Thieves Cant (A quick guide)

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So I've being using a little bit of thieves cant in my story so far. A cant is basically a new sort of language shared and recognised between a few individuals. It's like a code; much like London Cockney although this particular cant in question, is much more wide spread now and used in more modern day language. Like 'Apples and Pears' is 'Up the Stairs.' 

I also use a bit of cant in th Black Counrty (england) although it's not as popular and slowly becoming more scarce. For example, 'Put the wood in the hole,' is 'shut the door' . Or 'pea in a colander' is 'never stop talking'. One of the most famous, and heard most around here is 'it's a bit black over Bill's mothers' to mean it looks like it's going to rain. Often used while pondering the sky out the window. 

Wikipedia definition; A cant (or cryptolect) is the jargon or argot of a group, often implying its use to exclude or mislead people outside the group

Anyhow, Thieves cant follows a lot of rules for jargon, sentence structure and use. As this is easily available on the Internet I'm not going to bother explaining it here. This is also because I've applied a more modern day sentence structure in my story 'Golden Fury' however, here is a quick collection of some of the words. Hopefully it may be some use in decoding some words!

Use at your pleasure, you may recognise a few!

(Hopefully the grid will come out right, bear with me while a move it around) (it didn't come out right, but it's all in order, but not alphabetical, forgive me >.<)

If you would like the grid, drop me a message and I'll email you the PDF :D

To amuse

Fling dust into eyes of victim; invent plausible tale to distract shopkeeper


Rogue who uses above tactic


Pickpocket caught in act; thrown in pond


Petty thief with stick and hook at end – steals goods fromshop windows/grate etc.

 Someone who draws in victims to rob them

Arch rogue

Chief of gang of thieves/gypses




Hand burn as punishment for theft


Baliff or sheriff

Bene bowse

Good beer

Bene feakers of gybes

Counterfeiter of false passes


A fool


Cheat or con


Inn keeper







Boung nipper

A cut purse

Bus nappers kenchin

A watchman


Lots of money/one cheated of lots of money

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