This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Glossary for Regency Novelists

The Regency era is between 1811 - 1820, although some extend the period from as early as 1800 to as late as 1825. It was most definitely a distinct period in which many societal rules were established, fashion was extremely important, and manner of speech very unique and wordy by today's standards. Many of our cliche's of today came from the Regency period.

If you intend to write a Regency, you'd better get it right, because compared to any other subgenre, Regency fans know their history. While it would take a separate glossary for each area of women's fashion, gentlemen's fashion and medical terms, this glossary is geared more toward Regency dialogue. Hope you enjoy!

1) Addled - Crazy or foolish.

2) Adore - To like very much.

3) Against the grain - Unwillingly or wrong.

4) Take the air - To go for a walk.

5) As neat as ninepence - All right or good as can be.

6) At sixes and sevens - A state of confusion.

7) An awkward situation - An embarrassing or dangerous situation.

8) Bad form - One who conforms to Society or exhibits inappropriate behavior.

9) Ball - A formal gathering where people danced.

10) Bamboozle - A hoax or to deceive.

11) Bandied About - Excessive gossip.

12) Banter - Ridicule others and sometimes it's in jest, or rambling on about a specific topic.

13) Be beyond - Beyond comprehension.

14) Bean-pole - A tall, skinny individual.

15) Beastly - Ghastly or awful.

16) Beat about the bush - Saying a bunch of nonsense before getting to the point.

17) Beau - Male admirer.

18) Bedlam - Hospital for mentally ill.

19) Big-wig - A person of high rank or authority.

20) Blasted - Confounded.

21) Blue stocking - A lady who enjoys learning. Early literary ladies wore blue wool stockings, but not always.

22) Blunt - Cash.

23) Bounder - Cad.

24) Bow Street Runner - A detective. The only enforced authority before England's police developed.

25) Breeding - Pregnant.

26) In the Briers - In trouble.

27) Bundle off - To send away in a hurry.

28) By Jove! - An exclamation.

29) By the By - Incidentally.

30) By-blow - Bastard.

31) By George! - A mild oath.

32) Cabbage head - A fool.

33) Cad - A vulgar man.

34) Cantankerous - Quarrelsome.

35) Cast-off - A discarded mistress.

36) Cast up one's counts - To vomit.

37) Castaway - One who is rejected.

38) A catch - A man considered to be a desirable husband.

39) Chat - Easy conversation.

40) Chum - Friend.

41) Cock up one's toes - To die.

42) Come-Out - A young lady's debut into society.

43) Convenience - Chamber pot.

44) Coquette - An excessive flirt.

45) Cry off - To back out of an engagement.

46) Curl one's hair - To chastise or scold.

47) Dampen - To discourage.

48) Daresay - Intend to say something.

49) Dashing - A daring or brilliant action.

50) Debut - A lady appearing in public or a society event for the first time.

51) Deep one - A cunning rascal.

52) Deep pockets - Stingy or short of funds.

53) Delicate condition - Pregnant.

54) Done for - Ruined.

55) Doxy - Mistress or prostitute

56) Dragon - A fierce person.

57) Drat! - A mild expletive.

58) Dressed in the nines - Dressed up in perfect fashion.

59) Dressing down - A verbal scolding.

60) In the Dumps - Depressed.

61) Fancy - Take a liking to something.

62) Fancy that! - A delightful surprise.

63) Featherbrain - Not smart.

64) Fetching - Attractive.

65) Fit as a fiddle - Excellent health.

66) Fop or Dandy - Fashionably dressed gentleman.

67) Good Form - Good behavior.

68) Fortnight - Two weeks.

69) Foxed - Drunk.

70) Gentry - Nobility and upper middle class.

71) Go into decline - Depressed or ill as in unhealthy.

72) Green - Inexperienced.

73) Gretna Green - A town in Scotland where many English couples elope.

74) Hackney - A coach for hire.85) Half-baked - An idea that wasn't well thought out.

75) Have a bee in one's bonnet - To have unique ideas.

76) Have a go at - To attempt something.

77) Hoax - To trick or jest or fool someone.

78) Hobnob - Associate with.

79) Hoyden - Carefree woman or girl who is boisterous.

80) Humbug - Rubbish, nonsence.

81) I say! - Exclamation to when surprised by something.

82) Imp - Mischievous brat.

83) In a pickle - In a difficult bind.

84) In a trice - Quickly.

85) In his cups - Drunk.

86) Jointure - Provision for a widow.

87) Kick the bucket - To die.

88) Knave - A deceiful man.

89) Lackey - A liveried footman.

90) Lady's magazine - A fashion magazine.

91) Lamb - Quiet and humble. Also a term of endearment.

92) Laudanum - Used as a medicine for pain. Contains alcoholic and a small dose of opium. Can be addictive if misused.

93) Leg-shackled - Married.

94) Light skirt - Prostitute.

95) Living on expectations - Living off the promise of a future inheritance.

96) Longsighted - Far sighted.

97) Looking Glass - Mirror.

98) Lot - Everything.

99) Love match - Perfect couple suited for love and/or marriage.

100) Loose screw - Crazy.

101) Madcap - Reckless.

102) Magpie - Talkative, to chatter.

103) Make one's self scarce - To disappear from a room.

104) Man of parts - Talented and intellectual man.

105) Mean codger - Unpleasant or rude person, usually an elderly individual.

106) Meet with an untimely end - To die.

107) Merry as a cricket - Cheerful.

108) Miff - A petty quarrel. To offend.

109) Modicum - A limited portion.

110) Modiste - A fashionable dress maker.

111) Muffin-faced - An expressionless face.

112) Neat as a pin - As neat as possible.

113) Nimcompoop - An idiot or dolt.

114) Noggin - The head.

115) Not worth a bean - Penniless.

116) On the shelf - Beyond marriagable age.

117) Pay a call - To visit.

118) Pert - Impudent.

119) Pick a bone with - Have an unpleasant matter to settle with someone.

120) Platter-faced - Flat-faced.

121) Pockets to let - Penniless.

122) Portmanteau - Suitcase.

123) Poste haste - Quickly.

124) Prattle bag - Gossiper.

125) Pray - A substitute word for "I beg you".

126) Prig - A fop or a person considering himself/herself as superior to others.

127) Put out one's lights - To kill.

128) Putting on airs - Haughty.1

129) Putting up - Staying some place.

130) Quandry - A state of perplexity.

131) The rage - In fashion.

132) Ramshackle - Rickety and/or addled. Run-down.

133) Rascal - A Mischievous person.

134) Recollect - Recall or remember.

135) Reticule - A coin purse for ladies.

136) Ribbons - The reins.

137) Right and proper - Correct and appropriate.

138) Right as rain - Perfect and dependable.

139)Roast - To ridicule and/or quiz others.

140) Romp - An adventurous event.

141) Rotten Row - A fashionable bridle path in Hyde Park.

142) Rotter - A person of no self-worth.

143) Rubbish - Worthless.

144) Sap - A fool.

145) Save one's bacon - to narrowly escape.

146) Scoundrel - A rake.

147) Scullery - A small room off the kitchen.

148) Season - Fashionable time for socializing and to introduce debutants to society.

149) Set one's cap for - To try and gain a man's heart or hand.

150) Sham - A trick.

151) Sharp - A swindler.

152) She-dragon - an elderly woman who is mean-spirited.

153) Slip-shod - Carless and poorly done.

154) Spill the soup - To tell everything.

155) Spitfire - A hot tempered person.

156) Stays - Referring to a woman's corset.

157) Stuff and Nonsence - Rubbish or ridiculous.

158) Sweetmeat - Dessert.

159) Take a fancy to - To become fond of.

160) Take down a peg - Disciplined or humbled.

161) Tendre - Affection for.

162) Three sheets in the wind - Drunk.

163) To a tee - Done perfectly.

164) Ton - Fashionable society.

165) Twit - Foolish person.

166) Under the hatches - Broken.

167) Unfortunate woman - Prostitute.

168) Up in arms - Upset and having taken offense.

169) Up to snuff - Aware of the latest fashions, details and society happenings.

170) Upstart - One who has risen to a position of power and/or wealth in a short period of time.

171) Vast - Great amount.

172) Week of Sundays - An indefinite period of time.

173) Well-equipped - Full of money or well-dressed.

174) When pigs fly - Never.

175) White's - A popular gentleman's club.

2 comments:

What a wonderful list, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing. I'm forwarding this link to my CP who writes Regency romance.

Hi Jennifer -

Wow! I'm surprised at the terms originating from the Regency period. Many are still used today.

Thanks for an interesting post.

Blessings,
Susan :)