Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Such Language! Part 15

More fun with 19th century slang and cant, courtesy of that compendium of all bygone bad language, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Enjoy!

Mulligrubs: Low-spirited, having an imaginary sickness.
When she heard that Madame Poulade had sold six identical copies of her new ball dress, Griselda was seized by an acute case of the mulligrubs and refused to go to Almack’s on Wednesday night.

Billingsgate Language: Foul language, or abuse. Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes, they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners a little on the left hand.
From what I heard, Griselda expressed her opinion of Madame Poulade’s perfidy in the veriest Billingsgate language.

Collogue: To wheedle or coax.
Do not offer to take my little brothers for a drive in the park, unless you are agreeable to being collogued into a trip to a sweet shop as well.

Dandy Prat. An insignificant or trifling fellow.
William may be a bit of a dandy prat, but no one shows to more advantage in satin knee breeches.

Hog grubber: A mean stingy fellow.
Our Uncle Gilbert is such a hog grubber that when he gave my brother a sixpence on his birthday, he asked for change.

Lathy: Thin, slender.
Millicent told me that her elder sister is so lathy that she must purchase bath sponges by the dozen in order to fill out her corsets.

Pickthank: A tale-bearer or mischief maker.
Of course, one must keep in mind that Millicent can be a dreadful pickthank.

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.
You know, the example given in the original is so much fun that I don’t need to write a new one. Unfurnished upper story indeed! ☺

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