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How Well Do You Know 18th Century Slang?

How would you fare in 18th Century New York? Are you a calf-lolly or are you street savvy? Take this quiz to find out! (Phrases provided by Francis Spufford, author of GOLDEN HILL.)

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  1. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mumchance

    adj. tongue-tied, lost for words, silent

  2. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cockalorum

    noun. an aggressive, short man

  3. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bung-nipper

    noun. a theif who specializes in snatching purses

  4. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Prig

    verb. to steal

  5. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bumbo

    noun. a drink made with rum and sugar and water

  6. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bowsing-ken

    noun. a bar or tavern, a drinking place

  7. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cackling-fart

    noun. an egg. from the noun "cackler," which means chicken

  8. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Calf-lolly

    noun. a simpleton or idiot

  9. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Tommy

    noun. bread.

  10. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Black dog

    noun. a counter silver shilling, with so little real silver in it that it's turned black

  11. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cully

    noun. a man. Can be used in all contexts from friendly to contemptuous. From 'culls,' which means testicles.

  12. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Gingerbread

    noun. money.

  13. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Flash

    adjective for anything to do with the criminal underworld; a professional criminal

  14. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Spoony

    adj. fond or besotted.

  15. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Molly

    noun. a gay man.

  16. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Her mope-eyed ladyship

    Fortune, usually portrayed as blind

  17. Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mahometan

    noun. coffee, as opposed to tea or drinking chocolate at a time when it was still strongly associated with Arabia and therefore Islam

How Well Do You Know 18th Century Slang?

You're a real calf-lolly.

You probably got that question wrong. You're a simpleton when it comes to 18th Century Street Slang. You wouldn't survive a day in Francis Spufford's Old New York. You should probably get off the Internet and read a book.

You're a real calf-lolly.
datascape.it
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You must be spoony...

Spoony for 18th Century Street Slang! You had a few mumchance moments, but you could definitely get by in Francis Spufford's Old New York. Freshen up your memory with a good book.

You must be spoony...
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Get that gingerbread!

Head to the bowsing-ken and treat yourself to a bumbo! You are basically fluent in 18th Century Street Slang. You'll hit the streets running in Francis Spufford's Old New York.

Get that gingerbread!
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