Euphemisms for Sex from the 1800s

vulgar-dictionary-1811_6

[T]hese synonyms for sex were used often enough in 19th-century England to earn a place in the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, a book for upper-crust Britons who had no idea what the proles were talking about.

An amorous sampling of some of the more choice pieces of delectable verbage selected from Adrienne Crezo‘s article:

  • Basket-Making – “Those two recently opened a basket-making shop.” From a method of making children’s stockings, in which knitting the heel is called basket-making.
  • Bread and Butter – One on top of the other. “Rumor has it he found her bread and butter fashion with the neighbor.”
  • Brush – “Yeah, we had a brush once.” The emphasis here is on brevity; just a fling, no big deal.
  • Convivial Society – Similar to “amorous congress” in that this was a gentler term suitable for even the noble classes to use, even if they only whispered it.
  • Lobster Kettle – A woman who sleeps with soldiers coming in at port is said to “make a lobster kettle” of herself.
  • St. George – In the story of St. George and the Dragon, the dragon reared up from the lake to tower over the saint. “Playing at St. George” casts a woman as the dragon and puts her on top.
  • Tiff – A tiff could be a minor argument or falling-out, as we know it. In the 19th century, it was also a term for eating or drinking between meals, or in this case, a quickie.

Via mental_floss for Adrienne Crezo’s full awesome list.

This entry was posted in Culture, History by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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