back to top

We’ve updated our privacy notice and cookie policy. Learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, and find out how we collect your personal data and what we use it for.

Tobias Menzies Defines 19 Old English Insults

The Outlander star puts his knowledge of antiquated insults to the test. Can you guess what a "flotch" is?

Posted on

Some TV fans may may know Menzies as Edmure Tully on Game of Thrones or Nathaniel Bloom on The Honourable Woman, but most recently, he's been playing two very different characters on Outlander — as Frank Randall, a 20th century reticent history buff, and his ancestor, Black Jack, an 18th century pillaging, pompous tyrant.

While Outlander is primarily set in the Scottish hillsides, in real life, Menzies is English. So we figured that if anyone would know the meaning behind old English insults, it would be him.

The Game: We give Menzies a real and absolutely antiquated English insult, he gives us what he thinks is the definition, and we provide the real one.

Advertisement

1. The word is: "Butter’d Bun"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"I know what you’re thinking," he laughed. "You’re thinking it’s a bun with lots of butter on it, but you’d be wrong. You know how women put their hair up in buns? I think it’s a woman who’s got a bit drunk, and she’s put a bit too much butter on that hairdo. It’s an old period thing; they used to put butter in their hair. I don’t know why they did. So this is a drunk woman who just got a bit foul with the butter."

2. "Sheep-biter"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"A sheep biter is, I mean, I know what you’re thinking: It might be a guy who bites sheep. But that’s wrong," he said. "A sheep-biter is a person who, when he shears sheep, he’s not very good, he nicks the sheep with the shearing knives. So he’s a clumsy sheep shearer."

Advertisement
Advertisement

5. "Gongoozler"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"A gongoozler is a goozler who’s gone," he said, matter of fact. "The goozler is a guy who spends a lot of money, but he’s gone. So it’s, like, party’s over. So when you say gongoozler it’s like, the tab’s gone."

Advertisement

8. "Rum-gagger"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"I think he’s a person who, when he drinks quite a lot of rum, he starts telling a lot of jokes. He’s a rum-gagger," he explained. "So after about five rums, the jokes just start coming. They’re not necessarily good, but there are a lot of them."

Advertisement

10. "Pregnant scholar"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"I think a pregnant scholar is someone who has writer’s block," he said. "He’s someone who can’t write. It’s in his head, but he can’t get it out."

Advertisement
Advertisement

13. "Cousin-Betty"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"How do you know about cousin Betty?" he asked. "She’s my cousin, what is she doing here? A cousin-Betty is a cousin who’s not a real cousin. One of those fake cousins who turns up like a wedding crasher. They turn up and they say, 'Oh, I’m cousin-Betty,' but they’re not real."

Advertisement
Advertisement

17. "Gammerstang"

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

"A gammerstang is — if I say it with more authority, it’s going to become right — a fellow who doesn’t pay his bar bill," he said. "He’s a gammerstang, he runs up a bar bill and then he runs away without paying it."

Advertisement

Catch Tobias in new episodes of Outlander, starting April 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.

Advertisement