Shakespeare Slang

21 terms


a vagabond, such as were driven to beg about the country after the dissolution of the monasteries.—See bess o' bedlam infra. They are well described under the title of Bedlam Beggars.—Shakspeare's K. Lear, ii. 3.

“And these, what name or title e'er they bear,Jarkman, or Patrico, Cranke, or Clapper-dudgeon,Frater, or abram-man ; I speak to all That stand in fair election for the title Of king of beggars.”—Beaumont and Fletcher's Begg. Bush. II. 1.

It appears to have been the practice in former days to allow certain inmates of Bethlehem Hospital to have fixed days “to go begging:” hence impostors were said to “sham abraham ” (the Abraham Ward in Bedlam having for its inmates these mendicant lunatics) when they pretended they were licensed beggars in behalf of the hospital.


Struck dumb, confounded. What, sweet one, all-a-mort? SHAKESPEARE.

Blurt Out

to speak from impulse, and without reflection, to let out suddenly.—Shakspeare.


the breech, or backside.
To bum: To arrest a debtor. The gill bummed the swell for a thimble; the tradesman arrested the gentleman for a watch.

bum : A vulgar term for “an idle, dissolute fellow; a loafer,”--on the bum . A vulgar phrase used to denote that that to which it is applied is of poor quality, badly done, or has been subjected to careless treatment.

the part on which we sit.—Shakspeare. bumbags , trousers; Gael. bun , a base or bottom; Welshbon , the lowest or worst part of anything.


The money, or whatsoever the sweeteners drop to draw in a bubble.
sb. cog, tooth on the rim of a wheelVariants: kog, cogge, dat.
A tooth. A queer cog; a rotten tooth. How the cull flashes his queer cogs; how the fool shews his rotten teeth.
To cog: To cheat with dice; also to coax or wheedle, To cog a die; to conceal or secure a die. To cog a dinner; to wheedle one out of a dinner.
to cheat at dice.—Shakspeare. Also, to agree with, as one cog-wheel does with another, to crib from another's book, as schoolboys often do. This is called “cogging over.”


a foolish constable.—Shakspeare.
Dogberry  (dog ´ber-i and Verges  (ver ´gēz ).—Two ignorant conceited constables, in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.


A nasty, sluttish whore.
a vulgar or low woman.—Shakspeare.


a term in cribbage, signifying a hand of cards composed entirely of one suit.
the opposite of “hard up,” in possession of money, not poverty-stricken.—Shakspeare.
to whip; “flushed  on the horse,” to be privately whipped in gaol; to deluge with water, as in “flushing  the sewers;” to come upon suddenly and completely,—“I came flush  upon him.”


false dice, which always turn up high.—Shakspeare.


ignorant, not wide-awake, inexperienced.—Shakspeare. “Do you see any green  in my eye?” ironical question in a dispute.
Doctor Green; i.e. grass: a physician, or rather medicine, found very successful in curing most disorders to which horses are liable. My horse is not well, I shall send him to Doctor Green.
Young, inexperienced, unacquainted; ignorant. How green the cull was not to stag how the old file planted the books. How ignorant the booby was not to perceive how the old sharper placed the cards in such a manner as to insure the game.