Some Baltimore words
arabber, a-rabber, Araber (n). An itinerant street vendor of produce, typically using a decorated wagon drawn by a pony. The term derives from the 19th-century term street arab and has no connection with Arabs. The remaining arabbers in Baltimore are all African-American.
espantoon (n.). A police officer’s nightstick or baton, wooden, with a leather strap that permits twirling. According to the Federal Writers’ Project’s Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State, the word “apparently originated during the Revolutionary period when officers of the British infantry carried spontoons (Fr. Sponton, esponson)—short pikes.
lake trout (n). Neither trout nor the freshwater fish of that name. In Baltimore, lake trout, typically Atlantic whiting, is breaded and fried and served in take-out sandwich shops.
In Supplement Two to The American Language (1948), H. L. Mencken writes this:
I have long had it in mind to attempt a vocabulary of Baltimore speech in the 80s and 90s, for a number of terms that were in common use there and then do not seem to have been noted elsewhere, e.g., Araber, a street huckster; to arab, to go huckstering; front steps, the steps before a dwelling-house, usually in those days of marble; and Yankee jumper, a sled for girls, with the platform raised 9 or 10 inches above the runners, and the runners curved upward in front. Leapfrog was always called par, and the word garden was almost unknown: it was always either the backyard or frontyard, or simply the yard. The outdoor privies that still survived in most backyards were called postoffices, and the men who cleaned them at intervals operated an O.E.A. (i.e., odorless excavating apparatus). The grades in school were designated first reader, second reader, etc. The best public room of a house was always the parlor. The street before it, at least for purposes of play, was out front. (pp.162-63)
Baltimore, to my knowledge, no longer has postoffices out back, but it still has front steps of marble. Lifelong Baltimoreans always spot a journalist imported from out of town, because an auslander will write about people sitting on the stoop. They have stoops in front of houses in New York; houses in Baltimore have front steps.
Readers, do you have more?