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The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: ambush

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– fraudulent weights and measures used by grocers, coal-dealers, etc.

The term is a pun on the formal definition of the word: to lie in wait (lying weight).


  • Barrère, Albert and Charles G. Leland. A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant. [London]: The Ballantyne Press, 1889.
  • 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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