(Inspired by ‘A Dictionary of Victorian Slang’ by J. Redding Ware (1909))
A tale of poppy cock for my chuckaboo
Arthur Hardy and his wife Martha were intelligent and widely read people, both interesting and interested in all matters of topic surrounding the day. Following the end of a spirited dinner, they were often found engaging their close circle of friends and guests in humorous conversation in the drawing room.
The tales told drew on the language of the Victorian era, which was styled in poetry and song. Made up of lilting plays on words, many of these turns of phrase have drifted away as language has evolved over time.
ALL POPPY COCK
A brag or telling a tale of nonsense.
A figure of speech used to describe drunken men, following many half-pints of booze.
BUTTER UPON BACON
Extravagance. Too much extravagance!
A nickname given to a close friend.
A delightful way to refer to your rather boring hands.
DASH MY WIG!
A term for a bald and polished head.
A habitually smiling face.
MAKE A STUFFED BIRD LAUGH
Spinning a yarn deemed absolutely preposterous.
Describing a person with a ‘wilful determination to ignore the objectionable or inconvenient, at the same time assuming airs of superior virtue and noble resignation.’
Secret, shady, doubtful.
TICKLE ONE’S INNARDS
To have a drink.
A term meaning ‘inferior, noisy singers’, usually found around Martha Hardy’s piano following a spirited dinner at Mt Lofty House.