POLARI, also Palarie, Parlyaree, Parlary, etc. [From Italian parlare to talk]. A once-extensive ARGOT or CANT in Britain and elsewhere, among sailors, itinerants, people in show business, and some homosexual groups. It survives as a vocabulary of around 100 words, some of which have entered general BrE slang: mank(e)y rotten, worthless, dirty (from Italian mancare to be lacking), ponce an effeminate man, pimp (from Spanish pu(n)to a male prostitute, or French pront prostitute, scarper to run away (probably from Italian scappare to escape, perhaps influenced by Cockney rhyming slang Scapa Flow go). A composite of different Romance sources, it was first taken to England by sailors, may derive ultimately from LINGUA FRANCA. A sample of presentday argot runs: ‘As feely homies, we would zhoosh our riahs, powder our eeks, climb into our bona new drag, don our batts and troll off to some bona bijou bar’ ( Ian Hancock, ‘Shelta and Polari’, in P. Trudgill (ed.), Language in the British Isles, 1984) [feely homies young men, zhoosh our riahs fix our hair, eeks faces, bona nice, drag clothes, batts shoes, troll wander, bijou small]. See LINGO.
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