Nanty Narking and Word-mongering by Ruth Fitzgerald

victorian-parade-silhouette-clipart.jpgThis week I have been doing lots of fun reading in the name of research. I must admit that the line between research and procrastination gets a bit blurred at times, particularly since I’ve started reading about 19th Century slang. The Victorians had some wonderfully descriptive words. I am on a one woman mission to re-instate a few. So have a butchers’ hook at my description of a typical afternoon in out crib.

My children are known to occasionally have an argolbargol (a row), and they can get especially heated if one implies the other is a wooden spoon (a stupid person – the wooden spoon was the lowest possible mathematical honour given at Cambridge. Personally, I’d be happy with any mathematical honour at Cambridge!)

Fortunately they never get to the stage where ‘auctioneers’ are raised. (Auctioneers = fists – Because an auctioneer ‘knocks down’!)

Things always tend to calm down at tea-time, though and I make sure they have a lovely meal. Perhaps a bag o’ mystery (a sausage! Self-explanatory) or maybe some fried carpet (fish and chips from a street vendor – a comment on the state of the fish!) or a Saturday pie (so called because it contained all the leftovers from the week!).

Maybe we should give up on the cooking and just have some Dr Crippen (bread and dripping) or some bald headed butter (butter which, happily, has not been contaminated by human hair!) and we definitely wouldn’t want any Thames butter (butter contaminated with mud!) In fact that would be enough to give you a right mully grub (stomach ache). Then, if they still felt like snapping (eating), I could offer them a hokey pokey (a small ice-cream) and then they could put it in their potato trap (mouth) and I could put my plates of meat up have a nice cup of Rosie-Lee (you know those two!)

Yes, Victorian words were so much more descriptive. Unfortunately I seem to have spent a whole day reading them instead of writing – so enough of this nanty narking and word-mongering. I’d better get back to the writing before my agent gets the rot-funks!


(I found most of these in ’Passing English of the Victorian Era’ by James Redding Ware and ‘Victorian Slang’ by Patrick Chapman)


3 thoughts on “Nanty Narking and Word-mongering by Ruth Fitzgerald

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