the trials and tribulations of a writer’s life

I don’t suppose there’s anybody out there who’s read enough vulgar Victorian writing to tell me what the period equivalent would be for “fuck you”?

I might check the OED historical thesaurus the next time I go to Stanford, but I don’t necessarily expect to find an answer there. (The OED itself has “fuck you” starting in 1932, and “go fuck yourself” in 1895 — but that one’s distinctly an American quote.)

“Go to hell” is the obvious choice, but it’s one faerie talking to another, so I’d like to come up with something less theologically-based if I can. I have options, but if there’s some awesome Victorian phrase I could be using, please do let me know.

0 Responses to “the trials and tribulations of a writer’s life”

  1. unquietsoul5

    My copy of ‘English Through The Ages’ [William Brohaugh, Writers Digest Books 1998 ISBN 0-89879-655-5], has use of just “Fuck” dating to 1680 as an act of intercourse.

    It pretty much only uses published written sources for dates of reference. Unfortunately it doesn’t do phrases for that period very well (most of the phrase info is much later unless its out of a published play).

  2. unquietsoul5


    You might want to skim thru ‘The Pearl’ (1897) an English mens publication from the period to find sitings within.

    I found a site online where tey have PDFs of it free for download:

  3. mindstalk


    “To church with you!”


  4. dyrecorn

    A fey version of ‘go to hell?’ How about ‘Iron take you’? ^_^

  5. dungeonwriter

    “Go fuck some iron?”

  6. swords_and_pens

    I don’t recall any immediate equivalents to “fuck you” used among the Victorian underwolrd at the moment (although I know there were some), but here’s a bit of Victorian thieves’ cant/colloquial slang, in case it inspires you or puts you on a better line of inquiry:
    (all taken from Chesney, Kellow: “Pickpockets, Beggars and Ratcatchers: Life in the Victorian Underworld”, Kenecky & Kenecky, 1970)

    beef (v.) – to raise a hue and cry
    chat – louse
    cockchafer – treadmill (putting convicts to work on a treadmill to provide simple muscle power, or just as punishment, was common in prisons, hence the reference to being chafed down below. 🙂
    dabeno – bad
    downy – cunning, false
    gammy – false, undependable, hostile
    glock – half-wit
    kennetseeno – bad, stinking, putrid
    much snipe – one totally down and out
    nancy – buttocks

    I have a somewhat more cumbersome source to hand, but not the time to dig through it at the moment. If you become desperate, let me know and I’ll see if I can find something by skimming a couple century’s worth of cant and slang in my free (ha!) time. 🙂

  7. akashiver

    I’d go to a period source (like a flash dictionary) & see what sounds useful.

  8. kendokamel

    I’d second The Pearl. I can’t think of any story, specifically, but I’m sure there’s something in there.

Comments are closed.