[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"]


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

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p. 362

TRACK-SPRINKLER. A contrivance recently invented in Providence, R. I. and now in use on the railroads in that State, for sprinkling railroad tracks. A tank of 2000 gallons has been found sufficient to sprinkle a track or railway of 47 miles, the train going at the rate of 20 miles an hour.

TRAIL. Scent left by a track; track followed by the hunter; an Indian footpath.--Worcester.

It was the policy of the President of Texas to open a direct road to Santa Fé by a route much nearer than the great Missouri trail.--Kendall's Santa Fé Expedition, Vol. I. p. 14.

It is suggested that the respective locations for the Indians might be made, apart from the great Northern and Southern trails, thoroughfares of migration, and the settlements limited within certain prescribed boundaries, where the government might protect them from the encroachments of white men.--Report of the Philadelphia Committee at a meeting in behalf of the Indians, March 31, 1848.

TO TRAIL. 'Not worth shucks to trail,' is a Southern phrase, meaning that anything is of little value, not fit to draw home shucks; and probably equivalent to the classical expression, 'not fit to carry guts to a bear.'

They have three or four hounds, and one great big yellow one, what wasn't worth shucks to trail.--Maj. Jones's Courtship.

TRAIN. (Fr. traineau.) A peculiar kind of sleigh used for the transportation of merchandise, wood, &c., in Canada.

TRAINERS. The militia when assembled for exercise.

The gentler sex partake, by sympathy at least, in the excitement, by running after the trainers.--Mrs. Clavers's Western Clearings, p. 28.

TRAINING-DAY. The day when the militia are called out to be reviewed.

TO TRAIPSE. To walk in a careless or sluttish manner.--Johnson. It is almost exclusively a woman's word.

Two slip-shod nurses traipse along,
In lofty madness meditating song,
With tresses staring from poetic dreams,
And never wash'd, but in Castalia's streams.--Pope, Dunciad.

TO TRAMPOUS. To walk; to lounge or wander about; to tramp. The origin of this word is doubtful; there is nothing analogous to it in the English provincial glossaries.

p. 363

I felt as lonely as a catamount, and as dull as a bachelor beaver, so I trampousses off to the stable.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 2.

So we trampoused along down the edge of the swamp, till we came to a track.--Porter's Tales of the South-west, p. 44.

When I get hum, I guess that my narration
Will make some little stir among the nation.
Some years ago, I landed near to Dover,
And seed strange sights, trampoosing England over.--D. Humphreys, The Yankee in England.

So away goes lunch, and off goes you and the "Sir" a trampousin' and a trapsein' over the wet grass agin.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 23.

TRANSCENDENTALISM. The state or quality of being transcendental; a transcendental notion or system; transcendental philosophy.--Worcester. This word and most of the following are used by English writers, but having been but lately introduced into the language, they have not yet found a place in the dictionaries.

TRANSCENDENTALIST. One who adheres to transcendentalism.--Worcester.

TRANSCENDENTALITY. The quality of being transcendental.--Worcester.

TRANSCENDENTALLY. In a transcendent manner.--Webster.

TO TRANSMOGRIFY. To change; to alter; to metamorphose. A low word. It is provincial in the North of England, and in Craven Districts.--Glossaries of Carr and Brockett.

Some friends of John's, who at him now
      Had tuk a squint, they cried,
"Sen' John's kep comp'ny with that gal,
      He's quite tranmogrified."--Essex Dialect, Noakes and Styles.

See social life and glee sit down
      All joyous and unthinking,
Till quite transmogrifed they're grown,

      Debauchery and drinking.--Burns.

I went to the calaboose to see my friend, Joe Head, and found him transmogrified into Mounsheer Tate.--Crockett, Tour, p. 146.

TRAPS. Goods; household stuff, baggage. English and American.

Well, when we alighted, and got the baggage off, away starts the guide with the Judges traps to a settler's.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 9.

p. 364

TRASH. The leaves of the sugar cane, in the West Indies, stript from the cane to permit it to ripen. These leaves are laid upon the ground, to prevent the sun's influence on the earth, that every moisture possible may be retained for the nourishment of the plant. Trash is also used for foddering cattle and thatching houses.--Carmichael's West Indies.

TO TRASH. To trash the cane, is to strip off the dry leaves.

TRAVELLER'S JOY. (Lat. clematis.) The popular name of a hardy climbing vine, common in low grounds. When in fruit, the long feathery tails of the seeds appear like tufts of wool.--Bigelow's Plants of Boston.

TO TREE. To take refuge in a tree, said of a wild animal; to force to take refuge in a tree, drive to a tree, said of the hunter. To tree oneself, is to conceal oneself behind a tree, as in hunting or fighting. This hunter's word is purely American.

Besides treeing, the wild cat will take advantage of some hole in the ground, and disappear as suddenly as ghosts at cock-crowing.--Thorpe's Backwoods, p. 180.

TRICKLY. Tricklish; practising tricks.--Forby. Halliwell. Provincial in England and colloquial in the United States.

TO TRIG A WHEEL. To stop a wheel so as to prevent its going backwards or forwards.--Bailey. Still used in New England in the same sense.

I remember when Hash driving a cart up a hill, I used to trig the wheels, that is, put under a stone.--Margaret, p. 455.

TRIMMINGS. Bread and butter and other necessary eatables for the tea-table.

A cup of tea with trimmings, is always in season; and is considered as the orthodox mode of welcoming any guest.--Mrs. Clavers, A New Home.

The party luxuriated at Florence's [eating house] on lobster and trimings.--Knickerbocker Mag., Aug. 1845.

TO TROLL. A method of fishing, by a long line attached to the stern of a boat, which is set in motion by sails or muffled oars. A piece of tin, or a strip of red and white cloth, is attached to the hook, which, passing rapidly along the sur-

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face of the water, is seized by the fish. Bass are generally caught in this way.

TO TROUNCE. To beat.--Halliwell. Colloquial in England and the United States.

The Lord trounced Sisera, and all his chariots.--Mathews' Trans. of the Bible, 1537. Judges, v. 15.

Sit down and eat your supper, or I'll trounce you in two minutes.--Maj. Downing, p. 165.

TRUCK. Medicine.--Sherwood's Georgia.

TRUCK. Produce; cloth, or almost anything.--Ibid.

They purchased homespun, calico, salt, rum, tobacco, and such other truck as their necessaries called for.--Chronicles of Pineville, p. 40.

The fact is, if the people of Georgia don't take to makin' homespun and sick truck for themselves, and quit their everlastin' fuss about the tariff and free trade, the first they'll know, the best part of their population will be gone to the new States.--Maj. Jones's Travels.

Now they passed down into Punkatees Neck; and in their march they found a large wigwam full of Indian truck, which the soldiers were for loading themselves with.--Church's Indian War, 1716.

"What do the doctors give for the fever and ague?"
"Oh, they give abundance o' truck."--Georgia Scenes, p. 192.

TRUCK. A two-wheeled vehicle drawn by a horse, and used for carrying merchandise; a cart.

TRUCKMAN. The driver of a truck.

TRUCKAGE. The charges for carrying on a truck; the cartage. These words are commonly used in New England instead of cart, carman, and cartage, elsewhere employed.

TO TRY. To purify; to refine.--Johnson. Webster. A common use of this word in the United States, and the only one connected with purifying, is in connection with tallow: 'To try out tallow or lard,' is to melt it down, for the purpose of purifying. It is provincial in England in the same sense.--Forby. Halliwell.

TUK, for took. A vulgar pronunciation, common to the North and South.

TO TUCK. To gather into a narrow compass; to crush together; to hinder from spreading.--Johnson.

p. 366

In the United States we use the phrase, to tuck on, in two different senses or applications. It means in the first place to lay on; as, 'having caught the thief, he tucked it on to him without mercy.' 'How you tuck the price on these goods,' i. e. how dear they are. It also means, to force a bad article on a person in buying or exchanging; as, 'We swapped horses, and I got this miserable old animal tucked on to me.'

TUCKAHOE. (Lucoperdon solidu. Clayton, Flora Virginica.) The Virginia truffle. A curious vegetable, sometimes called by the name of Indian Bread, or Indian Loaf, found in the Southern States, bordering on the Atlantic. It is a natural production, the origin of which has greatly perplexed naturalists, as it is commonly found several feet under the surface, and, like the truffle of Europe, has apparently no stem or leafy appendage connecting it with the external atmosphere. They are generally found through the instrumentality of hogs, whose acute sense of smelling enables them to fix upon the Spot where they lie buried. They are usually of a globular or flattened oval shape, and rather regular surface, the large ones resembling somewhat a brown loaf of coarse bread. The size varies from an acorn to the bigness of a man's head. Its name tuckahoe is Indian, and is said to designate bread when examined with a microscope, it exhibits no fibres or pores, or any other indications of organization, so easily detected in roots and other vegetable productions of ordinary growth. The Southern botanists regard the tuckahoe as a fungus.--Farmer's Encyclopedia.

The term tuckahoe is often applied to an inhabitant of Lower Virginia, and to the poor land in that section of the State.

TUCKERED OUT. Tired out; fatigued. Used in New York and New England.

I guess the Queen don't do her eating very airly; for we sot and sot, and waited for her, till we got eenamost tuckered out.--N. Y. Family Comp.

TO TUMP. Probably an Indian word. It means to draw a deer or other animal home through the woods, after he has

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been killed. Ex. 'We tumped the deer to our cabin.' Used in Maine.

TUMPLINE. A strap placed across the forehead to assist a man in carrying a pack on his back. Used in Maine, where the custom was borrowed from the Indians.

TUM-TUM. A favorite dish in the West Indies, made by beating the boiled plantain quite soft in a wooden mortar. It is eaten like a potato pudding, or made into round cakes and fried.--Carmichael's West Indies, Vol. I. p. 183.

TO TURN IN. To go to bed. Originally a seaman's phrase, but now common on land.

TUSSLE. The verb to touse is given by both Johnson and Webster, to pull; to tear; to haul. Both have also the word tussle, a struggle; a conflict, which they call a vulgar word.

Thus Envy, the vile hag, attacks my rhymes,
Swearing they shall not peep on distant times;
But violent indeed shall be the tussel.--P. Pinder, Royal Tour, Proem.

In New York the tussle is all about the price of rents; the landlords want to get them up higher, and the tenants want to get them down lower.--Maj. Downing, May-day in New York, p. 30.

I'll give the old dog a tussel when it comes to my turn.--Simon Suggs.

'TWA'N'T, for it was not. New England.

TO TWIG. To observe. A flash word common to England and the United States.

Your responsibility men want no endorsers, do you twig?--Sam Slick.

I'm a regular patriot--look at my coat. I'm all for the public good--twig the holes in my trowsers.--Neal's Sketches.

TWISTICAL. Tortuous; unfair; not quite moral. Used in New England.

He may be straight going, farzino, manwards; but in his declines with t'other sex, he is a leetle twistical, according to their tell. I wouldn't make a town talk of it.--D. Humphreys, The Yankee in England.

TO TWITCH. To draw timber along the ground by a chain. Used by lumbermen in Maine.

TYKE. In Scotland and the North of England, a dog; and hence a contemptible person.

p. 368

Base tyke, call'st me host? now
By this hand, I swear I scorn the term.--Shakspeare.

I ever had but six months' schooling in all my life, and I consider myself but a poor tyke to be here addressing the most intelligent people in the world.--Crockett's Speech, Tour, p. 82.


UGLY. Ill-tempered; bad. New England. Ex. 'He is an ugly fellow,' i. e. of a bad disposition; wicked. The compound ugly-tempered is also used. They are both heard only among the illiterate.--Pickering.

UGLY CUSTOMER. A disagreeable or troublesome companion.

Capt. H.----, whom we met at St. Francisco, carried a number of horses, rather ugly customers, for the occasion, in an undecked vessel, from California to Woahoo.--Simpson's Overland Journey, Vol. I. p. 224.

UMBRELLA TREE. (Lat. magnolia tripetala.) The popular name of this tree in the Southern States.

UNBEKNOWN. Unknown. Various dialects of England.--Halliwell. This is a very common word in familiar language in New England. It is regularly formed from the Ang. Sax. be-knowen, to know; to recognise; to acknowledge; pret. bi-knewe; past part. bi-known; all of which are used by Piers Ploughman.

And though it hadde costned me catel
Bi-knowen it I nolde.--Piers Ploughman, Vision, l. 407.

For I am bi-knowen,
Ther konnynge clerkes
Shul clokke bi-hynde.--Ibid. l. 1422.

The sooty wretches [chimney sweeps] stole four good flitches of bacon, as was up the kitchen chimbly, quite unbeknown to me.--T. Hood, The Pagsley Paper.

UNCLE SAM. The cant or vulgar name of the United States Government; sometimes called Brother Jonathan. It is used as John Bull is in England. Mr. Frost, in his Naval History of the United States, gives the following account of the origin of the name

p. 369

"Immediately after the last declaration of war with England, Elbert Anderson of New York, then a contractor, visited Troy, on the Hudson; where was concentrated, and where he purchased, a large quantity of provisions, beef, pork, &c. The inspectors of these articles at that place were Messrs. Ebenezer and Samuel Wilson. The latter gentleman (invariably known as 'Uncle Sam') generally superintended in person a large number of workmen, who, on this occasion, were employed in overhauling the provisions purchased by the contractor for the army. The casks were marked 'E. A.--U. S.' This work fell to the lot of a facetious fellow in the employ of the Messrs. Wilson, who, on being asked by some of his fellow-workmen the meaning of the mark (for the letters U. S. for United States, were then almost entirely new to them), said, 'he did not know, unless it meant Elbert Anderson and Uncle Sam'--alluding exclusively, then, to the said 'Uncle Sam' Wilson. The joke took among the workmen, and passed currently; and 'Uncle Sam' himself being present, was occasionally rallied by them on the increasing extent of his possessions." P. 297.

"Many of these workmen, being of a character denominated 'food for powder,' were found, shortly after, following the recruiting drum, and pushing toward the frontier lines, for the double purpose of meeting the enemy, and of eating the provisions they had lately labored to put in good order. Their old jokes accompanied them, and before the first campaign ended, this identical one first appeared in print; it gained favor rapidly, till it penetrated and was recognised in every part of the country, and will, no doubt, continue so while the United States remain a nation." Ibid.

UNCOMMON. Exceedingly; very.

It struck me with astonishment to hear people huzzaing for me; and took me so uncommon unexpected, as I had no idea of attracting attention.--Crockett, Tour down East. p. 17.

UNCONSCIONABLE. Enormous; vast. A low word.--Johnson. Used adverbially at the West, as in the following example:

"That's an unconscionable slick gal of your'n," says I; and it did tickle

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his fancy to have her cracked up, 'cause he thought her creation's finishin' touch--so did I!--Robb's Squatter Life.

UNDERDONE. Cooked rare. A very common word with us. Used in the London Quarterly Review, but not noticed by Johnson or Todd.

TO UNDERPIN. To place something for support or foundation; to prop; to support.--Worcester.

UNDERPINNING. Act of supporting something placed under; stone-work or masonry on which a building rests.--Worcester.

TO UNIFY. To form into one; to reduce to unity.

Supposing, which requires some confidence, the reader to be able to collect and unify these discursive remarks, we will refer to the previous question.--Am. Review, Vol. I. N. S. p. 583.

UP-A-DAY. A fondling expression of a nurse to a child, when she takes it up in her arms, or lifts it over some obstacle. The author is informed by a friend, that he heard it used on the same occasions, by nurse-maids in Normandy. It may come from the Anglo-Saxon up-adon, to lift up; but is more probably a mere contraction for the equally common phrase up-a-daisy.

UPPISH. Proud; insolent.--Halliwell. Colloquial in England and the United States.

You pretend to think everybody alike; but when it comes to the pint, you're a sight more uppish than the ra'al quality at home.--Mrs. Clavers's Western Clearings.

UPPER CRUST. The aristocracy; the higher circles.

I want you to see Peel, Stanley, Graham, Shiel, Russell, Macauley, old Joe, and so on. They are all upper crust here.--Sam Slick in England.

THE UPPER TEN THOUSAND, and contracted, THE UPPER TEN. The aristocracy; the upper circles of our large cities. A phrase invented by N. P. Willis.

The Biscaccianti troupe commence their season of Italian Opera at the Chestnut to-morrow night. The seats for the first night are already many of them engaged; and engaged, too, by the very cream of our upper ten;" while the moderate democratic prices of admission which have been wisely adopted, will invite large slices of the honest and hearty masses.--Letter from Philad. N. Y. Herald.

UPPER STORY. The brain; as, 'He's not right in his

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upper story.'--Carr's Craven Dialect. This same expression is sometimes heard in the United States, to denote a person who is deranged. I have never heard it applied in any other way.

UP TO. To be up to a thing,' is to understand it. A common English and American vulgarism.

Have you ever tried faro? whispered Spifflekins; there's considerable fun at faro, when you are up to it.--J. C. Neal, P. Ploddy, p. 50.

UP TO THE HUB. To the extreme point. The figure is that of a vehicle sunk in the mud up to the hub of the wheels, which is as far as it can go.

Newman. I am sorry not to have your good opinion. I don't doubt your courage.

Doolittle. No, you ought not. I've been up to the hub, and didn't flinch. No, nor won't back out now. I'll tell you what, Mister! if we Yankees come to loggerheads, we'll show whose heads are hardest.--D. Humphreys, The Yankee in England, p. 33.

"You've hearn tell of the bank and tarriff questions?"

"Yes," replied the new editor of the Eagle newspaper.

"Well, hoss, we expect you to be right co-chuck up to the hub on them thar questions, and pour it into the enemy in slashergaff style."--Robb, Squatter Life, p. 31.

UP TO SNUFF. To be flash; to be shrewd. Up to snuff and a pinch above it, is a common cant phrase.--Grose. Both these expressions are familiar in the United States.

"Oh, you remember me, I suppose?" said Mr. Pickwick. "I should think so," replied Sam. "Queer start that 'ere, but he was one too many for you, wasn't he? Up to snuff and a pinch or two over--eh?"--Pickwick Papers.

A Blue Nose or a John Bull, are a primitive, unsuspectin' sort of folks not exactly up to snuff.--Sam Slick, 3d Ser., p. 121.

Then putting his fingers to his nose, says he, "Mr. Slick, I see you are up to snuff."--Ibid., ch. 7.

I'm up to snuff, I can tell ye. The master 'll have to kiss the cook this time; he han't enough left for the cat to lick.--Margaret, p. 305.

The editor of the Herald has commenced several libel suits against Major Noah. We learn that the Major is up to snuff, and announces his intention of bringing' thirty or forty suits against Bennett.--N. Y. Tribune.

UP TO TRAP. Knowing; shrewd. English and American.

Phrenology is a little bit dangerous. It is only fit for an old hand like me, that's up to trap.--Sam Slick.

p. 372

Mr. Richardson is evidently a man who has lived among foxes and rabbits--who has seen warrens, knows weazles, associates with terriers, and is perfectly "up to trap."--London Athenæum, Dec. 4, 1848.

TO UPSET. To overturn; to overthrow; to overset.--Todd. Webster. This word is now so universal both in England and America, that it may appear unnecessary to give it a place. Its use, however, is quite modern, as it is not in any of the English dictionaries before Todd, who calls it a low word.

UPSET PRICE. At public auctions an article is sometimes 'set up,' or 'started,' by the auctioneer at the lowest price at which it can be sold. This is called the upset price.

TO USE. To frequent a place. This word is employed in the following sense among the hunters of the West: 'I can see where the deer used,' i. e. where the deer have been, or where they have fed. The sense intended to be conveyed, is that the deer has left tracks and other marks on the ground used by him. This term is also noticed by Mr. Sherwood as provincial in Georgia; as, 'The sheep used in that field.'

TO USE UP. To discomfit; destroy. Grose has this word, which he calls a military one, meaning killed.

I have promised to write the life of the magician of the North [Mr. Van Buren], and I'll do it; and if, when you read it, you don't say I've used him up, I'm mistaken, that's all.--Crockett, Tour, p. 234.

Moving on the first day of May in New York, has used me up worse than building forty acres of stone wall.--Maj. Downing, May-day in New York.

In 1836, New York went Loco-foco by 26,000 majority, and the Whig party was thought, by its adversaries, to be used up for some years.--N. Y. Tribune, Nov. 1, 1845.

USED TO COULD. A vulgarism used in the Southern States for could formerly; as, 'I cannot do it now, but I used to could.'--Sherwood's Georgia. We had set this down as a native vulgarism, until we discovered it in the poem called John Noakes and Mary Styles, illustrating the Essex dialect of England.

I don't think I cud clime it now,
      Altho' I uster could;
I should't warsley loike to try,
      For guelch cum down I should.

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VACHER. (French.) The stock or cattle keeper on the prairies of the South-west. His duty is also to break wild horses, to run cattle, and to brand calves.

TO VAMOS. A Spanish word signifying let us go. Fr. allons! This and other Spanish expressions have lately become familiar to us through the letters of soldiers and officers from Mexico in the public prints.

I couldn't stand more than this stanza, coming from a street voice compared with which the notes of a hand-saw are positively dulcet, and I accordingly vamosed.--N. Y. Mirror, May, 1848.

Yankee Sullivan's house, corner of Frankfort and Chatham streets, is in a dangerous condition; its foundation walls having been partially under-mined for the purpose of excavating a cellar. Its occupants received some very ominous premonitions of a downfall, early yesterday morning, and forthwith vamosed with their baggage.--Journ. of Com., June, 1848.

Madame Anna Bishop gave, on Monday evening last, a spirited exhibition, and not exactly of the vocal powers, for which she is celebrated, but of the woman's temper of which she has undoubtedly her due portion. The saloon was duly lighted up, and very soon after the doors were opened a respectable number of ladies and gentlemen took their seats. But the Madame appears to have been dissatisfied at the number, and before waiting to see if others would assemble, the audience was unceremoniously dismissed, the lights blown out in a huff; and Madame and Monsieur, fiddles, harps, rosin, catgut and all, vamosed.--Vicksburgh Sentinel, May, 1848.

On Sunday our city was thrown into a state of intense excitement. Between seventy and eighty slaves had disappeared. Several negroes who had made arrangements to vamose, were left behind, and, to be revenged, they gave the alarm.--Washington Paper.

And flinging down a dollar on the table, he seized his white bell-top from the hand of the trembling waiter, and vamosed. Down Washington and State streets, he streaked it like a comet, and never slackened his pace till he pulled up on board the Kennebec.

"Cap'n," said he to the commander, "cast off your lines jest as quick as you're a mind to--and ef you catch me wanting to see Boston again, jest take me by the slack and throw me right into that ere biler, boots and all. by gravy!"--Sunday Atlas.

VARMINT. A corrupt pronunciation of the word vermin. Applied to noxious wild beasts of any kind.

p. 374

I shot tolerably well, and was satisfied the fault would be mine if the varmints did not suffer.--Crockett, Tour, p. 125.

The idea of a man's keeping two varmints in a grass, when he might shoot a dozen by going a little way into the woods. These varmints were two beautiful deer.--Thorpe's Backwoods, p. 156.

VENDUE. (French vendre, to sell, vendu, sold.) Auction; a public sale of anything by outcry to the highest bidder.--Webster. This word is in use in the United States and the West Indies; but it is not common in England, though it is found in the recent English dictionaries of Knowles, Oswald, and Smart.

VEST. A waistcoat, or garment worn under a coat. We almost always use this word instead of waistcoat, which we rarely apply to anything but an under garment, as 'a flannel waistcoat.'

VETO. A prohibition; negative. A word frequently transferred from political to ordinary life.

The cold, miserable, rainy, unseasonable weather yesterday, put a veto on all out-door operations.--N. Y. Paper.

VINE-FRETTER. (Lat. aphis puceron.) An insect very destructive to vines, rose bushes, cabbages, &c. in the Southern States. There are said to be 150 species. On every plant they vary in form and color. They have many enemies, among them the caterpillar which will destroy about a hundred in an hour.--Williams's Florida.

VOYAGEUR. (French.) A Canadian boatman.--Worcester.

Vt. The common abbreviation for Vermont.

I VUM! An exclamation often heard in New England.

"I vum," said he, "I'm sorry; what's the matter?"--Margaret, p. 86.


TO WABBLE. In the Western States, to make free use of one's tongue; to be a ready speaker.

TO WABBLE. To move from side to side; to vacillate. A low and barbarous word, says Dr. Johnson. It is provincial in England.--Forby's Glossary.

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The sleighs wabbled and warped from side to side, the riders screamed and hooted at each other.--Margaret, p. 174.

WABBLING. Moving from side to side; vacillation; oscillation.

Leverrier's calculations gave the mass of the unknown planet, by which the "wabblings" of Herschell were to be set right, at so much; but the mass of the known planet proves to be loss than a quarter of what Leverrier figured out; and the result is, in short, that yet another and much larger planet must be found to make Leverrier's theory good. Here's a pretty kettle of fish!--N. Y. Com. Adv.

WAFFLE. (Dutch wafel.) A wafer; a soft indented cake baked in an iron utensil on coals.

WAFFLE-IRON. (Dutch wafelyzen.) A wafer-iron; a utensil for baking waffles.

TO WALK THE CHALK. To walk straight.

"The Tallapoosa volunteers," said Capt. Suggs; "so let every body look out and walk the chalk."--Simom Suggs, p. 89.

TO WALK INTO. To get the upper hand of; to take advantage of; to punish. A common vulgarism.

To walk into a down-east land-jobber, requires great skill, and a very considerable knowledge of human nature.--Sam Slick, 3d series, p. 122.

Senator Benton's speech at St. Louis will amply reward a perusal. The way it walks into Tyler and Calhoun for the Texas iniquity fully atones for all its nonsense about the surrender of Texas in 1819.--New York Tribune, May 24, 1847.

I went into the dining room, and sot down afore a plate that had my name writ on a card onto it, and I did walk into the beef, and taters, and things, about east.--Hiram Bigelow's Lett. in Family Comp.

WALKING PAPERS.} Orders to leave; a dismissal. When a person is appointed to a public office, or receives a commission, he receives papers or documents investing him with authority; so when he is discharged it is said in familiar language that 'he has received his walking papers, or his walking ticket.'

It is probable, that "walking papers" will be forwarded to a large proportion of the corps diplomatique during the session of Congress. B---- and B---- are already admonished to return, and the invitation will be pretty general.--N. Y. Herald, Letter from Washington.

We can announce with certainty that the Hon. Mr. D---- has received

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his walking ticket, accompanied with some correspondence with his Excellency that has given him offence.--Kingston, Canada, Whig, Dec. 1843.

Mr. Duane was ordered to remove the deposits. He answered that his duty did not require it. In a few hours he got his walking tickett that his services were no longer wanted.--Crockett, Tour down East, p. 30.

TO WALK THE PLANK. This is an expression borrowed from the horrible practice of pirates, who, when they determine to destroy those on board a captured vessel, place a plank projecting over the side, and force the unfortunate wretches to walk out on it till they slip off into the water.

WALL, for well, is a common vulgarism in the Northern States.

TO WALLOP. To beat. Provincial in England and colloquial in the United States.

For sic an infair I've been at
      As he's but seldom been,
Whar was see wallopin' and wark
      As verra few hev seen.--Poems, Cumberland Dialect, p. 133.

I grabs right hold of the cow's tail, and yelled and screamed like mad, and wallopped away at her like anything.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 18.

There's nothing like walloping for taking the conceit out of fellows who think they know more than their betters.--J. C. Neal, Orson Dabbs.

All I know was walloped into me. I took larnin' through the skin.--Neal's Charcoal Sketches.

WALT. Crank. A ship is said to be walt, when she has not her due ballast, that is, not enough to enable her to bear her sails, and keep her stiff. Hubbard in his History of New England, speaking of Lamberton's ill-fated ship, says, that "she was ill-built, very walt-sided."--Rev. Alex Young, note, Chron. of Massachusetts.

The next year brought a Flemish fly-boat of about 140 tons, which being unfit for a fishing voyage, and wanting lodging for the men, they added unto her another deck, by which means she was carried so high that she proved walt and unable to bear sail.--White, The Planter's Plea, 1630, p. 1.

In the North of England walt means to totter; to overthrow.--Halliwell.

WAMBLE-CROPPED. Sick at the stomach; and figuratively, wretched; humiliated. New England.

There stood Capt. Jumper, shaking General Taylor's hand when he came

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on board the "Two Pollys," trying to get a start in the address, but could not; and then I tried it. I never saw Capt. Jumper so melted down before--and that made me feel so wamblecrapt I could not say a word.--Maj. Downing, Letter from Baton Rouge, June 15, 1848.

WAMPUM. (A term in the Massachusetts Indian language signifying white, the color of the shells most frequent in wampum belts.) Shells, or strings of shells, used by the American Indians as money. These when united form a broad belt, which is worn as an ornament or girdle. It is sometimes called wampumpeage, or wampeage, of which wampum seems to be a contraction.--Encyc. Americana.

A Sagamore with a humberd in his care for a pendant, a black hawk on his occipit for a plume, good store of wampompeage begirting his loynes, his bow in hand, his quiver at his back, with six naked Indian spatterlashes at his heels for his guard, thinks he is all one with King Charles.--Wood's New England, 1634, p. 66.

WANGAN. (Indian.) In Maine, a boat for carrying provisions.

WASHY. Weak, not firm or hardy.--Webster. Used in New England in various senses. A washy horse is one that sweats easily and profusely with labor. An insipid discourse, &c. is often termed by us, as in England, wishy-washy.

"Let the dog alone," he replied, speaking in a blubbering washy manner. "You'll spoil him; would you make a goslin of him?"--Margaret, p. 275.

TO WAP. To throw quickly; to flap.--Jamieson. See Whap.

Day is dawen, and cocks hae crawen.
And wappit their wings sae wide.--Jamieson, Pop. Ballads, I. 95.

WAY-BILL. A list of the passengers in a stage-coach, railroad car, steamboat, or other public conveyance.

WAYS AND MEANS. The committee of 'ways and means,' in legislation, is a committee to whom is intrusted the consideration of the affairs relating to the revenue or finances of a country. Worcester.

WAYS, for way, distance, space. A very common vulgarism.

It's only a little ways down to the village.--Margaret, p. 123.

THERE'S NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT, i. e. the fact is just so, and not otherwise. A vulgarism of recent origin, equivalent to the common phrase, 'there's no mistake about it,' or 'the fact is so and so, and no mistake.'

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Jist so, jist so, stranger; you are just about half right and there's no two ways about it.--Sam Slick, 3d ser. ch. 7.

There's no two ways about that, sir; but arn't you surprised to see such a fine population?--Hoffman, Winter in the West.

WEATHER-BREEDER. A cloudless sky, after a succession of rainy weather, denotes rain, and is said to be a weatherbreeder.--Carr's Craven Dialect. This expression is frequently applied by seafaring men to certain appearances in the heavens which denote an approaching storm.

WEED. A common term for tobacco; as, 'Do you use the weed? meaning, 'Do you chew tobacco?'

Those who were not dancing, were seated around the room, some smoking, others chewing the weed, still others drinking.--Mysteries of New York, p. 89.

WEEDY-WEEDY. A plant resembling spinach, much used in the West Indies.--Carmichael's West Indies.

WELL-TO-DO. In a state of ease as to pecuniary circumstances; well off.--Holloway.

In speaking of the emigration from Stockholm to the United States, the Liverpool Times (June 19, 1846) says:

The greater part of the emigrants are artisans and agriculturists, and many of them are tolerably well-to-do in the world.

Each sectary, well-to-do, in Persia or India, leaves a portion of his wealth to the mosques of Kerbela, that his body may be received there.--London Athenæum, 1845, p. 1246.

By all accounts you are considerable well-to-do, and have made an everlastin' sight of money among the Blue Noses of Nova Scotia.--Sam Slick.

The old lady being now well-to-do, in a spiritual sense.--Boston Times.

WELL TO LIVE. To be in easy circumstances; to live comfortably.

I wanted to see how these Northerners could buy our cotton, carry it home, manufacture it, bring it back, and sell it for half nothing; and, in the mean time, be well-to-live, and make money besides.--Crockett, Tour.

WENCH. In the United States, this word is only applied to black females.

WHANG. Sinews of the buffalo or other animal, or small strips of thin deer-skin, used by the dwellers and hunters of the prairies for sewing.

WHALING. A lashing; a beating.

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But it is possible that we may, at some future time, go to war with England--her writers and speakers having spoken disparagingly of us, while her actors, half-pay officers and other travelling gentry carry their heads rather high in passing through our country--for which "arrogant" demeanor we are bound to give her a whaling!--N. Y. Tribune, Aug. 1847.

WHALER. A big, strapping fellow.

He's a whaler! said Rory; but his face is mighty little for his body and legs.--Georgia Scenes, p. 184.

WHAP. A quick and smart stroke.--Jamieson.

He hit him on the wame ane wap,
It buft lyke ony bledder.--Chr. Kirk, st. 12.

WHAP! An interjection expressive of a sudden blow, like whack! slap! bang! &c.

But a day of payment is coming; and if the money ain't forthcoming, out comes a Randolph writ, and whap goes your money and liberty.--Crockett's Speech, Tour, p. 109.

I began to think smokin' warn't so bad alter all, when whap went my cigar right out of my mouth into my bosom.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 2.

TO WHAP OVER. To turn over. (New England.)

WHOPPER.} Anything uncommonly large; as, 'That's a whopper,' meaning a monstrous lie. 'In angling to-day, I caught a whopper,' i. e. a very large fish. This word is provincial in various parts of England, and is a common one here. In his paper on the ancient words in Yorkshire, Dr. Willan observes that, "in many other instances, our forefathers seem to have estimated weights and magnitudes by the force of their blows. To us, they employed in gradation, the terms slapper, smacker, banger, thumper, twacker, swinger, and rattler. The word bumper, concerning which much has been said and surmised, is not of a more exalted origin than that which is here stated."--Archæologia, Vol. XVII. p. 162.

WHAPPING. Very large.

We've got only one crib, and that's a whappin' one too.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 67.

A whappin' big pan of mush stood in the centre of the table, and a large pan of milk beside it, with lots of corn-bread and butter.--Robb, Squatter Life, p. 61.

WHARVES, plur. of wharf. Mr. Pickering notices this form of the plural of wharf, as peculiar to Americans. The

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English say wharfs. In the Colony and Province Laws of Massachusetts, Mr. Pickering says he has observed the plural wharfs (or wharfes) as late as the year 1735; but after that period the form wharves is used.

WHAT NOT. In New York a piece of furniture usually placed in a parlor, consisting of several shelves, upon which are placed articles of vertu, porcelain, small bronzes, etc.

WHAT'S WHAT. 'To know what's what,' is to know the nature of things, or as we classically express it, 'to be up to a thing or two.'

I know what's what. I know on which side my bread is buttered.--Ford, The Lady's Trial, II. 1.

I knew the time would come when they would say I knew what was what.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 190.

A tame, vacant, doll-faced, idle gall. What a fate for a man who knows what's what.--Sam Slick, 2d series.

Why, Mr. Bott, if I wasn't a married man, I'd soon know who's who and what's what.--C. Mathews, The Motley Book, p. 13.

TO WHEAL. To swell.

The father discovered a gainsome expression of face. ... His cheeks whealed and puffed, and through his lips his laughter exposod his white teeth.--Margaret, p. 10.

WHEEL-HORSE. An intimate friend; one's right hand man. Western.

WHELK. An old name for a pustule, a pimple. The word is not much used in America.

White cohush will bring out the whelk in less than no time; and brook lime will break any fever.--Margaret, p. 375.

We have authority for this word from Shakspeare, Henry V.:

His face is all bobukies and whelks, and knobs, and flames of fire.

WHELKY. Protuberant; rounded.--Todd. Still heard sometimes in New England.

Ne ought the whelky pearls esteemeth he,
Which are from Indian seas brought far away.--Spenser, Virg. Gnat.

Pluck, unchilled by the coolness of the drench, stood, sunk to his chin in the snow, his shining bald pate and whelky red face streaming with moisture.--Margaret, p. 167.

WHIG AND TORY. Names of political parties. The history

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of the origin of these names is thus given by Cooke: "According to Roger North, the country party were the first to brand their opponents with the name by which they were afterwards to be designated. The Duke of York naturally affected the society of those whose religion was the same as his own, and the Catholic Irish were, therefore, in great favor with him. This circumstance occasioned the popular party to call all the opponents of the Exclusion Bill, Irishmen. The hatred the majority of the English bore to popery, rendered this an opprobrious term; but it required to be strengthened before it could express the animosity of a hostile party. The epithet became successively "Wild Irish," and "Bog-trotter;" but it was yet imperfect until some zealous member of the opposition found invective and euphony united in the word Tory, a name applied to a set of ruffians in the disturbed districts of Ireland--according to North, to the most despicable savages among the wild Irish. The word Whig is of Scotch origin. It was, say some writers, used in that country for the curd into which milk was reduced previous to being converted into cheese; it was thence deemed applicable to the sour and curdled tempers of the persecuted Covenanters. The rebellion of that ill-used sect, of course, rendered them an object of the greatest abhorrence to the high church and high monarchical Tories, and they bestowed this name upon their opponents in England as the most reproachful they could discover.

"Bishop Burnet, however, gives another derivation of this word. He dates it from the year 1648, when the Scotch people, excited by their ministers, rose and marched to Edinburgh to oppose the prosecution of Duke Hamilton's attempt in favor of the captive king. The south-west counties of Scotland, producing little corn, were obliged to send to Leith for stores of that article, which were supplied by the superior facilities of the northern counties. The carriers who repaired to Leith for this purpose were then called Whiggamors, from the word wiggam, which they used in driving their cattle. The inhabitants of Leith and Edinburgh very naturally extended this epithet to the whole of the inhabi-

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tants of the counties whence these men came; and as the insurgents who occupied Edinburgh sprang chiefly from the West, that circumstance was called the Whiggamors' inroad. The name was afterwards applied to the whole body of Covenanters, gradually shortened into Whig, and thence, as already mentioned, the word was introduced into England."--Cooke's Hist. of Parties, Vol. I. p.138.

Let such men quit all pretence to civility and breeding,--they are ruder than Tories, and wild Americas; and were they treated according to their deserts from mankind, they would meet everywhere with chains and strappadoes.--Glanville, Sermons, 4.

During the war of the American Revolution, the terms Whig and Tory were applied--the former to those who supported the revolutionary movement; the latter to the royalists, or those who adhered to the British government. Tory was then a stigma of the most reproachful kind.

WHIGS AND DEMOCRATS. It is very difficult to give a precise, accurate, and satisfactory definition of the principles distinctively held by the two great political parties into which the population of the American Union is divided--one popularly styling itself the Democratic, the other the Whig party. In point of fact, the satirical definition of the outs and the ins would not be very far out of the way; for the doctrines of government and legislation theoretically advanced by the Democratic party, when out of power, are not so radically diverse from those of the Whigs, in the same condition, as are the practices of either when in power, from ther professions. As times change and circumstances, the demands or wishes of these parties change also; so that what was Whig doctrine in 1830, may be Democratic doctrine in 1850, and vice versa.

The nominal distinctions, some years ago, were, on the Whig side, a Protective Tariff, a National Bank, Division of the Proceeds of the Public Lands among all the States, and the duty of the General Government to carry on works of Public Improvement, such as Canals, Roads, &c. &c.

The Democrats were for Free Trade, no connection of the Government with Banking, Distribution of the Proceeds of

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the Public Lands among the States in which the lands lie, and Non-interference by the Government with Internal Improvements.

But all these questions have rarely been brought to the practical test. Absolute free trade has ever been impracticable, because it would deprive the Government of the revenue derived from imposts. The Government has always been obliged to carry on some kind of financial operations, differing more in name than in reality from a system of banking considered as a means of supplying a currency. The public lands have rarely yielded any proceeds beyond the wants of the Government. And the only real question, fairly at issue, has been that of improvement in public works.

The Democrats popularly charge upon the Whigs a desire to strengthen and centralize the National Government--declaring themselves to be in favor rather of strengthening the local Governments of the several States, and of limiting, as far as constitutionally possible, the agency of the National Government, or Government of the Union; but in practice the Democratic party is ready enough to assume power for the General Government, when anything is to be gained by so doing; and in this, as in most other instances, the difference between the two parties lies rather in words than in deeds.

The Whigs, on the other hand, popularly charge upon the Democrats an undue degree of subserviency to the Executive, especially since the elevation of General Jackson to the Presidency, in 1829; and this charge seems to have more foundation in truth. It is certain, at all events, that the three Democratic Presidents, Jackson, Van Buren, and Polk, have found a more zealous and unscrupulous support in questionable measures than was ever given to a Whig President, or indeed to any of their predecessors.

Perhaps, on the whole, it may be truly said, that the main practical difference between the Whigs and Democrats lies in the fact that the latter give a more unhesitating and thorough-going support to all measures which involve the question of party-measures, which become, by any means,

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party tests, whether emanating from the Executive or adopted by him under impulse from his adherents. [J. Inman.]

WHIGGERY.} Whig principles; the doctrines of the Whig party. These words have, in the United States, lost their original opprobious meaning, and are now frequently used by the Whigs theniselves in speaking of their doctrines.

The Whigs in Boston see by the movement in New York, and by accounts from Ohio, that there is a chance, at least, of General Taylor being vigorously opposed by some men of undoubted Whiggery in influential States.--Let. from Boston, in N. Y. Herald, June 21, 1848.

Professor Amasa Walker here came forward, and said they all stood together upon the same platform, and he had heard too much of Whiggery about their proceedings already and as they stood upon a broad platform, he as a Democrat protested against their throwing in so much Whiggery, and entertaining them abunt Gen. Taylor's white horse.--Rep. of a Freesoil Convention at Worcester, Mass, June 28, 1848.

WHILE, for till. 'Stay while I come,' instead of stay till I come. Used in the Southern States.--Sherwood's Georgia.

WHIM-WHAM. A toy; a freak; a strange fancy.--Jodrell's Philology.

Another gentleman declares that if we make them and their whim-whams the subject at any more essays, he shall he under the necessity of applying for satisfaction.--Paulding, Salmagundi, Vol. I. p. 283.

WHIPPLE-TREE.} The bar to which the traces of a carriage are fastened for draught.--Webster. Whipple-tree is the form used in England.--Halliwell.

WHISTLE. The throat. It is never used in this sense except in the phrase to 'wet one's whistle,' to take a draught of liquor. It is a corruption of weesle; an old term for the weasand, or windpipe.--Craven Dialect.

So was hire joly whistle wel ywette.--Chaucer, Reeve's Tale.

Let's turn to the fire, drink the other cup to wet our whistles.--Izaak Walton.

Youn' John seem'd nut at all to be
      A chip ov the old block;
To see some wet their whistles so,
      It oft gave him a shock.--John Noakes, Essex Dialect, p. 7.

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I can talk all day, and most of the night, only stopping to wet my whistle.--J. C. Neal, Peter Brush.

TO WHISTLE. To whistle before you are out of the woods, i. e. to exult before you are out of danger.

But let not the Pennsylvanians rejoice--let them not whistle before they are out of the woods. The duties on iron will have to come down too.--N. Y. Tribune.

WHOLE. Made out of whole cloth, i. e. altogether an invention.

Isn't this entire story about your Jersey grandmother made out of whole cloth--spun on your own wheel, with your tongue for the spindle?--C. Mathews, The Motley Book, p. 68.

WHOLE HEAP. Many; several; much; a large congregation. An expression peculiar to certain parts of the South and West.--Sherwood's Georgia.

WICKET. A place of shelter, or camp made of the boughs of trees, used by lumbermen in Maine.

WIDE AWAKE. On the alert; ready; prepared.

The Captain was wide awake, but said nothing.--Simon Suggs, p. 37.

WIGWAM. An Indian cabin or hut, usually made of skins. The word is Algonkin, and occurs in variously modified forms in the languages of that family. See Gallatin's Synopsis, p. 322.

WILD CAT BANK. One of the various terms applied at the West to some of the irresponsible banks of the country. A bank in Michigan had a large vignette on its notes representing a panther, which animal is familiarly called there a Wild cat. This bank failed, having a large amount of its notes in circulation, which notes were afterwards denominated Wild cat money, and the banks issuing them, Wild cat Banks. Other banks were compelled to stop payment soon after, in consequence of the want of confidence in them; and the term became general in Michigan, to denote banking institutions of an unsound character. The term Blue-pup money had a similar origin, as distinguished from Red Dog, which see.

We had to sell some of our land to pay taxes on the rest--and then took our pay in Wild-cat money, that turned to waste paper before we could get it off our hands.--Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life, Vol. I. p. 91.

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TO WILT. To droop; to wither, as plants or flowers cut or plucked off.--Holloway. A word common in the United States, and provincial in England, where welk and welt are used in the same sense.--Worcester.

Miss Amy pinned a flower to her breast; and when she died, she held the wilted fragments close in her hand.--Margaret, p. 213.

Some cotton fellar here bid sixty dollars [for the slave], and she wilted right down.--Robb, Squatter Life.

TO WIND UP. To close up; to give the quietus to an antagonist in a debate; to effectually demolish.

John Bell, of Tennessee, that unmistakable Whig, has rung out a clear and far-sounding note of alarm concerning this Mexican war. He is as serious as a preacher, and as downright as a sailor in the delivery of his sentiments. A lively dialogue, constituting a kind of interlude to his speech, sprang up between him and Mr. Cass, in which he pretty effectually 'wound up' the Senator from Michigan.--N. Y. Com. Adv.

WINKLE-HAWK. (Dutch winkel-haak.) A rent in the shape of the letter L, frequently made in cloth. It is also called a winkel-hole. A New York term.

WINSOME. (Ang. Sax. winsum.) Lively; cheerful; gay. Provincial in the North of England.--Brockett.

The curls that overhang her face
In clusters rich and winsome grace.--American Anthology.

WIRE-PULLERS. A term denoting those who, by their secret plots and intrigues, control the movements of the puppets on the political stage.

Baltimore is now the great Babel of Loco-Focoism. All the officeholders, office-seekers, hangers-on, and wire-pullers of that craft are here. What a happy country this would be if Baltimore should sink, or swim off somewhere! I have no doubt that some righteous would perish, but there would be so much demagogueism swamped with them, that the political atmosphere would be renovated for half a century!--N. Y. Tribune.

The coming contest is to decide whether the people have the privilege of electing a chief magistrate of their own selection, or only the privilege of electing one of two candidates whom self-elected cliques of nominators choose to designate. The Philadelphia Convention will assemble on Wednesday; already that city is filled with wire-pullers, pubic opinion manufacturers, embryo cabinet officers, future ambassadors, and the whole brood of political make-shifts, who contrive to live out of the public purse, by abusing public credulity.--N. Y. Mirror, June 5, 1848.

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WITCH-HAZEL. The popular name of the Hamamelis, so called from its reputed power of bending towards water, when a forked branch is held in the hands.

WITNESS-TREES. In newly settled countries at the West, every mile square is marked by "blazed" trees, and the corners especially distinguished by stakes whose place is pointed out by trees called witness-trees.--Mrs. Clavers's Western Clearings, p. 3.

WOLFISH. Savage; savagely hungry. A Western word.

You must fight or play; so take your choice, for I feel most wolfish and savagerous.--Sam Slick, 3d ser. p. 117.

They'd been fightin' the barrel of whiskey mightily comin' up, and were perfectly wolfish arter some har of the dog.--Porter's Tales of the South-west, p. 121.

WONDERMENT. Astonishment; amazement. Wonderful appearance. Not in use except in low or sarcastic language.--Johnson. Examples of the use of this word may he found in many of the old authors.

When my pen would write her titles true,
It ravish'd is with fancy's wonderment.--Spenser.

Those things which I here set down, do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments.--Bacon.

The neighbors made a wonderment of it, and asked him what he meant.--L'Estrange.

All was wonderment and curiosity, and Jim for once experienced the inadequacy of the human capacity for such extraordinary occasions.--Chronicles of Pineville, p. 12.

WONT. A common contraction for will not. In New England, generally pronounced wunt.

TO WOOD. To supply or get supplies of wood.--Webster. The boats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, in their long voyages, are obliged to make frequent stops for supplies of wood. The common phrase is to wood up.

The process of wooding-up is one of the first the passenger is made acquainted with. The steamer approaches a dreary shore, without any thing to indicate that civilized man has ever set his foot upon it for many miles above or below, save the wood-pile and a small cabin of the rudest description. The terms are usually agreed upon before the boat touches the bank; and when it does, fifteen or twenty hands throw on board from

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twenty to fifty cords, at a price varying from $2 to $3, for which the woodman pockets his money and seems a happy man, although cut off from the world.--N. Y. Tribune, 1848.

WOODING-PLACE. A station on the banks of a river where the steamboats stop to take in supplies of wood.

WOODCHUCK. In New England, the popular name of a rodent mammal, a species of the marmot tribe of animals, the Arctomys monax. The ground hog. It burrows and is dormant in winter.--Webster.

Yea, verily, this is like a woodchuck in clover.--Margaret, p. 48.

WORM-FENCE. A rail fence laid up in a zig-zag manner.

Mr. Haskell, one of the delegates from Tennessee, told a story about a man in his "diggins," who was once struck by "Joe Larkins," by which he was knocked at least forty rods. He fell against a worm-fence, and carried away about forty panels, rail-riders and all.--N. Y. Mirror.

WORRY. Perplexity; trouble. In familiar language, this word is often used with us; and, although it does not appear in any of the English glossaries, it is also employed colloquially in England. We say, 'the worry of business;' 'the worry of politics,' &c.

I am in the midst of the bustle attending the opening of the session [of Parliament]. ..... But the excitement and worry are more than I can stand in the present state of my health.--Lord Sydenham, Memoirs.

WORSER, instead of worse, is often heard among the vulgar. It is common in the dialect of London, and like other words enlarged from the comparative degree, is supported by eminent writers.--Pegge, Anecdotes of the English Lang.

Let the worser spirit tempt me again.--Shakspeare, King Lear.

Changed to a worser shape thou canst not be.--Ibid. King Henry VI.

WRATH. Like all wrath, i. e. violently; vehemently; angrily. A Southern simile.

There ain't much to interest the traveller on the railroad from Hamburg to Charleston. Most of the passengers in the car were preachers what had been up to Augusta to attend the convention. They was the dryest set of old codgers I ever met with, till the jolting of the cars shook up their ideas a little, and then they fell to disputin' like all wrath.--Maj. Jones's Travels.

WRATHY. Very angry. A colloquial word.--Webster.

Oh! you're wrathy, ain't ye? Why, I didn't mean nothin' but what was civil!--Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life, Vol. I. p. 103.

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The General was as wrathy as thunder; and when he gets his dander up, it's no joke.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 34.

WRINKLE. An idea; notion; fancy. Colloquial in England and America.

Such was, after a little experience, the wrinkle adopted by Mr. Lear.--Quarterly Rev., Vol. LXXXI. p.462.

WRAPPER. A loose dress or gown.

Her dress was a blue-striped linen short-gown, wrapper, or long-short, a coarse petticoat, checked apron, &c.--Margaret, p. 14.


TO YANK. To twitch or jerk powerfully; a term used in New England.

YARN. A story. A word chiefly used by seamen. To spin a long yarn, is to tell a long or tedious story.

YEATH, for earth. A vulgar pronunciation among the illiterate at the South.

"Why you don't look like the same man. I never should have know'd you. What upon yeath has brung you out so?"--Maj. Jones's Sketches.

YEATHQUAKE, for earthquake. A Southern vulgarism like the previous word.

The Girard College is all solid brick and marble. Fire can't get hold of wood enough to raise a blaze, and the walls are so thick and strong that nothin' short of Florida lightnin' or a South American yeathquake couldn't knock it down.--Maj. Jones's Sketches.

YELLOW-HAMMER. (Picus auratus. Wilson, Ornith.) The popular name of the Golden-winged Woodpecker, the most beautiful of the genus. It is known by other names in different parts of the country, as High-hole, Yacker, Clape, &c.

YELLOWS, often pronounced yallers. A disease of horses and cattle, which is indicated by a yellow appearance of the eyes, inside of the lips, &c.--Farrier's Dict. This word is old and is used by Shakspeare:

His horse sped with spavins and raied with the yellows.--Taming of the Shrew.

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Ask the widder if she can cure the yallers in Bright [the ox].--Margaret, p. 17.

YOU DON'T! for you don't say so; really! indeed! as, 'Mr. A threw a back somerset out of a three-story window. Ans. Now, you don't!'

YOUNG DEMOCRACY. See Barnburners.

YOURN. This is a contraction of your own, or a change in the termination of the pronoun yours, in conformity with mine, and which is much used by the illiterate and vulgar. It is also used in London, and in the West of England. "The cockney," says Mr. Pegge, "considers such words as our own and your own as pronouns possessive, a little too much expanded; and, therefore, thinks it proper to curtail them, and to compress them into the words ourn and yourn, for common daily use."--Anecdotes of the English Lang., p. 193.

He might have added hisn, as in the famous distich:

Him as prigs vot isn't hisn,
Ven he's cotch'd 'il go to pris'n.

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To "Voices from 19th-Century America"
Some works for adults, 1800-1872

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