10 funny vintage slang words people should start using again

10 funny vintage slang words people should start using again

In 1909, a British writer recorded thousands of Victorian slang words to make sure they were never forgotten. Now it's your turn to use them.

Mutton Shunter

Definition: Policeman

Usage: “Is the Queen in town or something? There’s mutton shunters on every blasted corner!”


Definition: An habitually smiling face

Usage: “These Miss Universe contestants are just a bunch of gigglemugs.”

Fly Rink

Definition: A polished bald head

Usage: “Be sure to wear glasses if you go outside; Grandpa’s fly rink is blinding today.”


Definition: Looking for a man who will pay for liquor

Usage: “Jess forgot all her cash at home, so she’s off juggins-hunting again.”


Definition: The mouth

Usage: “When my kids won’t stop talking, I give them some chips just to fill their little sauce-boxes.”

Bags o' Mystery

Definition: A satirical term for sausages, because no man but the maker knows what is in them

Usage: “Hope there’s no intestine in these bags o’ mystery; I’m trying to cut down on intestine.”


Definition: A figure of speech, meaning “drunk”

Etymology: Order an “arf-an-arf” (or “half-and-half”) in a London pub and you’ll receive a malty cocktail of half black beer, half ale. Add one more ‘arf of beer to the mix and your mug suddenly runneth over; you, chum, must be arf’arf’an’arf – that is, drunk.

Usage: “Charlie ordered another Guinness? He’s already arf’arf’an’arf!”

Gas pipes

Definition: Name given to trousers when tight

Usage: “I just saw this poor hipster get his gas-pipes stuck in his unicycle spokes and totally eat kerb.”


Definition: Human ass

Etymology: From Uncle Pumblechook, a character in Dickens’ Great Expectations described as “that basest of swindlers”; greedy, pompous and piggish.

Usage: “This fat Pumblechook totally cut me off in his ute – then he gave me a sneer at the Macca’s drive-through.”


Definition: Riot

Etymology: A play on “row” (vintage slang for “quarrel”) or “rowdy.” Also spelled, “rowdydow.”

Usage: “When the police arrived to break up the Scrabble feud it escalated into a full-on row-de-dow.”

Written by Brandon Specktor. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.

Image: Getty Images

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