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coarsely or vulgarly abusive language.
Historical Examples

Twenty Years in Europe Samuel H. M. Byers
The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
Madame Midas Fergus Hume
The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 107, December 22, 1894 Various
T. Tembarom Frances Hodgson Burnett
Discussion on American Slavery George Thompson
The Children’s Book of London Geraldine Edith Mitton
A Terminal Market System Mrs. Elmer Black
The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten

obscene or abusive 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

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.


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