Well, sometimes you just have to let someone know what you think and polite words don’t work. We’ve all been at events when we wanted to let loose on one or more of the “brilliant” attendees who “know everything.” Well, its just a matter of speaking the right language (Ik mompel gewoon in het Nederlands en dat lijkt goed te werken voor mij, maar als je me niet verstaat, nou laten we iets anders proberen…) Here are some choice swearwords and insults form a bygone era…

  • A BLOWSE, OR BLOWSABELLA: an unkempt woman. “A woman whose hair is disheveled, and hanging about her face; a slattern.”
  • ADDLE PATE: being inconsiderate and loud.
  • ARSY YARSEY: to fall head over heels.
  • BABES IN THE WOOD: criminals in the stocks, or pillory.
  • BAG OF NAILS: incoherent — directed as many ways as the points of a bag of nails
  • BARKING IRONS: Pistols, from their explosion resembling the bow-wow or barking of a dog.
  • BEARDSPLITTER: “A man much given to wenching,” or consorting with prostitutes.
  • BEDSWERVER: a married person that swerves from one person’s bed to another, aka an unfaithful partner.
  • BLUNDERBUSS: A stupid, blundering fellow
  • BOB TAIL: a lewd woman, or one that plays with her tail; also an impotent man, or an eunuch.
  • BULL CALF: a great hulky or clumsy fellow.
  • CHURCHBELL: a talkative woman
  • CORNY-FACED: a very red pimpled face.
  • CUMBERWORLD: someone who is so useless, they just serve to take up space.
  • DEATH’S HEAD UPON A MOP-STICK: a poor, miserable, emaciated fellow.
  • DEW-BEATER: an especially large shoe, and consequently a clumsy or awkward person.
  • DUKE OF LIMBS: a tall, awkward, ill-made fellow.
  • FLAPDOODLE: a sexually incompetent man, who is either too young to have had sex or one who is too old to attempt it
  • FOOZLER: bungler, or one who does things clumsily
  • FOPDOODLE: an insignificant or foolish man.
  • FUSSOCK: a lazy fat woman … a frowzy old woman.
  • FUSTY LUGGS: a beastly, sluttish woman.
  • GNASHGAB: someone who only ever seems to complain.
  • GOBERMOUCH: a nosy, prying person who likes to interfere in other people’s business.
  • GOLLUMPUS: a large, clumsy fellow.
  • GUNDIGUTS: a fat, pursy fellow.
  • HANG IN CHAINS: a vile, desperate fellow.
  • HEDGE WHORE: an itinerant prostitute, “who bilks the bagnios and bawdy houses, by disposing of her favours on the way side, under a hedge; a low beggarly prostitute.”
  • HENPECKED: a husband governed by his wife, is said to be henpecked.
  • HORNSWOGGER: a fraud or cheat
  • JACKANAPES: an ape; a pert, ugly, little fellow.
  • JUST-ASS: a punning appellation for a justice,” or a punny name for a judge.
  • KLAZOMANIAC: someone who only seems able to speak by shouting.
  • LOITER-SACK: a slacker. An idling, lazy good-for-nothing. Literally, someone who seems to spend all day in bed.
  • MOON-EYED HEN: a squinting wench.
  • NICK NINNY: a simpleton.
  • PAD: to walk upon the highway
  • PAD BORROWERS: horse stealers.
  • PIDGEON LIVERED: Cowardly
  • PISS MAKER: a great drinker, one much given to liquor.
  • PUFF GUTS: am extremely fat man.
  • RAKEFIRE: a visitor who outstays his or her welcome. Originally, someone who stays so late the dying coals in the fireplace would need to be raked over just to keep it burning.
  • RATBAG: a general term of abuse; a rogue or an eccentric
  • ROIDERBANKS: someone who lives beyond their means, or seems to spend extravagantly.
  • ROYSTER: a rude boisterous fellow; also a hound that opens on a false scent.
  • SADDLE-GOOSE: a pointless exercise, especially in the military
  • SCRUB: a low mean fellow, employed in all sorts of dirty work.
  • SHABBAROON: an ill-dressed shabby fellow; also a mean-spirited person.”
  • SHAG-BAG: a poor sneaking fellow, a man of no spirit.
  • SKELPIE-LIMMER: a badly-behaved child — from the old Scots word skelpie, meaning “misbehaving” or “deserving punishment.” YES, those kids…!
  • SMELL-FEAST: someone who turns up uninvited at a meal or party and expects to be fed.
  • SMELLFUNGUS: abuzz-killing faultfinder—an in particular someone who always finds fault in the places they visit.
  • SNOUTBAND: someone who constantly interrupts a conversation
  • SORNER: a mooch or sponging person, someone who unappreciatively lives off other people.
  • SQUIRE OF ALSATIA: a weak profligate spendthrift.
  • STAMPCRAB: heavy-footed, clumsy person.
  • STYMPHALIST: someone who smells unpleasant.
  • TALLOWCATCH: directed at the gross, womanizing knight Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. It’s probably derived from “tallow ketch,” literally “a barrel of fat.”
  • TATTERDEMALLION: a ragged fellow, whose clothes hang all in tatters.
  • THINGUMBOB: a vulgar address or nomination to any person whose name is unknown … Thingum-bobs, testicles.
  • THREE-PENNY UPRIGHT: a retailer of love, who, for the sum mentioned, dispenses her favors standing against a wall.
  • UNLICKED CUB: a rude uncouth young fellow.
  • WHIFFLE-WHAFFLE: an indecisive, time-wasting ditherer.
  • YALDSON: the son of a prostitute.
  • ZOILIST: Zoilus was a Greek grammarian who became known as one of the most vitriolic critics of Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Consequently, a zoilist is an overly-critical and judgmental nitpicker.

The really scary thing is that I can think of situations where all of these (individually) apply. Perhaps you’ve been there too. Now we can discuss them freely without fear of anyone else really understanding just how exasperated we are… 🙂

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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