Thursday, October 24, 2013

19th-Century Criminal Slang

Rebecca Onion over at Slate as posted a fun romp through criminal slang in the mid-1800s. Here's the lead paragraph of the article:
The following list of slang terms is drawn from a book compiled by the first New York City Police Chief, George W. Matsell, in 1859. Vocabulum, or the Rogue’s Lexicon, which you can read in full text via the Internet Archive, includes an index of criminals’ slang with definitions, short stories written using the “language,” and appendices cataloging the specialized slang of gamblers, billiard-players, brokers, and pugilists.
There are some great ones in there. For example, it seems the 19th-century equivalent of today's douchebag was Billy Noodle; a Lushington, which sounds ripe for a Grey's Anatomy character nickname, is slang for a drunk (e.g., Drinky von Lushington); and a pap lap is an infant.

Go check out the longer list, and Rebecca's commentary on it: Some Excellent Mid-19th-Century Criminal Slang That's Ripe For Revival

Friday, October 11, 2013

Alice Munro and Paraleipsis

I was thrilled to hear that Alice Munro, master of the short story, was named as this year's recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

I was also a little embarrassed that I haven't read any of her work. Not yet, anyway.