Thursday, 11 October 2018

17th Century Insults. A Beginners Guide. Part 1

So your caught up in a 17th century dust up. I mean it could happen to anyone…right? 

Sure, your okay with your thrust and your parry, comfortable with the workings of your dog lock pistol…but let's be honest for a second here, just how good are you with the barbed one liners?

I mean, yes you'll look cool as you snip the buttons off your opponent's doublet with the tip of your Hounslow hanger…but if you really want to impress the tavern / market place / castle courtyard bystanders you'll need to make the bugger look like a witless lumpen bumshankle while you do it.

Thankfully help is at hand. Here's a list of genuine 17th Century insults rude words and phrases you can use to slap 'em down as you cut 'em up.

Simply shout "zwounds sirrah you…" then combine nouns 1- 10 with the adjectives A - J, as you see fit. Don't forget to finish with a sardonic twirl of the moustache a manic laugh and a hearty slap of the thigh.

A. Auguless - puffed up or overly proud.

B. Cague Pawed - left handed.

C. Jugbitten - drunken

D. Roynish - scabby and base

E. Giddy - frivolous and stupid

F. Naughty - wicked

G. Salty - lecherous

H. Hard favoured - ugly

I. Meal'd - stained or spotted

J. Motley minded - foolish

1. Bellshangle - a buffoon

2. Bratchett - a small barking dog

3. Quakebreach - a coward

4. Mumblecrust - a toothless idiot

5. Claybrained clodpoll -  dumb as a rock

6. Spavined nag - a decrepit old horse

7. Whey faced poltroon - White faced coward

8. Coxcomb - well dressed and overly self regarding

9. Dandypratt - a well dressed fool

10. Caitiff -- a wretch or villain

There you go. See how I've managed to combine a vanity project blog with a pinch of genuine education. Who says learning can't be fun. I think I'll call it  'blogucation'.

11 comments:

  1. These are great! I will save a few of these to toss at an opponent next time the ECW figures take to the field.

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  2. 'twould be a right pleasure to cross swords with you sir, even if you be a jugbitten mumblecrust!

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    1. Yeah like it! Hold on for a second while I just swing from this chandelier and kick over a tavern bench or two.

      There.

      Ahah! Go shake your ears you hard favored clodpoll.

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    2. Oh bugger, I forgot to twirl my moustache.

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  3. These are good - like it a lot. I'm interested in "cague pawed" - when I was a kid in Liverpool, they used to say "cack handed" which meant either clumsy or left-handed, according to context, which I always thought was a bit harsh on left handed people. I discussed this once with a learned (drunk) friend of mine, and he said that it really meant left-handed, but since left-handers traditionally had problems with right-handed activities like firing weapons, or learning to write, the meaning had become blurred in common parlance. Whatever.

    I had a squint in one of these ludicrous know-all online urban dictionaries, and it explained that this was a reference to societies in which one hand is for eating and the other is for - well - wiping one's bottom. This just goes to show what you get when you sit morons down with the internet - the results are cack.

    I've always been interested in slang terms, and the etymology thereof - and particularly in the origins and political references in children's songs - skipping rhymes, etc. In passing, Lowland Scots term for left-handed is "corrie-dukit" or "corrie-haundit" - dukes being hands or fists, as in "put yer dukes up", a challenge to fight. Enough of this...

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    1. Hi Tony, in the midlands the term was caggy handed...and it was always applied to those that were clumsy when handling things - not specifically left handlers (though I have also head of cack handed). Strangely it was only as I was typing these out the other night that I made the (potential) connection between cague and caggy. As a by the bye my interest in language has seen me go to the ludicrous lengths of learning to speak basic olde English - (re enacted that period with Regia Anglorum for 8 years). Given that the number of people versed in it runs to about 10 country wide it was never a very useful skill to have mind you. Lol. Interesting to learn the derivation of "put your dukes up" Another one that I've heard and no doubt used but never questioned.

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    2. I promise not to keep this going, but I was interested enough to do a little more poking about, and it seems that everyone except me knew that "dukes" (meaning "hands") is rhyming slang [Duke of Yorks] for "forks" - this also being an old term for hands, hands being forked parts of the body. A lot of people believe that rhyming slang is exclusively a London tradition, by the way - not so - very strong tradition in Glasgow, for example, though in Scotland "the dukes" would normally be interpreted as "Duke of Argylls" [haemorrhoids...]. Again, in passing, it interests me that the only example of rhyming slang which made it to America is "raspberry" ("raspberry tart").

      That's quite enough of that digression. As I say, this stuff fascinates me.

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  4. Very nice - bookmarked for future reference.

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  5. great stuff, liked it a lot. just a question though for non-british: how would you pronounce 'auguless'?

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    1. Hi Martin, working from memory it's phoenetically pronounced AWG OR LESS. Sadly, I've no idea of it's original derivation.

      ThIs post seems to have excited quite a bit of attention for a throw away filler. Might have to do part two in a week or so.

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