Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang D

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms

“D” Words

DAB. An adept; a dab at any feat or exercise.

DAGGERS. They are at daggers drawing; i.e. at enmity, ready to fight.

DAISY CUTTER. A jockey term for a horse that does not lift up his legs sufficiently, or goes too near the ground, and is therefore apt to stumble.

DAISY KICKERS. Ostlers at great inns.

DAMBER. A rascal.

DAMME BOY. A roaring, mad, blustering fellow, a scourer of the streets, or kicker up of a breeze.

DAMPER. A luncheon, or snack before dinner to damp, or allay the appetite.

DANDY. A overly fastitidious gentemen or one who is overly concerned with his appearance.

DANDY PRAT. An insignificant or trifling fellow.

DANGLE AFTER. To follow a woman without asking the question or coming up to scratch with a proposal.

DANGLER. One who follows women in general, without any particular attachment.

DAPPER FELLOW. A smart, well-made, little man.

DARBY. Ready money.

DARK CULLY. A married man that keeps a mistress, whom he visits only at night, for fear of discovery.

DARKMANS. The night.

DARKMAN’S BUDGE. One that slides into a house in the dark of the evening, and hides himself, in order to let some of the gang in at night to rob it.

DART. A straight-armed blow in boxing.

DASH. To cut a dash: to make a dashing or admirable figure.

DAWB. To bribe.

DAY LIGHTS. Eyes. To darken his day lights, or sow up his sees; to close up a man’s eyes in boxing.

DEAD BORE. A tedious, troublesome man or woman, one who bores the ears of his hearers with an uninteresting tale.

DEAD CARGO. A term used by thieves, when they are disappointed in the value of their booty.

DEAD HORSE. To work for the dead horse; to work for wages already paid.

DEAD MEN. A drunkards term for empty bottles.


DEEP-ONE. A thorough-paced rogue, a sly designing fellow: in opposition to a shallow or foolish one.

DEFT FELLOW. A neat little man.

DELLS. Young buxom wenches, ripe and prone to venery, but who have not lost their virginity.

DELOPE. To deliberately fire a pistol into the air during a duel of honor. Usually taken as an admission of guilt.

DEMI-MONDE. Referring to professional mistresses or prostitutes as a group or class.

DEMI-REP. An abbreviation of demy-reputation; a woman of doubtful character.

DESHABILLE. A lady in her dressing gown.


DEVIL’S DANCE. Gambling.

DEVIL’S DAUGHTER. It is said of one who has a termagant for his wife, that he has married the Devil’s daughter, and lives with the old folks.

DEVILISH. Very: an epithet which in the English vulgar language is made to agree with every quality or thing; as, devilish bad, devilish good; devilish sick, devilish well; devilish sweet, devilish sour; devilish hot, devilish cold.

DIAMOND OF THE FIRST WATER. A beautiful woman. One who has, more often than not more than just beauty to recommend her.

DICKED IN THE NOB. Silly. Crazed.

DIDDLE. To cheat. To defraud.

DIDDEYS. A woman’s breasts or bubbies.


DIMBER. Pretty. A dimber cove; a pretty fellow. Dimber mort; a pretty wench.

DIMBER DAMBER. A top man, or prince, among thieves, the chief rogue or most accomplished memer of a gang of theives.

DING. To throw away or hide: thus a highwayman who throws away or hides any thing with which he robbed, to prevent being known or detected, is, in the canting lingo, styled a Dinger.

DING BOY. A rogue, a hector, a bully, or sharper.

DING DONG. Helter skelter, in a hasty disorderly manner.

DIPT. Pawned or mortgaged.


DISHED UP. He is completely dished up; he is totally ruined.

DISHCLOUT. A dirty, greasy woman.

DITTO. A suit of ditto; coat, waistcoat, and breeches, all of one colour.

DISPATCHERS. Loaded or false dice.

DIVE. To dive; to pick a pocket.

DIVER. A pickpocket.

DIVIDE. To divide the house with one’s wife; to give her the outside, and to keep all the inside to one’s self, i.e. to turn her into the street.

DO. To do any one; to rob and cheat him.

DOCTOR. Milk and water, with a little rum, and some nutmeg; also the name of a composition used by distillers, to make spirits appear stronger than they really are, or, in their phrase, better proof.

DOCTORS. Loaded dice, that will run but two or three chances. They put the doctors upon him; they cheated him with loaded dice.

DOG. An old dog at it; expert or accustomed to any thing.

DOG’S PORTION. One who is a distant admirer or dangler after women.

DOLL. Bartholomew doll; a tawdry, over-dressed woman, like one of the children’s dolls at Bartholomew fair.

DONE, or DONE OVER. Robbed: also, convicted or hanged.

DONE UP. Ruined by gaming and extravagances.

DOUBLE. To tip any one the double; to run away in his or her debt.

DOWAGER. The widow of a peer whose heir is married and carries the current title.

DOWD. A plain or unattractive woman.

DOWDY. A coarse, vulgar-looking woman.

DOWN HILLS. False dice that run low.

DOXEY. A slattern or low woman.

DOXIES. She beggars, wenches, prostitutes.

DRAB. A nasty, sluttish prostitute.

DRAM. A glass or small measure of any spirituous liquors, which, being originally sold by apothecaries, were estimated by drams, ounces.

DRAM-A-TICK. A dram served upon credit.

DRAPER. An ale draper; an alehouse keeper.

DRAUGHT. A serving of ale or drink.

DRAWING ROOM. A parlour in a large home where guests were entertained.

DRAW LATCHES. Robbers of houses whose doors are only fastened with latches.

DROMEDARY. A heavy, bungling thief or rogue. A purple dromedary; a bungler in the art and mystery of thieving.

DROP A COG. To let fall, with design, a piece of gold or silver, in order to draw in and cheat the person who sees it picked up; the piece so dropped is called a dropt cog.

DROP IN THE EYE. Almost drunk.

DROP COVES. Persons who practice the fraud of dropping a ring or other article, and picking it up before the person intended to be defrauded, they pretend that the thing is very valuable to induce their gull to lend them money, or to purchase the article.

DRUB. To beat any one with a stick, or rope’s end.

DRUMMER. A jockey term for a horse that throws about his fore legs irregularly: the idea is taken from a kettle drummer, who in beating makes many flourishes with his drumsticks.

DRURY LANE AGUE. The venereal disorder.

DRURY LANE VESTAL. A woman of the town, or prostitute. Drury-lane and its environs were formerly the residence of many of those ladies.

DRY BOOTS. A sly humorous fellow.

DUB. A picklock, or master-key.

DUB LAY. Robbing houses by picking the locks.

DUB THE JIGGER. Open the door.

DUBBER. A picker of locks.

DUCE. Two-pence.

DUCK. A lame duck; an Exchange-alley phrase for a stock-jobber, who either cannot or will not pay his losses, or, differences.

DUCKS AND DRAKES. To make ducks and drakes: a school-boy’s amusement, practised with pieces of tile, oyster-shells, or flattish stones, which being skimmed along the surface of a pond, or still river, rebound many times. I.E. To make ducks and drakes of one’s money; to throw it idly away.

DUDDERING RAKE. A thundering rake, a buck of the first head, one extremely lewd.


DUDS. Clothes.

DUFFERS. Cheats who pretend to deal in smuggled goods, stopping all country people, or such as they think they can impose on; which they frequently do, by selling them cheap goods at double their current price.

DUGS. A woman’s breasts,

DUKE, or RUM DUKE. A queer unaccountable fellow.

DUKE OF LIMBS. A tall, awkward, ill-made fellow.

DUKE HUMPHREY. To dine with Duke Humphrey; to fast.

DULL SWIFT. A stupid, sluggish fellow, one long going on an errand.

DUMMEE. A pocket book. A dummee hunter. A pick-pocket, who lurks about to steal pocket books out of gentlemen’s pockets.

DUN. An importunate creditor.


DUNEGAN. A privy. A water closet.

DUST. Money. Down with your dust; deposit the money.

DUST UP. To raise or kick up a dust; to make a disturbance or riot.

DUTCH COMFORT. Thank God it is no worse.

DUTCH RECKONING, or ALLE-MAL. A verbal or lump account, without particulars, as brought at spungiug or bawdy houses..

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