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Archive for June, 2014

From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Two sets of hocks.

Two sets of hocks.

Hocks: the feet; Chubby Hocks, round or clumsy feet.

(On animals, the hocks are generally what I would call the knees on the back legs. They’re joints, not feet. But hey, it’s their slang and they don’t have to be accurate.

As a bellydancer and a fencer, no Chubby Hocks for me or I’d hurt myself! )

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

hocuspocusHoax: to deceive, or ridicule, Grose says was originally a University cant word. Corruption of Hocus, to cheat.

(And here I thought it came from Latin or something. I guess it makes sense it comes from University slang. Who’s better at Hoaxes? And I love the connection to Hocus Pocus! So I guess all those magician are admitting they’re cheating!

I wonder when Hoax it made its way into proper English.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Some cute high-lows.

Some cute high-lows.

High-Lows: laced boots reaching a trifle higher than anklejacks.

Hip Inside: inside coat pocket.

Hip Outside: outside coat pocket.

(It’s a Thursday Threefer!

I’m assuming anklejacks are the ankle bones.

All very useful and to the point terms. I suppose Hip Inside and Hip Outside were particularly useful for pickpockets. Knowing where a bloke kept his wallet could make you rich for a day or two.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Definitely Highfaluten.

Definitely Highfaluten.

Highfaluten: showy, affected, tinselled, affecting certain pompous or fashionable airs, stuck up; “come, none of yer Highfaluten games,” i.e., you must not show off or imitate the swell here. American slang from the Dutch, Verlooten.

(I always loved this one from Yosemite Sam. And he was right, Bugs was a Highfalutin varmint. That’s why we loved him.  Then there was a song we sang at Girl Scout camp. Something about a “Highfalutin, root’n toot’n son-of-a-gun from ****” I can’t seem to remember if the son-of-a-gun was from, California or Arizona. Or maybe it was somewhere else altogether. Wish I could remember the rest of the song.

I have to say, I love the word tinselled. We have to bring that one back.

A big thanks to the Dutch, but Highfaluten is so much more fun than Verlooten.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Doesn't look like Flying High to me.

Doesn’t look like Flying High to me.

High Fly: “On the High Fly,” on the begging or cadging system.

High-Flyer: a genteel beggar, or swindler.

(Not sure how High Fly makes sense. Begging hardly seems like flying high. Perhaps it’s meant to be ironic. And what exactly was the begging system?

I know some people who’d been through a calamity were given papers allowing them to beg and proving their need. (Usually rich or middle-class people who’d lost everything in a fire or something along those lines.)Perhaps that’s what they’re talking about. I doubt they mean the run-of-the-mill beggar.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

He does seem to apply to both definitions. :-)

He does seem to apply to both definitions. 🙂

High Jinks: “On the High Jinks,” taking up an arrogant position, assuming an undue superiority.

(Wow! That one has totally turned around. The current definition:

boisterous or rambunctious carryings-on :  carefree antics or horseplay

Always make me wonder how the change came about. Was it gradual or all at once? Did people start misusing it and the incorrect definition eventually became the correct definition? Or was our definition the actual definition back then too, and it was taken and turned on its head in slang? Still haven’t finished my time machine so I may never know. :-))

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

A modern High Flyer.

A modern High Flyer.

High Flyers: large swings, in frames, at fairs and races.

(I love it! The original roller-coasters!)

 

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angloorthodox-priestFrom the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

High and Dry: an epithet applied to the soi disant “orthodox” clergy of the last century, for whom, while ill-paid curates did the work, the comforts of the establishment were its greatest charms.

“Wherein are various ranks, and due degrees, The Bench for honour, and the Stall for ease.”

Though often confounded with, they are utterly dissimilar to, the modern High Church or Anglo-Catholic party. Their equally uninteresting opponents deserved the corresponding appellation of Low and Slow; while the so called “Broad Church” is defined with equal felicity as the Broad and Shallow.

(Not at all what I was expecting. I figured it was a nautical saying. The meaning certainly has changed a lot!

I had to look up “soi disant.” It means “self-styled” or “so-called.” Which explains a bit. So those who considered themselves “orthodox” clergymen felt themselves above menial tasks or perhaps any tasks at all.

Well, it was common in wealthy families that the first son inherited the estate, the second son went into the military, and the third son went into the clergy. Most likely none of them had any special knowledge or inclination toward their assigned professions or any instilled work ethic.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Okay, that's some cute higgledy-piggledy piglets.

Okay, that’s some cute higgledy-piggledy piglets.

Higgledy-Piggledy: all together, as hogs and pigs lie.

(I’ve certainly heard the term before, but never knew where it came from. Makes perfect sense – if you know how pigs lie.)

 

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

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A cow’s Hide.

Hiding: a thrashing. Webster gives this word, but not its root, Hide, to beat, flay by whipping.

(Ah yes, two more words for a beating. I think that puts us over 20. Goes to show just how violent a time it was. Hiding, however has hung around. Maybe not in popular use, but you would know what someone meant.

I would also say this one is related to Hide, as in, the skin – where the thrashing takes place.)

 

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