Category Archives: Dalrymple’s dictionary

On strumpets

Strumpets, Dalrymple notes, are

immoral women of Shakespearean proportion.

A debauched or unchaste woman, a harlot, a prostitute. ‘A vile and abominable strumpet’; ‘A strumpet’s boldness’; ‘He regards nothing but to enjoy his little seraglio of six strumpets’; ‘The most degraded and dangerous strumpets are allowed to congregate round our barracks without hindrance’; ‘This is a disease of childhood, and the only exception to this I have seen was in a very young strumpet.’

‘They know the open whoredom of the Babylonical strumpet’; ‘Out, out, thou strumpet-fortune’; ‘The Kaiser and his parasites have gone a-whoring after Bellona, the deadliest strumpet that ever wrecked the souls and bodies of men’; ‘If thou do not altogether consider Christ’s mind, thou dealest strumpet-like with him.’

Strumpetocracy, jocular, government by harlots. Strumpetier, a whoremonger. ‘In the strumpetocracy of France, he had risen to this post by the most servile attention to Mme de Pompadour’; ‘Zola wants to show in action the morals and manners which developed in the aristocracy of the bourse and the strumpetocracy of Paris’; ‘O that our luxurious strumpetiers could read in their diseased bodies the estate of their leprous souls.’

On slappers

Dalrymple remarks that slappers

are notable for their vulgarity.

On slags

Dalrymple observes that slags are

sluts with whom the ageing process has caught up.

A promiscuous woman, a prostitute. ‘Pressure for early intercourse was heavy, yet boys called girls who “did it” slags.’

On sluts

Sluts, Dalrymple points out,

will go with anybody.

A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern. ‘I have noted often those dames which are so curious in their attire, to be very sluts in their houses’; ‘Women are all day a-dressing to pleasure other men abroad, and go like sluts at home.’

‘Nor was she a woman of any beauty, but a nasty slut’; ‘She’s ugly, she’s old, a slut, a scold’; ‘For sluts whose husbands died’; ‘She looked the part of a ragged, slatternly, dirty slut’; ‘I lived with him for nearly six months and acted the part of cook, slut, butler, page, footman and valet de chambre.’

A woman of low or loose character, a bold or impudent girl, a hussy, a jade. ‘Come forth, thou sloven! Come forth, thou slut’; ‘A peevish drunken flirt, a waspish choleric slut’; ‘These lords have a power of wealth indeed, yet, as I’ve heard say, they give it all to their sluts and their trulls’; ‘Does that bold-faced slut intend to take her warning, or does she not?’

On slatterns

Slatterns, writes Dalrymple,

tend to be fat and to have let themselves go.

‘Butterflies one day, slatterns the next’; ‘His wife a shrew and slattern.’

Harpies and harridans demand removal of ‘bitch’ from the OED

Dalrymple reports that

30,000 people—I was tempted to write harridans and harpies, but there must have been some emasculated men among them—have petitioned the Oxford University Press to remove words such as bitch, in the meaning of unpleasant female, from the Oxford English Dictionary as being derogatory of, and offensive to, women.


A decayed strumpet; one that is half whore, half bawd. ‘The nymphs with whom you first began, Are each become a harridan.’


A monster, rapacious and filthy.


‘His vices, like so many harpies, craving for their accustomed gratification’; ‘The harpies of taxation’; ‘My mother-in-law, the grasping, odious, abandoned, brazen harpy’; ‘Woman, altogether of the harpy breed.’



Applied opprobriously to a woman. ‘Ulysses looking sourly answered, You bitch!’; ‘An extravagant bitch of a wife’; ‘Call her prostitute, bawd, dirty bitch’; ‘You are a son of a bitch’; ‘I’ve been bitch-fou ‘mang godly priests’; ‘Jove, thou art going a-bitching’; ‘Such marriage is very unlawful lechery and plain abominable bitchery’; ‘The roguery of their lawyers, the bitchery of their paramours.’