glossary of the back slang - The Slang Dictionary


Birk, a “crib,”—a house.

Cool, to look.

Cool him, look at him. A phrase frequently used when one costermonger warns another of the approach of a policeman, or when any person worthy of notice passes by. When any old lady has been bargaining with a costermonger, and leaves his barrow without purchasing, the proprietor of the barrow will call out to the rest, “cool the delo nammow,” which, though it means literally nothing beyond “Look at the old woman,” conveys to them an intimation that she is, from their point of view, a nuisance, and should be treated as such.

Dab, bad.

Dab tros, a bad sort.

Dabheno, a bad one, sometimes a bad market. See doogheno.

Da-erb, bread.

Deb, or dab, a bed; “I’m off to the deb,” I’m going to bed.

Delo nammow, an old woman.

Delog, gold.

Doog, good.

Doogheno, literally “good-one,” but implying generally a good market, a good man, &c.

Doogheno hit, one good hit. A coster remarks to a mate, “Jack made a doogheno hit this morning,” implying that he did well at market, or sold out with good profit. Actually a good hit only is intended, but redundancy has its charms in the back slang as well as in more pretentious literary efforts.

Dunop, a pound.

Edgabac, cabbage.

Edgenaro, an orange.

E-fink, a knife.

Ekame, a “make,” or swindle.

Ekom, a “moke,” or donkey.

Elrig, a girl.

Emag, game, “I know your little emag.”

Enif, fine.

Enin gen, nine shillings.

Enin yanneps, ninepence.

Eno, one.


Erif, fire.

Erth, three.

Erth gen, three shillings.

Erth-pu, three-up, a street game, played with three halfpence.

Erth sith-noms, three months,—a term of imprisonment unfortunately very familiar to the lower orders. Generally known as a “drag.”

Erth yanneps, threepence.

Esclop, police, now used to signify a constable only. Esclop is pronounced “slop” simply, but the c was never sounded. A policeman is now and then called, by some purist or stickler for etiquette, an “esclopnam.”

Es-roch, a horse.

Esuch, a house.

Evif-gen, a crown, or five shillings.

Evif-yanneps, fivepence.

Evlenet-gen, twelve shillings.

Evlenet sith-noms, twelve months. Generally known as a “stretch.”

Exis-evif-gen, six times five shillings, i.e., 30s. All moneys may be reckoned in this manner, either with yanneps or gens. It is, however, rarely or never done.

Exis-evif-yanneps, elevenpence,—literally, “sixpence and fivepence = elevenpence.” This mode of reckoning, distinct from the preceding, is only made by special arrangement amongst slangites, who wish to confound their intimates.

Exis gen, six shillings.

Exis sith-noms, six months.

Exis yanneps, sixpence.

Fi-heath, a thief.

Flatch, half, or a halfpenny.

Flatch kennurd, half drunk.

Flatch-yenork, half-a-crown. See preceding remarks.

Flatchyannep, a halfpenny.

Gen, twelvepence, or one shilling. Formerly imagined to be an abbreviation of argent, cant term for silver.

Generalize, a shilling, almost invariably shortened to gen.

Genitraf, a farthing.

Gen-net, or net gen, ten shillings.

Genol, long.

Hel-bat, a table. } The aspirate is matter of taste.

Helpa, an apple.

Kanitseeno, a stinking one. Kanits is a stink.

Kennurd, drunk.

Kew (or more properly keeu), a week.

Kews, skew, or skeeu, weeks.


Kirb, a brick.

Kool, to look.

Lawt, tall.

Ler-ac-am, mackerel.

Mottob, bottom.

Mur, rum. A “nettock o’ mur” is a quartern of rum.

Nair, rain.

Nam, a man.

Nam esclop, a policeman. See esclop.

Nammow, a woman; delo nammow, an old woman.

Neel, lean.

Neergs, greens.

Net enin gen, nineteen shillings.

Net evif gen, fifteen shillings.

Net exis gen, sixteen shillings.

Net gen, ten shillings, or half a sovereign.

Net nevis gen, seventeen shillings.

Net rith gen, thirteen shillings.

Net roaf gen, fourteen shillings. It will be seen by the foregoing that the reckoning is more by tens than by “teens.” This is, however, matter of choice, and any one wishing to be considered accomplished in this description of slang, must do as he thinks best—must lead and not be led.

Net theg gen, eighteen shillings.

Net yanneps, tenpence.

Nevele gen, eleven shillings.

Nevele yanneps, elevenpence.

Nevis gen, seven shillings.

Nevis stretch, seven years’ penal servitude.

Nevis yanneps, sevenpence.

Nig, gin.

Noom, the moon.

Nos-rap, a parson.

Occabot, tobacco; “tib fo occabot,” bit of tobacco.

Ogging ot tekram, going to market.

On, no.

On doog, no good.

Owt gen, two shillings. } Owt is pronounced oat.

Owt yanneps, twopence.

Pac, a cap.

Pinnurt pots, turnip tops.

Pot, top.

Rape, a pear.


Reeb, beer. “Top o’ reeb,” a pot of beer.

Rev-lis, silver.

Rof-efil, for life—sentence of punishment.

Roaf-gen, four shillings.

Roaf-yanneps, fourpence.

Rutat, or rattat, a “tatur,” or potato.

See-otches, shoes.

Sey, yes. Pronounced see.

Shif, fish.

Sirretch, cherries. Very often sirretches.

Sith-nom, a month. This is because the slang was made from months, not month. Perhaps because the latter was not easy; perhaps because terms of imprisonment run longer than a month, and are often enumerated in the “kacab genals.” However it may be, “months” in this mode of speaking has a double plural as it stands now.

Slaoc, coals.

Slop, a policeman. See esclop.

Sneerg, greens.

Spinsrap, parsnips. ⎫ All these will take the s, which is now initial, after them, if desired, and, as may be seen, some take it doubly.

Sret-sio, oysters. ⎪

Sres-wort, trousers. ⎪

Starps, sprats. ⎬

Stoobs, boots. ⎪

Storrac, carrots. ⎪

Stun, nuts. ⎪

Stunlaw, walnuts. ⎭

Tach, a hat.

Taf, fat. A taf eno is a fat man or woman, literally A fat one.

Taoc, a coat. “Cool the delo taoc” means, “Look at the old coat,” but is really intended to apply to the wearer as well, as professors of mixed slangs might say, “Vardy his nibs in the snide bucket.”

Taoc-tisaw, a waistcoat.

Teaich-gir, right, otherwise tadger.

Tenip, a pint.

Theg (or teaich) gen, eight shillings.

Theg (or teaitch) yanneps, eightpence.

Tib, a bit, or piece.

Tol, lot, stock, or share.

Top-yob, a potboy.

Torrac, a carrot. “Ekat a torrac.”

Trork, a quart.

Trosseno, literally, “one sort,” but professional slangists use it to imply anything that is bad. Tross, among costermongers, means anything[357] bad. It is probably a corruption of trash. Possibly, however, the constant use of the words “dab-tros” may have led them in their unthinking way to imagine that the latter word will do by itself.

Wedge, a Jew. This may look strange, but it is exact back slang.

Wor-rab, a barrow.

Yad, a day; yads, days.

Yadnarb, brandy.

Yannep, a penny.

Yannep a time, a penny each. Costermongers say “a time” for many things. They say a “bob a time,” meaning a shilling each for admission to a theatre, or any other place, or that certain articles are charged a shilling each. The context is the only clue to the exact meaning.

Yannep-flatch, three halfpence,—all the halfpence and pennies continue in the same sequence, as for instance, owt-yannep-flatch, twopence-halfpenny.

Yap pu, pay up.

Yeknod, or jerk-nod, a donkey.

Yenork, a crown.

Yob, a boy.

Zeb, best.

From these examples the apt student may fairly judge how to form his own back slang to his own liking and that of his friends.