Cant


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The planes have their own slang, and it can be fairly overwhelming to folks not familiar with it. Thus, here's an easy-to-use glossary of all the most common slang terms used by planar folks. The Cant is most often used by the lower-class folks about the Planes, but a few words, such as barmy or jink, have drifted up to the upper classes as they're used more commonly.

Much of this slang is taken from various points of history on the British streets, and thus some if not most of it may already be familiar to readers.

Addle-cove 
A not-particularly friendly way to call someone an idiot, as in, "Did you hear what that addle-coved wizard wanted us to do?" Also a noun: "He's an addle-cove!"
Anthill 
City or town.
Bang around 
To hang around, or spend idle time in.
Bar that 
An almost-polite way to say "shut up," or "don't talk about that." It's quick, to the point, and can be used as a warning.
Barmy 
Insane.
Basher 
A neutral reference to a person, usually (but not always) a thug or fighter.
Berk 
A fool, especially one who got himself into a mess when he should have known better.
Birdcage 
A cell, prison, or anything that compares to it.
Blinds 
The dead-ends of the Mazes, it also means anything impossible or hopeless, as in, "He'll hit the blinds if he tries lying to the factol."
Blood 
An expert, sage, or professional in any field. A champion gladiator can be a blood, as can a practiced sorcerer. Calling someone a blood is a mark of high respect.
Bob 
The business of cheating someone, whether it's of their cash, honor, or trust.
Bone-box 
The mouth, named because of its teeth, fangs, or whatever. "Stop rattling your bone-box," is telling a berk to lay off the threats or bragging.
Box 
A rogue modron that has taken up residence in Sigil. Sigil specific.
Brain-box 
This slang refers to a berk's head, usually in a crude or uncomplimentary way. "Go soak your brain-box" is a common idiom, while "He banged his fool brain-box on it" means a berk finally figured something (obvious) out.
Bub 
Booze, wine, or ale - usually cheap and barely drinkable.
Bubber 
A drunk, especially if he, she, or it has fallen on hard times. Bubbers don't get any sympathy from most Cagers.
Burg 
Any town smaller than a person's hometown, in size or in spirit. Most often used by folks from Sigil, compared to which most every city is a burg.
Cage, the 
A common nickname for Sigil, used by locals. It's derived from "birdcage," so it's a pretty harsh judgment on the place.
Cager 
A native or resident of Sigil.
Canny 
Smart or talented.
Case 
The house or place where a cutter lives. Has a positive connotation as a nice or decent place.
Chant, the 
An expression that means news, local gossip, the facts, the moods, or anything else about what's happening. "What's the chant?" is a way of asking for the latest information a basher's heard.
Chiv 
A weapon, usually something with a blade.
Clueless, the 
The folks who just don't get it, usually primes. Also an adjective.
Conies 
Victims of the cony-catchers.
Cony-catchers 
Con-men, tricksters, or thieves looking for someone to peel.
Cross-trade 
The business of thieving, or anything else illegal or shady. "A cross-trading scum" is a thief who's probably angered the Mercykillers.
Cutter 
A complimentary term that refers to everybody, male or female. It suggests a certain amount of resourcefulness or daring.
Dark 
Anything secret is said to be dark. "Here's the dark of it," is a way of saying "I've got a secret and I'll share it with you."
Dead-book 
A body in the dead-book is dead.
Deader 
Anyone in the dead-book.
Feeding the Wyrm 
The act of executing a prisoner. Specifically, a unique type of execution carried out by the Mercykillers. Sigil-specific.
Garnish 
A bribe.
Gate 
Another term for a portal. All gates in Sigil are generally called portals. This term is also used in a general sense to describe any sort of passage between one plane and another.
Gate-town
A burg on the Outlands that has a gate to another Outer Plane. Each plane has one gate-town, and the town often has the same basic appearance, outlook, and attributes as the inhabitants, architecture, and terrain of the corresponding plane.
Ghost 
A prime who visits the planes via astral spell. Since it involves little physical risk on the prime's part, it's often considered cowardly and even distasteful by planars (the prime hasn't even deigned to come to the planes with his actual body). The term "cord babies" is also used, though less frequently.
Give 'em the laugh 
To escape or slip through the clutches of someone. Robbing a tanar'ri and not getting caught is giving it the laugh.
Give the rope 
What happens to condemned criminals who don't manage to give the law the laugh. Usually thieves are the only folks who use this term.
Go to the Mazes
An idiomatic curse meaning "go away" and wishing a terrible fate upon the berk as well. Sigil specific.
Greybeard 
A sage or scholar. This term refers to the stereotypical wizened old man but can apply to any learned intellectual.
Great Ring, Great Wheel 
The Outer Planes, often depicted in maps and diagrams (which are often misleading) as a ring. This also refers to their infinite size, another allusion to the endlessness of a ring.
Gully 
A potential victim of a peel, a gullible sod.
High-up 
Powerful. This refers to a spell, position, or anything else with plenty of power that can theoretically be measured. Also a person of money and influence. Factols, for example, are high-ups. It's bad form to call one's self this: it's a phrase others bestow.
Hipped 
Stranded. "Hipping the rube" means stranding someone by sending them through a one-wya portal.
Jink 
Money or coins.
Kip 
Any place a cutter can put his feet up and sleep for a night, especially cheap flophouses. Also, to "call kip" is to make a place a body's home, at least for a while.
Knight of the post, knight of the cross-trade 
A thief, cheat, and a liar - clearly not a compliment unless, of course, that's what the basher wants to be.
Lann 
To tell or inform. See "well-lanned."
Leafless tree 
The gallows, which is where some berks wind up after they've been scragged.
Leatherhead 
A dolt; a dull or thick-witted fellow. Use it to call someone an idiot. Also an adjective.
Lost 
Dead.
Mark 
To make note of something, as in "spies guard the portal and mark who comes and goes." To be marked is to be identified.
Minder 
A bodyguard.
Music 
A price a cutter usually doesn't want to pay, but has to anyway. Not a literal amount.
Namer 
Someone who belongs in a faction in name only, paying lip service to its philosophy but not dedicated to its principles.
Nick 
To attack, cut, or strike someone, often used in threats. It's also used to indicate inflicitng other suffering upon a sod, such as stealing from him.
Out-of-touch 
Outside of the Outer Planes. Originated in Sigil, common throughout the Outer Planes now.
Out-of-town 
On the Outlands. Sigil specific.
Outsiders 
Another word for Clueless.
Park your ears 
To eavesdrop, spy upon, or just simply listen intently.
Peel 
A swindle, con, or trick. It's often used as a verb.
Peery 
Suspicious and on one's guard.
Pike it 
A useful, all-purpose rude phrase.
Pike off 
To anger someone, as in "Once he discovers he's been peeled, he's going to be really piked off."
Power 
A deity or god.
Proxy 
A powerful servant of a power, most often once a mortal servant of that power.
Ride 
An adventure, task, or undertaking.
Rube 
A naive or clueless person, but not necessarily a prime. Sometimes used in Sigil to describe any non-Cager.
Scan 
Look, listen, or learn.
Scragged 
Arrested or caught.
Screed 
A monotonous tirade, or someone who gives one. If used to refer to a person, it means someone who speaks at length without and real knowledge, or simply an argumentative person.
Sod 
An unfortunate or poor soul. Use it to show sympathy for an unlucky cutter or use it sarcastically for those who get into their own messes.
Sodding 
A derogatory term used to stress magnitude.
Sparkle 
Specifically a diamond, but also any gem.
Spellslinger 
A wizard.
Spiv 
An individual who lives by his wits (rather than having regular employment).
Tumble to 
To understand, figure out, or find out something.
Turn stag 
To betray somebody or use treachery.
Twig 
To take a liking to.
Well-lanned 
Connected, in-touch, or otherwise blessed with numerous friends, allies, and informants.
Wigwag 
To chat or talk.
Yawn, the 
The state of being bored: "This place gives me the yawn."

Reference

  • Planewalker's Handbook, pp. 150-153
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