WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Canting

Canting (verb)

Preaching with a whining, affected tone. Perhaps a corruption of chaunting. Some derive it from Andrew Cant, a famous Scotch preacher, who used that whining manner of expression. Also a kind of gibberish used by thieves and gypsies, called likewise pedlar’s [sic] French, the slang, etc., etc.

William Markham ("The church militant"), James Gillray, 1779.

William Markham (“The church militant”), James Gillray, 1779.

There’s a post crying out to be written that investigates Mr. Andrew Cant but, alas, that post waits to live another week. Instead, I’ve grabbed a few caricatures of “canting clerics” from Rowlandson, Gillray, and Cruikshank.

Caricature of Edward Irving Preaching by (Isaac) Robert Cruikshank, 1824

Caricature of Edward Irving Preaching by (Isaac) Robert Cruikshank, 1824

Syntax Preaching, Thomas Rowlandson, 1813, British Library

Syntax Preaching, Thomas Rowlandson, 1813, British Library

The Vicar of Wakefield - The Vicar Preaching to the Prisoners, Thomas Rowlandson, 1817

The Vicar of Wakefield – The Vicar Preaching to the Prisoners, Thomas Rowlandson, 1817

 

Slang term taken from 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Why this book isn’t on everyone’s coffee table …

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