Regency Era Lexicon – The Fifth Letter is “E”

Earnest Money - the first installment of a financial bargain; often the master of a household hiring a servant at a hiring fair offered earnest money to secure the person’s services

Easter term – one of the terms of the law courts in London, Oxford, or Cambridge

East India Company – privately ruled India until the British government took over in the wake of the Mutiny in 1857

Eat One’s Terms - to study for the bar; to be eligible to be “called to the bar,” a man had to eat a certain number of meals at the Inns of Court

Ecarte - a popular gambling game

Elder - a medicinal berry used to make Elderberry wine

Entail - a legal term which indicated that a landed estate was tied to a particular person (the heir); the property could not be sold or mortgaged

Empire waist – In England, the early 1800s (up to 1820) was known as the Regency Period, but in France, the same period was known as the Empire Period. England looked to France as the leader in fashion. Dresses with an Empire waist were straight (tube or column shaped) and with a low neckline. The waistline was high, located just below the bosom.

English country dance – the most frequent dance form of the period; the dancing couples stood opposite (etre contre) each other in a lien; contre-dancing was Anglicized as country-dancing

English Gentleman – a book by Richard Braithwait (1622); a popular courtesy book for gentlemen; a “self-help” book that included the proper protocol in a social context

Envy – a common theme in Jane Austen’s novels

Epigrammatism – Jane Austen told her sister Cassandra that her readers delighted in Epigrammatism of the general stile (sic); Austen refers to clever, witty, and terse remarks

Epistolary Style – a novel where the plot is rendered through letters

Epsom Downs - the location of the Derby (in Surrey, south of London)

Equipage - a generic term to denote a horse and carriage (occasionally it also referred to the servants accompanying the carriage)

Escritoire - a writing desk with small compartments for writing implements and paper

Established Church - the Church of England

Execution - seizing a person and his good (pursuant of a court order)

Expectations – denoting the likelihood of inheriting wealth (i.e., Dickens’ Great Expectations)

Étiquette – in French, the word means “ticket”; proper etiquette was the ticket to social acceptability, a mix of good manners and polite behavior

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2 Responses to Regency Era Lexicon – The Fifth Letter is “E”

  1. Chelsea K. says:

    Thanks for sharing all these Regency words & making it easier to understand the language used in Regency period books.

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