Thirty years after Dr Johnson published his great Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Francis Grose put out A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785), a compendium of slang Johnson had deemed unfit for his learned tome.
Some highlights include:
ABBESS, or LADY ABBESS. A bawd, the mistress of a brothel.
ABIGAIL. A lady’s waiting-maid.
ABRAM COVE. A cant word among thieves, signifying a naked or poor man; also a lusty, strong rogue.
ABRAM MEN. Pretended mad men.
ACE OF SPADES. A widow.
ANGLERS. Pilferers, or petty thieves, who, with a stick having a hook at the end, steal goods out of shop-windows, grates, &c.; also those who draw in or entice unwary persons to prick at the belt, or such like devices.
ANKLE. A girl who is got with child, is said to have sprained her ankle.
ARBOR VITAE. A man’s penis.
AUTEM MORT. A married woman; also a female beggar with several children hired or borrowed to excite charity.
BABES IN THE WOOD. Criminals in the stocks, or pillory.
BACON FED. Fat, greasy.
BANGING. Great; a fine banging boy.
BANTLING. A young child.
BASTARD. The child of an unmarried woman.
BAWD. A female procuress.
BEAR LEADER. A travelling tutor.
BEAU-NASTY. A slovenly fop; one finely dressed, but dirty.
BEDIZENED. Dressed out, over-dressed, or awkwardly ornamented.
BELLYFULL. A hearty beating, sufficient to make a man yield or give out. A woman with child is also said to have got her belly full.
BENE. Good–BENAR. Better.
BENE BOWSE. Good beer, or other strong liquor.
BENE COVE. A good fellow.
BENE DARKMANS. Goodnight.
BEN. A fool.
BETWATTLED. Surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses; also bewrayed.
BIDDY, or CHICK-A-BIDDY. A chicken, and figuratively a young wench.
BIENLY. Excellently. She wheedled so bienly; she coaxed or flattered so cleverly. French.
BITE. A cheat; also a woman’s privities. The cull wapt the mort’s bite; the fellow enjoyed the wench heartily.
BLACK BOX. A lawyer.
BOUNCER. A large man or woman; also a great lie.
BUCK. A blind horse; also a gay debauchee.
BUGAROCH. Comely, handsome.
BULL DOGS. Pistols.
BUNTER. A low dirty prostitute, half whore and half beggar.
BUSHEL BUBBY. A full breasted woman.
BUTTOCK. A whore.
BUTTOCK AND TONGUE. A scolding wife.
BUTTOCKING SHOP. A brothel.
BUZMAN. A pickpocket.
BUZZARD. A simple fellow. A blind buzzard: a pur-blind man or woman.
BYE BLOW. A bastard.
CACKLING FARTS. Eggs.
CADDEE. A helper. An under-strapper.
CAKE, or CAKEY. A foolish fellow.
CAPON. A castrated cock, also an eunuch.
CAPRICORNIFIED. Cuckolded, hornified.
CAPTAIN QUEERNABS. A shabby ill-dressed fellow.
CAPTAIN TOM. The leader of a mob; also the mob itself.
CARAVAN. A large sum of money; also, a person cheated of such sum.
CARBUNCLE FACE. A red face, full of pimples.
CARDINAL. A cloak in fashion about the year 1760.
CARROTS. Red hair.
CAT. A common prostitute. An old cat; a cross old woman.
CAT-HEADS. A Woman’s breasts.
CATHEDRAL. Old-fashioned. An old cathedral-bedstead, chair, &c.
CATTLE. Sad cattle: whores or gypsies. Black cattle, bugs.
CHAP. A fellow; An odd chap; A strange fellow.
CHAW BACON. A countryman. A stupid fellow.
CHEESER. A strong smelling fart.
CLANKER. A great lie.
CLOVES. Thieves, robbers, &c.
CORNY-FACED. A very red pimpled face.
COVENT GARDEN NUN. A prostitute.
CRACK. A whore.
CRUMMY. Fat, fleshy. A fine crummy dame; a fat woman. He has picked up his crumbs finely of late; he has grown very fat, or rich, of late.
DAPPER FELLOW. A smart, well-made, little man.
DICKED IN THE NOB. Silly. Crazed.
DICKEY. A sham shirt.
DIDDEYS. A woman’s breasts or bubbies.
DIRTY PUZZLE. A nasty slut.
DOG’S SOUP. Rain water.
DOWDY. A coarse, vulgar-looking woman.
DOXIES. She beggars, wenches, whores.
DRAB. A nasty, sluttish whore.
DUB LAY. Robbing houses by picking the locks.
DUB THE JIGGER. Open the door.
DUB O’ TH’ HICK. A lick on the head.
DUCK LEGS. Short legs.
DUGS. A woman’s breasts.
DUNAKER. A stealer of cows and calves.
DUSTMAN. A dead man: your father is a dustman.
EVIL. A halter. Also a wife.
EXECUTION DAY. Washing day.
FAMILY MAN. A thief or receiver of stolen goods.
FANCY MAN. A man kept by a lady for secret services.
FAT CULL. A rich fellow.
FAT HEADED. Stupid.
FAYTORS, or FATORS. Fortune tellers.
FAWNEY. A ring.
FEN. A bawd, or common prostitute.
FIZZLE. An escape backward.
FLAT COCK. A female.
FOOT PADS, or LOW PADS. Rogues who rob on foot.
FRIGATE. A well-rigged frigate; a well-dressed wench.
FUSSOCK. A lazy fat woman. An old fussock; a frowsy old woman.
FUSTY LUGGS. A beastly, sluttish woman.
GABBY. A foolish fellow.
GAWKEY. A tall, thin, awkward young man or woman.
GAYING INSTRUMENT. The penis.
GENTRY COVE. A gentleman.
GENTRY MORT. A gentlewoman.
GO BY THE GROUND. A little short person, man or woman.
GOLLUMPUS. A large, clumsy fellow.
GOOSECAP. A silly fellow or woman.
GORGER. A gentleman. A well dressed man. Mung kiddey. Mung the gorger; beg child beg, of the gentleman.
GULL. A simple credulous fellow, easily cheated.
GUNPOWDER. An old Woman.
HALF SEAS OVER. Almost drunk.
HARD AT HIS A-SE. Close after him.
HARK-YE-ING. Whispering on one side to borrow money.
HENPECKED. A husband governed by his wife, is said to be henpecked.
HEN. A woman. A cock and hen club; a club composed of men and women.
HORN WORK. Cuckold-making.
HORSE BUSS. A kiss with a loud smack; also a bite.
HORSE GODMOTHER. A large masculine woman, a gentlemanlike kind of a lady.
HORSE’S MEAL. A meal without drinking.
JEW. A tradesman who has no faith, i.e. will not give credit.
JINGLE BRAINS. A wild, thoughtless, rattling fellow.
JOB. Any robbery. To do a job; to commit some kind of robbery.
IRISH BEAUTY. A woman with two black eyes.
KIDDEYS. Young thieves.
LACED MUTTON. A prostitute.
LADYBIRDS. Light or lewd women.
LAND PIRATES. Highwaymen.
LIGHT HOUSE. A man with a red fiery nose.
LONG SHANKS. A long-legged person.
LOOBY. An awkward, ignorant fellow.
LULLY TRIGGERS. Thieves who steal wet linen.
MAWKES. A vulgar slattern.
MERRY A-SE CHRISTIAN. A whore.
MERRY-BEGOTTEN. A bastard.
MAN OF THE WORLD. A knowing man.
MILLER. A murderer.
MOLL. A whore.
MOON MEN. Gypsies.
NANNY HOUSE. A brothel.
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.
NOZZLE. The nose of a man or woman.
NUGGING-HOUSE. A brothel.
NUMBSCULL. A stupid fellow.
NUMMS. A sham collar, to be worn over a dirty shirt.
PAW PAW TRICKS. Naughty tricks: an expression used by nurses, &c. to children.
PEGO. The penis of man or beast.
PELL-MELL. Tumultuously, helter skelter, jumbled together.
PHARAOH. Strong malt liquor.
PIPER. A broken winded horse.
PISS MAKER. A great drinker, one much given to liquor.
PLUG TAIL. A man’s penis.
PLUMB. An hundred thousand pounds.
PRIGGING. Riding; also lying with a woman.
PRIGSTAR. A rival in love.
PUFF GUTS. A fat man.
PUNK. A whore; also a soldier’s trull.
QUEAN. A slut, or worthless woman, a strumpet.
RAG. A farthing.
RANK RIDER. A highwayman.
RAT. A drunken man or woman taken up by the watch, and confined in the, watch-house.
RATTLING MUMPERS. Beggars who ply coaches.
REP. A woman of reputation.
SAMMY. Foolish. Silly.
SANDY PATE. A red haired man or woman.
SAPSCULL. A simple fellow. Sappy; foolish.
SCAB. A worthless man or woman.
SCREW JAWS. A wry-mouthed man or woman.
SCROPE. A farthing.
SHOP. A prison. Shopped; confined, imprisoned.
SMABBLED, or SNABBLED. Killed in battle.
THOROUGH-GOOD-NATURED WENCH. One who being asked to sit down, will lie down.
THOROUGH GO NIMBLE. A looseness, a violent purging.
TICKLE TAIL. A rod, or schoolmaster. A man’s penis.
TRADESMEN. Thieves. Clever tradesmen; good thieves.
WATER SNEAKSMAN. A man who steals from ships or craft on the river.
WATERPAD. One that robs ships in the river Thames.
WHAPPER. A large man or woman.
WHEELBAND IN THE NICK. Regular drinking over the left thumb.
WHISKER. A great lie.
WHORE PIPE. The penis.
WIBBLE. Bad drink.
WRY NECK DAY. Hanging day.
YEA AND NAY MAN. A quaker, a simple fellow, one who
can only answer yes, or no.