Grose Words

Where is an “Anabaptist” a pickpocket caught in the act, and “moving the apostles” cant for robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Where do “barking irons” get you killed, and who would be most likely to do business with a “bat”?

In Regency England, of course, but more significantly, in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811 edition). This marvelous resource is available through Project Gutenberg, and will offer endless entertainment for any who peruse its pages. Barking irons are guns, and a bat…? A streetwalker, who like a bat, moves out at sundown to transact her business.

To enjoy this volume, click here, but be warned–the book is addictive.

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4 comments on “Grose Words

  1. Wow, what a treasury you found.
    I am sure, people of that time would be enormously shocked to hear some of our language (if they understand it at all…), if you look what they find rude… (April fool is vulgar???).

  2. Thank you Grace. I have sometimes wished an author would put a small dictionary at the back of their book if they use a lot of slang from another century. Much of it can be understood in context but some of it has always seemed beyond me. I may see if I can pick up a copy of this book to keep close to me while reading.

  3. Thank you so very, very much, Ms. Burrowes. I am a translator – from English into Portuguese – and this very unexpected information allows me to solve many problems otherwise difficult to solve. May God bless you and inspire you to go on writing wonderful books and delivering useful information. 🙂