Today’s helpful guide is aimed for the aspiring Regency Buck, the fashionable gentleman, the man about town. Fitting in can be difficult at the best of times, but even harder if you don’t know the lingo. Using the words and phrases listed here, you’ll be able to talk the talk (although you may still have to learn to walk-the -walk).
The words detailed here were first compiled by Francis Grose and published in 1785 as A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. A runaway success, it was expanded upon with a further edition in 1811 to outline Buckish slang, university wit and pickpocket eloquence.
However, the list should also come with a caveat. It is the firm and committed belief of Behind the Past that a true gentleman would never use the vast majority of these words…
- Abbess or Lady Abbess – The mistress of a brothel
- Apron-String Hold – A man who holds an estate through his wife.
- Bill of Sale – A widow’s mourning dress
- Covent Garden Nun – a prostitute
- Dance Upon Nothing – to be hanged
- Half Seas Over – to be nearly drunk, but not quite
- Peculiar – a mistress
- Postilion of the Gospel – a parson who is clearly rushing through the service
- A Scold’s Cure – a coffin
- Tenant for Life – a wife
Hopefully, this list will give you the gift of the Regency gab. However, if you want some more pointers, you can find them here on Behind the Past.
Grose, Francis, 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence, (London: C. Chapel, 1785, 1811).