Thursday 30 July 2009

'If you go crooked I'll 'ave your wall-paper orn'minted wiv your brains'


One of many fun quotes from Clarence Rook's Hooligan Nights, a tale of street-crime, 1890s style. Here's a compendium of slang from the book which I just put together, some of it familiar, some not. How do you like your wobblers?

Barker –gun
Beano – rowdy entertainment, festivities, fun
Boko – nose
Brass – money
Bull-dog with six teeth – gun
Bung – landlord
Can – barman
Chivvy – face
Class, to be; doing something class - being or doing something impressive, admirable amongst criminals
Cocker – mate, pal
Cop – policeman
Crack a crib – burglary
Dabbed about – thrown
Dial - face
Fanlight jumping – burglary by breaking in through fanlight
Full up to the knocker – thoroughly drunk
Gargler ­– throat
Glim – candle, light
Hooks ­– hands
Kip – somewhere to sleep
Lagged – imprisoned
Lam – beat up, thrash
Lamps – eyes
Lever – lever-watch
Mug – idiot
His number’s up – he’s finished
Napper – head
Nipper – child
Off your rocker - mad
Prig – thief
Put someone’s lights out – kill them
Ready – ready money, money
Quiff – dodge, trick, ploy
Raws – bare fists
Razzo – nose, esp. a red nose
Row – fight
Do a scoot – flee; do a runner
Shut your head! – shut up
Slavey – (female) servant, maid of all work
Slop - policeman
Snide coin – counterfeit; planting snide coin
Snuff (someone) – kill, harm
Split – informer/detective/policeman
Sticker – knife
Step short – hurry up
Swag – ill-gotten gains
Swank – behave ostentatiously, swagger
Tea-leafing – petty opportune theft
Throttle – throat
Ticker – watch
Trotter cases – boots
Wet – beer/drink
Wobbler - egg


  1. "Ticker" also means heart for obvious reasons.

    "Do him in" also means to murder someone

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