Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Such Language, Part 29

Our next installment of 19th century slanguage from that veritable bible of colorful cant, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Have fun!

Gallows bird: A thief, or pickpocket; also one that associates with them. My brother’s new friends that he met at the prize-fight last week are quite the collection of gallows-birds.

Ralph Spooner: A fool. Papa told him not to be such a Ralph Spooner and stop going about with them, but when has my brother ever listened?

Dished up: To be totally ruined. I fear that if he persists in seeking their company, he’ll be dished up in no time.

All the kick: in fashion. Apricot-colored neck ruffs may be all the kick right now, but they make me look alarmingly liverish.

Cannister: The head.  I haven’t the faintest idea how Lord Creepey got it into his cannister that I’ll dance with him at Almack’s tonight.

Sherry off: to run away. In fact, I’ll cheerfully sherry off first.

Thornback: An old maid. Indeed, I’d much prefer to be a thornback to encouraging his suit.


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