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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Vanessa Kelly


Regency Cant: Gingerbread and vowels

It was not unusual for Regency men (and women) to get into financial trouble, in part because serious gambling was common--and cool. Women did most of their gaming in reputable society, but the men could gamble at their clubs, at cockfights, at dogfights, at the race track, or in low-rent gaming 'hells,' which were often brothels or the worst sort of public houses—specifically designed to part foolish young men and their money.

Naturally, there were lots of slang words and phrases for money, money issues--and the lack of money.

Money, by any other name…

Blunt

Brass

Gingerbread

The rhino

I owe you…

In dun territory: a 'dun' is a particularly insistent creditor

Gullgroper: a professional moneylender, especially one who lends money to gamblers

Note of hand: IOUs

Tip over the dibs: to lend or give someone money

Vowels: IOUs

Debts

In the basket: having money troubles -- at cockfights, those who couldn’t cover their gambling debts were suspended over the pit in a basket

Brought to a point non plus: in an impossible financial situation

In deep: in deep debt

Dibs not in tune: lacking funds, in perilous monetary straits

Low ebb/at ebb-water/low water: lacking money

Pockets to let: penniless (you could rent out the empty space in your pockets)

Purse-pinched: low on cash

On the rocks: bankrupt

Rolled-up: in financial trouble

At a stand/standstill: having run out of money

Swallow a spider: to go bankrupt

In my next post, I'll let you into the Regency cant for all things naughty.

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