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- 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue - 5/73 -


Beilby was, or why that ceremony was so called, remains with the quadrature of the circle, the discovery of the philosopher's stone, and divers other desiderata yet undiscovered.

BELCH. All sorts of beer; that liquor being apt to cause eructation.

BELCHER. A red silk handkerchief, intermixed with yellow and a little black. The kiddey flashes his belcher; the young fellow wears a silk handkerchief round his neck.

BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE. They cursed him with bell, book, and candle; an allusion to the popish form of excommunicating and anathematizing persons who had offended the church.

TO BEAR THE BELL. To excel or surpass all competitors, to be the principal in a body or society; an allusion to the fore horse or leader of a team, whose harness is commonly ornamented with a bell or bells. Some suppose it a term borrowed from an ancient tournament, where the victorious knights bore away the BELLE or FAIR LADY. Others derive it from a horse-race, or other rural contentions, where bells were frequently given as prizes.

BELLOWS. The lungs.

BELLOWER. The town crier.

BELLOWSER. Transportation for life: i.e. as long.

BELLY. His eye was bigger than his belly; a saying of a person at a table, who takes more on his plate than he can eat.

BELLYFULL. A hearty beating, sufficient to make a man yield or give out. A woman with child is also said to have got her belly full.

BELLY CHEAT. An apron.

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, who qualify the ladies for that expedient to procure a respite.

BELLY TIMBER. Food of all sorts.

BELL SWAGGER. A noisy bullying fellow.

BELLWETHER. The chief or leader of a mob; an idea taken from a flock of sheep, where the wether has a bell about his neck.

BENE. Good--BENAR. Better. Cant.

BENE BOWSE. Good beer, or other strong liquor. Cant.

BENE COVE. A good fellow. Cant.

BENE DARKMANS. Goodnight. Cant.

BENE FEARERS. Counterfeiters of bills. Cant.

BENE FEAKERS OF GYBES. Counterfeiters of passes. Cant.

BENESHIPLY. Worshipfully. Cant.

BEN. A fool. Cant.

BENISH. Foolish.

BENISON. The beggar's benison: May your ***** and purse never fail you.

BERMUDAS. A cant name for certain places in London, privileged against arrests, like the Mint in Southwark, Ben. Jonson. These privileges are abolished.

BESS, or BETTY. A small instrument used by house-breakers to force open doors. Bring bess and glym; bring the instrument to force the door, and the dark lantern. Small flasks, like those for Florence wine, are also called betties.

BESS. See BROWN BESS.

BEST. To the best in Christendom: i.e. the best **** in Christendom; a health formerly much in vogue.

BET. A wager.--TO BET. To lay a wager.

BETTY MARTIN. That's my eye, Betty Martin; an answer to any one that attempts to impose or humbug.

BETWATTLED. Surprised, confounded, out of one's senses; also bewrayed.

BEVER. An afternoon's luncheon; also a fine hat; beaver's fur making the best hats,

BEVERAGE. Garnish money, or money for drink, demanded of any one having a new suit of clothes.

BIBLE. A boatswain's great axe. Sea term.

BIBLE OATH. Supposed by the vulgar to be more binding than an oath taken on the Testament only, as being the bigger book, and generally containing both the Old and New Testament.

BIDDY, or CHICK-A-BIDDY. A chicken, and figuratively a young wench.

BIDET, commonly pronounced BIDDY. A kind of tub, contrived for ladies to wash themselves, for which purpose they bestride it like a French poney, or post-horse, called in French bidets.

BIENLY. Excellently. She wheedled so bienly; she coaxed or flattered so cleverly. French.

BILL AT SIGHT. To pay a bill at sight; to be ready at all times for the venereal act.

BILBOA. A sword. Bilboa in Spain was once famous for well-tempered blades: these are quoted by Falstaff, where he describes the manner in which he lay in the buck-basket. Bilboes, the stock; prison. Cant.

TO BILK. To cheat. Let us bilk the rattling cove; let us cheat the hackney coachman of his fare. Cant. Bilking a coachman, a box-keeper, and a poor whore, were formerly, among men of the town, thought gallant actions.

BILL OF SALE. A widow's weeds. See HOUSE TO LET.

BILLINGSGATE LANGUAGE. Foul language, or abuse. Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes, they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners a little on the left hand.

BING. To go. Cant. Bing avast; get you gone. Binged avast in a darkmans; stole away in the night. Bing we to Rumeville: shall we go to London?

BINGO. Brandy or other spirituous liquor. Cant.

BINGO BOY. A dram drinker. Cant.

BINGO MORT. A female dram drinker. Cant.

BINNACLE WORD. A fine or affected word, which sailors jeeringly offer to chalk up on the binnacle.

BIRD AND BABY. The sign of the eagle and child.

BIRD-WITTED. Inconsiderate, thoughtless, easily imposed on.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER. Rogues of the same gang.

BIRTH-DAY SUIT. He was in his birth-day suit, that is, stark naked.

BISHOP. A mixture of wine and water, into which is put a roasted orange. Also one of the largest of Mrs. Philips's purses, used to contain the others.

BISHOPED, or TO BISHOP. A term used among horse-dealers, for burning the mark into a horse's tooth, after he has lost it by age; by bishoping, a horse is made to appear younger than he is. It is a common saying of milk that is burnt too, that the bishop has set his foot in it. Formerly, when a bishop passed through a village, all the inhabitants ran out of their houses to solicit his blessing, even leaving their milk, &c. on the fire, to take its chance: which, went burnt to, was said to be bishoped.

TO BISHOP the balls, a term used among printers, to water them.

BIT. Money. He grappled the cull's bit; he seized the man's money. A bit is also the smallest coin in Jamaica, equal to about sixpence sterling.

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 he gathered from the regular Billinsgate or St. Giles's answer--"I may be a whore, but can't be a bitch."

TO BITCH. To yield, or give up an attempt through fear. To stand bitch; to make tea, or do the honours of the tea- table, performing a female part: bitch there standing for woman, species for genius.

BITCH BOOBY. A country wench. Military term.


1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue - 5/73

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