Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Such Language! Part 16

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

Apothecary: To talk like an apothecary; to use hard or gallipot words: from the assumed gravity and affectation of knowledge generally put on by the gentlemen of this profession, who are commonly as superficial in their learning as they are pedantic in their language. (It’s easy to tell from his apothecary speechifying that Edward is very conscious of the fact that he has just finished his first term at Oxford.)

Chitty-faced: Baby-faced; said of one who has a childish look. (My cousin Chester is desperate to be considered one of the Corinthian set, only he’s so chitty-faced that he usually gets mistaken for someone’s tiger.)

Chirping merry: Exhilarated with liquor. (By the time he arrived at Covent Garden last night for the opera, Chester was chirping merry enough to try to sing along with la Catalani, and almost started a riot in the pit.)

Chouse: To cheat or trick. (Isabel always keeps a few extra fish up her sleeve as she always chouses at lottery tickets.)

Dangle: To follow a woman without asking the question. (Uncle Norbert has dangled after Lady Lavinia so long that he’s acquired the nickname, “the Tassel.”)

Fresh milk: Newcomers to the university. Cambridge slang. (The pickpockets in Trumpington Street are always on the lookout for fresh milk come September.)

Tweague: In a great tweague: in a great passion. (Chester was in an enormous tweague that his little sister used watercolors to black his books; Isabel was in an even more enormous one because they were her watercolors.)


Daisy said...

Isabel was in a tweague because the chitty-faced fresh milk dangling after her choused her while he was chirping merry.
I love tweague. I will have to use it sometimes regardless of the confusion it will likely engender.

Marissa Doyle said...

Tweague is pretty wonderful. There are so many words in the 1811 Dictionary that deserve to be in use again.