"fancy-girl", long antedating 1892-- (OED2)

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Wed Oct 8 06:39:35 UTC 2014

1821 J. Burrowes _Life in St. George's Fields ..._  p. [25].

"Blowing, a fancy girl".  (This is within what Burrowes presents as
"A Slang Dictionary" to interpret his character's speech.)

Imprint London: 1821.  GBooks, full view.  [I have not tried to trace
"blowing" as a British "slang" term.]


"Blowing" is the earlier form of the more familiar "blowen", earliest 
citation I think 1688 in Thomas Shadwell's _The Squire of Alsatia_. 
Although the "blowing" form is found as late as Byron's _Don Juan_ (1811), 
it has been more-or-less replaced by "blowen" by the end of the eighteenth 
century.  As can be seen by tracing the shift between the two terms in the 
course of the evolution of the five editions of Grose's _Dictionary of the 
Vulgar Tongue_ between 1785 and 1823.

Not just English but American too.  There's a succinct entry in HDAS, which 
everyone has on their bookshelves (or ought to have).


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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