So, I have been spending way to much time doing research on what is essentially a fantasy series. But, hey, for steampunk to feel real to me, there has to be a bit of Victorian accuracy! I’ve scoured websites, read books like How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman, and visited dusty museums. Plus, researching Victorian swear words or hairstyles or gentleman’s clubs is a great procrastination tool. Knowing things can never hurt.
And so I bring you a bit of fun: some popular terms from the 19th century that I think should be re-instated. Most of these tidbits today come from Marc McCutcheon’s Everyday Life in the 1800s, but a couple were things picked up on the web.
Boodle, meaning a crowd. How fun is that to say? Try it five times fast.
Blazes, taking the place of “hell” or “the devil”. I am the youngest of six kids, and was unplanned. My parents are up there in age. My father, at 93 now, has been heard to say, What in the blazes is wrong with you? He also uses other terms for the devil that ticked on over from Victorian times, like Sam Hill, dickens, thunder and the expression Dad blame it!.
Crinkum-Crankum, female genitals. I think I’m going to start using this with my kids (instead of the French slang, zizi). I hate bicycle seats. My crinkum-crankum is killing me.
Fix one’s flint, to settle something. I’ll fix his flint, and good.
Pucker, to be annoyed or upset. I love this one because you can see it. Old Mrs. Meanie was in a right pucker that we’d trampled her grass.
Sauce Box, meaning your mouth. Shut your sauce box, would you?
Skeery, to be afraid or apprehensive. Another one that’s just fun to say, probably a mutation of scary. It’s getting dark outside and I’m feeling kind of skeery.