Mutton Shunter

What on earth is a Mutton Shunter? It was the name given to policemen in Victorian times. Who knew? Certainly not me.

Fascinating Reading

I’ve been fascinated by a book I have seen online called ‘Passing English of the Victorian era: a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase’ by James Reading Ware. It was published in 1909 and is full of words that are no longer used in everyday English language. Some of it is very funny and some are quite rude.

Mutton and Lamb

So why were policemen called Mutton Shunters? Apparently, there was a lot of prostitution going on,

Move Along Now
Move Along Now
especially in Victorian London and because many of the ladies were hardly youngsters, they were known as Mutton. The old saying, Mutton dressed as Lamb, meaning an older person trying to make themselves look a lot younger. The police were forever moving on the ladies of the night, hence ‘shunting’ and so they became known as Mutton Shunters!

So Many Great Words

It doesn’t end there. It seems as though there are many hundreds, no, probably thousands of sayings from the Victorian era that are never used today. I have found it fascinating and funny at these long lost phrases from the past. I’ve listed a few below, but there are thousands more.

CHUFFY – to be proud
WAGTAIL – a promiscuous woman
MALMSEY NOSE – someone who drinks too much
MUCK SNIPE – a person with low morals
WINDY WALLETS – someone who talks too much
BALLOON JUICE LOWERER – someone who can’t handle their liquor
SPORT IVORY – smile
PUCKFYST – thirsty
TOTTY ONE LUNG – an asthmatic person with a high opinion of themselves
SCURRY FUNGE – tidy the house quickly when someone calls
NIZZLE – to be slightly intoxicated
SNAGGLE TOOTH – a low-class woman with bad teeth
GONG GOOZLER – an idle gormless person
SHANT OF BIVVY – a glass of beer
POPSY WOPSY – pretty doll-like girl
FLY RINK – a polished bald head
BELLY WASHER – lemonade or aerated water
GOT THE MORBS – a temporary melancholy

If you want to view the book yourself, you can follow this link: Passing English Dictionary

Here’s a delightful video showing the use of some other Victorian words.

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23 Comments
  • majaalifee
    January 16, 2020

    nice 🌸

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you 😊

  • cathryn gamble
    January 16, 2020

    Interesting 😊

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you, Cathryn 😊

  • Alien Resort
    January 16, 2020

    Beargarden banter.

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you 😊

  • KINDNESS
    January 16, 2020

    Thank you 🙇 Sir, enjoy Jack Sparrow tonight 😂😂

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you 😊

  • YouLittleCharmer
    January 16, 2020

    Fascinating!!
    I may write a poem called
    ‘Got The Morbs’ – reckon it sums me up quite well!! 😁🖤

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you and good luck with the poem 😊

  • Yetismith
    January 16, 2020

    I love this. Must look up that book. I think I could figure out what a mutton shunter was when you mentioned the police, and I knew what it was to be “chuffed”, but the rest I wouldn’t have a clue. Thanks!

    • admin
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you again, Yeti. I hadn’t a clue about mutton shunter, but I do find them funny 😊

  • SueW
    January 17, 2020

    Chuffy! I use the word CHUFFED a lot, seems I must have much to be proud of!

    • admin
      January 17, 2020

      Thank you, Sue, we have laughed over so many of these words. 😁

  • gianmarco groppelli, *J&J*
    January 17, 2020

    I hope you will spent a great weekend
    see ya soon my dear friend 🙋 Gianmarco

  • Invisibly Me
    January 18, 2020

    Hahah these are brilliant! This is the sort of novel book of curiosities that I love. I’ve made a note of it, I’m going to have to pick this up. Perhaps I can get it as a gift for my folks, after all my mother is a total Scurry Funge and Balloon Juice Lowerer (what the hell?!), and I’ve Got The Morbs so a little laughter is just what the doctor ordered.

    Too good! 😂

    Caz x

    • admin
      January 19, 2020

      Thanks Caz. They are brilliant and fun. I’ve spent hours scrolling through the online book. 😁

      • Invisibly Me
        January 19, 2020

        I added it to my basket. I noticed at the time the Kindle was 99p and the paperback over £11! x

        • admin
          January 19, 2020

          Oh well, I hope the Kindle version will give you many hours of fun, Caz. I might even try and get a copy for myself, it does sound a lot of fun.

  • Ruth
    January 22, 2020

    Learned a lot from this post Thanks for your visits and likes to my blog, Trev.

    • admin
      January 22, 2020

      Thank you, Ruth and you’re welcome, I enjoy your posts 😊

  • Brothers Campfire
    January 25, 2020

    I keep coming back to this post. It is great!

    • admin
      January 25, 2020

      Thank you very much for your kind words and I hope you continue coming back 😊

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