Slang in the 1850s (Snippets 42)

Windows into History

London Tower of London engraving by William Miller, 1832

In 1859, The Vulgar Tongue was published, written by Ducange Anglicus.  This is clearly a pseudonym, but the author’s real identity is unknown.  The book is subtitled A Glossary of Slang, Cant, and Flash Words and Phrases, Used in London, from 1839 to 1859.  A lot of the entries are simply cockney rhyming slang (in fact, this book is probably the most useful source for studying the early development of this form of slang), but more interesting in my opinion is the enormous variety of slang terms that have fallen out of usage nowadays (if any of these are familiar to anyone as still being in use, please comment below!)  Here is a selection of some choice slang from the early-mid 19th Century:

“Amputate your mahogany”: be off, be gone.
“Belcher”: a silk pocket handkerchief of striped pattern.
“Black Ointment”: pieces…

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