Monday, September 5, 2011

Slang in history: London language in 16th and 17th century

Here is a short list of words and expressions used in Elizabethan's London.

  Argent, bit, cross, lowre - coin, cash
  abroad - out of doors
  amulet - omelette
  artificer - skilled workman
  Barbary - North Africa
  bellman - nightwatchman
  blue-coat - a servant
  brabble - quarrel
  bong, bung - purse, pocket
  broadsword - heavy old-fashioned sword for slashing
  cant, peddler's french - criminal slang
  cullis - meat broth
  cuttle - knife
  derrick - a hangman
  foister - a pickpocket
  french marbles - venereal disease
  garnish - a bribe given to a prison officer
  green goose - goose under four months old
  higgler - pedlar
  jakes - a privy
kickshaw - fancy snack, from French quelquechose (something)
laystall - a dung-heap or midden
napery - table linen
nipper - a cutpurse
nunchion - snack between meals


ordinary - eating house, with the fixed price, set meal
paled - fenced
pippin - apple grown from the seed
potboy - youth employed to clear away in a tavern
poor John - salted hake
rear-banquet - late night snack
sack - sherry
shoulder-clapping - arrest
stew - a brothel
sucket - sweet e.g. sugar-plum
traffic - whore
trull - person of low character
ware-bench - shop counter
winchester goose - whore
zany - a clown

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