Revenge on teen slang- go Victorian!

Have you ever listened to a group of teens talking and thought WTH? They’re as unfathomable as wartime code.

But you can capitalise on your grownup-ness and use slang of your own. WIBF (wouldn’t it be funny) if Victorian slang somehow became their slang?

One of my favourite Victorian words is “suggestionize”, a legal term from 1889 meaning “to prompt.”  Which is a real word, unlike incentivizing, which is made up.

Next time the teens are at your digs having lunch, tell them you’re making “bags o’ mystery”. This is an 1850 term for sausages as no one knew what was in them.

When they’re about to leave ask them to “back slang it” which means “to go out the back way.” This was a Victorian phrase commonly used by thieves.

Teach them to cuss Victorian-style by saying Damfino which means “damned if I know.”

Replace our teens rather naughty “Netflix and chill” with “Doing the Bear”, an old- time phrase which means “courting that involves hugging.”

Instead of sick or skux (which means popular) females talk about the “jammiest bits of jam”, a phrase from around 1883 which means “absolutely perfect young females”. So much nice than our teens version!

Instead of getting “gone” you can be “Powdering Hair”, an 18th century tavern term that means “getting drunk”. Alternatively, use the nicer phrase “tight as a boiled owl”.

Ask your male teen if after tot-hunting they mafficked (were rowdy) on the way home after having “nanty narking” (great fun) and did they see a mutton-shunter (policeman)?

Umble-cum-stumble? Understand?

As well as getting your own back, you’ll have them scratching their fly rink trying to understand what you’re on about!


Our source is Passing English of the Victorian Era, a Dictionary of Heterodox English, Slang and Phrase, published in 1909 right after the end of the Victorian era.