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First English Dictionary of Slang 1699

by B E Gent Bodleian Library
Pub Date:
Pbk 224 pages
AU$27.99 NZ$29.56
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Written originally for the education of the polite London classes in canting the language of thieves and ruffians should they be so unlucky as to wander into the wrong parts of town, A New Dictionary of Terms, Ancient and Modern, of the Canting Crew by B.E. Gent is the first work dedicated solely to the subject of slang words and their meanings. It is also the first text which attempts to show the overlap and integration between canting words and common slang. In its refusal to distinguish between criminal vocabulary and the more ordinary everyday English of the period, it sets canting words side by side with terms used by sailors, labourers, and those in the common currency of domestic culture. With an introduction by John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, describing the history and culture of canting in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as the evolution of English slang, this is a fascinating volume for anyone with a curiosity about language, or wishing to reintroduce Dandyprat or Fizzle into their everyday conversation. Anglers, c Cheats, petty Thieves, who have a Stick with a hook at the end, with which they pluck things out of Windows, Grates, and c. also those that draw in People to be cheated. Dandyprat, a little puny Fellow. Grumbletonians, Malecontents, out of Humour with the Government, for want of a Place, or having lost one. Strum, c. a Periwig. Rum-Strum, c. a long Wig; also a handsome Wench, or Strumpet.

Introduction to the 2010 Edition    John SimpsonA New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew by B. E. Gent

'An invaluable guide to the argot of seventeenth-century low London.' - Peter Ackroyd

'Gives us a sense of how rich a mine the English language is and how ingenious its users. Slang is eternal.' - Alexander Theroux, Wall Street Journal

'A fascinating insight into a bygone linguistic age.' - David Crystal
John Simpson is formerly Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.