How well do you know Victorian era slang?

By: Annette
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

There are some Victorian-era gems that are not used by the public today and would sound odd in conversation. Test your knowledge of what these arcane​ terms really mean!

When you tell someone to shut their "sauce-box," what are you saying?

The sauce-box is the mouth. This means you can say to someone: "You have a dirty sauce-box."

What happened when you leave the tavern​ half-rats?

To be half-rats is to be half drunk. If you're full-rats, then you have a situation on your hands.

When someone is "not up to dick," what should you do?

Someone is not feeling well when they're not up to dick. Send them a card.

Is it true that Casanova was a gal-sneaker?

A gal-sneaker is devoted to seduction. Or at least they were in 1870.

When you're staring at someone's parish pick-axe, what are you looking at?

A large nose is a parish pick-axe. Never has a big schnoz sounded so cool.

What is a Victorian word for hands?

Daddles refers to, of all things, your hands. Such a fun word for such a basic subject. Tip us your daddle!

What happens when you cop a mouse?

Copping a mouse means getting a black eye. To cop is to catch or suffer.

If a boozer scorns your love of cat-lap, what is he referring to?

Those how love beer and spirits are scornful of those who love cat-lap, referring to tea and coffee.

If you want to satirically refer to enthusiasm, what would you call it?

If you refer to enthusiasm as "enthuzimuzzy," you have lost your love of the world.

When you bemoan your fly rink, what are you referring to?

A fly rink is a bald head, circa 1875. The reason for this certainly sparks the imagination.

If you're caught wearing gas-pipes, what are you wearing?

No one wants to wear gas-pipes. They're uncomfortable and entirely out of fashion. Take note.

What are the jammiest bits of jam?

In 1883, perfect young females were referred to as the jammiest bits of jam. Lionel Richie would call such a woman a "brick house."

If you're mafficking in the streets after a football game, what are you doing?

Mafficking in the streets can get you in trouble, so go maffick somewhere else.

That preposterous thing you just said is enough to do what?

Something absolutely preposterous could make a stuffed bird laugh. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

What does it mean when something is "nanty narking" at the tavern?

The next time you're having a blast at the pub, be sure to comment upon the nanty narking.

What is the meaning of the term "afternoonified"?

High society used the term to refer to things that were smart, or well-presented. For instance, a desirable object in a shop window was referred​ to as "afternoonified."

What happens when you batty-fang something?

This low London phrase refers to thrashing or beating something. It probably comes from the French 'battre'.

If you complain of "orf chump," what is your problem?

"Orf chump" refers to having no appetite.

When you're blushing because you're poked up, what happened?

When you're embarrassed, you're poked up. Yes, the term sounds more scandalous than it really is.

When it rains, you better pull out which of these that refers to an umbrella?

Your rain-napper will protect you when the heavens start to pour.

What has happened when you have smothered a parrot?

Drinking absinthe neat -- with no ice -- is smothering a parrot. This is in reference to the green color of the drink.

What happens when you take the egg?

Taking the egg is winning. That first-prize science project of yours just took the egg.

Who are the whooperups of the world?

Whooperups are bad, noisy singers. These days, you can find them at Karaoke bars.

Who are the arfarfan'arfs in the corner there?

Drunken men were called arfarfan'arfs because "arfs" are half-pints of booze.

If you're a nineteenth-century​ sailor on a benjo, what are you doing?

A benjo is a riotous holiday, or a noisy day in the streets. You don't have to be a sailor to go on a benjo.

Who is the church-bell that you need to avoid?

A church-bell is a woman that talks too much. There are many church-bells at church.

What are you doing when caught "kruger-spoofing"?

Kruger-spoofing is lying. Who's Kruger?

Why is a nose-bagger so annoying?

As funny as it seems, a nose-bagger is someone who takes a day trip to the beach, but doesn't buy anything. He brings his own stuff. Kind of like the person who smuggles food into the movies.

What is another way of describing a gigglemug?

That friendly lady who always greets you at the supermarket has a gigglemug. Smile back, if you're friendly.

What should you do when someone wants to shake a flannin with you?

You're going to shake a flannin when you get into a fight. It's appropriate to shake a flannin at a pub -- or not.

When someone tells you that they "umble-cum-stumble," what do they mean?

"Umble-cum-stumble" is low class, but it still sounds cool. It's a variation on "under-cum-stumble." Do you understand?

What does it mean to be "mad as hops"?

To be mad as hops is to be excitable, and probably refers to beer hops.

Is it a good idea to be powdering your hair on a Saturday night?

Powdering your hair is getting drunk, and it's perfectly appropriate on a Saturday night -- if you're not driving.

When you're being called a meater, what does that mean?

A meater is a coward. This is a street term, and not very amusing.

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