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The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: booly-dog

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Drawing by Thomas Nast, The New York Gazette, April 17, 1892. (Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)


– a police officer.

From bulldog, via bouledogue (French).

Note: This cartoon by Thomas Nast–which depicts a bulldog dressed in the uniform of a police officer–was inspired by charges of corruption and graft in the New York City Police Department by Rev. Charles Parkhurst in 1892. Parkhurst accused police officials of accepting money for promotions from within the department and of extorting fees for protecting saloons, houses of prostitution, and pool halls. Parkhurst’s accusations caused public outrage, although such corruption in the New York City Police Department was far from unusual in the nineteenth century. The “Mulberry Ring” refers to the police department headquarters located on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.


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

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