11 Old Timey Criminal Slang Terms for the Police

"Who are you calling a beak runner?!"
"Who are you calling a beak runner?!"
C.M. Bell // Library of Congress

Slang Terms for Police

Criminals have been referring to police as pigs since at least 1811. But just as they came up with many creative names for the people who ratted them out, crooks also called cops and private detectives by many other, more creative names. Here are a few of them from Eric Partridge’s Dictionary of the Underworld.

1. Beak Runner

A term circa 1789 for a policeman who is running down, or finding information about, criminals. It was obsolete by 1870.

2. Cannon-Shooter

According to Henry Leverage's "Dictionary of the Underworld," which appeared in a 1925 issue of Flynn's, this term referred to a detective who looked for pickpockets.

3. Elephant Ears

"Popular report has it that he listens so often, so long, so hard, that his ears grow to monstrous size," Partridge writes of this term for a policeman, which originated with a piece by J. Allen Dunn in the November 15, 1930 issue of Flynn's: "There's a couple of elephant ears ... spotting this joint."

4. Fuzz

Fuzz, referring to the police force, originated in America in 1929. A fuzzy, meanwhile, was a term from 1931 and referred to a policeman who was "very diligent in enforcing the law."

5. Lizzie Lice

A term from 1933 for policemen patrolling in cars. The singular form is Lizzie Lousie: "'A policeman who uses a smalle coupe in which to patrol his beat' ... that being a contemptuous term," Partridge writes.

6. Mitney

This 1910 term was "not very common," according to Partridge. "Perhaps, via a hypothetical mittery ... hands clapped by policemen on malefactors' shoulders."

7. Nabbing Cull

A 1781 term for a constable or officer of the law, from Ralph Tomlinson's parody, A Slang Pastoral:

”Will no blood-hunting foodpad, that hears me complain,
Stop the wind of that nabbing-cull, constable Payne?”

The term was obsolete by 1860.

8. Rat Bag

An Australian term, circa the 1930s, for a plainclothes detective.

9. Scorcher

Scorch is a 1925 term meaning "to arrest (someone)." A scorcher is the policeman or detective who does the arresting.

10. Tiggy

This term for a detective comes from Edwin Pugh's 1906 novel The Spoilers:

"It shows you ain't too anxious ... to be recognised by the tiggies, see?"

It also appears again in Pugh's 1914 book The Cockney at Home: Stories and Studies of London Life and Character; by 1918, it was low slang.

11. Wire Split

This term, used since 1930, referred to a detective of the pickpocket squad.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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More Than 650 New Words Have Been Added to Dictionary.com—Here Are 50 of Them

Online dictionaries can add words a little more quickly than their printed counterparts.
Online dictionaries can add words a little more quickly than their printed counterparts.
Pisit Heng, Pexels

Back in April, Dictionary.com updated its lexicon with a number of terms that had sprung up seemingly overnight, including COVID-19, novel coronavirus, and even rona. Now, as a testament to just how fast language evolves, the online dictionary has added 650 more.

Though the terms aren’t all quite as new as rona, they’ve all recently become prevalent enough to warrant their own dictionary entries. And they’re not all related to public health crises, either. New slang includes amirite, a truncated version of Am I right?; and zhuzh, a verb meaning “to make (something) more lively and interesting, stylish, or appealing, as by a small change or addition” (it can also be used as a noun).

There’s a handful of phrases that describe pets used for service or therapy—assistance animal, comfort animal, and emotional support animal, among others—and a couple that help capture the sometimes bizarre landscape of modern parenting. Sharent, a portmanteau of share and parent, refers to the act of chronicling your child’s life on social media (or a parent who does it); and extravagant methods of publicly announcing an unborn baby’s gender are now so widespread that gender reveal is a dictionary-recognized term. Some terms address racist behaviors—whitesplain and brownface, for example—while others reflect how certain people of color describe their specific ethnicities; Afro-Latina, Afro-Latino, and Afro-Latinx each have an entry, as do Pinay, Pinoy, and Pinxy.

In addition to the new entries, Dictionary.com has also added 2100 new definitions to existing entries and revised another 11,000 existing definitions—making it the site’s largest update ever. Black in reference to ethnicity is now a separate entry from the color black, and lexicographers have also combed through the dictionary to capitalize Black wherever it appears in other entries. They’ve also replaced homosexuality—now often considered an outdated clinical term with a negative connotation—with gayness in other entries, and addict with a person addicted to or a habitual user of. In short, people are constantly making language more inclusive and sensitive, and Dictionary.com is working to represent those changes in the dictionary.

Take a look at 50 of Dictionary.com’s new words and phrases below, and learn more about the updates here.

  1. Af
  1. Afro-Latina
  1. Afro-Latino
  1. Afro-Latinx
  1. Agile development
  1. Amirite
  1. Assistance animal
  1. Battle royale
  1. Bombogenesis
  1. Brownface
  1. Cap and trade
  1. Comfort animal
  1. Community management
  1. Companion animal
  1. Conservation dependent
  1. Conservation status
  1. Contouring
  1. Critically endangered
  1. DGAF
  1. Dunning-Kruger effect
  1. Ecoanxiety
  1. Emissions trading
  1. Emotional labor
  1. Emotional support animal
  1. Empty suit
  1. Extinct in the wild
  1. Filipinx
  1. Filipina
  1. Gender reveal
  1. GOAT
  1. Hodophobia
  1. Information bubble
  1. Ish
  1. Jabroni
  1. Janky
  1. MeToo
  1. Natural language processing
  1. Nothingburger
  1. Off-grid
  1. Pinay
  1. Pinoy
  1. Pinxy
  1. Ratio
  1. Sharent
  1. Swole
  1. Techlash
  1. Therapy animal
  1. Whitesplain
  1. World-building
  1. Zhuzh