Bacon-fed beefeater with caffan and cackling-farts!

Urban Dictionary isn’t the first dictionary of slang. One of the earliest and most influential such dictionaries in English is Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, published in 1785. Grose explored numerous seedy London establishments to collect these words. Many entries that were considered slang in the 18th century are perfectly respectable words today, while others sound stranger to our ears. Here are selections from the first headings in his dictionary, A, Band C, which feature such interesting words as “bacon-fed,” “beefeater” for yeoman guards originally with Henry VII, “caffan” for cheese, and “cackling-farts” for eggs. We neither encourage nor discourage our readers to bring some of these words back into vogue. DB

Grose, Francis. A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. (London, S Hooper: 1785)

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