A Regency Lexicon – And Then There Was “D”

A Regency Lexicon

The Daily Courant – England’s first daily newspaper; founded in 1702

Damask – a fancy silk or linen fabric used for table linen; usually had a flower design raised

“Dark Lady” – sometimes used to refer to the character of Marianne Dashwoood in “Sense and Sensibility”; it is a term Leslie Fiedler uses in “Love and Death in the American Novel”; a woman of deep feelings and sensibilities

Debrett – an guide to the peerage; published annually

Debt of Honor – a gambling debt; not enforceable by law

Decree Nisi – a provisional divorce decree; the couple had to wait 6 months to see if the circumstances changed, only then was the decree final

Demesne – land upon which the manor house is built (as opposed to tenants’ cottages)

Derby – the greatest of the horse racing venues; pronounced “Darby”; held at Epsom Downs, which is some 15 miles outside of London

Divan – a public smoking room

Divorce – the ending of a marriage; granted only by an Act of Parliament; was very expensive, very public, and quite shameful

Doctors’ Commons – where the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts met; south of St. Paul’s Cathedral; marriage licenses were issued and wills written there

Don – head of a college at Oxford or Cambridge; another name for a “tutor”

Double First – the title given to the person who received first prize in both the classics and in mathematics honor exams at Oxford

Dowager – a title given to a widow of rank

Dowry – the monetary settlement the woman brings to the marriage

Drag – a private stagecoach; usually pulled by four horses

Dragoon – cavalrymen who rode into battle on horseback and then dismounted to fight; shot a pistol that send out a “flame” like a dragon

Drawers – long underpants; originally were two separate leggings tied together at the waist; generally knee length

Drawing Room – room used for after-dinner gatherings; usually large enough for informal dancing, a pianoforte, etc.

Dresssing for Dinner – dinner was a formal meal; ladies and gentlemen don their best clothing for dinner

Dropsy – having fluid build up in the joints in such diseases as diabetes or emphysema

Ducks and Drakes – skipping stones across the surface of a river, lake, etc.

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One Response to A Regency Lexicon – And Then There Was “D”

  1. Chelsea says:

    This was really interesting & educational! Thanks for sharing this.

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