Victorian theatre slang



  • The following is a selection from the rich lexicon of slang terms used in the London theater during the late 19th century:

    bus (pronounced 'biz') short for stage business

    daddy a stage manager

    dagger a bottle

    ducats money (from the former Venetian coinage mentioned inmany of Shakespeare's plays)

    fox to criticize a fellow actor's performance

    goose to hiss a play

    make-up a personal appearance

    menagerie the orchestra

    mug-up to paint one's face (see mug)

    mutton-walk the saloon at Drury Lane

    peeper a mirror

    sal salary

    stab to help oneself to food or (especially) drink; theexpression 'stab yourself and pass the dagger' therefore meant 'help yourselfand pass the bottle'

    stall to act a part

    supe a supernumerary (i.e. extra)

    trunks short trousers worn over hose or tights

    see also corpse; green; pong.