home, went to the alehouse, where he whipped off a full tankard,
and coming back whipped off a fellow’s hat from his head.
WHIP-BELLY VENGEANCE, or pinch-gut vengeance, of which he that gets the
most has the worst share. Weak or sour beer.
WHIPPER-SNAPPER. A diminutive fellow.
WHIPSTER. A sharp or subtle fellow.
WHIPT SYLLABUB. A flimsy, frothy discourse or treatise, without solidity.
WHISKER. A great lie.
WHISKER SPLITTER. A man of intrigue.
WHISKIN. A shallow brown drinking bowl.
WHISKY. A malt spirit much drank in Ireland and Scotland; also a one-horse
chaise. See TIM WHISKY.
WHISTLE. The throat. To wet one’s whistle; to drink.
WHISTLING SHOP. Rooms in the King’s Bench and Fleet prison where drams are
WHIT. [i. e. Whittington’s.] Newgate. .—Five rum-padders are rubbed in the
darkmans out of the whit, and are piked into the deuseaville; five
highwaymen broke out of Newgate in the night, and are gone into the
WHITE RIBBIN. Gin.
WHITE FEATHER. He has a white feather; he is a coward; an allusion to a
game cock, where having a white leather is a proof he is not of the true
WHITE-LIVERED. Cowardly, malicious.
WHITE LIE. A harmless lie, one not told with a malicious intent, a lie
told to reconcile people at variance.
WHITE SERJEANT. A man fetched from the tavern or ale-house by his wife, is
said to be arrested by the white serjeant.
WHITE SWELLING. A woman big with child is said to have a white swelling.
WHITE TAPE. Geneva.
WHITE WOOL. Geneva.
WHITECHAPEL. Whitechapel portion; two smocks, and what nature gave.
Whitechapel breed; fat, ragged, and saucy: see ST. GILES’S BREED.
Whitechapel beau; one who dresses with a needle and thread, and undresses
with a knife. To play at whist Whitechapel fashion; i.e. aces and kings
WHITEWASHED. One who has taken the benefit of an act of insolvency, to
defraud his creditors, is said to have been whitewashed.
WHITFIELITE. A follower of George Whitfield, a Methodist.
WHITHER-GO-YE. A wife: wives being sometimes apt to question their
husbands whither they are going.
WHITTINGTON’S COLLEGE. Newgate; built or repaired by the famous lord mayor
of that name.
WHORE’S BIRD. A debauched fellow, the largest of all birds. He sings more
like a whore’s bird than a canary bird; said of one who has a strong manly
WHORE’S CURSE. A piece of gold coin, value five shillings and three pence,
frequently given to women of the town by such as professed always to give
gold, and who before the introduction of those pieces always gave half a
WHOHE’S KITLING, or WHORE’S SON. A bastard.
WHORE-MONGER. A man that keeps more than one mistress. A country
gentleman, who kept a female friend, being reproved by the parson of the
parish, and styled a whore-monger, asked the parson whether he had a
cheese in his house; and being answered in the affirmative, ‘Pray,’ says
he, ‘does that one cheese make you a cheese-monger?’
WHORE PIPE. The penis.
WHOW BALL. A milk-maid: from their frequent use of the word whow, to make
the cow stand still in milking. Ball is the supposed name of the cow.
WIBBLE. Bad drink.
WIBLING’S WITCH. The four of clubs: from one James Wibling, who in the
reign of King James I. grew rich by private gaming, and was commonly
observed to have that card, and never to lose a game but when he had it
WICKET. A casement; also a little door.
WIDOW’S WEEDS. Mourning clothes of a peculiar fashion, denoting her state.
A grass widow; a discarded mistress. a widow bewitched; a woman whose
husband is abroad, and said, but not certainly known, to be dead.
WIFE. A fetter fixed to one leg.
WIFE IN WATER COLOURS. A mistress, or concubine; water colours being, like
their engagements, easily effaced, or dissolved.
WIGANNOWNS. A man wearing a large wig.
WIGSBY. Wigsby; a man wearing a wig.
WILD ROGUES. Rogues trained up to stealing from their cradles.
WILD SQUIRT. A looseness.
WILD-GOOSE CHASE. A tedious uncertain pursuit, like the following a flock
of wild geese, who are remarkably shy.
WILLING TIT. A free horse, or a coming girl.
WILLOW. Poor, and of no reputation. To wear the willow; to be abandoned by
a lover or mistress.
TO WIN. To steal. The cull has won a couple of rum glimsticks; the fellow
has stolen a pair of fine candlesticks.
WIND. To raise the wind; to procure mony.
WINDER. Transportation for life. The blowen has napped a winder for a
lift; the wench is transported for life for stealing in a shop.
WIND-MILL. The fundament. She has no fortune but her mills; i.e. she has
nothing but her **** and a*se.
WINDFALL. A legacy, or any accidental accession of property.
WINDMILLS IN THE HEAD. Foolish projects.
WINDOW PEEPER. A collector of the window tax.
WINDWARD PASSAGE. One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a
WINDY. Foolish. A windy fellow; a simple fellow.
WINK. To tip one the wink; to give a signal by winking the eye.
WINNINGS. Plunder, goods, or money acquired by theft.
WINTER CRICKET. A taylor.
WINTER’S DAY. He is like a winter’s day, short and dirty.
WIPE. A blow, or reproach. I’ll give you a wipe on the chops. That story
gave him a fine wipe. Also a handkerchief.
WIPER. A handkerchief. .
WIPER DRAWER. A pickpocket, one who steals handkerchiefs. He drew a broad,
narrow, cam, or specked wiper; he picked a pocket of a broad, narrow,
cambrick, or coloured handkerchief.
TO WIREDRAW. To lengthen out or extend any book, letter, or discourse.
WISE. As wise as Waltham’s calf, that ran nine miles to suck a bull.
WISE MEN OF GOTHAM. Gotham is a village in Nottinghamshire; its
magistrates are said to have attempted to hedge in a cuckow; a bush,
called the cuckow’s bush, is still shewn in support of the tradition. A
thousand other ridiculous stories are told of the men of Gotham.
WISEACRE. A foolish conceited fellow.
WISEACRE’S HALL. Gresham college.
WIT. He has as much wit as three folks, two fools and a madman.
WITCHES. Silver. Witcher bubber; a silver bowl. Witcher tilter; a
silver-hilted sword. Witcher cully; a silversmith.
TO WOBBLE. To boil. Pot wobbler; one who boils a pot.
WOLF IN THE BREAST. An extraordinary mode of imposition, sometimes
practised in the country by strolling women, who have the knack of
counterfeiting extreme pain, pretending to have a small animal called a
wolf in their breasts, which is continually gnawing them.
WOLF IN THE STOMACH. A monstrous or canine appetite.
WOOD. In a wood; bewildered, in a maze, in a peck of troubles, puzzled, or
at a loss what course to take in any business. To look over the wood; to
ascend the pulpit, to preach: I shall look over the wood at St. James’s on
Sunday next. To look through the wood; to stand in the pillory. Up to the
arms in wood; in the pillory.
WOOD PECKER. A bystander, who bets whilst another plays.
WOODCOCK. A taylor with a long bill.
WOODEN HABEAS. A coffin. A man who dies in prison is said to go out with a
wooden habeas. He went out with a wooden habeas; i.e. his coffin.
WOODEN SPOON. (Cambridge.) The last junior optime.
See WRANGLER, OPTIME.
WOODEN HORSE. To fide the wooden horse was a military punishment formerly
in use. This horse consisted of two or more planks about eight feet long,
fixed together so as to form a sharp ridge or angle, which answered to the
body of the horse.
WOODEN RUFF. The pillory. See NORWAY NECKCLOTH.
WOODEN SURTOUT. A coilin.
WOMAN OF THE TOWN, or WOMAN OF PLEASURE. A prostitute.
WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND. A married couple, where the woman is bigger than
WOMAN’S CONSCIENCE. Never satisfied.
WOMAN OF ALL WORK. Sometimes applied to a female servant, who refuses none
of her master’s commands.
WOOLBIRD. A sheep. .
WOOL GATHERING. Your wits are gone a woolgathering; saying to an absent
man, one in a reverie, or absorbed in thought.
WOOLLEY CROWN. A soft-headed fellow.
WORD GRUBBERS. Verbal critics, and also persons who use hard words in
WORD PECKER. A punster, one who plays upon words.
WORD OF MOUTH. To drink by word of mouth, i.e. out of the bowl or bottle
instead, of a glass.
WORLD. All the world and his wife; every body, a great company.
WORM. To worm out; to obtain the knowledge of a secret by craft, also to
undermine or supplant. He is gone to the diet of worms; he is dead and
buried, or gone to Rothisbone.
WRANGLERS. At CAMBRIDGE the first class (generally of twelve) at the
annual examination for a degree. There are three classes of honours,
wranglers, senior optimes, and junior optimes. Wranglers are said to be
born with golden spoons in their mouths, the senior optimes with silver,
and the junior with leaden ones. The last junior optime is called the
wooden spoon. Those who are not qualified for honors are either in the
GULF (that is, meritorious, but not deserving of being in the three first
classes) or among the pollot
WRAP RASCAL. A red cloak, called also a roquelaire.
WRAPT UP IN WARM FLANNEL. Drunk with spirituous liquors. He was wrapt up
in the tail of his mother’s smock; saying of any one remarkable for his
success with the ladies. To be wrapt up in any one: to have a good opinion
of him, or to be under his influence.
WRINKLE. A wrinkle-bellied whore; one who has had a number of bastards:
child-bearing leaves wrinkles in a woman’s belly. To take the wrinkles out
of any one’s belly; to fill it out by a hearty meal. You have one wrinkle
more in your a-se; i.e. you have one piece of knowledge more than you had,
every fresh piece of knowledge being supposed by the vulgar naturalists to
add a wrinkle to that part.
WRY MOUTH AND A PISSEN PAIR OF BREECHES. Hanging.
WRY NECK DAY. Hanging day.
WYN. See WIN.
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