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Secret Language of Crime:The Rogue's Lexicon
[0872432289]

Secret Language of Crime:The Rogue\'s Lexicon
ISBN: 0872432289

ISBN-13: 9780872432284

Here is a comprehensive dictionary of 19th century criminal slang. It was compiled in 1859 by the former Chief of Police of New York City and is the book to which novelists and historians turn to make the streets of 19th century America come alive. More than 2500 words and phrases are defined in its 204 pages. "The rogue fraternity," he says in his preface, "have a language peculiarly their own, which is understood and spoken by them no matter what their dialect, or the nation where they were reared . . . It is not, however, to policemen alone that this book will be of service, as these words and phrases are being interwoven with our language and many of them are becoming recognized Anglicisms. It is not unusual to see them in the messages of presidents and governors -- to hear them enunciated at the bar and from the pulpit, so that while they are in common use among the footpads that infest the land, the elite of Fifth Avenue pay homage to their worth by frequently using them . . . The vocabulary of the rogue is not of recent date. It is a language of great antiquity and may be dated back to the earliest days of the roving gypsy bands and adapted to the use of modern rogues in all parts of the world, a language in which the etymologist will find words drawn from every known language."

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Matsell, George W.
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