09 April 2008

Secret Language of Crime

Compiled in 1859 by George W. Matsell, former Chief of Police of New York City, the SECRET LANGUAGE OF CRIME was a comprehensive dictionary of the criminal; a Rogues Lexicon.

Amusers: Fellows who carry snuff or pepper in their pockets, which they throw into a persons eyes and then run away; the accomplice rushing up to the victim, pretending to assist, robs him while suffering with pain.
Barking Irons: Pistols
Baster: A house thief
Betty: A picklock
Blow a Cloud: Smoke a cigar or pipe.
Booth: A place where thieves gather or congregate.
Case: A dollar
Century: A hundred dollars.
City College: The Tombs.
Fly-Cop: A sharp officer; an officer that is well posted; one who understands his business.
Moll: A woman.
Mumpers: Beggars
My Uncle: Pawnbroker.
Oil of Barley: Strong beer.
Peepers: Eyes
Philistines: Police officers; officers of justice.
Pinked: Stabbed.
Roofer: Hat
Stop: A Detective
Tail-Diver: A thief who steals pocket-handkerchiefs from coat-tail pockets.
Thimble: A watch.
Turkey-Merchants: Purchasers of stolen silk.

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