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Subject: Victorian Vocabulary rss

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"Too late, too late" will be the cry…
…when the man with the bargains has passed you by.
I went through the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue with the goal of finding some good terms with which to pepper my steampunk roleplay. These are terms that lower-class characters would use, not for the wealthy or nobility.

It's quite fascinating. While the majority of the book is devoted to theft, robbery, hanging, drinking, and prostitution, there is some neutral terminology. Some words and phrases remain unchanged (or nearly so), still in use today, and others are completely alien and indeciperable. I've tried here to select out some terms for common things that are decipherable and/or have (aero)nautical/mechanical connotation.

Adam's ale - water
barking irons - guns
cheese toaster - a sword
cully - a dupe
dial plate - face
doxy - a wench
glim - fire; flame
head rails - teeth
Josephus Rex - Joe King; joking
knowledge box - head
lamps - eyes
lathy - slim
lugs - ears
Moll Thompson's mark - the initials M.T.; empty
nozzle - nose
phos - phosphorus
pins - legs
rammers - arms
red lane - throat, down red lane; swallowed
red rag - tongue
rigging - clothes
Saint Geoffrey's Day - never
shap - hat
shifting ballast - landsmen on a ship
snappers - guns
soul case - body
spark - a darling
squeak - a narrow escape
stampers - shoes
steamer - a pipe (tobacco)
sticks - guns
swimmer - a ship
tick - a pocketwatch
unrig - to undress
word pecker - a punnster; one who plays on words
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