Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang S

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms


SAD DOG. A wicked debauched fellow; one of the ancient family of the sad dogs.

SADDLE. To saddle the spit; to give a dinner or supper.


SALT. Lecherous.

SAMMY. Foolish. Silly.

SANDY PATE. A red haired man or woman.

SANS PRISADO. A person who comes into company without any money.

SAPSCULL. A simple fellow. Sappy; foolish.

SATYR. A libidinous fellow.

SAUCE BOX or SAUCY. A term of familiar raillery, signifying a bold or forward person.

SAUNTERER. An idle, lounging fellow.

SAW. An old saw; an ancient proverbial saying.

SAWNY or SANDY. A general nick-name for a Scotchman, as Paddy is for an Irishman, or Taffy for a Welchman; Sawny or Sandy being the familiar abbreviation or diminution of Alexander, a very favourite name among the Scottish nation.

SCAB. A worthless man or woman.

SCALY. Mean. Sordid. How scaly the cove is; how mean the fellow is.

SCAMP. A highwayman. Royal scamp: a highwayman who robs civilly. Royal foot scamp; a footpad who behaves in like manner.

SCAMPER. To run away hastily.


SCAPEGALLOWS. One who deserves and has narrowly escaped the gallows.

SCAPEGRACE. A wild dissolute fellow.

SCARLET HORSE. A hired or hack horse.

SCHEME. A party of pleasure.

SCHISM MONGER. A dissenting teacher.

SCHISM SHOP. A dissenting meeting house.

SCOLD’S CURE. A coffin.

SCHOOL OF VENUS. A bawdy-house.

SCOTCH PINT. A bottle containing two quarts.

SCOTCH BAIT. A halt and a resting on a stick, as practised by pedlars.

SCOTCH CHOCOLATE. Brimstone and milk.

SCOTCH MIST. A sober soaking rain; a Scotch mist will wet an Englishman to the skin.


SCOUNDREL. A man void of every principle of honour.

SCOURERS. Riotous bucks, who amuse themselves with breaking windows, beating the watch, and assaulting every person they meet: called scouring the streets.


SCRAGGY. Lean, bony.

SCRAGG’EM FAIR. A public execution.

SCRAPE. To get into a scrape; to be involved in a disagreeable business.

SCRATCH. Old Scratch.

SCRATCH PLATTER. Bread sopped in the oil and vinegar.

SCREEN. A bank note. Queer screens; forged bank notes.

SCRIP. Money or a scrap or slip of paper.

SCRUB. A low mean fellow, employed in all sorts of dirty work.

SEEDY. Untrustworthy, poor, pennyless.

SERVED. Found guilty. Convicted.

SERAGLIO. A bawdy-house; the name of that part of the Great Turk’s palace where the women are kept.

SET. A dead set: a concerted scheme to defraud a person by gaming.

SETTLE. Finalize, or to knock down or stun any one.

SEW UP THE SEES. To give a person two black eyes.

SHABBAROON. An ill-dressed shabby fellow; also a mean-spirited person.

SHALLOW PATE. A simple fellow.

SHANKS. Legs, or gams.

SHANNON. A river in Ireland: persons dipped in that river are perfectly and forever cured of bashfulness.

SHARK. A sharper: perhaps from his preying upon any one he can lay hold of.

SHARP. Subtle, acute, quick-witted; also a sharper or cheat, in opposition to a flat, dupe, or gull. SHARPER. A cheat, one that lives by his wits. Sharpers tools; a fool and false dice.

SHAVER. A young a boy.

SHE HOUSE. A house where the wife rules, or, as the term is, wears the breeches.

SHE LION. A shilling.

SHEEPISH. Bashful. A sheepish fellow; a bashful or shamefaced fellow.

SHEEP’S EYE. To look wishfully at someone or something.


SHELF. On the shelf, i.e. pawned.


SHERIFF’S BALL. An execution.




SHERRY. To run away: sherry off.

SHOOT THE CAT. To vomit from excess of liquor; called also catting.

SHOP. A prison. Shopped; confined, imprisoned.

SHOPLIFTER. One that steals whilst pretending to purchase goods in a shop.

SHORT-HEELED WENCH. A girl apt to fall on her back.

SHOT. To pay one’s shot; to pay one’s share of a reckoning.

SHOULDER CLAPPER. A bailiff. Shoulder-clapped; arrested.

SIGN OF A HOUSE TO LET. A widow’s weeds.

SILENCE. To silence a man; to knock him down, or stun him.

SILK SNATCHERS. Thieves who snatch hoods or bonnets from persons walking in the streets.

SILVER LACED. Replete with lice.

SIMKIN. A foolish fellow.

SIMPER. To smile in a closed mouth or false manner.

SIMPLETON. A foolish fellow.

SIMPLES. Herbs or herbal remedies.

SING. To call out; the coves sing out beef; they call out stop thief.

SING SMALL. To be humbled, confounded, or abashed, to have little or nothing to say for one’s-self.


SITTING BREECHES. One who stays late in company, is said to have his sitting breeches on, or that he will sit longer than a hen.

SIXES AND SEVENS. Left at sixes and sevens: i.e. in confusion; commonly said of a room where the furniture is scattered about; or of a business left unsettled.

SIZE OF ALE. Half a pint.

SKIN. In a bad skin; out of temper, in an ill humour. Thin-skinned: touchy, peevish.

SKIN. A purse.

SKIN FLINT. An avaricious man or woman,

SKINK. To ride in any one’s old boots; to marry or keep his cast-off mistress.

SKIP JACKS. Youngsters that ride horses on sale, horse-dealers boys. Also a plaything made for children with the breast bone of a goose.

SKULKER. A soldier who by feigned sickness, or other pretences, evades his duty.


SKY FARMERS. Cheats who pretend they were farmers in the isle of Sky, or some other remote place, and were ruined by a flood, hurricane, or some such public calamity: or else called sky farmers from their farms being IN NUBIBUS, ‘in the clouds.’

SKY PARLOUR. The garret, or upper story.

SLAP-BANG SHOP. A petty cook’s shop, where there is no credit given, but what is had must be paid DOWN WITH THE READY SLAP-BANG, i.e. immediately.

SLAPDASH. Immediately, instantly, suddenly.

SLATTERN. A woman sluttishly negligent in her dress.

SLICE. To take a slice; to intrigue, particularly with a married woman, because a slice off a cut loaf is not missed.

SLIPPERY CHAP. One on whom there can be no dependance, a shuffling fellow.

SLIPSLOPS. Tea, water-gruel, or any innocent beverage taken medicinally.

SLUBBER DE GULLION. A dirty nasty fellow.

SLUG. A a bullet. To fire a slug; to drink a dram.

SLUG-A-BED. A drone, one that cannot rise in the morning.

SLUICE YOUR GOB. Take a hearty drink.

SLUR. To slur, is a method of cheating at dice: also to cast a reflection on any one’s character, to scandalize.

SLUSH BUCKET. A foul feeder, one that eats much greasy food.

SLY BOOTS. A cunning girl or fellow, under the mask of simplicity.

SMABBLED, or SNABBLED. Killed in battle.

SMACKING COVE. A coachman.

SMALL CLOTHES. Knee breeches.

SMART. Spruce, fine: as smart as a carrot new scraped.

SMART MONEY. Money allowed to soldiers or sailors for the loss of a limb, or other hurt received in the service.

SMEAR GELT. A bribe.

SMELLER. A nose. Smellers: a cat’s whiskers.

SMITHFIELD BARGAIN. A bargain whereby the purchaser is taken in. This is likewise frequently used to express matches or marriages contracted solely on the score of interest, on one or both sides, where the fair sex are bought and sold like cattle in Smithfield.

SMOCK-FACED. Fair faced.

SMOKE. To observe, to suspect.

SMOKER. A tobacconist.

SMOKY. Curious, suspicious, inquisitive.

SMUG LAY. Persons who pretend to be smugglers of lace and valuable articles; these men borrow money of publicans by depositing these goods in their hands; they shortly decamp, and the publican discovers too late that he has been duped; and on opening the pretended treasure, he finds trifling articles of no value.

SMUGGLING KEN. A bawdy-house.

SMUSH. To snatch, or seize suddenly.

SMUT. Bawdy. Smutty story; an indecent story.

SNABBLE. To rifle or plunder; also to kill.

SNACKS. During the period of the great plague the office of searcher, which is continued to the present day, was a very important one; and a noted body-searcher, whose name was Snacks, finding his business increase so fast that he could not compass it, offered to any person who should join him in his hazardous practice, half the profits; thus those who joined him were said to go with Snacks. Hence “going snacks,or dividing the spoil.

SNAFFLER. A highwayman. Snaffler of prances; a horse stealer.

SNAFFLE. To steal. To snaffle any ones poll; to steal his wig.

SNAP THE GLAZE. To break shop windows or show glasses.

SNAPPERS. Pistols.

SNAPT. Taken, caught.

SNATCH CLY. A thief who snatches women’s pockets.

SNEAK. A pilferer. Morning sneak; one who pilfers early in the morning, before it is light. Evening sneak; an evening pilferer. To go upon the sneak; to steal into houses whose doors are carelessly left open.

SNEAKING BUDGE. One that robs alone.

SNEAKSBY. A mean-spirited fellow, a sneaking cur.

SNEERING. Jeering, flickering, laughing in scorn.

SNUB. To check, or rebuke.

SNUDGE. A thief who hides himself under a bed, in Order to rob the house.

SNUFF. To take snuff; to be offended.

SNUFF BOX. A small ornamental box in which to keep snuff or sneezing powder.

SOAK. To drink. An old soaker; a drunkard, one that moistens his clay to make it stick together.

SOCKET MONEY. A whore’s fee, or hire: also money paid for a treat, by a married man caught in an intrigue.

SOLDIER’S BOTTLE. A large one.

SOLO PLAYER. A miserable performer on any instrument, who always plays alone, because no one will stay in the room to hear him.

SONG. He changed his song; he altered his account or evidence.

SOP. A bribe.

SORREL. A yellowish red. Sorrel pate; one having red hair.

SORRY. Vile, mean, worthless. A sorry fellow, or hussy; a worthless man or woman.

SOT WEED. Tobacco.

SOUSE. Not a souse; not a penny.

SOW. A fat woman.

SPANK. (WHIP) To run neatly along, beteeen a trot and gallop.

SPANISH. The spanish; ready money.

SPANISH COIN. Fair words and compliments.

SPANISH PADLOCK. A kind of girdle contrived by jealous husbands of that nation, to secure the chastity of their wives. i.e. Chastity belt.

SPANKS, or SPANKERS. Money; also blows with the open hand.


SPARK. A spruce, trim, or smart fellow.

SPARKISH. Fine, gay.

SPARKING BLOWS. Words previous to a quarrel.

SPICE. To rob. Spice the swell; rob the gentleman.


SPIDER-SHANKED. Thin-legged.

SPIFLICATE. To confound, silence, or dumbfound.

SPILT. Thrown from a horse, or overturned in a carriage; pray, coachee, don’t spill us.

SPINDLE SHANKS. Slender legs.

SPIRIT AWAY. To kidnap, or inveigle away.

SPIT. A sword.

SPIT FIRE. A violent, pettish, or passionate person.

SPLICED. Married: an allusion to joining two ropes ends by splicing.

SPOONEY. Thin, haggard, like the shank of a spoon; also delicate, craving for something, longing for sweets. Avaricious. That tit is damned spooney. She’s a spooney piece of goods. He’s a spooney old fellow.

SPOIL PUDDING. A parson who preaches long sermons, keeping his congregation in church till the puddings are overdone.

SPORT. To exhibit or show off.

SPUNGE. A thirsty fellow, a great drinker.

SPUNK. Rotten touchwood, or a kind of fungus prepared for tinder; figuratively, spirit, courage.

SPOON HAND. The right hand.

SPOUT. To rehearse theatrically.

SPOUTING CLUB. A meeting of apprentices and mechanics to rehearse different characters in plays: thus forming recruits for the strolling companies.

SPOUTING. Theatrical declamation.

SPOUTED. Pawned.

SPREE. A frolic. Fun. A drinking bout. A party of pleasure.

SPRING-ANKLE WAREHOUSE. Newgate, or any other gaol.

SQUAB. A fat man or woman: from their likeness to a well-stuffed couch, called also a squab.

SQUARE. Honest, not roguish. A square cove, i.e. a man who does not steal, or get his living by dishonest means.

SQUARE TOES. An old man: square toed shoes were anciently worn in common, and long retained by old men.

SQUEAK. A narrow escape, a chance: he had a squeak for his life.

SQUEEZE CRAB. A sour-looking, shrivelled, diminutive fellow.

SQUEEZE WAX. A good-natured foolish fellow, ready to become security for another, under hand and seal.

SQUIRE. The squire of the company; one who pays the whole reckoning, or treats the company, called standing squire.

SQUIRE OF ALSATIA. A weak profligate spendthrift.

SQUIRISH. Foolish.

SQUIRREL. A prostitute: because she like that animal, covers her back with her tail.

STALLION. A man kept by an old lady for secret services.

STAMMEL, or STRAMMEL. A coarse brawny wench.

STAMP. A particular manner of throwing the dice out of the box, by striking it with violence against the table.



STAND-STILL. He was run to a stand-still; i.e. till he could no longer move. Also broke or out of money.

STAND THE NONSENSE. Pay the bills or the costs.

STAR GAZER. A horse who throws up his head; also a hedge whore.

STAR THE GLAZE. To break and rob a jeweller’s show glass.

STARCHED. Stiff, prim, formal, affected.

STAR LAG. Breaking shop-windows, and stealing some article therein.

STASH. To stop. To finish. To end.

STEAMER. A pipe. A swell steamer; a long pipe, such as is used by gentlemen to smoke.

STEENKIRK. A muslin neckcloth carelessly put on, from the manner in which the French officers wore their cravats when they returned from the battle of Steenkirk.

STEPNEY. A decoction of raisins of the sun and lemons in conduit water, sweetened with sugar, and bottled up.

STEWED QUAKER. Burnt rum, with a piece of butter, a remedy for a cold.

STICKS. Household furniture.

STIFF-RUMPED. Proud, stately.

STINGRUM. Cheap or stingy.

STINGO. Strong beer, or other liquor.

STIRRUP CUP. A parting cup or glass, drank on horseback by the person taking leave.

STITCHBACK. Strong ale.

STOCK JOBBERS. Persons who gamble in Exchange Alley, by pretending to buy and sell the public funds, but in reality only betting that they will be at a certain price, at a particular time; possessing neither the stock pretended to be sold, nor money sufficient to make good the payments for which they contract: these gentlemen are known under the different appellations of bulls, bears, and lame ducks.

STOMACH WORM. The stomach worm gnaws; I am hungry.

STOTER. A great blow. Tip him a stoter in the haltering place; give him a blow under the left ear.

STOUP. A vessel to hold liquor: a vessel containing a size or half a pint.

STOW. Stow you; be silent, or hold your peace.

STRAIT-LACED. Precise, over nice, puritanical.

STRANGER. A guinea.

STRAP. To work.

STRAPPER. A large man or woman.

STRETCHING. Hanging. He’ll stretch for it; he will be hanged for it. Also telling a great lie: he stretched stoutly.

STRIKE. Twenty shillings.


STROLLERS. Itinerants of different kinds. Strolling morts; beggars or pedlars pretending to be widows.

STRUMPET. A harlot.

STUB-FACED. Pitted with the smallpox: the devil ran over his face with horse stabs (horse nails) in his shoes.

STUBBLE IT. Hold your tongue.

STUM. The flower of fermenting wine, used by vintners to adulterate their wines.

STUMPS. Legs. To stir one’s stumps; to walk fast.

SUDS. In the suds; in trouble, in a disagreeable situation, or involved in some difficulty.

SUGAR SOPS. Toasted bread soked in ale, sweetened with sugar, and grated nutmeg: it is eaten with cheese.

SUNSHINE. Prosperity.

SUPERNACOLUM. Good liquor, of which there is not even a drop left sufficient to wet one’s nail.

SUPOUCH. A landlady of an inn, or hostess.

SWAG. Any quantity of goods. Rum swag; a shop full of rich goods. CANT.

SWAGGER. To bully, brag, or boast, also to strut.

SWANNERY. High quality brothel.

SWEET. Easy to be imposed on, or taken in; also expert, dexterous clever.

SWELL. A gentleman.

SWILL. To drink greedily.

SWILL TUB. A drunkard, a sot.

SWING. To be hanged. He will swing for it; he will be hanged for it.

SWIPES. Purser’s swipes; small beer: so termed on board the king’s ships, where it is furnished by the purser.

SWIZZLE. Drink, or any brisk or windy liquor, a mixture of spruce beer, rum, and sugar.

SWORD RACKET. To enlist in different regiments, and on receiving the bounty to desert immediately.


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