John Stephen Farmer.

Slang and its analogues past and present. A dictionary historical and comparative of the heterodox speech of all classes of society for more than three hundred years. With synonyms in English, French, German, Italian, etc (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn Stephen FarmerSlang and its analogues past and present. A dictionary historical and comparative of the heterodox speech of all classes of society for more than three hundred years. With synonyms in English, French, German, Italian, etc (Volume 1) → online text (page 39 of 62)
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Sailor's IVord Book : — ' borrowed
from the idea of a vessel making
out of port and getting into deep
water.']

1833. Haliburton, The Clockmaker,

2 S., xix. [The land] could be made to
carry wheat till all's blue again. Ibid,

3 S., .Kx. Your mother kickin' and scream-
in' till ALL WAS blue again.

1850. Smedley, Frank Fairlegh, I.,
184. I'll have at her again, and dance
till all's blue before I give in.



1901. People, _ 7 April, 13, 2. And
argue in a didactic, not to say opinionated,
manner till all was blue.

2. (common). — Exceeding tipsy :
set SCREWED and cf. Fr. avoir
un coup d'bleu (= to be slightly
tipsy).

1616. R. C, Times' VVhis., v., 1833.
They drink . . . Vntil their adle heads
doe make the ground Seeme blew vnto
them.

1638. Ford, Lady's Trial, iv., 2,
We can drink till all loOp: blue.

1837. Barham, I. L. (Lay of St.
Dunstan).

'I have nothing to do:
And 'fore George, I'll sit here, and I'll
drink till all's blue ! '

TO MAKE THE AIR BLUE, verb,
phr. (common). — To curse; to
swear; to use obscene language :
also, in a milder sense, to talk
slang.

TRUE BLUE. ///r. (coUoquial). —
— Faithful; genuine; real blue is
the colour of constancy, and
COVENTRY BLUE a dye that would
neither change its colour nor be
discharged by washing. Also
(proverbial) 'true blue will never
stain.'

1383. Chaucer, Squieres Tale.
And by hire bedde's bed she made a mew,
And covered it with velouettes blew,
In signe of trouthe that is in woman sene.

Ibid, Court of Love, line 246.
So you dir folke (quod she) that knele in

blew.
They were the colour ay and ever shal,
In signe they were, and ever wil be true,
Withoutin change.

i6[.'] Lines beneath an Old Portrait.
A true BLUE Priest, a Lincey Woolsey

Brother,
One legg a pulpit holds, a tub the other.

i8[?] New York 2"rz7'?<«^[BARTLETT].
The bluest description of old Van Rens-
selaer Federalists have followed Colonel
Prentiss (in Otsego County).



Blue-apron.



286



Blue-blanket.



Blue-apron, subs, (common)- — A
tradesman.

1721. Amherst, Terree FiL, xliii.,
230. For if any saucy blue-apron dares
to affront any venerable person ... all
scholars are immediately forbid to have
any dealing or commerce with him.

1868. Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase
and Fable, 98. A blue-apron states-
man, a lay politician, a tradesman who
interferes with the affairs of the nation.
The reference is to the blue apron once
worn by nearly all tradesmen, but now
restricted to butchers, poulterers, fish-
mongers, and so on.

BLUEBACKS, sîihs. pi. (American:
obsolete) — i. The paper money
of the Confederate States : cf.
GREENBACKS = the United States
paper currency : the colour of the
printing on the reverse is blue
and green respectively.

1871. De Vere, Americanisms, 291.
The Confederate notes bore, for the
same reason, the name of bluebacks,
which was, however, soon exchanged for
the slang term of ' shucks.'

iSgo. Family Herald, 8 Feb. 227.
If you obey me you shall have a blueback.

2. (S. African : obsolete). —
The late Orange Free State paper
money.

1878. Trollope, South Africa, II.,
206. Bluebacks, as they were called,
were printed. Ibid., p. 222. The blue-
backs as the Orange Free State bank-
notes were called.

Blue-belly. A nickname bestowed
by Southerners, during the Civil
War, upon their opponents of
the North, whose uniform was
blue; also iîoys in blue, yanks,
etc. The Southerners, on the
other hand, received such names
as THE SECESH, REBS, and JOHNNY

REBS, the latter being sometimes



shortened to johnnies. The grey
uniform of the Confederates like-
wise caused them to be styled
BOYS IN GREY, and Greybacks.

1883. Daily Telegraph, Feb. 9, p. 5.
col. 4. The Confederate armies during
the great Civil War in America... were
known... as 'Greybacks,' whereas their
Federal opponents, from the light-azure
gaberdines which they wore, were dub-
bed 'blue- bellies.'

Blue-bill, subs. phr. (Winchester
College). — A tradesman's bill : as
sent home to parents and guar-
dians. [The colour of the enve-
lope was blue.]

Blue-billy, subs. phr. (pugilistic. —
I. A handkerchief (blue ground
with white spots) sometimes worn
and used as a colour at prize-
fights and boxing-matches : see

BILLY.

2. (mining). — See quot.

1887. 'Death of blue billy,' in
Chamb. four., Dec. 17, 812. blue
billy is the technical name given to the
lime rendered foul in the purification of
the gas.

Blue-blanket, subs. phr. (common).
— I. The sky: Defoe's use of this
simile may probably have been
suggested by Shakspeare's ' blank-
et of the dark ' (Macbeth, i, v.).

c. 1720. Defoe, Hist, of Devil.
quoted in N. and Q., 7 S., ii., 289; see
also 7 S., ii., 492. We must be content
till we come on the other side the BLUE
BLANKET, and then we shall know the
whole story.

1877. Greenwood, Under the Blue
Blanket. The vagrant brotherhood have
several slang terms for sleeping out in a
field or meadow. It is called 'snoozing
in Hedge Square'; 'dossing with the dai-
sies'; and 'lying under the blue blanket.'
[Fr. 'coucher à l'hotel de l'Etoile,' •-= 'to
sleep at the Star Hotel'; Fourb. coper-
tore — sky — a covering or blanket].



Blue Blazes.



287



Blue-coat.



2. (common). — A rough over-
coat made of coarse pilot cloth.

Blue blazes. See blazes.

Blue boar, subs. (old). — A venereal
disease.

BLUE-BOTTLE, subs. fhr. (old). — I.
A policeman; a beadle; a guard-
ian of the peace: see blue,
sense i.

1598. Shakspeare, 2 Henry IV., v.,
4. Dall [addressing beadle] . . . you blue-
bottle rogue, you filthy famished cor-
rectioner.

1888. MiDDLETON, Michaelmas Term.
And to be free from the interruption of
BLUE BEADLES, and Other bawdy officers.

1852. F. E. Smedley, Leivis Arundel,
Ixiv. 'Police, indeed!' muttered Charley,
'the General can't remember that he is
out of London. . . These confounded sulky
Austrian officials are rather different
customers to deal with from our blue-
bottles.' — Messrs. Ai and Co.

1864. Sala, Daily Telegraph,
Sept. 13. Caught in his own toils by the
BLUE-BOTTLES of Scotland Yard.

1864. Blackivood's Mag., 15. He
who could summon to his aid every
alphabetical blue-bottle that ever handl-
ed a truncheon.

2. (old). — A serving-man : blue
was the usual habit of servants:
cf. blue-coat, hence a term of
reproach.

1602. Hoiiest Whore, O. PI., iii., 389.
You proud varlets, you need not be
ashamed to wear blue, when your master
is one of your fellows.

1608. Dekker, Belman, sign E., 3.
The others act their parts in blezu coates,
as (if) they were their serving-men.

1822. Scott, Fortunes of Nigel, x.
(L, p. 173). I fancy you would love to
move to court like him, followed by a
round score of old blue-bottles, /aid,
xi. My lord, my father . . . has BLUE-
BOTTLES enough to wait on him.



1845. G. P. R. James, Arrak, Neil,
325. The personage to whom he ad-
dressed himself, was one of the serving-
men of that day, known by the general
term of blue-bottles.

BLUE-BOY, subs. phr. (common). —
I. A bubo ; a tumour, or abscess
with inflammation: spec, applied
to a result of venereal disease.

2. (common). — A policeman:
see BLUE, sense i.

BLUE-BUTTER, subs. phr. (common).
— Mercurial ointment.



Blue-cap, subs. phr. (old).-

man.



-A Scots-



I4[?]. Hist. Edward II., -ig. A rabble
multitude of despised blue-caps encounter,
rout, and break ';he flower of England.

1660. Meriy Drollery, ()^. Although
he could neither write nor read, yet our
General Lashby cross'd the Tweed, With
his gay gang of blue-caps all.

2. (old). — A kind of ale (1822).

Blue-cheek, subs. phr. (obsolete).—
See quot.

187g. GrZ¥:n\voot>, Outcasts of Lon-
don. There were three fashions for
whiskers when I was a child, and they
were variously known as blue cheek, the
whisker shaved off and leaving the cheek
blue; "bacca pipe," the whisker curled
in tiny ringlets; and "touzle," or whisker
worn bushy.

BLUE-COAT, subs. phr. (old).— A
constable; a guardia.^ of the peace:
see BLUE, sub i.

1610. Rowlands, Martin Mark-all,
19 (H. Club's Repr., 1874). And being
so taken, haue beene carried to places of
correction, there wofuUy tormented by
BLEW-coates, cowardly fello wes, that
. . . haue so scourged vs, that flesh and
blood could hardly endure it.



Blued.



Blue Fujîk.



1851-61. H. Mayhew, London Lab.
and Lon. Poor, IL, 417. 'I thinks
them Chartists are a weak-minded set

a hundred o' them would run away
from one blue-coat.'

1890. Family Herald, 8 Feb. 237.
The BLUE-COATS... may turn up at any
moment.

2. See Blue, in several senses.

BLUED (or BLEWED), adj. phr. (com-
mon). — I. Tipsy; drunk: see

SCREWED.

2. See Blue, verb.

BLUE-DAHLI," subs. phr. (common).
— Something ^"-e or seldom seen ;
a rara avis.

Blue-devils, subs. phr. (common). —
I. Dejection; lowness of spirits;
hypochondria; Ft. s'emboucaner,
and s'encoliflucheter. Hence such
derivatives as BLUE devilage,
BLUE devilry, BLl E DEVILISM ;
and BLUE DEVILLY.

1786. Cowper, Letters, No. 219,
IL, 143 (ed. 1834). I have not that
which commonly is a s'mptom of such
a case belonging to me -I mean e.xtra-
ordinary elevation in the absence of Mr.
BLUE DEVIL. When I P n in the best
health, my tide of aniival sprightliness
flows with great equality.

1790. W. B. Rhc-des, Bombastes
Furioso, Sc. I.

Or, dropping poisons i" the cup of joy.
Do the BLUE DEVILS y'^ur repose annoy?

1809. MaLKIN, G'7.S/rti[R0UTLEDGE],

105. What BLUE ur.viL has perched upon
your shoulder in nr y absence? You look
gloomy and out c temper.

1871. Planché, King Christmas.
There are blue i;evils which defy blue pills.

1880. G. R. Sims, Three Brass Balls,
pledge iii. He got discontented and had

fits of BLUE DEVILS.

2. (common). — Deliriittn tre-
mens: ulso BLUES with derivatives
as in sense i.



1818-9. CoBBETT, Resid. U. S; 4S. It
was just the weather to give drunkards

the BLUE DEVILS.

1831. Scott, Demonology, i., 18.
They, by a continued series of intoxica-
tion, became subject to what is popularly
called the blue devils.

1871. Lockhart, Fair to See, I.,
208. On the lower hills the pine-trees
loomed through stagnant mists with a
dejected and blue-devilly aspect.

BLUE-DOG. See Blush.

Blue fear, subs. phr. (colloquial).
— Extreme fright ; BLUE FUNK (jj.v.).

18S3. R. L. Stevenson, The Treas-
ure of Franchard, in Longman's Mag.,
April, 683. Anastasie had saved the
remainder of his fortune by keeping him
strictly in the country. The very name
of Paris put her in a blue fear.

Blue flag, subs. phr. (old). — A
BLUE APRON {q.v.)'. as woFQ by
butchers, publicans, and other
tradesmen.

1785. Grose, Dictionary of the Vul-
gar Tongue. He has hoisted the blub
FLAG, he has commenced publican, or
taken a public house, alluding to the
blue aprons worn by publicans.

Blue funk, subs. phr. (colloquial).
— Extreme fright ; nervousness ;
or dread, [funk = to stink through
fear; Wedgwood connects it with
the Walloon /««X'^r ■=. to smoke].

1856. Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's
School-days, 196. If I was going to be
flogged next minute, I should be in a
blue funk.

1861. MacmillatC s Magazine. ■2X1. I
was in a real blue funk.

1861 .Saturday Review, Nov. 23, 534.
We encounter . . . the miserable Dr.
Blandling in what is called a blue funk.

1871. Maxwell, Life (1882), xvi.,
382. Certainly %AwpÒv Seoç is the
Homeric for a blub funk.



Blue Gown.



289



Blue-laws.



Ï900. Kipling, Stalky &' Co, 16.
Even suppose we were miles out of bounds,
no one could get at us through this
wussy, unless he knew the tunnel. Isn't
this better than lyin' up just behind the
coll. — in a BLUE FUNK every time we had
a smoke ?

Blue-gown. i. A loose woman;
a wanton: see tart. [Nares: a
blue-gown was the dress of ig-
nominy for a harlot in the house
of correction].

i5[?]. Edward, Promos, and Cass.
iii. 6.
Lain. Teare not my clothes, my friends,

they cost more than you are aware.
Bedell. Tush, soon you shall have a blew

gown; for these take you no care.

1609. Dekker, Honest Whore [DoDS-
lev], Old Plays (Reed), iii, 464. Your
puritanical honest whore sits in a blue
GOWN. — Where! — do you know the brick
house of castigation?

2. (old).— A beggar: especially
a licensed beggar who wore the
dress as a badge.

BLUE HEN'S CHICKENS, subs. phr.
(American). — The inhabitants of
Delaware. The nickname arose
thus: Captain Caldwell, an officer
of the first Delaware regiment in
the American War of Independ-
ence, was noted for his love of
cock-fighting. Being personally
popular, and his regiment be-
coming famous for their valour,
they were soon known as 'game-
cocks'; and as Caldwell main-
tained that no cock was truly
game unless its mother was a
blue hen, his regiment, and sub-
sequently Delawareans generally,
became known as blue hen's
chicken's, and Delaware as the
BLUE HEN STATE for the same
reason. A boaster is also often
brought to book by the sarcasm,
' Your mother was a blue hen
no doubt.'



Blue horse, subs. phr. (military).
— The Fourth Dragoon Horse :
from its facings (1746—88).

Blueism, sub. (old). — The possess-
ion or affectation of learning in
a woman.

18.. Hook. Mati of Mciny Friends.
He had seen the lovely, learned Lady
Frances Bellamy, and had fallen a victim
to her beauty and blueism.

Blue-jacket, subs. phr. (naval). —
A sailor; especially used to dis-
tinguish seamen from the marines.

BLUE-LAWS, subs. phr. (American).
— Puritanic laws of extreme sever-
ity : orig. of enactments at New
Haven, Conn., U.S.A. [Kingsley
{Hist. Disc): — Where and how
the story of the New Haven BLUE
LAWS originated is a matter of
some curiosity. According to
Dr. Peters, the epithet blue was
applied to the laws of New Haven
by the neighbouring colonies, be-
cause these laws were thought
peculiarly sanguinary; and he
says that blite is equivalent to
bloody. It is a sufficient refuta-
tion of this account of the matter
to say that, if there was any
distinction between the colony of
New Haven and the other united
colonies of New England in the
severity of their punishments,
New Haven was the last of the
number to gain this bad pre-
eminence. Others have said that
certain laws of New Haven, of a
more private and domestic kind,
were bound in a blue cover ; and
hence the name. This explana-
tion has as little probability as
the preceding for its support. It
is well known that, on that re-
storation of Charles 11., the Puri-
tans became the subject of every



Blue-Lisrh tninsr.



290



Blue-noses.



kind of reproach and contumely.
Not only what was deserving of
censure in their deportment, but
their morality, was especially held
up to scorn. The epithet blue
was applied to any one who
looked with disapprobation on
the licentiousness of the times.
The Presbyterians, under which
name all dissenters were often
included, as they still dared to
be the advocates of decency, were
more particularly designated by
this terra ; their religion and their
morality being marked by it as
mean and contemptible. Thus
Butler:—

'For his religion, it was fit
To match his learning and his wit;
'T was Presbyterian true blue.' (Hudib.,
Canto I.)

That this epithet of derision
should find its way to the colo-
nies was a matter of course. It
was here applied, not only to
persons, but to customs, institu-
tions, and laws of the Puritans,
by those who wished to render
the prevailing system ridiculous.
Hence probably a belief with
some, that a distinct system of
laws, known as the Bleu Laws,
must have somewhere a local
habitation.]

BLUE LIGHTNING, subs. (American).
— A revolver.

BLUE-MILK, subs. phr. (provincial).—
Old skimmed milk: cf. sky-blue.

Blue Monday, subs. phr. (work-
men's). — A Monday spent in dis-
sipation and abscence from work.
Hence Mondayish = disinclined
for work : Ger. blauer Monta g: cf.
BLACK SATURDAY.

1885. Harper's Magazine, 873, i.
The workman getting sober after his usual
BLUE MONDAY.



Blue-moon, subs. phr. (common). —
An unlimited period: hence ONCE
IN A BLUE MOON =: extremely
seldom: see queen dick.

1526. Rov AND Barlowe, Rede me
and be not wroth, 114 [ed. Arber, 1871].
Yf they saye the mone is belewe,
We must beleve that it is true,
Admittynge their interpretacion.

i860. F. W. Robinson, Grand-
tnother's Money, I., 144. If he talked till
a BLUE MOON, etc.

1876. Miss Braddon, Joshua Hag-
gard's Daughter, x.\iv. Why should she
stint as to one or two puddings a week
. . . and a fruit pasty once in a blue

MOON.

1884. R. E. Francillon, Ropes of
Sand, xxi. 'I've made bold to take the
chance of your being at home for once
IN A BLUE moon, Mr. Carew,' said she.

1901. People, 7 April, 13, i. As a
matter of fact, some of the inmates have
a bath once in a blue moon, and give
their faces and hands a cat-lick once a week.

Blue-murder (or blue-murders),
subs. phr. (common). — A term
used to describe cries of terror
or alarm-, a great noise; an un-
usual racket: cf. Fr. morbleu.

1887. J. S. Winter, Eng. III. Mag.,
Dec, 179. The dingy person dropped
his victim and howled what the half-
dozen officers . . . graphically described
as blue murder.

BluenesS, subs, (common). — In-
decency-, SMUT {q.v.): see BLUE,
subs., sense 2. Fr. horreurs ; bêtises -,
gueulces -, and décravater ses propos
= to talk blue.

1840. Carlyle, Diderot Ess., 240.
Tile occasional dlueness of both [writ-
ings] shall not altogether affright us.

Blue-noses, subs. phr. (American).
— The natives of Nova Scotia.
[In allusion, it is said, to a jiotato
of that name which Nova Scotians



Blue-peter.



291



Blue-pill.



claim to be the best in the world.
Proctor, however, would wager
that the Nova Scotians were call-
ed BLUE NOS ,s before the potato
which they rear was so named,
and hazards the suggestion that
the nickname refers to the blue-
ness of nose resulting from intense
cold.]

1837-40. Haliburton ('Sam Slick').
Do you know the reason monkeys are no
good ? Because they chatter all day
long, — as do the niggers, — and so do the
BLUE NOSES of Nova Scotia.

1846. Lowell, Biglow Papers.
The sort o' trash a feller gits to eat doos

beat all nater.
I 'd give a year's pay for a smell o' one

good BLUE-KOSE tater.

i8[?]. Sir George Simpson Over-
land jfourney, I., ig. After a run [in
the steamer] of fourteen days, we
entered the harbour of Halifax, amid the
hearty cheers of a large number of blue
noses.

Blue-peter, j;/i5j.//;r.(card-players').
— The signal or call for trumps
at whist. [Properly, a blue flag
with white square in centre,
hoisted as a signal for immediate
sailing.]

1875. Breton, Handy Book of Games,
358. Since the introduction of Blue
Peter, the necessity of leading through
your adversary's hand has become less
and less.

Bull-pigeon, subs.phr (thieves'), —
I. Lead used for roofing purposes:
cf. BLUEY = (lead) and BLUE

PIGEON FLYER.

1887. Judy, 27 April, zoo. A bur-
glar whose particular 'lay' was flying the
BLUE pigeon, i.e., stealing lead.

2 (nautical). — The sounding
lead.

Blue-pigeon flyer, subs. pkr.
(thieves'). — i. A thief who steals



lead from the roofs of buildings.
[Hotten :— Sometimes a journey-
man plumber, glazier, or other
workman, who, when repairing
houses, strips off the lead, and
makes away with it. This per-
formance is, though, by no means
confined to workmen. An empty
house is often entered and the
whole of the roof in its vicinity
stripped, the only notice given
to the folks below being received
by them on the occasion of a
heavy downfall of rain. The term
FLYER has, indeed, of late years
been more peculiarly applied to
the man who steals the lead in
pursuance of his vocation as a
thief, than to him who takes it
because it comes in the way of
his work].

2. Fr. limoitslneur ; gras-doit-
blicr ; niastaroußeur. Hence TO

FLY THE BLUE PIGEON =z to Steal

lead from the roofs of houses.
Fr. fairt la mastar au gras-double ;
ratisser du gras double.

1789. Geo. Parker, Life's Painter,
165. Blue pigeon flying. Fellows
who steal lead off houses, or cut pipes
away.

1872. J. DoRAN, Notes a7id Queries, 4
S., X., 308. Even at the present day, no
rascal would stoop to strip lc;<d from the
roof of a house. At least, what honest
men would call by that name, he would
prettily designate as 'FLYING THE BLUB
pigeon '.

igoi. Daily Telegraph, 21 Mar. 11.
5. Persons addicted to what is known
among the criminal classes as 'flying
the blue pigeon ', usually mount on to
the roofs of buildings that are covered
with the metal, and this they do at times
when they are least likely to be observed
or interrupted.

Blue-pill, subs. fhr. (colloquial). —
A bullet: also blue plu.mb and
BLUE whistler: see pill.



Blue-point.



292



Blues (the).



1785. Grose, Dictionary of the Vul-
gar Tongue. Surfeited with a blue plumb,
wounded with a bullet; a sortment of
George R — 's blue plumbs, a volley of
ball, shot from soldier's firelocks.

1834. Harrison Ainsworth, Rook-
wood (1884), 95.
Believe me, there is not a game, my

brave boys,
To compare with the game of high toby;
No rapture can equal the toby man's joys,
To blue devils, blub plumbs give the

go by.

1861. N. V. Tribune (Let. from
Missouri), Nov. 10. Between blue pills,
halters, and the penitentiary, we shall
soon work oft" this element of rascaldom
and horse-thieves.

Blue-point, subs., phr., (old). — A
small standard of value; some-
thing worthless: cf. rap, straw,
CURSE, damn. [A point was a
tag of lace, and blue was the
usual colour of a servant's livery;
also BLUE POINT = some coarse
lace or string on a servant's coat.
Point by itself was used in this
disparaging sense].

1543- Udal, Erasmus, 8. In matters
not worth a blewe poinct. . , we will spare
for no cost. Ibid, 187. He was, for the
respect of his qualities not to be estem-
ed worth a blewe point or a good lous.

1598. Breton, Dream Str. Effects,
17. I am sworn servant to Virtue; there-
fore a BLUE POINT for thee and viUanies.

Blue-ribbon, subs. phr. (common).
— I. Gin: see drinks.

2. (colloquial). — A first-prize,
the greatest distinction. Hence,

THE BLUE RIBBON OF THE TURF =

the Derby (racing).

Blue-ruin, st4bs. phr. (common). —
Gin: see DRINKS.

[1753. Tract, [Notes and Queries, i
S. ii. 246.J [The English are here spoken
of as 'expensive in blbw besr' (? blue
ruin)].



c. 1817. Keats, A Portrait. He
sipped no olden Tom, or ruin BLtre, or
Nantz, or cherry brandy.

iSig. Moore, Tom Crib^s 3Ie}norial
to Congress, 39.

A few short words I first must spare,
To him, the Hero, that sits there.
Swigging blue ruin, in that chair.

1821. W. T. Moncrieff, Tom and
ferry, Act iii., 3. Log. Here, Land-
lord, more blue ruin, my boy ! Sal.
Massa Bob, you find me no such bad
partner; many de good vili and de power
me get from de Jack Tar.

1836. SouTHEY, Doctor, Int. xvi.
Some of the whole-hoggery in the House
of Commons he would designate by Deady,
or Wet and Heavy, some by weak tea,
others by blue ruin. Old Tom, which
rises above blue ruin to the tune of
threepence a glass, and, yet more fiery
than Old Tom, as being a fit beverage
for another Old One who shall be name-
less, gin and brimstone.

1837. Barham, Ingoldsby Legends,
'Bagman's Dog.'
He conceived she referr'd to a delicate

brewing.
Which is almost synonymous, namely,

blue ruin.

1847. Lvtton, Z?/fr<?/!rt, II., XX. 'The
littel un . . . had been abrought up upon
spoon-meat, with a dash o' blue ruin
to make him slim and ginteel.'

1859. Sala, Gaslight ond Daylight,
xxiii. The stuff itself, which in the
western gin-shops goes generally by the
name of blue ruin, or 'short.'

BLUES (The), subs, (common).— I.
Despondency; hypochondria; de-
pression of spirits. [A shortened
form of BLUE DEVILS iq.v.).] Fr.
se faire des plumes or paumer ses
p/umes.

1807. Washington Irving, Salma-
gundi (1824), 96. In a fit of the blues.

1856. Whyte Melville, Kate Co-
ventry, viii. The moat alone is enough
to give one the blues.



Blue-skin.



293



Bluestocking.



1889. John Strange Winter, That
Imp, 10. ' Miss Aurora,' lie said sud-
denly, one evening after dinner, 'It's
awfully dull at Drive now; does it never
strike you so?' 'Very often, my dear,'
answered Miss Aurora promptly. 'It's
as dull as — ' 'Ditch-water,' supplied
Driver, finding she paused for a word
which would express dulness enough.
'I wonder you and Betty don't die of the



Online LibraryJohn Stephen FarmerSlang and its analogues past and present. A dictionary historical and comparative of the heterodox speech of all classes of society for more than three hundred years. With synonyms in English, French, German, Italian, etc (Volume 1) → online text (page 39 of 62)