(London). Gate = quay, and bellan is to bawl or
bellow. This quay is so called from the shouting of the fishermen in
trying to attract attention and vend their fish.
Vulgar and coarse, like the manners and language of Billingsgate
“Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate.”
Dryden: Art of Poetry,
To talk Billingsgate, i.e.
to slang, to scold in a vulgar, coarse style.
You are no better than a Billingsgate fish-fag, i.e.
you are as rude and ill-mannered as the women of Billingsgate
fish-market. The French say “Maubert” instead of Billingsgate, as
Your compliments are like those of the Place Maubert, i.e. no
compliments at all, but vulgar dirt-flinging. The “Place Maubert” has
long been noted for its market.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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