WRITING GEORGIAN STYLE: A QUIZ

I am just completing what I hope will be the final, pre-submission, edit of “The Formidable Mrs Elizabeth Darcy” and one of the tasks I’ve set myself is to cull all those words and phrases which no character of 1802 would ever have used. Morning-dress-Ackermanns-ca1820This proved more difficult than I anticipated involving much reference to (amongst others) “The Cassell Dictionary of Slang” and http://www.etymonline.com. Having done this I thought it might be fun to give those of you writing Georgian-era tales a chance to see just how clued-up you are on the words and phrases that are a no-no (or a yes-yes) in England of 1802.

So which of the following words and phrases could be used in a story set in 1802? I’ll give the answers in my next blog post. Have fun and good luck!

  1. Agent provocateur:                                     used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                          (as in ‘I wish you to act as an agent provocateur and raise the mob in rebellion’)
  1. Spy:                                                                    used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                   (as in ‘Gaston was suspected of being one of Napoleon’s spies’)
  1. Yokel:                                                                 used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                  (as in ‘She possessed all the grace and manners of a village yokel’)
  1. Bedrock:                                                            used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                 (as in ‘Loyalty to the King is the bedrock of our society’)
  1. Blindside:                                                          used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                 (as in ‘His attacker came from behind, blindsiding him’)
  1. Snob:                                                                    used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                 (as in ‘Sir Percy was an arrogant man, a real snob’)
  1. Standby:                                                              used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                (as in ‘Elizabeth reached for that conversational standby, the weather’)
  1. Upstage:                                                               used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘Elizabeth wore her plainest gown, not wishing to upstage the other ladies’)
  1. Stage-struck:                                                      used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘I’ve always wished to an actor, being stage-struck from an early age’)
  1. Scuttlebutt:                                                         used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘These rumors of invasion  are nothing more than pernicious scuttlebutt’)
  1. Femme fatale:                                                    used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘Wearing her gown sans-chemise she looked the femme fatale of legend’)
  1. Mores:                                                                   used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘When in Paris one must adopt the mores of the Frogs’)
  1. Goal:                                                                       used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘Our goal must be nothing less than the defeat of Napoleon’)  
  1. Dutch courage:                                                  used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘The stench of brandy on his breath signaled he had sought a little Dutch courage’)
  1. Sang-froid:                                                           used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘Darcy was unperturbed by the threat, his sang-froid unruffled’)
  1. Red-handed:                                                        used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘The butler was caught red-handed, stealing form the cash-box’)                  
  1. Light-fingered:                                                  used pre-1802?                  Yes/No             (as in ‘She is a light-fingered girl, much given to thieving’) 
  1. Vendetta:                                                               used pre-1802?                  Yes/No             (as in ‘This is more than simple dislike, it smacks of a vendetta’)
  1. Proletariat:                                                         used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in “I will have nothing to do with the proletariat, they have neither breeding nor manners’)
  1. Hoi polloi:                                                            used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘I will have nothing to do with the hoi polloi, they have neither breeding nor manners’)
  1. Itinerary:                                                              used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘Bingley has changed his itinerary and gone to Paris rather than Rome’)
  1. Deadlock:                                                              used pre-1802?                 Yes/No             (as in ‘Our army is deadlocked in its struggle with the French’)
  1. Stand-off:                                                              used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘The French and English armies are in something of a stand-off’)
  1. Impasse:                                                              used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                (as in ‘Negotiations with the French regarding Malta have reached impasse’)
  1. Sham:                                                                    used pre-1802?                 Yes/No               (as in ‘Her marriage was a put-up affair, nothing more than a sham’)             
  1. Transfix:                                                             used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                (as in ‘Elizabeth stood stock-still, transfixed by the pistol pointed at her’)            
  1. Grouch:                                                               used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                (as in ‘Susan did not much care for Darcy, judging him an ill-natured grouch’)
  1. The game is afoot:                                           used pre-1802?                 Yes/No                (as in ‘Bring your pistols, Darcy, the game is afoot’)
  1. Pedestrian:                                                           used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘The pavements of London were crammed with pedestrians)
  1. Bric-a-brac:                                                         used pre-1802?                 Yes/No              (as in ‘Lydia’s box was crammed with a miscellany of bric-a-brac)                          download
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2 thoughts on “WRITING GEORGIAN STYLE: A QUIZ”

  1. Such an interesting challenge you have here. I can’t guess as to which words were used in 1802 and which were not – I don’t know – but it’s fascinating to read your list. Can’t wait for the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am finding the selection of vocabulary one of the most challenging things about writing Georgian/ Regency fiction. It was fun for me to put this list together! 🙂 Hope you enjoy the continuation.

      Like

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