Williamsburg Slang

Williamsburg Slang
Williamsburg Slang

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Williamsburg slang is based on the everyday vocabulary of the eighteenth century, which presents a challenge for the costumed interpreters of this colonial haven. They are extensively trained through numerous classes. One of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundations lessons includes the handout, "Eight Easy Ways To Make Your Speech Sound More Eighteenth Century." It recommends the following: "interpreters say, 'tis' and 'twill' in place of 'it's' and 'it'll.'" The guide goes on to suggest "'sir' and 'madam' in direct address, in order to provide an atmosphere of proper formality, even in everyday conversation." The interpreters must also become familiar with the slang terms and phrases of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1700s. Below are some examples of local lingo to help you better understand the more obscure words and references used here.


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