Dictionary of slang


  • Intro

    Francis Grose's 'Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue' was first published in 1785, and is a dictionary of slang words. Grose was one of the first lexicographers to collect slang words from all corners of society, not just from the professional underworld of pickpockets and bandits. So while 'The Vulgar Tongue' includes many of the words found in earlier 'scoundrels'' dictionaries (such as Head's 'Canting Academy'), it also lists a whole range of mundane slang words such as sheepish (for bashful), carrots (for red hair), or sweet (for expert, dexterous, clever). He records many rude words, such as bum fodder (for toilet paper), or double jugg (for a man's bottom). And he includes many nicknames for food and drink - words for gin (an enormously popular drink at the time) include: blue ruin, cobblers punch, crank, diddle, frog's wine, heart's ease, lightening and drain. This page includes definitions for the words goggles (meaning eyes), and gold finder (one who cleans toilets).


    Shelfmark: 626.h.22

  • Transcript

    Dictionary of slang



    GOAT, a lascivious person; goats gigg, making the beast with two backs. Copulation.


    GOALER’S COACH, a hurdle, traytors being usually conveyed from the goal to the place of execution, on a hurdle or fledge.


    GOB, the mouth, also a bit or morsel, whence gobbets; gift of the gob, wide mouthed, or one who speaks fluently, or sings well.


    GO BETWEEN, a pimp or bawd.


    GOBBLE P-K, a rampant lustful woman,


    GOBBLER, a turkey cock.


    GOING UPON THE DUB, going out to break open or pick the locks of houses.


    GO BY THE GROUND, a little short person, man or woman.


    GOG, all-a-gog, impatient, anxious, or desirous of a thing.


    GOGGLES, eyes. See ogles. Goggle eyes, large prominent eyes; to goggle, to flare.


    GODFATHERS, a jury; to take the opinion of one’s god-fathers, to be tried before or by a jury.


    GOD PERMIT, a stage coach, from that affectation of piety, frequently to be met with in advertisements of stage coaches or wagons, where most of their undertakings are promised with if God permit, or God willing.


    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 publick house to partake of it, when there, two or three of their comrogues 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 form that business being always performed in the night.


    GOLDFINCH, one who has commonly a purse full of gold; gold; goldfinches, guineas.


    GOLLUMPUS, a large clumsey fellow.


    GOLOTHA, 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 called sculls.


    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, tho’ but rarely, a virtuous man.


    GOOD WOMAN, a non descript, represented on a famous sign in St. Giles’s in the form of a common woman, but without a head.


    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.


    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.


    GOREE, money, chiefly gold, (cast) perhaps from the traffick carried on at that place, which is chiefly for gold dust.


    GORMAGON, a monster with six eyes, three mouths, four arms, eight legs, five 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.

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