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Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 6, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I recently read The Gods of Gotham, by Lydsay Faye, a historical fiction novel about the beginnings of the New York City Police Department.  There is a dictionary of selected flash terminology in the front of the book and I thought it would be fun to share some of it.  In case you’re wondering,

Flash, or flash-patter, is the curious dialect spoken by foisters, panel thieves, bruisers, dice burners, confidence men, street rats, news hawkers, addicts, and Valentine.  [Valentine is the narrator’s brother.]  I’ve heard tell it’s based on British thieves’ cant, but damned if I’ve ever heard them compared.  It’s not a language, exactly — it’s more like a code.

1. cap – “I will cap in with him.”

Cap means to join in.


2. cranky-hutch – “”I’ve a career now,” I confessed.  “And a brother who belongs locked in a cranky-hutch.”

A cranky-hutch is an insane asylum.


3. hash – “I’d have pitied him, sitting in his linen drawers trying not to hash his guts out, were it not a tired and self-imposed picture.”

Hash means to vomit.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2012 4:28 am

    It’s like a totally new language. I want to read that one. My husband once read a book about the Potato Famine. It really stirred him up. He doesn’t get a chance to read now only news items in the newspaper. Anyway I think “cap” might stay in my head. I’ll bet that book is really interesting.

  2. June 6, 2012 5:19 am

    I thought I knew all the words for vomit! Hash is a new one for me. I know it as the drug of course, and the cooking usages, but never heard this one. New usages are always interesting aren’t they?

  3. June 6, 2012 7:51 am

    Cranky hatch is just great! Will have to work that into my conversation today – should not be hard around my house – LOL!

    The other two are interesting, because I know the words – obviously – but, not these definitions.

  4. June 6, 2012 8:56 am

    Interesting words! Thanks for sharing.

  5. June 6, 2012 10:49 am

    Another meaning for the word cap, great words.

  6. talesofwhimsy permalink
    June 6, 2012 11:04 am

    Cranky hutch sounds mean but clever.

  7. June 6, 2012 11:58 am

    Thanks for that hash visual! LOL

  8. June 6, 2012 12:51 pm

    Fun words this week. I especially like the quote from the book describing flash. I think I’d enjoy the book.

  9. June 6, 2012 1:11 pm

    Hash is so much less visual than some of the other eupemisms I know. I like it!

  10. June 6, 2012 1:14 pm

    That book is on my TBR list.
    These words are great!!

  11. June 6, 2012 1:26 pm

    I love ‘cranky’hutch’….so perfectly describes where I’ve thought I belong the past year or so! And it could easily be interpreted by modern readers to mean cranky person, as in,…”Don’t mess with mom, she’s in the ‘crankyhutch’ today” So the phrase is a win/win for me, I can use it when they’re driving me crazy or when I’m just plain grumpy!!

  12. June 6, 2012 2:10 pm

    Cranky-hutch is my favorite of the three! Great words this week, Kathy. 🙂

  13. June 6, 2012 3:27 pm

    Never heard those before

  14. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    June 6, 2012 6:16 pm

    Cranky-hutch?? Hmmm…I could use that one 😀

  15. June 6, 2012 7:18 pm

    The only one I’ve heard before is hatch. Love how cranky-hutch sounds though!

  16. June 7, 2012 3:33 pm

    love cranky-hutch!!

  17. June 7, 2012 7:48 pm

    I think I prefer the word hash as opposed to vomit. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary!

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