Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Such Language! Part 32

More wonderfully wordful wackiness, courtesy of the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (a copy of which can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg so that you can embark on your own wordly wanderings. Enjoy!

Coker: A lie. (Henry told his tutor the most frightful coker about why he was unable to do his lessons yesterday: he claimed that all the ink in the schoolroom had been drunk by the giant octopus that lives in the ornamental lake.)

Sit upon thorns: To be uneasy, impatient, anxious for an event. (And now Henry is sitting on thorns waiting for his tutor to come up with a suitable punishment for both lying and shirking his schoolwork.)

Nocky Boy: A dull simple fellow. (I don’t suppose one can call Henry a nocky boy for coming up with such an elaborate story, but the temptation is there.)

Aground: Stuck fast, stopped, at a loss, ruined; like a boat or vessel aground. (Sir John may not be completely aground, but from what I hear the bailiffs are circling.)

One of the Faithful: A tailor who gives long credit. (My brother heard as much from Sir John’s boot-maker, who is not one of the faithful.)

Here and Thereian: One who has no settled place of residence. (However, being such a here-and-thereian has allowed Sir John to reduce expenses by going from house party to house party.)

She Napper: A woman thief-catcher.

This last selection from Mr. Grose’s dictionary stopped me cold, then set my mind a-teeming. The fact that there was a slang name for such a person makes one wonder if it wasn’t all that uncommon… Anyone smell a new series? 😊

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