10 Funny Vintage Slang Words People Should Start Using Again
In 1909, a British writer recorded thousands of Victorian slang words to make sure they were never forgotten. Now it's your turn to use them.
Usage: “Is the President in town or something? There’s mutton shunters on every blasted corner!” If you like vintage words, you’ll also enjoy the origins of popular modern slang words.
Definition: An habitually smiling face
Usage: “These Miss America contestants are just a bunch of gigglemugs.”
These pet slang words are just as cute as the word “gigglemug.”
Definition: A polished bald head
Usage: “Be sure to wear glasses if you go outside; Grandpa’s fly rink is blinding today.” Here are 20 contemporary slang words that need to end.
Definition: Looking for a man who will pay for liquor
Usage: “Jess forgot all her cash at home, so she’s off juggins-hunting again.” Once you’ve mastered these vintage words, don’t miss these 16 social media slang words you should know.
Bags o’ Mystery
Definition: A satirical term for sausages, because no man but the maker knows what is in them
Usage: “Hope there’s no intestine in these bags o’ mystery; I’m trying to cut down on intestine.” Learn the real meanings of trendy words you don’t understand.
Definition: A figure of speech, meaning “drunk”
Etymology: Order an “arf-an-arf” (or “half-and-half”) in a London pub and you’ll receive a malty cocktail of half black beer, half ale. Add one more ‘arf of beer to the mix and your mug suddenly runneth over; you, chum, must be arf’arf’an’arf—that is, drunk.
Usage: “Charlie ordered another Guinness? He’s already arf’arf’an’arf!” Don’t miss these other British phrases everyone in the world should know.
Definition: Name given to trousers when tight
Usage: “I just saw this poor hipster get his gas-pipes stuck in his unicycle spokes and totally eat curb.” For more vintage words, check out these hilariously weird slang words from the 1920s.
Definition: Human ass
Etymology: From Uncle Pumblechook, a character in Dickens’ Great Expectations described as “that basest of swindlers”; greedy, pompous and piggish.
Usage: “This fat Pumblechook at Arby’s totally cut me off in his Hummer—then he gave me a sneer in the drive-through.” We can’t stand these slang words from 2019.
Etymology: A play on “row” (18th century slang for “quarrel”) or “rowdy.” Also spelled, “rowdydow.”
Usage: “When the police arrived to break up the Scrabble feud it escalated into a full-on row-de-dow.” After these vintage words, find out which words you still say that make you sound old.
For more amazing slang…
Browse James Redding Ware’s Passing English of The Victorian Era, available for free via archive.org. Next, here are 10 fancy words that make you sound smarter.