The Regency Reference Book
(two pages from the Thesaurus section)

mute as a fish
sly-boots  a sly or crafty person
blow a cloud (which was not done in the presence of women)
cut  a mild form of snub, a turning away of the head
cut-direct  the worst, where the “snubber” pretended the other person was not there, looking straight through them.
Sports and other outdoor recreation:

Angling – fishing. Cane rods of twelve to twenty feet, various flies all tied by hand. The line was of either stained silk or gut. A variety of baits were used.

Archery – the practice or art of shooting with bow and arrow.

Ballooning – the science and practice of ascending in and making use of balloons. A balloonist is considered to be an aeronaut.

Battledore and Shuttlecock – the battledore was a small racket used in playing with the shuttlecock, the shuttlecock was hit between two persons without a net. Earlier version of badminton. Sometimes played indoors.

Beach-bathing – preferably at a spa or resort like Brighton, women wearing a suitable bathing costume

Billiards – while not an outdoor game, it was a game much played in the Regency. It is an indoor game of skill, played on a rectangular table with ivory balls, which are driven into pockets and against each other according to certain defined rules. It was a favorite diversion in England, particularly among persons of rank. It is played by two or more persons, who employ a cue and a rest or jigger for strokes which are out of reach with the ordinary cue.

Bowls – (lawn bowls) a very old game the object of which is to get your bowls [which are biased so they’ll turn in a curve] closer to the jack [which is a small white sphere] than your opponents. There are many variations of the game, you can have singles games, pairs and triplets. The version most practiced today is the team game usually between two teams of twenty players.

Boxing or prizefighting a professional boxer or prizefighter was one who fought a public contest for a prize. Boxing was the action of fighting with the fists. Boxers were esteemed for their amount of pluck and bottom. Gentlemen often sponsored individual fighters. Fights were arranged all over England, often in gentlemen’s parks.

Cock-fight – a match in which two cocks, usually armed with long steel spurs, are set to fight each other in a place called a cock-pit – seemingly much enjoyed by young men.

Coursing – the sport of hunting hares or other game in which the dogs pursue their game by sight only. Greyhounds most commonly used. The season began in September and could run for six months.

Cricket – an open-air game played with ball, bats and wickets, by two sides of eleven players each; the batman defends his wicket against the ball which is bowled by a player of the opposing side, the other players of this side being stationed around the field in order to catch or stop the ball.

Fives -– A game in which a ball is struck by the hand at the front wall of a three-sided court. Boys learned this at Eton. During the Regency there was a Fives’ Court on St. Martin’s Street, Leicester Fields as well as at Oxford and Cambridge. The game was also played at Fleet and King’s Bench prisons, with part of the ground next the wall appropriated for rackets and fives. The game declined in popularity after 1810. In the late 1700’s proprietors noted a change in fashion, and adapted their courts for other sports. During the Regency Fives’ Court became the place for boxing. There was also Mendoza’s, and Gentleman Jackson’s boxing salon where gentlemen often took lessons. Boxing matches were well attended by the gentlemen of the day. The court at Fives’ had a raised stage so the boxing matches might be better observed.

Fox-hunting – the sport of hunting the fox

Golf a game of considerable antiquity in Scotland in which a small hard ball is struck by a variety of clubs into a series of small cylindrical holes made at intervals, usually of a hundred yards or more, on the surface of a moor, field, etc. The aim is to drive the ball into any one hole, or into all the holes successively, with the fewest possible strokes. Commonly two persons, or two couples (a foursome), play against each other.

Hawking – the sport of chasing small birds or small animals by means of trained hawks. There were the Falconer’s Society, the Falconer’s Club, and the High Ash Club, but only a small number of enthusiasts.

Horse-racing The practice or sport of running horses in competition of speed. There was a strong attachment of the young nobility and gentry to this sport – to the point of addiction.

Hunting – the practice of chasing game or other wild animals for sport, the chase. The hunter does not carry a gun. If he hunts with a gun, it is called shooting and he walks.

Ice-skating – the sport of skating, a fashionable sport in winter.

Quoits – the sport of throwing the quoit or of playing quoits. A quoit is aimed at a peg stuck in the ground, and is intended to fall with the ring surrounding it, or as to cut into the ground as close as possible to it. The quoit is a heavy flattish ring of iron slightly convex on the upper and concave on the under, so as to give it an edge capable of eating into the ground when it falls, if skillfully thrown. The two hobs are generally 19 yards apart, and each player is allowed two quoits. Each success is termed a ringer and earns two points. A bit like horseshoes.

Riding – mounted on a horse to enjoy the out of doors

Rowing – the act of propelling a boat by oars – a pastime

Sailing – propelling a boat or punt on a river or lake for amusement or possibly a race. The Oxford-Cambridge racing did not begin until 1829.

Shooting – the sport of killing game with a gun while on foot.

Steeplechase – A horserace across country or on a made course with artificial fences, water jumps, and other obstacles. 1803 first reference to the sport.

Tennis – a game in which a ball is struck with a racket and driven to and fro by two players in an enclosed, oblong court, specially constructed for that purpose.

Yachting – the action, practice, or amusement of cruising in a yacht. Races were often held.

Spy-glass: Also sometimes referred to as a glass or a telescope. In 1814 Scott uses spy-glass. Spy  glass was also used to mean an opera glass or an eye glass.
Squander: make ducks and drakes  to squander money or potential money
Stingy: (see also miser) cheeseparing – an object of no value save in the eyes of a miserly economist.
close as wax – miserly, stingy, secretive from about 1770 on
clutch-fisted – miserly
Stomach-ache: colly-wobbles
Stuffy: high-stickler  very proper, stiffly snobbish

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