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Archive for October, 2014

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

Darn, no picture on this one.

Darn, no picture on this one.

Patterers: men who cry last dying speeches, &c., in the streets, and those who help off their wares by long harangues in the public thoroughfares. These men, to use their own term “are the haristocracy of the street sellers,” and despise the costermongers for their ignorance, boasting that they live by their intellect. The public, they say, do not expect to receive from them an equivalent for their money, they pay to hear them talk. Mayhew. Patterers were formerly termed “mountebanks.”

(Last Dying Speeches were big business back in the day, and perhaps macabre enough for my Halloween post. Here’s a quote I found:

“Just as programs are sold at sporting events today, broadsides — styled at the time as “Last Dying Speeches” or “Bloody Murders” — were sold to the audiences that gathered to witness public executions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. These ephemeral publications were intended for the middle or lower classes, and most sold for a penny or less. Published in British towns and cities by printers who specialized in this type of street literature, a typical example features an illustration (usually of the criminal, the crime scene, or the execution); an account of the crime and (sometimes) the trial; and the purported confession of the criminal, often cautioning the reader in doggerel verse to avoid the fate awaiting the perpetrator.” -from Harvard Law Digital Collection)

 

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

Can't quite tell if the pockets are inside or outside.

Can’t quite tell if the pockets are inside or outside.

Patent Coat: a coat with the pockets inside the skirts, termed Patent from the difficulty of picking them.

(I sure he means pickpocketing them. Sounds like the right sort of coat to get!)

 

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

Horn - powder not paste. But that's a close as I could get.

Horn – powder not paste. But that’s a close as I could get.

Paste-Horn: the nose. Shoemakers nickname any shopmate with a large nose “old Pastehorn,” from the horn in which they keep their paste.

(Well, after some research I found powder horns and shoe horns aplenty, but no paste-horns. I’m guessing they were pretty similar to the powder horns though.

It would have to be a darn big proboscis to resemble a powder horn)

 

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

I think he's about to Pash that guy.

I think he’s about to Pash that guy.

Pash: to strike; now corrupted to Bash.

(Funny. Somehow to Pash someone doesn’t seem nearly as bad as Bashing them.

I think that puts us at over twenty terms for a beating. Apparently it was on their minds a lot back then. )

 

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

A dowry of rain...

A dowry of rain…

Parney: rain; “dowry of Parney,” a quantity of rain. Anglo-Indian slang from the Hindoo, Pani, water; Gipsy, Pane. Old Indian officers always call brandy and water Brandy Pawnee.

(Hmmm, I wonder why it was a “dowry” of rain? Traditionally a dowry was money or property paid to a groom by a bride’s family when a couple married. I can see how water could be a gift – especially since right now we’re in a drought here in California, but who is it being paid to? And who are the bride and groom?)

 

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

The parish lantern is full tonight.

The parish lantern is full tonight.

Parish Lantern: the moon.

(Rather poetic. That’s one lantern everyone can share. I wonder how the term came about.)

 

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

He looks a little scary to me.

He looks a little scary to me.

Owned: a canting expression used by the ultra-Evangelicals when a popular preacher makes many converts. The converts themselves are called his “Seals.”

(Owned has definitely made a comeback, though not in a religious way as far as I know. )

 

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

That's the one.

That’s the one.

Over! or Over the Left: i.e., the left shoulder, a common exclamation of disbelief in what is being narrated, implying that the results of a proposed plan will be “over the left,” i.e., in the wrong direction, loss instead of gain.

(I like it. But then, I’m not left handed. I suppose lefties might feel differently.)

 

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

I wonder which one is the Out-sider.

I wonder which one is the Out-sider.

Out-sider: a person who does not habitually bet, or is not admitted to the “Ring.” Also, a horse whose name does not appear among the “favorites.”

(Still pretty similar, though the horse would now be a Long Shot.)

 

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

Looks like a spree to me.

Looks like a spree to me.

Out 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.

(These two seemed to go together.

I wonder what type of adventures people went in search of.

And speaking of adventure. My husband Tom and I just returned from a trip to India and Germany. Culturally, you can’t get much more opposite than that! Both were fantastic! But we’re glad to be home.)

 

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