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† gilt, n.3

Forms:  16–18 gilt, 17–18 jilt. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Of unknown origin.
Etymology: Origin unknown.
Compare earlier gilk n.   (perhaps showing a typographical error for this word), and perhaps also later jilt n.
slang. Obsolete (U.S. in later use).

 1. A person who picks locks; a burglar or thief. Also (in later use) gilt-dubber. Cf. gilter n.2

1620   J. Melton Astrologaster 10   Leauing not a Pick-pockets, Gilts, Lifts, Decoyes, or Dyuers Hose vnsurueyed.
1673   Char. Quack-astrologer sig. B3   He maintains..a correspondence with Gilts and Lifters.
1702   J. Shirley Triumph of Wit (ed. 4) 215   The Jilt is one that pretending Business in a Tavern or Alehouse, takes a private Room, and with Picklocks opens the Trunks or Chests, and taking what he can conveniently, locks 'em again, pays his Reckoning and departs.
1725   New Canting Dict.   Gilt, or Rum-dubber, a Picklock, so called from Gilt, a Key; Many of them are so expert, that from a Church Door, to the smallest Cabinet or Trunk, they will find means to open it.
1859   G. W. Matsell Vocabulum 37   Gilt-dubber, a hotel-thief.

1620—1859(Hide quotations)


 2. A device for picking locks; a skeleton key. Also: a tool for forcing locks; a crowbar. Cf. gilk n.In quot. 1839   in historical context.

1667   R. Head & F. Kirkman Eng. Rogue (rev. ed.) I. iv. 50   Gilt, a Picklock.
1675   News from Tybourn 7   W. V. was taken with a bag of Gilts about him, which are great and small Picklock-keyes and other Instruments fit for that purpose: the Fact being proved by a woman that came in against him, that he was the man that broke open her Chest.
1725   New Canting Dict.   Gilt, or Rum-dubber, a Picklock, so called from Gilt, a Key.
1839   W. H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard II. ii. xviii. 94   We shall have the whole village upon us while you're striking the jigger. Use the gilt, man!
1859   G. W. Matsell Vocabulum 37   Gilt or jilt, a crowbar.

1667—1859(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

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