Grose Words

I’ve been reading Francis Grose’s ‘Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’, published in 1811. It’s available free from Kindle, but here’s a selection.

ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. One who from drunkenness vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite to him.

VICE ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. A drunken man that pisses under the table into his companions’ shoes.

BARBER’S CHAIR. She is as common as a barber’s chair, in which a whole parish sit to be trimmed; said of a prostitute.

BEARD SPLITTER. A man much given to wenching.

BED-MAKER. Women employed at Cambridge to attend on the Students, sweep his room, &c. They will put their hands to any thing, and are generally blest with a pretty family of daughters: who unmake the beds, as fast as they are made by their mothers.

TO BOX THE JESUIT, AND GET COCK ROACHES. A sea term for masturbation; a crime, it is said, much practised by the reverend fathers of that society.

FART CATCHER. A valet or footman from his walking behind his master or mistress.

FINGER POST. A parson: so called, because he points out a way to others which he never goes himself. Like the finger post, he points out a way he has never been, and probably will never go, i.e. the way to heaven.

GANDER MONTH. That month in which a man’s wife lies in: wherefore, during that time, husbands plead a sort of  indulgence in matters of gallantry.

HUGOTONTHEONBIQUIFFINARIANS. A society existing in 1748.

IRISH BEAUTY. A woman with two black eyes.

MASTER OF THE MINT. A gardener.

MASTER OF THE ROLLS. A baker.

MELTING MOMENTS. A fat man and woman in the amorous congress.

MONEY. A girl’s private parts, commonly applied to little children: as, Take care, Miss, or you will shew your money. (Hence, I suppose, Keep yer ‘and on yer ‘apenny.)

MOON RAKERS. Wiltshire men: because it is said that some men of that county, seeing the reflection of the moon in a pond, endeavoured to pull it out with a rake.

PRISCIAN. To break Priscian’s head; to write or speak false grammar. Priscian was a famous grammarian, who flourished at Constantinople in the year 525; and who was so devoted to his favourite study, that to speak false Latin in his company, was as disagreeable to him as to break his head.

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