lwhitehead

17th century slang and words

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Hi folks I need some help finding 17th Century slang and words people would use,

LW

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Try

"The Vulgar Tongue" by Francis Grose

its18th century but is useful

mP

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Well I want to Slang and speech right for the 17th Century,

LW

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and this is why we become researchers. if what you want is not easily given, its probably not easily found either.

mP

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Hello. The title of this topic seemed relevant for my quick question. I am reading The School of Manners by John Garretson and during his listing of Behaviors For the Home, he states, "Be never covered at home, especially before thy Parents or Strangers". Now since being naked in front of company would be strange (although I suppose is was a different time ;)) I am wondering what being "covered" actually meant. None of my period dictionaries had it so any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Though this is only conjecture, I'd guess maybe wearing a hat is being 'covered' in this context.  In the military even today, they often call the various uniform hats 'covers' and it is proper when indoors to take the hat off (unless on duty).  So my guess would be that it's essentially telling people not to wear their hats in their home.  Of course, for this time period it might even be extended to mean a wig, which could show off social status, so there may be further 'good manners' shown by taking it off.  I'll reiterate that this is just conjecture and I have no sources to back it up.

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I am also guessing, but I have heard that a man wearing only a shirt with no waistcoat or a woman wearing a shift with no stays and mantua were considered undressed.

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 I would believe "covered" in that context would more be an indication of wearing proper clothes (as in waistcoat etc) more so than just a hat. I know in later eras (particularly by the end of 18th century) it was considered bad form, impolite even to wear a hat indoors. I have not seen anything indicating that social nicety extends back as far as the GAoP or not.... but my guess would be yes. And since the quote specifically mentioned "at home" (Which would be indoors), I think it is the proper clothing.

To add to that hypothesis, shirts and chimised/shifts are considered undergarments, so to be "covered" would be to have ones underclothes covered (similarly like how it is not considered proper to hang about in ones underwear today, in polite company anyways ;)  )

Edited by michaelsbagley
Extra thought

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Yet the quote is "be never covered at home, especially before thy parents or strangers."  Even in one's own home, it seems a bit strange to say that it's good manners to hang out in undergarments when your parents or strangers come for a visit.  That led me to believe that there was some sort of 'proper' time to be uncovered, which would make sense for a hat (or, possibly a wig, overcoat, etc.).  It doesn't really seem socially acceptable to entertain strangers in clothing that isn't proper (even if incomplete to some extent), whether at home or elsewhere.

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That's a good point.

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Thanks for the responses! I think that a hat would be most logical, though. I have seen pictures around this period where men are dressed in frock coats at table. It's possible they were just posing for the painting, though.

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