Thursday, February 21, 2013


A Guide to Victorian Slang

All my eye and my elbow, you can waste a lot of time with this dictionary. Which phrases would you use daily if they returned to fashion? As will hoopskirts, someday, in our dreams?

38 Comments / Post A Comment

raised amongst catalogs

"Bags o' mystery" for "sausages" -- because some things never change!


@raised amongst catalogs Oh my god, I am so buying some bags o' mystery at the grocery store tonight.

raised amongst catalogs

@frigwiggin Price check on bags o' mystery, aisle 4.

Miss Maszkerádi


I have half a mind to change my username to that.

ETA: Or "Academic nudity", i.e., appearing in public without cap and gown. Oh how I pine for the days when scholars looked like scholars.
Also: This entire public domain website is so cool!! The pages of the books actually turn!

Vera Knoop

@Countess Maritza YES! Academy headache, indeed.


@Countess Maritza I've been chuckling to myself at Academy Headache for ten minutes.


Thank you so much.@n

raised amongst catalogs

I am also very fond of "colour the meerschaum" (to drink to the point of reddening one's nose) and am dying to say it in a public place.

Vera Knoop

I have had many lovely dates with the mysterious "A.D." in my time.


@Vera Knoop Likewise. I would also like to start using that term in my Google calendar, so it will look like I am more socially active than I am. "6-8pm - meetup with A.D."


I am certainly not feeling very afternoonified, despite it being the afternoon.

Miss Maszkerádi

@rayray yeah I though "afternoonified" was going to mean "suddenly lazy, frustrated with oneself and in need of coffee but feeling too nihilistic about one's dependence on caffeine to get off one's ass and make it."

Disco Sheets

I love the random stories in the definitions that sometimes don't even use the word!


Drinkitite (Peoples': East London). Thirst. The struggling populace, who chiefly joke (when they joke apart from abuse) over their struggles, having discovered 'bite-etite' as a jocose conversion of appetite--came naturally to give it a correlative in 'drinkitite.' There is also grim satire in the application of the last syllable, which is the common word for 'drunk,' hence 'drinkitite' as a pendent to 'bite-itite' is positively perfect. An East London gentleman gently referring to his continued libations would evasively but emphatically observe: 'I've been on the drinkitite right through the week.'


Double-breasted water-butt smasher.


So typical. I wanted to look up a term on pp. 154-55, but -- no.

Nicole Cliffe

@purefog I feel you.


The definitions can be just as good: "Beak-hunter" = "Annexer of poultry"


I want this book more than I can handle.

fondue with cheddar

Belly washer! Lemonade or aerated water.


@fondue with cheddar I want to see the war of "soda" vs. "pop" end in a truce with "Balloon Juice".

fondue with cheddar

@whizz_dumb I can get behind this.


"According to Cocker" obviously.


Agony in Red sounds like a Georgia Nicolson coinage.

Hot Doom

For all those times I've had a date with A.D., it has to be "arfarfanarf" (or tipsay in modern parlance).


Life is all beer and skittles when I'm drunk as a lord.

I want to spend the next 2 hours reading Victorian slang, but I can't.


"Alexandra limp - An affected manner of walking seen for several years amongst women. Said to have been imitated from the temporary mode in which the then Princess of Wales walked after some trouble with a knee."

That poor girl, all the society ladies making fun of her.

(This is quickly becoming my second favorite web site after Bibliodyssey)


Also the entry for "Glory Hole" is NOT what I was thinking at all.

Dirty Hands

@Amphora Yep! To bring up Louisa May Alcott again, "glory holes" are mentioned in Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom wayyy too many times for comfort/lack of giggles.

Dirty Hands

How to learn Victorian slang: read Louisa May Alcott books and just wait for the inevitable part where some grownup or good child lectures a less morally upright character on what slang phrases not to use. Poor example: "...if you will kindly drop 'I guess,' I shall like my little Yankee all the better." (Uncle Mac speaking to Rose in Eight Cousins)


Well, I've just now learned that I've been spelling "argol bargol" wrong this whole time. And that I am going to bring "nonsensational" back. Sensational nonsense, if ever that word was needed it was now.

(Also, I work at the Internet Archive and am unduly excited whenever anything we do makes anyone happy. We are the best!)


"Eautybeau" must be the Victorians trying to imitate hip French slang.




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