from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An adult who recruits children to train them as criminals.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who trains young thieves.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Fagin's character was based on the criminal Ikey Solomon; there was a recognized specialty in the 19th-century London underworld called a "kidsman" - an adult who recruited children and trained them as pickpockets, exchanging food and shelter for the stolen goods the children brought "home."


  • But when it became apparent there was a public appetite for a whole book about Oliver, Dickens had to decide the fate of some of his characters - including Nancy, the young prostitute who was part of the gang led by Fagin, the notorious 'kidsman' who gave children food and shelter in return for the goods they stole.

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  • Charles Dickens 'Fagin is a "kidsman", an adult who recruits children and trains them as pickpockets and thieves, exchanging food and shelter for goods the children steal.



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