Friday, February 24, 2012

Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

Project Gutenberg has released a re-published free version of the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose. I thought it would be a fun to take a look at a few examples of 1811 "vulgar" language that was "[...] confined almost exclusively to the lower orders of society [...]".

Image via The Telegraph

ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. One who from drunkenness vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite to him.
ANKLE. A girl who is got with child, is said to have sprained her ankle.
APPLE DUMPLIN SHOP. A woman's bosom.
(I found this one particularly funny!)
BAPTIZED, OR CHRISTENED. Rum, brandy, or any other spirits, that have been lowered with water.
BAT. A low whore: so called from moving out like bats in the dusk of the evening.
BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE. They cursed him with bell, book, and candle; an allusion to the popish form of excommunicating and anathematizing persons who had offended the church.
BOB TAIL. A lewd woman, or one that plays with her tail; also an impotent man, or an eunuch. Tag, rag, and bobtail; a mob of all sorts of low people. To shift one's bob; to move off, or go away. To bear a bob; to join in chorus with any singers. Also a term used by the sellers of game, for a partridge.
TO BOX THE JESUIT, AND GET COCK ROACHES. A sea term for masturbation; a crime, it is said, much practised by the reverend fathers of that society.
BREECHES BIBLE. An edition of the Bible printed in 1598, wherein it is said that Adam and Eve sewed figleaves together, and made themselves breeches.
BURNING SHAME. A lighted candle stuck into the parts of a woman, certainly not intended by nature for a candlestick.
CAPRICORNIFIED. Cuckolded, hornified.
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.
CHOCOLATE. To give chocolate without sugar; to reprove.
COMING! SO IS CHRISTMAS. Said of a person who has long
  been called, and at length answers, Coming!
COMMODE. A woman's head dress.
CUP OF THE CREATURE. A cup of good liquor.
EXECUTION DAY. Washing day.
GOSPEL SHOP. A church.
HASH. To flash the hash; to vomit.
HUSSY. An abbreviation of housewife, but now always used as a term of reproach; as, How now, hussy? or She is a light hussy.
KNOCK ME DOWN. Strong ale or beer, stingo.
LAZY MAN'S LOAD. Lazy people frequently take up more than they can safely carry, to save the trouble of coming a second time.
(I'm guilty of this once and a while)
LIGHT TROOPS. Lice; the light troops are in full march; the lice are crawling about.
MARRIAGE MUSIC. The squalling and crying of children.
MUFF. The private parts of a woman. To the well wearing of your muff, mort; to the happy consummation of your marriage, girl; a health.
OIL OF GLADNESS. I will anoint you with the oil of gladness; ironically spoken for, I will beat you.
POISONED. Big with child: that wench is poisoned, see how her belly is swelled. Poison-pated: red-haired.
PUBLIC LEDGER. A prostitute: because, like that paper, she is open to all parties.
RUFFLES. Handcuffs.
SNAGGS. Large teeth; also snails.
SPLICED. Married: an allusion to joining two ropes ends by splicing.
VAMPER. Stockings.
VELVET. To tip the velvet; to put one's tongue into a woman's mouth. [...] To tip the velvet; tonguing woman. (See To Tip)
To Tip the Velvet (in a more "vulgar" manner *wink*)

VIXEN. A termagant; also a she fox, who, when she has cubs, is remarkably fierce.
WHITE SWELLING. A woman big with child is said to have a white swelling.
WORD OF MOUTH. To drink by word of mouth, i.e. out of the bowl or bottle instead, of a glass.

It is also interesting to see some words and phrases that we still use the meanings of:

ADRIFT. Loose, turned adrift, discharged.
AGAINST THE GRAIN. Unwilling. It went much against the grain with him, i.e. it was much against his inclination, or against his pluck.
BABBLE. Confused, unintelligible talk, such as was used at the building the tower of Babel.
BACON. He has saved his bacon; he has escaped. He has a good voice to beg bacon; a saying in ridicule of a bad voice.
BAGGAGE. Heavy baggage; women and children. Also a familiar epithet for a woman; as, cunning baggage, wanton baggage, &c.
BELLY. His eye was bigger than his belly; a saying of a person at a table, who takes more on his plate than he can eat.
BONES. Dice.
CADDEE. A helper. An under-strapper.
CHIP. A child. A chip of the old block; a child who either in person or sentiments resembles its father or mother.
CRIB. A house. To crack a crib: to break open a house.
CROCODILE'S TEARS. The tears of a hypocrite. Crocodiles are fabulously reported to shed tears over their prey before they devour it.
DOCK: Lie with a woman.
DUDS. Clothes.
FLABAGASTED. Confounded.
GREEN. Young, inexperienced, unacquainted; ignorant. [...]
HARP. To harp upon; to dwell upon a subject. [...]
To KICK THE BUCKET. To die. [...]
LINGO. Language. [...]
MAN OF THE WORLD. A knowing man.
NINE LIVES. Cats are said to have nine lives, and women ten cats lives.
PEEPERS. Eyes. Single peeper, a one-eyed man. [...]
SKIT. A joke. A satirical hint.
SWEET HEART. A term applicable to either the masculine or feminine gender, signifying a girl's lover, or a man's mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a heart.
TOMBOY. A romping girl, who prefers the amusement used by boys to those of her own sex.
WHISTLE. The throat. To wet one's whistle; to drink.

For more old school sexual slang, check out Mookychick's Victorian Sexual Slang Guide. Enjoy :)

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