Regency Romance Era Thieves and Sporting Slang W

A Very Merry Chase Regency Romance Era Lexicon Of Relevant Terms


WABLER. Footwabler; a contemptuous term for a foot soldier, frequently used by those of the cavalry.

WAG. An arch-frolicsome fellow.

WAGGISH. Arch, gamesome, frolicsome.

WAGTAIL. A lewd woman.

WAITS. Musicians of the lower order, who in most towns play under the windows of the chief inhabitants at midnight, a short time before Christmas, for which they collect a christmas-box from house to house. They are said to derive their name of waits from being always in waiting to celebrate weddings and other joyous events happening within their district.

WAKE. A country feast, commonly on the anniversary of the tutelar saint of the village, that is, the saint to whom the parish church is dedicated. Also a custom of watching the dead, called Late Wake, in use both in Ireland and Wales, where the corpse being deposited under a table, with a plate of salt on its breast, the table is covered with liquor of all sorts; and the guests, particularly, the younger part of them, amuse themselves with all kinds of pastimes and recreations: the consequence is generally more than replacing the departed friend.

WALKING CORNET. An ensign of foot.

WALKING POULTERER. One who steals fowls, and hawks them from door to door.

WALKING STATIONER. A hawker of pamphlets.

WALKING THE PLANK. A mode of destroying devoted persons or officers in a mutiny or ship-board, by blindfolding them, and obliging them to walk on a plank laid over the ship’s side; by this means, as the mutineers suppose, avoiding the penalty of murder.

WALKING UP AGAINST THE WALL. To run up a score, which in alehouses is commonly recorded with chalk on the walls of the bar.

WALL. To walk or crawl up the wall; to be scored up at a public-nouse.

WAP. To beat.

WAPPER-EYED. Sore-eyed.

WARES. Merchandise or commodities for sale.

WARE HAWK. An exclamation used by thieves to inform their confederates that some police officers are at hand.

WARM. Rich, in good circumstances. To warm, or give a man a warming; to beat him.

WARMING-PAN. A pan full of hot coals for warming the sheets or a female bedfellow.

WARREN. One that is security for goods taken up on credit by extravagant young gentlemen.

WASH. Paint for the face, or cosmetic water.

WASP. An infected prostitute, who like a wasp carries a sting in her tail.

WASPISH. Peevish, spiteful.

WASTE. House of waste; a tavern or alehouse, where idle people waste both their time and money.

WATER-MILL. A woman’s private parts.

WATER SNEAKSMAN. A man who steals from ships or craft on the river.

WATER. His chops watered at it; he longed earnestly for it. To watch his waters; to keep a strict watch on any one’s actions. In hot water: in trouble, engaged in disputes.

WATER BEWITCHED. Very weak punch or beer.

WATERPAD. One that robs ships in the river Thames.

WATERY-HEADED. Apt to shed tears.

WATER SCRIGER, A doctor who prescribes from inspecting the water of his patients.


WEASEL-FACED. Thin, meagre-faced.

WEASEL-GUTTED. Thin-bodied.

WEDGE. Silver plate, because melted by the receivers of stolen goods into wedges.

WEED. To take a part.

WEEPING CROSS. To come home by weeping cross; to repent.

WELCH COMB. The thumb and four fingers.

WELCH MILE. Like a Welch mile, long and narrow. His story is like a Welch mile, long and tedious.

WELCH EJECTMENT. To unroof the house, a method practised by landlords in Wales to eject a bad tenant.

WESTMINSTER WEDDING. A match between a harlot and a rogue.

WHAPPER. A large man or woman.

WHEEDLE. Beg, or to cut a wheedle; to decoy by fawning or insinuation.

WHELP. An impudent whelp; a saucy boy.

WHEREAS. To follow a whereas; to become a bankrupt, to figure among princes and potentates: the notice given in the Gazette that a commission of bankruptcy is issued out against any trader, always beginning with the word whereas. He will soon march in the rear of a whereas.

WHET. A morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed to whet or sharpen the appetite.

WHETSTONE’S PARK. A lane between Holborn and Lincoln’s-inn Fields, formerly famed for being the resort of women of the town.

WHIDS. Words.

WHIDDLE. To tell or discover.

WHIDDLER. An informer, or one that betrays secrets.

WHIP OFF. To run away, to drink off greedily, to snatch.

WHIP-BELLY VENGEANCE. Pinch-gut vengeance, of which he that gets the most has the worst share. Weak or sour beer.

WHIPPER-SNAPPER. A diminutive fellow.

WHIPSTER. A sharp or subtle fellow. A skilled coachman or driver of various styles of carriage.

WHIPPED SYLLABUB. A flimsy, frothy discourse or treatise, without solidity.

WHIRLYGIGS. Testicles.

WHISKER. A great lie.

WHISKER SPLITTER. A man of intrigue.

WHISKIN. A shallow brown drinking bowl.

WHISKY. A malt spirit, or a one-horse chaise.

WHIST. A card game that is similar to bridge.

WHISTLING SHOP. Rooms in the King’s Bench and Fleet prison where drams are privately sold.


WHITE FEATHER. He has a white feather; he is a coward; an allusion to a game cock, where having a white leather is a proof he is not of the true game breed.

WHITE-LIVERED. Cowardly, malicious.

WHITE LIE. A harmless lie, one not told with a malicious intent, a lie told to reconcile people at variance.

WHITE SERGEANT. A man fetched from the tavern or ale-house by his wife, is said to be arrested by the white sergeant.

WHITE SWELLING. A woman big with child is said to have a white swelling.

WHITEWASHED. One who has taken the benefit of an act of insolvency, to defraud his creditors, is said to have been whitewashed.

WHITHER-GO-YE. A wife, wives being sometimes apt to question their husbands whither they are going.

WHITTINGTON’S COLLEGE. Newgate; built or repaired by the famous lord mayor of that name.

WHORE’S SON. A bastard.

WHORE-MONGER. A man that keeps more than one mistress.

WIBBLE. Bad drink.

WIBLING’S WITCH. The four of clubs: from one James Wibling, who in the reign of King James I. grew rich by private gaming, and was commonly observed to have that card, and never to lose a game but when he had it not.

WICKED PACE. To drive or ride dangerously fast.

WICKET. A casement; also a little door.

WIDOW’S WEEDS. Mourning clothes of a peculiar fashion, denoting her state.

WIDOW BEWITCHED. A woman whose husband is abroad, and said, but not certainly known, to be dead.

WIFE. A fetter fixed to one leg.

WIFE IN WATER COLOURS. A mistress, or concubine; water colours being, like their engagements, easily effaced, or dissolved.

WILLOW. Poor, and of no reputation. To wear the willow; to be abandoned by a lover or mistress.

WIND. To raise the wind; to procure mony.

WINDER. Transportation for life. The blowen has napped a winder for a lift; the wench is transported for life for stealing in a shop.

WINDFALL. A legacy, or any accidental accession of property.

WINDMILLS IN THE HEAD. Foolish projects.

WINDWARD PASSAGE. One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomite.

WINDY. Foolish. A windy fellow; a simple fellow.

WINK. To tip one the wink; to give a signal by winking the eye.

WINNINGS. Plunder, goods, or money acquired by theft or gambling.

WINTER’S DAY. He is like a winter’s day, short and dirty.

WISEACRE. A foolish conceited fellow.

WITCHES. Silver. Witcher bubber; a silver bowl. Witcher tilter; a silver-hilted sword. Witcher cully; a silversmith.

WOBBLE. To boil. Pot wobbler; one who boils a pot.

WOLF IN THE BREAST. An extraordinary mode of imposition, sometimes practised in the country by strolling women, who have the knack of counterfeiting extreme pain, pretending to have a small animal called a wolf in their breasts, which is continually gnawing them.

WOLF IN THE STOMACH. A monstrous or canine appetite.

WOOD. In a wood; bewildered, in a maze, in a peck of troubles, puzzled, or at a loss what course to take in any business.

WOOD PECKER. A bystander, who bets whilst another plays.

WOODCOCK. A taylor with a long bill.

WOODEN HABEAS. A coffin. A man who dies in prison is said to go out with a wooden habeas. He went out with a wooden habeas; i.e. his coffin.

WOODEN RUFF. The pillory.


WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND. A married couple, where the woman is bigger than her husband.

WOMAN’S CONSCIENCE. Never satisfied.

WOMAN OF ALL WORK. Sometimes applied to a female servant, who refuses none of her master’s commands.

WOOL GATHERING. Your wits are gone a woolgathering; saying to an absent man, one in a reverie, or absorbed in thought.

WOOLLEY CROWN. A soft-headed fellow.

WORLD. All the world and his wife; every body, a great company.

WORM. To worm out; to obtain the knowledge of a secret by craft, also to undermine or supplant.

WRAPT UP IN WARM FLANNEL. Drunk with spirituous liquors. To be wrapt up in any one: to have a good opinion of him, or to be under his influence.

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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