centre slang - The Slang Dictionary


Within the past few years the desire to possess a mode of intercommunication which shall be incomprehensible to those who have not taken their degrees in vice, has led the dangerous classes—particularly street-muggers, welchers, skittle-sharps, jerry-hunters, and the various other gentlemen who turn out every morning, when not in charge of the powers that be, to look for their livings—to give their attention to another twist in the English language, and so centre slang has of late been heard with some degree of frequency by those who penetrate to places where there is a likelihood of finding anything new, and take with them sufficient knowledge to comprehend it when, or if, it is found. As this knowledge can never be acquired in any other way than by actual observation, and is not to be obtained by hearsay, or second-hand information, or from books, it is rarely brought to bear upon any subject of this kind as treated in the newspapers, and the articles on real low and criminal life which now and again appear, though extremely amusing, amuse those about whom they are written as much as they do those for whose information they are produced. So, perhaps, those writers who have heard centre slang, and have had opportunity of referring to it, did not know what it was, or certainly, as an institution unique in its way, it would have received some little attention. There is not much in it, of course, as its origin shows, the key being everything towards success in experimentalizing with it. Centre slang, then, is formed by making the central vowel of a word its initial letter, and adding vowels and consonants sufficient to make the sound imposing, or, as cooks say, to flavour[370] palatably. An occasional infusion of back slang is now and again considered advisable, but the taste of the speaker must decide how much is requisite. Mug is a common word to signify a fool or flat; this, in centre slang, becomes Ugmer, or Hugmer, as the speaker likes, while fool and flat themselves become Oolerfer and Atfler respectively. The aspirate can be added, if relished, to any centre slang word. A welcher, by means of the new slang, becomes an Elcherwer or Elchwer, a thief is an Evethee, and a sticker-up of skittles is an Ickitser-pu. As the inventors of this slang are not particular about spelling, phonography is used extensively in its composition—that is, it would be, if it were possible to write centre slang to any extent. However, as it is a spoken language only, and no patent has been taken out for its use, boldness is the chief essential for any one possessed of a mobile tongue and a desire to become expert. There is no Glossary of this slang necessary, as it is only made up of small parcels, as occasion requires, and does not keep well without guiding sentences attached.