A Little Colorful Language: Fools and their Ways

Since I am a writer, language captivates me, especially in the way it relates to a culture. With three teen aged sons living at home I get to hear a lot of the slang they encounter.  I never cease to be fascinated by the terms that come up, and how often I haven’t a clue what they are referring to. Since every era has its own unique slang, I thought it would be interesting to share some Regency era slang from time to time.  Since it is April Fool’s Day, I thought you might be interested in calling out a fool in a Regency appropriate way.

Francis Grose, author of Dictionary of he Vulgar Tongue

   A Fool

  • Addle Pate. 
  • Ben.   
  • Buzzard  
  • Chaw Bacon. A countryman. A stupid fellow.
  • Clod Pate. 
  • Clunch
  • Cod’s Head   
  • Dummie: A wooden man. A fool.
  • Gudgeon. One easily imposed on. from the fish of that name, which is easily taken.
  • Gull. A simple credulous fellow, easily cheated.
  • Ignoramus. 
  • Jack Adams. 
  • Jacob
  • Jolter Head: A large head; metaphorically a stupid fellow.
  • Loggerhead  
  • Lout: A clumsy stupid fellow.
  • Mud  
  • Nick Ninny, Nickumpoop, or Nincumpoop, Ninny, or Ninnyhammer
  • Nickin,  Nikey, or Nizey. A soft simple fellow: also, a diminutive of Isaac.
  • Nocky Boy  
  • Noddy 
  • Nokes 
  • Paper-scull
  • Pig-widgeon
  • Ralph Spooner 
  • Sapscull
  • Shallow Pate
  • Simkin
  • Simon: Sixpence. Simple Simon; a natural, a silly fellow; 
  • Simpleton: Abbreviation of simple Tony or Anthony, a foolish fellow.
  • Tom Coney
  • Tony   

To Describe a Fool Plainly

  • Beetle-headed 
  • Benish
  • Bird-witted: Inconsiderate, thoughtless, easily imposed on.
  • Buffle-headed: Confused, stupid.
  • Cakey
  • Chuckle-headed
  • Clumpish
  • Cork-brained
  • Fat Headed. 
  • Leatherheaded  
  • Mutton-headed
  • Sammy
  • Sappy
  • Squirish
  • Windy


 To Describe a Fool more colorfully

  • A poor honey: a harmless, foolish, good-natured fellow.
  • A hubble-bubble fellow: a man of confused ideas, or one thick of speech, whose words sound like water bubbling out of a bottle
  • He is no burner of navigable rivers: he is no man of extraordinary abilities; or, rather, he is but a simple fellow.
  • He is a young chub, or a mere chub:   a foolish fellow, easily imposed on: an allusion to a fish of that name, easily taken.
  • His garret, or upper story is empty, or unfurnished:  He has no brains, he is a fool
  • He is like a rope-dancer’s pole, lead at both ends: a saying of a stupid sluggish fellow.
  • Pudding-headed Fellow: A stupid fellow, one whose brains are all in confusion.
  • He was rocked in a stone kitchen:   his brains having been disordered by the jumbling of his cradle.
  • Sleeveless Errand: A fool’s errand, in search of what it is impossible to find.



Quoted from:   Grose, Captain (Francis). (2004) Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811 ed. Ikon Classics

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