Historical Slang; Your Monday Vocabulary Lesson


I’ve been perusing the Historical Dictionary of Slang: Three Hundred Years of Colloquial, Unorthodox and Vulgar English and have decided that popular culture has always been a little smutty. But, besides a slew of creative terms for body parts, and the functioning thereof, the dictionary contains some fun and colorful words for all sorts of things. I’ve decided that the English language of the 21st century is impoverished compared to the language spoken by our ancestors. In fact, we may not even be able to carry on a conversation with our forebears. So, in the interests of enriching and enlivening our vocabulary, here are a few choice phrases for the repertoire.

To nab the rust: Take offense, turn rusty. To nab the snow, on the other hand, is to steal bleached linen off a clothesline.

Steady habits: Nickname for the state of Connecticut, i.e; “the land of steady habits”

Single-peeper: A one-eyed person

Lap-clap: The condition of pregnancy, to be got with child.

Cribbage-face: Pock-marked

Flesh-tailor: A surgeon

Bone-box: The mouth

Carrion case: A shirt

Flurry one’s milk: To be angry or upset

Fox’s sleep: A state of feigned yet vigilant indifference to one’s surroundings

Frog-salad: A ballet

Front windows: The eyes, also the face.

Goth: A frumpish or uncultured person

Grampus: A fat man

Grassville: The country

Grecian-bend: To be stooped

High-pooped: Heavily buttocked

Infra-dig: Scornful or proud

Jawbation: A scolding

Jug-bitten: Drunk

Mousle: To nibble a woman

Lady of the lake: A kept woman

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