WAITING PATIENTLY ON MY BOOKSHELF for the occasional trip down my father’s Memory Lane is a 65-year old copy of The American Thesaurus of Slang. I think the book is out of print by now, but in its day it must have been the essential reference manual for detectives, sailors, and other niche inhabitants whose vocabulary would out them if in the moment they were caught jargonless.
Slang, a constant source of inspiration for the writer
I’ve had my copy for decades, and for all that time I’ve been waiting for a project that would allow me to record audio of a stuffy British accent reading some long, rambling passage. Now that I mention it, I might just create my own project, maybe some random Youtube video that provides just enough of an excuse.
Until then, here from The American Thesaurus of Slang is an assortment of synonyms you can use when referring to ne’er-do-well acquaintances and frenemies who may happen to be hoodlums, criminals, or crooks (as long as you don’t mind sounding like you’re from the forties):
Angler, badlander, banketeer, beak bunter, bend, buzzard, chicken thief, chiseler, creeper, dock pirate, dognaper, doormatter, duster, flogger stiff, gandy dancer, ganglander, gooseberry picker, grifter, gump glommer, guttersnipe, gyp, habitual, heel, heeler, hen snatcher, hook, hot-shot, hustler, kid glove, kink, lifter, live wire, lumper, Monday man, moocher, peterman, piker, racket boy, red-hot, regular, rounder, slug ducker, smallie, snake, stripper, third rail, tinhorn, weeder, wharf rat, wolfer, wrecketeer.