Thursday, October 6, 2011

How People Spoke in Regency England

A wonderful post from History and Other Thoughts.
I'm a huge fan of Georgette Heyer's books and one of the things I love the most about them is the way the characters talk. Heyer makes them speak just like people in the Regency era, where her stories are set, spoke and thus use words and expressions that are now forgotten or rarely used. But if you are just starting reading her books, the language may confuse you and leave you feeling puzzled. While with some words it's easy to infer their meaning, with others it's just impossible to make out what they mean. That's why I decided to put together this little vocabulary with a few popular words commonly used in the Regency era and if you like it, I may write more posts like this in the future. Let's get started then:

Apes leader: an old maid or a spinster.

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.

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.

Foxed: tipsy, drunk.

Fustian: bombast, pompous language, pretentious speech. (Read entire post.)


Gio said...

Thank you so much for the link!

Victoria said...

How interesting! I'm rather proud of my ability to read archaic language, but there were a lot there that I didn't know. Thanks for posting this! It's always so much fun to learn new words.

- Victoria (