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Victorian Slang of the Week–cinch

cinch–this is a term we use today to mean something that’s easy. “No worries. I’ll do it. It’s a cinch.” The origin of this slang seems to come from cinch in terms of 1) defeating or beating someone, 1870’s. “He threw down two aces and I was cinched.” It later came to be used as 2) something that’s a certainty, a sure thing, 1890 and then, finally 3) something that’s easy 1896

Victorian Slang of the Week

chuck: food, grub, provisions.  Originated probably in the West. 1850, used often throughout the century.   According to one reference from Wild Indians ” chuck” it was a universal Indian term for all of the plains tribes.  “The boys finished the work for the day, and gathered around the campfire to eat their chuck.”

chuck, as a verb: 1808, throughout the century.  to throw, pitch.

Interestingly, the term “chow” which I’d have thought was an American Western Victorian term, is nautical in origin, and used mostly in the 20th century.  I admit that I may have inadvertently used the wrong term in my Westerns.  Man, there is so much to learn!

Victorian Slang of the Week

Chowder-head, 1818, New England, mostly mid-century–a fool. This seems to be a strictly northeastern term, but I still hear it today, from my New England born-and-raised husband.

Victorian Slang of the Week

choker:  1) a cravat. 1848.  “He dressed in his finest clothes for dinner, including a white choker around his neck.” 2) a tight, high collar, 1869.  3) a clergyman (who often wore collars of this kind). 1886

Victorian Slang of the Week

Chippy–a sexually promiscuous woman, a prostitute, 1886, though the end of the century and into the 20th century.

I have never heard of this.  Generally I try to avoid real profanity in my weekly posts, but I’m making an exception to this, because I was kind of floored.  I’m going to use the actual sentence in the book for an example instead of making up one of my own, from Bangin’on Rhine, “Full many a chippy had he banged.”   Banged, used that way, I had considered modern terminology.  Apparently I am wrong.  It goes back to the 1700’s.  However, there are very few references in the 19th century.  Mostly it’s a 20th century use, where as chippy does seem to be a late 19th century slang term.

Victorian Slang of the Week

chip: money, often in the phrase “in the chips.” 1840, many references throughout the period. “After playing poker with Lee for an hour, he was left without a chip.”

A person could also “cash in” (or pass in or hand in)his chips, which meant to die. 1879. The first reference talks about how this was used in Southern Colorado, so I imagine it started as a Western term.

chip, as a verb, was usually a bet, in poker 1876. Additionally one could “chip in” as early as 1861, which was used as we do today–to give money to. contribute.

Victorian Slang of the Week

chink: money. As early as the 1700’s, and used quite often during the 19th century, apparently all over the U.S.

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