Victorian jargon watch: "a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase"

The Internet Archive has a complete scan of James Redding Ware's wonderful 1909 treatise "Passing English of the Victorian era: a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase," ganked from the University of Toronto's Robarts library. The Archive has OCR'ed versions, hi-rez PDFs of color and b/w scans, and every ebook format you're likely to need.

If you'd prefer a hardcopy there's a paperback reprint for sale, too. It's really something. Here's a few gems:

Enobs (Back slang). Bone, in ordinary plural. A very favourite inversion is a sort of rebus, bones showing affording a study of ' knobs '.

But he swallowed a box of matches one day which burnt away all the fat and left the mere enoba you see now.

Evening wheezes (Peoples'). False news, spread in evening half- penny papers in order to sell them.

Fairy (Lower Peoples). A debauched, hideous old woman, especially when drunk.

Fake a poke (Thieves'). To pick, or manipulate, a pocket. This phrase is a singular revival. Johnson has ' Fake amongst seamen a pile of rope,' and as to poke ' a pocket or small bag'. ' I will not buy a pig in a poke !' Camden.

He denied that when entering the music hall he was accused by a larty of picking her pocket, and further said that when called out he did not say he had never ' faked a poke ' in his life. People, 6th September 1896.

Fake pie (Straitened Soc., 1880). A towards -the-end-of-the- week effort at pastry, into which go all the ' orts ', ' overs ', and ' ends ' of the week.

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