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The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: angler

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– 1. a petty thief who uses a hook on the end of a string to steal from shop-windows, grates, doors, etc.; 2. a member of a gang of petty thieves who roams the street looking for opportunities; 3. a receiver of stolen goods; a fence; 4. a putter up, i.e., a servant, clerk, porter, or other employee who provides information–such as the presence of valuable goods or the hiding place for money–to a gang of thieves in order to facilitate the robbery of the employer. The angler receives a share of the booty, even though he or she does not participate directly in the robbery.


  • Grose, Francis and Egan Pierce. Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Revised and Corrected. London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1823.
  • Matsell, George W. Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue’s Lexicon.. New York: George W. Matsell, 1859.
  • Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of the Underworld. New York: Bonanza Books, 1961.

Note: See “Cant: The Language of the Underworld” to learn more about the background of the American Malefactor’s Dictionary.

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