Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Such Language! Part 18



A bit of 19th century slang and cant silliness, courtesy of the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Enjoy!

Belly Timber: Food of all sorts. (My little brother swore to Cook that unless he was provided with some belly timber at once, he would perish of hunger.)

Uppish: Testy, apt to take offence. (Cousin Lucretia is apt to be uppish whenever anyone mentions the fact that all of her suitors from last season are now engaged elsewhere.)

Znees: Frost or frozen. Zneesy weather; frosty weather. (It has been such zneesy weather these last weeks—do you think there will be a frost fair on the Thames?)

Baker-knee’d: One whose knees knock together in walking, as if kneading dough. (George thought he looked very fine in his go-to-Almack’s black silk breeches, but his being baker-kneed rather ruined the effect.)

Pogy: Drunk (We adore our Uncle Fred, but he does have a lamentable habit of crashing Mama’s dinner parties when he’s pogy.)

Waggish: Arch, gamesome, frolicsome. (But his waggish behavior when he does usually saves him from one of Mama’s scolds.)

Shabbaroon: An ill-dressed shabby fellow; also a mean-spirited person. (Cyril, who is fabulously rich, often affects the appearance of an utter shabbaroon to keep all the fortune-hunting misses at bay.)

*Cake, or Cakey: A foolish fellow. (I do wish George’s Oxford friends weren’t such cakes; it’s embarrassing to be forced to acknowledge them at our local assemblies.)


*Aha! Readers of Georgette Heyer will recognize this term, which she famously used in the expression "making a cake of himself" in The Unknown Ajax and The Nonesuch and others of her books.

2 comments:

veedham said...

I have this book and it's both an amazing resource and hilarious to simply browse.
Some weeks ago there was a competition here for the birthday of the blog, and my comment was picked. However, some dishonest person falsely claimed it. I can only say, shame on you for such a petty act of theft.

Marissa Doyle said...

veedham, I can't find words to express how badly I feel about that. It's why I just couldn't post the week after--it hurt to even think about posting. I don't expect we'll be doing birthday (or any other) giveaways in the future.