Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part 2

Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part 2

A laugh, a fist pounding on a desk top, a raised eyebrow – these are all signals to punctuation of the spoken word, but what of the written word? We start with the assumption that we each wish to avoid language that is insensitive, stereotypical, or in any other way derogatory. But was that true for Jane Austen’s time? Look below. Are there words that you particularly like? Ones you find useless in our modern world?

jilt – to deceive a lover

“Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.” (Chapter 24)

St. James
St. James’s Palace is one of London’s oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James’s Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK

Such formidable accounts of her ladyship, and her manner of living, quite frightened Maria Lucas who had been little used to company, and she looked forward to her introduction at Rosings with as much apprehension as her father had done to his presentation at St. James’s. (Chapter 29)

judged – to form an opinion or conclusion about

“Perhaps,” said Darcy, “I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction; but I am ill-qualified to recommend myself to strangers.” (Chapter 31)

kindred – family; similar people

“Can you possibly guess, Lizzy, who is meant by this?” ‘This young gentleman is blessed, in a peculiar way, with every thing the heart of mortal can most desire—splendid property, noble kindred, and extensive patronage. Yet in spite of all these temptations, let me warn my cousin Elizabeth, and yourself, of what evils you may incur by a precipitate closure with this gentleman’s proposals, which, of course, you will be inclined to take immediate advantage of.’ (Chapter 57)

kindness – an act intended to show kindness or good will; benevolence

“I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister.” (Chapter 58)

licentiousness – lack of moral discipline

“And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence; though, at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age.” (Chapter 48)

livery – clothing marked for a particular member of the aristocracy

The horses were post; and neither the carriage, nor the livery of the servant who preceded it, were familiar to them. (Chapter 56)

loo – a betting card game

On entering the drawing room she found the whole party at loo, and was immediately invited to join them; but suspecting them to be playing high she declined it, and making her sister the excuse, said she would amuse herself for the short time she could stay below, with a book. (Chapter 8)

missish – prim and sentimental

“You are not going to be missish, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” (Chapter 57)

Michaelmas – the feast day of the archangel Michael, celebrated on September 29

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.” (Chapter 1)

mortifications – humiliation; shame

“Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them.” (Chapter 58)

Netherfield – the fictionalized estate that Mr. Bingley rents in Hertfordshire

“Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to Jane while she was ill at Netherfield?” (Chapter 60)

noble – dignified; gallant; aristocratic; gracious

“Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were always noble and just; and in your heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously courted you.” (Chapter 60)

novelty – freshness; uniqueness; something new, original, and different that is interesting or exciting, though often for only a short time

He was as much awake to the novelty of attention in that quarter as Elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book. (Chapter 11)

odious – horrible; loathsome; abhorrent

“How many letters you must have occasion to write in the course of a year! Letters of business, too! How odious I should think them!” (Chapter 10)

obeisance – a gesture of respect, such as a bow or a curtsy; honor; loyalty

The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morning, and Mr. Collins having been in waiting near the lodges, to make them his parting obeisance, was able to bring home the pleasing intelligence, of their appearing in very good health, and in as tolerable spirits as could be expected, after the melancholy scene so lately gone through at Rosings. (Chapter 37)

penance – remorse; a hardship endured to compensate for wrongdoing

It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal inquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her. (Chapter 33)

preferment – promotion; advancement; elevation; upgrading;

pecuniary – financial; relating to money

His own father did not long survive mine, and within half a year from these events, Mr. Wickham wrote to inform me that, having finally resolved against taking orders, he hoped I should not think it unreasonable for him to expect some more immediate pecuniary advantage, in lieu of the preferment, by which he could not be benefited. (Chapter 35)

Note! Yes, I know that I added a few extra words in this mix. I had originally thought to have two words for each letter of the alphabet. However, I am anticipating some problems when I reach x and z. The extras are to make up for my latter deficiencies. Part 3 will follow in the next couple of days.


About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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12 Responses to Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part 2

  1. Luthien84 says:

    Most of the worlds in this list are commonly use. Another word for ‘loo’ is toilet so if you substitute this word in the sentence above, you’ll have a great laugh. Hahaha…

    I don’t know whether it’s me but I find ‘obeisance’ to be less likely use in our modern world now.

  2. Debra Brown says:

    Nice articles! It is a bit of work to speak a language of the past. I have a collection of words and phrases on a document to help me in my writing. I’ll be adding some of yours!

  3. bellastreet says:

    I got 100%. Odious is one of my fav words 🙂

  4. bellastreet says:

    One of my fav phrases to someone lecturing me: Oh don’t give me a jaw-me-dead. I’m suffering from the megrims! 🙂

  5. @SeldomKate says:

    I cannot imagine you being deficient in any way! Thanks for the fun lists – I believe I do speak Jane Austen quite well, though not necessarily to the world at large!

  6. Amanda Mauldin says:

    She was absolutely mortified at the licentiousness displayed by her kindred. Not only was she judged because of her pecuniary disadvantages, but now, despite her somewhat missish disposition which should belie any similar tendency in herself, she would, of necessity, have to persuade the nobility and gentry of the assembly, be it by obeisance or penance or whatever other retribution they should exact, that they would not find the same faulty behavior in her. Afterwards, perhaps in some little time should she be successful, the whole odious ordeal would be mitigated by the kindness or preferment of someone or the other of them.
    “And in the meantime,” she thought, ” I must strive not to be jilted by the one man that has shown me what it really is to love.”

    (These words inspired me to create a scene using them. It was rather fun.)

  7. Pingback: Do You Speak Jane Austen? (Part 2) | ReginaJeffers's Blog

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