billingsgate


billingsgate
/bil"ingz gayt'/ or, esp. Brit., /-git/, n.
coarsely or vulgarly abusive language.
[1645-55; orig. the kind of speech often heard at Billingsgate, a London fish market at the gate of the same name]
Syn. vituperation, vilification, invective, scurrility, vulgarity.

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      former London market (closed 1982). It was situated in the City of London (London, City of) at the north end of London Bridge beside The Monument (Monument, The), which commemorates the outbreak of the Great Fire of September 1666.

      In the Middle Ages the wharf at Billingsgate was a principal unloading point for fish, salt, and other cargoes. Parliament made it an open fish market in 1698, from which time the gentlemen of the Fishmongers Company, their boots silvered with scales, exercised their functions there, maintaining it as London's principal fish market. Market activities were moved in 1982 to large modernized premises at the north of the peninsular Isle of Dogs (in Tower Hamlets), where they now neighbour the Canary Wharf office district. The original Billingsgate building was later transformed into an office complex.

      The old market was notorious for a type of coarse, vituperative speech referred to as “billingsgate.” The derivation of the market's name is, however, uncertain.

      For another perspective on the market, see from Encyclopædia Britannica's 3rd edition (1788–97).

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • billingsgate — 1670s, the kind of coarse, abusive language once used by women in the Billingsgate market on the River Thames below London Bridge. Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes …   Etymology dictionary

  • Billingsgate — Bil lings*gate , n. 1. A market near the Billings gate in London, celebrated for fish and foul language. [1913 Webster] 2. Coarsely abusive, foul, or profane language; vituperation; ribaldry. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billingsgate — index profanity, revilement Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • billingsgate — scurrility, vituperation, *abuse, invective, obloquy …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • billingsgate — [bil′iŋz gāt΄, bil′iŋzgit] n. [after a London fish market, notorious for foul language] foul, vulgar, abusive talk …   English World dictionary

  • Billingsgate — infobox UK place official name= Ward of Billingsgate map type= Greater London country= England region= London london borough= City of London latitude= 51.50864 longitude= 0.08205 os grid reference= TQ332806 post town= LONDON postcode area= EC… …   Wikipedia

  • Billingsgate —    This name has been variously used to designate : one of the City gates, a port or quay on the Thames, one of the principal City markets.    It seems probable, and recent discoveries tend to confirm the view, that in early times the City was… …   Dictionary of London

  • Billingsgate —    foul language    The language was once used by the women sellers of fish, rather than by the male porters, in the London market which was closed in 1982. According to Dryden , Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate , and in modern use:     …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • billingsgate — noun Etymology: Billingsgate, old gate and fish market, London, England Date: 1652 coarsely abusive language Synonyms: see abuse …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • billingsgate — noun profane, abusive language; coarse words You wouldnt have believed the billingsgate which poured forth from that boys mouth …   Wiktionary


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