Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang M

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms


MACE COVE. A swindler, a sharper, a cheat. On the mace; to live by swindling.

MAD TOM, or TOM OF BEDLAM. otherwise an Abram Man. A rogue that counterfeits madness.

MADAM. A kept madam; a kept mistress.

MAGGOTTY. Whimsical, capricious.

MAGNUM BONUM. A bottle containing two quarts of wine.

MAHOMETAN GRUEL. Coffee: because formerly used chiefly by the Turks.

MAIL COACH. A large traveling coach that carried the mail and passengers. The Regency equivalent of a Trailways Bus.

MALINGERER. A military term for one who, under pretence of sickness, evades his duty.

MALKIN, or MAULKIN. A general name for a cat or an awkward woman.

MALKINTRASH. One in a dismal garb.

MAN OF THE TOWN. A rake, a debauchee.

MAN OF THE TURF. A horse racer, or jockey.

MANOEUVRING THE APOSTLES. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, i.e. borrowing of one man to pay another.

MAN TRAP. A woman’s commodity.

MAN OF THE WORLD. A knowing man.

MANTUA MAKER. A dressmaker.

MARPLOT. A spoil sport.

MARRIAGE MUSIC. The squalling and crying of children.

MARTINET. A military term for a strict disciplinarian: from the name of a French general, famous for restoring military discipline to the French army.



MASTER OF THE WARDROBE. One who pawns his clothes to purchase liquor.

MARTYR. A gentleman subject to the gout. — Aristocratic Satire.

MAUDLIN DRUNK. Crying drunk.

MAULED. Extremely drunk, or soundly beaten.


MAUNDING. Asking or begging.

MAWKES. A vulgar slattern.

MAWLEY. A hand. Tip us your mawley; shake hands. with me.

MAW-WALLOP. A filthy composition, sufficient to provoke vomiting.

MAX. Gin.

MEALY-MOUTHED. Over-modest or backward in speech.

MELLOW. Almost drunk.

MELTING MOMENTS. A fat man and woman in the amorous congress.


MESSMATE. One (usually a soldier) who eats at the same mess, companion or comrade.

MESALLIANCE. Mismatched couple either because of social standing or temperment.

MILCH COW. One who is easily tricked out of his property; a term used by gaolers, for prisoners who have money and bleed freely.

MILK THE PIGEON. To endeavour at impossibilities.

MILLINER. A lady’s hat maker.

MILL. A boxing match.


MINE UNCLE’S. A pawnbroker’s shop.

MINIKIN. A little man or woman: also the smallest sort of pin.

MINT. Gold. A mint of money; common phrase for a large sum.

MISH. A shirt, smock, or sheet.

MISH TOPPER. A coat, or petticoat.

MOABITES. Bailiffs, or Philistines.

MOB; or MAB. A wench, or harlot.

MODISTE. A dressmaker.

MOLL. A woman of easy virtue, or prostitute.

MOLL THOMPSON’S MARK. Empty. i.e. Take away this bottle, it has Moll Thompson’s mark upon it.

MOLLY. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.

MONEY DROPPERS. Cheats who drop money, which they pretend to find just before some country lad; and by way of giving him a share of their good luck, entice him into a public house, where they and their confederates cheat or rob him of what money he has about him.

MONGREL. A hanger on among cheats, a spunger; also a child whose father and mother are of different countries.

MONKEY. To suck the monkey; to suck or draw wine, or any other liquor, privately out of a cask, by means of a straw, or small tube. Monkey’s allowance; more kicks than halfpence. Who put that monkey on horseback without tying his legs? vulgar wit on a bad horseman.

MOONCURSER. A link-boy: link-boys are said to curse the moon, because it renders their assistance unnecessary.

MOON-EYED HEN. A squinting wench.

MOON MEN. Gypsies.

MOONSHINE. A matter or mouthful of moonshine; a trifle, nothing. The white brandy smuggled on the coasts of Kent and Sussex, and the gin in the north of Yorkshire, are also called moonshine.

MOP UP. To drink up. To empty a glass or pot.

MOPED. Stupid, melancholy for want of society.

MOPSEY. A dowdy, or homely woman.

MOPSQUEEZER. A maid servant, particularly a housemaid.

MORT. A woman or wench.

MOSES. To stand Moses: a man is said to stand Moses when he has another man’s bastard child fathered upon him, and he is obliged by the parish to maintain it.

MOT. A girl, or wench. See MORT.

MOTHER OF THE MAIDS. A madamn or keeper of a bawdy house.

MOUCHETS. Small patches worn by ladies: from the French word mouches.

MOVEABLES. Rings, watches, or any toys of value.

MOURNING. An outward covering of black, put on by the relatives of any deceased person of consequence, or by persons succeeding to a large fortune, as an emblem of their grief upon so melancholy an event. — Aristocratic Satire.

MOUSE. To speak like a mouse in a cheese; i.e. faintly or indistinctly.

MOUSETRAP. The parson’s mousetrap; the state of matrimony.

MUCK. Money; also dung.

MUCKWORM. A miser.


MULLIGRUBS. Low-spirited, or having an imaginary sickness.

MUM. An interjection directing silence.

MUMCHANCE. An ancient game like hazard, played with dice: probably so named from the silence observed in playing at it.

MUMPERS. Originally beggars of the genteel kind, but since used for beggars in general.

MUMPERS HALL. An alehouse where beggars are harboured.

MUNDUNGUS. Bad or rank tobacco: from mondongo, a Spanish word signifying tripes, or the uncleaned entrails of a beast, full of filth.

MUNG. To beg.


MURPHIES. Potatoes.

MUSHROOM. A person or family suddenly raised to riches and eminence: an allusion to that fungus, which starts up in a night.

MUSIC. The watch-word among highwaymen, signifying the person is a friend, and must pass unmolested.

MUTE. An undertaker’s servant, who stands at the door of a person lying in state: so named from being supposed mute with grief.


MUTTON MONGER. A man addicted to wenching.

MUTTON. In her mutton, i.e. having carnal knowledge of a woman.

MUZZLE. A beard.

MUZZLER. A violent blow on the mouth. The milling cove tipped the cull a muzzler; the boxer gave the fellow a blow on the mouth.

MYRMIDONS. The constable’s assistants, watchmen.

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.

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