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Friday, November 14, 2008

Freestyle Friday - 19th Century Slang


I remember saying some time ago that I'd post tidbits of 19th century slang from time to time, in the spirit of my steampunk urban fantasy novel in progress. I've been totally remiss in following through on that promise. So just for giggles, I'll post some today.

Growlers -- Saloon owners in the late 1800s used to dispense beer in two-quart buckets and cans they called Growlers. It was meant to be consumed by working men on the job, and by men and women in the tenements. It's speculated that the word derived from the sound the can made as it was slid across the bar. The second definition for Growler is a mean dog or a wrestler. In London a Growler defined a taxi driver due to their surly personality.

Rusher or Lush Trotter -- These were young boys and girls hired to rush the Growlers to the saloon's customers.

Cheese it! -- We've all heard this one, but do you know where it comes from? It's a British cant that made it's way to New York in the early 1800s and means Stop it! or Look out! It's believed the term is derived from the old custom of eating a bit of cheese to conclude a meal. It's also thought to be an alliteration of Cease it!

Masher -- A man who flirts with young women.

Chippy chaser -- A man who dresses to impress women and lies in wait for a young shop girl or school children. Syn. - creep

Flashman -- A man with no visible means of making a living, yet he wears fancy clothes and jewelry. He lives by his wits and is a swindler of the innocent. You'll find him wherever there are groups of women and social events.

Owl Wagon -- Late night lunch wagon on wheels.

2 comments:

Just_Me said...

That amuses me. :o) And this late at night, I need a laugh.

Thank you.

Karen Duvall said...

Good! Glad I could bring you a chuckle. 8^)