Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter Q

The following slang, euphemisms, and terms are for the letter Q and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811.

slang, euphemism

QUAIL-PIPE was a reference to a woman’s tongue.

A QUAKING CHEAT was a calf or a sheep.

QUEED was a reference to the devil.

QUEER BAIL involved insolvent persons who created a business by posting fraudulent bails and bailing out person that got arrested. Continue reading

French Spring Fashions 1867

French spring fashions for 1867 were primarily created from silk. Skirts ranged in length from the ankle to the floor, often had trains, and remained wide, as it was the height of crinolines. Green and pale grays were two of the more popular colors for the spring season and a variety of scallops were in vogue, which were also incorporated into girl’s costumes. Bonnets continued to be worn with walking and visiting toilets. Continue reading

Child Pickpockets of the 1700 and 1800s

Pickpockets by George Cruikshank from 'Oliver Twist, Public Domain
Pickpockets by George Cruikshank from ‘Oliver Twist, Public Domain

In the 1700 and 1800s times were hard. Orphans, street children, or the very poor sometimes became apprenticed to men who dabbled in the art of pickpocketing. Two well-known, but fictional pickpockets, Fagin and The Artful Dodger, were made famous in Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Similar to Dickens’ characters, young pickpockets needed to be skillful so as to not find themselves sitting in jail or worse, hanging from a noose.

Many young pickpockets, often called natty lads, were extremely adept at sleight of hand. Francis Grose in his book titled 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue described the art of pickpocketing. “The newest and most dexterous way, which is, to thrust the fingers strait, stiff, open, and very quick, into the pocket, and so closing them, hook what can be held between them.” Continue reading

Brougham Carriages

Original look of Brougham Carriages, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Original Brougham, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Brougham carriages were originally designed as a light, four-wheeled, enclosed, one-horse vehicle. They also had two centers doors, and a low coupe body that enclosed a forward facing seat for two occupants. Sometimes they came equipped with two extra fold away seats, which could be used for children. Outside, at the front for the coachman, was a boxed seat or perch, known as a dickey box, also called a boot, that could accommodate another passenger, such as a footman. Continue reading

Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter P

P-6134Sm

The following slang, euphemisms, and terms are for the letter P and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811.

PAD BORROWERS was another name for a horse stealer.

Bread was also called PANNAM.

A PANTLER was a nickname for a butler.

To put a man’s nose into a PARENTHESIS meant to pull it.

A PARSON PALMER was a jocular name given to anyone who stopped the communicable glass from circulating by talking. Continue reading

Dalzell’s Machine

Dalzwell's Machine, Author's Collection
Dalzwell’s Machine, Author’s Collection

Although somewhat suspect, Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, is credited with creating the first mechanically propelled two-wheel vehicle. Several sources give credit to him, including an article by the Bicycling News in 1892. Another Scotsman, Gavin Dalzell, who never claimed to have invented the bicycle seems to have improved upon MacMillan’s idea of the driving gear rod, and history backs his claims. There is evidence that Dalzell used his rear-driven machine to distribute his drapery wares in and around the area of Lesmahagow in 1845. Continue reading

Dressing Order for Ladies

Throughout the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Eras, ladies were required to wear numerous layers of clothing. These layers served a variety of purposes from hygiene to warmth to ornamentation. To help you understand the complexity of dressing and what was required for a woman to put on and take off in a single day, I have compiled a list of the pieces normally worn and have arranged them in the approximate order of how a woman might dress: drawers, chemise, corset, busk, corset cover, decency skirt or under-petticoat, crinoline or hoop or bustle, petticoat, suit, garniture, and, finally, the accessories. Continue reading

French Winter Fashions 1867

French fashions for the fall of 1867 were generally made from either silk or velvet. Paletots were popular and so were narrow sleeves. Skirts remained wide—as it was the height of crinolines—and skirts ranged in length from the ankle to the floor. Greens, grays, and purples were the predominate colors at this time, and hats and bonnets tended to be small. Among the publications showing the latest fashions was The Young Englishwoman, a publication that also included literature and needlework. Its fashion plates and a description for the winter months of 1867 are shown here. Continue reading

Hat Fashions for November 1896

Victorian Hat Fashions
Fancy Felt Hat, Author’s Collection

Victorian hat fashions in 1896 were substantial and large. Because hats were substantial and large, it gave milliners an excuse to decorate with large frills and massive puffs of velvet or ribbon. High crowns, some in bell shapes and others almost cylindrical, were combined with broad brims and an occasional roll in the front or the brim upturned at the rear. Soft crowns were also in vogue and often associated with felt or fancy braid brims. Feathers, plumes, and full birds remained popular and almost every fashionable hat sported one or more of these elements. Continue reading

Slang, Euphemisms, and Terms of the 1700 and 1800s – Letter O

The following are slang, euphemisms, and terms for the letters N and O and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811.

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OAK meant a man of good credit or substance in the 1700 and 1800s.

OAR was a busybody or someone who meddled.

OBSTROPULOUS was a deviation of OBSTREPEROUS, which meant noisy, unruly, and difficult to control, or in other words rumbustious.

To OCCUPY a woman was to have carnal knowledge of her. Continue reading