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Quiz about Slang Words Starting With A from 1874 London
Quiz about Slang Words Starting With A from 1874 London

Slang Words Starting With "A," from 1874 London Quiz


The dictionary that these words came from warned that slang "changes much," even in 15 years. So this quiz is up-to-date for 1874, but you might sound old fashioned using the words in 1890. Just a caution! The words also all begin with A; no reason.

A multiple-choice quiz by littlepup. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
littlepup
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
384,738
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
394
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. What term meaning "first rate or the very best," was popular both in Liverpool and other English seaports in the 1870s, as well as U.S. ones, and was based on the highest classification of ships insured by Lloyd's? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. If someone in 1870s London spoke in an "antiscriptural" way after dropping a china pitcher, what would he be saying? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Near London, 1870, an older boy suggests a trick be played on a newer one who is staying in the same dorm room, but is out right now. He suggests an apple-pie bed. What does he mean? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. A sailor might use this nautical slang word in 1870s London to mean "stop, shut up, go away." What word is he apt to use? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. In England, 1870s, if I said someone was an afternoon farmer, what would I mean? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. If you said someone had "apartments to let," what might you be implying if you weren't talking about actual apartments? This 1874 London term seems to be part of a long tradition of slang. Perhaps the lights were on but no one was home? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. If you told someone a true story that happened in 1874 London and they responded "all my eye," what did they mean? They don't sound a bit blasphemous, just saying the cryptic phrase "all my eye," Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 1870s London, what did the word "awful" mean, if anything? Could a play be "awful good" and "awful bad"? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. If a person says, "I'm awake" with a wink, in 1870s London, what is he implying? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. If you beat someone all to pieces in 1870s London, what did you do? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. What term meaning "first rate or the very best," was popular both in Liverpool and other English seaports in the 1870s, as well as U.S. ones, and was based on the highest classification of ships insured by Lloyd's?

Answer: A-1

The slang even developed its own slang variations. Some people said "first-class, letter A, No. I." Others said "A I," the two letters, just to be different. The Online Etymology Dictionary dates it to 1837, still based on Lloyd's insurance categories: "The letter refers to the condition of the hull of the ship itself, and the number rating to the equipment."
2. If someone in 1870s London spoke in an "antiscriptural" way after dropping a china pitcher, what would he be saying?

Answer: normal swear words for the situation

Antiscriptural meant "oaths, foul language. Anything unfit for ordinary society conversation," according to the 1874 Slang Dictionary. Most other sources seem to treat the word "antiscriptural" seriously, saying it meant against the scriptures, a theological argument, missing this sly little side meaning.
3. Near London, 1870, an older boy suggests a trick be played on a newer one who is staying in the same dorm room, but is out right now. He suggests an apple-pie bed. What does he mean?

Answer: arranging the sheets so the boy can't get between them

The 1874 Slang Dictionary describes an apple-pie bed as: "a trick played at schools on new comers, or on any boy disliked by the rest. One of the sheets is removed, and the other is doubled in the middle, so that both edges are brought to the top, and look as if both sheets were there; but the unhappy occupant is prevented getting more than half-way down, and he has to remake his bed as best he can.

This trick is sometimes played by children of a larger growth." The trick was apparently much older.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says, "Apple-pie bed as a name for a childish prank is recorded from 1781; supposedly from the way of making apple turnovers, but some think it a folk etymology of French nappe pliée 'folded sheet.'"
4. A sailor might use this nautical slang word in 1870s London to mean "stop, shut up, go away." What word is he apt to use?

Answer: avast

The 1874 Slang Dictionary suggests it might come from Italian "basta," meaning "hold! enough." Modern etymologists lean toward a Dutch origin: "houd vast" meaning "hold fast," and after repetition it becomes the sound "avast." The Oxford Dictionary also dates it to an early 17th Century Dutch origin and gives an example of usage: "a sailor is expected to keep hauling until the mate hollers 'Avast!'"
5. In England, 1870s, if I said someone was an afternoon farmer, what would I mean?

Answer: someone who put off work until there was little time to do it

The 1874 Slang Dictionary said an afternoon farmer was "one who wastes his best opportunity, and drives off the large end of his work to the little end of his time." The book "Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present," 1890, said it is "a provincialism.

It is quoted in more than one of the English Dialect Society's Glossaries as a very common phrase for one who is always behind." The 2015 "New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" found an example used in 1960 Canada with the same meaning.
6. If you said someone had "apartments to let," what might you be implying if you weren't talking about actual apartments? This 1874 London term seems to be part of a long tradition of slang. Perhaps the lights were on but no one was home?

Answer: he had a somewhat empty head

The 1874 Slang Dictionary says: "Apartments to Let, a term used in reference to one who has a somewhat empty head. As, 'He's got apartments to let.'" Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, 2005, said it was a mid 19th Century slang phrase and explained "the image is of a certain emptiness in the 'upper storey.'"
7. If you told someone a true story that happened in 1874 London and they responded "all my eye," what did they mean? They don't sound a bit blasphemous, just saying the cryptic phrase "all my eye,"

Answer: they didn't believe it

The 1874 Slang Dictionary said "All my Eye, a remark of incredulity made in reference to an improbable story; [was a] condensation of 'all my eye and Betty Martin,' a vulgar phrase constructed from the commencement of a Roman Catholic prayer to St. Martin, 'Oh, mihi, beate Martine,' which in common with many another fell into discredit and ridicule after the Reformation."
8. In 1870s London, what did the word "awful" mean, if anything? Could a play be "awful good" and "awful bad"?

Answer: "awful" had become a word like "very," just used to intensify the rest of the meaning

The 1874 "Slang Dictionary" said awful was "a senseless expletive, used to intensify a description of anything good or bad; 'what an awful fine woman!' 'awfully jolly,' 'awfully sorry,' &c. The phrase is not confined to any section of society." The Online Etymology Dictionary says awfully was attested to from c.1830 "as a simple intensifier, 'very, exceedingly.'"
9. If a person says, "I'm awake" with a wink, in 1870s London, what is he implying?

Answer: he "knows it all," know more than you do, or knows secrets

According to the 1874 Slang Dictionary, awake meant to know all, but "the phrase wide-awake carries a similar meaning in ordinary conversation, but has a more general reference." The Wide Awakes were a group that supported the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 USA, which used the phrase with a related meaning, implying they were vigilant and looking out for danger.
10. If you beat someone all to pieces in 1870s London, what did you do?

Answer: beat or defeated them thoroughly, not necessarily physically but perhaps made them look foolish in a game

The 1874 Slang Dictionary said it meant "utterly, excessively; 'he beat him all to pieces,' i.e., excelled or surpassed him exceedingly. Also a term much in use among sporting men and expressing want of form, or decadence. A boat's crew are said to 'go all to pieces' when they through distress lose their regularity."
Source: Author littlepup

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