Nineteenth Century Slang That Should Totally Be The New “Swag”

Kids these days with their FaceSpace and Instantgram and their always-waking-up-feeling-like-P-what’s-his-name. It’s time for the new to make way for the old. Here’s ten examples of slang from our forefathers that’s got even more swagger than swag. Take a step back in time to NYC 1865, with an all-new season of Copper premiering Sunday, June 23rd at 10/9c only on BBC America.


A mouth. Sure, “claptrap” and “pie hole” are pretty good, but “bone box” has that great alliteration and really makes a statement when you say it. Just try it! Then shut your bone box.


Wife. “Rib.” Simple. Elegant. Maybe even a little bit meaningful! Because it’s like your wife is a part of you! And that’s how it should be. Really romantic and everything.


Drunk. There’s no shortage of euphemisms for drinking, but none of them are quite as dignified as calling yourself disguised. Plus, it makes you sound like you’re an investigator on a secret mission! (You’ll like that when you’re feeling disguised.)


A large, clumsy guy. Few words sound exactly like what they’re describing, but could anything more accurately describe someone who’s tall and clumsy? Gollumpus. It’s completely perfect.


Pants. This one’s just too cute to pass up—and the whole “pants” thing has really gotten stagnant.


Have a drink. Not only have you probably not seen these words before (except “your,” hopefully), but imagine going out to sluice your gob instead of the decidedly plebeian-sounding “happy hour”? Sold.


Breasts. A phrase borne of the sea that doesn’t really make sense, but seems even more topical these days. You know. People love cats and everything.


Dead. Originally coined by booksellers, when someone moves onto “the great beyond” (or whatever), they were said to have gone out of print. If you ask us, it’s time for the phrase to have a second edition.


Sassy’s had a good run, but it’s time to introduce a successor word—and saucebox is the only one worthy of the title. It just makes sense. Especially because “saucy” is already an equivalent word to “sassy,” but saucebox in and of itself sounds like a sassy version OF sassy.


Shaking, tumbling about. With the popularity of twerking, there hasn’t been a better time in the past two centuries for jerrycummumble to make a comeback. Although tweeting #jerrycummumbling will require a considerably larger number of characters, we feel that it’s worth it.

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