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Victorian Slang of the Week


Ball up—to confuse or muddle badly, to become confused or muddled—1856—it was used mostly in the latter half of the century, from 1884.  The first usage was in verb form—“he was balled up” and came from a Middlebury college reference.  It may have started, then, in universities and colleges.  Regardless, it seems to be have been used by all during the ‘80’s and 90’s and into the 20th century.


  1. Denise,
    Thank you for another useful and informative blog. All of them are entertaining – and some of them have added a very needed spark to my “Victorianese.”

  2. Denise, how is life now? Are things slowing down for you? You’ve been in my thoughts. Thanks for keeping us informed.

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