from Mia Marlowe…
Slang serves a useful anthropological purpose. It creates a sense of belonging to a unique group, one whose lexicon is mystifying to the uninitiated. In my case, that covers any hip hop song. I am clueless about popular culture. But I do know a thing or two about how the “cool kids” talked during the first part of the 19th century. If you’re a regular historical romance reader, you probably know a few of the more common ones. Here are a few that took me by surprise.:
Done to a cow’s thumb: exhausted
Friday-faced: a sad expression. (This one seems counterintuitive since in our culture it’s always TGIF! But during the Regency, there was a tradition of Friday abstinence.)
Faradiddle: a petty lie
An Ape Leader: a spinster or old maid. (This charming sobriquet refers to an obscure proverb that damns those who don’t procreate to leading apes in hell. Shakespeare used it in Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of the Shrew.)
Crim. Con: Short for criminal conversation, a coy reference to adultery.
Smelling of April and May: being madly in love
A rattle: someone who talks too much
The trick to using slang in a historical is making sure the meaning is easy to guess at based on the context of how the term is used. Sometimes, the meaning has been so lost in time, the word has become a mere linguistic anomaly, interesting, but unusable.
How about guessing at what some of the following might mean?
Gullgropers: a) a bird catcher b) a money lender c) a whoremonger
To pull caps with someone: a) to argue b) to have a tooth pulled c) to fit for a new bonnet
Kick over the traces: a) to have a horse runaway with one b) a Scottish dance c)behave in a headstrong manner
I’ll post the correct answers in a couple days. In the meantime, have you run into any Regency slang that puzzles you? Perhaps we can put our heads together to figure it out. I’d love to hear what Regency cant or slang has caught your ear. Be sure to leave your guesses for the three slang terms!
Look for Mia’s newest release, Stroke of Genius!
Crispin Hawke, a brilliant sculptor, is revered by the ton. His works are celebrated in every fashionable parlor, and tales of his fiery bed skills whispered behind every fashionable fan.
TRANSFORM AN AWKWARD HEIRESS…
Grace Makepeace is determined to wed a titled lord, but her Bostonian bluntness leaves much to be desired among the well-heeled London crowd. So to gain their acceptance, she commissions the incomparable Crispin Hawke to sculpt her hands—and asks for love lessons on the side.
INTO THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER ORIGINAL…
Crispin agrees to school Grace in flirting and the delights of the flesh. But when she catches the eye of a marquess, he realizes he’s done his job a little too well. And suddenly he knows Grace is the one masterpiece he cannot bear to be parted from.
WITHOUT FALLING FOR HER HIMSELF?