Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From Mud Larks to Jingle Brains, 18th Century Slang You Need to Know

A Midnight Conversation  (1733) by William Hogarth 
An essential part of a historical fiction writer's job is using slang appropriate to the era. It wouldn't do to have an 18th century fellow extolling the virtues of "groovy chicks." So, dear Reader, I have rounded up 50 slang terms I garnered from  A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1785)—written by Francis Grose and placed them, below, in the form of a mix/match quiz with numbered slang terms and lettered meanings. (Answers at the bottom.) After putting all this together I am feeling a bit betwaddled and absolutely swivel-eyed! You can peruse this entertaining tome yourself at:
Have fun and feel free to use them at your next gathering. Impress your friends! Confound your...non-friends! 

1-all-a-mort    2-apron string-hold    3-arsey varsey   4-batchelor's fare

5-betwaddled    6-bone box    7-break-teeth word    8-croaker

9-cacklers ken   10-dry boots    11-dog's soup    12-eternity box

13-execution day   14-featherbed lane    15-fencing ken    16-gollumpus

17-grumbletonian     18-here and thereian    19-hum durgeon    20-hop-o-my-thumb

21-India wipe    22-inexpressibles    23-jingle brains 24-jumblegut lane 

25-kill devil    26-knowledge box   27-locksmith's daughter   28-lully priggers 

29-master of the mint    30-mud lark    31-nicknackatory   32-nigmenog  

33-Old Roger    34-Old Mr. Gory    35-pin basket   36-picaroon    

37-quacking cheat    38-quill driver    39-Ralph Spooner   40-rattle and pad 

41-sidledywry    42-swivel-eyed    43-top lights   44-trundlers   

45-victualling office    46-vampers    47-unlicked cub   48-used up  

49-watery headed    50-word grubbers

a-stockings    b-verbal critics    c-the youngest child    d-a clerk, scribe or hackney driver

e-crooked    f-new still-burnt rum    g-thieves who steal wet linen 

h-a wild thoughtless rattling fellow    i-a discontented person always railing at the times

j-a diminutive person    k-a pirate    l-a coach and horses  

m-an estate held by a man during his wife's life   n-mouth    o-struck dumb, confounded

p-imaginary illness    q-a rough road    r-one who has no settled place of residence

s-breeches    t-bread and cheese and kisses    u-hen roost   v- to fall head over heels

w-apt to shed tears    x-a key    y-coffin    z-out of one's senses, confounded

aa-hard to pronounce word    bb-washing day    cc-a gardener 

dd-someone always foretelling misfortune    ee-a rough or stoney lane

ff-rain water    gg-silk handkerchief    hh-large clumsy fellow    ii-killed

jj-peas    kk-a fool    ll-squinting     mm-a duck   nn-the Devil

oo-a hog    pp-a piece of gold    qq-a sly humorous fellow

rr-a warehouse where stolen goods are secreted   ss-the head    tt-a very silly fellow

uu-the eyes    vv-a rude uncouth young fellow    ww-the stomach    xx-a toyshop

1o  2m  3v  4t  5z  6n  7aa  8dd  9u  10qq  11ff  12y  13bb 14ee  15rr  16hh  17i  18r
19p  20j  21gg  22s  23h  24q  25f  26ss  27x  28g  29cc  30oo 31xx   32tt  33nn  34pp
35c   36k   37mm   38d   39kk   40l   41e   42ll   43uu  44jj  45ww  46a  47vv   48ii
49w   50b 

Have a good week, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now!


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