Horribly Bookish

For the endlessly inspiring written word and appreciation of all things bookish

56 Victorian Slang Terms

nevver:

  1. Afternoonified
    A society word meaning “smart.” Forrester demonstrates the usage: “The goods are not ‘afternoonified’ enough for me.”
  2. Arfarfan’arf
    A figure of speech used to describe drunken men. “He’s very arf’arf’an’arf,” Forrester writes, “meaning he has had many ‘arfs,’” or half-pints of booze.
  3. Back slang it
    Thieves used this term to indicate that they wanted “to go out the back way.”
  4. Bags o’ Mystery
    An 1850 term for sausages, “because no man but the maker knows what is in them. … The ‘bag’ refers to the gut which contained the chopped meat.”
  5. Bang up to the elephant
    This phrase originated in London in 1882, and means “perfect, complete, unapproachable.”
  6. Batty-fang
    Low London phrase meaning “to thrash thoroughly,” possibly from the French battre a fin.
  7. Benjo
    Nineteenth century sailor slang for “A riotous holiday, a noisy day in the streets.”
  8. Bow wow mutton
    A naval term referring to meat so bad “it might be dog flesh.”
  9. Bricky
    Brave or fearless. “Adroit after the manner of a brick,” Forrester writes, “said even of the other sex, ‘What a bricky girl she is.’”
  10. Bubble Around
    A verbal attack, generally made via the press. Forrester cites The Golden Butterfly: “I will back a first-class British subject for bubbling around against all humanity.”
  11. Butter Upon Bacon
    Extravagance. Too much extravagance. “Are you going to put lace over the feather, isn’t that rather butter upon bacon?”
  12. Cat-lap
    A London society term for tea and coffee “used scornfully by drinkers of beer and strong waters … in club-life is one of the more ignominious names given to champagne by men who prefer stronger liquors.”
  13. Church-bell
    A talkative woman.
  14. Chuckaboo
    A nickname given to a close friend.
  15. Collie shangles
    Quarrels. A term from Queen Victoria’s journal, More Leaves , published in 1884: “At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us, and having occasional collie shangles (a Scotch word for quarrels or rows, but taken from fights between dogs) with collies when we came near cottages.”
  16. Cop a Mouse
    To get a black eye. “Cop in this sense is to catch or suffer,” Forrester writers, “while the colour of the obligation at its worst suggests the colour and size of the innocent animal named.”
  17. Daddles
    A delightful way to refer to your rather boring hands.
  18. Damfino
    This creative cuss is a contraction of “damned if I know.”
  19. Dizzy Age
    A phrase meaning “elderly,” because it “makes the spectator giddy to think of the victim’s years.” The term is usually refers to “a maiden or other woman canvassed by other maiden ladies or others.”
  20. Doing the Bear
    “Courting that involves hugging.”
  21. Don’t sell me a dog
    Popular until 1870, this phrase meant “Don’t lie to me!” Apparently, people who sold dogs back in the day were prone to trying to pass off mutts as purebreds.
  22. Door-knocker
    A type of beard “formed by the cheeks and chin being shaved leaving a chain of hair under the chin, and upon each side of mouth forming with moustache something like a door-knocker.”
  23. Enthuzimuzzy
    “Satirical reference to enthusiasm.” Created by Braham the terror, whoever that is.
  24. Fifteen puzzle
    Not the game you might be familiar with, but a term meaning complete and absolute confusion.
  25. Fly rink
    An 1875 term for a polished bald head.
  26. Gal-sneaker
    An 1870 term for “a man devoted to seduction.”
  27. Gas-Pipes
    A term for especially tight pants.
  28. Gigglemug
    “An habitually smiling face.”
  29. Got the morbs
    Use of this 1880 phrase indicated temporary melancholy.
  30. Half-rats
    Partially intoxicated.
  31. Jammiest bits of jam
    “Absolutely perfect young females,” circa 1883.
  32. Kruger-spoof
    Lying, from 1896.
  33. Mad as Hops
    Excitable.
  34. Mafficking
    An excellent word that means getting rowdy in the streets.
  35. Make a stuffed bird laugh
    “Absolutely preposterous.”
  36. Meater
    A street term meaning coward.
  37. Mind the Grease
    When walking or otherwise getting around, you could ask people to let you pass, please. Or you could ask them to mind the grease, which meant the same thing to Victorians.
  38. Mutton Shunter
    This 1883 term for a policeman is so much better than “pig.”
  39. Nanty Narking
    A tavern term, popular from 1800 to 1840, that meant great fun.
  40. Nose bagger
    Someone who takes a day trip to the beach. He brings his own provisions and doesn’t contribute at all to the resort he’s visiting.
  41. Not up to Dick
    Not well.
  42. Orf chump
    No appetite.
  43. Parish Pick-Axe
    A prominent nose.
  44. Podsnappery
    This term, Forrester writers, describes a person with a “wilful determination to ignore the objectionable or inconvenient, at the same time assuming airs of superior virtue and noble resignation.”
  45. Poked Up
    Embarrassed.
  46. Powdering Hair
    An 18th century tavern term that means “getting drunk.”
  47. Rain Napper
    An umbrella.
  48. Sauce-box
    The mouth.
  49. Shake a flannin
    Why say you’re going to fight when you could say you’re going to shake a flannin instead?
  50. Shoot into the brown
    To fail. According to Forrester, “The phrase takes its rise from rifle practice, where the queer shot misses the black and white target altogether, and shoots into the brown i.e., the earth butt.”
  51. Skilamalink
    Secret, shady, doubtful.
  52. Smothering a Parrot
    Drinking a glass of absinthe neat; named for the green color of the booze.
  53. Suggestionize
    A legal term from 1889 meaning “to prompt.”
  54. Take the Egg
    To win.
  55. Umble-cum-stumble
    According to Forrester, this low class phrase means “thoroughly understood.”
  56. Whooperups
    A term meaning “inferior, noisy singers” that could be used liberally today during karaoke sessions.

(via weweremadeforeachothersherlock)

You think ‘Okay, I get it, I’m prepared for the worst’, but you hold out that small hope, see, and that’s what fucks you up. That’s what kills you.

—Stephen King. “Joyland”. (via stymshaw)

(Source: fuckyeah-unclesteve, via mydraco)

Here’s what our parents never taught us:

You will stay up on your rooftop until sunlight peels away the husk of the moon,
chainsmoking cigarettes and reading Baudelaire, and
you will learn that you only ever want to fall in love with someone
who will stay up to watch the sun rise with you.

You will fall in love with train rides, and sooner or later you will
realize that nowhere seems like home anymore.

A woman will kiss you and you’ll think her lips are two petals
rubbing against your mouth.

You will not tell anyone that you liked it.
It’s okay.
It is beautiful to love humans in a world where love is a metaphor for lust.

You can leave if you want, with only your skin as a carry-on.

All you need is a twenty in your pocket and a bus ticket.
All you need is someone on the other end of the map, thinking about the supple
curves of your body, to guide you to a home that stretches out for miles
and miles on end.

You will lie to everyone you love.
They will love you anyways.

One day you’ll wake up and realize that you are too big for your own skin.

Molt.
Don’t be afraid.

Your body is a house where the shutters blow in and out
against the windowpane.

You are a hurricane-prone area.
The glass will break through often.

But it’s okay. I promise.

Remember,
a stranger once told you that the breeze
here is something worth writing poems about.

—“Here’s What Our Parents Never Taught Us,” Shinji Moon  (via hurrl-scout)

(Source: commovente, via nerdfighterlike)

Writer Beware

the-right-writing:

the-right-writing:

Writer Beware makes posts on which publishing houses to avoid at all costs, which words to look for and which words to watch out for in contracts, and several other things that will keep you in control and knowledgeable about the publishing process.  I’d suggest reading through the website if you want to avoid getting ripped off, cheated, or scammed.

I’m just going to reblog this every so often because it’s a site that every writer needs to see.

(via theroadpavedwithwords)

WHO WROTE WHAT BIT?
Ah. Another tricky one. As the official Keeper of the One True Copy, Terry physically wrote more of Draft 1 than Neil. But if 2,000 words are written down after a lot of excited shouting, it’s a moot point whose words they are. And, in any case, as a matter of honor both of them rewrote and footnoted the other guy’s stuff, and both can write passably in the other guy’s style. The Agnes Nutter scenes and the kids mostly originated with Terry, the Four Horsemen and anything with maggots started with Neil. Neil had the most influence on the opening, Terry on the ending. Apart from that, they just shouted excitedly a lot.

The point they both realised the text had wandered into its own world was in the basement of the old Gollancz books, where they’d got together to proofread the final copy, and Neil congratulated Terry on a line that Terry knew he hadn’t written, and Neil was certain that he hadn’t written either. They both privately suspect that at some point the book had started to generate text on its own, but neither of them will actually admit this publicly for fear of being thought odd.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (2006 edition) - appendix by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

(Source: hapfairy)

People run from rain but
sit
in bathtubs full of
water.

Charles Bukowski (via bittersweetsongs)

Wow bukowski so profound do you also bathe fully clothed you dickhead. “Oohh isn’t it funny that a person will eat when they’re hungry but will duck if you throw an apple at their face”

(via coolestpriest)

(Source: cachaemic, via holy-super-who-lock)

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