20 Victorian sayings that we want to bring back now

Got the Morbs? Suggestionize some of these Afternoonified sayings for your Chuckaboo’s Sauce-box

Victorian etchings
(Image credit: Getty)

There are probably thousands of hilarious Victorian words that have been lost to the sands of time. The British have always been particularly good at coming up with nonsense slang terms to describe everyday things.

To celebrate the millions of you living in Victorian houses (check out 16 of our favourite Victorian homes) all over the country, we’ve picked our twenty favourite long-forgotten expressions that we believe should still be used today. We’ve certainly been throwing a few of them around the Period Living office, no really, we have!

We found these brilliant phrases in Passing English of the Victorian Era by Andrew Forrester, 1909, an almost bottomless well of weird and wonderful Victorian words. Suggestionize some of these Afternoonified sayings for your Chuckaboo’s Sauce-box (that will make complete sense when you have read this list).

1. Got the morbs

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: being temporary melancholy

USE: "I’ve lost all of my Twitter followers because of this depressing selfie #GotTheMorbs"

2. Suggestionize

victorian christmas scene with carol singers

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: to prompt

USE: "We suggestionize you pay attention at the back there!"

3. Collie shangles

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: fisticuffs

USE: “Did you see the collie shangles between Dick and Peter about how to decorate the man cave?”

4. Afternoonified

Victorian women decorate the christmas tree

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: a fancy high-society word meaning ‘smart’

USE: “The readers of Period Living are well known to be rather afternoonified”

5. Bang up to the elephant

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: perfect or complete

USE: “This new house is bang up to the elephant”

6. Umble-cum-stumble

Victorian etching

(Image credit: Getty)

 MEANING: thoroughly understood

USE: “I finally umble-cum-stumbled how to upcycle this old chair”

7. Benjo

victorian street party


MEANING: a riotous holiday; a noisy day in the street

USE: “The work party is going to be a right benjo this year!”

8. Bricky

Victorian illustration of woman in tree

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: brave or fearless

USE: “You’d have to be bricky to cancel your subscription to Period Living!”

9. Gigglemug

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: an habitually smiling face

USE: “He may be a bit furry but he’s got a right gigglemug”

10. Kruger-spoof

Victorian illustration of man telling off woan

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: lying

USE: “You're kruger-spoof! I know you finished my Jaffa cakes!”

11. Church-bell

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: a talkative person

USE: “My neighbour is known for being a right church-bell!”

12. Make a stuffed bird laugh

Victorian etchings

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: absolutely preposterous

USE: “The thought of cancelling my subscription to Period Living would make a stuffed bird laugh”

13. Chuckaboo

Victorian etchings

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: a nickname given to a close friend

USE: “Awww, don't you worry my little Chuckaboo”

14. Whooperups

Victorian etching

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: inferior, noisy singers

USE: “Our staff choir is a sorry bunch of whooperups”

15. Cop a mouse 

Victorian etchings


(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: to get a black eye

USE: “I may be a rat, but carry on like that and you’re going to cop a mouse”

16. Poked up

Victorian etchings

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: embarrassed

USE: "I was right poked up by my mother-in-laws singing in Chapel on Sunday. It was atrocious!"

17. Bubble around

Victorian illustration of fencing

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: a verbal attack

USE: “The builder is going to be in for a bubble around if he doesn’t get the tiling straight!”

18. Bags o’ mystery

Victorian etchings

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: Sausages

USE: "It wasn't a mystery what happened to my husband's bag'o mystery last night. They went straight from the frying pan into the dog!”

19. Sauce-box 

Victorian etchings

(Image credit: Getty)

MEANING: The mouth

USE: “Oh, you’ve got gravy all round your sauce-box from those bags o’ mystery and mash”

20. Orf chump

Victorian slang for no appetite


MEANING: no appetite

USE: “I’ve orf chump after seeing those bags o’ mystery”

More from the Period Living team: