Green’s Dictionary of Slang

French n.

1. syphilis.

[UK]Rowlands Letting of Humours Blood 15: This Gentleman hath serued long in Fraunce, And is returned filthy full of French.
[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 1 I ii: A harlot [...] swallowes [...] the French, And he sticks to you faith: giues you your diet, Brings you acquainted, first with monsier Doctor, And then you know what follows.
[UK]Ratseys Ghost F2: [He is] troubled with the french.
[UK]Rowlands Crew of Kind Gossips 18: Taffity Queanes, and fine light silken Whores, That haue the gift of pox in their owne pores, and can teach French in halfe a day.
[UK]H. Fitzgeffrey Satyres n.p.: [He] late returned ... A compleat Linguist: skilfull in the Dutch. And more (if you knew all) for wot yee what? In the Low-cuntry’s hee the French hath got.
T. Brewer Knot of Fooles B4: A right ’urnbullian Hackney; or some Spittle wench, (Was ne’re in France, yet perfect in the French).
[UK]R. Brome Covent-Garden Weeded I i: Is this the Damsel that has been in France and Italy?
[UK]T.B. Rebellion of Naples III i: What a pox do we care for the French? or the French with a pox?
[UK]Citie Matrons 7: Was it a French Winchester Goose you so used for the service of this Honorable Citie?
[UK]‘Dissolution’ in Additional Mss 34362.49: French runs thro the Princes veines And He by theirs not our Law Raignes When French creeps into Royall bed First charmeing Codpiece then the head.
[UK]T. Betterton Match in Newgate I i: Do you give them English Coin, they’ll repay you with the French ... And they only sell their Bodies.
[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 58: The chief Motive of my leaving her was the Present of a New-Year’s-Gift she made me; but whether French or Neopolitan, I leave to the Determination of the Sons of Galen.
[UK]Machine 6: From Indian Pox, or Malady of France.
[UK]Nimble and Quick 3: The greatest enemies whores have, are the French and Small-pox.

2. brandy.

[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:4 17: A Bowl of Punch was next my Treat, / Made of right French, upon my Word.
[UK]N. Ward Amorous Bugbears 6: We revok’d our first Orders, and call’d for a Flask of French.
[SA]B. Mitford Fire Trumpet II 31: What’s it to be—‘French’—Whisky?
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 198: He [...] asked us for a drop of French.

3. taboo language.

[UK]B. Bennett ‘The Broadcaster’ [music hall song] French lessons for schools are by Monsieur Jules, / And all of you know what his French is: / It’s nice and refined — not a bit like the kind / The Tommies use out in the trenches.
[US] N. Flexner Disassembled Man [ebook] I said something to him in French: Fuck you and the cow you rode in on.

4. (also French art, full French) fellatio (cf. Frenching n.).

[US]H.N. Cary Sl. of Venery.
[US] Transcript Dunn Inquiry in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 33: Zipf asked if the older man would like to take him, to which the response was ‘any way.’ ‘French,’ replied the operator.
[US]‘Investigator Reports, 1927–9’ Committee of Fourteen Papers 7 Feb. 45–6: He asked her, ‘Do you French?’ (street slang for oral sex) and she said, ‘Yes, more than that.’ [The investigator] asked her what she meant and she claimed to be a ‘three way girl.’ He asked her to be specific and she explained, ‘the natural way, and up the rectum and french.’.
[US] ‘Mme. Dora in “Strictly Business”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 75: What do you want honey? Straight, French or any other?
[US]J.S. Pennell Hist. of Rome Hanks 47: Jazz or French, baby?
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 199: The price is $5 regular, $10 French, $15 combination.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Cast the First Stone 205: ‘Do you French?’ I said [...] ‘Four dollars for French. O.K. for four dollars for a Frenchy?’.
[US]R. Gover One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding 21: Yoo-hoo, pritty baby, you wanna lil french?
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 34: Act of sucking the penis until ejaculation [...] French art[s] (‘Are you well versed in the French arts?’).
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 77: You wanna get the best French inna desert?
[US]Harrell & Bishop Orderly House 34: The term ‘Hat Job’ ... [means] a Full French [HDAS].
[US]personal ad, restroom Murray & Murrell Lang. Sadomasochism (1989) 73: I’m SWM [...] kard and heavily into the French arts, no pain, wirdos or gays.
[US]R.R. Moore ‘Signifyin’ Monkey’ [lyrics] He said he saw yo aunt sittin on the fence / Givin a goddamn zebra a french.
[US]R.C. Cruz Straight Outta Compton 69: That’s why he left: she had given him some French and sliced him to pieces.
[Aus]L. Redhead Rubdown [ebook] Full service [...] Massage, French, then sex. Client pays one-eighty for the hour.

5. pornography.

[US]Maledicta III:2 218: We use French for ‘oral copulation’ (fellatio – the gay graffito is Fellatio et ergo cum) and for pornography in general.

In phrases

excuse my French (also excuse the French, pardon my French)

a genteel euph. automatically offered after the speaker has sworn in public.

[US]Dly Intelligencer (Wheeling, VA) 27 May 2/2: Time has not only shown that he is a false prophet, but a systematic liar! Gentlemen, you must excuse my bad French — (loud laughter).
[UK]H. Sedley Marion Rooke 342: Dreadful good brandy o’ yourn. Ha! ha! ha! My respecks. Excuse my French.
[UK]Belgravia Mag. 447: Then and now are different; things isn’t like they used to was. Excuse my French!
[UK]G.P. Lathrop Somebody Else 230: What a damnable bungle! — Excuse my French, Miss Renfrew. I don’t know what I’m about.
[UK]Taunton Courier 25 Apr. 3/3: And blasted well he did it too. Excuse my French.
[US] Harper’s Mag. Mar. 648/1: Palaces be durned! Excuse my French.
[US]Laurens Advertiser (SC) 15 Jan. 4/3: A man same as we are, only a dashed sight — excuse my French, parson [etc.].
[US]New Ulm Rev. (MN) 6 Dec. 4/1: ‘Please excuse my French, but blamed if I know,’ was the reply.
[US]Woman’s Enterprise (Baton Rouse, LA) 1 Aug. 1/3: Let me say right here, excuse my French, we’ve had a diable of a trip!
[US]J.L. Herlihy ‘A Summer for the Dead’ Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories (1964) 60: Not very damn many, honey, excuse my French.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 33: The whole damn’ lot including the Christopher medal I had since I was a bloody kid ... excuse the French.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 73: That old dope, and then you dont do nothin but go from sugar to shit, if youll excuse my French.
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] The navy wasn’t in the fucking trenches, were they? Excuse my French.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 50: Any fuckin’ one of ’em would make her pussy pucker ... excuse my French.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 277: ‘Holy shit,’ Mo said. ‘Excuse my French.’.
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 208: She thought he was a piss bucket, excuse my French.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Detail’ Wire ser. 1 ep. 2 [TV script] Pardon my French, but I got no fuckin’ problem giving that asshole up at this point.
[US]C. King Sun. Wife 76: Goddammit, Augusta, how could do such a thing? [...] Excuse my French, Preacher.
[US]T. Dorsey Atomic Lobster 96: I hate the fucking Da Vinci Code [...] Pardon my French. Actually it’s Anglo-Saxon.
[UK]J. Cornish Attack the Block [film script] 11: Walking around with knives, great big dogs, like they own the block. Excuse my French, but they’re fucking monsters, aren’t they?
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 132: Ye cannae fuckin explain it tae maist cunts, pardon my French, he apologises.
learn French (v.)

to become infected with syphilis.

[UK]M. Parker Whoremongers Conuersion in Chappell Roxburghe Ballads (1871) I 478: They’le learne you so much parly French, From you shall come a rotten stench [...] at Pickt-hatch I [...] Learn’d French of one that ne’r saw France.
[UK]E. Gayton Wit Revived 38: What place is said to be worse to learn French in? The Low Countries’.
speak French (v.)

to indulge in unconventional sexual play.

[US]Maledicta IX 54: French, speak v phr [D, ca. 1914] Indulge in unconventional sexual play.
talk French (v.)

(US) to fellate.

[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 229: You come up next time, and I’ll talk a little French to you.