Victorian-Steampunk Glossary

(I have compiled this glossary over the years from various places online as well as from printed materials including my own novels. I’ve lost track of the exact sources, so please let me know if you need to be credited.)


Abbess: Female brothel keeper. A Madame.

Abbot: The husband, or preferred man of an Abbess.

Ab-natural: see Supernatural

Ace-high: first class, respected.

According to Hoyle: Correct, by the book.

Aeronef: a heavier than air flying machine. ie: an airplane or gyrocopter

Aerostat: a lighter than air craft. ie: a balloon or dirigible

A hog-killin’ time: a real good time.

Alderman: Half-Crown

A lick and a promise: to do haphazardly. “He did nothing but give it a lick and a promise.”

Alienist: a physician specializing in treating mental disorders, contemporarily “psychiatrist”

All down but nine: missed the point, not understood. (Reference to missing all nine bowling pins.)

Alternative History: involving theoretically possible world changing events that never happened in reality.

Ambroglious: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) an ancient dinosaur-like monster (related to the Tyrannosaurus rex and common lizard); twenty-five leapspans (200 feet) tall; dwells beneath the sea in a state of long-term hibernation unless awakened by divine powers to protect the Earth.

Analytical Engine: a purely mechanical steampunk computer. Also known as a a difference engine. See also Babbage Engine

Apecats: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) chimpanzee-like primates with the haunches and claws of Bengal tigers; bodies striped and powerful. Able to walk upright and move with tremendous speed.

Arbuckle’s: slang for coffee, taken from a popular brand of the time.

Area Diving: A method of theft that necessitates sneaking down area steps, and stealing from the lower rooms of houses.

Astronef: a space ship. (Found in “Stories of Other Worlds” by George Griffith) The “Space 1889” RPG uses the term “ether flyer”. “Full Light Full Steam” applies “solar steamer”.

Aviamore, Brighton: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) Falcon Lord, Protagonist

Aviamore (human): Brighton’s family name; from Old French avis meaning “bird” + amor  (Latin equivalent)  meaning “love” :  “Lovers of Birds.”


Babbage Engine: an Analytical Engine. Named after Charles Babbage, the man who originated the idea of a programable computer.

Bacca-pipes: Whiskers curled in small, close ringlets.

Balled up: confused.

Bang-up: first rate. “They did a bang-up job.”

Barkers (Barking Irons): Guns. Pistols, esp. Revolvers.

Bazoo: mouth. “Shut your big bazoo.”

Beak: Magistrate

Beak-hunting: Poultry stealing

Bearer up: Person that robs men who have been decoyed by a woman accomplice.

Beat the devil around the stump: to evade responsibility or a difficult task. “Quit beatin’ the devil around the stump and ask that girl to marry you.”

Bend: Waistcoat, vest

Bend an elbow: have a drink.

Bender: drunk. “She’s off on another bender.”

Best bib and tucker: your best clothes.

Betty: A type of lockpick

Big bug: important person, official, boss. “He’s one of the railroad big bugs.”

Bilk: cheat.

Billy: Handkerchief (often silk)

Bit Faker: A coiner.A counterfeiter of coins.

Blackaert: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)bastard.

Blackleg: A person who will work, contrary to a strike.In the Colonies they are called Scabs.

Blag: To steal or snatch, usually a theft, often by smash-and-grab

Bloater: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) a gorpe airship; small, pirate-style, steam-driven dirigible.

Blob, on the (Blab): Begging by telling hardluck stories.

Blooming, Bloody (Blasted, etc.): are forms of profanity not heard in polite company (Today they’ve been replaced in prestige with “Fucking”, which is really too bad.)

Blow: Inform; boast, brag. “Don’t listen to him, that’s just a lot of blow.”

Blower: Informer.Also a disrepectful term for a girl.

Blowhard: braggart, bully.

Blow-up: fit of anger. “He and the missus had a blow-up, but it’s over, now.”

Bludger: A violent criminal; one who is apt to use a bludgeon.

Blue Bottle: A policeman

Boat, get the (Boated): To receive a particularly harsh sentence.

Bone, Bene: (Pronounced Bone and Benneh?) Good or profitable.

Bone orchard: cemetery.

Bonnet: A covert assistant to a Sharp

Bosh: Nonsense.

Boss: the best, top. “The Alhambra Saloon sells the boss whiskey in town.”

Broad Arrow: The arrow-like markings on a prison convict’s uniform

Broads: Playing cards. Ex. “Spreading the broads” = playing a game of cards

Broading: Cheating at cards

Broadsman: A card Sharper

Bruiser: A Boxer

Buck Cabbie: A dishonest cab driver

Bug hunting: Robbing, or cheating drunks. Esp. at night.

Bull: Five shillings

Bulldoze: to bully, threaten, coerce.

Buor: A woman

Bully: Exceptionally good, outstanding. (Used as an exclamation.) “Bully for you!”

Buttoner: A sharper’s assistant who entices dupes.

Buzzing: Stealing, esp. Picking Pockets.

Bunko artist: con man.

Burg: town.

By hook or crook: to do any way possible.


Calaboose: jail.

California widow: woman separated from her husband, but not divorced. (From when pioneer men went West, leaving their wives to follow later.)

Candle to the devil, To hold a: To be evil

Cant: A present; a free meal or quantity of some article.Also the creole and jargon spoken by thieves and the”surplus population.”

Cant of togs: A gift of clothing.

Caper: A criminal act, dodge or device.

Cash Carrier: A pimp, ponce or whore’s minder.

Chapel, the: Whitechapel.

Chat: a Louse (a singular of Lice).

Chaunting: Singing; also informing

Chaunting lay: Street singing (hopefully for money)

Chavy: Child

Chibbit: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) a small wafer of gold equal to about twenty, 18th century, American dollars.

Chink: Money

Chisel, chiseler: to cheat or swindle, a cheater.

Chisel Chin; or Old Chisel Chin: the devil

Chiv, shiv: Knife, razor or sharpened stick

Choker: Clergyman.”Gull a choker”

Christen: To remove identifying marks from a stolen item, to make like new again.

Clacker: an Analytical Engine operator.

Clean his/your plow: to get or give a thorough whippin’.

Cly faking: To pick a pocket, especially of its handkerchief

Cockchafer: An especially build treadmill in the ‘Steel

Coffee boiler: shirker, lazy person. (Would rather sit around the coffee pot than help.)

Coiner: A coin counterfeiter

Cokum: Opportunity, advantage, shrewd, cunning.

Consumption: slang for pulminary tuberculosis.

Coopered: Wornout, useless

Coopered Ken: A bad place for a stick up.

Cop, Copper: A policeman

Copper a bet: betting to lose, or prepare against loss. “I’m just coppering my bets.”

Couter: Pound (money)

Cove: A man

Crabshells: Shoes

Cracksman: A Burgler, a safecracker.

Crapped: hung, hanged.

Crib: A building, house or lodging.The location of a gaol.

Crimping shop: A waterfront lodging house for kidnapped seamen.

Croaker: pessimist, doomsayer. “Don’t be such an old croaker.”

Crooked cross, to play the: To betray, swindle or cheat.

Crow: A lookout.A doctor.

Crowbait: derogatory term for a poor-quality horse.

Crusher: A policeman

Curly wolf: real tough guy, dangerous man.

Cut a swell: present a fine figure.


Dab: bed; “To dab it up with_____” = to engage in carnal acts with ___.

Dabeno: Bad

Daffy: A small measure, esp. of spiritous liquers.

Deadbeat: bum, layabout, useless person.

Deadlurk: Empty premises.

Deaner: A shilling. (from the Dinarious, or ancient silver penny of Britain.)

Deb: Bed

Decapods: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) ten limbed, steam-powered, mining devices; ten leapspans high; able to lift large masses of microal, feed them into internal crusher jaws, process them into dust, then shoot the dust out behind them. They can also be employed to move large equipment, as well as fight in battle, devouring soldiers and discharging their ground-up remains.

Demander: One who gains monies through menace.

Derbies: (Pronounced Darbies).Handcuffed

Device: Tuppence

Deuce Hog (Duce Hog): 2 shillings

Devil’s claws: The broad arrows on a convict’s prison uniform.

Dewskitch: A beating

Dicker: barter, trade.

Didikko: Gypsies; half breed gypsies.

Dig: a dirigible.

Dillo: Old (cb)

Dime Novel: cheap, usually lurid, American periodicals. The forerunners to the “Pulps”. See also Penny Dreadful

Dimmick: A base coin, counterfeit

Dipper: Pickpocket

Dispatches: Loaded dice

Dobbin: Ribbon

Dollymop: A prostitute, often an amateur or a part-time street girl; a midinette.

Dollyshop: A low, unlicenced loan shop or pawn shop.

Don: A distinguished/expert/clever person; a leader

Dookin: Palmistry

Down: Suspicion.

Do Down: To beat someone badly, punishing them with your fists.

Downer: Sixpence.

Downy: Cunning, false.

Doxology works: a church.

Drag: (1) A three month gaol sentence. (2)A street

Dragsman: A thief who steals from carriages.

Drawing Room Mystery: most properly referring to the sub-genre of mystery where a group of people is gathered together at a remote location (usually a mansion) resulting in the murder of one or more of the guests.

Drum: A building, house or lodging.

Dry gulch: to ambush. Reference from abandoning a body where it fell.

Dub: (1) Bad (cb); (2) Key, lockpick

Duce: Tuppence

Duckett: A street hawker or vendor’s licence.

Dude: an Easterner, or anyone in up-scale clothes, rather than plain range-riding or work clothes.

Duffer: A seller of supposedly stolen goods. Also a Cheating Vendor or hawker.

Dumplin: A swindling game played with skittles

Dumps: Buttons and other Hawkers small wares.

Dunnage: Clothes

Dwarol: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) a cross between the handsome tree dwarf and miniature mountain troll; forest dwellers who have domesticated Perpetua’s giant cliff sparrows for the purpose of transportation.


 E.O. : A fairground gambling game

“Eee ochk”: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) command for a Magradore to take flight (equivalent to a cowboy’s “Heyah!”).

Escop (Esclop, Eslop): Policeman (cb)

Esquire: in Britain a social rank above gentlemen, in the United States a titled adopted by lawyers. Abbreviated: Esq.

Ether: a hypothetical medium filling all of space that carries light (and other electromagnetic) waves. Now discredited and (currently) replaced by the concept of wave-partical duality. Often used in Steampunk to simply mean Outer Space.

Eugenic science: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) the application and nurturing of varied gene combinations for the purpose of creating new, experimental animal breeds as well as animal/plant/machine hybrids. Many of the unusual creatures of Perpetua were thusly created by humans who once populated the lost isle. Later, gorpes learned to employ eugenics to create mutant creatures for the purpose of warfare.


Fadge: Farthing

Fakement: a Device or pretence (especially a notice or certificate to facilitate begging).

Family, the: The criminal Underworld, also Family People.

Fan: To delicately feel someone’s clothing, while it is still being worn, to search for valuables.

Fancy, the: The brethren of the boxing ring.

Fandango: from the Spanish, a big party with lots of dancing and excitement.

Far East: to Victorians those distant countries East of British India like China and Japan.

Fawney: Ring

Fetch: bring, give.

Fine wirer: A highly skilled pickpocket

Finny: Five pound note

Fish: a cowboy’s rain slicker, from a rain gear manufacturer whose trademark was a fish logo. Flag: An apron

Flam: A lie

Flannel mouth: an overly smooth or fancy talker, especially politicians or salesmen.

Flash (v & adj): Show, Showy (as in “Show-off,” or “Flashy”); smart; something special.

Flat: A person who is flat is easily deceived.

Flatch: Ha’penny

Flats: Playing cards, syn. Broads.

Flimp: A snatch pickpocket.Snatch stealing in a crowd.

Flue Faker: Chimney sweep

Flummut: Dangerous

Flush: prosperous, rich.

Fly, on the: Something done quickly.

Flying robots: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) small, steam propelled, machines (origin uncertain) capable of flight by means of three-tiered canvas wing systems; possessing clamp-like hands and duel wheels for ground transportation; constructed primarily from wood and copper; originally designed to mine microal underground. They were later re-engineered by Dredgemont who provided them with surprisingly sophisticated mental capacities, including the ability to speak and process thought.

Flying the Mags: The game of “Pitch and Toss”

Fogle: A silk handkerchief

Fork over: pay out.

Four-flusher: a cheat, swindler, liar.

Full as a tick: very drunk.

Fushme: Five shillings

Fuss: disturbance.


Gaff: Show, exhibition, fair “Penny Gaff” – Low, or vulgar theatre.

Gallies: Boots

Game: to have courage, guts, gumption. “He’s game as a banty rooster.” Or, “That’s a hard way to go, but he died game.”

Gammon: Deceive

Gammy: False, undependable, hostile

Garret: Fob pocket in a waistcoat

Garrote: (v & n) A misplaced piano wire, and how it was misplaced.

Gaslamp Fantasy: any fiction with a Neo-Victorian setting and steamtech that behaves more like magic than science.

Gatter: Beer

Gattering: A public house

Gegor: Begger

Gen: Shilling

Get a wiggle on: hurry.

Get it in the neck: get cheated, misled, bamboozled.

Get my/your back up: to get angry.

Get the mitten: to be rejected by a lover.

Glim: (1) Light or fire.(2) Begging by depicting oneself as having been burnt out of one’s home.(3) Venereal Disease.

Glock: Half-wit

Glocky: Half-witted

Go through the mill: gain experience the hard way.

Goner: lost, dead.

Gone up the flume: same as goner!

Gonoph: A minor thief, or small time criminal

Gorpes: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) mutant ghouls who were once men, mostly prisoners brought to Perpetua to labor in the mines; forced to live underground for so many generations, their skin turned gray and they are extremely sensitive to sunlight. Very hardy, but crude, ignorant, and vicious; able to climb as well as mountain goats and in bare feet, no less.

Gospel mill: a church.

Gospel sharp: a preacher. (Apparent opposite of a card sharp!)

Got the bulge: have the advantage.

Gothhoven raven: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) species Eugenically derived from Common Raven (Corvus corax); just over a full leapspan tall (approximately ten feet) when standing upright.

Grand: excellent, beautiful.

Granger: a farmer.

Grass widow: divorcee.

Granny: Understand or recognize

Gravney: A Ring

Grey, Gray: A coin with two identical faces

Griddling: Begging, peddling, or scrounging

Growler: A four wheeled cab

Gulpy: Gullible, easily duped.

Great Game: most properly used in reference to the rivalry between the British and Russian Empires for control of central Asia (from around 1813 to 1907).


Half inch: Steal

Half seas over: drunk.

Hammered for life: Married

Hang fire: delay.

Hard case: worthless person, bad man.

Hard up: Tobacco

Haybag: Woman

Haymarket Hector: Pimp, ponce or whore’s minder; especially around the areas of Haymarket and Leicester Squares.

Heap: a lot, many, a great deal.

Heeled: to be armed with a gun.

Here’s how!: a toast, such as Here’s to your health.

Hobble your lip: shut up.

Hoisting: Shoplifting

Hold a candle to: measure up, compare to.

Holywater sprinkler: A cudgel spiked with nails.

Hoosegow: jail.

Hot as a whorehouse on nickel night: damned hot.

Huey, Hughey: A town or village.

Huntley,to take the: Syn. To take the Cake or to take the Biscuit.

Hykey: Pride.


Inquiry Agent: a British term for what Americans call a Private Detective

Irons: Guns esp. Pistols or revolvers.


Jack: Detective

Jemmy: (1) Smart.(2) of Superior class.(3) an housebreaker’s tool.

Jerry: A Watch

Jerryshop: Pawnbrokers

Jig is up: scheme/game is over, exposed.

Joey: A fourpence piece

Jolly: Disturbance or Fracas

Judy: A woman, specifically a prostitute

Jug loops: Locks of hair brought over the temples and curled

Julking: Singing (as of caged songbirds)

Jump: A ground floor window, or a burglary committed throughsuch a window.


Kanurd: Drunk (cb)

Kecks: Trousers

Ken: House or other place, esp. a lodging or public house.

Kennetseeno: Bad, stinking, putrid — Malodorous. (r)

Kennuck: Penny

Kick up a row: create a disturbance.

Kidsman: An organizer of child thieves

Kife: Bed

Kinchen-lay (Kynchen-lay): Stealing from children

Kingsman: A coloured or black handkerchief.

Knap: To steal, take or receive

Knapped: Pregnant

Knob: “Over and under” a fairground game used for swindling.

Knocked into a cocked hat: fouled up, rendered useless.

Knock galley west: beat senseless.

Know life, to: To be knowledgable in criminal ways


Lackin, Lakin: Wife

Ladybird: A Prostitute

Lag: A convict or Ticket-of-leave man; To be sentenced to transportation or penal servitude.

Lamps: Eyes

Laycock, Miss (or Lady): Female sexual organs

Lavender, in: (1) To be hidden from police, (2) to be pawned, (3) to be put away, (4) to be dead.

Lay: A method, system or plan

Leapspan: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) approximately eight feet; the length the average monkrat can leap from a standing start.

Leg : A dishonest person, a sporting cheat or tout.

Let slide/ let drive/ let fly: go ahead, let go. “If you think you want trouble, then let fly.”

Light (or lighting) a shuck: to get the hell out of here in a hurry.

Like a thoroughbred: like a gentleman.

Lill: Pocketbook

London Particular: Thick London “Pea Soup” fog

The Long Reign: the definition of the “Victorian Era” in popular imagination.

Long-Tailed: A banknote worth more than 5 pounds is said to be “long tailed”

Lucifer: an early version of the (fire lighting) match which smelled awful, often exploding and throwing sparks great distances, thus burning far more than they were meant to such as carpets, shoes, and clothing

Luggers: Ear rings

Lumber: (1) Unused, or second-hand furniture (2) To pawn (3) To go into seclusion

Lump Hotel: Work House

Lunger: slang for someone with tuberculosis.

Lurk: (1) A place of resorting to or concealment in.(2) A scheme or method

Lurker: A criminal of all work, esp. a begger, or someone who uses a beggar’s disguise.

Lush: An alcoholic drink.

Lushery: A place where a lush may be had.A low public house or drinking den.

Lushing Ken: See Lushery

Lushington: A drunkard


Macer: A cheat

MacGuffin: a plot device that has no specific meaning or purpose other than to drive

Mag: Ha’pence

Magflying: Pitch and toss

Magradore Falcon: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) a giant bird of prey related to the species Falco peregrinus; average height just under two leapspans (or fifteen feet); wingspan typically six leapspans (forty-eight feet). Their typical diet consists of goats, cliff trolls, and giant sea pike.

Magsman: An inferior cheat

Make a mash: make a hit, impress someone. (Usually a female.) “Buck’s tryin’ to make a mash on that new girl.”

Making Love: in Victorian vernacular the wooing of a woman, not the act of physical love.

Maltooler: A pickpocket who steals while riding an omnibus, esp. from women.

Mandrake: a Homosexual

Mark: The victim

Mary Blaine: Railway Train; to meet a train or to travel via railway.

Mauley: Handwriting, signature

Mecks: Wine or spirits

Megaboars: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov) Huge elephantine creatures with massive, clawed feet; all four limbs enhanced by exoskeletal steam pistons; possessing enormous warthog heads with fighting tusks.

Microal: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  a mineral substance that can be converted into a fuel source known as wheal.

Milltag: Shirt

Miltonian: Policeman

Min: Steal

Mitting: Shirt

Mizzle: Quit, Steal, or Vanish

Mobsman: A swindler or pickpocket, usually well-dressed.Originally one of the “Swell Mob”

Mollisher: A woman, often a villain’s mistress

Monkery: the Country

Monkrats: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  the most common creatures on the Isle of Perpetua; scruffy, Eugenically created creatures resembling giant lemmings; average height approximately one half leapspan (four feet).

Monniker: Signature

Mot: Woman, esp. the proprietress of a lodging or publichouse

Moucher, Moocher: A rural vagrant.A gentleman of the road.

Mouth: (1) Blabber.(2) A Fool

Mug-hunter: A street robber or footpad. Hence the modern “Mugger”

Mumper: Begger or scrounger

Mutcher: A thief who steals from drunks

Muck Snipe: A person who is “down and out”

Mudsill: low-life, thoroughly disreputable person.


Nail: Steal

Nailed to the counter: proven a lie.

Namby-pamby: sickly, sentimental, saccharin.

Nancy: Buttocks

Nebuchadnezzar: Male sexual organs

Near East: referring to geographical locations close to, but culturally distant from, Europe.

Nemmo: Woman

Neo-Victorian: when aspects of Victorian culture are used out of their historical period. Much of “steampunk” culture is Neo-Victorian by nature.

Nethers: Lodging charges, rent

Newgate Knockers: Heavily greased side whiskers curling back to, or over the ears

Netherskens: Low lodging houses, flophouses

“Ney”: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  command for a Magradore to rise from his belly, but only part way so his rider can cinch his saddle belts beneath him.

Nibbed: Arrested

Nickey: Simple in the head

Nobble: The inflicting of grievious bodily harm

Nobbler: (1) One who inflicts grevious bodily harm.(2) A sharper’s confederate

Nommus!: Get away! Quick!

Nose: Informer or Spy

Nubbiken: A sessions courthouse


Odd stick: eccentric person. “Ol’ Farmer Jones sure is an odd stick.”

Of the first water: first class. “He’s a gentleman of the first water.”

Offish: distant, reserved, aloof.

Oh-be-joyful: Liquor, beer, intoxicating spirits. “Give me another snort of that oh-be-joyful.”

Old West: referring to or involving elements from the history of the American frontier generally from the time of the American Civil War to the end of the 19th Century.

On the fly: While in motion or quickly

Onion: A watch seal

The Orient: to Victorians the countries that would contemporarily be considered the Middle East.

On the shoot: looking for trouble.

Out of twig: Unrecognized or in disquise

Outsider: An instrument, resembling needle nosed pliers, used for turning a key in a lock from the wrong side.


Pack: A night’s lodging for the very poor

Paddingken: A tramp’s lodging house

Pall: Detect

Palmer: Shoplifter

Pass the buck: evade responsibility.

Patterer: Someone who earns by recitation or hawker’s sales talk, esp. by hawking newspapers

Penny Dreadful: 19th century British fiction publications, frequently featuring lurid and sensational stories. Presented as serials with new parts released over consecutive weeks. Named, appropriately, for their cost. See also Dime Novel

Perpetua, the Lost Isle of: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  a lost island paradise thought to lie somewhere between Norseland and Jan Mayan in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Peter: A box, trunk or safe.

Pidgeon: A victim

Pig: A policeman, usually a detective

Pit: Inside front coat pocket

Planetary Romance: fiction involving swashbuckling action in strange locales (like alien planets or the center of the Earth) with little or no regard to actual physics or science.

Plant: A victim

Play to the gallery: to show off.

Played out: exhausted.

Plunder: personal belongings.
Pogue: A purse or prize

Pony up: hurry up!

Powerful: very. “He’s a powerful rich man.”

Prad: Horse

Prater: A bogus itinerate preacher

Prig: (1) A thief.(2) To steal

Promiscuous: reckless, careless. “He was arrested for a promiscuous display of fire arms.”

Puckering: Speaking in a manner that is incomprehensible to spectators

Pull in your horns: back off, quit looking for trouble.

Punishers: Superior nobblers.Men employed to give severe beatings

Push: Money

Put a spoke in the wheel: to foul up or sabotage something.


Quirley: roll-your-own cigarette.


Racket: Illicit occupation or tricks

Rampsman or Ramper: A tearaway or hoodlum

Randy, on the: On the Spree or otherwise looking for companionship

Rasher-wagon: Frying pan

Ray: 1/6 (one and six-pence)

Reader: Pocketbook or wallet

Ream: Superior, real, genuine, good.

Ream Flash Pull: A significant heist

Ream Swag: Highly valuable stolen articles

Reeb: Beer

Regency Period: referring to the British historical era from 1811-1820, the period of Jane Austen and Lord Byron. In popular imagination it is frequently lumped in into the “Victorian Era”.

Rich: amusing, funny, improbable. “Oh, that’s rich!”

Ride shank’s mare: to walk or be set afoot.

Right as a trivet: right as rain, sound as a nut, stable.

Rip: reprobate. “He’s a mean ol’ rip.”

Roller: A thief who robs drunks or a prostitute who steals from her clientele.

Rook: A type of jemmy

Rookery: Slum or ghetto

Roostered: drunk. “Looks like those cowboys are in there gettin’ all roostered up.”
Rothschild, to come to the: To brag and pretend to be rich.

Rotopods: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  steam-powered, animal/machine hybrids designed after the common spider (roughly the size of a monkrat) with eight double-edge razor legs able to traverse virtually any surface. They possess rat-like heads with venomous fangs and keen noses; whirly blades positioned on their humped backs allow them to fly in packs.

Rozzers: Policemen

Ruffles: Handcuffs


Saddle: Loaf

St. Peter’s Needle: Severe discipline

Salt Box: The Condemned Cell

Sawney: Bacon

Scaldrum dodge: Begging by means of feigned, or self-inflicted wounds

Scientific Romance: science fiction of the Victorian or Edwardian Eras, that is fiction based on scientific ideas of the time. Most properly referring only to British authors, the term is generally applied to any writers of scientifically based fiction of the period (like France’s Jules Verne).

Scran: Food

Scratch an itch: Bitch

Screever: A writer of fake testimonials; a forger

Srew: Skeleton Key

Screwing: A sub-genre of Cracking; burglary by means of skeletonkeys, waxing keys, or picking locks.

Screwsman: A burglar versed in screwing

Scroby: Flogging in gaol

Scurf: An exploitive employer or gang-leader

Scuttlebutt: rumors.

Servant’s lurk: A lodging or public house used by shady or dismissed servants.

Shake lurk: Begging under the pretence of being a shipwrecked seaman.

Shallow, work the: Begging while half naked.

Shant: A pot or tumbler

Sharp: A (card) swindler

Shave tail: a green, inexperienced person.

Shevis: A shift, a type of garment.

Shindy: uproar, confusion.

Shinscraper: The Treadmill

Shirkster: A layabout

Shiver and shake: A cake

Shivering Jemmy: A half naked begger

Shoddy: poor quality.

Shoot, Luke, or give up the gun: poop or get off the pot, do it or quit talking about it.

Shoot one’s mouth off: talk nonsense, untruth.

Shove the queer: to pass counterfeit money.

Shoful: (1) Bad or counterfeit.(2) An hansom cab

Shofulman: A coiner or passer of bad money.

Skedaddle: run like hell.

Skipper: One who sleeps in hedges and outhouses

Slang cove: A showman

Slap-Bang Job: A night cellar (pub) frequented by thieves, and where no credit is given.

Slum: (1) False, sham, a faked document, etc.(2) To cheat . (3) To pass bad money.

Smasher: Someone who passes bad money.

Smatter Hauling: Stealing Handkerchiefs

Snakesman: A slightly built (boy) criminal used in burglary and housebreaking.

Snells: A hawker’s wares

Snide: Counterfeit; counterfeit coins or jewels.

Snide pinching: Passing bad money

Snoozer: A thief that specializes in robbing hotel rooms with sleeping guests.

Snowing: Stealing linen, clothes, etc, that have been hung out to dry.

Soaked: drunk.

Soft: Paper money (i.e., “to do some soft” means to pass bad paper money.)

Soft solder: flattery. “All that soft solder won’t get you anywhere.”

Someone to ride the river with: a person to be counted on; reliable; got it where it counts.

Sound on the goose: true, staunch, reliable.

Speeler: Cheat or a gambler

Spike: Workhouse

Sprat: Six pence

Spreading the Broads: Three card monte.

Square rigged: Soberly and respectfully dressed.

Stand the gaff: take punishment in good spirit. “He can really stand the gaff.”

Steambot: (From THE TERRIBLE QUEST OF THADDEUS PENNYBROOK’S KNEE-HIGH STEAMBOTS, a steampunk novel by D. A. Metrov) Small, steam-powered, robotic doll; also known as a “poppet.”

Stop: stay. “We stopped at the hotel last night.”

Stumped: confused.

Superintend: oversee, supervise. “He just likes to superintend everything.”

Steampunk: (from a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

Stoop: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  command for a Magradore falcon to drop to his belly so his rider can mount.

Swell: An elegantly, or stylishly dressed gentleman.


Tail: Prostitute

Take French leave: to desert, sneak off without permission.

Take the rag off: surpass, beat all. “Well, if that don’t take the rag off the bush.”

Tea Leaf: Thief 

Teidalbaden:  (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  a steam-powered flight unit that contains an altitude and air pressure meter, a three-dimensional compass, and a long-distance, wireless telegraph device. Straps onto the neck of trained Magradores sitting just above the bird’s saddle horn.

Terra: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  command for a Magradore to land

Terrameter: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  a unit of measurement (approximately one mile).

Terrier Crop: Short, bristly haircut (denoting a recent stay in a prison or a workhouse)

The Old States: back East.

The whole kit and caboodle: the entire thing.

Thicker: A Sovereign or a Pound

Thick ‘Un: A Sovereign

Throw up the sponge: quit, give up, surrender.

Tightener: A meal.”To do a Tightener,” to take a Meal.

Titfer/Titfertat: Hat

To beat the Dutch: to beat the band.

To the manner born: a natural.

Toff: An elegantly, or stylishly dressed gentleman.

Toffer: A superior whore.

Toffken: A house containing well-to-do occupants.

Toke: Bread

Tol: Lot, a Share.

Toolers: Pickpockets

Tooling: Skilled Pickpocket

Toper: Road

Topped: Hung

Topping: A hanging

Translators: Secondhand apparel, especially Boots.

Trasseno: An evil person

Tuppeny(Tuppeny Loaf): Head (cr. from Loaf of Bread)

Twirls: Keys, esp skeleton keys.

Twist (Twistand Twirl): Girl (cr)


“Up now”: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  command for a Magradore to stand fully upright in preparation for take off.

Up the spout: gone to waste/ruin.

Under and Over: A fairground game that’s easy to swindle people with.


Valkyrie: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  the only remaining community on Perpetua; located on the far western shore of the isle; populated primarily by monkrats.

Valkyrie Heights: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  the plateau region to the north of the Valkyrie township.

Vamp: To Steal or Pawn.”In for a vamp” to be jailed for stealing

Victorian: most properly, of or pertaining to the British monarch Queen Victoria or the period of her reign (May 24th 1819 – January 22nd 1901).


Wake up/Woke up the wrong passenger: to trouble or anger the wrong person.

Weeping Willow: Pillow (cr)

Western: a story set in the Old West

Wind up: settle. “Let’s wind up this business and go home.”

Wheal:  (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  a highly efficient fuel source made from microal ore. Wheal burns almost indefinitely and generates enormous heat, so very small amounts can power microscopic as well as gigantic steam engines. Hence steam engines power almost everything imaginable from wrist watches to trans-global air vessels the world over.

Whistle and Flute: Suit (cr)

Who-hit-John: Liquor, beer, intoxicating spirits. “He had a little too much who-hit-John.”

Wolfstalks: (from the FALCON LORD steampunk-fantasy series by D. A. Metrov)  tall, thin, Eugenically created giants with lupine heads that are part timber wolf, part lop-eared spaniel; torsos covered with dark brown dog hair. From the waist down to their long, humanoid feet, they are coated with spotted fur that resembles leopard skin. They speak a language no one had ever been able to translate. Deceptively strong, they fight by throwing hut-sized boulders. Loyal citizens of Valkyrie, they can grow up to three leapspans (twenty-four feet) in height.
Work Capitol: Commit a crime punishable by death.


Yack: A watch

Yennap: A Penny.

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