It’s been 10 days since the news of General David Petraeus’s affair with his biographer stormed the Internet. You may be running out of ways to describe the ongoing antics. Here are 10 historical slang terms and euphemisms for infidelity that you probably won’t see in headlines.
1. Carrying tackle: Used primarily in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a man having an indiscreet affair was said to be carrying tackle. Tackle was also used to describe flashy or expensive clothing.
2. Groping for trout in a peculiar river: A Shakespearean joke used in Measure for Measure, where groping describes a method of fishing by feeling for them in the water with the hands; peculiar was already in use to describe a mistress, much in the same way a cat or an owl might be a witch’s peculiar.
3. Left-handed honeymoon: In use as early as the 1920s or 30s, the saying in full is “He/She is on a left-handed honeymoon with someone else’s wife/husband.”