Love and sex in Georgian England, according to this vulgar 1785 dictionary Grose's dirty dictionary published in 1785 gives us a peek into sex and the seedy underworld of England's Georgian age.

This article originally appeared in the Spring edition of the vintage EROS magazine, which was published in four 1962 issues and ceased to be when its editor Ralph Ginzburg was charged with three counts of obscenity (convicted in 1963). Browse our vintage tag to read more articles from times long past.

A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

In the year 1785 there appeared in the bookstalls of London the first edition of a scholarly work that has come to be regarded as one of the most valuable studies ever made upon the English language. The book was entitled A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, and it defined the slang, cant and colloquial patter of eighteenth-century England.

In particular, the dictionary dealt with the speech of eighteenth-century London, where everyone seemed able to turn sharp, pungent phrases—from the literary giants who assassinated each other with epigrams in the coffee houses to the mob of pickpockets and cutthroats who flocked to Tower Hill to cackle at the sight of a hanging.

Despite the subject matter of the dictionary, the word “classical” in its title was no mere affectation, for the book is a remarkable feat of classical scholarship. Appropriately, it is the work of one of England’s most remarkable scholars, Captain Francis Grose.

Born in 1730, son of a wealthy jeweler. Francis Grose passed up university training to follow his bent for art and the military. Joining the army early in life, he left it, in 1769, just long enough to run through his inheritance. That done, he returned to the security of military life as Captain and Adjutant of the Surrey Militia. a post he held until his death in 1791.

Grose was not much of a painter and he was not much of a soldier, but he was a first-rate, self-taught scholar of English history and speech. Grose was no desk-bound antiquary; he was a gregarious carouser who was compared favorably by his friends to Falstaff, in wit and in belly. When his drinking companions began heading home at midnight, Grose was just warming up. Hunting for adventure, he would tour the black slums of St. Giles, watch the roistering sailors at Saltpetre Bank and rub elbows with the street toughs at St. Kitts.

Wherever he went Grose kept his ears cocked for the purple or pungent phrase. Back at the barracks, Grose had what amounted to a linguist’s laboratory: the regiment’s eight hundred men, he once noted, were “all raised in the purlieus of London.” The result of Captain Grose’s eavesdropping was the Classical Dictionary.

I have made an abridgement of that edition, restricting entries to those that deal with love or sex. As will be quickly seen, Captain Grose was far more concerned with recording the slang of sex than the slang of love. This is easily understandable, I think, for two reasons: Captain Grose was a hearty, lusty man, and the eighteenth century in England was a hearty, lusty age.

Grose’s famous work popularized many phrases and terms we still use today — it’s still up to snuff. It also contains hilarity like hog in armour, which means “an awkward or mean looking man or woman, finely dressed.”

For the sake of clarity and conciseness, I have taken some liberties with Grose’s work. I have pared down many of his definitions and combined synonymous words into one entry. Where a synonym is particularly unusual, I have tried to add a definition in Grose’s words. My own comments on the word or the definition are in brackets. [Editor’s note: Dr. Partridge is, himself, perhaps the greatest living etymologist of the English language.]

  • Abbess, or Lady Abbess. A bawd, the mistress of a brothel. Synonyms: aunt, buttock broker, mother, mother of the maids.
  • Ankle. A girl who is got with child is said to have sprained her ankle.
  • Ape Leader. An old maid: their punishment after death, for neglecting to increase and multiply, will be, it is said, leading apes in hell.
  • Apple Dumplin Shop. A woman’s bosom.
  • Back Door (Usher, or Gentleman of the). A Sodomite.
  • Back Gammon Player. The same.
  • Ballocks. The testicles of a man or beast. Synonyms: bawbels, gingambobs, nutmega, tackle, tallywags or tarrywags, thingamabobs, twiddle-diddles, whirlygigs.
  • Batlum Rancum. A hop or dance, where the women are all prostitutes. The company dance in their birth-day suits.
  • Bantling. A young child. [Originally and properly it meant “a child begotten on a bench and not in the marriage bed.”]
  • 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.
  • Barber’s Sign. A standing pole and two wash-balls, [Barbers also were surgeons and treaters of venereal disease. English Dialect Dictionary.]
  • Basket-Making. The good old trade of basket-making: copulation, or making feet for children’s stockings.
  • Beard Splitter. A man much given to wenching.
  • Beast With Two Backs. A man and woman in the act of copulation.
  • Beef. To be in a man’s beef; to wound him with a sword, To be in a woman’s beef; to have carnal knowledge of her,
  • Bellyfull. A woman with child is said to have got her belly full.
  • Belly Plea. The plea of pregnancy, generally adduced by female felons capitally convicted, which they take care to provide for, previous to their trials; every gaol having, as the Beggar’s Opera informs us, one or more child getters.
  • Bitch. A she dog, or doggess: the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore, as may be gathered from the regular Billingsgate or St Gile’s answer — “I may be a whore, but can’t be a bitch.”
  • Blind Cheeks. The breech. Buss blind cheeks; kiss mine a-se.
  • Blow the Grounsils. To lie with a woman on the floor,
  • Blubber (To Sport). Said of a large coarse woman, who exposes her bosom.
  • Blue Boar. A venereal bubo. [Possibly from the famous Blue Boar Tavern, which, at the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, was right in the “Latin Quarter” of circa 1750-1850 and therefore, presumably, of no immaculate reputation.]
  • Blue Skin. A person begotten on a black woman by a white man. One of the blue squadron; any one having a cross of the black breed, or, as it is termed, a lick of the tar brush.
  • Bob Tail. A lewd woman, or one that plays with her tail; also an impotent man, or an eunuch.
  • Boots. To ride in any one’s old boots; to marry or keep his cast-off mistress,
  • Bottom. A polite term for the posterior.
  • Bread and Butter Fashion. One slice upon the other. John and his maid were caught lying bread and butter fashion.
  • Brim. (Abbreviation of Brimstone.) An abandoned woman; perhaps originally only a passionate or irascible woman, compared to brimstone for its inflammability. [May be influenced by the dialectal verb “brim.” which, as applied to swine, meant to be in heat, to copulate. English Dialect Dictionary.]
  • Brother of the Gusset. A pimp.
  • Brother Starling. One who lies with the same woman, that is, builds in the same nest.
  • Brush. To have a brush with a woman; to lie with her, To have a brush with a man; to fight with him.
  • Buck of the First Head. One who in debauchery surpasses the rest of his companions.
  • Bull. Town bull. A great whore-master.
  • Bully Back. A bully to a bawdy-house; one who is kept in pay, to oblige the frequenters of the house to submit to the impositions of the mother abbess, or bawd; and who also sometimes pretends to be the husband of one of the ladies, and under that pretence extorts money from green-horns, or ignorant young men, whom he finds with her.
  • Bum. The breech, or backside.
  • Bundling. A man and woman sleeping in the same bed, he with his small clothes, and she with her petticoats on; an expedient practised in America on a scarcity of beds, where, on such an occasion, husbands and parents frequently permitted travelers to bundle with their wives and daughters. [In America, the practice, strangely enough, prevailed only in Puritan New England.]
  • Bunter. A low dirty prostitute. Other synonyms for whore: buttock, buttock and file (a common whore and pickpocket), buttock and twang (a common whore but no pickpocket), cat, cattle, crack, hedge whore (one who disposes of her favours on the wayside), laced mutton, ladybird, mackerel, Miss, mod, moll, one of us, one of my cousins, poll, public ledger (like that paper, she is open to all parties), pure, purest pure (a courtesan of high fashion), queen, squirrel (she, like that animal, covers her back with her tail), three-penny upright (a retailer of love, who for the sum mentioned, dispenses her favours standing against a wall), town (she lives on the town), wrinkle (a wrinkle-bellied whore: one who has had a number of bastards: child bearing leaves wrinkles in a woman’s belly).
  • Burning Shame. A lighted candle stuck into the parts of a woman, certainly not intended by nature for a candlestick.
  • Burnt. Poxed or clapped. He was sent out a sacrifice, and came home a burnt offering: a saying of seamen who have caught the venereal disease abroad.
  • Bushel Bubby. A full-breasted woman.
  • Butcher’s Dog. To be like a butcher’s dog. i.e. lie by the beef without touching it; a simile often applicable to married men.
  • Buttered Bun. One lying with a woman that has just lain with another man, is said to have a buttered bun.
  • Buttock Ball. The amorous congress. [Also a dance attended by prostitutes at which both sexes dance nude.]
  • Bye Blow. A bastard.
  • Cabbage. When the scrotum is relaxed or whittled, it is said they will not cabbage.
  • Caterwauling. Going out in the night in search of intrigues. like a cat in the gutters.
  • Cat’s Foot. To live under the cat’s foot; to be under the dominion of a wife, hen-pecked.
  • Chuck. To shew a propensity for a man. The mort chucks; the wench wants to be doing.
  • Civil Reception. A house of civil reception; a bawdy-house, or nanny-house.
  • Clap. A venereal taint. He went out by Had’em, and came round by Clapham; i.e. he went out a wenching, and got a clap.
  • Cloven, Cleave, or Cleft. A term used for a woman who passes for a maid, but is not one.
  • Cock Bawd. A male keeper of a bawdy-house.
  • Cock Pimp. The supposed husband of a bawd,
  • Cods. The scrotum.
  • Coffee House. A necessary house. To make a coffeehouse of a woman’s c**t; to go in and out and spend nothing.
  • Convenient. A mistress.
  • Covey. A collection of whores. What a fine covey here is, if the Devil would but throw his net!
  • Cow. To sleep like a cow; i.e. with a c**t at one’s a-se; said of a married man.
  • Cream-Pot Love. Such as young fellows pretend to dairy maids, to get cream and other good things from them.
  • Cuckold. The husband of an incontinent wife. Synonyms: Acteon (from the horns Planted on the head of Acteon by Diana), buck’s face, bull’s feather (a reference to the bull’s horn), grafted, hora mad, hornified, ox house (he must go through the ox house — to get his horns — before he goes to bed; a saying of an old fellow who marries a young girl).
  • Cundum. The dried gut of a sheep, worn by men in the act of coition, to prevent venereal infection; said to have been invented by one Colonel Cundum.
  • C**t. The konnos of the Greek, and the cunnus of the Latin dictionaries; a nasty name for a nasty thing. [Omitted by the Oxford Dictionary and the English Dialect Dictionary, yet both include words that mean precisely the same thing. It is not slang, nor is it cant: it definitely is a “language” word, of classical origin and belonging to the class of vulgarisms. The etymology is obscure. The Greek konnos, a trinket, the beard, the fashion of wearing the hair with a tuft, is not necessarily the sense-original of the Latin cunnus: kusos and kusthos (related to Sanskrit cushi, a ditch) supply that. Chaucer had spelt it “queynte” or “queinte,” a pronunciation that, as “quaint,” survived in the north country of England until 1890 at least. Chaucer may have combined Old French coing with Middle English “cunte,” or he may have been influenced by the Old French adjective coint, meaning neat, dainty, pleasant. The normal Middle English form is “cunte,” from Old Norse kunta and Old Frisian kunte meaning vulva. Polite society used the slang word “monosyllable” for c**t throughout the approximate period 1720-1880 (just as c**t has been the plain-spoken word ever since circa 1600). Since 1900, I believe, extremely few synonyms have been coined. Not that any more are needed, for the twenty or so recorded by J. S. Farmer and W. E. Henley in Slang and Its Analogues range from the learned appositeness of Urquhart’s “contrapunctum” to the learned prettiness of Herrick’s “postern gate to the Elysian fields”; from the native brutality of Durfey’s “gap” to the foreign delicacy of Donne’s “centrique part”; from the crass inadequacy of “fleshy part,” or Shakespeare’s “circle,” to the offensive adequacy of Florio’s “brat-getting place”; and from the technical cleverness of G, A. Stevens’ “bookbinder’s wife” (“manufacturing in sheets”) or Lord Coke’s “star over the garter” to the obviousness of the “thing” or “it” variety.] Other synonyms: bite, black Joke, bottomless pit, brown madam, Miss Brown, Buckinger’s boot (Matthew Buckinger was born without hands or legs), bumbo, bun, cauliflower, cock alley. cock lane, commodity, crinkum-crankum, custom-house goods (the stock-in-trade of a prostitute, because fairly entered), dumb glutton, Eve’s custom-house (where Adam made his first entry), gigg, hat, Madge, man trap, Miss Laycock, mossy face, muff, natch, pitcher, quim (perhaps from the Spanish qucmer, to burn), tuzzy muzzy, venerable monsyllable, ware.
  • Cupboard Love. Pretended love to the cook, for the sake of a meal.
  • Curtain Lecture. A woman who scolds her husband when in bed, is said to read him a curtain lecture.
  • Cushion. He has deserved the cushion: a saying of one whose wife is brought to bed of a boy; implying, that having done his business effectually, he may now indulge himself.
  • Dairy. A woman’s breasts, particularly one that gives suck. She sported her dairy; she pulled out her breast.
  • Dangle. To follow a woman without asking the question.
  • Dark Cully. A married man that keeps a mistress, whom he visits only at night, for fear of discovery.
  • Diddeys. A woman’s breasts or bubbies.
  • Dishclout. A dirty, greasy, woman. He has made a napkin of his dishclout: a saying of one who has married his cook maid.
  • Dock. To lie with a woman. The cull docked the dell all the darkmans: the fellow lay with the wench all night. Docked smack smooth; one who has suffered an amputation of his penis, from a venereal complaint.
  • Dog’s Rig. To copulate until you are tired, and then turn tail to it.
  • Domine Do Little. An impotent old fellow.
  • Doxies. She beggars, wenches, whores.
  • Drury Lane Ague. The venereal disorder.
  • Drury Lane Vestal. Prostitute.
  • Dry Bob. A smart repartee; also copulation without emission.
  • Dumb Watch. A venereal bubo in the groin.
  • Dutchess. A woman enjoyed with her pattens on, or by a man in boots, is said to be made a dutchess.
  • Fire Ship. A wench who has the venereal disease,
  • Flap Dragon. A clap, or pox.
  • Flat Cock. A female.
  • Flicker. A drinking glass. [As a verb it signified to drink, to laugh lewdly, to kiss or wantonly to caress a woman.]
  • Flogging Cully. A debilitated lecher.
  • Flourish. To take a flourish; to enjoy a woman in an hasty manner, to take a flyer, i.e. to enjoy a woman with her clothes on.
  • French Disease. The venereal disease, said to have been imported from France,
  • Frig. To be guilty of the crime of self-pollution.
  • F**k. To copulate. [Banned by the Oxford Dictionary and the English Dialect Dictionary. Used by Lyndsay circa 1540, and occurring in Florio’s definition of fottere: “To jape, to sarde, to fucke, to swive, lo occupy.” One of the last occasions on which it appeared in print, in the ordinary way of publication, was in Burns. It would seem to have acquired a bad odor circa 1690. It is extremely doubtful if the efforts of James Joyce in Ulysses and D. H. Lawrence in Lady Chatterley’s Lover have done anything to restore the term to its former place as a language word. It derives from the Greek phuteuo, Latin futuere, French foutre, the medial c coming from a Teutonic root. The vivid expressiveness and the vigorous ingenuity of the synonyms for the word bear witness to the fertility of English and to the enthusiastic English participation in the universal fascination with the creative act.]
  • Game. At bawdy-houses, lewd women. Mother, have you any game; mother, have you any girls?
  • 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.
  • Gelding. An eunuch.
  • Gelt. Castrated.
  • Giblets. To join giblets; said of a man and woman who cohabit as husband and wife, without being married; also to copulate.
  • Gloves. To give anyone a pair of gloves; to kiss a man whilst he sleeps; for this a pair of gloves is due to any lady.
  • Gluepot. A parson: from joining men and women together in matrimony.
  • Goat. A lascivious person, Goat’s jig: make
    the beast with two backs, copulation.
  • Green Gown. To give a girl a green gown; to tumble her on the grass.
  • Green Sickness. The disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.
  • Grey Mare. The grey mare is the better horse; said of a woman who governs her husband.
  • Gropers. Blind men; also midwives.
  • Hand Basket Portion. A woman whose husband receives frequent presents from her father, or family, is said to have a handbasket portion.
  • Hans in Kelder. Jack in the cellar, i.e. the child in the womb: a health frequently drank to breeding women or their husbands. [From the Dutch.]
  • Hoddy Doddy. All A-se and No Body. A short clumsy person, either male or female.
  • Hoisting. A ludicrous ceremony formerly performed on every soldier, the first time he appeared in the field after being married; Aa soon as the regiment had grounded their arms to rest awhile, three or four men of the same company to which the bridegroom belonged, seized upon him, and putting a couple of bayonets out of the two corners of his hat, to represent horns, it was placed on his head, the back part foremost. He was then hoisted on the shoulders of two strong fellows and carried around the arms, a drum and fife beating and playing the Cuckold’s March.
  • Honey Moon. The first month after marriage.
  • Hopper-arsed. Having large projecting buttocks.
  • Horn Fair. An annual fair held at Charlton, in Kent, consisting of a riotous mob that marches through Chariton with horns of different kinds upon their heads; and at the fair there are sold rams’ horns, and every sort of toy made of horn; even the gingerbread figures have horns. The vulgar tradition explains the fair with the tale that an ancient king once seduced a wife in the neighborhood only to be surprised together with her by the husband, who threatened to kill them both. The king bought his safety with a purse of gold, making the husband master of the hamlet, and giving him a grant of land from his cottage to Cuckold’s Point. The fair was established to celebrate the land grant and the occasion of it.
  • Hump. To hump; once a fashionable word for copulation.
  • Hussy. An abbreviation of housewife, but now always used as a term of reproach; as, How now, hussy?
  • Impure. A modern term for a lady of easy virtue.
  • Irish Whist. Coition.
  • Jack Whore. A large masculine overgrown wench.
  • Jerry Sneak. A henpecked husband.
  • Jig. The feather-bed jig; copulation.
  • Job’s Dock. The apartments for the foul or venereal patients in St. Bartholomew’s hospital, are called Job’s ward.
  • Jock, or Jockum Cloy. To enjoy a woman.
  • Keeping Cully. One who keeps a mistress, as he supposes, for his own use, but really for that of the public.
  • Kettle Drums. Cupid’s kettle drums; a woman’s breasts,
  • Kiss Mine A-se. An offer, as Fielding observes, very frequently made, but never, as he could learn, literally accepted.
  • Knock. To knock a woman; to have carnal
    knowledge of her.
  • Launch. The delivery, or labour, of a pregnant woman.
  • Leaping Over the Sword. An ancient ceremonial said to constitute a military marriage. A sword being laid down on the ground, the parties to be married joined hands, when the corporal or serjeant of the company repeated these words: “Leap rogue, and jump whore, And then be married for evermore,” whereupon the happy couple jumped hand in hand over the sword, the drum beating a ruffle, and the parties were ever after considered as man and wife.
  • Left-Handed Wife. A concubine.
  • Leg. A woman who has had a bastard is said to have broken a leg.
  • Lib. To lie together.
  • Lobster. A nickname for a soldier: from the colour of his clothes. I will not make a lobster-kettle of my c°°t; a reply frequently made by the nymphs of the Point at Portsmouth, when requested by a soldier to grant him a favour.
  • Lumping. Great. He has got a lumping pennyworth; frequently said of a man who marries a fat woman.
  • Marriage Music. The squalling and crying of children.
  • Merkin. Counterfeit hair for women’s privy parts.
  • Merry-Begotten. A bastard.
  • Mettle. The semen. To fetch mettle; the act of self-pollution.
  • Mischief. A man loaded with mischief, i.e. a man with his wife on his back.
  • Molly. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.
  • Mort. A woman or wench; also a yeoman’s daughter.
  • Moses. To stand Moses; a man is said to stand Moses when he has another man’s bastard child fathered upon him, and he is obliged by the parish to maintain it.
  • Mow. A Scotch word for copulation.
  • Mutton Monger. A man addicted to wenching.
  • Nickumpoop, or Nincumpoop. A foolish fellow; also one who never saw his wife’s c**t.
  • Ningimmer. A physician or surgeon, particularly those who cure the venereal disease.
  • Noozed. Married.
  • Nub. The neck; also coition.
  • Nug. An endearing word: as, My dear nug; my dear love.
  • Nugging Dress. A loose kind of dress, denoting a courtesan.
  • Nugging House. A brothel.
  • Occupy. To occupy a woman; to have carnal knowledge of her.
  • Patrico, or Pater Cove. The fifteenth rank of the canting tribe; strolling priests that marry people under a hedge without gospel or common prayer book; the couple standing on each side of a dead beast, are bid to live together till death them does part; so shaking hands, the wedding is ended.
  • Peppered. Infected with venereal disease.
  • Pickt Hatch. To go to the manor of pickt hatch; a cant name for some part of the town noted for bawdy-houses in Shakespeare’s time, and used by him in that sense.
  • Piece. A wench. A damned good or bad piece; a girl who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress.
  • Pissing Pins and Needles. To have a gonorrhea.
  • Piss-Proud. Having a false erection. That old fellow thought be had an erection. but his p***k was only piss-proud; said of any old fellow who marries a young wife.
  • Plaister of Warm Guts. One warm belly clapped to another; a receipt frequently prescribed for different disorders.
  • Poisoned. Big with child: that wench is poisoned, see how her belly is swelled.
  • Pray. She prays with her knees upwards; said of a woman much given to gallantry and intrigue.
  • Prick. The virile member. [At least as early as 1592 in written record and probably much earlier in speech. Prick would seem to have become a low word circa 1700. Prick now ranks definitely not as a vulgarism, but a vulgar colloquialism, and “you silly prick” is an expression of considerable contempt.] Synonyms: Arbor vitae, dildo (from the Italian diletto — a woman’s delight), lobcock (a large, relaxed penis), pego (perhaps from the Greek pege, a spring), plug tail, star gazer, sugar stick, man Thomas, whorepipe.
  • Proud. Desirous of copulation.
  • Pucker Water. Water impregnated with alum, or other astringents, used by old experienced traders to counterfeit virginity.
  • Punchable Wench. A girl that is ripe for a man. Synonyms for lusty wenches: biddy, bitch booby (a country wench), biter (a wench whose c**t is ready to bite her a-se; a lascivious, rampant wench), cleaver, cockish, dells, Fulham virgin (from an area famed for its gambling dens), gigglers, gilflirt, gimcrack, gobble, hobby horse, hoity-toity, light-heeled piece (her heels are so light she is likely to fall on her back), romp, rum doxy, short-heeled wench (she also is likely to fall on her back), tib, willing tit.
  • Pushing School. A brothel.
  • Queen Street. A man governed by his wife, is said to live in Queen-street.
  • Rabbit Catcher. Midwife.
  • Rantallion. One whose scrotum is so relaxed as to be longer than his penis, i.e. whose shot pouch is longer than the barrel of his piece.
  • Rantum Scantum. Playing at rantum scantum: making the beast with two backs.
  • Rascal. A man without genitals. If this reproach is uttered by a woman, the regular vulgar answer is the offer of an ocular demonstration of the virility of the part so defamed.
  • Riding St George. The woman uppermost in the amorous congress; that is, the dragon upon St George.
  • Rigging. Clothing. I’ll unrig the bloss; I’ll strip the wench.
  • Room. She rents out her fore room and lies backwards; saying of a woman suspected of prostitution.
  • Run Goods. A maidenhead, being a commodity never entered.
  • Salt. Lecherous. A salt bitch; a bitch at heat, or proud bitch.
  • Sauce Box. A term of familiar raillery, signifying a bold or forward person.
  • School of Venus. A bawdy-house.
  • Scotch Warming Pan. A wench; also a fart.
  • Scuttle a Ship. To deflower a woman.
  • Shag. To copulate. He is but bad shag; he is no able woman’s man,
  • Slice. To take a slice: to intrigue, particularly with a married woman, because a slice of a cut loaf is not missed.
  • Socket Money. A whore’s fee.
  • Spanish Padlock. A kind of girdle contrived by jealous husbands of that nation, to secure the chastity of their wives.
  • Stallion. A man kept by an old lady for secret services.
  • State. To lie in state; to be in bed with three harlots.
  • Strapping. Lying with a woman.
  • Stroke. To take a stroke; to take a bout with a woman.
  • Strum. To have carnal knowledge of a woman.
  • Sunburnt. Clapped.
  • Tabby. An old maid.
  • Tap. To tap a girl; to be the first seducer.
  • Thorough Good-Natured Wench. One who being asked to sit down, will lie down.
  • Tiffing. Lying with a wench.
  • Tip. To tip the velvet; tonguing a woman.
  • Token. The venereal disease.
  • Two Handed Put. The amorous congress.
  • Valentine. The first woman seen by a man, or man seen by a woman on St Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February, when it is said every bird chuses his mate for the ensuing year.
  • Van-Neck. Miss or Mrs. Van-Neck; a woman with large breasts; a bushel bubby.
  • Vaulting School. A bawdy-house.
  • Wap. To copulate.
  • Warming Pan. A Scotch warming pan: a female bedfellow.
  • Wasp. An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a sting in her tail.
  • Westminster Wedding. A match between a whore and a rogue.
  • Whiffles. A relaxation of the scrotum.
  • Whore. See Bunter.
  • Willing Tit. A free horse, or a coming girl.
  • Willow. To wear the willow; to be abandoned by a lover or mistress.
  • Windward Passage. One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomite.

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Eric Honeywood Partridge (1894-1979), author and lexicographer, was born in New Zealand. He studied French and English at the University of Queensland, during which period he also served as a private during the First World War, where his interests in the underside of language originated. Partridge left Australia in 1924 to live in England where he became Queensland Travelling Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and taught at Manchester and London Universities before founding his own publishing firm Scholartis in 1927. This firm closed in 1931, at which point Routledge and Kegan Paul commissioned Partridge to write a dictionary of slang. This was eventually published as A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English in 1937, and was followed by other works on language (slang and etymology in particular). He wrote novels under the pseudonym Corris Denison, and also wrote professionally on tennis, which he played to a high standard. He married Agnes Dora Vye-Parminter in 1925, with whom he had a daughter. During the Second World War he joined the army education corps and later the correspondence department of the RAF. He died in Moretonhampstead, Devon, in 1979.

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