Chocs and cigs and ripping and topping

I blogged about Books v. Cigarettes, a collection of essays by George Orwell, a few weeks ago - but there's one more passage I'd like to share with you. Here he's writing about the years immediately preceding the First World War:

It was the age when crazy millionaires in curly top-hats and lavender waistcoats gave champagne parties in rococo house-boats on the Thames, the age of diabolo and hobble skirts, the age of the 'knut' in his grey bowler and cut-away coat, the age of The Merry Widow, Saki's novels, Peter Pan and Where the Rainbow Ends, the age when people talked about chocs and cigs and ripping and topping and heavenly, when they went for divvy week-ends at Brighton and had scrumptious teas at the Troc.

I just love how Orwell captures the spirit of the period primarily through its vocabulary.

And does anyone know what a 'knut' is in this context?


Stan said...

"Knut": archaic slang for a fashionable or showy young man, according to the OED.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

Lazy me – should have looked. But thanks!