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Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today are the letters X, Y and Z. You probably can guess what Yoked is, and if you have been following have seen how many different ways there is to say that. But do you know what Yaffling is?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-27-08-43.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Xantippe–The name of Socrates’s wife: now used to signify a shrew or scolding wife.
  • Yaffling–Eating–(Cant)
  • To Yam–To eat or stuff heartily.
  • Yankey, or Yankey Doodle–A booby, or country lout: a name given to the New England men in North America–A general appellation for an American.
  • Yard Of Tin–The horn, generally a yard or so long, used by the guard of a mail coach or stage coach to warn of approach and departure.
  • Yarmouth Capon–A red herring: Yarmouth is a famous place for curing herrings.
  • Yarmouth Coach–A kind of low two-wheeled cart drawn by one horse, not much unlike an Irish car.
  • Yarmouth Pye–A pye made of herrings highly spiced, which the city of Norwich is by charter bound to present annually to the king.
  • Yarum–Milk–(Cant)
  • Yea and Nay Man–A quaker, a simple fellow, one who can only answer yes, or no.
  • Yellow–To look yellow; to be jealous–I happened to call on Mr–Green, who was out: on coming home, and finding me with his wife, he began to look confounded blue, and was, I thought, a little yellow.
  • Yellow Belly–A native of the Fens of Licoinshire; an allusion to the eels caught there.
  • Yellow Boy–1 pound 1 shilling, Guinea, yellow George, (approx $2100).
  • Yellow George–1 pound 1 shilling, yellow boy, Guinea, (approx $2100).
  • To Yelp–To cry out–Yelper; a town cryer, also one apt to make great complaints on trifling occasions.
  • Yest–A contraction of yesterday.
  • Yoked–Married–A yoke; the quantum of labour performed at one spell by husbandmen, the day’s work being divided in summer into three yokes–Kentish Term.
  • Yorkshire Tyke–A Yorkshire clown–To come Yorkshire over any one; to cheat him.
  • Young One–A familiar expression of contempt for another’s ignorance, as “ah! I See you’re a young one.” How d’ye do, young one?
  • To Yowl–To cry aloud, or howl.
  • Zad–Crooked like the letter Z–He is a mere zad, or perhaps zed; a description of a very crooked or deformed person.
  • Zany–The jester, jack pudding, or merry andrew, to a mountebank.
  • Zedland–Great part of the west country, where the letter Z is substituted for S; as zee for See, zun for sun.
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Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter W. Do you know what you’ve done when you Wyn? Or what do when Ware Hawk is cried?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-26-08-42.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Wabler–Footwabler; a contemptuous Term for a foot soldier, frequently used by those of the cavalry.
  • To Waddle–To go like a duck–To waddle out of Change alley as a lame duck; a Term for one who has not been able to pay his gaming debts, called his differences, on the Stock Exchange, and therefore absents himself from it.
  • Wag–An arch-frolicsome fellow.
  • Waggish–Arch, gamesome, frolicsome.
  • Wagtail–A lewd woman.
  • Waits–Musicians of the lower order, who in most towns play under the windows of the chief inhabitants at midnight, a short time before Christmas, for which they collect a christmas-box from house to house–They are said to derive their name of waits from being always in waiting to celebrate weddings and other joyous events happening within their district.
  • Wake–A country feast, commonly on the anniversary of the tutelar saint of the village, that is, the saint to whom the parish church is dedicated–Also a custom of watching the dead, called Late Wake, in use both in Ireland and Wales, where the corpse being deposited under a table, with a plate of salt on its breast, the table is covered with liquor of all sorts; and the guests, particularly, the younger part of them, amuse themselves with all kinds of pastimes and recreations: the consequence is generally more than replacing the departed friend.
  • Walking Cornet–An ensign of foot.
  • Walking Poulterer–One who steals fowls, and hawks them from door to door.
  • Walking Stationer–A hawker of pamphlets, &c.
  • Walking the Plank–A mode of destroying devoted persons or officers in a mutiny or ship-board, by blindfolding them, and obliging them to walk on a plank laid over the ship’s side; by this means, as the mutineers suppose, avoiding the penalty of murder.
  • Walking Up Against the Wall–To run up a score, which in alehouses is commonly recorded with chalk on the walls of the bar.
  • Wall–To walk or crawl up the wall; to be scored up at a public-nouse–Wall-eyed, having an eye with little or no sight, all white like a plaistered wall.
  • Waltz–The waltz was considered somewhat shocking because of the contact maintained between the partners when it was introduced in England, but it soon became quite popular–A lady required the consent of one of the Patronesses of Almack’s for her first waltz–Note, that while practiced privately by the very elite of the Ton, it was not done in public until 1814 and the visit of the Tsar.
  • Want To Pull Caps With Someone–Want to argue with them.
  • Wanton–Woman of easy virtue.
  • To Wap–To copulate, to beat–If she wont wap for a winne, let her trine for a make; if she won’t lie with a man for a penny, let her hang for a halfpenny–Mort wap-apace; a woman of experience, or very expert at the sport.
  • Wapper-Eyed–Sore-eyed.
  • Ware–A woman’s ware; her commodity.
  • Ware Hawk–An exclamation used by thieves to inform their confederates that some police officers are at hand.
  • Warm–Rich, in good circumstances–To warm, or give a man a warming; to beat him–See Chafed.
  • Warming-Pan–A large old-fashioned watch–A Scotch warming-pan; a female bedfellow.
  • Warren–One that is security for goods taken up on credit by extravagant young gentlemen–Cunny warren; a girl’s boarding-school, also a bawdy-house.
  • Wash–Paint for the face, or cosmetic water–Hog-wash; thick and bad beer.
  • Wasp–An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a sting in her tail.
  • Waspish–Peevish, spiteful.
  • Waste–House of waste; a tavern or alehouse, where idle people waste both their time and money.
  • Watch, Chain, and Seals–A sheep’s head And pluck.
  • Watch Fob–A short chain or ribbon with an attached medallion or ornament that connected to a man’s pocketwatch and hung from a small pocket in his waistcoat–
  • Water-Mill–A woman’s private parts.
  • Water Sneaksman–A man who steals from ships or craft on the river.
  • Water–His chops watered at it; he longed earnestly for it–To watch his waters; to keep a strict watch on any one’s actions–In hot water: in trouble, engaged in disputes.
  • Water Bewitched–Very weak punch or beer.
  • Waterpad–One that robs ships in the river Thames.
  • Watery-Headd–Apt to shed tears.
  • Water Scriger–A doctor who prescribes from inspecting the water of his patients–See Piss Prophet.
  • Waters – Taking The Waters–The waters in spa towns such as Tunbridge Wells and most notably Bath were thought to have healing powers, so to “take the waters” means to either drink or bathe in these mineral waters.
  • Wattles–Ears–(Cant)
  • Wear Arse–A one-horse chaise.
  • Wear The Willow–To mourn the loss of a love or to be lovelorn–The willow tree is associated with sorrow, e.g.: weeping willow–Willow garlands were symbols of being forsaken in love.
  • Well-Inlaid–Rich.
  • Weasal-Faced–Thin, meagre-faced–Weasel-gutted; thin-bodied; a weasel is a thin long slender animal with a sharp face.
  • Wedding–The emptying of a neoessary-hovise, particularly in London–You have been at an Irish wedding, where black eyes are given instead of favours; saying to one who has a black eye.
  • Wedge–Silver plate, because melted by the receivers of stolen goods into wedges–(Cant)
  • To Weed–To take a part–The kiddey weeded the swell’s screens; the youth took some of the gentleman’s bank notes.
  • Weeping Cross–To come home by weeping cross; to repent.
  • Welch Comb–The thumb and four fingers.
  • Welch Fiddle–The itch–See Scotch Fiddle.
  • Welch Mile–Like a Welch mile, long and narrow–His story is like a Welch mile, long and tedious.
  • Welch Rabbit, [i.e–a Welch rare-bit] Bread and cheese toasted–See Rabbit.—The Welch are said to be so remarkably fond of cheese, that in cases of difficulty their midwives apply a piece of toasted cheese to the janua vita to attract and entice the young Taffy, who on smelling it makes most vigorous efforts to come forth.
  • Welch Ejectment–To unroof the house, a method practiced by landlords in Wales to eject a bad tenant.
  • To Well–To divide unfairly–To conceal part–A cant phrase used by thieves, where one of the party conceals some of the booty, instead of dividing it fairly amongst his confederates.
  • Well-Hung–The blowen was nutts upon the kiddey because he is well-hung; the girl is pleased with the youth because his genitals are large.
  • Weston–A popular gentleman’s tailor.
  • Westminster Wedding–A match between a whore and a rogue.
  • Wet Parson–One who moistens his clay freely, in order to make it stick together.
  • Wet Quacker–One of that sect who has no objection to the spirit derived from wine.
  • Whack–A share of a booty obtained by fraud–A paddy whack; a stout brawney Irishman.
  • Whapper–A large man or woman.
  • Wheedle–A sharper–To cut a wheedle; to decoy by fawning or insinuation–(Cant)
  • Wheelband in the Nick–Regular drinking over the left thumb.
  • Whelp–An impudent whelp; a saucy boy.
  • Whereas–To follow a whereas; to become a bankrupt, to figure among princes and potentates: the notice given in the Gazette that a commission of bankruptcy is issued out against any trader, always beginning with the word whereas–He will soon march in the rear of a whereas.
  • Whet–A morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed to whet or sharpen the appetite.
  • Whetstone’s Park–A lane between Holborn and Lincoln’s-inn Fields, formerly famed for being the resort of women of the town.
  • Whids–Words–(Cant)
  • To Whiddle–To tell or discover–He whiddles; he peaches–He whiddles the whole scrap; he discovers all he knows–The cull whiddled because they would not tip him a snack: the fellow peached because they would not give him a share, They whiddle beef, and we must brush; they cry out thieves, and we must make off–(Cant)
  • Whiddler–An informer, or one that betrays the secrets of the gang.
  • Whiffles–A relaxation of the scrotum.
  • Whifflers–Ancient name for fifers; also persons at the universities who examine candidates for degrees–A whiffling cur, a small yelping cur.
  • Whig–The party opposed to the conservative Tories–Led by Charles James Fox and wanting constitutional monarchy–Whig was originally short for ‘whiggamor’.
  • Whimper, or Whindle–A low cry.
  • To Whine–To complain.
  • Whinyard–A sword.
  • Whip–A coachman.
  • To Whip the Cock–A piece of sport practised at wakes, horse-races, and fairs in Leicestershire: a cock being tied or fastened into a hat or basket, half a dozen carters blindfolded, and armed with their cart whips, are placed round it, who, after being turned thrice about, begin to whip the cock, which if any one strikes so as to make it cry out, it becomes his property; the joke is, that instead of whipping the cock they flog each other heartily.
  • Whip Jacks–The tenth order of the canting crew, rogues who having learned a few Sea Terms, beg with counterfeit passes, pretending to be sailors shipwrecked on the neighbouring coast, and on their way to the port from whence they sailed.
  • To Whip Off–To run away, to drink off greedily, to snatch–He whipped away from home, went to the alehouse, where he whipped off a full tankard, and coming back whipped off a fellow’s hat from his head.
  • Whip-Belly Vengeance–or pinch-gut vengeance, of which he that gets the most has the worst share–Weak or sour beer.
  • Whipper-Snapper–A diminutive fellow.
  • Whipshire–Yorkshire.
  • Whipster–A sharp or subtle fellow.
  • Whipt Syllabub–A flimsy, frothy discourse or treatise, without solidity.
  • Whirlygigs–Testicles.
  • Whisker–A great lie.
  • Whisker Splitter–A man of intrigue.
  • Whiskin–A shallow brown drinking bowl.
  • Whisky–A malt spirit much drank in Ireland and Scotland; also a one-horse chaise–See Tim Whisky.
  • Whist–A card game somewhat like bridge for two players.
  • Whistle–The throat–To wet one’s whistle; to drink.
  • Whistling Shop–Rooms in the King’s Bench and Fleet prison where drams are privately sold.
  • Whit–[i.e–Whittington’s.] Newgate–(Cant)—Five rum-padders are rubbed in the darkmans out of the whit, and are piked into the deuseaville; five highwaymen broke out of Newgate in the night, and are gone into the country.
  • White Ribbin–Gin.
  • White Feather–He has a white feather; he is a coward; an allusion to a game cock, where having a white leather is a proof he is not of the true game breed.
  • White-Livered–Cowardly, malicious.
  • White Lie–A harmless lie, one not told with a malicious intent, a lie told to reconcile people at variance.
  • White Serjeant–A man fetched from the tavern or ale-house by his wife, is said to be arrested by the white serjeant.
  • White Swelling–A woman big with child is said to have a white swelling.
  • White Tape–Geneva.
  • White Wool–Geneva.
  • Whitechapel–Whitechapel portion; two smocks, and what nature gave–Whitechapel breed; fat, ragged, and saucy: See St–Giles’s Breed–Whitechapel beau; one who dresses with a needle and thread, and undresses with a knife–To play at whist Whitechapel fashion; i.e–aces and kings first.
  • Whitewashed–One who has taken the benefit of an act of insolvency, to defraud his creditors, is said to have been whitewashed.
  • Whitfielite–A follower of George Whitfield, a Methodist.
  • Whither-Go-YYeE–A wife: wives being sometimes apt to question their husbands whither they are going.
  • Whittington’s College–Newgate; built or repaired by the famous lord mayor of that name.
  • Whore’s Bird–A debauched fellow, the largest of all birds–He sings more like a whore’s bird than a canary bird; said of one who has a strong manly voice.
  • Whore’s Curse–A piece of gold coin, value five shillings and three pence, frequently given to women of the town by such as professed always to give gold, and who before the introduction of those pieces always gave half a guinea.
  • Whore’s Kitling, or Whore’s son–A bastard.
  • Whore-Monger–A man that keeps more than one mistress–A country gentleman, who kept a female friend, being reproved by the parson of the parish, and styled a whore-monger, asked the parson whether he had a cheese in his house; and being answered in the affirmative, ‘Pray,’ says he, ‘does that one cheese make you a cheese-monger?’
  • Whore Pipe–The penis.
  • Whow Ball–A milk-maid: from their frequent use of the word whow, to make the cow stand still in milking–Ball is the supposed name of the cow.
  • Wibble–Bad drink.
  • Wibling’s Witch–The four of clubs: from one James Wibling, who in the reign of King James I–grew rich by private gaming, and was commonly observed to have that card, and never to lose a game but when he had it not.
  • Wicket–A casement; also a little door.
  • Widow’s Weeds–Mourning clothes of a peculiar fashion, denoting her state–A grass widow; a discarded mistress–a widow bewitched; a woman whose husband is abroad, and said, but not certainly known, to be dead.
  • Wife–A fetter fixed to one leg.
  • Wife in Water Colours–A mistress, or concubine; water colours being, like their engagements, easily effaced, or dissolved.
  • Wigannowns–A man wearing a large wig.
  • Wigsby–Wigsby; a man wearing a wig.
  • Wild Rogues–Rogues trained up to stealing from their cradles.
  • Wild Squirt–A looseness.
  • Wild-Goose Chase–A tedious uncertain pursuit, like the following a flock of wild geese, who are remarkably shy.
  • Willing Tit–A free horse, or a coming girl.
  • Willow–Poor, and of no reputation–To wear the willow; to be abandoned by a lover or mistress.
  • Win–A penny,
  • To Win–To steal–The cull has won a couple of Rum glimsticks; the fellow has stolen a pair of fine candlesticks.
  • Wind–To raise the wind; to procure mony.
  • Winder–Transportation for life–The blowen has napped a winder for a lift; the wench is transported for life for stealing in a shop.
  • Wind-Mill–The fundament–She has no fortune but her mills; i.e–she has nothing but her **** and arse.
  • Windfall–A legacy, or any accidental accession of property.
  • Windmills in the Head–Foolish projects.
  • Windmill Dwindled To A Nutshell–To lose one’s money.
  • Window Peeper–A collector of the window tax.
  • Windward Passage–One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomite.
  • Windy–Foolish–A windy fellow; a simple fellow.
  • Winged–Injured in the arm, usually the shoulder.
  • Wink–To tip one the wink; to give a signal by winking the eye.
  • Winnings–Plunder, goods, or money acquired by theft.
  • Winter Cricket–A taylor.
  • Winter’s Day–He is like a winter’s day, short and dirty.
  • Wipe–A blow, or reproach–I’ll give you a wipe on the chops–That story gave him a fine wipe–Also a handkerchief.
  • Wiper–A handkerchief–(Cant)
  • Wiper Drawer–A pickpocket, one who steals handkerchiefs–He drew a broad, narrow, cam, or specked wiper; he picked a pocket of a broad, narrow, cambrick, or coloured handkerchief.
  • To Wiredraw–To lengthen out or extend any book, letter, or discourse.
  • Wise–As wise as Waltham’s calf, that ran nine miles to suck a bull.
  • Wise men of Gotham–Gotham is a village in Nottinghamshire; its magistrates are said to have attempted to hedge in a cuckow; a bush, called the cuckow’s bush, is still shewn in support of the tradition–A thousand other ridiculous stories are told of the men of Gotham.
  • Wiseacre–A foolish conceited fellow.
  • Wiseacre’s Hall–Gresham college.
  • Wish Someone At Jericho–Find them in the way.
  • Wit–He has as much wit as three folks, two fools and a madman.
  • Witches–Silver–Witcher bubber; a silver bowl–Witcher tilter; a silver-hilted sword–Witcher cully; a silversmith.
  • Within Ames-Ace–Near.
  • To Wobble–To boil–Pot wobbler; one who boils a pot.
  • Wolf in the Breast–An extraordinary mode of imposition, sometimes practised in the country by strolling women, who have the knack of counterfeiting extreme pain, pretending to have a small animal called a wolf in their breasts, which is continually gnawing them.
  • Wolf in the Stomach–A monstrous or canine appetite.
  • Wood–In a wood; bewildered, in a maze, in a peck of troubles, puzzled, or at a loss what course to take in any business–To look over the wood; to ascend the pulpit, to preach: I shall look over the wood at St–James’s on Sunday next–To look through the wood; to stand in the pillory–Up to the arms in wood; in the pillory.
  • Wood Pecker–A bystander, who bets whilst another plays.
  • Woodcock–A taylor with a long bill.
  • Wooden Habeas–A coffin–A man who dies in prison is said to go out with a wooden habeas–He went out with a wooden habeas; i.e–his coffin.
  • Wooden Spoon–(Cambridge.) The last junior optime–See Wrangler, Optime.
  • Wooden Horse–To fide the wooden horse was a military punishment formerly in use–This horse consisted of two or more planks about eight feet long, fixed together so as to form a sharp ridge or angle, which answered to the body of the horse–It was supported by four posts, about six feet long, for legs–A head, neck, and tail, rudely cut in wood, were added, which completed the appearance of a horse–On this sharp ridge delinquents were mounted, with their hands tied behind them; and to steady them (as it was said), and lest the horse should kick them off, one or more firelocks were tied to each leg–In this situation they were sometimes condemned to sit an hour or two; but at length it having been found to injure the soldiers materially, and sometimes to rupture them, it was left off about the time of the accession of King George I–A wooden horse was standing in the Parade at Portsmouth as late as the year 1750.
  • Wooden Ruff–The pillory–See Norway Neckcloth.
  • Wooden Surtout–A coilin.
  • Woman of the Town, or Woman of Pleasure–A prostitute.
  • Woman and her Husband–A married couple, where the woman is bigger than her husband.
  • Woman’s Conscience–Never satisfied.
  • Woman of all Work–Sometimes applied to a female servant, who refuses none of her master’s commands.
  • Woolbird–A sheep–(Cant)
  • Wool Gathering–Your wits are gone a woolgathering; saying to an absent man, one in a reverie, or absorbed in thought.
  • Woolley Crown–A soft-headed fellow.
  • Word Grubbers–Verbal critics, and also persons who use hard words in common discourse.
  • Word Pecker–A punster, one who plays upon words.
  • Word of Mouth–To drink by word of mouth, i.e–Out of the bowl or bottle instead, of a glass.
  • World–All the world and his wife; every body, a great company.
  • Worm–To worm out; to obtain the knowledge of a secret by craft, also to undermine or supplant–He is gone to the diet of worms; he is dead and buried, or gone to Rothisbone.
  • Wranglers–At Cambridge the first class (generally of twelve) at the annual examination for a degree–There are three classes of honours, wranglers, senior optimes, and junior optimes–Wranglers are said to be born with golden spoons in their mouths, the senior optimes with silver, and the junior with leaden ones–The last junior optime is called the wooden spoon–Those who are not qualified for honors are either in the Gulf (that is, meritorious, but not deserving of being in the three first classes) or among the pollot [Greek Letters] the many–See Pluck, Apostles, & C.
  • Wrap Rascal–A red cloak, called also a roquelaire.
  • Wrapt Up In Warm Flannel–Drunk with spirituous liquors–He was wrapt up in the tail of his mother’s smock; saying of any one remarkable for his success with the ladies–To be wrapt up in any one: to have a good opinion of him, or to be under his influence.
  • Wrinkle–A wrinkle-bellied whore; one who has had a number of bastards: child-bearing leaves wrinkles in a woman’s belly–To take the wrinkles out of any one’s belly; to fill it out by a hearty meal–You have one wrinkle more in your a-se; i.e–you have one piece of knowledge more than you had, every fresh piece of knowledge being supposed by the vulgar naturalists to add a wrinkle to that part.
  • Wry Mouth and a Pissen Pair of Breeches–Hanging.
  • Wry Neck Day—Hanging day.
  • Wyn–See Win.

Read Full Post »

Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter V. Have you ever given your Vardy? Or do you have any idea what exactly Vessels of Paper are?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-25-08-42.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Vagaries–Frolics, wild rambles.
  • Vail–Tips given to the servants at the manor home in which the tipper guested at.
  • Vain-Glorious, or Ostentatious Man–One who boasts without reason, or, as the canters say, pisses more than he drinks.
  • Valentine–The first woman seen by a man, or man seen by a woman, on St. Valentine’s day, the 14th of February, when it is said every bird chuses his mate for the ensuing year.
  • To Vamp–To pawn any thing. I’ll vamp it, and tip you the cole: I’ll pawn it, and give you the money. Also to refit, new dress, or rub up old hats, shoes or other wearing apparel; likewise to put new feet to old boots. Applied more particularly to a quack bookseller.
  • Vamper–Stockings.
  • Van–Madam Van; see Madam.
  • Vandyke–Named after the painter Anthony Van Dyke (1599-1641), a style of collar or trimming with a dentate (i.e–sawtooth) border in lace or fabric.
  • Van-Neck–Miss or Mrs. Van-Neck; a woman with large breasts; a bushel bubby.
  • Vardy–To give one’s vardy; i.e. verdict or opinion.
  • Varlets–Now rogues and rascals, formerly yeoman’s servants.
  • Varment–(Whip and Cambridge.) Natty, dashing. He is quite varment, he is quite the go. He sports a varment hat, coat, &c.; he is dressed like a gentleman Jehu.
  • Vaulting School–A bawdy-house; also an academy where vaulting and other manly exercises are taught.
  • Vauxhall Gardens–A pleasure garden across the Thames from fashionable London that offered a variety of entertainments including music, dancing and elaborate fireworks displays–There were also numerous dark walks suitable for assignations.
  • Velvet–To tip the velvet; to put one’s tongue into a woman’s mouth. To be upon velvet; to have the best of a bet or match. To the little gentleman in velvet, i. e. the mole that threw up the hill that caused Crop (King William’s horse) to stumble; a toast frequently drank by the tories and catholics in Ireland.
  • Venerable Monosyllable–Pudendum muliebre.
  • Venus’s Curse–The venereal disease.
  • Vessels of Paper–Half a quarter of a sheet.
  • Vicar of Bray–See Bray.
  • Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas–A drunken man that pisses under the table into his companions’ shoes.
  • Victualling Office–The stomach.
  • Vincent’s Law–The art of cheating at cards, composed of the following associates: bankers, those who play booty; the gripe, he that betteth; and the person cheated, who is styled the vincent; the gains acquired, termage.
  • Vinegar–A name given to the person who with a whip in his hand, and a hat held before his eye, keeps the ring clear, at boxing-matches and cudgel-playing; also, in cant terms, a cloak.
  • Vingt-Et-Un–The card game known as “21” or blackjack, where the object is to take cards until one is as close as possible to 21 without going over–From the French meaning twenty-one.
  • Vixen–A termagant; also a she fox, who, when she has cubs, is remarkably fierce.
  • Vouchers–Vouchers were required to gain admittance to Almack’s Assembly Rooms–They could only be given out by one of the Patronesses.
  • To Vowel–A gamester who does not immediately pay his losings, is said to vowel the winner, by repeating the vowels I.O.U. or perhaps from giving his note for the money according to the Irish form, where the acknowledgment of the debt is expressed by the letters I.O.U. which, the sum and name of the debtor being added, is deemed a sufficient security among gentlemen.
  • Vowels–Papers indicating a debt that is owed–From the Term I.O.U.

Read Full Post »

Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter U. Did you know that an Ungrateful Man is a Parson? Or exactly who is an Upright Man?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-24-08-42.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Uncle–Mine uncle’s; a necessary house. He is gone to visit his uncle; saying of one who leaves his wife soon after marriage. It likewise means a pawnbroker’s: goods pawned are frequently said to be at mine uncle’s, or laid up in lavender.
  • Understrapper–An inferior in any office, or department.
  • Under Dubber–A turnkey.
  • Under The Hatches–Without funds; in debt.
  • Unfortunate Gentlemen–The horse guards, who thus named themselves in Germany, where a general officer seeing them very awkward in bundling up their forage, asked what the devil they were; to which some of them answered, unfortunate gentlemen.
  • Unfortunate Women–Prostitutes: so termed by the virtuous and compassionate of their own sex.
  • Ungrateful Man–A parson, who at least once a week abuses his best benefactor, i.e. the devil.
  • Unguentum Aureum–A bribe.
  • Unicorn–A coach drawn by three horses. Driving Term, drive a vehicle with 3 horses, 1 in front of 2 others.
  • Unlicked Cub–A rude uncouth young fellow.
  • Unrigged–Undressed, or stripped. Unrig the drab; strip the wench.
  • Untruss–To untruss a point; to let down one’s breeches in order to ease one’s self. Breeches were formerly tied with points, which till lately were distributed to the boys every Whit Monday by the churchwardens of most of the parishes in London, under the denomination of tags: these tags were worsteds of different colours twisted up to a size somewhat thicker than packthread, and tagged at both ends with tin. Laces were at the same given to the girls.
  • Untwisted–Undone, ruined, done up.
  • Unwashed Bawdry–Rank bawdry.
  • Up To Their Gossip–To be a match for one who attempts to cheat or deceive; to be on a footing, or in the secret. I’ll be up with him; I will repay him in kind.
  • Uphills–False dice that run high. Loaded dice the roll high numbers.
  • Upper Benjamin–A great coat. (Cant)
  • Upper Orders–The highest level of society.
  • Upper Story, or Garret–Figuratively used to signify the head. His upper story or garrets are unfurnished; i.e. he is an empty or foolish fellow.
  • Upping Block–[Called in some counties a leaping stock, in others a jossing block.] Steps for mounting a horse. He sits like a toad on a jossing block; said of one who sits ungracefully on horseback.
  • Uppish–Testy, apt to take offence.
  • Upright–Go upright; a word used by shoemakers, taylors and their servants, when any money is given to make them drink, and signifies, Bring it all out in liquor, though the donor intended less, and expects change, or some of his money, to be returned. Three-penny upright. See Threepenny Upright,
  • Upright Man–An upright man signifies the chief or principal of a crew. The vilest, stoutest rogue in the pack is generally chosen to this post, and has the sole right to the first night’s lodging with the dells, who afterwards are used in common among the whole fraternity. He carries a short truncheon in his hand, which he calls his filchman, and has a larger share than ordinary in whatsoever is gotten in the society. He often travels in company with thirty or forty males and females, abram men, and others, over whom he presides arbitrarily. Sometimes the women and children who are unable to travel, or fatigued, are by turns carried in panniers by an ass, or two, or by some poor jades procured for that purpose.
  • Upstarts–Persons lately raised to honours and riches from mean stations.
  • Urchin–A child, a little fellow; also a hedgehog.
  • Urinal of the Planets–Ireland: so called from the frequent rains in that island.
  • Used Up–Killed: a military saying, originating from a message sent by the late General Guise, on the expedition at Carthagena, where he desired the commander in chief to order him some more grenadiers, for those he had were all used up.

Read Full Post »

Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter T. I have so many relations that can be described as a Trifling Disguised, (The farthest the family tree goes back is to the legendary Shier the Shiker…) but did you know about Tying your Garter in Public?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-23-07-43.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Tabby–An old maid; either from Tabitha, a formal antiquated name; or else from a tabby cat, old maids being often compared to cats. To drive Tab; to go out on a party of pleasure with a wife and family.
  • Tace–Silence, hold your tongue. Tace is Latin for a candle; a jocular admonition to be silent on any subject.
  • Tackle–A mistress; also good clothes. The cull has tipt his tackle Rum gigging; the fellow has given his mistress good clothes. A man’s tackle: the genitals.
  • Taffy–i.e. Davy. A general name for a Welchman, St. David being the tutelar saint of Wales. Taffy’s day; the first of March, St. David’s day.
  • Tag-Rag and Bobtail–An expression meaning an assemblage of low people, the mobility of all sorts. To tag after one like a tantony pig: to follow one wherever one goes, just as St. Anthony is followed by his pig.
  • Tail–A prostitute. Also, a sword.
  • Take–A lady who did not “take” during her Season did not win any admirers or suitors.
  • Taken In–Imposed on, cheated.
  • Tale Tellers–Persons said to have been formerly hired to tell wonderful stories of giants and fairies, to lull their hearers to sleep. Talesman; the author of a story or report: I’ll tell you my tale, and my talesman. Tale bearers; mischief makers, incendiaries in families.
  • Tall Boy–A bottle, or two-quart pot.
  • Tally Men–Brokers that let out clothes to the women of the town. See Rabbit Suckers.
  • Tallywags, or Tarrywags–A man’s testicles.
  • Tame–To run tame about a house; to live familiarly in a family with which one is upon a visit. Tame army; the city trained bands.
  • Tandem–A two-wheeled chaise, buggy or noddy, drawn by two horses. One before the other, that is, At Length.
  • Tangier–A room in Newgate, where debtors were confined, hence called Tangerines.
  • Tanner–A sixpence. (approx $50). The kiddey tipped the rattling cove a tanner for luck; the lad gave the coachman sixpence for drink.
  • Tantadlin Tart–A sirreverence, human excrement.
  • Tantrums–Pet, or passion: madam was in her tantrums.
  • Tantwivy–Away they went tantwivy; away they went full speed. Tantwivy was the sound of the hunting horn in full cry, or that of a post horn.
  • Tap–A gentle blow. A tap on the shoulder;-an-arrest. To tap a girl; to be the first seducer: in allusion to a beer barrel. To tap a guinea; to get it changed.
  • Tappers–Shoulder tappers: bailiffs.
  • Tape–Red tape; brandy. Blue or white tape; gin.
  • Tap-Hackled–Drunk.
  • Taplash–Thick and bad beer.
  • Tar–Don’t lose a sheep for a halfpennyworth of tar: tar is used to mark sheep. A jack tar; a sailor.
  • Taradiddle–A fib, or falsity, falsehood or lie.
  • Tare An’ Hounds–Exclamation.
  • Tarpawlin–A coarse cloth tarred over: also, figuratively, a sailor.
  • Tarring and Feathering–A punishment lately inflicted by the good people of Boston on any person convicted, or suspected, of loyalty: such delinquents being “stripped naked”, were daubed all over with tar, and afterwards put into a hogshead of feathers.
  • Tart–Sour, sharp, quick, pert.
  • Tartar–To catch a Tartar; to attack one of superior strength or abilities. This saying originated from a story of an Irish-soldier in the Imperial service, who, in a battle against the Turks, called out to his comrade that he had caught a Tartar. ‘Bring him along then,’ said he. ‘He won’t come,’ answered Paddy. ‘Then come along yourself,’ replied his comrade. ‘Arrah,’ cried he, ‘but he won’t let me.’—A Tartar is also an adept at any feat, or game: he is quite a Tartar at cricket, or billiards.
  • Tartar–Slang Term for an officer, such as a ship’s captain, that is a harsh disciplinarian.
  • Tat–Tit for tat; an equivalent.
  • Tats–False dice.
  • Tatler–A watch. To flash a tatler: to wear a watch.
  • Tat Monger–One that uses false dice.
  • Tatterdemalion–A ragged fellow, whose clothes hang all in tatters.
  • Tattersall’s–A popular horse market in London.
  • Tattoo–A beat of the drum, of signal for soldiers to go to their quarters, and a direction to the sutlers to close the tap, anddtew nomore liquor for them; it is generally beat at nine in summer and eight in winter. The devil’s tattoo; beating with one’s foot against the ground, as done by persons in low spirits.
  • Taw–A schoolboy’s game, played with small round balls made of stone dust, catted marbles. I’ll be one upon your taw presently; a species of threat.
  • Tawdry–Garish, gawdy, with lace or staring and discordant colors: a term said to be derived from the shrine and altar of St. Audrey (Isle of Ely saintess), which for finery exceeded all others thereabouts, so as to become proverbial; whence any fine dressed man or woman said to be all St Audrey, and by contraction, all tawdry.
  • Tawed–Beaten,
  • Tayle–See Tail.
  • Tayle Drawers–Thieves who snatch gentlemens swords from their sides. He drew the cull’s tayle rumly; he snatched away the gentleman’s sword cleverly.
  • Taylor–Nine taylors make a man; an ancient and common saying, originating from the effeminacy of their employment; or, as some have it, from nine taylors having been robbed by one man; according to others, from the speech of a woollendraper, meaning that the custom of nine, taylors would make or enrich one man—A London taylor, rated to furnish half a man to the Trained Bands, asking how that could possibly be done? was answered, By sending four, journeymen and and apprentice.—Puta taylor, a weaver, and a miller into a sack, shake them well, And the first that, puts out his head is certainly a thief.—A taylor is frequently styled pricklouse, assaults on those vermin with their needles.
  • Taylors Goose–An iron with which, when heated, press down the seams of clothes.
  • Tea Voider–A chamber pot.
  • Tea Gueland–Ireland. Teaguelanders; Irishmen.
  • Tears of the Tankard–The drippings of liquor on a man’s waistcoat.
  • Teddy My Godson–An address to a supposed simple fellow, or nysey,
  • Teize–To-nap the teize; to receive a whipping. (Cant)
  • Temple Pickling–Pumping a bailiff; a punishment formerly administered to any of that fraternity caught exercising their functions within the limits of Temple.
  • Tempting Armful–Attractive female.
  • Ten Toes–See Bayard of Ten Toes.
  • Ten in the Hundred–An usurer; more than five in the hundred being deemed usurious interest.
  • Tenant at Will–One whose wife usually fetches him from the alehouse.
  • Tenant for Life–A married man; i.e. possessed of a woman for life.
  • Tendré–Or to have a Tendré is to have fallen in love with a person.
  • Tender Parnell–A tender creature, fearful of the least puff of wind or drop of rain. As tender as Parnell, who broke her finger in a posset drink.
  • Termagant–An outrageous scold from Termagantes, a cruel Pagan, formerly represented in diners shows and entertainments, where being dressed a la Turque, in long clothes, he was mistaken for a furious woman.
  • Terra Firma–An estate in land.
  • Tester–A sixpence: from Teston, a coin with a head on it.
  • Tetbury Portion–A **** and a clap.
  • Thames–He will not find out a way to set the Thames on fire; he will not make any wonderful discoveries, he is no conjuror.
  • Thatch-Gallows–A rogue, or man of bad character.
  • The City–The area of London where the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and other financial institutions are located–It is bordered on the south by the Thames and extends east to the Tower and west to the Temple Bar, covering one square mile–Historically, it is the site of the original Roman settlement of Londinium.
  • The Devil To Pay–Trouble.
  • Thick–Intimate. They are as thick as two inkle-weavers.
  • Theif–You are a thief and a murderer, you have killed a baboon and stole his face; vulgar abuse.
  • Theif in a Candle–Part of the wick or snuff, which falling on the tallow, burns and melts it, and causing it to gutter, thus steals it away.
  • Theif Takers–Fellows who associate with all kinds of villains, in order to betray them, when they have committed any of those crimes which entitle the persons taking them to a handsome reward, called blood money. It is the business of these thief takers to furnish subjects for a handsome execution, at the end of every sessions.
  • Thimble–A watch. The swell flashes a Rum thimble; the gentleman sports a fine watch.
  • Thingstable–Mr. Thingstable; Mr. Constable: a ludicrous affectation of delicacy in avoiding the pronunciation of the first syllable in the title of that officer, which in sound has some similarity to an indecent monosyllable.
  • Thingumbob–Mr. Thingumbob; a vulgar address or nomination to any person whose name is unknown, the same as Mr. What-d’ye-cal’em. Thingumbobs; testicles.
  • Thirding–A custom practised at the universities, where two thirds of the original price is allowed by the upholsterers to the students for household goods returned to them within the year.
  • Thirteener–A shilling in Ireland, which there passes for thirteen pence.
  • Thomond–Like Lord Thomond’s cocks, all on one side. Lord Thomond’s cock-feeder, an Irishman, being entrusted with some cocks which were matched for a considerable sum, the night before the battle shut them all together in one room, concluding that as they were all on the same side, they would not disagree: the consequence was, they were most of them either killed or lamed before the morning.
  • Thomas–Man Thomas; a man’s penis.
  • Thorns–To be or sit upon thorns; to be uneasy, impatient, anxious for an event.
  • Thornback–An old maid.
  • Thorough Churchman–A person who goes in at one door of a church, and out at the other, without stopping.
  • Thorough-Good-Natured Wench–One who being asked to sit down, will lie down.
  • Thorough Go Nimble–A looseness, a violent purging.
  • Thorough Cough–Coughing and breaking wind backwards at the same time.
  • Thorough Stitch–To go thorough stitch; to stick at nothing; over shoes, over boots.
  • Thought–What did thought do? lay’in bed and beshat himself, and thought he was up; reproof to any one who excuses himself for any breach of positive orders, by pleading that he thought to the contrary.
  • Three To One–He is playing three to one, though sure to lose; said of one engaged in the amorous congress.
  • Three-Penny Upright–A retailer of love, who for the sum mentioned, gives her favors standing against a wall.
  • Three-Legged Mare, or Stool–The gallows, formerly consisting of three posts, over which were laid three transverse beams. This clumsy machine has lately given place to an elegant contrivance, called the New Drop, by which the use of that vulgar vehicle a cart, or mechanical instrument a ladder, is also avoided; the patients being left suspended by the dropping down of that part of the floor on which they stand. This invention was first made use of for a peer. See Drop.
  • Three Threads–Half common ale, mixed with stale and double beer.
  • Threps–Thruppence. Threepence
  • To Throttle–To strangle.
  • Throttle–The throat, or gullet.
  • Throwing A Rub–In the way spoiling the plans.
  • Thruppence–3 pence, (approx $25)
  • To Thrum–To play on any instrument sttfnged with wire. A thrummer of wire; a player on the spinet, harpsichord, of guitar.
  • Thrums–Thruppence. Threepence.
  • Thumbe–By rule of thumb: to do any thing by dint of practice. To kiss one’s thumb instead of the book; a vulgar expedient to avoid perjury in taking a false oath.
  • Thummikins–An instrument formerly used in Scotland, like a vice, to pinch the thumbs of persons accused of different crimes, in order to extort confession.
  • Thump–A blow. This is better than a thump on the back with a stone; said on giving any one a drink of good liquor on a cold morning. Thatch, thistle, thunder, and thump; words to the Irish, like the Shibboleth of the Hebrews.
  • Thumping–Great! a thumping boy.
  • Thunder An’ Turf–Exclamation.
  • Thwack–A great blow with a stick across the shoulders.
  • Tib–A young lass
  • Tibby–A cat.
  • Tib of the Buttery–A goose. (Cant) Saint Tibb’s evening; the evening of the last day, or day of judgment: he will pay you on St. Tibb’s eve. Irish.
  • Tick–To run o’tick; take up goods upon trust, to run in debt. Tick; a watch. See Sessions Papers.
  • Tickle Text–A parson.
  • Tickle Pitckeb–A thirsty fellow, a sot.
  • Tickle Tail–A rod, or schoolmaster. A man’s penis.
  • Tickrum–A licence.
  • Tidy–Neat.
  • Tie One’s Garter In Public–Do something extremely shocking.
  • Tiffing–Eating or drinking out of meal time, disputing or falling out; also lying with a wench, A tiff of punch, a small bowl of punch.
  • Tiger–A liveried groom, generally small, generally young–An owner-driven curricle or phaeton typically had a groom’s seat between the springs on which the tiger sat.
  • Tilbuky–Sixpence; so called from its formerly being the fare for Crossing over from Gravesend to Tilbury Fort.
  • Tilt–To tilt; to fight with a sword. To run full tilt against one; allusion to the ancient tilling with the lance.
  • Tilter–A sword.
  • Tim Whisky–A light one—horse chaise without a head.
  • Timber Toe–A man with a wooden leg.
  • Tiny–Little.
  • To Tip–To give or lend. Tip me your daddle; give me your hand. Tip me a hog; give me a shilling. To tip the lion; to flatten a man’s nose with the thumb, and, at the same time to extend his mouth, with the fingers, thereby giving him a sort of lion-like countenauce. To tip the velvet; tonguing woman. To tip all nine; to knock down all the nine pins at once, at the game of bows or skittles: tipping, at these gaines, is slightly touching the tops of the pins with the bowl. Tip; a draught; don’t spoil his tip.
  • Tip-Top–The best: perhaps from fruit, that growing at the top of the tree being generally the best, as partaking most of the sun. A tip-top workman; the best, or most excellent Workman.
  • Tipperary Fortune–Two town lands, stream’s town, and ballinocack; said of Irish women without fortune.
  • Tippet–An abbreviated cape–Similar to what might today be called a stole or a boa.
  • Tipple–Liquor.
  • Tipplers–Sots who are continually sipping.
  • Tipsey–Almost drunk.
  • Tiring–Dressing: perhaps abbreviation of Attiring. Tiring women, or tire women: women that used to cut ladies hair, and dress them.
  • Tit–A horse; a pretty little tit; a smart little girl. a *** or tid bit; a delicate morsel. Tommy tit; a smart lively little fellow.
  • Tit for Tat–An equivalent.
  • To Titter–To suppress a laugh.
  • Titter Tatter–One reeling, and ready to fall at the least touch; also the childish amusement of riding upon the two ends of a plank, poised upon the prop underneath its centre, called also see-saw. Perhaps tatter is a rustic pronunciation of totter.
  • Titles–The British peerage, in order of precedence is duke/duchess, marquess/marchioness, earl/countess, viscount/viscountess, baron/baroness–The next two ranks, baronet and knight, are not peers.
  • Tittle-Tattle–Idle discourse, scandal, women’s talk, or small talk.
  • Tittup–A gentle hand gallop, or canter.
  • Tizzy–Sixpence.
  • Toad–Toad in a hole; meat baked or boiled in pye-crust. He or she sits like a toad on a chopping-block; a saying of any who sits ill on horseback. As much need of it as a toad of a side-pocket; said of a person who desires any thing for which he has no real occasion. As full of money as a toad is of feathers.
  • Toad Eater–A sycophant or flatterer; a toady–Either from the Spanish “todita,” meaning factotum, or from the practice of charlatans who would have their assistants eat toads in order to “cure” them of poison.
  • Toad Eater–A poor female relation, and humble companion, or reduced gentlewoman, in a great family, the standing butt, on whom all kinds of practical jokes are played off, and all ill humours vented. This appellation is derived from a mountebank’s servant, on whom all experiments used to be made in public by the doctor, his master; among which was the eating of toads, formerly supposed poisonous. Swallowing toads is here figuratively meant for swallowing or putting up with insults, as disagreeable to a person of feeling as toads to the stomach.
  • Toad-Eaten–Flattered and made up to.
  • Toast–A health; also a beautiful woman whose health is often drank by men. The origin of this term (as it is said) was this: a beautiful lady bathing in a cold bath, one of her admirers out of gallantry drank some of the water: whereupon another of her lovers observed, he never drank in the morning, but he would kiss the toast, and immediately saluted the lady.
  • Toasting Iron, or Cheese Toaster–A sword.
  • To Be In The Basket–Be in lots of trouble.
  • Toby Lay–The highway. High toby man; a highway-man. Low toby man; a footpad.
  • Tobacco–A plant, once in great estimation as a medicine:
  • Tobacco hic Will make you well if you be sick.
  • Tobacco hic If you be well will make you sick.
  • Toddy–Originally the juice of the cocoa tree, and afterwards rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg.
  • Toddle–To walk away. The cove was touting, but stagging the traps he toddled; be was looking out, and feeing the officers he walked away.
  • Todge–Beat all to a todge: said of anything beat to mash.
  • Toge–A coat. (Cant)
  • Togemans–The same. (Cant)
  • Togs–Clothes. The swell is rum-togged. The gentleman is handsomely dressed.
  • Toilette–Outfit.
  • Token–The plague: also the venereal disease. She tipped him the token; she gave him a clap or pox.
  • Tol, or Toledo–A sword: from Spanish swords made at Toledo, which place was famous for sword blades of an extraordinary temper.
  • Tolliban Rig–A species of cheat carried on by a woman, assuming the character of a dumb and deaf conjuror.
  • Tom Turdman–A night man, one who empties necessary houses.
  • Tomboy–A romping girl, who prefers the amusement used by boys to those of her own sex.
  • Tom of Bedlam–The same as Abram man.
  • Tom Cony–A simple fellow.
  • Tom Long–A tiresome story teller. It is coming by Tom Long, the carrier; said of any thing that has been long expected.
  • Tom Thumb–A dwarf, a little hop-o’my-thumb.
  • Tommy–Soft Tommy, or white Tommy; bread is so called by sailors, to distinguish it from biscuit. Brown Tommy: ammunition bread for soldiers; or brown bread given to convicts at the hulks.
  • To-Morrow Come Never–When two Sundays come together; never.
  • Ton–The ton was the high society of the Regency period–It is pronounced like “tone,” and it comes from the French word ton meaning “tone, style.” A person or action described as good ton was accepted by Society–A person or action described as bad ton violated the unwritten rules of Society and was deemed unacceptable.
  • Ton–A designation for 100 pounds, (approx $200,000).
  • Tongue–Tongue enough for two sets of teeth: said of a talkative person. As old as my tongue, and a little older than my teeth; a dovetail in answer to the question, How old are you? Tongue pad; a scold, or nimble-tongued person.
  • Tonic–A half penny.
  • Tony–A silly fellow, or ninny. A mere tony: a simpleton.
  • Too Ripe And Ready By Half–Always up to something.
  • Too Smoky By Half–Very suspicious.
  • Tools–The private parts of a man.
  • Tool–The instrument of any person or faction, a cat’s paw. See Cats Paw.
  • Tooth–Music. Chewing.
  • Tooth-Pick–A large stick. An ironical expression.
  • Topper–A violent blow on the head.
  • To Top–To cheat, or trick: also to insult: he thought to have topped upon me. Top; the signal among taylors for snuffing the candles: he who last pronounces that word word, is obliged to get up and perform the operation.—to be topped; to be hanged. The cove was topped for smashing queerscreens; he was hanged for uttering forged bank notes.
  • Top Diver–A lover of women. An old top diver; one who has loved old hat in his time.
  • Top-Hackled–Drunk.
  • Top-Heavy–Drunk.
  • Top Lights–The eyes. Blast your top lights. See Curse.
  • Top-Of-The Trees–Someone/thing of high esteem.
  • Top Ropes–To sway away on all top ropes; to live riotously or extravagantly.
  • Top Sail–He paid his debts at Portsmouth with the topsail; i.e. he went to sea and left them unpaid. SCT soldiers are said to pay off their scores with the drum; that is, by marching away.
  • Top Sawyer–One who excels at driving horses.
  • Toper–One that loves his bottle, a soaker. See To Soak.
  • Topping Fellow–One at the top or head of his profession.
  • Topping Cheat–The gallows. (Cant)
  • Topping Cover–The hangman. (Cant)
  • Topping Man–A rich man.
  • Topsy-Turvy–The top side the other way; i.e. the wrong side upwards; some explain it, the top side turf ways, turf being always laid the wrong side upwards.
  • Torchecul–Bumfodder.
  • Tormenter of Sheep Skin–A drummer.
  • Tormenter of Catgut–A fiddler.
  • Tory–An advocate for absolute monarchy and church power; also an Irish vagabond, robber, Or rapparee.
  • Tory–The party of the monarchy–The conservatives–The party of Wiliam Pitt the Younger, and the government during most of the Regency.
  • Toss Pot–A drunkard.
  • Toss Off–Manual pollution.
  • Totty-Headed–Giddy, hare-brained.
  • Touch–To touch; to get money from any one; also to arrest. Touched in the wind; broken winded. Touched in the head; insane, crazy. To touch up a woman; to have carnal knowledge of her. Touch bone and whistle; any one having broken wind backwards, according to the vulgar law, may be pinched by any of the company till he has touched bone (i.e. his teeth) and whistled.
  • Touch Bun For Luck–See Bun.
  • Touched In The Upper Works–Crazy.
  • Tout–A look-out house, or eminence.
  • Tout–In sporting phraseology a tout signifies an agent in the training districts, on the look-out for information as to the condition and capabilities of those horses entering for a coming race. Touts often get into trouble through entering private training-grounds. They, however, are very highly paid, some making 40 a week during the season, Now frequently called horse-watchers.
  • Touting–(From Tueri, to look about) Publicans fore-stalling guests, or meeting them on the road, and begging their custom; also thieves or smugglers looking out to see that the coast is clear. Touting ken; the bar of a public house.
  • Tow Row–A grenadier. The tow row club; a club or society of the grenadier officers of the line.
  • Towel–An oaken towel, a cudgel. To rub one down with an oaken towel; to beat or cudgel him.
  • Tower–Clipped money: they have been round the tower with it. (Cant)
  • To Tower–To overlook, to rise aloft as in a high tower.
  • Tower Hill Play–A slap on the face, and a kick on the breech.
  • Town–A woman of the town; a prostitute. To be on the town: to live by prostitution.
  • Town–With a capital T, this always refers to London.
  • Town Bronze–Polish or style. 
  • Town Bull–A common whoremaster. To roar like a town bull; to cry or bellow aloud.
  • To Track–To go. Track up the dancers; go up stairs. (Cant)
  • Trading Justices–Broken mechanics, discharged footmen, and other low fellows, smuggled into the commission of the peace, who subsist by fomenting disputes, granting warrants, and otherwise retailing justice; to the honour of the present times, these nuisances are by no means, so common as formerly.
  • Tradesmen–Thieves. Clever tradesmen; good thieves.
  • Translators–Sellers of old mended shoes and boots, between coblers and shoemakers.
  • To Transmography, or Transmigrify–To patch up vamp, or alter.
  • To Transnear–To come up with any body.
  • Tranter–See Crocker.
  • Trap–To understand trap; to know one’s own interest.
  • Trap Sticks–Thin legs, gambs: from the sticks with which boys play at trap-ball.
  • Traps–Constables and thief-takers. (Cant)
  • To Trapan–To inveigle, or ensnare.
  • Trapes–A slatternly woman, a careless sluttish woman.
  • Traveller–To tip the traveller; to tell wonderful stories, to romance.
  • Travelling Piquet–A mode of amusing themselves, practiced by two persons riding in a carriage, each reckoning towards his game the persons or animals that pass by on the side next them, according to the following estimation:
  • A parson riding a grey horse, witholue furniture;
  • game. An old woman under a hedge;
  • ditto. A cat looking out of a window;
  • 60. A man, woman, and child, in a buggy;
  • 40. A man with a woman behind him;
  • 30. A flock of sheep;
  • 20. A flock of geese;
  • 10. A post chaise;
  • 5. A horseman;
  • 2. A man or woman walking;
  • 1.
  • Tray Trip–An ancient game like Scotch hop, played on a pavement marked out with chalk into different compartments.
  • Trencher Cap–The square cap worn by the collegians. at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Trencher Man–A stout trencher man; one who has a good appetite, or, plays a good knife and fork.
  • Treswins–Threepence.
  • Trib–A prison: perhaps from tribulation.
  • Trickum Legis–A quirk or quibble in the law.
  • A Trifle Disguised–Slightly drunk.
  • Trig–The point at which schoolboys stand to shoot their marbles at taw; also the spot whence bowlers deliver the bowl.
  • To Trig It–To play truant. To lay a man trigging; to knock him down.
  • Trigrymate–An idle female companion.
  • Trim–State, dress. In a sad trim; dirty.—Also spruce or fine: a trim fellow.
  • Trim Tram–Like master, like man.
  • Trimming–Cheating, changing side, or beating. I’ll trim his jacket; I’ll thresh him. To be trimmed; to be shaved; I’ll just step and get trimmed.
  • Trine–To hang; also Tyburn.
  • Tringum Trangum–A whim, or maggot.
  • Trining–Hanging.
  • Trinkets–Toys, bawbles, or nicknacks.
  • Trip–A short voyage or journey, a false step or stumble, an error in the tongue, a bastard. She has made a trip; she has had a bastard.
  • Tripe–The belly, or guts. Mr. Double Tripe; a fat man. Tripes and trullibubs; the entrails: also a jeering appellation for a fat man.
  • To Troll–To loiter or saunter about.
  • Trolly Lolly–Coarse lace once much in fashion.
  • Trollops–Women of easy virtue. A lusty coarse sluttish woman.
  • Trooper–You will die the death of a trooper’s horse, that is, with your shoes-on; a jocular method of telling any one he will be hanged.
  • Trot–An old trot; a decrepit old woman. A dog trot; a gentle pace.
  • Trotters–Feet. To shake one’s trotters at Bilby’s ball, where the sheriff pays the fiddlers; perhaps the Bilboes ball, i.e. the ball of fetters: fetters and stocks were anciently called the bilboes.
  • Trotting Too Hard–Doing too much, exhausting yourself.
  • To Trounce–To punish by course of law.
  • Truck–To exchange, swop, or barter; also a wheel such as ship’s guns are placed upon.
  • Trull–A soldier or a tinker’s trull; a soldier or tinker’s female companion.—Guteli, or trulli, are spirits like women, which shew great kindness to men, and hereof it is that we call light women trulls. Randle Holm’s Academy of Armory.
  • Trumpery–An old whore, or goods of no value; rubbish.
  • Trumpet–To sound one’s own trumpet; to praise one’s self.
  • Trumpeter–The king of Spain’s trumpeter; a braying ass. His trumpeter is dead, he is therefore forced to sound his own trumpet. He would make an excellent trumpeter, for he has a strong breath; said of one having a foetid breath.
  • Trumps–To be put to one’s trumps: to be in difficulties, or put to one’s shifts. Something may turn up trumps; something lucky may happen. All his cards are trumps: he is extremely fortunate.
  • Trundlers–Peas.
  • Trunk–A nose. How fares your old trunk? does your nose still stand fast? an allusion to the proboscis or trunk of an elephant. To shove a trunk: to introduce one’s self unasked into any place or company. Trunk-maker like; more noise than work.
  • Trusty Trojan, or Trusty Trout–A true friend.
  • Try On–To endeavour. To live by thieving. Coves who try it on; professed thieves.
  • Try To Break Someone’s Shins–Borrow money.
  • Tryning–See Trining.
  • Tu Quoque–The mother of all saints.
  • Tub Thumper–A presbyterian parson.
  • Tucked Up–Hanged. A tucker up to an old bachelor or widower; a supposed mistress.
  • Tuft Hunter–A it anniversary parasite, one who courts the acquaintance of nobility, whose caps are adorned with a gold tuft.
  • Tumbler–A cart; also a sharper employed to draw in pigeons to game; likewise a posture-master, or rope-dancer. To shove the tumbler, or perhaps tumbril; to-be whipt at the cart’s tail.
  • To Tune–To beat: his father tuned him delightfully: perhaps from fetching a tune out of the person beaten, or from a comparison with the disagreeable sounds of instruments when tuning.
  • To Tup–To have carnal knowledge of a woman.
  • Tup–A ram: figuratively, a cuckold.
  • Tuppence–2 pennie, 2 pence
  • Tup Running–A rural sport practiced at wakes and fairs in Derbyshire; a ram, whose tail is well soaped and greased, is turned out to the multitude; any one that can take him by the tail, and hold him fast, is to have him for his own.
  • Turd–There were four t—ds for dinner: stir t—d, hold t—d, tread t—d, and mus-t—d: to wit, a hog’s face, feet and chitterlings, with mustard. He will never sh—e a seaman’s t—d; i.e. he will never make a good seaman.
  • Turf–On the turf; persons who keep running horses, or attend and bet at horse-races, are said to be on the turf.
  • Turk–A cruel, hard-hearted man. Turkish treatment; barbarous usage. Turkish shore; Lambeth, Southwark, and Rotherhithe side of the Thames.
  • Turkey Merchant–A poulterer.
  • Turncoat–One who has changed his party from interested motives.
  • Turned Up–Acquitted; discharged.
  • Turnip-Pated–White or fair-haired.
  • Turnpike Man–A parson; because the clergy collect their tolls at our entrance into and exit from the world.
  • Turn Someone Up Sweet–Ingratiate self with by lying.
  • Tuzzy-Muzzy–The monosyllable.
  • Twaddle–Perplexity, confusion, or any thing else: a fashionable term that for a while succeeded that of Bore. See Bore.
  • Twangey, or Stangey–A north country name for a taylor.
  • Tweague–In a great tweague: in a great passion. Tweaguey; peevish, passionate.
  • To Tweak–To pull: to tweak any one’s nose.
  • Twelver–A shilling.
  • Twiddle-Diddles–Testicles.
  • Twiddle Poop–An effeminate looking fellow.
  • In Twig–Handsome; stilish. The cove is togged in twig; the fellow is dressed in the fashion.
  • To Twig–To observe. Twig the cull, he is peery; observe the fellow, he is watching us. Also to disengage, snap asunder, or break off. To twig the darbies; to knock off the irons.
  • Twiss–(Irish) A Jordan, or pot de chambre. A Mr. Richard Twiss having in his “Travels” given a very unfavourable description of the Irish character, the inhabitants of Dublin, byway of revenge, thought proper to christen this utensil by his name—suffice it to say that the baptismal rites were not wanting at the ceremony. On a nephew of this gentleman the following epigram was made by a friend of ouis:
  • Perish the country, yet my name
  • Shall ne’er in STORY be forgot,
  • But still the more increase in fame,
  • The more the country Goes to Pot.
  • Twist–A mixture of half tea and half coffee; likewise brandy, beer, and eggs. A good twist; a good appetite. To twist it down apace; to eat heartily.
  • Twisted–Executed, hanged.
  • To Twit–To reproach a person, or remind him of favours conferred.
  • Twitter–All in a twitter; in a fright. Twittering is also the note of some small birds, such as the robin, &c.
  • Twittoc–Two. (Cant)
  • Two and a kick–2 1/2 shillings, A hind coachwheel, a half-bull, (approx $250).
  • Two Handed Put–The amorous congress.
  • Two Thieves Beating a Rogue–A man beating his hands against his sides to warm himself in cold weather; called also beating the booby, and cuffing Jonas.
  • Two To One Shop–A pawnbroker’s: alluding to the three blue balls, the sign of that trade: or perhaps to its being two to one that the goods pledged are never redeemed.
  • Two-Handed–Great. A two-handed fellow or wench; a great strapping man orwoman,
  • Tye–A neckcloth.
  • Tyburn Blossom–A young thief or pickpocket, who in time will ripen into fruit borne by the deadly never-green.
  • Tyburn Tippet–A halter; see Latimer’s sermon before. Edward VI. AD. 1549.
  • Tyburn Top, or Foretop–A wig with the foretop combed over the eyes in a knowing style; such being much worn by the gentlemen pads, scamps, divers, and other knowing hands.
  • Tyke–A dog, also a clown; a Yorkshire tyke.
  • Tyney–See Tiney.

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Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter S. Did you know that a Sauce Box is a rather forward person? Or that a Singleton can be very useful?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-22-10-37.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Sacheverel–The iron door, or blower, to the mouth of a stove: from a divine of that name, who made himself famous for blowing the coals of dissension in the latter end of the reign of queen Ann.
  • Sack–A pocket. To buy the sack: to get drunk. To dive into the sack; to pick a pocket. To break a bottle in an empty sack; a bubble bet, a sack with a bottle in it not being an empty sack.
  • Sad Dog–A wicked debauched fellow; one of the ancient family of the sad dogs. Swift translates it into Latin by the words Tristis Canis.
  • Saddle–To saddle the spit; to give a dinner or supper. To saddle one’s nose; to wear spectacles. To saddle a place or pension; to oblige the holder to pay a certain portion of his income to some one nominated by the donor. Saddle sick: galled with riding, having lost leather.
  • Saint–A piece of spoilt timber in a coach-maker’s shop, like a saint, devoted to the flames.
  • Saint Geoffrey’s Day–Never, there being no saint of that name: tomorrow-come-never, when two Sundays come together.
  • Saint Luke’s Bird–An ox; that Evangelist being always represented with an ox.
  • Saint Monday–A holiday most religiously observed by journeymen shoemakers, and other inferior mechanics. A profanation of that day, by working, is punishable by a fine, particularly among the gentle craft. An Irishman observed, that this saint’s anniversary happened every week.
  • Sal–An abbreviation of Salivation. In a high sal; in the pickling tub, or under a salivation.
  • Salesman’s Dog–A barker. Vide Barker.
  • Salmon-Gundy–Apples, onions, veal or chicken, and pickled herrings, minced fine, and eaten with oil and vinegar; some derive the name of this mess from the French words Selon mon Goust, because the proportions of the different ingredients are regulated by the palate of the maker; others say it bears the name of the inventor, who was a rich Dutch merchant; but the general and most probable opinion is, that it was invented by the countess of Salmagondi, one of the ladies of Mary de Medicis, wife of King Henry IV. of France, and by her brought into France.
  • Salmon or Salamon–The beggars’sacrament or oath.
  • Salt–Lecherous. A salt bitch: a bitch at heat, or proud bitch. Salt eel; a rope’s end, used to correct boys, &c. at sea: you shall have a salt eel for supper.
  • Sammy–Foolish. Silly.
  • Sandwich–Ham, dried tongue, or some other salted meat, cut thin and put between two slices of bread and butter: said to be a favourite morsel with the Earl of Sandwich. (Though legend is that he was first to ask for meat between bread, such is not the case. It existed long before he ate his first.)
  • Sandy Pate–A red haired man or woman.
  • Sangaree–Rack punch was formerly so called in bagnios.
  • Sank, Sanky, or Centipee’s–A taylor employed by clothiers in making soldier’s clothing.
  • Sapscull–A simple fellow. Sappy; foolish.
  • Sarsnet–A twilled fabric which uses different colors in the warp and weft, thus allowing the fabric to subtly change colors as the fabric moves–Though it is sometimes spelled sarsenet or sarcenet, the fashion magazines of the time almost always use the spelling sarsnet.
  • Satyr–A libidinous fellow: those imaginary things are by poets reported to be extremely salacious.
  • Sauce Box–A term of familiar raillery, signifying a bold or forward person.
  • Save-All–A kind of candlestick used by our frugal forefathers, to burn snuffs and ends of candles. Figuratively, boys running about gentlemen’s houses in Ireland, who are fed on broken meats that would otherwise be wasted, also a miser.
  • Saunterer–An idle, lounging fellow; by some derived from Sans Terre; applied to persons, who, having no lands or home, lingered and loitered about. Some derive it from persons devoted to the Holy Land, Saint Terre, who loitered about, as waiting for company.
  • Saw–An old saw; an ancient proverbial saying.
  • Sawny or Sandy–A general nick-name for a Scotchman, as Paddy is for an Irishman, or Taffy for a Welchman; Sawny or Sandy being the familiar abbreviation or diminution of Alexander, a very favourite name among the Scottish nation.
  • Sawyer–One who excels at driving horses.
  • Scab–A worthless man or woman.
  • Scald Miserables–A set of mock masons, who, AD 1744, made a ludicrous procession in ridicule of the Free Masons.
  • Scalder–A clap. The cull has napped a scalder; the fellow has got a clap.
  • Scaly–Mean. Sordid. How scaly the cove is; how mean the fellow is.
  • Scaly Fish–An honest, rough, blunt sailor.
  • Scamp–A highwayman. Royal scamp: a highwayman who robs civilly. Royal foot scamp; a footpad who behaves in like manner.
  • To Scamper–To run away hastily.
  • Scandal Broth–Tea.
  • Scandal Proof–One who has eaten shame and drank after it, or would blush at being ashamed.
  • Scapegallows–One who deserves and has narrowly escaped the gallows, a slip-gibbet, one for whom the gallows is said to groan.
  • Scapegrace–A wild dissolute fellow.
  • Scarce–To make one’s self scarce; to steal away.
  • Scarlet Horse–A high red, hired or hack horse: a pun on the word Hired.
  • Scavey–Sense, knowledge. “Massa, me no scavey;” master, I don’t know (Negro Language) perhaps from the French Scavoir.
  • Scheme–A party of pleasure.
  • Schism Monger–A dissenting teacher.
  • Schism Shop–A dissenting meeting house.
  • A Scold’s Cure–A coffin. The blowen has napped the scold’s cure; the bitch is in her coffin.
  • School of Venus–A bawdy-house.
  • School Butter–Cobbing, whipping.
  • Sconce–The head, probably as being the fort and citadel of a man: from Sconce, an old name for a fort, derived from a Dutch word of the same signification; To build a sconce: a military term for bilking one’s quarters. To sconce or skonce; to impose a fine. Academical Phrase.
  • Scot–A young bull.
  • Scotch Greys–Lice. The headquarters of the Scotch greys: the head of a man full of large lice.
  • Scotch Pint–A bottle containing two quarts.
  • Scotch Bait–A halt and a resting on a stick, as practised by pedlars.
  • Scotch Chocolate–Brimstone and milk.
  • Scotch Fiddle–The itch.
  • Scotch Mist–A sober soaking rain; a Scotch mist will wet an Englishman to the skin.
  • Scotch Warming Pan–A wench; also a fart.
  • Scoundrel–A man void of every principle of honour.
  • Scour–To scour or score off; to run away: perhaps from Score; i.e. full speed, or as fast as legs would carry one. Also to wear: chiefly applied to irons, fetters, or handcuffs, because wearing scours them. He will scour the darbies; he will be in fetters. To scour the cramp ring; to wear bolts or fetters, from which, as well as from coffin hinges, rings supposed to prevent the cramp are made.
  • Scourers–Riotous bucks, who amuse themselves with breaking windows, beating the watch, and assaulting every person they meet: called scouring the streets.
  • Scout–A college errand-boy at Oxford, called a gyp at Cambridge. Also a watchman or a watch. (Cant)
  • Scragged–Hanged.
  • Scraggy–Lean, bony.
  • Scragg’em Fair–A public execution.
  • Scrap–A villainous scheme or plan. He whiddles the whole scrap; he discovers the whole plan or scheme.
  • Scrape–To get into a scrape; to be involved in a disagreeable business.
  • Scrape–As in “devil’s own scrape” or a predicament.
  • Scraper–A fiddler; also one who scrapes plates for mezzotinto prints.
  • Scraping–A mode of expressing dislike to a person, or sermon, practised at Oxford by the students, in scraping their feet against the ground during the preachment; frequently done to testify their disapprobation of a proctor who has been, as they think, too rigorous.
  • Scratch–Old Scratch; the Devil: probably from the long and sharp claws with which he is frequently delineated.
  • Scratch Land–Scotland.
  • Scratch Platter, or Taylor’s Ragout–Bread sopt in the oil and vinegar in which cucumbers have been sliced.
  • Screen–A bank note. Queer screens; forged bank notes. The cove was twisted for smashing queer screens; the fellow was hanged for uttering forged bank notes.
  • Screen–20 shillings, a pound, (approx $2000).
  • Screw–A skeleton key used by housebreakers to open a lock. To stand on the screw signifies that a door is not bolted, but merely locked.
  • Screw–Not a very good horse.
  • To Screw–To copulate. A female screw; a common prostitute. To screw one up; to exact upon one in a bargain or reckoning.
  • Screw Jaws–A wry-mouthed man or woman.
  • Scrip–A scrap or slip of paper. The cully freely blotted the scrip, and tipt me forty hogs; the man freely signed the bond, and gave me forty shillings.—Scrip is also a Change Alley phrase for the last loan or subscription. What does scrip go at for the next rescounters? what does scrip sell for delivered at the next day of settling?
  • Scroby–To be tipt the scroby; to be whipt before the justices.
  • Scrope–A farthing. (Cant)
  • Scrub–A low mean fellow, employed in all sorts of dirty work.
  • Scrubbado–The itch.
  • Scull–A head of a house, or master of a college, at the universities.
  • Scull, or Sculler–A boat rowed by one man with a light kind of oar, called a scull; also a one-horse chaise or buggy.
  • Scull Thatcher–A peruke-maker.
  • Scum–The riff-raff, tag-rag, and bob-tail, or lowest order of people.
  • Scut–The tail of a hare or rabbit; also that of a woman.
  • Scuttle–To scuttle off; to run away. To scuttle a ship; to make a hole in her bottom in order to sink her.
  • Sea Crab–A sailor.
  • Sea Lawyer–A shark.
  • Sealer, or Squeeze Wax–One ready to give bond and judgment for goods or money.
  • Season–The social “Season” is generally described as beginning after Christmas spring and lasting until the end of June–The season had some relation to the sitting of Parliament–It convened each January, so those involved in the government would head back to town at that time–
  • Secret–He has been let into the secret: he has been cheated at gaming or horse-racing. He or she is in the grand secret, i.e. dead.
  • Seedy–Poor, pennyless, stiver-cramped, exhausted.
  • Sees–The eyes. See Daylights.
  • Served–Found guilty. Convicted. Ordered to be punished or transported. To serve a cull out; to beat a man soundly.
  • Seraglio–A bawdy-house; the name of that part of the Great Turk’s palace where the women are kept.
  • Send–To drive or break in. Hand down the Jemmy and send it in; apply the crow to the door, and drive it in.
  • Set–A dead set: a concerted scheme to defraud a person by gaming.
  • Setter–A bailiff’s follower, who, like a setting dog follows and points the game for his master. Also sometimes an exciseman.
  • To Settle–To knock down or stun any one. We settled the cull by a stroke on his nob; we stunned the fellow by a blow on the head.
  • Set Up Someone’s Bristles–To make them angry.
  • Set Your Cap At Someone–Aim to snare them for marriage.
  • Seven-Sided Animal–A one-eyed man or woman, each having a right side and a left side, a fore side and a back side, an outside, an inside, and a blind side.
  • Shabbaroon–An ill-dressed shabby fellow; also a mean-spirited person.
  • Shaftsbury–A gallon pot full of wine, with a cock.
  • To Shag–To copulate. He is but bad shag; he is no able woman’s man.
  • Shag-Bag, or Shake-Bag–A poor sneaking fellow; a man of no spirit: a term borrowed from the cock-pit.
  • Shake–To shake one’s elbow; to game with dice. To shake a cloth in the wind; to be hanged in chains.
  • Shake–To draw any thing from the pocket. He shook the swell of his fogle; he robbed the gentleman of his silk handkerchief.
  • Shallow Pate–A simple fellow.
  • Shallow–A Whip hat, so called from the want of depth in the crown. Lilly Shallow, a Whihte Whip hat.
  • Sham–A cheat, or trick. To cut a sham; to cheat or deceive. Shams; false sleeves to put on over a dirty shirt, or false sleeves with ruffles to put over a plain one. To sham Abram; to counterfeit sickness.
  • To Shamble–To walk awkwardly. Shamble-legged: one that walks wide, and shuffles about his feet.
  • Shamming It–Lying.
  • Shanker–A venereal wart.
  • Shanks–Legs, or gams.
  • Shanks Naggy–To ride shanks naggy: to travel on foot. Scotch.
  • Shannon–A river in Ireland: persons dipped in that river are perfectly and for ever cured of bashfulness.
  • Shapes–To shew one’s shapes; to be stript, or made peel, at the whipping-post.
  • Shappo, or Shap–A hat: corruption of Chapeau. (Cant)
  • Shark–A sharper: perhaps from his preying upon any one he can lay hold of. Also a custom-house officer, or tide-waiter. Sharks; the first order of pickpockets. Bow-Street Term, AD.1785.
  • Sharp–Subtle, acute, quick-witted; also a sharper or cheat, in opposition to a flat, dupe, or gull. Sharp’s the word and quick’s the motion with him; said of any one very attentive to his own interest, and apt to take all advantages. Sharp set; hungry.
  • Sharper–A cheat, one that lives by his wits. Sharpers tools; a fool and false dice.
  • Shaver–A cunning shaver; a subtle fellow, one who trims close, an acute cheat. A young shaver; a boy. Sea Term.
  • Shavings–The clippings of money.
  • She House–A house where the wife rules, or, as the term is, wears the breeches.
  • She Lion–A shilling.
  • She Napper–A woman thief-catcher; also a bawd or pimp.
  • Sheep’s Head–Like a sheep’s head, all jaw; saying of a talkative man or woman.
  • Sheepish–Bashful. A sheepish fellow; a bashful or shamefaced fellow. To cast a sheep’s eye at any thing; to look wishfully at it.
  • Sheepskin Fiddler–A drummer.
  • Shelf–On the shelf, i.e. pawned.
  • Sheriff’s Journeyman–The hangman.
  • Sheriff’s Ball–An execution. To dance at the sheriff’s ball, and loll out one’s tongue at the company; to be hanged, or go to rest in a horse’s night-cap, i.e. a halter.
  • Sheriff’s Bracelets–Handcuffs.
  • Sheriff’s Hotel–A prison.
  • Sheriff’s Picture Frame–The gallows.
  • To Sherk–To evade or disappoint: to sherk one’s duty.
  • To Sherry–To run away: sherry off.
  • Shifting–Shuffling. Tricking. Shifting cove; i.e. A person who lives by tricking.
  • Shifting Ballast–A term used by sailors, to signify soldiers, passengers, or any landsmen on board.
  • Shillaley–An oaken sapling, or cudgel: from a wood of that name famous for its oaks. IRISH.
  • Shilling–12 pence, a borde, a hog, (approx $100).
  • Shilly-Shally–Irresolute. To stand shilly-shally; to hesitate, or stand in doubt.
  • Shindy–A dance. Sea Phrase.
  • Shine–It shines like a shitten barn door.
  • Shine Everyone Else Down–Be the most attractive.
  • Ship Shape–Proper, as it ought to be. Sea Phrase.
  • Shit Sack–A dastardly fellow: also a non-conformist. This appellation is said to have originated from the following story:—After the restoration, the laws against the non-conformists were extremely severe. They sometimes met in very obscure places: and there is a tradition that one of their congregations were assembled in a barn, the rendezvous of beggars and other vagrants, where the preacher, for want of a ladder or tub, was suspended in a sack fixed to the beam. His discourse that day being on the last judgment, he particularly attempted to describe the terrors of the wicked at the sounding of the trumpet, on which a trumpeter to a puppet-show, who had taken refuge in that barn, and lay hid under the straw, sounded a charge. The congregation, struck with the utmost consternation, fled in an instant from the place, leaving their affrighted teacher to shift for himself. The effects of his terror are said to have appeared at the bottom of the sack, and to have occasioned that opprobrious appellation by which the non-conformists were vulgarly distinguished.
  • Shiting Through the Teeth–Vomiting. Hark ye, friend, have you got a padlock on your a-re, that you shite through your teeth? Vulgar address to one vomiting.
  • Shockingly Loose In The Haft–Has many vices, and little respect for proprieties.
  • Shod All Round–A parson who attends a funeral is said to be shod all round, when he receives a hat-band, gloves, and scarf: many shoeings being only partial.
  • Shoemaker’s Stocks–New, or strait shoes. I was in the shoemaker’s stocks; i.e. had on a new pair of shoes that were too small for me.
  • To Shoole–To go skulking about.
  • To Shoot the Cat–To vomit from excess of liquor; called also catting.
  • Shoot The Crow–Leave in a hurry without paying.
  • Shop–A prison. Shopped; confined, imprisoned.
  • Shoplifter–One that steals whilst pretending to purchase goods in a shop.
  • Short-Heeled Wench–A girl apt to fall on her back.
  • Shot–To pay one’s shot; to pay one’s share of a reckoning. Shot betwixt wind and water; poxed or clapped.
  • Shotten Herring–A thin meagre fellow.
  • To Shove the Tumbler–To be whipped at the cart’s tail.
  • Shove in the Mouth–A dram.
  • Shovel–To be put to bed with a shovel; to be buried. He or she was fed with a fire-shovel; a saying of a person with a large mouth.
  • Shoulder Feast–A dinner given after a funeral, to those who have carried the corpse.
  • Shoulder Clapper–A bailiff, or member of the catch club. Shoulder-clapped; arrested.
  • Shoulder Sham–A partner to a file. See File.
  • Shred–A taylor.
  • Shrimp–A little diminutive person.
  • To Shuffle–To make use of false pretences, or unfair shifts. A shuffling fellow; a slippery shifting fellow.
  • Shy Cock–One who keeps within doors for fear of bailiffs.
  • Sice–Sixpence.
  • Sick As A Cushion–Very ill.
  • Sick as a Horse–Horses are said to be extremely sick at their stomachs, from being unable to relieve themselves by vomiting. Bracken, indeed, in his Farriery, gives an instance of that evacuation being procured, but by a means which he says would make the Devil vomit. Such as may have occasion to administer an emetic either to the animal or the fiend, may consult his book for the recipe.
  • Side Pocket–He has as much need of a wife as a dog of a side pocket; said of a weak old debilitated man. He wants it as much as a dog does a side pocket; a simile used for one who desires any thing by no means necessary.
  • Side-Slips–Illegitimate children.
  • Sidledywry–Crooked.
  • Sign of a House To Let–A widow’s weeds.
  • Sign of the: Five Shillings–The crown.
  • Ten Shillings–The two crowns.
  • Fifteen Shillings–The three crowns.
  • Silence–To silence a man; to knock him down, or stun him. Silence in the court, the cat is pissing; a gird upon any one requiring silence unnecessarily.
  • Silent Flute–See Pego, Sugar Stick, &c.
  • Silk Snatchers–Thieves who snatch hoods or bonnets from persons walking in the streets.
  • Silver Laced–Replete with lice. The cove’s kickseys are silver laced: the fellow’s breeches are covered with lice.
  • Simeonites–(at Cambridge,) the followers of the Rev. Charles Simeon, fellow of King’s College, author of Skeletons of Sermons, and preacher at Trinity church; they are in fact rank methodists.
  • Simkin–A foolish fellow.
  • Simon–Sixpence. Simple Simon: a natural, a silly fellow; Simon Suck-egg, sold his wife for an addle duck-egg.
  • To Simper–To smile: to simper like a firmity kettle.
  • Simpleton–Abbreviation of simple Tony or Anthony, a foolish fellow.
  • Simples–Physical herbs; also follies. He must go to Battersea, to be cut for the simples—Battersea is a place famous for its garden grounds, some of which were formerly appropriated to the growing of simples for apothecaries, who at a certain season used to go down to select their stock for the ensuing year, at which time the gardeners were said to cut their simples; whence it became a popular joke to advise young people to go to Battersea, at that time, to have their simples cut, or to be cut for the simples.
  • To Sing–To call out; the coves sing out beef; they call out stop thief.
  • To Sing Small–To be humbled, confounded, or abashed, to have little or nothing to say for one’s-self.
  • Single Peeper–A person having but one eye.
  • Singleton–A very foolish fellow; also a particular kind of nails.
  • Singleton–A corkscrew, made by a famous cutler of that name, who lived in a place called Hell, in Dublin; his screws are remarkable for their excellent temper.
  • Sir John–The old title for a country parson: as Sir John of Wrotham, mentioned by Shakespeare.
  • Sir John Barleycorn–Strong beer.
  • Sir Lion–The sur, or upper loin.
  • Sir Reverence–Human excrement, a turd.
  • Sir Timothry–One who, from a desire of being the head of the company, pays the reckoning, or, as the term is, stands squire. See Squire.
  • Sitting Breeches–One who stays late in company, is said to have his sitting breeches on, or that he will sit longer than a hen.
  • Six and Eight-Pence–An attorney, whose fee on several occasions is fixed at that sum.
  • Six and Tips–Whisky and small beer. Irish.
  • Sixes And Sevens–Confused or unsettled–From the Hebrew phrase “Six, yea seven,” meaning an indefinite number, as in Job (v–19), “He [God] shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea in seven.” Left at sixes and sevens: i.e. In confusion; commonly said of a room where the furniture, &c. is scattered about; or of a business left unsettled.
  • Sixpence–6 pence, (approx $50).
  • Size of Ale–Half a pint. Size of bread and cheese; a certain quantity. Sizings: Cambridge term for the college allowance from the buttery, called at Oxford battles.
  • To Size–(Cambridge) To sup at one’s own expence. If a Man asks you to Sup, he treats you; if to Size, you pay for what you eat—liquors Only being provided by the inviter.
  • Sizar–(Cambridge). Formerly students who came to the University for purposes of study and emolument. But at present they are just as gay and dissipated as their fellow collegians. About fifty years ago they were on a footing with the servitors at Oxford, but by the exertions of the present Bishop of Llandaff, who was himself a sizar, they were absolved from all marks of inferiority or of degradation. The chief difference at present between them and the pensioners, consists in the less amount of their college fees. The saving thus made induces many extravagant fellows to become sizars, that they may have more money to lavish on their dogs, pieces, &c.
  • Skew–A cup, or beggar’s wooden dish.
  • Skewvow, or All Askew–Crooked, inclining to one side.
  • Skin–In a bad skin; out of temper, in an ill humour. Thin-skinned: touchy, peevish.
  • Skin–A purse. Frisk the skin of the stephen; empty the money out of the purse. Queer skin; an empty purse.
  • Skin Flint–An avaricious man or woman,
  • Skink–To skink, is to wait on the company, ring the bell, stir the fire, and snuff the candles; the duty of the youngest officer in the military mess. See Boots.
  • Skins–A tanner.
  • Skip Jacks–Youngsters that ride horses on sale, horse-dealers boys. Also a plaything made for children with the breast bone of a goose.
  • Skip Kennel–A footman.
  • Skipper–A barn. (Cant)—Also the captain of a Dutch vessel.
  • To Skit–To wheedle. (Cant)
  • Skit–A joke. A satirical hint.
  • Skrip–See Scrip.
  • Skulker–A soldier who by feigned sickness, or other pretences, evades his duty; a sailor who keeps below in time of danger; in the civil line, one who keeps out of the way, when any work is to be done. To skulk; to hide one’s self, to avoid labour or duty.
  • Sky Blue–Gin.
  • Sky Farmers–Cheats who pretend they were farmers in the isle of Sky, or some other remote place, and were ruined by a flood, hurricane, or some such public calamity: or else called sky farmers from their farms being In Nubibus, ‘in the clouds.’
  • Sky Parlour–The garret, or upper story.
  • Slabbering Bib–A parson or lawyer’s band.
  • Slag–A slack-mettled fellow, one not ready to resent an affront.
  • Slam–A trick; also a game at whist lost without scoring one. To slam to a door; to shut it with violence.
  • Slamkin–A female sloven, one whose clothes seem hung on with a pitch-fork, a careless trapes.
  • Slang–A fetter. Double slanged; double ironed. Now double slanged into the cells for a crop he is knocked down; he is double ironed in the condemned cells, and ordered to be hanged.
  • Slang–Cant language.
  • Slap-Bang Shop–A petty cook’s shop, where there is no credit given, but what is had must be paid Down With the Ready Slap-Bang, i.e. immediately. This is a common appellation for a night cellar frequented by thieves, and sometimes for a stage coach or caravan.
  • Slapdash–Immediately, instantly, suddenly.
  • Slasher–A bullying, riotous fellow. Irish.
  • Slat–Half a crown. (Cant)
  • Slate–A sheet. (Cant)
  • Slater’s Pan–The gaol at Kingston in Jamaica: Slater is the deputy Provost-marshal.
  • Slattern–A woman sluttishly negligent in her dress.
  • Sleeping Partner–A partner in a trade, or shop, who lends his name and money, for which he receives a share of the profit, without doing any part of the business.
  • Sleepy–Much worn: the cloth of your coat must be extremely sleepy, for it has not had a nap this long time.
  • Sleeveless Errand–A fool’s errand, in search of what it is impossible to find.
  • Slice–To take a slice; to intrigue, particularly with a married woman, because a slice off a cut loaf is not missed.
  • Slipgibbet–See Scapegallows.
  • Slippery Chap–One on whom there can be no dependance, a shuffling fellow.
  • Slipslops–Tea, water-gruel, or any innocent beverage taken medicinally.
  • Slipslopping–Misnaming and misapplying any hard word; from the character of Mrs. Slipslop, in Fielding’s Joseph Andrews.
  • Slop–Tea. How the blowens lush the slop. How the wenches drink tea!
  • Slops–Wearing apparel and bedding used by seamen.
  • Slop Seller–A dealer in those articles, who keeps a slop shop.
  • Slouch–A stooping gait, a negligent slovenly fellow. To slouch; to hang down one’s head. A slouched hat: a hat whose brims are let down.
  • Slubber de Gullion–A dirty nasty fellow.
  • Slug–A piece of lead of any shape, to be fired from a blunderbuss. To fire a slug; to drink a dram.
  • Slug-a-Bed–A drone, one that cannot rise in the morning.
  • Sluice your Gob–Take a hearty drink.
  • Slum–Rubbish, nonsense.
  • Slur–To slur, is a method of cheating at dice: also to cast a reflection on any one’s character, to scandalize.
  • Slush–Greasy dish-water, or the skimmings of a pot where fat meat has been boiled.
  • Slush Bucket–A foul feeder, one that eats much greasy food.
  • Sly Boots–A cunning fellow, under the mask of simplicity.
  • Smabbled, or Snabbled–Killed in battle.
  • To Smack–To kiss. I had a smack at her muns: I kissed her mouth. To smack calves skin; to kiss the book, i.e. to take an oath. The queer cuffin bid me smack calves skin, but I only bussed my thumb; the justice bid me kiss the book, but I only kissed my thumb.
  • Smacksmooth–Level with the surface, every thing cut away.
  • Smacking Cove–A coachman.
  • Small Clothes–Knee-breeches, especially close-fitting ones. Breeches: a gird at the affected delicacy of the present age; a suit being called coat, waistcoat, and articles, or small clothes.
  • Smart–Spruce, fine: as smart as a carrot new scraped.
  • Smart Money–Money allowed to soldiers or sailors for the loss of a limb, or other hurt received in the service.
  • Smasher–A person who lives by passing base coin. The cove was fined in the steel for smashing; the fellow was ordered to be imprisoned in the house of correction for uttering base coin.
  • Smash–Leg of mutton and smash: a leg of mutton and mashed turnips. Sea Term.
  • To Smash–To break; also to kick down stairs. (Cant) To smash. To pass counterfeit money.
  • Smear–A plasterer.
  • Smear Gelt–A bribe. German.
  • Smeller–A nose. Smellers: a cat’s whiskers.
  • Smelling Cheat–An orchard, or garden; also a nosegay. (Cant)
  • Smelts–Half guineas. (Cant)
  • Smicket–A smock, or woman’s shift.
  • Smirk–A finical spruce fellow. To smirk; to smile, or look pleasantly.
  • Smiter–An arm. To smite one’s tutor; to get money from him. Academic Term.
  • Smithfield Bargain–A bargain whereby the purchaser is taken in–It is also used for marriages contracted solely for monetary gain, a reference to women being bought and sold like cattle in Smithfield. This is likewise frequently used to express matches or marriages contracted solely on the score of interest, on one or both sides, where the fair sex are bought and sold like cattle in Smithfield.
  • Smock-Faced–Fair faced.
  • To Smoke–To observe, to suspect.
  • Smoker–A tobacconist.
  • Smoky–Curious, suspicious, inquisitive.
  • Smouch–Dried leaves of the ash tree, used by the smugglers for adulterating the black or bohea teas.
  • Smous–A German Jew.
  • Smug–A nick name for a blacksmith; also neat and spruce.
  • Smug Lay–Persons who pretend to be smugglers of lace and valuable articles; these men borrow money of publicans by depositing these goods in their hands; they shortly decamp, and the publican discovers too late that he has been duped; and on opening the pretended treasure, he finds trifling articles of no value.
  • Smuggling Ken–A bawdy-house.
  • To Smush–To snatch, or seize suddenly.
  • Smut–Bawdy. Smutty story; an indecent story.
  • Smut–A copper. A grate. Old iron. The cove was lagged for a smut: the fellow was transported for stealing a copper.
  • Snack–A share. To go snacks; to be partners.
  • To Snabble–To rifle or plunder; also to kill.
  • Snaffler–A highwayman. Snaffler of prances; a horse stealer.
  • To Snaffle–To steal. To snaffle any ones poll; to steal his wig.
  • Snaggs–Large teeth; also snails.
  • Snakesman–See Little Snakesman.
  • Snap Dragon–A Christmas gambol: raisins and almonds being put into a bowl of brandy, and the candles extinguished, the spirit is set on fire, and the company scramble for the raisins.
  • To Snap the Glaze–To break shop windows or show glasses.
  • Snappers–Pistols.
  • Snapt–Taken, caught.
  • Snatch Cly–A thief who snatches women’s pockets.
  • Sneak–A pilferer. Morning sneak; one who pilfers early in the morning, before it is light. Evening sneak; an evening pilferer. Upright sneak: one who steals pewter pots from the alehouse boys employed to collect them. To go upon the sneak; to steal into houses whose doors are carelessly left open. (Cant)
  • Sneaker–A small bowl.
  • Sneaking Budge–One that robs alone.
  • Sneaksby–A mean-spirited fellow, a sneaking cur.
  • Sneering–Jeering, flickering, laughing in scorn.
  • Snicker–A glandered horse.
  • To Snicker, or Snigger–To laugh privately, or in one’s sleeve.
  • To Snilch–To eye, or look at any thing attentively: the cull snilches. (Cant)
  • Snip–A taylor.
  • Snitch–To turn snitch, or snitcher; to turn informer.
  • To Snite–To wipe, or slap. Snite his snitch; wipe his nose, i.e. give him a good knock.
  • To Snivel–To cry, to throw the snot or snivel about. Snivelling; crying. A snivelling fellow; one that whines or complains.
  • To Snoach–To speak through the nose, to snuffle.
  • Snob–A nick name for a shoemaker.
  • To Snooze, or Snoodge–To sleep. To snooze with a mort; to sleep with a wench. (Cant)
  • Snoozing Ken–A brothel. The swell was spiced in a snoozing ken of his screens; the gentleman was robbed of his bank notes in a brothel.
  • Snow–Linen hung out to dry or bleach. Spice the snow; to steal the linen.
  • Snout–A hogshead. (Cant)
  • Snowball–A jeering appellation for a negro.
  • To Snub–To check, or rebuke.
  • Snub Devil–A parson.
  • Snub Nose–A short nose turned up at the end.
  • Snudge–A thief who hides himself under a bed, in Order to rob the house.
  • Snuff–A powdered tobacco, often scented, usually taken into the nose–It was usually carried in small, decorated containers called snuffboxes. To take snuff; to be offended.
  • To Snuffle–To speak through the nose.
  • Snuffles–A cold in the head, attended with a running at the nose.
  • Snug–All’s snug; all’s quiet.
  • To Soak–To drink. An old soaker; a drunkard, one that moistens his clay to make it stick together.
  • Socket Money–A whore’s fee, or hire: also money paid for a treat, by a married man caught in an intrigue.
  • Solicitor–A lawyer who handles wills and estate matters–See also barrister.
  • Soldier’s Bottle–A large one.
  • Soldier’s Mawnd–A pretended soldier, begging with a counterfeit wound, which he pretends to have received at some famous siege or battle.
  • Soldier’s Pomatum–A piece of tallow candle.
  • Soldier–A red herring.
  • Solfa–A parish clerk.
  • Solo Player–A miserable performer on any instrument, who always plays alone, because no one will stay in the room to hear him.
  • Solomon–The mass. (Cant)
  • Son of Prattlement–A lawyer.
  • Song–He changed his song; he altered his account or evidence. It was bought for an old song, i.e. very cheap. His morning and his evening song do not agree; he tells a different story.
  • Sooterkin–A joke upon the Dutch women, supposing that, by their constant use of stoves, which they place under their petticoats, they breed a kind of small animal in their bodies, called a sooterkin, of the size of a mouse, which when mature slips out.
  • Sop–A bribe. A sop for Cerberus; a bribe for a porter, turnkey, or gaoler.
  • Soph–(Cambridge) An undergraduate in his second year.
  • Sorrel–A yellowish red. Sorrel pate; one having red hair.
  • Sorrow Shall be his Sops–He shall repent this. Sorrow go by me; a common expletive used by presbyterians in Ireland.
  • Sorry–Vile, mean, worthless. A sorry fellow, or hussy; a worthless man or woman.
  • Sot Weed–Tobacco.
  • Soul Case–The body. He made a hole in his soul case; he wounded him.
  • Soul Doctor, or Driver–A parson.
  • Sounders–A herd of swine.
  • Souse–Not a souse; not a penny. French.
  • Sovereign–In addition to the ruling monarch, a sovereign was also a gold coin worth a pound.
  • Sow–A fat woman. He has got the wrong sow by the ear, he mistakes his man. Drunk as David’s sow; see David’s Sow.
  • Sow’s Baby–A sucking pig.
  • Sow’s Baby–6 pence, (approx $50).
  • Sow Child–A female child.
  • Spado–A sword. Spanish.
  • Spangle–A seven shilling piece.
  • Spank–(Whip) To run neatly along, beteeen a trot and gallop. The tits spanked it to town; the horses went merrily along all the way to town.
  • Spanish–The spanish; ready money.
  • Spanish Coin–False flattery. Fair words and compliments.
  • Spanish Faggot–The sun.
  • Spanish Gout–The pox.
  • Spanish Padlock–A kind of girdle contrived by jealous husbands of that nation, to secure the chastity of their wives.
  • Spanish, or King of Spain’s Trumpeter–An ass when braying.
  • Spanish Worm–A nail: so called by carpenters when they meet with one in a board they are sawing.
  • Spanks, or Spankers–Money; also blows with the open hand.
  • Spanking–Large.
  • Spark–A spruce, trim, or smart fellow. A man that is always thirsty, is said to have a spark in his throat.
  • Sparkish–Fine, gay.
  • Sparking Blows–Blows given by cocks before they close, or, as the term is, mouth it: used figuratively for words previous to a quarrel.
  • Sparrow–Mumbling a sparrow; a cruel sport frequently practised at wakes and fairs: for a small premium, a booby having his hands tied behind him, has the wing of a cock sparrow put into his mouth: with this hold, without any other assistance than the motion of his lips, he is to get the sparrow’s head into his mouth: on attempting to do it, the bird defends itself surprisingly, frequently pecking the mumbler till his lips are covered with blood, and he is obliged to desist: to prevent the bird from getting away, he is fastened by a string to a button of the booby’s coat.
  • Sparrow-Mouthed–Wide-mouthed, like the mouth of a sparrow: it is said of such persons, that they do not hold their mouths by lease, but have it from year to year; i.e. from ear to ear. One whose mouth cannot be enlarged without removing their ears, and who when they yawn have their heads half off.
  • Spatch Cock–[Abbreviation of Dispatch Cock.] A hen just killed from the roost, or yard, and immediately skinned, split, and broiled: an Irish dish upon any sudden occasion.
  • To Speak With–To rob. I spoke with the cull on the cherry-coloured prancer; I robbed the man on the black horse. (Cant)
  • Speak–Any thing stolen. He has made a good speak; he has stolen something considerable.
  • Special License–A license obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury or his office in Doctor’s Commons in London, that granted the right to marry at any convenient time or place–
  • Specked Whiper–A coloured hankerchief. (Cant)
  • Spencer–A short, waist-length jacket, with or without sleeves–Generally an outdoor garment worn in the morning or afternoon, but could also be part of an evening ensemble–
  • Spice–To rob. Spice the swell; rob the gentleman.
  • Spice Islands–A privy. Stink-hole bay or dilberry creek. The fundament.
  • Spider-Shanked–Thin-legged.
  • To Spiflicate–To confound, silence, or dumbfound.
  • Spilt–A small reward or gift.
  • Spilt–Thrown from a horse, or overturned in a carriage; pray, coachee, don’t spill us.
  • Spindle Shanks–Slender legs.
  • To Spirit Away–To kidnap, or inveigle away.
  • Spiritual Flesh Broker–A parson.
  • Spit–He is as like his father as if he was spit out of his mouth; said of a child much resembling his father.
  • Spit–A sword.
  • Spit Fire–A violent, pettish, or passionate person.
  • Spliced–Married: an allusion to joining two ropes ends by splicing. Sea Term.
  • Split Crow–The sign of the spread eagle, which being represented with two heads on one neck, gives it somewhat the appearance of being split.
  • Split Cause–A lawyer.
  • Split Fig–A grocer.
  • Split Iron–The nick-name for a smith.
  • Spooney–(Whip) Thin, haggard, like the shank of a spoon; also delicate, craving for something, longing for sweets. Avaricious. That tit is damned spooney. She’s a spooney piece of goods. He’s a spooney old fellow.
  • Spoil Pudding–A parson who preaches long sermons, keeping his congregation in church till the puddings are overdone.
  • To Sport–To exhibit: as, Jack Jehu sported a new gig yesterday: I shall sport a new suit next week. To sport or flash one’s ivory; to shew one’s teeth. To sport timber; to keep one’s outside door shut; this term is used in the inns of court to signify denying one’s self. N.B. The word Sport was in great vogue ann. 1783 and 1784.
  • Spunge–A thirsty fellow, a great drinker. To spunge; to eat and drink at another’s cost. Spunging-house: a bailiff’s lock-up-house, or repository, to which persons arrested are taken, till they find bail, or have spent all their money: a house where every species of fraud and extortion is practised under the protection of the law.
  • Spunk–Rotten touchwood, or a kind of fungus prepared for tinder; figuratively, spirit, courage.
  • Spoon Hand–The right hand.
  • To Spout–To rehearse theatrically.
  • Spouting Club–A meeting of apprentices and mechanics to rehearse different characters in plays: thus forming recruits for the strolling companies.
  • Spouting–Theatrical declamation.
  • Spouted–Pawned.
  • Spread–Butter.
  • Spread Eagle–A soldier tied to the halberts in order to be whipped; his attitude bearing some likeness to that figure, as painted on signs.
  • Spree–A frolic. Fun. A drinking bout. A party of pleasure.
  • Spring-Ankle Warehouse–Newgate, or any other gaol: Irish.
  • Springing–Driving Term, meaning galloping.
  • Squab–A fat man or woman: from their likeness to a well-stuffed couch, called also a squab. A new-hatched chicken.
  • Square–Honest, not roguish. A square cove, i.e. A man who does not steal, or get his living by dishonest means.
  • Square Toes–An old man: square toed shoes were anciently worn in common, and long retained by old men.
  • Squeak–A narrow escape, a chance: he had a squeak for his life. To squeak; to confess, peach, or turn stag. They squeak beef upon us; they cry out thieves after us. (Cant)
  • Squeaker–A bar-boy; also a bastard or any other child. To stifle the squeaker; to murder a bastard, or throw It into the necessary house.—Organ pipes are likewise called squeakers. The squeakers are meltable; the small pipes are silver. (Cant)
  • Squeeze Crab–A sour-looking, shrivelled, diminutive fellow.
  • Squeeze Wax–A good-natured foolish fellow, ready to become security for another, under hand and seal.
  • Squelch–A fall. Formerly a bailiff caught in a barrack-yard in Ireland, was liable by custom to have three tosses in a blanket, and a squelch; the squelch was given by letting go the corners of the blanket, and suffering him to fall to the ground. Squelch-gutted; fat, having a prominent belly.
  • Squib–A small satirical or political temporary jeu d’esprit, which, like the firework of that denomination, sparkles, bounces, stinks, and vanishes.
  • Squint-a-Pipes–A squinting man or woman; said to be born in the middle of the week, and looking both ways for Sunday; or born in a hackney coach, and looking out of both windows; fit for a cook, one eye in the pot, and the other up the chimney; looking nine ways at once.
  • Squire OofF Alsatia–A weak profligate spendthrift, the squire of the company; one who pays the whole reckoning, or treats the company, called standing squire.
  • Squirish–Foolish.
  • Squirrel–A prostitute: because she like that animal, covers her back with her tail. Meretrix corpore corpus alit. Menagiana, ii. 128.
  • Squirrel Hunting–See Hunting.
  • Stag–To turn stag; to impeach one’s confederates: from a herd of deer, who are said to turn their horns against any of their number who is hunted.
  • To Stag–To find, discover, or observe.
  • Staggering Bob, With His Yellow Pumps–A calf just dropped, and unable to stand, killed for veal in Scotland: the hoofs of a young calf are yellow.
  • Stall Whimoer–A bastard. (Cant)
  • Stalling–Making or ordaining. Stalling to the rogue; an ancient ceremony of instituting a candidate into the society of rogues, somewhat similar to the creation of a herald at arms. It is thus described by Harman: the upright man taking a gage of bowse, i.e. a pot of strong drink, pours it on the head of the rogue to be admitted; saying,—I, A.B. do stall thee B.C. to the rogue; and from henceforth it shall be lawful for thee to cant for thy living in all places.
  • Stalling Ken–A broker’s shop, or that of a receiver of stolen goods.
  • Stallion–A man kept by an old lady for secret services.
  • Stam Flesh–To (Cant) (Cant)
  • Stammel, or Strammel–A coarse brawny wench.
  • Stamp–A particular manner of throwing the dice out of the box, by striking it with violence against the table.
  • Stamps–Legs.
  • Stampers–Shoes.
  • Stand-Still–He was run to a stand-still; i.e. till he could no longer move.
  • Star Gazer–A horse who throws up his head; also a hedge whore.
  • To Star the Glaze–To break and rob a jeweller’s show glass. (Cant)
  • Starched–Stiff, prim, formal, affected.
  • Staring Quarter–An ox cheek.
  • Stark Naked–Gin
  • Start, or The Old Start–Newgate: he is gone to the start, or the old start. (Cant)
  • Started In The Petticoat Line–Associating with women of easy virtue, a practice frowned on at Oxford.
  • Starter–One who leaves a jolly company, a milksop; he is no starter, he will sit longer than a hen.
  • Starve’em, Rob’em, and Cheat’em–Stroud, Rochester, and Chatham; so called by soldiers and sailors, and not without good reason.
  • Star Lag–Breaking shop-windows, and stealing some article thereout.
  • Stash–To stop. To finish. To end. The cove tipped the prosecutor fifty quid to stash the business; he gave the prosecutor fifty guineas to stop the prosecution.
  • State–To lie in state; to be in bed with three harlots.
  • Stay–A cuckold.
  • Stays–A corset.
  • Staytape–A taylor; from that article, and its coadjutor buckram, which make no small figure in the bills of those knights of the needle.
  • Steamer–A pipe. A swell steamer; a long pipe, such as is used by gentlemen to smoke.
  • Steel–The house of correction.
  • Steel Bar–A needle. A steel bar flinger; a taylor, stay-maker, or any other person using a needle.
  • Steenkirk–A muslin neckcloth carelessly put on, from the manner in which the French officers wore their cravats when they returned from the battle of Steenkirk.
  • Steeple House–A name given to the church by Dissenters.
  • Stephen–Money. Stephen’s at home; i.e. has money.
  • Stepney–A decoction of raisins of the sun and lemons in conduit water, sweetened with sugar, and bottled up.
  • Stewed Quaker–Burnt rum, with a piece of butter: an American remedy for a cold.
  • Sticks–Household furniture.
  • Sticks–Pops or pistols. Stow your sticks; hide your pistols. (Cant) See Pops.
  • Stick Flams–A pair of gloves.
  • Stick One’s Spoon In The Wall–To die–It originally meant “took up residence,” from the fact that in primitive times a leather strap was often nailed to the wall near the fireplace as a place to keep items like spoons–It eventually came to mean “die,” presumably from taking up permanent residence in the afterlife.
  • Stiff-Rumped–Proud, stately.
  • Stingrum–A niggard.
  • Stingo–Strong beer, or other liquor.
  • Stirrup Cup–A parting cup or glass, drank on horseback by the person taking leave.
  • Stitch–A nick name for a taylor: also a term for lying with a woman.
  • Stitchback–Strong ale.
  • Stiver-Cramped–Needy, wanting money. A stiver is a Dutch coin, worth somewhat more than a penny sterling.
  • Stock–A good stock; i.e. of impudence. Stock and block; the whole: he has lost stock and block.
  • Stock Drawers–Stockings.
  • Stock Jobbers–Persons who gamble in Exchange Alley, by pretending to buy and sell the public funds, but in reality only betting that they will be at a certain price, at a particular time; possessing neither the stock pretended to be sold, nor money sufficient to make good the payments for which they contract: these gentlemen are known under the different appellations of bulls, bears, and lame ducks.
  • Stomach Worm–The stomach worm gnaws; I am hungry.
  • Stone–Two stone under weight, or wanting; an eunuch. Stone doublet; a prison. Stone dead; dead as a stone.
  • Stone Jug–Newgate, or any other prison.
  • Stone Tavern–Newgate, or any other prison.
  • Stoop-Nappers, or Overseers of the New Pavement–Persons set in the pillory. (Cant)
  • Stoop–The pillory. The cull was served for macing and napp’d the stoop; he was convicted of swindling, and put in the pillory.
  • Stop Hole Abbey–The nick name of the chief rendezvous of the canting crew of beggars, gypsies, cheats, thieves, &c. &c.
  • Stoter–A great blow. Tip him a stoter in the haltering place; give him a blow under the left ear.
  • Stoup–A vessel to hold liquor: a vessel containing a size or half a pint, is so called at Cambridge.
  • Stow–Stow you; be silent, or hold your peace. Stow your whidds and plant’em, for the cove of the ken can cant’em; you have said enough, the man of the house understands you.
  • Strait-Laced–Upholding the proprieties, prudish. Precise, over nice, puritanical.
  • Strait Waistcoat–A tight waistcoat, with long sleeves coming over the hand, having strings for binding them behind the back of the wearer: these waistcoats are used in madhouses for the management of lunatics when outrageous.
  • Strammel–See Stammel.
  • Stranger–A guinea.
  • Strangle Goose–A poulterer.
  • To Strap–To work. The kiddy would not strap, so he went on the scamp: the lad would not work, and therefore robbed on the highway.
  • Strapper–A large man or woman.
  • Strapping–Lying with a woman. (Cant)
  • Straw–A good woman in the straw; a lying-in woman. His eyes draw straw; his eyes are almost shut, or he is almost asleep: one eye draws straw, and t’other serves the thatcher.
  • Stretch–A yard. The cove was lagged for prigging a peter with several stretch of dobbin from a drag; the fellow was transported for stealing a trunk, containing several yards of ribband, from a waggon.
  • Stretching–Hanging. He’ll stretch for it; he will be hanged for it. Also telling a great lie: he stretched stoutly.
  • Stricken In Years–Quite old.
  • Strike–Twenty shillings. (Cant)
  • String–A fiddler.
  • Strip Me Naked–Gin.
  • Stroke–To take a stroke: to take a bout with a woman.
  • Strollers–Itinerants of different kinds. Strolling morts; beggars or pedlars pretending to be widows.
  • Strommel–Straw. (Cant)
  • Strong Man–To play the part of the strong man, i.e. to push the cart and horses too; to be whipt at the cart’s tail.
  • Strum–A perriwig. Rum strum: a fine large wig. (Cambridge) To do a piece. Foeminam subagitare. (Cant)
  • To Strum–To have carnal knowledge of a woman; also to play badly on the harpsichord; or any other stringed instrument. A strummer of wire, a player on any instrument strung with wire.
  • Strumpet–A harlot.
  • Stub-Faced–Pitted with the smallpox: the devil ran over his face with horse stabs (horse nails) in his shoes.
  • Stubble It–Hold your tongue. (Cant)
  • Stuling Ken–See Stalling Ken. (Cant)
  • Stum–The flower of fermenting wine, used by vintners to adulterate their wines.
  • Stumps–Legs. To stir one’s stumps; to walk fast.
  • Sturdy Beggars–The fifth and last of the most ancient order of canters, beggars that rather demand than ask (Cant)
  • Successfully–Used by the vulgar for Successively: as three or four landlords of this house have been ruined successfully by the number of soldiers quartered on them. Irish.
  • Such a Reason Pist my Goose, or My Goose Pist–Said when any one offers an absurd reason.
  • Suck–Strong liquor of any sort. To suck the monkey; see Monkey. Sucky; drunk.
  • To Suck–To pump. To draw from a man all be knows. The file sucked the noodle’s brains: the deep one drew out of the fool all he knew.
  • Sucking Chicken–A young chicken.
  • Suds–In the suds; in trouble, in a disagreeable situation, or involved in some difficulty.
  • Sugar Stick–The virile member.
  • Sugar Sops–Toasted bread soked in ale, sweetened with sugar, and grated nutmeg: it is eaten with cheese.
  • Sulky–A one-horse chaise or carriage, capable of holding but one person: called by the French a Desobligeant.
  • Sun–To have been in the sun; said of one that is drunk.
  • Sunburnt–Clapped; also haying many male children.
  • Sunday Man–One who goes abroad on that day only, for fear of arrests.
  • Sunny Bank–A good fire in winter.
  • Sunshine–Prosperity.
  • Supernacolum–Good liquor, of which there is not even a drop left sufficient to wet one’s nail.
  • Supouch–A landlady of an inn, or hostess.
  • Surveyor of the Highways–One reeling drunk.
  • Surveyor of the Pavement–One standing in the pillory.
  • Sus Per Coll–Hanged: persons who have been hanged are thus entered into the jailor’s books.
  • Suspence–One in a deadly suspence; a man just turned off at the gallows.
  • Sutrer–A camp publican: also one that pilfers gloves, tobacco boxes, and such small moveables.
  • Swabbers–The ace of hearts, knave of clubs, ace and duce of trumps, at whist: also the lubberly seamen, put to swab, and clean the ship.
  • Swad, or Swadkin–A soldier. (Cant)
  • To Swaddle–To beat with a stick.
  • Swaddles–The tenth order of the canting tribe, who not only rob, but beat, and often murder passenges. (Cant) Swaddlers is also the Irish name for methodist.
  • Swag–A shop. Any quantity of goods. As, plant the swag; conceal the goods. Rum swag; a shop full of rich goods. (Cant)
  • Swagger–To bully, brag, or boast, also to strut.
  • Swallow One’s Spleen–Control one’s anger.
  • Swannery–He keeps a swannery; i.e. all his geese are swans.
  • Sweating–A mode of diminishing the gold coin, practiced chiefly by the Jews, who corrode it with aqua regia. Sweating was also a diversion practised by the bloods of the last century, who styled themselves Mohocks: these gentlemen lay in wait to surprise some person late in the night, when surrouding him, they with their swords pricked him in the posteriors, which obliged him to be constantly turning round; this they continued till they thought him sufficiently sweated.
  • Sweep/Make A Magnificent Leg–Bow deeply, and a little theatrically.
  • Sweet–Easy to be imposed on, or taken in; also expert, dexterous clever. Sweet’s your hand; said of one dexterous at stealing.
  • Sweet-Goer–Fine piece of horseflesh.
  • Sweet Heart–A term applicable to either the masculine or feminine gender, signifying a girl’s lover, or a man’s mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a heart.
  • Sweetness–Guinea droppers, cheats, sharpers. To sweeten to decoy, or draw in. To be sweet upon; to coax, wheedle, court, or allure. He seemed sweet upon that wench; he seemed to court that girl.
  • Swell–A gentleman. A well-dressed map. The flashman bounced the swell of all his blunt; the girl’s bully frightened the gentleman out of all his money.
  • Swell Of The First Stare–A very fashionable man.
  • Swelled Head–A disorder to which horses are extremely liable, particularly those of the subalterns of the army. This disorder is generally occasioned by remaining too long in one livery-stable or inn, and often arises to that height that it prevents their coming out at the stable door. The most certain cure is the unguentum aureum—not applied to the horse, but to the palm of the master of the inn or stable. N. B. Neither this disorder, nor its remedy, is mentioned by either Bracken, Bartlet, or any of the modern writers on farriery.
  • Sweyne–Slang for coxswain–The seaman who commanded one of the small boats, including the Captain’s Gig, attached to a ship.
  • Swig–A hearty draught of liquor.
  • Swigmen–Thieves who travel the country under colour of buying old shoes, old clothes, &c. or selling brooms, mops, &c. (Cant)
  • To Swill–To drink greedily.
  • Swill Tub–A drunkard, a sot.
  • Swimmer–A counterfeit old coin.
  • Swimmer–A ship. I shall have a swimmer; a cant phrase used by thieves to signify that they will be sent on board the tender.
  • Swimming In Lard–Very rich.
  • To Swing–To be hanged. He will swing for it; he will be hanged for it.
  • Swing Tail–A hog.
  • To Swinge–To beat stoutly.
  • Swinging–A great swinging fellow; a great stout fellow. A swinging lie; a lusty lie.
  • Swindler–One who obtains goods on credit by false pretences, and sells them for ready money at any price, in order to make up a purse. This name is derived from the German word Schwindlin, to totter, to be ready to fall; these arts being generally practised by persons on the totter, or just ready to break. The term Swindler has since been used to signify cheats of every kind.
  • Swipes. Purser’s swipes; small beer: so termed on board the king’s ships, where it is furnished by the purser.

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Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

Today is the letter R. Did you know that a Rag Carrier is an Ensign? And that you don’t want anyone to Ring a Fine Peal Over You?

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-07-21-08-35.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the next letter of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

  • Rabbit–A Welch rabbit; bread and cheese toasted, i.e. a Welch rare bit. Rabbits were also a sort of wooden canns to drink out of, now out of use.
  • Rabbit Catcher–A midwife.
  • Rabbit Suckers–Young spendthrifts taking up goods on trust at great prices.
  • Rack Rent–Rent strained to the utmost value. To lie at rack and manger; to be in great disorder.
  • Rackaback–A gormagon. See Gormagon.
  • Raffs–An appellation given by the gownsmen of the university of Oxford to the inhabitants of that place.
  • Rag–Bank notes. Money in general. The cove has no rag; the fellow has no money.
  • Rag–A farthing.
  • To Rag–To abuse, and tear to rags the characters of the persons abused. She gave him a good ragging, or ragged him off heartily.
  • Rag Carrier–An ensign.
  • Rag Fair–An inspection of the linen and necessaries of a company of soldiers, commonly made by their officers on Mondays or Saturdays.
  • Rag-Mannered–Ill-mannered–Presumably so named because one behaves with the poor manners of lower classes.
  • Rag Water–Gin, or any other common dram: these liquors seldom failing to reduce those that drink them to rags.
  • Ragamuffin–A ragged fellow, one all in tatters, a tatterdemallion.
  • Rails–A dish of rails; a lecture, jobation, or scolding from a married woman to her husband. See Head Rails.
  • Rainbow–Knight of the rainbow; a footman: from being commonly clothed in garments of different colours. A meeting of gentlemen, styled of the most ancient order of the rainbow, was advertised to be held at the Foppington’s Head, Moorfields.
  • Rainy Day–To lay up something for a rainy day; to provide against a time of necessity or distress.
  • Raise A Breeze–Make a fuss.
  • Raising Some Kind Of Breeze–Up to some mischief.
  • Rake, Rakehell, or Rakeshame–A dissolute, profligate gentleman; A lewd, debauched fellow, one who indulges in vices such as drinking, gambling and especially sexual conquests–From the Anglo-Saxon “rakel” or “rackle” meaning rough and hasty–Possibly also a reference to the fact that these gentlemen will rake, or search, hell in the afterlife.
  • Ralph Spooner–A fool.
  • Ram Cat–A he cat.
  • Rammish–Rank. Rammish woman; a sturdy virago.
  • Rammer–The arm. The busnapper’s kenchin seized my rammer; i.e. the watchman laid hold of my arm. (Cant)
  • To Ramp–To snatch, or tear any thing forcibly from the person.
  • Ramshackled–Out of repair. A ramshackled house; perhaps a corruption of Ransacked, i.e. plundered.
  • Randem-tandem–Driving Term, signifying three horses pulling a carriage–One leaders, and two behind as wheelers.
  • Randle–A set of nonsensical verses, repeated in Ireland by schoolboys, and young people, who have been guilty of breaking wind backwards before any of their companions; if they neglect this apology, they are liable to certain kicks, pinches, and fillips, which are accompanied with divers admonitory couplets.
  • Randy–Obstreperous, unruly, rampant.
  • Rangling–Intriguing with a variety of women.
  • Rank–Stinking, rammish, ill-flavoured; also strong, great. A rank knave; a rank coward: perhaps the latter may allude to an ill savour caused by fear.
  • Rank Rider–A highwayman.
  • Rantallion–One whose scrotum is so relaxed as to be longer than his penis, i.e. whose shot pouch is longer that the barrel of his piece.
  • Rantiploe–A rude romping boy or girl; also a gadabout dissipated woman. To ride rantipole; the same as riding St. George. See St. George.
  • Rantum Scantum–Playing at rantum scantum; making the beast with two backs.
  • To Rap–To take a false oath; also to curse. He rapped out a volley; i.e. he swore a whole volley of oaths. To rap, means also to exchange or barter: a rap is likewise an Irish halfpenny. Rap on the knuckles; a reprimand.
  • Rapparees–Irish robbers, or outlaws, who in the time of Oliver Cromwell were armed with short weapons, called in Irish Rapiers, used for ripping persons up.
  • Rapper–A swinging great lie.
  • Raree Shew Men–Poor Savoyards, who subsist by shewing the magic lantern and marmots about London.
  • Rascal–A rogue or villain: a term borrowed from the chase; a rascal originally meaning a lean shabby deer, at the time of changing his horns, penis, &c. whence, in the vulgar acceptation, rascal is conceived to signify a man without genitals: the regular vulgar answer to this reproach, if uttered by a woman, is the offer of an ocular demonstration of the virility of the party so defamed. Some derive it from Rascaglione, an Italian word signifying a man. without testicles, or an eunuch.
  • Rat–A drunken man or woman taken up by the watch, and confined in the watch-house. (Cant) To smell a rat; to suspect some intended trick, or unfair design.
  • Rats–Of these there are the following kinds: a black rat and a grey rat, a py-rat and a cu-rat.
  • Rattle–A dice-box. To rattle; to talk without consideration, also to move off or go away. To rattle one off; to rate or scold him.
  • Rattle-Pate–A volatile, unsteady, or whimsical man or woman.
  • Rattle-Traps–A contemptuous name for any curious portable piece of machinery, or philosophical apparatus.
  • Rattler–A coach. Rattle and prad; a coach and horses.
  • Rattling Cove–A coachman. (Cant)
  • Rattling Mumpers–Beggars who ply coaches. (Cant)
  • Rawhead and Bloody Bones–A bull beggar, or scarechild, with which foolish nurses terrify crying brats.
  • Reader–A pocket-book. (Cant)
  • Reader Merchants–Pickpockets, chiefly young Jews, who ply about the Bank to steal the pocket-books of persons who have just received their dividends there.
  • Ready–The ready rhino; money. (Cant)
  • Ready To Sport One’s Canvas–Eager to fight.
  • Rebus–A riddle or pun on a man’s name, expressed in sculpture or painting, thus: a bolt or arrow, and a tun, for Bolton; death’s head, and a ton, for Morton.
  • Receiver General–A prostitute.
  • Reckon–To reckon with one’s host; to make an erroneous judgment in one’s own favour. To cast-up one’s reckoning or accounts; to vomit.
  • To Recruit–To get a fresh supply of money.
  • Recruiting Service–Robbing on the highway.
  • Red Fustian–Port wine.
  • Red Lane–The throat. Gone down the red lane; swallowed.
  • Red Lattice–A public house.
  • Red Letter Day–A saint’s day or holiday, marked in the calendars with red letters. Red letter men; Roman Catholics: from their observation of the saint days marked in red letters.
  • Red Rag–The tongue. Shut your potatoe trap, and give your red rag a holiday; i.e. shut your mouth, and let your tongue rest. Too much of the red rag (too much tongue).
  • Red Ribbin–Brandy.
  • Red Sail-Yard Dockers–Buyers of stores stolen out of the royal yards and docks.
  • Red Shank–A Scotch Highlander.
  • Regular Out And Outer–Person of high spirit, awake on every suit, and with enviable abilities.
  • Regulars–Share of the booty. The coves cracked the swell’s crib, fenced the swag, and each cracksman napped his regular; some fellows broke open a gentleman’s house, and after selling the property which they had stolen, they divided the money between them.
  • Religious Horse–One much given to prayer, or apt to be down upon his knees.
  • Religious Painter–One who does not break the commandment which prohibits the making of the likeness of any thing in heaven or earth, or in the waters under the earth.
  • The Relish–The sign of the Cheshire cheese.
  • Relish–Carnal connection with a woman.
  • Remedy Critch–A chamber pot, or member mug.
  • Remember Parson Melham–Drink about: a Norfolk phrase.
  • Rendezvous–A place of meeting. The rendezvous of the beggars were, about the year 1638, according to the Bellman, St. Quinton’s, the Three Crowns in the Vintry, St. Tybs, and at Knapsbury: there were four barns within a mile of London. In Middlesex were four other harbours, called Draw the Pudding out of the Fire, the Cross Keys in Craneford parish, St. Julian’s in Isleworth parish, and the house of Pettie in Northall parish. In Kent, the King’s Barn near Dartford, and Ketbrooke near Blackheath.
  • Rep–A woman of reputation.
  • Repository–A lock-up or spunging-house, a gaol. Also livery stables where horses and carriages are sold by auction.
  • Rescounters–The time of settlement between the bulls and bears of Exchange-alley, when the losers must pay their differences, or become lame ducks, and waddle out of the Alley.
  • Resurrection Men–Persons employed by the students in anatomy to steal dead bodies out of church-yards.
  • Reticule–A lady’s purse–More properly called a ridicule, probably because it Seemed a ridiculous notion in the late 18th/early 19th century to carry outside the dress those personal belongings formerly kept in large pockets beneath the dress–
  • Reverence–An ancient custom, which obliges any person easing himself near the highway or foot-path, on the word Reverence being given him by a passenger, to take off his hat with his teeth, and without moving from his station to throw it over his head, by which it frequently falls into the excrement; this was considered as a punishment for the breach of delicacy, A person refusing to obey this law, might be pushed backwards. Hence, perhaps, the term, Sir-Reverence.
  • Reversed–A man set by bullies on his head, that his money may fall out of his breeches, which they afterwards by accident pick up. See Hoisting.
  • Review of the Black Cuirassiers–A visitation of the clergy. See Crow Fair.
  • Rhino–Money. (Cant)
  • Rib–A wife: an allusion to our common mother Eve, made out of Adam’s rib. A crooked rib: a cross-grained wife.
  • Ribaldry–Vulgar abusive language, such as was spoken by ribalds. Ribalds were originally mercenary soldiers who travelled about, serving any master far pay, but afterwards degenerated into a mere banditti.
  • Ribbin–Money. The ribbin runs thick; i.e. there is plenty of money. (Cant) Blue ribbin. Gin. The cull lushes the blue ribbin; the silly fellow drinks common gin.
  • To Ribroast–To beat: I’ll ribroast him to his heart’s content.
  • Rich Face, or Nose–A red pimpled, face.
  • Richaud Snary–A dictionary. A country lad, having been reproved for calling persons by their christian names, being sent by his master to borrow a dictionary, thought to shew his breeding by asking for a Richard Snary.
  • Rider–A person who receives part of the salary of a place or appointment from the ostensible occupier, by virtue of an agreement with the donor, or great man appointing. The rider is said to be quartered upon the possessor, who often has one or more persons thus riding behind him. See Quartered.
  • Ridge–A guinea. Ridge cully; a goldsmith. (Cant)
  • Riding St. George–The woman uppermost in the amorous congress, that is, the dragon upon St. George. This is said to be the way to get a bishop.
  • Riding Skimmington–A ludicrous cavalcade, in ridicule of a man beaten by his wife. It consists of a man riding behind a woman, with his face to the horse’s tail, holding a distaff in his hand, at which he seems to work, the woman all the while beating him with a ladle; a smock displayed on a staff is carried before them as an emblematical standard, denoting female superiority: they are accompanied by what is called the Rough Music, that is, frying-pans, bulls horns, marrow-bones and cleavers, &c. A procession of this kind is admirably described by Butler in his Hudibras. He rode private, i.e. was a private trooper.
  • Riff Raff–Low vulgar persons, mob, tag-rag and bob-tail.
  • Rig–Fun, game, diversion, or trick. To run one’s rig upon any particular person; to make him a butt. I am up to your rig; I am a match for your tricks.
  • Rigging–Clothing. I’ll unrig the bloss; I’ll strip the wench. Rum Rigging; fine clothes. The cull has Rum rigging, let’s ding him and mill him, and pike; the fellow has good clothes, let’s knock him down, rob him, and scour off, i.e. run away.
  • Right–All right! A favourite expression among thieves, to signify that all is as they wish, or proper for their purpose. All right, hand down the jemmy; every thing is in proper order, give me the crow.
  • Rigmarole–Roundabout, nonsensical. He told a long rigmarole story.
  • Ring–Money procured by begging: beggars so called it from its ringing when thrown to them. Also a circle formed for boxers, wrestlers, and cudgel-players, by a man styled Vinegar; who, with his hat before his eyes, goes round the circle, striking at random with his whip to prevent the populace from crowding in.
  • Ring A Fine Peal Over Someone, To Ring a Peal–Yell at them, scold them. To scold; chiefly applied to women. His wife rung him a fine peal!
  • Ring the Changes–When a person receives silver in change to shift some good shillings and put bad ones in their place. The person who gave the change is then requested to give good shillings for these bad ones.
  • Rip–A miserable rip; a poor, lean, worn-out horse. A shabby mean fellow.
  • Rippons–Spurs: Rippon is famous for a manufactory of spurs both for men and fighting cocks.
  • River Tick–To be punting on the River Tick is to be in debt–In the seventeenth century, ticket was the ordinary Term for the written acknowledgment of a debt, and one living on credit was said to be living on tick.
  • Riveted–Married.
  • Roaratorios and Uproars–Oratorios and operas.
  • Roaring Boy–A noisy, riotous fellow.
  • Roarer–A broken-winded horse.
  • Roaring Trade–A quick trade.
  • To Roast–To arrest. I’ll roast the dab; I’ll arrest the rascal.—Also to jeer, ridicule, or banter. He stood the roast; he was the butt.—Roast meat clothes; Sunday or holiday-clothes. To cry roast meat; to boast of one’s situation. To rule the roast; to be master or paramount.
  • Roast and Boiled–A nick name for the Life Guards, who are mostly substantial house-keepers; and eat daily of roast and boiled.
  • Robert’s Men–The third old rank of the canting crew, mighty thieves, like Robin Hood.
  • Roby Douglass–with one eye and a stinking breath. The breech.
  • Rochester Portion–Two torn smocks, and what nature gave.
  • Rocked–He was rocked in a stone kitchen; a saying meant to convey the idea that the person spoken of is a fool, his brains having been disordered by the jumbling of his cradle.
  • Roger–A portmanteau; also a man’s yard. (Cant)
  • Roger, or Tib of the Buttery–A goose. (Cant) Jolly Roger; a flag hoisted by pirates.
  • To Roger–To bull, or lie with a woman; from the name of Roger being frequently given to a bull.
  • Rogues–The fourth order of canters. A rogue in grain; a great rogue, also a corn chandler. A rogue in spirit; a distiller or brandy merchant.
  • Rogum Pogum, or Dragrum Pogram–Goat’s beard, eaten for asparagus; so called by the ladies who gather cresses, &c. who also deal in this plant.
  • Rolled-Up–To have no money.
  • Romboyles–Watch and ward. Romboyled; sought after with a warrant.
  • Rome Mort–A queen.
  • Romeville–London. (Cant)
  • Romp–A forward wanton girl, a tomrig. Grey, in his notes to Shakespeare, derives it from arompo, an animal found in South Guinea, that is a man eater. See Hoyden.
  • Rook–A cheat: probably from the thievish disposition of the birds of that name. Also the cant name for a crow used in house-breaking. To rook; to cheat, particularly at play.
  • Room–She lets out her fore room and lies backwards: saying of a woman suspected of prostitution.
  • Roost Lay–Stealing poultry.
  • Ropes–Upon the high ropes; elated, in high spirits, cock-a-hoop.
  • Rose–Under the rose: privately or secretly. The rose was, it is said, sacred to Harpocrates, the God of silence, and therefore frequently placed in the ceilings of rooms destined for the receiving of guests; implying, that whatever was transacted there, should not be made public.
  • Rosy Gills–One with a sanguine or fresh-coloured countenance.
  • Rotan–A coach, cart, or other wheeled carriage.
  • Rot Gut–Small beer; called beer-a-bumble—will burst one’s guts before it will make one tumble.
  • Rotten Row–A path for horse riding in the southern part of Hyde Park–A corruption of the phrase “route de roi” meaning King’s Row in French.
  • Rovers–Pirates, vagabonds.
  • Rough–To lie rough; to lie all night in one’s clothes: called also roughing it. Likewise to sleep on the bare deck of a ship, when the person is commonly advised to chuse the softest plank.
  • Rough Music–Saucepans, frying-paps, poker and tongs, marrow-bones and cleavers, bulls horns, &c. beaten upon and sounded in ludicrous processions.
  • Rouleau–A number of guineas, from twenty to fifty or more, wrapped up in paper, for the more ready circulation at gaming-tables: sometimes they are inclosed in ivory boxes, made to hold exactly 20, 50, or 100 guineas.
  • Round Dealing–Plain, honest dealing.
  • Roundheads–A term of reproach to the puritans and partizans of Oliver Cromwell, and the Rump Parliament, who it is said made use of a bowl as a guide to trim their hair.
  • Round Gown–A dress with the bodice and skirt joined in a single garment(during the Regency and earlier, these pieces were generally separate), with the skirt closed all around, ie not opened to expose an underskirt.
  • Round Robin–A mode of signing remonstrances practised by sailors on board the king’s ships, wherein their names are written in a circle, so that it cannot be discovered who first signed it, or was, in other words, the ringleader.
  • Round Sum–A considerable sum.
  • Round About–An instrument used in housebreaking. This instrument has not been long in use. It will cut a round piece about five inches in diameter out of a shutter or door.
  • Round Mouth–The fundament. Brother round mouth, speaks; he has let a fart.
  • Rout–A modern card meeting at a private house; also an order from the Secretary at War, directing the march and quartering of soldiers.
  • Rout–A crowded party, akin to a modern cocktail party.
  • Row–A disturbance; a term used by the students at Cambridge.
  • Row–To row in the same boat; to be embarked in the same scheme.
  • Rowland–To give a Rowland for an Oliver; to give an equivalent. Rowland and Oliver were two knights famous in romance: the wonderful achievements of the one could only be equalled by those of the other.
  • Royal Scamps–Highwaymen who never rob any but rich persons, and that without ill treating them. See Scamp.
  • Royal Stag Society–Was held every Monday evening, at seven o’clock, at the Three tuns, near the Hospital Gate, Newgate-street.
  • Royster–A rude boisterous fellow; also a hound that opens on a false scent.
  • To Rub–To run away. Don’t rub us to the whit; don’t send us to Newgate. (Cant)—To rub up; to refresh: to rub up one’s memory. A rub: an impediment. A rubber; the best two out of three. To win a rubber: to win two games out of three.
  • Ruby Faced–Red-faced.
  • Ruff–An ornament formerly worn by men and women round their necks. Wooden ruff; the pillory.
  • Ruffian–The devil. (Cant)—May the ruffian nab the cuffin queer, and let the harmanbeck trine with his kinchins about his colquarren; may the Devil take the justice, and let the constable be hanged with his children about his neck. The ruffian cly thee; the Devil take thee. Ruffian cook ruffian, who scalded the Devil in his feathers; a saying of a bad cook. Ruffian sometimes also means, a justice.
  • Ruffles–Handcuffs. (Cant)
  • Rufflers–The first rank of canters; also notorious rogues pretending to be maimed soldiers or sailors.
  • Ruffmans–The woods, hedges, or bushes. (Cant)
  • Rug–It is all rug; it is all right and safe, the game is secure. (Cant)
  • Rug–Asleep. The whole gill is safe at rug; the people of the house are fast asleep.
  • Rum–Fine, good, valuable.
  • Rum Beck–A justice of the peace. (Cant)
  • Rum Bite–A clever cheat, a clean trick.
  • Rum Bleating Cheat–A fat wether sheep. (Cant)
  • Rum Blowen–A handsome wench. (Cant)
  • Rum Bluffer–A jolly host. (Cant)
  • Rum Bob–A young apprentice; also a sharp trick.
  • Rum Booze–Wine, or any other good liquor. Rum boozing welts; bunches of grapes. (Cant)
  • Rum Bubber–A dexterous fellow at stealing silver tankards from inns and taverns.
  • Rum Bugher–A valuable dog. (Cant)
  • Rum Bung–A full purse. (Cant)
  • Rum Chub–Among butchers, a customer easily imposed on, as to the quality and price of meat. (Cant)
  • Rum Chant–A song.
  • Rum Clout–A fine silk, cambric, or holland handkerchief. (Cant)
  • Rum Cod–A good purse of gold. (Cant)
  • Rum Cole–New money, or medals.
  • Rum Cove–A dexterous or clever rogue.
  • Rum Cull–A rich fool, easily cheated, particularly by his mistress.
  • Rum Degen–A handsome sword. (Cant)
  • Rum Dell–A fine wench, See Rum Doxy.
  • Rum Diver–A dextrous pickpocket. (Cant)
  • Rum Doxy–A fine wench. (Cant)
  • Rum Drawers–Silk, or other fine stockings. (Cant)
  • Rum Dropper–A vintner. (Cant)
  • Rum Dubber–An expert picklock.
  • Rum Duke–A jolly handsome fellow; also an odd eccentric fellow; likewise the boldest and stoutest fellows lately among the Alsatians, Minters, Savoyards, and other inhabitants of privileged districts, sent to remove and guard the goods of such bankrupts as intended to take sanctuary in those places. (Cant)
  • Rum File–A dextrous pickpocket, See Rum Diver.
  • Rum Fun–A sharp trick. (Cant)
  • Rum Gaggers–Cheats who tell wonderful stories of their sufferings at sea, or when taken by the Algerines, (Cant)
  • Rum Ghelt–New money, or medals, See Rum Cole. (Cant)
  • Rum Glymmer–King or chief of the link-boys. (Cant)
  • Rum Kicks–Breeches of gold or silver brocade, or richly laced with gold or silver. (Cant)
  • Rum Mawnd–One that counterfeits a fool. (Cant)
  • Rum Mort–A queen, or great lady. (Cant)
  • Rum Nab–A good hat.
  • Rum Nantz–Good French brandy. (Cant)
  • Rum Ned–A very rich silly fellow. (Cant)
  • Rum Pad–The highway. (Cant)
  • Rum Padders–Highwaymen well mounted and armed. (Cant)
  • Rum Peepers–Fine looking-glasses. (Cant)
  • Rum Prancer–A fine horse. (Cant)
  • Rum Quids–A great booty. (Cant)
  • Rum Ruff Peck–Westphalia ham. (Cant)
  • Rum Snitch–A smart fillip on the nose.
  • Rum Squeeze–Much wine, or good liquor, given among fiddlers. (Cant)
  • Rum Tilter–Sword, See Rum Degen.
  • Rum Tol–Sword, See Rum Degen.
  • Rum Topping–A rich commode, or woman’s head-dress.
  • Rum Ville–London, See Romeville.
  • Rum Wiper–A fine silk, cambric, or holland handkerchief, See Rum Clout.
  • Rumbo–Rum, water, and sugar; also a prison.
  • Rumboyle–A ward or watch.
  • Rumbumtious–Obstreperous.
  • Rumford–To ride to Rumford to have one’s backside new bottomed: i.e. to have a pair of new leather breeches. Rumford was formerly a famous place for leather breeches. A like saying is current in Norfolk and Suffolk, of Bungay, and for the same reason.—Rumford lion; a calf. See Essex Lion.
  • Rump–To rump any one; to turn the back to him: an evolution sometimes used at court. Rump and a dozen; a rump of beef and a dozen of claret; an Irish wager, called also buttock and trimmings. Rump and kidney men; fiddlers that play at feasts, fairs, weddings, &c. and live chiefly on the remnants.
  • Rumpus–A riot, quarrel, or confusion.
  • Run Goods–A maidenhead, being a commodity never entered.
  • Run Quite Off One’s Legs–Have no money.
  • Running Horse, or Nag–A clap, or gleet.
  • Running Smobble–Snatching goods off a counter, and throwing them to an accomplice, who brushes off with them.
  • Running Stationers–Hawker of newspapers, trials, and dying speeches.
  • Runt–A short squat man or woman: from the small cattle called Welsh runts.
  • Rushers–Thieves who knock at the doors of great houses in London, in summer time, when the families are gone out of town, and on the door being opened by a woman, rush in and rob the house; also housebreakers who enter lone houses by force.
  • Russian Coffee-House–The Brown Bear in Bow-street, Covent Garden, a house of call for thief-takers and runners of the Bow street justices.
  • Rusty–Out of use, To nab the rust; to be refractory; properly applied to a restive horse, and figuratively to the human species. To ride rusty; to be sullen; called also to ride grub.
  • Rusty Guts–A blunt surly fellow: a jocular misnomer of Resticus.
  • Rutting–Copulating. Rutting time; the season, when deer go to rut.

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