Misc, Writing

Slang of a Bygone Era- Colonial

Slang, colloquialisms, idioms. These are the myriad vagaries of language, accenting and highlighting culture and subculture. These are the things that make word-play fun, and enhance your writing.

Below are 13 slang words from Colonial times for your enjoyment! Try using some in your own works! Example sentences courtesy of the Jericho crew.


1.  Balum rancum (n)

a naked dance performed by prostitutes

The Horned Cat featured balum rancum dancers, clad only in the furry cat ears and tail, and the small horns that marked all of the jiix’baak.


2. Chirping merry (adj)

to be tipsy

You get ahold of furywine, you’ll be more than chirping merry, you’ll be out cold for a week.


3. Dance upon nothing (v)

to be hanged

You try and take advantage of the dancers or courtesans who don’t want your attention, you’ll be dancing upon nothing ‘ere the sun rises. The Jerachi protect their own.


4. Gilly gaupus (n)

a tall, awkward man

Shern is a gilly gaupus, stumbling over ‘is own feet, til you put him up on the stage. Then the awkwardness falls away.


5. Hatchet face (n)

a long, thin face

Gris loped into view, his sallow hatchet face ghoulish in the lantern-light.


6. Jolly nob (n)

the head

“You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the training masters or you’ll get a sharp whack to your jolly nob, son.”


7. Kettle of fish (n)

perplexing affair

Well, it’s a fine kettle of fish you’ve gotten us into! What were you thinking, insulting their leader like that for? Were you trying to get us killed?


8. Long-tongued (adj)

talkative; unable to keep a secret

Careful what you say around Joslyn. She’s a long-tongued one, she is.


9. Nutmegs (n)


“Oho, boyo. I know what you’re about. You wouldn’t come seeking my help unless your nutmegs were well and truly to the vise.”


10. Peppery (adj)

warm; passionate

“She’s a peppery dill, that one is. Leave you begging, she will.”


11. Queer bung (n)

an empty wallet

You’ll be left with a queer bung if you play foolish in the gaming houses.


12. Spider-shanked (adj)


Ol’ Spider-shanks makes a good Hunter. He’s quick and nimble; silent as shadow.


13. Under the rose (adj)

privately; secretly

“The Dragon’s meeting’s under the rose. Ya won’t be see’in ‘im anytime soon.”

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