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[bil-ingz-geyt or, esp. British, -git] /ˈbɪl ɪŋzˌgeɪt or, esp. British, -gɪt/
coarsely or vulgarly abusive language.
1645-55; orig. the kind of speech often heard at Billingsgate, a London fish market at the gate of the same name
vituperation, vilification, invective, scurrility, vulgarity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for billingsgate


obscene or abusive language
Word Origin
C17: after Billingsgate, which was notorious for such 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
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for 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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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