If you watched Bridgerton season one, I’d be willing to make a sizeable bet that you spent at least a small chunk of time wondering what the hell the characters were talking about. The Netflix series, which is set in England’s Regency era (the early 1800s), does, at times, use language that we modern folk no longer understand.
As an example, playboy men in those days were not fuccbois – they were known as rakes. Perhaps there’s some kind of metaphor there about raking in lovers like leaves? I’m not sure.
Anyway, the team behind the hit show (which is soon returning for a second season, by the way) decided to help fans out last year by asking the cast to define what some of the more obscure terms used in Bridgerton actually mean.
Here’s what we learned from that.
Your library of Bridgerton slang definitions
Rake: As we have covered, this is a big ol’ playa.
Ladybird: Someone’s mistress.
Leg shackled: To be married. Ouch.
Cock up one’s toes: To die. I mean, also ouch.
Foxed: To be a little bit (or a lot) drunk.
Diamond of the first water: Okay, this was a little all over the place but essentially it sounded like a woman who is super hot, slash perfect.
Leading strings: This wasn’t covered by Netflix, but according to The Tab, this Bridgerton slang refers to a kind of harness that adults once used to hold onto toddlers while they were learning to walk.
The Ton: No, this isn’t a weird way of saying “town”. According to Oprah Mag, it refers to British high society.
Snuff: I low-key thought this one was some kind of illicit behaviour. But Oprah mag clarifies that it was actually tobacco that fancy Brits would snort back in the day.
High in the instep: Also reported by The Tab, this Bridgerton slang apparently suggests someone is full of themselves.
Swoon: To faint… but in style, as Oprah Mag shares.
Courses: You probably figured this out, but it’s your monthly period.
Promenade: Oprah Mag suggests this term refers to a public walk with a special someone. To promenade is a big deal, too.
Behind the scenes goodies
If you’re desperate for more Bridgerton content in the lead up to the series return, may we direct your attention towards some fun old behind-the-scenes footage and photos from season 1.
Netflix has been especially generous in sharing behind the scenes content for the show – probably because they know how despo we all are to see more. An oldie but a goodie is this sweet little gift in the form of Pheobe Dynevor (Daphne Bridgerton) and Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset) reminiscing over what it was like to “burn for each other”.
You can swoon over that footage here.
Shondaland also shared a series of snaps of the cast goofing around between takes, which kind of warms my heart. Those delightful treats are here. Here’s hoping we get more of this after season 2 of Bridgerton arrives.
Bridgerton season 2 hits Netflix Australia on March 25, 2022.
This article on Bridgerton slang definitions has been updated since its original publish date.