A New and Comprehensive

Vocabulary of the Flash Language


back jump
a back window.
back slang
to enter or come out of a house by the back-door
Or to go a circuitous or private way through the streets, in order to avoid any particular place in the direct road, is termed back‑slanging it
back slum
a back room
Also the back entrance to any house or premises. Thus, We'll give it 'em on the back‑slum, means
We'll get in at the back‑door.
bad halfpenny
unsuccessful or impracticable
When a man has been upon any errand, or attempting any object which has proved unsuccessful or impracticable, he will say on his return:
It's a bad halfpenny!
He has returned as he went.
To wear the bands is to be hungry, or short of food for any length of time; a phrase chiefly used on board the hulks, or in jails.
bang up
anything superlative
A person, whose dress or equipage is in the first style of perfection, is declared to be bang up to the mark. A man who has behaved with extraordinary spirit and resolution in any enterprise he has been engaged in is also said to have: Come bang up to the mark. Any article which is remarkably good or elegant, or any fashion, act, or measure which is carried to the highest pitch is likewise illustrated by the same emphatical phrase.
barking irons
an obsolete term
to beat any person by way of correction
Especially the woman you live with.
a cant name for the house of correction
Generally called, for shortness the Steel.
Located in Cold-Bath-Fields, London.


a magistrate
The late Sir John Fielding, of police memory, was known among family people by the title of “the blind beak”.
a guinea
stop thief!
To beef a person is to raise a hue and cry after him, in order to get him stopped.
a man transported for his natural life
See wind for more information.
1 a sixpence
2 an ironical word
Used in conversation by flash people; as where one party affirms or professes any thing which the other believes to be false or insincere, the latter expresses his incredulity by exclaiming bender!Or if one asks another to do any act which the latter considers unreasonable or impracticable, he replies, O yes, I'll do it — bender!Meaning, by the addition of the last word, that in fact he will do no such thing.
to live by dishonest or fraudulent practices
To get your money at the best, signifies to live by dishonest or fraudulent practices, without labour or industry, according to the general acceptation of the latter word.But certainly, no persons have more occasion to be industrious, and in a state of perpetual action than cross-coves, and experience has proved, when too late to many of them, that honesty is the best policyAnd consequently, that the above phrase is by no means à‑propos.
a type of picklock
To unbetty or betty a lock is to open or relock it so as to avoid subsequent detection.


billiard slum
to obtain goods on credit which you never mean to pay for
The mace is sometimes called giving it to 'em on the billiard slum.
obliterating identifying marks on stolen goods
See christen.
money in general
bit faker
a coiner
See fake.
bit faking
coining base money


black diamonds
bloody jemmy
a sheep's head
blow the gaff
disclose secrets
A person having any secret in his possession, or a knowledge of any thing injurious to another, when at last induced from revenge, or other motive, to tell it openly to the world and expose him publicly, is then said to have blown the gaff upon him.
a prostitute
A woman who cohabits with a man without marriage.
blue pigeon
blue pigeon flying
the practice of stealing lead
From houses, churches, or other buildings. Very prevalent in London and its vicinity.


bob ~ bobstick
a shilling
body slangs
chains of any kind used about prisoners
See slangs
a stealer of dead bodies
From churchyards, which are sold to the surgeons and students in anatomy.
1 to run away from or leave any place suddenly
A thief, observing an alarm while attempting a robbery, will exclaim to his accomplice: Bolt, there's a down!
2 a sudden escape
Involving one or more prisoners from a place of confinement.
a fanciful variation of bolt
Very common among flash persons, there being in London a famous inn so called. It is customary when a man has run away from his lodgings, broke out of a jail, or made any other sudden movement to say:He's gone to the bolt in tun instead of simply saying "He has bolted".
taken in custody, apprehended
Tell us how you was boned signifies "tell us the story of your apprehension".A common request among fellow-prisoners in a jail, etc which is readily complied with in general, and the various circumstances therein related afford present amusement, and also useful hints for regulating their future operations, so as to avoid the like misfortune.
a concealment , pretext , or pretence
An ostensible manner of accounting for what you really mean to conceal; as a man who actually lives by depredation will still outwardly follow some honest employment, as a clerk, porter, newsman, etc.By this system of policy, he is said to have a good bonnet if he happens to get boned, and in a doubtful case is commonly discharged on the score of having a good character. To bonnet for a person is to corroborate any assertion he has made, or to relate facts in the most favourable light, in order to extricate him from a dilemma or to further any object he has in view.
1 to bully , threaten , talk loud , or affect great consequence
To bounce a person out of any thing, is to use threatening or high words, in order to intimidate him, and attain the object you are intent uponOr to obtain goods of a tradesman by assuming the appearance of great respectability and importance, so as to remove any suspicion he might at first entertain. A thief, detected in the commission of a robbery, has been known by this sort of finesse, aided by a genteel appearance and polite manners, to persuade his accusers of his innocence, and not only to get off with a good grace, but induce them to apologize for their supposed mistake and the affront put upon him.This masterstroke of effrontery is called:
Giving it to 'em upon the bounce.
2 a person well or fashionably drest
Is said to be a rank bounce.
bowled out
1 a convicted thief
A man who has followed the profession of thieving for some time, when he is ultimately taken, tried, and convicted, is said to be Bowled out at last.
2 to be detected
To bowl a person out, in a general sense, means to detect him in the commission of any fraud or peculation which he has hitherto practised without discovery.


brace up
to dispose of stolen goods
By pledging them for the utmost you can get at a pawnbroker.
Also money in general.
breaking up of the spell
the nightly termination of performance at the theatres royal
Which is regularly attended by pickpockets of the lower order, who exercise their vocation about the doors and avenues leading thereto, until the house is emptied and the crowd dispersed.
flush of money
1 to deceive
To bridge a person, or throw him over the bridge, is, in a general sense, to deceive him by betraying the confidence he has reposed in you, and instead of serving him faithfully, to involve him in ruin or disgrace
2 a collusion
Three men being concerned alike in any transaction, two of them will form a collusion to bridge the third, and engross to themselves all the advantage which may eventually accrue.
3 superior art or perseverance
Two persons having been engaged in a long and doubtful contest or rivalship, he, who by superior art or perseverance gains the point, is said to have thrown his opponent over the bridge.
4 wilfully losing
Among gamblers, it means deceiving the person who had back'd you, by wilfully losing the game; the money so lost by him being shared between yourself and your confederates who had laid against you.
Also termed playing booty.
See play a-cross.
5 play into an opponents hand
In playing three-handed games, two of the party will play into each other's hands, so that the third must inevitably be thrown over the bridge, commonly called two poll one.
A person expert at which is said to be a good broad-player.
hired to bail a prisoner
See queer bail.
browns and whistlers
bad halfpence and farthings
A term used by coiners.


a low expression signifying drink
to bucket a person is synonymous with putting him in the well
Such treatment is said to be a bucketting concern.
Synonymous with garden.
to swear to the identity of a person or thing
Swearing very positively to any circumstance is called buffing it home.
a dog
bug ~ bug over
to give , deliver , or hand over
He bug'd me a quid meaning ‘He gave me a guinea’
Bug over the rag meaning ‘Hand over the money’
a crown or five shillings
bull dog
a sugar loaf
bull hankers
bull baiting , or bullock hunting
Games which afford much amusement, and at the same time frequent opportunities of depredation, in the confusion and alarm excited by the enraged animal.
bum charter
bread steeped in hot water
A name given by the first unfortunate inhabitants of the English Bastile.This miserable fare was their daily breakfast, each man receiving with his scanty portion of bread, a quart of boil'd water from the cook's coppers!
bum trap
a sheriff's officer or his follower
a prostitute or common woman
poor; without money
bushy park
the residence of the poor
A man who is poor is said to be at bushy park, or in the park.
1 a cant term for money
2 any object effected very suddenly , or in a hurry
Is said to be done upon the bustle.
3 borrowing money etc by some sudden story or pretence
To give it to a man upon the bustle, is to obtain any point, and affecting great haste, so that he is taken by surprise, and becomes duped before he has time to consider of the matter.
pick a persons pocket
The buz is the game of picking pockets in general.
buz-cove ~ buz-gloak
a pickpocket
A person who is clever at this practice is said to be a good buz.