[To "Voices from 19th-Century America"]

Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett (1848)

John Russell Bartlett (1805-1886) was well educated in history and literature before he and a partner opened a bookstore that became popular with scholars and literary figures. Bartlett also helped to found the American Ethnological Society. A stint as boundary commissioner wasn't as successful as his many years as Rhode Island's Secretary of State or his work as an historian and compiler of the Dictionary of Americanisms.

The Dictionary of Americanisms went through at least four editions between 1848 and 1877. As a record of the "colloquial language of the United States," it's a fascinating look at the words that actually came out of the mouths of early 19th-century Americans. It's also a window into U. S. history, with tiny essays on early political parties, economics, and culture; its collection of quotes offers later readers examples from a wide variety of early-19th-century works.

My copy is of the first edition, which is also available on microcard as part of the Library of American Civilization (LAC 12141).

[This table of contents is not in the original:

"Introduction" | "Dialects of England" | "American Dialects"
a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | y
"Appendix A"]

http://www.merrycoz.org/voices/bartlett/AMER10.HTM

Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett. (NY: Bartlett and Welford, 1848)

[To previous page]

-----
p. 241

OPINUATED. Conceited.--Sherwood's Georgia.

OSWEGO TEA. (Lat. monarda didyma.) A medicinal plant prepared by the Shakers for its aromatic and stomachic properties.

OUGHT. As this verb is defective, and has no inflection to distinguish past from present time, illiterate persons often attempt to supply the deficiency by the use of auxiliaries. Hence the expressions, don't ought, had ought, hadn't ought. Mr. Pegge notices the two last among the vulgarisms of London.

Now, you hadn't ought to be so stingy with such charming daughters as you've got.--Maj. Jones's Courtship, p. 67.

Peter Cram is an impostor and ignoramus, and you hadn't ought to have recommended him.--Knickerbocker Mag., Vol. XVII.

"The luggage must be brought in," said the elderly gentleman. "Yes! I should think it had oughter," observed the young man in reply. "I should bring it in, if it was mine. Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life, Vol. I. p. 96.

OURN, for ours. A vulgarism frequently heard, which is also common in the local dialect of London.

OUT AND OUT. Wholly; completely; without reservation. A common colloquial expression here as in England.

Duff Green has issued proposals for a new free-trade paper in the city of New York. It will be conducted with energy, and will fail. An out-and-out anti-tariff free-trade paper, without commercial support, cannot obtain that support in any commercial city in the world.--N. Y. Com. Adv.

Although an out-and-out democrat, by virtue of my subscription, and your well-known liberality, I claim to he heard through your columns.--Cor. of N. Y. Tribune, Oct. 28, 1843.

Pliny Hopper expected to make a thousand per cent. the first year [on his morus multicaulis trees], and the second to be able to retire from business, and buy the whole State of Connecticut out-and-out.--Knick. Mag.

OUT OF FIX. Disarranged; in a state of disorder.

The week was the longest one ever was. It seemed to me that the axletree of the world wanted greasin', or somethin' or other was out of fix, for it didn't seem to turn round half so fast as it used to do.--Maj. Jones's Conrtship, p. 80.

OUT OF SORTS. Out of order; disordered. Dr. Millingen, in his remarks on persons of phlegmatic temperament, says:

They are in general good, easy persons, susceptible of kindly feelings, but, to use a common expression, easily put out of sorts.--Mind and Matter, p. 84.

-----
p. 242

OUTFIT. Money advanced to a public minister, going to a foreign country, beyond his salary.--Webster.

TO OUTSTORM. To overbear by storming.--Webster.

Insults the tempests, and outstorms the skies.--J. Barlow.

OVER, for under. In these expressions, 'He wrote over the signature of Junius;' 'He published some papers over his own signature.' A few of our writers still countenance this unwarrantable innovation; but the principle, on which it is defended, would unsettle the whole language. The use of the word under, in phrases like those above mentioned, is as well established as any English idiom.--Pickering. Mr. Hoffman, in reply to a correspondent, says:

Had our friend U., of Philadelphia, duly meditated this matter, be never would have sent us a letter with such an unpoetical expression in it as the very common blunder of "over the signature"--for the metaphorical phrase originally derived from the ensign of the soldier, the device of the knight, the armorial bearing of the baron, the totem, if you please, of the Indian sachem, under which he presents himself to the world. U., as a lawyer, must it least be more or less familiar with the phrase, "given under my hand and seal," as a true English idiom, albeit the hand and seal (which in this instance constitute "the signature") are placed at the bottom of the document. We do not talk of a vessel sailing "over" the flag of the United States, when her ensigns are sent below at sunset!--N. Y. Lit. World.

OVER-CAREFUL. Careful to excess.--Webster.

TO OVERHAUL. To gain upon in a chase; to overtake.--Webster. A seaman's phrase, sometimes used in common parlance.

OVERSLAUGH. (Dutch, overslag.) A bar, in the marine language of the Dutch. The overslaugh in the Hudson river near Albany, is, I believe, the only locality to which this term is now applied among us.

TO OVERSLAUGH. (Dutch, overslaan.) To skip over; pass over; omit. A word used by New York politicians.

Mr. Polk intended making Gen. Butler commander-in-chief, and to drop Gen. Scott. But it was found that public opinion would not be reconciled to overslaughing Taylor, and he [Gen. Taylor] was nominated.--Washington Correspondent. N. Y. Com. Adv., Oct. 21, 1846.

Van Buren is no longer feared as a candidate for the Presidency. He was overslaughed in May, when he was a candidate of some promise.--Letter from Washington, N. Y. Com. Adv., Nov. 28, 1846.

-----
p. 243

OWDACIOUS, for audacious. Southern and Western.

He had a daughter Molly, that was the most enticin', heart-distressin' creature that ever made a feller get owdacious.--Robb, Squatter Life.

Why, Major, you wouldn't take such a likely gall as that to New York?--the abolitionists would have her out of your hands quicker than you could say Jack Robinson. I was never so oudaciously put out with the abominable abolitionists before. It was enough to make a man what wasn't principled agin swearin', cus like a trooper.--Maj. Jone's Travels.



P.

PAAS. (Dutch, Paasch.) This Dutch name is still commonly applied to the festival of Easter, in the State of New York.

PACKAGE. A general term, comprehending bales, boxes, &c. of merchandise.--Pickering. Dr. Johnson and the early lexicographers do not notice the word. Recent authors, however, Knowles and Reid, give it a place in their dictionaries.

PAINT. In some of the Southern States, a horse or other animal which is spotted, is called a paint.

PAINTER. In the country the popular name of the cougar or panther (felis concolor). Vanderdonck, in his "History of the New Netherlands," called it a lion; and Mr. Emmons, in his "Massachusetts Report," speaks of it as the Puma or American Lion.

"You don't know the way," said Obed; "snakes'll bite ye; there's painters in the woods, and wild cats and owls.--Margaret, p. 27.

PAIR OF STAIRS. An expression often used for a flight of stairs.

PALMETTO. (Genus, chamærops.) A species of American dwarf palm; cabbage tree.--Worcester.

PALMETTO STATE or CAPITAL. The State or capital of South Carolina; so called from the arms of the State, which contain a palmetto.

In the delightful temperature of to-day, with the rich foliage of the trees in green luxuriance, and the perfumes of a thousand beds of flowers burdening the air, the Palmetto Capital is exceedingly pleasant.--Letter from Charleston, N. Y. Tribune.

-----
p. 244

PAPPOOS. (Algonkin.) Among the native Indians of New England, a babe or young child.--Webster. It is also applied to Indian infants by the whites.

PARK. A public square or enclosure is so termed in New York. The Park, formerly called the Commons, and in which stands the City Hall, contains nearly eleven acres of ground; St. John's Park, called the Hudson Square, has above four acres.

PARTLY. Mr. Pickering notices the use of this word in the sense of nearly, almost, in some towns of the Middle States. Ex. 'His house is partly opposite,' i. e. nearly opposite to mine. 'It is partly all gone;' i. e. nearly all gone.

PASSAGE. Enactment; the act of carrying through oll the regular forms necessary to give validity; as the passage of a law, or of a bill into a law, by a legislative body.--Webster. Mr. Pickering says this word "is criticised by the English reviewers as an American innovation." It is not in the English dictionaries in this sense.

His agency in procuring the passage of the stamp act was more than suspected.--Hosack.

PATROON. (Dutch, patroon, a patron.) A grantee of land to be settled under the old Dutch governments of New York and New Jersey.

The following articles from the "Freedoms and Exemptions" granted to the Dutch West India Company, will show what were some of the privileges of the Patroons:

Art. 3. All such shall be acknowledged Patroons of New Netherland who shall, within the space of four years next after they have given notice to any of the Chambers of the Company here, or to the Commander of the Council there, undertake to plant a colonie there of fifty souls upwards of fifteen years of age; one-fourth part within one year, and within three years of the sending of the first, the remainder, to the full number of fifty persons, to be shipped from hence, on pain, in case of wilful neglect, of being deprived of the privileges obtained, etc.

Art. 5. The Patroons, by virtue of their power, shall and may be permitted, at such places as they shall settle their colonies, to extend their limits four miles along the shore, that is, on one side of a navigable river, or two miles on each side of a river, and so far no the country as the situation of the occupiers will permit, etc.

Art. 8. The Patroons may, if they think proper, make use of all lands,

-----
p. 245

rivers, and woods lying contiguous to them, for and during so long a time as this Company shall grant them to other Patroons or particulars.

For a further account of the privileges of the Patroons, See O'Callaghan's History of New Netherland, Vol. I. p. 112.

PAWPAW. (Lat. annona triloba, ficus Indicus.) A wild fruit-bearing shrub, remarkable for its beauty. The fruit is nutritious, and a great resource to the Indians. "So many whimsical and compounded tastes are contained in it," says Mr. Flint, "that a person of the most hypochondriac temperament relaxes to a smile when he tastes the pawpaw for the first time."--Geog. of the Mississippi Valley.

PAYEE. The person to whom money is to be paid; the person named in a bill or note to whom the amount is promised or directed to be paid.--Webster. This useful word is not in the English dictionaries.

TO PEAK.}
TO PEKE.} To peep; to pry into. It is quite common in the popular language of New England to hear this word, which Dr. Webster supposes to be the same as peep. If it is a corruption, which is doubtful, the examples will show that its use is not modern.

Now whereof he speketh;
He cryeth and he creketh,
He pryeth and he peketh.--Skelton, Colin Cloute, Vol. I. 312.

That other pries and pekes in everie place.--Gascoigne, p. 301.

He's a lazy, good-for-nothin' fellow. He's no better than a peaking mud-sucker.--Margaret, p. 20.

PEAKED. Sickly looking.--Todd. Applied to a person who is sickly, and whose face presents sharp angles. Holloway says, that in England they say of a sickly person, "he looks pale and peaked.' The same expression is often heard in the Northern States.

But there was a lawyer, a standing up by the grove, lookin' as peaked and as forlorn as an unmated coon.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 11.

PEA-NUT. The common name for the fruit of the arachis hypogea. It is also called the ground nut and earth nut. (French, pistache de terre.)

PEARIFORM. Pear-shaped. A hybrid expression.

-----
p. 246

The Western mounds are usually simple cones in form; but they are sometimes truncated, and occasionally terraced, with graded or winding ascents to their summits. Some are elliptical, others peariform, and others square or parallelogram, with flanking terraces.--Squier on the Aboriginal Monuments of the Mississppi Valley.

PECCAN NUT. The nut of the peccan tree, the carys oliviormia of the Southern States.

PECK OF TROUBLES. Great trouble.

Neptune at that his speed redoubles,
To ease them of their peck of troubles.--Cotton, Virgil Travestie, B. I.

When I wrote my last letter to you, I was in a peck of troubles, and it did seem to me like heaven and earth was inspired agin me.--Maj. Jones's Courtship, p. 106.

PECKISH. Hungry.--Grose.

PEEKY. A term applied to timber and trees, in which the first symptoms of decay are shown.

The species of decay to which the cypress tree is liable, shows itself in detached spots in close proximity to each other. Timber affected in this way is denominated by raftsmen, peeky.--Dickeson on Cypress Timber.

PEEL. A broad thin board with a long handle, used by bakers to put their bread in and out of the oven.--Johnson. The term is by many applied to a common shovel.

PEERT. This word has the same signification as perk, but is much more frequently employed. It is either an altered form of the word perk, or a corrupt pronunciation of pert. The phrase, 'as peert as a lizard,' is sometimes heard. It is used in a good as well as a bad sense, and especially of one who is recovering, or 'looking up,' after a fit of sickness.

I gave her the best bend I had in me, and raised my bran-new hat as peert and perlite as a minister.--Robb, Squatter Life.

Speaking of the recovery of his wife from sickness, Major Jones says:

Mary's rite piert, and her child is making a monstrous good beginnin' in the world.--Courtship, p. 200.

That fellow must think we were all raised in a saw mill, he looks so peert whenever he comes in.--Hoffman, Winter in the West.

Well, I starts off pretty considerable peert and brisk, considering I was weak.--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. I. p. 178.

PEE-WEE. The name given by boys to a little marble.

-----
p. 247

PEET-WEET. (Genus, totanus.) The spotted Sandpiper or Sand-lark of ornithologists, but better known among the people by the name of peet-weet, in allusion to its notes; or of teeter and tilt-up from its often repeated grotesque jerking motions.--Dr. DeKay in Nat. Hist. of New York.

PEMICAN. A far-famed provender of man, in the wilds of North America, formed by pounding the choice parts of the meat very small, dried over a slow fire or in the frost, and put into bags made of the skin of the slain animal, into which a portion of melted fat is then poured. The whole being then strongly pressed and sewed up, constitutes the best and most portable food for the "voyageurs," and one which, with proper care, will keep a long time. Fifty pounds of meat and forty pounds of grease make a bag of pemican. Sweet pemican is another kind, made chiefly of bones.--Dunn's Oregon, p. 59.

Penn. The common abbreviation for Pennsylvania.

PERFECTIONIST. One pretending to perfection; an enthusiast in religion.--Webster.

Among the highest puritan perfectionists, you shall find people of fifty, threescore, and fourscore years old, not able to give that account of their faith which you might have had heretofore from a boy of nine or ten.--South's Sermons, Vol. IV.

There be met a perfectionist, ready for heaven,
     Only waiting till Heaven was willing;
And he found him one-half a perfect fool,
     The other half a perfect villain.--Devil's New Walk, Boston, 1848.

PERIAUGER. (Spanish, piragua.) A small schooner without a bowsprit, and with a lee board, used in the waters of New York and New Jersey.

Steamboats, lighters, periaugers, scows, clam-boats, and nondescript water-witches of every sort, have arrived hourly from quarantine, loaded with almost entire villages of men, women, and children [German and Irish emigrants]--N. Y. Commercial Adrertiser.

PERIODICAL. A magazine or other publication, that is published at stated or regular periods.--Webster.

PERK. Lively; brisk; holding up the head.--Webster. This old word, still provincial in England, is used in the interior

-----
p. 248

of New England, and is commonly pronounced peark (the ea as in pear).--Pickering.

               My ragged ronts
They wont in the wind wag their wriggle tails,
Perk as a peacock; but now it avails.--Shepherd's Calendar.

PERSIMMON. (Diospyros Virginiana.) This tree is unknown in the North-eastern parts of our country; but south of latitude 42° it is found throughout the United States. It varies exceedingly in size, being sometimes sixty feet in height, with a trunk twenty inches in diameter, but more frequently does not attain half these dimensions. The fruit is about an inch in diameter, and is powerfully astringent. The wood is very hard, and is used for large screws, mallets, shoe lasts, wedges, &c. In clearing the forests, the persimmon is usually preserved; and it is probable that the quality of the fruit might be improved by cultivation.--Encyc. Amer.

PERTEND UP. Better; more cheerful.--Sherwood's Georgia.

PESKILY. Very; extremely; confoundedly. I know not the origin of this New England word.

Skeered, says he, sarves him right; he might have known how to feel for other folks, and not funkify them so peskily.--Sam Slick in England.

I'm peskily sorry about that mare.--Ibid. ch. 08.

The Post Office accounts were the next bother; and they puzzled all on us peskily.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 139.

PESKY. Great; very; exceedingly.

I found [looking for houses] a pesky sight worse job than I expected.--Downing, May-day in New York, p. 36.

I wonder how he's on't for face-cards; ha! ha! So pesky slow, we shan't get through to-night.--Margaret, p. 305.

The thing of it is, people has got to be so pesky proud and perlite.--Ibid. p. 141.

PETER FUNK. At the petty auctions a person is employed to bid on articles put up for sale, in order to raise their price. Such a person is called a Peter Funk; probably from such a name having frequently been given when articles were bought in. At the mock auctions, as they are called in New York, this practice of having by-bidders is carried to a great extent; and strangers, unacquainted with their tricks, are often cheated

-----
p. 249

by them. Grose describes a person similarly employed in England, under the name of puffer.

PHEESE. A fit of fretfulness. A colloquial, vulgar word in the United States.--Worcester. The adjective pheesy, fretful, querulous, irritable, sore, is provincial in England.--Forby. Also written feeze, which see.

PICAYUNE. The name for the Spanish half real in Florida, Louisiana, etc. See Federal Currency.

PICAYUNE. Sixpenny. Sometimes used metaphorically for small.

There is nothing picayune about the members of St. George's [Cricket] Club; for the love of sport, they will almost invariably enter upon matches that other clubs would not accept.--N. Y. Herald.

PICKANINNY. A negro or mulatto infant. Used in the Southern States. Mr. Boucher, in his Glossary, suggests that this word is from the Spanish picade niño, pequeno niño. It is more probably of African origin.

I jest sauntered in as he was puttin' up the pickaninny yaller gal, about five years old.--Robb, Squatter Life.

PICK-BACK. On the back.--Johnson. We often use the word with children. To ride pick-back, is for a child to ride across one's back, with its arms around the neck.

For as our modern wits behold,
Mounted a pick-back on the old,
Much farther off; much farther he,
Rais'd on his aged beast, could see.--Hudibras.

TO PICK. To eat like a bird; that is, slowly and by small morsels. Ex. 'I have little appetite, but think I can pick a bit;' 'You will find some good picking on that fowl.'

PICKLE. To have a rod in pickle, or in soak, is to have a flogging prepared for one. The phrase is often used in jest, here as in England.

PICK-UP. A pick-up, or a pick-up dinner, is a dinner made up of such fragments of cold meats as remain from former meals. The word is common in the Northern States.

PIECE. A little while. 'Stay a piece.' Provincial in the north of England.--Johnson. The common expression is, 'Wait a bit.'

-----
p. 250

PIG-NUT. (Lat. juglans porcina.) A small species of walnut.--Michaux, Sylva.

PIG-YOKE. Among seamen, the name for a quadrant, from its resemblance to a pig-yoke.

PILE. (Dutch, pyl.) An arrow. This word is still retained by the boys of New York.

PIMPING. Little; petty; as, 'a pimping thing.'--Skinner. Used in the interior of New England.

Was I little? asked Margaret. Yes, and pimpin' enough. And I fed your marm with rue and comfrey-root, or ye never'd come to this.--Margaret, p. 19.

ON A PINCH. On an emergency.

At a fight in Albany, New York, on the 12th instant, one man was stabbed desperately with a dirk. Upon a pinch, they can stah a little at the North.--New Orleans Paper.

They can't go ahead of us in England in racin'. We have colts that can whip chain-lightnin' on a pinch.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 19.

I have the best accommodations in the city, said the landlord. I can lodge 200 persons with all the ease in the world, and 300 upon a pinch.--Perils of Pearl Street, p. 142.

PINE BARRENS. A term applied to level, sandy tracts, covered with pine-trees, in the Southern.States.--Worcester.

The road which I had to travel, lay through a dreary and extensive forest of pine trees, or, as it is termed by the Carolinians, a pine-barren, where t habitation is seldom seen, except at intervals of ten or twelve miles.--Lambert's Trarels, Vol. II. p. 226.

PINK. Used here as in England, like the word flower, to denote the finest part, the essence; as, ' She is the pink of perfection.'

I am the very pink of courtesy.--Shakspeare, Romeo and Juliet.

Then let Crispino, who was ne'er refused
The justice yet of being well abused,
With patience wait; and be content to reign
The pink of puppies in some future strain.--Young.

Mr. Smoothly was the mirror of fashion, and the pink of politeness.--Perils of Pearl Street, p. 25.

PINK-STERN. (French, pinque.) A vessel with a narrow stern; hence all vessels so formed are called pink-sterned.--

-----
p. 251

Chambers. This species of craft is very common in the waters of New England.

PINION. A species of pine tree, growing on the head waters of the Arkansas; common to that region as well as to New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, etc. Wild turkeys frequent groves of these trees for the sake of their nuts.

PINXTER. (Dutch, pingster.) Whitsunday. On Pinxter Monday, the Dutch negroes of New York and New Jersey consider themselves especially privileged to get as drunk as they can.

Pinkster fields, and pinkster frolics, are no novelties to us, sir, as they occur at every season; and I am just old enough not to have missed one of them all, for the last twelve years.--Cooper, Satanstoe, Vol. I. p. 90.

PINXTER BLUMACHY. (Dutch.) A familiar name in the State of New York for the azalea nudiflora. May-apple is another name for the same plant.

PIPE-LAYING. This term, in political parlance, means any arrangement by which a party makes sure of a certain addition to its legitimate strength in the hour of trial--that is, the election. In other words, to lay pipe means to bring up voters not legally qualified.

It were too long a story to tell the origin of the term at length. In brief, it arose from an accusation brought against the Whig party of this city (New York) some years ago, of a gigantic scheme to bring on voters from Philadelphia. The accusation was made by a notorious Democrat, of not very pure political character, who professed to have derived his information from the agent employed by the Whigs for the service. This agent had actually been employed by certain leaders of the Whig party, but on a service deemed legitimate and proper in the art of electioneering. He, however, turned traitor, and, as was alleged by the Whigs, concocted a plot with the notorious Democrat to throw odium upon the Whigs. A mass of correspondence was brought forward in proof, consisting mainly of letters written by the agent to various parties in New York, apparently describing the progress and success of his operations. In these letters, as if for the purpose of concealment, the form of a mere business

-----
p. 252

correspondence was adopted--the number of men hired to visit New York and vote, being spoken of as so many yards of pipe--the work of laying down pipe for the Croton water being at that time in full activity.

The Whig leaders were indicted, on the strength of these pseudo revelations, and the letters were read in court; bu[t] the jury believed neither in them nor in the writer of them, and the accused were acquitted.

The term pipe-laying," however, was at once adopted as a synonym for negotiations to procure fraudulent votes.--[J. Inman.]

PIRATE. A sea-robber; any robber; particularly a book-seller who seizes the copies of other men.--Johnson.

Some of our large publishing houses may not be aware that there is such good authority for applying the term pirate to them, as is found in the following quotation:

This poem was written for his own diversion, without any design of publication. It was communicated but to me; but soon spread, and fell into the hands of pirates. It was put out, vilely mangled, and impudently said to be corrected by the author.--Johnson, Life of J. Philips.

PISTAREEN. The Spanish peseta Sevillana, or one-fifth of a dollar. A silver coin, formerly common in the United States, of the value of twenty cents. They have now become so much worn that they pass but for seventeen cents.

TO PIT. A pit is the area in which cocks fight; hence, 'to pit one against another,' to place them in the same pit, one against the other, for a contest; to put or place as a match.--Richardson.

A gentleman came into our office, from Colton, and deliberately pitted that town against the county for tall grass.--Ogdensburgh Sentinel.

PIT. (Dutch, pit, a kernel.) The kernel or nut of fruit; as, a cherry-pit. Peculiar to New York.

You put an apple seed or a peach-pit into the ground, and it springs up into the form of a miniature tree.--Prof. Bush on the Resurrection.

PITPAN. In the West Indies, a very long, narrow, flat-bottomed, trough-like canoe, with thin and flat projecting ends.

PLAGUILY. Vexatiously; horribly. A low word.--Johnson.

-----
p. 253

You look'd scornful, and snift at the dean;
But he durst not so much as once open his lips,
And the doctor was plaguily down in the hips.--Swift.

I am puzzled most plaguily to get words to tell you what I think.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 3.

PLAGUY. In the United States used adverbially, in the same sense as plaguily.

The circumstances of the case should make the committee less "avidus glorlie," for all praise of them would look plaguy suspicious.--Lord Byron to Lord Holland, Let. 107.

The Prince de Joinville is a plaguy handsome man, and as full of fun as a kitten.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 22.

PLAGUY SIGHT. This is a very common expression in the colloquial language of New England, and means, a great deal.

Squire, said Slick. I'd a plaguy sight sooner see Ascot than anything else in England.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 19.

TO PLANK. To lay; to put; generally applied to money; as, 'He planked down the cash.'

I've had to plank down handsome, and do the thing genteel, but Mr. landlord found he had no fool to deal with, neither.--S. Slick in England.

Why, says he, shell out, and plank down a pile of dollars.--Ibid.

During the last war he planked up more gold and silver to lend the government than Benton ever counted.--Crockett, Tour, p. 59.

PLANTER. In Newfoundland, a person engaged in the fishery.

PLANTER. A term applied to a piece of timber or the naked trunk of a tree, one end of which is firmly planted in the bed of a river, while the other rises near the surface of the water. This is the most dangerous among the "snag and sawyer " family, to which vessels, navigating the Western rivers, are exposed. See Snag and Sawyer.

PLATFORM. In some of the New England States an ecclesiastical constitution, or a plan for the government of churches; as, the Cambridge or Saybrook platform.--Webster. The same use of this word is made by English divines.

Their minds and affections were universally bent even against all the orders and laws wherein the church is founded, conformable to the platform of Geneva.--Hooker.

-----
p. 254

A platform of church discipline, gathered out of the word of God, and agreed upon by the elders and messengers of the churches assembled at the synod in Cambridge in New England.--Title of book printed, London, 1653.

PLAY-ACTOR. A pleonastic expression for the English term player or actor. It is used only in the United States.

PLEAD or PLED, for pleaded. It has been correctly remarked, that there is no such word as pled in the English language. It is true that the preterite and past part. of the verb to read is pronounced red; but there is no analogy between the two verbs, except their accidental similarity of sound. The former is the Anglo-Saxon verb rædan, and is conjugated accordingly; whereas the latter is the old French plaider, and therefore cannot admit what philologists call the "strong inflexion." This vulgar mistake is often met with in our reports of legal proceedings and elsewhere. But it is not of recent origin, nor is it exclusively American; as is shown by the following example from Spenser, furnished by Richardson:

With him ..... came
Many grave persons that against her pled.--Spenser, Fairy Queen.

An old offender was caught last night in a warehouse, with a dark lantern and all the other implements of his profession, and next morning innocently plead "somnambulism" when brought before the magistrate--having no recollection of the doings of the night since he went to early in the evening, and found himself in the watch-house in the morning.--New York Paper.

PLENTY. Plentiful; in abundance.--Webster. Opinions differ as to this use of the word. Johnson regards it as "barbarous;" while Webster thinks it "too well authorized to be rejected." Dr. Johnson seems clearly in the right, notwithstanding; the word being the old French abstract noun plenté, which we are not entitled to turn into an adjective because it happens to end in y.

To grass with thy calves
Where water is plenty.--Tusser's Husbandry.

If reasons were as plenty as blackberries, I would give no man a reason on compulsion.--Shakspeare, Henry IV.

They were formed for those countries where shrubs are plenty and water scarce.--Goldsmith.

When laborers are plenty, their wages will be low.--Franklin.

-----
p. 255

PLUMPER. At an election, a full vote, to one candidate, not shared with another.--Richardson. We use the word in the nine sense; for example, 'Let the Whig voters turn out in a body, and give Harry Clay a plumper.'

PLUNDER. Personal luggage, baggage of travellers, goods, effects. A very common word throughout the Southern and Western States. It is never heard in this sense in New England.

When we got loaded up, I was afraid old Bosen was going to have more'n his match to pull us, they'd put in so much plunder. Two trunks, band-boxes, &c.--Maj. Jones's Courtship, p. 165.

Help yourself; stranger, added the landlord, while I tote your plunder into the other room.--Hoffman, Winter in the West, Let. 33.

POHAGEN. A fish of the herring species. The Menhaden of Rhode Island. Maine.

POKE. A bag. I have heard this old word used by some persons here in the compound term cream-poke; that is, a small bag through which cream is strained.--Pickering.

POKE. A lazy person; a dawdle. 'What a slow poke you be!' A woman's word.

POKE, or POKE-WEED. (Lat. phytolacca.) A common plant, known also by the names of Garget, Cocum, Jalap, &c. It is a violent emetic.--Bigelow's Plants of Boston.

POKE. In New England, a machine to prevent unruly beasts from leaping fences, consisting of a yoke with a pole inserted, pointing forward.--Webster.

TO POKE. To put a poke on; as, to poke an ox.--Webster.

TO POKE FUN. To joke; to make fun. To poke fun at, is to ridicule, make a butt of one.

The widow admonished Nimrod, and said, "You had better not be pokin' your fun about."--Margaret, p. 49.

Jeames, if you dont be quit poking fun at me, I'll break your mouth, as sure as you sit there.--Neal's Charcoal Sketches.

POKE-BONNET. A long, straight bonnet, much worn by Quakers and Methodists.

POKE-LOKEN. An Indian word, used by hunters and lum-

-----
p. 256

bermen in Maine, to denote a marshy place or stagnant pool, extending into the land from a stream or lake.

POKER. A favorite game of cards among Southern gamblers.

POKER. (Dan. pokker, Welsh pwca, a hobgoblin.) Any frightful object, especially in the dark; a bugbear; a word in common use in America.--Webster.

POKERISH. Frightful; causing fear, especially to children. A childish or colloquial word.--Worcester.

A curious old convent [in Naples] with chapels above and below--a pokierish looking place, fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.--N. Y. Literary World, Aug. 1847.

POLLYWOG, or POLLYWIG. A tadpole. Mr. Forby has the word puriwiggy, a tadpole, of which pollywig is a corruption. He derives it from periwig, from the resemblance the tadpole bears to that antiquated article of finery, the wig with a long queue, as well as to a pot-ladle, by which name it is also called.--Norfolk Glossary.

POMME BLANCHE. (Fr.) White apple. A native of the prairies and mountains, oval-shaped and about three and a half inches in circumference. It is encased in a thin fibrous tegument, which, when removed, exposes a white pulpy substance, and in taste resembles a turnip.--Scenes in the Rocky Mountains, p. 107.

POND. We give this name to collections of water in the interior country, which are fed by springs, and from which issues a small stream. These ponds are often a mile or two or even more in length, and the current issuing from them is used to drive the wheels of mills and furnaces.--Webster.

There were streams meandering along hills and valleys; little lakes or as they were erroneously called in the language of the country, dotted the surface.--Cooper, Satanstoe, Vol. I. p. 144.

TO PONY UP. A vulgar phrase, meaning to pay over money. Ex. 'Come, Mr. B----, pony up that account;' that is, pay over the money. Grose gives a phrase similar to it: 'Post the pony,' i. e. lay down the money.

It was my job to pay all the bills. "Salix, pony up at the bar, and lend us a levy.'--J. C. Neal, Sketches.

POOR AS JOB'S TURKEY. A common simile.

-----
p. 257

The professor is as poor as Job's turkey, if it wasn't for that powerful salary the trustees give him.--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. II. p. 85.

POP. Papa. A term used in the country.

POPPED CORN. Parched Indian corn, so called from the noise it makes on bursting open. The variety usually prepared in this way is of a dark color, with a small grain.

PORGY, or PAUGIE. Pron. with the g hard. (Indian, scuppaug.) A fish of the sparus family, common in the waters of New England and New York. Roger Williams mentions it in his Key to the Indian Language (1643). It is singular that one half the aboriginal name, scup, should be retained in Rhode Island for this fish, and the other half; paug, changed into paugie, or porgy, in New York. The entire Indian name, however, is still common in many parts of New England.

PORTAGE. A carrying place over land between navigable waters, or along the banks of rivers, round water-falls or rapids, &c.--Pickering. This word has been adopted by geographers, and is universal throughout North America.

POSITION. 'Defining one's position' is a political practice of modern days, generally resorted to either by gentlemen who have no other good chance or prospect of bringing themselves to the special notice of the public, as a sort of advertisement that they are in the market, or by other gentlemen who contemplate making a dodge from one side in politics to the other. It is done either orally or in writing; by a speech in Congress or at some public meeting; or by a long letter, published in some newspaper, the editor of which is always glad of something to fill his columns. The highest art in 'defining one's position' is to leave it more indefinite than it was before, so that any future contingency may be taken advantage of. [J. Inman.]

The Barnburners' Mass Meeting, to non-respond to the nominations of Cass and Butler, will take place in the Park at 5 this afternoon, and be addressed by John Van Buren, B. F. Butler, Sedgwick, Field, Gen. Nye, &c. &c. We regret that unavoidable absence at Philadelphia will deprive us of the pleasure of hearing these gentlemen "define their position," especially Prince John, who has the reputation of being the most straight-

-----
p. 258

forward, plain-spoken, flat-footed 'Burner in the country. It is a rare treat to hear a man speak who actually means something, and isn't afraid to say it. Let us hear what the Barnburner platform is; and when Gen. Cass comes along (probably to-morrow or next day), the Hunkers will, have a chance to set forth their notions. We shall endeavor to report both.--N. Y. Tribune, June 6, 1848.

PORTAAL. (Dutch.) A portal, lobby. Used by people of Dutch descent, in New Jersey and New York, for a, small passage or entry of a house, and pronounced pit-áll. The principal entrance they call the gang; also Dutch.

PORTMANTLE. Portmanteau; a valise.

What do you say to a lad with a portmantle on his shoulders, like Ishmael Small?--Mathews, Puffer Hopkins.

POST-NOTE. In commerce, a bank-note intended to be transmitted to a distant place by mail, and made payable to order. In this it differs from a common bank-note, which is payable to bearer.--Webster.

Post-notes differ in other respects from bank-notes. The latter are payable on demand; the former are often drawn on time, with or without interest, sometimes six or twelve months after date. This species of currency was resorted to by many banks during the great commercial revulsions in 1836-7, and thereby contributed greatly to the expansion of credits which proved so disastrous to the country.

TO GO TO POT. To be destroyed, wasted, or ruined.--Johnson. Webster. Though much used, it is considered a low phrase both in England and America.

The sheep went first to pot, the goats next, and after them the oxen, and all little enough to keep life together.--L'Estrange.

John's ready money went into the lawyer's pockets; then John began to borrow money upon the bank-stock; now and then a farm went to pot.--Arbuthnot, J. Bull.

POTTY-BAKER. (Dutch, potte-bakker.) A potter. This Dutch word is still common in New York. Potter's clay is here called potty-baker's clay.

POWER. A large quantity; a great number. In low language; as, 'a power of good things.'--Johnson.

He, to work him the more mischief, sent over his brother Edward, with a

-----
p. 259

power of Scots and Redshanks, into Ireland, where they got footing.--Spenser on Ireland.

I think the Post Office Committees will do a power of good, if they can stir up the old contracts and extras.--Crockett, Tour, p. 118.

He made a power of money.--Ibid. p. 59.

POWERFUL. Great; very; exceedingly. A vulgar use of the word in some parts of the country.

This piano was sort o' fiddle like--only bigger,--and with a powerful heap of wire strings. It is called a forty piano, because it plays forty tunes.--Carlton's New Purchase, Vol. II. p. 8.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I'd a powerful sight sooner go into retiracy among the red, wild aborigines of our wooden country, nor consent to that bill.--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. I. p. 74.

     Mrs. S.  Hoarhound and sugar's amazin' good.
     Mrs. B.  Mighty good, mighty good.
     Mrs. R.  Powerful good.  I take mightily to a sweat of sugar tea in desperate bad colds.--Georgia Scenes, p. 193.

It may be said generally of husbands, as the old woman said of hers, who bad abused her, to an old maid, who reproached her for being such a fool as to marry him: "To be sure, he's not so good a husband as he should be, but he's a powerful sight better than none."--N. Y. Sunday Dispatch.

POW-WOW. (Indian.) This is the name given by the early chroniclers to the feasts, dances, and other public doings of the red men, preliminary to a grand hunt, a council, a war expedition, or the like. It has been adopted, in political talk, to signify any uproarious meeting for a political purpose, at which there is more noise than deliberation, more clamor than counsel. [J. Inman.]

A murder was recently committed upon a Sioux by two Chippewas. The body of the murdered Indian was taken to the fort, where a most terrific pow-wow was held over it by the friends of the deceased, 300 in number.--Western Newspaper.

PRAIRIE. (French.) An extensive tract of land, mostly level, destitute of trees, and covered with tall, coarse grass. These prairies are numerous in the United States west of the Alleghany Mountains, especially between the Ohio, Mississippi, and the great lakes.--Webster.

PRAIRILLON. A small prairie.

Interspersed among the hills, are frequent openings and prairillons of rich soil and luxuriant vegetation.--Scenes in the Rocky Mountains, p. 172.

-----
p. 260

PRAIRIE-BITTERS. A beverage common among the hunters and mountaineers. It is made with a pint of water and a quarter of a gill of buffalo-gall, and is considered an excellent medicine.--Scenes in the Rocky Mountains, p. 133.

PRAIRIE-DOG. (Aretomys ludovicianus.) Called by the Indians Wistonwish. A variety of the marmot. It has received the name of Prairie-dog from a supposed similarity between its warning cry and the barking of a small dog. They live in large communities; their villages, as they are termed by the hunters, sometimes being many miles in extent. The entrance to each burrow is at the summit of the mound of earth thrown up during the progress of the excavation below. This marmot, like the rest of the species, becomes torpid during the winter, and, to protect itself against the rigor of the season, stops the mouth of its hole, and constructs a cell at the bottom of it, where it remains without injury.--Encyclopedia Americana. Also called Gopher.

The good people of Porter, Wisconsin, resolved to exterminate the gophers in that locality, and determined to have a hunt, to see if they could not annihilate them. Twenty men were chosen on a side, and the party that was beaten was to pay for a supper for the whole party. The result was that they killed 3,196 gophers.--Wisconsin Paper.

PRAIRIE-HEN. The pinnated grouse of ornithologists. It is also called Heath-hen and Grouse in some parts of the country.--Audubon's Ornithology.

PRAYERFUL. Using prayer; praying; devout.--Worcester.

PRAYERFULLY. Devoutly. Ex. 'We may be prayerfully disposed.' Used by some of the clergy.--Webster. Pickering.

PRAYERLESS. Not praying or using prayer; indevout. This word, as also prayerful and prayerfully, though modern, are now much used.--Worcester.

Mr. Pickering says this word is used by Whitfield.

PRAYERFULNESS. The use of much prayer.--Webster.

PRAYERLESSNESS. Total or habitual neglect of prayer.--Webster.

PREDICATE. To predicate on or upon, is to found a proposi-

-----
p. 261

tion, argument, etc. on some basis or data. This sense of the word, said to be purely American, is not noticed by Dr. Webster or the English lexicographers. "Its use," as Mr. Pickering observes, " is very common with American writers, and in the debates of our legislative assemblies."

It ought surely to be predicated upon a full and impartial consideration of the whole subject.--Letter of John Quincy Adams.

The great state papers of American liberty were all predicated on the abuse of chartered, not of absolute rights.--Gibbs, Adminis. of Washington and J. Adams, Vol. I. p. 3.

PREHAPS, for perhaps, is much used at the West in familiar language when additional force is to be given to the word. It originated in a jocose mispronunciation, which appears to be becoming a fixed corruption.

Prehaps Parson Hyme didn't put it into Pokerville for two mortal hours and prehaps Pokerville didn't mizzle, wince, and finally flummix right beneath him!--Field, Drama in Pokerville.

PRESENT. Put on the back of letters to persons residing in the place where the letter is written. Peculiar to the United States. The Spanish equivalent presente is also used in Central America.

PRESIDENCY. 1. The office of president. 'Washington was elected to the presidency of the United States by a unanimous vote of the electors.'

2. The term during which a president holds his office. 'President John Adams died during the presidency of his son.'--Webster.

PRESIDENTIAL. Pertaining to a president.--Webster. In this sense the word is an Americanism. It is of course very common and indispensable with us, and is sometimes used by English writers in treating of American affairs.

The friends of Washington had determined to support Mr. Adams as candidate for the presidential chair.--Quarterly Rev., Vol. X. p. 497.

PRETTY CONSIDERABLE. Tolerable, pretty well; tolerably, pretty. A New England vulgarism.

I went to the theatre in Boston, where the acting was pretty considerable, considering.--Crockett, Tour, p. 87.

Dear Col. Crockett--I have heard of you a great deal lately, and read

-----
p. 262

considerable of your writings; and I feel pretty considerable well acquainted with you.--Maj. Downing, Letter to Crockett, Tour, p. 217.

There are some folks who think a good deal, and say but little, and they are wise folks; and there are others again, who blurt out whatever comes uppermost, and I guess they are pretty considerable superfine fools.--Sam Slick.

PREVENTATIVE. A corruption sometimes met with for preventive both in England and America.

A cry was raised for the establishment of a preventative armed police; but the madness of such a proposal could not long escape observation.--Edinb. Annual Reg., Vol. V. p. 99.

PRIME. Primely; in a first rate manner. This is one of the many English adjectives which, in our vulgar language, are transformed into adverbs.

After a little practice with my gun, she came up to the eye prime, and I determined to try her at the first shooting match.--Crockett, Tour, p. 175.

PRIMINARY. Predicament; difficulty. Used in the Southern States.--Sherwood's Georgia. I am told that this word is also used by old people living on Long Island. It is provincial in the North of England.

PRINTERY. Bakery, bindery, have long been in use amongst us, and in New York even paintery and printery. In process of time a church may be called a preachery.

PROFANITY. This word is in common use here, more particularly with our clergy. It is not in the dictionaries, and I do not recollect ever meeting with it in English authors. The Scottish writers employ it; but English writers use the word profaneness.--Pickering. It appears, however, that English authors are beginning to use it; see Worcester on the word.

PROFESSOR. One visibly or professedly religious.--Worcester. A very odd use of the word to those not accustomed to it.

PROG. Victuals; provisions of any kind. A low word.--Johnson. This word is often heard in New York and New England in familiar language.

O nephew! your grief is but folly;
In town you may find better prog.--Swift, Miscellanies.

-----
p. 263

Spouse tuckt up doth in pattens trudge it
With handkerchief of prog, like truth with budget;
And eat by turns plumcake, and judge it.--Congreve.

TO PROGRESS. To move forward; to pass.--Johnson. This is not a pure Americanism, as some suppose, but an old English word which had been suffered to become obsolete. It was revived here after the Revolution (see Pickering), and has lately been taken into favor again in England.

The Penny Cyclopedia (art. Americanism) says, "The old verb prógrese, which the Americans use very often and pronounce progréss, is now beginning to be again adopted in its native country, though we think we could do very well without it."

Let me wipe off this honorable dew,
That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks.--Shakspeare.

---- Although the popular blast
Hath reared thy name up to bestride a cloud,
Or progress in the chariot of the sun.--Ford, Broken Heart.

Such are the inconsistencies of a flatterer, progressing from his butterfly state into the vermicular slime of a libeller.--London Quarterly Review.

Her first teacher was but himself, at that time, a pupil; but she progressed under his tuition.--Mary Howitt, People's Journal.

They progress in that style in proportion as their plans are treated with contempt.--Washington's Writings.

After the war had progressed for some time.--Marshall's Washington.

PROPER. Very. Colloquial in England and the United States.

The day was gone afore I got out of the woods, and I got proper frightened.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 15.

PROPERLY. Very much. Common in New England.

Father jest up with the flat of his hand, and gave me a wipe with it on the side of my face, that knocked me over, and hurt me properly.--Sam Slick in Eoyland, ch. 26.

PRO-SLAVERY. In favor of slavery. An expression much used by political speakers and writers, although not yet inserted in the dictionaries.

We have devoted every inch we could spare to this debate; and though two-thirds of what we publish was intended to favor slavery, we are confident that the whole will signally promote the cause of universal

-----
p. 264

freedom. At all eventts, we shall see the pro-slavery journals through the Free States very carefully refraining from giving it publicity.--N. Y. Tribune, April, 1848.

It takes a despot, a craven, and a slave, compounded together, to make a pro-slavery legislator in a free State. The last legislature of Ohio had a majority of just such creatures. Noses of was! stay pinched, just as the slaveholder's thumb and finger left you. Dough-faces! wear the prints of your master's knuckles, and the traces of their spittle. They are your coats of arms, and they fit ye--your titles of nobility, and theyll stick to ye. Snow water and soap won't wash them off, nor your hot tears either--nor fire burn them out, nor paint hide them, nor plasters cover them. You have worked hard for infamy, and you have got it.--Anti-Slavery Almanac.

PROTRACTED MEETING. A name given in New England to a religious meeting, protracted or continued for several days, chiefly among the Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Baptists. Notice is sometimes given that a protracted meeting will be held at a certain time and place, where large numbers of people assemble.

PROUD. Glad; as, 'I should be proud to see you.'

PROX, or PROXY. The use of these words is confined to the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Prox, in Rhode Island, means the ticket or list of candidates at elections presented to the people for their votes. By a law of the colony of Providence Plantations passed in the year 1647, the General Assembly was appointed to be holden annually, "if wind and weather hinder not, at which the general officers of the colony were to be chosen." This clause made it convenient for many to remain at home, particularly as they had the right to send their votes for the officers by some other persons; hence the origin of these terms prox and proxy votes, as applied to the present mode of voting for State officers in Rhode Island.--Staples's Annals of Providence, p. 64.

Mr. Pickering observes that this word is also used in Connecticut, as equivalent to election, or election-day. He quotes the following instances from a Connecticut newspaper:

Republicans of Connecticut; previous to every proxies you have been assaulted on every side.

On the approaching proxies we ask you to attend universally.

Dr. Webster, with whom New England, or rather Con-

-----
p. 265

necticut, seems to have been a synonym for "all creation," says, the word means, "in popular use, an election or day of voting for officers of government."

PRY. A large lever employed to raise or move heavy substances. Used also in some parts of England.--Worcester.

TO PRY. To move or raise by means of a large lever.--Worcester.

PUBLICIST. A writer on the laws of nature and nations; one who treats of the rights of nations.--Webster. It is seldom used by English writers. In this country Kent, Duponceau, Gallatin, and others have employed it.

In this particular the two German courts seem to have as little consulted the publicists of Germany, as their own true interests.--Burke.

There is no impartial publicist that will not acknowledge the indubitable truth of these positions.--Gallatin, Peace with Mexico, p. 8.

At Copenhagen he rendered distinguished services, and laid the foundation of that reputation as a publicist which has extended to both hemispheres.--Mem. of the Hon. Henry Wheaton, Providence Journal.

PUBLISHMENT. A publishing of the banns of marriage, which is required by law in New England. In popular usage this is a publishment, as, 'Mr. Doe and Miss Roe's publishment took place to-day.'

Any persons desiring to be joined in marriage, shall have such their intentions published .... or posted up by the clerk of each town and a certificate of such publishment shall be produced a aforesaid previous to their marriage.--Statutes of Massachusetts, 1786.

PUCKER. A fright; a state of perplexity or trouble; agitation. Provincial in England.

TO PULL FOOT. To walk fast; to run.

I look'd up; it was another shower, by Gosh. I pulls foot for dear life.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 2.

I thought I'd run round two or three streets. So I pulled foot, and hunted and sweat till I got so tired I couldn't but just stand.--Maj. Downing's May-day in New York.

TO PULL UP STAKES. To pack up one's furniture or baggage preparatory to a removal; to remove.

If this stranger is to receive countenance, then I'll pull up stakes and depart from Tinnecum for ever.--Knickerbocker Magazine.

PUMA. (Felis concolor et discolor.) This animal is also known

-----
p. 266

under the names of Cougar, Panther, &c., and is the largest animal of the cat kind found in America.--Encyc. Americana.

PUMPKIN. The common name for the pompion throughout the United States.

PUNCHEONS. A term which, in Georgia, means split logs, with their faces a little smoothed with an axe or hatchet.

The Squire's dwelling consisted of but one room. The house was constructed of logs, and the floor was of puncheons.--Georgia Scenes, p. 12.

PUNG. A rude sort of sleigh, or oblong box made of boards and placed on runners, used for drawing loads on snow by horses.--Worcester.

These were sledges or pungs, coarsely framed of split saplings, and surmounted with a large crockery-crate.--Margaret, p. 174.

PUNK. Rotten wood; touchwood; spunk. A word in common use in New England, as well as in the other Northern States and Canada. Ash defines it "a kind of fungus, often used for tinder."--Pickering.

PUPELO. A name for cider-brandy, formerly manufactured in New England to a great extent.

Han't they got any of the religion at your house? No, marm, they drink pupelo and rum.--Margaret, p. 52.

TO STAY PUT. To remain in order; not to be disturbed. A vulgar expression.

The levees and wharves of the First Municipality won't "stay put.' Last evening that part of the levee opposite Custom House street, which had caved in and was since filled, sunk suddenly ten feet.--N. O. Picayune.

PUT OFF. An excuse, an illusory pretext for delay.--Carr's Craven Dialect.

If a man tells them of the king's proceedings, then they have their shift, and their put offs.--Latimer's Sermons.

The fox's put off is instructive towards the government of our lives, provided his fooling be made our earnest.--L'Estrange.

TO PUT ON AIRS. To assume airs of importance.

You don't see no folks putting on airs in election time; every fellow is then as good as another, and some a darned sight better.--N. O. Delta.

TO PUT OUT. To start; to set out.

Well, I put out for the Planter's as fast as I could, where you know I found you at last.--Maj. Jones's Courtship, p. 63.

-----
p. 267

TO PUT OUT. To offend.

There is no affectation in passion; for that putteth a man out of his precept, and in a new case their custom leaveth him.--Bacon.

The Captain's wife was at the office yesterday, and seemed a little put out about it.--Dombey and Son, ch. 23.



Q.

QUAHAUG. (Montauk Indian, quauhaug.) In New England, the popular name of a species of clams, having a round and very hard shell.

TO QUALIFY. To swear to discharge the duties of an office; and hence to make oath of any fact; as, 'I am ready to qualify to what I have asserted!'

QUEER FISH. An odd or eccentric person is often called a queer fish, an odd stick.

QUID, a corruption of cud; as, in vulgar language, a quid of tobacco. In Kent (England), a cow is said to chew her quid; so that cud and quid are the same.--Pegge's Anonymia.

QUILLING. A piece of reed, on which weavers wind the thread which forms the woof of cloth, is called a quill; an old English word. In New England a certain process of winding thread is called quilling.

The child, Margaret, sits in the door of her house, on a low stool, with a small wheel, winding spools, in our vernacular quilling.--Margaret, p. 6.



R.

RACE. A strong or rapid current of water, or the channel or passage for such current; as a mill-race.--Webster.

RADDLE. In New England, an instrument consisting of a wooden bar, with a row of upright pegs set in it, which is employed by domestic weavers to keep the warp of a proper width, and prevent it from becoming entangled, when it is wound upon the beam of a loom.--Webster.

RAFT. A frame or float, made by laying pieces of timber

-----
p. 268

across each other.--Johnson. In North America rafts are constructed of immense size, and comprise timber, boards, staves, &c. They are floated down from the interior to the tide waters, being propelled by the force of the current, assisted by large oars and sails, to their place of destination. The men employed on these rafts construct rude huts upon them, in which they often dwell for several weeks before arriving at the places where they are taken to pieces for shipping to foreign parts.

RAFT. This term is also given to a large collection of timber and fallen trees, which, floating down the great rivers of the West, are arrested in their downward course by flats or shallow places. Here they accumulate, and sometimes block up the river for miles. The great raft on Red river extended twenty miles, and required an immense outlay of money to remove it in order to make the river navigable.

Gigantic wrecks of the primitive forests, tossed about by the invisible power of the current, as if they were straws, until, finding no rest, they are thrown upon some projecting point of land [on the Mississippi and other great Western rivers]. Here they lie rotting for miles, their dark forms frequently shooting into the air like writhing serpents, presenting one of the most desolate pictures to mind can conceive.--Thorpe, Backwoods.

RAFT. A large quantity. Used only in low language.

We have killed Calhoun and Biddle; but there is a raft of fellows to put down yet.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 93.

We've shoals of shad, whole rafts of canvass-back ducks, and no end of terrapins.--Burton, Waggeries.

Among its notices to correspondents, an exchange paper says: "A raft of original articles are on the for next week." We hope none of them will prove mere lumber.--N. Y. Tribune.

TO RAFT. To transport on a raft.--Webster.

RAFTING. The business of [constructing and] floating rafts.--Webster.

RAFTSMAN. A man who follows the business of rafting.

RAIL. A piece of timber, cleft, hewed, or sawed, inserted in upright posts for fencing. The common rails among farmers are rough, being used as they are split from the chestnut or other trees.--Webster.

-----
p. 269

TO RAIL IT. To travel by rail-road.

From Petersburgh I railed it through the North Carolina pitch, tar, turpentine, and lumber country, to the great American pitch, tar, turpentine, and lumber depot--Wilmington. The prospect is, from the car windows, continuously an immensity of pine, pine, nothing but pine trees, broken here and there with openings of pine under-brush.--Letter in N. Y. Tribune, May 22, 1848.

RAIL-CAR. A car for transporting passengers on rail-roads.

RAISE. To make a raise. A vulgar American phrase, meaning to make a haul, to raise the wind.

The chances were altogether favorable for making a raise, without fear of detection.--Simon Suggs, p. 48.

RAISING. In New England and the Northern States, the operation or work of setting up the frame of a building.--Webster.

On such occasions the neighboring farmers are accustomed to assemble and lend their assistance. In this why the framework of the largest house or barn is set up in a few hours.

The spectacle of a raising, though so common-place an affair elsewhere, is something worth seeing in the woods.--Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life.

TO RAISE. To cause to grow; to procure to he produced, bred, or propagated; as to raise wheat, barley, hops, &c.; to raise horses, oxen, or sheep.--Webster.

In England they use grow when speaking of the crops. Raise is applied in the Southern States to the breeding of negroes. It is sometimes heard at the North among the illiterate; as, 'I was raised in Connecticut,' meaning brought up there. See more in Pickering's Vocabulary.

You know I was raised, as they say in Virginia, among the mountains of the North.--Paulding, Letters from the South, Vol. I. p. 85.

TO RAISE A BEAD. This expression is used at the West, and means to bring to a head, to make succeed. The figure is taken from brandy, rum, or other liquors, which will not 'raise a bead,' unless of the proper strength.

The result was, if the convention had been then held, the party wouldn't have been able to raise a bead.--Letter from Ohio, N. Y. Tribune, 1846.

TO RAISE ONE'S BRISTLES. To excite one's anger.

I cane to Congress in 1827, as honestly the friend of Gen. Jackson as

-----
p. 270

any man in the world; but when I found that his whole object was to serve party, and wreak his vengeance upon those who had voted against him, my bristles began to get up.--Crockett, Tour, p. 136.

TO RAKE AND SCRAPE. To collect.

Where under the sun, says I to myself, did he rake and scrape together such super-superior galls as these?--Sam Slick in England, ch. 23.

RANCHO. (Span.) A rude hut of posts, covered with branches or thatch, where herdsmen or farm-laborers live or only lodge at night.

RANCHERO. (Span.) A person who lives in a rancho, and by extension to any peasant or countryman. This word and the preceding, like the word chaporral, have lately become familiar to us, in consequence of the present unhappy war with Mexico.

RANCHERIA. The place, site, or house in the country where a number of rancheros collect together. The collection of few or many huts or ranchos into a small village.

These three words must necessarily have a place in our vocabularies, since the acquisition of so many ranchos in our territory, and rancheros in our population.

RANTANKEROUS. Contentious; a variation of cantankerous.

She had better not come a cavortin' 'bout me, with any of her rantakerous carryings on.--Chron. of Pineville, p. 178.

RAPIDS. (Used in the plural.) The part of a river where the current moves with more celerity than the common current. Rapids imply a considerable descent of the earth, but not sufficient to occasion a fall of the water, or what is called a cascade or cataract.--Webster.

RAPPEE. An inferior quality of snuff.

RAT. A contemptuous term used by printers, to denote a man who works under price.

TO RAT. Among printers, to work under price. Among politicians, to desert one's party and go over to the opposite one. The term is used both in England and America. The London Athenæum, in a review of Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chancellors, in speaking of Wedderburn, afterwards Lord Loughborough, says:

He panegyrized the liberty of the press; sided with America; clamored

-----
p. 271

for the rights of juries; acted the part of liberal and demagogue to admiration; all the while having his eye on the Solicitor-Generalship--for which, in the fulness of time, he ratted to Lord North in the most shameless manner.--Dec. 18, 1847.

Great was the indignation when the result was known; and this must be confessed to be one of the most flagrant cases of ratting recorded in our party annals.--Campbell, Lord Chancellors.

RAVE. The upper side piece of the body of a cart.--Webster.

RAVING DISTRACTED. Stark mad.

RAW. Not worked up, manufactured, or prepared for use; as, 'raw materials.'--Worcester.

Mr. Webster presented a petition in reference to the duty proposed to be laid on raw copper .... It will be seen that nearly all the pig or raw copper is obtained from Chili.--N. Y. Com. Advertiser, July 16, 1846.

REAL. Really; truly; very; as, ' real nice.'

TO REALIZE. To bring home to one's own case or experience; to consider as one's own; to feel in all its force.--Webster.

This allusion must have enhanced strength and beauty to the eye of a nation extensively devoted to a pastoral life, and therefore realizing all its fine scenes, and the tender emotions to which they gave birth.--Dwight.

This sense of the word is not in the English dictionaries, though Mr. Pickering says it is used in Scotland.

TO RE-CHARTER. To charter again; to grant a second or another charter to.--Webster.

TO RECKON. To think; to imagine; to believe; to conjecture; to conclude; to guess. Used in some parts of the United States, as guess is in the Northern. It is provincial in England in the same sense, and is noticed in the glossaries of Pegge and Brockett. Mr. Hamilton, in his remarks on the Yorkshire dialect, says: "'I reckon' comes out on every occasion, as perhaps aliens would expect from this country of 'ready reckoners.'"--Nugæ Literariæ, p. 317.

General, I guess we best say nothin' more about bribin', says I. "Well," says he, "Major, I reckon you're right.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 208.

I say! what do you guess about lending me your axe for a spell? Do you reckon you can spare it?--Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life, Vol. I. p. 84.

I reckon you hardly ever was at a shooting-match, stranger, from the cut of your coat.--Georgia Scenes, p. 198.

[To next page]


Copyright 1999-2006, Pat Pflieger
To "Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read"
Some of the children | Some of their books | Some of their magazines
To "Voices from 19th-Century America"
Some works for adults, 1800-1872

To Titles at this site | Subjects at this site | Works by date
Map of the site