The accessibility, simplicity, novelty, and design of the Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties as a resource makes it appealing to Victorianists everywhere. What could be more accessible than alphabetical lists of words, separated by type? This dictionary doesn’t begin with A and end with Z. The original arrangement of the text was designed to fit into the coding of an app, and the working title on the manuscript’s document still reads “VictorianInsultGenerator.” But I’m no coder, I’m a historian, and the history of each word is what will help writers use language the way Victorians would.

There are other Victorian dictionaries out there because of the growing demand and interest in the period. These other dictionaries are good and valuable resources every one. The Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties is different because it focuses on how the meanings of words changed throughout the nineteenth century. Understanding this allows writers to place their character’s dialogue in context, creating the layers of textual depth and realism we, as writers, wish to give to our stories.

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How to use this book

The Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties is divided into chapters to make it easier for the reader to find the word they’re looking for: Adverbs, Adjectives, Angry Name-calling Nouns, Expressions, Friendliness, and the Nineteenth-Century Thesaurus. The first several chapters provide context and history for individual words and expressions, whereas the Nineteenth-century Thesaurus effectively translates the things we struggle to find nineteenth-century words for.


Although the Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties is designed for writers of historical fiction, the Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties has attracted the attention of anyone with an interest in the period. In fact, my audience is demanding hard copies. Changes to the fundraising campaign are forthcoming to reflect that demand.

About the author10420127_10154316982105574_3577537857749174696_n

Tine Hreno is a creative consultant and literary history blogger with a background in media relations. She studied History and Literature at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and Concordia University, Montreal. The Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties is the natural progression of her two blogs: The Lexicon of Cultural Folly, and Writers in London in the 1890s, which receives over 6,000 views per month.

Currently, the release date is dependent on funding, but we will keep you posted on that!

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  1. Pingback: the intentions and methods of a lexicographer | The Dictionary of Victorian Insults & Niceties

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