Vocabulum, Or, The Rogue's Lexicon: Compiled from the Most Authentic Sources
Matsell, George W., Compiler. Vocabulum; Or, The Rogue's Lexicon. Compiled From the Most Authentic Sources. New York: Published by George W. Matsell & Co., . vi, 130 pp. Reprint available January, 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-484-3. Cloth. $95. * As New York City's Chief of Police and an owner of the National Police Gazette Matsell [1811-1877] had an abiding interest in criminal speechways. Although Matsell compiled this dictionary for his colleagues in law enforcement, he recognized its value to the linguist. As he notes in the preface, criminal terms were beginning to enter general usage and appeared regularly in newspapers, court reports and other publications. Matsell's compilation includes such entries as "acorn" (a gallows), "hemp the flat" (choke a fool), "rumbo" (a prison) and "tyburn blossom" (a young thief). The appendix contains samples of criminal speech and writing (with translations) and the vocabularies of gamblers, billiard players, pugilists and stock brokers. Published just before the Civil War, this dictionary offers a fascinating glimpse into the American underworld in the first half of the nineteenth century.
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Arrested bad money ball bank BEAK beat Bell Bill bloke blow blowen burglar called cards cheat chips clothes coat COLD DECK copper cops cove crib cull DEAD devil dice dollars door drink drunk eyes face false fawney FLASH flat flog fool frisked gamblers garroting girl give gold hand hanged head highwaymen horse humbug hundred stretches hence inform Jack Jack Ketch jigger Johnny Miller joskin kiddy kill KINCHIN lathy Liquor look lush MILLING COVE mistress mouth NATIONAL POLICE GAZETTE New-York nose officer party patter pawnbroker person pick picker-up picklock pickpocket PINNIPE play player player's ball plunder pocket pocket-book police portmanteau pretends prison prostitute pugilist purse QUEER rogue skin smart sometimes steal stolen sucker swag thief thieves thimble thing ticket of leave trick Tyburn victim watch widow's weeds woman