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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.

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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".


Hulton Archive / Getty

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.


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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).


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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,, Victorian London.

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