You Carbuncle Faced Crusty Beau!

Evening in Ukraine by Arkhip Kuindzhi (or "cockshut time" according to Grose's dictionary)

Evening in Ukraine by Arkhip Kuindzhi (or “cockshut time” according to Grose’s dictionary)

Snippets 107. Way back in Snippets 66 we looked at A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose, first published in 1785. Grose (1731-1791) was a noted antiquarian who wrote a series of books about medieval antiquities. Financial difficulties inspired him to branch out into other areas of writing. Slang was a good choice of topic, as it would be entertaining and have a wide appeal. However, it stands as a useful record of the language in the 18th Century beyond the formal language studied by lexicographers. Previously we looked at some selected terms from letters A and B, so let’s continue with some examples beginnning with C, chosen (in the spirit of the original publication) for entertainment value as much as anything.

Cackling Farts: eggs.

Candy: drunk.

Canterbury Story: a long roundabout tale.

Carbuncle Face: a red face, full of pimples.

Catamaran: an old scraggy woman.

Caxon: an old weatherbeaten wig.

Cheese toaster: a sword.

Chitterlins: the bowels. “There is a rumpus among my chitterlins”; i.e. I have the colic.

Circumbendibus: A roundabout way, or story: “he took such a circumbendibus”.

Clod Hopper: a country farmer, or ploughman.

Cobble Colter: a turkey.

Cockshut Time: the evening, when fowls go to roost.

Cold Cook: an undertaker of funerals.

Congo: will you lap your congo with me? Will you drink tea with me?

Conny Wabble: eggs and brandy beat up together.

Costard Monger: a dealer in fruit, particularly apples.

Crab Shells: shoes.

Cracker: crust, sea biscuit, or ammunition loaf; also the backside. “Farting crackers”: breeches.

Crook Shanks: a nick name for a man with bandy legs: “he buys his boots in Crooked Lane, and his stockings in Bandy-legged Walk”.

Crowdero: a fidler.

Crummy: fat, fleshy: “a fine crummy dame”.

Crusty Beau: one that uses paint and cosmetics, to obtain a fine complexion.

Cucumbers: tailors, who are jocularly said to subsist, during the summer, chiefly on cucumbers.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone asking “will you lap your congo with me?” when you want a cup of tea. It might be misconstrued.


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This entry was posted in 18th Century, Books, Britain, England, History, Humor, Humour, Language, Snippets and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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