Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A 19th Century Slang Dictionary

Compiled & Edited by Craig Hadley

Humbug? Shecoonery? Useless truck or gum? Hornswoggling? Honey-fuggling? Not in this book, dear sir! I swan to mercy, a huckle- berry above anyone's persimmon. Some pumpkins, a caution, 100 percent certified by a Philadelfy lawyer. If not, dad-blame it, I'll hang up my fiddle, and you can sass me, knock me into a cocked hat, give me jesse, fix my flint, settle my hash, ride me out on a rail and have a conniption fit, you cussed scalawag. Now ain't that the beatingest language you ever did hear? Sure beats the Dutch! Pshaw! Do tell! Bully for you!

This is just a small example of the period slang of the 19th century which may appear in printed material and most especially in diaries and letters.

To peruse the dictionary: Click Here.

Note: This dictionary is not exhaustive, but it is fairly sizable, and it makes some effort to give an idea of when in the 19th century the various expressions were used. In some cases (a few of them rather surprising) the dictionary merely confirms that a slang word or phrase used today had the same meaning in the 19th century, which is also useful to know.

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