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Definitely no kruger-spoof.

In 1909, British author Andrew Forrester wrote a reference book titled: 'Passing English of the Victorian era, a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase'. Compiled below, you'll find the 56 best Victorian slang terms from Forrester's book. These should definitely start making a comeback.


1. Arfarfan'arf

A figure of speech used to describe drunken men. Hes very arfarfanarf," for example, "meaning he has had many arfs, or half-pints of booze.

2. Bang up to the elephant

This phrase originated in London in 1882, and means perfect, complete, unapproachable.

3. Back slang it


Thieves used this term to indicate that they wanted to go out the back way.

4. Bags o Mystery


An 1850 term for sausages, because no man but the maker knows what is in them. ... The 'bag' refers to the gut which contained the chopped meat.

5.
Afternoonified

A society word meaning smart. For example: "The goods are not 'afternoonified' enough for me.

6. Batty-fang

Low London phrase meaning to thrash thoroughly, possibly from the French battre a fin.

7. Benjo

Nineteenth century sailor slang for A riotous holiday, a noisy day in the streets.

8. Bow wow mutton

A naval term referring to meat so bad it might be dog flesh.

9. Bricky

Brave or fearless.

10. Bubble Around

A verbal attack, generally made via the press. Forrester cites The Golden Butterfly: "I will back a first-class British subject for bubbling around against all humanity."

11. Butter Upon Bacon

Extravagance. Too much extravagance. Are you going to put lace over the feather, isn't that rather butter upon bacon?

12. Cat-lap

A London society term for tea and coffee used scornfully by drinkers of beer and strong waters ... in club-life is one of the more ignominious names given to champagne by men who prefer stronger liquors.

13. Church-bell

A talkative woman.

14. Chuckaboo

A nickname given to a close friend.

15. Collie shangles

Quarrels. A term from Queen Victorias journal, More Leaves, published in 1884: At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us, and having occasional collie shangles (a Scottish word for quarrels or rows, but taken from fights between dogs) with collies when we came near cottages.

16. Cop a Mouse

To get a black eye. Cop in this sense is to catch or suffer," Forrester writers, "while the colour of the obligation at its worst suggests the colour and size of the innocent animal named.

17. Daddles


A delightful way to refer to your rather boring hands.

18. Damfino

This creative cuss is a contraction of damned if I know.

19. Dizzy Age

A phrase meaning "elderly," because it "makes the spectator giddy to think of the victim's years." The term is usually refers to "a maiden or other woman canvassed by other maiden ladies or others.

20. Doing the Bear

"Courting that involves hugging."

21. Dont sell me a dog


Popular until 1870, this phrase meant Dont lie to me! Apparently, people who sold dogs back in the day were prone to trying to pass off mutts as purebreds.

22. Door-knocker

A type of beard "formed by the cheeks and chin being shaved leaving a chain of hair under the chin, and upon each side of mouth forming with moustache something like a door-knocker."

23. Enthuzimuzzy

"Satirical reference to enthusiasm." Created by Braham the terror, whoever that is.

24. Fifteen puzzle

Not the game you might be familiar with, but a term meaning complete and absolute confusion.

25. Fly rink

An 1875 term for a polished bald head.

26. Gal-sneaker

An 1870 term for "a man devoted to seduction.

27. Gas-Pipes

A term for especially tight pants.

28. Gigglemug

An habitually smiling face.

29. Got the morbs

Use of this 1880 phrase indicated temporary melancholy.

30. Half-rats

Partially intoxicated.

31. Jammiest bits of jam

Absolutely perfect young females, circa 1883.

32. Kruger-spoof

Lying, from 1896.

33. Mad as Hops

Excitable.

34. Mafficking

An excellent word that means getting rowdy in the streets.

35. Make a stuffed bird laugh

Absolutely preposterous.

36. Meater

A street term meaning coward.

37. Mind the Grease

When walking or otherwise getting around, you could ask people to let you pass, please. Or you could ask them to mind the grease, which meant the same thing to Victorians.

38. Mutton Shunter

This 1883 term for a policeman is so much better than "pig."

39. Nanty Narking

A tavern term, popular from 1800 to 1840, that meant great fun.

40. Nose bagger

Someone who takes a day trip to the beach. He brings his own provisions and doesnt contribute at all to the resort hes visiting.

41. Not up to Dick

Not well.

42. Orf chump

No appetite.

43. Parish Pick-Axe

A prominent nose.

44. Podsnappery


This term, Forrester writers, describes a person with a wilful determination to ignore the objectionable or inconvenient, at the same time assuming airs of superior virtue and noble resignation.

45. Poked Up


Embarrassed.

46. Powdering Hair


An 18th century tavern term that means getting drunk.

47. Rain Napper


An umbrella.

48. Sauce-box


The mouth.

49. Shake a flannin


Why say you're going to fight when you could say you're going to shake a flannin instead?

50. Shoot into the brown

To fail. According to Forrester, "The phrase takes its rise from rifle practice, where the queer shot misses the black and white target altogether, and shoots into the brown i.e., the earth butt."

51. Skilamalink


Secret, shady, doubtful.

52. Smothering a Parrot


Drinking a glass of absinthe neat; named for the green color of the booze.

53. Suggestionize


A legal term from 1889 meaning to prompt.

54. Take the Egg


To win.

55. Umble-cum-stumble

According to Forrester, this low class phrase means "thoroughly understood."

56. Whooperups


A term meaning "inferior, noisy singers" that could be used liberally today during karaoke sessions.

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