A Dictionary Of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words

A Dictionary Of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words

by John Camden Hotten


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CANT and SLANG are universal and world-wide.
Nearly every nation on the face of the globe, polite and barbarous, may be divided into two portions, the stationary and the wandering, the civilised and the uncivilised, the respectable and the scoundrel,-those who have fixed abodes and avail themselves of the refinements of civilisation, and those who go from place to place picking up a precarious livelihood by petty sales, begging, or theft. This peculiarity is to be observed amongst the heathen tribes of the southern hemisphere, as well as the oldest and most refined countries of Europe. As Mayhew very pertinently remarks, "it would appear, that not only are all races divisible into wanderers and settlers, but that each civilised or settled tribe has generally some wandering horde intermingled with, and in a measure preying upon it." In South Africa, the naked and miserable Hottentots are pestered by the still more abject Sonquas; and it may be some satisfaction for us to know that our old enemies at the Cape, the Kafirs, are troubled with a tribe of rascals called Fingoes,-the former term, we are informed by travellers, signifying beggars, and the latter wanderers and outcasts. In South America, and among the islands of the Pacific, matters are pretty much the same. Sleek and fat rascals, with not much inclination towards honesty, fatten, or rather fasten, like body insects, upon other rascals, who would be equally sleek and fat but for their vagabond dependents. Luckily for respectable persons, however, vagabonds, both at home and abroad, show certain outward peculiarities which distinguish them from the great mass of lawful people off whom they feed and fatten. Personal observation, and a little research into books, enable me to mark these external traits. The wandering races are remarkable for the development of the bones of the face, as the jaws, cheek-bones, &c., high crowned, stubborn-shaped heads, quick restless eyes, and hands nervously itching to be doing; for their love of gambling,-staking their very existence upon a single cast; for sensuality of all kinds; and for their use of a CANT language with which to conceal their designs and plunderings.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781979202831
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/08/2018
Pages: 338
Sales rank: 850,730
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.70(d)

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