Do Your Speak Jane Austen? (Part 1)

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 which 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 andcondescension, 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 dilatorycorrespondent; 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 choseFordyce’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. Part 2 is scheduled for tomorrow. These choices are a few of my preferences. What are some of your favorite Regency words?)

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
This entry was posted in British history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Do Your Speak Jane Austen? (Part 1)

  1. Countenance
    “I have described him as the worst of libertines…”
    take my leave

    • I am breaking the alphabet up in three sections so some of your word choices could appear in one of the other two sections. I do so love “cropsick.” It is one not often found on such lists.

  2. Lisa S says:

    I’ve been on a ‘wit’ kick lately, as in a person’s understanding/intelligence, not the more common ‘funny’. For some reason, it seems to be my goto word of the moment. 🙂 My husband has told me many times that when I’m angry I have a tendency to start spewing anachronistic arcane words. It’s unintentional of course. When I’m angry, I guess I use the words that first come to my mind and they often aren’t the easiest to understand. 🙂 LOL!

  3. I have been using “common tart,” “chit,” and “bloke” of late.
    Like you, I have a tendency to switch to anachronistic words when I want to put a person in his place.

  4. Cherri T. says:

    I speak partial JA, some people seem to feel threatened in some manner if I engage in JA speak too much 🙂

    • I find my language choices are bit of a hodge podge of the many places I have lived, but I have tendency to mix in a heavy dose of Regency speak.

  5. kylylynn says:

    I have the dramatized audiobook of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. The voice actress who says the line, “… a chit, a child, without talent or education, whom he had been always taught to despise…” says it so expressively I found myself using the word “chit” in a conversation with my husband recently and it felt completely normal. Perhaps it is because I have listened to that audiobook hundreds of times while working away? 🙂

    I also say oops-a-daisy as well. That phrase is apparently 50 years later than Jane Austen’s time… however… I am the only one I know who uses the phrase… so doesn’t that count? 😉

    • “Oops-a-daisy” comes into play in “Notting Hill.” Hugh Grant’s character says it when he can’t scale a fence. I thought the scene adorable. I have said the phrase in the past.

      I do not own that particular audiobook, Kyly. Perhaps I should invest in it.

  6. kylylynn says:

    Hi Regina! I absolutely love that part of Notting Hill! Especially when Julia Roberts says to him that nobody uses that phrase anymore! 🙂 I then think… well apparently just Hugh Grant’s character and me! 😉

    I actually have two copies of the cd audiobook Lady Susan. I would be more than happy to send you my second copy of it. Let me know! So far it has just collected dust. This is how I was introduced to Lady Susan. The voice actors play their parts so well that the book in some ways has become one of my most favorite Jane Austen books. The actors are so expressive and capture each scene so vividly that I feel as if I know each character in a tangible way. I am an auditory learner, so having heard this dramatized version makes me feel as if I own the story in a more complete way than if I had just read the story.

    Don’t get me wrong… I absolutely LOVE reading. There is just something very special about being able to hear a Jane Austen novel read in a dramatized fashion.

    It makes me wonder if there are any other Jane Austen books that have been turned into a dramatized audiobook.

    Let me know if you would like my spare copy! 🙂

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