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Archive for September, 2014

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

Check out the moll-tooler on the left.

Check out the moll-tooler on the left.

Moll: a girl; nickname for Mary. Old cant.

Moll’d: followed, or accompanied by a woman.

Moll-Tooler: a female pickpocket.

(Here’s a feminine threefer. I did not realize that Moll was a nickname for Mary. I like Moll-Tooler, because I love power tools – not so much the pickpocketing. )

 

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

Look, a moko with a tail.

Look, a moko with a tail.

Moko: a name given by sportsmen to pheasants killed by mistake in partridge shooting during September, before the pheasant shooting comes in. They pull out their tails, and roundly assert they are no pheasants at all, but Mokos.

(What does Moko taste like? A lot like pheasant I’d imagine.)

 

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

india3Out on the Loose: “on a spree,” in search of adventures.

Out on the Pickaroon: Picabone is Spanish for a thief, but this phrase does not necessarily mean anything dishonest, but ready for anything in the way of excitement to turn up; also to be in search of anything profitable.

(I’m trying to summon up that feeling. My husband and I leave tomorrow for three weeks in India. I’m sure once I get there, I’ll be excited and up for anything. Right now, I’m feeling more than a little nervous.

I’ve scheduled the next three weeks of posts so you’ll get your Word of the Day, even if I can’t get on-line for some reason. I’ll keep you posted on our adventures in Bangalore and Kerala!)

 

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

Yup, no actual collar there.

Yup, no actual collar there.

Out of Collar: out of place, in allusion to servants. When in place, the term is Collared Up. Theatrical and general.

(I assume that’s an allusion to the “yoke” of servitude, not necessarily a clothing choice. Although male servants wore uniforms more often than female servants, I believe. Men often wore the colors of the house they served in the form or liveries.)

 

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

That Nob is outnumbered by the Mob.

That Nob is outnumbered by the Mob.

Nob: the head. Pugilistic; “Bob a Nob,” a shilling a head. Ancient cant, Neb. Nob is an early English word, and is used in the Romance of Kynge Alisunder (thirteenth century) for a head; originally, no doubt, the same as knob.

Nob: a person of high position, a “swell,” a nobleman, of which word it may be an abbreviation. See Snob.

(So, under Snob I found this:

Snob: a low, vulgar, or affected person. Supposed to be from the nickname usually applied to a Crispin, or a maker of shoes; but believed by a writer in Notes and Queries to be a contraction of the Latin, Sine Obolo. A more probable derivation, however has just been forwarded by an ingenious correspondent. He supposes that Nobs, i.e., Nobiles, was appended in lists to the names of persons of gentle birth, whilst those who had not that distinction were marked down as s. Nob., i.e., sine nobilitate, without marks of gentility, thus reversing its meaning. Another “word-twister” remarks that, as at college sons of nobleman wrote after their names in the admissions lists, fil nob., son of a lord, and hence all young noblemen were called Nobs, and what they did, Nobby, so those who imitated them would be called quasi-nobs, “like a nob,” which by a process of contraction would be shortened to si-nob, and then Snob, one who pretends to be what he is not, and apes his betters. The short and expressive terms which many think fitly represents the three great estate of the realm, Nob, Snob and Mob, were all originally slang words. The last has safely passed through the vulgar ordeal of the streets and found respectable quarters in the standard dictionaries.)

 

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

Can't see too many details of Noah's coat.

Can’t see too many details of Noah’s coat.

Noah’s Ark: a long closely buttoned overcoat, recently in fashion. So named by Punch from the similarity which it exhibits to the figure of Noah and his sons in children’s toy arks.

(I assume they are taking about Punch as in Punch and Judy.)

 

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

Wit always wins.

Wit always wins.

Nizzie: a fool, a coxcomb. Old cant, vide Triumph, of Wit.

(A coxcomb is a vain and conceited man; a dandy.

I’m not sure if the second part is referring to Moliere’s comedy by that name or not.)

 

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

There's the mobility for you.

There’s the mobility for you.

Mob: Swift informs us, in his Art of Polite Conversation, that Mob was, in his time, the slang abbreviation of Mobility, just as Nob is of Nobility at the present day.

Mobility: the populous; or, according to Burke, the “great unwashed.” Johnson calls it a cant term, although Swift notices it as a proper expression.

Mobs: companions; Mobsmen, dressy swindlers.

(Interesting. I had no idea that Mob was slang for the lower classes. No wonder mobs are generally angry. I’d never really considered the class of people in an angry group, but I imagine you rarely see a mob of angry rich folks.)

 

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

Now there’s a mizzling day in London.

Mizzle: to run away, or decamp; to disappear as in a mist. From Mizzle, a drizzling rain; a Scotch mist. “And then one mizzling Michaelmas night The Count he Mizzled too.” Hood.

(I love this one. I HAVE to bring this one back, if not for running off, then for the misty drizzle. It’s so perfect!)

 

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

A man in his mish.

A man in his mish.

Mish: a shirt, or chemise. From Commission, the Ancient cant for a shirt, afterwards shortened to K’mish or Smish, and then to Mish. French, Chemise; Italian, Camicia.

(Well I can see how Mish is short for Commission, but why did they call a shirt a Commission in the first place? A little more info please.)

 

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