56 Quick Slang Phrases From Victorian England That We Should Start Using Again

Snapshots of The Past
Snapshots of The Past
Hey, I got a question for you: Ever established a funk while narking the titter? How about shake a flannin—ever do that after too many tiddle-a-winks? I bet you don’t even umble-cum-stumble me. So typical. Oh, and let’s bring these phrases back.

1. Afternoonified – smart, for society people.

2. Arfarfan’arf – what we’d call a drunk man.

3. “Bags o’ mystery” – sausages (naturally).

4. Bootlicker – ass-licker.

5. “Bow bow mutton” – very bad meat, so much so that “it might be dog flesh.” i.e. a McDonald’s hamburger.

6. “Butter upon bacon” – extravagance, luxury.

7. Chuckaboo – your BFF.

8. Collie Shangles – squabbles or quarrels.

9. “Doing the bear” – flirting with someone via hugging, or how a dude with little game might court a woman.

10. “Don’t sell me a dog!” – “Don’t lie to me!”

Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

11. Fly rink – “a polished bald head.” Think: Moby.

12. Gal-sneakers – men “devoted to seduction.” I don’t believe they make those anymore.

13. Gigglemug – Constantly smiling. Like the current-day “meanmug,” minus the mean, plus the giggle.

14. “Jammiest bits of jam” – “Absolutely perfect young females,” or the Victorian era’s version of Beyonce’s “Flawless.”

15. Mafficking – To get rowdy in the streets.

16. “Mind the grease” – “Excuse me! Coming through!”

17. Mutton shunter – A policeman.

18. “Not up to dick” – “Not feeling well.”

19. Podsnappery – Someone who ignores the objectionable, while assuming an air of superiority. Basically, an asshole.

20. “Powdering hair” – “Getting crunk.”

Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

21. “Shake a flannin” – “To fight.”

22. Skilamalink – shady or dubious.

23. Umble-cum-stumble – thoroughly understood.

24. “To be ran-tan” – “To be black-out.”

25. “Bang up to the elephant” – “Perfect, complete, and unapproachable.”

26. “A basket of oranges” – “A pretty woman.”

27. Barn-stormers – shitty actors who play in barns, or the modern-day Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.

28. “Bit o’ pooh” – “Flattery—generally said of courtship—obtained very oddly.”

29. Bo-peep – fun!

30. “To establish a funk” – “To panic.”

31. “Hang up the ladle” – “To marry,” or to do what all of my Facebook friends are currently doing.

32. Klondyke – mad; a nut.

33. Lickfinger/lick-spittle – kiss-ass.

34. “Mewling quim” – literally translates to “a whimpering vagina.” Or, what we’d call a wuss.

35. “Nark the titter” – “Watch the woman.” “Titter” was apparently a derogatory term for women.

Snapshots of The Past
Snapshots of The Past

36. “Nice joint” – “Charming, if over-pronounced, young person.”

37. “Orf his chump” – “Mad, cranky.”

38. Physic-bottle – “A doctor.”

39. Pickled dog – what one might call a cheating ex-boyfriend.

40. Popsy wopsy – a smiling, doll-like, and pretty girl.

41. ‘Pon my life – a wife.

42. Quim – literally translates to vagina fluids.

43. “Screaming gin and ignorance” – “Bad newspaper writing.”

44. Schlemozzle – a riot, quarrel, or noise of any kind.

45. Scrunging – stealing unripe apples and pears.

46. Senal pervitude – penal servitude.

47. Shant of bivvy – a pint of beer.

48. “Shake a flannin” – “To fight.”


49. “Sling a slobber” – [the greatest definition ever] “To kiss, or rather sling a kiss—the salute itself being the slobber.”

50. “Slosh the burick” – “Beating the wife.”

51. Strumpet – whore

52. “To snuff a bloke’s candle” – “To murder a man.”

53. Thames butter – very bad butter.

54. “Toast your blooming eyebrows” – a nice way of telling a man to go fuck himself.

55. Tiddle-a-wink – a drink.

56. “Tot-hunting” – “Scouring the streets in search of pretty girls.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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