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from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who scavenges for valuable items in sewers, especially in London during the Victorian period.


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  • "Early risers strolling along the Thames would see the toshers wading through the muck of low tide ... their oversized pockets filled with stray bits of copper recovered from the water's edge. The toshers walked with a lantern strapped to their chest sic to help them see in the predawn gloom, and carried an eight-foot-long pole that they used to test the ground in front of them, and to pull themselves out when they stumbled into a quagmire."
    —Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map (New York: Penguin, 2006), 1–2

    October 1, 2008

  • One who, on the Thames, steals copper from the bottom of ships.
    Adm. William Smythe's Sailor's Word~Book, 1867

    May 17, 2008