The Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue: do you know your 'abbess' from your 'elbow shaker'?It was first available when Britain was under threat from Napoleon but it has now been re-published for free at the Project Gutenberg online digital library.
It was a runaway success when published in 1811 by soldier Francis Grose, but now the Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue can be viewed online. Here is our round up of the best words:
ABBESS: Mistress of a brothel.
BABES IN THE WOOD: Criminals in stocks or pillory.
BLIND CUPID: Backside.
BOB TAIL: Lewd woman. Also an impotent man or a eunuch.
BREAD AND BUTTER FASHION: One upon the other. "John and his maid were caught lying bread and butter fashion."COLD PIG: Punishment inflicted on "sluggards" who lie too long in bed — pulling off all the bedclothes and throwing cold water on them.
DOCK: Lie with a woman.
DUGS: Woman's breasts.
ELBOW SHAKER: A dice player.
FLASH THE HASH: Vomit.
GLAZIER: Someone who breaks windows to steal goods for sale.
GOSPEL SHOP: Church.
HEMPEN WIDOW: One whose husband was hanged.
HOYDON: Romping girl.
JOLLY: The head.
KING'S PICTURES: Coin, money.
LEFT-HANDED WIFE: Concubine. Based on an ancient German custom where, when a man married his concubine, or a woman greatly his inferior, he gave her his left hand.
NOISY DOG RACKET: Stealing brass knockers from doors.
OVEN: Great mouth.
PIECE: Wench. A girl who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress.
POISONED: Big with child.
QUEER PLUNGERS: Cheats who throw themselves into the water in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewarded by the society with a guinea.
RESURRECTION MEN: Persons employed by the students in anatomy to steal dead bodies out of churchyards.
RUM DOXY: Fine wench.
SHOOT THE CAT: Vomit from excess of liquor.
SHY COCK: One who keeps within doors for fear of bailiffs.
SNOOZING KEN: Brothel.
STRIP ME NAKED: Gin.
TIT: Horse or smart little girl.
TWIDDLE POOP: Effeminate-looking fellow.
UNLICKED CUB: Rude, uncouth young fellow.
WINDOW PEEPER: Collector of window tax.
XANTIPPE: Socrates's wife, a shrew or scolding wife.
YELLOW BOYS: Guineas.
ZEDLAND: Great part of the West Country where the letter Z is substituted for S.