‘Hullo, my covey! What’s the row?’


Senior Member
Hi everybody!

I can't understand these underlined expressions at all. Please help. This is the context:

He took little heed of this at first; but the boy remained in the same attitude of close observation so long, that Oliver raised his head, and returned his steady look. Upon this, the boy crossed over; and walking close up to Oliver, said,‘Hullo, my covey! What’s the row?’

Source: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Chapter 08.
Thank you very much in advance
  • pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Covey = little cove (cove is old British slang for a man) - a friendly name for a small person whose name you don't know. Sort of like the modern "Hey, Buddy," or "Hi, kiddo."

    What's the row? - in the dictionary (among all the many meanings of row) you will find fuss, uproar or dispute. That would be the usual meaning of this question, but in this case it is probably more like: "What's up?"


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, PWMeek is right. I thought I'd just quote the OED for you.
    Pronunciation: /ˈkəʊvɪ/
    Etymology: < cove n.2 + -y suffix4.
    slang or vulgar.
    Little ‘cove’. (Used of an intimate or associate: cf. chappie n.)

    1821 P. Egan Life in London 287 The covey was no scholard, as he asserted.
    1838 Dickens Oliver Twist I. viii. 123 Hullo! my covey, what's the row?
    1840 R. H. Barham Legend Hamilton Tighe in Ingoldsby Legends 1st Ser. 158 ‘What a rum old covey is Hairy-faced Dick!’

    what's the row?: ‘what's all the noise about?’, ‘what's the matter?’, ‘what's the fuss?’
    (under row, n5​)
    < Previous | Next >