The Slang Guide to London: Tyburn

Death-sweats, Paddington spectacles and gallows humour this week, as Jonathon Green continues his slang tour of London with a trip to Tyburn... It is an old place. A crossroads where as we know wicked deeds assemble. It had a marker: Oswulf’s stone, seemingly pre-Roman and which may have been the meeting-place ... Read More...

The Slang Guide to London: St Giles

Jonathon Green continues his eye-popping slang tour of London with a look at St Giles, once described as offering ‘the lowest conditions under which human life is possible’... The first time I saw the flaming mot, Was at the sign of the Porter Pot. I called for some purl, and we had it ... Read More...

The Fighting Loamshires

Mr Slang raises a fourth glass of port to the famous Loamshire regiment, heroes of innumerable imaginary battles... ‘All that remains is the orderly –sergeant’s voice reading orders to the new blood in the quiet summer evening in sleepy Loamshire, with its laughing English fields and gay hedgerows spread about the ... Read More...

Oi veh! – Mr Slang’s Guide to Yiddish

‘Adam gave names to all created things; his Yiddish-speaking descendants offer critiques' - here's Jonathon Green's guide to the Jewish language of the put-down... Yiddish, sometimes known as Jüdisch -Deutsch (Jewish-German)  is the dialect of German spoken by the German or Ashkenazi (Hebrew: ‘German’, i.e. European) Jews. It has been recorded ... Read More...

Bourne

In today's poetry feature, Stephen finds peace at the journey's end... I first encountered the word "bourne" in the title of a poem by Christina Rossetti.  I had no idea what it meant, but I immediately felt that it was a lovely word.  There was something about the look and the ... Read More...

Twelve hundred words for Drunk

Happy New Year from all the Dabblers. To get you in the mood for tonight's celebrations, here's Mr Slang's very first dabble from the archives, all about being drunk... If I do a rough count of the main themes that inform my recently published Green’s Dictionary of Slang, I find – ... Read More...

Tok Pisin

Erudite 'bun nating' Nige introduces the inventive pidgin language of Tok Pisin... Tok Pisin is a form of Pidgin English and is widely spoken in Papua New Guinea. It developed as a result of Pacific Islanders intermixing, when people speaking numerous different languages were sent to work on plantations in Queensland and ... Read More...

The Lexicography of Erotica

Continuing last fortnight's theme, Mr Slang examines the lexicography of 'specialist' book titles, and uncovers a "grim commentary on the tropes of male excitement..." This is it, I promise. The last one. But pondering the verbose titles of the 19th century pornography, I could but compare them with modernity, or nearly ... Read More...