Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Thieves' cant

Thieves' cant or Rogues' cant was a secret language (a cant or cryptolect) which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in Great Britain and to a lesser extent in other English-speaking countries.

The classic, colourful argot is now mostly obsolete, and is largely relegated to the realm of literature and fantasy role-playing, although individual terms continue to be used in the criminal subcultures of both Britain and the U.S.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thieves%27_cant

See also the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence) by Francis Grose, ay the Project Gutenberg online digital library, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5402

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