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Boodle is a slang term for money derived from the Dutch word 'boedel' meaning property or estate.[1][2] Afrikaans inherited the word and its meaning from the Dutch, which probably accounts for its widespread use for money amongst English-speaking South Africans.

In a different context, "boodle jails" were jails in the United States, predominantly during the nineteenth century, in which a tramp or hobo could make an illicit arrangement with a law enforcement officer to stay in the jail without being an actual prisoner.[3] For example, between 1893 and 1899, the Welsh tramp-poet W. H. Davies took advantage of this in order to pass the winter in Michigan, staying in a series of different jails. Here, with his fellow tramps, Davies would enjoy the relative comfort of "card-playing, singing, smoking, reading, relating experiences and occasionally taking exercise or going out for a walk."[4]


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  3. ^ Partridge, E. (1968), A Dictionary of the Underworld: British and American, George Allen & Unwin, p.62
  4. ^ Hockey, L. (1971), W. H. Davies, University of Wales Press (on behalf of the Welsh Arts Council), p.16