There was a published dictionary by a lexicographer that comprised of only vulgar words.

Warning: The article you’re about to read contain some awkward vocabulary that could be confusing. Reader discretion is advised.

Hey there! We have something for your knowledge box. You’re ready? When was the last time you had some cackling farts, or had some diddle? Did you feel a hickey, or had a chimping merry from your bone box? How often do you clean your head rails? Hmmm! You’re bet-wattled, right? Dear friends, it seems today The Factionary took you guys to a whole new (actually old) level of vocabulary. The words being used in this article are “vulgar.” Sorry! Let’s introduce you to Francis Grose, the brother of the quill of a dictionary that had only vulgar words. That’s Grose (pun intended).


Related media: Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue


Once Upon A Lexicographer

Before we explain the words we aforementioned, let’s take a short crash course about the man behind the vulgar dictionary. Francis Grose was an 18th century English antiquary and lexicographer who composed the infamous ‘A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ in 1785. Born in London to his Swiss immigrant parents in 1731, he was one of the first lexicographers to collect vulgar words from all parts of society — which was stereotypically seen as language for vagabonds and bandits.

Francis Grose

His antique masterpiece was described by Max Décharné in Vulgar Tongues,’ as “a declaration in favor of free speech, and a gauntlet thrown down against official censorship, moralists and the easily offended.”

There are several of these vulgar words, also known as slang, in use today. His compilations is what you know as “idioms” — to screw means to copulate; to kick the bucket means to die. Most of these expressions would have been extinct had he not compiled such a dictionary. Kudos, Grose.



The Classic Vulgar Dictionary

In our prolog, we used quite a number of slangs that you probably had no idea of. The paragraph had the phrase knowledge box, which meant your ‘head’ or ‘brain,’ cackling farts meant ‘eggs,’ diddle is ‘liquor,’ whereas hickey is to get ‘tipsy,’ chimping merry means ‘exhilarated with liquor,’ and bone box is (you guessed it) your ‘mouth.’ You now get it! But come on, this isn’t even the hilarious ones. Head rails means your ‘teeth,” and finally, betwattled means ‘to be surprised.’ And we’re sure we did just that to you. This is The Factionary, y’all.

There are even more obscure phrases that include a butcher’s dog, which means to ‘lie by the beef without touching it,’ to box the Jesuit means to ‘masturbate,’ (this was a common practiced by most priests. Hmmm?) To polish means to ‘be in jail.’ This sentence, “polishing the king’s iron with one’s eyebrows, by looking through the iron grated windows,” means to be put in jail while you hold on the bars. Crazy, huh? Grose’s dictionary also contained a ton of “insults,” like bottle-headed, meaning ‘void of wit,’ something you can’t say about its author.

It also included a whole range of mundane slangs like as sheepish for ‘bashful,’ carrots means a ‘red hair,’ and sweet means an ‘expert, dexterous, clever.’ The dictionary was published in an era where liquor was an enormously popular drink, its no surprise Grose compiled epithets for liquor like: blue ruin, cobblers punch, crank, diddle, frog’s wine, heart’s ease, lightening, moonshine, and strip me naked. Grose recorded plenty of rude words from the period, too, such as bum fodder for ‘toilet paper,’ and double jugg for a ‘man’s bottom.’

A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (Classic Reprint): Grose,  Francis: 9780282586232: Amazon.com: Books
A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue


Caution: Vulgar Alert!

Here’s our own selection of vulgar words from Grose’s vulgar dictionary:

Betwattled — to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses

Blind cupid — the backside

Bone box — the mouth

Brother of the quill — an author

Cackling farts — eggs

Captain queernabs — shabby ill-dressed fellow

Chimping merry — exhilarated with liquor

Comfortable importance — a wife

Dicked in the nob — silly, crazed

Dog booby — an awkward lout

Duke of limbs — a tall, awkward, ill-made fellow

Eternity box — a coffin

Head rails — teeth

Hickey — tipsy, hiccupping

Irish apricots — potatoes

Jolly nob — the head. “I’ll lump your jolly nob for you”: I’ll give you a knock on the head.

Knowledge box — another term for the head.

Kittle pitchering — to disrupt the flow of a “troublesome teller of long stories” by constantly questioning and contradicting unimportant details, especially at the start (best done in tandem with others)

Knight of the trenches — a great eater

Just-ass — a punning name for a justice [judge]

Paw paw tricks — forbidden tricks; from the French pas pas

Penny wise and pound foolish — saving in small matters, and extravagant in great

Sugar stick — the virile member

Tallywags / Whirligigs — testicles

Whipt Syllabub — a flimsy, frothy discourse

Whipster — a sharp or subtle fellow

Have you ever or any one used any of these slangs?


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Fri, Sep 06, 2019.

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