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cover next page > Cover title: author: publisher: isbn10 | asin: print isbn13: ebook isbn13: language: subject publication date: lcc: ddc: subject: A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English : Colloquialisms and Catch Phrases, Fossilised Jokes and Puns, General Nicknames, Vulgarisms, and Such Americanisms As Have Been Naturalised 8Th Ed. / Partridge, Eric.; Beale, Paul. Taylor & Francis Routledge 0415065682 9780415065689 9780203379981 English English language--Slang--Dictionaries, Slang--Dictionaries, Americanisms. 1984 PE3721.P3 2003eb 427/.09 English language--Slang--Dictionaries, Slang--Dictionaries, Americanisms. cover next page > < previous page page_i next page > Page i A DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH < previous page page_i next page > < previous page page_ii next page > Page ii OTHER ROUTLEDGE BOOKS BY ERIC PARTRIDGE A Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1989, edited by Paul Beale from Partridge’s materials) Origins An Etymohgical Dictionary of Modern English Fourth edition Smaller Slang Dictionary Second edition (paperback) The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang that is, up to 1914, edited by Jacqueline Simpson A Dictionary of Catch Phrases British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day Second edition (edited by Paul Beale) A Dictionary of Clichés Fifth edition (paperback) Shakespeare’s Bawdy An Essay and a Glossary Third edition (paperback) You Have a Point There A Guide to Punctuation and its Allies with a chapter on American practice by John W.Clark (paperback) < previous page page_ii next page > < previous page page_iii next page > Page iii Eric Partridge A DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH Colloquialisms and Catch Phrases Fossilised Jokes and Puns General Nicknames Vulgarisms and such Americanisms as have been naturalised Edited by Paul Beale < previous page page_iii next page > < previous page page_iv next page > Page iv 1st ; edition, 1937 2nd edition, enlarged, 1938 3rd edition, much enlarged, 1949 4th edition, revised, 1951 5th edition, in two volumes, supplement much enlarged, 1961 6th edition, in two volumes supplement revised and enlarged, 1967 7th edition, in two volumes supplement revised and enlarged, 1970 7th edition reprinted, in one volume, 1983 8th edition published in 1984 by Routledge & Kegan Paul Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. © The estate of Eric Partridge 1961, 1967, 1970, 1984 Preface to the 8th edition and other new material; selection of entries © Paul Beale 1984 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. ISBN 0-203-37998-5 Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-38847-X (OEB Format) ISBN 0-415-06568-2 (Print Edition) < previous page page_iv next page > < previous page page_v next page > page_v next page > Page v TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE ALFRED SUTRO OF SAN FRANCISCO LOVER OF LOVELY THINGS IN ART AND LITERATURE DEVOTEE TO KNOWLEDGE AND TRUE FRIEND < previous page < previous page page_vi next page > page_vi next page > Page vi This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_vii next page > Page vii Contents Preface to the 8th Edition Preface to the 1st Edition Acknowledgments Arrangement within Entries Dating Bibliographical Abbreviations Abbreviations and Signs ix xiii xvii xix xxi xxiii xxix THE DICTIONARY 1 Appendix 1373 Evolution of the phonetic alphabet—Army slang in the South African War—Association football—Australian surfing slang—Australian underworld terms current in 1975—Back slang—Bird-watchers’ slang—Body—Canadian adolescents’ slang—Charterhouse—Chow-chow—Clergymeris diction in the Church of England—Cockney catchphrases—Cockney speech—Colston’s—Constables—Crown and Anchor—To die—Drinks, Drunkenness—Drop a brick —Drugs—Dupes—Echoism in slang—Ejaculations-Epithets and adverbial phrases—Eton—Euphemisms—Felsted— Food—Fools’ errands—Fops and gallants—Grafters’ and market-traders’ slang—Gremlins—Guard-room—Harlots— Harrow—Harry—Hauliers’ slang—Hooligan—Imperial Service College—Initials for names—Interpolation—ITMA—Jazz terms—Jive and swing—Kibosh—Kilroy was here—King’s Own Schneiders—Know—Korean War slang—Long time no see!—Loo—Lovers’ acronyms—Mah-Jong—Mans—Men—Miscellanea—Mock auction slang—Money—Moving-picture slang—Nicknames—O.K.—Occupational names—Ocker—‘Oxford—er(s)’—Paint the town red—Parlyaree—Pie in the sky—Pip-squeak—Prisoner-of-war slang—Public and Grammar School slang in 1968—Railwaymen’s slang and nicknames—Regional names—Rhodesian Army slang current in 1976—‘Rhubarb’—Rogues and beggars in C.18— Shelta—Shortenmgs—Spanglish—Stonyhurst—Strine—Surnames, truncated—Swahili—Tavern terms in C.17— Tiddlywinks—Tombola—Two-up—Verbs in C.18 slang—War slang, 1939–45—Westmmster—Wmchester—Women in C.18 slang < previous page page_vii next page > < previous page page_viii next page > page_viii next page > Page viii This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_ix next page > Page ix Preface to the 8th Edition The greatest and, I hope, the most helpful change effected in this new edition of A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English is the conflation of the original text of the first (1937) edition with all the subsequent Addenda that became, by 1961, so numerous as to warrant a second volume over half the size of the original. Besides making the Dictionary easier to consult and to browse in, this reunification has made it possible to correct a number of small inconsistencies, blind entries, duplications and one or two downright contradictions, all of which had gradually and almost inevitably crept in during the thirty busy years of Eric Partridge’s piecemeal work of updating between 1937 and when the 7th edition went to the printer. The second major change is the incorporation of the material accumulated by E.P. between 1967 and his last suggestion for a new entry, a mere six weeks before his death at the age of eighty-five on 1 June 1979. His notes, which he gave to me in autumn 1978, comprised some 5,000 entries: many entirely new; some additions, modifications and corrections to existing entries; a few back-datings. Nearly 1,000 of these were my own contributions, made during the course of a regular and copious correspondence that began in early 1974 when I was nearing the end of twenty-one years with the Intelligence Corps. These 1,000 may be considered to have been ‘vetted’ and approved; post-1978 ‘P.B.’ entries and citations, unless otherwise attributed, are my own responsibility. An Appendix has now been added to contain items too unwieldy to fit comfortably into the main body of the text; it includes, for example, a chart showing the evolution of the signallers’ phonetic alphabet that has given rise to many slang terms (O Pip, Charlie Oboe, etc.); some self-contained bodies of slang, e.g. that of prisoners of war in WW2; terms used in Housey/Tombola/Bingo and Tiddlywinks; a short discourse on the nonsense-prefix HARRY; and so on. Other changes are less obvious, because they are omissions. E.P. included a considerable number of ‘solecisms and catachreses’, in other words illiteracies, or phrases couched in a grammar inconsistent with that of Standard English, and malapropisms. Many of these he treated more authoritatively and at greater length in his later Usage and Abusage, and the enquirer may seek them there, as those interested in the long-dead solecisms, many from the time when Modern English was still experimental, may look in the OED for the oddities and dead-end offshoots that E.P. dug out from its columns. I have omitted all such unless I know them to be or to have been used deliberately for (usually) humorous effect. Also disregarded are most of the familiar elisions of the aren’t, weren’t, sort, and phonetic renderings of what is merely slovenly (or perhaps dialect) < previous page page_ix next page > < previous page page_x next page > Page x speech, e.g. y’ or ya’ or yer for ‘you’ or ‘your’, tempory for ‘temporary’, ‘cordin’ for ‘according’, etc. I have deleted some entries dealing with what either E.P. or his source Baumann glossed rather patronisingly as ‘solecisms’ that were, I maintain, simply examples of Cockney dialect. My deletion is not from prejudice against Cockney, but rather a recognition of it as a true dialect—and if that be included as ‘unconventional English’, then so too should be the whole of the English Dialect Dictionary. A line must be drawn somewhere (see as the monkey said)! The phonetic renderings were not, in many instances, completely accurate in any case. Here I must recommend without reserve The Muvver Tongue, 1980, by two highly observant, born-and-bred, dyed-in-the-wool East Londoners, Robert Barltrop and Jim Wolveridge. I found a particularly helpful corrective their astringent, practical, unromantic view of rhyming slang, examples of which of course appear widely in this Dictionary. It has been a pleasure to learn from them, as it has from Professor G.A.Wilkes, without whose Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, 1978, this edition would be so much the poorer. Because of E.P.’s background, born in New Zealand, being educated in Australia and serving 1915–18 in the AIF, he sometimes attributed words and phrases to those countries that should properly be allowed a much wider usage; his knowledge of Australian terms since ca. 1920 was not direct (see his own extensive acknowledgments to Baker and to Prentice). Professor Wilkes’s work has therefore proved an invaluable fund of later twentieth century contexts, and I have, in some instances, preferred his interpretation of a term or phrase to E.P.’s original. It seems appropriate here to say that with so much very good cover already available on Austral English, it would be impertinent of me, even if I were qualified by any more than my six happy years of working with Australian servicemen, to do other than concentrate entirely, in any future edition of this Dictionary, on the slang and unconventional English used in Great Britain alone. From this feeling that the Dictionary should try to deal mainly with British English stems my decision to ignore, except in minor references, any mention of the jargons generated by the two great imported fads that have swept the country while this work was in preparation: those of skateboarding and of Citizens’ Band radio. Neither, so far as I am aware, has had any real impact on our ‘normal’ unconventional English; both are completely derivative. Skateboarding talk comes almost unchanged from that of its parent, surfboarding, which is itself already quite well covered by the new entries in the 7th edition (see AUSTRALIAN SURFING, in the Appendix); while ‘CB’, or ‘Breakers’ ‘talk, so redolent of its American background, has been extensively treated in a number of glossaries for enthusiasts. Researchers comparing the 7th edition with Farmer & Henley, and with Ware, will find that E.P. considered some of their entries to be Standard English, on the ground, I presume, of their entry without qualification in the OED. He noted his omissions; I have omitted most of his noted omissions because, with space important, their continued inclusion would be an unnecessary duplication. They formed part of the 1st edition of this < previous page page_x next page > < previous page page_xi next page > Page xi Dictionary, so are now mostly historical, and they were, in most instances, unhelpful because unglossed. Some items of pidgin, e.g. fowlo =fowl, have been left out (unless they have become recognised as slang, as all same like and long time no see) since they are merely examples of the inability of speakers of other languages— in this instance, mainly the Chinese—to get their tongues around certain English sounds. Many of the omissions are of course still available in E.P.’s sources, Yule & Burnell and Barrère & Leland. I have further omitted all nicknames of individuals, no matter how famous, unless they have some bearing on other terms or phrases. This means that nearly all E.P.’s borrowings from Dawson, 1908, have been dropped—but again, Dawson remains to be consulted. On the other hand, the stock of ‘inevitable’ nicknames, those automatically adhering to a surname, like ‘Chippy’ Carpenter, ‘Dusty’ Miller and ‘Dolly’ Gray, which were such a feature of late nineteenth century and earlier twentieth century Service life, has been slightly augmented (see Appendix). The one exception to the ‘individuals’ is in the world of earlier twentieth century cricket and tennis, where I have left E.P.’s entries untouched, as a tribute to his ardent love of both games, for one has only to read Corrie Denison, Glimpses, 1928, a pseudonymously written thinly fictionalised account of his early life, to realise what an importance sport always held for him. Readers familiar with earlier editions will soon realise that I have tried, as far as possible, to get away from the ‘Quartermasters’ English’. The result is that E.P.’s goose, be sound on the and goose, shoe the will now be found at sound on the…and shoe the…, and cross-referenced from goose, n. Phrases in which the emphasis is less on the action, more on the object, e.g. get the goose, are subsumed as additional senses of the noun; or, as was the case in this instance, where goose, n., 3, was already defined as’a (theatrical) hissing’, it has been removed from its former goose, get the and used to amplify that definition. The process involved in this rearrangement brought to light more than a few duplications, and it enabled me to save space by eliminating them. The network of crossreferences has thus been extended and strengthened throughout the text. A further minor but necessary alteration has been the suppression of ‘one’s’ as an alphabetically significant element. I surmise from internal evidence that E.P. soon realised the disadvantage of his original scheme, but that it was by then too late to change it; in this edition, therefore, the phrase come one’s cocoa (for example), instead of being entered at come off it…/come one’s cocoa…/come round…, files now at come clean…/come (one’s) cocoa…/come Cripplegate… I hope that I have fulfilled with the preparation of this volume the trust that Eric Partridge laid upon me; I can say only that it has been an honour and a very great pleasure to me to make the attempt. It has also given me a renewed and even greater respect for all those anonymous and otherwise unremembered ancestors of ours who were able to laugh in the blackest of hells, be it in the stews of Alsatia, in the condemned cell awaiting execution at Tyburn, or in all the horror of the trenches, and to cheer their fellow victims with a word or phrase that sparkled so brightly as to be treasured and repeated over and < previous page page_xi next page > < previous page page_xii next page > Page xii over—for what is this Dictionary, really, but a pile of fossilised jokes and puns and ironies, tinselly gems dulled eventually by overmuch handling, but gleaming still when held up to the light. April 1982 Paul Beale < previous page page_xii next page > < previous page page_xiii next page > Page xiii Preface to the 1st Edition This dictionary, at which I have worked harder than (I hope, but should not swear) I shall ever work again and which incorporates the results of a close observation of colloquial speech for many years, is designed to form a humble companion to the monumental Oxford English Dictionary, from which I am proud to have learnt a very great amount. A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, i.e. of linguistically unconventional English, should be of interest to word-lovers; but it should also be useful to the general as well as the cultured reader, to the scholar and the linguist, to the foreigner and the American. I have, in fact, kept the foreigner as well as the English-speaker in mind; and I have often compared British with American usage. In short, the field is of all English other than standard and other than dialectal. Although I have not worked out the proportions, I should say that, merely approximately, they are: Slang and Cant 50% Colloquialisms 35% Solecisms and Catachreses 6½% Catch-phrases 6½% Nicknames 1½% Vulgarisms ½% (By the last, I understand words and phrases that, in no way slangy, are avoided in polite society.) For the interrelations of these classes, I must refer the reader to my Slang To-day and Yesterday: a Study and a History, where these interrelations are treated in some detail. The degree of comprehensiveness? This may best be gauged by comparing the relevant terms in any one letter (I suggest a ‘short’ one like o or v) of either The Oxford English Dictionary and its Supplement or Farmer and Henley’s Slang and its Analogues with the terms in the same letter here (including the inevitable Addenda). On this point, again, I have not worked out the proportions, but I should guess that whereas the OED contains roughly 30 per cent more than F. & H., and F. & H. has some 20 per cent not in the OED, the present dictionary contains approximately 35 per cent more than the other two taken together and, except accidentally, has missed nothing included in those two works. Nor are my additions confined to the period since ca. 1800, a period for which—owing to the partial neglect of Vaux, Egan, ‘John Bee’, Brandon, ‘Ducange Anglicus’, Hotten, Ware, and Collinson, to the literally complete neglect of Baumann and Lyell, and the virtually < previous page page_xiii next page > < previous page page_xiv next page > Page xiv complete neglect of Manchon, not to mention the incomplete use made of the glossaries of military and naval unconventional terms—the lexicography of slang and other unconventional English is gravely inadequate: even such 17th–18th century dictionaries as Coles’s, B.E.’s, and Grose’s have been only culled, not used thoroughly. Nor has proper attention been given, in the matter of dates, to the various editions of Grose (1785, 1788, 1796, 1811, 1823) and Hotten (1859, 1860, 1864, 1872, 1874): collation has been sporadic. For Farmer & Henley there was only the excuse (which I hasten to make for my own shortcomings) that certain sources were not examined; the OED is differently placed, its aim, for unconventional English, being selective—it has omitted what it deemed ephemeral. In the vast majority of instances, the omissions from, e.g., B.E., Grose, Hotten, Farmer & Henley, Ware, and others, were deliberate: yet, with all due respect, I submit that if Harman was incorporated almost in toto, so should B.E. and Grose (to take but two examples) have been. The OED, moreover, has omitted certain vulgarisms and included others. Should a lexicographer, if he includes any vulgarisms (in any sense of that term), omit the others? I have given them all. (My rule, in the matter of unpleasant terms, has been to deal with them as briefly, as astringently, as aseptically as was consistent with clarity and adequacy; in a few instances, I had to force myself to overcome an instinctive repugnance; for these I ask the indulgence of my readers.) It must not, however, be thought that I am in the least ungrateful to either the OED or F. & H. I have noted every debt* to the former, not merely for the sake of its authority but to indicate my profound admiration for its work; to the latter, I have made few references—for the simple reason that the publishers have given me carte blanche permission to use it. But it may be assumed that, for the period up to 1904, and where no author or dictionary is quoted, the debt is, in most instances, to Farmer & Henley—who, by the way, have never received their dues. It has, I think, been made clear that I also owe a very great deal to such dictionaries and glossaries as those of Weekley, Apperson; Coles, B.E., Grose; ‘Jon Bee’, Hotten; Baumann, Ware; Manchon, Collinson,† Lyell; Fraser & Gibbons, and Bowen. Yet, as a detailed examination of these pages will show, I have added considerably from my own knowledge of language-byways and from my own reading, much of the latter having been undertaken with this specific end in view. [The following comments originally formed part of E.P.’s entry at bring off, in the earlier editions.] One of the most remarkable lacunae of lexicography is exhibited by the failure of the accredited dictionaries to include such terms. One readily admits that the reason for these omissions is excellent and that a very difficult problem has thereby been posed. The result is that students of Standard English (British and American) are obliged to seek the definitions of Standard words either in dictionaries of slang, such as, for the Often, indeed, I have preferred its evidence to that on which I came independently. † Professor W.E.Collinson’s admirable Contemporary English: A personal speech record, 1927 (Leipzig and Berlin), is mentioned here for convenience’ sake. < previous page page_xiv next page > < previous page page_xv next page > Page xv US, Berrey & Van den Bark’s Thesaurus and, for Britain and its Dominions, Farmer & Henley’s Slang and its Analogues (Meagre for the Dominions, and out of print since ca. 1910) and this dictionary of mine, or in encyclopedias and specialist glossaries of sex—where, probably, they won’t find many of the words they seek. But also I am fully aware that there must be errors, both typographical and other, and that, inevitably, there are numerous omissions. Here and now, may I say that I shall be deeply grateful for notification (and note) of errors and for words and phrases that, through ignorance, I have omitted.‡ ‡ With information on their milieu and period, please! This applies also to omitted senses of terms and phrases that are already represented in this work. Acknowledgments It is a pleasure to thank, for terms that I might well have failed to encounter, the following lady and gentlemen: Mr J.J.W.Pollard, Mr G.D.Nicolson, Mr G.Ramsay, Mr K.G.Wyness-Mitchell, Mr G.G.M.Mitchell, Mr A.E.Strong, Mr Robert E.Brown (of Hamilton), all of New Zealand; Mr John Beames, of Canada; Mr Stanley Deegan, Mrs J. Litchfield, Mr H.C.McKay, of Australia; Dr Jean Bordeaux, of Los Angeles. From Great Britain: Mr John Gibbons (most unselfishly), Mr Alastair Baxter (a long, valuable list), Mr Julian Franklyn (author of This Gutter Life), Mr John Brophy, Professor J.R.Sutherland, Mr J.Hodgson Lobley, RBA, Mr Alfred Atkins, the actor, Major-General A.P.Wavell, C.M.G., Commmander W.M.Ross, Major A.J.Dawson, Mr R.A.Auty, Mr Allan M.Laing, Mr R.A.Walker, Mr G.W. Pirie, Mr D.E.Yates, Mr Joe Mourant, Mr Hugh Milner, Sgt T.Waterman, the Rev. A.K.Chignell, the Rev. A.Trevellick Cape, Mr Henry Gray, Mr E.Unné, Mr Malcolm McDougall, Mr R.B.Oram, Mr L.S.Tugwell, Mr V.C.Brodie, Mr Douglas Buchanan, Mr Will T.Fleet, Mr Fred Burton, Mr Alfred T. Chenhalls, Mr Digby A.Smith, Mr George S.Robinson (London), Mr Arthur W.Allen, Mr Frank Dean, Mr M.C. Way, Mr David MacGibbon, Mr A.Jameson, Mr Jack Lindsay, Mr ‘David Hume’ (of ‘thriller’ fame), Mr J.G. Considine, the Rev. M.Summers, Mr C.H.Davis, Mr H.E.A. Richardson, Mr J.Hall Richardson, Mr R.Ellis Roberts, Mr George Baker (who has a notable knowledge of unconventional English and no selfishness), Mr F.R.Jelley, Mr Barry Moore, Mr H.C.Cardew-Rendle, Mr Norman T.McMurdo, Mr R.H.Parrott, Mr F.Willis (Sheffield), Mr E.C.Pattison (of A Martial Medley), and, for introducing me to the work of Clarence Rook and the early work of Edwin Pugh, Mr Wilson Benington. London, 11 November 1936 E.P. 2nd edition, July 1937 Hearty thanks must be—and readily are—given to the following gentlemen for notice of errors and omissions:—Dr W.P.Barrett; Colonel Bates; Mr Wilson Benington; Mr John Brophy; Lt-General Sir J.R.E.Charles, KCB; Dr M.Clement, MD; ‘Mr J.J.Connington’, very generously; Mr B.Crocker; Mr James Curtis, author of that masterly underworld novel, The Gilt Kid; Mr Brian Frith; M.François Fosca; Mr Julian Franklyn (a very valuable list); Mr David Garnett; Mr G.W. Gough; Mr Robert Graves; Mr Harold James; Mr Gershon Legman; Mr J.Langley Levy; Mr Jack Lindsay; Dr E.V.Lucas; Mr David MacGibbon; Mr H.L.Mencken; Mr Hamish Miles; Mr George Milne; Mr Raymond Mortimer; Mr Robert Nott; (notably); Mr Basil de Sélincourt; Mr Kazim Raza Siddiqui Dr C.T.Onions, CBE; Mr H.D.Poole; Mr Vernon Rendall (Lucknow); Mr G.W.Stonier, most generously; Professor J.R.Sutherland; the leader-writer in The Times (15 Feb. 1937) and the reviewer in The Times Literary Supplement; Mr Evelyn Waugh; Major-General A.P.Wavell, CMG (extensively); Professor Ernest Weekley; Mr Wilfred Whitten. 3rd edition, July 1948 I must particularise the kindness of Mr Sidney J.Baker and Lieut. Wilfred Granville, RNVR, without whose published and unpublished works these addenda would be so very much poorer; for the new South African matter, I am indebted to the four correspondents that supplied me with South African cant for A Dictionary of the Underworld, where, by the way, the curious will find a much fuller treatment of such cant terms as are included in A Dictionary of Slang and many not there included, this applying especially to terms of American origin. Of Service contributors, one of the most valuable has been Sgt-Pilot F.Rhodes (to quote his rank in September 1942); Sgt Gerald Emanuel (letter of 29 March 1945) vies with him; and Flying-Officer Robert Hinde and Wing-Commander Robin McDouall have been most helpful. My best Army contributor has been Lieut. Frank Roberts, R A, now a master at Cotton College. Nor may I, without the grossest discourtesy, omit the names of Mr F.W.Thomas (of The Star); the late Professor A.W.Stewart (widely known as ‘J.J.Connington’, writer of detective novels); and, above all, Mr Albert Petch (of Bournemouth)—three loyal helpers. Also, at the eleventh hour, I have received a valuable set of pellucid and scholarly notes from Mr Laurie Atkinson. 5th edition, March 1960 Among my numerous helpers, all of whom I warmly thank for their patience and generosity, there are a few whose names could not be omitted from even the most cavalier and perfunctory list: Sidney J.Baker, author of The Australian Language and The Drum; Harold Griffiths, of New Zealand; Mr Douglas Leechman and Professor F.E.L.Priestley, of Canada; Colonel Albert F.Moe, of Arlington, Virginia; and, in Britain, Laurie Atkinson (well-informed and scholarly)—Julian Franklyn, author of The Cockney and A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang—Wilfred Granville, whose Sea Slang of the Twentieth Century is so very unfortunately out of print—and Albert Petch of Bournemouth, tireless gleaner and tenacious rememberer. < previous page page_xv next page > < previous page page_xvi next page > Page xvi 6th edition, 1966 In merest and minimal decency I must name these ten: Mr Barry Prentice, of Rodd Point, New South Wales, a mass of material, valuable, discriminated, scholarly; Mr Harold Griffiths of New Zealand; Dr Douglas Leechman and Professor F.E.L.Priestley, both of Canada; Colonel Albert F. Moe, LJSMC Ret., of Arlington, Virginia, entries and datings, some Naval, some general. In Britain these: Mr Julian Franklyn, author of Shield and Crest and A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang; Mr Wilfred Granville, author of A Dictionary of Sailor’s Slang and A Dictionary of Theatrical Slang; Mr Albert Petch, ‘wadges’ of pertinent matter; Mr Peter Sanders, copious and scholarly; Mr Frank Shaw of Liverpool. Several contributors have been helping me since well before World War II; the oldest of these, Mr Gregory Mitchell, of Onehunga, New Zealand, died in March 1965. 7th edition, 1969 To the list of contributors, I have to add Mr Oliver Stonor and Colonel Archie White, VC. E.P. < previous page page_xvi next page > < previous page page_xvii next page > Page xvii Acknowledgments Following precedent, it gives me very great pleasure to thank all the kind people whose help and encouragement have so much enriched this 8th edition—without that help it might, indeed, never have appeared at all. I name first the stalwarts of Eric Partridge’s ‘Old Guard’, whose names appear not only in earlier editions but also again and again in the manuscript notes that he handed over to me: Laurie Atkinson, London; Robert Claiborne, New York; Col. Albert F.Moe, Arlington, Va.; Barry Prentice, Sydney; all have given me warm and continuing encouragement. Next, ‘new’, 8th edition correspondents with E.P.: F.J.French (RAF terms); David Hillman, Geneva (rhyming slang); Robin Leech, Edmonton, Alberta; Lt Cdr Frank Peppitt, RNR (nautical terms); Sir Edward Playfair (the world of business); and Gavin Weightman, of New Society. Paul Janssen, of Tilff, Belgium, and J.B.Mindel, BSc MRCVS, of Kfar Tabor, Israel, were E.P. helpers since the late 1960s, and have generously and in friendship continued to ‘serve the cause’ for me. Now ‘my’ helpers, to whom the opening remark applies just as warmly: they are, in particular, Deputy Assistant Commissioner David Powis, OBE, QPM, whose generous blanket permission to quote from his expert and lucidly commonsensical treatise has so enriched this compilation’s stock of cant and police terms; Major Tim Carew, MC, who granted me free range of his work on regimental nicknames; Patrick O’Shaughnessy, whose glossary of market traders’ argot follows a long line on from Mayhew through Allingham; Frank McKenna, and his publishers Messrs Faber & Faber, for railwaymen’s words and phrases; Robert Barltrop, co-author, with Jim Wolveridge, of the present definitive work on Cockney, has provided valuable correction and perspective on the talk of Londoners, and especially on rhyming slang; Red Daniells, photographer and witty writer, has, with his wife Margaret, also given considerable help with rhyming slang; and the great debt this edition owes to Prof. G.A.Wilkes is noted elsewhere. Mrs Camilla Raab has not only supplied me with new material, but in her capacity as sub-editor of this edition has provided very welcome essential professional assistance, as well as introduction to Leo Madigan, and John Malin, late PO, RN, with their funds of C.20 nautical slang. The RAF is represented by Sqn/Ldr G.D.Wilson, sometime Education Officer at RAF Leuchars; and the Home Office, for prison and drug terms, by J.D.Cleary. My old friend Capt. Ted Bishop gave help with army slang, and led me to Douglas Dunford, of the Beaulieu Motor Museum, expert and authority on motorcycling lore and language. More motorcycling terms came from Mike Partridge; a fine set of WRNS and FAA material from Miss Margot Wood, BA ALA (sometime Leading Writer, WRNS); and David Severn, BA ALA (‘banged-out’ printer) provided me with fresh < previous page page_xvii next page > < previous page page_xviii next page > Page xviii printing slang. Professor Richard Cobb, CBE, elucidated some army terms; Kenneth Williams courteously answered my queries on Parlyaree used in ‘Round the Horne’; John B.Smith, of Bath University, has also helped over a wide field; Professors Michael Booth and E.G.Quin amplified the notes on HOOLIGAN (see Appendix); and Professor John Widdowson acted as kindly middle-man to other ‘one-off’ correspondents. Brigadier Pat Hayward gave early help on army terms; as did my former comrades-in-arms Peter Jones and Eddie Haines, both late of the Intelligence Corps. Many other people have given me, deliberately or unwittingly, one or more terms each: all such borrowings have been—following E.P.’s pleasant custom—acknowledged at the appropriate entry in the text. Special thanks are due to Chris and Mary Irwin at whose ‘Bookhouse’ in Loughborough I bought the copy of the 7th edition of DSUE that led me to write to E.P. in the first place; to Allan Chapman, FLA, tutor in reference librarianship, whose profound grasp of his subject made him my unfailing ‘source of sources’; and to all my helpful colleagues past and present at the library of Loughborough Technical College and College of Art. Just in time, I received great help with teenagers’ talk from my niece and nephew, Mrs Joanna Williamson, B Ed, and James Williamson. Finally, my best thanks to my wife Daphne, without whose loving patience and understanding support this whole enterprise might perhaps have started but would surely not (‘How can? Never happen!’) have been completed. Paul Beale < previous page page_xviii next page > < previous page page_xix next page > Page xix Arrangement within Entries It is impossible, and undesirable in a dictionary of this sort where so much of the enjoyment is to be gained by browsing, to impose a rigid uniformity on every entry. However, for the general run of terms and phrases not needing discursive treatment, and bearing in mind certain professorial criticisms of the earlier editions as ‘inconsistent’, I have tried to stick to this layout: Keyword (classified as noun, verb, adjective, etc.). Definition or explanation: register (i.e. colloquial, slang, jocular, ironic; and main users, e.g. army, prisoners, general, etc): datings (see section on Dating). This may be followed by the source, not necessarily the first—the finding of which is usually a matter of pure luck— but an early example of the term’s use in print; where this is a private letter to the editor, that is noted. If this is to be followed by editorial comment, e.g. further elucidation, an etymology, cross-references, etc., the source is always in parentheses. If the source is the last element of the entry, then private informants are noted in parentheses, e.g. ‘(L.A., 1976.)’=Laurie Atkinson, letter of 1976; printed sources stand free, e.g. ‘Tempest, 1950’=Paul Tempest, Lag’s Lexicon, 1950. Entries ending ‘(P.B.)’ are those contributed by the present editor; many—probably most—were seen and approved by E.P. during the five years before his death. A cross-reference to an entry in bold type leads to that word or phrase in the main text; one in SMALL CAPS means that the entry is to be found in the Appendix. < previous page page_xix next page > < previous page page_xx next page > page_xx next page > Page xx This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_xxi next page > Page xxi Dating Much of E.P.’s dating was based on his extensive reading of his sources, and further afield; and upon intelligent ‘guesstimation’: if a term appeared in Grose, 1785, and there was no previous record of it, then E.P. assumed it to be ‘late C.18—’. But the words and phrases that are dealt with in this Dictionary are by their very nature unlikely to be found in print until, in many instances, long after their introduction into the (usually lower strata of the) spoken language. Datings must therefore be treated with caution, and with careful regard to the sources given. A date preceded by a dash and followed by a name in parentheses, as ‘—1859 (H., 1st ed.)’ or ‘—1923 (Manchon)’, means that the term to which it refers is not recorded before Hotten’s 1st edition, 1859, or Manchon, 1923, but is assumed to have been in use for some while previously. E.P. made considerable use of a number of earlier slang dictionaries, which means that the same citations keep on appearing; it would be uneconomical to use any but the shortest titles for them, and expansions of the abbreviations used are listed under Bibliographical Abbreviations. E.P. used the abbreviation ‘ob.’ a great deal in the 1st edition. After working on the Dictionary for four years I am still not sure whether he was ‘playing it safe’ by calling usages ‘obsolescent’, or whether he actually meant ‘obsolete’. I have in many entries assumed the latter, which accounts for the frequent terminal date 1930, or the note ‘ob. by 1930’ (to which should probably be added ‘and long before’). It is often very difficult to say for certain when a term has become obsolescent, or even quite extinct (except in historical use): for instance ‘soul-case’, a body, has a decidedly old-fashioned ring to it, and indeed it is recorded by Grose, 1785—yet it is still ‘alive and well’ in the Merchant Navy two centuries later. Other signs used are: + after a date means that the term is known to have been in use in that year, and that it probably lingered in speech for a few years afterwards; † means obsolete—dead except in historical use. Dating even for the last 150 years can in most cases be only conjectural. For this 8th edition the following divisions have been used merely as a rough guide: later C.19 ca. 1860–85+ since late C.19 from ca. 1885 early C.20 ca. 1900–1930 since early C.20 from ca. 1910 earlier C.20 ca. 1900–1950 mid-C.20 ca. 1940–60 since mid-C.20 ca. 1950 onwards later C.20 ca. 1960–80+ < previous page page_xxi next page > < previous page page_xxii next page > page_xxii next page > Page xxii This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_xxiii next page > Page xxiii Bibliographical Abbreviations APOD The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary, ed. Grahame Johnston, OUP, Melbourne, 1976. Apperson G.L.Apperson, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, 1929. Apple Peter McCabe, Apple to the Core, 1972. Arab Andie Clerk, Arab, ca. 1960. Aytoun & Martin W.E.Aytoun and Sir Theodore Martin, The Book of Ballads, ed. ‘Bon Gaultier’, 1845, B., 1941,1942, 1943, Sidney J.Baker, New Zealand Slang,1941; Australian Slang, 1942; Australian Slang, 3rd ed., 1945, 1953, 1959 1943; The Australian Language, 1945; Australia Speaks, 1953; The Drum, 1959. B.E. B.E.’s Dictionary of the Canting Crew, prob. dated 1698–9. B. & L. Barrére and Leland, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant, 1889 (A-K); 1890 (L-Z). B. & P. Brophy and Partridge, Songs and Slang of the British Soldier, 1914–18 (3rd ed., 1931). Republished by André Deutsch, 1965, as The Long Trail. Barnhart Clarence L.Barnhart, et al., A Dictionary of New English, 1973. Basil Hall Fragments of Voyages and Travels, 1st series, 3 vols; 2nd series; 3rd series, 1831–3. Baumann Heinrich Baumann, Londonismen, 1887. Beatles R.Carr and T.Tyler, The Beatles, 1975. Bee ‘Jon Bee’ [pseud., i.e. John Badcock], Dictionary, 1823. Berrey Lester V.Berrey, ‘English War Slang’, Nation (USA), 9 Nov. 1940. ‘Bill Truck’ [pseud., i.e. John Howell], ‘The Man-o’-War’s Man’, Blackwood’s, 1820s (reprinted, London and Edinburgh, 1843). Blaker Richard Blaker, Medal Without Bar, 1930. Bootham Anon., Dictionary of Bootham [School] Slang, 1925. Bowen Frank Bowen, Sea Slang, 1929. Boxiana Pierce Egan, Boxiana, 4 vols, 1818–24. Brandon Brandon’s Glossary of Cant in ‘Ducange Anglicus’. COD Concise Oxford Dictionary. Carew Major Tim Carew, MC, How the Regiments Got Their Nicknames, 1974. Cheapjack Philip Allingham, Cheapjack, 1934. Coles E.Coles, Dictionary, 1676. < previous page page_xxiii next page > < previous page Page xxiv Collinson DCCU DCpp. DNB Dawson Dennis Dick ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Dunford EDD Egan’s Grose F. & G. F. & H. Fowler Franklyn, Rhyming Franklyn 2nd Gilderdale page_xxiv next page > W.E.Collinson, Contemporary English, 1927. A Dictionary of Contempomry and Colloquial Usage, 1971. Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, 1977. Dictionary of National Biography. L.Dawson, Nicknames and Pseudonyms, 1908. C.J.Dennis, The Moods of Ginger Mick, 1916. William Dick, A Bunch of Ratbags, 1965. The Vulgar Tongue, 1857. Douglas Dunford, Beaulieu Motor Museum, Motorcycle Department. Joseph Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary, 1898–1905. See Grose. Fraser & Gibbons, Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases, 1925. Farmer & Henley, Slang and its Analogues, 7 vols, 1890–1904. H.W.Fowler, Modern English Usage, 1926. Julian Franklyn, Dictionary of Rhyming Slang, 1960. As above, 2nd ed., 1961. Michael Gilderdale, ‘A Glossary for Our Times’, News Chronicle, 22 May and (=Gilderdale, 2) 23 May 1958. Gilt Kid James Curtis, The Gilt Kid, 1936. GoodenoughRev. George Goodenough, The Handy Man Afloat and Ashore, 1901. Gowing T.Gowing, A Soldier’s Experience, or, a Voice from the Ranks: a Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign…., 1902 ed. Granville Wilfred Granville, A Dictionary of Sailors’ Slang, 1962; and many private communications. Grose Francis Grose, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785, 1788, 1796, 1811, 1823). Hence, Egan’s Grose=Egan’s ed. of Grose, 1823. Grose, P.= E.P.’s annotated reprint of the 3rd ed. Groupie Jenny Fabian and Johnny Byrne, Groupie, 1968. H. John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary, 1859, 1860, etc. H. & P. J.L.Hunt & A.G.Pringle, Service Slang, 1943. HadenAnthony Haden-Guest, ‘Slang It to Me in Rhyme’, Daily Telegraph mag., 17 Dec. 1972. Guest Harman [prob.] A Caveat or Warening, for Commen Cursetors vulgarely called Vagabones, set forth by Thomas Harman, 1567. Hawke Christopher Hawke, For Campaign Service, 1979. Heart Colin Evans, The Heart of Standing, 1962. Hillman David Hillman, of Geneva, a long list of rhyming slang in post-WW2 use. Letter received 15 Nov. 1974. Hollander Xaviera Hollander, The Best Part of a Man, 1975. < previous page page_xxiv next page > < previous page page_xxv next page > Page xxv Home Glossary of Terms and Slang Common in Penal Establishments, issued July 1978 by the Board of Visitors Office Section, P4 Division. Irwin Godfrey Irwin, American Tramps’ and Underworld Songs and Slang, 1931. Jackson C.H.Ward-Jackson, It’s a Piece of Cake, 1943. Jackson, 2 C.H.Ward-Jackson, ed., Airman’s Song Book, 1945. Jagger Anthony Scaduto, Mick jagger, 1974. Janssen Paul Janssen, of Tilff, Belgium: many communications since late 1960s. Jice DooneJice Doone, Timely Tips for New Australians, 1926. ‘Jon Bee’ See Bee. Jonathan Jonathan Thomas, English as She is Fraught, 1976. Thomas Knock Sidney Knock, Clear Lower Deck, 1932. L.A. Laurie Atkinson: a copious supply of terms, Forces’ and gen., received from 1948 onwards. L.L.G. London Literary Gazette. Landy Eugene E.Landy, The Underground Dictionary, New York, 1971; London, 1972. Leechman Douglas Leechman, numerous communications, esp. in 1959. Lester S.Lester, Vardi the Palarey, n.d. [ca. 1937]. Lewis W.J.Lewis, The Language of Cricket, 1934. Lex. Bal. The Lexicon Balatronicum, or 4th ed. of Grose, 1811. Londres Albert Londres, The Road to Buenos Ayres, Intro. Theodore Dreiser, 1928. Lyell T.Lyell, Slang, Phrase and Idiom in Colloquial English, 1931. M.T. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Market Traders’ Slang: a Glossary of Terms Used in Boston and Elsewhere, 1979. First appeared, in two parts, in Lore & Language, vol. 2, no. 3 and no. 8. MacArthur Alex. MacArthur & H.Kingsley Long, No Mean City, 1935. & Long McKenna, Frank McKenna, A Glossary of Railwaymen’s Talk (Ruskin College History Workshop Pamphlet no. 1), Glossary 1970. McKenna, Frank McKenna, The Railway Workers 1840–1970, 1980. 2 McNeil Glossary to The Chocolate Frog [and] The Old Familiar Juice: Two Plays by Jim McNeil, pub’d Sydney and London, 1973. Manchon J.Manchon, Le Slang, 1923. Marples Morris Marples, Public School Slang, 1940. Marples, 2 Morris Marples, University Slang, 1950. Matthews W.Matthews, ‘London Slang at the Beginning of the XVIII Century’, Notes & Queries, 15, 22, 29 June 1935. Mayhew Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, 3 vols, 1851. < previous page page_xxv next page > < previous page Page xxvi Minsheu Moe Morris Musings Muvver Nevinson ‘No. 747’ Norman OED Onions P.B. P-G-R P.P., Rhyming Slang Pawnshop Murder Partridge, 1945 Petch Pettman Phantom Piper Powis Pugh Pugh, 2 R.S. Railway Rats Richards Rook page_xxvi next page > John Minsheu, Guide into the Tongue, 1627. Albert F.Moe, Colonel (ret’d) US Marine Corps, numerous private communications, 1959–79. E.E.Morris, Austral English, 1898. ‘Guns, Q.F.C. & Phyl Theeluker’, Middle Watch Musings, 4th ed., ca. 1912. Robert Barltrop & Jim Wolveridge, The Muvver Tongue, 1980 (ISBN 904526 46 1). H.W.Nevinson, Neighbours of Ours, 1895. Francis Wylde Carew, ‘No. 747’: Being the Autobiography of a Gipsy, Bristol, 1891. Frank Norman, Bang to Rights, 1958. (The richest non-lexical source-book since Gilt Kid: E.P.) The Oxford English Dictionary. ‘Sup.’, unless otherwise shown,=the Supplement of 1933. C.T.Onions, A Shakespeare Glossary, 1919 ed. Paul C.Beale, editor of this present Dictionary. Own contributions; and entries in 7th ed. or later manuscript notes, radically altered from E.P.’s original. Eric Partridge, Wilfred Granville, Frank Roberts, A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang: 1939–1945, 1948. P.P., Rhyming Slang, 1932 (see entry at Beggar boy’s ass). John G.Brandon, The Pawnshop Murder, 1936. Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of R.A.F.Slang, 1945. Albert E.Petch, bookseller, of Bournemouth, and WW1 Infantryman, numerous communications since 1945. C.Pettman, Africanderisms, 1913. Robert Prest, F4 Phantom: a Pilot’s Story, 1979. Steven Piper, The North Ships: the Life of a Trawlerman, 1974. Deputy Assistant Commissioner David Powis, QPM, The Signs of Crime: a Field Manual for Police, 1977. Edwin Pugh, The Cockney at Home, 1914. Edwin Pugh, The Spoilers, 1906. Ramsey Spencer, copious notes and helpful comments over the years. Harvey Sheppard, Dictionary of Railway Slang, 1964; and 2nd ed., 1966. Lawson Glassop, We Were the Rats, 1944. Frank Richards, Old Soldier Sahib, 1936. Clarence Rook, The Hooligan Nights, orig. pub. 1899; reprinted OUP, 1979. < previous page page_xxvi next page > < previous page Page xxvii SOD Sampson Sessions Shaw Sinks Slang Smart & Crofton Spy TLS ‘Taffrail’ page_xxvii next page > The Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Dialect of Gypsies of Wales, 1926. Session Papers of the Central Criminal Court, 1729–1913. The late Frank Shaw, many notes from Merseyside. Anon., Sinks of London Laid Open, Duncombe, London, 1848. Eric Partridge, Slang To-day and Yesterday, rev. ed., 1935. B.C.Smart & H.T.Crofton, The Dialect of the English Gypsies, rev. ed., 1875. C.E.Westmacott, The English Spy, 1825; vol. II, 1826. The Times Literary Supplement. ‘Taffrail’ [i.e. Capt. H.Taprell Dorling, DSO, RN], Carry On, 1916; esp. the article ‘the Language of the Navy’, orig. pub. not later than 1915. Tempest Paul Tempest, Lag’s Lexicon: a Comprehensive Dictionary and Encyclopaedia of the English Prison of Today, 1950. Thornton R.H.Thornton, American Glossary, 1912. Underworld Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of the Underworld (British & American), 1949. Vaux J.H.Vaux’s ‘Glossary of Cant, 1812’, in his Memoirs, 1819. W. Ernest Weekley, Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. W. & F. Harold Wentworth & S.B.Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 2nd Supplemented ed., 1975. Ware J.Redding Ware, Passing English of the Victorian Era, 1909. Wilkes G.A.Wilkes, A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, 1978. Words! Eric Partridge, Words, Words, Words!, 1933. Y. & B. Henry Yule & A.C.Burnell, Hobson-Jobson, rev. ed., 1903. E.P.: To several other correspondents, I owe much; their material being, in the main, corrective or modificatory or supplementary, they are not mentioned above. Especially, Dr David Aitken, Mr N.T.Gridgeman, Professor F.E.L.Priestley, Dr D.Pechtold and Mr C.A.Roy. P.B.: Other sources and contributors less heavily drawn upon may be found cited in full at the appropriate entries. Enquirers seeking a fuller coverage of ‘unconventional English’ are strongly recommended to use, as companion volumes to this one, E.P.’s Dictionary of Catch Phrases (see DCpp. above) and Underworld, and Wilkes. Another vitally important work in this field is The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, 1959, by Iona and the late Peter Opie, a marvellous book, and essential reading because so much ‘children’s talk’ has naturally spilled over, even if only allusively, into adult slang and colloquial English. < previous page page_xxvii next page > < previous page page_xxviii next page > page_xxviii next page > Page xxviii This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_xxix Page xxix Abbreviations and Signs AA anti-aircraft AIF Australian Imperial Force abbr. abbreviation, or shortening; abbreviated, abridged. adj. adjective; adjectival(ly) adv. adverb; adverbial(ly) after after the fashion of; on the analogy of annon. anonymous app. apparently Aus. Australia(n) BWI British West Indies Brit. British; Britain c. cant, i.e. language of the underworld C. century c.p. a catch-phrase c. and low cant and low slang ca. about (the year…) Can. Canada; Canadian cf. compare coll. colloquial(ism); colloquially d. died derog. derogatory dial. dialect; dialectal(ly) Dict. Dictionary E.P. Eric Partridge ed. edition elab. elaborate(s or d); elaboration Eng. English esp. especially etym. etymology; etymological(ly) euph. euphemism; euphemistic(ally) ex from; derived from exclam. exclamation FAA Fleet Air Arm fem. feminine fig. figurative(ly) fl. flourished Fr. French gen. general(ly); usual(ly) Ger. German Gr. Greek Ibid. in the same authority or book id. the same imm. immediate(ly) interj. interjection It. Italian j. jargon, i.e. technical(ity) joc. jocular(ly); humorous L. Latin lit. literal(ly) literary Literary English, i.e. unused in ordinary speech M.C.P. male chauvinist pig M.E. Middle English MN Merchant Navy military mainly army usage, perhaps including naval; cf. later ‘Services’ mod. modern n. noun N. North, in N. Africa; N. Country (of England) N.B. note carefully NZ New Zealand nonaristocratic P.B.: I take this to mean what is, in later C.20. aristocratic known as ‘non-U’ O.E. Old English; i.e. before ca. 1150 ob. obsolescent (see note at Dating) occ. occasional(ly) on on the analogy of opp. opposite; as opposed to orig. original(ly); originate(d), or -ing pej. pejorative(ly) Pl plural; in the plural Port. Portuguese poss. possible; possibly ppl participle; participial prec. preceded; preceding (cf. prec.=compare the preceding entry) prob. probable; probably pron. pronounced; pronunciation pub. published quot’n quotation next page > q.v. RAF RFC RM RN RNAS ref. Regt or regt resp. rev. s. S.E. s.v. sc. Scot. Services sing. sol. Sp. synon. temp. US usu. v. v.i. v.t. var. vbl n. vulg. WRNS WW1 WW2 > = †; +; − which see! Royal Air Force Royal Flying Corps (1912–18) Royal Marines Royal Navy Royal Naval Air Service (1914–18) reference Regiment respective(ly) revised slang Standard English see at supply!; understand! Scottish the Armed Forces of the Crown singular solecism; solecistic Spanish synonymous(ly) in or at the time of the United States of America; American usual(ly) verb intransitive verb transitive verb variant; variation verbal noun vulgarism Women’s Royal Naval Service The First World War, 1914–19 The Second World War, 1939–45 become(s); became equal(s); equal to; equivalent to See Dating < previous page page_xxix next page > < previous page page_xxx next page > page_xxx next page > Page xxx This page intentionally left blank. < previous page < previous page page_1 next page > Page 1 A A.A. of the G.G. (or Gee-Gee) , The Institute of the Horse and Pony Club, founded 1930. (Sir Frederick Hobday, in Saturday Review, 19 May 1934.) Lit., the A utomobile A ssocia-tion of the Gee-Gee (or horse). P.B.: prob. an ephemeral pun. A.B . An able-bodied seaman: prob. since very early C.19. Moe cites Bill Truck, Feb. 1826, and The Night Watch, 1828, at II, 121. A.B.C . An A erated B read C ompany’s tea-shop: from ca. 1880; coll. by 1914.—2. Ale, bread, and cheese on ‘going-home night’: Christ’s Hospital School: C.19.—3. A crib: Rugby schoolboys’: late C.19–early 20. Ex letters forming cab, n., 4, q.v.—4. An A ustralian-born C hinese: Aus. and Far East: since ca. 1950, perhaps earlier. Also A merican-born Chinese. (P.B.)—5. See easy as ABC. a.b.f . A final ‘last drink’: from ca. 1915. I.e. an absolutely bloody f inal drink. a.c.a.b . See all coppers… AC—DC or A.C.—D.C . (Usu. of male) both heterosexual and homosexual: adopted, ca. 1959, ex US. A pun on electricity’s ‘ A.C. or D.C ’: alternating current or direct current. Cf. plug in both ways . A/C Plonk . An Aircraftman 2nd class (AC2): RAF: since early 1920s. ( New Statesman, 30 Aug. 1941; Jackson.) Ex plonk, n., 1, mud. Cf. P/O Prune, Plonk’s superior officer. a-cockbill . Free; dangling free: nautical coll. > j.: since early C.19. ‘Greenwich Hospital’, in L.L.G., 21 Feb. 1824 (Moe); Manual of Seamanship, vol. I, 1937, p. 424 (Eric Gell). a cooloo . All; everything: RAF, esp. regulars with service in the Middle East: ca. 1925–50—but since ca. 1914 in army usage. (Jackson.) Prob. ex Arabic cooloo, all. a-crash of , go. To assault (a person): low coll.:—1923 (Manchon). à d’autres ! ‘Tell that to the Marines!’; expression of disbelief: fashionable London c.p.: ca. 1660–80, See DCpp . a.d. (or A.D.) . A drink: male dancers’ coll., inscribed on dance-programmes: early C.20. Ware. a.f . Having met with (come across) a ‘ f lat’, who has, to the speaker’s advantage, laid his bets all wrong: the turf:— 1823 (Bee); † by 1870. A from a bull’s foot or a windmill or the gable-end . Usu. not know A…: see KNOW, in Appendix. A.I.F . Deaf: Aus. rhyming s.: later C.20. (McNeil.) AIF orig.=Australian Imperial Forces. a.k . ‘ arse over kettle’ (Can.: C.20): Can. army signallers’: WW1. Cf. ack over tock. a.k.a . ‘“a.k.a.”—“also known as”—is New Wave, or rock press, for “formerly”’ (Peter York, in Harpers & Queen, July 1977). Ex police j. à la … In the fashion of; in such-and-such a way or manner: coll.: late C.19–20. ‘Trying to bring his entire family into politics à la So-and-So’ (B.P.).—2. In very à la, absolutely in fashion: often used ironically, disparagingly or contemptuously: ‘She thought she was the cat’s whiskers—oh, very à la!’: middle-class feminine: mid-C.20. (P.B.) à la cart—and horse . ‘A jocular perversion of à la carte’ (Petch): C.20. Al . Excellent, first class: orig. of ships (Lloyd’s Register); then of persons and things (Dickens, 1837). Variants: A1 copper-bottomed (Charles Hindley, 1876); ob. by 1930; A1 at Lloyd’s: from ca. 1850; first-class, letter A, no. 1:— 1860 (H., 2nd ed.). US form: A no. 1 .—2. A commander of 900 men: Fenian coll. > j.: ca. 1865–90. Erroneously no. 1 . (A lower officer was known as B.) A over T . See arse over tip. a.p . The right procedure, the correct thing to do: RN College, Dartmouth: from ca. 1930. (Granville.) I.e. A dmiralty pattern. aap . See zol. Aaron . A cadger: c.; the Aaron, a captain of thieves: ? C.17–19. Cf. abandannad, a pickpocket. ab . An Aboriginal: Aus.: ca. 1870–1920. (A.Macdonald, In the Land of Pearl and Gold, 1907.) Displaced by Abo. abaa . A non-unionist; hence, adj.: silly: proletarian:—1903 (F. & H. rev.). abaccering , vbl n. Loafing: canalmen’s: C.20. (D.A.Gladwin, The Canals of Britain, 1973.) Peppitt suggests ‘perhaps for abackering’; P.B.: or ex smoking, or chewing, (to)bacco? Abadan . ‘When Persia nationalised her oil wells under President Mossadeq [ca. 1952] any driver who was too liberal with engine oil was nicknamed “Abadan”’ (McKenna, Glossary, p. 41): railwaymen’s. abaddon . A thief turned informer: c.: late C.19–early 20.? a pun on a bad ’un and the angel Abaddon. abandannad . A thief specialising in bandanna handkerchiefs: c.:—1864 (H., 3rd ed.). There is perhaps a pun on abandoned.—2. Hence, any petty thief: c.: late C.19–early 20. abandoned habits . The riding dresses of demi-mondaines in Hyde Park: ca. 1870–1900. abandonment . Bankruptcy of a railway company: financiers’ and brokers’: ca. 1880–1905. B. & L. abber . At Harrow School, an abstract or an absit: from 1890s. OXFORD -ER. abbess (1782+), Lady Abbess (−1785). The keeper of a brothel: late C.18–19. A procuress: C.19. Ex Fr. abbesse, a female brothel-keeper. Cf. abbot and see esp. F. & H. Peter Pindar, John Wolcot (d. 1819): ‘So an old abbess, for the rattling rakes,/A tempting dish of human nature makes,/And dresses up a luscious maid.’ Abbeville Kids , the. Focke-Wulf pilots (or pilots and planes): RAF: 1942; ob. by 1946. Partridge, 1945, ‘Our airmen first met them over or near Abbeville and…like the Dead End Kids of cinematic fame, they have no very rosy future’. abbey lubber . A lazy monk: ca. 1538–1750: coll. >, by 1600, S.E.—2. A lazy, thriftless person: nautical, ca. 1750–1900. abbot . The husband, or the preferred male, of a brothel-keeper (see abbess): C.19. Cf. the old S.E. terms, abbot of misrule, abbot of unreason, a leader in a disorderly festivity. Abbott’s Priory . The King’s Bench Prison: ca. 1820–80;? ex Sir Charles Abbott, Lord Chief Justice, 1818. Likewise, Abbott’s Park, the rules thereof. Bee. Abbott’s teeth . A ca. 1820–40 var. of Ellenborough’s teeth. (Pierce Egan, Life in London, 1821.) Cf. prec. entry. Abby, pl Abbies . An Abyssinian cat: domestic: C.20. Bournemouth Echo, 18 Jan. 1968. abdabs . In don’t come —or, give me— the old abdabs, don’t tell me the tale: C.20, esp. WW2. By itself, abdabs was, in WW2, occ. used for ‘afters’.—2. In the screaming abdabs, an attack of delirium tremens: since late 1930s. Since ca. 1942, abdabs has sometimes been hab-dabs. This is prob. the orig. of the abdabs ‘given’ in sense 1.—3. In have the screaming abdabs, to be in a state of enraged frustration: RN, MN: since ca. 1950. (Peppitt.) < previous page page_1 next page > < previous page page_2 next page > Page 2 abdar . A teetotaller: Anglo-Indian: later C.19–earlier 20. (B. & L.) Ex Hindustani for a water-carrier. abdominal , n. An abdominal case: medical coll.: C.20. A.P. Herbert, Holy Deadlock, 1934. abdominal crash . An aeroplane smash; a heavy fall: RFC: later WW1. (F. & G.) On gutser. Abdul . A Turkish soldier; collectively, the Turks: army coll.: from ca. 1915. (B. & P.) Ex frequency of Abdul as a Turkish name. abe . In on (one’s) abe, indigent; very short of money: Aus.: earlier C.20. (B., 1942.) ‘Disguised rhyming S.’, says E.P.— but on what? abel-whackets . See able-w(h)ackets. Aberdeen booster . See Scotsman’s fifth at HAULIERS’, in Appendix. Aberdeen cutlet . A dried haddock: later C.19–early 20. By F. & H. denoted familiar, but definitely s. Cf. Billingsgate pheasant and Yarmouth capon . Abergavenny . A penny: rhyming s.: later C.19–early 20. abfab . ‘They looked real “abfab” (absolutely fabulous), another of our bodgie [q.v.] words’ (Dick): Aus. teenagers’: mid1950s. Abigail . A lady’s-maid: from ca. 1616, though not recorded fig. till 1663: coll. >, by 1800, S.E.; by 1930, out-moded literary. Ex the Bible. In Beaumont & Fletcher, Fielding, Smollett. abishag . Illegitimate child of a mother seduced by a married man: c.: ca. 1860–1930. (B. & L.) Ex Hebrew for ‘the mother’s error’. able-w(h) ackets . A nautical card-game in which every lost point—or game—entails a whack with a knotted handkerchief (Grose, Smyth): coll.: from ca. 1780; † by 1883, witness Clark Russell’s nautical dict. Abney Park . In gone to…, dead: London proletarian:—1909 (Ware); † by 1930. Ex Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, north London. abo, Abo . Australian Aboriginal: Aus. coll.: mid-C.19–20. Wilkes, ‘Not always intended as derogatory, but now  increasingly taken to be so.’ Cf. ab; aboliar . aboard . See fall aboard of. aboliar (or A-) ; properly abo-liar. A regular writer on Aborigine lore or of Aborigine stories: s. (from ca. 1910) >, by 1925 coll. and by 1936 virtually j. It is a coinage of the (Sydney) Bulletin, which, by the way, also coined Billjim and Maoriland . Cognate, and from the same mint, is aboriginality, a (preferably original ) contribution to Aborigine lore: Aus. coll.: C.20. Gen. in pl, in which shape it heads a column in the Bulletin. abolished . Ironically, punished very lightly: a pun on admonished: army: since late 1940s. (P.B.) abominable . A late C.19–20 sol., or joc. coll., for abdominal; esp. in abominable pains.—2. Very unpleasant: coll., from ca. 1860: the same with the adv. (-bly). Cf. the S.E. senses and abominate. abominable ‘no’-man, the . One who persists in failing to conform: since ca. 1955. A pun on ‘the abominable snow-man’. abominate . To dislike ‘intensely’, i.e. very much: from ca. 1875: coll. aboriginality . See aboliar. abortion . As in ‘That hat’s an abortion’—ludicrous, or very ugly: Aus., since late 1940s (B.P.): also some Brit. usage (P.B.). Abortion Express, the . See Leaping Lena. about . See other way about; something about… about as high . See high as three pennyworth… about proper . An illiterate var. of proper, adv., q.v. about rlght . Correct; adequate; coll.:—1850 (Frank Smedley); since WW1, also about it. abont the size of it (, that’s) . Approximately right: coll.: since ca. 1870. Perhaps orig. US. P.B.: in later C.20, among the low and raffish, sometimes used in conjunction with a (male) gesture in which the left hand grasps the upper right arm, the right forearm, hand lightly clenched, being allowed to flop forward and down, representing the penis: ‘that’s about the size of it—like a baby’s hand holding an orange.’ About Turn . Hébuturne, a village in France: army on the Western Front: WW1. (F. & G.) By Hobson-Jobson. above board . Openly; without artifice or dishonesty. Coll. verging on, and occ. achieving, S.E. Ex position of hands in cardplaying for money. Earliest record, 1608 (Apperson). above oneself . Too ambitious or confident, not by nature but momentarily: C.20. above par . In excellent health, spirits, money in hand, mild drunkenness. All from ca. 1870, ex stocks and shares at a premium. Cf. below par . abrac, Abrac . Learning: ca. 1820–50. (‘Jon Bee’, 1823.) C orruption of Arabic or abbr. of abracadabra. Abraham . ‘A clothier’s shop of the lowest description’: chiefly East End of London and ex the Jewish name; ca. 1870–1920.— 2. The penis: low: late C.19–20; ob. Whence Abraham’s bosom, the female pudend. Abra(ha)m-cove or -man . A pseudo-madman seeking alms; a genuine lunatic allowed on certain days to leave Bethlehem Hospital (whence bedlam beggar ) to beg. The term flourished most ca. 1550–1700, A. cove being, however, unrecorded in C.16; this sense > archaic only ca. 1830; ex Luke 16 (Lazraus); described by Awdelay, Harman, Shakespeare, Mas-singer, B.E., Grose.—2. Also, in late C.18–19, a mendicant pretending to be an old naval rating cast on the streets. Cf. abram, q.v.—3. (Only Abram man.) A thief of pocket-books: c. (—1823); † by 1870. Bee. Abraham Grains (or g-) . A publican brewing his own beer: c.: late C.19–20. Abraham Newland . A banknote, ex the Bank of England’s chief cashier of 1778–1807: ca. 1780–1830; Scott uses it in 1829. W.N.Glascock, Saints and Sailors, 1829, I, 21, has Newland (Moe). H., 2nd ed. (1860), records the c.p. (?orig. the words of a song), sham Abraham you may, but you mustn’t sham Abraham Newland . Bradbury, q.v. Abra(ha)m-sham . A feigned illness or destitution: C.19. Ex sham Abra(ha)m, to pretend sickness (—1759), in C.19 mainly nautical and often do Abra(ha)m; also—see Abraham Newland—to forge banknotes, † by 1840. Abraham suit, on the . Engaged in any begging-letter dodge that will arouse sympathy: c.: from ca. 1860: ob. B. & L. abraham (or abram) work . Any sham or swindle, esp. if commercial: mid-C.19–early 20. As adj. abra(ha)m =spurious: see prec. Abrahamer . A vagrant: low (—1823); † by 1900. ‘Jon Bee’, who defines Abrahamers as ‘a lot, or receptacle full of beggars, half naked, ragged, and dirty’: an ambiguous set of words. Abraham’s balsam . Death by hanging: C.18 low. Punning S.E. Abraham’s balm (tree). Abraham’s willing . A shilling: rhyming s.: –1859 (H., 1st ed.). Abrahampstead ; Cricklewitch; Goldbergs Green; Yidsbury. London Jewish self-mocking nicknames for the districts of Hampstead, Cricklewood, Golders Green, and Finsbury: later C.20. (J.B.Mindel, 1981.) abram, n . A malingerer. nautical: C.19–early 20.—2. As adj., c.: mad, C.16–17, naked, C.17–18, this latter developing ex auburn corrupted, for (as in Shakespeare) abra(ha)m, later abram-coloured, =auburn, hence fair. Cf. the abrannoi (naked) of Hungarian gipsy (V.Sackville-West, Knole and the Sackvilles, 1922).—3. For Sham Abram, see Abra(ha)m-sham. abram , v. To feign sickness:? ca. 1840–90. ( Sinks, 1848.) Perhaps rhyming s., but more prob. ex the n. abram cove . ‘A Naked or poor Man, also a lusty strong Rogue’ (B.E.); the latter being of the 17th Order of the Canting Crew: c.: C.17–early 19. Cf. abram, 2. Abram man . See Abraham-cove. Abramsham . See Abraham-sham. abram work . See abraham work. < previous page page_2 next page > < previous page page_3 next page > Page 3 abridgements . Knee-breeches.? Nonce word: Bulwer Lytton’s play, Money, 1840. abroad . In error, wide of the mark (Dickens); earlier (Pierce Egan, 1821), all abroad, with additional sense of ‘confused’; all abroad is, in the former sense, now ob. From ca. 1860; both coll.—2. Also, (of convicts) transported: ca. 1810–90. The London Guide, 1818.—3. At Winchester College, C.19, (come) abroad meant to return to work after being ill. abroaded . Living on the Continent as a defaulter from England: Society, 1860–90.—2. Sent to a penal settlement whether at home or in the Colonies: police, ca. 1840–80. Cf. abroad .—3. In c., imprisoned anywhere: ca. 1870–1920. abs . At Winchester College in C.19; ob. by 1930: absent; to take away; to depart (quickly). Ca. 1840, abs a tolly, to put out a candle; late C.19–20, to extinguish a candle demands the ‘notion’ dump it. To have one’s wind absed is to get a ‘breather’ or ‘winder’. abscotchalater . See absquatulate. absence in its Eton sense (a roll-call) is now j., but it may orig. have been s.: see esp. ETON, §1, in Appendix. absent rider . ‘A man who has not turned up for duty. This is based on a race-course term for the jockey who fails to arrive at the course’ (McKenna, Glossary, p.41): railwaymen’s mid-C.20. absent without leave . (Of one) having absconded: from ca. 1860.—2. In c., escaped from prison: id. absence without leave, give (one) . To discharge (one) suddenly from employment: from ca. 1820; ob. Bee. absent-minded beggax . A soldier: semi-joc. coll.: 1899–1902. Ex Kipling’s poem. absentee . A convict: semi-euph. coll.: ca. 1810–60. absoballylutely ; absobloodylutely. Absolutely, utterly: late C.19–20; C.20. The former occurs in W.L.George, The Making of an Englishman, 1914, and both were, by 1940, rather ob. (With thanks to Mr R.W.Burchfield.) Note that absobloodylutely is the most frequent of the bloody interpolations, as not fucking likely is of the fucking interpolations. absolute, an . An absolute certainty: coll.: early C.20. (Pugh.) Cf. moral.—2. In on the absolute, on the granting of the decree absolute: divorce-agency coll.: C.20. A.P.Herbert, Holy Dead-lock, 1934. absolutely ! Certainly! Coll. intensification of ‘yes’: C.20. absolutely true . Utterly false: Society: ca. 1880. Ware. Ex title of book. absorb . To drink (liquor): v.t. and i.: C.20, as in ‘He absorbs a lot, you know!’ absquatalate . To depart, gen. hastily or in disgrace; as the rare v.t.: to cause to do this: 1844 (OED). Orig. US (1837), anglicised ca. 1860, ob. by 1900. Thornton; H., 1st ed. An artificial word: perhaps on abscond and squat, with a L. ending, perhaps that of undulate, as of a snake undulating and slithering away. During the 1830s–70s, such arbitrary humorous forms abounded in US slangy and colloquial speech: and to seek reason in, and for, their origin is perhaps unreasonable. As in England of ca. 1580–1720—and since—slang has owed much to scholars in their more convivial moods and moments, so too in US. These spontaneous word-playings by the light-hearted literate were often adopted by the semi-literate and occ. by the illiterate. abstain from beans . To take no part in politics: not very gen.:—1923 (Manchon); ob. by 1930. abstropelous . A C.18–mid-19 var. of obstropolous . absurd is coll. in its loose, Society usage: from ca. 1920. D. Mackail, Greenery Street, 1925, ‘Besides, caveat emptor and— generally speaking—don’t be absurd.’ Aby, Aby, Aby my boy ! Chanted, usually with the rest of the song: a Jew-baiting c.p.: ca. 1920–39. Abyssinia ! I’ll be seeing you!: since mid-1930s. Michael Harrison, Vernal Equinox, 1939. By a pun. Abyssinian medal . A button showing in the fly: military: ca. 1896–1914. (Ware.) Ex the Abyssinian War (1893–6). Cf. Star of the East. ac . Accumulator: electricians’: C.20. (Partridge, 1945.) E.g. in trolley-ac, an accumulator on wheels, used for starting aircraft engines: RAF: since mid-C.20. (P.B.)—2. As the Ac, the Royal Academy: artists’: ca. 1870–1940. Ware. academic nudity . ‘Appearance in public without cap or gown’ (Ware): Oxford University:—1909; † by 1921. academician . A harlot: ca. 1760–1820. Ex academy, a brothel: c. of late C.17–18. (B.E., Grose.) In C.19, academy=a thieves’ school: cf. Fagan in Oliver Twist . But in late C.19–20, academy is also a hard-labour prison and (—1823) its inmates are academicians. Bee. academics . (University) cap and gown: from ca. 1820; ob. Coll. rather than s.; the j. would be academicals . Academite . ‘A graduate of the old Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth’: nautical coll.: from early C.19. W.N.Glascock, Sailors and Saints, 1829, I, 167 (Moe). Academy . See academician.—2. Abbr. Academy-figure, a ‘half-life’ drawing from the nude: artists’, C.20.—3. A billiardroom: ca. 1885–1910. Ware, ‘Imported from Paris’.—4. A lunatic asylum: ca. 1730–90. Alexander Cruden in a pamphlet, 1754.—5. As the Academy, Platonism and Platonists: from the 1630s: academic s. >, in C.18 university coll. >, by 1830, philosophic j. The other four of the chief schools of Greek philosophy are The Garden (Epicureanism), The Lyceum (Aristotelianism), The Porch (Stoicism), and The Tub (Cynicism): same period and changes of status. Fowler. acater . A ship chandler: nautical coll.: C.19–early 20. (Bowen.) A survival of †S.E. acatur, a purveyor: ex Fr. acheteur, a buyer. Acca . In Meanjin (Melbourne), 1/1977, Dr K.S.Inglis has an article titled ‘Accas and Ockers: Australia’s New Dictionaries’. To the title, the editor, Jim Davidson, subjoins this footnote: ‘ ăćca (slightly derog.) 1, n. An academic rather than an intellectual, particularly adept at manipulating trendiologies, usually with full scholarly apparatus. Hence 2, n. A particularly sterile piece of academic writing.’ But no indication about date of orig. Prompted by Ocker, q.v. acceleration . Starvation; esp. die of acceleration: vagrants’ c.; from ca. 1880; ob. (B. & L.) Also accelerator, a Union relieving officer: id.: id. Ex refusals ‘to give food to the dying outcast’. accident . An untimely, or accidental, call of nature: coll.: 1899. OED.—2. See street accident. accident-maker . A report dealing with accidents and disasters: London journalists’ (—1887): † by 1920. Baumann. accidentally on purpose (earlier, often accidentally done…) . With (usu. malicious) purpose veiled: c.p.: C.20. See DCpp . accommodation house . A brothel; a disorderly house: coll.: ca. 1820–1920. Bee. accommodator . One who negotiates a compounding of felonies or other crimes: c.: later C.19–early 20. B. & L. according . In that’s (all) according, a coll. abbr. of the cautious that’s according to, i.e. dependent on, the circumstances. Not in the sense, in accordance with . according to Cocker . Properly, correctly: since ca. 1760. Ex Edward Cocker, 1631–76, engraver and teacher, whose famous Cocker’s Arithmetic, pub. posthumously in 1678 Icon-fined to commercial questions only), was popular for nearly a century. The US phase (partly acclimatised in England by 1909: Ware) is according to Gunter, a famous mathematician: the C.19 nautical, according to John Norie, the editor of a much-consulted Navigator’s Manual. according to Hoyle . Correct; correctly: coll.: late C.19–20. Ex Edmond Hoyle’s The Polite Gamester, 1752; soon titled Mr Hoyle’s Games of Whist…, 12th edition, 1760; then as Hoyle’s Games Improved, 1786; in C.19, there appeared innumerable reeditings, improvements, enlargements, abridgments. Cf. according to Cocker. according to plan . Joc. and ironic for ‘willy-nilly’, for anything that did not go according to plan: orig. army, later < previous page page_3 next page > < previous page page_4 next page > Page 4 WW1; then a gen. c.p. more Ex Ger. plangemäss, a euph. misrepresentation in communiqués reporting loss of ground. (W.; B. & P.) See DCpp . account , n. In go on the a., to turn pirate, or buccaneer: coll.:—1812 (Scott). account for . To kill: sporting coll., from ca. 1840 (Thackeray, 1842) >, by 1890, S.E. accounts . See cast up (one’s) accounts. accounts for the milk in the coco(a)-nut, that . A c.p. rejoinder on first hearing a thing explained: ca. 1860–1910. Ex ‘a clever but not very moral story’ (H., 5th ed.). The phrase was current in Can., late C.19–earlier 20 (Leechman). See coconut, and milk in the coco-nut. accrue chocolate . ‘To make oneself popular with the officers’ (Bowen): RN: early C.20. Cf. brown-nosing. accunmulator . (Racing) a better carrying forward a win to the next event: turf coll. > j.: from ca. 1870. ace , n. A showy airman: RFC/RAF (ironic) coll.: since ca. 1918. (F. & G.) Ex the lit. S.E. sense, a crack fighter-pilot.—2. A flagship or other ‘key’ vessel: RN: from ca. 1914. Ex card-games. See guard the ace.—3. ‘One bad peach—we call it an “ace”—turns the whole lot bad. We say, “Get that bleedin’ ace out”’ (Thomas Skeats, barrow-boy, reported in Daily Mail, 24 July 1963): street-traders’: since ca. 1920. (Also applied to any other fruit.) A singleton.—4. Var. of ace of spades, 1.—5. In within on ace of, almost: C.18–20: coll. >, by 1800, S.E. (‘Facetious’ Tom Brown, 1704.) Orig. ambs- or ames-ace.—6. In on (one’s) ace, alone: Aus.: C.20. Wilkes. ace , adj. Excellent; ‘star’: coll.: from ca. 1932. Daily Express, 20 Apr. 1937, speaking of an orchestra: ‘London’s ace players improvising hot numbers’. John Winton, HMS Leviathan, 1967, of its RN—esp. its FAA—use, writes, ‘The word “ace” meant anything superlative, desirable, well planned or well executed. “Dank” was its antonym and “fat” almost its synonym, meaning satisfied, ready, in a good or advantageous position.’ P.B.: ace was still in use, as an adj. of high praise, in the RAF, early 1970s, and among comprehensive school youngsters in 1978. The latter gave even higher praise to anything by describing it as pearly ace. ace-high . As high as possible: coll.: adopted, ex US, ca. 1925. Alice Campbell, Desire to Kill, 1934, ‘Ace-high in public esteem’. Ex card-games. ace in the hole . A hidden asset, to be produced when necessary for best advantage: coll. when used gen.: since mid-C.20, when adopted ex US poker-players’. Alan Hunter, Gently Sahib, 1964 (P.B.). Ace King Queen Jack . A joc., non-Catholic description of the sign of the cross: late C.19–20.—2. A widow’s pension: RN: from ca. 1930. P-G-R. ace of spades . A widow: low:—1811 (Lex. Bal.); † by 1890.—2. The female pudend: low: mid-C.19–20. F. & H., ‘Hence, to play one’s ace and take the Jack =to receive a man.’—3. A black-haired woman: proletarian:—1903 (F. & H., rev.). ace of trouble . The ace of spades: late C.19–mid-20. (Petch.) achage . An aching state: joc. coll.: C.20. After breakage . SOD. acher. A painful blow or kick, esp. in the testicles: since ca. 1960. Jonathan Thomas, 1976.—2. See acre. aching tooth . In have an a.t., to have a desire, a longing (for): coll.: late C.16–20; in C.19–20, mostly dial. Lodge, 1590; North, 1742; 1887, Parish & Shaw, Dict. of Kent Dialect. (Apperson.)—2. ( have…at a person.) To be angry with: coll.: C.18. N.Bailey, 1730. acid , n. ‘Heavy sarcasm; scornful criticism’ (Granville): RN > gen. (esp. in come the (old) acid, q.v.): C.20.—2. LSD, the psychedelic drug: Can., from 1966 (Leechman); by 1967 also Brit, as in A.Diment, The Dolly Dolly Spy, 1967. Whence, acid-head, a user thereof (Ibid.). Both of these terms occur also in Peter Fryer, ‘A Toz of “Zowie”’ in the Observer colour sup., 3 Dec. 1967.—3. In, e.g., “‘Don’t give me the old acid.” Don’t try to fool me with a lot of nonsense’ (Jonathan Thomas, 1976): later C.20. See come the acid.—4. In put the acid on, ‘To make the kind of demand (for money, information, or sex) that will either yield results or eliminate that possibility. Ex acid test’ (Wilkes): Aus., NZ: C.20. Cf. hard word.—5. See put the acid in. acid drop . A rating that’s always either arguing or quarrelling or complaining: RN: C.20. Granville. acid rock . ‘Modern music which, when accompanied by unusual lighting and extreme amplification, is evocative of LSD hallucinations’ (Powis): later C.20. ack . An airman, esp. AC1 (Aircraftman 1st Class) or AC2: RAF College, Cranwell: ca. 1920–30. (Gp Capt A.Wall, 1945.) A vocalisation of ac.—2. Assistant: army: from ca. 1940. E.g. Ack Adj, the assistant adjutant (P-G-R); Ack IG, an assistant instructor of gunnery (P.B.: still current early 1970s, where ack adj was ob. by 1950). Ex the orig. signallers’ PHONETIC ALPHABET, q.v. in Appendix. ack , v. To ack nowledge, e.g. a letter or signal: Forces’ and Civil Service > gen. clerical: C.20. ack ! No!, as a refusal of a request: Christ’s Hospital: C.19. Cf. Romany ac!, stuff! ack-ack . Anti-aircraft guns and gunfire: Services’: WW2. Hence Ack-Ack, AA Command (H. & P., 1943). Reader’s Digest, Feb. 1941, ‘To avoid the “ack-acks” (anti-aircraft guns).’ Cf. Archie, q.v.—2. As challenge, with response beer-beer, a joc. of early WW2. For both, see PHONETIC ALPHABET, in Appendix. ack adj . See ack, 2. Ack and Quack . The A & Q (Adjutant and Quartermaster) Department: army: ca. 1925–50. P-G-R. ack-charlie . To ‘arse-crawl’ (q.v.); an ‘arse-crawler’: Services’, esp. army: WW2. Ex the signalese for a-c. P-G-R. ack emma . Air Mechanic: RFC, 1912–18, and RAF, 1918. The rank became, in Jan. 1919, aircraftman. Jackson.—2. A.m.: services’: from 1915. For both, see PHONETIC ALPHABET, in Appendix. ack over toc(k) . See arse over turkey. ack Willie . Absent without leave: Aus. army: WW2. (B., 1943.) Signalese for first two letters of AWOL, the official abbr. ackermaracker . Tea (the beverage): low: since ca. 1920. (James Curtis, They Drive by Night, 1938.) E.P.’s orig. etym. was, ‘The form (acker-mar-acker) suggests tea reversed and distorted from act to ack; ack elab. to acker; and, with a swift mar interpolated, acker repeated.’ In 1970 he added: in TLS, 16 Oct. 1970, ‘Anthony Burgess castigates me for my fanciful explanation of the orig., but, with all his marvellous ingenuity and celebrated cerebration (I write this not ironically but admiringly), he has proposed no origination. My own, I admit, is too ingenious by half. I doubt whether the etym. will ever be solved. On maturer consideration I tentatively suggest that s. char, tea, has been backslanged to rach and then elaborated.’—2. As ackamaraka, in ‘“Don’t give me the old ackamaraka”=don’t tell me tall yarns, don’t try to bluff me’ (Tempest, 1950): prisons’s.: mid-C.20. ackers . Ac tivity at physical exercises: Pangbourne Nautical College: since ca. 1950. (Peppitt.) The ‘OXFORD/RN -ER(S)’.—2. See Akkas. ’ackin’ corf . A hacking cough: ‘pseudo-vulgarly in jest’ (Collinson, 1927); i.e. coll. when joc., illiterate when serious. ackle . To fit, or function, properly, esp. as in ‘It (or she) won’t ackle’: RFC/RAF, 1917–19, perhaps orig. ex dial.; still current late 1970s, and has long been gen. Also ‘Can you ackle it?’=can you make it work? (E.P.; P.B.) ackman . A fresh-water thief: c.: mid-C.18–19. Corruption of arkman, q.v. F. & H. adduces also ack-pirate and ack-riff . acknowledge the corn , v.i. Admit, acknowledge: adopted, ex US,—1883 (Sala); ob. by 1930. The US sense: to admit failure or outwritting (see, esp., Thornton). acky . Dirty; nasty: mostly childish and domestic: prob. dial. > s.: C.20. ‘Ugh! Nasty! Acky! Put it down at once!’ Perhaps prompted by cacky . (P.B.)—2. See Akky. acorn . See horse foaled by an… < previous page page_4 next page > < previous page page_5 next page > Page 5 acquaintance . See scrape acquaintance. acquire . To steal: coll.: C.20. Not euph., for it is used joc. But cf.:—2. To obtain illicitly or deviously: army euph. coll.: WW2. P-G-R. acre . See knave’s acre.—2. Buttocks, backside: Aus.: since late 1930s. Wilkes. Acres ; Bob Acres. A coward, esp, if boastful: coll., † in C.20. Ex a character in Sheridan’s Rivals, 1775. acro . An acrobat: circus peoples’: late C.19–20. acrobat . A drinking-glass: music-hall:—1903 (F. & H., rev.). Punning tumbler. across . In get across, v.t., to irritate or offend (a person): coll.: C.20.—2. See come across; put it across. across the pavement . Underworld term for ‘a street situation, e.g., “Let’s do one across the pavement” may mean “Let’s commit a robbery in the street”’ (Powis): since (?) ca. 1960. act, bung on an . See bung on an act. act bored, superior , etc. To behave as if bored, superior, etc.: Can., orig. (ca. 1920) sol., but by 1955, coll. (Leechman.) act Charley More . To act honestly; to do the fair thing: RN: C.19–20. (Granville.) Charley More was a Maltese publican whose house sign bore the legend ‘Charley More, the square thing’. act green . To feign ignorance, as of a recruit: coll.: late C.19–20. Mostly, or orig., RN lowerdeck, as in Sidney Knock, Clear Lower Deck, 1932. A source communicated, with comments, by Moe. act of parliament . (Military) small beer perforce supplied free to a soldier: late C.18–early 19. Grose. act the angora . To play the fool: Aus.: C.20. (B., 1942.) Elab. of…goat . act your age ! Behave naturally, not as if you were much younger!: since ca. 1920. Acteon . A cuckold: C.17–18. B.E., Grose.—2. To cuckold: late C.17–early 18. (B.E.) Coll. Ex legend of Diana and Acteon. acting dicky . A temporary appointment: naval: since very early C.18. It occurs in John Davis, The Post-Captain, 1806 (Moe); ob. On acting-order.—2. (Often a.D.) A man acting in the name of an enrolled solicitor: legal:—1903 (F. & H., rev.). action dish . A dish resembling an old favourite; acting rabbit-pie is made of beef: RN: C.20. (Bowen.) Ex acting officer . acting Jack . An acting sergeant: police: C.20. ( Free-Lance Writer, April 1948.) Cf. the Army’s acting lance-jack, an acting lance corporal. acting lady . An inferior actress: ironic theatrical coll.: 1883, Entr’acte (Feb.); † by 1920. (Ware.) Mrs Langtry’s socialcumtheatrical success in 1882 caused many society women to try their luck on the stage; mostly with deplorable results. acting rabbit-pie . See acting dish, and cf.: acting scran . ‘Food substituted for that promised on the mess menu’ (P-G-R): RN officers’: since ca. 1920. acting the deceitful . (Theatrical.) Acting: C.19. Sinks. acting the maggot , vbl n. and ppl adj. Shirking work: (mostly Anglo-Irish) bank-clerks’:—1935. action . Activity, esp. if great; excitement, as in ‘Where’s the action?’ Adopted, ca. 1968, by British ‘underground’ (nonEstablishment; not drug addicts’).—2. Sexual intercourse, as in ‘He got all the action he wanted’ (Hollander): adopted, ca. 1970, ex US. DCCU, 1971; W. & F. record it as used in print in 1968. action(-)man . A sarcastically derogatory term for one who is really or only apparently over-efficient and military, enjoying route marches, assault courses and the like: Services’: since ca. 1960. Ex the ‘Action-man’ doll, which can be dressed in all sorts of uniforms and fighting gear. (P.B.) active citizen . A louse: low (—1811); † by 1890. Lex. Bal. Cf. bosom friend . active tack . Active service: Guardsmen’s: 1939+. Roger Grinstead, They Dug a Hole, 1946. actor . ‘A bluffer, a spiv [q.v.]’ (Tempest): prisons’ s.: mid-C.20. actor-proof was, ca. 1870–1940, applied to an actor who tried hard and selfishly for laughs and for rounds of applause: theatrical. Michael Warwick in the Stage, 3 Oct. 1968. actor’s Bible , the. The Era: theatrical coll.: ca. 1860–1918. (Ware.) A fling at sacred matters prompted by the sensation caused by Essays and Reviews . actressy . Characteristic of an actress; theatrical or somewhat melodramatic in manner: coll.: late C.19–20. Edward Shanks, The Enchanted Village, 1933. actual , the. Money, collectively, esp. if in cash: mid-C.19–20. At this word, F. & H. has an admirable essayette on, and list of English and foreign synonyms for, money. In 1890 there were at least 130 English, 50 French synonyms. actual , your. See yer actual. ad . An advertisement: printers’ coll.: 1852, in Household Words, V, 5/2 (with thanks to Mr R.W.Burchfield, editor of the OED Sup). Mr Burchfield’s team has now traced it back to 1841, when, on 1 May in Britannia, Thackeray used it. In C.20 gen. Sometimes ádvert, q.v., rarely adver. ad lib . A coll. abbr. of ad libitum, as much as one likes: C.19–20. ad(-)lib , v. To speak without a script, or to add extemporaneously to a script; in music, to improvise: coll.: adopted, in early 1930s, ex US. adad ! An expletive: coll.: ca. 1660–1770. Prob. ex egad! Adam , n. A bailiff, a police sergeant: C.16–17. Shakespeare.—2. In mid-C.17–19 c., an accomplice: with tiler following, a pickpocket’s assistant. Coles, 1676; B.E.; Grose.—3. A foreman: workmen’s:—1903 (F. & H., rev.); ob. by 1930. Adam , adam, v. (Gen. in passive.) To marry: c.: 1781, G. Parker, ‘“What, are you and Moll adamed?” “Yes…and by a rum Tom Pat too”’; † by 1850. Ex Adam and Eve.—2. In full, Adam and Eve, to leave: rhyming s.: late C.19–20. (Birmingham) Evening Despatch, 19 July 1937. Also, to depart (hurriedly): rhyming s. on leave: since ca. 1920. (Franklyn 2nd.)—3. See not know from Adam; when Adam… Adam and Eve . To believe: rhyming s.:—1914. (F. & G.).—2. See Adam, v., 2; Adam and Eve on a raft. Adam and Eve ball . A Cinderella dance: since ca. 1925. Adam and Eve on a raft . Eggs on toast: mostly military: C.20. (F. & G). L.A. adds ‘Hoxtonian [Inner London] for fried eggs on toast. T.E.Lawrence, The Mint. Not only RAF, but in my experience: Services’ and non-aristocratic.’ Leechman, however, writes (1959) from Canada, ‘Properly two poached eggs on toast, one egg being alone on a raft…it is firmly entrenched as “Short order” restaurant slang’. Cf: Adam and Eve wrecked . Scrambled eggs: mostly army: C.20. F. & G. Adam and Eve’s togs . Nudity: proletarian London (—1909); slightly ob. (Ware.) Cf. birthday suit. Adam tier . See Adam, n., 2. Adam was an oakum-boy in Chatham Dockyard, when . See when Adam… Adamatical . Naked: C.20. ‘This’, remarks one Of my correspondents, ‘is Standard English, but I can find no dictionary giving this definition’; neither can I, but then I classify it as jocularly erudite coll.—probably on the analogy of such words as problematical and sabbatical . Adamising . A cadet’s being lowered naked on to the parade ground at night, he being able to return only by presenting himself to the guard: Sandhurst: ca. 1830–55. Mockler-Ferryman, 1900. Adam’s ale . Water: coll.: C.17–18; joc. S.E. in C.19–20, but now outworn. (Prynne.) The Scottish equivalent is Adam’s wine:— l859 (H., 1st ed.). add . To come to the correct or wished-for total: coll.: 1850, Dickens. OED Sup.—2. In it doesn’t add up, it fails to make sense: coll.: C.20. Hence, it all adds up, it does make sense—at last (Petch). Ex sense 1. add a stone to (someone’s) cairn . To honour a person as < previous page page_5 next page > < previous page page_6 next page > Page 6 much as possible after his death: coll.; C.18–19. Ex a Celtic proverbial saying, recorded by traveller Pennant in 1772. add lustre to your cluster . See use knacker-lacquer… added to the list . I.e. of geldings in training; hence, castrated: turf s.:—1874 (H., 5th ed.). Orig. a euph. addel . See addle. Adders . Addison’s walk: Oxford University: late C.19–20. By the ‘OXFORD -ER’. addition . Paint or rouge or powder for the face: ca. 1690–1770. Mrs Centlivre: ‘Addition is only paint, madam.’ Society s. addle ; often spelt addel. Putrid drinking water: nautical: late C.19–20. Bowen. Ex addled. addle cove . A fool; a facile dupe: late C.18–19. On addle-head or -pate. Addle (or Addled) Parliament . The Parliament of 1614: coll. nickname. OED. addle-plot . ‘A Martin Mar-all’ (B.E.); a spoil-sport: coll.: late C.17–18. addlings . ‘Pay accumulated on a voyage or during a commission’: nautical, esp. RN: late C.19–20. Bowen. addressed to . (Of a missile, esp. a shell) aimed at: military: 1915; ob. F. & G. a-deary me ! Dear me!: lower-class coll. (—1896) and dial. (—1865). EDD. adept . A pickpocket; a conjuror: c.: C.18.—2. An alchemist: c.: mid-C.17–18. B. & L. adj. (or A.) , n. Adjutant; esp. the Adj., one’s adjutant: Army officers’, and perhaps later, the Other Ranks: C.20. (Blaker.) Also used in the vocative. Hence: adj. (or A.) , v. Army officers’ s., from ca. 1910 as in Blaker, ‘“Yes,” said the Colonel. “You’re all right. That’s why I want you to Adj. for me.”’ adjective-jerker . A journalist: literary: late C.19–20; ob. Cf. ink-slinger . Adji , the. The RAF’s shape of adj. Partridge, 1945. Cf.: Adjie . An Adjutant: Aus.: C.20. B., 1942. adjutant’s at . ‘A blonde member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service’: army: WW2. P-G-R. adjutant’s gig . (Military) a roller, esp. that of the barracks: ca. 1870–1914. adjutant’s nightmare . ‘A confidential Army Telephone Book: Army Officers’: 1916–18. B. & P., ‘Very complicated and frequently revised’. Adkins’s Academy . A certain London house of correction: c. (—1823); † by 1860. Bee. admen . (Singular, little used.) Advertising managers of periodicals and large firms; executive employees of advertising agencies: since ca. 1955: orig. s.: by 1965, coll. Admin . Administration; administrative: Services’ coll.: 1939+. P-G-R. administer (a blow or rebuke). To give, deal: mid-C.19–20: joc. coll. >, by 1900, S.E.. admiral . One’s father: Eton: ca. 1800–50. Spy, 1825.—2. As the Admiral, the officer-in-change of RAF Air/Sea Rescue Boats: from ca. 1930. (H. & P.) Cf. airmaids, q.v.—3. See Kiss me Hardy!; next in line for admiral; tap the admiral. Admiral Browning . Human excrement: RN: C.20. Personified colour. admiral of the blue . A publican; a tapster: ca. 1730–1860. (In C.17, the British Fleet was divided into the red, white, and blue squadrons, a division that held until late in C.19.) admiral of the narrow seas . A drunk man vomiting into another’s lap: nautical: early C.17–mid-19. (Grose, 2nd ed.) See TAVERN TERMS, §7. admiral of the red . A wine-bibber: C.19, mainly nautical. Cf.: admiral of the white . A coward: mid-C.19–early 20. Never very much used. Admiral’s broom . ‘Used humorously to give the Navy an equivalent of the Field Marshal’s baton’ (Petch, 1946): coll.: C.20. In Mar. 1967 Mr Ramsey Spencer writes, ‘This goes back to the Dutch Admiral Martin Tromp (the elder), who beat the English Fleet under Blake at the Battle of Dungeness in Nov. 1652. The Encyclopedia Britannica says that the statement that he sailed up the Channel with a broom at his masthead in token of his ability to sweep the seas is probably mythical. I think it was Newbolt who wrote a song called “The Admiral’s Broom” about the turn of this century.’ Admiral’s Mate, the . ‘A boastful, know-all rating’: RN: C.20. (Granville.) Ironic. Admiral’s Regiment, the . The Royal Marines: military: mid-C.19–20; ob. Also Globe-Rangers, Jollies, Little Grenadiers . admirals of the red, white, and blue . Bedizened beadles or bumbles: C.19. Admiralty brown . Toilet paper: R Aus. N: since ca. 1910. Issue and colour. Admiralty clown . A Naval physical-training instructor: RN: since ca. 1945. Admiralty ham . Any tinned meat: RN: late C.19–20. Bowen. Admiralty-made coffin . An A rmed Merchant C ruiser; collectively, such ships formed the Suicide Squadron: RN: WW2. Many were sunk during the first two or three years of WW2. (Granville.) admiration . Abbr. note of admiration, admiration-mark (written!): coll.: C.20. mainly printers’, publishers’, authors’: rare. ado . See dead for ado; once for ado. adod ! Var. of adad! Adonee . God: c.:? ca. 1550–1890; B. & L., vaguely classifying as ‘old cant’. Ex the Hebrew. adonis . A kind of wig: ca. 1760–1800: coll. bordering on S.E. Cf. Adonis (1765+), a beau. OED. adonise . (Of men) to adorn one’s person: C.17–19. Society s. that > Society j. adorable . H.A.Vachell, 1933, ‘a much debased word; a diabolical twin of “deavie”’: upper and upper-middle class: from ca. 1925. adore . To like (very much): mid-C.19–20; (mostly Society) coll. Ados (pron. Aydoss). A ssistant Director of Ordnance Services: army (H. & P.): WW2 and later. His Deputy was, of course, called ‘Daydoss’. Simple acronyms. adrift . Harmless (C.17); discharged (C.18–19); temporarily missing or absent without leave (mid-C.19–20); wide of the mark, confused (C.20: coll.). Nautical. B.E. has ‘I’ll turn ye adrift, a Tar-phrase, I’ll prevent ye doing me any harm’; Bowen records the third sense. In the’absent without leave’ nuance, it has, since ca. 1920, been current among RAF regulars.—2. (Of a knot) undone: RN: C.20. Granville.—3. (Of kit) missing: id. ‘If there’s anything adrift it will come off your slop chit, nobody else’s. All right?’ (Heart). See also quot’n at knickers in a twist for its application to people. (P.B.) ’Ads . God’s: a coll. minced oath occurring in combination (Adsbody, adsheart): late C.17–early 19. Congreve, Smollett. OED. Adullamites . As a political nickname, recorded as early as 1834, but made current in 1866 for a group of seceding Liberals; by 1870, any obstructionists of their own party. Soon coll., now historical. (Cf. cave, q.v.) Ex a reference by Bright to 1 Samuel 22, 1, 2. OED. W. adventure(s), at (all) . At random, wholly at risk: coll.>, by 1600, S.E.; late C.15–18. Caxton, Berners, Locke. OED. ádvert (See ad. above) ‘was used by J.Blackwood in 1860 ( Letters of George Eliot, 1954, III, 244)’: R.W.Burchfield, New Statesman, 17 Mar. 1966. advertisement conveyancers . Sandwich men: London society: ca. 1883–5. (Ware.) Coined by Gladstone and ridiculed by Society. advertising . Given to seeking publicity—and using it: coll.: C.20. As in ‘He’s an advertising (sort of) blighter.’ Abbr. selfadvertising . Adzooks ! A coll. expletive or oath: mid-C.18-mid-C.19. I.e. < previous page page_6 next page > < previous page page_7 next page > Page 7 God’s hooks >‘d’s hooks > ads-hooks > Adzooks. Cf. ‘Ads, q.v. æger . A medical certificate; a degree taken by one excused for illness (1865): coll. >, by 1890, j. Ex œgrotat (—1794), the same—though always j. aerated , esp. as ‘Don’t get aerated!’—excited or angry: since ca. 1930. (Petch.) Sometimes heard as ‘aeriated’. aerated amateurs . Pre-WW2 Auxiliaries of the RAF—in 1947, recognised as the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. (P.B.) aerial coolies . Those airmen who dropped supplies to the Chindits in Burma: Army and RAF: 1943–5. P-G-R. aerial ping-pong . Australian Rules Football: Sydneysiders’: since ca. 1950. Mostly in ref. to the game in Victoria. (B.P.) aeroplanes . A bow tie: Aus.: since ca. 1938. B., 1942. Ætna . ‘A small boiler for “brewing”’: Winchester: from ca. 1860; ob. B. & L. afeard . Afraid: C.16–20: S.E. until early C.18, then dial. and coll.; in C.20, sol. Lit., afeared, terrified, ex † afear. Also ‘feard . affair . Of things, esp. buildings, machines: coll. from ca. 1800, C.20 S.E. Gen. with a preceding adj. or a sequent adj. phrase. E.g. ‘The house was a crazy affair of old corrugated iron’.—2. Male or female genitals: C.19–20; if used euph., it is ineligible, but if used lazily the term is s.—3. One’s current lover: homosexuals’: current 1970. affair of honour . A duel resulting in an innocent man’s death: ca. 1800–70. Coll. affidavit men . Professional witnesses ready to swear to anything: late C.17–18. (Cf. knights of the post, q.v.) B.E., Grose. affigraphy . See affygraphy. afflicke , a thief, is either c. or low: C.17. Rowlands, in Martin Mark-all, But see flick. afflicted . Tipsy: coll.: early C.18–early 20. (Franklyn, 1737.) Orig. euph. afflictions . Mourning clothes and accessories: chiefly drapers’, mid-C.19–20; ob. Hence, mitigated afflictions, half-mourning. affluence of incohol , esp. under the… The influence of alcohol: jocularly intentional spoonerism: Aus. since late 1950s. (B.P.) But Australia owes it to ‘the legion of North Country comedians who have used the phrase in their “drunk” sketches for years’ (David Holloway in Daily Telegraph, 23 Feb. 1967). affluent society , the. In 1958 Professor J.K.Galbraith published his book so titled and almost immediately the phrase became a c.p., both in Britain and in the USA. By some people, the un -thinkers, it has been held to synonymise ‘the welfare state’; by many, to be basically optimistic, whereas, in the fact, the book is only mildly so. William Safire, The New Language of Politics, New York, 1968. Affs , the. Black Africans: since ca. 1960—and far commoner in South Africa than in Britain. (Roderick Johnson, 1976.) affygraphy , to an. Exactly; precisely. In an affygraphy, immediately. Early C.19–early 20. Moe notes its occurrence in The Night Watch (II, 85), 1828. Perhaps a confusion of affidavit and autobiography, and influenced, as Dr Leechman has pointed out, by (in) half a jiffy . afloat ; with back teeth well afloat. Drunk: from late 1880s; ob. by 1930. afore and ahind (ahint) , before and behind resp., have, since ca. 1880, been either low coll. or perhaps rather sol. when they are not dial. Africa speaks . Strong liquor from South Africa: Aus. and NZ: C.20. (B., 1941 and 1942.) In The Drum, 1959, B. defines it as ‘cheap fortified wine’. African . ‘A tailor-made cigarette’ (B., 1959): Aus.: since late 1940. African harp . See fish-horn. African Woodbine . Marijuana cigarette: drug addicts’: 1970s. (Home Office.) Woodbine=a well-known brand of cheaper cigarette. Afro . ‘Having the hair in a spherical, bushy and tightly curled mass, in the style of certain Negroes’ (Powis, 1977). A style much imitated, for a while in the 1970s, by ‘Whitey’ youth: adopted, early 1970, ex US. DCCU, 1971. aft . Afternoon as in ‘this aft’. Mostly lower-middle class: C.20. Also Can.: since ca. 1910. Brian Moore, The Luck of Ginger Coffey, 1960.—2. In get aft, to be promoted from the lowerdeck to the rank of officer: RN coll.: C.19–20. Granville, ‘The officers’ quarters are in the after-part of the ship’.—3. In be taken aft, to go, as a defaulter, before the Commander: RN coll.: C.20. Granville.—4. See carry both sheets aft. aft through the hawse-hole . (Of an officer) that has gained his commission by promotion from the lower-deck: RN: mid-C.19–20. (Granville.) See hawse-holes… after . Afternoon: Aus.: C.20. (Cf. afto.) H.Drake Brockman, The Fatal Days, 1947, ‘Did you see Mr Scrown this after, Les?’ A much earlier example occurs in Edward Dyson, Fact’ry ‘Ands, 1906. (With thanks to Mr R.W.Burchfield.) See also arvo. after Davy . See Alfred Davy. after-dinner , or afternoon(’s), man. An afternoon tippler: resp.: C.19–20, C.17–19: coll. verging on S.E. Overbury, Earle, Smythe-Palmer. after four , after twelve. 4–5 p.m., 12–2 p.m.: C.19 Eton; the latter is in Whyte Melville’s Good for Nothing . Perhaps rather j. than coll. after game , come the. To say, ‘I told you so’: Aus. coll.: since ca. 1925. B., 1942. after his end (or hole), he is or was , etc. A workmen’s c.p., applied to a man ‘chasing’ a girl: C.20. after the Lord Mayor’s show (comes the shit-cart) . A WW1 army c.p. addressed to a man just back from leave, esp. if in time for an imminent ‘show’. B. &. P. Orig. Cockney: late C.19. See DCpp . after you, Claude-no, after you Cecil ! A c.p. since ca. 1940, from the BBC programme, ‘Itma’. Now, 1983, ob. though lingering. The Can. version was after you, my dear Alphonse — no, after you, Gaston . (Leechman, 1959.) By 1970, †. See DCpp . after you is manners . A late C.17–early 20 c.p. implying the speaker’s consciousness, usu. joc. and ironic, of inferiority. See DCpp . after you , partner! After you!: coll. c.p.:—1927 (Collinson). Ex cards, esp. bridge. after you with (the thing). A joc. rejoinder to fuck the…!: c.p.: C.20. after you with the po , Jane! A c.p. that, ca. 1880–1925, was used during—and refers to—the days of outdoor privies; it lasted until much later, but mostly in burlesque of old-fashioned bedroom usage. after you with the push ! A London street c.p. addressed with ironic politeness to one who has roughly brushed past: ca. 1900–14. Ware. after you with the trough ! A c.p. addressed to someone who has belched and implying that he is a pig and has eaten too fast: North Country: since ca. 1930. (David Wharton.) afterbirth . Rhubarb: Aus. soldiers’: WW2. B., 1943. afternoon ! Good afternoon!: coll.: mid-C. 19–20. Cf. day! and morning ! aftexnoon buyer . One on the look-out for bargains: provincial coll.:—1903 (F. & H., rev.). afternoon farmer . A procrastinator: s. only in non-farming uses. Mid-C.19–20, ob. H., 3rd ed. afternoon man . See after-dinner man. afternoon tea . Detention after 3 p.m.: Royal High School, Edinburgh (—1903). afternoonified . Smart: Society, esp. in London: 1897– ca. 1914. Ware quotes an anecdote. afters . The second course, if any; thus ‘Any afters?’=’ Any pudding?’: army: C.20. (F. & G.) Also RN lowerdeck, as in Knock, 1932. By 1945, at latest, it had become gen. ‘Often with sexual implication, as in “What’s for afters?”—used by a male at evening meal.’ (Petch.) afto . Afternoon: Aus.: since ca. 1920. B., 1942. See also arvo. Ag and Fish . See Min. of Ag. below. < previous page page_7 next page > < previous page page_8 next page > Page 8 against . Against (i.e. for) the time when: low coll. when not dial.: mid-C.19–20. J.Greenwood, ‘If I don’t get the break-fuss ready against Jim comes in’ (Baumann). against (the) collar . In difficulties; at a disadvantage: ca. 1850–1900. against the grain . Unwilling(ly), unpleasant(ly): mid-C.17–19, coll.; in C.20, S.E. Ray, Swift, Dickens. (Apperson.) Agamemnons , the Old. The 69th Foot Regiment, now the Welch: military: C.19–20; ob. F. & G., ‘From their service with Nelso