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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. What does it mean to be "mumchance?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    tongue- tied
    Correct
    Incorrect
    lucky
    Correct
    Incorrect
    useless
    Correct
    Incorrect
    secretive
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mumchance

    adj. tongue-tied, lost for words, silent

  2. What is a "cockalorum?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a group of peasants
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a tattletale
    Correct
    Incorrect
    an aggressive, short man
    Correct
    Incorrect
    someone held captive
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cockalorum

    noun. an aggressive, short man

  3. What is a "bung-nipper?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a really small dog that nips your heels
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a street peddler
    Correct
    Incorrect
    an annoying person who often follows people around
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a thief who specializes in snatching purses
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bung-nipper

    noun. a theif who specializes in snatching purses

  4. What does it mean to "prig?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    to steal
    Correct
    Incorrect
    to graze
    Correct
    Incorrect
    to loiter
    Correct
    Incorrect
    to whine
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Prig

    verb. to steal

  5. What is a "bumbo?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a drink with made with rum and sugar and water
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a striped necktie
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a dumb, foolish idea
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a wart with a hair sticking out of it
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bumbo

    noun. a drink made with rum and sugar and water

  6. What is a "bowsing-ken?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a volunteer firefighter
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a slop bucket
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a bar
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a busy body
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bowsing-ken

    noun. a bar or tavern, a drinking place

  7. What is a "cackling-fart?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a fart
    Correct
    Incorrect
    an egg
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a hearty laugh
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a jerk
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cackling-fart

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

  8. What is a "calf-lolly?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    An idiot
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A teat
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A piece of candy
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A pleasant surprise
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Calf-lolly

    noun. a simpleton or idiot

  9. What is "tommy?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a man who gets cheated on
    Correct
    Incorrect
    bread
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a rope
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a monkey
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Tommy

    noun. bread.

  10. What is a "black dog?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    an outcast
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a bad omen
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a black dog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    counterfeit money
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Black dog

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

  11. What is a "cully?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
     A small package
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a ditch
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a man
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a bird
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cully

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

  12. What is "gingerbread?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    money
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a cookie
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a sweet, old man
    Correct
    Incorrect
    meat scraps
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Gingerbread

    noun. money.

  13. What does it mean if someone is "flash?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ostentatious
    Correct
    Incorrect
    criminal
    Correct
    Incorrect
    fast
    Correct
    Incorrect
    mysterious
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Flash

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

  14. What does it mean to be "spoony?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ornery
    Correct
    Incorrect
    generous
    Correct
    Incorrect
    friendly
    Correct
    Incorrect
    besotted
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Spoony

    adj. fond or besotted.

  15. What is a "molly?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a drug
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a whore
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a gay man
    Correct
    Incorrect
    a pre-drink 
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Molly

    noun. a gay man.

  16. Who is "her mope-eyed ladyship?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    the moon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Fortune
    Correct
    Incorrect
    the menstrual cycle
    Correct
    Incorrect
    the Queen
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Her mope-eyed ladyship

    Fortune, usually portrayed as blind

  17. What is a "mahometan?"
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Coffee
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A shawl
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A shave
    Correct
    Incorrect
    A street artist
    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

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