Feeds:
Posts
Comments

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

That's one peery little dog.

That’s one peery little dog.

Peery: suspicious, or inquisitive.

(I suppose because you peer at or into things.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Yup, those are my peepers.

Yup, those are my peepers.

Peepers: eyes; “painted Peepers,” eyes bruised or blackened from a blow

(I remember a very old jingle, “jeepers, creepers, where’d you get those peepers.” Can’t however remember what it was for.

I do enjoy “painted peeper” and used it in my novel.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

british_bobby-111x300

A Bobby, not a Peeler I believe.

Peeler: a policeman; so called from Sir Robert Peel (see Bobby); properly applied to the Irish constabulary rather than the City police, the former force having been established by Sir Robert Peel.

Bobby: a policeman. Both Bobby and Peeler were nicknames given to the new police, in allusion to the christian and surnames of the late Sir Robert Peel, who was the prime mover in effecting their introduction and improvement. The term Bobby is, however, older than the Saturday Reviewer, in his childish and petulant remarks, imagines. The official square-keeper, who is always armed with a cane to drive away idle and disorderly urchins, has, time out of mind, been called by the said urchins, Bobby the Beadle. Bobby is also, I may remark, an old English word for striking or hitting, a quality not unknown to policemen. —See Halliwell’s Dictionary.

(Well there you have it. Policemen have been Bobbys for “time out of mind.” And Peelers for not quite so long.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Looking a bit peckish.

Looking a bit peckish.

Peck: food; “Peck and booze,” meat and drink. —Lincolnshire. Ancient cant, Pek, meat.

Pecker: “keep your Pecker up,” i.e., don’t get down-hearted, —literally, keep your beak or head well up, “never say die!”

Peckish: hungry. Old cant, Peckidge, meat.

(Hmm, should be a Thursday threefer, but I guess I’m a day late. I say “I’m feeling a bit peckish” all the time. I always assumed it came from birds pecking at their food. Great to know where it really comes from.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

A nymph musician.

A nymph musician.

Nymph of the pave: (French, Pave) a street-walker, a girl of the town.

(Dollymop, Shakester… The slang book includes ten terms for Nymphs of the pave. I’m pretty sure we have more terms today.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

That's not nutty at all.

That’s not nutty at all.

Nut: to be “off one’s nut,” to be in liquor, or “All mops and brooms.”

Nuts: to be Nuts upon anything or person is to be pleased with or fond of it; a self-satisfied man is said to be Nuts upon himself. Nutted, taken in by a man who professed to be Nuts upon you.

Nutty: amorous.

(The first one changed, the second one remained the same, and the third got lost altogether. I wonder why that is. What makes some slang last and other slang fade away?)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Looks like business is booming.

Looks like business is booming.

Nurse: a curious term lately applied to competition in omnibuses. Two omnibuses are placed on the road to Nurse, or oppose, each opposition “buss,” one before, the other behind. Of course, the central or Nursed buss has very little chance, unless it happens to be a favourite with the public.

Nurse: to cheat, or swindle; trustees are said to Nurse property, i.e., gradually eat it up themselves.

(So I’m guessing the omnibuses were privately owned or there wouldn’t be much point in putting the nursed bus out of business. That’s one way to get rid of the competition.)

 

We’re finishing up a great run on Kickstarter! We’re at 186% of our goal.

On Kickstarter Now!

On Kickstarter Now!

Only three days left to get all the spendiferous Pirate Words of the Day in one place, categorized, and with illustrations – and at an introductory price!

A New Look at Old Words

This book is a useful guide for writers, and fun for anyone who loves old words (or talking like a pirate).

This is not a book of the namby-pamby, hoity-toity words one would expect to hear in the London drawing-rooms of the 1600s through 1800s. This is the street slang, the flash patter of seamen, street-sellers, Gypsies and thieves. As Carl Sandburg once said, “Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.”

A few of my favorite words to give you the flavor:

DIMBER DAMBER: very pretty; a clever rogue who excels his fellows; chief of a gang. Old cant in the latter sense. ─English Rogue.

KILKENNY CAT: a popular simile for a voracious or desperate animal or person, from the story of the two cats in that county, who are said to have fought and bitten each other until a small portion of the tail of one of them alone remained.

LITTLE SNAKES-MAN: a little thief, who is generally passed through a small aperture to open any door to let in the rest of the gang.

SUCK THE MONKEY: to rob a cask of liquor by inserting a straw through a gimlet hole, and sucking a portion of the contents.

KISS-ME-QUICK: the name given to the very small bonnets worn by females since 1850.

BY THE HOLY POKER AND THE TUMBLING TOM!: an Irish oath.

Once the Kickstarter ends we’ll be selling the book for $23.00, but you can pre-order a signed copy on Kickstarter for $20.00. We plan to have books shipped well in time for Christmas, so now’s the time to get gifts for the word nerds in your life.

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

He looks like he's noddling pretty hard.

He looks like he’s noodling pretty hard with that nuddikin of his.

Nuddikin: the head.

(I like it! I wonder if this is related to the term noggin. I had a teacher who always told us to use our noggins.

One mention of the term I saw suggested it was related to noodleken. That makes some sense, I’ve heard the head called a noodle and I’ve heard of noodling something – thinking about it. A ken in slang was a house of some kind. So I suppose your nuddikin might be your thinking house.)

 

From A New Look at Old Words originally found in the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Me and my nub.

Me and my nub.

Nub: a husband.

(I don’t think I want to know where that one comes from.🙂

I was going to say I have a wonderful nub, but that just sounds terrible.)

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 408 other followers

%d bloggers like this: