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

The following slang, euphemisms, and terms are for the letter D and are primarily taken from Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1811. DAGGLETAIL meant dirty, bemired, or a slattern. DAIRY referred to the breasts of a woman who gave suckle. DAISY KICKERS were known as ostlers, and an ostler was…

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Chemisettes

Chemisettes (from French for “little chemise”) were feminine attire similar to a dickey in that they were short sleeveless bodices. A chemisette filled in a woman’s front neckline and made it appear as if a blouse were being worn without adding bulk to an outfit. That was important on a hot summer’s day due to…

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Halloween in the 1800s

The name “Halloween” evolved over time. It was shortened from All Hallows’ Even and All Hallows Day — the evening of All Hallows’ Day and another name for All Saints’ Day, respectively. Eventually, it was contracted to “Halloween.” Just as the name Halloween evolved, the holiday evolved too. It was initially influenced by Celtic-speaking countries…

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Kensal Green Cemetery

From the beginning of the 1800s, public attention was drawn to the problems associated with cemeteries and their overcrowding in the midst of London. For instance, one article published in a nineteenth century magazine stated: “Public attention in London has long been directed to the dangers of burying-grounds in the midst of the city. These…

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The Importance of Fans and Fan Language

Hand fans served many purposes in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. One purpose was they functioned as an indispensable and ornate fashion item, but beyond that fans also regulated air temperature, concealed flirtatious blushes, and protected a woman from insects and nature’s harsh elements. They were also the perfect accessory at a masquerade ball because…

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Père Lachaise Cemetery

In the 1840s Père Lachaise Cemetery was considered to be one of the most celebrated cemeteries in the world. It received its name from Louis XIV’s confessor, a French Jesuit priest named Père François de la Chaise, and because the land was attached to his name, that was the name Napoleon decided to give it…

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The Pelisse

Hussar cavalry soldiers originally wore what was known as a pelise, a short fur-lined and trimmed jacket that was fastened with a lanyard and slung loosely over their left shoulders. By the early nineteenth century the soldier’s pelise inspired a warm outer garment worn by fashionable women, known as a pelisse. Between 1800 and 1850,…

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Puerperal Fever

From the 1600s through the mid-1800s, puerperal fever, or childbed fever as it was more commonly called, affected women with severe and acute symptoms such as abdominal pain and fever. Puerperal was considered to be just a dreaded consequence of childbirth and motherhood. That was because beginning in the seventeenth century “lying-in” hospitals became popular…

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Correct Forms of Address

Writers often get confused when trying to apply the correct forms of address in their stories. It is a complex subject and can vary depending upon whether or not a person holds a title, is single, or married or widowed. It also depends on whether or not a child is older or young. Correct forms…

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