How to have a historically accurate lovers’ tiff

Some fiery couples just bloody love a good argument. In case you fall into this bracket, and want to get a bit creative while also appearing irresistibly historically accurate, look no further than this slang dictionary of the 1830s.

Of course, it’s always best to suit the intensity of the insult to your partner’s thickness of skin, as well as their offence, but fortunately there is a huge range of ideas to choose from. My favourites are the inspiringly specific Rubbacrock (‘as dirty as if she continually were rubbing herself against a boiler or kettle’) and the admirably to-the-point ‘Drazil-Drozzle (‘dirty slut’).*


(… and I take no responsibility for the fall-out.)

*Note: the original meaning of this now pretty offensive term was less about sexual promiscuity, and more about being dirty and slovenly


ABBEY-LUBBER – A lazy, idle fellow (inhabitants of Abbeys being indolent). (York)

BASTERLY GULLION – a bastard’s bastard. (Lanc)

BED-FAGOT – a contemptuous name for a bed-fellow. (Norf, Suff)

BLOW-MAUNGER – a fat, full-faced person, one whose cheeks are puffed out or blown with eating. (Somerset)

CHOATY – fat, chubby, commonly applied to infants. (Kent)

CHOP-LOGGER-HEAD – an intense blockhead; one whose head is thick enough as it were to bear logs to be chopped on it. (Norf, Suff)

COW-BABY – A coward; a timid person. (Somerset)

CREEP-HEDGE – one who prowls and sneaks about through hedges. (Norf)

DAFFOCK – a dirty man or woman, a slattern. (North)

DRAZIL-DROZZLE – a dirty slut. (Hants, South)

DUNDER-KNOLL – blockhead. (North)

DUNK-HORNED – sneaking, shabby. (Norf, Suff)

FUSTILUGGS – a big-boned person. (Somerset)

GO-BY-THE-GROUND – a person of low stature. (Norf)

GRISLY – ugly. (North)

LICK-SPITTLE – a mean parasite, one who will stoop to any dirty work. (Craven)

MUCK-SPOUT – one who is at once very loquacious and very foul-mouthed. (Norf/Suff)

PIKE-OFF! – begone! (“Shoulder your Pike and be off!”) (Norf)

PIKER – a tramp, one who is always on the road. (East Sussex)

POLLRUMPTIOUS – restive, unruly. (Kent)

RAGGOLD – a villain. (North)

RANTY-TANTY – very angry; in great wrath. (?North)

RUBBACROCK – a filthy slattern, as dirty as if she continually were rubbing herself against a boiler or kettle. (Exmoor)

TRUBAGULLY– a short, dirty, ragged fellow, accustomed to perform the most menial offices (Somerset).

WAPPEREYED – goggle-eyed, with eyes staring, as one scared; or squinting, like a person in liquor. (Glouc)

TO WHECKER – to laugh in a low, vulgar manner. (Somerset)

WHINNER-NEBB’D– Thin-nosed; having a lean, spare face. (North)

ZOWERSWOPPED – Ill-natured, sour. (Exmoor)

Or, find your own! The full book of William Holloway’s Dictionary of Provincialisms can be downloaded for free here.


‘Six Weeks after Marriage’ (1777)

3 thoughts on “How to have a historically accurate lovers’ tiff

Add yours

  1. LOL!! These are terrific, Emily! Thank you! Can’t wait to use them! 😃

    Tom St. Petersburg, FL

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. “Lick-spittle” is still in use, as is “piker” – though it’s more normally seen as “pikey”, a derogatory term for Roma/Travellers.

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