What I am is a good mimic. I cut my teeth on Regency-era romance, and spent a lot of my formative years alone, so a lot of my language and vernacular was formed by what I read. For example, I use “disguised” to mean drunk, as Heyer did. I always say a lady is “mutton-y” (as in mutton dressed like lamb) when she is wearing clothing too young for her age, think (in my head, at least) that they’re mushrooms if they’re aspiring above their station in an aspirational way, and also use phrases like ‘cut my teeth’ (see above).
I also love language, and vernacular, and how idioms come about. We all know what we mean when we say something has “jumped the shark,” but the first time someone used it, they were likely met with puzzled stares (as I recall, it is the example of Happy Days when Fonzie was out waterskiing and literally jumped a shark, which was the precipitous downfall of the show’s quality). I think my love of language has made it possible for me to write in the Regency period, even though I might not know what exactly happened during certain years (not to mention the whole title thing–oy! I stink at that!)
Do you have any favorite phrases? What Regency-era terms delight you?