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1811 Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue: A Dictionary Of Buckish Slang, University Wit, And Pickpocket Eloquence: Unabridged From The Original 1811 Edition

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The Georgian "Profanisaurus". From the 1790s to the 1820s, numerous editions of the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue were published. Looking at the slang and vernacular language of the time, this dictionary pre-dated Roger Mellie's best-selling Profanisaurus by a good 200 years. Reprinted here, it covers the rude, the crude and the downright vulgar. Learn how the Georgians The Georgian "Profanisaurus". From the 1790s to the 1820s, numerous editions of the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue were published. Looking at the slang and vernacular language of the time, this dictionary pre-dated Roger Mellie's best-selling Profanisaurus by a good 200 years. Reprinted here, it covers the rude, the crude and the downright vulgar. Learn how the Georgians and early Victorians would insult each other and find out how some of today's words and derivations have come about. But most of all, just dip in and see how our ancestors considered and talked about such subjects as sex and the workings of the human body.


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The Georgian "Profanisaurus". From the 1790s to the 1820s, numerous editions of the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue were published. Looking at the slang and vernacular language of the time, this dictionary pre-dated Roger Mellie's best-selling Profanisaurus by a good 200 years. Reprinted here, it covers the rude, the crude and the downright vulgar. Learn how the Georgians The Georgian "Profanisaurus". From the 1790s to the 1820s, numerous editions of the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue were published. Looking at the slang and vernacular language of the time, this dictionary pre-dated Roger Mellie's best-selling Profanisaurus by a good 200 years. Reprinted here, it covers the rude, the crude and the downright vulgar. Learn how the Georgians and early Victorians would insult each other and find out how some of today's words and derivations have come about. But most of all, just dip in and see how our ancestors considered and talked about such subjects as sex and the workings of the human body.

30 review for 1811 Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue: A Dictionary Of Buckish Slang, University Wit, And Pickpocket Eloquence: Unabridged From The Original 1811 Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    I received this indispensable addition to my reference shelf as a gift from my friend Sean Glenn. I still owe him! This dictionary has furnished me with incredible insights into English as she was spoken, and given me wonderful bits of slang and cant to scatter throughout my novels. It is an enjoyable read by itself, and often I've gone to look up one word, and crawled out of the book two hours later. I cannot recommend this highly enough! I received this indispensable addition to my reference shelf as a gift from my friend Sean Glenn. I still owe him! This dictionary has furnished me with incredible insights into English as she was spoken, and given me wonderful bits of slang and cant to scatter throughout my novels. It is an enjoyable read by itself, and often I've gone to look up one word, and crawled out of the book two hours later. I cannot recommend this highly enough!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Turner

    Have you ever tried to read a dictionary? It's not the most compelling reading, although there were definitely some interesting words and phrases in here. Most surprising were terms I would have thought were relatively recent but were apparently already well-known in 1811. Also surprising were some words I thought had been around for longer but yet were considered "vulgar" enough to make an appearance here. There were also words that have changed meaning over time, like "high jinks," which meant Have you ever tried to read a dictionary? It's not the most compelling reading, although there were definitely some interesting words and phrases in here. Most surprising were terms I would have thought were relatively recent but were apparently already well-known in 1811. Also surprising were some words I thought had been around for longer but yet were considered "vulgar" enough to make an appearance here. There were also words that have changed meaning over time, like "high jinks," which meant a gambler who drinks to intoxicate his adversary so he can win.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eric Plume

    A funny read and a great reference material for authors writing in this time period (early 1800s). Its also fascinating to see how old some slang actually is - no joke, you'll find terms and phrases from this book which are still in use today! I enjoyed this immensely and will keep it around as a reference. Finally, thanks to the Gutenberg Project its free. You can't go wrong! A funny read and a great reference material for authors writing in this time period (early 1800s). Its also fascinating to see how old some slang actually is - no joke, you'll find terms and phrases from this book which are still in use today! I enjoyed this immensely and will keep it around as a reference. Finally, thanks to the Gutenberg Project its free. You can't go wrong!

  4. 5 out of 5

    wosedwew

    A helpful resource for authors of Regency stories. Amusing for the rest of us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue No, that’s not good enough. The title page of the original (a facsimile is included in this edition) is much more informative as well as entertaining, and is worth reproducing, after a fashion. Lexicon Balatronicum A DICTIONARY OF Buckish Slang, University Wit, AND PICKPOCKET ELOQUENCE. Compiled originally by Captain Grose. ♦ AND NOW CONSIDERABLY ALTERED AND ENLARGED, WITH THE MODERN CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS, BY A MEMBER OF THE WHIP CLUB. ASSISTED BY Hell-Fire Dick, an Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue No, that’s not good enough. The title page of the original (a facsimile is included in this edition) is much more informative as well as entertaining, and is worth reproducing, after a fashion. Lexicon Balatronicum A DICTIONARY OF Buckish Slang, University Wit, AND PICKPOCKET ELOQUENCE. Compiled originally by Captain Grose. ♦ AND NOW CONSIDERABLY ALTERED AND ENLARGED, WITH THE MODERN CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS, BY A MEMBER OF THE WHIP CLUB. ASSISTED BY Hell-Fire Dick, and James Gordon, Esqrs. of Cambridge; and William Soames, Esq. of the Hon. Society of Newman’s Hotel. So just what is this Lexicon Balatonicum and what was its purpose? To answer the last first: it was a spoof dictionary, a compilation of obscure and not so obscure words and phrases put together for a laugh. The clue is in its first title: a ‘balatron’ is a joker, a clown, a buffoon. Max Harris’ 1980 foreword informs us that its 1785 precursor was put together by Francis Grose, who died in 1791 (yes, there are a lot of dates here). “The merit,” as Hell-Fire Dick and his colleagues tell us, “of Captain Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue has been long and universally acknowledged. But its circulation was confined almost exclusively to the lower orders of society…” So the 1811 editors incorporated a few extra entries for an audience which could include “the man of worth”, who was now able to “swear with a good grace” and to “talk bawdy before their papas without the fear of detection”. Moreover, the editors tell us earnestly that the lexicon’s moral influence will be more effective than a Methodist sermon, for by learning how to phrase remarks in this alternative lingo “improper topics can with our assistance be discussed” between brothers and servants of a family in front of the ladies “without raising a blush on the cheek of modesty”. For females, this Dictionary avers, will never comprehend the true meaning of terms such as twiddle diddles… To be sure, a large proportion of this book of reference is devoted to bodily functions and the like. Even now, two centuries and more later, it’s very hard to acknowledge without the use of asterisks a notoriously vulgar term that is here famously defined as “a nasty name for a nasty thing”, though heaven knows there are enough synonyms for it throughout these pages, such as the quaint euphemism “the Monosyllable”. And I will now never ever knowingly use the term nincompoop, so thank you Max Harris for drawing attention to it. And now I have done the same for you. But, for the social historian and the linguist, there are plenty of other riches. Here are some terms and customs plucked at random from the pages, which might be used with great advantage even today. CROW FAIR. A visitation of the clergy. HABERDASHER OF PRONOUNS. A schoolmaster… KITTLE PITCHERING. A jocular method of hobbling or bothering a troublesome teller of long stories. PIGEON’S MILK. Boys and novices are frequently sent on the first of April to buy pigeon’s milk. RIBALDRY. Vulgar abusive language, such as was spoken by ribalds. Ribalds were originally mercenary soldiers… Some of the longer entries are fascinating, such as the twenty-three “orders” of the “canting CREW”, from rufflers to priggers, bawdy baskets to doxies; or the unpleasant custom of Riding Skimington. This edition presents the text in facsimile, which adds to its attractiveness, even if the mere recitation of some of the Dictionary’s entries underlines the unattractiveness of contemporary attitudes to all and sundry. At least no one is spared the whips of scorn so none need feel left out of the general opprobrium displayed in all its tawdry glory. http://wp.me/s2oNj1-vulgar

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacey

    I downloaded this for research into the period for the magic pirate novel and ended up reading if from beginning to end rather than dipping in. If you know the terms you can look up their meaning. As most dictionaries, it's in alphabetical order, however it doesn't work backwards. To someone looking back from the distance of 200 years the terms are mind-boggling and often hilarious, occasionally, jaw-droppingly literal. ('WINDWARD PASSAGE. One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomi I downloaded this for research into the period for the magic pirate novel and ended up reading if from beginning to end rather than dipping in. If you know the terms you can look up their meaning. As most dictionaries, it's in alphabetical order, however it doesn't work backwards. To someone looking back from the distance of 200 years the terms are mind-boggling and often hilarious, occasionally, jaw-droppingly literal. ('WINDWARD PASSAGE. One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomite.') It's a brilliant contemporary insight into the period being a mixture of low slang, thieves cant and 'Buckish' slang by which it seems that Regency Bucks felt they could talk about lewd subjects in front of their mothers, sisters and sweethearts without giving away their meaning. I'm pretty sure most mothers, sisters and sweethearts were wise to what was happening, of course, though they may not have followed everything, and perhaps that's just as well. There are terms for things I never expected (or wished) to see terms for: DILBERRIES. Small pieces of excrement adhering to the hairs near the fundament THOROUGH COUGH. Coughing and breaking wind backwards at the same time DUMB WATCH. A venereal bubo in the groin And there are explanations which reveal a lot about the obscure origins of phrases still in use: THINGUMBOB. Mr. Thingumbob; a vulgar address or nomination to any person whose name is unknown, the same as Mr. What-d'ye-cal'em. Thingumbobs; testicles. METTLE. The semen. To fetch mettle; the act of self pollution. Mettle is also figuratively used for courage. DAM. A small Indian coin, mentioned in the Gentoo code of laws: hence etymologists may, if they please, derive the common expression, I do not care a dam, i.e. I do not care half a farthing for it. It's not so much that some of the terms surprise me in themselves... it's just that I'm surprised there are terms for some of the things. And some of the explanations are funnier than the terms themselves. Some are just plain euwww... and others are an education. Many are bodily functional or specifically thieves' cant. Some are still in use, though with altered or mangled meanings. All in all this excellent – if quirky – dictionary gave me some great words and phrases to use in the novel, plus some to steer well clear of. Thanks Captain Grose.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Stewart-Grant

    What a fun read! Most dictionaries are dry reading, but this is akin to going through the Urban Dictionary online. I laughed out loud in many places. The words were hilarious, but moreso the descriptions. For anyone who likes to read and learn about antiquated behaviours and the origins of some unusual phrases still in use today, this is worth the time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Tipper

    Word nerds will love this book. I could go back to 1811 and be very rude now that I've read it. I expect I'll be using the word 'fundament' instead of bottom right here in the present and should I need to refer to what differentiates males from females I'm spoilt for choice now. If you want to add some creativity to your swearing you'd benefit from reading this book. Word nerds will love this book. I could go back to 1811 and be very rude now that I've read it. I expect I'll be using the word 'fundament' instead of bottom right here in the present and should I need to refer to what differentiates males from females I'm spoilt for choice now. If you want to add some creativity to your swearing you'd benefit from reading this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    catechism

    Great in every way, if not exactly a riveting page-turner. Perhaps my favorite part is the fact that the word 'cunt' was deemed too vulgar even for a vulgar dictionary, and is otherwise referred to almost exclusively as "the Monosyllable." So there are a lot of entries like "Mother of All Saints: The Monosyllable." A++ will reference again. Great in every way, if not exactly a riveting page-turner. Perhaps my favorite part is the fact that the word 'cunt' was deemed too vulgar even for a vulgar dictionary, and is otherwise referred to almost exclusively as "the Monosyllable." So there are a lot of entries like "Mother of All Saints: The Monosyllable." A++ will reference again.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Francis Grose. Author of Dictionary of The Vulgar Tongue Francis Grose. Author of Dictionary of The Vulgar Tongue

  11. 5 out of 5

    Genean

    Even with cant language time has changed some meanings. Very good resource book for lovers of the regency period. It also illuminates the life & lifestyle of those days.

  12. 4 out of 5

    H. S. Fishbrook

    An excellent resource to color dialogue when writing period drama. The value of the book lies in the fact that it includes more than a base list of body parts, and encompasses a wide variety of topics - even matters that would be deemed harmless and not vulgar at all by modern standards. For example, one entry states that water was called in the slang, "Adam's Ale." It's quite a lengthy volume and offers a plethora of creative options for the historical writer to use. An excellent resource to color dialogue when writing period drama. The value of the book lies in the fact that it includes more than a base list of body parts, and encompasses a wide variety of topics - even matters that would be deemed harmless and not vulgar at all by modern standards. For example, one entry states that water was called in the slang, "Adam's Ale." It's quite a lengthy volume and offers a plethora of creative options for the historical writer to use.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Rockwell

    I discovered this glorious tome while working on my first novel, and fell in love. It is an absolute treasure trove of 17th century "Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence." I am enough of a nerd that I've enjoyed reading dictionaries from early childhood (and not infrequently searching for various 'vulgar' terms, if truth be told) but this is by far the most fun I've ever had with one. Enjoy! I discovered this glorious tome while working on my first novel, and fell in love. It is an absolute treasure trove of 17th century "Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence." I am enough of a nerd that I've enjoyed reading dictionaries from early childhood (and not infrequently searching for various 'vulgar' terms, if truth be told) but this is by far the most fun I've ever had with one. Enjoy!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thaydra

    Basically a list of historically used words and their meanings. Some were used in sentences for reference. Interesting, but nothing overly special.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa-Ann Dowsett

    Fun to flip through this and find out some well known ancient phrases some well known and still used today, others not. Well recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Doris Raines

    I LIKE THIS BOOK.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erika Potter

    Gross.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adam Brock

    excellent research material, some of the phrases are still in use.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Sutherland

    This, often-scatological dictionary (Covent Garden Nun; Abbess; Pilgrim's salve; Balum rancum; Beast with two backs, etc.) and its earthy expressions, many undoubtedly familiar to Shakespeare and Chaucer, broadens the scope of anyone's English, and sometimes in directions one would rather not go. It is NOT for the faint hearted, so be warned. Some expressions will also confound most readers for a while and may never be understood (one such is 'monosyllable') However, in my own writings, some of This, often-scatological dictionary (Covent Garden Nun; Abbess; Pilgrim's salve; Balum rancum; Beast with two backs, etc.) and its earthy expressions, many undoubtedly familiar to Shakespeare and Chaucer, broadens the scope of anyone's English, and sometimes in directions one would rather not go. It is NOT for the faint hearted, so be warned. Some expressions will also confound most readers for a while and may never be understood (one such is 'monosyllable') However, in my own writings, some of which cover this era, it is a gold mine of expressions and sayings which are capable of raising the hairs at the back of one's neck in terms of sheer outspoken-ness and closeness to the knuckle. It pulls no punches. In short, it is a delight to peruse. I took the liberty of adding numerous expressions and clarification (including about the Monosyllable) from my own reading of that age in the copy I keep on my own computer which I downloaded from Gutenberg. If anyone would like a copy....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jien

    It is as racist, sexist, and prudish as one would expect for a book written over 200 years ago. However, it provides a great glimpse into a very different culture from here and now. The slang we use says a lot about what we value, and this was a very interesting read. Some words presented as "vulgar" are entirely commonplace and ordinary today, and some words have fallen out of use entirely but could certainly use a comeback (such as "to vowel," not paying bets right away and instead listing vow It is as racist, sexist, and prudish as one would expect for a book written over 200 years ago. However, it provides a great glimpse into a very different culture from here and now. The slang we use says a lot about what we value, and this was a very interesting read. Some words presented as "vulgar" are entirely commonplace and ordinary today, and some words have fallen out of use entirely but could certainly use a comeback (such as "to vowel," not paying bets right away and instead listing vowels, I. O. U.).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jaimey

    Ok, so I didn't actually read this cover-to-cover. I do read bits of it quite often, however, finding it a very useful tool when researching the Regency underworld. I found it to be quite entertaining, as well. :o) Ok, so I didn't actually read this cover-to-cover. I do read bits of it quite often, however, finding it a very useful tool when researching the Regency underworld. I found it to be quite entertaining, as well. :o)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jacquie

    FUNNY! Although thanks to my nerdy reading of old novels or history seeking I've heard a good sample of these words, but for every one I knew there are about 20 I don't. Total treasure, even their vulgar words were more elegant in speech. FUNNY! Although thanks to my nerdy reading of old novels or history seeking I've heard a good sample of these words, but for every one I knew there are about 20 I don't. Total treasure, even their vulgar words were more elegant in speech.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kriss

    I downloaded it on a whim and it is now part of a devilish exercise of whit and mayhem I have planned for October. This book seriously would have come I handy during a few of My research projects during senior year and my grad studies!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    If you are writing a Regency romance, I don't see how you can do without this resource. It was fun to read from A-Z and very interesting to see how many expressions still hold their original meaning and have made the transition from slang to mainstream. If you are writing a Regency romance, I don't see how you can do without this resource. It was fun to read from A-Z and very interesting to see how many expressions still hold their original meaning and have made the transition from slang to mainstream.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I expected this to be a tool I would use briefly and only occasionally, but it's hard not to get sucked in for an hour or more at a time. Recommended for those interested in language, history, and old pop culture. I expected this to be a tool I would use briefly and only occasionally, but it's hard not to get sucked in for an hour or more at a time. Recommended for those interested in language, history, and old pop culture.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lancelot Schaubert

    Nothing so fully captures the dialect of pirates, scalawags, cheapskates and conmen as this dictionary. It is the "urban dictionary" of the 18th century and is worth a gander for anyone writing anything set in this time. Nothing so fully captures the dialect of pirates, scalawags, cheapskates and conmen as this dictionary. It is the "urban dictionary" of the 18th century and is worth a gander for anyone writing anything set in this time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Erwin

    It's a dictionary, but it's pretty cool to see words that I've picked up from historical novels and realize that I'd been reading and understanding them correctly. Also interesting to see words that are still in use today. It's a dictionary, but it's pretty cool to see words that I've picked up from historical novels and realize that I'd been reading and understanding them correctly. Also interesting to see words that are still in use today.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    URINAL OF THE PLANETS - Ireland: so called from the frequent rains in that island. HOBBLEDYGEE - A pace between a walk and a run, a dog-trot. GRANNY - An abbreviation of grandmother; also the name of an idiot, famous for licking her eye, who died Nov. 14, 1719.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gar Ver

    The title of the book says it all. A dictionary of vulgar slang from the streets of the early 1800s. Indispensable!

  30. 4 out of 5

    DW

    Specifically of the early 1800's. A great companion to all the wonderfully (and wickedly) written Victorian erotic novels and historical classics. Specifically of the early 1800's. A great companion to all the wonderfully (and wickedly) written Victorian erotic novels and historical classics.

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