Regency Era Lexicon – “F” is for More Than “Failure”

Regency Era Lexicon – We’re Up to “F”

fag – used in English public schools; denoted a younger boy who ran errands for an older student (to become “fatigued” by doing these errands)

faggot – a grouping of sticks tied together and used for fuel

fallow – farmland left temporarily unplated

faro – a gambling game; players bet on the order of the cards being turned over by the dealer

farrier – A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves, if necessary. A farrier combines some blacksmith’s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian’s skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses’ feet.

A Father’s Legacy to His Daughters – a guide book by John Gregory (1774), which served as a young lady’s guide to conduct; Dr. Gregory suggested that women should hide their knowledge and wisdom to avoid appearing superior.

fellow – a member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge; constituted the governing body of the college

female education – no standard curriculum existed for women; women were instructed in penmanship, reading, basic arithmetic, homemaking; sewing, manners, dancing, art, and music

fen – an area in and around Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire; low, swampy area

fender – a protective grate to keep sparks from falling out onto the floor/carpet

fête – a large fancy party (fete champetre was a large outdoor party)

fichu – used as a head or shoulder covering by women; especially for low cut gowns

figure – an isolated dance step or a series of related steps, especially when referring to a country dance or a quadrille

fingerpost – road signs (usually at cross roads) in the shape of a finger

flagon – a container for drinking alcohol; had a spout, handle, and lid

Fleet Prison – a prison housing debtors

fly – a rented horse and carriage

Fordyce’s Sermons (or) Sermons to Young Women – by Dr. James Fordyce (1765); explained within a Christian framework how a woman must please a man in order to earn his hand in marriage; women were taught to be docile, soft, and obedient; the sermons emphasizes beauty over education; women were told to avoid exercise

foolscap – 13″ x 17″ paper; bore a watermark of a fool’s cap and bells

Foot Guards – the infantry which guarded the sovereign; there were the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, and the Grenadier Guards

footman – an indoor male servant; cleaned and trimmed the lamps, waited the meal service, and escorted the ladies of the house when the women made calls; normally wore a livery; were matched in height if more than one footman was employed in a household

franking – in reality, only members of Parliament (until 1840) could “frank” a letter, meaning to send the post for free (carrying on Parliamentary business without cost to the MP); the MP was to add his name and the date to the address; the letters were to weigh no more than one ounce; the privilege was often abused, however

freeholders – the landowners in a community

frigate – one of the smaller boats of the British Navy; used for reconnaissance, not part of the line

front – a small hairpiece worn above the forehead (usually by women)

furlong – equivalent to 660 feet; came from the phrase “furrow long”

fusiliers – infantry armed with fusils; later, fusiliers were outfitted as was all other member of the infantry, except they wore busbies

fustian – coarse cotton fabrics, such as corduroy or velveteen; usually in a dark color


About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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3 Responses to Regency Era Lexicon – “F” is for More Than “Failure”

  1. Here I go again Regina; ‘Faggot’ I’ve never heard it used in the sense described by you, but of course you are correct. The ‘Faggot’ conjures up in my mind the wonderful smells coming from the house when I was living in Somerset for a short period during the war, Faggots are a savoury dish made with all sorts of obscene things salvaged from an animals carcass cooked in spices and the smell and taste was delicious, The word also has been used as a derogatory term for homosexuals in England; I don’t know how or why or where this use of the word came from but I suspect from places like Cambridge and the Public Schools where homosexuality wasn’t unknown.

    The Farrier,is a small specialized offshoot of the Blacksmith who’s soul aim in life seeems to be to shoe horses.My father was a Blacksmith (and I can recall some of the work he did which was quite magnificent I should write a blog on some of the work he did) but he would not have had a clue about shoeing a horse. I’ve no doubt that he could have made the shoes had he have put his mind to it but he left that little job to the Farriers. There was a form of class and snobbery in England even in these lowly trades.

    • Is it not amazing how words transform? I knew nothing of your definition of “faggot.” As to farrier, I was well aware of the distinction between “smith” and “farrier,” but I feared others might not recognize the difference (especially we Yanks). Since your comment, I have modified the definition above. LOL!
      I assumed there was a “Blacksmith” somewhere in your family lineage, Brian. Personally, I would love to read a blog on the work your father performed.

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