By Julie Coleman
The e-book of Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue revolutionized the lexicography of non-standard English. His impression is felt in many of the dictionaries lined during this quantity which replica, variously, his rigorously documented reliance on written resources, his thrilled revelation of first-hand event of the seedier part of London existence, and his word-list. in this interval, glossaries of cant are thrown into the coloration by means of dictionaries of slang, which come with the language of thieves, yet conceal a wider spectrum of non-standard English. whereas cant represented a realistic hazard to estate and lifestyles, slang used to be an ethical probability to the very constitution of society. within the 1820s, Pierce Egan's existence in London established how well known and winning slang literature can be one of the plenty. This quantity additionally contains the earliest Australian and American slang glossaries, by means of participants like James Hardy Vaux (a convict transported thrice) and George Matsell (New York's first leader of police).
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Extra resources for A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries, Volume II: 1785-1858
The Sign of fifteen Shillings. The three Crowns. instance: A lady would come into a room full of company, apparently in a fright, crying out, It is white, and follows me! On any of the company asking, What? she sold him the bargain, by saying, Mine a—e. FIVE SHILLINGS. e. the crown. Fifteen shillings; the sign of the three crowns. Another indication that these annotations were not copied from the second edition is the fact that a few entries in the working copy are not found in the published text: Bitch pye the sting of a droll blackguard made use of upon the batter as follows—go to hell where you ought to be & you will find your sister there helping the Devil to make your mother into a bitch pye Flag of distress the Cockade of a half pay Officer.
E. the way to heaven. 29 Joan Lane, Apprenticeship in England 1600–1914 (London: University College London Press, 1996), 30 Grose, Classical Dictionary (1785), vi. 108, 112–13. Francis Grose 31 MIX-METTLE, a silver smith. SMEAR, a plaisterer. SPOIL IRON, the nick name for a smith. 31 This modern descriptive approach is not carried over into Grose’s treatment of obscenity, however: To prevent any charge of immorality being brought against this work, the Editor begs leave to observe, that when an indelicate or immodest word has obtruded itself for explanation, he has endeavoured to get rid of it in the most decent manner possible; and none have been admitted but such, as either could not be left out, without rendering the work incomplete, or, in some measure, compensate by their wit, for the trespass committed on decorum.
Knopf, 1937), 12–66. 26 Douglas Lorimer, Colour, Class and the Victorians (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1978), 29. 27 Peter Fryer, Staying Power. ), Africans in Britain (Ilford: Frank Cass, 1994), 3. Francis Grose 27 Representing the language of the lower classes and marginal groups was not Grose’s only intention. His work also has an encyclopedic dimension: In the course of this work many ludicrous games and customs are explained, which are not to be met with in any other book . 28 The ‘ludicrous games and customs’ that Grose includes are largely elaborate practical jokes, which tend to result in the butt of the joke being ducked or drenched: AMBASSADOR, a trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, frequently plaied on board ships in the warm latitudes, it is thus managed: a large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it, over the whole is thrown a tarpawlin or old sail, this is kept tight by two persons, who are to represent the king and queen of a foreign country, and are seated on the stools.
A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries, Volume II: 1785-1858 by Julie Coleman