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Billingsgate (London)

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Gate = quay, and bellan is to bawl or bellow. This quay is so called from the shouting of the fishermen in trying to attract attention and vend their fish.

That’s Billingsgate. Vulgar and coarse, like the manners and language of Billingsgate fish-fags.

“Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate.”


Dryden: Art of Poetry, c. 1.

To talk Billingsgate, i.e. to slang, to scold in a vulgar, coarse style.

You are no better than a Billingsgate fish-fag, i.e. you are as rude and ill-mannered as the women of Billingsgate fish-market. The French say “Maubert” instead of Billingsgate, as Your compliments are like those of the Place Maubert, i.e. no compliments at all, but vulgar dirt-flinging. The “Place Maubert” has long been noted for its market.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Bill of Pains and Penalties (A)
Bill of Quantities
Bill of Rights
Bill of Sale
Bills of Mortality
Bills of Parcels
Billee (Little)
Billet-doux [pronounce billy doo]
Billiards
Billings (Josh)
Billingsgate (London)
Billingsgate Pheasant (A)
Billy
Billy Barlow
Billycock Hats
Bi-metallism
Binary Arithmetic
Binary Theory
Bingham’s Dandies
Binnacle
Birchin Lane

See Also:

Billingsgate