By Julie Coleman
The booklet of Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue revolutionized the lexicography of non-standard English. His impact is felt in lots of the dictionaries lined during this quantity which replica, variously, his rigorously documented reliance on written assets, his extremely joyful revelation of first-hand adventure of the seedier part of London lifestyles, and his word-list. in this interval, glossaries of cant are thrown into the colour by way of dictionaries of slang, which come with the language of thieves, yet hide a much wider spectrum of non-standard English. whereas cant represented a realistic chance to estate and lifestyles, slang used to be an ethical chance to the very constitution of society. within the 1820s, Pierce Egan's existence in London tested how well known and profitable slang literature may be one of the lots. This quantity additionally comprises the earliest Australian and American slang glossaries, via participants like James Hardy Vaux (a convict transported thrice) and George Matsell (New York's first leader of police).
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Additional info for A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries, Volume II: 1785-1858
A procession of this kind is admirably described by Butler in his Hudibras. Jonathan Swift is a more modern source: SAD DOG, a wicked debauched fellow, one of the ancient family of the sad dogs, Swift translates it into Latin by the words, tristis canis. As might be expected, Grose also refers to other dictionaries: HUM DRUM . . also a set of gentlemen, who (Bailey says) used to meet near the charter house, or at the King’s Head, in St. John’s Street, who had more of pleasantry, and less of mystery than the free masons.
31 33 32 Grose, Classical Dictionary (1785), vii. Grose, Classical Dictionary (1785), vi–vii. The treatment of syphilis with mercury caused excessive salivation. 32 Francis Grose Defecation also features to a far greater extent than we have seen in earlier cant and slang dictionaries: FARTLEBERRIES, excrement hanging to the hairs about the anus, &c. of a man or woman. FIZZLE, an escape backward, more obvious to the nose than ears. PLUCK . . to pluck a rose, an expression said to be used by women, for going to the necessary house, which in the country usually stands in the garden.
40 In the British Library’s collections there are several copies of the first edition of Grose’s dictionary. 41 There are a number of reasons for believing that this is Grose’s own working copy. 42 Secondly, written in hand on the interleaved pages are some of the entries added in the second edition: Annotations Anodyne Necklace. a Halter. Cagg Maggs. Old Lincolnshire Geese, which having been picked pluck’d ten or twelve years, are sent up to London to feast the Cockneys. Whore Monger One who keeps several Mistresses.