victorian glossary part 3

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Victorian Glossary, Part 3

As mentioned on my twitter, the end of the year has turned out to be a bit more busy than I had anticipated. I do expect thing to lighten a bit in the near future (for a small bit of time), but for now, I shall attempt to “catch up” with writing obligations…

Condenser: (1) Part of a steam engine where steam is turned back into liquid water that can be reused, reducing the need to take on new water regularly. (2) The 19th century name for what is now called a capacitor.
Consols: Government bonds paying 3% interest, from which the funds they are used to raise.
Consumption: An advanced stage of pulmonary tuberculosis, usually leading to death fairly quickly.
Corn: In British usage, any grain, but especially wheat. The American product is called “Indian Corn” or “maize”.
Corset: An undergarment used to compress a womans waist, theoretically to a fashionable 18 inches, though many women left theirs partially unfastened most of the time. A favorite target of health-conscious dress reformers.
Cut direct: Pointedly not seeing a person who one does not with to speak.
Dementia Praecox: Schizophrenia, so called to distinguish it from dementia senilis.
Demimondaine: A woman with a questionable reputation who retains the traces of respectability.
Difference Engine: The precursor to the analytical engine, a mechanical computer designed to calculate and typeset mathematical tables.
Dirigible: Any light-than-air craft with engines for powered flight, but normally used for a craft with a non-rigid gasbag.

Stoddard, W.H. (2000) – Gurps Steampunk, pg. 142, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]