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21 Victorian Slang Terms It’s High Time We Revived

Dash my wig, the Victorians had a lovely way with words.

1.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Hurry up and bitch the pot, would you? I’m spitting feathers here.”

2.
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As in: “Don’t remember a single thing about last night. Got absolutely boiled owled.”

3.
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As in: “Did we kiss? Yes. There was no quail-pipe, though.”

4.
Morphart Creation/Shutterstock

As in: “Oof. Right in the tallywags.”

Other Victorian terms for testicles included: whirlygigs, trinkets, twiddle-diddles.

5.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Sure, I dirty-puzzled around a bit at University, who didn’t?”

6.
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As in: “Would you mind terribly if I… had a go on your Cupid’s kettle drums?”

Other Victorian terms for breasts: bubbies, coker-nuts.

7.
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As in: “Go on, it’s Friday night, get some neck oil down you.”

8.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Dash my wig, there’s never anything worth watching on Netflix.”

9.
Hein Nouwens/Shutterstock

As in: “You’re annoying me now. Shut your tatur-trap.”

(Tatur being short for potato).

10.
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As in: “I’m married now. My tot-hunting days are over.”

11.
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As in: “People seem to think Kate Upton is a proper bit o’ jam, but I don’t see it myself.”

Other terms for the same thing included “jampot” and “basket of oranges”.

12.
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As in: “That’s easy for you to say, vicar, up there in your cackle-tub.”

13.
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As in: “I thought victory was guaranteed, but I shot into the brown at the last minute.”

The phrase is derived from shooting. Miss the black and white target and your shot would hit the muddy (ie brown) ground instead.

14.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Put your inexpressibles on, it’s time to get up.”

15.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “No wonder your voice is so high-pitched, what with you wearing gas-pipes like those.”

16.
Reinhold Thiele/Topical Press Agency / Getty

As in: “Come on, stop moping. Let’s go out and tickle our innards.”

17.
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As in: “It’s always nice to come home to your gigglemug.”

18.
Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Leg it, chaps, the mutton shunters are coming!”

19.
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As in: “Sure, life is all beer and skittles when you’re in your twenties, but just you wait.”

20.
Chaloner Woods / Getty

As in: “Pick up a few of them bags o’ mystery on your way home, will you?”

It’s a mocking allusion to the fact that the exact content of sausages was not always clear (still a problem to this day, in fact).

21.
Rischgitz/Hulton Archive / Getty

As in: “Careful how you sit. You don’t want to expose your crinkum-crankum.”

Popular alternatives included notch, money, old hat, and madge (sorry Madonna).

Sources: Passing English of the Victorian era, a Dictionary of Heterodox English, Slang and Phrase, by J. Redding Ware; 1909; Routledge, London, The Public Domain Review, SusannaIves.com, Victorian London.

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