A Little Colorful Language: Cacklers, Mowers, Woolbirds and Swing tails

Francis Grose, author of Dictionary of he Vulgar Tongue

 

We have a house full of cats and a dog who thinks she a momma-cat.  They all have their own proper names. But they’ve also got multiple nicknames each. I may just incorporate a few of these regency Era slang terms as new nicknames for them!

  

Cat

  • Grimalkin. 

  • Tibby.

Ram Cat. A he cat.

Gib Cat. A northern name for a he-cat, there commonly called Gilbert.

Cherry-coloured Cat. A black cat, their being black cherries as well as red.

Smellers. A cat’s whiskers.

 

Dog

  • Buffer

  • Jugelow

Gnarler. A little dog that, by his barking, alarms the family when any person is breaking into the house.

Rum Bugher. A valuable dog. 

 

Horse

  • Grogham

  • Keffel

  • Prad

  • Prancer

Rip. A miserable rip; a poor, lean, worn-out horse.

Roarer. A broken-winded horse.

Rum Prancer. A fine horse. 

Star Gazer. A horse who throws up his head

Queer Prancer. A bad worn-out foundered horse

Scarlet Horse. A high red, hired or hack horse: a pun on the word hired.

Galloper. A blood-horse, a hunter.

Gibbe. A horse that shrinks from the collar, and will not draw.

 

Chickens ect

  • Cackler. 

  • Margery Prater.

  • Chick-a-biddy. 

Sucking Chicken. A young chicken

Cackler’s Ken. A hen-roost. 

Cackling Cheats. Fowls. 

Cackling Farts. Eggs. 

Cobble Colter. A turkey.

Gobbbler. A turkey cock.

Quacking Cheat. A duck.

Tib Of The Buttery. A goose.

 

Cow

  • Dunnock. 

  • Mower. 

Cow’s Spouse. A bull.

Churk. The udder.

 

Calf

  • Blater

  • Cow’s Baby

  • Essex Lion

  • Quaking Cheat

  • Rumford lion

 

Sheep

  • Bleating Cheat

  • Woolbird

  • Havil

Bleating Rig. Sheep-stealing. 

 

Hogs

  • Grunter. 

  • Swing Tail. 

 

Lice

  • Active Citizen 

  • Creepers 

  • Scotch Greys  

 

Other Animals

Dickey. An ass.

Roll your dickey; drive your ass.

Kingswood Lion. An ass. Kingswood is famous for the great number of asses kept by the colliers who inhabit that place.

Long One. A hare: a term used by poachers.

Pantek. A hart; that animal is, in the Psalms, said to pant after the fresh water brooks

Sea Lawyer. A shark.

  
 

Quoted from:   Grose, Captain (Francis). (2004) Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811 ed. Ikon Classics

 

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Confound it all!

Girl pulling hair, screamingConfound it all! One of the frustrations of writing historical fiction is discovering your character could not do/hear/see/say something because it had not been invented yet!

Such is my plight as I just discovered my heroine could not say ‘Confound it!’ as the saying did not exist for nearly another 40 years!

A few other things she could not say (and the year in which she could have said them) include:

  • botheration – c. 1835
  • by gum – c. 1825
  • cheeky – c. 1830
  • cheerio – c. 1910
  • confound it – c. 1850
  • darned – c. 1815
  • drat – c. 1815
  • fancy that – c. 1834
  • frightfully – c. 1830
  • (all) right – c. 1837
  • right you are – c. 1865
  • smashing – c. 1850

But, when frustrated, as I  am,  she could have said any of these (and the year they made their appearance):

  • bah –c. 1600
  • balderdash – c.1675
  • barmy — c. 1600
  • beastly – c. 1200
  • blasted – (damned) c. 1600
  • by (Saint) George – c. 1719, by Jove – c. 1570
  • by the bye – c. 18th C.
  • criminy – c. 1700
  • daft – c. 1450
  • dang — c. 1790
  • darn – c. 1790
  • deuced (damned) — c. 1785
  • devilish – c. 1450
  • devil of a… – c. 1750,
  • dickens (What the dickens?) – late 1600
  • egad — c. 1675
  • fiddle-de-dee – c. 1785
  • fiddle faddle – from 18th C.
  • fiddlesticks – from 17th C.
  • gads — from 17th C., gadzooks — c. 1655
  • ghastly – c. 1325
  • golly – c. 1775
  • good gracious – from 18th C.
  • goodness! – mid 19th C.
  • gosh – c. 1760
  • go to the devil – from 14th C.
  • gracious – from 18th C., gracious me – from 19th
  • I say – from 17th C.
  • la – from 16th C.
  • lo and behold — by 1810
  • oh! – c. 1550, oh-oh — c. 173
  • pah — c. 1600
  • pish — c. 1595
  • pooh — c. 1600
  • pshaw — c. 167
  • rot it – 17th — 18th C.
  • rubbish — c. 1630
  • son of a gun — c. 1710
  • tosh – (nonsense) c. 1530
  • What (how) the devil – from 17th C.
  • zooks – c. 1635
  • zounds – c. 1600

And to make matters worse, my family looks at me like I’m nuts for caring whether or not she could have said any of these phrases. Confound it all!

Resources:
Dictionary.com
English Through the Ages, by William Brohaugh, Writer’s Digest Books, 1998
Etymology of Expressions compiled by Joanna Waugh http://www.joannawaugh.com/Expressions.html

by Maria Grace Copyright 2013, all rights reserved