Entry from British & World English dictionary
(also pearly queen)
Definition of pearly king in English:
A London costermonger wearing traditional ceremonial clothes covered with pearl buttons.
- Think of the East End of London and no doubt you think of pearly kings and queens, rhyming slang, jellied eels, the Blitz, slums, smog, bare-knuckle fighting, crime, murder, death… ah, it's not a place with the best associations, is it?
- Gone were the pearly kings and queens, the boozers and the gangsters, gone was the romance of the chimney sweep and the cries of Olde London, gone was the Plague and the Black Death.
- Some soldiers looked more like pearly kings than fighting men.
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