Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Such Language! Part 24

It’s definitely time for 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!

Addle plot: A spoil-sport, a mar-all. (Jane insisted on wearing a heavy veil to Richmond Park because of an outbreak of spots on her chin, and was a horrid addle plot at what was supposed to be a lovely spring day’s picnic.)

Grig: A fellow as merry as a grig: an allusion to the apparent liveliness of a grig, or young eel. (But she was as merry as a grig after she read that rubbing lemons on them would make then vanish.)

Duke of limbs: A tall awkward fellow. (Cousin Ralph has grown eight inches since last Easter, and is the veriest duke of limbs.)

Bell swagger: A noisy bullying fellow. (Ernest, Ralph’s bell swagger of an elder brother no longer dares to try to thrash him during school holidays.)

Crabbed: Sour, ill-tempered, difficult. (My Great-aunt Agatha’s toy spaniel is so dreadfully crabbed that even Uncle Fred’s gamekeeper is afraid of it.)

All the crack: The fashionable theme, the go. (Of course, the only reason Aunt Agatha even has a spaniel is because she had heard that lap-dogs were all the crack, and she never passes up a chance to demonstrate just how fashionable she is.)

Rum Ned: A very rich silly fellow. Cant. (Lord Lucre’s waistcoat buttons set with pigeon’s blood rubies have earned him a reputation as a very rum Ned indeed.)


QNPoohBear said...

Love these, thank you!

Marissa Doyle said...

You're welcome! I have so much fun with these.