Deceit; cheating; an old word of French origin.--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850
Foul play; an injurie, wrong, affront, bravado.--Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, 1611
On this date in 1854, American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, serving as American consul to England, jotted in his journal: "There came into my office a few days ago a man of about fifty, short and square, with a foreign look and tongue, rather shrewdly dressed, and with a forward demeanor. He announced himself as an 'eradicator of corns,' and produced two thick quarto volumes of testimonials from innumerable persons, among whom were many distinguished Americans. Many of these were fortified with the wax-seals as well as signatures of the writers. He wished to know if I myself had any corns for him to operate upon. ... A bold, showy, gentlemanly, vulgar humbug -- a man whom I think I have heard of in America, who takes out any number of corns at half a dollar apiece, and never failed to find an abundant harvest. His two books of testimonials would doubtless be valuable to autograph collectors."
Aren't "gentlemanly" and "vulgar" contradictory?