Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
E. Cobham Brewer From The Edition Of 1894
F is written on his face. “Rogue” is written on his face. The letter F used to be branded near the nose, on the left cheek of felons, on their being admitted to “benefit of clergy.” The same was used for brawling in church. The custom was not abolished by law till 1822.
F Sharp A flea. The pun is F, the initial letter, and sharp because the bite is acute. (See B Flats.)
A corrupt way of making a capital f in Old English, and used as low down as 1750; as ffrance for France, ffarrington for Farrington, etc.
The letters of the Sardinian motto.
Either Fortitudo Ejus Rhodum Tenuit, in allusion to the succour rendered to Rhodes by the house of Savoy, 1310;
Or, Fædere et Religione Tenemur, on the gold doubloon of Victor Amadeus I.; Or, Fortitudo Ejus Rempublicam Tenet.
Free on board; meaning that the shipper, from the time of shipment, is free from all risk.
The three f's. Fixed tenure, Fair rent, F ree sale. The platform of the Irish League in 1880.
(Scotch). To get; to get a share of; to lay a claim to.
“Where is the laird or belted knight
That best deserves to fa' that?”
Burns: Whom Will Ye Send, stanza i.
An association of socialists.
“The Fabian Society aims at the reorganisation of society by the emancipation of land and industrial capital from individual and class ownership: and the resting of them in the community for the general benefit.” — H.G. Wilshire: Fabian Essays on Socialism, June, 1891, p. 91.
The name of the society is derived from Quintus Fabius, the Roman general, who won his way against Hannibal by wariness, not by violence, by caution, not by defiance.
“Fabian tactics lie in stealing inches, not in grasping leagues.” — Liberty Review, May 19th, 1894, p. 395, col. 1.
A complimentary phrase for Roman soldiers, the bravest of the brave.
“Quem [band of trained soldiers] quidem sic omni disciplina militari [Iphicratês] crudivit, ut quemadmodum quondam `Fabiani milites' Romani appellati sunt, sic `Iphicratenses' apud Græcos in summa laude fuerint.” — Nepos: Iphicrates, ii.
or Policy — i.e. delay. “Win like Fabius, by delay.” The Roman general Fabius wearied out Hannibal by marches, counter—marches, ambuscades, and skirmishes, without ever coming to an open engagement. Fabius died B.C. 203.
“Met by the Fabian tactics, which proved fatal to its predecessor.” — The Times.
The system called Collectivism. (See Collectivists .)
“It must be evident that the Fabian Society has a really gigantic task before it, the difficulties of which will not be lightened when the working classes come to understand that small ownership ... and small savings ... are just as strongly condemned by Collectivists as large estates and colossal fortunes.” — Nineteenth Century (November, 1892, p. 686
Fabila's sad Fate
The king Don Fabila was a man of very obstinate purpose and fond of the chase. One day he encountered a boar, and commanded those who rode with him to remain quiet and not interfere; but the boar overthrew him and killed him. (Chronica Antiqua de España, p. 121.)
The American Fabius. Washington (1732—1799), whose military policy was similar to that of Fabius. He wearied out the English troops by harassing them, without coming to a pitched battle. Duguesclin pursued the same policy in France, by the advice of Charles V., whereby all the conquests of Edward and the Black Prince were retrieved.
Fabius of the French. Anne, Duc de Montmorency, grand constable of France; so called from his success in almost annihilating the imperial army which had invaded Provence, by laying the country waste and prolonging the campaign. (1493—1567.)
The most famous writers of fables are —
Pilpay, among the Hindus.
Lokman, among the Arabs. Æsop and Babrios, among the Greeks.
Phædrus and Arianus, among the Romans. Faerne, Abstemius, and Casti, among the Italians. The last wrote The Talking Animals. La Fontaine and Florian, among the French.
John Gay and Edward Moore, among our own countrymen. The former is sometimes called “The English Æsop.”
Lessing and Pfeffel, among the Germans.
Krilof, among the Russians.
The metrical fables of the Trouvères, or early poets north of the Loire, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The word fable, in this case, is used very widely, for it includes not only such tales as Reynard the Fox, but all sorts of familiar incidents of knavery and intrigue, all sorts of legends and family traditions. The fabliau of Aucassin and Nicolette is full of interesting incidents, and contains much true pathos and beautiful poetry.
A Roman hero, representative of inflexible purity and honesty. The ancient writers love to tell of the frugal way in which he lived on his hereditary farm; how he refused the rich presents offered him by the Samnite ambassadors; and how at death he left no portion for his daughters, whom the senate provided for.
“Fabricius, scorner of all—conquering gold.”
Thomson: Seasons (Winter).
The god who taught Roman children to utter their first word. It was the god Vagitanus (q.v.) who taught them to utter their first cry. From fari, to speak (Varro).
(See under Islands .)
Face (Latin, facies.)
A brazen face. A bold, defiant look. A brazen—faced person means one with an impudent, audacious look, especially in a bad cause. Brass metaphorically is generally used in a bad or deprecatory sense, as “You have plenty of brass” [impudence], “I admire your brass.”
A rebec face (French, visage de rebec). An ugly, grotesque face, like that which used to be cut on the upper part of a rebec or three—stringed fiddle.
“Dead is the noble Badëbec,
Who had a face like a rebec.”
Rabelais: Pantagruel, book ii. 4.
Badebec was the mother of Gargantua, and died in childbirth. A wry face. The features drawn awry, expressive of distaste. To draw a long face. To look dissatisfied or sorrowful, in which case the mouth is drawn down at the corners, the eyes are dejected, and the face elongated
“Of course, it is all right; if you had not drawn such a long face I should never have doubted.” — Dr. Cupid.
To fly in the face of ... To oppose violently and unreasonably: to set at defiance rashly. To put a good face on the matter. To make the best of a bad matter; to bear up under something disagreeable; “vultu malum dissimulare;” “in adversis vultum secundæ fortunæ gerere.”
To set one's face against [something]. To oppose it; to resist its being done. The expression of the face shows the state of the inclination of a person's mind.
Face to Face
In the immediate presence of each other; two or more persons facing each other. To accuse another “face to face” means not “behind his back” or in his absence, but while present.
To keep two faces under one hood. To be double—faced; to pretend to be very religious, and yet live an evil life.
“We never troubled the Church ... We knew we were doing what we ought not to do, and scorned to look pious, and keep two faces under one hood.” — Boldrewood: Robbery Under Arms, chap. ii.
To make faces. To make grimaces with the face.
To face it out. To persist in an assertion which is not true. To maintain without changing colour or hanging down the head.
To face down. To withstand with boldness and effrontery.
With a facing, lining of the cuffs, etc.; also the preterite of the verb “to face.”
Bare—faced. Impudence unconcealed. A “bare—faced lie” is a lie told shamelessly and without prevarication. Shame—faced. Having shame expressed in the face.
Faced with [silk, etc.]. An inferior article bearing the surface of a superior one, as when cotton—velvet has a silk surface; the “facings" (as the lining of coat—cuffs, etc.) made of silk, etc.
or Faced—card. A court card, a card with a face on it.
Facil&eumk; Princeps By far the best; admittedly first.
“But the facilë princeps of all gypsologists is Professor Pott, of Halle.” — Chambers's Cyclopædia.
To put one through his facings. To examine; to ascertain if what appears on the surface is superficial only.
“The Greek books were again had out, and Grace ... was put through her facings.” — A. Trollope.
Façon de Parler
Idiomatic or usual form of speech, not meant to be offensive. I once told a waiter in Norway that the meat he brought me for breakfast was not sufficiently cooked; and he bluntly told me it was not true
(det er ikke sandt), but he did not intend to be rude. It was the Norwegian “façon de parler.”
Faction The Romans divided the combatants in the circus into classes, called factions, each class being distinguished by its special colour, like the crews of a boat—race. The four original factions were the leek—green (prasina), the sea—blue (veneta), the white (alba), and the rose—red (rosea). Two other factions were added by Domitian, the colours being golden—yellow (aurata ) and purple. As these combatants strove against each other, and entertained a strong esprit de corps, the word was easily applied to political partisans. In the faction riots of Constantinople, A.D. 532, above 30,000 persons were killed. (Latin, factio).
An agent; a substitute in mercantile affairs; a commission merchant. (Latin, facio, to do, whence the French facteur, one who does something for an employer.)
“Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away.”
Pope: Moral Essays, Ep. iii. 361.
Thomas Pitt, ancestor of the Earl of Chatham, was appointed by Queen Anne Governor of Fort St. George, in the East Indies, and in 1702 purchased there, for £20,400, a diamond weighing 127 carats, which he sold to the King of France. This gem is still called the Pitt diamond. Pope insinuates that Pitt stole the diamond. This is not exactly true. He obtained it for a price much below its value, and threatened the thief with exposure if he made a fuss about the matter.
One who does for his employer all sorts of services. Sometimes called a Johannes Factotum. Our “Jack—of—all—trades” does not mean a factotum, but one who does odd jobs for anyone who will pay him.
(Latin, facere totum, to do everything required.)
(A). A hobby, a temporary fancy, a whim. A contraction of faddle in “fiddle—faddle.”
“Among the fads that Charley had taken up for a time was that of collecting old prints.” — Eggleston: Faith Doctor, chap. iii.
A fée or kobold of the south of France, sometimes called “Hada.” These house—spirits, of which, strictly speaking, there are but three, bring good luck in their right hand and ill luck in their left.
Mahomet's white mule.
(1 syl.). To suit or fit together, as, It won't fadge; we cannot fadge together; he does not fadge with me. (Anglo—Saxon, fægen, to fit together; Welsh, ffag, what tends to unite.)
“How will this fadge?”
Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, ii. 2.
A farthing. A corrupt contraction of fardingal, i.e. farthingale. (See Chivy.)
(Al). Mahomet's silver cuirass, confiscated from the Jews on their expulsion from Medina.
The great Nazir', or chamberlain of Aurungze'bë's harem, in Lalla Rookh. The criticism of this self—conceited courtier upon the several tales which make up the romance are very racy and full of humour;
and his crest—fallen conceit when he finds out that the poet was the Prince in disguise is well conceived.
“He was a judge of everything — from the pencilling of a Circassian's eyelids to the deepest questions of science and literature; from the mixture of a conserve of rose—leaves to the composition of an epic poem ... all the cooks and poets of Delhi stood in awe of him.” — T. Moore.
or Feerie. The land of the fays or faeries. The chief fay realms are Avalon, an island somewhere in the ocean; Oberon's dominions, situate “in wilderness among the holtis hairy;” and a realm somewhere in the middle of the earth, where was Pari Banou's palace.
“For learnëd Colin [Spenser] lays his pipes to gage,
And is to Faëry gone a pilgrimage.”
Drayton: Eclogue, iii.
A metrical romance in six books, by Edmund Spenser (incomplete). It details the adventures of various knights, who impersonate different virtues, and belong to the court of Gloriana, Queen of faërie land.
The first book contains the legend of the Red Cross Knight (the spirit of Christianity), and is by far the best. The chief subject is the victory of Holiness over Error. It contains twelve cantos.
The second book is the legend of Sir Guyon (the golden mean), in twelve cantos. The third book is the legend of Britomartis (love without lust), in twelve cantos. Britomartis is Diana, or Queen Elizabeth the Britoness.
The fourth book is the legend of Cambel and Triamond (fidelity ), in twelve cantos. The fifth book is the legend of Artegal (justice ), in twelve cantos.
The sixth book is the legend of Sir Calidore (courtesy), in twelve cantos. There are parts of a seventh book — viz. cantos 6 and 7, and two stanzas of canto three. The subject is Mutability.
The plan of the Faërie Queene is borrowed from the Orlando Furioso, but the creative power of Spenser is more original, and his imagery more striking, than Ariosto's. Thomson says of him —
“[He] like a copious river, poured his song
O'er all the mazes of enchanted ground.”
The Seasons (Summer), 1574—5.
One who does, and perseveres in doing. In public schools, it means a little boy who waits upon a bigger one. Probably a contracted form of factor, factotum; Latin, fac—ere, to do.
Fag. Servant of Captain Absolute, who apes his master in all things. (Sheridan: The Rivals.)
“Even the mendacious Mr. Fag assures us, though he never scruples to tell a lie at his master's command, yet it hurts his conscience to be found out.” — Sir Walter Scott.
(A). The selvedge or coarse end of a piece of cloth. This also is from facio, factum, meaning the part added after the piece is finished. The fag—end of a session means the last few days before dissolution.
Wearied with hard work. Fatigued contracted into fa'g'ed.
Fagin An infamous Jew, who teaches boys and girls to rob with dexterity. (Dickens: Oliver Twist.)
A badge worn in mediæval times by those who had recanted their “heretical” opinions. It was designed to show what they merited, but had narrowly escaped. (See Fagots.)
Il y a fagots et fagots. There are divers sorts of fagots; every alike is not the same. The expression is in Molièe's Le Médecin malgré lui, where Sganarelle wants to show that his fagots are better than those of other persons; “Ay, but those fagots are not so good as my fagots.” (Welsh, ffag, that which unites; Anglo—Saxon, fægan, to unite.)
Sentire les fagots. To be heretical; to smack of the fagots. In allusion to the custom of burning heretics by surrounding them with blazing fagots.
Votes obtained by the nominal transfer of property to a person whose income was not otherwise sufficient to qualify him for being a voter.
The “fagot” was a bundle of property divided into small lots for the purpose stated above. Abolished.
“The object was to prevent the creation of fagot votes.” — The Times.
Cakes made of the “insides” of pigs, with thyme, scraps of pork, sage onions, and other herbs, fried together in grease, and eaten with potatoes. (Greek, phago, to eat.)
One of the rivers of Paradise in Mahometan mythology.
The second class of Druids.
(2 syl.). Majolica. So called from Faenza, where, in 1299, it was first manufactured. It is termed majolica because the first specimens the Italians saw came from Majorca. In France it now means a fine ware not equal to porcelain.
Les Rois Fainéants (the cipher or puppet kings). Clovis II. and his ten successors were the puppet kings of the Palace Mayors. Louis V. (last of the Carlovingian dynasty) received the same designation.
“ `My signet you shall command with all my heart, madam,' said Earl Philip. ... `I am, you know, a complete Roy Fainéant, and never once interfered wth my Maire du Palais in her proceedings.' ” — Sir Walter Scott: Peveril of the Peak, chap. xv.
Faint heart ne'er won fair lady.
“The bold a way will find or make.”
King: Orpheus and Eurydice.
“Faint harts faire ladies neuer win.” (1569.)
Philobiblion Society's Publications (1827, p. 22).
Easily discouraged; afraid to venture.
Charles IV., King of France, le Bel (1294, 1322—1328). Philippe IV. of France, le Bel (1268, 1285—1314).
Fair as Lady Done. A great Cheshire family that has long occupied a mansion at Utkinton. (Cheshire expression.)
Fair Geraldine. (See Geraldine.) Fair Rosamond. (See Rosamond.) To bid fair, as “he bids fair to be a good ...” To give good promise of being ...; to indicate future success or excellence; one de quo bene sperare licet.
Fair as a lily. (See Similes.)
Fair (Latin feriæ, holidays.)
A day after the fair. Too late for the fun. “Sero sapiunt Phryges. ” The Phrygians were noted for their obstinacy; hence, Phryx verberatus melior. They were thrice conquered: by Hercules, the Greeks, and the Latins, and were wise “after the events.”
(Statute). (See Mop .)
Perth; so called from the beauty of its situation.
A worthy subject of banter; one who exposes himself to ridicule.
“Bourrienne is fair game; but the whole of his statements are not worthless.” — The Spectator, Feb. 18th, 1888.
Fair Maid of Anjou. Lady Edith Plantagenet, who married David, Prince Royal of Scotland. Fair Maid of February. The snow—drop, which blossoms in February.
Fair Maid of Kent. Joan, Countess of Salisbury, wife of the Black Prince, and only daughter of Edmond Plantagenet, Earl of Kent. She had been twice married ere she gave her hand to the prince.
Fair Maid of Norway. Margaret, daughter of Eric II. of Norway, and granddaughter of Alexander III. of Scotland. Being recognised by the states of Scotland as successor to the throne, she set out for her new kingdom, but died on her passage from seasickness. (1290.)
Fair Maid of Perth. Katie Glover, the most beautiful young woman of Perth. Heroine of Scott's novel of the same name.
The Princess Fair—star, in love with Prince Chery, whom she sets to obtain for her “the dancing water,” “the singing apple,” and “the green bird” (q.v.). This tale is borrowed from the fairy tales of Straparola the Milanese. (1550.) Chery and Fair—star, by the Countess d'Aulnoy.
Fair Trade Smuggling.
“Neither Dirk Hatteraick nor any of his sailors, all well known men in the fair trade, were again seen upon that coast.” — Sir Walter Scott: Guy Mannering, chap. x.
Latterly the phrase has been introduced into politics to signify reciprocity of protection or free—trade. That is, free—trade to those nations that grant free—trade to us, and vice versa.
In a fair way. On the right tack. The “fair way” is the proper track through a channel.
Fair and Square
Honestly, justly, with straightforwardness.
Fair fall you
Good befall you.
Fair Play is a Jewel
As a jewel is an ornament of beauty and value, so fair play is an honourable thing and a “jewel in the crown” of the player.
good and bad.
AFREET or EFREET, one of the Jinn tribe, of which there are five. (See Story of the Second Calendar.) APPARITION. A ghost.
ARIEL. (See Ariel.)
BANSHEE or BENSHEE, an Irish fairy attached to a house. (See Banshee.) BOGGART. (Scotch.) A local hobgoblin or spirit.
BOGIE or BOGLE, a bugbear (Scotch form of bug). (See Bogie.) BROWNIE, a Scotch domestic fairy; the servants friend if well treated. (See Brownie.) BUG or BUGBEAR, any imaginary thing that frightens a person. (Welsh, bwg. (See Bug.) CAULD LAD (The), the Brownie of Hilton Hall. (See Cauld Lad.)
DJINN, JIN, or GINN (Arabian).(See Jinn.)
DUENDE (3 syl.), a Spanish house—spirit.(See Duende.) DWARE, a diminutive being, human or superhuman. (Anglo—Saxon, dweorg.) DWERGER, DWERGUGH, or DUERGAR, Gotho—German dwarfs, dwelling in rocks and hills. (Anglo—Saxon,dweorgh.)
ELF (plu. ELVES), fairies of diminutive size, supposed to be fond of practical jokes. (Anglo—Saxon, ælf. (See Elf.)
ELLE—MAID or ELLE—WOMAN, ELLE—FOLK, of Scandinavia.
ESPRIT FOLLET, the house—spirit of France.
FAIRY or FAERIE (plu. FAIRIES), a supernatural being, fond of pranks, but generally pleasing. (German and French, fee.)
FAMILIAR (A, an evil spirit attendant on witches, etc. (See Familiar.) FATA, an Italian fay, or white lady.
FATES, the three spirits (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) which preside over the destiny of every individual. (Latin, fata.)
FAY (plu. FAYS), same as Fairy (q.v..)
FEAR DEARG (The), i.e. Red Man. A house—spirit of Munster. GENII (plu.). The sing. genie and genius. Eastern spirits, whether good or bad, who preside over a man or nation. “He is my evil [or good] genius.” (Latin, genius. (See Genius.)
GHOST, the immaterial body or noumenon of a human being. Supposed to be free to visit the earth at night—time, but obliged to return to its Hades at the first dawn.
GHOUL, a demon that feeds on the dead. (Persian.)
GNOME (1 syl.), the guardian of mines, quarries, etc. (Greek, gnóme a Cabalistic being.) (See Gnomes.) GOBLIN or HOBGOBLIN, a phantom spirit. (French, gobelin; German, kobold.)
GOOD FOLK (The). The Brownies or house—spirits.
GUARDIAN—ANGEL, an angelic spirit which presides over the destiny of each individual. HABUNDIA, queen of the White Ladies.
HAG (A), a female fury. Milton (Comus 445) speaks of “blue meagre hags.” H AMADRYAD, a wood—nymph. Each tree has its own wood—nymph, who dies when the tree dies. HOBGOBLIN. (See above, GOBLIN.) Hob is Robin,as Hodge is Roger.
HORNS or HORNIE, the Devil. (See Hornie.)
IMP, a puny demon or spirit of mischief. (Welsh, imp.) JACK—A—LANTERN, a bog or marsh spirit who delights to mislead. JINN or GINN. (See Jinn.) These Arabian spirits were formed of “smokeless fire.” KELPIE (2 syl.). In Scotland, an imaginary spirit of the waters in the form of a horse. (See Kelpie.) KOBOLD, a German household goblin, also frequenting mines. (German, kobold. ) (See Kobold.)
LAMIA (plu. LAMIÆ), a hag or demon. Keats's Lamia is a serpent which had assumed the form of a beautiful woman, beloved by a young man, and gets a soul. (Latin, Lamia.) (See Lamies.)
LAMIES, African spectres, having the head of a woman and tail of a serpent. (See Lamia.) LAR (plu. LARES) (2 syl.), Latin household deities. (See Lares.)
LEPRECHAUN, a fairy shoemaker.
MAB, the faries' midwife. Sometimes incorrectly called queen of the fairies. (Welsh, mab.) (See Mab.) MANDRAKE. (See Mandrake.)
MERMAID, a sea—spirit, the upper part a woman and the lower half a fish. MERROWS, both male and female, are spirits of the sea, of human shape from the waist upwards, but from the waist downwards are like a fish. The females are attractive, but the males have green teeth, green hair, pig's eyes, and red noses. Fishermen dread to meet them.
MONACIELLO or LITTLE MONK, a house—spirit of Naples.
NAIAD (plu. NAIADES [3 syl.] or NAIADS [2 syl.]), water—nymphs. (Latin.) (See Naiads.) NIS or NISSE (2 syl.), a Kobold or Brownie. A Scandinavian fairy friendly to farmhouses. (Contraction of Nicolaus.)
NIX (female, NIXIE), a water—spirit. The nix has green teeth, and wears a green hat; the nixie is very beautiful.
OBERON, king of the fairies.
OGRE [pronounce og'r], an inhabitant of fairyland said to feed on infant children. (French.) OREADS, mountain nymphs. (Greek, oros.)
OUPHE (2 syl.), a fairy or goblin.
PERI, a Persian fairy. Evil peris are called “Deevs.” PIGWIDGEON, a fairy of very diminutive size.
PIXY or PIXIE (also pisgy, pisgie), a Devonshire fairy, same as Puck. POUKE (1 syl.), same as Puck. (See Pouke.)
PUCK, a merry little fairy spirit, full of fun and harmless mischief. (Icelandic and Swedish, puke.) (See Puck.)
ROBIN— GOODFELLOW, another name for PUCK. (See Robin ...) SALAMANDER, a spirit which lives in fire. (Latin and Greek, salamandra.) (See Salamandra.) SHADES, ghosts.
SPECTRE, a ghost,
SPOOK (in Theosophy), an elemental.
SPRITE, a spirit.
STROMKARL, a Norwegian musical spirit, like Neck. (See Stromkarl.) SYLPH, a spirit of the air; so named by the Rosicrucians and Cabalists. (Greek, silphe, French, sylphide.) (See Sylphs.)
TRITON, a sea deity, who dwells with Father Neptune in a golden palace at the bottom of the sea. The chief employment of tritons is to blow a conch to smooth the sea when it is ruffled.
TROLL, a hill—spirit. Hence Trolls are called Hill—people or Hill—folk, supposed to be immensely rich, and especially dislike noise. (See Trolls.)
UNDINE (2 syl.), a water—nymph. (Latin, unda.) (See Undine.) URCHIN properly means a hedgehog, and is applied to mischievous children and small folk generally. (See Urchin.)
VAMPIRE (2 syl.), the spirit of a dead man that haunts a house and sucks the blood of the living. A Hungarian superstition. (See Vampire.)
WERE—WOLF (Anglo—Saxon, wer—wulf, man—wolf), a human being, sometimes in one form and sometimes in another. (See WereWolf.)
WHITE LADIES OF NORMANDY. (See White Ladies.)
WHITE LADY (The) of the royal family of Prussia. A “spirit" said to appear before the death of one of the family. (See White Lady.)
WHITE LADY OF AVENEL (2 syl.), a tutelary spirit.
WHITE LADY OF IRELAND (The, the banshee or domestic spirit of a family.) WHITE MERLE (The), of the old Basques. A white fairy bird, which, by its singing, restored sight to the blind.)
WIGHT, any human creature, as a “Highland wight.” Dwarfs and all other fairy creatures. WILL—O'—THE—WISP, a spirit of the bogs, whose delight is to mislead belated travellers.
WRAITH (Scotch), the ghost of a person shortly about to die or just dead, which appears to survivors, sometimes at a great distance off. (See Wraith, Household Spirits.)
are the dispossessed spirits which once inhabited human bodies, but are not yet meet to dwell with the “saints in light.”
“All those airy shapes you now behold
Were human bodies once, and clothed with earthly mould; Our souls, not yet prepared for upper light,
Till doomsday wander in the shades of night.”
Dryden: The Flower and the Leaf.
(A). A present from a fair. The ing is a patronymic = a descendant of, come from, belonging to.
“Fairings come thus plentifully in.”
Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2.
The sister of Bitelas and daughter of Rukenaw, the ape; in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
Fairservice (Andrew). A shrewd Scotch gardener at Osbaldistone Hall. (Sir Walter Scott: Rob Roy.)
of nursery mythology is the personification of Providence. The good ones are called fairies, elves,
elle—folks, and fays; the evil ones are urchins, ouphes, ell—maids, and ell—women.
“Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night, You ouphen—heirs of fixed destiny,
Attend your office.”
Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, v. 5.
The dress of the fairies. They wear a red conical cap; a mantle of green cloth, inlaid with wild flowers; green pantaloons, buttoned with bobs of silk; and silver shoon. They carry quivers of adder—slough, and bows made of the ribs of a man buried where “three lairds' lands meet;” their arrows are made of bog—reed, tipped with white flints, and dipped in the dew of hemlock; they ride on steeds whose hoofs would not “dash the dew from the cup of a harebell.” (Cromek.
“Fairies small, two foot tall,
With caps red on their head.”
Dodsley's Old Plays; Fuimus Troes, i, 5.
Flint arrow—heads, supposed at one time to have been thrown by fairies in their pranks.
Little knolls of grass, like mole—hills, said in the “good old times” to be the homes of fairies.
or Mage, such as Urganda, the guardian of Amadigi; the fair Oriana; Silvana, the guardian of Alidoro; Lucina, the protectress of Alidoro and his lady—love, the maiden—warrior, Mirinda; Eufrosina, the sister of Lucina; Argea, the protectress of Floridante, and Filide'a, sister of Ardea; all in Tasso's Amadigi.
Fairy Land The land where fairies are supposed to dwell; dreamland; a place of great delight and happiness.
“The fairest of fairy lands — the land of home.”
Jean Ingelow: The Letter, part i. stanza 31.
or Fairy Stones. Fossil sea—urchins (echini), said to be made by the fairies.
Found money. Said to be placed by some good fairy at the spot where it was picked up. “Fairy money” is apt to be transformed into leaves.
Circles of rank or withered grass, often seen in lawns, meadows, and grass—plots. Said to be produced by the fairies dancing on the spot. In sober truth, these rings are simply an agaric or fungus below the surface, which has seeded in a circular range, as many plants do. Where the ring is brown and almost bare, the “spawn" is of a greyish—white colour. The grass dies because the spawn envelops the roots so as to prevent their absorbing moisture; but where the grass is rank the “spawn” is dead, and serves as manure to the young grass.
“You demi—puppets, that
By moonshine do the green—sour ringlets make, Whereof the ewe not bites.”
Shakespeare: Tempest, v. 1.
Fairy Sparks The phosphoric light from decaying wood, fish, and other substances. Thought at one time to be lights prepared for the fairies at their revels.
Fairy of the Mine
A malevolent being supposed to live in mines, busying itself with cutting ore, turning the windlass, etc., and yet effecting nothing. (See Gnome.)
“No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.”
Milton: Comus, 447—8.
(French). A scheme which has been already carried out with success.
“The subjection of the South is as much a fait accompli as the declaration of independence itself.” — The Times.
Defender of the Faith. (See Defender .)
In good faith. “Bona fide;” “de bonne foi;” with no ulterior motive.
in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, is seized at Vanity Fair, burnt to death, and taken to heaven in a chariot of fire. A Puritan used to be called Brother Faithful. The abiding disciples of any cult are called the faithful.
Jacob Faithful. The hero of Captain Marryat's novel so called. Father of the faithful. Abraham (Rom. iv.; Gal. iii. 6—9).
(Dhu'l). The scimitar of Mahomet, which fell to his share when the spoil was divided after the battle of Bekr. This term means “The Trenchant.”
(1 syl.). Fake away. Cut away, make off (Latin, fac, do, make). It also means to do — i.e. to cheat or swindle.
Fake. A single fold of a coiled cable. (Scotch, faik, a fold; Swedish, vika, to involve; Saxon, fægan, to unite.)
A ballad by Robert Bloomfield, author of The Farner's Boy. The ghost was a donkey.
(Indian). A poor man, a mendicant, a religious beggar. The Fakirs are the lowest in the priesthood of Yesidis. They wear coarse black or brown dresses, and a black turban over which a red handkerchief is tied. Fakirs perform all menial offices connected with burials. They clean the sacred building, trim and light the lamps, and so on.
Falcon and Falconet. Pieces of light artillery, the names of which are borrowed from hawks. (See Saker.)
(A). A goshawk.
or Pelerin. La seconde ligme est faucons que hom apels “pelerins,” par ce que nus ne trouve son ni; ains est pris autresi come en pelerinage, et est mult legiers a norrir, et mult cortis, et vaillans, et de bone maniere. (Tresor de Brunst Latin: Des Faucons.)
“A faukoun peregryn than semëd sche
Of fremdë [foreign] land.”
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (10,742).
A small desk at which the Litany is sung or said. The place at the south side of the alter at which sovereigns kneel at their coronation. (Barbarous Latin, falda, a thing which folds or shuts up.)
The episcopal seat in a chancel, which used to fold or lift up.
the second best wine in Italy, was so called by the ancient Romans because it was made of grapes from Falernus. There were three sorts — the rough, the sweet, and the dry.
In Godwin's novel called Caleb Williams. He commits murder, and keeps a narrative of the transaction in an iron chest. Williams, a lad in his employ, opens the chest, and is caught in the act by Falkland. The lad runs away, but is hunted down. This tale, dramatised by Colman, is entitled The Iron Chest.
Fal—lals Nick—nacks; ornaments of small value. (Greek, phalara, metal ornaments for horses, etc.)
“Our god—child passed in review all her gowns flchus, tags, bobbins, laces, silk stockings, and fallals.” — Thackeray: Vanity Fair, chap. vi. p. 38.
In the fall. In the autumn, at the fall of the leaf. (An American revival.)
“What crowds of patients the town doctor kills,
Or how, last fall, he raised the weekly bills.” Dryden: Juvenal.
To try a fall. To wrestle, when each tries to “fall” or throw the other.
“I am given, sir, ... to understand that your younger brother, Orlando, hath a disposition to come in disguised against me to try a fall.” — As You Like It, i. 1.
(To). To lose flesh; to degenerate; to quit a party, as “his adherents fell away gradually [one by one], or rapidly.”
(To). To lie prostrate or procumbent; to fail to interest, as “the last act fell flat.”
To fall foul of one is to make an assault on someone. A sea term. A rope is said to be foul when it is entangled; and one ship falls foul of another when it runs against her and prevents her free progress. Hence to run up against, to assault.
(To). To violate, as “to fall from his word;” to tumble or slip off, as “to fall from a horse;” to abandon or go away from, as “to fall from grace.”
Fall In (To). To take one's place with others; to concur with, as “he fell in with my views” — that is, his views or ideas fell into the lot of my views or ideas. (See Fall Out.)
(To). To detach themselves; to be thrown off [a horse]; to leave. The Latin decido.
Fall Out (To). To quarrel; to happen. (Latin, accido.) (See Fall In.)
“Three children sliding on the ice
Upon a summer's day;
As it fell out they all fell in,
The rest they ran away.”
Porson: Mother Goose.
“See ye fall not out by the way.” — Genesis xlv. 24.
(To). To be unwell. A Latin phrase, “In morbum incidere. “
(To). To tumble through [an insecure place]; to fail of being carried out or accomplished.
(To). To begin [eating, fighting, etc.].
“They sat down ... and without waiting ... fell to like commoners after grace.” — Kane: Arctic Explorations, vol. i. chap. xxx. p. 419.
(To). To incur, as, “to be under the reproach of carelessness;” to be submitted to, as, “to fall under consideration,” a Latinism, “In deliberationem cadere. “
(To). To attack, as “to fall upon the rear,” a Latin phrase, “ultimis incidere; ” to throw oneself on, as, “he fell on his sword,” “manu sua cadere; ” to happen on, as, “On what day will the games fall?”
Fall in With
(To). To meet accidentally; to come across. This is a Latin phrase, in aliquam casu incidere. “
Fall into a Snare
(To), or “To fall into an ambuscade.” To stumble accidentally into a snare. This is a Latin phrase, “insidias incidere. ” Similarly, to fall into disgrace is the Latin “ni offensionem cadere. “
Fall of Man
(The). The degeneracy of the human race in consequence of the “fall” [or disobedience] of Adam, man's federal head. Adam fell, or ceased to stand his ground, under temptation.
Fall of the Drop
(The), in theatrical parlance, means the fall of the drop—curtain at the end of the act or play.
Fall Out of
(To). To tumble or slip from, as, “The weapons fell out of my hands.” This is a Latin phrase, “De manibus meis arma ceciderunt. “
Fall Short of
(To). To be deficient of a supply. This is the Latin excido, to fail. To fall short of the mark is a figure taken from archery, quoits, etc., where the missile falls to the ground before reaching the mark.
Fall Together by the Ears
(To). To fight and scratch each other; to contend in strife. “To fall together by the ears” is “inter se certare; ” but “to set together by the ears” is “discordium concitare. “
Fall Upon One's Feet
(To). To escape a threatened injury; to light upon one's feet.
Falling Bands Neck—bands which fall on the chest, common in the seventeenth century.
Epilepsy, in which the patient falls suddenly to the ground.
“Brutus. — He[i.e. Cæsar] hath the falling—sickness.
Cassius. — No, Cæsar hath it not: but you, and I, And honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.” Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar, i. 2.
are said by Mahometans to be firebrands flung by good angels against evil spirits when they approach too near the gates of heaven.
Land ploughed, but not sown; so called from its brown or tawny colour. (German, fahl, tawny; Anglo—Saxon, falu or fealo, pale—red; hence, fallow deer, red deer.)
“Break up the fallow land.” — Jer. iv. 3.
(The Rule of). A method of solving certain mathematical questions generally done by equations. Suppose the question is this: “What number is that whose half exceeds its third by 12?” Assume any number you like as the supposed answer — say 96. Then, by the question, 96 ÷ 2 = 96 i.e. 54, but 48 does not equal 54, the latter is 16 too much. Well, now state by rule of proportion thus, 16: 12:: 96 to the answer, which is 72, the number required.
The space between the garret—ceiling and the roof.
A fat, sensual, boastful, and mendacious knight; full of wit and humour; he was the boon companion of Henry, Prince of Wales. (1 and 2 Henry IV., and Merry Wives of Windsor.)
(High). Oratorical bombast; affected pomposity; “Ercles vein.” (See Hifaluten.)
None of your high falutin airs with me. None of your swell ways with me. (Dutch, verlooten.
Familiar A cat, dog, raven, or other dumb creature, petted by a “witch,” and supposed to be her demon in disguise. (See below.)
Spirit slaves. From the Latin, famulus (an attendant).
“Away with him! he has a familiar under his tongue.” — Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., iv. 7.
Too much familiarity breeds contempt.
Latin: Nimia familiaritas contemptum parit. French: La familiaritéengendre le méris. Italian: La famigliaritàfàdispregiamento.
“E tribus optimis rebus tres pessimæ oriuntur: e veritate odium; e familiaritate contemptus; e felicitate invidia.” — Plutarch (translated).
Members of the “Family of Love,” a fanatical sect founded by David George, of Delft, in 1556. They maintained that all men are of one family, and should love each other as brothers and sisters. Their system is called Familism.
Family A person of family. One of aristocratic birth. The Latin gens.
“Family will take a person anywhere.” —
Warner: Little Journey in the World, chap. iv.
I could brain him with his lady's fan (1 Henry IV., ii. 3) — i.e. knock his brains out with a fan handle. The ancient fans had long handles, so that ladies used their fans for walking—sticks, and it was by no means unusual for very testy dames to chastise unruly children by beating them with their fan—sticks.
“Wer't not better
Your head were brokeu with the handle of a fan?” Beaumont and Fletcher: Wit at Several Weapons, v.
(A), placed over a door, is a semicircular window with radiating bars, like the ribs of an open fan.
Those transported with religious or temple madness. Among the Romans there were certain persons who attended the temples and fell into strange fits, in which they pretended to see spectres, and uttered what were termed predictions. (Latin, fanum, a temple.)
“That wild energy which leads
The enthusiast to fanatic deeds.”
Hemans: Tale of the Secret Tribunal.
Love — i.e. the passion of the fantasy or imagination. A fancyman is a man (not your husband) whom you fancy or select for chaperon.
“Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head.”
Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, iii. 2.
The fancy. Pugilists. So called because boxing is the chief of sports, and fancy means sports, pets, or fancies. Hence “dog—fanciers,” “pigeon—fanciers,” etc.
Not in love.
“In maiden meditation fancy—free.”
Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, ii. 2.
(A). A cavalier servant or cicisbeo; one selected by a married lady to escort her to theatres, etc., to ride about with her, and to amuse her. The man she “fancies” or likes.
“All fancy—sick she is, and pale of cheer.”
Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2.
A Scandinavian tribe far north, whose ears were so long that they would cover their whole body. (Pliny.)
A swaggering bully; a cowardly boaster who blows his own trumpet. Sir Walter Scott uses the word for finery, especially for the gold chains worn by military men, common in Spain amongst the conquerors of the New World. (Spanish, fanfarron, a bully; French, fanfare, a flourish of trumpets, or short piece of military music performed by brass instruments and kettledrums.)
“ `Marry, hang thee, with thy fanfarona about thy neck!'said the falconer.” — Scott: The Abbot. cxvii.
(4 syl.). Swaggering; vain boasting; ostentatious display. (See above.)
“The bishop copied this proceeding from the fanfaronade of M. Boufflers.” — Swift.
Fang A sheriff's officer in Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV.
I fell into his fangs. Into his power, his clutches. (Anglo—Saxon, fang, a grasp.)
Traitors, that vice—like fang the hand ye lick.” Bailey: Festus (A Village Feast), sec. 9.
A new—fangled notion is one just started or entertained. (Saxon, fengan, to begin.)
A nom de plume of Mrs. Sarah Payson Parton, sister of Mr. N. P. Willis, the American poet. (Born 1811, died 1872.)
(2 syl.). A function; a fussy anxiety; that restless, nervous commotion which persons have who are phantom—struck.
[fanto—cheny ]. A dramatic performance by puppets. (Italian, fantoccio, a puppet.)
The mere ghost of corn, having been bewitched. (French, fantóme, a ghost.)
A person who is light—headed, and under the ban of some hobgoblin. (See above.)
Flesh that hangs loose and flabby — supposed to be under the evil influence of some spectre. (See above.)
Far and Away
“Nullus proximus aut secundus;” as, “far and away the best;" some person or thing beyond all comparison or rivalry.
Far Cry from
It is a far cry from ... to ...; as, it is a far cry from Moses to Moses Montefiore, and from David to Disraeli, but they all were Jews, and had certain features in common. Sir Walter Scott several times uses the phrase “It's a far cry to Lochow [Lochawe].” It is a far cry from O'Connell to Kossuth.
Not closely connected; a remote conceit; as, “a far—fetched simile,” a “far—fetched allusion.” Also, obtained from a foreign or distant country, “quod rarum est, carum est.”
“The passionfor long, involved sentences ... and far—fetched conceits ... passed away, and a clearer and less ornate style became popular.” — Lecky: English in the Eighteenth Century, vol. i. chap. i. p. 91.
Deeply affected: as, “far gone in love.”
(3 syl.). Italian phrase. The Latin otium. Dolce far niente is the sweet enjoyment of having nothing to do, i.e. of a holiday. (See Dolce.)
(1 syl.). Stuffing. Dramatic pieces of no solid worth, but stuffed full of ludicrous incidents and expressions. They bear the same analogy to the regular drama as force—meat does to a solid joint. (French, farce; Latin, farcio, to stuff.)
(The). One who writes or acts farces.
Farcy or Farcin (Latin, farcimen, a sausage, any stuffed meat). A disease in horses, which consists of a swelling of the ganglions and lymphatic vessels. It shows itself in little knots; glanders.
meaning the expense of a journey or passage across water, is the Anglo—Saxon fare or fær, a journey; verb, faran, to travel. (Archaic, feriage, the fare for crossing a ferry.)
(To). You cannot fare well but you must cry out roast meat. Don't blazon your good fortune on the house—top. “Sorex suo perit indicio.” Terence has the same idea: “Egomet meo indicio miser, quasi sorex, hodie pemi.” (Eunuchus, v. 7, 23.)
Ejusdem farinæ. Other rubbish of the same sort. Literally, “Other loaves of the same batch.” Our more usual expressions are, “Others of the same kidney,” “others of the same feather,” “others tarred with the same brush.”
or Farinata Degli Uberti. A nobleman of Florence, chief of the Ghibelline faction, placed by Dante, in his Inferno, in a red—hot coffin, the lid of which is suspended over him till the day of judgment. He is represented as faithless and an epicure. (Thirteenth century.)
or Farley. A duty of 6d. paid to the lord of the manor of West Slapton, in Devonshire. (Bailey.) Money given by a tenant instead of his best beast (heriot).
means food; so called because anciently the tenant was required to provide the landlord with food by way of rent. (Anglo—Saxon, fearme, food.)
To farm taxes is the French affermer (to let or lease), from ferme, a letting for the supply of food.
George III.; so called from his farmer—like manners, taste, dress, and amusements. (1738, 1760—1820.)
“A better farmer ne'er brushed dew from lawn.”
Byrons Vision of Judgment.
A farmer ought to make four rents in order to live: one for rent, one for labour, one for stock, and one for himself.
[Far—na'—ze ]. A name given to a colossal group attributed to Apollonius and Tauriscus of Trallës, in Asia Minor. They belonged to the Rhodian school, and lived about B.C. 300. The group represents Dirce bound to the horns of a bull by Zethus and Amphion, for ill—using their mother. It was restored by Bianchi in 1546, and placed in the Farnese palace, in Italy.
[Far—na'—ze Hercu—lees ]. A name given to Glykon's copy of the famous statue of Lysippos, the Greek sculptor in the time of Alexander the Great. It represents the hero leaning on his club, with one hand on his back, as if he had just got possession of the apple of the Hesperides. Farnese is the name of a celebrated family in Italy, which became extinct in 1731.
“It struck me that an ironclad is to a wooden vessel what the Farnese Hercules is to the Apollo Belvidere. The Hercules is not without a beauty of its own.” — The Times (Paris correspondent).
(3 syl.). Belonging to the Faroe Islands; a native of the islands.
A farrago of nonsense. A confused heap of nonsense. Farrago is properly a mixture of far (meal) with other ingredients for the use of cattle.
“Anquetil was derided ..., for having suffered a farrago of nonsense to be palmed off upon him by his Parsi teachers as the works of the sage Zoroaster.” — Whitney: Oriental Studies (Avesta), chap. vi. p. 184.
(London). The aldermanry, etc., granted by John le Feure to William Farendon, citizen and goldsmith of London, in consideration of twenty marks given beforehand as a gersum to the said John le Feure. (1279.)
A fourth part. Penny pieces used to be divided into four parts, thus, farthing, and two a halfpenny. (Anglo—Saxon, feor— thung. )
I don't care for it a brass farthing. James II. debased all the coinage, and issued, amongst other worthless coins, brass pence, halfpence, and farthings. The feorthung was the fourth part of other coins. Thus, we read in the Grayfriar's Chronicle: —
“This yere the kynge made a newe quyne, as the nobylle, half—nobylle, and ferdyng—nobylle.”
Farthingalo (3 syl.). A sort of crinoline petticoat. The word means a “guard for modesty.” (French, vertugarde, corrupted into verdingade, and then into farthingale.)
Serjeants' Inn, Chancery Lane, used to be so called.
means “slain or overcome by the eyes.” The allusion is to the ancient notion of bewitching by the power of the eye. (Greek, baskaino, i.e. phaesi kaino, to kill with the eyes. See Valpy: Etymology of Greek Words, p. 23, col. 1; Latin, fascino. ) (See Evil Eye.)
“None of the affections have been noted to fascinate and bewitch, but love and envy.” — Bacon.
[fash'—un. ] In a fashion or after a fashion. “In a sort of a way;” as, “he spoke French in a fashion” (i.e. very badly). (“French of Stratford atte Bowe.”)
Fashion of Speech
(A). “Facon de parler” (q.v.); “Ratio loquendi!”
Fast Girl or Young Lady (A) is one who talks slang, assumes the airs of a knowing one, and has no respect for female delicacy and retirement. She is the ape of the fast young man.
(A) is one who lives a continual round of “pleasure” so fast that he wears himself out.
Fast and Loose
(To play). To run with the hare and hold with the hounds; to blow both hot and cold; to say one thing and do another. The allusion is to a cheating game practised at fairs. A belt is folded, and the player is asked to prick it with a skewer, so as to pin it fast to the table; having so done, the adversary takes the two ends, and looses it or draws it away, showing that it has not been pierced at all.
He forced his neck into a noose,
To show his play at fast and loose;
And when he chanced t'escape, mistook,
For art and subtlety, his luck.”
Butler: Hudibras, iii. 2.
Working days; when, in Rome, the law'—courts were open. Holy days (dies non), when the law—courts were not open, were, by the Romans, called ne—fasti.
Fasting The most ingenious method of fasting I know of is that recorded in the Mappemonde Papistique, p.
82. A Venetian saint had certain boxes made like mass—books, and these book—boxes were filled, some with Malmsey wine, and some with the fleshiest parts of capons and partridges. These were supposed to be books of devotion, and the saint lived long and grew fat on them.Fastrade (2 syl.). Daughter of the Saxon count Rodolph and Luitgarde the German. One of the nine wives of Charlemagne.
“Those same soft bells at eventide
Rang in the ears of Charlemagne,
As, seated by Fastrada's side
At lugelheim,in all his pride,
He heard their sound with secret pain.
Longfellow: Golden Legend, vi.
All the fat is in the fire. The allusion is to the process of frying. If the grease is spilt into the fire, the coals smoke and blaze so as to spoil the food. The proverb signifies that something has been let out inadvertently
which will cause a “regular flare up.”
The Fat: —
Alfonzo II. of Portugal. (1212—1223.)
Charles II. of France, le Gros. (832, 881—888.) Louis VI. of France, le Gros. (1078, 1108—1137.)
Edward Bright, of Essex, weighed 44 stone, or 616 pounds, at death. He was 5 feet 9 inches high, 5 feet round the chest, and 6 feet 11 inches round the paunch. He died 1750, aged thirty.
Daniel Lambert, born at St. Marga ret's Leicester, weighed 739 pounds. He was 3 yards 4 inches round the waist, 1 yard 1 inch round the leg. (1770—1809.)
Fat as a Porpoise
The skin of the porpoise is nearly an inch thick, and under it is a layer of fat somewhat thicker, and yielding oil of the finest quality.
Women introduced in mediæval romance not unlike witches, and under the sway of Demogorgon. In Orlando Innamorato we meet with the “Fata Morgana;” in Bojardo, with the “Fata Silvanella.” The Fates Nera and Bianca, the protectresses of Guidone and Aquilante; the “Fata della Fonti,” from whom Manricardo obtains the arms of Hector; and “Alcina,” sister of Morgana, who carries off Astolfo. In Tasso we have the three daughters of Morgana, whose names are Morganetta, Nivetta, and Carvilia; we have also Dragontina, Montana Argea (called the queen of the Fates), protectress of Floridante), Filidea (sister of Argea), and several others. In the Adone of Mari'
A sort of mirage occasionally seen in the Straits of Messina. Fata is Italian for a “fairy,” and the fairy Morgana was the sister of Arthur and pupil of Merlin. She lived at the bottom of a lake, and dispensed her treasures to whom she liked. She is first introduced in the Orlando Innamorato as “Lady Fortune,” but subsequently assumes her witch—like attributes. In Tasso her three daughters are introduced.
Collar of Arsinoe, collar and veil of Eriphyle, gold of the Nibelungen, gold of Tolosa, necklace of Cadmos, Harmonia's necklace and robe, opal of Alphonso XII., the Trojan horse, the shirt of Nessus, etc. (See these subjects.)
= something destined or suitable, is not the Latin fatum, but the French fait = share, one's own, that which suits one; as “voila mon fait,” that is the man for me.
“Pour moi, ma sieur, a dit la cadette, j'aime le solide, je veux un homme riche, et le gros don Blanco sera mon fait.” — Le Sage: Diable Boiteux.
(1 syl.). The cruel fates. The Greeks and Romans supposed there were three Parcæ or Fates, who arbitrarily controlled the birth, events, and death of every man. They are called cruel because they pay no regard to the wishes and requirements of anyone.
The three Fates were Clotho (who held the distaff), Lachesis (who spun the thread of life), and Atropos (who cut it off when life was ended).
A friar in holy orders. (See Brother .) A father suckled by his daughter. Euphrasia, the Grecian daughter, so preserved the life of Evander, her aged father.
Xantippe so preserved the life of her father Cimonos in prison. The guard, marvelling the old man held out so long, set a watch and discovered the fact. Byron alludes to these stories in his Childe Harold.
“There is a dungeon, in whose dim, drear light
What do I gaze on? ...
An old man, and a female young and fair,
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The blood is nectar ...
Here youth offers to old age the food,
The milk of his own gift: — it is her sire
To whom she renders back the debt of blood ... Drink, drink and live, old man! heaven's realm holds no such tide.”
Byron: Childe Harold, iv. st. 148, 150.
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life — i.e. Melchisedec (Heb. vii. 3). He was not the son of a priest, either on his father's or mother's side; his pedigree could not be traced in the priestly line, like that of the ordinary high priests, which can be traced to Aaron; nor did he serve in courses like the Levites, who begin and end their official duties at stated times.
Jesus was a “priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Neither His reputed father, Joseph, nor His mother, Mary, was of the priestly line. As priest, therefore, He was “without father, without mother,” without genealogy. And, like Melchisedec, He is a “priest for ever.”
He fathers it on me. He imputes it to me; he says it is my bantling.
(See Mathew .)
Pierre Parisot, the French missionary (1697—1769).
Pietro Sarpi, father of the order of Servites in Venice, who changed his Christian name when he assumed the religious habit. (1552—1623.)
Francis Mahoney, a humorous writer in Fraser's Magazine and the Globe newspaper. (1805—1866.)
or Old Father Thames. The Thames, so far as it belongs to London.
“Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace.”
Gray: Distant Prospect of Eton College.
The epithet is not uncommonly applied to other great rivers, especially those on which cities are built. The river is the father of the city, or the reason why the site was selected by the first settlers there.
“O Tiber, Father Tiber,
To whom the Romans pray.”
Macaulay: Lay of Horatius.
Nicholas Catinat, a marshal of France; so called by his soldiers for his cautious and thoughtful policy. (1637—1712.)
Father of Waters
The Irawaddy, in Burmah, and the Mississippi, in North America. The Nile is so called by Dr. Johnson in his Rasselas. (See Father Thames.)
Father of his Country
Cicero was so entitled by the Roman senate. They offered the same title to Marius, but he refused to accept it.
Several of the Cæsars were so called — Julius, after quelling the insurrection of Spain; Augustus, etc. Cosmo de Medici (1389—1464).
G. Washington, the defender and paternal counseller of the American States. (1732—1799.)
Andrea Dorea (1468—1560). Inscribed on the base of his statue by his countrymen of Genoa. Andronicus Palæologus II. assumed the title (1260—1332).
(See also 1 Chron. iv. 14.)
Father of the People
Louis XII. of France (1462, 1498—1515). Henri, IV. was also termed “the father and friend of the people” (1553, 1589—1610).
Christian III. of Denmark (1502, 1534—1559).
Gabriel du Pineau, the French lawyer (1573—1644).
Fathers of the Church
The early advocates of Christianity, who may be thus classified: — (1) Five apostolic fathers, who were contemporary with the apostles — viz. Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Hermas, Ignatius, and Polycarp.
(2) The primitive fathers. Those advocates of Christianity who lived in the first three centuries. They consisted of the five apostolic fathers (q.v.), together with the nine following: — Justin, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenæ'us, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthage, Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius of Alexandria, and Tertullian.
(3) The fathers, or those of the fourth and fifth century, who were of two groups, those of the Greek and those of the Latin Church. (See below.)
Fathers of the Greek Church
Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzenus, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Jerusalem, Chrysostom, Epiphanius, Cyril of Alexandria, and Ephraim, deacon of Edessa.
Fathers of the Latin Church
Lactantius, Hilary, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, Augustin of Hippo, and St. Bernard.
The last of the fathers. St. Bernard (1091—1153). The schoolmen who followed treated their subjects systematically.
Founder of the fathers of Christian doctrine. Caesar de Bus (1544—1607).
(Count). A villain in Smollet's novel so called. After robbing his benefactors, and fleecing all who trusted him, he is at last forgiven.
The last of Bluebeard's wives, who was saved from death by the timely arrival of her brother with a party of friends. Mahomet's favourite daughter was called Fatima.
To kill the fatted calf. To welcome with the best of everything. The phrase is taken from the parable in the third gospel of the prodigal son. (Luke xv. 30.)
A law term for a courtesan. Fatuus with jurisconsults means one not in a right mind, incorrigibly foolish.
At fault. Not on the right track; doubtful whether right or wrong. Hounds are at fault when the scent is broken because the fox has jumped upon a wall, crossed a river, cut through a flock of sheep, or doubled like a hare.
In Geology, the break or displacement of a stratum of rock is called a fault.
(French, faute, Latin, fallo, to fail.)
For fault of a better (Shakespeare: Merry Wives, i. 4). Having no better.
“I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.” — Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4.
In fault. To blame.
“Is Antony or we in fault for this?”
Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 13.
To a fault: In excess; as, kind to a fault. Excess of every good is more or less evil. To find fault. To blame; to express disapprobation.
No one is without his faults, i.e. is faultless. “Vitiis nemo sine nascitur. “
(2 syl.). The animals of a country at any given geological period; so called from the mythological fauns, who were the patrons of wild animals.
“Nor less the place of curious plant he knows —
He both his Flora and his Fauna shows.”
(1 syl.). The grandest of all Goethe's dramas. Faust makes a compact with Mephistopheles, who on one occasion provides him with a cloak, by means of which he is wafted through the air whithersoever he chooses. “All that is weird, mysterious, and magical groups round this story.” An English dramatic version has been made by Bayle Bernard.
Dr. Faustus, a tragedy by Marlow; Faust and Marguerite, by Boucicault; Faust e Margherito, an opera by Gounod, etc.
(French). A false or contrary light; meaning that a picture is hung so that the light falls on it in the opposite direction to what it ought. The artist has made his light fall in one direction, but it is so hung that the light falls the other way.
A “false step”; a breach of manners or moral conduct. (French.)
The zephyr or west wind. It means the wind favourable to vegetation.
Ribbons made into a bow; so called from being the favours bestowed by ladies on the successful champions of tournaments. (See True—Love Knot; Curry Favour)
“Here, Fluellen; wear thou this favour for me, and stick it in thy cap.” — Shakespeare: Henry
V. iv. 7.
One to whom a lady gives a “favour” or token. The horse which betting men suppose is most likely to come off the winner of a particular race.
False curls on the temples; a curl of hair on the temples plastered with some cosmetic; whiskers made to meet the mouth.
“Yet tell me, sire, don't you as nice appear
With your false calves, bardash, and fav'rites here?” Mrs. Centlivre.
Faye (1 syl.). The way to Faye (French, “Faie—la vineuse “). A winding or zigzag manner, like “Crooked Lane at Eastcheap.” A person who tries to do something indirectly goes by the pathway to Faye. Faye is a little village in France, built on an eminence so steep that there is no getting to it except by a very zigzag path.
“They go in to Paradise ... as the way is to Faye.” — Rabetais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, book i. 27.
A native of Florence, who first tried to make his fortune by alchemy; but being present when Bartoldo, and old miser, died, he buried the body secretly, and stole his money—bags. Being now rich, he became acquainted with the Marchioness Aldabella, with whom he passed his time in licentious pleasure. His wife Bianca, out of jealousy, accused him to the duke of being privy to the death of Bartoldo; and Fazio was condemned to death for murder. Bianca now tried to undo the mischief she had done, but it was too late; she went mad with grief, and died of a broken heart. (Dean Milman: Fazio.)
An hypothetical castle in a forest near Saragossa. It represents that terrible obstacle which fear conjures up, but which vanishes into thin air as it is approached by a stout heart and clear conscience. The allegory forms the third part of the legend of Croquemitaine.
“If a child disappeared, or any cattle were carried off, the trembling peasants said, `The lord of Fear—fortress has taken them.' If a fire broke out anywhere, it was the lord of Fear—fortress who must have lit it. The origin of all accidents, mishaps, and disasters was traced to the mysterious owner of this invisible castle.”— Croquemitaine, iii. 1.
“It sunk before my earnest face,
It vanished quite away,
And left no shadow on the place,
Between me and the day.
Such castles rise to strike us dumb;
But, weak in every part,
They melt before the strong man's eyes
And fly the true of heart.”
C. Mackay: The Giant (slightly altered).
[Sans peur ]. Jean, Duke of Burgundy (1371—1419). (See Bayard.)
Feast of Reason
“There St. John [Sin—jn] mingles with the friendly bowl
The feast of reason and the flow of soul.”
Pope: Imitations of Horace, ii. 1.
Anniversary days of joy. They are either immovable or movable. The chief immovable feasts are the four rent—days — viz. the Annunciation or Lady—Day (March 25th), the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24th), Michaelmas Day (September 29th), and Christmas Day (December 25th). The Circumcision (New Year's Day, January 1st), Epiphany (January 6th), All Saints' (November 1st), All Souls' (November 2nd), and the several Apostles' days.
The chief movable feasts depend upon Easter Sunday. They are — Palm Sunday. The Sunday next before Easter Sunday.
Good Friday. The Friday next before Easter Sunday.
Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent.
Sexagesima Sunday. Sixty days before Easter Sunday.
Ascension Day or Holy Thursday. Fortieth day after Easter Sunday. Pentecost or Whit—Sunday. The seventh Sunday after Easter Sunday. Trinity Sunday. The Sunday next after Pentecost, etc. etc.
Meaning species or kind. From the proverb, “Birds of a feather" — i.e. of the same plumage, and therefore of the same sort.
“I am not of that feather to shake off
My friend, when he must need me.”
Shakespeare: Timon of Athens. i.1.
Feather. A light, volatile person.
“A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God.” Pope: Essay on Man. 247—8.
A broken feather. (See Broken ...)
An oiled feather. Kindness of manner and speech. An oiled feather will do more to ease a stubborn lock than great force. (See Power's Tract called The Oiled Feather.)
Birds of a feather flock together.
Latin: Similes similibus gaudent. Pares cum paribus facile congregantur. Cicero says, “Deos novimus ornatu et vestitu.”
French: Qui se ressemble, s'assemble. In full feather. Flush of money. In allusion to birds not on the moult. In grand feather. Dressed to the nines.
In high feather. In exuberant spirits, joyous. When birds are moulting they mope about, but as soon as they regain their feathers their spirits revive.
Tickled with a feather. Easily moved to laughter. “Pleased with a feather, tickled with a straw,” is more usual; Rire de la moindre bagatelle.
Also annoyed by trifles, worried by little annoyances.
“From day to day some silly things
Upset you altogether;
There's nought so soon convulsion brings
As tickling with a feather.
`Gainst minor evils let him pray
Who Fortune's favour curries,
For one that big misfortunes slay,
Ten die of little worries.”
Sims: Ballads of Babylon (Little Worries).
Cut a feather. A ship going fast is said to cut a feather, in allusion to the ripple which she throws off from her bows. Metaphorically, “to cut a dash.”
“Jack could never cut a feather.” — Sir W. Scott: The Pirate, xxxiv.
To show a white feather. (See White...)
Feather in Your Cap
That's a feather in your cap. An honour to you. The allusion is to the very general custom in Asia and among the American Indians of adding a new feather to their head—gear for every enemy slain. The Caufirs of Cabul stick a feather in their turban for every Mussulman slain by them. The Incas and Caciques, the Meunitarris and Mandans (of America), the Abyssinians and Turcomans, etc., etc., follow the same custom. So did the ancient Lycians, and many others. In Scotland and Wales it is still customary for the sportsman who kills the first woodcock to pluck out a feather and stick it in his cap. In fact, the custom, in one form or another, seems to be almost universal.
When “Chinese” Gordon quelled the Taïping rebellion he was honoured by the Chinese Government with the “yellow jacket and peacock's feather.”
In Hungary, at one time, none might wear a feather but he who had slain a Turk. (Lansdowne MS. 775, folio 149.)
Feather One's Nest
He has feathered his nest well. He has made lots of money; has married a rich woman. The allusion is to birds, which line their nests with feathers to make them soft and warm.
Feather One's Oar
To feather an oar is to turn the blade parallel with the surface of the water as the hands are moved forward for a fresh stroke. (The Greek pteron means both “an oar” and “a feather;” and the verb pteroö, to “furnish with oars” or “with feathers.”) The oar throws off the water in a feathery spray.
“He feathered his oars with such skill and dexterity.” Jolly Young Waterman.
Feather Stone A federal stone or stone table at which the ancient courts baron were held in the open air, and at which covenants were made. (Latin, foedus, a treaty.)
(The). A public—house sign in compliment to Henry VI., whose cognizance it was.
Fine feathers make fine birds. (Latin, “Vestis virum facit, ” dress makes the man). The French proverb is “La belle plume fait le bel oiseau.”
The Prince of Wales' feathers. The tradition is, that the Black Prince, having slain John of Luxemburg, King of Bohemia, in the Battle of Cressy, assumed his crest and motto. The crest consisted of three ostrich feathers, and the motto was “Ich dien ” (I serve). John of Arden discovered a contemporary MS., in which it is expressly said that this was the case; but much controversy has arisen on the question. Dr. Bell affirms that the crest is a rebus of Queen Philippa's hereditary title — viz. Countess of Ostre—vant (ostrich—feather). Randall Holmes claims an old British origin; and the Rev. H. Longueville asserts that the arms of Roderick Mawe, prior to the division of Wales into principalities, was thus blazoned: — “Argent, three lions passant regardant, with their tails passing between their legs and curling over their backs in a feathery form.”
means the “make.” Spenser speaks of God's “secret understanding of our feature” — i.e. make or structure. It now means that part which is most conspicuous or important. Thus we speak of the chief feature of a painting, a garden, a book, etc., etc. (Norman, faiture; Latin, factura.)
The month of purification amongst the ancient Romans. (Latin, februo, to purify by sacrifice.)
The 2nd of February (Candlemas Day). It is said, if the weather is fine and frosty at the close of January and beginning of February, we may look for more winter to come than we have seen up to that time.
“Si sol splendescat Mari'a Purificantë,
Major erit glaciës post festum quam fuit ante.” Sir T. Browne: Vulgar Errors.
“If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,
The half O' winter's come and mair;
If Candlemas Day be wet and foul,
The half O' winter was gane at Youl.”
“The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day, and, if he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole.” — German Proverb.
(Latin, he did it). A word inscribed after the name of an artist, sculptor, etc., as David fecit, Goujon fecit; i.e. David painted it, Goujon sculptured it, etc.
means sediment. Starch is a fecula, being the sediment of flour steeped in water. (Latin, fæces, dregs.)
In the late American war the Unionists were so called — i.e. those northern states which combined to resist the eleven southern or Confederate states (q.v.).
Anglo—Saxon feoh, cattle, goods, money. So in Latin, pecunia, from pecus, cattle. Capital is capita, heads [of cattle], and chattels is a mere variant.
is where an estate is granted, subject to a rent in fee of at least one—fourth its value. It is rent paid on lands let to farm, and not let in recompense of service at a greatly reduced value.
Fee—penny A fine for money overdue. Sir Thomas Gresham often wrote for money “in order to save the fee—penny.”
An estate free from condition or limitation. If restricted by conditions, the inheritance is called a `Conditional Fee.'
(A). An estate limited to a person and his lawful heirs.
Most forcible Feeble. A writer whose language is very “loud,” but whose ideas are very jejune. Feeble is a “woman's tailor,” brought to Sir John Falstaff as a recruit. He tells Sir John “he will do his good will,” and the knight replies, “Well said, courageous Feeble! Thou wilt be as valiant as the wrathful dove, or most magnanimous mouse ... most forcible Feeble.” (Shakespeare: 2 Henry IV., iii. 2.)
Feed of Corn
A quartern of oats, the quantity given a horse on a journey when the ostler is told to give him a feed.
How are your poor feet? This was the popular street mot in the year of the Great Exhibition of London in 1862. The immense labour of walking over the exhibition broke down all but the strongest athletes.
or Vehmgericht (3 syl.). The secret tribunals of Westphalia, for the preservation of public peace, suppression of crime, and maintenance of the “Catholic” religion. The judges were enveloped in profound mystery; they had their secret spies through all Germany; their judgments were certain, but no one could discover the executioner. These tribunals rose in the twelfth century, and disappeared in the sixteenth. Sir Walter Scott, in Anne of Gierstein, has given an account of the Westphalian Fehmgericht. (Old German, fehmen, to condemn; Gericht, a tribunal.)
“This Vigilance Committee [of Denver city] is a modern reproduction of the famous Vehmgerict — The Times.
(Father). The priest and schoolmaster of Grand Pré, who accompanied Evangeline in her wanderings to find Gabriel, her affianced husband. (Longfellow: Evangeline.)
a monk who listens to the singing of a milk—white bird for a thousand years, which seemed to him “but a single hour,” so enchanted was he by the song. (Longfellow: The Golden Legend.)
(4 syl.). The hero of a Spanish romance of chivalry by Melchior de Orteza, Caballero de Ubeda (1566). The curate in Don Quixote condemned this work to the flames.
(Dr.). (See Doctor Fell .)
A wealthy or married undergraduate of Cambridge, who pays extra to “common” (i.e. dine) at the fellows' table. In Oxford, these demi—dons are termed Gentlemen Commoners.
Fellow commoner or gentleman commoner. An empty bottle; so called because these sort of students are, as a class, empty—headed.
Felo de Se The act of a suicide when he commits self—murder. Murder is felony, and a man who murders himself commits this felony — felo de se.
“A felo—de—se, therefore, is he that deliberately puts an end to his own existence.” — Blackstone: Commentaries, book iv. chap. xiv. p. 189.
Feme—covert A married woman. This does not mean a woman coverte by her husband, but a woman whose head is covered, not usual with maidens or unmarried women. In Rome unmarried women wore on their heads only a corolla (i.e. a wreath of flowers). In Greece they wore an anadema, or fillet. The Hungarian spinster is called hajadon (bare—headed). Married women, as a general rule, have always covered their head with a cap, turban, or something of the same sort, the head being covered as a badge of subjection. Hence Rebekah (Gen.
xxiv. 65), being told that the man she saw was her espoused husband, took a veil and covered her head. Servants wear caps, and private soldiers in the presence of their officers cover their heads for the same reason. (See Eph. v. 22, 23.)
Women do not, like men, uncover their heads even in saluting, but bend their knee, in token of subjection. (See Salutations.)
A single woman. Feme—sole merchant. A woman who carries on a trade on her own account.
Femme de Chambre
(French.) A chambermaid.
(3 syl.). A mediæval name for the kingdom of the Amazons. Gower terms Penthesile'a “queen of Feminee.”
“He [Thessus] conquered al the regne of Femynye.” Chaucer: Canterbury Tales. 868.
A frog, which sings at night in the fens, as nightingales sing in the groves. (See Arcadian Nightingale.)
The close time of deer, from fifteen days before Midsummer to fifteen days after it. This being fawning time, deer—hunting is forbidden.
(London). The church in the fens or marshy ground by the “Langbourne” side.
A kind of militia raised in 1759, again in 1778—9, and again in 1794, when a force of 15,000 was raised. The force was disbanded in 1802.
A pretended deaf and dumb sylph—like attendant on the Countess of Derby, in Scott's Peveril of the Peak.
Fenians An anti—British association of disaffected Irishmen, called the Fenian Brotherhood, after the ancient Fenians of Ireland: formed in New York, in 1857, to overthrow the domination of England in Ireland, and make Ireland a republic. The word means a hunter — Gaelic, fianna, from feadhach (pronounced fee—agh), a hunt. Before the Germanic invasion, a Celtic race so called occupied not only parts of Ireland and Scotland, but also the north of Germany and the Scandinavian shores. Oisin (Ossian) refers to them, and one passage is thus rendered in The Antiquary “Do you compare your psalms to the tales of the bare—armed Fenians?” Oisin was the grandson of Fionn, the “fair—haired righ (chief) of the Fenians,” and all the high officers of this volunteer association were men of rank. It appears that the Fenians of Ireland (Eirin), Scotland (Alba), England (Socring), and Scandinavia, had a great civil battle at Gabhra, in Ireland, and extirpated each other. Oisin alone escaped, and he had slain “twice fifty men with his own hand.” In the great Fenian outbreak of Ireland in 1865, etc., the leaders were termed “head centres,” and their subordinates “centres.” (See Clan—Na—Gael.)
Said to restore lost vision and to give courage.
“Above the lowly plants it towers,
The fennel with its yellow flowers,
And in an earlier age than ours,
Was gifted with the wondrous powers
Lost vision to restore;
It gave new strength and fearless mood,
And gladiators fierce and rude
Mingled it in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued
The wreath of fennel wore.”
Longfellow: The Goblet of Life, stanza 6.
or Fenris. The wolf of sin [i.e. of Loki], meaning the goading of a guilty conscience. The “wolf” was the brother of Hel (q.v.). When he gapes, one jaw touches earth and the other heaven. In the Ragnarok he swallows the sun and conquers Odin; but being conquered by Vidar, he was cast into Niflheim, where Loki was confined.
One who seeks to mend his fortune by marriage. He is the suitor of Anne Page. Her father objects to him, he says, because
“I am too great of birth;
And that, my state being gall'd with my expense, I seek to heal it only by his wealth.”
Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor. iii. 4.
Applied in law to animals living in a wild state, as distinguished from animals which are domesticated.
The young Cashmerian poet, who relates poetical tales to Lalla Rookh, in her journey from Delhi to Lesser Bucharia. Lalla Rookh is going to be married to the young sultan, but falls in love with the poet. On the wedding morn she is led to her future husband, and finds that the poet is the sultan himself, who had gallantly taken this course to win the heart of his bride and beguile her journey. (T. Moore.)
Son of the King of Naples, and suitor of Miranda, daughter of Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan. (Shakespeare Tempest.)
In Love's Labour's Lost, the same name is given to the King of Navarre.
A brave soldier who obtained a complete victory over the King of Morocco and Grenada, near Tarifa, in 1340. Being in love with Leonora de Guzman, Alfonso XI., whose life he had saved in the battle, created him Count of Zamora and Marquis of Montreal, and gave him the hand of Leonora in marriage. No sooner was this done, than Ferdinando discovered that Leonora was the king's mistress; so he restored his ranks and honours to the king, repudiated his bride, and retired to the monastery of St. James of Compostella. Leonora entered the same monastery as a novice, obtained the forgiveness of Ferdinando, and died.
(Donizetti's opera of La Favorita.)
A Persian poet, famous for the copious flow of his diction. He wrote in verse the Shah—Nâmeh, or history of the Persian kings, which took thirty years, and contains 120,000 verses.
It's all very fine, Ferguson; but you don't lodge here. Capt. Ferguson was the companion of the Marquis of Waterford, when that young nobleman made himself notorious for his practical jokes in the middle of the nineteenth century. In one of their sprees the two companions got separated, and the marquis found his way home to the house of his uncle, the Archbishop of Armagh, Charles Street, St. James's Square. The marquis had gone to bed, when a thundering knock came at the door. The marquis, suspecting who it was that
knocked, threw up the window and said, “It is all very fine, Ferguson, but you don't lodge here;” and for many years the saying was popular. (See Notes and Queries, Jan. 16, 1886, p. 46.)
(See Fanny Fern .)
We have the receipt of fern seed, we walk invisible (1 Henry IV., act iv. 4). The seed of certain species of fern is so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, and hence the plant was believed to confer invisibility on those who carried it about their person. It was at one time believed that plants have the power of imparting their own speciality to their wearer. Thus, the herb—dragon was said to cure the poison of serpents, the yellow celandine the jaundice; wood—sorrel, which has a heart—shaped leaf, to cheer the heart; liverwort to be good for the liver, and so on.
“Why did you think that you had Gyges' ring,
Or the herb that gives invisibility?”
Beaumont and Fletcher: Fair Maid of the Inn, i. 1.
“The seeds of fern, which, by prolific heat
Cheered and unfolded, form a plant so great, Are less a thousand times than what the eye Can unassisted by the tube descry.”
A state prisoner of Seville, married to Leonora, who, in man's disguise, and under the name of Fidelio, became the servant of Rocco, the jailor. Pizarro, governor of the prison, conceived a hatred to Fernando, and resolved to murder him. Rocco and Leonora were sent to dig his grave, and when Pizarro entered the dungeon, Leonora intercepted his purpose. At this juncture the minister of State arrived, and ordered the prisoner's release. (Beethoven: Fidelio. )
The patriarch of Ferney. Voltaire; so called because he retired to Ferney, a small sequestered village near Geneva, from which obscure retreat he poured forth his invectives against the French Government, the Church, nobles, nuns, priests, and indeed all classes.
“There are in Paris five or six statues of the patriarch of Ferney.” — The Times.
The guardian angels of Persian mythology. They are countless in number, and their chief tasks are for the well—being of man.
[sharp iron ]. A giant in Turpin's Chronicle of Charlemagne. He had the strength of forty men, and was thirty—six feet high. Though no lance could pierce his hide, Orlando slew him by Divine interposition.
The giant of Portugal, who took Bellisant under his care after she had been divorced by Alexander, Emperor of Constantinople. (Valentine and Orson..)
The great “Brazen Head,” that told those who consulted it whatever they required to know, was kept in the castle of this giant. (Valentine and Orson. (See Ferrau.)
An Andrew Ferrara. A broadsword or claymore of the best quality, bearing the name of Andrea Ferrara, one of the Italian family whose swords were famous in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Genuine “Andrea Ferraras” have a crown marked on the blade.
My father had an Andrea Ferrara, which had been in the family about a century. It had a basket—hilt, and the name was distinctly stamped on the blade.
“We'll put in bail, boy, old Andrew Ferrara shall lodge his security.” — Scott: Waverley, chap.
(in Orlando Furioso). Ferraute, Ferracute, or Ferragus, a Saracen, son of Lanfusa. He dropped his helmet in the river, and vowed he would never wear another till he had won that worn by Orlando. Orlando slew him with a wound in the navel, his only vulnerable part.
Ferrex and Porrex
Two sons of Gorboduc, a mythical British king. Porrex drove his brother from Britain, and when Ferrex returned with an army he was slain, but Porrex was shortly after put to death by his mother. One of the first, if not the very first, historical play in the English language was Ferrex and Porrex, by Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville.
(See Fierabras .)
Lampoons, so called from Fescennia in Tuscany, where performers at merry—makings used to extemporise scurrilous jests of a personal nature to amuse the audience.
(Latin, fascia, a band or covering for the thighs). In heraldry, the fess is a band drawn horizontally across the shield, of which it occupies one — third. It represents the band which was worn by knights low down across the hips.
A pledge, Festing—man, a surety to another. Festing—penny, a penny given in earnest to secure a bargain. (Anglo—Saxon, festing, an act of confidence, an entrusting.)
A wraith — the disembodied ghost of a living person. (See Fetiche.)
“Fetches ... most commonly appear to distant friends and relations at the very instant preceding the death of those they represent ” — Brand: Popular Antiquities (Death Omens).
Excuses, tricks, artifices. (Saxon.)
“Deny to speak with me? They are sick? they are weary?
They have travelled all the night? Mere fetches.” Shakespeare: King Lear, ii:4.
or Fetish. The African idol, the same as the American Manitou. The worship of this idol is called Fetichism or Fetishism. (Portuguese, fetisso, magician, fairy, oracle.)
Almost anything will serve for a fetiche: a fly, a bird, a lion, a fish, a serpent, a stone, a tree struck by lightning, a bit of metal, a shell; but the most potent of all fetiches is the rock Tabra.
The fetiche or fetish of the bottle. The imp drunkenness, or drunkenness itself.
Fetter Lane is probably feuterer—lane. A feuterer is a keeper of dogs, and the lane has always been famous for dog—fanciers. Howel, with less probability, says it is Fewtor Lane, i.e. the lane of fewtors or worthless fellows who were for ever loitering about the lane on their way to the gardens. Faitour is an archaic word for a worthless fellow, a lazy vagabond, from the Norman—French.
as a verb, means to repair; to smoothe; as an adjective, it means well—knit, all right and tight. It is connected with our word feat, the French faire, the Latin facere.
Fettled ale, in Lancashire, means ale warmed and spiced.
Feu de Joie
(French). A running fire of guns on an occasion of rejoicing.
meaning “hatred,” is the Saxon fæhth (hatred); but feud, a “fief,” is the Teutonic fee—odh (trust—land). (See below.)
Feudal or Feodal (2 syl.) In Gothic odh means “property,” hence odh—all (entire property); Flemish, udal. By transposition we get all—ohd, whence our allodium (absolute property claimed by the holders of fiefs); and by combining the words fee and odh we get fee—odh, feodh, or feod (property given by way of fee for services conferred). (Pontoppidan.)
Feudal System (The). A system founded on the tenure of feuds or fiefs, given in compensation for military service to the lord of the tenants.
A reformed Cistercian order instituted by Jean de la Barrière in 1586. So called from the convent of Feuillans, in Languedoc, where they were established in 1577.
The club of the Feuillants, in the French Revolution, composed of moderate Jacobins. So called because the convent of the Feuillants, near the Tuileries, was their original club—room (1791—2).
[feu—ye—ton ]. A fly—sheet. Applied to the bottom part of French newspapers, generally devoted to a tale or some other light literature.
“The daily [French] newspapers all had feuilletons with continued stories in them.” — Hale: Ten—times One, chap. viii. p. 125.
or Fever—lurgan. A fit of idleness. Lurden means a block—head. (French, lourd, heavy, dull, thick—headed; lourdand, a blockhead.)
A corruption of Feverlurg, as “Fever—lurgan” is of Fever—lurdan. The disease of laziness.
Neither play nor work.”
Predestined to early death. When a person suddenly changes his wonted manner of life, as when a miser becomes liberal, or a churl good—humoured, he is said in Scotch to be fey, and near the point of death.
“She must be fey (said Triptolemus), and in that case has not long to live.” — Sir W. Scott: The Pirate, chap.v.
Daughter of Savary. Duke of Aquitaine, demanded in marriage by a pagan, called the Green Knight; but Orson, having overthrown the pagan, was accepted by the lady instead. (Valentine and Orson. )
Fi or Fie! An exclamation indicating that what is reproved is dirty or indecent. The dung of many animals, as the boar, wolf, fox, marten, and badger, is called fiants, and the “orificium anale" is called a fi, a word still used in Lincolnshire. (Anglo—Norman, fay, to clean out; Saxon, afylan, to foul: our defile or file, to make foul; filth, etc.)
The old words, fie—corn (dross corn), fi—lands (unenclosed lands), fi—mashings (the dung of any wild beast), etc., are compounds of the same word.
“I had another process against the dungfarmer, Master Fifl.” — Rabelais: Pantagruel, book ii.
A contraction of the two Latin words, fieri facias (cause it to be done). A judicial writ for one who has recovered damages in the Queen's courts, being a command to the sheriff to see the judgment of the court duly carried out.
A French cab or hackney coach. So called from the Hotel de St. Fiacre, Paris, where the first station of these coaches was established by M. Sauvage, about 1650.
According to Alban Butler, Fiacre was the son of an Irish king, born in 600, to whose tomb pilgrimages were made in the month of August. His day is August 30th. (Lives of the Saints, vol. ii. p. 379.)
(John), a schoolmaster at Saltpans, near Edinburg, tortured to death and then burnt at the stake on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh, Saturday, January, 1591, because he refused to acknowledge that he had raised a storm at sea, to wreck James I. on his voyage to Denmark to visit his future queen. First, his head was crushed in upon his brain by means of a rope twisted tighter and tighter; then his two legs were jammed to a jelly in the wooden boots; then his nails were pulled out and pins inserted in the raw finger tips; as he still remained silent, he was strangled, and his dead body burnt to ashes.
Striking the fiars. Taking the average price of corn. Fiars is a Gothic word, still current in Ireland. (Scotch law.)
A failure, a mull. In Italy they cry Olà, olà, fiasco! to an unpopular singer. This word, common in France and Germany, is employed as the opposite of furore.
The history of the word is as follows: — In making Venetian glass, if the slightest flaw is detected, the glass—blower turns the article into a fiasco—that is, a common flask.
A gentleman from North America (G. Fox, “the Modern Bathylus") furnishes me with the following anecdote: “There was once a clever harlequin of Florence named Dominico Biancolelli, noted for his comic harangues. He was wont to improvise upon whatever article he held in his hand. One night he appeared holding a flask (flasco; but failing to extract any humour whatsoever from his subject he said. `It is thy fault fiasco,' and dashed the flask on the ground. After that a failure was commonly called in Florence a `fiasco'.” To me it appears incredible that a clever improvisator could draw no matter from an empty bottle, apparently a subject rife with matter.
I give my fiat to that proposal. I consent to it. A flat in law is an order of the court directing that something stated be done. (Latin, fiat, let it be done.)
An attendant on Queen Mab in Drayton's Nymphidia. Fib, meaning a falsehood, is the Latin fabula, a fable.
(See Fig .)
“Fico for the phrase.”
Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, i.3.
“I see contempt marching forth, giving me the fico with his thombe in his mouth.” — Wit's Miserie (1596).
(Latin, fidis or fides). He was first fiddle. Chief man, the most distinguished of the company.
To play second fiddle. To take a subordinate part. The allusion is to the leader of concerts, who leads with a fiddle.
The Scotch fiddle or Caledonian Cremona. The itch. As fiddlers scratch with a bow the strings of a fiddle, so persons suffering from skin—irritation keep scratching the part irritated.
(To). To fiddle about a thing means to “play” business. To fiddle with one's fingers is to move them about as a fiddler moves his fingers up and down the fiddle—strings.
“Mere trifling, or unprofitable fiddling about nothing.” — Barrow: Sermons, vol.i. sermon 7.
An exclamation signifying what you say is nonsense or moonshine. Fiddle—de—dee is meant to express the sound of a fiddle—string vocalised. Hence “sound signifying nothing.”
It is all fiddle—faddle. Rubbishy nonsense; talk not worth attention. A ricochet word, of which we have a vast number, as “flim—flam,” “helter—skelter,” “wishy—washy,” etc. To fiddle is to waste time in playing on the fiddle, and hence fiddle means a trifle, and fiddle—faddle is silly trifle or silly nonsense.
“Pitiful fool that I was to stand fiddle—faddling in that way.” Clough: Amours de Voyage, canto iv. stanza 3.
The name of Oliver Goldsmith's poor unfortunate pony, on which he made his country excursions.
Drunk as a fiddler. Fiddlers at wakes and fairs were allowed meat and drink to their heart's content, and seldom left a merry—making sober.
Oliver's Fiddler. Sir Roger L'Estrange (1616—1704). So called because he, at one time, was playing a fiddle or viole with others in the house of John Hingston when Cromwell was one of the guests.
Fiddler is a slang word for sixpence.
or Fiddler's Pay. Meat, drink, and money.
The land of the leal or “Dixie Land” of sailors; where there is perpetual mirth, a fiddle that never ceases to untiring dancers, plenty of grog, and unlimited tobacco.
A silver penny. The fee given to a fiddler at a wake by each dancer.
Stale news carried about by wandering fiddlers.
In the Great German epic called The Nibelungen—Lied, this word is used six or eight times for a broadsword.
“His fiddlestick he grasped, `twas massy, broad, and long,
As sharp as any razor.” Stanza 1,841.
“My fiddlestick's no feather; on whom I let it fall,
If he has friends that love him, 'twill set them weeping all.” Stanza 1,880.
“His fiddlestick, sharp—cutting, can hardest steel divide,
And at a stroke can shiver the morion's beamy pride.” Stanza 2,078.
An exclamation signifying what you say is not worth attention. To fiddle about is to waste time, fiddling. A fiddlestick is the instrument used in fiddling, hence the fiddlestick is even less than the fiddle.
Fidele (3 syl.). The name assumed by Imogen in Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Collins has a beautiful elegy on Fidele.
Beethoven's only opera. (See Leonora .)
The goddess of Faith, etc.
(2 syl.). Mother of John of Leyden. Not knowing that her son was the “prophet” and ruler of Westphalia, but thinking that the prophet had caused his death, she went to Munster to curse the
new—crowned monarch. The moment she saw him she recognised him, but the “prophet—king,” surrounded by his courtiers, pretended not to know her. Fides, to save her son annoyance, declared she had made a mistake, and was confined in the dungeon of the palace at Munster, where John visited her and was forgiven. When her son set fire to his palace, Fides rushed into the flames and perished with him. (Meyerbeer's opera of Le Prophète.)
Blind faith, faith of a child. A carbonaro being asked what he believed, replied, “What the Church believes;” and, being asked again what the Church believes, made answer, “What I believe.” (See Carbonari.) (Roux: Dictionnaire Comique.)
In agricultural parlance, a field is a portion of land belonging to a farm. In huntsman's language, it means all the riders.
In heraldry, it means the entire surface of the shield.
In military language, it means a battle; the place where a battle is fought, or is about to be fought; a campaign.
In sportsmen's language it means all the horses of any one race.
Against the field. In horse—racing, to bet against the field means to back a particular horse against all the rest entered for the race.
In the field. A competitor for a prize. A term in horse—races, as, so—and—so was in the field. Also in war, as, the French were in the field already.
Master of the field. In military parlance, means the conqueror in a battle. To keep back the field, is to keep back the riders.
To take the field. To move the army preparatory to battle. To win the field. To win the battle.
Day of business. Thus, a clergyman jocosely calls a “kept festival” his field—day. A military term, meaning a day when a regiment is taken to the fields for practice.
A general officer of the highest rank, who commands an army, or, at any rate, more than one corps.
Any officer between captain and a general officer. A major or a lieutenant—colonel may be a field officer, being qualified to command whole battalions, or a “field.”
Small cannon carried into the field with an army.
Works thrown up by an army in besieging or defending a fortress, or in strengthening its position.
“Earth—forts, and especially field works, will hereafter play an important part in wars.” — W.T. Sherman: Memoirs, vol.ii. chap. xxiv. p. 398.
Field of Blood Aceldama, the piece of land bought by the chief priests with the money which Judas threw down in the temple; so called because it was bought with blood—money. (Matt. xxvii. 5; Acts i. 19.)
The battle—field of Cannæ (B.C. 216) is so called because it was especially sanguinary.
Field of Ice
A large body of floating ice.
Field of Vision
or Field of View. The space in a telescope, microscope, stereoscope, etc., within which the object is visible. If the object is not distinctly visible, it must be brought into the field by adjustment.
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The plain, near Guisnes, where Henry VIII. had his interview with Francois I. in 1520; so called from the splendour and magnificence displayed there on the occasion.
Field of the Forty Footsteps
At the back of the British Museum, once called Southampton Fields. The tradition is that two brothers, in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, took different sides and engaged each other in fight. Both were killed, and forty impressions of their feet remained on the field for many years, where no grass would grow. The encounter took place at the extreme north—east of Upper Montague Street. The Misses Porter wrote a novel on the subject, and the Messrs. Mayhew a melodrama.
The Fièlding of the drama. George Farquhar, author of the Beaux' Stratagem, etc. (1678—1707.)
(Sir), of Alexandria, son of Balan, King of Spain. The greatest giant that ever walked the earth. For height of stature, breadth of shoulder, and hardness of muscle he never had an equal. He possessed all Babylon, even to the Red Sea; was seigneur of Russia, Lord of Cologne, master of Jerusalem, and even of the Holy Sepulchre. He carried away the crown of thorns, and the balsam which embalmed the body of Our Lord, one drop of which would cure any sickness, or heal any wound in a moment. One of his chief exploits was to slay the “fearful huge giant that guarded the bridge Mantible,” famous for its thirty arches of black marble. His pride was laid low by Olivier, one of Charlemagne's paladins. The giant then became a child of God, and ended his days in the odour of sanctity, “meek as a lamb and humble as a chidden slave.” Sir Fierabras, or Ferumbras, figures in several mediæval romances, and is an allegory of Sin overcome by the Cross. (See Balan.)
Fifteen decisive Battles
(The), according to Sir E.S. Creasy, were: 1. The battle of MARATHON (Sept., 490 B.C.), when Miltiades, with 10,000 Greeks, defeated 100,000 Persians under Datis and Artaphernes.
2. The naval battle at SYRACUSE (Sep., 413 B.C.), when the Athenians under Nicias and Demosthenes were defeated with a loss of 40,000 killed and wounded, and their entire fleet.
3. The battle of ARBE'LA (Oct., 331 B.C.), when Alexander the Great overthrew Darius Codomanus for the third time.
4. The battle of METAURUS (207 B.C.), when the consuls Livius and Nero cut to pieces Hasdrubal's army, sent to reinforce Hannibal.
5. In A.D. 9 Arminius and the Gauls utterly overthrew the Romans under Varus, and thus established the independence of Gaul.
6. The battle of CHALONS (A.D. 451), when Aetius and Theodoric utterly defeated Attila, and saved Europe from devastation.
7. The battle of TOURS (Oct., 732 A.D.), when Charles Martel overthrew the Saracens under Abderahmen, and thus broke the Moslem yoke from Europe.
8. The battle of HASTINGS (Oct., 1066), when William of Normandy slew Harold II., and obtained the crown of England.
9. The battle of ORLEANS in 1429, when Joan of Arc secured the independence of France.
10. The defeat of the Spanish ARMADA in 1588, which destroyed the hopes of the Pope respecting England. 11. The battle of BLENHEIM (13 Aug., 1704), when Marlborough and Prince Eugene defeated Tallard, and
thus prevented Louis XIV. from carrying out his schemes. 12. The battle of PULTOWA (July, 1709), when Czar Peter utterly defeated Charles XII, of Sweden, and thus established the Muscovite power.
13. The battle of SARATOGA (Oct., 1777), when General Gates defeated the British under General Burgoyne, and thus secured for the United States the alliance of France.
14. The battle of VALMY (Sep., 1792), when the French Marshal Kellerman defeated the Duke of Brunswick, and thus established for a time the French republic.
15. The battle of WATERLOO (18 June, 1815), when Napoleon the Great was defeated by the Duke of Wellington, and Europe was restored to its normal condition.
The battle of GETTYSBURG, in Pennsylvania (3 July, 1863), when the Confederates, under the command of General Lee, were defeated by the Northern army, was certainly one of the most important, if not the most important, of the American Civil War.
The battle of SEDAN (Sep., 1870). when Napoleon gave up his sword to William, King of Prussia, which put an end to the empire of France.
A sect of English fanatics in the days of the Puritans, who maintained that Jesus Christ was about to come a second time to the earth, and establish the fifth universal monarchy. The four preceding monarchies were the Assyrian, the Persian, the Macedonian, and the Roman. In politics, the Fifth—Monarchy Men were arrant Radicals and levellers.
Full fig. Full dress. A corruption of the Italian in fiocchi (in gala costume). It was derived from the tassels with which horses were ornamented in state processions. Thus we read in Miss Knight's Autobiography, “The Pope's throne was set out for mass, and the whole building was in perfect fiocchi” (in full fig). Another etymology has been suggested by a correspondent in Notes and Queries, that it is taken from the word full fig. (figure) in fashion books.
“The Speaker sits at one end all in full fig, with a clerk at the table below.” — Trollope: West Indies, chap. ix. p. 101.
or Figo. I don't care a fig for you; not worth a fig. Anything at all. Here fig is fico — a fillip or snap of the fingers. Thus we say, “I don't care that for you,” snapping the fingers at the same time. (Italian, far le fiche, to snap the fingers; French, faire la figue; German, diefeigen weisen; Dutch, de vyghe setten, etc.) (See Fico.)
“A fig for Peter.”
Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., ii. 9.
“The figo for thy friendship.”
Shakespeare: Henry V., iii. 6.
Palm Sunday is so called from the custom of eating figs on that day. The practice arose from the Bible story of Zaccheus, who climbed up into a fig—tree to see Jesus.
Many other festivals have their special foods; as, Michaelmas goose, Christmas, plum—pudding, Shrove Tuesday, pancake day; Ash Wednesday, salt cod; Good Friday, hot cross—buns; pasch—eggs, roast—chestnuts, etc., have their special days.
It is said that Judas hanged himself on a fig—tree. (See Elder—Tree.)
“Quæret aliquis qua ex arborë Judas se suspenderit? Arbor ficus fuisse dicitur.” —Barradius.
I shan't buy my Attic figs in future, but grow them. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched. It was Xerxes who boasted that he did not intend any longer to buy his figs, because he meant to conquer Attica
and add it to his own empire; but Xerxes met a signal defeat at Salamis, and “never loosed his sandal till he reached Abdera.”
In the name of the Prophet, Figs!
“A burlesque of the solemn language employed in eastern countries in the common business of life. The line occurs in the imitation of Dr. Johnson's pompous style, in Rejected Addresses, by James and Horace Smith.
(See Fig, Full Fig.)
A type of cunning dexterity, and intrigue. The character is in the Barbier de Séville and Mariage de Figaro, by Beaumarchais. In the former he is a barber, and in the latter a valet; but in both he outwits every one. There are several operas founded on these dramas, as Mozart's Nozze di Figaro, Paisiello's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Fight (See Hudibras, Pt. iii. c. 3.)
“He that fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he that is in battle slain
Can never rise to fight again.”
Sir John Mennes: Musarum Delictæ. (1656.)
Demosthenes, being reproached for running away from Philip of Macedon, at Chæronea, replied, “A man that runs away may fight again ('Aner o pheugon kai palin machesetai).” (See Aulus Gellius, xvii. 21.)
(To). To avoid. A shy person is unwilling to come forward, and to fight is to resist, to struggle in a contest. To “fight shy,” therefore, is to resist being brought into contest or conflict.
To live like fighting—cocks. To have a profusion of the best food. Fighting—cocks used to be high fed in order to aggravate their pugnacity and increase their powers of endurance.
(The). The 5th Foot. This sobriquet was given to the regiment during the Peninsular War. The “Old and Bold Fifth,” the Duke of Wellington's Body—guard, is now called the “Northumberland Fusiliers.” What a terrible vexation must the abolition of the time—honoured names of our old regiments have been to our army!
[Chen—kuo ]. Certain feudatories of China incessantly contending for mastery over each other. (B.C. 770—320.)
Henry Spencer, Bishop of Norwich, who greatly distinguished himself in the rebellion of Wat Tyler. He met the rebels in the field, with the temporal sword, then absolved them, and sent them to the gibbet.
“The Bishop of Norwich, the famous `fighting prelate,' had led an army into Flanders.” — Lord Campbell.
Fighting the Tiger
Gaming is so called in the United States of America.
“After seeing `fighting the tiger,' as gaming is styled in the United States, I have arrived at the conclusion that gaming is more fairly carried on in the Monte Carlo casino than in any American gaming—house.” — The Nineteenth Century, Feb., 1890, p. 249.
Fighting with Gloves on
Sparring without showing animosity; fighting with weapons or words with coloured friendliness. Fighting, like boxers, with boxing gloves. Tories and Whigs in the two Houses of Parliament fight with gloves on, so long as they preserve all the outward amenities of debate, and conceal their hostility to each other by seeming friendliness.
To cut a figure. This phrase seems applicable more especially to dress and outward bearing. To make a figure is rather to make a name or reputation, but the distinction is not sharply observed.
To make a figure. To be a notability. Faire quelque figure dans le monde. “He makes no figure at court;” Il ne fait aucune figure à la cour.
Figure What's the figure? The price; what am I to pay? what “figure" or sum does my debt amount to?
A figure on the head or projecting cutwater of a ship.
Figure of Fun
(A). A droll appearance, whether from untidiness, quaintness, or other peculiarity. `A precious figure of fun,' is a rather stronger expression. These are chiefly applied to young children.
A corruption of fingers, that is, “digits” (Latin, digiti, fingers). So called from the primitive method of marking the monades by the fingers. Thus the first four were simply i, ii, iii, iiii; five was the outline of the hand simplified into a v; the next four figures were the two combined, thus, vi, vii, viii, viiii; and ten was a double v, thus, x. At a later period iiii and viiii were expressed by one less than five (i—v) and one less than ten (i—x). Nineteen was ten—plus—nine (x + ix), etc. — a most clumsy and unphilosophical device.
To steal or purloin. A filch is a staff with a hook at the end, for plucking clothes from hedges and abstracting articles from shop windows. Probably it is a corruption of pilfer. (Welsh, yspeilio and yspeiliwr; Spanish, pellizcar: French, piller and peler. Filch and pilfer are variants of the same word.
“With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart.”
Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 2.
To cheat. The allusion is to filing money for the sake of the dust which can be used or sold. A file is a cheat. Hence “a jolly file,” etc.
“Sorful becom that fals file.”
Cursor Mundi MS.
In single file. Single row; one behind another. (French, file, a row.)
Rank and file. Common soldiers. Thus we say, “Ten officers and three hundred rank and file fell in the action.” Rank refers to men standing abreast, file to men standing behind each other.
“It was only on the faith of some grand expedition that the credulous rank and file of the Brotherhood subscribed their dollars.” — The Times ...
The Duchesse d'Angoulême, daughter of Louis XVI., also called the modern Antigone. (1778—1851.)
A piratical adventurer. The most notorious was William Walker, who was shot in 1855. (French, flibustier, a corruption of our “freebooter;” German, freibeuter; Spanish, filibustero; Dutch, vrijbueter. (See Buccaneer.)
(The) long disturbed the Eastern and Western Churches. The point was this: Did the Holy Ghost proceed from the Father and the Son (Filio—que), or from the Father only? The Western Church maintained the former, and the Eastern Church the latter dogma. The filio—que was added in the Council of Toledo 589. Amongst others, Pope Leo III. was averse to the change. (Nicene Creed.)
The gist of the argument is this: If the Son is one with the Father, whatever proceeds from the Father must proceed from the Son also. This is technically called “The Procession of the Holy Ghost.”
The month of February, when the rain and melted snow fills the ditches to overflowing.
A narrow band round the head for binding the hair, or simply for ornament. Aurelian was the first Roman emperor that wore a royal fillet or diadem in public. In the time of Constantine the fillet was adorned with precious stones.
Longfellow calls Florence Nightingale St. Filomena, not only because Filomena resembles the Latin word for a nightingale, but also because this saint, in Sabatelli's picture, is represented as hovering over a group of sick and maimed, healed by her intercession. (See Thaumaturgus.)
To run through felt, as jelly is strained through flannel. The Romans strained the juice of their grapes through felt into the wine—vat, after which it was put into the casks. (Latin, feltrum, felt, filtrum, a strainer.)
The hand. A contraction of finger. Thus we say, “Give us your fin” — i.e. shake hands. The derivation from a fish's fin is good only for a joke.
Earl Russell, who maintained that the Reform Bill of 1832 was a finality, yet in 1854, 1860, and 1866 brought forth other Reform Bills.
(French). Revenue derived from fines or subsidies. In feudal times finance was money paid to a lord for a privilege. In the plural we use the word to signify available money resources. Thus we say, “My finances are exhausted,” meaning I have no more funds or available money.
(London). So called from a family of consideration by the name of Finch or Finke. There was once a church in the lane called St. Benet Finke. There is an Irish saint named Finc, in Latin Fincana, whose day is October 13th.
Find You know what you leave behind, but not what you will find. And this it is that “makes us rather bear the ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of.”
Haddocks smoked with green wood. (See Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary, xxvi.) Findon or Finnon is a village some six miles south of Aberdeen, where haddocks are cured.
Plump, full, (Saxon, findig.)
“A cold May and a windy
Make barns fat and findy.”
Those arts which chiefly depend on a delicate or fine imagination, as music, painting, poetry, and sculpture.
Fine as Fivepence
The ancient Saxon shilling was a coin worth 5d. “To dress fine as fivepence” is to dress very smartly. The Saxon shilling was a far better coin than those made of tin, lead, and other inferior metals.
One of Fortunio's servants, who could hear the grass grow and the mole work underground. (Grimm's Goblins: Fortunio.)
A necromancer, father of the Enchantress—Damsel, in Amadis of Gaul.
Fingal — i.e. Fin—mac—Coul. (See Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary, chap. xxii.)
The basaltic cavern of Staffa. So called from Fion na Gael (Fingal), the great Gaelic hero, whose achievements have been made familiar by the Fingal of Macpherson.
The ear finger, digitus auricularis — i.e. the little finger. The four fingers are the index finger, the middle finger, the ring finger, and the ear finger. In French, le doigt auriculaire. The little finger is so called because it can, from its diminutive size, be most easily introduced into the conduit of the ear.
“Le doigt auriculaire est le petit doight, ainsi nommé parce qu'a cause de sa petitesse, il peut facilement être introduit dans le conduit auditif externe.” — Dict. des Sciences, etc.
The index finger. The first finger; so called because it is used as a pointer. The medical finger. The ring finger (q.v.).
“At last he put on her medical finger a pretty, handsome gold ring, whereinto was enchased a precious toadstone of Beausse.” — Rabelais: Pantagruel, iii. 17.
The ring finger. The finger between the long and little finger was used by the Romans as a ring—finger, from the belief that a nerve ran through it to the heart. Hence the Greeks and Romans used to call it the medical finger, and used it for stirring mixtures, under the notion that nothing noxious could touch it without its giving instant warning to the heart. It is still a very general notion in England that it is bad to rub on salve or scratch the skin with any but the ring finger. The fact that there was no such intimacy between the finger and the heart was not discovered till after the notion was deeply rooted. Pliny calls this digitus annularis.
With a wet finger. Easily. (See Wet Finger.) My little finger told me that. The same as “A little bird told me that,” meaning, I know it, though you did not expect it. The former expression is from Moliée's Malade Imaginaire. (See Bird.)
“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iv. l.
Cry, baby, cry; put your finger in your eye, etc. This nursery rhyme seem to be referred to by Shakespeare in his Comedy of Errors, ii. 2: —
“No longer will I be fool,
To put the finger in the eye and weep.”
To hold up a finger (in an auction room) by way of a bid, was a Roman custom, “digitum tollere” (Cicero: In Verrem, Actio i. 54). Horace confirms this.
Finger and Glove
To be finger and glove with another means to be most intimate.
Finger in the Pie
To have a finger in the pie. To assist or mix oneself officiously in any matter. Esse rei particeps. In French, Mettro la main à la pâte.
Finger Benediction In the Greek and Roman Church the thumb and first two fingers represent the Trinity. The thumb, being strong, represents the Father; the long or second finger, Jesus Christ; and the first finger, the Holy Ghost, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son. (See Blessing.)
Some bishops of the Anglican Church use this gesture while pronouncing the benediction.
A hutkin, a cover for a sore finger. The Germans call a thimble a finger—hut, where hut is evidently the word hut or huth (a tending, keeping, or guarding), from the verb huten (to keep watch over). Our hutkin is simply a little cap for guarding a sore finger. Stall is the Saxon stæl (a place), whence our stall, a place for horses.
The old names for the fingers are —
Thumb (Anglo—Saxon thuma).
Towcher (the finger that touches), foreman, or pointer. This was called by the Anglo—Saxons the scite—finger, i.e. the shooting finger.
Long—man or long finger.
Lech—man or ring—finger. The former means “medical finger,” and the latter is a Roman expression, “digitus annularis.” Called by the Anglo—Saxons the gold—finger.
Little—man or little finger. Called by the Anglo—Saxons the eár—finger.
Fingers. Ben Jonson says —
“The thumb, in chiromancy, we give to Venus:
The fore—finger to Jove; the midst to Saturn; The ring to Sol, the least to Mercury”
Alchemist, i. 2.
His fingers are all thumbs. Said of a person awkward in the use of his hands. Ce sont les deux doigts de la main.
Fingers before Forks
“This Vulcan was a smith, they tell us,
That first invented tongs and bellows;
For breath and fingers did their works (We'd fingers long before we'd forks).”
King: Art of Love.
I have it at my fingers' ends. I am quite familiar with it and can do it readily. It is a Latin proverb (Scire tanquam ungues digitosq.), where the allusion is to the statuary, who knows every item of his subject by the touch. (See Unguem.)
“Costard: Go to; thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' ends, as they say.
Holofernes: O, I smell false Latin: dunghill for unguem.” — Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost, v. l.
The light—fingered gentry. Priggers, qui ungues hamatos et uncos habent.
(A). A ricochet word meaning a fanciful trifle. A “new fangle” is a novel contrivance. “New fangled,” etc.
Finished to the Finger—nail
or “ad unguem, ” in allusion to statuaries running their finger—tips over a statue to detect if any roughness or imperfection of surface remains.
Fish; so called because they are furnished with fins.
(London). A corruption of Fens—bury, the town in the fens.
son of Comnal, an enormous giant, who could place his feet on two mountains, and then stoop and drink from a stream in the valley between. (Gaelic legend.)
on the Thyrsus. The juice of the fir—tree (turpentine) used to be mixed by the Greeks with new wine to make it keep; hence it was adopted as one of the symbols of Bacchus.
(The). Atys was metamorphosed into a fir—tree by Cybele, as he was about to lay violent hands on himself. (Ovid Metamorphoses, x. fable 2.)
(Anglo—Saxon, fyr, Greek, pur.)
St. Antony's fire. Erysipelas. “Le feu St Antoine. ” (See Anthony.) St. Helen's fire. “Ignis sanctæ Helenæ. “
“Feu St. Helme. ” (See Castor and Pollux; and Elmo.)
Hermes's fire. Same as St. Helen's fire (q.v.).
I have myself passed through the fire; I have smelt the smell of fire. I have had experience in trouble. The allusion is to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were cast into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. iii.).
If you will enjoy the fire you must put up with the smoke. (Latin, “Commoditas quævis sua fert incommoda secum. “) Every convenience has its inconvenience.
More fire in the bed—straw. More mischief brewing. Alluding to the times when straw was used for carpets and beds.
No fire without smoke. (French, “Nul feu sans fumée. “) No good without its mixture of evil. No smoke without fire. To every scandal there is some foundation.
Where there is smoke there is fire. Every effect is the result of some cause.
The Great Fire of London (1666) broke out at Master Farryner's, the king's baker, in Pudding Lane, and after three nights and three days was arrested at Pie Corner. St. Paul's Cathedral, eighty—nine other churches, and 13,200 houses were burnt down.
Fire Away! Say on; say what you have to say. The allusion to firing a gun; as, You are primed up to the muzzle with something you want to say; fire away and discharge your thoughts.
“ `Foster, I have something I want you and Miss Caryll to understand.' `Fire away!' exclaimed Foster.” — Watson: The Web of a Spider, chap. xv.
Fire away, Flanagan. A taunt to a boaster. A man threatening you, says he will do this, that, and the other; you reply, “Fire away, Flanagan.” Cromwell marched against a castle defended by Flanagan, who threatened to open his cannon on the Parliamentarians unless they withdrew. Cromwell wrote on the corner of the missive sent to him, “Fire away, Flanagan,” and the doughty champion took to his heels immediately.
Non, Monsieur, nous ne tirons jamais les premiers. According to tradition, this was said by the Count D'Auteroches to Lord Charles Hay at the battle of Fontenoy, 30th April, 1745 (old style).
“On c'était de tradition dans l'armée; on laissait toujours par courtoisie, l'avantage du premier feu à l'ennemi.” (See Notes and Queries, 29th October, 1892, p. 345.)
A balloon whose ascensional power is derived from hot air rising from a fire beneath its open mouth. Montgolfier used such a balloon.
An incendiary; one who incites to rebellion; like a blazing brand which sets on fire all it touches.
“Our fire—brand brother, Paris, burns us all.”
Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, ii. 2.
or Fire—dragon. A fiery serpent, an ignis—fatuus of large proportions, superstitiously believed to be a flying dragon keeping guard over hid treasures.
“There is a fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a brazier by his face, for, o' my conscience, twenty of the dog—days now reign in 's nose ... That fire—drake did I hit three times on the head.” — Shakespeare: Henry VIII., v. 3.
Persons ready to quarrel for anything. The allusion is to the jugglers who “eat” flaming tow, pour melted lead down their throats, and hold red—hot metal between their teeth. Richardson, in the seventeenth century — Signora Josephine Girardelli (the original Salamander), in the early part of the nineteenth century — and Chaubert, a Frenchman, of the present century, were the most noted of these exhibitors.
“The great fire—eater lay unconscious upon the floor of the house.” — Nashville Banner.
Spick and span new (q.v.).
“You should have accosted her; and with some excellent jests fire—new from the mint.” — Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, iii. 2.
A ship filled with combustibles to be sent against adverse vessels in order to set them on fire.
(To). To become indignantly angry. The Latin, “irâ exardescere,” “Inflammer de colère.”
Fire Worship was introduced into Persia by Phoedima, widow of Smerdis, and wife of Gushtasp darawesh, usually called Hystaspes (B.C. 521—485). It is not the sun that is worshipped, but God, who is supposed to reside in it; at the same time they reverence the sun, not as a deity but as the throne of deity. (See Parsees.)
Fire and Sword Letters of fire and sword. If a criminal resisted the law and refused to answer his citation, it was accounted treason in the Scottish courts; and “letters of fire and sword” were sent to the sheriff, authorising him to use either or both these instruments to apprehend the contumacious party.
Fire and Water
I will go through fire and water to serve you. The reference is the ordeals of fire and water which might be transferred to substitutes. Paul seems to refer to substitutional death in Rom. v. 7: “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet for a good man some would even dare to die.”
Firm as a Rock
(See Similes .)
First—class Hard Labour
Under this sentence, the prisoner sleeps on a plank bed without a mattress, and spends six or eight hours a day turning a hard crank, or treading a wheel.
The first profitable results of labour. In husbandry, the first corn that is cut at harvest. We also use the word in an evil sense; as, the first—fruits of sin, the first—fruits of repentance.
A diamond of the first water. (See Diamond.)
First Gentleman of Europe
A nickname given to George IV., who certainly was first in rank, but it would be sad indeed to think he was ever the most gentlemanly man in feeling, manners, and deportment. Louis
d'Artois was so called also.
First Grenadier of France
A title given by Napoleon to Latour d'Auvergne (1743—1800).
First Stroke is Half the Battle
“Well begun is half done.” “A good lather is half the shave.”
“Incipe: dimidium facti est coepisse. (Ausonius.)
“Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet.” (Horace.)
“Barbe bien savonné est à moitié faite. Heureux commencement est la moitié
C' n'est que le premier pas qui coûte.”
The French have a remarkable locution respecting fish as a food:
“Aprés poisson, lait est poison;
Aprés poisson, le vin est bon;
Aprés poisson, noix est contre—poison.”
The reason why fish are employed as card—counters is from a misapprehension of the French word fiche (a five—sou piece). The two points allowed for the “rub” are called in French la fiche de consolation. The Spanish word pez has also a double meaning — a “winning,” or a “fish;” pez is the Welsh pysg, Latin pisc', English fish.
A loose fish. One of loose or dissolute habits. Fish implying a human being is derogatory, but bird is a loving term, as my “bonny bird,” etc. Beast is most reproachful, as “You are a beast.”
A pretty kettle of fish. (See Kittle.)
A queer fish. An eccentric person. (See above, Loose Fish.) All is fish that comes to my net. “Auri bonus est odor ex re qualibet.” I am willing to deal in anything out of which I can make a profit. I turn everything to some use.
“Al is fishe that cometh to the net.” — G. Gascoigne:The Steele Glas (died 1577).
He eats no fish; he is not a papist; he is an honest man, and one to be trusted. In the reign of Elizabeth papists were opposed to the Government, and Protestants, to show their loyalty, refused to eat fish on Fridays to show they were not papists.
“I do profess ... to serve him truly and to eat no fish.” — Shakespeare: King Lear, i. 4.
I have other fish to fry; “J'ai bien d'autres affaires on tête;" “Aliud mihi est agendum;” I am busy and cannot attend to [that] now; I have other matters to attend to.
Mute as a fish. Fish have no language like birds, beasts, and insects. Their utmost power of sound is a feeble cry of pain, the result of intestinal respiration. The French also say “mute comme un poisson.”
The best fish smell when they are three days old; “l'hôte et le poisson puent passé trois jours.” “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he get weary of thee, and so hate thee” (Prov. xxv. 17). “Don't outstay your welcome.”
The best fish swim near the bottom. “Le meilleur poisson nage pr&etrave;s du fond. ” What is most commercially valuable is not to be found on the surface of the earth, nor is anything else really valuable to be obtained without trouble. “Il faut casser le noyau pour en avoir l'amande, ” for “Nil sine magno vita labore dedit mortalibus. “
It is neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, or Neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. Not fish (food for the monk), not flesh (food for the people generally), nor yet red herring (food for paupers). Suitable to no class of people, fit for neither one thing nor another.
Fish comes first because in the Middle Ages the clergy took precedence of the laity.
“She would be a betwixt—and—between ... neither fish nor fowl.” — Mrs. Lynn Linton.
(A) [jour maigre]. A day in the Roman Catholic Church when persons, without ecclesiastical permission, are forbidden to eat meat.
(A.) A woman who hawks fish about the streets.
Fish and Flesh
You must not make fish of one and flesh of the other. You must treat both alike. Fish is an inferior sort of animal food to flesh. The alliteration has much to do with the phrase.
Fish in Troubled Water
(To). In French, “Pêcher en eau troublé. ” To scramble for personal advantage in times of rebellion, revolution, or national calamity.
Fish it Out
(To). This is the Latin expiscor.
Fish out of Water Out of place; without one's usual occupation; restless from lack of employment.
Fisher of Souls
(The great). The devil.
“I trust, young man, that neither idleness nor licentious pleasure ... the chief baits with which the great Fisher of souls conceals his hooks, are the causes of your declining the career to which I would incite you.” — Sir W. Scott: The Monastery, chap.xi.
The fisherman who was father of three kings. Abu Shujah al Bouyah was a Persian fisherman in the province of Delem', whose three sons, Imad, Ruken, and Moez, all rose to sovereign power.
Fishing for compliments. Laying a bait for praise.
Fisk (in Hudibras) was Nicholas Fisk, a physician and astrologer, who used to say that a physician never deserved his bread till he had no teeth to eat it. In his old age he was almost a beggar.
(Norman). Son of; as Fitz—Herbert, Fitz—William, Fitz—Peter, etc. It is sometimes applied to illegitimate children, as Fitz—Clarence, Fitz—roy, etc.
(Hebe). “A gracious, graceful, graceless grace;” “fat, fair, and forty.” ( Byron: Don Juan, canto
(Cambridge University). So called from Earl Fitz—william, who left £100,000 with books, paintings, etc., to form the nucleus of a museum for the benefit of the university.
or the pentad, the great mystic number, being the sum of 2 + 3, the first even and first odd compound. Unity is God alone, i.e. without creation. Two is diversity, and three (being 1 + 2) is the compound of unity and diversity, or the two principles in operation since creation, and representing all the powers of nature.
A provision sometimes inserted in deeds of separation, whereby it is stipulated that the deed is null and void if the husband and wife remain together five minutes after the separation is enjoined.
(The). The five confederated Indian tribes, viz. the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. Known as the Iroquois Confederacy.
Five Points (The). (See Calvinism .)
(1) Common sense, (2) imagination, (3) fantasy, (4) estimation, and (5) memory. Common sense is the outcome of the five senses; imagination is the “wit” of the mind; fantasy is imagination united with judgment; estimation estimates the absolute, such as time, space, locality, and so on; and memory is the “wit” of recalling past events.
“Four of his five wits went halting off.”
Shakespeare: Much Ado, etc., i.1.
“These are the five witts removyng inwardly:
First, `Common witte,' and then `Ymagination,' `Fantasy,' and `Estimation' truely.
And `Memory.' “
Stephen Hawes: The Passe—tyme of Plesure (1515).
Notwithstanding this quotation, probably the Five Wits mean the wits of the five senses.
(A). A five—pound note. A “tenner” is a ten—pound note.
A game similar to court—tennis; the hand, however, is used instead of a racket. Said to be so called because the game is three fives (15).
“He forgot that cricket and fives are capital training for tennis.” — T. Hughes: Tom Brown at Oxford, chap. ii.
A bunch of fives. The fist, in which the five fingers are bound in a bunch.
Fix I'm in a fix. A predicament. The allusion is to machinery which will not move. The Northumberland was in a terrible fix at the launch, when it refused to leave the dock. (1866.)
Carbonic dioxide gas. Dr. Black gave it this name, because carbonate of magnesia evolved by heat carbonic acid, that is, MgO. CO2 evolved CO2, thereby proving that CO2 (carbonic acid) is a “fixed air.”
Oils obtained by simple pressure. These oils do not readily dry or volatilise, but remain fixed in their oily character.
Stars whose relative position to other stars is fixed or always the same. Planets are always shifting their relative positions.
(The). That is, the Firmament. According to the Ptolemaic System, the earth is surrounded by nine spheres. These spheres are surrounded by the Primum Mobile (or First Moved); and the Premium Mobile is enveloped by the empyrean, or abode of deity.
“They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixt.
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs The trepidation talked, and that first moved.” Milton: Paradise Lost, iii. 481—3.
Horace, the Roman poet, whose full name was Quintus Horatius Flaccus.
A black flag is the emblem of piracy or of no quarter. (See Black Flags.) To unfurl the black flag. To declare war. The curtain which used to hang before the door of Ayeshah, Mahomet's favourite wife, was taken for a national flag, and is regarded by Mussulmans as the most precious of relics. It is black, and is never unfolded except as a declaration of war.
A red flag. To display a red flag is to defy or dare to battle. Red is the emblem of blood. The Roman signal for battle.
A yellow flag signals contagious disease on board ship. To get one's flag. To become an admiral. Formerly the captain of a flagship was called a “flag—officer.”
“I do not believe that the bullet is cast that is to deprive you of life, Jack, you'll get your flag, as I hope to get mine”— Kingston: The Three Admirals, xiii.
To hang the flag half—mast high is in token of mourning or distress. To hang out the white flag. To sue for quarter, to give in.
To lower one's flag, to eat humble pie to eat the leek, to confess oneself in the wrong; to eat one's own words.
“The ... Association ... after systematically opposing the views of the ... National Congress, had to lower the flag and pass a resolution in favour of simultaneous examinations.” — Nineteenth Century (April, 1894, page 670).
To strike the flag. To lower it or pull it down upon the cap, in token of respect or submission. In naval warfare it means to surrender.
Banners of Saints. Flags smaller than standards, and not slit at the extremity.
Royal Banners contain the royal arms.
Standards, much larger and longer than banners, and slit at the extremity. A standard has no armorial bearings.
Burgee. A small flag with the loose end cleft like a <. Pennant. A small triangular flag.
Pennons, much smaller than standards; rounded at the extremity, and charged with arms. Bannerols, banners of great width, representing alliances and descents.
Pensils, small flags shaped like the vanes on pinnacles.
(A). An admiral's aide—de—camp.
Flag—officer Either an admiral, vice—admiral, rear—admiral, or commodore. These officers alone are privileged to carry a flag denoting rank. Admirals carry their flag at the main, vice—admirals at the fore, and rear—admirals at the mizen. (See Admiral.)
A ship carrying a flag officer. (See Admiral.)
“White is all right; Red is all wrong
Green is go cautiously bowling along.”
(The). Indicative of distress. When the face is pale the “flag is down.” Alluding to the ancient custom of taking down the flag of theatres during Lent, when the theatres were closed.
“'Tis Lent in your cheeks, the flag's down.” —
Dodsley's Old Plays (vol v.p. 314, article, “Mad World.”)
Flag of Distress
A card at one's window announcing “lodgings” or “board and lodgings.” The allusion is evident. A flag reversed, hoisted with the union downwards.
A sect of enthusiasts in the middle of the thirteenth century, who went in procession about the streets inflicting on themselves daily flagellations, in order to merit thereby the favour of God. They were put down soon after their appearance, but revived in the fourteenth century. Also called “Brothers of the Cross.”
Flattery for an object; blarney; humbug. (Irish, film, Anglo—Saxon, flæm, flight.)
“They told me what a fine thing it was to be an Englishman, and about liberty and property ... I find it was a flam.” — Godwin: Caleb Williams. vol.ii. chap. v. p. 57.
or Floberge. The sword which Maugis took from Anthénor, the Saracen admiral, when he came to attack the castle of Oriande la Feé. It was made by Weyland, the Vulcan of the Northern Olympus.
(Romance of Maugis d' Aygremont et de Vivian son Frère.)
“Mais si une fois je luy fais essayer ceste—cy plus tranchante que `Joyeuse, Durandel, Hauteclaire, ou Flamberge,' je le fendray jusques l'estomach” — Pierre de l'Arivey: Le Jaloux,
A florid style which prevailed in France in the 15th and 16th centuries. So called from its flame—like tracery.
“The great tower [of Antwerp cathedral] ... most florid and flamboyant ... is one of the few rivals of the peerless steeple of Strasbourg.” — James: Sketches (Belgium), p. 394.
A sweetheart. “An old flame,” a quondam sweetheart. In Latin, flamma is used for love, and so is feu in French. Ardeo, to burn like fire, is also applied to the passion of love; hence, Virgil (Ecl. ii. 4). “Corydon ardebat Alexin; “ and Horace (Epoch xiii. 9), “Arsit Anacreon Bathyllo. “
Superb, captivating, attractive. The French flambant. This word was originally applied to those persons who dressed themselves in rich dresses “flaming” with gold and silver thread. We now speak of a “flaming advertisement,” etc.
“Le velour, trop commun en France,
Sous toy reprend son vieil honneur,
Tellement que ta remontrance
Nous a fait voir la difference
Du valet et de son Seigneur,
Et du muguet chargé de soye
Qui à tes princes s'esgaloit,
Et riche en draps de soye, alloit
Faisant flamber toute la voye.”
Ronsard: Au Roy Henri II. (1546.)
Swords with a wavy or flamboyant edge, generally used for state purposes. The Dukes of Burgundy carried swords of this sort, and they were worn in our country till the accession of William III.
The great northern road of ancient Italy, constructed by C. Flaminius, and beginning at the Flaminian gate of Rome, and leading to Ariminium (Rimini).
(Moll). The chief character of De Foe's novel of the same name. She runs through the whole career of female profligacy, then turns religious.
The wooden jointed dolls common in the early part of the nineteenth century, and now almost entirely superseded by “wax dolls.”
(The). So Henry VIII. called Anne of Cleves. She died at Chelsea in 1557.
(French). A lounger, gossiper. From flaner, to saunter about.
Small combustible bodies blazing at one end and floating in a glass of liquor. The liquor was stirred about with a candle—end to promote combustion. A skilful toper would swallow them blazing, as we swallow the blazing raisins of snap—dragons.
“He drinks off candles' ends for flap—dragons.” — Shakespeare: 2 Henry IV., ii. 4.
A sudden outburst of anger; a gas—jet or other ignitible body flares up when lighted with a sudden blaze.
(A). A rumpus or row. Also a banquet or jovial treat. The first meaning is simply the substantive of the verb. The second meaning refers to dazzle and “splendour” displayed.
A mere flash in the pan. All sound and fury, signifying nothing; like the attempt to discharge a gun that ends with a flash in the lock—pan, the gun itself “hanging fire.”
and Flash Notes. Between Buxton, Leek, and Macclesfield is a wild country called the Flash, from a chapel of that name. Here used to live a set of pedlars, who hawked about buttons, ribbons, and other articles made at Leek, together with handkerchiefs and small wares from Manchester. They were known on the road as Flash—men, and frequented fairs and farmhouses. They paid, at first, ready—money; but when they had established a credit, paid in promissory notes, which were rarely honoured. They were ultimately put down by the magistracy.
One who is not sharp; a suite of rooms on one floor.
“Oh, Messrs ... what flats you are!” — The Times.
“He said he was going to have a flat to let on the top floor.” — Howells: Hazards of New Fortunes. vol. i. part i. p. 123.
Flat as a flounder. I knocked him down flat as a flounder. A flounder is one of the flat—fish. Flat as a pancake. Quite flat. A pancake is a thin flat cake, fried in a pan.
He is a regular flat—fish. A dull, stupid fellow, not up to anything. The play is upon flat (stupid), and such fish as plaice, dabs, and soles.
Skimmed milk, that is, milk “fletted” (Anglo—Saxon, flet, cream; Latin, flos lactis.)
(A). A race on the flat or level ground without obstacles.
“The flat simplicity of that reply was admirable.” (Colley Cibber: The Crooked Husband, i.
Vitellius, the Roman synonym of flatterer. (Tacitus, Ann. vi. 32.)
When flatterers meet, the devil goes to dinner. Flattery is so pernicious, so fills the heart with pride and conceit, so perverts the judgment and disturbs the balance of the mind, that Satan himself could do no greater mischief. He may go to dinner and leave the leaven of wickedness to operate its own mischief.
“Porteus, there is a proverb thou shouldst read: `When flatterers meet, the devil goes to dinner.' “ Peter Pindar: Nil Admirari.
Flay a Fox
(To). To vomit.
“At the time of the paroxysm he used to flay a fox by way of antidote.” — Rabelais: Pantagruol iv. 44.
When the Princess Badoura was placed on Prince Camaralzaman's bed, in order to compare their claims to beauty, the fairy Maimounë changed herself into a flea, and bit the prince on the neck in order to awake him. Next, the genius Danhasch changed himself into a flea and bit the princess on the lip, that she might open her eyes and see the prince. (Arabian Nights; Camaralzaman and Badoura.)
as a parasite.
“Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
Lives in a state of war by nature;
So naturalists observe a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.”
Swift: Poetry; a Rhapsody.
Sent off with a flea in his ear. Peremptorily. A dog which has a flea in the ear is very restless, and runs off in terror and distress. In French: Mettre à quelqu'un puce à l'oreille. Probably our change of word implies a pun.
It is a mere flea—bite. A thing of no moment. Thus, a merchant who has suffered loss by speculation or failure might say that the loss is a mere flea—bite to him. A soldier might call a wound a mere
flea—bite. A passing inconvenience which annoys but leaves no permanent injury. Mr. Disraeli spoke of the national debt as a mere flea—bite.
Aristophanes, in the Clouds, says that Socrates and Chærephon tried to measure how many times its own length a flea jumped. They took in wax the size of a flea's foot; then, on the principle of ex pede Herculem, calculated the length of its body. Having found this, and measured the distance of the flea's jump from the hand of Socrates to Chærephon, the knotty problem was resolved by simple multiplication.
(2 syl.). Son of Banquo. (Shakespeare: Macbeth.)
Faire flèche de tout bois. To turn every event into a cause of censure. To make whatever wood falls in your path an arrow to discharge at your adversary.
(Richard). An Irish priest, who printed a host of poems, letters, and travels. As a poet, his name, like the names of Mavius and Bavius among the Romans, is proverbial for vileness. Dryden says he —
“Reigned without dispute
Through all the realms of nonsense absolute.”
(2 syl.). An over—reaching, cowardly sneak, who conceals his dirty bill—broking under the trade name of Pubsey & Co. He is soundly thrashed by Alfred Lammle, and quietly pockets the affront. (Dickens: Mutual Friend.)
Flee the Falcon
(To). To let fly the small cannon.
“ `I'll flee the falcon' (so the small cannon was called) `I'll flee the falcon ... my certie, she'll ruffle their feathers for them' ” [i.e. the insurgents]. — Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap. xxv.
(1 syl.). Cheated of one's money; sheared like a sheep.
Fleet Book Evidence
No evidence at all. The books of the Old Fleet prison are not admissible as evidence to prove a marriage. (Wharton: Law Dictionary.)
Clandestine marriages, at one time performed without banns or licence by needy chaplains, in Fleet Prison, London. As many as thirty marriages a day were sometimes celebrated in this disgraceful manner; and Malcolm tells us that 2,954 were registered in the four months ending with February 12th, 1705. Suppressed by the Marriage Act in 1754. (See Chaplain of the Fleet, by Besant and Rice.)
(London). For 200 years after the Conquest London was watered on the west by “the river of Wells,” afterwards called “Fleet dyke, because (Stowe says) it runneth past the Fleete.” In the middle of the city and falling into the Thames was Wellbrooke; on the east side, Langbourne; and in the western suburbs, Oldbourne. Along the Fleete and Oldbourne “ships” used to ply with merchandise. These four, together with the Roding, the Lea, the Ravensbourne, and the Wandle, now serve as sewers to the great metropolis.
Fleet of the Desert
A sum less than that expected. In Antwerp accounts were kept in livres, sols, and pence; but the livre or pound was only 12s. In Notes and Queries we have an example of a Flemish account, where £373 Flemish becomes £213 2s. 10d. English.
A school of painting established by the brothers Van Eyck, in the fifteenth century. The chief early masters were Memling, Weyden, Matsys, Mabus, and Moro. Of the second period, Rubens and Vandyck, Snyders, Jordaens, Gaspar de Crayer, and the younger Teniers.
Flesh and Blood
Human nature, as “Flesh and blood cannot stand it.”
Sighing for the flesh—pots of Egypt. Hankering for good things no longer at your command. The children of Israel said they wished they had died “when they sat by the flesh—pots of Egypt” (Exodus xvi. 3) —
i.e. when they sat watching the boilers which contained the meat they were to have for dinner. The expression also means abundance of appetising food.
He fleshed his sword. Used it for the first time. Men fleshed in cruelty — i.e. initiated or used to it. A sportsman's expression. When a sportsman wishes to encourage a young dog or hawk, he will allow it to have the first game it catches for its own eating. This “flesh” is the first it has tasted, and fleshing its tooth thus gives the creature a craving for similar food. Hence, also, to eat with avidity.
“The wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent.”
Shakespeare: 2 Henry IV., iv. 5.
(The). A class of “realistic” British poets, such as Swinburne, Rossetti, Morris, etc. So called by Thomas Maitland [R. Buchanan ] in the Contemporary Review.
Fleta An excellent treatise on the common law of England, written in the fourteenth century by an unknown writer while a prisoner in the Fleet.
A corruption of Fleur—de—Lis. (See Flag .) In Italian the white iris is called fiordilisa. Made thus.
“They may give the dozen white luces in their coat.” — Shakespeare: Merry Wives, i. 1.
In the reign of Louis VII. (1137—1180) the national standard was thickly charged with flowers. In 1365 the number was reduced by Charles VI. to three (the mystical church number). Guillim, in his Display of Heraldrie, 1611, says the device is “Three toads erect, saltant;” in allusion to which Nostradamus, in the sixteenth century, calls Frenchmen crapauds (toads). Recently it has been thought that the device is really a “bee flying,” because certain ornaments resembling bees were found in the tomb of Childeric, father of Clovis, when it was opened in 1653. These bees are now generally believed to be the fleurons of horse—trappings, and quite independent of the emblem.
The fleur—de—lys or lily—flower was chosen by Flavio Gioja to mark the north point of the compass, out of compliment to the King of Naples, who was of French descent (1302).
One of the five fiends that possessed “poor Tom.” Shakespeare got it from Bishop Harsnet's account of the Spanish invasion, where we are told of forty fiends which the Jesuits cast out, and among the number was Fliberdigibet. Shakespeare says he “is the fiend of mopping and mowing, who possesses chambermaids and waiting women” (King Lear, iv. 2). And, again, that he “begins at curfew and walks till the first cock,” giving men pins and needles, squint eyes, hare—lips, and so on. (Shakespeare: Lear, iii. 4.)
(French). A policeman or sergeant de ville. “Une allusion à l'épée des sergents de ville, ou plutót aux flèches des archers primitifs” (Raille). Hence “flic—flacs,” thumps and thwacks.
To strike with a quick jerk. To “flick a whip in one's face” is to strike the face with the lash and draw the whip suddenly back again. (Anglo—Saxon, fliccerian; Scotch, flicker; Danish, flikkeren, to twinkle, etc.)
(See Fly .)
I must have a fling at.. Throw a stone at something. To attack with words, especially sarcastically. To make a haphazard venture. Allusion is to hurling stones from slings.
To have his fling. To live on the loose for a time. To fling about his time and money like “ducks and drakes.”
“If he is young, he desires to have his `fling' before he is compelled to settle down” — Nineteenth Century (February,1892, p. 208).
Fling Herself at my Head
(To). To make desperate love to a man; to angle obviously to catch a certain individual for a husband.
“`Coxcomb?' said Lance; `why, 'twas but last night the whole family saw her ... fling herself at my head.'“ — Sir W. Scott: Peveril of the Peak, chap. vii.
Flins [a stone ]. An idol of the ancient Vandals settled in Lusace. It was a huge stone, draped, wearing a lion's skin over its shoulders, and designed to represent death. Mr. Lower says that the town of Flint in North Wales is named in honour of this stone deity, and gives Alwin Flint in Suffolk as another example. (Pat. Brit. ) The Welsh call Flint Flint Teg—cingl (Flin's beautiful band or girdle).
To skin a flint. To act meanly, and exact the uttermost farthing.
Arrow—heads, axe—heads, lance—heads, and knives, made of granite, jade, serpentine, jasper, basalt, and other hard stones. The first were discovered on the banks of the Somme, near Amiens and Abbeville, but others have been discovered in Belgium, Germany, Italy, etc. They were the rude instruments of men before the use of metal was known.
Edward Simpson, an occasional servant of Dr. Young, of Whitby. So called because he used to tramp the kingdom vending spurious fossils, flint arrow—heads, stone celts, and other imitation antiquities. Professor Tennant charged him with forging these wares, and in 1867 he was sent to prison for theft.
Tip us your flipper. Give me your hand. A flipper is the paddle of a turtle.
A coquette. The word is from the verb flirt, as, “to flirt a fan.” The fan being used for coquetting, those who coquetted were called fan—flirts. Lady Frances Shirley, the favourite of Lord Chesterfield, introduced the word. Flirt is allied to flutter, flit, jerk, etc.
A bat. South calls the bat a flinder—mouse. (German, fledermaus.)
(Old French). A crowd. (Latin, fluctus.)
“Puis lor tramist par huiz ouverz
Grand flo d'Anglois de fer couverz.”
Guillaume Guiart, verse 1692.
(Stock Exchange term). Brought out (said of a loan or company), as the Turkish '69 Loan was floated by the Cohens. The French 6 per cent. was floated by the Morgans.
(Stock Exchange term). Exchequer bills and other unfunded stock. (See Stock Exchange Slang.)
(The). The hulks.
Flogging the Dead Horse
Trying to revive an interest in a subject out of date. Bright said that Earl Russell's “Reform Bill” was a “dead horse,” and every attempt to create any enthusiasm in its favour was like “flogging the dead horse.”
Flogged by Deputy
When Henri IV. of France abjured Protestantism and was received into the Catholic Church, in 1595, two ambassadors were sent to Rome who knelt in the portico of St. Peter, and sang the Miserere. At each verse a blow with a switch was given on their shoulders.
Strange as this may seem, yet numerous examples occur in the Scriptures; thus, for David's sin thousands of his subjects were “flogged to death by deputy;” and what else is meant by the words “by his stripes we are healed”?
The almost universal tradition of the East respecting this catastrophe is that the waters were boiling hot. (See the Talmud, the Targums, the Koran, etc.)
I floored him. Knocked him down on the floor; hence, to overcome, beat or surpass. Thus, we say at the university, “I floored that paper,” i.e. answered every question on it. “I floored that problem” — did it perfectly, or made myself master of it.
That was a floorer. That blow knocked the man down on the floor. In the university we say, “That paper or question was a floorer;” meaning it was too hard to be mastered. (See above.)
Flowers; all the vegetable productions of a country or of a geological period, as the flora of England, the flora of the coal period. Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers.
“Another Flora there, of bolder hues,
And richer sweets beyond our garden's pride.” Thomson: Summer.
The animals of a period or country are called the Fauna; hence, the phrase the Flora and the Fauna of ... signifies all its vegetable and animal productions.
Metropolis of Flora. Aranjuez, in Spain, is so called, from its many beautiful gardens.
A dial formed by flowers which open or close at stated hours. I. Dial of flowers which open —
(a) The first twelve hours.
1. (Scandinavian Sowthistle closes.)
2. Yellow Goat's—board.
3. Common Ox—tongue.
4. Hawkweed; Late—flowering Dandelion; and Wild Succory.
5. White Water—lily; Naked—stalked Poppy; and Smooth Sowthistle.
6. Shrubby Hawkweed and Spotted Cat's—ears.
7. White Water—lily; Garden Lettuce; and African Marigold.
8. Scarlet Pimpernel; Mouse—ear Hawkweed; and Proliferous Pink.
9. Field Marigold.
10. Red Sandwort.
11. Star of Bethlehem.
Noon. Ice Plant.
(b) The second twelve hours.
Midnight. (Late—flowering Dandelion closes.)
II. Dial of closing flowers — (a) The first twelve hours.
(b) The second twelve hours.
Midnight. Creeping Mallow and Late Dandelion.
(The German). Dresden.
(The). The fourth in size of cut diamonds. It weighs 139 1/2 carats, belonged to Charles, Duke of Burgundy; was picked up by a peasant and sold for half—a—crown.
A knight who bound himself to marry a “foul and ugly witch,” if she would teach him the solution of a riddle on which his life depended. (Gower: Confessio Amantis.)
(St.). Patron saint of mercers, being himself of the same craft.
A sect of heretics of the second century who maintained that God is the author of evil, and taught the Gnostic doctrine of two principles. Florianus was their founder.
The latter division of the perpendicular style, often called the Tudor, remarkable for its florid character or profusion of ornament.
(U. S. America). In 1512 Ponce de Leon sailed from France to the West in search of “the Fountain of Youth.” He first saw land on Easter Day, and on account of the richness and quantity of flowers, called the new possession “Florida.”
[honey—flower ]. A damsel of great beauty, but so timid that she feared the “smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,” and was abused by everyone. Her form was simulated by a witch out of wax, but the wax image melted, leaving nothing behind except the girdle that was round the waist. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book iii. 4, 8; iv. 11, 12.)
“Florimel loved Marinel, but Proteus cast her into a dungeon, from which, being released by the order of Neptune, she married the man of her choice.” — Spenser: Faerie Queene, book iv.
“St. Amand had long since in bitterness repented of a transient infatuation, had long since distinguished the true Florimel from the false.” — Sir E. B. Lytton: Pilgrims of the Rhine, iii.
gave to those who could wear it “the virtue of chaste love and wifehood true;” but if any woman not chaste and faithful put it on, it “loosed or tore asunder.” It was once the cestus of Venus, made by her husband Vulcan; but when she wantoned with Mars it fell off, and was left on the “Acidalian mount.”
(Spenser: Faërie Queene, book iv. 11, 12.)
An English coin representing 2s., or the tenth of a sovereign, issued in 1849. Camden informs us that Edward III. issued gold florins worth 6s., in 1337. The word is generally supposed to be derived from Florence; but as it had a lily on one side, probably it is connected with the Latin flos, a flower. (See Graceless Florin.)
One of the knights in the Spanish version of Amadis of Gaul, whose exploits and adventures are recounted in the 6th and following books. This part of the romance was added by Paez de Ribera.
Florisel of Nice'a
A knight whose exploits and adventures form a supplemental part of the Spanish version of Amadis of Gaul. This part was added by Feliciano de Silva.
One of Charlemagne's paladins, and the bosom friend of Roland.
Florizel Prince of Bohemia, in love with Perdita. (Shakespeare: Winter's Tale.)
Florizel. George the Fourth, when prince, corresponded under this name with Mrs. Robinson, actress and poet, generally known as Perdita, that being the character in which she first attracted the prince's attention. Prince Florizel, in Lord Beaconsfield's novel of Endymion (1880), is meant for Napoleon III.
Flotsam and Jetson
Waifs found in the sea or on the shore. “Flotsam,” goods found floating on the sea after a a wreck. “Jetson,” or Jetsam, things thrown out of a ship to lighten it. (Anglo—Saxon, flotan, to float; French, jeter, to throw out.) (See Ligan.)
Fêtes held at Toulouse, Barcelona, Treviso, and other places, where the prizes given consisted of flowers.
A sermon preached on Whit Monday in St. Catherine Cree, when all the congregation wear flowers.
Flower sermons are now (1894) preached very generally once a year, especially in country churches. Every person is supposed to bring a bunch of flowers to the altar, and the flowers next day are sent to some hospital.
Flower of Chivalry
A name given to several cavaliers: e.g.
William Douglas, Lord of Liddesdale, in the fourteenth century. Sir Philip Sidney (1554—1586).
Chevalier de Bayard (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche (1476—1524).
Flower of Kings
Arthur is so called by John of Exeter. (Sixth century.)
Flower of Paradise
The Ipomoea or Camalata, called by Sir W. Jones “Love's creeper.” It symbolises that mythological plant which fulfils all desire.
Flower of the Levant
Zante, noted for its beauty and fertility. “Zanté! Zanté, flos di Levanti.”
Flowers and Trees
(1) Dedicated to heathen gods:
The Cornel cherry—tree to Apollo
The Cypress to Pluto.
The Dittany to The Moon.
The Laurel to Apollo.
The Lily to Juno.
The Maiden's—hair to Pluto.
The Myrtle to Venus.
The Narcissus to Cerës.
The Oak to Jupiter.
The Olive to Minerva.
The Poppy to Cerës.
The Vine to Bacchus
(2) Dedicated to saints;
Canterbury Bells to St. Augustine of England.
Crocus to St. Valentine.
Crown Imperial to Edward the Confessor.
Daisy to St. Margaret.
Herb Christophe to St. Christopher.
Lady's—smock to The Virgin—Mary.
Rose to Mary Magdalene.
St. John's—wort to St. John.
St. Barnaby's Thistle to St. Barnabas.
(3) National emblems:
Leek emblem of Wales.
Lily (Fleur—de—lys ” France.
Lily (Giglio Blanco ” Florence.
Lily White ” the Ghibelline badge.
Lily red “badge of the Guelphs.
Linden ” Prussia.
Mignonette ” Saxony.
Pomegranate ” Spain.
Rose ” England.
Rose red ” Lancastrians
Rose white ” Yorkists.
Shamrock ” Ireland.
Thistle ” Scotland.
Violet ” Athens and Napoleon
Sugar Maple ” Canada.
Box is a symbol of the resurrection.
Cedars ” the faithful.
Corn—ears ” the Holy Communion.
Dates ” the faithful.
Grapes ” this is my blood.
Holly ” the resurrection.
Ivy ” the resurrection.
Lily ” purity.
Olive ” peace.
Orange—blossom ” virginity.
Palm ” victory.
Rose ” incorruption.
Vine ” Christ our Life.
Yew ” death.
N.B. — The laurel, oak, olive, myrtle, rosemary, cypress, and amaranth are all funereal plants.
Flowers and Trees with Christian Traditions
The Aspen leaf is said to tremble because the cross was made of Aspenwood.
Ah! tremble, tremble, Aspen—tree,
We need not ask thee why thou shakest,
For if, as holy legend saith,
On thee the Saviour bled to death,
No wonder, Aspen, that thou quakest;
And, till in judgment all assemble,
Thy leaves accursed shall wail and tremble.
E. C. B.
The dwarf elder is called in Wales “the plant of the Blood of Man.” The wallflower is known in Palestine as the “Blood—drops of Christ.” The following are also said to owe their stained blossoms to the blood which trickled from the cross: — The red anemone; the arum; the purple orchis; the crimson—spotted leaves of the roodselken (a French tradition); the spotted persicaria, snake—weed. (See Christian Traditions.)
Flowers at Funerals
The Greeks crowned the dead body with flowers, and placed flowers on the tomb also. The Romans decked the funeral couch with leaves and flowers, and spread flowers, wreaths, and fillets on the tomb of friends. When Sulla was buried as many as 2,000 wreaths were sent in his honour. Most of our funeral customs are derived from the Romans; as dressing in black, walking in procession, carrying insignia on the bier, raising a mound over the grave, called tumulus, whence our tomb.
In ancient Greece to say “a woman wore flowered robes” was to imply that she was a fille publique. Solon made it a law that virtuous women should appear in simple and modest apparel, but that harlots should always dress in flashy or flowered robes.
“As fugitive slaves are known by their stigmata, so flowered garments indicate one of the demi—monde [moichalida] —“ Clemens of Alexandria.
The followers of Heraclitos, referred to by Plato as tous reontas (Theæ'tetus, 181 A). Heraclitos denied the permanency of everything in nature except change. Tennyson has a poem entitled Oi reontes.
Fluellen A Welsh captain and great pedant, who, amongst other learned quiddities, attempted to draw a parallel between Henry V. and Alexander the Great; but when he had said that one was born at Monmouth and the other at Macedon, both beginning with the same letter, and that there was a river in both cities, he had
exhausted his best parallelisms. (Henry V., iv. 7.)
“His parallel is, in all essential circumstances, as incorrect as that which Fluellen drew between Macedon and Monmouth.” — Lord Macaulay.
Hap—hazard. In billiards it means playing for one thing and getting another. Hence an advantage gained by luck more than by skill or judgment. (German, glück, chance, our luck.)
“We seem to have discovered, as it were by a fluke, a most excellent rule for all future Cabinet arrangements.” — The Times.
Flattering nonsense, palaver. In Wales it is a food made of oatmeal steeped in water and kept till it has become sour. In Cheshire and Lancashire it is the prepared skin of oatmeal mixed with honey, ale, or milk; pap; blancmange. (Welsh, llymry, wash—brew, from llym, sour or sharp.)
“You came ... with your red coats and flashing buttons ... and her head got turned with your flummery.” — Simms: The Partizans, chap. xxix.
(To). To bamboozle, to deceive; to be in a quandary. “I am regularly flummuxed” — i.e. perplexed. The first syllable is probably a variant of flam, humbug, deception, and the word seems to be compounded on the model of the word “perplex.”
“For the privates, the sergeants, and 'spectors,
She flummuxed them all to a coon.”
Sims: Dagonet Ballads (Moll Jarvis).
The mark set on a street, gatepost, house, etc., as a warning to fellow—vagabonds not to go near, for fear of being given in charge.
A livery servant. (Old French, flanquier, a henchman.)
The bride of Cassivelaun, “for whose love the Roman Cæsar first invaded Britain.” (Tennyson: Enid.)
(A), in cards, means a whole hand of one suit, as a “flush of clubs,” a “flush of hearts,” etc. (See below.)
Flush of Money
Full of money. Similarly A flush of water means a sudden and full flow of water. (Latin, flux—us.)
“Strut was not very flush in [the] ready.” — Dr.Arbuthnot.
The Magic Flute, an opera by Mozart (Die Zauberflöte). The “flute” was bestowed by the powers of darkness, and had the power of inspiring love. Unless purified the love was only lust, but, being purified by the Powers of Light, it subserved the holiest purposes. Tamino and Pamina are guided by it through all worldly dangers to the knowledge of Divine Truth.
A very weak specimen of a fop, in the Belle's Stratagem, by Mrs. Cowley.
Flutter the Dovecotes
(To). To disturb the equanimity of a society. The phrase occurs in Coriolanus.
“The important movement in favour of a general school of law fluttered the dovecotes of the Inns of Court.” — Nineteenth Century (Nov. 1892 p. 779).
(plural flys). A hackney coach, a cab. A contraction of Fly—by—night, as sedan chairs on wheels used to be called in the regency. These “Fly—by—nights,” patronised greatly by George, Prince of Wales, and his boon companions, during their wild night pranks at Brighton, were invented 1809 by John Butcher, a carpenter of Jew Street.
“In the morning we took a fly, an English term for an exceedingly sluggish vehicle, and drove up to the Minister's.” — Hawthorne: Our Old House (Pilgrimage to Old Boston, p.171).
(plural flies). An insect. All flies shall perish except one, and that is the bee—fly. (Koran.)
A Fly has three eyes and two compound eyes, each of which has 4,000 facets. The god of flies. In the temple of Actium the Greeks used to sacrifice annually an ox to the god of flies. Pliny tells us that at Rome sacrifice was offered to flies in the temple of Hercules Victor. The Syrians undoubtedly offered sacrifice to the same tiny tormentors. It is said that no fly was ever seen in Solomon's temple.
ACHOR, god of the Cyrenians, to whom, according to Pliny, they offered sacrifice. (APOMYIOS, a surname given by the Cyrenians to Zeus, for delivering Herakles [Hercules] from flies during sacrifice. Sacrifices were yearly offered to Zeus Apomyios. (Greek, apo—myia, from flies.)
BELZEBUB or BEELZEBUTH (Prince of Flies) was one of the principal Syrian gods, to whom sacrifice was offered on all ferialia.
BUCLOPUS, in Roman mythology. (Rhod. xxii. 3.)
MYAGROS (the fly—chaser), one of the deities of the Arcadians and Eleans. (Pliny, x. 28.) (Greek, myia a fly; agra, taken in hunting or chasing.)
Flies in amber. (See under Amber.)
To crush a fly on a wheel. Making a mountain of a mole—hill. Taking a wheel used for torturing criminals and heretics for killing a fly, which one might destroy with a flapper.
Fly on the coach—wheel (A). One who fancies himself of mighty importance, but who is in reality of none at all. The allusion is to the fable of a fly sitting on a chariot—wheel and saying, “See what a dust we make!”
Not a fly with him. Domitian, the Roman emperor, was fond of catching flies, and one of his slaves, being asked if the emperor was alone, wittily replied, “Not a fly with him.”
To rise to the fly. To be taken in by a hoax, as a fish rises to a false fly and is caught.
“He [the professor] rose to the fly with a charming simplicity.” — Grant Allen: The Mysterious Occurrence in Piccadilly, part ii.
The boy in a printing—office who lifts the printed sheets off the press. He is called the fly—boy because he catches the sheets as they fly from the tympan (q.v.) immediately the frisket (q.v. ) is opened. This is now generally performed by the pressmen.
Fly a Kite
(To). To send a begging letter to persons of a charitable reputation, or in easy circumstances, to solicit pecuniary aid, urging poverty, losses, or sickness as an excuse. (See Kite—Flying.)
(A). One who defrauds his creditors by decamping at night—time. (See Fly.)
Fly in One's Face
(To). To get into a passion with a person; to insult; as a hawk, when irritated, flies in the face of its master.
Fly in the Face of Danger
(To). To run in a foolhardy manner into danger, as a hen flies in the face of a dog or cat.
Fly in the Face of Providence
(To). To act rashly, and throw away good opportunities; to court danger.
(To). To open suddenly, as, “the doors flew open,” “les portes s'ouvrirent,” as they do sometimes by the force of the wind.
Fly Out at
(To). To burst or break into a passion. The Latin, involvo in ...
“Poor choleric Sir Brian would fly out at his coachman, his butler, or his gamekeeper, and use language ... which ... from any other master would have brought about a prompt resignation.” — Good Words, 1887.
(To come off with). In triumph; with the flags unfurled and flying.
A spectral ship, seen in stormy weather off the Cape of Good Hope, and considered ominous of ill—luck. Sir Walter Scott says she was originally a vessel laden with precious metal, but a horrible murder having been committed on board, the plague broke out among the crew, and no port would allow the vessel to enter. The ill—fated ship still wanders about like a ghost, doomed to be sea—tossed, but never more to enjoy rest. Captain Marryat has a novel called The Phantom Ship.
Flying without Wings (No). Nothing can be done without the proper means.
“Sine pennis volare haud facile est.” Plautus.
Flyman's Plot (The). In theatrical language, means a list of all the articles required by the flyman in the play produced. The flyman is the scene—shifter, or the “man in the flies.”
A white bow in the clouds during foggy weather is so called. Such a bow was seen in England during January, 1888. A week preceding, the weather had been clear, sunshiny, and genial, then followed several days of thick fog, during which the white bow appeared. The bow was followed by several days of brilliant mild weather.
or Fogey. An old fogey. Properly an old military pensioner. This term is derived from the old pensioners of Edinburgh Castle, whose chief occupation was to fire the guns, or assist in quelling street riots. (Allied to fogat, phogot, voget, foged, fogde, etc.)
“What has the world come to [said Thackeray] ... when two broken—nosed old fogies like you and me sit talking about love to each other.” — Trollopc: W. M. Thackeray, chap. i.p. 61.
or Foë. One of the chief deities of the Chinese. His mother, Moyë, was walking one day along a river bank, when she became suddenly encircled by a rainbow, and at the end of twelve years was the mother of a son. During gestation she dreamed that she was pregnant with a white elephant, and hence the honours paid to this beast. (Asiatic Researches.)
That which sets off something to advantage. The allusion is to the metallic leaf used by jewellers to set off precious stones. (French, feuille; Latin, folium; Greek, phullon, a leaf.)
“Hector, as a foil to set him off.”
“I'll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night, Stick flery off indeed.”
Shakespeare: Hamlet, v. 2.
He foiled me. He outwitted me.
“If I be foiled, there is but one ashamod who never was gracious.” — Shakespeare: As You Like It, i. 2.
To run a foil. To puzzle; to lead astray. The track of game is called its foil; and an animal hunted will sometimes run back over the same foil in order to mislead its pursuers.
A book of the largest size, formed by folding the paper only once, so that each sheet makes two leaves. It is from the Italian, un libro in foglio, through the French, in—folio. Fol. is the contraction for folio.
Folio (so—and—so), in mercantile books, means page so—and—so, and sometimes the two pages which lie exposed at the same time, one containing the credit and the other the debit of one and the same account. So called because ledgers, etc., are made in folio. The paging is called the folio also. Printers call a page of MS. or printed matter a folio regardless of size.
Folio. In conveyances seventy—two words, and in Parliamentary proceedings ninety words, make a folio.
Latin, vulg' (the common people); German, volk; Dutch, volch; Saxon, folc; Danish, folk. Folk and vulgar are variants of the same word.
Folk Fairies, also called “people,” “neighbours,” “wights.” The Germans have their kleine volk (little folk), the Swiss their hill people and earth people.
“The little folk,
So happy and so gay, amuse themselves
Sometimes with singing ...
Sometimes with dancing, when they jump and spring Like the young skipping kids in the Alp—grass.” Wyss: Idyll of Gertrude and Rosy.
“In the hinder end of harvest, at All—hallow e'en,
When our good neighbours ride, if I read right, Some buckled on beenwand, and some on a been.” Montgomery: Flyting against Polwart.
“I crouchë thee from the elvës, and from wights.”
Chaucer: The Millere's Tale.
Whatever pertains to a knowledge of the antiquities, superstitions, mythology, legends, customs, traditions, and proverbs of a people. A “folklorist” is one who is more or less acquainted with these matters.
[a folk meeting ]. A word used in England before the Conquest for what we now call a county or even a parish meeting.
Goblins of the north of France, who live in the houses of simple rustics, and can be expelled neither by water nor exorcism. They can be heard but are never seen. In the singular number, “esprit follet.”
Follow your nose, go straight on. He followed his nose — he went on and on without any discretion or thought of consequences.
He who follows truth too closely will have dirt kicked in his face. Be not too strict to pry into abuse, for “odium veritas parit,” “Summum jus suprema est injuria.”
Follower A male sweetheart who follows the object of his affections. A word very common among servants. Mistresses say to female servants, “I allow no followers” — i.e. I do not allow men to come into my house to see you. Also a disciple, a partisan.
“The pretty neat servant—maids had their choice of desirable followers.” — E. O. Gaskell: Cranford, chap. iii. p.53.
Father of Folly (Abu Jahl), an aged chief, who led a hundred horse and seven hundred camels against Mahomet and fell at the battle of Bedr. His own people called him Father of Wisdom (Abu' Lhoem ).
Folly. A fantastic or foolishly extravagant country seat, built for amusement or vainglory. (French, folie.
“We have in this country a word (namely, Folly) which has a technical appropriation to the case of fantastic buildings.” — De Quincey: Essays on the Poets (Keats, p. 90).
Fisher's Folly. A large and beautiful house in Bishopsgate, with pleasure—gardens, bowling—green, and hot—houses, built by Jasper Fisher, one of the six clerks of Chancery and a Justice of the Peace. Queen Elizabeth lodged there.
“Kirby's castle, and Fisher's folly,
Spinola's pleasure, and Megse's glory.”
A foolish, fond parent. Here fond does not mean affectionate, but silly. Chaucer uses the word fonne for a simpleton, and the Scotch fou is to play the fool. Shakespeare has “fond desire,” “fond love,” “fond shekels of gold,” “fond wretch,” “fond madwoman,” etc. “Fondling” means an idiot, or one fond.
“See how simple and how fond I am.”
Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2.
“Fonder than ignorance.”
Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, i. 1.
Fons et Origo
(Latin). The primary cause. Fax et focus, the instigator, as Juno was the fax et focus of the Trojan war.
in printing, sometimes called Fount, a complete set of type of any one size, with all the usual points and accents; a font consists of about 100,000 characters. The word is French, fonte, from fondre (to melt or cast). When a letter of a different type to the rest gets into a page it is called a “wrong font,” and is signified in the margin by the two letters wf. (See Type.)
Taken to the font. Baptised. The font is a vessel employed for baptism.
Now called Fuenterrabia (in Latin, Fons rapidus), near the Gulf of Gascony. Here, according to Mariana and other Spanish historians, Charlemagne and all his chivalry fell by the sword of the Spanish Saracens. Mezeray and the French writers say that, the rear of the king's army being cut to pieces, Charlemagne returned and revenged their death by a complete victory.
“When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell
Milton: Paradise Lost, book i. 587.
Sir Walter Scott remarks that live cattle go by Saxon names, and slain meat by Norman—French, a standing evidence that the Normans were the lords who ate the meat, and the Saxons the serfs who tended the cattle. Examples:
Sheep Ox Calf Hog Pig (Saxon).
Mutton Beef Veal Bacon Pork (Norman—French).
Food of the gods. (See Ambrosia, Nectar.)
Food for Powder
Raw recruits levied in times of war.
Foods and Wines
Sterlets from the Volga.
Eels from the Tiber.
Grouse from Scotland.
Bustards from Sweden.
Bears' feet from the Black Forest.
Bison humps from America.
Fillet of beef à la Chateaubriand.
Ortolans à la Lucullus.
Old Madeira with the soup.
Chateau—Filhot `58 with the side dishes
Johannisberger and Pichon—Longueville with the rélevés. Chateau—Lafitte `48 with the entrées.
Sparkling Moselle with the roast.
In chess, the French call the “bishop” fou, and used to represent the piece in a fool's dress; hence, Regnier says, “Les fous sont aux échecs les plus proches des Rois” (14 Sat.). Fou is a corruption of the Eastern word Fol (an elephant), as Thomas Hyde remarks in his Ludis Orientalibus (i. 4), and on old boards the places occupied by our “bishops” were occupied by elephants.
A Tom Fool. A person who makes himself ridiculous. (See Tom.)
“The ancient and noble family of Tom Fool.”
— Quarterly Review.
[a food ], as gooseberry fool, raspberry fool, means gooseberries or raspberries pressed. (French, fouler, to press.)
As the fool thinks, so the bell clinks (Latin, “Quod valde volumus facile credimus”). A foolish person believes what he desires.
Fool in his Sleeve
Every man hath a fool in his sleeve. No one is always wise. The allusion is to the tricks of jugglers.
The wisest fool in Christendom. James I. was so called by Henri IV. but he learnt the phrase of Sully.
Fool or Physician at Forty
Plutarch tells us that Tiberius said “Every man is a fool or his own physician at forty.” (Treatise on the Preservation of Health.)
(French, fol, Latin, follis.) (1) The most celebrated court fools: (a) Dagonet, jester of King Arthur; Rayère, of Henry I.; Scogan, of Edward IV.; Thomas Killigrew, called “King Charles's jester” (1611—1682); Archie Armstrong, jester in the court of James I. (died 1672).
(b) Thomas Derrie, jester in the court of James I.
(c) James Geddes, jester to Marry Queen of Scots. His predecessor was Jenny Colquhoun.
(d) Patch, the court fool of Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII.
(e) Will Somers, Henry VIII.'s jester. He died 1560.
(f) W. F. Wallet, jester in the court of Queen Elizabeth.
(g) Triboulet, jester of Louis XII. and Francois I. (1487—1536); Brusquet, of whom Brantôme says “he never had his equal in repartee” (1512—1563); Chicot, jester of Henri III. and IV. (1553—1591); Longely, of Louis
XIII.; and Angeli, of Louis XIV., last of the titled fools of France. (h) Klaus Narr, jester of Frederick the Wise, elector of Prussia.
(i) Yorick, in the Court of Denmark, referred to by Shakespeare in Hamlet, v. 1. (2) Not attached to the court:
(a) Patrick Bonny, jester of the regent Morton; John Heywood, in the reign of Henry VII., dramatist, died 1505; Dickie Pearce, fool of the Earl of Suffolk, whose epitaph Swift wrote.
(b) Kunz von der Rosen, private jester to the Emperor Maximilian I.
(c) Gonnella the Italian (q.v.).
(d) Le Glorieux, the jester of Charles le Hardi, of Burgundy.
(e) Patche, Cardinal Wolsey's jester, whom he transferred to Henry VIII. as a most acceptable gift.
(f) Patison, licensed jester to Sir Thomas More. Introduced by Hans Holbein in his picture of the chancellor. (3) Men worthy of the motley:
(a) Andrew Borde, physician to Henry VIII., usually called Merry Andrew (1500—1549).
(b) Gen. Kyaw, a Saxon officer, famous for his blunt jests.
(c) Jacob Paul, Baron Gundling, who was laden with titles in ridicule by Frederick William I. of Prussia.
(d) Seigni Jean (Old John), so called to distinguish him from Johan “fol de Madame,” of whom Marot speaks in his epitaphs. Seigni Jean lived about a century before Caillette.
(e) Richard Tarlton, a famous clown in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He died 1588.
(f) Caillette “flourished” about 1494. In the frontispiece of the “Ship of Fools,” printed 1497, there is a picture both of Seigni Jean and also of Caillette.
Feast of Fools. A kind of Saturnalia popular in the Middle Ages. Its chief object was to honour the ass on which our Lord made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This ridiculous mummery was held on the day of circumcision (January 1). The office of the day was first chanted in travesty; then, a procession being formed, all sorts of absurdities, both of dress, manner, and instrumentation, were indulged in. An ass formed an essential feature, and from time to time the whole procession imitated the braying of this animal, especially in the place of “Amen.”
A fool's bolt is soon shot (Henry V., iii. 7). Simpletons cannot wait for the fit and proper time, but waste their resources in random endeavours; a fool and his money are soon parted. The allusion is to the British bowmen in battle; the good soldier shot with a purpose, but the foolish soldier at random. (See Prov.
Unlawful pleasure, illicit love, vain hopes. Thus, in Romeo and Juliet, the Nurse says to Romeo, “If ye should lead her [Juliet] into a fool's paradise, it were a gross ... behaviour.” The old schoolmen said there were three places where persons not good enough for paradise were admitted: (1) The limbus patrum, for those good men who had died before the death of the Redeemer; (2) The limbus infantum or paradise of unbaptised infants; and (3) The limbus fatuorum or paradise of idiots and others who were non compos mentis. (See Limbo.)
A corruption of the Italian foglio—capo (folio—sized sheet). The error must have been very ancient, as the water—mark of this sort of paper from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century was a fool's head, with cap and bells.
(Greek, pod'; Latin, ped'; French, pied; Dutch, voet; Saxon, fot. Foot and pedal are variants of the same word.)
Best foot foremost. Use all possible dispatch. To “set on foot” is to set agoing. If you have various powers of motion, set your best foremost.
“Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.”
Shakespeare: King John, iv. 2.
I have not yet got my foot in. I am not yet familiar and easy with the work. The allusion is to the preliminary exercises in the great Roman foot—race. While the signal was waited for, the candidates made essays of jumping, running, and posturing, to excite a suitable warmth and make their limbs supple. This was “getting their foot in” for the race. (See Hand.)
I have the measure or length of his foot. I know the exact calibre of his mind. The allusion is to the Pythagorean admeasurement of Hercules by the length of his foot. (See Ex Pede.)
To light on one's feet. To escape a threatened danger. It is said that cats thrown from a height always light on their feet.
To put down your foot on [a matter]. Peremptorily to forbid it. To show the cloven foot. To betray an evil intention. The devil is represented with a cloven foot.
Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath (Isa. 1viii. 13). Abstain from working and doing your own pleasure on that day. The allusion is to the law which prohibited a Jew from walking on a Sabbath more than a mile. He was to turn away his foot from the road and street.
Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he get weary of thee, and so hate thee. Never outstay your welcome.
With one foot in the grave. In a dying state. You have put your foot in it nicely. You have got yourself into a pretty mess. (In French, vous avez mis le pied dedans.) When porridge is burnt or meat over—roasted, we say, “The bishop hath put his foot in.” (See Bishop.)
Afoot. On the way, in progress. (See Game's Afoot, Matter Afoot.)
“Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt.”
Shakespeare: Julias Caesar, iii. 2.
or Quern—biter. The sword of Thoralf Skolinson the Strong, a companion of Hako I. of Norway. (See Swords.)
To appear before the foot—lights. On the stage, where a row of lights is placed in front along the floor to lighten it up.
In the Italian romance of Guerino Meschino Indians are spoken of with feet so large that they carry them over their heads like umbrellas.
Notes placed at the bottom of a page.
“A trifling sum of misery
Now added to the foot of thy account.”
The unit of result in estimating work done by machinery. Thus, if we take 1 lb. as the unit of weight and 1 foot as the unit of distance, a foot—pound would be 1 lb. weight raised 1 foot.
Foot of a Page
The bottom of it, meaning the notes at the bottom of a page.
He is on good footing with the world. He stands well with the world. This is a French phrase, Être sur un grand pied dans le monde. “Grand pied” means “large foot,” and the allusion is to the time of Henry
VIII., when the rank of a man was designated by the size of his shoe — the higher the rank the larger the shoe. The proverb would be more correctly rendered, “He has a large foot in society.”
To pay your footing. To give money for drink when you first enter on a trade. Entry money for being allowed to put your foot in the premises occupied by fellow—craftsmen. This word is called foot—ale by ancient writers. (See Garnish.)
(A). (See Running Footmen.)
(See Running Footmen .)
The passage between the tiers of benches, right and left, in the Opera—house, frequented by mashers and other exquisites.
(Lord). An empty coxcomb in Vanbrugh's Relapse, of which Sheridan's Trip to Scarborough is a modified version.
“The shoemaker in the Relapse tells Lord Foppington that his lordship is mistaken in supposing that his shoe pinches.” — Lord Macaulay.
Ancestors, predecessors — i.e. those born before the present generation. (Anglo—Saxon, fór—béran.)
“My name is Græme, so please you, — Roland Græme, whose forbears were designated of Heathergill, in the Debateable Land.” — Sir W. Scott: The Abbot, chap. xviii.
referred to by Thomson in his Seasons, was Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, lord president of the Court of Session. For many years he ruled the destinies and greatly contributed to the prosperity of Scotland. He was on friendly terms with Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, etc. The word is now generally pronounced as a monosyllable.
“Thee, Forbës, too, whom every worth attends...
Thy country feels thro' her reviving arts,
Planned by thy wisdom, by thy soul informed.” Thomson: Autumn.
(The), Mahometan doctors aver, was the banana or Indian fig, because fig—leaves were employed to cover the disobedient pair when they felt shame as the result of sin. Called “Paradisaica.” Metaphorically, unlawful = forbidden indulgence.
Foreible Feeble School
(See Feeble .)
Mr. and Mrs. Ford are characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Mrs. Ford pretends to accept Sir John Falstaff's protestations of love, in order to punish him by her devices.
(in Orlando Furioso). Wife of Brandimart, Orlando's intimate friend. When Brandimart was slain, she dwelt for a time in his mausoleum in Sicily, and died broken—hearted. (Book xii.)
To the fore. In the front rank; eminent.
To come to the fore. To stand out prominently; to distinguish oneself; to stand forth.
Lengthwise, in opposition to “athwart—ships” (or across the line of the keel). (Dana: Seaman's Manual, p. 96.)
“A slight spar—deck fore—and—aft.” — Sir W. Raleigh.
Ancient ships had a castle, as may be seen in the tapestry of the House of Lords, representing the Spanish Armada. The term forecastle means before the castle. The Romans called the castled ships naves turri'tæ'.
“That part of the upper deck forward of the foremast ... In merchant ships, the forward part of the vessel, under the deck, where the sailors live.” — Dana: Seaman's, Manual, p.96.
To put an end to. A legal term, meaning to close before the time specified; e.g. suppose I held the mortgage of a man called A, and A fails to fulfil his part of the agreement, I can insist upon the mortgage being cancelled, foreclosing thus our agreement.
“The embargo with Spain foreclosed this trade.” — Carew.
Fore—shortened Not viewed laterally, but more or less obliquely. Thus, a man's leg lying on the ground, with the sole of the foot nearer the artist than the rest of the body, would be perspectively shortened.
“He forbids the fore—shortenings, because they make the parts appear little.” — Dryden.
Do as the cow o' Forfar did, tak' a stannin' drink. A cow, in passing a door in Forfar, where a tub of ale had been placed to cool, drank the whole of it. The owner of the ale prosecuted the owner of the cow, but a learned baillie, in giving his decision, said, “As the ale was drunk by the cow while standing at the door, it must be considered deoch an doruis (stirrup—cup), to make a charge for which would be to outrage Scotch hospitality.” (Sir W. Scott: Waverley.)
Forget—me—nots of the Angels
The stars are so called by Longfellow. The similitude between a little lightblue flower and the yellow stars is very remote. Stars are more like buttercups than forget—me—nots.
“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossom the lovely stars, the forget—me—nots of the angels.” Evungeline.
Forgive, blest Shade
This very celebrated epitaph is in Brading churchyard, Isle of Wight, and is attributed to Mrs. Anne Steele (Theodosia), daughter of a Baptist minister of Bristol, but was touched up by the Rev. John Gill, curate of Newchurch. Set to music in three parts by J. W. Callcott (1795).
“Forgiveness to the injured doth belong.
But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong.” Dryden: Conquest of Granada, part ii. act i.
“Proprium humani generis, odisse quem laceris.” — Tacitus.
Hand over; pay down; stand treat. Fingers are called forks, and this may suffice to explain the phrase; if not, we have the Anglo—Saxon verb feccan (to draw out, to take), and “fork out" would be “fec out.”
The gallows. (Latin, furca.) Cicero (de Divinitate, i. 26) says, “Ferens furcam ductus est, ” often quoted in proof that criminals condemned to the cross were obliged to carry their own cross to the place of execution. But the ordinary meaning of furca is a kind of yoke to which the hands of criminals were fastened. The punishment was of three degrees of severity: (1) The furca ignominiosa; (2) the furca pænalis; and (3) the furca capitalis. The first was for slight offences, and consisted in carrying the furca on the shoulders, more or less weighted. The second consisted in carrying the furca and being scourged. The third was being scourged to death. The word furcifer meant what we call a gallows—bad or vile fellow.
(A). A bishop's mitre is so called by John Skelton. It is cleft or forked.
Cromwell says, “Our forlorn of horse marched within a mile of the enemy,” i.e. our horse picket sent forward to reconnoitre approached within a mile of the enemy's camp. (German, verloren. )
or Firlot. The fourth part of a boll. From feower (four), hlot (part).
(Latin, Under plea of poverty). To sue in forma pauperis. When a person has just cause of a suit, but is so poor that he cannot raise £5, the judge will assign him lawyers and counsel without the usual
Fortiter in Re
(Latin). Firmness in doing what is to be done; an unflinching resolution to persevere to the end. Coupled with Suaviter in modo (q.v.)
Now called the Canaries.
You have found Fortunatus's purse. Are in luck's way. The nursery tale of Fortunatus records that he had an inexhaustible purse. It is from the Italian fairy tales of Straparola, called Nights. Translated into French in 1585. (See Wishing—Cap.)
Fortune favours the brave. (“Fortes fortuna adjuvat.”) (Terence: Phormio, i. 4.)
The assumed name of a damsel, youngest of three sisters, who dressed herself as a cavalier to save her aged father, who was summoned to the army. Fortunio on the way engaged seven servants: Strong—back, who could carry on his back enough liquor to fill a river; Lightfoot, who could traverse any distance in no time; Marksman, who could hit an object at any distance; Fine—ear, who could hear anything, no matter where uttered; Boisterer, who could do any amount of cudgelling; Gourmand, who could eat any amount of food; and Tippler, who could drink a river dry and thirst again. Fortunio, having rendered invaluable services to King Alfourite, by the aid of her seven servants, at last married him. (Grimm's Goblins: Fortunio. Countess
D'Aulnoy: Fairy Tales. )
A superstitious number, arising from the Scripture use. Thus Moses was forty days in the mount; Elijah was forty days fed by ravens; the rain of the flood fell forty days, and another forty days expired before Noah opened the window of the ark; forty days was the period of embalming; Nineveh had forty days to repent; our Lord fasted forty days; He was seen forty days after His resurrection; etc.
St. Swithin betokens forty days' rain or dry weather; a quarantine extends to forty days; forty days, in the Old English law, was the limit for the payment of the fine for manslaughter; the privilege of sanctuary was for forty days; the widow was allowed to remain in her husband's house for forty days after his decease; a knight enjoined forty days' service of his tenant; a stranger, at the expiration of forty days was compelled to be enrolled in some tithing; members of Parliament were protected from arrest forty days after the prorogation of the House, and forty days before the House was convened; a new—made burgess had to forfeit forty pence unless he built a house within forty days; etc., etc.
The ancient physicians ascribe many strange changes to the period of forty; the alchemists looked on forty days as the charmed period when the philosopher's stone and elixir of life were to appear.
Fool or physician at forty. (See under Fool.)
Forty Stripes save One
The Jews were forbidden by the Mosaic law to inflict more than forty stripes on an offender, and for fear of breaking the law they stopped short of the number. If the scourge contained three lashes, thirteen strokes would equal “forty save one.”
Forty stripes save one. The thirty—nine articles of the Anglican Church.
In the tale of Ali Baba'. (Arabian Nights' Entertainments.)
Forty Winks A short nap. Forty is an indefinite number, meaning a few. Thus, we say, “A, B, C, and forty more.” Coriolanus says, “I could beat forty of them” (iii. 1). (See Forty.)
“The slave had forty thousand lives.”
Shakespeare: Othello, iii. I.
“I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.”
Shakespears: Hamlet, v. 1.
No. 45. The celebrated number of Wilkes's North Britain, in which the Cabinet Ministers are accused of putting a lie into the king's mouth.
(Marshal). G.L. von Blücher was called Marschall Vorwarts, from his constant exhortation to his hussars in the campaigns preceding the great battle of Waterloo, Vorwärts! always Vorwärts! (1742—1819.)
(Francis). Doge of Venice. He occupied the office for thirty—five years, added Brescia, Bergamo, Crema, and Ravenna to the Republic, greatly improved the city, and raised Venice to the pinnacle of its glory. Of his four sons only one, named Jacopo, survived: he was thrice tortured. Before his final banishment, the old doge, then eighty—four years of age, hobbled on crutches to the gaol where his son was confined, but would not mitigate the sentence of “The Ten.” His son, being banished to Candia, died, and Francis was deposed. As he descended the Giant Staircase he heard the bell toll for the election of his successor, and dropped down dead. (Byron; The Two Foscari. )
Jacopo Foscari. Denounced by the Council of Ten for taking bribes of foreign powers. He was tried before his own father, confessed his guilt, and was banished. During his banishment a Venetian senator was murdered, and Jacopo, being suspected of complicity in the crime, was again tortured and banished. He returned to Venice, was once more brought before the council, subjected to torture, and banished to Candia, where in a few days he died.
“Nothing can sympathise with Foscari —
Not e'en a Foscari.”
Byron: The Two Foscari.
(Corporal). An attendant on Lieutenant Worthington. A similar character to Trim in Sterne's Tristram Shandy. (G. Colman: The Poor Gentleman.)
Foss—way One of the four principal highways made by the Romans in England, leading from Cornwall to Lincoln. It had a foss or ditch on each side of it. (See Ermine Street.)
Fossa et Furca
[pit and gallows ]. An ancient privilege granted by the Crown to its vassals, to cast female felons into a ditch, and hang male ones on a gallows.
According to Wharton (Law Dictionary), this furca is not the Latin word, but the Hebrew farkah, to divide. Hence also the servile tenure called Furcam et Flagellum.
Things dug up, animal and vegetable remains dug out of the earth. (Latin, fodio, to dig up.)
“Many other bodies, which, because we discover them by digging into the bowels of the earth, are called by one common name —fossils, under which are comprehended metals and minerals.” [Not now.] — Locke.
Foster Brother or Sister. One brought up by the same nurse.
A foster—child is one brought up by those who are not its real parents. (Saxon, fostrian, Danish fostrer, to nurse.)
“Wilbraham has fou—drunk” — i.e. is despicably drunk, dead drunk. French, fou, “mad,” as fou—enragé; or simply fu', i.e. “full,” “intensive,” as in full—oft, “full—well ye reject the commandment of God” (Mark vii. 9).
A proof is a rough impression of a manuscript set up in type, or of a drawing engraved, for the author's correction. The proof with many faults is a foul proof, but the “pull,” after the errors are corrected, is termed a clean proof. These impressions are called proofs because they must be approved of by author and reader before they are finally printed.
Commodore Byron, said to be as notorious for foul weather as Queen Victoria is for fine. (1723—1786.)
Admiral Sir John Norris, who died 1746.
Fountain of Death
In Jerusalem Delivered, the hermit tells Charles and Ubald of a fountain, the sight of which excites thirst, but those who taste its water die with laughter.
Pomponius Mela speaks of a fountain in the Fortunate Islands, “Qui potavere risu solvuntur in mortem.” Petrarch alludes to the same.
These fountains symbolise the pleasures of sin.
Fountain of Youth
A fountain supposed to possess the power of restoring youth. It was thought to be in one of the Bahama Islands.
The History of the Four Kings (Livre des Quatre Rois). A pack of cards. In a French pack the four kings are Charlemagne, David, Alexander, and Caesar, representatives of the Franco—German, Jewish or Christian, Macedonian, and Roman monarchies.
containing the name of God, and called by Rabbins “tetragrammaton.” Thus, in Hebrew, JHVH (JeHoVaH); in Greek, Theos ; in Latin, Deus; in French, Dieu; in Assyrian, Adat; Dutch, Godt; German, Gott; Danish, Godh; Swedish, Goth; Persian, Soru; Arabic, Alla; Cabalistic, Agla; Egyptian, Sanskrit, Deva; Spanish, Dios; Italian, Idio; Scandinavian, Odin, etc.
This probably is a mere coincidence, but it is worthy of note.
Michael and Cucoirighe O'Clerighe, Maurice and Fearfeafa Conry, authors of the Annals of Donegal.
Fourierism A communistic system, so called from Charles Fourier, of Besançon. According to Fourier, all the world was to be cantoned into groups, called phalansteries, consisting each of 400 families or 1,800 individuals, who were to live in a common edifice, furnished with workshops, studios, and all sources of amusement. The several groups were at the same time to be associated together under a unitary government, like the Cantons of Switzerland or the States of America. Only one language was to be admitted; all the gains of each phalanstery were to belong to the common purse; and though talent and industry were to be rewarded, no one was to be suffered to remain indigent, or without the enjoyment of certain luxuries and public amusement (1772—1837).
French communists, so called from Charles Fourier. (See above.)
in its connection with Henri IV. and Louis XIV. The following are curious and strange coincidences:
14 letters in the name Henri—de—Bourbon. He was the 14th king of France and Navarre on the extinction of the family of Navarre. He was born on Dec. 14, 1553, the sum of which year amounts to 14; he was assassinated on May 14, 1610; and lived 4 times 14 years, 14 weeks, and 4 times 14 days.
14 May, 1552, was born Marguerite de Valois, his first wife.
14 May, 1588, the Parisians rose in revolt against him, because he was a “heretic.”
14 March, 1590, he won the great battle of Ivry.
14 May, 1590, was organised a grand ecclesiastical and military demonstration against him, which drove him from the faubourgs of Paris.
14 Nov., 1590, the Sixteen took an oath to die rather than submit to a “heretic” king.
It was Gregory XIV. who issued a Bull excluding Henri from the throne. 14 Nov., 1592, the Paris parlement registered the papal Bull.
14 Dec., 1599, the Duke of Savoy was reconciled to Henri IV.
14 Sept., 1606, was baptised the dauphin (afterwards Louis XIII.), son of Henri IV. 14 May, 1610, Henry was assassinated by Ravaillac.
For the dates see Histoire de France, by Bordier and Churton (1859). LOUIS XIV.
14th of the name. He mounted the throne 1643, the sum of which figures equals 14. He died 1715, the sum of which figures also equals 14. He reigned 77 years, the sum of which two figures equals 14. He was born 1638, died 1715, which added together equals 3353, the sum of which figures comes to 14. Such a strange combination is probably without parallel.
(A Stock Exchange warning). It is to give notice that a stranger has entered 'Change. The term was in use in Defoe's time.
Fourth Estate of the Realm
(The). The daily press. The most powerful of all. Burke, referring to the Reporters' Gallery, said, “Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, more important than them all.”
Fourth of July
(The). The great national holiday of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was July 4, 1776.
(Henry the Fowler). Heinrich I., King of Germany, was so called, because when the deputies announced to him his election to the throne, they found him fowling with a hawk on his fist (876, 919—936). This tradition is not mentioned by any historian before the eleventh century; but since that period numerous writers have repeated the story. He was called in Latin, Henricus Auceps.
Fox (The old). Marshal Soult was so nicknamed, from his strategic talents and fertility of resources. (1769—1851.) (See Reynard.)
Antipathy to foxes. Speaking of natural antipathies, Shakespeare makes Shylock say:
“Some men there be love not a gaping pig,
Some that are mad if they behold a cat.”
Tycho Brahé would faint at sight of a fox, Marshal d'Albret at sight of a pig, Henri III. at sight of a cat. (See Antipathy.)
A wise fox will never rob his neighbour's hen—roost, because it would soon be found out. He goes farther from home where he is not known.
Every fox must pay his skin to the furrier. The crafty shall be taken in their own wiliness.
“Tutte le volpi si trovano in pellicaria.” — Italian Proverb.
To set a fox to keep the geese. (Latin, “Ovem lupo committere. “) He entrusted his money to sharpers. Fox (That). So our Lord called Herod Antipas, whose crafty policy was thus pointed at, “Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils” (St. Luke xiii. 32). (B.C. 4 — A.D. 39.)
Herod Agrippa I. (A.D. 41—44.) Herod Agrippa II. (A.D. 52—100.)
An Old English broadsword.
A correspondent of Notes and Queries (May 2nd, 1891, p. 356) says: “The swords were manufactured by Julian del Rei of Toledo, whose trade—mark was a little dog, mistaken for a fox.” The usual derivation is the Latin falx, French fauchon, our falchion.
“O signieur Dew, thou diest on point of fox,
Except, O signieur, thou do give to me
Shakespeare: Henry V., iv. 4.
“I had a sword, ay, the flower of Smithfield for a sword, a right fox i' faith.” — Two Angry Women of Abington (1599).
(To). To steal or cheat; to fub; also “to shadow” a suspect; to watch without seeming so to do. A dog, a fox, and a weasel sleep, as they say, “with one eye open.”
— i.e. fause or “false fire,” the phosphoric light, without heat, which plays round decaying matter.
I gave him a flap with a fox—tail. I cajoled him; made a fool of him. The fox—tail was one of the badges of the motley, and to flap with a fox—tail is to treat one like a fool.
(A). A sleep with one eye on the qui vive. Assumed indifference to what is going on. (See above.)
A book stained with reddish—brown marks is said to be foxed. Of course, the stain is so called because it is of the colour of a fox.
called by the Welsh Fairy's glove and by the Irish Fairy—bells, is either a corruption of Folk's glove — i.e. the glove of the good folks or fairies, or else of the Saxon fox [es]glofa, red or fox—coloured glove. (French, gants de Notre Dame.)
Foxites (2 syl.). The Quakers. So called from George Fox, who organised the sect (1624—1690).
“His muzzle, formed of opposition stuff,
Firm as a Foxite, would not lose its ruff.”
Dr. Wolcott [Peter Pindar]:The Razor Seller.
Strong—smelling, or red—haired; like a fox.
(Michele Pozza). A celebrated brigand and renegade monk, who evaded pursuit for many years amidst the mountains of Calabria. (1760—1806.) Auber has made him the subject of an opera.
Father of Ferrgas, the giant, and son of Morgante.
“Primus erat quidam Fracassus prole gigantis,
Cujus stirps olim Morganto venit ab illo,
Qui bacchioconem campanæ ferre solebat, Cum quo mille hominum colpos fracasset in uno.” Merlin Cocaius (i.e. Théophile Folengo ): Histoire Macaronique (1606).
[Brother Doubt ], says Spenser, wooed and won Duessa (False—faith); but one day, while she was bathing, discovered her to be a “filthy old hag,” and resolved to leave her. False—faith instantly metamorphosed him into a tree, and he will never be relieved till “he can be bathed from the well of living water.” (Faërie Queene, book i. 2.)
Frame of Mind
Disposition. A printer's frame is a stand on which the type is disposed; a founder's frame is a mould into which molten metal is disposed or poured; a weaver's frame is a loom where the silk or thread is disposed or stretched for quilting, etc.; a picture frame is an ornamental edging within which the picture is disposed; a mental frame, therefore, is the boundary within which the feelings of the mind are disposed.
The heraldic device of the city of Paris is a ship. As Sauval says. “L'ile de la cité est faite comme un grand navire enfoncé dans la vase, et échoué au fil de l'eau vers le milieu de la Seine. “ This form of a ship struck the heraldic scribes, who in the latter part of the Middle Ages emblazoned a ship on the shield of Paris.
A Venetian maiden, daughter of Minotti, governor of Corinth. She loved Alp, and tried to restore him to his country and faith; but, as he refused to recant, gave him up, and died broken—hearted. (Byron: Siege of Corinth.)
Francesca da Rimini
Daughter of Guido da Polenta, Lord of Ravenna. Her story is told in Dante's Inferno (canto v.). She was married to Lanciotto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, but committed adultery with Paolo, her husband's brother. Both were put to death by him in 1389. Leigh Hunt has a poem, and Silvio Pellico a tragedy, on the subject.
(St.). Impecuniosity; being moneyless. Those of the Order of St. Francis were not allowed to carry any money about them.
“I saw another case of gentlemen of St. Francis's distemper.” — Rabelais: Pantagruel, v. 21.
or Minorites (3 syl.). Founded in 1208 by St. Francis of Assisi, who called poverty “his bride.” Poverty was the ruling principle of the order. Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon, Cardinal Ximenës, Ganganelli, etc.,
were of this order.
Called Franciscans, from the name of their founder.
Minorites, from their professed humility.
Grey Friars, from the colour of their outer garment.
Mendicants, because they were one of the Begging or mendicant order.
The Franciscan Sisters were known as Clares, or Poor Clares, Minoresses, Mendicants, and Urbanites.
A powerful Roman family. So called from their benevolent distribution of bread during a famine.
Frangipani. A delicious perfume, made of spices, orris—root, and musk, in imitation of real Frangipani. Mutio Frangipani, the famous Italian botanist, visited the West Indies in 1493. The sailors perceived a delicious fragrance as they neared Antigua, and Mutio told them it proceeded from the Plumeria Alba. The plant was re—named Frangipani, and the distilled essence received the same name.
is pudding made of broken bread. (Frangere, to break; panis, bread.)
A name given by the Turks, Greeks, and Arabs to any of the inhabitants of the western parts of Europe, as the English, Italians, Germans, Spaniards, French, etc.
Neighbours bound for each other's good conduct. Hallam says every ten men in a village were answerable for each other, and if one of them committed an offence the other nine were bound to make reparation. The word means the security given by Franklins or free—men.
in Chaucer, resembles one in Boccaccio (Decameron, Day x. No. 5), and one in the fifth book of his Philocope. (See Dorigen.)
(3 syl.). A young student, who made a soulless monster out of fragments of men picked up from churchyards and dissecting—rooms, and endued it with life by galvanism. The tale, written by Mrs. Shelley, shows how the creature longed for sympathy, but was shunned by everyone. It was only animal life, a parody on the creature man, powerful for evil, and the instrument of dreadful retribution on the student, who usurped the prerogative of the Creator.
“The Southern Confederacy will be the soulless monster of Frankenstein.” — Charles Sumner.
Mrs. Shelley, unfortunately, has given no name to her monster, and therefore he is not unfrequently called “Frankenstein” when alluded to. This, of course, is an error, but Frankenstein's monster is a clumsy substitute.
“I believe it would be impossible to control the Frankenstein we should have ourselves created.” — Sir John Lubbock (a speech, 1886).
People of Frankfort.
The Polish Franklin. Thaddeus Czacki (1765—1813).
A night in June destructive to apple— and pear—trees. The tale is that one Frankum offered sacrifice in his orchard for an extra fine crop, but a blight ensued, and his trees were unproductive.
Brain—struck (Greek, phren, the heart as the seat of reason), madness being a disorder of the understanding.
“Cebel's frantic rites have made them mad.”
Fraserian One of the eighty—one celebrated literary characters of the 19th century published in Fraser's Magazine (1830—1838). Amongst them are Harrison Ainsworth, the countess of Blessington, Brewster, Brougham, Bulwer, Campbell, Carlyle, Cobbett, Coleridge, Cruikshank, Allan Cunningham, D'Israeli (both Isaac and Benjamin), Faraday, Gleig, Mrs. S. C. Hall, Hobhouse, Hogg (the Ettrick shepherd), Theodore Hook, Leigh Hunt, Washington Irving, Knowles, Charles Lamb, Miss Landon, Dr. Lardner, Lockhart, Harriet Martineau, Dr. Moir, Molesworth, Robert Montgomery, Thomas Moore, Jane Porter, Sir Walter Scott, Sydney Smith, Talfourd, Talleyrand, Alaric Watts, Wordsworth, and others to the number of eighty—one.
(The) consists of twenty—seven persons: Maginn. On his right hand, Washington Irving, Mahony, Gleig, Sir E. Brydges, Carlyle, and Count d'Orsay. On his left hand, Barry Cornwall, Southey, Perceval Banks, Thackeray, Churchill, Serjeant Murphy, Macnish, and Harrison Ainsworth. Opposite are Coleridge, Hogg, Galt, Dunlop, Jerdan, Fraser, Croker, Lookhart, Theodore Hook, Brewster, and Moir.
An Abram—man (q.v.). (Latin, frater, a brother, one of the same community or society.)
A fiend mentioned by Edgar in the tragedy of King Lear.
“Frateretto calls me, and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware of the foul fiend.” — Act iii. 6.
The refectory of a monastery, or chief room of a frater—house. A frater is a member of a fraternity or society of monks. (Latin, frater, a brother.)
[Little Brethren ]. A sect of the Middle Ages, who claimed to be the only true Church, and threw off all subjection to the Pope, whom they denounced as an apostate. They wholly disappeared in the fifteenth century.
The Anglo—Saxon form of Frigga, wife of Odin. Our Friday is Frea's daeg.
Free A free and easy. A social gathering where persons meet together without formality to chat and smoke.
(francus bancus). The widow's right to a copyhold. It is not a dower or gift, but a free right independent of the will of the husband. Called bench because, upon acceding to the estate, she becomes a tenant of the manor, and one of the benchers, i.e. persons who sit on the bench occupied by the pares curiæ.
Free Coup (in Scotland) means a piece of waste land where rubbish may be deposited free of charge.
Roving companies of knights, etc., who wandered from place to place, after the Crusades, selling their services to anyone who would pay for them. In Italy they were termed Condottieri.
Free Lances of Life
(The). The Aspasias of fashion. The fair frail demi—monde.
Brethren of the Free Spirit. A fanatical sect, between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, diffused through Italy, France, and Germany. They claimed “freedom of spirit,” and based their claims on Romans viii. 2—14, “The law of the Spirit hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The Apostle of Free Trade. Richard Cobden (1804—65).
means a free rover. (Dutch, buiten, to rove, whence vrijbuiter; German, freibeuter, etc.)
“His forces consisted mostly of base people and freebooters.” — Bacon.
Freeholds Estates which owe no duty or service to any lord but the sovereign. (See Copyhold.)
(Mrs.). A name assumed by the Duchess of Marlborough in her correspondence with Queen Anne. The queen called herself Mrs. Morley.
Freeman of Bucks
A cuckold. The allusion is to the buck's horn. (See Horns.)
Drinking at Freeman's Quay. (See Drinking .)
In the Middle Ages a guild of masons specially employed in building churches. Called “free” because exempted by several papal bulls from the laws which bore upon common craftsmen, and exempt from the burdens thrown on the working classes.
St. Paul's, London, in 604, and St. Peter's, Westminster, in 605, were built by Freemasons. Gundulph (bishop of Rochester), who built the White Tower, was a “Grand Master;” so was Peter of Colechurch, architect of Old London Bridge. Henry VII.'s chapel, Westminster, was the work of a Master Mason; so were Sir Thomas Gresham (who planned the Royal Exchange), Inigo Jones, and Sir Christopher Wren. Covent Garden theatre was founded in 1808 by the Prince of Wales in his capacity of “Grand Master.”
“Before the beginning of the 13th century the corporation of freemasons was not sufficiently organised to have had much influence on art.” — J. Fergusson: Historic Archaeology, vol. i. part ii. chap. viii. p. 527.
The lady Freemason was the Hon. Miss. Elizabeth St. Leger, daughter of Lord Doneraile, who (says the tale) hid herself in an empty clock—case when the lodge was held in her father's house, and witnessed the proceedings. She was discovered, and compelled to submit to initiation as a member of the craft.
(Sir Andrew). A London merchant, industrious, generous, and of great good sense. He was one of the members of the hypothetical club under whose auspices the Spectator was published.
is Portland stone, which cuts freely in any direction.
One who thinks unbiassed by revelation or ecclesiastical canons, as deists and atheists.
“Atheist is an old—fashioned word. I am a freethinker.” — Addison.
We generally mean by this expression that degree of Fahrenheit's thermometer which indicates the temperature of frozen water — viz. 32 above zero. If we mean any other liquid we add the name, as the freezing—point of milk, sulphuric ether, quicksilver, and so on. In Centigrade and Réaumur's instruments zero marks the freezing—point.
(pronounce fry—shoots), the free—shooter, a legendary German archer in league with the Devil, who gave him seven balls, six of which were to hit infallibly whatever the marksman aimed at, and the seventh was to be directed according to the will of his copartner. F. Kind made the libretto, and Weber set to music, the opera based on the legend, called Der Freischütz.
Freki and Geri The two wolves of Odin.
Brandy. In France it is extremely general to drink after dinner a cup of coffee with a glass of brandy in it instead of cream. This “patent digester” is called a Gloria.
French Leave To take French leave. To take without asking leave or giving any equivalent. The allusion is to the French soldiers, who in their invasions take what they require, and never wait to ask permission of the owners or pay any price for what they take.
The French retort this courtesy by calling a creditor an Englishman (un Anglais, a term in vogue in the sixteenth century, and used by Clement Marot. Even to the present hour, when a man excuses himself from entering a café or theatre, because he is in debt, he says: “Non, non! je suis Anglé ' (“I am cleared out").
“Et aujourd'huy je faictz soliciter
Tous me angloys.”
Guillaume Creton (1520).
French leave. Leaving a party, house, or neighbourhood without bidding goodbye to anyone; to slip away unnoticed.
French of Stratford atte Bowe
“And French, she [the nun] spak full, faire and fetysly,
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
For French of Parys was to hire unknowe.”
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (The Prologue ).
Done like a Frenchman, turn and turn again (1 Henry VI., iii. 4). The French are usually satirised by mediæval English authors as a fickle, wavering nation. Dr. Johnson says he once read a treatise the object of which was to show that a weathercock is a satire on the word Gallus (a Gaul or cock).
Frenchman. The nickname of a Frenchman is “Crapaud” (q.v.), “Johnny” or “Jean,” “Mossoo,” “Robert Macaire” (q.v.); but of a Parisian “Grenouille” (Frog). (See Brissotins.)
“They stand erect, they dance whene'er they walk;
Monkeys in action, parroquets in talk.”
French Canadian, “Jean Baptiste.” French Peasantry, “Jacques Bonhomme.” French Reformers, “Brissotins” (q.v.).
means fresh—painting, or rather paint applied to walls while the plaster is fresh and damp. Only so much plaster must be spread as the artist can finish painting before he retires for the day. There are three chambers in the Pope's palace at Rome done in fresco by Raphael Urbino and Julio Romano; at Fontainebleau there is a famous one, containing the travels of Ulysses in sixty pieces, the work of several
artists, as Bollame'o, Martin Rouse, and others.
“A fading frescoe here demands a sigh.” Pope.
at college, is a man not salted. It was anciently a custom in the different colleges to play practical jokes on the new—comers. One of the most common was to assemble them in a room and make them deliver a speech. Those who acquitted themselves well had a cup of caudle; those who passed muster had a caudle with salt water; the rest had the salt water only. Without scanning so deeply, “fresh—man” may simply mean a fresh or new student. (See Bejan.)
An enchanter introduced into the romance of Don Belianis of Greece.
“Truly I can't tell whether it was Freston or Friston; but sure I am that his name ended in `ton.' ” — Don Quixote.
Son of Niörd, the Van. He was the Scandinavian god of fertility and peace, and the dispenser of rain. Frey was the patron god of Sweden and Iceland, he rode on the boar Gullinbursti, and his sword was self—acting. (See Gerda.)
Niörd was not of the Æsir. He, with his son and daughter, presided over the sea, the clouds, the air, and water generally. They belonged to the Vanir.
Daughter of Niörd, goddess of love. She was the wife of Odin, who deserted her because she loved finery better than she loved her husband. Her chariot was drawn by two cats, and not by doves like the car of Venus. (Scandinavian mythology.)
A curtal Friar. (See Curtal .)
in printing. A part of the sheet which has failed to receive the ink, and is therefore left blank. As Caxton set up his printing—press in Westminster Abbey, it is but natural to suppose that monks and friars should give foundation to some of the printers' slang. (See Monk.)
is an historical character overlaid with legends. It is said that he “raised mists and vapours which befriended Edward IV. at the battle of Barnet.”
“[Friar Bungay is] the personification of the charlatan of science in the 15th century.” — Lord Lytton [Bulwer Lytton]:The Last of the Barons.
in Dryden's Spanish Friar, designed to ridicule the vices of the priesthood.
Designed to ridicule the pulpit oratory of Spain in the eighteenth century; full of quips and cranks, tricks and startling monstrosities. (Joseph Isla: Life of Friar Gerund, 1714—1783.)
A tall, lean, wide—mouthed, long—nosed friar of Seville, who dispatched his matins with wonderful celerity, and ran through his vigils quicker than any of his fraternity. He swore lustily, and was a Trojan to fight. When the army from Lerne pillaged the convent vineyard, Friar John seized the staff of a cross and pummelled the rogues most lustily. He beat out the brains of some, crushed the arms of others, battered their legs, cracked their ribs, gashed their faces, broke their thighs, tore their jaws, dashed in their teeth, dislocated their joints, that never corn was so mauled by the thresher's flail as were these pillagers by the “baton of the cross.” (Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, book i. 27.)
“If a joke more than usually profane is to be uttered, Friar John is the spokesman. ... A mass of lewdness, debauchery, profanity, and valour.” — Foreign Quarterly Review.
, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Friar Rush A house—spirit, sent from the infernal regions in the seventeenth century to keep the monks and friars in the same state of wickedness they were then in. The legends of this roysterer are of German origin. (Brüder Rausch, brother Tipple.)
Chaplain and steward of Robin Hood. Introduced by Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe. He is a pudgy, paunchy, humorous, self—indulgent, and combative clerical Falstaff. His costume consisted of a russet habit of the Franciscan order, a red corded girdle with gold tassel, red stockings, and a wallet. A friar was nicknamed tuck, because his dress was tucked by a girdle at the waist. Thus Chaucer says, “Tucked he was, as is a frere about.”
“In this our spacious isle I think there is not one
But he hath heard some talk of Hood and Little John; Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.” Drayton: Polyolbion, s.26.
The outstanding upright stone at Stonehenge is so called. Geoffrey of Monmouth says the devil bought the stones of an old woman in Ireland, wrapped them up in a wyth, and brought them to Salisbury plain. Just before he got to Mount Ambre the wyth broke, and one of the stones fell into the Avon, the rest were carried to the plain. After the fiend had fixed them in the ground, he cried out, “No man will ever find out how these stones came here.” A friar replied, “That's more than thee canst tell,” whereupon the foul fiend threw one of the stones at him and struck him on the heel. The stone stuck in the ground, and remains so to the present hour.
Sir W. Scott calls Jack o'Lantern Friar Rush. This is an error, as Rush was a domestic spirit, and not a field esprit follet. He got admittance into monasteries, and played the monks sad pranks, but is never called “Jack.” Sir Walter Scott seems to have considered Friar Rush the same as “Friar with the Rush
(light),” and, therefore, Friar with the Lantern or Will o' the Wisp.
“Better we had through mire and bush
Been lanthorn—led by Friar Rush.”
Sir Walter Scott: Marmion.
Milton also (in his L'Allegro calls Will o' the Wisp a friar, probably meaning Friar Rush:
“She was pinched, and pulled, she said;
And he by Friar's lantern led.”
but “Rush” in this name has nothing to do with the verb rush [about] or rush [light]. It is the German Brüder Rausch, called by the Scandinavians Broder Ruus. (Scandinavian, ruus, intoxication, in German rausch, which shows us at once that Friar Rush was the spirit of inebriety. (See Robin Goodfellow.)
[brothers ]. Applied to the four great religious orders — Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, and Carmelites. Later, a fifth order was added — that of the Trinitarians. The first two were called Black and Grey friars, the Carmelites were called White friars, and the Trinitarians Crutched friars (q.v. ).
Friars (See Black .)
(Fratres majores). The Dominicans.
(Fratres minores). The Franciscans.
A certain archdeacon had a sumpnour, who acted as his secret spy, to bring before him all offenders. One day as he was riding forth on his business he met the devil disguised as a yeoman, swore eternal friendship, and promised to “go snacks” with him. They first met a carter whose cart stuck in the road, and he cried in his anger, “The devil take it, both horse and cart and hay!” Soon the horse drew it out of the slough, and the man cried, “God bless you, my brave boy!” “There,” said the devil, “is my own true brother, the churl spake one thing but he thought another.” They next came to an old screw, and the sumpnour declared he would squeeze twelve pence out of her for sin, “though of her he knew no wrong;” so he knocked at her door and summoned her “for cursing” to the archdeacon's court, but said he would overlook the matter for twelve pence, but she pleaded poverty and implored mercy. “The foul fiend fetch me if I excuse thee,” said the sumpnour, whereat the devil replied that he would fetch him that very night, and, seizing him round the body, made off with him. (Chaucer: Canterbury Tales.
An effeminate coxcomb of weak nerves, in Garrick's farce of Miss in her Teens.
Friday is the Mahometan Sabbath. It was the day on which Adam was created and our Lord was crucified. The Sabeans consecrate it to Venus or Astarte. (See Frea.)
Friday is Frig—daeg = dies Verneris, called in French Vendredi, which means the same thing. It was regarded by the Scandinavians as the luckiest day of the week. (See below, Friday, Unlucky.
Friday. Fairies and all the tribes of elves of every description, according to mediæval romance, are converted into hideous animals on Friday, and remain so till Monday. (See the romance of Guerino Meschino, and others.)
Black Friday. (See Black.) Long Friday, Good Friday, long being a synonym of great. Thus Mrs. Quickly says, “'Tis a long loan for a poor lone woman to bear” (2 Henry IV. ii. 1), and the Scotch proverb, “Between you and the long day” — i.e. the great or judgment day. Good Friday in Danish is Langfiedag, and in Swedish Längfredag.
Friday A man Friday. A faithful and submissive attendant, ready to turn his hand to anything.
My man Friday. The young savage found by Robinson Crusoe on a Friday, and kept as his servant and companion on the desert island.
(London). The street of fishmongers who served Friday markets. (Stow.)
Friday and Columbus
Friday, August 3rd, 1492, Columbus started on his voyage of discovery. Friday, October 12th, 1492, he first sighted land. Friday, January 4th, 1493, he started on his return journey. Friday, March 12th, 1493, he safely arrived at Palos. Friday, November 22nd, 1493, he reached Hispaniola in his second expedition. Friday, June 13th, 1494, he discovered the continent of America.
Friday and the United States
Friday, June 17th 1775, was fought the battle of Bunker's Hill. Friday, July 17th, 1776, the motion was made by John Adams that the United States are and ought to be independent, Friday, October 17th, 1777, Saratoga surrendered. Friday, September 22nd, 1780, the treason of Arnold was exposed. To these Fridays should be added:
Friday, July 13th, 1866, the Great Eastern sailed from Valentia, and on Friday, July 27th, 1866, landed safely with the cable at Heart's Ease, Newfoundland.
Friday a Lucky Day
Sir William Churchill says, “Friday is my lucky day. I was born, christened, married, and knighted on that day; and all my best accidents have befallen me on a Friday.”
In Scotland Friday is a choice day for weddings. Not so in England.
He who laughs on Friday will weep on Sunday. Sorrow follows in the wake of joy. The line is taken from Racine's comedy of Les Plaideurs.
Friday, an Unlucky Day Because it was the day of our Lord's crucifixion; it is accordingly a fast—day in the Roman Catholic Church. Soames says, “Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and died on a Friday.” (Anglo—Saxon Church, p. 255.)
“But once on a Friday ('tis ever they say),
A day when misfortune is aptest to fall.”
Saxe: Good Dog of Bretté, stanza 3.
In Spain, Friday is held to be an unlucky day. So is it esteemed by Buddhists and Brahmins. The old Romans called it nefastus, from the utter overthrow of their army at Gallia Narbonensis. And in England the proverb is that a Friday moon brings foul weather.
(A). The second in a duel, as “Name your friend,” “Captain B. acted as his friend.”
“Mr. Baillie was to have acted as Disraeli's friend, if there had been a duel between that statesman and Daniel O'Connell.” — Newspaper paragraph (December, 1885).
Better kinde frend than fremd kinde (motto of the Waterton family) means “better kind friend (i.e. neighbour) than a kinsman who dwells in foreign parts.” Probably it is Prov. xxvii. 10, “Better is a neighbour that is near, than a brother far off.” In which case fremd would be = stranger. Better a kind friend than a kinsman who is a stranger.
Friend at Court
properly means a friend in a court of law who watches the trial, and tells the judge if he can nose out an error; but the term is more generally applied to a friend in the royal court, who will whisper a good word for you to the sovereign at the proper place and season. (See Amicus Curiae.)
Friend in Need
(A). A friend in need is a friend indeed. “Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. “
Friend of Man
Marquis de Mirabeau. So called from one of his works, L'Ami des Hommes (5 vols.). This was the father of the great Mirabeau, called by Barnave “the Shakespeare of eloquence.” (1715—1789.)
Friends ... Enemies
Our friends the enemy. When, on April 1, 1814, the allied armies entered Paris, Sir George Jackson tells us he heard a viva pass along the streets, and the shout “nos amis, nos ennemis. “
(A). A suit brought by a creditor against an executor, to compel all the creditors to accept an equal distribution of the assets.
Achilles and Patroclos, Greeks.
Amys and Amylion (q.v.), Feudal History. Baccio (Fra Bartholomew) and Mariotto,artists. Basil and Gregory.
Burke and Dr. Johnson.
Christ and the “Beloved disciple,” New Testament. Damon and Pythias, Syracusans.
David and Jonathan,Old Testament.
Diomedes and Sthenalos,Greeks.
Epaminondas and Pelopidas,Greeks.
Goethe and Schiller. (See Carlyle:Schiller, p. 168.) Hadrian and Antinous.
Harmodois and Aristogiton, Greeks.
Hercules [Herakles] and Iolaos, Greeks.
Idomonenus (4 syl.), and Merion, Greeks.
Maurice (F. D.), and C. Kingsley.
Montaigne and Etienne de la Boëtie,French. Nisus and Euryalus, Trojans.
Pylades and Orestes, Greeks.
Sacharissa and Amoret, Syracusans.
Septimios and Alcander, Greeks.
Theseus (2 syl.) and Pyrithoos, Greeks.
William of Orange and Bentinck. (See Macaulay:History, i. p. 411.)
Elizabeth and the Earl of Essex.
Henry II. and Thomas Becket.
Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey.
Newman (J.H.) and Whately.
Wesley and Whitefield.
Other examples in other histories might be added; as
Brutus and Cæsar.
Innocent III and Otho IV. (See Milman: Latin Christianity, vol. v. p. 234.)
in the genealogy of Æsir, is the supreme goddess, wife of Odin, and daughter of the giant Fiörgwyn. She presides over marriages, and may be called the Juno of Asgard. (Scandinavian mythology.)
The second rank of people among the ancient Saxons. (See Edhilingi.)
The Jews wore fringes to their garments. These fringes on the garments of the priests were accounted sacred, and were touched by the common people as a charm. Hence the desire of the woman who had the issue of blood to touch the fringe of our Lord's garment. (Matt. ix. 20—22.)
Rubbish of a tawdry character; worthless finery; foolish levity. A friperer or fripperer is one who deals in frippery, either to sell or clean old clothes. (French, friperie, old clothes and cast—off furniture.)
“We know what belongs to a frippery.”
Shakespeare: Tempest iv. 1.
“Old clothes, cast dresses, tattered rags,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit.” Ben Jonson.
Frippery properly means rags and all sorts of odds and ends. French, fripe (a rag), friperie (old clothes and furniture), fripier (a broker of old clothes, etc.). Applied to pastry. Eugène Grandet says, “En Anjou la `frippe' exprime l'accompagnement du pain, depuis le beurre plus distinguée des frippes. “
The light frame of the printing—press, which folds down upon the tympan (q.v.) over the sheet of paper to be printed. Its object is two—fold — to hold the sheet in its place and to keep the margins clean. It is called frisket because it frisks or skips up and down very rapidly — i.e. the pressman opens it and shuts it over with great alacrity, the movement being called “flying the frisket.”
By frith and fell. By wold and wild, wood and common. Frith is the Welsh frith or friz, and means a “woody place.” Fell is the German fels (rock), and means barren or stony places, a common.
(pron. Frit—yoff) means “peace—maker.” In the Icelandic myths he married Ingëborg (In—ge—boy'—e), the daughter of a petty king of Norway, and widow of Hring, to whose dominions he succeeded. His adventures are recorded in the Saga which bears his name, and which was written at the close of the thirteenth century.
Angurvadel (stream of anguish). (See Sword.)
(Old Fritz). Frederick II. the Great, King of Prussia (1712, 1740—1786).
A frog and mouse agreed to settle by single combat their claims to a marsh; but, while they fought, a kite carried them both off. (Æsop: Fables, clxviii.)
“Old Æsop's fable, where he told
What fate unto the mouse and frog befel.” Cary: Dante, cxxiii.
Nic Frog is the Dutchman (not Frenchman) in Arbuthnot's History of John Bull. Frogs are called “Dutch, nightingales.”
Carrying an obstreperous prisoner, face downwards, by his four limbs.
Frenchmen, properly Parisians. So called from their ancient heraldic device, which was three frogs or three toads. “Qu'en disent les grenouilles? ” — What will the frogs (people of Paris) say? — was in 1791 a common court phrase at Versailles. There was a point in the pleasantry when Paris was a quagmire, called Lutetia (mud—land) because, like frogs or toads, they lived in mud, but now it is quite an anomaly. (See Crapaud.)
Frogs. The Lycian shepherds were changed into frogs for mocking Latona. (Ovid: Metamorphoses, vi. 4.)
“As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
Railed at Latona's twin—born progeny.”
Milton: Sonnet, vii.
It may be all fun to you, but it is death to the frogs. The allusion is to the fable of a boy stoning frogs for his amusement.
(Archdeacon Claude). A priest who has a great reputation for sanctity, but falls in love with a gipsy girl, and pursues her with relentless persecution because she will not yield to him. (Victor Hugo: Notre Dame de Paris.)
(1 syl.). A political squabble during the ministry of Cardinal Mazarin, in the minority of Louis XIV. (1648—1653). The malcontents were called Frondeurs, from a witty illustration of a councillor, who said that they were “like schoolboys who sling stones about the streets. When no eye is upon them they are bold as bullies; but the moment a `policeman' approaches, away they scamper to the ditches for concealment"
(Montglat). The French for a sling is fronde, and for slingers, frondeurs.
“It was already true that the French government was a despotism ... and as speeches and lampoons were launched by persons who tried to hide after they had shot their dart, some one compared them to children with a sling (fronde), who let fly a stone and run away.” — C. M. Yonge: History of France, chap. viii. p.136.
A backbiter; one who throws stones at another.
“`And what about Diebitsch?' began another frondeur.” — Vera, p. 200.
(See Horse .)
Jack Frost. The personification of frost.
“Jack Frost looked forth one still, clear night,
And he said, `Now I shall be out of sight:
So over the valley and over the height
In silence I'll take my way.'“
(See Ice Saints .)
(Master). “A foolish gentleman” in Measure for Measure.
Lord Froth. A pompous coxcomb in The Double Dealer, by Congreve.
This cat wanted to know what was good for life, and everyone gave her queer answers. The owl said, “Meditate, O cat;” and so she tried to think which could have come first, the fowl or the egg. (Short Studies on Great Subjects.)
“If I were to ask, like Froude's cat, `What is my duty?' you would answer, I suppose, like the sagacious animal in the parable, `Get your own dinner ... that is my duty, I suppose.”' — Edna Lyall: Donovan, chap. ix.
Architecture. So called by F. Schlegel.
appears to have been a household joke with the ancient Greeks, for Antiphanes applies it to the discourses of Plato: “As the cold of certain cities is so intense that it freezes the very words we utter, which remain congealed till the heat of summer thaws them, so the mind of youth is so thoughtless that the wisdom of Plato lies there frozen, as it were, till it is thawed by the ripened judgment of mature age.”
“The moment their backs were turned, little Jacob thawed, and renewed his crying from the point where Quilp had frozen him.” — Dickens: Old Curiosity Shop.
“Truth in person doth appear
Like words congealed in northern air.”
Butler: Hudibras, pt. i. 1, lines 147—8.
Everyone knows the incident of the “frozen horn” related by Munchausen. Pantagruel and his companions, on the confines of the Frozen Sea, heard the uproar of a battle, which had been frozen the preceding winter, released by a thaw. (Rabelais: Pantagruel, book iv. chap. 56.)
Frumentius (St.). Apostle of Ethiopia and the Abyssinians in the fourth century.
Children (a word of contempt). Get away, you young fry. It means properly a crowd of young fishes, and its application to children should be limited to those that obstruct your path, crowd about you, or stand in your way. (French, frai, spawn.)
Nothing to fry with (French). Nothing to eat; nothing to live on. (See Wide—nostrils.)
Out of the frying—pan into the fire. In trying to extricate yourself from one evil, you fell into a greater. The Greeks used to say, “Out of the smoke into the flame;” and the French say, “Tombre de la poële dans la braise. “
To steal, to prig. (French, fourbi, “a Jew who conceals a trap;” fourber, “to cheat;” four, “a false pocket for concealing stolen goods.”)
[a fox ]. A freshman of the first year in the German University. In the second year he is called a Bursch.
Fudge Not true, stuff, make—up. (Gaelic, ffug, deception; Welsh, ffug, pretence; whence ffugiwr, a pretender or deceiver.) A word of contempt bestowed on one who says what is absurd or untrue. A favourite expression of Mr. Burchell in the Vicar of Wakefield.
Fudge Family A series of metrical epistles by Thomas Moore, purporting to be written by a family on a visit to Paris. Sequel, The Fudge Family in England.
Fuel Adding fuel to fire. Saying or doing something to increase the anger of a person already angry. The French say, “pouring oil on fire.”
Fuga ad Salices
(A). An affectation or pretence of denial; as, when Cæsar thrice refused the crown in the Lupercal. A “nolo episcopari.” The allusion is to —
“Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella,
Et fugit ad salices, et se cupit ante videri.” Virgil: Ecloga, iii. 64, 65.
“Cranmer was not prepared for so great and sudden an elevation. Under pretence that the king's affairs still required his presence abroad, he tarried six months longer, in the hope that Henry might consign the crosier to some other hand. There was no affectation in this — no fuga ad salices. Ambition is made of sterner stuff than the spirit of Cranmer.” — Blunt: Reformation in England, 123.
German merchants, proverbial for their great wealth. “Rich as a Fugger” is common in Old English dramatists. Charles V. introduced some of the family into Spain, where they superintended the mines.
“I am neither an Indian merchant, nor yet a Fugger, but a poor boy like yourself.” — Gusman d'Alfarache.
means properly wingman, but is applied to a soldier who stands in front of men at drill to show them what to do. Their proper and original post was in front of the right wing. (German, Flügel, a wing.)
or Fullams. Loaded dice; so called from the suburb where the Bishop of London resides, which, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was the most notorious place for blacklegs in all England. Dice made with a
cavity were called “gourds.” Those made to throw the high numbers (from five to twelve) were called “high fullams” or “gourds,” and those made to throw the low numbers (from ace to four) were termed “low fullams” or “gourds.”
“For gourd and fullam holds
And `high' and `low' beguile the rich and poor.” Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 3.
Fulhams. Make—believes; so called from false or loaded dice. (See above. )
“Fulhams of poetic fiction.”
Butler: Hudibras, pt. ii. 1.
“Have their fulhams at command,
Brought up to do their feats at hand.”
Butler: Upon Gaming.
When all the hounds have caught the scent, and give tongue in chorus.
The dress worn on occasions of ceremony. If a man has no special costume, his “full dress” is a suit of black, open waiscoat, swallow—tailed coat, white neckcloth, and patent—leather boots or half—boots. Academicals are worn in the Universities and on official occasions; and full military dress is worn when an officer is on duty, at court, and at official fêtes, but otherwise, “evening dress" suffices.
(In). “En grande tenue. ” Probably “fig” is the contraction of figure in books and journals of fashion, and full fig. would mean the height of fashion. It is outrageous to refer the phrase to the fig—leaves used by Adam and Eve, by way of aprons. (See Fig.)
(In). Fully at work; very busy; in full operation.
“Ful” is the Anglo—Saxon fúl (foulness), not ful (full); “some” is the affix meaning united with, the basis of something; as, gladsome, mettlesome, gamesome, lightsome, frolicsome, etc., etc.
“No adulation was too fulsome for her [Elizabeth], no flattery of her beauty too great.” — Green: Short History of England, chap. viii. sec. 3, p. 376.
or Fung hwang. One of the four symbolical animals supposed to preside over the destinies of the Chinese Empire. It originated from the element of fire, was born in the Hill of the Sun's Halo, and has its body inscribed with the five cardinal virtues. It has the forepart of a goose, the hind—quarters of a stag, the neck of a snake, the tail of a fish, the forehead of a fowl, the down of a duck, the marks of a dragon, the back of a tortoise, the face of a swallow, the beak of a cock, is about six cubits high, and perches only on the woo—tung tree. It is this curious creature that is embroidered on the dresses of certain mandarins.
Fum the Fourth
“And where is Fum the Fourth, our royal bird.”
Byron: Don Juan, xi. 78.
(2 syl.). A tax for having a fire, mentioned in Domesday Book, and abolished by William III. (Latin, fumus, smoke.)
In a fume. In ill—temper, especially from impatience. The French say, “Fumer sans tabac; Fumer sans pipe ” (to put oneself into a rage). Smoking with rage, or rather with the ineffectual vapour of anger.
“A! Rignot, il est courageulx
Pour un homme avantureulx
Et terrible quant il se fume.”
L'Aventureulx (a farce).
To make fun of. To make a butt of; to ridicule; to play pranks on one. (Compare Irish fonn, delight.)
Like fun. Thoroughly, energetically, with delight.
“On'y look at the dimmercrats, see what they've done,
Jest simply by stickin' together like fun.”
Lowell: Biglow Papers (First series iv. stanza 5).
The sinking fund is money set aside by the Government for paying off a part of the national debt. This money is “sunk,” or withdrawn from circulation, for the bonds purchased by it are destroyed.
or Public Funds. Money lent at interest to Government on Government security. It means the national stock, which is the foundation of its operations.
A fall in the funds is when the quotation is lower than when it was last quoted. A rise in the funds is when the quotation is higher than it was before.
To be interested in the funds is to have money in the public funds. To be out of funds, out of money.
Funeral means a torchlight procession (from the Latin, funis, a torch), because funerals among the Romans took place at night by torchlight, that magistrates and priests might not be violated by seeing a corpse, and so be prevented from performing their sacred duties.
“Funus [a funeral], from fune or funalia [torches] ... originally made of ropes.” — Adams: Roman Antiquities (Funerals).
The custom of giving a feast at funerals came to us from the Romans, who not only feasted the friends of the deceased, but also distributed meat to the persons employed.
“Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” Shakespeare: Hamlet, i. 2.
Public games were held both in Greece and Rome in honour of the honoured dead. Examples of this custom are numerous: as at the death of Azan (son of Arcas, father of the Arcadians); the games instituted by Hercules at the death of Pelops; those held at the death of Œdipus; the games held by Achilles in honour of his friend Patroclos (Homer: Iliad, book xxiii.); those held by Æneas in honour of his father Anchises (Virgil: Æneid, book v.); the games held in honour of Miltides (Herodotos); those in honour of Brasidas (Thucydides ); and those in honour of Timoleon mentioned by Plutarch. The spectators at these games generally dressed in white.
A character in Every Man in His Humour, by Ben Jonson.
“Unlucky as Fungoso in the play.”
Pope: Essay on Criticism (328).
To be in a funk may be the Walloon “In de fonk zün, “ literally to “be in the smoke.” Colloquially to be in a state of trepidation from uncertainty or apprehension of evil.
A pun on the word humerus. It is the inner condyle of the humerus; or, to speak untechnically, the knob, or enlarged end of the bone terminating where the ulnar nerve is exposed at the elbow; the crazy bone. A knock on this bone at the elbow produces a painful sensation.
A corruption of falbala, a word in French, Italian, and Spanish to signify a sort of flounce.
“Flounced and furbelowed from head to foot.” — Addison.
(See Fossa and Forks.)
Furcam et Flagellum
(gallows and whip). The meanest of all servile tenures, the bondman being at the lord's mercy, both life and limb. (See Forks.)
(The Three). Tisiphone (Goel, or Avenger of blood), Alecto (Implacable), and Megæra (Disputatious). The best paintings of these divinities are those by Il Giottino (Thomas di Stefano) of Florence (1324—1356), Giulio Romano (1492—1546), Pietro da Cortona (1596—1669), and Titian (1477—1576).
Furies of the Guillotine
(The). The tricoteuses — that is, Frenchwomen who attended the Convention knitting, and encouraged the Commune in all their most bloodthirsty excesses. Never in any age or any country did women so disgrace their sex.
Furor Son of Occasion, an old hag, who was quite bald behind. Sir Guyon bound him “with a hundred iron chains and a hundred knots.” (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book ii.)
Rinaldo's sword is so called in Orlando Furioso. ( See Sword.)
“This awful sword was as dear to him as Durindana or Fusberta to their respective masters.” — Sir W. Scott.
Foot—soldiers that used to be armed with a fusil or light musket. The word is now a misnomer, as the six British and two Indian regiments so called carry rifles like those of the rest of the infantry.
Much ado about nothing. (Anglo—Saxon, fus, eager.)
“So full of figure, so full of fuss,
She seemed to be nothing but bustle.”
Hood: Miss Kilmansegg, part iii. stanza 12.
Stuff, bombast, pretentious words. Properly, a sort of cotton velvet. (French, futaine; Spanish, fustan, from Fustat in Egypt, where the cloth was first made.) (See Bombast; Camelot.)
“Discourse fustian with one's own shadow.” —
Shakespeare: Othello, ii. 3.
“Some scurvy quaint collection of fustian phrases, and uplandish words.” — Heywood: Faire Maide of the Exchange, ii. 2.
Isaac Taylor thinks this phrase means toper's words, and derives fustian from fuste, Old French for a cask, whence “fusty” (tasting of the cask). It may be so, but we have numerous phrases derived from materials of dress applied to speech, as velvet, satin, silken, etc. The mother of Artaxerxes said, “Those who address kings must use silken words.” In French, “faire patte de velour ” means to fatten with velvet words in order to seduce or win over.
(2 syl.) is that which will not hold together; inconsistent. A futile scheme is a design conceived in the mind which will not hold good in practice. (Latin, futio, to run off like water, whence futilis (See Scheme.)