There are probably thousands of hilarious Victorian words that have been lost to the sands of time. The British have always been particularly good at coming up with nonsense slang terms to describe everyday things.

To celebrate the millions of you living in Victorian houses all over the country, we’ve picked our twenty favourite long-forgotten expressions that we believe should still be used today. We’ve certainly been throwing a few of them around the Period Living office.

Suggestionize some of these Afternoonified sayings for your Chuckaboo’s Sauce-box.


1. Got the morbs = ‘temporary melancholy’

Victorian slang term for being depressed

“I’ve lost all of my Twitter followers because of this depressing selfie #GotTheMorbs”


2. Suggestionize = ‘to prompt’

“We suggestionize you pay attention at the back there!”


3. Collie shangles = ‘quarrels’

Victorian slang term for fighting

“Did you see the collie shangles between Dick and Peter about how to decorate the man cave?”


4. Afternoonified = a society word meaning ‘smart’

“The readers of Period Living are well known to be rather afternoonified”


5. Bang up to the elephant = ‘perfect or complete’

victorian slang for perfect

“This new house is bang up to the elephant”


6. Umble-cum-stumble = ‘thoroughly understood’

“I finally umble-cum-stumbled how to upcycle this old chair”


7. Benjo = ‘a riotous holiday; a noisy day in the streets’

victorian street party

“The work party is going to be a right benjo this year!”


8. Bricky = ‘brave or fearless’

“You’d have to be bricky to cancel your subscription to Period Living!”


9. Gigglemug = ‘an habitually smiling face’

victorian slang for a smiling face

“He may be a bit furry but he’s got a right gigglemug”


10. Kruger-spoof = ‘lying’

“You’re kruger-spoof! I know you finished my jaffa cakes!”


11. Church-bell = ‘a talkative woman’

victorian slang for a talkative woman

“My neighbour is known for being a right church-bell!”


12. Make a stuffed bird laugh = ‘absolutely preposterous’

“The thought of cancelling my subscription to Period Living would make a stuffed bird laugh”


13. Chuckaboo = ‘a nickname given to a close friend’

Victorian term for a close friend


“Thanks for holding my stick and hoop, chuckaboo”


14. Whooperups = ‘inferior, noisy singers’

“Our staff choir is a sorry bunch of whooperups”


15. Cop a mouse = ‘to get a black eye’

victorian term for a black eye

“I may be a rat, but carry on like that and you’re going to cop a mouse”

16. Poked up = ’embarrassed’

victorian term for embarrassed


“I was all poked up when you liked my old school photos on Facebook”


17. Bubble around = ‘a verbal attack’

“The builder is going to be in for a bubble around if he doesn’t get the tiling straight!”


18. Bags o’ mystery = ‘sausages’

Victorian term for sausages


“Do you want mash with your bags o’ mystery?”


19. Orf chump = ‘no appetite’

Victorian slang for no appetite

“I’ve orf chump after seeing those bags o’ mystery”


20. Sauce-box = ‘the mouth’

“Oh, you’ve got gravy all round your sauce box from those bags o’ mystery and mash”


We found these brilliant phrases in Passing English of the Victorian Era by Andrew Forrester, 1909, an almost bottomless well of weird and wonderful Victorian words.

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