Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part 1


Welcome to the Austenesque Reviews Touring Thursday visitors. My name is Regina Jeffers, and I write Jane Austen sequels and adaptations, as well as Regency romance. My newest book, Christmas at Pemberley is scheduled for release in late October, and I am currently working on a new Pride and Prejudice mystery, tentatively entitled The Murder Hole. (Trust me; the title will change several times before publication. It is the way of the publishing business.) Today, I am beginning a three-part examination of the differences in Regency era words and what we hear in contemporary usage. Take a look at some of my choices to determine whether you “speak Jane Austen.”

If you like what you see, please check out my website at There you will find news on my latest releases, excerpts from each of my books, my personal appearances/book signings, etc.

Part I: Do You Speak Jane Austen?

When my son was about three years of age, he shocked several onlookers at the mall by saying, “I have a splendid idea, if you would acquiesce.” You see, his mother is an avid Jane Austen fan, and he had heard me use such words in every day conversation. Of course, his “splendid” idea was to visit Kaybee Toys, but that is not the point. At that time, he “spoke Jane Austen.” Unfortunately, over the years, he has unlearned those phrases that were once so common. Now, he says “you know” to the point where his often-irrational mother has considered strangling him. (He is a coach, and athletes use the phrase to distraction. Yet, never fear. His mother is on the prowl, and I have banned the phrase “you know” from his speak while he is in my presence.)

So, I ask dear Readers, do you speak Jane Austen?

abhorrence – hatred and disgust

The sight of Miss Lucas was odious to her. As her successor in that house, she regarded her with jealous abhorrence. (Chapter 23)

acquiesce – to comply passively; to consent

Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased with this proposal, and felt persuaded of her sister’s ready acquiescence. (Chapter 25)

barouche-box – a luggage compartment at the front of a mid-sized carriage

“And if you will stay another month complete, it will be in my power to take one of you as far as London, for I am going there early in June, for a week; and as Dawson does not object to the barouche-box, there will be very good room for one of you—and indeed, if the weather should happen to be cool, I should not object to taking you both, as you are neither of you large.” (Chapter 37)

brooking – tolerating

I have not been used to submit to any person’s whims. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment.” (Chapter 56)

caprice – an inclination to change one’s mind impulsively; a whim

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. (Chapter 1)

condescension – a superior behavior and attitude

The subject elevated him to more than usual solemnity of manner, and with a most important aspect he protested that “he had never in his life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank—such affability and condescension, as he had himself experienced from Lady Catherine. (Chapter 14)

dilatory – slow; tending to delay

His family knew him to be, on all common occasions, a most negligent and dilatory correspondent; but at such a time they had hoped for exertion. (Chapter 48)

exigence – a circumstance; a dilemma; a pressing situation

“In such an exigence, my uncle’s advice and assistance would be everything in the world; he will immediately comprehend what I must feel, and I rely upon his goodness.” (Chapter 46)

effusions – outpourings of emotion in writing or speech

“Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travelers.” (Chapter 27)

Fordyce’s Sermons – a popular manual of instruction for young women, which was written by James Fordye in 1766

Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons. (Chapter 14)

felicity – great happiness

After a week spent in professions of love and schemes of felicity, Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Charlotte by the arrival of Saturday. (Chapter 25)

Gretna Green – a Scottish village on the English border; a famous place for runaways to get married; reportedly by the local blacksmith (over the anvil)

I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with whom, I shall think you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the world I love, and he is an angel. (Chapter 47)

genteel – refined; cultured; well-bred

So much the man of fashion! So genteel and easy! (Chapter 9)

hauteur – arrogance; overbearing pride

A deeper shade of hauteur overspread his features, but he said not a word, and Elizabeth, though blaming herself for her own weakness, could not go on. (Chapter 18)

heinous – shockingly wicked; abominable

Let me then advise you, dear sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offense. (Chapter 48)

invectives – abusive expressions

Mrs. Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired, after a few minutes’ conversation together, received them exactly as might be expected; with tears and lamentations of regret, invectives against the villainous conduct of Wickham, and complaints of her own sufferings and ill-usage; blaming everybody but the person to whose ill-judging indulgence the errors of her daughter must principally be owing. (Chapter 47)

intercourse – conversation

Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her nephew; and as she gave way to all the genuine frankness of her character in her reply to the letter which announced its arrangement, she sent him language so very abusive, especially of Elizabeth, that for some time all intercourse was at an end. (Chapter 61)

(Over the next few days, the alphabetical list will continue. These choices are a few of my preferences. What are some of your favorite Regency words?)


About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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