A society word meaning “smart.” Forrester demonstrates the usage: “The goods are not ‘afternoonified’ enough for me.”
A figure of speech used to describe drunken men. “He’s very arf’arf’an’arf,” Forrester writes, “meaning he has had many ‘arfs,’” or half-pints of booze.
- BACK SLANG IT
Thieves used this term to indicate that they wanted “to go out the back way.”
-BAGS O’ MYSTERY
An 1850 term for sausages, “because no man but the maker knows what is in them. … The ‘bag’ refers to the gut which contained the chopped meat.”
- BANG UP TO THE ELEPHANT
This phrase originated in London in 1882, and means “perfect, complete, unapproachable.”
Low London phrase meaning “to thrash thoroughly,” possibly from the French battre a fin.
Nineteenth century sailor slang for “A riotous holiday, a noisy day in the streets.”
- BOW WOW MUTTON
A naval term referring to meat so bad “it might be dog flesh.”
Brave or fearless. “Adroit after the manner of a brick,” Forrester writes, “said even of the other sex, ‘What a bricky girl she is.’”
- BUBBLE AROUND
A verbal attack, generally made via the press. Forrester cites The Golden Butterfly: “I will back a first-class British subject for bubbling around against all humanity.”
-BUTTER UPON BACON
Extravagance. Too much extravagance. “Are you going to put lace over the feather, isn’t that rather butter upon bacon?”
A London society term for tea and coffee “used scornfully by drinkers of beer and strong waters … in club-life is one of the more ignominious names given to champagne by men who prefer stronger liquors.”
A talkative woman.
A nickname given to a close friend.
- COLLIE SHANGLES
Quarrels. A term from Queen Victoria’s journal, More Leaves, published in 1884: “At five minutes to eleven rode off with Beatrice, good Sharp going with us, and having occasional collie shangles (a Scottish word for quarrels or rows, but taken from fights between dogs) with collies when we came near cottages.”
-COP A MOUSE
To get a black eye. “Cop in this sense is to catch or suffer,” Forrester writers, “while the colour of the obligation at its worst suggests the colour and size of the innocent animal named.”
A delightful way to refer to your rather boring hands.
This creative cuss is a contraction of “damned if I know.”