Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang H

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms


HACK. A horse for hire in town.

HACKNEY CAB. A carriage for hire in town.

HACKNEY WRITER. One who writes for attornies or booksellers.

HALF PAY OFFICER. A inactive military officer that receives half-pay for remaining on-call.

HAND BASKET PORTION. A woman whose husband receives frequent presents from her father, or family, is said to have a hand-basket portion.

HANDLE. To know how to handle one’s fists; to be skilful in the art of boxing.

HANG GALLOWS LOOK. A thievish, or villainous appearance.

HANG IN CHAINS. A vile, desperate fellow. Persons guilty of murder, or other atrocious crimes, are frequently, after execution, hanged on a gibbet, to which they are fastened by iron bandages; the gibbet is commonly placed on or near the place where the crime was committed.

HANGER ON. A dependant.

HANKER. To hanker after any thing; to have a longing after or for it.

HARRIDAN. A hagged old woman; a miserable, scraggy, worn-out harlot, fit to take her bawd’s degree: derived from the French word HARIDELLE, a worn-out jade of a horse or mare.

HARRY. A country fellow, or Old Harry, the Devil.

HATCHES. Under the hatches; in trouble, distress, or debt.

HATCHET FACE. A long thin face.

HAVY CAVY. Wavering, doubtful, shilly shally.

HAWKERS. Licensed itinerant retailers of different commodities, called also pedlars; likewise the sellers of news-papers.

HAZARD. A game played with only two dice.


HEARTY CHOAK. He will have a hearty choak and caper sauce for breakfast; i.e. he will be hanged.

HEATHEN. An infidel to the tenets of ton, a Goth; a monster; a vulgar wretch. One who eats twice of soup, swills beer, takes wine, knows nothing about ennui, dyspepsia, or peristaltic persuaders, and does not play ecarté; a creature—nobody. — Aristocratic Satire.

HEATHEN PHILOSOPHER. One whose breech may be seen through his pocket-hole: this saying arose from the old philosophers, many of whom depised the vanity of dress to such a point, as often to fall into the opposite extreme.

HEDGE. To make a hedge; to secure a bet, or wager, laid on one side, by taking the odds on the other, so that, no matter what happens, a certain gain is secured, or hedged in, by the person who takes this precaution.

HEDGE ALEHOUSE. A small obscure alehouse.

HEDGE CREEPER. A robber of hedges.

HEELS. To he laid by the heels; to be confined, or put in prison. Out at heels; worn, or diminished: his estate or affairs are out at heels.

HELL-BORN BABE. A lewd graceless youth, one naturally of a wicked disposition.

HELL CAT. A termagant, a vixen, a furious scolding woman. Also known as a TERMAGANT or VIXEN.

HELL HOUND. A wicked abandoned fellow.

HEMPEN FEVER. A man who was hanged is said to have died of a hempen fevers.

HEMPEN WIDOW. One whose husband was hanged.

HEN-HEARTED. Cowardly.

HEN HOUSE. A house where the woman rules.

HENPECKED. A husband governed by his wife, is said to be henpecked.

HEN. A woman. A cock and hen club; a club composed of men and women.

HERE AND THEREIAN. One who has no settled place of residence.

HESSIANS. Highly polished boots reaching just below the knee, usually adorned with tassels.

HIDEBOUND. Stingy, hard of delivery; a poet poor in invention, is said to have a hidebound muse.

HIGGLEDY PIGGLEDY. Confusedly mixed.

HIGH FLYERS. Demi-reps or sophisticated mistresses to wealthy men.

HIGH JINKS. A gambler who drinks to intoxicate his Pigeon.

HIGH ROPES. To be on the high ropes; to be in a passion.

HIGH WATER. It is high water, with him; he is full of money.

HIKE. To hike off; to run away.

HIND LEG. To kick out a hind leg; to make a rustic bow.

HIPPED. The hypochondriac: low spirits. He is hipped; he has got the blue devils.

HOAXING. Bantering, ridiculing.

HOBBLED. Impeded, interrupted, puzzled.

HODGE. An abbreviation of Roger: a general name for a country booby.

HODGE PODGE. An irregular mixture of numerous things.

HOG. A shilling.

HOG GRUBBER. A mean stingy fellow.

HOGGISH. Rude, unmannerly, filthy.

HOITY-TOITY. A hoity-toity wench; a giddy, thoughtless, romping girl.

HOLLOW. It was quiet a hollow thing; i.e. a certainty, or decided business.

HONEST WOMAN. To marry a woman with whom one has cohabitated as a mistress, is termed, making an honest woman of her.

HOOD-WINKED. Blindfolded by a handkerchief, or other ligature, bound over the eyes. Also fooled.

HOOF. To beat the hoof; to travel on foot.

HOOKED. Over-reached, tricked, caught.

TO HOP THE TWIG. To run away.

HOP-O-MY-THUMB. A diminutive person, man or woman.

HORNS. To draw in one’s horns; to retract an assertion through fear.

HORN MAD. A person extremely jealous of his wife, is said to be horn mad.

HORN WORK. Cuckold-making.

HORNIFIED. Cuckolded.

HORSE BUSS. A kiss with a loud smack; also a bite.

HORSE GODMOTHER. A large masculine woman, a gentlemanlike kind of a lady.

HOSTELER. Inn-keeper.

HOT POT. Ale and brandy made hot.

HUCKSTERS. Itinerant retailers of provisions. He is in hucksters hands; he is in a bad way.

HUGGER MUGGER. By stealth, privately, without making an appearance.

HULVER-HEADED. Having a hard impenetrable head.

HUM, or HUMBUG. To deceive, or impose on one by some story or device.

HUM DRUM. A hum drum fellow; a dull tedious narrator.

HUNTING. A sharp’s term for drawing the unwary into a game.

HUSSIF, OR HOUSEWIFE. An 18th century sewing kit.  Thanks to Dances With Wools for this definition.

HUZZA. Originally the cry of the huzzars or Hungarian light horse; also the national shout or cheer of the English, both civil and military.


Do you love old-fashioned Regency Romance novels?

Will a genuinely old-fashioned Regency Romance that was actually written 35 years ago-but has only been recently published-that includes a wealthy, slightly older, not-so-helpless fine lady who curses (lightly), regularly insults the hero, knows how to ride, shoot, drink, throw a punch and darn well rescue herself when necessary, suffice?  If so, you might want to check out my Regency Romance novel A Very Merry Chase. Is it great literature for the generations? Probably not-but it is a fun read in the tradition of the comedy of errors/manners vein that will, amuse and entertain. The first chapter is available online for free.

PS Check out our Complimentary (Free) A Very Merry Chase Cover, Musical Jigsaw Puzzle and other Regency themed giveaways on our Complimentary Regency Romance Era Bookshelf.

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