Definition of billingsgate
: coarsely abusive language
Examples of billingsgate in a sentence
<the intemperate billingsgate to which the staff in customer service were sometimes subjected>
Did You Know?
From the time of the Roman occupation until the early 1980s, Billingsgate was a fish market in London, England, notorious for the crude language that resounded through its stalls. In fact, the fish merchants of Billingsgate were so famous for their swearing that their feats of vulgar language were recorded in British chronicler Raphael Holinshed's 1577 account of King Leir (which was probably Shakespeare's source for King Lear). In Holinshed's volume, a messenger's language is said to be "as bad a tongue … as any oyster-wife at Billingsgate hath." By the middle of the 17th century, billingsgate had become a byword for foul language.
Origin and Etymology of billingsgate
Billingsgate, old gate and fish market, London, England
First Known Use: 1652
Synonym Discussion of billingsgate
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