Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part Three

MTE1ODA0OTcxNTQ2ODcxMzA5The last third of the alphabet was a bit of a challenge. The letters “x” and “z” were less than cooperative. I searched Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Mansfield Park for the letters, but was, generally, unsuccessful. “X” was impossible to find, and “Z” did not willing make an appearance, but below, one may find part 3 of “Do You Speak Jane Austen?” (The quotes are from Pride and Prejudice unless so noted.)


quadrille – a historic dance performed by four couples in a square formation, a precursor to traditional square dancing (but in Pride and Prejudice, Austen used the word not for the dance, but to mean)

quadrille – a card game popular during the 18th century, played by four people with a deck of 40 cards She had been graciously pleased to approve of both of the discourses which he had already had the honour of preaching before her. She had also asked him twice to dine at Rosings, and had sent for him only the Saturday before, to make up her pool of quadrille in the evening. (Chapter 14)

querulous–given to complaint; grumbling; questioning Mrs. Bennet was restored to her usual querulous serenity; and, by the middle of June, Kitty was so much recovered as to be able to enter Meryton without tears; an event of such happy promise as to make Elizabeth hope that by the following Christmas she might be so tolerably reasonable as not to mention an officer above once a day, unless, by some cruel and malicious arrangement at the War Office, another regiment should be quartered in Meryton. (Chapter 42)


reel–a type of Scottish dance “Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel?” (Chapter 10)

rapacity–extreme gluttony; greed When the tea-things were removed, and the card-tables placed, the ladies all rose, and Elizabeth was then hoping to be soon joined by him, when all her views were overthrown by seeing him fall a victim to her mother’s rapacity for whist players, and in a few moments after seated with the rest of the party. (Chapter 54)


sanguine–optimistic The sanguine hope of good, however, which the benevolence of her heart suggested had not yet deserted her; she still expected that it would all end well, and that every morning would bring some letter, either from Lydia or her father, to explain their proceedings, and, perhaps, announce their marriage. (Chapter 47)

saucy–insolent; bold Oh! how heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. (Chapter 52)

sennight– one week (from “seven nights”) “Indeed I am. I shall entreat his pardon for not having done it earlier. I believe him to be Lady Catherine’s nephew. It will be in my power to assure him that her ladyship was quite well yesterday se’nnight.” (Chapter 18)

subjoin–add to the end “And will you give yourself the trouble of carrying similar assurances to his creditors in Meryton, of whom I shall subjoina list according to his information? (Chapter 50)

supercilious – overly proud For, though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody. (Chapter 5)


tractable – obedient; changeable; flexible “I never heard any harm of her; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable creatures in the world.” (Chapter 33)

threadbare – worn; frayed They found Mary, as usual, deep in the study of thorough-bass and human nature; and had some extracts to admire, and some new observations of threadbare morality to listen to. (Chapter 12)

U unabashed – unapologetic; shameless Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless. (Chapter 51)

ungovernable – incapable of being controlled She was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influence of Lydia’s example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. (Chapter 61)

untinctured – lacking color; without a trace of vestige as in “untinctured condescension”; not to infuse (as with a quality) On this point she was soon satisfied; and two or three little circumstances occurred ere they parted, which, in her anxious interpretation, denoted a recollection of Jane not untinctured by tenderness, and a wish of saying more that might lead to the mention of her, had he dared. (Chapter 44)


vexatious – annoying Were the same fair prospect to arise at present as had flattered them a year ago, every thing, she was persuaded, would be hastening to the same vexatious conclusion. (Chapter 53)

Vingt-et-un – blackjack “Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt-et-un better than Commerce; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded.” (Chapter 6)


white soup – a soup made of broth and eggs “If you mean Darcy,” cried her brother, “he may go to bed, if he chooses, before it begins—but as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough, I shall send round my cards.” (Chapter 11)

whist – a four-person card game similar to bridge When the card-tables were placed, he had the opportunity of obliging her in turn, by sitting down to whist. (Chaper 16)

X (In the three novels I surveyed, there were no words beginning with the letter X.)


York – a large walled city in Northern England “Aye, there she comes,” continued Mrs. Bennet, “looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we were at York, provided she can have her own way.” (Chapter 20) 0e7486e

Z (In Pride and Prejudice, I found no words beginning with “Z,” and in Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, I found only the usual “zeal” and “zealous.” I fear I did not check Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, or Emma for either “X” or “Z.” Perhaps, someone else knows more than I on those three Austen classics. Yet, here a few examples of “Z” from MP and from S&S.)

Mrs. Norris was most zealous in promoting the match, by every suggestion and contrivance likely to enhance its desirableness to either party; and, among other means, by seeking an intimacy with the gentleman’s mother, who at present lived with him, and to whom she even forced Lady Bertram to go through ten miles of indifferent road to pay a morning visit. (MP, Chapter 4)

Maria, with only Mr. Rushworth to attend to her, and doomed to the repeated details of his day’s sport, good or bad, his boast of his dogs, his jealousy of his neighbours, his doubts of their qualifications, and his zeal after poachers, subjects which will not find their way to female feelings without some talent on one side or some attachment on the other, had missed Mr. Crawford grievously; and Julia, unengaged and unemployed, felt all the right of missing him much more. (MP, Chapter 7)

He deprecated her mistaken but well-meaning zeal. (MP, Chapter 23) In the promotion of this object she was zealously active, as far as her ability reached; and missed no opportunity of projecting weddings among all the young people of her acquaintance. (S&S, Chapter 8)

But this did not last long; Elinor had hardly got their last visitors out of her head, had hardly done wondering at Charlotte’s being so happy without a cause, at Mr. Palmer’s acting so simply, with good abilities, and at the strange unsuitableness which often existed between husband and wife, before Sir John’s and Mrs. Jennings’s active zeal in the cause of society, procured her some other new acquaintance to see and observe. (S&S, Chapter 21) So, what are some of your favorite Regency era words?


About Regina Jeffers

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

10 Responses to Do You Speak Jane Austen? Part Three

  1. Gerri Bowen says:

    I have always liked saucy. 🙂

  2. carolcork says:

    I’ve always liked the word supercilious..

  3. Most of the time I would swear that you were English ( I know you’re an Anglophile) but occassionally you give yourself away as a Yankee 🙂

    We English would never say “a historic dance” it is always “an historic”, you’ve probably noticed in Miss Austens works how she often uses ‘an’ instead of ‘a’, in some instances we no longer use an, as in ‘a union’ Miss Austen has a tendency to say ‘an union’

    But you’re still an honorary Pommy 😛

  4. Nancy says:

    York is a city 200 miles somewhat north northeast of London. I think it is larger than a borough.
    I think one has to raise an eyebrow is a sort of sneer to be supercilious.
    Interesting blog.

    • York runs second only to London, a beautiful city going back to Roman days, and York Minster is second only to Canterbury in the Church of England Ecclesiastical Stakes although somewhat older dating back to around 300AD when the Romans still occupied the country, Canterbury dates from the 10th century

Comments are closed.