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

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


These English Victorian words come from the "Slang Dictionary", published by Chatto and Windus in London, 1874. The ones chosen for this quiz all begin with the letter "F".

A multiple-choice quiz by littlepup. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
littlepup
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
385,480
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
292
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Question 1 of 10
1. "I was going to invest some money in the deal, but the more I heard about it, the more I thought it sounded fishy," says someone in late-Victorian London. What does he mean? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. A man has stolen something in late Victorian London. He wants to get rid of it, but wants to get some money out of it too, so he takes it to a ---. What word goes in the blanks? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. No one makes clear who the first through third estates are, but a fellow says his friend is a member of the fourth estate, in Victorian London. What does his friend do? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. In Victorian London, someone said he saw the frog's march being performed. You knew he hadn't been to the theatre, and instead had been in a bad neighborhood that evening. What typical happening did he see there? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. A young woman in Victorian London is getting dressed to go out, making sure her dress, bonnet and hair are fixed just right. "How do my 'follow me, lads' look," she asks. What is she talking about? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. "I detest flunkeyism," says a man in late Victorian London. What exactly does he not like? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. "Oh, fiddle de dee!" Is that realistic slang for a woman in 1870s London? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. "What a fire eater that man is," someone said in late Victorian England. The crowded streets were busy with people in the evening. What did they mean? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. A person in Victorian England said he was flabbergasted after hearing something. What did he mean? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. "He's an old fogey," reports someone in Victorian England. What does he mean? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. "I was going to invest some money in the deal, but the more I heard about it, the more I thought it sounded fishy," says someone in late-Victorian London. What does he mean?

Answer: it seemed crooked, unsound, not trustworthy

When slang just hits the mark, it seems to last forever, and "fishy" is one of those terms that we still use today. It means the same now as it did over a hundred years ago, and in fact it goes back even further, to the 1840s, when it still meant "shady, questionable." There's no real agreement where it came from, though fish are obvious when they start to go bad and the word may have come from the smell of fish that are starting to smell, well, fishy.

The idea of figurative rotteness being connected with the literal rotteness of fish goes back to Shakespeare, and the line "something rotten in the state of Denmark," though it wasn't fish specifically being evoked by Shakespeare, just "something."
2. A man has stolen something in late Victorian London. He wants to get rid of it, but wants to get some money out of it too, so he takes it to a ---. What word goes in the blanks?

Answer: fence

"Fence" was a slang term for someone who bought stolen property, back to the 17th Century, yet it still sounds modern, as if it were street slang dreamed up twenty years ago. The variation where the person was a fencer and the shop was a fence, seems to be from the mid 19th century.

Fence has two proposed etymologies, one that it's similar to a literal fence protecting the thief from his stolen goods being identified to him, and the other that it's a de-fence from him being caught with the goods -- both quite similar.

There was another related slang word for a fence or a pawnbroker. The person, often a pawnbroker, was called my father, or my father's uncle, and one can imagine the etymology: "I'll have my father's uncle sell this for me," would mean you'll have someone that you trust completely sell it for you.
3. No one makes clear who the first through third estates are, but a fellow says his friend is a member of the fourth estate, in Victorian London. What does his friend do?

Answer: writes articles for a newspaper

One sometimes still hears this slang term today. It comes from the first half of the 19th Century, when newspapers began to exert increasing power, though sometimes it was ironically applied to the lowest degree of journalist, not regularly employed, just paid so many cents per line.

The other three estates -- I knew you were going to ask -- were much older, from the 14th Century. The English divided them into the clergy (or Lords Spiritual), the barons (Lords temporal) and commons. The French similarly split them into the clergy, the nobles and the townsmen.
4. In Victorian London, someone said he saw the frog's march being performed. You knew he hadn't been to the theatre, and instead had been in a bad neighborhood that evening. What typical happening did he see there?

Answer: four policemen carrying a drunkard to jail

The frog's march was accomplished by two policemen carrying the man face down at each shoulder and one or more holding him at the knees, so his feet were off the ground. If the fourth policeman's hands were available, he could "beat time to the march on the recalcitrant hero's posterior."

The term originated in the late Victorian era and probably referred to the frog-like way the drunkard or argumentative person was carried with legs outspread, face down. In the 20th Century, it also applied to just hustling a person along with a hand behind his back, less frog-march-like but also efficient.
5. A young woman in Victorian London is getting dressed to go out, making sure her dress, bonnet and hair are fixed just right. "How do my 'follow me, lads' look," she asks. What is she talking about?

Answer: ribbons or curls of hair down her back

In the late 19th Century, especially around 1865-1875, it became fashionable to let ribbons or curls of hair dangle down the back, as a way of supposedly enticing young men to follow the young women wherever she was going and propose marriage to her. Picture what might occur in a comic song, or a few decades later, in a newspaper cartoon -- just an exaggeration.

The term faded away as the fashion did, within a few years, but was popular for a while.
6. "I detest flunkeyism," says a man in late Victorian London. What exactly does he not like?

Answer: worship of rank, money or power for no reason

A flunkey was a footman in Scottish dialect, and by the mid 19th century at least, had become a flatterer in general English, a yes-man. "Flunkeyism" was the worship of rank or riches, toadyism. Any form of "flunkey" probably came from "flank" or side, where a servant stood at the side of a person or carriage, waiting to serve.

This evolved into someone who was glad to stand at the side of the rich or powerful, supporting them and serving them.
7. "Oh, fiddle de dee!" Is that realistic slang for a woman in 1870s London?

Answer: yes, it went back to the 1700s

Fiddle de dee, with many different spellings, meant nonsense, and it's as old as the late 1700s. A similar phrase, fiddlesticks, goes backs to the 1600s. Fiddlesticks' original meaning was literally the stick, or bow, that one used on the fiddle. How it was transferred to an expression of nonsense isn't clear. Medieval Latin "vitula" for stringed instrument possibly came from Latin "vitularia" which meant to celebrate joyfully, something that might seem like nonsense or fun, depending which side was the winner.

No, it didn't originate from "Gone With the Wind", though American audiences might be tempted to think so.
8. "What a fire eater that man is," someone said in late Victorian England. The crowded streets were busy with people in the evening. What did they mean?

Answer: an argumentative bully

The phrase went as far back as the 17th Century, when it applied to a juggler who actually seemed to swallow fire as he performed, but by the start of the 19th Century, it had shifted to its meaning of one who was quarrelsome or bullying. always wanting to start a fight.

It rose to fame just before the American Civil War, when fire eaters were southern politicians whos braggodocia set of the war, some say. By the late Victorian era in London, a fire eater kept the metaphoric meaning and no longer implied someone who performed by pretending to eat fire.
9. A person in Victorian England said he was flabbergasted after hearing something. What did he mean?

Answer: he was astonished

Flabbergasted was noted in a 1772 magazine article as a new word that had entered popular usage, with no known origin. By the late 19th Century it was defined as shocked or astonished or struck with wonder, but also, "literally, to strike aghast," and it certainly sounds as if it contains the meaning of aghast.

It's still known and used at least occasionally, in most places where English is spoken today. Flabberghast or flabberghasted could be used alternatively; they both show up in period dictionaries and lists of slang, though "flabberghasted" or "flabbergasted" sounds better to the ear.
10. "He's an old fogey," reports someone in Victorian England. What does he mean?

Answer: the person is behind the times

Most everyone agrees on the meaning of the phrase, even still today, but the origin is disputed. It might be Scottish, from fog, obsolete for moss, or a Scottish foggie, who is an army pensioner or an army veteran, but others say it comes from a nickname for a wounded soldier from the French word fougueux or fiery.

In other words, no one really knows. It is still used in various dialects of English. In mid-19th Century America, old fogeys were paired with their opposites, young Americans, those who wanted to move the country forward, metaphorically, or expand westward, literally.
Source: Author littlepup

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor ponycargirl before going online.
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