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Friday, 28 September 2012

The Definition of a Queer Plunger: (as overflow from my regular twitter spot - word of the day)

A queer plunger was a form of 18th century confidence trickster, defined by Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue like this:

"Cheats who throw themselves into the water in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewarded by the Society with a guinea each; and the supposed drowned person, pretending he was driven to that extremity by great necessity, is also frequently sent away with a contribution in his pocket."

Good trick, but can you imagine the paperwork?

With many thanks to Peter Bowler and his "Superior Person's Little Book of Words" for this, and many other excellent pieces of information.

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