Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang A

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms

“A” Words


ABBESS, or LADY ABBESS. A bawd, the mistress of a brothel.

ABIGAIL. A lady’s waiting-maid.


ACCOUNTS. To cast up one’s accounts; to vomit.

ADAM’S ALE. Water.

ADDLE PATE. An inconsiderate foolish fellow.

ADDLE PLOT. A spoil-sport, a mar-all.

AGOG, ALL-A-GOG. Anxious, eager, impatient: from the Italian AGOGARE, to desire eagerly.

AFFECTION. A painful sensation, such as gout, rheumatism, cramp, headache. -Aristocratic Satire.

AGROUND. Stuck fast, stopped, at a loss, ruined; like a boat or vessel aground.

ALBUM. A ledger kept by ladies for the entry of compliments, in rhyme, paid on demand to their beautiful hair, complexions fair, the dimpled chin, the smiles that win, the ruby lips, where the bee sips. The whole amount being transferred to their private account from the public stock. — Aristocratic Satire.

ALE DRAPER. An alehouse keeper.

ALL HOLIDAY. It is all holiday with him; a saying signifying that it is all over with the business or person spoken of or alluded to.

ALL HOLLOW. He was beat all hollow, i.e. he had no chance of conquering: it was all hollow, or a hollow thing, it was a decided thing from the beginning.

ALMACKS. An exclusive subscription ball held on Wednesday evenings often referred to as the Marriage Mart. Ruled with an iron thumb by three patronessess Sally Jersey, The Countess Lievan, and Mrs. Drummond-Burrell. Although most seasoned socialites considered it a dead bore, only the crème de la crème
or cream of the crop were allowed to attend.

ALTITUDES. The man is in his altitudes, i.e. he is drunk.

AMBIDEXTER. A lawyer who takes fees from both plaintiff and defendant.

AMES ACE. Within ames ace; nearly, very near.

AMUSE. To fling dust or snuff in the eyes of the person intended to be robbed; also to invent some plausible tale, to delude shop-keepers and others, thereby to put them off their guard.

AMUSERS. Rogues who carried snuff or dust in their pockets, which they threw into the eyes of any person they intended to rob; and running away, their accomplices (pretending to assist and pity the half-blinded person) took that opportunity of plundering him.

ANGLERS. Pilferers, or petty thieves, who, with a stick having a hook at the end, steal goods out of shop-windows, grates, also those who draw in or entice unwary persons to prick at the belt, or such like devices.

ANGLING FOR FARTHINGS. Begging out of a prison window with a cap, or box, let down at the end of a long string.

APE LEADER. An old maid; their punishment after death, for neglecting increase and multiply, will be, it is said, leading apes in hell.

APOTHECARY’S BILL. A long bill from any merchant.

APPLE DUMPLIN SHOP. A woman’s bosom.

APRON STRING HOLD. An estate held by a man during his wife’s life.

ARCH ROGUE, DIMBER DAMBER UPRIGHT MAN. The chief of a gang of thieves or gypsies.

ARCH DELL, or ARCH DOXY.Signifies the same as above in rank among the female canters or gypsies.

ARTICLES. Breeches; coat, waistcoat, and articles.

ARTICLE. A wench. A prime article. A handsome girl. She’s a prime article, she’s a devilish good piece.

ASSIGNATION. A secret meeting.

ATHANASIAN WENCH. A forward girl, ready to oblige every man that shall ask her.

AT HOME.Making your house as unlike home as possible, by turning every thing topsy-turvy, removing your furniture, and squeezing as many people into your rooms as can be compressed together. As opposed to:
NOT AT HOME. Sitting in your own room, engaged in reading a new novel, writing notes, or other important business. -Aristocratic Satire.

AUTEM MORT. A married woman; also a female beggar with several children hired or borrowed to excite charity.

AWAKE. Acquainted with, on the alert, unable to be fooled.


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