Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang T

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms


TABBY. An old maid.

TACT. The art of wheedling a rich old relation, winning an heiress, or dismissing duns with the payment of fair promises. — Aristocratic Satire.

TAG-RAG AND BOBTAIL. An expression meaning an assemblage of low people.

TAKEN IN. Imposed on, cheated.

TALE TELLERS. Persons hired to tell wonderful stories of giants and fairies, to lull their hearers to sleep. Also, tale bearers; mischief makers, incendiaries in families.

TALL BOY. A bottle, or two-quart pot.

TAME. To run tame about a house; to live familiarly in a family with which one is upon a visit. TANDEM. A two-wheeled chaise, buggy, or noddy, drawn by two horses.

TANGIER. A room in Newgate, where debtors were confined, hence called Tangerines.

TAPE. Red tape; brandy. Blue or white tape; gin.

TAPLASH. Thick and bad beer.

TARADIDDLE. A fib, or falsity.

TARTAR. To catch a Tartar; to attack one of superior strength or abilities. This saying originated from a story of an Irish-soldier in the Imperial service, who, in a battle against the Turks, called out to his comrade that he had caught a Tartar. ‘Bring him along then,’ said he. ‘He won’t come,’ answered Paddy. ‘Then come along yourself,’ replied his comrade. ‘Arrah,’ cried he, ‘but he won’t let me.’-A Tartar is also an adept at any feat, or game: he is quite a Tartar at cricket, or billiards.

TASTE. The art of discerning the precise shades of difference constituting a bad or well dressed man, woman, or dinner. — Aristocratic Satire.

TAT. Tit for tat; an equivalent.

TATS. False dice.

TATLER. A watch. To flash a tatler: to wear a watch.

TAT MONGER. One that uses false dice.

TATTERDEMALION. A ragged fellow, whose clothes hang all in tatters.

TATTERSALL’S. The place to go in London for the sales or purchase of fine horses.

TAW. A schoolboy’s game, played with small round balls made of stone dust, catted marbles. I’ll be one upon your taw presently; a species of threat.

TAWDRY. Garish, gawdy, with lace or staring and discordant colours.

TEN IN THE HUNDRED. An usurer; more than five in the hundred being deemed usurious interest.

TENANT AT WILL. One whose wife usually fetches him from the alehouse.

TENANT FOR LIFE. A married man; i.e. possessed of a woman for life.

TENDER PARNELL. A tender creature, fearful of the least puff of wind or drop of rain. As tender as Parnell, who broke her finger in a posset drink.

TERMAGANT. A furious woman.

THATCH-GALLOWS. A rogue, or man of bad character.

THICK. Intimate.

THIEF TAKERS. Fellows who associate with all kinds of villains, in order to betray them, when they have committed any of those crimes which entitle the persons taking them to a handsome reward, called blood money.

THIMBLE. A watch. The swell flashes a rum thimble; the gentleman sports a fine watch.

THORNS. To be or sit upon thorns; to be uneasy, impatient, anxious for an event.

THORNBACK. An old maid.

THREE TO ONE. Adultry.

THROTTLE. To strangle.

THUMB. By rule of thumb: to do any thing by dint of practice.

THUMPING. Great! i.e A thumping good time.

THWACK. A great blow with a stick across the shoulders.

TIB. A young lass

TICK. To run o’tick; take up goods upon trust, to run in debt.

TICKLE PITCKEB. A thirsty fellow, a sot.

TICKRUM. A licence.

TILT. To tilt; to fight with a sword. To run full tilt against one; allusion to the ancient tilling with the lance.

TILTER. A sword.

TIP. To give or lend.

TIP-TOP. The best.

TIPPLE. Liquor.

TIPPLERS. Sots who are continually sipping.

TIPSEY. Almost drunk.

TIRING. Dressing. Tiring women, or tire women, women that used to cut ladies hair, and dress them.

TIT. A horse; a pretty little tit; a smart little girl. A tid bit; a delicate morsel.

TIT FOR TAT. An equivalent.

TITTER. To suppress a laugh.

TITTLE-TATTLE. Idle discourse, scandal, women’s talk, or small talk.

TITTUP. A gentle hand gallop, or canter.

TIZZY. All a flutter, or flustered.

TOAD EATER. A poor female relation, and humble companion, or reduced gentlewoman, in a great family, the standing butt, on whom all kinds of practical jokes are played off, and all ill humours vented. This appellation is derived from a mountebank’s servant, on whom all experiments used to be made in public by the doctor, his master; among which was the eating of toads, formerly supposed poisonous. Swallowing toads is here figuratively meant for swallowing or putting up with insults, as disagreeable to a person of feeling as toads to the stomach.

TOADY. One who is a hanger on or false flatterer to the rich and powerful.

TOAST. A health; also a beautiful woman whose health is often drank by men. The origin of this term (as it is said) was this: a beautiful lady bathing in a cold bath, one of her admirers out of gallantry drank some of the water: whereupon another of her lovers observed, he never drank in the morning, but he would kiss the toast, and immediately saluted the lady.


TOBY LAY. The highway. High toby man; a highway-man. Low toby man; a footpad.

TODDY. Originally the juice of the cocoa tree, and afterwards rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg.

TODDLE. To walk away.

TOGS. Clothes. The swell is rum-togged. The gentleman is handsomely dressed.

TOKEN. The plague: also the venereal disease. She tipped him the token; she gave him a clap or pox.

TOLLIBAN RIG. A species of cheat carried on by a woman, assuming the character of a dumb and deaf conjuror.

TOMBOY. A romping girl, who prefers the amusement used by boys to those of her own sex.

TOM LONG. A tiresome story teller. It is coming by Tom Long, the carrier; said of any thing that has been long expected.

TOOLS. The private parts of a man.

TOP OF THE TREES. A male member epidomizes the most admirable traits.

TOPPER. A violent blow on the head.

TOP ROPES. To sway away on all top ropes; to live riotously or extravagantly.

TOP. To cheat, or trick: also to insult: he thought to have topped upon me.

TOP DIVER. A lover of women.


TOP LIGHTS. The eyes. Blast your top lights.

TOPPING FELLOW. One at the top or head of his profession.

TOPPING CHEAT. The gallows.

TOPPING COVE. The hangman.

TOPPING MAN. A rich man.

TOSS POT. A drunkard.

TOTTY-HEADED. Giddy, hare-brained.

TOUCH. To touch; to get money from any one; also to arrest.

TOUCHED IN THE HEAD. Insane, crazy.


TRADESMEN. Merchants.

TRAPAN. To inveigle, or ensnare.

TRAPES. A slatternly woman, a careless sluttish woman.

TRAVELLER. To tip the traveller; to tell wonderful stories, to romance.

TRAVELLING PIQUET. A mode of amusing themselves, practised by two persons riding in a carriage, each reckoning towards his game the persons or animals that pass by on the side next them, according to the following estimation:
A parson riding a grey horse, witholue furniture; game. An old woman under a hedge; ditto. A cat looking out of a window; 60. A man, woman, and child, in a buggy; 40. A man with a woman behind him; 30. A flock of sheep; 20. A flock of geese; 10. A post chaise; 5. A horseman; 2. A man or woman walking; 1.

TRAY TRIP. An ancient game like Scotch hop, played on a pavement marked out with chalk into different compartments.

TREASURE A lady’s maid, skillful in the mysteries of building up heads, and pulling down characters; ingenious in the construction of caps, capes, and scandal, and judicious in the application of paint and flattery; also, a footman, who knows, at a single glance, which Visitors to admit to the presence of their mistress, and whom to refuse. — Aristocratic Satire.

TRENCHER MAN. A stout trencher man; one who has a good appetite, or, as the term is, plays a good knife and fork.

TRIB. A prison: perhaps from tribulation.

TRICKUM LEGIS. A quirk or quibble in the law.

TRIG IT. To play truant.

TRIGRYMATE. An idle female companion.

TRIM. State, dress. In a sad trim; dirty. Also spruce or fine: a trim fellow.

TRIMMING. Cheating.

TRINKETS. Toys, bawbles, or nicknacks.

TROLL. To loiter or saunter about.

TROLLY LOLLY. Coarse lace.

TROLLOP. A lusty coarse sluttish woman.

TROOPS OF VENUS. Prostitutes who ply their trade in Vaux Hall and Ranelagh Gardens.

TROT. A gentle pace.


TROUNCE. To punish by course of law, or fist. TRUCK. To exchange, swop, or barter.

TRULL. A soldier or a tinker’s trull; a soldier or tinker’s female companion.

TRUMPERY. An old harlot, or goods of no value; rubbish.

TRUMPET. To sound one’s own trumpet; to praise one’s self.

TRUMPS. To be put to one’s trumps: to be in difficulties, or put to one’s shifts. Something may turn up trumps; something lucky may happen. All his cards are trumps: he is extremely fortunate.


TRYST. An assignation or secret meeting.

TURF. On the turf; persons who keep running horses, or attend and bet at horse-races, are said to be on the turf.

TURK. A cruel, hard-hearted man. Turkish treatment; barbarous usage.

TURNCOAT. One who has changed his party from interested motives.

TURNED UP. Acquitted; discharged.

TURNIP-PATED. White or fair-haired.

TWADDLE. Perplexity, confusion, or uninteresting talk.

TWEAGUE. In a great tweague: in a great passion. Tweaguey; peevish, passionate.

TWEAK. To pull: to tweak any one’s nose.

TWELVER. A shilling.


TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

TWIG. Handsome; stylish. The cove is togged in twig; the fellow is dressed in the fashion.

TWIST. A mixture of half tea and half coffee; likewise brandy, beer, and eggs. A good twist; a good appetite. To twist it down apace; to eat heartily.

TWISTED. Executed, hanged.

TWIT. To reproach a person, or remind him of favours conferred.

TWITTER. All in a twitter; in a fright.

TWO TO ONE SHOP. A pawnbroker’s: alluding to the three blue balls, the sign of that trade.

TWO-HANDED. Great. A two-handed fellow or wench; a great strapping man or woman,

TYBURN BLOSSOM. A young thief or pickpocket, who in time will hang from the Tyburn Tree or gallows.

Do you love old-fashioned Regency Romance novels?

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