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Regency Words/Phrases





Regency Words/Cant/Phrases:


a bruiser: a boxer

a mill: a fist fight

all the crack: the height of fashion


bang up to the knocker: well-dressed, wearing the finest apparel

barouche: a four wheeled carriage with a driver's seat in front of two facing inside seats that had a collapsible hood on the forward facing seat.

bear-leader: tutor

Bluestocking: A lady with an unfashionable interest in books and learning.

blunt: money

bottom: someone that has courage and can take a beating.


cattle: horses

chit: a young unexceptional girl. (considered an insult)

coxcomb:a man full of himself, a conceited dandy. (considered an insult)

cut-direct: to turn your attention away from someone as if they did not exist. A public insult to a person considered beneath respect or acknowledgement.


dandy: a gentleman whose dress and appearance are his upmost concern.

debtor's prison: to be imprisoned for owing debt until that debt was paid.

debutante: a young woman making a formal entry into society.

driving to the inch: a superb driver. One who could control their team of horses' gait, judge distance and with precision guide their horses through narrow passages, around corners or obstructions.


fop: a man preoccupied with and often vain about his clothes and manners. (considered an insult)

flushed with funds: a person with money.


Gossipmonger: one who gossips

green girl: an inexperienced/naive girl


haymarket ware: prostitute. (considered an insult)

heir-apparent: an heir whose legal right to receive property, money, or title cannot be taken away because it is impossible for somebody with a stronger claim to be born.

high in the instep: arrogant. A stickler for society rules.

Holland covers: sheets placed over furniture when rooms are not being used; usually when a house is being closed for a period of time.


impressment: the act or policy of seizing people or property for public service or use.

in the petticoat line: a man who has affairs.


marriage mart: otherwise known as the Season. The time from April-June when Parliament is in full session and noble families gather in London to hosts balls and events to contract marriages for their children.

mushroom: someone who pops up out of nowhere and claims nobility.


Nonesuch: A person unequalled. There is none such as he.


on dit: gossip

on the shelf: a lady past her prime for marriage.


parson's noose: marriage

plant a facer: to hit someone in the face.

plump in the pocket: to have ready money available.

P.P.C: an abbreviation for the French phrase "pour prendage conge." The letters were written on a person's calling card when they wanted to communicate that they were temporarily leaving the area.

purchased by the yard: books purchased by the yard to fill library shelves to impress guests with the volume of a collection; versus purchasing to satisfy the owner's pleasure and interest.


rake: a man who enjoys bachelorhood through drink, gaming, and bedding women.

romp: a forward girl.


salad days: the time when a gentleman was young and inexperienced.

soiled goods: a lady who lost her virginity without benefit of marriage.

smelling of April and May: madly in love.

swell :an upperclass/fashionable gentleman


tidbit: a morsel of gossip

to draw his cork: to give someone a bloody nose

ton: upper echelons of society; comes from the French word meaning "style." Members of the peerage who had good breeding, manners, and style were considered bon ton (good ton).

tot: a small amount of strong liquor.


vowels: I.O.U. a signed piece of paper acknowledging a debt


watering pot: crier