Oh, how I love Regency era terms. Much of the words from the time period seem like fluff and nonsense, but understanding the meanings reveals a colorful language. A language now dead, because I don’t see anyone saying things like “raise a breeze” or “faradiddles,” but its remembered nonetheless in Regency romances. And, oh, how I wish I could approach someone I dislike and call them a “popinjay.”
One of my favorite things to include in my manuscripts are insults from the era. I have loads of fun when I have my characters hurling quip after quip at each other. And scenes with name-calling, wonderful!
Here’s a few insults from the Regency, definitions included. Feel free to borrow a few and pocket them for your next fight.
Rattleplate: A silly person, a fool.
Windsucker: A bore, someone who is very droll.
Beneath my touch: To not be considered adequate, not good enough.
Darken one’s daylights: To give a black eye.
Wish someone at Jericho: Having someone in the way.
Bag of moonshine: Nonsense. Lies.
A flat: Someone who is foolish, falls into trickery easily.
Queer as Dick’s hatband: To look ill.
A lightskirt: A prostitute, an easy woman.
Dicked in the nob: Someone who is crazy.
Peagoose: A silly person. Usually used in reference to women.
An ape leader: A spinster, an old maid, a woman beyond the age of marriage.
Whey-faced: Ugly, unattractive.
Cow-handed: Clumsy, inept, graceless.
Bumble-broth: To ruin things, to jumble a situation.
A loose fish: Someone who is untrustworthy.
Bracket-faced: Ugly, hideous, hard of feature.
Popinjays: Twits, idiots.
A vulgar mushroom: A member of the new rich.
Dandiprat: An insignificant fellow.
A tabby: Again, an old maid.
Bacon-brained: Someone who is ridiculous, silly, foolish.
A wet goose: Someone who is stupid, silly, or naïve.
A dowdy: A plain girl with no sense of fashion.
Peep-of-day boy: Someone never up to any good, a mischievous person.
Widgeon: An unintelligent woman.