Friday, November 30, 2012

Victorian jargon watch: "a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase"

Victorian jargon watch: "a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase":
The Internet Archive has a complete scan of James Redding Ware's wonderful 1909 treatise "Passing English of the Victorian era: a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase," ganked from the University of Toronto's Robarts library. The Archive has OCR'ed versions, hi-rez PDFs of color and b/w scans, and every ebook format you're likely to need.
If you'd prefer a hardcopy there's a paperback reprint for sale, too. It's really something. Here's a few gems:


Enobs (Back slang). Bone, in
ordinary plural. A very favourite
inversion is a sort of rebus, bones
showing affording a study of ' knobs '.
But he swallowed a box of matches
one day which burnt away all the fat
and left the mere enoba you see now.


Evening wheezes (Peoples').
False news, spread in evening half-
penny papers in order to sell them.

Fairy (Lower Peoples). A debauched, hideous old woman, especially
when drunk.

Fake a poke (Thieves'). To pick,
or manipulate, a pocket. This phrase
is a singular revival. Johnson has
' Fake amongst seamen a pile of rope,'
and as to poke ' a pocket or small
bag'. ' I will not buy a pig in a
poke !' Camden.
He denied that when entering the
music hall he was accused by a larty of
picking her pocket, and further said that
when called out he did not say he had
never ' faked a poke ' in his life. People,
6th September 1896.
Fake pie (Straitened Soc., 1880).
A towards -the-end-of-the- week effort
at pastry, into which go all the ' orts ',
' overs ', and ' ends ' of the week. See
Resurrection pie a term which this
has superseded.
Penny puzzle (Street, 1883).
Sausage because it is never found
out. (See Bag o' mystery.)
Wingers sometimes called
Flanges (Colloquial about 1865).
After the Crimean beard, which meant
all the hair growable on the face, had
lasted in fashion about ten or twelve
years, the chin came to be once more
shown, and the whiskers were thrown
back, or pulled away from the cheeks,
and allowed to grow as long as nature
decided. The name was obtained from
their streaming and waving character.










Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase. [archive.org]
Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase. [Amazon]
(via Making Light)











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