WOW is a day early this week, but it’s Mother’s Day and I’m sure we’ve all wondered, “What Regency cant and vulgar slang is safe to use with Mom?”
Glad you asked.
First and foremost, do not call your mother, a Mother. In Regency slang, you would be calling her a brothel proprietor, the chief bawd, or the abbess. Instant trouble.
Instead, feel free to use any of the following slang. Impress your mother by enlarging yours – and her – vocabulary.
FAIR-ROE-BUCK ~ A Woman in the Bloom of her Beauty.
FRIGOT WELL RIGGED ~ A Woman well drest [sic] and genteel.
GENTRY MORT ~ A gentlewoman.
RUM MORT ~ A queen, or great lady. CANT.
RUM-DUTCHESS ~ A jolly handsome Woman.
RUM-MORT ~ A Queen, or great Lady.
If a thorough knowledge of Regency cant of positive descriptors of women fails to affect goodwill, consider showing her some of the portraits of French artist Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837). She was the first successful female genre painter ever, and produced steadily throughout her life. Her favorite subjects were mothers and children, although she herself never married. Her portraits conveyed an intimacy and beauty not often seen in domestic paintings, likely the influence of her appreciation of the Dutch golden age painters.
Born in Grassé, France, she moved to Paris at age eight to live with her sister Marie Anne, who just happened to be married to storied artist Jean Honoré Fragonard. Under his tutelage, and other masters of their coterie at the Louvre (they lived apartments in the Louvre for thirty years!), she became an artist recognized in her own right by the mid-1780s. After the Parisian Salons were opened to women, she became a regular exhibitor, drawing the attention of and purchase power of the likes of Napoleon and King Louis XVII. She died in Paris in 1837 at the remarkable age of seventy-six.
Happy Mother’s Day!
- Slang terms taken from Cant: A Gentleman’s Guide, by Pascal Bonefant.
- Information on the exquisite Marguerite Gérard was taken from Art Fortune and Wikipedia.
- See more works and learn more interesting tidbits at It’s About Time: Women Artists & The French Revolution – Marguerite Gérard 1761-1837.
- All portraits discovered at Wikimedia Commons.