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19th Century Manly Slang


The Art of ManlinessFrom The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man, an absolutely delightful “Dictionary of Manly 19th Century Vernacular.” Some of my faves:

Anointing: A good beating. A case for the application of salve.Blind Monkeys: An imaginary collection at the Zoological Gardens, which are supposed to receive care and attention from persons fitted by nature for such office and for little else. An idle and useless person is often told that he is only fit to lead the Blind Monkeys to evacuate. Another form this elegant conversation takes, is for one man to tell another that he knows of a suitable situation for him. “How much a week? and what to do?” are natural questions, and then comes the scathing and sarcastic reply, “Five bob a week at the doctor’s– you’re to stand behind the door and make the patients sick. They won’t want no physic when they sees your mug.”

Cupboard Love. Pretended love to the cook, or any other person, for the sake of a meal. My guts cry cupboard; i.e. I am hungry.

Earth Bath. A grave.

Fimble-Famble. A lame, prevaricating excuse.

Gentleman of Four Outs. When a vulgar, blustering fellow asserts that he is a gentleman, the retort generally is, ” Yes, a Gentleman Of Four Outs”–that is, without wit, without money, without credit, and without manners.

O’clock. “Like One O’clock,” a favorite comparison with the lower orders, implying briskness; otherwise “like winkin’.” “To know what’s O’clock” is to be wide-awake, sharp, and experienced.

Rumbumptious. Haughty, pugilistic.

Snotter, or Wipe-hauler. A pickpocket whose chief fancy is for gentlemen’s pocket-handkerchiefs.

Tune the Old Cow Died of. An epithet for any ill-played or discordant piece of music.


The Art of Manliness Dictionary of Manly 19th Century Vernacular

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One Response to “19th Century Manly Slang”

  1. Sam says:

    Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity,Guess I will just make this bookmarked

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