Origin of billingsgate
Examples from the Web for billingsgate
Not many years since, one of the London notorieties was to hear the fishwomen at Billingsgate abuse each other.A Dictionary of Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words|A London Antiquary
But I have an infernally absurd jargon—half the language of men of the world and of letters, half of Billingsgate.Diderot and the Encyclopdists|John Morley
The two women recommenced their billingsgate, the boy stuttered, the soldiers laughed, and the dog howled.San-Cravate; or, The Messengers; Little Streams|Charles Paul de Kock
I went down to Billingsgate Stairs and took boat and was rowed about the ships in the Pool.The Orange Girl|Walter Besant
Besides these, were long litanies of billingsgate, cursing, and threatening.History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom|Andrew Dickson White
British Dictionary definitions for billingsgate (1 of 2)
Word Origin for billingsgate
British Dictionary definitions for billingsgate (2 of 2)
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.