Written by the aptly named Francis Grose, a survey of the lively, traditional slang of the English Navy. Widely popular at its publishing and finding resurgence at its digitisation earlier this year, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is timeless.
Wherein to ‘fib the cove’s quarron in the rumpad for the lour in his bung’ is to ‘beat the fellow in the highway for the money in his purse‘.
Or one might “…have the preacher’s oven fill your jolly with fee, faw, fum at the gospel shop and lose a few king’s pictures”.
The preface describes some of the purpose of the dictionary:
“By an occasional reference to our pages, they [young men of fashion] may be initiated into all the peculiarities of language by which the man of spirit is distinguished from the man of worth.”
“They may now talk bawdy before their papas, without the fear of detection, and abuse their less spirited companions, who prefer a good dinner at home to a glorious UP-SHOT in the highway, without the hazard of a cudgelling.”
Now if only someone would donate a copy. wink, wink, nudge, nudge.