Wondrous Words Wednesday
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.