Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
E. Cobham Brewer From The Edition Of 1894
this letter represents the wavy appearance of water, and is called in Hebrew mem (water).
Every word in the Materia more Magistralis begins with the letter m. (See C and P.)
(initial of manslaughter). The brand of a person convicted of that offence, and admitted to the benefit of clergy. It was burnt on the brawn of the left thumb.
in numerals is the initial of mille, a thousand.
“Whosoever prayeth for the soul of John Gower be shall, so oft as he so doth, have a M and a D days of pardon”— Gower's Tablet.
to represent the human face. Add two dots for the eyes, thus, `M'. These dots being equal to O's, we get OMO (homo) Latin for man.
“Who reads the name,
For man upon his forehead, there the M
Had traced most plainly.”
Dante: Purgatory, xxiii.
The five M's: Mansa, Matsya, Madya, Maithuna, and Mudra (flesh, fish, wine, women, and gesticulation). The five forms of Hindu asceticism.
i.e. Mac. A Gaelic prefix meaning son. (Gothic, magus, a son; Sanskrit, mah, to grow; Welsh, magu, to breed.) The Welsh ap is Mac changed to Map, and contracted into 'ap or 'p, as Apadam ('Ap Adam), Prichard ('P Richard).
or N in the Catechism. M is a contraction of NN (names); N is for name. The respondent is required to give his names if he has more than one, or his name if only one.
In the marriage service, M stands for mas (the man) or maritus (the bridegroom), and N for nupia (the bride).
There are some who think M stands for Mary, the patron saint of girls, and N for Nicholas, the patron saint of boys.
M. B. Waistcoat A clerical cassock waistcoat was so called (about 1830) when first introduced by the High Church party. M. B. means “mark of the beast.”
“He smiled at the folly which stigmatised an M.B. `waistcoat.”'— Mrs. Oliphant: Phoebe Juno, ii. 3.
The first woman that obtained this degree was Elizabeth Blackwell, of the United States (1849).
Member of Parliament, but in slang language Member of the Police.
manuscript; MSS., manuscripts; generally applied to literary works in penmanship. (Latin manuscriptum, that which is written by the hand.)
The “fairies' midwife”— i.e. employed by the fairies as midwife of dreams (to deliver man's brain of dreams). Thus when Romeo says, “I dreamed a dream to—night,” Mercutio replies, “Oh, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.” Sir Walter Scott follows in the same track: “I have a friend who is peculiarly favoured with the visits of Queen Mab,” meaning with dreams (The Antiquary). When Mab is called “queen,” it does not mean sovereign, for Titania was Oberon's wife, but simply female; both midwives and monthly nurses were anciently called queens or queans. Quen or cwén in Saxon means neither more nor less than woman; so “elf—queen,” and the Danish ellequinde, mean female elf, and not “queen of the elves.” Excellent descriptions of “Mistress Mab” are given by Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, i. 4), by Ben Jonson, by Herrick, and by Drayton in Nymphidea. (Mab, Welsh, a baby.)
It is said that the founder of this famous family was named Halfpenny, and lived in Dublin in the 18th century. Having prospered in business, he called himself Mr. Halpen. The family, still prospering, dropped the H, and added Mac (son of), making MacAlpen; and Kenny MacAlpen called himself Kenneth MacAlpin, the “descendant of a hundred kings.” True or not, the metamorphose is ingenious.
The proverb is that “MacFarlane's geese like their play better than their meat.” The wild geese of Inch—Tavoe (Loch Lomond) used to be called MacFarlane's Geese because the MacFarlanes had a house and garden on the island. It is said that these geese never returned after the extinction of that house. One day James VI. visited the chieftain, and was highly amused by the gambols of the geese, but the one served at table was so tough that the king exclaimed, “MacFarlane's geese like their play better than their meat.”
in Dryden's famous satire, is Thomas Shadwell, poet—laureate, whose immortality rests on the not very complimentary line, “Shadwell never deviates into sense.” (1640—1692.)
N.B. Flecknoe was an Irish Roman Catholic priest, doggerel sonneteer, and playwright. Shadwell, according to Dryden, was his double.
“The rest to some slight meaning make pretence,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.”
Dryden: MacFlecknoe, 19, 20.
used by degrees to eat less and less, but just as he had reduced her to a straw a day the poor beast died. This is an old Greek joke, which is well known to schoolboys who have been taught the Analecta Minora. (See Waverley, p. 54.)
The motto of the MacGregors is, “Een do and spair nocht,” said to have been given them in the twelfth century by the king of Scotland. While the king was hunting he was attacked by a wild boar, when Sir Malcolm requested permission to encounter the creature. “Een do,” said the king, “and spair nocht.” Whereupon the strong baronet tore up an oak sapling and despatched the enraged animal. For this defence the
king gave Sir Malcolm permission to use the said motto, and, in place of a Scotch fir, to adopt for crest an oak—tree cradicate, proper.
Another motto of the MacGregors is— “Sriogal mo dhream.”
Rob Roy MacGregor or Robert Campbell, the outlaw. A Highland freebooter, the hero of Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy. His wife's name is Helen, and their eldest son Hamish. In the Two Drovers MacGregor or MacCombich (Robin Oig) is a Highland drover.
(Captain Hector). Brother of Maria MacIntyre, the antiquary's niece, in Sir Walter Scott's Antiquary.
(Fergus). Chief of Glennaquoich, and brother of Flora MacIvor, the heroine of Waverley, by Sir W. Scott.
During the reign of David I. of Scotland, a younger brother of the chief of the powerful clan Chattan espoused the clerical life, and in due time became abbot of Kingussie. His elder brother died childless, and the chieftainship devolved on the abbot. He procured the needful dispensation from the Pope, married the daughter of the thane of Calder, and a swarm of little “Kingussies” was the result. The good people of Invernessshire called them the Mac—phersons, i.e. the sons of the parson.
The Honourable Miss Lucretia MacTab. A poor Scotch relative of Emily Worthington “on her deceased mother's side, and of the noble blood of the MacTabs.” She lived on the Worthingtons, always snubbing them for not appreciating the honour of such a noble hanger—on, and always committing the most ludicrous mistakes from her extravagant vanity and family pride. (George Colman: The Poor Gentleman.)
(Captain Mungo or Hecter). “The man of peace” at the Spa Hotel, and one of the managing committee. (Sir Walter Scott: St. Ronan's Well.)
The dance macaber. The Dance of the dead (q.v.) (French, dance macabre.) A dance over which Death presides, supposed to be executed by the dead of all ages and conditions. It is an allegory of the mortality of man, and was a favourite subject of artists and poets between the 13th and 15th centuries. It was originally written in German, then in Latin, and then in French. Some think Macaber was the name of the author, but others think the word is the Arabic makabir, a cemetery. The best illustrations are those by Minden, Lucerne, Lubeck, Dresden, and Basle. Holbein's painting is very celebrated
“What are these paintings on the wall around us? The dance macaber.” Longfellow: The Golden Legend.
(4 syl.). Using broken stones for road metal, and making the road convex instead of concave; a method introduced by Sir John L. Macadam (1756—1836)
(2 syl.). A favourite name in French plays, insomuch that Robert Macaire is sometimes used generically for a Frenchman. It is said that Aubrey de Montdidier was murdered in the forest of Bondy in 1371. His dog conceived such a hatred against Robert Macaire that suspicion was aroused, and it was resolved to pit the man and dog together. The result was fatal to the man, who died confessing his guilt. The story is found in a chanson de geste of the 12th century, called La Reine Sibile.
Macamut Sultan of Cambaya, who lived upon poison, with which he was so saturated that his breath or touch carried instant death. (Purchas.)
(French). The impersonation of good temper, in Voltaire's allegory of Thelème and Macare.
A coxcomb (Italian, un macceherone). The word is derived from the Macaroni Club, instituted by a set of flashy men who had travelled in Italy, and introduced Italian maccheroni at Almack's subscription table. The Macaronies were the most exquisite fops that ever disgraced the name of man; vicious, insolent, fond of gambling, drinking, and duelling, they were (about 1773) the curse of Vauxhall Gardens.
“We are indebted to the Macaronies for only two things: the one is the introduction of that excellent dish ... macaroni, and the other is the invention of that useful slang word `bore'
(boar), which originally meant any opponent of dandyism.”— Cassell's Magazine: London Legends.
An American regiment raised in Maryland during the War of Independence, was called The Macaronies from its showy uniform.
Dog Latin, or modern words with Latin endings. The law pleadings of G. Steevens, as Daniel v. Dishclout and Bullum v. Boatum, are excellent examples. (See Dog Latin .)
Maearonic Latin is a mixture of Latin and some modern language. In Italy macheroni is a mixture of coarse meal, eggs, and cheese.
Verses in which foreign words are ludicrously distorted and jumbled together, as in Porson's lines on the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon. (Lingo drawn for the Militia.) So called by Teofilo Folengo, a Mantuan monk of noble family, who published a book entitled Liber Macaronicorum, a poetical rhapsody made up of words of different languages, and treating of “pleasant matters” in a comical style (1520). Folengo is generally called Merlinus Coccaius, or Merlino Coccajo. (See preceding.) The Vigonce of Tossa was published in 1494. The following Latin verse is an hexameter;
“Trumpeter unus erat qui coatum scarlet habebat”
A. Cunningham published in 1801 a Delectus masaronicorum carminum, a history of macaronic poetry Cane carmen SIXPENCE, pera plena rye,
De multis atris avibus coctis in a pie:
Simul haec pertest, cantat omnis grex,
Nonne permirabile, quod vidit ille rex?
Dimidium rex esus, misit ad reginam
Quod reliquit illa, sending back catinum
Rex fuit in aerario, multo nummo turmens:
In culina Domina, bread and mel consumens, Ancellin horticulo, hanging out the clothes,
Quum descendens cornix rapuit her nose.
E. C. B.
(Shakespeare). The story is taken from Holinshed, who copied it from the History of Scotland, by Hector Boece or Boyce, in seventeen volumes (1527). The history, written in Latin, was translated by John Bellenden (1531—1535).
“History states that Macbeth slew Duncan at Bothgowan, near Elgin, in 1039, and not as Shakespeare says, at his castle of Inverness: the attack was made because Duncan had
usurped the throne, to which Macbeth had the better claim. As a king Macbeth proved a very just and equitable prince, but the partisans of Malcolm got head, and succeeded in deposing Macbeth, who was slain in 1056, at Lumphanan. He was thane of Cromarty [Glamis], and afterwards of Moray [Cawdor].— Lardner: Cabinet Cyclopoedia
Lady Macbeth. The wife of Macbeth. Ambition is her sin, and to gain the object of her ambition she hesitates at nothing. Her masterful mind sways the weaker Macbeth to “the mood of what she liked or loathed.” She is a Mede'a, or Catherine de' Medici, or Cæsar Borgia in female form. (Shakespeare Macbeth.) The real name of Lady Macbeth was Graoch, and instead of being urged to the murder of Duncan through ambition, she was goaded by deadly injuries. She was, in fact, the granddaughter of Kenneth IV., killed in 1003, fighting against Malcolm II.— Lardner: Cabinet Cyclopoedia, vol. i. 17, etc.
(Ephraim). An enthusiastic preacher in Sir Walter Scott's Old Mortality. This was the young preacher Maccaul so hideously tortured in the reign of Charles II. He died “in a rapture.” (See Cassell's History of England, Charles II., vol. iii. p. 422.)
The Hammerer. A surname given to Judas Asmonaeus; similar to “Martel,” the name given to Charles, son of Pepin He ristel, who beat down the Saracens as with a sledgehammer. Some think the name is a notarica or acrostic: Mi Camokah Baelim J ehovah (Who is like to thee among the gods, O Lord?). (Exodus
xv. 11.) (See Notarica .)
Lord Macdonald's breed. Parasites. Lord Macdonald (son of the Lord of the Isles) once made a raid on the mainland. He and his followers, with other plunder, fell on the clothes of the enemy, and stripping off their own rags, donned the smartest and best they could lay hands on, with the result of being overrun with parasites.
The thane of Fife. A Scotch nobleman whose castle of Kennoway was surprised by Macbeth, and his wife and babes “savagely slaughtered.” Macduff vowed vengeance and joined the army of Siward, to dethrone the tyrant. On reaching the royal castle of Dunsinane, they fought, and Macbeth was slain.
History states that Macbeth was defeated at Dunsinane, but escaped from the battle and was slain at Lumphanan in 1056.— Lardner: Cabinet Cyclopoedia, i. p. 17. etc.
(Captain). A highwayman, hero of The Beggar's Opera, by Gay. A fine, gay, bold—faced ruffian, game to the very last.
The Imperial Machiavelli. Tiberius, the Roman emperor. (B.C. 42 to A.D. 37.) His political axiom was— “He who knows not how to dissemble knows not how to reign.” It was also the axiom of Louis XI. of France
Political cunning and overreaching by diplomacy, according to the pernicious political principles of Niccolo del Machiavelli, of Florence, set forth in his work called The Prince. The general scope of this book is to show that rulers may resort to any treachery and artifice to uphold their arbitrary power, and whatever dishonourable acts princes may indulge in are fully set off by the insubordination of their subjects.
or Macintosh. Cloth waterproofed with caoutchouc, patented by Mr. Macintosh.
The real name of this great actor was Charles M'Laughlin, but he changed it on coming to England. (1690—1797.)
(4 syl.). A religious sect of Scotland, who succeeded the Covenanters; so named from John Macmillan, their leader. They called themselves the “Reformed Presbytery.”
(Sir Pertinax). In The Man of the World, by Charles Macklin, Sir Pertinax “bowed, and bowed, and bowed,” and cringed, and fawned, to obtain the object of his ambition.
Originally a club armed with iron, and used in war. Both sword and mace are ensigns of dignity, suited to the times when men went about in armour, and sovereigns needed champions to vindicate their rights.
Macedon is not Worthy of Thee
is what Philip said to his son Alexander, after his achievement with the horse Bucephalos, which he subdued to his will, though only eighteen years of age.
Edward III., after the battle of Crecy, in which the Black Prince behaved very valiantly, exclaimed, “My brave boy, on as you have begun, and you will be worthy of England's crown.”
(The). Julius Polyaenus, author of Stratagemata, in the second century.
(The). (See Madman .)
A religious sect, so named from Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the fourth century. They denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost, and that the essence of the Son is the same in kind with that of the Father.
Æmilius Paulus, conqueror of Perseus. (230—160 B.C.)
(A). A sky spotted like a mackerel. (Mackerel from the Latin, macula, a spot whence the French maquereau. German mackrele, Welsh macrell, etc.)
Mahomet, Mahoun, or Mahound.
“Praised (quoth he) be Macon whom we serve.”
Fairfax: Tasso, xii. 10.
Macon. A poetical and romance name of Mecca, the birthplace of Mahomet.
The island of the Macreons. Great Britain. The word is Greek, and means long—lived. Rabelais describes the persecutions of the reformers as a terrible storm at sea, in which Pantagruel and his fleet were
tempest—tossed, but contrived to enter one of the harbours of Great Britain, an island called “Long life,” because no one was put to death there for his religious opinions. This island was full of antique ruins, relics of decayed popery and ancient superstitions.
(Greek, the great world), in opposition to the microcosm (the little world). The ancients looked upon the universe as a living creature, and the followers of Paracelsus considered man a miniature representation of the universe. The one was termed the Macrocosm, the other the Microcosm (q.v.)
Mad as a March Hare
(See Hare .) The French say, “Il est fou comme un jeune chien. “
(The). Prince Rupert, noted for his rash courage and impatience of control. (1619—1682.)
(The). The Parliament which assembled at Oxford in 1258, and broke out into open rebellion against Henry III. The king was declared deposed, and the government was vested in the hands of twenty—four councillors, with Simon de Montfort at their head.
(The). Nathaniel Lee, who was confined for four years in Bedlam. (1657—1690.)
Mad as a Hatter
By some said to be a corruption of “Mad as an atter” (adder); but evidence is wanting. The word adder is atter in Saxon, natter in German.
So the wife of Phillipe, Duc d'Orléans was styled in the reign of Louis XIV.; other ladies were only Madame This or That.
Madame la Duchessc. Wife of Henri—Jules de Bourbon, eldest son of Prince de Condé Madame la Princesse. Wife of the Prince de Conde, and natural daughter of Louis XIV. (See Monsieur.)
(4 syl.). The daughter of Philippe, Duc de Chartres, grandson of Philippe, Duc d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIV.
La Grande Mademoiselle. The Duchesse de Montpensier, cousin to Louis XIV., and daughter of Gaston. Duc d'Orléns.
The nickname of Margaret Murdochson, a beautiful but giddy girl, whose brain was crazed by seduction and the murder of her infant. (Sir Walter Scott: Heart of Midlothian.)
Macedonia's madman. Alexander the Great. (B.C. 356, 336—323.)
The brilliant madman or Madman of the North. Charles XII. of Sweden. (1682, 1697—1718.)
“Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede
[Charles XII.].” Pope: Essay on Man, iv.
In Perthshire there are several wells and springs dedicated to St. Fillan, which are still places of pilgrimage. These wells are held to be efficacious in cases of madness. Even recently lunatics have been bound to the holy stone at night, under the expectation that St. Fillan would release them before dawn, and send them home in their right minds.
The youngest son of Owain Gwyneth, King of North Wales, who died in 1169. According to tradition he sailed away to America, and established a colony on the southern branches of the Missouri. About the same time the Aztecas forsook Aztlan, under the guidance of Yuhidthiton, and founded the empire called Mexico,
in honour of Mexitli, their tutelary god. Southey has a poem in two parts called Madoc, in which these two events are made to harmonise with each other.
(Italian, my lady.) Specially applied to representations of the Virgin Mary.
(Sir). The Scotch knight slain in single combat by Sir Launcelot of the Lake, who volunteered to defend the innocence of Queen Guinever.
Madras System of Education
A system of mutual instruction, introduced by Dr. Andrew Bell into the institution at Madras for the education of the orphan children of the European military. Bell lived 1753—1832.
To wind like the river Mæander, in Phrygia. The “Greek pattern" of embroidery is so called.
A patron of letters; so called from C. Cilnius Mæcenas, a Roman statesman in the reign of Augustus, who kept open house for all men of letters, and was the special friend and patron of Horace and Virgil. Nicholas Rowe so called the Earl of Halifax on his installation to the Order of the Garter (1714).
The last English Maecenas. Samuel Rogers, poet and banker. (1763—1855.)
(Norwegian, whirling stream). There are about fifty maelströms off the coast of Norway, but the one Englishmen delight to tremble at is at the foot of the Lofoten Islands, between the islands of Moskenes and Mosken, where the water is pushed and jostled a good deal, and when the wind and tide are contrary it is not safe for small boats to venture near.
It was anciently thought that the Maelström was a subterranean abyss, penetrating the globe, and communicating with the Gulf of Bothnia.
(4 syl.) or Mæonian Poet. Homer, either because he was the son of Mæon, or because he was born in Mæonia (Asia Minor). (See Homer .)
A merciless satire by Gifford on the Della Cruscan school of poetry. Published 1796. The word is in Virgil's Eclogue, iii. 90. (See Baviad .)
What a mag you are! jabberer, hence to chatter like a magpie. Mag is a contraction of magpie. The French have a famous word, “caguet—bon—bec.” We call a prating man or woman “a mag.” (See Magpie .)
Not a mag to bless myself with — not a halfpenny.
Blackwood's Magazine. A mere contraction of the word magazine.
(See Maguelone .)
(3 syl.). A place for stores. (Arabic, makhzan, gazana, a place where articles are preserved.)
(3 syl.). An asylum for the reclaiming of prostitutes; so called from Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, “out of whom Jesus cast seven devils.” A great profligate till she met with the Lord and Saviour.
The first great work of Protestant divines on the history of the Christian Church. It was begun at Magdeburg by Matthias Flacius, in 1552; and, as each century occupies a volume, the thirteen volumes complete the history to 1300.
Straits of Magellan. So called after Magellan or Magalhaens, the Portuguese navigator, who discovered them in 1520.
Magenta A brilliant red colour derived from coal—tar, named in commemoration of the battle of Magenta, which was fought in 1859.
Maggoty. Whimsical, full of whims and fancies. Fancy tunes used to be called maggots, hence we have “Barker's maggots,” “Cary's maggots,” “Draper's maggots,” etc. (Dancing Master, 1721.)
When the maggot bites. When the fancy takes us. Swift tells us that it was the opinion of certain virtuosi that the brain is filled with little worms or maggots, and that thought is produced by these worms biting the nerves. “If the bite is hexagonal it produces poetry; if circular, eloquence; if conical, politics, etc. (Mechanical Operation of the Spirit.)
Instead of maggots the Scotch say, “His head is full of bees;” the French, “Il a des rats dans la tête;” and in Holland, “He has a mouse's nest in his head.” (See Bee.)
(The), according to one tradition, were Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, three kings of the East. The first offered gold, the emblem of royalty, to the infant Jesus; the second, frankincense, in token of divinity; and the third, myrrh, in prophetic allusion to the persecution unto death which awaited the “Man of Sorrows.” MELCHIOR means “king of light.” GASPAR, or CASPAR, means “the white one.” BALTHAZAR means “the lord of treasures.” (Klopstock, in his Messíah, book v., gives these five names: Hadad, Selima, Zimri, Beled, and Sunith.)
Magi, in Camoens' Lusiad, means the Indian “Brahmins.” Ammianus Marcellinus says that the Persian magi derived their knowledge from the Brahmins of India (i. 23); and Arianus expressly calls the Brahmins “magi" (i. 7.).
Made of the strips of a young hare's skin saturated with motherwort. Those who wear these garters excel in speed.
“Were it not for my magic garters ...
I should not continue the business long.”
Longfellow: The Golden Legend.
This superstition arose from the belief that magicians had the power of imprisoning demons in rings. The power was supposed to prevail in Asia, and subsequently in Salamanca, Toledo, and Italy.
Magic circles (like magic squares) are mathematical puzzles.
Corcud's ring. This magic ring was composed of six metals, and insured the wearer success in any undertaking in which he chose to embark. (Chinese Tales; Corcud and his Four Sons.)
Dame Liones's ring, given by her to Sir Gareth during a tournament. It insured the wearer from losing blood when wounded.
“ `This ring,' said Dame Liones, `increaseth my beauty ... That which is green it turns red, and that which is red it turns green. That which is blue it turns white, and that which is white it
turns blue. Whoever beareth this ring can never lose blood, however wounded.' ”— History of Prince Arthur, i. 146.
Fairy ring (A). Whoever lives in a house built over a fairy ring will wondrously prosper in everything. (Athenian Oracle, i. 307.)
Gyges' ring. (See Gyges.)
Luned's ring rendered the wearer invisible. Luned or Lynet gave the ring to Owain, one of King Arthur's knights.
“Take this ring, and put it on thy finger, with the stone inside thy hand, and close thy hand upon it. As long as thou concealest the stone, the stone will conceal thee.”— The Mabinogion (Lady of the Fountain).
Reynard's ring. The ring which Reynard pretended he had sent to King Lion. It had three gems: one red, which gave light in darkness; one white, which cured all blains and sprains; and one green, which would guard the wearer from all ills, both in peace and war. (Henrik von Alkmaar Reynard the Fox.
The steel ring, made by Seidel—Beckit. It enabled the wearer to read the secrets of another's heart. (Oriental Tales; The Four Talismans.
The talking ring given by Tartaro, the Basque Cyclops, to a girl whom he wished to marry. Immediately she put it on, it kept incessantly saying “You there, and I here.” In order to get rid of the nuisance, the girl cut off her finger, and threw both finger and ring into a pond. (Basque legends.
This tale appears in Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands (i. to iii.), and in Grimm's Tales (The Robber and his Sons).
In Jerusalem Delivered the Hermit gives Charles the Dane and Ubaldo a wand which, being shaken, infused terror into all who saw it.
In the Faërie Queene, the palmer who accompanies Sir Guyon has a staff of like virtue, made of the same wood as Mercury's caduceus.
The Great Magician or Wizard of the North. Professor Wilson calls Sir Walter Scott the Great Magician, from the wonderful fascination of his writings.
Magician of the North. The title assumed by Johann Georg Hamann, of Prussia (1730—1788).
The greatest bookworm that ever lived. He never forgot what he had once read, and could even turn at once to the exact page of any reference. He was the librarian of the Great Duke Cosmo III.
The Great Charter of English liberty extorted from King John, 1215; called by Spelman—
“Augustissimum Anglicarum, liberta tum diploma et sacra anchora.”
Cotton Mathers's book, mentioned in Longfellow's May—flower.
Alfonso V. of Aragon (1385, 1416—58).
Chosroes or Khosru, twenty—first of the Sassanides, surnamed Noushirwan (the Magnanimous) (531—579).
One of the leaders of the rabble that attacked Hudibras at a bear—baiting. The character is a satire on Simeon Wait, a tinker and Independent preacher. (Hudibras, pt. i. 2.) He calls Cromwell the “archangel who did battle with the devil.”
Magnet The loadstone; so called from Magnesia, in Lydia, where the ore was said to abound. The Greeks called it magnes. Milton uses the adjective for the substantive in the line “As the magnetic hardest iron draws.”
A mountain which drew out all the nails of any ship that approached within its magnetic influence. The ship in which Prince Agib sailed fell to pieces when wind—driven towards it. (Arabian Nights; The Third Calendar.)
(French). An anonyma or fille de joie; so called from the nunery founded at Rheims in 1654, by Jeanne Canart, daughter of Nicolas Colbert, seigneur de Magneux. The word is sometimes jocosely perverted into Magni—magno.
To sing the Magnificat at matins. To do things at the wrong time, or out of place. The Magnificat does not belong to the morning service, but to vespers. The Magnificat is Luke i. 46—55 in Latin.
(The). Khosru or Chosroes I. of Persia (*, 531—579). The golden period of Persian history was 550—628. Lorenzo de Medici (1448—1492).
Robert, Duc de Normandie, also called Le Diable (*, 1028—1035). Soliman I., greatest of the Turkish sultans (1493, 1520—1566).
Magnifique ... Guerre
“Cest magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.” Admirable, but not according to rule. The comment of Marshal Canrobert on the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava.
“It is because the clergy, as a class, are animated by a high ideal ... that they, as a class, are incomparably better than they need be ... C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.”— Nineteenth Century, April, 1866.
A flower so called from Pierre Magnol, professor of medicine at Montpelier. (1638—1715.)
Chief or most important of a person's works. A literary man says of his most renowned book it is his magnum opus.
Magnum of Port
(A), or other wine, a double bottle.
(My), or Meus Magnus Apollo. My leader, authority, and oracle.
Mago the Carthaginian
says Aristotle, crossed the Great Desert twice without having anything to drink.
A festival observed by the Persians to commemorate the massacre of the Magi. Smerdis usurped the throne on the death of Cambyses; but seven Persians, conspiring together, slew Smerdis and his brother; whereupon the people put all the Magi to the sword, and elected Darius, son of Hystaspes, to the throne. (Greek, magosphonos, the magi—slaughter.)
(French). Money, or rather a mass of secreted money; a corruption of imago, the “image and superscription” of coined money.
“Là il vola de même, revint à Paris avec un bon magot.”— La Gazette Noire, 1784, p. 270.
A contraction of magotpie, or magata—pie. “Mag” is generally thought to be a contraction of Margaret; thus we have Robin red—breast, Tom—tit, Philip— i.e. a sparrow, etc.
“Augurs and understood relations have (By magotpies, and choughs, and rooks) brought forth The secretst man of blood.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iii. 4.
Magpie. Here is an old Scotch rhyme:
“One's sorrow, two's mirth,
Three's a wedding, four's a birth
Five's a christening, six a death
Seven's heaven, eight is hell,
And nine's the devil his ane sel'.”
The champion of Isabella of Portugal, who refused to do homage to France. The brave champion vanquished the French chevalier, and thus vindicated the liberty of his country.
or Magalo'na (the fair). Heroine of the romance called The History of the Fair Magalona, Daughter of the King of Naples, etc. Originally written in French. Cervantes alludes to it in Don Quixote. (See Peter Of Provence .)
Simon Magus: Isidore tells us that Simon Magus died in the reign of Nero, and adds that he (Simon) had proposed a dispute with Peter and Paul, and had promised to fly up to heaven. He succeeded in rising high into the air, but at the prayers of the two apostles he was cast down to earth by the evil spirits who had enabled him to rise into the air. Milman, in his History of Christianity, vol. ii. p. 51, tells another story. He says that Simon offered to be buried alive, and declared that he would reappear on the third day. He was actually buried in a deep trench, “but to this day,” says Hippolytus, “his disciples have failed to witness his resurrection.”
(The). The first dynasty of Persian mythological history. Mah Abad (the great Abad) and his wife were the only persons left on the earth after the great cycle, and from them the world was peopled. Azer Abad, the fourteenth and last of this dynasty, left the earth because “all flesh had corrupted itself,” and a period of anarchy ensued.
One of the two great epic poems of ancient India. Its story is the contests between descendants of Kuru and Pandu. (See Kuru .)
or Hakem. The Kalif who reigned about 400 years after Mahomet. In one pilgrimage to Mecca he expended six million gold dinars.
Initiates who have proved their courage and purity by passing through sundry tests and trials. It is a Hindu word applied to certain Buddhists. They are also called “Masters.” According to Theosophists, man has a physical, an intellectual, and a spiritual nature, and a Mahâtma is a person who has reached perfection in each of these three natures. As his knowledge is perfect, he can produce effects which, to the less learned, appear miraculous. Thus, before the telegraph and telephone were invented it would have appeared miraculous to possess such powers; no supernatural power, however, is required, but only a more extensive knowledge.
“Mahâtma is a well—known Sanskrit word applied to men who have retired from the world, who by means of a long ascetic discipline, have subdued the passions of the flesh, and gained a reputation for sanctity and knowledge. That these men are able to perform most startling feats, and to suffer the most terrible tortures, is perfectly true.”— Max Muller: Nineteenth Century, May, 1893, p. 775.
(The). The supreme pontiff of the Shiites (2 syl.) Only twelve of these imaums have really appeared— viz. Ali, Hassan, Hosein, and the nine lineal descendants of Hosein. Mohammed, the last Mahdi, we are told, is not really dead, but sleeps in a cavern near Bagdad, and will return to life in the fulness of time to overthrow Dejal (anti—Christ).
The Mahdi which has of late been disturbing Egypt is hated by the Persians, who are Sunnites (2 syl.); but
even the Turks and Persians are looking out for a Mahdi who will stamp out the “infldels.”
Mahmoud of Ghizni
the conqueror of India in the 11th century, kept 400 greyhounds and bloodhounds, each of which wore a jewelled collar taken from the necks of captive sultanas.
The name of the famous Turkish spy (q.v.).
or Mohammed, according to Deutsch, means the Predicted Messiah. (Hag. ii. 7.) It is the titular name taken by Halabi, founder of Islam. (570—632.)
Angel of. When Mahomet was transported to heaven, he says: “I saw there an angel, the most gigantic of all created beings. It had 70,000 heads, each had 70,000 faces, each face had 70,000 mouths, each mouth had 70,000 tongues, and each tongue spoke 70,000 languages; all were employed in singing God's praises.”
This would make more than 31,000 trillion languages, and nearly five billion mouths.
Banner of. Sanjaksherif, kept in the Eyab mosque, at Constantinople. Bible of. The Koran.
Born at Mecca, A.D. 570.
Bow. Catum (q.v.).
Camel (Swiftest). Adha (q.v.).
Cave. The cave in which Gabriel appeared to Mahomet was Hoiâ Coffin. It is said that Mahomet's coffin, in the Hadgira of Medina, is suspended in mid—air without any support. Many explanations have been given of this phenomenon, the one most generally received being that the coffin is of iron, placed midway between two magnets. Burckhardt visited the sacred enclosure, and found the ingenuity of science useless in this case, as the coffin is not suspended at all.
Cuirass. FADHA (q.v.).
Daughter (His favourite). Fatima.
Died at Medina, Monday, June 8th, 632, age of seventy—two. The 10th of the Hedjrah. Dove. Mahomet had a dove which he used to feed with wheat out of his ear. When the dove was hungry it used to light on the prophet's shoulder, and thrust its bill into his ear to find its meal. Mahomet thus induced the Arabs to believe that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost in the semblance of a dove. (Sir Walter Raleigh: History of the World, bk. 1. pt. i. chap. vi. (See also Prideaux Life of Mahomet.
“Was Mahomet inspired with a dove?”
Shakespeare: 1 Henry VI., i. 2.
Father. Abdall, of the tribe of Koreish. He died a little before or little after the birth of Mahomet. Father—in—law (father of Ayesha). Abu—Bekr. He succeeded Mahomet and was the first calif. Flight from Mecca (called the Hedjrah), A.D. 622. He retired to Medina.
Grandfather (paternal). Abd—el—Mutallib, who adopted the orphan boy, but died in two years. Hedjrah. (See above, Flight.
Heir (adopted). Said or Zaid. Horse. Al Borak [The Lightning ]. It conveyed the prophet to the seventh heaven. (See Borak.)
“Borak was a fine—limbed, high—standing horse, strong in frame, and with a coat as glossy as marble. His colour was saffron, with one harr of gold for every three of tawny; his ears were restless and pointed like a reed; his eyes large and full of fire; his nostrils wide and steaming; he had a white star on his forehead, a neck gracefully arched, a mane soft and silky, and a thick tail that swept the ground.”— Croquemitaine, ii. 9.
Miracles. Chadin mentions several, but some say he performed no miracle. The miracle of the moon is best known.
Moon (The). Habib the Wise told Mahomet to prove his mission by cleaving the moon in two. Mahomet raised his hands towards heaven, and in a loud voice summoned the moon to do Habib's bidding. Accordingly, it descended to the top of the Caaba (q.v.), made seven circuits, and, coming to the `prophet,' entered his right sleeve and came out of the left. It then entered the collar of his robe, and descended to the skirt, clove itself into two plaits, one of which appeared in the east of the skies and the other in the west; and the two parts ultimately reunited and resumed their usual form.
Mother of. Amina, of the tribe of Koreish. She died when Mahomet was six years old. Mule. Fadda (q.v.).
Pond. Just inside the gates of Paradise. It was white as milk, and he who drank thereof would never thirst again. (Al Koran.
Revelation made when he was forty years old by Gabriel, on Mount Hora, in Mecca. Standard. Bajura.
Stepping—stone. The stone upon which the prophet placed his foot when he mounted the beast Al Borak on his ascent to heaven. It rose as the beast rose, but Mahomet, putting his hand upon it, forbade it to follow him, whereupon it remained suspended in mid—air, where the true believer, if he has faith enough, may still behold it.
Swords. Dhu'l Fakar (the trenchant), Al Battar (the beater), Medham (the keen), and Hatef (the deadly). (See Swords.)
Successor. (See above, Father—in—law.
Tribe. On both sides, the Koreish.
Uncle, who took charge of Mahomet at the death of his grandfather, Abu Taleb'. Wives. Ten in number, viz. (1) Kadidja, a rich widow of the tribe of Koreish, who had been twice married already, and was forty years of age. For twenty—five years she was his only wife, but at her death he married nine others, all of whom survived him.
Mahomet loved Mary, a Coptic girl, and in order to justify the amour, added a new chapter to the Koran, which may be found in Gagnier's Notes upon Abulfeda, p. 151.
The nine wives. (1) Ayesha, daughter of Abu Bekr, only nine years old on her wedding—day. This was his youngest and favourite wife.
(2) Sauda, widow of Sokran, and nurse to his daughter Fatima.
(3) Hafsa, a widow twenty—eight years old, who also had a son. She was daughter of Omeya.
(4) Zeinab, wife of Zaid, but divorced in order that the prophet might take her to wife.
(5) Barra, wife of a young Arab and daughter of Al Hareth, chief of an Arab tribe. Both father and husband were slain in a battle with Mahomet. She was a captive.
(6) Rehana, daughter of Simeon, and a Jewish captive.
(7) Safiya, the espoused wife of Kenana. Kenana was put to death. Safiya outlived the prophet forty years.
(8) Omm Habiba— i.e. mother of Habiba; the widow of Abu Sofian.
(9) Maimuna, fifty—one years old, and a widow, who survived all his other wives.
Also ten or fifteen concubines, chief of whom was Mariyeh, mother of Ibrahim, the prophet's son, who died when fifteen months old.
Year of Deputations. A.D. 630, the 8th of the Hedjrah.
(2 syl.). Name of contempt for Mahomet, a Moslem, a Moor. In Scotland it used to mean devil.
“There's the son of the renegade— spawn of Mahoun (son of the Moorish princess).”— Vengeance of Mudarra.
(2 syl.). Mahomet. (See Macon .)
“Ofttimes by Termagant and Mahound swore.”
Spenser: Faerrie Queene, vii. 47.
The fiend—prince that urges to theft.
“Five flends have been in poor Tom at once: of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididance, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and mowing.”— Shakespeare: King Lear, iv. 1.
A morris dance, or the boy in the morris dance, called Mad Morion, from the “morion” which he wore on his head. (See Morris Dance .) Maid Marian is a corruption first of the words, and then of the sex. Having got the words Maid Marian, etymologists have puzzled out a suitable character in Matilda, the daughter of Fitz—Walter, baron of Bayard and Dunmow, who eloped with Robert Fitz—Ooth, the outlaw, and lived with him in Sherwood Forest. Some refine upon this tale, and affirm that Matilda was married to the outlaw (commonly called Robin Hood) by Friar Tuck.
“A set of morrice dancers danced a maidmarian with a tabor and pipe.”— Temple. “Next 'tis agreed
That fair Matilda henceforth change her name,
And while [she lives] in Shirewodde ...
She by maid Marian's name be only called.”
Downfall of Robert; Earl of Huntingdon.
Maid of Athens
immortalised by Byron, was Theresa Macri. Some twentyfour years after this poem was written the maid was in dire poverty, without a single vestige of beauty. She had a large family, and lived in a hovel.
Maid of Norway
Margaret, daughter of Eric II. and Margaret of Norway. On the death of Alexander III. she was acknowledged Queen of Scotland, and was oetrothed to Edward, son of Edward I. of England, but she died on her passage to Scotland.
Maid of Orleans
Jeanne d'Arc (1412—1431).
Maid of Perth (Fair). Catherine Glover, daughter of Simon Glover, the old glover of Perth. She kisses Smith while asleep on St. Valentine's morning, and ultimately marries him. (See Smith .) (Scott: Fair Maid of Perth.)
Maid of Saragossa
Augustina Zaragoza, distinguished for her heroism when Saragossa was besieged in 1808 and 1809. Byron refers to her in his Childe Harold.
A machine resembling the guillotine for beheading criminals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; brought to Scotland by the Regent Morton from Halifax, in Yorkshire, for the purpose of beheading the laird of Pennycuick. It was also called “the widow.”
He who invented the maiden first hanselled it. Referring to Regent Morton, who introduced this sort of guillotine into Scotland, erroneously said to have been the first to suffer by it. Thomas Scott, one of the murderers of Rizzio, was beheaded by it in 1566, fifteen years before Morton's execution.
(A). One in which there is no person to be brought to trial. We have also the expressions maiden tree, one never lopped; maiden fortress, one never taken; maiden speech; etc. In a maiden assize, the sheriff of the county presents the judge with a pair of white gloves. White gloves symbolise innocence. Maiden primarily means unspotted, unpolluted, innocent; thus Hubert says to the king—
“This hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.” Shakespeare: King John, iv. 2.
(The). Malcolm IV. of Scotland. (1141, 1153—1165.)
“Malcolm ... son of the brave and generous Prince Henry ... was so kind and gentle in his disposition, that he was usually called Malcolm the Maiden.”— Scott: Tales of a Grandfather, iv.
(London). So called from an image of the Maiden or Virgin Mary, which stood there before the Reformation.
or Virgin Queen. Elizabeth, Queen of England, who never married. (1533, 1558—1603.)
i.e. a town never taken by the enemy. Edinburgh. The tradition is that the maiden daughters of a Pictish king were sent there for protection during an intestine war.
Maiden of the Mist
Anne of Geierstein, in Sir Walter Scott's novel called Anne of Geierstein.
(a fern, so—called from its hair—like stalks) never takes wet or moisture.
“His skin is like the herb called true Maiden's hair, which never takes wet or moisture, but still keeps dry, though laid at the bottom of a river as long as you please. For this reason it is called Adiantos.”— Rabelais: Pantagruel, iv. 24
Splice the main—brace, in sea language, means to take a draught of strong drink to keep the spirits up, and give strength for extra exertion. The main—brace is the rope by which the mainyard of a ship is set in position, and to splice it, in a literal sense, when the rope is broken or injured, is to join the two ends together again.
Main Chance (The). Profit or money, probably from the game called hazard.
To have an eye to the main chance, means to keep in view the money to be made out of an enterprise. In the game of “hazard,” the first throw of the dice is called the main, which must be between four and nine, the player then throws his chance, which determines the main.
(2 syl.). A pirate that infests the coast of Attica.
Of island—pirate or Mainote.”
Byron The Giaour
is to hold in the hand; hence, to keep; hence, to clothe and feed. (French, main tenir; Latin, manus tenco.)
(The) of literary antiquities, instituted at Glasgow in 1828. It published a number of works.
(1 syl.). According to American superstition, if a damsel finds a blood—red ear of maize, she will have a suitor before the year is over.
“Even the blood—red ear to Evangeline brought not her lover.”
Henry VIII. was the first English sovereign who was styled “His Majesty.” Henry IV. was “His Grace;” Henry VI, “His Excellent Grace;" Edward IV., “High and Mighty Prince;” Henry VII., “His Grace,” and “His Highness;” Henry VIII., in the earlier part of his reign, was styled “His Highness.” “His Sacred Majesty” was a title assumed by subsequent sovereigns, but was afterwards changed to “Most Excellent Majesty.”
in heraldry. An eagle crowned and holding a sceptre is “an eagle in his majesty.”
A pottery originally made in the island of Majorca or Majolica, and lately revived by Mr. Minton.
He has joined the majority. He is dead. Blair says, in his Grave, ” 'tis long since Death had the majority.” “Abiit ad plures;” “Quin prius me ad plures penetravi” (Plautus; Trinummus, line 14). “Beatos eos fore, quando cum pluribus habitarint.” (See Polybius, viii. xxx. 7.)
What make you here? What do you want? What are you come here for? A French phrase: “Que faites—vous ici?”
“Now, sir, what make you here?”— Shakespeare: As You Like It, i. 1.
Make a hand of
or on (To). To slay, destroy, waste, or spoil.
“So when I came to myself again, I' cried him mercy: but he said, `I know not to show mercy;' and with that knockt me down again. He had, doubtless, made a hand of me, but that one came by, and bid him forbear.”— Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress, p. 93 (first edition).
Make a Hit
(To). To succeed unexpectedly in an adventure or speculation. (See Hit .)
Make a Virtue of Necessity (To). See Chaucer's poem of the Knightes Tale, line 3,044; also The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Dryden's poem of Palamon and Arcite.
Make away with
(To). To squander; to put out of the way; to murder. The French verb défaire is used sometimes in a similar way; as, “Il tâcha de se défaire secrètement de ses pariers.”
Make away with Oneself
(To) To commit suicide.
Make Bricks without Straw
(To). To attempt to do something without having the necessary material supplied. The allusion is to the Israelites in Egypt, who were commanded by their taskmasters so to do. (Exodus v. 7.)
Make Eyes at
(To). To flirt with the eyes. “Oculis venari” (See Cast .)
Make Mountains of Molehills
(To). To make a difficulty of trifles. “Arcem ex cloaca facare.” The corresponding French proverb is, “Faire d'un mouche un éléphant.”
Make one's Bread
(To). To earn one's living
Make the Door
(To). To make it fast by shutting and bolting it. We still say, “Have you made my room?”—
i.e. made it tidy. Similarly, to “make the bed” is to arrange it fit for use.
“Why at this time the doors are made against you.” Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors, iii. 1.
“Make the door upon a woman's wit, and it will out at the casement.”— Shakespeare: As You Like It, iv. 1.
Make the Ice
(To). To near the whale—fishing ground. To make for the ice is to steer in that direction.
“About the end of April we neared the fishing ground, or, to be more technical, `made the ice.” C. Thomson: Autobiography, p. 128.
Wages supplemented by grants or rates. Similarly, a make—weight [loaf] is a small loaf added to make up the proper weight.
A bit [of meat, cheese, bread, or other article] thrown into the scale to make the weight correct.
(A). A temporary arrangement during an emergency; a device. (The Anglo—Saxon seyft means a division, hence a device.)
the Malabar Coast includes the whole southwest corner of India as far back as the ghaut line. The ancient form of the name was Male, "where the pepper grows", whence the name Malayalam for the prevailing language.
(in Orlando Furioso). Son of Buovo, and brother of Aldiger and Vivian, of Clarmont's race; a wizard knight, cousin of Rinaldo. (See Maugis .)
(Malachi). The signature of Sir Walter Scott to a series of letters in 1822 contributed to the Edinburgh Review upon the lowest limitation of paper money to 5. They caused immense sensation, not inferior to that produced by Drapier's Letters (q.v.) in Ireland. No political tract, since Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution, ever excited such a stir in Great Britain.
(Sir Mungo). An old courtier soured by misfortune, who tries to make everyone as discontented as himself. (Scott: Fortunes of Nigel.)
(in the Crime'a). In 1831 a sailor and ropemaker, named Alexander Ivanovitch Malakoff, celebrated for his wit and conviviality, lived at Sebastopol. He had many friends and admirers, but, being engaged in a riot, was dismissed the dockyards in which he had been employed. He then opened a
liquor—shop on the hill outside the town. His old friends gathered round him, and his shop was called the Malakoff. In time other houses were built around, and the Malakoff became a town, which ultimately was fortified. This was the origin of the famous Malakoff Tower, which caused so much trouble to the allied army in the Crimean War. (Gazette de France.)
The giant, first cousin of Queen Maguncia, of Canday'a, who enchanted Antonomasia and her husband, and shut them up in the tomb of the deceased queen. The infanta he transformed into a monkey of brass, and the knight into a crocodile. Don Quixote achieved their disenchantment by mounting the wooden horse called Clavileno. (Cervantes: Don Quixote, part ii. book iii. chap. xlv.)
(Mrs.), in The Rivals, by Sheridan. (French, mal à propos.) Noted for her blunders in the use of words. “As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile” is one of her famous similes. (See Partington .)
A “cankered, crabbed earl,” very wealthy, but miserly and mean. He seems to be the impersonation of self—inflicted torments. He married a young wife named Helenore, who set fire to his house, and eloped
with Sir Paridel. Malbecco cast himself over a high rock, and all his flesh vanished into thin air, leaving behind nothing but his ghost, which was metamorphosed into Jealousy. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book iii.)
or Marlbrough (Marlbro'), does not date from the battle of Malplaquet (1709), but from the time of the Crusades, 600 years before. According to a tradition discovered by M. de Châteaubriand, the air came from the Arabs, and the tale is a legend of Mambron, a crusader. It was brought into fashion during the Revolution by Mme. Poitrine, who used to sing it to her royal foster—child, the son of Louis XVI. M. Arago tells us that when M. Monge, at Cairo, sang this air to an Egyptian audience, they all knew it, and joined in it. Certainly the song has nothing to do with the Duke of Marlborough, as it is all about feudal castles and Eastern wars. We are told also that the band of Captain Cook, in 1770, was playing the air one day on the east coast of Australia, when the natives evidently recognised it, and seemed enchanted. (Moniteur de l'Armée.)
“Malbrouk s'en va—t—en guerre,
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine;
Malbrouk s'en va—t—en guerre.
Nul sait quand reviendra.
Il reviendra z'a pâques—
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine ...
Ou à la Trinité.”
The name Malbrouk occurs in the Chansons de Gestes, and also in the Basque Pastorales.
Eldest son of Duncan, King of Scotland. He was called Can—More (Great—head), and succeeded Macbeth (1056). (Shakespeare: Macbeth. )
(French). School. So called because at school “on dine assez mal.”
Billy, nanny; boar, sow; buck, doe; bull, cow; cock, hen; dog, bitch; ewe, tup; groom = man; he, she; Jack, Jenny; male, female; man, maid; man, woman; master, mistress; Tom; tup, dam; and several
“Christian” names; as in the following examples: —
Ape: Dog ape, bitch ape. Ass: Jack ass and Jenuy; he ass, she ass. Bear: He bear, she bear.
Bird: Male bird, female bird; cock bird, hen bird.
Blackcock (grouse); moorcock and hen (red grouse). Bridegroom, bride.
Calf: Bull calf, cow calf.
Cat: Tom cat, lady cat, he and she cat. Gib cat (q.v.). Charwoman.
Child: Male child, female child; man child, woman child (child is either male or female, except when sex is referred to).
Devil: He and she devil (if sex is referred to). Donkey: Male and female donkey. (See Ass.) Elephant: Bull and cow elephant; male and female elephant. Fox: Dog and bitch fox; the bitch is also called a vixen.
Gentleman, gentlewoman or lady.
Goat: Billy and Nanny goat; he and she goat; buck goat. Hare: Buck and doe hare.
Heir: Heir male, heir female
Lamb: ewe lamb, tup lamb.
Milkman, milkmaid or milk—woman.
Otter: Dog and bitch otter.
Partridge: Cock and hen partridge.
Pheasant: Cock and hen pheasant. Pig: Boar and sow pig.
Rabbit: Buck and doe rabbit. Rat: A Jack rat.
Seal: Bull and cow. The bull of fur seals under six years of age is called a “Bachelor.” Servant: Male and female servant; man and maid servant.
Singer, songstress; man and woman singer.
Sir [John], Lady [Mary].
Sparrow: Cock and hen sparrow.
Swan: A cob or cock swan, pen—swan.
Turkey cock and hen.
Wash or washer—woman.
Whale: Bull or Unicorn, and cow.
Wren: Jenny; cock Robin; Tom tit; etc. Wolf: Dog wolf, bitch or she—wolf.
Generally the name of the animal stands last; in the following instances, however, it stands before the genderword: —
Blackcock; bridegroom; charwoman; gamecock; gentleman and gentlewoman; heir male and female; kinsman and woman; mankind, womankind; milkman, milkmaid or —woman; moorcock and hen; peacock and hen; servant man and maid; turkey cock and hen; wash or washer—woman.
In a few instances the gender—word does not express gender, as jackdaw, jack pike, roebuck, etc. (2) The following require no genderword: —
Bachelor, spinster or maid.
Boar, sow (pig).
Boy, girl (both child).
Buck, doe (stag or deer).
Bull, cow (black cattle).
Cock, hen (barndoor fowls).
Colt, filly (both foal).
Dog, bitch (both dog, if sex is not referred to).
Drake, duck (both duck, if sex is not referred to). Drone, bee.
Father, mother (both parents).
Gander, goose (both geese, if sex is not referred to). Gentleman, lady (both gentlefolk).
Hart, roe (both deer).
Kipper, shedder or baggit (spent salmon).
King, queen (both monarch or sovereign). Lad, lass.
Mallard, wild—duck (both wild fowl).
Milter, spawner (fish).
Ram, ewe (sheep).
Sir [John], Lady [Mary].
Stag, hind (both stag, if sex is not referred to). Stallion, mare (both horse).
Tup, dam (sheep).
The females of other animals are made by adding a suffix to the male (—ess, —ina, —ine, —ix, —a, —ee, etc.); as, lion, lioness; czar, czarina; hero, heroine; testator, testatrix, etc.
Deep indigo—coloured sapphires. The pale blue are the female sapphires. (Emmanuel: `Diamonds and Precious Stones .)
Male suada Fames
Hunger is a bad counsellor. The French say, “Vilain affamé, demi enragé.”
(4 syl.). The eighth circle of Dante's Inferno, which contained in all ten bolgi or pits.
“There is a place within the depths of hell
Called Malebolge.” Dante: Inferno, xviii.
The impersonation of lust. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, ii. 1.)
[wretchedly thin]. Captain of the rabble rout which attack the castle of Temperance. He was “thin as a rake,” and cold as a serpent. Prince Arthur attacks him and flings him to the ground, but Maleger springs up with renewed vigour. Arthur now stabs him through and through, but it is like stabbling a shadow; he then takes him in his arms and squeezes him as in a vice, but it is like squeezing a piece of sponge; he then remembers that every time the carl touches the earth his strength is renewed, so he squeezes all his breath out, and tosses the body into a lake. (See Antaeos .) (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book ii. 11.)
[guile]. On his back he carried a net “to catch fools.” Being attacked by Sir Artegal and his iron man, he turned himself first into a fox, then to a bush, then to a bird, then to a hedgehog, then to a snake; but Talus was a match for all his deceits, and killed him. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, v. 9.)
Malepardus The castle of Master Reynard the Fox, in the tale so called.
Malherbe's Canons of French Poetry
(1) Poetry is to contain only such words as are in common use by well—educated Parisians. (2) A word ending with a vowel must in no case be followed by a word beginning with a vowel. (3) One line in no wise is to run into another.
(4) The caesura must always be most strictly observed.
(5) Every alternate rhyme must be feminine.
Mahomet is so called in some of the old romances.
“Send five, send six against me. By Maliom I swear, I'll take them all.”— Fierabras.
The nickname of Mary, now called Molly. Hence the Maid Marian is so termed.
Malkin. A kitchen wench, now called a Molly, is by Shakespeare termed “the kitchen Malkin. (Coriolanus, ii. 1.)
Malkin. A scarecrow or figure dressed like a scullion; hence, anything made of rags, as a mop. Malkin. A Moll or female cat, the male being a “Tom.” When the cat mews, the witch in Macbeth calls out, “I come, Grimalkin” (i. 1).
or Pall Mall (London). From the Latin pellere mallco (to strike with a mallet or bat; so called because it was where the ancient game of pell—mall used to be played. Cotgrave says:—
“Pale malle is a game wherein a round boxball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron. He that can do this most frequently wins.”
It was a fashionable game in the reign of Charles II., and the walk called the Mall was appropriated to it for the king and his court.
(A). A harvest feast (North of England). A mal is a feast, our word meal (Anglo—Saxon, mæl).
Abstain from mallows. This is the thirty—eighth symbol in the Protreptics. Pythagoras tells us that mallow was the first messenger sent by the gods to earth to indicate to man that they sympathised with them and had pity on them. To make food of mallows would be to dishonour the gods. Mallows are cathartic.
(William of). Eleventh century; author of numerous chronicles. His Gesta Regum Anglorum is a resumé of English history from the arrival of the English in 440 to the year 1120. His Historia Novella gives a retrospect of the reign of Henry I., and terminates abruptly with the year 1143. His third work is called Gesta Pontificum. All the three are included in the Scriptores post Bedam.
Founded by Maildulf, Meildulf, or Meldun, an Irishman.
is the wine of Malvasia, in Candia.
“Thane spyces unsparyly thay spendyde thereaftyre,
Malvesye and muskadelle, thase mervelyous drynkes.” Morte d'Arthure. ,
(See Drowned In A Butt Of ...).
The Sermon on Malt was by John Dod, rector of Fawsley, Northants, called the decalogist, from his famous exposition of the Ten Commandments. A Puritan divine. (1547—1645.)
This was not Dr. William Dodd, who was executed for forgery (1729—1777).
Malt ... Meal
When the malt gets aboon the meal. When persons, after dinner, get more or less fuddled.
“When the malt begins to get aboon the meal, they'll begin to speak about government in kirk and state.”— Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap. iv
(A). A disciple of Malthus, whose political doctrines are laid down in his Essay on the Principles of Population.
That population increases more than the means of increasing subsistence does, so that in time, if no check is put upon the increase of population, many must starve or all be ill—fed. Applied to individual nations, like Britain, it intimated that something must be done to check the increase of population, as all the land would not suffice to feed its inhabitants.
in Latin, means an apple; and “malus, mala, malum” means evil. Southey, in his Commonplace Book, quotes a witty etymon given by Nicolson and Burn, making the noun derived from the adjective, in allusion, I suppose, to the apple eaten by Eve. Of course, malum (an apple) is the Greek melon or malon (an apple—tree).
Malum in Se
(Latin). What is of itself wrong, and would be so even if no law existed against its commission, as lying, murder, theft.
(Latin). What is wrong merely because it is forbidden, as eating a particular fruit was wrong in Adam and Eve, because they were commanded not to do so. Doing secular work on the Sabbath.
Steward to Olivia, in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
A mock honour. Better be a country gentleman in England than a foreign Mamamouchi. The honour is conferred on M. Jourdain. (Molière: Bourgeois Gentilhomme.)
was of pure gold, and rendered the wearer invulnerable. It was taken possession of by Rinaldo (Orlando Furioso). Cervantes tells us of a barber who was caught in a shower, and to protect his hat clapped his brazen basin on his head. Don Quixote insisted that this basin was the enchanted helmet of the Moorish king.
(2 syl., French). A mound in the shape of a woman's breast. These artificial mounds were common in the siege of Sebastopol. (Latin, mamma, a breast.)
Mamelukes (2 syl.) or Mamalukes (Arabic, mamluc, a slave). A name given in Egypt to the slaves of the beys brought from the Caucasus, and formed into a standing army. In 1254 these military “slaves” raised one of their body to the supreme power, and Noureddin Ali, the founder of the Baharites, gave twenty—three sultans; in 1832 the dynasty of the Borjites, also Mamlues, succeeded, and was followed by twenty—one successors. Selim I., Sultan of Turkey, overthrew the Mamluc kingdom in 1517, but allowed the twenty—four beys to be elected from their body. In 1811, Mohammed Ali by a wholesale massacre annihilated the Mamelukes, and became viceroy of Egypt.
The former is Norman—French, and the latter Anglo—Saxon. (See Papa .)
A puppet, a favourite, an idol. A corruption of Mahomet. Mahometanism being the most prominent form of false religion with which Christendom was acquainted before the Reformation, it became a generic word to designate any false faith; even idolatry is called mammetry.
The god of this world. The word in Syriac means riches. (See Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. i. 678.) His speech in the council is book ii. 229, etc.
Mammon. In Spenser's Faërie Queene, Mammon says if Sir Guyon will serve him he shall be the richest man in the world; but the knight says money has no charm for him. Mammon then takes him to his smithy, and tells him he may make what orders he likes, but Guyon declines to make any. The god then offers to give him Philotine to wife, but Guyon will not accept the honour. Lastly, he takes him to Proserpine's bower, and tells him to pluck the golden fruit, and rest on the silver stool; Sir Guyon again refuses, and after three days' sojourn in the infernal regions is led back to earth. (ii. 7.)
Mammon of Unrighteousness
(The). Money. A Scripture phrase (Luke xvi. 9). Mammon was the Syrian god of wealth, similar to Plutus of Greek and Roman mythology.
The abode of the Money—god. Sir Guyon visited this cave, and Spenser gives a very full description of it. (Faërie Queéne, ii. 7.)
Sir Epicure Mammon. A worldly sensualist. (Ben Jonson: Alchemist.)
(The). In Edmonson county, Kentucky, the largest in the world.
(Isle of), called by the ancient Britons main—au (little island), Latinised into Menav —ia. Caesar calls it Mona (i.e. Mon—ah), the Scotch pronunciation of Manau. Mona and Pliny's Monabia are varieties of “Menavia.”
Emblematic of St. Matthew, because he begins his gospel by tracing the manhood of Jesus back to David. Mark is symbolised by a lion, because he begins his gospel with John the Baptist and Jesus in the wilderness. Luke is symbolised by a calf, because he begins his gospel with the Temple sacrifices.And John as a eagle, because he looks right into heaven and begins his gospel with Jesus the divine logos. The four are indicated in Ezekiel's cherub (i. 10.)
Man. Average weight 150 lbs.; height, 69 inches; strength, 420 lbs.
(A). A useful and faithful servant, like the Man Friday in Robinson Crusoe.
“Count von Rechberg ... was Prince Bismarck's `Man Friday.' ”— Athenoeum, 1881.
Every man—jack of you. Everyone of you. (See under Jack.)
The Bodouins affirm that the monkeys of Mount Kara were once human beings, thus transformed for disobedience to their prophet. The Arabs have a similar tradition, that the monkey (Nasnâs) and the ape (Wabâr.) were once human beings.
or Quinbus Flestrin. So Gulliver was called Lilliput.
but God disposes: So we read in the Imitatio Christi; Herbert (Jacula Prudentum) has nearly the same identical words.
According to Diogenes Laertius, the body was composed of (1) a mortal part; (2) a divine and ethereal part, called the phren; and (3) an aërial and vaporous part, called the thumos.
According to the Romans, man has a threefold soul, which at the dissolution of the body resolves itself into
(1) the Manes; (2) the Anima or Spirit; (3) the Umbra. The Manes went either to Elysium or Tartarus; the Anima returned to the gods; but the Umbra hovered about the body as unwilling to quit it.
According to the Jews, man consists of body, soul, and spirit.
Man in Black
(The). Supposed to be Goldsmith's father. (Citizen of the World.) Washington Irving has a tale with the same title.
Man in the Iron Mask
The man in the iron mask (called Lestang) was Count Ercolo Antonio Matthioli, a senator of Mantua, and private agent of Ferdinand Charles, Duke of Mantua. He suffered imprisonment of twenty—four years for having deceived Louis XIV. in a secret treaty for the purchase of the fortress of Casale, the key of Italy. The agents of Spain and Austria bribed him by out—bidding the Grande Monarque. The secrecy observed by all parties was inviolate, because the infamy of the transaction would not bear daylight. (H. G. A. Ellis: True History of the Iron Mask.)
M. Loiseleur utterly denies that Matthioli (sometimes called Giacomo) was the real homme du masque de fer (See Temple Bar, May, 1872, pp. 182—184); but Marius Topin, in The Man in the Iron Mask, maintains it as an indubitable fact. There is an English translation of Topin's book by Vizetelli, published by Smith and Elder.
There are several others “identified” as the veritable Iron Mask, e.g. emdash (1) Louis, Due de Vermandois, natural son of Louis XIV. by De la Vallière, who was imprisoned for life because he gave the Dauphin a box on the ears. (Mèmoires Secrets pour servir à l'Histoire de Perse. This cannot be, as the duke died in camp, 1683.
(2) A young foreign nobleman, chamberlain of Queen Anne, and real father of Louis XIV. (A Dutch story. (3) Due de Beaufort, King of the Markets. (Legrange—Chancel: L'Annéc Littéraire, 1759.) This supposition is worthless, as the duke was slain by the Turks at the siege of Candia (1669). (4) An elder brother of Louis
XIV., some say by the Duke of Buckingham, others by Cardinal Mazarin. (See Voltaire: Dictionnaire Philosophique [Anna], and Linguet: Bastile Dévoilec.
(5) Abbé Soulavie asserts it was a twin brother of Louis XIV., Maréchal Richelieu. This tale forms the basis of Zschokke's German tragedy, and Fournier's drama.
(6) Some maintain that it was Fouquet, the disgraced Minister of Finance to Louis XIV.
(7) Some that it was the Arminian Patriarch, Avedik.
(8) Some that it was the Duke of Monmouth; but he was executed on Tower Hill in 1685.
(9) In the Western Morning News (Plymouth, October 21st, 1893) we are told that Le Commandant Bazeries has deciphered a letter in cipher written by Louvois, Minister of War, to Catinat (Lieutenant—General in command of the army at Piedmont), desiring him to arrest M. de Bulonde for raising the siege of Conti; and to send him to the citadel of Pignerol.
“He was to be allowed to walk on the ramparts wearing a mask.”
Whatever the real name of this mysterious prisoner, he was interred in 1703 under the name of Marchiali, aged about forty—five. And the name is so registered in St. Paul's register, Paris; witnessed by M. de Rosarge (mayor of the Bastile) and M. Reilh (surgeon).
“The mask was made of black velvet on steel springs.”
Man in the Moon
(The). Some say it is a man leaning on a fork, on which he is carrying a bundle of sticks picked up on a Sunday. The origin of this fable is from Num. xv. 32—36. Some add a dog also; thus the prologue in Midsummer Night's Dream says, “This man with lantern, dog, and bush of thorns presenteth moonshine;” Chaucer says “he stole the bush” (Test. of cresseid). Another tradition says that the man is Cain, with his dog and thorn—bush; the thorn—bush being emblimantical of the thorns and briars of the fall, and the dog being the “foul fiend.” Some poets make out the “man” to be Endymion, taken to the moon by Diana.
Man in the moon. The nameless person at one time employed in elections to negotiate bribes. Thus the rumour was set flying among the electors that “the Man in the Moon had arrived.”
I know no more about it than the man in the moon. I know nothing at all about the matter.
Man of Belial
Any wicked man. Shimei so called David (2 Sam. xvi. 7). The ungodly are called “children of Belial,” or “sons of Belial.” The word Belial means worthlessness.
Man of Blood
David is so called (2 Sam. xvi. 7).
The Puritans applied the term to Charles because he made war against his Parliament. Any man of violence.
Man of Blood and Iron
(The). Otto von Bismarck (Prince Bismarck), called “man of blood” from his great war policy, and “iron” from his indomitable will. Many years Chancellor of Prussia and Germany. (Born September 1st, 1815.)
Man of Brass
(The). Talos, the work of Hephæstos (Vulcan). He traversed Crete to prevent strangers from setting foot on the island, and threw rocks at the Argonauts to prevent their landing. Talos used to make himself red—hot, and hug intruders to death.
“That portentous Man of Brass
Hephæstos made in days of yore,
Who stalked about the Cretan shore ...
And threw stones at the Argonauts
Longfellow: The Wayside Inn.
Man of December
Napoleon III. He was made President of the French Republic December 11, 1848; made his coup d'état December 2, 1851; and was made Emperor December 2, 1852.
Man of Destiny
(The). Napoleon I. (1761, 1804—1814, died 1821). He looked on himself as an instrument in the hands of destiny.
“The Man of Destiny ... had power for a time to bind kings with chains, and nobles with fetters of iron.”— Sir Walter Scott.
Man of Feeling
The title of a novel by Henry Mackenzie. His “man of feeling” is named Harley— a sensitive, bashful, kind—hearted, sentimental hero.
Man of Letters
(A). An author.
Man of Remnants
(A). A tailor.
Man of Ross
John Kyrle, of Ross, in Herefordshire, immortalised by Pope in his epistle On the Use of Riches.
Man of Salt
A man like Æneas, always “melting into salt tears,” called “drops of salt.”
“This would make a man a man of salt,
To use his eyes for garden waterpots.”
Shakespeare: King Lear, iv. 6.
Man of Sedan
Napoleon III. was so called, because he surrendered his sword to William, King of Prussia, after the battle of Sedan (September 2, 1870).
Man of Silence
(The). Napoleon III. (1808, 1852—70, died 1873.)
“France? You must know better than I you position with the Man of Silence.”— For Sceptre and Crown, chap. i.
Man of Sin
(The). (2 Thess. ii. 3). The Roman Catholics say the Man of Sin is Antichrist. The Puritans applied the term to the Pope of Rome; the Fifth—Monarchy men to Cromwell; many modern theologians apply it to that “wicked one” (identical with the “last horn” of Dan. vii.) who is to immediately precede the second advent.
Man of Straw (A). A person without capital. It used to be customary for a number of worthless fellows to loiter about our law—courts to become false witness or surety for anyone who would buy their services; their badge was a straw in their shoes.
Man of the Hill
(The). A tedious “hermit of the vale,” which encumbers the story of Tom Jones, by Fielding.
Man of the Sea
(See Old , etc.)
Man of the Third Republic
(The). Napoleon III. (1802, reigned 1852—70, died 1873). (M. Gambetta, 1838—1882.)
Man of the World
(A). One “knowing” in world—craft; no greenhorn. Charles Macklin brought out a comedy (1704), and Henry Mackenzie a novel (1773) with the same title.
Man of Three Letters
"He chose three letters from among the elementals, in the mystery of the three mothers Aleph-Mem-Shin, and He set them in His Great Name and with them, He sealed six extremities. Five: He sealed "above" and faced upward and sealed it with Yud-Hey-Vav. Six: He sealed "below" and faced downward and sealed it with Yud-Vav-Hey. Seven: He sealed "east" and faced straight ahead and sealed it with Hey-Yud-Vav. Eight: He sealed "west" and faced backward and sealed it with Hey-Vav-Yud. Nine: He sealed "south" and faced to the right and sealed it with Vav-Yud-Hey. Ten: He sealed "north" and faced to the left and sealed it with Vav-Hey-Yud."
(A). A Government fighting—ship. The term is not now often used.
Man—of—war, or, Portuguese man—of—war. The nautilus.
“Frank went to the captain and told him that Tom had given him leave to have the
man—of—war if he could get it.”— Goulding: Adventures of the Young Marooners, 17.
Man—of—war bird. The frigate—bird.
Man of Wax
A model man; like one fashioned in wax. Horace speaks of the “waxen arms of Telephus,” meaning model arms, or of perfect shape and colour; and the nurse says of Romeo, “Why, he's a man of wax"
(i. 3), which she explains by saying, “Nay, he's a flower, i' faith a very flower.”
Man of Whipcord
(A). A coachman. The reference is to his whip.
“He would not have suffered the coachman to proceed while the horses were unfit for service.
... Yet the man of whipcord escaped some severe ... reproach.”— Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary, i.
(French). Aimer mieux la manche que le bras. Cupboard love. Manche is a slang word; a gratuity given to a cicerone cabman, or porter. It is the Italian buona mancia.
Jeter le manche apres la cognée. To throw the helve after the hatchet. To abandon what may be useful, out of caprice, because a part of what you expected has not been realised. A horse is stolen, and the man, in ill—temper, throws away saddle and bridle.
The first syllable is the Friesic man (a common); and the word means the Roman encampment on the common.
Charles Swain (1803—1874).
(A). A purveyor of food, a clerk of the kitchen. Chaucer has a “manciple” in his Canterbury Tales. (Latin manceps, mancipis.)
(Latin). A writ of King's Bench, commanding the person named to do what the writ directs. The first word is “Mandamus” (We command ...).
Mandana A stock name in heroic romance, which generally represents the fate of the world turning on the caprice of some beautiful Mandana or Statira.
is not a Chinese word, but one given by the Portuguese colonists at Maca'o to the officials called by the natives Khiouping (3 syl.) It is from the verb mandar (to command).
The nine ranks of mandarins are distinguished by the button in their cap:— 1, ruby; 2, coral; 3, sapphire; 4, an opaque blue stone; 5, crystal; 6, an opaque white shell; 7, wrought gold; 8, plain gold; and 9, silver.
“The whole body of Chinese mandarins consists of twenty—seven members. They are appointed for (1) imperial birth; (2) long service; (3) illustrious deeds; (4) knowledge; (5) ability; (6) zeal; (7) nobility; and (8) aristocratic birth.”— Gutzlay.
(Bernard de). A licentious Deistical writer, author of The Virgin Unmasked, and Free Thoughts on Religion, in the reign of George II.
Very short swords. So called from a certain Spanish nobleman of the house of Mendosa, who brought them into use. (See Swords.)
From gold to nothing, like Mandrabul's offering. Mandrabul, having found a gold—mine in Samos, offered to Juno a golden ram for the discovery; next year he gave a silver one, then a brazen one, and in the fourth year nothing. The proverb “to bring a noble to ninepence, and ninepence to nothing,” carries the same meaning.
The root of the mandragora often divides itself in two, and presents a rude appearance of a man. In ancient times human figures were often cut out of the root, and wonderful virtues ascribed to them. It was used to produce fecundity in women (Gen. xxx. 14—16). Some mandrakes cannot be pulled from the earth without producing fatal effects, so a cord used to be fixed to the root, and round a dog's neck, and the dog being chased drew out the mandrake and died. Another superstition is that when the mandrake is uprooted it utters a scream, in explanation of which Thomas Newton, in his Herball to the Bible, says, “It is supposed to be a creature having life, engendered under the earth of the seed of some dead person put to death for murder.”
“Shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth.”
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, iv. 3.
Mandrakes called love—apples. From the old notion that they excited amorous inclinations; hence Venus is called Mandragoritis, and the Emperor Julian, in his epistles, tells Calixenes that he drank its juice nightly as a love—potion.
He has eaten mandrake. Said of a very indolent and sleepy man, from the narcotic and stupefying properties of the plant, well known to the ancients.
“Give me to drink mandragora ... That I might sleep out this great gap of time My Antony is away.” Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, i. 5.
Mandrake. Another superstition connected with this plant is that a small dose makes a person vain of his beauty, and conceited; but that a large dose makes him an idiot.
King of Tartary, or Scythia, son of Agrican. He wore Hector's cuirass, married Doralis, and was slain in single combat by Rogero. (Orlando Innamorato, and Orlando Furioso.)
(2 syl.). the idol Gluttony, venerated by the Gastrolaters, people whose god was their belly.
“It is a monstrous ... figure, fit to frighten little children; its eyes are bigger than its belly, and its head larger than all the rest of its body, ... having a goodly pair of wide jaws, lined with two rows of teeth, which, by the magic of a small twine ... are made to clash, chatter, and rattle against the other, as the jaws of St. Clement's dragon (called graulli) on St. Mark's procession at Metz.”— Rabelais Pantagruel, iv. 59.
To appease his Manes. To do when a person is dead what would have pleased him or was due to him when alive. The spirit or ghost of the dead was by the Romans called his Manes, which never slept quietly in the grave so long as survivors left its wishes unfulfilled. The 19th February was the day when all the living sacrificed to the shades of dead relations and friends.
Manes (2 syl.) from the old word manis, i.e. “bonus,” “quod eos venerantes manes vocarent, ut Græci chrestous.” (See Lucretius, iii. 52.) It cannot come from maneo, to remain (because this part of man remains after the body is dead), because the a is long.
In the Christian Church there is an All Souls' Day.
Count Manfred, son of Count Sigismund, sold himself to the Prince of Darkness, and had seven spirits bound to do his bidding, viz. the spirits of “earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds,” and the star of his own destiny. He was wholly without human sympathies, and lived in splendid solitude among the Alpine mountains. He once loved the Lady Astarte (2 syl.) who died, but Manfred went to the hall of Arimanes to see and speak to her phantom, and was told that he would die the following day. The next day the Spirit of his Destiny came to summon him; the proud count scornfully dismissed it, and died. (Byron Manfred.
or Manger le Morceau. To betray, to impeach, to turn king's evidence. The allusion is to the words of Jesus to the beloved disciple— he will be the traitor “to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it,” etc. (John xiii. 26.)
in Scandinavian mythology, is the abode of man. Vanirheim is the abode of the Vanir. Jotunheim is the abode of the giants. Gladsheim is the abode of Odin. Helheim is the abode of Hela (goddess of death). Muspellheim is the abode of elemental fire. Niflheim is hell. Svartalheim is the abode of the dwarfs.
The son of Mundilfori; taken to heaven by the gods to drive the mooncar. He is followed by a wolf, which, when time shall be no more, will devour both Mani and his sister Sol.
or Manichæus. The greatest Persian painter, who lived in the reign of Shah—pour (Sapor' I.). It is said his productions rivalled nature. (226—274.)
or Manichees. A religious sect founded by Mani or Manichæus, the Persian painter. It was an amalgamation of the Magian and Christian religions, interlarded with a little Buddhism. In order to enforce his religious system, Mani declared himself to be the Paraclete or Comforter promised by Jesus Christ.
The American — Indian fetish.
Overstrained severity. Manlius Torquatus, the Roman consul, gave orders in the Latin war that no Roman, on pain of death, should engage in single combat; but one of the Latins provoked young Manlius by repeated insults, and Manlius, slew him. When the young man took the spoils to his father, Torquatus ordered him to be put to death for violating the commands of his superior officer
in the Plain Dealer, by Wycherly. He is violent and uncouth, but presents an excellent contrast to the hypocritical Olivia (q.v.).
Mr. Manly, in The Provoked Husband, by Vanbrugh and Cibber.
(Exodus xvi. 15), popularly said to be a corrupt form of man—hu (What is this?) The marginal reading gives— “When the children of Israel saw it [the small round thing like hoarfrost on the ground], they said to one another, What is this? for they wist not what it was.”
“And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna. It was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Verse 31.)
Manna of St. Nicholas of Bari
The name given to a colourless and tasteless poison, sold in phials by a woman of Italy named Tofani, who confessed to having poisoned six hundred persons by this liquid.
Mannering Colonel or Guy Mannering; Mrs. Mannering, née Sophia Wellwood, his wife; Julia Mannering, their daughter, who married Captain Bertram, Sir Paul Mannering, the colonel's uncle. In Sir Walter Scott's novel of Guy Mannering.
(George). A criminal executed at Cambridge in 1476. It is said that he could cut off a horse's head at a single blow.
“It is in $$$ of Mannington's— he that was hanged at Cambridge— that cut off the horse's head at a blow.”— Eastward Ho!
(Essex). Noted for its Whitsun fair, where an ox was roasted whole. Shakespeare makes Prince Henry call Falstaff “a roasted Manningtree ox, with the pudding in his belly.” (1 Henry IV. ii. 4.)
“You shall have a slave eat more at a meale than ten of the guard, and drink more in two days than all Manningtree does at a Witsun—ale.”
The fabulous capital of El Dorado, the houses of which city were said to be roofed with gold.
A novel by the Abbé Prevost. It is the history of a young man possessed of many brilliant and some estimable qualities, but, being intoxicated by a fatal attachment, he is hurried into the violation of every rule of conduct, and finally prefers the life of a wretched wanderer, with the worthless object of his affection, to all the advantages presented by nature and fortune.
Demesne. “Demesne land” is that near the demesne or dwelling (domus) of the lord, and which he kept for his own use. Manor land was all that remained (manco), which was let to tenants for money or service.
In some manors there was common land also, i.e. land belonging in common to two or more persons, to the whole village, or to certain natives of the village.
also called the curb roof. A roof in which the rafters, instead of forming a , are broken on each side into an elbow. It was devised by Francois Mansard, the French architect, to give height to attics.
The Miller of Mansfield. Henry II. was one day hunting, and lost his way. He met a miller, who took him home to his cottage, and gave him a bed with his son Richard. Next morning the courtiers tracked the king to the cottage, and the miller discovered the rank of his guest. The king, in merry mood, knighted his host, who thus became Sir John Cockle. On St. George's Day, Henry II. invited the miller, his wife and son to a royal banquet, and after being amused with their rustic ways, made Sir John “overseer of Sherwood Forest, with a salary of 300 a year.” (Percy: Reliques.)
The Latin mansio was simply a tent pitched for soldiers on the march; and, hence a “day's journey” (Pliny, xii. 14). Subsequently the word was applied to a roadside house for the accommodation of strangers.
(Suetonius Tit. 10).
A charlatan who professed to restore the dead to life.
(Madame). A fashionable milliner near Cavendish Square. Her husband, noted for his white teeth, minced oaths, and gorgeous morning gown, is an exquisite man—milliner, who lives on his wife's earnings.
(Dichens Nicholas Nickleby.)
(A). A shelf over a fire—place, originally used for drying clothes.
“Around the spacious cupola, over the Italian fire—places, is a ledge to which are affixed pegs, on which postillions hung their wet clothes to dry. We call the shelves over the fire—places
`mantel—pieces,' but we no longer hang our mantles on them to dry.”— Memoirs of Col. Macaroni.
(Bridge of) consisted of thirty arches of black marble, and was guarded by “a fearful huge giant,” slain by Sir Fierabras.
An heraldic monster, having a tiger's body, and the head of an old man with long spiral horns.
Mantle of Fidelity
(The). A little boy one day presented himself before King Arthur, and showed him a curious mantle, “which would become no wife that was not leal.” Queen Guinever tried it, but it changed from green to red, and red to black, and seemed rent into shreds. Sir Kay's lady tried it, but fared no better; others followed, but only Sir Cradock's wife could wear it. (Percy: Reliques.) (See Chastity .)
or Mintra (Persian mythology). A spell, a talisman, by which a person holds sway over the elements and spirits of all denominations. (Wilford.)
Mantuan Swain, Swan
or Bard (The). Virgil, a native of Mantua, in Italy. Besides his great Latin epic, he wrote pastorals and Georgics.
(The). An old name for a bird of paradise. It is a corruption of the Malay manute—dewata, the bird of the gods.
“Less pure the footless fowl of heaven, that never
Rests upon earth, but on the wing for ever,
Hovering o'er flowers, their fragrant food inhale. Drink the descending dew upon the way:
And sleep aloft while floating on the gale.”
Southey: Curse of Kehama, xxi. 6.
To set free; properly “to send from one's hand” (e manu mittere). One of the Roman ways of freeing a slave was to take him before the chief magistrate and say, “I wish this man to be free.” The lictor or master then turned the slave round in a circle, struck him with a rod across the cheek, and let him go.
(2 syl.) means hand—work (French, main—oeuvre), tillage by manual labour. It now means the dressing applied to lands. Milton uses it in its original sense in Paradise Lost, iv. 628:—
“Yon flowery arbours, ... with branches overgrown That mock our scant manuring.”
In book xi. 26 he says, the repentant tears of Adam brought forth better fruits than all the trees of Paradise that his hands manured in the days of innocence.
(See Too Many .)
Many a Mickle makes a Muckle
or Many a little makes a mickle. Little and often fills the purse. (See Little .)
French: “Les petits ruisseaux font de grandes rivièes;” “Plusieurs peu font un beaucoup.” Greek:
Many Men, Many Minds
Latin: “Quot homines tot sententiæ” (Terence).
French: “Autant d'hommes, autant d'avis;” “Tant de gens, tant de guises;" “Autant de testes, autant d'opinions.”
(The). The indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand. It is a New Zealand word, meaning natives. (Plur., Maoris.)
A goblin that seized upon men asleep in their beds, and took from them all speech and motion.
Feathers of the bird so called, used by ladies for head—gear. There are two species of marabou stork, which have white feathers beneath their wings and tail especially prized. The word “marabou" means “devoted to God,” and the stork is a sacred bird. (See Marabuts .)
(in French). A bigbellied kettle; a very large sail; an ugly baboon of a man; also a sort of plume at one time worn by ladies. The “marabout hat” was a hat adorned with a marabou feather.
An Arab tribe which, in 1075, founded a dynasty, put an end to by the Almohads. They form a priestly order greatly venerated by the common people. The Great Marabut ranks next to the king. (Arabic, marabath, devoted to God.)
(Syriac, the Lord will come— i.e. to execute judgment). A form of anathematising among the Jews. The Romans called a curse or imprecation a devotion— i.e. given up to some one of the gods.
(4 syl.). A very small Spanish coin, less than a farthing.
The Arundelian Marbles. Some thirty—seven statues and 128 busts with inscriptions, collected by W. Petty, in the reign of James I., in the island of Paros, and purchased of him by Lord Arundel, who gave them to the University of Oxford in 1627.
The Elgin marbles. A collection of basso—relievos and fragments of statuary from the Parthenon of Athens (built by Phidias), collected by Thomas, Lord Elgin, during his mission to the Ottoman Porte in 1802. They were purchased from him by the British Government, in 1816, for 35,000, and are now in the British Museum. (The gin of “Elgin” is like the —gin of “begin.”)
Money and marbles. Cash and furniture.
(The Prince). From the Italian fairy—tales by Straparola, called Nights, translated into French in 1585.
A fair shepherdess whose story forms an episode in Don Quixote.
Marcellina The daughter of Rocco, jailor of the state prison of Seville. She falls in love with Fidelio, her father's servant, who turns out to be Leonora, the wife of the state prisoner Fernando Florestan. (Beethoven: Fidelio.)
(in Dibdin's bootlegbooks, a romance,) is meant for Edmund Malone, the well—known editor of Shakespeare's works (1811).
He may be a rogue, but he's no fool on the march. (French, sur la marche likewise.)
March borrows three days from April. (See Borrowed Days.)
A bushel of March dust is worth a king's ransom. According to the Anglo—Saxon laws, the fine of murder was a sliding scale proportioned to the rank of the person killed. The lowest was 10, and the highest 60; the former was the ransom of a churl, and the latter of a king.
Mad as a March hare. Hares in March are very wild; it is their rutting time. (See Hare .)
(boundaries) is the Saxon mearc; but marsh, a meadow, is the Saxon mersc, anciently written marash, the French marais, and our morass. The other march is the origin of our marquis, the lord of the march. The boundaries between England and Wales, and between England and Scotland, were called “marches.”
Riding the marches— i.e. beating the bounds of the parish (Scotch).
(in Chaucer) is substantially the same as the first Latin metrical tale of Adolfus, and is not unlike a Latin prose tale given in the appendix of T. Wright's edition of Æsop's Fables. (See January and May.)
A splendid pageant on Midsummer Eve, which Henry VIII. took Jane Seymour to Mercers' Hall to see. In 1547 Sir John Gresham, the Lord Mayor, restored the pageant, which had been discontinued on account of the sweating sickness.
(Staffordshire). Famous for a crumbling short cake. Hence the saying that a man or woman of crusty temper is “as short as Marchington wake—cake.”
(The). The half—starved girl—of—all—work in The Old Curiosity Shop, by Charles Dickens.
A confection of pistachio—nuts, almonds, and sugar; a corruption of the French masse—pain. (Italian, marzapan. )
(3 syl.). An ascetic Gnostic sect, founded by Marcion in the second century.
(William de la), or “The Wild Boar of Ardennes,” A French nobleman, called in French history Sanglier des Ardennes, introduced by Sir Walter Scott in Quentin Durward (1446—1485).
(Herefordshire), on February 7th, 1571, at six o'clock in the evening, “roused itself with a roar, and by seven next morning had moved forty paces.” It kept on the move for three days, carrying with it sheep in their cotes, hedge—rows, and trees; overthrew Kinnaston chapel, and diverted two high roads at least 200 yards from their former route. The entire mass thus moved consisted of twenty—six acres of land, and the entire distance moved was 400 yards. (Speed: Herefordshire.)
Marcos de Obregon
The model of Gil Blas, in the Spanish romance entitled Relaciones de la Vida del Escudero Marcos de Obregon.
Marcosians A branch of the Gnostics; so called from the Egyptian Marcus. They are noted for their apocryphal books and religious fables.
The last day of the Lent carnival in France, when the prize ox is paraded through the principal streets of Paris, crowned with a fillet, and accompanied with mock priests and a band of tin instruments in imitation of a Roman sacrificial procession.
“Tous les ans on vient de la ville
Les marchands dans nos cantons, $$$ les mener aux Tuileries,
Au Mardi—Gras, devant le roi.
Et puit les vendre aux boucheries,
J'aime Jeanne ma femme, eh, ha! j'aimerais mieux La voir mourir que voir mourir mes boeufs.”
Pierre Dupont: Les Boeufs.
To waste time in gossip. (Anglo—Saxon, $$$ to talk; methél, a discourse.)
(Captain), in A King or No King, by Beaumont and Fletcher.
The Cromlech at Gorwell, Dorsetshire, is called the White Mare; the barrows near Hambleton, the Grey Mare.
Away the mare— i.e. Off with the blue devils, good—bye to care. This mare is the incubus called the nightmare.
To cry the mare (Herefordshire and Shropshire). In harvesting, when the in—gathering is complete, a few blades of corn left for the purpose have their tops tied together. The reapers then place themselves at a certain distance, and fling their sickles at the “mare.” He who succeeds in cutting the knot cries out “I have her!”
“What have you?” “A mare.” “Whose is she?” The name of some farmer whose field has been reaped is here mentioned. “Where will you send her?” The name of some farmer whose corn is not yet harvested is here given, and then all the reapers give a final shout.
To win the mare or lose the haller— i.e. to play double or quits. The grey mare is the better horse. (See Grey Mare.)
The two—legged mare. The gallows. Shanks's mare. One's legs or shanks. Money will make the mare to go.
“ `Will you lend me your mare to go a mile?' `No, she is lame leaping over a stile.'
`But if you will her to me spare,
You shall have money for your mare,'
`Oh, ho! say you so?
Money will make the mare to go.' “
Old Glees and Catches.
Whose mare's dead? What's the matter? Thus, in 2 Henry IV., when Sir John Falstaff sees Mistress Quickly with the sheriff's officers, evidently in a state of great discomposure, he cries,
“How now? Whose mare's dead? What's the matter?”— Act ii. 1.
To find a mare's nest is to make what you suppose to be a great discovery, but which turns out to be all moonshine.
“Why dost thou laugh?
What mare's nest hast thou found?”
Beaumont and Fletcher: Bonduca, v. 2.
“Are we to believe that the governor, executive council, the officers, and merchants have been finding mare's nests only?”— The Times.
N.B. In some parts of Scotland they use instead a skate's nest. In Gloucestershire a long—winded tale is called a Horse—nest. In Cornwall they say You have found a wee's nest, and are laughing over the eggs. In Devon, nonsense is called a blind mare's nest. Holinshed calls a gallows a foul's nest (iii.). In French the corresponding phrase is “Nid de lapin; Nid d'une souris dans Voreille d'un chat. ” (See Chat.)
The Arva Mareotica mentioned by Ovid (Metamorphoses, ix. 73) produced the white grapes, from which was made the favourite beverage of Cleopatra, and mention of which is made both by Horace (Odes, i. 37) and Virgil (Georgics, ii. 91). The Arva Mareotica were the shores of Lake Moeris, and “Mareotic luxury” is about equal to “Sybaritic luxury.'
Name of an Indian queen in Bojardo's Orlando Innamorato, and in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
A pasquinade (q.v.).
(Register of), 1066 to 1232, published in Gale, 1687.
Queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, called the “Northern Semiramis” (1353, 1387—1412). Margaret. A simple, uncultured girl of wonderful witchery, seduced, at the age of fifteen, by Faust. She drowns in a pool the infant of her shame, was sent to prison, where she lost her reason, and was ultimately condemned to death. Faust (whom she calls Henry) visits her in prison, and urges her to make her escape with him; but she refuses, dies, and is taken to heaven; but Mephistopheles carried off Faust to the Inferno.
Ladye Margaret. “The Flower of Teviot,” daughter of the Duchess Margaret and Lord Walter Scott, of Branksome Hall. She was beloved by Baron Henry of Cranstown, whose family had a deadly feud with that of Scott. One day the elfin page of Lord Cranstown inveigled the heir of Branksome Hall, then a lad, into the woods, where he fell into the hands of the Southerners; whereupon 3,000 of the English marched against the castle of the widowed duchess; but, being told by a spy that Douglas with 10,000 men was coming to the rescue, they agreed to decide by single combat whether the boy was to become King Edward's page, or be delivered up to his mother. The champions to decide this question were to be Sir Richard Musgrave on the side of the English, and Sir William Deloraine on the side of the Scotch. In the combat the English champion was slain, and the boy was delivered to the widow; but it then appeared that the antagonist was not William of Deloraine, but Lord Cranstown, who claimed and received the hand of fair Margaret as his reward. (Scott: Lay of the Last Minstrel.
Lady Margaret's preacher. A preacher who has to preach a Concio ad clerum before the University, on the day preceding Easter Term. This preachership was founded in 1503 by Lady Margaret, mother of Henry VII.
Lady Margaret professor. A professor of divinity in the University of Cambridge. This professorship was founded in 1502 by Lady Margaret, mother of Henry VII. These lectures are given for the “voluntary theological examination,” and treat upon the Fathers, the Liturgy, and the priestly duties. (See Norrisian.)
(St.). The chosen type of female innocence and meekness. In Christian art she is represented as a young woman of great beauty, bearing the martyr's palm and crown, or with the dragon as an attribute. Sometimes she is delineated as coming from the dragon's mouth, for the legend says that the monster swallowed her, but on making the sign of the cross he suffered her to quit his maw.
St. Margaret and the dragon. Olybius, Governor of Antioch, captivated by the beauty of St. Margaret, wanted to marry her, and, as she rejected him with scorn, threw her into a dungeon, where the devil came to her in the form of a dragon. Margaret held up the cross, and the dragon fled.
St. Margaret is the patron saint of the ancient borough of Lynn Regis, and on the corporation seal she is represented as standing on a dragon and wounding it with the cross. The inscription of the seal is “SVB
MARGARETA TERITUR DBACO STAT CRUCE L&AE;TA.”
or Marguerite (petite). The daisy; so called from its pearly whiteness, màrguerite being the French for a pearl. (See Marguerite .)
“The daise, a flour white and redde, In French called `la belle Marguerite.' “
(A). A mere imitation. Just as margarine is an imitation and substitute of butter.
“Between a real etching and that margarine substitute a pen—and—ink drawing ... the difference is this: the margarine substitute is essentially flat ... but true etching is in sensible relief.”— Nineteenth Century, May 1891, p. 780.
(Kent), is the sea—gate or opening. (Latin, mare; Anglo—Saxon, mære, etc.)
Margherit'a di Valois
married Henri the Béarnais, afterwards Henri IV. of France. During the wedding soleminites, Catherine de Medicis devised the massacre of the French Protestants, and Margherita was at a ball during the dreadful enactment of this device. (Meyerbeer: Gli Ugonotti, an opera.)
In all our ancient English books, the commentary is printed in the margin. Hence Shakespeare:
“His face's own margent did quote such amazes.”
Love's Labour's Lost, ii. 1.
“I knew you must be edifled by the margent.”— Hamlet, v. 2.
“She ... could pick no meaning ...
Writ in the glassy margents of such books.”
Shakespeare: Rape of Lucrece, stanza 15.
The first dunce whose name has been transmitted to fame. His rivals are Codrus and Flecknoe.
“Margites was the name ... whom Antiquity recordeth to have been dunce the first.”— Pope Dunciad (Martinus Scriblcrus).
Marguerite des Marguerites
[the pearl of pearls ]. So Francois called his sister (Marguerite de Valois), authoress of the Heptameron. She married twice: first, the Duc d'Alencon, and then Henri d'Albret, king of Navarre, and was the mother of Henry IV. of France. Henri [IV.] married a Marguerite, but this Marguerite was the daughter of Henri II. and Catherine de Medicis. The former befriended the Huguenots, the latter was a rigid Catholic, like her mother.
(3 syl.). A giant ten feet high, who died of laughter on seeing a monkey pulling on his boots. (Pulci: Morgante Maggiore.) (See Death From Strange Causes.)
Mari'a Heroine of Donizetti's opera La Figlia del Reggimento. She first appears as a vivandière or French sutler—girl, for Sulpizio (the sergeant of the 11th regiment of Napoleon's Grand Army) had found her after a battle, and the regiment adopted her as their daughter. Tonio, a Tyrolese, saved her life and fell in love with her, and the regiment agreed to his marriage provided he joined the regiment. Just at this juncture the marchioness of Berkenfield claims Maria as her daughter; the claim is allowed, and the vivandiere is obliged to leave the regiment for the castle of the marchioness. After a time the French regiment takes possession of Berkenfield Castle, and Tonio has risen to the rank of field officer. He claims Maria as his bride, but is told that her mother has promised her hand to the son of a duchess. Maria promises to obey her mother, the marchioness relents, and Tonio becomes the accepted suitor.
Maria. A fair, quick—witted, amiable maiden, whose banns were forbidden by the curate who published them; in consequence of which she lost her reason, and used to sit by the roadside near Moulines, playing vesper hymns to the Virgin all day long. She led by a ribbon a little dog named Silvio, of which she was very jealous, for she had first made a goat her favourite, but the goat had forsaken her. (Sterne: Sentimental Journey.)
Wife of Sancho Panza. She is sometimes called Maria, sometimes Teresa Panza. (Don Quixote.)
(4 syl.). Worshippers of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They said the Trinity consisted of God the Father, God the Son, and Mary the mother of God.
One of the most lovable of Shakespeare's characters. Her pleading for Angelo is unrivalled. (Measure for Measure.)
Tennyson has two Marianas among his poems.
Mariana. Daughter of the king of Sicily, beloved by Sir Alexander, one of the three sons of St. George, the patron saint of England. Sir Alexander married her, and was crowned king of Thessaly. (Seven Champions of Christendom, iii. 3.)
So called in honour of the Virgin Mary, and hence the introduction of marigold windows in lady chapels. (See Marygold .)
“This riddle, Cuddy, if thou canst, explain ...
What flower is that which bears the Virgin's name, The richest metal added to the same?”
Wife of Jacopo Foscari, son of the doge. (Byron: The Two Foscari.)
or Maridah. The fair mistress of Haroun—al—Raschid.
(2 syl.). The female Marine. Hannah Snell, of Worcester, who took part in the attack on Pondicherry. She ultimately left the service and opened a public—house in Wapping (London), but retained her male attire (born 1723).
Doubts exist respecting the fact stated above. (See Notes and Queries, Dec. 3, 1892.)
(2 syl.). Empty bottles. The marines were at one time looked down upon by the regular seamen, who considered them useless, like empty bottles. A marine officer was once dining at a mess—table, when the Duke of York said to the man in waiting, “Here, take away these marines.” The officer demanded an explanation, when the duke replied, “They have done their duty, and are prepared to do it again.”
Tell that to the marines. Tell that to greenhorns, and not to men who know better. Marines are supposed by sailors to be so green that they will swallow the most extravagant story.
“Tell that to the marines, the sailors won't believe it.”— Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xiii.
The fleur—de—lis which ornaments the northern radius of the mariner's compass was adopted out of compliment to Charles d'Anjou, whose device it was. He was the reigning king of Sicily when Flavio Gioja, the Neapolitan, madé his improvements in this instrument.
The forty—ninth doge or chief magistrate of the republic of Venice, elected 1354. A patrician named Michel Steno, having behaved indecently to some of the women assembled at the great civic banquet given by the doge, was kicked off the solajo by order of the Duke. In revenge he wrote upon the duke's chair a scurrilous libel against the dogaressa. The insult was referred to the Forty, and the council condemned the young patrician to a month's imprisonment. The doge, furious at this inadequate punishment, joined a conspiracy to overthrow the republic, under the hope and promise of being made a king. He was betrayed by Bertram, one of the conspirators, and was beheaded on the “Giant's Staircase,” the place where the doges were wont to take the oath of fidelity to the republic. (Byron Marino Faliero.)
At a given temperature, the volume of a gas is inversely as the pressure. So called from Ed. Mariotte, a Frenchman, who died 1684.
(Spanish, bad woman). A vulgar, ugly, stunted servant—wench, whom Don Quixote mistakes for a lord's daughter, and her “hair, rough as a horse's tail,” his diseased imagination fancies to be “silken threads of finest gold.” (Cervantes: Don Quixote.)
(4 syl.). An imitation of the style of Marivaux (1688—1763). He wrote several comedies and novels. “Il tombe souvent dans une métaphysique alambiqué [far—fetched, over—strained] pour laquelle on a cree le nom de marivaudage.”
“Ce qui constitue le marivaudage, c'est une recherche affectée dans le style, une grande substilité dans les sentiments, et. une grande complication d'intrigues.”— Bouillet: Dict. Universel, etc.
As a pig loves marjoram. Not at all. Lucretius tells us (vi. 974), “Amaricinum fugitat sus, ” swine shun marjoram. The proverb is applied in somewhat this way: “How did you like so—and—so?” Ans.: “Well, as a pig loves marjoram.”
God bless the mark! An ejaculation of contempt or scorn. (See Save The Mark.)
“To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, God bless the mark! is a kind of devil.”— Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, ii. 2.
To make one's mark. To distinguish oneself. He has written his name (or made his mark) on the page of history.
Up to the mark. Generally used in the negative; as, “Not quite up to the mark,” not good enough, not up to the standard fixed by the Assay office for gold and silver articles; not quite well.
(St.), in Christian art, is represented as being in the prime of life; sometimes habited as a bishop, and, as the historian of the resurrection, accompanied by a winged lion (q.v.). He holds in his right hand a pen, and in his left the Gospel. (See Luke .)
(Sir). A mythical king of Cornwall, Sir Tristram's uncle. He lived at Tintagel Castle, and married Isolde the Fair, who was passionately enamoured of his nephew, Sir Tristram. The illicit loves of Isolde and Tristram were proverbial in the Middle Ages.
An hypothetical quantity of fine silver, employed as a money—valuer in the old Bank at Hamburg, and used by the Hanseatic League. Deposits in gold and silver coins were credited in Marco Banco, and all banking accounts were carried on in Marco Banco. The benefit was this: Marco Banco was invariable, but exchange varies every hour. The bank not only credited deposits by this unvarying standard, but paid withdrawals in the same way; so that it was a matter of no moment how exchange varied. I put 1,000 into the bank; the money is not entered to my credit as 1,000, but so much Marco Banco. The same process was adopted on withdrawals also.
Ever jolly, who recognises nothing creditable unless it is overclouded by difficulties. (Charles Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit.)
Move the feet alternately as in marching, but without advancing or retreating from the spot.
Mark of the Beast
(The). To set the “mark of the beast” on an object or pursuit is to denounce it, to run it down as unorthodox. Thus, many persons set the mark of the beast on theatres, some on dancing, and others on gambling, races, cards, dice, etc. The allusion is to Revelation xvi. 2; xix. 23.
(St.). On St. Mark's Eve all persons fated to be married or to die pass, in procession, the church porch.
“ `Tis now,' replied the village belle, `St. Mark's mysterious eve. ...
The ghosts of all whom Death shall doom
Within the coming year
In pale procession walk the gloom. ...
Marks in Grammar and Printing
Printers' marks on the first page of a sheet are called Signatures. (See Letters At Foot Of Page .)
Serifs are the strokes which finish off Roman letters, top and bottom. A, B, C, are “block” letters, or “sans serifs.”
over the second of two vowels, as aërial, is called “diæresis,” and in French, trema.
' An acute accent. In Greek it indicates a rise in the voice. It was not used till Greek became familiar to the Romans.
` A grave accent. In Greek it indicates a fall of the voice. It was not used till Greek became familiar to the Romans.
over a vowel, as ö, ii, is called in German zwerpunct.
over a vowel, as a, is called in Danish umlauf.
A circumflex over the letter n (as Oñoro, in Spanish, is called a tilde (2 syl.). A circumflex in French indicates that a letter has been abstracted, as être for “estre. '
t between two hyphens in French, as parle—t—il? is called “t ephelcystic. ” (See N.)
The Tironian sign (q.v.). (See And.) — Hyphen, as horse—guards.
— joining a pronoun to its verb in French, as irai—je, donnait—on, is called le trait d'union. , under the letter c in French, is called a cedilla, and indicates that the letter = s. (See Printers Marks.) A pilcrow, to call attention to a statement.
A blind P, marks a new paragraph indirectly connected with preceding matter. () Called parentheses, and
 Called brackets, separate some explanatory or collateral matter from the real sequence. is a comma; ; is a semicolon; : is a colon; . is a point or full stop. — or ... in the middle or at the end of a sentence is a break, and shows that something is suppressed.
Marks of Gold and Silver
The date—mark on gold or silver articles is some letter of the alphabet indicating the year when the article was made. Thus, in the Goldsmith's Company of London:— From 1716 to 1755 it was Roman capitals, beginning from A and following in succession year after year; from 1756 to 1775 it was Roman small letters, a to u; from 1776 to 1796, Roman black letters, small, a
The duty—mark on gold and silver articles is the head of the reigning sovereign, and shows that the duty has been paid. This mark is not now placed on watch—cases, etc.
The Hall—mark, stamped upon gold and silver articles, is a leopard's head crowned for London; three lions and a cross for York; a castle with two wings for Exeter; three wheat sheaves or a dagger for Chester; three castles for Newcastle; an anchor for Birmingham; a crown for Sheffield; a castle and lion for Edinburgh; a tree, salmon, and ring for Glasgow; Hibernia for Dublin. (See Hall Mark, Silver.)
The Standard—mark of gold or silver is a lion passant for England; a thistle for Edinburgh; a lion rampant for Glasgow; and a harp crowned for Ireland.
(A). Money for refreshments given to those who go to market. Now, however, it means a toll surreptitiously exacted by servants sent out to buy goods for their master.
(Mrs.). A nom de plume of Elizabeth Cartwright, afterwards Mrs. Penrose.
Latin, argill'; German, märgel; Spanish and Italian, marga; Armoric, marg; Irish, Marla; Welsh, marl.
Statutes of Marlborough. Certain laws passed in the reign of Henry III., by a parliament held in Marlborough Castle. (See Malbrouk [Sen va—t'—en guerre].)
Blenheim Dog A small spaniel; so called from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, where the breed has been preserved ever since the palace was built.
Both Sir Charles Marlow and his son Young Marlow are characters in She Stoops to Conquer, by Goldsmith. Young Marlow is bashful before ladies, but easy enough before women of low degree.
Ralph de Wilton, being charged with treason, claimed to prove his innocence by the ordeal of battle, and, being overthrown by Lord Marmion, was supposed to be dead, but was picked up by a beadsman, who nursed him carefully; and, being restored to health, he went on a pilgrimage to foreign lands. Now, Lord Marmion was betrothed to Constance de Beverley; and De Wilton to Lady Clare, daughter of the Earl of Gloucester. When De Wilton was supposed to be dead, Lord Marmion proved faithless to Constance, and proposed to Clare, having an eye especially to her rich inheritance. Clare rejected his suit, and took refuge in the convent of St. Hilda, in Whitby; Constance, on the other hand, took the veil in the convent of St. Cuthbert, in Holy Isle. In time, Constance eloped from the convent, but, being overtaken, was buried alive in the walls of a deep cell. In the meantime Lord Marmion was sent by Henry VIII. with a message to James IV. of Scotland, and stopped at the hall of Hugh de Heron for a night. Sir Hugh, at his request, appointed him a guide to conduct him to the king, and the guide wore the dress of a palmer. On his return, Lord Marmion hears that Lady Clare is in Holy Isle, and commands the abbess of Hilda to release her, that she may be placed under the charge of her kinsman, Fitz Clare, of Tantallon Hall. Here she meets De Wilton, the palmer—guide of Lord Marmion. Lord Marmion being killed at the battle of Flodden Field, De Wilton married Lady Clare. (Sir Walter Scott.)
Lord Marmion. The hero of Scott's poem so called is a purely fictitious character. There was, however, an historic family so called, descendants of Robert de Marmion, a follower of the Conqueror, who obtained the grant of Tamworth, and the manor of Scrivelby, in Lincolnshire. He was the first royal champion, and his male issue ceased with Philip Marmion in the reign of Edward I. Sir John Dymoke, who married Margery, daughter of Joan, the only surviving child of Philip, claimed the office and manor in the reign of Richard II.; they have remained in his male line ever since.
Luna An ancient seaport of Genoa, whence the marble quarried in the neighbourhood is called “marmo lunense.” (Orlando Furioso.)
Conte di Luna. Garzia, brother of Count Luna, had two sons. One day a gipsy was found in their chamber, and being seized, was condemned to be burnt alive. The daughter of the gipsy, out of revenge, vowed vengeance, and stole Manrico, the infant son of Garzia. It so fell out that the count and Manrico both fell in love with the Princess Leonora, who loved Manrico only. Luna and Manrico both fall into the hands of the count, and are condemned to death, when Leonora promises to “give herself” to Luna, provided he liberates Manrico both fall into the hands of the count, and are condemned to death, when Leonora promises to “give herself” to Luna, provided he liberates Manrico. The count accepts the terms, and goes to the prison to fulfil his promise, when Leonora dies from poison which she has sucked from a ring. Soon as Manrico sees that Leonora is dead, he also dies. (Verdi: Il Trovatore, an opera.
Virgil, whose name was Publius Virgilius Maro, was born on the banks of the river Mincio, at the village of Andes, near Mantua. (B.C. 70—19.)
“Sweet Maro's muse, sunk in inglorious rest,
Had silent slept amid the Minclan reeds.”
Thomson: Castle of Indolence.
or Marron (French). A catspaw (q.v.). “Se servir de la patte du chat pour tirer les marrons du feu;” in Italian, “Cavare i marroni dal fuoco colla zampa del gatto.”
“Cest ne se point commettre a faire de l'élat
Et tirer les marrons de la patte du chat.”
L'Etourdi, iii. 7.
(3 syl.). A Christian tribe of Syria in the eighth century; so called from the monastery of Maron, on the slopes of Lebanon, their chief seat; so called from John Maron, Patriarch of Antioch, in the sixth century.
A runaway slave sent to the Calabouco, or place where such slaves were punished, as the Maroons of Brazil. Those of Jamaica are the offspring of runaways from the old Jamaica plantations or from Cuba, to whom, in 1738, the British Government granted a tract of land, on which they built two towns. The word is from the verb “maroon,” to set a person on an inhospitable shore and leave him there (a practice common with pirates and buccaneers). The word is a corruption of Cimarron, a word applied by Spaniards to anything unruly, whether man or beast. (See Scott: Pirate, xxii.)
(To). To set a man on a desert island and abandon him there. This marooning was often practised by pirates and buccaneers. (See above.)
daughter of Theodora. The infamous offspring of an infamous mother, of the ninth century. Her intrigues have rendered her name proverbial. By one she became the mother of Pope John XI. (See Messalina.)
(in Orlando Furioso). Sister of Rogero, and a female knight of amazing prowess. She was brought up by a magician, but, being stolen at the age of seven, was sold to the king of Persia. The king assailed her virtue when she was eighteen, but she slew him, and seized the crown. She came to Gaul to join the army of Agramant, but hearing that Agramant's father had murdered her mother Galacella, she entered the camp of Charlemagne, and was baptised.
A silly, cowardly, inquisitive Paul Pry, in The Busybody, by Mrs. Centlivre. H. Woodward's great part.
Letter of Marque A commission authorising a privateer to make reprisals on a hostile nation till satisfaction for injury has been duly made. Here “marque” means march, or marca, a border—land (whence our “marquis,” the lords appointed to prevent border—incursions). A letter of marque or mart was permission given for reprisals after a border—incursion. Called jus marchium.
(The). The bond of marriage effected by the legal marriage service. The Latin phrase is nodus Herculeus, and part of the marriage service was for the bridegroom to loosen (solvere) the bride's girdle, not to tie it. In the Hindu marriage ceremony the bridegroom hangs a ribbon on the bride's neck and ties it in a knot. Before the knot is tied the bride's father may refuse consent unless better terms are offered, but immediately the knot is tied the marriage is indissoluble. The Parsees bind the hands of the bridegroom with a sevenfold cord, seven being a sacred number. The ancient. Carthaginians tied the thumbs of the betrothed with leather lace. See Nineteenth Century, Oct., 1893, p. 610. (A. Rogers.)
“Around her neck they leave
The marriage knot alone.”
Southey: Curse of Kehama.
“When first the marriage knot was tied
Between my wife and me,
Her age did mine as much exceed
As three—times—three does three;
But when ten years and half ten years
We man and wife had been.
Her age came then as near to mine
As eight is to sixteen.”
Ans.: 15 and 45 at marriage, 30 and 60 fifteen years afterwards.
The practice of throwing rice is also Indian.
“Hamilcar desired to unite them immediately by an indissoluble betrothal. In Salambo's hands was a lance, which she offered to Narr Havas. Their thumbs were then tied together by a leather lace, and corn was thrown over their heads.”— Flaubert: Salambo, chap. xi.
Sacred plates with a circular well in the centre to hold sweetmeats. They were painted for bridal festivities by Maestro Georgio, Orazio Fontane, and other artists of Urbino and Gubbio, Pesaro and Pavia, Castelli and Savona, Faenza and Ferrara, and all the other art towns of Italy. These plates were hung upon the walls, and looked on with superstitious awe as household gods. They were painted in polychrome, and the chief design was some scriptural subject, like Rebecca and Isaac.
Carrier's republican marriages. A device of wholesale slaughter, adopted by Carrier, proconsul of Nantes, in the first French Revolution. It consisted in tying men and women together by their hands and feet, and casting them into the Loire. (1794.)
Close times of marriages in the Catholic Church. (1) Ab Adventu usque ad Epiphaniam (from Advent to Epiphany). (2) A Septuagesima usque ad octavus Pasche inclusive (from Septuagesima to the eighth Easter). (3) A secunda feria in Rogationibus usque ad primam dominicam post Pentacosten (from the second feast in Rogation to the first Sunday after Pentecost exclusive).
(Liber Sacerdotalis ... Secundum Ritum Sanctæ Romance et Apostolicæ Ecclesiæ; 1537.)
Marriages are Made in Heaven
This does not mean that persons in heaven “marry and are given in marriage,” but that the partners joined in marriage on earth were foreordained to be so united. As the French proverb more definitely expresses the idea, “Les mariages se font au ciel et se consomment sur la terre. ” And again, “Les mariages sont écrits dans le ciel. ” E. Hall (1499—1547) says, “Consider the old proverbe to be true that saieth: Marriage is destinie.” Prov. xix. 14 says, “A prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Marriages of Men of Genius
The following literary men, among many others, made unhappy marriages:
LILLY (second wife).
take their husband's surname. This was a Roman custom. Thus Julia, Octavia, etc., married to Pompey, Cicero, etc., would be called Julia of Pompey, Octavia of Cicero. Our married women are named in the same way, omitting “of.”
(Scotch) a mate, companion, friend. “Not marrow”— that is, not a pair. The Latin word medulla (marrow) is used in much the same way as “mihi hæres in medullis” (Cicero); (very dear, my best friend, etc.).
“Busk ye, busk ye, my bonnie bonnie bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow.”
The Braes of Yarrow.
“One glove [or shoe] is not marrow to the other.”
Down on your marrow—bones, i.e. knees. That marrow in this phrase is not a corruption of “Mary,” meaning the Virgin, is palpable from the analogous phrase, the marrow—bone stage —— walking. The
leg—bone is the marrow—bone of beef and mutton, and the play is on Marylebone (London)
(The). A memorable straggle in Scotland between Puritanism and Presbyterianism, so called from a book entitled The Marrow of Modern Divinity, condemned by the General Assembly in 1720 Abelli, Bishop of Rhodes, wrote the Medulla Theologica.
The twelve ministers who signed the remonstrance to the General Assembly for condemning the evangelical doctrines of the “Marrow.” (See Marrow Controversy .)
An oath, meaning by Mary, the Virgin.
“Yea, marry! you say true.”— Foxe Book of Martyrs
Marry Come Up!
An exclamation of disapproval, about equal to “Draw it mild!” May Mary come up to my assistance, or to your discomfort'
“Marry come up, you saucy jade!”— Nineteenth Century. November, 1892, p. 797
The year 1715, noted for the rebellion of the Earl of Mar
“Auld uncle John wha wedlock's joys.
Sin Mar's year did desire.”
Burns: Halloween, 27
with the ancient alchemists, designated iron.
Under this planet “is borne theves and robbers nyght walkers and quarell pykers, bosters, mockers, and skoffers; and these men of Mars causeth warre, and murther, and batayle. They wyll be gladly smythes or workers of yron lyers, gret swerers. ... He is red and angry ... a great walker, and a maker of swordes and knyves, and a sheder of mannes blode ... and good to be a barboure and a blode letter, and to drawe tethe.”
(Compost of Ptholomeus.)
Mars, in Camoën's Lusiad, is “divine fortitude” personified. As Bacchus, the evil demon, is the guardian power of Mahometanism: so Mars or divine fortitude is the guardian power of Christianity.
The Mars of Portugal. Alfonso de Albuquerque, Viceroy of India. (1452—1515.)
(3 syl.). The grand song of the French Revolution. Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, an artillery officer in garrison at Strasbourg, composed both the words and the $$$ for Dietrich mayor of the town. On July 30th, 1792, the Marseillaise volunteers, invited by Barbaroux at the instance of Madame Roland, marched to Paris singing the favourite song; and the Parisians, enchanted with it, called it the Hymne des Marseillais. (Rouget born 1760, died 1835.)
Marseilles' Good Bishop In 1720 and 1722 the plague made dreadful havoc at Marseilles. The Bishop, H. F. Xavier de Belsunce, was indefatigable in the pastoral office, and spent his whole time visiting the sick. During the plague of London, Sir John Lawrence, the then Lord Mayor, was no less conspicuous in his benevolence. He supported 40,000 dismissed servants so long as his fortune lasted, and, when he had spent his own money, collected and distributed the alms of the nation. Darwin refers to these philanthropists in his Loves of the Plants, ii, 433. (See Borromeo .)
[Le Marais]. The pit of the National Convention, between Mountain benches on one side, and those occupied by the ministerial party and the opposition on the other. These middle men or “flats” were “swamped,” or enforcés dans un marais by those of more decided politics. (See Plain .)
means an ostler or groom. His original duty was to feed, groom, shoe, and physic his master's horse. (British, marc, a mare; scalc, a servant.)
Marshal Forward. Blucher; so called for his dash and readiness in the campaign of 1813. Marshal of the Army of God, and of Holy Church. The Baron Robert Fitzwalter, appointed by his brother barons to lead their forces in 1215 to obtain from King John redress of grievances. Magna Charta was the result.
(Men of). Those who committed the offence of felling the thorns, etc., in 1646, upon Marsham Heath, Norfolk. The inhabitants of Marshall and tenants of the manor petitioned against the offenders.
or Marsilius. A Saracen king who plotted the attack upon Roland, under “the tree on which Judas hanged himself.” With a force of 600,000 men, divided into three armies, he attacked the paladin and overthrew him, but was in turn overthrown by Charlemagne, and hanged on the very tree beneath which he had arranged the attack. (Turpin: Chronicles.)
The Phrygian flute—player who châllenged Apollo to a contest of skill, and, being beaten by the god, was flayed alive for his presumption. From his blood arose the river so called. The flute on which Marsyas played was one Athena had thrown away, and, being filled with the breath of the goddess, discoursed most excellent music. The interpretation of this fable is as follows: A contest long existed between the lutists and the flautists as to the superiority of their respective instruments. The Dorian mode, employed in the worship of Apollo, was performed on lutes; and the Phrygian mode, employed in the rites of Cybele, was executed by flutes, the reeds of which grew on the banks of the river Marsyas. As the banks of the river Marsyas. As the Dorian mode was preferred by the Greeks, they said that Apollo beat the flute—player.
(in Orlando Furioso), who decoyed Origilla from Gryphon. He was a great coward, and fled from the tournament amidst the jeers of the spectators. While Gryphon was asleep he stole his armour, went to King Norandino to receive the honours due to Gryphon, and then quitted Damascus with Origilla. A'quilant encountered them, and brought them back to Damascus, when Martano was committed to the hangman's mercies (books viii., ix.)
Marteau des Heretiques
Pierre d'Ailly, also called l'Aigle de la France. (1350—1420.)
The surname given to Charles, natural son of Pépin d'Héristal, for his victory over the Saracens, who had invaded France under Abd—el—Rahman in 732. It is said that Charles “knocked down the foe, and crushed them beneath his axe, as a martel or hammer crushes what it strikes.”
Judas Asmonæus for a similar reason was called Maccabæcus (the Hammerer). M. Collin de Plancy says that Charles, the palace mayor, was not called Martel because he martelé (hammered) the Saracens, but because his patron saint was Martellus (or Martin). (Bibliothéque des Légendes.)
Avoir se mettre martel en tête. To have a bee in one's bonnet, to be crotchety. Martel is a corruption of
Martin, an ass, a hobby—horse. M. Hilaire le Gai says, but gives no authority, “Cette expression nous vient des Italiens, car en Italien martello signifie proprement `jalousic.' “
“Ils portent des martels, des capriches.”— Brantome: Des Dames Gallantes.
“Telle filles ... pourroient blen donner de bons martels à leurs pauvres marys.”— Brantome: Des Dames Gallantes.
Round towers about forty feet in height, of great strength, and situated on a beach or river; so called from the Italian towers built as a protection against pirates. As the warning was given by striking a bell with a martello, or hammer, the towers were called Torri da Martello.
Some say that these towers were so called from a tower at the entrance of St. Fiorenzo, in Corsica. Similar towers were common all along the Mediterranean coast as a defence against pirates. They were erected in the low parts of Sussex and Kent in consequence of the powerful defence made (February 8th, 1794) by Le Tellier at the tower of Mortella, with only thirty—eight men, against a simultaneous sea and land attack— the former led by Lord Hood, and the latter by Major—General Dundas.
(Sir Oliver). The hedgepriest in As You Like It (iii. 3).
(St.), patron saint of good housewives, is represented in Christian art as clad in homely costume, bearing at her girdle a bunch of keys, and holding a ladle or pot of water in her hand. Like St. Margaret, she is accompanied by a dragon bound, but has not the palm and crown of martyrdom. The dragon is given to St. Martha from her having destroyed one that ravaged the neighbourhood of Marseilles.
Pertaining to Mars, the Roman god of war.
Laws compiled by Martia, wife of Guithelin, great—grandson of Mulmutius, who established in England the Mulmutian Laws. Alfred translated both these codes into Saxon—English.
“Guynteline ... whose queen, ... to show her upright mind,
To wise Malmutius' laws her Martian first did frame.” Drayton: Polyolbion, viii.
One of the swallow tribe. Dies derives the word from St. Martin, but St. Martin's bird is the raven.
Martin. The ape, in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
A jackass is so called from its obstinacy. “Il y a plus d'un ane qui s'appelle Martin. “
“Martinus, qui suam acrius quam par est opinfonem tuetur; cujus modi fuit Martinus juris consultus celebris sub Friderico I., a quo (inquit Baronius, A.D. 1150) in vulgare proverbium ejus durities in hanc usque diem pertransut, ut Martinum appellent, qui suae ipsius sententue singulari pertinaci studio, in haerescat. Fuit et Martinus Grosia, legum professor in academia Bononiensi.”— Du Cunge (Art. Martinus)
Martin. (See All My Eye.)
Martin, in Dryden's allegory of the Hind and Panther, means the Lutheran party; so called by a pun on the name of Martin Luther.
Parler d'autre Martin. There are more fools than one in the fair. This phrase is very common. (See Bauduin de Seboure: Romans, ch. viii. line 855; Godefroid de Bouillon, p. 537; La branche des royaux lignage, line 11,419; Le Mystère de S. Crespin ct St. Crespinien [2nd day], p. 43; Reynard the Fox, vol. ii. p. 17, line
10,096, vol. iii. p. 23, line 20,402, etc.)
Another phrase is “Parler d'autre Bernart, ' from bernart— a jackass or fool.
“Or vos metron el col la hart
Puis parleron d'autre Bernart.”
Le Roman du Renart, iii p. 75.
“Vous parlerés d'autre Martin.”
Ditto, p. 28.
For a hair Martin lost his ass. The French say that Martin made a bet that his ass was black; the bet was lost because a white hair was found in its coat.
Girt like Martin of Cambray — in a very ridiculous manner. Martin and Martine are the two figures that strike with their marteaux the hours on the clock of Cambray. Martin is represented as a peasant in a blouse girt very tight about the waist.
St. Martin. Patron of drunkards, to save them from falling into danger This is a mere accident, arising thus: The 11th November (St. Martin's Day) is the Vinalia or feast of Bacchus. When Bacchus was merged by Christians into St. Martin, St. Martin had to bear the ill—repute of his predecessor.
St. Martin's bird. A cock, whose blood is shed “sacrificially” on the 11th of November, in honour of that saint.
St. Martin's cloak. Martin was a military tribune before conversion, and, while stationed at Amiens in mid winter, divided his military cloak with a naked beggar, who craved alms of him before the city gates of Amiens. At night, the story says, Christ Himself appeared to the soldier, arrayed in this very garment.
St. Martin's goose. The 11th of November, St. Martin's Day, was at one time the great goose feast of France. The legend is that St. Martin was annoyed by a goose, which he ordered to be killed and served up for dinner.
As he died from the repast, the goose has been ever since “sacrificed” to him on the anniversary. The goose is sometimes called by the French St. Martin's bird.
St. Martin's jewellery. Counterfeit gems. Upon the site of the old collegiate church of St. Martin's le Grand, which was demolished upon the dissolution of the monasteries, a number of persons established themselves and carried on a considerable trade in artificial stones, beads, and jewellery. These Brummagem ornaments were called St. Martin's beads. St. Martin's lace, or St. Martin's jewellery, as the case might be.
St. Martin's lace. A sort of copper lace for which Blowbladder Street, St. Martin's, was noted. (Stow.) St. Martin's rings. Imitation gold ones. (See above.)
St. Martin's tree. St. Martin planted a pilgrim's staff somewhere near Utopia. The staff grew into a large tree, which Gargantua pulled up to serve for a mace or club, with which he dislodged King Picrochole from Clermont Rock. (Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel.)
Faire la St. Martin or Martiner. To feast; because the people used to begin St. Martin's Day with feasting and drinking.
Very intoxicated indeed; a drunken man “sobered” by drinking more. The feast of St. Martin (November 11) used to be held as a day of great debauch. Hence Baxter uses the word Martin as a synonym of a drunkard:—
“The language of Martin is there [in heaven] a stranger”— Saint's Rest.
Martin of Bullions
(St.). The St. Swithin of Scotland. His day is July 4, and the Scotch say, if it rains then, rain may be expected for forty days.
“`By St. Martin of Bullion—' `And what hast thou to do with St. Martin?' `Nay, little enough, sir, unless when he sends such rainy days that we cannot fly a hawk.”'— Scott: The Abbott, x v.
Martin's Running Footman
(St.). The devil, assigned by legend to St. Martin for a running footman on a certain occasion.
“Who can tell but St. Martin's running footman may still be hatching us some further mischief.”— Rabelais: Pantagruel, iv. 23.
(St.) (See under Summer .)
A sword. (Italian.)
“Quiconque aura affaire à moy, il faut quill ait affaire a Martine que me voyla au coste (appellant son espee `Martine').”— Brantome: 1 odomontade Espagnoles, vol. ii. p. 16.
A strict disciplinarian; so called from the Marquis of Martinet, a young colonel in the reign of Louis
XIV., who remodelled the infantry, and was slain at the siege of Doesbourg, in 1672 (Voltaire, Louis XIV., c.
10). The French still call a cat—o'—nine—tails a “martinet.”
The French martinet was a whip with twelve leather thongs.
The feast of St. Martin is November 11. His Martinmas will come, as it does to every hog— i.e. all must die.
November was the great slaughter—time of the Anglo—Saxons, when beeves, sheep, and hogs, whose store of food was exhausted, were killed and salted. Martinmas, therefore, was the slaying time, and the proverb intimates that our slaying—time or day of death will come as surely as that of a hog at St. Martin's—tide.
Martyr (Greek) simply means a witness, but is applied to one who witnesses a good confession with his blood.
The martyr king. Charles I. of England, beheaded January 30th, 1649. He was buried at Windsor, and was called “The White King.”
Martyr to science. Claude Louis, Count Berthollet, who determined to test in his own person the effects of carbolic acid on the human frame, and died under the experiment. (1748—1822.)
(A). A maravedi (q.v.), a small obsolete Spanish copper coin of less value than a farthing.
“What a trifling, foolish girl you are, Edith, to send me by express a letter crammed with nonsense about books and gowns, and to shde the only thing I cared a marvedie about into the postscript.”— Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap. xi.
The marvellous boy. Thomas Chatterton, the poet, author of a volume of poetry entitled Rowley's Poems, professedly written by Rowley, a monk. (1752—1770.)
As the Virgin, she is represented in Christian art with flowing hair, emblematical of her virginity. As Mater Dolorosa, she is represented as somewhat elderly, clad in mourning, head draped, and weeping over the dead body of Christ.
As Our Lady of Dolours, she is represented as seated, her breast being pierced with seven swords, emblematic of her seven sorrows.
As Our Lady of Mercy, she is represented with arms extended, spreading out her mantle, and gathering sinners beneath it.
As The glorified Madonna, she is represented as bearing a crown and sceptre, or a ball and cross, in rich robes and surrounded by angels.
Her seven joys. The Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Presentation in the Temple, Finding Christ amongst the Doctors, and the Assumption.
Her seven sorrows. Simeon's Prophecy, the Flight into Egypt, Christ Missed, the Betrayal, the Crucifixion, the Taking Down from the Cross, and the Ascension, when she was left alone.
of Lord Byron's poetry, is Miss Chaworth, who was older than his lordship. Both Miss Chaworth and Lord Byron were under the guardianship of Mr. White. Miss Chaworth married John Musters, generally called Jack Musters; but the marriage was not a happy one, and the parties soon separated. The Dream of Lord Byron refers to this love affair to his youth.
of Robert Burns. (See Highland Mary .)
It may be added to what is said under Highland Mary that of Mary Morison the poet wrote:—
“Those smiles and glances let me see.
That make the miser's treasure poor.”
And in Highland Mary we have—
“Still o'er those scenes my memry wakes,
And fondly broods with miser's care. '
A statue to her has been recently erected in Edinburgh.
The four Marys. Mary Beaton (or Bethune), Mary Livingston (or Leuson), Mary Fleming (or Flemyng), and Mary Seaton (or Seyton); called the “Queen's Marys,” that is, the ladies of the same age as
Mary, afterwards Queen of Scots, and her companions. Mary Carmichael was not one of the four, although introduced in the well—known ballad.
“Yestreen the queen had four Marys,
This night she'll hae but three:
There was Mary Beaton, and Mary Seaton,
Mary Carmichael, and me.”
or Marianne. A slang name for the guillotine. (See below.)
Mary Anne Associations
Secret republican societies in France. The name comes about thus: Ravaillac was instigated to assasinate Henri IV. by reading the treatise De Rege et Regio Institutione, by Mariana, and as Mariana inspired Ravaillac “to deliver France,” the republican party was called the Mary—Anne.
“The Mary Annes, which are essentially republicans, are scattered about all the French provinces.”— Disraeli: Lothair.
(St.). Patron saint of penitents, being herself the model penitent of Gospel history. In Christian art she is represented (1) as a patron saint, young and beautiful, with a profusion of hair, and holding a box of ointment; (2) as a penitent, in a sequestered place, reading before a cross or skull.
Mary Queen of Scots
Shakespeare being under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth, and knowing her jealousy, would not, of course, praise openly her rival queen; but in the Midsummer Night's Dream, composed in 1592, that is, five years after the execution of Mary, he wrote these exquisite lines:—
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid (1) on a dolphin's back (2) Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea (3) grew civil at her song;
And certain stars (4) shot madly from their spheres (5), To hear the sea—maid's music.” Act ii. 1.
(1) Mermaid and sea—maid, that is, Mary: (2) on the dolphin's back, she married the Dolphin or Dauphin of France; (3) the rude sea grew civil, the Scotch rebels; (4) certain stars, the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Westmoreland, and the Duke of Norfolk; (5) shot madly from their spheres, that is, revolted from Queen Elizabeth, bewitched by the sea—maid's sweetness.
The flower of the marigold (q.v.). Like many other flowers, they open at daybreak and close at sunset.
“And winking marybuds begin
To ope their golden eyes.”
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, ii. 3.
or Marigold. A million sterling. A plum is 100,000, (See Marigold .)
(U.S. America) was so named in compliment to Queen Henrietta Maria. In the Latin charter it is called Terra Marice.
(London) is not a corruption of Marie la bonne, but “Mary on the bourne” or river, as Holborn is “Old Bourne.”
(plural, Masse). Master, Mr., Messrs; as, Mas John King, Masse Fleming and Stebbing.
Masaniello A corruption of TomMASo ANIELLO, a Neapolitan fisherman, who led the revolt of July, 1647. The great grievance was a new tax upon fruit, and the immediate cause of Masaniello's interference was the seizure of his wife (or deaf and dumb sister) for having in her possession some contraband flour. Having surrounded himself with 150,000 men, women, and boys, he was elected chief of Naples, and for nine days ruled with absolute control. The Spanish viceroy flattered him, and this so turned his head that he acted like a maniac. The people betrayed him, he was shot, and his body flung into a ditch, but next day it was interred with a pomp and ceremony never equalled in Naples (1647).
Auber has an opera on this subject called La Muctte de Portici (1828).
[gnaw—crust]. A hideous wooden statue carried about Lyons during Carnival. The nurses of Lyons frighten children by threatening to throw them to Masche—croute.
One who brings good luck, and possesses a “good eye.” The contrary of Jettatore, or one with an evil eye, who always brings bad luck.
“Ces envoyés du paradis,
Sont des Mascottes, mes amis,
Heureux celui que le ciel dote d'une Mascotte.” The opera called La Mascotte (1883).
“I tell you, she was a Mascotte of the first water.”— The Ludgate Monthly, No. 1, vol. ii.; Tippitywitchet, Nov. 1891.
(Catalan for God's field). The vineyard not far from Perpignan was anciently so called.
A rustic engaged to Zerlina; but Don Giovanni intercepts them in their wedding festivities, and induces the foolish damsel to believe he meant to make her his wife. (Mozart: Don Giovanni, an opera.)
Mashackering and Misguggling
Mauling and disfiguring.
“I humbly protest against mauling and disfiguring this work; against what the great Walter Scott would. I think, have called mashackering and misguggling, after the manner of Nicol Muschat (in The Heart of Midlothian), when he put an end to his wife Arlie at the spot afterwards called by his name.”— W. E. Gladstone: Nineteenth Century, November, 1885.
A dude (q.v.); an exquisite; a lardy—dardy swell who dresses aesthetically, behaves killingly, and thinks himself a Romeo. This sort of thing used to be called “crushing” or killing, and, as mashing is crushing, the synonym was substituted about 1880. A lady—killer, a crusher, a masher, all mean the same thing.
“The prattle of the masher between the aots.” Daily Telegraph, Oct. 10, 1883.
Mask a Fleet
(To). To lock up an enemy's fleet that it cannot put to sea.
Mason and Dixon's Line
The southern boundary—line which separated the free states of Pennsylvania from what were at one time the slave states of Maryland and Virginia. It lies in 3943' 26' north latitude, and was run by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, two English mathematicians and surveyors (between November 15th, 1763, and December 26th, 1767).
High Mass or “Grand Mass” is sung by choristers, and celebrated with the assistance of a deacon and sub—deacon.
Low Mass is simply read without singing; there is one between these two called the “chanted mass,” in which the service is chanted by the priest.
Besides these there are a number of special masses, as the mass of the Beatæ, mass of the Holy Ghost, mass of the dead, mass of a saint, mass of scarcity, dry mass, votive mass, holiday mass, Ambrosian mass, Gallic mass, mass of the presanctified for Good Friday, missa Mosarabum, etc. etc.
“Pope Celestinus ordained the introit and the gloria in excelsis.
“Pope Gregory the Great ordered the kyrie eleison to be repeated nine times, and introduced the prayer.
“Pope Gelasius ordained the Epistle and Gospel.
“Pope Damascus introduced the Credo.
“Pope Alexander put into the canon the following clause: `Qui pridie quam pateretur.'
“Pope Sextus introduced the Sanctus.
“Pope Innocent the pax.
“Pope Leo the Oràte Fratres, and the words in the canon: `Sanctum Sacrificium et immaculatiani Hostram.”'
E. Kinesman: Lives of the Saints, p. 187 (1623).
was so named from the bay massa [great], wadehuash [mountain], et [near]. The bay—near—the—great—mountain.
Massacre of the Innocents
The slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem “from two years old and under,” when Jesus was born. This was done at the command of Herod the Great in order to cut off “the babe” who was destined to become “King of the Jews.”
Micah v. 2 speaks of Bethlehem as a little place, a small village, probably containing about five hundred inhabitants. It will be easy to calculate the probable number of infants under two years of age in such a village. It would be about ten.
Massacre of the Innocents
(The), in parliamentary phraseology, means the withdrawal at the close of a session of the bills which time has not rendered it possible to consider and pass. The phrase was so used in The Times, 1859.
“If the secretarial M.P. is to be condemned for ... voting against the Miner's Eight Hours Bill, he is equally censurable if he ... does not support the numerous ... reforms which get the sanction of the Congress during the Massacre of the Innocents at the close of the sitting.”— Nineteenth Century, October, 1892, p. 619.
(3 syl.) or Massy More. The principal dungeon of a feudal castle. A Moorish word.
“Proximus est carcer subterraneus, sine ut Mauri appellant `Mazmorra.”— Old Latin Itinerary.
Mast (See Before The Mast .)
Narrator of the story called The Old Curiosity Shop, by Charles Dickens.
Grand—master of the nocturnal orgies of the demons. He is represented as a three—horned goat, with black human face. He marked his novitiates with one of his horns. (Middle Age demonology.)
The dog which won the Waterloo Cup for three successive years, and was introduced to the Queen. “Waterloo” is on the banks of the Mersey, about three miles north of Liverpool.
Master of Sentences
Pierre Lombard, author of a work called Sentences, a compilation from the fathers of the leading arguments, pro and con., bearing on the hair—splitting theological questions of the Middle Ages.
Master of the Mint
A punning term for a gardener.
Master of the Rolls
A punning term for a baker.
A tonic which promotes appetite, and therefore only increases the misery of a hungry man.
“Like the starved wretch that hungry mastic chews,
But cheats himself and fosters his disease.”
West: Triumphs of the Gout (Lucian).
(3 syl.). In the game of Ombre, Spadille (the ace of spades), Manille (the seven of trumps), and Basto (the ace of clubs), are called “Matadores.”
“Now move to war her sable Matadore ...
Spadillo first, unconquerable lord,
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. As many more Manillo forced to yield.
And marched a victor from the verdant field.
Him Basto followed ...”
Pope: Rape of the Lock, canto iii.
Mexicans or savages.
(3 syl.). A poltroon, a swaggerer, a Major Bobadil (q.v.). A French term composed of two Spanish words, matar—Moros (a slayer of Moors.)
“Your followers ... must bandy and brawl in my court ... like so many Matamoros.”— Sir. W. Scott: Kenilworth, chap. xvi.
A man does not get his hands out of the tar by becoming second mate. A second mate is expected to put his hands into the tar bucket for tarring the rigging, like the men below him. The first mate is exempt from this dirty work. The rigging is tarred by the hands, and not by brushes.
(2 syl.). Paraguay tea is so called from maté, the vessel in which the herb is in Paraguay infused. These vessels are generally hollow gourds, and the herb is called yerba de maté.
The doctrines of a Materialist, who maintains that the soul and spirit are effects of matter. The orthodox doctrine is that the soul is distinct from the body, and is a portion of the Divine essence breathed into the body. A materialist, of course, does not believe in a “spiritual deity” distinct from matter. Tertullian contended that the Bible proves the soul to be “material,” and he charges the “spiritual” view to the heretical doctrines of the Platonic school.
Villa beatæ Mariæ de Matfellon. Whitechapel, dedicated to Mary the Mother.
(Father), 1799—1856, called The Apostle of Temperance. His success was almost miraculous.
One of the three Anabaptists who induced John of Leyden to join their rebellion. (See John Of Leyden .)
(St.). Patron saint of idiots and fools. A pun on his name. (See below.)
The malady of St. Mathurin. Folly, stupidity. A French expression. Maturins, in French argot, means dice, and “maturin plat,” a domino.
“Ces deux objets doivent leur nom a leur resemblance avec le costume des Trinitaires (vulgairement appeles Maturins), qui, chez nous, portaient une sontane de serge blanche sur laquelle, quand ils sortaient, ils jetaient un manteau noir.”— Francisque Michel.
Daughter of Lord Robert Fitzwalter. Michael Drayton has a poem of some 670 lines so called.
Matilda. Daughter of Rokeby, and niece of Mortham. She was beloved by Wilfrid, son of Oswald, but loved Redmond, her father's page, who turns out to be Mortham's son. (Scott: Rokeby)
Matilda. Sister of Gessler; in love with Arnold, a Swiss, who had saved her life when threatened by the fall of an avalanche. After the death of Gessler, who was shot by William Tell, the marriage of these lovers is consummated. (Rossini: Guglielmo Tell, an opera.)
Rosa Matilda. (See Gifford's Baviad and Mæviad.
means to enrol oneself in a society. The University is called our alma mater (propitious mother). The students are her alumni (foster—children), and become so by being enrolled in a register after certain forms and examinations. (Latin, matricula a roll.)
Matter—of—fact Unvarnished truth, prosaic, unimaginative. Whyte Melville speaks of a “matter—of—fact swain.”
(The). Is in train, is stirring. Il marche bien, it goes well; ca ira.
“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot;
Take thou what course thou wilt.”
Shakespeare: Julius Caesar, iii. 2.
The matrimonial Matterhorn. The leap in the dark. The Matterhorn is the German name for Mont Cervin, a mountain of the Pennine Alps, about 40 miles east—north—east of Mont Blanc. Above an unbroken glacier—line of 11,000 feet high, it rises in an inaccessible obelisk of rock more than 3,000 feet higher. The total elevation of the Matterhorn is 14,836 feet. Figuratively any danger, or desperate situation threatening destruction.
(St.) in Christian art is represented (1) as an evangelist— an old man with long beard; an angel generally stands near him dictating his Gospel. (2) As an apostie, in which capacity he bears a purse, in reference to his calling as a publican; sometimes he carries a spear, sometimes a carpenter's rule or square. (See Luke .)
In the last of Matthew. At the last gasp, on one's last legs. This is a German expression, and arose thus: A Catholic priest said in his sermon that Protestantism was in the last of Matthew, and, being asked what he meant, replied, “The last five words of the Gospel of St. Matthew are these: `The end of this dispensation.”' Of course he quoted the Latin version; ours is less correctly translated “the end of the world.”
in Smollett's Humphry Clinker, is Roderick Random grown old, somewhat cynical by experience of the world, but vastly improved in taste. Chambers says, “Smollett took some of the incidents of the family tour from Anstey's New Bath Guide.” (English Literature, vol. ii.)
Matthew Parker's Bible
1572. The second edition of the “Great Bible,” with corrections, etc., by Archbishop Parker.
1537. A version of the Bible in English, edited by John Rogers, superintendent of the English Church in Germany, and published by him under the fictitious name of Thomas Matthews.
(St.) in Christian art is known by the axe or halbert in his right hand, the symbol of his martyrdom. Sometimes he is bearing a stone, in allusion to the tradition of his having been stoned before he was beheaded.
Stupidly sentimental. Maudlin drunk is the drunkenness which is sentimental and inclined to tears. Maudlin slip—slop is sentimental chitchat. The word is derived from Mary Magdalen, who is drawn by ancient painters with a lackadaisical face, and eyes swollen with weeping.
The Nestor of French romance, like Hildebrand in German legend. He was one of Charlemagne's paladins, a magician and champion.
Son of Duke Bevis of Aygremont, stolen in infancy by a female slave. As she rested under a white—thorn a lion and a leopard devoured her, and then killed each other in disputing for the infant. The babe cried lustily, and Oriande la Fèe, who lived at Rosefleur, hearing it, went to the white—thorn and exclaimed, “By the Powers above, this child is mal gist (badly lapped);” and ever after he was called
mau—gis'. Oriande took charge of him, and was assisted by her brother Baudris, who taught him magic and necromancy. When grown a man Maugis achieved the adventure of gaining the enchanted horse Bayard, which understood like a human being all that was said, and took from Anthenor, the Saracen, the sword
Flamberge or Floberge. Subsequently he gave both the horse and sword to his cousin Renaud. In the Italian romances Maugis is called “Malagigi” (q.v.).; Renaud is called “Renaldo” (q.v.); Bevis is called “Buovo;” the horse is called “Bayardo;” and the sword, “Fusberta.” (Romance of Maugis d'Aygremont et de Vivian son frère. )
(Heyraddin). Brother of Zamet Maugrabin the Bohemian. He appears disguised as Rouge Sanglier, and pretends to be herald from Liege. (Sir Walter Scott: Quentin Durward.)
A giant who keeps a bridge leading to a castle by a riverside, in which a beautiful lady is besieged. Sir Lybius, one of Arthur's knights, does battle with the giant; the contest lasts a whole summer's day, but terminates with the death of the giant and liberation of the lady. (Libeaux, a romance.)
To beat roughly, to batter. The maul was a bludgeon with a leaden head, carried by ancient soldiery. It is generally called a “mall.”
(The Giant). A giant who used to spoil young pilgrims with sophistry. He attacked Mr. Greatheart with a club, and the combat between them lasted for the space of an hour. At length Mr. Greatheart pierced the giant under the fifth rib, and then cut off his head. (Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress, pt. ii.)
Maul of Monks
(The). Thomas Cromwell, visitor—general of English monasteries, many of which he summarily suppressed (1490—1540).
A mediæval version of Ovid's tale about Coronis (Met. ii. 543, etc.). Phœbus; had a crow which he taught to speak; it was downy white, and as big as a swan. He had also a wife whom he dearly loved, but she was faithless to him. One day when Phœbus came home his bird 'gan sing “Cuckoo! cuckoo! cuckoo!” Phœbus asked what he meant, and the crow told him of his wife's infidelity. Phœbus was very angry, and, seizing his bow, shot his wife through the heart; but no sooner did she fall than he repented of his rashness and cursed the bird. “Nevermore shalt thou speak,” said he; “henceforth thy offspring shall be black.” Moral— “Lordlings, by this ensample, take heed what you say; be no tale—bearers, but—
`Wher—so thou comest amongst high or low,
Keep wellthy tong, and think upon the crow.” Chaucer: Canterbury Tales.
(Royal). Gifts distributed to the poor on Maundy Thursday (q.v.). The number of doles corresponds to the number of years the monarch has been regnant, and the doles used to be distributed by the Lord High Almoner. Since 1883 the doles have been money payments distributed by the Clerk of the Almonry Office. The custom began in 1368, in the reign of Edward III. James I. distributed the doles personally.
“Entries of `al maner of things yerly yevin by my lorde of his Maundy, and my laidis, and his lordshippis children.”'— Household Book of the Earl of Northumberland, 1512.
A foolish, vapouring gossip. The Scotch say, “Haud your tongue, maundrel.” As a verb it means to babble, to prate. In some parts of Scotland the talk of persons in delirium, in sleep, and in intoxication is called maundrel. The term is from Sir John Mandeville, the traveller, who published an account of his travels, full of idle gossip and most improbable events.
There is another verb, maunder (to mutter, to vapour, or wander in one's talk). This verb is from maund (to beg). (See Maundy Thursday.)
The day before Good Friday is so called from the Latin dies mandati (the day of Christ's great mandate). After He had washed His disciples' feet, He said, “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another” (St. John xiii. 34).
Spelman derives it from maund (a basket), because on the day before the great fast all religious houses and good Catholics brought out their broken food in maunds to distribute to the poor. This custom in many places gave birth to a fair, as the Tombland fair of Norwich, held on the plain before the Cathedral Close.
An island near Formosa, said to have been sunk in the sea in consequence of the great crimes of its inhabitants. (Kempfer.)
Morocco and Algiers, the land of the ancient Mauri or Moors.
One of the seven “wonders of the world;” so called from Mausolus, King of Caria, to whom Artemisia (his wife) erected at Halicarnassos a splendid sepulchral monument B.C. 353. Parts of this sepulchre are now in the British Museum.
The chief mausoleums, besides the one referred to above, are: the mausoleum of Augustus; that of Hadrian, now called the castle of St. Angelo, at Rome; that erected in France to Henry II. by Catherinede Medicis; that of St. Peter the Martyr in the church of St. Eustatius, by G. Balduccio in the fourteenth century; and that erected to the memory of Louis XVI.
Maut gets abune the Meal
(The). malt liquor or drink gets more potent than the food eaten— that is, when meu get heady or boosy.
“If the maut gets abune the meal with you, it is time for me to take myself away; and you will come to my room, gentlemen, when you want a cup of tea.”— Sir. W. Scott: Redgauntlet.
A “spectre hound” that for many years haunted the ancient castle of Peel town, in the Isle of Man. This black spaniel used to enter the guard—room as soon as candles were lighted, and leave it at day—break. While this spectre—dog was present the soldiers forebore all oaths and profane talk. One day a drunken trooper entered the guard—house alone out of bravado, but lost his speech and died in three days. Scott refers to it in his Lay of the Last Minstrel, vi. stanza 26.
For the legend, see a long note at the beginning of Scott's Peveril of the Peak, chapter xv.
Mauvais Ton (French). Bad manners. Ill—breeding, vulgar ways.
(French). Bad or silly shame. Bashfulness, sheepishness.
(A). A rude or ill—mannered jest; a jest in bad taste.
Irish for darling. Erin mavournin = Ireland, my darling; Erin go bragh = Ireland for ever!
“Land of my forefathers. Erin go bragh! ...
Erin mavournin. Erin go bragh!”
Campbell: Exile of Erin.
(See Morther .)
A vulgar copy of Dr. Cantwell, the hypocrite, in The Hypocrite, by Isaac Bickerstaff.
A huntsman, and the best marksman in Germany. He was betrothed to Agatha, who was to be his bride if he obtained the prize in the annual trial—shot. Having been unsuccessful in his practice for several days, Caspar induced him to go to the wolf's glen at midnight and obtain seven charmed balls from Samiel the Black Huntsman. On the day of contest, the prince bade him shoot at a dove. Max aimed at the bird, but killed Caspar, who was concealed in a tree. The prince abolished in consequence the annual fête of the trial—shot.
(Weber: Der Freischütz, an opera.)
The pen name of M. Blouet, author of John Bull and his Island, etc.
and Minimum. The greatest and the least amount; as, the maximum profits or exports, and the minimum profits or exports; the maximum and minimum price of corn during the year. The terms are also employed in mathematics.
or Maxime (2 syl.). Officer of the prefect Almachius, and his cornicular. Being ordered to put Valirian and Tiburce to death because they would not worship the image of Jupiter, he took pity on his victims and led them to his own house, where Cecilia was instrumental in his conversion; whereupon he and “all his” house were at once baptised. When Valirian and Tiburce were put to death, Maximus declared that he saw angels come and carry them to heaven, whereupon Almachius caused him to be beaten with whips of lead “til he his lif gan lete.” (Chaucer: Secounde Nonnes Tale.)
A lovely girl who married January, an old Lombard baron, sixty years of age. She had a liaison with a young squire named Damyan, and was detected by January; but she persuaded the old fool that his eyes were to blame and that he was labouring under a great mistake, the effect of senseless jealousy. January believed her words, and “who is glad but he?” for what is better than “a fruitful wife, and a confiding spouse?”
(Chaucer: The Marchaundes Tale. Pope: January and May,)
(the month) is not derived from Maia, the mother of Mercury, as the word existed long before either Mercury or Maia had been introduced. It is the Latin Maius— i.e. Magius, from the root mag, same as the Sanscrit mah, to grow; and means the growing or shooting month.
May unlucky for weddings. This is a Roman superstition. Ovid says, “The common people profess it is unlucky to marry in the month of May.” In this month were held the festivals of Bona Dea (the goddess of chastity), and the feasts of the dead called Lemuralia.
“Nec viduæ tædis eadem, nec virginis apta
Tempora; quæ nupsit, non diuturna fuit;
Hæc quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt,
Mente malum Maio nubere vulgus ait.”
Ovid: Fasti, v. 496, etc.
Here we go gathering nuts of May. (See Nuts Of May.)
Polydore Virgil says that the Roman youths used to go into the fields and spend the calends of May in dancing and singing in honour of Flora, goddess of fruits and flowers. The early English consecrated
May—day to Robin Hood and the Maid Marian, because the favourite outlaw died on that day. Stow says the villagers used to set up May—poles, and spend the day in archery, morris—dancing, and other amusements.
Evil May—day (1517), when the London apprentices rose up against the foreign residents, and did incalculable mischief. The riot lasted till May 22nd.
Medoc, a district of France, whence the cherries first came to us.
A title applied to the annual gatherings, in May and June, of the religious and charitable societies, to hear the annual reports and appeals for continued or increased support. The chief meetings are the British Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Females, British and Foreign Bible Society, British and Foreign Schools, Children's Refuge, Church Home Mission, Church Missionary Society, Church Pastoral Aid Society, Clergy Orphan Society. Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy, Destitute Sailors' Asylum, Field Lane Refuge, Governesses' Benevolent Institution, Home and Colonial School Society, Irish Church Missionary Society, London City Mission, Mendicity Society, National Temperance League, Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, Ragged School Union, Religious Tract Society, Royal Asylum of St. Anne's, Sailors' Home, Sunday School Union, Thames Church Missionary Society, United Kingdom Band of Hope, Wesleyan Missionary Society, with many others of similar character.
or The Maid of the Hairy Arms. An elf who condescends to mingle in ordinary sports, and even to direct the master of the house how to play dominoes or draughts. Like the White Lady of Avenel, May Molloch is a sort of banshee.
etc. Dancing round the May—pole on May—day, “going a—Maying,” electing a
May—queen, and lighting bonfires, are all remnants of Sun—worship, and may be traced to the most ancient times. The chimney—sweeps used to lead about a Jack—i'—the—green, and the custom is not yet quite extinct (1895).
(London). The races in the Dunciad take place “where the tall May—pole overlooked the Strand.” On the spot now occupied by St. Mary—le—Strand, anciently stood a cross. In the place of this cross a
May—pole was set up by John Clarges, a blacksmith, whose daughter Ann became the wife of Monk, Duke of Albemarle. It was taken down in 1713, and replaced by a new one erected opposite Somerset House. This second May—pole had two gilt balls and a vane on its summit. On holidays the pole was decorated with flags and garlands. It was removed in 1718, and sent by Sir Isaac Newton to Wanstead Park to support the largest telescope in Europe. (See Undershaft .)
“Captain Baily ... employed four hackney coaches, with drivers in liveries, to ply at the May pole in the Strand, fixing his own rates, about the year 1634. Bailey's coaches seem to have been the first of what are now called hackney coaches.”— Note 1. The Tatler, iv. p. 415.
May—pole. The Duchess of Kendal, mistress of George I.; so called because she was thin and tall as a May—pole.
Mayeux The stock name in French plays for a man deformed, vain and licentious, brave and witty.
(The). A ship of 180 tons, which, in December, 1620, started from Plymouth, and conveyed to Massachusetts, in North America, 102 Puritans, called the “Pilgrim Fathers.” They called their settlement New Plymouth.
A sauce made with pepper, salt, oil, vinegar, and the yolk of an egg beaten up together. A “may” in French is a cullender or strainer, also a “fort planeher sur lequel on met les raisins qu' on veut fouler.”
The chief magistrate of a city, elected by the citizens, and holding office for twelve months. The chief magistrate of London is The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, one of the Privy Council.
Since 1389 the chief magistrate of York has been a Lord Mayor, and in 1894 those of Liverpool and Manchester.
There are two Lord Mayors of Ireland, viz. those of Dublin (1685) and of Belfast; and four of Scotland— Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee.
At the Conquest the sovereign appointed the chief magistrates of cities. That of London was called the
Port—Reeve, but Henry II. changed the word to the Norman maire (our mayor). John made the office annual; and Edward III. (in 1354) conferred the title of “The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of London.”
The first Lord Mayor's Show was 1458, when Sir John Norman went by water in state, to be sworn in at Westminster; and the cap and sword were given by Richard II. to Sir William Walworth, for killing Wat Tyler.
Mayor of Garratt
Garratt is between Wandsworth and Tooting; the first mayor of this village was elected towards the close of the eighteenth century; and his election came about thus: Garratt Common had been often encroached on, and in 1780 the inhabitants associated themselves together to defend their rights. The chairman of this association was entitled Mayor, and as it happened to be the time of a general election, the society made it a law that a new “mayor” should be chosen at every general election. The addresses of these mayors, written by Foote, Garrick, Wilkes, and others, are satires on the corruption of electors and political squibs. The first Mayor of Garratt was “Sir” John Harper, a retailer of brickdust in London; and the last was “Sir” Harry Dimsdale, muffin—seller, in 1796. Foote has a farce entitled The Mayor of Garratt.
Mayor of the Bull—ring
(Old Dublin). This official and his sheriffs were elected on May—day and St. Peter's Eve “to be captaine and gardian of the batchelers and the unwedded youth of the civitie.” For the year the Mayor of the Bull—ring had authority to punish those who frequented brotheis and houses of ill—fame. He was termed Mayor of the Bull—ring from an iron ring in the Corn Market, to which bulls for bull—baiting were tied, and if any bachelor happened to marry he was conducted by the Mayor and his followers to the market—place to kiss the bull—ring.
Mayors of the Palace
(Maire du Palais). Superintendents of the king's household, and stewards of the royal leudes or companies of France before the accession of the Carlovingian dynasty.
(4 syl.). Violent publications issued against Mazarin, the French minister (1650, etc.).
(The). The earliest book printed in movable metal type. It contains no date, but a copy in the Bibliothèque Mazarine contains the date of the illuminator Cremer (1456), so that the book must have been printed before that date. Called “Mazarine” from Cardinal Mazarin, who founded the library in 1688.
In 1873, at the Perkin's sale. Lord Ashburnhain gave 3,400 for a copy in vellum, and Mr. Quaritch, bookseller, gave 2,690 for one on paper. At the Thorold sale, in 1884, Mr. Quaritch gave 3,900 for a copy. In 1887 he bought one for 2,600; and in 1889 he gave 2,000 for a copy slightly damaged.
(Jan), historically, was hetman of the Cossacks. Born of a noble Polish family in Podolia, he became a page in the court of Jan Casimir, King of Poland. Here he intrigued with Theresia, the young wife of a Podolian count, who had the young page lashed to a wild horse, and turned adrift. The horse dropped down dead in the Ukraine, where Mazeppa was released by a Cossack family, who nursed him in their own hut. He became secretary to the hetman, and at the death of the prince was appointed his successor. Peter I. admired him, and created him Prince of the Ukraine, but in the wars with Sweden Mazeppa deserted to Charles XII., and fought against Russia at Pultowa. After the loss of this battle, Mazeppa fled to Valentia, and then to Bender. Some say he died a natural death, and others that he was put to death for treason by the Czar. Lord Byron makes Mazeppa tell his tale to Charles after the battle of Pultowa. (1640—1709.)
A cup; so called from the British masarn (maple); Dutch, maeser. Like our copus—cups in Cambridge, and the loving—cup of the London Corporation.
“A mazer wrought of the maple ware.” Spenser: Calendar (August).
“ `Bring bither,' he said, `the mazers four
My noble fathers loved of yore.' “
Sir Walter Scott: Lord of the Isles.
or Shedeem. A species of beings in Jewish mythology exactly resembling the Arabian Jinn or genii, and said to be the agents of magic and enchantment. When Adam fell, says the Talmud, he was excommunicated for 130 years, during which time he begat demons and spectres; for, it is written, “Adam lived 130 years and (i.e. before he) begat children in his own image” (Genesis v. 3). (Rabbi Jeremiah ben Eliezar.)
“And the Mazikeen shall not come nigh thy tents.”— Psalm xci. 5 (Chaldee version).
Swells out like the Mazikeen ass. The allusion is to a Jewish tradition that a servant, whose duty it was to rouse the neighbourhood to midnight prayer, found one night an ass in the street, which he mounted. As he rode along the ass grew bigger and bigger, till at last it towered as high as the tallest edifice, where it left the man, and where next morning he was found.
The political system of Giuseppe Mazzini, who filled almost every sovereign and government in Europe with a panic—terror. His plan was to establish secret societies all over Europe, and organise the several governments into federated republics. He was the founder of what is called “Young Italy,” whose watchwords were “Liberty, Equality, and Humanity,” whose motto was “God and the People,” and whose banner was a tricolour of white, red, and green. (Born at Genoa, 1808.)
Meal or Malt
(In). In meal or in malt. Directly or indirectly; some sort of subsidy. If much money passes through the hand, some profit will be sure to accrue either “in meal or in malt.”
“When other interests in the country (as the cotton trade, the iron trade, and the coal trade) had been depressed, the Government had not been called upon for assistance in meal and malt.”— Sir William Harcourt: On Agricultural Depression, 13th April, 1894.
He must pay either in meal or malt. In one way or another. A certain percentage of meal or malt is the miller's perquisite.
“If they [the Tories] wish to get the working—class vote, they have got to pay for it either in meal or in malt.”— Nineteenth Century, August. 1892, p. 344.
A plot by Dangerfield against James, Duke of York, in 1679; so called because the scheme was kept in a meal—tub in the house of Mrs. Cellier. Dangerfield subsequently confessed the whole affair was a forgery, and was both whipped and condemned to stand in the pillory.
In the fourteenth century breakfast hour was five; dinner, nine; supper, four. (Chaucer's Works.) In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the breakfast hour was seven; dinner, eleven; supper, six. (Wright: Domestic Manners.)
Towards the close of the sixteenth century dinner advanced to noon. In Ireland the gentry dined at between two or three in the early part of the eighteenth century. (Swift: Country Life.)
is the Greek melimuthos (honey—speech), and means velvet—tongued, afraid of giving offence.
(3 syl.). To wind; so called from the Meander, a winding river of Phrygia. The “Greek pattern” in embroidery is so called.
Out of all measure. “Outre mesure.” Beyond all reasonable degree, `Præter (or supra) modum.”
“Thus out of measure sad.”— Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, i. 3.
To take the measure of one's foot. To ascertain how far a person will venture; to make a shrewd guess of another's character. The allusion is to “Ex pede Herculem.”
(To). To wrestle together; to fight, to contest.
(To). To fight a duel with swords. In such cases the seconds measure the swords to see that both are of one length.
“So we measured swords and parted.”— Shakespeare: As You Like It, v. 4.
Measure for Measure
(Shakespeare). The story is taken from a tale in G. Whetstone's Heptameron, entitled Promos and Cassandra (1578). Promos is called by Shakespeare, “Lord Angelo;” and Cassandra is “Isabella.” Her brother, called by Shakespeare “Claudio,” is named Andrugio in the story. A similar story is given in Giovanni Giraldi Cinthio's third decade of stories.
Measure One's Length on the Ground
(To). To fall flat on the ground; to be knocked down.
“If you will measure your lubber's length, tarry.”— Shakespeare: King Lear, i. 4.
Measure Other People's Corn
To measure other people's corn by one's own bushel. To judge of others by oneself. In French, “Mesurer les autres à son aune;” in Latin, “Alios suo modulo metiri.”
These words tell a tale; both mean food in general. The Italians and Asiatics eat little animal food, and with them the word bread stands for food; so also with the poor, whose chief diet it is; but the English consume meat very plentifully, and this word, which simply means food, almost exclusively implies animal food. In the banquet given to Joseph's brethren, the viceroy commanded the servants “to set on bread” (Genesis xliii. 3l). In Psalm civ. 27 it is said of fishes, creeping things, and crocodiles, that God giveth them their meat in due season.”
To carry off meat from the graves— i.e. to be poor as a church mouse. The Greeks and Romans used to make feasts at certain seasons, when the dead were supposed to return to their graves. In these feasts the fragments were left on the tombs for the use of the ghosts.
(French). Slang for king, governor, master; méquard, a commander; méquer, to command. All these are derived from the fourbesque word maggio, which signifies God, king, pope, doctor, seigneur, and so on, being the Latin major. (There are the Hebrew words melech and melchi also.)
Mecca's Three Idols
Lata, Aloza, and Menat, all of which Mahomet overthrew.
(French). “Ily a mèche,” the same as “Il y a moyen;” so the negative “Il n'y a pas mèche” (there is no possibility). The Dictionnaire du Bas—langage says:
“Dans le langage typographique, lorsque des ouvriers viennent proposer leurs services dans quelque imprimerie, ils demandent s'il y a mèche— i.e. si l'on peut les occuper. Les compositeurs demandent `sil y a mèche pour la casse,' et les pressiers demandent `sil y a mèche pour la presse.' ”— Vol. ii. p. 122.
“Soit mis dedans ceste cavorne
De nul honneur il n'y a maiche.”
Moralité de la Vendition de Joseph.
(Greek, never in any place). The island at which the fleet of Pantagruel landed on the fourth day of their voyage, and where they bought many choice curiosities, such as the picture of a man's voice, echo drawn to life, Plato's ideas, the atoms of Epicuros, a sample of Philomela's needlework, and other objects of vertu which could be obtained in no other portion of the globe. (Rabelais: Pantagruel, iv. 3.)
Medard (St.). Master of the rain. St. Médard was the founder of the rose—prize of Salency in reward of merit. The legend says, he was one day passing over a large plain, when a sudden shower fell, which wetted everyone to the skin except himself. He remained dry as a toast, for an eagle had kindly spread his wings for an umbrella over him, and ever after he was termed maître de la pluie.
“Sil pleut le jour de S. Médard [8th June]
Il pleut quarante jours plus tard.”
A sorceress, daughter of the King of Colchis. She married Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, whom she aided to obtain the golden fleece.
or Caldron, to boil the old into youth again. Medea, the sorceress, cut an old ram to pieces, and, throwing the pieces into her caldron, the old ram came forth a young lamb. The daughters of Pelias thought to restore their father to youth in the same way; but Medea refused to utter the magic words, and the old man ceased to live.
“Get the Medea's kettle and be boiled a new.”— Congreve. Love for Love, iv.
[the keen ]. One of Mahomet's swords, taken from the Jews when they were exiled from Medina. (See Swords .)
or Middle Ages begin with the Council of Chalcedon (451), and end with the revival of literature in the fifteenth century, according to the Rev. J. G. Dowling. According to Hallam, they begin from the downfall of the Western Empire, in 476, to the Italian expeditions of Charles VIII. of France (1494—1496).
(The). Said to cure blindness, and, if soaked in ewe's milk, to cure the gout.
in alchemy, was that agent which brought about the transmutation of metals, or renewed old age; the philosopher's stone, and the elixir of life.
“How much unlike art thou, Mark Antony!
Yet, coming from him, that great medicine hath With his tinct gilded thee.”
Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra. l. 5.
Father of Medicine. Aretæos of Capadocia, who lived at the close of the first and beginning of the second century, and Hippocrates of Cos (B.C. 460—357) are both so called.
The sixth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, sixteenth, eighteenth, etc., of a disease; so called because, according to Hippocrates, no “crisis" occurs on these days, and medicine may be safely administered. (See Crisis .)
Hours proper for taking medicine, viz. morning fasting, an hour before dinner, four hours after dinner, and bed—time. (Quincy.)
(Economy, Latin medium, the golden mean.) Step—sister of Elissa and Perissa, but they could never agree upon any subject. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book ii.)
Medina means in Arabic “city.” The city so called is “Medinat al Nabi" (city of the prophet).
Mediterranean (Key of the). The fortress of Gibraltar, which commands the entrance.
(A), in the language of spirit—rappers, etc., is some one possessed of “odylic force,” who puts the question of the interrogator to the “spirit” consulted.
The betrothed of the Corsair. (Byron: The Corsair.)
(in Orlando Furioso). A Moorish youth of extraordinary beauty; a friend of Dardinello, King of Zumara. After Dardinello was slain, Medoro is wounded by some unknown spear. Angelica dresses his wounds, falls in love with him, marries him and they retire to India, where he becomes King of Cathay in right of his wife.
Chief of the Gorgons. Her head was cut off by Perseus (2 syl.), and Minerva placed it in her aegis. Everyone who looked on this head was instantly changed into stone.
The tale is that Medusa, famous for her hair, presumed to set her beauty above that of Minerva; so the jealous goddess converted her rival's hair into snakes, which changed to stone anyone who looked thereon. The most famous painting of Medusa is by Leonardo da Vinci; it is called his chef d'oeuvre.
(2 syl., German, sea—froth.) This mineral, from having been found on the sea—shore in rounded white lumps, was ignorantly supposed to be sea—froth petrified; but it is a compound of silica, magnesia, lime, water, and carbonic acid. When first dug it lathers like soap, and is used as a soap by the Tartars.
Mons Meg. An old—fashioned piece of artillery in the castle of Edinburgh, made at Mons, in Flanders. It was considered a palladium by the Scotch. (See Long Meg .)
“Sent awa' our crown, and our sword, and our sceptre, and Mons Meg to be keepit by thae English ... in the Tower of London [N.B. It was restored in 1828].”— Scott: Rob Roy, chap,
A roaring Meg. A cannon given by the Fishmongers of London, and used in 1689. Burton says, “Music is a roaring Meg against melancholy.
An old landlady in Scott's novel called St. Roman's Well.
(in Sir W. Scott's Guy Mannering). This character was based on that of Jean Gordon, an inhabitant of the village of Kirk Yetholm, in the Cheviot Hills, in the middle of the eighteenth century. A sketch of Jean Gordon's life will be found in Blackwood's Magazine, vol. i. p. 54. She is a half—crazy sibyl or gipsy.
A philosophical school, founded by Euclid, a native of Megara, and disciple of Socrates.
(The). A people of Greece proverbial for their stupidity; hence the proverb, “Wise as a Megarian”— i.e. not wise at all; yet see above.
(Greek, great—beast). A gigantic extinct quadruped of the sloth kind.
A corruption of the Greek hemi—crania (half the skull), through the French migraine. A neuralgic affection generally confined to one brow, or to one side of the forehead: whims, fancies.
(in Strathmore). The place where Guinever, Arthur's queen, was buried.
Meiny (2 syl.). A company of attendants. (Norman, meignal and mesnie, a household, our menial.)
“With that the smiling Kriemhild forth stepped a little space,
And Brunhild and her meiny greeted with gentle grace.” Lettsom's Nibelungen Lied. stanza 604.
Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, R.A., a French artist, born at Lyons, 1815, exhibited in 1836 a microscopic painting called Petit Messager, and became proverbial for the utmost possible precision
Minstrel tradesmen of Germany, who attempted to revive the national minstrelsy of the minnesingers, which had fallen into decay. Hans Sachs, the cobbler (1494—1574), was by far the most celebrated of these poets.
Mejnoun and Leilah
A Persian love—tale, the Romeo and Juliet or Pyramus and Thisbe of Eastern romance.
(3 syl.). Black hellebore, so called from Melampus, a famous soothsayer and physician, who cured with it the daughters of Prætus of their melancholy. (Virgil Georgics, iii. 550.)
“My seely sheep, like well below,
They need not melampode;
For they been hale enough I trow,
And liken their abode.”
Spenser, Eclogue vii.
Lowness of spirits, supposed at one time to arise from a redundance of black bile. (Greek, melas chole.)
(1 syl.). So Jean Jacques Rousseau was called for his morbid sensibilities and unhappy spirit. (1712—1777.) The expression is from Shakespeare, As You Like It, ii. 1.
is merely the Greek for Schwarzerde (black earth), the real name of this amiable reformer. (1497—1560.) Similarly, oecolampadius is the Greek version of the German name Hausschein, and Desiderius Erasmus is one Latin and one Greek rendering of the name Gheraerd Gheraerd.
A brave, honest soldier, who believes everyone to be true and honest till convicted of crime, and then is he a relentless punisher. (Beaumont and Fletcher The Maid's Tragedy.)
Abstain from the Melanurus. This is the sixth symbol in the Protreptics. Melan—uros means the
“black—tailed.” Pythagoras told his disciples to abstain from that which has a black tail, in other words, from such pleasures and pursuits as end in sorrow, or bring grief. The Melanuros is a fish of the perch family, sacred to the terrestrial gods.
Melchior, Kaspar, and Balthazar
The three magi, according to Cologne tradition, who came from the East to make offerings to the “Babe of Bethlehem, born King of the Jews.”
Certain heretics in the early Christian Church, who entertained strange notions about Melchisedec. Some thought him superior to Christ, some paid him adoration, and some believed him to be Christ Himself or the Holy Ghost.
Meleager Distinguished for throwing the javelin. He slew the Calydonian boar. It was declared by the fates that he would die as soon as a piece of wood then on the fire was burnt up; whereupon his mother snatched the log from the fire and extinguished it; but after Meleager had slain his maternal uncles, his mother threw the brand on the fire again, and Meleager died.
The death of Meleager was a favourite subject in ancient reliefs. The famous picture of Charles le Brun is in the Musee Imperiale of Paris.
So Homer is sometimes called, because one of the traditions fixes his birthplace on the banks of the Meles, in Ionia. In a similar way we call Shakespeare the “Bard of Avon.” (See Homer .)
“But higher sung
Blind Melesigenes— then Homer called.”
Milton: Paradise Regained.
The followers of Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis, in Egypt, who is said to have sacrificed to idols in order to avoid the persecutions of Diocletian. A trimmer in religion.
(King). Father of Tristan; he was drawn to a chase par mal engin et negromance of a fay who was in love with him, and from whose thraldom he was ultimately released by the power of the great enchanter Merlin. (Tristan de Leonois, a romance, 1489.)
or Melibe. A wealthy young man, married to Prudens. One day, when Melibeus “went into the fields to play,” some of his enemies got into his house, beat his wife, and wounded his daughter Sophie with five mortal wounds “in her feet, in her hands, in her ears, in her nose, and in her mouth,” left her for dead, and made their escape. When Melibeus returned home he resolved upon vengeance, but his wife persuaded him to forgiveness, and Melibeus, taking his wife's counsel, called together his enemies, and told them he forgave them “to this effect and to this ende, that God of His endeles mercy wole at the tyme of oure deyinge forgive us oure giltes that we have trespased to Him in this wreeched world.” (Chaucer: Canterbury Tales.)
N.B. This prose tale of Melibeus is a literal translation of a French story, of which there are two copies in the British Museum. (MS. Reg. 19. c. vii.; and MS. Reg. 19, c. xi.)
A rich purple. Meliboea, in Thessaly, was famous for the ostrum, a fish used in dyeing purple.
“A military vest of purple flowed,
Lovelier than Meliboean.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, xi. 242.
(4 syl.). Son of Ino, a sea deity. Athamas imagined his wife to be a lioness, and her two sons to be lion's cubs. In his frenzy he slew one of the boys, and drove the other (named Melicertes) with his mother into the sea. The mother became a sea—goddess, and the boy the god of harbours.
A lovely fairy, who carried off Parthenopex of Blois to her secret island in her magic bark. (French romance called Parthenopex de Blois, 12th cent.)
Charlemagne's daughter, married to his nephew Don Gwyferos. She was taken captive by the Moors, and confined seven years in a dungeon, when Gwyferos rescued her. (Don Quixote.)
(in Orlando Furioso). The prophetess who lived in Merlin's cave. Bradamant gave her the enchanted ring to take to Rogero; so, assuming the form of Atlantes, she went to Alcina's island, and not only delivered Rogero, but disenchanted all the forms metamorphosed in the island. In book xix. she assumes the form of Rodomont, and persuades Agramant to break the league which was to settle the contest by single combat. A general battle ensues.
Harvest supper; so called from the French meler (to mix together), because the master and servants sat promiscuously at the harvest board.
(The). St. Bernard, whose writings were called a “river of Paradise.” (1091—1153.)
The Mahometans say that the eating of a melon produces a thousand good works. So named from Melos.
Etre un melon. To be stupid or dull of comprehension. The melon—pumpkin or squash is soft and without heart, hence “être un melon” is to be as soft as a squash. So also “avoir un &cocur; de melon (or de citrouille)” means to have no heart at all. Tertullian says of Marcion, the heresiarch, “he has a pumpkin
[peponem ] in the place of a heart [cordis loco ].” It will be remembered that Thersites, the railer, calls the Greeks “pumpkins” (pepones).
(French). Children sent to school for the first time; so called because they come from a “hot—bed,” and are as delicate as exotics. At St. Cyr, the new—comers are called in schoolslang “Les melons,” and the old stagers “Les anciens.”
There are certain stones on Mount Carmel called Stone Melons. The tradition is that Elijah saw a peasant carrying melons, and asked him for one. The man said they were not melons but stones, and Elijah instantly converted them into stones.
A like story is told of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia. She gave so bountifully to the poor as to cripple her own household. One day her husband met her with her lapful of something, and demanded of her what she was carrying. “Only flowers, my lord,” said Elizabeth, and to save the lie God converted the loaves into flowers. (The Schonberg—Cotta Family, p. 19.)
(4 syl.). The muse of tragedy. The best painting of this muse is by Le Brun, at Versailles.
(Register of) from 735 to 1270, published in Fulman (1684).
The most famous of the fées of France. Having enclosed her father in a high mountain for offending her mother, she was condemned to become every Saturday a serpent from her waist downward. When she married Raymond, Count of Lusignan, she made her husband vow never to visit her on a Saturday; but, the jealousy of the count being excited, he hid himself on one of the forbidden days, and saw his wife's transformation. Melusina was now obliged to quit her mortal husband, and was destined to wander about as a spectre till the day of doom. Some say the count immured her in the dungeon of his castle. (See Undine .)
Cri de Mélusine. A sudden scream; in allusion to the scream of despair uttered by the fairy when she discovered the indiscreet visit of her beloved husband. (See above.
(3 syl.). Gingerbread cakes bearing the impress of a beautiful woman “bien coiffée,” with a serpent's tail; made by confectioners for the May fair in the neighbourhood of Lusignan, near Poitiers. The allusion is to the transformation of the fairy Melusina every Saturday. (See above.)
(Lady). A powerful subject of King Arthur, whose domains Galiot invaded. She chose Galiot as her lover.
(A). Something to put us in mind of the shortness and uncertainty of life.
“I make as good use of it [Bardolph's face] as many a man doth of a death's head or a memento mori.”— Shakespeare: Henry IV., iii. 3.
Prince of the Ethiopians, who went to the assistance of his uncle Priam, and was slain by Achilles. His mother Eos was inconsolable for his death, and wept for him every morning.
The Greeks used to call the statute of Am enophis III., in Thebes, that of Memnon. This image, when first struck by the rays of the rising sun, is said to have produced a sound like the snapping asunder of a chord. Poetically, when Eos (morning) kisses her son at daybreak, the hero acknowledges the salutation with a musical murmur. The word is the Egyptian mei—amun, beloved of Ammon.
“Memnon bending o'er his broken lyre.”
Darwin: Economy of Vegetation, i. 3.
Memnon. One of Voltaire's novels, designed to show the folly of aspiring to too much wisdom. Memnon's sister. Himera, mentioned by Dictys Cretensis.
“Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem.”
Milton: Il Penseroso.
The legend given by Dictys Cretensis (book vi.) is that Himera, on hearing of her brother's death, set out to secure his remains, and encountered at Paphos a troop laden with booty, and carrying Memnon's ashes in an urn. Pallas, the leader of the troop, offered to give her either the urn or the booty, and she chose the urn.
Probably all that is meant is this: Black so delicate and beautiful that it might beseem a sister of Memnon the son of Aurora or the early day—dawn.
The ever memorable. John Hales, of Eton (1584—1656).
Magliabechi, of Florence, the book—lover, was called “the universal index and living &cyclopaedia;.” (1633—1714.) (See Woodfall .)
Bard of Memory. Samuel Rogers, author of Pleasures of Memory. (1762—1855.)
Men in Buckram
Hypothetical men existing only in the brain of the imaginer. The allusion is to the vaunting tale of Falstaff to Prince Henry. (Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., ii. 4.)
Men of Kent (See Kent .)
Men of Lawn
Bishops of the Anglican Church. (See Man .)
Men are but Children of a Larger Growth
(Dryden: All for Love, iv. l.)
A large stone worshipped by certain tribes of Arabia between Mecca and Medina. This, stone, like most other Arabian idols, was demolished in the eighth year of “the flight.” The “menah” is simply a rude large stone brought from Mecca, the sacred city, by certain colonists, who wished to carry with them some memento of the Holy Land.
Any shepherd or rustic. The name figures in the Eclogues of Virgil and the Idyls of Theocritos.
A river of Siam, on whose banks swarms of fire—flies are seen.
A rocking—stone in the parish of Sithney (Cornwall) which a little child could move. The soldiers of Cromwell thought it fostered superstition, and rendered it immovable.
The four orders are the Jacobins, Franciscans, Augustinians, and Carmelites (3 syl.).
(Daniel), the Jew. A prize—fighter who held the belt at the close of the last century, and in 1791 opened the Lyceum in the Strand to teach “the noble art of boxing.” (1719—1791.)
“When Humphreys stood up to the Israelite's thumps
In kerseymere breeches and touch—me—not pumps.” Mendoza the Jew.
The Odiad (1798) is a mock heroic on the battle between Mendoza and Humphreys. The Art of Boxing (1799) was written by Mendoza. Memoirs of the Life of Daniel Mendoza (1816). See also Pugilistica, vol, i. (1880).
Persons exactly like each other, as the brothers Dromio. So called from the Menæchmi of Plautus.
In the Comedy of Errors, not only the two Dromois are exactly like each others, but also Antipholus of Ephesus is the facsimile of his brother. Antipholus of Syracuse.
(4 syl.). A physician of Syracuse, of such unbounded vanity that he called himself Jupitèr. Philip of Macedon invited him to a banquet, but served him with incense only.
“Such was Menecrates of little worth,
Who Jove, the saviour, to be called presumed, To whom of incense Philip made a feast.”
Lord Brooke: Inquisition upon Fame, etc.
St. David's (Wales). Its old British name was Henemenew.
The fourth of the sacred books of China; so called from its author, Latinised into Mencius. It is by far the best of all, and was written in the fourth century B.C. Confucius or Kong—foo—tse wrote the other three: viz. Ta—heo (School of Adults), Chongyong (The Golden Mean), and Lun—yu (or Book of Maxims).
Mother of Meng. A Chinese expression, meaning “an admirable teacher.” Meng's father died soon after the birth of the sage, and he was brought up by his mother. (Died B.C. 317.)
Menie (2 syl.). A contraction of Marianne.
“And maun I still on Menie doat.
And bear the scorn that's in her e'e?”
the cynic, called by Lucian “the greatest snarler and snapper of all the old dogs” (cynics). Varro wrote in Latin Satyræ Menippæ.
The Menippean Satire is a political pamphlet, partly in verse and partly in prose, designed to expose the perfidious intentions of Spain in regard to France, and the criminal ambition of the Guise family. The chief writers were Leroy (who died 1593). Pithou (1544—1596), Passerat (1534—1602), and Rapin, the poet
(3 syl.). The followers of Simons Menno, a native of Friesland, who modified the fanatical views of the Anabaptists. (1496—1561.)
means a monthly dissolvent (Latin, mensis), from the notion of the alchemists that it acted only at the full of the moon.
“All liquors are called menstruums which are used as dissolvents or to extract the virtues of ingredients by infusion or decoction.”— Quincy.
The mind informing the senses, instead of the senses informing the mind. There can be no doubt that the senses may be excited by the mind (from within, as well as from without). Macbeth saw the dagger of his imagination as distinctly as the dagger which he held in his hand. Malebranche declared that he heard the voice of God. Descartes thought he was followed by an invisible person, telling him to pursue his search for truth. Goethe says that, on one occasion, he met an exact counterpart of himself. Sir Walter Scott was fully persuaded that he had seen the ghost of the deceased Byron. All such hallucinations (due to mental disturbances) are of such stuff as dreams are made of.
A guide, a wise and faithful counsellor; so called from Mentor, a friend of Ulysses, whose form Minerva assumed when she accompanied Telemachos in his search for his father. (Fénelon: Télémaque.)
(alternative Manu ) Son of Brahma, whose institutes are the great code of Indian civil and religious law.
(Latin). On my responsibility; I being bond.
“ `I will vouch for Edie Ochiltree, meo periculo, ... `said Oldbuck.”— Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary, chap. xxxviii.
in Absalom and Achitophel, by Dryden and Tate, is meant for Pordage, a poetaster (ii. 403).
Mephistopheles, Mephistophilis, Mephostophilus
A sneering, jeering, leering tempter. The character is that of a devil in Goethe's Faust. He is next in rank to Satan.
— the basis of our comedy called The Curious Impertinent — was by Gaspar de Avila, a Spaniard.
is Mercator's chart or map for nautical purposes. The meridian lines are at right angles to the parallels of latitude. It is so called because it was devised by Gerhard Kauffmann, whose surname
Latinised is Mercator (Merchant). (1512—1594.)
Merchant of Venice
A drama by Shakespeare. A similar story occurs in the Gesta Romanorum. The tale of the bond is chapter xlviii., and that of the caskets is chapter xcix. Shakespeare, without doubt, is also indebted for his plot to the novelette Il Pecorone of Ser. Giovanni. (Fourteenth century.)
Loki made a wager with Brock and lost. He wagered his head, but saved it on the plea that Brock could not take his head without touching his neck. (Simroch's Edda, p. 305.)
The eighth and last kingdom of the Heptarchy, between the Thames and the Humber. It was the mere or boundary of the Anglo—Saxons and free Britons of Wales.
Light—hearted and gay, like those born under the planet Mercury. (Astrological notion.)
(The). The little finger.
“The thumb, in chiromancy, we give to Venus,
The forefinger to Jove, the midst to Saturn,
The ring to Sol, the least to Mercury.”
Ben Jonson: The Alchemist, i. 1.
If pointed it denotes eloquence, if square it denotes sound judgment.
(4 syl., French). An harangue or rebuke; so called from Mercuriale, as the first Wednesday after the great vacation of the Parliament under the old French régime used to be called. On this day the house discussed grievances, and reprimanded members for misconduct.
Images of Mercury, or rather, shapeless posts with a marble head of Mercury on them, used to be erected by the Greeks and Romans where two or more roads met, to point out the way. (Juvenal, viii. 53.)
There are two famous statues of this god in Paris: one in the garden of Versailles, by Lerambert, and another in the Tuileries, by Mellana.
You cannot make a Mercury of every log. Pythagoras said: “Non ex quovis ligno Mercurius fit.” That is,
“Not every mind will answer equally well to be trained into a scholar.” The proper wood for a statute of Mercury was boxwood— “vel quod hominis pultorem præ se ferat, vel quod materies sit omnium maxime æterna;.” (Erasmus.
in astrology, “signifieth subtill men, ingenious, inconstant: rymers, poets, advocates, orators, phylosophers, arithmeticians, and busie fellowes.”
(In Latin Ficus and Mercurium). The first fig gathered off a fig—tree was by the Romans devoted to Mercury. The proverbial saying was applied generally to all first fruits or first works, as the “Guide to Science was my Mercury fig.”
A kind—hearted, witty nobleman, kinsman to the Prince of Verona, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Being mortally wounded by Tybalt, he was asked if he were hurt, and replied, “A scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.”
The Mercutio of actors. Lewis, who displayed in acting the combination of the fop and real gentleman. (1748—1811.)
Mercy A young pilgrim who accompanied Christiana in her pilgrimage to Mount Zion. She married Matthew, Christian's son. (Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress, part ii.)
Mercy. The seven works of mercy are:— (1) To tend the sick.
(2) To feed the hungry.
(3) To give drink to the thirsty.
(4) To clothe the naked.
(5) To house the homeless.
(6) To visit the fatherless and the afflicted. (7) To bury the dead.
Matt. xxv. 35—40.
(Owen). The pseudonym of Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, author of Chronicles and Characters, in verse (1834). He became Lord Lytton (1873—1891).
(A). A noonday dram of spirits.
“He received from the hand of the waiter the meridian, which was placed ready at the bar.”— Sir Walter Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. i.
A Spanish breed of sheep, very valuable for their wool.
(Wales) is maeronaeth (a dairy farm).
(French). A whiting, or a hairdresser. Perruquiers are so called because at one time they were covered with flour like whiting prepared for the frying—pan.
“Madressant à un merlan qui filait une perruque sur un peigne de fer.”— Chateaubriand: Mémoíres à Outre—Tombe.
Prince of Enchanters; also the name of a romance. He was the son of a damsel seduced by a fiend, but Blaise baptised the infant, and so rescued it from the power of Satan. He died spell—bound by his mistress Vivian in a hawthorn—bush. (See Spenser's Faërie Queene, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and Ellis's Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances.)
The English Merlin. Lilly, the astrologer, who published two tracts under the assumed name of “Merlinus Anglicus.”
(A). A three—wheeled invalid chair, with a double tyre to the two front wheels, the outer tyre being somewhat smaller than that on which the chair rests, so that by turning it with the hand the chair can be propelled. Named after the inventor.
or Melo (Juan de). Born at Castile in the 15th century. A dispute having arisen at Esalona upon the question whether Hector or Achilles was the braver warrior, the Marques de Villena called out in a voice of thunder, “Let us see if the advocates of Achilles can fight as well as prate.” Presently there appeared in the midst of the assembly a gigantic fire—breathing monster, which repeated the same challenge. Everyone shrank back except Juan de Melo, who drew his sword and placed himself before the king (Juan II.) to protect him, for which exploit he was appointed alcayde of Alcala la Real (Granda). (Chronica de Don Alvaro de Luna.)
Sir James Emerson Tennent, speaking of the dugong, a cetacean, says, “Its head has a rude approach to the human outline, and the mother while suckling her young holds it to her breast with one flipper, as a woman holds her infant in her arm. If disturbed she suddenly dives under water, and tosses up her
fish—like tail. It is this creature which has probably given rise to the tales about mermaids.”
Mermaid. Mary Queen of Scots (q.v.).
[Chalina oculata ], the largest of British sponges, so called because its branches resemble fingers.
The empty cases of fishes' eggs, frequently cast up by the waves on the sea—beach.
One of the Pleiads; dimmer than the rest, because she married a mortal.
or A son of Merops. One who thinks he can set the world to rights, but can only set it on fire. Agitators and stump orators, demagogues and Nihilists, are sons of Merops. The allusion is to Phaeton, son of Merops, who thought himself able to drive the car of Phoebus, but, in the attempt, nearly set the world on fire.
The dynasty of Merovius, a Latin form of Merwig (great warrior). Similarly Louis is Clovis, and Clovis is Clot—wig (noted warrior).
may probably mean “illustrious,” from the old Teutonic mer. (Anglo—Saxon, &maera;, famous.) According to R. Ferguson, the word appears in the names Marry, Merry, Merick; the French Méra, Méreau, Merey, Mériq; and numerous others. (Teutonic Name—System, p. 368.) (See below Merry .)
A mermaid, believed by Irish fishermen to forebode a coming storm. There are male merrows, but no word to designate them. (Irish, Muruadh or Murrûghach, from muir, the sea, and oigh, a maid.)
“It was rather annoying to Jack that, though living in a place where the merrows were as plenty as lobsters, he never could get a right view of one.”— W. B. Yeates: Fairy and Folk Tales, p. 63.
The original meaning is not mirthful, but active, famous; hence gallant soldiers were called “merry men;” favourable weather, “merry weather;” brisk wind, “a merry gale;” London was “merry London;” England, “merry England;” Chaucer speaks of the “merry organ at the mass;” Jane Shore is called by Pennant the “merry concubine of Edward IV.” (Anglo—Saxon, mara, illustrious, great, mighty, etc.). (See Merry—Men)
'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all (2 Henry IV., act v. 3). It is a sure sign of mirth when the beards of the guests shake with laughter.
So called from Andrew Borde, physician to Henry VIII., etc. To vast learning he added great eccentricity, and in order to instruct the people used to address them at fairs and other crowded places in a very ad captandum way. Those who imitated his wit and drollery, though they possessed not his genius, were called Merry Andrews, a term now signifying a clown or buffoon. Andrew Borde Latinised his name into Andreas Perforatus. (1500—1549.) Prior has a poem on “Merry Andrew.”
The above is the usual explanation given of this phrase; but Andrew is a common name in old plays for a varlet or manservant, as Abigail is for a waiting gentlewoman.
The northern lights, so called from their undulatory motion. The French, also call them chevres dansantes (dancing goats).
Merry Dun of Dover
A large mythical ship, which knocked down Calais steeple in passing through the Straits of Dover, and the pennant, at the same time, swept a flock of sheep off Dover cliffs into the sea. The masts were so lofty that a boy who ascended them would grow grey before he could reach deck again.
Merry Men (My). A chief calls his followers his merry men. (See above.)
Merry Men of Mey
An expanse of broken water which boils like a caldron in the southern side of the Stroma channel.
Charles II. (1630, 1660—1685).
The furcula or wishing—bone in the breast of a fowl; sometimes broken by two persons, and the one who holds the larger portion has his wish, as it is said.
Merry as a Cricket
or as a Lark, or as a Grig. The French say, “Fou (or Folle) comme le branlegai, ” and more commonly “Gai comme un pinson ” (a chaffinch). “Branlegai” is a dance, but the word is not in use now.
Berwickshire was so called because it was the mere or frontier of England and Scotland.
(2 syl.). The English Mersenne. John Collins, mathematician and physicist, so called from Marin Mersenne, the French philosopher (1624—1683).
(Tommy). One of the chief characters in the tale of Sandford and Merton, by Thomas Day.
Founded by Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester, and Lord High Chancellor in 1264.
A fabulous mountain in the centre of the world, 80,000 leagues high, the abode of Vishnu, and a perfect paradise. It may be termed the Indian Olympos.
(3 syl., French). The sword of Doolin of Mayence. It was so sharp that when placed edge downwards it would cut through a slab of wood without the use of force. (See Swords .)
Also a term applied to the 18th century French ladies' dress.
So called from Friedrich Anton Mesmer, of Mersburg, in Suabia, who introduced the science into Paris in 1778. (1734—1815.)
The true “Mesopotamia” ring (London Review)— i.e. something high—sounding and pleasing, but wholly past comprehension. The allusion is to the story of an old woman who told her pastor that she
“found great support in that comfortable word Mesopotamia. “
= 4. Nares says because “at great dinners ... the company was usually arranged into fours.” That four made a mess is without doubt. Lyly expressly says, “Foure makes a messe, and we have a messe of masters"
(Mother Bombie, ii. 1). Shakespeare calls the four sons of Henry his “mess of sons” (2 Henry VI., act i. 4); and “Latine,” English, French, and Spanish are called a “messe of tongues” (Vocabulary, 1617). Again, Shakespeare says (Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3), “You three fools lacked me ... to make up the mess.” Though four made a mess, yet it does not follow that the “officer's mess” is so called, as Nares says, because “the company was arranged into fours,” for the Anglo—Saxon mesc, like the Latin mensa = table, mes Gothic = dish, whence Benjamin's mess, a mess of pottage, etc.
Mess, meaning confusion or litter, is the German mischen, to mix; our word mash.
Wife of the Emperor Claudius of Rome. Her name has become a byword for lasciviousness and incontinency. Catherine II. of Russia is called The Modern Messalina (1729—1796). (See Marozia .)
Messalina of Germany
(The). Barbary of Cilley, second wife of Kaiser Sigismund (15th century).
by John of Salisbury, the object of which is to expose the absurdity and injurious effects of
“wrangling,” or dialectics and metaphysics. He says, “Prattling and quibbling the masters call disputing or wrangling, but I am no wiser for such logic.”
The seven metals in alchemy. Gold, Apollo or the sun.
Silver, Diana or the moon.
Those rocks, including gneiss, mica—schist, clay—slate, marble, and the like, which have become more or less crystalline.
Obsolete words slightly altered, and made current again— as “chestnut” for castnut, from Castana, in Thessaly; “court—cards” for coat—cards; “currants” for corinths; “frontispiece” for frontispice (Latin frontispicium); “Isinglass” for hausen blase (the sturgeon's bladder, Ger.); “shame—faced” for shamefast, as steadfast, etc.; “sweetheart" for sweethard, as drunkard, dullard, dotard, niggard.
(Greek, after—physics). The disciples of Aristotle thought that matter or nature should be studied before mind. The Greek for matter or nature is physics, and the science of its causes and effects physics. Meta—physics is the Greek for “after—physics.” Sir James Mackintosh takes a less intentional view of the case, and says the word arose from the mere accident of the compilers who sorted the treatises of Aristotle, and placed that upon mind and intelligence after that upon matter and nature. The science of metaphysics is the consideration of things in the abstract— that is, divested of their accidents, relations, and matter.
The real name of this Italian poet was Trapassi (death). He was brought up by Gravina, who &Graecised; the name. (1698—1782.)
A figure of speech in which letters or syllables are transposed, as “You occupew my pie [py],” instead of “You occupy my pew;” daggle—trail for “draggle—tail,” etc.
Most methodical doctor. John Bassol, a disciple of Duns Scotus. (1347.)
A name given (1729) by a student of Christ Church to the brothers Wesley and their friends, who used to assemble on given evenings for religious conversation.
This word was in use many centuries before the birth of Wesley and of Whitfield. Gale (1678) speaks of a religious sect called “the New Methodists” (Court of the Gentiles. John Spencer uses the word as one familiarly known in Cromwell's time. Even before the birth of Christ, Celsus tells us that those physicians were called “Methodists" (methodici who followed medical rules rather than experience. Modern Methodism dates no farther back than 1729.
Primitive Methodists. Founded by Hugh Bourne (1772—1852).
A commercial treaty between England and Portugal, negotiated by Paul Methuen, in 1703, whereby the Portuguese wines were received at a lower duty than those of France. This treaty was abandoned in 1836.
(The). A cycle of nineteen years, at the end of which period the new moons fall on the same days of the year, and eclipses recur. Discovered by Meton, B.C. 432.
Qu'en dit Metra (Louis XVI.)? Metra was a noted news—vendor of Paris before the Revolution— a notability with a cocked hat, who went about with his hands folded behind his back.
(A). A prelate who has suffragan bishops subject to him. The two metropolitans of England are the two archbishops, and the two of Ireland the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin. In the Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain, the four archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam are metropolitans. The word does not mean the prelate of the metropolis in a secular sense, but the prelate of a “mother city” in an ecclesiastical sense— i.e. a city which is the mother or ruler of other cities. Thus, the Bishop of London is the prelate of the metropolis, but not a metropolitan. The Archbishop of Canterbury is metropolitanus et primus totius &Angliae;, and the Archbishop of York primus et metropolitanus Angliæ.
Mettre de la Paille dans ses Souliers
or Mettre du Foin dans ses Bottes. To amass money, to grow rich, especially by illicit gains. The reference is to a practice, in the sixteenth century, followed by beggars to extort alms.
“... Des quemands et belistres qui, pour abuser le monde, mettent de la paille en leurs souliers.”— Supplément du Catholicon, ch. ix.
Meum and Tuum
That which belongs to me and that which is another's. Meum is Latin for “what is mine,” and tuum is Latin for “what is thine.” If a man is said not to know the difference between meum and tuum, it is a polite way of saying he is a thief.
“Meum est propos'itum in taberna mari. ” A famous drinking song by Walter Mapes, who died in 1210.
Stables, but properly a place for hawks on the moult. The muette was an edifice in a park where the officers of venery lodged, and which was fitted up with dog—kennels, stables, and hawkeries. They were called muettes from mue, the slough of anything; the antlers shed by stags were collected and kept in these enclosures. (Lacombe: Dictionnaire Portatif des Beaux—Arts.)
Tutelary god of the Aztecs, in honour of whom they named their empire Mexico. (Southey.)
king of the Tyrrhenians, noted for his cruelties and impiety. He was driven from his throne by his subjects, and fled to Turnus, King of the Rutuli. When Æneas arrived he fought with Mezentius, and slew both him and his son Lausus. Mezentius put his subjects to death by tying a living man to a dead one.
“He stretches out the arm of Mezentius, and fetters the dead to the living.”— C. Bronte: Shirley, chap. xxxi.
“This is like Mezentius in Virgil. ... Such critics are like dead coals; they may blacken, but cannot burn.”— Broom: Preface to Poems.
Moderate relief (Italian). This is applied to figures which project more than those of basso relievo (q.v.), but less than those of alto relievo (q.v.).
(Italian, medium tint). So engravings in imitation of Indian—ink drawings are called.
An earthly paradise somewhere in Africa, but accessible by only one narrow road. Gaudentio di Lucca discovered this secret road, and resided in this paradise for twenty—five years. (Simon Berington: Gaudentio di Lucca.)
Micah Rood's Apples
Apples with a spot of red (like blood) in the heart. Micah Rood was a prosperous farmer at Franklin. In 1693 a pedlar with jewellery called at his house, and next day was found murdered under an apple—tree in Rood's orchard. The crime was never brought home to the farmer, but next autumn all the apples of the fatal tree bore inside a red blood—spot, called “Micah Rood's Curse,” and the farmer died soon afterwards.
(Mr. Wilkins). A great speechifier and letter—writer, projector of bubble schemes sure to lead to fortune, but always ending in grief. Notwithstanding his ill success, he never despaired, but felt certain that something would “turn up” to make his fortune. Having failed in every adventure in the old country, he emigrated to Australia, where he became a magnate. (Dickens: David Copperfield. )
Conduct similar to that of Mr. Micawber's. (See above.)
Prince of the celestial armies, commanded by God to drive the rebel angels out of heaven. Gabriel was next to him in command. (See Seven Spirits .)
Longfellow, in his Golden Legend, says he is the presiding spirit of the planet Mercury, and brings to man the gift of prudence.
“The planet Mercury, whose place
Is nearest to the sun in space.
Is my allotted sphere;
And with celestial ardour swift
I bear upon my hands the gift
Of heavenly prudence here.”
The Miracle Play. iii.
St. Michael, in Christian art, is sometimes depicted as a beautiful young man with severe countenance, winged, and either clad in white or armour, bearing a lance and shield, with which he combats a dragon. In the final judgment he is represented with scales, in which he weighs the souls of the risen dead.
St. Michael's chair. It is said that any woman who has sat on St. Michael's chair, Cornwall, will rule the roost as long as she lives.
The celebrated painter, born 1474, died 1563. The Michael—Angelo of battle—scenes.
Michael—Angelo Cerquozzi, a native of Rome, famous for his battle—scenes and shipwrecks. (1600—1660.)
Michel—Ange des Bamboches. Peter van Laar. the Dutch painter. (1613—1673.) Michael—Angelo of music. Johann Christoph von Gluck, the German musical composer. (1714—1787.) Michael—Angelo of sculptors. Pierre Puget, the French sculptor (1623—1694). Also RééMichael Slodtz (1705—1764).
September 29th, one of the quarter—days when rents are paid, and the day when magistrates are elected. Michael the archangel is represented in the Bible as the general of the celestial host, and as such Milton represents him. September 29th is dedicated to Michael and All Angels, and as magistrates were once considered “angels” or their representatives, they were chosen on the day of “All Angels.”
“I saw another sign in heaven ... seven angels [magistrates, or executors of God's judgments], having the seven last plagues ... filled with the wrath of God.” (Rev. xv. 1.) Those ministers of religion who acted as magistrates were also called angels. “There is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God.”
in the satire of Absalom and Achitophel, by Dryden and Tate, is meant for Queen Catherine, wife of Charles II. As Charles II. is called David in the satire, and Michal was David's wife, the name is appropriate.
or Cousin Michael. A German. Michel means a dolt; thus the French call a fool who allows himself to be taken in by thimble—rigs and card tricks mikel. In Old French the word mice occurs, meaning a fool. (See Michon.)
“L'Anglais aime à étre représenté comme un John Bull; pour mous. notre type est l'Allemand Michel, qui recoit une tape par derrière et qui demande encore; `Qu'y a—t—il pour votre service?' ”— Dr. Weber: De l'Allemagne, etc.
Secret or underhand mischief; a veiled rebuke; a bad deed probed by disguised means. To mich or meech means to skulk or shrink from sight. Michers are poachers or secret pilferers. Malicho is a Spanish word meaning an “evil action;” as a personified name it means a malefactor. (Hamlet, iii. 2.)
The “quarto” reads munching mallico; the “folio” has miching malicho. Qy. The Spanish mucho malhecho (much mischief)?
according to Cotgrave, is a “block, dunce, dolt, jobbernol, dullard, loggerhead.” Probably michon, Mike (an ass), mikel, and cousin Michel, are all from the Italian miccio, an ass. (See Mike .)
(The). A corruption of mickle—tourn (magnus turnus ). The jury of court leets. These leets were visited Easter and Michaelmas by the county sheriffs in their tourns.
Microcosm (Greek, little world.) So man is called by Paracelsus. The ancients considered the world as a living being; the sun and moon being its two eyes, the earth its body, the ether its intellect, and the sky its wings. When man was looked on as the world in miniature, it was thought that the movements of the world and of man corresponded, and if one could be ascertained, the other could be easily inferred; hence arose the system of astrology, which professed to interpret the events of a man's life by the corresponding movements, etc., of the stars. (See Diapason .)
The fourth Sunday in Lent. It is called dominica refectionis (refection Sunday), because the first lesson is the banquet given by Joseph to his brethren, and the gospel of the day is the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. In England it used to be called Mothering Sunday, from the custom of visiting the mother or cathedral church on that day to make the Easter offering.
Like Midas, all he touches turns to gold. Midas, King of Phrygia, requested of the gods that everything he touched might be turned to gold. His request was granted, but as his food became gold the moment he touched it, he prayed the gods to take their favour back. He was then ordered to bathe in the Pactolus, and the river ever after rolled over golden sands.
Without discrimination or judgment. Midas, King of Phrygia, was appointed to judge a musical contest between Apollo and Pan, and gave judgment in favour of the satyr; whereupon Apollo in contempt gave the king a pair of ass's ears. Midas hid them under his Phrygian cap; out his servant, who used to cut his hair, discovered them, and was so tickled at the “joke,” which he durst not mention, that he dug a hole in the earth, and relieved his mind by whispering in it “Midas has ass's ears.” Budaeus gives a different version. He says that Midas kept spies to tell him everything that transpired throughout his kingdom, and the proverb “that kings have long arms” was changed in his case to “Midas has long ears.” “Ex eo in proverbium venit, quod multos otacustas — i.e. auricularios habebat. ” (De Asse.) (See Pope: Prologues to Satires.)
Domenichino (1581—1661) has a painting on the Judgment of Midas.
Midas has ass's ears. An exact parallel of this tale is told of Portzmach, king of a part of Brittany. It is said Portzmach had all the barbers of his kingdom put to death, lest they should announce to the public that he had the ears of a horse. An intimate friend was found willing to shave him, after swearing profound secrecy; but not able to contain himself, he confined his secret to the sands of a river bank. The reeds of this river were used for pan—pipes and hautbois, which repeated the words “Portzmach— King Portzmach has horse's ears.”
The kitchen midden. The dust—bin. The farmer's midden is the dunghill. The word is Scotch. (Danish, mödding; Norwegian, mudder; Welsh, mwydo (to wet), our mud and mire. )
Better marry over the midden than over the moor. Better seek a wife among your neighbours whom you know than among strangers of whom you know nothing. The midden, in Scotland, is the domestic rubbish heap.
Ilka cock craws loodest on its ain midden. In English, “Every cock crows loudest on his own dunghill.” A midden is an ash—pit, a refuse—heap.
A term of no definite period, but varying a little with almost every nation. In France it was from Clovis to Louis XI. (481 to 1461). In England, from the Heptarchy to the accession of Henry VII. (409 to 1485). In universal history it was from the overthrow of the Roman Empire to the revival of letters (the fifth to the fifteenth century).
The Middle Saxons— that is, between Essex, Sussex, and Wessex.
The abode of the first pair, from whom sprang the human race. It was made of the eyebrows of Ymer, and was joined to Asgard by the rainbow bridge called Bifrost. (Scandinavian mythology.)
Asgard is the abode of the celestials.
Utgard is the abode of the giants.
Midgard is between the two— better than Utgard, but inferior to Asgard.
(earth's monster). The great serpent that lay in the abyss at the root of the celestial ash. (Scandinavian mythology.) Child of Loki.
Chercher midi à quatorze heures. To look for knots in a bulrush; much ado about nothing; to explain prosily what is perfectly obvious.
There is a variant of this locution: Chercher midi où il n'est qu'onze heures, to look for a needle in a bottle of hay; to give oneself a vast lot of trouble for nothing. At one time, hundreds of persons looked for the millennium and end of the world on fixed dates, and to them the proverb would apply.
Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian is a tale of the Porteous riot, in which are introduced the interesting incidents of Effie and Jeanie Deans. Effie is seduced while in the service of Mrs. Saddletree, and is imprisoned for child—murder; but her sister Jeanie obtains her pardon through the intercession of the queen, and marries Reuben Butler.
Burning the midnight oil. Sitting up late, especially when engaged on literary work. Smells of the midnight oil. Said of literary work, which seems very elaborate, and has not the art of concealing art. (See Lamp.)
(sing. Midrash). Jewish expositions of the Old Testament.
The Midsummer banquet. Brand mentions nine alefeasts: “Bride—ales, church—ales, clerk—ales, give—ales, lamb—ales, leet—ales, Midsummer—ales, Scot—ales, Whitsun—ales, and several more.” Here “ale” does not mean the drink, but the feast in which good stout ale was supplied. The Cambridge phrase, “Will you wine with me after hall?” means, “Will you come to my rooms for dessert, when wines, fruits, and cigars will be prepared, with coffee to follow?”
Midsummer Madness Olivia says to Malvolio, “Why, this is very midsummer madness” (Twelfth Night, iii.
4). The reference is to the rabies of dogs, which is generally brought on by Midsummer heat.
The plants called Orpine or Live—long, one of the Sedum tribe. Stonecrop is another variety of the same species of plants. Orpine is the French word for stonecrop. Live—long, so called because no plant lives longer after it is cut. It will live for months if sprinkled once a week with a little water. Sedum means the plant sedens in rupibus (sitting or growing on stones). It is called midsummer men because it used to be set in pots or shells on midsummer eve, and hung up in the house to tell damsels whether their sweethearts were true or not. If the leaves bent to the right, it was a sign of fidelity; if to the left, the
“true—love's heart was cold and faithless.”
'Tis Midsummer—moon with you. You are stark mad. Madness is supposed to be affected by the moon, and to be aggravated by summer heat; so it naturally follows that the full moon at midsummer is the time when madness is most outrageous.
“What's this midsummer moon?
Is all the world gone a—madding?”
Dryden: Amphitryon, iv. 1.
Midsummer Night's Dream
some of the most amusing incidents of this comedy are borrowed from the Diana of Montemayor, a Spanish writer of pastoral romance in the sixteenth century; and probably the Knightes Tale in Chaucer may have furnished hints to the author.
Midsummer Night's Dream. Egeus of Athens went to Theseus, the reigning duke, to complain that his daughter Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, refused to obey him, because she loved Lysander. Egeus demanded that Hermia should be put to death for this disobedience, according to the law. Hermia pleaded that Demetrius loved Helena, and that his affection was reciprocated. Theseus had no power to alter the law, and gave Hermia four days' respite to consider the matter, and if then she refused the law was to take its course. Lysander proposed flight, to which Hermia agreed, and told Helena her intention; Helena told Demetrius, and Demetrius, of course, followed. The fugitives met ín a wood, the favourite haunt of the fairies. Now Oberon and Titania had had a quarrel about a changeling boy, and Oberon, by way of punishment, dropped on Titania's eyes during sleep some love—juice, the effect of which is to make the sleeper fall in love with the first thing seen when waking. The first thing seen by Titania was Bottom the weaver, wearing an ass's head. In the meantime King Oberon dispatched Puck to pour some of the juice on the eyes of Demetrius, that he might love Helena, who, Oberon thought refused to requite her love. Puck, by mistake, anointed the eyes of Lysander with the juice, and the first thing he saw on waking was not Hermia but Helena. Oberon, being told that Puck had done his bidding, to make all sure, dropped some of the
love—juice on the eyes of Demetrius, and the first person he beheld on waking was Hermia looking for Lysander. In due time the eyes of all were disenchanted. Lysander married Hermia, Demetrius married Helena, and Titania gave the boy to her lord, King Oberon.
(Anglo—Saxon, mid, with; wif, woman). The nurse who is with the mother in her labour.
Midwife of men's thoughts. So Socrates termed himself; and, as Mr. Grote observes, “No other man ever struck out of others so many sparks to set light to original thought.” Out of his intellectual school sprang Plato and the Dialectic system; Euclid and the Megaric; Aristippos and the Cyrenaic; Antisthee and the Cynic; and his influence on the mind was never equalled by any teacher but One, of whom it was said, “Never man spake like this man.”
(Miss). Mrs. Varden's maid, and the impersonation of an old shrew. (Dickens: Barnaby Rudge.)
The young Italian girl who fell in love with Wilhelm Meister's apprentice, her protector. Her love not being returned, she became insane and died. (Goethe: Wilhelm Meister.)
Mikado (Japan, mi, exalted; kado, gate), is not a title of the emperor of Japan, but simply means the person who lives in the imperial palace.
To loiter. A corruption of miche (to skulk); whence, micher (a thief), and michery (theft). (Old Norse, mak, leisure; Swedish, maka; Saxon, 'mugan, to creep.) (See Michon .)
“Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher [loiterer]?”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., ii. 4.
(The). A decree made by Napoleon I., dated “Milan, Dec. 27, 1807,” declaring “the whole British Empire to be in a state of blockade, and forbidding all countries either from trading with Great Britain or from even using an article of British manufacture.”
This very absurd decree was killing the goose which laid the golden eggs, for England was the best customer of the very countries thus restricted from dealing with her.
Armed in Milan steel. Milan was famous in the Middle Ages for its armoury. (Froissart, iv. 597.)
(3 syl.). A native of Milan— i.e. mi—lano. (Old Italian for middle—land, meaning in the middle of the Lombardian plain.)
The metropolis of Lilliput, the wall of which was two feet and a half in height, and at least eleven inches thick. The city was an exact square, and two main streets divided it into four quarters. The emperor's palace, called Belfaborac, was in the centre of the city. (Gulliver's Travels: Voyage to Lilliput, iv.)
has nothing to do with either mills or dew. It is the Gaelic mehl—thoew (injurious or destructive blight).
The romances of Antonius Diogenes, described by Photius, but no longer extant. They were greedily read by the luxurious Sybarites, and appear to have been of a very coarse amatory character. They were complied by Aristides, and translated into Latin by Sisenna, about the time of the civil wars of Marius and Sylla.
The tales of Parthenius Nicenus were borrowed from them. The name is from the Milesians, a Greek colony, the first to catch from the Persians their rage for fiction, Parthenius taught Virgil Greek.
or Tale (A). One very wanton and lubricious. So called from the Milesiæ Fabulæ, the immoral tendency of which was notorious. (See above.)
(The). The ancient Irish. The legend is that Ireland was once peopled by the Firbolgs, who were subdued by the Milesians, called the “Gaels of Ireland.”
“My family, by my father's side, are all the true ould Milesians, and related to the O'Flahertys, and O'Shaughnesses, and the M'Lauchlins, the O'Donnagbans, O'Callaghans, O'Geogaghans, and all the thick blood of the nation; and I myself am an O'Brallagban, which is the ouldest of them all.”— Maclin: Love à la Mode.
To cry over spilt milk. (See under Cry .)
Milk and Honey
A land of milk and honey. That is, abounding in all good things, or of extraordinary fertility. Joel iii. 18 speaks of “the mountains flowing with milk and honey.” Figuratively used to denote all the blessings of heaven.
“Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest.”
Milk and Water
Insipid, without energy or character; baby—pap (literature, etc.).
Milk of Human Kindness
(The). Sympathy, compassion.
(A). An effeminate person; one without energy, one under petticoat government. The allusion is to very young children, who are fed on bread and milk.
(The). A great circle of stars entirely surrounding the heavens. They are so crowded together that they appear to the naked eye like a “way” or stream of faint “milky” light. The Galaxy or Via Lactea.
“A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear,
Seen in the galaxy— that Milky Way,
Thick, nightly, as a circling zone, thou seest
Powdered with stars.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, vii. 577, etc.
To fight; not from the Latin miles, a soldier, but from the noun mill. Grinding was anciently performed by pulversing with a stone or pounding with the hand. To mill is to beat with the fist, as persons used to beat corn with a stone.
The word is Gaelic, in which there are numerous derivatives, meaning to ravage, destroy, etc.
Mills of God grind slowly
(The). “Dii pedes lanatos habent ” (Petronius). Vengeance may be delayed, but it will come when least expected.
“The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness He grinds all.” Longfellow: Retribution.
means simply a thousand years. (Latin, mille annus.) In Rev. xx. 2 it is said that an angel bound Satan a thousand years, and in verse 4 we are told of certain martyrs who will come to life again, and “reign with Christ a thousand years.” “This,” says St. John, “is the first resurrection;” and this is what is meant by the millennium.
To drown the miller. (See Drown , etc.)
To give one the miller is to engage a person in conversation till a sufficient number of persons have gathered together to set upon the victim with stones, dirt, garbage, and all the arms which haste supplies a mob with.
More water glideth by the mill than wots the miller of (Titus Andronicus, ii. 1). Many things are done in a house which the master and mistress never dream of.
A Joe Miller. A stale jest. John Mottley compiled a book of &facetiae; in the reign of James II., which he entitled Joe Miller's Jests, from a witty actor of farce during the time that Congreve's plays were in vogue. A stale jest is called a “Joe Miller,” implying that it is stolen from Mottley's compilation. (Joe Miller,
(A). Lumps of unleavened flour in bread; so called because they are little round lumps like an eye.
To put the miller's eye out. To make broth or pudding so thin that the miller's eye would be put out or puzzled to find the flour.
(A). A small fish, four or five inches long, so called from its resemblance to a miller's thumb. The fish is also called Bullhead, from its large head.
A corruption of Milaner; so called from Milan, in Italy, which at one time gave the law to Europe in all matters of taste, dress, and elegance.
Milliner was originally applied to the male sex; hence Ben Jonson, in Every Man in his Humour, i. 3, speaks of a “milliner's wife.” The French have still une modiste and un modiste.
To look (or see) through a millstone. To be wonderfully sharp—sighted.
“Then ... since your eies are so sharp that you can not only looke through a milstone, but cleane through the minde ...”— Lilly: Euphues, etc.
Millstono used for a Ferry
(A). The saint who crossed the Irish Sea on a millstone was St. Piran, patron saint of tanners.
To weep millstones. Not weep at all.
“Bid Gloster think on this, and he will weep—
Aye, millstones, as he lessoned us to weep.”
Shakespeare: Richard III., i. 6.
Millstones of Montisci
(The). They produce flour of themselves, whence the proverb, “Grace comes from God, but millstones from Montisci” (Boccaccio: Decameron, day viii. novel 3.
(Sarah). The courtesan who enticed George Barnwell to robbery and murder. (See Barnwell .)
An athlete of Crotona. It is said that he carried through the stadium at Olympia a heifer four years old, and ate the whole of it afterwards. When old he attempted to tear in two an oak—tree, but the parts closed upon his hands, and while held fast he was devoured by wolves. (See Polydamus .)
borrowed from St. Avitus his description of Paradise (book i.), of Satan (book ii.), and many other parts of Paradise Lost. He also borrowed very largely from Du Bartas (1544—1591), who wrote an epic poem entitled The Week of Creation, which was translated into almost every European language. St. Avitus wrote in Latin hexameters The Creation, The Fall, and The Expulsion from Paradise. (460—525.)
Milton. “Milton,” says Dryden, in the preface to his Fables, “was the poetical son of Spenser. ... Milton has
acknowledged to me that Spenser was his original.”
Milton of Germany. Friedrich G. Klopstock, author of The Messiah. (1724—1803.) Coleridge says he is “a very German Milton indeed.”
The Scandinavian god of wisdom, and most celebrated of the giants. The Vanir, with whom he was left as a hostage, cut off his head. Odin embalmed it by his magic art, pronounced over it mystic runes, and ever after consulted it on critical occasions. (Scandinavian mythology.)
A well in which all wisdom lay concealed. It was at the root of the celestial ash—tree. Mimer drank thereof from the horn Gjallar. Odin gave one of his eyes to be permitted to drink of its waters, and the draught made him the wisest of the gods. (Scandinavian mythology.)
Niebuhr says the Mimosa “droops its branches whenever anyone approaches it, seeming to salute those who retire under its shade.”
(French). A bank—note. The assignats of the first republic were so called, because the paper on which they were printed was exceedingly thin. (Dictionnaire du Bas—Langage, ii. 139.)
at Christmas time are emblematical of the manger in which our Saviour was laid. The paste over the “offering” was made in form of a cratch or hay—rack. (See Plum Pudding .)
Mince pies. Slang for “the eyes.” (See Chivy.)
Mince the Matter
Not to mince the matter. To speak outright; not to palliate or gloss over the matter. Terence has “Rem profer palam” (Heauitimoroumenos, v. 2, 41). The French say, “Je ne le lui ai point mâche.” About the same is the phrase “Not to put too fine a point on the matter.”
To make mincemeat of. Utterly to demolish; to shatter to pieces. Mincemeat is meat cut up very fine.
(A). A nunnery. (Anglo—Saxon, minicem, a nun.) Sometimes it means an ale or road—house.
(London). A corruption of Mynchen Lane; so called from the tenements held there by the mynchens or nuns of St. Helen's, in Bishopsgate Street. (Minicen, Anglo—Saxon for a nun; minchery, a
or Mintio. The birthplace of Virgil. The Clitumnus, a river of Umbria, was the residence of Propertius; the Anio is where Horace had a villa; the river Meles, in Ionia, is the supposed birthplace of Homer. Littleton refers to all these in his Monody on Miss Fortescue.
Mind your Eye
Be careful or vigilant; keep a sharp look out; keep your eyes open to guard against mischief. School—boy wit, Mens tuus ego.
“ `Perhaps it may be so' (says I); `but mind your eye, and take care you don't put your foot in it.' ”— Haliburton.
“ `You must mind your eye, George; a good many tents are robbed every week.' ”— C. Reade,
Mind your Own Business
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings” (Prov. xxii.
29). “He who doeth his own business defileth not his fingers” (Fielding's Proverbs). Let every tub stand on its own bottom. Never meddle with what does not concern you.
“Bon homme, garde la vache. Chacun son métier, et les vaches son bien gardées. Chacun á ses affaires.”
“Qui fa le fatti suoi, non s'embratta le mani.”
“Tuâ quod nihil refert ne cures. Suum cura negotium. Tu ne quaesiveris extra.”— Horace.
The 20th Foot, so called from their noted bravery at Minden, in Prussia, August 1, 1759. Now called “The Lancashire Fusiliers.”
(in Greek, Athene). The most famous statue of this goddess was by Phidias, the Greek sculptor. It was wood encased with ivory; the drapery, however, was of solid gold. It represented the goddess standing, clothed with a tunic reaching to the ankles, a spear in her left hand, and an image of Victory (four cubits high = about six feet) in her right. She is girded with the aegis, has a helmet on her head, and her shield rests by her side on the ground. The entire height was nearly forty feet. This statue was anciently one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” A superb statue of the goddess was found at Velletri, but whether this was the famous statue of Phidias is not known. It is preserved in the Imperial Museum.
`The exquisite antique statue of Minerva Medica is in the Vatican of Rome.
Invita Minerva, without sufficient ability; against the grain. Thus, Charles Kean acted comedy invita Minerva, his forte lying another way. Sir Philip Sidney attempted the Horatian metres in English verse invita Minerva.
(The). A printing establishment in Leadenhall Street, London, famous about a century ago for its trashy, ultra—sentimental novels. These novels were remarkable for their complicated plots, and especially for the labyrinths of difficulties into which the hero and heroine got involved before they could get married to each other.
(3 syl.). Paintings by the Miniatori, a set of monks noted for painting with minium or red—lead. The first miniatures were the initial letters of rubrics, and as the head of the Virgin or some other saint was usually introduced into these illuminated letters, the word came to express a small likeness. The best
miniature—painters have been Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Isaac Oliver and his son Peter, Samuel Cooper and his brother Alexander, etc.
(See Gun .)
Minims (Latin, Fratres Minimi, least of the brethren). A term of self—abasement assumed by an order of monks founded by St. Francis of Paula, in 1453. The order of St. Francis of Assisi had already engrossed the “humble” title of Fratres Minores (inferior brothers). The superior of the minims is called corrector.
means an inferior person, in opposition to magister, a superior. One is connected with the Latin minus, and the other with magis. Our Lord says, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister,” where the antithesis is well preserved. The minister of a church is a man who serves the parish or congregation; and the minister of the Crown is the sovereign's servant.
Minister. Florimond de Remond, speaking of Albert Babinot, one of the disciples of Calvin, says, “He was a student of the Institutes, read at the hall of the Equity school in Poitiers, and was called la Ministerie, ” Calvin, in allusion thereto, used to call him “Mr. Minister,” whence not only Babinot but all the other clergy of the Calvinistic church were called ministers.
Eldest daughter of Magnus Troil, the old Udaller of Zetland. Captain Clement Cleveland (Vaughan) the pirate loved her, and Minna reciprocated his affection, but Cleveland was killed by the Spaniards in an encounter on the Spanish main. (Sir Walter Scott The Piratc.)
[Laughing—water]. The lovely daughter of the old arrow—maker of the Dacotahs, and wife of Hiawath'a. She died of famine. Two guests came uninvited into Hiawatha's wigwam, and the foremost said, “Behold me! I am Famine;” and the other said, “Behold me! I am Fever;” and Minnehaha shuddered to look on them, and hid her face, and lay trembling, freezing, burning, at the looks they cast upon her. “Ah!” cried Laughing—water, “the eyes of Pauguk [death] glare upon me, I can feel his icy fingers clasping mine amidst the darkness,” and she died crying, “Hiawatha! Hiawatha!” (Long—fellow: Hiawatha.)
Minstrels. The earliest lyric poets of Germany were so called, because the subject of their lyrics was minne—sang (love—ditty). These poets lived in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
(3 syl.) (London). The cloister of the Minims or, rather, Minoresses (nuns of St. Clare). The Minims were certain reformed Franciscans, founded by St. Francis de Paula in the fifteenth century. They went barefooted, and wore a coarse, black woollen stuff, fastened with a woollen girdle, which they never put off, day or night. The word is derived from the Latin minimus (the least), in allusion to the text, “I am less than the least of all saints”. (Eph. iii. 8).
A king and lawgiver of Crete, made at death supreme judge of the lower world, before whom all the dead appeared to give an account of their stewardship, and to receive the reward of their deeds.
[Minos—bull]. The body of a man and head of a bull. Theseus slew this monster.
Governor of Corinth, then under the power of the doge. In 1715 the city was stormed by the Turks, and during the siege one of the magazines in the Turkish camp blew up, killing 600 men. Byron says it was Minotti himself who fired the train, and leads us to infer that he was one of those who perished in the explosion. (Byron: Siege of Corinth.)
simply means a servant or minister. Minstrels were kept in the service of kings and princes for the entertainment of guests. James Beattie has a poem in Spenserian verse, called The Minstrel, divided into two books.
The last minstrel of the English stage. James Shirley, with whom the school of Shakespeare expired. (1594—1666.)
So called from the nymph Minthe, daughter of Cocytus, and a favourite of Pluto. This nymph was metamorphosed by Pluto's wife (Proserpine) out of jealousy, into the herb called after her name. The fable is
quite obvious, and simply means that mint is a capital medicine. Minthe was a favourite of Pluto, or death, that is, was sick and on the point of death; but was changed into the herb mint, or was cured thereby.
“Could Pluto's queen, with jealous fury storm
And Minthe to a fragrant herb transform?”
(2 syl.). “Enfants de la messe de minuit, ” pickpockets. Cotgrave gives “night—walking rakehells, such as haunt these nightly rites only to rob and play the knaves.”
Make a minute of that. Take a note of it. A law term; a rough draft of a proceeding taken down in minute or small writing, to be afterwards engrossed, or written larger.
A signal of distress at sea, or a gun fired at the death of a distinguished individual; so called because a minute elapses between each discharge.
(3 syl.) [the crusher]. The magic hammer of Thor. It would never fail to hit a Troll; would never miss to hit whatever it was thrown at; would always return to the owner of its own accord; and became so small when not in use that it could be put into Thor's pocket. (Scandinavian mythology.)
A travelled, dissipated fellow, who is proof against all the wiles of the fair sex. (Beaumont and Fletcher; Wildgoose Chase.)
Vespasian, the Roman emperor, is said to have cured a blind man and a cripple by his touch during his stay in Alexandria.
Mahomet's miracles. He took a scroll of the Koran from the horn of a bull; a white dove came from heaven to whisper in his ear a message from God; he opened the earth and found two jars, one of honey and one of milk, as emblems of abundance; he brought the moon from heaven, made it pass through his sleeve, and return to its place in heaven; he went to heaven on his horse Al Borak; was taught the Koran by the angel Gabriel, etc. And yet we are told that he laid no pretensions to miracles.
The Abbé Paris, or more correctly Francois de Paris, the deacon, buried at the cemetery of St. Médard. The numberless cures performed at his tomb are said by Paley to be the best authenticated of any, except those of the Bible.
Edward the Confessor and all our sovereigns up to the time of Queen Anne are said to have cured scorbutic diseases by their touch. (See Thaumaturgus.)
The title of the Emperor of Morocco. A miraman is a temporary Turkish officer.
An ignorant, testy old man, an ultra—admirer of learning. (Fletcher: The Elder Brother.)
Daughter of Prospero. (Shakespeare: Tempest.)
Mirror of Human Salvation
An extended “Biblia Pauperum” (q.v.) with the subject of the picture explained in rhymes. Called in Latin “Speculum huma'næ salvationis.”
Mirror of King Ryence
(The). This mirror was made by Merlin, and those who looked in it saw whatever they wished to see. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, bk, iii.)
Mirror of Knighthood
(The). One of the books in Don Quixote's library, a Spanish romance at one time very popular. Butler calls Hudibras “the Mirror of Knighthood” (book i. 15).
“The barber, taking another book, said, `This is the Mirror of Knighthood. ' ”— Part 1, book i. 6.1
Alasnam's mirror. The “touchstone of virtue,” showed if the lady beloved was chaste as well as beautiful. (Arabian Nights: Prince Zeyn Alasnam.)
Cambuscan's mirror. Sent to Cambuscan' by the King of Araby and Ind; it warned of the approach of ill—fortune, and told if love was returned. (Chaucer: Canterbury Tales; The Squire's Tale.)
Lao's mirror reflected the mind and its thoughts, as an ordinary mirror reflects the outward seeming. (Goldsmith: Citizen of the World, xlv.)
Merlin's magic mirror, given by Merlin to King Ryence. It informed the king of treason, secret plots, and projected invasions. (Spenser: Faerie Queene, iii. 2.)
Reynard's wonderful mirror. This mirror existed only in the brain of Master Fox; he told the queen—lion that whoever looked in it could see what was done a mile off. The wood of the frame was not subject to decay, being made of the same block as King Crampart's magic horse. (Reynard the Fox, ch. xii.)
Vulcan's mirror showed the past, the present, and the future. Sir John Davies tells us that Cupid gave the mirror to Antinous, and Antinous gave it to Penelope who saw therein “the court of Queen Elizabeth.”
Emir Zadah [prince's son]. It is used in two ways by the Persians; when prefixed to a surname it is simply a title of honour; but when annexed to the surname, it means a prince of the blood royal.
(3 syl.) means a false believer. (French, mis—créance.) A term first applied to the Mahometans. The Mahometans, in return, call Christians infidels, and associate with the word all that we mean by “miscreants.”
Mise—money An honorarium given by the people of Wales to a new “Prince of Wales” on his entrance upon his principality. At Chester a mise—book is kept, in which every town and village is rated to this honorarium. Littleton (Dict.) says the usual sum is 500. Bailey has the word in his Dictionary.
The most renowned are:— (1) Baron Aguilar or Ephraim Lopes Pereira d'Aguilar, born at Vienna and died at Islington, worth 200,000. (1740—1802.)
(2) Daniel Dancer. His sister lived with him, and was a similar character, but died before him. (1716—1794.) (3) Colonel O'Dogherty, though owner of large estates, lived in a windowless hut, which he entered by a ladder that he pulled up after him. His horse was mere skin and bone. He wore an old night—cap for wig, and an old brimless hat. His clothes were made up of patches, and his general appearance was that of extreme destitution.
(4) Sir Harvey Elwes, who died worth 250,000, but never spent more than 110 a year.
His sister—in—law inherited 100,000, but actually starved herself to death. Her son John, M.P., an eminent brewer in Southwark, never bought any clothes, never suffered his shoes to be cleaned, and grudged every penny spent in food. (1714—1789.)
(5) Foscue, farmer—general of Languedoc, who hoarded his money in a secret cellar, where he was found dead.
(6) Thomas Guy, founder of Guy's Hospital. (1644—1724.)
(7) Vulture Hopkins.
(8) Dick Jarrett died worth 10,000, but his annual expenses never exceeded 6. The beer brewed at his christening was drunk at his funeral.
(9) Messrs. Jardin, of Cambridge.
(10) William Jennings, a neighbour and friend of Elwes, died worth 200,000. (1701—1797.)
(11) The Rev.— Jonas, of Blewbury.
(12) John Little left behind him 40,000, 180 wigs, 173 pairs of breeches, and an endless variety of other articles of clothing. His physician ordered him to drink a little wine for his health's sake, but he died in the act of drawing the cork of a bottle.
(13) Ostervald, the French banker, who died of starvation in 1790, possessed of 120,000.
(14) John Overs, a Southwark ferryman.
(15) The King of Patterdale, whose income was 800 a year, but his expenses never exceeded 30. He lived at the head of Lake Ulleswater. His last words were, “What a fortune a man might make if he lived to the age of Methuselah!” He died at the age of eighty—nine.
(16) Guy Wilcocks, a female miser. (See Euclio, Harpagon, etc.)
(4 syl.). Our fifty—first psalm is so called. One of the evening services of Lent is called misererc, because this penitential psalm is sung, after which a sermon is delivered. The under side of a folding seat in choir—stalls is called a miserere; when turned up it forms a ledge—seat sufficient to rest the aged in a kneeling position.
“Misfortune will never Leave Me till I Leave It,”
was the expression of Charles VII., Emperor of Germany. (1742—1745.)
Instruction. A word applied by the Jews to the oral law. It is divided into six parts: (1) agriculture;
(2) Sabbaths, fasts, and festivals; (3) marriage and divorce; (4) civil and penal laws; (5) sacrifices; (6) holy persons and things. The commentary of the Mishna is called the Gemara. (Herbrew, shanah, to repeat.)
Absalom means a Father's Peace, a fatal name for David's rebellious son. Acid (sour) applied in chemistry to a class of bodies to which sourness is only accidental and by no means a universal character— thus, rock—crystal, quartz, flint, etc., are chemical acids, though no particle of acidity belongs to them.
America. So called from Amerigo Vespucci, a naval astronomer of Florence. He wrote an account of his discoveries, which were very popular in Germany, but certainly he did not discover the New World.
Ant. Go to the ant, thou sluggard. (See Ants, Honeycomb.) Antelope is a hopeless absurdity for the Greek anthos—ops, beautiful eye. Arabic figures were not invented by the Arabs, but by the Indians. Baffin's Bay is no bay at all.
Blacklead; is a compound of carbon and iron.
Blind—worms are no more blind than moles are; they have very quick and brilliant eyes, though somewhat small.
Brazilian grass does not come from Brazil, or even grow in Brazil, nor is it a grass at all. It consists of strips of a palm—leaf (Chamærops argente'a), and is chiefly imported from Cuba.
Bridegroom has nothing to do with groom. It is the old English guma, a man, bryd—guma. Burgundy pitch is not pitch, nor is it manufactured or exported from Burgundy. The best is a resinous substance prepared from common frankincense, and brought from Hamburg; but by far the larger quantity is a mixture of rosin and palm—oil.
Canopy, as if from Canopus (the star in the southern hemisphere), is the Greek konopeion (from konops, a gnat), and means a cloth to keep off gnats.
Catgut is not the gut of cats, but of sheep.
Celandine should be chelidon, Greek and Latin for a swallow; so called because it was at one time supposed that swallows cured with it the blindness of their young. (Pliny, xxv. 50.)
China, as a name for porcelain, gives rise to the contradictory expressions British china, Séres china, Dresden china, Dutch china, Chelsea china, etc.; like wooden milestones, iron milestones, brass shoe—horns, iron pens, etc.
Cinerary, for a cemetery, should be “Cinery.” Cinerarius is a woman's tailor. Cuttle—bone is not bone at all, but a structure of pure chalk embedded loosely in the substance of a species of cuttlefish. It is enclosed in a membranous sac, within the body of the “fish,” and drops out when the sac is opened, but it has no connection whatever with the sac or the cuttlefish.
Cleopatra's Needles were not erected by Cleopatra, or in honour of that queen, but by Thothmes III. Crawfish for cravis (Latin carabus, a lobster, French écrevisse).
Cullander, a strainer, should be “colanter” (Latin colans, colantis, straining). Custard, the food, is from the Welsh for curded milk; but “custard,” for a slap on the hand, should be custid, from the Latin custis, a club.
Down for adown (the preposition) is a strange instance of caprice, in which the omission of the negative (a) utterly perverts the meaning. The Saxon dun is an upland or hill, and a—dun is its
opposite— i.e. a lowland or descent. Going down stairs really means “going upstairs,” of ascending; and for descending we ought to say “going a down.”
Dutch clocks are not of Dutch but German (Deutsch) manufacture. Elements. Fire, air, earth, and water, called the four elements, are not elements at all. Fish, a counter, should be fiche (a fivesou piece), used at one time in France for card—counters. One of them, given “for the rub,” was called la fiche de consolation.
Foxglove is not the glove of the fox, but of the fays, called folk — the little folk's glove; or else from fosco, red.
Frontispiece. A vile corruption of frontispice (Latin frontispicium, a view on the front page). The “piece” is speeium. Frontispiece is an awful hybird.
Fusiliers. These foot—soliders now carry Enfield rifles, and not fusils. Galvanised iron is not galvanised. It is simply iron coated with zinc, and this is done by dipping it in a zinc bath containing muriatic acid.
German silver is not silver at all, nor was the metallic mixture invented by a German, but has been in use in China time out of mind.
Gothic architecture is not the architecture of the Goths, but the ecclesiastical style employed in England and
France before the Renaissance.
Guineapig. A blunder for Guiana, South America. Not a pig but a rodent. Honeydew is neither honey nor dew, but an animal substance given off by certain insects, especially when hunted by ants.
Honey soap contains no honey, nor is honey in any way employed in its manufacture. It is a mixture of
palm—oil soap and olive soap, each one part, with three parts of curd soap or yellow soap, scented.
Greyhound has no connection with the colour grey. It is the grayhound, or hound which hunts the gray or badger
Humble pie, for umbil pie. The umbils of venison were served to inferior retainers and servants. Hydrophobia (Greek, dread of water applied to mad dogs is incorrect, as they will lap water and even swim in it.
Indians (American). A blunder of geography on the part of the early discoverers of the New World, who set their faces westward from Europe to find India, and believed they had done so when they discovered Cat's Island, off the south coast of America.
Irish stew. A dish that is unknown in Ireland. Iron—mask was made of velvet.
Japan lacquer contains no lac at all, but is made from the resin of a kind of nut—tree called Anacardiaceæ. Jerusalem artichoke has no connection with Jerusalem, but with the sunflower, girasole, which it resembles. Kensington Palace is not in Kensington at all, but in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster.
Kid gloves are not kid at all, but are made of lamb—skin or sheep—skin. Laudanum should be ladanum, originally made from the leaves of the lada. (Pliny, xxvi. 47.) Longitude and latitude, the great dimension and little or broad dimension of the earth. According to the ancient notion, the world was bounded on the west by the Atlantic, but extended an indefinite length eastward. It was similarly terminated on the south by the Tropic of Cancer, whence it extended northwards, but this extent being much less than that east and west, was called the breadth or latitude.
Louis de Bourbon, Bishop of Liége, is made by Sir Walter Scott, in Quentin Durward, an “old man,” whereas he was only eighteen, and a scholar at Louvain. He made his entry into his see in a scarlet jerkin and cap set jauntily on one side. (A. Dumas: Charles the Bold.)
Lunar caustic is not a substance from the moon, but is simply nitrate of silver, and silver is the astrological symbol of the moon.
Lunatics are not affected by the changes of the moon more than other invalids. No doubt their disorder has its periodicities, but it is not affected by the moon.
Meerschaum. (See Meerschaum.)
Mosaic gold has no connection with Moses or the metal gold. It is an alloy of copper and zinc, used in the ancient musivum or tesselated work.
Mother of pearl is the inner layer of several sorts of shell. It is not the mother of pearls, as the name indicates, but in some cases the matrix of the pearl.
Natives. Oysters raised in artificial beds. Surely oysters in their own natural beds ought to be called the natives.
Oxygen means the generator of acids, but there are acids of which it is not the base, as hydrochloric acid. Indeed, chemists now restrict the term acid to compounds into which hydrogen enters, and oxy—acids are termed salts.
Pen means a feather. (Latin, penna, a wing.) A steel pen is not a very choice expression. Philippe VI. of France was called “Le bien fortuné, ” but never was name more inappropriate. He was defeated at Sluys [Slu—iz], and again at Cressy; he lost Calais; and a fourth of all his subjects were carried off by the plague called the “Black Death.”
Pompey's Pillar, in Alexandria, was erected neither by nor to Pompey. It was set up by the Emperor Diocletian, according to its inscription.
Prussian blue does not come from Prussia, but is the precipitate of the salt of protoxide of iron with red prussiate of potass.
Rice paper is not made from rice, but from the pith of Tung—tsau, or hollow—plant, so called because it is
hollow when the pith has been pushed out.
Salt is not salt at all, and has long been wholly excluded from the class of bodies denominated salts. Table—salt is “chloride of sodium.”
Salt of lemon is in reality a binoxalate of potash, with a little of the quadroxalate. Salts. The substance of which junk bottles, French mirrors, window—panes, and opera—glasses are made is placed among the salts, but is no salt at all.
Sand—blind is a mere corruption of sam (half) blind.
Scuttle, to open a hole in a ship, means really to bolt or bar. (See Scuttle.) Sealing—wax is not wax at all, nor does it contain a single particle of wax. It is made of shellac, Venice turpentine, and cinnabar.
Shrew—mouse is no mouse (mus), but belongs to the genus sorex. Slave means noble, illustrious (slavi), but is now applied to the most ignoble and debased. (See Baron.) Sovereign. The last syllable of this word is incorrect. The word should be soverain (Latin, superare; French, souvrain). It has no connection with “reign” (Latin, regnare).
Sperm oil properly means “seed oil,” from the notion that it was the spawn or melt of a whale. It is chiefly taken from the head, not the spawn, of the “spermaceti” whale.
Titmouse (plur. titmice) is no mouse, but a bird. (Anglo—Saxon, tite—máse, little hedge—sparrow.) Toadflax has nothing at all to do with toads. It is tod flax, i.e. flax with tods or clusters. Tonquin beans. A geographical blunder for tonka beans, from Tonka, in Guinea, not Tonquin, in Asia. Turkeys do not come from Turkey, but North America, through Spain, or India. The French call them “dindon,” i.e. d'Inde or coq d'lnde, a term equally incorrect.
Turkey rhubarb neither grows in Turkey, nor is it imported from Turkey. It grows in the great mountain chain between Tartary and Siberia, and is a Russian monopoly.
Turkish baths are not of Turkish origin, nor are they baths, but hot—air rooms or &thermae;. Vallombrosa. Milton says:—
“Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa.” Paradise Lost, i. 302.
But the trees of Vallombrosa, being pines, do not shed thickly in autumn, and the brooks are not strewed with their leaves.
Ventriloquism is not voice from the stomach at all, but from the mouth. Well—beloved. Louis XIII. A most inappropriate title for this most detestable and detested of all kings. Whalebone is no bone at all, nor does it possess any properties of bone. It is a substance attached to the upper jaw of the whale, and serves to strain the water which the creature takes up in large mouthfuls.
Wolf's—bane. A strange corruption. Bane is the Teutonic word for all poisonous herbs. The Greeks, mistaking banes for beans, translated it kuamos, as they did hen—bane (huos—kuamos). Now wolf's—bane is an aconite, with a pale yellow—flower, and therefore called white—bane to distinguish it from the blue aconite. The Greek for white is leukos, hence “leukos—kuamos;” but lukos is the Greek for wolf, and by a blunder leukos—kuamos (white—bean) got muddled into lukos—kuamos (wolf—bean). Botanists, seeing the absurdity of calling aconite a bean, restored the original word “bane,” but retained the corrupt word lukos (a wolf), and hence we get the name wolf's—bane for white aconite. (H. Fox Talbot.)
Wormwood has nothing to do with worms or wood; it is the Anglo—Saxon wer mod, man—inspiriting, being a strong tonic.
Concealment, neglect of. (French, mépris.)
Misprision of clerks. Mistakes in accounts arising from neglect. Misprision of felony. Neglecting to reveal a felony when known. Misprision of treason. Neglecting to disclose or purposely concealing a treasonable design.
Miss, Mistress, Mrs (masteress, lady—master). Miss used to be written Mis, and is the first syllable of Mistress; Mrs. is the contraction of mistress, called Misess. Even in the reign of George II. unmarried ladies used to be styled Mrs.; as, Mrs. Lepel, Mrs. Bellenden, Mrs. Blount, all unmarried ladies. (See Pope's Letters.)
Early in Charles II.'s reign, Evelyn tells us that “lewd women began to be styled Misse;” now Mistress is more frequently applied to them. (See Lad.)
Miss is as Good as a Mile
(A). A failure is a failure be it ever so little, and is no more be it ever so great; a narrow escape is an escape, and a more easy one is no more. If I miss the train by one minute, I miss it as much as if it had run a mile from the station; and if I escape an evil by the skin of my teeth, I escape, and he who escapes it easily does no more.
(The). According to Darwin, the higher animals are developed from the lower ones. The lowest form of animal life is protoplasm, which develops into amoebae (cell life), and thence, successively, into synamoeacute;bæ, gastrula, hydra, medusa, worms, hematega, ascidians, fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles, monotremata, marsupials, placental mammals, &lemuridae;, monkeys [missing link], man.
The French “South—Sea Scheme,” and equally disastrous. It was projected by John Law, a Scotchman, and had for its object the payment of the National Debt of France, which amounted to 208 millions sterling, on being granted the exclusive trade of Louisiana, on the banks of the Mississippi.
(1717—1720.) (See South Sea .)
Shakespeare calls it “the baleful mistletoe” (Titus Andronicus, ii. 3), in allusion to the Scandinavian story that it was with an arrow made of mistletoe that Balder was slain. (See Kissing Under The Mistletoe .)
The word mistletoe is a corruption of mistel—ta, where mist is the German for “dung,” or rather the
“droppings of a bird,” from the notion that the plant was so propagated, especially by the missel—thrush. Ta is for tan, Old Norse tein, meaning “a plant” or “shoot.”
The tale referred to in this song, about Lord Lovel's daughter, is related by Rogers in his Italy, where the lady is called “Ginevra.” A similar narrative is given by Collet in his Relics of Literature, and another is among the Causes Célèbres.
Marwell Old Hall, once the residence of the Seymour, and afterwards of the Dacre family, has a similar tradition attached to it, and (according to the Post Office Directory) “the very chest became the property of the Rev. J. Haygarth, a rector of Upham.”
The Marines, or any one of them; so called by the regular sailors, because they handle the ropes like girls, not being used to them.
Mistress of the Night (The). The tuberose is so called because it emits its strongest fragrance after sunset. Sometimes, on a sultry evening, when the atmosphere is highly electrified, the fading flowers of the tuberose emit sparks of lucid flame.
(In the language of flowers, the tuberose signifies “the pleasures of love.”)
Mistress of the World
Ancient Rome was so called, because all the known world gave it allegiance.
Sister of Aude, surnamed “the Little Knight of Pearls,” in love with Sir Miton de Rennes, Roland's friend. Charlemagne greeted her after a tournament with the Saracens at Fronsac, saying, “Rise, Countess of Rennes.” Mita and Sir Miton were the parents of Mitaine (q.v.). (Croquemitaine, xv.)
Godchild of Charlemagne; her parents were Mita and Miton, Count and Countess of Rennes. She went in search of Fear fortress, and found that it only existed in the minds of the fearful, vanishing into thin air as it was approached by a bold heart and clear conscience. Charlemagne made her for this achievement Roland's squire, and she followed him on her horse Vaillant to Spain, and fell in the attack at Roncesvalles. (Croquemitaine, pt. iii.)
Sir Matthew Mite. A purseproud East Indian merchant, who gives his servants the most costly exotics, and overpowers everyone with the profusion of his wealth. (S. Foote: The Nabob.)
Lady Oldham says: “He comes amongst us preceded by all the pomp of Asia. Profusely scattering the spoils of conquered provinces, corrupting the virtue, and alienating the affections of all the old friends of the family.”
or Mithras. The highest of the twenty—eight second—class divinities of the ancient Persians, and the ruler of the universe. Sometimes used as a synonym for the sun. The word means friend, and this deity is so called because he befriends man in this life, and protects him against evil spirits after death. He is represented as a young man with a Phrygian cap, a tunic, a mantle on his left shoulder, and plunging a sword into the neck of a bull. (Sanskrit, mitram, a friend.) (See Thebais, i.)
(3 syl.). A confection said to be invented by Mithridates, King of Pontus and Bithynia, as an antidote to poison. It contains seventy—two ingredients.
“What brave spirit could be content to sit in his shop ... selling Mithridatum and dragon's water to infected houses?”— Knight of the Burning Pestle. (1635.)
The episcopal mitre symbolises the cloven tongues of fire which descended on the apostles on the day of Pentecost. (Acts ii. 1—12.) Greek and Latin, mitra, a turban.
(The). A place of resort in the time of Shakespeare; it was in Bread Street, Cheapside.
The Pardoner's mitten. Whoever put this mitten on would be sure to thrive in all things.
“He that his hondë put in this metayn,
He shal have multiplying of his grayn,
Whan he hath sowen, be it whete or otes,
So that ye offre pans [pence] or ellës grootes.” Chaucer: Prologue to The Pardoneres Tale.
To give one the mitten. To reject a sweetheart; to jilt. (Latin, mitto, to send [about your business], whence dismissal; to get your dismissal.) Some say, it is to get the mitten instead of the hand.
“There is a young lady I have set my heart on, though whether she is going to give me hern, or give me the mitten, I ain't quite satisfied.”— Sam Slick: Human Nature, p. 90.
“I don't believe but what that Hammond girl's given him the mitten, else he wouldn't a come. I wouldn't play second fiddle for any fellow.”— M. E. Wilkins: A Tardy Thanksgiving
(Latin). A command in writing to a gaoler, to keep the person named in safe custody. Also a writ for removing a record from one court to another. So called from the first word of the writ, “Mittimus” (i.e. We send ...).
The Chapter of Mitton. So the battle of Mitton was called, because so many priests took part therein. Hailes says that “three hundred ecclesiastics fell in this battle, which was fought September 20th, 1319.”
“So many priests took part in the fight that the Scots called it the Chapter of Mitton— a meeting of the clergymen belonging to a cathedral being called a chapter”— Sir Walter Scott: Tales of a Grandfather, x.
Better wed over the Mixon than over the Moor. (See Midden .)
Mizentop, maintop, foretop
Service in these masts has nothing whatever to do with age or merit. A “top” is a platform fixed over the head of a lower mast, resting on the trestle—trees, to spread the rigging of the topmast. The mizenmast is the aftermost mast of a ship; the foremast is in the forward part of a ship; the mainmast is between these two.
“He was put into the mizentop, and served three years in the West Indies; then he was transferred to the maintop, and served five years in the Mediterranean; and then he was made captain of the foretop, and served six years in the East Indies; and at last he was rated captain's coxswain in the Druid frigate.”— Capt. Marryat: Poor Jack, chap. i.
(pron. youl—ner). Thor's hammer. (See Miolner .)
(4 syl.). Goddess of memory and mother of the nine Muses. (Classical mythology.) The best representation of this goddess is by A. R. Mengs, the “Raphael of Germany” (1720—1779).
(The). Presented to the British Museum by the museum of the Louvre. It was discovered by the Rev. F. Klein at Dibhan in August, 1868, and is 3 feet 10 inches high, 2 feet broad, and 14 1/2 inches thick. The Arabs resented its removal, and splintered it into fragments, but it has been restored. The inscription, consisting of forty—four lines, gives an account of the war of Mesha, King of Moab, against Omri, Ahab, and other kings of Israel. Mesha sacrificed his eldest son on the city wall in view of the invading Israelites. He set up this stone at Kermost B.C. 900.
A class of angels, according to the Mahometan mythology. Two angels of this class attend every child of Adam from the cradle to the grave. At sunset they fly up with the record of the deeds done since sunrise. Every good deed is entered ten times by the recording angel on the credit or right side of his ledger, but when an evil deed is reported the angel waits seven hours, “if haply in that time the evil—doer may repent.” (The Koran.)
(See under Battle .)
Mob A contraction of the Latin mobile vulgus (the fickle crowd). The term was first applied to the people by the members of the Green—ribbon Club, in the reign of Charles II. (Northern Examiner, p. 574.)
(A). Is a plain cap, from Dutch mob = a cap Probably mop is another form of the same word, and all come from the Latin mappa (a clout), whence our word map (a drawing on cloth), in contradistinction to a cartoon (a drawing on paper).
To render soldiers liable to be moved on service out of the town where they live; to call into active service men enrolled but not on the war establishment. (Latin, mobilis.)
or Manor. A grand, ostentatious house, where no hospitality is afforded, neither is any charity given.
“No times observed, nor charitable lawes,
The poor receive their answer from the dawes, Who, in their cawing language, call it plaine
Mock—begger Manour, for they come in vaine.” Taylor: Workes.
“It will be a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.” Thomas, Lord Denman, in his judgment on the case of O'Connell v. The Queen.
in scholastic philosophy, means the mode in which anything exists. Kant divides our judgment into three modalities: (1) Problematic, touching possible events; (2) Assertoric, touching real events; (3) Apodictic, touching necessary events.
(Lady Betty), in The Careless Husband, by Cibber. The name explains the character. This was Mrs. Oldfield's favourite character, and The Tatler (No. 10) accordingly calls this charming actress “Lady Betty Modish.” (See Narcissa .)
The fiend that urges to murder, and one of the five that possessed “Poor Tom.” (See Mahu .) (Shakespeare: King Lear, iv. 1.)
in the romance of The Round Table, is represented as the treacherous knight. He revolted from his Uncle Arthur, whose wife he seduced, was mortally wounded in the battle of Camlan, in Cornwall, and was buried in the island of Avalon.
Sir Modred. The nephew of King Arthur. He hated Sir Lancelot, sowed discord amongst the Knights of the Round Table, and tampered with the “lords of the White Horse,” the brood that Hengist left. When the king went to chastise Sir Lancelot for tampering with the queen, he left Sir Modred in charge of the kingdom.
Modred raised a revolt, and the king was slain in his attempt to quash it. (Tennyson: Idylls of the King; Guinevere.)
In Oxford a contracted form of moderations. The three necessary examinations in Oxford are the Smalls, the Mods, and the Greats. No one can take a class till he has passed the Mods. There are no Mods at Cambridge.
“While I was reading for Mods I was not so unsettled in my mind.”— Grant Allen: The Backslider, part iii.
(Latin). The mode of operation; the way in which a thing is done or should be done.
(A). A mutual arrangement whereby persons not at the time being on friendly terms can be induced to live together in harmony. This may apply to individuals, to societies, or to peoples (as the South Africans and the Boers).
(East Indies). The subordinate divisions of a district; the seat of government being called sudder. Provincial.
“To tell a man that fatal charges have been laid against him, and refuse him an opportunity for explanation, this is not even Mofussil justice.” — The Times.
The best playingcards were so called because the wrapper, or “duty card” (when cards were subject to excise duty) contained the portrait of the Great Mogul. Those cards which contained some mark, speck, or other imperfection, were called “Harrys.”
[Mohammed ]. The twelfth Imaun, who is said to be living in concealment till Antichrist appears, when he will come again and overthrow the great enemy.
(Probably the Arabic mukhayyar, goat's—hair cloth.) It is the hair of the Angora goat, introduced into Spain by the Moors, and thence brought into Germany.
(Al). Abu—Rihan, the geographer and astronomer in the eleventh century.
A class of ruffians who in the 18th century infested the streets of London. So called from the Indian Mohawks. One of their “new inventions” was to roll persons down Snow Hill in a
tub; another was to overturn coaches on rubbish—heaps. (See Gay: Trivia, iii.)
A vivid picture of the misdoings in the streets of London by these and other brawlers is given in The Spectator, No. 324.
“You sent your Mohocks next abroad,
With razors armed, and knives;
Who on night—walkers made inroad,
And scared our maids and wives;
They scared the watch, and windows broke . . .” Plot upon Plot (about 1713).
Captain Hill and Lord Mohun made a dastardly attack on an actor named Mountford, on his way to Mrs. Bracegirdle's house in Howard Street. Hill was jealous of the actor, and induced the “noble lord” to join him in this “valiant quarrel.” Mountford died next day. Hill fled, and was never heard of more; Mohun was tried for his life, but acquitted. (See Issa—char .) (Howell: State Trials, vol. xii. p. 947.)
Mohyronus (Edricius). Said to cure wounds by sympathy. He did not apply his powder to the wounds, but to a cloth dipped in the blood.
(French) is silk, etc., moiré (watered) in the antique style, or to resemble the material worn in olden times. The figuring of tin like frostwork or scales is called moiré métallique.
[See Khorassan .]
The Italian Molière. Carlo Goldoni (1707—1793).
The Spanish Moliére. Leandro Fernandez Moratin (1760—1828).
The system of grace and election taught by Louis Molina, the Spanish Jesuit (1535—1600).
“Those Jansenists, re—nicknamed Molinists.” Browning: The Ring and the Book.
(Kentish). Mary Carlson, commonly known as the German Princess. She was sentenced to transportation, but, being found at large, was hanged at Tyburn in 1672.
Mary Frith, a woman of masculine vigour, who not unfrequently assumed man's attire. She was a notorious thief and cutpurse, who once attacked General Fairfax on Hounslow Heath, for which she was sent to Newgate. She escaped by bribery, and died at last of dropsy in the seventy—fifth year of her age. (Time of Charles I.)
A woman of extra—ordinary beauty, born in the Old Bailey. She was twelve years a courtesan, five times a wife, twelve years a thief, eight years a transport in Virginia; but ultimately grew rich, lived honestly, and died a penitent. (Charles II.'s reign.) (See Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders.)
Moll Thomson's Mark
As “Take away this bottle, it has Moll Thomson's mark on it.” Moll Thomson is M.
He's a regular Molly. Said of a man or big boy who betties or interferes with women's work, such as kitchen business, dressmaking, personal decoration, and so on.
(A). A pampered creature, afraid that the winds of heaven should visit him too roughly; though a male, a Molly; not a valetudinarian, but ever fearing lest he should be so.
An Irish secret society organised in 1843. Stout, active young Irishmen, dressed up in women's clothes, blackened faces, and otherwise disguised, to surprise those employed to enforce the payment of rents. Their victims were ducked in bog—holes, and many were beaten most unmercifully.
“The judge who tried the murderer was elected by the Molly Maguires; the jurors who assisted him were themselves Molly Maguires. A score of Molly Maguires came forward to swear that the assassin was sixty miles from the spot on which he had been seen to fire at William Dunn, . . . and the jurors returned a verdict of Not Guilty.”— W. Hepworth Dixon: New America, ii. 28.
This celebrated beauty was an innkeeper's daughter, at Oakingham, Berks. She was the toast of all the gay sparks, in the former half of the eighteenth century, and died in 1766, at an advanced age. Gay has a ballad on this Fair Maid of the Inn.
Molly Mog died at the age of sixty—seven, a spinster; Mr. Standen, of Arborfield, the enamoured swain alluded to in the ballad, died 1730. It is said that Molly's sister Sally was the greater beauty. A portrait of Gay
still hangs in the inn.
A mythical king of Britain, who promulgated the laws called the Molmutine, and established the privilege of sanctuary. He is alluded to in Cymbeline, iii. 1 (Shakespeare).
Any influence which demands from us the sacrifice of what we hold most dear. Thus, war is a Moloch, king mob is a Moloch, the guillotine was the Moloch of the French Revolution, etc. The allusion is to the god of the Ammonites, to whom children were “made to pass through the fire” in sacrifice. Milton says he was “worshipped in Rabba, in Argob, and Basan, to the stream of utmost Arnon.” (Paradise Lost, book i. 392—398.)
Wild garlic, called sorcerer's garlic. There are many sorts, all of which flower in May, except “the sweet moly of Montpelier,” which blossoms in September. The most noted are “the great moly of Homer,” the Indian moly, the moly of Hungary, serpent's moly, the yellow moly, Spanish purple moly, Spanish
silver—capped moly, and Dioscorides's moly. Pope describes it and its effects in one of his odes, and Milton refers to it in his Comus. (Greek, molu.)
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave.”
Milton: Comus, 655—6.
(French), says Cotgrave, is a Momus, find—fault, carping fellow. So called from Momus, the god of raillery.
“Or cessent donques les momes,
De mordre les escrits miens.”
J. du Bellay: A. P. de Ronsard.
(French, men of mummery). An Evangelical party of Switzerland, somewhat resembling our Methodists. They arose in 1818, and made way both in Germany and France.
The realm of O'beron. (Middle Age romance.)
One who carps at everything. Momus, the sleepy god, was always railing and carping. Momus, being asked to pass judgment on the relative merits of Neptune, Vulcan, and Minerva, railed at them all. He said the horns of a bull ought to have been placed in the shoulders, where they would have been of much greater force; as for man, he said Jupiter ought to have made him with a window in his breast, whereby his real thoughts might be revealed. Hence Dr. Gray says that every unreasonable carper is called a “Momus.”
or Window. Momus blamed Vulcan because he did not set a window or lattice in the human breast for discerning secret thoughts.
“Were Momus' lattice in our breasts . . .” Byron: Werner, iii. 1.
[little monk]. A sort of incubus in the mythology of Naples. It is described as a thick little man, dressed in a monk's garment and broad—brimmed hat. Those who will follow when he beckons will be led to a spot where treasure is concealed. Sometimes, however, it is his pleasure to pull the bed—clothes off, and sometimes to sit perched on a sleeper.
Monarchians A theological party of the third century, who maintained that God is one, immutable and primary. Their opponents turned upon them, and nicknamed them Patripassians (q.v.), saying that according to such a doctrine God the Father must have suffered on the cross.
Fifth—monarchy men. Those who believed that the second coming of Christ was at hand, and that at His second coming He would establish the fifth universal monarchy. The five are these: the Assyrian, the Persian, the Macedonian, the Roman, and the Millennium.
A contraction of “Monday Populars,” meaning popular concerts for classical music, introduced at St. James's Hall by Mr. Arthur Chappell in 1858. There are Saturday Pops also.
Shortly after the Gallic invasion, Lucius Furius built a temple to Juno Moneta (the Monitress) on the spot where the house of Manlius Capitolinus stood. This spot of the Capitol was selected because Manlius was the first man alarmed by the cackling of the sacred geese. This temple was subsequently converted into a mint, and the “ases” there coined were called moncta.
Juno is represented on medals with instruments of coinage, as the hammer, anvil, pincers, and die. (See Livy, vii. 28, and Cicero, Dc Divinitate, i. 15.)
The oldest coin of Greece bore the impress of an ox. Hence a bribe for silence was said to be an “ox on the tongue.” Subsequently each province had its own impress:
Athens, an owl (the bird of wisdom). Boeotia, Bacchus (the vineyard of Greece). Delphos, a dolphin.
Macedonia, a buckler (from its love of war).
Rhodes, the disc of the sun (the Colossus was an image to the sun). Rome had a different impress for each coin:
For the As, the head of Janus on one side, and the prow of a ship on the reverse. The Semi—as, the head of Jupiter and the Jetter S.
The Triens, the head of a woman (? Rome or Minerva) and four points to denote four ounces. The Quadrans, the head of Hercules and three points to denote three ounces.
The Sextans, the head of Mercury, and two points to denote two ounces.
Bowed money. Bent coin, given as a pledge of love.
“Taking forth a bowed groat and an old penny bowed he gave it [sic] her.”— Coney—catching. (Time, Elizabeth.)
Money makes the Mare to go
(See Mare .)
in Otway's tragedy of The Orphan. Sir Walter Scott says, “More tears have been shed for the sorrows of Monimia, than for those of Juliet and Desdemona.”
The doctrine of the oneness of mind and matter, God and the universe. It ignores all that is supernatural, and the dualism of mind and matter, God and creation; and, as this is the case, of course, there can be no opposition between God and the world, as unity cannot be in opposition to itself. Monism teaches that “all are but parts of one stupendous whole, whose body nature is, and God the soul;” hence, whatever is, only conforms to the cosmical laws of the universal ALL.
Haeckel, of Jena, in 1866, revived this theory, and explains it thus: “Monism (the correlative of Dualism) denotes a unitary conception, in opposition to a supernatural one. Mind can never exist without matter, nor matter without mind.” As God is the same “yesterday, to—day, and for ever,” creation must be the same, or God would not be unchangeable.
Monitor So the Romans called the nursery teacher. The Military Monitor was an officer to tell young soldiers of the faults committed against the service. The House Monitor was a slave to call the family of a morning, etc.
Monitor. An ironclad with a flat deck, sharp stern, and one or more movable turrets.
in printing, is a black smear or blotch made by leaving too much ink on the part. Caxton set up his printing—press in the scriptorium of Westminster Abbey; and the associations of this place gave rise to the slang expressions monk and friar for black and white defects. (See Friar, Chapel .)
Give a man a monk (French, “Luy bailler le moyne).” To do one a mischief. Rabelais says that Grangousier (after the battle of Picrochole) asked “what was become of Friar John;” to which Gargantua replied, “No doubt the enemy has the monk,” alluding to the pugnacious feats of this wonderful churchman, who knocked men down like ninepins. (Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, book i. 45.)
Matthew Gregory Lewis is so called from his novel entitled The Monk. (1773—1818.)
Monk listening to a Bird
Felix Hildesheim A monk of Hildesheim doubting how with God a thousand years could be as one day, listened to the singing of a bird in a wood, as he thought for three minutes, but found the time had been three hundred years. Longfellow has borrowed this tale and introduced it in his Golden Legend.
Monk of Westminster
Richard of Cirencester, the historian. (Fourteenth century.)
(A). 500. (See Marygold .)
= the Devil; an imp of mischief. Hence, a meddlesome child is spoken to as “you little monkey;” and is called “a regular imp,” or “imp of mischief.” The allusion is to the old drawings of devils, with long tails and monkey ugliness.
To get (or have) one's monkey up. To be riled. Here the allusion is also to the devil or evil spirit in man; he will be “in a devil of a temper.” Even taken literally, monkeys are extremely irritable and easily provoked.
in sailor language, is the vessel which contains the full allowance of grog. Halliwell (Archaic Dictionary) has—
“Moncorn, `Beere corne, barley bygge, or moncorne.' ”— (1552.)
To suck the monkey. Sailors call the vessel which contains their full allowance of grog “a monkey.” Hence, to “suck the monkey” is surreptitiously to suck liquor from a cask through a straw. Again, when the milk has been taken from a cocoanut, and rum has been substituted, “sucking the monkey" means drinking this rum. Probably “monkey” in all such cases is a corruption of moncorn (ale or beer). (See Marryat's Peter Simple.) (See Monkey Spoons.)
The step behind an omnibus on which the conductor stands, or rather skips about like a monkey.
A long, narrow boat.
A coat with no more tail than a monkey, or, more strictly speaking, an ape.
The name given to a Chilian pine, whose twisted and prickly branches puzzle even a monkey to climb.
Spoons at one time given in Holland at marriages, christenings, and funerals. They may still be picked up occasionally at curiosity shops. The spoon at weddings was given to some immediate relative of the bride, and just below the monkey on the handle was a heart. At funerals the spoon was given to the
officiating clergyman. Among the Dutch, drinking is called “sucking the monkey” (zuiging de monky), and one fond of drink was called “a monkey sucker.” The Dutchman began the day with an appetiser— i.e. rum, with a pinch of salt, served in a monkey spoon (monky lépel); and these appetisers were freely used at weddings, christenings, and funerals.
Monkey with a Long Tail
(A). A mortgage. A monkey (q.v.) is slang for 500.
More kicks than halfpence. The allusion is to the monkeys carried about for show; they pick up the halfpence, but carry them to the master, who keeps kicking or ill—treating the poor creatures to urge them to incessant tricks.
I will pay you in monkey's money (“en monnaic de singe") — in goods, in personal work, in mumbling and grimace. The French had a law that when a monkey passed the Petit Pont, of Paris, if it was for sale it was to pay four deniers (two—thirds of a penny) for toll; but if it belonged to a showman and was not for sale, it should suffice if the monkey went through his tricks.
“It was an original by Master Charles Charmois, principal painter to King Megistus [of France], paid for in court fashion with monkey's money”— Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, iv. 3.
and Nakir, according to Mahometan mythology, are two angels who interrogate the dead immediately they are buried. The first two questions they ask are, “Who is your Lord?” and “Who is your prophet?” Their voices are like thunder, their aspects hideous, and those not approved of they lash into perdition with whips half—iron and half—flame. (See Munkar .)
“Do you not see those spectres that are stirring the burning coals? They are Monkir and Nakir.”— Beckford; Vathek.
The town at the mouth of the Monnow.
Monmouth. The surname of Henry V. of England, who was born there.
A soldier's cap.
“The soldiers that the Monmouth wear,
On castles' tops their ensigns rear.”
“The best caps were formerly made at Monmouth, where the cappers' chapel doth still remain”— Fuller; Worthies of Wales, p. 50.
(London) takes its name from the unfortunate son of Charles II., executed for rebellion in 1685. Now Dudley Street.
Monnaie de Basoche
Worthless coin; coin not current; counters. “Brummagem halfpennies.” Coins were at one time made and circulated by the lawyers of France, which had no currency beyond their own community.
(See Basochians .)
(3 syl.). Munster.
“Remember the glories of Brien the brav
Though the days of the hero are o'er,
Though lost to Mononia, and cold in the grave, He returns to Kinkora [his palace] no more.”
T. Moore: Irish Melodies, No. 1.
The eater of one sort of food only. (Greek, monos phagein. )
(4 syl.). A religious sect in the Levant, who maintained that Jesus Christ had only one nature, and that divine and human were combined in much the same way as the body and soul in man. (Greek, monos phusis, one nature.)
consisted in the doctrine that, although Christ has two distinct natures, He never had but one will, His human will being merged in the divine. (Greek, monos—thelema, one single will.)
The American States are never to entangle themselves in the broils of Europe, nor to suffer the powers of the Old World to interfere in the affairs of the New; and they are to account any attempt on the part of the Old World to plant their systems of government in any part of North America dangerous to American peace and safety. James Monroe was twice president of the United States. (1816 and 1820.)
Philippe, Due d'Orléans, brother to Louis XIV., was called Monsicur; other gentlemen were only Monsieur This or That. (1674—1723.)
Monsieur le Coadjuteur. Paul de Gondi, afterwards Cardinal de Retz (Ress). (1614—1679.) Monsieur le Duc. Henri—Jules de Bourbon, eldest son of the Prince de Condé (1692—1740.) Monsieur le Grand. The Great Equerry of France.
Monsicur le Prince. Prince de Condé(1621—1686). (See Madame.)
Monsieur de Paris
The public executioner or Jack Ketch of France.
“Riccardo de Albertes was a personal friend of all the `Messieurs de Paris,' who served the Republic. He attended all capital executions, and possesses a curious library.”— Newspaper Paragraph, January 25th, 1893.
is a corruption of the Malay word mooseem (year or season). For six months it is a north—east trade—wind, and for six months a south—west.
(The). Renwick Williams, a wretch who used to prowl about London, wounding respectable women with a double—edged knife. He was convicted of several offences in July, 1790.
The green—eyed monster. Jealousy; so called by Shakespeare in Othello.
“Beware of Jealousy!
It is a green—eyed monster that doth mock
The meat it feeds on.” Act iii. 3.
See each under its name, as Cockatrice, Chichivache, Chimaera , etc.
Mont in chiromancy, is the technical word for the eminences at the roots of the fingers. That at the root of the
thumb is the Mont de Mars.
index finger is the Mont de Jupiter.
long finger is the Mont de Saturne.
ring finger is the Mont de Soleil.
little finger is the Mont de Venus.
There are two others: one between the thumb and index finger, called the Mont de Mercure, and one opposite called the Mont de Lune. (See Finger.)
Mont de Piete
A pawn depôt. These depôts, called “monti di pietá” (charity loans), were first instituted under Leo X., at Rome, by charitable persons who wished to rescue the poor and needy from usurious
money—lenders. They advanced small sums of money on the security of pledges, at a rate of interest barely sufficient to cover the working expenses of the institution. Both the name and system were introduced into France and Spain. The model Loan Fund of Ireland is formed on the same system. Public granaries for the sale of corn are called in Italian Monti frumentarii. “Monte” means a public or State loan; hence also a “bank.”
Mont St. Michel
in Normandy, formerly called Belen. Here nine Druidesses sold to sailors the arrows to charm away storms. The arrows had to be discharged by a young man twenty—one years old.
[the mountain party ]. The extreme democratic politicians in the French Revolution; so called because they occupied the highest tier of benches in the hall of the National Convention. The opposite party sat on the level of the floor, called the “plain.”
(3 syl.). The head of a faction in Verona (Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet). The device of the family is a mountain with sharply—peaked crest (mont—agu or acu).
Heretics of the second century; so called from Montanus, a Phrygian, who asserted that he had received from the Holy Ghost special knowledge that had not been vouchsafed to the apostles.
Signior Montanto. A master of fence rather than a soldier; a tongue—doughty knight. It is a word of fence, and hence Ben Jonson says, “Your punto, your reverso, your stoccata, your imbrocata, your passada, your montanto. “ (Every Man in his Humour.)
So called from monteros d'Espinoza (mountaineers), who once formed the interior guard of the palace of the Spanish king. The way they came to be appointed is thus accounted for:— Sanchica, wife of Don Sancho Garcia, Count of Castile, entered into a plot to poison her husband, but one of the mountaineers of Espinoza revealed the plot and saved the count's life. Ever after the sovereigns of Castile recruited their body—guards from men of this estate.
A scalloped basin to cool and wash glasses in; a sort of punch—bowl, made of silver or pewter, with a movable rim scalloped at the top; so called from its inventor.
“New things produce new names, and thus Monteith
Has by one vessel saved his name from death.” King.
A custom formerly observed every three years by the boys of Eton school, who proceeded on Whit Tuesday ad montem (to a mound called Salt Hill), near the Bath Road, and exacted a gratuity called salt from all who passed by. Sometimes as much as 1,000 was thus collected. The custom was abolished in 1847.
Montero—cap (A) properly means a huntsman's cap; but Sir Walter Scott tells us that Sir Jeffrey Hudson wore “a large Montero hat,” meaning a Spanish hat with a feather. (Peveril of the Peak, chap. xxxv.)
(The Cave of). Close to the castle of Rochafrida, to which a knight of the same name, who had received some cause of offence at the French court, retired. Tradition ascribes the river Guadiana to this cave as its source, whence the river is sometimes called Montesinos.
Mexico. Montezuma, the last emperor, was seized by Cortes, and compelled to acknowledge himself a vassal of Spain (1519).
A curious stone, weighing twenty—four tons, of basaltic porphyry, in Mexico. This immense stone is cut into figures denoting the Mexican division of time, and may be termed their calendar.
(A). “Le guet de Montfaucon.” A man hanged. Montfaucon is an eminence near Paris, once used as the Tyburn or place of execution. At one time it was crowded with gibbets, but at the Revolution they were destroyed, and it became the dustbin of the city, “Une voirie pour les immondices de Paris et Vêscarrissage des chevaux.” In 1841 this sink of corruption and infection was moved to “La plaine des Vertus,” surely a strange satire on the word.
in North Wales; so called from Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, who won the castle of Baldwyn, lieutenant of the marches to William the Conqueror. Before this time it was called “Tre Faldwyn.”
Montgomery's division, all on one side. This is a French proverb, and refers to the Free Companies of the sixteenth century, of which Montgomery was a noted chief. The booty he took was all given to his banditti, and nothing was left to the victims. (See Lion's Share.)
Month of Sundays
(A). An indefinite long time; never. (See Never .)
“Such another chance might never turn up in a month of Sundays.”— Boldrewood: Robbery Under Arms, chap. xl.
(A). An irresistible longing (for something); a great desire.
“I see you have a month's mind for them.”— Shakespeare: Two Gentlemen of Verona, i. 2.
January. So called from “Janus,” the Roman deity that kept the gates of heaven. The image of Janus is represented with two faces looking opposite ways. One face is old, and is emblematical of time past; the other is young, as the emblem of time future. The Dutch used to call this month Lauw—maand (frosty—month); the Saxons, Wulf—monath, because wolves were very trouble—some then from the great scarcity of food. After the introduction of Christianity, the name was changed to Se æftera geóla (the after—yule); it was also called Forma—monath (first month). In the French Republican calendar it was called Nivôse (snow—month, December 20th to 20th January).
February. So called from “Februa,” a name of Juno, from the Sabine word februo (to purify). Juno was so called because she presided over the purification of women, which took place in this month. The Dutch used to term the month Spokkel—maand (vegetation—month); the ancient Saxons, Sprote—cál (from the sprouting of
pot—wort or kele); they changed it subsequently to Solmonath (from the returning sun). In the French Republican calendar it was called Pluviôse (rain—month, 20th January to 20th February).
March. So called from “Mars,” the Roman war—god and patron deity. The old Dutch name for it was Lent—maand (lengthening—month), because the days sensibly lengthen; the old Saxon name was Hréth—monath (rough month, from its boisterous winds); the name was subsequently changed to Length—monath (lengthening month); it was also called Hlyd—monath (boisterous—month). In the French Republican calendar it was called Ventôse (windy—month, February 20th to March 20th).
April. So called from the Latin aperio (to open), in allusion to the unfolding of the leaves. The old Dutch name was Gras—maand (grass—month); the old Saxon, Easter—monath (orient or paschal—month). In the French Republican calendar it was called Germinal (the time of budding, March 21st to the 19th of April).
May is the old Latin magius, softened into maius, similar to the Sanskrit mah (to grow), that is, the growing—month. The old Dutch name was Blou—maand (blossoming month); the Old Saxon, Trimilchi (three milch), because cows were milked thrice a day in this month. In the French Republican calendar the month was called Floréal (the time of flowers, April 20th to May 20th).
June. So called from the “juniores” or soldiers of the state, not from Juno, the queen—goddess. The old Dutch name was Zomer—maand (summer—month); the old Saxon, Sere—monath (dry—month), and Lida—arra (joy—time). In the French Republican calendar the month was called Prairial (meadow—month, May 20th to June 18th).
July. Mark Antony gave this month the name of Julius, from Julius Caesar, who was born in it. It had been previously called Quintilis (fifth—month). The old Dutch name for it was Hooymaand (hay—month); the old Saxon, Mæd—monath (because the cattle were turned into the meadows to feed), and Lida æftevr (the second mild or genial month). In the French Republican calendar it was called Messidor (harvest—month, June 19th to July 18th).
August. So called in honour of Augustus Cæsar; not because it was his birth—month, but because it was the month in which he entered upon his first consulship, celebrated three triumphs, received the oath of allegiance from the legions which occupied the Janiculum, reduced Egypt, and put an end to the civil wars. He was born in September. The old Dutch name for August was Oostmaand (harvest—month); the old Saxon,
Weod—monath (weed—month, where weed signifies vegetation in general. In the French Republican calendar it was called Ther—midor (hot—month, July 19th to August 17th).
September. The seventh month from March, where the year used to commence. The old Dutch name was Herstmaand (autumn—month); the old Saxon, Gerst—monath (barley—monath), or Hærfest—monath; and after the introduction of Christianity Halig—monath (holy—month, the nativity of the Virgin Mary being on the 8th, the exaltation of the Cross on the 14th, Holy—Rood Day on the 26th, and St. Michael's Day on the 29th). In the French Republican calendar it was called Fructidor (fruit—month, August 18th to September 21st).
October. The eighth month of the Alban calendar. The old Dutch name was Wyn—maand; the Old Saxon, Win—monath (wine—month, or the time of vintage); it was also called Teo—monath (tenth—month), and Winter—fylleth (winter full—moon). In the French Republican calendar it was called Vendé—miaire (time of vintage, September 22nd to October 21st).
November. The ninth Alban month. The old Dutch name was Slaght—maand (slaughter—month, the time when the beasts were slain and salted down for winter use); the old Saxon, Wind—monath (wind—month, when the fishermen drew their boats ashore, and gave over fishing till the next spring); it was also called
Blot—monath — the same as Slaght—maand. In the French Republican calendar it was called Brumaire
(fog—month, October 22nd to November 21st).
December. The tenth month of the old Alban calendar. The old Dutch name was Winter—maand (winder—month); the old Saxon, Mid—winter—monath (mid—winter—month); whereas June was Mid—sumor—monath. Christian Saxons called December Se ura geóla (the anti—yule). In the French Republican calendar it was called Frimaire (hoar—frost month, from November 22nd to December 20th).
(Al), [the destroyer]. One of Mahomet's lances, confiscated from the Jews when they were exiled from Medina.
Montjoie St. Denis The war—cry of the French. Montjoie is a corruption of Mons Jovis, as the little mounds were called which served as direction—posts in ancient times; hence it was applied to whatever showed or indicated the way, as the banner of St. Denis, called the Oriflamme. The Burgundians had for their war—cry,
“Montjoie St. André;” the dukes of Bourbon, “Montjoie Notre Dame;" and the kings of England used to have
“Montjoie St. George.” There seems no sufficient reason to suppose that Montjoie St. Denis is a corruption of “St. Denis mon joie”— i.e. “St. Denis is my hope.”
Montjoie. The cry of the French heralds in the ancient tournaments; and the title of the French king—of—arms.
(Baron of), Lord of Bourglastie, Tortebesse, and elsewhere. A huge mass of muscle, who existed only to eat and drink. He was a descendant of Esau on his father's side, and of Gargantua on his mother's. He once performed a gigantic feat— he killed six hundred Saracens who happened to get in his way as he was going to dinner. He was bandy—legged, could lift immense weights, had an elastic stomach, and four rows of teeth. In Croquemitaine he is made one of the paladins of Charlemagne, and was one of the four knights sent in search of Croquemitaine and Fear—fortress.
The Catalonians aver that this mountain was riven and shattered at the Crucifixion. Every rift is filled with evergreens. Similar legends exist with regard to many other mountains. (Latin, mons serratus, the mountain jagged like a saw.)
Baltimore, U.S., is so called because it abounds in monuments: witness the obelisk, the 104 churches, etc.
In the age of chivalry the woman in monumental brasses and effigies is placed on the man's right hand; but when chivalry declined she was placed on his left hand.
No. 1. (1) Those in stone, with plain sloping roofs, and without inscriptions, are the oldest. (2) In 1160 these plain prismatic roofs began to be ornamented.
(3) In the same century the sloping roofs gave place to armorial bearings.
(4) In the thirteenth century we see flat roofs, and figures carved on the lids.
(5) The next stage was an arch, built over the monument to protect it.
(6) The sixth stage was a chapel annexed to the church.
(7) The last stage was the head bound and feet tied, with children at the base, or cherubims at the feet.
Figures with their hands on their breasts, and chalices, represent priests. Figures with crozier, mitre, and pontificals, represent prelates.
Figures with armour represent knights.
Figures with legs crossed represent either crusaders or married men. Female figures with a mantle and large ring represent nuns.
Those in scale armour are the most ancient (time, Henry II.). Those in chain armour or ring—mail come next (time, Richard I. to Henry III.). Those with children or cherubims, between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. Brasses are for the most part subsequent to the thirteenth century.
Saints lie to the east of the altar, and are elevated above the ground; the higher the elevation, the greater the sanctity. Martyrs are much elevated.
Holy men not canonised lie on a level with the pavement. Founders of chapels, etc., lie with their monument built into the wall.
Capital letters and Latin inscriptions are of the first twelve centuries. Lombardic capitals and French inscriptions, of the thirteenth century. German text, of the fourteenth century.
English and Roman print, subsequent to the fourteenth century.
Tablets against the wall came in with the Reformation.
(also mohel) A Jew whose office it is to circumcise the young Jewish boys.
means “measurer” of time (Anglo—Saxon, móna, masc. gen.). It is masculine in all the Teutonic languages; in the Edda the son of Mundilfori is Mâni (moon), and daughter Sôl (sun); so it is still with the
Lithuanians and Arabians, and so was it with the ancient Mexicans, Slavi, Hindus, etc.; so that it was a most unlucky dictum of Harris, in his Hermes, that all nations ascribe to the Sun a masculine, and to the Moon a feminine gender. (Gothic, mena, masc.; Sanskrit, mâs, masc., from mâ, to measure.) The Sanskrit mâtram is an instrument for measuring; hence Greek metron; French, metre; English, meter.
The Germans have Frau Sonne (Mrs. Sun) and Herr Mond (Mr. Moon).
Moon, represented in five different phases: (1) new; (2) full; (3) crescent or decrescent; (4) half; and (5) gibbous, or more than half.
Moon, in pictures of the Assumption of the Virgin, is represented as a crescent under her feet; in the Crucifixion it is eclipsed, and placed on one side of the cross, the sun being on the other; in the Creation and Last Judgment it is also introduced by artists.
Hecate, The moon before she has risen and after she has set. Astarte. The crescent moon, “the moon with crescent horns.” Diana. The moon in the open vault of heaven, who “hunts the clouds.” Cynthia. Same as Diana.
Selene or Luna. The moon personified, properly the full moon, who loved the sleeping Endymion. Endymion. Moonlight on a bank, field, or garden.
“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!”
Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, v. 1.
Phoebe. The moon as the sister of the sun. (See Astarte, Ashtaroth, etc.). Moon. Astolpho found treasured in the moon everything wasted on this earth, such as misspent time and wealth, broken vows, unanswered prayers, fruitless tears, abortive attempts, unfulfilled desires and intentions, etc. All bribes were hung on gold and silver hooks; prince's favours were kept in bellows; wasted talent was kept in vases, each marked with the proper name; etc. Orlando Furioso, bk. xviii. (See Rape of the Lock, c. v.)
Moon. (See under Mahomet.)
The moon is called “triform,” because it presents itself to us either round, or waxing with horns towards the east, or waning with horns towards the west.
Island of the moon. Madagascar is so named by the natives. Minions of the moon. Thieves who rob by night. (See 1 Henry IV., i. 2.) Mountains of the Moon means simply White Mountains. The Arabs call a white horse “moon—coloured.” (Jackson.)
He cries for the moon. He craves to have what is wholly beyond his reach. The allusion is to foolish children who want the moon for a plaything. The French say “He wants to take the moon between his teeth” (“Il veut prendre la lune avec les dents"), alluding to the old proverb about “the moon,” and a “green cheese.”
To cast beyond the moon. To make extravagant conjectures; to cast your thoughts or guesses beyond all reason.
To level at the moon. To be very ambitious; to aim in shooting at the moon. You have found an elephant in the moon — found a mare's nest. Sir Paul Neal, a conceited virtuoso of the seventeenth century, gave out that he had discovered “an elephant in the moon.” It turned out that a mouse had crept into his telescope, which had been mistaken for an elephant in the moon. Samuel Butler has a satirical poem on the subject called The Elephant in the Moon.
You would have me believe, I suppose, that the moon is a green cheese— i.e. the most absurd thing possible. A green cheese is a cream cheese which is eaten green or fresh, and is not kept to mature like other cheeses.
Man in the moon. (See Man.)
Hares sacred to the moon, not because Diana was a great huntress, but because the Hindus affirm that the outline of a hare is distinctly visible on the moon.
Once in a blue moon. (See Blue.)
is an inanimate, shapeless mass (Pliny; Natural History, x. 64). This abortion was supposed to be produced by the influence of the moon. The primary meaning of calf is not the young of a cow, but the issue
arising “from throwing out,” as a push, a protuberance; hence the calves of the legs.
“A false conception, called mola, i.e. moon—calf . . . a lump of flesh without shape or life.”— Holland: Pliny, vii. 16.
In Latin, virus lunare, a vaporous drop supposed to be shed by the moon on certain herbs and other objects, when influenced by incantations.
“Upon the corner of the moon,
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I'll catch it ere it come to ground.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iii. 5.
[Sagendë Nah], a surname given to the Veiled Prophot q.v.), who caused a moon to issue from a deep well, so brilliant that the real moon was eclipsed by it.
The people of Wiltshire are so called. In the “good old times" they were noted smugglers, and one day, seeing the coastguard on the watch, they sunk in the sea some smuggled whisky. When they supposed the coast was clear they employed rakes to get their goods in hand again, when lo! the coastguard reappeared and demanded of them what they were doing. Pointing to the reflection of the moon in the water, they replied, “We are trying to rake out that cream—cheese yonder.”
Thieves and highway—men who ply their trade by night.
“The fortune of us that are but Moon's—men doth ebb and flow like the sea.”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., i. 2.
(A). A clandestine removal of one's furniture during the night, to avoid paying one's rent or having the furniture seized in payment thereof.
A mineral so called on account of the play of light which it exhibits. Wilkie Collins has a novel called The Moonstone.
“The moonstone contains bluish—white spots, which, when held to the light, present a . . . . silvery play of colour not unlike that of the moon.”— Ure: Chemical Dictionary.
or Mata—moros. A name given to St. James, the patronsaint of Spain, because in almost all encounters with the Moors he came on his white horse to the aid of the Christians. So, at least, it is said.
In the Middle Ages, the Europeans called all Mahometans Moors, in the same manner as the Eastern nations called all inhabitants of Europe Franks. Camoens, in the Lusiad, terms the Indians “Moors.” (Bk. viii.)
(Thomas), called “Anacreon Moore,” because the character of his poetry resembles that of Anacreon, the Greek poet of love and wine. He also translated Anacreon's Odes. (1779—1852.)
(A). A doubtful or unsettled question. The Anglo—Saxon motian is “to debate,” and a moot point is one sub judice, or under debate.
were debates which formerly took place in the halls and libraries of Inns of Court. The benchers and the barristers, as well as the students, took an active part in these moots. Sir Simonds D'Ewes, in his Diary (1625—1629), says:
“I had lived mooted in law French before I was called to the bar.”— Nineteenth Century, November, 1892, p. 775.
In many places statute fairs are held, where servants seek to be hired. Carters fasten to their hats a piece of whipcord; shepherds, a lock of wool; grooms, a piece of sponge, etc. When hired they mount a cockade with streamers. Some few days after the statute fair, a second, called a Mop, is held for the benefit of those not already hired. This fair mops or wipes up the refuse of the statute fair, carrying away the dregs of the servants left.
Mop. One of Queen Mab's attendants. All mops and brooms. Intoxicated.
near Upsala, where the Swedes used anciently to elect their kings.
The moral Gower. John Gower, the poet, is so called by Chaucer. (1320—1402.)
Father of moral philosophy. Thomas Aquinas (1227—1274).
The great moralist of Fleet Street. Dr. Johnson (1709—1784).
which strangled the wearer if he deviated from the strict rules of equity. Moran was the wise councillor of Feredach the Just, an early king of Ireland, before the Christian era. Of course, the collar is an allegory of obvious meaning.
[great stone]. The ancient Danes selected their king from the sacred line of royalty. The man chosen was taken to the Landsthing, or local court, and placed on the morasteen, while the magnates ranged themselves around on stones of inferior size. This was the Danish mode of installation.
Morat and Marathon twin names shall stand (Childe Harold, iii. 64). Morat, in Switzerland, is famous for the battle fought in 1476, in which the Swiss defeated Charles le Téméraire of Burgundy.
A legal permission to defer for a stated time the payment of a bond, debt, cheque, or other obligation. This is done to enable the creditor to pull himself round by borrowing money, selling effects, or otherwise raising funds to satisfy obligations. The device was adopted in 1891 in the Argentine Republics during the money panic caused by the Baring Brothers' “difficulty,” a default of some twenty millions sterling.
or Bohemian Brethren. A religious community tracing its origin from John Huss, expelled by persecution from Bohemia and Moravia in the eighteenth century. They are often called The United Brethren.
(French). A corruption of Mort de Dieu. (See Ventre St. Gris .)
To be no more. To exist no longer; to be dead.
“Cassius is no more.”
Shakespeare: Julius Caesar.
More Kicks than Hapence
Like the monkey which plays tricks for his master. The monkey gets the kicks and the master the ha'pence.
More Last Words
When Richard Baxter lost his wife, he published a broadsheet, headed Last Words of Mrs. Baxter, which had an immense sale. The printer, for his own profit, brought out a spurious broadsheet, headed More Last Words; but Baxter issued a small handbill with this concise sentence: “Mrs. Baxter did not say anything else.”
More of More Hall
A legendary hero who armed himself with an armour of spikes; and, concealing himself in the cave where the dragon of Wantley dwelt, slew the monster by kicking it on the mouth, where alone it was mortal.
More the Merrier
(The). The author of this phrase was Henry Parrot.
More one has, the More he Desires
(The). In French, Plus il en a, plus il en veut. In Latin, Quo plus habent, co plus cupiunt.
“My more having would be a source
To make me hunger more.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iv. 3.
(3 syl.). Don Antonio Moreno, a gentleman of Barcelona, who entertained Don Quixote with mockheroic hospitality.
Would you remove Morestone? (See Mortstone .)
Morgan le Fay
(See below.) W. Morris, in his Earthly Paradise (August), makes Morgan the bride of Ogier the Dane, after his earthly career was ended.
Morgan le Fay, Morgaine la Fee
or Morgana the Fairy. Daughter of Queen Igrayne, and half—sister of King Arthur, who revealed to him the intrigues of Sir Lancelot and Guinever.
She gave him a cup containing a magic draught, and Arthur had no sooner drunk it than his eyes were opened to the perfidy of his wife and friend.
(A). A marriage in which the wife does not take the husband's rank, because legally, or according to court bye—laws, the marriage is not recognised. This sort of marriage is effected when a man of high rank marries a woman of inferior position. The children in this case do not inherit the title or entails of the father. The word is based on the Gothic morgjan, “to curtail” or “limit;” and the marriage settlement was called morgengabe or morgengnade, whence the Low Latin matrimonium ad legem morganaticam, in which the dowry is to be considered all the portion the wife will receive, as the estates cannot pass to her or to her children.
A morganatic marriage is called “left—handed,” because a man pledges his troth with his left hand instead of his right. The “hand—fasted” marriages of Scotland and Ireland were morganatic, and the “hand—fasted” bride could be put away for a fresh union.
(2 syl.). A fay to whose charge Zephyr committed young Passelyon and his eousin Bennucq. Passelyon fell in love with Morgane's daughter, and the adventures of these young lovers are related in the romance of Pereeforest, vol. iii. (See Morgan .)
Morgans A Stock Exchange term, signifying the French 6 per cents., which were floated by the Morgans.
A ferocious giant, converted by Orlando to Christianity. After performing the most wonderful feats, he died at last from the bite of a crab. (See below.)
A serio—comic romance in verse, by Pulci, of Florence (1494). He was the inventor of this species of poetry, called by the French bernesque, from Berni, who greatly excelled in it. Translated by Byron.
The clever, faithful, female slave of Ali Baba, who pries into the forty jars, and discovers that every jar, but one, contains a man. She takes oil from the only one containing it, and, having made it boiling hot, pours enough into each jar to kill the thief concealed there. At last she kills the captain of the gang, and marries her master's son. (Arabian Nights: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.)
A sword (glave de la mort, the sword of Sir Bevis of Southampton), a generic name for a sword. (See Sword .)
“Had I been accompanied with my Toledo or Morglay.”— Every Woman in her Humour
“Carrying their morglays in their hands.”— Beaumont and Fletcher: Honest Man.
a dead—house, is generally associated with mors (death). but this is a blunder, as the word means visage, and was first applied to prison vestibules, where new criminals were placed to be scrutinised, that the prison officials might become familiar with their faces and general appearance.
“On me conduit donc an petit chastelet, où du guichet estant passé dans la morgue, un homme gros, court, et carrié, vint à moy.”— Assoucy: La Prison. de M. Dassouch (1674), p. 35.
“Morgue. Endroit où l'on tient quelque temps ceux que l'on ecroue, afin que les guichetiers puissent les reconnaltre ensuit.”— Fleming and Tibbins, vol. ii. p. 688.
Morgue la Faye
who watched over the birth of Ogier the Dane, and after he had finished his earthly career, restored him to perpetual youth, and took him to live with her in everlasting love in the isle and castle of Avalon.
Declining; in a dying state; on its last legs. Turkey is called a moribund state. Institutions on the decline are called moribund. Applied to institutions, commercial companies, states, etc. (Latin, moribundus, ready to die.)
The religious system of James Morison, the chief peculiarities being the doctrines of universal atonement, and the ability of man unaided to receive or reject the Gospel. James Morison, in 1841, separated from the “United Secession,” now merged into the “United Presbyterian.” The Morisonians call themselves the “Evangelical Union.”
(Mrs.). The name under which Queen Anne corresponded with Mrs. Freeman (the Duchess of Marlborough).
in Pepys's Diary, is Elizabeth, daughter of John Dickens, who died October 22nd, 1662.
The last of a pretended line of Hebrew prophets, and the pretended author of The Book of Mormon, or Golden Bible, written on golden plates. This work was in reality written by the Rev. Solomon Spalding, but
was claimed by Joseph Smith as a direct revelation to him by the angel Mornion. Spalding died in 1816; Smith, 1844.
(1) God is a person with the form and flesh of man. (2) Man is a part of the substance of God, and will himself become a god. (3) Man was not created by God, but existed from all eternity, and will never cease to exist. (4) There is no such thing as original or birth sin. (5) The earth is only one of many inhabited spheres. (6) God is president of men made gods, angels, good men, and spirits waiting to receive a tabernacle of flesh. (7) Man's household of wives is his kingdom not for earth only, but also in his future state. (8) Mormonism is the kingdom of God on earth. (W. Hepworth Dixon: New America, i. 24.)
The religious and social system of the Latter—day Saints; so called from their gospel, termed The Book of Mormon. Joe Smith, the founder of the system,. was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont; his partner was Rigdon. The manuscript, which he declared to be written on gold plates, was a novel written by Spalding. He was cited thirty—nine times into courts of law, and was at last assassinated by a gang of ruffians, who broke into his prison at Carthage, and shot him like a dog. His wife's name was Emma; he lived at Nauvoo, in Illinois; his successor was Brigham Young, a carpenter by trade, who led the “Saints” (as the Mormons are called), driven from home by force, to the valley of the Salt Lake, 1,500 miles distant, generally called Utah, but by the Mormons themselves Deseret (Bee—country), the New Jerusalem. Abraham is their model man, and Sarai their model woman, and English their language. Young's house was called the
Bee—hive. Every man, woman, and child capable of work has work to do in the community.
The first glass of whisky drunk by Scotch fishermen in salutation to the dawn. Thus one fisherman will say to another. “Hae ye had your morning, Tam?” or “I haena had my morning, yet, Jock.”
“Having declined Mrs. Flockhart's compliment of a `morning,' ... he made his adieus.”— Sir
W. Scott: Waverley, chap. xliv:
Morning Star of the Reformation
John Wycliffe (1324—1384).
The name of Bank's bay horse. (See Banks and Horse .)
Morocco. Strong ale made from burnt malt, used in the annual feast at Sevenhalls, Westmoreland (the seat of the Hon. Mary Howard), on the opening of Milnthorpe Fair. This liquor is put into a large glass of unique form, and the person whose turn it is to drink is called the “colt.” He is required to stand on one leg, and say
“Luck to Sevens as long as Kent flows,” then drain the glass to the bottom, or forfeit one shilling. The act is termed “drinking the constable.” The feast consists of radishes, oaten cake, and butter.
(The). Public—house and perambulating touts for lottery insurances. Their rendezvous was a tavern in Oxford Market, on the Portland estate, at the close of the eighteenth century. In 1796 the great State lottery employed 7,500 Morocco men to dispose of their tickets.
The fool in the play entitled The Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art, by William Wager.
Morpheus (2 syl., the Sleeper). Son of Sleep, and god of dreams: so called because he gives these airy nothings their form and fashion.
One of the shepherds in the Shepherd's Calendar, by Spenser.
(Gil or Child). The natural son of an earl and the wife of Lord Barnard or John Stewart, “brought forth in her father's house wi' mickle sin and shame,” and brought up “in the gude grene wode.” One day he sent Willie to the baron's hall, requesting his mother to come without delay to Greenwood, and by way of token sent with him a “gay mantel” made by herself. Willie went into the dinner—hall, and blurted out his message before all who were present, adding, “and there is the silken sarke your ain hand sewd the sleive.” Lord Barnard, thinking the Child to be a paramour of his wife, forbade her to leave the hall, and, riding himself to Greenwood, slew Morrice with a broadsword, and setting his head on a spear, gave it to “the meanest man in a' his train” to carry it to the lady. When the baron returned Lady Barnard said to him, “Wi' that same spear, O pierce my heart, and put me out o' pain;” but the baron replied, “Enouch of blood by me's bin spilt, sair, sair I rew the deid,” adding—
“Ill ay lament for Gil Morice,
As gin he were mine ain;
I'll neir forget the dreiry day
On which the youth was slain.”
Beliques of Ancient English Poetry, ser. iii. 1.
Dr. Percy says this pathetic tale suggested to Home the plot of Doralas (a tragedy)
brought to England in the reign of Edward III., when John of Gaunt returned from Spain. In the dance, bells were jingled, and staves or swords clashed. It was a military dance of the Moors or Moriscos, in which five men and a boy engaged; the boy wore a morione or head—piece, and was called Mad Morion.
(See Maid Marian .)
(The). An alphabet used in telegraphic messages, invented by Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, of Massachusetts. The right—hand deflection of the electric needle corresponds to a dash, and the left—hand to a dot; and by means of dashes and dots every word may be spelt at length. Military signalling is performed in England by short and long flashes of a flag or some other instrument; the short flash corresponds with the dot, and the long with the dash. The following ten varieties will show how these two symbols are capable of endless combinations, $$$ etc.
A wrought—iron frame to prevent dead bodies from being exhumed by resurrectionists. (See Notes and Queries, March 14th, 1891, p. 210.)
I saw a mortal lot of people— i.e. a vast number. Mortal is the French à mort, as in the sentence, “Il y aait du monde à mort. ” Legonidec says, “Ce mot [mort] ne s'emploie jamais au propre, mais seulement au figuré, avec la signification de multitude, grand nombre, foule. “
A college cap. A corruption of the French mortier, the cap worn by the ancient kings of France, and still used officially by the chief justice or president of the court of justice. As a college cap has a square board on the top, the mortier—boàrd was soon transformed into mortar—board.
differ from guns, in having their trunnions placed behind the vent. They are short pieces, intended to project shells at high angles (45), and the shells thus projected fall almost vertically on the object struck, forcing in the strongest buildings, and (bursting at the same time) firing everything around. Their splinters are very destructive.
Morte d'Arthur complied by Sir Thomas Malory, from French originals; edited by Southey, the poet—laureate. The compilation contains—
The Prophecies of Merhn. The Quest of the St. Graal. The Romance of Sir Lancelot of the Lake. The History of Sir Tristram; etc. etc. Tennyson has a Morte d'Arthur among his poems.
Welsh Mortgage from wealth a stranger, foreigner, not of Saxon origin, a Welshman, a Celt, Gael; welsch, Celtic, Welsh, Italian, French, Foreign, strange, from the name of a Celtic tribe.
Well, Mor, where have you been this long while? (Norfolk). I'sy, Mor, come hither! (Norfolk). Mor or Morther means a lass, a wench. It is the Dutch moer (a woman). In Norfolk they call a lad a bor, from the Dutch boer (a farmer), English boor. “Well, bor!” and “Well, mor!” are to be heard daily in every part of the country.
“When once a giggling morther you,
And I a red—faced chubby boy,
Sly tricks you played me net a few,
For mischief was your greatest joy”
Bloomfield: Richard and Kate.
So called from an ancestor in crusading times, noted for his exploits on the shores of the Dead Sea. (De Mortuo Mari.)
The best English tapestry made at Mortlake (Middle—sex), in the reign of James I.
“Why, lady, do you think me Wrought in a loom, some Dutch—piece weaved at Mortlake?”
He may remove Mortstone. A Devonshire proverb, said incredulously of husbands who pretend to be masters of their wives. It also means, “If you have done what you say, you can accomplish anything.”
Fingal's realm; probably Argyllshire and its neighbourhood.
is not connected with the proper name Moses, but with the Muses (Latin, opus muscum, musium, or musivum; Greek, mouseion; French, mosaique; Italian, mosaico). Pliny says it was so called because these tesselated floors were first used in the grottoes consecrated to the Muses (xxxv. 21, s. 42). The most famous workman in mosaic work was Sosus of Pergamos, who wrought the rich pavement in the common—hall, called Asaroton oecon. (Pliny: Natural History, xxxvi. 4, 64.)
So called from the river Moscowa, on which it is built.
The monarch of Moscow. A large bell weighing 193 tons, 21 feet high, and 21 feet in diameter. [So—and—So] was my Moscow. The turning—point of my good fortune, leading to future shoals and misery. The reference is to Napoleon's disastrous expedition, when his star hastened to its setting.
“Juan was my Moscow [the ruin of my reputation].” Byron: Don Juan, xi. 56.
(Spanish). A corruption of Mio Señor, corresponding to the Casti lian Don.
Exodus xxxiv. 30, “All the children of Israel saw Moses, and the skin of his face shone, ” translated in the Vulgate, “Cornuta esset facies sua. ” Rays of light were called horns. Hence in Habakkuk (iii.
4) we read of God, “His brightness was as the light, and He had horns [rays of light ] coming out of His hand.” Michel Angelo depicted Moses with horns, following the Vulgate.
The French translation of Habacue, iii. 4 is:— “Sa splendeur etait comme la lumière meme, et des rayons sortaient de sa main. '
So the divining—rod was usually called. The divining—rod was employed to discover water or mineral treasure. In Blackwood's Magazine (May, 1850) we are told that nobody sinks a well in North Somersetshire without consulting the jowser (as the rod—diviner is called). The Abbé Richard is stated in the Monde to be an extremely expert diviner of water, and amongst others discovered the “Christmas Fountain” on M. de Metternich's estate, in 1863. In the Quarterly Review (No. 44) we have an account of Lady Noel's divining skill. (See World of Wonders, pt. ix. p. 283.)
Moses Slow of Speech
The account given in the Talmud (vi.) is as follows:— Pharach was one day sitting on his throne with Moses on his lap, when the child took off the king's crown and put it on his own head. The
“wise men” tried to persuade the king that this was treason, for which the child ought to be put to death; but Jethro, priest of Midian, replied, “It is the act of a child who knows no better. Let two plates" (he continued)
“be set before him, one containing gold and the other red—hot coals, and you will readily see he will prefer the latter to the former.” The experiment being tried, the little boy snatched up the live coal, put it into his mouth, and burnt his tongue so severely that he was ever after “heavy or slow of speech.”
Son of the Rev. Dr. Primrose, very green, and with a good opinion of himself. He is chiefly known for his wonderful bargain with a Jew at the neighbouring fair, when he gave a good horse in exchange for a gross of worthless green spectacles, with copper rims and shagreen cases: ( Gold—smith: Vicar of Wakefield.)
or Moslemin. Plural of Mussulman, sometimes written Mussulmans. The word is Turkish, and means true believer.
Napping, as Mosse took his mare. Wilbraham says Mosse took his mare napping, because he could not catch her when a wake.
“Till day come, catch him as Mosse his grey mare, napping.”— Christmas Prince.
A robber, a bandit. The marauders who infested the borders of England and Scotland were so called because they encamped on the mosses.
Mote and Beam (Matt. vii. 3—5). In alio pediculum video, in te ricinum non vides (Petronius). Here pediculum means a louse, and ricinum a tyke.
Page to Don Adriano de Armado, all jest and playfulness, cunning and versatile. (Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost.)
Mother and Head of all Churches. So is St. John Lateran of Rome called. It occupies the site of the splendid palace of Plantius Lateranus, which escheated to the Crown from treason, and was given to the Church by the Emperor Constantine. From the balcony of this church the Pope blesses the people of the whole world.
Ann Lee, the “spiritual mother” of the Shakers. (1735—1784.)
(1) Mother Bunch whose fairy tales are notorious. These tales are in Pasquil's Jests, with the Merriments of Mother Bunch. (1653.)
(2) The other Mother Bunch is called Mother Bunch's Closet newly Broke Open, containing rare secrets of art and nature, tried and experienced by learned philosophers, and recommended to all ingenious young men and maids, teaching them how to get good wives and husbands. (1760.)
Mother Carey's Chickens
Stormy petrels. Mother Carey is Mater Cara. The French call these birds oiseaux de Notre Dame or aves Sanct&aeigh; Mariae. Chickens are the young of any fowl, or any small bird.
“They are called the `sailor's' friends, come to warn them of an approaching storm; and it is most unlucky to kill them. The legend is that each bird contains the soul of a dead seaman.”
(See Captain Marryat: Poor Jack, where the superstition is fully related.)
Mother Carey's Goose. The great Black Petrel or Fulmar of the Pacific Ocean. Mother Carey is plucking her goose. It is snowing. (See Hulda.)
One's native country, but the term applies specially to England, in relation to America and the Colonies. The inhabitants of North America, Australia, etc., are for the most part descendants of English parents, and therefore England may be termed the mother country. The Germans call their native country Fatherland.
A noted procuress, introduced in The Minor by Foote. She also figures in Hogarth's March to Finchley. Mother Douglas resided at the north—east corner of Covent Garden; her house was superbly furnished and decorated. She grew very fat, and with pious up—turned eyes used to pray for the safe return of her. “babes” from battle. She died 1761.
When Junius Brutus (after the death of Lucretia) formed one of the deputation to Delphi to ask the Oracle which of the three would succeed Tarquin, the response was, “He who should first kiss his mother.” Junius instantly threw himself on the ground, exclaiming, “Thus, then, I kiss thee, Mother Earth,” and he was elected Consul.
A name associated with nursery rhymes. She was born in Boston, and her eldest daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Fleet, the printer. Mrs. Goose used to sing the rhymes to her grandson, and Thomas Fleet printed the first edition in 1719.
The old lady whose whole time seems to have been devoted to her dog, who always kept her on the trot, and always made game of her. Her temper was proof against this wilfulness on the part of her dog, and her politeness never forsook her, for when she saw Master Doggie dressed in his fine clothes—
“The dame made a curtsey, the dog made a bow,
The dame said, `Your servant,' the dog said,
Mother Huddle's Oven
Where folk are dried up so that they live for ever. (Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, 211.)
lived in the reign of Henry VIII., and was famous for her prophecies, in which she foretold the death of Wolsey, Lord Percy, etc., and many wonderful events of future times. All her “prophecies" are still extant.
Native wit, a ready reply; the wit which “our mother gave us.” In ancient authors the term is used to express a ready reply, courteous but not profound. Thus, when Louis XIV. expressed some anxiety lest Polignac should be inconvenienced by a shower of falling rain, the mother—wit of the cardinal replied, “It is nothing, I assure your Majesty; the rain of Marly never makes us wet.”
Mother of Believers
Ay—e'—shah, the second and favourite wife of Mahomet; so called because Mahomet being the “Father of Believers,” his wife of wives was Mother of Believers.
Mother of Books
Alexandria was so called from its library, which was the largest ever collected before the invention of printing.
Mother of Cities
[Amu—al—Bulud ]. Balkh is so called.
Mother of Pearl
The inner iridescent layers of the shells of many bivalve molluses, especially that of the pearl oyster.
Mother of the Gracchi
A hard, strong—minded, rigid woman, without one soft point or effeminate weakness. Always in the right, and maintaining her right with the fortitude of a martyr.
Mother's Apron String's
Not yet out of nursery government; not free to act on your own responsibility. The allusion is to tying naughty young children to the mother's or nurse's apron.
is Sunday in Mid—Lent, a great holiday, when the Pope blesses the golden rose, and children go home to their mothers to feast on “mothering cakes.” It is said that the day received its appellation from the ancient custom of visiting their “mother church,” and making offerings on the altar on that day. Used by school—children it means a holiday, when they went home to spend the day with their mother or parents.
The laws of motion, according to Galileo and Newton. (1) If no force acts on a body in motion, it will continue to move uniformly in a straight line. (2) If force acts on a body, it will produce a change of motion proportionate to the force, and in the same direction (as that in which the force acts).
(3) When one body exerts force on another, that other body reacts on it with equal force.
Men of motley. Licensed fools; so called because of their dress.
“Motley is the only wear.”
Shakespeare: As You Like It, ii. 7.
A law brought in by Consalvi, to abolish monopolies in the Papal States (1757).
(To). To live as a vagrant.
(French). A spy, “qui fait comme les monches, qui voient si bien sans en avoir l'air. ” At the close of the seventeenth century, those petits—maitres who frequented the Tuileries to see and be seen were called mouchards (fly—men). (Dictionnaire Etymologique de Menage.)
In the moulds. In the grave.
“After Sir John and her [the minister's wife] were ... baith in the moulds.”— Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet (Letter xi.).
The largest artificial mound in Europe is Silbury Hill, near Avebury (Wiltshire). It covers 5 acres, 34 perches, and measures at the base 2,027 feet; its diameter at top is 120 feet; its slope is 316 feet; perpendicular height, 107 feet; and it is altogether one of the most stupendous monuments of human labour in the world.
Alyattes, in Asia Minor, described by Herodotus, is somewhat larger than Silbury Hill.
The Celestial City or Heaven. (Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress. )
“I am come from the City of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion.” (Part i.)
(The) or Montagnards. The extreme democratical party in the first French Revolution; so called because they seated themselves on the highest benches of the hall in which the National Convention met. Their leaders were Danton and Robespierre, but under them were Marat, Couthon, Thuriot, St. André, Legendre, Camille—Desmoulins, Carnot, St. Just, and Collot d'Herbois, the men who introduced the “Reign of Terror.” Extreme Radicals are still called in France the “Mountain Party,” or Montagnards.
Old Man of the Mountain. Imaum Hassan ben Sabbah el Homairi. The Sheik Al Jebal was so called, because his residence was in the mountain fastnesses of Syria. He was the prince of a Mahometan sect called Assassins (q.v.), and founder of a dynasty in Syria, put an end to by the Moguls in the twelfth century. In Rymer's Fædera (vol. i,) two letters of this sheik are inserted. It is not the province of this Book of Fables to dispute their genuineness.
If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain. If what I seek will not come to me without my stir, I must exert myself to obtain it; if we cannot do as we with, we must do as we can.
When Mahomet first announced his system, the Arals demanded supernatural proofs of his commission.
“Moses and Jesus,” said they, “wrought miracles in testimony of their divine authority; and if thou art indeed the prophet of God, do so likewise.” To this Mahomet replied, “It would be tempting God to do so, and bring down His anger, as in the case of Pharaoh.” Not satisfied with this answer, he commanded Mount Safa to come to him, and when it stirred not at his bidding, exclaimed, “God is merciful. Had it obeyed my words, it would have fallen on us to our destruction. I will therefore go to the mountain, and thank God that He has had mercy on a stiffnecked generation.”
The mountain in labour. A mighty effort made for a small effect. The allusion is to the celebrated line of Horace, “Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus, ” which Creech translates, “The travailing mountain yields a silly mouse;” and Boileau, “La montagne en travail enfante une souris. “
(The), or “Rowantree,” botanically called Pyrus aucuparia, which does not belong to the same family of plants as the fraxinus, or Common Ash. The Mountain Ash is icosandria, but the Common Ash is diandria. The Mountain Ash is pentagunia, but the Common Ash is monogynia. The Mountain Ash is of the Natural Order rosaceæ, but the common Ash is of the Natural Order sepiariae; yet the two trees resemble each other in many respects. The Rowan or Rown—tree is called in Westmoreland the “Wiggentree.” It was greatly venerated by the Druids, and was called the “Witchen” by the early Britons, because it was supposed to ward off witches.
“Their spells were vain. The hags returned
To their queen in sorrowful mood,
Crying that witches have no power
Where thrives the Rowan—tree wood.”
Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs (a ballad)
Mountains of Mole—hills
To make mountains of mole—hills. To make a great fuss about trifles. “Ex cloaca arccm facere” (Cicero.)
The bank or bench was the counter on which shopkeepers of yore displayed their goods. Streetvendors used to mount on their bànk to patter to the public. The French word is “saltim banque; ” and the Italian word “Cantambanco ” (i.e. canta in lanco, one who patters from his bank).
In Italian, montambanco (a quack—doctor) is also in use.
“... Se disant estre quelque trabe. ou quelque Juif convert, il se feignoit medecin du roi de Perse, et comme tel il montoit la banque. C'estoit la que, pour debiter ses drogues, il etourdissoit de son babil toute l'assemblée.”— Histoirc Generale des Larrons, book i. chap.
There were temporary mountebanks as well as more regular merchants. In Attica, the names of Dolon and Susarion of Icaria are distinguished. In France, Tabaria, Tabarin, Turlupin, Gauthier—Garguille,
Gros—Guillaume, Guillot—Gorju, Bobêche, Galimaufré, and Gringalet (a marvellous number of G's). In England, Andrew Borde, and some few others of inferior note.
Black. To express the privation of light and joy, the midnight gloom of sorrow for the loss sustained. The colour of mourning in Europe. It was also the colour of mourning in ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire.
Black and white striped. To express sorrow and hope. The mourning of the South—Sea Islanders. Greyish brown. The colour of the earth, to which the dead return. The colour of mourning in Ethiopia. Pale brown. The colour of withered leaves. The mourning of Persia.
Sky—blue. To express the assured hope that the deceased has gone to heaven. The colour of mourning in Syria, Cappadocia, and Armenia.
Deep blue, in Bokhara, is the colour of mourning (Hanway). The Romans in the Republic wore dark blue for mourning.
Purple and violet. To express royalty, “kings and priests to God.” The colour of mourning for cardinals and the kings of France. The colour of mourning in Turkey is violet.
White. Emblem of “white—handed hope.” The colour of mourning in China. Henry VIII. wore white for Anne Boleyn. The ladies of ancient Rome and Sparta wore white for mourning. It was the colour of mourning in Spain till 1498. In England it is still customary in some of the provinces to wear white silk hat—bands and white gloves for the unmarried.
Yellow. The sear and yellow leaf. The colour of mourning in Egypt and in Burmah, where also it is the colour of the monastic order. In Brittany, widows' caps among the paysannes are yellow. Anne Boleyu wore yellow mourning for Catherine of Aragon. Some say yellow is in token of exaltation.
Four cards all alike, as four aces, four kings, etc., in a game of cards called Gleek. Gleek is three cards alike.
“A mournival of aces, gleek of knaves,
Just nine a—piece.”
Albumazar, iii. 5.
Poole in his English Parnassus called the four elements Nature's first mournival.
The soul or spirit was often supposed in olden times to assume a zoömorphic form, and to make its way at death through the mouth of man in a visible form, sometimes as a pigeon, sometimes as a mouse or rat. A red mouse indicated a pure soul; a black mouse, a soul blackened by pollution; a pigeon or dove, a saintly soul.
Exorcists used to drive out evil spirits from the human body, and Harsnet gives several instances of such expulsions in his Popular Impositions (1604).
No doubt pigeons were at one time trained to represent the departing soul, and also to represent the Holy Ghost.
terms of endearment. Other terms of endearment from animals are, bird or birdie (as “My bonnie bird"); puss, pussy; lamb, lambkin; “You little monkey” is an endearing reproof to a child. Dog and pig are used in a bad sense, as “You dirty dog;" “You filthy pig.” Brave as a lion, surly as a bear, crafty as a fox, proud as a peacock, fleet as a hare, and several phrases of a like character are in common use.
“God bless you, mouse, the bridegroom said,
And smakt her on the lips.”
Warner: Alb. Eng., p. 17.
(The), on the Rhine, said to be so called because Bishop Hatto (q.v.) was there devoured by mice. The tower, however, was built by Bishop Siegfried, two hundred years after the death of Bishop Hatto, as a toll—house for collecting the duties upon all goods which passed by. The word maus or mauth means
“toll,” and the toll collected on corn being very unpopular, gave rise to the tradition referred to. The catastrophe was fixed on Bishop Hatto, a noted statesman and councillor of Otho the Great, proverbial for his cunning perfidy. (See Hatto .)
Moussali A Persian musician. Haroun al Raschid was going to divorce his late favourite Maridah or Marinda, but the poet Moussali sang some verses to him which so touched his heart, that he went in search of the lady and made peace with her. (D'Herbelot.)
Down in the mouth. (See under Down .)
His mouth was made, he was trained or reduced to obedience, like a horse trained to the bit.
“At first, of course, the fireworker showed fight ... but in the end `his mouth was made,' his paces formed, and he became a very serviceable and willing animal.”— Le Fanu: House in the Churchyard, ch. xcix.
That makes my mouth water. “Cela fait venir l'eau à la bouche.” The fragrance of appetising food excites the salivary glands. The phrase means— that makes me long for or desire it.
Revenons à nos moutons. Return we to our subject. The phrase is taken from an old French play, called L' Avocat, by Patelin, in which a woolendraper charges a shepherd with stealing sheep. In telling his grievance he kept for ever running away from his subject; and to throw discredit on the defendant's attorney, accused him of stealing a piece of cloth. The judge had to pull him up every moment with, “Mais, mon ami, revenons à nos moutons ” (What about the sheep, tell me about the sheep, now return to the story of the sheep).
The first movable. Sir Thomas Browne (Religio Medici, p. 56, 27) uses the phrase, “Beyond the first movable,” meaning outside the material creation. According to Ptolemy the “primum mobile “ (the first movable and first mover of all things) was the boundary of creation, above which came the empyrean heaven, or seat of God.
Moving the Adjournment of the House
This is the only method which the rules of the house leave to a member for bringing up suddenly, and without notice, any business which is not on the order paper.
Moving the Previous Question
A parliamentary dodge for burking an obnoxious bill. The method is as follows:— A “question,” or bill, is before the house, an objector does not wish to commit himself by moving its rejection, so he moves “the previous question,” and the Speaker moves, from the chair, “that the question be not put”— that is, that the house be not asked to come to any decision on the main question, but be invited to pass to the “orders of the day.” In other words, that the subject be shelved or burked.
N.B. A motion for “the previous question” cannot be made on an amendment, nor in a select committee, nor yet in a committee of the whole house. The phrase is simply a method of avoiding a decision on the question before the House.
Moving the World Give me where to stand, and I will move the world. So said Archimedes of Syracuse; and the instrument he would have used is the lever.
a heap, and Mow, to cut down, are quite different words. Mow, a heap, is the Anglo—Saxon mowe, but mow, to cut down, is the Anglo—Saxon máw—an.
There is a third Mow (a wry face), which is the French moue, as “Faire la moue à [quel qu'un],” to make faces at someone, and “Faire la moue,” to pout or sulk. (Dutch, mowe. )
The bridegroom of snow, who (according to American Indian tradition) wooed and won a beautiful bride; but when morning dawned, Mowis left the wigwam, and melted into the sunshine. The bride hunted for him night and day in the forests, but never saw him more.
(2 syl.) or Monzaida. The “Moor,” settled in Calient, who befriended Vasco da Gama when he first landed on the Indian continent.
“The Moor attends, Mozaide, whose zealous care,
To Gama's eyes revealed each treacherous suare.” Camoens: Lusiad, bk.ix.
or Mudge. The miller's son, in Robin Hood dances, whose great feat was to bang with a bladder of peas the heads of the gaping spectators. Represents the Fool.
Much Ado about Nothing
The plot is from a novel of Belleforest, copied from one by Bandello (18th vol.,
vi.). There is a story resembling it in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, bk. v., another in the Geneura of G. Turberville, and Spenser has a similar one in the Faërie Queene, book ii. canto iv.
Much Ado about Nothing. After a war in Messina, Claudio, Benedick, and some other soldiers went to visit Leonato the governor, when the former fell in love with Hero, the governor's daughter; but Benedick and Beatrice, being great rattle—pates, fell to jesting, and each positively disliked the other. By a slight artifice their hatred was converted into love, and Beatrice was betrothed to the Paduan lord. In regard to Hero, the day of her nuptials was fixed; but Don John, who hated Claudio and Leonato, induced Margaret, the lady's maid, to dress up like her mistress, and to talk familiarly with one Borachio, a servant of Don John's; and while this
chit—chat was going on, the Don led Claudio and Leonato to overhear it. Each thought it to be Hero, and when she appeared as a bride next morning at church, they both denounced her as a light woman. The friar, being persuaded that there was some mistake, induced Hero to retire, and gave out that she was dead. Leonato now challenged Claudio for being the cause of Hero's death, and Benedick, urged on by Beatrice, did the same. At this crisis Borachio was arrested, and confessed the trick; Don John fled, the mystery was duly cleared up, and the two lords married the two ladies.
A law—quirk, so called from Mucius Scaevola, a Roman pontifex, and the most learned of jurists.
Elspeth Mucklebackit, mother of Saunders
Little Jennie Mucklebackit. Child of Saunders. Maggie Mucklebackit. Wife of Saunders. Saunders Mucklebackit. The old fisherman at Musslecrag. Steenie Mucklebackit. Eldest son of Saunders (drowned). (Sir Walter Scott: The Antiquary.)
Habakkuk Mucklewrath. A fanatic preacher. (Sir Walter Scott: Old Mortality.)
John Mucklewrath. Smith at Cairnvreckan village. Dame Mucklewrath, his wife, is a perfect virago. (Sir Walter Scott: Waverley.)
Mud—honey So Tennyson calls the dirty pleasures of men—about—town. (Maud.)
Son of a Moorish princess and Goncalo Bustos de Salas de Lara, who murdered his uncle Rodrigo, while hunting, to avenge the death of his seven half—brothers. (See Lra , The seven infants of Lara.)
(A). A dull, stupid person. Sir Henry Muff, one of the candidates in Dudley's interlude, called The Rival Candidates (1774), is a stupid, blundering dolt. He is not only unsuccessful in his election, but he finds that his daughter has engaged herself during his absence.
Muffins and Crumpets
Muffins is pain—moufflet. Du Cange describes the panis mofletus as bread of a more delicate nature than ordinary, for the use of prebends, etc., and says it was made fresh every day. Crumpets is crumple—ettes, cakes with little crumples.
Muffied Cats catch no Mice
(In Italian, “Catta guantata non piglia sorice. “) Said of those who work in gloves for fear of soiling their fingers.
We went in mufti — out of uniform, incog
The French say en pékin, and French soldiers call civilians pékins. An officer who had kept Talleyrand waiting, said he had been detained by some pékins. “What are they?” asked Talleyrand. “Oh,” said the officer, “we call everybody who is not military a pékin.” “And we,” said Tallyrand, “call everybody military that is not civil. ' Mufti is an Eastern word, signifying a judge.
An ale—house was so called in the eighteenth century. Some hundred persons assembled in a large tap—room to drink, sing, and spout. One of the number was made chairman. Ale was served to the guests in their own mugs, and the place where the mug was to stand was chalked on the table.
The giant slain by Averardo de Medici, a commander under Charlemagne. The tale is interesting, for it is said that the Medici took the three balls of this giant's mace for their device. Everyone knows that pawnbrokers have adopted the three balls as a symbol of their trade. (See under Balls for another account.)
A small borough magnate, a village leader. To mug is to drink, and Mr. Muggins is Mr. Drinker.
A follower of one Lodovic Muggleton, a journeyman tailor, who, about 1651, set up for a prophet. He was sentenced to stand in the pillory, and was fined 500.
(A). A word borrowed from the Algonquin, meaning one who acts and thinks independently. In Eliot's Indian Bible the word “centurion” in the Acts is rendered mugwump. Those who refuse to follow the dictum of a caucus are called in the United States mugwumps. The chief of the Indians of Esopus is entitled the Mugwump. Turncoats are mugwumps, and all political Pharisees whose party vote cannot be relied on.
“ `I suppose I am a political mugwump,' said the Englishman. `Not yet,' replied Mr. Reed. `You will be when you have returned to your allegiance.' ”— The Liverpool Echo, July 19th, 1886.
(The). Those newspapers which are not organs of any special political party, but being “neither hot nor cold,” are disliked by all party men.”
“The Mugwump Press, whose function it is to enlighten the feeble minded ...”— The New York Tribune, 1892.
(Spanish). A mule, a mongrel; applied to the male offspring of a negress by a white man. A female offspring is called a “Mulatta.” (See Creole .)
The fruit was originally white and became blood—red from the blood of Pyramus and Thisbe. The tale is, that Thisbe was to meet her lover at the white mulberry—tree near the tomb of Ninus, in a suburb of Babylon. Being scared by a lion, Thisbe fled, and, dropping her veil, it was besmeared with blood. Pyramus, thinking his lady—love had been devoured by a lion, slew himself, and Thisbe, coming up soon afterwards, stabbed herself also. The blood of the lovers stained the white fruit of the mulberry—tree into its present colour.
The botanical name is Morus, from the Greek moros (a fool); so called, we are told in the Hortus Anglicus, because “it is reputed the wisest of all flowers, as it never buds till the cold weather is past and gone.”
In the Seven Champions (pt. i. chap. iv.) we are told that Eglantine, daughter of the King of Thessaly, was transformed into a mulberry—tree.
— i.e. Vulcan. It is said that he took the part of Juno against Jupiter, and Jupiter hurled him out of heaven. He was three days in falling, and at last was picked up, half—dead and with one leg broken, by the fishermen of the island of Lemnos. (See Milton: Paradise Lost, book i., 740, etc.)
Mahomet's favourite white mule was Daldah. (See Fadda .)
To shoe one's mule. To appropriate part of the money committed to one's trust. This is a French locution—
“Ferrer la mule— i.e. I'action d'un domestique qui trompe son maitre sur le prix réel des choses qu'il a achetées en son $$$. Elle doit son origine an pretexte, facile a employer, de la depense faite pour ferrer la mule. ”— Encyclopedic des Proverbes Franais.
“He had the keeping and disposall of the moneys, and yet shod not his own mule.”— History of Francion (1655).
To make a mull of a job is to fail to do it properly. The failure of a peg—top to spin is called a mull, hence also any blunder or failure. (Scotch, mull, dust, or a contraction of muddle. ) The people of Madras are called “Mulls,” because they are in a less advanced state of civilisation than the other two presidencies, in consequence of which they are held by them in low estimation. (Anglo—Saxon, myl, dust.)
Mulla Awbeg, a tributary of the Blackwater, in Ireland, which flowed close by Spenser's home. Spensor is called by Shenstone “the bard of Mulla's silver stream.”
The code of Dunvallo Mulmutius, sixteenth King of the Britons (about B.C. 400). This code was translated by Gildas from British into Latin, and by Alfred into Anglo—Saxon. These laws obtained in England till the Conquest. (Holinshed: History of England, iii. 1.).
“Mulmutius made our laws,
Who was the first of Britain which did put
His brows within a golden crown, and called
Himself a king.”
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, iii. 1. Mulmutius was the son of Cloten, King of Cornwall. (See Geoffrey of Monmouth, British History, ii. 17.)
(The, 1840), is an envelope resembling a half—sheet of letter—paper, when folded. The space left for the address formed the centre of an ornamental design by Mulready, the artist. When the penny postage envelopes were first introduced, these were the stamped envelopes of the day, which, however, remained in circulation only one year, and were more fit for a comic annual than anything else.
“A set of those odd—looking envelope—things,'
Where Britannia (who seems to be crucifiedt flings To her right and her left, funny people with wings Amongst elephants, Quakers, and Catabaw kings,— And a taper and wax, and small Queen's—heads in packs, Which, when notes are too big you must stick on their backs.” Ingoldsby: Legends.
Alchemists, who pretended to multiply gold and silver. An act was passed (2 Henry IV., c. iv.) making the “art of multiplication” felony. In the Canterbury Tales, the Chanoun Yeman says he was reduced to poverty by alchemy, adding: “Lo, such advantage is't to multiply.” (Prologue to Chanouncs Tale.)
Dame Juliana Berners, in her Booke of St. Albans, says, in designating companies we must not use the
names of multitudes promiscuously, and examples her remark thus:—
“ `We say a congregacyon of people, a hoost of men, a felyshyppynge of jomen, and a bevy of ladyes; we must speak of a herde of dere, swannys, cranys, or wrenys, a sege of herons or bytourys, a muster of pecockes, a watche of nyghtyngales, a fllyghte of doves, a claterynge of choughes, a pryde of lyons, a slewthe of beeres, a gagle of geys, a skulke of foxes, a sculle of frerys; a pontificalitye of prestys, and a superfluyte of nonnes.' ”— Booke of St. Albans (1486).
She adds, that a strict regard to these niceties better distinguishes “gentylmen from ungentylmen,” than regard to the rules of grammar, or even to the moral law. (See Numbers.)
Multum in Parvo
(Latin). Much [information] condensed into few words or into a small compass.
A strong beer made in Brunswick; so called from Christian Mummer, by whom it was first brewed.
Mum (a mask), hence mummer. Mum's the word. Keep what is told you a profound secret. (See Mumchance.)
“Seal up your lips, and give no words but— mum.” Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., i. 2.
A bogie or bugbear in the Mandingo towns of Africa. As the Kaffirs have many wives, it not unfrequently happens that the house becomes quite unbearable. In such a case, either the husband or an agent dresses himself in disguise, and at dusk approaches the unruly house with a following, and makes the most hideous noises possible. When the women have been sufficiently scared, “Mumbo” seizes the chief offender, ties her to a tree, and scourges her with Mumbo's rod, amidst the derision of all present. Mumbo is not an idol, any more than the American Lynch, but one disguised to punish unruly wives. (See Mungo Park: Travels in the Interior of Africa.)
Silence, Mumchance was a game of chance with dice, in which silence was indispensable. (Mum is connected with mumble; German, mumme, a muffle; Danish, mumle, to mumble.)
“And for `mumchance,' howe'er the cehane may fall,
You must be mum for fear of spoiling all.”
is the Egyptian word mum, wax; from the custom of anointing the body with wax and wrapping it in cerecloth. (Persian, momia, wax; Italian, mummia; French, momie.) (See Beaten .)
Wheat said to have been taken from some of the Egyptian mummies, and sown in British soil. It is, however, a delusion to suppose that seed would preserve its vitality for some hundreds of years. No seed will do so, and what is called mummy wheat is a species of corn commonly grown on the southern shores of the Mediterranean.
Beggars, Leland calls it a gipsy word. In Norwich, Christmas waits used to be called “Mumpers.” In Lincolnshire, “Boxing—day” is called Mumping—day (q.v.). To mump is to beg. Beggars are called the “Mumping Society.”
“A parcel of wretches hopping about by the assistance of their crutches, like so many Lincoln's Inn Fields mumpers, drawing into a body to attack [infest or beset] the coach of some charitable lord.”— Ned Ward: The London Spy, part v.
St. Thomas's Day, December 21. A day on which the poor used to go about begging, or, as it was called, “going a—gooding,” that is, getting gifts to procure good things for Christmas (mump, to beg).
In Warwickshire the term used was “going a—corning,” i.e. getting gifts of corn. In Staffordshire the custom is spoken of simply as “a—gooding.” (See Mumpers.)
(Baron). The hero of a volume of travels, who meets with the most marvellous adventures. The incidents have been compiled from various sources, and the name is said to have pointed to Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Münchhausen, a German officer in the Russian army, noted for his marvellous stories
(1720—1797). It is a satire either on Baron de Tott, or on Bruce, whose Travels in Abyssinia were looked upon as mythical when they first appeared. The author is Rudolf Erich Raspe, and the sources from which the adventures were compiled, are Bebel's Facetiæ, Castiglione's Cortegiano, Bildermann's Utopia, and some of the baron's own stories.
(The). In the Phoenician, Egyptian, Hindu, and Japanese systems, it is represented that the world was hatched from an egg. In some mythologies a bird is represented as laying the mundane egg on the primordial waters.
Mundilfori One of the giant race, who had a son and daughter of such surpassing beauty that their father called them Mani and Sol (moon and sun). (Scandinavian mythology.)
Mundungus, in Sterne's Sentimental Journey (1768), is meant for Samnel Sharp, a surgeon, who published Letters from Italy. Tobias Sinollett, who published Travels through France and Italy (1766), “one continual snarl. was called “Smelfungus.”
The daughter of Pollente, the Saracen, to whom he gave all the spoils he unjustly took from those who fell into his power. Talus, the iron page of Sir Artegal, chopped off her golden hands and silver feet, and tossed her over the castle wall into the moat. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, bk. v. 2.)
and Nakir. Two black angels of appalling aspect, the inquisitors of the dead. The Koran says that during the inquisition the soul is united to the body. If the scrutiny is satisfactory, the soul is gently drawn forth from the lips of the deceased, and the body is left to repose in peace; if not, the body is beaten about the head with iron clubs, and the soul is wrenched forth by racking torments.
Memory; one of the two revens that sit perched on the shoulders of Odin; the other is Hugin (thought). (Scandinavian mythology.)
[Mount Tabor ]. The royal residence of the soldan whose daughter married Otnit, King of Lombardy.
Son of Hadrama and Marsillus, King of Portugal, Castile, Aragon, Leon, and Valence, when those countries were held by the Moors. He was called “Lord of the Lion,” because he always led about a lion in silken fetters. When he carried defiance to Charlemagne at Fronsac, the lion fell in love with Aude the Fair; Murad chastised it, and the lion tore him to pieces. (Croquemitaine, vii.)
Muscadins of Paris
French dudes or exquisites, who aped the London mashers in the first French Revolution. Their dress was top—boots with thick soles, knee—breeches, a dress—coat with long tails, and a high stiff collar, and a thick cudgel called a constitution. It was thought to be John Bullish to assume a huskiness of voice, a discourtesy of manners, and a swaggering vulgarity of speech and behaviour. Probably so called from being
“perfumed like a popinjay.”
“Cockneys of London, Muscadins of Paris.” Byron: Don Juan, viii. 124.
Healthy or strong—minded religion, which braces a man to fight the battle of life bravely and manfully. This expression has been erroneously attributed to Charles Kingsley. (See his Life, ii. 74, 75.)
Nine daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, goddesses of poetry, history, and other arts and sciences. The paintings of Herculancum show all nine in their respective attributes. In the National—Museum of Paris is
the famous collection with which Pius VI. enriched the Vatican. Lesueur left a celebrated picture of the same subject.
The most celebrated are the British Museum in London; the Louvre at Paris; the Vatican at Rome, the Museum of Florence; that of St. Petersburg; and those of Dresden, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin.
A walking museum. So Longinus, author of a work on The Sublime, was called. (A.D. 213—273.)
(an archaic form is mushrump). (French, mousseron, a white mushroom; Latin, muscus, moss.)
“Vocatur fungus muscarum, eo quod in lacte pulverizatus interflcit muscas.”— Albertus Magnus, vii. 345.
Father of music. Giovanni Battista Pietro Aloisio da Palestrina. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was “the prince of musicians.” (1529—1594.)
Father of Greek music. Terpander. (Flourished B.C. 676.) The prince of music. G. Pietro A. da Palestrina (1529—1594). Music hath charms, etc.; from Congreve's Mourning Bride, i. l.
Men of genius averse to music. The following men of genius were actually averse to music: Edmund Burke; Byron had no ear for music, and neither vocal nor instrumental music afforded him the slightest pleasure. Charles Fox, Hume, Dr. Johnson, Daniel O'Connell, Robert Peel, William Pitt; Pope preferred a street organ to Handel's oratorios; the poet Rogers felt actual discomfort at the sounds of music; Sir Walter Scott, the poet Southey, and Tennyson. Seven of these twelve were actually poets, and five were orators. The Princess Mathilde (Demidoff), an excellent artist, with a veritable passion for art, may be added to those who have had a real antipathy to music.
Music of the Spheres
Pythagoras was the first who suggested the notion so beautifully expressed by Shakespeare—
“There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdst
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young—eyed cherubims.”
Merchant of Venice. v. l.
Plato says that a siren sits on each planet, who carols a most sweet song, agreeing to the motion of her own particular planet, but harmonising with all the others. Hence Milton speaks of the “celestial syrens' harmony, that sit upon the nine enfolded spheres.” (Arcades. (See Nine Spheres.)
Maximus Tyrius says that the mere proper motion of the planets must create sounds, and as the planets move at regular intervals the sounds must harmonise.
Musical Small — coal Man
(The). Thomas Britton (1654—1714).
Father of musicians. Jubal, “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” (Gen. iv. 21).
Damon and Musidora Two lovers in Thomson's Summer. One day Damon caught Musidora bathing, and his delicacy so won upon her that she promised to be his bride.
or Musets. Gaps in a hedge; places through which a hare makes his way to escape the hounds.
“The many musits through the which he goes
Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.”
Shakespeare: Venus and Adonts.
The passing of the hare through these gaps is termed musing. The word is from musse (old French), a little hole.
is the Spanish mosquéte, a musket.
So called from Mosul, in Asia, where it was first manufactured. (French, mousseline; Italian, mussolino.)
Cushioned seats, reserved in Persia for persons of distinction.
A region of fire, whence Surtur will collect flames to set fire to the universe. (Scandinavian mythology.)
(3 syl.). The abode of fire which at the beginning of time existed in the south. It was light, warm, and radiant; but was guarded by Surt with a flaming sword. Sparks were collected therefrom to make the stars. (Scandinavian mythology.) (See Manheim .)
“The Muspelheim is a noted Scandinavian poem of the 4th century. Muspelheim is the Scandinavian hell, and the subject of the poem is the Last Judgment. The great Surt or Surtur is Antichrist who at the end of the world will set fire to all creation. The poem is in alternate verse, and shows both imagination and poetic talent.”
Connected with must, In 1382 Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, granted to the town of Dijon, noted for its mustard, armorial bearings with the motto MOULT ME TARDE (Multum ardeo, I ardently desire). The arms and motto, engraved on the principal gate, were adopted as a trade—mark by the mustard merchants, and got shortened into Moult—tarde (to burn much).
The pasturtium is of the mustard family, in Spanish masturcio; and the Italian mustarda is mustard.
After meat, mustard. I have now no longer need of it. “C'est de la moutarde après diner. “
(plural, Musulmans or Moslems)— that is, Moslemin, plural of Moslem. A Mahometan; so called from the Arabic muslim, a believer.
“Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, ” is by Nicholas Borbonius, a Latin poet of the sixteenth century. Dr. Sandys says that the Emperor Lothair, of the Holy Roman Empire, had already said, “Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. “
Mute as a Fish
Quite silent. Some fish make noises, but these are mechanical, not organic.
Mutes at Funerals
This was a Roman custom. The undertaker, attended with lictors dressed in black, marched with the corpse; and the undertaker, as master of the ceremonies, assigned to each follower his proper place in the procession.
(French, mouton). A gold coin impressed with the image of a lamb.
(The). Charles II. of England. The witty Earl of Rochester wrote this mock epitaph on his patron:—
“Here lies our mutton—eating king,
Whose word no man relies on;
He never said a foolish thing,
And never did a wise one.”
Come and eat your mutton with me. Come and dine with me.
A large, coarse, red fist.
A Stock Exchange term for the Turkish '65 loan, partly secured by the sheep—tax.
Revenons à nos moutons. (See Moutons.)
Can two persons be called mutual friends? Does not the word of necessity imply three or more than three? (See the controversy in Notes and Queries June 9, 1894, p. 451.)
“A mutual flame was quickly caught,
Was quickly, too, revealed;
For neither bosom lodged a thought
Which virtue keeps concealed.”
Edwin and Emma.
(Mutual = reciprocal.)
To muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. Not to pay for work done; to expect other persons will work for nothing. The labourer is worthy of his hire, and to withhold that hire is to muzzle the ox that treadeth out your corn.
(All). (See under All .)
A Dutchman. Closh or Claus is an abbreviation of Nicholaus, a common name in Holland. Sandy, a contraction of Alexander, is a similar nickname for a Scotchman.
The ship Argo; so called because its crew were natives of Mynia.
“When his black whirlwinds o'er the ocean rolled
And rent the Mynian sails.”
Camoens: Lusiad, bk. vi.
Myrmidons of the Law
Bailiffs, sheriffs' officers, and other law menials. Any rough fellow employed to annoy another is the employer's myrmidon.
The Myrmidons were a people of Thessaly who followed Achilles to the siege of Troy, and were distinguished for their savage brutality, rude behaviour, and thirst for rapine.
A Greek statuary and sculptor, born in Boeotia, B.C. 480. A fellow—disciple of Polycletus, and a younger contemporary of Phidias. His great works are in bronze. By far the most celebrated of his statues were his Discobolus and his Cow. The cow is represented lowing. (Discobolus is a quoit or discus player.) It is said that the cow was so true to nature that a bull mistook it for a living animal.
There are several similar legends. Thus it is said `that Apelles painted Alexander's horse so realistically that a living horse mistook it and began to neigh Velasquez painted a Spanish admiral so true to life, that Felipe IV, mistook the painting for the man and reproved it severely for not being with the fleet. Zeuxis painted some grapes so well that birds flew at them to peck them. Quentin Matsys painted a fly on a man's leg so inimitably that Mandyn, the artist, tried to brush it off with his handkerchief. Parrhasios, of Ephesus painted a curtain so well that Zeuxis was deceived by it, and told him to draw it aside that he might see the picture behind it.
An Ionian slave, the beloved concubine of Sardanapalus, the Assyrian king. She roused him from his indolence to oppose Arbaces the Mede, who aspired to his throne, and when she found that his cause was hopeless induced him to place himself on a funeral pile, which she fired with her own hand, and springing into the flames, perished with her beloved lord and master. (Byron: Sardanapalus.)
(3 syl.; the $$$ bearers). The three Marys who went to see the sepulchre, bearing myrrh and spices. In Christian art they are represented as carrying vases of myrrh in their hands.
Myrtle (The). If you look at a leaf of myrtle in a strong light, you will see that it is pierced with innumerable little punctures. According to fable, Phædra, wife of Theseus fell in love with Hippolotus, her step—son; and when Hippolotus went to the arena to exercise his horses, Phædra repaired to a myrtle—tree in Troezen to await his return, and beguiled the time by piercing the leaves with a hair—pin. The punctures referred to are an abiding memento of this tradition.
In the Orlando Furioso Astolpho is changed into a myrtle—tree by Acrisia.
Myrtle. The ancient Jews believed that the eating of myrtle leaves conferred the power of detecting witches; and it was a superstition that if the leaves crackled in the hands the person beloved would prove faithful.
The myrtle which dropped blood. Æneas (book iii.) is represented as tearing up the Myrtle which dropped blood. Polydorus tells us that the barbarous inhabitants of the country pierced the Myrtle (then a living being) with spears and arrows. The body of the Myrtle took root and grew into the bleeding tree.
Mysteries of Woods and Rivers
The art of hunting and fishing.
A kind of mediæval drama, the characters and events of which were drawn from sacred history.
or Mysterium. Said to make up the number 666 referred to in Rev. xvii. 5. This would not be worthy notice, except for the fact that the word “mystery” was, till the time of the Reformation, inscribed on the Pope's mitre.
Almost any phrase or long name can be twisted into this number. (See Number Of The Beast.)
The three greater mysteries (in Christianity). The Trinity, Original Sin, and the Incarnation. Surely the resurrection of the body should be added.
(The) of Scandinavian mythology were “Har” (the Mighty), the “Like—Mighty,” and the
“Third Person,” who sat on three thrones above the rainbow. Then came the “AElig;sir,” of which Odin was chief, who lived in Asgard (between the rainbow and earth); next come the “Vanir,” or gods of the ocean, air, and clouds, of which deities Niord was chief.