What is a rake in 'Bridgerton'? And other Regency-era vocabulary lessons

Attention all members of the Ton, we're giving you a quick guide to all-things Mayfair in 1813

Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma about to kiss in Bridgerton season 2. What is a rake in Bridgerton?
(Image credit: Netflix)

At long last, Anthony and Kate's love story is here, but what is a rake in Bridgerton exactly? A viscount? How about vex? We're burning for answers. 

Now that Bridgerton season 2 has swooped in to satiate hopeful romantics, viewers of the Netflix romance have plenty of questions about life in high society—particularly "What is the queen sniffing in Bridgerton?"

But let's get back to the jargon. If the terms the Mayfair Ton throw around have you a bit confused, allow us to bring you up to speed with a quick vocabulary lesson. 



What is a rake in 'Bridgerton'?

According to Dictionary.com (opens in new tab), a rake is defined as "a dissolute or immoral person, especially a man who indulges in vices or lacks sexual restraint." The term is short for "rakehell," which is synonymous with "hellraiser."

Essentially, a rake walked so that modern-day players and f*ckboys could run—it's a word all historical romance readers have grown to learn. (Psst: we've uncovered all about Bridgerton season 2 vs the  book if you're curious!) 

anthony bridgerton in season 2

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022)

What is a Viscount?

There's a reason why the women of the Ton are lining up for a shot at love with Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey)—and it's not just his good looks. 

According to Britannica (opens in new tab), a viscount is a European title of nobility, ranking immediately below a count or an earl. A viscount is typically fourth in line in the British peerage system.

The fact that said viscount in season 2 is handsome, loyal to his family and looks oh-so enticing wet (yes, we're referring to that Bridgerton lake scene), it's no surprise that he's catching everyone's attention. 

BRIDGERTON JONATHAN BAILEY as ANTHONY BRIDGERTON in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON Cr. NICK BRIGGS/NETFLIX © 2020

(Image credit: Netflix )

What is the Ton in 'Bridgerton'?

As Lady Whistledown can attest, the Ton is the people in the town of Mayfair, London—the aristocrats who make up high society.

The part of the Ton we're most curious about in season 2 is Kate and Edwina Sharma (played by Sex Education's Simone Ashley and newcomer Charithra Chandran, respectively).

Bridgerton season 2 ball

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022)

What does Bon mean in 'Bridgerton'?

As the Bridgerton love triangle unfolds before you, you've likely heard the term "Bon" thrown around quite a bit. This is Kate's nickname for her sister, Edwina. It means "sister" in Bengali. 

It is undoubtedly difficult when your Bon is vying for the same fella you are, right? Sisters!

Bridgerton season 2 episode 3 (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in episode 203 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

(Image credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

What does vex mean in 'Bridgerton'?

Vex in Regency terms is similar to its modern-day definition: it means to annoy or frustrate. (There's plenty of frustration throughout the series.) 

Fans of Julia Quinn's books know this is an emotion that runs rampant throughout the Bridgerton siblings' love stories.

Now that you're all caught up with the popular terms of 1813, it's time to get lost in the new chapter of the Bridgerton tales—the ups, downs, slow burns and everything in between. 

Sure the Bridgerton sex scenes are a bit toned down this go-around (there's a creative reason behind this), we know you'll find the story just as engaging as the series' debut. 

Catch the new season streaming on Netflix!

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)