from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One born within hearing distance of Bow-bells; a cockney.


  • We should have shown provincials our intense contempt of their of the English tongue, and in the honour of Bowbell have rhymed tobacco with Long Acre, as the days of old.

    The Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, 1835

  • We indulge no antipathies against Great Britain, whose intellectual greatness we profoundly revere, but we detest and the haughty insolence, the arrogant, prejudiced, and calumniating spirit of St Giles vagabonds, Wapping waitingmaids, and Bowbell cockneys.

    The North American Magazine, 1833


The ‘Bow-bells’ refer to bells of the St Mary-le-Bow, a historic church in London.