Wednesday Writing — The Letter A. #VictorianSlang

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Speak Chuckaboo by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene


Belated Happy Anniversary… to me

Welcome, my chuckaboos!  Yes, I’m in a Victorian state of mind.  Many of you will remember that “chuckaboo” was slang in that era for a dear friend. 

I don’t talk about the details of this, so I don’t often mention it.  However, September holds two very personal anniversaries for me. September 12th is the anniversary of something on which my life, quite literally depended.  Though it happened five years later, the 13th is the anniversary of something that allowed that life to move forward and continue. 

So why am I blogging about something I don’t talk about?  Victorians were big on anniversaries.  For a bit of fun, and a sort of celebration, I’m posting the “A” section from my recently released Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras.”  Maybe you romance lovers can guess what “amorous congress” means.  You might want to get your fan ready…  Although I doubt anyone will guess what “ammunitons” were!

I won’t be sharing any more sections of my book.  However, purchase links are at the end of this post.

James_Tissot_The_Fan 1875 Wikipedia
The Fan, James Tissot, 1875 Wikipedia

A lick and a promise:  To do something haphazardly. “He only gave it a lick and a promise.”

Abaddon:  A thief who informs on his fellow rogues.  It comes from the Hebrew Abaddon, a destroyer.  1810-1880.

Abbess:  A woman who runs a house of prostitution.  A brothel madam.

Abbot:  The husband, or preferred man of an abbess.

Abligurition:  Pronounced ah-blig-yoo-RISH-uhn.  The act of spending excessive amounts of money on fine foods.

Ab-natural:  Supernatural.

Abnegate:  To retract, deny, recant, or relinquish — usually emphatically.

Absquatulate:  To take leave, to disappear.  “A can of oysters was discovered in our office by a friend, and he absquatulated with it, and left us with our mouths watering.” 1843.

Ace-high:  First class, respected.

According to Hoyle:  Correct, by the book.

Acknowledge the corn:  To admit the truth, to confess; to acknowledge one’s own obvious lie or shortcoming.  “Jim acknowledged the corn, and said that he was drunk.” 1840.

Ack-ruffians:  Rogues who in conjunction with watermen sometimes rob and murder on the water.  Also, ack pirates.

Across lots:  To push on straight through despite obstacles.  “I came across lots from Uncle Bill’s and I got caught in those pesky blackberry bushes.” 1869.

Admiral of the red:  A person whose very red face evinces a fondness for strong liquor.

Aeronef:  A heavier than air flying machine, an airplane or gyrocopter.

Aerostat:  A lighter than air vehicle or craft, a hot air balloon or a dirigible.

Afternoonified:  A society word meaning smart or posh.  “The food is not afternoonified enough for me.”

Agony of bliss:  An orgasm.

Ague:  Any fever that recurs at regular intervals.  For example, malaria.

Algerine:  A pirate.

Alienist:  A physician specializing in treating mental disorders, a psychiatrist.

All creation:  Everything or everybody.  Also, all nature, or all wrath.

All-fired:  The same as hell-fired.  “In my opinion, Don Jones would make an all-fired good deacon.” 1852.

All on one stick:  A conglomeration or combination.  “He kept a kind of hotel and grocery store, all on one stick, as we say.” 1830.

All-overish:  Neither sick nor well, uncomfortable.  The premonitory symptoms of illness.  Also, the feeling which comes over a man at a critical moment, say just when he is about to “pop the question.” Sometimes this is called, “feeling all-over alike, and touching nowhere.”

Allow:  To admit; to be of the opinion.

All possessed:  Like someone or something possessed by the devil.

All to pieces:  Completely; absolutely.  “I know him all to pieces,” Tim said.

Almighty:  Huge.  “I felt almighty sad.” 1848.

Amalgamation:  The mixing of blacks and whites.

Amorous congress:  To engage in amorous congress is to have sex.

Ammunitions:  Boots.

Analytical engine:  A purely mechanical steampunk computer.  Also known as a difference engine or a Babbage engine.

Anglewitch:  Anything used as fishing bait, particularly worms.

Anointing:  A good beating.  Also, when salve is applied to an injury.

Anti-fogmatic:  Raw rum or whiskey.

Ape Leader:  An old maid.

Apple Lady:  Hard cider.  USA 1860s.

Arbor vitae:  A phallus, penis.

Arbuckle’s:  Coffee.  From a popular brand of the time.

Arfarfan’arf:  A figure of speech used to describe drunken men.  “He’s very arf-arf-an’arf,” meaning he has had many “arfs,” or half-pints of booze.

Area diving:  Method of theft that necessitates sneaking down area steps, and stealing from the lower rooms of houses.

Aristocratic indulgence included dining during the Victorian Era.  The economic prosperity of the 19th century projected many into the middle and upper classes.  With that newfound status came the wish to show off one’s wealth.  It became central to the social season.  Dinner parties in particular became complex rituals.  The setting was lit and decorated.  Attention was given to every detail of serving and dining.  Food and drink were offered in excess.  At least for the wealthy.

Arkansas toothpick:  A long knife.  Also known as a California or Missouri toothpick.

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras, by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

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Back in the days of steam engines and mannerly people, a chuckaboo was one’s dear friend.  This volume contains slang from the Victorian Era, as well as the Steam Era, which began before the reign of Queen Victoria, and continued into the early 1900s.  It combines language from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Steam Eras because there was a great deal of overlap.

This slang dictionary also contains a sprinkling of vocabulary words of those eras, which have fallen out of use, along with some history and trivia. Have fun speaking chuckaboo.  You’re positively rum ti tum with the chill off!  Simply hunky dory.

Universal Purchase Links



♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks for visiting. It’s all beer and skittles when you’re here.  Hugs on the wing!


Copyright © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


51 thoughts on “Wednesday Writing — The Letter A. #VictorianSlang

  1. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Thank you for this delightful episode. Speaking a new language, a really delightful experience.. Each time in history brings is new experiences, words and language. Thank you for this new part of the story, really very original always.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh really? Now that’s extremely interesting, Resa. I’ve never heard that.
      Actually, I left out an entry explaining that “Ack” was used to indicate distaste, dismay or alarm at something. So, maybe the acks are related, if the street artists are using “ack” to indicate they are going against convention, or social rules…. I’m just speculating.
      Thanks so much for this mindful comment. Hugs winging back to you.


  2. Like some of the others here, I’m sadly familiar with several of these terms and actually use them, too! I’d better read the rest of the book now to see what other archaic language I know. There is something fascinating about these definitions! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s wonderful to see you, Alex. LOL, I’m saying that the ones we might still use today have more to do with regions than our age! 😀 Actually, I’m more serious about than joking. Certain terms (slang and regular vocabulary) hand on in different areas. Years ago, I had a client from New Zealand who used some of the same words I used (when my hillbilly vocabulary slipped out).
      It means a lot to me that you got Speak Chuckaboo. Thank you very much, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see you, Barbara. Some of that slang is still around in various places. In my writing, I often look up phrases to make sure they had been “coined” by/before the era of my story. Today I was about to use the phrase “doesn’t hold a candle to” and wondered if they said that as far back as the 1920s. I found it had been used at least since the 1600s. Have a great rest of the week. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, John. LOL, that was my reaction too. That era produced the craziest terms for anything related to sex or “private parts.” There were so many about breasts that I found an humorous antique photo of a group of women looking town at theirs, which I used at the beginning of the letter B. I probably should have listed the book as humor! Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuchaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Just Olga and commented:
    Teagan Geneviene​ celebrates some important anniversaries by sharing the first chapter of her wonderfully witty book Speak Chuckaboo, a must for writers, researchers, and anybody who loves language.

    Liked by 3 people

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