Slang of the 1800s

Everyday Life in the 1800sIn every time period there are slang words. If you’re a writer and your story takes place 150 years ago (like one of mine does) it is important to know what words people were saying back then. In addition to being important for writers, the slang of yesteryear can be the “beatingest” fun. Here is a sampling of words used in the 1800s.

Acknowledge the corn: to admit the truth

Allow: to admit; to be of the opinion

Balderdash: nonsense; empty babble

Beatingest: anything (or anyone) that beats the competition

Chirk: cheerful

Picayune: used to signify something small or frivolous

Whip one’s weight in wild cats: to defeat or beat an opponent

Source: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s

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7 Comments

  1. That’s cool! I was going to say “I should find some of those…”

    And then I remembered my characters spoke a completely different and foreign form of English.

    Oh well.

    Reply
  2. I love this! Slang and catch-phrases from other periods of history are so fun and interesting.

    Reply
  3. Sharon Canosa

     /  February 18, 2012

    Enjoyed reading slang from the 1800’s. Balderdash & picayune are the only two I recognize in our day and age. The others sound like foreign language.

    Reply
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