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The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: blowen and its variants

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– 1. a woman; 2. a thief’s mistress; 3. a prostitute; 4. a strange woman.

blowen, a fine

– lady.

blowen of the ken

– mistress of the house.

blowen spenie or blowen mush

– a thief’s girl.

blowen, to do him of his

– to rob him of his wife.


  • Barnes, Daniel R. “An Early American Collection of Rogues’ Cant.” The Journal of American Folklore 79 no. 314 (Oct.-Dec., 1966), 600-607.
  • Barrère, Albert and Charles G. Leland. A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant. [London]: The Ballantyne Press, 1889.
  • London Antiquary, A [Hotten, John Camden]. A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words. 2nd ed. London: John Camden Hotten, 1860.
  • Matsell, George W. Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue’s Lexicon.. New York: George W. Matsell, 1859.
  • Mount, Thomas. “The Confession, &c. of Thomas Mount” [1791]. Williams, Daniel. Pillars of Salt: An Anthology of Early American Criminal Narratives. Madison, WI: Madison House, 1993.
  • Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of the Underworld. New York: Bonanza Books, 1961.
  • Tufts, Henry. Narrative of the Life, Adventures, Travels, and Sufferings of Henry Tufts. Dover, NH: Samuel Bragg, 1807.

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

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