This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Cant - A Gentleman's Guide: The…

Cant - A Gentleman's Guide: The Language of Rogues in Georgian London

by Stephen Hart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
156978,630 (4)2
Visiting the Underworld of Georgian London but not sure how to blend in? Can't tell a clapperdogeon from a running smobbler? Wouldn't know the upright man if he noped your costard with his filchman? You need this book. This fascinating guide will teach you all you need to know about the vocabulary of the Rogues of Georgian London and how to function in society at the lowest level. Along the way you will acquire some much-needed information and advice on how to make false dice; how to pick pockets; how best to rob a man on a horse; and where to find a good cup of coffee at 3:00am in the morning. An invaluable resource for any gentleman.… (more)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
It's funny - my main experience with the cant explored in this book is through Lyndsay Faye's marvelous Timothy Wilde trilogy, set in New York. It is there I've heard (because I listened to the audiobooks) this cant in all its glory, not in books set in England.

There are some great stories in here about the slang people have come up with for various things – but now and then I would have loved another paragraph, or even another sentence, about the origins of terms (or even just "we don't know why"). Example: the nine of diamonds in cards is known as "Curse of Scotland", and the four of clubs as "Wibling’s Witch". These are terrific … but there have to be stories behind them. (For anyone else who's curious: Wibling's Witch; The Curse of Scotland. They are good stories.)

That being said, there is a lot of great stuff in here. I love "Vincent" as short for "innocent victim", and the fact that a shark was also known as a "Sea Lawyer". However, the author states "While the speed at which language changed did not compare to the modern era of mass communication and the Internet, nevertheless it is disingenuous to assume, as I have done, that thieves’ cant at the beginning of the period is the same as it is at the end", and so I think this is far more useful as entertainment than as a reference work for one's own period novel.

I received this book from a LibraryThing Member Giveaway in exchange for a review - thank you! ( )
  Stewartry | Apr 16, 2016 |
Before you set your TARDIS to Regency London (roughly 1714 to 1830), take an hour or so and peruse this helpful little language guide. Although more genteel lexicons can be found explicating the language of Jane Austin or Georgette Heyer, Mr. Hart concentrates on the seamier side of town and the vocabulary a gentleman might need if he arrives without any Balsam in his pockets.

Depending on our traveler's inherent skills, he will need to seek out a Flash Crib and Cut The Bene Winds so that he can avoid a Culp and offer his services to the right sort of Queer Cove. This book will be of help. It's fun to read too.

I received a review copy of "Cant - A Gentleman's Guide to the Language of Rogues in Georgian London" by Stephen Hart through LibraryThing.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Jan 18, 2016 |
I loved the "Digressions" in this book. As a genealogist and anglophile I enjoy knowing where both the gentlemen and the ruffians might be found, primarily in Georgian London, and what their slang could have been. Little historic tidbits litter the Digressions, like Sir Hans Sloane introducing Milk Chocolate in the 18th century. Some expressions have changed drastically over the centuries. A "window peeper" use to mean a "collector of window tax". A distant "tallow chandler" ancestor might have been called a "maggot boiler". Some of the crimes seem bazaar but make sense upon reflection, such as the "black spice racket" which is robbing chimney sweeps of their soot bag. This is the kind of book you pick up to read a few pages and have a chuckle or learn something unexpected. And then pick up again. ( )
  JaiW | Sep 27, 2014 |
Very interesting, and thorough. This is resource material, not a history or biography, and should be useful not only to those studying Georgian London, but also anyone who wants to sprinkle some unusual verbiage in their fiction - I can see some very useful words for the science fiction and horror fields. ( )
  gbcmars | Aug 11, 2014 |
If you are considering time travel to Georgian England and plan to spend time with rogues and rapscallions then this is a book worth packing to take along with you. Not only does it have lists of words used during that time period and what they correlate with today but it also provides some interesting tidbits on where to eat, gamble, attend fights of various types, punishment, jails, religion and consorting with those that are paid for their hospitality. This is a fun book and resource to keep on hand while reading Georgian period novels. ( )
  CathyGeha | Jun 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Member Giveaway

Stephen Hart's book Cant - A Gentleman's Guide was available from LibraryThing Member Giveaway.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4)
3 1
4 5
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 139,564,969 books! | Top bar: Always visible