The slang dictionary; or, The vulgar words, street phrases (1869) PDF book by John Camden Hotten

The slang dictionary; or, The vulgar words, street phrases



The slang dictionary; or, The vulgar words, street phrases, and "fast" expressions of high and low society. Many with their etymology and a few with their history traced
This work is incorporated in The Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words, issued by "a London Antiquary” in 1859. The first edition of that work contained about 3000 words; the second, issued twelve months later, gave upwards of 5000. 

Both editions were reviewed by the critical press with an approval seldom accorded to small works of the kind. During the four years that have elapsed, the compiler has gone over the field of unrecognised English once more. The entire subject has been re-surveyed, out-lying terms and phrases have been brought in, new street words have been added, and better illustrations of old colloquial expressions given. 

The result is the volume before the reader, which offers, for his amuse- mentor instruction, nearly 10,000 words and phrases commonly deemed “ vulgar,” but which are used by the highest and lowest, the best, the wisest, as well as the worst and most ignorant of society.

 Any apology for an inquiry like the present is believed to be unnecessary. The philologist and the historian usually find in such material the best evidence of a people's progress or decline It may not be out of place to say here — and I am sure he would not have objected —. that the late Mr Buckle took the greatest interest in the subject, and that in a few instances I am indebted to that gentleman for the probable etymologies of some of the terms given in the Dictionary. “Many of these words and phrases,” he used to say, "are but serving their apprenticeship, and will eventually become the active strength of our language.”

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