- coarsely or vulgarly abusive language.
Origin of billingsgate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for billingsgate
"I don't choose to descend to Billingsgate," said Sir Francis.Kept in the Dark
"That'll do, Forsythe," said Sampson, interrupting the flow of billingsgate.The Wreck of the Titan
Listen to the young woman, you Mackrell, or you'll get Billingsgate!The Amazing Marriage, Complete
They talk forever and forever, and that is the kind of billingsgate they use.The Innocents Abroad
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Lady Mallowe's temper was as elemental as any Billingsgate could provide.T. Tembarom
Frances Hodgson Burnett
- obscene or abusive language
- the largest fish market in London, on the N bank of the River Thames; moved to new site at Canary Wharf in 1982 and the former building converted into offices
Word Origin and History for billingsgate
1670s, the kind of coarse, abusive language once used by women in the Billingsgate market on the River Thames below London Bridge.
Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners a little on the left hand. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]
The place name is Old English Billingesgate, "gate of (a man called) Billing;" the "gate" probably being a gap in the Roman river wall. The market is mid-13c., not exclusively a fish market until late 17c.