Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang R

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms



RABBIT SUCKERS. Young spendthrifts taking up goods on trust at great prices.

RACK RENT. Rent strained to the utmost value.

RAG. Bank notes. Money in general. The cove has no rag; the fellow has no money.

RAG WATER. Gin, or any other common, inexpensive, affordable dram.

RAGAMUFFIN. A ragged fellow, one all in tatters, a tatterdemallion.

RAKE, RAKEHELL, or RAKESHAME. A lewd, thoroughly debauched fellow, who drinks, gambles, chases and seduces women.

RAMSHACKLED. Out of repair. A ramshackled house.

RANDY. Obstreperous, unruly, rampant.

RANGLING. Intriguing with a variety of women.

RANK. Stinking, rammish, ill-flavoured; also strong, great. A rank knave; a rank coward: perhaps the latter may allude to an ill savour caused by fear.

RANK RIDER. A highwayman.

RANTIPOLE. A rude romping boy or girl; also a gadabout dissipated woman.

RANTUM SCANTUM. Playing at rantum scantum; making the beast with two backs.

RAPPER. A swinging great lie.

RAREE SHOW MEN. Poor Savoyards, who subsist by showing the magic lantern and marmots about London.

RASCAL. A rogue or villain.

RATTLE. A dice-box.

RATTLE-PATE. A volatile, unsteady, or whimsical man or woman.

RATTLE-TRAPS. A contemptuous name for any curious portable piece of machinery, or philosophical apparatus.

RATTLER. A coach. Rattle and prad; a coach and horses.

RATTLING COVE. A coachman.

READER MERCHANTS. Pickpockets, chiefly young Jews, who ply about the Bank to steal the pocket-books of persons who have just received their dividends there.

READY. Money.

RECKON. To reckon with one’s host; to make an erroneous judgment in one’s own favour. To cast-up one’s reckoning or accounts; to vomit.

RECRUIT. To get a fresh supply of money.

RECRUITING SERVICE. Robbing on the highway.

RED FUSTIAN. Port wine.


RELISH. Carnal connection with a woman.

RENDEZVOUS. A place of meeting.

REP. A woman of reputation. As opposed to a demi-rep, which is a woman of lesser reputation.

REPOSITORY. A lock-up or spunging-house, a gaol.

RESURRECTION MEN. Persons employed by the students in anatomy to steal dead bodies out of church-yards.

RETICULE. A ladies drawstring purse often beaded.

RHINO. Money.

RIB. A wife. A crooked rib, a unfaithful wife.

RIBALDRY. Vulgar abusive language, such as was spoken by ribalds. Ribalds were originally mercenary soldiers who travelled about, serving any master far pay, but afterwards degenerated into a mere banditti. Also refers to rambuctious partying.

RIBBON. Money. The ribbon runs thick; i.e. there is plenty of money.

RIDE THE ACORN. You will ride the gallows, be hanged.

RIDER. A person who receives part of the salary of a place or appointment from the ostensible occupier, by virtue of an agreement with the donor, or great man appointing. The rider is said to be quartered upon the possessor, who often has one or more persons thus riding behind him. RIDGE. A guinea.

RIDGE CULLY. A goldsmith.

RIFF RAFF. Low vulgar persons, mob, tag-rag and bob-tail.

RIG. Fun, game, diversion, or trick. To run one’s rig upon any particular person; to make him a butt. l am up to your rig; I am a match for your tricks.

RIGGING. Clothing. Rum Rigging; fine clothes.

RIGMAROLE. Roundabout, nonsensical. He told a long rigmarole story.

RING A PEAL. To scold; chiefly applied to women. His wife rung him a fine peal!

RIP. A miserable rip; a poor, lean, worn-out horse. A shabby mean fellow.


RIVER TICK. In debt.

ROARATORIOS AND UPROARS. Oratorios and operas.

ROARING BOY. A noisy, riotous fellow.

ROARER. A broken-winded horse.

ROARING TRADE. A quick trade.

ROAST. To jeer, ridicule, or banter. To cry roast meat; to boast of one’s situation. To rule the roast; to be master or paramount.

ROCKED. Foolish. He was rocked in a stone kitchen; his brains having been disordered by the jumbling of his cradle.

ROGER. A portmanteau; also a man’s yard. Cant.

ROGER. To bull, or lie with a woman; from the name of Roger being frequently given to a bull.

ROMONERS. Fellows pretending to be acquainted with the occult sciences, fortune tellers.

ROMP. A forward wanton girl.

ROOK. A cheat, particularly at play.

ROPES. Upon the high ropes; elated, in high spirits, cock-a-hoop.

ROSE. Under the rose: privately or secretly.

ROSY GILLS. One with a sanguine or fresh-coloured countenance.

ROT GUT. Small beer; called beer-a-bumble-will burst one’s guts before it will make one tumble.

ROTTEN ROW. A popular riding trail within Hyde Park.

ROVERS. Pirates, vagabonds.

ROULEAU. A number of guineas, from twenty to fifty or more, wrapped up in paper, for the more ready circulation at gaming-tables: sometimes they are inclosed in ivory boxes, made to hold exactly 20, 50, or 100 guineas.

ROUND DEALING. Plain, honest dealing.

ROUND SUM. A considerable sum.

ROUT. A modern card meeting at a private house; also a well-attended, successful party.

ROW. A disturbance.

ROYAL SCAMPS. Highwaymen who never rob any but rich persons, and that without ill treating them.

ROYSTER. A rude boisterous fellow.

RUB. A problem or impediment.

RUBBER. The best two out of three. To win a rubber: to win two games out of three.

RUFFIAN. Criminal.

RUFFLES. Handcuffs.

RUFFLERS. Notorious rogues pretending to be maimed soldiers or sailors.

RUFFMANS. The woods, hedges, or bushes.

RUM. Fine, good, valuable.

RUM BITE. A clever cheat, a clean trick.

RUM BLOWEN. A handsome wench.

RUM BLUFFER. A jolly host.

RUM BOB. A young apprentice; also a sharp trick.

RUM COVE. A dexterous or clever rogue.

RUM CULL. A rich fool, easily cheated, particularly by his mistress.

RUM DOXY. A fine wench.

RUM DRAWERS. Silk, or other fine stockings.

RUM DUBBER. An expert picklock.

RUM DUKE. A jolly handsome fellow.

RUM FUN. A sharp trick.

RUM GOODS. A maidenhead, being a commodity never entered. i.e A virgin.

RUM KICKS. Breeches of gold or silver brocade, or richly laced with gold or silver.

RUM MORT. A queen, or great lady.

RUM NAB. A good hat.

RUM NANTZ. Good French brandy.

RUM NED. A very rich silly fellow.

RUM PAD. The highway.

RUM PADDERS. Highwaymen well mounted and armed.

RUM PEEPERS. Fine looking eyes, or eyeglasses.

RUM PRANCER. A fine horse.

RUM PUNCH. Rum, water, and sugar.

RUM QUIDS. A great booty.

RUM SQUEEZE. Much wine, or good liquor, or a sucessful party.

RUMP. To rump any one; to cut them socially or deliberately ignore them.

RUMPUS. A riot, quarrel, or confusion.

RUNNING STATIONERS. Hawker of newspapers, trials, and dying speeches.

RUNT. A short squat man or woman.

RUSHERS. Thieves who knock at the doors of great houses in London, in summer time, when the families are gone out of town, and on the door being opened by a woman, rush in and rob the house; also housebreakers who enter lone houses by force.

RUSSIAN COFFEE-HOUSE. The Brown Bear in Bow-street, Covent Garden, a house of call for thief-takers and runners of the Bow street justices.

RUSTY. Out of use, properly applied to a restive horse.

RUSTY GUTS. A blunt surly fellow.

RUTTING. Copulating. Rutting time; the season, when deer go to rut.

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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