10 Regency Slang Expressions by Grace Burrows + Giveaway
One of a Regency romance author’s go-to references will be the 1811 edition of Captain Grose’s “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.” Books like this make research just plain fun, and give us an insight into the delicacy and creativity of Regency language generally (also its naughtiness). The authors defended their publication saying obscure cant vocabulary made it possible to refer to vulgar topics before the ladies without giving offense.
Oh, of course, gentlemen… because no lady ever borrowed her brother’s copy of this scandalous tome to read in the privacy of her boudoir?
Some of the more colorful from the letter C (and yes, they are all this bad):
1. Cup shot--drunk
2. Cascade—to vomit
3. (Shoot the) cat—to vomit
4. Catch fart—a footboy, so called from such servants following close behind their master or mistress
5. Clear—very drunk
6. Comfortable importance—a wife
7. Cut—drunk, a little cut over the head being slightly drunk
8. Commons—the house of commons, the “necessary” house
10. Covenant Garden Ague—the venereal disease
Much of the vocabulary is concerned with crime, flatulence, copulation, excesses of drink, unmentionable body parts, impecuniousness, prostitution, and the effects of licentious or criminal pastimes. One wonders: If the young gentlemen had applied as much effort to learning their Latin as they did to learning vulgar terms, couldn’t they have achieved the same end while sounding far more erudite by simply sticking to classical terminology?
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.