The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue is a reprint of "the Lexicon balatronicum; a dictionary of buckish slang, university wit, and pickpocket eloquence (and now considerably altered and enlarged, with the modern changes and improvements, by a member of the whip club.)" It is available in full for free on Project Gutenberg, and it's mind-croggling, with definitions like:
CHOAK PEAR. Figuratively, an unanswerable objection: also
a machine formerly used in Holland by robbers; it was of
iron, shaped like a pear; this they forced into the mouths
of persons from whom they intended to extort money; and
on turning a key, certain interior springs thrust forth a
number of points, in all directions, which so enlarged it,
that it could not be taken out of the mouth: and the iron,
being case-hardened, could not be filed: the only methods
of getting rid of it, were either by cutting the mouth, or
advertizing a reward for the key, These pears were also
called pears of agony.
Update: David reports that Smartfilter, the censorware jerks who block Boing Boing also target this ebook as "pornography."
I’ve mentioned it online before, but here we go: Two years ago, my wife and I decided to leave our rented home behind and move into a 40-foot RV. We spend our spring and summer in Alberta, Canada where she has a job for six months of the year working as an addictions counselor. The […]
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