Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jane Austen Etiquette and Lexicon

I rarely read novels. And by "rarely," I mean I read one every 10 or 20 years. I do read daily, but I read for research, from my old etiquette books and news archives. A few years ago, when I finally decided to read Jane Austen's, "Sense and Sensibility," I was often looking up many of the words and phrases, so I listed them and created  the Georgian and Regency Era Lexicon below.

Alacrity: briskness

Apes leader: an old maid or a spinster

Assiduities: persistent personal attentions

Banditti: wild outlaws, bandits

Bartholomew Baby: a person dressed up in a tawdry manner, like the dolls sold at the Bartholomew Fair (a two-week festival celebrating the Feast of St. Bartholomew)

Batman: an orderly assigned to a military officer

Bear leader: A travelling tutor, who leads his charges as if they were trained bears

Bedlam: An insane asylum in London. The full name was the "Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem"

Bit o'muslin: woman of who gives sexual favors in exchange for payment

Bluestocking: an academic female

Bonomi: Ignatius Bonomi, a well known architect at the time

Bowling Green: grassy lawn where game of ninepins could be played

Brook: put up with something painful or difficult

Casino: point-scoring card game in which players combine cards exposed on the table with the cards in their hands, the 10 of diamonds being the highest-valued card

Cavil: a trivial objectionConjurer: someone who draws astute conclusions

Colicky gout: abdominal pain and swollen joints, especially the toes and feet

Consequences: a pencil-and-paper game for several players, in which each player adds a line of a story without knowing with the previous lines are. The resulting stories are incongruous and humorous

Consumption: a wasting away, a bout of tuberculosis

Corinthian: a dandy, a fashionable man, who is also good at sports. It can also mean "a rake." But originally it meant profligate and derived from the elegant but dissipated lifestyle led in Ancient Corinth.

Coxcomb: a conceited and vain person. In origin, it meant "fool" as fools used to wear caps with bells and a piece of red cloth on top which was shaped like a cock's comb

Covert: a thicket providing cover for game

Cry rope on someone: give them away, to tell secrets

Curricle: a light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses, side by side

Dilatoriness: slowness, procrastination

Direction: return address

Douceur: pleasantry

Dovecote: small house or box with compartments for nesting doves or pigeons

Drive unicorn: to drive a vehicle with three horses, one in front and the other 2 behind

Drury Lane: general term for the Theatre Royal; street were the London playhouse is located

Ebullition: a sudden outburst, as of emotion

Enclosure: common land, previously used by everyone, this is fenced in by the landowner so that others can't use his land for pasture or gathering fuel

Exeter Exchange: a wild animal exhibit

Exigence: exigency; urgency

Foxed: tipsy, drunk

Flying one's colors: blushing

Frank: a piece of mail marked with an official signature, so that it can be mailed for free

Fudge: a false rumor

Fustian: bombast, pompous language, pretentious speech

Gammon: nonsense (noun), to deceive or lie (verb)

Gigs: light, open, two wheeled carriages

Glebe: church land to be used by the rector

Green Girl: a girl who is young and inexperienced

Gudgeon: it derives from the name of a fish that gets easily caught and means someone who is easily duped or imposed upon

Hackney Coach:  a coach kept for hire; especially a four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses and having seats for six persons

Had as lief: would just as soon, would just as readily or willingly

Hard by: nearby or near by

Hartshorn: smelling salts or spirits

Huswifes: pocket cases for needles, pins, thread and scissors, forerunner of "housewife"

Illiberal: narrow minded; bigoted

Importune: troublesome; overly persistent in request or demand

Incommode: inconvenience, disturb

Inferiority of parts: lack of talent or capabilities

"To be well received, you must always be circumspect at table, where it is exceedingly rude, to scratch any part of your body, to spit, or blow your nose, (if you can't avoid it, turn your head,) to eat greedily, to lean your elbows on the table, to sit too far from it, to pick your teeth before the dishes are removed, or leave the table before grace is said." ~ John Tusler 1791

Knowing: fashionable

La Boulangere: a simple circle dance for a group of couples

Jarvey: driver of a hackney coach

Jointure: settlement to a wife from her husband throughout her life, which will then transfer to her children

Lush some slop: to drink some tea

Michaelmas: September 29th, the feast in honor of Saint Michael. One tradition is that if a young lady finds the ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie, she will soon marry.

Mohurs: 19th & 20th century gold coins used in British India

Moiety: one of two parts, not necessarily equal

Nabob: it comes from the Hindustani word "nawab" which was the name for the ruler in the Mogul Empire and means a rich man, a person of great wealth and prominence, especially one who made his fortune in India.

Natural child: child born out of wedlock

Nonpareil: a leader of fashion. Also known as a nonesuch

Nuncheon: also "nunchion," a light, noon drink or snack, forerunner of the word "luncheon"

Offices: parts of the house in which servants work

Open weather: mild and free from frost

Palanquins: enclosed litters borne on the shoulders of men by means of poles

Pall-Mall: main thoroughfare in the Saint James district of London

Pinkest of the Pinks: a very fashionable man

Piquet: a card game for two players, with 32 cards

Porter: a dark brown beer made from charred or brown malt

Post-Horses: horses used or kept at inns, or post-houses, for use by mail-riders, or for hire by travelers

Public School: in England it is a private school

Queen Mab: Queen of the fairies in English literature

Red-Gum: swelling and redness due to teething

Retailed: repeated

Reticule: a woman's handbag closed with a draw string.

Round Game: game, as in cards, on which each plays on his or her own account

Rubber: session or round of playing a card game

Se’enight: similar to “fortnight,” except se’enight was short for seven nights, or one week’s time.

Serviley: in the manner of a slave

Snuff: a powdered, often scented, tobacco that was taken into the nose. It was usually carried around in small and decorated boxes

Sponging House: debtors' quarters before being taken to jail.

Stewponds: fishponds

Temple: one of two sets of buildings in London's Inns of Court, which served as residences for lawyers and law students

Town Tabby: an aristocratic dowager

Two-penny post: In 1801, the charge for mailing letters locally went from one pence (a penny), to two

Whip Hand: upper hand, advantage (the hand that holds the whip controls the carriage or horse)

Whist: a card game in which two pairs of players try to take a majority of tricks, with the trump suit being determined by the last card dealt; a forerunner of bridge

Wooly bandits: wild sheep who steal picnic baskets

Work-bags: bags for needlework

Compiled by Site Editor, Maura J Graber

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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