Do You Know The Meaning Of These Victorian Words?

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Do you obsessively watch Victorian T.V. dramas? The Victorian Era was romantic... but it was also a bit strange, to say the least! One mystery we can't understand is why they chose to wear all those clothes with no air conditioning! Another is their choice of food. But the biggest is probably the strange words they used.

This quiz has got everything from “parish pickaxes” to “sauce-boxes”. Do you think you know enough about that period in history to demystify the crazy words and phrases Victorian people used? Can you tell us the meanings of these Victorian words?

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1. Dave's got a "parish pickaxe". That means he has a:

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  1. Long legs
  2. Pink hair
  3. Large nose
  4. Nice smile
Having parish pickaxe was a really weird way to say that someone had a large or prominent nose.
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2. Stephen's "selling the dog":

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  1. Going to the pet store
  2. Being dishonest
  3. Cooking a meal
  4. Drawing a portrait
Rumor has it that people who sold dogs back in the day sold mutts as pure breeds. So if you're selling a dog, you're lying.
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3. "Church bells" can sure be noisy! Call a woman "church bells" and she is:

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  1. Quiet
  2. Helpful
  3. Talkative
  4. A good listener
Church bells were talkative women. We bet you've met a few in your day!
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4. Is it time for a "cat-lap"?

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  1. Champagne
  2. Cocktails
  3. Rum
  4. Tea and coffee
This phrase was used scornfully by men who loved their beverages on the stronger side.
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5. You're looking at three cool "coves"!

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  1. Pieces of candy
  2. Aliens
  3. People
  4. Bodies of water
A cove wasn't something you swam in. "Cove" meant a person. More often than not, it referred to a man.
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6. Would you care to eat some "bags o' mystery" with me?

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  1. Sausages
  2. Pancakes
  3. Eggs
  4. Eggs benedict
Sausages were called bag o' mystery during the Victorian Era. No one except the maker knew what was really in them!
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7. Craig's "gas pipes" must have been difficult to walk in:

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  1. Socks
  2. Really tight pants
  3. Cargo pants
  4. Shoes
The word "gas-pipes" was used to describe pants that were really tight. They probably weren't the easiest to maneuver in!
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8. Shh! can you keep a a "skilamalink"? Don't spill my....

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  1. Good news
  2. Juice
  3. Secrets
  4. Water
Not only did skilamalink mean secrets, it also described a shady or doubtful situation.
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9. Wow! Your "crib's" dining room is fancy! A "crib" is a:

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  1. A hamburger
  2. A shoe
  3. A movie
  4. A house
A crib was -- and still is -- a house. Unless, of course, you're referring to the place a baby sleeps.
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10. If you were at a "dizzy age", things were beginning to go a bit haywire. You were a:

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  1. Teen
  2. Elderly person
  3. Toddler
  4. Child
When we get older, we do tend to take liberties! It's not hard to imagine where the word "dizzy age" came from.
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11. Congrats! You're about the win the game, or "take the________":

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  1. Pigs brains
  2. Broccoli
  3. Macaroni
  4. Egg
If you ended up taking the egg, it meant you won the game or whatever competition you were taking part in.
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12. Your parents disapproved if you went around "mafficking"...

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  1. Getting rowdy
  2. Giving free food
  3. Helping the sick
  4. Volunteering to teach
Mafficking sounds pretty weird right? Well, it involved weird behavior -- that is, getting rowdy in the streets.
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13. Grandma left the bar "half-rats"....

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  1. Half-drunk
  2. Asleep
  3. Sad
  4. Happy because it's her birthday
Becoming half-rats takes a little effort. It meant that you were partially intoxicated -- not all the way, but enough.
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14. A "benjo" was this kind of celebration...

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  1. A marriage proposal
  2. A funeral
  3. A graduation
  4. A holiday celebrated in the street
A "benjo" was originally sailor slang. It came to mean a noisy day, most likely a holiday, celebrated in the streets.
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15. Watch your mouth! No "gum" around the children!

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  1. Smiles
  2. Kisses
  3. Compliments
  4. Foul language
Gum was foul language. Funny enough, both the gum of today and back then are prone to get you into sticky situations.
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16. If your food wasn't good, you'd say it was "fit for a dog", or...

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  1. Splendicious
  2. Yummylicious
  3. Scrumdillyumptious
  4. Bow wow mutton
Bow wow mutton could actually mean two things. Either the food tasted like dog food or it tasted so bad, it could have been dog meat.
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17. It's raining! Don't go out without your...

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  1. Shower curtain
  2. Rain napper
  3. Plastic tail
  4. Towel bag
As you probably assumed, a rain napper would steal the rain, or at least protect you from it. It was an umbrella.
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18. If you "got the morbs", you'd feel a bit:

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  1. Happy
  2. Sad
  3. Crazy
  4. Chipper
If you had the morbs back in the day, it meant that you were sad. Luckily, this was only temporary.
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19. "Damfino" means:

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  1. Damned if I know
  2. The roof is on fire
  3. The food is ready
  4. Your shirt has a hole
Damfino was a pretty common response to questions you had no answer to. The words "damned if I know" were melded together and resulted in a much shorter, one-word slur.
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20. "Making a stuffed bird laugh" means you've just said something that was really....

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  1. Serious
  2. Sad
  3. Absurd
  4. Smart
When you've made a stuffed bird laugh, you've just said something that was absolutely preposterous.
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21. "Nailing a strike" meant you stole this accessory:

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  1. Watch
  2. A bag of flour
  3. Gucci handbag
  4. Stiletto shoes
Today, this phrase often means hitting a hammer. Back then, it meant "to steal a time piece."
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22. Need to catch some z's? Make sure your "kife" is good quality!

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  1. A carpet
  2. A bed
  3. A stool
  4. A toilet
Kife was the word people used when they wanted to say bed.
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23. You couldn't cook and clean without your "daddles"...

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  1. Hands
  2. Butt
  3. Stomach
  4. Feet
Daddles was one of the more enjoyable words of the era! It made the word hands seem just a little less boring.
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24. Ain't life just "beer and skittles"?

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  1. Difficult
  2. All about food
  3. A good time
  4. Sad
The term "beer and skittles" was actually found in Charles Dickens' work in 1837. Informally, the term means "a good time."
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25. Our dog Toby's a bit of a "meater". He is a:

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  1. A talented musician
  2. Party animal
  3. Fanatic
  4. Coward
Even in those times, street slang existed. "Meater" was street slang for "coward."
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26. Boxers often "copped a mouse", or got these dark marks on their faces...

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  1. Glitter
  2. A lipstick mark
  3. A black eye
  4. Tomato paste
In the Victorian Era, if you copped a mouse, someone had just given you a black eye.
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27. Do you keep a "billy" in your pocket? I need to blow my nose!

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  1. A notepad
  2. A watermelon
  3. A handkerchief
  4. A pillow
Billies had nothing to do with goats during the Victorian Era. The word represents a handkerchief.
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28. King Lewis is "arfarfan arf":

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  1. Very drunk
  2. Very tired
  3. Very smelly
  4. Very creative
Arf, as a standalone word would mean "pints." The phrase, however, was a term used to describe a drunk man.
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29. Yippee!! It's your birthday and your party is "nanty narking". How is it going?

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  1. It's tons of fun
  2. The police stopped it
  3. A cat just crashed it
  4. You're crying in the bathroom
This term, which meant great fun, was only popular for about forty years between 1800 and 1840. Time for a comeback?
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30. If you're "poked up" you may want to hide your face. Why?

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  1. You're happy
  2. You're lonely
  3. You want to use the bathroom
  4. You're embarrassed
A person who is poked up is embarrassed.
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31. Which bizarre-looking word meant "extremely enthusiastic"?

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  1. Keen
  2. Passionate
  3. Eager
  4. Enthuzimuzzy
We're not sure who "Braham the Terror was," but he was the one who invented this silly word for enthusiasm.
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32. Careful! Your significant other will "chuck your shoulder" for forgetting your anniversary.

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  1. Marry you
  2. Turn you away
  3. Give you a promotion
  4. Kiss you
If someone's shoulder was chucked, it meant they were turned away. Romantically, or otherwise.
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33. You get mad and tell a friend to "hook it," or:

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  1. What's up?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. Give me a hug
  4. Go away
Hook it, back then, meant to go away. The modern version, book it, means to leave in a hurry.
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34. Aristocrats and common folk would both use their "sauce-box" to grumble:

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  1. Mouth
  2. Chest
  3. Legs
  4. Arms
A sauce-box could either be used to describe a normal mouth or one that liked to spew very sassy sayings. Context is everything.
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35. Ted is "orf chump" and won't touch food. What's wrong with him?

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  1. Nothing, that's just Ted
  2. He has no appetite
  3. He can't walk
  4. He has a sprained ankle
A person who is feeling "orf chump" has no appetite. Don't pass them the salad!
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36. If you're "smothering a parrot", you're having a glass of this green alcoholic drink, neat...

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  1. Water
  2. Milk
  3. Egg nog
  4. Absinthe
That's strong stuff! Smothering a parrot was the equivalent of drinking a glass of absinthe with no water, ice, chaser etc.
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37. Police and sheep don't usually mix, but officers were called these back in the day.

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  1. Mutton shunter
  2. Cow farmer
  3. Cat napper
  4. Dog herder
Police have been known as many things over the years -- mutton shunters are one such name.
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38. Little Thomas sure is "bricky", just like a Knight of the Round Table:

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  1. Scared
  2. Shy
  3. Brave
  4. Timid
Bricky meant brave. It was used to describe both males and females.
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39. Isn't Stella just "butter upon bacon"?

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  1. Plain
  2. Extravagant
  3. Normal
  4. Cheap
Any way you slice it, if you described something as "butter upon bacon," it was too extravagant -- and often not in a good way!
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40. Peter is a "fly rink". He has none of this on his head...

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  1. Fruits
  2. Hair
  3. Makeup
  4. Clothes
A fly rink wasn't just a bald head. It was a polished bald head.
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41. A man who loved to talk was known as this baby's toy:

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  1. A parrot
  2. A billboard
  3. An agreeable rattle
  4. A candle
Not only did "an agreeable rattle" describe a person who loved to talk, but the word also referred to someone who did it constantly in a silly or excited manner.
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42. Sharon has a "gigglemug". She's:

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  1. Smiling
  2. Kissing
  3. Licking
  4. Arguing
A gigglemug isn't just a smile, it's a face that smiles habitually.
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43. If you and another person were "of the same kidney", you were:

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  1. Alike
  2. Opposites
  3. Strangers
  4. Enemies
Of the same kidney didn't mean looking alike or being someone's sibling. It meant that you and another person had similar temperaments.
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44. Who else thinks that Karen is a total "gibface"?

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  1. Ugly
  2. Cute
  3. Funny
  4. Smart
Unfortunately, a "gibface" meant that a person wasn't exactly on the pretty side.
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45. If you had bad champagne, what did it taste like?

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  1. Coffee
  2. Varnish
  3. Ice cream
  4. Chocolate sauce
In the Victorian Era, the taste of bad champagne was likened to varnish.
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46. Dominic is a "gal-sneaker". He's good at...

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  1. Sewing
  2. Studying
  3. Spelling
  4. Seduction
This word, which described a man who devoted his life to seduction, was pretty popular in 1870.
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47. Why all those books? If people called you "afternoonified", you probably went to...

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  1. A support group
  2. University
  3. A carnival
  4. Paris
University! Afternoonified was a word that people used to describe someone who was book smart.
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48. Martha and Elizabeth are "chuckaboos", they've known each other for years!

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  1. Colleagues
  2. Enemies
  3. Strangers
  4. Close friends
Chuckaboo was a nickname given to a very close friend, who may or may not have been a relative.
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49. You'd have a hard time breathing if you were "grinning at the daisy roots". That's because you'd be:

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  1. Ignoring everyone
  2. Working
  3. Dead
  4. Sleeping
This sweet phrase is anything but; it meant that a person was dead.
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50. The town hall was a great meeting place in the Victorian era. It was also called this (the Greeks would approve)...

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  1. Condo
  2. Home
  3. Forum
  4. Skyscraper
The word forum has been around for a very long time. The Ancient Greeks used it as a public square. Victorian folk used the word to mean town hall.
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