Appendix:Costermongers' back slang

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Back slang is thought to have originated in Victorian England, being used mainly by costermongers (market sellers) to have private conversations behind their customers' backs and pass off lower quality goods to less observant customers. The first published reference to it was in 1851, in Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor.

Glossary of back slang[edit]

General terms[edit]


  1. eno
  2. owt, oat
  3. erth, earth
  4. rouf
  5. evif, ewif
  6. exes, exis
  7. neves, nevis
  8. teaich, theg
  9. enin
  10. net
  11. nevele, nevel, leven
  12. evlenet
  13. neetrith
  14. neetrouf (ten-four)
  15. neetewif (ten-five)
  16. neetexis, netexis (ten-six)
  17. netnevis (ten-seven)
  18. net-theg (ten-eight)
  19. netenin (ten-nine)



Hence, owt yenneps is twopence and owt gen is two shillings, and so forth.

Odd cases