A tosher is someone who scavenges in the sewers, a sewer-hunter, especially in London during the Victorian era. The word tosher was also used to describe the thieves who stripped valuable copper from the hulls of ships moored along the Thames. The related slang term "tosh" referred to valuables thus collected, both are of unknown origin.
Tosheroon can also apply to the conglomeration of items caught up in mud and debris, that form a ball shaped entity in the sewers and can sometimes grown quite large. At times, treasures may be found within but sometimes just detritus. A tosher thought himself lucky if he found a tosheroon as it may contain a substantial reward.
- Mudlark, someone who scavenges in river mud.
- 1851, H. Mayhew, London Labour, vol. II, p 150/2: "The sewer-hunters were formerly, and indeed are still, called by the name of ‘Toshers’, the articles which they pick up in the course of their wanderings along shore being known among themselves by the general term ‘tosh’, a word more particularly applied by them to anything made of copper."
- Harper, Douglas. "Tosh". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
- Recorded from 1839. The Oxford Universal Dictionary Illustrated, Little, William; Fowler, H.W; Coulson, J; Rev. and Ed. Onions, C.T. OUP., 1965
- 1859, J. C. Hotten Dictionary of Slang, p. 112 : "Tusheroon, a crown piece, five shillings."
- Doubleday. ISBN 9780385619271
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