Our friend Angela from Chicago recently posted this tidbit on TheBabyWearer and gave us permission to reprint it here:
I picked up a book called The Vulgar Tongue which was first published in 1785 in London. It’s the first English slang dictionary, and it offers a fascinating window into life in the 18th century, especially on the life of the street. There’s military slang, sailing lingo, words that you would hear in the marketplace, and lots of sexual innuendo. *blush* There are also words in “cant” a kind of semi-secret language used by pickpockets and thieves to communicate amongst themselves.
As I was looking through my edition, I found a cool reference to babywearing under the entry for kinchin. A kinchin is a little child, and kinchin morts or coes in slates means beggars’ children carried at their mothers’ backs in sheets in cant.
Now, what shall I beg for?