Fanny Adams

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Fanny Adams (1859—1867) murder victim and source of a colloquial expression


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An old Royal Navy lower-deck slang term for tinned meat. Its origin lay in the murder in 1820 of a 7-year-old girl named Fanny Adams by a solicitor's clerk who disembowelled and cut up his victim. Tinned meat had recently been introduced in the British Navy and a sailor, finding a button in a tin, suggested to his messmates that it came from the murdered girl's clothing, which led to the use of the name to describe such tins. Its later meaning, absolutely nothing, has no maritime derivation.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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