A New and Comprehensive

Vocabulary of the Flash Language


a pocket
To sack any thing is to pocket it.
the condemned cells in newgate are so called
the outside coat-pocket , with a flap
moist sugar


the game of highway robbery
To scamp a person is to rob him on the highway.
Done for a scamp signifies convicted of a highway robbery.
scamp ~ scampsman
a highwayman
a party of persons met together for the purpose of gambling
the term has survived in aussie english
a person of an irritable temper
One who is easily put in a passion, which is often done by the company he is with, to create fun.
Such a one is declared to be a fine scot.
This diversion is called getting him out or getting him round the corner. Derived from these terms being used by bull-hankers, with whom a scot is a bullock of a particular breed which affords superior diversion when hunted.
fiery , irritable , easily provoked
a watchman
a watch-house
the gallows
a bank-note
a letter , or writing paper
a skeleton or false key
To screw a place is to enter it by false keys; this game is called the screw. Any robbery effected by such means is termed a screw.
a thief who goes out a-screwing
scurf ’d
taken in custody


poor , ragged in appearance , shabby
to betray a man
By giving information against him, or otherwise to injure him clandestinely for the sake of interest. Nearly the same as bridgeing him. A man who falls a victim to any treachery of this kind is said to have been Sold like a bullock in Smithfield
to rob a person or place
As in: I servʼd him for his thimble meaning ‘ I rob’d him of his watch’.That crib has been served before meaning ‘ That shop has been already robbed’, etc. To serve a man also sometimes signifies to maim, wound or do him some bodily hurt; and to serve him out and out is to kill him.


to steal or rob
As in:I shook a chest of slop meaning ‘ I stole a chest of tea’.
I’ve been shook of my skin meaning ‘ I have been robbed of my purse’.
A thief, whose pall has been into any place for the purpose of robbery, will say on his coming out,Well, is it all right, have you shook? meaning ‘ Did you succeed in getting any thing?’ When two persons rob in company it is generally the province or part of one to shake, that is to obtain the swagg and the other to carry, that is to bear it to a place of safety.
a hat
counterfeit money in general
sharp ∼ sharper
1 a gambler
A person professed in all the arts of play.
2 a cheat or swindler
3 any cross-cove in general
In opposition to a flat or square-cove; but this is only in a comparative sense in the course of conversation.
swindling and cheating
In all their various forms, including the arts of fraud at play.
an alarm or intimation
Given by a thief to his pall signifying that there is a down or that some one is approaching and that he had therefore, better desist from what he is about.
a looking-glass
synonymous with rock'd
the practice of robbing houses or shops
By boring a hole in the window shutter and taking out a pane of glass.
robbery by yourself without a pall
Sir Sydney
a clasp knife
1 a purse or money bag
2 to strip a man of all his money at play
Termed skinning him.


1 a watch chain , a chain of any kind

2 a warrant , license to travel , or other official instrument

3to defraud a person of any part of his due
Called slanging him.
4 to cheat by false weights or measures
Or other unfair means.
slang weights
unjust , or defective ones
Also called slang measures.
A man who suspects that he has been curtailed or cheated of any portion of his just right will say: There has been slanging-dues concerned.
Or chains of any kind used about prisoners; body-slangs are body-irons used on some occasions.
a servant of either sex
the slash pocket in the skirt of a coat behind
a tea-spoon
to lock , secure , or fasten
To slour up is also to button up; as one’s coat, pocket, etc.
slourd ~ slourd up
locked , fastened , buttoned , etc
1 a room
2 see racket and lodging-slum
any business transacted or intimation given privately or under the rose
Is said to be done upon the sly.


a man or woman who follows the game of smashing
uttering counterfeit money
Smashing of queer screens signifies uttering forged bank notes. To smash a guinea, note or other money is, in a common sense, to procure or give change for it.
a shirt
a copper boiler or furnace
1 the practice of robbing houses or shops
By slipping in unperceived and taking whatever may lay most convenient. This is commonly the first branch of thieving in which young boys are initiated, who from their size and activity appear well adapted for it. To sneak a place is to rob it upon the sneak. A sneak is also the term for a robbery effected in the above manner
2 an act of stealth
One or more prisoners having escaped from their confinement by stealth, without using any violence or alarming their keepers are said to have sneakʼdʼem or given it to ʼem upon the sneak.See rush for more information.
a man or boy who goes upon the sneak
sneezer ~ sneezing-cofer
a snuff-box
to impeach , or betray your accomplices
Termed snitching upon them. A person who becomes kingʼs evidence on such an occasion is said to have turned snitch. An informer or talebearer in general is called a snitch or a snitching rascal in which sense it is synonymous with nosing or coming it.
synonymous with bender
Used in the same manner.
clean linen from the washerwomans hands
Whether it be wet or dry.
to sleep
Sometimes means a lodging, as in: Where can I get a snooze for this darky? instead of saying a bed.
throwing snuff in the eyes of a shopkeeper
Effected by going into a shop on some pretence, watching an opportunity to throw a handful of snuff in the eyes of the shopkeeper and then running off with any valuable article you can lay hands on. Called snuffing him or giving it to him upon the snuff racket.


see sell
to aquire any particulars , facts , etc
To sound a person means generally to draw from him, in an artful manner, any particulars you want to be acquainted with. As, to sound a kid, porter, etc, is to pump out of him the purport of his errand, the contents of his bundle, or load, etc, that your pall may know how to accost him, in order to draw the swag. To sound a cly is to touch a person's pocket gently on the outside in order to ascertain the nature of its contents.


a seven-shilling piece
to break a pane of glass
To spank a glaze is to to break a pane of glass in a shop window and make a sudden snatch at some article of value within your reach, having previously tied the shop-door with a strong cord on the outside so as to prevent the shopman from getting out till you have had full time to escape with your booty. To spank a place is to rob it upon the spank , whilst a spank is a robbery effected by the above means.
committing any robbery
If it has been productive you are said to have made a rum speak.
speak to
to rob a person or place
To speak to any article is to steal it; for example: I spoke to the cove for his montra meaning ‘ I robbʼd the gentleman of his watch’.I spoke to that crib for all the wedge meaning‘ I robb’d that house of all the plate’.I spoke to a chest of slop meaning
‘ I stole a chest of tea’.
A thief will say to his pall who has been attempting any robbery: Well, did you speak? or Have you spoke? meaning ‘ Did you get any thing?’
the play-house
the game of footpad robbery
Describing an exploit of this nature a rogue will say:I spiced a swell of so much , naming the booty obtained.A spice is a footpad robbery.
spice gloak
a footpad robber
spin a yarn
see yarn
split ~ turn split
synonymous with nosing , snitching , or turning nose
To split signifies generally to tell of any thing you hear or see transacted.
spoil it
to throw some obstacle in the way of any project or undertaking so as to cause its failure
In like manner, to prevent another person from succeeding in his object, either by a wilful obstruction, or by some act of imprudence on your part, subjects you to the charge of having spoiled him. Speaking of some particular species of fraud or robbery, which after a long series of success is now become stale or impracticable from the public being guarded against it, the family will say that game is spoiled at last. So having attempted the robbery of any particular house or shop, and by miscarrying caused such an alarm as to render a second attempt dangerous or impolitic, they will say,That place is spoil’d , it is useless to try it on any more’.
spoke to
alluding to any person or place that has been already robbed
They say
That place or person, has been spoke to before.
A family man on discovering that he has been robbed, will exclaim
I have been spoke to
and perhaps will add for such a thing, naming what he has lost.
Spoke to upon the screw, crack, sneak, hoist, buz , etc, etc means robbed upon either of those particular suits or games. Upon any great misfortune befalling a man, as being apprehended on a very serious charge, receiving a wound supposed to be mortal, etc, his friends will say, poor fellow, I believe he’s spoke to meaning it is all over with him.
foolish , half-witted , nonsensical
A man who has been drinking till he becomes disgusting by his very ridiculous behaviour is said to be spoony drunk and from hence it is usual to call a very prating shallow fellow a rank spoon.
to pledge any property at a pawnbrokers
Termed spouting it or shoving it up the spout.
spring the plant
see plant


all fair , upright , and honest practices
Called the square , in opposition to the cross. 1 Any thing you have bought or acquired honestly is termed a square article and any transaction which is fairly and equitably conducted is said to be a square concern. 2 A tradesman or other person who is considered by the world to be an honest man, and who is unacquainted with family people and their system of operations, is by the latter emphatically styled a square cove 3 Whereas an old thief who has acquired an independence and now confines himself to square practices and is still called by his old palls a Flash cove who has tyed up prigging.See cross and flat for more information 4 In making a bargain or contract any overture considered to be really fair and reasonable is declared to be a square thing or to be upon the square. 5 To be upon the square with any person is to have mutually settled all accompts between you both up to that moment. 6To threaten another that you will be upon the square with him some time signifies that you'll be even with him for some supposed injury, etc.
see square
a respectable house of good repute
Whose inmates, their mode of life and connexions are all perfectly
on the square.
See cross-crib for more information
the neck


stag ~ turn stag
1 formerly synonymous with turning nose
Or snitching, but the phrase is now exploded.
2 to stag any object or person
Is to look at, observe, or take notice of them.
a man in pecuniary distress
Is said to be at Staines or at the Bush alluding to the Bush Inn at that town.
See bush’d.
a booty acquired by robbery or a sum of money won at play
And if considerable, a prime stake or a heavy stake. A person alluding to any thing difficult to be procured or which he obtains as a great favour, and is therefore comparatively invaluable would say, ‘I consider it a stake to get it at all’. A valuable or acceptable acquisition of any kind is emphatically called a stake, meaning a great prize.
a violent pressure in a crowd
Made by pick-pockets for the more easily effecting their depredatory purposes; this is called Making a rum stall in the push.
stall off
generally it means a pretence , excuse , or prevarication
A term variously applied. 1 As a person charged with any fault, entering into some plausible story to excuse himself, his hearers or accusers would say,
O yes, that’s a good stall off or Aye, aye, stall it off that way if you can.
2 To extricate a person from any dilemma or save him from disgrace is called stalling him off. As an accomplice of your’s being detected in a robbery, etc and about to be given up to justice, you will step up as a stranger, interfere in his behalf, and either by vouching for his innocence, recommending lenity or some other artifice, persuade his accusers to forego their intention and let the prisoner escape.
You will then boast of having stalled him off in prime twig.
3 To avoid or escape any impending evil or punishment by means of artifice, submission, bribe, or otherwise, is also called stalling it off. 4 A man walking the streets and passing a particular shop or encountering a certain person, which or whom he has reasons for wishing to avoid, will say to any friend who may be with him,
I wish you’d stall me off from that crib, or from that cove, as the case may be.
Meaning, walk in such a way as to cover or obscure me from notice, until we are past the shop or person in question.
stall up
to surround a person in a crowd to pick his pocket
A term used by pickpockets, to stall a person up is to surround him in a crowd, or violent pressure, and even sometimes in the open street, while walking along, and by violence force his arms up, and keep them in that position while others of the gang rifle his pockets at pleasure, the cove being unable to help or defend himself.

This is what the newspapers denominate “ hustling” and is universally practised at the doors of public theatres, at boxing matches, ship-launches, and other places where the general anxiety of all ranks, either to push forward or to obtain a view of the scene before them, forms a pretext for jostling and every other advantage which the strength or numbers of one party gives them over a weaker one or a single person.

It is not unusual for the buz-coves on particular occasions, to procure a formidable squad of stout fellows of the lower class who, though not expert at knuckling render essential service by violently pushing and squeezing in the crowd.

In the confusion excited by this conduct, the unconcerned prigs reap a plentiful harvest and the stallers up are gratified with such part of the gains acquired as the liberality of the knuckling gentlemen may prompt them to bestow.

This coup de guêrre is termed making a regular stall at such a place, naming the scene of their operations.
stand the patter
see patterd
cutting a pane of glass in a shop-window
This is a game chiefly practised by young boys often under ten years of age, although the offence is capital. It consists of cutting the glass by a peculiar operation called starring the glaze which is performed very effectually by a common penknife. The depredators then take out such articles of value as lie within reach of their arm, which if they are not interrupted, sometimes includes half the contents of the window.A person convicted of this offence is said to have been done for a star.
see pitcher
put an end to , relinquish , quash , desist or leave off
To stash any practice, habit, or proceeding signifies to put an end to, relinquish or quash the same.
Thus, a thief determined to leave off his vicious courses will declare that he means to stash (or stow) prigging.
A man in custody for felony will endeavour by offering money or other means, to induce his prosecutor’s forbearance and compromise the matter, so as to obtain his liberation.
This is called stashing the business. To stash drinking, stash card-playing or any other employment you may be engaged in for the time present signifies to: stow it , knife it , cheese it or cut it which are all synonymous.See wanted for more information.
stash it
see stow it
Which has the same meaning.
a resolute faithful associate
One in whom one may place implicit confidence is said by his palls to be a staunch cove.
a tobacco-pipe
a pistol
household furniture
to rob or defraud a person or place
Called stinging them, as in That cove is too fly; he has been stung before , meaning‘That man is upon his guard; he has already been trick'd’
any robbery of moment which causes much alarm
Or of which much is said in the daily papers, the family people will say, There is a great stink about it!See wanted for more information.
stone jug ~ stone pitcher
see pitcher
the pillory
To be stoopd is to be set on the pillory.
stooping match
the exhibition of one or more persons on the pillory
See push for more information.
same as stash
To stow any business, employment, or mode of life is the same as to stash it, etc.
stow ~ stow it , stow faking
an intimation from a thief to his pall
To desist from what he is about on the occasion of some alarm, etc.
See awake for more information.
stow ~ stow-manging
an intimation from one flash cove to another in a mixed company to be silent
Or drop the subject he was upon.
See mang for more information.
stow that
an invocation from one flash cove to another to recant an assertation
When a person advances any assertion which his auditor believes to be false, or spoken in jest, or wishes the former to recant, the latter will say, Stow that , if you please! or Cheese that! meaning – 
‘Don’t say so’ or ‘That’s out of the question’.
a yard of linen , etc
Five or ten stretch signifies five or ten yards, etc; so in dealing for any article, as linen, etc, I will give you three hog a stretch meaning – 
‘I’ll give three shillings a yard’.
see line
the hair of the head
To get your strummel faked in twig is to have your hair dressed in style.


in general , synonymous with game
As in What suit did you give it to ʼem upon? meaning – ‘In what manner did you rob them?’ or
‘Upon what pretence, etc did you defraud them?’
1One species of imposition is said to be a prime suit another a queer suit. A man describing the pretext he used to obtain money from another, would say – 
I draw’d him of a quid upon the suit of so and so
naming the ground of his application.
See draw for more information. 2A person having engaged with another on very advantageous terms to serve or work for him will declare that he is upon a good suit. 3To use great submission and respect in asking any favour of another is called giving it to him upon the humble suit.


a bundle , parcel , or package
1 As in a swag of snow , etc. 2 The swag is a term used in speaking of any booty you have lately obtained, be it of what kind it may except money, as in –  Where did you lumber the swag? that is ‘Where did you deposit the stolen property?’3 To carry the swag is to be the bearer of the stolen goods to a place of safety.4 A swag of any thing signifies emphatically a great deal. 5 To have knap’d a good swag is to have got a good booty.

Wearing-apparel, linen, piece-goods, etc, are all comprehended under the name of swag when describing any speak lately made, etc, in order to distinguish them from plate, jewellery, or other more portable articles.

aussie english
a gentleman
But any well-dressed person is emphatically termed a swell or a rank swell. 1 A family man who appears to have plenty of money, and makes a genteel figure is said by his associates to be in swell street. 2 Any thing remarkable for its beauty or elegance, is called a swell article.So a swell crib is a genteel house.A swell mollisher is an elegantly-dressed woman, etc.3 Sometimes in alluding to a particular gentleman whose name is not requisite he is styled the swell, meaning the person who is the object of your discourse or attention. Whether he is called the swell, the cove, or the gory is immaterial, as in the following (in addition to many other) examples:

I was turned up at China-street, because the swell would not appear.

Meaning, of course, the prosecutor.Again, speaking of a person whom you were on the point of robbing, but who has taken the alarm, and is therefore on his guard, you will say to your pall,

It's of no use, the cove is as down as a hammer.

We may as well stow it, the gory's leary.

See cove and down.
a guard-ship , or tender
A thief who escapes prosecution when before a magistrate on condition of being sent on board the receiving-ship to serve His Majesty is said by his palls to be swimmered.
swoddy ~ swod-gill
a soldier