Victorian Slang of the Week – the Cove of the Budging-Ken

The Cove of the Budging-Ken – a Northern phrase meaning pub landlord.

But it sounds to me like the title of a 1960s cartoon film about Cornish smugglers who are also animals. Or a portentous song along the lines of “The Hall of the Mountain King”. But still! The cosy strangeness of it makes this my favourite Victorian slang so far.

See also – more of my favourite “head” insults with “Buffle-head” – meaning a stupid or obtuse person; from “buffalo”, rather than the American duck of the same name.

And “Who struck Buckley? – a common phrase used to irritate Irishmen”. This seems to have been a very common phrase with no agreement at all as to where it came from or what it really means. It also gets a mention in James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”.

Some theories here, from The Sydney Mail in 1879, about where it originated:

The Sydney Mail, May 10th, 1879

The Sydney Mail, May 10th, 1879

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