23 November 2018

My Own Private Dictionary

A few years ago, I started reading Georgette Heyer. To date, I've read nine of her Regency romances:

Sylvester: Or the Wicked Uncle
Regency Buck
The Reluctant Widow
Cousin Kate
The Toll-Gate
The Quiet Gentleman

And I found myself looking up any number of words as I went along. Always a good sign in a book, yes?

Herewith, a tiny glossary:

  • Abigail - a lady's maid
  • Almack's – an upper class mixed-sex public social club
  • Cicisbeo – the escort to a married woman, like a walker
  • Curricle - a light, open, two-wheeled carriage pulled by two horses side by side
  • Domino – a robe-like costume worn at a masquerade ball 
  • Farouche – sullen or shy, as in behavior
  • Gig – a light, two-wheeled sprung cart pulled by one horse
  • Gretna Green – a Scottish town (just over the border) where English people ran away to get married under less restrictive rules
  • Jean – light denim fabric, as in “your boots are made of jean, not of kid”
  • Lief – happily or soon – as in “he would just as lief eat a porcupine”
  • Morganatic marriage – a marriage between people of unequal social rank – in the context of royalty, this would prevent the passage of the higher ranking person’s titles and privileges to the lower, and to any children born of the marriage.
  • Obtunding – to dull or to blunt
  • Phaeton – a sporty four-wheeled carriage, drawn by one or two horses, with extravagantly large wheels and open seating
  • Plum – 100 pounds (or maybe more
  • Rheumatic fever - a complication of untreated strep throat
  • Se'enight – archaic word for a week (seven nights)
  • Tilbury – a town in England, not far East of London
  • Ton – upper crust English society
  • Trevithick – English inventor of a steam engine 



Photopoppy said...

I do enjoy the silliness of Heyer's novels. They're lighthearted and the characters are so much fun.

MARY G said...

I just found a book of her short stories - all to a theme but vintage Heyer. And yes, love the vocab. All authentic; she was a terrific researcher. I think her best book is the one about Waterloo (76 year old brain not working well today), but you need to read two previous books to get the characters and plot.
Um, An Infamous Army, maybe. Will come up with the other two. I hope..