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Title: Argot and Slang
       A New French and English Dictionary of the Cant Words,
              Quaint Expressions, Slang Terms and Flash Phrases Used in
              the High and Low Life of Old and New Paris

Author: Albert Barrère

Release Date: October 31, 2015 [EBook #50354]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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Argot and Slang by Albert Barrère

Transcriber’s Note

The cover image was created by the transcriber, and is placed in the public domain.

Footnotes have been moved to the end of the poem or extract in which they occur.

Variant spelling and use of accents, inconsistent hyphenation and capitalization are retained, as are English words spelt in the French manner. There are many words with irregular placing of the apostrophe in possessive plurals (e.g. womens’, Fishermens’) these have not been changed.

The changes that have been made are listed at the end of the book.

The table of contents has been created by the transcriber.




Argot and Slang

Argot and Slang















The publication of a dictionary of French cant and slang demands some explanation from the author. During a long course of philological studies, extending over many years, I have been in the habit of putting on record, for my own edification, a large number of those cant and slang terms and quaint expressions of which the English and French tongues furnish an abundant harvest. Whatever of this nature I heard from the lips of persons to whom they are familiar, or gleaned from the perusal of modern works and newspapers, I carefully noted down, until my note-book had assumed such dimensions that the idea of completing a collection already considerable was suggested. It was pointed out to me, as an inducement to venture on so arduous an undertaking, that it must prove, from its very nature, not only an object of curiosity and interest to the lover of philological studies and the public at large, but also one of utility to the English reader of modern French works of fiction. The fact is not to be ignored that the chief works of the so-called Naturalistic School do certainly find their way to this country, where they command a large number of readers. [iv]These productions of modern French fiction dwell with complaisance on the vices of society, dissect them patiently, often with power and talent, and too often exaggerate them. It is not within my province to pass a judgment upon their analytical study of all that is gross in human nature. But, from a philological point of view, the men and women whom they place as actors on the stage of their human comedy are interesting, whatever they may be in other respects. Some of them belong to the very dregs of society, possessing a language of their own, forcible, picturesque, and graphic. This language sometimes embodies in a single word a whole train of philosophical ideas, and is dashed with a grim humour, with a species of wit which not often misses the mark. Moreover, these labourers, roughs, street arabs, thieves, and worse than thieves—these Coupeaus, Bec-Salés, Mes-Bottes, Lantiers—are not the sole possessors of a vernacular which, to a certain extent, is the exponent of their idiosyncrasies. Slang has invaded all classes of society, and is often used for want of terms sufficiently strong or pointed to convey the speaker’s real feelings. It seems to be resorted to in order to make up for the shortcomings of a well-balanced and polished tongue, which will not lend itself to exaggeration and violence of utterance. Journalists, artists, politicians, men of fashion, soldiers, even women talk argot, sometimes unawares, and these as well as the lower classes are depicted in the Naturalistic novel. Now, although the study of French is daily acquiring more and more importance in England, the professors of that language do not as a rule initiate their pupils—and very naturally so—into the mysteries of the vernacular of the highest and lowest strata of society, into the cynical but pithy and humorous jargon of the voyou from the heights of Montmartre or Ménilmontant, nor even into the lisping [v]twaddle of the languid gommeux who lolls on the Boulevard des Italiens. Hence English readers of L’Assommoir and other similar works find themselves puzzled at every line, and turn in vain for assistance to their dictionaries. The present volume aims at filling the vacant space on the shelves of all who read for something besides the passing of an idle hour. An English slang equivalent of the English rendering has been inserted whenever that was possible, and because the meaning of a term is better conveyed by examples, as many quotations as the limits of the Dictionary would admit have been reproduced from different authors.

A few words on the manner in which the work has been compiled are due to the reader. In order to complete my own private information, specially with reference to old cant, I have drawn as freely as seemed to me legitimate on works of a similar character—Michel’s, Delvau’s, Rigaud’s, Lorédan Larchey’s excellent Dictionnaire Historique d’Argot, Vilatte’s Parisismen, a very complete work on French argot rendered into German. But by far the most important portion of my collection has been gathered from Vidocq’s productions, Balzac’s works, The Memoirs of Monsieur Claude, formerly superintendent of the detective department in Paris, and from other works to be mentioned hereafter. To an inspector of the detective force in Paris, Monsieur Lagaillarde, I am indebted for many of the terms of the phraseology used by the worthies with whom his functions have brought him in contact.

Again, newspapers of both countries have also brought in their contingent, but the most interesting sources of information, as being the most original, have been workpeople, soldiers, pickpockets, and other malefactors having done their “time,” or likely to be “wanted” at a short notice. The members of [vi]the light-fingered gentry were not easily to be got at, as their natural suspicions precluded their realizing at once my object, and it required some diplomacy and pains to succeed in enlisting their services. In one particular instance I was deprived of my informants in a rather summary manner. Two brothers, members of a family which strongly reminded one of E. Sue’s Martials, inasmuch as the father had mounted the scaffold, the mother was in prison, and other members had met with similar accidents, had volunteered to become my collaborators, and were willing to furnish information the more valuable, it seemed to me, as coming from such distinguished individuals. Unfortunately for the Dictionary the brothers were apprehended when coming to my rendez-vous, and are now, I believe, far on their way to the penal settlement of New Caledonia.

I have to thank numerous correspondents, French and English officers, journalists, and artists, for coming to my assistance and furnishing me with valuable information. My best thanks are due also to M. Godefroy Durand for his admirable etching.

As regards the English part, I am considerably indebted to the Slang Dictionary published by Messrs. Chatto and Windus, to the History and Curious Adventures of Bampfylde-Moore Carew, King of the Mendicants, as well as to the various journals of the day, and to verbal inquiries among all classes of people.

I have not attempted, except in a few cases, to trace the origin of words, as an etymological history of cant would be the work of a lifetime.

It is somewhat difficult to know exactly where to draw the line, and to decide whether a word belongs to slang or should be rejected. I have been guided on this point by Littré, and any terms mentioned by him as having passed into the language [vii]I have discarded. I have introduced a small number of what might be termed eccentricities of language, which, though not strictly slang, deserve recording on account of their quaintness. To the English reader I need not, I trust, apologize for not having recoiled, in my desire for completeness, before certain unsavoury terms, and for having thus acted upon Victor Hugo’s recommendation, “Quand la chose est, dites le mot.



Popular Songs and Pieces of Poetry.



Argot pervades the whole of French society. It may be heard everywhere, and it is now difficult to peruse a newspaper or open a new novel without meeting with a sprinkling of some of the jargon dialects of the day. These take their rise in the slums, on the boulevards, in workshops, barracks, and studios, and even in the lobbies of the Houses of Legislature. From the beggar to the diplomatist, every class possesses its own vernacular, borrowed more or less from its special avocations. The language of the dangerous classes, which so often savours of evil or bloody deeds, of human suffering, and also of the anguish and fears of the ever-tracked and ever-watchful criminal, though often disguised under a would-be humorous garb, cannot but be interesting to the philosopher. “Everybody,” says Charles Nodier, “must feel that there is more ingenuity in argot than in algebra itself, and that this quality is due to the power it possesses of making language figurative and graphic. With algebra, only calculations can be achieved; with argot, however ignoble and impure its source, a nation and society might be renovated.... Argot is generally formed with ability because it is the outcome of the urgent necessities of a class of men not lacking in brains.... The jargon of the lower classes, which is due to the inventive genius of thieves, is redundant with sparkling wit, and gives evidence of wonderfully imaginative powers.”

If criminals are odious, they are not always vulgar, and a study of [xiv]their mode of expression possesses certain features of interest. The ordinary slang of the higher strata of French society, as compared with that of the lower classes, being based often on mere distortion of words or misappropriation of meaning, is in many cases vulgar and silly; it casts a stain over a language which has already suffered so much at the hands of the lesser stars of the Naturalistic School. A coarse sentiment, a craving for more violent sensations, will find expression in the jargon of the day. People are no longer content with being astonished, they must be crushed or flattened (épatés), or knocked over (renversés), and so forth; and the silly “on dirait du veau,” repeated ad nauseam, seldom fails to raise a laugh. Our English neighbours do not seem to be better off. “So universal,” says a writer in Household Words, September 24, 1853, “has the use of slang terms become, that in all societies they are substituted for, and have almost usurped the place of wit. An audience will sit in a theatre and listen to a string of brilliant witticisms with perfect immobility, but let some fellow rush forward and roar out ‘It’s all serene,’ or ‘catch’em alive, oh!’ (this last is sure to take), pit, boxes, and gallery roar with laughter.” It must be said, however, on the other hand, that the slang term is often much more expressive than its corresponding synonym in the ordinary language. Moreover, it is often witty, and capable of suggesting a humorous idea with singular felicity.

Argot is but a bastard tongue grafted on the mother stem, and though it is no easy matter to coin a word that shall remain and take rank among those of any language, yet the field of argot, already so extensive, is ever pushing back its boundaries, the additions surging in together with new ideas, novel fashions, but especially through the necessities of that class of people whose primary interest it is to make themselves unintelligible to their victims, the public, and their enemies, the police. “Argot,” again quoting Nodier’s words, “is an artificial, unsettled tongue, without a syntax properly so called, of which the only object is to disguise under conventional metaphors ideas which are intended to be conveyed to adepts. Consequently its vocabulary must needs change whenever it has become familiar to outsiders, and we find in Le Jargon de l’Argot Réformé curious traces of a like revolution. In every country the men who speak a cant language belong to the [xv]lowest, most contemptible stratum of society, but its study, if looked upon as an outcome of the intellect, presents important features, and synoptic tables of its synonyms might prove interesting to the linguist.”

The use of argot in works of any literary pretensions is of modern introduction. However, Villon, the famous poet of the fifteenth century, a vaurien whose misdeeds had wellnigh brought him to the gallows, as he informs us:—

Je suis François, dont ce me poise,
Né de Paris emprès Ponthoise,
Or, d’une corde d’une toise,
Saura mon col que mon cul poise—

Villon himself has given, under the title of Jargon ou Jobelin de Maistre François Villon, a series of short poems worded in the jargon of the vagabonds and thieves his boon companions, now almost unintelligible.

In our days Eugène Sue, Balzac, and Victor Hugo have introduced argot in some of their works, taking, no doubt, Vidocq as an authority on the subject; while more recently M. Jean Richepin, in his Chanson des Gueux, rhymes in the lingo of roughs, bullies, vagabonds, and thieves; and many others have followed suit. Balzac thus expresses his admiration for argot: “People will perhaps be astonished if we venture to assert that no tongue is more energetic, more picturesque than the tongue of that subterranean world which since the birth of capitals grovels in cellars, in sinks of vice, in the lowest stage floors of societies. For is not the world a theatre? The lowest stage floor is the ground basement under the stage of the opera house where the machinery, the phantoms, the devils, when not in use, are stowed away. Each word of the language recalls a brutal image, either ingenious or terrible. In the jargon one does not sleep, ‘on pionce.’ Notice with what energy that word expresses the uneasy slumbers of the tracked, tired, suspicious animal called thief, which, as soon as it is in safety, sinks down and rolls into the abysses of deep and necessary sleep, with the powerful wings of suspicion constantly spread over it—an awful repose, comparable to that of the wild beast, which sleeps and snores, but whose ears nevertheless remain ever watchful. [xvi]Everything is fierce in this idiom. The initial or final syllables of words, the words themselves, are harsh and astounding. A woman is a largue. And what poetry! Straw is ‘la plume de Beauce.’ The word midnight is rendered by douze plombes crossent. Does not that make one shudder?”

Victor Hugo, after Balzac, has devoted a whole chapter to argot in his Misérables, and both these great authors have left little to be said on the subject. Victor Hugo, dealing with its Protean character, writes: “Argot being the idiom of corruption, is quickly corrupted. Besides, as it always seeks secrecy, so soon as it feels itself understood it transforms itself.... For this reason argot is subject to perpetual transformation—a secret and rapid work which ever goes on. It makes more progress in ten years than the regular language in ten centuries.”

In spite of the successive revolutions referred to, a number of old cant words are still used in their original form. Some have been, besides, more or less distorted by different processes, the results of these alterations being subjected in their turn to fresh disguises. As for slang proper, it is mostly metaphoric.

A large proportion of the vocabulary of argot is to be traced to the early Romance idiom, or to some of our country patois, the offsprings of the ancient Langue d’oc and Langue d’oil. Some of the terms draw their origin from the Italian language and jargon, and were imported by Italian quacks and sharpers. Such are lime (shirt), fourline (thief), macaronner (to inform against), rabouin (devil), rif (fire), escarpe (thief, murderer), respectively from lima, forlano, macaronare, rabuino, ruffo, scarpa, some of which belong to the Romany, as lima. The German schlafen has given schloffer, and the Latin fur has provided us with the verb affurer. Several are of Greek parentage: arton (bread), from the accusative αρτον; ornie (fowl), from ορνις; pier (to drink), piolle (tavern), pion (drunk), from πιεῖν.

The word argot itself, formerly a cant word, but which has now gained admittance into the Dictionnaire de l’Académie, is but the corruption of jargon, called by the Italians “lingua gerga,” abbreviated into “gergo,” from which the French word sprang,—gergo itself being derived, according to Salvini, from the Greek ἱερός (sacred). Hence lingua gerga, sacred language, only known to the [xvii]initiated. M. Génin thus traces the origin of argot: lingua hiera, then lingua gerga, il gergo; hence jergon or jargon, finally argot. Other philologists have suggested that it comes from the Greek ἀργός, idler; and this learned derivation is not improbable, as, among the members of the “argot”—originally the corporation of pedlars and vagabonds—were scholars like Villon (though there exists no evidence of the word having been used in his time), and runaway priests who had, as the French say, “thrown the cassock to the nettles.” M. Nisard, however, rejects these derivations, and believes that argot comes from argutus, pointed, cunning. It seems, in any case, an indubitable fact that the term argot at first was applied only to the confraternity of vagabonds or “argotiers,” and there is no evidence of its having been used before 1698 as an appellation for their language, which till then had been known as “jargon du matois” or “jargon de l’argot.” Grandval, in his Vice puni ou Cartouche, offers the following derivation, which must be taken for what it is worth.

Mais à propos d’argot, dit alors Limosin,
Ne m’apprendrez-vous pas, vous qui parlez latin,
D’où cette belle langue a pris son origine?
—De la ville d’Argos, et je l’ai lu dans Pline,
Répondit Balagny. Le grand Agamemnon
Fit fleurir dans Argos cet éloquent jargon.
—Tu dis vrai, Balagny, reprit alors Cartouche;
Mais cette langue sort d’une plus vieille souche,
Et j’ai lu quelque part, dans un certain bouquin
D’argot traduit en grec, de grec mis en latin,
Et depuis en françois, que Jason et Thésée,
Hercule, Philoctète, Admète, Hylas, Lyncée,
Castor, Pollux, Orphée et tant d’autres héros
Qui trimèrent pincer la toison à Colchos,
Dans le navire Argo, pendant leur long voyage,
Inventèrent entre eux ce sublime langage
Afin de mieux tromper le roi Colchidien
Et que de leur projet il ne soupçonnât rien.
Enfin tous les doubleurs de la riche toison,
De leur navire Argo lui donnèrent le nom.
Amis, voici quelle est son étymologie.

A certain number of slang terms proceed from uniform and systematic alterations in the body of the French word, but these methods do not seem to have produced many expressions holding a permanent place in the dialect. Such is the “langage en lem,” [xviii]much used by butchers some forty years ago, but now only known to a few. But a very small number of words thus coined have passed into the main body of the lingo, as being too lengthy, and because argot has a general tendency to brevity.

The more usual suffixes used are mar, anche, inche, in, ingue, o, orgue, aille, ière, muche, mon, mont, oque, ègue, igue, which give such terms as—


The army has furnished a large contingent to slang, and has provided us with such words as colon (colonel); petit colon (lieutenant-colonel); la femme du régiment (big drum); la malle (prison); un bleu (recruit); poulet d’Inde (steed), and the humorous expression, sortir sur les jambes d’un autre (to be confined to barracks, or to the guard-room).

Much-maligned animals have been put into requisition, the fish tribe serving to denominate the Paris bully, that plague of certain quarters.

With the parts of the body might be formed a complete orchestra. Thus “guitare” stands for the head; “flûtes” for legs; “grosse caisse” for the body; “trompette” does duty for the face, “mirliton” for the nose, and “sifflet” for the throat.

The study of the slang jargon of a nation—a language which is not the expression of conventional ideas, but the unvarnished and [xix]rude expression of life in its true aspects—may give us an insight into the foibles and predominant vices of those who use it.

Now though the French as a nation are not hard drinkers, yet we must come to the conclusion—in the face of the many synonyms of the single word drunk, whilst there is not one for the word sober—that Parisian workmen have either a lively imagination, or that they would scarcely prove eligible for recruits in the Blue Ribbon Army. Intoxication—from a state of gentle inebriation, when one is “allumé,” or “elevated,” to the helpless state when the “poivrot,” or “lushington,” is “asphyxié,” or “regularly scammered,” when he can’t “see a hole in a ladder,” or when he “laps the gutter”—has no less than eighty synonyms.

The French possess comparatively few terms for the word money; but, in spite of the well-worn saying, “l’or est une chimère,” or the insincere exclamation, “l’or, ce vil métal!” the argot vocabulary shows as many as fifty-four synonyms for the “needful.” The English are still richer, for Her Majesty’s coin is known by more than one hundred and thirty slang words, from the humble “brown” (halfpenny) to the “long-tailed one” (bank-note).

Though there is no evidence that the social evil has a greater hold on Paris than on London or Berlin, yet the Parisians have no less than one hundred and fifty distinct slang synonyms to indicate the different varieties of “unfortunates,” many being borrowed from the names of animals, such as “vache,” “chameau,” “biche,” &c. Some of the other terms are highly suggestive and appropriate. So we have “omnibus,” “fleur de macadam,” “demoiselle du bitume,” “autel de besoin,” the dismal “pompe funèbre,” the ignoble “paillasse de corps de garde,” and the “grenier à coups de sabre,” which reflects on the brutality of soldiers towards the fallen ones.

For the head the French jargon can boast of about fifty representative slang terms, some of which have been borrowed from the vegetable kingdom. Homage is rendered to its superior or governing powers by such epithets as “boussole” and “Sorbonne,” and a compliment is paid to its inventive genius by the term, “la boîte à surprises,” which is, however, degraded into “la tronche” when it has rolled into the executioner’s basket. But it is treated with still more irreverence when deprived of its natural ornament,—so [xx]that a man with a bald pate is described as having no more “paillasson à la porte,” or “mouron sur la cage.” He is also said sometimes to sport a “tête de veau.”

Grim humour is displayed in the long list of metaphors to describe death, the promoters of the slang expressions having borrowed from the technical vocabulary of their craft. Thus soldiers describe it as “défiler la parade,” for which English military men have the equivalent, “to lose the number of one’s mess;” “passer l’arme à gauche;” “descendre la garde,” after which the soldier will never be called again on sentry duty; “recevoir son décompte,” or deferred pay. People who are habitual sufferers from toothache have no doubt contributed the expression, “n’avoir plus mal aux dents;” sailors, “casser son câble” and “déralinguer;” coachmen, “casser son fouet;” drummers, “avaler ses baguettes,” their sticks being henceforth useless to them; billiard-players are responsible for “dévisser son billard;” servants for “déchirer son tablier.” Then what horrible philosophy in the expression, “mettre la table pour les asticots!

A person of sound mind finds no place in the argot vocabulary; but madness, from the mild state which scarcely goes beyond eccentricity to the confirmed lunatic, has found many definitions, the single expression “to be cracked” being represented by a number of comical synonyms, many of them referring to the presence of some troublesome animal in the brain, such as “un moustique dans la boîte au sel” or “un hanneton dans le plafond.”

Courage has but one or two equivalents, but the act of the coward who vanishes, or the thief who seeks to escape the clutches of the police, has received due attention from the promoters of argot. Thus we have the highly picturesque expressions, “faire patatrot,” which gives an impression of the patter of the runaway’s feet; “se faire une paire de mains courantes,” literally to make for oneself a pair of running hands; “se déguiser en cerf,” to imitate that swift animal the deer; “fusilier le plancher,” which reminds one of the quick rat-tat of feet on the boards.

To show kindness to one, as far as I have been able to notice, is not represented, but the act of doing bodily injury, or fighting, has furnished the slang vocabulary with a rich contingent, the least forcible of which is certainly not the amiable invitation expressed [xxi]in the words of the Paris rough, “viens que j’te mange le nez!” or “numérote tes abattis que j’te démolisse!

What ingenuity and precision of simile some of these vagaries of language offer! The man who is annoyed, badgered, is compared to an elephant with a small tormentor in a part of his body by which he can be effectually driven to despair, whilst deprived of all means of retaliation—he is then said to have “un rat dans la trompe!” He who gets drunk carves out for himself a wooden face, and “se sculpter une gueule de bois” certainly evokes the sight of the stolid, stupid features of the “lushington,” with half-open mouth and lack-lustre eyes.

The career of an unlucky criminal may thus be described in his own picturesque but awful language. The “pègre” (thief), or “escarpe” (murderer), who has been imprudent enough to allow himself to be “paumé marron” (caught in the act) whilst busy effecting a “choppin” (theft), or committing the more serious offence of “faire un gas à la dure” (to rob with violence), using the knife when “lavant son linge dans la saignante” (murdering), or yet the summary process of breaking into a house and killing all the inmates, “faire une maison entière,” will probably be taken by “la rousse” (police), first of all before the “quart d’œil” (police magistrate), from whose office he will be conveyed to the dépôt in the “panier à salade” (prison van), having perhaps in the meanwhile spent a night in the “violon” (cells at the police station). In due time he will be brought into the presence of a very inquisitive person, the “curieux,” who will do his utmost to pump him, “entraver dans ses flanches,” or make him reveal his accomplices, “manger le morceau,” or, again, to say all he knows about the affair, “débiner le truc.” From two to six months after this preliminary examination, he will be brought into the awful presence of the “léon” (president of assize court), at the “carré des gerbes,” where he sits in his red robes, administering justice. Now, suffering from a violent attack of “fièvre” (charge), the prisoner puts all his hopes in his “parrains d’altèque” (witnesses for the defence), and in his “médecin” (counsel), who will try whether a “purgation” (speech for the defence) will not cure him of his ailment, especially should he have an attack of “redoublement de fièvre” (new charge). Should the medicine be ineffectual, and the “hésiteurs opinants” (jurymen) have pronounced [xxii]against him, he leaves the “planche au pain” (bar) to return whence he came, to the “hôpital” (prison), which he will only leave when “guéri” (free). But should he be “un cheval de retour” (old offender), he will probably be given a free passage to go “se laver les pieds dans le grand pré” (be transported) to “La Nouvelle” (New Caledonia), or “Cayenne les Eaux;” or, worse still, he may be left for some time in the “boîte au sel” (condemned cell) at La Roquette, attired in a “ligotante de rifle” (strait waistcoat), attended by a “mouton” (spy), who tries to get at his secrets, and now and then receiving the exhortations of the “ratichon” (priest). At an early hour one morning he is apprised by the “maugrée” (director) that he is to suffer the penalty of the law. After “la toilette” by “Charlot” (cutting off the hair by the executioner), he is assisted to the “Abbaye de Monte-à-regret” (guillotine), where, after the “sanglier” (priest) has given him a final embrace, the “soubrettes de Charlot” (executioner’s assistants) seize him, and make him play “à la main chaude” (hot cockles). Charlot pulls a string, when the criminal is turned into “un bœuf” (is executed) by being made to “éternuer dans le son” (guillotined). His “machabée” (remains) is then taken to the “champ de navets” (cemetery).

For the following I am indebted to the courtesy of the Rev. J. W. Horsley, Chaplain to H. M. Prison, Clerkenwell, who, in his highly interesting Prison Notes makes the following remarks on thieves’ slang: “It has its antiquity, as well as its vitality and power of growth and development by constant accretion; in it are preserved many words interesting to the student of language, and from it have passed not a few words into the ordinary stock of the Queen’s English. Of multifold origin, it is yet mainly derived from Romany or gipsy talk, and thereby contains a large Eastern element, in which old Sanscrit roots may readily be traced. Many of these words would be unintelligible to ordinary folk, but some have passed into common speech. For instance, the words bamboozle, daddy, pal (companion or friend), mull (to make a mull or mess of a thing), bosh (from the Persian), are pure gipsy words, but have found some lodging, if not a home, in our vernacular. Then there are survivals (not always of the fittest) from the tongue of our Teutonic ancestors, so that Dr. Latham, the philologist, says: ‘The thieves of London’ [xxiii](and he might still more have said the professional tramps) ‘are the conservators of Anglo-Saxonisms.’ Next, there are the cosmopolitan absorptions from many a tongue. From the French bouilli we probably get the prison slang term ‘bull’ for a ration of meat. Chat, thieves’ slang for house, is obviously château. Steel, the familiar name for Coldbath Fields Prison, is an appropriation and abbreviation of Bastille; and he who ‘does a tray’ (serves three months’ imprisonment) therein, borrows his word from our Gallican neighbours. So from the Italian we get casa for house, filly (figlia) for daughter, donny (donna) for woman, and omee (uomo) for man. The Spanish gives us don, which the universities have not despised as a useful term. From the German we get durrynacker, for a female hawker, from dorf, ‘a village,’ and nachgehen, ‘to run after.’ From Scotland we borrow duds, for clothes, and from the Hebrew shoful, for base coin.

“Considering that in the manufacture of the domestic and social slang of nicknames or pet names not a little humour or wit is commonly found, it might be imagined that thieves’ slang would be a great treasure-house of humorous expression. That this is not the case arises from the fact that there is very little glitter even in what they take for gold, and that their life is mainly one of miserable anxiety, suspicion, and fear; forced and gin-inspired is their merriment, and dismal, for the most part, are their faces when not assuming an air of bravado, which deceives not even their companions. Some traces of humour are to be found in certain euphemisms, such as the delicate expression ‘fingersmith’ as descriptive of a trade which a blunt world might call that of a pickpocket. Or, again, to get three months’ hard labour is more pleasantly described as getting thirteen clean shirts, one being served out in prison each week. The tread-wheel, again, is more politely called the everlasting staircase, or the wheel of life, or the vertical case-grinder. Penal servitude is dignified with the appellation of serving Her Majesty for nothing; and even an attempt is made to lighten the horror of the climax of a criminal career by speaking of dying in a horse’s nightcap, i.e., a halter.”

The English public schools, but especially the military establishments, seem to be not unimportant manufacturing centres for slang. Only a small proportion, however, of the expressions coined there [xxiv]appear to have been adopted by the general slang-talking public, as most are local terms, and can only be used at their own birthplace. The same expressions in some cases have a totally different signification according to the places where they are in vogue. Thus gentlemen cadets at the “Shop,” i.e., the Royal Military Academy, will talk of the doctor as being the “skipper,” whereas elsewhere “skipper” has the signification of master, head of an establishment. The expression “tosh,” meaning bath, seems to have been imported by students from Eton, Harrow, and Charterhouse, to the “Shop,” where “to tosh” means to bathe, to wash, but also to toss an obnoxious individual into a cold bath, advantage being taken of his being in full uniform. Another expression connected with the forced application of cold water at the above establishment is termed “chamber singing” at Eton, a penalty enforced on the new boys of singing a song in public, with the alternative (according to the Everyday Life in our Public Schools of C. E. Pascoe) of drinking a nauseous mixture of salt and beer; the corresponding penalty on the occasion of the arrival of unfortunate “snookers” at the R. M. Academy used to consist some few years ago of splashing them with cold water and throwing wet sponges at their heads, when they could not or would not contribute some ditty or other to the musical entertainment.

“Extra” at Harrow is a punishment which consists of writing out grammar for two and a half hours under the supervision of a master. The word extra at the “Shop” already mentioned is corrupted into “hoxter.” The hoxter consists in the painful ordeal of being compelled to turn out of bed at an early hour, and march up and down with full equipment under the watchful eye of a corporal. Again, we have here the suggestive terms: “greasers,” for fried potatoes; “squish,” for marmalade; “whales,” for sardines; “vaseline,” for honey; “grass,” for vegetables; and to be “roosted” is to be placed under arrest; whilst “to q.” means to qualify at the term examination. Here a man who is vexed or angry “loses his shirt” or his “hair;” at Shrewsbury he is “in a swot;” and at Winchester “front.” At the latter school a clique or party they term a “pitch up;” the word “Johnnies” (newly joined at Sandhurst, termed also “Johns,”) being sometimes used with a like signification by young officers, and the inquiry may occasionally be heard, “I say, old fellow, any more Johnnies coming?”


Fifteenth Century.


Qui, en tous temps,
Avancez dedans le pogois
Gourde piarde,
Et sur la tarde,
Desboursez les povres nyois,
Et pour soustenir vostre pois,
Les duppes sont privez de caire,
Sans faire haire,
Ne hault braiere,
Mais plantez ils sont comme joncz,
Pour les sires qui sont si longs.
Souvent aux arques
A leurs marques,
Se laissent tous desbouser
Pour ruer,
Et enterver
Pour leur contre, que lors faisons
La fée aux arques respons.
Vous ruez deux coups, ou bien troys,
Aux gallois.
Deux, ou troys
Mineront trestout aux frontz,
Pour les sires qui sont si longs.
Et pource, benars
Rebecquez vous de la Montjoye
Qui desvoye
Votre proye,
Et vous fera de tout brouer,
Pour joncher et enterver,
Qui est aux pigeons bien cher;
Pour rifler
Et placquer
Les angels, de mal tous rondz
Pour les sires qui sont si longs.
De paour des hurmes
Et des grumes,
Rassurez vous en droguerie
Et faerie,
Et ne soyez plus sur les joncz,
Pour les sires qui sont si longs.


Police spies, who at all times drink good wine at the tavern, and at night empty poor simpletons’ purses, and to provide for your extortions silly thieves have to part with their money, without complaining or clamouring, yet they are planted in jail, like so many reeds, to be plucked by the gaunt hangmen.

Oftentimes at the cashboxes, at places marked out for plunder, they allow themselves to be despoiled, when righting and resisting to save their confederate, while we are [xxvi]practising our arts on the hidden coffers. You make two or three onsets on the boon companions. Two or three will mark them all for the gallows.

Hence, ye simple-minded vagabonds, turn away from the gallows, which gives you the colic and will deprive you of all, that you may deceive and steal what is of so much value to the dupes, that you may outwit and thrash the police, so eager to bring you to the scaffold.

For fear of the gibbet and the beam, exert more cunning and be more wily, and be no longer in prison, thence to be brought to the scaffold.

Sixteenth Century.

(Extrait des Premières Œuvres Poétiques du Capitaine Lasphrise.)

Accipant[2] du marpaut[3] la galiere[4] pourrie,
Grivolant[5] porte-flambe[6] enfile le trimart.[7]
Mais en despit de Gille,[8] ô geux, ton Girouart,[9]
A la mette[10] on lura[11] ta biotte[12] conie.[13]
Tu peux gourd pioller[14] me credant[15] et morfie[16]
De l’ornion,[17] du morne:[18] et de l’oygnan[19] criart,
De l’artois blanchemin.[20] Que ton riflant chouart[21]
Ne rive[22] du Courrier l’andrumelle gaudie.[23]
Ne ronce point du sabre[24] au mion[25] du taudis,
Qui n’aille au Gaulfarault,[26] gergonant de tesis,[27]
Que son journal[28] o flus[29] n’empoupe ta fouillouse.[30]
N’embiant[31] on rouillarde,[32] et de noir roupillant,[33]
Sur la gourde fretille,[34] et sur le gourd volant,[35]
Ainsi tu ne luras l’accolante tortouse.[36]
[1] Langage soudardant,
soldiers’ lingo.
[2] Accipant,
for recevant.
[3] Marpaut,
[4] Galiere,
[5] Grivolant,
name for a soldier.
[6] Flambe,
[7] Trimart,
[8] Gille,
name for a runaway.
[9] Girouart,
[10] Mette,
wine-shop; morning; thieves’ meeting-place.
[11] Lura,
will see.
[12] Biotte,
[13] Conie,
[14] Gourd pioller,
drink heavily.
[15] Me credant,
for me croyant.
[16] Morfie,
[17] Ornion,
[18] Morne,
[19] Oygnan,
for oignon.
[20] Artois blanchemin,
white bread.
[21] Riflant chouart,
fiery penis.
[22] Rive,
refers to coition.
[23] Andrumelle gaudie,
jolly girl.
[24] Ne ronce point du sabre,
do not lay the stick on.
[25] Mion,
boy, waiter.
[26] Gaulfarault,
master of a bawdy house.
[27] Gergonant de tesis,
complaining of thee.
[28] Journal,
[29] O flus,
or pack of cards.
[30] N’empoupe ta fouillouse,
fill thy pocket.
[31] N’embiant,
not travelling.
[32] Rouillarde,
[33] De noir roupillant,
sleeping at night.
[34] Gourde fretille,
thick straw.
[35] Volant,
[36] Tortouse,

Sixteenth Century.

(From Thomas Harman’s Caveat or Warening for Common Cursetors, vulgarly called Vagabones, 1568.)

Upright Man. Bene Lightmans[37] to thy quarromes,[38] in what lipken[39] hast thou lypped[40] in this darkemans,[41] whether in a lybbege[42] or in the strummel?[43]

Roge. I couched a hogshead[44] in a Skypper[45] this darkemans.

Man. I towre[46] the strummel trine[47] upon thy nachbet[48] and Togman.[49]

Roge. I saye by the Salomon[50] I will lage it of[51] with a gage of bene bouse;[52] then cut to my nose watch.[53]

Man. Why, hast thou any lowre[54] in thy bonge[55] to bouse?[56]


Roge. But a flagge,[57] a wyn,[58] and a make.[59]

Man. Why, where is the kene[60] that hath the ben bouse?

Roge. A bene mort[61] hereby at the signe of the prauncer.[62]

Man. I cutt it is quyer[63] bouse, I bousd a flagge the last darkmans.

Roge. But bouse there a bord,[64] and thou shalt haue beneship.[65] Tower ye yander is the kene, dup the gygger,[66] and maund[67] that is bene shyp.

Man. This bouse is as benship as rome bouse.[68] Now I tower that ben bouse makes nase nabes.[69] Maunde of this morte what ben pecke[70] is in her ken.

Roge. She has a Cacling chete,[71] a grunting chete,[72] ruff Pecke,[73] Cassan,[74] and poplarr of yarum.[75]

Man. That is benship to our watche.[76] Now we haue well bousd, let vs strike some chete.[77] Yonder dwelleth a quyer cuffen,[78] it were benship to myll[79] hym.

Roge. Now bynge we a waste[80] to the hygh pad,[81] the ruffmanes[82] is by.

Man. So may we happen on the Harmanes,[83] and cly the Tarke,[84] or to the quyerken[85] and skower quyaer crampings,[86] and so to tryning on the chates.[87] Gerry gan,[88] the ruffian[89] clye the.[90]

Roge. What, stowe your bene,[91] cofe,[92] and sut benat wydds,[93] and byng we to rome vyle,[94] to nyp a bonge;[95] so shall we haue lowre for the bousing ken,[96] and when we byng back to the deuseauyel,[97] we wyll fylche some duddes[98] of the Ruffemans,[99] or myll the ken for a lagge of dudes.[100]

[37] Bene Lightmans,
good day.
[38] Quarromes,
[39] Lipken,
[40] Lypped,
[41] Darkemans,
[42] Lybbege,
[43] Strummel,
[44] Couched a hogshead,
lay down to sleep.
[45] Skypper,
[46] I towre,
I see.
[47] Trine,
[48] Nachbet,
[49] Togman,
[50] Salomon,
[51] Lage it of,
wipe it off.
[52] Gage of bene bouse,
quart of good drink.
[53] Cut to my nose watch,
say what you will to me.
[54] Lowre,
[55] Bonge,
[56] To bouse,
to drink.
[57] Flagge,
[58] Wyn,
[59] Make,
[60] Kene,
[61] Bene mort,
good woman.
[62] Prauncer,
[63] Quyer,
[64] Bord,
[65] Beneship,
[66] Dup the gygger,
open the door.
[67] Maund,
[68] Rome bouse,
[69] Nase nabes,
drunken head.
[70] Pecke,
[71] Cacling chete,
[72] Grunting chete,
[73] Ruff pecke,
[74] Cassan,
[75] Poplarr of yarum,
milk porridge.
[76] To our watche,
for us.
[77] Strike some chete,
steal something.
[78] Quyer cuffen,
[79] Myll,
[80] Bynge we a waste,
let us away.
[81] Pad,
[82] Ruffmanes,
[83] Harmanes,
[84] Cly the Tarke,
be whipped.
[85] Quyerken,
[86] Skower quyaer crampings,
be shackled with bolts and fetters.
[87] Chates,
[88] Gerry gan,
hold your tongue.
[89] Ruffian,
[90] Clye the,
take thee.
[91] Stowe your bene,
hold your peace.
[92] Cofe,
good fellow.
[93] Sut benat wydds,
speak better words.
[94] Rome vyle,
[95] Nyp a bonge,
cut a purse.
[96] Bousing ken,
[97] Deuseauyel,
[98] Duddes,
linen clothes.
[99] Ruffemans,
[100] Lagge of dudes,
parcel of clothes.


Seventeenth Century.


(Extrait du Jargon de l’Argot.)

Le Malingreux. La haute[106] t’aquige[107] en chenastre[108] santé.

Le Polisson. Et tézière[109] aussi, fanandel;[110]trimardes[111]-tu?

Le Malingreux. En ce pasquelin[112] de Berry, on m’a rouscaillé[113] que trucher[114] était chenastre; et en cette vergne fiche-t-on la thune[115] gourdement?[116]

Le Polisson. Quelque peu, pas guère.

Le Malingreux. La rousse[117] y est-elle chenastre?

Le Polisson. Nenni; c’est ce qui me fait ambier[118] hors de cette vergne; car si je n’eusse eu du michon,[119] je fusse cosni[120] de faim.


Le Malingreux. Y a-t-il un castu[121] dans cette vergne.

Le Polisson. Jaspin.[122]

Le Malingreux. Est-il chenu?[123]

Le Polisson. Pas guère; les pioles[124] ne sont que de fretille.[125]...

Le Malingreux. Veux-tu venir prendre de la morfe[126] et piausser[127] avec mézière[128] en une des pioles que tu m’as rouscaillées?

Le Polisson. Il n’y a ni ronds,[129] ni herplis,[130] en ma felouse;[131] je vais piausser en quelque grenasse.[132]

Le Malingreux. Encore que n’y ayez du michon, ne laissez pas de venir, car il y a deux menées[133] de ronds en ma henne,[134] et deux ornies[135] en mon gueulard,[136] que j’ai égraillées[137] sur le trimar;[138] bions[139] les faire riffoder,[140] veux-tu?

Le Polisson. Girole,[141] et béni soit le grand havre,[142] qui m’a fait rencontrer si chenastre occasion; je vais me réjouir et chanter une petite chanson....

Le Malingreux. Si tu veux trimer[143] de compagnie avec mézière, nous aquigerons grande chère,[144] je sais bien aquiger les luques,[145] engrailler l’ornie, casser la hane aux frémions,[146] pour épouser la fourcandière,[147] si quelques rovaux[148] me mouchaillent.[149]

Le Polisson. Ah! le havre garde mézière, je ne fus jamais ni fourgue[150] ni doubleux.[151]

Le Malingreux. Ni mézière non plus, je rouscaille[152] tous les luisans[153] au grand havre de l’oraison.

[101] Argotiers,
members of the “canting crew.”
[102] Polisson,
half-naked beggar.
[103] Malingreux,
maimed or sick beggar.
[104] Lourde,
[105] Vergne,
[106] La haute,
the Almighty.
[107] Aquige,
[108] Chenastre,
[109] Tézière,
[110] Fanandel,
[111] Trimardes,
[112] Pasquelin,
[113] Rouscaillé,
[114] Trucher,
to beg.
[115] Fiche-t-on la thune,
do they give alms.
[116] Gourdement,
[117] La rousse,
the police.
[118] Ambier,
[119] Michon,
[120] Cosni,
[121] Castu,
[122] Jaspin,
[123] Chenu,
[124] Pioles,
[125] Fretille,
[126] Morfe,
[127] Piausser,
to sleep.
[128] Mézière,
[129] Ronds,
[130] Herplis,
[131] Felouse,
[132] Grenasse,
[133] Menées,
[134] Henne,
[135] Ornies,
[136] Gueulard,
[137] Egraillées,
[138] Trimar,
[139] Bions,
let us go.
[140] Riffoder,
[141] Girole,
so be it.
[142] Havre,
[143] Trimer,
to walk.
[144] Aquigerons grande chère,
will live well.
[145] Aquiger les luques,
prepare pictures.
[146] Casser la hane aux frémions,
steal purses at fairs.
[147] Epouser la fourcandière,
to throw away the stolen property.
[148] Rovaux,
[149] Mouchaillent,
[150] Fourgue,
receiver of stolen property.
[151] Doubleux,
[152] Je rouscaille,
I pray.
[153] Tous les luisans,
every day.


Seventeenth Century.

(Extract from Bampfylde-Moore Carew, King of the Mendicants.)

When a fresh recruit is admitted into this fraternity, he is to take the following oath, administered by the principal maunder,[154] after going through the annexed form:—

First a new name is given him, by which he is ever after to be called; then, standing up in the middle of the assembly, and directing his face to the dimber damber, or principal man of the gang, he repeats the following oath, which is dictated to him by some experienced member of the fraternity:—

“I, Crank Cuffin, do swear to be a true brother, and that I will in all things obey the commands of the great tawny prince,[155] keep his counsel, and not divulge the secrets of my brethren.

“I will never leave or forsake the company, but observe and keep all the times of appointment, either by day or by night, in every place whatever.

“I will not teach anyone to cant; nor will I disclose any of our mysteries to them.

“I will take my prince’s part against all that shall oppose him, or any of us, according to the utmost of my ability; nor will I suffer him, or anyone belonging to us, to be abased by any strange abrams,[156] ruffies,[157] hookers,[158] palliardes,[159] swaddlers,[160] Irish toyles,[161] swigmen,[162] whip Jacks,[163] Jarkmen,[164] bawdy baskets,[165] dommerars,[166] clapper dogeons,[167] patricoes,[168] or curtails;[169] but I will defend him, or them, as much as I can, against all other outliers whatever. I will not conceal aught I win out of libkins,[170] or from [xxxii]the ruffmans,[171] but will preserve it for the use of the company. Lastly, I will cleave to my doxy,[172] wap[173] stiffly, and will bring her duds,[174] margery praters,[175] gobblers,[176] grunting cheats,[177] or tibs of the buttery,[178] or anything else I can come at, as winnings for her wappings.”[179]

[154] Maunder,
[155] Tawny prince,
Prince Prig, the head of the gipsies.
[156] Abrams,
half-naked beggars.
[157] Ruffies,
beggars who sham the old soldier.
[158] Hookers,
thieves who beg in the daytime and steal at night from shops with a hook.
[159] Palliardes,
ragged beggars.
[160] Swaddlers,
Irish Roman Catholics who pretend conversion.
[161] Toyles,
beggars with pedlar’s pack.
[162] Swigmen,
[163] Whip Jacks,
beggars who sham the shipwrecked sailor.
[164] Jarkmen,
learned beggars, begging-letter impostors.
[165] Bawdy baskets,
[166] Dommerars,
dumb beggars.
[167] Clapper dogeons,
beggars by birth.
[168] Patricoes,
those who perform the marriage ceremony.
[169] Curtails,
second in command, with short cloak.
[170] Libkins,
[171] Ruffmans,
bushes or woods.
[172] Doxy,
[173] Wap,
to lie with a woman.
[174] Duds,
[175] Margery praters,
[176] Gobblers,
[177] Grunting cheats,
[178] Tibs of the buttery,
[179] Wappings,

Eighteenth Century.

(From Ainsworth’s Rookwood.)

In a box[180] of the stone jug[181] I was born,
Of a hempen widow[182] the kid[183] forlorn,
Fake away!
And my father, as I’ve heard say,
Fake away!
Was a merchant of capers gay,
Who cut his last fling with great applause,
Nix my doll pals, fake away![184]
To the tune of hearty choke with caper sauce.
Fake away!
The knucks[185] in quod[186] did my schoolmen[187] play,
Fake away!
And put me up to the time of day,[188]
Until at last there was none so knowing,
No such sneaksman[189] or buzgloak[190] going,
Fake away!
Fogles[191] and fawnies[192] soon went their way,
Fake away!
To the spout[193] with the sneezers[194] in grand array,
No dummy hunter[195] had forks so fly,[196]
No knuckler so deftly could fake a cly,[197]
Fake away!
No slourd hoxter[198] my snipes[199] could stay,
Fake away!
None knap a reader[200] like me in the lay.[201]
Soon then I mounted in swell street-high,
Nix my doll pals, fake away!
Soon then I mounted in swell street-high,
And sported my flashest toggery,[202]
Fake away!
Fainly resolved I would make my hay,
Fake away!
While Mercury’s star shed a single ray;
And ne’er was there seen such a dashing prig,[203]
Nix my doll pals, fake away!
And ne’er was there seen such a dashing prig,
With my strummel faked[204] in the newest twig,[205]
Fake away!
With my fawnied famms[206] and my onions gay,[207]
Fake away!
My thimble of ridge,[208] and my driz kemesa,[209]
All my togs[210] were so niblike[211] and plash.[212]
Readily the queer screens[213] I then could smash.[214]
Fake away!
But my nuttiest blowen,[215] one fine day,
Fake away!
To the beaks[216] did her fancy man betray,
And thus was I bowled at last,
And into the jug for a lay was cast,
Fake away!
But I slipped my darbies[217] one morn in May,
And gave to the dubsman[218] a holiday.
And here I am, pals, merry and free,
A regular rollicking romany.[219]
[180] Box,
[181] Stone jug,
[182] Hempen widow,
woman whose husband has been hanged.
[183] Kid,
[184] Nix my doll pals,
fake away! never mind, friends, work away!
[185] Knucks,
[186] Quod,
[187] Schoolmen,
fellows of the gang.
[188] Put me up to the time of day,
made a knowing one of me, taught me thieving.
[189] Sneaksman,
[190] Buzgloak,
[191] Fogles,
silk handkerchiefs.
[192] Fawnies,
[193] Spout,
[194] Sneezers,
[195] Dummy hunter,
stealer of pocket books.
[196] Forks so fly,
such nimble fingers.
[197] No knuckler so deftly could fake a cly,
no pickpocket so skilfully could pick a pocket.
[198] Slourd hoxter,
inside pocket buttoned up.
[199] Snipes,
[200] Knap a reader,
steal a pocket book.
[201] Lay,
robbery, dodge.
[202] Flashest toggery,
best made clothes.
[203] Prig,
[204] Strummel faked,
hair dressed.
[205] Twig,
[206] Fawnied famms,
hands bejewelled.
[207] Onions,
[208] Thimble of ridge,
gold watch.
[209] Driz kemesa,
shirt with lace frill.
[210] Togs,
[211] Niblike,
[212] Plash,
[213] Queer screens,
forged notes.
[214] Smash,
[215] Nuttiest blowen,
favourite girl.
[216] Beaks,
[217] Darbies,
[218] Dubsman,
[219] Romany,

Eighteenth Century.

(Extrait du Vice Puni ou Cartouche, 1725.)

Fanandels[220] en cette Piolle[221]
On vit chenument;[222]
Arton, Pivois et Criolle[223]
On a gourdement.[224]
Pitanchons, faisons riolle[225]
Jusqu’au Jugement.
Icicaille[226] est le Théâtre
Du Petit Dardant;[227]
Fonçons à ce Mion[228] folâtre
Notre Palpitant.[229]
Pitanchons Pivois chenâtre[230]
Jusques au Luisant.[231]
[220] Fanandels,
[221] Piolle,
house, tavern.
[222] Chenument,
[223] Arton, pivois et criolle,
bread, wine, and meat.
[224] Gourdement,
in plenty.
[225] Pitanchons, faisons riolle,
let us drink, amuse ourselves.
[226] Icicaille,
[227] Petit Dardant,
[228] Fonçons à ce Mion,
let us give this boy.
[229] Palpitant,
[230] Chenâtre,
[231] Luisant,


Beginning of Nineteenth Century.

En roulant de vergne en vergne[232]
Pour apprendre à goupiner,[233]
J’ai rencontré la mercandière,[234]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Qui du pivois solisait,[235]
Lonfa malura dondé.
J’ai rencontré la mercandière
Qui du pivois solisait;
Je lui jaspine en bigorne;[236]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Qu’as tu donc à morfiller?[237]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Je lui jaspine en bigorne;
Qu’as tu donc à morfiller?
J’ai du chenu[238] pivois sans lance.[239]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et du larton savonné[240]
Lonfa malura dondé.
J’ai du chenu pivois sans lance
Et du larton savonné,
Une lourde[241] et une tournante,[242]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et un pieu[243] pour roupiller[244]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Une lourde, une tournante
Et un pieu pour roupiller.
J’enquille[245] dans sa cambriole,[246]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Espérant de l’entifler,[247]
Lonfa malura dondé.
J’enquille dans sa cambriole
Espérant de l’entifler;
Je rembroque[248] au coin du rifle,[249]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Un messière[250] qui pionçait,[251]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Je rembroque au coin du rifle
Un messière qui pionçait;
J’ai sondé dans ses vallades,[252]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Son carle[253] j’ai pessigué,[254]
Lonfa malura dondé.
J’ai sondé dans ses vallades,
Son carle j’ai pessigué,
Son carle et sa tocquante,[255]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et ses attaches de cé,[256]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Son carle et sa tocquante,
Et ses attaches de cé,
Son coulant[257] et sa montante,[258]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et son combre galuché[259]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Son coulant et sa montante
Et son combre galuché,
Son frusque,[260] aussi sa lisette,[261]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et ses tirants brodanchés,[262]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Son frusque, aussi sa lisette
Et ses tirants brodanchés.
Crompe,[263] crompe, mercandière,
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Car nous serions béquillés,[264]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Crompe, crompe, mercandière,
Car nous serions béquillés.
Sur la placarde de vergne,[265]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Il nous faudrait gambiller,[266]
Lonfa malura dondé.
Sur la placarde de vergne
Il nous faudrait gambiller,
Allumés[267] de toutes ces largues,[268]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Et du trèpe[269] rassemblé,
Lonfa malura dondé.
Allumés de toutes ces largues
Et du trèpe rassemblé;
Et de ces charlots bons drilles,[270]
Lonfa malura dondaine,
Tous aboulant[271] goupiner.
Lonfa malura dondé.
[232] Vergne,
[233] Goupiner,
to steal.
[234] Mercandière,
[235] Du pivois solisait,
sold wine.
[236] Jaspine en bigorne,
say in cant.
[237] Morfiller,
to eat and drink.
[238] Chenu,
[239] Lance,
[240] Larton savonné,
white bread.
[241] Lourde,
[242] Tournante,
[243] Pieu,
[244] Roupiller,
to sleep.
[245] J’enquille,
I enter.
[246] Cambriole,
[247] Entifler,
to marry.
[248] Rembroque,
[249] Rifle,
[250] Messière,
[251] Pionçait,
was sleeping.
[252] Vallades,
[253] Carle,
[254] Pessigué,
[255] Tocquante,
[256] Attaches de cé,
silver buckles.
[257] Coulant,
[258] Montante,
[259] Combre galuché,
laced hat.
[260] Frusque,
[261] Lisette,
[262] Tirants brodanchés,
embroidered stockings.
[263] Crompe,
run away.
[264] Béquillés,
[265] Placarde de vergne,
public place.
[266] Gambiller,
to dance.
[267] Allumés,
stared at.
[268] Largues,
[269] Trèpe,
[270] Charlots bons drilles,
jolly thieves.
[271] Aboulant,

Beginning of Nineteenth Century.

As from ken[272] to ken I was going,
Doing a bit on the prigging lay,[273]
Who should I meet but a jolly blowen,[274]
Tol lol, lol lol, tol derol ay;
Who should I meet but a jolly blowen,
Who was fly[275] to the time o’ day?[276]
Who should I meet but a jolly blowen,
Who was fly to the time of day.
I pattered in flash,[277] like a covey[278] knowing,
Tol lol, &c.,
“Ay, bub or grubby,[279] I say.”
I pattered in flash like a covey knowing,
“Ay, bub or grubby, I say.”
“Lots of gatter,”[280] quo’ she, “are flowing,
Tol lol, &c.,
Lend me a lift in the family way.[281]
“Lots of gatter,” quo’ she, “are flowing,
Lend me a lift in the family way.
You may have a crib[282] to stow in,
Tol lol, &c.,
Welcome, my pal,[283] as the flowers in May.”
“You may have a crib to stow in,
Welcome, my pal, as the flowers in May.”
To her ken at once I go in,
Tol lol, &c.,
Where in a corner out of the way;
To her ken at once I go in,
Where in a corner out of the way,
With his smeller[284] a trumpet blowing,
Tol lol, &c.,
A regular swell cove[285] lushy[286] lay.
With his smeller a trumpet blowing,
A regular swell cove lushy lay.
To his clies[287] my hooks[288] I throw in,
Tol lol, &c.,
And collar his dragons[289] clear away.
To his clies my hooks I throw in,
And collar his dragons clear away.
Then his ticker[290] I set a-going,
Tol lol, &c.,
And his onions,[291] chain and key.
Then his ticker I set a-going,
With his onions, chain and key;
Next slipt off his bottom clo’ing,
Tol lol, &c.,
And his ginger head topper gay.
Next slipt off his bottom clo’ing,
And his ginger head topper gay.
Then his other toggery[292] stowing,
Tol lol, &c.,
All with the swag[293] I sneak away.
Then his other toggery stowing,
All with the swag I sneak away.
Tramp it, tramp it, my jolly blowen,
Tol lol, &c.,
Or be grabbed[294] by the beaks[295] we may.
Tramp it, tramp it, my jolly blowen,
Or be grabbed by the beaks we may.
And we shall caper a-heel-and-toeing,
Tol lol, &c.,
A Newgate hornpipe some fine day.
And we shall caper a-heel-and-toeing,
A Newgate hornpipe some fine day,
With the mots[296] their ogles[297] throwing,
Tol lol, &c.,
And old Cotton[298] humming his pray.[299]
With the mots their ogles throwing,
And old Cotton humming his pray,
And the fogle-hunters[300] doing,
Tol lol, &c.,
Their morning fake[301] in the prigging lay.
[272] Ken,
shop, house.
[273] Prigging lay,
thieving business.
[274] Blowen,
girl, strumpet, sweetheart.
[275] Fly (contraction of flash),
awake, up to, practised in.
[276] Time o’ day,
knowledge of business, thieving
[277] Pattered in flash,
spoke in slang.
[278] Covey,
[279] Bub and grub,
drink and food.
[280] Gatter,
[281] Family,
the thieves in general; the family way, the thieving line.
[282] Crib,
[283] Pal,
friend, companion, paramour.
[284] Smeller,
[285] Swell cove,
gentleman, dandy.
[286] Lushy,
[287] Clies,
[288] Hooks,
[289] Collar his dragons,
take his sovereigns.
[290] Ticker,
[291] Onions,
[292] Toggery,
[293] Swag,
[294] Grabbed,
[295] Beaks,
police officers.
[296] Mots,
[297] Ogles,
[298] Old Cotton,
the ordinary of Newgate.
[299] Humming his pray,
saying prayers.
[300] Fogle-hunters,
[301] Morning fake,
morning thieving.


Nineteenth Century.

Chaplain of H. M. Prison, Clerkenwell.

Translated into the Language of French Thieves.

I was born in 1853 at Stamford Hill, Middlesex. My parents removed from there to Stoke Newington, when I was sent to an infant school. Some time afterwards I was taken by two pals (companions) to an orchard to cop (steal) some fruit, me being a mug (inexperienced) at the game. This got to my father’s ears. When I went home he set about me with a strap until he was tired. He thought that was not enough, but tied me to a bedstead. You may be sure what followed. I got loose, tied a blanket and a counterpane together, fastened it to the bedstead, and let myself out of the window, and did not go home that [xlii]night, but met my two pals and dossed (slept) in a haystack. Early next morning my pals said they knew where we could get some toke (food), and took me to a terrace. We went down the dancers (steps) to a safe, and cleared it out. Two or three days after I met my mother, who in tears begged of me to go home; so I went home. My parents moved to Clapton, when they sent me to school. My pals used to send stiffs (notes) to the schoolmaster, saying that I was wanted at home; but instead of that we used to go and smug snowy (steal linen) that was hung out to dry, or rob the bakers’ barrows. Things went from bad to worse, so I was obliged to leave home again. This time I palled in with some older hands at the game, who used to take me a parlour-jumping (robbing rooms), putting me in where the windows was open. I used to take anything there was to steal, and at last they told me all about wedge (silver-plate), how I should know it by the ramp (hall-mark—rampant lion?); we used to break it up in small pieces and sell it to watchmakers, and afterwards to a fence down the Lane (Petticoat Lane). Two or three times a week I used to go to the Brit. (Britannia Theatre) in Hoxton, or the gaff (penny music-room) in Shoreditch. I used to steal anything to make money to go to these places. Some nights I used to sleep at my pals’ houses, sometimes in a shed where there was a fire kept burning night and day. All this time I had [xliii]escaped the hands of the reelers (police), but one day I was taken for robbing a baker’s cart, and got twenty-one days. While there I made pals with another one who came from Shoreditch, and promised to meet him when we got out, which I did, and we used to go together, and left the other pals at Clapton.

Je suis né en 1853 à Stamford Hill, Middlesex. Mes parents, de lago, allèrent se pioler à Stoke Newington, et l’on m’envoya à une école maternelle. Peu de temps après, deux de mes fanandels me menèrent à un verger pour grinchir des fruits, mais je n’étais qu’un sinve à ce flanche. Mon dab apprit la chose, et quand je rentolai à la caginotte il me refila une purge avec une courroie jusqu’à plus soif. Pensant que ce n’était pas assez, il me ligota au pieu. Vous vous doutez de ce qui arriva. Je me débarrassai des ligotes, attachai un embarras à une couverture que je fixai au pieu, et je me laissai glisser par la vanterne. Je ne rappliquai pas à la niche cette nogue-là, mais j’allai retrouver mes deux fanandes et je pionçai dans une meule de foin. Au matois mes fanandels me bonnirent qu’ils conobraient où nous pouvions acquiger de la tortillade et me menèrent à une rangée de pioles. Nous dégringolons les grimpants. Nous embardons dans un garde-manger et nous le rinçons. Deux ou trois reluis après, je me casse le mufle sur ma dabuche, qui, en chialant, me supplie de rappliquer à la niche, ce que j’ai fait. Mes parents alors ont déménagé et sont allés à Clapton. Alors on m’a envoyé à l’école. Mes camerluches balançaient des lazagnes au maître d’école disant qu’on me demandait à la niche, mais au lieu de cela nous allions déflorer la pictouse ou rincer les bagnoles des lartonniers. Les choses allèrent de mal en pis et je fus obligé de redécarrer de la niche. Cette fois je me mis avec des fanandes plus affranchis, qui me menaient avec eux rincer les cambriolles, me faisant enquiller par les vanternes ouvertes. Je mettais la pogne sur toute la camelote bonne à grinchir, et enfin ils me firent entraver tout le truc de la blanquette, et comment je la reconobrerais par la marque; nous la frangissions en petits morceaux et nous la fourgattions chez des boguistes et ensuite chez un fourgue qui demeurait dans la Lane. Deux ou trois fois par semaine je suis allé au Brit. de Hoxton ou au beuglant de Shoreditch. Je grinchissais n’importe quelle camelote pour affurer de la thune afin d’aller à ces endroits. Des sorgues, je pionçais dans les pioles de mes fanandels, quelquefois sous un hangar où il y avait un rif qui riffodait jorne et sorgue. Cependant, j’avais échappé aux pinces de la riflette, mais un reluis j’ai été pomaqué pour avoir rincé une bagnole de lartonnier et enflacqué pendant vingt et un reluis. Lago j’ai eu pour amarre un autre qui venait de Shoreditch et je lui ai promis un rendez-vous pour quand nous serions défouraillés; alors nous sommes devenus amarres d’attaques et nous avons laissé les autres zigues à Clapton.

At last one day we was at St. John’s Wood. I went in after some wedge. While picking some up off the table I frightened a cat, which upset a lot of plates when jumping out of the window. So I was taken and tried at Marylebone Police Court and sent to Feltham Industrial School. I had not been there a month before I planned with another boy to guy (run away), and so we did, but was stopped at Brentford and took back to the school, for which we got twelve strokes with the birch. I thought when I first went there that I knew a great deal about thieving, but I found there was some there that knew more, and I used to pal in with those that knew the most. One day, while talking with a boy, he told me he was going home in a day or so. He said his friends was going to claim him out because he was more than sixteen years old. When my friends came to see me I told them that they could claim me out, [xliv]and with a good many fair promises that I would lead a new life if they did so. They got me out of the school. When I got home I found a great change in my father, who had taken to drink, and he did not take so much notice of what I done as he used. I went on all straight the first few moons at costering. One day there was a “fête” at Clapton, and I was coming home with my kipsy (basket); I had just sold all my goods out. I just stopped to pipe (see) what was going on, when a reeler came up to me and rapped (said), “Now, ——, you had better go away, or else I shall give you a drag (three months in prison).” So I said “all right;” but he rapped, “It is not all right; I don’t want any sauce from you or else I shall set about (beat) you myself.” So I said, “What for? I have done nothing; do you want to get it up for me?” Then he began to push me about, so I said I would not go at all if he put his dukes (hands) on me. Then he rammed my nut (head) against the wall and shook the very life out of me. This got a scuff (crowd) round us, and the people ask him what he was knocking me about for, so he said, “This is young —— just come home from a schooling (a term in a reformatory).” So he did not touch me again; so I went home, turned into kip (bed) and could not get up for two or three days, because he had given me such a shaking, him being a great powerful man, and me only a little fellow. I still went on all straight until things [xlv]got very dear at the market. I had been down three or four days running, and could not buy anything to earn a deaner (shilling) out of. So one morning I found I did not have more than a caser (five shillings) for stock-pieces (stock-money). So I thought to myself, “What shall I do?” I said, “I know what I will do. I will go to London Bridge rattler (railway) and take a deaner ride and go a wedge-hunting (stealing plate).” So I took a ducat (railway ticket) for Sutton in Surrey, and went a wedge-hunting. I had not been at Sutton very long before I piped a slavey (servant) come out of a chat (house), so when she had got a little way up the double (turning), I pratted (went) in the house. When inside I could not see any wedge lying about the kitchen, so I screwed my nut in the washhouse and I piped three or four pair of daisy roots (boots). So I claimed (stole) them, and took off the lid of my kipsy and put them inside, put a cloth over them, and then put the lid on again, put the kipsy on my back as though it was empty, and guyed to the rattler and took a brief (ticket) to London Bridge, and took the daisies to a Sheney (Jew) down the gaff, and done (sold) them for thirty blow (shillings).

Enfin, un jour nous nous trouvions à St. John’s Wood et j’étais à soulever de la blanquette. Pendant que je mettais la pogne dessus, je coquai le taf à un greffier qui fit dégringoler un tas de morfiantes en sautant par la vanterne. De cette façon, je fus pomaqué, mis en gerbement au carré des gerbes de Marylebone et envoyé au pénitencier de Feltham. Y avait pas une marque que j’y étais que je me préparai avec un autre à faire la cavale. Après avoir décarré, nous fûmes engraillés à Brentford et renflacqués au pénitencier où l’on nous donna douze coups de la verge. Je croyais, quand j’y avais été enfouraillé tout d’abord, que j’étais un pègre bien affranchi, mais je trouvai là des camerluches qui en conobraient plus que mézigue et j’avais pour amarres ceux qui étaient les plus mariolles. Un reluis en jaspinant avec un gosselin, il me jacte que dans un luisant ou deux il allait rappliquer à la niche. Il me bonnit que ses parents allaient le réclamer parcequ’il avait plus de seize brisques. Quand mes parents sont venus me voir je leur bonnis qu’ils pouvaient me faire défourailler, et leur ayant fait de belles promesses de rengracier s’ils y consentaient ils m’ont fait défourailler. Quand j’ai aboulé à la kasbah, j’ai trouvé du changement chez mon dab qui s’était mis à se poivrer, et il n’a pas fait autant d’attention que d’habitongue à mes flanches. Rangé des voitures pendant les premières marques comme marchand des quatre saisons. Un reluis il y avait une fête à Clapton et je rappliquais avec mon panier. Je venais de laver toute ma camelote et de m’arrêter pour rechasser ce qui se passait quand un roussin aboule à moi et me bonnit, “Allons, décampe d’ici, ou je te mets à l’ombre pour trois marques.” Je lui bonnis “c’est bien;” mais il me jacte, “C’est pas tout ça, tâche de filer doux, autrement je te passe à travers tocquardement.” Que je lui bonnis, “Pourquoi? Je n’ai rien fait; c’est une querelle d’allemand que vous me cherchez là.” Alors il se met à me refiler des poussées et je lui dis que je ne le suivrais pas s’il me harponnait. Alors il me sonne la tronche contre le mur et me secoue tocquardement. Le trèpe s’assemble autour de nouzailles et les gonces lui demandent pourquoi il me bouscule. Alors, qu’il dit, “C’est le jeune —— qui vient de sortir du pénitencier.” Puis, il me laisse tranquille, de sorte que j’ai rappliqué à la niche, et je me suis mis au pucier où je suis resté deux ou trois reluis, car il m’avait harponné tocquardement, lui qui était un grand balouf et moi un pauvre petit gosselin. Tout a marché chouettement pendant quelque temps mais la camelote est devenue très chère au marché. Depuis trois ou quatre reluis je n’avais pas le moyen d’abloquer de quoi affurer un shilling. Alors un reluis je me suis aperçu que je n’avais pas plus de cinq shillings comme fonds de commerce et je me suis demandé: quel truc est-ce que je vais maquiller? Je me bonnis, je connais bien mon flanche. J’acquigerai le roulant vif de London Bridge pour un shilling et je tâcherai de mettre la pogne sur de la blanquette. Alors je prends une brème pour Sutton en Surrey et je me mets en chasse pour la blanquette. Y avait pas longtemps que j’étais à Sutton quand j’allume une cambrousière qui décarrait d’une piole. Dès qu’elle a tourné le coin de la rue, j’embarde dans la piole. Une fois dedans je n’ai pas remouché de blanquette dans la cuisine, et, passant ma sorbonne dans l’arrière-cuisine, j’ai mouchaillé trois ou quatre paires de ripatons. J’ai mis la pogne dessus, et ôtant le couvercle de mon panier, je les y ai plaqués avec une pièce d’étoffe par dessus et j’ai remis le couvercle, puis j’ai plaqué mon panier sur mon andosse comme s’il était vide, et je me suis cavalé jusqu’au roulant vif; acquigé un billet pour London Bridge, porté les ripatons à un youtre près du beuglant et fourgué pour trente shillings.

The next day I took the rattler to Forest Hill, and touched for (succeeded [xlvi]in getting) some wedge and a kipsy full of clobber (clothes). You may be sure this gave me a little pluck, so I kept on at the old game, only with this difference, that I got more pieces for the wedge. I got three and a sprat (3s. 6d.) an ounce. But afterwards I got 3s. 9d., and then four blow. I used to get a good many pieces about this time, so I used to clobber myself up and go to the concert. But though I used to go to these places I never used to drink any beer for some time afterwards. It was while using one of those places I first met a sparring bloke (pugilist), who taught me how to spar and showed me the way to put my dukes up. But after a time I gave him best (left him) because he used to want to bite my ear (borrow) too often. It was while I was with him that I got in company with some of the widest (cleverest) people in London. They used to use at (frequent) a pub in Shoreditch. The following people used to go in there—toy-getters (watch-stealers), magsmen (confidence-trick men), men at the mace (sham loan offices), broadsmen (card-sharpers), peter-claimers (box-stealers), busters and screwsmen (burglars), snide-pitchers (utterers of false coin), men at the duff (passing false jewellery), welshers (turf-swindlers), and skittle-sharps. Being with this nice mob (gang) you may be sure what I learned. I went out at the game three or four times a week, and used to touch almost every time. I went on like this for very near a stretch (year) without [xlvii]being smugged (apprehended). One night I was with the mob, I got canon (drunk), this being the first time. After this, when I used to go to concert-rooms, I used to drink beer. It was at one of these places down Whitechapel I palled in with a trip and stayed with her until I got smugged. One day I was at Blackheath, I got very near canon, and when I went into a place I claimed two wedge spoons, and was just going up the dancers, a slavey piped the spoons sticking out of my skyrocket (pocket), so I got smugged. While at the station they asked me what my monarch (name) was. A reeler came to the cell and cross-kidded (questioned) me, but I was too wide for him. I was tried at Greenwich; they ask the reeler if I was known, and he said no. So I was sent to Maidstone Stir (prison) for two moon. When I came out, the trip I had been living with had sold the home and guyed; that did not trouble me much. The only thing that spurred (annoyed) me was me being such a flat to buy the home. The mob got me up a break (collection), and I got between five or six foont (sovereigns), so I did not go out at the game for about a moon.

Le lendemain j’ai acquigé le roulant vif jusqu’à Forest Hill, et j’ai mis la pogne sur de la blanquette et un panier plein de fringues. Bien sûr, cela m’a donné un peu de courage, alors j’ai continué le même flanche avec cette différence seulement, que j’ai affuré plus d’auber pour la blanquette. On m’en a foncé trois shillings sixpence l’once. Mais après j’en ai eu trois shillings neuf pence, et puis quatre shillings. J’affurais pas mal de galtos à cette époque, de sorte que je me peaussais chouettement pour aller au beuglant. Mais si j’allais à ces sortes d’endroits, je ne pictais jamais de moussante. C’est à ce moment et dans un de ces endroits que j’ai fait la connaissance d’un lutteur qui m’a appris la boxe et à me servir de mes louches. Mais peu après, je l’ai lâché parcequ’il me coquait trop souvent des coups de pied dans les jambes. C’est en sa compagnie que j’ai fait la connaissance de quelques-uns des pègres les plus mariolles de Londres. Ils fréquentaient un cabermon de Shoreditch. Ceux qui y allaient étaient des grinchisseurs de bogues, des américains, des guinals à la manque, des grecs, des valtreusiers, des grinchisseurs au fric-frac, des passeurs de galette à la manque, des voleurs à la broquille, des bookmakers à la manque, et des grinches joueurs de quilles. Etant avec cette gironde gance, vous pouvez imaginer ce que j’ai appris. J’allais turbiner trois ou quatre fois par quart de marque, et je réussissais presque toujours. J’ai continué ainsi pendant près d’une brisque sans être enfilé. Une nogue que j’étais avec les fanandes, j’ai été poivre pour la première fois. Et après ça, quand j’ai été au beuglant, j’ai pitanché de la moussante. C’est à un de ces endroits dans Whitechapel que je me suis collé avec une largue, et je suis resté avec elle jusqu’à ce que j’ai été enfouraillé. Un reluis, j’étais à Blackheath, je me suis presque poivrotté, et embardant dans une piole, j’ai grinchi deux poches de plâtre. Je grimpais le lève-pieds, quand une cambrousière a remouché les cuillers qui sortaient de ma profonde, c’est comme cela que j’ai été pomaqué. Au bloc, on m’a demandé mon centre. Un rousse est venu à la boîte et m’a fait la jactance, mais j’ai été trop mariolle pour entraver. J’ai été mis en sapement à Greenwich; on a demandé au rousse s’il me conobrait et il a répondu nibergue. Alors on m’a envoyé à la motte de Maidstone pour deux marques. Quand j’ai été défouraillé, la largue avec qui je vivais avait tout lavé et s’était fait la débinette, mais cela m’était égal. La seule chose qui m’a ennuyé, c’est que j’avais été assez sinve pour abloquer le fourbi. La gance m’a fait une manche et j’ai eu de cinq à six sigues, de sorte que je n’ai pas rappliqué au turbin pour près d’une marque.

The first day that I went out I went to Slough and touched for a wedge kipsy with 120 ounces of wedge in it, for which I got nineteen quid (sovereigns). Then I carried on a nice game. I used to get canon every night. I done things now what I should have been ashamed to do before I took to that accursed [xlviii]drink. It was now that I got acquainted with the use of twirls (skeleton-keys).

Le premier reluis de ma guérison je suis allé à Slough et j’ai soulevé un panier, qui contenait 120 onces de blanquette, pour lequel j’ai reçu dix-neuf livres sterling. Alors j’étais bien à la marre. J’étais pion toutes les sorgues. J’ai maquillé des flanches alors que j’aurais eu honte de faire si je ne m’étais pas mis à pitancher gourdement. C’est alors que j’ai appris le truc des caroubles.

A little time after this I fell (was taken up) again at St. Mary Cray for being found at the back of a house, and got two moon at Bromley Petty Sessions as a rogue and vagabond; and I was sent to Maidstone, this being the second time within a stretch. When I fell this time I had between four and five quid found on me, but they gave it me back, so I was landed (was all right) this time without them getting me up a lead (a collection).

Peu après j’ai été emballé de nouveau à St. Mary Cray pour avoir été pigé derrière une piole et j’ai été gerbé à deux marques au juste de Bromley comme ferlampier et purotin, puis j’ai été envoyé à Maidstone pour la seconde fois dans la brisque. Quand j’ai été emballé, j’avais de quatre à cinq signes sur mon gniasse, mais on me les a rendus, de sorte que j’ai pu cette fois me passer de la manche.

I did not fall again for a stretch. This time I got two moon for assaulting the reelers when canon. For this I went to the Steel (Bastile—Coldbath Fields Prison), having a new suit of clobber on me and about fifty blow in my brigh (pocket). When I came out I went at the same old game.

Je n’ai pas été emballé pendant une brisque. Cette fois, j’ai été sapé à deux marques pour avoir refilé une voie aux rousses pendant que j’étais pion. On m’a envoyé, pour ce flanche, à la Steel. J’avais des fringues d’altèque et environ cinquante shillings dans ma fouillouse. Quand j’ai décarré j’ai rappliqué au truc.

One day I went to Croydon and touched for a red toy (gold watch) and red tackle (gold chain) with a large locket. So I took the rattler home at once. When I got into Shoreditch I met one or two of the mob, who said, “Hallo, been out to-day? Did you touch?” So I said, “Usher” (yes). So I took them in, and we all got canon. When I went to the fence he bested (cheated) me because I was drunk, and only gave me £8 10s. for the lot. So the next day I went to him, and asked him if he was not going to grease my duke (put money into my hand). So he said, “No.” [xlix]Then he said, “I will give you another half-a-quid;” and said, “Do anybody, but mind they don’t do you.” So I thought to myself, “All right, my lad; you will find me as good as my master,” and left him.

Un reluis, je suis allé à Croydon et j’ai fait un bogue de jonc et une bride de jonc avec un gros médaillon. Puis j’ai acquigé dare-dare le roulant vif. Quand j’ai aboulé à Shoreditch, je suis tombé en frime avec deux pègres de la gance qui m’ont bonni, “Eh bien, tu as turbiné ce luisant, as-tu fait quelque chose?” Alors que je jacte, “Gy.” Puis je les ai emmenés et nous nous sommes tous piqué le blaire. Quand je suis allé chez le fourgat il m’a refait parceque j’étais poivre et m’a aboulé seulement £8 10s. pour le tout. Alors le lendemain, je suis allé à lui et lui ai demandé s’il n’allait pas me foncer du michon. Il répond, “Nibergue.” Puis il ajoute, “Je vais te foncer un autre demi-sigue,” et aussi, “Mène en bateau les sinves, mais ne te laisse pas mener en bateau.” Je me suis dit, “Chouette, ma vieille branche; tu me trouveras aussi mariolle que mon maître,” et je l’ai quitté.

Some time after that affair with the fence, one of the mob said to me, “I have got a place cut and dried; will you come and do it?” So I said, “Yes; what tools will you want?” And he said, “We shall want some twirls and the stick (crowbar), and bring a neddie (life preserver) with you.” And he said, “Now don’t stick me up (disappoint); meet me at six to-night.” At six I was in the meet (trysting-place), and while waiting for my pal I had my daisies cleaned, and I piped the fence that bested me go along with his old woman (wife) and his two kids (children), so I thought of his own words, “Do anybody, but mind they don’t do you.” He was going to the Surrey Theatre, so when my pal came up I told him all about it. So we went and screwed (broke into) his place, and got thirty-two quid, and a toy and tackle which he had bought on the crook. We did not go and do the other place after that. About two moon after this the same fence fell for buying two finns (£5 notes), for which he got a stretch and a half. A little while after this I fell at Isleworth for being found in a conservatory adjoining a parlour, and got remanded at the Tench (House of Detention) [l]for nine days, but neither Snuffy (Reeves, the identifier) nor Mac (Macintyre) knew me, so I got a drag, and was sent to the Steel. While I was in there, I see the fence who we done, and he held his duke at me as much as to say, “I would give you something, if I could;” but I only laughed at him. I was out about seven moon, when one night a pal of mine was half drunk, and said something to a copper (policeman) which he did not like; so he hit my pal, and I hit him in return. So we both set about him. He pulled out his staff, and hit me on the nut, and cut it open. Then two or three more coppers came up, and we got smugged, and got a sixer (six months) each. So I see the fence again in Stir.

Quelque temps après ce flanche avec le fourgat une des poisses de la gance me bonnit, “J’ai un poupard nourri, veux-tu en être?” Que je lui bonnis, “Gy, de quelles alènes as-tu besoin?” Il me jacte, “Il nous faut des rossignols et le sucre de pomme; tu apporteras un tourne-clef.” Il me bonnit, “Ne me lâche pas au bon moment, nous nous rencontrerons à six plombes cette nogue.” Six plombes crossaient quand j’ai aboulé au rendez-vous, et en attendant mon fanande je faisais cirer mes ripatons, quand j’ai mouchaillé le fourgue qui m’avait refait qui se balladait avec sa fesse et ses deux mômes. Alors j’ai pensé à ce qu’il m’avait bonni, “Mène les sinves en bateau mais ne laisse pas gourer tézigue.” Il allait à la misloque de Surrey, alors, quand mon poteau aboule, je lui dégueularde tout le flanche. Puis nous filons le luctrème, nous enquillons dans la piole et nous mettons la pogne sur trente-deux sigues, sur un bogue et une bride que le fourgue avait abloqués à la manque. Nous ne sommes pas allés aux autres endroits après cela. Deux marques après, ce même fourgue a été poissé pour avoir abloqué deux fafiots de cinq livres sterling, et sapé à une longe et six marques. Peu de temps après j’ai été emballé à Isleworth pour avoir été pigé dans une serre voisine d’un parloir et remis à la Tench pour neuf reluis, mais ni Snuffy ni Mac ne me conobraient, de sorte que j’ai été sapé à trois marques et malade à la motte. Pendant que j’y étais, j’ai vu le fourgue que nous avions refait, et il a tendu la pince de mon côté comme pour bonnir, “Je te refilerais une purge si je pouvais,” mais cela m’a fait rigoler. J’étais guéri depuis environ sept marques quand une sorgue, un de mes fanandes, qui était poivre, jacte quelque chose à un roussin qui ne l’ayant pas à la bonne, l’a sonné et moi j’ai sonné le roussin à mon tour. Tous deux alors nous lui avons travaillé le cadavre. Il a tiré son bâton, m’a sonné le citron et me l’a fendu. Alors deux ou trois roussins sont arrivés, nous ont emballés et nous avons été gerbés à six marques. De sorte que j’ai revu le fourgue au château.

On the Boxing-day after I came out I got stabbed in the chest by a pal of mine who had done a schooling. We was out with one another all the day getting drunk, so he took a liberty with me, and I landed him one on the conk (nose); so we had a fight, and he put the chive (knive) into me. This made me sober, so I asked him what made him such a coward. He said, “I meant to kill you; let me kiss my wife and child, and then smug me.” But I did not do that. This made me a little thoughtful of the sort of life I was carrying on. I thought, “What [li]if I should have been killed then!” But this, like other things, soon passed away.

Au Boxing-day après ma guérison, un de mes fanandes m’a refilé un coup de bince dans le haricot. Il avait été déjà enfouraillé au collège. Nous nous étions balladés tout le luisant en nous poivrottant, de sorte que m’ayant manqué de respect, je lui ai collé une châtaigne sur le morviau. Nous nous sommes empoignés et il a joué du surin. Cela m’a dégrisé et je lui ai demandé pourquoi il s’était montré aussi lâche. Il me bonnit, “Je voulais t’estourbir. Laisse-moi aller sucer la pomme à ma largue et mon môme et fais-moi emballer.” Mais je n’ai pas voulu. Cela m’a fait réfléchir un peu au genre de vie que je menais et je me dis, “J’aurais bien pu être refroidi.” Mais bientôt je n’y pensai plus.

After the place got well where I was chived, me and another screwed a place at Stoke Newington, and we got some squeeze (silk) dresses, and two sealskin jackets, and some other things. We tied them in a bundle, and got on a tram. It appears they knew my pal, and some reelers got up too. So when I piped them pipe the bundle, I put my dukes on the rails of the tram and dropped off, and guyed down a double before you could say Jack Robinson. It was a good job I did, or else I should have got lagged (sent to penal servitude), and my pal too, because I had the James (crowbar) and screws (skeleton keys) on me. My pal got a stretch and a half. A day or two after this I met the fence who I done; so he said to me, “We have met at last.” So I said, “Well, what of that?” So he said, “What did you want to do me for?” So I said, “You must remember you done me; and when I spoke to you about it you said, ‘Do anybody; mind they don’t do you.’” That shut him up.

Une fois guéri du coup de bince, nous avons refilé le luctrème d’une piole à Stoke Newington, et nous avons grinchi des robes de lyonnaise et deux jaquettes de peau de phoque et d’autre camelote. Nous en avons fait un pacsin et nous avons pris le tram. On conobrait mon fanande, paraît-il, et des rousses y montent avec nouzailles. Quand je vois qu’ils remouchent le pacsin, je mets mes agrafes sur le pieu d’appui du tram, je saute, je fais patatrot au coin de la rue et je cours encore. C’est bate pour moi d’avoir agi ainsi autrement j’aurais été gerbé à bachasse et mon fanande aussi parceque j’avais le Jacques et les caroubles sur mézigue. Mon fanande a été sapé à une longe et demie. Un reluis ou deux après, je me casse le mufle sur le fourgat que j’avais refait, et il me jacte, “Te voilà enfin!” Je lui réponds, “Eh bien, et puis après?” “Pourquoi m’as-tu refait?” dit-il. Et je lui réponds, “Rappelle-toi que tu as refait mon gniasse, et quand je t’en ai jacté tu m’as répondu, ‘Mène en bateau qui tu voudras, mais ne te laisse pas enfoncer.’” Et cela a coupé la chique à sézigue.

One day I went to Lewisham and touched for a lot of wedge. I tore up my madam (handkerchief) and tied the wedge in small packets and put them into my pockets. At Bishopsgate Street I left my kipsy at a barber’s shop, where I always [lii]left it when not in use. I was going through Shoreditch, when a reeler from Hackney, who knew me well, came up and said, “I am going to run the rule over (search) you.” You could have knocked me down with a feather, me knowing what I had about me. Then he said, “It’s only my joke; are you going to treat me?” So I said “Yes,” and began to be very saucy, saying to him, “What catch would it be if you was to turn me over?” So I took him into a pub which had a back way out, and called for a pint of stout, and told the reeler to wait a minute. He did not know that there was an entrance at the back; so I guyed up to Hoxton to the mob and told them all about it. Then I went and done the wedge for five-and-twenty quid.

Un jour je vais à Lewisham et je grinchis un lot de blanquette. Je déchire mon blavin, je fais des petits pacsins de la blanquette et je les plaque dans mes profondes. A Bishopsgate St. je dépose mon panier dans la boutogue d’un merlan où je le laissais toujours quand je ne m’en servais pas. Je traversais Shoreditch, quand un rousse de Hackney, qui me conobrait bien, aboule et jacte, “Je vais te rapioter.” J’avais la frousse en pensant à ce que j’avais sur mon gniasse. Alors il me bonnit, “C’est une batterie douce; est-ce que tu ne vas pas me rincer les crochets?” Je lui jacte, “Gy,” et je me mets à blaguer avec lui, lui disant, “Quelle bonne prise, si vous me fouilliez?” Je l’emmène alors dans un cabermon qui avait une sortie de derrière, je demande une pinte de stout, et je dis au rousse d’attendre une broquille. Il ne conobrait pas la lourde de derrière; alors je me la tire jusqu’à Hoxton et j’apprends aux fanandes ce qui s’était passé. Puis je fourgue la blanquette pour vingt-cinq livres.

One or two days after this I met the reeler at Hackney, and he said, “What made you guy?” So I said that I did not want my pals to see me with him. So he said it was all right. Some of the mob knew him and had greased his duke.

Un ou deux reluis après, je tombe en frime avec la riflette à Hackney, et il me jacte, “Pourquoi t’es-tu débiné?” Et je lui réponds que je ne voulais pas que mes fanandes me remouchent en sa compagnie. Quelques pègres de la gance le conobraient et lui avaient foncé du michon.

What I am about to relate now took place within the last four or five moon before I fell for this stretch and a half. One day I went to Surbiton. I see a reeler giving me a roasting (watching me), so I began to count my pieces for a jolly (pretence), but he still followed me, so at last I rang a bell, and waited till the slavey came, and the reeler waited till I came out, and then said, “What are you hawking of?” So I said, “I am not hawking anything; [liii]I am buying bottles.” So he said, “I thought you were hawking without a licence.” As soon as he got round a double, I guyed away to Malden and touched for two wedge teapots, and took the rattler to Waterloo.

Ce que je vais raconter maintenant a eu lieu dans le courant des quatre ou cinq marques avant mon sapement à une longe et demie. Un reluis je vais à Surbiton. Je remouche une riflette qui me poireautait. Je fais la frime de compter mon carle, mais il me prend en filature. A la fin je tire une retentissante, et j’attends que la larbine aboule, le rousse attend que je décarre et me jacte, “Qu’est-ce que vous vendez donc?” Et je réponds, “Je ne vends rien; j’achète des bouteilles.” Il me dit alors, “Je croyais que vous faisiez le commerce sans patente.” Aussitôt qu’il a tourné le coin, je vais à Malden et je fais deux théières de plâtre, puis j’acquige le roulant pour Waterloo.

One day I took the rattler from Broad Street to Acton. I did not touch there, but worked my way to Shepherd’s Bush; but when I got there I found it so hot (dangerous), because there had been so many tykes (dogs) poisoned, that there was a reeler at almost every double, and bills posted up about it. So I went to the Uxbridge Road Station, and while I was waiting for the rattler I took a religious tract, and on it was written, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” So I thought to myself, What good has the money done me what I have had? So instead of getting out at Brondesbury, I rode on to Broad Street, and paid the difference, and went home, and did not go out for about a week.

Un jour j’acquige le roulant de Broad Street à Acton. Lago, je ne fais rien, et je continue ma route jusqu’à Shepherd’s Bush; mais quand j’y dévale je trouve qu’il y avait tant de pet à cause de tous les tambours qu’on avait empoisonnés, qu’on avait mis une riflette presque à chaque coin de rue et des babilles partout. Alors je vais à la station du roulant de Uxbridge Road, et pendant que je poireautais pour le roulant je prends une brochure religieuse et il y avait capi dessus, “A quoi bon acquérir le monde entier si l’on doit perdre son âme?” Et je me jacte, A quoi m’a servi le carme que j’ai affuré? Et alors au lieu de descendre à Brondesbury, je continue jusqu’à Broad Street et j’aboule la différence. Je rapplique à la caginotte d’où je ne décarre pas d’un quart de marque.

The Sunday following when I went to Uxbridge Road, I went down a lane called Mount Pleasant, at Clapton; it was about six o’clock. Down at the bottom of the lane you could get a fine view of Walthamstow; so while I was leaning against the rails I felt very miserable. I was thinking about when I was at Feltham. I thought I had threw away the only chance I had of doing [liv]better; and as I stood thinking, the bells of St. Matthew’s Church began to play a hymn-tune I had heard at Feltham. This brought tears to my eyes: this was the first time in my life that I thought what a wretch I was. I was going home very downcast, when I met some pals, who said, “Why, what is the matter? you look miserable.” So I said, “I don’t feel very well.” So they said, “Are you coming to have something to drink?—that will liven you up.” So I went in with them, and began to drink very hard to drown my thoughts.

Le dimanche d’après, en allant à Uxbridge Road, je dégringole une ruelle appellée Mount Pleasant, à Clapton; il était à peu près six plombes. Au fond de la ruelle on avait une vue magnifique de Walthamstow; donc pendant que je m’appuyais contre la palissade j’avais des papillons noirs dans la sorbonne. Je pensais au temps où j’étais à Feltham. Je voyais que j’avais perdu la seule occasion que j’avais de rengracier et étant là à réfléchir, les retentissantes de la rampante de Saint-Matthew se mirent à jouer un hymne que j’avais entendu à Feltham. Ceci me fit baver des clignots: pour la première fois de ma vie je jacte à mézigue, Quel misérable tu es! Je rappliquais à la niche, en paumant mes plumes, quand je tombe en frime de deux fanandes qui bonnissent, “Eh bien, qu’est-ce qu’il y a; tu as une sale bobinette? “Alors je jacte, “Je suis tocquard.” “Alors viens avec nous te rincer la dalle, ça te ragaillardira.” Je suis allé avec eux, et j’ai commencé à picter d’attaque pour noyer le chagrin.

Monday morning I felt just the same as I always did; I felt ready for the old game again. So I went to Hoxton, and some of the mob said to me, “Why, where have you been the last week or so—we thought you had fell?” So I told them I had been ill.

Le lundi matin d’après, je me suis senti comme d’habitongue et prêt à rappliquer au turbin. Je suis allé à Hoxton, et quelques-uns de la gance m’ont fait la jactance, “Eh bien, où as-tu été pendant tous ces reluis—nous pensions que tu t’étais fait emballer?” Je leur réponds que j’avais été tocquard.

I went out the next day to Maidenhead, and touched for some wedge and a poge (purse), with over five quid in it.

Le lendemain je suis allé à Maidenhead. J’ai fait de la blanquette et une filoche qui contenait plus de cinq sigues.

A little while after this I went with two pals to the Palace at Muswell Hill; the races were on. So when we got there, there was some reelers there what knew me, and my pals said, “You had better get away from here; if we touch you will take your whack (share) just the same.” So I went and laid down on the grass. While laying there I piped a reeler whom I knew; he had a nark (a [lv]policeman’s spy) with him. So I went and looked about for my two pals and told them to look out for S. and his nark. About an hour after this they came to me and woke me up, and they said, “Come on, we have had a lucky touch for a half century in pap” (£50 in paper, i.e. notes). I thought they was only kidding (deceiving) at first, so they said, “Let us guy from here, and you will see if we are kidding to you.” When we got into the rattler they showed me the pap; yes, there it was, fifty quids in double finns (£10 notes). We did them for £9 10s. each to a fence.

Peu après, je suis allé avec deux fanandels à Muswell Hill où il y avait des courses. Quand nouzailles y avons dévalé, il y avait des roussins qui me conobraient et mes fanandes me jactent, “Tu ferais mieux de te cavaler; si nous rinçons, tu auras ton fade tout de même.” Alors j’allai me plaquer sur l’herbe. Pendant que j’y étais, je remouche un rousse que je conobrais. Il était accompagné d’une riflette. Je cherche alors mes deux fanandes et leur dis, “Acresto, attention à S. et à sa riflette!” Une plombe après, environ, ils aboulent vers mézigue, m’éveillent, et me jactent, “Aboule, nous avons barboté schpille, nous avons acquigé cinquante livres en faffes.” Je croyais qu’ils me collaient des vannes mais ils me jactent, “Dévalons d’icigo et tu verras si nous te gourrons.” Quand nous nous sommes plaqués dans le roulant vif ils m’ont montré les faffes; gy, il y avait bien cinquante sigues en faffes de dix livres. Nous les avons lavés pour £9 10s. à un fourgue.

I took the rattler one day to Reigate and worked my way to Red Hill. So I went into a place and see some clobber hanging up, so I thought to myself, I will have it and take the rattler home at once; it will pay all expense. So while I was looking about I piped a little peter (parcel). When I took it up it had an address on it, and the address was to the vicarage; so I came out and asked a boy who lived there, and he said “Yes,” but to make sure of it I went back again. This time I looked to the clobber more closely, and I see it was the same as clergymen wear, so I left it where it was. I always made it a rule never to rob a clergyman’s house if I knew one to live there. I could have robbed several in my time, but I would not. So I took the rattler to Croydon and touched for some wedge, and come home. I used to go to Henley most every year when the rowing matches [lvi]was on which used to represent Oxford and Cambridge, only it used to be boys instead of men. The day the Prince of Wales arrived at Portsmouth when he came home from India, me and two pals took the rattler from Waterloo at about half-past six in the morning. When we got to Portsmouth we found it was very hot, there was on every corner of a street bills stuck up, “Beware of pickpockets, male and female,” and on the tramcars as well. So one of my pals said, “There is a reeler over there who knows me, we had better split out” (separate). Me and the other one went by ourselves; he was very tricky (clever) at getting a poge or a toy, but he would not touch toys because we was afraid of being turned over (searched). We done very well at poges; we found after we knocked off we had between sixty or seventy quid to cut up (share), but our other pal had fell, and was kept at the station until the last rattler went to London, and then they sent him home by it. One day after this I asked a screwsman if he would lend me some screws, because I had a place cut and dried. But he said, “If I lend you them I shall want to stand in” (have a share); but I said, “I can’t stand you at that; I will grease your duke, if you like.” But he said, “That would not do;” so I said, “We will work together then;” and he said, “Yes.” So we went and done the place for fifty-five quid. So I worked with him until I fell for this stretch and a half. [lvii]He was very tricky at making twirls, and used to supply them all with tools. Me and the screwsman went to Gravesend and I found a dead ’un (uninhabited house), and we both went and turned it over and got things out of it which fetched us forty-three quid. We went one day to Erith; I went in a place, and when I opened the door there was a great tyke (dog), laying in front of the door, so I pulled out a piece of pudding (liver prepared to silence dogs) and threw it to him, but he did not move. So I threw a piece more, and it did not take any notice; so I got close up to it, and found it was a dead dog, being stuffed, so I done the place for some wedge and three overcoats; one I put on, and the other two in my kipsy. We went to Harpenden Races to see if we could find some dead ’uns; we went on the course. While we was there we saw a scuff, it was a flat that had been welshed, so my pal said, “Pipe his spark prop” (diamond pin). So my pal said, “Front me (cover me), and I will do him for it.” So he pulled out his madam and done him for it. After we left the course, we found a dead ’un and got a peter (cashbox) with very near a century of quids in it. Then I carried on a nice game, what with the trips and the drink I very near went balmy (mad). It is no use of me telling you every place I done, or else you will think I am telling you the same things over again.

Je prends un jorne le roulant pour Reigate et je trimarde jusqu’à Red Hill. Puis j’embarde en une piole et je remouche des harnais suspendus. Je me jacte, je vais les pégrer et acquiger aussitôt le roulant; cela couvrira toutes mes dépenses. Alors en gaffinant par ci par là je remouche un petit pacsin. Je mets la pogne dessus et je reluque une adresse. Celle du curé. Alors je décarre et je demande à un gosse si ce n’est pas un ratichon qui demeure lago? “gy,” qu’il dit. Mais pour qu’il n’y ait pas d’erreur, je retourne. Cette fois, je gaffine de plus près le harnais, je vois que c’était celui d’un prêtre, et alors je l’ai laissé où il était. J’ai toujours eu soin de ne jamais barboter une cambriolle de prêtre quand je savais que c’en était une. J’aurais pu en barboter mais je n’ai pas voulu. Alors j’ai pris le roulant vif pour Croydon, j’ai effarouché de la blanquette et rappliqué à la kasbah. J’allais à Henley presque chaque berge pendant les régattes qui étaient comme celles entre Oxford et Cambridge, seulement c’était des gosses au lieu de gonces. Le reluis où le linspré de Galles a dévalé à Portsmouth quand il a renquillé des Indes, mézigue et deux fanandes, nous avons acquigé le roulant vif vers six plombes et trente broquilles au matois. Quand nous avons dévalé à Portsmouth nous avons trouvé qu’il faisait très chaud; il y avait aux coins des trimes des babilles, “Prenez garde aux filous, mâles et femelles,” et aussi sur les trains de vache. De sorte qu’un de mes fanandes jacte, “Il y a un roussin labago qui conobre mon gniasse, et il vaut mieux nous séparer.” Mézigue et l’autre nous nous débinons de notre côté; il n’était pas très mariolle pour faire une filoche ou un bogue, mais il ne voulait pas grinchir de bogues parcequ’il avait le taf d’être rapioté. Nous avons eu de la bate pour les morningues; nous avons trouvé, après avoir turbiné, que nous avions de soixante à soixante-dix sigues à fader, mais notre autre fanande avait été pigé et gardé au bloc jusqu’au dernier roulant vif pour Londres, puis renvoyé chez lui par ce roulant. Un reluis après ce flanche, je demande à un caroubleur s’il voulait me prêter des caroubles parceque j’avais un poupard nourri. Mais il bonnit, “Si je les prête, je veux mon fade.” Que je réponds, “Ça fait nib dans mes blots, mais je te carmerai tout de même, si tu l’as à la bonne.” Mais qu’il bonnit, “Ça fait nib dans mes blots aussi.” Alors je jacte, “Nous turbinerons ensemble,” et il me rentassegy.” Alors nous avons rincé la piole et acquigé cinquante-cinq sigues. J’ai turbiné ensuite avec lui puis j’ai été pigé et sapé à ces dix-huit marques. Il était très mariolle pour maquiller les caroubles et il fournissait des alènes à toute la gance. Mézigue et le caroubleur nous sommes allés à Gravesend ou nous avons trouvé une piole vide. Nous avons embardé dedans et l’avons rincée ce qui nous a affuré quarante-trois sigues. Nous sommes allés un reluis à Erith. J’ai enquillé dans une piole, et quand j’ai débâclé la lourde il y avait un gros tambour couché devant, de sorte que j’ai tiré de ma profonde un morceau de bidoche et je la lui ai balancée, mais il n’a pas bougé. Je lui en ai jeté un autre morceau mais il est resté tranquille. Alors je m’approche et je vois que c’était un cab empaillé. J’ai rincé la piole pour la blanquette et trois temples, j’en ai peaussé un et plaqué les deux autres dans mon panier. Nous sommes allés ensuite aux courses de Harpenden pourvoir si nous pouvions trouver des pioles sans lonsgué; nous allons sur la piste. Pendant que nous y sommes, nous remouchons une tigne, c’était un gonsse qui venait d’être refait, alors mon fanande me jacte, “Gaffine son épingle. Couvre-moi, et je vais la lui faire.” Alors il tire son blavin et la lui poisse. Après avoir quitté la piste, nous trouvons une piole vide et nous faisons un enfant qui contenait une centaine de sigues. A partir de ce jour je me suis mis à la rigolade et à force d’aller avec les chamègues et de pitancher, je suis presque devenu louffoque. Il est inutile de vous raconter toutes les pioles que j’ai rincées, ce serait toujours la même histoire.


I will now tell you what happened the day before I fell for this stretch and a half. Me and the screwsman went to Charlton. From there we worked our way to Blackheath. I went in a place and touched for some wedge which we done for three pounds ten. I went home and wrung myself (changed clothes), and met some of the mob and got very near drunk. Next morning I got up about seven, and went home to change my clobber and put on the old clobber to work with the kipsy. When I got home my mother asked me if I was not a going to stop to have some breakfast? So I said, “No, I was in a hurry.” I had promised to meet the screwsman and did not want to stick him up. We went to Willesden and found a dead ’un, so I came out and asked my pal to lend me the James and some twirls, and I went and turned it over. I could not find any wedge. I found a poge with nineteen shillings in it. I turned everything over, but could not find anything worth having, so I came out and gave the tools to my pal and told him. So he said, “Wasn’t there any clobber?” So I said, “Yes, there’s a cartload.” So he said, “Go and get a kipsy full of it, and we will guy home.” So I went back, and as I was going down the garden, the gardener it appears had been [lix]put there to watch the house, so he said, “What do you want here?” So I said, “Where do you speak to the servants?” So he said, “There is not anyone at home, they are all out.” So he said, “What do you want with them?” So I said, “Do you know if they have any bottles to sell, because the servant told me to call another day?” So he said, “I do not know, you had better call another time.” So I said, “All right, and good day to him.” I had hardly got outside when he came rushing out like a man balmy, and said to me, “You must come back with me.” So I said, “All right. What is the matter?” So when we got to the door he said, “How did you open this door?” So I said, “My good fellow, you are mad! how could I open it?” So he said, “It was not open half-an-hour ago because I tried it.” So I said, “Is that any reason why I should have opened it?” So he said, “At any rate you will have to come to the station with me.”

Je vous raconterai maintenant ce qui est arrivé juste la veille du reluis où j’ai été enfouraillé pour dix-huit marques. Mézigue et le caroubleur nous allons à Charlton. De lago nous trimardons jusqu’à Blackheath. J’enquille en une piole et j’effarouche de la blanquette que nous fourguons pour trois livres dix. Je rapplique à la niche et je change de fringues, je rencontre quelques fanandes de la gance et je me poivrotte presque. Le lendemain matin je me lève vers sept plombes pour changer de fringues et je me peausse du vieux harnais pour aller turbiner avec le panier. Quand je rapplique à la niche ma dabuche me jacte de rester pour la refaite du matois. Je bonnis, “Non, j’ai à me patiner.” J’avais promis de rencontrer le grinchisseur au fric-frac et je ne voulais pas flancher. Nous sommes allés à Willesden et j’ai trouvé une piole sans personne, de sorte que j’en suis décarré et j’ai demandé à mon fanandel de me prêter le Jacques et des caroubles, j’ai renquillé et j’ai cherché la camelote. Je n’ai pas trouvé de blanquette. J’ai trouvé une filoche avec dix-neuf shillings. J’ai tout retourné mais je n’ai trouvé rien de schpille de sorte que j’ai décarré. J’ai refilé les alènes à mon fanandel et je lui ai dit le flanche. Alors, qu’il jacte, “N’y avait-il pas de fringues?” Et je lui réponds, “Gy, il y en a une charretée.” Alors, qu’il dit, “Acquiges-en plein un panier et débinons-nous.” Je retourne, et comme je dévalais le long du jaffier, l’arroseur de verdouze qui paraît-il, avait été plaqué lago pour faire le gaffe, me bonnit, “Qu’est-ce que tu maquilles icigo?” Je réponds, “Où peut-on parler aux larbins?” Et il dit, “Il n’y a personne à la maison, ils sont tous sortis. Que leur voulez-vous?” et je lui réponds, “Savez-vous s’ils ont des bouteilles à vendre, parceque la servante m’a dit de revenir?” “Je ne sais pas, revenez un autre jour.” “C’est bien,” que je lui dis; “je vous souhaite le bonjour.” J’avais à peine décarré qu’il aboule comme un louffoque et me jacte, “Vous allez revenir avec moi.” Je lui dis, “C’est bien, mon brave; qu’est-ce qu’il y a?” Et quand nous aboulons juxte la lourde il jacte, “Comment avez-vous fait pour ouvrir cette porte?” “Mon brave homme,” lui dis-je, “vous êtes fou, comment aurais-je fait?” Alors il jacte, “Elle n’était pas ouverte il y a une demi-heure, car je l’ai essayée pour voir.” Alors je bonnis, “Est-ce une raison pour que je l’aie ouverte?” Et il jacte, “Dans tous les cas, vous allez m’accompagner au poste de police.”

The station was not a stone’s throw from the place, so he caught hold of me, so I gave a twist round and brought the kipsy in his face, and gave him a push and guyed. He followed, giving me hot beef (calling “Stop thief”). My pal came along, and I said to him, [lx]“Make this man leave me alone, he is knocking me about,” and I put a half-James (half-sovereign) in his hand, and said, “Guy.” As I was running round a corner there was a reeler talking to a postman, and I rushed by him, and a little while after the gardener came up and told him all about it. So he set after me and the postman too, all the three giving me hot beef. This set other people after me, and I got run out. So I got run in, and was tried at Marylebone and remanded for a week, and then fullied (fully committed for trial), and got this stretch and a half. Marylebone is the court I got my schooling from.—From Macmillan’s Magazine, October, 1879.

Le bloc était à deux pas, alors il me met la louche au colas et je pirouette en lui refilant un coup de panier sur le citron; puis je lui refile une pousse et je fais patatrot. Il me suit en gueulant à la chienlit. Mon fanande me suivait et je lui bonnis, “Défends-moi contre ce pante, il me passe à travers;” je refile à son gniasse un demi-souverain dans sa louche et je lui dis, “Crompe! crompe!” Comme je tournais le coin, il y avait un flique qui jactait avec un facteur, je le dépasse en faisant la paire, et peu après l’arroseur de verdouze aboule et lui débine le truc. Alors, il me cavale avec le facteur, tous les trois gueulant à la chienlit. De cette façon, d’autres pantes se mettent à me refiler et je suis pigé. On m’emballe, on me met sur la planche au pain à Marylebone et on me remet à huitaine, alors gerbé à une longe et six marques. Marylebone est le carré où j’ai été gerbé au collège.



Abadie, abadis, f. (thieves’), crowd, “push.” According to Michel this word is derived from the Italian abbadia, abbey.

Pastiquant sur la placarde, j’ai rembroqué un abadis du raboin.—Vidocq. (When crossing the public square I saw a devil of a crowd.)

Abajoues, f. pl. (popular), face, “chops.” Properly chaps.

Abalobé (popular), astounded, abashed, or “flabbergasted.”

Abasourdir (thieves’), to kill. Properly to astound.

Abati (obsolete), killed (Michel).

On a trouvé un homme horriblement mutilé... on avoit attaché sur lui une carte portant ci-gît l’Abaty.—Journal historique et anecdotique du règne de Louis XV.

Abatis, abattis, m. pl. (popular), hands and feet. Proper sense, giblets.

A bas les pattes! Les as-tu propres, seulement, tes abattis, pour lacer ce corsage rose?—E. Villars.

Avoir les —— canailles, to have coarse, plebeian hands and feet, or “beetle crushers and mutton fists.” Numérote tes ——, I’ll break every bone in your body.

Abat-jour, m. (popular), peak of a cap; —— des quinquets, eyelid.

Abat-reluit (thieves’), shade for the eyes.

Abattage, m. (popular), much work done; work quickly done; severe scolding, or “bully-ragging;” action of throwing down one’s cards at baccarat when eight or nine are scored. Vente à l’——, sale of wares spread out on the pavement.

Abattoir, m. (thieves’), cell at the prison of La Roquette occupied by prisoners under sentence of death; corresponds to the Newgate “salt-box.” It has also the meaning of gaming-house, or “punting-shop.” Properly a slaughter-house.

Abattre (familiar), en ——, to do much work, or to “sweat.”

Abbaye, f. (thieves’), kiln in which thieves and vagrants seek a refuge at night; —— ruffante, warm kiln; —— de Monte-à-regret, the scaffold.

Mon père a épousé la veuve, moi je me retire à l’Abbaye de Monte-à-regret.—Victor Hugo, Le dernier Jour d’un Condamné.

Termed formerly “l’abbaye de Monte-à-rebours;” (popular) —— de Saint-Pierre, the scaffold, a play on the words “cinq-pierres,” the guillotine being erected on five flagstones in front of La Roquette; —— de sots bougres (obsolete), a prison; —— des s’offre à tous, house of ill-fame, or “nanny-shop.”

Abbesse, f. (popular), mistress of a house of ill-fame, “abbess.”

Abcès, m. (popular), the possessor of a bloated face.


Abélardiser, to mutilate a man as Chanoine Fulbert mutilated Abélard, the lover of his daughter or niece Héloïse. The operation is termed by horse-trainers “adding one to the list.”

Abéquer (popular), to feed. Literally to give a billful.

Abéqueuse, f. (popular), wet nurse; landlady of an hotel.

Abloquer, abloquir (thieves’), to buy; to acquire.

Abonné (familiar), être —— au guignon, to experience a run of ill-luck. Literally to be a subscriber to ill-luck.

Aborgner (popular), s’——, to scrutinize. Literally to make oneself blind of one eye by closing or “cocking” it.

Aboté (popular), clumsily adjusted or fitted, “wobbly.”

Aboulage, acré, m. (popular), plenty.

Aboulée (popular), in childbed, “in the straw.”

Aboulement, m. (popular), accouchement.

Abouler (popular), to be in childbed, “to be in the straw;” to give, to hand over, to “dub.”

Pègres et barbots aboulez des pépettes...
Aboulez tous des ronds ou des liquettes
Des vieux grimpants, bricheton ou arlequins.
Le Cri du Peuple, Feb., 1886.

To come, “to crop up.”

Et si tézig tient à sa boule,
Fonce ta largue, et qu’elle aboule
Sans limace nous cambrouser.
Richepin, La Chanson des Gueux.

Abour, m. (thieves’), sieve.

Aboyeur (popular), crier or salesman at public or private sales; man employed at the doors of puffing shops or theatrical booths to entice people in, “barker;” man who is constantly clamouring in words or writing against public men; man in a prison whose function it is to call prisoners.

Abracadabrant, adj. (familiar), marvellous, or “stunning.” From Abracadabra, a magic word used as a spell in the Middle Ages.

Abraqué, adj. (sailors’), tied; spliced.

Abreuvoir, m. (popular), drinking-shop, or “lush-crib;” —— à mouches, bleeding wound.

Abruti, m., a plodding student at the Ecole Polytechnique, termed a “swat” at the R. M. Academy; stolid and stupid man; —— de Chaillot, blockhead, or “cabbage-head.” Chaillot, in the suburbs of Paris, has repeatedly been made the butt for various uncomplimentary hits.

Abrutir (familiar), s’——, to plod at any kind of work. Literally to make oneself silly.

Abs, abbreviation of absinthe.

Absinthage, m. (familiar), the drinking or mixing of absinthe.

Absinthe, f. (familiar), faire son ——, to mix absinthe with water. Absinthe à la hussarde is prepared by slowly pouring in the water; “l’amazoneis mixed in like manner, but with an adjunction of gum; “la panachéeis absinthe with a dash of gum or anisette; “la puréeis prepared by quickly pouring in the water. Faire son —— en parlant, to spit when talking. Heure de l’——, the hour when that beverage is discussed in the cafés, generally from four to six p.m. Avaler son ——, see Avaler.

Absinthé, adj. (familiar), intoxicated on absinthe.


Absinther (familiar), s’——, to drink absinthe; to be a confirmed tippler of absinthe.

Absintheur, m. (familiar), a drinker of absinthe; one who makes it a practice of getting drunk on absinthe.

Absinthier, or absintheur, m., retailer of absinthe.

Absinthisme, m. (familiar), state of body and mind resulting from excessive drinking of absinthe.

Absorber (familiar), to eat and drink a great deal, to “guzzle.”

Absorption, f., annual ceremony at the Ecole Polytechnique, at the close of which the seniors, or “anciens,” are entertained by the newly-joined, termedmelons” (“snookers” at the Royal Military Academy).

Acabit, m. (popular), the person; the body; health; temper. Etre de bon ——, to enjoy sound health. Un étrange ——, an odd humour, or “strange kidney.”

Acacias, m., faire ses ——, to walk or drive, according to the custom of fashionable Parisians, in the “Allée des Acacias” from the Porte-Maillot to La Concorde.

Acalifourchonner (popular), s’——, to get astride anything.

Accaparer (familiar), quelqu’un ——, to monopolize a person.

Accent (thieves’), signal given by spitting.

Accentuer (popular), ses gestes ——, to give a box on the ear; in other terms, “to warm the wax of one’s ear;” to give a blow, or “bang.”

Accessoires, m. pl. (theatrical), stage properties, or “props.” As a qualificative it is used disparagingly, thus, Viande d’——, vin d’——, are meat and wine of bad quality.

Accoerer (thieves’), to arrange.

Accolade (popular), smart box on the ear, “buckhorse.”

Accommoder (familiar), quelqu’un à la sauce piquante, to beat severely, “to double up;” to make one smart under irony or reproaches. Might be rendered by, to sit upon one with a vengeance; —— au beurre noir, to beat black and blue.

Accordéon, m. (popular), opera-hat.

Accoufler (popular), s’——, to squat. From the word couffles, cotton bales, which may be conveniently used as seats.

Accroche-cœurs (familiar). Properly small curl twisted on the temple, or “kiss-curl.” Cads apply that name to short, crooked whiskers.

Accrocher (popular), un paletot, to tell a falsehood, or “swack up;” —— un soldat, to confine a soldier to barracks, “to roost.” S’——, to come to blows, “to come to loggerheads.” (Familiar) Accrocher, to pawn, “to pop, to lumber, to blue.”

Etes-vous entré quelquefois dans un de ces nombreux bureaux de prêt qu’on désigne aussi sous le nom de ma tante? Non. Tant mieux pour vous. Cela prouve que vous n’avez jamais eu besoin d’y accrocher vos bibelots et que votre montre n’a jamais retardé de cinquante francs.—Frébault, La Vie de Paris.

Accrouer. See Accoufler.

A Chaillot! (popular), an energetic invitation to make oneself scarce; an expression of strong disapproval coupled with a desire to see one turned out of doors.

Achar (popular), d’——, abbreviation of acharnement, with steadiness of purpose, in an unrelenting manner.


Acheter (popular), quelqu’un ——, to turn one into ridicule, to make a fool of one.

Achetoir, m., achetoires, f. pl. (popular), money, “loaver.”

Acœurer (popular), to do anything with a will, to “wire in.”

Acoquiner (popular), s’——, used disparagingly, to keep company, to live with one.

Acré (thieves’), strong, “spry,” violent; silence! “mum’s the word!” be careful! “shoe leather!”

Acrée, acrie, m. (thieves’), mistrust; —— donc! hold your tongue! “mum your dubber!” be cautious. From acrimonie.

Acteur-guitare (theatrical and journalistic), actor who has only one string to his bow; actor who elicits applause in lachrymose scenes only.

Actionnaire, m., (literary), credulous man easily deceived. Proper sense, shareholder.

Adjectiver (popular), to abuse, to “slang.”

Adjoint (thieves’), executioner’s assistant.

Adjudant, m. (military), tremper un ——, to dip a piece of bread in the first, and consequently the more savoury broth yielded by the “pot au feu,” a practice indulged in by cooks.

Adjuger (gamesters’), une banque à un opérateur, to cheat, to “bite,” at cards.

Adroit, adj. (popular), du coude, fond of the bottle, or skilful in “crooking the elbow.”

Aff, affe, f. (popular), eau d’——, brandy, or “French cream.” See Tord-boyaux.

La v’là l’enflée, c’est de l’eau d’affe (eau-de-vie), elle est toute mouchique celle-là.—Vidocq.

Affaire, f. (thieves’), projected crime; projected theft or swindle, “plant;” —— juteuse, profitable transaction; —— mûre, preconcerted crime or theft about to be committed. (Familiar) Avoir son ——, to have received a “settler;” to be completely drunk, or “hoodman;” to have received a mortal wound, in other words, “to have one’s goose cooked.” (Popular) Avoir une —— cachée sous la peau, to be pregnant, or “lumpy.” Faire l’—— à quelqu’un, to kill, “to do for one.”

Affaler (popular), s’——, to fall, “to come a cropper.”

T’es rien poivre, tu ne tiens plus sur tes fumerons.... tu vas t’affaler.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Affe. See Aff.

Affistoler (familiar), to arrange, to dress. Mal affistolé, badly done, badly dressed.

Affluer (thieves’), to deceive, to “cram;” to cheat, to “stick;” to swindle, to “fox.” From à flouer.

Affourcher (sailors’), sur ses ancres, to retire from the service. Properly to moor a ship each way.

Affranchi (thieves’), convict who has “done his time;” one who has ceased to be honest; one who has been induced to be an accomplice in a crime.

Affranchir (gamesters’), to save a certain card at the cost of another; to initiate one into the tactics of card-sharpers; (thieves’) to corrupt; to teach one dishonest practices; —— un sinve avec de l’auber, to corrupt a man by dint of money; —— un sinve pour grinchir, to put an honest man up to thieving.

Affres, f. pl. (popular), upbraiding, “blowing up.” Proper sense, agonies.


Affur, affure, m. (thieves), proceeds, profits. Avoir de l’——, to have money.

Quand je vois mon affure
Je suis toujours paré,
Du plus grand cœur du monde
Je vais à la profonde
Pour vous donner du frais.

Affurage, m. (thieves’), proceeds of theft, “regulars,” or “swag.”

Affurer, affûter (thieves’), to deceive; to make profits; to procure; —— de l’auber, to make money.

En goupinant comme ça on n’affure pas d’auber.—Vidocq.

Affût (thieves’ and popular), être d’——, to be able, cunning, or “a downy cove;” to be wide awake, or “to be one who knows what’s o’clock.” A l’——, on the watch.

Affûter (thieves’), to deceive, to snatch, “to click;” to whip up, “to nip;” to make unlawful profits; —— ses pincettes, to walk, to “pad the hoof;” to run, to “leg it.” Proper sense, to sharpen. S’—— le sifflet, to drink, to “whet one’s whistle.”

Agaceur (sporting), one who sets a thing going, “buttoner.”

Aganter (popular), to take, to catch, “to grab;” —— une claque, to receive a box on the ear, “to get one’s ear’s wax warmed.”

Agate, f. (thieves’), crockery.

Agater (popular), to be thrashed, “tanned;” to be caught, “nabbed.”

Agenouillée, f. (journalists’), prostitute whose spécialité is best described by the appellation itself.

Agobille (thieves’), implements, “jilts.”

Agonir (popular), to abuse vehemently, to “bully-rag,” or “to haul over the coals. “

Agout, m. (thieves’), drinking-water.

Agrafe, f. (popular), hand, “picker,” “dooks,” or “dukes.”

Agrafer (thieves’ and cads’), to seize, to “grab;” to arrest, “to pull up,” or “to smug.”

Agrément, m. (theatrical), avoir de l’——, to obtain applause. (Popular) Se pousser de l’——, to amuse oneself.

Agripper (popular), to seize secretly, to steal quickly, to “nip.” S’——, to come to blows, “to slip into one another.”

Aguicher (popular), to allure, decoy, “to button;” to quicken, to excite.

Il fallait lui faire comprendre qu’elle aguiche la soif du petit, en l’empêchant de boire.—Richepin, La Glu.

Aguigner (popular), to teaze, “to badger.”

Ahuri, m. (popular), de Chaillot, block-head, “cabbage-head.” See Abruti.

Aide-cargot, canteen servant.

Aides. See Aller.

Aïe-aïe, m. (popular), omnibus.

Aiguille, f. (military), à tricoter les côtes, sword, “toasting-fork;” (thieves’) key, or “screw;” card made to protrude from a pack for cheating, “old gentleman.”

Aiguiller (card-sharpers’), la brème, to make a mark or notch on a card.

Aile, f., aileron, m. (popular), arm, or “bender.”

Aille, iergue, orgue, uche, suffixes used to disguise any word.

Aille (familiar), fallait pas qu’y ——, it is all his own fault, he has nobody to thank for it but himself.

Aimant, m. (popular), faire de l’——, to make a fussy show of affected friendliness through interested motives.


Aimer (popular), à crédit, to enjoy the gratuitous good graces of a kept woman. Aimer comme ses petits boyaux, to doat on one, “to love like the apple of one’s eye.”

Air, m. (popular), se donner de l’——, se pousser de l’——, jouer la fille de l’——, to run away, to “cut and run.” See Patatrot.

Airs, m. pl. (popular), être à plusieurs ——, to be a hypocrite, double-faced person, “mawworm.”

A la balade (popular), chanteurs ——, itinerant singers, “chaunters.”

A la barque, street cry of mussel costermongers.

A la bonne (popular), prendre quelquechose chose ——, to take anything good-humouredly. Avoir ——, to love, to like.

Je peste contre le quart d’œil de mon quartier qui ne m’a pas à la bonne.—Vidocq.

A la carre (thieves’), dégringoler ——, to steal from shops; kind of theft committed principally by women who pretend to be shopping; “shoplifting.”

A la clef (familiar), an expletive. Trop de zèle ——, too much zeal by half. From a musical term. The expression is used sometimes with no particular meaning, thus, Il y aura du champagne ——, is equivalent to, Il y aura du champagne.

A la corde (popular), logement ——, low lodging-house, where the lodgers sleep with their heads on a rope, which is let down early in the morning. In some of these the lodgers leave all their clothes with the keeper, to ensure against their being stolen.

A la coule (popular), être ——, to be conversant with.

S’il avait été au courant, à la coule, il aurait su que le premier truc du camelot, c’est de s’établir au cœur même de la foule.—Richepin.

Etre ——, to be happy; at one’s ease; comfortable. Je n’étais pas ——, I felt very uncomfortable.

A la flan, à la rencontre, or à la dure (thieves’), fabriquer un gas ——, to attack and rob a person at night, “to jump a cove.”

A la grive! (thieves’ and cads’), take care! “shoe leather!” Cribler ——, to call out “police!” to “give hot beef.”

Par contretemps ma largue,
Pour gonfler ses valades,
Encasque dans un rade,
Sert des sigues à foison;
On la crible à la grive,
Je m’la donne et m’esquive,
Elle est pommée maron.
Mémoires de Vidocq.

A la manque (thieves’), fafiots, or fafelards ——, forged bank notes, “queer soft.” Avoir du pognon, or de la galette ——, to be penniless. Etre ——, not to be trustworthy; to betray.

Pas un de nous ne sera pour le dab à la manque.—Balzac.

A la papa (popular), quietly, slowly.

A la petite bonne femme (popular), glisser ——, to slide squatting on one’s heels.

Alarmiste (thieves’), watch-dog, “tyke.”

A-la-six-quatre-deux (popular), in disorder, “all at sixes and sevens;” anyhow, “helter-skelter.”

A la sonde (cads’), être ——, to be cunning, wide awake, “fly.”

Va, la môm’, truque et n’fais pas four.
Sois rien mariolle et à la sonde!
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

A la tienne Etienne! (popular), your health!

A la va-te-faire-fiche, anyhow.

Un béret nature, campé par une main paysanne, à la va te-faire-fiche, sans arrière-pensée de pittoresque.—Richepin, Le Pavé.


Alènes, f. pl. (thieves’), tools, implements, “jilts.” Properly shoemakers’ awls.

Alentoir, m., for alentour (thieves’), neighbourhood, vicinity.

A l’esbrouffe (thieves’), faire un coup —— sur un pantre, to steal a pocket-book from a person who has been seen to enter a bank, or other financial establishment. The thief watches his opportunity in the neighbourhood of such establishments, and when operating keeps his hand concealed under an overcoat which he bears on his arm.

Aligner (freemasons’), to lay the cloth. S’——, in soldiers’ language, to fight a duel with swords. The expression is used also by civilians.

Alinéaliste, m. (literary), writer who is fond of short paragraphs.

Allemand, m. (popular), peigne d’——, the four fingers.

Aller (familiar), à Bougival, in literary men’s parlance, is to write a newspaper article of no interest for the general public; —— à la cour des aides is said of a married woman who has one or more lovers; —— au pot, to pick up dominoes from those which remain after the proper number has been distributed to the players; —— au safran, to spend freely one’s capital, an allusion to the colour of gold; —— en Belgique is said of a cashier who bolts with the cash-box, or of a financier who makes off with the money of his clients; —— se faire fiche, to go to the deuce; —— se faire foutre has the same meaning, but refers to a rather more forcible invitation yet; —— se faire lanlaire, to go to the deuce. Allez vous faire fiche, or foutre! go to the deuce, or “you be hanged!” Je lui ai dit d’—— se faire lanlaire, I sent him about his business. Aller son petit bonhomme de chemin, to do anything without any hurry, without heeding interruptions or hindrances. On avait beau lui crier d’arrêter, il allait toujours son petit bonhomme de chemin. (Familiar and popular) Y aller, to begin anything. Allons-y! let us begin! let us open the ball! now for business. Y aller de quelque chose, to contribute; to pay; to furnish. Y —— de son argent, to pay, “to stump up.” Y —— d’une, de deux, to pay for one or two bottles of liquor. Y —— de sa larme, to shed a tear, to show emotion. Y —— gaiment, to do anything willingly, briskly. Allons y gaiment! let us look alive! (Popular) Aller à la chasse avec un fusil de toile, to go a begging, “to cadge.” An allusion to a beggar’s canvas wallet. Compare this with the origin of the word “to beg,” which is derived from “bag;” —— à l’arche, to fetch money; —— à niort, to deny, a play on the words “Niort,” name of a town, and “nier,” to deny; —— à ses affaires, to ease oneself, “to go to Mrs. Jones’;” —— au persil is said of street-walkers who ply their trade. This expression may have its origin in the practice sometimes followed by this class of women of carrying a small basket as if going to the fruiterer’s; —— au trot is said of a prostitute walking the street in grand attire, or “full fig;” —— au vice, to make one’s resort of places where immorality is rife; —— voir défiler les dragons, to go without dinner. The English have the expressions, “to dine out,” used by the lower classes, and “to dine with Duke Humphrey,” by the middle and upper. According to the Slang Dictionary[8] the reason of the latter saying is as follows: “Some visitors were inspecting the abbey where the remains of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, lie, and one of them was unfortunately shut in, and remained there solus while his companions were feasting at a neighbouring hostelry. He was afterwards said to have dined with Duke Humphrey, and the saying eventually passed into a proverb.” Aller aux pruneaux is said of the victim of a practical joke played in hospitals at the expense of a new patient, who, being sent at the conclusion of a meal to request another patient to furnish him with the customary dessert, gets bolstered for his pains; —— où le roi va à pied, to go to the latrines, or “chapel of ease;” (printers’) —— en galilée, or —— en germanie (a play on the words “Je remanie,” I overrun), to do some overrunning in a piece of composition; (soldiers’) —— à l’astic, to clean one’s equipment; (sporting) —— pour l’argent, to back one’s own horse; (musicians’) —— au carreau, to seek an engagement. An allusion to “la Rue du Petit-Carreau,” a meeting-place for musicians of the lowest class, and musical conductors. (Thieves’) Aller à comberge, to go to confession with a priest; —— à la retape, to waylay in order to murder; —— chez Fualdès, to share the booty, “to nap the regulars.” Fualdès was a rich banker, who was murdered in circumstances of peculiar atrocity.

Allez donc (familiar), et ——, a kind of flourish at the end of a sentence to emphasize an assertion. Allez donc vous laver (popular), be off, go to “pot;” —— vous asseoir, “shut up!”

Alliances, f. pl. (thieves’), handcuffs, “bracelets.” Properly wedding-rings.

Allonger (familiar), to pay, to “fork out;” —— les radis, to pay, “to shell out;” (military) —— la ficelle or la courroie, to make an addition to a penalty. S’——, to fall, to “come down a cropper.”

Allume, m., confederate who makes sham bids at auctions, a “button.”

Allumé (thieves’), stared at.

Sur la placarde de Vergne
Il nous faudrait gambiller,
Allumés de toutes ces largues
Et du trèpe rassemblé.
Mémoires de Vidocq.

Allumer (thieves’), to look, “to stag,” to see, or “to pipe;” to keep a sharp look-out, to watch, “to nark.”

Si le Squelette avait eu tantôt une largue comme moi pour allumer, il n’aurait pas été mouché le surin dans l’avaloir du grinche.—E. Sue, Mystères de Paris.

Allumer le miston, to scan one’s features; —— ses clairs, to look attentively, “to stag;” (prostitutes’) —— son pétrole, son gaz, to get highly excited. (Theatrical) Allumer, to awake interest or enthusiasm among an audience; (popular) to allure purchasers at fair stalls, or the public at theatrical booths or “gaffs” by glowing accounts. In coachmens’ parlance, to whip, “to flush.” (Familiar) S’——, to be slightly intoxicated, “fresh;” excited by women’s allurements; brought to the proper pitch of interest by card-sharpers or salesmen.

Un autre compère gagne encore un coup de dix francs cette fois. La galerie s’allume de plus en plus.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Allumette, f. (popular), avoir son ——, to be tipsy, “screwed.” The successive stages of this degree of intoxication are expressed by the [9]qualifying terms, “ronde,” “de marchand de vin,” “de campagne.”

Allumettes, f. pl. (popular), arms, “benders.”

Allumeur, m., confederate at auction rooms (see Allume); thief who gets workmen into a state of intoxication on pay day, after which they are seen home, and robbed of their earnings by his confederates, the “meneuses” and “travailleurs,” or “bug hunters;” gambling cheat who plays as if he were one of the general public, and who otherwise sets a game going, a “buttoner,” or “decoy-duck.”

Allumeurs, m. pl. (military), de gaz, lancers. An allusion to their weapon, which has some resemblance with a lamp-lighter’s rod.

Allumeuse, f., woman who seeks to entice passers-by into patronizing a house of ill fame.

Almanach, m. (popular), des vingt-cinq mille adresses, girl or woman of dissolute character, “public ledger.” See Gadoue.

Alpaga, alpag, m. (popular), coat, “tog,” or “Benjamin.”

Alpague (popular), clothing, “toggery,” coat, “Benjamin.”

Alphonse (familiar), man who protects prostitutes, ill-treats them often, and lives off their earnings, “pensioner.” These worthies go also by the names of “dos, barbeau, chevalier de la guiche, marlou,” &c. See Poisson.

Alphonsisme (familiar), the calling of an Alphonse.

Alpion (gamesters’), man who cheats at cards, one who “bites.”

Altèque (thieves’), manly, “spry,” handsome, excellent, “nobby.” From altus.

Amadou, m., amadoue, f. (thieves’ and tramps’), substance with which vagabonds rub their faces to give themselves a sickly, wretched appearance.

Les cagous emmènent avec sezières leurs apprentis pour leur apprendre à exercer l’argot. Premièrement, leur enseignent à acquiger de l’amadoue de plusieurs sortes, l’une avec de l’herbe qu’on nomme éclaire, pour servir aux francs-mijoux.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

(Popular) man with an inflammable heart.

Amadouage, m. (thieves’), marriage, “buckling.”

Amadouer, s’—— (thieves’ and tramps’), to paint or otherwise make up one’s face with a view to deceiving people.

Amandes, f. pl. (popular), de pain d’épice, black teeth, few and far between.

Amant (prostitutes’), de carton, lover of no importance, a poor lover in both senses; —— de cœur, one who enjoys a kept woman’s affections gratis, one who is loved for “love,” not money.

Amar, amarre, m. (thieves’), friend, “pal,” or “Ben cull;” —— d’attaque, staunch friend.

Amar-loer (Breton cant), rope which has served to hang one.

Amarrer (thieves’), to act in such a manner as to deceive, to lay a “plant.” Properly to moor.

Amateur (in literary men’s parlance), writer who does not exact payment for his productions; (in officers’ slang) a civilian; an officer who gives himself little trouble in his profession, who takes it easy; (familiar) man who makes a living by playing at cards with people unable to leave their homes.

Amazone, f., (thieves’), female card-sharper.


Ambassadeur, m. (popular), shoemaker, “snob;” (in gay girls’ slang) a bully. See Poisson.

Ambes, f. pl. (thieves’), legs, “gambs.”

Ambier (thieves’), to flee, “to pike.” See Patatrot.

Et mezière de happer le taillis et ambier le plus gourdement possible.—Jargon de l’Argot. (I got off, and ran away as fast as possible.)

Ambrellin (Breton cant), son.

Ambulante, f. (thieves’), female who is at once a hawker, a thief, and a prostitute.

Amendier, m. (theatrical), fleuri, stage manager, “daddy.” A play on the word amende, a fine, the connection being obvious.

Amener (popular), s’——, to come, to go to. Le voilà qui s’amène, here he comes.

Américain (thieves’), confederate of a thief, who goes by the name of Jardinier. The pair induce a simpleton to dig at the foot of a tree for a buried treasure, when they rob him of his money; a swindler who pretends he has just returned from America; (familiar) a drink, something between grog and punch. Faire l’œil ——, to scrutinize with searching glance. Oeil ——, eye with purposely amorous, “killing,” expression; also a very sharp eye.

Américaine, vol à l’ (see Charriage).

Ami (thieves’), expert thief, “gonnof;” —— de collège, prison chum.

Amicablement (popular), in a friendly manner, affectionately.

Aminche, aminchemar, aminchemince, m. (thieves’), friend, “ben cull;” —— d’aff, accomplice, “stallsman.”

Amis, m. pl. (popular), comme cochons, “thick” friends.

Amiteux, adj. (popular), friendly, amiable, gentle.

Amocher (popular), to bruise, to ill-treat, to “manhandle.” S’—— la gueule, to maul one another’s face, to “mug” one another.

Amorcé, adj. (popular), furnished, garnished.

V’la qu’est richement amorcé, j’en suis moi-même ébaubi.—Richepin.

Amoureux (popular), hunchback, or “lord;” —— de carême, a timid lover. Literally a “Lent lover.” (Printers’) Papier ——, paper that blots.

Ampafle, m. (thieves’), cloth.

Amphi, m. (students’), abbreviation of amphithéâtre, lecture room.

Amphibie (typographers’), typographer who is at the same time a printer and reader, “donkey.”

Amprefan (Breton cant), a low, insulting expression.

Amusatif, adj. (popular), amusing, funny.

Amuser (popular), s’—— à la moutarde, to neglect one’s duty or work for trifles, tomfooleries.

An, m. (thieves’), litre, measure for wine.

Anarcho, m., anarchist.

Anastasie, f., literary and theatrical official censorship.

Anchois, m. (popular), yeux bordés d’——, eyes with inflamed eyelids.

Anchtibler (thieves’), to apprehend, to “nab,” or “to smug.”

Ancien, ancienne (peasants’), father, mother. “Ancien” at the military schools is a student who has been through the two years’ course. In the army, a soldier who has served one term of service at least.


Anderlique, m. (popular), a dirty or foul-mouthed man. Properly a small tub used by scavengers.

Andosse, m. (thieves’), the back.

Alors le rupin en colère, jura que s’il attrapait jamais des trucheurs dans son pipet qu’il leur ficherait cent coups de sabre sur l’andosse.—Jargon de l’Argot.

Andouille, f. (popular), a man devoid of energy, a “muff.” Properly chitterlings. Faire l’——, to play the fool. Grand dépendeur d’andouilles, one who prefers good cheer to work.

Viennent aussi des bat-la-flemme, des sans-douilles,
Fainéants, suce-pots, grands dépendeurs d’andouilles,
Qui dans tous les cabarets ont tué leur je dois,
Et qui ne font jamais œuvre de leurs dix doigts.
Richepin, La Mer.

(Cod-fishers’) Andouille, wind blowing to sea-ward.

Angauche, or angluce, f. (thieves’), goose. Tortiller de l’——, to eat goose.

Ange-gardien, m. (popular), man whose calling is to see drunkards home; muslin inside a chemisette.

Anglais, m. (familiar), creditor, “dun;” man who keeps a mistress; a carefully made up dummy parcel in shops. Il a de l’——, is said of a horse which shows blood. Anglais à prunes, voyageurs à prunes, prudent travellers, who, being aware of the long price asked for fruit at restaurants, are satisfied with a few plums; (cabmens’) —— de carton, an expression of contempt applied to a stingy “fare.”

Anglaise, f. (mountebanks’), the share of each partner in the business; the expenses of each guest at a meal. (Popular) Danser à l’——, a practice followed by girls who pretend to go to the ball of the opera, and stop at a restaurant where they await clients. Faire une ——, to pay one’s share in the reckoning; also a favourite game of loafers. One of the players tosses all the pence of the party; those which turn up heads, or tails as the case may be, are his; another player adjudges to himself the tails, and so on with the rest. Filer, or pisser à l’——, to give the slip, to take “French leave.”

Angluce, or angauche, f. (thieves’), goose.

Angoulême, f. (thieves’), the mouth, “muns.” From “engouler,” to swallow. Se caresser l’——, to eat and drink, to take “grub and bub.” See Mastiquer.

Anguille, f. (thieves’), belt. Properly eel; (familiar) —— de buisson, snake.

Anis, m. (popular), de l’——! exclamation expressive of refusal, may be rendered by “you be hanged!” See Nèfles.

Anisette, f. (popular), de barbillon, water, or “Adam’s ale.”

Anjez (Breton cant), father.

Ann doouzeg abostol (Breton cant), twelve o’clock. Literally the twelve apostles.

Annoncier, m. (printers’), compositor of advertisements; also man who belongs to an advertising firm.

Annuaire, m. (military), passer l’—— sous le bras, to be promoted according to seniority.

Anonchali (popular), discouraged, cast down, “down in the mouth.”

Anquilieuse, f. (thieves’), female thief who conceals stolen property between her legs. From “quilles,” a slang term for legs.

Anse, f. (popular), arm, “bender.” Faire le panier à deux anses, to [12]walk with a woman on each arm, to play the “sandwich.”

Antif, m., antiffe, f. (thieves’), act of walking. Battre l’——, to walk, to “pad the hoof;” to deceive, “to kid;” to dissemble; to spy, to “nark.”

Antiffer (thieves’), to enter, to walk in; to walk, “to pad the hoof.”

Antiffle (thieves’), church. Battre l’——, to be a hypocrite, “mawworm.”

Antiffler (thieves’), to be married in church, “to be buckled.”

Antilles, f. pl. (thieves’), testicles.

Antipather (popular), to abominate.

Antique, student of the Ecole Polytechnique who has completed the regular course of studies.

Antonne, entonne, f. (thieves’), church.

Au matin quand nous nous levons,
J’aime la croûte de parfond.
Dans les entonnes trimardons,
Ou aux creux de ces ratichons.
Chanson de l’Argot.

Antroler, entroller (thieves’), to carry away, “to chuff.”

Un de ces luisans, un marcandier alla demander la thune à un pipet, et le rupin ne lui ficha que floutière: il mouchailla des ornies de balle qui morfiaient du grenu en la cour; alors il ficha de son sabre sur la tronche à une, il l’abasourdit la met dans son gueulard et l’entrolle.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Apascliner (thieves’), s’——, to get used to, acclimatized.

A perpète (thieves’), for life. Gerbé à ——, to be sentenced to penal servitude for life, to be a “lifer.”

Apic (thieves’), garlic; eye, “daylight, “glazier,” or “ogle.”

Aplatir (familiar), quelqu’un, to thrash soundly, “to lick;” to reduce one’s arguments to nought, “to nonplus.” Properly to flatten.

Aplatisseur, m. (familiar), de pièces de six liards ——, one who is over particular; one who attaches undue importance to trifles.

Aplomb, m. (popular), être d’——, to be strong, sound, “game.” Reluquer d’——, to look straight in the face.

Aplomber (thieves’), to abash a person by one’s coolness.

Aponiché (popular), seated.

Apoplexie, f. (popular), de templier, a fit of apoplexy brought on by excessive drinking. From the saying, Boire comme un templier.

Apothicaire, m. (popular), sans sucre, workman with but few tools; tradesman with an insufficient stock in trade.

Apôtres (thieves’), fingers, or “forks.”

Appeler (theatrical), azor, to hiss, or “to goose.” Literally to whistle a dog. Azor, a common name for a dog.

Appuyer (theatrical), to let scenes down.

Aquarium, an assembly of prostitutes’ bullies, or “ponces.” From their being denominated maquereaux, mackerels.

Aquicher (thieves’), to decoy, allure.

Aquiger, quiger (thieves’ and cads’), to steal, “to lift;” to wound; to beat, “to wallop;” to make, or “to fake;” —— les brèmes, to mark cards for cheating, or to “stock broads.” It means also to take, to procure, to find.

Dévalons donc dans cette piole
Où nous aquigerons riole,
Et sans débrider nos pouchons.
Richepin, La Chanson des Gueux.


Aquilin (popular), faire son ——, to pout, or “to hang one’s latch-pan;” to turn up one’s nose.

Arabe, m. (popular), savage, unrelenting fellow, or “tartar.”

Araignée, f. (popular), bicycle with a large fly-wheel; —— de bastringue, female habituée of low dancing halls; —— de comptoir, counter jumper, or “knight of the yard;” —— de trottoir, dealer at a stall, or in the open air. Avoir une —— dans le plafond, to be cracked, to have “a bee in one’s bonnet.” See Avoir.

Arbalète, f. (thieves’), neck-cross; —— d’antonne, de chique, de priante, church-cross.

Arbi, arbico, m. (army), Arab.

Arbif, m. (thieves’), violent man.

Arcasien, arcasineur, m. (thieves’), thief who employs the arcat (which see); a beggar who calls on people; cunning man.

Arcat, m. (thieves’), monter un ——, to write a letter from prison to a person asking for an advance in cash on a supposed buried treasure which, later on, is to be pointed out to the donor. From arcane, mystery, hidden thing.

Arcavot, m. (Jew traders’), falsehood.

Arche, f. (popular), aller à l’——, to fetch money. Fendre l’——, to weary, “to bore.”

Archicube, m., student who has completed his three years’ course of study at the Ecole Normale, an institution where professors are trained for university professorships, and which holds the first rank among special schools in France.

Archipointu, m. (thieves’), an archbishop.

Archisuppôt de l’argot (old cant), learned thief, arch-thief, “gonnof.”

Les archisuppôts de l’argot sont les plus savants, les plus habiles marpeaux de toutime l’argot, qui sont des écoliers débauchés, et quelques ratichons, de ces coureurs qui enseignent le jargon à rouscailler bigorne.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Architecte de l’Univers (freemasons’), the Deity.

Arçon (thieves’), sign of recognition made by passing the thumb down the right cheek and spitting at the same time.

Si c’étaient des amis de Pantin, je pourrais me faire reconnaître mais des pantres nouvellement affranchis (des paysans qui font leurs premières armes), j’aurais beau faire l’arçon.—Vidocq.

Arçonner (thieves’), to make one speak out; to speak, or “to patter.”

Arcpincer, arquepincer (thieves’ and popular), to take, or “to collar;” to seize, or “to grab;” —— l’omnibus, to catch the ’bus. Veuillez —— mon anse, pray take my arm.

J’ai promis de reconobrer tous les grinchisseurs et de les faire arquepincer.—Vidocq.

Ardent, m. (thieves’), candle, or “glim.” Fauche-ardents, snuffers.

Ardents, m. pl. (thieves’), eyes, or “glaziers.” See Quinquets.

Ardoise, f. (popular), head, or “tibby;” hat, or “tile.” Avoir l’——, to have credit, or “jawbone.” An allusion to the slate used for drawing up the reckoning.

Arga, m. (thieves’), share of booty, or “snaps.”

Arganeau, m. (thieves’), a link connecting two convicts’ irons.

Argot, m. (thieves’), animal; fool, or “go along;” thieves’ brotherhood, or “family men.”

Argoté (thieves’), one who lays claim to being witty.


Argotier, m. (thieves’), one of the brotherhood of thieves, or “family man.”

Argousin, m. (popular), foreman, or “boss.”

Arguche, m. (thieves’), cant, or “flash;” a fool, dunce, or “go-along.”

Arguemine, f. (thieves’), hand, or “famm.”

Aricoteur, m. (thieves’), executioner.

Aristo, m. for aristocrat (popular), a man in comfortable circumstances.

Aristocrate, m., an appellation given by prisoners to one of their number whose means allow him to obtain victuals from the canteen.

Arlequin (popular), broken victuals of every description mixed up and retailed to poor people. The word has passed into the language.

Autrefois chez Paul Niquet
Fumait un vaste baquet
Sur la devanture.
Pour un ou deux sous, je crois,
On y plongeait les deux doigts
Deux, à l’aventure.
Les mets les plus différents
Etaient là, mêlés, errants,
Sans couleur, sans forme,
Et l’on pêchait sans fouiller,
Aussi bien un vieux soulier
Qu’une truffe énorme.
Richepin, La Chanson des Gueux.

Arme, f. (military), passer l’—— à gauche, to die, “to lose the number of one’s mess.” See Pipe.

Armée roulante, f. (thieves’), formerly gang of convicts chained together which used to make its way by road to the hulks.

Armoire, f. (popular), à glace, the four of any card; head; (military) —— à poils, soldiers’ knapsack, or “scran bag.” An allusion to the hairy skin that covers or covered soldiers’ knapsacks.

Arnac, m. (thieves’), à l’——, with premeditation.

Arnache, f. (popular), deceit; treachery. Etre à l’——, to be cunning, wide-awake, a “deep one;” to deceive, and not allow oneself to be deceived.

Arnacq, arnache, m. (thieves’), detective, informer, “nark.”

Arnaud, m. (popular), avoir son ——, être ——, to be in a bad humour, to be “nasty.”

Arnauder (popular), to grumble.

Arnelle (thieves’), the town of Rouen. From La Renelle, a small river.

Arnellerie, f. (thieves’), rouennerie, printed cotton.

Arnif, m. (thieves’), policeman or detective. Also denominated “bec de gaz, bourrique, cierge, flique, laune, peste, vache.” In English cant or slang “crusher, pig, copper, cossack, nark.”

Arpagar, m. (thieves’), the town of Arpagon, near Paris.

Arpette, m. (popular), apprentice.

Arpion, m. (thieves’ and popular), foot, “trotter;” toe.

Moi, d’marcher ça n’me fout pas l’trac.
J’ai l’arpion plus dur que des clous.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Arpions, m. pl. (thieves’ and popular), toes.

Arquepincer. See Arcpincer.

Arquer (popular), s’——, to be bent down through age.

Arracher (thieves’), du chiendent, to be on the look-out for a victim (chiendent, dogs’ grass); (popular) —— son copeau, to work, “to grind” (copeau, shaving).

Arrangemaner (thieves’), to cheat, or “to stick.”


Arranger (swindlers’), les pantres, to cheat the public by means of the three-card trick or other swindling dodges.

Arrangeur, m. (gamesters’), one who sets a game going, or “buttonner.”

Arrêter (familiar), les frais, to put a stop to any proceedings. (Les frais, the fee for a game of billiards.)

Arrière-train, m. (familiar), the behind, or “tochas.” See Vasistas.

Arriver premier (sporting), to be the winner. Used figuratively to denote superiority of any kind over others. Arriver bon premier, “to beat hollow.”

Arrondir (popular), se faire —— le globe, to become pregnant, or “lumpy.”

On s’a fait arrondir el’globe,
On a sa p’tit’ butte, à c’qué vois....
Eh! ben, ça prouv’ qu’on n’est pas d’bois.
Gill, La Muse à Bibi.

Arrondissement, m. (popular), chef-lieu d’——, woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy, “lumpy,” or with a “white swelling.”

Arrosage, m. (popular), action of drinking, of “having something damp.”

Arroser (gamesters’), to stake repeatedly on the same card; to make repeated sacrifices in money; (military) —— ses galons, treating one’s comrades on being made a non-commissioned officer, “paying for one’s footing;” (familiar) —— un créancier, to settle small portion of debt.

Arroseur, m. (thieves’), de verdouze, gardener, or “master of the mint.” Verdouze, for verdure.

Arrosoir, m. (thieves’), coup d’——, a glass of wine; a watering-pot.

Arsenal, m. (thieves’), arsenic.

Arsonner (thieves’), to overhaul pockets, to “frisk,” or “to rule over.”

Arsouille, m. (familiar), a man foul in language, a low cad, a “rank outsider.” The expression has passed into the language. Milor l’——, a rich man with eccentric, low tastes. The appellation was first given to Lord Seymour.

Arsouiller (popular), synonymous of engueuler, to “jaw,” to “slang.”

Arthur, m., a would-be lady-killer; also synonymous of Amant de cœur, which see.

Arthurine, f. (popular), a girl of indifferent character, a “Poll.”

Artichaut, m. (popular), cœur d’——, fickle-hearted.

.... Cœur d’artichaut,
C’est mon genre: un’ feuille pour tout l’monde,
Au jour d’aujourd’hui, j’gobe la blonde;
Après-d’main, c’est la brun’, qu’i m’faut.

Artiche, m. (thieves’), retirer l’——, to pick the pockets of a drunkard.

Article, m. (familiar), faire l’——, to puff up, “to crack up.” (Printers’) Payer son —— quatre, to pay for one’s footing. An allusion to some item of a code of regulations. (Popular) Porté sur l’——, one of an amatory disposition.

Articlier, m., one whose spécialité is writing newspaper articles.

Artie, artif, artiffe, lartie, larton, m. (thieves’), bread; —— de Meulan, white bread; —— du gros Guillaume, brown bread; —— de guinaut, mouldy bread.

Ecoutez marques et mions,
J’aime la croûte de parfond,
J’aime l’artie, j’aime la crie,
J’aime la croûte de parfond.
Chanson de l’Argot.

Artilleur (popular), drunkard; one skilful in working the “canon,” or glass of wine at wine-shops; —— à genoux, or de la pièce humide, [16]a military hospital orderly; —— à l’aiguille, tailor; —— de la pièce humide, a fireman; also, one who is voiding urine, or “lagging.”

Artis, m. (thieves’), langage de l’——, cant, or “flash.”

Artiste, m. (popular), veterinary surgeon, “vet;” spendthrift leading a careless life; sweeper; comrade, or “pal.”

Arton. See Artie.

Artoupan, m. (thieves’), guard or warder at a penal servitude depôt, or “screw.”

Art royal (freemasons’), freemasonry.

As, m. (popular), être à l’——, to be short of cash, “hard up;” at a restaurant or café, to be at table, or in private room No. 1. Un —— de carreau, soldier’s knapsack, thus called from its shape; a town adjutant, an allusion to the red facings of his uniform. (Thieves’) As de carreau, the ribbon of the Legion of Honour, which is red. (Familiar) Fichu comme l’—— de pique, with a clumsily built form, badly dressed. As de pique meant formerly a man of no consequence, of no intellectual worth.

Asinver (thieves’), to make stupid.

Asperge montée, f. (popular), very tall, lanky person; “sky-scraper,” or “lamp-post.”

Asphalte, m. (familiar), polir l’——, to lounge on the Boulevards.

Asphyxié, adj. (popular), dead-drunk, or “sewed-up.”

Asphyxier (popular), to drink; —— le perroquet, to drink a glass of absinthe, green, like a parrot; —— un pierrot, to drink a glass of white wine. Pierrot, a pantomimic character, with face painted white, and costume to match.

Aspic, m. (popular), a slanderer, an allusion to “aspic,” a viper; (thieves’) a miser, or “hunks.”

Aspiquerie, f. (popular), calumny.

Asseoir (popular), s’——, to fall. Envoyer quelqu’un s’——, to throw one down, to silence, get rid of one. Allez vous ——, shut up, go to “pot” (an allusion to the customary intimation of the judge to a witness whose examination is concluded). S’—— sur le bouchon, to sit on mother earth. S’—— sur quelqu’un, to silence one, sit upon him. S’—— sur quelquechose, to attach but slight importance to a thing.

Assesseur (gamesters’), player.

Asseyez-vous dessus et qu’ ça finisse! (familiar), silence him! sit upon him!

Assiette, f. (popular), avoir l’—— au beurre, to be lucky, fortunate in life.

Assis, m. (literary), clerks, or “quill drivers.”

Oh! c’est alors qu’il faut plaindre... les malheureux qu’un travail sédentaire courbe sur un bureau.... c’est alors qu’il convient de se lamenter sur le sort des assis.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Assister (thieves’), to bring victuals to a prisoner from outside.

Associée, f. (printers’), mon ——, my wife, my “old woman.”

Assommoir, m. (familiar), name of a wine-shop at Belleville, and which is now common to all low drinking-shops. From assommer, to knock over the head.

Astec, m. (familiar), stunted and weakly person, or “barber’s cat;” (literary) a weak, despicable adversary. An allusion to the Mexican dwarfs.

Astic, m. (thieves’), steel, sword, or “poker” (from the German [17]stich); (soldiers’) a mixture of pipe-clay for the furbishing of the brass fixtures of equipment. Aller à l’——, to clean one’s equipment.

Asticot, m. (popular), vermicelli; mistress of a bully or thief, “mollisher;” —— de cercueil, glass of beer (a play on the words “ver” and “bière,” asticot being a flesh-worm).

Astiquage or astique, m. (military), cleaning the equipments.

Astiquer (popular), to beat, or “to towel;” to tease. Literally to clean, to furbish. S’——, to have angry words, as a prelude to a set to; to fight. Literally to make oneself neat, or “smug.”

As-tu fini, or as-tu fini tes manières! words implying that a person’s endeavours to convince or to deceive another have failed. The expression corresponds in some degree to “Walker!” “No go!” “What next?”

A table (thieves’), se mettre ——, or, casser du sucre, to confess a crime.

Atelier (freemasons’), place of meeting.

Atigé, adj. (thieves’ and popular), ill, or “laid up;” stricken, ruined, or “cracked up.”

Atiger (thieves’ and popular), to wound, to strike, “to clump.”

Atômes crochus, m. pl. (familiar), mysterious elements of mutual sympathy.

Atouser (convicts’), to encourage, to urge, “to kid on.”

Atout, m. (thieves’ and popular), courage, or “wool;” self-possession; a blow, or “wipe;” stomach; money, or “rhino;” ability. Proper meaning trumps. Avoir de l’——, to have pluck, or “spunk;” to have a strong arm.

Tu m’as donné la bonne mesure, tu es un cadet qui a de l’atout.—E. Sue. (You gave me a good thrashing, you are a strong chap.)

Le plus d’——, a kind of swindling game played at low cafés.

Atout! (popular), exclamation to denote that a blow has taken effect.

Attache, f., love tie.

Attacher (thieves’), un bidon, to inform against one, “to blow the gaff.”

Attaches, f. pl., (thieves’), buckles; —— brillantes, diamond buckles; —— de gratousse, lace shirt-frill; —— de cés, breeches buckles.

J’ai fait suer un chêne,
Son auberg j’ai enganté.
Son auberg et sa toquante,
Et ses attach’s de cés.
V. Hugo, Le Dernier Jour d’un Condamné.

Attaque, d’——, resolutely, smartly. Un homme d’——, a resolute man, one who is game. Etre d’——, to show energy, resolution. Y aller d’——, to set about anything with a will, smartly, as if one meant business. (Popular) D’attaque, violent, severe.

V’lan! v’là l’vent qui m’fiche eun’claque.
Fait vraiment un froid d’attaque.

Attelage, m. (cavalry), un bon ——, a couple of good friends.

Attendrir (familiar), s’——, to have reached that stage of intoxication when one ismaudlin.”

Attiger. See Atiger.

Attignoles, f. pl. (popular), tripe à la mode de Caen (tripe stewed with herbs and seasoning).

N’importe où nous nous empâtons,
D’arlequins, d’briffe et d’rogatons,
Que’qu’fois d’saucisse et d’attignoles.

Attrapage, m. (familiar and popular), severe scolding, sharp criticism, quarrel, fight, “mill;” (military) —— du premier numéro, [18]serious duel.

Attrape (popular), à te rappeler, mind you remember!

Attraper (popular), to scold, “to jaw;” —— l’oignon, to receive a blow intended for another; to have to pay for others’ reckoning. S’——, to abuse, to “slang” one another. Se faire ——, to get scolded, abused, “blown up.” Attraper le haricot, or la fève, to have to pay for others. An allusion to one who finds a bean in his share of the cake at the “fête des rois,” or Twelfth-night, and who, being proclaimed king, has to treat the other guests. (Journalists’) Attraper, to sharply criticise or run down a person or literary production; (theatrical) to hiss, or “goose;” (actors’) —— le lustre, to open wide one’s mouth; to make a fruitless attempt to give emission to a note.

Attrape-science, m., printer’s apprentice, or “devil.”

Attrapeur, m. (literary), a sharp or scurrilous critic.

Attrimer (thieves’), to take, to “nibble;” to seize, to “grab.”

Attriquer (thieves’), to buy; to buy stolen clothes.

Attriqueur, m., attriqueuse, f. (thieves’), receiver of stolen clothes, “fence.”

Auber, m., a sum of money, “pile.” A play on the word “haubert,” coat of mail, an assemblage ofmailles,” meaning “meshes” or “small change.” Compare the expression, Sans sou ni maille.

Aumône, f. (thieves’), voler à l’——, stealing from a jeweller, who is requested to exhibit small trinkets, some of which, being purloined, are transmitted to the hand of a confederate outside who pretends to ask for alms.

Aumônier, m. (thieves’), a thief who operates as described above.

Au prix où est le beurre (familiar), at the present rate of prices of things in general.

Aure, or haure (thieves’), le grand ——, God.

Aüs, m. (shopmen’s), perplexed purchaser who leaves without buying anything.

Austo, m. (soldiers’), guard-room, cells, “Irish theatre,” “mill,” or “jigger.”

Autan, m. (thieves’), loft, attics (old word hautain, high).

Autel, (freemasons’), table at which the master sits; (popular) —— de besoin, prostitute, or “bed-fagot;” —— de plume, bed, “doss.”

Auteur, m. (familiar), father or mother, “governor,” or “mater;” —— beurrier, unsuccessful author whose works are sold as wrapping-paper for tradesmen.

Autor (familiar and popular), jouer d’——, to play cards without proposing. Travailler d’—— et d’achar, to work with energy.

Autor, d’—— (thieves’), in a peremptory manner; deliberately.

Dis donc, fourline, la première fois que nous trouverons la Pégriotte, faut l’emmener d’autor.—Eugène Sue.

Autre, adj. (popular), cet —— chien, that chap. Etre l’——, to be duped, or “bamboozled;” to be the lover; the mistress. L’—— côté, appellation given by Paris students to that part of the city situated on the right bank of the river. Femme de l’—— côté, woman residing in that part of Paris.

Auvergnat, m. (popular), avaler l’——, to take communion.


Auverpin, m. (popular), native of Auvergne. Appellation given to commissionnaires, charcoal-dealers, water-carriers, &c., who generally hail from Auvergne.

Et là seulement vous trouverez les bals-musette, les vrais, tenus par des Auverpins à la fois mastroquets et charbonniers, hantés par des Auverpins aussi, porteurs d’eau, commissionnaires, frotteurs, cochers.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Auverpinches, m. pl. (popular), clumsy shoes usually worn by Auvergnats.

Aux (popular), petits oignons, in first-rate style, excellently. Etre —— petits oiseaux, to be comfortable, snug.

Auxiliaire (prisoners’), prisoner acting as servant, or “fag.”

Avalé (popular), avoir —— le pépin, to be pregnant, or “lumpy.” An allusion to the apple. Avoir —— une chaise percée, to have an offensive breath. Avoir —— un sabre, to be stiff, “to have swallowed a poker.” Avoir —— le bon Dieu en culotte de velours, to have swallowed some excellent food or drink.

Et toujours le patron doit terminer sa lampée par un hum engageant et satisfait comme s’il avait avalé le bon Dieu en culotte de velours.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Avaler (thieves’), le luron, to receive the Host at communion. (Popular) Avaler sa cuiller; sa fourchette; sa gaffe; sa langue; ses baguettes; to die. In other words, “to lay down one’s knife and fork;” “to kick the bucket;” “to croak;” “to stick one’s spoon in the wall,” &c.; —— son poussin, to be dismissed, “to get the sack;” —— son absinthe, to put a good face on some disagreeable matter. (Familiar) Avoir l’air de vouloir tout ——, to look as though one were going to do mighty things; to look savage and threatening.

Avale-tout-cru, m. (popular), braggart, or “swashbuckler;” (thieves’) thief who conceals jewels in his mouth.

Avaloir, m. (popular and thieves’), throat, “peck alley,” or “gutter lane.”

Avantages, m. pl., avant-cœur, m., avant-main, f., avant-postes, m. pl., avant-scènes, f. pl. (popular and familiar), bosoms, “Charlies,” “dairies,” or “bubbies.”

Avantageux, adj. (popular), convenient, roomy. Des souliers ——, easy shoes.

Avant-courrier, m. (thieves’), auger.

Avaro, m. (popular), damage. From avarie.

Avergot, m. (thieves’), egg.

Avertineux, adj. (popular), of a suspicious, gruff disposition; of a forbidding aspect.

Avocat bêcheur, m. (printers’), backbiter; (thieves’) public prosecutor.

Avoine, f. (military), brandy. (Popular) Avoir encore l’——, to have still one’s maidenhead. (Coachmens’) Donner l’——, to whip; to thrash, or “flush.”

Avoir (popular), à la bonne, to like, to love, “to be sweet upon;” —— campo, to have leave to go out; —— celui, for avoir l’honneur de; —— dans le nez, to have a strong dislike for a person or thing; (familiar) —— dans le ventre, ce que quelqu’un a dans le ventre, what stuff one is made of; (popular) —— de ce qui sonne, to be well off; in other words, to have plenty of [20]beans, ballast, rhino, the needful, blunt, bustle, dust, coal, oof, stumpy, brass, tin; —— de la chance au bâtonnet, to be unlucky. Le jeu de bâtonnet is the game of nap the cat; —— de la glu aux mains, to steal, “to nibble;” —— de la ligne, to have a nice figure; —— de l’anis dans une écope: tu auras ——, don’t you wish you may get it; —— de l’as de Carreau dans le dos, to be humpbacked; —— des as dans son jeu, to have an advantage, to be lucky, to have “cocum;” —— des mots avec quelqu’un, to fall out with one, to have a tiff with one; —— des mots avec la justice, to be prosecuted; —— des mots avec les sergots, to have some disagreement with the police; —— des œufs sur le plat, to have black eyes, “to have one’s eyes in mourning;” —— des petits pois à écosser ensemble, to have a bone to pick with one; —— des planches, to be an experienced actor; —— du beurre sur la tête, to have some misdeed on one’s conscience; —— du chien, to possess dash, “go;” —— du chien dans le ventre, to have pluck, endurance, or “stay;” —— du pain sur la planche, to have a competency; —— du poil au cul, to possess courage, or “hackle,” energy; —— du plomb dans l’aile, to be wounded; —— du sable dans les yeux, to feel sleepy; —— du toupet, to have audacity, cool impudence; —— fumé dans une pipe neuve, to be tipsy, or “obfuscated;” —— la flemme, to be afraid; to feel lazy, or “Mondayish;” —— l’arche, to have credit, or “jawbone;” —— l’assiette au beurre, to be fortunate in life; —— la cuisse gaie is said of a female of lax morals; —— le pot de chambre dans la commode, to have an offensive breath; —— le caillou déplumé, le coco déplumé, to be bald, to have “a bladder of lard;” —— le casque, to fancy a man; —— le compas dans l’œil, to possess a sharp eye, with respect to judging of distance or quantity; —— le front dans le cou, to be bald, or “stag-faced;” —— le nez creux, to be clever at foreseeing, guessing; —— le pouce long, to be skilful, to be a “dab” at something; —— le trac, to be afraid, “funky;” —— les calots pochés, to have black eyes; —— les côtes en long, to be lazy, a “bummer;” —— l’estomac dans les talons, dans les mollets, to be ravenous, very “peckish;” —— l’étrenne, to be the first to do, or be done to, to have the “wipe of;” —— le sac, to be wealthy, or “well ballasted;” —— mal au bréchet, to have the stomach-ache, or “botts;” —— mal aux cheveux, to have a headache caused from overnight potations; —— mangé de l’oseille, to be sour-tempered, peevish, or “crusty;” —— sa côtelette, in theatrical language, to obtain great applause; (popular) —— sa pointe, to be slightly tipsy, “fresh;” —— son caillou, to be on the verge of intoxication, or “muddled;” —— son coke, to die; —— son cran, to be angry, “to have one’s monkey up;” —— son pain cuit. Properly to have an income, to be provided for. The expression is old.

Vente, gresle, gelle, j’ai mon pain cuit.

(Also) to be sentenced to death; —— son sac de quelqu’un, to be tired of one; —— un coup de marteau, to be cracked, “queer;” —— un fédéré dans la casemate, or un polichinelle dans le tiroir, to be pregnant, or “lumpy;” —— un poil dans la main, to feel lazy; —— un pot de chambre sous le nez, to have an offensive breath; —— un rat dans la trompe, to feel irritated, [21]provoked, exasperated, “badgered;” —— une chambre à louer, to be eccentric, even to insanity; “to have apartments to let;” to be minus one tooth; —— une crampe au pylore, to be blessed with a good appetite, or “twist;” —— une table d’hôte dans l’estomac, to have an extraordinary appetite; —— vu le loup is said of a girl who has been seduced. En —— la farce, to be able to procure a thing. Pour deux sous on en a la farce, a penny will get it for you. En —— sa claque, to have eaten or drunk to excess, to have had a “tightener.” Avoir une belle presse is said of an actor or author who is lauded by the press.

Avoir (popular and familiar), la boule détraquée; le coco fêlé; le trognon détraqué; un asticot dans la noisette; un bœuf gras dans le char; un cancrelat dans la boule; un hanneton dans le réservoir; un hanneton dans le plafond; un moustique dans la boîte au sel; un voyageur dans l’omnibus; une araignée dans le plafond; une écrevisse dans la tourte; une écrevisse dans le vol-au-vent; une grenouille dans l’aquarium; une hirondelle dans le soliveau; une Marseillaise dans le kiosque; une punaise dans le soufflet; une sardine dans l’armoire à glace; une trichine dans le jambonneau; une sauterelle dans la guitare—Parisian expressions which may be rendered by to be mad, or cracked, crazy, touched, to have rats in the upper story, a bee in one’s bonnet, a tile loose, to have apartments to let, to be wrong in the upper storey, to be off one’s chump, &c., &c. L’—— encore, Rigaud says, “Avoir ce qu’une jeune fille doit perdre seulement le jour de son mariage.

Avoir, n’——, pas de toupet, to show cool impudence; (popular) —— pas inventé le fil à couper le beurre is said of a man of poor ability, not likely “to set the Thames on fire;” —— pas le cul dans une jupe, to be manly, or “spry;” —— pas sa langue dans sa poche, to have a ready tongue; —— rien du côté gauche, or sous le têton gauche, to be heartless; —— rien dans le ventre, to be devoid of ability, to be made of poor stuff; —— plus sa grille d’égoût, —— plus sa pièce de dix ronds is said of Sodomites; —— plus de chapelure sur le jambonneau, —— plus de crin sur la brosse, —— plus de fil sur la bobine, —— plus de gazon sur le pré, —— plus de mousse sur le caillou, or sur la plate-bande, —— plus de paillasson à la porte, to be bald, or “to have a bladder of lard,” “to be stag-faced,” &c.; (thieves’) —— pas la trouille, le flubart, or le trac, to have no fear.

Azor, m. (popular), dog; (military) knapsack, or “scran-bag” (an allusion to the hairy covering of soldiers’ knapsacks). Etre à cheval sur ——, to shoulder the knapsack. Tenir —— en laisse is said of a discharged soldier who on leaving the barracks, with a view to showing that “Azor” is no longer his master, drags him ignominiously along the ground attached to a strap. (Theatrical) Appeler, or siffler ——, to hiss, or “to goose.”

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Est-ce qu’on appelle Azor?—Musée Philipon.



Baba, adj. (popular), dumb-founded, abashed, “blue,” or “flabbergasted.” From ébahi, astounded.

Babillard, m. (thieves’), confessor; book; newspaper. Griffonneur de ——, journalist. It also means a petition.

Ma largue part pour Versailles,
Aux pieds d’sa Majesté,
Elle lui fonce un babillard
Pour m’faire défourailler.
V. Hugo, Dernier Jour d’un Condamné.

Babillarde, f. (thieves’), watch, or “jerry;” letter, “screeve,” or “stiff.”

Babillaudier, m. (thieves’), bookseller.

Babille, f. See Babillarde.

Babiller (thieves’), to read. Properly to prattle, to chatter.

Babines, f. pl. (popular), mouth, “muzzle.” S’en donner par les ——, to eat voraciously, “to scorf.” S’en lécher les ——, to enjoy in imagination any kind of pleasure, past or in store.

Babouine, f. (popular), mouth, “rattle-trap,” “kisser,” “dubber,” or “maw.” See Plomb.

Babouiner (popular), to eat.

Bac, for baccarat or baccalauréat.

Ce serait bien le diable s’il parvenait à organiser de petits bacs à la raffinerie.—Vast-Ricouard, Le Tripot.

Bacchantes (thieves’), the beard; but more especially the whiskers. From a play on the word bâche, an awning, covering.

Baccon, m. (thieves’), pig, or “sow’s baby;” pork, or “sawney.”

Bachasse, f. (thieves’), hard labour; convict settlement.

Bâche, f. (thieves’ and cads’), cap, or “tile;” stakes; bed, or “doss.” Se mettre dans la ——, to go to bed. Bâche, properly a cart tilt or an awning.

Bachelière, f., female associate of students at the Quartier Latin, the headquarters of the University of France. Herein are situated the Sorbonne, Collège de France, Ecole de Médecine, Ecole de Droit, &c.

Bâcher, pagnotter, or percher (thieves’ and popular). Se ——, to go to bed.

Bachot, m. (students’), baccalauréat, or examination for the degree of bachelor of arts or science conferred by the University of France. Etre ——, to be a bachelor. Faire son ——, to read for that examination.

Bachotier, m. (students’), tutor who prepares candidates for the baccalauréat, a “coach,” or a “crammer.”

Bachotter (sharpers’), to swindle at billiards.

Bachotteur, m. (sharpers’), a confederate of blacklegs at a four game of billiards. The “bachotteur[23]arranges the game, holds the stakes, &c., pretending meanwhile to be much interested in the victim, or “pigeon.” His associates are “l’emporteur,” or “buttoner,” whose functions consist in entering into conversation with the intended victim and enticing him into playing, and “la bête,” who feigns to be a loser at the outset, so as to encourage the pigeon.

Bâcler, boucler (thieves’), to shut, to arrest. Bâclez la lourde! shut the door! “dub the jigger.” (Popular) Bâcler, to put, to place. Bâclez-vous là! place yourself there!

Bacreuse, f. (popular), pocket. From creuse, deep.

Badaudière, f., the tribe of badauds, people whose interest is awakened by the most trifling events or things, and who stop to gape wonderingly at such events or things.

Parmi tous les badauds de la grande badaudière parisienne, qui est le pays du monde où l’on en trouve le plus, parmi tous les flâneurs, gâcheurs de temps ... bayeurs aux grues.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Badigeon, m. (popular), painting of the face; paint for the face, “slap.” Se coller du ——, to paint one’s face, “to stick on slap.”

Badigeonner, la femme au puits, to lie, “to cram.” An allusion to Truth supposed to dwell in a well. Se ——, to paint one’s face.

Badigoinces, f. pl. (popular), lips, mouth, “maw.” Jouer des ——, or se caler les ——, to eat, “to grub.” S’en coller par les ——, to have a good fill, “to stodge.” See Mastiquer.

Badinguiste, badingâteux, badingouin, badingueusard, badingouinard, terms of contempt applied to Bonapartists. “Badinguet,” nickname of Napoleon III., was the name of a mason who lent him his clothes, and whose character he assumed to effect his escape from Fort Ham, in which he was confined for conspiracy and rebellion against the government of King Louis Philippe.

Badouillard, m., badouillarde, f. (popular), male and female habitués of low fancy balls.

Badouille, f. (popular), henpecked husband, or “stangey;” fool, or “duffer.”

Badouiller (popular), to frequent low public balls; to wander about without a settled purpose, “to scamander;” to have drinking revels, “to go on the booze.”

Badouillerie, f. (popular), dissipated mode of living.

Baffre, f. (popular), a blow in the face with the fist, a “bang in the mug.”

Bafouiller, (popular), to jabber; to splutter; to sputter.

Bafouilleur, bafouilleux, m., bafouilleuse, f., one who sputters.

Bagniole, f. (popular), carriage, “trap,” or “cask.”

Bagnole, f. (popular), diminutive of bagne, convict settlement, hulks: wretched room or house, or “crib;” costermonger’s hand-barrow, “trolly,” or “shallow.”

La maigre, salade ... que les bonnes femmes poussent devant elles dans leur bagnole à bras.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Bagou, bagoût, m. (familiar), (has passed into the language), facility of speech (used disparagingly). Quel —— mes amis! well, he is the one to talk! Avoir un fier ——, to have plenty of jaw.

On se laissa bientôt aller à la joie ravivée sans cesse au bagout du vieux, qui n’avait jamais été aussi bavard.—Richepin, La Glu.


(Thieves’) Bagou, name, “monniker,” “monarch.”

Bagoulard, m. (popular), a very talkative man, a “clack-box,” or “mouth-all-mighty.” C’est un fameux ——, “He’s the bloke to slam.”

Bagouler (popular and thieves’), to prattle, to do the “Poll Parrot;” to give one’s name, or “dub one’s monniker.”

Bague, f. (thieves’), name, “monniker,” “monarch.”

Baguenaude (thieves’ and cads’), pocket, “cly,” “sky-rocket,” or “brigh;” —— à sec, empty pocket; —— ronflante, pocket full of money. Faire la retourne des baguenaudes, to rob drunkards who go to sleep on benches.

... Une bande de filous, vauriens ayant travaillé les baguenaudes dans la foule.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Baguenots, m. pl. (popular), faire les ——, to pick pockets, “to fake a cly.”

Baguettes, f. pl. Properly rods, or drum-sticks. (Military) Avaler ses ——, to die. (Familiar) Baguettes de tambour, thin legs, spindle-shanks; lank hair.

Bahut, m. (popular), furniture, “marbles.” Properly large dresser, or press; (cadets’) —— spécial, the military school of Saint-Cyr; (students’) —— paternel, paternal house. Bahut, a crammer’s establishment; college, or boarding-school.

Eux, les pauvres petits galériens, ils continuent à vivre entre les murs lépreux du bahut.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Bahuté (Saint-Cyr cadets’), ceci est ——, that is smart, soldier-like. Une tenue bahutée, smart dress or appearance.

Bahuter (Saint-Cyr cadets’), to create a disturbance, “to kick up a row;” (schoolboys’) to go from one educational establishment to another.

Bahuteur, m., one fond of a “row;” unruly scholar; pupil who patronizes, willingly or not, different educational establishments.

Baigne-dans-le-beurre (popular), womens’ bully, or “pensioner.” An allusion to “maquereau,” or mackerel, a common appellation for such creatures. See Poisson.

Baigneuse, f. (thieves’ and cads’), head, or “block,” “canister,” “nut.” See Tronche.

Baignoire à bon Dieu, f. (cads’), chalice.

Bailler au tableau (theatrical), to have an insignificant part in a new play.

Terme de coulisses qui s’applique à un acteur, qui voit au tableau la mise en répétition d’une pièce dans laquelle il n’a qu’un bout de rôle.—A. Bouchard, La Langue théâtrale.

Baimbain (Breton cant), potatoes.

Bain de pied (familiar), the overflow into the saucer from a cup of coffee or glass of brandy; third help of brandy after coffee, those preceding beingla rincetteandla surrincette.”

Bain-Marie, m. (popular), a person with a mild, namby-pamby disposition allied to a weakly constitution, a “sappy” fellow.

Bain qui chauffe, m. (popular), a rain cloud in hot weather.

Baiser (popular), la camarde, to die, “to kick the bucket,” “to snuff it;” (gamesters’) —— le cul de la vieille, not to score, to remain at “love.”

Baissier, m., man on ’Change who speculates for a fall in the funds, “bear.” See Haussier.


Baite, f. (thieves’), house, “crib.”

Bajaf, m. (popular), a stout, plethoric man. Gros ——, “forty guts.”

Bajoter (popular), to chatter, “to gabble.”

Bal, m. (military), extra drill (called a “hoxter” at the Royal Military Academy).

Baladage, balladage, m. (popular), chanteur au ——, street singer, “street pitcher.”

Balade, ballade, f. (popular and familiar), walk, stroll, lounge, “miking.” Canot de ——, pleasure boat. Faire une ——, se payer une ——, to take a walk. Chanteur à la ——, itinerant singer, “chaunter.” (Thieves’) Balade, or ballade, pocket; also called “fouillouse, profonde, valade,” and by English rogues, “sky-rocket, cly, or brigh.”

Balader (thieves’), to choose; to seek. (Popular) Se ——, to take a walk; to stroll; “to mike;” to make off; to run away, “to cut one’s lucky.” See Patatrot.

Baladeur, m. (popular), one who takes a walk.

Baladeuse, f. (popular), woman with no heart for work and who is fond of idly strolling about.

Balai, m. (hawkers’), police officer, or gendarme, “crusher;” (military) —— à plumes, plumes of shako. (Popular) Balai, the last ’bus or tramcar at night. Donner du —— à quelqu’un, to drive one away.

Balancement, m. (clerks’), dismissal, “the sack.”

Balancer (popular), to throw at a distance; —— quelqu’un, to dismiss from one’s employment, “to give the sack;” to get rid of one; to make fun of one; to hoax, “to bamboozle;” (thieves’) —— la rouscaillante, to speak, or “to rap;” —— sa canne is said of a vagrant who takes to thieving, of a convict who makes his escape, or of a ticket-of-leave man who breaks bounds; —— sa largue, to get rid of one’s mistress, “to bury a Moll;” —— ses alènes, to turn honest; to forsake the burglar’s implements for the murderer’s knife; —— ses chasses, to gaze about, “to stag;” —— son chiffon rouge, to talk, “to wag one’s red rag;” —— une lazagne, to send a letter, “screeve,” or “stiff.”

Balanceur, m. (thieves’), de braise, money changer. An allusion to the practice of weighing money.

Balancier, m. (popular), faire le ——, to wait for one.

Balançoir, balançon, m. (thieves’), window-bar.

Balançoire, f. (familiar), fib, “flam;” nonsense; stupid joke. Envoyer à la ——, to get rid of one, to invite one to make himself scarce, or to send one to the deuce.

Balançon, m. (thieves’), iron hammer; window-bar.

Balandrin, m. (popular), parcel made up in canvas; a small pedlar’s pack.

Balauder (tramps’), to beg, “to cadge.”

Balayage, m. Properly sweeping; used figuratively wholesale getting rid of. On devrait faire un balayage dans cette administration, there ought to be a wholesale dismissal of officials.

Balayer (theatrical), les planches, to be the first to sing at a concert.


Balayez-moi-ça, m. (popular), woman’s dress. Literally you just sweep that away.

Balcon, m. (popular), il y a du monde, or il y a quelqu’un au ——, an allusion to well-developed breasts.

Balconnier, m., orator who makes a practice of addressing the crowd from a balcony.

Baleine, f. (popular), disreputable woman, “bed-fagot.” Rire comme une ——, to laugh in a silly manner with mouth wide open like a whale’s.

Baliverneur, m. (popular), monger of “twaddle,” of tomfooleries, of “blarney.”

Ballade, f. (popular), aller faire une —— à la lune, to ease oneself.

Balle, f. (thieves’), secret; affair; opportunity. Ça fait ma ——, that just suits me. Manquer sa ——, to miss one’s opportunity. Faire ——, to be fasting. Faire la ——, to act according to instructions. (Popular) Balle, one-franc piece; face, “mug;” head, “block.” Il a une bonne ——, he has a good-natured looking face, or a grotesque face. Rond comme ——, is said of one who has eaten or drunk to excess; of one who is drunk, or “tight.” Un blafard de cinq balles, a five-franc piece. (Familiar) Enfant de la ——, actor’s child; actor; one who is of the same profession as his father. (Prostitutes’) Balle d’amour, handsome face. Rude ——, energetic countenance, with harsh features. Balle de coton, a blow with the fist, a “bang,” “wipe,” “one on the mug,” or a “cant in the gills.”

Ballomanie, f., mania for ballooning.

Ballon, m. (popular), glass of beer; the behind, or “tochas.” Enlever le —— à quelqu’un, to kick one in the hinder part of the body, “to toe one’s bum,” “to root,” or “to land a kick.” En ——, in prison, “in quod.” Se donner du ——, to make a dress bulge out. Se lâcher du ——, to make off rapidly, “to brush.”

Ballonné, adj. (thieves’), imprisoned, “in limbo.”

Ballot, m. (tailors’), stoppage of work.

Balloter (tailors’), to be out of work, “out of collar;” (thieves’) to throw.

Bal-musette, m., dancing place for workpeople in the suburbs.

Les bals-musette au plancher de bois qui sonne comme un tympanon sous les talons tambourinant la bourrée montagnarde ... que la musette remplit de son chant agreste.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Balochard, balocheur, m. (popular), one who idles about town carelessly and merrily.

Aussi j’laisse l’chic et les chars,
Aux feignants et aux galupiers,
Et j’suis l’roi des Balochards,
Des Balochards qui va-t-à pieds.
Richpin, Gueux de Paris.

Balocher, (popular), to be an habitué of dancing halls; to bestir oneself; to fish in troubled waters; to have on hand any unlawful business; to move things; to hang them up; to idle about carelessly and merrily, or “to mike.”

Balots, m. pl. (thieves’), lips. Se graisser les ——, to eat, “to grub.”

Balouf (popular), very strong, “spry.”

Balthazar, m. (familiar), a plentiful meal, “a tightener.”


Baluchon, m. (popular), parcel, or “peter.”

Bambino, bambochino, m. (popular), term of endearment for a child.

Bamboche, adj. (popular), être ——, to be tipsy, or “to be screwed.”

Banban, m. and f. (popular), lame person, “dot and go one;” small stunted person, “Jack Sprat.”

Banc, m. (convicts’), camp bed; (Parisians’) —— de Terre-Neuve, that part of the Boulevard between the Madeleine and Porte Saint-Denis. Probably an allusion to the ladies of fishy character, termed “morues,” or codfish, who cruise about that part of Paris, and a play on the word Terre-Neuve, Newfoundland, where the real article is fished in large quantities. (Military) Pied de ——, sergeant. See Pied.

Bancal, m. (soldiers’), cavalry sword.

Et, je me sens fier, ingambe,
D’un plumet sur mon colbac,
D’un bancal, et du flic-flac
De ce machin sur ma jambe.
A. de Chatillon.

Bande, Properly cushion of billiard table. Coller sous ——, to get one in a fix, in a “hole.”

Bande d’air, f. (theatrical), frieze painted blue so as to represent the sky.

Bande noire, f., a gang of swindlers who procure goods on false pretences and sell them below their value, “long firm.”

La Bande Noire comprises four categories of swindlers working jointly: “le courtier à la mode,” who, by means of false references, gets himself appointed as agent to important firms, generally wine merchants, jewellers, provision dealers. He calls on some small tradesmen on the verge of bankruptcy, denominated “petits faisans,” or “frères de la côte,” and offers them at a very low price merchandise which they are to dispose of, allowing him a share in the profits. The next step to be taken is to bribe a clerk of some private information office, who is thus induced to give a favourable answer to all inquiries regarding the solvency of the “petit faisan.” The courtier à la mode also bribes with a like object the doorkeeper of his clients. At length the goods are delivered by the victimized firms; now steps in the “fusilleur” or “gros faisan,” who obtains the merchandise at a price much below value—a cask of wine worth 170 francs, for instance, being transferred to him at less than half that sum—the sale often taking place at the railway goods station, especially when the “petit faisan” is an imaginary individual represented by a doorkeeper in confederacy with the gang.—Translated from the “République Française” newspaper, February, 1886.

Bander (popular), la caisse, to abscond with the cash-box. Properly to tighten the drum; —— l’ergot, to run away, “to crush.”

Bannette (popular), apron.

Bannière, f. (familiar), être en ——, to be in one’s shirt, in one’s “flesh bag.”

Banque, f. (popular), falsehood, imposition, “plant.” (Hawkers’) La ——, the puffing up of goods to allure purchasers; the confraternity of mountebanks. (Showmens’) Truc de ——, password which obtains admission to booths or raree-shows. [28](Printers’) Banque, pay. La —— a fouaillé expresses that pay has been deferred. Etre bloqué à la ——, or faire —— blèche, to receive no pay.

Banquet, m. (freemasons’), dinner.

Banquette, f. (popular), chin.

Banquezingue, m. (thieves’), banker, “rag-shop cove.”

Banquiste (thieves’), one who prepares a swindling operation.

Baptême, m. (popular), head, “nut.”

Baquet, m. (popular), washerwoman; —— insolent, same meaning (an allusion to the impudence of Parisian washerwomen); —— de science, cobbler’s tub.

Barant, m. (thieves’), gutter, brook. From the Celtic baranton, fountain.

Baraque, f., disparaging epithet for a house or establishment; (servants’) a house where masters are strict and particular; a “shop;” newspaper of which the editor is strict with respect to the productions; (schoolboys’) cupboard; (soldiers’) a service stripe; (sharpers’) a kind of swindling game of pool.

Barbaque, or bidoche, f. (popular), meat, or “carnish.”

Barbe, f. (students’), private coaching. (Popular) Avoir de la —— is said of anything old, stale. (Theatrical) Faire sa ——, to make money. (Familiar) Vieille ——, old-fashioned politician. (Printers’) Barbe, intoxication, the different stages of the happy state beingle coup de feu,” “la barbe simple,” “la barbe indigne.” Prendre une ——, to get intoxicated, or “screwed.” (Popular) Barbe, women’s bully, or “pensioner.”

Barbe à poux, m., an insulting expression especially used by cabbies, means lousy beard. Also a nickname given sometimes to the pioneers in the French army on account of their long beards.

Barbeau, m. (popular), prostitute’s bully. Properly a barbel.

Barbeaudier (thieves’), doorkeeper; turnkey, “dubsman,” or “jigger dubber;” —— de castu, hospital overseer. Concerning this expression Michel says: Cette expression, qui nous est donnée par le Dictionnaire Argotique du Jargon, a été formée par allusion à la tisane que l’on boit dans les hôpitaux, tisane assimilée ici à la bière. En effet, barbaudier avait autrefois le sens de brasseur, si l’on peut du moins s’en rapporter à Roquefort, qui ne cite pas d’exemple. En voici un, malheureusement peu concluant. Tais-toi, putain de barbaudier: Le coup d’œil purin.

Barberot, m. (convicts’), barber, a “strap.”

Barbet, m. (thieves’), the devil, “old scratch,” or “ruffin.”

Barbichon, m. (popular), monk. An allusion to the long beard generally sported by the fraternity.

Barbille, barbillon, m., girl’s bully, young hand at the business.

Barbillons, m. pl. (popular), de Beauce, vegetables (Beauce, formerly a province); —— de Varenne, turnips.

Barbot, m. (popular), duck; girl’s bully, “ponce.” See Poisson. [29](Thieves’) Vol au ——, pocket-picking, or “buz-faking.” Faire le ——, to pick pockets, “to buz,” or “to fake a cly.”

Barbotage, m., theft, “push.” From barboter, to dabble.

Barbote, f. (thieves’), searching of prisoners on their arrival at the prison, “turning over.”

Barboter (thieves’), to search on the person, “to turn over;” to steal, “to clift;” to purloin goods and sell them; —— les poches, to pick pockets, “to buz;” (familiar) —— la caisse, to appropriate the contents of a cashbox.

Barboteur, m. (thieves’), de campagne, night thief.

Barbotier, m., searcher at prisons.

Barbotin, m. (thieves’), theft; proceeds of sale of stolen goods, “swag.”

Après mon dernier barbotin,
J’ai flasqué du poivre à la rousse.

Barbue, f. (thieves), pen.

Bar-de-tire, m. (thieves’), hose.

Baril de moutarde (cads’), breech. See Vasistas.

Barka (military), enough (from the Arabic).

Baron, m. (popular), de la crasse, man ill at ease in garments which are not suited to his station in life, and which in consequence give him an awkward appearance.

Barre, f. (thieves’), needle; (popular) compter à la ——, primitive mode of reckoning by making dashes on a slate.

Barré, adj. (popular), dull-witted, “cabbage-head.”

Barrer (popular), to leave off work; to relinquish an undertaking; to scold. Se ——, to make off, “to mizzle;” to conceal oneself.

Barres, f. pl. (popular), jaws. Se rafraîchir les ——, to drink, “to wet or whet one’s whistle.”

Barrique, f. (freemasons’), decanter or bottle.

Bas (popular), de buffet, a person or thing of no consequence; —— de plafond, —— du cul, short person. Vieux —— de buffet, old coquette.

Basane, or bazane, f. (popular), skin, or “buff.” Tanner la ——, to thrash, “to tan.” (Military) Tailler une ——, is to make a certain contemptuous gesture the nature of which may best be described as follows:—

Un tel, quatre jours de salle de police, ordre du sous-officier X... a répondu à ce sous-officier en lui taillant une bazane; la main appliquée sur la braguette du pantalon, et lui faisant décrire une conversion à gauche, avec le pouce pour pivot.—Quoted by L. Merlin, La Langue Verte du Troupier.

Bas-bleuisme, m. (literary), mania for writing. Used in reference to those of the fair sex.

Bascule, f. (popular), guillotine.

Basculer (popular), to guillotine.

Bas-off, m. (Polytechnic School), under-officer.

Basourdir (thieves’), to knock down; to stun; to kill, “to give one his gruel.” See Refroidir.

Basse, f. (thieves’), the earth.

Bassin, m., bassinoire, f. (familiar), superlatively dull person, a bore.

Bassinant, adj. (familiar), dull, annoying, boring.

Bassiner (familiar), to annoy, to bore.

Bassinoire, f., large watch, “turnip.” [30]See Bassin.

Basta (popular), enough; no more. From the Spanish.

Bastimage (thieves’), work, “graft.”

Bastringue, m. (popular), low dancing-hall; noise, disturbance, “rumpus;” (prisoners’) a fine steel saw used by prisoners for cutting through iron bars.

Bastringueuse, f. (popular), female habituée of bastringues, or low dancing-saloons.

Bataclan, m. (popular), set of tools; (thieves’) house-breaking implements, or “jilts.”

J’ai déjà préparé tout mon bataclan, les fausses clefs sont essayées.—Vidocq, Mémoires.

Bataille, f., (military), chapeau en ——, cocked hat worn crosswise. Chapeau en colonne, the opposite ofen bataille.”

Bâtard, m. (popular), heap of anything.

Bate, f., (popular), être de la ——, to be happy, fortunate, to have “cocum.”

Bateau, m. (popular), mener en ——, to swindle, to deceive. Monter un ——, to impose upon; to attempt to deceive.

Bateaux, m. pl. (popular), shoes, “carts;” large shoes; shoes that let in water.

Bateaux-mouches, m. pl. (popular), large shoes.

Batelée, f. (popular), concourse of people.

Bath, or bate (popular), fine; excellent; tip-top; very well. The origin of the expression is as follows:—Towards 1848 some Bath note-paper of superior quality was hawked about in the streets of Paris and sold at a low price. Thus “papier bath” became synonymous of excellent paper. In a short time the qualifying term alone remained, and received a general application.

Un foulard tout neuf, ce qu’il y a de plus bath!—Richepin.

C’est rien ——, that is excellent, “fizzing.” C’est —— aux pommes, it is delightful. (Thieves’) Du ——, gold or silver. Faire ——, to arrest.

Batiau, m. (printers’), jour du ——, day on which the compositor makes out his account for the week. Parler ——, to talk shop.

Batif, m. (thieves’), bative, batifonne f., new; pretty, or “dimber.” La fée est bative, the girl is pretty, she is a “dimber mort.”

Batimancho (Breton), wooden shoes.

Bâtiment (familiar), être du ——, to be of a certain profession.

Bâtir (popular), sur le devant, to have a large stomach; to have something like a “corporation” growing upon one.

Bâton, m. (thieves’), creux, musket, or “dag;” —— de cire, leg; —— de réglisse, police officer, “crusher,” “copper,” or “reeler;” priest, or “devil dodger” (mountebanks’) —— de tremplin, leg. Properly tremplin, a spring board; (familiar) —— merdeux, man whom it is not easy to deal with, who cannot be humoured; (thieves’) —— rompu, ticket-of-leave convict who has broken bounds. Termed also “canne, trique, tricard, fagot, cheval de retour.”

Bâtons de chaise, m. pl. (popular), noce de ——, grand jollification, “flare up,” or “break down.”


Batouse, batouze, f. (thieves’), canvas; —— toute battante, new canvas.

Batousier, m. (thieves’), weaver.

Battage (popular), lie, “gag;” imposition; joke; humbug; damage to any article.

Battant, m. (thieves’), heart, “panter;” stomach; throat, “red lane;” tongue, “jibb.” Un bon ——, a nimble tongue. Se pousser dans le ——, to drink, “to lush.” Faire trimer le ——, to eat.

Battante, f. (popular), bell, or “ringer.”

Battaqua, m. (popular), slatternly woman, dowdy.

Batterie, f. (popular), action of lying, of deceiving, “cram;” the teeth, throat, and tongue; —— douce, joke. (Freemasons’) Batterie, applause.

Batteur, m. (popular and thieves’), liar, deceiver; —— d’antif, thief who informs another of a likely “job;” —— de beurre, stockbroker; —— de dig dig, thief who feigns to be seized with an apoplectic fit in a shop so as to facilitate a confederate’s operations by drawing the attention to himself; (popular) —— de flemme, idler.

Battoir, m. (popular), hand, “flipper;” large hand, “mutton fist.”

Battre (thieves’), to dissemble; to deceive; to make believe.

Ne t inquiète pas, je battrai si bien que je défie le plus malin de ne pas me croire emballé pour de bon.—Vidocq.

Battre à la Parisienne, to cheat, “to do;” —— à mort, to deny; —— comtois, to play the simpleton; to act in confederacy; —— de l’œil, to be dying; —— entifle, to be a confederate, or “stallsman;” —— Job, to dissemble; —— l’antif, to walk, “to pad the hoof;” to play the spy, “to nark;” —— morasse, to call outStop thief!” “to give hot beef;” —— en ruine, to visit.

Drilles ou narquois sont des soldats qui ... battent en ruine les entiffes et tous les creux des vergnes.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

(Popular) Battre la muraille, to be so drunk as “not to be able to see a hole in a ladder,” or not to be able “to lie down without holding on;” —— la semelle, to play the vagrant; —— le beurre, to speculate on ’Change; to be “fast;” to dissemble; —— le briquet, to be knock-kneed; —— sa flème, or flemme, to be idle, to be “niggling;” —— son quart is said of prostitutes who walk the streets. Des yeux qui se battent en duel, squinting eyes, or “swivel-eyes.” S’en battre l’œil, la paupière, or les fesses, not to care a straw. (Familiar) Battre son plein, to be in all the bloom of beauty or talent, “in full blast;” (military) —— la couverte, to sleep; (sailors’) —— un quart, to invent some plausible story; (printers’) —— le briquet, to knock the type against the composing-stick when in the act of placing it in.

Batture. See Batterie.

Bauce, bausse, m. (popular), master, employer, “boss;” (thieves’) rich citizen, “rag-splawger;” —— fondu, bankrupt employer, “brosier.”

Bauceresse, f. (popular), female employer.

Baucher (thieves’), se ——, to deride; to make fun of.

Baucoter (thieves’), to teaze.

Baude, f. (thieves’), venereal disease.

Baudrouillard, m. (thieves’), fugitive.

Baudrouiller (thieves’), to decamp, “to make beef.” See Patatrot.


Baudrouiller, or baudru, m. (thieves’), whip.

Bauge, f. (thieves’), box, chest, or “peter;” belly, “tripes.”

Baume, m. (popular), d’acier, surgeons’ and dentists’ instruments; —— de porte-en-terre, poison.

Bausser (popular), to work, “to graft.”

Bavard, m. (popular), barrister, lawyer, “green bag;” (military) punishment leaf in a soldier’s book.

Bavarde, f. (thieves’), mouth, “muns,” or “bone box.”

Une main autour de son colas et l’autre dans sa bavarde pour lui arquepincer le chiffon ronge.—E. Sue.

Baver (popular), to talk, “to jaw;” —— des clignots, to weep, “to nap a bib;” —— sur quelqu’un, to speak ill of one, to backbite. Baver, also to chat. The expression is old.

Venez-y, varletz, chamberières,
Qui sçavez si bien les manières,
En disant mainte bonne bave.
Villon, 15th century.

Baveux, m. (popular), one who does not know what he is talking about.

Bayafe, m. (thieves’), pistol, “barking iron,” or “barker.”

Bayafer (thieves’), to shoot.

Bazar, m. (military), house of ill-fame, “flash drum;” (servants’) house where the master is particular, “crib;” (popular) any house; (prostitutes) furniture, “marbles;” (students) college or school, “shop.”

Bazarder (popular), to sell off anything, especially one’s furniture; to barter; (military) to pillage a house; to wreck it.

Bazenne, f. (thieves’), tinder.

, m. (popular), wicker-basket which rag-pickers sling to their shoulders.

Béar, adj. (popular), laisser quelqu’un ——, to leave one in the lurch.

Beau, m., old term for swell; ex-——, superannuated swell.

Beau blond (thieves’), a poetical appellation for the sun.

Beauce, f. (thieves’), plume de ——, straw, or “strommel.”

Beauce, m., beauceresse, f., second-hand clothes-dealers of the Quartier du Temple.

Beauge, m. (thieves’), belly, “guts.”

Beausse, m. (thieves’), wealthy man, “rag-splawger,” or one who is “well-breeched.”

Bébé, m. (popular), stunted man; female dancer at fancy public balls in the dress of an infant; the dress itself; term of endearment. Mon gros ——! darling! ducky!

Bec, m. (popular), mouth, “maw;” —— salé, a thirsty mortal. Claquer du ——, to be fasting, “to be bandied.” Rincer le —— à quelqu’un, to treat one to some drink. Se rincer le ——, to wet one’s whistle. Tortiller du ——, to eat, “to peck.” Casser du ——, to have an offensive breath. Avoir la rue du —— mal pavée, to have an irregular set of teeth. Ourler son ——, to finish one’s work. (Sailors’) Se calfater le ——, to eat or drink, “to splice the mainbrace.” (Thieves’) Bec de gaz, bourrique, flique, cierge, arnif, peste, laune, vache, police-officer or detective, “pig,” “crusher,” “copper,” “cossack,” “nark,” &c.

Bécane, f. (popular), steam engine, “puffing billy;” small printing machine.

Bécarre is the latest title for Parisian dandies; and the term is [33]also used to replace the now well-worn expression “chic.” The “bécarre” must be grave and sedate after the English model, with short hair, high collar, small moustache and whiskers, but no beard. He must always look thirty years of age; must neither dance nor affect the frivolity of a floral button-hole nor any jewellery; must shake hands simply with ladies and gravely bend his head to gentlemen. “Bécarre—being translated—is ‘natural’ in a musical sense.”—Graphic, Jan. 2, 1886. The French dandy goes also by the appellations of “cocodès, petit crevé, pschutteux,” &c. See Gommeux.

Bécasse, f. (popular), female guy.

Eh! va donc, grande bécasse!

Becfigue de cordonnier, m. (popular), goose.

Bêchage, m. (familiar), sharp criticism.

Bêcher (familiar), to criticize, to run down; (popular) to beat, “to bash.” Se ——, to fight, “to have a mill.”

Bêcheur, m. (thieves’), beggar, “mumper;” juge d’instruction, a magistrate whose functions are to make out a case, and examine a prisoner before he is sent up for trial. Avocat ——, public prosecutor.

Bêcheuse, f. (thieves’), female thief.

Bécot, m. (popular), mouth, “kisser;” kiss, “bus.”

Bécoter (popular), to kiss; to fondle, “to firkytoodle.”

Becquant, m. (thieves’), chicken, “cackling cheat,” or “beaker.”

Becquetance, f. (popular), food, “grub.”

Becqueter (popular), to eat, “to peck.”

Dis-donc! viens-tu becqueter? Arrive clampin! Je paie un canon de la bouteille.—Zola.

Bedon, m. (popular), belly, “tripes,” or “the corporation.”

Bédouin, m. (popular), harsh man, or “Tartar;” one of the card-sharper tribe.

Beek (Breton), wolf. Gwelet an euz ar beek is equivalent to elle a vu le loup, that is, she has lost her maidenhead.

Beffeur, m., beffeuse, f. (popular), deceiver, one who “puts on.”

Bègue, f. (thieves’), oats; also abbreviation of bézigue, a certain game of cards.

Béguin, m. (popular), head, “nut;” a fancy. Avoir un —— pour quelqu’un, “to fancy someone, “to cotton on to one.”

Beigne, f. (popular), cuff or blow, “bang.”

Bêlant, m. (thieves’), sheep, “wool-bird.”

Belêt, m. (horse-dealers’), sorry horse, “screw.”

Belette, f. (popular), fifty-centime piece.

Belge, f. (popular), Belgian clay-pipe.

Belgique (familiar), filer sur ——, to abscond with contents of cash-box, is said also of absconding fraudulent bankrupts, who generally put the Belgian frontier between the police and their own persons.

Bélier, m. (cads’), cuckold.

Bellander (tramps’), to beg, “to cadge.”

Belle, f. (popular and familiar), attendre sa ——, to wait one’s opportunity. [34]Jouer la ——, to play a third and decisive game. La perdre ——, to lose a game which was considered as good as won; to lose an opportunity. (Thieves’) Etre servi de ——, to be imprisoned through mistaken identity; to be the victim of a false accusation. (Popular) Belle à la chandelle, f., ugly; —— de nuit, female habituée of balls and cafés; (familiar) —— petite, a young lady of the demi-monde, a “pretty horse-breaker.”

Bénard, m. (popular), breeches, “kicks,” or “sit-upons.”

Bénef, m., for bénéfice, profit.

Bénévole, m. (popular), young doctor in hospitals.

Béni-coco (military), être de la tribu des ——, to be a fool.

Béni-Mouffetard (popular), dweller of the Quartier Mouffetard, the abode of rag-pickers.

Bénir (popular), bas, to kick one in the lower part of the back, “to toe one’s bum,” “to root,” or “to land a kick;” (popular and thieves’) —— des pieds, to be hanged, “to cut caper-sauce,” or “to be scragged.”

Bénisseur, m. (familiar), one who puts on a dignified and solemn air, as if about to give his blessing, and who delivers platitudes on virtue, &c.; one who makes fine but empty promises; political man who professes to believe, and seeks to make others believe, that everything is for the best. An historical illustration of this is General Changarnier thus addressing the House on the very eve of the Coup d’Etat which was to throw most of its members into prison, “Représentants du peuple, délibérez en paix!

Benoît, m. (popular), woman’s bully, “ponce.” See Poisson.

La vrai’ vérité,
C’est qu’ les Benoîts toujours lichent
Et s’graissent les balots.
Vive eul’ bataillon d’ la guiche,
C’est nous qu’est les dos.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Benoîton, m., benoîtonne, f., people eccentric in their ways and style of dress. From a play of Sardou’s, La Famille Benoîton.

Benoîtonner, to live and dress after the style of the Benoîtons (which see).

Benoîtonnerie, f., style and ways of the Benoîtons.

Beq, m. (engravers’), work.

Béquet, m. (shoemakers’), patch of leather sewn on a boot; (wood engravers’) small block; (printers’) a composition of a few lines; paper prop placed under a forme.

Béqueter (popular), to eat, “to peck,” or “to grub.”

Béquillard, m. (popular), old man, old “codger;” (thieves’) executioner.

Béquillarde, f. (thieves’), guillotine.

Béquille, f. (thieves’), gallows, “scrag.” Properly crutch.

Béquillé, m. (thieves’), hanged person, one who has “cut caper sauce.”

Béquiller (popular), to hang; to eat, “to grub.”

Béquilleur, m. (thieves’), executioner; man who eats.

Berce. Cheval qui se ——, horse which rocks from side to side when trotting, which “wobbles.”

Berdouillard (popular), man with a fat paunch, “forty guts.”


Berdouille, f. (popular), belly, “tripes.”

T’as bouffé des haricots que t’as la berdouille gonfle.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Berge, f., or longe (thieves’), year; one year’s imprisonment, “stretch.”

Bergère, f. (popular), sweetheart, “poll;” last card in a pack.

Béribono, béricain (thieves’), silly fellow easily deceived, a “flat,” a “go along.”

Berlauder (popular), to lounge about, “to mike;” to go the round of all the wine-shops in the neighbourhood.

Berline de commerce, f. (thieves’), tradesman’s clerk.

Berlu, m. (thieves’), blind, or “hoodman.” From avoir la berlue, to see double.

Berlue, f. (thieves’), blanket, “woolly.”

Bernard, m. (popular), aller voir ——, or aller voir comment se porte madame ——, to ease oneself, “to go to Mrs. Jones.”

Bernards, m. pl. (popular), posteriors, “cheeks.”

Berniquer (popular), to go away with the intention of not returning.

Berri, m. (popular), rag-picker’s basket.

Berry, m. (Ecole Polytechnique), fatigue tunic.

Bertelo, m. (thieves’), one-franc piece.

Bertrand, m. (familiar), a swindler who is swindled by his confederates, who acts as a cat’s-paw of other rogues.

Berzélius, m. (college), watch.

Besoin, m. (popular), autel de ——, house of ill-fame, or “nanny-shop.”

Besouille, f. (thieves’), belt. From bezzi, Italian, small coin kept in a belt.

Bessons, m. pl. (popular), the breasts, “dairies.” Properly twins.

Bestiasse, f. (popular), arrant fool; dullard, “buffle-head.”

Bête, f. and adj. (thieves’), confederate in a swindle at billiards. See Bachotter. (Popular) —— à bon Dieu, harmless person (properly lady-bird); —— à cornes, fork; lithographic press; —— à deux fins, walking-stick; —— à pain, a man; also a man who keeps a woman; —— comme ses pieds, arrant fool; —— comme chou, extremely stupid; very easy; —— épaulée, girl who has lost her maidenhead (this expression has passed into the language). Une —— rouge, an advanced Republican, a Radical. Thus termed by the Conservatives. Called also “démoc-soc.”

Bêtises, f. pl. (popular), questionable, or “blue,” talk.

Bettander (thieves’), to beg, “to mump,” or “cadge.”

Betterave, f. (popular), drunkard’s nose, a nose with “grog blossoms,” or a “copper nose,” such as is possessed by an “admiral of the red.”

Beuglant, m. (familiar), low music hall; music hall.

Beugler (popular), to weep, “to nap one’s bib.”

Beugne, f. (popular), blow, “clout,” “bang,” or “wipe.”

Beurloquin, m. (popular), proprietor of boot warehouse of a very inferior sort.

Beurlot, m. (popular), shoemaker in a small way.


Beurre, m. (familiar), coin, “oof;” more or less lawful gains. Faire son ——, to make considerable profits. Mettre du —— dans ses épinards, to add to one’s means. Y aller de son ——, to make a large outlay of money in some business. C’est un ——, it is excellent, “nobby.” Avoir l’assiette au Beurre. See Avoir. Au prix où est le ——. See Au. Avoir du —— sur la tête. See Avoir.

Beurre demi-sel, m. (popular), girl or woman already tainted, in a fair way of becoming a prostitute.

Beurrier, m. (thieves’), banker, “rag-shop cove.”

Bézef (popular), much. From the Arabic.

Biard (thieves’), side. Probably from biais.

Bibard, m. (popular), drunkard, or “mop;” debauchee, or “sad dog.”

Bibarder (popular), to grow old.

Bibarderie, f. (popular), old age.

Bibasse, birbasse, adj. and subst., f. (popular), old; old woman.

Moi j’suis birbass’, j’ai b’soin d’larton.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Bibasserie. See Bibarderie.

Bibassier, m. (popular), sulky grumbler; over-particular man; drunkard, “bubber,” or “lushington.”

Bibelot (familiar), any object; (soldiers’) belongings; knapsack or portmanteau; (printers’) sundry small jobs. Properly any small articles of artistic workmanship; knick-knacks.

Bibeloter (popular), to sell one’s belongings, one’s “traps;” —— une affaire, to do some piece of business. Se ——, to make oneself comfortable; to do something to one’s best advantage.

Bibeloteur, m. (familiar), a lover of knick-knacks; one who collects knick-knacks.

Bibelotier, m., printers’ man who works at sundry small jobs.

Bibi, m. (popular), term of endearment generally addressed to young boys; woman’s bonnet out of fashion. C’est pour ——, that’s for me, for “number one.” La Muse à ——, the title of a collection of poems by Gill, literally my own muse. A ——! (printers’) to Bedlam! abbreviation of Bicêtre, Paris depôt for lunatics. (Thieves’) Bibi, skeleton key, or “betty;” (military) infantry soldier, “mud-crusher,” “wobbler,” or “beetle-crusher.”

Bibine, f., the name given by rag-pickers to a wine-shop, or “boozing-ken.”

Biboire, f., (schoolboys’), small leather or india-rubber cup.

Bibon, m. (popular), disreputable old man.

Bicarré, m. (college), fourth year pupil in the class for higher mathematics.

Biceps, m. (familiar), avoir du ——, to be strong. Tâter le ——, to try and insinuate oneself into a person’s good graces, “to suck up.”

Bich, kornik, or kubik (Breton), devil.

Biche, f. (familiar), term of endearment, “ducky!”; girl leading a gay life, or “pretty horse-breaker.”

Bicheganego (Breton), potatoes.

Bicher (popular), to kiss. (Rodfishers’) Ça biche, there’s a bite; and in popular language, all right.


Bicherie, f. (familiar), the world ofbiches” or “cocottes.” Haute ——, the world of fashionable prostitutes.

C’est là où ... on voit défiler avec un frou-frou de soie, la haute et la basse bicherie en quête d’une proie, quærens quem devoret.—Frébault, La Vie à Paris.

Bichon, m., term of endearment. Mon ——! darling. (Popular) Un ——, a Sodomist.

Bichonner coco (soldiers’), to groom one’s horse.

Bichons, m. pl. (popular), shoes with bows.

Bichot, m. (thieves’), bishop. Probably from the English.

Bidache, f. See Bidoche.

Bidard, m. (popular), lucky.

Bidet, m. (convicts’), string which is contrived so as to enable prisoners to send a letter, and receive the answer by the same means.

Bidoche, or barbaque, f. (popular), meat, “bull;” (military) piece of meat.

Bidon de zinc, m. (military), blockhead. Properly a can, flask.

Bidonner (popular), to drink freely, “to swig;” (sailors’) —— à la cambuse, to drink at the canteen, “to splice the mainbrace.”

Bie (Breton cant), beer; water.

Bien (popular), pansé, intoxicated, “screwed.” Mon ——, my husband, or “old man;” my wife, or “old woman.” Etre du dernier —— avec, to be on the most intimate terms with. Etre ——, to be tipsy, “screwed.” Etre en train de —— faire, to be eating. Un homme ——, une femme ——, means a person of the middle class; well-dressed people.

Bienséant, m. (popular), the behind, or “tochas.” See Vasistas.

Bier (thieves’), to go.

Ils entrent dans le creux, doublent de la batouze, des limes, de l’artie et puis doucement happent le taillis et bient attendre ceux qui se portaient sur le grand trimar.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Bière, f. (popular), domino box.

Biffe, f. (popular), rag-pickers’ trade.

Biffer (popular), to ply the rag-pickers’ trade; to eat greedily, “to wolf.”

Biffeton, m. (thieves’), letter, “screeve,” or “stiff;” (popular) counter-mark at theatres. Donner sur le ——, to read an indictment; to give information as to the prisoner’s character.

Biffin, or bifin, m. (popular), rag-picker, or “bone-grubber;” a foot soldier, or “wobbler,” his knapsack being assimilated to a rag-picker’s basket.

Biffre, m. (popular), food, “grub.” Passer à ——, to eat. Passer à —— à train express, to bolt down one’s food, “to guzzle.”

Bifteck, m. (popular), à maquart, filthy, “chatty” individual (Maquart is the name of a knacker); —— de chamareuse, flat sausage (chamareuse, a working girl); —— de grisette, flat sausage. Faire du ——, to strike, “to clump;” to ride a hard trotting horse, which sometimes makes one’s breech raw.

Bifteckifère, adj., that which procures one’s living, one’s “bread and cheese.”

Bifurqué. At the colleges of the University students may, after the course of “troisième,” take up science and mathematics instead of continuing the classics. This is called bifurcation.

Bigard, m. (thieves’), hole.

Bigardé (thieves’), pierced.


Bige, bigeois, bigeot, m. (thieves’), blockhead, “go along;” dupe, or “gull.”

Bigorne, m. (thieves’), jaspiner or rouscailler ——, to talk cant, “to patter flash.”

Bigorneau, m. (popular), police officer, or “crusher;” marine, or “jolly.”

Bigorniau, m. (popular), native of Auvergne.

Bigornion, m. (popular), falsehood, “swack up.”

Bigoter (thieves’), to play the religious hypocrite.

Bigoteur, m. (thieves’), devout person.

Bigotter, (popular), to pray.

Bigrement (familiar), a forcible expression, extremely, “awfully.”

Bijou, m. (popular), broken victuals, or “manablins;” (freemasons’) badge; —— de loge, badge worn on the left side; —— de l’ordre, emblem.

Bijouter (thieves’), to steal jewels.

Bijouterie, f. (popular), money advanced on wages, “dead-horse.”

Bijoutier, m., bijoutière, f. (popular), retailer ofarlequins” (which see); bijoutier sur le genou, en cuir, shoemaker, or “snob.”

Bilboquet, m. (popular), person with a large head; man who is made fun of; a laughing-stock; a litre bottle of wine. Bilboquet, properly cup and ball. (Printers’) sundry small jobs.

Billancer (thieves’), to serve one’s full term of imprisonment.

Billancher (popular), to pay, “to fork out,” “to shell out.”

Billard, m. (popular), dévisser son, to die, or “to kick the bucket.”

Bille, f. (thieves), money, or “pieces” (from billon); (popular) head, “tibby,” “block,” “nut,” “canister,” “chump,” “costard,” “attic,” &c.; —— à châtaigne, grotesque head (it is the practice in France to carve chestnuts into grotesque heads); —— de billard, bald pate, “bladder of lard;” —— de bœuf, chitterling.

Billemon, billemont, m. (thieves’), bank-note, “soft,” “rag,” or “flimsy.”

Billeoz (Breton), money.

Billeozi (Breton), to pay.

Biller (thieves’), to pay, “to dub.”

Billet, m. (popular), direct pour Charenton, absinthe taken neat. Prendre un —— de parterre, to fall, “to come a cropper.” Je vous en fous or fiche mon ——, I assure you it is a fact, “on my Davy,” “’pon my sivvy,” or “no flies.”

Billez (Breton), girl; peasant woman.

Bince, m. (thieves’), knife, “chive.”

Malheur aux pantres de province,
Souvent lardé d’un coup de bince,
Le micheton nu se sauvait.
Richepin, Gueux de Paris.

Binelle, f. (popular), bankruptcy.

Binellier, m. (popular), bankrupt, “brosier.”

Binellophe, f. (popular), fraudulent bankruptcy.

Binette, f. (familiar), face, “phiz;” —— à la désastre, gloomy face. Prendre la —— à quelqu’un, to take one’s portrait. Quelle sale ——, what an ugly face! a regular “knocker face.” Une drôle de ——, queer face.

Binômes, chums working together at the Ecole Polytechnique. It is customary for students to pair off for work.

Binwio (Breton), male organs of generation. Literally tools.


Bique, f. (popular), old horse; —— et bouque, hermaphrodite (equivalent to “chèvre et bouc”).

Birbade, birbasse, birbe, birbette, birbon, m. and adj. (thieves’ and popular), old; old man; old woman.

Birbassier. See Bibassier.

Birbe (popular), old man, old “codger;” (thieves’) —— dab, grandfather.

Birbette, m. (popular), a very old man.

Biribi, m. (thieves’), short crowbar used by housebreakers, “James,” “the stick,” or “jemmy.” Termed also “pince monseigneur, rigolo, l’enfant, Jacques, sucre de pomme, dauphin.”

Birlibi, m. (thieves’), game played by swindling gamblers with walnut shells and dice.

Birmingham (familiar), rasoir de —— (superlative of rasoir), bore.

Bisard, m. (thieves’), bellows (from bise, wind).

Biscaye (thieves’), Bicêtre, a prison.

Biscayen (thieves’), madman, one who is “balmy.” (Bicêtre has a dépôt for lunatics.)

Bischoff, m. drink prepared with white wine, lemon, and sugar.

Biscope, or viscope, f. (cads’), cap.

La viscope en arrière et la trombine au vent,
L’œil marlou, il entra chez le zingue.
Richepin, Gueux de Paris.

Biser (familiar), to kiss.

Bismarck, couleur ——, brown colour; —— en colère, —— malade, are various shades of brown.

Bismarcker (gamesters’), to mark twice; to appropriate by fair or foul means. It is to be presumed this is an allusion to Bismarck’s alleged summary ways of getting possession of divers territories.

Bisquant, adj. (popular), provoking, annoying.

Bissard, m. (popular), brown bread.

Bistourné, m. (popular), hunting horn.

Bistro, bistrot, m. (popular), landlord of wine-shop.

Bitte et bosse (sailors’), carousing exclamation.

Laisse arriver! voiles largues, et remplissez les boujarons, vous autres! Tout à la noce! Bitte et bosse!—Richepin, La Glu.

Bitter cuirassé, m. (familiar), mixture of bitters and curaçoa.

Bitume, m. foot-pavement. Demoiselle du ——, street-walker. Faire le ——, to walk the street. Fouler, or polir le ——, to saunter on the boulevard.

Bitumer is said of women who walk the streets.

Biture, f. (familiar), excessive indulgence in food or drink, “scorf.”

Biturer (popular), se ——, to indulge in abiture” (which see).

Blackboulage, m. (familiar), blackballing.

Blackbouler (familiar), to blackball. The expression has now a wider range, and is used specially in reference to unreturned candidates to Parliament. Un blackboulé du suffrage universel, an unreturned candidate.

Blafard (cads’), silver coin.

Il avait vu sauter une pièce de cent sous,
Se cognant au trottoir dans un bruit de cymbales,
Un écu flambant neuf, un blafard de cinq balles.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Blafarde (cads’), death.


Blague, f. Literally facility of speech, not of a very high order; talk; humbug; fib; chaff; joke. Avoir de la ——, to have a ready tongue. N’avoir que la ——, to be a facile utterer of empty words. Avoir la —— du métier, to be an adept in showing off knowledge of things relating to one’s profession. Nous avons fait deux heures de ——, we talked together for two hours. Pas de ——! none of your nonsense; let us be serious. Pousser une ——, to cram up; to joke. Sans ——, I am not joking. Une bonne ——, a good joke; a good story. Une mauvaise ——, a bad, ill-natured joke; bad trick. Quelle ——, what humbug! what a story! Ne faire que des blagues is said of a literary man whose productions are of no importance. (Popular) Blague sous l’aisselle! no more humbugging! I am not joking! —— dans le coin! joking apart; seriously.

Blaguer (familiar), to chat; to talk; to joke; not to be in earnest; to draw the long-bow; to quiz, to chaff, to humbug one, “to pull the leg;” to make a jaunty show of courage. Tu blagues tout le temps, you talk all the time. Il avait l’air de blaguer mais il n’était pas à la noce, he made a show of bravery, but he was far from being comfortable.

Blagues à tabac, f. (popular), withered bosoms.

Blagueur, blagueuse (familiar), humbug; story-teller; one who rails at, scoffer.

Blaichard (popular), clerk, or “quill-driver.”

Et les ouvriers en vidant à midi une bonne chopine, la trogne allumée, les regards souriants, se moquent des déjetés, des blaichards.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Blair, blaire, m. (popular), nose, “boko,” “smeller,” “snorter,” or “conk.” Se piquer le ——, to get tipsy. See Se sculpter.

Si les prop’ à rien...
Ont l’droit de s’piquer l’blaire,
Moi qu’ai toujours à faire...
J’peux boire un coup d’bleu.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Blaireau, m. (military), recruit, or “Johnny raw;” a broom; foolish young man who aspires to literary honours and who squanders his money in the company of journalistic Bohemians.

Blanc, m. (popular), street-walker; white wine; white brandy; one-franc piece. (Printers’) Jeter du ——, to interline. (Thieves’) N’être pas ——, to have a misdeed on one’s conscience; to be liable to be “wanted.” (Military) Faire faire —— à quelqu’un de sa bourse, to draw freely on another’s purse; to live at another’s expense in a mean and paltry manner, “to spunge.” (Familiar) Blanc, one of the Legitimist party. The appellation used to be given in 1851 to Monarchists or Bonapartists.

Enfin pour terminer l’histoire,
De mon bœuf blanc ne parlons plus.
Je veux le mener à la foire,
A qui le veut pour dix écus.
De quelque sot fait-il l’affaire,
Je le donne pour peu d’argent,
Car je sais qu’en France on préfère
Le rouge au blanc.
Pierre Barrère, 1851.

Blanchemont, m. (thieves’), pivois de ——, white wine.

Blanches, f. pl. (printers’). The different varieties of type are: “blanches, grasses, maigres, allongées, noires, larges, ombrées, perlées, l’Anglaise, l’Américaine, la grosse Normande.”

Blanchi, adj. (popular), mal ——, negro, or “darkey.”

Blanchir (journalists’), to make many breaks in one’s manuscript, much fresh-a-lining.


Blanchisseur, m. (popular), barrister; (literary) one who revises a manuscript, who gives it the proper literary form.

Blanchisseuse de tuyaux de pipe (popular), variety of prostitute. See Gadoue.

Blanc-partout, m. (popular), pastry-cook’s boy.

Plus généralement connu sous le nom de gâte-sauce, désigné aussi sous le nom de blanc-partout, le patronnet est ce petit bout d’homme que l’on rencontre environ tous les cinq cents pas.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Blancs, m. pl. (familiar), d’Eu, partisans of the D’Orléans family; —— d’Espagne, Carlists.

Blanc-vilain, m. (popular), man whose functions consist in throwing poisoned meat to wandering dogs.

Blanquette, f. (thieves’), silver coin; silver plate.

Il tira de sa poche onze couverts d’argent et deux montres d’or qu’il posa sur le guéridon. 400 balles tout cela, ce n’est pas cher, les bogues d’Orient et la blanquette, allons aboule du carle.—Vidocq, Mémoires.

Blanquetter (thieves’), to silver.

Blanquettier (thieves’), silverer.

Blard, or blavard, m. (thieves’), shawl.

Blasé, e, adj. (thieves’), swollen. From the German blasen, to blow.

Blave, blavin, m. (thieves’), handkerchief, “muckinger” (from the old word blave, blue); necktie, “neckinger.”

Blavin, m. (thieves’), pocket-pistol, “pops.” An allusion to blavin, pocket-handkerchief.

Blaviniste, m. (thieves’), pickpocket who devotes his attention to handkerchiefs, “stook hauler.”

Blé, blé battu, m. (popular), money, “loaver.”

Blèche, adj., middling; bad; ugly. Faire banque ——, not to get any pay. Faire ——, to make a “bad” at a game, such as the game of fives for instance.

Bleu, m. (military), recruit, or “Johnny raw;” new-comer at the cavalry school of Saumur; (thieves’) cloak; also name given to Republican soldiers by the Royalist rebels of Brittany in 1793. After 1815 the Monarchists gave the appellation to Bonapartists. (Popular) Petit ——, red wine. Avoir un coup d’——, to be slightly tipsy, “elevated.” See Pompette.

Quand j’siffle un canon...
C’est pas pour faire l’pantre.
C’est qu’ j’ai plus d’cœur au ventre...
Après un coup d’bleu.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

(Familiar) Bleu, adj. astounding; incredible; hard to stomach. En être ——; en bailler tout ——; en rester tout ——, to be stupefied, much annoyed or disappointed, “to look blue;” to be suddenly in a great rage. (Theatrical) Etre ——, to be utterly worthless.

Bleue (familiar), elle est —— celle-là; en voilà une de ——; je la trouve ——, refers to anything incredible, disappointing, annoying, hard to stomach. Une colère ——, violent rage.

Blézimarder (theatrical), to interrupt an actor.

Bloc, m., military cell, prison, “mill,” “Irish theatre,” “jigger.”

Blockaus, m. (military), shako.

Blond, m. (popular), beau ——, man who is neither fair nor handsome; (thieves’) the sun.

Blonde, f. (popular), bottle of white wine; sweetheart, or “jomer;” glass of ale at certain cafés, “brunebeing the denomination for porter.


Bloqué, adj. (printers’), être —— à la banque, to receive no pay.

Bloquer (military), to imprison, confine; (popular) to sell, to forsake; (printers’) to replace temporarily one letter by another, to use a “turned sort.”

Bloquir (popular), to sell.

Blot, m. (popular and thieves’), price; affair; concern in anything; share, or “whack.” Ça fait mon ——, that suits me. Nib dans mes blots, that is not my affair; that does not suit me.

L’turbin c’est bon pour qui qu’est mouche,
A moi, il fait nib dans mes blots.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Bloumard, m., bloume, f. (popular), hat, “tile.”

Blouse, f. (familiar), the working classes. Mettre quelqu’un dans la ——, to imprison, or cause one to fall into a snare. Une blouse is properly a billiard pocket.

Blousier, m. (familiar), cad, “rank outsider.”

Bobe, m. (thieves’), watch, “tattler.” Faire le ——, to ease a drunkard of his watch, “to claim a canon’s red toy.”

Bobêchon, m. (popular), head, “nut.” Se monter le ——, to be enthusiastic.

Bobelins, m. pl. (popular), boots, “hock-dockies,” or “trotter-cases.” See Ripatons.

Bobinasse, f. (popular), head, “block.”

Bobine, f. (popular), face, “mug,” (old word bobe, grimace). Une sale ——, ugly face. Plus de fil sur la ——. See Avoir. Se ficher de la —— à quelqu’un, to laugh at one.

Un cocher passe, je l’appelle,
Et j’lui dis: dites donc l’ami;
V’là deux francs, j’prends vot’ berline
Conduisez-moi Parc Monceau.
Deux francs! tu t’fiches d’ma bobine,
Va donc, eh! fourneau!
Parisian Song.

Bobino. See Bobe.

Bobonne, for bonne, nursery-maid; servant girl, or “slavey.”

Bobosse, f. (popular), humpback, “lord.”

Bobottier, m. (popular), one who complains apropos of nothing. From bobo, a slight ailment.

Boc, m. (popular), house of ill-fame, “nanny-shop.”

Bocal, m. (popular), lodgings, “crib;” stomach, “bread basket.” Se coller quelque chose dans le ——, to eat. Se rincer le ——, to drink, “to wet one’s whistle.” (Thieves’) Bocal, pane, glass.

Bocard, m. (popular), café; house of ill-fame, “nanny-shop;” —— panné, small coffee-shop.

Bocari, m. (thieves’), the town of Beaucaire.

Boche, m. (popular), rake, “rip,” “molrower,” or “beard splitter.” Tête de ——, an expression applied to a dull-witted person. Literally wooden head. Also a German.

Bocker (familiar), to drink bocks.

Bocotter, to grumble; to mutter. Literally to bleat like a bocquotte, goat.

Bocque, bogue, m. (thieves’), watch, “tattler.”

Bocson (common), house of ill-fame, “nanny-shop;” (thieves’) lodgings, “dossing-ken.”

Montron ouvre ta lourde,
Si tu veux que j’aboule
Et piausse en ton bocson.
Vidocq, Mémoires.

Bœuf, m. (popular), king of playing cards; shoemaker’s workman, or journeyman tailor, who does rough jobs. Avoir son ——, to get angry, “to nab the rust.” Etre le ——, to work without profit. Se mettre dans le ——, to be reduced in circumstances, an allusion to bœuf bouilli[43], very plain fare. (Printers’) Bœuf, composition of a few lines done for an absentee. Bœuf, adj., extraordinary, “stunning;” enormous; synonymous of “chic” at the Ecole Saint-Cyr; (cads’) pleasant.

Bœufier, m. (popular), man of choleric disposition, one prone “to nab his rust.”

Boffete, f., box on the ear, “buck-horse.” From the old word buffet.

Bog, or bogue, f. (thieves’), watch; —— en jonc, —— d’orient, gold watch, “red ’un,” or “red toy;” —— en plâtre, silver watch, “white ’un.”

J’enflaque sa limace.
Son bogue, ses frusques, ses passes.

Boguiste (thieves’), watch-maker.

Boire (printers’), de l’encre is said of one who on joining a party of boon companions finds all the liquor has been disposed of. He will then probably exclaim,

Est-ce que vous croyez que je vais boire de l’encre?—Boutmy.

(Familiar) —— dans la grande tasse, to be drowned; (actors’) —— du lait, to obtain applause; —— une goutte, to be hissed, “to be goosed.”

Bois, m. (cads’), pourri, tinder; (thieves’) —— tortu, vine. (Theatrical) Avoir du ——, or mettre du ——, to have friends distributed here and there among the spectators, whose applause excites the enthusiasm of the audience. Literally to put on fuel.

Boisseau, m. (popular), shako; tall hat, “chimney pot.” For synonyms see Tubard; litre wine bottle.

Boissonner (popular), to drink heavily, “to swill.”

Boissonneur (popular), assiduous frequenter of wine-shop, a “lushington.”

Boissonnier (popular), one who drinks heavily, a “lushington.”

Boîte, f. (familiar and popular), mean house, lodging-house, or restaurant; trading establishment managed in an unbusiness-like manner; one’s employer’s establishment; workshop; crammer’s establishment; disorderly household; carriage, or “trap;” —— à cornes, hat or cap; —— à dominos, coffin, “cold meat box;” —— à gaz, stomach; —— à surprises, the head of a learned man; —— à violon, coffin; —— au sel, head, “tibby;” —— aux cailloux, prison, “stone-jug;” —— d’échantillons, latrine tub; (thieves’) —— à Pandore, box containing soft wax for taking imprints of keyholes; (military) guard-room, “jigger;” —— aux réflexions, cells. Boulotter de la ——, coucher à la ——, to get frequently locked up. Grosse ——, prison. (Printers) Boîte, printer’s shop, and more particularly one of the inferior sort.

“C’est une boîte,” dit un vieux singe; “il y a toujours mèche, mais hasard! au bout de la quinzaine, banque blèche.”

Faire sa ——, to distribute into one’s case. Pilleur de ——, or fricoteur, one who takes on the sly type from fellow compositor’s case.

Boiter (popular), des calots, to squint, to be “boss-eyed;” (thieves’) —— des chasses, to squint, to be “squinny-eyed.”

Boléro, m. (familiar), a kind of lady’s hat, Spanish fashion.


Bolivar, m. (popular), hat, “tile.”

Bombe, f. (popular), wine measure, about half a litre; (military) —— de vieux oint, bladder of lard. Gare la ——! look out for squalls!

Bombé, m. (popular), hunchback, “lord.”

Bon, man to be relied on in any circumstance; one who is “game;” man wanted by the police. Etre le ——, to be arrested, or the right man. Vous êtes —— vous! you amuse me! well, that’s good! (Printers’) Bon, proof which bears the author’s intimation, “bon à tirer,” for press. Avoir du ——, to have some composition not entered in one’s account, and reserved for the next. (Familiar) Bon jeune homme, candid young man, in other terms greenhorn; (popular) —— pour cadet is said of a dull paper, or of an unpleasant letter; —— sang de bon sang, mild oath elicited by astonishment or indignation. (Popular and familiar) Etre des bons, to be all right, safe. Nous arrivons à temps, nous sommes des bons. Le —— endroit, posteriors. Donner un coup de pied juste au —— endroit, to kick one’s behind, to “hoof one’s bum.” Arriver —— premier, to surpass all rivals, “to beat hollow.”

Bonbon, m. (popular), pimple.

Bonbonnière, f. (popular), latrine tub; —— à filous, omnibus.

Bonde (thieves’), central prison.

Bon-Dieu (soldiers’), sword. (Popular) Il n’y a pas de ——, that is, il n’y a pas de —— qui puisse empêcher cela. (Convicts’) Short diary of fatigue parties at the hulks.

Bondieusard, m. (familiar), bigot; dealer in articles used for worship in churches.

Bondieusardisme, f., bigotry.

Bondieuserie, f., article used for worship; dealing in such articles.

Bonhomme, m. (thieves’), saint. (Familiar and popular) Un ——, an individual, a “party.” Mon ——, my good fellow. Petit —— de chemin, see Aller.

Bonicard, m., bonicarde, f. (thieves’), old man, old woman.

Boniface, m. (popular), simple-minded man, “flat,” or “greenhorn.”

Bonifacement (popular), with simplicity.

Boniment, m. (familiar), puffing speech of quacks, of mountebanks, of shopmen, of street vendors, of three-card-trick sharpers, and generally clap-trap speech in recommendation or explanation of anything. Richepin, in his Pavé, gives a good specimen of the “boniment” of a “maquilleur de brèmes,” or three-card-trick sharper.

Accroupi, les doigts tripotant trois cartes au ras du sol, le pif en l’air, les yeux dansants, un voyou en chapeau melon glapit son boniment d’une voix à la fois traînante et volubile:.... C’est moi qui perds. Tant pire, mon p’tit père! Rasé, le banquier! Encore un tour, mon amour. V’là le cœur, cochon de bonheur! C’est pour finir. Mon fond, qui se fond. Trèfle qui gagne. Carreau, c’est le bagne. Cœur, du beurre, pour le voyeur. Trèfle, c’est tabac! Tabac pour papa. Qui qu’en veut? Un peu, mon neveu! La v’là. Le trèfle gagne! Le cœur perd. Le carreau perd. Voyez la danse! Ca recommence. Je le mets là. Il est ici, merci. Vous allez bien? Moi aussi. Elle passe. Elle dépasse. C’est moi qui trépasse, hélas!... Regardez bien! C’est le coup de chien. Passé! C’est assez! Enfoncé! Il y a vingt-cinque francs au jeu! &c.

Bonique, m. (thieves’), white-haired old man.


Bonir (thieves’), to talk; to say, “to patter;” —— au ratichon, to confess to a priest.

Le dardant riffaudait ses lombes,
Lubre il bonissait aux palombes,
Vous grublez comme un guichemard.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Bonisseur, m., one who makes aboniment” (which see); (thieves’) barrister; —— de la bate, witness for the defence.

Bonjour, m. (thieves’), voleur au ——, bonjourier, or chevalier grimpant, thief who, at an early hour, enters a house or hotel, walks into a room, and appropriates any suitable article. If the person in bed wakes up, the rogue politely apologises for his pretended error. Other thieves of the same description commence operations at dinner-time. They enter a dining-room, and seize the silver plate laid out on the table. This is called “goupiner à la desserte.”

Bon motif, m. (familiar). Faire la cour à une fille pour le ——, to make love to a girl with honourable intentions.

Bonne, adj. (familiar), amusing, or the reverse. Elle est bien ——, what a good joke! what a joke! Elle est ——, celle-là! well, it is too bad! what next? (Popular) Etre à la ——, to be loved. Etre de la ——, to be lucky. Avoir à la ——, to like. Bonne fortanche, female soothsayer; —— grâce, cloth used by tailors as wrappers.

Bonnet, m., secret covenant among printers.

Espèce de ligue offensive et défensive que forment quelques compositeurs employés depuis longtemps dans une maison et qui ont tous, pour ainsi dire la tête sous le même bonnet. Rien de moins fraternel que le bonnet. Il fait la pluie et le beau temps dans un atelier, distribue les mises en page et les travaux les plus avantageux à ceux qui en font partie.—E. Boutmy, Argot des Typographes.

(Thieves’) —— carré, judge, or “cove with the jazey;” —— vert à perpète, one sentenced to penal servitude for life, or “lifer;” (popular) —— de coton, lumbering, weak man, or “sappy;” mean man, or “scurf;” —— de nuit sans coiffe, man of a melancholy disposition, or “croaker;” —— d’évêque, rump of a fowl, or “parson’s nose.” (Familiar) Bonnet, small box at theatres; —— jaune, twenty-franc coin; (military) —— de police, recruit, or “Johnny raw.”

Bonneteau, m., jeu de ——, card-sharping game; three-card trick.

Bonneteur, m., card-sharper, or “broadsman.”

Bonnichon, m. (popular), working girl’s cap.

Bono (popular), good, middling.

Bons, m. (military), la sonnerie des —— de tabac, (ironical) trumpet call for those confined to barracks.

Bordé (cocottes’), être ——, to have renounced the pleasures of love, “sua sponte,” or otherwise. Literally to be lying in bed with the bed-clothes tucked in.

Bordée, f. (familiar and popular), unlawful absence. Tirer une ——, to absent oneself for some amusement of a questionable character; to go “on the booze.”

La paie de grande quinzaine emplissait le trottoir d’une bousculade de gouapeurs tirant une bordée.—Zola.

Bordée de coups de poings, rapid delivery of blows, or “fibbing.”

Bordel, m. (popular), small faggot; tools; —— ambulant, hackney coach.

Bordelier (popular), libertine, “molrower,” or “mutton-monger.”


Borgne, m. (cads’), breech, or “blind cheek;” ace of cards; —— de cœur, ace of hearts, “pig’s eye.”

Borgner (cads’), to look.

Borgniat (popular), one-eyed man, “boss-eyed.”

Borne de vieux oint, f. (popular), bladder of lard.

Bos (Breton), well; well done!

Bosco, boscot, boscotte, stunted man or woman; hunchback.

Bosse, f. (familiar), excessive eating and drinking; excess of any kind. Se donner, se flanquer une ——, to get a good fill, “a tightener.” Se faire des bosses, to amuse oneself amazingly. Se donner, se flanquer une —— de rire, to split with laughter. Rouler sa ——, to go along. Tomber sur la ——, to attack, to “pitch into.”

Bosselard, m. (familiar), silk hat, “tile.”

Bosser (popular), to laugh; to amuse oneself.

Bossmar, m. (thieves’), hunchback, “lord.”

Bossoirs, m. pl. (sailors’), bosoms. Gabarit sans ——, thin breasts.

Botte, f. (popular), de neuf jours, or en gaîté, boot out at the sole. Jours, literally days, chinks. Du jus de ——, kicks. (Sailors’) Jus de —— premier brin, rum of the first quality.

Botter (popular), to suit. Ça me botte, that just suits me, just the thing for me. Botter, to kick one’s breech, or “to toe one’s bum,” “to root,” or “to land a kick.”

Bottier (popular), one who is fond of kicking.

Bouant, m. (cads’), pig, or “angel.” From boue, mud.

Boubane, f. (thieves’), wig, “periwinkle.”

Boubouar (Breton), ox; cattle in general.

Boubouerien (Breton), threshing machine.

Boubouille (popular), bad cookery.

Bouc, m. (popular), husband whose wife is unfaithful to him, a “cuckold.” Properly he-goat; (familiar) beard on chin, “goatee.”

Boucan, m., great uproar, “shindy.”

J’ai ma troupe, je distribue les rôles, j’organise la claque.... J’établis la contre-partie pour les interruptions et le boucan.—Macé.

(Popular) Donner un —— à quelqu’un, to give a blow or “clout” to one.

Boucanade, f. (thieves’), bribing or “greasing” a witness. Coquer la ——, to bribe. Literally to treat to drink. In Spain wine is inclosed in goatskins, hence the expression.

Boucaner (popular), to make a great uproar; to stink.

Boucaneur, m. (popular), one fond of women, who goes “molrowing,” or a “mutton-monger.”

Boucanière, f. (popular), woman too fond of men.

Boucard, m. (thieves’), shop, “chovey.”

Boucardier, m. (thieves’), thief who breaks into shops.

Bouche-l’œil, m. (prostitutes’), a five, ten, or twenty-franc piece.

Boucher (thieves’), surgeon, “nimgimmer;” (familiar) —— un trou, to pay part of debt; (popular) —— la lumière, to give a kick in the [47]breech, “to hoof one’s bum,” or “to land a kick.” Lumière, properly touch-hole.

Bouche-trou, m. The best scholars in all University colleges are allowed to compete at a yearly examination called “grand concours.” The “bouche-trou” is one who acts as a substitute for anyone who for some reason or other finds himself prevented from competing. (Literary) Literary production used as a makeshift; (theatrical) actor whose functions are to act as a substitute in a case of emergency.

Bouchon, m. (thieves’), purse, “skin,” or “poge;” (popular) a younger brother; bottle of wine with a waxed cork; quality, kind, “kidney.” Etre d’un bon ——, to be an amusing, good-humoured fellow, or a “brick.” S’asseoir sur le ——, to sit on the bare ground.

Bouclage, m. (thieves’), handcuffs, or “bracelets;” bonds; imprisonment.

Bouclé (thieves’), imprisoned, or “slowed.”

Boucler (thieves’), to shut, “to dub;” to imprison. Bouclez la lourde! shut the door!

Boucle zoze, m. (thieves’), brown bread.

Bouder (literally to be sulky) is said of a player who does not call for fresh dominoes when he has the option of doing so; (popular) —— à l’ouvrage, to be lazy; —— au feu, to show fear; —— aux dominos, to be minus several teeth.

Boudin, m. (thieves’), bolt; stomach.

Boudiné, m. (familiar), swell, or “masher.” At the time the expression came into use, dandies sported tight or horsey-looking clothes, which imparted to the wearer some vague resemblance with a boudin, or large sausage. For list of synonymous expressions, see Gommeux.

Boudins, m. pl. (popular), fat fingers and hands.

Boueux, m. (popular), scavenger.

Bouffard, m. (popular), smoker.

Bouffarde, f. (popular), pipe, or “cutty.”

Bouffarder (popular), to smoke, to “blow a cloud.”

Bouffardière, f. (popular), an estaminet, that is, a café where smoking is allowed; chimney.

Bouffe, f. (popular), box on the ear, “buckhorse.”

Bouffe-la-Balle, m., gormandizer, or “stodger;” man with a fat, puffed-up, dumpling face.

Bouffer (military), la botte, to be bamboozled by a woman, in what circumstances it is needless to say. (Popular) Bouffer, to eat. Se —— le nez, to fight.

Bouffeter (popular), to chat.

Bouffeur, m. (popular), de blanc, prostitute’s bully, “pensioner;” —— de kilomètres, a nickname for the “Chasseurs de Vincennes,” a picked body of rifles who do duty as skirmishers and scouts, and who are noted for their agility.

Bouffiasse, m. (popular), man with fat, puffed-up cheeks.

Bougie, f. (popular), walking-stick; a blind man’s stick; —— grasse, candle.

Bougre, m. (popular), stalwart and plucky man, one who is “spry;” —— à poils, dauntless, resolute man. Bon ——, a good fellow, a “brick.” Mauvais ——, man of a snarling, evil-minded disposition. The word [48]is used often with a disparaging sense, Bougre de cochon, you dirty pig; —— de serin, you ass. Littré derives the word bougre from Bulgarus, Bulgarian. The heretic Albigeois, who shared the religious ideas of some of the Bulgarians, received the name of “bougres.”

Bougrement (popular), extremely. C’est —— difficile, it is awfully hard.

Boui, m. (popular), house of ill-fame, “nanny-shop.”

Bouiboui, bouisbouis, m. puppet; small theatre; low music-hall; gambling place.

Bouif, m. (popular), conceited “priggish” person; bad workman.

Bouillabaisse (popular), confused medley of things, people, or ideas. Properly a Provençal dish made up of all kinds of fish boiled together, with spicy seasoning, garlic, &c.

Bouillante, f. (soldiers’), soup.

Bouillie, f. (popular), pour les chats, unsuccessful undertaking. Faire de la —— pour les chats, to do any useless thing.

Bouillon, m. (familiar and popular), rain; unsold numbers of a book or newspaper; financial or business losses; —— aveugle, thin broth; —— de canard, water; —— de veau, mild literature; —— d’onze heures, poison; drowning; —— gras, sulphuric acid (an allusion to a case of vitriol-throwing by a woman named Gras); —— pointu, bayonet thrust; clyster; —— qui chauffe, rain-cloud. Boire le ——, to die. (Fishermens’) Bouillon de harengs, shoal of herrings.

Bouillonner (popular), to suffer pecuniary losses consequent on the failure of an undertaking; to have a bad sale; to eat at a bouillon restaurant.

Bouillonneuse, f., female who prepares bouillon at restaurants.

Bouillote, f. (popular), vieille ——, old fool, “doddering old sheep’s head.”

Bouis, m. (thieves’), whip.

Bouiser, to whip, “to flush.”

Boulage, m. (popular), refusal; snub.

Boulange, f., for boulangerie.

Boulanger, m. (thieves’), charcoal dealer; the devil, “old scratch,” or “Ruffin.” Le —— qui met les damnés au four, the devil. Remercier son ——, to die.

Boulangers, m. pl. (military), formerly military convicts (an allusion to their light-coloured vestments).

Boule, f. (popular), head, “block.” Avoir la —— détraquée, à l’envers, to be crazy, “wrong in the upper storey.” Boule de jardin, bald pate, “bladder of lard;” —— de Siam, grotesque head; —— de singe, ugly face. Bonne ——, queer face, “rum phiz.” Perdre la ——, to lose one’s head. Boule de neige, negro; —— rouge, gay girl of the Quartier de la Boule Rouge, Faubourg Montmartre. Yeux en —— de loto, goggle eyes. (Military) Boule de son, loaf, bread. (Thieves’) Boule, a fair; prison loaf; —— de son étamé, white bread; —— jaune, pumpkin.

Bouleau, m. See Bûcherie.

Boule-Miche, m., abbreviation of Boulevard Saint-Michel.

Boulendos, m. (boule en dos), (popular), humpback, or “lord.”


Bouler (popular), to thrash, “to whop;” to beat at a game, to deceive, to take in. Envoyer ——, to send to the deuce (old word bouler, to roll along).

Boulet, m. (popular), bore; —— à côtes, à queue, melon; —— jaune, pumpkin.

Boulette, f. (popular), de poivrot, bunch of grapes (poivrot, slang term for drunkard).

Bouleur, m., bouleuse, f. (theatrical), actor or actress who takes the part of absentees in the performance.

Bouleux, m. (popular), skittle player.

Boulevarder, to be a frequenter of the Boulevards.

Boulevardier, m., one who frequents the Boulevards; journalist who is a frequenter of the Boulevard cafés. Esprit ——, kind of wit peculiar to the Boulevardiers.

Boulevardière, f. (familiar), prostitute of a better class who walks the Boulevards.

Depuis cinq heures du soir la Boulevardière va du grand Hôtel à Brébant avec la régularité implacable d’un balancier de pendule.—Paul Mahalin.

Boulin, m. (thieves’), hole. Caler des boulins aux lourdes, to bore holes in the doors.

Bouline, f. (swindlers’), collection of money, “break,” or “lead.”

Bouliner (thieves’), to bore holes in a wall or shutters; to steal by means of the above process.

Boulinguer (thieves’), to tear; to conduct an affair; to manage. Se ——, to know how to conduct oneself; to behave.

Bouloire, f. (popular), bowling-green.

Boulon, m. (thieves’), vol au ——, theft by means of a rod and hook passed through a hole in the shutters.

Boulonnaise (popular), girl of indifferent character who walks the Bois de Boulogne.

Boulots, m. (popular), round shaped beans.

Boulotter (thieves’), to assist a comrade; (popular) to be in good health; to be prosperous; to eat, “to grub;” —— de la galette, to spend money.

Et tout le monde se disperse, vivement, excepté les trois compères et le môme, qui rentrent d’un pas tranquille dans Paris, pour y fricoter l’argent des imbéciles, y boulotter la galette des sinves.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Eh! bien, ma vieille branche! comment va la place d’armes? Merci, ça boulotte. Well, old cock, how are you? Thanks, I am all right.

Boum! a high-sounding, ringing word bawled out in a grave key by café waiters in order to emphasize their call for coffee to the attendant whose special duty it is to pour it out. Versez à l’as! Boum! This peculiar call was brought into fashion by a waiter of the Café de la Rotonde at the Palais Royal, whose stentorian voice made the fortune of the establishment.

Bouquet, m. (cads’), gift, present.

Bouquine, f., beard grown on the chin, or “goatee.”

Bourbe, f. (popular), the hospital of “la Maternité.”

Bourbon (popular), nose, “boko.” From nez à la Bourbon, the members of that dynasty being distinguished by prominent thick noses verging on the aquiline.


Bourdon, m. (thieves’), prostitute, “bunter;” (printers’) words left out by mistake in composing.

Bourdonniste, m. (printers’), one in the habit of making bourdons (which see).

Bourgeois, m. (thieves’), for bourg, a large village. Literally man of the middle class. The peasants give this appellation to the townspeople; a coachman to his “fare;” workmen and servants to their employer; workpeople to the master of a house; soldiers to civilians; artists and literary men use it contemptuously to denote a man with matter-of-fact, unartistic tastes, also a man outside their profession; the anarchists apply the epithet to one who does not share their views. (Popular) Mon ——, my husband, “my old man.” Eh! dites donc, ——, I say, governor. (Officers’) Se mettre en ——, to dress in plain clothes, in “mufti.” (Familiar) C’est bien ——, it is vulgar, devoid of taste.

Bourgeoisade, f., anything, whether it be deed or thought, which savours of the bourgeois’ ways; a vulgar platitude. The bourgeois, in the disparaging sense of the term of course, is a man of a singularly matter-of-fact, selfish disposition, and one incapable of being moved by higher motives than those of personal interest. His doings, his mode of life, all his surroundings bear the stamp of an unrefined idiosyncrasy. Though a staunch Conservative at heart, he is fond of indulging in a timid, mild opposition to Government, yet he even goes so far sometimes as to send to Parliament men whose views are at variance with his own, merely to give himself the pleasure of “teaching a lesson” to the “powers that be.” A man of Voltairian tendencies, yet he allows his wife and daughters to approach the perilous secrecy and the allurements of the confessional. When he happens to be a Republican, he rants furiously about equality, yet he protests that it is a shocking state of affairs which permits of his only son and spoilt child being made to serve in the ranks by the side of the workman or clodhopper. By no means a fire-eater, he is withal a bloodthirsty mortal and a loud-tongued Chauvinist, but as he has the greatest respect for the integrity of his person, and entertains a perfect horror of blows, he likes to see others carry out for him his pugnacious aspirations in a practical way.

Bourgeoise, f. (popular), the mistress of a house or establishment. Ma ——, my wife, “my old woman.”

Bourgeron, m. (popular), small glass of brandy; (soldiers’) a civilian. Properly a kind of short smock-frock.

Bourguignon (popular), the sun.

Bourlingue, m. (popular), dismissal, “the sack.”

Bourlinguer, to dismiss; to get on with difficulty in life. From a naval term.

Bourlingueur, m. (popular), master, “boss;” foreman.

Bourrasque, f. (thieves’), raid by the police.

Bourreau des crânes, m. (military), bully, fire-eater.

Bourre-boyaux, m. (popular), eating-house, “grubbing crib.”

Bourre-coquins, m. pl. (popular), beans. Beans form the staple food of convicts.


Bourre-de-soie, f. (cads’), kept girl, “poll.”

Bourrée, f. (popular), hustling, “hunch.”

Bourrer (familiar), en —— une, to smoke a pipe, “to blow a cloud.”

Bourreur, m. (thieves’), de pègres, penal code; (printers’) —— de lignes, compositor of the body part of a composition, a task generally entrusted to unskilled compositors, unable to deal with more intricate work.

Bourriche, f. (popular), blockhead, “cabbage-head.” Properly hamper.

Bourrichon, m. (popular), head. See Tronche. Se monter, or se charpenter le ——, to entertain strong illusions, to be too sanguine.

Bourricot (popular), c’est ——, that comes to the same thing; it is all the same to me.

Bourrier, m. (popular), dirt, dung.

Bourrique, f. (popular), tourner en ——, to become stupid, or crazy. Faire tourner quelqu’un en ——, to make one crazy by dint of badgering or angering. Cet enfant est toujours à me tourmenter, il me fera tourner en ——, this naughty child will drive me mad. (Thieves’) Bourrique, informer, “nark;” also police officer.

Bourrique à Robespierre (popular), comme la ——, corresponds to the simile like blazes. Saoul comme la ——, awfully drunk.

Bourser (popular), se ——, to go to bed, to get into the “doss.”

Boursicoter (familiar), to speculate in a small way on the stocks.

Boursicoteur, f., boursicotier, m. (familiar), speculator in a small way.

Boursicotiérisme, m. (familiar), occupation of those who speculate on ’Change.

Boursillonner (popular), to “club” for expenses by each contributing a small sum.

Bouscaille, f. (thieves’), mud.

Bouscailleur, street-sweeper, scavenger.

Bouse, f. (popular), de vache, spinach.

Bousiller (popular), to work rapidly but carelessly and clumsily.

Bousilleur (popular), careless, clumsy workman.

Bousilleuse (popular), woman who is careless of her belongings, who is the reverse of thrifty.

Bousin, m. (popular), uproar, disturbance, row, “shindy,” drinking-shop, “lush-crib;” house of ill-fame, “flash drum.”

Bousineur (popular), an adept at creating a disturbance.

Bousingot, m. (popular) wine-shop, “lush-crib;” Republican or literary Bohemian in the earlier years of Louis Philippe.

Boussole, f. (familiar), head, brains. Perdre la ——, to lose one’s head, “to be at sea;” to become mad. (Popular) Boussole de refroidi, or de singe, a Dutch cheese.

Boustifaille, f. (familiar), provisions, food, “grub.”

Boustifailler, to eat plentifully.

Bout, m. (tailors’), flanquer son ——, to dismiss from one’s employment. (Military) Bout de cigare, short man; (popular) —— de cul, short person, or “forty foot;” —— d’homme, de femme, undersized person, or [52]“hop o’ my thumb;” —— coupé, kind of cheap cigar with a clipped end.

Boutanche, f. (thieves’), shop, “chovey.” Courtaud de ——, shopman, a “knight of the yard.”

Bouteille, f. (popular), nose, “boko.” Avoir un coup de ——, to be tipsy. C’est la —— à l’encre is said of any mysterious, incomprehensible affair. (Printers’) Une —— à encre, a printing establishment, thus called on account of the difficulty of drawing up accurate accounts of authors’ corrections.

Bouterne, f. (popular), glazed case containing jewels exhibited as prizes for the winners at a game of dice. The game is played at fairs with eight dice, loaded of course.

Bouternier, m., bouternière, f., proprietor of a bouterne (which see).

Boutique, f., used disparagingly to denote one’s employer’s office; newspaper offices; disorderly house of business; clique. Esprit de ——, synonymous of esprit de corps, but used disparagingly. Etre de la ——, to be one of, to belong to a political clique or administration of any description. Montrer toute sa ——, is said of a girl or woman who accidentally or otherwise exposes her person. Parler ——, to talk shop.

Boutiquer (popular), to do anything with reluctance; to do it badly.

Boutiquier, m. (familiar), narrow-minded or mean man. Literally shopkeeper.

Boutogue, f. (thieves’), shop, or “chovey.”

Bouton, m. (thieves’), master key; (popular) twenty-franc piece; —— de guêtre, five-franc gold-piece; —— de pieu, bug, or “German duck.”

Boutonner (familiar), to touch with the foil; to annoy, to bore.

Bouture, f. (popular), de putain, low, insulting epithet, which may be rendered by the equally low one, son of a bitch. Bouture, slip of a plant.

Boxon, m. (popular), brothel, or “nanny-shop.”

Boyau, m. (popular), rouge, hard drinker, or “rare lapper.”

Boye, m. (thieves’), warder, or “bloke;” convict who performs the functions of executioner at the convict settlements of Cayenne or New Caledonia.

Brac, m. (thieves’), name, “monniker,” or “monarch.”

Braconner (gamesters’), to cheat, or “to bite.” Properly to poach.

Brader (popular), to sell articles dirt cheap.

Braillande, braillarde, f. (thieves’), drawers. From the old word braies, breeches.

Braillard, m. (popular), street singer, or “street pitcher.” According to the Slang Dictionary, the latter term applies to negro minstrels, ballad-singers, long-song men, men “working a board” on which has been painted various exciting scenes in some terrible drama, &c.

Braise, f. (popular), money, “loaver.” See Quibus.

J’ai pas d’braise pour me fend’ d’un litre,
Pas même d’un meulé cass’ à cinq.

Braiser (popular), to pay, “to dub.”

Braiseur (popular), man who is very free with his money.

Brancard (popular), superannuated gay woman.


Brancards, m. pl. (popular), hands, or “flappers;” legs, or “pins;” —— de laine, weak or lame legs.

Un poseur qui veut me la faire à la redresse, que ces deux flûtes repêchées par vous dans la lance du puits n’avaient jamais porté une femme, je me connais en brancards de dames, c’est pas ça du tout.—Macé, Mon Premier Crime.

Branche, f. (popular), friend, “mate.” Ma vieille ——, old fellow! “old cock!” (Familiar) Avoir de la ——, to have elegance, “dash.”

Brancher (thieves’ and cads’), to lodge, “to perch,” or “roost.”

Brandillante, brandilleuse, f. (thieves’), bell, or “ringer.”

Branlante, f. (popular), watch, or “ticker.”

Branlantes, f. pl. (popular), old men’s teeth.

Branque, m. (thieves’), donkey, “moke.”

Bras, brasse, adj. (thieves’), large. From brasse, a fathom.

Braser (thieves’), des faffes, to forge documents, to “screeve fakements;” to forge bank-notes, or to “fake queer-soft.”

Brasset, m. (thieves’), big, stout man.

Brave, m. (popular), shoemaker, or “snob.”

Bréchet, m. (popular), stomach.

Brèchetelles, f., a kind of German cakes eaten at beershops.

Breda-street, the quarter of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette patronized by women of the demi-monde (the Paris Pimlico, or St. John’s Wood).

Bredoche, f. (popular), centime.

Bredouille, f. (popular), chevalier de la ——, one who goes out shooting on Sundays in the purlieus of Paris. From revenir bredouille, to return with an empty bag.

Breloque, f. (popular), a clock. Properly watch trinket.

Brème, m. and f. (popular), vendor of countermarks at the door of theatres. Une ——, f. (thieves’), playing card, “flat,” or “broad” (brème is a flat fish, the bream). Une —— de pacquelins, geographical map. Maquiller les brèmes, to handle cards, to play at cards, “to fake broads;” to mark cards in certain ways, to construct them on a cheating principle, “to stock briefs.” Maquilleur de brèmes, card-sharper, or “broadsman,” generally one whose spécialité is the three-card trick.

Le perdant, blème, crispe ses poings. Les compères s’approchent du maquilleur de brèmes (tripoteur de cartes), qui s’est relevé, avec un éclair mauvais dans ses yeux ternes ... il se recule et siffle. A ce signal arrive un gosse, en courant, qui crie d’une voix aiguë: Pet! v’là la rousse! Décanillons!—Richepin, Le Pavé.

(Prostitutes’) Une brème, card delivered by the police to registered prostitutes. Fille en ——, registered prostitute.

Brêmeur, m. (thieves’), card player, “broad faker.”

Brêmier, m. (thieves’), manufacturer of playing cards.

Brésilien, m. (popular), wealthy, generous man, “rag-splawger.”

Bricabracologie, art of dealing in or collecting bric-à-brac or knick-knacks.

Bricard, m. (popular), staircase.

Bricheton, m. (popular), bread; —— d’attaque, four-pound loaf.

Bricole, f. (popular), small, odd jobs that only procure scanty profits. [54]Properly a shoulder-strap used by costermongers to draw their barrows.

Bricoler (popular), to make an effort; to give a good pull; to do anything in a hurried and clumsy manner; to carry on some affair in a not over straightforward way.

Bricoleur, m. (popular), man who will undertake any kind of work, any sundry jobs.

Bricul, briculé, m. (thieves’), police inspector.

Bridaukil (thieves’), gold watch chain, “redge slang,” or “red tackle.”

Bride, f. (thieves’), watch chain, “slang;” convict’s chain. (Popular) Vieille ——, worthless, discarded object; term of contempt for individuals.

Bridé (thieves’), shackled.

Brider (thieves’), to shut, “to dub;” to fasten on a fetter, or “wife.”

Brif (Breton), bread.

Briffe, f. (popular), food, “belly timber;” bread, “tommy.” Passer à ——, to eat, “to grub.”

N’importe où nous nous empatons
D’arlequins, d’briffe et d’rogatons.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Briffer (popular), to eat, “to grub.”

Brigadier, m. (popular), baker’s foreman.

Brigand, m. (popular), term of friendliness. Vieux ——, you old scamp!

Brigant, brigeant, m. (thieves’), hair, or “strommel.”

Brigante or bringeante, f. (thieves’), wig, or “periwinkle.”

Brigeants or bringeants, m. pl. (thieves’), hair, “thatch.” Termed also “tifs, douilles, douillards.”

Brigeton, bricheton (popular), bread, “tommy.”

Brig-fourre, m. (military), brigadier fourrier.

Brignolet, m. (popular), bread, “tommy.”

Briller (thieves’), to light.

Brimade, f. (military), euphemism for bullying; practical and often cruel jokes perpetrated at the military school of Saint-Cyr at the expense of the newly joined, termed “melons” (“snookers” at the R. M. Academy), such as tossing one in a blanket, together with boots, spurs, and brushes, or trying him by a mock court-martial for some supposed offence. An illustration with a vengeance of such practical joking occurred some years ago at an English garrison town. Some young officers packed up a colleague’s traps, without leaving in the rooms a particle of property, nailed the boxes to the floor, and laid a he-goat in the bed. On the victim’s arrival they left him no time to give vent to his indignant feelings, for they cast him into a fisherman’s net and dragged him downstairs, with the result that the unfortunate officer barely escaped with his life.

Brimer, to indulge in brimades (which see).

Brinde, f. (popular), tall, lanky woman; landlord of a wine shop.

Brindezingue, m. (thieves’), tin case of very small diameter containing implements, such as a fine steel saw or a watch-spring, which they secrete in a peculiar manner. Says Delvau:—

Comment arrivent-ils à soustraire cet instrument de délivrance aux investigations les plus minutieuses des geôliers? C’est ce qu’il faut demander à M. le docteur Ambroise [55]Tardieu qui a fait une étude spéciale des maladies de la gaîne naturelle de cet étui.

(Mountebanks’) Etre en ——, to be ruined, a bankrupt, “cracked up,” or “gone to smash.”

Brindezingues, m. pl. (popular), être dans les ——, to be intoxicated. From an old word brinde, toast.

Bringue, m. (popular), bread, or “soft tommy.” Mettre en ——, to smash up.

Brio, m. (familiar). Properly a musical term. Figuratively, Parler, écrire avec ——, to speak or write with spirit, in dashing style.

Brioches, f. pl. (popular). Literally gross mistake. Figuratively, Faire des ——, to lead a disorderly life.

Briolet, m. (popular), thin, sour wine, that is, “vin de Brie.”

Briquemann, briquemon, m. (military), cavalry sword.

Briquemon, m. (thieves’), tinder box.

Brisac, m. (popular), careless child who tears his clothes.

Brisacque, m. (popular), noise; noisy man.

Brisant, m. (thieves’), the wind.

Briscard or brisque, m. (military), old soldier with long-service stripes.

Brise, f. (sailors’), à faire plier le pouce, violent gale; —— à grenouille, west wind.

Briser (printers’), to cease working. (Popular) Se la ——, to go away, “to mizzle.” See Patatrot.

Briseur, m. The “briseurs” (gens qui se la brisent), according to Vidocq, are natives of Auvergne who pass themselves off for tradesmen. They at first gain the confidence of manufacturers or wholesale dealers by paying in cash for a few insignificant orders, and swindle them afterwards on larger ones. The goods, denominated “brisées,” are then sold much under value, and the unlawful proceeds are invested in Auvergne.

Brisque, f. (thieves’), year, or “stretch.”

Brisques, f. pl. (gamblers’), the ace and figures in a pack of cards. When a player possesses all these in his game he is said to have “la triomphe;” (military) stripes.

Brisure, f. (thieves’), swindle, or “plant;” (printers’) temporary cessation of work. Grande ——, total stoppage of work.

Au Rappel, la pige dure six heures avec une brisure d’une demi-heure à dix heures.—Boutmy.

Brobèche, m. (popular), centime.

Brobuante, f. (thieves’), ring, “fawney.”

Broc, m. (thieves’), farthing, or “fadge.”

Brocante, m. (popular), old shoe.

Brocanter (familiar), to be pottering about.

Broche, f. (tradespeoples’), note of hand, or “stiff.”

Broches, f. pl. (popular), teeth, or “head rails.”

Brochet, m. (popular), pit of the stomach, for bréchet; women’s bully, or “ponce.”

Brocheton, m. (popular), young bully.

Brochure, f. (theatrical), printed play.

Brodage, m. (thieves’), writing.

Brodancher (thieves’), to write; to embroider. Tirants brodanchés, embroidered stockings.


Brodancheur, m. (thieves’), writer; —— en cage, scribe who for a consideration will undertake to do an illiterate person’s correspondence (termed écrivain public); —— à la plaque, aux macarons, or à la cymbale, notary public (an allusion to the escutcheon placed over a notary’s door).

Brodé, m. (thieves’), melon.

Broder (thieves’), to write; —— sur les prêts is said of a gamester who, having lent a colleague a small sum of money, claims a larger amount than is due to him.

Broderie, f. (thieves’), writing.

Pas de broderie, par exemple, tu connais le proverbe, les écrits sont des mâles, et les paroles sont des femelles.—Vidocq, Mémoires.

Brodeur, m. (thieves’), writer; also a gamester who claims a larger sum than is due to him.

Broque, m. (thieves’), farthing. Il n’y a ni ronds, ni herplis, ni broque en ma felouse. I haven’t got a sou, or a farthing, in my pocket.

Broquillage, m. (thieves’), theft which consists in substituting paste diamonds for the genuine article which a jeweller displays for the supposed purchaser’s inspection.

Broquille, f. (theatrical), nothing. Used in the expression, Ne pas dire une ——, not to know a single word of one’s part; (thieves’) a ring, or “fawney;” a minute.

Broquilleur, m., broquilleuse, f. (thieves’), thief who robs jewellers by substituting paste diamonds for the genuine which are shown to him as to a bonâ-fide purchaser.

Brosse (popular), no; nothing; —— pour lui! he shan’t have any!

Brosser (familiar), se —— le ventre, to go without food, and, in a figurative sense, to be compelled to do without something.

Brosseur, m. (artists’), one who paints numerous pictures of very large dimensions. Rubens was a “brosseur;” (military) flatterer, one who “sucks up.”

Brouce, f. (popular), thrashing, “whopping.”

Brouf, m. (codfishers’), wind blowing from the main.

Brouillard, m. (popular), chasser le ——, to have a morning drop of spirits, “dewdrop.” Etre dans le ——, to be “fuddled,” or tipsy. Faire du ——, to smoke, “to blow a cloud.”

Brouille, f., series of pettifogging contrivances which a lawyer brings into play to squeeze as much profit as he can out of a law affair.

Brouillé, adj. (familiar), avec la monnaie, penniless, “hard up;” —— avec sa blanchisseuse, with linen not altogether of a snow-white appearance; —— avec l’orthographe, a bad speller.

Broussailles, f. pl. (popular), être dans les ——, to be tipsy, “obfuscated.” See Pompette.

Brouta, m. (Saint-Cyr school), speech. From the name of a professor who was a good elocutionist.

Broute, f. (popular), bread, “tommy.”

Brouter (popular), to eat, “to grub.” The expression is used by Villon, and is scarcely slang.

Item, à Jean Raguyer, je donne ...
Tous les jours une talemouze (cake),
Pour brouter et fourrer sa mouse.

Brouteur sombre, m. (popular), desponding, melancholy man, “croaker.”


Broyeur de noir en chambre (familiar), literary man who writes on melancholy themes.

Bruant (Breton), cock; egg.

Bruantez (Breton), hen.

Bruge, m. (thieves’), locksmith.

Brugerie, f., locksmith’s shop.

Brûlage, m. (familiar), the act of being ruined, “going to smash.”

Brûlant, m. (thieves’), fire; hearth.

Brûlé, m. and adj. (popular), failure of an undertaking; (familiar) Il doit de l’argent partout il est —— dans le pays, he owes money to everybody, his credit is gone. C’est un article ——, an article which will no longer sell. L’épicier est ——, the grocer refuses any more credit. Un politicien ——, a politician whose influence is gone. Un auteur ——, an author who has spent himself, no longer in vogue. Une fille brûlée, a girl who in spite of assiduous attendance at balls, &c., has failed to obtain a husband. Une affaire brûlée, an unsuccessful undertaking, or spoilt by bad management. Un acteur ——, an actor who for some reason or other can no longer find favour with the public.

Brûlée, f. (popular), severe thrashing; defeat; hurried and unlawful auction for contracts.

Brûler (theatrical), à la rampe is said of an actor who performs as if he were alone, and without regard to the common success of the play, or his colleagues; —— du sucre, to obtain applause. (Popular) Brûler, abbreviation of brûler la cervelle, to blow one’s brains out. Fais le mort ou je te brûle, don’t budge, or I blow your brains out. En —— une, to smoke, “to blow a cloud.” (Thieves’) Brûler le pégriot, to obliterate all traces of a theft or crime. Ne —— rien, to suspect nothing.

Brûleur, m. (theatrical), de planches, spirited actor.

Brusquer (gamesters’), la marque, to mark more points than have been scored, when playing cards.

Brutal, m. (familiar), cannon.

Brutifier (popular), to make one stupid by dint of upbraiding or badgering him.

Brution, m. (students’), cadet of thePrytanée Militaire de la Flèche,” a Government school for the sons of officers.

Brutium, m., “Prytanée Militaire de la Flèche.” From Brutus, probably on account of the strict discipline in that establishment.

Brutus, m. (thieves’), Brittany.

Bruyances, f. pl. (familiar), great puffing up in newspapers or otherwise.

Bu, adj. (popular), in liquor, “tight.” See Pompette.

Eh ben! oui, j’suis bu. Et puis, quoi?
Qué qu’vous m’voulez, messieurs d’la rousse?
Est-c’que vous n’aimez pas comme moi
A vous rincer la gargarousse?
Richepin, La Chanson des Gueux.

Bûche, f. Literally log; (tailors’) article of clothing. Coller sa —— au grêle, to remit a piece of work to the master. Temps de ——, worktime. (Popular) Bûche, lucifer match; (thieves’) —— flambante, or plombante, lucifer match.

Bûcher (familiar), to work hard, “to sweat;” to belabour, “to lick.” (Popular) Se ——, to fight, “to slip into one another.”

Bûcherie, f. (popular), fight, “mill.”


Bûcheur, m. (familiar), one who works hard, “a swat.”

Buen-retiro, m. (familiar), private place of retirement; (ironically) latrines, or “West Central.”

Buffet, m. (popular), avoir le —— garni, to have had a hearty meal; —— vide, to be fasting, to have nothing in the “locker.” Bas de ——, see Bas. Remouleur de ——, organ-grinder.

Buif, m. (military), shoemaker.

Bull-Park, m. (students’), Bullier’s dancing-rooms, situated near the Luxembourg, patronized by the students of the Quartier Latin, but invaded, as most places of a similar description now are, by the protectors of gay girls.

Buquer (thieves’), to commit a robbery at a shop under pretence of asking for change; (popular) to strike, a corruption of the slang term bûcher.

Vous avez dit dans votre interrogatoire devant Monsieur le Juge d’instruction: J’ai buqué avec mon marteau.—Gazette des Tribunaux.

Bureau arabe, m. (soldiers’ in Algeria), absinthe mixed with “orgeat,” a kind of liquor made with almonds.

Burettes, f. pl. (thieves’ and popular), pistols, “barking irons.” Literally phials.

Burlin, burlingue, m. (popular), office; desk. For bureau.

Chez l’pèr’ Jacob pour le jour de sa fête,
A son burlingue il voulait l’envoyer.
La France.

Busard, m., buse, f., buson, m. (familiar and popular), dull, slow, thick-witted man, “blockhead.”

Bustingue (thieves’), lodging house, “dossing ken.”

Bute, butte, or bute à regret, f. (thieves’), guillotine. Monter à la ——, to be guillotined.

Buté, adj. (thieves’), guillotined; murdered. See Fauché.

Ils l’ont buté à coups de vingt-deux.—E. Sue. (They killed him by stabbing him.)

Buter (thieves’), to kill, to guillotine; to execute.

On va le buter, il est depuis deux mois gerbé à la passe.—Balzac. (He is going to be executed, he was sentenced to death two months ago.)

Buteur (thieves’), murderer; executioner. See Taule.

Butin, m. (soldiers’), equipment.

Butre (thieves’), dish.

Buvailler (popular), to drink little or slowly.

Buvailleur or buvaillon, m. (popular), a man who cannot stand drink.

Buverie, f. (common), a beerhouse, termed brasserie. From the old word beuverie.

Buveur d’encre, m. (soldiers’), any military man connected with the administration; clerk, or “quill-driver.”

L’expression de buveurs d’encre ne s’applique strictement qu’aux engagés volontaires qu’on emploie dans les bureaux, où ils échappent aux rigueurs du service, sous prétexte qu’ils ont une main superbe.—F. de Reiffenberg, La Vie de Garnison.



C, m. (popular), être un ——, to be an arrant fool. Euphemism for a coarse word of three letters with which the walls are often adorned; —— comme la lune, extremely stupid.

Ça (popular), être ——, to be the right sort. C’est un peu ——, that’s excellent, “fizzing.” Avoir de ——, to be wealthy. (Familiar) Ça manque de panache, it lacks finish or dash. Elle a de ——, she has a full, well-developed figure.

Cab, m. (abbreviation of cabotin), contemptuous expression applied to actors; third-rate actor, or “surf.”

Cab, cabou (thieves’ and popular), dog, “tyke.” Le —— jaspine, the dog barks.

Cabande, f. (popular), candle, or “glim.” Estourbir la ——, to blow the candle out.

Cabas, m. (popular), old hat. Une mère ——, rapacious old woman. Properly, cabas, a woman’s bag.

Cabasser (popular), to chatter, to gabble; to delude, or “bamboozle;” to steal, “to prig.”

Cabasseur, m. (popular), scandal-monger; thief, “prig.” See Grinche.

Cabe, m. (students’), third year student at the Ecole Normale, a higher training school for professors, and one which holds the first rank among Colleges of the University of France; (popular) a dog. See Cabo.

Cabermon, m. (thieves’), wine-shop, “lush-crib.” A corruption of cabaret.

Cabestan, m. (thieves’), police inspector; police officer, “crusher,” “pig,” “copper,” or “reeler.”

Cabillot, m. (sailors’), soldier, “lobster.”

Câble à rimouque, m. (fishermens’), tow-line.

Souque! attrape à carguer! Pare à l’amarre! Et souque!
C’est le coup des haleurs et du câble à rimouque.
La oula ouli oula oula tchalez!
Hardi! les haleurs, oh! les haleurs, halez!
Richepin, La Mer.

Cabo, m. (popular), dog, or “buffer.” Michel derives this from clabaud, a worthless dog, and L. Larchey from qui aboie, pronounced qu’aboie. Le —— du commissaire, the police magistrate’s secretary. See Chien. (Military) Elève ——, one who is getting qualified for the duties of a corporal.

Cabochon, m. (popular), blow, “prop,” or “bang.”

Cabonte, or camoufle, f. (military), candle.

Cabot, m. (common), third-rate actor, or “surf;” term of contempt applied to an actor. Abbreviation of cabotin. Also a dog.


Cabotinage, m. (familiar), life of hardships which most actors have to live before they acquire any reputation.

Cabotine (familiar), bad actress; strolling actress, or one who belongs to a troupe of “barn stormers.”

Cabotiner (familiar), to be a strolling actor; to mix with cabotins; to fall into their way of living, which is not exactly a “proper” one.

Caboulot, m. (familiar), small café where customers are waited upon by girls; small café where the spécialité is the retailing of cherry brandy, absinthe, and sweet liquors; best sort of wine-shop.

Cabriolet, m., short rope or strap with a double loop affixed, made fast to a criminals wrists, the extremity being held by a police officer; small box for labels; woman’s bonnet.

Cabrion, m. (artists’), painter without talent, or “dauber;” practical joker. In the Mystères de Paris of Eugène Sue, Cabrion, a painter, nearly drives the doorkeeper Pipelet mad by his practical jokes.

Cachalot, m. (sailors’), old sailor, old “tar.” Properly spermaceti whale.

Cache-folie, m. (popular), drawers; false hair.

Cachemar, cachemince, m. (thieves’), cell, “clinch.” From cachot, black hole.

Cachemire, m. (popular), clout; —— d’osier, rag-picker’s wicker basket.

Voici les biffins qui passent, le crochet au poing et les pauvres lanternes sont recueillies dans le cachemire d’osier.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Cache-misère (familiar), coat buttoned up to the chin to conceal the absence of linen.

Cachemitte, f. (thieves’), cell, “clinch.”

Cachemuche. See Cachemar.

Cacher (popular), to eat, “to grub.”

Cachet, m. (thieves’ and cads’), de la République, the mark of one’s heel on a person’s face, a kind of farewell indulged in by night ruffians, especially when the victim’s pockets do not yield a satisfactory harvest. (Familiar) Le ——, the fashion, “quite the thing.”

Et ce n’est pas lui qui porterait des gants vert-pomme si le cachet était de les porter sang de bœuf.— P. Mahalin, Mesdames de Cœur Volant.

Cacique, m., head scholar in a division at the Ecole Normale.

Cadavre, m. (familiar and popular), body; a secret misdeed, “a skeleton in the locker;” tangible proof of anything. Grand ——, tall man. Se mettre quelquechose dans le ——, to eat. See Mastiquer.

Cadenne, f. (thieves’), chain fastened round the neck. La grande —— was formerly the name given to the gang of convicts which went from Paris to the hulks at Toulon.

Cadet, m. (thieves’), crowbar, or “Jemmy.” Termed also “l’enfant, Jacques, sucre de pommes, biribi, rigolo;” (popular) breech. Baiser ——, to be guilty of contemptible mean actions; to be a lickspittle. Baise ——! you be hanged! Bon pour —— is said of any worthless object or unpleasant letter.

Cadichon, m. (thieves’), watch, “Jerry,” or “red toy.”

Cador (thieves’), dog, “tyke;” —— du commissaire, secretary to the “commissaire de police,” a kind of police magistrate.


Cadouille, f. (sailors’), rattan.

Effarés de ne pas recevoir de coups de cadouille, ils s’éloignent à reculons, et leurs prosternations ne s’arrêtent plus.—Bonnetain, Au Tonkin.

Cadran, m. (popular), breech, or “bum;” —— lunaire, same meaning. See Vasistas.

Cadratin, m. (printers’), top hat, or “stove pipe;” (police) staff of detectives; (journalists’) apocryphal letter.

Cafard, m. (military), officer who makes himself unpleasant; a busybody.

Cafarde, f. (thieves’), moon, “parish lantern;” cup.

Cafarder (popular), to be a hypocrite, a “mawworm.”

Café, m. C’est un peu fort de ——, it is really too bad, coming it too strong. Prendre son ——, to laugh at.

Cafetière, f. (thieves’ and cads’), head, “canister.” See Tronche.

Cafiot, m., weak coffee.

Cafouillade (boatmens’), bad rowing.

Cafouilleux, m. (popular), espèce de ——! blockhead! “bally bounder!”

Cage, f. (popular), workshop with glass roof; prison, or “stone jug;” —— à chapons, monastery; —— à jacasses, nunnery; —— à poulets, dirty, narrow room, “a hole;” (printers’) workshop.

Cageton, m. (thieves’), may-bug.

Cagne, f. (popular), wretched horse, or “screw;” worthless dog; lazy person; police officer, or “bobby.”

Cagnotte, f. (familiar), money-box in which is deposited each player’s contribution to the expenses of a game. Faire une ——, to deposit in a money-box the winnings of players which are to be invested to the common advantage of the whole party.

Cagou, m. (thieves’), rogue who operates single-handed; expert thief, or “gonnof,” who takes charge of the education of the uninitiated after the manner of the old Jew Fagin (see Oliver Twist); a tutor such as is to be met with in a “buz napper’s academy,” or training school for thieves; in olden times a lieutenant of thegrand Coëre,” or king of rogues. The kingdom of the “grand Coëre” was divided into as many districts as there were “provinces” or counties in France, each superintended by a “cagou.” Says Le Jargon de l’Argot:—

Le cagou du pasquelin d’Anjou résolut de se venger de lui et de lui jouer quelque tour chenâtre.

Cahua, m. (French soldiers’ in Algeria), coffee. Pousse ——, brandy.

Caillasse, f. (popular), stones.

Caillé (thieves’), fish.

Caillou, m. (popular), grotesque face; head, or “block;” nose, or “boko;” —— déplumé, bald head, or “bladder of lard.” N’avoir plus de mousse sur le ——, to be bald, “to be stag-faced.”

Cailloux, m. pl. (popular), petits ——, diamonds.

Caïman, m. (Ecole Normale school), usher.

Caisse, f. (popular), d’épargne, mouth, or “rattle-trap;” (familiar) —— des reptiles, fund for the bribing of journalists; —— noire, secret funds at the disposal of the Home Secretary and Prefect of Police. Battre la ——, to puff up. Sauver la ——, to appropriate or abscond with the contents of the cash-box.

Caisson, m. (familiar), head, “nut.” Se faire sauter le ——, to blow one’s brains out.

Calabre, m. (thieves’), scurf.


Calain, m. (thieves’), vine-dresser.

Calancher (vagrants’), to die, “to croak.” See Pipe.

Calande (thieves’), walk, lounge.

Calandriner (popular), le sable, to live a wretched, poverty-stricken life.

Cale, f. (sailors’), se lester la ——, to eat and drink. See Mastiquer.

Calé, calée, adj., properly propped up; (popular) well off, “with plenty of the needful.”

Calebasse, f. (popular), head, or “cocoa-nut.” Grande ——, tall, thin, badly attired woman. Vendre la ——, to reveal a secret.

Calebasses, f. (popular), large soft breasts. Literally gourds.

Calège, f. (thieves’), kept woman.

Calence, f. (popular), dearth of work.

Caler (popular), to do; to do nothing; to be out of work, or “out of collar;” to strike work; —— l’école, to play the truant. Se ——, to eat. Se —— les amygdales, to eat, “to grub.” (Thieves’) Caler des boulins aux lourdes, to bore holes in doors.

Caleter (popular), to decamp, “to hook it.” See Patatrot.

Caleur (popular), lazy workman, or “shicer;” man out of work; butler; waiter (from the German kellner).

Calfater (sailors’), se —— le bec, to eat. Literally to caulk.

Caliborgne. See Calorgne.

Calicot, m. (familiar), draper’s assistant, or “counter jumper.”

Calicote, sweetheart, or “flame,” of a “knight of the yard.”

Californien (popular), rich, “worth a lot of tin.” See Monacos.

Câlin, m., small tin fountain which the retailers of coco carry on their backs. Coco is a cooling draught made of liquorice, lemon, and water.

Calino, m. (familiar), ninny; one capable of the most enormous “bulls.”

Calinotade, f., sayings of a calino (which see).

Calinttes, f. (popular), breeches, or “hams,” or “sit-upons.”

Callot, m. (thieves’), scurvy.

Callots, m. pl. (old cant), variety of tramps.

Les callots sont ceux qui sont teigneux véritables ou contrefaits; les uns et les autres truchent tant aux entiffes que dans les vergnes.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Calme et inodore (familiar), être ——, to assume a decorous appearance. Soyez ——, behave yourself with decorum; do not be flurried.

Calombe. See Cabande.

Caloquet, m. (thieves’), hat; crown. See Tubard.

Calorgne, adj. (popular), one-eyed, “boss-eyed,” or “seven-sided.”

Calot, m. (thieves’), thimble; walnut shell; eye. Properly large marble. Boiter des calots, to squint. Reluquer des calots, to gaze, “to stag.”

J’ai un chouett’ moure,
La bouch’ plus p’tit’ que les calots.

Calot, clothier’s shopman, or “counter-jumper;” over-particular, troublesome customer.

Calotin, m. (familiar), priest; one of the Clerical party.


Calotte, f. (familiar), clergy. Le régiment de la ——, the company of the Jesuits.

Calottée, f. (rodfishers’), worm-box.

Calvigne, or clavigne, f. (thieves’), vine.

Calvin, or clavin, m. (thieves’), grapes.

Calypso, f. (popular), faire sa ——, to show off, to pose.

Cam, f. (thieves’), lampagne de ——, country, or “drum.”

Camarade, m. (popular), de pionce, bed-fellow; (military) regimental hair-dresser. (Familiar) Bon petit —— is said ironically of a colleague who does one an ill turn, or slanders one.

Camarde, f. (thieves’), death. Baiser la ——, to die. See Pipe.

Camarder (thieves’), to die.

Camarluche, m. (popular), comrade, “mate.”

Camaro, m. (popular), comrade, or “mate.”

Camboler (popular), to fall down.

Cambouis, m. (military), army service corps. Properly cart grease.

Cambriau, cambrieux, m. (popular), hat, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Cambriole, f. (thieves’), room, or “crib;” shop, or “swag.”

Gy, Marpaux, gy nous remouchons
Tes rouillardes et la criole
Qui parfume ta cambriole.

Cambriole de milord, sumptuous apartment. Rincer une ——, to plunder a room or shop.

Cambrioleur, m. (thieves’), thief who operates in apartments; —— à la flan, thief of that description who operates at random, or on “spec.”

Cambriot, m. (popular), hat, “tile.” See Tubard.

Cambroniser, euphemism for emmerder (which see).

Cambronne! euphemism for a low but energetic expression of refusal or contempt, which is said to have been the response of General Cambronne at Waterloo when called upon to surrender (see Les Misérables, by V. Hugo). Sterne says, in his Sentimental Journey, that “the French have three words which express all that can be desired—‘diable!’ ‘peste!’” The third he has not mentioned, but it seems pretty certain it must be the one spoken of above.

Cambrouse, f. (popular), a tawdrily-dressed servant girl; a semi-professional street-walker, “dolly mop;” (thieves’) country, suburbs.

Cambrouser (servants’), to get engaged as a maid-servant.

Cambrousien, m. (thieves’), peasant, or “joskin.”

Cambrousier, m. (thieves’), country thief.

Cambroux, m. (thieves’), servant; waiter.

Cambuse, f. (popular), house, or “crib;” sailors’ canteen; wine-shop.

Camélia, m., kept woman (La Dame aux Camélias, by A. Dumas fils).

Camelot, m. (popular), tradesman; thief; hawker of any articles.

Le camelot, c’est le Parisien pur sang ... c’est lui qui vend les questions, les jouets nouveaux, les drapeaux aux jours de fête, les immortelles aux jours de deuil, les verres noircis aux jours d’éclipse ... des cartes transparentes sur le boulevard et des images pieuses sur la place du Panthéon.—Richepin, Le Pavé.


Camelote, f. (popular), prostitute of the lowest class, or “draggle-tail;” (thieves’) —— grinchie, stolen property. Etre pris la —— en pogne, or en pied, to be caught, “flagrante delicto,” with the stolen property in one’s possession. Laver la ——, to sell stolen property. Prendre la —— en pogne, to steal from a person’s hand.

Cameloter (popular), to sell; to cheapen; to beg; to tramp.

Camerluche or camarluche, m. (popular), comrade, or “mate.”

Camionner (popular), to conduct; to lead about.

Camisard, m. (military), soldier of the “Bataillon d’Afrique,” a corps composed of liberated military convicts, who, after having undergone their sentence, are not sent back to their respective regiments. They are incorporated in the Bataillon d’Afrique, a regiment doing duty in Algeria or in the colonies, where they complete their term of service; —— en bordée, same meaning.

Camisole, f. (popular), waistcoat, or “benjy.”

Camoufle, f. (thieves’), description of one’s personal appearance; dress; light or candle, “glim.” La —— s’estourbe, the light is going out.

Camouflement, m. (thieves’), disguise.

Camoufler (thieves’), to learn; to adulterate. Se ——, to disguise oneself.

Je me camoufle en pélican,
J’ai du pellard à la tignasse.
Vive la lampagne du cam!

Camouflet, m. (thieves’), candlestick.

Camp, m. (popular), ficher le ——, to decamp. Lever le ——, to strike work. Piquer une romance au ——, to sleep.

Campagne, f. (prostitutes’), aller à la ——, to be imprisoned in Saint-Lazare, a dépôt for prostitutes found by the police without a registration card, or sent there for sanitary motives. (Thieves’) Barboteur de ——, night thief. Garçons de ——, or escarpes, highwaymen or housebreakers who pretend to be pedlars.

Campe, f. (cads’), flight; camping.

Camper (cads’), to flee, “to brush.”

Camperoux. See Cambroux.

Camphre, m. (popular), brandy.

Camphrier, m. (popular), retailer of spirits; one who habitually gets drunk on spirits.

Campi (cads’), expletive. Tant pis ——! so much the worse!

Camplouse, f. (thieves’), country.

Camuse, f. (thieves’), carp; death; flat-nosed.

Can, m. (popular), abbreviation of canon, glass of wine. Prendre un —— sur le comp, to have a glass of wine at the bar.

Canage, m. (popular), death-throes.

Canaillade, f. (popular), offence against the law.

J’ai fait beaucoup de folies dans ma jeunesse; mais au cours d’une existence accidentée et décousue, je n’ai pas à me reprocher une seule canaillade.—Macé.

Canaillon, m. (popular), vieux ——, old curmudgeon.

Canard, m. (familiar), newspaper; clarionet; (tramcar drivers’) horse. (Popular) Bouillon de ——, water. (Thieves’) Canard sans plumes, bull’s pizzle, or rattan used for convicts.


Canarder (popular), to take in, “to bamboozle;” to quiz, “to carry on.”

Canardier, m. (popular), journalist; vendor of newspapers; (journalists’) one who concoctscanards,” or false news; (printers’) newspaper compositor.

Canarie, m. (popular), simpleton, or “flat.”

Canasson, m. (popular), horse, or “gee;” old-fashioned woman’s bonnet. Vieux ——! old fellow! “old cock!”

Cancre, m. (fishermens’), jus de ——, landsman, or “land-lubber.” Cancre, properly poor devil.

Cancrelat, m. (popular), avoir un —— dans la boule, to be crazy. For other kindred expressions, see Avoir. Cancrelat, properly kakerlac, or American cockroach.

Cane, f. (thieves’), death.

Canelle, f. (thieves’), the town of Caen.

Caner (thieves’), la pégrenne, to starve. Caner, properly to shirk danger.

Caneson. See Canasson.

Caneton, m. (familiar), insignificant newspaper. Termed also “feuille de chou.”

Caneur, m. (popular), poltroon, or “cow babe.”

Caniche, m. (popular), general term for a dog. Properly poodle. Termed also “cabgie, cabot.” It also has the signification of spectacles, an allusion to the dog, generally a poodle, which acts as the blind man’s guide. (Thieves’) Caniche, a bale provided with handles, compared to a poodle’s ears.

Canne, f. (police and thieves’), surveillance exercised by the police on the movements of liberated convicts. Also a liberated convict who has a certain town assigned him as a place of residence, and which he is not at liberty to leave. Casser sa ——, to break bounds. Une vieille ——, or une ——, an old offender. (Literary) Canne, dismissal, the “sack.” Offrir une ——, to dismiss from one’s employment, “to give the sack.”

Canon, m. (popular), glass of wine drunk at the bar of a wine-shop. Grand ——, the fifth of a litre of wine, and petit ——, half that quantity. Viens prendre un —— su’ l’ zinc, mon vieux zig, I say, old fellow, come and have a glass at the bar. Se bourrer le ——, to eat to excess, “to scorf.”

Canonner (popular), to drink wine at a wine-shop; to be an habitual tippler.

Canonneur, m. (popular), tippler, a wine bibber.

Canonnier de la pièce humide, m. (military), hospital orderly.

Canonnière, f. (popular), the behind, or “tochas.” See Vasistas. Charger la ——, to eat, “to grub.” Gargousses de la ——, vegetables.

Cant, m. (familiar), show of false virtue. From the English word.

Cantaloup, m. (popular), fool, “duffer,” or “cull.” Properly a kind of melon.

Ah çà! d’où sort-il donc ce cantaloup.—Ricard.

Cantique, m. (freemasons’), bacchanalian song.

Canton, m. (thieves’), prison, or “stir.” For synonyms see Motte. Comte de ——, jailer, “dubsman,” or “jigger-dubber.”

Cantonade, f. (literary), écrire à la ——, to write productions which are [66]not read by the public. From a theatrical expression, Parler à la ——, to speak to an invisible person behind the scenes.

Cantonnier, m. (thieves’), prisoner, one in “quod.”

Canulant, adj. (familiar), tedious, tiresome, “boring.” From canule, a clyster-pipe.

Canularium, m. (Ecole Normale), ordeal which new pupils have to go through, such as passing a mock examination.

Canule, f. (popular), tedious man, bore. Canule, properly speaking, is a clyster-pipe.

Canuler (popular), to annoy, to bore.

Canuleur. See Canule.

Caoutchouc, m. (popular), clown. Properly india-rubber.

Cap, m. (thieves’), chief warder at the hulks. (Familiar) Doubler le ——, to go a roundabout way in order to avoid meeting a creditor, or passing before his door. Doubler le —— des tempêtes, to clear safely the 1st or 15th of the month, when certain payments are due. Doubler le —— du terme, to be able to pay one’s rent when due. Doubler un ——, to be able to pay a note of hand when it falls due.

Capahut, f. (thieves’), voler à la ——, to murder an accomplice so as to get possession of his share of the booty.

Capahuter. See Capahut.

Cape, f. (thieves’), handwriting.

Capet, m. (popular), hat, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Capine, f. (thieves’), inkstand.

Capir (thieves’), to write, or “to screeve.”

Capiston, m. (military), captain; —— bêcheur, an officer who acts as public prosecutor at courts-martial. Termed also “capitaine bêcheur.”

Capitaine (thieves’), stock-jobber; financier; (military) —— bêcheur, see Capiston; —— de la soupe, an officer who has never been under fire.

Capitainer (thieves’), to be a stock-jobber.

Capital, m. (popular), maidenhead. Villon, fifteenth century, terms it “ceincture.”

Capitole, m. (schoolboys’), formerly the black hole.

Capitonnée, adj. (popular), is said of a stout woman.

Capitonner (popular), se ——, to grow stout.

Capitulard, m. (familiar and popular), term of contempt applied during the war of 1870 to those who were in favour of surrender.

Caporal, m., tobacco of French manufacture.

Caporalisme, m. (familiar), pipe-clayism.

Capou, m. (popular), a scribe who writes letters for illiterate persons in return for a fee.

Capoul (familiar), bandeaux à la ——, or des Capouls, hair brushed low on forehead, fringe, or “toffs.” From the name of a celebrated tenor who some twenty years ago was a great favourite of the public, especially of the feminine portion of it.

Caprice, m., appellation given by ladies of the demi-monde to their lovers; —— sérieux, one who keeps a girl.

Capsule, f. (popular), hat with narrow rim; infantry shako. See Tubard.


Captif, m. (popular), abbreviation of ballon captif. Enlever le ——, to kick one in the hind quarters, “to root.”

Capucin, m. (sportsmen’s), hare.

Capucine, f. (familiar and popular), jusqu’à la troisième ——, completely, “awfully.” Etre paf jusqu’à la troisième ——, to be quite drunk, or “ploughed.” See Pompette. S’ennuyer ——, &c., to feel “awfully” dull.

Caquer (popular), to ease oneself. See Mouscailler.

Carabine, f. (popular), sweetheart of acarabin,” or medical student; (military) whip.

Carabiné, adj. (popular), excessive, violent. Un mal de tête ——, a violent headache. Une plaisanterie carabinée, a spicy joke.

Carabiner (military), les côtes, to thrash. See Voie.

Carabinier, m. (popular), de la Faculté, chemist.

Carafe, f. (cads’), throat, or “gutter lane;” mouth, or “mug.” Fouetter de la ——, to have an offensive breath.

Carambolage, m. (popular), collision; general set-to; coition, or “chivalry.” Properly cannoning at billiards.

Caramboler (popular), to come into collision with anything; to strike two persons at one blow; to thrash a person or several persons. Also corresponds to the Latin futuere. The old poet Villon termed this “chevaulcher,” or “faire le bas mestier,” and Rabelais called it, “faire la bête à deux dos.” Properly “caramboler” signifies to make a cannon at billiards.

Carant, m. (thieves’), board; square piece of wood. A corruption of carré, square.

Carante, f. (thieves’), table.

Carapata, m. (popular), pedestrian; bargee; (cavalry) recruit, or “Johnny raw.”

Carapater (popular), to run, “to brush.” Se ——, to run away, or “to slope.” Literally, courir à pattes. See Patatrot.

Caravane, f. (popular), travelling show, or “slang.” Des caravanes, love adventures. Termed also “cavalcades.”

Carbeluche, m. (thieves’), galicé, silk hat.

Carcagno, or carcagne, m. (thieves’), usurer.

Carcagnotter (thieves’), to be a usurer.

Carcan, m. (popular), worthless horse, or “screw;” opprobrious epithet; gaunt woman; —— à crinoline, street-walker. See Gadoue.

Carcasse, f. (thieves’), états de ——, loins. Carcasse, in popular language, body, or “bacon.” Je vais te désosser la ——, I’ll break every bone in your body.

Carcassier, m. (theatrical), clever playwright.

Carder (popular), to claw one’s face. Properly to card.

Cardinale, f. (thieves’), moon, or “parish lantern.”

Cardinales, f. pl. (popular), menses.

Cardinaliser (familiar), se —— la figure, to blush, or to get flushed through drinking.

Care, f. (thieves’), place of concealment. Vol à la ——, see Careur.

Carême, m. (popular), amoureux de ——, timid or platonic lover. Literally a Lenten lover, one who is afraid of touching flesh.

Carer (thieves’), to conceal, to steal. See Careur. Se ——, to seek shelter.


Careur, or voleur à la care, m. (thieves’), thief who robs a money-changer under pretence of offering old coins for sale, “pincher.”

Carfouiller (popular), to thrust deeply.

Il délibéra ... pour savoir s’il lui carfouillerait le cœur avec son épée ou s’il se bornerait à lui crever les yeux.—Figaro.

Carge (thieves’), pack.

Cargot, m. (military), canteen man.

Carguer (sailors’), ses voiles, to retire from the service. Properly to reef sails.

Caribener, or carer, to stealà la care.” See Careur.

Caristade, f. (printers’), relief in money; charity.

Carle, m. (thieves’), money, “lour,” or “pieces.”

Carline, f. (thieves’), death.

Carme, m. (popular), large flat loaf; (thieves’) money, “pieces.” See Quibus. On lui a grinchi tout le —— de son morlingue, the contents of his purse have been stolen. Carme à l’estorgue, or à l’estoque, base coin, or “sheen.”

Carmer (thieves’), to pay, “to dub.”

Carnaval, m. (popular), ridiculously dressed person, “guy.”

Carne, f. (popular), worthless horse, or “screw;” opprobrious epithet applied to a woman, strumpet; woman of disreputable character, “bed-fagot,” or “shake.” Etre ——, to be lazy.

Carottage, m. (popular), chouse.

Carotte, f. (military), medical inspection; —— d’épaisseur, great chouse. (Familiar) Tirer une —— de longueur, to concoct a far-fetched story for the purpose of obtaining something from one, as money, leave of absence, &c. (Theatrical) Avoir une —— dans le plomb, to sing out of tune, or with a cracked voice; (popular) to have an offensive breath. Avoir ses carottes cuites, to be dead. (Thieves’) Tirer la ——, to elicit secrets from one, “to pump” one.

Il s’agit de te faire arrêter pour être conduit au dépôt où tu tireras la carotte à un grinche que nous allons emballer ce soir.—Vidocq.

Carotter (familiar), l’existence, to live a wretched, poverty-stricken life; —— à la Bourse, to speculate in a small way at the Stock Exchange; (military) —— le service, to shirk one’s military duties.

Caroublage, m. (thieves’), picking of a lock.

Carouble, f. (thieves’), skeleton key, “betty,” or “twirl.”

Caroubleur, m. (thieves’), thief who uses a picklock, or “screwsman;” —— à la flan, thief of this description who operates at haphazard; —— au fric-frac, housebreaker, “panny-man,” “buster,” or “cracksman.”

Carquois, m. (popular), d’osier, rag-picker’s basket.

Carre, f. (thieves’), du paquelin, the Banque de France. Mettre à la ——, to conceal.

Carré, m. (students’), second-year student in higher mathematics; (thieves’) room, or lodgings, “diggings;” —— des petites gerbes, police court; —— du rebectage, court of cassation, a tribunal which revises cases already tried, and which has power to quash a judgment.

Carreau, m. (popular), de vitre, monocular eyeglass. Aller au ——, see Aller. (Thieves’ and cads’) Carreau, eye, or “glazier;” —— brouillé, squinting eye, or “boss-eye;” —— à la manque, blind eye. Affranchir le ——, to open one’s eye.


Carreaux brouillés, m. pl. (popular), house of ill-fame, or “nanny-shop.” Such establishments which are under the surveillance of the police authorities have whitewashed window-panes and a number of vast dimensions over the street entrance.

Carrée, f. (popular), room, “crib.”

Carrefour, m. (popular), des écrasés, a crossing of the Faubourg Montmartre, a dangerous one on account of the great traffic.

Carrer (popular and thieves’), se ——, to conceal oneself; to run away, “to brush;” —— de la débine, to improve one’s circumstances.

Carreur, m. (thieves’), receiver of stolen goods, “fence.” Termed also “fourgue.”

Cartaude, f. (thieves’), printer’s shop.

Cartaudé (thieves’), printed.

Cartauder (thieves’), to print.

Cartaudier (thieves’), printer.

Carte, f. (popular), femme en ——, street-walker whose name is down in the books of the police as a registered prostitute. Revoir la ——, to vomit, or “to cascade,” “to cast up accounts,” “to shoot the cat.” (Cardsharpers’) Maquiller la ——, to handle cards; to tamper with cards, or “to stock broads.”

Carton, m. (gamesters’), playing-card, or “broad.” Manier, tripoter, graisser, travailler, patiner le ——, to play cards. Maquiller le ——, to handle cards, to tamper with cards, or “to stock broads.”

Cartonnements, m. pl. (literary), manuscripts consigned to oblivion.

Cartonner (gamesters’), to play cards.

Cartonneur, m., one fond of cards.

Cartonnier, m. (popular), clumsy worker; card-player.

Cartouche, f. (military), avaler sa ——, to die, “to lose the number of one’s mess.” Déchirer la ——, to eat. See Mastiquer.

Cartouchière à portées, f., pack of prepared cards which swindlers keep secreted under their waistcoat, “books of briefs.”

Caruche, f. (thieves’), prison, or “stir.” Comte de la ——, jailer, or “dubsman.” See Motte.

Carvel, m. (thieves’), boat. From the Italian caravella.

Cas, m. (popular), montrer son ——, to make an indecent exhibition of one’s person.

Casaquin, m. (popular), human body, or “apple cart.” Avoir quelquechose dans le ——, to be uneasy; ill at ease in body or mind. Tomber, sauter sur le —— à quelqu’un, to give one a beating, “to give one Jessie.” Grimper, tanner, travailler le ——, to belabour, “to tan.” See Voie.

Cascader (familiar), interpolating by an actor of matter not in the play; to lead a fast life.

Cascades, f. pl. (theatrical), fanciful improvisations; (familiar) eccentric proceedings; jokes. Faire des ——, to live a fast life.

Cascadeur (theatrical), actor who interpolates in his part; (familiar) man with no earnestness of purpose, and who consequently cannot be trusted; fast man.

Cascadeuse, f. (familiar), fast girl or woman.

Cascaret, m. (thieves’), two-franc coin.


Case, carrée, or piole, f. (thieves’), room; lodgings, “diggings,” or “hangs out;” (popular) house; any kind of lodgings, “crib.” Le patron de la ——, the head of any establishment, the landlord, the occupier of a house or apartment. (Familiar) N’avoir pas de case judiciaire à son dossier is said of one who has never been convicted of any offence against the law. The “dossier” is a record of a man’s social standing, containing details concerning his age, profession, morality, &c. Every Parisian, high and low, has his “dossier” at the Préfecture de Police.

Casimir, m. (popular), waistcoat, “benjy.”

Casin, m. (familiar), pool at billiards.

Casinette, f. (popular), habituée of the Casino Cadet, a place somewhat similar to the former Argyle Rooms.

Casoar, m., plume of shako, in the slang of the students of the Saint-Cyr military school, the French Sandhurst.

Casque, m. (popular), hat, “tile.” See Tubard. Casque à auvent, cap with a peak; —— à mèche, cotton nightcap. Avoir du ——, to have a spirited, persuasive delivery; to speak with a quack’s coolness and facility. An allusion to Mangin, a celebrated quack in warrior’s attire, with a large helmet and plumes. This man, who was always attended by an assistant who went by the name of Vert-de-gris, made a fortune by selling pencils. Avoir le ——, to have a headache caused by potations; to have a fancy for a man. Avoir son ——, to be completely tipsy. See Pompette.

Casquer (popular), to pay, or “to fork out;” to fall blindly into a snare; to mistake.

Casquette, f. (familiar and popular), money lost at some game at a Café. Une —— à trois ponts, a prostitute’s bully, or “ponce,” thus termed on account of the tall silk cap sported by that worthy. See Poisson. Etre ——, to be intoxicated. See Pompette. (Familiar) Etre ——, to have vulgar manners, to be a boor, “roly-poly.”

Casqueur, m. (theatrical), spectator who is not on the free list.

Cassant, m. (thieves’), walnut tree; (sailors’) biscuit.

Cassantes, f. pl. (thieves’), teeth, or “head-rails;” nuts; walnuts.

Casse, f. (popular), chippings of pastry sold cheap. Je t’en ——, that’s not for you.

Casse-gueule, m. (popular), suburban dancing-hall; strong spirits, or “kill devil.”

Cassement, m. (thieves’), de porte, housebreaking, “cracking a Crib.”

Casser, (thieves’), to eat, “to grub;” —— du sucre, or se mettre à table, to confess; —— du sucre, or —— du sucre à la rousse, to peach, “to blow the gaff;” —— la hane, to steal a purse, “to buz a skin;” —— sa canne, to sleep, or “to doss;” to be very ill; as a ticket-of-leave man, to break bounds; to die; —— sa ficelle, to escape from the convict settlement; (popular) —— un mot, to talk; —— du bec, to have an offensive breath; —— du grain, to do nothing of what is required; —— du sucre sur la tête de quelqu’un, to talk ill of one in his absence, to backbite; —— la croustille, to eat, “to grub;” —— la gueule à une négresse, [71]to drink a bottle of wine; —— la gueule à un enfant de chœur, to drink a bottle of wine (red-capped like a chorister); —— la marmite, to quarrel with one’s bread and cheese; —— le cou à un chat, to eat a rabbit stew; —— le cou à une négresse, to discuss a bottle of wine; —— sa pipe, son câble, son crachoir, or son fouet, to die, “to kick the bucket,” “to croak.” See Pipe. Casser son œuf, to have a miscarriage; —— son pif, to sleep, “to have a dose of balmy;” —— son lacet, to break off one’s connection with a mistress, “to bury a moll;” —— une roue de derrière, to spend part of a five-franc piece. Se la ——, to get away, to move off, “to hook it.” See Patatrot. N’avoir pas cassé la patte à coco, to be dull-witted, or “soft.” (Familiar) A tout ——, tremendous; awful. Une noce à tout ——, a rare jollification, “a flare-up,” or “break-down.” Un potin à tout ——, a tremendous row, or “shindy.”

Casserolage, m. (thieves’), informing against an accomplice.

Casserole, f. (thieves’), informer, or “buz-man;” spy, or “nark;” police officer, or “copper.” See Pot-à-tabac. Casserole, prostitute, or “bunter.” See Gadoue. Coup de ——, denunciation, or “busting.” Passer à ——, to be informed against. (Popular) Casserole, name given to the Hôpital du Midi. Passer à ——, see Passer.

Casseur, m. (thieves’), de portes, housebreaker, “buster,” or “screwsman;” —— de sucre à quatre sous, military convict of the Algeriancompagnies de discipline,” chiefly employed at stone-breaking. The “compagnies de discipline,” or punishment companies, consist of all the riff-raff of the army.

Cassine, f. (popular), properly small country-house; house where the master is strict; workshop in which the work is severe.

Cassolette, f. (popular), chamber utensil, or “jerry;” scavenger’s cart; mouth, or “gob.” Plomber de la ——, to have an offensive breath.

Cassure, f. (theatrical), jouer une ——, to perform in the character of a very old man.

Castagnettes, f. pl. (military), blows with the fist.

Caste, f. (old cant), de charrue, one-fourth of a crown.

Castor, or castorin, naval officer who shirks going out to sea, or one in the army who is averse to leaving the garrison.

Castorin, m. (popular), hat-maker.

Castoriser is said of an officer who shirks sea duty, or who likes to make a long stay in some pleasant garrison town.

Castroz, m. (popular), capon.

Castu, m. (thieves’), hospital. Barbeaudier de ——, hospital director.

Castue, m. (thieves’), prison, or “stir.” See Motte. Comte de ——, jailer, or “jigger-dubber.”

Cataplasme, m. (popular), au gras, spinach; —— de Venise, blow, “clout.”

Cataplasmier, m. (popular), hospital attendant.

Catapulteux, catapulteuse, adj. (popular), beautiful; marvellous. Une femme ——, a magnificent woman, a “blooming tart.”

Catiniser (popular), se ——, to be in a fair way of becoming a street-walker.

Cauchemardant (popular), tiresome, annoying, “boring.”


Cauchemarder (popular), to annoy, to bore. Se ——, to fret.

Cause, f. (familiar), grasse, case in a court of justice offering piquant details.

Causotter (familiar), to chat familiarly in a small circle.

Cavalcade, f. (popular), love intrigue. Avoir vu des cavalcades is said of a woman who has had many lovers.

Cavale, f. (popular), flight. Se payer une ——, to run away, or “to crush.” See Patatrot. (Thieves’) Tortiller une ——, to form a plan for escaping from prison.

Cavaler (thieves’ and cads’), quelqu’un, to annoy one, to “rile” him. Se ——, to make off, “to guy.” For list of synonyms see Patatrot. Se —— au rebectage, to pray for a new trial in theCour de Cassation.” This court may quash a judgment for the slightest flaw in the procedure, such as, for instance, the fact of a witness not lifting his right hand when taking the oath. Se —— cher au rebectage, to pray for a commutation of a sentence.

Cavalerie, f. (popular), grosse ——, man who works in the sewers, a “rake-kennel.” An allusion to his high boots.

Cavé, m. (popular), dupe, or “gull;” cat’s-paw.

Cavée, f. (thieves’), church.

Cayenne, m. (popular), suburban cemetery; suburban factory; workshop at a distance from Paris. Gibier de ——, scamp, jail-bird.

Cayenne-les-eaux, m. (thieves’), the Cayenne dépôt for transported convicts.

, m. (thieves’), silver. Attaches de ——, silver buckles. Bogue de ——, silver watch, “white ’un.” Tout de ——, very well.

Cela me gêne (theatrical), words used by actors to denote anything which interferes with the impression they seek to produce by certain tirades or by-play.

Celui (popular), avoir —— de ..., stands for avoir l’honneur de ..., to have the honour to ... .

Censure, f. (thieves’), passer la ——, to repeat a crime.

Centiballe, m. (popular), centime. Balle, a franc.

Central, m. (familiar), pupil of theEcole Centrale,” a public engineering school; telegraph office of thePlace de la Bourse.”

Centre, m. (thieves’), name, “monarch or monniker.” Also a meeting-place for malefactors. Un —— à l’estorgue, a false name, or “alias.” Un —— d’altèque, a real name. Coquer son ——, to give one’s name. (Familiar) Le —— de gravité, the behind, or “seat of honour.” See Vasistas. Perdre son ——, to be tipsy, “fuddled.”

Centré, adj. (popular), is said of one who has failed in business, “gone to smash.”

Centrier, or centripète, m. (military), foot soldier, “beetle-crusher or wobbler;” (familiar) member of theCentreparty (Conservative) of the House, under Louis Philippe. The House is now divided into “extrême gauche” (rabid radicals); “gauche” (advanced republicans); “centre-gauchers” (conservative republicans); “centre” (wavering members); “centre droit” (moderate conservatives); “droite” (monarchists and clericals); “extrême droite” (rabid monarchists and ultramontane clericals).

Centriot, m. (thieves’), nickname.


Cercle, m. (thieves’), silver coin. (Familiar) Pincer or rattraper au demi ——, to come upon one unawares, to catch, “to nab” him. From an expression used in fencing.

Cercueil, m. (students’), glass of beer. A dismal play on the word “bière,” which has both significations of beer and coffin.

Cerf, m. (popular), injured husband, or cuckold. Se déguiser en ——, to decamp; to run away; to be off in a “jiffy.” See Patatrot.

Cerf-volant, m. (thieves’), female thief who strips children at play in the public gardens or parks. A play on the words “cerf-volant,” kite, and “voler,” to steal.

Cerise, f. (popular), mason of the suburbs.

Cerises, f. pl. (military), monter en marchand de ——, to ride badly, with toes and elbows out, and all of a heap, like a man with a basket on his arm.

Cerisier, m. (popular), sorry horse. An allusion to the name given to small horses which used to carry cherries to market.

Cerneau, m. (literary), young girl. Properly fresh walnut.

Certificats, m. pl. (military), de bêtise, long-service stripes.

C’est (printers’), à cause des mouches, sneering reply.

Eh! dis donc, compagnon, pourquoi n’es-tu pas venu à la boîte ce matin? L’autre répond par ce coq-à-l’âne: C’est à cause des mouches.—Boutmy.

Cet (popular), aut’ chien, that feller!

Chabannais, m. (popular), noise; row; thrashing. Ficher un ——, to thrash, “to wallop.” See Voie.

Chabrol, m. (popular), mixture of broth and wine.

Chacal, m. (military), Zouave.

Chaffourer (popular), se ——, to claw one another.

Chafrioler (popular), se —— à quelque chose, to find pleasure in something.

Chahut, m. (familiar and popular), eccentric dance, not in favour in respectable society, and in which the dancers’ toes are as often on a level with the faces of their partners as on the ground; uproar, “shindy,” general quarrel. Faire du ——, to make a noise, a disturbance.

Chahuter (familiar and popular), to dance the chahut (which see); to upset; to shake; to rock about. Nous avons été rudement chahutés, we were dreadfully jolted. Ne chahute donc pas comme ça, keep still, don’t fidget so.

Chahuteur, m. (popular), noisy, restless fellow; one who dances the chahut (which see).

Chahuteuse, f. (popular), habituée of low dancing-saloons. Also a girl leading a noisy, fast life.

Chaillot (popular), à ——! go to the deuce! à —— les gêneurs! to the deuce with bores! Ahuri de ——, blockhead. Envoyer à ——, to get rid of one; to send one to the deuce.

Chaîne, f. (popular), d’oignons, ten of cards.

Chaîniste, m. (popular), maker of gold chains.

Chair, f. (cads’), dure! hit him hard! smash him! That is, Fais lui la chair dure! (Popular) Marchand de —— humaine, keeper of a brothel.

Chaises, f. pl. (popular), manquer de —— dans la salle à manger, to be minus several teeth. Noce de [74]bâtons de ——, grand jollification, or “flare-up.”

Chaleur! (popular), exclamation expressive of contempt, disbelief, disappointment, mock admiration, &c.

Chaloupe, f. (popular), woman with dress bulging out. (Students’) La —— orageuse, a furious sort of cancan. The cancan is an eccentric dance, and one of rather questionable character. See Chahut.

Chalouper (students’), to dance the above.

Chamailler (popular), des dents, to eat.

Chambard, m. (Ecole Polytechnique), act of smashing the furniture and destroying the effects of the newly-joined students.

Chambardement, m. (sailors’), overthrown; destruction.

Chambarder (sailors’), to hustle; to smash. At the Ecole Polytechnique, to smash, or create a disturbance.

Chamberlan, m. (popular), workman who works at home.

Chambert, m. (thieves’), one who talks too much; one who lets the cat out of the bag.

Chamberter (thieves’), to talk in an indiscreet manner.

Chambre, f. (thieves’), de sûreté, the prison of La Conciergerie. La —— des pairs, that part of the dépôt reserved for convicts sentenced to penal servitude for life.

Chambrer (swindlers’), to lose; to steal; to “claim.” See Grinchir.

Chambrillon, m., small servant; young “slavey.”

Chameau, m. (popular), cunning man who imposes on his friends; girl of lax morals; prostitute; —— a deux bosses, prostitute. Ce —— de ..., insulting expression applied to either sex.

Coupeau apprit de la patronne que Nana était débauchée par une autre ouvrière, ce petit chameau de Léonie, qui venait de lâcher les fleurs pour faire la noce.—Zola, L’Assommoir.

Chameliers, m. pl. (military), name formerly given to the oldguides.”

Champ, m. (familiar), champagne, “fiz,” or “boy;” (popular) —— d’oignons, cemetery; —— de navets, cemetery where executed criminals are interred.

Champoreau, m. (military), beverage concocted with coffee, milk, and some alcoholic liquor, but more generally a mixture of coffee and spirits. From the name of the inventor.

Le douro, je le gardais précieusement, ayant grand soin de ne pas l’entamer. J’eusse préféré jeûner un long mois de champoreau et d’absinthe.—Hector France, Sous le Burnous.

Chançard, m. (familiar), lucky man.

Chancellerie, f. (popular), mettre en ——, to put one in “chancery.”

Chancre, m. (popular), man with a large appetite, a “grand paunch.”

Chand, chande (popular), abbreviation of marchand.

Chandelier, m. (popular), nose, “boko,” “snorter,” or “smeller.” For synonyms see Morviau.

Chandelle, f. (military), infantry musket; sentry. Etre conduit entre quatre chandelles, to be marched off to the guard-room by four men and a corporal. La —— brûle, it is time to go home. Faire fondre une ——, to drink a bottle of wine. Glisser en ——, to slide with both feet close together.

Mon galopin file comme une flèche. Quelle aisance! quelle grâce même! Tantôt [75]les pieds joints, en chandelle: tantôt accroupi, faisant la petite bonne femme.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Changer (popular), son poisson d’eau, or ses olives d’eau, to void urine, “to pump ship.” See Lascailler.

Changeur, m. (thieves’), clothier who provides thieves with a disguise; rogue who appropriates a new overcoat from the lobby of a house or club, and leaves his old one in exchange. Also thief who steals plate.

Chanoine, m., chanoinesse, f. (thieves’), person in good circumstances, one worth robbing; —— de Monte-à-regret, one sentenced to death; old offender.

Chantage, m. (familiar), extorting money by threats of disclosures concerning a guilty action real or supposed, “jobbery.”

Chanter (familiar), to pay money under threat of being exposed. Faire —— quelqu’un, to extort money from one under threat of exposure; to extort “socket money.” (Popular) Faire —— une gamme, to thrash one, “to lead a dance.” See Voie.

Chanteur, m. (thieves’), juge d’instruction, a magistrate who investigates a case before trial; (familiar) man who seeks to extort money by threatening people with exposure. There are different kinds of chanteurs. Vidocq terms “chanteurs” the journalists who prey on actors fearful of their criticism; those who demand enormous prices for letters containing family secrets; the writers of biographical notices who offer them at so much a line; those who entice people into immoral places and who exact hush-money. The celebrated murderer Lacenaire was one of this class. Chanteur de la Chapelle Sixtine, eunuch. Maître ——, skilful chanteur (which see).

Chantier, m. (popular), embarrassment, “fix.”

Chaparder (military), to loot; to steal, “to prig.”

Chapelle, f. (familiar), clique. Termed also “petite chapelle;” (popular) wine-shop, or “lush-crib.” Faire ——, is said of a woman who lifts her dress to warm her limbs by the fire. Fêter des chapelles, to go the round of several wine-shops, with what result it is needless to say.

Chapelure, f. (popular), n’avoir plus de —— sur le jambonneau, to be bald, “to have a bladder of lard.” See Avoir.

Chapi, m. (popular), hat, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Chapiteau, m. (popular), head, or “block.” See Tronche.

Chapon, m. (popular), monk. Cage à chapons, monastery. Des chapons de Limousin, chestnuts.

Chapska, m. (popular), hat, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Char, m. (familiar), numéroté, cab.

Charcuter (popular), to amputate.

Charcutier (popular), clumsy workman; surgeon, “sawbones.”

Chardonneret, m. (thieves’), gendarme. An allusion to his red, white, and yellow uniform. Properly a goldfinch.

Charenton, m. (popular), absinthe. The dépôt for lunatics being at Charenton, the allusion is obvious.

Chargé, adj. (popular), tipsy, “tight.” See Pompette. (Coachmen’s) Etre ——, to have a “fare.”


Charger (coachmen’s), to take up a “fare;” (prostitutes’) to find a client; (cavalry) —— en ville, to go to town.

Charier (thieves’), to try to get information, “to cross-kid.”

Charieur (thieves’), he who seeks to worm out some information.

Charlemagne, m. (military), sabre-bayonet.

Charlot, m. (popular and thieves’), the executioner. His official title is “Monsieur de Paris.” Soubrettes de ——, the executioner’s assistants, literally his lady’s maids. An allusion to “la toilette,” or cropping the convict’s hair and cutting off his shirt collar a few minutes before the execution. (Thieves’) Charlot, thief; —— bon drille, a good-natured thief. See Grinche.

Charmant, adj. (thieves’), scabby.

Charmante, f. (thieves’), itch.

Charmer (popular), les puces, to get drunk. See Sculpter.

Charogneux, adj. (familiar), roman ——, filthy novel.

Charon, charron, m. (thieves’). See Charrieur.

Charpenter (playwrights’), to write the scheme of a play.

Charpentier, m. (playwrights’), he who writes the scheme of a play.

Charretée, f. (popular), en avoir une ——, to be quite drunk, to be “slewed.” See Pompette.

Charriage, m. (thieves’), swindle; —— à l’Américaine is a kind of confidence trick swindle. It requires two confederates, one called “leveur” or “jardinier,” whose functions are to exercise his allurements upon the intended victim without awakening his suspicions. When the latter is fairly hooked, the pair meet—by chance of course—with “l’Américain,” a confederate who passes himself off for a native of America, and who offers to exchange a large sum of gold for a smaller amount of money. The pigeon gleefully accepts the proffered gift, and discovers later on that the alleged gold coins are nothing but base metal. This kind of swindle goes also by the names of “vol à l’Américaine,” “vol au change.” Charriage à la mécanique, or vol au père François, takes place thus: a robber throws a handkerchief round a person’s neck, and holds him fast half-strangled on his own back while a confederate rifles the victim’s pockets. Charriage au coffret: the thief, termed “Américain,” leaves in charge of a barmaid a small box filled to all appearance with gold coin; he returns in the course of the day, but suddenly finding that he has lost the key of the box, he asks for a loan of money and disappears, leaving the box as security. It goes without saying that the alleged gold coins are nothing more than brand-new farthings. Charriage au pot, another kind of the confidence trick dodge. One confederate forms an acquaintance with a passer-by, and both meet with the other confederate styled “l’Américain,” who offers to take them to a house of ill-fame and defray all expenses, but who, being fearful of getting robbed, deposits his money in a jug or other receptacle. On the way he suddenly alters his mind, and sends the victim for the sum, not without having exacted bail-money from him as a guarantee of his return, after which both scamps make off with the fool’s money. Swindlers of this description are termed “magsmen” in the English slang.


Charrier (thieves’), to swindle one out of his money by misleading statements. See Charriage.

Charrieur, m. (thieves’), thief who employs the mode termed charriage (which see); confederate who provides cardsharpers with pigeons; —— de ville, a robber who first makes his victims insensible by drugs, and then plunders them, a “drummer;” —— cambrousier, itinerant quack; clumsy thief.

Chartreuse, f. (popular), de vidangeur, small measure of wine.

Chartron, m. (theatrical), faire le ——, is said of actors who place themselves in a row in front of the footlights.

Chason, m. (thieves’), ring, “fawney.”

Chasse, f. (popular), aller à la —— au barbillon, to go a-fishing. Foutre une ——, to scold vehemently, “to haul over the coals.”

Châsse, f. (thieves’), eye, “glazier.” Balancer, boiter des châsses, to be one-eyed, “boss-eyed;” to squint. Se foutre l’apôtre dans la ——, to be mistaken.

Chasse-brouillard (popular), a drop of spirits; a dram to keep the damp out, a “dewdrop.”

Chasse-coquin, m. (popular), gendarme; beadle, “bumble;” bad wine.

Chasselas, m. (popular), wine.

Chassemar, m. (popular), for chasseur.

Chasse-marée, m. (military), chasseurs d’Afrique, a body of light cavalry.

Chasse-noble, m. (thieves’), gendarme.

Chasser (popular), au plat, to be a parasite, a “quiller;” —— des reluits, to weep, “to nap a bib;” —— le brouillard, to have a morning dram of spirits, or a “dewdrop;” —— les mouches, to be dying. See Pipe. (Thieves’ and cads’) Chasser, to flee, “to guy.” See Patatrot.

Gn’a du pet, interrompt un second voyou qui survient, v’là un sergot qui s’amène ... chassons!—Richepin.

D’occase, abbreviation of d’occasion, secondhand.

Châssis, m. (popular), eyes, or “peepers.” Fermer les ——, to sleep.

Chassue, f. (thieves’), needle. Chas, eye of a needle.

Chassure, f. (thieves’), wine.

Chasublard, m. (popular), priest, or “devil dodger.”

Vit-on un seul royaliste, un seul cagot, un seul chasublard, prendre les armes pour la défense du trône et de l’autel?—G. Guillemot, Le Mot d’Ordre, Sept. 6, 1877.

Chat, m. (thieves’), turnkey, “dubsman;” (popular) slater, from his spending half his life on roofs like cats. Avoir un —— dans la gouttière, to be hoarse.

Châtaigne, f. (popular), box on the ear, or “buck-horse.”

Chataud, chataude, adj. (popular), greedy.

Château, m. (popular), branlant, person or thing always in motion. (Thieves’) Château, prison; —— de l’ombre, convict settlement. Un élève du ——, a prisoner.

Château-Campêche (familiar and popular), [78]derisive appellation for bad wine, of which the ruby colour is often due to an adjunction of logwood.

Chaton, m. (popular), nice fellow; Sodomist.

Chatouillage au roupillon, m. (thieves’). See Vol au poivrier.

Chatouiller (theatrical), le public, to indulge in drolleries calculated to excite mirth among an audience; (familiar) —— les côtes, to thrash, “to lick.”

Chatouilleur (familiar), man on ’Change who by divers contrivances entices the public into buying shares, a “buttoner;” (thieves’) a thief who tickles a person’s sides as if in play, and meanwhile picks his pockets.

Chatte, f. (popular), five-franc piece.

Chaud, adj. and m. (popular), cunning; greedy; wide awake, or “fly;” high-priced. Il l’a ——, he is wide awake about his own interests. Etre ——, to look with watchful eye. (Familiar) Un ——, an enthusiast; energetic man. Il fera ——, never, “when the devil is blind.” Quand vous me reverrez il fera ——, you will never see me again. Etre —— de la pince, to be fond of women, to be a “beard-splitter.” (Artists’) Faire ——, to employ very warm tints after the style of Rembrandt and all other colourists. (Popular and thieves’) Chaud! quick! on!

Chaud, chaud! pour le mangeur, il faut le désosser.—E. Sue.

Chaudron, m. (familiar), bad piano. Taper sur le ——, to play on the piano.

Chaudronner (popular), to buy secondhand articles and sell them as new.

Chaudronnier, m. (popular), secondhand-clothes man; (military) cuirassier, an allusion to his breastplate.

Chaufaillon (popular), stoker.

Chauffe-la-couche (familiar), man who loves well his comfort; henpecked husband, or “stangey.”

Chauffer (popular), le four, to drink heavily, “to guzzle.” See Rincer. (Familiar) Chauffer un artiste, une pièce, to applaud so as to excite the enthusiasm of an audience; —— une affaire, to push briskly an undertaking; —— une place, to be canvassing for a post. Ça va chauffer, there will be a hot fight. Chauffer des enchères, to encourage bidding at an auction.

Chauffeur, m. (popular), man who instills life into conversation or in a company; formerly, under the Directoire, one of a gang of brigands who extorted money from people by burning the feet of the victims.

Chaumir (thieves’), to lose.

Chaussette (thieves’), ring fastened as a distinctive badge to the leg of a convict who has been chained up for any length of time to another convict, a punishment termeddouble chaîne.”

Chaussettes, f. pl. (military), gloves; —— russes, wrapper for the feet made of pieces of cloth; (popular) —— de deux paroisses, odd socks.

Chausson, m. (popular), old prostitute. Putain comme ——, regular whore. (Ballet girls’) Faire son ——, to put on and arrange one’s pumps.

“Laissez-moi donc, je suis en retard. J’ai encore mon mastic et mon chausson à faire.” Autrement, pour ceux qui ne sont pas de la boutique, “il me reste encore à m’habiller, à me chausser et à me faire ma tête.”—Mahalin.

Chaussonner (popular), to kick.


Chauviniste, m., synonymous of “chauvin,” one with narrow-minded, exaggerated sentiments of patriotism, a “Jingo.”

Chef, m. (military), abbreviation of maréchal-des-logis chef, quartermaster-sergeant in the cavalry. (Popular) Chef de cuisine, foreman in a brewery; (thieves’) —— d’attaque, head of a gang.

Chelinguer (popular), to stink. Termed also “plomber, trouilloter, casser, danser, repousser, fouetter, vézouiller, véziner.”

Cheminée, f. (popular), hat, “chimney pot.”

Chemise, f. (popular), être dans la —— de quelqu’un, to be constantly with one, to be “thick as hops” with one. (Thieves’) Chemise de conseiller, stolen linen.

Chemises, f. pl. (popular), compter ses ——, to vomit, or “to cascade.” An allusion to the bending posture of a man who is troubled with the ailment.

Chenâtre, adj. (thieves’), good, excellent, “nobby.”

Ils ont de quoi faire un chenâtre banquet avec des rouillardes pleines de pivois et du plus chenâtre qu’on puisse trouver.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Chêne, m. (thieves’), man, or “cove;” —— affranchi, thief, or “flash cove.” For synonyms see Grinche. Faire suer un ——, to kill a man, “to give a cove his gruel.”

Chenillon, m. (popular), ugly girl.

Chenique, or chnic, m. (popular), brandy, “French cream.”

Cheniqueur, m. (popular), drinker of brandy.

Chenoc, adj. (thieves’), bad; good-for-nothing old fellow.

Chenu, adj. (thieves’), excellent, “nobby.” Properly old, whitened by age; —— pivois, excellent wine; —— reluit, good morning; —— sorgue, good night.

Je lui jaspine en bigorne,
Qu’as-tu donc à morfiller?
J’ai du chenu pivois sans lance,
Et du larton savonné.

Chenument (popular), very well; very good.

Cher (thieves’), se cavaler ——, to decamp quickly, to “guy.” See Patatrot.

Chérance, f. (thieves’), être en ——, to be intoxicated, or “canon.”

Cherche (popular), nothing, or “love.” Etre dix à ——, to be ten to love at billiards.

Chercher (popular), la gueulée, to be a parasite, a “quiller.” (Familiar and popular) Chercher des poux à la tête de quelqu’un, to find fault with one on futile pretexts; to try and fasten on a quarrel.

Chérez! (thieves’), courage! cheer up! never say die! Villon, 15th century, has “chère lye,” a joyous countenance.

Chetard, m. (thieves’), prison, or “stir.” See Motte.

Chétif, m. (popular), mason’s boy.

Cheulard, m. (popular), gormandizer, “grand-paunch.”

Cheval, m. (popular and thieves’), de retour, old offender; returned or escaped convict sent back to the convict settlement. Termed also “trique, canne.”

Me voilà donc cheval de retour, on me remet à Toulon, cette fois avec les bonnets verts.—V. Hugo.

(Military) Cheval de l’adjudant, camp bed of cell; (familiar) —— qui la connaît dans les coins, [80]a clever horse. Literally skilful at turning the corners. (Popular) Faire son —— de corbillard, to put on a jaunty look; to give oneself conceited airs; to bluster, or, as the Americans say, “to be on the tall grass.”

Chevalier, m. (popular), de la courte lance, hospital assistant; —— de la grippe, thief, or “prig.” See Grinche. Chevalier de la manchette, Sodomist; —— de la pédale, one who works a card-printing machine; —— de l’aune, shopman, or “knight of the yard;” —— de salon, de tapis vert, gamester; —— du bidet, women’s bully, or “pensioner.” See Poisson. Chevalier du crochet, rag-picker, or “bone-grubber;” —— du lansquenet, gambling cheat who has recourse to the card-sharping trick denominatedle pont” (which see); —— du lustre, “claqueur,” that is, one who is paid for applauding at theatres; —— du printemps, or de l’ordre du printemps, silly fellow who flowers his button-hole to make it appear that he has the decoration of the “Légion d’Honneur;” —— grimpant, see Voleur au bonjour.

Chevau-léger, m. (familiar), ultra-Conservative of the Legitimist and Clerical party. The chevau-légers were formerly a corps of household cavalry.

Chevaux, m. pl. (popular), à doubles semelles, legs. Compare the English expression, “to ride Shank’s mare, or pony.”

Chevelu, adj. (familiar), art ——, littérateur ——, poète ——, art, literary man, poet of the “école romantique,” of which the chief in literature was Victor Hugo.

Cheveu, m. (familiar), difficulty; trouble; hindrance; hitch. Voilà le ——, ay, there’s the rub. J’ai un ——, I have some trouble on my mind, reason for uneasiness. Il y a un —— dans son bonheur, there is some trouble that mars his happiness. (Popular) Avoir un —— pour un homme, to fancy a man. (Theatrical) Cheveu, unintentional jumbling of words by transposition of syllables. This kind of mistake when intentional Rabelais termed “équivoquer.”

En l’aultre deux ou trois miroirs ardents dont il faisait enrager aulcunes fois les hommes et les femmes et leur faisait perdre contenance à l’ecclise. Car il disait qu’il n’y avait qu’une antistrophe entre femme folle à la messe et femme molle à la fesse.—Rabelais, Pantagruel.

See also Œuvres de Rabelais (Garnier’s edition), Pantagruel, page 159.

Cheveux, m. (familiar and popular), avoir mal aux ——, to have a headache caused by overnight potations. Faire des —— gris à quelqu’un, to trouble one, to give anxiety to one. Se faire des —— blancs, to fret; to feel annoyed at being made to wait a long time. Trouver des —— à tout, to find fault with everything. (Military) Passer la main dans les ——, to cut one’s hair.

Chevillard, m. (popular), butcher in a small way.

Chevilles, f. (popular), fried potatoes. Termed “greasers” at the R. M. Academy.

Chévinette, f. (popular), darling.

Chèvre, f. (popular), gober sa ——, to get angry, to bristle up, “to lose one’s shirt,” “to get one’s monkey up.”

Chevron, m. (thieves’), fresh offence against the law. Properly military stripe.

Chevronné, m. (thieves’), old offender, an old “jail-bird.”


Chevrotin, adj. (popular), irritable, “cranky,” “touchy.”

Chiade, f. (schoolboys’), hustling, pushing.

Chialler (thieves’), to squall; to weep.

Bon, tu chial’! ah! c’est pas palas.—Richepin.

Chiarder (schoolboys’), to work, “to sweat.”

Chiasse, f. (popular), avoir la ——, to suffer from diarrhœa, or “jerry-go-nimble.”

Chibis, m. (thieves’), faire ——, to escape from prison; to decamp, “to guy.” See Patatrot.

J’ai fait chibis. J’avais la frousse
Des préfectanciers de Pantin.
A Pantin, mince de potin!
On y connaît ma gargarousse.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Chic, m. (English slang), “tzing tzing,” or “slap up.” The word has almost ceased to be slang, but we thought it would not be out of place in a work of this kind. (Familiar) Chic, finish; elegance; dash; spirit. Une femme qui a du ——, une robe qui a du ——, a stylish woman or dress. Cet acteur joue avec ——, this actor plays in a spirited manner. Ça manque de ——, it wants dash, is commonplace. Pourri de ——, most elegant, “nobby.” Chic, knack; originality; manner. Il a le ——, he has the knack. Il a un —— tout particulier, he has a manner quite his own. Il a le —— militaire, he has a soldier-like appearance. Peindre de ——, faire de ——, écrire de ——, to paint or write with imaginative power, but without much regard for accuracy.

Vous croyez peut-être que j’invente, que je brode d’imagination et que je fais de chic cette seconde vie.—Richepin.

Chic, chique, adj., excellent, “fizzing;” dashing, stylish. Un pékin ——, well-dressed, rich man. Un homme ——, a man of fashion, a well-dressed one, a well-to-do man. Un —— homme, a good, excellent man.

Chican, m. (thieves’), hammer.

Chicandard. See Chicard.

Chicander (popular), to dance the “Chicard step.” See Chicard.

Chicane, f. (thieves’), grinchir à la ——, stealing the purse or watch of a person while standing in front of him, but with the back turned towards him—a feat which requires no ordinary dexterity.

Chicard, m. (popular), buffoon character of the carnival, in fashion from 1830 to 1850. The first who impersonated it was a leather-seller, who invented a new eccentric step, considered to be exceedingly “chic;” hence probably his nickname of Chicard. His “get-up” consisted of a helmet with high plume, jackboots, a flannel frock, and large cavalry gloves. Pas ——, step invented by M. Chicard.

Chicard, chicancardo, chicandard, adj., superlative of “chic,” “tip-top,” “out and out,” “slap up,” “tzing tzing.”

Chicarder, to dance the Chicard step. See Chicard.

Chic et contre, warning which mountebanks address to one another.

Chiche! (popular), an exclamation expressive of defiance.

Chickstrac, m. (military), refuse, dung, excrement. Corvée de ——, fatigue duty for sweeping away the refuse, and especially for emptying cesspools.

Chicmann, m. (popular), tailor. A great many tailors in Paris bear Germanic names; hence the termination of the word.


Chicorée, f. (popular), c’est fort de ——, it is really too bad! Ficher de la ——, to reprimand, “to give a wigging.” Faire sa ——, is said of a person with affected or “high-falutin” airs. Ne fais donc pas ta ——, don’t give yourself such airs, “come off the tall grass,” as the Americans have it.

Chié, adj. (popular), tout ——, “as like as two peas.”

Chie-dans-l’eau, m. (military), sailor.

Chien, m. and adj. (popular), noyé, sugar soaked in coffee. (Journalists’) Un —— perdu, short newspaper paragraph. (Schoolboys’) Un —— de cour, school usher, or “bum brusher.” (Military) Un —— de compagnie, a sergeant major. Un —— de régiment, adjutant. (Familiar and popular) Le —— du commissaire, police magistrate’s secretary. The commissaire is a police functionary and petty magistrate. He examines privately cases brought before him, sends prisoners for trial, or dismisses them at once, settles then and there disputes between coachmen and their fares, sometimes between husbands and wives, makes perquisitions. He possesses to a certain extent discretionary powers. Avoir du ——, to possess dash, go, “gameness.” Il faut avoir du —— dans le ventre pour résister, one must have wonderful staying powers to resist. Avoir un —— pour un homme, to be infatuated with a man. Faire le ——, is said of a servant who follows with a basket in the wake of her mistress going to market. Rester en —— de faience, to remain immovable, like a block. Se regarder en —— de faience, to look at one another without uttering a word. Piquer un ——, to take a nap. Dormir en —— de fusil, to sleep with the body doubled up. Une coiffure à la ——, mode of wearing the hair loose on the forehead. (Military) Un officier ——, a martinet.

Chiendent, m., arracher le ——. See Arracher.

Chier (popular), coarse word; —— dans la vanette, to be too free and easy; —— de petites crottes, to earn little money; to live in poverty; —— des carottes, to be costive; —— des chasses, to weep, “to nap a bib;” —— du poivre, to fail in keeping one’s promise; to abscond; to vanish when one’s services or help are most needed; —— sur l’œil, to laugh at one; —— sur, to show great contempt for; to abandon. Ne pas —— de grosses crottes, to have had a bad dinner, or no dinner at all. Vous me faites ——, you bore me. Un gueuleton à —— partout, a grand feast. Une mine à —— dessus, a repulsive countenance. (Printers’) Chier dans le cassetin aux apostrophes, to cease to be a printer.

Chieur, m. (popular), d’encre, clerk, or “quill-driver.”

Chiffarde, f. (thieves’), summons; pipe.

Chiffe, f. (popular), rag-picking; tongue, “red rag.”

Chifferlinde, f. (popular), boire une ——, to drink a dram of spirits.

Chifferton, m. (popular), rag-picker, “bone-grubber,” or “tot-picker.”

Chiffon, m. (popular), handkerchief, “snottinger;” —— rouge, tongue, “red rag.” Balancer le —— rouge, to talk, “to wag the red rag.”

Chiffonnage, m. (popular), plunder of a rag-picker.

Chiffonnier, m. (thieves’), pickpocket who devotes his attention to handkerchiefs, “stook-hauler;” [83]man of disorderly habits. (Literary). Chiffonnier de la double colline, bad poet.

Chiffornion, m. (popular), silk handkerchief, or silk “wipe.”

Chiffortin, m. (popular), rag-picker, “bone-grubber,” or “tot-picker.”

Chignard, m. (popular), inveterate grumbler, “rusty guts.”

Chigner (popular), to weep, “to nap a bib.”

Chimique, f. (popular), lucifer match.

Chinage. See Chine. Vol au ——, selling plated trinkets for the genuine article.

Chincilla (popular), grey, or “pepper and salt” hair.

Chine. Aller à la ——, to ply the trade of chineur (which see).

Chiner (military), to slander one; to ridicule one; (popular) to work; to go in quest of good bargains; to buy furniture at sales and resell it; to follow the pursuit of an old clothes man; to hawk; to go about the country buying heads of hair from peasant girls.

Chineur, or margoulin, m. (thieves’), one who goes about the country buying heads of hair of peasant girls. (Military) Chineur, slanderer; (popular) rabbit-skin man; marine store dealer; worker; hawker of cheap stuffs or silk handkerchiefs.

En argot, chineur signifie travailleur, et vient du verbe chiner.... Mais ce mot se spécialise pour désigner particulièrement une race de travailleurs sui generis....

Elle campe en deux tribus à Paris. L’une habite le pâté de maisons qui se hérisse entre la place Maubert et le petit bras de la Seine, et notamment rue des Anglais. L’autre niche en haut de Ménilmontant, et a donné autrefois son nom à la rue de la Chine....

Les chineurs sont, d’ailleurs, des colons et non des Parisiens de naissance. Chaque génération vient ici chercher fortune, et s’en retourne ensuite au pays.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Chinois, m. (popular), an individual, a “bloke,” a “cove;” proprietor of coffee-house; (familiar) term of friendship; (military) term of contempt applied to civilians, hence probably the expression “pékin,” civilian.

Chinoiserie, f. (familiar), quaint joke; intricate and quaint procedure or contrivance.

Chipe, f. (popular), prigging. From chiper, to purloin.

Chipette, f. (popular), trifle; nothing; Lesbian woman, that is, one with unnatural passions.

Chipie, f. (familiar). Literally girl or woman with a testy temper, a “brim.” Faire sa ——, to put on an air of supreme disdain or disgust.

Chipoteuse, f. (popular), capricious woman.

Chiquandar. See Chicard.

Chique. See Chic.

Chique, f. Properly quid of tobacco. (Popular) Avoir sa ——, to be in a bad humour, “to be crusty,” or “cranky.” Avoir une ——, to be drunk, or “screwed.” See Pompette. Ça te coupe la ——, that’s disappointing for you, that “cuts you up.” Coller sa ——, to bend one’s head. Couper la —— à quinze pas, to stink. Poser sa ——, to die; to be still. Pose ta —— et fais le mort! be still! shut up! hold your row! (Thieves’) Chique, church.

Chiqué (artists’), smartly executed. Also said of artistic work done quickly without previously studying nature. (Popular) Bien ——, well dressed.

Chiquement, with chic (which see).


Chiquer (familiar), to do anything in a superior manner; to do artistic work with more brilliancy than accuracy; (popular) to thrash, “to wallop,” see Voie; to eat, “to grub,” see Mastiquer. Se ——, to fight, “to drop into one another.”

Chiquer contre or battre à niort (thieves’), to deny one’s guilt.

Chiqueur, m. (popular), glutton, “stodger;” (artists’) an artist who paints with smartness, or one who draws or paints without studying nature.

Chirurgien, m. (popular), en vieux, cobbler.

Chnic. See Chenique.

Chocaillon, m. (popular), female rag-picker; female drunkard, or “lushington.”

Chocnoso, chocnosof, chocnosogue, koscnoff, excellent, remarkable, brilliant, “crushing,” “nobby,” “tip-top,” “fizzing.”

Chocotte, f. (rag-pickers’), marrow bone; (thieves’) tooth.

Choléra, m. (popular), zinc or zinc-worker; bad meat.

Cholet, m. (popular), white bread of superior quality.

Cholette, f. (thieves’), half a litre. Double ——, a litre.

Choper (popular), to steal, “to prig.” See Grinchir. Old word choper, to touch anything, to make it fall. Se laisser ——, to allow oneself to be caught, to be “nabbed.”

Chopin, m. (thieves’), theft; stolen object; blow. Faire un ——, to commit a theft.

Chose, adj. (familiar and popular), ill at ease; sad; embarrassed. Il prit un air ——, he looked sad or embarrassed. Je me sens tout ——, I feel ill at ease; queer.

Chou! (thieves’ and cads’), a warning cry to intimate that the police or people are coming up. Termed also “Acresto!

Choucarde, f. (military), wheelbarrow.

Chouchouter (familiar), to fondle, “to firkytoodle;” to spoil one. From chouchou, darling.

Chou colossal, m. (familiar), a scheme for swindling the public by fabulous accounts of future profits.

Choucroute, f. (popular), tête or mangeur de ——, a German.

Choucrouter (popular), to eat sauerkraut; to speak German.

Choucrouteur, choucroutmann, m., German.

Chouette, chouettard, chouettaud, adj., good; fine; perfect, “chummy,” “real jam,” “true marmalade.” C’est rien ——, that’s first-class! Quel —— temps, what splendid weather! Un —— régiment, a crack regiment. (Disparagingly) Nous sommes ——, we are in a fine pickle.

Chouette, f. and adj. (thieves’), être ——, to be caught. Faire une ——, to play at billiards against two other players.

Chouettement (popular), finely; perfectly.

Chouez (Breton), house; —— doue, church.

Choufflic (popular), bad workman. In the German schuflick, cobbler.

Chouffliquer (popular), to work in a clumsy manner.

Chouffliqueur, m. (popular), bad workman; (military) shoemaker, “snob.”

Choufretez (Breton), lucifer matches.

Chouia (military), gently. From the Arabic.


Chouil (Breton), work; insect.

Chouila (Breton cant), to work; to beget many children.

Chouista (Breton), to work with a will.

Choumaque (popular), shoemaker. From the German.

Chourin, for surin (thieves’), knife, “chive.”

Si j’ai pas l’rond, mon surin bouge.
Moi, c’est dans le sang qu’ j’aurais truqué.
Mais quand on fait suer, pomaqué!
Mieux vaut bouffer du blanc qu’ du rouge.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Chouriner, for suriner (thieves’), to knife, “to chive.”

Chourineur, m., for surineur (thieves’), one who uses the knife; knacker. “Le Chourineur” is one of the characters of Eugène Sue’s Mystères de Paris.

C’housa (Breton), to eat.

C’housach (Breton), food.

Chrétien, adj. (popular), mixed with water, “baptized.”

Chrétien, m. (popular), viande de ——, human flesh.

Chrysalide, f. (popular), old coquette.

Chtibes, f. pl. (popular), boots, “hock-dockies.”

Chybre, m. (popular), see Flageolet; (artists’) member of the Institut de France.

Chyle, m. (familiar), se refaire le ——, to have a good meal, a “tightener.”

Cibiche, f. (popular), cigarette.

Cible, f. (popular), à coups de pieds, breech. See Vasistas.

Ciboule, f. (popular), head, or “block.” See Tronche.

Cidre élégant, m. (familiar), champagne, “fiz,” or “boy.”

Ciel, m. (fishermens’), le —— plumant ses poules, clouds.

Les nuages, c’était le ciel plumant ses poules,
Et la foudre en éclats, Michel cassant ses œufs.
Il appelait le vent du sud cornemuseux,
Celui du nord cornard, de l’ouest brise à grenouille,
Celui de suroit l’brouf, celui de terre andouille.
Richepin, La Mer.

Cierge, m. (thieves’), police officer, or “reeler.” For synonyms see Pot-à-tabac.

Cig, m., cigale, or sigue, f. (thieves’), gold coin, or “yellow boy.”

Cigale, f. (popular), female street singer. Properly grasshopper; also cigar.

Cigogne, f. (thieves’), the “Préfecture de Police” in Paris; the Palais de Justice; court of justice. Le dab de la ——, the public prosecutor; the prefect of police.

Je monte à la cigogne.
On me gerbe à la grotte,
Au tap, et pour douze ans.

Cigue, f. (thieves’), abbreviation of cigale, twenty-franc piece.

Cimaise (painters’), faire sa —— sur quelqu’un, to show up one’s own good qualities, whether real or imaginary, at the expense of another’s failings, in other words, to preach for one’s own chapel.

Ciment, m. (freemasons’), mustard.

Cingler (thieves’), se —— le blair, to get drunk, or “canon.”

Cinq-à-sept, m., a kind of tea party from five o’clock to seven in the fashionable world.

Cinq-centimadas, m. (ironical), one-sou cigar.

Cintième, m. (popular), high cap generally worn by women’s bullies, or “pensioners.”


Cintrer (popular), to hold; (thieves’) —— en pogne, to seize hold of; to apprehend, or “to smug.” See Piper.

Cipal, m. (popular), abbreviation of garde-municipal. The “garde municipale” is a picked body of old soldiers who furnish guards and perform police functions at theatres, official ceremonies, police courts, &c. It consists of infantry and cavalry, and is in the pay of the Paris municipal authorities, most of the men having been non-commissioned officers in the army.

Cirage, m. (popular), praise, “soft sawder,” “butter.”

Cire, f., voleur à la ——, rogue who steals a silver fork or spoon at a restaurant, and makes it adhere under the table by means of a piece of soft wax. When charged with the theft, he puts on an air of injured innocence, and asks to be searched; then leaves with ample apologies from the master of the restaurant. Soon after a confederate enters, taking his friend’s former seat at the table, and pocketing the booty.

Ciré, m. (popular), negro. From cirer, to black shoes. Termed also “boîte à cirage, bamboula, boule de neige, bille de pot au feu.”

Cirer (popular), to praise; to flatter, “to butter.”

Cireux, m. (popular), one with inflamed eyelids.

Ciseaux, m. pl. (literary), travailler à coups de ——, to compile.

Cité, f. (popular), d’amour, gay girl, “bed-fagot.”

Je l’ai traitée comme elle le méritait. Je l’ai appelée feignante, cité d’amour, chenille, machine à plaisir.—Macé.

Citron, m. (theatrical), squeaky note; (thieves’ and cads’) the head, “nut,” or “chump.” Termed also “tronche, sorbonne, poire, cafetière, trognon, citrouille.”

Citrouille, f., citrouillard, m. (military), dragoon; (thieves’) head, “nut,” or “tibby.”

Civade, f. (thieves’), oats.

Civard, m. (popular), pasture.

Cive, f. (popular), grass.

Clairs, m. pl. (thieves’), eyes, or “glaziers.” See Mirettes. Souffler ses ——, to sleep, to “doss,” or to have a “dose of the balmy.”

Clairté, f. (popular), light; beauty.

Clampiner (popular), to idle about; to lounge about lazily, “to mike.”

Clapoter (popular), to eat, “to grub.” See Mastiquer.

Claqué, m. and adj. (popular), dead, dead man. La boîte aux claqués, the Morgue, or Paris dead-house. Le jardin des claqués, the cemetery.

Claquebosse, m. (popular), house of ill-fame, or “nanny-shop.”

Claquedents, m. (popular), house of ill-fame, “nanny-shop;” gaming-house, or “punting-shop;” low eating-house.

Claquefaim, m. (popular), starving man.

Claquepatins, m. (popular), miserable slipshod person.

Venez à moi, claquepatins,
Loqueteux, joueurs de musette,
Clampins, loupeurs, voyous, catins.

The early French poet Villon uses the word “cliquepatin” with the same signification.

Claquer (familiar), to die, “to croak;” to eat; to sell; —— ses [87]meubles, to sell one’s furniture; —— du bec, to be very hungry without any means of satisfying one’s craving for food.

Claques, f. pl. (familiar and popular), une figure à ——, face with an impudent expression that invites punishment.

Clarinette, f. (military), de cinq pieds, musket, formerly “Brown Bess.”

Classe, f. (popular), un —— dirigeant, said ironically of one of the upper classes.

Clavin, m. (thieves’), nail; grapes.

Clavine, f. (thieves’), vine.

Claviner (thieves’), to nail; to gather grapes.

Clavineur, m. (thieves’), vine-dresser.

Clavinier, m. (thieves’), nail-maker.

Clef, f. (familiar), à la ——. See A la. Perdre sa ——, to suffer from colic, or “botts.” (Military) La —— du champ de manœuvre, imaginary object which recruits are requested by practical jokers to go and ask of the sergeant.

Cliabeau, m., expression used by the prisoners of Saint-Lazare, doctor.

Cliche, f. (popular), diarrhœa, or “jerry-go-nimble.”

Cliché, m. (familiar), commonplace sentence ready made; commonplace metaphor; well-worn platitude. (Printers’) Tirer son ——, to be always repeating the same thing.

Client, m. (thieves’), victim, or intended victim.

Cligner (military), des œillets, to squint, to be “boss-eyed.”

Clignots, m. pl. (popular), eyes, “peepers.” Baver des ——, to weep, “to nap a bib.” See Mirettes.

Clipet, m. (thieves’), voice.

Clique, f. (popular), scamp, or “bad egg;” diarrhœa, or “jerry-go-nimble.” (Military) La ——, the squad of drummers and buglers.

Exempts de service, ils exercent généralement une profession quelconque (barbier, tailleur, ajusteur de guêtres, etc.) qui leur rapporte quelques bénéfices. Ayant ainsi plus de temps et plus d’argent à dépenser que leurs camarades, ils ont une réputation, assez bien justifiée d’ailleurs, de bambocheurs; de là, ce nom de clique qu’on leur donne.—La Langue Verte du Troupier.

Cliquettes, f. pl. (popular), ears, or “wattles.”

Clodoche, m. (familiar), description of professional comic dancer with extraordinarily supple legs, such as the Girards brothers, of Alhambra celebrity.

Cloporte, m. (familiar), door-keeper. Properly woodlouse. A pun on the words clôt porte.

Clou, m. (military), guard-room; cells, “jigger;” bayonet. Coller au ——, to imprison, “to roost.” (Popular) Clou, bad workman; pawnshop. Mettre au ——, to pawn, to put “in lug.” Clou de girofle, decayed black tooth. (Theatrical and literary) Le —— d’une pièce, d’un roman, the chief point of interest in a play or novel, literally a nail on which the whole fabric hangs.

Clouer (popular), to imprison, “to run in;” to pawn, “to blue, to spout, to lumber.”

Clous, m. pl. (popular), tools. (Printers’) Petits ——, type. Lever les petits ——, to compose. (Military) Clous, foot-soldiers, or “mud-crushers.”


Coaguler (familiar), se ——, to get drunk. See Sculpter.

Côbier, m., heap of salt in salt-marshes.

Cocanges, f. pl. (thieves’), walnut-shells. Jeu de ——, game of swindlers at fairs.

Cocangeur, m. (thieves’), swindler. See Cocanges.

Cocantin, m. (popular), business agent acting as a medium between a debtor and a creditor.

Cocarde, f. (popular), head. Avoir sa ——, to be tipsy. Taper sur la ——, is said of wine which gets into the head.

Ma joie et surtout l’petit bleu
Ça m’a tapé sur la cocarde!
Parisian Song.

Cocarder (popular), se ——, to get tipsy. See Sculpter.

Tout se passait très gentiment, on était gai, il ne fallait pas maintenant se cocarder cochonnement, si l’on voulait respecter les dames.—Zola, L’Assommoir.

Cocardier, m. (military), military man passionately fond of his profession.

Cocasserie, f. (familiar), strange or grotesque saying, writing, or deed.

Coche, f. (popular), fat, red-faced woman.

Cochon, m. (popular), de bonheur! (ironical) no luck! Ça n’est pas trop ——, that’s not so bad. C’est pas —— du tout, that’s very nice. Mon pauvre ——, je ne te dis que ça! my poor fellow, you are in for it! Etre ——, to be lewd. Se conduire comme un ——, to behave in a mean, despicable way. Soigner son ——, is said of one who lives too well. Un costume ——, a suggestive dress.

Cochonne, f. (popular), lewd girl. (Ironically) Elle n’est pas jolie, mais elle est si cochonne!

Cochonnement, adv. (popular), in a disgusting manner.

Cochonnerie, f. (popular), any article of food having pork for a basis.

Cochonneries, f. pl. (popular), indecent talk or actions.

Coco, m. (military), horse. La botte à ——, trumpet call for stables, (literally) La botte de foin à coco. (Popular) Coco, brandy; head. See Tronche. Avoir le —— déplumé, to be bald, or to have a “bladder of lard.” For synonymous expressions, see Avoir. Avoir le —— fêlé, to be cracked, “to be a little bit balmy in one’s crumpet.” For synonyms see Avoir. Colle-toi ça dans le ——, or passe-toi ça par le ——, eat that or drink that. Dévisser le ——, to strangle. Monter le ——, to excite. Se monter le ——, to get excited; to be too sanguine. Il a graissé la patte à ——, is said of a man who has bungled over some affair. (Familiar) Coco épileptique, champagne wine, “fiz,” or “boy.”

Cocodète, f. (familiar), stylish woman always dressed according to the latest fashion, a “dasher.”

Cocons, m. pl., stands for co-conscrits, first-term students at the Ecole Polytechnique.

Cocotte, f. (popular), term of endearment to horses. Allons, hue ——! pull up, my beauty! (Familiar and popular) Cocotte, a more than fast girl or woman, a “pretty horse-breaker,” see Gadoue; (theatrical) addition made by singers to an original theme.

Cocotterie, f. (familiar), the world of the cocottes. See Cocotte.


Cocovieilles, f. pl., name given by fashionable young ladies of the aristocracy to their old-fashioned elders, who return the compliment by dubbing themcocosottes.”

Cocufieur, m. (popular), one who cuckoos, that is, one who lays himself open to being called to account by an injured husband as the co-respondent in the divorce court.

Coenne, or couenne, f. (thieves’), de lard, brush. (Familiar and popular) Couenne, stupid man, dunce.

Coëre, m. (thieves’), le grand ——, formerly the king of rogues.

Cœur, m. (popular), jeter du —— sur le carreau, to vomit. A pun on the words “hearts” and “diamonds” of cards on the one hand, avoir mal au ——, to feel sick, and “carreau,” flooring, on the other. Valet de ——, lover.

Cœur d’artichaut, m. (popular), man or woman with an inflammable heart.

Paillasson, quoi! cœur d’artichaut,
C’est mon genre; un’ feuille pour tout l’monde,
Au jour d’aujourd’hui j’gobe la blonde;
Après d’main, c’est la brun’ qu’i m’faut.
Gill, La Muse à Bibi.

Coffier (thieves’), abbreviation of escoffier, to kill, “to cook one’s gruel.”

Coffin, m., peculiar kind of desk at the Ecole Polytechnique. From the inventor’s name, General Coffinières.

Cognac, m. (thieves’), gendarme or police officer, “crusher,” “copper,” or “reeler.” See Pot-à-tabac.

Cognade, f., or cogne (thieves’), gendarmerie.

Cognard, m., or cogne, gendarme and gendarmerie; police officer, “copper.”

Cogne, m. and f. (thieves’), la ——, the police. Un ——, a police officer, or “reeler.” See Pot-à-tabac. Also brandy. Un noir de trois ronds sans ——, a three-halfpenny cup of coffee without brandy.

Coiffer (popular), to slap; to deceive one’s husband. Se —— de quelqu’un, to take a fancy to one.

Coin, m. (popular), c’est un —— sans i, he is a fool.

Coire (thieves’), farm; chief.

Je rencontrai des camarades qui avaient aussi fait leur temps ou cassé leur ficelle. Leur coire me proposa d’être des leurs, on faisait la grande soulasse sur le trimar.—V. Hugo.

Col, m. (familiar), cassé, dandy, or “masher.” Se pousser du ——, to assume an air of self-importance or conceit, “to look gumptious;” to praise oneself up. An allusion to the motion of one’s hand under the chin when about to make an important statement.

Colas, colabre, or colin, m. (thieves’), neck, or “scrag.” Faire suer le ——, to strangle. Rafraîchir le ——, to guillotine. Rafraîchir means to trim in the expression, “Rafraîchir les cheveux.”

Colback, m. (military), raw recruit, or “Johnny raw.” An allusion to his unkempt hair, similar to a busby or bearskin cap.

Colin. See Colas.

Collabo, m. (literary), abbreviation of collaborateur.

Collage, m. (familiar), living as husband and wife in an unmarried state.

L’une après l’autre—en camarade—
C’est rupin, mais l’ collage, bon Dieu!
Toujours la mêm’ chauffeus’ de pieu!
M’en parlez pas! Ça m’rend malade.
Gill, La Muse à Bibi.


Un —— d’argent, the action of a woman who lives with a man as his wife from mercenary motives.

C’était selon la manie de ce corrupteur de mineures, le sceau avec lequel il cimentait ce que Madame Cornette appelait, en terme du métier, ses collages d’argent!—Mémoires de Monsieur Claude.

Collant, m. (familiar), is said of one not easily got rid of; (military) drawers.

Collarde, m. (thieves’), prisoner, one “doing time.”

Colle, f. (students’), weekly or other periodical oral examinations to prepare for a final examination, or to make up the marks which pass one at the end of the year.

Collège, m. (thieves’), prison, or “stir.” See Motte. Un ami de ——, a prison chum. Les collèges de Pantin, the Paris prisons.

Collégien, m. (thieves’), prisoner.

Coller (students’), to stop one’s leave; to orally examine at periodical examinations. Se faire ——, to get plucked or “ploughed” at an examination. (Popular) Coller, to place; to put; to give; to throw; —— au bloc, to imprison, “to run in;” —— des châtaignes, to thrash, “to wallop.” See Voie. Se —— dans le pieu, to go to bed. Se —— une biture, to get drunk, or “screwed.” See Sculpter. Colle-toi là, place yourself there. Colle-toi ça dans le fusil, eat or drink that. Colle-toi ça dans la coloquinte, bear that in mind. (Military) Coller au bloc, to send to the guard-room. Collez-moi ce clampin-là au bloc, take that lazy bones to the guard-room. (Familiar and popular) Se ——, to live as man and wife, to live “a tally.” Se faire ——, to be nonplussed. S’en —— par le bec, to eat to excess, “to scorf.” S’en —— pour, to go to the expense of. Je m’en suis collé pour dix francs, I spent ten francs over it.

Colletiner (thieves’), to collar, to apprehend, “to smug.” See Piper.

Colleur, m. (students’), professor whose functions are to orally examine at certain periods students at private or public establishments; man who gets quickly intimate or “thick” with one, who “cottons on to one.”

Collier, or coulant, m. (thieves’), cravat, or “neckinger.”

Collignon, m. (popular), cabby. An allusion to a coachman of that name who murdered his fare. The cry, “Ohé, Collignon!” is about the worst insult one can offer a Paris coachman, and he is not slow to resent it.

Colombe, f. (players’), queen of cards.

Colombé, adj. (thieves’), known.

Colon, m. (soldiers’), colonel. Petit ——, lieutenant-colonel.

Colonne, f. (military), chapeau en ——, see Bataille. (Popular) N’avoir pas chié la ——, to be devoid of any talent, not to be able to set the Thames on fire. Démolir la ——, to void urine, “to lag.”

Coloquinte, f. (popular and thieves’), head. Avoir une araignée dans la ——, to be cracked, or “to have a bee in one’s bonnet.” Charlot va jouer à la boule avec ta ——, Jack Ketch will play skittles with your canister.

Coltiger (thieves’), to arrest; to seize, to “smug.”

C’est dans la rue du Mail
Où j’ai été coltigé
Par trois coquins de railles.
V. Hugo, Le Dernier Jour d’un Condamné.


Coltin, m. (popular), strength. Properly shoulder-strap.

Coltiner (popular), to ply the trade of a porter; to draw a hand-cart by means of a shoulder-strap.

Coltineur, m. (popular), man who draws a hand-cart with a shoulder-strap.

Coltineuse (popular), female who does rough work.

Comberge, combergeante, f. (thieves’), confession.

Comberger (thieves’), to reckon up; to confess.

Combergo (thieves’), confessional.

Comblance, f. (thieves’), par ——, into the bargain.

J’ai fait par comblance
Gironde larguecapé.

Comble, combre, combriau, combrieu, m. (thieves’), hat, “tile.” See Tubard.

Combrie, f. (thieves’), one-franc piece.

Combrier, m. (thieves’), hat-maker.

Combrieu. See Comble.

Combrousier, m. (thieves’), peasant, or “clod.”

Combustible, m. (popular), du ——! exclamation used to urge one on, On! go it!

Come, m. (thieves’), formerly a guard on board the galleys.

Comédie, f. (popular), envoyer à la ——, to dismiss a workman for want of work to give him. Etre à la ——, to be out of work, “out of collar.”

Comestaux, m. pl. (popular), for comestibles, articles of food, “toke.”

Comète, f. (popular), vagrant, tramp. Filer la ——, or la sorgue, to sleep in the open air, or “to skipper it.”

Comiques, m. pl. (theatrical), jouer les —— habillés, to represent a comic character in modern costume.

Commander (thieves’), à cuire, to send to the scaffold.

Commandite, f. (printers’), association of workmen who join together for the performance of any work.

Comme if (popular), ironical for comme il faut, genteel. T’as rien l’air ——! What a swell you look, oh crikey!

Commissaire, m. (popular), pint or pitcher of wine. An allusion to the black robe which police magistrates wore formerly. Le cabot du ——, the police magistrate’s secretary. See Chien.

Commode, f. (thieves’), chimney. (Popular) Une —— à deux ressorts, a vehicle, or “trap.”

Communard or communeux, m., one of the insurgents of 1871.

Communiqué, m. (familiar), official communication to newspapers.

Comp. See Can.

Compas, m. (popular), ouvrir le ——, to walk. Allonger le ——, to walk briskly. Fermer le ——, to stop walking.

Complet, adj. (popular), être ——, to be quite drunk, or “slewed.” (Familiar) Etre ——, to be perfectly ridiculous.

Comprendre (thieves’), la ——, to steal, “to claim.” See Grinchir.

Compte (popular), avoir son ——,[92] to be tipsy, or “screwed;” to die, “to snuff it.” Son —— est bon, he is in for it.

Compter (musicians’), des payses, to sleep; (popular) —— ses chemises, to vomit, “to cast up accounts.”

Comte, m. (thieves’), de caruche, or de canton, jailor, or “jigger dubber;” —— de castu, hospital superintendent; —— de gigot-fin, one who likes to live well.

Comtois, adj. (thieves’), battre ——, to dissemble; to play the fool.

Conasse, or connasse, f. (prostitutes’), a stupid or modest woman.

Elles vantent leur savoir-faire, elles reprochent à leurs camarades leur impéritie, et leur donnent le nom de conasse, expression par laquelle elles désignent ordinairement une femme honnête.—Parent-Duchatelet, De la Prostitution.

Condé, m. (thieves’), mayor; demi ——, alderman; grand ——, prefect; —— franc, corrupt magistrate.

Condice, f. (thieves’), cage in which convicts are confined on their passage to the convict settlements.

Condition, f. (thieves’), house, “diggings,” or “hangs out.” Faire une ——, to break into a house, “to crack a crib.” Filer une ——, to watch a house in view of an intended burglary. (Popular) Acheter une ——, to lead a new mode of life, to turn over a new leaf.

Conduite, f. (popular), faire la ——, to drive away and thrash. Faire la —— de Grenoble, to put one out of doors.

Cone, f. (thieves’), death.

Confirmer (popular), to box one’s ears, “to warm the wax of one’s ears.”

Confiture, f. (popular), excrement.

Confiturier, m. (popular), scavenger, “rake-kennel.”

Confortable, m. (popular), glass of beer.

Confrère, m. (popular), de la lune, injured husband.

Coni, adj. (thieves’), dead.

Coniller (popular), to seek to escape. Conil, rabbit.

Conir (thieves’), to conceal; to kill; “to cook one’s gruel.” See Refroidir.

Connais (popular), je la ——, no news for me; do you see any green in my eye? you don’t take an old bird with chaff.

Connaissance, f. (popular), ma ——, my mistress, or sweetheart, my “young woman.”

Connaître (popular), le journal, to be well informed; to know beforehand the menu of a dinner; —— le numéro, to possess experience; —— le numéro de quelqu’un, to be acquainted with one’s secrets, one’s habits. La —— dans les coins, to be knowing, to know what’s o’clock. An allusion to a horse clever at turning the corners in the riding school.

Regardez-le partir, le gavroche qui la connaît dans les coins.—Richepin.

Connerie, f. (popular), foolish action or thing. From an obscene word which has the slang signification of fool.

Conobler (thieves’), to recognize.

Conobrer (thieves’), to know.

Conscience, f. (printers’), homme de ——, typographer paid by the day or by the hour.

Conscrar, conscrit, m., first-term student at the “Ecole Normale,” a higher training-school for university professors.

Conservatoire, m. (popular), pawnshop. Elève du —— de la Villette, wretched singer. La Villette is the reverse of a fashionable quarter.[93]

Conserves, f. (theatrical), old plays. Also fragments of human flesh which have been thrown into the sewers or river by murderers, and which, when found, are taken to the “Morgue,” or Paris dead-house.

Je viens de préparer pour lui les conserves (les morceaux de chair humaine), l’os de l’égout Jacob et la cuisse des Saints-Pères (l’os retrouvé dans l’égout de la Rue Jacob et la cuisse repêchée au pont des Saints-Pères).—Macé, Mon Premier Crime.

Consigne, f. (military), à gros grains, imprisonment in the cells.

Consolation, f. (popular), brandy; swindling game played by card-sharpers, by means of a green cloth chalked into small numbered spaces, and dice.

Console, f. (thieves’), game played by card-sharpers or “broadsmen” at races and fairs.

Consoler (popular), son café, to add brandy to one’s coffee.

Conter (military). Conte cela au perruquier des Zouaves, I do not believe you, “tell that to the Marines.” Le perruquier des Zouaves is an imaginary individual.

Contre, m. (popular), playing for drink at a café.

Contre-allumeur, m. (thieves’), spy employed by thieves to baffle the police spies.

Contrebasse, f. (popular), breech. Sauter sur la ——, to kick one’s behind, “to toe one’s bum,” “to root,” or “to land a kick.”

Contre-coup, m. (popular), de la boîte, foreman, or “boss.”

Contreficher (popular), s’en ——, to care not a straw, not a “hang.”

Contre-marque, f. (popular), du Père-Lachaise, St. Helena medal. Those who wear the medal are old, and le Père-Lachaise is a cemetery in Paris.

Contrôle, m. (thieves’), formerly the mark on the shoulder of convicts who had been branded.

Contrôler (popular), to kick one in the face.

Convalescence, f. (thieves’), surveillance of the police on the movements of ticket-of-leave men.

Cop, f. (printers’), for “copie,” manuscript.

Copaille, f. (cads’), Sodomist. Termed also “tante, coquine.”

Cope, f. (popular), overcharge for an article; action of “shaving a customer.” The Slang Dictionary says that in England, when the master sees an opportunity of doing this, he strokes his chin as a signal to his assistant who is serving the customer.

Copeau, m. (popular), artisan in woodwork (properly copeaux, shavings); spittle, or “gob.” Arracher son ——. See Arracher. Lever son ——, to talk, “to jaw.”

Copeaux, m. pl. (thieves’), housebreaking, “screwing or cracking a crib.” An allusion to the splinters resulting from breaking a door.

Copie, f. (printers’), de chapelle, copy of a work given as a present to the typographers. (Figuratively) Faire de la ——, to backbite. Pisser de la ——, to be a prolific writer. Pisseur de ——, a prolific writer; one who writes lengthy, diffuse newspaper articles.

Coquage, m. (thieves’), informing against one, or “blowing the gaff.”

Coquard, m. (thieves’), eye, or[94] “glazier.” S’en tamponner le ——, not to care a fig. See Mirette.

Coquardeau, m. (popular), henpecked husband, or “stangey;” man easily duped, or “gulpy.”

Coquer (thieves’), to watch one’s movements; to inform against one, “to blow the gaff.”

Quand on en aura refroidi quatre ou cinq dans les préaux les autres tourneront leur langue deux fois avant de coquer la pègre.—E. Sue.

Also to give; to put; —— la camoufle, to hand the candle, “to dub the glim;” —— la loffitude, to give absolution; —— le poivre, to poison, “hocus;” —— le taf, to frighten; —— le rifle, to set fire to.

Coqueur, m. (thieves’), informer who warns the police of intended thefts. He may be at liberty or in prison; in the latter case he goes by the appellation of “coqueur mouton” or “musicien.” The “mouton” variety is an inmate of a prison and informs against his fellow-prisoners; the “musicien” betrays his accomplices. Coqueur de bille, man who furnishes funds.

Coqueuse, female variety of thecoqueur.”

Coquillard (popular), eye. S’en tamponner le ——, not to care a straw, “not to care a hang.”

Coquillards, m. pl. (tramps’), tramps who in olden times pretended to be pilgrims.

Coquillards sont les pélerins de Saint-Jacques, la plus grande partie sont véritables et en viennent; mais il y en a aussi qui truchent sur le coquillard.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Coquillon, m. (popular), louse; pilgrim.

Coquin, m. (thieves’), informer, “nark,” or “nose.”

Coquine, f. (cads’), Sodomist.

Corbeau, m. (popular), lay brother ofla doctrine chrétienne,” usually styledfrères ignorantins.” The brotherhood had formerly charge of the ragged schools, and were conspicuous by their gross ignorance; priest, or “devil dodger;” undertaker’s man.

Corbeille, f. (familiar), enclosure or ring at the Bourse where official stockbrokers transact business.

Corbillard, m. (popular), à deux roues, dismal man, or “croaker;” —— à nœuds, dirty and dissolute woman, or “draggle-tail;” —— des loucherbem, cart which collects tainted meat at butcher’s stalls. Loucherbem is equivalent to boucher.

Voici passer au galop le corbillard des loucherbem, l’immonde voiture qui vient ramasser dans les boucheries la viande gâtée.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Corbuche, f. (thieves’), ulcer; —— lophe, false ulcer.

Corde, f. (literary), avoir la ——, to find true expression for accurately describing sentiments or passions. (Popular) Dormir à la ——, is said of poor people who sleep in certain lodgings with their heads on an outstretched rope as a pillow. This corresponds to the English “twopenny rope.”

Corder (popular), to agree, to get on “swimmingly” together.

Cordon, m. (popular), s’il vous plaît! or donnez-vous la peine d’entrer! large knot worn in the rear of ladies’ dresses.

Cordonnier, m. (popular), bec-figue de ——, goose.

Cornage, m. (thieves’), bad smell.

Cornant, m., cornante, f. (thieves’ and tramps’), ox and cow, or “mooer.”

Cornard, m. (students’), faire ——,[95] to hold a council in a corner.

Corne, f. (popular), stomach.

Cornemuseux, m. (codfishers’), the south wind.

Corner (thieves’), to breathe heavily; to stink. La crie corne, the meat smells.

Cornet, m. (popular), throat, “gutter-lane.” Colle-toi ça dans l’——, swallow that! N’avoir rien dans le ——, to be fasting, “to be bandied,” “to cry cupboard.” Cornet d’épices, Capuchin.

Il se voulut convertir; il bia trouver un chenâtre cornet d’épice, et rouscailla à sézière qu’il voulait quitter la religion prétendue pour attrimer la catholique.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.

Corniche, f. (popular), hat, or “tile,” see Tubard; (students’) the military school of Saint-Cyr.

Cornicherie, f. (popular), nonsense; foolish action.

Cornichon, m. (students’), candidate preparing for the Ecole Militaire de Saint-Cyr. Literally greenhorn.

Cornière, f. (thieves’), cow-shed.

Cornificetur, m. (popular), injured husband.

Corps de pompe, m., staff of the Saint-Cyr school, and that of the school of cavalry of Saumur. Saint-Cyr is the French Sandhurst. Saumur is a training-school where the best riders and most vicious horses in the French army are sent.

Correcteur, m. (thieves’), prisoner who plays the spy, or “nark.”

Correspondance, f. (popular), a snack taken at a wine-shop while waiting for an omnibus “correspondance.”

Corridor, m. (familiar), throat. Se rincer le ——, to drink, “to wet one’s whistle.” See Rincer.

Corsé, adj. (common), properly is said of wine with full body. Un repas ——, a plentiful meal, or a “tightener.”

Corserie, f. (familiar), a set of Corsican detectives in the service of Napoleon III. According to Monsieur Claude, formerly head of the detective force under the Empire, the chief members of this secret bodyguard were Alessandri and Griscelli. Claude mentions in his memoirs the murder of a detective who had formed a plot for the assassination of Napoleon in a mysterious house at Auteuil, where the emperor met his mistresses, and to which he often used to repair disguised as a lacquey, and riding behind his own carriage. Griscelli stabbed his fellow-detective in the back on mere suspicion, and found on the body of the dead man papers which gave evidence of the plot. In reference to the mysterious house, Monsieur Claude says:—

L’empereur s’enflamma si bien pour cette nouvelle Ninon que l’impératrice en prit ombrage. La duchesse alors .... loua ma petite maison d’Auteuil que le général Fleury avait choisie pour servir de rendez-vous clandestin aux amours de son maître.—Mémoires de Monsieur Claude.

Corset, m. (popular), pas de ——! sweet sixteen!

Corvée, f. (prostitutes’), aller à la ——, to walk the street, une —— being literally an arduous, disagreeable work.

Corvette, f. (thieves’), a kind of low, rascally Alexis.

Formosum pastor Corydon ardebat Alexin,
Delicias domini.....

Cosaque, m. (familiar), stove.


Cosser (thieves’), to take; —— la hane, to take a purse, “to buz a skin.”

Costel, m. (popular), prostitute’s bully, “ponce.” See Poisson.

Costume, m. (theatrical), faire un ——, to applaud an actor directly he makes his appearance on the stage.

Cote, f. (lawyers’), stolen goods or money; (sporting) the betting. Frère de la ——, stockbroker’s clerk. Play on Côte, which see. La —— G., purloining of articles of small value by notaries’ clerks when making an inventory. Literally, la cote j’ai.

Côte, f. (thieves’), de bœuf, sword. Frère de la ——, see Bande noire. (Familiar) Etre à la ——, to be in needy circumstances, “hard up.” (Sailors’) Vieux frère la ——, old chum, mate.

Côté, m. (theatrical), cour, right-hand side scenes; —— jardin, left-hand side scenes. (Familiar) Côté des caissiers, the station of theChemin de fer du Nord,” at which absconding cashiers sometimes take train.

Côtelard, m. (popular), melon.

Côtelette, f. (popular), de menuisier, de perruquier, or de vache, piece of Brie cheese. (Theatrical) Avoir sa ——, to obtain applause. Emporteur à la ——, see Emporteur.

Côte-nature, f. (familiar), for côtelette au naturel, grilled chop.

Coterie, f. (popular), chum. Eh! dis donc, la ——! I say, old chum! Coterie, association of workmen; company. Vous savez, la p’tite ——, you know, chums!

Côtes, f. pl. (popular), avoir les —— en long, to be lazy, to be a “bummer.” Literally to have the ribs lengthwise, which would make one lazy at turning about. Travailler les —— à quelqu’un, to thrash one, to give one a “hiding.” See Voie.

Côtier, m. (popular), extra horse harnessed to an omnibus when going up hill; also his driver.

Côtière, f. (gambling cheats’), a pocket wherein spare cards are secreted.

Aussi se promit-il de faire agir avec plus d’adresse, plus d’acharnement, les rois, les atouts et les as qu’il tenait en réserve dans sa côtière.—Mémoires de Monsieur Claude.

Cotillon, m. (popular), crotté, prostitute, “draggle-tail.”

Il était coureur ... il adorait le cotillon, et c’est pour moi un cotillon crotté qui a causé sa perte.—Macé, Mon Premier Crime.

Faire danser le ——, to thrash one’s wife.

Coton, m. (popular), bread or food (allusion to the cotton-wick of lamp); quarrel; street-fight; difficulty. Il y aura du ——, there will be a fight; there will be much difficulty. Le courant est rapide, il y aura du ——, the stream is swift, we shall have to pull with a will.

Cotret, m. (popular), jus de ——, thrashing with a stick, or “larruping;” might be rendered by “stirrup oil.” Des cotrets, legs. (Thieves’) Cotret, convict at the hulks; returned transport, or “lag.”

Cotte, f. (popular), blue canvas working trousers.

Cou, m. (popular), avoir le front dans le ——, to be bald, or to have “a bladder of lard.” See Avoir.

Couac, m. (popular), priest, or “devil-dodger.”


Couche (popular), à quelle heure qu’on te ——? a hint to one to make himself scarce.

Coucher (popular), à la corde, to sleep in certain low lodging-houses with the head resting on a rope stretched across the room, a “twopenny rope;” —— dans le lit aux pois verts, to sleep in the fields. Se —— bredouille, to go to bed without any supper. Se —— en chapon, to go to bed with a full belly.

Coucou, m. (popular), watch.

Coude, m. (popular), lâcher le ——, to leave one, generally when requested to do so. Lâche moi le ——, be off, leave me alone. Prendre sa permission sous son ——, to do without permission.

Couenne, f. (popular), skin, or “buff;” fool, or “duffer;” —— de lard, brush. Gratter, râcler, or ratisser la ——, to shave. Gratter la —— à quelqu’un, to flatter one, to give him “soft sawder;” to thrash one. Est-il ——! what an ass!

Couennes, f. pl. (popular), flabby cheeks.

Couillé, m. (popular), fool, blockhead, “cabbage-head.”

Couilles, f. pl. (popular), avoir des —— au cul, to be energetic, manly, “to have spunk.”

Couillon, m. (popular), poltroon; foolish with the sense of abashed, crestfallen. Il resta tout ——, he looked foolish. The word is used also in a friendly or jocular manner.

Couillonnade, f. (popular), ridiculous affair; nonsense.

Couillonner (popular), to show cowardice; to shirk danger.

Couillonnerie, f. (popular), cowardice; nonsensical affair; take in.

Couiner (popular), to whimper; to hesitate.

Coulage, m., coule, f. (familiar), waste; small purloining by servants, clerks, &c.

Coulant, m. (thieves’), milk.

Coulante, f. (thieves’), lettuce. (Cads’) La ——, the river Seine.

Coule, f. (popular), être à la ——, to have mastered the routine of some business, to be acquainted with all the ins and outs; to be comfortable; to be clever at evading difficulties; to be insinuating; to connive at. Mettre quelqu’un à la ——, to instruct one in, to make one master of the routine of some business.

Couler (popular), en ——, to lie, “to cram one up.” La —— douce, to live comfortably. Se la —— douce, to take it easy.

Couleur, f. (popular), lie; box on the ear, or “buck-horse.” Monter la ——, to deceive, “to bamboozle.” Etre à la ——, to do things well.

Couleuvre, f. (popular), pregnant or “lumpy” woman.

Coulisse, f. (familiar), the set of coulissiers. See this word.

Coulissier, m. (familiar), unofficial jobber at the Bourse or Stock Exchange. As an adjective it has the meaning of connected with the back scenes, as in the phrase, Des intrigues coulissières, back-scene intrigues.

Couloir, m. (popular), mouth, or “rattle-trap;” throat, or “peck alley.”

Coup, m. (popular), secret process; knack; dodge. Il a le ——, he has the knack, he is a dab at. Il a un ——, he has a process of his own. Un —— d’arrosoir, a drink. Se flanquer un —— d’arrosoir, to get tipsy, or “screwed.” Un —— de [98]bouteille, intoxication. Avoir son —— de bouteille, to be intoxicated, “to be boozy.” See Pompette. Coup de chancellerie, action of getting a man’s head “into chancery,” that is, to get an opponent’s head firmly under one’s arm, where it can be pommelled with immense power, and without any possibility of immediate extrication. Un —— de chien, a tussle; difficulty. Un —— d’encensoir, a blow on the nose. Un —— de feu, a slight intoxication. Un —— de feu de société, complete intoxication. Un —— de figure, hearty meal, or “tightener.” Un —— de fourchette, digging two fingers into an opponent’s eyes. Un —— de gaz, a glass of wine. Un —— de gilquin, a slap. Un —— de pied de jument or de Vénus, a venereal disease. Un —— de Raguse, action of leaving one in the lurch; an allusion to Marshal Marmont, Duc de Raguse, who betrayed Napoleon. Un —— de tampon, a blow, or “bang;” hard shove (tampon, buffer). Un —— de temps, an accident; hitch. Un —— de torchon, a fight; revolution. Le —— du lapin, finishing blow or crowning misfortune, the straw that breaks the camel’s back; treacherous way of gripping in a fight.

Coup féroce que se donnent de temps en temps les ouvriers dans leurs battures. Il consiste à saisir son adversaire, d’une main par les testicules, de l’autre par la gorge, et à tirer dans les deux sens: celui qui est saisi et tiré ainsi n’a pas même le temps de recommander son âme à Dieu.—Delvau.

Coup du médecin, glass of wine drunk after one has taken soup. Un —— dur, unpleasantness, unforeseen impediment. Attraper un —— de sirop, to get tipsy. Avoir son —— de chasselas, de feu, de picton, or de soleil, to be half drunk, “elevated.” See Pompette. Avoir son —— de rifle, to be tipsy, “screwed.” Donner le —— de pouce, to give short weight; to strangle. Faire le ——, or monter le —— à quelqu’un, to deceive, to take in, “to bamboozle” one. Se donner un —— de tampon, or de torchon, to fight. Se monter le ——, to be too sanguine, to form illusions. Valoir le ——, to be worth the trouble of doing or robbing. Voir le ——, to foresee an event; to see the dodge. Le —— de, action of doing anything. Le —— du canot, going out rowing. Coup de bleu, draught of wine. Avoir son —— de bleu, to be intoxicated, or “screwed.” Pomper un —— de bleu, to drink.

Faut ben du charbon ...
Pour chauffer la machine,
Au va-nu-pieds qui chine ...
Faut son p’tit coup d’bleu.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

(Thieves’) Coup à l’esbrouffe sur un pantre. See Faire. Un —— d’acré, extreme unction. Le —— d’Anatole, or du père François. See Charriage à la mécanique. Un —— de bas, treacherous blow. Le —— de bonnet, the three-card trick dodge. Coup de cachet, stabbing, then drawing the knife to and fro in the wound. Un —— de casserole, informing against one, “blowing the gaff.” Le —— de manche, calling at people’s houses in order to beg. Un —— de radin, purloining the contents of a shop-till, generally a wine-shop, “lob-sneaking.” Un —— de roulotte, robbery of luggage or other property from vehicles. Un —— de vague, a robbery; action of robbing at random without any certainty as to the profits to be gained thereby. (Military) Coup de manchette, certain dexterous cut of the sword on the wrist which puts one hors de combat. (Familiar) Un —— de pied, borrowing money, or “breaking shins.” English thieves call it [99]“biting the ear.” Un —— de pistolet, some noisy or scandalous proceeding calculated to attract attention. Le —— de fion, finishing touch. Se donner un —— de fion, to get oneself tidy, ship-shape.

C’est là qu’on se donne le coup de fion. On ressangle les chevaux, on arrange les paquetages et les turbans, on époussette ses bottes, on retrousse ses moustaches et on drape majestueusement les plis de son burnous.—H. France, L’Homme qui tue.

(Servants’) Le —— du tablier, giving notice.

Coupaillon, m. (tailors’), unskilful cutter.

Coup de traversin, m. (popular), se foutre un ——, to sleep.

Trois heures qui sonn’nt. Faut que j’rapplique,
S’rait pas trop tôt que j’pionce un brin;
C’que j’vas m’fout’un coup d’traversin!
Gill, La Muse à Bibi.

Coup de trottinet, m. (thieves’ and cads’), kick. Filer un —— dans l’oignon, to kick one’s behind, or “to toe one’s bum,” “to root,” or “to land a kick.”

Coupe, f. (thieves’), poverty. (Popular) Tirer sa ——, to swim.

Coupé, adj. (printers’), to be without money.

Coupe-ficelle, m. (military), artillery artificer.

Coupe-file, m., card delivered to functionaries, which enables them to cross a procession in a crowd.

Coupe-lard, m. (popular), knife.

Couper (popular), to fall into a snare; to accept as correct an assertion which is not so; to believe the statement of more or less likely facts; —— dans le pont, or —— dans le ceinturon, to swallow a fib, to fall into a snare.

Vidocq dit comme ça qu’il vient du pré, qu’il voudrait trouver des amis pour goupiner. Les autres coupent dans le pont (donnent dans le panneau).—Vidocq.

Couper la chique, to disappoint; to abash; —— la gueule à quinze pas, to stink; —— la musette, or le sifflet, to cut the throat; —— le trottoir, to place one in the necessity of leaving the pavement by walking as if there were no one in the way, or when walking behind a person to get suddenly in front of him; (military) —— l’alfa, or la verte, to drink absinthe. Ne pas y ——, not to escape; not to avoid; to disbelieve. Vous n’y couperez pas, you will not escape punishment. Je n’y coupe pas, I don’t take that in. (Coachmens’) Couper sa mèche, to die. See Pipe. (Gambling cheats’) Couper dans le pont, to cut a pack of cards prepared in such a manner as to turn up the card required by sharpers. The cards are bent in a peculiar way, and in such a manner that the hand of the player who cuts must naturally follow the bend, and separate the pack at the desired point. This cheating trick is used in England as well as France, and is termed in English slang the “bridge.”

Coupe-sifflet, m. (thieves’), knife, “chive.” Termed also “lingre, vingt-deux, surin.”

Courant, m. (thieves’), dodge. Connaître le ——, to be up to a dodge.

Courasson, m. (familiar), one whose bump of amativeness is well developed, in other terms, one too fond of the fair sex. Vieux ——, old debauchee, old “rip.”

Courbe, f. (thieves’), shoulder; —— de marne, shoulder of mutton.

Les marquises des cagous ont soin d’allumer le riffe et faire riffoder la criolle; les uns fichent une courbe de morne, d’autres un morceau de cornant, d’autres une échine de baccon, les autres des ornies et des ornichons.—Le Jargon de l’Argot.


Coureur, m. (thieves’), d’aveugles, a wretch who robs blind men of the half-pence given them by charitable people.

Courir (popular), quelqu’un, to bore one. Se la ——, to run, to run away, “to slope.” For synonyms see Patatrot.

Courrier, m. (thieves’), de la préfecture, prison van, or “black Maria.”

Court-à-pattes, m. (military), foot artilleryman.

Courtaud, m. (thieves’), shopman, or “counter jumper.”

Court-bouillon, m. (thieves’), le grand ——, the sea, “briny,” or “herring pond.” Termed by English sailors “Davy’s locker.” Court-bouillon properly is water with different kinds of herbs in which fish is boiled.

Courtier, m. (thieves’), à la mode. See Bande noire. (Familiar) Courtier marron, kind of unofficial stockjobber, an outsider, or “kerbstone broker.”

Cousin, m. (thieves’), cardsharper, or “broadsman;” —— de Moïse, husband of a dissolute woman.

Cousine, f. (popular), Sodomist; —— de vendange, dissolute girl fond of the wine-shop.

Cousse, f. (thieves’), de castu, hospital attendant.

Couteau, m. (military), grand ——, cavalry sword.

Coûter (popular), cela coûte une peur et une envie de courir, nothing.

Couturasse, f. (popular), sempstress; pock-marked or “cribbage-faced” woman.

Couvent, m. (popular), laïque, brothel, or “nanny-shop.”

Le 49 est un lupanar. Ce couvent laïque est connu dans le Quartier Latin sous la dénomination de: La Botte de Paille.—Macé, Mon Premier Crime.

Couvercle, m. (popular), hat, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Couvert, m. (thieves’), silver fork and spoon from which the initials have been obliterated, or which have been “christened.”

Couverte, f. (military), battre la ——, to sleep. Faire passer à la ——, to toss one in a blanket.

Couverture, f. (theatrical), noise made purposely at a theatre to prevent the public from noticing something wrong in the delivery of actors.

Nous appelons couverture le bruit que nous faisons dans la salle pour couvrir un impair, un pataquès, une faute de français.—P. Mahalin.

Couvrante, f. (popular), cap, or “tile.” See Tubard.

Couvre-amour, m. (military), shako.

Couvreur, m. (freemasons’), doorkeeper.

Couvrir (freemasons’), le temple, to shut the door.

Couyon. See Couillon.

Couyonnade, f. See Couillonnade.

Couyonnerie, f. See Couillonnerie.

Crabosser (popular), to crush in a hat.

Crac. See Cric.

Cracher (popular), to speak out; —— des pièces de dix sous, to be dry, thirsty; —— dans le sac, to be guillotined, to die; —— ses doublures, to be consumptive. Ne pas —— sur quelquechose, not to object to a thing, to value it, “not to sneeze at.” (Musicians’) Cracher son embouchure, to die. See Pipe.


Crachoir, m. (popular and thieves’), mouth, or “bone-box.” See Plomb. (General) Jouer du ——, to speak, “to rap,” “to patter.” Abuser du ——, is said of a very talkative person who engrosses all the conversation.

Crampe, f. (popular), tirer sa ——, to flee, “to crush.” See Patatrot. Tirer sa —— avec la veuve, to be guillotined.

Cramper (popular), se ——, to run away. See Patatrot.

Crampon, m. (familiar), bore; one not easily got rid of.

Cramponne toi Gugusse! (popular, ironical), prepare to be astounded.

Cramponner (familiar), to force one’s company on a person; to bore.

Cramser (popular), to die.

Cran, m. (popular), avoir son ——, to be angry. Faire un ——, to make a note of something; an allusion to the custom which bakers have of reckoning the number of loaves furnished by cutting notches in a piece of wood. Lâcher d’un ——, to leave one suddenly.

Crâne, adj. (popular), fine.

Crânement (popular), superlatively. Je suis —— content, I am superlatively happy.

Crâner (popular), to be impudent, threatening. Si tu crânes, je te ramasse, none of your cheek, else I’ll give you a thrashing.

Crapaud, m. (thieves’), padlock; (military) diminutive man; purse in which soldiers store up their savings; —— serpenteux, spiral rocket. (Popular) Crapaud, child, “kid.”

Ben, moi, c’t’existence-là m’assomme!
J’voudrais posséder un chapeau.
L’est vraiment temps d’dev’nir un homme.
J’en ai plein l’dos d’être un crapaud.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Crapoussin, m. (popular), small man; child, or “kid.”

Crapulos, crapulados, m. (familiar and popular), one-sou cigar.

Craquelin, m. (popular), liar. From craque, fib.

Crasse, f. (familiar), mean or stingy action. Baron de la ——, see Baron.

Cravache, f. (sporting), être à la ——, to be at a whip’s distance.

Cravate, f. (popular), de chanvre, noose, or “hempen cravat;” —— de couleur, rainbow; —— verte, women’s bully, “ponce.” See Poisson.

Crayon, m., stockbroker’s clerk. The allusion is obvious.

Créature, f. (familiar), strumpet.

Crèche, f. (cads’), faire une tournée à la ——, or à la chapelle, is said of a meeting of Sodomists.

Credo, m. (thieves’), the gallows.

Crêpage, m. (popular), a fight; a tussle. Un —— de chignons, tussle between two females, in which they seize one another by the hair and freely use their nails.

Crêper (popular), le chignon, or le toupet, to thrash, “to wallop.” See Voie. Se —— le chignon, le toupet, to have a set to.

Crépin, m. (popular), shoemaker, or “snob.”

Crépine, f. (thieves’), purse, “skin,” or “poge.”

Crès (thieves’), quickly.

Crespinière (old cant), much.

Creuse, f. (popular), throat, “gutter lane.”

Creux, m. (thieves’), house; lodgings, “diggings,” “ken,” or “crib.” (Popular) Bon ——, good voice. Fichu ——, weak voice.


Crevaison, f. (popular), death. Faire sa ——, to die. Crever, to die, is said of animals. See Pipe.

Crevant, adj. (swells’), boring to death; very amusing.

Que si vous les interrogez sur le bal de la nuit, ils vous répondront invariablement, C’était crevant, parole d’honneur.—Mahalin.

Crevard (popular), stillborn child.

Crevé (popular), dead. (Familiar) Petit ——, swell, or “masher.” See Gommeux.

Crève-faim, m. (popular), man who volunteers as a soldier.

Crever (popular), to dismiss from one’s employment; to wound; to kill; —— la sorbonne, to break one’s head.

Mais c’ qu’est triste, hélas!
C’est qu’ pour crever à coups d’botte
Des gens pas palas.
On vous envoie en péniche
A Cayenne-les-eaux.
Richepin, Chanson des Gueux.

Crever la pièce de dix sous is said of the practices of Sodomists; —— la paillasse, to kill.

Verger, il creva la paillasse
A Monseigneur l’Archevêque de Paris.

The above quotation is from a “complainte” on the murder of the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Sibour, in the church Sainte-Geneviève, by a priest named Verger. A complainte is a kind of carol, or dirge, which has for a theme the account of a murder or execution. (Familiar) Crever l’œil au diable, to succeed in spite of envious people. Tu t’en ferais ——, expressive of ironical refusal. It may be translated by, “don’t you wish you may get it?” Se ——, to eat to excess, “to scorf.”

Crever à (printers’), to stop composing at such and such a line.

Crevette, f. (popular), prostitute, “mot.”

Criblage, criblement, m. (thieves’), outcry, uproar.

Cribler (thieves’), to cry out; —— à la grive, to give a warning call; to call out “shoe-leather!” to call out “police! thieves!“ “to give hot beef.”

On la crible à la grive,
Je m’ la donne et m’esquive,
Elle est pommée maron.

Cribleur, m. (thieves’), de frusques, clothier; —— de lance, water-carrier; —— de malades, man whose functions are to call prisoners to a room where they may speak to visitors; —— de verdouze, a fruiterer.

Cric, or cricque, m. (popular), brandy, called “French cream” in English slang. Faire ——, to run away, “to guy.” See Patatrot.

Cric! (military), call given by a soldier about to spin a yarn to an auditory, who reply by acrac!thus showing they are still awake. After the preliminary cric! crac! has been bawled out, the auditory repeat all together as an introduction to the yarn: Cuiller à pot! Sous-pieds de guêtres! Pour l’enfant à naître! On pendra la crémaillère! Chez la meilleure cantinière! &c., &c.

Cric-croc! (thieves’), your health!

Crie, or crigne, f. (thieves’), meat, “carnish.”

Crin, m. (familiar), être comme un ——, to be irritable or irritated, to be “cranky,” or “chumpish.”

Crinoline, f. (players’), queen of cards.

Criolle, f. (thieves’), meat, “carnish.” Morfiler de la ——, to eat meat.


Criollier, m. (thieves’), butcher.

Crique, m. and f. (popular), brandy; an ejaculation. Je veux bien que la —— me croque si je bois une goutte en plus de quatre litres par jour! may I be “jiggered” if I drink more than four litres a day!

Criquer (popular), se ——, to run away, “to slope.” See Patatrot.

Cris de merluche, m. pl. (popular), frightful howling; loud complaints.

Cristalliser (students’), to idle about in a sunny place.

Croc, abbreviation of escroc, swindler.

Croche, f. (thieves’), hand, “famble,” or “daddle.”

Crocher (thieves’), to ring; to pick a lock, “to screw.” (Popular) Se ——, to fight.

Crocodile, m. (familiar), creditor, or dun; usurer; foreign student at the military school of Saint-Cyr.

Crocque, m. (popular), sou.

Crocs, m. pl. (popular), teeth, “grinders.”

Croire (familiar), que c’est arrivé, to believe too implicitly that a thing exists; to have too good an opinion of oneself.

Croisant, m. (popular), waistcoat, or “benjy.”

Croissant, m. (popular), loger rue du ——, to be an injured husband. An allusion to the horns.

Croix, f. (popular), six-franc piece. An allusion to the cross which certain coins formerly bore. According to Eugène Sue the old clothes men in the Temple used the following denominations for coins: pistoles, ten francs; croix, six francs; la demi-croix, three francs; le point, one franc; le demi-point, half-a-franc; le rond, half-penny. Croix de Dieu, alphabet, on account of the cross at the beginning.

Crôme, or croume, m. (thieves’ and tramps’), credit, “jawbone,” or “day.”

Cromper (thieves’), to save; to run away, “to guy.” See Patatrot. Cromper sa sorbonne, to save one’s head.

Crompir, potato. From the German grundbirne.

Crône, f. (thieves’), wooden platter.

Crônée, f. (thieves’), platter full.

Croquaillon, m. (popular), bad sketch.

Croque. See Crique.

Croquemitaines, m. pl. (military), soldiers who are sent to the punishment companies in Africa for having wilfully maimed themselves in order to escape military service.

Croqueneau, m. (popular), new shoe; —— verneau, patent leather shoe.

Croquet (popular), irritable man.

Crosse, f. (thieves’), receiver of stolen goods, or “fence;” public prosecutor.

Crosser (thieves’), to receive stolen goods; to strike the hour.

Quand douze plombes crossent,
Les pègres s’en retournent,
Au tapis de Montron.

Crosseur, m. (thieves’), bell-ringer.

Crossin. See Crosse.

Crotal, m., student of the Ecole Polytechnique holding the rank of sergeant.

Crottard, m. (popular), foot pavement.


Crotte d’Ermite, f. (thieves’), baked pear.

Crottin, m. (military), sergent de ——, non-commissioned officer at the cavalry school of Saumur. Thus termed because he is often in the stables.

Croumier (horse-dealers’), broker or agent of questionable honesty, or one who is “wanted” by the police.

Croupionner (popular), to twist one’s loins about so as to cause one’s dress to bulge out.

Croupir (popular), dans le battant is said of undigested food, which inconveniences one.

Croustille, f. (popular), casser un brin de ——, to have a snack.

Croustiller (popular), to eat, “to grub.” See Mastiquer.

Croûte, f. (popular), s’embêter comme une —— de pain derrière une malle, to feel desperately dull.

Croûteum, m. (familiar), collection ofcroûtes,” or worthless pictures.

Croûton, m. (artists’), painter devoid of any talent.

Croûtonner (artists’), to paint worthless pictures, daubs.

Croyez (popular), ça et buvez de l’eau, expression used to deride credulous people. Literally believe that and drink water.

Cru (artists’), faire ——, see Faire.

Crucifier (familiar), to grant one the decoration of the Legion of Honour. The expression is meant to be jocular.

Crucifix, or crucifix à ressort, m. (thieves’), pistol, “barking iron.”

Cube, m., student of the third year in higher mathematics (mathématiques spéciales); (familiar) a regular idiot.

Cucurbitacé, m. (familiar), a dunce.

Cueillir (popular), le persil is said of a prostitute walking the streets.

Cuiller, f. (popular), hand, or “daddle.”

Cuir, m. (popular), de brouette, wood. Escarpin en —— de brouette, wooden shoe. Gants en —— de poule, ladies’ gloves made of fine skin. Tanner le ——, to thrash, “to tan one’s hide.”

Cuirassé, m. (popular), urinals.

Cuirasser (popular), to makecuirs,” that is, in conversation carrying on the wrong letter, or one which does not form part of a word, to the next word, as, for instance, Donnez moi z’en, je vais t’y m’amuser.

Cuirassier, m. (popular), one who frequently indulges incuirs.” See Cuirasser.

Cuire (popular), se faire ——, to be arrested. See Piper.

Cuisine, f. (thieves’), the Préfecture de Police; (literary) —— de journal, all that concerns the details and routine arrangement of the matter for a newspaper. (Popular) Faire sa —— à l’alcool, to indulge often in brandy drinking.

Cuisiner (literary), to do, to concoct some inferior literary or artistic work.

Cuisinier, m. (thieves’), spy, or “nark;” detective; barrister; (literary) newspaper secretary.

Cuisse, f. (familiar), avoir la —— gaie is said of a woman who is too fond of men.

Cuit, adj. (thieves’), sentenced, condemned, or “booked;” done for.


Cuite, f. (popular), intoxication. Se flanquer une ——, to get drunk, or “screwed.”

Cul, m. (popular), stupid fellow, or “duffer;” —— d’âne, blockhead; —— de plomb, slow man, or “bummer;” clerk, or “quill-driver;” woman who awaits clients at a café; —— goudronné, sailor, or “tar;” —— levé, game of écarté at which two players are in league to swindle the third; —— rouge, soldier with red pants, or “cherry bum;” —— terreux, peasant, clodhopper. Montrer son ——, to become a bankrupt, or “brosier.”

Culasses, f. pl. (military), revue des —— mobiles, monthly medical inspection. Culasse, properly the breech of a gun.

Culbutant, m., or culbute, f. (thieves’), breeches, or “hams.” Termed also “fusil à deux coups, grimpants.” Esbigner le chopin dans sa culbute, to conceal stolen property in one’s breeches.

Culbute, f. (thieves’), breeches. (Popular) La ——, the circus.

Culerée, f. (printers’), composing stick which is filled up.

Culotte, m. (popular and familiar), money losses at cards; excess in anything, especially in drink. Grosse ——, regular drunkard. Donner dans la —— rouge is said of a woman who is too fond of soldiers’ attentions, of one who has an attack of “scarlet fever.” Se flanquer une ——, to sustain a loss at a game of cards; to get intoxicated. (Students’) Empoigner une ——, to lose at a game, and to have in consequence to stand all round. (Artists’) Faire ——, exaggeration of Faire chaud (which see).

Culotté, adj. (popular), hardened; soiled; seedy; red, &c. Etre ——, to have a seedy appearance. Un nez ——, a red nose.

Culotter (popular), se ——, to get tipsy; to have a worn-out, seedy appearance. Se —— de la tête aux pieds, to get completely tipsy.

Cumulard, m. (familiar), official who holds several posts at the same time.

Cupidon, m. (thieves’), rag-picker, or “bone-grubber.” An ironical allusion to his hook and basket.

Cure-dents (familiar), venir en ——, to come to an evening party without having been invited to the dinner that precedes it. Termed also “venir en pastilles de Vichy.”

Curette, f. (military), cavalry sword. Manier la ——, to do sword exercise.

Curieux, m. (thieves’), magistrate, “beak,” or “queer cuffin.” Also juge d’instruction, a magistrate who investigates cases before they are sent up for trial. Grand ——, chief judge of the assize court.

Cyclope, m. (popular), behind, or “blind cheek.”

Cylindre, m. (popular), top hat, or “stove-pipe;” see Tubard; body, or “apple cart.” Tu t’en ferais péter le ——, is expressive of ironical refusal; “don’t you wish you may get it.”

Cymbale, f. (thieves’), moon, or “parish lantern;” (popular) escutcheon placed over the door of the house of a notary.



Da (popular), mon ——, my father, “my daddy.” Ma ——, my mother, “my mammy.”

Dab, dabe, m. (thieves’), father, or “dade;” master; a god.

Mercure seul tu adoreras,
Comme dabe de l’entrottement.

Le —— de la cigogne, the procureur général, or public prosecutor. Grand ——, king.

Ma largue part pour Versailles...
Pour m’faire défourailler.
Mais grand dab qui se fâche,
Dit par mon caloquet,
J’li ferai danser une danse
Où i n’y a pas d’plancher.
V. Hugo.

Dabe, m. (popular), d’argent, speculum. (Prostitutes’) Cramper avec le —— d’argent, to be subjected to a compulsory medical examination of a peculiar nature.

Dabérage, m. (popular), talking, “jawing.”

Dabérer (popular), to talk, “to jaw.”

Dabesse, f. (thieves’), mother; queen.

Dabicule, m. (thieves’), the master’s son.

Dabot, dabmuche, m. (thieves’), the prefect of police, or head of the Paris police; a drudge. Formerly it signified an unlucky player who has to pay all his opponents.

Dabucal, adj. (thieves’), royal.

Dabuche, f. (thieves’), mother; grandmother, or “mami;” nurse.

Dabuchette, f. (thieves’), young mother; mother-in-law.

Dabuchon, m. (popular), father, “daddy.”

Dache, m. (thieves’), devil, “ruffin,” or “black spy;” (military) hairdresser to the Zouaves, a mythical individual. Allez donc raconter cela à ——, tell that to the “Marines“.

Dada, m. (military), aller à ——, to perform the act of coition, or “chivalry.” The old poet Villon termed this “chevaulcher.”

Dail, m. (thieves’), je n’entrave que le ——, I do not understand.

Daim, m. (popular), swell, or “gorger,” see Gommeux; fool, or “duffer;” gullible fellow, “gulpy;” —— huppé, rich man, one with plenty of “tin.”

Dale, dalle, f. (thieves’), money, “quids,” or “pieces,” see Quibus.

Faut pas aller chez Paul Niquet,
Ça vous consomme tout vot’ pauv’ dale.
P. Durand.

Five-franc piece; (popular) throat, or “red lane;” —— du cou, mouth, “rattle-trap.” Se rincer, or s’arroser la ——, to drink, “to have something damp.” See Rincer.

J’ai du sable à l’amygdale.
Ohé! ho! buvons un coup,
Une, deux, trois, longtemps, beaucoup!
Il faut s’arroser la dalle
Du cou.
Richepin, Gueux de Paris.


Dalzar, m. (popular), breeches, “kicks,” “sit-upons,” or “kicksies.”

Dame, f. (popular), blanche, bottle of white wine; —— du lac, woman of indifferent character who frequents the purlieus of the Grand Lac at the Bois de Boulogne.

Damer (popular), une fille, to seduce a girl, to make a woman of her.

Danaïdes, f. (thieves’), faire jouer les ——, to thrash a girl.

Dandiller (thieves’), to ring; to chink. Le carme dandille dans sa fouillouse, the money chinks in his pocket.

Dandinage, m., dandinette, f. (popular), thrashing, “hiding.”

Dandine, f. (popular), blow, “wipe,” “clout,” “dig,” “bang,” or “cant.” Encaisser des dandines, to receive blows.

Dandiner (popular), to thrash, “to lick.” See Voie.

Dandinette. See Dandinage.

Dankier (Breton), prostitute.

Danse, f. (familiar), du panier, unlawful profits on purchases. Flanquer une —— à quelqu’un, to thrash or “lick” one. See Voie.

Danser (popular), to lose money; to pay, “to shell out.” Il l’a dansée de vingt balles, he had to pay twenty francs. Danser devant le buffet, to be fasting, “to cry cupboard;” —— tout seul, to have an offensive breath. Faire —— quelqu’un, to make one stand treat; to make one pay, or “fork out;” to thrash, “to wallop.” See Voie. La ——, to be thrashed; to be dismissed from one’s employment, “to get the sack.”

Danseur, m. (popular), turkey cock.

Dardant, m. (thieves’), love.

Luysard estampillait six plombes.
Mezigo roulait le trimard,
Et, jusqu’au fond du coquemart,
Le dardant riffaudait ses lombes.
Richepin, Gueux de Paris.

Dardelle, f. (urchins’), penny (gros sou).

Dariole, f. (popular), slap or blow in the face, “clout,” “bang,” or “wipe.” Properly a kind of pastry.

Darioleur, m. (popular), inferior sort of pastry cook.

Daron, m. (thieves’), father, “dade,” or “dadi;” gentleman, “nib cove;” —— de la raille, or de la rousse, prefect of police, head of the Paris police.

Daronne, f. (thieves’), mother; —— du dardant, Venus; —— du grand Aure, holy Virgin; —— du mec des mecs, mother of God.

Dattes, f. pl. (popular), des ——! contemptuous expression of refusal; might be rendered by “you be hanged!” See Nèfles.

Elle se r’tourne, lui dit: des dattes!
Tu peux t’fouiller vieux pruneau!
Tu n’tiens plus sur tes deux pattes.
Va donc, eh! fourneau!
Parisian Song.

Daube, f. (popular), cook, or “dripping.”

Daubeur, m. (popular), blacksmith.

Dauche (popular), mon ——, my father; ma ——, my mother; “my old man, my old woman.”

Dauffe, f., dauffin, dauphin, m. (thieves’), short crowbar. Termed also “l’enfant, Jacques, biribi, sucre de pommes, rigolo,” and in the language of English housebreakers, that is, the “busters and screwsmen,” “the stick, James, Jemmy.”


Dauphin, m. (popular), girl’s bully, “ponce,” see Poisson; (thieves’) short crowbar used by housebreakers, “jemmy.”

David, m. (popular), silk cap. From the maker’s name.

Davone, f. (thieves’), plum.

De (familiar), se pousser du ——, to place the word “de” before one’s name to make it appear a nobleman’s.

, m. (popular), or —— à boire, drinking glass. Dé! yes. Properly thimble.

Débâcle, f. (thieves’), accouchement. Properly breaking up, collapse.

Débâcler (thieves’ and popular), to open; to force open; —— la lourde, open the door.

Débâcleuse, f. (thieves’ and popular), midwife. Termed also “tâte-minette, Madame Tire-monde.”

Débagouler (popular), to speak, “to jaw.”

Débalinchard, m. (popular), one who saunters lazily about.

Déballage, m. (popular), undress; getting out of bed; dirty linen. Etre floué or volé au ——, to be grievously disappointed with a woman’s figure when she divests herself of her garments. Gagner au ——, to appear to better advantage when undressed.

Déballer (popular), to strip. Se ——, to undress oneself.

Débanquer (gamesters’), to ruin the gaming bank.

Débarbouiller (popular), à la potasse, to strike one in the face, “to give one a bang in the mug;” to clear up some matter.

Débardeur, m., débardeuse, f. (familiar), dancers at fancy balls dressed as a débardeur or lumper.

Débarquer (popular), se ——, to give up; to relinquish anything already undertaken, to “cave in.”

Débaucher (popular), to dismiss. Etre débauché, to get the sack. The reverse of embaucher, to engage.

Débecqueter (popular), to vomit, “to cast up accounts,” “to shoot the cat.”

Débectant (popular), annoying; tiresome; dirty; disgusting.

Débinage, m. (familiar), slandering; running down. From débiner, to talk ill, to depreciate.

Débiner (popular), to depreciate; —— le truc, to disclose a secret; to explode a dodge, or fraud.

Parbleu! je n’ignore pas ce que peuvent dire les blagueurs pour débiner le truc de ces fausses paysannes.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Se —— des fumerons, to run away, “to leg it.” Se ——, to abuse one another, “to slang one another;” to run away, “to brush,” see Patatrot; to grow weak.

Débineur, m., débineuse, f. (popular), one who talks ill of people; one who depreciates people or things.

Déblayer (theatrical), to curtail portions of a part; to hurry through a performance.

A l’Opéra, ce soir ... on déblaye à bras raccourci: vous savez que déblayer signifie écourter.—P. Mahalin.

Débloquer (military), to cancel an order of arrest.

Débonder (popular), to ease oneself; to go to “West Central,” or to the “crapping ken.” See Mouscailler.

Déborder (popular), to vomit, “to cast up accounts,” or “to shoot the cat.”


Déboucler (thieves’), to open; to set a prisoner at liberty.

Déboucleur, m. (thieves’), de lourdes, a housebreaker, “buster,” or “screwsman.”

Débouler (popular), to be brought to childbed, “to be in the straw;” to arrive, or “to crop up.”

Déboulonné (popular), être ——, to be dull-witted, or to be a “dead-alive.”

Déboulonner (popular), la colonne à quelqu’un, to thrash one soundly, “to knock one into a cocked hat.” See Voie.

Débourré (horse-dealers’), cheval ——, horse which suddenly loses its fleshy appearance artificially imparted by rascally horse-dealers.

Débourrer (popular), to educate one, “to put one up to;” —— sa pipe, to ease oneself, or “to go to the chapel of ease.” See Mouscailler. Se ——, to become knowing, “up to a dodge or two,” or a “leary bloke.”

Débouscailler (popular), to black one’s boots.

Débouscailleur (popular), shoeblack.

Débrider (thieves’), to open; —— les chasses, to open one’s eyes; (popular) —— la margoulette, to eat, “to grub.” See Mastiquer.

Débridoir, m. (thieves’), key; skeleton key, “screw,” or “twirl.”

Débrouillard, m. (popular), one who has a mind fertile in resource, in contrivances to get on in the world, or to extricate himself out of difficulties, a “rum mizzler.” Also used as an adjective. Literally one who gets out of the fog.

Débrouiller (theatrical), un rôle, to make oneself thoroughly acquainted with the nature of one’s part before learning it, to realize fully the character one has to impersonate.

Décadener (thieves’), to unchain.

Décalitre, m. (popular), top hat, “stove-pipe.” See Tubard.

Décampiller (popular), to decamp, “to bunk.”

Décanailler (popular), se ——, to rise from a state of abjection and poverty.

Décanillage, m. (popular), departure; moving one’s furniture; —— à la manque, moving after midsummer term.

En juillet le déménagement est une fête. Mais en octobre, n, i, ni, c’est fini de rire: le déménagement est funèbre et s’appelle le décanillage à la manque.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Décarcassé, adj. (theatrical), is said of a bad play.

Décarcasser (popular), quelqu’un, to thrash one soundly, “to knock one into a cocked hat.” See Voie. Se ——, to give oneself much trouble; to move about actively, fussily. Décarcasse-toi donc, rossard! look alive, you lazy bones! Se —— le boisseau, to torture one’s brains; to fret grievously.

Décarrade, f. (thieves’), general scampering off; departure.

Décarre, f. (thieves’), release from prison.

Décarrement, m. (thieves’ and popular), escape.

Décarrer (thieves’), to leave prison; to run away, “to guy.” See Patatrot.

On les emmène tous et pendant ce temps-là le gueusard décarre avec son camarade.—Vidocq.

Also to come out.


Nous allons nous cacher dans l’allée en face, nous verrons décarrer les messières.—E. Sue.

Décarrer à la bate, to escape; —— cher, to be released after having done one’s “time;” —— de belle, to be released without trial; —— de la geôle, to be released on the strength of an order of discharge.

Décartonner (popular), se ——, to grow old; to grow weak.

Décati, adj. (popular), no longer young or handsome; seedy, faded. Elle a l’air bien ——, she has a faded, worn appearance.

Décatir (popular), se ——, to get faded, worn, seedy.

Décavage, m. (familiar), circumstances of a gamester who has lost all his money, or who has “blewed” it. From décavé, ruined gamester.

Décembraillard, m., opprobrious epithet applied to Bonapartists. An allusion to the coup d’état of the 2nd December, 1851, when Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, then President of the Republic, threw into prison dissentient members of parliament and generals who refused to join in the conspiracy, shelled the boulevards, shot down hundreds of harmless loungers, and transported or exiled 50,000 republicans or monarchists.

Décembrisade, f., an act similar to the coup d’état of 2nd December, 1851. See Décembraillard.

Déchanter (popular), to recover from an error; to be crestfallen after one’s illusions have been dispelled; to come down a peg or two.

Déchard, m. (popular), needy; man who is “hard up.”

Dèche, f. (popular), neediness. Etre en ——, to be “hard up” for cash; “to be at low tide.”

Décheux, m. (popular), needy man, “quisby.”

Déchirée, f. (popular), elle n’est pas trop ——, is said of a woman who is yet attractive in spite of years.

Déchirer (military), de la toile, to perform platoon firing; —— la cartouche, to eat. See Mastiquer. (Popular) Déchirer son faux-col, son habit, son tablier, to die. (Ironical) Ne pas se ——, to have a good opinion of oneself and to show it.

Déclaquer (popular), to open one’s heart; to make a clean breast of.

Déclouer (popular), to redeem objects from pawn, to get objects “out of lug.”

Décognoir, m. (popular), nose, “boko,” or “smeller.” See Morviau.

Décoller (popular), to leave a place; to leave one’s employment; —— son billard, to die. See Pipe. Se ——, to fail; to grow old, rickety; to die, “to kick the bucket.”

Décompte, m. (military), mortal wound. Recevoir son ——, to die; see Pipe; “to lose the number of one’s mess.”

Décors, m. pl. (freemasons’), ornaments, insignia.

Découcheur (military), soldier who is in the habit of stopping away without leave.

Découdre (familiar), en ——, to fight either in a duel or with the natural weapons.

Découvrir (popular), la peau de quelqu’un, to make one say things which he would rather have left unsaid; “to pump one;” “to worm” secrets out of one.


Décramponner (familiar), se ——, to get rid of a troublesome person.

Pourquoi ai-je quitté Paris? Pour me décramponner tout à fait de cet imbécile qui, panné, décavé, commençait à me porter la guigne.—Richepin, La Glu.

Décrasser (popular), quelqu’un, to corrupt one, “to put one up to snuff;” (prostitutes’) —— un homme, to clean a man out of his money, and in thieves’ language, to rob a man. See Grinchir.

Décravater (popular), ses propos, to use language of an objectionable character, or “blue talk.”

Décrocher (popular), to take articles out of pawn, or “out of lug;” (military) to shoot down; (thieves’) to steal handkerchiefs, “to haul stooks;” (popular) —— un enfant, to bring about a miscarriage; (familiar) —— la timballe, to be fortunate, or, as the Americans term it, “to get the cake,” or “to yank the bun.” An allusion to the practice of hanging a silver cup as a prize at the top of a greasy pole.

Décrochez-moi-ça (popular), woman’s bonnet; old clothes dealer; shop where secondhand clothes, or “hand-me-downs,” are sold.

Décrotter (popular), un gigot, to leave nothing of a leg of mutton but the bare bone.

Déculotté, m. (popular), bankrupt, “brosier.”

Dedans (familiar), fourrer or mettre quelqu’un ——, to lock one up; to impose upon one, “to bamboozle.” Se mettre ——, to make a mistake; to get tipsy. (Popular) Voir en ——, to be tipsy, applicable especially to those who hold soliloquies when in their cups. See Pompette.

Dédèle, f. (popular), mistress, “moll.”

Dédire (thieves’), se —— cher, to be at death’s door. Properly to repent one’s crimes.

Dédurailler (thieves’), to remove prisoners’ irons.

Défalquer (popular), to ease oneself; to go to the “crapping ken.” See Mouscailler.

Défarguer (thieves’), to grow pale; to be acquitted.

Défargueur, m. (thieves’), witness for the defence.

Défendre (popular), sa queue, to defend oneself.

Déffardeur, m. (popular), thief, “cross cove.” See Grinche. From de and fardeau, literally one who eases you of your burden.

Défiger (popular), to warm. From de and figer, to coagulate.

Défiler (popular), aller voir —— les dragons, to go without a dinner. See Aller. (Military) Défiler la parade, to die, “to lose the number of one’s mess.” See Pipe. (Popular) Se ——, to run away, “to leg it.” See Patatrot.

Défleurir (thieves’), la picouse, to steal linen hung out to dry, “to smug snowy.”

Déformer (popular), to break; to put out of gear. Je lui ai déformé une quille, I broke one of his legs.

Défouque. See Desfoux.

Défourailler (thieves’), to run, “to pad the hoof,” or “to guy;” see Patatrot; to fall; to be released from jail.

Défrimousser (popular), synonymous with dévisager, to peer into one’s face.


Défrusquer, défrusquiner (popular), to strip one of his clothes. Se ——, to undress.

Dégauchir (thieves’), to steal, “to nim,” “to claim.” See Grinchir.

Dégazonner (familiar), se ——, to become bald. Il a le coco tout dégazonné, he is quite bald. See Avoir.

Dégel, m. (popular), death.

Dégelé (popular), corpse, “cold meat.”

Dégelée, f. (popular), thrashing, “walloping.”

Dégeler (popular), se ——, to die, “to kick the bucket;” see Pipe; to become knowing. (Fencing) Dégeler son jeu, to put spirit into one’s play.

Déglinguer (popular), to damage.

Dégobillade, f. (popular), vomit; very bad liquor, “swizzle.”

Dégommade, f. (popular), old age; decrepit state.

Dégommage, m. (popular), dismissal, “the sack;” ruin.

Dégommer (popular), quelqu’un, to excel over one. Literally to dismiss one from a situation; to kill. Se ——, to grow old, faded.

Je me rouille, je me dégomme.

Dégorger (popular), to pay, “to fork out.”

Dégottage, m. (popular), action of surpassing one; of finding or discovering something.

Dégotter (military), to kill; (popular) to surpass one; to find; to discover.

Tiens! quoi donc que j’dégott’ dans l’noir,
Qu’est à g’noux, là-bas su’ l’trottoir?
Eh! ben, là-bas, eh! la gonzesse.
Gill, La Muse à Bibi.

Dégouler (popular), to take away; to fall, “to come a cropper.”

Dégoulinage, m. (popular), inferior drink, “swizzle.”

Dégouliner (popular), to drip; —— ce qu’on a sur le cœur, to unbosom.

Dégourdi, m. (popular), ironical, clumsy fellow, “stick in the mud.” Properly it has the opposite meaning.

Dégoûtation, f. (popular), expression of disgust. Une —— d’homme, a disgusting fellow. The expression is a favourite one of the street-walking tribe.

Dégoûté, adj. (popular), ironical. N’être pas ——, is said of one who expresses a desire of obtaining something considered by others to be too good for him; also of one who picks out for himself the most dainty bits.

Dégraisser (popular), to steal, “to prig,” see Grinchir; —— quelqu’un, to fleece one. Se ——, to grow thin.

Dégrimoner (popular), se ——, to bestir oneself; to struggle; to wriggle.

Dégringiller (popular), to come out. Dégringillons de la carrée, let us leave the room.

Dégringolade, f. (thieves’), theft in a shop; —— à la flûte, robbery committed by a street-walker.

Dégringoler (thieves’), to steal, “to nim;” —— à la carre, to steal property from shops. This kind of robbery is practised principally by women, and the thief is called a “bouncer.”

Dégrossir (freemasons’), to carve.

Dégrouper (popular), se ——, to separate.


Dégueularder (thieves’), to talk, to say, “to rap.” Ne dégueularde pas sur sa fiole, say nothing about him.

Dégueulas, dégueulatif, adj. (popular), annoying; disgusting.

J’conobre l’truc; ’l est dégueulas.—Richepin. (I know the trade; it is disgusting.)

Dégueulatoire, adj. (popular), disgusting; repulsive.

Dégueulbite, dégueulboche, adj. (popular), disgusting.

Dégueuler (popular), to sing, or “to lip.”

Dégueulis, m. (popular), vomit.

Déguis, m. (thieves’), disguise.

Déguiser (popular), se —— en cerf, to make off, “to brush,” or “to leg it.” See Patatrot.

Déjeté, adj. (popular), weakly; ugly. N’être pas trop ——, to be still handsome.

Déjeûner, m. and verb (popular), de perroquet, biscuit dipped in wine; (military) —— à la fourchette, to fight a duel.

Déjoséphier (popular), to educate, not in the better sense of the word; “to put one up to snuff.” An allusion to Madame Potiphar’s attempts on Joseph’s virtue.

De la bourrache! (popular), expressive of refusal; might be rendered by “no go!” “you be blowed.” See Nèfles.

Délass. Com. (popular), theatre of the Délassements Comiques.

Délicat et blond (popular), is said ironically of a dandy or “Jemmy Jessamy;” also of an effeminate fellow who cannot bear pain or discomfort.

Délicoquentieusement (theatrical), marvellously.

Délige, f. (popular), for diligence, public coach.

Démancher (popular), se ——, to bestir oneself; to give oneself much trouble.

Démaquiller (thieves’), to undo.

Démarger (thieves’), to go away; to make off, “to crush,” “to guy.” See Patatrot.

Démarquer (literary), to pirate others’ productions, or to alter one’s own so as to pass them off as original.

Démarqueur, m. (literary), de linge, literary pirate.

Déménager (popular), to become mad, or “balmy;” to die, “to kick the bucket;” —— à la cloche de bois, de zinc, or à la sonnette de bois, to move one’s furniture secretly, the street door bell having been muffled so as to give no more sound than a wooden one, “to shoot the moon;” —— à la ficelle, to remove one’s furniture through a window by means of a rope; —— par la cheminée, to burn one’s furniture on receiving notice to quit, so as to cheat the landlord.

Demi-aune, f. (popular), arm, “bender.” Tendre la ——, to beg.

Demi-cachemire, f. (familiar), kept woman in a good position, but who has not yet reached the top of the ladder.

Demi-castor, f., woman of the demi-monde, a “pretty horse-breaker,” or “tartlet.” See Gadoue.

Demi-cercle, pincer au ——. See Cercle.

Demi-lune (popular), rump, “cheek.”

Demi-mondaine, f. (familiar), woman of the demi-monde. See Gadoue.


Demi-monde, m. (familiar), the world of the higher class of kept women, of “pretty horsebreakers.”

Demi-sel, demi-poil, demi-vertu, f. (popular), girl who has lost her maidenhead, herceincture,” as Villon termed it.

Demi-stroc, m. (thieves’), half a “setier,” that is, one-fourth of a litre.

Démoc-soc, m. (familiar), socialist. An abbreviation for démocrate-socialiste.

Demoiselle, f. (popular), a certain measure for wine, half amonsieur;” bottle of wine.

Demoiselles, f. (familiar), ces ——, euphemism for gay ladies; —— du bitume, du Pont Neuf, street-walkers.

Démolir (literary), to criticise with harshness, to run down literary productions; (popular) to thrash soundly, “to knock into a cocked hat,” see Voie; to kill.

Démolisseur, m. (literary), sharp and violent critic.

Démorfilage (card-sharpers’), setting right again cards which have been marked.

Démorfiler, action of doing démorfilage (which see); also to have one’s wounds cured.

Démorganer (thieves’), to give in to one’s arguments.

Démurger (thieves’), to leave a place; to be set at liberty.

Denaille, m. (thieves’), Saint ——, Saint-Denis, an arrondissement of Paris.

Dénicheur, m. (popular), de fauvettes, one fond of women, “mutton-monger.”

Dent, f. (popular), avoir de la ——, to have preserved one’s good looks; to be still young. Mal de dents, love. N’avoir plus mal aux dents, to be dead.

Dentelle, f. (thieves’), bank notes, “rags, flimsies, screenes, or long-tailed ones.”

Déparler (popular), to cease talking; to talk nonsense.

Département, m. (popular), du bas rein, breech. See Vasistas. A play on the word Rhin.

Dépendeur, m. (popular), d’andouilles. See Andouilles.

Dépenser (popular), sa salive, to talk, or “to jaw away.”

Dépiauter, dépioter (popular), to skin. Se ——, to break one’s skin; to undress, “to peel.”

Déplanquer (thieves’), to remove stolen property out of hiding-place; —— son faux centre, to be convicted under an alias.

Déplumer (popular), se ——, to get bald. Avoir le coco déplumé, to be bald, “to have a bladder of lard,” or “to be stag-faced.” See N’avoir plus.

Déponer (popular), to ease oneself, “to go to the chapel of ease.” See Mouscailler.

Déporter (popular), to discharge from a situation, “to give the sack.”

Dépôt, m. (popular), dépôt de la Préfecture de Police. Caisse des dépôts et consignations, place of ease, or “crapping ken.”

Dépotoir, m. (thieves’), confessional; (popular) chamber pot, or “jerry;” strong box, or “peter;” house of ill-fame, or “nanny-shop.”

Dépuceleur, m. (popular), de nourrices, or de femmes enceintes; ridiculous Lovelace.


Député, m. (theatrical), free ticket.

De quoi (popular), wealth; what next? what do you mean?

Dérager (popular), to get pacified. Generally used in the negative. Il n’a pas encore déragé, he is yet in a rage.

Déraillé, m. (familiar), one who has lost caste.

Dérailler (familiar), to talk nonsense, cock-and-bull-story fashion.

Déralinguer (sailors’), to die. Properly to detach from the bolt rope. See Pipe.

Dérondiner (popular), to pay, “to shell out.” Se ——, to spend or give away one’s money. Ronds, halfpence.

Dérouler (thieves’), se ——, to spend a certain time, not specified, in prison, “to do time.”

Derrière, m. (popular), roue de ——, five-franc piece. Se lever le —— le premier, to get up in a bad humour. Used as a preposition: (Printers’) Derrière le poêle chez Cosson, words used to evade replying to an inquiry.

Désargenté, adj. (thieves’), in want of money.

Quand on est désargenté on se la brosse et l’on ne va pas se taper un souper à l’œil.—Vidocq.

Désargoté, adj. (thieves’), être ——, to be shrewd, to be a “file,” to be “fly,” or a “leary bloke.”

Désargoter (thieves’), to employ cunning.

Désarrer (thieves’), to flee, to “guy.” or “to make beef.” See Patatrot.

Désatiller (thieves’), to castrate. Horse-trainers term the operation “adding one to the list.”

D’esbrouffe, or d’esbrouf (thieves’), by force. Pesciller ——, to take by force. Estourbir ——, to knock over the head.

Un grand messière franc ...
Le filant sur l’estrade
D’esbrouf je l’estourbis.

Descendre (popular), quelqu’un, to shoot one, “to pot;” to throw down; —— le crayon sur la colonne, to thrash, see Voie; —— la garde, to die, see Pipe. (Theatrical) Descendre, to approach the footlights. (Sporting) Un cheval qui descend, horse against which the odds are decreasing.

Désenbonnetdecotonner, to give elegance to. “De,” and “en bonnet de coton,” a nightcap.

Désenflaquer (popular), se ——, to amuse oneself. (Thieves’) Se ——, to get out of prison; to get out of trouble.

Désenfrusquiner (popular), se ——, to undress.

Désentiflage, m. (thieves’), separation; divorce.

Désentifler (thieves’), to separate; to divorce.

Desfouque. See Desfoux.

Desfoux, f. (popular), silk cap sported by women’s bullies. From the maker’s name.

Desgenais, a character of a comedy by Th. Barrière. Faire son —— en chambre, to play the moralist.

Desgrieux, associate of prostitutes and swindlers. A character from Manon Lescaut, by l’Abbé Prévost.

Déshabillage, m. (literary), ill-natured criticism.

Si l’on veut passer un joli quart d’heure on n’a qu’à faire jaser un peintre connu sur un autre peintre également connu. Quel déshabillage! mes amis.


Déshabiller (popular), to thrash, “to wallop.” See Voie.

Désoler (thieves’), to throw.

Désosse, f. (popular), distress. Jouer la ——, to be ruined, “cracked up,” “gone to smash.”

Désossé, m. (popular), very thin man; ruined man, “brosier.”

Désosser (popular), quelqu’un, to pommel one. See Voie.

Dessalée, f. (popular), prostitute, or “bed-fagot.” See Gadoue.

Dessaler (thieves’), to drown. (Popular) Se ——, to drink a morning glass of white wine; to drink, “to moisten one’s chaffer.”

Dessous, m. (theatrical), tomber dans le troisième, or trente-sixième ——, the expression is used to denote that a play has been a complete fiasco. (Familiar) Tomber dans le troisième ——, to fall into utter discredit. (Thieves’) Dessous, man loved for “love,” not for money; a bully.

Dessus, m. (thieves’), man who keeps a woman, the dessous being the said woman’s lover.

Destuc (thieves’), être d’——, to be partners in a robbery; to be in a “push.” “I’m in this push,” is the notice given by an English thief to another that he means to “stand in.”

Détaché, adj. (sporting), cheval ——, horse which keeps the lead.

Détacher (thieves’), le bouchon, to steal a watch, “to nick a jerry,” “to twist a thimble,” or “to get a red toy.”

Détaffer (thieves’), to grow bold. De and taf, fear.

Détailler (theatrical), le couplet, to sing with appropriate expression the different parts of a song; —— un rôle, to bring out all the best points of a part.

Détaroquer (thieves’), to obliterate the marking of linen.

Déteindre (popular), to die, “to kick the bucket,” or “to snuff it.” See Pipe.

Dételer (popular), to renounce the pleasures of love.

Détoce, or détosse, f. (thieves’), ill-luck; poverty.

Détourne, f. (thieves’), vol à la ——, robbery in a shop, or from the shop-window, generally committed by two confederates, the one engrossing the shopkeeper’s attention while the other takes possession of the property.

Détourneur, m., détourneuse, f., thief who operates after the manner described under the heading ofVol à la détourne” (which see).

Détraquer (popular), se —— le trognon, to become crazy, to become “balmy.”

Dette (thieves’), payer une ——, to be in prison, to “do time.”

Deuil, m. (popular), demi ——, coffee without brandy. Grand ——, with brandy. (Familiar) Il y a du ——, things are going on badly. Porter le —— de sa blanchisseuse, to have dirty linen.

Deux (popular), les —— sœurs, the breech, or “cheeks.” See Vasistas. (Thieves’) Partir pour les ——, to set out for the convict settlement, “to lump the lighter.”

Dévalidé, adj. (familiar), synonymous of invalidé, unreturned candidate for parliament.


Devant, m. (popular), de gilet, woman’s breasts, “Charlies.”

Déveinard, m. (popular), unlucky.

Un de ces ouvriers déveinards, un de ces inventeurs en chambre, qui ont compté sur le coup de fortune du nouvel an.—Richepin, Le Pavé.

Déveine, f. (popular), constant ill-luck.

Dévidage, m. (thieves’), long speech, or yarn; walk in prison yard; —— à l’estorgue, lie, “gag;” accusation. Faire des dévidages, to make revelations.

Dévider (thieves’), to talk, “to patter;” —— à l’estorgue, to lie; —— le jars, to speak the cant of thieves, “to patter flash;” —— une retentissante, to break a bell; (popular) —— son peloton, to talk a great deal; to make a confession.

Dévideur, m., dévideuse, f. (thieves’), chatterer, “clack-box.”

Dévierger (popular), to seduce a maiden.

Dévirer (thieves’ and cads’), to turn round.

Dévisser (popular), le coco, to strangle; —— le trognon à quelqu’un, to wring a person’s neck. Se ——, to go away. Se —— la pétronille, to break one’s head.

Dévisseur, m. (popular), slanderer, backbiter.

Devoir (gay girls’), une dette, to have promised a rendez-vous.

Dévoyé, adj. (thieves’), acquitted.

Diable, m. (thieves’), instigator in the employ of the police.

Diamant, m. (theatrical), voice of a fine quality, “like a bell;” (popular) paving stone.

Dibolata, dibuni (Breton cant), to fight, to thrash.

Dictionnaire Verdier, m. (printers’), imaginary dictionary of which the name is shouted loud whenever one speaks or spells incorrectly.

Dieu (popular), le —— terme, rent day. Il n’y a pas de bon ——, see Bon.

Difficulté, f. (sporting), être en ——, is said of a horse which can just keep the start obtained at the cost of the greatest efforts.

Difoara (Breton cant), to pay.

Dig-dig, or digue-digue, m. (thieves’), epileptic fit. Batteur de ——, vagabond who pretends to be seized with a fit.

Digonneur, m. (popular), ill-tempered man, a “shirty” one.

Dijonnier (popular), mustard-pot. The best mustard is manufactured at Dijon.

Diligence, f. (popular), de Rome, tongue, or “velvet.”

Dimanche (popular), or —— après la grand’ messe, never, at Doomsday, or when the devil is blind.

Dindonner (popular), to deceive; to impose upon, “to bamboozle.” From dindon, a dupe, a fool.

Dindornier, m. (thieves’), hospital attendant.

Dîner (popular), en ville, to