Victorian Job Titles


In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a trend emerged in English slang for bestowing mock titles on people employed or engaged in various jobs or pursuits:

  • Actors: tags, agony-pilers or cackling-coves (Shakespearean Actor: swan-slinger)
  • Banker: rag-shop boss
  • Barber: strap or scraper
  • Barmen: aproners
  • Butcher: cleaver or kill-calf
  • Cashier: rag-shop cove
  • Clerk or Secretary: quill-driver or pen-driver
  • Dentists: fang-fakers
  • Greengrocer: figgins or split-fig
  • Journalists: screeds, pencil-pushers, adjective-jerkers or chaunter-coves (Hack Journalist: yarn-chopper or X.Y.Z.)
  • Judges: nobs-in-the-fur-trade
  • Lawyers: sublime rascals, tongue-padders, split-causes, Tom Sawyers or snipes (Unscrupulous Lawyer: snap, snare, noose or brother-snap)
  • Police Officers: peelers, bobbies, blue-bellies, bluebottles, gentlemen in blue and white or unboiled lobster
  • Priests: devil-dodgers, men-in-black, mumble-matins or joss-house men
  • Schoolteachers: learning-shover, nip-lug, terror of the infantry, haberdasher of pronouns or knight of grammar (Sunday-school Teacher: gospel-grinder or gospel-shark)
  • Surgeons: bone-setters or castor-oil artists
  • Tradesman: blue-apron
  • Waiters: knights of the napkin
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