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billingsgate

[bil-ingz-geyt or, esp. British, -git] /ˈbɪl ɪŋzˌgeɪt or, esp. British, -gɪt/
noun
1.
coarsely or vulgarly abusive language.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; orig. the kind of speech often heard at Billingsgate, a London fish market at the gate of the same name
Synonyms
vituperation, vilification, invective, scurrility, vulgarity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for billingsgate

billingsgate

/ˈbɪlɪŋzˌɡeɪt/
noun
1.
obscene or abusive language
Word Origin
C17: after Billingsgate, which was notorious for such language

Billingsgate

/ˈbɪlɪŋɡzˌɡeɪt/
noun
1.
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
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for billingsgate
billingsgate
1670s, the kind of coarse, abusive language once used by women in the Billingsgate market (mid-13c., not exclusively a fish market until late 17c.) 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 O.E. Billingesgate, "gate of (a man called) Billing;" the "gate" probably being a gap in the Roman river wall.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for billingsgate

Billingsgate

former London market (closed 1982). It was situated in the City of London at the north end of London Bridge beside The Monument, which commemorates the outbreak of the Great Fire of September 1666.

Learn more about Billingsgate with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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