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To the army of newspaper workers in whose ranks 
the writer is proud to be enrolled this Dictionary of 
Slang is dedicated. 

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The compiler will feel greatly obliged for sugges- 
tions of slang words of new mintage, or of any pop- 
ular expressions which he may have overlooked. 

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In the preparation of this "Dictionary of 
American Slang" it has been the aim of the compiler 
to include as many as practicable of those words and 
phrases which, though they find no place in standard 
dictionaries, enter so largely into the everyday 
speech of the people. 

The United States, when it borrowed the language 
of the Mother Country, adopted also many of its 
colloquialisms and many more of its provincialisms. 
Ours is the tongue that Shakespeare spoke, and our 
inheritance includes much of the heterodox philology 
of our British cousins. Especially with respect to 
sporting and theatrical slang, and to the language 
conunon to the thief and the thief-catcher and known 
as "Thieves^ patter," the majority of words and 
phrases are as often used in one coimtry as in the 

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This work, therefore, while aiming to present a 
full list of distinctively American slang, — ^that which 
is bom of the soil — will include also the recognized 
slang words and phrases of English origin and use. 
No such collection has heretofore been made. The 
earlier English works — such as those of Grose, 
Pearce Egan and their followers, copyists and plagi- 
arists cover but a narrow field. They deal largely 
with obsolete Cant, with the no less obsolete terms 
of the prize ring, with purely Cockney and provin- 
cial idioms in which not even an antiquarian interest 
can be felt. In addition to this they are disfigured 
by vulgarisms and indecency. 

A quarter of a century ago or more John C. 
Hotten, a London publisher, issued a " Slang Dic- 
tionary," which, while a vast improvement on all 
its predecessors, was confined in its scope to English 
slang. Mr. Hotten, although as we believe, an 
American, entirely neglected the terse, distinctive, 
and epigrammatic colloquialisms of the New World. 
In his otherwise valuable work far too much space 
is devoted to the Cant of the Gipsies, to the thieves 
patter of St. Giles's clerks, and to obsolete matters 
generally. It gives an account of the hierogl)rphics 
said to be used by English beggars as a guide for 
each other; a sketch of the macaronic dialect of 
•English fashionable life in the eighteenth century; 

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and glossaries of back slang, rhyming slang and the 
alleged centre slang. Some 300 pages are aj^)or- 
tioned to definitions of slang words and phrases, and 
the average number of these to a page may be 
estimated as a dozen. In all less than 4000 defini- 
tions are given, while the present work furnishes 
over 6000. 

The present compiler holds, without the slightest 
disrespect to earlier searchers in this field, (to many 
of whom he is under great obligations) that no work 
heretofore published upon this subject meets the 
needs of the educated people of the United States 
in the present day. No dictionary of American 
slang exists, although collections of Americanisms 
have been published, one of which (that of John 
Russell Bartlett) is valuable, but does not cover the 
field of American slang. 

No English work has so much as touched upon 
the great store-house of native American slang, 
which has been bom of our development and was 
made necessary by our novel conditions. Hotten 
quotes "rumbumptious,^* "abskuze," "catawamp- 
iously," and "exflimcify" as samples of American 
slang in ordinary daily use. These are about on a 
par with the names invented in London and Paris 
for the so-called "American drinks" — the "corpse 
reviver," the "nigger-girPs smile" and the "Pride <rf 

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Columbia/' No man living in the United States 
ever heard of the one or drank of the other, or if he 
did he never lived to tell the story. 

The same authorities wha quote these unheard-of 
atrocities as representative Americanisms have failed 
in their researches to run across the words "boom' 
or "bonanza" or "boodle" now in commcm use 
here. They dignify their dandies as "swells" but 
never heard of our "dudes" although curiously 
enough the last term is simply the old gipsy word 
for clothes, now corrupted into "duds." English 
writers apparently never heard of "striking oil;" of 
a "journey up Salt River;" of a man being "in the 
soup" or of a more lucky individual "making a ten- 

Without multiplying instances it may then be 
claimed that a Slang Dictionary which shall embody 
within its covers the accepted slang of daily use in 
both the United States and Great Britain will be a 
useful book. In preparing such a work it was 
necessary to eliminate obsolete words and phrases. 
The Elizabethan dramatists bristle with the slang of 
a by-gone age, but it has been forgotten both in 
England and in this country. Much of the Gipsy 
cant is unintelligible and obsolete. The rubbishing 
back slang of the London school boy is not worth 
mention. When you know that a girl is a "Irig" 

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and a boy is a "yob" then you know all there is to 

The rhyming slang which speaks of rain as "Mary 
Jane" or "alecampane" indifferently is of no possible 
interest. As to the so called "Medical Greek," of 
which Albert Smith gave us some examples in his 
amusing novels, its distinguishing characteristic is 
that a "stint of pout" means a pint of stout, and that 
you "poke a smipe" instead of smoking a pipe. The 
alleged wit of the American newspaper humorist 
who evolves the "saccharine subsequently" as a varia- 
tion on the "sweet by-and-by" is of the same high 
order and we want none of it. For the omission 
of the indecent phrases which disfigure so many 
books upon slang no apology is needed. 

It has been attempted in this collection to include 
what may be termed the slang of the Anglo-Saxon, 
whether he dwell in London or New York, in 
Chicago or Sydney. The compilation has been the 
work of years, the information has been derived 
from books of all sorts and men of all classes, and 
the work is offered as an honestly-meant and pains- 
taking contribution to the literature of slang. So 
far as practicable the derivations of words and the 
country of their nativity have been given. But in 
dealing with slang the philologist has small oppor- 
tunity, for many of the brightest and strongest ex- 

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pressions are destitute of known parentage. It is 
to gather together under one roof these foundlings, 
such of them at least as have proven themselves 
worthy to live, that the present asylum has been 

James Maitland. 

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The abbreviations in brackets signify the original 
source of the word as (Eng.) England; (Fr.) 
France; (Ger.) Germany; (Gip.) Gipsy; (Hind.) 
Hindu; (Am.) American; (Sp.) Spanish; (P. R.) 
prize ring, etc. 

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A, B., able seaman. 

Abaft (sea term), the rear part of a ship's deck. From 
Aft, the after part. 

Abeam (sea term), used to express the position of an object 
as seen from a snip. 

Abide (Eng.), to suffer. "I cannot abide him.** 

Abisrail (Eng.), a lady's maid. Said to be from the name 
of Mrs. Masham (Abigail Hill), who, as lady-in-waiting to 
Queen Anne, distinguished herself as a mistress of intrigue. 

Aboard (Am.) <<A11 aboard" is used on American railways 
as a direction to passengers. 

Aboon (Scotch), above. 

Aboat right. ((To g^ve it to one about right'' is to give it 
to him well; thoroughly. 

Above one's bend (Am.), beyond one's power. See Too 
HIGH FOR HIS NUT. Shakespeare maJces Hamlet say, 
(*They fool me to the top of my bent." 

Above par. Stocks issued nominally at loo sometimes com- 
mand a premium and are then above par. The expression 
has been extended to other articles and means something 
superior or beyond the ordinary. 

Above snakes (Am.), tall. 

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14 ABR— ADM 

Abraham-man (Old Eng.), a vagabond; one who obtains 
money by shamming sickness. It was at one time the 
practice to allow the inmates of the Abraham Ward of 
Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam), London, to go out begging 
fcr the benefit of the hospital. Certain vagrants imposed 

on the charitable by pretending to be actu^ inmates, and ^ 

were therefore known as Abram-mbn or Sham Abra- ^ 

HAM (y. V.) - ^ 

Absquatulate (Am.), to run away. Equivalent to Ske- i 

DADDLB or Vamose, (j. v.) '-' 

According to Gunter (Am.) Anything thus done is done 

according to rule. Gunter, who lived in early colonial ^ ! 

times, was the inventor of the measuring chain named after ^ 

him, and of a slide- rule for gauging casks, which was 

adopted as the lawful measure. In England the equivalent * 

is "According to Cocker," who was a famous mathemati- l 

cian and author of a text-book on Arithmetic. Every I 

card-player knows the expression, "According to Hoyle," , 

supreme authority on games of chance. \ 

Account, of some value. See No Account. 
Acknowledge the com (Am.), to Q\yn up : to confess. 
Across lots (Am.), the most direct way; quicker than 

going around by the road. 
Adam's Ale (Eng.), water. 
Adam's Wine (Scotch), water. 
Added to the list (Eng.), a euphemism current among 

sporting writers, implymg that a horse has been added 

to the list of geldings. 
Addlepate (Eng.), a foolish person. 
Admiral of the Bed (Eng.), one whose rubicund nose 

suows his fondness for strong potations. 
Admire (Am.), is used by New Englanders in the sense of 

"wish.** "I should admire to meet Mr, Jones." MacbetWs 

banquet broke up "with most admired disorder," and the 

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ADO— ALD 15 

word is still used to express surprise or wonder. 
Adobe /Span.) Houses and walls in Arizona, New Mexico 

and otner territories are built of adobe, otherwise sun-dried 

Afeard (Old Eng.), afraid. See Macbeth^ ««What, a soldier 

and afeard I'' 
Afoot or on horseback ( Am. ) When a man does not know 

whether he is the one or the other, he is all abroad, or all 

broke up. 
Afternoon farmer (Eng.), one who puts off his work to 

the latest moment. 
Against the grain^ contrary; in opposition to one's wish; 

analogy drawn from the operations of the carpenter or 

Age, or Iklge (Am.), in the game of poker. The player 

next to the dealer holds the <<age'' and is not compeU^ to 

bet until all the players have signified their intentions. 
Aggravators(Eng.),otherwise Newgate Knockers (y. tr.), 

are greasy locks of hair twisted back from the temples, and 

much affected by London costermongers and thieves. 
AjTQArdiente (Span.), a vile species of distilled liquor, com- 
mon in Mexico. 
Ahead, forward; in advance. "Go-ahead," move on. "To 

get ahead of," to defeat 
Airy, conceited. 
Akeybo (Eng,), a phrase used as follows: "He beats 

Akeybo and Akeybo beats the devil." See Beats the 

Albany Regency (Am.), the cabal of politicians who some 

forty years ago controlled the State politics of New York 

from Albany, and who cut a considerable figure in national 

politics as well. 
Alderman (Eng.), a half crown. Also a long clay pipe, 

otherwise known as a Churchwarden (y. v.) 

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i6 ALD— ALL 

Alderman (Eng.), a large crowbar used by burglars. 

Alderman in chains (Eng.), a turkey festooned with sau- 

All any more (Am.), a provincialism for all gone. 

Alley, a large marble used by boys at play. Agate is a 
glass marble. 

All-fired (Am.), a mild form of adjuration, probably a Pur- 
itan modification of hell-fired. 

All hollow (Am. ), to beat one "all hollow" is to knock him 
out entirely. 

All In the Downs (Eng.), miserable; dull. In the Hays of 
sailing ships whole fleets were often becalmed in the Downs 
off the south-east coast of England. The sailors did not 
take kindly to a period of enforced inactivity, and were 
n^serable accordingly. 

All my eye (Eng.), an expression of incredulity. Some- 
times "AH my , eye and Betty Martin." Said to be a cor- 
ruption of an old-time invocation of St. Martin of Tours, 
•*Oh, mihi beate Martine." 

All our side (Eng.), an expression of gratification over the 
success of a school nine or a local sport. 

All out (Old Eng.), by far. "He was all out the best of the 
lot." See Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy. 

All overlsh (Eng.), feeling unwell; the premonition of 

Allow ^ Am.), is used in the United States in the sense of 
intena or expect, or even of believe. "I allow to go to 
town," or "We allowed you would be here" are common 
instances. In the ballad of "Banty Tim" Tilman Jcy says: 
" I come back here allowin' to vote as I used to do." 

All-possessed (Am.), affected by evil spirits and carrying 
on accordingly. "Swearing like all-possessed." 

All serene (Eng.), one of the many bits of street slang 
which had a brief run some years ago. It bore no 

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ALL— ANA 17 

meaning, and was applied indifferently, on all occasions. 
All sorts, the drippings of glasses in saloons, collected and 

made to do duty, after a fashion, for drinkers who are not 

too particular so long as the stuff is cheap. 
AU sorts of a man (Am.), a complimentary term equivalent 

to out-and-out; cute, eleven 
AD the go, anything on which there is a great run, whether 

it be a new book or a new style of neck-tie. See All 


AU the rage, successful; in great demand. Equivalent to 
"All the go.'' 

AU there (Eng.), first rate, or "up to the mark." May be 
said of a well-dressed woman or of a fine horse, but is 
always used as a term of approval. Superlatively it is 
rendered "all there and a ha'porth over." 

AU to pieces (Eng.), broken up. A term much in use 
among sporting men to express a break-down by a horse 
or a boat's crew in a race, 

AU to smash (Eng.), ruined; bankrupt; gone beyond re- 

AU wool and a yard wide (Am.), first-class; genuine. 

Almighty DoUar (Am.), supposed to have been introduced 
by Washington Irving, but really much older. It repre- 
sents the manner in which money rules. Ben Jonson 
speaks of "almighty gold." 

Ambition (Am.), is sometimes used instead of grudge, or^ 
spite; as, "I had an ambition against him." 

Ambitious (Am.), may mean angry or spiteful, and in New 
England signifies industrious, business-like, energetic. 

Among the missing ( Am.^, dead, absent 

Amort (Old Eng.), dead; dejected. "What, sweetheart, all 
amort?" — Taming of the Shrew. 

Anan, an English provincialism for "How?" or "What did 
you say ?" Scaiccly ever heard now-a-days. 

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i8 ANE— APP 

Anent ^Scotch), pertaining to, or about A good word, 

and oiten used in this country by writers. 
Angel (Am.), one who possesses the means and inclination 

to "stand treat.'* 
Anointed (Irish), superlative, as "an anointed scoundrel"; 

one pre-eminent among his class and deserving anointment 

as much as any other monarch. 
Anointing (Irish), a beating, especially one severe enough 

to call for the application of ointment. 

Anonyma (Eng.), a euphemism for a woman of the demi- 
monde. Incognita is also used for the same product 
of civilization. 

Ante (Am.) In the game of poker the player next to the 
dealer deposits a "chip" of an agreed value in the pool be- 
fore the cards are dealt. This is his ante, and the remain- 
ing players must also ante up if they conclude to play. 

Ante-up (Am. ), to pay. 

Antic (Old Eng.), a fool. 

Anxious seat, in the slang of the conventicle, a seat occupied 
by those who are "under conviction" but have not yet 
"found peace." Otherwise known as the Mourner's 

A 1, first-rate. Derived from the rating of ships at Lloyd's, 
and used in insurance business. 

Apartments to let (Eng, ), said in reference to one with a 
vacancy where his brains should be. "Got a tile off," or 
"rooms to rent in the top story," or "attic to let unfur- 
nished" are equivalents. 

Apple-cart (Eng.) "To upset one's apple-cart" is to knock 
him over. 

Apple-Jack, apple brandy. 

Apple-pie (Engo), in good order. 

Appro (Eng.), a contraction of approbation. English 

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ARA— ATT 19 

jewelers often sell goods <<on appro,'' i. e.j ^n sale or 

Arab. Street Arabs are the gutter-snipes, boot-blacks, news- 
boys and Gamins generally. 

Area Sneak ^£ng.), a thief who gains admittance to kitchens 
by means 01 the area or outside court of the basement. 

Argol-bargol (Scotch), to dispute; to bandy words. 

Argoty the French term for slang, in which the language is 
very rich. 

Argufy, a vulgarism f or <<to argue;'' common in England, 
less known here. 

Arkansas Toothpick (Am.), a bowie-knife. 

Aries (Scotch), earnest money; something to bind a bargain. 

Arrastra (Span.), a primitive mill for pulverizing ore. 

Arroyo (Span.), a small river or the dry bed of a stream. 
A ravine causi^ by the action of water. 

Ashepaty the Irish equivalent for Cinderella. 

Astern of the lighter, behind hand. 

At is used in a very curious way in some parts of the United 
States, as "Where are you going at?" 

At has another peculiar meaning, both in this country and in 
England. The English costermonger thrashes his wife 
because she is "always at him ;" and "keeping at" a man 
is a method of getting him to do something not unknown 
on this side the Atlantic. 

Athwart (sea term), across; as, "athwart our hawse." 

Atomy (Old Eng.), used in contempt of a small person. 
See Shakespeare's //. JCtng^ Henry /F., v. 4. 

Attic, the head. "Queer in the attic," weak-minded. 

Attic, the upper story of a building. Dr. Johnson so de- 
fined it, and in the same dictionary rendered "cock-loft" as 
"a room above the attic." 

Attic Salt, wit. 

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AactionMr (Eng.) To "tip him the auctioneer'' is to knock 
a man down. 

AuldBeckie (Scotch), the city of Edinburgh, from its 
smoky appearance. 

Aunty (Am.), a common term for an old negress. 

ATast (sea slang), go away; shut up; stop. 

Awake« or Wide-awake, knowing, understanding, or in 
other words. Fly, (^. v,) 

Awful, a useful adjective in its proper place, but used by all 
classes of English society in a very ridiculous fashion: "an 
awful fine woman"; "awfully jolly"; "awful glad". 

Ax, to ask. A g^eat favorite of the true-bom cockney. 

Axe to grind. One who takes a lively interest in some mat- 
ter not directly concerning him, is sometimes suspected of 
having an axe to grind ; u e.j of having purposes of his 
own to serve. 

Axle-greasei money; especially that used for purposes of 

• • ••• • • 

• • • • ♦ 

• • • • 

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Ba1>es, a name given to Baltimore rowdies. 
Baby, a prostitute's lover, or *» f ancy map .'* 
Baby act, «Ho plead the"; to plead infancy as a defense to a 

suit at law. Otherwise to beg off on the ground of youth 

or inexperience; to weaken. 
Bach or Batch, young men living alone and doing their 

own cooking and cleaning are said to ^^batch it"; abbrevia- 
tion of bachelor. 
Back /Eng.), to bet that a horse will win. To lay (y. v.) 

is to bet against the horse. 
Back (Eng.), to indorse a note; otherwise <<to get up 

Backbone (Am.), grit, sand, courage, moral stamina. 
Back (Eng.), *^to get one's back up," to become angry and 

ready to fight, as a cat arches its back when enraged. 
Backcap (Am.), to do one an ill-turn by speaking evil of 

him or carrying tales, or otherwise to "spoil his game." 
Back oountry (Am.) See Backwoods. 
Back-down (Am.) See Back out. 
Back-end (Eng.), that portion of the racing year after the 

close of the season proper, and when only minor races 

remain to be run. 
Back-bander (Eng.), a blow on the face with the back of 

the hand. Also to drink out of turn, or anything done 

secretly and in an underhand way. 
Backer (Eng.), one who backs a horse to win. 
Backing and filling, like ^backing water," is a metaphor 

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22 BAG— BAD 

drawn from nautical use. It means indecision; shilly- 

Backlogr (Am.), a large log used in old fire-places where 

wood is burned. It serves to support the other fuel. 
Baok-oat or Back-down^ to surrender. 
Back seat (Am.), an inferior position. Making a man take 

a back seat is setting him back; taking him down. 
Backset, a check. 
Backshish, or Backsheesh, the Eastern equivalent of the 

French four-boire or the English Tip (q. v.) 
Back talk (Am.), an impertinent answer. 
Back track (Am.) ««To take the back track'' is to retreat 
Backwater (Am.), to retreat, to abandon an undertaking. 
Backwoods (Am.), the uncleared timber country of the 

West; the confines of civilization. Termed also Back 

COUNTRY or Back settlements, as lying back from the 

earlier settled Atlantic seaboard. 

Bacon (Eng.) "To saveone^s bacon,'* to escape from a diffi- 

Bad, «*to go to the," to be ruined. 

Bad, very much used instead of badly.' "He wants it bad.** 

Bad cess to you (Irish), may trouble come upon you. See 
Bad Scran. 

Bad egg, a rascal. 

Bad form (Eng.), an]rthing incorrect; a breach of good 
taste or good manners. See Form. 

Badger (Eng.), to tease or annoy. Derived from drawing 
or baiting a badger. 

Badger game (Am.), a variety of the Panel game (^. v.) 
A woman gets a man in a compromising situation and her 
male accomplices rob him or extort money by threats. 

Badger State, Wisconsin. 

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BAD— BAI 23 

Bad lot (Eng.), a person of disreputable character. 

Bad man (Am.), a bully or bruiser; a thief. ^Bad*' is used 

in the sense of ^^hard." 
Bad medicine (Am.), said of one who is objectionable for 

any reason. Derived from the Indian ^^medicine-man's'' 

practice of making good or bad medicine; that is, helpful 

or harmful drugs accordingly as he is paid. 
Bad pilly a person of unenviable reputation. 
Bad scran to you (Irish), may you have poor food. See 

Bad to beat, difficult to beat: bad being used in the sense of 

Ba^T (Eng.), to steal or seize. Equivalent to «^grab" or to 

♦dollar*' or to "hook.*' 
Baggage (Eng,), a term of opprobium applied to a child or 

a young girl. 
Basrgasre-smasher (Am.), a railroad porter or expressman 

who takes a fiendish delight in damaging trunks. 
Bagged (Eng.), captured; arrested. 
Basrman^ the English equivalent for the American ^Hlrum- 

mer" or ^^apostle of commerce." 
Bag of tricks (Eng.) The whole of anything is spoken of 

as the "whole bag of tricks." 
Bag <Df wind (Am.), a boastful fellow. See Windbao. 
Bagrs (Eng.), trousers. Those of extravagant or "loud" 

pattern are "howling-bags." "Kicksies" is another equiva- 
lent for the American "pants," articles which Dr« Holmes 

says are worn only by "gents." 
Bags cf mystery, sausages. 
Bail (Eng.), the handle of a bucket or pidl. 
Bairn (Scotch), a child. 
Baiting (Am.), lunch in the harvest-fieldi or a feed for a 

horse on the road. 

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24 BAK— BAN 

Baked, seasoned. See Half-ba^bd. 

Baker's dozen, thirteen. The term arose from the 

practice of bakers giving one extra loaf in every twelve to 

make up for the short weight 
Balaam (Eng.), printers* term for standing matter. 
Balaam-box (Eng.J, an equivalent for the waste-box or 

basket in an editorial room. 
Bald-headed (Am.), ^to go it," is to rush things in a lively 

Bale up or Bail up, an Australian term equivalent to the 

English "shell out'* or the Western "hold up your hands." 
Balk or Baulk (Am.), where a horse refuses to go or to 

draw a vehicle. In England a balky horse is now known 

as a "jibber," although the other term was originally 

Ballast (Eng.), money. A rich man is well ballasted. A 

drunken man has too much ballast on board. 
Balmy (Eng.), sleep. One of Dick Swiveller*s pet phrases. 

Probaoly from "Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy 

Bamboozle (Gip.), to delude or cheat; sometimes used as a 

noun in the sense of a deception or "sell." 
Banagher, "that bangs Banagher and Banagher beats the 

devil." An Irish expression similar to "That bbats 

THE Dutch" (y. v.) 
Bandanna, (Eng.), a handkerchief. 
Banded (Eng.), hungry. From the practice of tying a 

strap or band around the middle or taking up a hole in the 

waist-strap when hungry. 
Bandy (Eng.), crippled; bow-legged. Applied to a bent 

Bang, to explode with a loud noise. 
Bang, a fringe of hair on the f orehead. 

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BAN— BAR 35 

BansTy to excel; also to thrash. 

Bangring, a thrashing. 

Bangr-np (Eng.), first-rate; otherwise "slap-up;" or (Am.) 

Bank (Eng.), the extent of one's wealth. At hazard and 

at other gambling games one player takes the bank against 

all the others. 
Bank, "to play" (Am.), means to play against the bank or 

gambling house. Bank also means to deposit money in a 

bank or other place of safety. To bank is also to go 

Banker (Eng.), a father. Otherwise Relieving Officer 

(^. V.) 
Banner, "carrying the." An artisan or mechanic out of 

work is said to be "carrying the banner." 
Banquette (Fr.), the sidewalk. Used in the South only. 
Bantam, a pert boy or youth. 
Bantam-weight, the lightest at which men can fight. 

Equivalent to Feather-weight (y. v.) 
Banter, a challenge. 
Bantling (Old Eng.), a child. Probably from an infant in 

"bands'* or swaddling-clothes. 
Banyan day (sea slang), a day in which no meat is served 

as rations. 
Bar (Eng. J, in betting language, to except. "Two to one, 

bar one," means that the bookmaker will lay such odds 

against any horse in a race barring the favorite. 
Barbecue (from the Spanish), an ox roasted whole at an 

open-air public entertainment. 
Barber's derk (Eng.), an opprobious term for a shop-boy 

who apes the manners and dress of one of superior station. 
Bargain, a parcel; an indefinite quantity or number. 
Bargee (Eng.), equivalent to a "canaller." The English 

Digitized by 


26 BAR 

bargee is credited with a capacity for pugilism and bad 
language which often gets him into a row with the colle- 
gians of Oxford and Cambridge* 

Barker (Eng.), a man employed at the doors of cheap 
shows and hand-me-down clothing stores. Equivalent to 
the American Capper or Steerbr (y. v.) 

Barkers or Barking-irons (Eng.), pistols. 

Barking up the wrong tree (Am.). A man is sdd to do 
this when his suspicions point in the wrong direction. 
When out ^coon-hunting the dogs sometimes make a mis- 
take of this kind. 

Barnacles (Eng.), spectacles. Possibly from binoculars. 
Blinkers (^. v.) is an equivalent. 

Bambnmersjf Am.), a politicalparty which existed in New 
York some nfty years ago. They represented the young 
Democracy, and from their desire for reform at all costs 
were compared with the farmer who burned down his 
bam to get rid of the rats. Their opponents were known 
as Hunkers {f. v.) 

Barney (Eng.), a lark or jollification* Also a crooked race 
or prize-fight; a "sell" or "cross." 

Bam-stormers (Eng.), traveling theatrical performers who 
play when and where they can. 

Barracoon (Sp.), a slave-pen or enclosure. 

Barrel (Am.), at election time candidates are currently re- 
ported to "open a barrel," presumably containing dollars, 
for the benefit of their henchmen and supporters. Mr. 
Tilden in 1876 was charged with opening a very lar^e 
barrel, the first time the word was thus used. 

Barrel (Eng.), the stomach. 

Barrens (Am.), patches of poor soil fit only for g^rowing 
small timber, as pine or oak. 

Barrikin (Gip.)^ jargon, speech. 

Digitized by 


BAS— BAW 27 

Bash (Eng. or Gipsy), to beat. Probably from the old 
word "bashing,** to beat a walnut tree with long poles. 
"Bashing a dona** is beating a woman. Bashing is also 
applied by criminals to prison floggings. 

Baste (Eng.), to beat. 
Basting (Eng.), a beating. 

Bastile (Eng.), abbreviated to " Steel **, is a generic term for 
a prison or workhouse. 

Bat (Am.), "to bat the eyes** is to wink. 

Bat (Am.), "on a bat,** on a drunk. 

Bat, to strike; " to bat a man over the head.** 

Bat (Eng.), speed in running or walking. " He went off at 
a good bat.** 

Bat (Eng.), " on his own bat,*' on his own account. Origi- 
nally a ciicketing term where a player scores so many runs 
" off his own bat,** or carries out his bat at the end of the 

Bate (Old Eng.), to abate or allow a deduction from the 

price asked. 
Bats (Eng.), a pair of dilapidated boots. 
Batta (Hindu), extra pay given to soldiers serving in India. 
Batter (Eng.), wear and tear;" on the batter,** on the streets 

or on the town. 
Battery (Am.) In base ball parlance the pitcher and 

catcher are called the battery. 
Battery (Am.), a boat used for duck shooting, otherwise 

known as a Sink box (^. v.) 
Baudrons (Scotch), a cat. "Auld Baudrons by the ingle 

sits.** — Burns. 
Baulk. See Balk ante. 
Bawcock (Old Eng.), a fine fellow. See Shakespeare, 

ICin^r Henry IV. 

Digitized by 



Bayou (Am.), a stream running out of instead of into a 
river, only possible in low, alluvial regions. 

Bay State (Am.), Massachusetts. 

Bazoo (Am.), " to blow one's" to boast or talk freely about 
oneself; to brag. In the "woolly West " there are a few 
frontier newspapers known as the ** Bazoo." 

Beach Combers (sea term), sailors on the Pacific coast. 

Beak (Eng. or Gip.), a magistrate. Ancient Cant gives 
Becky perhaps from the Saxon Beag^ a gold collar emble- 
matic of authority. 

Beak-hunter, a poultry thief ; derivation obvious. 

Beam-ends. A ship thrown over on her side and in distress 
is on her beam-ends, and the term is applied to a man in 
trouble and poverty. 

Bean-eaters, natives of Boston, Mass. 

Beanpole, a very tall man. 

Beans (Eng.), money. Probably from the French Biens^ 

Bear(fing.), a Stock Exchange speculator who sells stock 
"short" which he does not possess and who speculates for 
a decline.' See Bull. The name is probably derived from 
the old story about " sellii. ▼ the bear's hide before catching 
him," which is what the speculator for a fall actually does. 

Bearing the market, trying to depress prices by selling 
large blocks of stock, gold, grain or other objects of specu- 
lation or by disseminating reports. 

Bear-leader (Eng.), a private tutor to a young gentleman. 
As a corollary the pupil is known as a " cub." 

Bear State, Arkansas. 

Bearer-up (Eng.), a "capper" for a gambling house or 
mock-auction shop, who encourages others to speculate by 
playing or bidding-up as the case may be. 

Beat, See Dbad-bbat. 

Digitized by 


BE A— BEE 29 

Beat, the ground supposed to be traveled over by a police- 
man on duty. 

Beater-eases (Old Eng.), boots. 

Beat-hollow, to defeat entirely; to beat "out of sight'* or 
" into fits.'' 

Beat-out, tired, fagged out. 

Beats the Dutch, something extraordinary. " That beats 
the Dutch and the Dutch beats the Devil '' is the superla- 

Bean (French), a lover or sweetheart. " To beau" is to 
court or gallant a girl. 

Beaver (Eng.), an old term for a top or stove-pipe hatfUOw 
made of silk, but formerly made of beaver. "Goss," 
" tile," " thatch," " cady," are a few of the equivalents. 

Bed-fagot (Eng.), a contemptuous term for a woman of ill- 

Bed-post, M in the twinkling of," in a moment or very q^ckly. 
"In three shakes of a lamb's tail'* is analogous. 

Bed-spread (Am.), a quilt or counterpane. 

Bed-rock (Am.), in mining phraseology, is the stratum 
which underlies the mineral-bearing rock or soil. 

Bee (Am.), a craze. Politicians occasionally get a Presiden- 
tial "bee in their bonnet." 

Bee (Am.), a gathering for work and social purposes com- 
bined, such as the old-time quilting bee, apple-paring bee, 
and spelling bee. 

Beef-headed (Eng.), stupid as an ox; dull, fatheaded. 
Beefy (Eng.), thick or fat, when applied to one's personal 

appearance. It also means rich, juicy, plenteous; such as 

playing in " beefy " luck. 
Beeline (Am.), the straightest possible route to a given 

Digitized by 


30 BEE— BEN 

point. A bee when laden with honey makes a «« beeline ^ 
for its hive. The English say, <*as the crow flies*** 

Beery (Eng.), intoxicated, bemused with beer. 

Beeswax (Eng,), poor, soft cheese. 

Beetle-crashers (Eng.), large feet. 

Beggar's velvet (Eng.), the fluff or down which accu- 
mulates under beds and other furniture where the maid is 
careless. Otherwise known as ** Slut's wool.*' 

Begin to (Am.) An inferior article does not ^ begin to" 
equal a better one. 

Belcher (Eng.), a blue bird's eye handkerchief. Otherwise 
a " FOGLB ** If. V.) 

Beliked (Am.), beloved ; liked. 
BeU (Old Cant), a song. 

Bellows /Eng.), the lungs. ♦* Bellows to mend** means 
"out ot wind.** 

Bellowsed (Eng.), transported; knocked out of wind. 

Belly-ttmber (Eng.), food. 

Belly-vengeanoe (Eng.), sour small beer or dder. 

Bemused (Eng.), fuddled with beer or other drink. 

Ben, abbreviation for benefit (theatrical). 

Ben, abbreviation for Benjamin, an overcoat. 

Ben Coll (Gip.) a ^^ pal*' or companion. The Gipsies use 

£en or Bien for good. 
Bend (Am.), above one's bend, beyond his power or out of 

his reach. ^^ Too high for his nut** is an equivalent. 

Bend«r, an English sixpence. 

Bender (Eng.), the arm. *♦ Over the bender** see «♦ Ovbr 


Bender, " On a bender,** on a drunk. 

Digitized by 


BEN— BET 31 

Bene (Gip.) good. Bonar^ best. Compare the Latin Bana^ 

Benedict, a married man. From << Benedick,^' the husband 

of << Beatrice " in Much Ado about Nothing. 
Benjamin^ or Upper Benjamin, an overcoat. Named after 

a Jew tailor in London and sometimes known as a 

** Joseph," that being also a common name among the 

ready-made clothiers of that city. 

Benjy, diminutive of Benjamin, a waistcoat 

Beong (Gip.), an English shilling. 

Bess o* Bedlam (Old Eng.), a crazy woman. 

Best (Am.), to beat a man in a bargain; to defeat him. 

Best liicks (Am.), to put in one^s best licks, is to do the best 
one can. 

Better (Eng.), more. ** Better than a mile.'* 

Better (Am.), is used to assert a thing certain, as ''you'd 
better believe it". 

Betterments, improvements. 

Bettermost, the best. 

Betting round, in betting parlance, means to lay equally 
against all horses, so that the bookmaker runs Uttle risk. 
See Hedge. ^ 

Betty (Cant), a skeleton key. 

Between drinks (Am.), a long time. On one historic^ 
occasion the Governors of the sovereign States of North 
and South Carolina met to discuss matters of State comity, 
and the executive of the one commonwealth is reported to 
have said to the other dignitary ''Governor, it's a long time 
between drinks." 

Between hay and grass (Am.), taken from farm language, 
a season at which there is nothing doing and nothing com- 
ing in. 


Digitized by 


$2 BID— BIL 

Biddable (Irish), manageable^ obedient 

Biddy, an Irish woman. 

Bi|f, «to talk big," to boast. To **look big" is to assume an 
air of importance. 

Big-bug, or Big gun (Am.), one who is, or fancies him- 
self to be, a great personage. 

Biggest toad in the puddle (Am.), a consequential person 
in a small town. 

Big head (Am.), or Swelled head, said of one who has a 
great opinion of himself. 

Big wig (Eng.), a person in authority or office. Judges 
and other high officers in England wear wigs. 

BUbo, a sword; from Bilboa, a town in Spain, where the best 
swords were made. 

Bilboes (Old Eng.), fetters or stocks. 

Biled owl (Am.), "drunk as a," very far gone* 

Biling (Am.), the whole boiling, entire lot. 

Bilk (Old Eng.), to defraud or cheat by means just outside 
the laws. A Bilk is a swindler. 

Billingsgate (Eng.), foul language, from the common 
speech of the fishwives of Billingsgate market, London. 

Billy (Eng.), a policeman's club. 

Billy (Scotch), a silk pocket handkerchief. 

Billycoek (Eng.), a soft felt hat; a "wide-awake." 

Billy-fencer (Eng.), a marine store dealer, or dealer in old 
junk and metal. Stolen metal of any kind is known as 

Billy Patterson, "who struck," a question no nearer an 
answer now than when it was first propounded by a negro 
minstrel, who offered a pecuniary reward for the man who 
•struck his brother Bill." It ranks with the "song the 
siren sang" and the name which Achilles took when he 
dwelt among women as a mystery unsolved. 

Digitized by 


BIN— BIT 33 

Bin, for been; "With everything that pretty bin my lady 

sweet arise.'* This is the Old English form of been, has 

the authority of Dryden, Jonson, and Herrick, and in our 

own day of Whittier. Byron also used it, but quotes it. 

The New Englander pronounces it "ben.'* 
Bfng (Gip.), Look out: 

Bing oat, bien Morts and toare and toore 

Bing out, bien Morts and toure, 
For all your duds are binged avast 

The bien cove hath the loure." Old Gifsy sotig. 

Bingo (Old Cant), brandy. 

Bird-cage (Eng.), a four-wheeled cab. Also a prison. 
Bird of Freedom (Am.), the American Eagle. 
Birthday suit (Eng.), no clothes at all; same costume as 

worn by Adam and Eve at a very early period. 
Bishop (Eng.), a warm drink often mentioned by eighteenth 
century writers, but now out of date. 

Bit (Am.), 12 J^ cents; a short bit is a dime. The Penn- 
sylvanians speak of a "levy" for 1 2 J^ cents. In the West 
Indies sixpence, English money, is a bit. 

Bit, **did his bit," served his time in prison. A prisoner 

sentenced to three months imprisonment said to the judge, 

"I can do that bit on my head." 
Bit of blood (Eng.), a horse of good breeding. 
Bit of stuff (Eng.), a young woman. **Bit of calico," or 

"bit of muslin," are equivalents. 
Bite (Old Eng.), a cheat, a hard bargain. ^ri^ ^^ "IXO*" ^ ^-^ 

Bite, to cheat or swindle. To "be bitten" is to be taken in ^ 

or defrauded. 
Bite-£aker (Eng.), a counterfeiter. 
Bittock (Scotch.) If you ask a Scotchman the distance to 

any place, he will reply, after asking you in return where 

you came from, that it is so many miles and a bittock. The 

Digitized by 


34 BIV— BLA 

bittock is generally a trifle longer than the miles. See 
Scott, Heart of Mid Lothian. 
Bivvy /Eng.), beer. A **8hant of bivvy** is a quart of beer. 
The aerivation is doubtless from beverage. 

Biz (Am.), contraction of business. 
Blab (Eng.), to talk freely; to tell. 
Black (Eng.), a nick-name. Tom Brown (see 7<?«» -ffr^ny^V 

School Days)^ gave the gamekeeper a **black*' by calling 

him "Velveteens." 

Black and white (Eng.), hand-writing. "Let us have it 
in black and white," i. ^., let there be a written contract. 

Black Diamonds (Eng.), coals. 

Black-eye, "to give a," is to inflict harm or damage on any 

Blackguard r Old Cant), a disreputable fellow. To black- 
guard is to aouse. 

Blackleg (Eng.), a rascal or swindler; a card cheat See 

BlackmaU (Scotch), money paid to avoid prosecution or 
exposufe. Originally the "rent" in money or stock paid 
by the Lowland Scotch farmers to some Highland robber 
chief or "cateran," on condition that he protected them 
against others of his kind. See Scott, Rob Roy. 

Black Maria (Eng.), the van in which prisoners are con- 
veyed to the jail or bridewell. 

Black Monday (Eng.), the Monday on which boys return 
to school after the holidays. 

Black sheep (Eng.), a "bad lot." In French, mauvais 

Black snake (Am.), a long whip of rawhide. 

Black strap, port wine, or a mixture of molasses and spirits. 

Digitized by 


BLA— BLE 35 

Bladder of lard (Eng.), a bald head. 
Blade (Eng.), a man; a "roaring blade," or a "knowing 

Blamed* a New England euphemism for damned. In Eng- 
land they say "blarmed." 

Blarney ^rish), flattery. There is a stone in Blarney 
Castle, County Cork, and he or she who kisses that stone 
can persuade others to believe anything. 

And tliere's a stone there 

Which whoever kisses. 
Sure he never misses 

To grow eloquent 
*Tis he can clamber 

To a lady's chamber. 
Or become a member 

Of Parliament. 

— Father Proufs Reliques. 

Blanket Indian (Am.), a semi-civilized aborigine who re- 
ceives blankets and rations from Uncle Sam — ^when the 
agent does not steal them. 

Blather (Irish), stupid talk. 

Blatherskite (Irish), a wild and foolish talker and boaster; 
a cheap orator. 

Blase (Am.), to mark trees with cuts by an ax for the pur- 
pose of finding one's way. A "blaze" (Eng.), is a white 
mark on the face of a horse or cow. 

Blazer^ a striped tennis or rowing jacket of a *4oud" pattern. 

Biases, the infernal regions. "Like blazes I will" is a com- 
mon English asseveration. Sam Weller horrified the swell 
footman by addressing him as "Blazes," a delicate compli- 
ment to his bright red livery. 

Bleach, a family washing hung out to dry. 

Digitized by 


36 BLE— BLI 

Bleaching-boards, the unsheltered upper seats at a base ball 

Bleed (Eng.), to victimize or extract money from a person. 
«*To bleed*' is to part with money* 

BleedinsTy an adjective much used in England; a modifica- 
tion of the word <<bloody" in its vulgar sense. 

"The bloomin' little sparrow 

Went up the bleedin' spout, 
Along came the blasted rain 

And washed the bleedin' sparrow ont 

The blessed son came oat 

And dried up the blasted rain. 
And the bloomin' little sparrow 

Went up the bleedin' spout again." 

Blewed (Eng.), spent <«Blewed it all in,*' spent all one's 

Blind (Am.), an arrangement of bushes used by duck 
hunters so as to secure ^emselves from observation. 

Blind (Am.), at the game of poker where the player has 
the privilege before seeing his hand of ^^going it blind," 
that is of taking the chances. In such a case the other 
players must <*see'* his blind if they want to play. 

Blind (Eng.), a pretense, or make-believe. 

Blind-drank (Eng.), when a man can not see a hole in a 

Blind-hookey (Eng.), a gambling game, otherwise known 

as Wilful Murder. 
Blind in both eyes (Am.), egg^ fried on both sides. 
Blindman'8 holiday (Eng.), twilight 
Blinker (Eng.), the eye. 
Blinkers (Eng.), spectacles. 

Digitized by 


BLI— BLO 37 

Blissard (Am.), a storm of wind and snow common on the 
northern prairies. The word has been adopted in England 
within the last few years. 

Bloater (Eng.), a herring. 

Block (Eng.), the head. 

Block (Am.), a city square. 

Block-ornaments (Eng.), the small trimmings made by 
butchers in preparing joints for sale, and sold to the poor 
at a low price. 

Blocks of five (Am.), an expression introduced into Ameri- 
can politics in 1888, when an Indiana politician was charged 
with bribing voters, whom he described as "blocks of five." 

Bloke (Eng.), a man, "a stupid bloke." Never used in a 
complimentary sense. 

Blood (Eng.), a fast youth. 

Blood-money (Eng.), money received by informers in crimi- 
nal cases. 

Blood-tubs (Am.), roughs, street-loafers. The term comes 
from Baltimore. 

Bloody (Eng.), a vulgar expletive, used without sense or 
reason, either as an adjective or an adverb. 

Bloody shirt (Am.), "waving the." Calling up the issues 
of the late Civil War for political purposes. 

Bloomer (Am.), a semi-masculine costume, invented and 
worn some thirty years ago by a Mrs. Bloomer. 

Blooming, an adjective used in England as an alternative for 
"bleedin' " etc "The whole blooming lot" means the full 

Blow (Eng.), to inform. "Blow the gaflf," to give away 
the story of a crime. 

Blow (Am.), to brag or boast. 

Blow a doad (Eng.), to smoke a pipe or cigar. 

Digitized by 


38 BLO— BLU 

Blowed (Eng.), a mild and meaningless expletive. Some- 
times **blow me^** or "blow me tight." 

If I've a soul to giye me food. 

Or find me in employ 
By day or night» why blow me tight. 

He was a Tolgar boy* 

— Ingoldsby Legends. 

BliiWMi (Oip^, a girl. Generally applied to one of light 
character, ^yron uses it in Dan yuan* A famous slang 
song of Father Prout's reads: 

"As from ken to ken I was going. 

Doing a bit on the prig^e lav — 
Who shonld I meet but a jolhr blowent 

Who was fly to the time of day.** 

Blower (Am.), a braggart; one who is full of gasconading 

Blowliard (Am.), a boaster. 
Blow In (Am. ), to spend one's money. "Jones blew in all 

his dust against the game'' (faro). 
Blow-out (Eng.), a feast. Tuck-In means the same. 

Afternoon teas are known as "tea-fights,'' or "muffin- 
Blowsalinda^ a country girl; from a character in an old 

Blow ap (Bng.), to scold. 
Blue (Eng.), miserable, gloomy. 
Blae-Uood (Eng.), an aristocrat One "of the caste of 

Vere de Vere." 
Blae-botUe (Eng.), a policeman. See 11. King Kenry 1 V.^ 

Ads* See also Bobby,, Prrlbr, Crushbr, Cop and 

Slop. The last is back-slang for police. 
Blue deTlls, misery. A man with delirium tremens has 


Digitized by 



BLU— BOA 39 

Blne-grMS country (Am.), Kentucky. 

Blue Hen State (Am.), Delaware. 

Blue Jackets (Eng.), seamen in the navy. 

Blue-lawSy a set of rules or ordinances principally in regard 
to Sabbath observance, alleged to have been adopted in 
Connecticut in Puritan times. No such laws were ever 
passed by any legislature in this country, although the Sab« 
batarian laws of New England were harsh enough. 

Blue moon (Eng.), ««once in a.** An indefinite period, iden- 
tical with the Greek Kalends. 
Bine noses (Am.), natives of Nova Scotia. 
Bine Peter (Eng.), a signal for trumps at whist, made by 

playing a nigher card unnecessarily in place of one of a 

lower denomination. 
Bine pigeon flyer (Eng.), a plumber who strips lead from 

roofs and sells it on his own account. 
Bine min (Eng.), gin. 
Bine stocking (Eng.), a learned lady. From the French 

Bines, srot the, despondent, miserable. See Blub Dbvils, 

BlnfP (Am.), an excuse or a brag. At the game of poker a 

man will stay in the game with a poor hand, and by heavy 

betting will try to ^^blufiP' the game through, the other 

players being afraid to ^H:all'' him. 
BlnfGs (Am.), hills of moderate size by the side of rivers. 
Blnmmies (Dutch), wild flowers. 
Blnnt (Eng.), money. 

Board of green cloth (Eng.), the gaming table. 
Boated (Eng.), transported, from the prisoners being sent 

abroad m ships. Now applied to penal servitude, which 

has replaced transportation as a punishment* 

Digitized by 


40 BOB— BOG 

Bob (Eng.)j one shilling. 

Bob (Am.), immature veal, the sale of which is prohibited 

by law. 
Bob, **So help me.** An English euphemism for **80 help 

me God," the usual oath in courts of justice. 
Bobbery (Anglo-Hindu), a tumult or bother. 
Bobbish (Eng.), feeling well. A cockney will say he 

**f eels bobbish.** 
Bobby (Eng.), a policeman. From the name of Sir Robert 

Peel, who introduced the metrot>olitan police force. See 

also Pbblbr. 
Bodewash (Am.). (Fr. Bois de vMhe;) Buffalo Chips, 

(q. V.) 
Bodkin (Eng.), <<to sit*' One person sitting between two 

others in a carriage ^sits bodkin." 
Bodle (Scotch), a penny. 
Body-snatcher (Eng.), one who steals dead bodies for the 

dissecting room; a resurrectionist. Also applied of old 

time to a bailiff or sheriff's officer. 

Bogie (Eng.), a ghost or apparition; also applied to his Sa- 
tanic majesfy, who is known as "Old Bogie." In Scotland 
a "bogle" is a mythical creature of evil appearance and dis- 
position. See Bums, Tarn o^ Shanter. 

Bog oranges (Irish), potatoes. 

Bogie-engine (Am.), a form of locomotive used for work 
in railroad yards. 

Bog-trotter, an Irishman. The term was formerly applied 
to the inhabitants of the <Slebateable land" on the borders 
of England and Scotland. 

Bogus (Am.), imitation, fraudulent; as bogus titles, bogus 
degrees, etc. Said to be from the name of an Italian 
swindler named Borghese, who pretended to be a prince, 

Digitized by 


BOH— BON 41 

and who defrauded a great many in the United States some 
fifty years ago. 

Bohemian, a literary man, artist or actor, who ignores con- 
ventionalities. The French speak of the vie de Boheme^ 
and in most European languages the word has a similar 

Boiled shirt (Am.), more often "biled";a white linen shirt 

Boko (Eng. P. R.), the nose. 

Bolt (Eng.), to run away. Also to swallow without chew- 

Bolt, in American politics, to desert a political party or con- 

Bolus (Eng.), an apothecary or a dose of medicine. 

Bonanza (Sp.), originally a very rich mine or deposit of 
precious metals. Now applied to any extremely well-pay- 
mg business. 

Bona-roba (Old Eng.), a woman of the town. Originally 
from the Lingua Franca. Justice Shallow in King Henry 
/K, boasts of his old-time acquaintance with the bona- 

Bone (Old Cant), to steal. 

Bone (Gip.), good. From the Latin honum or the French 

Bones (Eng.), «<made no bones of it," did it without diffi- 
culty; or witihout hesitation. 

Bones (Am.), substitutes for castanets; used by neg^o min- 

Bones (Eng.), dice. 

BoniHu^ (Old Eng.), the landlord of an inn. 

Bonnet (Scotch), a cap. To Bonnet a man is to knock 
his hat over his eyes. 

Bimnet or Bearer-up (Eng.) One who plays with his 

Digitized by 


4» BON— BOO 

^pals^ at some gambling game to induce outsiders to ven- 
ture their money. In the United States he is knovm as a 
Cappbr {f. V.) 

Bonny (Scotch), handsome, fine. 

Boodle ^Am.), money obtained as a bribe, or in return for 
crookea or corrupt work. The Commissioners of Cook 
County, m., who awarded contracts to their friends for 
valuable consideration, and some of whom were sent to the 
penitentiary, were known as "boodlers." 

Boo-hoo, to cry; to bawl out. 

Book (Eng.), «<to make a,** to bet against all horses in a race. 
Thousands of bookmakers find a first-class living in Eng- 
land and this country, thanks to the innate passion for 
backing horses which exists in the community. If the 
bookmaker sticks to his business and abstains from backing 
horses on his own account it is a mathematical certainty 
that he will win, always provided that he fills his book in 
accordance with the system on which the business is based. 
In effect, he keeps a bank at which others gamble, and he 
gets the benefit. 

Booked, caught; disposed of. Booked for a long term (in 

Bookie, a bookmaker. One who makes a book on a race; 

that is, one who stands ready to lay the odds against any or 

every horse in a race. 
Books, a deck of cards, ^the devil's picture book." See also 


Boom (Am.), a rush of business. 

In the lumber districts of the United States lo^s ate cut tad stored 
to await the rise of the river, [see Frkshst], and the accumulated 
logs form a boom. When the water rises to a sufficient height the 
boom breaks, and the logs go out ''booming.** Western cities boom 
and are boomed, politicians Imve booms, and real estate dealers boooi 
their property by advertising. 

Digitized by 



BOO— BOS 43 

Boom (sea term.) ^To top one's boom,^ to start off. 

Boomer ( Am,^, a recent invention to describe those persons 
who, in antiapation of the opening of Oklahoma and other 
territories to settlement, attempted to exploit the country 
on their own accoimt, and who went in with or in advance 
of the "boom," generally to come back "broke." 

Boomerang (Am. V a story put forth for political purposes, 
the untruth of wnich being exposed reacts against its dis- 
seminators. Practically the same as a Roob^ack, (f. v.) 

Boon-companion, doubtless from ion^ g^ood, a g^ood fellow; 
a comrade in a drinking bout 

Boost (Am.), to help up. "Give me a boost up this tree," 
says one boy to another. 

Boot (Eng.), a premium pidd with anything bartered or ex- 

Boot, **to boot a man," is to kick him. 

Booze (Old English, bouse)^ to drink. Boozy, drunk. 
Probably from the dutch buyzen^ to tipple. 

Boozing-ken (Grip.), a drinking-house. 

Boozy, drunk. Other equivalents are tight, muzzy, lushy, 
got a jag, on a bender or spree, full as a goose, or as David's 
sow, or as St Antony's pig, or as a fiddler's bitch, tight as 
bricks, been in the sun, and perhaps a hundred more. 

Bore (Old Eng.), a troublesome acquaintance; one who 
wearies and annoys you. Shakespeare has it in King 
Henry VIII. 

Bore, in the language of the prize ring, is to bear an oppo- 
nent down by superior weight, and thus force him to the 
ropes. Used also to express the practice of jockeys who by 
foul riding drive their competitors to the rails. 

Bosh (Hindu and Gip.), nonsense; empty talk. 

Boss (Dutch), an employer. The chief of a political ring, 

Digitized by 


44 BOS— BOU 

as "Boss" Tweed in the palmy days of Tammany. The 
word is simply an equivalent for "master,'* which latter 
term goes not well among our "fierce democracy." To boss 
is to manage. 

Boss-eyed (Eng.), one who squints; otherwise swivel- 

Bossy (Am.), a calf or cow. 

Bother, Botheration and Botheroo, all signify trouble or 

Bottle-holder, the supporter of a pugilist in the ring, so- 
called from his having had charge of the water-bottle for 
refreshment purposes. 

Bottom (Eng.), stamina, pluck. "Sand" or "grit" are 

Bottom dollar (Am.), the last of one's money. 

Bottom flEU^ (Am.), an undoubted fact. 

Boughten /Am.), that which is purchased, as distinguished 
from articles home-made or home-grown. Thus country 
people speak of "boughten bread," "boughten carpets," or 
"boughten stocking^," instead of home-made bread, or 
home- woven carpets or hose. 

Bounce (Eng.), impudence, brag. See Chbbk. 

Bounce ^Am.), to throw out; to fire. "To get the grand 
bounce, is to be discharged from work. 

Bouncer (Am.), one hired in in a saloon, dive, or low thea- 
tre or other place of entertainment for the purpose of throw- 
ing out objectionable visitors. 

Bouncer (Eng.), an extravagant falsehood. 

Bounceable (Eng.), given to bragging and boasting. 

Bound, determined, resolved. 

Bounty-Jumper (Am.) During the late Civil War thous- 
ands of scoundrels enlisted for the sake of the bounties 

Digitized by 


BOU— BOY 45 

offered by States, municipalities and individuals, and de- 
serted as soon as they had obtained the money. A few of 
them were punished, but the trade was for a time a profit- 
able one, as the bounties paid were large. 

Bourbon (Am.), a variety of whisky and a species of Demo- 

Bow-catoher (Eng.), properly Bbau-catchbr, asmall curl 
twisted on the cheek or temple of young ladies. The 
French call them accroche cceurs^ and in the United States 
they are known as <^pit curls." 

Bowdleiisiiigr, emasculating a standard work in order to ren- 
der it «*fit for the family circle.'* One Dr. Bowdler many 
years ago did thb with Shakespeare, and thus <^amned 
himself to everlasting fame." 

Bower (Ger., bauer^ knave), the knave of trumps at euchre 
is the right bower; the other knave of the same color 
(black or red as it may be), is the left bower. The right 
bower is the best trump, and the left bower ranks the ace. 
A man will speak of his partner or business assistant as 
his **right bower.** 

Bowie (Am.), a knife invented and often used by one CoL 

Bowled-out (Eng.), beaten. From the game of cricket, 
and now in g^eral use. 

Box (Am.), a boat used for duck-shooting; a Sink-boat 
or Battery, which see. 

Box-ear (Am.), a dosed freight car. 

Box coat (Eng.), a heavy overcoat worn by coachmen. 

Boy (Am.), a negro servant of any 9tgp. 

Boycott is a comparatively new word of which the origin 
is absolutely known. A certain Captain Boycott, an 
Irish landowner, proved obnoxious to the people of his 
district, and they unanimously jresolved to have nothing to 

Digitized by 


46 BRA 

do with him. He found it impossible to hire men to assist 
in getting in the harvest^ tradesmen would not supply him 
with provisions, and nobody would buy or sell with him. 
The English government sent him assistance, and the case 
became famous. The system of ^boycotting" has been 
adopted on a large scale by trade organizations. Thus if a 
shop-keeper sells goods made by non-union labor, the mem- 
bers of trade unions can bring him to time by refusing 
to deal widi him. The limit to the capacity of this system 
(which cuts in many directions), has not yet been reached. 
It is denounced by some as conspira^, but is difficult to 
reach by law. Meantime the word ^Boycott^ has come to 

Braceleta (Eng.), handcuffs. 

Brace game (Am.), a swindling operation. 

Brace up (Am.), pull yourself togedier; get to business. 

Brack (Old Eng.), a break or crack; a flaw in cloth. 

Brads (Eng.), money. 

BraflT (Eng,), boast. Also a game of cards where <«bluff" is 
the cliief element. 

Brain pan (Eng.), the skull. 

Brakes, ''put on the," (Am.), adapted from railroad use; 
means to go slow. 

Branch (Am.), a brook or small stream. Other¥rise a Fork 


Brandy Pawnee (Anglo-Hindu), brandy and water. See 
Thackeray, TAe Newcomes. 

Bran new (Eng.), properly Brand new; showing the man- 
ufacturer's mark or brand. 

Brash (Am.), fresh, impertinent. It has also the meaning 

of brittle. 
Brass (Eng.), money. The word is principally used in 

Digitized by 


BRA— BRB 47 

Lancashire; less often by the London cocknqrs, who have 

a hundred equivalents of their own for ^the needful." 
Brass (Eng.), impudence. Brazen is applied to hard and 

polished cheek, probably from the qualities of the metal. 
Brat (Old Eng.), a child. Used as a term of opprobrium. 
Brave (Am.), an adult Indian. 
Braw (Scotch), rich, well-dressed, fine-looking. Braws are 

good clothes. <«Dirty braw'* is the equivalent of the Eng- 
lish ««shabby-genteel.^' 
Brazen-flkcedy impudent. 
Breachy (Am.), said of unruly oxen, such as break down 

Bread basket, the stomach, in prize ring language. 
Break (Am.), ^a bad break;'' a mistake. 
Breakbone (Am.), a species of fever, otherwise known as* 

Breakdown (Am.), a dance, generally identified with negro 

song and dance performers. 
Breaking the ice (Eng.), making a beginning. 
Breaking out in a firesh place (Am.), doing something 

new and unexpected. 
Breaky leg (Old Cant), drink. From the capadty of strong 

potations to tangle up the lower extremities. See Tanolb* 


Breathe a prayer, to drink. 

Breeches, 'to wear the/' Said of a woman who usurps 

the entire control of her husband's affairs. In such 

cases the dame is known as the ^Grey Mare," or the 

** White Sergeant." 
Breeks (Scotch), trousers. An old proverb says ^Ifs 01 

taking the breeks off a Highlandman," the mountaineers 

wearing kilts only. 

Digitized by 


48 BRE— BRO 

Bree«y, noisy, fresh. 

Brep% negro for brother. See Uncle Remus Stories. 

Brick (Eng.), a good fellow. 

Brick in his hat ( Am.)^ tipsy, intoxicated. 

Bridge, a cheating trick at cards, where the particular card 

desired is curved by the pressure of the hand so as to make 

the deck cut at that point. The French call the trick Faire 

leponi; to make the bridge. 
Brief (Eng.), a card cut down for cheating purposes. In 

Old finglish, breef. 
Brie^ a pawn ticket, or a raffle ticket. 
Bring to, to stop suddenly, as a ship at sea is brought to. 
Briny (Eng.), the sea. 
Britisher, a native of Great Britain. 
Broad-brim (Eng.), a Quaker. 
Broad-flakerjfEng.), a swindling card player; sometimes 

known as a Broadsman. 
Broads (Eng.), cards. 
Broadway Statae (Am.), an over-dressed <<masher;*' very 

prominent on a New York thoroughfare. The genus is 

ubiquitous and has many aliases. 
Broady (Eng.), an abbreviation of broadcloth. Broady 

WORKBRS are fellows who sell cloth goods of villainous 

quality in the piece, pretending either that it is the product 

of a bankrupt sale or has evaded the customs, or basn <H>b- 

tained on the cross.*' 
Brogans (Irish), shoes. 
Brognes, breeches; from the Dutch. 
Broke (Am.), ruined, bankrupt, out of money. Allbrokb 

UP means either miserable or in hard luck financially. 
Brolly (Eng.), an mnbrelku 
Broncho (Sp.), a small horse pony, indigenous on the plains. 

Digitized by 


BRO— BUB 49 

Brother Chip, Qrother Whip, etc^ are terms of familiarity 
among carpenters, coachmen and others. ^^Ditto, Brother 
Smut,'' is a sort of tu quoque argument. 

Brother Jonathan ( Am.^. shares with Unclb Sam the 
dignity of being the tutelary genius of the United States. 
It is alleged, on insufficient evidence, that Washington was 
wont to say when questions of importance came up, ^We 
must ask Brother Jonathan about that,** referring to Jona- 
than Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut, and that the 
phrase thus passed into use. Lowell has immortalized it 
by his famous *«Jonathan to John.'* 

Broth of a boy (Irish), a good fellow. 

Brotos (Am.), something given in as make- weight; the su- 
perfluity of a helping; heaped measure. The word is used 
in the South exclusively. 

Brown or Bronae (Eng.), a half-penny. See also Flatch. 

Brown (Eng.), <<done up brown,'* deceived, taken in* 

Brown study (Eng.), a reverie. 

Brown to (Eng.), to understand, to "tumble" to. 

BroJUer (Eng.), a pugilist 

Brammagem, provincial pronunciation of Birmingham, 
England, and probably approaching nearer to the old«time 
name than the present word. Brummagem goods are imi- 
tation, the dty being famous for its production of cheap 
jeweliy, etc. 

Brush (Eng.), a journeyman painter. 

Brush (Am.), undergrowth of a forest. 

Brush (Eng.), a fox's taiL 

Brush (Eng.), a fight or scrimmage. "We had a smart 
brush with the enemy .^ 

Brush (Old Eng.), to run away. 

Buh or Buhhy (Old Cant), drink. 

Digitized by 


50 BUB— BUF 

Babble (Old Eng.), to swindle. Much used by eighteenth 
century dramatists and novelists. Bubblb Companibs 
are swindling associations, such as the Anglo-Bengalee 
Insurance Company, projected by Tigg Montagfue, Esq, 

Bubble and squeak (Eng.), a dish of cold roast meat and 
vegetables fried together in a pan. 

Bubbly Jock (Scotch), a turkey, from the noise it makes. 

Buck (Am.), an adult male Indian or negro. 

Buck, an English sixpence. **Two and a buck;" two shil- 
lings and sixpence. 

Buck (Eng.), a smart, dressy man. 

Buckeye State, Ohio. 

Buck fever (Am.), the feeling which overcomes an inexpe- 
rienced hunter when he gets a shot at a deer. 

Buckle (Eng.), to marry. 

Buckle-beggar (Eng.), a hedge-priest; one who stands 
ready to perform a marriage ceremony without much 
trouble about a license ; generally an unfrocked minister. 

Buckled, married. See Hitched; also taken into custody. 

Buckle to, to yield, to bend, to give in. Shakespeare has it. 
See also the old ballad, «< 'Twas within a mile of Edinboro' 

Buckra, a negro term for a white man. 

Bud (sodety slang), a young lady in her first season. 

Budge (Eng.), strong drink. Budging Kbn, a public 

Budge (Eng.), to move, to go away. 

Buff (Eng.), the bare skin. See Birthday Suit, ante. 

Buff (Old Cant), to swear to or give evidence. 

Buflleilo (Am.), a robe or coat made of buffalo hide. 

BufllBdo <^ps or Bodewasli (Am.), the droppings of buf* 
falo; used formerly for fuel on the plains. 

Digitized by 


BUT— BUL 51 

BnAilo wanow (Am.), a sink or marshy place in which the 
buffalo rolh 

Buffer /Eng.), an old man; a good-humored term* <<A 
jolly old buffer.'' 

Bnffy (Eng.), intoxicated. 

Bug, the common term in the United States for all kinds of 

Bug Juice (Am.), whisky. 

Bugmaster-Gteneral (Am.) Pet name fcr a State Ento- 
mologist or scientific man interested in entomology. 

Bug walk (Eng.), a coarse term for a bed; not always un- 

Build (Eng.), the make or style of an article; specially ap- 
plied to clothing. 

Bun (Eng.), a stock exchange speculator who ^goes long'' 
on stocks, trusting to a rising market. See Bear, ante. 

Bully an English crown piece. 

Bun-dogs or Barkepg (Eng.), pistols. 

BuU-dogs (Eng.), assistants to the proctors of English uni- 

BuUdoze (Am.), to over-awe, to terrify, to silence by threats. 
In Louisiana, about 1876, it was alleged that the negroes 
were **bulldo>zed" by the wlMtes to prevent them from ex- 
ercising the elective franchise. 

BuUet (Eng.), ««to get the bullet," to be discharged from 

Bull0-eye, in target shooting, is the center of the target To 
hit the bull's eye in the center is to succeed in one's object. 

BuU's-eye, a large, old-fashioned watch. 

BuUy, in Old English, in which sense the word is still, to a 
certain extent, used in this country; a good fellow, a jolly 
companion. **Bully for you," and "that's bully," or **I fed 

Digitized by 


$2 BUL— BUN 

bully,** are thus used* But the word has another meaning, 
a bully bemg a low blackguard, who lives on women of 
the town, and thrashes them or others. A bully is a brag- 
gart and a coward* 

Bullyrag (Eng.), to scold or abuse. 

Bnll-whadker (Am.), a cow-boy or cattle-herder. 

Bum or Bmnmer (Am.), a loafer or vagabond, who in* 
habits a ten-cent lodgmg-house, and gets victuals on the 
free-lunch system. On thb Bum, on a drunk. 

Bnni-boat (Eng.), a shore-boat which supplies sailors with 
provisions. In the United States, a floating drink-shop or 
resort for "toughs.** 

Bummer (Am.), a tramp or loafer. Bummers followed the 
army during the Civil War. See Hans BrettmatCs Bal- 

Bumper (Eng.), full measure. 

Bumptious (Eng.), self-sufficient, arrogant 

Bunch of fives (P. R.), the fist 

Bunco or Banco (Am.), a swindle generally affected by in- 
ducing a greenhorn to play cards. The bunco-steerer pro- 
fesses an acquaintance with his victim, and usually two or 
three are implicated in the game. 

Bundle (Eng.), to pack one off. 

Bundling is a Welsh practice, and also prevails, or did until 
lately, in some parts of Pennsylvania. Courting is there 
done in bed, the parties being fully dressed, to prevent 
undue familiarity. 

Bung j^Eng.), to close up. 

Bung, (Eng.), the landlord of a public house* 

Bunky^aHbed, cot or hammock. 

Bunk it (Eng.), be off, decamp. 

Bunker (Eng.), beer. 

Digitized by 


BUN— BUT 53 

Brniknin (Am.), pretense, flapdoodle, gas. Said to be from 
a member of tne North Carolina Legislature, who made a 
flamboyant speech, not with a view of impressing his fel- 
low-legislators, but for effect upon his constituents in Bun- 
combe County. 

Burying the hatchet (Am.), ending a feud ordifliculty. 
The aborigines were said to dig up the war hatchet when 
going on ttie war-path and to bury it with certain solemni- 
ties when peace was attained. 

Bii8y an omnibus* 

Bush, in Australia means the equivalent of the American 
♦♦backwoods.** The "bush" is not properly forest, but 
small, scrubby timber and shrubs. 

Bnshwhackeni (Am.), during the Civil War were a sort 
of irreg^ar cavalry in the South, analogous to the ♦♦bum- 
mers,'* and practically identical with the ♦♦Jayhawkers** of 
that time. 

Bum, a kiss. Old English, no doubt derived from the French 
baiser^ to kiss. 

Bust or Borstt to tell tales; to split or inform. 

Busted (Am.), out of money ; broke. 

Boater (Eng.), a spree or frolic 

Boater (Eng.), a small loaf. A still smaller one b called a 

Bostle (Eng.), money. 

Butcher (Eng.), the king in playing cards. 

Bote (Am. ), abbreviation of beauty. ♦♦He's a ♦bute».'» 

Botte (Sp.), is the Western name for small hills or mounds; 
an alternative for bluffs. The only English equivalent is 

Botter, flattery; same as ♦^oft soap,** ♦♦soft sawder.** 

Botter-fingered, apt to let things fall; one who drops the 
ball at base bail or cricket 

Digitized by 


54 BUT— BY 

Pattemnts f Am.)| from their home-spun clothing. A term 
applied during the Civil War to Southern country people. 

Batten (Eng.), a decoy or sham purchaser. Otherwise 
known as a ^nnbt or Cappbr. 

Bntton-lioling, engaging a man in conversation when he 
would rather be about his own business. From the sup- 
posed practice of holding a button of the victim's coat to 
prevent his escape. 

Buttons, the generic name for a page boy in England; his 
jacket being usually adorned with several rows of gilt 

Battona (Bng.), ^not to have all his buttons," to be deficient 
in intellect 

Butty (Eng.), an overseer in the mining district 

Boji (Eng.), to talk, to whisper. 

Buz (Eng.), to pick pockets. 

Bnzsarddollar (Am.), a term applied in derision to the 
silver dollar, the uncomplimentary allusion being to the 
buzzard-like eagle on the coin. 

Boazer (Eng.), a pickpocket 

By and large (Am.), on the whole; speaking generally. 

Byblow (Eng.), an illegitimate child. See Lovb-Child. 

By hook or by erook (Eng.), by fair means or fouL 

By the skin of his teeth, although used in the Bible (see 
Book of Job), is certainly slang, and is used to express a 
narrow escape. 

Digitized by 


Cab (Eng.), a light carriage drawn by one horse. The 
n^me is an abbreviation of the French cabriolet. The 
driver is styled "cabby,'* 

Cabbage (Bng«), cloth stolen by tailors and claimed as law- 
ful perquisites. 

Cabbagehead (Eng.), a stupid person. 

Cablegram, a message sent by submarine cable. Thisword| 
like telegram and a score of others, has been coined in re- 
cent years and is in common use, although hardly t6 be 
considered good English. 

Caboodle (Am.), the whole lot 

Caboose, the gidley or cook-house of a slup. Used In the 
United States for Ae car on a tndn devoted to the use of 
the trainbands. 

Cache (Am.), to hide. This is an old French word intro- 
ducea by hunters and trappers who, when hard pressed by 
Indians, would cache their belongings, that is, bury them. 

Cackle, to talk. A Cacklb-tub is a pulpit, and a Cagk- 
LINO covB is a preacher or an actor. 

Cad (Eng.^, an omnibus driver. In its wider sense applied 
to uie objectionable class known as Snobs (f . v.) 

Cadge (Eng.^, to beg. A whining beggar is a Cadgbr. 
«*On me cadge*' is applied to the regular •♦rounders'* who 
wander from town to town telling in each place a pitiful 
story of distress. In Scotland a •♦cadger'' b an itinerant 
peddler of fi^ 

Digitized by 



Ot^dglng, hogging. 
Cady (Am.), a hat. 
Oag^ a prison. Often Bird-caob. Lovelace 8ays^— 

*lStoiie walli do not a prison make^ 
Nor iron bars a cage.*^ 

OagmaiT (Bng.), scraps of food. 

Cahoots ( Am^, in company with, or associated together 

*<Smith and !Brown were in cahoots to rob Jones.^ 
Cain (Am.), ««to raise,** to create trouble. (See To raise. 

CTaird (^cotch), a tmker. 
Cake (Bng.), a soft person, doughy. 
Cake is dough, said when one makes a failure. 
Calaboose (Sp.), a prison. 
Calash, a ladies' head-dress. Also a carriage with a hood. 

From the French caleche. 
Calenlate (Am.), an altemative for Gubss or Reckon 

Calico, bit ol^ a girL Also Bit op Muslin, Bit op Stupp 

Call, occadon. <<He had no call to go.** 

Callt an invitation to a clergyman to accept a pulpit. 

Callt on the Stock Bxchange, a time-bargain or speculative 
contract which entitles the holder to call for certain stock 
at a certain price. 

OaUer (Scotch), fresh, cool. 

Catnmet^ the Indian peace pipe. 

Ca'met caMfliee (Scotch^. In Bnglish, <«Scratch my back 

and 111 scratch yours.** 
Oamesa or IQsh, a shirt or chemise. From the Spanish. 

Italian is Camicia. 

Digitized by 


CAM— CAN 57 

Campaign (Am.), the period antecedent to an election, dur- 
ing which the candidates take the field, meetings are held 
and speeches delivered. The imagery of all such contests 
is taken from the battle-field. 

Canard (Fn), an unreliable story. 

Canary^ an English sovereign, from the color. 

Candy-Butchery an offensive nuisance, who accompanies 

traveling circuses, and peddles candy therein. 
Canister (P. R.), the head. 
Cannikin (Old Eng.), a small can. See lago^s song in 

Canny (Scotch), clever, nice, neat. 
Canoe (Am.), «Mx> paddle one's own,** is to go it alone; to 

make one's own way in the world. 

Canon (Sp.), a narrow valley or passageway between rocks, 
often of great height. The Grand Canon of the Colorado 
is the largest known. 

Cant, the slang of the Gipsies. 
Cant (Eng.), a blow or a toss in wrestling. 
Cant, to overturn; to throw. 

Cantab (Eng.), a student at Cambridge University ( Canf- 

Cantankeroos, bad-tempered, litigious. Probably a corrup- 
tion of contentious. 

Can t in g , as applied to a professor of religion, means that he 
is a pretentious hypocrite. The word is said to have been 
derived from the name of one Andrew Cant, a Scotch 
clergyman, but this is extremely doubtfuL 

Cant of togs, a suit of clothes. 
Cannek, a Canadian. 
Canvaseena, sailors' trousers. 

Digitized by 



Capy to outdo. ^That caps the dimax.*^ Capping verses 
was an old-time amnsement of the learned. 

Capy (<to set her cap," as a woman does at a man whom she 
wants to many. 

Cape Ood turkey^ salt pork. 

Caper, proper. The proper caper is the bright thing,^ the 

Caper^ealer (Eng.), or Hop Merchant; a dandng mas- 
ten Or in thieves* slang, one who is hanged, cuts capers, 
f . e.f *<dances on nothing.** 

Capper, one who is employed in a gambling house to play 
in order to <<rope in outsiders.*' Mock auction shops of 
the ^^Peter Funk*' order employ ^^cappers** to bid, so as to 
run up prices. 

CapHsheaf (Eng.), the top, the summit. 

Card (Eng.), a character. ^A queer card** is synonymous 
with ^an odd fish.** 

CarUng (Eng.), anxious, careful. 

Carle (Scotch), an old man, a companion. 

Cameying (Irish), flattering, wheeling. 

Camish (Old Gant), meat Doubtless from the Lingua 
Franca. A Carnish-Kbn is an eating-house. Thus we 
have Carnival, which, as Byron says, means ^f areweU to 

Caroon^ five shillings; from the French, couraune^ a crown. 
(Gipsy), CM^ma; (Span.), cc^r^ifa. 

Carped ««on the carpet,** said to be from the French sur le 
iapis^ but not used in the same sense in France. 
Carpbtbd means to be hauled before some superior au- 
thority for a reprimand. *<On the carpet,** anything cur- 
rent for discussion. f'i. 

Carpet-bagger (Am.), a term invented during the recon- 
struction pwiod to identify NorAem men who went into 

Digitized by 



the Southern States to obtain political office, and whose sole 
property was the carpet bag or valise which they carried 
with them. 

Carry (Am.) In the Southern States this word is used in the 
sense of "escort,'* or "accompany,** e. g.^ **Mr. G. carried 
Miss M. to the balL** The English novelists of the 
eighteenth century used the word in exactly the same way. 

Carry-all (French, Carriole)^ a large carriage; in Canada 
a sleigh. 

Carrying water on both shoulders, playing a double part; 
agreeing ostensibly with both parties in interest; double- 
faced action. 

Carry me ont (Eng.), an exclamation of pretended astonish- 
ment. The Irish add, "and bury me dacent** Sometimes 
varied to "Ohl let me die," or m the United States, "You 
can have my hat*' 

Carry-on, to frolic or "cut up didoes." 
Carser (Grip.), a house or inn. Probably from the Spanish 

Cart-wheel, an English crownpiece or an American silver 

Casa (Sp. or It), a house, generally not a respectable one. 

A Mott-Kasb is a brothel; from the Low Dutch Mottb 

Case (Eng.), a curious fellow; about the same as ^ rum 

card,** an ♦*odd fish,** or a "queer duck.** 
Case (Am.), one dollar. From the Hebrew ceuer^ or crown* 
Cash np (Am.), to pay. 

Cassan (Gip.) cheese. From the German cas^. 
Castles in Spain, a mythical possession, equivalent to estates 

on the Island of Dunnowhere. From the French Ckof^ 

teaux en Bsfagne. 

Digitized by 


6o CAS— CAU 

Castor (Eng.), a hat« From the Latin name for a beaver, 
from whose fur top-hats were formerly made. A silk 
hat is still often spoken of as a beaver, and prize-fight reports 
invariably set forth that ^^Muggins shied his castor into the 
ring,** preparatory to entering it himself. 

Cat, a lady's mufif; sometimes applied to the lady herself. 

Cat, or c^cat o' nine-tails,'* a whip formerly used for flogging 

Catamaran, a disagreeable old woman. Thackeray uses the 

Catch a weasel asleep (Eng.), a task requiring much 

Catch on (Am.), to appreciate; to be alive to the situation. 
"Do you catch on?" is varied to "Do you tumble ?*• 

Catch-np ( Am.), a Western phrase, signifying to harness 
the horses. 

Catch-weight. Prize-fights are sometimes arranged to be 
fought irrespective of the weight of the contestants; 
in other wonls, you take them as you catch them. 
^ Caterwaul, to sing loudly and out of tune, as pussy does on 
the tiles when enjoying a night out. 

Catgat scraper, a fiddler. Bums uses the word in his 
yolly Beggars. 

Cat-in-pan, a turncoat See The Vicar of Bray. 

Oat-lap, weak drink. 

Cats and Dogs, said to rain that way sometimes; occasion- 
ally it rains "pitchforks.** 

Catspaw, a dupe or tool; one who is made use of. From 
the old story of the monkey who used the cat's paw to re- 
move his chestnuts from the fire. A catspaw at sea means 
a light breeze. 

Cat's water, gin. 

Caubeen (Iri&), a hat or cap. 

Digitized by 


CAU— CHA 6i 

Oaacos ( Am.)^ a meeting of a party to select candidates for 
office, or to determine upon a course of policy. The word 
has been adopted into use in England. It is asserted, but 
so far as we can ascertain, without any evidence to back it, 
that the word was derived from a meeting of caulkers held 
in Boston, prior to the Revolutionary War. 

Caught on the fly. This comes from the base ball field ; its 
origin is palpable; its adaptation can be readily made. 

Caulker (Eng.), more often Corker, a drink. A caulker 
is also a story of the Munchausen order. 

Caution (Am.), anjrthing extraordinary. "He's a caution" 
is used to characterize a man who may be a "caution'* to 
drink, or a "caution" to work* "A caution to snakes" is 
the superlative. ) 

Cave-in (Am.), from the caving or sinking in of an aban- 
doned mine, or of a well or shaft. A beaten man caves-in; 
if in the prize-ring he "throws up the sponge." 

Cavort /Am.), cavorting around; prancing about in a play- 
ful and purposeless way. From the French curvet^ as ap- 
plied to a horse's actions. 

Century (Eng.), a hundred pounds. 

Chafl^ to joke or quiz. Originally to "queer" or to "smoke*^ 
or "roast," had the same meaning. 

Chaflfer (Old Eng.), the mouth. "Moisten your chaffer," 
take a drink* 

Chain lightninir (Am.), bad whisky. 

Chal (Grip.), a man. Chib is the Romany for a woman. 

Chalkg (Eng.), walk your chalks, to go. To "beat by a 
long chalkT* to be superior by many degrees. 

Chalk up (Eng.), to credit. From the old practice of chalk- 
ing tavern scores behind the bar-door. 

Chancery, in difficulties. To get an opponent in the prize- 
ring in chancery is to get his head fiitnly under one's arm, 

Digitized by 


63 CHA 

when he is practically defenceless against severe punish* 
ment The analogy is doubtless drawn from the help* 
less condition of a Utigant under the old equity practice. 
Chance the dncka (Eng.), an absurd equivalent for «Hxmie 
what may.** "I'll do it and chance the ducks.*' Probably 
the corruption of an oath, or of Chance the Dux^ or mas- 

Change, small money. 

Change your breath, take a drink. 

Chap, a man or boy. He may be a «*nim chap,** a **queer** 
one, or any other adjective may be used. The woid was 
introduced into the English public schools about the same 
time as the word Muff (f . t^.), but while the latter has re- 
tained its place in the vocabulary of the youthful aristo- 
crats, ««chap** has been relegated to the shop-bo3rs, with 
whom it is a g^at favorite. 

Chapel, an assemblage of compositors (printers), held for 
the purpose of making regulations and discussing matters 
of interest to the men. The presiding officer is known as 
the "Father of the Chapel.** The earliest printmg offices 
were attached to monastic institutions, and Caxton had his 
press in Westminster Abbey; hence the use of the word. 

Chapparal (Sp.), thick, low bush. 

Char or Chare (Old Eng.^, a turn of work. We use the 
word "chores,'* now obsolete in England. But the Eng- 
lish have "charwoman,** a person who does housework in 
the absence of a regular servant. 

Chatterbox, an incessant talker. 

Channt, to sing in the streets. Canter's or chaunter's talk 

is the lang^ge of the vulgar. A Horsb-chauntbr (^. 

9.), is a horse-dealer of a low order, who chants the praises 

of some old **screw.** 
Chaimter, a street ballad singer. 

Digitized by 


CHA— CHI €3 

CluiWy past partidple of chew. A «H:haw'' of tobacco is a 
sufficient modicum. ^All chawed up'' means ^one for,** 

Chaw-lmcon (Eng.), a rustic Joskin, Yokel and Clod- 
Crusher are English equivalents. In the United States 
the animal is known as a ^^jay,** or «Hx>untr7-jake,'' or a 

Cheap (Eng.), <^on the cheap," living economically. 

Cheap Jack (Eng.), a street-comer peddler; a Fakir 

{f. V.) 

Cheater (Old Eng.), a decoy. See II Henry /K, it. 3. 

Checka, money or equivalents for it 

Checks (Am.), «<passed in his checks" or chips, said of one 
dead. A gambler cashes in his chips at the close of the 

Cheek (Eng.), impudence, brass. "All to his own cheek," 
all for himself. To <^heek" a man is to ^give him lip," 
to sauce him. 

Cheek by Jowl (Old Eng.), side by side. 

Cheese, anything good. ««That's the cheese." Said to be 
derived from the Persian Chiz — the thing. 

Cheese it, leave off. «<Cheese your barrikin" (from bark- 
ing), hold your tongue. 

Cheese-catter (Eng.), a prominent, aquiline nose. Also a 
cap with a square peak in front. 

Cbeetnut (Am.), an old story; an often repeated vam* 
The average chestnut of the ^^dago" fruit stand has claims 
to respect on account of its age, but is not desirable as an 
article of diet, and andent stories are equally tiresome. 

Chio (Fr.), the correct thing, the style, or <<proper caper," 

Digitized by 


64 CHI 

Chicagoed (Am.), the equivalent of ^^kunked** or beaten 
out of signt. Some years ago Chicago had a base-ball 
club which met with phenomenal succcess. Other oom« 
peting clubs which ended the game without scoring were 
said to have been <<Chicagoed.'' 

CUcken (Eng.), anything young. Chicken Stakes are 
races for two-year-olds, or where the stakes are very small. 
An old maid is described as being «^no chicken.'' 

Chicken-feed (Am.), small change. 

Chicken-hearted (Eng.), cowardly, frightened. 

Childer (Old Eng.), children. 

ChiU (Eng.), to ^take the chill off,** to warm beer. 

Chin^ to talk impudently. 

Chinch or Chintz^ a bed-bug. ' ( Cimex lectularius.) 

Chink (Eng.), money. 

Chin music (Am.), talk. A talkative person is said to have 
too much cnin. 

Chinook (Am.), a wind which blows at certain seasons on 
I the Padnc Slope. Chinook jargon is a language of the 
Volapuk order, invented and used in Oregon. 

Chip (Am.), a disc of ivory or bone, used in playing cards. 
To avoid the use of money and of making change, the 
^bank** sells chips of various colors at prices agreed upon, 
and redeems them at the end of the g^ame. 

Chip, a carpenter. 

Chip-in, to contribute toward a game or a collection. 

Chip of the old block, a child bearing a physical or moral 

resemblance to his putative parent. 
Chipper (Am.), lively. 
Chippy (Am.), a young girl; not a complimentary term. 

Chippy-Chasers are the well-dressed loafers who lie in 

wait for shop girls and school children. 

Digitized by 


CHI— CHO 65 

Ohipgy money. 

Chirk (Am.), cheerful, lively; in good spirits. 

Chirp (Bng.), to talk; usually to infonn or to ^^peach." 

Chisel (Eng.), to cheat. 

Chit (Hindu), a letter. 

Chivor Chive, a knife. Also used as a verb, to knife. The 
word is used by the Gipsies, and is probably of Hindu 

Chive (Gip.), the tongue. 

Chive-fencer, a street-peddler of cutlery. 

Chivy (Eng.), to chase, as *n boys* play. Probably from 
Chevy Chase. Also the shouting of bojrs at play. «*Poor 
Jo,** in Picken*s novel. Bleak House^ objected to being 
"chivied," that is, ordered to "move on.'* 

Chock (Old Eng.), to choke. 

Chock-ftill (Eng.), full to the throat Properly Chuck- 

Choke-off (Eng.), to get rid of, to finish. 

Choker (Eng.), a white necktie. 

Chokey (Eng.), a prison. Generally applied to a military 

Chop (Pidgin English^, good. "First chop'* signifies of 
best quality. A Chinaman makes his "chop" where a 
white man writes his name. 

Chop (Eng.), to swop or exchange. "Chopping about" 
means to vary one's actions, as "to chop and change." A 
"chopping sea" is one where the waves, although small, are 

Chops (Eng.), the mouth. Properly Chaps. 

Chores, small jobs of work about the house or farm. Orig- 
inally English, but seldom heard in England now, although 
^^harwoman" is used to sig^fy an assistant in house work. 

Digitized by 


66 CHO— CHU 

Caioiuie (Old Eng.), to cheat Ben Jonson used the word in 
The Alchemist. The reference is to a Turkish interpre- 
ter or chiaaus^ who in the early part of the seventeenth 
century succeeded in swindling a number of London mer- 

Chubby (Eng.), round-faced, plump. 

Cbuek (Eng,), food. 

Chuck (Eng.), to throw. 

Chuck-a-luck (Am.), a game played with dice. 

Chucker-out (Am.), a bruiser hired by gambUt!g-h<mse 
keepers and the proprietors of ^kiives** and low places to 
preserve the peace by throwing out all who are obnoxious 
to the management. He is equally well-known as a 

Chuck-fdll (Eng.), see Chock-pull, ante. 

Chuck it up (Eng.), to surrender. Otherwise to «Jack up.** 

Chuckle-head (Eng.), a stupid person. 

Chum (Eng.), an intimate friend. To chum with a man is 
to board and lodge with him. Probably from the Anglo- 
Saxon Cuffuiy a g^est. An Englishman will say ^Jones 
and I got quite chummy." 

Chummy (Eng.), a chimney-sweep. 

Chump (Am.), a stupid fellow; a fool. 

Chump (Eng.), the head. A silly or daft person is ^off his 

Chunk (Eng.), a thicker large shapeless portion of any- 
thing, as of bread or meat 

Chunky (Am.), short, thick. A stout-built man of small 
stature is **chunky built." See Stocky. 

Churchwarden (Eng.), a long clay pipe, otherwise known 
as a **yard of clay." 

Chute (Am.), a bavou or narrow portion of a river. Also 
applied to an artificial conduit. See Shoot. 

Digitized by 


CIN— CLA 67 

Oiiitfl (Am.), ^to htve a cinch on'' anvthing tft to hare ««a 
dead pull/' The word comes from the ^^cmch" or saddle- 
girth that, properly manipulated, holds the saddle or load 
in place. A "leadpipe" or "grapevine" cinch are superla- 
tives. This word is also applied to a modification of the 
game of Pedro. 

Cinder, «to take a cinder in it," is said in England where 
sodawater or lemonade is strengthened by the addition of 
brandy or other strong liquor. In this country we say 
"take a stick in it" 

CircninbendibiiSy round about; a story with no end to it. 

Circnmstance, "not a" (Am.), used as a comparison, as 
*^That was not a circumstance to what happened once to 

Clabber, sour milk. 

Clack, talk. 

Clack-box, a garrulous person. 

Clack-diak (Old Cant), a dish carried by beggars in old 
time for the reception of food. 

Cla8r(Eng.), to stick. 

daim (Am.), the land or mining property taken up by a 
settler or prospector. Claim-jumping is taking violent 
possession of another's claim, a common practice in the 
mining country, but risky. 

Clam "happy as a" ( Am.). For some unknown reason this 
bivalve is supposed to enjoy perennial bliss and to be spec- 
ially happy at "high water.'' 

Clam-shell (Am.), the mouth. Common in New England, 
and used by Lowell in the Biglow Papers. 

Clapper (Eng.),the tongue. 

Cli^ipep-claw (Old Eng.), a row between women where 
caps are torn and faces clawed. See Shakespeare, Trailus 
and Cressiiia. 

Digitized by 


68 CLA— CLE 

Clap-trap (Eng.), high-sounding nonsense; bombast *«A 
trap to catch a clap (applause) from a theatre audience.** 

Claque ^French), the paid mob who attend the representa- 
tions ox plays in France, and applaud at times arranged in 

Claret (P. R.), blood. 

Class (£ng.), quality. «<He cannot trot in that class** is said 
of an infenor horse in this country. 

Clatch (Old)i a quantity; same as a Batch or Brood. 

ClaTOr (Scotch) gossip. 

Clawhammer (Am.^, a dress-coat; otherwise known as a 
**steel-pen** or **swaUow-tail.** 

Clay. mTo moisten one*s clay** (Eng.) is to drink. 

Olay-eater (Am.), a native South Carolinian. The <*poor 
whites** in some of the back counties of that State eat con- 
siderable quantities of soft, white clay. 

Clean (Old Eng.), entirely «^clean gone;** altogether gone; 
out Of sight. 

Cleanont (Eng.), to ruin; to exhaust financially or other- 

Clear grit (Am.), decided; honest 

Clear out (Am.), to go away. ♦♦Dig out** and ♦♦skip** are 

Clem (North of England), to starve or to be thirsty. 

Clerk of the Weather, a mythical personage supposed to 
control the elements. See Old Probs. 

Clever, in the United States is used colloquially in the sense of 
good-natured, while in England it means handy, skillful, as 
♦♦a clever mechanic.** Where the Englishman says ♦♦clever*' 
we say ♦♦smart,** and where we would speak of a man as a 
♦♦clever*' fellow the Englishman would use the word 

Digitized by 


CLI— CLY 69 

Click (Eng.), to snatch or pull away. 

Clicker (Eng.), a female touter at a bonnet shop. Equiyap 
lent to the male «*capper** or «*8teerer.** 

Clinch (Eng.), ajail. 

Clinched (Eng.), locked up in jail. 

Clincher (Eng.), a statement which settles an argument; a 
lie which cannot be controverted. 

CUp, a blow or stroke with the hand. 

Clipper, a fast sailing vessel; also applied to a showy, hand- 
some woman. Clippsr-riggsd means stylish; well-ar- 

ClippinfiT (Eng.), first class; excellent 

Clock, (Eng.), a watch. A gold watch is a *<red clock** or a 
red 'un; a silver watch is a "white 'un.** 

Clock, "what's o'clock." To know this is to be «fly to the 
time of day;'* wide-awake, knowing. 

Clodhopper (Eng.), a country clown. 

Clodpole (Eng.), an ignorant countryman. 

Clootie (Scotch), the Devil, from his supposed color; clootie, 

Cloud, "under a,** to be in difficulties, disgrace, or disre- 

Clout (Old Eng.) a cotton handkerchief. 

Clout (Eng.), a blow. 

Clout, to mend, as a tinker clouts a kettle, or a tailor clouts a 

Clover (Eng.), "to be in clover" is to be well off. The 
bookmaker who has so arranged his bets that he may win 
and cannot possibly lose is in clover, or "stands on velvet*** 

Cly (Old Cant), the pocket 

Cly-flEfcker (Gip.), from Cly, a pocket; and Fakb (f. v.), to 
rob, or to go on. See Father Front's famous song, pur- 
porting to be a translation from the French. 

Digitized by 



Coach (Bng.>, a private tutor; to coach is to instruct, and is 
used not only of mental but physical instruction. Thus it 
is said ^<The Oxford crew were coached from the tow-path 
by W. Blank, former stroke of the University crew." 

Coacli-wheel or Cart-wlie^, an English crown-piece, or 
five shillings. 

Coal (Eng.), money. 

Coals, ««carrying." It is said of a pimp or pander that he 
will **carry coal.'' See Shakespeare, King Henry IV, 

Coals (Eng.), «<to haul one over the," to take to task or to 

Coast (Am.), to slide down hill on sleds in the snow. 

Cob (£!ng.), a middle-sized horse. 

Cobbler (Am.), the name of a drink; "a sherry-cobbler.** 

Cobbler (Eng.), a mender of old boots and shoes. 

Cook (Eng.), a jovial fellow; a ♦*jolly old cock." 

Cock (Eng.), a story; a fake. 

Cock-^a-hoop (Eng.), in high spirits. 

Cock-^a-leekic (Scotch), a broth made of chicken. 

Cock and bull story, a long rambling anecdote. 

Cocked-hat, <<knocked into a," knocked out of shape. 

Cocker, ««according to." See According to Guntxr, 

Cockey, impertinent. 

Cock-eyed, squinting. 

Cock laundress (Eng.), the male hanger-on of a laundry, 
who carries home the washing. 

Cockles (Eng.), **to warm one's cockles," a vulgar phrase 
implying gpreat pleasure. 

Cockloft (Eng.), the upper room of a house; the attic 

Cockney, a native of London, England. In order to be en- 
titled to this distinction the person must be bom ^^within 

Digitized by 


COC— CX)L 71 

the sound of Bow Bdls," that is, of thebellsof the Church 
of St. Mary le Bow, in Cheapside, London. 

Cook of the walk (Bng.), the master spirit; the head of a 

Cockshy (Eng.), from the game of that name in which arti- 
cles are set upon sticks to be thrown at Any person 
abused in the newspapers b spoken of as a ^^cocksby.^ 

Cocksure (Eng.), certain. 

Cocktail (Am.), a mixed drink. 

Cocktail (Eng.),.an aged but lively hone. 

Cocky (Eng.), pert, swaggering, impudent 

Cocoa-nut (P. R.), the head. 

Cocnm (Gip.), shrewdness, luck. 

Cod (Eng.), to hoax, to <<take m rise'' out of one. 

C. O. D. (Am.), cash on delirery. 

Coddle (Eng.), to nurse; to make much of. 

CodllBh aristocracy (Am.), the name applied to the mouveam 
riche of Massachusetts, who were said to haye made their 
money out of the fisheries. 

CodfT^r (Old Cant), an old man. 

Cog (Old Eng.), to cheat See Merry Wives of Windsor^ 

Cogged (Old Eng.), loaded dice. 

Cold (Am.), certain, positiye; as ^\ giye it out eold" that I 
will do so-and-so. 

Cold coffee or Cold gruel (Eng.), bad luck. 
Cold deck (Am.), a pack of cards so arranged that the deal- 
er knows what idnd of a hand he is giying his opponent 

Cold meat (Eng.), a corpse. 
Cold scran (Irish), cold victuals. 

Digitized by 


7a COL 

Cold dlOOldWy <Ho give one,^ is to treat a friend with mod- 
ified dvility, as when one calls at dinner time when no 
preparation has been made and is served with the remnant 
of yesterday's shoulder of mutton. 

Cold veal (Eng.), kissing one's sister. 

Cold water (Eng.), *<to throw on/' to discourage. 

Cold water party (Am.), the Prohibitionists. 

Cold without (Eng.), spirits and cold water without sugar. 

Collar (Eng.), to seize hold of; to arrest. Also to steaL 

Collar (Am.), (as a noun) a policeman. 

Collar (Eng.), ^out of," out of work. Same as <H>ut of 
harness" or Carrying the Banner. See Banner, 

Collide, to come into colUsion. Not recognized by English 
writers of to-day, although used by Dryden. 

CoUogae (Irish), to conspire; to talk mysteriously. Prob- 
ably from colloquy or colleague, or a combination of both. 

CoUop (Scotch), a small portion of meat. 
Color (Am.), in mining parlance a speck of gold; the small- 
est quanti^ which it will pay to work. 

Color (Eng.), complexion, tint. *<I have not seen the ctikx 
of his money," that is, he has not paid me yet. 

Colors /P. R.), handkerchiefs worn as distinctive emblems 
by pnze-iighters on entering the ring. Boating crews 
have special colored caps; such as Oxford dark and Cam- 
bridge light blue. Jockeys are distinguished by their vari- 
colored caps and jackets. 

Colt, a professional cricketer or baseball player during his 
first season. 

Colt (Eng.), a weapon resembling a sling-shot Also a 
piece of rope, formerly used in the navy for *«colting" the 

Digitized by 


COL— COM 73 

Oolt (Bng.), to cause one to stand treat; to make him pay 
his footing. 

Colt's tooth (Eng.). The possesion of one is alleged against 
certain elderly gentlemen of juvenile tastes. 

Oomb (Am.), the ridge of a hilL 

Comb, Ho cut oneV (Eng.), to take apersondown; to mor- 
tify or disg^race him. From the practice of cutting the 
combs or wattles of domestic fowls. 

Combine (Am.), a word recently coined to express the same 
meaning as ^trust'' and supposed not to be quite so distaste- 
ful to the opponents of monopolies. 

Come-alongs (Am.), articles of twine or wire which may 
be twisted around the wrists and are used by policemen in 
lieu of handcufEs. 

Come down (Eng.), to pay; to milk down. 

Come off (Am.), go slow, let up, stop your conversation or 

Comether (Irish). It is smd of some men, who have pre- 
sumably <<kissed the Blarney stone," that they can "put the 
comether** on others; that is, can cast a glamour over them 
and make them believe anything. 

Come out. In society parlance, a young lady <<comes out" 
when she makes her aeiui or first formal appearance in 

Oome-onterSy in the slang of the conventicle, those who 
leave a religious organization because of some disagree- 
ment as to doctrine. 

Coming it (Eng.), proceeding at a great rate. 

Coming it strong (Eng.), putting on considerable style; at- 
tempting to do sometMng hardly justified by the circum- 

Coming tricks or Coming the old soldier (Eng.), trying 
to cheat or swindle one. 

Digitized by 



Oonuiumder, a sailor's tenn for a beetle or large rammer 
used for packing freight in a ship's hold. 

Commons, short, a scanty meal. Commons is English 
University slang for an allowance. 

Comp, abbreviation of compositor, a printer who works at 
the case; a tjrpo. 

Ck>mprador (Sp.), an ag^nt, sub-contractor, or boss steve- 

Coney (Am.), counterfeit money. 

Coniacker (Am.), a counterfeiter. 

Conk, the nose. 

Con men (Am.), or confidence men, swindlers, bunko steer- 
ers. See Bunco. 

Constable, «<to overrun the'' (Eng.), to exceed one's in- 

C<Huititational (Eng.), a walk supposed to be taken for the 
benefit of the constitution. 

Contango, on the Stock Exchange, the price paid for carry- 
ing over barg^ains from day to day. 

Continental (Am.), first applied to the Congress which 
met in 1774; then to the army raised under its auspices, 
and then to the money or scrip issued by it <<Not worth 
a continental" has reference to the disrepute into which 
this money fell. 

Continiiatl<ms (Eng.), trousers. Otherwise unmendona- 
blesyinexpressioles, and other euphemisms of a mock-modest 

Contraband (Am.), which means properly anything for- 
bidden to be imported in time of war in neutral vessels, was 
applied during the Civil War, 1861-1865, to the negro 
slaves in the South. Gen. B. F. Butler held that negroes 
were <Hx>ntraband of war" and declined to give them up. 
The negro was often spoken of later as ««Ae intelligent 
contraband" by newspaper correspondents. 

Digitized by 


CON— coo 75 

Contraption or Oontription, a contrivance. Bums in Tarn 
(TShanter has ^cantrip,^ doubtless the same thing. 

Convenient (Irish), near to, "handy by,** to use another 
Hibemidsm. Usually pronounced ^^convanient.** 

Convey, to steaL <<Convey the wise it call.'' So said an- 
cient Pistol. 

Conveyer or Conveyaneer, a thief or <<snapper-up of uncon- 
sidered trifles." 

Coof (Scotch), a fool. 

Cooky <(to cook up accounts,** to prepare such by false entries 
in order to produce a favorable impression. To ^Hx>ok up 
a story*' is to prepare a Fakb {jj.v.) 

Cook one's groose (Eng.), to ruin him, or to knock him out 

in any way. 
Cooky or Cookie (Am.), a sweet cake or biscuit. 
Cooler (Am.), the calaboose or police station. 
Cooler, a drink, generally of beer or some mild beverage* 

Coon (Am.), a negro. "A g^ne coon" is one in a bad way. 
The old story, a veritable chestnut, is told that Captam 
Scott, a noted backwoods sportsman, leveled his gun at a 
coon in a tree. The coon said, "Is your name Scott?" and 
being answered in the affirmative said "Don't shoot; 111 
come down." David Crockett is often substituted for Cap- 
tain Scott in variations of this yam. 

Coon*8 age (Am. ), an indefinite period, usually supposed to 
be a very long time. Why is unknown, as raccoons are 
not speaally long-lived. 

Cooper (Eng.^, a mixture of stout and porter, formerly a 
favorite drink with the porters of Billingsgate market. It 
is sometimes spoken of as "meat and drink" and one of its 
votaries asked a barmaid to "Draw it thick. Miss, Fve had 
no breakfast." 

Digitized by 


76 COO— COR 

Cooper (Eng.), to forge. 

Coopered (Gip.), spoilt, as a cask ruined for want of coop- 

Cooty Mbald as a coot;'' the coot or mud-hen is destitute of 
feathers on top of its head; ^in the place where the wool 
ought to grow." 

Cop (contraction of Copper), a policeman* To cop is to 
seize or lay hold of. To be copped is to be <H:ollared'' by 
an officer. 

Copenliagen treat, where every man pays for his own 
drink. Sometimes called a Philadelphia treat* 

Coper or Cooper (Eng.), a horse dealer. 

Copper, an English penny or half -penny* Since the change 
in the petty coinage known as a ^^bronze*" 

Copper or Cop (Eng.), a policeman; one who cops, that is, 
arrests people. 

Copper (Am.), a button or small check placed on a bet at 
faro indicates that the bet is "coppered," that is, the play- 
er bets that the card indicated will lose (that is, win for the 

Copperhead (Am.); stay-at-home Northern men who dur- 
ing the Civil War svmpathized with the Confederacy were 
styled "copperheads'' from a particularly venomous snake 
which lies in ambush and strikes without warning. 

Corduroy, a rough kind of ribbed cloth, much affected by 
English gamekeepers and "horsey" men generally. 

Corduroy (Am.), a rough road made by laying logs side by 
side on the earth. From the resemblance to &,e ribs of cor- 
duroy cloth. 

Corinthian, a man about town; "one of the boys;** a sport* 
See Shakespeare / Henry I F, «, 4. But it is far older than 
this. The immorality of Corinth was proverbial in an- 
cient Greece and to "Corinthianize" was to frequent the 
company of the heiera. 

Digitized by 


COR 77 

Cork (Eng.), a bankrupt or ruined man, with too little bal- 
last to float pioperly. 

Cork, **to draw a'' (P. R.), to give one a bloody nose. 

Corked (Eng.), wine that has lost its flavor through an im- 
perfect cork. 

Corker (Eng.), a stiff story; «*thafs a corker,»» that settles 

Corks (Eng.), a butler, from his function. 

Comcracker (Am.), a native of the Southern mountain 

Com-dodgera (Am.), cake made of corn-meal. See Hos- 


Comedy drunk; soaked; pickled like corned beef. 

Comer (Am.), an operation in stocks or any other article of 

speculation by which the ^shorts,'' not having the goods to 

deliver, are **comered.'* 
Cornered (Eng.), hemmed in; placed in a portion from 

which there is no escape. 
Corner-man, otherwise End-man. The bones and tambor* 

ine players in a negro minstrel show. 
Corn-fed (Am.), stout, plump, in good condition. 
Com-Jnice (Am.), whisky. 
Corporation (Eng.), the stomach. 
Corporosity (Am.), supposed to have some reference to 

the human form. <*How does your corporosity sagatiate?** 

b a supposedly comic inquiry after one's health. 
Corpse (Eng.), to spoil or to confuse, as to ^corpse the 

play" by making a mistake in the dialogue or by acting in 

a ridiculous manner. 
Corral (Sp.), the enclosure into which cattle or sheep are 

driven for protection. Any place fenced in a primitive 

fashion. The South African Boers call it a Kraal* 
Corral (Sp.), to enclose; to pen up. 

Digitized by 


t« COS— GOV 

JP00tilFfl ^Old Eoff.)* ^ l^t^^ I'be word is also used for 

a large apple, from whence we hav« Costbrmongsr 

it* ^-)i A Atrc^t fnut-peddler. 
C^istW (EivO> Abbreviation of Costsrmongxr ^see next). 

Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Beaumont ana Fletcher 

luwod the word in its present acceptation. 

CoBterwaonger (Ene.), an itinerant peddler, of whom there 
are several thousaim in Liondon alone. 

OottOB^ <«to cotton to^ is to take a fancy to or to like a per- 
son. Claimed as a native Americanism, but really Old 
fingfHsfa. ' 

Oount, to suppos^. ^I counted on going.** 

Counter (P. R.), to strike back; to exchange a blow. 
Choss countbrino is hitting back with one hand in ex- 
diange for a blow with the opposite one. 

Connter-Jiimper (Eng.), a shopman or clerk in a store. 

Oountliig ties (Am.); in many countxY places the railroads 
form the most direct and sometimes the only passable routes 
between towns. Tramps and others compelled to walk 

* for lack of railroad fare speak of having ^taken a contract 
to count ties," which is done one at a time. 

Country Jake, a greenhorn from the rural districts. 

County crop (Eng.), hah: cut short as if by the prison bar- 
ber, at the expense of the county. 

Couple-beggar mid Eng.), a degraded clergyman, or 
hedge priest, wno marries people in irregular fjuhion* 

Course of SproutSy ^to put one through a," is to initiate 

ConteTy aQ English sovereign. From the Gipsy cutOp a gold 

Cove, a man or boy. Probably from the old Cant word 
cofs or cufin. A gxntry-covb is a gentleman. 

Digitized by 


COV— CRA 79 

Coventry, (<sent to^ (Bng.), banished or exdudod tfom M« 
lowship or society* The town of Coventry, Rngkmd, wai 
one where all tnules were in the hands of the guilds of 
freemen, so that an outsider there had little chtoce. 

Cowan, a sneaking, prying, inquisitive person. Hie woid 
is from the Greek for ^^dog.'' Freemasons speak 6i out- 
siders as ^^cowans,'* f • e.^ strangers. 

CowtM>y (Am.), a cattle-herder. During the Revotutioilaiy 
War the name was applied to the country Tories of New 
York State. 

Cow-catoher (Am.), an appendage affixed to the freof of i 
locomotive for the purpose of removing cattle or othet ob- 
structions from the track. 

Cowhide or Bawhide (Am.), a whip made of twisted strips 
of rawhide. Cowhidino Ib thrashing one wiA ssdi a 

Cow-lick (Eng.), a refractory lock of hair on the front of tbo 
head — one which will neither curl nor lie down. 

Cow with the iron tall (Eng.), the pump. 

Cox (Eng.), the coxswain or steersman of a boat. 

Coyote (Am.), the prairie wolf. From the Mejatan coydU^ 

Crab, a sour, disagreeable person; no doubt from the crab 
or wild apple, which is a very ill-tempered fruit. 

Crab, ««to catch a crab,** (Eng.), to fall backwards hf ijtiis- 
ing a stroke in rowing. 

Crabbed (Eng.), ill-tempered; sour as a crab-apple. 

Crab-shells (Eng.), feet Crabs, at dice, a p^ ol sl^cs. 

Cracky first-rate, excellent; tbe favorite horse ia a raoa* A 
crack hand, a crack article, a crack regiment 

Crack (Gip.), kindHng-wood. Derivation obvious. 

Crack a bottle (Eng.), to drink. In Old English ^^arush" 
is used, probably fiom the fact that the ordinal bottles 
were of leather and presented a crushed appearanca wben 

Digitized by 


8o CRA 

Crack a crib (Bng.), to break into a house* 

Cracked up (Eng.), ruined. 

Cracker (Am*), the poor whites of South Carolina* 

Crack-hemp (Old Eng.), a thief; one destined to the gal- 

Cracking a cnut (Eng.), getting along after a fashion. 
^Cracking a tidy crust" denotes a more comfortable state 
of affairs. 

Crack on^ to apply industriously; to hurry along. 

Crackgman, a burglar, f . «., one who ^cracks cribs." Sec 

Crack up (Old Eng.), to praise or boast about; to boom. 
See Boom, ante. 

Cradle (Am.), a scythe with a light frame work attached, 

used for cutting grain. 
Cradle (Am.), a machine shaped like a child's cradle and 

used for washing auriferous earth. See also Rocker. 
Cradle of Liberty (Am.), Faneuil Hall, Boston. 
Cram (Eng.), to lie* Also to impart or acquire learning 

quickly, as in cramming for an examination. 

Crammer (Eng,), a University tutor who prepares pupils 
for competitive examinations by cramming them with in- 
iormation on subjects which they are likely to be questioned 

Crammer (Eng.), a lie. 

Crank (Am.), an erratic person; one of ill-balanced mind. 
An woAteadj ship is crank or cranky. 

Cranky, unsteady, foolish, erratic or cross in temper. An- 
cient Cant gives Cranke for simulated sickness, and 
Craniey-ffUH for beggars. In German Krank means 

Craps (Am.), a game played by negroes with dice, and of 

Digitized by 


CRA— CRO 8i 

which the colored race are passionately fond* The mys- 
teries of <^ooting craps," like the Chinese ^^fan-tan," are 
practically beyond the ken of white men* 

Crawfiah (Am.^, to back out; to retract one's statements. 
From the motion of the crawfish* 

Crawler or Growler, an English four-wheeled cab. 

Crasy-bone (Am.), the extremity of the elbow, a blow on 
wMch causes a painful tingling. See Funny-bone. 

Crazy-qnllty an Americanism for the patch-work counter- 

Oreamof thoTalley or WUte satin (Eng.), gin. 

Crease (Am.), to shoot a horse or deer in the upper part of 
the neck, so that it falls stunned, but is not killed. 

Creeky which is properly a small bay, is the name applied in 
the Northern States and Canada to small streams. 

Creepy (Scotch), a stooL 

Crevasse (Sp.), a break in a levee or river bank. 

Crib (Eng.) a house, lodging or apartment. Otherwise a 

Crib (Eng.), to steal or purloin. ' 

Crib (Eng.), a literal translation of a classical work, used by 
school-lx>ys to save themselves the trouble of studying. 

Crikey, a stupid ejaculation used by cockneys as an expres- 
sion of astonishment Possibly a corruption of Christ or 

Cripple (Eng.), a bent*coin. 

Crispin, a shoemaker, from the name of the patron saint of 

Croak (Eng.), to die. 

Croaker (Eng.), one who takes a despondent view of every- 
thing. From the ominous croaking of a crow or raven. 

Croaker (Eng.), a beggar. 

Digitized by 


8a CRO 

Croaks (Eng.), mmderer's confessions; last dying speeches. 

Crock (Am.), an earthenware pot. 

Crocodile tears, the tears of a hypocrite. See Othello. 
Ancient travelers fabled that crocodiles wept to attract the 
attention of persons whom they then devoured. 

Crone (Eng.), an old woman. 

Crony, an intimate friend. See Chum and Pal. 

Crook (Am.), a thief. 

Crooked (Am.), anjrthing stolen. 

Crooked men, or familiarly <«crooks,^ are thieves and crim- 
inals generally. 

Crooked stick (Eng.), an ugly tempered person. 

Crooked whisky (Am.), that upon which the government 
tax has not been paid. 

Crook one's eItM>w, to drink. 

Crop (Eng.), to cut short See County crop. Dog's 
ears are cropped. 

Crop (Eng.), a hunting whip. 

Cropped or Topped (Eng.), hanged. 

Cropper (Am.), one who cultivates a farm for a share of 
the crop. 

Cropper (Eng.), a fall in the huntine field. To «Hx)me a 
cropper'^ is applied also to a business failure or to disasters 

Croppies, an opprobrious term applied to the Irish. ^Crop- 
ines, lie down'* is a line of a well-known song. 

Crop-op (Eng.), to turn up in the course of conversation. 

Cross, in the sporting world, is an arran^ment for a fight or 
any contest to be won or lost irrespective of the merits of 
the contestants. A <Hlouble cross'^^is where the man who 
has Mput up the job** plays straight at the last and swindles 
his associate swindler. 

Digitized by 



CroBBf <<on the^ (El^gO* crooked, dishonest. 

Cross-crib (Eng.), a house frequented by thieves. 

Crossman (Eng.), a thief; a di^onest or crooked perKUiu 

Crow ( Am.^, to exult over another as a cock does after a 
victorious battle. 

Crow, a lookout for thieves. Crows when foraging alwajrs 
set some of their number to watch and give the alarm. 

Crow, to eat crow (Am.). To take back what one has said. 
Politicians are sometimes compelled to eat con«derable crow 
after an unsuccessful campaign. The story goes that a 
soldier shot the pet crow of a citizen, who, securing the 
soldier's gun, forced the man to eat a part of the unsavory 
bird. When the citizen returned the gun to the soldier the 
latter compelled the owner to finish the crow. The citizen 
complained to the commanding officer, who had the men 
paraded and the soldier picked out. ^Do you know this 
gentleman?'' said the officer. ^Yes, sir, took Inreakfast 
with him this morning," was the answer. 

Crowbalty an aged and decrepit horse, only fit to feed the 

Crowd (Am.), a company or gathering of any size. 

Crowdle (Scotch), oatmeal porridge. 

Crowding the mourners (Am.), pressing one too hard; pre- 
stuning on good nature. Mourners at a funeral have the 
first right to the carriages provided and are sometimes 
crowded by outsiders and chronic attendants at such occa- 

Crow's feet (Eng.), wrinkles in the comers of the eyes. 

Crow to pick or Bone to pick (Eng.), a quarrel to settle. 

Cruel (Am.), used as a substitute for very, exceedingly. 

Crumbs, «to pick up** (Eng.), to be getting a living, or im- 
proving in appetite, health or circumstances. 

Crummy (Eng.), fat In Cockney slang, lousy. 

Digitized by 


84 CRU— CUR 

Cnmuiiy-dOBS (Eng.), a lousy, filthy bed. 

Crunch (Eng.), to crush. 

Croah /Eng.), to run away. 

Crash (Eng.), acrowd. 

Crasher (Eng.), a policeman. 

Crush-hat (Eng.), an opera hat 

Crashing ^Eng.), used as an adjective, much in the same 
way as **joUy" or **awfully,'' as "a crushing good time." 

Crusty (Eng.), ill-tempered, morose. 

Cratch and toothpick brigade, the name invented by the 
London Punch for the dude element. 

Cub, a mannerless youth; a lout. 

Cuddy (Scotch), a donkey. 

Cue (Eng.), the signal to an actor to reply to another, or for 
the ciutain to fall, or the band to strike up. 

CuiTey (Am.), a neg^o. 

Cufin (Old Cant), a man. 

Cul-de-sac (Fr.), the bottom of the bag; a street with no 
outlet, or blind passage. 

Cull or Cully (Gip.), a man or boy. Generally qualified as 
a •*rum cull" or ♦♦queer cull." Cully is almost a term of 
endearment. '^ 

Cumber (Old Eng.), trouble. 

Cununer or Brimmer (Scotch), a gossip or intimate ac- 

Cunning (Am.), pretty, small, neat, cute. 

Cupboard love, the sentiment entered by the London police- 
man for the cook. 

Curbstone broker (Am.), a hanger-on of Boards of Trade 
or Stock Exchanges, who does his business on the sidewalk ; 
an irregular speculator with the street for his place of busi- 
ness and his office in his hat. 

Digitized by 


CUR— CUT 85 

Core (cockney), probably from curiosity; a funny fellow. 

Curios, abbreviation for curiosities; bric-a-brac* 

CurioiDB (Eng.), often used for excellent, as ^curious wines." 

Curious books are those which are **off-color.'' 
Curlicue (Am.), a fantastic ornament. 
Currency lads, native-bom Australians. 
Curtain raiser, in theatrical language means a one-act farce 

which precedes the drama of the evening. In French 

lever de rideau. 
Cushion-smiter or Tub-thumper or Bible-banger (Eng.), 

a clergyman. 
Cuss (Am.), a corruption of curse. Applied to a man as an 

"ugly cuss.*' 
Cussedness (Am.), malice, spite. 
Customer (Eng.), a man; a "rum customer,** a bad one to 

tackle or a queer fellow. 
Customer (Old Eng.), a common woman. 
Cut, has many meanings. "Cut and run** is to quit work 

and start off; "cut it," to desist; "cut that,** be quiet; "cut 

your stick," go at once; "cut your lucky,** the same; "cut 

up rough,** to become obstreperous; "cut one*s eye teeth,** 

wide-awake, knowing. 
Cut, drunk. 

Cut, to ignore an acquaintance. 

Cut, to take cards from a pack to decide who shall deal. 
Cut and dried (Eng,), prepared or arranged in advance. 
Cuta or Center (Gip.), an English sovereign or pound. 
Cut a splurge, to make a show or great display. 
Cute (Am.), abbreviation of acute. 
Cuteness, keenness. 

Cut of one's jib, the appearance of a man. 
Cut-off (Am.), where a river forms a new channel for itself 

Digitized by 


86 CUT 

by cutting through a bend; a common occurrence on the 
Mississippi. See Mark Twain's riyer stories. 

Cut out (Eng.), defeated. 

Oatter (Am.), a sleigh. 

Oatter (Old Eng.), a highwayman, a thief. Cutter's 
Law was the rule which governed outlaws in their deal- 
ings with each other. 

Oattiiig a swathe (Am.), same as Cutting a dash. 

Cutting capers or Catting shines (Eng.), playing tricks. 

Catting it fiftt (Eng.), overdoing it; making an extortionate 

Cat up didoes (Eng.), to play tricks. 

Cutty (Eng.), a short clay pipe. 

Cutty (Scotch), short. See Tarn (yShanieri 

"Tarn roars out *Weel done, cutty $aik,* 
And in an instant all was dark." 
Cut-under^ to undersell in price. 
Cut up rough, to behave badly. 
Cut up welly is said of a wealthy man who dies and leaves a 

large fortune. 
Cut your lucky (Eng.), get away; run off. 
Cut your stick (Eng.), leave at once. 

Digitized by 


Dab or DatNrter (Eng.), an expert 

Daddle (Eng.)» the hand. 

Daddy (Eng.), the stage manager of a theatre. Also a 
childish diminutive for father. 

Daddy longlegs (Eng.), a small insect with very long legs. 

Dade or Dadl (6ip.)» a father. In English and Cymric, 
<Daft (Scotch), silly; a harmless lunatic. 

Dago (Am.), a name given in the United States to the low- 
class Italians and Sicilians. Said to be derived from the 
Spanish Diego. 

DagOHShop, a low saloon or resort for depraved men and 
women, conducted by a Dago. 

Dags TEng.), a corruption of daring. "Ill do your dags,'' 
ril ao anything you dare. 

Daisy, a young girl. 

Daisy-cutter, applied to a horse which trots or gallops with- 
out lifting its feet far from the ground. Also in the base- 
ball field to a straight **liner" which does not rise high. 

Damage^ the cost. "What's the damage?" how much is to 
pay. Sometimes varied to "What is the extortion?" In 
England the biU\ in France Padditian. 

Damaged (Am.), intoxicated. 

Damp (Am.), a drink. 

Damper (Eng.), a till or money drawer. 

Damper, an Australian term for a cake, unleavened, and 
baked in the coals. 


Digitized by 


88 DAM— DAR 

Damper (Bng.), "to put a damper on," to discourage. 
Equivalent to "throw cold water** on a scheme. 

Dan to Beersheba, the extreme length of Ancient Pales- 
tine; an expression used to sienify great distance. A mod- 
em equivalent is "from Jones's tavern to the forks of the 

Dance upon nothing (Eng.), to be hanged. 

Dander (Am.), anger, passion. To "get one's dander up** 
is to get in a passion. 

Dandy, a fop. Byron uses the word^ which originated about 
1816. Prior to that time "macaroni" was the word. 
Later English is **8weir' and sometimes "tofif.** In the 
United States "dude** is much used. 

Dandy (Irish), a small glass of whisky. 

Dandypratt (Old Eng.), a little fellow; a mannikin. 

Danites or Destroying angels ( Am.),an organization with- 
in the Mormon ranks for the purpose of putting out of the 
way obnoxious Gentiles and apostate Mormons. They 
committed many murders, but their leader, Lee, was finally, 

4 executed for his share in the "Mountun Meadow" massacre 
and the society exists no longer, at least for purposes of as- 

Darbies (Old Cant), handcuffs. Sir Walter Scott uses the 
term in Peverilofthe Peak. 

Darby and Joan^ an old married couple. 

Dark, blind. 

Dark (Eng.), secret, as "Keep it dark.** 

Dark and bloody ground (Am.), Kentucky. 

Dark horse /Eng.), one of whom little is known, but who 
may prove oangerous in a race. 

Darkmans (Gip.), night. 

Darky (Am.), a negro. 

Digitized by 


DAR— DEA 89 

Dam (Am.), a euphemism for damn. 

JDash (Eng.), fire, vigor. 

Dashy an ejaculation much in favor with the "heavy father" 

on the stage, who in the old comedies ^Hlashes his wig," his 

buttons and everything else. 
I>as]iiiig (Eng.), showy, fast. 
David's sow, "drunk as," the exact state of intoxication at- 

tained by this animal is unrecorded, but he probably got 

along as far as his brother, "St. Anthony's pig." 

Davy (Eng.), "on my davy," or Alfred Davy; on my affi- 

Davy's locker (Sea term), the bottom of the sea. Some- 
times Davy Jones's locker. 

Dawdle (Eng.), to loiter or fritter away time. 

Daylights (Gip.), eyes. 

Dazed (Eng.), confounded or bewildered. 

Deacon (Am.), to deacon berries is to place the best fruit on 
top, a practice not entirely unknown outside of church cir- 
cles. "All deacons are good, but there's odds in deacons," 
is a Yankee proverb. 

Deacon (Am.), to deacon off a hymn is to give it out line by 

Deacon (Am.); the skin of a very young calf, which has 
been "killed to save its life," is known as a "deacon." 

Dead-alive (Eng.), stupid, dull. 

Dead-beat (Eng.), exhausted, **done up." 

Dead beat (Am.), a fellow who borrows money or obtains 
credit on all kinds of pretenses and pays nobody. With 
a wholesome fear of the law he keeps just outside of the 
statutes against fraud, and he seldom possesses the qualities 
of a first-class swindler. 

Dead-broke (Am.), out of cash; penniless. 




Digitized by 


90 DSA 

Dead goii-» (AnL),infat— ted, A girl is ««de«d gone^ on « 

man or vice versa. 
Dead-head (Am.), one who hat free admission to theatres 

or free rides on railroads, etc. 
Dead-beat /Eng.), when two horses in a race finish so close 

together tnat the judges are unable to decide between 

Dead horse, "working on the" (Eng.), doing work which 

has been paid for in advance. 
Dead letter, an action of no value or weight. Letters gone 

astray in the postoffice or which fail to reach their owners. 
Dead loads (Am.), a g^eat quantity of anything. 
Dead-lock, a standstill. Perhaps the most famous is that in 

the Critic^ when Mr. Puff gets all his characters with 

theh* daggers at each other's throats. 
Dead man (Eng.), a baker. Dead man or <<dead 'un" prop- 

erly means an extra loaf smuggled into the basket by the 

journeyman. Sometimes it represents an extra loaf 

charged to the customer but not delivered. 
Dead men (Eng.), empty bottles. 
Deadmen's ahoea, <«waiting for" (Eng.), is considered a 

wearisome task. 
Dead money (Eng.), bets laid by a bookmaker early in the 

racing season against horses which are struck out before the 

race, and on which the bookmaker of course wins the 

amount deposited by the backer. 
Dead nnts, to be <^ead nuts" on one is to be in love with or 

fascinated with the person. 
Dead rabbit (Am.), a loafer or tough; the Baltimore equiv* 

alent for the New York plug-ugly, the ward striker or 

heeler, the saloon loafer and political bummer and thug 

Dead-Mfe (Eng.), a pointed and persistent attack on a per- 

Digitized by 


DEA— DEU 91 

Dead soldier (Eng.), an empty botde. 

JDead to rights /Am.), certain, positive. Having a man 

^ead to rights'' is said by officers who have found absolute 

proof of crime against him. 
Dead 'nii, a horse which it is known is not meant to win. 

It is known also as a Shtumbr or Safb 'un (y. v.) 
Deaner (Gip. denier)^ an English shilling. 
Dear me, an English ejaculation derived, probably, from 

Dio mio, 
Deatli (£ng.), <«dressed to death" or ^^dressed to kiU,** the 

extreme of fashion. 
Deatli (Am.), <<to be death on** anjrthing is to be completely 

master of tne subject or devoted to it 
Deck (Old Eng.), a pack of cards. See Shakespeare, King 

Henry /F, v^ i. General in the U. S.; not used now in 

Dee or Dy a pocketbook; a detective. 
Deed (Am.), to convey property by deed or assignment 
Deft (Old), clever, neat 
Dell (Gip.), a girl. 

Demi-rep (Eng.), a courtesan; one cff demumonde reputa- 
Depot (French), a railway station. 
Derrick. This word, now in common use in the United 

States to signify a scaffold-like construction to support a 

crane, is derived from the name of an English hangman, 

who flourished early in the 17th century. 
Derringer (Am.), a revolver. 
Destroying angels (Am.), see Danitbs, anie. 
Deuce, of cards, dice or dominoes, the two spot 
Deuce, a euphemism for the devfl. Said to be a corruption 

of Deus or Zeus. 

Digitized by 


92 DEV— DIG 

Devil (Eng.), the Attorney General's devil, a young lawyer 
who assists in getting up cases for his leader. 

Devil-dodger (£ng.), a clergyman; also one who attends 
church semi-occasionally only. 

DeviUed bones (Eng.), the *«drumsticks" of a fowl, 
sprinkled with cayenne pepper and grilled. 

Devil, printer's, (Eng.), the press-boy, messenger or ap- 
prentice in a printing office. It is said that Fust, the orig- 
inal printer, employed a negro boy, whom the ignorant 
populace thought was the devil. 

Devil's deligbt (Eng.), a row. 

Devil's picture books, cards. Bums uses the expression in 
The Twa Dogs. 

Devil's teetb or Devil's bones (Eng.), dice. 

Dew-beaters (Old Eng.), feet 

Dibs or Dibbs (Old Eng.), money. 

Dice or Dicer (Am.), a silk hat See also Tile. 

DickenSy the devil. See Shakespeate, Merry Wives of 

Dicker (Am.), a bargain or trade. Used as a verb, to dicker 
is to bargain. 

Dickey (Eng.), an imitation shirt front. 

Dickey (Eng.), a seat on a stage coach or traveling carriage 
usually occupied by a servant 

Dickey (Eng.), inferior, sick, poor. 

Dicky (Old Eng.), a donkey. 

Diddle, to cheat or defraud. Jeremy Diddler, in the old 
farce of Raising the Wind, was a type of this petty fraud. 

Didoes, '^to cut up," to play tricks or capers. Possibly from 
"Widow" Dido's relations with ^neas. 

Dig (Eng.), a blow; "a dig in the ribs." 

Diggers (Eng.), spurs. Also the spades in cards. 

Digitized by 



IMggiiigft (Eng.), lodgings. 

DigginflT up the hatchet (Am.), Indians when about to 
commence war are said to dig up the war-hatchet See 
Burying the hatchet, ante. 

I>ight (Old Eng.), to dean or dress. 

I>ig out (Am.), to go away. 

J^OLib (Scotch), a ditch or walL 

IMlly-daUy (Eng.), to trifle. 

Dimmoeky money. 

Dinarly, from the Latin Denarius^ money. 

IHng (Old Eng. and Scotch), to strike; a heavy blow. 

IMngy, a flat-bottomed boat 

Dining with Duke Humphrey (Eng.), going without din- 

Dipper (Am.), a bowl with a handle. The constellation of 
the Great Bear, called in England Charles's Wain, is known 
in the United States as the Dipper. 

Dirt (Am.), real estate; any kind of earth. Miners speak 
of "poor dirt** and **pay dirt** 

Dirt^ «Ho eat" (Eng.), to humble oneself. From the Orien. 
tal practice or grovdling on the earth in the presence of a 

Disgruntled (Am.), disappointed, disconcerted. 

DisgniMd (Eng.), in drink. 

Dishy to suppress or defeat Earl Derby boasted that he 
had <<dished the Whigs," when he partly adopted their pol- 
icy and *<stole their thunder." 

Diarememher (Am.), to forget 
Distressed, wretched, miserable. 

Dittoes (Eng.), a suit of dotfaes, all the pieces of the same 

Digitized by 


9i DIT— DOG 

Dittf^hBg, a sailor's bag containing his thread, needlat, etc., 
for mending his clothes. 

Mve ( Am.), a basement saloon, wine room or low variety 

Divep (Eng.), a pickpocket. 

IMvide (Am.), the mountain ridge which forms a backbone 
of the country and divides the watersheds of the rivers. 

JDivy (Am.), an abbreviation of dividend; the share coming 
to each person. 

IMxie (Am.), the South. 

Do or Done, has a dozen meanings, such as to cheat, to 
knock out in a prize-fight, or briefly to accomplish any- 
thing. <«I done him" means I cheated him, while to <*do 
one up** means to thrash him. 

Dock, to cut down one's wages. 

Dook-walloper (Am.), a laborer on the wharves or docks. 

Doctor (Eng.), to adulterate or to drug or poison* A ship's 
cook is cMed "the doctor" by the sailors. 

Dodge, a trkk, to dodge, to escape. The "Artful Dodder" 
will be remembered by all readers of Dickens' Oliver 

Dodger (Eng.), a drink. 

Dodger (Am.), a cake of meal. See Corn-dodoxr, ante. 

Dodman (Eng.), a snail. See David Copperfield. 

D<^, to follow a person's footsteps as a dog would do; to 

Dog-cheap, very cheap; far below the actual value. 

Doggery (Am.), a low **dive" or unlicensed whisky shop. 

Doggone (Am.), a mild form of oath — dog being God trans- 

Dog's age, a long time. See Coon's Agb. 

Dogs ears, the curled comers of the leaves of a book. 

Digitized by 


DOG— DON 95 

Dogty ««goiie to the,^ ruined. An old or worthlctt hone sold 
to feed hounds goes to the dogfs. 

DoiT's no0e (Eng.^, a mixture of gin and beer. Otfierwise 
known as «Hi h'aporth and a penn'orth." That is, one 
cent's worth of bear and two cents' worth of gin. 

DoiT-tlredy played out; like a dog after a hard day's run. 
DoiTf ^too much" (Am.), is the equivalent for <«too mucn 

side" or style. 
Doiiiir time (Eng.), working out a prison sentence. 
Doings (Am.), prepared food; otherwise fixings. 

DiriLdmms^ a sea term for difficulties or low spirits. A sail- 
ing vessel in a calm is in the doldrums* 

Dollar (Eng.), fiveshillings. Half a dollar, two shillings and 

Dollar of the dads (Am.), the 412^ grain silver dollar, 

claimed to be the coin favored by the fathers of the re- 
Dollop (Old Eng.), a lump. From the Anglo-Saxon doU^ 

a portion. 
Dolly-ahop (Eng.), an unlicensed pawn-shop. These were 

originallv rag shops or junk shops, and had for a sign a 

black doU. 
Domestics (Am.), cotton goods. 
Dominie (Scotch), a school-master. In the United States 

often applied to a clergyman. From the Latin Dominus^ 

Domino, the last. 
Dominoes (Eng.), or box of ivories, the teeth. 

Don (Eng.), the Head or master of a college or the Fdlows. 
Don as an adjective means a smart or clever fellow, as ^He 
is a don at billiards." 

Digitized by 


96 DON— DOU 

^Doiu (6ip.)^ probably from the Spanish 2><MMMr, a gkl or 

I>oiiate (Am*), to contribute; to give. 

Donatioii party (Am.). In the rural districts church mem- 
bers sometimes supplement the meagre salary of their pas- 
tor by descending upon him in a body, each person carry- 
ing a load of groceries or other useful articles which are 
presented to him. The afEair partakes of the nature of a 
jollification, and it is said that sometimes, thanks to the 
healthy appetites of the visitors, the ^^ominieV* larder is 
emptier after they leave than before they came. 

I>ane (Am.), is used by Southern negroes, *<done gone** or 
*«done come,** etc 

Done (Eng.), cheated. See Do. 

Done brown (Eng.), completely swindled. 

Done up (Eng.), finished, beaten. 

Donnet (Scotch), a stupid person. 

Dope, to dose, to poison. 

Dorados (Gip.), gold pieces. 

Domiek (Am.), a stone or **rock.*' 

Dose (Eng.), a suffidency, either of thrashing or drink 

D088 (Gip.), a bed, or to sleep. Perhaps from doze. 

Dossing-ken (Gip.), a lodging house. 

Do tell (Am.), a Yankeeism for "really,*' "indeed.* 

Double (Eng.), to turn or dodge, as a hare does when pur- 

Double-decker (Am.), two "cocktails,** or other morning 
refreshers in one; a drink for a thirsty man. 

Double harness (Eng.), wedded life. 

Double set up, two kinds of bread served in a restaurant. 

Double-shuffle, a dance of the flip-flap order. 

Double up (Eng.), to beat severely. 

Digitized by 


DOU— DOX 97 

Douce (Scotch), wise, careful, pious and meet of the other vir- 
tues combined. Such a character as <<Douce David Deans" 
in the Heart of Midlothian. 

Douirl^f money* 

]>oiiflr]ilteoe (Am.), according to Lowell ^a contented licks- 
pittle, a common variety of Northern politician.'' The 
genus was common enough in Congress and outside that 
body during slavery times. 

Dough-head^ a stupid fellow. 

Doughy (Eng.), a baker. 

DouM the glim (Oip.), put out the light. 

Down Bast (Am.), New England. 

Down in the mouth (Eng.), disconsolate. 

Down on a man^ to detect his tricks. Also to dislike or to 
be opposed to a person. 

Down on your luck (Am.), unfortunate, miserable. 

Downs, <«all in the** (Eng.), miserable. See All in thb 
DOWNS, onto. 

Down the road (Eng.), fancy, stylish, showy. 

Down to the ground (Am.), entirely. ««That suits me 

down to the ground.^ Up to thb handle has the same 

Downy (Eng.), knowing, cunning. A *<downy cove** is a 

sharper; one who is "fly.** 
Dowry (Grip.), a lot. A **dowry'* of "pamy" is a lot of 

Do you see any green in my eye ( Eng. ), a common inquiry 

when a catch or fraud is attempted. 
Doxy ( Grip.), a giri. An English bishop asked to define ortho* 

doxy said, ^Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is another 

man's doxy.** Sometimes spelt Doxib and applied to little 

girls as a term of endearment. 

Digitized by 


98 DRA— DRE 

Drab (Old Eng.), a low woman. Used by Shakespeare, 
Drail^ brewer's grains or swill fed to hogs. ^Still swine eat 

all the draff.**— O/rf Proverb. 
Drag (Eng.)i feminine apparel worn by men. 

Drag ( Eng. ), a wagon or brake drawn by two or four horses. 

Generally a ••swell turnout.'* 
Drag (Eng.), a street or road. Back drag, an alley or 

back street. 
Drag (Eng.), three months in jail. 
DrasT (Eng.), an anise-seed bag used In imitation fox hunts 

to furnish scent for the hounds, the bag being dragged 

across country. 
DrafiTsrl^tail (Old Eng.), a dirty, slovenly woman. 

Dragon, an English sovereign, from the St George and 
Dragon on the obverse of the coin. 

Drag out (Am.), a ••knockdown and drag out** is a fight of a 
rough and tumble character. 

Drain (Eng.), a drink. 

Draw has many meanings. A theatrical performance 
••draws good houses;'* a man can be ••drawn on;** a pick- 
pocket ••draws a wipe** or a ••ticker,** and a man in a fight 
••gets the draw** on his pistol in a hurry, if he wants to get 
the ••drop" on his opponent. 

Draw (Am.), the game of draw-poker. 

Draw a bead (Am.), to take aim with a rifle. 

Draw it mild (Eng.), do not exaggerate. 

Draw one in me dark ( Am.), a cheap restaurant order for a 
cup of coffee. 

Draw the long bow, to tell an extravagant, Munchausen- 
like story. Equivalent to ••pitching the hatchet,** (y. v.) 

Dreadf^ greatly, very. Used and misused like the words 
awful and awfully, as a dreadful good man, a dreadful 
fine house. 

Digitized by 


DRE— DUB 99 

Dressed to UU or I>ra08ed to dMilh or DraMed op to tiM 
nines, all mean the same thing, viz.j dressed too much; 
too showy. 

Drink (Am.), a river; any body of water. 

IMto (Am.), a mass of logs accumulated on a stream and 
floated down at high water. 

IMto (Am.), the annual <<round*up^ of cattle on the plains 
for the purpose of branding them. 

Driver (Am.), a hustler; a hard taskmaster. 

Driving aty "What are you driving at?'* what are you do- 

Drop (Am.), to get the drop on a man is to pull and fire a 
revolver before he can get his revolver in hand. 

Drop (Bng.), to drop an acquaintance. A mild form of cut- 

Drop game (Eng.), See Ring dropping. 

Drop it (Eng.), quit, let up. 

Drum (Eng.), a house or lodging. Flash drum, a house 
of ill-fame. 

Drum (Eng.), fashionable slang for a ball or rout, now al- 
most obsolete. 

Drum (Eng.), the road. 

Dromble (^Old Eng.), to drone, to be sluggish. See Merry 
Wives of Windsor. 

Dninuner (Am.) a commercial traveler. 

Dnim8ticks(Eng.), legs. 

Dmnky a drinking bout ^On a big drunk.'' 

Dry up (Am.), make an end, quit. 

D. T.y Delirium tremens. 

Dab or Dnp (Old Eng.), to open or close a door. 

Dub (Eng.), to pay *<dub up,** pay up. 

Dabber (GHp.), the tongue. 

Digitized by 



Dvberaome (Am.), doubtful, a corruption of dubious. 

DucatSt money. 

Dude, a swell or dressy man. From the old Gripsy dudes^ 

clothes, that being all there is to the modem dude. 
Dudeen or Dudheen (Irish), a short pipe. 
Buds (Gip.), clothes. 
Dnir (Eng.), pudding. 
Dnffer (Eng.), anything worthless. A man of no account 

is a duffer and sham jewelry is duffing. 
DniT-out (Am.), a house made by excavating the prairie and 

throwing up the soil to form sides and a roof. 
DniT-out (Am.), a canoe. 
Duke Homphrey^ <«to dine with** (Eng.), to go without 

dinner altogether. 
Dukes or Docks (P. R«), the hands or fists. <«Put up your 

dukes'* is an invitation to fight or spar. 
Dull (Eng.), stupid, or hard of hearing. 
Dumb-founded (Eng.), perplexed confused. 
Dummy (Eng.), a deaf mute. 
Dummy (Eng.), a pocket-book. 
Dummy (Eng.), an empty bottie or box, used to fill up store 

Dump (Am.), to unload. 
Dump (Am.), the place at the mouth of a coal pit where the 

waste is deposited. Any place where dirt or rubbish is un- 
Dumpish (Eng.), dull, stupid. 
Dumpy (Eng.), short and stout; also surly. 
Duiiy probably from dk'n, noise; to demand payment of a 

Dunderhead (Eng.), a blockhead; a stupid person. 

Digitized by 


DUN— DYE loi 

Doniiaire (Sea term), baggage, clothing. 

Dmiop (Back slang), an English pound or soverdgn* 

Bape (Am.), in printing office parlance, means the duplicate 
proois, by which the amoutit of matter set by a ccmpoeitor 
IS measured; the aggregate dupes'* pasted together form* 
ing his **string.'* 

I>iiifned or Bamedy a corruption of danmedi aPilritan oath. 

Bust (Eng.), «<raise a dust,'' to make a row. 

Bust (Eng.), money. 

Bust (Eng.), to go away. «<Dutt out of this." 

Bust (Eng.), to beat To ««dust one's jacket" 

Buster (Am.), an outside coat of linen used when traTtUng. 

Busty^ ««not so" (Eng.), not so bad. 

Butch (Am.), the German people* Said t6 be from 
Deutschy German. But aoo years ago it was in common 
English use, and as the early settlers of New York were 
Hollanders and not Germans, the term was adopted in this 

Batch courage, that which comes from gin. 

fAAd tbeie the ladtem kamt die mlft 

HelM^t to kkh aad km: 
R«& from the white man when yoa find 

He smeDi of Hollend's gin. 

BotellVMto. «•! talked to him like a Dirtch uncle" probaUy 
has a ■■•uiiiiigf but what that essaetly is or whence the 
phrase comes is unknown. 

Dyad la the ymm\ (Am.), applied to old-tiitie politidans who 
have strictly kept the faith, their principles, Hke home- 
spun dothingt being ^Hlyed in the wooL" Theeeamwry 
few left. 

Digitized by 


Baser (Old Eng.), sharp. See Hamlet. ««The air Inteth 
shrewdly. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ It is a nipping and an eager air." 

Eagle (Am.\ a ten-dollar gold coin. A double eagle is 
twenty dollars; a half eagle five dollars. 

Eaivbob (Am.), an eardrop. 

Earmark (Eng.), the token by which anything is known. 

BSarth^ <«wants the** ( Am.)| said of anyone who evinces a 
greedy disposition. 

Barwig (Eng.), a clergyman. 

Ease (Eng.), to rob. 

East (Am.). «« About East** is about right 

Eat his head off (Eng.), ahorse kept idle in the stable is 
said to do this. 

Ebony (Am.), a negro. ^6od*s image carved in ebony •'' 

Bggy «<to %gg on,** to stir one up to strife. Probably from 
the Anglo-Saxon eggian. Grose gives it as aggingy and 
the derivation as the French agacery to provoke. 

Egypt (Am.), Southern Illinois, either because there is corn 
in it or, as its enemies say, because it is the land of dark- 

Elbowy <«to shake oneV (Am.), to throw dice. ««To crook 

\ one's elbow," to drink, irom the motions madCi 

Elbow grease (Eng.), labor. Said by notable housewives 

to be the best kind ox furniture polish. 
Elephantt <<to see the" (Am.), to ^do** the town; to see the 

sights, especially those of an immoral character. 

Digitized by 


ELE— EVE 103 

EleTAted (Eng.), intoxicatecL 
Emerald Isle^ Ireland. 

Empire State, the State of New York. New York City 
is sometimes styled the Empire City. 

Emptlns (Am.), yeast 

Twin take more empthi's by a long chalk than this new JMur^s got 
To give such heayy cakes as these a start, I'll tell yon what*^ 

Enemy, "the" (Eng.), time. **What says the enemy?" what 

o'clock is it 
EngllHh (Am.), in the game of billiards, is the peculiar 

twist or «^de'^ given to the cue-ball by striking it on one 

side or the other. 
Enthuse (Am.), to manifest delight; to become enthusiastic 

A mere newspaper barbarism. 
Epheslan (Old Cant), a toper. See II King Henry 7K, Act 

ii^ Scene 2. 
EsMnce peddler (Am.), mephitis mephatica^ the native 

American skunk. 
Essex Hon (Eng.), a calf. The people of Essex, England, 

are charged by their neighbors with considering a calf a 

wild beast <*Essex calves" is the generic term for the na- 
tives of the county. 
Eachre (Am.), to defraud or cheat; to beat, as one is *<ea- 

chred" who fails to make his point at the card game of 

that name. 
Bventnate (Am.), to happen. Often used, but not good 

EverflEdtliAilisley Cuba. 
Everlasting, great, exceeding. 
Everlasting staircase (Eng.), the treadmill, better known 

as the "mill." 
Every wldeh way (Am.), anyhow, anyway. 

Digitized by 



KTchang e (Am.), a euphemkm for ft drinking shop or 

S;3|% expenses. 

£ye-opMfter, a morning drink. 

Bye's skinned, ^to keep one's,*' to be on the alert; watch- 

Eye tbethf Ho cut one's,'' to be wide-awake; sharp. 

Bye water (Eng.), gin. 

Digitized by 


Faoe (Eng.), to run one's face, to obtain credit; itnpodeiioe. 

Faoer (P. R.), a blow in the face. In Ireland a stiff drink 
of whisky. 

Face the music (Am.), to meet the emergency; to stand up 
against trouble. ^To come up to the scratd^** or to <«toe 
the mark.** 

Fad (Eng.), a hobby. 

Fadge (Eng.), a farthing; one^ourth oi an English penny. 

Fadge /Old Eng.), a burden. 

Fadge (Shakespeare), to suit. See Lovers Labor Lost. 

Fag (Eng.), a lower school-boy in the English public schools 
who performs menial offices and fetches and carries for his 
elder schoolmates. See Thomas Hughes* Tom Brown at 

Faggott (Eng.), a collection of odds and ends ot meat, pop- 
ular among the London poor. It consists of *<fag-ends." 

Faggott (Eng.^, an opprobrious term used by English 
women of the lower class in speaking of one of their own 

Fair and square, honorable, straightforward. 

Fairings (Eng.), g^fts brought from a country fair* 

Fair oif (Am.), said of clearing weather. 

Fair ahake, «Ho give one a** (Am.), is to use him properly; 

to give him a fair chance. 
Fake (Eng.), to cheat or swindle; otherwise to go oa» 

«<Fake away** is an encouragement given by thieves to tbek 

pals. See Ainsworth's Jctck Shefhard. 


Digitized by 


io6 FAK— FAR 

Fake (Eng.), to hocus or poison a horse with a view to 

making him safe in a race. 
Fake (Am.), has come to mean in the United States a stonr 

without foundation. Some persons, known as ^^fakirs/' 

have achieved an unenviable reputation in press circles by 

their indulgence in this practice. 
Fakement (Eng.), a begging petition or writing of any 

kind. In effect, anything new or strange is a fakement. 

Fall, (^riding for a** (Eng.); in the hunting field and when 
steeple-chasing, if a rider finds that he has no chance to 
win he sometimes ^'rides for a fall,'' that is, picks out a soft 
place to be thrown off. Business men in difficulties fix 
their books so that when the inevitable crash comes there 
is something left for them, and thus ride for a fall. 

Fall (Am.), the season of autumn, when the leaves fall. 

Fal-lals (Eng.), trumpery ornaments or gew-gaws; super- 
fluous nbbons, etc. 

FaUing weather (Am.), rainy or snowy weather. 

Fambles (Old Cant), the hands. 

Family, <«the'' (of thieves). The predatory class speak of 
each other as of ^the family." See Father Prout and 

Fancy (Eng.), the prize ring and its adherents. The para- 
mour of a prostitute is known as her **fancy man.'* 

Fandango (Sp.), a dance. 

Fanning (Eng.), stealing. 

Fanning, a beating. 

Fanning around, making a good deal of fuss about noth- 

Fantegue or Fante^, bewilderment, flustration. 

Fardel, a burden. See HamUix <<Who would fardels 

Digitized by 


FAR— FEA 107 

Fardowner (Irish), ft natiye of Connaught 

Fash (Scotch), to bother, to trouble or tea«e. 

Fasty gay, thoughtless, inclined to dissipation. Alleged by 
Hotten to be an Americanism, but without authority. 

Faatt tied up for want of money. 

Fast and loose, ««to play** (Eng.), to equivocate or dodge. 

Fat, in the language of the printer (compositor) means the 
void spaces in a page, for which he is paid at the same rate 
as for solid matter. Actors talk, too, ox ^fat*' parts. Some- 
times spelled "phat** by phonetically inclined "comps.** 

Father (Eng.), a fence or receiver of stolen property. Prac- 
tically the same thing as ^^Uncle" when applied to ^hady'' 

Favor (Old Eng.), to resemble. 

Favorite, in racing parlance the horse which stands best in 
the betting. A "hot favorite'* may start with money on 
him, that is odds may be laid that he will win even though 
there are several horses in the race. 

F^wney (Old Cant), a ring. The Fawnsy-rig is the old 
ring-dropping trick, where the operator pretends to pick 
up a ring, which he tells the victim behind him is no good 
to him. He is a poor man, etc., and will sell it for what 
the other man pleases. The dupe, thinking he has a sure 
thing, pays, of course, for a worthless fraud. 

Faae or Phase ^Am.), to bother or knock out. ««You can- 
not faze Smith*' would be considered a compliment by that 
gentieman. The word is sometimes pronounced Feaze. 

Feather (Eng.), in rowing is to so carry the oar as to meet 
the least possinle resistance. 

Feather, ««in full" (Eng.), well-dressed. 

Feathered his nest, said of one who has well-provided for 
himself at the expense of others. 

Feather-weight (P. R.), a pugilist who fights at a very 

Digitized by 


io8 FEA— FFV 

low weight, or a jockqr who can ride a yearling or two-year 


Fe«tly (Old Eng.)» neatly, dexterously. 

Feedt a diniier. 

Feed» «<off oneV(Eng«), having lost one's appetite. 

Feele (Crip.), a girL From the French filU. 

Feel to do (Am.), to be inclined to do anything. 

Feett ^o feel one's," said of a child learning to walk, and 

by analogy of a boy or g^rl beginning to ««take notice." 
Fellow (Am.), a vulgarism for sweetheart. 
Felty a hat, whether of that or any other soft material, but 

not applied to a silk hat, which is a *«dicer" or •«high dker" 

or a dozen other things. 
Fenee, ^on the" ( Am.). See On thb pbncb. 
Fence (Eng.), a receiver of stolen property, such as Dickens' 

Fend (Old Eng.), to take care of; to shift for. 

Fennlta (Eng.^, probably from <«feign it," a word used by 
diildren at play when they seek to avmd being caught 
while resting without leaving the game. A sort of armis* 
tioe is declared by the utterance of the word. 

Feminat or Femenat (Irish), opposite, over against; often 
erroneously used in the sense of opposed to. 

Fettoht an object of superstitious reverence. A savage will 
make a fetich of a stone or an animal or of almost any- 

Fettle, <<n good fettle," in good oondition. 

have a few porridge?'^ 
F. F. ▼• (Am.), an abbreviation for «4rst iamiliea el VIr- 

Digitized by 


riB— ffio flcf 

ginla,** a race mxppoa^ tobedMondMiMnBiigfiriiflMi- 
crate and Xndiaii princ 

Fibbing, in the prize-ring aaeam blows driiremd nqpMljr 

and ffoin a short distance. 
Fid, a drink. The w^xd is used by sailors and espedaKjr hgr 

Fi^ a plug of tobaecob 

Fiddle, ««to play second,** to act a subordinate pait 
Fiddle^Mdle, triflhig talk, twaddle. 
Fiddler, a cheat or sharper. 
Fiddler, an English sixpence. 
Fiddler's green, the place where sailors go to When tfmr 

die, a sort of Limbo of rum and tobacco, with plenty of fiit> 

dling and dancing. 
Fiddler's money (Eng.), small change. See ChicIlbn- 


Fiddleaticka (Eng.), an ejaculation signifying nonseiisew 

Fiddling (Eng.), wasting time, idling, trifling* 

Field, the whole number of competitors in a rade. In bet* 

ting the <«iield'* repi^sents the bulk of the horsi* m bp^ 

posed to the favorite. 
Field, to look out at cricket, base-ball 6t toot bA 
Fig, ««in full fig'' (Eng.), in dress costume. Probably ffom 

the fig-leaf costume which Eve assumed When she first re* 

alized the necessity of clothes. 
Figftro^ a barber. From the Barber of Seville. 
Fight alij (Eng4), to keep away from. 
Fight the«H^ (Affi^), to gaflrbla 
Figure, the price. << What's the ^re?" ie the eyiifvalent ef 

««How much is the damage)" or ««Whaf s the robbery (or 

extortion) ?" addressed to a bs^ri or shop-keeper. 

Digitized by 


no FIG— FIR 

Vigure, to consider, to count the cost 

Figure^ <(to cut a good figure,*' to make a good appearance. 

Figure-head (Eng.), the face. 

Fileh (Old Eng.), from fylcAcj to rob. 

File (Eng.), <<a deep file,'' spoken of acunningor artful man. 

Filibuster, the name given to the adventurers who made 

raids on Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico,and of whom Walker 

was a type. The wotcI is from the Spanish JiUbustero^ a 

Filibusteriiig (Am.), in legislation, the use of irregular 

means to defeat a proposed measure. 
Filly» a young girl, from the French filh^ or from filly, a 

young mare. 
Fm^ the hand. Used mostly by sailors. 
Finder, one who finds things before they are lost; like the 

Highlander who found the tong^ beside the kitchen fire. 
Finger in the pie^ «to have a," to be connected with an un- 

dertaking or business. 
Finish, ^^ fight to a," a prize-fight where it is specified that 

one of the contestants shall be knocked out 
Finnn^ a five-pound Bank of England note. Doubtless 

from the German finif^ five. 
Fip or Fippnns, five pence, English money. A pip in the 

United States, one-sixteenth of a dollar; a half -real or Pic- 

ATUNS, f J', r.) 
Fire (Am.), to throw out, to discharge, to bounce. 
Fire-away, go in, make a start 
Fire-eater (Eng.), a quarrelsome man, a braggart As a 

rule the professional fire-eater eats all the men he kills; in 

other words his brag is seldom backed by action. 
Fire-water (Am.), whisky. 
First-chop (Pidgin Eng.^, excellent 
First class, the best, capable, great 

Digitized by 



First Luff (Sea term), first lieutenant in the navy. 

First rate, of the first class or order; applied to a war-ves- 
sel of heavy armament* 

First robber, the box-office man of a theatre. 

Fish, ««an odd fish," or «<a queer fish** is sidd of erratic or 
doubtful people. 

Fish-£eig, a market-woman; any vixenish or foul-mouthed 
woman. No doubt from the obscene and vulgar language 
of the Billingsgate market-women. 

Fish out of water, a man out of his right place; not in his 
proper element. 

Fikhy, a doubtful story. <<It smells fishy" is said of a yam 
that passes belief • Fish-stories are proverbially exagger* 

Fits, ««to grive one," to punish him. 

Five-penoe, otherwise Fxppuns, ^fine as," an absolutely 
meaningless comparison. 

Fives, <*bunch of" (P. R.), the fist 

Fivses (Cockney), fingers. ^Fivses were made before 

Five VFater grog, very weak rum and water. What the 
sailors call ^water bewitched and rum begrudged." 

Fix ( Am.^, is used in the United States in many forms. A 
housewiie fixes the dinner or the furniture, fixes her dress 
or her obstreperous boy, the latter by a summary process. 
A man in a predicament is in an awful fix. No so-called 
Americanism has been so much derided by English writ- 
ers, but the word is after all a useful one, and by no means 
so often misplaced as is alleged. At least while used in the 
sense of to put in place, **fix" is a good enough word, and 
if Mary fixes her ««bangs" or Tommy fixes his sled they 
are well vrithin the limit 

Fixings (Am.), the accompaniments of a dish. The Amer* 

Digitized by 


lU , i FXZ— FLI 

ican tpeakt of <«ohickm fixutfsi'' th« Rgglkhmiw of m kg 

of mutton and <«t]iiiumii|^.'' 
Vim, champagne. 

TUxhkg (Eng.)»cxoeUentt firat cata. 
Vtwtatt a failuva. 

Flabbergast (Old Eng.), to astonish or strifaa with weoder. 
nmr^Bogv), the mprmtm worn by aactJeaeeHs amstantoi 

Iwtts and porten. 
Flam (Eng.)^ nonsense; a tale ^ridch cannot be beKered. 
Bin aM i {Bng.), a sweetheart 

Flapdoodle (Am.), nonsense; stuff they feed fools on* 
Fliq^-Jadc (Old Eng«), a pancake. See Shakespeare, Peri' 

cfca, Prince of T^yre. 
Flare (Old Eng.), to blaze up. 
Flare up^ a social gathering. Otherwise a row. 
RaA, the language of Cant or Slang. A flashy man is one 

who is dressed with more regard to cost than good taste. 

Flash jewelry is that of the <*Bmmmagem** yanety, better 

ieaewn aa MSmde** (j. v.) Flash oKmey is cotmlerfttt 

Flashing a roU (Am.), to display a lot of money. 

Flash In the pan, afailun^from the flashing of the powder 

in an old-fashioned gun. 
Flal^ a fool or stu{ttd peiaon. 
Flathfoke^ out of money; destitute. 
Vtatifliy an English haU <ipenny. 
PtaiMbeted, ^o come oot^ (Am.), to make an au th o ri ta tiye 

stadement Downright, resolute. 
Flatten aat^ to fail, to collapse. 
Flick or Oldfliefcf (Eng.)i a term of endearment used by 

FUokt to strike with a whip* 

Digitized by 


FLI— FLU n« 

>1i6kOT,<4ethMr flicker." Let her ga 

FUee^ (Am.), «<no flies on him ;'* no nnmfimnihnnthhn 

Flim-flam (Old Eng.), nonsense ; a stnpid s^orj. See Been- 

mont and Fletcher. 
Flimsy (Eng.), a Bank of England note. 
FUmajy copying paper used by reporters. 
FUng, uto have one's" to indidge or dissipate. 
FHpy fresh, fly, impudent 
Flip-flop^ a dance or break-down; a somersault 
Flipper, the hand. Sailor's slang. 
Flit (Scotch and Old Eng.), to remove from one house to 

Floater (Am.), a body found in the river or lake. 
Floor (P. R.), to knock down. 
Floored, beaten, knocked out 
Floorer, a knock-down blow. 
Flop, to fall over suddenly, as one who faints. 
Flop (Am.), in politics, to change front on a question. 
Fluke (Eng,), an accidental shot at billiards, or indeed any- 

thing gained when not expected. 
Flame (Am.), in the mining districts ^umes" ate used to 

convey water for the purpose of washing out pay-dirt A 

man who dies is said to have ^gone up me flume.^ 
Flummery, flattery, gammon, nonsense. The name is also 

given to a light pudding. 
FlammoKed, perplexed. Sometimes pronounced <<kerflum- 

Flank, to fail, to back out See Funk. 

Flonkey (E^g.), a man servant or footman. 

FtaBky« frighleiisd, dmid. 

Ftoah (Am.), having plenty of money. 

Digitized by 


ii4 TLU— FOO 

Fliuiliy in the game of cribbage, where the hand of cards 

consists all of one suit, or where the ^Hrrib'^ and the turn-up 

card are all of one suit 
Flutter, to try, as «<I will have a flutter for it'* Also to toss 

Fly, knowing, wide-awake. 
Fly, to toss or lift Fly around, to be acdve. 
^^^ ^opf a detective, probably on the lucus a non lucendo 

Flyer (Am.), a speculation on the Board of Trade or Stock 

Exchange, as a ^yer in wheat'' 
Flying bigh, spending lots of money; living at a great rate. 
Flying kites, raising money on accommodation bills. 
Flying mess, a soldier's term for having no mess at all and 

being compelled to eat where he can. 
Flying stationer (Eng.), a hawker of penny ballads or 

cheap pamphlets. 
Foggy, intoxicated. 

Fogle (Old Cant), a silk handkerchief. 
Fogle-fiaker, a pickpocket 
Folks (Scotch), people; one's family. ^How's all the 

FoUow-me-lads, curls hanging over a lady's shoulder. In 

the French ^^Suivez-moi^jeune homme!^ 
Foot, («to put one's foot in it,'* to make a bad mistake; to 

blunder foolishly. 
Foot and Walker '0 line; persons who cannot afford to ride 

are said to patronize this old fashioned system of getting 

Footing, <«to pay one's footing" is to «stand treat" when in- 
itiated as an apprentice to a trade, or into a society or 


Digitized by 


FOO— FRA 115 

Foot tt» to walk. 

Forehanded (Am.), well-provided, economicaL 
Fork oat or Fork over, to pay. 
Forks (Eng.), fingers. 
Forks (Am.), where a road divides or a river branches. 

Often applied to various streams which unite to form a 

river, as ^the Republican fork of the Kansas." 
Fornix condition, training. Used of either horse or man in 

the sporting world. A breach of good manners is also bad 

form, (f. t^.) 
Forty-rod (Am.), New Jersey whisky, which kills at that 

distance. Known also as ^Jersey lightning.'' 
Forty winks, a short nap or sleep. 
Forward (Old Eng.), drunk, or getting that way. 
Fou (Scotch), intoxicated. See Bums, ««Willie brewed a 

Deck o' maut,** or Buchanan's ^Wedding of Shon Mac- 
Lean," when **every piper was fou." 
Fool, to jostle in a race. 
Fool-tip (Am.), at base-ball, a ball touched by the bat, but 

which falls within the foul-line. 
Fom^-eyes, one who wears spectacles. 
Fonr hundred (Am.), the ^^sodety" class of New York 

dty, said to be Bmited to that number. See Uppbr ten. 
Fourth estate (Eng.), the press. 
F0Z9 to cheat or rob. Also to watch. 
F0Z9 to mend, as a cobbler repairs boots and shoes. 
Fox's sleep, sleeping with one eye open; keejnng watch 

while pretending indifference. 
Foxy, cunning. 
Foxy, red-haired. 

Frampold (Old Eng.), peevish, cross, fretfoL 
Frapplng, from the French fraffer^ a beating. 

Digitized by 


ii« FttA-FR! 

Frauds used as a noun; a cheat^a swindle. 

Free-and-easy (Eng.), a club held at a Dublk house where 
the members themselves furnish the harmony. Known 
also as a Sino-sono. 

Free-fight, a row in which everybody takes a hand. Some- 
thing after the style of Donnybrook Fair. 

Free-for-all, in racing or other sporting contests, means 
that no competitor is barred by reason of weight or record. 

Free list, to be on the free list is to obt^n admission to thea- 
tres, etc.« without paying at the door. 

Free soilers (Am.), the early settlers of Kansas and Ne- 
braska territories, who were opposed to slavery and its ex- 
tension into those territories. The Free*soil party cut a 
considerable figure m politics 1852-56, but ptMlcsally 
merged into the R^ublican party by 1060. 

Freese-oitt (Am.), a variety of the gante of Pok«r« 

Freeze to (Am.), to attach oneself strbngty to another per- 

F r eMlt (Old Bttg^)^ straage, unaeighborly. 

French cream (Eng.), brandy. 

French leave, <Ho take" (Eng.), to go away withovt obtain- 
ittg pH-mi«ioB. 

Vtesh, slightly mtoidoatad. 

Fresh (Am.), said of a man who thinks he knows every- 
thing and who talks freely and pushes himself forward. 

Freshet (Am.), a sudden rise in a stream or river. 

^VfeshiDaii, a college or university student in his first year. 

Frijoles (Sp.), beans. 

Friendly leaa, a gathering at an English puUic house of 
the lower order, which combines in itself features of busi- 
ness, convivial and social character. Jones, it may be as- 
sumed, is either in or has just come out of trouble — trouble 
with the law, that is. His friends hold a session at a pub- 

Digitized by 


FRI— FUL 117 

lie house where songs are sung, fishy stories told and a con- 
tribution taken up for the benefit of the troubled one. This 
is done by one of the organizers of the meeting ^eading^ 
off, as a deacon fattens the plate before handing it around 
the church, and the visitors follow the <*lead*' thus set 

Frills (Am.), «Ho put on frills" is to make considerable shew 
on small justification. 

Frisk (Bng.), to search. 

Frisk a oly, to rob a pocket. 

Fro|^ (Eng.), a policeman. 

Frog's march f Eng.). Drunken or disorderly persons who 
decline to walk to the station house are given the frog's 
march. Four policemen seize each a leg or an arm and the 
victim is thus marched along, face downwards* 

Frolic (Am.), a party or social gathering. 

From soda to hock ( Am.). See Hock supra. 

Frontispiece, the face. 

Front name, a Christian or ^^ven** name. 

Frow, a woman or wife. From the German frtmf Dutch 
Vrauw^ a housewife. 

Frowsy, dirty, slatternly, untidy. 

Fmmp (Eng.), a slatternly old woman* Sometimes ap- 
plied to a prim elderlv lady; the feminine equivalent of 
what would be an <<old fogey." See Foob r ante. 

Frsring^pan, a large, old fashioned watch. 

Fadge, nonsense, bosh. See T%e Vicar of Wakefield. 

Fadge, to fudge a day's work is to pretrad to be working 
while really ^^sojering.'' The word comes from the Gaelic 
JP^gg^ deception. 

Fiill» intoxicated; ««full as a goose** or a tick, or a scofo of 
other things. 

Foil against. When a bookmaker has laid all the money 

Digitized by 


n8 FULr-FUR 

he cares to agunst a certain horse he aimonnfim that he is 
«<full against him.'* 

Flillama or Fnlloms, false dice (Shakespeare). Obsolete 

Full blMly in good goii>g order. Derived from the technol- 
ogy of the steam engine. 

Full feather, good condition, high spirits. A person well- 
dressed is said to be in full feather, otherwise in Fuix 

FIG, (f. V.) 

Full fig. In uniform or full dress. See pig anie. 

Full of Beans (English stable slang^, said of one whom 

prosperity has rencbred o&nsive a^ bumptious. 
Fall team (Am.), a powerful man. 
Fall tut, at a great pace. 
Fall swing, very fast 
FnUy (Eng.)^ *to be fullied,'' fully committed for trial. The 

invention of a penny-a-liner in order to swell his report. 

The prisoner can be no more than committed anyhow. 
IteMfal (Am.), ^it is none of my funeraL;'' no business o£ 

the person speaking. 
Fonk, cowardice. To funk is to be afraid. 
Fttnky to smoke out, or to terrify. 
Fonny^lNme (Bng.), the exti e miijp of the elbow. Possibly 

because of its connection with the humerus. See Crazy- 


Furrow (Anu), ^to draw a straight furrow" is to mind one's 
own business and to work straight along. 

Digitized by 


Oa* (Old Eng.), talk. «K3Hft of the gab,»» loquacity. 

Gabble (Old Eng.), to talk rapidly. 

Gaby (Am.), a simpleton. 

Gad (Eng.), a stick with a sharp point used for driviAg loat- 

tie; a goad. 
Gad (Eng.), to go about purposelessly. GAD-ABOirr is a 

woman who attends to the business of everyone else to the 

neglect of her own and that of her family. 
Gaff (Eng.), a play-house of the lowest order, admission to 
^ which is generally one penny or two pence. 
Gaffer (Eng.), master. Probably from Grandfather and 

often applied by rustics to an old man. 
Gaffing (Eng.), tossing. See Jbppiko. 
Gag, to hoax. 
Gag (Eng.), a lie. 
Gag, language introduced by an actor and not found in the 

play as written. Designed to tickle the ears of the jpnHHld* 

Galeny (Old Eng.), from gallinaceous, applied to any icmU 

but chiefly to the guinea-hen. 
Gktlanty sbow (Eng.), from gallant or gallantry; an eacbi- 

bition in which black figures are exhibited on a white 

sheet to the accompaniment of the showQUm's ^'patter.'* 

Gale (Am.), a state of excitement 

Gall (Am.), impudence, otherwise known as ^^cheek." 

Galley yam (Sea slang), a doubtful story. 


Digitized by 




€Mliiiiaiif!rf (Sea slang), a stew made up of scraps from 
the cook's galley. 

CMlinipper (Am.), an insect resembling a mosquito. 

Gallipot (Old), a druggist or apothecary. 

€MliTant (Old Eng.), to wait upon the ladies. 

CMlows bird, a young thief — one likely to bring up on the 

Galliis, an adjective used in England in the sense of <<very,'' 
as **gallus poor," "gallus bad grub.** Never a very com- 
plimentary term. 

CMlnses, braces or suspenders. 

Ckiloot (Am.), a man; not a complimentary term. Jim 
Bludsoe, in John Hay's ballad swore, that he would 
'*Hold her nozzle agin' the bank 
Till the last galoot's ashore." 

Galore (Irish, from Go Leor^ plenty), abundance. ««Lashings 
of whisky and tobacco galore" are the necessary concomi- 
tants of a well-organized wake. 

Ckun (Sea slang), a visit or gosup. 

Ctame, plucky. 

€kuii6, a trick. <<What is your little game?" 

Game leg» a stiff or wounded leg. 

Gamester, a gambler. 

Ckunmer (Eng.), no doubt from grandmother, the mistress 
of a house, or an old woman. 

Gtaunmon (Old Eng.), deceit, humbug. To gammon is «<to 
make game on." 

"And 'cause he gammons so the flats 
We calls him Veeping BiU." 

— Ingoldthy legends. 

Gammy^ bad, ill-tempered. 

Gamp, an umbrella; from the lamented Sairy^ friend of Mrs. 
Harris, who always carried one. 

Digitized by 


GAN— GAZ 131 

Ckmder party, a gathering of men only. See St ao party. 
€kmg(Scotch)9goon. ^Grang your gait,'' go about your 

€kmg(Am.), a gathering of men; not a complimentary 

Gaskger (Eng.), the overseer or ^boss*' of a gang of laborers. 
CtopeHMed, something to look at. A <^ountry jake** visit- 
ing a large dty generally finds plenty of gape-seed. 
Qarden track or Garden sass ( Am.), vegetables. 
Gargle, drink. 

Qbb (Am.), bounce, brag, lots of talk. 
Qa^hag, a man who boasts habitually of his own doings and 

Gawy, very talkative, bounceable. 
Gate money, the price charged for admission to a race, fight 

or other sporting event See GXtb racb below. 
Ckite race, a race or sporting contest where the prize is only 

a nominal consideration; the whole affair being gotten up 

for the sake of the admission fee charged. 

Ckitter (Eng.), beer or more properly porter. 

''Lots of gitter. qnodi she» is flowing 

Lead me a lift in the family way." 

—Pathtf PthU, 
Ganm (Eng.), to smear; to make dirty. 

Gawky, an awkward person; a fool. 

Gay, a euphemism for dissipated. ^Gray women*' are wo- 
men of the town. The London Punch some years ago 
had a picture of two disreputables, standing under an arw- 
way in the pouring rain. To the one says the other, 
**How long have you been gay?" 

Oaaebo (Irish^, a cupola or other adornment on top of a 
building. Mrs. Major McDowd, in Vanity Fair^ found 
fault with the ^^gazeybo'' on the market-house of a Flemish 

Digitized by 



G-aselle, ^that's where the gazelle comes in;** that explains 
tiie eatise of the occurrence. See Milk in tks Cooqa- 


€(ear iq^ (Am.), to harness. 

Gee (Scotch), (pronounced with a hard (?), to disagree with: 
'^Tliai lieyl play «p the nmawvj bride 
For the bias ta'en the gee." 

-^Id Sc9Uk Sot^. 

Gee-WhUlikena, an ejaculation. 

Ctommen (Coclmey), contraction of gentlemen. 

Grent, silver. From the French argent. 

Gents, a vulgar contraction of gentleman. According to 
Oliver Wendell Holmes ^ents are persons who wear 

Gerrymander (Am.), to manipulate legislative or congres- 
sional districts for the benefit of one party and to the detri- 
ment of another. In the time of Governor Gerry the 
Sute of Massachusetts was thus served and the map of the 
districts so laid out presented a fanciful resemblance to a 
lizard or salamander. Gerry was charged with the work 
and hence, "(Jerrymander." 

Ctet (Am.), go away. 

€tet a move on (Am. ), go away, move along. 

€tot around* to get the better of one; to persuade. 

€tot there (Am.), a smart, intelligent fellow who displajrs 
business aptitude and meets with success is said to '^get 
there." Sometimes he **gets there with both feet" 

Get upt a person's appearance or style. "Got up regardless" 
means dressed without reference to expense. 

€tet up and get, one who is prompt and energetic is said to 
have plenty of this. 

Ghost, when there is no money in the treasury to pav sala- 
ries theatrical people say "the ghost doesn't walk." The 
use of the word has become generaL 

Digitized by 


OHO*-GIN 183 

01i<MrtdAftM(Am.), a war dance introduced among the 
Sioux Indians of Dakota early in 18911 those who parttd- 
pated wearing long shirts of fantastic appearance. 

Ghocrt of a ohance, •*not having the,** with no probability of 

Gibt a cat which has been castrated. 

Gibberish (Gip.), unmeaning jargon, sometimes formed by 
school boys by the insertion of extra consonants a^ ^^g** or 
^V^ in common words. 

Gibnsy an opera or crush hat, from the name of the inven- 

Gifr-gaff( Scotch), like «<ca* me, ca* thee,'' means in effect 
««Scratch my back and 111 scratch your back." In other 
words doing something for another who returns the com- 
pliment ^Giff-gafP' makes good friends. 

Qigt <<the language of," a Macaronic dialect used by eigh- 
teenth century exquisites, now happily extinct 

Gig lamps, spectacles. 

Giglot (Old Eng.), a silly girL 

Gilderoy'skito, ^higher than," out of sights oomplelely 

GUIs, the lower part of the face. 

GUt, money; from the Dutch /-«//• 

Gilt-edged (Am.), first class, the best of its kind. Even 
butter is advertised as <<gilt-edged dairy." 

Gimcraek (Old Eng.), anything gaudy and easily break- 

Ginger (Eng.), red hair. 

Gingerly, to do anything with great care. 
Ginghanv an umbrelbu 
Ginmill, a tippling house. 
Gin-aplnner, a dealer in sprituous liquors. 

Digitized by 


124 GIV— GOA 

Oire, is to strike or scold. A small boy in a fight is told to 

**giTe it" to his opponent, while his mother ^ves it** to 

him when he gets home* 
Oiveaway, to inform; to peach or split. ^That is a give 

away** is said of a damaging admission. 
OiTen name, a Christian name. 
Give in, to surrender. To «Hhrow up the sponge." 
Give it moath, speak up. 
Give out, to fail, to be exhausted. 
Give Q8 a rest, a slang phrase of recent introduction used 

when a tedious story is being told. Equivalent to You 


Glaxe, Mto star the," to break a window, often done for pur- 
poses of robbery. 

Glib, the tongue. A glib talker is one who has the <*gift of 
the gab." 

Glim, a light ««Dowse that glim," put out the light 
Doubtless from glim or glimmer^ a spark. 

Olimmer (Old Cant), a fire. 

Globe-trotter, a traveler; one who has visited many coun- 

GlorionSt intoxicated. 

Glum or Glnmpy, sulky, stem. 

€k^, is used in a score of wavs. <<A rum go" and a «<great 
go" are curious and remarkable occurrences; **aU the go" 
is synonymous with **aU the rage;" <<here's a pretty go" 
means here's a trouble [see Inooldsby]. The «<go" at 
cribbage is the last card. 

€k> (Eng.), a glass of gin. 

€k> (Am.),Mto made a go of it," to make a success. 

€k>a]iead (Sea slang), go on, proceed in a forward direc- 

Digitized by 


GOA— GOI 135 

€to ahead (Am.), as an adjective meant advandngi pro* 

Goat, Mto ride the,^ to be initiated into a secret society. It 
is vulgarly held that a live goat is among the properties of 
a masonic lodge, and that candidates have to nde him. 

Gob (P. R.), the mouth. Also used for Gab, talk. Both 
words are from the Gaelic Gab, the mouth. 

€k> back on (Am.), to abandon a friend or an undertaking. 

Gobbler (Am.), a turkey. ^ 

€k> by, ^to give one the go by" is to cut his acquaintance. 

€k>d bless the Duke of Argyle. It is alleged that a former 
Duke of Argyle, taking pity on his afHicted compatriots, 
caused posts to be erected in order that those suffering 
from the ^Scotch fiddle,** in other words the itch, might 
rub their backs whenever necessarv. The thankfulness of 
die benifidaries was expressed in the exclamation* 

GkKis, the frequenters of the theatre gallaries, not alwavs 
the least critical part of the audience. So called from the 
height at which they sit The French term for the upper 
gallery is Paradis. 

God's mercy (Eng.), ham or bacon and eggs. At country 
inns, remote from a butcher, you will be told that there is 
nothing in the house but God's mercy. 

€k>fortbe gloves (Eng.), to lay against a horse on the 
chance of its losing, without possessing the wherewithal 
to settle in the other event Probably from the practice of 
ladies betting gloves on sporting events, expecting to be 
pud if they win and not to pay if they lose. 

Go in, to enter for a race or any contest ^Go in and win** 
is the advice given to a small boy in a street fight by inter- 
ested spectators. 

Going, traveling, as **the going is bad, the roads being all 

Digitized by 


,136 GOI— GON 

fMngi^pmo^f living fast; cutting a dafth. 

Go it (Eng.), to keep it up. To ^^go it strong^ is applied to 
a man on a drunk, who is in for a continued spree* 

•Go it alone (Am.), a player at euchre if satisfied that he can 
make a ^march" will ^go it alone,'* in which case his part- 
ner lays down his hand, and the adventurous one plays 
against the other two men. 

Go it blind (Am.), an expression used at the game of poker. 
See Blind, ante. 

Qo it strong, to act energetically and vigorously. 

Goldfinoht an English sovereign. 

Gold-mine, any profitable investment See Bonanza, atiie. 

Golden weddhig (Am.), the fiftieth anniversary of a wed- 
ding often celebrated by aged couples. The silver wedr 
ding is the twenty-fifth anniversary. 

€k>ll7, an ejaculation used by negroes. 

Xskme CMie (Am.), said of a man who is altogether broken 

Gone ooon (Am.), one who is completely lost or beaten. 
See Coon, ante. 

Gone goose (Am.), one lost beyond recovery. 

ChmeoTertothemaJorityt dead. 

Qomor (Am.), ^he's a goner,** means that he is lost or 

Gone under, ruined. Also used to express the supposed 

whereabouts of a party deceased, who is not likely to have 

takoi the other route. 
Gk^ne up, lost, ruined. 
GoneopSaltBiver or Salt Creek (Am.), is said of politi. 

dans rejected at the polls. 
Gone np the spent (Eng.), lost, much as one's personal be* 

longings are when entrusted to the tender mercies of the 


Digitized by 



Oonnof (Old Eng.), a thief. 

€kK>ber8, peanuts. 

Good as gold^ very good; said of diOdreiu 

Good as they make ^enif superlatiTely good. 

Good as wheat (Eng.), sUple, first-dass. 

CkMxIs (Eng.), is applied by sports to either men or horses. 
Anything which promises well or tarns out satisfactory is 
"good goods." 

€kK>dtime (Am.), applied indifferently to a carouse, an en- 
joyable concert or otiier performance, a friemlly gadieting' 
or almost anything pleasant "Did you have a g^ooid timer* 
is asked of a man returning from a vacation or of a ladjp 
who has been to a ball. 

Good woman, an English public house sign rq>resenting a 
headless woman. Sometunes known as the Silent Wo- 

€kK>dy9 something nice to eat; children call candies and caies 

Goody-goody, well-meaning, but petty; offensively pious. 

€kK>Be, a tailor's pressing iron. It is said to live on Cab- 
bage (f. v.) 

CkMHie, "to cook one's g^oose," is otherwise rendered *^to set- 
tle his hash," or "to give him his grueL'' May be used to 
characterize manslaughter or any milder form of knockiag 
a man out. 

CkMMie, to hiss or condemn a play. From the anserine cus- 
tom of hissing when annoyed. 

Goose (Am.), "sound on the goose,'' a term signifying lliat 
one is orthodox on the question at issue. Leland treats 
the i^irase humorously in one of his famous BaUadi ^f 
Hans Breitmann. 

Gooseberry Old, his Satanic majesty. To «plqpOid 
(Sooseberry" with anyone is to do him harm* ^ 

Digitized by 


138 GOO— GOT 

Ooosebenr piaikBr (Irish), one who assists fond lovers to 

means of communicating; a matchmaker. 
Ooosebenr season (Eng.), the dull time of year in which 

newspapers are filled with stories of gig^tic fruits, sea-ser* 

pents and other lusus nature. Otherwise known as the 

<*sill7 season.** 

CkNMse-egir (Am.), when a man scores a nought or <<round 
O** at any game he makes a ^^oose-egg." 

Oooser^ a knock-out blow. 

CkKMM-step, one of the preliminafy steps in the English sys- 
tem of military drill; ^e pons asinorumot the new recruit 

O. O. P. (Am.), Grand Old Party; the Republican party. 

Gk^pher (Am.), in police lang^ge, a young sneak-thief or 
associate of burglars, who is passed into a room through a 
transom or window. 

€k>plier (Am.), in the South, the name of a rude wooden 

Gospel grinder (Eng.), a dergjrman or missionary. 

Gk^spelHBhop (Eng.), a church or meeting house. 

CkMM (Eng.), an abbreviation of gossamer, a hat 

Gossoon (Irish), a boy or lad. 

Gothf an undvilized or uncultivated person. See Philis* 

Gotham^ New York City, where the wise men dwelL 
Washington Irving first applied the term to that city but 
its origin is Engli^ and dates from the time when the vil- 
lagers of Gotham in Lincolnshire raked the pond to get the 
moon out 

€k>tlie'blgfigare (Am.), or the whole fig^ure, to do any- 
thing on a large scale. 

€k> the whole hog (Am.), to put everjrthing on one diance. 

Go through (Am.), to comjdete or finish; to go through a 

Digitized by 


GOT— GRA 139 

man is to *<hold him up** and rob him. Stage and train 
robbers ^go through the passengers." 

Go through the mill ( Am.), to gain experience. 

€k> to grass ( Am.), be off» get out 

€k>iige, to cheat or defraud. 

€k> under, to die, to perish. 

€k>Temment malet «<stupid as a," or <«obstinate as a," said of 
any stupid or stubborn person. The contract mules during 
the Civil War tried the patience of the soldiers sorely. 

€k>Temor (Eng.), a father. In the last century applied to a 
teacher in charge of a youth of good fortune, now known 
as a ^bear-leader." The gilded youth of England speak 
of their fathers as the Governor, Pater, Old Man or Re- 
lieving Officer and occasionally as ^<His Nibs." 

€k>wk (Old Scotch), a fool or silly person. Hunting the 
gowk is equivalent to making an *< April fool" of one, by 
sending him on a bootless errand. 

€k>wnsman (Eng.), a University student 

Gowpen (Scotch), a double handfuL 

Grab, to dutch or sieze. 

Grahbedt caught See Nabbbd. 

Graft, work; anything done; ^^great graft" is anything sat- 

Granger (Am.), a farmer. The «<Patrons of Husbandry" 
called the lodges <^anges." 

Granite State (Am.), the State of New Hampshire. 

Granny's knot (Eng.), a knot which will not hold. 

Grapevfhe (Am.), a hold in wrestling. 

Grapplers, fingers. 

Grass, «<brought to," in the prise-ring, means a knockdown 

Grasst ^gone to," dead. ««Oo to grass," said to a trouble- 

Digitized by 


130 ORA— 6RB 

some person, nuijr he derived from ^go to grace," which 

means, of course, *<go to — ^ somewhere else. 
Grass widow (Am.), properly Gracb widow, or widow by 

the grace of circumstances, a married woman living 

apart from her husband. It is also applied to divorcees. 
Gravelled (Old Eng.), bothered, perplexed, angry. 
Gravel-rasb, a scratdied face caused by a fall upon the 

Gray backs (Am.), body lice. 
Gray mare, the better horse; the wife who ^wears the 

breeches'* (f. v.) 
Grease (Am.), money used for bribery. See Boodlb. 
Grease spot, ^nothing left but a** (Am.), is said of a man 

badly used up in a fight. 
Greaser (Am.), a Mexican. 
Greasy chin, a dinner. See Ingoldsby Legends. 
Great go, the most important examination at the English 

universities. The minor ^exam V are known as ^maEs" 

or «little go." 
Great go, a success; anything which has a ^^boom." See 

Ali. the 00, ante. 
Great miwashed (Eng.), the lower classes. 
Greek (Old Eng.), a sharper. 
Greek Kalends (Anc), an indefinite period; never. The 

Greeks had no Kalends and the term was u»ed in andent 

Rome in its present significance. 
Green (Eng.), ignorant, inexperienced. «<Do you see any- 
thing gn^een in my eye?** is an ironical inqmry often made 

by cocknejrs. 
Green (Old Eng.), fresh, simple. 
Greenbacks (Am.), the paper money issued by the United 


Digitized by 


GRS— ORI 131 

(Am.), the advocatoB of an wnlioiitacl isnieaf 

paper money. 
Oreen goods (Am.), counterfeit bilk, doobtlets from «<fiTOeo- 

Greenlioni or Oreenle (Eng.), a fresh or unsophisticated 

Green Isle, Ireland* 

Green Mountain State (Am.), Vermont 
Greet (Scotch), to weep. 
Gridiron, an instrument alleg^ to be used in the initiation 

of candidates to secret societies. *<On the gridiron" means 

Gridiron (Am.), the stars and stripes. 
Grlei; «(to come to" (Eng.), to meet with an accident, phys- 
ically or financially. 
GrIfBn (Fr. griff<m\ a mulatto. 
GrlfBn or GrliT, a term applied in India to a newly arrived 

cadet, probably because the inexperienced consider a grifSn 

as one of the indigenous animals of that country. 
Grind (Eng.), daily toil or study; also a walk. Mr. Man- 

taliniin Nicholas NickeUy objected to the «demnition 

g^d" of his diuly life. 
Grinder /Eng.), a tooth. 

Grinder (Eng.), a university tutor or Coach (f . v.) 
Grin In the sa6k, or in the basket (Fr.), to be beheaded. 

The head of a guillotined person fails into a basket 
Grip, <Ho lose one's** (Am.), to lose control of anjrthing or to 

fail in business or other effort 
Grist to the mill, anything which brings in money. 
Grit (Am.), pluck, sand, sjnrit 

Grit, in Canadian politics, a member of the Liberal party. 
Grijuley to fret or cxy. 

Digitized by 


139 6RI— 6RU 

Orlssled^ light or brown hair turning gray. Dark hair in 

such a case is known as Iron-oray (f • v.) 
Grog, spirits and water. Said to be derived from an old 

English naval officer named Grogram, who mixed his 

liquor in that fashion. Seven-water gprog is where the 

milder liquor predominates largely. 
Grog blossoms, the rubicund facial appearance resulting 

from hard drinking. 
Groggery (Am.), a low-class tavern or grog-shop. 
Groggy, a prize-fighter who is unsteady on his limbs, or a 

horse **weak on his pins'' is said to be groggy. 
Grounder (Am.), at base-ball, a ball which is struck low or 

flies near the ground. 
Ground floor, <4et in on the** (Am.), to be admitted into a 

speculation or scheme on even terms with the original pro- 
Grouty (Eng.), crabbed, surly. 
Growler (Eng.), a four-wheeled cab. Supposed to be from 

the dissatisfied mood in which the driver is invariably found 

when settling time comes. 
Grub, food. 

Grubbing-ken, a cook-shop, hotel or restaurant 
Grubby, dirty. 
Grub-stoke (Am.), food and other necessaries furnished to 

prospectors m the mining districts by men who share in the 

profits of a mine, if one is found by the men they back. 
Grub street, in the eighteenth century the abiding place of 

London writers and booksellers' hacks. 
Gruel, <<gave him his," to kill a man. In the prize ring to 

knock him out for good. 
Grundy, Mrs., the embodiment of feminine public opinion. 

«< What will Mrs. Grundy say ?" is taken from a last century 


Digitized by 


GUE— GUS 1$$ 

Oa6M, in the United States has many significatkms. It 
means to believe, to surmise, to fancy, and even (but im* 
properly)is used as an affirmation of certainty, Shakespeare, 
Chaucer, Coleridge, and Byron among the great English 
writers use the word in the sense in which it is now ac* 
cepted in England, that of conjecture. The American 
usage, as **I guesss not** (imperative) or "I guess I'll go," 
I : e.j *^I think,** is slang, for it is not good English. 

Gulllotliie or Axe, the weapon which descends on politi* 
dans whose friends and party fail of election. 

Gulch (Am.), a deep ravine caused by the action of water; 

sometmies with a stream flowing through it 
Golf (Old Eng.), the throat 
Ckilfed (Eng.), university slang for a man who fails to take 

honors. See Plucked or Ploughed. 
Golly to cheat or deceive. 
GnUy (Scotch), a pocket-knife. See Bums, D0aiJk amd 

Doctor Hornbook. 
Gum (Am.), to impose on. 
Gimiiiiyy thick, fat 
Gnmpy a foolish fellow; a dullard. 
Gmnptioiiy sense. Much used in Yorkshire, England, and 

in New England. 
Gnmit india-rubber overshoes. 
Gun (Am.), a revolver. 
Gunner's dAogbter, ««marrying the" (sea slang). Boys 

in the navy ordered for punishment were formerly lashed 

to the cannon so as to give the boatswain's mate a good 

chance at them ; hence the term. See Marryatt's wons. 
Gnah^ nonsense, sentiment The kind of l i t e r atur e found in 

•^society** papers and periodicala designed for young ladies, 
Gnslier (Am.), a flowing ofl-wdL 

Digitized by 


IS4 [OtTT— 45YP 

OatiWWi>ftr» a fiddlar. See Bums in 7!itf ^^0^ Beggmr$. 
€Nitter laae, ^e throat 
QiitteiMnilpey a street loafer. 

fBnVj « Irigbt; an ill-droMed peraoo. Derived from the ef* 
^^ o| iGrify Fawkes which are carried in London streets 
on the 5th of November in remembrance of the Gunpowder 

Gnyy to make fw of; to'roast or ^^josh** a person. 

Qi^^e^ to eat or^drink to excess. 

Theie jras giuwHng Dick imd^t|Hqg Nod, 
And likewise Was little Billee.** 

0PV» iM w^!^fBf^dm\ifi% 4erv4»at at Cambridge Univeisitj, 
England. Smd to h% derived from the QtetiLgyps^ a vul- 
ture. Thdr congeners at Oxford are known as Scouts 

Digitized by 



Habitan (Fn), a small landed prbprietor in Canada* 
Hack ^ Am«), a common carriage.^ In England a hone 

for nding, as a "park hack** or a *'covcr hack."' 
Hack, ^^booksellers,** a literary man who does general work 

for a publisher. 
Hackle (Eng.), pluck; <<to show hackle** is to be willing to 

fight Hackles are the long feathers on the back ot the 

neck of a domestic cock, which he eirectV #hen angty. 
Haddock (Eng.), a purse. 
Hair of tlM dog, a drink taken in the mortiing after ati dVttf* 

night debauch, on the principle of similia simUHu^ dtfrnm- 

iar. "Hah* of the dog, good for the bite.** 
HairHspUttiiig, finding foolish and trumpery ait^tHMHttU 
Half a bean (Eng.), half a sovereign; tewsfaiilitigM* 
Half a couter (Eng.), half a sovereign. From Air Ofysy 

cuta^ a gold coin. 
Half a hog (Eng.), sixpence. 

Half and kalf (Eng.), a mixime ol miU ale and |NM-tM* 
Haifa stretch (Eng.), six months in prison* A ««SlMldi'* 

is a year. 
Half a tnaheron^ half-a-cKm^n, EngKsh money; 
Half baked (Eng.), soft witted; doughy. 
Hiklf bMl (Eng.), half a cro^n; two shilling^ and shtMMNI^ 

Otherwise «<two bob and a bender** or <4udf a AoWmx)^ 
Ba»K)6oked^«>to go otT (Atfi.)i f6' MM ^Uium <NM< H 


Digitized by 


136 HAL— HAN 

Half momming (Eng.), a black eye. Where both optics 

are discolored it is known as ^Hleep grief." 
Half aeas over (Old Eng.), drunk. 
Hamfatter (Am.), or more briefly ^ham,** a tenth-rate actor 

or variety performer. 
Handy «a cool hand," a person with plenty of assurance. 

Sometimes <^a cool bird." 
Hand (Eng.), a workman or helper, as a «<factory hand." 
Hander (Eng.), a second or assistant 

Handicap (Eng.), the adjustment of competitors in a race 
according to their ages, recorded speed, or supposed capac- 
ity, so as to as nearly as possible equalize them. 

Handle (Eng.), the nose. 

Handle, to manage; to overcome. 

Handle «<to fly off the" (Am.), to lose one's temper. 

Handle to one's name (Eng.), a title. 

Handling (Eng.), at cards, means the concealment of valua- 
ble cards for the purpose of cheating. 

Hand-me-downs (Eng.), second-hand clothes, or slop-made 

Hand oat (Am.), a cold lunch g^ven to a tramp. 
Hand-running, consecutively. 
Hang (Am.), <*to get the hang of," to acquire the knack of 

doing anything. 
Hang around (Am.), to loiter about or loaf. 
EUmging (Eng.), said of one in difficulties; a man to whom 

any change must be an improvement 
Hang it up, to obtun credit Equivalent to *«put it on the 

slate" or on the ice. 
Hangman's wages, thirteen pence half penny of English 


Digitized by 


HAN— HAR 137 

Handout (Eng.), to reside. "Where do you hang out?^ 
"your sign** ^ing implied. 

Hangnp (Am.), to pawn. 

Hang np (Am.), to rob with violence on the street See 
Hold up. 

Hannah, "that's what's the matter with'' (Am.), an expres- 
sion used to corroborate an asseveration, expressive of cer- 

HanMl or Handsel (Old Bng.), the first money taken in on 
any day. The vendor genenuly spits on the coin for luck. 

Happy as a dam (Am.), a New England simile for joyful- 

Happy-go-lacky (Eng.), careless; indifferent to fortune. 

Hard case (Am.), a dissipated man; a tough. 

Hard-headed, obstinate. 

Hard lines (Old), hardship, poverty. Lines is the equiva- 
lent of lot; thus in the Bible: "The Imes have fallen unto 
me in pleasant places." 

Hard moathed 'un (Eng. stable slang), a difficult person to 
manage, like a hard-mouthed horse. 

Hard pan, the rock which lies below the surface soU; the 
foundation or bottom. "Getting down to hard pan" is get- 
ting down to business. 

Hard pushed^ in difficulties; short of money. 

Hard row to hoe (Am.), a difficult task to perfonn; analogy 
drawn from work in the com or cotton field. 

Hard ran, in want of money. 

Hardshell, a variety of Baptists, who consider themselves 
the only orthodox crowd. 

Hard stuif, money. Also applied to whisky. 

Hwd tack, ship biscuit Soft Tommy is fresh bread. 

Hard««P9 poor and in distress. 

Digitized by 


138 HAR— HBA 

Hard-Hp, a fellow who picks up stumps of c^^an from the 

Hare-brainedt reckless, foolish. The hare is created wiA 

little wisdom. 
Harris, Mrs., the mjrthical friend of Sairy Gamp, whom 

she quoted on all occasions. See Martin Ckmzzhwii* 

Harry or Old ELarry, the Devil. ««To raise Old Harry'* is 
to create a disturbance. 

HammHMSMram, wild, reckless. 

Hash^ a mess, confusion. To «^hash up" is to jumble to- 

Hash, ««to setitle oneV is to finish hun. 

Hatchet, i<to bury" or ««to dig up" (Am.). When Indians 
are about to go to war they are said to dig up the war 
hatchet^ after peace is made the symbolic weapon is buried 

Hatchet, ««to throw the," to tell lies. See Long bow. 

Hawhuck (Eng.), a dodpole or greenhorn;, an ignorant 
country fellow. 

Bawlseye State (Am.), Iowa. 

Hawse->holes, <«to come in through," to begin on board a 
ship as an ordinary seaman instead of ^^coming on board 
through the cabin windows," as the ^middies" are said to 

Haze (Eng.), to bully or annoy a subordinate or a freshman 
at college. «<Hazing" has caused much trouble at West 
Point Academy and at different universities. 

Hazy (Eng.), half drunk; also dull, stupid. 

Header (Eng^, a plunge foremost into the water. In the 
<*tank drama" at theatres of the transpontine order the hero 
takes sensational ^headers" into the water to the great de- 
light of the gallery <«gods." 

Digitized by 


HEA— HEE 139 

ir tatf» ^I can't make head or tail of it," i. e^ cannot 

Bead like a steye ( Am.),said of one which holds no knowl- 

Head-rails (Eng.), teeth. 

Headaerag, the master or overseer; anyone in authority. 
Derived from the Hindu serang^ for boatswain. 

Heap, (^a heap of people,'' a number. ^Struck all of a 
heap,'* astonished. 

Heat, in horse-racing, a round or turn. Mile heats, best 
three in five, means, for insfainoe, that tiie horses trot or run 
in each turn one mile, tiie losers dropping out and the win- 
ners finally settling the race between them. 

Heave, to throw. 

Heavies (Eng.), the heavy dragoon reg^ents. 

Heavy, large; a "heavy" amount. 

Heavy-weight, a pugilist of the first rank. 

Heavy wet (Eng.), malt liquor, especially stout or porter. 

Hedge, in the language of the betting ring means to secure 
oneself from loss over one bet by making another or several 
others. Thus, early in the racing season, A backs the 
horse Highflyer at 50 to i — say $1,000 to $ao. The iMnrse 
from one cause or another is inade a favorite and starts at 
4 to I against him. A then lays that price, $80 to $ao, 
against Highflyer. If the horse wins A receives $1,000 
and has to pay out $80. If the horse loses A receives 
$30 and has to pay out $20. If he has backed several 
horses which appredate enough to enable him to ^hedge" 
properly he may "stand to win" on any one of them and 
not lose in any case. This is known as Standing on 
Vblvbt, (y. V.) 

Heeled, armed or provided for. 

Heeler, die backer of another, as of a gambler or a striker 
A heeler also "stakes" gamblers who are "dead broke." 

Digitized by 



Heels, <«two for his heels,'' two ix^ts taken in cribbage by 

the dealer who turns up the jack. 

Heel-taps, small quantities of wine left in the bottoms of the 

Heft r Am.), weight. To heft anythmg is to lift it A 

^^heity'' man is a heavy, chunky fellow; a man of his 

Hell, a gambling house, formerly divided into ^^gold" and 

"silver** hells. 
Hell and Tommy, utter destruction. 
Help (Am.), a domestic servant or hired hand. 
Helter-skelter, confused; without order or precedence. 
Hemp cravat, the hangman's noose. 
Hempen garter, the hangman's rope. 
Hempen widow (Old Cant), the widow of one who has 

been hanged. 

''In the box of a stoae ju^ I was born. 
Of a hempen widow the kid foriom. 
Nix my oolly, pmls. Fake away." 

Hen conventloii (Am.), a gathering of women for political 
or social purposes. 

Henpeeked (Eng.^, said of one who permits his wife to 
have everything ner own way. 

Herrtng^pond (Bng.), the sea. <«6one across the pond,** 

Hey, Babe ( Am.^, the rallving cry of circus employees when 

attacked by outsiders. The Guelfs and Ghibellines rallied 

their followers by the cries «Hie Waiblingen," "Hie 

Hiding, a thrashing. «<Tanning the hide," beating severely. 
Higgledj-piggledjt confusedly, all of a heap, as pigs lie. 

Digitized by 


HIG— HIT 141 

Hlirl^lHiider (Am.), a class of Chinese in San Trandsco 
who blackmail gamblers and prostitutes, and who ''remove^ 
by the knife or pistol those who incur the enmity of their 

Higli Ohureht the ritualistic or Puseyite party in the Angli- 
can or Episcopalian church. Low churchmen are the so- 
called Evangelicals, who affect little respect for forms 
which they pronounce papistical. 

Hlglit *<how is that for high?^' an inquiry often made a few 
jrears ago on all occasions, but now out of date. Meaning 
It has none. 

High (Am.^, <Hoo high for his nut," beyond one's reach; 
above his bend. 

Hlghflftlntlii^ (Am.), showy, stuck up, affected; high-sound- 
ing, bombastic 
mgh-flyer, one who lives well, spends money freely, and 

goes in for society and life in generaL 
High Jinks (Scotch), a jollificadon. See Scott in GtiyMan^ 

Hlgli-ldckery a ballet dancei; 
HlgblowB (Eng.), laced boots. 
Hlgli^roller (Am.), a fast liver; one who gambles freely 

and for large sums. 
Hlgli-toned (Am.), aristocratic, stylish, fashionable. 
HUlofbeaiiay ^not worth a,** used to express absolute 

Hipped^ low sfriritad, dull, hypochondriacal. 
Hire a hall (Am.), advice offered to a man who talks too 

long to suit his audience. 
HOs nibst anyone in aattiority,irom PresklenttoPolioe Court 

Bttcht a difltodty} A knot tied in a rope. 

Digitized by 


143 HIT— HOE 

Hltchftj (Am.), mvried. From the hitching^ n^omuary for 

harnesa. Where the couple do not «gree they are said <<not 

to hitch." 
Hitcli up, to harness horses to a wagon or buggj. 
Hitihepi|i« (Am.), to smoke opium. Opium ^joints'* are 

found in most large cities where Chinese and othm ^hit the 

pipe" until reduc^ to insensibility. 
HoaZf to deceive, was originally Cant and is a corruption of 

Hocus, {(f. 9^) The word is now» however, g^ven in 

standard dictionaries. 
Hob and nob, to drink together. 
HobblOt ««in a,^ in trouble. 
Hobbled, fastened as horses are, by the feet. 
HoUdediAo7» a youth in his callow stage; neither man nor 

Hobaon'e eboio^ that or nothing; take it or leave it Fima 

the name of a livery stable keeper in the town of Cambridge 

wt^o insisted on his customers always taking the horse 

nearest the stable door, no matter what their preference 

might be. 
Hock (Am.), the last card remaining in the deal^box at fafo» 

The soda card is the top card of the deck when the cards 

are placed in the dealing-box. Hence the phrase ^from 

Soda to Hock,*' (f . v.), equivalent to from AlpMa to Omega. 
Hoeofly to drug for the purpose of robbery. To hocus a 

kovse is to poison him. 
Hocns-poeiis, cabalistic words used by gipsies and conjurers^ 

and supposed to be a corruption of Monkish Latin. 
Hedge (£hig.), generic name for a countryman^ Sometimes 

Giles IS used in the same sense, both bdng common names 

emeng the wrid p^^i^tien« 
Hoe-cake (Am.), a cake made of corn-meal unleavened and 

baked in the ashes on the side of a hoti 

Digitized by 


HOK— HOO 143 

Ho6kI0(Wii (Am*), A negro dance; same as BrxakdoWk, 

(f. V.) 

Hoe one's own row (Am.), to do one's appointed task, as in 

work in the com or cotton field. 
HoflT (Eng.),a shilling. 
Hogged (&ng.^y is said of a horse's mane, cut so as to stick 

up like a hog's bristles. RoachbD is the American equiv* 

Hog wallow (Am.), a sink hole or mud spring on the pT$i* 

rie where the hogs delight to roll. 
Hogwashy worthless newspaper matter, otherwise known as 

slush, swash and flub-dub. 
Hoisting^ shoplifting. 
Hold on (German Halt an), stop. 

Hold out (Am.), an apparatus used by gamblers for the pur- 
pose of cheating by <<holding out" desirable cards. 
Hold your horses, go easy ; don't become excited. 
Hole in a ladder; a man unable to see one is either very 

stupid or very drunk. 
HonoWy ««to beat hollow," to exceL 
Holt, ««to take," to take hokl. 
Homely (Am.), not handsome; plain in appearance. In 

England the word means homelike, plain, unpretending. 
Hommock or Hammock, a small elevation or khob of land, 

Hummocky ice is that which has been elevated by the 

winds or waves above the other ice. 
Homo (Lingua Franca)^ a man, from the Latin. 
Honey-ftigle, to cheat or deceive; to delude by means of fiiM 

Honor bright (Eng.), an asseveration of ttntfi. 
Hoodhim (Am.), a tough or street loafer* The name orij^- 

inated in San Francisco 1 

Digitized by 


144 HOO— HOR 

Hoodoo, a negro phrase Agnitpng that a person or thing 
has been bewitched. Anjrthing or any person may be a 
*<hoodoo,^that is, have the power to bring bad luck, just as 
any person or thing may be a Mascot (j. v>)^ and bring 
gooa luck. 

Hookf ««on his own hook,** dmng business for himself. 

Hook it or Sling your hook (Eng.), go away. Compare 

Git (Am.) 

Hooks, fingers. 

"Then his diet my hooks I throwln. 
And cbUar his dragons dean away." 

— S/at^ song fy Father Promi, 

Hooka, ««dropped off the,** dead. 

Hook or orookt «by,** by fair means or foul. 

Hookey ( Am.)» to play truant English boys say Splaying 

the wag." 
Hoosier (Am.), an Indiana man. 
Hop (Am.), a dance. 
Hop merchant, a dancing master. 
Hopping mad (Am.), exceedingly ang^, mad enough to 

hop about 
Hop the twig, to die. See "Kick the bucket,** "Peg out,** 

Horn (Am.), a drink of spirits. 
Horn (Am.), "in a horn,** as applied to any statement means 

the exact reverse of the words spoken. The English 

equivalent is Over thb lspt (j. v.) 

Homie or Anid Homie (Scotch)» the devO. 
Homswoggle (Am.), to cheat See Shbnanbgan and 


Horrors, low spirits, indfnent delirium tremens^ otherwise 
known as D. T. 

Digitized by 


HOR— HOW 145 

Hone (Bag.), to flog, from the old wooden hone uied as a 

flogging stooL 
Horse and hone er Horse and (Am.), in throwing poker 

dice when each player wins one throw; the third horse de- 

ddes the game* 
Horsebaokt in miner's parlance, a fault in a seam of coal. 

Horse-ehannter (Eng.), a low-class horse dealer who 
chaimts the praises of some miserable screw. 

Horse marine (Am.), an awkward person* Sailors have 
little respect for marines. 

Horse nails (Eng.), money. 

Horse on me (Am.), one against the speaker. See Horsb 


Horse sense (Am.), a very desirable quality; good, sound, 
practical common-sense. 

Horsey (Eng.), like a groom or jockey. Men whose talk 
is of the turf and of little else. 

Hoss (Am.), corruption of horse. K)ld Hoss** is a term of 
endearment. An Englishman calls a horse a ^'boss.*' 

Hotfooty pursuit on the moment. Or to get away in a 

Hoteoppers /Eng.^, fever in the mouth and throat follow- 
ing an overmght oelMiuch. 

HonseSt «<safe as** (Eng.), certain; real estate and buildings 
being hdd to be a safer investment than any other form of 

House-warming, an entertainment given to celebrate settle- 
ment in a new house. 

How? for «What did you say ?^ is a common New England- 

How came yon so, intoxicated. 

Howdle (Scotch), a midwife. 

Digitized by 


146 HOW— HUM 

HowdTf a provincialism for «<How do you doF^ 

How is tbAt for high? ( Am.^, an inquiry often made now* 
a-days in regard to practically any happening. 

Hubble-bubble, a hookah or water«pipe« 

Hub of the UniTerae (Am.), the city of Boston. 

Huckster, a peddler. 

Hue and cty, to follow a fugitive criminal with a hastily- 
summoned posse. 

Hull; a dodge or trick. 

HuD^ in the g^me of draughts means the penalty for hot tak- 
ing an opponent's piece when the game requires it The 
Scotch say ^^Uow.*^ 

Hull; to vex or offend. Huffy means short-tempered. 

Hugger-mugger, all mixed up^ Also to hush up or te plot 

Hulking, a hulking brute is a hig ruffian, such as hang d)OUt 
street comers. 

(Am.), for human beingi a man. A term much 

used in the United States. 
Hiuu aadhaw, to hesitate or to raise objections of a trivial 

Humble pie, to eat; to give in or be submissive. 
Hum-box (Old Eng.), a pulpit ^Old Cotton humming his 

Humbug, an imposition: a fraud. The word came first into 

use about the middle ot the eighteenth century. The game 

of double-dummy whist was formerly known as humbug. 

It b probably derived from ambiguous. 
Humdrum, tedious, monotonous. 
Humming, as applied to ale means strong. Probably from 

the humming in the ears which follows strong potations. 
Hummock (See HoiiM0CK,aM/e), small elevations on the 


Digitized by 


HUM-^HUS 147 

Hump, ««hsvui9 the hump»'* out of lorU* iinxioy«cl, low^apir- 

ited. <<It gives me the hump.'* 
Hump up, "to have oneV," to be croet or iU-tompered) «8 a 

cat sets its back up when auooyed* 
Hunch (Eng.), a piece of anything* 
Himch, to push or jostle. 

Hong Veei^ that which is hung up in the sun to dry. 
Hunk (See Chunk) a large piece or lump. 
Hnnk (Dutch A<m>&), the goal or home in a child's game. 

Thence applied to mean safe. 
Hunkers (Am.), a section of the Democratic party in New 

York State forty or more years ago. See Barnburnxrs, 

Hunki-dorl (Am.), all right. 
Hunks^ («01d Hunks,** a miser. 
Hunky (Am.), *«all hunky,** good. Jolly, all right 

Hurdy-gurdy, an alleged musical instrument worked by a 
crank, and known in Italy as the ^^viola.'* 

Hurly-burly (Old Eng.), noise, confusion. See MaeMk. 
Hurrahy a noisy expression of delight. K>n a hurrah" 
means on a triumphant drunk. 

Hurry up (Am.), hasten. Within the last twenty years 

the expression has largely supplanted the old-fashioned 

<Hnake haste" in Bngland. 
Husband's tea (Bng.), very weak tea, such as a man gets 

who comes late to tiie table. 
Hush-money, blackmail. 
Husk-shop (Eng.), a place where liquor is sold on the quiet 

and without a Ucense. 
Hush up, be rilent; be quiet 
Husky (Am.), stoat, weU-boQt 

Digitized by 


148 HUS— HYP 

HiiMy (Eng;.), an opprobrious tenn applied to a girl. Orig* 
inally its character stood much higher than now» bcang 
identical with housewife. 

Hustler ^m.), one who is energetic and pushing in busi* 
ness Othenrae a Rustlbr. 

Hypocrites, inllow-shams; false covers for pillows. 

HypSf blue devils. Hyppbd or Hippsd. out of sorts. 

Digitized by 



nk /O. £«JK^ ^Hhe tame**), an old form found both in Bn;* 
lisn and Scotch, meaning the same. Thu8,Chaucer has 
this ««ilk worthe knight" and ^ that ilk man." It is still not 
unknown in Scotland in connection with family designa- 
tions; thuSy^Kinloch of that ilk" means ^Kinloch of the es- 
tate" of the same name, or ^Kinloch of Kinloch." Often ig- 
norantly used to mean <*of that description," as in ^Huurpet- 
baggers and politicians of that ilk." 

Ill» in England a person in bad health b **ill;" in this country 
he is alwajrs ^ick," even if his trouble arises from a broken 

Ib» to be in with one is to be on terms of intimacy or friendship 
with him. 

InflBakifrjf young children* 

Inflaenoe (Am.), the peculiar ««uiflooence" possessed by pol- 
iticians and used to obtain office. See Puxx. 

In for it, in trouble. 

iBgle (Old Eng.), the chimney comer. 

In ity is a recent English coinage and is about equivalent to 
^In the swim," which it has practically suj^lao^ed. 

TnkwUnger (Am.), a writer or editor. 

Innings (Eng.^, good fortune, a run of luck. ^He has had 
a long inning" is said of a man who dies in the fullness ef 
years. Taken from the cricket field. 

Inside lining, food. 

Inside of (Am.), within; in less time than. 

Inside track, the position nearest the rail on a race-track, 


Digitized by 




desirable as keeping close to it shortens the distance which 

has to be traversed. 
Interesting situation, ((as ladies wish to be who love their 

In the heart of the city, to be at home; to succeed. 
In the soup (Am.). This expression originated about 1888 

and is applied to any unsuccessful politidan who ((gets 

left^ or who of old was said to be ((Sent up Salt River," 

{f. V.) 

In the straWy a vtdgar expression to signify a woman in 
child-bed. Possibly from the Nativity, when the Holy 
Child was laid in the manger. 

In the swim, in society, or in with sporting men with r^ard 
to some coming event. To be ((playing in good luck.^ 

In tonch with (Eng.), in sympathy, or having a full knowl- 

Invite (Am.), a vulgar corruption of ((invitation** used by 
parvenu society people. 

Inwick and ontwiok, at the game of curling, signify the 
peculiar ((twist** or ((side** given to stones by the player, 
and which causes them to pass inside or outside of stones 
which lie between them and the goal or ((tee.** 

Irish apricots or Irish lemons, potatoes. See Boo 
ORANOBS, amie. 

Irish, ((to get one*s Irish up,** to become angry. To get 
one's Dutch up means the same thing. 

Iron-gray, black hair turning gray. 

Iron horse, a locomotive. 

Irons in the fire, schemes for making money; varied occu- 

I should smile 01 snicker or murmnr, vulgarisms much in 
use to signify acquiescence with a statement made. ((Are 

Digitized by 


ITE— IVO 151 

gotn; to the {rfcnic?" ««WeIl, I should smfle." A 
little of this g^oes a long way, but scores of expressions 
of this character are in use, so some reference to them is 
Item^ knowledge of; to g^ item is to obtain information* 
iTories, teeth. A set of teeth is a box of ^Ivories'* or Don- 
IN0B8« ^Rinse your ivories'* means take a drink* 

Digitized by 


Jiab^ to strike or thrtist 

Jabber, to talk fast From jiii or jabh (Gip.), the tongue. 

Jack, the knave in cards. 

Jack and half Jack, imitation gokl coins used by swindlers 
to convey the idea that they have lots of money. 

Jacked op (Bng.), done for, knocked out 

Jacket, the skin of a potato. 

Jackettng, a thrashing. 

Jackey (Eng.), gin. 

Jack in office, an official who presumes above his position. 

Jack in the box, a tool used by burglars to break open 

Jack Ketch (Eng.), the common hangman, from the name 
of a public executioner in England in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The corresponding fui^onary in France is known 
as Monsieur de Paris. 

Jack of all trades, one who has a smattering of several 
branches of knowledge. 

Jackpot (Am.), in the game of poker, b where the game 
cannot be opened except by a player who holds a pair of 
jacks or better. 

Jack Boblnaon, ^before you can say** (Eng.), presumablv 
means in a great hurry, but who Robinson was is as muai 
a mjrstery as the identi^ of the man who struck Billy Pat- 
terson, and why one should say Jack Robinson is equally 

JackSprat» a diminutive person. 

Digitized by 


MC-JAT 153 

JiMdc Tmtf A sailor. 

jMgoes Boii]ioiii]ii#, a cc mn lr ym aii. Tha Pr^ch wjuiva* 

lent ior the English Hodge as applied to a nistia 
Jaide^ an uncomplimentary term applied to a ^1. Like 

htissy, knave and some other Old Saxon words it once had 

a muder meaning. 
JaiT (Am.) a dedded and emphatic drunk: a load. The 

word, now onused in England, is still used dv the descend- 
ants of the Puritans in the East, where a jag (load) of hay is 

often spoken of. In Norfolk, England,aoocMrding to Grose, 

a jag was a load or parcel of any kind. 
Jidl-Mrdy one who has <*done time.** 
Jam (Eng.), an obstruction, as a jam of logs or of ice in a 

Jam (Eng.), anything nice. A pretty girl is «real jam.** 

See also Tart. 
Jamboree (Am.), a spree. 

Jam op, good, prfane. Same as ««bang up** or •<slap XKp.^ 
JauMia, an English sovereign or pound sterling. 
Jargon^ involved language of a barbarous character. 
Jifffc (Old Cant), a seal, or a pass, or safe conduct 
Jarvey (Eng.), a coachman, 
^aaey or Jaiey (Old), a wig. 
Jaw, to talk. «<Holdyour jaw;" ««What are you jawhig 

Jawbone, cridit To Uve on jawbone is to <%tattdofP' one's 

Jawbrealger, a loi^ word or one difficult to promviioe. 

J a wt wis t bh means the same. 
Jay (Am.), a countryman or greenhorn, 
^agrkawkcdr ( Am.)^ an Irr^^dar (very irregular) cavaky- 

man who performed for the Confederacy services very 

Digitized by 


15* JEA— JEW 

sunilar to those rendered by the <4>ttmmers*' to the Unkm 

forces. The jayhawker was a guerilla by nature, a thief 

by practice and often a murderer and pillager. 
JeameSy generic name for an English ^flunkey** or liveried 

senrant See Thackeray, Memoirs of yeames /># la 

Jtitf in printer's slang, to gamble by throwing ^^quads." 

Printers will <«jefr for any thing— for the choice of the first 

^Hake** on the hook or for the l^r, or their week's wages. 
Jehu, a driver. From Jehu, the son of Nimshi, who <klrove 

J6111I117 or Jlmminy crikee (Eng.), a vulgar expression of 

Jemmy (Eng.), a sheqp's head. 
Jemmy and Jeaaamy^ a pair of spooning" lovers. 
Jemmy dnoka (Sea term), the man who takes care of the 

poultry and other live stock on board ship. 
Jemmy or Jlmmy^ a short crowbar, used by burglars. 
Jeremy Diddler^ an adept at borrowing. From a character 

in the farce of Raising the Wind. 
Jerked meat (Am.), that dried in the open air. Probably 

from the Spanish Charqui. 
Jerry f a watch. ^Jerry nicking" is making a bold snatch 

at a watch chain and running off with the ^uper." 
Jerry ahop (Eng.), a beer shop. 
Jerry anealEt a watch thief. See Jbrry, ante. 
Jersey lightning, bad face. 
Jemaalem pony (Eng.), an ass or donkey. 
Jeaae, <«to give one," to beat or scold him. Often incorrectly 

given as ^Jessie." 
JeiWt to beat down In a bargain; a habit of the Israelite 


Digitized by 


JEW-JIN 155 

Jew's eye^ anything of great value is said to be worth a 
Jew's eye, as it is sometimes said taking's ransom." Shakes- 
peare uses the expression. See Merchant of Venice: 
'^There will come a Christum bj 
WiU be worth a Jewess* eye." 

Jesebely a woman of indifferent cbiaracter; a termagant or 
shrew. From the wife of Ahab, king of Israel. 

Jib (Bng.), to baulk. A Jibber is a baulky horse. 

Jib, the face. *^Cut of his jib,'' his appearance 

Jibb (Gip.), the tongue. From the Hindu. 

Jibe (Am.), to ag^ee, to harmonize. 

Jiiiy, Min a," on the moment, quickly. 

Jig (Am.). "The jig's up," it is all over. 

Jigger (Am.), a small measure used b^ barkeepers. 

Jigger (Am.^, the bridge or rest used m billiards. 

Jigger (Eng.), a door, "dub the jigger," close the door. 
Also applied by soldiers to a prison. 

Jiggered. "Ill be jiggered," a mild form of Cockney oath. 

Jim-JamSy delirium tremens. 

^nmmy or James (Bng.), a sheep's head. 

Jingo, "by Jingo," a mild oath, said to be a corruption of 
St. Gengulphus. See Ingoldshy Legends. Sometimes 
"by the living Jingo." By supporters of the Basque ehrmol- 
ogy the expression is alleged to have originated in Wales, 
whither Edward I is said to have had a party of Basque 
soldiers conveyed during his Welsh wars; but "Hey Jing^" 
is first met with in literature in Oldham's Satyrs upon the 
yesuits (16^9). Jingoism is now understood to l^ a sort 
of British Chauvinism, and in this respect dates only from 
the Russo-Turkish war of 1878. At the time there was a 
strong anti-Russian feeling in London, and the most popu- 
lar music-hall song of the day was a sort of doggerel threat 
against Russia, beginning: 

We don't wmnt to fight, but hj jingo if we do, 
We're got tlie thipe, we're got tlie men, we^re got tlie 
money* toot 

Digitized by 



Jo (Scotch), a lover or sweetheart <*John AiidcnoDt ay 

Job or Jab, a blow with a knife or sharp instntoieat 

Job (Bng.), a piece oi work. ^A bad job,** misfortcme. 
Job, in political phraseology, a scheme o{ plnnderi favorit- 
ism. A «<put-up job** is a planned scheme. 

Jobatiom or, more properly, Jawbation, a scolding. 

Jobbery, the arrangement of unfair schemes or plans for 
politiod plunder. 

Job lot, miscellaneous goods offered at a bargain. 

Job's comforter, one who reproves or brings additional 
trouble instead of giving consolation. The prophet Job 
had three friends of this kind and made some sarcastic re- 
marks to them when they had finished talking. 

Job's turkey, **aB poor as*' (Am. ), hard up, thin, badly fed. 
Job possessed camels and asses and a wife, but there is no 
record that he owned a poultry-farm. 

Jook, a jockey. 

JoeMmg (Scotch), a knife. 

Joe Miller, an old and oft-told story; a <«cheslnut'' One 
Joseph Miller, an English clown, is credited with the pub- 
Hcation of a book of moss-covered jests, now in the posses- 
sion of Chauncey M. Depew. 

Joey (Bng.), a four-penny bit Named after Joseph Hume, 
who caused them to be coined. 

Jog-trot, a slow pace, a trifle faster than a walk. 

JobB, common name for a Chinaman in the United States. 

Jobn Bull, generic term for an Englishman; beefy, brawny 
and obstinate. 

Jobn Company, the old Bast India Company. 

John J>oraAQS (Gip*)* gold coin. 

jobnny (Am.), a Confederate soldier. 

Digitized by 


JOH-JUV 157 

Jobnny cake (Am.), a cake of unleavened meal baked on 

the hearth. 
Johnny Orapand, old name for a Frenchman. 
Johnny Raw, a greenhorn; a new recruit. 
John Thomas (See Jbambs), an English footman or 

Joint (Am.), an opium-smoking den or g^mbling^bousOi or 

any resort of bad repute b spoken of as a "joint.** 
Joker or liittle Joker (Am.^, at euchre is an additional 

(53d) card which ranks as the highest trump. 
Jo&y (Eng), a marine. 

Jolly, to speak well of a friend is to "jolly him." 
Jo8h(Am.), to hoax, chaff or roast a person; to make fun 

of him. 
Joskin (Eng.), a countryman, a g^reenhom. 
Joss, the Chinese God, from the Spanish Dias. 
Jour*, a journeyman. 

Jug or Stone Jug, a prison. See Spikb Park. 
Jogfkil, "not by a;'* not by a good deal. 
Jag>-handle (Am.), anjrthing one-sided. 
Jompy (^to jump on a man," to rob him by Tiolence. 
Jumper, a jacket or short coat. 

Jumping a claim (Am.), to occupy by force a land or min- 
ing claim rightfully belonging to another. The refuting 

argument is generally a Winchester rifle. 
Jumping hall (Am.), absconding while under bail. 
Jumping^ffplace (^Am.^, the end of a road or railroad; 

the place where dvilization stops. 
Jumping-up-hehindy to endorse an accommodation bill, 

usually an expensive luxury. 
Junk (Am.), old iron, rags and other like materiaL 
Junk, salt beef. 

Junk-dealer, one who deals in old metals,rags and tiie like. 
JuTenal (Okl)i a boy. 

Digitized by 



Kan a ka , a native of the Sandwich Islands. 

Keel oyer, to capsize or upset. 

Keep, food. 

Keep it up, to prolong a spree. 

Keeps, ««to play for," said by boys in plajring marbles where 

the winner keeps the winnings. Applied also to anything 

meant in earnest. 
Kelter, money. Probably from the German gelt. 
Ken (Grip.), a house. Boozing or Lushing-kbn, a tavern 

or drinking-house. Probably from the Persian khan^ a 

house or inn. 
Ken (Scotch), to know. 
Kenspeekle (Scotch), easily known because marked or 

Keteli, Jaeky the English hangman. According to Macau* 

lay a person of that name officiated as public executioner 

temp Charles II. See Jack Ketch, ante. 

Kettle offish ^Eng.), trouble of any kind. "Here's a pretty 

kettle of fish'' is said of a muddle or mess. 
Key of the street (Eng.), an imaginary instrument said to 

be possessed by one locked out of doors. 
Keystone State (Am.), Pennsylvania. 
Kibosh, nonsense, stuff, humbug, palaver. To put the kibosh 

on one is to deceive him. Another meaning is to put a 

stop to anything. 
Klek (Eng.), a pocket, purse, or pocket-book. 

Digitized by 


KIC— KIN 159 

Kick (Am.), to object or protest. 

Kick, «ani be there in a kick," I'll be there in a minute. 

Kick (Eng.), sixpence. <*Two and a kick" represents half 

a crown. 
Kicked in, smitten, mashed. 
Kicked tke backet, dead. 
Kick over the traces, to be independent of control, or to 

spend money extravagantly. 
Kicks, shoes. 

Kickshaw (Eng.), a made dish. Stt II Henry /K, v. 7. 
Kicksies (Eng.), trousers. 
Kick up, a noise or disturbance. "To kick up a row" or 

"kick up the dust" 
Kid, a chUd. 

Kid, to joke, chaff or hoax. 
Kiddily, fashionably dressed. 
Kidnap, from kid^ a child, and nab^ to steal, both orig^ally 

Gipsy words and now as combined meaning to abduct or 

carry away a person. 
Kidney, "of that kidney," of that kind. 
Kid on (Eng.), to induce a person to do anjrthing. 
Kidsman (Eng.), a trainer of young thieves. 
Killock (Am.), a small anchor. 
Kilter, "out of" (Am.), off the level, out of sorts. 
Kimho or A-Kimho, holding the arms in a bent podtion 

from the body and resting the hands on the hips. 
Kinimer or Oammer (Scotch), an acquaintance or g^ossip* 
Kinchin (Gip.), a child. 
iflnftlilii cove (Gip.), one who robs children. 
jfinf*!!!!! lay (Gip.), robbing children on the streets. "Noah 

Claypole" in Oliver Twist was a proficient in this art. 

Digitized by 


i6o ION— KNI 

Kindlings (Am.), broken wood used for lighting fires. 

King-pin (Am.), the tallest pin at skittles or ten-pins. Used 
by analogy to signify the chief or superior. 

King's pictures or Queen's pictures (Eng.), ooiiL 

Kinky a knot or twist. 

Kinky, curly, like a negroes hair. 

Kirk (Scotch), a church. 

Kiss, at billiards, when two balls strike each other in the 
course of their movement on the table, the stroke not being 
intended by the player. 

Kiss-curl or Bowcatcher, a small curl twisted on the fore- 

Kisser (P. R.), the mouth. 

Kissing-erust (Eng.), the soft crust which marks where one 
loaf has touched another in the oven. 

Kiss-me-quick, a short veil; a bonnet not now in fashion. 

Kit, baggage or personal belonging^ Also a <^kit'* of tools. 

Kite-flying, raising money on accommodation bills. See 
Flying Kitbs, ante. 

Kittle (Scotch), fickle, uncertain. 

Kitty, in the game of draw-poker, each player raking in a 
pot with two pairs or better, or winning a jack-pot, puts a 
«<chip" into a hole in the table for the good of the house. 

Knacker, an old and decrepit horse. Also the man who 
slaughters such. 

Knap (Eng.), to steal. No doubt from Nab, {g. v.) 

Knap, to receive or take. 

Knee-high, of diminutive stature. *«Knee-high to a grass- 
hopper. " 

Knickerbocker (Am.), a descendant of one of the old 
Dutch families of New York. 

Digitized by 


KNI— KNU i6i 

Knife (Am.), to knife a person, b to do him harm, to stab 

him in character if not in person. 
Knife-board, the long seat on top of a London omnibus. 
Knobstick (Eng.), a non-union workman* See Rat. 
Knoek-doira, strong ale. 
Knoek-down (Am.), to embezzle. 
Knoeked-np (Eng.), tired, played out. 
Knocker, (^up to the," swell, in the height of fashion. 
Knocked into a cocked hat, knocked out of shape. 
Knock off, to quit work. 
Knock-out, in racing parlance, to drive a horse out of the 

betting list. A bankrupt is said to be <^knocked-out*' 

Knock out /Am.), an arrangement by brokers at auction sales 
to refrain from competition. Anyone of the gang acquires 
the coveted lots and at a subsequent sale confined to the 
members of the knock-out each man has the right to bid 
for the articles he wants. The proceeds are then divided 
among the confederates. 

Knock-out, a fight in which one of the combatants is rend- 
ered senseless or is so badly damaged as to be unable to re- 
spond to the call of time. 

Knock under (Old), to submit 

Knowing, sharp, shrewd, fly, sometimes dishonest 

Knowledge-box (Eng.), the head. 

Know-nothings, the so-called American party, which from 
1852 to 1856 cut a considerable fig^e in politics. They 
composed a secret society and got tibeir name from always 
professing to know nothing when questioned as to the ob- 
jects of the order. 

Knuckle-dufltem, iron or brass instruments worn on the 
hands and used as a means of offence. 

Knuckle under, to yield or submit 

Digitized by 


i62 KON— KYE 

Koniacfcer (Am.), a counterfeiter. 

Kosher (Heb., right, from yasAar^ to be right), pure, ••• 
cording to the Jewish ordinances. Thus ^Kosher meat** is 
meat lulled and prepared by Jews after the Jewish maaner, 
and so fit to be eaten by Jews. 

Kotoo or KotoWy to bow down to, to cringe or flatter. From 
the Chinese ceremony where those who approach the Em- 
peror do so on their hands and knees. 

Kudos (from the Greek), honor, pruse, reputation. 

Ku-Klux'-Klaii, a secret society in the Southern States, now 

Kye (Scotch), cattle. 

Digitized by 


La! or I4awk8, a foolish ejaculation used by women and 

probably a perversion o£ ♦*Lord." 
LiBe or liakh (Hindu), one hundred thousand, as a ^lac of 

lisce, to thrash. 

Laced (Eng.), tea with something stronger in it 
Laoed mutton (Old Eng.), a woman; not a complimentary 

Ladng (Eng.), a beating. 
Ladder, <«a hole in a,** when a man cannot see this he is very 

drunk indeed. 
Lag (Old Eng.), to stay behind. 
Lag, a returned convict 
Lagged, sent to prison or transported. 
Lagger, an informer. 
Lallycooler, one who is pre-eminently successful in his line; a 

♦•daisy," a ♦^andy," a *Hiarling,** a "lulu.** 
Lam (Eng.), to beat 
Lamb, on the Stock Exchange, the unfortunate speculators 

who are shorn by the luckier dealers. 
Lambasting (Eng.), a beating. 
Lambs (Eng.), roughs, loafers. 
Lame dude, a bankrupt stock-jobber or broker. 
Lamming, a beating. 

Lamps, "under the,** said of London or any other large dty. 
Land-craby in sailor*s phrase, a land-lubber. 

Digitized by 


i64 LAN— LAV 

Land-grabbers (Am.), people who under the forms of law 

or in defiance of them get poesession of the public domain 

or of the property of individuals. 
liand-labber^ a sailor's term for a landsman. 
Iiand-ghark, a sailor's term for a lawyer. Also applied to 

the keepers of sailor's boarding-houses who rob poor Jack 

through thick and thin. 
Land's sake (Am.), an expression of surprise. 
Lap, once around a short circular or elliptical course; so many 

laps to the mile. 
Lariat (Sp.), la riaia)^ a rope of rawhide, hemp or sea-grass 

used for catching Texas steers and mustangs. Practically 

the same as Lasso, (q. v.) 
Lark, a frolic, a spree. 
Larrikin, street loafers are known in Sydney, N. S. W., by 

this name. In New York they are ••Broadway statues;" 

in Baltimore "plug-uglies;" in San Frandsco "hoodlums," 

and everywhere "rowdies." 
Larrup (Irish), to beat 
Larrupping (Irish), a beating. 
Lashins (Irish), plenty. "Lashms of whisky and tobacco 

galore" are the necessary accompaniments of a well-con- 
ducted "wake." 
Lass or Lassie (Scotch), a girl. 

LassitndinoQS, a Malapropian expresion for languid, lasy. 
Lasso (See Lariat, ante)^ a rope used by cowboys to catdi 

cattle or ponies, the noose being thrown around the ani- 
mals horns or neck. 
Latchpan, the lower lip. 

Late Unpleasantness, the American Civil War of 1861-65. 
LaUiy, thin, like a lath. 
Lave (Scotch) the remainder* 

Digitized by 


LAV— LED 165 

LaTender^ ^laid up in," put carefully somewhere; in pttWn 
or in a debtor's prison. 

Ijawy («to give," to give a start as true sportsmen give a hare 
or other animal before laying the dogs on* 

Iiawin (Scotch), the reckoning. 

Lawlng, going to law. 

Lajf to bet against a horse in a race or a man in any contest* 
Betters are divided into layers and backers. The Book- 
MAKBR (f. V.) lays against everjrthing at the market odds 
or less. 

liay, a dodge; a pursuit or practice. 

Jjay^ («on the lay,'* a thieves term for the particular branch ol 
conveyancing in which they may be engaged. See Kin- 

lAJf **What lay are you on?" What scheme or work hav# 
you on hand. 

Laying pipe, making arrangements to ensure the passage or 
defeat of some measure before a legislative body. Se4 


Lay on thick, to flatter. 

Lay-out, the painted table at faro, representing the cards. 

Lead, (^friendly." See Fribndly lbad, ante. 

Lean-to, an addition to a house or bam, generally of one 

story, with the roof leaning against the wall of the main 

Lear (Scotch), learning. 

Leary» flash, knowing, sly. 
lieather, to thrash. 
lieather (Am.), a pocketbook. 
Leaving shop (Eng.), an unlicensed paWtAhop. 
lied captain (Eng.), a fashionable pimp. DoU TeatKfieet 
objected strongly to Ancient Pistol styling himself ^^teipi 

Digitized by 


166 LEE— LEV 

tain,'' and said the word had become as odious as *k>ccupy" 

which was a good word until it became ill-sorted. See 

II King Kenry IV. act iiy sc. 4. 
Leer (Gip.), a newspaper. 

Leery or Leary^ doubtful, uncertain. Also drunk. 
Left out in the oold, neglected, shut out. 
Legy in playing cards the game is sometimes scored with 

chalk marks crossed; one ^leg" of each mark being rubbed 

out for each point scored. 
Leg, an abbreviation of Blackleg (^. v.), a swindler. 
Leg, in seamanship, tacking; <<a long and a short leg.'' 
Leg and leg, the state of a game when each member has lost 

a "leg." Same as Horse and horse, ante. 
Leg-bail, "to give" to forfeit one's bail by absconding. 
L^ it, to run away. 
Leg piece, a burlesque or opera bouffe performance, in which 

the chief attraction is the young ladies of the ballet 
Let alone, a Cockneyism for "much less.' 
Let drive, to strike at 

Let her rip (Am.), let things go: move on ahead. 
Let in, swindled. 
Let on, to tell, to acknoyrledge. 
Let the cat ont of the bag, to divulge a secret 
Let np, a rest; a relief; to quit 
Levant, to abscond. 
Levee, a reception. French, lever. 
Levee (Fn), an embankment on the side of a river, very 

frequent along the lower Mississippi. 
Level best, "to do one's," to go to the full extent of one's 

Level-headed, of good judgment 

Digitized by 


LBV— LIM 167 

Iiery (Am.), a shilling. 

Idck^ a blow; to lick is to thrash 

Tilcklngf a beating. 

liiokspittley a parasite who submits to indignities for Uie 

sake of advantages. One who ^^crooks the pregnant hinges 

of the knee, that thrift may follow f awning.** 
Lie oat of whole oloth (Am.), an absolute fabrication. 
Ufer^ a convict sentenced for life. 

Uftf to steal; to pick pockets. Shakespeare uses the word, 
liiftor (Old Eng.), a thief. See Troilus and Cressidal^2. 
liig (Old Eng.), to lie down. 
Light, credit "To get a light** is to obtain credit, while to 

have one*8 "light put out** is to have credit stopped. The 

last expression refers also to death. 
Lightmans (Gip.), the day. The Gripsy term for night is 

Idghtningy gin. Jersey lightning is a variety of alleged 

whiskey, which kills at forty r<^; otherwise known as 

Sudden death (y. v.) 
Lightning Jerker, a telegraph operator. 
Lights, the lungs of animals. 
Lights or Daylights, the eyes. 
Light oat, to run away. 

Light-weight, of little importance; weak. In the prize- 
ring applied to light-built pugilists below a certain weight 
Like, is used for "as;** "like I do** for "as I do.** Also for 

"as if* or "as though. 
Like a book, "to know one,** to be well acquainted with 

him; to have studied him. 
Limb, "a young limb,** a troublesome child. 
Limber, supple. 
Limbo, a prison. From the Catholic term for purgatory. 

Digitized by 


l§8 UM— LIT 

limb of the Ijaw, a lawyer's derk or young attorney* 

Idne» «Ho get one in a,** to get some sport out of him. 

line, ^What line are you in?** calling, trade, profession* 

lilne9 (Eng.), a marriage certificate. The lady who can 
4<show her marriage lines" never fails to use that fact in an 
argument with her opponent, who is living in concubinage. 

lines (Am.), reins. 

Lingo f talk or language; from the Italian lingua. 

lingVAoFranca, the corrupt Italian which has been em- 
ployed since the period of the Genoese and Venetian su- 
Sremacy, as the language of commercial intercourse in the 
fediterranean, especially the Levant Any language 
which serves a similar purpose, as for instance Swahili and 
Haussa in Africa, and the Chinook jargon in the northwest 
of the United States, is called generally a ^^lingua-franca." 
Compare Piobon English. 

lion (Eng.), a notable person; one whom people flock to 
s«o as they would a menagerie. 

lion-hnntery one who hunts up and makes much of celebri- 
ties or notorieties. Such as Mrs. Leo Hunter in Pickwick. 

lioniBOy to make much of a distinguished visitor. 

IiP9 impudence. 

liPy to sing. 

liquor np (Am.), to take a drink. 

lissom^ relaxed, limber. 

litfl^ end of the ]iom» «<to come out at the," to fail in an 

l^ttf^o kOd the minor examinations at English universities, 
known as Smalls {q. v.) 

little Joker, the litde pea under the thimble in the thimble- 
rigging game. 

littto/WilUttm* a 1^ 

Digitized by 


UV— LOC 169 

Live out (Am.), to be at service, to live as a domestic ser- 
Idve stock, vermin. 

Iio, applied to the aborigines, from Pope's lines: 
Lol the poor Indkn* whose untutored mind. 
Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind. 
Thus we get "Poor Lo." 

lioad, ^he has a load,'' he is drunk. 

lioafer (Dutch kntfer)^ a lazy vagabond; an idle lounger* 

liOb, a till or money drawer. 

liObb, the head. 

Iiobby (Am.), to lobby is to work among a legislative body 
to influence them in favor of or in opposition to proposed 
legislation. Lobbyists form a large and obnoxious class 
and have much to do with the corruption of politics in the 
National and State government. Women as well as men 
are engaged in this business. 

liObloUy, a sailor's term for grueL 

Iioblolly-boy (Sea term), a surgeon's mate or assistant 

liObs (Gip.), words, talk. 

Iiobacouse, a dish of potatoes, meat and sea biscuit all boiled 

Iiobsneaking, stealing from tills and money drawers. 

Lobster, an English soldier is a boiled lobster from his red 
coat. A policeman, who has a blue uniform, is a raw lob« 
ster. It does not please a London ^bobby" to ask him, 
«*Who stole the lobster." 

liObster^box, military barracks. 

liooo-foeo, a name given in 1835 to a section of the Demo- 
cratic party. Loco-foco matches, then recently introduced, 
were used to obtain a light at one of their meetmgs aad 
htticethe name. 

Ijooiurt^ a policeman's dub, also known as a ^liickory" from 
the nature oi the wood. 

Digitized by 


170 LOD— LOO 

liOdge, an Indian house, tepee or wigwam. 

liaggerhesk^HB, ^to come to,** to come to blows; to quarrel, 

lA>ggy or liOgy, stupid. 

liO^-rolling (Am.), in the legislature means a system of co- 
operation by which one member will vote for the pet meas- 
ure of another in return for a like service on his own bill. 
The name comes from the practice of lumbermen from dif- 
ferent camps assisting each other in turn to roll their logs 
to the river. 

liOUy to lie around in a lazy manner. 

liOUiper (Eng.), the tongue. 

liOne Star State (Am.), Texas. > 

liOnflTf in Stock Exchange language means when a man has 
bought stock, grain or other goods on time which he can 
call for at any time. To be Short is to sell stock which 
one does not posses. 

lAmg and short of it» the whole of anything. 

Long bow, <no draw the,'* to exaggerate; to tell extravagant 
stories. See Pitchjno thb hatchbt. 

Long chalky «(not by a," not by a good deal. 

Long green (Am.), counterfeit bills of large denominations. 

Long-headed, f arseeing, smart, calculating. 

Long home, the grave. 

Long odds, such odds as go to show that the man or horse or 
whatever they are laid against has, or is supposed to have 
little chance to win. 

Longtall, a banknote for a large amount 

Longrtails, English pheasants. 

Loof (Scotch), the hand. 

Look out or Looker out (Am.), an assistant to the dealer at 

Loon (Anu), a foolish fellow; «%tupid as a loon.** 

Digitized by 


LOO— LUM 171 

lioony, short for looney-tick (lunatic), siUy, stitpid. 

Iioose, ««on the,** on the spree. 

liOOtt plunder. To loot is to pillage. 

liope^ to leap. <*Loping along." 

Iiop-sidedt uneven. 

liOrdy ««drunk as a^** very drunk indeed — ^tfae antitheais of 

««sober as a judge,^' showing the difference between the ar- 

tocracy and the bench. 
liost cause (Am.), that of the Southern Confederacy 
liOthariOy generally used with the prefix ^^gay," a deceiver; 

a seducer of women. From a character in an old play* 
liOad (Eng.), showy, flashy, over-dressed. 
liounee (£ng.), an abbreviation of allowance. '^He's had 

his lounce," he has had enough to drink* 
Iionr or liowr (Gip.), money. 
IiOiit^ a heavy, awkward fellow. 
IiOve» nothing. Five points to none at any game would be 

wfive to love.** 
Love-child (Eng.), an illegitimate child. 
Iiow-downer (Am.), a native of North Carolina. 
liOW-water^ out of money. 
Lubber (Sea slang), a fool or awkward person. 
Luck, ««down on your luck," in trouble or difllculty, un- 
Lucky (Eng.), ^to cut one's lucky/* to go away quickly. 
Lug, the ear. 

Lug, to carry. Probably from luggage, baggage. 
Lum (Scotch), a chimney. 
Lumber, to put in pawn. Probably from the Lombards, the 

orig^nd pawnbrokers. 
Lumbered, pawned. 

Digitized by 


17a LUM— LYN 

Lmnmox, a stupid fellow. 

Lump, anything large, as a ^Ivanp of a man,** 

Lumper, a dockyard w(M*kman; also a wharf -rat or dock- 

Lump it, leave it. ^If you don't like it you can lump if 

Lumpy f intoxicated. 

Lnnk-head, a stupid man; a fool. 

liuniioiiy Cockney for London. 

liurch (Eng.), the players who make the double point at 
whist are said to have «4urched'' their opponents At crib- 
bage a man is ^4urched'* or ^skunked" if he fails to get 
around the comer, that is to peg 31 holes before his oppon* 
ent gets out 

Lurk, a dodge, trick or swindle; a tale of feigned poverty 
and distress made up for begging purposes. 

liOrker (Eng.), an impostor who travels about with false 
stories of sickness and distress. 

Lush, drink. 

linwhlng^crlb or Ken, a drinking-house* 

liUshingtOA, a drunkard. 

liUShy, intoxicated. 

Lynching-bee (Am.), a gathering of men for the purpose 
of lynching a criminal. 

Lynch law, the execution of a criminal by a mob. 

Digitized by 



Blaee (Eng.), to obtain money by threats; to Sponge** or 

to swindle. 
Maoeman, a swindler. 
Mad (Old Eng.), ang^. Used in the same sense in the 

United States. 
Mad as a Maroh hare, crazy. ^Mad as thunder^ means 

the same. 
Mad as a wet hen, angry, vexed. 

MasT (Eng.), a halfpenny. «<Haven't got a mag^ expresses 
utter destitution. 

Maggotty, fanciful. <<Oot a maggot in his brain" or <*a bee 
in his bonnet'* 

Magpie, in target shooting, a white and a black flag, not wm 
good as a bull's eye. 

Magsman^ a street swindler or ««f aker.** 

Mahogany 9 said of a dinner table; ^to have one's leg's under 
another man's mahogany," is to sit at his table as a guest 

Mahoimd (Obs.), Mahomet, the Prophet of Islam. 

Mail (Am.), to place a letter in the postoffice. An English- 
man ^^posts" his letter. 

Main (Old Eng.), very; ««main glad," very glad. 

Main guy (Am.), the chief or leader of any organisatioiL 

Make it hot, to make things uncomfortable for any one; to 
persecute him. 

Make, ««on the" (Am.), looking out for what <»ie can get 

Make tracks (Am.), to get away in a huny; to Sksdad* 


Digitized by 


174 MAK— MAR 

Make-up, in the parlance of the theatre, applied to actors 

dressing tbeir faces with paint, etc. 
MakingrSy perquisites, or less mildlyi stealing^. 
Maltee, a native of Malta* 
Mami (Gip.), a grandmother or old woman, doubtless from 

Manuny or Manmer, an old negro woman* 
Man Above (Irish), the Almighty. 
lUfin Friday, a useful assistant, from the name of the savage 

who acted as servant to Robinson Crusoe. 

Man of straw (Eng.), a person without resources or capital. 

Man up a tree, «<the way it looks to a," the way anjrthing 
appears to one who possesses special advantages for ob- 

Marbles (Eng.), money. 

March, at euchre, to win all the tricks. 

Mare's nest, a supposed discovery of something wonderful 
which turns out to be nothing at alL 

Marine, an empty bottle. 

Mark, <(a soft mark,'* one easily swindled. 

Mark, Ho make one's,** to achieve success. 

Mark, («to toe the,** to be ready; Ho come up to the scratch." 

Miiirrtltge lines (Eng.), a marriage certificate. 

Marrow (Old Eng.), a companion; a **mate** or fellow. 

Marrow-bones (Old), the knees. 

Martingale, in the language of the gaming-table, a method 
of playing roulette or rouge et noiry by doubling the stake 
every time one loses, and so continuing until one wins. 
Lake ^1 "systems** for breaking the bimk this is open to 
t^e objection that the method may have to be carried to an 
amount beyond the limit allowed before the player wins* 

Digitized by 


MAS— MEA 175 

In addition to tUs there is the chance that the game may 
not be fair, and the bank's percentage of splits'* or ^zenMr 
is to be considered. 

Masoot (Am.), anjrthing lucky; a sort of Fbticu (f. v.) 

Maish (Am.), a school-girPs term for a street flirtation. 

Masheen^ **to run with the" (Am.), to serve with the vol- 
unteer fire department. 

Masher (Am.), a well-dressed loafer who spends his time 
in ogling women on the street and who travels on his 

Master of the rolls (Eng.), a baker. 

Mate (Eng.), a companion or <^pal.'' 

Mate, to match or pair. 

Mauley orMawley (P. R.), the fist: also the signature 

Maund (Gip.), to beg. 

Maunder (Old), a beggar. 

Maunder (Scotch), to mutter. 

Maundering, wandering, spoken of traveling beggars as 
well as those who maunder or meander in their speech. 

Maung (Grip.), in English Maund, to beg. 

Maverick (Am.), an unmarked yearling steer. 

Maw, the mouth. 

Mawkin (Scotch, a cat. 

Max (Eng.), g^n. Bryon uses the word in Don yuan. 

Mealy-mouthed (Eng.), soft-spoken, plausible. 

Mean (Am.), which in England is used for stingy or close^ 
is applied m this country in an entirely different sense. 
When one young girl says to another "Now, Sadie, you're 
real mean,** she desires to express, not that Sadie is close 
in money matters, but that she is bad-tempered or has done 
something to the detriment of her friend. The woM is 
abominably misused. 

Digitized by 


176 MEA— MIL 

Mean white (Am.), a low class white person in the South. 

Measly, mean, miserable-looking. 

Medieal Greek (Eng.), a wretched apology for slang used 
by LfOndon meoical students, and consisting of the trans- 
position of the initials of words. In this jargon Spoking a 
smipe'' means smoking a pipe, and a <^tint of pout'^is a pint 
of stout. 

Medicine man (Am.), an Indian doctor or priest. 

M ending fences (Am.), the politician, who, having been 
elected to Congress or other office requiring his residence 
away from home returns occasionally to heal up differences 
which may have arisen among his supporters and to pre- 
pare for a renomination. Then he is ^mending his fences." 

Mesa (Sp.), a table land. 

Mess Mto lose the number of one's" (Sea term), to die. 

Mess, a quantity of anjrthing, as a <<mess of milk." 

MIchIng (Old Eng.), stealing or playing truant 

Micks, Irishmen. 

Midden (Old Eng.), a dung heap. 

Middle-weight (P. R.), as applied to pugilists, one who 
fights at 145 to 155 pounds. 

Middy (Sea), abbreviation of midshipman. 

Mighty, used improperly as an adjective or adverb in much 
the same way as Awfully (y. v.) 

Mike, generic term for an Irish laborer. 

Mild, «Hlraw it mild," do not exaggerate; go easy. 

Milk, in the language of the betting ring, to enter a horse 
for a race and make the public believe he is likely to win, 
bet against him on the quiet, and then either «<scratch" him 
or take care that if he runs he does not win. Such is the 
process of <%iilking." 

MUk down or Give down, to <*partf to give up money. 

Digitized by 


MIL— MIX 177 

Milk in the ooa-nat (Am/|, when an explanation of some- 
thing is given it is said *«That explains the milk in the co- 
coa-nut" and it is sometimes added ^But not the shaggy 
bark on the outside.'* 
Milk-sliake (Am.), a **dude** or effeminate youth, one whose 
ideas of wild dissipation are represented by the mild and 
inoffensive drink thus named. 
Milksopy an effeminate youth or man. 
Mill (P. R,^, a prize fight Hood says in his Lay of Miss 
Kiilmanskeg that: 

'*Her husband treated her ill 
Because she refused to go down to a mill, 
She didn*t know where, but remembered still 
That the miller's name was Mendoza." 
Mendoza was the champion pugilist. 

Mm, the treadmill. 

Milly ««to go through the," to go through the Bankruptcy 
Court or to pass through any kind of trouble. 

Miller, "to drown the,** to put too much water into the flour 
when, making bread. 

Mind (Scotch), to remember. ^\ mind me of the time.'' 
Also to remind, to notice. 

Minate-men, militia men or country troops whose engage- 
ment was that they should be ready to march at a minute's 
notice. Some of them marched to Lexington, Mass., in 
1^75, much to the discomfiture of George the Third*s reg- 
ular troops. 

Mish (Gip.), a shirt or chemise. From the French chemise^ 
Italian Camtcia. 

Mittent «»to get the" (Am.), to be rejected by one's sweet- 

Mittens (P. R.), boxing gloves. 

MiTy a marble. 

Mixed, uncertain, confused. 

Digitized by 


178 MIZ— MON 

MtaAe (Eng.), to run away. 

HBEEier, one who runs away* 

MfggUng^ drizzling rain. 

Mob (Old Eng.), a crowd. 

Moby to hustle for the purpose of robbery. 

Moby ^our mob,** one's own party or gang. 

Mobsman, a pickpocket who operates in a crowd. 

Moccasin, an Indian shoe made of soft leather, and generally 

ornamented with beads. 
Mock aaction, a pretended sale gotten up by swindlers to 

entrap the unwary, the supposed bidders being really ^«cap- 

Modest quencher, Dick Swiveller's equivalent for a drink. 
Moisten your chaffer, take a drink. 
Moisten your day, same as the preceding. 
Mokado (Gip.), unclean, somewhat of a similar meaning to 

Tabu (f. v.) 
Moke, in England a donkey; in the United States a negro. 
Molecatcher (Eng.), a midwife. 
Moll, a g^l, usually applied to one of low character. 
Moiled, followed or accompanied by a woman. 
MoUisher, a low- class woman; one living in concubinage* 
MoU-tooler, a female pickpocket 
Molly-coddle, an effeminate man. 
MoUygmbs or MuUygrubs, the stomach-ache. 
Molrowing, out on a spree. 
Mommick or Monunock, to handle awkwardly; to disar* 

Mondayish, disinclined for work after a Sunday holiday. 
Monkey (Eng.^^, five hundred pounds. 

Digitized by 


MON— MOP 179 

Monkey, spirit or ill-lempen A man has his ^monkey up^ 
when he is •*mad'' or angry. 

Monkey and parrot time, a lady left her favorite bird in 
company with a monkey said during her absence the two 
animals had a fight. W hen she returned the monkey was 
wiping his scratched face and the almost featherless parrot 
called out, **WeVe been having a hell of a time.** A gen- 
eral row or free fight is a ^monkey and parrot time.*' 

Monkey board (Eng.), the step behind an omnibus on 
which the conductor stands. 

Monkey, "long tailed,** a mortgage. 

Monkey's allowance, blows instead of alma; nK»e kicks 
than half-pence. 

Monkey shines, tricks, larking; like boys at play. 

Monkey with, to interfere with anything. 

Monniker, a signature. 

Month of Sundays, an indefinite period; a long time. 

Mooch, to play the truant. Shakespeare has Michbr {f. v.) 

Mooch, to sponge, to loaf about. On thb mooch, on the 
look-out for odd jobs. 

Moon, a month. See Blue moon, ante. 

Moon-cal^ a stupid, idiotic person. Applied to Caliban. 
See TAe Tempest iij 2: iii^ 2. 

Mooney, silly, intoxicated. 

Mooning about, loitering, wandering about in a purposeless 

Moonlight workers, smugglers. 

Moonraker (Eng.^, the natives of Wiltshire England, silly 
people who rakea the pond to get the moon out. 

Moonshine (Am.), illicit whisky. 

Moonshine, nonsense, a fairy tale, deception, humbug. 

Mop, an habitual drunkard* 

Digitized by 


i8o MOP— MOT 

Mop^ an English country fair for the hiring of servants. 

Mop-boardy the washboard which extends around the floor 
of rooms. In England it is called the ^^baseboard.'' 

Mops and brooms^ «in a state of ,'' intoxicated. 

Mopussesy money. 

Moral (certainty implied), a forthcoming result such|M a race 

which appears to be certain. It does not always do to bet on 

a "moral.'' 
More-ishy where there is not quite enough of anything to eat 

or drink it is said to taste "more-ish." 

More power to your elbow (Irish), an expression of good- 

More than seven, said of a precocious child or girl, or of the 
age of a spinster. 

Morgan, «a good enough.'* A man named Morgan was al- 
leged to have been abducted by Freemasons in 1836 and 
drowned at Niagara. A body which was identified as that 
of Morgan was found in the river and the Anti-Masonic 
party made a political affair of it. Thurlow Weed, one of 
the political leaders of that party, on being told that the 
body was not that of the missing man replied, "It's a good 
enough Morgan until after election." 

Mort, many, as a **mort of people." 
Mort (Gip.), a woman. See Mott. 
Mortal (Eng.), excessively. 
Mortar board, a college cap. 

Mosey (Am.), a corruption of the Spanish vamose^ to go 

Moss-backs (Am.), old-time politicians; people behind the 

Mot (Gip.), a g^l of indifferent character. 

Digitized by 


MOT— MUD i8i 

Mot-cart (Eng.), a brougham used by a woman of the town. 

Otherwise known as a Loose-box. 
Moiichy to sneak about 
Mouchey (Eng.), a Jew. 
Mought (Am.), is often used for might <«What mooghl 

you call it." 
Monnt (Eng.), a saddle horse. 
Mountain dew, Scotch whisky. Otherwise known as ^Dew 

off Ben Nevis.'* 
Mountain-pecker, a sheep. 
Mourners, in religious parlance, persons under conviction of 

Mourning, two black eyes; one eye in that condition is 

styled half -mourning. 
Mouse (P. R.), a black eye. 

Mouth, («too much," free of speech, having too much to say. 
Mouthpiece (Eng.), thieves name for a lawyer or counseL 
Mouthy, talkative, argumentative. 
Move ^Eng.), a dodge, a trick. ^Up to every move on the 

boara." Probably derived from the game of chess or 

Mrs. Grundy, the representative of the censorious world. 

"What will Mrs. Grundy say?" is from the old comedy of 

Speed the Plough. 
Much of a muchness, alike; very much the same thing. 
Muck (Eng.), to beat, to excel. 
Mucked out (Eng.), beaten. 
Mucker, «to go a," to plunge, as in betting heavily; to go to 

Muckinger (Old Eng.), a pocket handkerchief. 
Mud crusher, a word of contempt applied by cavalry to in- 
fantry soldiers. 

Digitized by 


i82 MUD— MUG 

'Hind larky a boy or man who picks up a living on river 
banks and wharves* Sometimes known as a Dock rat or 
Wharf rat. 

Mudsill (Am.), the threshold. Applied figuratively to the 
laboring classes, and formerly much used by Southern peo- 
ple to express their contempt for Northerners who were 
such "base mechanics" as to work for a living. The word 
is seldom used now-a-days in this connection. 

Mad student (£ng.), a farm pupil at an agricultural college. 

Muff, a stupid or weak-minded person ; a du£Eer. A muff is 
"a thing which holds a lady*s hand without squeezing it.** 

Muffin-worry^ an old lady's tea party. 

Mufti, the civilian dress of a naval or military officer off duty. 
In India applied to the regimental chaplain or to any clergy- 
man or priest. 

Mug (Old Eng.), the mouth or face. "An ugly mug" is an 
ill-favored countenance. 

Mug, to get drunk. 

Muggring (£ng.), a thrashing. 

Muggy^ drunk. 

Muggy (Old £ng.), moist, as muggy weather. 

Mug-up, to paint or prepare the face with cosmetics for ap- 
pearance on the stage. 

Mugwump (Am.), was first applied by a New York news- 
paper in 1884 to the members of the Republican party who 
preferred Cleveland to Blaine. It is now used generally 
to characterize voters who sink party politics and vote for 
whom they consider the most suitable candidate. The 
word, originally mugquomp^ is from the Algonquin Indian 
dialect and means "Big Chief" or "Leader." It may be 
found in John Eliot's Indian Bible. Mr. A. F. Keenan, 
editor of the Indianapolis Sentinel^ picked up the word in 
New England and used it as early as 1872 as a large-type 

Digitized by 


MULr-MUT 183 

heading for some article on a ^big wig" in politics. After 
this the word seems to have lain perdu until resuscitated in 
the New York Sun in March, 1884, when it applied it to a 
Mr. Bradley, who was interested in some local issue in 
Bobb's Ferry, heading its article ^^Mugwump D. O. Brad- 

Mulatto (Sp. mulaio^ a mule) ; the ofibpring of a white per- 
son and a negro. 

Mole-whacker (Am.), a teamster in charge of mules. 

Mnley or Mooley (Am.), a common name for a oo(W« 

Moll (Scotch), a snuff box. 

Moll, <Ho make a mull" of anything is to spoil it. 

Mom, «to keep" {OXA Eng.), to hold one's peace. <«Mum'a 
the word" is a signal for silence. 

Mum-budget (Old Eng.), a game at which each person had 
a "nay-word'' or countersign. See Merry Wiifes of 

Mummer (Old Eng.), an actor. 

Mump, to beg. 

Mumper (Eng.), a beggar. 

Mumpish^ miserable; out of sorts. 

MumpSy the miserables. 

MundunguSy coarse tobacco. 

Mungarly, bread, food. 

Murk (Old), dark. 

Murphy, a potato. 

MusliUy «(bit of," a girl or young woman. 

Muss, disorder, generally counted an Americanism^ is as old 
as Shakespeare, who uses the word in Anthony and Cleo- 

Mustang, the wild horse of the prairies. 

Mutton, a contemptuous term for a woman. Ben Jonson 

Digitized by 


i84 MUT— MYU 

and Shakespeare use the term <<a laced mutton" iar a 

Mutton-headt a stujud fellow. 
Hiussle, the mouth. 
Mnnler, a drink. 
MuEsy, intoxicated. 

My Unotot the pawnbroker. The French say ma tante^ my 

Digitized by 



Naby to catchy to sdse. 

Nabbedy caught, apprehended, 

Kaboby an Indian prince; a great man. 

Nabs or Nibs, a person; *^hh nabs." 

Nab the mst (Eng.),to take offence. 

Nag (Eng.), to annoy by scolding. ^Nagging^ is persistent, 
passionless scolding. 

Nag (Eng.), a horse. 

NaUy to arrest. 

Nail, to steal or capture. 

Natl, ««dead as a door nail." Shakespeare uses the expres- 
sion in ICimg- Henry /K, while Dickens expressed his ina- 
bility to fig^ure out why a door-nail is deader than any other 
piece of ironmongery. 

Nailed, taken up, arrested. 

Nail in one's coffin, a drink. 

Nail, <H>n the,** money down. 

Namby-pamby, effeminate, oyer-nice. 

Name your poison, call for your drink. 

Nantee (Ling^a-Franca), shut up or hold your tongue. 
««Nantee Palaver,** say nothing, from the Italian nienU^ 

Nap (Grip.), to catch, take or steaL See Nab. 

Nap, a short sleep or dose. 

Nark (Thieves* slang), an informer. 

Narrow, mean, sordid. 

Digitized by 


i86 NAR~NEW 

tfary^ a corruption of <*ne'er a," as **nary one," 

Kastyt ill-tempered. 

tfation (Old Eng.), is used in New England in the sense of 

many, as a ^^nation lot" 
Natty, (Old), neat, tidy. 

Natural, an idiot; a simpleton; a natural-bom fooL 
Navvy (Eng.), a laborer on canal and railway works. Short 

for navigator, one employed in building navigable canals. 
N. C, *<nuff ced," phonetic equivalent for "enough said.** 
Near, stingy, mean; close in money matters. 
Neat (Eng.), undiluted spirits. In this country "straight" is 

Neck and crop, entirely, completely, as a man is thrown out 

of doors. 
Neck and neck, where two horses run so close together that 

the judges are unable to decide between them. 
Neck of woods, a settlement or section of backwoods. 
Neck or nothing, desperate. 
Necktie party, a lynching. 
Ned, an English g^nea. 
Ned, "to raise," to create a fuss or disturbance. 
Neddy (Eng.), a donkey. On special occasions he is ad- 
dressed as "Edward." See Our Mutual Frimd. 
Needftil, cash, money. 
Needled (Eng.), annoyed. "He gave me the needle," that 

is, vexed or annoyed me. 
Neef (Old Eng.), the hand. 
Nerve (Am.), gall, cheek, self-confidence. 
New ehum (Australian), a newcomer to the country. 
Newgate knockers (Eng.), flat curls extending from tiie 

temple back toward the ears, much afEected by the Ixmdon 

Digitized by 


NEW— NIN 187 

cofitermongera and others of the lower datt« See AoomA^ 
VATORS, ante. 

Newmarket, tossing odd or even or •^heads or tails" when 
the ^best two out of three** wins. When the first toss de- 
cides the game is known as ^^udden death.** 

Nibble, to take or steaL 

Nibs, ««his nibs,** any person who minr be referred tO| such 
as ^I told His Nibs*^ or «'Get on to I£s Nibs.** It is neither 
a title of honor nor the reverse. 

Nick, ««01d Nick,** the devil. Hotten says from the Scan* 
dinavian kniciar^ the destroying principle. Butler says In 

•<Nick Macharel had n^er a trick» 
Thoagh he nre name to oar Old Nkk.** 

Probably the one explanation is as nearly correct as the 

Nick, to hit the mark; to win one's point Also to steal. 
Nigger, to bum in two, as a log b burned. 
Nigger, a negro. 
Niggling, trifling or idling. 
Nigh, near, close, miserly. 
Night cap, a drink taken the last thing at night 
Night hawk, a prostitute, thief or other pest of the streets. 

Night hawk, a term sometimes applied to a night police re- 

Night owl, a term applied indifferentiy to night- workers of 
the predatory character and to the morning newspaper men 
and others who are compelled to labor at night. 

Nim (Old Eng.), to take, to steaL Shakespeare doubtiess 
had this in mind when he christened Nym, the associate of 
Bardolph and ancient Pistol. 

Nincompoop (Eng.), a stupid fellow, a henpecked husband. 

Digitized by 


i88 NIN— NOB * 

Kine holes (Eng.), in the game of whist when nine points ! 

have been scored honors do not count. To be in the nine- 
hole is therefore reckoned as equivalent to a handicap. < 

Kinepence, «<nice as" (Eng.), all right . 

Nines, **dressed up to the," showy, stylish, «<dressed to kill." 1 

Ninny or Ninnyhanuner, a stufnd person. 

Nintb part of a man, a tailor* i 

Nip, to steaL See Nap and Nab, ani^ 

Nip, to arrest; to capture. 

Nip or Nipper, a drink of spirits. 

Nip and tack, very close; almost equal 

Nipcheese, a ship^s purser. J 

Nipper, a smart boy or lad. 1 

Nippers, the fingers. I 

Nipping (Am.), mincing. 

Nipping, cold. ^It is a nipping and an eager m.^-^Hamiei. 

Nix (German nichts)^ nothing. < 

Nixey, no. 

Nix my dolly, a meaningless phrase from a slang song in 
one of Ainsworth*s novels. It was adopted by the Lon- 
don street boys and was used on all occasions. \ 

No aocoiint, of no value, worthless. 

Nob (from knob), the head. x 

Nob, a swell. 

Nobbing chete or Nabbing chete (Old Cant), the gallows. | 

Nobble, to cheat; to over-reach. % 

Nobble, ««to nobble" a horse is to get at him and lame or poi- I 

son him. 
Nobbier, a stiff drink. 
Nobbier (Eng.), a •*capper" for any swindling game. A 

"bonnet" or **bearcr-up." i 

Digitized by 


NOB— NOS 189 

Nobby^ stylish. 

Nob, «<oiie for his," when the knave of trumps is held in 
hand or ^H:rib,^ at the game of cribbage the holder scores 
^one for his nob.'* If the knave is the turn-up card the 
score is *«two for his heels.** 

Na error, certainly. *«Don*t you make no error" is the un- 
grammatical method of asserting that what has been said is 
a fact* 

No flies, ««there*s no flies on him;*' he is all right 

Noggin, a small measure. 

No mistake, certainly, positively. Used much in the same 
manner as No brror, afUe. 

Nonce, ^tor the nonce,** for once. 

None of my ftineral (Am.), no business of the person using 
the expression. A man is not supposed to take much in- 
terest in the funeral of a stranger. 

No odds, no matter; of no consequence. 

Noodle, a stupid person or fool. 

Nooning (Am.), an interval for rest and refreshment at mid- 
day, as in the harvest field. 

Nortb, cunning, shrewd. It is said of Yorkshiremen and 
Scotchmen, who are being credited with being sharp and 
keen at a bargain, that they are *Hoo far north** to deal 

Norther (Am.), an unpleasant wind which visits Texas and 
the GuB of Mexico; a modification of the blizzard ot 

Nose, an informer or spy. 

Nose, ««on the,** giving information to the police. 

Nose out of Joint, supplanted, superseded; like the old baby 
is when the new one comes. 

Vose^ Ho cut off one*s nose to ^te one^ iaoe^i^ to ip som^ 

Digitized by 


190 NOS— NUM 

thing injudidous, harmful or expensive to oneself in order 

to inflict a minor injury on another or to obtain revenge 

from him. 
Nose, <Ho pay through the,^ to pay an extravagant price. 
Nose to the grindstone, to be compelled to work constantly 

in order to make a bare living. 
Note, a joke or saying. **That's a good note.** 
Note-shaver, a bill discounter; a usurer. 
Not for Joe, a catch phrase much in use a few years ago and 

taken from an alleged comic song. 
Nothing to nobody, nobody's business. 
Not in it, said of a person not likely to succeed, as <<Jones is 

not in the race." 
Notion, a whim or fancy. To take a notion to a person is to 

take a liking to him; to <<cotton" to him. 
Notional, whimsical, fanciful. 
Notions (Am.), such small things as buttons, needles, pins, 

threads, etc., often carried by p^dlers. 
No two ways abont it (Am.), certain, positive. 
Nous, comprehension, perception, quickness. From the 

Greek. Byron uses it in Don Juan. 

Nowhere, in racing parlance where a horse fails to pass the 
distance post he is said to be nowhere. The great horse 
Eclipse once ran in an English race and his trainer bet that 
he could place every horse in the race. This he did by 
placing "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere," and in the re- 
sult he proved to be correct, no one of the competitors, save 
Eclipse, succeeding in passing the distance post. 

Nowt (Scotch), cows and oxen. 

Number of his mess, «<to lose the,** to die. Said of soldiers 
and sailors. 

Numbskull (Eng.), a stupid person; a dullard. 

Digitized by 




Norse (Eng.), to nm one omnibus so close to another that 
people cannot conveniently get in the first vehicle. 

Nut, the head. Sometimes Cocoanut (j. v.) **OflF one's 
nut" means out of one's head; not sane. 

Nuthook (Old Eng.), an epithet aplied to a beadle or con- 
stable by Doll Tearsheet, II King Henry IVj act Vj sc. 4, 
Probably because the officer was thin in person, like a 
hooked stick used for pulling down nuts from hedges. 

Nutmeg State (Am.), Connecticut. 

Nuts, <*to be nuts*^ or **dead nuts'* on any man, person or 
thing, is to be pleased with or fond of the same. 

Nux, any object in view. *<Stoll the nux," look out. 

Nymph of tbe paye, a woman of the town. 

Digitized by 


Oaf, a stupid, ungainly fellow; a lout. 

Oak (Eng.), the outer door of college rooms or offices. To 
**sport the oak'* is to lock the door. 

Oak barrens or Oak openings (Am.), clusters of scrub-oak 
timber on the prairie. 

Oart «^to put in 'an oar," to interfere in another person's busi- 

Oats, "to feel one's," to feel good or **cocky," as ahorse does 
after a good feed. 

Obftiscatedy intoxicated. 

ObstropolouSy a vulgarian equivalent for obstroperous. 

Oohre (Eng.), money, generally gold, from the yellow color. 

O'clock, *<to know what's o'clock," to be wide-awake, sharp, 
experienced. "Like one o'clock," brisk, sharp. 

Odd fishy a peculiar or eccentric person. 

Odd man out (Eng.), a gambling game played by three per- 
sons where each tosses up a coin and if two come down 
"head" and one "tail" or vice versa then the odd man stands 
out of the game. See Tommy Dodd, supra. 

Odd or even, a method of gambling by calling out the num- 
ber of fingers held up or of coins held in the hand, whether 
they be **odd or even." 

Odds, the proportions or differences of a bet, thus the odds 
on a sporting event may be, say, ten to one against a possi- 
ble winner. "What's the odds?" what is the difference. 
"It's no odds," it is of no consequence. 

Odd Stick, same as Odd pish, ante. 


Digitized by 


ODR— OLD 193 

Odrotit (Obs.), an old-fashioned euphemism for an oath, 
probably from **God rot it." 

Off and on, vacillating, uncertain, unsteady. 

Off color, shady as to character; said of diamonds or women. 

Off his ohmiipy foolish, insane, off his head or ^'his base.** 

Off his feed, said of one who is sick and has no appetite. 
Originally stable slang. 

Office, information. 

Office, **to give the,** to furnish information; to peach, split 
or inform. 

Offish, distant; not familiar. 

Off the handle, ^to fly," to go into a passion. 

Off the hooks, dead. 

Off the horn, said of very tough steak, supposed to be cut 
off the horn or behind the ear of the ox. 

Ogles (Eng.), the eyes. 

Ointment (Eng.), money, especially when given as a bribe. 

O.K. (Am.), an alleged condensation of <<Orl Korrect" a 
misspelling of all correct To "O. K." an account is to in- 
itial it in evidence of its correctness, and as the two letters 
are easily written the practice has become common in busi- 
ness cirdes. 

Old boots, ««like old boots,** like anjrthing or nothing; a 
stupid saying with little or no meaning or excuse for its 

Old Country, a term generally applied by Americans to 
Great Britain, or to some division of that kingdom. It is 
not used in speaking of France, Grermany or any part of 
the continent of Europe. 

Old dog, a knowing person. 

Old Fogy (Eng.), one who is behind the times. 

Old Gentleman, His Satanic Majesty. 

Digitized by 


194 OLD— ON 

Old Gk>oseberry or Old Harry or Old Si^at^ all s3mo- 
nyms for the Devil. See GroosEBERRY, ante* 

Old liorse(Sea term), salt junk or beef. 

Old hossy appbed as a term of friendship in the West See 
Hoss, ante. 

Old lady of Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England. 

Old man, the American equivalent for the English **gov- 
ernor'* as applied to one's father. Also applied to the cap- 
tain of a merchant vessel. 

Old Nick, the DevQ. 

Old Probs (Am.), the weather clerk; the chief of the Sig- 
nal Service. 

Old Salt, a sailor. 

Old Scratch, the Devil. 

Old sledge, a modification of the g^me of seven-up or all- 

Old soldier, "to come the,*' to play tricks on one. 

Old soldiers, stubs of cigars or empty bottles. 

Old Tom, gin. 

Oliver (Old Eng.), the moon. 

Omee (Gip.), the landlord or master of the house. 

Oimiibus bill, a measure of legislation embracing a number 
of subjects. 

One-er, a Cockneyism for a person distinguished for some- 
thing good or bad as the case may be. The poor Mar- 
chioness in Oliver Twist characterized Miss Sally Brass as 
a **one-er" or "wunner." 

One-horse (Am)., second rate, cheap or of no account* 

One in ten /Eng.), an Episcopalian clergyman, from his be- 
ing entitlea to the tithes. 

One o'clock, "like," lively, quick. 

On has many slang meanings. "To be on" is to be drunk or 

Digitized by 


ONO— ORN 195 

getting that way; «*to get on" to a bet is to accept or a man 
may be «*put on" to a "good thing." "Trying it on" is at- 
tempting to cheat or def raufi To "be on to" a thing is to 
understand it. "Catch on" means to appreciate a point; to 
be fly to the racket; to tumble 

On one's ear (Am,), angry, mad. 

On the battop (Eng.), on the tow:*. 

On the fence (Am.), said of politicians who take neither side, 
but wait to see which way the "cat is going to jump," or 
who try to "carry water on both shoulders." 

On the fly, getting one^s living by thieving, or any disrepu- 
table or immoral means. 

On the hooks, engaged, bargained for. 

On the job (Eng.), out for tlie day; on a lark. 

On the lay (crooked implie^^ ;, on any scheme for swindling. 
"What la} are you on?" tiiat is "What is your game?" 

On the loose, dii^sipated; picking up a living on the streets. 

On the make, louKing out for oneself. See Out for the 


On the nose, on the watch or look out. See Nosb, ante. 

On the shelf, as oU* ii«alls are said to be after reacliing a cer- 
tain or uncertain a je. 

On the tiles, dissipated; out on the spree. 

On time, punctual, ready ; at the appointed moment. 

Oof (Eng.), money. The oof-bird is the cashier or paymas- 

Open the ball, to commence anything, from a fight to a pic- 

Oracle, "to work the" (Eng.), to plan, plot or mancBuvre. 

Organ-grinder, a fellow who travels with a barrel-organ. 

Ornery (Am.), ordinary; much used in the East for mean or 

Digitized by 


196 OUT— OWN 

Out and out (Eng.), entirely, thoroughly. 

Out for the stuff (Am.), said of politicians at election tirne^ 
when money is to be got 

Out of collar (Eng.), out of work. 

Out of kilter (Am.), out of order, not fitting, unsettled. 

Out of meat (Am.), hungry. A story is told of a boy dig- 
ging for a woodchuck, to whom a man said it was no use 
wasting time. ♦^Got to have him,** said the boy, ^minister's 
coming to-morrow and we are out of meat.** 

Out of gight (Am.), beyond reach; not attainable. 

Outof soap, without money. 

Out of whacky out of repair* 

Outsider, one who is not in the ring; a person debarred 
from society. 

Over (Am.), in cricket after four balls have been delivered 
the bowler, wicket-keeper, and fielders change places and 
the bowling is done from the former batting wicket 

Over, in England a man writes a newspaper article **over*' 
his own signature. In the United States we say he ^^wrote 
under the signature of,** etc As a matter of fact the name 
follows the letter and over would seem to be correct 

Overslaughed, passed over, omitted. 

Over the broomstick, irregular marriages among the gipsies 
are said to be thus performed. 

Over the left (Eng.), an exclamation of disbelief, sometimes 
accompanied by pointing the hand over the left shoulder. 
See In a horn, ante. 

Over, "to come it,** to delude or to flatter or to force or com- 

Own up, to confess or acknowledge. 

Digitized by 


Pack^ go away. ««Pack off, there.** ^Sent packing,'' dis- 
charged, sent about one's business. 

Pa<^ (Am.), to pack a meeting, to have it filled up by per- 
sons pledged to a particular course. 

Pack (Am.), to transport in packs or packages,.as things are 
carried through the woods or over rough roads. 

Pad, "to stand" (Eng.), to beg with a paper pinned on the 
breast with "I am starving'' or "Relieve a shipwrecked 
sailor" inscribed on it 

Padding, in the literary world, light articles of a miscellan- 
eous character used to fill up the magazines. 

Paddle, to go away. 

Paddle (Am.), a wooden instrument made from a shingle 
and used to punish boys. To paddle is to thrash. 

Paddle one's own canoe (Am.), to make one's own way 
in life; to go it alone as a canoeist does. 

Pad the hoof, to walk. 

Padding-ken, a lodging house for tramps. 

Paddy, an Irishman. 

Paddy Murphy's pig, "as Irish as," the ne plus ultra of 

Paddy's gnn, "crooked as^ this valuable firearm had a bend 
in the barrel which made it useful for shooting round &e 

Padre (from the Latin or Portuguese), a clergyman. 

Painter (Am.), a panther or catamount, 


Digitized by 


198 PAI— PAN 

Painter, a rope. 

Paint the to^m red (Am.), to go on an extended spree. 

Pal (Gip.), a partner, friend or accomplice. 

Palaver (Gip.), to talk. 

Pale-flEM)e, Indian name for a white man. 

Pall (Sea term), to stop. A pall is a small instrument used 
to stop the motion of the windlass. 

Palmetto State (Am.), South Carolina. 

Palm off, to impose upon one by deceiving him as to the 
quality of an article. 

Palming, swindling or secreting small articles in the hands 
for the purpose of theft. 

Palm oU, money given as a bribe. 

Pam, the knave of dubs at the game of loo. 

Pane or Pamey (Gip.), rain. 

Panel game (Am.), is worked by a thief in connection with 
a g^rl of the town, who lures men to a prepared room, 
which the thief enters by a concealed door or a moveable 

Panel-worker^ the operators in the game above described* 

Panl&andle (Am.), the name applied to a district of West 
Virginia from its shapne, lying as it does in a strip between 
Pennsylvania and Ohio. There is a similar division of 
Texas and a railroad of the same name. 

Pannikin (Old Eng.), a small pan. 

Pannnm (Gip.), bread. From the Latin pants; French^ 
fain; Lmgua-Franca,^a#i««#i. 

Pan out, from the practice of the gulch miners of shaking 
up ^*pay dirt** in a pan to separate the grains of gold from 
the earth. If the dirt is rich it is said to ^pan out well^and 
the expression is popuUurly used for any well^paying ven- 

Digitized by 


PAN— PAS 199 

Pttiitll6» a hat 

Panto (Am.), abbreriatioii of pantaloons; troyaen. 

l^BiperSf cards. 

Pappooae, this name, though commonly applied to an Indian 
baby, does not appear to belong to any Indian dialect but is 
a sort of pld^n-Bnglish attempt at ^^babies** as «« Yankee*' 
or <<Yengees'' was the best the Indians could do at pro- 
nouncing the word English. 

Paradiae, French slang for the gallery of a theatre, where 
the "gods'* sit 

Parbuckle, to draw barrels up an inclined plane by a rope. 

Pard or Pardner (Am.), a partner or companion* 

Parish boll (Eng.), a parson. 

Parish lantern (Eng.), the moon. 

Parley-Too, a Frenchman. 

Pamey (Gip.), rain. 

Parrot or Poll-parroting^ too much talk. In Our Mutmal 
Friend Mr. Roger Riderhood, an honest man who earned 
his bread by the sweat of his brow, accused his daughter 
Pleasant of poll-parroting. In Othello Cassio when in- 
veighing against himself for his drinking match with lago, 
says "Drunk and speak parrot.** 

Parson (Eng.), a signpost; one who points the way but does 
not travel it 

Parson's nose (Eng.), the hind part of a goose. 

Part (Eng.), to pay or to give up. 

Parter^ a free, liberal paymaster is a <<good parter.*' 

Party, a vulgarism for a person; «*an old party.** But 
Shakespeare has it and it is used in the English version of 
Ae Apocrypha. 

PM8 in one's checks (Am.), to die, from the practice of 
cashing in checks or chips at the dose of a game. 

Digitized by 


aoo PAS— PAY 

Passenger, «<to wake up the wrong** (Am.), to interfere 
with a man who is capable of malung an effective resist- 
ance. Railroad thieves who operate on the pockets of 
sleeping travelers occasionally make a mistake of this kind. 

Paste, to punch in the face. 

Pasteboards (Eng.), visiting cards. Major Pendennis used 
the word, according to Thackeray. 

Paste-horn, the nose. 

Patch, a term of opprobrium used by Shakespeare and the 
early dramatists, now seldom heard. 

Patch, ««not a patch on it,** nowhere near it 

Pate, the head. 

Pat hand (Am.), at the game of draw poker, one which is 
satisfactory to the holder from the first. To **stand-pai** is 
to keep such a hand without drawing or discarding. Some- 
times this is done for a bluff when the hand is actually a 
poor one. 

Patroon (Dutch), a grantee of land under the old Dutch 
government of New York. The patroons formed a landed 
aristocracy similar to the seigneurs of Canada. 

Patter (Grip.), talk, an oration, the speeches of counsel or 
the charge of a judge. To «<Patter flash** is to talk cant 
or slang. 

Patterer, an itinerant vendor of cheap songs and flash litera- 
ture generally. 

Paul Pry, an inquisitive person; from the character in the 
well-known play. 

Paw, the hand. 

Pay, to beat 

Pay (Pidgin Eng.), to deliver. «<Pay that letter to Mr. 

Pay awaj (Sea term), go on with your story. 

Digitized by 


PAY— PEG aoi 

Pfty dirt (Am.), etrth which yields sufficient of the precious 

metals to pay the miner for his trouble. 
Pay» ««man o' war fashion,** is, according to Marryatt (see 

yacoi Faithful)^ «Hyver the face and eyes as the cat paid the 

Pay throQ^h the nose, to pay an extortionate price. 
Peachy to inform. 
Peaked^ thin, sickly, delicate. 
Peaky, sickly looking. 
Peart or Peert (Am.), brisk, lively. Formerly common 

in England, but now unknown there, although used in most 

parts of the United States. 
Peck (Eng.), food; to eat ravenously. ♦♦Where I peck,** 

said Joey Ladle in No Thoroughfare^ ♦♦is not so high an 

object to me as how much I p^.** 
Peck alley, the throat 
Pecker, ♦^keep your pecker up," holdup your head; don't 

get down in tibe mouth. 
Peckiah (Eng.), hungry. 
Peddler's French, an old term for slang. 
Peek (Old Eng.), to peep. Often used in this country. 
Peel (P. R.), to strip. 
Peeler (Eng.), a policeman. From Sir Robert Feel. See 

Bobby, ante. 
Peepers (P. R.), the eyes. 
Peer oat (Gip.), to look aboat 
Peery, suspicious, inquisitive. 
Peg, an English shilling. 
Peg (Australian), a drink of S|^rit8. 
Peg away, to work industriously. 
Pegged out, played out, finished. 

Digitized by 



^^ggmrn, men who take too many ^^pegs** of spirits^ 

Peg, «no take down a,** to check an arrogant or offenaive 

PelicAiiy a term of opprobrium m ^an old pelican," but why 

so-called is unknown. 
Pelican State (Amu), the State of Louisiana, from its coat 

of arms. 
Pelt (Eng,), to throw. 
Pemmican (Am.), dried and pounded meat and grease used 

on the plains. 
Pen (Am.), the penitentiary. 
PencUer (Eng.), a bookmaker. 
Penny-a-liner^ a man employed on English newspapers to 

do reports of minor happenings and paid by the line. 
Penny dreadAils, cheap and flashy literature of the **Ned 

Buntline'' and **Wild BUP type. 
Penny gaff, the lowest kind of English theatre or variefy 

Pensioner (Eng.), a degraded wretch who lives on the 

earnings oi a prostitute. See Poncb. 
People (Am.),**He is g^reat people,*' is used in a commenda- 
tory sense of anyone. Job said of his friends who gave him so 

much good advice, ^*I know that you are the people and 

that when you die wisdom will depart from the earth*" 
Pepper, to beat. 
Peppery, hot-tempered. 
Perch or Boost, a bed or resting-place. 
Petticoat, a woman. 
Pewter (Eng.), money. Racing cups, although of a richer 

metalf are known as "pewters.'* 
Phat or Fat, printer's term for matter which they are paid 

to set, but which, as in the case of advertisements, etc, is 

not solid but is spaced out* 

Digitized by 


Pm— PIG 908 

PUlAd^lito lawyer t «<that beats a,** a common siqriagy but 

whence derived is unknown. 
Philander, to talk discursively with women; to ramble on 

PhlHnttne, in the slang of the ssthete, all persons who do 

not magnify the importance of culture are ^^Philistines" or 

Physog, Phiz or Fissog, the face or countenance, 
Piy type spilt and mixed up. 
Picayune, in Louisiana, one-sixte^ith of a dollar* 
Picaroon (Sp.), a thief. 
Picaynniah (Am.), petty, smalL 
Pick, «to pick on any one** is to make an assault bodily or 

verbally on him. 
Pickanninny (Am.), a negro baby. 
Pickers (Old £ng.), the hands. See Shakespeare, HamUt. 
Pickle (Eng.), a mischievous boy. 
Pickle, ««in a pickle," in a mess or a bad way. 
Pick-me-up (Am.), a drink taken after a debauch; a tonic 
Pick-up, a street walker. . 

Pick-up, a make-shift dinner; anything you can get 
Pick up, to improve in health. 
Pick up (Am.), to dean up a room. 
Pidgin-EngliiE^ a jargon used by the Chinese of the sea^ 

port towns in their communications with the English. 

Piece, a contemptuous term for a woman. The English 
lower classes speak of a girl as a ♦♦nice piece of stuff.'' 

Pigeon (Eng.), a gullible or soft person, one easily cheated. 
Frequenters of gambling houses are divided into ♦♦pigeons'' 
and ♦♦rooks," otherwise ♦♦flies" and ♦♦spders." 

Pig-headed (Eng.), obstinate. 

Digitized by 


30+ PIG— PIN 

Pl«r in a poke, ((to buy a** (Eng.), is to purchase something 
without seeing it From the old story of a man who 
bought, as he supposed, a pig in a ((poke** or sack and when 
he got home a cat jumped out of the bag. 

Pig»8 baby or Sow's baby, an English sixpence. 

Pig's whisper (Eng.), an indefinitely short space of time. 

Pike, a Missourian. 

Pike it, to run oflC 

Pile ^Am.), a sum of money; all that one has. To make 
one's pile is to make a fortune. 

Pile-in (Am.), make a beginning. 

Pile it on, to (^lay it on thick ;^ to overdo anything. 

Pilgrim (Am.), a traveler; in the West a ♦^tenderfoot'' 

Pill ^Eng.), to blackball an applicant for admission to a 

Pill, ((a bad pill" is an objectionable person or one of low 

Pill-box (Eng.), a one-horse brougham; a carriage much af- 
fected by doctors. 

Pills, a doctor. 

Pills, bullets. 

Pin, Ho put in the," to stop drinking. 

Pinch, to arrest 

Pinch, to steaL 

Pinch, «a tight pinch," in danger or short of money. 

Pinchbeck (Eng.), imitation jewelry, from the name of its 

Pine-tree State (Am.), Mame. 

Pink, ««the pink of perfection," the acme of style. 

Pink (Eng.), the scarlet coats worn in the hunting-field. 

Pink, to stab or pierce. 

Digitized by 


PIN— PLA 305 

Pins, legs. 

Pip© or Pipe-off (Am.), to follow or watch. 

Pipe one's eye (Eng.), to shed tears. According to Hood, 

"The bosun eyed his pipe, 
And then he piped his eye." 

Pipe, <«to put out oneV' to traverse his plans; to knock him 

Pipe-IayinfiT (Am.), like Log-rolling (f. v.)^ is making 
arrangements for political success without much considera- 
tion as to the means employed. 

Pipe, <<put that in your pipe," a clincher to an argument 

Pipeivoff, a spy or ••spotter.'* 

Pippin (Eng.), a term of endearment or friendship. «<How 
are you, my pippin?" 

Pips, the spots on playing cards. 

Pistajroon or Pistareen, a silver coin worth twenty cents. 

Pitch (Eng.), any locality selected by a hawker or street 
patterer for his operations. 

Pitch, to pass base coin. Smashers are also known as 
Snidb pitchers (f . V.) 

Pitch (Eng.), to sleep for a short time, as on the floor or on 
a lounge. London journeymen bakers «*pitch in" every 
night while waiting for their dough to rise. 

Pitching' the hatchet, telling incredible yams of the Mun- 
chausen order. 

Pitch into, to fight 

Pitch the fbrk, to tell a pitiful story. 

Place, to name the first three horses in a race in their order. 

Plaoee (Am.), a name formerly given in the South to a col- 
ored mistress of a white man. 

Placer-diggings (Am.), are localities where ^Id is fopnd 
scattered in the surface dirt 

Digitized by 


ao6 PLA— PLU 

Plack (Scotch), a half penny. 

Plank (Am.), to lay down; to pay out money. 

Plank (Am.), the component parts of a political platform 
are known as planks. 

Planty a swindle, a put-up job, a dodge. 

Planty a hidden store of money or viduables. 

Planted, buried. 

Plates of meat (Bng.), feet 

Platform (Am.), a declaration of principles by a political 
party, convention or candidate. 

Play, to go on strike; to be out of work. 

Play ball (Am.), go on with what you are about 

Played out, ended, ruined. 

Playing 'possum (Am.), act a part, deceiving. The opos- 
sum when struck often pretends to be dead. 

Plasa (Sp.), a public square. Used in New Mexico and 
Lower CaUf omia. 

Plebs, name given by bojrs at English public schools to the 
town boys, with whom they are always at war. 

Ploughed (Eng.), failing to pass an examination at one of 
the universities. See Plucksd. 

Ploughed^ drunk. 

Pluck (Eng.), courage, valor. 

Pluck (Eng.), the liver and lungs of a sheep or hog. 

Plucked (Eng.), failing to pass an examination. See 
Plouohbd, ante. 

Plug (Am.), a hat Also a cake of chewing tobacco. 

Plug (Am.), a name applied by telegraph operators to apoor 
h^nd at telegraphy or to the operator at a small <<plug^ 

Plugger (Am.), one who pla^ in a gambling house to in- 
duce the belief that a game is going on. 

Digitized by 


PLU— POL 307 

PlQgbiigiy (Am.), name given to the rowdies of Baltimore. 

Plum (Eng.), directly, exactly. 

Plum (Eng.), one hundred thousand pounds. Perhaps 
from pluma^ a feather, the idea being that the possessor 
of such a sum had <<well-f eathered his nest" 

Plmnmy (Eng.), round, sleek, joUy, fat 

Plumper (Eng.), a single or straight vote at an election, the 
opposite of a **8plit ticket** 

Plunder (Eng.), baggage, personal belongings, profit 

Plunger (Eng.), a heavy dragoon. 

Plunger (Eng.), a man who bets heavily; a "high roller.** 

Plonk (Am.), a doUar. 

Poeket (Am.), in mining phrase, a small deposit of the prec- 
ious metal; not a true fissure vein. 

Pocket, wto put up with** (Eng.), a man who fails to resent 
an affront is said to pocket it, while a poor man is compelled 
to **pocket his pride.** 

Pocket-pistol, a spirit flask. 

Podgy, short, dumpy. 

Pogy (Am.), a jail or workhouse. 

Point or Pointer, information; a tip. 

Poke (Am.), to dawdle. 

Poke (Old Eng.), a sack or bag. There is an old proverb 
about <*buying a pig in a poke." See ante. 

Poker, a stupid person; a bore. 

Poker, a game of cards, otherwise known as "Draw.** 

Poky, confined, cramped, as a «^ky** room. 

Policy, a game based on the choice of numbers supposed to 
be drawn by lot It is a great favorite vrith negroes. Two 
chosen numbers coming out constitute a ^adcUe;** three a 
«gig** and four a ^^horse," and each pays accordingly. 

Digitized by 



Poliah off (P. R.), to finiahi as in a fight. 

Poll, to beat or distance, 

FoUywosTf a tadpole. 

Polony, a Cocknejrism for bolog^ sausage. 

Pompadour, the style of brushing the hair high up in front, 
much affected by dudes. The name comes from Mme. de 

Pompeyed, a ridiculous equivalent for pampered. See 
Dickens, Greal Exfectations. 

Ponce (Eng.), a pimp who lives upon the earnings of a pros- 
titute. See Pensionbr. 

Pond or HerriAg-pond, the ocean. 

Pone (Am.), a cake made of com meal. The name is a cor- 
ruption of an Indian word. 

Pony (Eng.), twenty-five pounds. 

Pony, a translation of a classical work used by students. In 

England it is a ««crib." 
Pony, a small glass of spirits. 
Pony up, to pay. 
Poo-Bah, one full of business; a jack of all trades. From a 

character in the opera of The Mikado^ on whom all manner 

of work is thrust. 

Pooh-pooh, an exclamation signifying unbelief; to deride. 

Pool, to unite issues, to aggregate funds and combine 
as is done by railroad corporations. See Trust and Com- 

Poena (Gip.), an EUiglish sovereign or pound. 

Poor liO, the American Indian. See LiO, ante* 

Poorly (Eng.), in bad health. 

Pop, to pawn or pledge. To <<pop up the spout** 

Pop, a mild drink, like ginger-beer. 

Digitized by 


POP— POT ao9 

Pop (Am.), a pistol or revolver. 

Pope's nose. See Parson's nose, ante. 

Poppycock, nonsense, silly boasting. 

Pop the question, to make an offer of marriage. 

Popular (Am.), conceited, fussy. <^As popular as a hen 

with one chicken." 
Portage (Am.), a carrying-place over land from one naviga* 

ble stream to another, or around falls or rapids. 
Post, to pay out money; to ^post the coal" is a sporting term 

signifying to make one's stake good. 
Posted, when a man refuses to^'pay his gambling debts his 

name is posted. Also if he refuses to fight a duel he may 

be posted as a coward. 
Posted-up, well-acquainted with a subject. 
Pot, a favorite in the betting. 
Pot, to finish. <<Gone to pot" means dead, from the classic 

custom of placing the ashes of the dead in an urn. 
Pot (Am.), the accumulated bets in a game of poker. 

A "jack-pot" is one which can only be opened by a player 

who holds a pair of jacks or better. 
Potato-trap (Eng.), the mouth. 
Potboiler (Eng.), a picture painted or sketch written hur* 

riedly and for the purpose of "keeping the pot boiling." 
Potheen, Irish whisky of the home-made kind, prepared 

from potatoes and flavored with peat smoke. 
Pot-hunter (Eng.), an alleged sportsman who shoots every- 
thing he comes across, whether game or not 
Pot luck (Eng.), just as it comes; anything there may be in 

the house for dinner. 
Potted (Eng.), buried. Also said of anything put out of the 

way, as to "pot" the ball at pool. 
Potter, to meddle without judgment; to mess about. 

Digitized by 



Pot-TftUant (EngA courageous through ^pplicatioii to the 
bottle. Full of Dutch couragb, (f. v.) 

Pot-wrestler or Pot-walloper (Am.), a scullion or dish- 

Pour-boire (Fr.), a small gift or tip, UteraUy *«for bcer-^* 

Pow (Scotch), the head. 

''Now blesftngi on thf frottj pow* 
John Anderson* my Jo.** 

Powder monkey, a boy who carries ammunition and supplies 

for gunners on board ship. 
Power, a large quantity, as a ♦*power of money.** 
Pow-wow (Am. Indian), a conference. 
P. P., play or pay, in racing parlance means that the bet 

must be paid whether the backer «<gets a run for his 

money** or not 
P* B., the priae ring. 
Prad (Gip.), ahorse. 

Prairie State (Am.), the State of IlUnois. See also Suckbr 

Pranoer (Gip.), a horse. 
Pratlee (Irish), poUtoes. 

Predona, very or great, as *«precious few,** or *«a precious 

Presently (Scotch), directly; at present. 

Pretty, in Scotland, a tall, fine-looking man is described as a 

**pretty** man. 
Preyiouaness, freshness. 
Prial, a corruption of pair-royal, a term used in cribbage to 

signify any three cards of a similar description. Four 

such cards form a double priaL 

Prig (Old Eng.), a thief; used as a verb, to steal. See Wim^ 

Digitized by 



Prig (Eng.)i a oonodted, ttuck-up person. 

Prig (Scotch), to beat down in price; to bargain. 

Prigglali (Eng.), conceited. 

Primed (Eng.), well-loaded with drink. 

Primp up, to diress up. Probably the same as Prink. See 

next article. 
Prinky to make neat or fine. 
Prinked out, well dressed. 

Pro (Theatrical), an actor; a member of ^Hhe** professioiu 
Prag» food. 

Prop, a necktie or scarf-pin. 
Prop, a blow. 
Proper, very, exceedingly, good. A ^proper" man is a tall, 

fine-looking fellow. 
Props, theatrical properties; articles used in presenting a 

drama, as pictures, tables, sham jewelry, etc 
Props, crutches. • 

Prospectfng, searching for gold or other mineral deposits* 

A <<prospect^ is a fair outlook for successful mining. 
Prosser (Eng.), one who lives on the earnings of a proeti* 

Prorider ^Am.), spoken of a husband. <*He is a good pro- 
vider,'' (xor his family implied). 
P's and Q% precise behavior. ««Mind your P's and QV 

be carefuL 
Pub (Eng.), a public bouse; a tavern. 
Packer, ««in a," in a temper. 
Packer, a snarl or tangle. 
Packer op, to twist up the mouth, as one does who eats an 

olive, a lemon, or a persimmon. 
Paeblo (Sp.), a village or house. 

Digitized by 


ai2 PUF— PUN 

"Pntt, an adverdaement; to puff is to praise unduly. 

Pngf short for pugilist 

Puke^ nickname for a Missourian. 

Pukka (Hindustani). In India anything that is good and 

nice is ^^pukka," and the word is used as an adjective much 

as lawful" is in England. 
Pull (Am.), an advantage held over another person. 
Pull f Am.), to arrest, or to raid a gambling-house or house 

of ill-fame. 
Pnlly to pull a horse in a race, is for the jockey to hold him 

in or so ride as to prevent him winning. 
Pull (Am.), «<to have a pull,'' to be possessed of influence; a 

word much used in the political world. 
Poll down your vest, a stupid expression which originated 

a few years ago, became a catch phrase on the streets and 

then faded into deserved oblivion. 
Pullet (Eng.), a young girl. 
Pull foot (Am.), to start off rapidly; to run. 
Pull throiigliy to succeed; to recover from an illness. 
Pull up stakes (Am.), to remove bag and baggage. 
Pull wool over one's eyes, to deceive; to humbug. 
Pommel or Pommel, to thrash. 
Pump, to extract information by cross-questioning. 
Pundit (Hindu), a grave and reverend seignior; a learned 

Punkak (Hindu), a swinging fan used for ventilating houses 

in the East Indies. 
Pnnklns, <«some'' (Am.) (pumpkins), good, smart About 

the opposite of Small potatoss (f. v.) 
Pont, to gamble. 
Ponter^ a small gambler or backer of horses; an attendant 

at a gambling table. 

Digitized by 


PUR— PUT tij 

Pud* to ipilL 

Purl (Old Bag.), a mixture of hot ale and sngar used ia M 
times as a morning drink and known as ^^early puiL" 

Purler (Eng.), a heavy fall from a hone in the hnnting. 

Parr (Eng.), to kick. 

Parry (Old Scotch), the poker. 

Paali (Eng.), a crowd. 

Paahf a robbery or swindle* 

Pass (P. R.), the mouth. 

Pot (Eng.), a game of cards. 

Pot (Am.), to start or go away; to put out 

Pot ahead on (Am.), to punch or assault aaodier. 

Pat it on toe (Am.), charge it ujp. 

Pat on (Eng.), to promise another a share in a bet should 
it prove successful. Thus a racing man will sav to his 
jockey, <^I have put you on so much on to-dajr^ race.** 
That means that if the jockey wins he will receive the bet, 
while if he loses he will not have to pay,thebet being car- 
ried by the employer. 

Pot one'a foot down, to become imperative. 

Put oat (Eng.), annoyed, angry. 

Pat oat, to start or set out; to put off. 

Pats, on the Stock Exchange, a gambling transaction in 
which a man pays for the prvileg^ of delivering stock at a 
certain price within a specified time. See Call, anis. 

Patter ap (Eng.), an associate of housebreakers and bur- 
glars who obtains information about good ^•plants'* and ar* 
ranges the preliminaries of a robbery. 

Pottlmtlnyoarpipe (Eng.), think of it; digest it 
Pat the pot on (Eng.), to bet largely. 

Digitized by 


ai4 PUT 

Put throaghy to carry any undertaking into effect; to com- 
plete a deal. 

Pat to sleep (P. R.) a word of recent introduction, signify*^ 
ing to knock a man out; to render htm incapable of oon^p 
tinuing a contest in the ring. 

Pntap, to suggest; to incite. 

Put up, to stop at an hotel or tavern* 

Put ap, to supply one with money. 

Pat-ap joby a robbery or swindle arrange in advance. 

Put apon, cheated, victimised. 

Digitized by 



Qnadroon (Am.), the ofiQ>ring of a white penon and a 

Quality (Eng.), the upper classes; gentry. 
Quandary^ a dilemma, a doubt; from the French jiftn 

Quarter, twenty-five cents. 
Qnartereen (Sp.), a small cdn. 
QaaTer, a musician. 
Quean (Old Eng.), a woman, a strumpet Falstaff sajrs, 

<«Throw the quean in the channel,^ when Mrs. Quickly 

seeks his arrest. 
Queer, counterfeit money. 
Queer, «H:o queer a flat,** is to gammon or bamboosle Urn. 

Byron uses the word in Don yuan^ Canto xL 
Queer, base, roguish, worthless. Also anything peculiar <nr 

Queer Cuffin (Old), a Justice of the Peace or committing 

QueerHM>ft, counterfeit notes or bills. 
Queer street, ««to be in** (^ng*)* to be in trouble or difiU 

Quid, an English sovereign. 

Quid (Sea term), a mouthful or ^kdiaw" of tobacco. 
Quid-nune, ««What now?^ an inquisitive person, one always 

asking for news. 
Quiet, <H>n the,** dandestinely, in aecret 

Digitized by 


3i6 QUI— QUO 

Qidll-dliTWy a derk <nr iciiTMier. 

giiUt^ to thrash. 

Quit (Am.), to stop. 

Quite (Am.), is used to express an iadefinite space of timei 

as <H|uite a while," or an indefinite <|uantity as ^Hjuite a 

number." In ddier case the English is bad. 
Quitter^ said of a horse which breaks down in a race or a 

man who ««quits" in a fight The opposite of ^^stayer." 
QuIb^ to joke or roast 

QuIje, ««an old," a prjring person; an odd fellow. 
Quisslcaly jocose, humorous. 
<|QimliigYlM8y an eye-glass. 
Qaodt prison, probably from the quadrangular shape of such 

edifices or of their en closed court yards. 

Digitized by 


Bmm^ iMed as a Tcrb, to nm; to chase. 

BMlCt used for wreckt as in «<goiie to fack and ram*** 

BMker» a paoec 

ttackol> a noise or dlH w baac e; a dodge> «• What racket are 

you on?** what are you about 
BMkoilf^ wild, noisy. 

Bnek of bonee, a starved horse or other d omtjtfc 
> the hemes or fasme-work of a dead hocse. 
* (Eng.), a dBssipated Idtow} adieap swelL 

t» a bank-note <nr bOL 

(Eng.), an ill-dad vagabond. 

r nuMiey ( Am.), pqper money. 
Bacofftho1iiiali»<Hotakethe,*'to exceL 
Bnga, money. 
Bnr-ehop* a bank. 

Bnilroadt to push through at a nqud pace, as *He vras rail- 
roaded to the penitentiaTy.** 

BiitA-BnvpaiE^ tn wnbrella. 

Bniae (Am.), to bring iq>; to rear from childhood. Alsoto 

grow com or other crops. 
Bniae n raekot, to Idck up a row. 

) Oai» o» Balte SMU to creale a disturbance. 

lUie Wind (EQg»),^to obtain money or cre<£t 

Digitized by 


si8 RAI— RAP 

Baltfe^ M|o make a** (Am.), to borrow monq^. 

Bake down^ to scolcL 

Balce-of^ the bank's percentage at a gambling game. 

Baker^ <«to go a," to bet heavily; the usual preliminary to 

••coming a cropper.*' 
Bamp (Eng.), to hustle for the purpose of robbery; to 

B am p age^ ^n the," on a drunk or in a violent temper. 

Mrs. Joe Gargery in Great Expectations had a habit of 

going on the rampage, much to the discomfort of poor Pip. 

Bamper (Eng.), a brutal ruffian who infests race courses, 
and forms one of a gang who assaidt persons for the pur- 
pose of robbery. 

Bampa, at the game of pin-pool, to knock down four pins, 
leaving the king-pin standing, and thus winning the game. 

Bamahackley queer, rickety, knocked about 

B a ne he (Sp.), a house or farm. 

Bandan, where a boat is impelled by three rowers; the mid- 
shipman sculling and the other two rowing, this is styled 
rowing «*randan." 

Bandy, disorderly, noisy. 

Bangy (Am.), large, loosely built Said of a horse or cow. 

Bank, fiill-grown, complete, as <*a rank sucker." 

Bank, to cheat 

Bantaiij (H>n the," drunk« 

Banter, a term of derision applied to a Methodist. There is 
a sect registered in England as *<Ranters." 

BantipoU, a noisy, rude girl; a madcap. 

Bap, to swear in a court of justice. 

Bap, to speak vehemently and rapidly, as to •^rap out oaths." 

Bapid, an equivalent for Fast (f . v.) 

Digitized by 


RAP— REA 919 

Bapporee (Irish), a name given to the Irish rebels and out- 
laws who infested the bogs and midntained a gueriUa war* 

Bapping, large, enormous, as a <*rapping big lie.** 

BapscaUion, a low fellow; a tattered and ragged man. 

Baree-flhowy a collection of curiosities. 

Bat (Eng.|, a sneak, an informer, a turncoat To rat b to 
leave one's party. 

Baty among working men a non-tmioaist; one who works 
under price. 

Baty Ho smell a,** to suspect something. 

Bather, a stupid ejaculation synonymous with yes; <*Do yon 
go out of town this year?" ♦^Rather.*' 

Battening (Eng.), outrages committed by trade unionists on 

objectionable workmen. 
Battle, ««an agreeable** (Eng.), a lady's man; a fellow foil 

of smart talk. 
Battlebrain (Eng.), a flighty person. 
Battler, a hustler; a lively fellow. 
Battletrap (Eng.), a shaky buggy or wagon or anydiing 

out of order. 
Battletrap, the mouth. 
Battling, noisy, jolly, pleasant 
Baw (Eng.), a tender point or foible; to <<toach a man on 

the raw** is to irritate him as if by touching a wound. 
Baw, a novice, fresh, green. See Johnny Raw, anis. 
Bassle-daszle, to confuse or deceive. Also an equivalent 

for drunk. 
Bea<^ me downs or Hand me downa^ dothes bought at 

second-hand stores. 
Beader, a pocket-book. 

Digitized by 



Beadjr^ money. 

Bealt k used in the United States instead of mnym^Yonfn 

real meuy" or **Vm real glad to aee yon." The mage it 

not a commendable one. 
BealJaaitaiTtfaingezceptionably good. 

Beck^m, used in the South as recalculate** is in New England, 
has no less an authority than the Antfiorixed Venkm to back 
it St Paul says, Romans viii. i8^ ««For I redconthat the 
sufferings of tUa time afe net wofthyi elsb See also 
Ramans vi^ ^. 

Bed ooi^ the smallest copper coin. 

Bea*ig» a aaose formerly given to State Bank netea» 

Bed, «Hu)t a red,** (Am.), out of money. 

Bedd (Old Bag.)i to dean up the bevse er room. 

Bed-eye (Am.), new whisky. 

BMlMRfng, a British soldier. 

Bed-lioi, a red-hot time is a <«drttnk'* or a «hmrrah time.** 

Bed kne, the throat 

Bed tttaer (Am.), whisky. 

BedMgf nie tongue* 

Bed-tape (Am.), oflbnal routine. From the color et Om 
string with which official papers are tied. 

Bed^morBedsiqper, agcrfd watdi. 

Bel ^e rt ier (Bng.), money paid an attorney or barrister from 
day to day during the progress of a trial or cme in eoert 

BegnlaTS (Thieves* slang), a fair cBvision of plunder. 

Begnlatore (Am.), self-constituted guardians of pubUc vir- 
tue and morality, who form Vigilance Commtttess and join 
in lyndiing parties. 

Beiievliig oAoer (Bng.), a father. 
(Irish), to revoke at cards. 

Digitized by 


REP— RIG 221 

Bepeater (Am.), one who votes early and often at an elec- 

Besnrrection man, a grave-robber. See Dickens* Tale of 
Two Cities. 

Resurrection pie, a pie made of scraps or leavings* 

Betainer, a preliminary fee paid to a lawyer* 

Blilno (Old Eng.), money. 

Biby a wife. See Genesis^ chap, ii^ verse 21. 

Bibbon (Eng.), gfin, whisky or other spirits. 

Ribbons (Eng.), carriage reins. 

Ribroast^ to beat. 

Rich, spicy, luscious, entertaining. 

Ride, to carry, to transport In England one drives a Miggy 
but rides a horse, while in the United States one goes for 
a ride whether on horseback or in a carriage. 

Ride the high horse, to put on style; to be overbearing or 

Rider, an addition to a legislative measure. 

Riding for a fEdl, in the hunting-field or in steeple-chairing 
cunning riders who see no ch^ce of being in at the finish 
sometimes ride for a fall, coming down as easily as they 
can and thus saving their reputation as horsemen, the mat- 
ter being credited as an accident. So, too, in the business 
world where a speculator finds himself unable to meet his 
engagements he places some of his assets in safety and 
rides for a falL 

Riifle, ««to make the** (Am.), to sooceed. 

RUr-raH; low, vulgar people. 

Rig (Am.), a horse and wagcm or team. 

Rigf a trick or dodge. To ««nm a rig^ is to plqr tricks, aikl 
<Ho rig the market** is much tbe same* 

Digitized by 


223 RIG— RIP 

Bigged-ool^ wen-dressed. 

RtfiTSrinCTy a woman's clothing. 

'Bight (Am.), is used for very, as **it rains right hard." 

BIglit along (Am.), without cessation, continuously. 

Blgbt as a tarlTet^ exactly right, but why trivet is unknown. 

Bight away (Am.), directly, immediately. 

Bight here or Bight now (Am.), at this time. 

Bight off (Am.), immediately. 

BightSy "to have one dead to,'' to be even with him; to serve 
him out. 

Bight you are (Eng.), a phrase expressive of acquiesence. 

Bigmarole, a prolix or stupid story. 

Bfle or Boil (Am.), to trouble, as to «<roil the water." 

Biled^ annoyed, offended. 

Bing (Am.), a combination of speculators or politicians. 

Iting, "betting," the enclosure used by betting men at races. 

Bing-droppingy an imitation gold ring is dropped by the op- 
erator, who pretends to have just found it and offers to seO, 
it cheap to the "sucker" of the occasion. See Fawnxy- 
RIO, ante. 

Binger, a horse entered in a race under a false name with 
intent to deceive the handicappers or judges. 

Bing in^ to ring in is to substitute a "cold deck" of cards for 
the proper ones, or in any other way to cheat by substittt- 
fion 0^ false entry. 

Bing the changes (Am.), to swindle by substituting bad 
money for good. 

Bing, "the twenty-four foot," the regulation prize-ring. 

Bip, an old rake; an abbreviatien of reprobate. 

Bt:^ (Aril.), to g6 at a great pace. "Let her rip.** 

Bipper (Eng.), a first-rate man or horse or article. 

Digitized by 


RIP— RON 223 

Blpping, excellent, very good. 

Bipsnorter (Am.), a tearing, driving fellow. 

Btse, («to take a rise out oP one is to hoax, <*cod** or {day 

tricks on him. 
Blve (Old Eng.), to tear or rend. 
Boad, a common woman. See Shakespeare, ^ng Henry 

Boarer, a broken-winded horse. 

Bearing game, the Scotch game of curling, played vrith 
stones on the ice, and now naturalized in Canada and the 
United States. 

Bearing trade, a successful business. 

Boast, to quiz, to "cod" or "josh** by keeping up a succession 
of satirical jokes. In newspaper slang an exposure or un- 
favorable criticism. 

Book (Am.), a stone of any size. A boy heaves a rock and 

breaks a window. 
Boekbottom, the lowest, said of the prices of goods. 
Boek-rooted, said of the Democratic party, fondly by its 

members, in derision by its foes. See Mossbacks, ante. 
Bocks (Am.), money. 

Bo<^ (Am.), shaky, dther financially or physically. 
Boiled (Am.), disturbed, muddy. 
Boll, a parcel of bank-bills. 
Boll of snow (Gip.), a piece of linen. 
Boiling the duck, sending out for beer. See Rushing thb 

CAN and Rushino thb growler. 
Bom or Bomm (6ip.^, a man. Romany, the Gipsy people; 

also applied to their language. 
Bimyon (Old^, a term of contempt applied to a woman. 

See Macbeik 1, j. 

Digitized by 


224 ROO— ROU 

Book (Old Eng.^, a cheat, a card sharper. See Merry 

Wives of Windsor^ «, j. 
Book (Eng.), a clergyman, from his black clothes. 
Kooky to cheat or swindle* 
Booked^ cheated. 

Bookery, a low neighborhood, street or collection of houses. 
Bookjy rascally, scampish. 

Boorbaok (Am.), a false allegation issued for political pur- 
Boost, a resting-place, «*Going to roost,** going to bed. 
Booster, the male barnyard fowl. 
Boot of all evil, money. 
Booty hog, or die (Am.), signifies that one must hustle for 

a living. 
Bope, to cause a horse to win or lose a race. See Pull. 
Bope in (Am.), to swindle; to induce one to enter a scheme 

in whicn he will be cheated. Shakespeare uses ^ropery** 

for roguery. 
Boper»in (Am.), a ♦•capper'* for a gambling house or for 

any other swindle. 
Bopes, ««to know the," to be *<up to snuff;** to know the way 

about; familiarity with city life and tricks. 

Boping, pulling or otherwise restraining a horse in a race. 

Bose, Mtmder the," quietly, in secret 

Boty nonsense. 

Bot-gnt (Am.), bad whisky. 

Boagk and tomble, a fight in which all rules are ignored. 

Bongli diamond, a man whose character is better than his 

Bongkit, to put up with inferior accommodations or food; 

to work hard, as at mining in the Territories. 

Digitized by 


ROU— RUB 235 

BoQgliSy rowdies, vulgar fellows. 

BomicU to inform, to split or tell tales. ^^Rounding,'' accord- 
ing to Shakespeare, is whispering. 

Round, the beat or usual walk of a traveling peddler or beg- 

Bounder (Am.), one who is well acquainted with the town^ 
especially the shady side of it. 

Bound Bobln, a petition or paper of remonstance with the 
signatures written in a circle. 

Bound 'un, an unblushing and well-rounded lie. Otherwise 
known as a Whopper (f, v.) 

Bound up (Am.), the periodical collection of cattle for the 
purpose ox branding. 

Boup (Scotch), an auction. 

Boupj, hoarse* 

Bou0t, to stir up. 

Boustabout (Am.), a dock laborer or steamboat hand. 

Bow, a noisy disturbance or tumult. 

Bowdy (Am.), a street loafer and thumper, a species of 
blackguard disagreeably prevalent in large cities. Same as 
the Pluo-Ugly, Hoodlum, Dead rabbit or Larrikin 

Bowdy, money. 

Bow to hoe, ««to have a hard'' /Am.), to have a difficult 

task to perform. Lowell uses tne expression in the Bi^- 

low Papers. 
Bub, a quarrel or impediment "There's the rub." 
Bubbed out (Am.), dead. Similar to Wipbd out {q. v.) 
Bubber, the best of three games at whist 
Bubbers, "those that play at bowls will meet with rubbers," 

a warning often given, and taken from the old game of 


Digitized by 


aa6 RUB— RUN 

Babbliicritliif imposii^ on one to an ^rtmofdiniry extent. 

Budk, Min the ruck)** in the last encL 

Buck, a wrinkle or plait in doth. 

Baotion (Irish), a fight or lively row of the Donnybrook 
order. A Shindy {f. v.) 

Bole the roast or, more properly, roost, to be at the head 
of affairs; to be the cock of the walk, as the cock ndes the 

Bam (Gip.), queer, peculiar, as a ^rum old chap;" <<that is a 
rum (strange) go.'* 

Bombler (Eng.), a four-wheeled cab. Formerly the cart 
in which criminals were taken to execution. See ^The 
night before Larry was stretched.'' 

Bombiiniptioiiay pompous, haughty. 

Bom-mill (Am.), a saloon or gprogg^ery. 

BompuSy a noise or disturbance. 

Bun, said of a play, its success and duration. 

Bun (Am)., to contend for office or to conduct any busiaess. 

Bon, to tease. 

Bun, on a bank, when there is a heavy demand by many de- 
positors for the immediate payment of their claims. 

Built to comprehend or to compass, as ^I can't run to it.** 
Also not to have enough money to ««run" to the expense 

Bun* ^o run the town," to overawe the police and conduct 
matters anyhow. 

Bon for the money^ «Ho have," when a bet is made condi* 
tioned on the horse actually starting. 

Bun-iiit arrested, taken to the police station. 

Bun into the gronnd, to overdo anjrthing. 

Digitized by 


RUN— RUS aa7 

Bonner (Bng.), for bookmakers, a man who nms from place 
to place wiSi news of race results or the state of the betting 
market, now practically supplanted by the telephone and 
the **ticker.'* 

Banning amnck, from the Malay amok; a common prac* 
tice among the Malays when maddened by hhangy is to 
arm themselves with a huge knife and run through the 
streets, cutting and slashing indiscriminately. 

Bon one's fi^e, to obtain credit on the strength of one's ap- 
pearance. / 

Bunt (Am.), the smallest pig of the litteTiCaned in England 
the ^titman pig." Any contemptible or miserable orw- 

Busily spirit, energy, vim. 

Bush, to come suddenly on one. To give a man the rush is 
to spring a demand for money on him. 

Bushing the cttn or the growler, sending to the saloon for 
beer with a can or pitchen 

Bush it (Am.), hurry up. 

Bust, Mto nab the** (Bng.), to take offence. 

Bustle, to move about sharply; to hustle. 

Bustler, a husfler. 

Digitized by 


Sachem (Am.), an Indian chief. 

Sack, ««to get the,'* to be discharged from a situation. In 
Scotland it is to <«get the bag." To <«get the bullet** is 

Sad (Am.), heavy, as applied to bread. 

Sad dog, on the lucus a non lucendo principle, is applied to 
a merry fellow; a gay or fast man. 

Safe (Eng.), certain, trusty. 

Safe one, a horse that will not be run to win and on which 
the bookmakers feel «^safe.'* 

Sag (Am.), to hang down, as a sagging rope. 

Sagamore (Am.), an Indian chief or Sacusm (^. v.) 

Sail in (Am.), make a beginning. 

St. Anthony's pig, «Hlrunk as.** In some old paintings the 
Saint, who was the friend and patron of animals, is repre- 
sented with a pig at his heels, but tradition is silent as to 
any misbehavior on the part of Piggy. 

St. Giles's Greek, slang; the cant of the Seven Dials. 

Saint Monday (Eng.), a holiday often taken by mechanics 
in order to recover from the fatigues of a Sunday*s enjoy- 

Saints (Am.), name arrogated to themselves by the Mor- 

Sal, salary. Theatrical slang. 

Salaam (Hindu), a salutation or bow. 
]]3Aloon (Am.)| a retail beer and whisky shop. 

Digitized by 




Salty money. 

Salt or Old Salt, a sailor. 

Salt down, to put away; to bank or «ave money* 

Saltee (Ling^-Franca), a penny. 

Salt Junk or Old Horse (Sea term), salt beef. 

Salt BiTer, «<to row up" (Am.), the fate of defeated politi- 

dans and political parties. 
Salty ««that is too," said of an extortionate bill. 
Salty Mto salt a mine," is to place valuable ore in a mine with 

a view to deceiving a possible purchaser. 
Salve (Eng.), flattery. 
Sam, (Ho stand Sam" (Am.), to stand treat. 
Sambo (Am.), term applied to male negroes. 
Sammy or Simple Sammy, a stupid or silly fellow* 
Samp (Am.), a preparation of Indian com* 
Sampan^ a small boat 
Sample-room (Am.), a retail groggery. 
Sand ( Am.(, grit, courage. 
S. and B. (£ng.), soda and brandy. 
Sandbag (Am.), a weapon used by highwaymen; made 

with Sana packed in a cloth bag. 
Sandbagged (Am.), struck with a sandbag. Metaphoric- 
ally used for blackmailed. 
Sand-bagger (Am.), a highwavman who stuns his victim 

by a blow from behind. A blackmailer. 
Sand hiller (Am.), a native of South Carolina. 
Sandwich man (Eng.), one who travels through the streets 

with advertising boards strapped in front and behind him. 

A gentleman with a lady on each side is spoken of as a 

Sandy, a Scotchman; abbreviation of Aleicander. 

Digitized by 


»3o SAP— SCA 

Sapheady a stupid, silly person. 

Saratosra (Am.), a lady^s trunk of huge dimensions. 

Sardine, an old sailor. 

Sark (Scotch), a shirt 

Sass (^ Am.), common New England equivalent for sauce. 

Gardbn-sass is vegetables. 
Satin (Eng.), gin. Otherwise Tapi or Ribbon. 
Sauce (Eng.), impertinence. 
Sance (Am.), preserved fruits or table vegetables. 
Saucebox (Eng.), an impertinent person. 
Save (Eng.), to g^ive part of one bet for part of another; a 

form of hedging. 
Saveloj (Eng.), a sausage. 
Savey or Savvy, a corruption of the Spanish sabe^ to know; 

much used on the Pacific coast and in India and China. 
Saw, at whist, when two partners alternately trump a suit, 

played by each to the other for the special purpose. 

Sawbones, a surgeon. Sam Weller uses the expression in 

Sawdust (Am.), money, generally counterfeit. 
Sawney, a Scotchman; also a lout. 

Saw-off (Am.), a deciding toss or throw of the dice to settle 
which of two men left in at the end of a g^ame shall settla 
the full score. 

Sawyer (Am.), a tree partially submerged in a river and 
forming a danger to navigation. See dso SvAO^supra. 

Say 00, <«upon my," a very mild form of asseveration. 

Scab ^Eng.), a term of opprobrium applied to non-union 

Scads (Am.), money. 

Digitized by 


SCA— SCO 231 

ScalawaiT (Am.), a worthless fellow; a bummer and black- 

Scallops or Scollops, ««to put on,^ to assume an air of im- 
portance or style; to put on **side.'' 

Scalper (Am.), a railroad ticket broker, or a speculative op* 
erator on the Board of Trade or Stock Exchange, who 
deals in small lots and in an irregular way* 

Scalp-lock (Am.), the long tuft of hair worn by Indians. 

Scaly, shabby, mean. 

Scamp (Old Eng.), a rascal. 

Scamp, properly skimp, to give short measure; to slur over 

one's work. 
Scandal water, tea. 

Scarce, ^to make oneself," to be off; to decamp. 
Scare (Am.), a fight, or to frighten.; 
Scare up (Am.), to hunt for; to find. 
Scaiietlbver (Eng.), the sentiment felt by young women 

for the red-coated military. 
Scarper, from the Spanish escarfar^ to run away, to escape. 
Scary (Am.), frightened, timid. 
Schlager (Ger.), a sword. 
Schnapps (Ger.), gin or other spirits. 
Schnitzel or Snitz (Ger.), dried fruit cut in small slices. 
Schofel or Shofkil, bad money. 
School, a gang of young men or bojrs. 
Schooner (Am.), a large beer glass. 

Scoop (Am.), in newspaper language a beat; exclusive in* 

Scooped (Am.), beaten. 
SconcCt the head. 

Digitized by 


a33 SCO— SCR 

Soonoe (Eng.), to fine. 

Scoot ( Am.)i to run away. 

Soorohery a person of bad temper or of great energy. Also 

one who in any way outdoes the rest; a superlative with 

many meanings* 
Score, a tavern reckoning, from the old practice of scoring 

such with chalk on the door* To settle old scores is to 

wipe out a debt, whether it be of money or yengeanoe. 
Score, to keep count or tally, as scoring a base ball match. 
Scot, a quantity of anjrthing; a lot or share. 
Scot, temper or passion. ^What a scot he was in.** De» 

rived from the supposed irascible temperament of the North 

Scotch fiddle (the itch), a cutaneous disease somewhat pre- 
valent north of the Tweed. See (jod blbss thb Dukb 

OP Aroylb. 
Scoot, a college valet or servant at Oxford. At Cambridge 

he is known as a Gyp, or vulture. 
Scrag (Bng.), the neck, and to hang by the neck. 
Scragging, hanging. 
Scran, cold meat or other victuals. <<Bad scran to you,** is 

an Irish malediction. 
Scrap (Am.), a fight, or to fight 
Scrape (Eng.), a difficulty. 
Scrape, a shave. 

Scratch (P. R.), an imaginary meeting point in a fight To 
<«toe the scnUch" is to be ready for the fight 

Scratch an accidental g^n at billiards or at any other game. 
•«He won by a scratch;*' otherwise by a Flukb (f. v.) 

Scratch to strike a horse out of a race. 

Scratched, struck out 

Digitized by 


SCR— SEC 133 

fksratdi race or Scratdi crew, a race without restrictions 
or a crew made up anyhow. 

Sorawny, thin, angular, bony. 

Screamer, a bouncing, lively girl; a tomboy. 

Screaming, first-rate, splendid, amusing. 

Screed (Gld Eng.), a written paper or article. 

Screeve, a begging petition. 

Screever (Eng.), a pavement chalker who draws rude pic- 
tures of ships, etc, on the sidewalk. Also a writer of beg- 
ging letters. 

Screw (Eng.), a worn out horse. 

Screw, salary, wages. 

Screw (Eng.), a miser, a mean person. 

Screw, a small package of tobacco. 

Screw, a key; also the turnkey of a prison. 

Screw, ((to put on the," to limit credit; to compel or coerce. 

Screwed, drunk. 

Screw loose, *%^ anything wrong or ill-adjusted; a difference 
of opinion. 

Screw yonrnat (Am.), go away; get out See Sling 

TOUR HOOK, supra. 
Scrimmage (Irish), a row, disturbance or free fight 
Scrooge (Eng.), to punish or squeeze. 
Scronged (Eng.), crowded. 
Scrub, worthless. 
ScmiT, the back of the neck. 
Scmmptloiui, handsome, excellent 

Sea.cook, ««8on of a,'' an opprobrious phrase used by sailors. 
Sea-dog, an old sailor. 
Secesli, a corruption of secession. The Confederate States 

were sometimes spoken of as Secessia. 

Digitized by 



0e4dikd Wlnd^ ^to get one's** to rally after exertion, as in a 
fight or a race. 

See^ has many slang meanings, of which its nse in the sense 
of "know** or ••believe,*' as "I can't see that," is one. It is 
a common practice of the street hoodlum to condtide his 
statement with this word, as ••! was g^ing to the saloon, 

See, to bribe; to fix or ••square" a man. ••Jones has been 

seen and is all right." 
See a man, ••to go out to" (Am.), an excuse to go out for a 

drink, the man being supposedly a barkeeper. 

Seedy (Eng.), shabby, worn-out, poverty-stricken. Also 
used to express sickness. 

See it Duty to stay late at a meeting or to complete an under- 

See the elephant or See the Ung (Am.), to take in the 
sights; to do the town. 

See you later (Am.), a phrase of recent introduction used 
instead of good-bye as a parting salute. 

Sell (Eng.), a practical joke; a sham or swindle. ••To sell" 
is to swindle. Shakespeare uses selling in the sense of de- 

Sell out, is said of a race or other sporting contest which is 
thrown or •kax)ssed." The expression is also used when a 
politician or a political party goes over to the other side, 
presumably for a consideration. 

Semi-oecasionally (Am.), once in a while. 
Sense-carrier (Irish), a title given to an old villager, one of 

the kind who ••know it all." 
Serape (Sp.), a blanket with an opening in the middle for 

the head, and worn as a cloak* 
Serene (Eng.), ••all serene," all right; a phrase taken from 

Digitized by 



a comic song and used when first introduced on all occa* 
sions. Now it is seldom heard« 

Serlona (Eng.), religious. 

Serve oat^ to punish. 

Serve you right, a word of comfort given to a man who has 
gotten into trouble through his own fault See IngokMy^ 
A Tale of Margate. 

Set-back, a discomfiture or defeat 

Set in his ways, firm, obstinate. 

Setter (Eng.), a capper or mock bidder at an auction. One 
who ^^sets in a game" in a robbery. Shakespeare uses it in 
this sense in 1 King Henry IVy act iiy sc. j^ where Poins 
describes Gadshill as their setter. 

Settle, to kill, ruin, or effectually quiet a man. 

Settle, to pay. Also said of a minister permanently ei^^affed 
by a church, which ^^settles" him, or of a person who takes 
up a residence in some place with the intention of remain- 
ing there. 

Settled, paid, discharged. 

Settled, transported or sentenced to imprisonment for life. 

Settle one's hash, to finish him; to knock him out 

Settler, a knock-down blow; anything deddve; an unan- 
swerable argument 

Set-to ( P. R.), a fight or sparring match. To make a Dbad- 
8BT at one is to oppose him in a determined manner. 

Set np or Set them np (Am.), to pay for the drinks. 

Seven-np (Am.), the game of all fours; from the number of 
points that have to be made to win. 

Sewed np, done up, played out, intoxicated. 

Shabby-srenteel (Eng.), aping gentility without the means 
to present a good appearance. Thackeray uses the phrase 

Digitized by 


2^ SHA 

Shack, a Tagabond; ablackgoarcL 

Shackly, loose, rickety. 

Shadbelly ooat (Am.), an old-fashioned garment worn by 

Shadow, to watch; also as a noun, the fellow who does the 

Shady, («to keep,^ to remain in the background. 
Shady, disreputable; inferior, as <*a shady trick.** <^On the 

shady side of forty" means that one has passed that age. 
Shake, a disreputable person; a prostitute. 
Shake, to get rid of; to cut. To give one the **dirty shake^ 

is to throw him over. 
Shake, a fair chance. From the g^ame of dice, where if 

the box is shaken fairly each player has an equal chance. 

Shake-down, an improvised bed on the floor. 

Shakes (Am.), the ague. 

Shakes, ^no great^^ not much good. 

Shakester or Schlckster, a woman of doubtful repute. 

Shake the elbow, to play dice. 

Shaky, timid, uncertain; in bad condition financially, ph3rsr- 

cally or mentally. 
Shaler, a girl. 
ShaUoweove (Old Cant^, a half naked beggar who trades 

on his appearance. A Shallow-mot is his equally 

wretched looking female companion. 

Shallows, ««to go on the," to go about ragged and half naked 
in order to excite compassion. 

Sham, corruption of champagne; quite often a perfectly cor- 
rect characterization of the supposed vintage. 

Shamming Abraham (Old Eng.), to feign sickness or dis- 
tress. See Abraham^han, ante. 

Digitized by 


SHA— SHE 337 

Shandrydan (Iridh), an old-fashioned chaise. 
Shandygaff (Eng.), a mixture of ale and ginger-beer; a 

favorite summer drink. 
Shanghaied, said of sailors who are captured by the crimps 

and hustled on board a ship when drunk, often being badly 

hurt in the process. 

Shanks, the legs. 

Shank's mare, ««to ride,^ to go a-f oot. Otherwise to go by 

Foot and Walker's linb. 
Shant, a quart «Shant of bivvy y^ a quart or pot of beer. 
Shanty (Sea slang), a song. 
Shanty, a rude house or hut. 

Shark, a sharper or swindler. Sailor's term for a lawyer. 
Sharp (Eng.), punctuaL ^Dinner was served at 7 sharp.^ 
Sharper, a swindler. 
Sharp stick, to be after one with a sharp stick is to pursue 

him revengefully. 
Shape, «to travel on one's f* to trade on one's appearance. 
Shave, a false alarm; to hoax or sell. 
Shave, a narrow escape. 
Shave, a discount or rebate on goods purchased or on a note 

or bill. 
Shave, to shave a customer is to overcharge him. 
Shaver, a sharp fellow; generally applied to a boy, as <<Look 

alive, young shaver.** 
ShavingHdiop, a loan or discount office. 
Shehang (Irish), a house or other building. 
Shebeen (Irish), a place where unlicensed liquor is sold. 

See Shsbano. 
Shedatear, to take a drink. Same as driving a <<Nail in 

one's coffin.** 

Digitized by 


238 SHE— SHI 

Shedder (Am.), a crab which has recently cast its shell; a 

softshell crab. 
Sheeny, a Jew. The origin of the word is much disputed. 
Sheep^s eyes, amorous looks cast by spoony lovers. 
Sheepskin, the parchment diploma given to graduating stu- 
Shelf, <(on the'* (Eng.), said of old maids past thirty years of 

age. Also of anjrthing pawned or laid by. 
Shell, a light row-boat. 
Shell (Am.), to hull com. 
Shell game (Am.), a swindling game played with walnut 

shells and a pea, analogous to thimble-rigging. 
Shell-oQt, to pay up; to count out money. 
Shellworker (Am.), one who works the Shbu. gamb 

(^. v.)i a swindler and confidence man. 
Shenanigan (Irish), cheating, playing tricks, fooling. 
Shent (Old Eng.), blamed, rebuked. See Cariolanus^ v, ^. 

Shent is also, used in the sense of hurt 
Shepherd, to look after; to watch. 
Shice (Hebrew), nothing; "to work for shice,*'is to work 

Shicer, a mean or worthless fellow. 
Shickery, shabby, bad. 
Sliickster (Heb.), a woman. 

Shiftless (Am.), worthless, lazy; having no business instinct 
Shigs, money, silver. 
Shilling (Am.), twenty-five cents. 
Shilling shockers, cheap books of the sensational order sold 

in England at one shilling each. 
Shilly-shally (Eng.), to fritter away time; to hesitate or be 


Digitized by 


SHI— SHO 239 

Sliliiiiiiy (Cockney), a chemise. 

Sbln (Am.), to walk; shinning around,'* hustling, moving 

about briddy. 
Shindy, a row, noise or disturbance. 
Shine, a noise or row. Sometimes <<monkey shines," applied 

to larking or jocularity. 
Shine, "to cut a,*' to dress well; to "put on side." 
Shine, "to take the shine out of one," to surpass or excel him. 
Shiners, gold coin, and particularly English sovereigns. 
Shines, ^^cutting up," joining in a frolic or racket of any 

Shine np to, to take a fancy to; to go courting or to set one's 

cap for a person. 
Shingle (Am.), to cut one's hair short 
Shingle (^Am.), a sign, as "The Doctor hung out his 


Shinny (Am*), a game played with sticks and a ball, some- 
times played on ice and by a large party. The boys are di- 
vided into sides and the aim is to knock the ball into the 
enemv's camp. "Shinny on your own side;" an expression 
used in the game. 

Shinplaster (Am.), a bank note or bill. 

Shin-np (Am.), to dimb a tree by using the hands and feet 

Shiny, dressy, Spiff (y. v.) 
Ship-shape, in good order. Sometimes "ship-shape and 

Bristol fashion." 
Ship's hnshand (Sea term), a purser. 
Shirty (Eng.), ill-tempered, quarrelsome. 
Shiver my timhers, a sailor's ejaculation. 
Shoat or Shote (Old Eng.), a hog. 

Digitized by 


340 SHO 

Shoddy, an inferior kind of cloth, made from old stuff 

worked oven 
Shoddy (Am.), an3rthing at once pretentious and inferior. 
Shoddyocracy (Am.), people who have become rich by 

making contracts for shoddy goods or in any other disrep- 
utable way ; the parvenu rich. 
Shoe (Eng.), to initiate a person; to make him free of his 

trade. Equivalent to -Spaying one's footing.** 
Shoe leather (Eng.), warning given by a thief to his <<pal,*' 

meaning, of course, to make use of h& legs. 
Shoes, «(to die in one's," to be hanged. 
Shofol (Eng.), a hansom cab. 
Shofkil (Heb.), bad money or imitation jewelry; anjrthing 

Shotul pitcher, one who passes bad money. 
Shofol pullet, a girl of doubtful reputation. 
Shool, to saunter idly about See Roderick Randon. 
Shog (Old Eng.), to walk or move away. "Shog along.'* 
Shool (Heb.), a synagogue. 
Shoot or Shute (properly chuie)^ a passageway by which 

log^ are shot down the hill sides. 
Shooting-iron (Am.), a revolver or gun of any kind. 
ShootingHStick (Am.), an article used by printers to tighten 

the quoins which lock up a form. 
Shoot the cat, to vomit. 
Shoot the hat (Am.), a street call directing the hearer to get 

rid of an objectionable tile. 
Shoot the moon (Eng.), to remove one's household goods 

between two days for the purpose of evading the payment 

of rent 
Shop (Eng.), a ''place'* in a race; first, second or third. 

Sometimes called a ''situation." 

Digitized by 


SHO 241 

Shop, a house, office or abiding-place of any kind. *<How 
are they aU at the shop.?^' 

Sliop^ to discharge a person. In the English army to ^hop^ 
an officer is to place him under arrest 

Shop-lifter, a thief who steals articles from the counters of 
stores. Shakespeare uses <<lifter" for thief. 

Shop, ««to talk" (£ng.), to be full of nothing but one's call- 
ing or profession, as a doctor talks of medicine or a 
farmer of his crops. 

Short, hard op, out of money. 

Shorty on the Stock Exchange, having sold stock which one 
does not possess. The ^'shorts'' are those who speculate for 
a fall. 

Short-commonSy short allowance of food. 

Short-hair (Am.), descriptive term for low-grade politidans 
and ward bummers. The Democratic par^ in the cities is 
divided into "swallow-tails** and "short hairs'* — ^well-dressed 
men and toughs. 

Short metre (New Eng.), directly, in short order. See the 
Biglow Papers. 

Shorts, breeches. 
Shot, money. 

Shot (Old Eng.), the reckoning at an inn. See Two Gem» 
tlemen of Verona ii^ j. 

Shot in the locker (Sea term), money in the treasury. 
Shot in the neck (Eng.), intoxicated. 
Shonlder^hitter, a bully or pugilist; a "slugger." 
Shout (Am.), to pay for drinks round. "It*s my shout* 
Shove, to pawn. Also to pass counterfeit money; to "shove 
the queer.** 

Digitized by 


343 SHO— SHY 

ShoTe^haUjpeniiy (Eng.), a gambling game played by 

pushing coins along a table, die aim being to get them 

near to certain lines. 
ShoTely a peculiar hat worn by dig^taries of the Church of 

Show (Am.), «*give him a show,*' give him a chance. "I 

had no show to win." 
Show oft, to make a display. 
Show up, to appear. 
Shriekiiig sisterhood, the army of female suffrag^ts and 

woman's rights women. 
Shrimp, a diminutive person; a small boy. 
Shtnmer, a horse which it is known will not be run to win. 

See Stiff 'un. 

Shuck (Am.), the outer covering or husk, as of a walnut or 
an ear of com. To shuck com is to strip off the husks. 

Shncka, "not worth" (Am.), worthless; of no value. 
Shimt (Eng.), to avoid; to turn aside. Railroad cars which 
are "switched" in this country are "shunted" in England. ^ 

Shut o^ "to get," to get rid of. 

Shut up, be quiet; stop. The phrase also means exhausted, 
done for. 

Shy (Eng.), a throw; to throw. A cockshy is a g^ame 
played at fairs, when sticks are thrown at articles set upon 
other sticks a few feet away, the striker sometimes getting 
what he hits. 

Shy (Eng.), to stop suddenly or swerve to one side, as a 
horse does when frightened. 

Shy, "to fight shy," to keep away from a person, to avoid 

Shyster (Am.), a low-class lawyer who touts openly for bus- 

Digitized by 



SIC— SIM 243 

iness and who undertakes shady cases ana every trick of 
the law; a pettifogger. 

Sick (Am.), afflicted with disease. In England a person 
afflicted is *<ill,^ and ^^sick" is only applied to express sick- 
ness of the stomach or nausea. 

Siok as a horse, or as a dog or a cat; popular similes, curi- 
ously misplaced in the first instance as horses never vomit. 

Sickener, a dose too much of anything. 

Sicker (Scotch), sure, certain. 

Side, <<to put on,*^ to put on style. ^Too much dog,*' means 
the same thing. 

Side^ a Gipsy equivalent for *<yes,'' probably from the Span- 
ish su 

Side-wheeler (Am.), a pacing horsey 

Siege, «<had a siege of it,** a hard time; a long sickness 

Sight, a great many; ^a sight of people. 

Sight, (<to take a'* (Eng.), to place the thumb to the nose 

and spread the fingers out. 

^'Tlie Sacristan, he said no word to indicate a doubt, 
Bnt he pat hb thumb up to his nose 
And he spread his fingers out** 

Silk Stockings (^Am.^, the moneyed class, commonly accred- 
ited with wearing sdken hose. Applied to a section of the 
Democratic party. See Short hairs, ante. 

Silver Grays (Am.), a name applied to a branch of the Whig 
party some forty years ago. A convention was held at 
which Francis Granger presided and as the chairman and 
many of the delegates were advanced in years it was 
called the "Silver Gray" convention. 

Silver wedding (Am)., the twenty-fifth anniversary of a 
wedding, often celebrated with much pomp. 

Simon^ an English sixpence. 

Digitized by 



244 SIM— SIX 

Simon Pure, the genuine article, from a character in the old 
comedy of A Bold Stroke for a Wife, 

Simpson (Eng.), water used in place of milk; applied also 
to the milk dealer himself* 

Sinews of war (Eng.), money, funds. 

Singed cat, (<like a," better than he looks, said of a person 
whose appearance does him injustice. 

Sing out, to call aloud. 

Sing small, to lessen one's boasting. 

Sing song (Eng.^, a harmonic meeting at a public house; a 
♦*free and easy. * 

Sink (Fr. cinq) a throw of five at dice. 

Sink-boat (Am.), a boat used for duck shooting. See 
Battery, ante. 

Sinkhole (Am.), a depression or hole in limestone forma- 
tion in which streams sink and are lost* 

Sinkers, bad money. 

Sinkers, doughnuts. 

Sirree; "Yes, sirree. Bob," a vulgar emphasizing of an af- 

Siserara, a hard blow. See Vicar of Wakeffeld. 

Sit under, to regularly attend the ministrations of a preacher. 

Sit-npons, trousers. 

SiTTy, a corruption of asseveration; "upon my siwy," upon 
my word. 

Sixes and sevens, "all at," all in confusion. 

Six-shooter, a revolver of six chambers. 

Sixty, *«like sixty," at a rapid rate, briskly. 

Sixty per cent, a bill discounter. 

Sixwater grog (Sea term), very thin of the rum and very 
strong of the water. 

Digitized by 


SIZ— SKI 345 

SIsSy to make a hissing sound, as to sizzle. 

Skates, ««got them on,^ said of a man when drunk. 

Skedaddle, to run away, now a common Americanism and 
claimed to have originated in the Civil War. As a matter 
of fact the word has been in use in the West of Scotland 
for many years, and is used there and in Lancashire, Eng- 
land, in the sense of to spill or to scatter, as to skedaddle the 

Skeery (Am.), scary, frightened. 
Skeezicks (Am.), a paltry little fellow. 
Skid, a contrivance placed before a wagon wheel to prevent 
it going too fast down hill. Otherwise a Drag or Shob. 

Skid or Sklv, an English sovereign. 

Skid, a slide used for loading barrels or heavy goods or for 
moving timber. 

Skied (Eng.), when pictures exhibited publicly are hung 
near the ceiling they are said to be <^kied.'' If hung too 
low thev are ^^floored.'* The most desirable position is ^n 
the line^' of sight. 

SklUagalee (Irish), thin gruel. 

Skilly (Eng.), workhouse or prison gruel. 

Skimping or Skimpy, scant 

Skin (Am.), to get the best of; to get all that one has. 

Skin (Am.), a purse or pocketbook. See Lbathbr, ante. 

Skin, to use a ^criV or ^pony" in order to pass an examina- 

Skinflint (Eng.), a mean, stingy person. It is said of such 
a one that he would ^Idn a ffint for a penny and spoil a 
shilling knif e.^ 

Skin game (Eng.), a crooked game at cards; to swindle. 
Skink (Old Eng.), to drink. 

Digitized by 


246 SKI— SKY 

Skinker (Old Eng.), a tavern waiter. See I King Hemrf 

Skinning the lamb ( Eng. ), when an outsider wins a raot 
bookmakers are said to ^^skin the lamb," as they have in dl 
probability laid very little against the winner. The term 
is also used on the Stock Exchange. 

Skin your own skonk (Am.), do your own dirty work. 

Skip, get out, run away. 

Skip or Skep (Scotch), the captain of a side in the game of 

Skipper (Sea), the master or captain of a merchant vessel. 

Skipper, a cheese-mite. 

Skit, a joke, squib ox jeu cPesfrii. 

Skive (Am.),to pare leather or skin so as to leave a bevelled 

Skivings (Am.), waste pieces of leather. 

SkuUdnggery (Am.), dirty,mean actions; conspiracy or plot- 

Skunk (Am.), an objectionable person; one of bad charac- 

Skonked (Am.), signifies beaten out of sight; Distanced 
or Chicagoed (^. v.) At cards and other games the 
player who fails to reach a certain point in the game is 
skunked. Thus, at cribbage, if he fails to turn the last row 
he is in this predicament. 

Bky (Eng.), to throw up in the air, as with pennies in ton- 

Sky-blue (Eng.), milk diluted with water. 

Skylarking (Sea), playing tricks or rough games as sailors 
do on boara ship. 

Sky-parlor (Eng.), an attic or garret 

l^cy-pilot, a navy chaplain or other minister. 

Digitized by 


SKY— SLA a47 

Skyscraper ( Am.)^ a very tall building such as are now be- 
ing built in Chicago. 

Slab^ thick, as gruel, porridge, etc. Shakespeare uses the 
word in AfacieiA. 

Slab-sided (Am.), applied to men or women of angular ap- 

Slack or Sleek (Eng.), small coal. 

Slack (Am.), lazy, shiftless. 

Slack baked, stupid, deficient in character. 

Slack, «too much slack,*' too much talk. 

Slam, to strike or push violently, as ««slamming the door.*^ 

Slam, at whist i when two partners take the whole thirteen 
tricks, thus constituting a slam, it is counted to them as a 

Slang, a travehng show. 

Slang, a watch chain. 

Slang, the language which, though unrecognized in diction- 
aries, is in common daily use not only among the vulgar but 
in every branch of life. Originally slang meant the secret 
language of the English Oipsies and was sjmonymous with 
GiBBBRiSH {f. V.) Later it came to express all vulgar 
language not included as Cant It is sometimes termed 
Flash, and the French equivalent is argot. 

Slang-whanger, (Am.), a long-winded speaker. 
Slangy, loud, fiash, vulgar. 
Slant, a side-blow. 
Siantindlcolar, oblique, awry. 
Slap (Eng.), euphemism for rogue. 

Slap, exactly. *^Slap in the wind's eye,'' exactly to wind- 
Map-bang, suddenly, violently. 

Digitized by 


248 SLA— SLI 

Slap-dasliy immediately, in great haste; with more force 
than necessaiy. 

Slap-npy first-rate, excellent; the neflus ultra of style. 

Slasher, a clever fighter; a roaring blade. 

Slashes (Am.), swampy or wet gp-ounds overgrown with 
bushes. Henry Clay was known as *^the Mill-boy of the 

Slate (Am.), in politics, a progpramme or list of appoint- 

Slate (Eng.), to abuse or *<cut up" in the newspapers or re- 

Slated ( Am»), placed on a list, as one who is slated for a 
specified position. 

Slate loose (Eng.); see Tilb loosb, off one's head, crazy. 

Slate, "put it on the" (Eng.), to give credit. Equivalent to 
Chalk it up or Put it on icb or Hano it up (y. v.) 

Slathers (Irish), a large quantity; equivalent to Lashins 
(y. V.) 

Slats, narrow pieces of board or timber, as the slats of a lad- 
der or of a wagon or cart, or of a wooden bedstead. 

Slaughter In the pan (Am.), a steak order at a cheap res- 

Slavey (Eng.), a maid servant 

Sleeper (Am.), a railroad car fitted up for the sleeping accom- 
odations of the passengers. 

Sleepers (Am.), drunken men in the gutters. <<La3ring for 
sleepers^ or for ^plain drunks,'' is the occupation of street 

Sleuth (Am.), a detective or professional thief -catcher. 

Slewed (Sea term), drunk, intoxicated. <<Three sheets in 
the wind," or "half seas over.'* 

SUokf from sleeki unctuous, smooth. 

Digitized by 


SLI— SLU 349 

SUde^ Mlet it slide,'' for let it pass. Shakespea^-e has ^Let the 
world slide." See ** Taming of the Shrew:^ 

SliiicryoiirliQok(£ng.), get away. Otherwise ^hook it." 
American equivalents are ^skip." <^dig out" and ^vamose*" 

Slip, <^ give the slip," to run away or to elude pursuit 

Slipping (Eng.), a card-sharping trick by which a desired 
card is produced from the deck* It is the faire sauter la 
coupe of the French and is a favorite trick with crooked 
ecarte players. 

Slips, the side galleries in a theatre. 

Slip npy to fan in any undertaking. 

Slobber or Slubber, to slop over; to make a great fuss over 

Slog (P, R.), to fight or beat. Applied to pugilists, who are 
known as good sloggers. 

Slogging (P. R.), fighting. 

Slop, to gtish, to slop over. 

Slop (£ng.), back slang for police; now in general use. 

Slop, cheap ready-made work, such as clothing. 

Slope, to abscond or run away; otherwise to ^^mizzle." 

Slops, light food for invalids or any weak beverage. 

Slop-shop, a ready made tailor's shop, where the goods are of 
an inferior quality. 

Slouch (Am.), of no account; generally used with the neg- 
ative, as ^^he is no slouch." 

Slour (Eng.), to lock up or fasten. 

Slowcoach (Eng.), a lumbering, dull person. 

Slowed, locked up, imprisoned. 

Slubberdegrulllon, a term of contempt See Hudibras. 

Slug, to strike. See Slog, ante. 

Slugger^ a prizefighter or buliy. 

Digitized by 



Slam (ThieveB Cant), a letter. 
Slnniy to hide. 

SlamgaUion (Old Eng.), a term of derisioii. 
Slumming (Eng.), visiting the poor in their homes from 
curiosity or a desire to give them assistance. 

Blnng-shot or SUngHshot (Am.), a weapon of offense made 
by placing a stone or piece of lead in a bag. See Sand- 
bag, anie. 

Slosh (Am.), newspaper term for reporter's copy. 
Slushy, a ship's cook. 

Smiackt smooth. See Ten Thousand a Tear. 
Small beer, <«he doesn't think small beer of himself," means 
that a man has a high sense of his own importance. 

Small hours, the early hours after midnight What Bums 
speaks of as *«The wee short hours ayont the twaL" 

Small potatoes (Am.), a term of contempt. 

Smalls, Oxford University term for the first or minor exam- 
ination of students. At Cambridge the corresponding 
term is Littlb go (f. v.) 

Smart, in this country means active, intelligent or quick. In 
England it means dressy. 

Smart chance (Am.), a good opportunity. 
Smasih (Eng.), to become bankrupt; <^to go all to smash," 
same as ^to go to the dogs." 

Smasher (Eng.), a maker or passer of counterfeit money. 
Smear-case (Dutch), soft cheese made from sour milk. 
\ Smeller (P. R.), the nose; a punch on the smeller is a blow 
on the nose. 
Smile, a drink or to drink. 
Smiah or MUh (Gip.), a shirt or chemise. 

Digitized by 


SMI— SNA »si 

SmiHieTeengt <Hdl to," all to smash* Smsther is an Engloh 
provindalism for a fn^^ent. 

Smock (Old Eng.), a woman's undergarment See Shakes- 

SmockfEMsed (Eng.), white faced, delicate. 
Smoke^ a Cant term for London. Groing into the country 
is <*going out of the smoke." 

Smoke (Old Eng.), to detect an artifice, in other words Ho 
tumble to the racket" 

Smoke-stack (Am.), the funnel of a steamer. 
Smoke-wagon ( Am. ) , a revolver. The word is used by the 
negroes of the Chicago levee. 

Smonch, to take advantage of. 
Smudge, to smear or daub. 

Smndge (Am.), smoke from a fire made of damp combusti* 
bles and intended to drive away insects. 

Smng (Eng.), neat, smooth. 

Smnggins (Cockney schoolboy), snatching or purl<»ning 
marbles, tops or other toys. 

Smnt (Eng.), indecent conversation. 

Snack (Gip,), a share or division. Also a light meal or 

Snack, to quiz or chaff; an innuendo. 
Snacks, «<to go," to go halves. 
Snaffle (Eng.), talk on private or professional subjects; 

equivalent to ^talking shop." 
Snaffled, arrested. 

Snaggle-teeth, irregular and uneven teeth. 
Snaggling, aagling with a jnn or hook. 
Snaggy, ill-tempered, cross. 

Digitized by 


25a SNA— SNE 

Snags and Sawyers (Am.), are obstructions to the naviga- 
tion of rivers caused by trees having their roats fastened to 
the bottom or by large branches of submerged trees. Very 
common in the Mississippi. 

BnBg, «<struck a'' (Am.), run against an obstruction. See 
preceding definition. 

Snake, to follow in an underhand way; to crawl like a 

Snake, to steal or carry off; probably a corruption of Snbak 

(f. V.) 

Snakes, ^to see" (Am.), to have the horrors, as in delirium 

Snakes, <«to wake" (Am.), to get oneself into trouble. 
Snake-head (Am.), an upturned broken rail on a railroad 

which may pierce through the bottom of a car and cause a 

Snake in, to take in; to draw in. 
Snake ont (Am.), to drag or haul out, as stumps of trees are 

dragged out by horse-power. 
Snap (Am.), a spell of weather, as <<a cold snap." 
Snap (Am.), energy, smartness. 
Snap, rapid, off-hand. 

Snap (Am.), anything good. A <«8oft snap" is an easy job. 
Snapps (Dutch schnapps)^ spirits. 
Snaps (Old Eng.), share or portion. 
Snarl, a tangle or contest 

Snarl, a number or quantity, as a snarl of children. 
Sneak, ^^Get a sneak on you," move on, get away 
Sneak, to steal or carry off. 
Sneakman (Eng.), a shoplifter or petty thief. 
Sneap, an insult or affront. . Shakespeare has it 

Digitized by 


SNE— SNI 353 

Sneck (Scotch) the latch of a door. 

Sneezed at, <«not to be,** not to be despised. 

Sneese-lnrker (Eng.), a thief who throws snuff or red pep- 
per into the eyes of a pedestrian and then robs him. 

Sneezer (Eng.), a snuff box. 

Snell-fencer (Eng.), an itinerant peddler of needles, which 
are known as <^nells.'' ' 

Snicker, a drinking cup. 

Snickersnee (Sea slang), a knife. See Thackeray's Ballad 
of Little Btllee. 

Snide, spurious, inferior. Said of flash jewelry or of flash 
men. Used as a noun also, as «*He's a snide.'' 

Snide-pitcher, a cheat or passer of bad money. 

Snifter (Am.), a drink of liquor. 

Sni^Tl^er, to sneer. 

Sniggering (Eng.), laughing to oneself. 

Snip (Eng.), a tailor. 

Snipe, an impertinent boy. 

Snipe, in Stock exchange slang, a curbstone broker. 

Snipe, applied to a tailor's bill, from its extreme length' 

Snipe, to steaL 

Snipe, the butt of a dgfar. 

Snipe-hunting, going round the streets looking for cigar 

Snippy, an insignificant, but self-assertive person; as applied 
to personal appearance, a sharp-yisaged small woman. 

Snitch, to give information to the police; to turn informer. 
Byron uses it in Don yuati. 

Snitchers, informers. 
Snitohers (Scotch), handcuffs. 

Digitized by 


254 SNO— SOB 

Snob (Eng.), a low and vulgar person; one who pretends to 
be what he is not and who apes the manners of those above 
him in social position. For a full definition of the genus 
in all its varieties see Thackeray's Book of Snobs. 

Snobbish, stuck up, proud; having the characteristics of a 

Snob, ante. 
Snooks (corruption of Snacks) "to go snooks," to go halves. 
Snoop, "to snoop around," to go around in an inquisitive and 

prying style, looking into petty matters; to wander around 

Snooser or Snoozer, a term hardly complimentary applied 

to a man. "He is a queer old snoozer." 
Snooze (Eng.), to sleep or doze. 
Snorter, a drink of liquor. 
Snorter, a blow on the nose. 

Snorter (Am.), a wild Westerner. "A rip-roaring snorter." 
Snow (Gip.), wet linen hung out to dry and available for 

predatory purposes by the "snow-gatherer." 
Snuffed out (Eng.), dead; gone out like the flame of a can- 
Snuffy "up to" (Eng.), knowing and sharp. 
Snuffy, out of temper. 
Snuffy, partly dnmk. 
Snug, to purloin. 
Snuggle, to lie cosily and closely. 
Soak, "an old soak," a confirmed drunkard. 
Soak, to pawn. 
Soap, flattery. 
Soap, money. 
Sober as a judge, may be considered as the antitheu* of 

Drunk as a lord. 

Digitized by 


SOC— SOM 255 

Sociable (Am.), a church festivaL 

Sock (Eng.), credit 

Sockdolla^er (Am.), a heavy blow; a finisher. 

Socket-money (Eng.), blackmail. 

Sock it to him (Am.), give him a good thrashing. 

Soda. See Hock. 

Soft (Am.), bank notes. 

Soft (Eng.), foolish, green. 

Soft money (Am.), paper money. 

Soft-sawder (Eng.), flattery. 

Soft snap (Am.), an easy and well-paying job. 

Soft soap (Eng.), flattery, blarney. 

Soft tacky sea term lor fresh bread. **Soft Tommy" is the 

Soft thing (Am.), an easy time. 
Softy (Eng.), a foolish or stupid person. 
Soiled dove (Eng.), a prostitute or kept mistress. So-called 

because many of them live in St. John's Wood, London. 

Sojer or Soldier, a red herring or bloater. Otherwise 
known as a "Billingsgate Pheasant" or a "two-eyed steak.'* 

Sold, galled, deceived. 

Soldier, "to soldier" or *«sojer," is to dodge one's work. 
Sold np or Sold ont (Eng.), bankrupt, ruined. 
Solid, responsible, wealthy. "Solid men of Boston." 
So long, an Americanism used instead of good-bye. "See 
you later" comes under the same category. 

Some, is used in the United States for somewhat or some- 
thing, as "Jones is some on shooting." 

Some pumpkins (Am.) (pronounced punkins), anything 
large. The antithesis of Small potatoes, ante. 

Digitized by 


356 SOP— sow 

Sop (Eng.), a soft or foolish man; a milksop. 

Sop, bread and milk or other nursery food. 

Sophy abbreviation of Sophomore, college term for a student 
in his second year. 

Sorehead, a disgruntled politician. 

Sort, "that's your sort," a term of approbation or encourage- 

So-00 (Eng.), not particularly reputable; off-color as to char- 

Sossle or Soszle, to splash. 

Sot (Am.), the past participle of set. "They knew the mule 
was dead because the critters eyes were sot*' 

Son, the French five centime piece, equivalent to an Ameri- 
can cent. 

Son marqnee, "not worth a,** of no value; not worth a sou 
which has been marked or crossed. 

Sound, to pump, to get information from. 

Sonnd on the goose (Am.), of orthodox political belief. 
Leland has an amusing story (Hans Breitman^s Ballads) 
of a Pennsylvania politician who asssred men of all parties 
that he was sound on the goose and thus escaped more defi- 
nite pledging. 

Sonper, a contemptuous term applied to those Irish Catho- 
lics who during the famine conformed, at least outwardly, 
to Protestantism for the purpose of obtaining the soup and 
other food provided by the narrow bigotry of the age for 
starving people of the Protestant faith only. 

Sou'wester ^Sea), a hat with a projection or "fantaiP behind 
to protect me back of the neck during dirty weather. 

Sot, contraction for an English sovereign or pound sterling. 
Sow, the receptacle into which molten metal is poured in order 
to make "Pig-iron.** 

Digitized by 


SOW— SPE 257 

SowbeUy (Ac,), the soldier's name for salt pork, which 

largely consisted of back and belly pieces. 
SowinsT ^wild oats, dissipating, having one's fling. 
Sow's baby, sixpence. 

Space, <*to work on," to write by the line or column. 
Spalpeen (Irish), a term of reproach, but used half jocularly 

and sometimes almost as a term of endearment. 
Span (Am.), a team of horses. 
Spanish (Eng.), money. 
Spanish, t^to walk Spanish," means about the same as to <«toe 

the line" or to **come up to the mark." 

Spank, a slap or smack. Also used as a verb. 
Spanker, a fast traveler or a rapid goer of any kind. 
Spanking, large, fine, strong, as <^A spanking pace or 

Spark, a sweetheart (male) comp. Flamb, the female 

Sparking (Am.), courting. 
Sparks, diamonds. 
Spat (Irish), a petty quarrel, a slap. 
Spec, short for speculation, as <^he bought those goods on 

Speckled beaatles, trout; generally those which an amateur 

fails to land. 
Specs, spectacles. 
Speech, in turf language a Tip or Wrinkle. Equivalent 

to being Givbn tus oppicb. 
Speel, to run away. 
Spell (Am.), a turn of work. To "spell" another is to go on 

with the work while he rests. 
Spell, to advertise. Also to desire or hanker after. 

Digitized by 



SpdHken, a theatrci from the Grerman spieUn^ to play, and 
the Gipsy or Cant, ken^ a house. Often abbreviated to 

I^^lliiig4>ee (Am.), a competition in spelling, which orig- 
inated in the rural districts of New England and has been 
translated to Old England, where for a time it became a 

Spelter, money. 

Spick and Span, new and fresh. Butler has it in Hudibras. 

S^der (Am.), a cooking utensil. 

Spidereen f Sea), an imaginary ship. A sailor when asked 
what ship ne belongs to will say if he does not care to tell 
the truth **the Spidereen frigate with seven decks and no 

Spiel (Ger.), play, go-ahead. 

Spielken (from the German), a play-house. See Spbi.lksn 

Spier (Scotch), to ask, to enquire. 

Spiff (Eng.), well-dressed, swellish. 

Spiffed, partly drunk. 

Spifflioate, to confound, silence or stifle. Probably it was 
manufactured from the last-named word and from suffo- 
cate, and was originally •^stiflicate." 

Spike Park (Eng.), originally the Queen's Bench prison, 
and now applied to any place of detention. 

Splketail (Am.), a dress coat or Swallow Tail {g, v.) 

Spill (Am.), to upset. 

Spilt Milk (Eng.), that which is gone beyond recovery and 
which as the proverb says "it is no use crying over.*' 

Spin (Eng.), to reject. A man is <<spun*' who fails to pass 
his army examination. College equivalents are Ploughbd 
and Plucksd (f. v.) 

Digitized by 

G oogle 

SPI— SPO 359 

Splndle-Shanks (Eng.), a man with long, thin legs. 

Spinnikcn (£ng.) the workhouse. 

Spit, «<he is the spit of his brother,*' he strongly resembles 

Spitcurl (Am.), a lock of hair plastered over the temple; the 

feminine equivalent for Nbwoatb Knockbrs, see ante. 
Spitfire (Eng.), a passionate virago. 
Spit on the slate, to condone or wipe out offences or debts; 

^spit on the slate and call it square." 
Spitzbaby a German term of derision. 
Splash* (^to make a splash" is equivalent to ^^cutting a dash," 

or to living at an expensive rate and putting on plenty of 

Splendiferous (Am.), sumptuous, first rate. Splendadous 

is used also; both being indefensible from any standpoint 
Splenchan (Scotch), a snuff or tobacco box. 
Splice (Sea), to marry, to bind together as a rope is spliced. 
Splice the main brace* alleged sea-term for taking a drink. 

As a matter of fact a ship has no main brace. 
Split, to inform. 

Split, a quarrel or division, as a split in a political party. 
Splnr^e (Am.), dash, swagger. To make a splurge is also 

to make a great display. 
Gtpoiling for a fight: anxious to get into a row. Like the 

Irishman at Donnybrook Fair who asked ** Won't somebody 

please tread on the tail of my coat," or his compatriot who 

complained that he was ^^blue-mouldy for want of a beating." 

Spoils system (Am.), that under which the successful party 
at an election tills ail the offices with men of its own polit* 
cal faith; a system erroneously said to have been introduced 
into American politics by President Jackson, who in truth 
simply bettered the instruction g^iven by some of his pred* 

Digitized by 


26o SPO— SPR 

ecessors. The doctrine of Vae Victis is a good deal older 

than 1832. 
Spoke in one's wheel "to put a," is to block a man's game 

or to say or do something to prevent him attaining his 

Sponge, or Sponge, to live upon another in a mean and 

paltry way. 
Sponger, a genteel beggar. 
Sponge, ''to throw up the," in the prize-ring is to concede 

the defeat of a contestant, which was symbolized by throwing 

the sponge used for his benefit up in the air as a sign that it 

was no longer needed. 
Spook (Dutch), a ghost or apparition; 
Spoon (£ng.), a lover in the worst stage of the complaint 

Sometimes there are a "pair of spoons.'' 
Spooney, stupid, weak-minded, foolishly fond. 
Spoor, the trail of any large animal. Originally from South 

Africa and applied to the foot mark of the lion, elephant, 

rhinoceros or other "big game." 
Sport, (Am.), a gambler or betting man. In England a 

Sporting Man. 
Sport, (Eng.), to wear, -^he sported a new tile." 
Sport the oak (Eng.), to close the outer door, or Oak. 
Spot, to mark, to recognize. 
Spotted, known or marked. 
Spotter (Am.), a private detective, male or female, employed 

to spy on and report the shortcomings of employes on rail- 
roads etc. 
Spout, to preach. 

Spent, up the (Eng.), pawned. Also in difficulties or dead. 
Sponter, a preacher or orator. 
Sprag (Old Eng.), quick. See Merry Wives iv^ i. 

Digitized by 


SPR— SQU 361 

Sprat, an English sixpence. 

Sprat, a little insignificant boy. 

Spread, a meal. Also applied by schoolboys to butter. 

Spread, ««to make a," display. To spread oneself is to 

attempt to excel. 
Spread Eagle (Am.), flamboyant rhetoric; exaltation of 

the great American bird and the land of freedom. 

Spree (Eng.), a boisterous piece of merriment, a frolic ending 
in a drunk. Probably from the French BsfriL 

Sprint, a short foot race. A spurt 

Spronts, ^a course of," treatment of a rough character, dis- 
Sprang (Eng.), intoxicated. 
Spry (Am.), active, quick. 
SpndB, potatoes. 
Spun, rejected on examination* See Spin ante* 

Sponging honse, the SherifPs officers house to which per- 
sons arrested for debt were temporarily taken. The name 
referred probably to the extortionate charges made. Ref • 
erences to these places abound in Dickens, Thackeray and 
many English writers of the eighteenth and nineteendi 

Spunk, pluck, spirit 

Spunks, lucifer matches. 

Spunky, plucky. 

Spurt (Eng.), an effort at great temporary speed in a race, 
made in order to obtain a lead or to finish in front. 

Squab, a young pigeon. Also a short sofa. 

Squabby, flat, short and thick. 

Square, **on the square," honest, straightforward. The 
antithesis of ^^On the Cross." Sometimes emphasized <*On 

Digitized by 


a6j SQU 

the dead square.'' A <^quare man'' b one who will not 

••round" on you. 
Squared, settled with. 
Square up, to pay, to settle accounts. To be square with a 

man is to owe him nothing. 
Square, «<to come out;" to speak out without qualification. 

Squaring (Am.), although derived from the word which 
expresses perfect honesty, is one of those words which liave 
become ill-sorted and have fallen from grace. To •^act 
square" and to ^*do the square thing" are right and proper 
but when a man is <<squared" it often means that he has 
been **seen" or "made right;" that is that he has accepted a 
bribe to connive at some illegal or immoral action, to com- 
pound a felony or as blackmail. 

Squash, to crush or squeeze. 

Squatter (Am.), one who settles on land to which he has no 

Squatter Sovereignty (Am.), the right of actual settlers in 
territories of the United States to make their own laws. 
The p'nrase was much used by Stephen A. Douglas and his 
followers about 1856. 

Squaw (Am.), an adult female Indian. 

Squaw-man (Am.), a white man married to an Indian 
woman and sharing tribal rights and privileges. 

Squeak, ^a narrow squeak," an escape. 

Squeak, to inform, or "peach." 

Squeal (Am.), to inform or tell tales. 

Squealer (Am.), an informer. The word came into great 
notoriety during the whisky ring exposures, when nearly 
every "crooked" ganger and distiller joined the ignoble 
army of ^^uealers" in order to "get in out of the rain." 

Squeeze, to blackmaiL 

Digitized by 


SQU— STA 263 

Sgaeeie, silk. 

Sqneeae, the neck. 

Sqneeser (Old Eng.), the hangman's rope. 

Squiby a jeu cP esprit^ a skit or sareastic story. 

Squibs, paint brushes. 

gquimny-eyed (Old Eng.), squinting. See Z^ear^ iv. 6. 

Squinteni, the eyes. 

Squirm (Am.), to wriggle or twist about 

Squirt, a brainless fop, a contemptible fellow. 

Stab, to drink; <^tab yourself and pass the dagger," help 
yourself and pass the bottle. 

Stab; '<on the stab" ^Eng.), on the establishment, that is, 
on regular wages ana not paid by the piece. 

Stab-rag (Eng.), a tailor. 

Sta«k of whites; waiter's term for wheat cakes. A Stack 

OP Reds means buckwheat, and a Stack op Blubs com 

Stag, an English shilling. 
Stag (Eng.) to watch, <<stag his nibs with the done;** see the 

man with the girl. 

Stag, on the Stock Exchange, a speculator without capital. 

Stagger, to surprise. 

Stagger, one who is on the watch. 

Stagger, to try ; ^I will make a stagger at it anyhow.** 

Stag party (Am.), a party composed entirely of men. 

Stale (Old Eng.), a prostitute. 

Stale dnmk, a debauch carried over fromone day to another; 

unevapbrated fumes of liquor. 
Stalking Horse (Eng.), any bugbear persistently paraded; a 

person used as a pretence. 

Digitized by 


z6^ STA 

Stall (Eng.), a worker with pickpockets or otlier thieveii 

one who keeps watch or receives the plunder but does not 

do the actual act of theft. 
Stalls any dodge or imposition. Properly Stoll. 
Stalled^ stuck, as a horse is stalled in the mud. Shakespeara 

uses Stbllbd for set or fixed. 
Stall-olfy to put o£F or mislead; to screen a robbery. 
Stall your mug (Eng.), go away, get out of here. 
Stallflman, an accomplice. 
Stampede (Spanish), a g^eral outbreak of animals caused 

by fright In such cases on the plains whole herds of 

cattle rush madly away. The term has been transferred to 

scares among human beings. 
Stampers^ shoes. 
Stand in (Eng.), to share in a bet or any speculation, or to 

take a side in a dispute. To stand in with another is to 

share with him or to be friendly with him. 
Standing on Velvet (Eng.), betting so that whichever horse 

yrins the bettor cannot lose, while he may win. 
Stand Pad (Eng.), to stand on the sidewalk begg^g, or 

vrith a placard, ^I am starving** or something of that kind 

in order to incite charity. 
Stand Pat (Am.), to retain one's hand at draw-poker and 

not take any other cards. 
Stand treat or Stand Sam (Eng.), to pay for drinks or 

other eQtertainment for a friend. 
Star, the leading performer at a theatre. 
Staroiiy (Eng.), stuck-up, extra dignified, stiff in maimer. 
Stargazing (Eng.), looking up at the sky to the neglect of 

what is at one's feet. 
Stark (Eng.), stiff, cold, dead. 
Stark naked (Eng.), raw spirits. 

Digitized by 


STA— STI 265 

Stars and Stripes (Am.), the flag of the United States 

otherwise the Star Spangled Banner. 
Start, **a rum start," (Eng.), an odd occurrence. "To get the 

start" of one is to overreach or to anticipate him. 
Star the glaze (Eng.), to break a window, often done for 

purposes of robbery. 
Starrer, a very small loaf of bread. Otherwise a "duffer.** 
Stash it (Eng.), stop it; let up. 
Staving, great, strong. 

Stayer (Eng.), one not easily discouraged; a good long-dis- 
tance horse. 
Steep, extravagant, great; "the price is too steep." 
Steer (Am.), to steer one against a gambling game or other 

swindle, to induce him to play or speculate by false pretences. 
Steerer (Am.), one who lays in wait for "suckers" and 
I shows thtm where they can find a little game in which he 

has an interest. 
Steerii^r eommittee (Am.), a committee appointed to take 

charge of a political campaign. 
Steins, or Pipe-stems, the legs. 

Step and fetch it, a lame man; one with one leg shorter than 
- the other. Sometimes called Dot and Carry one. 
Step it, go away, make off. 
Stepper, the treadmill. 

Stepper, a "high stepper" is a well-dressed lively woman. 
Stemwheeler (Am.), a steamboat with one paddle-wheel 

placed at the rear, much used on the Ohio and Mississippi. 
Stick, a poor actor or a fellow of little account ; "a poor stick." 
Stick, in theatrical phrase, to break down in the dialogue. 
Stick, a billiard cue. 
Stickt **cut yonr,** go away. 

Digitized by 


266 STI— STO 

Sticker, a stayer, one who does not know when to quit or 
how to let go; one not easily gotten rid of. 

Btlokfhl, about twelve lines of type, as much as the compos- 
itor's **stick" will hold. 

Stiekings (Eng.), coarse and damaged meat 

Stickler, a very particular person. 

Sticks, f umitui'e. 

Stick, <«to stick a man" is to get in his debt or leave him in 
the lurch. 

Stick up, an Australian term for highway robbery in the 

Stick up for, to back up; to assist. 

Stiff (Am.), a corpse. 

Stiff (Eng.), an accommodation bill. To ^o a bit of stifP* 
is to negotiate a bill or <«fly a kite." 

Stiff (Am.), a lie or fake. 

Stiff (Am.), a worthless fellow. "An old stiff." 

Stiff ^nn (Eng.), see Sapb onb ante. 

Still dmnk, (Am.), a long continued drunk never reaching 
to a violent stage and never descending to sobriety. 

Stingo, (Eng.), strong ale. 

'This Franklin, sin, he brewed good ale 
And he called it rare old Stingo. 

Stinker, or Stinkerandos brand, a bad cigar. 
Stint (Am.), to stop. A stint of work is a certain task* 
Stir, a prison. From the Gipsy Stirabin. 
Stitcli, generic name for a tailor. 
Stived up, dose, sultry, not ventilated. 
Stock, Mto take stock in," to believe in one. To <<take stock 
of" one on the other hand is to ^ze him up," to scrutinize 

Digitized by 


STO— STR 167 

Stock (Am.), to stock cards is to arrange them for cheating 

«9nt the cards ther were ttodnd 

In a WSJ that I gnere 

And my feetings were shocked 

At the sUte of Nye's skere 

Which was staffed fiill of aces and bowers 

And the same with intent to deceive." 

^Bret ffarUt Heatkm Ckkm. 
Btooky ( Am.), short and stoutly built 
StoU (Gip.), to tmderstand. 
Stomach ( Eng.), to bear with. Mostly used in the negative 

as ^I couldn't stomach that'' 
Stone fence (Am.), a mixture of whisky and cider. 
Stone Jair (Eng.), a prison. Ainsworth's disreputable hero 

«In the box of a stone- jng I was bom 

Of a hempen widow the ud forlorn.** 

Stocky a pocket-handkerchief. A Stook Hauler is a 

handkerchief thief or pickpocket 
Stool-pigeon^ a decoy. One employed by the police to lead 

his associates into a trap. 
Stoop (Dutch), the front steps of a house. 
Story, a falsehood. • -^ 

Stot (Scotch), a young bullock. ^ 

Stoat (Old Eng. and Scotch), a cup. 
Stonghton bottle, a term of derision. 
Stowaway, one who hides on board ship to get a passage 

without paying. 
Stow it, (Eng.), or Stow your gab, leave off; quit talking. 

Synonymous with Stash, (f. t^.) 
Straddle, on the Stock Exchange, a contract under which 

the holder may either call for or deliver stock at a certain 

fixed price. 

Digitized by 


268 STR 

Straddle, at poker, to double the ante. 

Straddle-bog, a beetle. 

StralfiTht (Am.), undiluted spirits. See Nbat. 

Stralfirhtf honest, square, the opposite of Crookbd (^. v.) 

Stralfirht (Am.), m the game of Poker is a sequence of five 
cards. A straight may count either way from an ace as 
Ace, King, Queen, etc., or Ace, Deuce, Trey, etc. The 
game may be played Mrith or without straights as may be 

Straight as a string, honest 

Straight ticket (Am.), the ticket nominated by a political 
party caucus or convention and voted as a wmde, without 

Strap, a barber. 

Strapped, hard up, out of money* 

Straw bail, worthless bail furnished by professional bailors, 
who are **men of straw'* instead of men of wealth. Of old 
times in England men who were willing to become bail for 
others for a consideration hung about the courts with straws 
stuck in their shoes, as it was forbidden to openly solicit the 
job. Dickens has a reference to the practice in Pickwick. 

Straw, ««in the,** (Eng.), ladies are said to be so at their 

Streak, to decamp, to run away. 

Streak, a vein; ^a streak of good luck.** 

Streaked, tired out, sweated out 

Streaky, ill-tempered; irritable. 

Street, **the,'* Wall Street, New York City. 

Street Arabs, the gamins of the street, bootblacks, newsboys, 
et id genus omne. 

Stretch, a walk. 

Stretch, one year's imprisonment. 

Digitized by 


STR— STU 369 

Btrot^hf to han j^« 
Stretched^ hanged. 

'Tlie night before Lanj was stretched 
The boys they all paid him a Tbit 
A bit in their sacks too they fetched 
They sweated their dnds tdl they ib it" 

Stretcher^ a f alsehoodi one that requires a stretch of the im- 
agination to swallow it. 

Strike a Jigger, to pick a lock or break open a door. 

Strike it (Am.), or btrikb it rich, to make a success. 

Strike me, a Cockney asseveration ; often Strikb mb Blind. 

Striker (Am.), a ward striker or worker is a fellow who 
has or professes to have political influence in the neighbor- 
hood where he lives and who uses it for all it is worUi Mid 
strikes a candidate for money. 

Stringy «<to get in a** or to «<get in a line" is to hoax. 

String, <«with a string to it,'' (Am.), is said of an offer or 
promise made contingent on something else being done or 
subject to recall. 

Stripe, «<the right,** the right kind of pattern. 

Stroke, the leading oarsman in a boi^ the one who sets the 
pace and pulls the stroke oar. 

Strommel (Gip.), straw. 

Strong, to ^come it strong** or to <<pitch it strong,** explains 

Strong-minded, said of woman suffragists and advanced 
woman generally. 

Strack, impressed with. 

Struck it rich (Am.), having made a winning. 

Strack Oil (Am.), same as the foregoing; having become 
suddenly rich as those did who struck a flowing oil-welL 

Stab, to strike, as one stubs one's toe. 

Digitized by 


270 STU 

Stack, out of money, in distress. Also to be taken in. 
Stuck, to be stuck on a person or on any article it to be fond 

of him or it, thus Jones is stuck on a girl and the girl is 

stuck on candy* 
Stuck up (Eng.), purse-proud. 
Stuffy money. 
Stuff, to stuff a person, is to gammon or hoax him, to cram 

him with falsehood. 

Stump, to puzzle or confound. Also to challenge. See 

"It don't seem hardly right. Toha 
When both my hands was full 
To stump me to a fight, John 
Your cousin too, John BulL*' 

yonatkan to Johtu 

StumPf to go on foot* 

Stump, "to take the,'' (Am.), to make electioneering 
speeches in various places. Such speeches were formerly 
made from the stumps of trees, affording the speaker a 
vantage ground. 

Stumped, puzzled, unable to reply. 

Stumped (Eng.), knocked out, from the cricketing term. 

Stumper, a puzzler, an unanswerable question. 

Stump it, walk off; Stir your Stumps. 

Stump-speaker (Am.), one who speaks from the stump. 

Stumps, legs or feet. 

Stumptail (Am.), bank notes of doubtful value; depreciated 

paper currency. 
Stump up, to pay one's share. 
Stumpy (Eng.), money. 

Stunner (Eng.), anything astonishing or overwhelming. 
Stunning, very fine, large, a^^tonishing, first rate. 

Digitized by 



Qnbf a subaltern officer. 

Sub, one who fills a place temporarily in the absence of the 

regular employe; an abbreviation of substitute. 
Sub, to draw money in advance; probably from subsidize. 
Subjects, medical term for corpses. 
Suck, a drunkard. 
Suck, to pump. 
Suck, a parasite or flatterer. 
Suck Casa (Lingua Franca) a drinking house. 
Sucked in, deceived, swindled. See Roped in ante. 
Sucker (Am.), a resident of Illinois. 
Sucker, a victim of sharpers; a greenhorn. 
Sucking the monkey, stealing liquor from a barrel by means 

of a straw inserted through a gimlet hole. 
Sudden death (Eng.), in tossing where the first call decides, 

as differing from the "best two out of three.*' 
Sufferer, a tailor; one who g^ves tick and fails to collect 
Sugar, money. 
Sulky (Am.), a two*wheeled carriage. In France a des- 

Sundown (Am.), sunset. 

Sun in the eyes or Been in the sun, intoxicated. 
Sunup, sunrise. 
Supe or Super, abbreviation of supernumerary ; one who 

plays Roman citizens, soldiers, and other inferior parts in a 

Super, a watch. A "red super" is a gold watch; a "white 

super,'* a silver one. 
Supply, a clergyman who fills a pulpit temporarily during 

the absence of the regular pastor. 
Sure and Sure-enough;real, genuine, certainly. 

Digitized by 


a7a SUR— SWE 

BnrpilM Pftrty (Am.), a party of friends descend upon the 
house of a mutual friend imd take possession of it, each 
bringing some contribution toward a jollification. 

Snspendera (Am.), braces. 

Suspicion, a slight flavor, probably from the French soufc^n. 

Suspicion, *^to^ (Am.), often wrongly used for ««to suspect.** 

Swab (Sea term), an epaulet 

Swab (Sea term) a term of derision. 

Swag, (Eng.), plunder, baggage. 

Swagger, to put on s^le or Sidb (q. v.) The word is old. 
In King Henry /k, fart II^ Doll Tearsheet speaks of 
Ancient Pistol as a Swaggerer,** much to the alarm of Dame 
Quickly, who refuses to admit him until FalstafE assures 
her that Pistol is no ««swaggerer, but a tame cheater, who 
will not swagger with a Barbary hen if her feathers turn 
back in any show of resistance." 

Swagsman, one who carries off the proceeds of a robbery. 
Swaie, a tract of low land. 
Swallow-tail, a dress coat 

Swamped, in overwhelming trouble, as when one is head over 
heels in debt; ruined. 

Swankey, a mixture of molasses and vinegar; small beer. 
Swap or Swop, to barter or exchange. ^ 

Swashbuckler, or Swingebuckler, a bully. Formerly 
applied to a swordsman of the pattern of Ancient Pistol; 
^the cankers of a long peace" with a **horrid suit of the 
camp and a beard of the general's cut" 

Swath, <«to cut a wide" to live high ; to make a big splurge; to 

cut a figure in the world. 
Swear off, to take an oath to refrain from drinking. 
Sweatf to bleed, to extort money from. 

Digitized by 


SWE— SWI 273 

Sweat-box (Am.), a cell in which suspected persons are con- 
fined and subjected to examination by the police for the 
purpose of extorting confessions from them; an illegal 
method but often practiced. 

Bweath-cloth ( Am.^, part of the apparatus used by thimble- 
riggers and ^hell-workers." It can be spread out any- 
where and a game inaugurated at a moment's notice. 

Sweated (Eng.), said of gold coins which have been shook 
up in a bag to reduce their weight* 

Sweated, pawned. 

Sweater, a cheap tailor who pays starvation wages. Also 
applied to the poor devils who sweat for his benefit. 

Sweater, one who ♦^sweats'* gold coin. 

Sweep, a contumelious term. 

Sweet, ♦^to be sweet on," to be fond of. 

Sweetener, a bribe or gift 

Swell, a dressy man. In England the lower classes speak of 
anyone of superior position as a ^-swell." But there are 
many varieties of the genus, of which the ^^howling swell" 
is the most obnoxious. 

Swelled head (Am.), vanity. See Bio Head ante. 

Swig, to drink; also a drink. 

Swill (Am.), drink; to g^zle. 

Swill, to drink. Swill, which means hog-wash, is also 
applied to any inferior drink. 

Swiin,««in the," in good luck; in a good line of business; on 
the inside. 

Swing, to have one's full swing is to liave a good chance and 
unfettered action. 

Swing, to hang; to be hang^. 

Swinge, to beat with a wUp. 

Swingeing, large, powerful, as a <^wingeing blow." 

Digitized by 


274 SWI— SYN 

8wtpe, a sweeping^ blow; at cricket to hit hard with a full 

«wing of the bat. 
Swipes, sour or small beer. To Swipb is to drink. 
Swipey, intoxicated. 
SwiBliecl, flogged. 
Switch, to flog. 
Switch (Am.), to turn cars from one line of rails to another. 

In England the process is called Shunting. A switch is 

the movable rail by which this process is effected. 
Switch, a wisp of false hair used by women for their 

supposed adornment. 
Swiyel-eye, a squinting eye. See Boss-£yb and Cock- 

Eyb anie. 
Swizzle (Eng.), small beer. 
Swop or Swap, to exchange or barter. 
Swot or Swat, a blow, or to strike. 
Syne (Scotch), long ago, as <«Auld Lang S3me." 

Digitized by 


T wto suit to a T,'* to fit to a nicety. 

Tab, (Am.), a ticket; ^Ho keep tab** is equivalent to keeping 

tally or to score. 
Tabby, an old woman, one of cattish disposition. 
Tabby party^ a party composed entirely of women. 
Tabooed, forbidden, from the savage custom of setting apart 

certain things as being «<tabu;" that is, sacred and not to be 

Tack, <<hard,^ sea biscuit. 
Tacked, tied down, beaten. 
Tackle, harness. Also clothing. 
Tackle, to encounter a person either in argument or ph3r8ical 

contest; to seize hold of. 
Tackling, is used in New England to signify harnessing. 
Tads, small boys. 
Taffy, a Welshman. ^TaSy was a Welshman, TafiFy was a 

Taffy (Am.), candy. Also flattery. 
Tag (Am.), a slight touch; the name of a boy's game. 
Tag (Am.), a ticket. See Tab, ante. 
Tag-rag (Eng.), a mixed crowd; low people. 
Tailings (Am.), refuse ore. 
Take, the allowance of ^^copy** g^ven out to a compositor to 

Take (Eng.), to understand. 

Digitized by 


276 TAK— TAN 

Take» to succeed. 

Take a fkll, to down one in argument or physically. 

Take after, to resemble. 

Take down, to humiliate. 

Take in, to swindle or defraud. Used both as a verb and as 

a noun, a ^take in" being a swindle. 
Take it oat. To take it out of one is to thrash him or get 

even witn him. 
Taken in, arrested. See Run In. 
Take on, to g^eve or lament bitterly. 
Takes the cake (Am.), or takes the bun, or the bakery, etc. 

etc. Said of a tall fish story or of anything superlative. 
Take up, to adopt the cause of another or to accept a 

Take water (Am.), to back down. 
Talking shop (Eng.), talking business always, as a company 

of lawyers talking law or doctors discussing medicine. 
Talking turkey (Am.), speaking to the point. 
Tall, fine, extravagant. 
Tall talk (Am.), romance, brag, bombast 
Tally, "to keep," to keep count. This was formerly done 

with tally -sticks, but the word is now applied to any sjrstem 

of counting. 
Tan, to beat 

Tandem (Eng.), two horses in line. 
Tang, a sting. Shakespeare has it, ««She had a tongue with 

a tang." 
Tangle-foot (Am.), bad whisky. 
Tank, a man with an infinite capacity for liquor. 
Tanner, an English sixpence. 
Tantmms (Eng.), ill-temper. 

Digitized by 


TAP— TEA 277 

Tap, to extract inf onnation« 

Tape (Eng.), gin. 

Taper off, to quit drinking gradually. 

Tapsalterie (Scotch), upside down. 

Taradiddle, a falsehood. 

Tarbnuth. A person with neg^o blood in his veins is said to 
have ^had a dip of the tar-brush." 

Tarpaulin, a sailor. 

Tart (Eng.), a girl, generally applied to one of light behavior. 

Tartar, a savage fellow; a rough customer. To '^catch a 
Tartar'' is to tackle somebody who proves very hard to 
manage. A French soldier in Russia captured a Tartar 
and called out to his companions that he had done so. 
"Bring him along" was the order. **He won't come" said 
the soldier. "Then come without him." "I can't," said 
the Frenchman, "he won't let mc." 

Tatler, a watch. 

Tats, lice. 

Tats, old rags. 

Tatterdemalion (Eng.), a ragged vagrant 

Taw, a boys's marble. 

Taw, "come up to," to toe the mark. 

Tax-eater (Am.), one who holds political office, elective or 
appointive; a feeder at the public crib. 

Tax-fighter (Am.), one who resists the payment of taxes 
and contests them in court. 

Tea-fight (Eng.), a tea-party. 

Team or Teem (Old Eng.), to pour out. 

Team, "a whole team," (Am.), an expression of admiration. 

Tear, "on a," (Am.), on a spree or debauch. 

Digitized by 


278 TEC— TES 

Tec, a detective. Otherwise a ^Dee** or "D." 

Tee (Scotch), the winning mark at the game of curling. 

Teeney, small; from the Gipsy Tawnoj little. 

Teeter, to see-saw. 

Teeth, "to cut one's eye teeth," to be wide-awake, fly and 

Teetotaller, a total abstainer from drink. The term is said 

to have arisen from the efforts of an enthusiast who stuttered 

when trpng to express his t-t-total abstinence. 
Te he! to titter. 

Telegram, a despatch by telegraph. 
Telescope (Am.), in railroad collisions when the cars pass 

through each other in the smash-up. 
Tell, to tell good-by is to say farewell. 
Tell on, to tell about, to inform against. 
Ten Commandments, or Ten Talents, (the latter from 

talons) ; the ten fingers with which a virago threatens her 

opponent in a quarrel. 

Tend, to take care of or attend to, no longer holds that mean- 
ing in England, though it was used by Shakespeare and is 
still in use in this country. 

Tenderfoot (Am.), one newly arrived in the mming 

Ten-strike (Am.), a successful stroke, a thorough piece of 
work. From the game of ten-pins, where it means to 
knock down all the balls at one throw. 

Tepee, an Indian tent or wigwam. 

Terrier or Tarrier, a tough man, a loafer. 

Terror, «(a holy terror," (Am.), a hard man, a passionate 

Tester (Old), an English sixpence. 

Digitized by 


TEX— THO 279 

Texas (Am*), the upper deck of a Mississippi river steam- 
boat • 

Thank ye ma'ams (Am.), hollows or depressions in a road 
which cause vehicles to bump up and down. A young 
fellow driving a girl in a sleigh is permitted to kiss the girl 
at each of these, die same as taking toll at the bridges. 

Thatch^ a hat 

Thick, stupid. 

ThiGk» ««to be thick with one** to be intimate with hun. 

Thick, Mto lay it on to him,'' to flatter; to surfeit with 

Thick ^in, an English sovereign or pound sterling, other- 
wise a NsDDY. The latter was originally a guinea, or 
twenty-one shillings. 

Thimble, a watch. 

Thimble-rig /Eng.), a swindling game worked with three 
thimbles ana a pea, the ^^ucker" being induced to bet 
under which thimble the evasive pea is lodged. Similar 
to the Shsll-Gamb {f. v.) 

Thimble-twisters, watch thieves, those who snatch at the 

chain and break it 
Thin, ««too thin," not to be believed, too gauzy and flimsy a 

tale. Said to be an Americanism, but ti^ed by Shakespeare 

in the same sense. 
Thing, ^he thing," (Eng.^, the style, the proper proportion. 

Sometimes the **correct tning." 
Thin-skinned (Eng.), over nice, petulant, easily offended. 
Thirds, a widow's dower, being one-third of the estate of her 

Thirty (Am.), in the teleg^pher's code, means ^That's all, 

Thole (Old Eng.) to endure, to put up with. 

Digitized by 


28o THO— THU 

Thompson's oolt» Mstopid as." This animal is said to have 

swum the river in order to get a drink. 
Thousand of bricks, **to come down on one like a,** is to 

descend heavily on one, 
Thrap, to strike. 
Three-eard-men (Am.), gamblers who play monte and 

other swindling games and rob the unwary. 
Threo ^'Bs/' the, reading, (w)riting and 'rithmetic. 
Threo sheets in the wind (Sea term), unsteady from drink. 

Same as Halp-Ssas-Ovbr. 
Three-np (Eng.), a gambling game played with coppers or 

other coins. One man throws up three coins and another 

calls. The odd man loses or wins as may be agreed. 
Through, (Am.), finished. When a man has had enough 

to eat he says he is ^Hhrough..' 
Through the miH, a man who has bought and pud for his 

experience is said to have <«been through the mill." 
Throw over, to reject or abandon. 
Thrummer, an English threepenny bit 
Thrums, three pence. 
Thrums, remnants of silk or dress goods. 
Thrups or Thrips, three pence English. 
Thug, a thief, thumper and street loafer. From the Hindu. 
Thumper, a lie of large dimensions. 
Thumper (Am.), a rough or bully, a pugilist 
Thumping, large, fine or strong. 
Thunderbomb, an imaginary man o' war about which g^reat 

yams are spun. See Spidirbsn ante. 

Thundering, large, extra-sized. 

Thunder, ^stolen," the plans or speeches of some one else 
devoted to one's own purpose. 

Digitized by 


TIB— TIG 38x 

Tfb, theheacL 

Tibbing oiity in English schoolboy slang, going out of 

Tib's eve, an indefinite period like the Greek Kalends. 
Tick (Bng.), credit, trust 
Ticker, a watch. 
Ticker, the electric apparatus by which quotations of stock 

or grain, etc are recorded. 
Ticket (Am.), the list of candidates for office as prepared by 

the party leaders or by caucus or convention. 
Ticket, (^that's the," that's all right 
Tickler, a puzzle* 
Tickler, a register of bills payable and notes falling due kept 

by merchants and bankers. 
Tlddlywink (Eng.), the name of a game. 
Tidy, tolerably well. 
Tidy (Am.), an ornamental cover for a sofa or chair; known 

in England as an Anti-macassar. 
Tie, a dead heat; where two sides have equal numbers. 
Tied or Tied up, married. 
Tie to, to rely upon. 
Tiir (Eng.), a petty quarrel 
Tiffin, (Anglo Hindu) lunch. 
Tiny, easily offended. 
Tiger (Am.), a final cheer, <«three cheers and a tiger were 

Tiger, ««to buck thef* to play against the bank in a (gambling 

Tight, intoxicated. 
Tigbt, dose, hard. The money market is said to be ^^tight" 

whra discounters hold off. 

Digitized by 


ate TIG— TIN 

TiirMUttle isUuid; Great Britain. 

TlcrM place «<to be in a,** to be in diflSculty or danger, or to 
be short of money. 

Tightener, a hearty meal. 

Tights, coverings for the lower limbs worn by ballet-girls 
and dioms singers and by a certain class of actresses. 

TikeorTyke,a dog. 


Tile looae, «got a;^ not quite right in the head. 

TUter, same as Tbbtsr, a see-saw. 

TImher (Am.), woodland. 

Timber-merchant (Eng.), a pedler of matches. 

Timber-toes, a wooden-legged man. 

Time, «<doing time," working out a sentence of imprison- 

Time o' day, ^to be fly to the,'' is to be smart, sharp, knowing, 
up to all the tricks on the board, to know whales o'clock. 

Time, ((to call," in the language of the prize ring, the sig^nal 
to begin or to renew a flght. 

Time, ((to have a good," f Am.), or a <<high old time," is to 
go on a spree or debaucn or to indulge in pleasure. 

Tin, money. 

Tine (Scotch), to lose. 

Tinge (Eng.), a percentage allowed to dry goods salesmen 
on such inferior or old-fashioned articles as they can work 
off on customers as ^bargains". Otherwise known as 

Tinker's Bam. Menders of pots and kettles make a «klam" 
of bread to prevent the solder from wasting. The bread is 
d course worthless after this and ^not worth a tinker's 
dam" is synonymous with absolute worthlessness. 

Digitized by 


TIN— TIB 383 

Tinkler^ a bell* «Jerk the tinkler,'* ring the bell, <tf ««igitate 

the communicaton" 
Tin-pot, small, petty, shabby, worthless. 
Tin wedding (Am.), celebration c^ the tenth anniyenwy of 

a marriage. 
Tip (Eng.), advice or information respecting anything, but 

especially applied to racing matters; **a straight tip" is one 

which comes direct fronl an owner or trainer and which is 

supposed reliable. 
Tip, in bookbinding, to insert new pages in a printed book in 

place of defective pages. 
Tip, a douceur or small gift to servants, waiters, etc. In 

France paur-baire. 
Tip the wink, to inf omu 
Tip, «to miss one's tip," to fail in a scheme or undertaking* 

Tipper, ale. Mrs. Gamp's favorite drink When she ^^malted,** 
was the ^^Brighton tipper." 

Tipster, one who furnishes tips on races; otherwise known 
as a "Sporting Prophet" 

Tip-top« first-rate, of the best kind; away up. 
Tip-topper, a swell or dressy man; a high-flyer. 
Tip us your fin, shake hands. 

Tired, ^you make me," (Am.), is said to one who tells a 
stupid story or who bothers a person. 

Tiah, among tradesmen, an allowance made to emplojres for 
disposing of inferior goods. See Tinob ante. 

Tit (Eng.), a horse. 

Tit for tat (Eng.), an equivalent, retaliation. 

Titivate (Eng.), to put in order or dress up. Probably from 

Titley, drink. 

Digitized by 


3g^ TIT— TOM 

Titmaii, the small pig of a litter, the runt 

Titter^ a girL 

Tizzy or Tester (Eng.), sixpence. 

Toad in the hole (£ng.), a batter pudding with a jnece of 

meat in it 
Toasting- fork (Bng.), a regulation army sword. 

Toby, the highway. **On the high toby," on the main road. 
Bjrron uses the expression in Don Juan* 

Tod, a drink, abbreviation of Toddy. 

Toddle, to saunter about, to walk as a child. 

Toddle, get away. 

Toddy, spirits and water. See Grog ante. 

To-do, a disturbance, trouble "here's a pretty to-do." 

Toe, to kick. 

Toe the mark, to come forward, to «H:ome up to the scratch," 

to respond when called. 
ToiT (Eng.), a swell; a dressy man. 
Tog, a coat, from the Latin toga. 
Togged ont, dressed. 
Togs or Toggery, clothing. 
Toke, dry bread. 

Tol-lol or Tollolish, tolerable, fair. 
ToU-shop, a prison. 
Tom and Jerry, a mixed drink; also applied to a drinking- 

house. Tom and Jerry were characters in Pierce Egan's 

Life in London. 
Tomboy, a hoyden, a romping girl. 
Tombstone, a pawn-ticket "in memory of* whatever may 

have been pawned. 
Tomfoolery, nonsense. 

Digitized by 


TOM— TOO a85 

Toinmy^ bread, food generally. A Tommybag it that in 
which food is carried. 

Tommy Atkins, generic term for an English private soldier. 

Tommy Dodd, pitch and toss, where the odd man wins or 
loses as the agreement may be. 

Tommy master (Eng.^, one who pajrs his workman in 

fl, goods or store orders instead of cash. See Truck. 

Tommy rot (Eng.), nonsense. 

Tommy-shop (Eng.), a baker's shop, or a shop where work- 
men take out goods instead of pay in cash* 

Toney (Am.), fancy, swellish. 

Tongae, <*to giTO," to talk, or in the case of fox-hounds to 
yelp or bark when the fox is found. 

Too bigli for bis nat (Am.), too good for any one, otherwise 

«Hoo rich for his blood." 
Tool (Eng.), to drive. 

Tool, «a poor tool,** a bad hand at anjrttilng; a duffer. 
Tooler (Eng.), a jnckpocket A Moll-toolbr is a female 

Tooley street tailors, self -conceited persons who claim to 

speak for the people at large. Three tailors of Tooley 

street, London, once presented a petition to Parliament 

b^^inning ««We, the people of En gl and." 

Toom (Scotch), empty. 

Toot (Am.), a spree. 

Toot^ <(on a," on a drunk. 

Toothy ««old in the tooth," far advanced in age. Simile 
drawn from the stable, as the age of horses cannot be told 
by the teeth after they are seven or eight years old. 

Too thin, not satisfactory, too evident to deceive. Shake- 
speare has it with exactly this meaning. 

Digitized by 


286 TOO— TOU 

Tootsies, ladies or children's feet 

Top-heayy, drunk. 

Top notch, the highest point attainable. 

Topped, hanged. 

Topper, a blow on the head. 

Topper, an3rthing above the ordinary. 

Top-piece, a hat, tile or **dicer.'* 

Top sawyer, a master or head of his trade; originally the man 
at the upper end of a whip-saw. 

Topsy-turvy (Old Cant), upside down. 

Top-up, a finishing drink. 

Torch (Am.), a cigar or cigarette. 

To rights, <«dead to rights," excellent, very good, positive. 

Tom up, agitated, worried, grieved. 

Tory, in England the Conservative party. During the 
Revolutionary War the term was applied to the royalist 
sympathizers. Tory is practically synonymous with retro- 

Tot, an infant. 

Tot, a small glass. 

Tote (Am.), to carry. 

Tottie, a young girl, not a complimentary term. 

Tot-up or Tote-up, to reckon or count; to add together a 
column of figures. 

Touch (Am.), to obtain money from one, as a political 
worker will "touch" a candidate for an]rthing from a **V'* 

Tou<di, to extract money from a person, either by blackmail 
or larceny. 

Touch-and-go, very near; a close shave. 

Touched, robbed or blackmsuled. 

Digitized by 


TOU— TRA 387 

Toacher, <Htt near as a,** as near as possible without actually 

coming in contact 
Touch fleshy an invitation to shake hands. 
Touchiiig oommittee (Am.), a self-appointed gang of pol- 

iticans and ward workers who ^bleed" candidates for office. 

Touchy, pevish, irritable. 

Tough (Am.), a street loafer and bar-room bully. 

Tonre (Gip.), to look out, to see. 

Tout, a solicitor for trade, such as stand outside cheap cloth- 
ing stores and importune passers-by. Cheap hotels employ 
touts at the railway depots to ^rope in'* travelers and 

Tout, to watch or solicit. 

Tout, in sporting phraseology, one who watches race horses 
at exercise and reports to his employer as to their condition 
and performances. 

Touter, a hotel runner. 

Touzle (Scotch), to romp with or tumble. Touzy is 
tumbled or disheveled. 

To wake snakes (Am.), to get into trouble. 

Towel (Eng.), to beat or whip. A cudgel was formerly 
known as an Oaken Towel. 

Towelling, a beating or rubbing down with an Oaken 

Tow-head, a person with light hair. 
Tracks, «no make,** (Am.), to go away. 
Trade (Am.), to barter or exchange, to sell or dicker. 

Tradesman (Eng.), a mechanic or artisan; one who 
thoroughly understands his business. 

Trail (Am.), a path; the track left by man or animals. To 
"camp on tiie trail*' is to follow in close pursuit. 

Digitized by 


388 TRA— TRE 

Trailer ^Am.), the street cars on the cable lines which are 
drawn Dj the **g^p'* 

Trailing one's coat, trying to get up a row, as the Irishman 
did at Donnybrook Fair by trailing his coat for somebody 
to tread upon. 

Train, to teach, to bring up. 

Train, «*to train with,** to associate with. 

Training-muster, in New England, the annual gathering of 
the militia or National Gruard for exercise and instruction. 

Tramp, a traveling vagabond who works when he must, 
steals when he can and begs at all times. After the panic 
of 1873 a great many men who had been thrown out of 
work in the cities started to tramp the country in the hope 
of finding work and to these the above definition does not 
apply. But now-a-days the tramp who is honest and will- 
ing to work if he could get work to do is a rara avis. 

Translator, a cobbler who revamps old boots and shoes* 

Trap, a detective. 

Trap (Eng.), a light carriage with two wheels. 

Trapes, to gossip and gad-about. 

Trapesing, untidy, draggletailed. 

Traps (Eng.), baggage, personal effects. 

Trash, the leaves of the sugar cane. 

Trash, anytlung paltry or contemptible; worthless. See 
Whitb Trash. 

Traveler, a tramp's name for tramps. 

Treasury, in theatrical parlance, the pay department of a 
theatre. *'No treasury'* means no salary. 

Treaty to pay for a drink or dgar for another person. 

Tree, ^up a tree," (Am.), in difficulties. 

Treed (Am.), cornered, caught, as a 'coon or other animal 
when compelled to seek rehige in a tree* 

Digitized by 


TRE— TRU 289 

Trews (Scotch), tight fitting trousers. 
Trim^ to beat, •*I'll trim your jacket" 
Trimmings, the necessary adjuncts to anything cooked. Sam 

Weller was invited to a "swarry" by the swell footmen of 

Bath; the refreshments consisting of a boiled leg of mutton 

and trimmings. 
Troll, a method of fishing by means of a line trailed from a 

boat in motion. 
Trollop, a slatternly woman. 

Trolly, a cart or two- wheeled convejrance used for freight. 
Trot out, to draw out or to exploit. 
Trotter oases, shoes. 
Trotters, feet 

Track (Am.), vegetables, •^garden-sass.^ 
Truck, to exchange or barter. 

Truck, to deal with. **I don't want any truck with you.** 
Truck-patch, a piece of ground used for raising vegetables 

Trucks, trousers* 
Truck system, that under which miners and other workmen 

are compelled to take a g^eat part of their pay in orders on 

a store mantmned by their employers. 
Trull (Old Eng.), a common woman or slut; a ^tinker's 

Trump, a good fellow, ^a regular trump.'' 
Trump, to play a trump card is to score a success. To turn 

up trumps is to meet with good luck. 
Trust, a combination of manufacturers or dealers for the 

purpose of limiting production and advancing prices, or one 

of railroads, gas companies and other corporations for their 

own benefit and to the detriment of the public* See 

CoMBiNS ante. 

Digitized by 


290 TRY— TUR 

Try-on^ a dodge or attempt at extoition or overcharge; an 

attempt to swindle. 
Tub (Eng.), to bathe. 

Tub tbumper^ a preacher, ustially applied to itinerant ranters. 
Tuck (Eng.), schoolboy's term for food, fruit, pastry etc 
Tuckered out (Am.), tired out. 
Tuck in or Tuck out (Eng.), a hearty meal; «a good tuck 

Tuck on, to add to the price. 
Tuft (Eng.), a University swell, from the gilded tufts on the 

caps of fellow^commoners, who are wealthy men and often 

the sons of noblemen. 
Tufthunter, (Eng.). a hanger-on to persons of wealth and 

distinction. See Tuft ante. 
Tulip (Eng.), a complimentary term applied to a man or boy 

"How are you, my tulip?" 
Tumble^ to understand; to "fall." 
Tumble-bug, a beetle. 

Tune the old cow died of; any discordant music, 
Tup^ horse racing and betting thereon. 
Tup^ "on the," as to men those connected with racing and 

betting on races; as to women synonymous with "on the 

Turn, "to call the,** to guess right. In the game of faro 

when three cards are left in the box the player who can 

name the order in which they will come out "calls the 

turn" and wins accordingly. 
Turnip, an old fashioned watch. 
Turn it up, to quit, change or abandon. 
Turn out (Eng.), a carriage and horses. 
Turnpike sailors, beggars who pretend to be shipwrecked 


Digitized by 


TUR— TWO 391 

Torn ap^ to appear unexpectedly, *^mething may turn up." 
Mr. Micawber was always waiting for something to turn 

Tom up, an impromptu fight 

Turpentine State, North Carolina. 

Tnsheroon, an English crown piece; five shilling^ 

TuMle, a struggle, row or argument. 

Tussle, to struggle or wrestle with. 

Twaddle, idle talk, rubbish. 

Twelver, an English shilling or twelve pence. 

Twig, to comprehend, same as Tumble or Catch on, 

"A landsman said, I twi^ tlie cove 

He's been upon the mul 
And 'cos he gammons so the flats 

We calls him Veeping BilL" 

Twist, appetite. 

Twist, brandy and gin mixed. 

Twitchety, nervous, fidgetjr. 

Twitter, to tremble^ 

Twitter, to sing. 

Two-eyed-steak (Bng.), a herring or bloater. 

Two-handed, expert with the fists. 

Two penny or Tupp'ny (Eng.), the head. At the game of 

leap-froe one boy will call to another to ^tuck in iiis 

Two-penny half-penny (Eng.), paltry, small. The 

American equivalent is Picayunish (y. v.) 
Two-penny rope (Eng.), a low lodging house where the 

bed clothing, such as it is, is suspended h*om or fastened to 

ropes as a guard against the predatory habits of the lodgers. 

In the morning the rope is pulled up as a signal that it is 

time to arise. 

Digitized by 


292 TWO— TYP 

Two to one (Btig.), the pawnbroker's sign, it being two to 
one that you never again see the article pawned. 

Twoaponten (£ng.), two eyes upon ten fingers; a signal 
for watchfulness in shops when a person suspected of shop- 
lifting is noticed. Shortened to Two Pun' ten, it passes as 
a money term £2^ los, od. and if it is not convenient to call 
out, that amount is written on a piece of paper and handed 
to the clerk* 

Tycoon, the master or "boss/* often **Big Tycoon." From 
the Japanese rulen 

Tyke or Tike (Bng.), a dog. 

Typo^ a compositor. 

Digitized by 



Ugly, is used in the Northern States of the Union as an 
equivalent for ill-tempered. In England it means ill-favored| 
unpleasant to look upon. 
Ullages, dregs of wine left in glasses and bottlea» 
Unde (Am.), a term applied to an old neg^o man* 
Unde Sam, the tutelary genius of the United States. 

An je icebergs mtke salaam 

You bekmg to Unde Sam.— >9r/# ffarU. 

The phiase 'IJiicIe Sam" arose daring the war of i8i2 with En^aad. An 
armj contractor named Elbert Anderson had astoreyardata small town on 
the Hudson. A goremment ins^ctor named Samuel Wilson* who was 
ahrajs called *'Uncle Sam,** snpermtended the examination of the supplies, 
and when they were passed each cask, box, or package was marked **£• A. — 
U. S.,** the initials ot the contractor and of the United States. The man 
whose duty it was to mark the casks, being asked what the letters meant, 
replied that they stood for Elbert Anderson and "Uncle Sam.** The story 
was letoldt printed, and spread throughout the army and the country. 

Underaoloady in difficulties. 

Understandings, boots or feet 

Understudy, one who studies a part for the stage with a 

▼iew to taking the place of the regular actor or actress in 

case of their failure to appear. 
Under the rose, under the obligation of silence and secrecy. 

Usually quoted in its Latin form of sub rosa. 
Unfortunate, an euphemism for a woman of the town, 

derived from Thomas Hood's famous poem: 

**One more nnfortnnafee 

Wearjr of breath 
Rashly importimate 

Gone to her death." 

Digitized by 


394 UNL— USB 

Unlii^Eed^ ill-trained, loutish, rude. 

Unload, on the Stock Exchange or Board of Trade, t6 sell 
out stock* 

Unterrified (Am.), an adjecdve often applied to the Dem- 
ocratic party. 

Unwashed, ««the great^ (Bng*)* the lower classes. 

Up, has many meanings. To be up to a thing or two is to 
be dever, knowing. To put a man up to anjrthing is to 
post him, or teach him a trick. ^AU up" means that it is 
all over with him and ^what's up?** signifies ^what is the 

Upper crast, the higher classes of sodety* 

Upper story, the head. 

Upper ten or Upper ten thoosand, the EngUsh aristocracy 
and the higher class of gentry. The New York equivalent 
is McAllister's «*40O." 

Uppish, proud, arrogant. 

Upright man, a Gipsy or initiated rogue. 

Up the flame (Am.), ruined. 

Up the spont^ pawned. 

Up to dicky is about equal toUPTo SNUPPy that is knowingi 

Udod iq^f tiredt beaten* 

Digitized by 


Tftfff <*to Tag**!!! police parlance, is to run a man in as a 
Yi^boad; one without visible means of support. 

Taney tan (Am.), bad whisky. 

Tamoae (Span), to go. ^Vamose the ranch," leave the 

Tamp^ to cobble or tinker up. 

Taqnero (Spaa), a horseman or cattle tender. 

Varmint, a corruption of vermin, an opprobrious term. The 
returned convict in Crreai Bxfectatums speaks of himself 
in the third person as a <«poor varmint** 

Tamisher, one who passes imitation gold coin; otherwise a 
Snidb-pttchbr (f. 9.) 

Canity (Eng.), either University; Oxford or Cambridge. 

Velvety («to stand on,** when a bookmaker has so shaped his 

I operations on a race by hedging that he cannot lose and 

i stands to win on one or more horses he stands on velvet 

' Velvet also means winnings at any game of chance. 

Vendue (French vendre to sell), a public auction. In Scot- 
land it is called a Roup (f*9.) 

Veneer, artificiality, polish, conventionality. 

Veat-poeket vote. Citizens who object to party dictation or 

, who for other reasons do not care to accept tickets from the 
pedlers at the polls prepare them at home and carry them, 
(usually in the vest pocket as being handiest) to the polls. 

Veaty <«pull down your^ one of the absurd street sajrings 
wUch from time to time flourish and iade. It had a run 

Digitized by 


a96 VET— VOY 

some yean ago but is now happily heard no more and 
scarcely deserves mention* 

Yety a Teterinary sorgeon. 

TigUaiioe Oommittoe ( Am.), a sdf-appdnted organization 
for the purpose of punishing criminals who have g^ne un- 
whipped of justice. The most famous was that which 
^^regulated" San Francisco; the most recent that which 
hanged and shot the -^Mafia" suspects at New Orleans. 

Tim, spirit, energy. 

▼PTiiVW (Fiencb), a Canadian boatman. 

Digitized by 



'Wabster (Scotch), from WeB^ a weaver. 

Wabble or Wobble^ to move from side to side, to roll about 

Wad (Am.), a roll of bills. 

Wadt a lunch or light meal. 

Wake (Irish), the friends of a dead man sit up all night with 
the corpse, the usual accompaniments bdng large quantities 
of whisky and much tobacco. 

Wake^ an English country fair. 

Waking Snakes (Am.), getting into trouble. 

Waking up the wrong passenger, making a mistake in the 
man as is sometimes done by thieves on sleeping-can and 
steamboats, who attempt to rob a man whom they suppose 
to be asleep and find him too much for them. 

Walker, sometimes Hooksy Walksr, an ejaculation of in- 

Walking-papers, «Ho get one's^^^is to be discharged from 

Walk Into, to overcome, to demolish, to scold or thrash. It 

"" also means to get in debt, ^He walked into the tradesmen ;'' 
and sometimes to *<walk into the grub,*' L e. to eat a big 

Walk-OTer, when there is no opposition one hone walks 
over the course and his owner claims the stidces. An un- 
opposed election is a walk-over. 

Walk Spanishf to make a man come up to time* 

Digitized by 


398 WAL— WAT 

Walk iViAlieqMMrion which may be friendly or the ccm- 

trary. There is a great difference between «<Walk up 

Moriarty" and ««Moriarty, walk up." 
Walk your chalks^ to walk straight or to behave properly. 

A drunken man finds great difficulty in walking along a 

chalk line. 
WaUflower, those who at a ball do not dance, either from 

lack of inclination or of partners, and who while the danc- 
ing is going on range up against the walls. 
WaUop, to beat or trash. 
WaUoplngy a thrashing. Also used as an adjective to 

express size, greatness. 
WampmuL (Indian), strings of shells or beads used as 

Warm (Eng.), rich. 
Warm, to thrash. ««ni warm your jacket** Also to abuse; 

to make it hot for anybody. 
Warmliigt-pany one who holds an office or a benefice until 

another shall have become qualified to take it 

Warming-pan, an old-fashioned gold watch of considerable 

Warm with (Eng.), hot spirits and water with sugar. 

Warpaint, full dress. 

Warpath, "on the/' (Am.), ready for a fight 

Wash, ««that wonV' that will not stand investigation; any- 
thing not genuine. 

Washed out, faded, sickly-looking. 

Wash-out (Am.), where a roadway, bridge or railroad em- 
bankment is carried away by a flood. 

Waste, to reduce one's weight by training. 

Watdlimaker, a pickpocket or watch-thief. 

Watoh cat (Am.)) look out 

Digitized by 


WAT— WEL 999 

Water; to water stock Is to increase the ca^tal stock of a 
railroad or other corporation without receiving valiie lor 
the stock thus issued. 

Water bewitched (Sea), very weak tea er grof* 

Watering stock. SeeWxTBRoiv^ 

Wattles^ ears. 

Waxy (Bng.), a rage. 

Waxy to beat or overcome. 

Weak-kneed, undecided, not reliable. 

Weak Sister, any person who cannot be relied upon. 

Wearing the willow, is said of one disappointed in love: 

An round 1117 hat I wean a green willow; 
An round mr hatt for a twdremonth and a daj 
If anv one should ask me the reason why I do so^ 
I tdTs 'em for my tnie lore that's far, far awaj. 

Wears the breeches, said of a wife who runs the house her 
own way and whose husband has nothing to say about 
family matters. 

Weather eye, a cautious eye. One who keeps a sharp look* 
out is said to ««keep his weather eye open." 

Wedge (Old Cant), silver. 

Wee (Scotch), little. 

Weed, a cigar, or tobacco in any form. 

Weed, a mourning hat band. 

Weeds, a widow's mourning. 

Weighing in, in racing phraseology, jockeys wdghing 
before the race. 

Weight-for-age, v^here horses are penalized according^ to 
their ages, and not, as in handicaps, according to their per- 
formances. Thus a five year old may cany 14 to ao 
pounds more than a three year old. 

Wekber or Welsher (Bng.), the pests of a race-course who 

Digitized by 



joo WEL— WHA 

make bets with(mt ever intending to pay and abscond when 
tlie race goes against them. 

Welt^ to thrash with a stick* 

Wench, an English provincialism for a yomig girl or servant 
man; in the United States applied to a negress. 

Wet, a drink, a drain. 

Wet Blanket, a kill- joy ; to dampen one's prospects. 
Wet groceries (Am.), spirituous liquors* 
Wet Night (Eng.), an all-night debauch* 
Wet the other eye, take another drink. 
Wet your whistle, (properly wM^ to sharpen); to take a 

Whack, a share or lot. 

Whaok, a blow; to whack, to beat. 

Whacker, a lie of fair and full proportions; a Boxtncbr 

(y. V.) 
Whacking, a thrashing. 
Whacking, large, fine, strong. 
Whacks, ««to go," to divide equally. 
Whack np, to pay or to divide. 
Whale (Am.), to beat or thrash. 
Whale, *^ery like a,*' said of anjrthing improbable. See 

Whaling (Am.), a thrashing. 

Whangdoodle (Am.), this mysterious animal, like the 

<<gyascutis" of circus fame, has never been beheld of man 

and its attributes and habits are entirely unknown. 
Wharf-rat, a dock loafer and thief, who steals rope and 

thing else he can reach from ships at anchor or in^ 


Digitized by 


WHA— WHI 301 

What's o'clock, «to know,'* to be "up to the time of day," 
to be knowing, cunning. 

Wbeelhorse (Am.), a leader; ^ihe wheelhorses of the 
Democratic Party/* 

Wheels, ^-to grease the,** to furnish money for carrying out 
a scheme. 

Wlteeae. a joke or anecdote not properly in the play but in- 
troduced by an actor on his own account; same as Gag 

(f. V.) 

Wherewithal, money. 

Whet, to sharpen; an appetizer. 

Whlds, (Old Eng.), words. ««Cut bien whids,*' (Gip.), 

speak good words. 
Whig, in England a member of the moderate Liberal party; 

during the Revolutionary War one who was loyal to the 

United States. 
Whlm-wham, nonsense, rubbish, f andfulness. 
Whip (Am.), to surpass, to thrash. 
Whip, to take up quickly. 

Whip, in the English House of Commons, the member 
charge with the duty of keeping his party together and 
having them ready to vote when necessary. 

Whipper-snaiNper (Eng.), a diminutive insignificant person. 

Whipping the devil aroimd the fftmnp, publicly denoun- 
cing some habit or practice and yet excusing it under 
certain circumstances; in other worcb preaching one tiling 
and practicing another. 

Whipsawed (Am.), left in the lurch. 
Whisper, a tip, information given secretiy. 
Whisper, to borrow money in small sums. 
Whisperer, a constant borrower. 

Digitized by 


303 WHI 

"Wliirtle, ^clean as a;" neat, cleverly done. 

"Wliistle, «*to pay for one's," to pay extravagantly for any 

WUstle, "to wet one's,'' to drink. See Wet Your 

Wliistlinsr-sliop (Eng.), an unlicensed liquor-house. 
"White Caps (Am.), irregular regulators of public morals; a 

sort of northern Ku-Klux. 

WUtechapel, in tossing coppers, where the "best two out 
of three" wins. 

Whitechapel, anything mean or paltry. 

White Choker, a white necktie of the kind affected by 

clergyman, lawyers and doctors and worn as full-dress. 
White eye, bad whisky; Same as Red-Eye (y. v.) 

White-feather, "to show the," to display cowardice. A 
game-cock with a white feather in his wing or tail is^ not 
pure bred and generally "flies the pit." 

White lie, a mild variety of falsehood. 

White liners (Am.), a political party in Louisiana opposed 
to neg^o domination. 

White-livered, cowardly. 

White prop, a diamond pin. 

White satin (Eng.), gin. 

White Sergeant, a wife who "wears the breeches." 

White trash (Am.), the poor whites of the South. 

White 'un (Eng.), a silver watch. 

Whitewash, to rehabilitate; a bankrupt or insolvent is 

"whitewashed" by process of court 
White wine (Eng.), gin. 
White wings (Am.), poached eggs. 

Digitized by 


WHI— WIG 303 

Whittle (Old Eng.), a knife. <<A Sheffield whittle bore he 
in his belt" Chaucer. 

WhitUe (Am.), to cut with a pocket knife. 

Whole Cloth (Am.), a lie made out of whole cloth is one 
without any substratum of truth. 

Whole hoir or none, ^to go the," to do anything thoroughly 
or not at all. 

Whole team (Am.^, a good fellow is a whole team and 
superlatively *<witn a big yellow dog under the wagon." 

Whoop her up; to make things go. 

Whop, to trash or beat; a corruption of whip. 

Whopper, a lie; anjrthing large. 

Whopping, a beating. 

Wide-awake (^Am.), abroad-brimmed soft hat, otherwise 
known as a billycock, (Eng.) 

Wide-awake (Eng.), knowing, smart. Compare Up to 
SnuItf and"FLY.'^ 

Wideawakes (Am.), a political organization, largely com- 
posed of marching dubs, named from the slouch hats worn 
by the members. It was formed in 1859 ^^ ^^ ^ prom- 
inent factor within the Republican party. 

Wide (Eng.), knowing, wide-awake. 

Wide open /Am.), **to run things," is to go on without 
much care for results; to cut a big swath. 

Widow, in card games, an extra hand which may be taken up 
by the players in turn. 

VHibf in thieves cant, a fetter fastened on one leg. 

Wigging (Eng.), a rebuke or scolding. 

WigglOy to wriggle about, to bend the body from side to side. 

Wigwam (Indian), an Indian cabin, lodge or tepee, shaped 
like a tent. 

Digitized by 


304 WIL— WIR 

Wlldy vexed, cross, passicmatei mad. 

Wild-cat (Am.), country bank-notes of more than doubtful 

reputation. Also known as Red Doo and Stumptail. 
Wild oatf /Eng.), youthful pranks, dissipation; fast young 

men are said to ^^sow their wild oats.** 
William^ a bill. 
WiUow^ a cricket bat 
Wilt, to wither, to droop. 
Windy empty talk, bragadocdo, gas« 
Windy "to raise the," to procure money. 
Windy ««to slip one's,** to die. 
Windbag, a bloviant braggart 
Windfall, fruit shaken down by the winds. Also a slice of 

unexpected luck, or aleg^acy. 
Windows, the eyes; poetically *«the windows of the soul;** 

in slang known as <«peepers.** 
Winey (Eng.)/mtoxicated. 
Winged* shot in the arm or shoulder. 
Winkingy «like,** very quickly. 
Wipe, a handkerchief. 
Wipe, a blow, to strike. 
Wiped out, dead. 

Wipe-out (Am.), to destroy or finish. 
Wiping one^seyey taking a drink. 
Wire, to telegraph. 
Wire iny go in with a vrill; advice given by bystanders to a 

boy in a street fight 
Wire-puller (Am.), a political **fine worker,** who sets up 

plans for the election of candklates and the passage or 

defeat of legislative measures. 
Wire-pulling (Am.), political manipulation. 

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WIS— WOR 305 

Wisdom toothy a large back tooth which does not make its 
appearaace until long after all the others, when a person 
has presumably arrived at the age of discretion. 

Wise woman^ a midwife. The French call hist sage»femme. 
Wishy-washy, weak, insipid. 

inth a string to it (Am.), a gift or donation made con- 
ditionally and subject to witMrawal. 

Wobbler, a f dbt soldier. 

Wobbly, rickety, unsteady. 

Wolf; to eat ravenously; to rob. 

Wolf; a hard man, a bargain-driver or extortioner. 

Wollop, to beat. 

Woodbine, ««gone where the woodbine twineth;** passed 

awsy; out of sight. 
Wooden overcoat, a coflSn. 
Wooden wedding (Am.), the fifth anniversary of a 

Wood up (Am.), to load a steamboat with wood for fueL 
Wool, to tear the hair. 

Wool-gathering, wandering in mind; in a reverie. 
Wool OTcr the eyes, ««to pull the,*' to impose upon one. 
Wooly (Bng.), a blanket. 
Wooly (Eng.), out of temper. 
Work, to plan, to scheme, to victimize. 
Working the orade, maneuvering, scheming. 
Worm, a policeman. 
Worm-fence, an irregular rail fence, otherwise a Snakb 

Worriment, trouble, worry. 
Worrit (Old Eng.) to worry or scold. 

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3o6 WRA— WUN 

Wrathy, angry. 

Wrestle, to strive with, as a boy wrestles with his lessons or 
a man with a tough job of work. 

Wrinkle, an idea; a dodge or trick. 

Wmmer, a Cockneybm for "one *er." The Marchioness 
uses it in the Old Curiosity Shop^ to express her apprecia- 
tion of the manifold virtues of Miss Sally Brass. 

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Tack (Gip.), a watch. 

Taboo, a low-class, vulgar person. See Swift, GuUiver^s 


Tarns, stupid people. 

Tank, to pull or jerk. 

Tankee, popular name for New Englanders. The English, 
who sp^dc of Canadians as Americans, and of the United 
States as <'the States,** term all citizens of the United 
States Yankees, even if they hail from Illinois, California 
or Georgia. The word is derived from "Yengees," an 
attempt of the Massachusetts Indians to say ^^Englisb." 

Tankeedom, New England. 

Tankee Doodle, a doggerel song, the tune of which is often 
played as a march. The first recorded appearance of tne 
tuneis in the old song, {temp Charles //.), ^^Lucy Locket 
lost her pocket.*' Yankee Doodle is used as a generic term 
for the United States. 

Tannam, bread. 

Tannapy an English penny. This b back-slang but has 
passed into common use. 

Tappy, soft, foolish. 

Tardofday, a long clay pipe, otl^erwise a Church- 

WARDEN (f. V.) 

Tarn, a sailor's story. To **spin a yam,** is to tell a tale and 
a ^tough yam** is one hard to believe. 

Digitized by 



Tdept, or Clepped (Old Eng.), called^ named. See Love?s 

Labor Lost. * 

Yellow boy^ an English sovereign or pound. 
Yellow Jacky the yellow fever. 
Yidden. the Jewish people. 
Yiddisliy a kind of bastard Hebrew dialect, much used by 

London Jews of the lower order. 
Yokel, a countryman or greenhorn. 
Yorkshire^ <«to come,'* to cheat or overreach in a bargain. 

Yorkshiremen have a great reputation for sharpness, par- 
ticularly in trading horses. 
Yorkshire reckoning, or "treat,** where every man pays 

his own share: same as a Copenhagen or Philadelphia 

Treat (f . tr.) 
Younker, a boy or youngster. 
You 'una and We ^uns, used in the South for "you** and 


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MNIV. Of m\CK 




3 9015 01191 1081 

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