Friday, August 5, 2011

a lesson in victorian slang

Insomnia has hit, so I need to do something to pass the time other than lie in bed awake, listening to water dripping from the leak in my ceiling (which has been there for two friggin' months already, MR. LANDLORD!) into the bucket placed under said leak.  Although I live within easy walking distance of the current scene being filmed for the new Batman film by Christopher Nolan, I doubt security would appreciate me wandering onto the set again.  I (not quite unintentionally) did that on Wednesday evening while on my jog in an attempt to get from 5th and Craig to 5th and Bellfield.  Needless to say the security lady was not amused.

So now here's a post on Victorian slang, courtesy of my boyfriend Scott's research and Victorian journalist Henry Mayhew.  I have no idea why there are so many different words for both pickpockets and counterfeiters.  Also, why were so many criminals stealing handkerchiefs that phrases for that specific crime entered the period's slang?

Victorian Term              Interpretation
Blag:                               to steal or snatch
Vamp:                             steal 
Gonoph:                          small time thief
Lurker:                            general criminal
Bludger:                           violent criminal or thief  
Buzzer:                            pick pocket 
Buzzing:                          picking pockets 
Cly faking:                       picking pockets (usually for handkerchiefs) 
Dipper:                            pickpocket 
Tooler:                            pickpocket 
Tooling:                           picking pockets 
Maltooler:                        pickpocket of females 
Mobsman:                       well dressed swindler or pickpocket 
Fine wirer:                       veteran pickpocket  
Snide:                              counterfeiter (usually jewelry) 
Bit Faker:                        coin counterfeiter 
Coiner:                            counterfeiter 
Shofulman:                      counterfeiter  
Sharp:                             card swindler 
Speeler:                          cheat, especially at gambling 
Macer:                           cheat  
Flimp:                             snatch stealer, purse snatcher 
Palmer:                           shoplifter 
Hoisting:                         shoplifting 
Buck Cabbie:                 dishonest cab driver 
Dragsman:                       someone who robs carriage 
Duffer:                            fence 
Cracker:                          burglar or safer cracker
Screever:                         forger
Haymarket Hector:           pimp
Ramper:                           hoodlum
Kidsman:                         child gang boss
Crow:                              a lookout
Smasher:                         someone who passes bad money (not necessarily a criminal) 
Beak hunting:                  stealing poultry
Snowing:                         stealing linen
Smatter Hauling:              stealing handkerchiefs
Fawney Dropping:           "finding" a valuable item and then selling it when it is actually not worth anything.
Snoozer:                          robbing sleeping people
Bug Hunting:                    rolling drunks 
Mutcher:                         a person who goes “bug hunting” (see above)

No comments:

Post a Comment