Cockney...now there is an interesting word that pops up here now and then..but what is it?
I always thought it referred to a particular accent. And asking others, they said it had to do with where a Londoner lived. But today, I asked a woman who works for me what Cockney is.
In her very proper British accent, she stated that it is "one who is born within the sound of Bow Bells". Yeah...that's what I thought!
She did go on to explain, but I am curious what the rest of you think of when you think of Cockney, and what our Brits on board think, as well.
That's right. A cockney is one born within the sound of Bow Bells. That is, someone from the East End of London. It has been extended to include people from other parts of London, but that is the original meaning.
Interesting. We have a very affluent suburb here where it is prestigious to be from the east side. So----now the most affluent (Eg those with renowned family names, and not just money) are from the east, east part, said with an proper English accent, if possible! Then there are multi-million dollar homes (not too shabby!) from the east part of the suburb. These people have made their money, but don't have a "name", as of yet. The poor people, with only million dollar homes, live in the west part of the suburb. Their goal is to migrate eastward. How sad!
The concept being that one cannot be a big fish unless there are littler fish to look down upon?
(or should I say "down upon which to look"?)
I'm confused! I did some google to see what I could find out about Cockney. Can someone tell me what "rhyming" has to do with "Cockney"? There is a "Cockney rhyming slang" site!
The cockneys (inhabitants of the East End of London), invented the slang. They would take a word and find a phrase that rhymed. So, for stairs they used apples and pears. Sometimes they'd say the whole rhyme, and it is pretty easy to guess the original word from the rhyme and context. However, often they'd often just use the first part of the rhyme: "You go up the apples and take the first door on the right."
Cool! Thank you Arnie! Now it makes more sense to me.
OK, how much sense does this make?
I was in the Karsi, sitting on me Kyber, using the grey matter, when I thought, wouldn't it be nice if me Dutch made some Rosy. She got some fresh Adam's there. So I went down the Apples and told her. We could go up to the Rubba. Me in me best Whistle and Titfer and me new Daisy's, and her in her best bib and tucker with her new Tile. It's a long Frog but we'd do it O.K. on Shank's Pony. That's if our Plates last out. Probably see a couple of me Chinas there with the Arrows and a Pig or two. One's a Brummie, one's a Scouse. He might have his Geordie mate with him too. Could see another China of the way, he's a Septic but not a bad bloke. Likes to knock you a bit though. If I see the Runner, I'll probably put a Pony on a Nag, but if there is a Peeler about, he'll probably have it on his toes. If he gets Nicked he'll be Banged up for a full moon. I'll ask for a Butcher's at the form if he's on his Jack. If I win I'll get a Lardy and some snout for her. She's a bit Mutton at the moment but you should see the Minces in her Boat and her Barnet is a joy to behold. Won't even mention her North and South.
(This isn't entirely rhyming slang -- there is some ordinary cockney slang mixed in for good measure.)
Arnie....I'm gonna work on that one in my spare time!
About all I know is Rosy is tea! I have to look at this a bit longer, Arnie! I'll do my best translation..then you can laugh at me!
alright, this is the best i could do. but we can do this together, people. come on.
OK, how much sense does this make?
I was in the Karsi, sitting on me Kyber,
using the grey matter, when I thought, wouldn't it be nice if me Dutch made some Rosy. She got some fresh Adam's
there. So I went down the Apple s
apples and pears=stairs
and told her. We could go up to the Rubba.
Rubba dub dub=pub
Me in me best Whistle and Titfer and me new Daisy's, and her in her best bib and tucker with her new Tile. It's a long Frog
but we'd do it O.K. on Shank's Pony. That's if our Plates last out. Probably see a couple of me Chinas
there with the Arrows and a Pig or two. One's a Brummie, one's a Scouse. He might have his Geordie mate
Geordie mate=guy from that Northern town
with him too. Could see another China of the way, he's a Septic
but not a bad bloke. Likes to knock you a bit though. If I see the Runner, I'll probably put a Pony on a Nag,
bet on a horse
but if there is a Peeler about,
he'll probably have it on his toes.
who, the runner?
If he gets Nicked he'll be Banged up for a fullmoon.
if he gets arrested he'll be in gaol for a full month.
I'll ask for a Butcher's
a block of bets?
at the form if he's on his Jack. If I win I'll get a Lardy and some
snout for her. She's a bit Mutton at the moment but you should see the Minces in her Boat and
her Barnet is a joy to behold. Won't even mention her North and South.
That's a wonderful start Wild! I had no idea when I posed the question about Cockney, that we could have so much fun with a puzzle from Arnie!
An aside...in looking up something else in the Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary, I found "Morgan" listed! I'm much too embarrassed to tell you all what it means. However, I will remind you that way back when, I did say it is my granddaughter's middle name, and that is how I chose it!
Actually, that was much harder than I intended. Sometimes the first part of the rhyming phrase becomes corrupted, so it bears no real resemblance to the original...
Here's a translation of the first few sentences, with explanations.
I was in the Karsi, sitting on me Kyber, using the grey matter, when I thought, wouldn't it be nice if me Dutch made some Rosy.
I was in the WC (karsi is Hindi [?] for WC), sitting on my ass (Khyber Pass -- ass), using my brain, when I thought, wouldn't it be nice if my wife (Duchess of Fife -- Wife -- shortened to Dutch) made some tea (Rosy Lee -- tea -- from Gipsy Rose Lee).
She got some fresh Adam's there.
She got some fresh pants Adam and the Ants [pop group] -- pants.
So I went down the Apples and told her. We could go up to the Rubba. Me in me best Whistle and Titfer and me new Daisy's, and her in her best bib and tucker with her new Tile.
So I went down the stairs (Apples and pears -- stairs) and told her. We could go up to the pub (Rubba dub dub -- pub). Me in my best suit (Whistle and flute -- suit) and hat (tit for tat -- hat -- corrupted to titfer) and my new boots (Daisy roots -- boots), and her in her best clothes with her new hairstyle (tile -- hairstyle -- unusually, only one word, not a phrase).
More later, but keep working on it!
Amazing, arnie. It isn't spoken today, right? Why does my dictionary say cockney is "a spoiled child or a squeamish woman"? Is this an entirely different definition or related?
Cockney rhyming slang certainly is spoken nowadays. It might not be so common as fifty years ago, say, but it is alive and well! New phrases are constantly being added/invented. It has always been somewhat "underground" and used mainly by the non-working classes, as it were; the place where you are most likely to encounter it is at a movie about London's criminals, such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
As to the "spoiled child or a squeamish woman" there may be a connection: the word was at first generally used by non-cockneys as a term of contempt for the soft city-dwelling "townies". Only later did it become merely descriptive and lose its pejorative overtones, becoming accepted by the cockneys themselves.
I am prompted to reply to this thread since there is clearly much confusion about Cockneys and cockney slang.
As Arnie says, orgiginally a Cockney was an inhabitant of London born within the sound of the bells of the church of St. Mary Le Bow. The accent they use and the famous rhyming slang are both misunderstood and frequently misused by others - perhaps most famously by Dick van Dyke in "Mary Poppins" whose "cockney" accent bore little resemblance to the real thing (which prompts me to wonder why they didn't choose a cockney actor - there are plenty of them)
Much cockney rhyming slang has passed into common use, especially in the UK, although few know the origins of some of the terms (and perhaps that's for the best considering their often less than salubrious origins).
And in answer to another point - yes, rhyming slang is still alive and well as is Cockney culture - and I can say that right from the bottom of my gooseberry!
gooseberry ≠ raspberry, presumably?
Indeed! Although the saying "From the heart of my bottom" may apply here.
Richard, a very warm welcome to you! I think with all the help here from all the Brits (is that an OK term?) on board, I finally understand!
Do I recall that Morgan, in a previous greeting, expressed a particular fondness for Englishmen?
Goosebery = Gooseberry Tart = Heart.
Rhyming slang must always contain a rhyme, even though it might be an ancient or obtuse one. Similes or other connections are never used.
Well, as I'm on my tod right now, I must go!
I see I'm a "junior member".
As one who is now enetitled to a 'bus pass, I don't know whether to feel flattered or insulted!
Must go, there's someone wants me on the dog.
I see I'm a "junior member".
As one who is now entitled to a 'bus pass, I don't know whether to feel flattered or insulted!
Must go, there's someone wants me on the dog.
I felt quite flattered -- in much the same way as when someone phoned me at work this morning and said she'd spoken earlier to a "young man" who turned out to have been me.
You reach the dizzy heights of "Member" after 25 posts.
BTW, we've already mentioned raspberry tart = fart, which was the point of shufitz' post.
Raspberry is one of those words of rhyming origin whose antecedents are unknown to most and which has long been accepted into mainstream English.
The term "Brit" is known and accepted by most in the UK, although we would prefer to be known as English, Scots, Welsh or whichever of the several countries of the UK we hail from. It is, though, very rarely used by those of us who come from the UK. We would, as I have suggested, give our country of origin (in my case, England).
If we felt the need to stress our British origins we would say "we are British" - not "we are Brits".
Well, let me then restate my thanks to the English on board!
By the way, Richard, what a wonderfully appropriate name you have!
quote:¹altered in deference to one of our continental friends
I always found this thread fascinating, though I didn't know enough about the subject to reply. However, recently I purchase a word book with some phrases they say are Cockney rhyming slang. Arnie and Richard, is my book correct?
Girl - twist and twirl
Wife - trouble and strife
Facts - brass tacks, thus our "let's get down to brass tacks"
Eat - Dutch treat from Dutch Street, where there were a number of eating places
No hope - no soap
Fart - rasberry tart as in "Give 'em raspberry, or razz"
Go - scapa flow or scapa
According to my book, the last one overlaps scarper (Parlyaree--circus language--to leave one's lodgings without paying). Scarper comes from the Italian scappare meaning "to escape", or the Latin "excappa", meaning "to slip out of one's cape when arrested". Interesting!
I've never come across "twist and twirl" for "girl" before, but I looked it up in The English/Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary and it appears. "Trouble and strife" for "wife" and "brass tacks" for "facts" are common.
"Dutch treat" for "eat" is nonsense. It is not cockney, particularly, and does not simply mean "eat". It means a meal where each person pays his or her own share. The origins of the phrase come from the seventeenth century, when we were great rivals with the Netherlands and so tended to give the appellation "Dutch" to anything we wanted to give a pejorative slant to. Michael Quinion gives his usual excellent exposition at World Wide Words.
"No hope" = "no soap" is used, but I doubt that it is cockney rhyming slang. It doesn't follow the usual rules.
"Fart" = "rasberry tart" we have already mentioned.
"Go" = "Scapa Flow" or "Scapa" is correct. Scapa Flow is where the Royal Navy has a large base. I certainly have seen it usually spelled "scarper" but I am not familiar with the curious additional etymology quoted, and find it unlikely.
arnie say, "'no soap' is used, but I doubt that it is cockney rhyming slang."
There seems to be a conflict of authority on the source of this phrase.
Quinion says, "The word soap in the middle nineteenth century in the USA was used to mean money. So somebody who said 'No soap!' meant something like 'No, I haven't any money' or 'No, I won't give you a loan'." Quinion notes Samuel Foote (see below) but says, "It is unlikely that he is the source of the expression ... If Foote had been the origin, we would have expected some examples to turn up between these dates."
But contrast Bergan Evans' Dictionary of Quotations (1968):
In 1755 actor Charles Macklin boasted that he could repeat anything after hearing it once, and Foote made up this nonsense to test him:
quote:Says Evans: "The farrago, apparently, passed into some schoolbooks as a mnemonic exercise ... It had appeared in Maira Edgewordth's Harry and Lucy Concluded (1825) and the Harry and Lucy stories were not only widely read by themeselves but were plundered by the School Readers."
As a side note to wordnerd's post, "the Grand Panjandrum" definitely entered the language via this route.
Macklin, by the way, refused to repeat the nonsense made up by Foote, and was laughed off the stage.
Thanks, arnie & wordnerd. It is interesting to me the number of times on this board that we have found errors, either in word books or in dictinaries. BTW, arnie, my incorrect source for "Dutch Treat" and "no soap" is John Train's, "Bedlam Boudoir & Brouhaha or Remarkable Words with Astonishing Origins" (1980). Oh, and I enjoy World Wide Words, too!
Arnie, while you were skeptical about train's etymology for scapa flow (and I don't have a clue if he is right or not), he did have more to say about that. Train said that "scarper" has another meaning of "soft footwear", which allows one to escape from the police. He presumes that this comes from the Italian word for shoe--"scarpa". Perhaps another mistake? Who knows.... I do know that I cannot trust his book now.
As for raspberry tart & fart, yes, I did know that it was posted about already. However, I had not seen the further link to the word "razz".
I haven't read Train's book, so I can't tell if everything in it is nonsense, but to judge from the excerpts you've mentioned, this guy is at best guilty of gullibility in passing on as fact a load of tosh. At worst he's guilty of making it all up.
Today Askoxford has an interesting article about Cockney Rhyming Slang. Quoting just a bit of it:
Well, arnie, I can only say that Train, a Harvard grad and founder and contributer to the Paris Review, is the author of 2 successful books on finance, 3 others on humor, and wrote a fortnightly column to Forbes, as well as contributed to other periodicals. Perhaps the book I happened upon was not one of his best. I had known him to be a highly reputable author.
"Go" = "Scapa Flow" or "Scapa" is correct. Scapa Flow is where the Royal Navy has a large base..."
It hasn't had one there for over half a century.
Hmmm. three books on humour, that might be a bit of a clue. Are you sure that his language book isn't another ?
si hoc legere scis nimium eruditiones habes
Read all about my travels around the world here.
It was meant to be a humorous book, based on authentic derivations of words.
However, clearly I should know better than to just use 1 or 2 sources; after all, I publish professional articles and have to check those sources 9 ways from Sunday (hmmm--from where does that phrase come?) The problem here is that I know much less about the etymology of words than I do about my profession so I am easily duped. Thanks everyone for keeping me honest!
There's a review by Michael Quinion of the Oxford Dictionary of Rhyming Slang on his World Wide Words site.
Cockney rhyming slang, like all living languages (in other words, unlike French!), is developing and new words are being added all the time.
What's interesting is that many of the old words are still commonly used, even though their origins have long since been forgotten. For example, "on his tod" is still understood to mean "on his own" although Tod Sloane, the jockey whose name was the origin for the term, is rarely heard of these days.