Since I'm writing a regency at the moment I am so into Regency - let me give you some Regencyisms...
This stuff is so full of character... it makes a comedy very easy going and what a rollicking little to-do I am having...
Can you guess?
1. Queer in the attic. (As Seinfeld would say, nothing wrong with that.)
2. Stick a spoon in the wall.
3. Long Meg
4. Touched in the upper works
5. Leg shackled.
6. Parson's mousetrap
7. Cut direct, cut sublime, cut infernal.
9. A mushroom.
11. Make a cake
12. more hair than a wit
13. Maggot in the head
How'd you go? This is a reverse quiz. The more you guess the more I have to tell you to 'get a life' unless you are full of so many IQ digits - this was just the last thing you needed before you emerged as a 'know it all'.
Following is a translation for the dummies.
1. Peculiar or crazy.
2. To die. Originally meant "took up residence" from the fact that in primitive times a leather strap was often nailed to the wall near the fireplace as a place to keep items like spoons. Eventually it came to mean "die", probably because the fireplace pouch - stuff went in and never came out - (read as junk pile or third draw in the kitchen).
3. A tall woman. Long Meg was a notorious woman from Henry VIII and the subjects of ballads and stories of the time.
7. Well cut direct, really would conjur up thoughts of director/movie. But to the regency people this was the ultimate insult. Look the other way - social murder. Cut surblime is to look up to Heaven. and obviously Cut infernal is look down or tie or stoop to adjust a shoe.
8. A women who gave sexual favors for payment ie., mistress or courtesan.(Aphrodite the Goddess of Love from the island of Cyprus.)
9. A sudden rise to eminence and riches as would a mushroom grow in the night.
10. A lie.
11. Make a fool of yourself. (*Half-baked)
12. Not very smart.
13. A strange notion
As a fan of how English changes it's meaning over time, language developing - this is quite a fascinating transition.