Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
E. Cobham Brewer From The Edition Of 1894
is the nineteenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet. Its name in English is ess, or es- in compounds such as es-hook.
In most writing systems that use the Latin alphabet, as well as the International Phonetic Alphabet, the letter [s] corresponds to a voiceless alveolar sibilant.
You have crossed your S
(French). You have cheated me in your account; you have charged me pounds where you ought to have charged shillings, or shillings where you ought to have charged pence. In the old French accounts, f (= s) stood for sous or pence, and f for francs. To cross your f meant therefore to turn it fraudulently into f.
Senatus Populus Que Romanus (the Roman Senate and People). Letters inscribed on the standards of ancient Rome.
The collar consists of a series of the letter S in gold, either linked together or set in close order, on a blue and white ribbon. (See Collar Of S.S. )
“On the Wednesday preceding Easter, 1465, as Sir Anthony was speaking to his royal sister, on his knees, all the ladies of the court gathered round him, and bound to his left knee a band of gold, adorned with stones fashioned into the letters S.S. (souvenance, or remembrance) and to this band was suspended an enamelled Forget—me—not.”— Lord Lytton: Last of the Barons, bk. iv. 5.
(Latin stratum super stratum). Layer over layer.
stands for Sanctae Theologiae Professor. Professor is the Latin for Doctor. D.D.— i.e. Divinity Doctor or Doctor of Divinity— is the English equivalent of the Latin S.T.P.
(Al). A cuirass of silver which belonged to King Saul, and was lent to David when he was armed for the encounter with Goliath. This cuirass fell into the hands of Mahomet, being part of the property confiscated from the Jews on their expulsion from Medina.
Sabbath Day's Journey (Exodus xvi. 29; Acts i. 12), with the Jews was not to exceed the distance between the ark and the extreme end of the camp. This was 2,000 cubits, somewhat short of an English mile. (Exodus xvi. 29: Acts i. 12.)
“Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old,
No journey of a Sabbath Day, and loaded so.”
Milton: Samson Agonistes.
Sabbath of Sound
The disciples of Sabbathais Zwi, the most remarkable “Messiah" of modern times. At the age of fifteen he had mastered the Talmud, and at eighteen the Cabbala. (1641—1677.)
One year in seven, when all land with the ancient Jews was to lie fallow for twelve months. This law was founded on Exodus xxiii. 10, etc.; Leviticus xxv. 2—7; Deuteronomy xv. 1—11.
An ancient religious sect; so called from Sabi, son of Seth, who, with his father and brother Enoch, lies buried in the Pyramids. The Sabeans worshipped one God, but approached Him indirectly through some created representative, such as the sun, moon, stars, etc. Their system is called Sabeanism or the Sabean faith. The Arabs were chiefly Sabeans before their conversion.
The worship of the sun, moon, and host of heaven. (Chaldee, tzaba, a host.)
means baptism— that is, the “religion of many baptisms;” founded by Boudasp or Bodhisattva, a wise Chaldean. This sect was the root of the party called “Christians of St. John,” and by the Arabs El Mogtasila.
A religious sect; so called from Sabellius, a Libyan priest of the third century. They believed in the unity of God, and said that the Trinity merely expressed three relations or states of one and the same God.
is the Aramean equivalent of the word “Baptists.” (See below.)
“The sects of Hemerobaptists, Baptists, and Sabiens (the Mogtasila of the Arabian writers) in the second century filled Syria, Palestine, and Babylonia.”— Reman: Life of Jesus, chap. xii.
denotes— of the ages of man, the last; of attributes, wisdom, prudence, integrity, singleness of mind; of birds, the raven or crow; of elements, the earth; of metals, iron or lead; of planets, Saturn; of precious stones, the diamond; of trees, the olive; of animals, a sort of weasel.
black. Expressed in heraldry by horizontal lines crossing perpendicular ones. In English heraldry escutcheons are varied by seven colours; foreign heralds add two more
A suit of sables. A rich courtly dress. By the statute of apparel (24 Henry VIII. c. 13) it is ordained that none under the degree of an earl shall use sables. Bishop tells us that a thousand ducats were sometimes given for a “face of sables” (Blossoms, 1577). Ben Johnson says, “Would you not laugh to meet a great councillor of state in a flat cap, with trunk—hose ... and yond haberdasher in a velvet gown trimmed with sables?” (Discoveries.
“So long? Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.”— Shakespeare: Hamlet, iii. 2.
(La). The sand—pits. So the Tuileries were called to the fourteenth century. Towards the end of that century tiles were made there, but the sand—pits were first called the Tile—works or Tuileries in 1416. At
the beginning of the sixteenth century, Nicolas de Neuville built a house in the vicinity, which he called the “Hotel des Tuileries.” This property was purchased in 1518 by Francois I. for his mother.
Daughter of Ptolemy, King of Egypt, rescued by St. George from the fangs of the giant, and ultimately married to her deliverer. She is represented as pure in mind, saintly in character, a perfect citizen, daughter, and wife. Her three sons, born at a birth, were named Guy, Alexander, and David. Sabra died from the “pricks of a thorny brake.”
Le beau sabreur [the handsome or famous swordsman]. Joachim Murat (1767—1815).
(Latin). The Severn. In Milton's Comus we are told she is the daughter of Locrine “that had the sceptre from his father, Brute,” and was living in concubinage with Estrildis. His queen, Guendolen, vowed vengeance against Estrildis and her daughter, gathered an army together, and overthrew Locrine by the river Sture. Sabrina fled and jumped into the river. Nereus took pity on her, and made her “goddess of the Severn.” which is poetically called Sabrina.
Saccharine Principle in Things
(The). Mr. Emerson means by this phrase, the adaptation of living beings to their conditions— the becoming callous to pains that have to be borne, and the acquirement of liking for labours that are necessary.
A name bestowed by Waller on Lady Dorothea Sidney, eldest daughter of the Earl of Leicester, for whose hand he was an unsuccessful suitor, for she married the Earl of Sunderland.
“The Earl of Leicester, father of Algernon Sidney, the patriot, and of Waller's Saccharissa built for himself a stately house at the north corner of a square plot of `Lammas land' belonging to the parish of St. Martin's, which plot henceforth became known to Londoners as `Leicester Fields.' ”— Cassell's Magazine: London Legends, ii.
Saccharissa turns to Joan (Fenton: The Platonic Spell ). The gloss of novelty being gone, that which was once thought unparalleled proves only ordinary. Fenton says before marriage many a woman seems a Saccharissa, faultless in make and wit, but scarcely is “half Hymen's taper wasted” when the “spell is dissolved,” and “Saccharissa turns to Joan.”
or Saco Bendito [the blessed sack or cloak]. A yellow garment with two crosses on it, and painted over with flames and devils. In this linen robe persons condemned by the Spanish Inquisition were arrayed when they went to the stake. The word sack was used for any loose upper garment hanging down the back from the shoulders; hence “sac—friars” or fratres saccati
A chief among some of the North American Indian tribes.
(3 syl.). An instrument of torture used in Stephen's reign, and thus described in the Anglo—Saxon Chronicle: “It was fastened to a beam, having a sharp iron to go round the throat and neck, so that the person tortured could in no wise sit, lie, nor sleep, but that he must at all times bear all the iron.”
Any dry wine, as sherry sack, Madeira sack, Canary sack, and Palm sack. (A corruption of the French sec, dry.)
A bag. According to tradition, it was the last word uttered before the tongues were confounded at Babel. (Saxon, saec; German, sack; Welsh, sach; Irish, sac; French, sac, Latin, saccus; Italian, sacco; Spanish, sáco; Greek, sakkos, Hebrew, sak; Swedish, sáck; etc., etc.)
To get the sack or To give one the sack. To get discharged by one's employer. Mechanics travelling in quest
of work carried their implements in a bag or sack; when discharged, they received back the bag that they might replace in it their tools, and seek a job elsewhere. Workmen still often carry a bag of tools, but so much is done by machines that bags of tools are decreasing.
The Sultan puts into a sack, and throws into the Bosphorus, any one of his harem he wishes out of the way There are many cognate phrases, as To give one the bag, and Get the bag, which is merely substitutional. To receive the canvas is a very old expression, referring to the substance of which the sack or bag was made. The French Trousser vos quilles (pack up your ninepins or toys) is another idea, similar to “Pack up your tatters and follow the drum.” (See Cashier.)
(A). A village sport in which each runner is tied up to the neck in a sack. In some cases the candidates have to make short leaps, in other cases they are at liberty to run as well as the limits of the sack will allow them.
A corruption of sambuca. (Spanish, sacabuche; Portuguese, saquebuxo; French, saquebute; Latin, sacra buccina, sacred trumpet.)
The famous bear kept at “Paris Garden” in Shakespeare's time, (See Paris Garden .)
Literally, “a military oath” taken by the Roman soldiers not to desert their standard, turn their back on the enemy, or abandon their general. We also, in the sacrament of baptism, take a military oath “to fight manfully under the banner of Christ.” The early Christians used the word to signify “a sacred mystery,” and hence its application to the Baptism and Eucharist, and in the Roman Catholic Church to marriage, confirmation, etc.
The five sacraments are Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction. (See Thirty—nine Articles, Article xxxv.)
The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction.
The two sacraments of the Protestant Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Those who believe that no change takes place in the eucharistic elements after consecration, but that the bread and wine are simply emblems of the body and blood of Christ. They we, e a party among the Reformers who separated from Luther.
in Greek vessels, were never let go till the ship was in the extremity of danger.
That city which the religious consider most especially connected with their religious faith, thus: Allahabad' is the Holy City of the Indian Mahometans.
Benares (3 syl.) of the Hindus.
Cuzco of the ancient Incas.
Fez of the Western Arabs.
Jerusalem of the Jews and Christians.
Kairwan. near Tunis. It contains the Okbar Mosque, in which is the tomb of the prophet's barber.
Kief, the Jerusalem of Russia, the cradle of Christianity in that country.
Mecca and Medina of the Mahometans.
Moscow and Kief of the Russians.
Solovetsk, in the Frozen Sea, is a holy Island much visited by pilgrims.
The “Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” owes its origin to a French nun, named Mary Margaret Alacoque, of Burgundy, who practised devotion to the Saviour's heart in consequence of a vision. The devotion was sanctioned by Pope Clement XII. in 1732.
or Holy Island. Ireland was so called because of its many saints, and Guernsey for its many monks. The island referred to by Thomas Moore in his Irish Melodies (No. II.) is Scattery, to which St. Senanus retired, and vowed that no woman should set foot thereon.
“Oh, haste and leave this sacred isle,
Unholy bark, ere morning smile.”
St. Senanus and the Lady.
Enhallow (from the Norse Eyinhalga, Holy Isle) is the name of a small island in the Orkney group, where cells of the Irish anchorite fathers are said still to exist.
(1) A war undertaken by the Amphictyonic League against the Cirrhaeans, in defence of Delphi. (B.C. 594—587.)
(2) A war waged by the Athenians for the restoration of Delphi to the Phocians, from whom it had been taken. (B.C. 448—447.)
(3) A war in which the Phocians, who had seized Delphi, were conquered by Philip of Macedon. (B.C. 346.)
(The) in ancient Rome, was the street where Romulus and Tatius (the Sabine) swore mutual alliance. It does not mean the “holy street,” but the “street of the oath.”
(The). Vervain. (See Herba Sacra .)
Never sacrifice a white cock, was one of the doctrines of Pythagoras, because it was sacred to the moon. The Greeks went further, and said, “Nourish a cock, but sacrifice it not,” for all cockerels were sacred either to the sun or moon, as they announced the hours. The cock was sacred also to the goddess of wisdom, and to Esculapios, the god of health; it therefore represented time, wisdom, and health, none of which are ever to be sacrificed. (See Iamblichus Protreptics, symbol xviii.)
Sacrifice to the Graces
is to render oneself agreeable by courteous conduct, suavity of manners, and fastidiousness of dress. The allusion is to the three Graces of classic mythology.
The little bell rung to give notice that the “Host” is approaching. Now called sanctus bell, from the words “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, dominus, Dcus Sabaoth, pronounced by the priest. (French, sacrer; Latin, sacer.)
“He heard a little sacring bell ring to the elevation of a to—morrow mass.”— Reginald Scott: Discovery of Witchcraft (1584).
“The sacring of the kings of France.”— Temple.
A braggart, a noisy hectorer. He is introduced by Alexander Passoni, in a mock—heroic poem called The Rape of the Bucket.
Sacripant (in Orlando Furioso). King of Circassia, and a Saracen.
(Latin, pavis gravis). Heavy bread, ill—made bread. Shakespeare calls it “distressful bread”— not the bread of distress, but the panis gravis or ill—made bread eaten by the poor.
(He's a). Un triste sujet. A playful way of saying a man is a debauchee.
The sixteenth night of the month Bayaman. (Persian mythology.)
One of the sacred books of the Guebres or Parsis containing a summary of the Zend—Avesta.
Sadder and a Wiser Man
“A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.”
Coleridge: The Ancient Mariner.
Saddle Set the saddle on the right horse. Lay the blame on those who deserve it.
Lose the horse and win the saddle. (See Lose.)
(Mr. Bartoline). The learned saddler. (Sir Walter Scott: The Heart of Midlothian.)
A Jewish party which denied the existence of spirits and angels, and, of course, disbelieved in the resurrection of the dead; so called from Sadoc (righteous man), thought to be the name of a priest or rabbi some three centuries before the birth of Christ. As they did not believe in future punishments, they punished offences with the utmost severity.
or Saadi. A Persian poet styled the “nightingale of thousand songs,” and “one of the four monarchs of eloquence.” His poems are the Gulistan or Garden of Roses, the Bostan or Garden of Fruits, and the Pend—Nameh, a moral poem. He is admired for his sententious march. (1184—1263.)
(London). There was a well at this place called Holy Well, once noted for “its extraordinary cures.” The priests of Clerkenwell Priory used to boast of its virtues. At the Reformation it was stopped up, and was wholly forgotten till 1683, when a Mr. Sadler, in digging gravel for his garden, accidentally discovered it again. Hence the name. In 1765 Mr. Rosoman converted Sadler's garden into a theatre.
Lectures on Algebra delivered in the University of Cambridge, and founded in 1710 by Lady Sadler.
[Sza—rim'—ner]. The boar served to the gods in Valhalla every evening; by next morning the part eaten was miraculously restored. (Scandinavian mythology)
in Arabia, according to Arabian legend, is the hill on which Adam and Eve came together, after having been parted for two hundred years, during which time they wandered homeless over the face of the earth.
In 1847 Schrötter, an Austrian chemist, discovered that red phosphorus gives off no fumes, and is virtually inert; but being mixed with chlorate of potash under slight pressure it explodes with violence. In 1855 Herr Böttger, of Sweden, put the red phosphorus on the box and the phosphorus on the match, so that the match must be rubbed on the box to bring the two together. (See Prometheans, Lucifers .)
He hath slept in a bed of saffron. In Latin dormivit in sacco croci. meaning he has a very light heart, in reference to the exhilarating effects of saffron,
“With genial joy to warm his soul
Helen mixed saffron in the bowl.”
The Greek and Latin brides wore a flammeum or yellow veil, which wholly enveloped them. (See Saophron .)
(plural Sagas). The northern mythological and historical traditions, chiefly compiled in the twelfth and three following centuries. The most remarkable are those of Lodbrok, Hervara, Vilkina, Volsunga, Blomsturvalla, Ynglinga, Olaf Tryggva—Sonar, with those of Jomsvikingia and of Knytlinga (which contain the legendary history of Norway and Denmark), those of Sturlinga and of knytlinga (which contain the legendary history of Iceland), the Heuns—Kringla and New Edda, due to Snorro—Sturleson.
All these legends are short, abrupt, concise, full of bold metaphor and graphic descriptions.
Sagan of Jerusalem
in Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, is designed for Dr. Compton, Bishop of London; he was son of the Earl of Northampton, who fell in the royal cause at the battle of Hopton Heath. The Jewish sagan was the vicar of the sovereign pontiff. According to tradition, Moses was Aaron's sagan.
The Sagan was the vicar of the Jewish pontiff. Thus they called Moses “Aaron's Sagan.”
(The Seven). (See Wise Men .)
the archer, represents the Centaur Chiron, who at death was converted into the constellation so called. (See next article.)
A terrible archer, half beast and half man, whose eyes sparkled like fire, and struck dead like lightning. He is introduced into the Trojan armies by Guido da Colonna.
“The dreadful Sagittary
Appals our numbers.”
Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, v. 5
Sagramour le Desirus
A knight of the Round Table, introduced in the Morte d'Arthur, Lancelot du lac, etc.
(in Bengalee, Saheb). Equal to our Mr., or rather to such gentlemen as we term “Esquires.” Sahiba is the lady. (Arabic for lord, master.)
You may hoist sail. Cut your stick, be off. Maria saucily says to Viola, dressed in man's apparel—
“Will you hoist sail, sir? Here lies your way.” — Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, i.5
. To set sail. To start on a voyage. To strike sail. (See Strike.)
Sail before the Wind
(To). To prosper, to go on swimmingly, to meet with great success, to go as smoothly and rapidly as a ship before the wind.
Sailing under False Colours
Pretending to be what you are not. The allusion is to pirate vessels, which hoist any colours to elude detection.
Sailing within the Wind
or Sailing close to the Wind. Going to the very verge of propriety, or acting so as just to escape the letter of the law. The phrase, of course, is nautical.
“The jokes [of our predecessors] might have been broader than modern manners allow, but ... the masher sails nearer the wind than did his ruder forefathers.”— Nineteenth Century, November, 1892, p. 795.
“Ea defended himself by declaring that he did not tell Hasisadra anything; he only sent her a dream. This was undoubtedly sailing very near the wind.”— Nineteenth Century, June, 1891,
William IV. of England, who entered the navy as midshipman in 1779, and was made Lord High Admiral in 1827. (1765, 1830—1837.)
Kings and princes so called: — Edward the Martyr (961, 975—978). Edward the Confessor (1004, 1042—1066).
Eric IX. of Sweden (*, 1155—1161).
Etherlred I., King of Wessex (*, 866—871).
Eugenius I., pope (*, 654—657).
Felix I., pope (*, 269—274).
Ferdinand III. of Castile and Leon (1200, 1217—1252). Julius I., pope (*, 337—352).
Kâng—he, second of the Manchoo dynasty of China, who assumed the name of Chin—tsou—jin (1661—1722). Lawrence Justiniani, Patriarch of Venice (1380, 1451—1465).
Leo IX., pope (1002, 1049—1054).
Louis IX. of France (1215, 1226—1270).
Olaus II. of Norway, brother of Harald III., called “St. Olaf the Double Beard” (984, 1026—1030). Stephen I. of Hungary (979, 997—1038).
Dom Fernando, son of King John of Portugal, was, with his brother Henry, taken prisoner by the Moors at the siege of Tangier. The Portuguese general promised to give Ceuta for their ransom, and left Fernando in prison as their surety. The Portuguese government refused to ratify the condition, and Fernando was left in the hands of the Moors till he died. For this patriotic act he is regarded as a saint, and his day is June 5th. His brother Edward was king at the time. (1402—1443.)
St. Bees' College
(Cumberland), situated on the bay formed by St. Bees' Head, founded by Dr. Law, Bishop of Chester, in 1816. St. Bees' was so called from a nunnery founded here in 650, and dedicated to the Irish saint named Bega. A “man of wax” is a “Bees' man.”
born of noble Roman parents, and fostered from her cradle in the Christian faith, married Valirlan. One day she told him that an angel, “whether she was awake or asleep, was ever beside her.” Valirian requested to see this angel, and she said he must be baptised first. Valirian was baptised and suffered martyrdom. When Cecilia was brought before the Prefect Almachius, and refused to worship the Roman deities, she was “shut fast in a bath kept hot both night and day with great fires,” but “felt of it no woe.” Almachius then sent an executioner to cut off her head, “but for no manner of chance could he smite her fair neck in two.” Three days she lingered with her neck bleeding, preaching Christ and Him crucified all the while; then she died, and Pope Urban buried the body. “Her house the church of St. Cecily is hight” unto this day. (Chaucer Secounde Nonnes Tale.) (See Cecilia .)
Towards the close of the seventeenth century an annual musical festival was held in Stationers' Hall in honour of St. Cecilia.
St. Cuthbert's Duck
The eider duck.
(See Distaff .)
St. Elmo called by the French St. Elme. The electric light seen playing about the masts of ships in stormy weather. (See Castor And Pollux .)
“And sudden breaking on their raptured sight,
Appeared the splendour of St. Elmo's light.”
Hoole's Furioso, book ix.
(See Francis .)
St. George's Cross
in heraldry, is a Greek cross gules upon a field argent. The field is represented in the Union Jack by a narrow fimbriation. It is the distinguishing badge of the British navy.
St. George's flag is a smaller flag, without the Union Jack.
St. John Long
An illiterate quack, who professed to have discovered a liniment which had the power of distinguishing between disease and health. The body was rubbed with it, and if irritation appeared it announced secret disease, which the quack undertook to cure. He was twice tried for manslaughter: once in 1830, when he was fined for his treatment of Miss Cashan, who died; and next in 1831, for the death of Mrs. Lloyd. Being acquitted, he was driven in triumph from the Old Bailey in a nobleman's carriage, amid the congratulations of the aristocracy.
St. John is pronounced Sinjin, as in that verse of Pope's—
“A wake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition and the pride of kings.”
Essay on Man.
St. John's Eve, St. Mark's Eve
and Allhallow Even, are times when poets say the forms of all such persons as are about to die in the ensuing twelve months make their solemn entry into the churches of their respective parishes. On these eves all sorts of goblins are about. Brand says, “On the Eve of John the Baptist's nativity bonfires are made to purify the air (vol. i. p. 305).
St. Johnstone's Tippet
A halter; so called from Johnstone the hangman.
“Sent to heaven wi' a St. Johnston's tippit about my hause.”— Sir Walter Scott: Old Mortality. chap. viii
St. Leger Sweepstakes
The St. Leger race was instituted in 1776, by Colonel St. Leger, of Park Hill, near Doncaster, but was not called the “St. Leger" till two years afterwards, when the Marquis of Rockingham's horse Allabaculia won the race. (See Derby, Leger .)
became possessed of the elixir of life, and the power of transmuting the baser metals into gold, but these acquisitions only brought him increased misery. (William Goodwin: St Leon.)
(La). St. Monday. Monday spent by workmen in idleness. One of the rules enjoined by the Sheffield unionists was that no work should be permitted to be done on a Monday by any of their members.
St. Michael's Chair
The projecting stone lantern of a tower erected on St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall. It is said that the rock received its name from a religious house built to commemorate the apparition of St. Michael on one of its craggy heights. (See Michael .)
A holiday observed by journeyman shoemakers and other inferior mechanics, and well—to—do merchants.
In the Journal of the Folk—lore Society, vol. i. p. 245, we read that, “While Cromwell's army lay encamped at Perth, one of his zealous partisans, named Monday, died, and Cromwell offered a reward for the best lines on his death. A shoemaker of Perth brought the following, which so pleased Cromwell that he not only gave the promised reward, but made also a decree that shoemakers should be allowed to make Monday a standing holiday.
“Blessed be the Sabbath Day,
And cursed be worldly pelf:
Tuesday will begin the week,
Since Monday's hanged himself.”
The social and political system of St. Simon. He proposed the institution of a European parliament, to arbitrate in all matters affecting Europe, and the establishment of a social hierarchy based on capacity and labour. He was led to his “social system” by the apparition of Charlemagne, which appeared to him one night in the Luxembourg, where he was suffering a temporary imprisonment. (1760—1825.)
For other saints, see the names.
The Houses of Parliament are so called, because, at one time, the Commons used to sit in St. Stephen's Chapel.
St. Stephen's Loaves
“Having said this, he took up one of St. Stephen's loaves, and was going to hit him with it.”— Rabelais Pantagruel, v. 8.
St. Thomas's Castle
The penitentiary in St. Thomas's parish, Oxford, where women of frail morals are kept under surveillance.
St. Wilfrid's Needle
often called “St. Winifred's Needle.” In the crypt of Ripon Minster is a passage regarded as a test of chastity.
City of Saints. (See under City and Holy City .)
(2 syl.). Worshippers of Siva, one of the three great Indian sects; they are at present divided into— (1) Dandins or staff—bearers, the Hindu mendicants; so called because they carry a danda or small staff, with a piece of red cloth fixed on it. In this piece of cloth the Brahmanical cord is enshrined.
(2) Yogins. Followers of Yoga, who practise the most difficult austerities.
(3) Lingavats, who wear the Linga emblem on some part of their dress.
(4) Paramahansas, ascetics who go naked, and never express any want or wish.
(5) Aghorins, who eat and drink whatever is given them, even ordure and carrion.
(6) Urdhabahus, who extend one or both arms over their head till they become rigidly fixed in this position. (7) Akasmukhins, who hold up their faces to the sky till the muscles of the neck become contracted.
A piece of light artillery. The word is borrowed from the saker hawk. (See Falcon .)
“The cannon, blunderbuss, and saker,
He was the inventor of and maker.”
Butler: Hudibras, i. 2.
Sakhrat [Sak—rah']. A sacred stone, one grain of which endows the possessor with miraculous powers. It is of an emerald colour; its reflection makes the sky blue. (Mahometan mythology.)
A worshipper of a Sakti, or female deity, in Hindu mythology. The Saktas are divided into two branches, the Dakshinacharins and the Vamacharins (the followers of the right—hand and left—hand ritual). The latter practise the grossest impurities. (Sanskrit, sakti, power, energy.)
Daughter of St. Viswamita, and Menakâ a water—nymph. Abandoned by her parents, she was brought up by a hermit. One day King Dushyanta came to the hermitage during a hunt, and persuaded Sakuntala to marry him, and in due time a son was born. When the boy was six years old, she took it to its father, and the king recognised his wife by a ring which he had given her. She was now publicly proclaimed his queen, and Bhârata, his son and heir, became the founder of the glorious race of the Bhâratas. This story forms the plot of the celebrated drama of Kâlidasa, called Sakuntala, made known to us by Sir W. Jones.
Sakya, the hermit, founder of Buddhism.
A mixture of refined nitre and soda for sore throats. Prunella is a corruption of Brunelle, in French scl de brunelle, from the German breune (a sore throat), braune (the quinsy).
or Salacacaby of Apicius. An uneatable soup of great pretensions. King, in his Art of Cookery, gives the recipe of this soup: “Bruise in a mortar parsley—seed, dried peneryal, dried mint, ginger, green coriander, stoned raisins, honey, vinegar, oil, and wine. Put them into a cacabulum, with three crusts of Pycentine bread, the flesh of a pullet, vestine cheese, pine—kernels, cucumbers, and dried onions, minced small; pour soup over all, garnish with snow, and serve up in the cacabulum.”
“At each end there are dishes of the salacacabia of the Romans: one is made of parsley,
penny—royal, cheese, pinetops, honey, vinegar, brine, eggs, cucumbers, onions, and
hen—livers; the other is much the same as soup maigre.”— Smollett: Peregrine Pickle.
(3 syl.). The sea, or rather the salt or briny deep; the wife of Neptune.
“Triton, who boasts his high Neptunian race,
Sprung from the god by Salace's embrace.”
Camoens: Lusiad, book vi.
Days of inexperience, when persons are very green.
“My salad days.
When I was green in judgment.”
Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, i. 5.
A pen'orth of salad oil. A strapping; a castigation. It is a joke on All Fools' Day to send one to the saddler's for a “penorth of salad oil.” The pun is between “salad oil,” as above, and the French avoir de la salade, “to be flogged.” The French salader and salade are derived from the salle or saddle on which schoolboys were at one time birched. A block for the purpose used to be kept in some of our public schools. Oudin translates the phrase “Donner la salle à un escolier” by “Scopar un scolari innanzi à tutti gli altri.” (Recherches Italiennes et Francoises, part ii. 508.)
in Egyptian hieroglyphics, is a human form pinched to death with the cold. (See Undines .)
Salamander. A sort of lizard, fabled to live in fire, which, however, it quenched by the chill of its body. Pliny tells us he tried the experiment once, but the creature was soon burnt to a powder. (Natural History, x. 67; xxix. 4.) Salamanders are not uncommon, especially the spotted European kind (Greek, salamandria).
Salamander. Francois I. of France adopted as his badge “a lizard in the midst of flames,” with the legend “Nutrisco et extinguo” (“I nourish and extinguish"). The Italian motto from which this legend was borrowed was, “Nudrisco il buono e spengo il reo” (“I nourish the good and extinguish the bad"). Fire purifies good metal, but consumes rubbish. (See ante.
Salamander. Anything of a fiery—red colour. Falstaff calls Bardolph's nose “a burning lamp,” “a salamander,” and the drink that made such “a fiery meteor” he calls “fire.”
“I have maintained that salamander of yours with fire any time this two—and—thirty years.”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., iv. 3.
Asbestos, a fibrous mineral, affirmed by the Tartars to be made “of the root of a tree.” It is sometimes called “mountain flax,” and is not combustible.
The salt rations. The Romans served out rations of salt and other necessaries to their soldiers and civil servants. The rations altogether were called by the general name of salt, and when money was substituted for the rations the stipend went by the same name. (Latin, salarium, from sal, salt.)
A huge Italian sausage. Thomas, Duke of Genoa, a boy of Harrow school, was so called, when he was thrust forward by General Prim as an “inflated candidate” for the Spanish throne.
Sale by the Candle
A species of auction. An inch of candle being lighted, he who made the bid as the candle gave its expiring wink was declared the buyer; sometimes a pin is stuck in a candle, and the last bidder before the pin falls out is the buyer.
is Jireh—Salem, or Jerusalem.
“Melchisedec, King of Salem ... being by interpretation ... King of peace.”— Hebrews vii. 1, 2.
The law so called is one chapter of the Salian code regarding succession to salic lands, which was limited to heirs male to the exclusion of females, chiefly because certain military duties were connected with the holding of those lands. In the fourteenth century females were excluded from the throne of France by the application of the Salic law to the succession of the crown.
“Which Salique, as I said, twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany called Meisen.”
Shakespeare: Henry V., i. 2.
Philippe VI. of France, in order to raise money, exacted a tax on salt, called Gabelle, which was most unpopular and most unjustly levied. Edward III. called this iniquitous tax “Philippe's Salic law.” (Latin, sal, salt.)
(The). A college of twelve priests of Mars instituted by Numa. The tale is that a shield fell from heaven, and the nymph Egeria predicted that wherever that shield was preserved the people would be the dominant people of the earth. To prevent the shield from being surreptitiously taken away, Numa had eleven others made exactly like it, and appointed twelve priests for guardians. Every year these young patricians promenaded the city, singing and dancing, and they finished the day with a most sumptuous banquet, insomuch that saliares coena became proverbial for a most sumptuous feast. The word “saliens” means dancing.
“Nunc est bibendum ...
... nunc Saliaribus
Ornare pulvinar Deorum
Tempus erat dapibus.”
Horace: 1 Odes, xxxvii. 2—4.
in fortification, are those angles in a rampart which point outwards towards the country; those which point inwards towards the place fortified are called “re—entering angles.”
Begun in 1220, and finished in 1258; noted for having the loftiest spire in the United Kingdom. It is 400 feet high, or thirty feet higher than the dome of St. Paul's.
Rocks near Edinburgh; so called from the Earl of Salisbury, who accompanied Edward III. on an expedition against the Scots.
A seaport on the west coast of Morocco. The inhabitants were formerly notorious for their piracy.
Sallust of France
César Vichard, Abbé de St. Réal; so called by Voltaire. (1639—1692.)
Saddle. (Latin, sella; French, selle.)
“The horse ... stopped his course by degrees, and went with his rider ... into a pond to drink; and there sat his lordship upon the sally.”— Lives of the Norths.
“Vaulting ambition ... o'erleaps its sell,
And falls o' the other ...”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, i. 7.
A tea—cake; so called from Sally Lunn, the pastrycook of Bath, who used to cry them about in a basket at the close of the eighteenth century. Dalmer, the baker, bought her recipe, and made a song about the buns.
The postern in fortifications. It is a small door or port whence troops may issue unseen to make sallies, etc. (Latin, salio, to leap.)
A fountain of Caria, which rendered effeminate all those who bathed therein. It was in this fountain that Hermaphroditus changed his sex. (Ovid: Metamorphoses, iv. 285, and xvi. 319.)
“Thy moist limbs melted into Salmacis.”
A mixture of minced veal, chicken, or turkey, anchovies or pickled herrings, and onions, all chopped together, and served with lemon—juice and oil; said to be so called from Salmagondi, one of the ladies attached to the suite of Mary de Medicis, wife of Henri IV. of France. She either invented the dish or was so fond of it that it went by her name.
Salmon (Latin, salmo, to leap). The leaping fish.
as food for servants. At one time apprentices and servants stipulated that they should not be obliged to feed on salmon more than five days in a week. Salmon was one penny a pound.
“A large boiled salmon would now—a—days have indicated most liberal housekeeping; but at that period salmon was caught in such plenty (1679) ... that, instead of being accounted a delicacy, it was generally applied to feed the servants, who are said sometimes to have stipulated that they should not be required to eat food so luscious and surfeiting ... above five times a week.”— Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap. vii.
(3 syl.). A king of Elis, noted for his arrogancè and impiety. He wished to be called a god, and to receive divine honour from his subjects. To imitate Jove's thunder he used to drive his chariot over a brazen bridge, and darted burning torches on every side to imitate lightning, for which impiety the king of gods and men hurled a thunder—bolt at him, and sent him to the infernal regions.
A fountain in Paradise. (Al Koran, xxvi.)
“Mahomet was taking his afternoon nap in his Paradise. A houri had rolled a cloud under his head, and he was snoring serenely near the fountain of Salsabil.”— Croquemitaine, ii. 8.
Flavour, smack. The salt of youth is that vigour and strong passion which then predominates. Shakespeare uses the term on several occasions for strong amorous passion. Thus Iago refers to it as “hot as monkeys, salt as wolves in pride” (Othello, iii. 3). The Duke calls Angelo's base passion his “salt imagination,” because he supposed his victim to be Isabella, and not his betrothed wife whom the Duke forced him to marry. (Measure for Measure, v. 1.)
“Though we are justices, and doctors, and churchmen, Master Page, we have some salt of our youth in us.”— Merry Wives of Windsor, ii. 3.
Spilling salt was held to be an unlucky omen by the Romans, and the superstition has descended to ourselves. In Leonardo da Vinci's famous picture of the Lord's Supper, Judas Iscariot is known by the
salt—cellar knocked over accidentally by his arm. Salt was used in sacrifice by the Jews, as well as by the Greeks and Romans; and it is still used in baptism by the Roman Catholic clergy. It was an emblem of purity and the sanctifying influence of a holy life on others. Hence our Lord tells His disciples they are “the salt of the earth.” Spilling the salt after it was placed on the head of the victim was a bad omen, hence the superstition.
A covenant of salt (Numbers xviii. 19). A covenant which could not be broken. As salt was a symbol of incorruption, it, of course, symbolised perpetuity.
“The Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom ... to David ... by a covenant of salt.”— 2 Chronicles xiii. 5.
Cum grano salis. With great limitation; with its grain of salt, or truth. As salt is sparingly used in condiments, so is truth in the remark just made.
He won't earn salt for his porridge. He will never earn a penny.
Not worth one's salt. Not worth the expense of the food he eats. To eat a man's salt. To partake of his hospitality. Among the Arabs to eat a man's salt was a sacred bond between the host and guest. No one who has eaten of another's salt should speak ill of him or do him an ill turn.
“One does not eat a man's salt ... at these dinners. There is nothing sacred in ... London hospitality.”— Thackeray.
To sit above the salt— in a place of distinction. Formerly the family saler (salt cellar) was of massive silver, and placed in the middle of the table. Persons of distinction sat above the “saler”— i.e. between it and the head of the table; dependents and inferior guests sat below.
“We took him up above the salt and made much of him.”— Kingsley: Westward Ho / chap. xv.
True to his salt. Faithful to his employers. Here salt means salary or interests. (See above, To eat a man's salt.
“M. Waddington owes his fortune and his consideration to his father's adopted country [France], and he is true to his salt.”— Newspaper paragraph, March 6, 1893.
A sailor, especially an old sailor; e.g. an old salt.
or Bitter Bread. The bread of affiction or humiliation. Bread too salt is both disagreeable to the taste and indigestible.
“Learning how hard it is to get back when once exiled, and how salt is the bread of others.”— Mrs. Oliphant: Makers of Florence, p. 85.
(A). A table salt—stand. (French, salière; Latin, salarium.)
(Eton). The mound at Eton where the Eton scholars used to collect money from the visitors on Montem day. The mound is still called Salt Hill, and the money given was called salt. The word salt is similar to the Latin salarium (salary), the pay given to Roman soldiers and civil officers. (See Montem, Salary .)
Cakes of salt are still used for money in A byssinia and Thibet.
(See Junk .)
It has been stated that three buckets of this water will yield one of solid salt. This cannot be true, as water will not hold in solution more than twenty—five per cent. of saline matter. The Mormons engaged in procuring it state that they obtain one bucket of salt for every five buckets of water. (Quebec Morning Chronicle.)
An attempt to monopolise the sale of salt by a ring or company which bought up some of the largest of our salt—mines.
To row up Salt River. A defeated political party is said to be rowed up Salt River, and those who attempt to uphold the party have the task of rowing up this ungracious stream. J. Inman says the allusion is to a small stream in Kentucky, the passage of which is rendered both difficult and dangerous by shallows, bars, and an extremely tortuous channel.
Salt an Invoice
(To) is to put the extreme value upon each article, and even something more, to give it piquancy and raise its market value, according to the maxim, sal sapit omnia. The French have the same expression: as “Vendre bien salé” (to sell very dear); “it Il me l'a bien salé” (He charged me an exorbitant price); and generally it saler is to pigeon one.
Salt in Beer In Scotland it was customary to throw a handful of salt on the top of the mash to keep the witches from it. Salt really has the effect of moderating the fermentation and fining the liquor.
Salt in a Coffin
It is still not uncommon to put salt into a coffin, and Moresin tells us the reason; Satan hates salt, because it is the symbol of incorruption and immortality. (Papatus, p. 154.)
Salt Losing its Savour
“If salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” If men fall from grace, how shall they be restored? The reference is to rock—salt, which loses its saltness if exposed to the hot sun.
“Along one side of the Valley of Salt (that towards Gibul) there is a small precipice about two men's lengths, occasioned by taking away of the salt. I broke a piece off that was exposed to the sun, rain, and air; though it had the sparks and particles of salt, yet it had perfectly lost its savour. The inner part, however, retained its saltness.”— Maundrel, quoted by Dr. Adam Clarke.
Salt on His Tail
(Lay). Catch or apprehend him. The phrase is based on the direction given to small children to lay salt on a bird's tail if they want to catch it.
“His intelligence is so good, that were you to come near him with soldiers or constables, ... I shall answer for it you will never lay salt on his tail.”— Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet. chap. xi.
“le fils de la Folie et de Pulcinello.” A supposititious Italian dancer, sent to amuse Bettina in the court of the Grand Duke Laurent. Bettina was a servant on a farm, in love with the shepherd Pippo. But when she was taken to court and made a countess, Pippo was forbidden to approach her. Bettina languished, and to amuse her a troop of Italian dancers was sent for, of which Saltarello was the leader. He soon made himself known to Bettina, and married her. Bettina was a “mascotte” (q.v.), but, as the children of mascottes are mascottes also, the prince became reconciled with the promise that he should be allowed to adopt her first child. (La Mascotte.)
Hence a Saltarello is an assumed covert to bring about a forbidden marriage and hoodwink those who forbade it.
(French, saltpetre), sel de pierre, parcequ'il forme des efflorescences salines sur les murs. (Bouillet: Dict. des Sciences.)
(2 syl.). According to tradition, on the triumphant return of Maximilian to Germany, after his second campaign, the town of Augsburg ordered 100 rounds of cannon to be discharged. The officer on service, fearing to have fallen short of the number, caused an extra round to be added. The town of Nuremberg ordered a like salute, and the custom became established.
Salute, in the British navy, between two ships of equal rank, is made by firing an equal number of guns. If the vessels are of unequal rank, the superior fires the fewer rounds.
Royal salute, in the British navy, consists (1) in firing twenty—one great guns, (2) in the officers lowering their sword—points, and (3) in dipping the colours.
Shaking hands. A relic of the ancient custom of adversaries, in treating of a truce, taking hold of the weapon—hand to ensure against treachery.
Lady's curtsey. A relic of the ancient custom of women going on the knee to men of rank and power, originally to beg mercy, afterwards to acknowledge superiority.
Taking off the hat. A relic of the ancient custom of taking off the helmet when no danger is nigh. A man takes off his hat to show that he dares stand unarmed in your presence.
Discharging guns as a salute. To show that no fear exists, and therefore no guns will be required. This is like “burying the hatchet” (q.v.).
Presenting arms— i.e. offering to give them up, from the full persuasion of the peaceful and friendly disposition of the person so honoured.
Lowering swords. To express a willingness to put yourself unarmed in the power of the person saluted, from a full persuasion of his friendly feeling.
(1 syl.) is the Latin salvia (sage), one of the most efficient of mediæval remedies.
“To other woundes, and to broken armes.
Some hadde salve, and some hadde charmes.”
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales, line 2,715.
Salve. To flatter, to wheedle. The allusion is to salving a wound.
(2 syl.). Latin “hail,” “welcome.” The word is often woven on door—mats.
Uncle Sam. The United States Government. Mr. Frost tells us that the inspectors of Elbert Anderson's store on the Hudson were Ebenezer Wilson and his uncle Samuel Wilson, the latter of whom superintended in person the workmen, and went by the name of “Uncle Sam.” The stores were marked E.A.— U.S. (Elbert Anderson, United States). and one of the employers, being asked the meaning, said U.S. stood for “Uncle Sam.” The joke took, and in the War of Independence the men carried it with them, and it became stereotyped.
To stand Sam. To be made to pay the reckoning. This is an Americanism, and arose from the letters U.S. on the knapsacks of the soldiers. The government of Uncle Sam has to pay, or “stand Sam” for all. (See above.
Servant of Mr. Pickwick, famous for his metaphors. He is meant to impersonate the wit, shrewdness, quaint humour, and best qualities of London low life. (Charles Dickens: Pickwick Papers.)
The prince of demons, who, in the guise of a serpent, tempted Eve; also called the angel of death. (Jewish demonology.)
(3 syl.). A dynasty of ten kings in Western Persia (902—1004), founded by Ismail al Samani.
according to 1 Kings xvi. 24, means the hill of Shemer. Omri “bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of [his] city ... after the name of Shemer ... Samaria.” (B.C. 925.)
A good Samaritan. A philanthropist, one who attends upon the poor to aid them and give them relief. (Luke x. 30—37.)
A pet name given to anyone of the negro race. The term is properly applied to the male offspring of a negro and mulatto, the female offspring being called Zamba. (Spanish, zambo, bowlegged; Latin, scambus.)
(French). Saturday. A contraction of Saturni—dies. In French, m and n are interchangeable, whence Saturne is changed to Saturme, and contracted into Same. M. Masson, in his French etymologies, says it is Sabbati dies, but this cannot be correct. MARDI is Martis—dies, VENDREDI is Veneris dies, JEUDI is Jovis—dies, etc. (The day of Saturn, Mars, Venus, Jove, etc.)
The Samian poet. Simonides the satirist, born at Samos.
(The). The letter Y, used by Pythagoras as an emblem of the straight narrow path of virtue, which is one, but, if once deviated from, the farther the lines are extended the wider becomes the breach.
“When reason doubtful, like the Samian letter,
Points him two ways, the narrower the better.” Dunciad, iv.
(The). Pythagoras born at Samos; sometimes called “the Samian.” (Sixth century B.C.)
In this late age, adventurous to have touched
Light on the numbers of the Samian sage.”
A seraph, who fell in love with Aholibamah, a granddaughter of Cain, and when the flood came, carried her under his wing to some other planet. (Byron: Heaven and Earth.)
the Black Huntsman of the Wolf's Glen. A satanic spirit, who gave to a marksman who entered into compact with him seven balls, six of which were to hit infallibly whatever was aimed at, but the seventh was to deceive. The person who made this compact was termed Der Freischutz. (Weber: Der Freischutz, libretto by Kind.)
or Simoom'. A hot suffocating wind that blows occasionally in Africa and Arabia. (Arabic, samma, suffocatingly hot.)
“Burning and beadlong as the Samiel wind.”
Thomas Moore: Lalla Rookh, pt. i.
The chief of evil spirits, who is for ever gnashing his teeth over the damned. Next to him is Ashmedai (Asmodeus). (Cabalists. )
The south wind of Persia, which so softens the strings of lutes, that they can never be tuned while it lasts. (Stephen: Persia.)
“Like the wind of the south o'er a summer lute blowing,
Hushed all its music, and withered its frame.”
Thomas Moore The Fire Worshippers.
Lucian of Samosata. (Properly Samos'a—tan.)
(The). A kind of exaggerated “Cock Lane ghost” (q.v. ), which “haunted” Sampford Peverell for about three years in the first decade of the 19th century. The house selected was occupied by a man named Chave, and besides the usual knockings, the inmates were beaten; in one instance a powerful “unattached
arm” flung a folio Greek Testament from a bed into the middle of a room. The Rev. Charles Caled Colton (credited as the author of these freaks) offered 100 to anyone who could explain the matter except on supernatural grounds. No one, however, claimed the reward. Colton died 1832.
A Greek numeral. (See Episemon .)
A pattern, A piece of fancy—sewed or embroidered work done by girls for practice.
A dominie Sampson. A humble pedantic scholar, awkward, irascible, and very old—fashioned. The character occurs in Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering.
Any man of unusual strength; so called from the Judge of Israel.
The British Samson. Thomas Topham, son of a London carpenter. He lifted three hogsheads of water, weighing 1,836 pounds, in the presence of thousands of spectators assembled in Bath Street, Coldbath Fields, May 28th, 1741. Being plagued by a faithless woman, he put an end to his life in the flower of his age.
The Kentish Samson. Richard Joy, who died 1742, at the age of 67. His tombstone is in St. Peter's
churchyard, Isle of Thanet.
(See Don Quixote, pt. ii. bk. i. chap. iv.)
(The). The vest of penitence. It was a coarse yellow tunic worn by persons condemned to death by the Inquisition on their way to the auto da fé; it was painted over with flames, demons, etc. In the case of those who expressed repentance for their errors, the flames were directed downwards. Penitents who had been taken before the Inquisition had to wear this badge for a stated period. Those worn by Jews, sorcerers, and renegades bore a St. Andrew's cross in red on back and front.
A mountain in Granada, seen by ships arriving from the African coast; so called because colossal images of St. Christopher were erected in places of danger, from the superstitious notion that whoever cast his eye on the gigantic saint would be free from peril for the whole day.
Same as “Sanctus—bell.” (See Sacring—Bell .)
Daughter of Garcias, King of Navare, and wife of Fernan Gonsalez of Castile. She twice saved the life of the count her husband, once on his road to Navarre, being waylaid by personal enemies and cast into a dungeon, she liberated him by bribing the gaoler. The next time was when Fernan was waylaid and held prisoner at Leon. On this occasion she effected his escape by changing clothes with him.
The tale resembles that of the Countess of Nithsdale, who effected the escape of her husband from the Tower on February 23rd, 1715; and that of the Countess de Lavalette, who, in 1815, liberated the count her husband from prison by changing clothes with him.
the squire of Don Quixote, was governor of Barataria, according to Cervantes. He is described as a short, pot—bellied rustic, full of common sense, but without a grain of “spirituality.” He rode upon an ass, Dapple, and was famous for his proverbs. Panza, in Spanish, means paunch.
A Sancho Panza. A justice of the peace. In allusion to Sancho, as judge in the isle of Barataria. Sancho Panza's wife, called Terea, pt. ii. i. 5; Maria, pt. ii. iv. 7; Juaa, pt. i. 7; and Joan, pt. i. 21. Sancho. The model painting of this squire is Leslie's Sancho and the Duchess.
A forgery of the nine books of this “author” was printed at Bremen in 1837 The “original” was said to have been discovered in the convent of St. Maria de Merinhâo by Colonel Pereira, a Portuguese; but it was soon discovered (1) that no such convent existed, (2) that there was no colonel in the Portuguese service of the name, and (3) that the paper of the MS. displayed the water—mark of an Osnabrück paper—mill. (See Richard Of Cirencester .)
A private room into which no one uninvited enters. The reference is to the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple, a small chamber into which none but the high priest might enter, and that only
on the Great Day of Atonement. A man's private house is his sanctuary; his own special private room in that house is the sanctuary of the sanctuary, or the sanctum sanctorum.
So called from Nicholas de Harlay, Sieur de Sancy, who bought it for 70,000 francs (25,000. Louis XV. wore it at his coronation, but during the Revolution it was again sold. Napoleon in his high and palmy days bought it, but it was sold in 1835 to Prince Paul Demidoff for 80,000. The prince sold it in 1830 to
M. Levrat, administrator of the Mining Society, who was to pay for it in four instalments; but his failing to fulfil his engagement became, in 1832, the subject of a lawsuit, which was given in favour of the prince. We next hear of it in Bombay; and in 1867 it was transmitted to England by the firm of Forbes & Co. It now belongs to the Czar.
(George). The nom de plume of Madame Dudevant, a French authoress, assumed out of attachment to Jules Sand or Sandeau, a young student, in conjunction with whom she published her first novel, Rose et Blanche, under the name of “Jules Sand.” (1804—1876.)
A rope of sand. Something nominally effective and strong, but in reality worthless and untrustworthy.
My sand of life is almost run. The allusion is to the hour—glass.
“Alas! dread lord, you see the case wherein I stand, and how little sand is left to run in my poor glass.”— Reynard the Fox, iv
Virtually blind, but not wholly so, what the French call ber—lue; our parblind. (Old English suffix sam, half; or Old High German sand, virtually.) It is only fit for a Launcelot Gobbo to derive it from sand, a sort of earth.
“This is my true—begotten father, who, being more than sand—blind, high—gravel blind, knows me not.”— Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, ii. 2.
Sand—man is about
Dustman has arrived. (The), or “The sandman is about.” It is bedtime, for the children rub their eyes, as if dust or sand was in them.
Footprints on the sands of Time (Longfellow: Psalm of Life). This beautiful expression was probably suggested by a letter of the First Napoleon to his Minister of the Interior respecting the poor—laws:— “It is melancholy [he says] to see time passing away without being put to its full value. Surely in a matter of this kind we should endeavour to do something, that we may say that we have not lived in vain, that we may leave some impress of our lives on the sands of Time.”
To number sands. To undertake an endless or impossible task.
“Alas! poor duke, the task he undertakes
Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry.”
Shakespeare: Richard II., ii. 2.
An Arabian writer, celebrated for his Parables. He lived about a century before the Christian era.
A man without sandals. A prodigal; so called by the ancient Jews, because the seller gave his sandals to the buyer as a ratification of his bargain. (Ruth iv. 7.)
Sandals of Theramenes
(4 syl.), which would fit any foot. Theramenes, one of the Athenian oligarchy, was nicknamed “the trimmer” (cothurnus, a sandal or boot which might be worn on either foot), because no dependence could be placed on him. He blew hot and cold with the same breath. The proverb is applied to a trimmer.
Sandalphon One of the three angels who receive the prayers of the Israelites, and weave crowns for them. (Longfellow.)
A corruption of Santalwood, a plant of the genus Santalum and natural order Santalaceae.
Wynants, a Dutch artist, is famous for his homely pictures, where sandbanks form a most striking feature.
or Glassites. A religious party expelled from the Church of Scotland for maintaining that national churches, being “kingdoms of this world,” are unlawful. Called Glassites from John Glass, the founder (1728), and called Sandemanians from Robert Sandeman, who published a series of letters on the subject in 1755.
[sandy—den]. The great palace of King Lion, in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
Sandford and Merton
Thomas Day's tale so called.
One of the Seljuke Sultans of Persia; so called from the place of his birth. Generally considered the Persian Alexander. (1117—1158.)
or Sandschaki—sherif [the standard of green silk ]. The sacred banner of the Mussulmans. It is now enveloped in four coverings of green taffeta, enclosed in a case of green cloth. The standard is twelve feet high, and the golden ornament (a closed hand) which surmounts it holds a copy of the Koran written by the Calif Osman III. In times of peace this banner is guarded in the hall of the “noble vestment,” as the dress worn by “the prophet” is styled. In the same hall are preserved the sacred teeth, the holy beard, the sacred stirrup, the sabre, and the bow of Mahomet.
A piece of meat between two slices of bread; so called from the Earl of Sandwich (the noted “Jemmy Twitcher"), who passed whole days in gambling, bidding the waiter bring him for refreshment a piece of meat between two pieces of bread, which he ate without stopping from play. This contrivance was not first hit upon by the earl in the reign of George III., as the Romans were very fond of “sandwiches,” called by them offula.
(A). A perambulating advertisement displayer, with an advertisement board before and behind.
“The Earl of Shaftesbury desired to say a word on behalf of a very respectable body of men, ordinarily called `sandwiches.' ”— The Times, March 16th, 1867.
Of high aristocratic descent. The words are French, and mean blue blood, but the notion is Spanish. The old families of Spain who trace their pedigree beyond the time of the Moorish conquest say that their venous blood is blue, but that of common people is black.
(French, “cool blood"), meaning indifference, without temper or irritation.
A West Indian drink, consisting of Madeira wine, syrup, water, and nutmeg.
(3 syl.). Braggadochio's sword. (Spenser Faërie Queene.)
(Sir). Meant for Shan O'Neil, leader of the Irish insurgents in 1567. (Spenser : Faërie Queene, v.)
Sanglier des Ardennes. Guillaume de la Marck, driven from Lièe, for the murder of the Bishop of Lièe, and beheaded by the Archduke Maximilian. (1446—1485.)
(Dr.), in the romance of Gil Blas, prescribes warm water and bleeding for every ailment. The character is a satire on Helvetius. (Book ii. 2.)
“If the Sangrados were ignorant, there was at any rate more to spare in the veins then than there is now.”— Daily Telegraph.
The vessel from which our Saviour drank at the Last Supper, and which (as it is said) was afterwards filled by Joseph of Arimathe'a with the blood that flowed from His wounds. This blood was reported to have the power of prolonging life and preserving chastity. The quest of this cup forms the most fertile source of adventures to the knights of the Round Table. The story of the Sangreal or Sangraal was first written in verse by Chrestien de Troyes (end of the tenth century), thence Latinised (thirteenth century), and finally turned into French prose by Gautier Map, by “order of Lord Henry” (Henry III.). It commences with the genealogy of our Saviour, and details the whole Gospel history; but the prose romance begins with Joseph of Arimathe'a. Its quest is continued in Percival, a romance of the fifteenth century, which gives the adventures of a young Welshman, raw and inexperienced, but admitted to knighthood. At his death the sangreal, the sacred lance, and the silver trencher were carried up to heaven in the presence of attendants, and have never since been seen on earth.
Tennyson has a poem entitled The Holy Grail.
Sanguine [murrey ]. One of the nine colours used by foreign heralds in escutcheons. It is expressed by lines of vert and purpure crossed, that is, diagonals from right to left crossing diagonals from left to right. (See Tenne .)
Tenné and Sanguine are not used by English heralds. (See Heralds.)
(A). A sheep's head not singed. A jemmy is a sheep's head; so called from James I., who introduced into England the national Scotch dish of “singed sheep's head and trotters.” No real Scotch dinner is complete without a haggis, a sheep's head and trotters, and a hotch—potch (in summer), or cocky leekie (in winter).
A cocky leekie is a fowl boiled or stewed with leeks or kale— i.e. salt beef and curly greens. Gimmer (a sheep) cannot be the origin of Jemmy, as the G is always soft.
The Jewish Sanhedrim probably took its form from the seventy elders appointed to assist Moses in the government. After the captivity it seems to have been a permanent consistory court. The president was called “Ha Nasi” (the prince), and the vice—president “Abba” (father). The seventy sat in a semicircle,
thirty—five on each side of the president; the “father” being on his right hand, and the “hacan,” or sub—deputy, on his left. All questions of the “Law” were dogmatically settled by the Sanhedrim, and those who refused obedience were excommunicated. (Greek, sunedrion, a sitting together.)
Sanhedrim, in Dryden's satire of Absalom and Achitophel, stands for the British Parliament.
“The Sanhedrim long time as chief he ruled,
Their reason guided, and their passion cooled.
The flag of the prophet. (Turkish, sanjak, a standard.)
(French, without trousers). A name given by the aristocratic section during the French Revolution to the popular party, the favourite leader of which was Henriot. (1793.)
The five complementary days added to the twelve months of the Revolutionary Calendar. Each month being made to consist of thirty days, the riff—raff days which would not conform to the law were named in honour of the sans culottes, and made idle days or holidays.
sans—culottism. Red republicanism.
Sans Peur et Sans Reproche
Pierre du Terrail, Chevalier de Bayard, was called Le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche. (1476—1524.)
(French). Free and easy, void of care. There is a place so called near Potsdam, where Frederick II. (the Great) built a royal palace.
Enfans Sans Souci. The Tradesmen's company of actors, as opposed to the Lawyers', called “Basochians” (q.v.). This company was organised in France in the reign of Charles VIII., for the performance of short comedies, in which public characters and the manners of the day were turned into ridicule. The manager of the “Care—for—Nothings” (sans souci) was called “The Prince of Fools.” One of their dramatic pieces, entitled Master Pierre Pathelin, was an immense favourite with the Parisians.
The ten essential rites of Hindus of the first three castes. (1) at the conception of a child; (2) at the quickening; (3) at birth; (4) at naming; (5) carrying the child out to see the moon; (6) giving him food to eat;
(7) the ceremony of tonsure; (8) investiture with the string; (9) the close of his studies; (10) the ceremony of “marriage,” when he is qualified to perform the sacrifices ordained
[Infidelity ]. A Saracen “who cared for neither God nor man,” encountered by St. George and slain. (Spenser Faërie Queene, book i. 2.)
Sansjoy [Without the peace of God ]. Brother of Sansfoy (Infidelity) and Sansloy (Without the law of God). He is a paynim knight, who fights with St. George in the palace grounds of Pride, and would have been slain if Duessa had not rescued him. He is carried in the car of Night to the infernal regions, where he is healed of his wounds by Esculapius. (Spenser. Faërie Queene, book i. 4, 5.)
[Irreligion ], brother of Sansfoy (q.v.). Having torn off the disguise of Archimago and wounded the lion, he carries off Una into the wilderness. Her shrieks arouse the fauns and satyrs, who come to her rescue, and Sansloy flees. Una is Truth, and, being without Holiness (the Red—Cross Knight), is deceived by Hypocrisy. As soon as Truth joins Hypocrisy, instead of Holiness, Irreligion breaks in and carries her away. The reference is to the reign of Queen Mary, when the Reformation was carried captive, and the lion was wounded by the “False—law of God.” (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book i. 2.)
In book ii. Sansloy appears again as the cavalier of Perissa or Prodigality.
(in Orlando Furioso). A Christian regent of Mecca, vicegerent of Charlemagne.
(Italian, the holy house). The reputed house in which the Virgin Mary lived at Nazareth, miraculously translated to Fiume, in Dalmatia, in 1291, thence to Recanati in 1294, and finally to Macerata, in Italy, to a piece of land belonging to the Lady Loretto
or Santa Klaus. A corrupt contraction of Sankt Nikolaus (Sankni kolaus— i.e. St. Nicolas), the patron saint of children. The vigil of his feast is still held in some places, but for the most part his name is now associated with Christmas—tide. The old custom used to be for someone, on December 5th, to assume the costume of a bishop and distribute small gifts to “good children.” The present custom is to put toys and other little presents into a stocking or pillow—case late on Christmas Eve, when the children are asleep, and when they wake on Christmas morn each child finds in the stocking or bag hung at the bedside the gift sent by Santa Claus. St. Nicholas' day is December 6. The Dutch Kriss Kringle.
The girdle worn by Grecian women, whether married or not. The bridegroom loosed the bride's girdle, whence “to loose the girdle” came to mean to deflower a woman, and a prostitute was called “a woman whose girdle is unloosed"
A Greek and Latin metre, so named from Sappho, the inventor. Horace always writes this metre in
four—line stanzas, the last being an Adonic. There must be a caesura at the fifth foot of each of the first three lines, which runs thus:—
The Adonic is—
The first and third stanzas of the famous Ode of Horace (i. 22) may be translated thus, preserving the metre:—
He of sound life, who ne'er with sinners wendeth, Needs no Maurish bow, such as malice bendeth, Nor with poisoned darts life from harm defendeth,
Fuscus believe me. Once I, unarmed, was in a forest roaming, Singing love lays, when i' the secret gloaming Rushed a huge wolf, which, though in fury foaming,
Did not aggrieve me. E.C.B.
Sappho of Toulouse
Clémence Isaure (2 syl.), a wealthy lady of Toulouse, who instituted in 1490 the “Jeux Floraux,” and left funds to defray their annual expenses. She composed a beautiful Ode to Spring. (1463—1513.)
(French, Blé—sarrasin). Buckwheat; so called because it was brought into Spain by the Moors or Saracens. (See Buckwheat .)
Ducange derives this word from Sarah (Abraham's wife); Hottinger from the Arabic saraca (to steal); Forster from sahra (a desert); but probably it is the Arabic sharakyoun or sharkeyn (the eastern people), as opposed to Magharibë (the western people— i.e. of Morocco). Any unbaptised person was called a Saracen in mediaeval romance. (Greek, Surakenos.)
“So the Arabs, or Saracens, as they are called ... gave men the choice of three things.”— E. A. Freeman: General Sketch, chap. vi. p. 117.
The Maid of Saragoza. Augustina, who was only twenty—two when, her lover being shot, she mounted the battery in his place. The French, after besieging the town for two months, had to retreat, August 15th, 1808
Wife of Brahma, and goddess of fine arts. (Hindu mythology ).
A flaying or plucking off of the skin; a cutting taunt (Greek, sarkazo, to flay, etc.)
(2 syl.). A corruption of Saracennet, from its Saracenic or Oriental origin.
Loving rebukes, as those of a mother to a young child— “You little rogue,” etc.
“The child reddened ... and hesitated, while the mother, with many a fye ... and such sarcenet chidings as tender mothers give to spoiled children ...”— Sir W. Scott: The Monastery, ii.
A stone, according to Pliny, which consumed the flesh, and was therefore chosen by the ancients for coffins. It is called sometimes lapis Assius, because it was found at Assos of Lycia. (Greek, sarx, flesh; phagein, to eat or consume.)
King of Nineveh and Assyria, noted for his luxury and voluptuousness. His effeminacy induced Arbaces, the Mede, to conspire against him. Myrra, an Ionian slave, and his favourite concubine, roused him from his lethargy, and induced him to appear at the head of his armies. He won three successive battles, but being then defeated, was induced by Myrra to place himself on a funeral pile, which she herself set fire to, and then jumping into the flames, perished with her beloved master. (Died B.C. 817.) (Byron: Sardanapalus.)
A Sardanapalus. Any luxurious, extravagant, self—willed tyrant. (See above. Sardanapalus of China. Cheo—tsin, who shut himself and his queen in his palace, and set fire to the building, that he might not fall into the hands of Woo—wong, who founded the dynasty of Tchow (B.C. 1154—1122). It was cheo—tsin who invented the chopsticks.
Laughing on the wrong side of one's mouth. The Edinburgh Review says: “The ancient Sardinians used to get rid of their old relations by throwing them into deep pits, and the sufferers were expected to feel delighted at this attention to their well—being.” (July, 1849.)
Sardonic Smile, Grin, or Laughter
A smile of contempt: so used by Homer.
“The Sardonic or Sardinian laugh. A laugh caused, it was supposed, by a plant growing in Sardinia, of which they who ate died laughing.”— Trench: Words, lecture iv. p. 176.
The Herba Sardonia (so called from Sardis, in Asia Minor) is so acrid that it produces a convulsive movement of the nerves of the face, resembling a painful grin. Byron says of the Corsair, There was a laughing devil in his sneer.
“ `Tis envy's safest, surest rule
To hide her rage in ridicule;
The vulgar eye the best begniles
When all her snakes are decked with smiles,
Sardonic smilesby rancour raised.”
Swift: Pheasant and Lork.
An orange—brown cornelian. Pliny says it is called sard from Sardis, in Asia Minor, where it is found, and onyx, the nail, because its colour resembles that of the skin under the nail (xxxvii. 6).
Guernsey Adjective, sar—man
“Sometimes ... mistakes occur in our little bits of Sarnian intelligence.”— Mrs. Edwardes: A Girton Girl. chap. iii.
A favourite of the gods, who assisted Priam when Troy was besieged by the allied Greeks. When Achilles refused to fight, Sarpedon made great havoc in battle, but was slain by Patroclos. (Homer. Iliad.)
The “Druidical” sandstones of Wiltshire and Berkshire are so called. The early Christian Saxons used the word Saresyn as a synonym of pagan or heathen, and as these stones were popularly associated with Druid worship, they were called Saresyn or heathen stones. Robert Ricart says of Duke Rollo, “He was a Saresyn come out of Denmark into France.” Another derivation is the Phoenician sarsen (a rock), applied to any huge mass of stone that has been drawn from the quarry in its rude state.
These boulders are no more connected with the Druids than Stonehenge is (q.v.).
(The Tailor Patched.) By Thomas Carlyle.
Diogenes Teufelsdröckh is Carlyle himself, and Entepfuhl is his native village of Ecclefechan. The Rose Goddess, according to Froude, is Margaret Gordon, but Strachey is Blumine, i.e. Kitty Kirkpatrick, daughter of Colonel Achilles Kirkpatrick, and Rose Garden is Strachey's garden at Shooter's Hill. The duenna is Mrs. Strachey.
The Zahdarms are Mr. and Mrs. Buller, and Toughgut is Charles Buller. Philistine is the Rev. Edward Irving.
Sash Window is a window that moves up and down in a groove. (French, chassis, a sash or groove.)
(4 syl.). The first Persian dynasty of the historic period; so named because Ardeshir, the founder, was son of Sassan, a lineal descendant of Xerxes.
(ch = k). A Keltic word for a Saxon, or for the English language.
in Hebrew, means enemy.
“To whom the Arch—enemy (And hence in heaven called Satan).”
Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. i. 81, 82.
Satan's Journey to Earth
(Milton: Paradise Lost, iii. 418 to the end). He starts from Hell, and wanders a long time about the confines of the Universe, where he sees Chaos and Limbo. The Universe is a vast extended plain, fortified by part of the ethereal quintessence out of which the stars were created. There is a gap in the fortification, through which angels pass when they visit our earth. Being weary, Satan rests awhile at this gap, and contemplates the vast Universe. He then transforms himself into an angel of light and visits Uriel, whom he finds in the Sun. He asks Uriel the way to Paradise, and Uriel points out to him our earth. Then plunging through the starry vault, the waters above the firmament, and the firmament itself, he alights safely on Mount Niphates, in Armenia.
The Satanic School. So Southey called Lord Byron and his imitators, who set at defiance the generally received notions of religion. Of English writers, Byron, Shelley, Moore, and Bulwer are the most prominent; of French writers Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Paul de Kock, and George Sand.
(2 syl.). Scaliger's derivation of this word from satyr is untenable. It is from satura (full of variety), satura lanx a hotchpotch or olla podrida. As maxumus, optumus, etc., became maximus, optimus, so “satura” became satira. (See Dryden's Dedication prefixed to his Satires.)
Father of satire. Archilochos of Paros (B.C. seventh century). Father of French satire. Mathurin Regnier (1573—1613). Father of Roman satire. Lucilius (B.C. 148—103).
“Lucilius was the man who, bravely bold,
To Roman vices did the mirror hold;
Protected humble goodness from reproach,
Showed worth on foot, and rascals in a coach.” Dryden: Art of Poetry, c. ii.
Black Saturday.August 4th, 1621; so called in Scotland, because a violent storm occurred at the very moment the Parliament was sitting to enforce episcopacy on the people.
or Kronos [Time ] devoured all his children except Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. Jupiter means air, Neptune water, and Pluto the grave. These Time cannot consume.
Saturn is a very evil planet to be born under. “The children of the sayd Saturne shall be great jangeleres and chyders ... and they will never forgyve tyll they be revenged of theyr quarell.” (Compost of Ptholomeus.
with the ancient alchemists, designated lead.
in alchemy, is a deposit of crystallised lead, massed together in the form of a “tree.” It is produced by a shaving of zinc in a solution of the acetate of lead. In alchemy Saturn = lead. (See Diana's Tree.)
Saturnalia A time of licensed disorder and misrule. With the Romans it was the festival of Saturn, and was celebrated the 17th, 18th, and 19th of December. During its continuance no public business could be transacted, the law courts were closed, the schools kept holiday, no war could be commenced, and no malefactor punished. Under the empire the festival was extended to seven days.
Days of dulness, when everything is venal.
“Then rose the seed of Chaos and of Night
To blot oat order and extinguish light,
Of dull and venal a new world to mould,
And bring Saturnian days of lead and gold.”
They are lead to indicate dulness, and gold to indicate venality.
Old—fashioned. A rude composition employed in satire among the ancient Romans. Also a peculiar metre, consisting of three iambics and a syllable over, joined to three trochees, according to the following nursery metre:—
“The queen was in the par—lour ...
The maids were in the garden ...”
“The Fescennine and Saturnian were the same, for as they were called Saturnian from their ancientness, when Saturn reigned in Italy, they were called Fescennine from Fescennina [sic
], where they were first practised.”— Dryden: Dedication of Juvenal.
(3 syl.). A grave, phlegmatic disposition, dull and heavy. Astrologers affirm that such is the disposition of those who are born under the influence of the leaden planet Saturn.
The most famous representation of these goat—men is that of Praxiteles, a sculptor of Athens in the fourth century B.C.
(3 syl.). A blunt but noble knight who delivered Una from the fauns and satyrs. The meaning is this: Truth, being driven from the towns and cities, took refuge in caves and dens, where for a time it lay concealed. At length Sir Satyrane (Luther) rescues Una from bondage; but no sooner is this the case than she falls in with Archimago, to show how very difficult it was at the Reformation to separate Truth from Error.
(Spenser: Faërie Queene, bk. i.)
Sauce means “salted food,” for giving a relish to meat, as pickled roots, herbs, and so on. (Latin, salsus.)
The sauce was better than the fish. The accessories were better than the main part. This may be said of a book in which the plates and getting up are better than the matter it contains.
To serve the same sauce. To retaliate; to give as good as you take; to serve in the same manner.
“After him another came unto her, and served her with the same sauce; then a third ...”— The Man in the Moon, etc. (1609).
(To). To intermix.
“Then she fell to sauce her desires with threatenings.”— Sidney.
“Folly sauced with discretion.”— Shakespeare: Troilus and Cressida, i. 2.
Sauce to the Goose is Sauce to the Gander
(See Gander .)
Big, round, glaring eyes.
“Yet when a child (bless me!) I thought
That thou a pair of horns had'st got,
With eyes like saucers staring.”
Peter Pindar: Ode to the Devil.
When a Chinese is put in the witness—box, he says: “If I do not speak the truth may my soul be cracked and broken like this saucer.” So saying, he dashes the saucer on the ground. The Roman Catholic imprecation, known as “Bell, Book, and Candle” (q.v.), and the Jewish marriage custom of breaking a wine—glass, are of a similar character.
Rakish, irresistible; or rather that care—for—nobody, jaunty, daring behaviour which has won for many of our regiments the term as a compliment. It is also applied metaphorically to some inanimate things, as
“saucy waves,” which dare attack the very moon; the “saucy world,” which dares defy the very gods; the
“saucy mountains,” “winds,” “wit,” and so on.
“But still the little petrel was saucy as the waves.”
Eliza Cook: The Young Marimers stanza 7.
in Dryden's satire of Absalom and Achitophel, is meant for Oliver Cromwell. As Saul persecuted David and drove him from Jerusalem, so Cromwell persecuted Charles II. and drove him from England.
“They who, when Saul was dead, without a blow Made foolish Ishbosheth [Richard Cromwell] the crown forego.” Part i. lines 57, 58.
Saul among the prophets? The Jews said of our Lord, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John vii. 15.) Similarly at the conversion of Saul, afterwards called Paul, the Jews said in substance, “Is it possible that Saul can be a convert?” (Acts ix. 21.) The proverb applies to a person who unexpectedly bears tribute to a party or doctrine that he has hitherto vigorously assailed. (1 Sam. x. 12.)
Saut Lairds o' Dunscore
(The). Lords or gentlefolk who have only a name but no money. The tale is that the “puir wee lairds of Dunscore” clubbed together to buy a stone of salt, which was doled out to the subscribers in small spoonfuls, that no one should get more than his due quota.
Savage (2 syl.). One who lives in a wood (Greek, hule, a forest; Latin, silva; Spanish, salvage; Italian, selvaggio; French, sauvage).
To save appearances. To do something to obviate or prevent exposure or embarrassment.
Save the Mark
In archery when an archer shot well it was customary to cry out “God save the mark!”— i.e. prevent anyone coming after to hit the same mark and displace my arrow. Ironically it is said to a novice whose arrow is nowhere.
God save the mark! (1 Henry IV., i. 3). Hotspur, apologising to the king for not sending the prisoners according to command, says the messenger was a “popinjay,” who made him mad with his unmanly ways, and who talked “like a waiting gentlewoman of guns, drums, and wounds (God save the mark!)”— meaning that he himself had been in the brunt of battle, and it would be sad indeed if “his mark” was displaced by this court butterfly. It was an ejaculation of derision and contempt.
So (in Othello, i. 1) Iago says he was “his Moorship's ancient; bless the mark!” expressive of derision and contempt.
In like manner (in The Merchant of Venice, ii. 2), Launcelot Gobbo says his master [Shylock] is a kind of devil, “God bless the mark!”
So (in The Ring and the Book) Browning says:
“Deny myself [to] pleasure you,
The sacred and superior. Save the mark!”
The Observer (Oct. 26, 1894) speaks of “the comic operas (save the mark!) that have lately been before us.” An ejaculation of derision and contempt.
And Mr. Chamberlain (in his speech, September 5th, 1894) says:
“The policy of this government, which calls itself (God save the mark!) an English government ...”
Sometimes it refers simply to the perverted natural order of things, as “travelling by night and resting (save the mark!) by day.” (U. S. Magazine, October, 1894.)
And sometimes it is an ejaculated prayer to avert the ill omen of an observation, as (in Romeo and Juliet) where the nurse says:
“I saw the wonud, I saw it with mine eyes (God save the mark!) upon his manly breast.”
(French). Ready wit; skill in getting out of a scrape; hence “Vivre de son savoir—faire,” to live by one's wits; “Avoir du savoir—faire,” to be up to snuff, to know a thing or two.
“He had great confidence in his savoir—faire.”— Sir W. Scott: Guy Mannering, chap. xxxiv.
(The). A precinct of the Strand, London, noted for the palace of Savoy, originally the seat of Peter, Earl of Savoy, who came to England to visit his niece Eleanor, wife of Henry III. At the death of the earl the house became the property of the queen, who gave it to her second son, Edmund (Earl of Lancaster), and from this period it was attached to the Duchy of Lancaster. When the Black Prince brought Jean le Bon, King of France, captive to London (1356), he lodged him in the Savoy Palace, where he remained till 1359, when he was removed to Somerton Castle, in Lincolnshire. In 1360 he was lodged in the Tower; but, two months afterwards, was allowed to return to France on certain conditions. These conditions being violated by the royal hostages, Jean voluntarily returned to London, and had his old quarters again assigned to him, and died in 1364. The rebels under Wat Tyler burnt down the old palace in 1381; but it was rebuilt in 1505 by Henry VII., and converted into a hospital for the poor, under the name of St. John's Hospital. Charles II. used it for
wounded soldiers and sailors. St. Mary—le—Savoy or the Chapel of St. John still stands in the precinct, and has recently been restored.
N.B. Here, in 1552, was established the first flint—glass manufactory.
In Christian art an attribute of St. Simon and St. James the Less, in allusion to the tradition of their being sawn to death in martyrdom.
(In). Circus parlance. Of course, the allusion is to the custom of sifting sawdust over the arena to prevent the horses from slipping.
or Sandy. A Scotchman; a contraction of “Alexander.”
So called because its tender rootlets will penetrate the hardest rock, and break it up.
Alnwick Castle, given to Ivo de Vesey by the Conqueror.
Bamborough Castle (Northumberland), the palace of the kings of Northumberland, and built by King Ida, who began to reign 559; now converted into charity schools and signal—stations.
Carisbrook Castle, enlarged by Fitz—Osborne, five centuries later.
Conisborough Castle (York).
Goodrich Castle (Herefordshire).
Kenilworth Castle, built by Kenelm, King of Mercia. Kenilworth means Kenhelm's dwelling. Richmond Castle (York), belonging to the Saxon earl Edwin, given by the Conqueror to his nephew Alan, Earl of Bretagne; a ruin for three centuries. The keep remains.
Rochester Castle, given to Odo, natural brother of the Conqueror.
(architectural). (1) The quoining consists of a long stone set at the corner, and a short one lying on it and bonding into the wall.
(2) The use of large heavy blocks of stone in some parts, while the rest is built of Roman bricks.
(3) An arch with straight sides to the upper part instead of curves.
(4) The absence of buttresses.
(5) The use in windows of rude balusters.
(6) A rude round staircase west of the tower, for the purpose of access to the upper floors.
(7) Rude carvings in imitation of Roman work. (Rickman.)
(in Hudibras). John Frederick, Duke of Saxony, a very corpulent man. When taken prisoner, Charles V. said, “I have gone hunting many a time, but never saw I such a swine before.”
The “Lord's Prayer” is almost all of it Anglo—Saxon. The words trespasses, trespass, and temptation are of Latin origin. The substitution of “debts” and “debtors” (as “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors") is objectionable. Perhaps “Forgive us our wrongdoings, as we forgive them who do wrong to us” would be less objectionable. The latter clause, “lead us not into temptation,” is far more difficult to convert into Anglo—Saxon. The best suggestion I can think of is “lead us not in the ways of sinners,” but the real meaning is “put us not to the test.” We have the word assay (Assay us not), which would be an excellent translation, but the word is not a familiar one.
The church of Earl's Barton (Northamptonshire). The tower and west doorway.
The church of St. Michael's (St. Albans), erected by the Abbot of St. Albans in 948. The tower of Bosham church (Sussex)
The east side of the dark and principal cloisters of Westminster Abbey, from the college dormitory on the south to the chapter—house on the north. Edward the Confessor's chapel in Westminster Abbey, now used as the Pix office.
The church of Darenth (Kent) contains some windows of manifest Saxon architecture. With many others, some of which are rather doubtful.
The coast of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire, where were castles and garrisons, under the charge of a court or military officer, called Comës Lïttoris Saxonici per Britanniam.
Fort Branodunum (Brancaster) was on the Norfolk coast. Gariannonum (Burgh) was on the Suffolk coast. Othona (Ithanchester) was on the Essex coast. Regulbium (Reculver), Rutupiae (Richborough), Dubris
(Dover), P. Lemanis (Lyme), were on the Kentish coast. Anderida (Hastings or Pevensey), Portus Adurni (Worthing), were on the Sussex coast.
To take the say. To taste meat or wine before it is presented, in order to prove that it is not poisoned. The phrase was common in the reign of Queen Elizabeth
“Nor deem it meet that you to him convey
The proffered bowl, unless you taste the say”
Rose: Orlando Furioso, xxi. 61
(Italian). A police—force which existed in the pope's dominions. They were domiciled in private houses.
“He points them out to his sbirri and armed ruffians The Daily Telegraph.
[left—handed ]. So Caius Mucius was called, because, when he entered the camp of Porsenna as a spy, and was taken before the king he deliberately held his hand over a lamp till it was burnt off, to show the Etruscan that he would not shrink from torture.
A temporary gallery for workmen. In its secondary sense it means the postulates and rough scheme of a system or sustained story. (French, échafaud, échafaudage.) (See Cinter .)
Imitation marble, like the pillars of the Pantheon, London. The word is from the Italian scáglia (the dust and chips of marble); it is so called because the substance (which is gypsum and Flanders glue) is studded with chips and dust of marble.
The Koran says, at the judgment day everyone will be weighed in the scales of the archangel Gabriel. His good deeds will be put in the scale called “Light,” and his evil ones in the scale called “Darkness;" after which they will have to cross the bridge A1 Serát, not wider than the edge of a scimitar. The faithful will pass over in safety, but the rest will fall into the dreary realms of Jehennam.
Emblem of St. James of Compostella, adopted, says Erasmus, because the shore of the adjacent sea abounds in them. Pilgrims used them for cup, spoon, and dish; hence the punning crest of the Disington family is a scallop shell. On returning home, the pilgrim placed his scallop shell in his hat to command admiration, and adopted it in his coat—armous. (Danish, schelp, a shell; French, escalope. )
“I will give thee a palmer's staff of iyory and a scallop—shell of beaten gold.”— The Old Wives' Tale. (1595.)
Scalloped [scollopt ]. Having an edge like that of a scallop shell.
The jointed two—foot rule used by builders and invented by Vincent Scammozzi, the famous Italian architect. (1540—1609.)
[qui exit ex campo ]. A deserter from the field; one who decamps without paying his debts. S privative and camp. (See Snob .)
means properly a pitfall or snare laid for an enemy; hence a stumbling—block, and morally an aspersion. (Greek, skandalon.)
“We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a [scandal].”— 1 Cor. i. 23.
The Hill of scandal So Milton calls the Mount of Olives, because King Solomon built thereon “an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab; and for Moloch, the abomination of the children of Ammon” (1 Kings xi. 7).
Tea. The reference is to the gossip held by some of the womenkind over their “cups which cheer but not inebriate.” Also called “Chatter—broth.”
“ `I proposed to my venerated visitor. to summon my ... housekeeper ... with the tea—equipage but he rejected my proposal with disdain ...' `No scandal—broth,' he exclaimed, `No unidea'd woman's chatter for me.' ”— Sir W. Scott: Peveril of the Peak (Prefatory letter).
[scandal of the magnates ]. Words in derogation of peers, judges, and other great officers of the realm. What St. Paul calls “speaking evil of dignities.”
A name given by the Turks to George Castriota, the patriot chief of Epirus. The word is a corruption of Iskander—beg, Prince Alexander (1414—1467).
Scanderbeg's Sword must have Scanderbeg's Arm
— i.e. None but Ulysses can draw Ulysses' bow. Scanderbeg is a corruption of Iskander—beg (Alexander the Great), not the Macedonian, but George Castriota, Prince of Albania, so called by the Turks. Mahomet wanted to see his scimitar, but when presented no one could draw it; whereupon the Turkish emperor sent it back as an imposition; but Iskander—beg replied, he had only sent his majesty the sword without sending the arm that drew it. (See Robin Hood .)
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland. Pliny speaks of Scandia as an island.
(A). A madcap; a wild, disorderly, graceless fellow.
“You, a gentleman of birth and breeding ... associate yourself with a sort of scant—of—grace, as men call me.”— Sir W. Scott: Kenilworth, iii.
a small quantity, is the French échantillon, a specimen or pattern.
“A scantling of wit.”— Dryden.
The Biajùs or aborigenes of Borneo observe a custom bearing a considerable resemblance to that of the scapegoat. They annually launch a small bark laden with all the sins and misfortunes of the nation, which, says Dr. Leyden, “they imagine will fall on the unhappy crew that first meets with it.”
The scapegoat of the family. One made to bear the blame of the rest of the family; one always chidden and
found fault with, let who may be in the wrong. The allusion is to a Jewish custom: Two goats being brought to the altar of the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, the high priest cast lots; one was for the Lord, and the other for Azazel. The goat on which the first lot fell was sacrificed, the other was the scapegoat; and the high priest having, by confession, transferred his own sins and the sins of the people to it, the goat was taken to the wilderness and suffered to escape.
Locking up a criminal in the trunk of a tree, bored through so as just to admit the body. Five holes were made— one for the head, and the others for the hands and legs. These parts were anointed with honey to invite the wasps. In this situation the criminal would linger in the burning sun for several days. (Greek, skaphe, anything scooped out.)
A “barber of Seville;” a knavish valet who makes his master his tool. (Molière: Les Fourberies de Scapin.)
A braggart and fool, very valiant in words, but a poltroon. According to Dyche, the Italian posturemaster, Tiberio Fiurelli, was surnamed Scaramouch Fiurelli. He came to England in 1673, and astonished John Bull with feats of agility.
“Stout Scaramoucha with rush—lance rode in,
And ran a tilt with centaure Arlequin.”
Dryden: The Silent Woman (Epilogue).
(A), in Molière's time, was black from top to toe; hence he says, “Night has put on her `scaramouch dress.' “
No warning at all; blow first, then warning. In Scarborough robbers used to be dealt with in a very summary manner by a sort of Halifax gibbet—law, lynch—law, or an à la lanterne. Another origin is given of this phrase: It is said that Thomas Stafford, in the reign of Queen Mary, seized the castle of Scarborough, not only without warning, but even before the townsfolk knew he was afoot (1557). (See Gone Up .)
“This term Scarborrow warning grew, some say,
By hasty hanging for rank robbery there.
Who that was met, but suspect in that way,
Straight he was trust up, whatever he were.”
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isa. i. 18). The allusion is to the scarlet fillet tied round the head of the scapegoat. Though your sins be as scarlet as the fillet on the head of the goat to which the high priest has transferred the sins of the whole nation, yet shall they be forgiven and wiped out.
(Will). One of the companions of Robin Hood.
Worn by fox—hunters. (See Red Coat .)
Scarlet Woman Some controversial Protestants apply the words to the Church of Rome, and some Romanists, with equal “good taste,” apply them to London. The Book of Revelation says, “It is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth,” and terms the city “Babylon" (chap. xvii.).
An instrument of torture invented by Sir William Skevington, lieutenant of the Tower in the reign of Henry VIII. As Skevington was the father of the instrument, the instrument was his daughter.
Anglo—Saxon for “money,” or a little silver coin. A sceat was an Anglo—Saxon coin.
The most celebrated are—
Inigo Jones, who introduced the first appropriate decorations for masques. D'Avenant, who produced perspective scenes in 1656, for The Siege of Rhodes. Betterton was the first to improve the scenic effects in “Dorset Gardens:” his artist was Streater. John Rich may be called the great reformer of stage scenery in “Covent Garden.”
Richards, secretary of the Royal Academy; especially successful in The Maid of the Mill. His son was one of the most celebrated of our scenepainters.
Philip James de Loutherbourg was the greatest scene—artist up to Garrick's time. He produced the scenes for The Winter's Tale, at the request of that great actor.
John Kemble engaged William Capon, a pupil of Novosielski, to furnish him with scenery for Shakespeare's historic plays.
Patrick Nasmyth, in the North, produced several unrivalled scenes.
Stanfield is well known for his scene of Acis and Galate'a.
William Beverley is the greatest scene—painter of modern times.
Frank Hayman, Thomas Dall, John Laguerre, William Hogarth, Robert Dighton, Charles Dibdin, David Roberts, Grieve, and Phillips have all aided in improving scene—painting.
(See Plot .)
We are not yet on the right scent. We have not yet got the right clue. The allusion is to dogs following game by their scent.
(Greek) means one who thinks for himself, and does not receive on another's testimony. Pyrrho founded the philosophic sect called “Sceptics,” and Epictetus combated their dogmas. In theology we apply the word to those who will not accept Revelation.
That of Agamemnon is the most noted. Homer says it was made by Vulcan, who gave it to the son of Saturn. It then passed successively to Jupiter, to Mercury, to Pelops, to Atreus (2 syl.), to Thyestes (3 syl.), and then to Agamemnon. It was found at Phocis, whither it had been taken by Electra. It was looked on with great reverence, and several miracles are attributed to it. It was preserved for many years after the time of Homer, but ultimately disappeared.
[She—he'—ra—zay'—de ]. Daughter of the Grand Vizier of the Indies. The Sultan Schahriah, having discovered the infidelity of his sultana, resolved to marry a fresh wife every night and have her strangled at day—break. Scheherazade entreated to become his wife, and so amused him with tales for a thousand and one nights that he revoked his cruel decree, bestowed his affection on his amiable and talented wife, and called her “the liberator of the sex.” (Arabian Nights. )
An army drawn up in a circle instead of in a square.
is something entertained. Scheme is a Greek word meaning what is had or held (scheo) and entertain is the Latin tenco, to have or hold, also.
Schiedam Hollands gin, so called from Schiedam, a town where it is principally manufactured.
Shiites the second largest branch of Islam, Shiites currently account for 10%–15% of all Muslims. Shiite Islam originated as a political movement supporting Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam) as the rightful leader of the Islamic state.
(Peter). The name of a man who sold his shadow to the devil, in Chamisso's tale so called. It is a synonym for any person who makes a desperate and silly bargain.
Anselm of Laon, Doctor Scholasticus. (1050—1117.)
Epiphanius the Scholastic. An Italian scholar. (Sixth century.)
Divinity subjected to the test of reason and argument, or at least “darkened by the counsel of words.” The Athanasian creed is a favourable specimen of this attempt to reduce the mysteries of religion to “right reason;” and the attempts to reconcile the Mosaic cosmogony with modern geology smack of the same school.
The six old schools: Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Charterhouse, Westminster, and Rugby. Some add St. Paul's, Merchant Taylors', and Shrewsbury.
The six modern schools: Marlborough, Wellington, Clifton, Cheltenham, Repton, and Haileybury. Charterhouse has been removed to the hills of Surrey.
St. Paul's has migrated to the West End.
(The). Lord Brougham said, in a speech (Jan. 29, 1828) on the general diffusion of education, and of intelligence arising therefrom, “Let the soldier be abroad, if he will; he can do nothing in this age. There is another personage abroad ... the schoolmaster is abroad; and I trust to him, armed with his primer, against the soldier in full military array.”
Certain theologians of the Middle Ages; so called because they lectured in the cloisters or cathedral schools founded by Charlemagne and his immediate successors. They followed the fathers, from whom they differed in reducing every subject to a system, and may be grouped under three periods—
First Period. PLATONISTS (from ninth to twelfth century). (1) Pierre Abélard (1079—1142).
(2) Flacius Albinus Alcuin (735—804).
(3) John Scotus Erigena.
(4) Anselm. Doctor Scholasticus. (1050—1117.)
(5) Berengarius of Tours (1000—1088).
(6) Gerbert of Aurillac, afterwards Pope Sylvester II. (930—1003). (7) John of Salisbury (1110—1180).
(8) Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. (1005—1089.)
(9) Pierre Lombard. Master of the Sentences, sometimes called the founder of school divinity. (1100—1164.) (10) John Roscelinus (eleventh century).
Second Period, or Golden Age of Scholasticism. ARISTOTELIANS (thirteenth and fourteenth centuries). (1) Alain de Lille. Universal Doctor. (1114—1203.)
(2) Albertus Magnus, of Padua. (1193—1280.)
(3) Thomas Aquinas. The Angelic Doctor. (1224—1274.)
(4) Augustine Triumphans, Archbishop of Aix. The Eloquent Doctor.
(5) John Fidanza Bonaventure. The Seraphic Doctor. (1221—1274.)
(6) Alexander of Hales. Irrefrangible Doctor. (Died 1245.)
(7) John Duns Scotus. The Subtle Doctor. (1265—1308.)
Third Period. NOMINALISM REVIVED. (To the seventeenth century.) (1) Thomas de Bradwardine. The Profound Doctor (1290—1348.)
(2) John Buridan (1295—1360). (3) William Durandus de Pourcain. The Most Resolving or Resolute Doctor. (Died 1332.) (4) Giles, Archbishop of Bourges. The Doctor with Good Foundation.
(5) Gregory of Rimini. The Authentic Doctor. (Died 1357.)
(6) Robert Holkot. An English divine.
(7) Raymond Lully. The Illuminated Doctor. (1234—1315.)
(8) Francis Mairon, of Digne, in Provence.
(9) William Occam. The Singular or Invincible Doctor. (Died 1347.)
(10) Francois Suarez, the last of the schoolmen. (1548—1617.)
(The), by Shenstone, is designed for a “portrait of Sarah Lloyd,” the dame who first taught the poet himself. She lived in a thatched house before which grew a birch tree.
(See Cean .)
The Gay Science or “Gay Saber.” The poetry of the Troubadours, and in its extended meaning poetry generally.
(1) Anaxagoras of Clazomenae held opinions in natural science so far in advance of his age that he was accused of impiety, thrown into prison, and condemned to death. Pericles, with great difficulty, got his sentence commuted to fine and banishment.
(2) Virgilius, Bishop of Salzburg, denounced as a heretic by St. Boniface for asserting the existence of antipodes. (Died 784.)
(3) Galileo was imprisoned by the Inquisition for maintaining that the earth moved. In order to get his liberty he “abjured the heresy,” but as he went his way whispered half—audibly, “E pur si muove” (“but nevertheless it does move"). (1564—1642.)
(4) Gebert, who introduced algebra into Christendom, was accused of dealing in the black arts, and shunned as a magician.
(5) Friar Bacon was excommunicated and imprisoned for diabolical knowledge, chiefly on account of his chemical researches. (1214—1294.)
(6) Dr. Faust, the German philosopher, suffered in a similar way in the sixteenth century.
(7) John Dee. (See Dee.)
(8) Robert Grosseteste. (See Grosted.)
(9) Averroes, the Arabian philosopher, who flourished in the twelfth century, was denounced as a heretic and degraded solely on account of his great eminence in natural philosophy and medicine, (He died 1226.)
(10) Andrew Crosse, electrician, who asserted that he had seen certain animals of the genus Acarus, which had been developed by him out of inorganic elements. Crosse was accused of impiety, and was shunned as a
“profane man,” who wanted to arrogate to himself the creative power of God. (1784—1855.)
Scienter Nesciens et Sapiente Indoctus
was how Gregory the Great described St. Benedict.
Scio's Blind Old Bard
Homer. Scio is the modern name of Chios, in the AEgean Sea.
“Smyrna, Chios, Colophon', Salamis', Rhodos, Argos, Athenae,
Your just right to call Homer your son you must settle between ye.”
Scipio dismissed the Iberian Maid
(Paradise Regained, ii.). Referring to the tale that the conqueror of Spain not only refused to see a beautiful princess who had fallen into his power after the capture of New Carthage,
but that he restored her to her parents, and actually gave her great presents that she might marry the man to whom she had been betrothed. (See Continence .)
The Lusian Scipio. Nunio.
“The Lusian Scipio well may speak his fame,
But nobler Nunio shines a greater name;
On earth's green bosom, or on ocean grey,
A greater never shall the sun survey.”
Camoens: Lusiad, bk. viii.
Scissors to Grind
Work to do; purpose to serve.
“That the Emperor of Austria [in the Servian and Bulgarian war, 1885] has his own scissors to grind goes without saying; but for the present it is Russia who keeps the ball rolling.”— Newspaper paragraph, November, 1885.
The language spoken by the Russians, Servins, Poles, Bohemians, etc.; anything belonging to the Sclavi.
A very fruitful land, but the inhabitants “exceeded the cannibals for cruelty, the Persians for pride, the Egyptians for luxury, the Cretans for lying, the Germans for drunkenness, and all nations together for a generality of vices.” In vengeance the gods changed all the people into beasts: drunkards into swine, the lacherous into goats, the proud into peacocks, scolds into magpies, gamblers into asses, musicians into
song—birds, the envious into dogs, idle women into milch—cows, jesters into monkeys, dancers into squirrels, and misers into moles. Four of the Champions of Christendom restored them to their normal forms by quenching the fire of the Golden Cave.” (The Seven Champions of Christendom, iii. 10.)
(pron. Skoon). Edward I. removed to London, and placed in Westminster Abbey, the great stone upon which the kings of Scotland were wont to be crowned. This stone is still preserved, and forms the support of Edward the Confessor's chair, which the British monarchs occupy at their coronation. It is said to have been brought from Ireland by Fergus, son of Eric, who led the Dalriads to the shores of Argyllshire. (See Tanist—Stone .)
“Ni fallat fatum, Scoti, quocunque locatum
Invenient labidem, regnare tenentur ibidem.”
Lardner, i. p. 67.
Unless the fates are faithless found
And prophets' voice be vain,
Where'er is placed this stone, e'en there
The Scottish race shall reign.
A reckoning; to make a reckoning; so called from the custom of marking off “runs” or “lengths,” in games by the score feet. (See Nurr, Spell, Tally .)
Scornful Dogs will eat dirty Puddings
In emergency men will do many things they would scorn to do in easy circumstances. Darius and Alexander will drink dirty water and think it nectar when distressed with thirst. Kings and queens, to make good their escape in times of danger, will put on the most menial disguise. And hungry men will not be over particular as to the food they eat.
“ `All nonsense and pride,' said the laird. ... `Scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings.' ”— Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xi.
Scorpion It is said that scorpions have an oil which is a remedy against their stings. The toad also is said to have an antidote to its “venom.”
“ `Tis true, a scorpion's oil is said
To cure the wounds the venom made,
And weapons dréssed with salves restore
And heal the hurts they gave before.”
Butler: Hudibras, iii. 2.
Whips armed with metal or knotted cords.
“My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”— 1. Kings xii.
The same as Scythian in etymology; the root of both is Sct. The Greeks had no c, and would change t into th, making the root skth, and by adding a phonetic vowel we get Skuth—ai (Scythians), and Skoth—ai (Scoths). The Welsh disliked s at the beginning of a word, and would change it to ys; they would also change c or k to g, and th to d; whence the Welsh root would be Ysgd, and Skuth or Skoth would become ysgod. Once more, the Saxons would cut off the Welsh y, and change the g back again to c, and the d to t, converting the Ysgod to Scot.
N.B. Before the third century Scotland was called Caledonia or Alban.
Tax—free, without payment. (See below.)
Scot and Lot
A levy on all subjects according to their ability to pay. Scot means tribute or tax, and lot means allotment or portion allotted. To pay scot and lot, therefore, is to pay the ordinary tributes and also the personal tax allotted to you.
The 2nd Dragoons, the colour of whose horses is grey. (Heavy—armed.)
Scots wha hae
Words by Robert Burns, to the music of an old Scotch tune called Hey Tuttie Taittie. The Land o' the Leal is to the same tune.
The people or language of Scotland.
Highland Scotch. Scottish Gaelic.
Lowland Scotch. The English dialect spoken in the lowlands of Scotland. Broad Scotch. The official language of Scotland in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Sometimes used in novels and in verse.
(A). A substantial breakfast of sundry sorts of good things to eat and drink. The Scotch are famous for their breakfast—tables and tea—fights. No people in the world are more hospitable.
A thick fog with drizzling rain, common in Scotland.
“A Scotch fog will wet an Englishman through.”— Common saying.
(A). A Scotch pint = 2 English quarts.
(A) was originally of the same value as an English pound, but after 1355 it gradually depreciated, until in 1600 it was but one—twelfth of the value of an English pound, that is about 1s. 8d.
= a penny sterling. The Scotch pound in 1600 was worth 20d., and as it was divided into twenty shillings, it follows that a Scotch shilling was worth one penny English.
Now applied poetically to Scotland, but at one time Ireland was so called. Hence Claudius says—
“When Scots came thundering from the Irish shores,
And ocean trembled, struck with hostile oars.”
Followers of Duns Scotus, who maintained the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in opposition to Thomas Aquinas.
“Scotists and Thomists now in peace remain.” Pope: Essay on Criticism.
St. Andrew is the patron saint of this country, and tradition says that the remains of the apostle were brought by Regulus, a Greek monk, to the eastern coast of Fife in 368. (See Rule , St.)
Scotland a fief of England. Edward I. founded his claim to the lordship of Scotland on these four grounds:—
(1) the ancient chroniclers, who state that Scotch kings had occasionally paid homage to the English sovereigns from time immemorial. Extracts are given from St. Alban, Marianus Scotus, Ralph of Diceto, Roger of Hoveden, and William of Malmesbury. (2) From charters of Scotch kings: as those of Edgar, son of Malcolm, William, and his son Alexander II. (3) From papal rescripts: as those of Honorius III., Gregory IX., and Clement IV. (4) By an extract from The Life and Miracles of St. John of Beverley. The tenor of this extract is quite suited to this Dictionary of Fable: In the reign of Adelstan the Scots invaded England and committed great devastation. Adelstan went to drive them back, and on reaching the Tyne, found that the Scotch had retreated. At midnight St. John of Beverley appeared to him, and bade him cross the river at daybreak, for he “should discomfit the foe.” Adelstan obeyed the vision, and reduced the whole kingdom to subjection. On reaching Dunbar on his return march, he prayed that some sign might be vouchsafed to him to satisfy all ages that “God, by the intercession of St. John, had given him the kingdom of Scotland.” Then struck he with his sword the baseltic rocks near the coast, and the blade sank into the solid flint “as if it had been butter,” cleaving it asunder for “an ell or more,” and the cleft remains even to the present hour. Without doubt there is a fissure in the basalt, and how could it have come there except in the way recorded above? And
how could a sword cut three feet deep into a hard rock without miraculous aid? And what could such a miracle have been vouchsafed for, except to show that Adelstan was rightful lord of Scotland? And if Adelstan was lord, of course Edward should be so likewise. Q. E. D. (Rymer: Foedera, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 771.)
(London). So called from a palace built there for the reception of the kings of Scotland when they visited England. Pennant tells us it was originally given by King Edgar to Kenneth of Scotland when he came to London to pay homage.
Scotland Yard. The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, whence all public orders to the force proceed.
“Mr. Walpole has only to speak the word in Scotland Yard, and the parks will be cleared.”— Pall Mall Gazette.
The Walter Scott of Belgium. Hendrick Conscience. (Born 1812.)
The Southern Scott. Lord Byron calls Ariosto the Sir Walter Scott of Italy. (Childe Harold, iv. 40.)
(Duns). Died 1309. His epitaph at Cologne is—
“Scotia me genuit, Anglia me suscepit,
Gallia me docuit, Colonia me tenet.”
Scourge of Christians
Noureddin—Mahmûd of Damascus. (1116—1174.)
Scourge of God
(1) Attila, king of the Huns. A.P. Stanley says the term was first applied to Attila in the Hungarian Chronicles. In Isidore's Chronicle the Huns are called Virga Dei. (*, 434—453.)
(2) Genseric, king of the Vandals, who went about like a destroying angel “against all those who had, in his opinion, incurred the wrath of God.”(Probably the word Godegesal (Gothgesal, God—given) was purposely twisted into God—gesil (God's scourge) by those who hated him, because he was an Arian, God—gesal (or Deodatus) was the common title of the contemporary kings, like our Dei Gratiâ. (*, 429—477.)
Scourge of Princes
Pietro Aretino was so called for his satires. (1492—1556.)
I'scaped a scouring — a disease. Scouring is a sort of flux in horses and cattle. (Latin, Malum proetervehi, French, L'échapper belle.)
A set of rakes in the eighteenth century, who, with the Nickers and Mohocks, committed great annoyances in London and other large towns.
“Who has not heard the Scowerers' midnight fame? Who has not trembled at the Mohocks' name? Who there a watchman took his hourly rounds, Safe from their blows and new—invented wounds?” Gay: Trivia, iii.
I've got into a sad scrape a great difficulty We use rub, squeeze, pinch, and scrape to express the same idea. Thus Shakespeare says, “Ay, there's the rub” (difficulty); “I have got into tribulation" (a squeeze, from the Latin tribulo, to squeeze); “I am come to a pinch” (a difficulty). Some think the word a corrupt contraction of escapade, but Robert Chambers thinks it is borrowed from a term in golf. A rabbit's burrow in Scotland, he says, is called a “scrpe,” and if the ball gets into such a hole it can hardly be played. The rules of the game allow something to the player who “gets into a scrape.” (Book of Days.)
Scrape an Acquaintance
(To). The Gentleman's Magazine says that Hadrian went one day to the public baths, and saw an old soldier, well known to him, scraping himself with a potsherd for want of a flesh—brush. The emperor sent him a sum of money. Next day Hadrian found the bath crowded with soldiers scraping
themselves with potsherds, and said, “Scrape on, gentlemen, but you'll not scrape acquaintance with me.” (N.S., xxxix. 230.)
Old Scratch. Scrat, the house—demon of the North. (Icelandic, scratti, an imp.) (See Deuce, Nick , etc.)
(A). One who in a race starts from the scratch, other runners in the same race being a yard or so in advance. The scratch runner generally is one who has already won a similar race.
Coming up to the scratch — up to the mark; about to do what we want him to do. In prize—fighting a line is scratched on the ground, and the toe of the fighter must come up to the scratch.
A game played with a piece of string stretched across the two hands. The art is so to cross the thread as to produce a resemblance to something, and for another so to transfer it to his own hands as to change the former figure into some other resemblance. A corruption of “cratch cradle” (the manger cradle), because the first figure represents a cradle, supposed to be the cradle of the infant Jesus.
(A), in a boat—race, means a random crew, not a regular crew
(A), or “scratch team,” in cricket, means eleven men picked up anyhow; not a regular team.
(A). A race of horses, men, boys, etc., without restrictions as to age, weight, previous winnings, etc.
A horse is said to be scratched when its name is scratched out of the list of runners. “Tomboy was scratched for the Derby at ten a.m. on Wednesday,” and no bet on that horse made subsequently would be valid.
(A), meaning a small quantity, is in allusion to the habit of putting a small quantity of small articles into a “screw of paper.”
An old screw. One who keeps his money tight, and doles it out in screws or small quantities. To put on the screw. To press for payment, as a screw presses by gradually—increasing pressure. Raised your screw. Raised your wages.
“ `Has Tom got his screw raised?' said Milton.”— Truth: Queer
Story, 18th February, 1886.
(A). Something amiss. The allusion is to joinery kept together by screws.
(The). 1708, when Queen Anne went to St. Paul's to offer thanksgivings for the victory of Oudenarde. The tale is that the plotters took out certain screw—bolts from the beams of the cathedral, that the roof might fall on the queen and her suite and kill them.
`Some of your Machiavelian crew
From heavy roof of Paul
Most traitorously stole every screw,
To make that fabric fall;
And so to catch Her Majesty,
And all her friends beguile.”
Plot upon Plot (about 1713).
Screwed Intoxicated. A playful synonym of tight, which again is a playful synonym of blown out.
Screwed on Right
His head was screwed on right. He was clear—headed and right—thinking.
“His heart was in the right place ... and his head was screwed on right, too.”— Boldrewood: Robbery under Arms, xv.
Screwed on the wrong way. Crotchety, ungainly, not right.
(1 syl.), in the New Testament, means a doctor of the law. Thus, in Matthew xxii. 35, we read, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him, Which is the great commandment of the law?” Mark (xii. 28) says, “One of the scribes came and asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?”
In the Old Testament the word is used more widely. Thus Seraiah is called the scribe (secretary) of David (2 Sam. viii. 17); in the Book of Chronicles “Jael the scribe” was an officer in the king's army, who reviewed the troops and called over the muster—roll. Jonathan, Baruch, Gemariah, etc., who were princes, were called scribes. Ezra, however, called “a ready scribe in the law of Moses,” accords with the New Testament usage of the word.
(Martinus). A merciless satire on the false taste in literature current in the time of Pope. Cornelius Scriblerus, the father of Martin, was a pedant, who entertained all sorts of absurdities about the education of his son. Martin grew up a man of capacity; but though he had read everything, his judgment was vile and taste atrocious.
A tussle a slight battle. From the obsolete scrimer, a fencer; French, escrimeur; same root as escarmouch, our skirmish.
“Prince Ouffur at this skrymage, for all his pryde,
Fled full fast and sought no guide.”
MS. Lansdowne, 200, f. 10.
Scripto res Decem
A collection of ten ancient chronicles on English history, edited by Roger Twysden and John Selden. The ten chroniclers are Simeon of Durham, John of Hexham, Richard of Hexham, Ailred of Rieval, Ralph de Diceto (Archdeacon of London), John Brompton of Jorval, Gervase of Canterbury, Thomas Stubbs, William Thorn of Canterbury, and Henry Knighton of Leicester.
A collection of five chronicles on the early history of England, edited by Thomas Gale.
[the three writers ]. Meaning Richard of Cirencester, Gildas Badonicus, and Nennius of Bangor. Julius Bertram, professor of English at Copenhagen, professed to have discovered the first of these
treatises in 1747, in the royal library of that city. Its subject is De Situ Britanniae, and in 1757 he published it along with the two other treatises, calling the whole The Three Writers on the Ancient History of the British Nations. Bertram's forgery was completely exposed by J. E. Mayor, in his preface to Ricardi de Cirencestria Speculum Historiale. (See Sanchoniatho .)
An apartment in every abbey where writers transcribed service—books for the choir and books for the library. (Warton. )
(See Seven Bibles .)
(Sir). The lover of Amoret, whom he finally marries. (Spenser Faërie Queene, book iii. iv.)
Scudding under Bare Poles
In seaman's language to scud means to drive before a gale with no sails, or only just enough to keep the vessel ahead of the sea; “scudding under bare poles” is being driven by the wind so violently that no sail at all is set. Figuratively it means to cut and run so precipitately as to leave no trace behind.
In the Irish rebellion of 1798 Scullabogue House, Wexford, was seized by the rebels and used for a prison. Some thirty or forty prisoners confined in it were brought out and shot in cold blood, when the news of a repulse of the rebels at New Ross arrived (5th June, '98). The barn at the back of the house was filled with prisoners and set on fire, and Taylor, in his history, written at the time and almost on the spot, puts the number of victims at 184, and he gives the names of several of them.
(See Diamond ...)
Fathers of French sculpture. Jean Goujon (1510—1572). Germain Pilon (1515—1590).
The scrapings of hides; also refuse of flax. (English, scotch, to cut; Saxon, sceadan.). We have the word in the expression, “You have scotched the snake, not killed it.”
“About half a mile from the southern outfall are two manufactories, where the refuse from the London tanneries, known as scuteh, is operated upon.”— The Times.
To scuttle a ship is to bore a hole in it in order to make it sink. Rather strangely, this word is from the same root as our word shut or bolt (Saxon scyttel, a lock, bolt, or bar). It was first applied to a hole in a roof with a door or lid, then to a hatchway in the deck of a ship with a lid, then to a hole in the bottom of a ship plugged up; then comes the verb to pull out the plug, and leave the hole for the admission of water.
Scuttle (of coals, etc.) is the Anglo—Saxon, scutel, a basket.
“The Bergen [Norway] fishwomen ... in every direction are coming ... with their scuttles swinging on their arms. In Bergen fish is never carried in any other way.”— H. H. Jackson: Glimpses of Three Coasts, pt. iii. p. 235.
(To). To sneak off quickly, to skedaddle, to cut and run. Anglo—Saxon sceotan, to flee precipitately; scitel, an arrow; sceota, a darting fish, like the trout; scot, an arrow, etc.
daughter of Nisus, promised to deliver Megara into the hands of Minos. To redeem this promise she had to cut off a golden hair on her father's head, which she effected while he was asleep. Minos, her lover, despised her for this treachery, and Scylla threw herself from a rock into the sea. At death she was changed into a lark, and Nisus into a hawk. Scylla turned into a rock by Circe “has no connection” with the daughter of
“Think of Scylla's fate.
Changed to a bird, and sent to fly in air,
She dearly pays for Nisus' injured hair.”
Pope: Rape of the Lock, iii.
Glaucus, a fisherman, was in love with Scylla; but Circe, out of jealousy, changed her into a hideous monster, and set dogs and wolves to bark round her incessantly. On this Scylla threw herself into the sea and became a rock. It is said that the rock Scylla somewhat resembles a woman at a distance, and the noise of the waves dashing against it is not unlike the barking of dogs and wolves.
“Glaucus, lost to joy,
Curst in his love by vengeful circe's hate,
Attending wept his Scylla's hapless fate.”
Camoeus: Lusiad, bk. vi.
Avoiding Scylla, he fell into Charybdis. Trying to avoid one error, he fell into another; or, trying to avoid one danger, he fell into another equally fatal. Scylla and Charybdis are two rocks between Italy and Sicily. In one was a cave where “Scylla dwelt,” and on the other Charybdis dwelt under a fig—tree. Ships which tried to avoid one were often wrecked on the other rock. It was Circe who changed Scylla into a frightful seamonster, and Jupiter who changed Chanrybdis into a whirlpool.
“When I shun Scylla your father, I fall into Charybdis your mother.”— Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, iii. 5.
Between Scylla and Charybdis. Between two difficulties or fatal works. To fall from Scylla into Charybdis — out of the frying—pan into the fire.
or Tartarian Lamb (The). Agnus Scythicus, a kind of fern, called the borametz, or polypodium of Cayenne. It is said to resemble a lamb, and even in some cases to be mistaken for one.
When Darius approached Scythia, an ambassador was sent to his tent with a bird, a frog, a mouse, and five arrows, then left without uttering a word. Darius, wondering what was meant, was told by Gobrias it meant this: Either fly away like a bird, and hide your head in a hole like a mouse, or swim across the river, or in five days you will be laid prostrate by the Scythian arrows.
Any large collection of water, more or less enclosed; hence the expression “molten sea,” meaning the great brazen vessel which stood in Solomon's temple (2 Chronicles iv. 5, and 1 Kings vii. 26). We have also the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the White Sea, the Red Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, etc.; and even the Nile, the Euphrates, and the Tigris are sometimes called seas by the prophets. The world of water is the ocean. (Anglo—Saxon, sae.)
The Old Man of the sea (Arabian Nights). A creature encountered by Sinbad the Sailor in his fifth voyage. This terrible Old Man contrived to get on the back of Sinbad, and would neither dismount again nor could he be shaken off. At last Sinbad gave him some wine to drink, which so intoxicated him that he relaxed his grip, and Sinbad made his escape.
At sea. Quite at sea. Wide of the mark; quite wrong; like a person in the open ocean without compass or chart.
Sea—blue Bird of March
(The). The wheatear, not the kingfisher.
Amphitrite (4 syl.). Wife of Poseidon (3 syl.), queen goddess of the sea. N.B. Neptune had no wife.
Doto, a sea—nymph, mentioned by Virgil.
Galatea, a daughter of Nereus.
Glaucus, a fisherman of Boeotia, afterwards a marine diety.
Ino, who threw herself from a rock into the sea, and was made a sea—goddess. Neptune (2 syl.), king of the ocean.
The Nereids (3 syl.) or Nereides (4 syl.), fifty in number.
Nereus (2 syl.) and his wife Doris. Their palace was at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. His hair was sea—weeds.
Oceanos and his wife Tethys. Oceanos was not god of the sea, but of the ocean, supposed to form a boundary round the world.
Oceanides (5 syl.). Daughters of Oceanos.
Palemon, the Greek Portumnus. Portumnus, the protector of harbours. Poseidon (3 syl.), the Greek Neptune. Proteus (2 syl.), who assumed every variety of shape. Sirens (The). Sea nymphs who charmed by song. Tethys, wife of Oceanos, and daughter of Uranus and Terra. Thetis, a daughter of Nereus and mother of Achilles. Triton, son of Poseidon (3 syl.).
The Naiads or Naiades (3 syl.) were river nymphs.
England. So called because, as Shakespeare has it, it is “hedged in with the main, that water—wallëd bulwark” (King John, ii. 1).
“This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands.”
Shakespeare: King Richard II., ii. 1.
(The). So Carlyle called Robespierre in his French Revolution.
“The song is a short one, and may perhaps serve to qualify our judgment of the `sea—green incorruptible.' ”— Notes and Queries, September 19th, 1891, p. 226.
He has got his sea legs. Is able to walk on deck when the ship is rolling; able to bear the motion of the ship without sea—sickness.
Pontoppidan, in his Natural History of Norway, speaks of sea serpents 600 feet long. The great sea serpent was said to have been seen off the coast of Norway in 1819, 1822, 1837. Hans Egede affirms that it was seen on the coast of Greenland in 1734. In 1815, 1817, 1819, 1833, and in 1869, it made its appearance near Boston. In 1841 it was “seen” by the crew of Her Majesty's frigate Daedalus, in the South Atlantic Ocean. In 1875 it was seen by the crew of the barque Pauline. Girth, nine feet.
That part of a country which borders on the sea; the coast—line. It should be seabord. (French, bord, the edge.)
The sire is called a bull, its females are cows, the offspring are called pups; the breeding—place is called a rookery, a group of young seals is called a pod. The male seal till it is full grown is called a bachelor. A colony of seals is called a herd. A sealer is a seal—hunter, seal—hunting is called scaling, and the seal trade sealcry.
(The). The “wrong” or worst side; as, the “seamy side of Australia,” “the seamy side of life.” Thus, in velvet, in Brussels carpets, in tapestry, etc., the “wrong” side shows the seams or threads of the pattern exhibited on the right side.
“You see the seamy side of human nature in its most seamy attire.”— Review of R. Buchanan's play Alone in London, November, 1885.
“My present purpose is to call attention to the seamy side of the Australian colonies. There is, as we know, such a thing as cotton—backed satin; but the colonists take care to show us only the face of the goods.”— Nineteenth Century, April, 1891, p. 524.
(The). In art. The four seasons have often been sculptured or painted by artists: POUSSIN drew his symbolic characters from the Old Testament. Thus, Adam and Eve in Paradise represent Spring; Ruth in the cornfields represents Summer; Joshua and Caleb bringing grapes from the Land of Promise represent Autumn; and the Deluge represents Winter.
The Ancient Greeks characterised Spring by Mercury, Summer by Apollo, Autumn by Bacchus, and Winter by Hercules.
M. Girondet painted for the King of Spain four pictures, with allegoric character, from the Herculaneum.
(4 syl.). Rabbis who lived after the Talmud was finished, and gave their judgment on traditionary difficulties (Al derck sebaroth, “by way of opinion"). (Buxtorf.)
(St.). Patron saint of archers, because he was bound to a tree and shot at with arrows. As the arrows stuck in his body, thick as pins in a pin—cushion, he was also made patron saint of pin—makers. And as he was a centurion, he is patron saint of soldiers.
The English St. Sebastian. St. Edmund, the martyr—king of East Anglia. He gave himself up to his enemies under the hope of saving his people by this sacrifice. The Danes first scourged him with rods, and then, binding him to a tree, shot arrows at him, and finally cut off his head. A legend tells how a wolf guarded the head till it was duly interred. The monastery and cathedral of St. Edmundsbury were erected on the place of his martyrdom.
Persons who believe that Dom Sebastian, who fell in the battle of Alcazarquebir in 1578, will return to earth, when Brazil will become the chief kingdom of the earth.
A similar tradition is attached to several other names.
(See Two .)
Not new or original; what has already been the property of another; as, “second—hand books,” “second—hand clothes,” etc.
The power of seeing things invisible to others; the power of foreseeing future events by means of shadows thrown before them. Many Highlanders claim this power, which the ancient Gaels called shadow—sight (taischitaraugh).
“Nor less a vailed his optic sleight,
And Scottish gift of second sight.”
(The), in running. All animals soon after the start get out of breath, but as the body becomes heated, breathing becomes more easy, and endures till fatigue produces exhaustion; this is called the second wind.
“That mysterious physical readjustment, known in animals as `second breath,' came to the rescue of his fainting frame.”— The Barton Experiment, chap. x.
Second of Time
(A). The sixtieth part of an hour was called by the Romans scrupulum, and the sixtieth part of a minute was scrupulum secundum
Secondary Colours (See under Colours .)
Secret de Polichinelle
(Le). No secret at all. A secret known to all the world; old news. We have also
“Hawker's News,” “Piper's News.” The secrets of Polichinelle are “stage whispers” told to all the audience.
“Entre nous, c'est qu'on appelle
Le secret de polichinelle.”
La Mascotte ii. 12.
(The). The parish clergy who live in the world, in contradistinction to monks, who live in monasteries, etc., out of the world. (Latin, secularis.)
Those held by the Romans only once in a century. While the kings reigned they were held in the Campus Martius, in honour of Pluto and Proserpine, and were instituted in obedience to the Sibylline verses, with the promise that “the empire should remain in safety so long as this admonition was observed.”
“Date, quae precamur
Quo Sibyllini monuere versus.”
Horace: Carmen Seculare, A.U.C., 737.
So called from sedes (Latin, “a seat"). Their introduction into England is by Hume (vol. iv. 505) erroneously attributed to the Duke of Buckingham, who, it is said, gave great offence by employing men as beasts of burden. Sir S. Duncombe used one in 1634, when Buckingham was a boy, and we find it spoken of as far back as 1581. It was introduced into France (in 1617) by the Marquis de Montbrun, and called chaise à porteus.
It is generally said that these chairs were first made at Sedan, on the Meuse; but this is not at all probable, as, without doubt, the invention was introduced into France from England.
The lotus—tree which stands on the right—hand side of the invisible throne of Allah. Its branches extend wider than the distance between heaven and earth. Its leaves resemble the ears of an elephant. Each seed of its fruit encloses a houri; and two rivers issue from its roots. Numberless birds sing among its branches, and numberless angels rest beneath its shade.
Weary, worn out, out of sorts; run to seed. A hat or coat is termed seedy when it has become shabby. A man is seedy after a debauch, when he looks and feels out of sorts.
To close the eyelids of a hawk by running a thread through them; to hoodwink. (French, ciller, cil, the eyelash.)
“She that so young could give out such a seeming,
To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak.”
Shakespeare: Othello, iii. 3.
The wonderful bird that could speak all the languages of the world, and whose knowledge embraced past, present, and future events. (Persian mythology.)
(The). A possession which invariably brought ill luck with it. Hence the Latin proverb “Ille homo habet equum Seianum. ” Cneius Seius had an Argive horse, of the breed of Diomed, of a bay colour and surpassing beauty, but it was fatal to its possessor. Seius was put to death by Mark Antony. Its next owner, Cornelius Dolabella, who bought it for 100,000 sesterces, was killed in Syria during the civil wars. Caius
Cassius, who next took possession of it, perished after the battle of Philippi by the very sword which stabbed Caesar. Antony had the horse next, and after the battle of Actium slew himself. Like the gold of Tolosa and Hermione's necklace, the Seian or Sejan horse was a fatal possession.
Natural mineral water from a spring in the village of Seidlitz, in Bohemia. (See Seltzer .)
(pron. Seeks). A religious sect in Hindustan, founded in 1500. They profess the purest Deism, and are distinguished from the Hindus by worshipping one invisible god. The word means lion, and was applied to them on account of their heroic resistance to the Moslem. Ultimately they subdued Lahore, and established a military commonwealth in the Punjab, etc.
In 1849 the Punjab was annexed to the British empire.
in the Psalms. Mattheson, the musical critic, says the word is equivalent to da capo, and is a direction to the choir to repeat the psalm down to the part thus indicated.
or Selemeh. The headland of the Persian Gulf, commonly called Cape Musseldom. The Indians throw cocoanuts, fruits, and flowers into the sea when they pass this cape, to secure a propitious voyage. (Morier.)
“Breezes from the Indian sea
Blow round Selama's sainted cape.”
Moore: Fire Worshippers.
The moon—goddess; sometimes, but improperly, called Diana, as Diana is always called the chaste huntress; but Selene had fifty daughters by Endymion, and several by Zeus, one of whom was called “The Dew” (Erse). Diana is represented with bow and arrow running after the stag; but Selene is represented in a chariot drawn by two white horses; she has wings on her shoulders and a sceptre in her hand
The dynasty of Seleucus. Seleucus succeeded to a part of Alexander's vast empire. The monarchy consisted of Syria, a part of Asia Minor, and all the eastern provinces.
Son of `Abdallah and cousiu of Zuleika (3 syl.). When Giaffir (2 syl.) murdered Abdallah, he took Selim and brought him up as his own son. The young man fell in love with Zuleika, who thought he was her brother; but when she discovered he was Abdallah's son, she promised to be his bride, and eloped with him. As soon as Giaffir discovered this he went after the fugitives, and shot Selim. Zuleika killed herself, and the old pacha was left childless. The character of Selim is bold, enterprising, and truthful. (Byron: Bride of Abydos.)
Selim (son of Akbar). The name of Jehanguire, before his accession to the throne. He married Nourmahal' (the Light of the Harem). (See Nourmahal).
A Perso—Turkish dynasty which gave eleven kings and lasted 138 years (1056—1194). It was founded by Togrul Beg, a descendant of Seljuk, chief of a small tribe which gained possession of Bokara.
Sell A saddle. “Vaulting ambition ... o'erleaps its sell” (Macbeth, i. 7). (Latin, sella; French, selle.) Window sill is the Anglo—Saxon syl (a basement).
“He left his loftie steed with golden sell.”
Spenser: Faërie Queene, ii. 2.
Sell, sold. Made a captive, as a purchased slave. St. Paul says he was “sold under sin” (Rom. vii. 14), (Anglo—Saxon, sell—an, to give.)
A sell. A “do,” a deception, a “takein.” Street vendors who take in the unwary with catchpennies, chuckle like hens when they have laid an egg, “Sold again, and got the money!”
(A), in which horses to be sold are run. These horses must have the sale price ticketed. The winner is generally sold by auction, and the owner gets both the selling price and the stakes. If at the auction a price is obtained above the ticketed price it is divided between the second—best horse and the race—fund. (See Handicap, Sweepstakes, Plate, Weight—For—Age Race .)
The owner of any of the horses may claim any horse in a selling race at the price ticketed.
Selling the Pass
This is a phrase, very general in all Ireland, applied to those who turn queen's or king's evidence, or who impeach their comrades for money. The tradition is that a regiment of soldiers was sent by Crotha, “lord of Atha,” to hold a pass against the invading army of Trathal, “King of Cael.” The pass was betrayed for money. The Fir—bolgs being subdued, Trathal assumed the title of “King of Ireland.”
A corruption of Selters Water; so called from the Lower Selters, near Limburg (Nassau).
Semiramis of the North
Margaret of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. (1353—1412.) Catherine II. of Russia (1729—1796).
(St.) fled to the island of Scattery, and resolved that no female form should ever step upon it. An angel led St. Canara to the island, but the recluse refused to admit her. Tom Moore has a poem on this legend, St. Senanus and the Lady. (Irish Melodies, No. 1. (See Kevin .)
The Christian Seneca. Bishop Hall of Norwich. (1574—1656.)
(3 syl.) A Cambridge University expression meaning one of the second—class in the mathematical tripos. The first class consists of Wranglers.
In the University of Cambridge every branch is divided into three classes, and the three classes are called a tripos. In the mathematical tripos, those of the first class are called wranglers, those of the second class are senior optimes (3 syl.), and those of the third class junior optimes. Law, classical, and other triposes have no distinctive names, but are called Class I., II., or III. of the respective tripos.
whose army was destroyed by the Angel of Death, is by the Orientals called King Moussal. (D' Herbelot, notes to the Koran. )
A week; seven nights. Fortnight, fourteen nights. These words are relics of the ancient Celtic custom of beginning the day at sunset, a custom observed by the ancient Greeks, Babylonians, Persians, Syrians, and Jews, and by the modern representatives of these people. In Gen. i. we always find the evening precedes the morning; as, “The evening and the morning were the first day,” etc.
(3 syl.). The four books of Sentences, by Pierre Lombard, the foundation of scholastic theology of the middle period. (See Schoolmen .)
Master of the Sentences. Pierre Lombard, schoolman. (Died 1164.)
Sentinel Archd. Smith says, “It is one set to watch the sentina (Lat.) or hold of a ship,” but the Fr. sentier, a path or “beat,” is far more probable. (French, sentinelle; Italian, sentinella; the French sentier is from the Latin semita
The Indian soldier is so called, says Bishop Heber, from sip, a bow, their principal weapon in olden times. (Sipahi, a soldier.)
A clan (Latin, septum, a fold), all the cattle, or all the voters, in a given enclosure.
An indiscriminate slaughter of Loyalists confined at the time in the Abbaye and other French prisons. Danton gave order for this onslaught after the capture of Verdun by the allied Prussian army. It lasted the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of September, 1792. As many as 8,000 persons fell in this massacre, among whom was the Princess de Lamballe.
In round numbers, seventy days before Easter. The third Sunday before Lent. Really only sixty—eight days before Easter.
A Greek version of the Old Testament, so called because it was made, in round numbers, by seventy Jews; more correctly speaking, by seventy—two. Dr. Campbell disapproves of this derivation, and says it was so called because it was sanctioned and authorised by the Jewish Sanhedrim or great council, which consisted of seventy members besides the high priest. This derivation falls in better with the modern notion that the version was made at different times by different translators between B.C. 270 and 130. (Latin, septuaginta, seventy.)
The Septuagint contains the Apocrypha According to legend, the Septuagint was made at Alexandria by seventy—two Jews in seventy—two days.
The palace of the Turkish sultan, situated in the Golden Horn, and enclosed by walls seven miles and a half in circuit. The chief entrance is the Sublime Gate; and the chief of the large edifices is the Harem, or “sacred spot,” which contains numerous houses, one for each of the sultan's wives, and others for his concubines. The black eunuchs form the inner guard, and the white eunuchs the second guard. The Seraglio may be visited by strangers; not so the Harem.
An order of angels distinguished for fervent zeal and religious ardour. The word means “to burn.” (See Isaiah vi. 2.)
“Thousand celestial ardours [seraphs] where he stood
Veiled with his gorgeous wings, up springing light, Flew through the midst of heaven.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, v. 249.
The Ptolemaic form of the Egyptian Osiris. The word is a corruption of osorapis (dead apis, or rather
“osirified apis"), a deity which had so many things in common with Osiris that it is not at all easy to distinguish them.
Serapis. Symbol of the Nile and of fertility.
(Al). The ordeal bridge over which everyone will have to pass at the resurrection. It is not wider than the edge of a scimitar, and is thrown across the gulf of hell. The faithful, says the Koran, will pass over in safety, but sinners will fall headlong into the dreary realm beneath.
or Serbonis. A mess from which there is no way of extricating oneself. The Serbonian bog was between Egypt and Palestine. Strabo calls it a lake, and says it was 200 stadia long, and 50 broad; Pliny makes it 150 miles in length. Hume says that whole armies have been lost therein. Typhon lay at the bottom of this bog, which was therefore called Typhon's Breathing Hole. It received its name from Sebaket—Bardoil, a king of Jerusalem, who died there on his return from an expedition into Egypt.
“Now, sir, I must say I know of no Serbonian bog deeper than a 5 rating would prove to be.”—
B. Disraeli (Chanc. of the Exch.). Times, March 19, 1867
“A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog,
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Cassius old,
Where armies whole have sunk.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, ii. 592.
(4 syl.). Brother—in—law of King Sardanapalus, to whom he entrusts his signet—ring to put down a rebellion headed by Arbaces the Mede and Belesis, the Chaldean soothsayer. He is slain in a battle with the insurgents. (Byron: Sardanapalus.)
(3 syl.). Music performed in the serene— i.e. in the open air at eventide (Latin, serenum whence the French sérénade and Italian serenata).
“Or serenate which the starved lover sings
To his proud fair.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, iii. 769.
(2 syl.). A title given to certain German princes. Those princes who used to hold under the empire were entitled Serene or Most Serene Highnesses.
It's all serene. All right (Spanish,sereno, “all right”— the sentinel's countersign). Sereno, the night—watch.
“ `Let us clearly understand each other.' `All serene,' responded Foster.”— Watson; The Web of the Spider chap. viii.
and Sanserif. The former is a letter in typography with the “wings” or finishing—strokes (as T); the latter is without the finishing—strokes (as T).
French, frèresserjens, a corruption of fratres—scrvientes of the Templars.
(Doctors Commons, London). A corruption of Shere—moniers Lane (the lane of the
money—shearers or clippers, whose office it was to cut and round the metal to be stamped into money). The Mint was in the street now called Old Change. (Maitland: London, ii. 880.)
An attribute of St. Cecilia, St. Euphemia, and many other saints, either because they trampled on Satan, or because they miraculously cleared some country of such reptiles. (See Dagon .)
Serpent, in Christian art, figures in Páadise as the tempter.
The brazen serpent gave newness of life to those who were bitten by the fiery dragons and raised their eyes to this symbol. (Numb. xxi. 8.)
It is generally placed under the feet of the Virgin, in allusion to the promise made to Eve after the fall. (Gen.
Satan is called the great serpent because under the form of a serpent he tempted Eve. (Rev. xii. 9.) It is rather strange that, in Hindu mythology, hell is called Narac (the region of serpents). (Sir W. Jones.)
Serpent metamorphoses. Cadmos and his wife Harmonia were by Zeus converted into serpents and removed to Elysium. Esculapius, god of Epidau'. ros, assumed the form of a serpent when he appeared at Rome during a pestilence. Therefore is it that the goddess of Health bears in her hand a serpent.
“O wave, Hygeia, o'er Britannia's throne
Thy serpent—wand, and mark it for thine own.” Darwin: Economy of Vegetation, iv.
Jupiter Ammon appeared to Olympia in the form of a serpent, and became the father of Alexander the Great.
“When glides a silver serpent, treacherous guest!
And fair Olympia folds him to her breast.”
Darwin: Economy of Vegetation, i. 2.
Jupiter Capitolinus, in a similar form, became the father of Scipio Africanus.
The serpent is emblematical— (1) Of wisdom. “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. x. 16). (2) Of subtilty. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field” (Gen. iii. 1). It is said that the cerastes hides in sand that it may bite the horse's foot and get the rider thrown. In allusion to this belief, Jacob says, “Dan shall be ... an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward” (Gen. xlix. 17).
It is said that serpents, when attacked, swallow their young, and eject them again on reaching a place of safety.
Thomas Lodge says that people called Sauveurs have St. Catherine's wheel in the palate of their mouths, and therefore can heal the sting of serpents.
The Bible also tells us that it stops up its ears that it may not be charmed by the charmer. (Ps. lviii. 4.)
The serpent is symbolical — (1) Of deity, because, says Plutarch, “it feeds upon its own body; even so all things spring from God, and will be resolved into deity again.” (De Iside et Osiride, i. 2, p. 5; and Philo Byblius.)
(2) Of eternity, as a corollary of the former. It is represented as forming a circle and holding its tail in its
mouth. (3) Of renovation. It is said that the serpent, when it is old, has the power of growing young again `like the eagle,” by casting its slough, which is done by squeezing itself between two rocks.
(4) Of guardian spirits. It was thus employed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and not unfrequently the figure of a serpent was depicted on their altars.
In the temple of Athen'a at Athens, a serpent was kept in a cage, and called “the Guardian Spirit of the Temple.” This serpent was supposed to be animated by the soul of Ericthonius.
To cherish a serpent in your bosom. To show kindness to one who proves ungrateful. The Greeks say that a husbandman found a serpent's egg, which he put into his bosom. The egg was hatched by the warmth, and the young serpent stung its benefactor.
“Therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatched, would (as his kind) grow dangerous.” Shakespeare: Julius Coesar, ii. 1.
Their ears have been serpent—licked. They have the gift of foreseeing events, the power of seeing into futurity. This is a Greek superstition. It is said that Cassandra and Helenus were gifted with the power of prophecy, because serpents licked their ears while sleeping in the temple of Apollo.
The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head (Gen. iii. 15). The serpent bruised the heel of man; but Christ, the “seed of the woman,” bruised the serpent's head.
Serpent's food. Fennel is said to be the favourite food of serpents, with the juice of which it restores its sight when dim.
Serpents. Brazilian wood is a panacea against the bite of serpents. The Countess of Salisbury, in the reign of James I., had a bedstead made of this wood, and on it is the legend of “Honi soit qui mal y pense.”
Such as end with the same word as they begin with. The following are examples: —
“Crescit amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit.”
(Greater grows the love of pelf, as pelf itself, grows greater.)
“Ambo florentes aetatibus, Arcades ambo.” (Both in the spring of life, Arcadians both.)
High screens of rep cloth, stiffened with cane, used to enclose a considerable space round the royal tent of the Persian army.
Faithful A faithful Adam. A faithful old servant. The character is taken from Shakespeare's comedy of As you like it, where a retainer of that name, who had served the family sixty—three years, offer to accompany Orlando in his flight and to share with him his thrifty savings of 500 crowns.
I'll serve him out — give a quid pro quo. This is the French server, to do an ill turn to one.
To serve a rope. To roll something upon it to prevent it from being fretted. The “service” or material employed is spun yarn, small lines, sennit, ropes, old leather, or canvas.
(Latin). The slave of slaves, the drudge of a servant. The style adopted by the Roman pontiffs ever since the time of Gregory the Great is Servus Servorum Die.
“Alexander episcopus, servus servorum Dei, Karissino filio Willielmo salutem.” — Rymer: Foedera, i. p. 1.
(3 syl.). Oily grain of the natural order Pedaliaceae, originally from India. In Egypt they eat sesame cakes, and the Jews frequently add the seed to their bread. The cakes made of sesame oil, mixed with honey
and preserved citron, are considered an Oriental luxury; sesame is excellent also for puddings. (See Open Sesame .)
“Among the numerous objects ... was a black horse ... On one side of its manager there was clean barley and sesame and the other was filled with rose—water.” — Arabian Nights (Third Calender).
King of the serpent race, on which Vishnu reclines on the primeval waters. It has a thousand heads, on one of which the world rests. The coiled—up sesha is the emblem of eternity. (Hindu mythology.)
(A). A commercial expression. The credits are set off against the debits, and the balance struck.
Set off to advantage. A term used by jewellers, who set off precious stone by appropriate “settings.”
In theatrical parlance, a scene built up by the stage carpenters, or a furnished interior, as a drawing—room, as distinguished from an ordinary or shifting scene.
( A) boxing match, a pugilistic fight, a scolding. In pugilism the combatants are by their seconds “set to the scratch” or line marked on the ground.
A deity of the Patagonians, introduced by Shakespeare into his Tempest.
“His art is of such power,
It would control my dam's god, Setebos,
And make a vassal of him.” Tempest, i. 2.
(2 syl.). A sect of the second century, who maintained that the Messiah was Seth, son of Adam.
Setting a Hen
Giving her a certain number of eggs to hatch. The whole number for incubation is called a setting.
Setting a Saw
Bending the teeth alternately to the right or left in order to make it work more easily.
Setting of a Jewel
The frame of gold or silver surrounding a jewel in a ring, brooch, etc.
“This precious stone set in the silver sea.”
Shakespeare: Richard II., ii. 1.
Setting of Plaster
or Paint. Its hardening.
Setting of Sun, Moon, and Stars
Their sinking below the horizon.
Setting the Thames on Fire
(See Thames .)
Settle your Hask
(To). “To cook his goose;” or “make mince—meat of him.” Our slang is full of similar phrases.
“About earls as goes mad in their castles,
And females what settles their hash.”
Sims: Dagonet Ballads (Polly).
(Greek, hepta; Latin, septem; German, sieben; Anglo—Saxon, seofan; etc.). A holy number. There are seven days in creation, seven spirits before the throne of God, seven days in the week, seven graces, seven
divisions in the Lord's Prayer, seven ages in the life of man, and the just fall “seven times a day.” There are seven phases of the moon, every seventh year was sabbatical, and seven times seven years was the jubilee. The three great Jewish feasts lasted seven days, and between the first and second of these feasts were seven weeks. Levitical purifications lasted seven days. We have seven churches of Asia, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven trumpets, seven spirits before the throne of God, seven horns, the Lamb has seven eyes, ten times seven Israelites go to Egypt, the exile lasts the same number of years, and there were ten times seven elders. Pharaoh in his dream saw seven kine and seven ears of corn, etc.
It is frequently used indefinitely to signify a long time, or a great many; thus in the Interlude of the Four Elements, the dance of Apetyte is called the best “that I have seen this seven yere.” Shakespeare talks of a man being “a vilo thief this seven year.”
(The) or Sacred Books. (1) The Bible of Christians. (Canon completed A.D. 494; Old Testament as we have it, B.C. 130.) (2) The Eddas of the Scandinavians.
(3) The Five Kings of the Chinese. “King” here means web—of—cloth on which they were originally written. (4) The Koran of the Mohammedans. (Seventh century, A.D.)
(5) The Tri Pitikes of the Buddhists. (Sixth century B.C.)
(6) The Three Vedas of the Hindus. (Twelfth century B.C.)
(7) Zendavesta of the Persians. (Twelfth century B.C.)
Seven Bodies in Alchemy
Sun is gold, moon silver, Mars iron, Mercury quicksilver, Saturn lead, Jupiter tin, and Venus copper.
“The bodies seven, eek, lo hem heer anoon;
Sol gold is, and Luna silver we threpe;
Mars yren, Mercurie quyksilver we clepe;
Saturnus leed, and Jubitur is tyn;
And Venus coper, by my fader kyn.”
Chaucer: Prol. of the Chanounes Yemanes Tale.
Seven Champions of Christendom
is by Richard Johnson, who lived in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. (1) St. George of England was seven years imprisoned by the Almidor, the black King of Morocco.
(2) St. Denys of France lived seven years in the form of a hart.
(3) St. James of Spain was seven years dumb out of love to a fair Jewess.
(4) St. Anthony of Italy, with the other champions, was enchanted into a deep sleep in the Black Castle, and was released by St. George's three sons, who quenched the seven lamps by water from the enchanted fountain. (5) St. Andrew of Scotland, who delivered six ladies who had lived seven years under the form of white swans.
(6) St. Patrick of Ireland was immured in a cell where he scratched his grave with his own nails. (7) St. David of Wales slept seven years in the enchanted garden of Ormandine, but was redeemed by St. George.
Seven Churches of Asia
(1) Ephesos, founded by St. Paul, 57, in a ruinous state in the time of Justinian. (2) Smyrna, still an important seaport. Polycarp was its first bishop.
(3) Pergamos, renowned for its library.
(4) Thyatira, now called Ak—hissar (the White Castle).
(5) Sardis, now a small village called Sart.
(6) Philadelphia, now called Allah Shehr (City of God), a miserable town.
(7) Laodice'a, now a deserted place called Eski—hissar (the Old Castle).
It is strange that all these churches, planted by the apostles themselves, are now Mahometan. Read what Gamaliel said, Acts v. 38, 39
Seven Deadly Sins
(The). Pride, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, and Sloth.
(London). A column with seven dials formerly stood in St. Giles, facing the seven streets which radiated therefrom.
“Where famed St Giles's ancient limits spread
An in—railed column rears its lofty head.
Here to seven streets seven dials count the day. And from each other catch the circling ray.”
Gay: Trivia, i.
Seven Joys of the Virgin
(See Mary .)
Seven Sages of Greece
(1) Solon of Athens, whose motto was, “Know thyself.” (2) Chilo of Sparta — “Consider the end.”
(3) Thales of Miletos — “Who hateth suretyship is sure.” (4) Bias of Priene — “Most men are bad.”
(5) Cleobulos of Lindos — “The golden mean,” or “Avoid extremes.” (6) Pittacos of Mitylene — “Seize Time by the forelock.”
(7) Periander of Corinth — “Nothing is impossible to industry.”
First, Solon, who madé the Athenian laws,
While Chilo, in Sparta, was famed for his saws: In Miletos did Thales astronomy teach;
Bios used in Priene his morals to preach;
Cleobulos, of Lindos, was handsome and wise; Mitylene gainst thraldom saw Pittacos rise;
Periander is said to have gained through his court
The title that Myson, the Chenian, ought.
Scared out of my seven senses. According to very ancient teaching, the soul of man, or his “inward holy body,” is compounded of the seven properties which are under the influence of the seven planets. Fire animates, earth gives the sense of feeling, water gives speech, air gives taste, mist gives sight, flowers give hearing, the south wind gives smelling. Hence the seven senses are animation, feeling, speech, taste, sight, hearing, and smelling. (See Common Sense .) (See Ecclesiastes xvii. 5.)
Seven oulverins so called, cast by one Borthwick.
“And these were Borthwick's `Sisters Seven,
And culverins which France had given;
Ill—omened gift' The guns remain
The conqueror's spoil on Flodden plain.”
Sir Walter Scott: Marmion iv.
Seven noble youths of Ephesos, who fled in the Decian persecution to a cave in Mount Celion. After 230 years they awoke, but soon died, and their bodies were taken to Marseilles in a large stone coffin, still shown in Victor's church. Their names are Constantine, Dionysius, John, Maximian, Malchus,
Martinian, and Serapion. This fable took its rise from a misapprehension of the words, “They fell asleep in the Lord” — i.e. died. (Gregory of Tours De Gloria Martyrum, i. 9.) (See Koran, xviii.; Golden Legend, etc.)
Seven Sorrows of the Virgin
(See Mary .)
stand before the Throne of God: Michael, Gabriel, Lamael, Raphael, Zachariel, Anael, and Oriphel. (Gustavini.)
Seven Spirits of God
(The). (1) the Spirit of Wisdom, (2) the Spirit of Understanding, (3) the Spirit of Counsel, (4) the Spirit of Power, (5) the Spirit of Knowledge, (6) the Spirit of Righteousness, and (7) the Spirit of Divine Awfulness.
(The). Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. The first three are called “the holy virtues.” (See Seven Deadly Sins .)
Seven Weeks' War
(The). From June 8th to July 26th, 1866, between Prussia and Austria, for German supremacy. Italy was allied to Prussia. Hostilities broke out between Austria and Italy July 25th, but the Bavarians were defeated the following day (July 26th), The Treaty of Prague was signed August 23rd, 1866, and that of Vienna October 3rd. By these treaties, Austria was wholly excluded from Germany, and Prussia was placed at the head of the German States.
Seven Wise Masters
Lucien, son of Dolopathus, received improper advances from his stepmother, and, being repelled, she accused him to the king of offering her violence. By consulting the stars the prince found out that his life was in danger, but that the crisis would be passed without injury if he remained silent for seven days. The wise masters now take up the matter; each one in turn tells the king a tale to illustrate the evils of inconsiderate punishments, and as the tale ends the king resolves to relent; but the queen at night persuades him to carry out his sentence. The seven days being passed, the prince also tells a tale which embodies the whole truth, whereupon the king sentences the queen to lose her life. This collection of tales, called Sandabar's Parables, is very ancient, and has been translated from the Arabic into almost all the languages of the civilised world. John Rolland, of Dalkeith, turned it into Scotch metre.
Seven Wonders of the World
(i) Of Antiquity.
The Pyramids first, which in Egypt were laid; Then Babylon's Gardens for Amytis made; Third, Mausolus's Tomb of affection and guilt; Fourth, the Temple of Dian, in Ephesus built; Fifth, Colossos of Rhodes, cast—in brass, to the sun, Sixth, Jupiter's Statue, by Phidias done; The Pharos of Egypt, last wonder of old, Or the Palace of Cyrus, cemented with gold. E.C.B.
(ii) Of the Middle Ages.
(1) The Coliseum of Rome.
(2) The Catacombs of Alexandria.
(3) The Great Wall of China.
(5) The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
(6) The Porcelain Tower of Nankin.
(7) The Mosque of St. Sophia at Constantinople.
Seven Years' Lease
Leases run by seven years and its multiples, from the ancient notion of what was termed “climacteric years,” in which life was supposed to be in special peril. (Levinus Lemnius.) (See Climacteric Years .)
Seven Years' War
(The). The third period of the War of the “Austrian Succession,” between Maria Theresa of Austria and Friedrich II. of Prussia. It began 1756, and terminated in 1763. At the close, Silesia was handed over to Prussia.
Seven Years' War between Sweden and Denmark (1563—1570). Erik XIV. of Sweden was poisoned, and his successor put an end to the war.
= separate; that which is severed or separate; each, as “all and several.” Azariah was a leper, and “dwelt in a several house” (2 Kings xv.5).
(See Sabbina .)
Severus (St.). Patron saint of fullers, being himself of the same craft.
The Wall of Severus. A stone rampart, built in 208 by the Emperor Severus, between the Tyne and the Solway. It is to the north of Hadrian's wall, which was constructed in 120.
Porcelain of fine quality, made at the French government works at Sevres. Chiefly of a delicate kind, for ornament rather than use.
Sew the Button on
Jot down at once what you wish to remember, otherwise it may be lost or forgotten.
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.
The second Sunday before Lent; so called because in round numbers it is sixty days before Easter.
(2 syl.). The aspect of two planets when distant from each other sixty degrees or two signs. This position is marked thus *. As there are twelve signs, two signs are a sixth.
“In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite
Of noxious efficacy.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, x. 659.
A corruption of sacristan, an official who has charge of the sacra, or things attached to a specific church, such as vestments, cushions, books, boxes, tools, vessels, and so on.
[Seed ]. Pacha of the Morea, assassinated by Gulnare, his favourite concubine. (Byron: The Corsair.)
The founder of the illustrious house which was so conspicuous in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was the son of a day—labourer. His name was Giacomuzzo Attendolo, changed to Sforza from the following incident: — Being desirous of going to the wars, he consulted his hatchet thus: he flung it against a tree, saying, “If it sticks fast, I will go.” It did stick fast, and he enlisted. It was because he threw it with such amazing force that he was called Sforza, the Italian for force.
Sforza (in Jerusalem Delivered) of Lombardy. He, with his two brothers, Achilies and Palamedes, were in the squadron of adventurers in the allied Christian army.
A scamp. To shack or shackle is to tie a log to a horse, and send it out to feed on the stubble after harvest. A shack is either a beast so shackled, the right of sending a beast to the stubble, or the stubble itself. Applied to men, a shack is a jade, a stubble—feeder, one bearing the same ratio to a well—to—do man as a jade sent to graze on a common bears to a well—stalled horse. (Anglo—Saxon, sceacul; Arabic, shakal, to tie the feet of a beast.)
A large kind of orange, so called from Captain Shaddock, who first transplanted one in the West Indies. It is a native of China and Japan.
Wine vaults. The Brighton Old Bank, in 1819, was turned by Mr. Savage into a smoking—room and ginshop. There was an entrance to it by the Pavilion Shades, and Savage took down the word bank, and inserted instead the word shades. This term was not inappropriate, as the room was in reality shaded by the opposite house, occupied by Mrs. Fitzherbert.
or Shadoof. A contrivance in Egypt for watering lands for the summer crops. It consists of a long rod weighted at one end, so as to raise the bucket attached by a rope to the other end.
Shadow A ghost. Macbeth says to the ghost of Banquo —
“Hence, horrible shadow! unreal mockery, hence!”
Shakespeare: Macbeth, iii. 4.
He would quarrel with his own shadow. He is so irritable that he would lose his temper on the merest trifle. (See Schlemihl.)
Gone to the bad for the shadow of an ass. Demosthenes says a young Athenian once hired an ass to Megara. The heat was so great and the road so exposed, that he alighted at midday to take shelter from the sun under the shadow of the poor beast. Scarcely was he seated when the owner passed by, and laid claim to the shadow, saying he let the ass to the traveller, but not the ass's shadow. After fighting for a time, they agreed to settle the matter in the law courts, and the suit lasted so long that both were ruined. “If you must quarrel, let it be for something better than the shadow of an ass.”
May your shadow never be less. When students have made certain progress in the black arts, they are compelled to run through a subterranean hall with the devil after them. If they run so fast that the devil can only catch their shadow, or part of it, they become firstrate magicians, but lose either all or part of their shadow. Therefore, the expression referred to above means, May you escape wholly and entirely from the clutches of the foul fiend.
A servant carnestly desireth the shadow (Job vii. 2) — the time of leaving off work. The people of the East measure time by the length of their shadow, and if you ask a man what o'clock it is, he will go into the sun, stand erect, and fixing his eye where his shadow terminates; will measure its length with his feet; having done so, he will tell you the hour correctly. A workman earnestly desires his shadow, which indicates the time of leaving off work.
(To). To follow about like a shadow. This is done by some person or persons appointed to watch the movements and keep au fait with the doings of suspicious characters.
“He [Jesus] was shadowed by spies, who were stirring up the crowd against Him.” — Longman's Magazine, 1891, p. 238.
On the shady side of forty — the wrong side, meaning more than forty. As evening approaches the shadows lengthen, and as man advances towards the evening of life he approaches the shady side thereof. As the beauty of the day is gone when the sun declines, the word shady means inferior, bad, etc.; as, a shady character, one that will not bear the light; a shady transaction, etc.
So Bottom the weaver and Francis Flute the bellows—mender, call Cephalus, the husband of Procris.
“Pyramus: Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
Thisbe: As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.” Shakespeare: Midsummer Night's Dream, v. 1.
(2 syl.). One of the four sects of the Sunnites or orthodox Moslems; so called from Al—Shafei, a descendant of Mahomet. (See Shites.)
I will make either a shaft or bolt of it. I will apply it to one use or another. The bolt was the crossbow arrow, the shaft was the arrow of the long—bow.
(Sir Piercie). In this character Sir Walter Scott has made familiar to us the euphuisms of Queen Elizabeth's age. The fashionable cavalier or pedantic fop, who assumes the high—flown style rendered fashionable by Lyly, was grandson of old Overstitch the tailor. (Sir Walter Scott: Monastery.)
Shah Have you seen the Shah? A query implying a hoax, popular with street arabs when the Shah of Persia visited England. (1873.)
the Great (Sapor II.). Surnamed Zu—lectaf (shoulder—breaker), because he dislocated the shoulders of all the Arabs taken in war. The Romans called him Posthumus, because he was born after the death of his father Hormuz II. He was crowned in the womb by the Magi placing the royal insignia on the body of his mother.
A prince, the son of a king. (Anglo—Indian.)
Come and take a shakedown at my house — a bed. The allusion is to the time when men slept upon litter or clean straw. (See below, Shakes .)
Certain agamists founded in North America by Ann Lee, called “Mother Ann,” daughter of a poor blacksmith born in Toad Lane (Todd Street), Manchester. She married a smith named Stanley, and had four children, who died in infancy, after which she joined the sect of Jane Wardlaw, a tailoress, but was thrown into prison as a brawler. While there she said that Jesus Christ stood before her, and became one with her in form and spirit. When she came out and told her story six or seven persons joined her, and called her “the Lamb's bride.” Soon after this she went to America and settled at Water Vliet, in New York. Other settlements were established in Hancock and Mount Lebanon.
“The Shakers never marry, form no earthly ties, believe in no future resurrection.” — W Hepworth Dixon: New America, vii. 12.
No great shakes. Nothing extraordinary; no such mighty bargain. The reference is to shingle for the roof of shanties, or to stubble left after harvest for the poor.
“The cabin itself is quite like that of the modern settlers, but the shingles, called shakes, ... make the wood roof unique.” — Harper's Weekly, July 18th, 1891, p. 534.
I'll do it in a brace of shakes — instantly, as soon as you can shake twice the dice—box.
usually called “Gentle Will.”
His wife was Anne Hathaway, of Shottery, about eight years older than himself. He had one son, named Hamnet, who died in his twelfth year, and two daughters. Ben Jonson said of him — “And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek ...” Milton calls him “Sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child,” and says he will go to the well—trod stage to hear him “warble his native wood—notes wild.” (L'Allegro, 133.)
Akenside says he is “Alike the master of our smiles and tears.” (Ode i.)
Dryden says of him — “He was a man who of all modern and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul.”
Young says — “He wrote the play the Almighty made.” (Epistle to Lord Lansdowne.) Mallett says — “Great above rule ... Nature was his own.” (Verbal Criticism.)
Collins says he “joined Tuscan fancy to Athenian force.” (Epistle to Sir Thomas Hanmer.) Pope says —
“Shakespeare (whom you and every play—house bill
Style “the divine,” “the matchless,” what you will) For gain, not glory, winged his roving flight.
And grew immortal in his own despite.”
Imitations of Horace, Ep. i.
The dedication of Shakespeare's Sonnets has provoked much controversy. It is as follows: — TO THE ONLIE BEGETTER OF THESE INSUING SONNETS MR. W. H. ALL HAPPINESSE AND THAT ETERNITIE PROMISED BY OUR EVER—LIVING POET WISHETH
— that is, Mr. William Herbert [afterwards Lord Pembroke] wisheth to [the Earl of Southampton] the only begetter or instigator of these sonnets, that happiness and eternal life which [Shakespeare] the ever—living poet speaks of. The rider is —
THE WELL—WISHING ADVENTURER IN SETTING FORTH. T.T. That is, Thomas Thorpe is the adventurer who speculates in their publication. (See Athenaeum, Jan. 25, 1862.)
Shakespeare. There are six accredited signatures of this poet, five of which are attached to business documents, and one is entered in a book called Florio, a translation of Montaigne, published in 1603. A passage in act ii. s. 2 of The Tempest is traced directly to this translation, proving that the Florio was possessed by Shakespeare before he wrote that play.
The Shakespeare of divines. Jeremy Taylor (1613—1667). The Shakespeare of eloquence. So Barnave happily characterised the Comte de Mirabeau (1749—1791). The Spanish Shakespeare. Calderon (1601—1687).
Horace, strolling along the Via Sacra, shook hands with an acquaintance. Arreptâque monu, “Quid agis dulcissime rerum?”
AEneas, in the temple of Dido, sees his lost companions enter, and “avidi conjungere dextras ardebant” (AEn., i. 514.)
Nestor shook hands with Ulysses on his return to the Grecian camp with the stolen horses of Rhesus. And in the Old Testament, when Jehu asked Jehonadab if his “heart was right” with him, he said, “If it be, give me thine hand,” and Jehonadab gave him his hand.
Not steady; not in good health; not strictly upright; not well prepared for examination; doubtfully solvent. The allusion is to a table or chair out of order and shaky.
A weak—minded country justice, intended as a caricature of Sir Thomas Lucy, of Charlecote. He is described as one who had been a madcap in his youth, and still dotes on his wild tricks; he is withal a liar, a blockhead, and a rogue. (Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, and 2 Henry IV.)
(Lady of). A poem by Tennyson, the tale of which is similar to that of Elaine the “fair maid of Astolat” (q.v.). Part I. describes the island of Shalott, and tells us that the lady passed her life so secluded there that only the farm—labourers knew her. Part II. tells us that the lady passed her time in weaving a magic web, and that a curse would light on her if she looked down the river towards Camelot. Part III. describes how Sir Lancelot, in all his bravery, rode to Camelot, and the lady looked at him as he rode along. Part IV. says that the lady entered a boat, having first written her name on the prow, and floated down the river to Camelot, but
died on the way. When the boat reached Camelot, Sir Lancelot, with all the inmates of the palace, came to look at it. They read the name on the prow, and Sir Lancelot exclaimed, “She has a lovely face, and may God have mercy on the lady of Shalott!”
means benches (Anglo—Saxon, scamel; Latin, scamnum, and the diminutive scamellum, a little bench). The benches or banks on which meat is exposed for sale. (See Bank .)
“Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question.” — 1 Cor. x. 25.
the symbol of Ireland, because it was selected by St. Patrick to prove to the Irish the doctrine of the Trinity (Irish and Gaelic, seam—rog.)
Shamrock. According to the elder Pliny, no serpent will touch this plant.
Shan Van Voght
This excellent song (composed 1798) may be called the Irish Marscillaise. The title of it is a corruption of An t—sean bean bochd (the poor old woman — i.e. Ireland). (Holliday—Spurlïng: Irish Minstrelsy, p. 13.) The last verse is —
“Will Ireland then be free?
Said the Shan Van Voght? (repeat)
Yes, Ireland shall be free
From the centre to the sea,
Hurrah for liberty!
Said the Shan Van Voght.”
Sir Walter Scott says, “The author proceeds with the most unfeeling prolixity to give a minute detail of civil and common law, of the feudal institutions, of the architecture of churches and castles, of sculpture and painting, of minstrels, players, and parish clerks ... Tristram can hardly be said to be fairly born, though his life has already attained the size of half a volume.” (See below.)
“With a Shaudean exactness ... Lady Anne begins her memoirs of herself nine months before her nativity, for the sake of introducing a beautiful quotation from the Psalms.” — Biog. Borealis, p. 269.
Captain Shandy is called Uncle Toby. He was wounded at the siege of Namur, and had retired from the service. He is benevolent and generous, simple as a child, brave as a lion, and gallant as a courtier. His modesty with Widow Wadman and his military tastes are admirable. He is said to be drawn for Sterne's father. (Tristram Shandy.)
Mrs. Elizabeth Shandy, mother of Tristram. The beau—ideal of nonentity. Sir Walter Scott describes her as a “good lady of the poco—curante school.” (Sterne: Tristram Shandy.
Tristram Shandy. The hero of Sterne's novel so called.
Walter Shandy, Tristram's father. He is a metaphysical Don Quixote in his way, full of superstitious and idle conceits. He believes in long noses and propitious names, but his son's nose is crushed, and his name is Tristram instead of Trismegistus. (Sterne: Tristram Shandy.)
is a mixture of beer and ginger—beer. (See Smiler .)
To ride Shanks' nag is to go on foot, the shanks being the legs. A similar phrase is “Going by the marrow—bone stage” or by Walker's `bus. (Anglo—Saxon, scoanca, shanks.)
Dipped in the Shannon. One who has been dipped in the Shannon loses all bashfulness. At least, sic aiunt.
A log—hut. (Irish, sean, old: tig, house.)
Songs sung by sailors at work, to ensure united action. They are in sets, each of which has a different cadence adapted to the work in hand. Thus, in sheeting topsails, weighing anchor, etc., one of the most popular of the shanty songs runs thus: —
“I'm bound away, this very day,
I'm bound for the Rio Grande.
Ho, you, Rio!
Then fare you well, my bonny blue bell,
I'm bound for the Rio Grande.”
(French, chanter, to sing; a sing—song.)
A swindler, a pilferer; one who snaps up things like a shark, which eats almost anything, and seems to care little whether its food is alive or dead, fish, flesh, or human bodies.
“These thieves doe rob us with our owne good will,
And have Dame Nature's warrant for it still;
Sometimes these sharks doe worke each other's wrack, The ravening belly often robs the backe.”
Taylor's Workes, ii. 117.
The shark flies the feather. This is a sailor's proverb founded on observation. Though a shark is so voracious that it will swallow without distinction everything that drops from a ship into the sea, such as cordage, cloth, pitch, wood, and even knives, yet it will never touch a pilot—fish (q.v. ) or a fowl, either alive or dead. It avoids sea—gulls, sea—mews, petrels, and every feathered thing. (St. Pierre: Studies, i.)
(Becky). The impersonation of intellect without virtue in Thackeray's Vanity Fair. (See Sedley .)
“Becky Sharp, with a baronet for a brother—in—law and an earl's daughter for a friend, felt the hollowness of human grandeur, and thought she was happier with the Bohemian artists in Soho.” — The Express.
Sharp's the word. Look out, keep your eyes open and your wits about you. When a shopman suspects a customer, he will ask aloud of a brother—shopman if “Mr. Sharp is come in:” and if his suspicion is confirmed, will receive for answer, “No, but he is expected back immediately.” (Holten.)
The Crow's wife in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
Hungry. A term in falconry. (See Hawk .)
“If anie were so sharpe—set as to eat fried flies, buttered bees, stued snails, either on Fridaie or Sundaie, he could not be therefore indicated of haulte treason.” — stannhurst: Ireland, p.
To shave a customer. Hotten says, when a master—draper sees anyone capable of being imposed upon enter his shop, he strokes his ohin, to signify to his assistant that the customer may be shaved.
I shaved through; he was within a shave of a pluck. I just got through [my examination]; he was nearly rejected as not up to the mark. The allusion is to carpentry.
A lad; a young man. In the year 1348 the clergy died so fast of the Black Death that youths were admitted to holy orders by being shaven. “William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, dispensed with sixty shavelings to hold rectories and other livings, that divine service might not cease in the parishes over which they were appointed. (Blom—field: History of Norfolk, vol. iii.)
Bondmen were commanded by the ancient Gauls to shave, in token of servitude. In the Turkish seraglio the slaves are obliged to shave their chins, in token of their servitude.
She Stoops to Conquer
This comedy owes its existence to an incident which actually occurred to its author. When Goldsmith was sixteen years of age, a wag residing at Ardagh directed him, when passing through that village, to Squire Fetherstone's house as the village inn. The mistake was not discovered for some time, and then no one enjoyed it more heartily than Oliver himself.
Steel which has been sheared. When the bars have been converted into steel, they are sheared into short pieces, and forged again from a pile built up with layers crossed, so as to produce a web—like texture in the metal by the crossing of the fibres. Great toughness results from this mode of manipulation, and the steel thus produced is used for shears and other instruments where a hard sharp edge is required.
The great fire festival of the Persians, when they used to set fire to large bunches of dry combustibles, fastened round wild beasts and birds, which, being then let loose, the air and earth appeared one great illumination. The terrified creatures naturally fled to the woods for shelter, and it is easy to conceive the conflagration they produced. (Richardson: Dissertation.)
(Queen of). The Assyrians say her name was Macqueda, but Arabs call her Belkis.
A small Irish store for the sale of whisky and something else, as bacon, eggs, general provisions, and groceries.
“Drinking your health wid Shamus
O'Shea at Katty's shebeen.”
Tennyson: To—morrow, stauza 2.
Ram or tup, the sire; ewe, the dam; lamb, the new—born sheep till it is weaned, when it is called a hogget; the tup—lamb being a “tup—hogget,” and the ewe—lamb a “ewe—hogget;" if the tup is castrated it is called a wether—hogget.
After the removal of the first fleece, the tup—hogget becomes a shearling, the ewe—hogget a grimmer, and the wether—hogget a dinmont (hence the name “Dandy Dinmont").
After the removal of the second fleece, the shearling becomes a two—shear tup, the grimmer a ewe, and the dinmont a wether.
After the removal of the third fleece, the ewe is called a twinter—ewe; and when it ceases to breed, a draft—ewe.
The Black Sheep (Kââkoin—loo). A tribe which established a principality in Armenia, that lasted 108 years (1360—1468); so called from the device of their standard.
The White Sheep (Ak—koin—loo). A tribe which established a principality in Armenia, etc., on the ruin of the Black Sheep (1468—1508); so called from the device of their standard.
To cast a sheep's eye at one is to look askance, like a sheep, at a person to whom you feel lovingly inclined.
“But he, the beast, was casting sheep's eyes at her.” — Colman: Broad Grins.
That is my sheet anchor — my chief stay, my chief dependence. The sheet anchor is the largest and heaviest of all. The word is a corruption of Shote—anchor, the anchor shot or thrown out in stress of weather. Many ships carry more than one sheet—anchor outside the ship's waist.
“The surgeon no longer bleeds. If you ask him `why this neglect of what was once considered the sheet anchor of practice in certain diseases?' he will ...” — The Times.
(Arabic, elder). A title of respect equal to the Italian signore, the French sicur, Spanish senor, etc. There are seven sheiks in the East, all said to be direct descendants of Mahomet, and they all reside at Mecca.
(shachan, to reside). The glory of the Divine Presence in the shape of a cloud of fire, which rested on the mercy—seat between the Cherubim.
Shekinah or Shechinah is not a biblical word. It was first mentioned in the Jerusalem Targum. The Sheckinah was not supposed to dwell in the Second Temple. Its responses were given either by the Urim and Thummim of the high priest, by prophets, or orally. (See Deut. iii. 24; and Luke xvi. 2.)
The “Senate House” of Oxford; so called from Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, who built it. (1598—1669.)
Laid on the shelf, or shelved. A government officer no longer actively employed; an actor no longer assigned a part; a young lady past the ordinary age of marriage; a pawn at the broker's; a question started and set aside. All mean laid up and put away.
(A) is a hollow iron ball, with a fuze—hole in it to receive a fuze, which is a plug of wood containing gunpowder. It is constructed to burn slowly, and, on firing, the piece ignites, and continues to burn during its flight till it falls on the object at which it is directed, when it bursts, scattering its fragments in all directions.
(A). An undress military jacket.
Shell of an Egg
After an egg in the shell has been eaten, many persons break or crush the empty shell. Sir Thomas Brown says this was done originally, “to prevent house—spirits from using the shell for their mischievous pranks.” (Book v., chap. xxiii.)
Shells on churches, tombstones, and used by pilgrims: (1) If dedicated to James the Greater, the scallop—shell is his recognised emblem. (See James.) If not, the allusion is to the vocation of the apostles generally, who were fishermen, and Christ said He would make them “fishers of men.”
(2) On tombstones, the allusion is to the earthly body left behind, which is the mere shell of the immortal soul.
(3) Carried by pilgrims, the allusion may possibly be to James the Greater, the patron saint of pilgrims, but more likely it originally arose as a convenient drinking—cup, and hence the pilgrims of Japan carry scallop shells.
Pertaining to Shem, descendant of Shem, derived from Shem.
The Shemitic languages are Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, Samaritan, Ethiopic, and old Phoenician. The great characteristic of this family of languages is that the roots of words consist of three consonants.
Shemitic nations or Shemites (2 syl.). (See above.
The shepherd. Moses who fed the flocks of Jethro, his father—in—law.
“Sing, heavenly muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb or of Sinai didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of chaos.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. i. 8.
N.B. Oreb, or Horeb and Sinai, are two heights of one mountain.
or Hyksos. Some 2,000 years B.C. a tribe of Arabian shepherds established themselves in Lower Egypt, and were governed by their own chiefs. Manetho says “they reigned 511 years;” Eratosthenes says 470 years; Africanus, 284 years; Eusebius, 103 years. Some say they extended over five dynasties, some over three, some limit their sway to one; some give the name of only one monarch, some of four, and others of six. Bunsen places them B.C. 1639; Lepsius, B.C. 1842; others, 1900 or 2000. If there ever were such kings, they were driven into Syria by the rulers of Upper Egypt. (Hyk, ruler; shos, shepherd.)
(The). Henry, the tenth Lord Clifford, sent by his mother to be brought up by a shepherd, in order to save him from the fury of the Yorkists. At the accession of Henry VII. he was restored to all his rights and seigniories. (Died 1523.)
The story is told by Wordsworth in The Song for the Feast of Brougham Castle.
Shepherd of Banbury
(The). The ostensible author of a Weather Guide. He styles himself John Claridge, Shepherd; but the real author is said to have been Dr. John Campbell. (First published in 1744.)
Shepherd of Salisbury Plain
(The). Said to be David Saunders, noted for his homely wisdom and practical piety. Mrs. Hannah More wrote the religious tract so entitled, and makes the hero a Christian Arcadian.
Shepherd of the Ocean
(The). So Sir Walter Raleigh is called by Spenser, in his poem entitled Colin Clout's Come Home Again. (1552—1618.)
(The). The scarlet pimpernel, which opens at a little past seven in the morning, and closes at a little past two. When rain is at hand, or the weather is unfavourable, it does not open at all.
Shepherded Watched and followed as suspicious of mischief, as a shepherd watches a wolf.
“Russian vessels of war are everywhere being carefully `shepherded' by British ships, and it is easy to see that such a state of extreme tension cannot be continued much longer without an actual outbreak.” — Newspaper leader, April 27th, 1885.
(Jack). Son of a carpenter in Smithfield, noted for his two escapes from Newgate in 1724. He was hanged at Tyburn the same year. (1701—1724.)
The time of sheep—shearing.
There was mair lost at the Shirramuir. Don't grieve for your losses, for worse have befallen others before now. The battle of Sheriffmuir, in 1715, between the Jacobites and Hanoverians was very bloody; both sides sustained heavy losses, and both sides claimed the victory.
in the satire of Absalom and Achitophel, by Dryden and Tate, is designed for Sir Roger Lestrange. (Part ii.)
Food for show only, and not intended to be eaten except by certain privileged persons. The term is Jewish, and refers to the twelve loaves which the priest “showed” or exhibited to Jehovah, by placing them week by week on the sanctuary table. At the end of the week, the priest who had been in office was allowed to take them home for his own eating; but no one else was allowed to partake of them.
A spirit—woman that haunts Mynydd Llanhilleth mountain, in Monmouthshire, to mislead those who attempt to cross it.
(See Shiites .)
The password of a secret society; the secret by which those of a party know each other. The Ephraimites quarrelled with Jephthah, and Jephthah gathered together the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. There were many fugitives, and when they tried to pass the Jordan the guard told them to say Shibboleth, which the Ephraimites pronounced Sibboleth, and by this test it was ascertained whether the person wishing to cross the river was a friend or foe. (Judges xii. 1—16.)
“Their foes a deadly shibboleth devise.”
Dryden: Hind and Panther, pt. iii.
The Gold and Silver Shield. Two knights coming from different directions stopped in sight of a trophy shield, one side of which was gold and the other silver. Like the disputants about the colour of the chameleon, the knights disputed about the metal of the shield, and from words they proceeded to blows. Luckily a third knight came up at this juncture, to whom the point of dispute was referred, and the disputants were informed that the shield was silver on one side and gold on the other. This story is from Beaumont's Moralities. It was reprinted in a collection of Useful and Entertaining Passages in Prose, 1826.
The other side of the shield. The other side of the question. The reference is to the “Gold and Silver Shield.” (See above.
That depends on which side of the shield you look at. That depends on the standpoint of the speaker. (See above.)
Same as Coat of Arms; so called because persons in the Middle Ages bore their heraldic devices on their shields.
Shield of Expectation (The). The naked shield given to a young warrior in his virgin campaign. As he achieved glory, his deeds were recorded or symbolised on his shield.
The most famous in story are the Shield of Achilles described by Homer, of Hercules, described by Hesiod, and of Æneas described by Virgil.
Other famous bucklers described in classic story are the following:— That of
Agamemnon, a gorgon.
Amycos (son of Poseidon or Neptune), a crayfish, symbol of prudence. Cadmos and his descendants, a dragon, to indicate their descent from the dragon's teeth. Etcocles (4 syl.), one of the seven heroes against Thebes, a man scaling a wall.
Hector, a lion.
Idoméneus (4 syl.), a cock. Menetaos, a serpent at his heart: alluding to the elopement of his wife with Paris. Parthenopocos, one of the seven heroes, a sphinx holding a man in its claws. Ulysses, a dolphin. Whence he is sometimes called Delphinosemos.
Servius says that the Greeks in the siege of Troy had, as a rule, Neptune on their bucklers, and the Trojans Minerva.
It was a common custom, after a great victory, for the victorious general to hang his buckler on the walls of some temple.
The clang of shields. When a chief doomed a man to death, he struck his shield with the blunt end of his spear, by way of notice to the royal bard to begin the death—song. (See Aegis.)
“Cairbar rises in his arms,
The clang of shields is heard.”
Ossian: Temora, f.
(2 syl.). Those Mahometans who do not consider the Sunna, or oral law, of any authority, but look upon it as apocryphal. They wear red turbans, and are sometimes called “Red Heads.” The Persians are Shiites. (Arabic, shiah, a sect.) (See Sunnites .)
(pronounce she—lay—lah). An oaken sapling or cudgel (Irish).
Said to be derived from St. Kilian, whose image was stamped on the “shillings” of Würzburg. Of course this etymology is of no value. (Anglo—Saxon, scylling or scilling, a shilling.)
According to Skeat, from the verb scylan (to divide). The coin was originally made with a deeply—indented cross, and could easily be divided into halves or quarters.
A corruption of “Will I, shall I,” or “Shall I, shall I.”
“There's no delay, they ne'er stand shall I, shall I,
Hermogenes with Dallila doth daily.”
Taylor's Workes, iii.3 (1630).
(2 syl.), in Dryden's satire of Absalom and Achitophel, is designed for Slingsby Bethel, the lord mayor.
“Shimei, whose youth did early promise bring,
Of zeal to God and hatred to his king;
Did wisely from expensive sins refrain,
And never broke the Sabbath but for gain.”
Part 1, lines 548—551.
Shinar The land of the Chaldees.
A row, a disturbance. To kick up a shindy, to make a row. (Gipsy, chinda, a quarrel.)
in North American Indian mythology, is a diver who dared the North Wind to single combat. The Indian Boreas rated him for staying in his dominions after he had routed away the flowers, and driven off the
sea—gulls and herons. Shingebis laughed at him, and the North Wind went at night and tried to blow down his hut and put out his fire. As he could not do this, he defied the diver to come forth and wrestle with him. Shingebis obeyed the summons, and sent the blusterer howling to his home. (Longfellow: Hiawatha.) (See Kabibonokka .)
(the device of Paris). Sauval says, “L'île de la cité est faite comme un grand navire enfoncé dans la vase, et échoué au fil de l'eau vers le milieu de la Seine.” This form of a ship struck the heraldic scribes, who, in the latter half of the Middle Ages, emblazoned it in the shield of the city. (See Vengeur .)
When my ship comes home. When my fortune is made. The allusion is to the argosies returning from foreign parts laden with rich freights.
These are to indicate when a ship is fully laden, and this depends on its destination. F.W. (Fresh Water line), i.e. it may be laden till this mark touches the water when loading in a fresh—water dock or river.
I.S. (Indian Summer line). It was to be loaded to this point in the Indian seas in summer time. S. The summer draught in the Mediterranean.
W. The winter draught in the Mediterranean.
W.N.A. (Winter North Atlantic line).
As methodically arranged as things in a ship; in good order. When a vessel is sent out temporarily rigged, it is termed “jury—rigged” (i.e. jour—y, meaning pro tem., for the day or time being). Her rigging is completed while at sea, and when the jury—rigging has been duly changed for ship—rigging, the vessel is in “ship—shape,” i.e. due or regular order.
Ship of the Desert
“Three thousand camels his rank pastures fed,
Arabia's wandering ships, for traffic bred.”
G.Sandys: Paraphrase from Job (1610).
There are three ships often confounded, viz. the Great Harry, the Regent, and the Henry Grâce de Dieu.
The GREAT HARRY was built in the third year of Henry VII. (1488). It was a two—decker with three masts, and was accidentally burnt at Woolwich in 1553.
The REGENT was burnt in 1512 in an engagement with the French.
The HENRY GRÂCE DE DIEU was built at Erith in 1515. It had three decks and four masts. It was named Edward, after the death of Henry VIII. in 1547. There is no record of its destruction.
“Though we are not acquainted with all the particular ships that formed the navy of Henry
VIII., we know that among them were two very large ones. viz. the Regent, and the Henry Grace de Dieu. The former being burnt in 1512, in an engagement with the French, occasioned Henry to build the latter.”— Willet: Naval Architecture, xi. 158.
Ships of the Line Men—of—war large enough to have a place in a line of battle. They must not have less than two decks or two complete tiers of guns.
Mother Shipton Ursula Southeil (c. 1488 - 1561) (possibly Ursula Sonthiel), better known as Mother Shipton, was a English seer and prophetess who is said to have made dozens of unusually accurate predictions, including the Great Plague, the Spanish Armada, and the Great Fire of London.
The most famous example of Mother Shipton's prophecies apparently foretells many aspects common to modern civilization, and predicts the end of the world in 1881, however it is now known to be a 19th century forgery.
and County. When the Saxon kings created an earl, they gave him a shire or division of land to govern. At the Norman conquest the word count superseded the title of earl, and the earldom was called a county. Even to the present hour we call the wife of an earl a countess. (Anglo—Saxon, scire, from sciran, to divide.)
He comes from the shires; has a séat in the shires, etc.— in those English counties which terminate in “shire:” a belt running from Devonshire and Hampshire in a north—east direction. In a general way it means the midland counties.
Anglesey in Wales, and twelve counties of England, do not terminate in “shire.”
originally meant horses bred in the midland and eastern shires of England, but now mean any
draught—horses of a certain character which can show a registered pedigree. The sie and dam, with a minute description of the horse itself, its age, marks, and so on, must be shown in order to prove the claim of a “shire horse.” Shire horses are noted for their great size, muscular power, and beauty of form; stallions to serve cart mares.
Clydesdale horses are Scotch draught—horses, not equal to shire horses in size, but of great endurance. A hackney is not a thoroughbred, but nearly so, and makes the best roadster, hunter, and carriage—horse. Its action is showy, and its pace good. A first—class roadster will trot a mile in two and a half minutes. American trotters sometimes exceed this record. The best hackneys are produced from thorough sires mated with half—bred mares.
(See Nessus .)
Shirt for ensign. When Sultan Saladin died, he commanded that no ceremony should be used but this: A priest was to carry his shirt on a lance, and say: “Saladin, the conqueror of the East, carries nothing with him of all his wealth and greatness, save a shirt for his shroud and ensign.” (Knolles: Turkish History.)
Close sits my shirt, but closer my skin— i.e. My property is dear to me, but dearer my life; my belongings sit close to my heart, but “Ego proximus mihi.”
“The scented acacia of Palestine furnished the shittim wood so much esteemed by the ancient Jews.”— Bible Flowers, p. 142.
Mam Tor, a hill on the Peak of Derbyshire; so called from the waste of its mass by
“shivering”— that is, breaking away in “shivers” or small pieces. This shivering has been going on for ages, as the hill consists of alternate layers of shale and gritstone. The former, being soft, is easily reduced to powder, and, as it crumbles away, small “shivers” of the gritstone break away from want of support.
properly means the flue and fluff thrown off from cloth in the process of weaving. This flue, being mixed with new wool, is woven into a cloth called shoddy— i.e. cloth made of the flue “shod” or thrown off. Shoddy is also made of old garments torn up and re—spun. The term is used for any loose, sleazy cloth, and metaphorically for literature of an inferior character compiled from other works. (Shed, provincial pret. “shod;” shoot, obsolete pret. shotten.)
Shoddy characters. Persons of tarnished reputation, like cloth made of shoddy or refuse wool.
(See Chopine .)
Shoe. It was at one time thought unlucky to put on the left shoe before the right, or to put either shoe on the wrong foot. It is said that Augustus Caesar was nearly assassinated by a mutiny one day when he put on his left shoe first.
“Augnste, cet empereur qui gouverna avec tant de sagesse, et dont le règne fut si florissant, restoit immobile et consterné lorsqu'il lui arrivoit par megarde de mettre le soulier droit au pied gauche et le soulier gauche au pied droit.”— St. Foix.
A shoe too large trips one up. A Latin proverb, “Calceus major subvertit.” An empire too large falls to pieces; a business too large comes to grief; an ambition too large fails altogether.
Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy (Josh. v. 15). Loosing the shoe is a mark of respect in the East, among Moslems and Hindus, to the present hour. The Mussulman leaves his slippers at the door of the mosque. The Mahometan moonshee comes barefooted into the presence of his superiors. The governor of a town, in making a visit of ceremony to a European visitor, leaves his slippers at the tent entrance, as a mark of respect. There are two reasons for this custom: (1) It is a mark of humility, the shoe being a sign of dignity, and the shoeless foot a mark of servitude. (2) Leather, being held to be an unclean thing, would contaminate the sacred floor and offend the insulted idol. (See Sandal.)
Plucking off the shoe among the Jews, smoking a pipe together among the Indians, breaking a straw together among the Teutons, and shaking hands among the English, are all ceremonies to confirm a bargain, now done by “earnest money.”
Put on the right shoe first. One of the auditions of Pythagoras was this: “When stretching forth your feet to have your sandals put on, first extend your right foot, but when about to step into a bath, let your left foot enter first.” Iamblichus says the hidden meaning is that worthy actions should be done heartily, but base ones should be avoided. (Protreptics, symbol xii.).
Throwing the wedding—shoe. It has long been a custom in England, Scotland, and elsewhere, to throw an old shoe, or several shoes, at the bride and bridegroom when they quit the bride's home, after the wedding breakfast, or when they go to church to get married. Some think this represents an assault and refers to the ancient notion that the bridegroom carried off the bride with force and violence. Others look upon it as a relic of the ancient law of exchange, implying that the parents of the bride give up henceforth all right of dominion to their daughter. This was a Jewish custom. Thus, in Deut. xxv. 5—10 we read that the widow refused by the surviving brother, asserted her independence by “loosing his shoe;” and in the story of Ruth we are told “that it was the custom” in exchange to deliver a shoe in token of renunciation. When Boaz, therefore, became possessed of his lot, the kinsman's kinsman indicated his assent by giving Boaz his shoe. When the Emperor Wladimir proposed marriage to the daughter of Reginald, she rejected him, saying, “I will not take off my shoe to the son of a slave.” Luther being at a wedding, told the bridegroom that he had placed the husband's shoe on the head of the bed, “afin qu'il prit ainsi la domination et le gouvernement.” (Michel : Life of Luther.) In Anglo—Saxon marriages the father delivered the bride's shoe to the bridegroom, who touched her with it on the head to show his authority.
In Turkey the bridegroom, after marriage, is chased by the guests, who either administer blows by way of adieux, or pelt him with slippers. (Thirty Years in the Harem, p. 330.)
Another man's shoes. “To stand in another man's shoes.” To occupy the place or lay claim to the honours of another. Among the ancient Northmen, when a man adopted a son, the person adopted put on the shoes of the adopter. (Braylet : Graphic Illustrator; 1834.)
In the tale of Reynard the Fox (fourteenth century), Master Reynard, having turned the tables on Sir Bruin the Bear, asked the queen to let him have the shoes of the disgraced minister; so Bruin's shoes were torn off and put upon Reynard, the new favourite.
Another pair of shoes. Another matter.
“But how a world that notes his [the Prince of Wales's] daily doings— the everlasting round of weary fashion, the health—returnings, speeches, interviewing— can grudge him some relief, without compunction, them's quite another pair of shoes.”— Punch, 17th June, 1891.
Dead men's shoes. Waiting or looking for dead men's shoes. Counting on some advantage to which you will succeed when the present possessor is dead.
“A man without sandals” was a proverbial expression among the Jews for a prodigal, from the custom of giving one's sandals in confirmation of a bargain. (See Deut. xxv. 9, Ruth iv. 7.)
Over shoes, over boots. In for a penny, in for a pound.
“Where true courage roots,
The proverb says, `once over shoes, o'er boots.' “ Taylor's Workes, ii. 145 (1690).
To die in one's shoes. To die on the scaffold.
“And there's Mr. Fuse, and Lieutenant Tregooze,
And there is Sir Carnaby Jenks, of the Blues,
All come to see a man die in his shoes.”
To shake in one's shoes. To be in a state of nervous terror. To step into another man's shoes. To take the office or position previously held by another.
“ `That will do, sir,' he thundered, `that will do. It is very evident now what would happen if you stepped into my shoes.”— Good Words, 1887.
Waiting for my shoes. Hoping for my death. Amongst the ancient Jews the transfer of an inheritance was made by the new party pulling off the shoe of the possessor. (See Ruth iv. 7.)
Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear (Matt. iii. 11). This means, “I am not worthy to be his humblest slave.” It was the business of a slave recently purchased to loose and carry his master's sandals. (Jahn: Archceologica Biblica.)
A man without shoes; an unnatural kinsman, a selfish prodigal (Hebrew). If a man refused to marry his brother's widow, the woman pulled off his shoe in the presence of the elders, spat in his face, and called him “shoe—loosed.” (Deut. xxv. 9.)
No one knows where the shoe pinches like the wearer. This was said by a Roman sage who was blamed for divorcing his wife, with whom he seemed to live happily.
“For, God it wot, he sat ful still and song,
When that his scho ful bitterly him wrong.”
Chaucer: Canterbury Tales, 6,074.
Shoe a Goose
(To). To engage in a silly and fruitless task.
Shoe the Anchor
(To). To cover the flukes of an anchor with a broad triangular piece of plank, in order that the anchor may have a stronger hold in soft ground. The French have the same phrase: ensoler l'ancre.
Shoe the Cobbler
(To). To give a quick peculiar movement with the front foot in sliding.
Shoe the Horse
(To). (French, Ferrer la mule.) Means to cheat one's employer out of a small sum of money. The expression is derived from the ancient practice of grooms, who charged their masters for “shoeing,” but pocketed the money themselves.
Shoe the Wild Colt
(To) exact a fine called “footing” from a newcomer, who is called the “colt.” Colt is a common synonym for a greenhorn, or a youth not broken in. Thus Shakespeare says— “Ay, that's a colt indeed, for he doth nothing but talk of his horse.” (Merchant of Venice, i.2.)
Scarpa's shoes for curing club feet, etc. Devised by Antonio Scarpa, an Italian anatomist.
The patron saints of shoemakers are St. Crispin and his brother Crispian, who supported themselves by making shoes while they preached to the people of Gaul and Britain. In compliment to these saints the trade of shoemaking is called “the gentle craft.”
Shoot the Moon
(To). To remove house furniture by night to avoid distraint.
Shoot the Sun
(To). To take a nautical observation.
“Unless a man understood how to handle his vessel, it would be very little use his being able to `shoot the sun,' as sailors call it.”— Notes and Queries, November 19th, 1892, p. 403.
Shooting—iron (A). A gun.
“Catch old Stripes [a tiger] coming near my bullock, if he thought a `shooting—iron' anywhere about,”— Cornhill, July, 1883 (My Tiger Watch).
called in ancient legends the “fiery tears of St. Lawrence,” because one of the periodic swarms of these meteors is between the 9th and 14th of August, about the time of St. Lawrence's festival, which is one the 10th.
Shooting stars are said by the Arabs to be firebrands hurled by the angels against the inquisitive Jinns or Genii, who are for ever clambering up on the constellations to peep into heaven.
To talk shop. To talk about one's affairs or business, to illustrate by one's business, as when Ollipod the apothecary talks of a uniform with rhubarb—coloured facings.
is secretly purloining goods from a shop. Dekker speaks of the lifting—law— i.e. the law against theft. (Gothic, hüfan, to steal; hliftus, a thief; Latin, levo, to disburden.)
(Jane). Sir Thomas More says, “She was well—born, honestly brought up, and married somewhat too soon to a wealthy yeoman.” The tragedy of Jane Shore is by Nicholas Rowe.
according to tradition, is so called from Jane Shore, who, it is said, died there in a ditch. This tale comes from a ballad in Pepys' collection; but the truth is, it receives its name from Sir John de Soerdich, lord of the manor in the reign of Edward III.
“I could not get one bit of bread
Whereby my hunger might be fed. ...
So, weary of my life, at length
I yielded up my vital strength
Within a ditch ... which since that day
Is Shoreditch called, as writers say.”
Duke of Shoreditch. The most successful of the London archers received this playful title.
“Good king, make not good Lord of Lincoln Duke of Shoreditch!”— The Poore Man's Peticion to the kinge. (1603.)
(Sir John) or Master John Shorne, well known for his feat of conjuring the devil into a boot. He was one of the uncanonised saints, and was prayed to in cases of ague. It seems that he was a devout man, and rector of North Marston, in Buckinghamshire, at the close of the thirteenth century. He blessed a well, which became the resort of multitudes and brought in a yearly revenue of some 500.
“To maister John Shorne, that blessed man borne.
For the ague to him we apply.
Which juggleth with a bote; I beschrewe his herte rote
That will trust him, and it be I.”
Fautassie of Idolatrie.
My name is Short. I'm in a hurry and cannot wait.
“Well, but let us hear the wishes (said the old man); my name is short, and I cannot stay much longer.”— W. Yeats: Fairy Tales of the Irish Peasantry. p. 240.
Short Stature (Noted Men of). Aetius, commander of the Roman army in the days of Valentinian; Agesilaus (5 syl.) “Statura fuit humili, et corpore exiguo, et claudius altero pede” (Nepos); Alexander the Great, scarcely middle height; Attla, “the scourge of God,” broad—shouldered, thick—set, sinewy, and short; Byron, Cervantes, Claverhouse, Condé the Great, Cowper, Cromwell, Sir Francis Drake, Admiral Kepple (called
“Little Kepple"), Louis XIV., barely 5 feet 5 inches; Marshal Luxembourg; nicknamed “the Little”; Mehemet Ali, Angelo; Napoleon I., le petit caporal, was, according to his school certificate, 5 feet: Lord Nelson, St. Paul, Pepin le Bref, Philip of Macedon (scarcely middle height), Richard Savage, Shakespeare; Socrates was stumpy; Theodore II., King of the Goths, stout, short of stature, very strong (so says Cassiodorus); Timon the Tartar, self—described as lame, decrepit, and of little weight; Dr. Isaac Watts, etc.
Hand out your shot or Down with your shot — your reckoning or quota, your money. (Saxon, sceat; Dutch, schot. ) (See Scot And Lot .)
“As the fund of our pleasure, let us each pay his shot.” Ben Jonson.
He shot wide of the mark. He was altogether in error. The allusion is to shooting at the mark or bull's—eye in archery, but will now apply to our modern rifle practice.
Shot in the Locker
I haven't a shot in the locker — a penny in my pocket or in my purse. If a sailor says there is not a shot in the locker, he means the ship is wholly without ammunition, powder and shot have all been expended.
(A)— i.e. shot—out or projecting window, and not, as Ritson explains the word, a “window which opens and shuts.” Similarly, a projecting part of a building is called an out—shot. The aperture to give light to a dark staircase is called a “shot window.”
“Mysie flew to the shot window. ... `St. Mary! Sweet lady, here come two well—mounted gallants.' ”— Sir W. Scott: The Monastery, chaps. xiv. and xxviii.
A lean spiritless creature, a Jack—o'—Lent, like a herring that has shot or ejected its spawn. Herrings gutted and dried are so called also.
“Though they like shotten—herrings are to see,
Yet such tall souldiers of their teeth they be,
That two of them, like greedy cormorants,
Devour more then sixe honest Protestants.”
Taylor's Workes, iii.5.
Showing the cold shoulder. Receiving without cordiality some one who was once on better terms with you. (See Cold .)
The government shall be upon his shoulders (Isaiah ix. 6). The allusion is to the key slung on the shoulder of Jewish stewards on public occasions, and as a key is emblematic of government and power, the metaphor is very striking.
Straight from the shoulder. With full force. A boxing term.
“He was letting them have it straight from the shoulder.”— T. Tyrell: Lady Delmar, chap. v.
A game in which three counters were shoved or slid over a smooth board; a game very popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the table itself, and sometimes even the counters were so called. Slender speaks of “two Edward shovel—boards.” (Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 1.)
Show him an egg, and instantly the whole air is full of feathers. Said of a very sanguine man.
A small insectivorous mammal, resembling a mouse in form. It was supposed to have the power of injuring cattle by running over them; and to provide a remedy our forefathers used to plug the creature into a hole made in an ash—tree, any branch of which would cure the mischief done by the mouse. (Anglo—Saxon, screawa, a shrew—mouse; mouse is expletive.)
(The). Women who clamour about “women's rights.”
“By Jove, I suppose my life wouldn't be worth a moment's purchase if I made public these sentiments of mine at a meeting of the Shrieking Sisterhood.”— The World, 24th February, 1892, p. 25.
A child, a puny little fellow, in the same ratio to a man as a shrimp to a lobster. Fry is also used for children. (Anglo—Saxon, Scrine—an, to shrink; Danish, skrumpe; Dutch, krimpen.)
“It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp
Would strike such terror to his enemics.”
Shakespeare: 1 Henry VI., ii. 3.
A contraction of Shrewsbury—shire, the Saxon Scrobbcsburh (shrub—borough), corrupted by the Normans into Sloppes—burie, whence our Salop.
Shrove Tuesday used to be the great “Derby Day” of cock—fighting in England.
“Or martyr beat, like Shrovetide cocks, with bats.”
Peter Pindar: Subjects for Painters.
(The). An inn kept for the entertainment of the preachers at Paul's Cross. These preachers were invited by the bishop, and were entertained by the Corporation of London from Thursday before the day of preaching, to the following Thursday morning. (Maitland: London, ii. 949.)
A railway term. (Anglo—Saxon, scun—ran, to shun.)
Hold your tongue. Shut up your mouth.
To have a shy at anything. To fling at it, to try and shoot it.
The grasping Jew, who “would kill the thing he hates.” (Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice.)
(A) A grasping moneylender. (See above.)
“Respectable people withdrew from the trade, and the money—lending business was entirely in the hands of the Shylocks. ... Those who had to borrow coin were obliged to submit to the expensive subterfuges of the Shylocks, from whose net once caught, there was little chance of escape,”— A. Egmont—Hake: Free Trade in Capital, chap. vii.
the seventh note in music, was not introduced till the seventeenth century. The original scale introduced by Guido d'Arezzo consisted of only six notes. (See Aretinian Syllables .)
A notice to all whom it may concern, given in the parish church before ordination, that a resident means to offer himself as a candidate for holy orders; and SI QUIS— i.e. if anyone knows any just cause or impediment thereto, he is to declare the same to the bishop.
Yoke—fellows, inseparables; so called from two youths (Eng and Chang), born of Chinese parents at Bang Mecklong. Their bodies were united by a band of flesh, stretching from breast—bone to
breast—bone. They married two sisters, and had offspring. (1825—1872.)
Siamese Twins. The Biddenden Maids, born 1100, had distinct bodies, but were joined by the hips and shoulders. They lived to be thirty—four years of age.
Sibberidge (3 syl.). Banns of marriage. (Anglo—Saxon sibbe, alliance; whence the old English word sibrede, relationship, kindred.) (See Gossip .)
“For every man it schuldë drede
And Nameliche in his sibrede.”
Gower: Confessio Amantis.
Amalthaea in Greek mythology the foster-mother of Zeus.
Plato speaks of only one (the Erythraean); Martian Capella says there were two, the Erythraean and the Phrygian; the former being the famous “Cumaean Sibyl;” Solinus and Jackson, in his Chronologic Antiquities, maintains, on the authority of AElian, that there were four — the Erythraean, the Samian, the Egyptian, and the Sardian; Varro tells us there were ten, viz. the Cumaean (who sold the books to Tarquin), the Delphic, Egyptian, Erythraean, Hellespontine, Libyan, Persian, Phrygian, Samian, and Tiburtine.
The name of the Cumaean sibyl was Amalthaea.
“How know we but that she may be an eleventh Sibyl or a second Cassandra?”— Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, iii. 16.
Sibyls. The mediaeval monks reckoned twelve Sibyls, and gave to each a separate prophecy and distinct emblem:—
(1) The Libyan Sibyl: “The day shall come when men shall see the King of all living things.” Emblem, a lighted taper.
(2) The Samian Sibyl: “The Rich One shall be born of a pure virgin.” Emblem, a rose.
(3) The Cuman Sibyl: “Jesus Christ shall come from heaven, and live and reign in poverty on earth.” Emblem, a crown.
(4) The Cumean Sibyl: “God shall be born of a pure virgin, and hold converse with sinners.” Emblem, a cradle.
(5) The Erythraean Sibyl: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Saviour.” Emblem, a horn.
(6) The Persian. Sibyl: “Satan shall be overcome by a true prophet.” Emblem, a dragon under the Sibyl's feet, and a lantern.
(7) The Tiourtine Sibyl: “The Highest shall descend from heaven, and a virgin be shown in the valleys of the deserts.” Emblem, a dove.
(8) The Delphic Sibyl: “The Prophet born of the virgin shall be crowned with thorns.” Emblem, a crown of thorns.
(9) The Phrygian Sibyl: “Our Lord shall rise again.” Emblem, a banner and a cross.
(10) The European Sibyl: “A virgin and her Son shall flee into Egypt.” Emblem, a sword.
(11) The Agrippine Sibyl: “Jesus Christ shall be outraged and scourged.” Emblem, a whip.
(12) The Hellespontic Sibyl: “Jesus Christ shall suffer shame upon the cross.” Emblem, a cross.
This list of prophecies is of the sixteenth century, and is manifestly a clumsy forgery or mere monkish legend. (See below, Sibylline Verses.)
The most famous of the ten sibyls was Amalthaea, of Cumae in AEolia, who offered her nine books to Tarquin the Proud. The offer being rejected, she burnt three of them; and after the lapse of twelve months, offered the remaining six at the same price. Again being refused, she burnt three more, and after a similar interval asked the same price for the remaining three. The sum demanded was now given, and Amalthaea never appeared again. (Livy.)
Sibyl. The Cumaean sibyl was the conductor of Virgil to the infernal regions. (Æneid, vi.) Sibyl. A fortune—teller.
“How they will fare it needs a sibyl to say.”— The Times.
Sibylline Books The three surviving books of the Sibyl Amalthaea were preserved in a stone chest underground in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and committed to the charge of custodians chosen in the same manner as the high priests. The number of custodians was at first two, then ten, and ultimately fifteen. The books were destroyed by fire when the Capitol was burnt (A.D. 670).
Sibylline Books. A collection of poetical utterances in Greek, compiled in the second century (138—167). The collection is in eight books, relates to Jesus Christ, and is entitled Oracula Sibylina.
The Sibylline prophecies were written in Greek, upon palm—leaves. (Varro.)
When the Sibylline books were destroyed (see above), all the floating verses of the several Sibyls were carefully collected and deposited in the new temple of Jupiter. Augustus had some 2,000 of these verses destroyed as spurious, and placed the rest in two gilt cases, under the base of the statue of Apollo, in the temple on the Palantine Hill; but the whole perished when the city was burnt in the reign of Nero. (See Sibyls [of the mediaeval monks].)
[with dry feet]. Metaphorically, without notice.
“It may be worth noticing that both Mrs. Shelley and Mr. Rossetti pass over the line siccis pedibus.”— Notes and Queries (26th May, 1893, p. 417).
(1 syl.). A sizing, an allowance of bread and butter. “He'll print for a sice.” In the University of Cambridge the men call the pound loaf, two inches of butter, and pot of milk allowed for breakfast, their
“sizings;” and when one student breakfasts with another in the same college, the bed—maker carries his sizings to the rooms of the entertainers. (See Sizings .)
(Siculoe dapes) were choice foods. The best Roman cooks were Sicilians. Horace (3 Odes, i.
18) tells us that when a sword hangs over our head, as in the case of Damocles, not even “Siculoe dapes dulcem elaborabunt saporem.”
The massacre of the French in Sicily, which began at the hour of vespers on Easter Monday in 1282.
(The). So Nicholas of Russia (in 1844) called the Ottoman Empire, which had been declining ever since 1586.
“I repeat to you that the sick man is dying; and we must never allow such an event to take us by surprise.”— Annual Register, 1858.
N.B. Don John, Governor—General of the Netherlands, writing in 1579 to Philip II. of Spain, calls the Prince of Orange “the sick man,” because he was in the way, and he wanted him “finished.”
“ `Money' (he says in his letter)' is the gruel with which we must cure this sick man [for spies and assassins are expensive drugs]'.”— Motley: Dutch Republic, bk. v. 2.
Sick as a Cat
(See Similes .)
Sick as a Dog
(See Similes .)
Sick as a Horse Nausea unrelieved by vomiting. A horse is unable to vomit, because its diaphragm is not a complete partition in the abdomen, perforated only by the gullet, and against which the stomach can be compressed by the abdominal muscles, as is the case in man. Hence the nausea of a horse is more lasting and more violent. (See Notes and Queries, C.S. xii., August 15th, 1885, p. 134.)
(Mrs.). Sidney Smith says it was never without awe that he saw this tragedy queen stab the potatoes; and Sir Walter Scott tells us, while she was dining at Ashestiel, he heard her declaim to the footman. “You've brought me water, boy! I asked for beer.”
Side of the Angels
Punch, Dec. 10, 1864, contains a cartoon of Disraeli, dressing for an Oxford bal masqué, as an angel, and underneath the cartoon are these words—
“The question is, is man an ape or an angel? I am on the side of the angels.”— Disraeli's Oxford Speech, Friday, Nov. 25 (1864).
(Algernon), called by Thomson, in his Summer, “The British Cassius,” because of his republican principles. Both disliked kings, not from their misrule, but from a dislike to monarehy. Cassius was one of the conspirators against the life of Caesar, and Sidney was one of the judges that condemned Charles I. to the block (1617—1683).
(Sir Philip). The academy figure of Prince Arthur, in Spenser's Faërie Queene, and the poet's type of magnanimity.
Sir Philip Sidney, called by Sir Walter Raleigh “the English Petrarch,” was the author of Arcadia. Queen Elizabeth called him “the jewel of her dominions;” and Thomson, in his Summer, “the plume of war.” The poet refers to the battle of Zutphen, where Sir Philip received his death—wound. Being thirsty, a soldier brought him some water; but as he was about to drink he observed a wounded man eye the bottle with longing looks. Sir Philip gave the water to the wounded man, saying, “Poor fellow, thy necessity is greater than mine.” Spenser laments him in the poem called Astrophel (q.v.).
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother. Mary Herbert (nee Sidney), Countess of Pembroke, poetess, etc. (Died 1621.) The line is by William Browne (1645).
Cambridge, founded by Lady Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex, in 1598.
(2 syl.). Hero of the first part of the Nibelungen—Lied. He was the youngest son of Siegmund and Sieglind, king and queen of the Netherlands, and was born in Rhinecastle called Xanton. He married Kriemhild, Princess of Burgundy, and sister of Günther. Günther craved his assistance in carrying off Brunhild from Issland, and Siegfried succeeded by taking away her talisman by main force. This excited the jealousy of Günther, who induced Hagan, the Dane, to murder Siegfried. Hagan struck him with a sword in the only vulnerable part (between the shoulder—blades), while he stooped to quench his thirst at a fountain.
Horny Siegfried. So called because when he slew the dragon he bathed in its blood, and became covered all over with a horny hide which was invulnerable, except in one spot between the shoulders, where a linden—leaf stuck. (Nibelungen—Lied, st. 100.)
Siegfried's cloak of invisibility, called “tarnkappe” (tarnen, to conceal; kappe, a cloak). It not only made the wearer invisible, but also gave him the strength of twelve men. (Tarnkappe, 2 syl.)
“The mighty dwarf successless strove with the mightier man;
Like to wild mountain lions to the hollow hill they ran;
He ravished there the tarnkappe from struggling Albric's hold,
And then became the master of the hoarded gems and gold.” Lettsom: Fall of the Nibelungers, Lied iii.
Sieglind (2 syl.). Mother of Siegfried, and Queen of the Netherlands. (The Nibelungen—Lied.)
(3 syl.). The paint so called is made of terra di Siena, in Italy.
(3 syl., Spanish, a saw). A mountain whose top is indented like a saw; a range of mountains whose tops form a saw—like appearance; a line of craggy rocks; as Sierra Morena (where many of the incidents in Don Quixote are laid), Sierra Nevada (the snowy range), Sierra Leone (in West Africa, where lions abound), etc.
(3 syl.) means “the sixth hour”— i.e. noon. (Latin, sexta hora). It is applied to the short sleep taken in Spain during the mid—day heat. (Spanish, sesta, sixth hour; sestéar, to take a mid—day nap.)
Sieve and Shears
The device of discovering a guilty person by sieve and shears is to stick a pair of shears in a sieve, and give the sieve into the hands of two virgins, then say: “By St. Peter and St. Paul, if you [or you] have stolen the article, turn shears to the thief.” Sometimes a Bible and key are employed instead, in which case the key is placed in a Bible.
Wife of Thor, famous for the beauty of her hair. Loki having cut it off while she was asleep, she obtained from the dwarfs a new fell of golden hair equal to that which he had taken.
for “multitude” is not an Americanism, but good Old English. Thus, in Morte d'Arthur, the word is not unfrequently so employed; and the high—born dame, Juliana Berners, lady prioress in the fifteenth century of Sopwell nunnery, speaks of a bomynable syght of monkes (a large number of friars).
“Where is so huge a syght of mony.”— Pulsgrave: Acolastus (1540).
(Far). Zarga, the Arabian heroine of the tribe Jadis, could see at the distance of three days' journey. Being asked by Hassân the secret of her long sight, she said it was due to the ore of antimony, which she reduced to powder, and applied to her eyes as a collyrium every night.
Sign your Name
It is not correct to say that the expression “signing one's name” points to the time when persons could not write. No doubt persons who could not write made their mark in olden times as they do now, but we find over and over again in ancient documents these words: “This [grant] is signed with the sign of the cross for its greater assurance (or) greater inviolability,” and after the sign follows the name of the donor. (See Rymer's Faedera, vol. i. pt. i.)
instead of words. A symbolic language made by gestures. Members of religious orders bound to silence, communicate with each other in this way. John, a monk, gives, in his Life of St. Odo, a number of signs for bread, tart, beans, eggs, fish, cheese, honey, milk, cherries, onions, etc. (See Sussex Archaeological Collection, vol. iii. p. 190.)
A writ of Chancery given by the ordinary to keep an excommunicate in prison till he submitted to the authority of the Church. The writ, which is now obsolete, used to begin with “Significavit nobis venerabilis pater,” etc. Chaucer says of his Sompnour—
“And also ware him of a `significavit.' “
Canterbury Tales (Prologue), 664.
Wife of Loki. She nurses him in his cavern, but sometimes, as she carries off the poison which the serpents gorge, a portion drops on the god, and his writhings cause earthquakes. (Scandinavian mythology.)
The Norse Siegfried (q.v.). He falls in love with Brynhild, but, under the influence of a love—potion, marries Gudrun, a union which brings about a volume of mischief.
Sigurd the Horny. A German romance based on a legend in the Sagas. An analysis of this legend is published by Weber in his Illustrations of Northern Antiquities.' (See Siegfried, Horny.
(Bill). A ruffian housebreaker of the lowest grade in Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens.
(Hindu sikh, disciple.) The Sikhs were originally a religious body like the Mahometans, but in 1764 they formally assumed national independence. Since 1849 the Sikhs have been ruled by the English.
near Marlborough. An artificial mound, 130 feet high, and covering seven acres of ground. Some say it is where “King Sel” was buried; others, that it is a corruption of Solis—bury (mound of the sun); others, that it is Sel—barrow (great tumulus), in honour of some ancient prince of Britain. The Rev. A. C. Smith is of opinion that it was erected by the Celts about B.C. 1600. There is a natural hill in the same vicinity, called St. Martin's Sell or Sill, in which case sill or sell means seat or throne. These etymologies of Silbury must rest on the authority of those who have suggested them.
(Berks) is Silicis castrum (flint camp), a Saxon—Latin form of the Roman Calleva or Galleva. Galleva is the Roman form of the British Gwal Vawr (great wall), so called from its wall, the ruins of which are still striking. Leland says, “On that wall grow some oaks of ten cart—load the piece.” According to tradition King Arthur was crowned here; and Ninnius asserts that the city was built by Constantius, father of Constantine the Great.
Silence gives Consent
Latin, “Qui tacet consentire vidétur;” Greek, “Auto de to sigan homologountos esti sou” (Euripides); French, “Assez consent qui ne dit mot;” Italian, “Chi tace confessa.”
`But that you shall not say I yield, being silent,
I would not speak.”
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, ii. 3.
(The). William I., Prince of Orange (1533—1584).
The foster—father of Bacchus, fond of music, and a prophet, but indomitably lazy, wanton, and given to debauch. He is described as a jovial old man, with bald head, pug nose, and face like Bardolph's.
Silhouette (3 syl.). A black profile, so called from Etienne de Silhouette, Contrôleur des Finances, 1757, who made great savings in the public expenditure of France. Some say the black portraits were called Silhouettes in ridicule; others assert that Silhouette devised this way of taking likenesses to save expense.
Received silk, applied to a barrister, means that he has obtained licence to wear a silk gown in the law courts, having obtained the degree or title of sergeant.
A queen's counsel. So called because his canonical robe is a black silk gown. That of an ordinary barrister is made of stuff or prunello.
You cannot make a silk purse of a sow's car. “You cannot make a horn of a pig's tail.” A sow's ear may somewhat resemble a purse, and a curled pig's tail may somewhat resemble a twisted horn, but a sow's ear cannot be made into a silk purse, nor a pig's tail into a cow's horn.
“You cannot make, my lord, I fear,
A velvet purse of a sow's ear.”
Peter Pindar: Lord B. and His Motions.
In the kingdom of Lilliput, the three great prizes of honour are “fine silk threads six inches long, one blue, another red, and a third green.” The emperor holds a stick in his hands, and the candidates
“jump over it or creep under it, backwards or forwards, as the stick indicates,” and he who does so with the greatest agility is rewarded with the blue ribbon, the second best with the red cordon, and the third with the green. The thread is girt about their loins, and no ribbon of the Legion of Honour, or Knight of the Garter, is won more worthily or worn more proudly. (Gulliver's Travels.)
is the German selig (blessed), whence the infant Jesus is termed “the harmless silly babe,” and sheep are called “silly,” meaning harmless or innocent. As the “holy” are easily taken in by wordly ounning, the word came to signify “gullible,” “foolish,” (See Simplicity .)
(The), for daily newspapers, is when Parliament is not in session, and all sorts of “silly” stuff are
vamped—up for padding. Also called the “Big Gooseberry Season,” because paragraphs are often inserted on this subject.
— that is, Hereford, Monmouth, Radnor, Brecon, and Glamorgan. The “sparkling wines of the Silurian vats” are cider and perry.
“From Silurian vats, high—sparkling wines
Foam in transparent floods.”
A name given by Sir R. Murchison to what miners call gray—wacke, and Werner termed transition rocks. Sir Roderick called them Silurian because it was in the region of the ancient Silures that he investigated them.
A maga or fata in Tasso's Amadigi, where she is made the guardian spirit of Alidoro.
A beautiful maga or fata in Bojardo, who raised a tomb over Narcissus, and then dissolved into a fountain. (Lib. ii. xvii. 56, etc.)
was, by the ancient alchemists, called Diana or the Moon.
Silver The Frenchman employs the word silver to designate money, the wealthy Englishman uses the word gold, and the poorer old Roman brass (aes).
Silver and gold articles are marked with five marks: the maker's private mark, the standard or assay mark, the hall mark, the duty mark, and the date mark. The standard mark states the proportion of silver, to which figure is added a lion passant for England, a harp crowned for Ireland, a thistle for Edinburgh, and a lion rampant for Glasgow. (For the other marks, see Mark.)
(The). A kidnapper. “To play the silver cooper,” to kidnap. A cooper is one who coops up another.
“You rob and you murder and you want me to ... play the silver cooper.”— Sir W. Scott: Guy Mannering, chap. xxxiv.
Silver Fork School
Those novelists who are sticklers for etiquette and the graces of society, such as Theodore Hook, Lady Blessington, Mrs. Trollope, and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton (Lord Lytton).
Nuad, the chieftain who led back the tribe of the Danaans from Scotland to Ireland, whence they had migrated. Nuad of the Silver—hand had an artificial hand of silver made by Cred, the goldsmith, to supply the loss sustained from a wound in the battle of Moytura. Miach, son of Dian Kect, set it on the wrist.
(O'Flaherty: Ogygia, part iii. chap. x.) (See Iron Hand .)
The prospect of better days, the promise of happier times. The allusion is to Milton's Comus, where the lady lost in the wood resolves to hope on, and sees a “sable cloud turn forth its silver lining to the night.”
(A). A beautiful young lady of the high aristocracy.
“One would think you were a silver pheasant, you give yourself such airs.”— Ouida: Under Two Flags.
Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth. Born to luck and wealth. The allusion is to silver spoons given as prizes and at christenings. The lucky man is born with it in his mouth, and needs not stop to earn it.
“One can see, young fellow, that you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”— Longman's Magazine, 1886.
Silver Star of Love
(The). When Gama was tempest—tossed through the machinations of Bacchus, the “Silver Star of Love” appeared to him, calmed the sea, and restored the elements to harmony again.
“The sky and ocean blending, each on fire,
Seemed as all Nature struggled to expire;
When now the Silver Star of Love appeared,
Bright in the East her radiant front she reared.” Camoens: Lusiad, bk. vi.
(The). The British Channel.
“Steam power has much lessened the value of the silver streak as a defensive agent.”— Newspaper paragraph, November, 1885.
Silver—Tongued William Bates, the Puritan divine. (1625—1699.) Anthony Hammond, the poet, called Silver—tongue. (1668—1738.)
Henry Smith, preacher. (1550—1600.)
Joshua Sylvester, translator of Du Bartas. (1563—1618.)
(A). A smoothtongued orator. A rough, unpolished speaker is called a ram's horn.
With silver weapons you may conquer the world, is what the Delphic oracle said to Philip of Macedon, when he went to consult it. Philip, acting on this advice, sat down before a fortress which his staff pronounced to be impregnable. “You shall see,” said the king, “how an ass laden with gold will find an entrance.”
The twenty—fifth anniversáry, when, in Germany, the woman has a silver wreath presented her. On the fiftieth anniversary, or GOLDEN WEDDING, the wreath is of gold.
Silver of Guthrum
or Guthram's Lane. Fine silver; so called because in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the principal gold— and silver—smiths resided there.
Silverside of Beef
(The). The upper side of a round, which not only shows the shining tissue uppermost, but, when carved cold has a silvery appearance. Generally boiled.
(St.) is usually depicted as bearing in his arms the infant Jesus, or receiving Him in the Temple.
in common use:—
BALD as a coot.
BITTER as gall,soot.
BLACK as ink, as a coal, as a crow
BLIND as a bat, a beetle, a mole.
BLUNT as a hedge—hook.
BRAVE as Alexander.
BRIGHT as silver.
BRITTLE as glass.
BROWN as a berry
BUSY as a bee.
CHATTER like a jay.
CLEAR as crystal.
COLD as ice, as a frog, as charity.
COOL as a cucumber.
CROSS as the tongs, as two sticks.
DARK as pitch [pitch—dark].
DEAD as a door—nail.
DEAF as a post.
DRY as a bone.
FAIR as a lily.
FALSE as hell.
FAT as a pig, as a porpoise.
FLAT as a flounder, as a pancake.
FLEET as the wind, as a racehorse.
FREE as air.
GAY as a lark.
GOOD as gold.
GREEN as grass.
HARD as iron, as a flint.
HARMLESS as a dove.
HEAVY as lead.
HOARSE as a hog, as a raven.
HELPLESS as a babe.
HOLLOW as a drum.
HOT as fire, as an oven, as a coal.
HUNGRY as a hunter.
LIGHT as a feather, as day.
LIMP as a glove.
LOUD as thunder.
MERRY as a grig, as a cricket.
MILD as Moses, as milk.
NEAT as wax, as a new pin.
OBSTINATE as a pig (pig—headed.)
OLD as the hills, as Methuselah.
PALE as a ghost.
PATIENT as Job.
PLAIN as a pikestaff.
PLAYFUL as a kitten.
PLUMP as a partridge.
POOR as a rat, as a church mouse, as Job.
PROUD as Lucifer.
RED as blood, as a fox, a rose, a brick.
ROUGH as a nutmeg—grater.
ROUND as an orange, a ball.
RUDE as a bear.
SAFE as the bank [of England], or the stocks.
SAVAGE as a bear, as a tiger, as a bear with a sore head. SICK as a cat, a dog, a horse, a toad.
SHARP as a needle.
SLEEP like a top.
SLOW as a snail, as a tortoise.
SLY as a fox, as old boots.
SOFT as silk, as velvet, as soap.
SOUND as a roach, as a bell.
SOUR as vinegar, as verjuice.
STARE like a stuck pig.
STEADY as Old Time.
STIFF as a poker.
STRAIGHT as an arrow.
STRONG as iron, as a horse, as brandy.
SURE as a gun, as fate, as death and taxes.
SURLY as a bear.
SWEET as sugar.
SWIFT as lightning, as the wind, as an arrow.
THICK as hops.
THIN as a lath, as a whipping—post.
TIGHT as a drum.
TOUGH as leather.
TRUE as the Gospel.
VAIN as a peacock.
WARM as a toast.
WEAK as water.
WET as a fish.
WHITE as driven snow, as milk, as a swan, as a sheet, as chalk.
WISE as a serpent, as Solomoi.
YELLOW as a guinea, as gold, as saffron.
Similia Similibus Curantur
Like cures like. (See under Hair : Take a hair of the dog that bit you.)
The cavity which Captain John C. Simmes maintained existed at the North and South Poles.
Rich cakes eaten in Lancashire in Mid—Lent. Simnel is the German semmel, a manchet or roll; Danish and Norwegian simle; Swedish, simla. In Somersetshire a teacake is called a simlin. A simnel cake is a cake manchet, or rich semmel. The eating of these cakes in Mid—Lent is in commemoration of the banquet given by Joseph to his brethren, which forms the first lesson of Mid—Lent Sunday, and the feeding of five thousand, which forms the gospel of the day. (See Mid—Lent .)
(St.) is represented with a saw in his hand, in allusion to the instrument of his martyrdom. He sometimes bears fish in the other hand, in allusion to his occupation as a fishmonger.
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 real man. In Mrs. Centlivre's Bold Stroke for a Wife, a Colonel Feignwell passes himself off for Simon Pure, and wins the heart of Miss Lovely. No sooner does he get the assent of her guardian, than the veritable Quaker shows himself, and proves, beyond a doubt, he is the real Simon Pure.
Buying and selling church livings; any unlawful traffic in holy things. So called from Simon Magus, who wanted to purchase the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” that he might have the power of working miracles. (Acts
Simony. The friar in the tale of Reynard the Fox; so called from Simon Magus.
(The). Charles III. of France. (879, 893—929.)
Simples cut. (See Battersea.)
A simpleton. The character is introduced in the well—known nursery tale, the author of which is unknown.
is sine plica, without a fold; as duplicity is duplex plica, a double fold. Conduct “without a fold” is straightforward, but thought without a fold is mere childishness. It is “tortuity of thought” that constitutes philosophic wisdom, and “simplicity of thought” that prepares the mind for faith.
“The flat simplicity of that reply was admirable.”— Vanbrugh and Cibber: The Provoked Husband, i.
Simplon Road Commenced in 1800 by Napoleon, and finished in 1806. It leads over a shoulder of what is called the Pass of the Simplon (Switzerland).
according to Milton, is twinkeeper with Death of the gates of Hell. She sprang full—grown from the head of Satan.
“... Woman to the waist, and fair,
But ending foul in many a scaly fold
Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed
With mortal sting.” Paradise Lost. ii. 650—653. Original sin. (See Adam.)
Persons hired at funerals in ancient times, to take upon themselves the sins of the deceased, that the soul might be delivered from purgatory.
“Notice was given to an old sire before the door of the house, when some of the family came out and furnished him with a cricket [low stool], on which he sat down facing the door; then they gave him a groat which he put in his pocket, a crust of bread which he ate, and a bowl of ale which he drank off at a draught. After this he got up from the cricket and pronounced the ease and rest of the soul departed, for which he would yawn his own soul.” — Bagford's letter on Leland's Collectanea, i. 76.
(2 syl.) properly means without wax (sine cera). The allusion is to the Roman practice of concealing flaws in pottery with wax, or to honey from which all the wax has been extracted. (See Trench: On the Study of Words, lect. vii. p. 322.)
The ancient name of the river Indus. (Sanskrit, syand, to flow.)
A thin manufacture of the Middle Ages used for dresses and hangings; also a little round piece of linen or lint for dressing the wound left by trepanning. (Du Cange gives its etymology Cyssus tenuis; but the Greek sindorn means “fine Indian cloth.” India is Sind, and China Sina.)
(Latin). No time being fixed; indefinitely in regard to time. When a proposal is deferred sine die, it is deferred without fixing a day for its reconsideration, which is virtually “for ever.”
Sine qua Non
An indispensable condition. Latin, Sine qua non potest csse or fieri (that without which [the thing] cannot be, or be done).
[si'—ne—kure ]. An enjoyment of the money attached to a benefice without having the trouble of the “cure”; also applied to any office to which a salary is attached without any duties to perform. (Latin, sine cura, without cure, or care.)
Sinews of War
Money, which buys the sinews, and makes them act vigorously. Men will not fight without wages, and the materials of war must be paid for.
Sing a Song o' Sixpence
(See Macaronic Verse .)
Sing my Music, and not Yours
said Guglielmi to those who introduced their own ornaments into his operas, so eminently distinguished for their simplicity and purity. (1727—1804.)
Sing Old Rose
Sing Old Rose and burn the bellows. “Old Rose” was the title of a song now unknown; thus, Izaak Walton (1590—1683) says, “Let's sing Old Rose.” Burn the bellows is said to be a schoolboy's
perversion of burn libellos. At breaking—up time the boys might say, “Let's sing Old Rose [a popular song], and burn our schoolbooks” (libellos). This does not accord with the words of the well—known catch, which evidently means “throw aside all implements of work.”
“Now we're met like jovial fellows,
Let us do as wise men tell us,
Sing Old Rose and burn the bellows.”
To cry or squall from chastisement.
To sing small. To cease boasting and assume a lower tone.
A lake of Thibet, famous for its gold sands.
“Bright are the waters of Sing—su—bay
And the golden floods that thitherward stray.”
Thomas Moore: Paradise and the Peri.
(3 syl.), in Stock—Exchange phraseology, means, “British Indian Extension Telegraph Stock.” (See Stock—Exchange Slang .)
was a ruby apple on a stem of amber. It had the power of persuading anyone to anything merely by its odour, and enabled the possessor to write verses, make people laugh or cry, and itself sang so as to ravish the ear. The apple was in the desert of Libya, and was guarded by a dragon with three heads and twelve feet. Prince Chery put on an armour of glass, and the dragon, when it saw its thousand reflections in the armour and thought a thousand dragons were about to attack it, became so alarmed that it ran into its cave, and the prince closed up the mouth of the cave. (Countess d' Aunoy: Cherry and Fairstar.) (See Singing—Tree
consecrated by the priest singing. (French, pain à chanter.) The reformers directed that the sacramental bread should be similar in fineness and fashion to the round bread— and—water singing—cakes used in private Masses.
in theatrical parlance, mean those smart young light comedy actresses who perform chambermaids and are good singers.
A tree whose leaves were so musical that every leaf sang in concert. (Arabian Nights: Story of the Sisters who Envied their Younger Sister.) (See Singing Apple .)
Singing in Tribulation
Confessing when put to the torture. Such a person is termed in goal slang a “canary bird.”
“ `This man, sir, is condemned to the galleys for being a canary—bird.' `A canary—bird!' exclaimed the knight. `Yes, sir,' added the arch—thief; `I mean that he is very famous for his singing,' `What!' said Don Quixote: `are people to be sent to the galleys for singing?' `Marry, that they are,' answered the slave; `for there is nothing more dangerous than singing in tribulation.' ”— Cervantes: Don Quixote, iii. 8.
Single—Speech Hamilton The Right Hon. W. G. Hamilton, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland,
spoke—one speech, but that was a masterly torrent of eloquence which astounded everyone. (November 13th, 1755.)
“No one likes a reputation analogous to that of `single—speech Hamilton.' ”— The Times.
“Or is it he, the wordy youth,
So early trained for statesman's part,
Who talks of honour, faith, and truth,
As themes that he has got by heart,
Whose ethics Chesterfield can teach,
Whose logic is from Single—speech?”
Sir Walter Scott: Bridal of Triermain, ii. 4.
(Latin, on the left hand). According to augury, birds, etc., appearing on the left—hand side forbode illluck; but, on the right—hand side, good luck. Thus, corva sinistra (a crow on the left—hand) is a sign of
ill—luck which belongs to English superstitions as much as to the ancient Roman or Etruscan.(Virgil: Eclogues, i. 18.)
“That raven on yon left—hand oak (Curse on his ill—betiding croak)
Bodes me no good.” Gay: Fable xxxvii.
Sinister. (See Bar Sinister.)
Sinning One's Mercies
Being ungrateful for the gifts of Providence.
“I know your good father would term this `sinning my mercies.' ”— Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet.
A Greek who induced the Trojans to receive the wooden horse. (Virgil: AEneid, ii. 102, etc.) Anyone leceiving to betray is called “a Sinon.”
“And now securely trusting to destroy,
As erst false Sinon snared the sons of Troy.”
Camoëus: Lusiad, bk. i.
The Greek hero of the German romance, Sintram and his Companions, by Baron Lamotte Fouqué.
Sintram's famous sword was called “Welsung.” The same name was given to Dietlieb's sword. (See Sword.)
Latin, senex; Spanish, señor; Italian, signor; French, sicur; Norman, sire; English, sir. According to some, Greek is connected with Sir; on the analogy of = Latin sum; = Latin semper; = Latin sapa.
Sir (a clerical address). Clergymen had at one time Sir prefixed to their name. This is not the Sir of knighthood, but merely a translation of the university word dominus given to graduates, as “Dominus Hugh Evans,” etc.
(See Oracle .)
Sir Roger de Coverley
An imaginary character by Addison; type of a benevolent country gentleman of the eighteenth century. Probably the model was William Boevey, lord of the manor of Flaxley.
A woman of dangerous blandishments. The allusion is to the fabulous sirens said by Greek and Latin poets to entice seamen by the sweetness of their song to such a degree that the listeners forgot everything and
died of hunger (Greek, sirenes, entanglers). In Homeric mythology there were but two sirens; later writers name three, viz. Parthenope, Ligea, and Leucosia; but the number was still further augmented by those who loved “lords many and gods many.”
“There were several sirens up and down the coast; one at Panormus, another at Naples, others at Surrentum, but the greatest number lived in the delightful Capreae, whence they passed over to the rocks [Sirenusae] which bear their name.”— Inquiry into the Life of Homer.
Sirens. Plato says there are three kinds of sirens— the celestial, the generative, and the cathartic. The first are under the government of Jupiter, the second under the government of Neptune, and the third under the government of Pluto. When the soul is in heaven, the sirens seek, by harmonic motion, to unite it to the divine life of the celestial host; and when in Hade, to conform them to the infernal regimen; but on earth they produce generation, of which the sea is emblematic. (Proclus: On the Thelogy of Plato, bk. vi.)
The Dog—star; so called by the Greeks from the adjective seirios, hot and scorching. The Romans called it canicula; and the Egyptians, sothis.
Sirloin of Beef
A corruption of Surloin. (French, surlonge.) La partie due baeuf qui reste aprèsqu'on en a coupél'épaule et la cuisse. In Queen Elizabeth's “Progresses,” one of the items mentioned under March 31st, 1573, is a “sorloyne of byf.” Fuller tells us that Henry VIII. jocularly knighted the surloin. If so, James I. could claim neither wit nor originality when, at a banquet given him at HOGTON Tower, near Blackburn, he said, “Bring hither that surloin, sirrah, for tis worthy of a more honourable post, being, as I may say, not sur loin, but sir loin.”
“Dining with the Abbot of Reading, he [Henry VIII.] ate so heartily of a loin of beef that the abbot said he would give 1,000 marks for such a stomach. `Done!' said the king, and kept the abbot a prisoner in the Tower, won his 1,000 marks, and knighted the beef.”— See Fuller: Church Ilistory, vi. 2, p. 299 (1655).
(Latin; Sisuphos, Greek). A fraudulent avaricious king of Corinth, whose task in the world of shades is to roll a huge stone to the top of a hill, and fix it there. It so falls out that the stone no sooner reaches the hill—top than it bounds down again.
Bodkin point arrows were invented in the Middle Ages, as an improvement of the earlier broadhead arrow. Broadhead arrows were used for hunting, as the sharp, wide cutting surface caused large wounds, that even if they did not kill the animal outright, would most likely make it bleed out in under a minute due to the rather serious tissue damage.
(To). To remain to the end. Not to join, as “to sit out a dance.”
Sit Under ...
(To). To attend the ministry of ...
“On a Sunday the household marched away in separate groups to half—a—dozen edifices, each to set under his or her favourite minister.”— W. M. Thackeray.
(for anyone) (To). To await the return of a person after the usual hour of bed—time.
“His own maid would sit up for him.”— George Eliot.
(To). To snub, squash, smother, set down; the Latin insideo. Charlotte Brontë, in Shirley (xxviii.), uses a phrase which seems analagous: Miss Keeldar says she mentioned the mischance to no one— “I preferred to cushion the matter.”
“Mr. Schwann and his congeners should be most energetically sat upon by colleagues and opponents alike, by everyone, in fact, who has the welfare of the empire at heart.”— The World, April 6th, 1892, p. 19.
Sit on the Rail
or Fence (To). To refuse to promise your support to a party; to reserve your vote.
“In American slang, he was always sitting on the rail between Catholics and Huguenots.”— The Times.
Sit on Thorns
(To) or on Tenterhooks. To be in a state of anxiety, fearful that something will go wrong.
Wife of Râma or Vishnu incarnate, carried off by the giant Ravana. She was not born, but arose from a furrow when her father Janaka, King of Mithila, was ploughing. The word means “furrow.”
Sitting in Banco
The judges of the courts of law at Westminster are said to be “sitting in banco” so long as they sit together on the benches of their respective courts— that is, all term time. Banco is the Italian for
Sieve and Shears
(See under Oracle .)
(Indian). The destroyer who, with Brahma and Vishnu, forms the divine trinity of the Brahmins. He has five heads, and is the emblem of fire. His wife is Parvati or Parbutta (Sanscrit, auspicious).
Six thrice or three dice. Everything or nothing. “Caesar aut nullus. ” The Greeks and Romans used to play with three dice. The highest throw was three sixes, and the lowest three aces. The aces were left blank, and three aces were called “three dice.” (See Caesar .)
used to be called a “noble” (q.v.), the third of a pound. The half—noble was often called “ten groats,” and was in Shakespeare's time the usual lawyer's fee.
“As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney.”— Shakespeare: All's Well that Ends Well,
(33 Henry VIII.) enjoins the belief in (1) the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; (2) the sufficiency of communion in one kind; (3) the celibacy of the priests, (4) the obligation of vows of chastity;
(5) the expediency of private masses; and (6) the necessity of auricular confession.
A two—quart pot. Quart pots were bound with three hoops, and when three men joined in drinking each man drank his hoop. Mine host of the Black Bear calls Tressalian “A six—hooped pot of a traveller,” meaning a first—class guest, because he paid freely, and made no complaints. (Kenilworth, chap.
The six members that Charles I went into the House of Commons to arrest were Lord Kimbolton, Pym, Hollis, Hampden, Sir Arthur Haselrig, and Stroud. Being warned in time, they made good their escape.
Six Months' War
The Franco—Prussian (July 28th, 1870, to January 28th, 1871).
(The). The Iroquois confederacy since the Tuscaroras was added.
(See People's Charter .)
(The). Those whose creed is Hebrews iv 1, 2
Sixes and Sevens
(All). Illassorted; not matched, higgledy—piggledy.
To be at sixes and sevens. Spoken of things, it means in confusion; spoken of persons, it means in disagreement or hostility “Six, yea seven,” was a Hebrew phrase meaning an indefinite number, hence we read in Job (v. 19), “He [God] shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea in seven,” etc. What is indefinite is confused. Our modern phrase would be five or six things here, and five or six things there, but nothing in proper order.
“Old Odcombs odness makes not thee uneven,
Nor carelessly set all at six and seven.”
Taylor: Workes, ii. 71 (1630).
Long and short sixes. Certain dip candles, common in the first half of the nineteenth century. Long sixes were those eight inches long, short sixes were thicker and about five inches long. Called sixes because six went to a pound.
John Rann, a highwayman, noted for his foppery. He wore sixteen tags, eight at each knee. (Hanged in 1774.)
“Dr. Johnson said that Gray's poetry towered above the ordinary run of verse as Sixteen—string Jack above the ordinary foot—pad.”— Bosioell: Life of Johnson.
A poor scholar whose assize of food is given him. Sizars used to have what was left at the fellows' table, because it was their duty at one time to wait on the fellows at dinner. Each fellow had his sizar.
The quota of food allowed at breakfast, and also food “sized for” at dinner. At Cambridge, the students are allowed meat for dinner, but tart, jelly, ale, etc., are obtained only by paying extra. These articles are called sizings, and those who demand them size for them. The word is a contraction of assize, a statute to regulate the size or weight of articles sold. (See Sice .)
“A size is a portion of bread or drinke: it is a farthing which schollers in Cambridge have at the buttery. It is noted with the letter S.”— Minshen. (See also Ellis: Literary Letters, p. 178.)
or Skeins—mate. A dagger—comrade; a fencing—school companion; a fellow cut—throat. Skain is an Irish knife, similar to the American bowie—knife. Swift, describing an Irish feast, says, “A cubit at least the length of their skains.” Green, in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier, speaks of “an ill—favoured knave, who wore by his side a skane, like a brewer's bung—knife.”
“Scurvy knave! I am none of his skainsmates.”— Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4.
An old Norse poet, whose aim was to celebrate living warriors or their ancestors; hence they were attached to courts. Few complete Skaldic poems have survived, but a multitude of fragments exist.
To run away, to be scattered in rout. The Scotch apply the word to the milk spilt over the pail in carrying it. During the late American war, the New York papers said the Southern forces were “skedaddled” by the Federals. (Saxon, scedan, to pour out; Chaldee, scheda; Greek, skeda'o, to seatter.)
Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs. A pretender to gentility who boasts of her aristocratic connections, but is atrociously vulgar, and complains of being “all of a muck of sweat.” (Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield.)
There is a skeleton in every house. Something to annoy and to be kept out of sight. That is my skeleton — my trouble, the “crook in my lot.”
A woman had an only son who obtained an appointment in India, but his health failed, and his mother longed for his return. One day he wrote a letter to his mother, with this strange request. “Pray, mother, get someone who has no cares and troubles to make me six shirts.” The widow hunted in vain for such a person, and at length called upon a lady who told her to go with her to her bedroom. Being there she opened a closet which contained a human skeleton. “Madam,” said the lady, “I try to keep my trouble to myself, but every night my husband compels me to kiss that skeleton.” She then explained that the skeleton was once her husband's rival, killed in a duel. “Think you I am happy?” The mother wrote to her son, and the son wrote home: “I knew when I gave the commission that everyone had his cares, and you, mother, must have yours. Know then that I am condemned to death, and can never return to England. Mother, mother! there is a
skeleton in every house.”
Jackets on which the trousers buttoned, very commonly worn by boys in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. In the illustrations of Kate Greenaway, The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, etc., are plenty of such skeleton suits. Shell—jackets are short fatigue jackets worn especially by military officers.
corrupted into Scavenger's Daughter, was an instrument of torture invented by Skevington, lieutenant of the Tower under Henry VIII. It consisted of a broad hoop of iron in two parts, fastened together by a hinge. The victim was made to kneel while the hoop was passed under his legs; he was then squeezed gradually till the hoop could be got over his back, where it was fastened.
Skibbereen and Connemara
(in Ireland). Types of poverty and distress.
“You would then see the United Kingdom one vast Skibbereen or Connemara; you might convert its factories into poor—houses, and its parks into potters fields to bury strangers in.”—
C. Thomson: Autobiography p. 307.
(The). The chiel amang ye takin' notes. It was the Skibbereen, or West Cork Eagle newspaper, that solemnly told Lord Palmerston that it had “got its eye both upon him and on the Emperor of Russia.” This terrible warning has elevated the little insignificant town of Skibbereen, in the south—west coast of Ireland, quite into a Lilliputian pre—eminence. Beware, beware, ye statesmen, emperors, and thrones, for the Skibbereen Eagle has its eye upon you!
A drag to check the wheels of a carriage, cart, etc., when going down hill. (Anglo—Saxon, scid, a splinter.)
Whenever Skiddaw hath a cap, Scruffell wots full well of that. When my neighbour's house is on fire mine is threatened; When you are in misfortune I also am a sufferer; When you mourn I have cause also to lament. Skiddaw and Scruffell are two neighbouring hills— one in Cumberland and the other in Annandale in Scotland. When Skiddaw is capped with clouds, it will be sure to rain ere long at Scruffell. (Fuller: Worthies.)
Pictures are said to be skied when they are hung so high as not to be easily seen.
“Bad pictures are hung on the line by dozens and many excellent ones are rejected or skied.”— Truth, p. 431 (September 17, 1885).
Slip—slop, wish—wash, twaddle, talk about gruel. “Skilly” is prison—gruel or, more strictly speaking, the water in which meat has been boiled thickened with oatmeal. Broth served on board the hulks to convicts is called skilly.
“It is the policy of Cursitor Street and skilly golee.”— The Daily Telegraph.
Rambling, worthless. “Skamble” is merely a variety of scramble, hence “scambling days,” those days in Lent when no regular meals are provided, but each person “scrambles” or shifts for himself.
“Skimble” is added to give force. (See Reduplicated Words .)
“And such a deal of skinble—skamble stuff
As put me from my faith.”
Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., iii. 1.
“With such scamble—scemble, spitter—spatter,
As puts me cleane beside the money—matter.”
Taylor's Workes, ii. 39(1630).
To ride the skimmington, or Riding the stang. To be hen—pecked. Grose tells us that the man rode behind the woman, with his face to the horse's tail. The man held a distaff, and the woman beat him about the jowls with a ladle. As the procession passed a house where the woman was paramount, each gave the threshold a sweep. The “stang” was a pole supported by two stout lads, across which the rider was made to stride. Mr. Douce derives “skimmington” from the skimming —ladle with which the rider was buffeted. The custom was not peculiar to Scotland and England; it prevailed in Scandinavia; and Hoefnagel, in his Views in Seville (1591), shows that it existed in Spain also. The procession is described at length in Hudibras, pt. ii. ch.
“ `Hark ye, Dame Ursley Suddlechop,' said Jenkin, starting up, his eyes flashing with anger: `remember, I am none of your husband, and if I were you would do well not to forget whose threshold was swept when they last rode the skimmington upon such another scolding jade at yourself.' ”— Scott: Fortunes of Nigel.
To sell the skin before you have caught the bear. To count of your chickens before they are hatched. In the South Sea mania (1720), dealing in bear—skins was a great stock—jobbing item, and thousands of skins were sold as mere time bargains. Shakespeare alludes to a similar practice:—
“The man that once did sell the lion's skin
While the beast lived, was killed with hunting him.” Henry V., iv. 3.
Skin a Flint
To be very exacting in making a bargain. The French say, “Tondre sur un oeuf. ” The Latin, lana caprina (goat's wool), means something as worthless as the skin of a flint or fleece of an eggshell. (See Skinflint .)
Skin of his Teeth
I am escaped with the skin of my teeth (Job xix. 20). Just escaped, and that is all— having lost everything.
in Scandinavian mythology, is the “shining horse which draws Day—light over the earth.” (See Horse .)
A pinch—farthing; a niggard. In the French, “pince—maille.” Maille is an old copper coin.
A predatory band in the American Revolutionary War which roamed over the neutral ground robbing and fleecing those who refused to take the oath of fidelity. (See Ecorcheurs .)
To sit upon one's skirt. To insult, or seek occasion of quarrel. Tarlton, the clown, told his audience the reason why he wore a jacket was that “no one might sit upon his skirt.” Sitting on one's skirt is, like stamping on one's coat in Ireland, a fruitful source of quarrels, often provoked.
“Crosse me not, Liza, nether be so perte,
For if thou dost, I'll sit upon thy skirte.”
The Abortive of an Idle Howre (1620).
(Quoted by Halliwell: Archaic Words.)
(Henry). A poet in the reign of Henry IV. Justice Shallow says he saw Sir John Falstaff, when he was a boy, “break Skogan's head at the court gate, when he [Sir John] was a crack [child] not thus high.” (2 Henry
“Scogan? What was he?
Oh, a fine gentleman, and a master of arts
Of Henry the Fourth's times, that made disguises For the king's sons, and writ in ballad royal
Ben Jonson: The Fortunate Isles (1626).
John Skogan. The favourite buffoon of the court of King Edward IV. Scogin's Jests were published by Andrew Borde, a physician, in the reign of Henry VIII.
or White Doves, A Russian religious sect who, taking Matt. xix. 12 and Luke xxiii. 29 as the bases of their creed, are all eunuchs, and the women are mutilated in a most barbarous manner, as they deem it a Christian grace not to be able to bear children. They are vegetarians and total abstainers. Origen was a Skopt in everything but name.
“Look at the Mormons, the Skopts, the Shakers, the Howling Dervishes, the Theosophists, and the Fakirs.”— With the immortals vol. ii. p. 50.
You shall quaff beer out of the skulls of your enemies. (Scandinavian.) Skull means a cup or dish; hence a person who washes up cups and dishes is called a scullery—maid. (Scotch, skoll, a bowl; French, écuelle; Danish, skaal, a drinking—vessel; German, schale; our shell.)
(A). A scratch race, or race without restrictions.
Hurry—skurry. A confused bustle through lack of time; in a confused bustle. A reduplicated or ricochet word.
slang for pocket. Explained under the word Chivy (q.v.).
To elevate, ennoble, raise. It is a term in ballooning; when the ropes are cut, the balloon mounts upwards to the skies. (See Skied .)
“We found the same distinguished personage doing his best to sky some dozen or so of his best friends [referring to the peers made by Gladstone].”— The Times, November 16, 1869.
If the sky falls we shall catch larks. A bantering reply to those who suggest some very improbable or wild scheme.
Milk and water, the colour of the skies.
“Its name derision and reproach pursue,
And strangers tell of three times skimmed sky—blue.” Bloomfield: Farmer's Boy.
strictly speaking, is a sail above the fore—royal, the main—royal, or the mizzen—royal, more frequently called “sky—scrapers.” In general parlance any top—sail is so called.
“Dashed by the strange wind's sport, we were sunk deep in the green sea's trough; and before we could utter an ejaculatory prayer, were upheaved upon the crown of some fantastic surge, peering our sky—rakers into the azure vault of heaven.”— C. Thomson: Autobiography, p. 120.
(Isle of) means the isle of gaps or indentations (Celtic, skyb, a gap). Hence also the Skibbereen of Cork, which is Skyb—bohreen, the byway gap, a pass in a mountain to the sea.
Skylark among sailors, is to mount the highest yards (called sky—scrapers), and then slide down the ropes for amusement. (See Lark .)
Slander is a stumbling—block or something which trips a person up (Greek, skandalon, through the French esclandre). Offence is the striking of our foot against a stone (Latin, ob fendo, as scopulum offendit navis, the ship struck against a rock).
Slangs are the greaves with which the legs of convicts are fettered; hence convicts themselves; and slang is the language of convicts.
The difficulty of tracing the fons et origo of slang words is extremely great, as there is no law to guide one. Generally, a perversion and a pun may be looked for, as Monsengueur = toe (q.v.), Monpensier = ventre (i.e. monpanse, my paunch or belly), etc. (See Sandis,Squash, and numerous other examples in this dictionary. For rhyming slang see Chivy .)
in sport, means that the gun was discharged incessantly; it went slap here and bang there. As a term of laudation it means “very dashing,” both words being playful synonyms of “dashing,” the repetition being employed to give intensity. Slap—bang, here we are again, means, we have “popped” in again without ceremony. Pop, slap, bang, and dash are interchangeable. Dickens uses the word to signify a low eating—house.
“They lived in the same street, walked to town every morning at the same hour, dined at the same slap—bang every day.”
In an off—hand manner. The allusion is to the method of colouring rooms by slapping and dashing the walls. so as to imitate paper. At one time slap—dash walls were very common.
Prime slap—up or slap—bang up. Very exquisite or dashing. Here slap is a playful synonym of dashing, and “up” is the Latin super, as in “superfine.” The dress of a dandy or the equipage of an exquisite is “slap—up,” “prime slap—up,” or “slap—bang—up.”
“[The] more slap—up still have the shields painted on the panels with the coronet over.”— Thackeray.
He has a slate or tile loose. He is a little cracked; his head or roof is not quite sound.
(A). A sick benefit club for working—men. Originally the names of the members were entered on a folding slate; in the universities the names of members are marked on a board, or on boards; hence such expressions as “his name is on the boards,” “I have taken my name off the boards.”
(To). To criticise, expose in print, show up, reprove. A scholastic term. Rebellious and idle boys are slated, that is, their names are set down on a slate to expose their offence, and some punishment is generally awarded.
“The journalists there lead each other a dance.
If one man `slates' another for what he has done, It is pistols for two, and then coffin for one.”
Punch (The Pugnacious Penmen), 1885.
(A). A slashing review.
“He cut it up root and branch ... He gave it what he technically styled `a slating'; and as he threw down his pen ... he muttered, `I think I've pretty well settled that dunce's business.”— The World, February 24th, 1892, p. 24.
(1 syl.). This is an example of the strange changes which come over some words. The Slavi were a tribe which once dwelt on the banks of the Dnieper, and were so called from slav (noble, illustrious); but as, in the lower ages of the Roman empire, vast multitudes of them were spread over Europe in the condition of captive servants, the word came to signify a slave. Similarly, Goths means the good or godlike men; but since the invasion of the Goths the word has become synonymous with barbarous, bad, ungodlike.
Distraction is simply “dis—traho,” as diversion is “di—verto.” The French still employ the word for recreation or amusement, but when we talk of being distracted we mean anything but being amused or entertained.
The ravelled sleave of care Shakespeare: Macbeth). The sleave is the knotted or entangled part of thread or silk, the raw edge of woven articles. Chaucer has “sleeveless words” (words like ravellings, not knit together to any wise purpose); Bishop Hall has `sleaveless rhymes” (random rhymes); Milton speaks of
“sleeveless reason” (reasoning which proves nothing); Taylor the water—poet has “sleeveless message” (a simple message; it now means a profitless one). The weaver's slaic is still used. (Saxon, slae, a weaver's reed; Danish, slojfe, a knot.)
“If all these faile, a beggar—woman may
A sweet love—letter to her hands convay,
Or a neat laundresse or a hearb—wife can
Carry a sleevelesse message now and than.”
Taylor's Workes, ii. III (1630).
The ebon stone used by goldsmiths to slecken (polish) their gold with. Curriers use a similar stone for smoothing out creases of leather; the slecker is also made of glass, steel, etc. (Icelandic, slikr, our word sleek.)
A sledge—hammer argument. A clincher; an argument which annihilates opposition at a blow. The sledge—hammer is the largest sort of hammer used by smiths, and is wielded by both hands. The word sledge is the Saxon slecge (a sledge).
(Anglo—Saxon slaepen). Crabbe's etymology of doze under this word is exquisite:—
“Doze, a variation from the French dors and the Latin dormio (to sleep), which was anciently dermio and comes from the Greek derma (a skin), because people lay on skins when they slept ”!— Synonyms.
To sleep away. To pass away in sleep, to consume in sleeping; as, to sleep one's life away. To sleep off. To get rid of by sleep
Sleep like a Top
When peg—tops and humming—tops are at the acme of their gyration they become so steady and quiet that they do not seem to move. In this state they are said to sleep. Soon they begin to totter, and the tipsy movement increases till they fall. The French say, Dormir comme un sabot, and Mon sabot dort. (See Similes .)
(The). Epimenides, the Greek poet, is said to have fallen asleep in a cave when a boy, and not to have waked for fifty—seven years, when he found himself possessed of all wisdom. Rip Van Winkle, in Washington Irving's tale, is supposed to sleep for twenty years, and wake up an old man, unknowing and unknown. (See Klaus .)
Sleepers. Timbers laid asleep or resting on something, as the sleepers of a railway. (Anglo—Saxon, slaepere. The Seven Sleepers. (See Seven.)
From the French La Belle au Bois Dormante, by Charles Perrault (Contes du Temps). She is shut up by enchantment in a castle, where she sleeps a hundred years, during which time an impenetrable wood springs up around. Ultimately she is disenchanted by a young prince, who marries her. Epimenides, the Cretan poet, went to fetch a sheep, and after sleeping fifty—seven years continued his search, and was surprised to find when he got home that his younger brother was grown grey. (See Rip Van Winkle .)
(A). A worthless, worn—out hat, which has no nap.
The name given, in Washington Irving's Sketch Book, to a quiet old—world village on the Hudson.
To hang on one's sleeve. To listen devoutly to what one says; to surrender your freedom of thought and action to the judgment of another. The allusion is to children hanging on their mother's sleeve.
To have in one's sleeve is to offer a person's name for a vacant situation. Dean Swift, when he waited on Harley, had always some name in his sleeve. The phrase arose from the custom of placing pockets in sleeves. These sleeve—pockets were chiefly used for memoranda, and other small articles.
To laugh in one's sleeve. To ridicule a person not openly but in secret; to conceal a laugh by hiding your face in the large sleeves at one time worn by men. Rire sous cape.
To pin to one's sleeve, as, “I shan't pin my faith to your sleeve,” meaning, “I shall not slavishly believe or follow you.” The allusion is to the practice of knights, in days of chivalry, pinning to their sleeve some token given them by their ladylove. This token was a pledge that he would do or die.
Sleeve of Care
(See Sleave .)
Sleeve of Hildobrand
(The), from which he shook thunder and lighning.
A fruitless errand. It should be written sleaveless, as it comes from sleave, ravelled thread, or the raw—edge of silk. In Troilus and Cressida, Thersi'tës the railer calls Patroclus an “idle immaterial skein of sleive silk” (v. 1).
Sleight of Hand
is artifice by the hand. (Icelandic, slædgh, German, schlich, cunning or trick.)
“And still the less they understand,
The more they admire his sleight of hand.”
Butler Hudibras, pt. ii. c. 3
(2 syl.). Odin's grey horse, which had eight legs, and could carry his master over sea as well as land. (Scandinavian mythology. )
A country lout, a booby in love with Anne Page, but of too faint a heart to win so fair a lady. (Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor.)
A blood—bound which follows the sleuth or track of an animal. (Slot, the track of a deer, is the Anglo—Saxon sloeting, Icelandic, sloth, trail; Dutch, sloot.)
“There is a law also among the Borderers in time of peace, that whoso denieth entrance or sute of a sleuth—bound in pursuit made after fellons and stolen goods, shall be holden as accessarie unto the theft.”— Holinshed: Description of Scotland, p. 14.
Intoxicated When a vessel changes her tack, she staggers and gradually heels over. A drunken man moves like a ship changing her angle of sailing. (Probably from the Icelandic, snua, turn.)
“Mr. Hornby was just a bit slewed by the liquor he'd taken.”— W. C. Russell: A Strange Voyage, chap. xii. p. 25.
(Sam). A Yankee clock—maker and pedlar, wonderfully 'cute, a keen observer, and with plenty of “soft sawder.” Judge Haliburton wrote the two series called Sam Slick, or the Clock—maker.
To finish a thing there and then without stopping; to make a clean sweep of a job in hand. Judge Haliburton's Sam Slick popularised the word. (German, schlicht, sleek, polished, hence clean; Icelandic, slike, sleek.) We say, “To do a thing clean off” as well as “slick off.”
A schedule of payment which slides up and down as the article to which it refers becomes dearer or cheaper. In government duty it varies as the amount taxed varies.
Many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. Everything is uncertain till you possess it. (See Ancaeos .)
“Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra.” Horace.
To give one the slip. To steal off unperceived; to elude pursuit. A sea—phrase. In fastening a cable to a buoy, the home end is slipped through the hawse—pipe. To give the slip is to cut away the cable, so as to avoid the noise of weighing anchor.
The Turks wear yellow slippers; the Armenians, red; and the Jews, blue
applied to literature, means a loose, careless style of composition; no more fit for the public eye than a man with his shoes down at heels.
A ricochet word meaning wishy—washy. (Anglo—Saxon, slip—an, to melt, which makes slopen in the past participle.)
3,560 MSS. collected by Sir Hans Sloane, now in the British Museum. The museum of Sir Hans formed the basis of the British Museum. (1660—1753.)
A war—cry, a Scotch gathering—cry. (Anglo—Saxon, sleán, to fight, pret. slog; Gaelic, sluagh—gairm, an army—yell.)
(Dr.). A choleric physician in Sterne's Tristram Shandy.
Dr. Slop. Sir John Stoddart, M.D., a choleric physician who assailed Napoleon most virulently in The Times, of which he was editor. (1773—1856.)
(The) The police; originally “ecilop.”
“I dragged you in here and saved you,
And sent out a gal for the slops;
Ha! they're a comin', sir! Listen!
The noise and the shoutin' stops.”
Sims: Ballads of Babylon (The Matron's Story).
(Dame). The wife of Grimbard, the brock (or badger), in the tale of Reynard the Fox.
(1 syl.). To decamp; to run away.
Slough of Despond
A deep bog which Christian has to cross in order to get to the Wicket Gate. Help comes to his aid. Neighbour Pliable went with Christian as far as the Slough, and then turned back again. (Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress, part i.)
Stupid, dull. A “quick boy” is one who is sharp and active. Awfully slow, slang for very tupid and dull.
A dawdle. As a slow coach in the old coaching—days “got on" slowly, so one that “gets on” slowly is a slow coach.
A nasty, paltry fellow. A slub is a roll of wool drawn out and only slightly twisted; hence to slubber, to twist loosely, to do things by halves, to perform a work carelessly. Degullion is compounded of the word “gull,” or the Cornish “gullan,” a simpleton.
“Quoth she, `Although thou hast deserved,
Base slubber—degullion, to be served
As thou didst vow to deal with me.”
Butler: Hudibras, i. 3.
(A). A late riser.
“The buttercup is no slug—abed.”— Notes and Queries (Aug. 11, 1894, p. 1118, col. 2.).
The localities of the destitute poor who dwell in the slums.
“Not only have we the inhabitants of Slumland to deal with, but a steadily growing number of skilled and fairly educated artisans.”— Nineteenth Century, December, 1892, p. 888.
“The back slums”— i.e. the purlieus of Westminster Abbey, etc., where vagrants get a night's lodging.
(Christopher). A keeper of bears and a tinker, son of a pedlar, and a sad, drunken sot. In the Induction of Shakespeare's comedy called Taming of the Shrew, he is found dead drunk by a lord, who commands his servants to put him to bed, and on his waking to attend upon him like a lord, to see if they can bamboozle him into the belief that he is a great man, and not Christopher Sly at all. The “commonty” of Taming of the Shrew is performed for his delectation. The trick was played by the Caliph Haroun Alraschid on Abou Hassan, the rich merchant, in the tale called The Sleeper Awakened (Arabian Nights), and by Philippe the Good, Duke of Burgundy, on his marriage with Eleanor, as given in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (pt. ii. sec. 2, num. 4).
One who appears to be a dolt, but who is really wide awake; a cunning dolt.
“The frog called the lazy one several times, but la vain; there was no such thing as stirring him, though the sly—boots heard well enough all the while.”— Adventures of Abdalla, p. 32 (1729).
You're a sly dog. “Un fin matois.” A playful way of saying, You pretend to be disinterested, but I can read between the lines.
Sly as a Fox
(See Similes .)
(Chevy). In Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens.
Small by degrees and beautifully less. Prior, in his Henry and Emma, wrote “Fine by degrees,” etc.
Death. So called because he is usually drawn as a skeleton.
“Small—back must lead down the dance with us all in our time.”— Sir Walter Scott.
Small Beer “To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.” (Iago in the play of Othello, ii. 1.)
He does not think small beer of himself. He has a very good opinion of number one.
“To express her self—esteem [it might be said] that she did not think small beer of herself.”— De Quincey: Historical Essays.
The Big—endians of Lilliput made it a point of orthodoxy to crack their eggs at the big end; but were considered heretics for so doing by the Small—endians, who insisted that eggs ought to be broken at the small end. (Swift: Gulliver's Travels.)
Small Hours of the Morning
(The). One, two, three, four, etc., before day—break. A student who sits up all night, and goes to bed at one, two, three, etc., is said to work till the small hours of the morning, or to go to bed in the small hours of the morning.
In for his smalls; Passed his smalls — his “Little—go,” or previous examination; the examination for degree being the “Great—go,” or “Greats.”
Money paid by a person to obtain exemption from some disagreeable office or duty; in law it means a heavy fine; and in recompense it means money given to soldiers or sailors for injuries received in the service. It either makes the person “smart,” i.e. suffer, or else the person who receives it is paid for smarting.
Come to smash — to ruin. Smashed to pieces, broken to atoms. Smash is a corruption of mash; Latin, mastico, to bite to pieces. (See Slope .)
“I have a great mind to ... let social position go to smash.”— Eggleston: Faith Doctor, p. 63.
(in Hudibras). A contraction of Smectymnuus, a word made from the initial letters of five rebels— Stephen Marshal. Edward Calamy. Thomas Young. Matthew Newcomen.
William Sspurstow, who wrote a book against Episcopacy and the Common Prayer. (See Notarica.)
“The handkerchief about the neck,
Canonical cravat of Smec.”
Butler: Hudibras, pt. i. 5.
Acronym under which was published (1641) in England a book upholding the Presbyterian theory of the ministry in answer to the Anglican bishop Joseph Hall's A Humble Remonstrance (1640–41). Hall replied to the Presbyterian attack. John Milton defended the Smectymnuus position in three tracts in 1641 and 1642. The Solemn League and Covenant in 1643 rendered the controversy moot.
(an acute sense). James Mitchell was deaf, dumb, and blind from birth, “but he distinguished persons by their smell, and by means of the same sense formed correct judgments as to character.” (Nineteenth Century, April, 1894, p. 579.)
Smell a Rat
(To). To suspect something about to happen. The allusion is to a cat or dog smelling out vermin.
I smell treason. I discern treason involved; I have some aim that would lead to treason.
Shakespeare says, “Do you smell a fault?” (King Lear, i. 1); and Iago says to Othello, “One may smell in this a will most rank.” Probably the smell of dogs may have something to do with such phrases, but St. Jerome furnishes even a better source. He says that St. Hilarion had the gift of knowing what sins or vices anyone was inclined to by simply smelling either the person or his garments; and by the same faculty he could discern good feelings and virtuous propensities. (Life of Hilarton, A.D. 390.)
Smells of the Lamp Said of a literary production manifestly laboured. Plutarch attributes the phrase to Pytheas the orator, who said, “The orations of Demosthenes smell of the lamp,” alluding to the current tale that the great orator lived in an underground cave lighted by a lamp, that he might have no distraction to his severe study.
(Stock—Exchange term), meaning “English and Australian copper shares.” (See Stock—Exchange Slang .)
the name of a drink, is a mixture of bitter beer and lemonade. In the United States, a drink of liquor is called a “smile,” and the act of treating, one at the bar is giving one a “smile.” Of course this is metaphorical. (See ShandyGaff .)
A proper name. (See Brewer .)
Smith of Nottingham
Ray, in his Collection of Proverbs, has the following couplet:—
“The little Smith of Nottingham,
Who doth the work that no man can.”
Applied to conceited persons who imagine that no one is able to compete with themselves.
One who has obtained the prize (25), founded in the University of Cambridge by Robert, Smith, D.D. (once master of Trinity), for proficiency in mathematics and natural philosophy. There are annually two prizes, awarded to two commencing Bachelors of Arts.
The smooth field (Anglo—Saxon, smethe, smooth), called in Latin Campus Planus, and described by Fitz—Stephen in the twelfth century as a “plain field where every Friday there is a celebrated rendezvous of fine horses brought thither to be sold.”
To detect, or rather to get a scent, of some plot or scheme. The allusion is to the detection of robbers by the smoke seen to issue from their place of concealment.
No smoke without fire. Every slander has some foundation. The reverse proverb, “No fire without smoke,” means no good without some drawback.
To end in smoke. To come to no practical result. The allusion is to kindling, which smokes, but will not light a fire.
To smoke the calumet (or pipe) of peace. (See Calumet.)
An offering given to the priest at Whitsuntide, according to the number of chimneys in his parish.
“The Bishop of Elie hath out of everie parish in Cambridgeshire a certain tribute called ... smoke—farthings, which the churchwardens do levie according to the number of chimneys that be in a parish”— MSS. Baker, xxxix. 326.
A modus of 6d. in lieu of tithe firewood.
The snack of a door (Norfolk) The latch. Generally called the “sneck” (q.v.).
To take a snack. To take a morsel. To go snacks. To share and share alike.
have no sex, “chacun remissant les deux sexes.” (Anglo—Saxon, snægl.)
Snake—Stones Small rounded stones or matters compounded by art, and supposed to cure snake—bites. Mr. Quekett discovered that two given to him for analysis were composed of vegetable matters. Little perforated stones are sometimes hung on cattle to charm away adders.
Snake in the Grass
A secret enemy; an enemy concealed from sight. Rhyming slang, “a looking—glass.”
“Latet anguis in herba.”
Virgil. Eclogue iii. 93.
Snakes in his Boots
(To have). To suffer from D.T. (delirium tremens) This is one of the delusions common to those so afflicted.
“He's been pretty high on whisky for two or three days, ... and they say he's got snakes in his boots now.”— The Barton Experiment, chap. ix.
(See Flap—Dragon .)
Snap of the Fingers
Not worth a snap of the fingers. A fico. (See Fig .)
Snap One's Nose Off
(See under Nose .)
(Latin, litera canina). The letter . (See R .)
To give one a sneck posset is to slam the door in his face (Cumberland and Westmoreland). The “sneck” or snick is the latch of a door, and to “sneck the door in one's face” is to shut a person out. Mrs. Browning speaks of “nicking” the door.
“The lady closed That door, and nicked the lock.” Aurora Leigh, book vi. line 1,067.
Probably allied to niche, to put the latch into its niche.
It is not to be sneezed at— not to be despised. (See Snuff .)
Some Catholics attribute to St. Gregory the use of the benediction “God bless you,” after sneezing, and say that he enjoined its use during a pestilence in which sneezing was a mortal symptom, and was therefore called the death—sneeze. Aristotle mentions a similar custom among the Greeks; and Thucydides tells us that sneezing was a crisis symptom of the great Athenian plague. The Romans followed the same custom, and their usual exclamation was “Absit omen!” We also find it prevalent in the New World among the native Indian tribes, in Sennaar, Monomatapa, etc. etc.
It is almost incredible how ancient and how widely diffused is the notion that sneezing is an omen which requires to be averted. The notion prevailed not only in ancient Greece and Rome, but is existent in Persia, India, and even Africa. The rabbins tell us that Jacob in his flight gave a sneeze, the evil effects of which were averted by prayer.
In the conquest of Florida, when the Spaniards arrived, the Cazique, we are told, sneezed, and all the court lifted up their hands and implored the sun to avert the evil omen.
In the rebellion of Monomatapa, in Africa, the king sneezed, and a signal of the fact being given, all the faithful subjects instantly made vows and offerings for his safety. The same is said respecting Sennaar, in Nubia, in Sweden, etc.
The Sadder (one of the sacred books of the Parsees) enjoins that all people should have recourse to prayer if a person sneezes, because sneezing is a proof that the “Evil Spirit is abroad.”
Foote, in his farce of Dr. Last in His Chariot, makes one of the consulting doctors ask why when a person sneezes, all the company bows? and the answer given was that “sneezing is a mortal symptom which once depopulated Athens.”
“In Sweden, ... you sneeze, and they cry God bless you.”— Longfellow.
A large clasp—knife, or combat with clasp—knives. (“Snick,” Icelandic snikka, to clip; verb, snitte, to cut. “Snee" is the Dutch snee, an edge; snijden, to cut.) Thackeray, in his Little Billee, uses the term “snickersnee.”
“One man being busy in lighting his pipe, and another in sharpening his snickersnee.”— Irving: Bracebridge Hall, p. 462.
(See Gun .)
Not a gentleman; one who arrogates to himself merits which he does not deserve. Thackeray calls George IV. a snob, because he assumed to be “the greatest gentleman in Europe,” but had not the genuine stamp of a gentleman's mind. (S privative and nob.)
The lassie lost her silken snood. The snood was a riband with which a Scotch lass braided her hair, and was the emblem of her maiden character. When she married she changed the snood for the curch or coif; but if she lost the name of virgin before she obtained that of wife, she “lost her silken snood,” and was not privileged to assume the curch. (Anglo—Saxon, snod.)
An exclamation of incredulity; a Mrs. Harris. A person tells an incredible story, and the listener cries Snooks — gammon; or he replies, It was Snooks — the host of the Château d'Espagne. This word “snook” may be a corruption of Noakes or Nokes, the mythical party at one time employed by lawyers to help them in actions of ejectment. (See Styles .)
You snore like an owl. It is very generally believed that owls snore, and it is quite certain that a noise like snoring proceeds from their nests; but this is most likely the “purring” of the young birds, nestling in comfort and warmth under the parent wing.
Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden. (1594, 1611—1632.)
“At Vienna he was called in derision the Snow King, who was kept together by the cold, but would melt and disappear as he approached a warmer soil.”— Dr. Crichton: Scandinavia, vol.
ii. p. 61.
The district which contains the mountain range of Snowdon.
The King of Snowdonia. Moel—y—Wyddfa (the conspicuous peak), the highest in South Britain. (3,571 feet above the sea—level.)
(The). Tickell's fable is that King Albion's son fell in love with Kenna, daughter of Oberon, but Oberon in anger drove the lover out of fairyland. Albion's son brought an army to avenge the indignity, and was slain. Kenna applied the herb moly to the wounds, hoping to restore life; but the moment the juice of the herb touched the dead body it was converted into a snowdrop. Called the Fair Maid of February.
Up to snuff. Wide awake, knowing, sharp; not easily taken in or imposed upon; alive to scent (Dutch, snuffen, to scent, snuf; Danish, snöfte).
Took it in snuff — in anger, in huff.
“You'll mar the light by taking it in snuff.”
Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2.
“Who, ... when it next came there, took it in snuff.”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., i. 3.
He was snuffed out — put down, eclipsed. The allusion is to a candle snuffed with snuffers.
formed by Sir John Soane, and preserved in its original locality, No. 13, Lincoln's Inn Fields, the private residence of the founder. Sir John Soane died in 1837.
An English form of savon, the French for soap.
How are you off for soap? (for money or any other necessity). The insurgent women of Paris, in February, 1793, went about carrying, “Du pain et du savon!” (bread and soap).
“A deputation of washwomen petitioned the Convention for soap, and their plaintive cry was heard round the Salle de Manége, `Du pain er du savon!' ”— Cartyie: French Revolution, pt.
iii. bk. iii. 1.
(Castile). A hard white soap made of olive oil, sometimes mottled with ferruginous matter. There are also Marseilles soap, Spanish soap, Venetian soap, and marine soap (usually made of cocoanut oil and used with sea—water).
(In). Vague; a method of speaking or writing which always leaves a way of escape. The allusion is to the custom at fairs, etc., of soaping the tail of a pig before turning it out to be caught by the tail.
“He is vague as may be; writing in what is called the `soaped—pig' fashion.”— Carlyle: The Diamond Necklace, chap. iv.
Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and afterwards of Winchester. (1805—1873.) It is somewhat remarkable that the floral decorations above the stall of the bishop and of the principal of Cuddesdon, were S. O. A. P. (the initials of Sam Oxon and Alfred Pott. When Samuel Wilberforce went to inspect the building he was dismayed at seeing his sobriquet thus perpetuated.
Someone asking the bishop why he was so called, the bishop replied, “Because I am often in hot water, and always come out with clean hands.”
or Sobrius is the Latin s privative, and ebrius, drunk. (S privative is for seorsum.)
Sober as a Judge
— i.e. grave and sedate. (See Similes .)
(in Orlando Furioso). One of the most valiant of the Saracen army. He is called the Sage. He was aged, and counselled Agramant to give up the war and return home, or, if he rejected that advice, to entrust the fight to single combat, on condition that the nation of the champion overthrown should pay tribute to the other. Rogero was chosen for the pagan champion, and Rinaldo for the Christian, but Agramant broke the league. Sobrino soon after this received the rite of baptism.
Don Quixote asks—
“Who more prudent than Sobrino?”
(French). A nickname. Ménage thinks the etymology is the Latin subridieulum (somewhat ridiculous); Count de Gebelin suggests the Romance words sopra—quest (a name acquired over and above your proper names); while Leglay is in favour of soubriquet, a word common in the fourteenth century to express a sound of contempt, half whistle and half jeer, made by raising quickly the chin. Probably
sous—brechet, where brechet means the breast, seen in our word “brisket.”
Socialism (3 syl.). The political and social scheme of Robert Owen, of Montgomeryshire, who in 1816 published a work to show that society was in a wretched condition, and all its institutions and religious systems were based on wrong principles. The prevailing system is competition, but Owen maintained that the proper principle is co—operation; he therefore advocated a community of property and the abolition of degrees of rank. (1771—1858.)
The Socialists are called also Owenites (3 syl.). In France the Fourierists and St. Simonians are similar sorts of communists, who receive their designations from Fourier and St. Simon (q.v.).
Societe de Momus
One of the minor clubs of Paris for the reunion of song—writers and singers. The most noted of these clubs was the Caveau, or in full Les Diners du Careau, founded in 1733 by Piron, Crébillon, jun., and Collet. This club lasted till the Revolution. In the Consulate was formed Les Dîners du Vaudeville, for the habitués of the drama; these dîners were held in the house of Julliet, an actor. In 1806 the old Caveau was revived under the name of the Caveau Moderne, and the muster was once a month at a restaurant entitled La Rocher de Cancale, famous for fish dinners, and Laujon (the French Anacreon) was president. Béranger belonged to this club, which lasted ten years. In 1824 was founded the Gymnase Lyrique, which, like the Caveau, published an annual volume of songs; this society was dissolved in 1841. In 1834 was founded La Lice Chansonniére, for those who could not afford to join the Caveau or the Gymnase, to which we owe some of the best French songs.
The upper ten thousand, or “the upper ten.” When persons are in “society,” they are on the visiting lists of the fashionable social leaders. The “society” of a district are the great panjandrums thereof.
“All the society of the district were present at the prince's ball.”— Newspaper paragraph, December, 1885.
[comedy]. The Greek comic actors used to wear a sandal and sock. The difference between the sock and the tragic buskin was this— the sock went only to the ankle, but the buskin extended to the knee. (See Buskin .)
“Then to the well—trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on.”
Sock a Corpse
(To). To shroud it. (French, sac, a cerement or shroud.)
“1591. Item paid for a sheet to sock a poor man that died at Byneons, 1s. 6d.”— Parish Register.
The greatest of the ancient philosophers, whose chief aim was to amend the morals of his countrymen, the Athenians. Cicero said of him that “he brought down philosophy from the heavens to earth;” and he was certainly the first to teach that “the proper study of mankind is man.” Socrates resisted the unjust sentence of the senate, which condemned to death the Athenian generals for not burying the dead at the battle of Arginu'sæ.
Who, firmly good in a corrupted state,
Against the rage of tyrants single stood
Socrates used to call himself “the midwife of men's thoughts.” Out of his intellectual school sprang those of Plato and the Dialetic system; Euclid and the Megaric; Aristippos and the Cyrenaic, Antisthenes and the Cynic.
Apples of Sodom or mad apples. Strabo, Tacitus, and Josephus describe them as beautiful externally and filled with ashes. These “apples” are in reality gall—nuts produced by the insect called Cynips insana.
(3 syl.). A dynasty of four kings, which lasted thirty—four years and had dominion over Khorassan, Seïstan, Fars, etc. (873—907); founded by Yacoub ebn Laith, surnamed al Soffar (the brazier),
because his father followed that trade in Seïstan.
He's a soft — half a fool. The word originally meant effeminate, unmanly; hence soft in brains, silly, etc., “soft in courage.” (3 Henry VI., ii. 2.)
Flattery, adulation. A play is intended between solder (pronounced sawder) and sawder, a compound of saw (a saying). Soft solder, a composition of tin and lead, is used for soldering zinc, lead, and tin; hard solder for brass, etc. (French, soudure, Latin, solidus.)
Flattery, complimentary words. (See Soapy Sam .)
Soft as Soap
— as “silk,” as “velvet.” (See Similes .)
Soft Fire makes Sweet Malt
(A). Too fierce a fire would burn malt and destroy its sweetness, and too much hurry or precipitation spoils work, “Soft and fair goes fair;” “Love me little, love me long;” “Slow and steady wins the race;” “He who is in haste fishes in an empty pond;” “The more haste the worse speed;” “He who walks too hastily will stumble in a plain way:” “Hastily and well never met;” “It is good to have a hatch before the door;” “Hasty climbers have sudden falls.”
Soft Words Butter no Parsnips
or “Fair words,” etc. Saying “Be thou fed” will not feed a hungry man. “Good words will not fill a sack.” To “butter parsnips" means also “dorer la pilule” (“soft words will not gild the pill of distress").
To walk softly. To be out of spirits. In Greece, mourners for the dead used to cut off their hair, go about muffled, and walk softly to express want of spirit and strength. When Elijah denounced the judgments of heaven against Ahab, that wicked king “fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly” to show that his strength was exhausted with sorrow (1 Kings xxi. 27). Isiah says, “I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my
soul” (xxxviii. 15). The Psalmist says, “My clothing was sackcloth ... I walked as [for] a friend or brother.” The French Je vais doucement means precisely the same thing: “I go softly,” because I am indisposed, out of sorts, or in low spirits.
A soft, simple person.
“She were but a softy after all.”— Mrs. Gaskell: Sylcia's Lovers. chap. xv.
The cry made by huntsmen when they uncouple the dogs in hunting the hare. Also to pointers and setters when they make a point. Tally—ho! (q.v.) is the cry when a fox breaks cover. So! or see! is to call attention, and ho! is virtually “hie after him.”
“Now is the fox drevin to hole. Hoo to hym! Hoo! Hoo!
For and he acpe out he will you alle undo.”
Excerpta Historica, p. 279.
“If ye bounte at the hare, ye shall say, atte uncoupling, hors de couple, avaunt! And after, three times, Sohow! Sohow!”— A fifteenth—century translation of Reliquæ Antiquæ.
“When a stag breaks covert the cry is `tayho!' ... when a hare ... `soho!' ”— Herbert: Field Sports, vol. iii. appendix B. p. 313.
Of course “Ho!” is often used merely to call attention. Thus we say to one in advance, “Ho! stop!” and
“Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah lv. 1). This use of the word is a contracted form
of haloo! In the hunting—field “So—ho” is doubtless a cry to encourage the dogs to follow up the quarry.
(French). Self—styled, would—be.
To take soil. A hunting term, signifying that the deer has taken to the water. Soil, in French, is the mire in which a wild boar wallows. (Danish, sol, mire; Swedish, söla, to wallow.)
“Fida went downe the dale to seeke the hinde,
And founde her taking soyle within a flood”
Browne: Britania's Pastorals, i. 84
Soil the Milk before Using It
Yorkshire for “Sile the milk, etc.”— i.e. strain it, or skim it. A sile is a sieve or strainer.
“Take a handeful of sauge, and stampe it, and temper it with hate ale, and sythene syle it thorowe a hate clothe.”— M.S. Lincoln. A i. 17 f 281
“Drink the licoure siled thorgh a clothe.”— MS. in Mr. Pettigrew's possession (fifteenth century).
(2 syl.) is the Italian soggiorno— i.e. sub—giorno; Latin, sub—diurnus (for a day, temporally).
(Latin). The sun.
“And when Dan Sol to slope his wheels began.”
Thomson: Castle of Indolence, cauto i.
Sol. The term given by the ancient alchemists to gold. Silver was luna. Sol in the Edda was the daughter of Mundilfori, and sister of Mani. She was so beautiful that at death she was placed in heaven to drive the sunchariot. Two horses were yoked to it, named Arvakur and Alsvith
(watchful and rapid). (Scandinavian mythology.) (See Mani.)
(See Do, Re , etc.)
The gannet. (French, Oie de Soland (ou) d'Écosse; Icelandic, sula.)
Ask no favour during the Solano (Spanish). Ask no favour during a time of trouble, panic, or adversity. The Solano of Spain is a south—east wind, extremely hot, and loaded with fine dust. It produces giddiness and irritation. Called the Sirocco in Italy.
(A). A recompense: a sop; a solace. (Latin, solatium.)
“It may be that Mr. Elden will be persuaded to take one, by way of solatium for his defeat in Somersetshire.”— Newspaper paragraph, December, 1885.
or Sowdan. A corruption of sultan, meaning in mediæval romance the Saracen king; but, with the usual inaccuracy of these writers, we have the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, the Sowdan of Babylon, etc., all represented as accomplished by grim Saracens to torment Christians.
The Soldan, meant for Felipe of Spain, who used all his power to bribe and seduce the subjects of Elizabeth. Queen Mercilla sent to negotiate a peace, but the ambassador sent was treated like a dog, referring to Felipe's detention of the deputies sent by the States of Holland. Sir Artegal demands of the soldan the release of the
damsel “held as wrongful prisoner,” and the soldan “swearing and banning most blasphemously,” mounts his
“high chariot,” and prepares to maintain his cause. Prince Arthur encounters him “on the green,” and after a severe combat unconvers his shield, at sight of which the soldan and all his followers take to flight. The
“swearing and banning” refer to the excommunications thundered out against Elizabeth; the “high chariot” is the Spanish Armada; the “green” is the sea; the “uncovering of the shield” indicates that the Armada was put to flight, not by man's might, but by the power of God. Flavit Jehovah et dissipati sunt (God blew, and they were scattered). (Spenser Faërie Queene, v. 8.)
(Des). Money Shakespeare, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, ii. 2, has “Money is a good soldier, sir, and will on.” Doubtless the French use of the word is derived from the proverbial truth that “Money is the sinews of war,” combined with a pun on the word solidus (the pay of a soldier). The Norman soud (i.e. sould) means “wages;” Swedish, besolda, to pay; Danish, besolde, to pay wages; the French soldat, our soldier, a hireling or mercenary, and the French sol or sou.
originally meant a hireling or mercenary; one paid a solidus for military service; but hireling and soldier convey now very different ideas. (See above.)
To come the old soldier over one. To dictate peremptorily and profess superiority of knowledge and experience.
A complaint common in the English army, indicated by a weak voice and great feebleness of the chest, for which soldiers are discharged. It is said to be the result of the present system of drill, which enforces expansion of the chest by restraining free breathing.
(The). Malplaquet, 1709, and Inkermann, 1854, were both “soldiers' battles.”
Soldiers of Fortune
Chevaliers de l'industrie; men who live by their wits. Referring to those men in mediæval times who let themselves for hire into any army.
“His father was a soldier of fortune, as I am a sailor.”— Sir W Scott: The Antiquary, chap. xx.
A barrack term for furbishing up of accoutrements.
“I got the screws last night, but I was busy soldiering till too late.”— J. H. Ewing: Story of a Short Life, p. 35.
(3 syl.). Misapplication of words; an expression opposed to the laws of syntax; so called from the city of Soli, in Cilicia, where an Athenian colony settled, and forgot the purity of their native language.
Habitual, customary. (Latin, sollemnis, strictly speaking means “once a year,” “annual,” solus—annus.)
“Silent night with this her solemn bird” [i.e. the nightingale, the bird familiar to night].— Milton: Paradise Lost, v.
Of course the usual meaning of “solemn” is devout; but an annual festival, like Good Friday, etc., may be both devout and serious. The Latin for “it is usual,” is solemne est, and to “solemnise” is to celebrate an annual custom.
The Solemn Doctor. Henry Goethals was so called by the Sorbonne. (1227—1293.) Solemn League and Covenant, for the suppression of Popery and Prelacy, adopted by the Scotch Parliament in 1638, and accepted by the English in 1643. Charles II. swore to the Scotch that he would abide by it and therefore they crowned him in 1651 at Dunbar; but at the Restoration he not only rejected the covenant, but had it burnt by the common hangman.
Soler An upper room, a loft, a garret. (Latin, solarium.)
“Hastily than went that all,
And soght him in the maydens ball,
In chambers high, es noght at hide,
And in solers on like side.”
Ywaine and Gawin, 807.
Richard Middleton, a cordelier; also called the Profound Doctor. (1304.)
The Sheffield of Germany, famous for swords and fencing—foils.
The English Solomon. James I., called by Sully “the wisest fool in Christendom.” (1566, 1603—1625.)
Henry VII. was so called for his wise policy in uniting the York and Lancaster factions. (1457, 1485—1509.)
Solomon of France. Charles V., le Sage. (1337, 1364—1380.)
St. Louis or Louis IX. (1215, 1226—1270.)
(See under Carpet, Pavilion .)
The rabbins say that Solomon wore a ring in which was set a chased stone that told the king everything he desired to know.
Solon of Parnassus
So Voltaire called Boileau, in allusion to his Art of Poetry. (1636—1711.)
(2 syl.). The summer solstice is June 21st; the winter solstice is December 22nd; so called because, on arriving at the corresponding points of the ecliptic, the sun is stopped and made to approach the equator again. (Latin, sol sistil or stat, the sun stops.)
king of the Turks (in Jerusalem Delivered), whose capital was Nice. Being driven from his kingdom, he fled to Egypt, and was there appointed leader of the Arabs (bk. ix.). He and Argantes were by far the most doughty of the pagan knights. Solyman was slain by Rinaldo (bk. xx.), and Argantes by Tancred.
The moon, born from the eyes of Atri, son of Brahma; made the sovereign of plants and planets. Soma ran away with Tara (Star), wife of Vrihaspata, preceptor of the gods, and Buddha was their offspring. (Hindu mythology.)
To drink the Soma. To become immortal. In the Vedic hymns the Soma is the moon—plant, the juice of which confers immortality, and exhilarates even the gods. It is said to be brought down from heaven by a falcon. (Scandinavian mythology.)
(singular somagium). Horse—loads. Italian, soma, a burden; somaro, a beast of burden, an ass. (See Sumpter .)
A Spanish hat with a very wide brim.
Anciently Sumorsoete or Sumorsoet— i.e. Suth—mor—soet (south moor camp).
or Somersault. A leap in which a person turns head over heels in the air and lights on his feet. (Latin, super saltus; French, soubresaut.) Sometimes a person will turn twice or thrice in the air before he touches the ground.
“First that could make love faces, or could do
The valter's sombersalts.”
Donne: Poems, p. 300.
occupies the site of a princely mansion built by Somerset the Protector, brother of Lady Jane Seymour, and uncle of Edward VI. At the death of Somerset on the scaffold it became the property of the Crown, and in the reign of James I. was called Denmark House in honour of Anne of Denmark, his queen. Old Somerset House was pulled down in the eighteenth century, and the present structure was erected by Sir William Chambers in 1776.
or Zamorin is the anglicised version of Samoothirippadu or Samoothiri, a title of the rulers of the erstwhile Hindu state of Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), located in the present day state of Kerala, India, between the 14th and 18th century AD. Manavikraman Raja, the Samoothiri of Kozhikode is famous for being the ruler that received the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama on May 18, 1498.
(or descendant of). Norman, Fitz—; Gaelic, Mac; Welsh, Ap— (sometimes contracted into P, as P—richard); Irish, O'; Hebrew and Arabic, Ben—, all prefixes: English, —son; Russian, —vitch or —witch, postfixes.
Son of Belial
One of a wicked disposition; a companion of the wicked. (See Judges xix. 22.)
“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord.”— 1 Samuel ii. 12.
Son of Dripping
(A). A man cook, a turnspit.
“Yet, son of dripping ... let us balt;
Soft fires, the proverb tells us, make sweet malt.” Peter Pindar: Thè Lousiad, canto ii.
Son of One Year
A child one year old; similarly a “son of sixty years,” etc. (Exodus xii. 5.)
Son of Perdition
Judas Iscariot. (John xvii. 12.)
Son of perdition. Antichrist, who not only draws others to perdition, but is himself devoted to destruction. (2 Thesalonians ii. 3.)
Son of the Morning
A traveller. An Oriental phrase, alluding to the custom of rising early in the morning to avoid the mid—day heat, when on one's travels.
Son of the Star
[Bar Cochab]. A name assumed by Simon the Jew, in the reign of Hadrian, who gave himself out to be the “Star out of Jacob” mentioned in Numbers xxiv. 17.
Sons of God
Angels, genuine Christians, or believers who are the sons of God by adoption.
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”— Romans viii. 14.
Sons of God. When Judæa was a theocracy the representative of God on earth was by the Jews called god; hence angels, rulers, prophet, and priests were called gods. Moses as the messenger of Jehovah was “a god to
Pharaoh” (Exodus vii. 1); magistrates generally were called gods; thus it is said, “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people” (Exodus xxii. 28). By a still further extension, anyone who gave a message to another was his god, because he “inspired him,” as Moses was a god to Aaron his spokesman
(Exodus iv. 16). Our Lord refers to this use of the word in John x. 34. (See also Genesis vi. 2, 4; Job i. 6; ii. 1; Psalm lxxxii. 6; Exodus iv. 22, 23; Hosea xi. l.)
Sons of the Band
Soldiers rank and file. (2 Chronicles xxv. 13.)
Sons of the Mighty Heroes. (Psalm xxix. 1.)
Sons of the Prophets
Disciples or scholars belonging to the “college of the prophets,” or under instruction for the ministry. In this sense we call the University where we were educated our “Alma mater.” (See 1 Kings xx. 35.)
Sons of the Sorceress
Those who study and practise magic. (Isaiah lvii. 3.)
Father of modern French song. Panard: also called the “La Fontaine of the Vaudeville.” (1691—1765.)
Song of Degrees
The fifteen Psalms, cxx. to cxxxiv.; so called because they are prophetic of the return or
“going up” from captivity. Some think there is a connection between these Psalms and the fifteen steps of the Temple porch. (Ezekiel xl. 22—26.) In the Revised Version called “Song of Ascents.”
Song of Roland
the renowned nephew of Charlemagne, slain in the pass of Roncesvalles. At the battle of Hastings, Taillefer advanced on horseback before the invading army, and gave the signal for onset by singing this famous song.
“Taillefer, who sung well and loud,
Came mounted on a charger proud;
Before the duke the minstrel sprang,
And the Song of Roland sang.”
Brut of Wace (translated).
Song of Songs
The Canticles, or “Solomon's Song.”
or Sunna. The Mishna or oral law of the Mahometans. Reland (De Relig. Mahom., p. 54) says these traditions were orally delivered by Mahomet, and subsequently committed to writing. Albulpharagius asserts that Ali, the son—in—law and cousin of Mahomet, was set aside because he refused to regard the oral traditions of the prophet of the same authority as the Koran. (Hist, Dynast., 182.) (Arabic, simma, tradition.) (See Sunnites .)
(La). (See Amina, Elvino .)
Prince of the sonnet. Joachim du Bellay, a French sonneteer (1524—1560); but Petrarch better deserves the title. (1334—1374.)
A sop in the pan. A bonnebouche, tit—bit, dainty morsel; a piece of bread soaked in the dripping of meat caught in a dripping—pan; also a bribe. (See below.)
To give a sop to Cerberus. To give a bribe, to quiet a troublesome customer. Cerberus is Pluto's three—headed dog, stationed at the gates of the infernal regions. When persons died the Greeks and Romans used to put a cake in their hands as a sop to Cerberus, to allow them to pass without molestation.
A student at Cambridge is a Freshman for the first term, a Junior Soph for the second year, and a Senior Soph for the third year. The word Soph is a contraction of “sophister,” which is the Greek and Latin sophistes (a sophist). At one time these students had to maintain a given question in the schools by opposing the orthodox view of it. These opponencies are now limited to Law and Divinity degrees.
Sophi or Safi [mystic], applied in Persia to ascetics generally, was given to Sheik Juneyd u Dien, grandfather of Shah Ismail, a Mahometan sectary or Shiite, who claimed descent, through Ali, from the twelve saints.
The twelfth dynasty of Persia, founded by Shah Ismail I., grandson of Sheik Juneyd (1509). (See above.)
(St.), at Constantinople, is not dedicated to a saint named Sophia, but to the “Logos,” or Second Person of the Trinity, called Hagia Sophia (Sacred Wisdom).
Sophist, Sophistry, Sophism, Sophisticator
etc. These words have quite run from their legitimate meaning. Before the time of Pythagoras (B.C. 586—506) the sages of Greece were called sophists (wise men). Pythagoras out of modesty called himself a philosopher (a wisdom—lover). A century later Protagoras of Abdera resumed the title, and a set of quibblers appeared in Athens who professed to answer any question on any subject, and took up the title discarded by the Wise Samian. From this moment sophos and all its family of words were applied to “wisdom falsely so called,” and philo—sophos to the “modest search after truth.”
The public disputations sustained by candidates for membership of the Sorbonne. They began at 5 a.m. and lasted till 7 p.m.
The institution of theology, science, and literature in Paris founded by Robert de Sorbon, Canon of Cambrai, in 1252. In 1808 the buildings were given to the University, and since 1821 have been the Académie universitaire de Paris.
(See Canidia, Circe , etc. etc.)
A poem by Robert Browning, showing the conflict of a minstrel about the best way of making his influence felt, whether personally or by the power of song.
(Greek). A heaped—up or cumulative syllogism. The following will serve as an example:— All men who believe shall be saved.
All who are saved must be free from sin.
All who are free from sin are innocent in the sight of God. All who are innocent in the sight of God are meet for heaven. All who are meet for heaven will be admitted into heaven.
Therefore all who believe will be admitted into heaven.
The famous Sorites of Themistocles was: That his infant son commanded the whole world, proved thus:— My infant son rules his mother.
His mother rules me.
I rule the Athenians.
The Athenians rule the Greeks.
The Greeks rule Europe.
And Europe rules the world.
Sorrows of Werther
A novel by Goethe. The heroine is Charlotte.
Same as the Sortes Virgilianae (q.v.), only the Bible was substituted for the works of the poet.
Telling one's fortune by consulting the Æneid of Virgil. You take up the book, open it at random, and the passage you touch at random with your finger is the oracular response. Severus consulted the book, and read these words: “Forget not thou, O Roman, to rule the people with royal sway.” Gordianus, who reigned only a few days, hit upon this verse: “Fate only showed him on the earth, but suffered him not to
tarry.” But, certainly, the most curious instance is that given by Dr. Wellwood respecting King Charles I. and Lord Falkland while they were both at Oxford. Falkland, to amuse the king, proposed to try this kind of augury, and the king hit upon bk. iv. ver. 881—893, the gist of which passage is that. “evil wars would break out, and the king lose his life.” Falkland, to laugh the matter off, said he would show his Majesty how ridiculously the “lot” would foretell the next fate, and he lighted on book xi. ver. 230—237, the lament of Evander for the untimely death of his son Pallas. King Charles, in 1643, mourned over his noble friend, who was shot through the body in the battle of Newbury.
Out of sorts. Not in good health and spirits. The French être dérangé explains the metaphor. If cards are out of sorts they are deranged, and if a person is out of sorts the health or spirits are out of order.
In printers' language it means out of some particular letter, in which case they substitute for a time another letter.
To run upon sorts. In printing, said of work which requires an unusual number of certain letters, etc.; as an index, which requires a disproportionate number of capitals.
The living double of another, as the brothers Antipholus and brothers Dromio in the Comedy of Errors, and the Corsican brothers in the drama so called. Sosia is a servant of Amphitryon, in Plautus's comedy so called. It is Mercury who assumes the double of Sosia, till Sosia doubts his own identity. Both Dryden and Molière have adapted this play to the modern stage, but the Comedy of Errors is based on another drama of the same author, called the Menæchmi. (See Amphitryon .)
or Sotadic Verse.One that reads backwards and forwards the same, as “llewd did I live, and evil I did dwell.” So called from Sotades, the inventor. These verses are also called palindromic. (See Palindrome .)
The Persian year consists of 365 days, so that a day is lost in four years, and the lost bits in the course of 1,460 years amount to a year. This period of 1,460 years is called a sothic period, and the reclaimed year made up of the bits is called a sothic year. (Greek, sothis, the dog—star, at whose rising it commences.)
The Moslems fancy that it is necessary, when a man is bow—strung, to relax the rope a little before death occurs to let the soul escape. The Greeks and Romans seemed to think that the soul made its escape with life out of the death—wound.
Soul. The Moslems say that the souls of the faithful assume the forms of snow—white birds, and nestle under the throne of Allah until the resurrection.
Soul. Heraclitus held the soul to be a spark of the stellar essence: “scintilia stellaris essentiae.” (Macrobius: Somnium Scipioris, lib. i. cap. 14.)
“Vital spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, oh! quit this mortal frame.”
Pope: The Dying Christian to his Soul.
Soul, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, is represented by several emblems, as a basket of fire, a heron, a hawk with a human face, and a ram.
Cakes given in Staffordshire and Cheshire on All Souls' Day, to the poor who go a—souling, i.e. begging for soul—cakes. The words used are—
“Soul, soul, for soul—cake
Pray you, good mistress, a soul cake.”
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Soul and Spirit
(the soul) contains the passions and desires, which animals have in common with man.(the spirit) is the highest and distinctive part of man. In 1 Thess. Paul says, “I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (See also Heb. iv. 12; 1 Cor. ii. 14 and 15; xv. 45, 46.)
Soul of a Goose
or Capon. The liver, called by the French ame. The renowned Strasbourg “patés de foie gras” are made of these souls.
“Draw out all the entrails ... but leave the soul.”— Brigg: English Dictionary of Cookery.
a narrow sea, is the Anglo—Saxon sund; hence such words as Bomarsund, etc.
A toll or tribute which was levied by the king of Denmark on all merchant vessels passing through the Sound. (Abolished 1857.)
Sound as a Bell
Quite sound. A cracked bell is useless as a bell.
“Blinde Fortune did so happily contrive,
That we, as sound as bells, did safe arive
At Dover.” Taylor's Workes, ii. 22 (1630).
Sound as a Roach
Quite sound. A pun upon roach or roche the fish, and the French roche, a rock.
In nautical language, the depths of water in rivers, harbours, along shores, etc.
Things despised because they are beyond our reach. Many men of low degree call titles and dignities “sour grapes;” and men of no parts turn up their noses at literary honours. The phrase is from Æsop's fable called The Fox and the Grapes.
An assumed contempt or indifference to the unattainable. (See above.)
“There, economy was always `elegant' and money—spending always `vulgar' and ostentalous— a sort of sour grapeism which made us very peaceful and satisfied.”— Mrs. Gaskell: Cranford, chap. i.
or Bubble. A stock—jobbing scheme devised by Sir John Blunt, a lawyer. The object of the company was to buy up the National Debt, and to be allowed the sole privilege of trading in the South Seas. The 100 shares soon realised ten times that sum, but the whole bubble burst in 1720 and ruined thousands. (1710—1720.) The term is applied to any hollow scheme which has a splendid promise, but whose
collapse will be sudden and ruinous. (See Mississippi Bubble .)
(London). So called in compliment to the noble family of that title, allied to the Bedford family, the proprietors
Southampton's Wise Sons
In the early part of the present century, the people of Southampton cut a ditch for barges between Southampton and Red—bridge; but as barges could go without paying dues through the
“Southampton Water,” the ditch or canal was never used. This wise scheme was compared to that of the man who cut two holes through the wall— one for the great cat and the other for its kitten.
Southern Gate of the Sun
The sign Capricornus or winter solstice. So called because it is the most southern limit of the sun's course in the ecliptic.
The discourses of Buddha. (See Tripitaka .)
A strangely misspelled word, the last syllable being mistaken for the word reign. It is the Latin supern (supreme over all), with the p changed to v. The French souverain is nearer the Latin word; Italian, sovrano; Spanish, soberano.
Sovereign, a gold coin of the value of twenty shillings, was first issued by Henry VIII., and so called because he was represented on it in royal robes.
(to rhyme with “now"). You have got the wrong sow by the ear. Sow is a large tub with two ears or handles; it is used for pickling or sowsing. The expression means, therefore, You have got hold of the wrong vessel, or, as the Latin phrase has it, “Pro amphorâ urceus” (You have brought me the little jug instead of the great gotch). French, seau (a bucket).
You have got the right sow by the ear. You have hit upon the very thing. Sow. (See Pig—Iron.)
or Spa Water. A general name for medical springs. So called from Spa, in Belgium, in the seventeenth century the most fashionable watering—place in Europe.
Why not call a spade a spade? Do not palliate sins by euphemisms.
“We call a nettle but a nettle, and the faults of fools but folly.”— Shakespeare: Coriolanus ii. 1.
“I have learned to call wickedness by its own terms: a fig a fig, and a spade a spade.”— John Knox.
Spades in cards. A corruption of the Spanish spados, pikes or swords, called by the French piques (pikes).
(In). In plain English without euphuism, calling a spade a “spade.”
“Had I attempted to express my opinions in full `Spadish' language. I should have had to say many harder things.”— Fra Olla.
(London). So called from “the London Spa,” the name of certain tea—gardens once celebrated for their “spa—water.”
Spagiric Food Cagliostro's “elixir of immortal youth” was so called from the Latin word spagiricus (chemical). Hence, chemistry is termed the “spagiric art,” and a chemist is a spagirist.
[the little Spaniard ]. José Ribera, the painter. Salvator Rosa and Guercino were two of his pupils. (1588—1656.)
A red deer of the third year.
“The young male is called in the first yeere a calfe, in the second a broket, the third a spaie, the fourth a stagon or stag, the fifth a great stag, the sixth an hart, and so foorth unto his death.”— Harrison.
Château d'Espagne. (See Castle .)
Patron saint of Spain. St. James the Greater, who is said to have preached the Gospel in Spain, where what are called his “relics” are preserved.
(See Spick .)
The Spanish dog, from espanñol, through the French.
A sword is called a toledo, from the great excellence of the Toletan steel.
(The). Alfonzo Perez de Guzman (1258—1309). Lope de Vega has celebrated this hero. When besieged, he was threatened with the death of his son, who had been taken prisoner, unless he surrendered. Perez replied by throwing a dagger over the walls, and his son was put to death in his sight.
The circular bank of islands forming the northern and eastern boundaries of the Caribbean Sea, beginning from Mosquito, near the isthmus, and including Jamaica, St. Domingo, the Leeward Islands, and the Windward Islands, to the coast of Venezuela in South America.
“We turned conquerors, and invaded the main of Spain.”— Bacon.
Fair words and compliments. The Spanish government is a model of dishonest dealings, the byword of the commercial world, yet no man is more irate than a Spaniard if any imputation is laid to his charge as inconsistent with the character of a man of honour.
A nail concealed in a piece of wood, against which a carpenter jars his saw or chisel. So called from Spanish woods used in cabinet—work.
(A). A slap to urge one to greater energy. (See below.)
(A). A fore—and—aft sail set upon the mizen—mast of a three—masted vessel, and the jigger—mast of a four—masted vessel. There is no spanker in a one— or two—masted vessel of any rig. A “spanker” used to be called a “driver.” (Supplied by an old sailor of long service.)
Large, rapid, strong; as a “spanking big fellow,” a “spanking speed,” a “spanking breeze.” A nautical term. (See above.)
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child
Solomon (Prov. xiii. 24) says: “He that spareth the rod hateth his son;” but Samuel Butler, in his Hudibras (pt. ii. canto 1, line 843), says:
“Love is a boy, by poets styled,
Then spare the rod, and spoil the child.”
Heat greater than white heat.
“There be several degrees of heat in a smith's forge, according to the purpose of their work:
(1) a bloud—red heat; (2) a white flame heat; (3) a sparkling or welding heat, used to weld barrs or pieces of iron.”— Kennett: MS. Lansd., 1033, f. 388.
A blood—hound; a blood—thirsty man.
“O Spartan dog,
More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea.”
Shakespeare: Othello, v. ii.
A name applied by Professor Aytoun to certain authors of the nineteenth century, whose writings are distinguished by spasmodic or forced conceits. Of this school the most noted are Carlyle, Bailey (author of Festus), Alexander Smith, Sydney Dobell, etc.
To catch the Speaker's eye. The rule in the House of Commons is that the member whose rising to address the House is first observed by the Speaker is allowed precedence.
They are on speaking terms. They just know each other.
They are not on speaking terms. Though they know each other, they do not even salute each other in the street, or say “How d'ye do?”
and Sounding Stones.
(1) Jabel Nagus [mountain of the bell ], in Arabia Petræa, gives out sounds of varying strength whenever the sand slides down its sloping flanks.
(2) The white dry sand of the beach in the isle of Eigg, of the Hebrides, produces, according to Hugh Miller, a musical sound when walked upon.
(3) The statue of Memnon, in Egypt, utters musical sounds when the morning sun darts on it.
(4) The speaking head of Orpheus, at Lesbos, is said to have predicted the bloody death which terminated the expedition of Cyrus the Great into Scythia.
(5) The head of Minos, brought by Odin to Scandinavia, is said to have uttered responses.
(6) Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II., constructed a speaking head of brass (tenth century).
(7) Albertus Magnus constructed an earthen head in the thirteenth century, which both spoke and moved. Thomas Aquinas broke it, whereupon the mechanist exclaimed, “There goes the labour of thirty years!”
(8) Alexander made a statue of Esculapios which spoke, but Lucian says the sounds were uttered by a man concealed, and conveyed by tubes to the statue.
(9) The “ear of Dionysius” communicated to Dionysius, Tyrant of Syracuse, whatever was uttered by suspected subjects shut up in a state prison. This “ear” was a large black opening in a rock, about fifty feet high, and the sound was communicated by a series of channels not unlike those of the human ear.
Cairbar asks if Fingal comes in peace, to which Mor—annal replies: “In peace he comes not, king of Erin, I have seen his forward spear.” If a stranger kept the point of his spear forward when he entered a strange land, it was a declaration of war; if he carried the spear on his shoulder with the point behind him, it was a token of friendship. (Ossian: Temora, i.)
Achilles' spear. Telephus, King of Mysia, in attempting to hinder the Greeks from marching through his country against Troy, was wounded by Achilles' spear, and was told by an oracle that the wound could be cured only by the weapon that gave it; at the same time the Greeks were told that they would never reach Troy except by the aid of Telephus. So, when the Mysian king repaired to Achilles' tent, some of the rust of the spear was applied to the wound, and, in return for the cure which followed, Telephus directed the Greeks on their way to Troy.
“Telephus æterna consumptus tabe perisset
Si non quæ nocuit dextra tulisset opem.” Ovid.
The spear of Telephus could both kill and cure. (Plutarch.) (See Achilles' spear. The heavy spear of Valence was of great repute in the days of chivalry.
Arthur's spear. Rone or Ron. To break a spear. To fight in a tournament.
The male line. The female line was called by the Anglo—Saxons the Spindle—half (q.v.).
Spear of Ithuriel (The), the slightest touch of which exposed deceit. Thus when Ithuriel touched with his spear Satan squatting like a toad close to the ear of Eve, the “toad” instantly resumed the form of Satan.
(Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. iv. 810—814.)
“The acute pen of Lord Halles, which, like Ithuriel's spear, conjured so many shadows from Scottish history, dismissed among the rest those of Banquo and Fleance.”— Sir W. Scott.
Quibbling; making your own argument good by forcing certain words or phrases from their obvious and ordinary meaning. A pleading in law means a written statement of a cause pro and con., and
“special pleaders” are persons who have been called to the bar, but do not speak as advocates. They advise on evidence, draw up affidavits, state the merits and demerits of a cause, and so on. After a time most special pleaders go to the bar, and many get advanced to the bench.
means simply what is visible. As things are distinguished by their visible forms, it has come to mean kind or class. As drugs and condiments at one time formed the most important articles of merchandise, they were called species — still retained in the French épices, and English spices. Again, as bank—notes represent money, money itself is called specie, the thing represented.
the device of Thackeray in drawings made by him. In Punch, vol. xx. No. 495, p. 8, is a butcher's boy chalking up “No Popery,” and the tray forms a pair of spectacles, showing it was designed by Thackeray.
Spectre of the Brocken
The Brocken is the highest summit of the Hartz mountains in Hanover. This summit is at times enveloped in a thick mist, which reflects in a greatly magnified degree any form opposite at sunset. In one of De Quincey's opium—dreams there is a powerful description of the Brocken spectre.
Spectrum, Spectra, Spectre
(Latin, specto, to behold). In optics a spectrum is the image of a sunbeam beheld on a screen, after refraction by one or more prisms. Spectra are the images of objects left on the eye after the objects themselves are removed from sight. A spectre is the apparition of a person no longer living or not bodily present.
means to look out of a watch—tower, to spy about (Latin). Metaphorically, to look at a subject with the mind's eye, to spy into it; in commerce, to purchase articles which your mind has speculated on, and has led you to expect will prove profitable. (Specularis lapis is what we should now call window—glass.)
Speech was given to conceal or disguise men's thoughts. Voltaire. But erroneously fathered on Talleyrand.
A great punster, the servingman of Valentine, one of the Two Gentlemen of Verona. Launce is the serving—man of Proteus, the other gentleman. (Shakespeare: Two Gentlemen of Verona.)
(A), in workman's language, means a portion of time allotted to some particular work, and from which the men are relieved when the limited time expires.
To spell is to relieve another at his work.
Spell ho! An exclamation to signify that the allotted time has expired, and men are to be relieved by another set.
A pretty good spell. A long bout or pull, as a “spell at the capstan,” etc. (The German spicl means a performance as well as a play, game, or sport.)
Orators who hold their audience spellbound. The word came into use in America in the presidential election of 1888.
“The Hon, Daniel Dougherty says: `The proudest day of his life was when he beheld his name among the “spell—binders” who held the audience in rapture with their eloquence.' ”— Liberty Review July 7th, 1894, p. 13.
A commercial name for zinc. Also an abbreviation of spelter—solder.
A salle à manger, the room in which meals are taken, a dining—room; also a store—room or pantry. (Dispensorium, Old French dispense, a buttery.)
“The rest of the family held counsel in the spence.”— Sir W. Scott: The Monastery, chap. xxx.
An outer coat without skirts so named from the Earl Spencer, who wore this dress. (George III.)
The Danish thrift is the noun of the word thrive (to increase or prosper). Shakespeare says, “I have a mind presages me such thrift” (increase, profit). As our frugal ancestors found saving the best way to grow rich, they applied the word to frugality and careful management. A spendthrift is one who spends the thrift or saving of his father, or, as Old Adam says, the “thrifty hire I saved.” (As You Like It.)
(Edmund), called by Milton “the sage and serious Spenser.” Ben Jonson, in a letter to Drummond, states that the poet “died for lake of bread.” (1553—1599.)
(The). The metre in which Spenser's Faërie Queene is written. It is a stanza of nine iambic lines, all of ten syllables except the last, which is an Alexandrine. Only three different rhymes are admitted into a stanza, and these rhymes are thus disposed: Lines 1 and 3 rhyme; lines 2, 4, 5, 7 rhyme; lines 6, 8, 9 rhyme; thus:—
Weary. A hunting term. A deer is said to be spent when it stretches out its neck, and is at the point of death. In sea language, a broken mast is said to be “spent.”
The music or harmony of the spheres. Pythagoras, having ascertained that the pitch of notes depends on the rapidity of vibrations, and also that the planets move at different rates of motion, concluded that the sounds made by their motion must vary according to their different rates of motion. As all things in nature are harmoniously made, the different sounds must harmonise, and the combination he called the “harmony of the spheres.” Kepler has a treatise on the subject.
(The Egyptian). Half a woman and half a lion, said to symbolise the “rising of the Nile while the sun is in Leo and Virgo.” This “saying” must be taken for what it is worth.
Sphinx. Lord Bacon's ingenious resolution of this fable is a fair specimen of what some persons call
“spiritualising” incidents and parables. He says that the whole represents “science,” which is regarded by the ignorant as “a monster.” As the figure of the sphinx is heterogeneous, so the subjects of science “are very various.” The female face “denotes volubility of speech;” her wings show that “knowledge like light is rapidly diffused;” her hooked talons remind us of “the arguments of science which enter the mind and lay hold of it.” She is placed on a crag overlooking the city, for “all science is placed on an eminence which is hard to climb.” If the riddles of the sphinx brought disaster, so the riddles of science “perplex and harass the mind.”
You are a perfect sphinx — You speak in riddles. You are nothing better than a sphinx — You speak so obscurely that I cannot understand you. The sphinx was a sea—monster that proposed a riddle to the Thebans, and murdered all who could not guess it. (Edipus solved it, and the sphinx put herself to death. The riddle was this—
What goes on four feet, on two feet, and three,
But the more feet it goes on the weaker it be?”
A small admixture, a flavouring; as, “He is all very well, but there's a spice of conceit about him.” Probably the French espèce.
“God's bounte is all pure, without ony espece of evyll.”— Caxton: Mirrour of the World. i.
Spick and Span New
Quite and entirely new. A spic is a spike or nail, and a span is a chip. So that a spick and span new ship is one in which every nail and chip is new. Halliwell mentions “span new.” According to Dr. Johnson, the phrase was first applied to cloth just taken off the spannans or stretchers. (Dutch, spikspelderniew.)
Bruce and the spider. In the spring of 1305, Robert Bruce was crowned at Scone King of Scotland, but, being attacked by the English, retreated first to the wilds of Athole, and then to the little island of Rathlin, off the north coast of Ireland, and all supposed him to be dead. While lying perdu in this island, he one day noticed a spider near his bed try six times to fix its web on a beam in the ceiling. “Now shall this spider (said Bruce) teach me what I am to do, for I also have failed six times.” The spider made a seventh effort and succeeded; whereupon Bruce left the island (in the spring of 1307), collecting together 300 followers, landed at Carrick, and at midnight surprised the English garrison in Turnberry Castle; he next overthrew the Earl of Gloucester, and in two years made himself master of well nigh all Scotland, which Edward III. declared in 1328 to be an independent kingdom. Sir Walter Scott tells us, in his Tales of a Grandfather (p. 26, col. 2), that in remembrance of this incident, it has always been deemed a foul crime in Scotland for any of the name of Bruce to injure a spider.
“I will grant you, my father, that this valiant burgess of Perth is one of the best—hearted men that draws breath ... He would be as loth, in wantonness to kill a spider, as if he were a kinsman to King Robert of happy memory.”— Sir Walter Scott: Fair Maid of Perth, ch. ii.
Frederick the Great and the spider. While Frederick II. was at Sans Souci, he one day went into his ante—room, as usual, to drink a cup of chocolate, but set his cup down to fetch his handkerchief from his bedroom. On his return he found a great spider had fallen from the ceiling into his cup. He called for fresh chocolate, and next moment heard the report of a pistol. The cook had been suborned to poison the chocolate, and, supposing his treachery had been found out, shot himself. On the ceiling of the room in Sans Souci a spider has been painted (according to tradition) in remembrance of this story.
Spider. When Mahomet fled from Mecca he hid in a certain cave, and the Koreishites were close upon him. Suddenly an acacia in full leaf sprang up at the mouth of the cave, a wood—pigeon had its nest in the branches, and a spider had woven its net between the tree and the cave. When the Koreishites saw this, they felt persuaded that no one could have recently passed that way, and went on.
Spider anciently supposed to envenom everything it touched. In the examination into the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, one of the witnesses deposed “that the countess wished him to get the strongest poison that he could ...” Accordingly he brought seven great spiders.
“There may be in the cup
A spider steeped, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom.”
Shakespeare: Winter's Tale, ii. f.
Spider. According to old wives' fable, fever may be cured by wearing a spider in a nutshell round the neck.
“Cured by wearing a spider hung round one's neck in a nutshell.” Longfellow: Evangeline.
Spiders will never set their webs on a cedar roof. (Caughey: Letters, 1845.) Spiders spin only on dark days.
“The subtle spider never spins,
But on dark days, his slimy gins.”
S. Butler: On a Nonconformist. iv
Spider. The shoal called the Shambles at the entrance of Portland Roads was very dangerous before the break—water was constructed. According to legend, at the bottom of the gigantic shaft are the wrecks of ships seized and sunk by the huge spider Kraken, called also the fish—mountain.
or Spidereen. The anonyma of ships. If a sailor is asked what ship he belongs to, and does not choose to tell, he will say, “The spidireen frigate with nine decks.” Officers who will not tell their quarters, give B.K.S. as their address. (See B.K.S.)
Spare at the spigot and spill at the bung. To be parsimonious in trifles and wasteful in great matters, like a man who stops his beer—tub at the vent—hole and leaves it running at the bung—hole.
(See Cry .)
The female line. A Saxon term. The spindle was the pin on which the thread was wound from the spinning—wheel. (See Spear—Half .)
Spinning Jenny Jennie is a diminutive and corruption of engine ('ginie). A little engine invented by James Hargreaves, a Lancashire weaver, in 1767. It is usually said that he so called it after his wife and daughter; but the name of his wife was Elizabeth, and he never had a daughter.
The “system of Spinoza” is that matter is eternal, and that the universe is God.
An unmarried woman.
The fleece which was brought home by the Anglo—Saxons in summer, was spun into clothing by the female part of each family during the winter. King Edward the Elder commanded his daughters to be instructed in the use of the distaff. Alfred the Great, in his will, calls the female part of his family the spindle side; and it was a regularly received axiom with our frugal forefathers, that no young woman was fit to be a wife till she had spun for herself a set of body, table, and bed linen. Hence the maiden was termed a spinner or spinster, and the married woman a wife or “one who has been a spinner.” (Anglo—Saxon, wif, from the verb wyfan or wefan, to weave.)
The armorial bearings of women are not painted on a shield, like those of men, but on a spindle (called a
“lozenge"). Among the Romans the bride carried a distaff, and Homer tells us that Kryseis was to spin and share the king's bed.
To give up the spirit. To die. At death the “spirit is given back to Him who gave it.”
Pneumatology. Alleged visible writing by spirits.
Inflammable liquors obtained by distillation. This is connected with the ancient notion of bottle—imps (q.v.), whence these liquors were largely used in the black arts.
Spirits. There are four spirits and seven bodies in alchemy. The spirits are quicksilver, orpiment, sal—ammoniac, and brimstone. (See Seven Bodies.)
“The first spirit quyksilver called is;
The secound orpiment: the thrid I wis
Sal armoniacand the ferth bremstoon.”
Chaucer: Prol. of the Chanounes Yemanes Tale.
Spirits. There were formerly said to be three in animal bodies:— (1) The animal spirits, seated in the brain; they perform through the nerves all the actions of sense and motion.
(2) The vital spirits, seated in the heart, on which depend the motion of the blood and animal heat.
(3) The natural spirits, seated in the liver, on which depend the temper and “spirit of mind.”
(Elemental). There are four sorts of elemental spirits, which rule respectively over the four elements. The fire spirits are SALAMANDERS; the water spirits UNDINES (2 syl.); the air spirits SYLPHS; and the earth spirits GNOMES (1 syl.).
Kidnapped; allured. Kidnappers who beguiled orphans, apprentices, and others on board ship in order to sell them to planters in Barbadoes and Virginia, were called “spirits.” Mr. Doyle (English in America, p. 512) finds the word used in this sense in official papers as early an 1657. (Notes and Queries, 17th December, 1892.)
So Joanna Southcott is addressed by her disciples. (1750—1814.)
or Spiritism. A system which started up in America in 1848. It professes that certain living persons have the power of holding communion with the “spirits of the dead.” Nineteenth century spiritualism probably owes its origin to Andrew Jackson Davis, “the seer of Poughkeepsie.”
or Spurt. A sudden convulsive effort (Swedish, spruta; Danish, sprude, Icelandic, spretta, to start; our spout, to throw up water in a jet).
(London). A spital is a charitable foundation for the care of the poor, and these were the fields of the almshouse founded in 1197 by Walter Brune and his wife Rosia.
Spite of His Teeth
(In) In spite of opposition though you snarl and show your teeth like an angry dog.
An irascible person, whose angry words are like fire spit from the mouth of a fire—eater.
Spitting for Luck
Boys often spit on a piece of money given to them for luck. Boxers spit upon their hands for luck Fishwomen not unfrequently spit upon their hansel (i.e. the first money they take) for luck. Spitting was a charm against fascination among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny says it averted witcheraft, and availed in giving to an enemy a shrewder blow.
“Thrice on my breast I spit to guard me safe
From fascinating charms.” Theocritos
or Spital. An hospital.
“A spittle or hospital for poore folks diseased a spittle, hospitall, or lazarhouse for lepers” $$$ (1580).
Sermons preached formerly at the Spittle in a pulpit erected expressly for the purpose. Subsequently they were preached at Christchurch, City, on Easter Monday and Tuesday. Ben Jonson alludes to them in his Underwoods, ap. Gifford, viii. 414.
is a contraction of display (to unfold; Latin, dis—plico A splay window is one in a V—shape, the external opening being very wide, to admit as much light as possible, but the inner opening being very small. A splay—foot is a foot displayed or turned outward. A splay—mouth is a wide mouth, like that of a clown.
was once believed to be the seat of ill—humour and melancholy. The herb spleenwort was supposed to remove these splenic disorders.
Splendid Shilling A mock—heroic poem by John Philips. (1676—1708.)
To marry. Very strangely, “splice” means to split or divide. The way it came to signify unite is this: Ropes' ends are first untwisted before the strands are interwoven. Joining two ropes together by interweaving their strands is “splicing” them. Splicing wood is joining two boards together, the term being borrowed from the sailor. (German,spliessen, to split.)
Splice the Main Brace
(See Main Brace .)
To get spliced is to get married or tied together as one.
(verb). When members of the House of Commons and other debaters call out Spoke, they mean that the person who gets up to address the assembly has spoken already, and cannot speak again except in explanation of something imperfectly understood.
(noun). I have put my spoke into his wheel. I have shut him up. The allusion is to the pin or spoke used to lock wheels in machinery
Don't put your spoke into my wheel. Don't interfere with my business; Let my wheel turn, and don't you put a pin in to stop it or interrupt its movement. The Dutch have “Een spaak in t'wiel stecken, ” to thwart a purpose.
When solid wheels were used, the driver was provided with a pin or spoke, which he thrust into one of the three holes made to receive it, to skid the cart when it went down—hill. The carts used by railway navvies, and
tram—waggons used in collieries, still have a wheel “spoked” in order to skid it.
Throw up the sponge. Give up; confess oneself beaten. The metaphor is from boxing matches.
“We must stand up to our fight now, or throw up the sponge. There's no two ways about the
matter”— Boldrewood: Robbery under Arms, chap. xxxi.
“We hear that the followers of the Arab chief have thrown up the sponge.”— Newspaper paragraph, April 2nd, 1888.
Taking fire without the intervention of applied heat. Greasy rags heaped together, hay stacked in a damp state, coal—dust in coal mines, cinders and ashes in dust bins, are said to be liable to spontaneous combustion.
(See Apostle—Spoons .)
He hath need of a long spoon that eateth with the devil. Shakespeare alludes to this proverb in the Comedy of Errors, iv. 3; and again in the Tempest, ii. 2, where Stephano says: “Mercy! mercy! this is a devil ... I will leave him, I have no long spoon.”
“Therefor behoveth him a ful long spoon
That schal ete with a feend.”
Chaucer: The Squieres Tale, 10,916.
(A). One who is spoony, or sillily love—sick on a girl.
“He was awful spoons at the time.”— Truth (Queer Story), March 25th, 1886.
in rowing, is dipping the oars so little into the water as merely to skim the surface. The resistance being very small, much water is thrown up and more disturbed.
Spoony Lovingly soft. A seaphrase. When a ship under sail in a sea—storm cannot bear it, but is obliged to put right before the wind, she is said to “spoon;” so a young man under sail in the sea of courtship “spoons” when he cannot bear it, but is obliged to put right before the gale of his lady's “eyebrow.”
(Gaelic). The heavy pouch worn in front of the philibeg of a Highlander's kilt.
Sport a Door
or Oak. To keep an outer door shut. In the Universities the College rooms have two doors, an outer and an inner one. The outer door is called the sporting door, and is opened with a key. When shut it is to give notice to visitors that the person who occupies the rooms is not at home, or is not to be disturbed. The word sport means to exhibit to the public, as, “to sport a new equipage,” “to sport a new tile [hat],” etc.; whence to have a new thing, as “to sport an aegrotat [sick—leave];” or merely to show to the public, as “sport a door or oak.” The word is a contraction of support. (French, supporter, to sustain, carry; Latin, supporto.)
Sporting Seasons in England
Those marked thus (ast) are fixed by Act or Parliament.
Black Game, from August 20th to December 10th; but in Somerset and New Forest, from September 1st to December 10th.
Blackcock. August 20th to December 10th. Buck hunting, August 20th to September 17th. Bustard, September 1st to March 1st.
Red Deer hunted, August 20th to September 30th. Male Deer (Ireland) October 20th to June 10th. Fallow Deer (Ireland), June 20th to Michaelmas. Eels, (about) April 20th to October 28th.
Fox hunting, (about) October to Lady Day. Fox Cubs, August 1st to the first Monday in November. Grouse shooting, August 12th to December 10th. Hares, March 12th to August 12th.
Hind, hunted in October and again between April 10th and May 20th. Moor Game (Ireland), August 20th to December 10th.
Oyster season, August 5th to May. Partridge shooting, September 1st to February 1st. Pheasant shooting, October 1st to February 1st Ptarmigan, August 12th to December 10th. Quail, August 12th to January 10th.
Rabbits, between October and March, Rabbits, as vermin, are shot at any time. Salmon, February 1st to September 1st.
Salmon, rod fishing November 1st to September 1st. Trout fishing, May 1st to September 10th.
Trout, in the Thames, April 1st to September 10th. Woodcocks, (about) November to January.
For Ireland and Scotland there are special game—laws. (See Time Of Grace.) N.B. Game in England: hare, pheasant, partridge, grouse, and moor—fowl; in Scotland, same as England, with the addition of ptarmigan ; in Ireland, same as England, with the addition of deer, black—game, landrail, quail, and bustard.
(Spouze, 1 syl.) means one whom sponsors have answered for. In Rome, before marriage, the friends of the parties about to be married met at the house of the woman's father to settle the marriage contract. This contract was called sponsalia (espousals); the man and woman were spouses. The contracting parties were each asked, “An spondes ” (Do you agree?), and replied “Spondeo ” (I agree).
Spouse of Jesus. “Our seraphic mother, the holy Teresa,” born at Avila in 1515, is so called in the Roman
Up the spout. At the pawn—broker's. In allusion to the “spout" up which brokers send the articles ticketed. When redeemed they return down the spout— i.e. from the store—room to the shop.
“As for spoons, forks, and jewellery, they are not taken so readily to the smelting—pot, but to well—known places where there is a pipe [spout] which your lordships may have seen in a pawnbroker's shop. The thief taps, the pipe is lifted up, and in the course of a minute a band comes out, covered with a glove, takes up the article, and gives out the money for it.”— Lord Shaftesbury: The Times, March 1st, 1869.
To bait with a sprat to catch a mackerel. To give a small thing under the hope of getting something much more valuable. The French say, “A pea for a bean.” (See Garvies .)
(To). To fly away like a spread—eagle; to beat. (Sporting term.)
“You'll spread—eagle all the [other] cattle in a brace of shakes.”— Ouida: Under Two Flags, chap. ix.
“A compound of exaggeration, effrontery, bombast, and extravagance, mixed with metaphors, platitudes, threats, and irreverent appeals flung at the Almighty.”(North American Review, November, 1858.)
(London). So called from a playfully contrived waterwork, which, on being unguardedly pressed by the foot, sprinkled the bystanders with water. (James I., etc.)
The tide that springs or leaps or swells up. These full tides occur at the new and full moon, when the attraction of both sun and moon act in a direct line
The Saxon name for February. Kele is colewort, the great pot—wort of the ancient Saxons; the broth made thereof was also called kcle. This important pottage herb begins to sprout in February.
Smart, dandified. Hall tells us it is a contraction of Prussian—like, à la Prusse, and gives the subjoined quotation:—
“After them came Edward Hayward, and with him Sir Thomas Parre, in doublets of crimson velvet, faced on the breast with chains of silver, and over that short cloaks of crimson satin, and on their heads hats after dancers' fashion, with feathers in them. They were apparelled after the fashion of Prussia or Spruce.”
In confirmation of this it may be mentioned that “Spruce leather” is certainly a corruption of Prussian leather; Spruce—beer is beer made from the Spruce or $$$ and Danzig, in Prussia, is famous for the beverage
(To be) Exhausted, undone, ruined.
“I shall be spun. There is a voice within
Which tells me plainly I am all undone;
For though I toil not, neither do I spin,
I shall be spun.” Robert Murray (1863).
As “the tale was spun out”— that is, prolonged to a disproportionate length. It is a Latin phrase, and the allusion is to the operation of spinning and weaving. Cicero says, “Tenu'o deducta poemata filo ”— that is poems spun out to a fine thread.
A victualling house where persons arrested for debt are kept for twenty—four hours, before lodging them in prison. The houses so used are generally kept by a bailiff, and the person lodged is spunged of all his money before he leaves.
Money given to redeem a pair of spurs. Gifford says, in the time of Ben Jonson, in consequence of the interruptions to divine service occasioned by the ringing of the spurs worn, a small fine was imposed on those who entered church in spurs. The enforcement of this fine was committed to the beadles and chorister—boys.
Ripon spurs. The best spurs were made at Ripon, in Yorkshire.
“If my spurs be not right Rippon.”
Ben Jonson: Staple of News.
The Battle of Spurs. The battle of Guinnegate, fought in 1513, between Henry VIII. and the Duc de Longueville. So called because the French used their spurs in flight more than their swords in fight.
The Battle of the Spurs. The battle of Courtrai, in 1302. So called because the victorious Flemings gathered from the field more than 700 gilt spurs, worn by French nobles slain in the fight.
To dish up the spurs. In Scotland, during the times of the Border feuds, when any of the great families had come to the end of their provisions the lady of the house sent up a pair of spurs for the last course, to intimate that it was time to put spurs to the horses and make a raid upon England for more cattle.
“He dishes up the spurs in his helpless address, like one of the old Border chiefs with an empty larder.”— The Daily Telegraph.
To win his spurs. To gain the rank of knighthood. When a man was knighted, the person who dubbed him presented him with a pair of gilt spurs.
Vidocq the spy in the French Revolution, was a short man, vivacious, vain, and talkative. He spoke of his feats with real enthusiasm and gusto.
(of Vanity Fair). Leslie Ward, successor of “Ape" (Pellegrini, the caricaturist).
The Wednesday before Good Friday, when Judas bargained to become the spy of the Jewish Sanhedrim. (Matt. xxvi. 3—5, 14—16.)
Pie made of squabs— i.e. young pigeons; also a pie made of mutton, apples, and onions.
Cornwall squab—pie, and Devon white—pot brings.
And Leicester beans and bacon, fit for kings.”
King: Art of Cookery.
The awkward squad consists of recruits not yet fitted to take their places in the regimental line. Squad is a mere contraction of squadron
Look out for squalls. Expect to meet with difficulties. A nautical term.
“If this is the case, let the ministry look out for squalls.”— Newspaper paragraph, July 6th, 1894
To put oneself in the attitude of boxing, to quarrel. (Welsh, cwer' — i.e. cweryl, cwerylu, to quarrel.)
“Are you such fools
To square for this?”
Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus, ii. 1.
Square the Circle To attempt an impossibility. The allusion is to the mathematical question whether a circle can be made which contains precisely the same area as a square. The difficulty is to find the precise ratio between the diameter and the circumference. Popularly it is 3.14159 ... the next decimals would be 26537, but the numbers would go on ad infinitum.
A sort of pumpkin, called by the American Indians ascutaquash.
(A). A political joke, printed and circulated at election times against a candidate, with intent of bringing him into ridicule, and influencing votes.
“Parodies, lampoons, rightly named squibs, fire and brimstone, ending in smoke, with a villainous smell of saltpetre.”— Dean Hole; Rose—garden and Pulpit.
[Guercino ]. Gian francesco Barbieri, the great painter. (1590—1666).
“The squintifego maid
Of Isis awe thee, lest the gods for sin
Should with a swelling dropsy stuff thy skin.”
Dryden: Fifth Satire of Junenal.
Squire of Dames
Any cavalier who is devoted to ladies. Spenser, in his Faërie Queene (bk. iii. chap. vii.) introduces the “squire,” and records his adventure.
The celebrated Latin hymn on the Crucifixion, which forms a part of the service during Passion week, in the Roman Catholic Church. It was composed by Jacopone, a Franciscan of the thirteenth century, and has been set to music by Pergolese, also by Rossini.
In the catalogue of the Library of Burgundy, No. 13,993, is the following:—
“Item fol. 77. Benedictus Papa XII. composuit hane orationem: `Stabat Mater dolorosa iuxta crucem,' etc., concessitque cuilibet confesso poenitenti dicenti eam pro qualibet vice 30 dies indulgentium.” (Sixteenth century.)
Locking the stable—door after the horse [or steed] is stolen. Taking precautions after the mischief is done.
as those of cow—houses, have frequently a perforated flint or horn appended to them. This is a charm to guarded the creatures from nightmare. The flint is to propitiate the gnomes, and the horn to obtain the good graces of Pan, the protector of cattle.
I keep the staff in my own hand. I keep possession; I retain the right. The staff was the ancient sceptre, and therefore, figuratively, it means, power, authority, dignity, etc.
To part with the staff. To lose or give up office or possession. (See above.
“Give up your staff, sir, and the king his realm.”
Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., ii. 3.
To put down one's staff in a place. To take up one's residence. The allusion is to the tent—staff: where the staff is placed, there the tent is stretched, and the nomad resides.
To strike my staff. To lodge for the time being.
“Thou mayst see me at thy pleasure, for I intend to strike my staff at yonder hostelry.”— Cæsur Borgia, x v.
Staff of Life
(The). Bread, which is the support of life. Shakespeare says, “The boy was the very staff of my age.” The allusion is to a staff which supports the feeble in walking.
He has had a treat in Stafford Court. He has been thoroughly cudgelled. Of course the pun is on the word staff, a stick. The French have a similar phrase— “It a esté au festin de Martin Baston. “ (He has been to Jack Drum's entertainment).
Club law. A beating. The pun is on the word staff, a stick. (Italian, Braccésca licenza.) (Florio, p. 66.) (See above.)
The reason why a stag symbolises Christ is from the superstition that it draws serpents by its breath from their holes, and then tramples them to death. (See Pliny: Nat. Hist., viii. 50.)
Stag in Christian art. The attribute of St. Julian Hospitaller, St. Felix of Valois, and St. Aidan. When it has a crucifix between its horns it alludes to the legendary tale of St. Hubert. When luminous it belongs to St. Eustachius.
in Stock Exchange phraseology, are persons who apply for the allotment of shares in a joint—stock company, not because they wish to hold the shares, but because they hope to sell the allotment at a premium. If they fail in this they forbear to pay the deposit and the allotment is forfeited. (See Bear, Bull .)
or Stagyrite (3 syl.). (Greek, .) Aristotle, who was born at Stagira, in Macedon. Generally called Stagirite in English verse.
“In one rich soul
Plato the Stagyrite, and Tully joined.”
“And rules as strict his laboured work confine
As if the Stagirite o'erlooked each line.”
Pope: Essay on Criticism.
“And all the wisdom of the Stagirite.
Enriched and beautified his studious mind”
A contraction of distam. (Latin, dis—tingere, to discolour.)
A mask to conceal some design; a person put forward to mislead; a sham. Fowlers used to conceal themselves behind horses, and went on stalking step by step till they got within shot of the game.
N. B. To stalk is to walk with strides, from the Anglo—Saxon stælcan.
“He uses his folly like a stalking—horse, and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit.”— Shakespeare: As You Like It, v 4.
The Louis II. of France, le Bégue. (846, 877—879.) Michael II., Emperor of the East, le Bégue. (*, 820, 829.) Notker or Notger of St. Gall. (830—912.)
`Tis of the right stamp — has the stamp of genuine merit. A metaphor taken from current coin, which is stamped with a recognised stamp and superscription.
A sudden panic in a herd of buffaloes, causing them to rush away pell—mell. The panic—flight of the Federals at Bull Run, near the Potomac, U.S., in 1861, was a stampede.
To stand for a child. To be sponsor for it; to stand in its place and answer for it.
(To). (See Nunky .)
(To). To keep at a distance.
(To). I'll stand it out — persist in what I say. A mere translation of “persist” (Latin, per—sisto or per—sto).
(To). (See Sam .)
(To). To pay the expenses of a treat.
(To). As To stand upon one's privilege or on punctilios; this is the Latin insisto. In French, “Insister sur son privilege or sur des vétilles. “
Stand to a Bargain
(To), to abide by it, is simply the Latin stare conventis, conditionibus stare, pactis stare, etc.
Stand to his Guns (To). To persist in a statement; not to give way. A military phrase.
“The Speaker said he hoped the gallant gentleman would try to modify his phrase; but Colonel Saunderson still stood to his guns.”— Daily Graphic, 3rd February, 1893.
Stand to Reason
(To), or It stands to reason, is the Latin constare, constat.
(A). An article of food which usually appears at table. Cibus quotidianus.
Rules or instructions constantly in force.
Standing orders. Those bye—laws of the Houses of Parliament for the conduct of their proceedings which stand in force till they are either rescinded or suspended. Their suspension is generally caused by a desire to hurry through a Bill with unusual expedition.
or orthostats, liths or more commonly, megaliths because of their large and cumbersome size, are solitary stones set vertically in the ground and come in many different varieties. Where they appear in groups together they are sometimes called megalithic monuments. Standing stones are found throughout the world with no known or documented history.
Standing stones are usually difficult to date but pottery found underneath some in Atlantic Europe connects them with the Beaker people, others in the region appear to be earlier or later however.
American standard of 1776. A snake with thirteen rattles, about to strike, with the motto “DON'T
TREAD ON ME.”
Standard of Augustus. A globe, to indicate his conquest of the whole world. Standard of Edward I. The arms of England, St. George, St. Edmond, and St. Edward. Standard of Mahomet. (See Sandschaki.)
Standard of the Anglo—Saxons. A white horse.
Royal Standard of Great Britain. A banner with the national arms covering the entire field. The Celestial Standard. So the Turks call their great green banner, which they say was given to Mahomet by the angel Gabriel. (See Sandschaki.)
Constantinople (Standard of), called Labarum. It consisted of a silverplated spear with a cross—beam, from which hung a small silk banner, bearing the portrait of the reigning family and the famous monogram.
Danish Standard. A raven. Egypt (ancient). An eagle stripped of its feathers, an emblem of the Nile; the head of an ox. Franks (ancient). A tiger or wolf; but subsequently the Roman eagle.
Gauls (ancient). A lion, bull, or bear.
Greco—Egyptian Standard. A roundheaded table—knife or a semicircular fan. Greece (ancient). A purple coat on the top of a spear. (1) Athens, Minerva, an olive, an owl. (2) Corinth, a pegasus or flying horse.
(3) Lacedaemon, the initial letter L, in Greek .
(4) Messina, the initial letter M.
(5) Thebes, a sphinx.
Heliopolis. On the top of a staff, the head of a white eagle, with the breast stripped of feathers and without wings. This was the symbol of Jupiter and of the Lagldes.
Jews (ancient), (“degel") belonged to the four tribes of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan. The Rabbins say the standard of Judah bore a lion, that of Reuben a man, that of Ephraim a bull, and that of Dan the cherubim (Gen. xlix. 3—22). They were ornamented with white, purple, crimson, and blue, and were embroidered.
Persia (ancient). The one adopted by Cyrus, and perpetuated, was a golden eagle with outstretched wings; the colour white.
Persian Standard. A blacksmith's apron. Kaivah, sometimes called Gao, a blacksmith, headed a rebellion against Biver, surnamed Deh—ak (ten vices), a merciless tyrant, and displayed his apron as a banner. The apron was adopted by the next king, and continued for centuries to be the national standard. (B.C. 800.)
Roman Standards. In the rude ages a wisp of straw. This was succeeded by bronze or silver devices attached to a staff. Pliny enumerates five— viz. the eagle, wolf, minotaur, horse, and boar. In later ages the image of the
emperor, a hand outstretched, a dragon with a silver head and body of taffety. Marius confined all promiscuous devices to the cohorts, and reserved the eagle for the exclusive use of the legion. This eagle, made of gold and silver, was borne on the top of a spear, and was represented with its wings displayed, and bearing in one of its talons a thunderbolt.
Turkish Standards. (1) Sanjak Cherif (Standard of the Prophet), green silk. This is preserved with great care in the Seraglio, and is never brought forth except in time of war
(2) The Sanjak, red.
(3) The Tug, consisting of one, two, or three horse—tails, according to the rank of the person who bears it. Pachas with three tails are of the highest dignity, and are entitled beglerbeg (prince of princes). Beys have only one horse—tail. The tails are fastened to the end of a gilt lance, and carried before the pacha or bey.
(4) The Alem, a broad standard which, instead of a spear—head, has in the middle a silver plate of a crescent shape.
Standards of Individuals
AUGUSTUS (Of). A globe, to indicate his “empire of the world.”
EDWARD I. (Of). The arms of England, St. George, St. Edmund, and St. Edward. MAHOMET (Of). See under Turkish Standards.
(Size of) varied according to the rank of the person who bore them. The standard of an emperor was eleven yards in length; of a king, nine yards; of a prince, seven yards; of a marquis, six and a half yards; of an earl, six yards; of a viscount or baron, five yards; of a knight—banneret, four yards. They generally contained the arms of the bearer, his cognisance and crest, his motto or war—cry, and were fringed with his livery.
The Battle of the Standard, between the English and the Scotch, at Cuton Moor, near Northallerton, in 1138. Here David I., fighting on behalf of Matilda, was defeated by King Stephen's general Robert de Moubray. It received its name from a ship's mast erected on a waggon, and placed in the centre of the English army; the mast displayed the standards of St. Peter of York, St. John of Beverley, and St. Wilfred of Ripon. On the top of the mast was a little casket containing a consecrated host. (Hailes: Annals of Scotland, i. p. 85.)
To ride the stang. To be under petticoat government. At one time a man who ill—treated his wife was made to sit on a “stang” or pole hoisted on men's shoulders. On this uneasy conveyance the “stanger” was carried in procession amidst the hootings and jeerings of his neighbours. (Saxon, staéng, a pole.) (See Skimmington .)
(A). A light open one—seated carriage, with two or four wheels. Invented by a Mr. Stanhope.
A cylindrical lens with spherical ends of different radii. The covering of the tube into which the lens is fitted is called the “cap.”
(A). A moor—hen. (Stagnum [Latin], a pool, pond, or stank [tank still common]; sto, to stand.)
Courts of record in Cornwall and Devon for the administration of justice among the tinners. (Latin, stannum, tin.)
(A), in theatrical language, means a popular actor.
(in Christian art). St. Bruno bears one on his breast; St. Dominic, St. Humbert, St. Peter of Alcantare, one over their head, or on their forehead, etc.
Star. The ensign of knightly rank. A star of some form constitutes part of the insignia of every order of knight—hood.
His star is in the ascendant. He is in luck's way; said of a person to whom some good fortune has fallen and who is very prosperous. According to astrology, those leading stars which are above the horizon at a person's birth influence his life and fortune; when those stars are in the ascendant, he is strong, healthy, and lucky; but when they are depressed below the horizon, his stars do not shine on him, he is in the shade and subject to ill—fortune.
“The star of Richelieu was still in the ascendant.”— St. Simon.
A court of civil and criminal jurisdiction at Westminster, abolished in the reign of Charles I. So called because the ceiling or roof was decorated with gilt stars. Its jurisdiction was to punish such offences as the law had made no provision for.
The chamber where the “starrs” or Jewish documents were kept was a separate room. The Star Chamber was the Camera Stellata, not Camera Starrata.
“It is well known that, before the banishment of the Jews by Edward I., their contracts and obligations were denominated ... starra, or stars. ... The room in the exchequer where the
chests ... were kept was ... the starr—chamber.”— Blackstone: Commentaries, vol. ii. book iv.
p. 266, a note.
Not favoured by the stars; unfortunate.
Star of Bethlehem
(The), botanically called ornithogalum. The French peasants call it “La dame d'onze henres,” because it opens at eleven o'clock. Called “star” because the flower is star—shaped; and “Bethlehem” because it is one of the most common wild flowers of Bethlehem and the Holy Land generally.
Star of the South
A splendid diamond found in Brazil in 1853.
Stars and Garters!
(My). An expletive, or mild kind of oath. The stars and garters of knighthood. Shakespeare makes Richard III. swear “By my George, my garter, and my crown !” (Richard III., iv. 4.)
Stars and Stripes (The) or the Star—spangled Banner, the flag of the United States of North America. The first flag of the United States, raised by Washington June 2, 1776, consisted of thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, with a blue canton emblazoned with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew. In 1777 Congress ordered that the canton should have thirteen white stripes in a blue field.
In 1794 (after the admission of Vermont and Kentucky) the stripes and stars were each increased to fifteen. In 1818 S. R. Reid suggested that the original thirteen stripes should be restored, and a star be added to signify the States in the union.
The flag preceding 1776 represented a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto Don't tread on me. This was an imitation of the Scotch thistle and the motto Nemo me impune lacessit.
“Oh! say, does that star—spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Starboard and Larboard
Star—is the Anglo—Saxon steor, rudder, bord, side; meaning the right side of a ship (looking forwards). Larboard is now obsolete, and “port” is used instead. To port the helm is to put the helm to the larboard. Byron, in his shipwreck (Don Juan ), says of the ship—
“She gave a heel [i.e. turned on one side], and then a lurch to port,
And going down head foremost, sunk, in short.”
Mrs. Anne Turner, half—milliner, half—procuress, introduced into England the French custom of using yellow starch in getting up bands and cuffs. She trafficked in poison, and being concerned in the murder of St. Thomas Overbury, appeared on the scaffold with a huge ruff. This was done by Lord Coke's order, and was the means of putting an end to this absurd fashion.
“I shall never forget poor Mistress Turner, my honoured patroness, peaco be with her! She had the ill—luck to meddle in the matter of Somerse, and Overbury, and so the great earl and his had slipt their necks out of the collar, and left their and some half—dozen others to suffer in their stead.”— Sir Walter Scott: Fortanes of Nigel, viii.
The eighth heaven of the Peripatetic system; also called the “Firmament.”
“The Crystal Heaven is this, whose rigour guides
And binds the starry sphere.”
Camoens: Lusiad, bk. x.
Henry Dundas, first Lord Melville, who was the first to introduce the word starvation into the language, on an American debate: in 1775. (Anglo—Saxon, steorfan, to perish of hunger; German, sterben; Dutch, sterven.)
Starved with Cold
Half—dead with cold. (Anglo—Saxon, steorfan, to die.)
The fourteen stations of the Catholic Church. These are generally called “Stations of the Cross,” and the whole series is known as the via Calvaria or via Crucis. Each station represents some item in the passage of Jesus from the Judgment Hall to Calvary, and at each station the faithful are expected to kneel and offer up a prayer in memory of the event represented by the fresco, picture, or otherwise. They are as follows:—
(1) Jesus is condemned to death.
(2) Jesus is made to bear His cross.
(3) Jesus falls the first time under His cross.
(4) Jesus meets His afflicted mother.
(5) Simon the Cyrenean helps Jesus to carry His cross.
(6) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. (7) Jesus falls the second time.
(8) Jesus speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem. (9) Jesus falls the third time.
(10) Jesus is stripped of His garments.
(11) Jesus is nailed to the cross.
(12) Jesus dies on the cross.
(13) Jesus is taken down from the cross.
(14) Jesus is placed in the sepulchre.
A stock name of those historical romances which represented the fate of empires as turning on the effects produced on a crack—brained lover by some charming Mandana or Statira. In La Calprenéde's Cassandra, Statira is represented as the perfection of female beauty, and is ultimately married to Oroondates.
[the stopper or arrestor ]. When the Romans fled from the Sabines, they stopped at a certain place and made terms with the victors. On this spot they afterwards built a temple to Jupiter, and called it the temple of Jupiter Stator or Jupiter who caused them to stop in their flight.
“Here, Stator Jove and Phoebus, god of verse
The votive tablet I suspend.” Prior.
The largest ever made was the Colossos of Rhodes; the next largest is the statue of Bavaria, erected by Louis I., King of Bavaria. The Bartholdi statue of Liberty is also worthy of mention. (See Lighthouses .)
Statue. It was Pygmalion who fell in love with a statue he had himself made. Statue. Of all the projects of Alexander, none was more hare—brained than his proposal to have Mount Athos hewed into a statue of himself. It is said he even arranged with a sculptor to undertake the job.
Status of Great Men
(See Great Men .)
(See Mop .)
Beef—steak is a slice of beef fried or broiled. In the north of Scotland a slice of salmon fried is called a
“salmon—steak.” Also cod and hake split and fried. (Icelandic, steik, steikja, roast.)
A handle. Stealing — putting handles on (Yorkshire). This is the Anglo—Saxon stela (a stalk or handle).
“Steale or handell of a staffe, manche, hante!”
Steal a Horse
One man may steal a horse, but another must not look over the hedge. Some men are chartered libertines, while others are always eyed with suspicion. (Latin: “Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas. “)
Steal a March on One
(To). To come on one unexpectedly, as when an army steals a march or appears unexpectedly before an enemy.
Contemptuous name applied to vessels propelled by steam—power, whether steamers, men—of—war, or any other craft.
“These steam—kettles of ours can never be depended upon. I wish we could go back to the good old sailing ships. When we had them we knew what we were about. ... Now we trust to
machinery, and it fails us in time of need.”— Kingston: The Three Admirals, chap. xvi
(London, adjoining Dowgate); so called from being the place where the king's steelyard or beam was set up, for weighing goods imported into London.
(2 syl.). A nickname given by James I. to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. The half—profane allusion is to Acts vi. 15, where those who looked on Stephen the martyr “saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”
A form of marine engine common on American river—boats.
(A). A man who ascends a church spire to repair it. This is done by a series of short ladders, tied one to another as the man ascends, the topmost one being securely tied to the point of the spire. Not many men have nerve enough for the dangerous work of a steeple—Jack.
A horse—race across fields, hedges, ditches, and obstacles of every sort that happen to lie in the way. The term arose from a party of fox—hunters on their return from an unsuccessful chase, who agreed to race to the village church, the steeple of which was in sight; he who first touched the church with his whip was to be the winner. The entire distance was two miles.
The Grand National Steeplechase is run on the Aintree course, Liverpool.
The pass of the Stelvio. The highest carriage—road in Europe (9,176 feet above the sea—level). It leads from Bormio to Glurns.
The voice of a Stentor. A very loud voice. Stentor was a Greek herald in the Trojan war. According to Homer, his voice was as loud as that of fifty men combined.
Lungs like those of Stentor.
A voice proceeding from a speaking—trumpet or stentorophonic tube, such as Sir Samuel Morelard invented to be used at sea.
“I heard a formidable noise
Loud as the stentrophonic voice,
That roared far off, `Dispatch! and strip!' “
Butler: Hudibras, iii. i.
and Father—in—law. The stepfather is the father of one bereaved of his natural father by death. A stepmother is the mother of one bereaved of his mother by death. A stepfather must be married to a widow, and thus become the stepfather of her children by a previous husband; and a stepmother must be married to a widower, and thus become the stepmother of his children by a former wife. Similarly, stepson and stepdaughter must be the son and daughter by the father or mother deceased, the relict marrying again.
FATHER—IN—LAW and MOTHER—IN—LAW are the father and mother of the wife to her husband, and of the husband to the wife. Similarly, sons—in—law and daughters—in—law are the sons and daughters of the parents of the wife to the husband and of the husband to the wife. (Anglo—Saxon, steop, bereaved.)
Crown of St. Stephen. The crown of Hungary.
“If Hungarian independence should be secured through the help of Prince Napoleon, the Prince himself should receive the crown of St. Stephen.”— Kossuth: Memoirs of my Exile (1880).
(St.). Stones. Fed with St. Stephen's bread. Stoned. In French, “Miches de St. Etienne. ” In Italian, “Pan di St. Stefano. ” Of course the allusion is to the stoning of Stephen.
(Joanna) professed to have made a very wonderful discovery, and Drummond, the banker, set on foot a subscription to purchase her secret. The sum, she asked was 5,000. When 1,500 had been raised by private subscription, government voted 3,500. The secret was a decoction of soap, swine's cresses, honey, egg—shells, and snails, made into pills, and a powder to match. Joanna Stephens got the money and forthwith disappeared.
Stepney Papers A voluminous collection of political letters between Mr. Stepney, the British minister, and our ambassadors at various European courts, the Duke of Marlborough, and other public characters of the time. Part of the correspondence is in the British Museum, and part in the Public Record Office. It is very valuable, as this was the period called the Seven Years' War. The original letters are preserved in bound volumes, but the whose correspondence is in print also. (Between 1692 and 1706.)
Spelmab derives the word from esterlings, merchants of the Hanse Towns, who came over and reformed our coin in the reign of John. Others say it is starling (little star), in allusion to a star impressed curbe coin. Others refer it to Stirling Castle in Scotland, where money was coined in the reign of Edward I.
(Sir Matthew Hale.)
“In the time of King Richard I., monie coined in the east parts of Germany began to be of especiall request in England for the puritie thereof, and was called Easterling monie, as all the inhabitants of those parts were called Easterlings: and shortly after some of that countrie, skillfull in mint matters and allaies, were seat for into this realm to bring the coine to perfection, which since that time was called of them sterling for Easterling.”— Camden.
To sit at the stern; At the stern of public affairs. Having the management of public affairs. The stern is the steer—ern— i.e. steer—place; and to sit at the stern is “to sit at the helm.”
“Sit at chiefest stern of public weal.”
Shakespeare: 1 Henry VI., 1. i.
(Thomas) versified fifty—one of the Psalms. The remainder were the productions of Hopkins and some others. Sternhold and Hopkins' Psalms used to be attached to the Common Prayer Book.
“Mistaken choirs refuse the solemn strain
Of ancient Sternhold.” Crabbe: Borough.
(in Hudibras). A fanatical preacher, admired by Hugh Peters.
Stewing in their own Gravy
Especially applied to a besieged city. The besiegers may leave the hostile city to suffer from want of food, loss of commerce, confinement, and so on. The phrase is very old, borrowed perhaps from the Bible, “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.” Chaucer says—
“In his own gress I made him frie,
For anger and for verry jalousie.”
Prologue to the Wife of Bathes Tale.
We are told that the Russian ambassador, when Louis Philippe fortified Paris, remarked, if ever again Paris is in insurrection, it “can be made to stew in its own gravy (jus)”; and Bismarck, at the siege of Paris, in 1871, said, the Germans intend to leave the city “to seethe in its own milk.”— See Snell: Chronicles of Twyford, p. 295.
“He relieved us out of our purgatory ... after we had been stewing in our own gravy.”— The London Spy, 1716.
A composing stick is a hand instrument into which a compositor places the letters to be set up. Each row or line of letters is pushed home and held in place by a movable “setting rule,” against which the thumb presses. When a stick is full, the matter set up is transferred to a “galley” (q.v.), and from the galley it is transferred to the “chase” (q.v.). Called a stick because the compositor sticks the letters into it.
Stickler One who obstinately maintains some custom or opinion; as a stickler for Church government. (See below.)
A stickler about trifles. One particular about things of no moment. Sticklers were the seconds in ancient single combats, very punctilious about the minutest points of etiquette. They were so called from the white stick which they carried in emblem of their office.
“I am willing ... to give thee precedence, and content myself with the humbler office of stickler.”— Sir Walter Scott: Fair Maid of Perth, chap. xvi.
An I.O.U.; a bill of acceptance. “Hard,” means hard cash. “Did you get it stiff or hard?” means by an
I.O.U. or in cash. Of course “stiff” refers to the stiff interest exacted by money lenders.
“His `stiff' was floating about in too many directions, at too many high figures.”— Ouida: Under Two Flags, chap. vii.
Impressions on certain persons of marks corresponding to some or all of the wounds received by our Saviour in His trial and crucifixion. The following claim to have been so stigmatised:
(1) MEN. Angelo del Paz (all the marks); Benedict of Reggio (the crown of thorns), 1602; Carlo di Saeta (the lance—wound); Dodo, a Premonstratensian monk (all the marks); Francis of Assisi (all the marks, which were impressed on him by a seraph with six wings), September 15th, 1224; Nicholas of Ravenna, etc.
(2) WOMEN. Bianca de Gazecan; St. Catharine of Sienna; Catharine di Raconisco (the crown of thorns), 1583; Cecilia di Nobili of Nocera, 1655; Clara di Pugny (mark of the spear), 1514; “Estatica” of Caldaro (all the marks), 1842; Gabriella da Piezolo of Aquila (the spear—mark), 1472; Hieronyma Carvaglio (the
spear—mark, which bled every Friday); Joanna Maria of the Cross; Maria Razzi of Chio (marks of the thorny crown); Maria Villani (ditto); Mary Magdalen di Pazzi; Mechtildis von Stanz; Ursula of Valencia; Veronica Guliani (all the marks), 1694; Vincenza Ferreri of Valencia, etc.
To puncture, to brand (Greek, stigma, a puncture). Slaves used to be branded, sometimes for the sake of recognising them, and sometimes by way of punishment. The branding was effected by applying a
red—hot iron marked with certain letters to their forehead, and then rubbing some colouring matter into the wound. A slave that had been branded was by the Romans called a stigmalic, and the brand was called the stigma.
or St. Stephen's Stones, are chalcedonies with brown and red spots.
Stiletto of the Storm
Cornelius Tacitus is called Corndius the Still in the Fardle of Facions, “still” being a translation of the Latin word tacitus.
“Cornelius the Stylle in his first book of his yerely exploietes called in Latine Ansales ...”.— Ch. iii s. 3 (1555).
A man cunning and selfish; one wise in his own interest; one who avoids talking at meals that he may enjoy his food the better. So called from the old proverb, “The still sow eats the wash” or “draff.”
“We do not act that often jest and langh; `This old but true, `Still swine eat all the draugh.” Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 2.
Still Waters Run Deep Silent and quiet conspirators or traitors are most dangerous; barking dogs never bite; the fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
“Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep:
And in his simple show he harbours treason.
The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb; No, no, my sovereign, Gloucester is a man
Unsounded yet, and full of deep deceit.”
Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., III. f.
(John Henry), surnamed Jung, the mystic or pietist; called by Carlyle the German Dominie Sampson; “awkward, honest, irascible, in old—fashioned clothes and bag—wig.” A real character. (1740—1817.)
New—fangled notions. When the calendar was reformed by Pope Gregory XIII. (1582), letters used to be dated stilo novo, which grew in time to be a cant phrase for any innovation.
“And so I leave you to your stilo novo. “
Beaumont and Fletcher.
Stimulants of Great Men
BONAPARTE took snuff when he wished to stimulate his intellect, or when he was greatly annoyed. BRAHAM (the singer) drank bottled porter.
The REV, WILLIAM BULL, the Nonconformist, was an inveterate smoker. LORD BYRON took gin and water.
G. F. COOKE took all sorts of stimulants.
LORD ERSKINE took large doses of opium.
GLADSTONE'S restorative is an egg beaten up in sherry. HOBBES drank cold water.
ED. KEAN drank raw brandy.
J. KEMBLE was an opium eater.
POPE drank strong coffee.
WEDDERBURNE (the first Lord Ashburton) placed a blister on his chest when he was about to make a great speech. (Dr. Paris: Pharmacologia. )
So Theodore Hook called University College, London. the fun of the sobriquet is this: the buildings stand on the site of a large rubbish store or sort of refuse field, into which were cast potsherds and all sorts of sweepings. About the same time the question respecting Trincomalee in Ceylon was in agitation, so the wit spun the two ideas together, and produced the word in question, which was the more readily accepted as the non—religious education of the new college, and its rivalry with Oxford and Cambridge, gave for a time very great offence to the High Church and State party.
(3 syl.). The word is generally given from the Latin stipula (a straw), and it is said that a straw was given to the purchaser in sign of a real delivery. Isidore (v. 24) asserts that the two contracting parties broke a straw between them, each taking a moiety, that, by rejoining the parts, they might prove their right to the bargain. With all deference to the Bishop of Sevillle, his “fact” seems to belong to limbo—lore. All bargains among the Romans were made by asking a question and replying to it. One said, An stipem vis? the other replied, Stipem volo (“Do you require money?” “I do"); the next question and answer were, An dabis? Dabo (“Will you give it?” “I will"); the third question was to the surety, An spondes? to which he replied, Spondeo
(“Will you be security?” “I will"), and the bargain was made. So that stipulate is compounded of stips—volo (stipulo), and the tale about breaking the straws seems to be concocted to bolster up a wrong etymology.
“Stir Up” Sunday
The last Sunday in Trinity. So called from the first two words of the collect. It announces to schoolboys the near approach of the Christmas holidays.
(A). A rope to climb by. (Anglo—Saxon,. sti'g—ra'p, a climbing rope. The verb sti'g—an is to climb, to mount.)
A “parting cup,” given in the Highlands to guests on leaving when their feet are in the stirrups. In the north of the Highlands called “cup at the door.” (See Coffee .)
“Lord Marmion's bugles blew to horse;
Then came the stirrup—cup in course;
Between the baron and his host
No point of courtesy was lost.”
Sir Walter Scott: Marmion, i. 21.
A beating; a variety of “strap oil” (q.v.). The French De l'huile de cotret (faggot or stick oil).
Not a stiver. Not a penny. The stiver was a Dutch coin, equal to about a penny. (Dutch, stuiver.)
From the verb to stick (to fasten, make firm, fix).
Live stock. The fixed capital of a farm. Stock in trade. The fixed capital.
The village stocks, in which the feet are stuck or fastened. A gun stock, in which the gun is stuck or made fast.
It is on the stocks. It is in hand, but not yet finished. The stocks is the frame in which a ship is placed while building, and so long as it is in hand it is said to be or to lie on the stocks.
Stock Exchange Slang
See each article:
Stock, Lock, and Barrel
Every part, everything. Gun—maker's phrase.
“Everything is to be sold off— stock, lock, and barrel.”
The wild pigeon; so called because it breeds in the stocks of hollow trees, or rabbit burrows.
I will beat thee like a stockfish. Moffet and Bennet, in their Health's Improvement (p. 262), inform us that dried cod, till it is beaten, is called buckhorn, because it is so tough; but after it has been beaten on the stock, it is termed stockfish. (In French, etriller quelqu'un, a double carillon, “to a pretty tune.”)
“Peace! thou wilt be beaten like a stockfish else.”— Jonson: Every Man in his Humour, iii. 2.
(See Blue Stocking .)
A supposed ghost that haunted the village of Stockwell, near London, in 1772. The real author of the strange noises was Anne Robinson, a servant. (See Cock Lane Ghost .)
Founder of the Stoic school. Zeno of Athens. These philosophers were so called because Zeno used to give his lectures in the Stoa Paecilé of Athens. (Greek, stoa, a porch.)
Epictetus was the founder of the New Stoic school.
“The ancient Stoics in their porch
With flerce dispute maintained their church,
Beat out their brains in fight and study
To prove that virtue is a body,
That bonum is an animal,
Made good with stout polemic bawl.”
Butler: Hudibras, ii. 2.
(Latin, stola). An ecclesiastical vestment, also called the Orarium. “Deinde circumdat collum suum stola, quæ et Orarium dicitur.” It indicates “Obedientiam filii Dei et jugum servitutis, quod pro salute hominum portavit. Deacons wear the stole over the left shoulder, and loop the two parts together, that they may both hang on the right side. Priests wear it over both shoulders. (See Ducange: Stola.)
Stolen Things are Sweet
A sop filched from the dripping—pan, fruit procured by stealth, and game illicitly taken, have the charm of dexterity to make them the more palatable. Solomon says, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret [i.e. by stealth] is pleasant.”
“From busie cooks we love to steal a bit
Behind their backs, and that in corners eat;
Nor need we here the reason why entreat;
All know the proverb, `Stolen bread is sweet.' “ History of Joseph, n. d.
Appetite: “He who hath no stomach for this fight.” (Shakespeare Henry V., iv. 3.) Appetite for honours, etc., or ambition:
“Wolsey was a man of an unbounded stomach.” (Henry VIII., iv. 2.)
Appetite or inclination: “Let me praise you while I have the stomach.” (Merchant of Venice, iii. 5.)
Stomach. To swallow, to accept with appetite, to digest. To stomach an insult. To swallow it and not resent it.
“If you must believe, stomach not all.”— Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 4.
Stomach, meaning “wrath,” end the verb “to be angry,” is the Latin stomachus, stomachari.
“Peli'dæ stomachum cedere nescii.” Herace. (“The stomach [wrath] of relentless Achilics.”)
“Stomachabatur si quid asperius dixerim.”'— Cicero. (“His stomach rose if I spoke sharper than usual.”)
The fourth stomach of ruminatirg animals is called the abomasus or abomasum (from ab—omasum).
(1 syl.). The sacred stone of the Caaba (q.v.) is, according to Arab tradition, the guardian angel of Paradise turned into stone. When first built by Abraham into the wall of the shrine it was clear as crystal, but it has become black from being kissed by sinful man.
A hag—stone. A flint with a natural perforation through it. Sometimes hung on the key of an outside door to ward off the hags. Sometimes such a stone used to be hung round the neck “for luck”; sometimes on the bedstead to prevent nightmare; and sometimes on a horse—collar to ward off disease.
Leave no stone unturned. Omit no minutiae if you would succeed. After the defeat of Mardonius at Platæa (B.C. 477), a report was current that the Persian General had left great treasures in his tent. Polycrates (4 syl.) the Theban sought long but found them not. The Oracle of Delphi, being consulted, told him “to leave no stone unturned,” and the treasures were discovered.
(The). The period when stone implements were used. It preceded the bronze age
Cold as a stone.
Dead as a stone.
Either a stone jar or a prison. The Greek word (kordmos) means either an earthen jar or a prison, as in (chalkeo en keramo), in a brazen prison. When Venus complained to the immortals that Diomed had wounded her, Dione bade her cheer up, for other immortals had suffered also, but had borne up under their affliction; as Mars, for example, when Otos and Ephialtes bound him ... and kept him for thirteen months (in a brazen prison, or brazen jug). (Homer: Iliad, v. 381, etc.; see also ix. 469.) Ewing says keramos, potter's earth or pottery, was also a prison, because prisoners were made to work up potters' earth into jugs and other vessels. Thus we say, “He was sent to the treadmill, meaning, to prison to work in the treadmill.
or St. Bernard's Soup. A beggar asked alms at a lordly mansion, but was told by the servants they had nothing to give him. “Sorry for it,” said the man, “but will you let me boil a little water to make some soup of this stone?” This was so novel a proceeding, that the curiosity of the servants was aroused, and the man was readily furnished with saucepan, water, and a spoon. In he popped the stone, and begged for a little salt and pepper for flavouring. Stirring the water and tasting it, he said it would be the better for any fragments of meat and vegetables they might happen to have. These were supplied, and ultimately he asked for a little catsup or other sauce. When fully boiled and fit, each of the servants tested it, and declared that stone soup was excellent. (La soupe au caillou.)
Perfectly still; with no more motion than a stone.
“I will not struggle; I will stand stone still.”
Shakespeare: King John, iv. 1.
Stone of the Broken Treaty
Limerick. About a century and a half ago England made a solemn compact with Ireland. Ireland promised fealty, and England promised to guarantee to the Irish people civil and religious equality. When the crisis was over England handed Ireland over to a faction that has ever since bred strife and disunion. (Address of the Corporation of Limerick to Mr. Bright, 1868.)
“The `stone of the broken treaty' is there, and from early in the morning till late at night groups gather round it, and foster the tradition of their national wrongs.”— The Times.
Stone of Stumbling
This was much more significant among the Jews than it is with ourselves. One of the Pharisaic sects, called Nikfi or “Dashers,” used to walk abroad without lifting their feet from the ground. They were for ever “dashing their feet against the stones,” and “stumbling” on their way.
Stone of Tongues
This was a stone given to Otnit, King of Lombardy, by his father dwarf Elberich, and had the virtue, when put into a person's mouth, of enabling him to speak perfectly any foreign language. (The Heldenbuch.)
Aerolites, or stones which have fallen from heaven. J. Norman Lockyer says the number of meteors which fall daily to the earth “exceeds 21 millions.” (Nineteenth Century, Nov., 1880, p. 787.) The largest aerolith on record is one that fell in Brazil. It is estimated to weigh 14,000 lbs. In 1806 a shower of stones fell near
L'Aigle, and M. Biot was deputed by the French Government to report on the phenomenon. He found between two and three thousand stones, the largest being about 17 lbs. in weight.
Eagle stones. (See Eagle—Stones.) Health stones. Purites (2 syl.) found in Geneva and Savoy. So called from the notion that it loses its steel—blue colour if the person in possession of one is in ill—health.
Square stones. The most ancient idols were square stones. The head and limbs were subsequent additions. Touchstones. (q.v.)
Stones. After the Moslem pilgrim has made his seven processions round the Caaba, he repairs to Mount Arafat, and before sunrise enters the valley of Mena. where he throws seven stones at each of three pillars, in imitation of Abraham and Adam, who thus drove away the devil when he disturbed their devotions.
Standing stones. The most celebrated groups are those of Stonehenge, Avebury, in Wiltshire, Stennis in the Orkneys, and Carnac in Brittany.
The Standing Stones of Stennis, in the Orkneys, resemble Stonehenge, and, says Sir W. Scott, furnish an irresistible refutation of the opinion that these circles are Druidical. There is every reason to believe that the custom was prevalent in Scandinavia as well as in Gaul and Britain, and as common to the mythology of Odin as to Druidism. They were places of public assembly, and in the Eyrbiggia Saga is described the manner of setting apart the Helga Feli (Holy Rocks) by the pontiff Thorolf for solemn meetings.
Stones fallen down from Jupiter. Anaxagoras mentions a stone that fell from Jupiter in Thrace, a description of which is given by Pliny. The Ephesians asserted that their image of Diana came from Jupiter. The stone at Emessa, in Syria, worshipped as a symbol of the sun, was a similar meteorite. At Abydos and Potidæ'a similar stones were preserved. At Corinth was one venerated as Zeus. At Cyprus was one dedicated to Venus, a description of which is given by Tacitus and Maximus Tyrius. Herodian describes a similar stone in Syria. The famous Caaba stone at Mecca is a similar meteor. Livy recounts three falls of stones. On November 27th, 1492, just as Maximilian was on the point of engaging the French army near Ensisheim, a mass weighing 270 lbs. fell between the combatants; part of this mass is now in the British Museum. In June, 1866, at Knyahinya, a village of Hungary, a shower of stones fell, the largest of which weighs above 5 cwt.; it was broken in the fall into two pieces, both of which are now in the Imperial Collection at Vienna. On December 13th, 1795, in the village of Thwing, Yorkshire, an aërolite fell weighing 56 lbs., now in the British Museum. On September 10th, 1813, at Adare, in Limerick,. fell a similar stone, weighing 17 lbs., now in the Oxford Museum. On May 1st, 1860, in Guernsey county, Ohio, more than thirty stones were picked up within a space of ten miles by three; the largest weighed 103 lbs. (Kesselmeyer and Dr. Otto Buchner: The Times, November 14th, 1866.)
You have stones in your mouth. Said to a person who stutters or speaks very indistinctly. The allusion is to Demosthenes, who cured himself of stuttering by putting pebbles in his mouth and declaiming on the
“The orator who once
Did fill his mouth with pebble stones
When he harangued,”
Butler: Hudibras, i. 1.
Precious stones. Said to be dew—drops condensed and hardened by the sun.
A name given in Wiltshire to the subsoil of the north—western border, consisting of a reddish calcareous loam, mingled with flat stones; a soil made of small stones or broken rock.
says Geoffrey of Monmouth, was erected by Merlin (the magician) to perpetuate the treachery of Hengist, who desired a friendly meeting with Vortigern, but fell upon him and his 400 attendants, putting them all to the sword. Aurelius Ambrosius asked Merlin to recommend a sensible memento of this event, and Merlin told the king to transplant the “Giants' Dance” from the mountain of Killaraus, in Ireland. These stones had been brought by the giants from Africa as baths, and all possessed medicinal qualities. Merlin transplanted them by magic. This tale owes its birth to the word “stan—hengist,” which means uplifted stones, but “hengist” suggested the name of the traditional hero.
“Stonehenge, once thought a temple, you have found
A throne where kings, our earthly gods, were crowned, When by their wondering subjects they were seen.” Dryden: Epistles, ii.
Stonewall Jackson Thomas J. Jackson, one of the Confederate generals in the American war. The name arose thus: General Bee, of South Carolina, observing his men waver, exclaimed, “Look at Jackson's men; they stand like a stone wall!” (1826—1863.)
A mistranslation of Arabia Petræa, where Petræa is supposed to be an adjective formed from the Greek petros (a stone), and not, as it really is, from the city of Petra, the capital of the Nabathæans. This city was called Thamud (rock—built). (See Yemen .)
Stool of Repentance
A low stool placed in front of the pulpit in Scotland, on which persons who had incurred an ecclesiastical censure were placed during divine service. When the service was over the “penitent” had to stand on the stool and receive the minister's rebuke. Even in the present century this method of rebuke has been repeated.
“Colonel Knox tried to take advantage of a merely formal proceeding to set Mr. Gladstone on the stool of repentance.”— The Times.
Organs have no fixed number of stops; some have sixty or more, and others much fewer. A stop is a collection of pipes similar in tone and quality, running through the whole or part of an organ. They may be divided into mouth—pipes and reed—pipes, according to structure, or into (1) metallic, (2) reed, (3) wood, (4) mixture or compound stops, according to material. The following are the chief:—
(1) Metallic. Principal (so called because it is the first stop tuned, and is the standard by which the whole organ is regulated), the open diapason, dulciana, the 12th, 15th, tierce or 17th, larigot or 19th, 22nd, 26th, 29th, 33rd, etc. (being respectively 12, 15, 17, etc., notes above the open diapason).
(2) Reed (metal reed pipes). Bassoon, cremona, hautboy or oboe, trumpet, vox—humana (all in unison with the open diapason), clarion (an octave above the diapason and in unison with principal).
(3) Wood. Stopt diapason, double diapason, and most of the flutes.
(4) Compound or mixture. Flute (in unison with the principal), cornet, mixture or furniture, sesquialtera, cymbel, and cornet.
Grand organs have, in addition to the above, from two to two and a half octaves of pedals. Stops, strictly speaking, are three—fold, called the foundation stop, the mutation stop, and the mixture stop. The foundation stop is one whose tone agrees with the normal pitch of the digital struck, or some octave of it.
The mutation stops produce a tone that is neither the normal pitch nor yet an octave of the digital struck. The mixture stop needs no explanation.
Among varieties of organ—stops may be mentioned the complete stop, which has one pipe or reed to a note. The compound stop, which has more than one pipe or reed to a note. The flue stop, composed of flue—pipes. The incomplete (or imperfect) stop, which has less than the full number of pipes. The manual stop, corresponding to the manual keyboard. The open stop, which has the pipes open at the upper end. The pedal stop, as distinguished from the “manual” stop. The solo stop, the string stop, etc.
(1 syl.). Store is no sore. Things stored up for future use are no evil. Sore means grief as well as wound, our sorrow.
a sacred bird, according to the Swedish legend received its name from flying round the cross of the crucified Redeemer, crying Styrka! styrka! (Strengthen! strengthen!). (See Christ, in Christian Traditions .)
Storks are the sworn foes of snakes. Hence the veneration in which they are held. They are also excellent scavengers. (Stork, Anglo—Saxon, store.
“Twill profit when the stork, sworn foe of snakes,
Returns, to show compassion to thy plants.”
Philips: Cyder, bk. i.
or Lex Ciconaria. A Roman law which obliged children to maintain their necessitous parents in old age, “in imitation of the stork.” Also called “Antipelargia.”
Storm in a Teapot
A mighty to—do about a trifle. “A storm in a puddle.”
The inhabitants of Comacchio, a town in Central Italy, between the two branches of the Po, rejoice in storms because then the fish are driven into their marshes.
“Whose townsmen loathe the lazy calm's repose,
And pray that stormy waves may lash the beach.” Rose's Orlando Furioso, ii. 41.
Cape of Storms. So Bartholomew Diaz named the south cape of Africa in 1486, but King John II. changed it into the Cape of Good Hope.
(A). An ill omen; a bad augury.
“Dr. von Esmarch is regarded at court as a stormy petrel, and every effort was made to conceal his visit to the German emperor.”— The World, 6th April, 1892, p. 15.
are those in which certain words are harped on and turned about and about. They are common among the Tuscan peasants. The word is from tornare (to return).
“Ill tell him the white, and the green, and the red,
Mean our country has flung the vile yoke from her head; I'll tell him the green, and the red, and the white Would look well by his side as a sword—knot so bright;
I'll tell him the red, and the white, and the green
Is the prize that we play for, a prize we will win.” Notes and Queries.
(pron. stor—ting). The Norwegian Parliament, elected every three years (Norse, stor, great; thing, court.)
(A). A chimney—pot hat (q.v.).
“High collars, tight coats, and tight sleeves were worn at home and abroad, and, as though that were not enough, a stovepipe hat was worn.”— Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, September, 1891.
(1 syl.). The fair majestic paradise of Stowe (Thomson: Autumn). The principal seat of the Duke of Buckingham.
Stowe Nine Churches
A hamlet of Stowe, Northamptonshire. The tradition is that the people of this hamlet wished to build a church, and made nine ineffectual efforts to do so, for every time the church was finished the devil came by night and knocked it down again.
(Walafridus). A German monk. (807—849.)
(Antonio). A famous violin—maker, born at Cremona. Some of his instruments have fetched £400. (1670—1728.) (See Cremonas .)
Straight as an Arrow
(See Similes .)
(1 syl.). To strain courtesy. To stand upon ceremony. Here, strain is to stretch, as parchment is strained on a drum—head. When strain means to filter, the idea is pressing or squeezing through a canvas or woollen bag.
Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. To make much fuss about little pecadillos, but commit offences of real magnitude. “Strain at” is strain out or off (Greek, di—ulizo). The allusion is to the practice of filtering wine for fear of swallowing an insect, which was “unclean.” Tyndale has “strain out” in his version. Our expression “strain at” is a corruption of strain—ut, “ut” being the Saxon form of out, retained in the words ut—most, utter, uttermost, etc.
The quality of mercy is not strained (Merchant of Venice, iv. 1)— constrained or forced, but cometh down freely as the rain, which is God's gift.
(Count of). A feudal baron who hunted Werner like a partridge in order to obtain his inheritance. Ulric, Werner's son, saved him from the Oder, but subsequently murdered him. (Byron: Werner.)
(London). The bank of the Thames (Saxon for a beach or shore); whence stranded, run ashore or grounded.
(1 syl.). Latin, extra (without); whence extraneus (one without); old French, estrange; Italian, strano, etc. Stranger, therefore, is extraneus, one without.
Stranger of the Gate
(The). (See under Proselyte .)
It is said that Busiris, King of Egypt, sacrificed to his gods all strangers that set foot on his territories. Diomed, King of Thrace, gave strangers to his horses for food. (See Diomedes .)
“Oh fly, or here with strangers' blood imbrued
Busiris' altars thou shalt find renewed:
Amidst his slaughtered guests his altars stood
Obscene with gore, and baked with human blood.” Camoens: Lusiad, book ii.
A beating. A corruption of strap 'eil, i.e. German theil (a dole). The play is palpable. The “April fool” asks for a pennyworth of strap 'eil, that is dole of the strap, in French I'huile de cotret. (Latin, stroppus.)
A military punishment formerly practised; it consisted of pulling an offender to a beam and then letting him down suddenly; by this means a limb was not unfrequently dislocated. (Italian, strappare, to pull.)
“Were I at the strappado or the rack, I'd give no man a reason on compulsion.”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., ii. 4.
(A). A goose fattened, crammed, and confined in order to enlarge its liver. Metaphorically, one crammed with instruction and kept from healthy exercise in order to pass examinations.
“The anæmic, myopic, worn—out creature who comes to [the army]— a new kind of Strasburg goose.”— Nineteenth Century, January, 1893, p. 26.
means generalship. (Greek, strategos, a general; stratos—ago, to lead an army.)
Servants wishing to be hired used to go into the market—place of Carlisle (Carel) with a straw in their mouth. (See Mop .)
“At Carel I stuid wi' a strae i my mouth,
The weyves com roun' me in custers;
What weage dus te ax, canny lad? says yen.”
Anderson: Cumberland Ballads.
chopped or otherwise, at a wedding, signifies that the bridge is no virgin. Flowers indicate purity or virginity, but straw is only the refuse from which corn has been already taken.
A little straw shows which way the wind blows. Mere trifles often indicate the coming on of momentous events. They are shadows cast before coming events.
A man of straw. A man without means; a Mrs. Harris; a sham. In French, “Un homme de paille,” like a malkin. (See Man Of Straw.)
I have a straw to break with you. I am displeased with you; I have a reproof to give you. In feudal times possession of a fief was conveyed by giving a straw to the new tenant. If the tenant misconducted himself, the lord dispossessed him by going to the threshold of his door and breaking a straw, saying as he did so, “As I break this straw, so break I the contract made between us.” In allusion to this custom, it is said in Reynard the Fox — The kinge toke up a straw fro' the ground, and pardoned and forguf the Foxe,” on condition that the Fox showed King Lion where the treasures were hid (ch. v.).
In the straw. “Être en couche” (in bed). The phrase is applied to women in childbirth. The allusion is to the straw with which beds were at one time usually stuffed, and not to the litter laid before a house to break the noise of wheels passing by. The Dutch of Haarlem and Enckhuysen, when a woman is confined, expose a
pin—cushion at the street—door. If the babe is a boy, the pin—cushion has a red fringe, if a girl a white one.
Not to care a straw for one. In Latin, “[Aliquem] nihili, flocci, nauci, pili, teruncii facere.” To hold one in no esteem; to defy one as not worth your steel.
Not worth a straw. Worthless. In French, “Je n'en donnerais pas un fétu (or un zeste).” Not worth a rap; not worth a pin's point; not worth a fig (q.v.); not worth a twopenny dam, etc.
She wears a straw in her ear. She is looking out for another husband. This is a French expression, and refers to the ancient custom of placing a straw between the ears of horses for sale.
The last straw. The only hope left; the last penny. 'Tis the last straw that breaks the horse's (or camel's) back. In weighing articles, as salt, tea, sugar, etc., it is the last which turns the scale; and there is an ultimate point of endurance beyond which calamity breaks a man down.
To carry off the straw (“Enlever la paille”). To bear off the belle. The pun is between “pal,” a slang word for a favourite, and “paille,” straw. The French palot means a “pal.” Thus Gervais says—
“Mais, oncore un coup, man palot.”
Le Coup d'OEil Purin, p. 64.
To catch at a straw. To hope a forlorn hope. A drowning man will catch at a straw. To make bricks without straw. To attempt to do something without the proper and necessary materials. The allusion is to the exaction of the Egyptian taskmasters mentioned in Exodus v. 6—14. Even to the present,
“bricks” in India, etc., are made of mud and straw dried in the sun. To make plum—puddings without plums.
To stumble at a straw. “Nodos in scirpo quoerere.” To look for knots in a bulrush (which has none). To stumble in a plain way.
To throw straws against the wind. To contend uselessly and feebly against what is irresistible; to sweep back the Atlantic with a besom.
means the straying plant that bears berries (Anglo—Saxon, streow berie). So called from its runners, which stray from the parent plant in all directions.
So Latimer called the non—resident country clergy, because they strayed from their parishes, to which they returned only once a year. (Anglo—Saxon, streowan, to stray.)
Streak of Silver
(The). The British Channel. So called in the Edinburgh Review, October, 1870.
Street and Walker
(Messrs.). “In the employ of Messrs. Street and Walker.” Said of a person out of employment. A gentleman without means, whose employment is walking about the streets.
An exaggeration; a statement stretched out beyond the strict truth. Also a frame on which the sick or wounded are carried; a frame on which painters' canvas is stretched; etc.
(A). A federation of workmen to quit work unless the masters will submit to certain stated conditions. To strike is to leave off work, as stated above. (Anglo—Saxon, stric—an, to go.)
“Co—operation prevents strikes by identifying the interests of labour and capital.”— R.T. Ely: Political Economy, part iv. chap. iv. 238.
(1 syl.). Strike, but hear me! So said Themistocles with wonderful self—possession to Eurybiades, the Spartan general. The tale told by Plutarch is this: Themistocles strongly opposed the proposal of Eurybiades to quit the bay of Salamis. The hot—headed Spartan insultingly remarked that “those who in the public games rise up before the proper signal are scourged.” “True,” said Themistocles, “but those who lag behind win no laurels.” On this, Eurybiades lifted up his staff to strike him, when Themistocles earnestly but proudly exclaimed, “Strike, but hear me!”
To strike hands upon a bargain or sírike a bargain. To confirm it by shaking or striking hands.
Yield or suffer the consequences. The defiance of a man—of—war to a hostile ship. To strike amain is to lower the topsail in token of submission. To wave a naked sword amain is a symbolical command to a hostile ship to lower her topsail.
Strike a Bargain
(To). In Latin, foedus ferire; in Greek, horkia temein. The allusion is to the Greek and Roman custom of making sacrifice in concluding an agreement or bargain. After calling the gods to witness, they struck— i.e. slew— the victim which was offered in sacrifice. The modern English custom is simply to strike or shake hands.
To acknowledge oneself beaten; to eat umble pie. A maritime expression. When a ship in fight or on meeting another ship, lets down her topsails at least half—mast high, she is said to strike, meaning that she
submits or pays respect to the other.
Must strike her sail, and learn a while to serve
When kings command.”
Shakespeare; 3 Henry VI., iii. 8.
Strike while the Iron is Hot
In French, “Il faut battre le fer pendant qu'il est chaud.” Either act while the impulse is still fervent, or do what you do at the right time. The metaphor is taken from a blacksmith working a piece of iron, say a horse—shoe, into shape. It must be struck while the iron is red—hot or it cannot be moulded into shape. Similar proverbs are “Make hay while the sun shines.” “Take time by the forelock.”
Always harping on one string. Always talking on one subject; always repeating the same thing. The allusion is to the ancient harpers, some, like Paganini, played on one string to show their skill, but more would have endorsed the Apothecary's apology— “My poverty, and not my will, consents.”
A tiger. In India a tiger is called Master Stripes.
“Catch old Stripes come near my bullock, if he though a `shooting—iron' was anywhere about Even if there were another Stripes, he would not show himself that night.”— Cornhill Magazine (My Tiger Watch). July, 1883.
The babes of Strode are born with tails.
“As Becket, that good saint, sublimely rode,
Thoughtless of insult, through the town of Strode, What did the mob? Attacked his horse's rump
And cut the tail, so flowing, to the stump.
What does the saint? Quoth he, `For this vile trick
The town of Strode shall heartily be sick.
And lo! by power divine, a curse prevails—
The babes of Strode are born with horse's tails.” Peter Pindar Epistle to the Pope
The oarsman who sits on the bench next the coxswain, and sets the stroke of the oars.
A Norwegian musical spirit. Arndt informs us that the Strömkarl has eleven different musical measures, to ten of which people may dance, but the eleventh belongs to the night—spirit, his host. If anyone plays it, tables and benches, cups and cans, old men and women, blind and lame, babies in their cradles, and the sick in their beds, begin to dance. (See Fairy )
— as iron, as a horse, as brandy (See Similes .)
One of Fortunio's servants. He was so strong he could carry any weight upon his back without difficulty. (Grimm's Goblins, Fortunio. )
Richard de Clare, Earl of Strigul. Justice of Ireland. (1176).
This mineral receives its name from Strontian, in Argyleshire, where it was discovered by Dr. Hope, in 1792.
Struldbrugs Wretched inhabitants of Luggnagg, an imaginary island a hundred leagues south—east of Japan. These human beings have the privilege of eternal life without those of immortal vigour, strength, and intellect. (Swift Gulliver's Travels.)
“Many persons think that the picture of the Stulbrugs (sic) was intended to wean us from a love of life but I am certain that the $$$ never had any such thing in view.”— Palcy's Natural Theology (Lord Brougham's note $$$ p. 140).
called in Devonshire Arish Geese. The geese turned into the stubble—fields or arrishers, to pick up the corn left after harvest. (See $$$.)
To stare like a stuck pig. A simile founded on actual observation. Of course, the stuck pig is the pig in the act of being killed. (See Similes .)
An Australian phrase for robbed on the highway. (See Gone Up .)
Pretentious people, parvenu, nobodies who assume to be somebodies. The allusion is to birds, as the peacock, which sticks up its train to add to its “importance” and “awe down” antagonists.
Stuck his Spoon in the Wall
Took up his residence. Sometimes it means took up his long home, or died. In primitive times a leather strap was very often nailed to the wall, somewhere near the fireplace, and in this strap were stuck such things as scissors, spoons for daily use, pen—case, and so on. In Barclay's Ship of Fools is a picture of a man stirring a pot on the fire, and on the wall is a strap with two spoons stuck into it.
An outer barrister or one without the bar. (See Barrister .)
in the language of the $$$, are fictitious bets recorded in the books of bookmakers, and published in the papers, to deceive the public by running up the odds on a horse which is not meant to win.
To take to the stump. To roam about the country speechifying
To stump the country. To go from town to town making [political] speeches.
“The Irish members have already taken to the stump.”— A Daily Journal.
(in America). A person who harangues the people from the stump of a tree or other chance elevation; a mob orator.
Pay your reckoning; pay what is due. Ready money is called stumpy or stumps. An Americanism, meaning money paid down on the spot— i.e. on the stump of a tree. (See Nail .)
To stir one's stumps. To get on faster; to set upon something expeditiously. The stumps properly are wooden legs fastened to stumps or mutilated limbs. (Icelandic, stumpr.)
“This makes him stirre his stumps.”
The Two Lancashire Lovers (1640).
Outwitted; put down. A term borrowed from the game of cricket.
St. Thomas Aquinas, nicknamed the Dumb Ox by his school—fellows. (1224—1274.)
or Stye. Christ styed up to heaven. Halliwell gives sty = a ladder, and the verb would be to go to heaven, as it were, by Jacob's ladder. The Anglo—Saxon verb stigan means to ascend.
Thought with his winges to stye above the ground.” Spenser: Faerie Queene, bk. i. canto xi. 25.
(3 syl.). Infernal; pertaining to Styx, the fabled river of hell.
“At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, x. 453.
(1 syl.) is from the Latin stylus (an iron pencil for writing on waxen tablets, etc.). The characteristic of a person's writing is called his style. Metaphorically it is applied to composition and speech. Good writing is stylish, and, metaphorically, smartness of dress and deportment is so called.
“Style is the dress of thought, and a well—dressed thought, like a well—dressed man, appears to great advantage.”— Chesterfield: Letter ccxl. p. 361.
Tom Styles or John a Styles, connected with John o'Noakes in actions of ejectment. These mythical gentlemen, like John Doe and Richard Roe, are no longer employed.
“And, like blind Fortune, with a sleight
Convey men's interest and right
From Stiles's pocket into Nokes's.”
Butler: Hudibras, iii. 3.
or Pillar Saints. By far the most celebrated are Simeon the Stylite of Syria, and Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople. Simeon spent thirty—seven years on different pillars, each loftier and narrower than the preceding. The last was sixty—six feet high. He died in 460, aged seventy—two. Daniel lived thirty—three years on a pillar, and was not unfrequently nearly blown from it by the storms from Thrace. He died in 494. Tennyson has a poem on Simeon Stylites.
“I, Simeon of the Pillar by surname.
Stylites among men— I, Simeon,
The watcher on the column till the end.”
The river of Hate, called by Milton “abhorrëd Styx, the flood of burning hate” (Paradise Lost, ii. 577). It was said to flow nine times round the infernal regions. (Greek, stugeo, hate.)
The Styx is a river of Egypt, and the tale is that Isis collected the various parts of OsIris (murdered by Typhon) and buried them in secrecy on the banks of the Styx. The classic fables about the Styx are obviously of Egyptian origin. Charon, as Diodorus informs us, is an Egyptian word for a “ferryman,” and styx means “hate.”
“The Thames reminded him of Styx.”— M. Taine.
Styx, the dread oath of gods.
“For by the black infernal Styx I swear (That dreadful oath which binds the Thunderer) `Tis fixed!” Pope: Thebais of Statius. i.
Suaviter in Modo
(Latin). An inoffensive manner of doing what is to be done. Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re, doing what is to be done with unflinching firmness, but in the most inoffensive manner possible.
Sub Cultro Liquit
He left me in the lurch, like a toad under the harrow, or an ox under the knife.
By auction. When an auction took place among the Romans, it was customary to stick a spear in the ground to give notice of it to the public. In London we hang from the first—floor window a strip of bed—room carpet.
(Latin). Under Jove; in the open air. Jupiter is the deified personification of the upper regions of the air, Juno of the lower regions, Neptune of the waters of the sea, Vesta of the earth, Ceres of the surface soil, Hades of the invisible or under—world.
The sub —lapsarian maintains that God devised His scheme of redemption after the “lapse” or fall of Adam, when He elected some to salvation and left others to run their course. The supra —lapsarian maintains that all this was ordained by God from the foundation of the world, and therefore before the “lapse” or fall of Adam.
(See Rose .)
Wine merchants say the port of 1820 is the true “Sublime Port.” Of course, the play is on the Porta Sublima or Ottoman empire.
Sublime Porte (The). The Ottoman empire. It is the French for Porta Sublima, the “lofty gate.” Constantinople has twelve gates, and near one of these gates is a building with a lofty gateway called “Bab—i—humajun.” In this building resides the vizier, in the same are the offices of all the chief ministers of state, and thence all the imperial edicts are issued. The French phrase has been adopted, because at one time French was the language of European diplomacy.
(The) or The Submerged Tenth. The proletariat, sunk or submerged in poverty; the gutter—class; the waifs and strays of society.
“All but the `submerged' were bent upon merrymaking.”— Society, November 12th, 1892. p. 1273.
“If Mr. Booth has not inaugurated remedial work among the submerged tenth, he has certainly set the fashion of writing and talking about them.”— Newspaper paragraph, October 13th, 1891.
means simply “to lower,” and the idea usually associated with the word is derived from a custom in gladiatorial sports: When a gladiator acknowledged himself vanquished he lowered (submitted) his arms as a sign that he gave in; it then rested with the spectators to let him go or put him to death. If they wished him to live they held their thumbs down, if to be put to death they held their thumbs upwards.
is a writ given to a man commanding him to appear in court, to bear witness or give evidence on a certain trial named in the writ. It is so called because the party summoned is bound to appear sub poena centum librorum (under a penalty of 100). We have the verb to subpoena.
means literally a sediment; that which is on the ground. It is a military term. In battle the Romans drew up their army in three divisions: first, the light—armed troops made the attack, and, if repulsed, the pike—men came up to their aid; if these two were beaten back, the swordsmen (principes) advanced; and if they too were defeated, the reserve went forward. These last were called subsidies because they remained resting on their left knee till their time of action. Metaphorically, money aid is called a subsidy. (Latin, subsideo, to subside.)
Substitution of Service
(The), in Ireland. Instead of serving a process personally, the name of the defaulter was posted on the walls of a Catholic chapel in the parish or barony, or in some other public place.
John Duns Scotus, one of the schoolmen. (1265—1308.)
or Subvolvani. The antagonists of the Privolvans in Samuel Butler's satirical poem called The Elephant in the Moon.
“The gallant Subvolvani rally,
And from their trenches make a sally.”
Verse 83, etc.
The poison used by the Marquise de Brinvilliers in her poisonings, for the benefit of successors. (See Poisoners .)
means undergirded; hence concise, terse. (Latin, uò—cinctus.)
The Jewish feast of tabernacles or tents, which began on the 15th Tisri (September), and lasted eight days. It was kept in remembrance of the sojourn in the wilderness, and was a time of grand rejoicing. Those
who kept it held in their hands sprigs of myrtle, palm—branches, and willowtwigs. The Pentateuch was read on the last eight days.
Suck the Monkey
(See Monkey .)
Sucking Young Patricians
The younger sons of the aristocracy, who sponge on those in power to get places of profit and employment.
To suckle fools and chronicle small beer. Iago says women are of no use but to nurse children and keep the accounts of the household. (Shakespeare: Othello, ii. 1.)
Manger du sucre. Applause given by claqueurs to actors is called sucre (sugar). French actors and actresses make a regular agreement with the manager for these hired applauders. While inferior artists are obliged to accept a mere murmur of approval, others receive a “salvo of bravos,” while those of the highest rôle demand a “furore" or éclat de rire, according to their line of acting, whether tragedy or comedy. Sometimes the manager is bound to give actors “sugar to eat” in the public journals, and the agreement is that the announcement of their name shall be preceded with the words “celebrated,”"admirable,” and so on. The following is part of the agreement of a French actor on renewing his engagement (1869):— “Que cinquante claqueurs au moins feraient manger du sucre dès I'entrée en scène, et que l'actrice rivale serait privée de cet agrèment.” (See Claque .)
(Mrs.). A facetious name for a washwoman or laundress. Of course, the allusion is to soap—suds.
To be in the suds — in ill—temper. According to the song, “Neer a bit of comfort is upon a washing day,” all are put out of gear, and therefore out of temper.
The folk south of Norfolk.
means primarily the hough or pastern of a horse; so called because it bends under, and not over, like the knee—joint. When a horse is lying down and wants to rise on his legs, it is this joint which is brought into action; and when the horse stands on his legs it is these “ankle—joints” which support him. Metaphorically, voters are the pastern joints of a candidate, whereby he is supported.
A suffragan is a titular bishop who is appointed to assist a prelate; and in relation to an archbishop all bishops are suffragans. The archbishop is the horse, and the bishops are his pasterns.
Rhyming slang for “brandy.”
Hâfiz, the great Persian lyrist. —1389.)
Sugar and Honey
Rhyming slang for “money.” (See Chivy .)
Sweet, flattering words. When sugar was first imported into Europe it was a very great dainty. The coarse, vulgar idea now associated with it is from its being cheap and common.
(Latin). Having a distinct character of its own; unlike anything else.
Of one's own right; the state of being able to exercise one's legal rights— i.e. freedom from legal disability.
were formerly buried ignominiously on the high—road, with a stake thrust through their body, and without Christian rites. (Chambers: Encyclopædia, lx. p. 184, col. 1.)
“They buried Ben at four cross roads,
With a stake in his inside.”
Hood: Faithless Nelly Gray.
Tu fais suisse. You live alone; you are a misanthrope. Suisse means porter or door—keeper, hence “Parler au Suisse” (“Ask the porter,” or “Enquire at the porter's lodge"). The door—keeper lives in a lodge near the main entrance, and the solitariness of his position, cut off from the house and servants, gave rise to the phrase. At one time these porters were for the most part Swiss.
Suit (1 syl.). To follow suit. To follow the leader; to do as those do who are taken as your exemplars. The term is from games of cards.
Suit of Dittos
(A). A suit of clothes in which coat, waistcoat, and trousers are all of one cloth.
[starvation ]. The knife which the goddess Hel (q.v. ) is accustomed to use when she sits down to eat from her dish Hunger.
Sultan of Persia
Mahmoud Gazni, founder of the Gaznivide dynasty, was the first to assume in Persia the title of Sultan (A.D. 999).
Sultan's Horse, Deadly
“Byzantians boast that on the clod
Where once the Sultan's horse hath trod
Grows neither grass, nor shrub, nor tree.”
Swift: Pethox the Great.
A beautiful bird, allied to the moorhen, with blue feathers, showing beautiful metallic gloss, generally with red beak and legs.
“Some purple—winged sultana.”
Moore: Paradise and the Peri.
On the top of a diligence. “Caesar crossed the Alps `summa diligentia.' ” This is a famous schoolboy joke, and one of the best of the kind.
The second or autumnal summer, said to last thirty days, begins about the time that the sun enters Scorpio (October 23rd). It is variously called—
(1) St. Martin's summer (L'éte de St. Martin). St. Martin's Day is the 11th November.
“Expect St. Martin's summer, halcyon days.”
Shakespeare: 1 Henry VI., i. 2.
(2) All Saints' summer (All Saints' is the 1st November), or All Hallowen summer.
“Then followed that beautiful season,
Called by the pious Arcadian peasants the summer of All Saints.” Longfellow: Evangeline.
“Farewell. All Hallowen summer.”— Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., i. 2.
(3) St. Luke's little summer (St. Luke's day is 18th October).
(The). Amadeus of Spain.
Peter and John de Carvajal, being condemned to death on circumstantial evidence, appealed without success to Ferdinand IV. of Spain. On their way to execution they declared their innocence, and summoned the king to appear before God within thirty days. Ferdinand was quite well on the thirtieth day, but was found dead in his bed next morning. (See Wishart .)
Summum Bonum The chief excellence; the highest attainable good.
SOCRATES said knowledge is virtue, and ignorance is vice.
ARISTOTLE said that happiness is the greatest good.
BERNARD DE MANDEVILLE and HELVETIUS contended that self—interest is the perfection of the ethical end. BENTHAM and MILL were for the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
HERBERT SPENCER places it in those actions which best tend to the survival of the individual and the race. LETOURNEAU places it in utilitarianism.
or Mule. One that carries baggage. (Italian, soma, a burden.) (See Somagia .)
Laws to limit the expenses of food and dress, or any luxury. The Romans had their sumptuary laws (leges sumptuarii). Such laws have been enacted in many states at various times. Those of England were all repealed by 1 James I., c. 25.
Hebrew, Elohim (God); Greek, helios (the sun); Breton, heol; Latin, sol; German, sonne; Anglo—Saxon, sunne. As a deity, called Adonis by the Phoenicians, and Apollo by the Greeks and Romans.
Sun. Harris, in his Hermes, asserts that all nations ascribe to the sun a masculine and the moon a feminine gender. For confutation see Moon.
City of the Sun. Rhodes was so called because the sun was its tutelar deity. The Colossos of Rhodes was consecrated to the sun. On or Heliopolis, Egypt.
(The), called in Celtic mythology Sunna (fem.), lives in constant dread of being devoured by the wolf Fenris. It is this contest with the wolf to which eclipses are due. According to this mythology, the sun has a beautiful daughter who will one day reign in place of her mother, and the world will be wholly renovated.
Horses of the Sun.
Arvakur, Aslo, and Alsvidur. (Scandinavian mythology.) Bronte (thunder), Eoos (day—break), Ethiops (flashing), Ethon (fiery), Erythreos (red—producers), Philoge'a (earth—loving), Pyrois (fiery). All of them “breathe fire from their nostrils.” (Greek and Latin mythology.)
The horses of Aurora are Abrax and Phaeton. (See Horse.)
More worship the rising than the setting sun, said Pompey; meaning that more persons pay honour to ascendant than to fallen greatness. The allusion is, of course, to the Persian fire—worshippers.
Heaven cannot support two suns, nor earth two masters. So said Alexander the Great when Darius (before the battle of Arbela) sent to offer terms of peace. Beautifully imitated by Shakespeare:—
“Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere;
Nor can one England brook a double reign,
Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales.”
1 Henry IV., v. 4.
Here lies a she—sun, and a he moon there (Donne). Epithalamium on the marriage of Lady Elizabeth, daughter of James I., with Frederick, elector palatine. It was through this unfortunate princess, called “Queen of Bohemia” and “Queen of Hearts,” that the family of Brunswick succeeded to the British throne. Some say that Lord Craven married (secretly) the “fair widow.”
The fanciful name given by the ancient Irish to their national banner.
“At once, like a sun—burst, her banner unfurled.”
Thomas Moore: Irish Melodies, No. 6.
In compliment to the illomened House of York. The Sun Inn, Westminster, is the badge of Richard
Sun and Moon Falling By the old heralds the arms of royal houses were not emblazoned by colours, but by sun, moon, and stars. Thus, instead of or (gold), a royal coat has the sun; instead of argent (silver), the moon; instead of the other five heraldic colours, one of the other five ancient planets. In connection with this idea, read Matt. xxiv. 29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”
(See Planets .)
Sun in one's Eyes
(To have the). To be tipsy.
Sun of Righteousness
Jesus Christ. (Mal. iv. 3.)
Important battles fought on Sunday. Barnet, Bull Run, Carberry Hill, Friedland, Fuentes d'Onoro, Jarnac, THE GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE (Lord Howe's great victory), Killiecrankie, Kunersdorf, Leipsig, Lepanto, Lincoln, Newbury, RAMILLIES, Ravenna, Saarbruck (the “baptism of fire"), SEDAN, Seringapatam, Stony Creek, of the Thirty, Toulouse, Towton, Vienna, Vimiera, WATERLOO, WORCESTER.
One who observes the ordinances of religion, and goes to church on a Sunday, but is worldly, grasping, indifferently honest, and not “too moral” the following six days.
When three Sundays come together. (See Never .)
the Drosera, which is from the Greek drosos, dew. So called from the dew—like drops which rest on the hairy fringes of the leaves.
“By the lone fountain's secret bed,
Where human footsteps rarely tread;
Mid the wild moor or silent glen,
The sundew blooms unseen by men,
And, ere the summer's sun can rise,
Drinks the pure water of the skies.”
The Wild Garland.
(The). Clytie, a waternymph, was in love with Apollo, but meeting no return, she died and was changed into a sunflower, which still turns to the sun through its daily course.
“The sunflower turns on the god, when lie sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.”
T. Moore: (Believe me if all those endearing young charms).
“I will not have the mad Clytie,
Whose head is turned by the sun.”
What we call a sunflower is the Helianthus, so called, not because it follows the sun, but because it resembles a picture sun. A bed of these flowers will turn in every direction, regardless of the sun. The Turnsole is the Heliotropium, quite another order of plants.
Sunna or Sonna. The Oral Law, or the precepts of Mahomet not contained in the Koran, collected into a volume. Similar to the Jewish Mishna, which is the supplement of the Pentateuch. (Arabic, sunna, custom, rule of conduct.)
(2 syl.). Orthodox Mahometans, who consider the Sunna or Oral Law as binding as the Koran. They wear white turbans. The heterodox Moslems are called Shiites or Shiahs (q.v.).
(Latin). In one's own right.
(Latin). By one's own strength or personal exertions.
In theatrical parlance, “supers” means supernumeraries, or persons employed to make up crowds, processions, dancing or singing choirs, messengers, etc., where little or no speaking is needed.
(5 syl.). Having an elevated eyebrow; hence contemptuous, haughty. (Latin, super—cilium.)
The very best wine. The word is Low Latin for “upon the nail,” meaning that the wine is so good the drinker leaves only enough in his glass to make a bead on his nail. The French say of first—class wine, “It is fit to make a ruby on the nail” (faire rubis sur l'ongle ), referring to the residue left which is only sufficient to make a single drop on the nail. Tom Nash says, “After a man has drunk his glass, it is usual, in the North, to turn the bottom of the cup upside down, and let a drop fall upon the thumb—nail. If the drop rolls off, the drinker is obliged to fill and drink again.” Bishop Hall alludes to the same custom: “The Duke Tenterbelly exclaims `Let never this goodly—formed goblet of wine go jovially through me; ' and then he set it to his mouth, stole it off every drop, save a little remainder, which he was by custom to set upon his thumb—nail and lick off.”
“ `Tis here! the supernaculuin! twenty years
Of age, if't is a day.” Byron: Werner, i. 1.
Supernaculum. Entirely. To drink supernaculum is to leave no heel—taps; to drink so as to leave just enough not to roll off one's thumb—nail if poured upon it, but only to remain there as a wine—bead.
“This is after the fashion of Switzerland. Clear Off neat, supernaculum.”— Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel, bk. i. 5.
“Their jests were supernaculum,
I snatched the rubies from each thumb,
And in this crystal have them here.
Perhaps you'll like it more than beer.”
King: Orpheus and Eurydice.
That which survives when its companions are dead. (Latin, supersto.) Those who escaped in battle were called superstites. Superstition is religious credulity, or that religion which remains when real religion is dead.
Paul said to the Athenians that he perceived they were “too superstitious.”— Acts x v. 22.Supped all his Porridge (He has). Eaten his last meal; he is dead.
Supper of Trimalchio
(A). A supper for gourmands of the upper classes in the reign of Nero. It forms a section of Petronii Arbitri Satyricon.
Supplication This word has greatly changed its original meaning. The Romans used it for a thanksgiving after a signal victory (Livy, iii. 63). (“His rebus gestis, supplicatio a senatu decreta est" [Caesar: Bell. Gall.,
ii.].) The word means the act of folding the knees (sub—plico ). We now use the word for begging or entreating something.
Sure as Demoivre
Abraham Demoivre, author of The Doctrine of Chances, or Method of Calculating the Probabilities of Events at Play, was proverbially accurate in his calculations. It was Pope who said, “Sure as Demoivre, without rule or line.”
Sure as a gun, as fate, as death and taxes, etc. (See Similes.)
“Surest Way to Peace is a constant Preparation for War.”
Fox, afterwards Bishop of Hereford, to Henry
VIII. (In Latin, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”)
One who takes the place of another, a substitute, a hostage.
Cordial water to cure surfeits.
“Water that cures surfeits. A little cold distilled poppywater is the true surfeit water.”— Locke.
is the Greek form of the Latin word manufacturer. The former is cheir—ergein (to work with the hand), and the latter manu—facere (to do or make with the hand).
Surloin of Beef
(See Sirloin. )
Yellow hair. (Irish, surley buie.)
(2 syl.). The over—name; either the name written over the Christian name, or given over and above it; an additional name. For a long time persons had no family name, but only one, and that a personal name. Surnames are not traced farther back than the latter part of the tenth century.
Surnames of places.
In ford, in ham, and ley, and ton. The most of English surnames run.
(2 syl.). Over the fur robe. (Latin, super—pellicium.) The clerical robe worn over the bachelor's ordinary dress, which was anciently made of sheepskin. The ancient Celts and Germans also wore a garment occasionally over their fur skins.
Durandus says: “The garments of the Jewish priesthood were girt tight about them, to signify the bondage of the law; but the surplice of the Christian priest is loose, to signify the freedom of the gospel.”
Anglo—Saxon, Suth—rea (south of the river— i.e. the Thames), or Suth—rie (south kingdom).
Saddle White Surrey for the field tomorrow (Shakespeare: Richard III.). Surrey is the Syrian horse, as Roan Barbary in Richard II. is the Barbary horse or barb. (See Horse.)
or Surtur. The guardian of Muspelheim, who keeps watch day and night with a flaming sword. At the end of the world he will hurl fire from his hand and burn up both heaven and earth. (Scandinavian mythology.)
(St.). The patron saint who saves from infamy and reproach. This is from her fiery trial recorded in the tale of Susannah and the Elders.
This wife of Joiachim, being accused of adultery, was condemned to death by the Jewish elders; but Daniel proved her innocence, and turned the tables on her accusers, who were put to death instead. (The Apocrypha.)
The territory of the South Saxons (Suth—Seaxe).
Sutor Ne sutor, etc. (See Cobbler. )
Stick to the cow. Boswell, one night sitting in the pit of Covent Garden theatre with his friend Dr. Blair, gave an extempore imitation of a cow, which the house applauded. He then ventured another imitation, but failed, whereupon the doctor advised him in future to “stick to the cow.”
(Indian). A pure and model wife (Sanskrit, sati, chaste, pare), a widow who immolates herself on the funeral pile of her deceased husband. Abolished by law in British India.
The dashboard placed by the gods before the sun—car to prevent the earth from being burnt up. The word means “cooling.” (Scandinavian mythology.)
A contemptuous synonym for Protestant used by the Roman Catholics. Cardinal Cullen, in 1869, gave notice that he would deprive of the sacrament all parents who sent their children to be taught in mixed Model schools, where they were associated with “Presbyterians, Socinians, Arians, and Swaddlers.” (See Times, September 4, 1869.)
The origin of the term is as follows:—
“It happened that Cennick, preaching on Christmas Day, took for his text these words from St. Luke's Gospel: `And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.' A Catholic who was present, and to whom the language of Scripture was a novelty, thought this so ridiculous that he called the preacher a swaddler in derision, and this unmeaning word became a nickname for
`Protestant,' and had all the effect of the most opprobrious appellation.” (Southey: Life of Wesley, ii. 153.)
Luggage, knapsack, a bundle; also food carried about one. Swag—shop, a store of minor, or cheap—priced goods. (Scotch, sweg.)
“[Palliser] began to retrace the way by which he had fled and, descending carefully to the spot where he had thrown off his swag, found it as he had left it.”— Watson: The Web of the Spider. chap. v.
Plenty. Rhyming slang: A bag—full means plenty, and by omitting full, “bag” remains to rhyme with swag. (See Chivy. )
Bluster; noisy boasting.
(See Swanimote. )
According to Scandinavian tradition, this bird hovered over the cross of our Lord, crying “Svala! svala!” (Console! console!) whence it was called svalow (the bird of consolation). (See Christian Traditions. )
The swallow is said to bring home from the sea—shore a stone which gives sight to her fledglings.
“Seeking with eager eyes that wondrous stone which the swallow
Brings from the shore of the sea to restore the sight of its fledglings.” Longfellow: Evangeline, part i.
It is lucky for a swallow to build about one's house. This is a Roman superstition. Ælian says that the swallow was sacred to the Penate or household gods, and therefore to injure one would be to bring wrath upon your own house.
It is unlucky to kill a swallow.
“Perhaps you failed in your foreseeing skill,
For swallows are unlucky birds to kill.”
Dryden: Hind and Panther, part iii.
One swallow does not make spring. You are not to suppose winter is past because you have seen a swallow; nor that the troubles of life are over because you have surmounted one difficulty.
Fionnuala, daughter of Lir, was transformed into a swan, and condemned to wander for many hundred years over the lakes and rivers of Ireland till the introduction of Christianity into that island. T. Moore has a poem entitled The Song of Fionnuala. (Irish Melodies, No. 11.)
The male swan is called a cob, the female a pen; a young swan is called a cygnet. Swan. Ermaen says of the Cygnus otor, “This bird, when wounded, pours forth its last breath in notes most
beautifully clear and loud.” (Travels in Siberia, translated by Cooley, vol. ii.) Emilia says, “I will play the swan, and die in music.” (Othello, v. 2.)
“ `What is that, mother?' `The swan, my love.
He is floating down to his native grove ...
Death darkens his eyes and unplumes his wings, Yet the sweetest song is the last he sings.
Live so, my son, that when death shall come,
Swan—like and sweet, it may waft thee home.' “ Dr. G. Doane.
Swan. Mr. Nicol says of the Cygnus musicus that its note resembles the tones of a violin, though somewhat higher. Each note occurs after a long interval. The music presages a thaw in Iceland, and hence one of its great charms.
Swan. A nickname for a blackamoor. (See Lucus A Non Lucendo.)
“Ethiopem vocamus cygnum.”
Juvenal, viii. 32.
A black swan. A curiosity, a rara avis. The expression is borrowed from the well known verse— “Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cycno.”
“ `What! is it my rara avis, my black swan?' ”— Sir Walter Scott: The Antiquary.
Swan, a public—house sign, like the peacock and pheasant, was an emblem of the parade of chivalry. Every knight chose one of these birds, which was associated in his oath with God, the Virgin, or his
lady—love. Hence their use as public—house signs.
The White Swan, a public—house sign, is in compliment to Anne of Cleves, descended from the Knight of the Swan.
Swan with Two Necks. A corruption of “Swan with Two Nicks.” The Vintners' Company mark their swans with two nicks in the beak.
N.B. Royal swans are marked with five nicks— two lengthwise, and three across the bill.
A corruption of Swan Upping— that is, taking the swans up the River Thames for the purpose of marking them. (See above.)
Swan of Avon
(The), or Sweet Swan of Avon. Shakespeare is so called by Ben Jonson because his home was on the Avon. (1564—1616.)
Swan of Cambray
(The). Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambray, and author of Telemachus. (1651—1715.)
Swan of Mantua
(The), or The Mantuan Swan. Virgil, who was born at Mantua. (B. C. 70—29.)
Swan of Meander
(The). Homer, who lived on the banks of the Meander, in Asia Minor. (Fl. B.C. 950.)
Swan of Padua
(The). Count Francesco Algarotti. (1712—1764.)
Swans ... Geese
All your swans are geese. All your fine promises or expectations have proved fallacious. “Hope told a flattering tale.” The converse, All your geese are swans, means all your children are paragons, and whatever you do is in your own eyes superlative work.
Swanimote A court held thrice a year before forest verderers by the steward of the court. So called because the swans or swains were the jurymen. (Swans, swans, or sweins, freeholders; Anglo—Saxon, swan or Swein, a herdsman, shepherd, youth; our swain.)
This court was incident to a forest, as the court of pie—powder or piepoudre to a fair.
The paradise of Indra, and also of certain deified mortals, who rest there under the shade of the five wonderful trees, drink the nectar of immortality called Amrita, and dance with the heavenly nymphs.
A ruffian; a swaggerer. “From swashing,” says Fuller, “and making a noise on the buckler.” The sword—players used to “swash” or tap their shield, as fencers tap their foot upon the ground when they attack. (Worthies of England.) (A.D. 1662.) (See Swinge—Buckler. )
“A bravo, a swashbuckler, one that for money and good cheere will follow any man to defend him; but if any danger come, he runs away the first, and leaves him in the lurch.”— Florio.
now means to take an oath, but the primitive sense is merely to aver or affirm; when to affirm on oath was meant, the word oath was appended, as “I swear by oath.” Shakespeare uses the word frequently in its primitive sense; thus Othello says of Desdemona—
“She swore, in faith, `twas strange, `twas passing strange.”
Othello, i. 3.
Swear Black is White
(To). To swear to any falsehood.
Swear by my Sword
(Hamlet, i. 5)— that is, “by the cross on the hilt of my sword.” Again in Winter's Tale, “Swear by this sword thou wilt perform my bidding” (ii. 3). Holinshed says, “Warwick kisses the cross of King Edward's sword, as it were a view to his promise,” and Decker says, “He has sworn to me on the cross of his pure Toledo” (Old Fortunatus).
To sweat a client. To make him bleed; to fleece him.
To sweat coin. To subtract part of the silver or gold by friction, but not to such an amount as to render the coin useless as a legal tender. The French use suer in the same sense, as “Suer son argent,” to sweat his money by usury. “Vous faites suer le bonhomme— tel est votre dire quand vous le pillez.” (Harangue du Capitaine la Carbonnade. ) (1615.)
appeared in England about a century and a half after the Black Death. (1485.) It broke out amongst the soldiers of Richmond's army, after the battle of Bosworth Field, and lasted five weeks. It was a violent inflammatory fever, without boils or ulcers. Between 1485 and 1529 there were five outbreaks of this pest in England, the first four being confined to England and France; but the fifth spread over Germany, Turkey, and Austria.
called by themselves “the New Jerusalem Church” (Rev. xxi. 2). Believers in the doctrines taught by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688—1772). Their views of salvation, inspiration of Scripture, and a future state, differ widely from those of other Christians; and as to the Trinity, they believe it to be centred in the person of Jesus Christ (Col. ii. 9). (Supplied by the Auxiliary New Church Missionary Society.)
Jenny Lind (Madame Goldschmidt), a native of Stockholm, and previous to her marriage a public singer. (1821—1886.)
To sweep the threshold. To announce to all the world that the woman of the house is paramount. When the procession called “Skimmington” passed any house where the woman was dominant, each one gave
the threshold a sweep with a broom or bunch of twigs. (See Skimmington. )
(A). A race in which stakes are made by the owners of horses engaged, to be awarded to the winner or other horse in the race. In all sweepstakes entrance money has to be paid to the race fund. (See Plate, Selling—Race, Handicap, Weight—For—Age Race. )
If the horse runs, the full stake must be paid; but if it is withdrawn, a forfeit only is imposed. Also a gambling arrangement by which the successful bettor sweeps up or carries off all the other stakes. It is sometimes applied to a game of cards in which one of the players may win all the tricks or all the stakes.
as sugar. (See Similes. )
Sweet Singer of Israel
King David (B.C. 1074—1001).
A puritanical sect in the reign of Charles II., etc., common in Edinburgh. They burnt all storybooks, ballads, romances, etc., denounced all unchaste words and actions, and even the printed Bible.
Backers, votes. Coriolanus speaks with contempt of the sweet voices of the Roman mob voters.
A lover, male or female.
The better—dressed thieves and pickpockets. A “swell” is a person showily dressed; one who puffs himself out beyond his proper dimensions, like the frog in the fable.
The twelfth Imperial dynasty of China, founded by Yang—kien, Prince of Swi, A.D. 587. He assumed the name of Wen—tee (King Wen).
as lightning, as the wind, as an arrow, etc. (See Similes. )
(In the). In society. The upper crust of society. An angler's phrase. A lot of fish gathered together is called a swim, and when an angler can pitch his hook in such a place he is said to be “in a good swim.” To know persons in the swim is to know society folk, who always congregate together.
“Cottontree, who knows nearly everybody in the swim of European society ... informs him that Lucy Annerley is the daughter of Sir Jonas Stevens.”— A.C. Gunter: Mr. Potter of Texas, book iii. chap. xiv.
To cheat; from the German schwindeln, to totter. It originally meant those artifices employed by a tradesman to prop up his credit when it began to totter, in order to prevent or defer bankruptcy.
Boar or brawn, the sire; sow, the dam; sucklings, the new—born pigs. A castrated boar—pig is called a hog or shot. Young pigs for the butcher are called porkers.
A sow—pig after her first litter becomes a brood—sow, and her whole stock of pigs cast at a birth is called a litter or farrow of pigs.
(Captain). The name assumed by certain persons who sent threatening letters to those who used threshing machines: (1830—1833.) The tenor of these letters was as follows:— “Sir, if you do not lay by your threshing machine, you will hear from Swing.”
“Excesses of the Luddites and Swing.”— The Times.
A roisterer, a rake. The continuation of Stow's Annals tells us that the “blades” of London used to assemble in West Smith—field with sword and buckler, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, on high days and holidays, for mock fights called “bragging” fights. They swashed and swinged their bucklers with much show of fury, “but seldome was any man hurt.” (See Swashbuckler. )
“There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Barnes, and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele, a Cotswold man; you had not four such swinge—bucklers in all the
Inns—of—court; and, I may say to you, we knew where the bona—robas were.”— Shakespeare: 2 Henry IV., iii. 2.
The nickname of a Swiss is “Colin Tampon” (q.v.).
No money, no Swiss— i.e. no servant. The Swiss have ever been the mercenaries of Europe— willing to serve anyone for pay. The same was said of the ancient Carians. In the hotels of Paris this notice is common: “Demandez [or Parlez] au Suisse ” (Speak to the porter).
(The). Music by Moscheles.
Swiss Family Robinson
An abridged translation of a German tale by Joachim Heinrich Kampe, tutor to Baron Humboldt.
(St.). If it rains on St. Swithin's day (15th July), there will be rain for forty days. (See Gervais. )
“St. Swithin's day, gif ye do rain, for forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin's day, an ye be fair, for forty days `twill rain nae mair.”
The French have two similar proverbs— “S'il pleut le jour de St. Médan ” (8th June), “il pleut quarante jours plus tard; “ and “S'il pleut le jour de St. Gervais ” (19th June), “il pleut quarante jours après. “
The legend is that St. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester, who died 862, desired to be buried in the church—yard of the minster, that the “sweet rain of heaven might fall upon his grave.” At canonisation the monks thought to honour the saint by removing his body into the choir, and fixed July 15th for the ceremony; but it rained day after day for forty days, so that the monks saw the saints were averse to their project, and wisely abandoned it. The St. Swithin of Scotland is St. Martin of Bouillons. The rainy saint in Flanders is St. Godeliéve; in Germany, the Seven Sleepers.
Swiss mercenaries. The king in Hamlet says, “Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door"
Owners' names for their swords. (1) AGRICANE'S was called Tranchera. Afterwards BRANDEMART'S. (2) ALI'S sword was Zulfagar. (3) ANTONY'S was Philippan, so named from the battle of Philippi. (Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, ii.
4.) (4) ARTEGAL'S was called Chrysaor. (Spenser: Faërie Queene. ) (5) ARTHUR'S was called Escalibar, Excalibar, or Caliburn; given to him by the Lady of the Lake. (6) SIR BEVIS'S OF HAMPTOUN was called Morglay.
(7) BITEROLF'S was called Schrit.
(8) BRAGGADOCHIO'S was called Sanglamore. (Faërie Queene.)
(9) CÆSAR'S was called Crocea Mors (yellow death). (See Commentaries, bk. iv. 4.)
“ `Erat nomen gladio `Crocea Mors,' qua nullus eyadebat vivus qui eo vulnerabatur.”— Geoffrey of Monmouth, iv. 4.
(10) CHARLEMAGNE'S were Joyeuse or Fusberta Joyosa, and Flamberge; both made by Galas. (11) THE CID'S was called Colada; the sword Tizona was taken by him from King Bucar.
(12) CLOSAMONT'S was called Hauteclaire, made by Galas.
(13) DIETRICH'S was Nagelring.
(14) DOOLIN'S OF MAYENCE was called Merveilleuse (wonderful).
(15) ECK'S was called Sachu.
(16) EDWARD THE CONFESSOR'S was called Curtana (the cutter), a blunt sword of state carried before the sovereigns of England at their coronation, emblematical of mercy.
(17) ENGLISH KINGS' (the ancient) was called Curtana.
(18) FRITHIOF'S was called Angurvddel (stream of anguish).
(19) HACO I.'S OF NORWAY was called Quern—biter (foot—breadth).
(20) HIEME'S was called Blutgang. (21) HILDEBRAND'S was Brinnig.
(22) IRING'S was called Waskë.
(23) KOLL, THE THRALLS, Greysteel.
(24) LAUNCELOT OF THE LAKE'S, Aroundight.
(25) MAHOMET'S were called Dhu' l Fakar (the trenchant), a scimitar; Al Battar (the beater); Medham (the keen); Halef (the deadly).
(26) MAUGIS'S or MALAGIGI'S was called Flamberge or Floberge. He gave it to his cousin Rinaldo. It was made by Wieland.
(27) OGIER THE DANE'S, Courtain and Sauvagine, both made by Munifican.
“He [Ogier] drew Courtain, his sword, out of its sheath.”— Morris: Earthly Paradise, 634.
(28) OLIVER'S was Haute—Claire. (29) ORLANDO'S was called Durindana or Durindan, which once belonged to Hector, and is said to be still preserved at Rocamadour, in France.
(30) OTUEL'S was Corrougue (2 syl.).
(31) RINALDO'S was called Fusberta or Flamberge (2 syl.). (See above, Maugis.)
(32) ROGERO'S was called Balisarda. It was made by a sorceress.
(33) ROLAND'S was called Durandal, made by Munifican. This is the French version of Orlando and Durandana.
(34) SIEGFRIED'S was called Balmung, in the Nibelungen—Lied. It was made by Wieland. Also Gram. Mimung was lent to him by Wittich.
(35) SINTRAM'S was called Welsung.
(36) STRONG—I'—THE— ARM'S, Baptism, Florence, and Graban, by' Ansias.
(37) THORALF SKOLINSON'S— i.e. Thoralf the Strong, of Norway— was called Quern—biter (foot—breadth). (38) WIELAND. The swords made by the divine blacksmith were Flamberge and Balmung. Sword—makers
ANSIAS, GALAS, and MUNIFICAN made three swords each, and each sword took three years a—making.
ANSIAS. The three swords made by this cutler were Baptism, Florence, and Graban, all made for Strong—i'—the—Arm.
GALAS. The three swords made by this cutler were Flamberge (2 syl.) and Joyeuse for Charlemagne; and Hauteclaire for Closamont.
MUNIFICAN. The three swords made by this cutler were Durandal, for Roland; Sauvagins and Courtain for Ogier the Dane.
WIELAND (“the divine blacksmith") also made two famous swords— viz. Flamberge, for Maugis; and Balmung, for Siegfried.
N.B. Oliver's sword, called Glorious, hacked all the nine swords of Ansias, Galas, and Munifican “a foot
from the pommel.” (Croquemitaine.)
An alphabetical list of the famous swords: — Al Battar (the beater), one of Mahomet's swords. Angurva (stream of anguish), Frithiof's sword. Aroundight (? Æron—diht), the sword of Launcelot of the Lake. Balisarda, Rogero's sword, made by a sorceress.
Balmung, one of the swords of Siegfried, made by Wieland, “the divine blacksmith.” Baptism, one of the swords of Strong—i'—the—Arm, which took Ansias three years to make. Blutgang (blood—fetcher), Hieme's sword.
Brinnig (flaming), Hildebrand's sword. Caliburn, Arthur's sword.
Chrysaor (sword of gold, i.e. as good as gold). Artegal's sword. Colada, the Cid's sword.
Corrougue, Otuel's sword. Courtain (the short sword), one of the swords of Ogier the Dane, which took Munifican three years to make. Crocea Mors (yellow death), Caesar's sword.
Curtana (? the short sword). (See Edward the Confessor and English kings. Dhu' l Fakâr (the trenchant), Mahomet's scimitar.
Durandal, same as Durandan. Roland's sword, which took Munifican three years to make. Durandan or Durandana (the inflexible), Orlando's sword.
Escalibar or Excalibar, the sword of king Arthur. (Ex cal[ce]liber[are]. to liberate from the stone.) (See below, Sword Excalibar.)
Flamberge or Floberge (2 syl., the flame—cutter), one of Charlemagne's swords, and also the sword of Rinaldo, which took Gallas three years to make.
Flamborge, the aword of Maugis or Malagigi, made by Wieland, “the divine blacksmith.” Florence, one of the swords of Strong—i'—the—Arm, which took Ansias three years to make. Fusberta Joyosa, another name for Joyeuse (q.v.).
Glorious, Oliver's sword, which hacked to pieces the nine swords made by Ansias, Galas, and Munifican. Graban (the grave—digger), one of the swords of Strong—i'—the—Arm, which took Ansias three years to make,
Gram (grief), one of the swords of Siegfried.
Greysteel, the sword of Koll the Thrall.
Haute—claire (2 syl., very bright), both Closamont's and Oliver's swords were so called. Closamont's sword took Gallas three years to make.
Halef (the deadly), one of Mahomet's swords
Joyeuse (2 syl., joyous), one of Charlemagne's swords, which took Gallas three years to make. Mandousian swords (q.v.).
Medham (the keen), one of Mahomet's swords Merveilleuse (the marvellous), Doolin's sword. Mimung, the sword that Wittich lent Siegfried. Morglay, i.e. mor—glaif (big glaive), Sir Bevis's sword. Nagelring (nail—ring). Dietrich's sword.
Philippan. The sword of Antony, one of the triumvirs. Quern—biter (a foot—breadth), both Haco I. and Thoralf Skolinson had a sword so called. Sacho, Eck's sword.
Sansamha Haroun—al—Raschid's sword.
Sanglamore (the big bloody glaive), Braggadochip's sword. Sauvagine (s syl., the relentless), one of the swords of Ogier the Dane, which took Munifican three years to make.
Schrit or Schritt (? the lopper), Biterolf's sword. Tizona (the poker), King Bucar's sword. (See Cid.)
Tranchera (the trenchant), Agricane's sword. Waske (2 syl.), Iring's sword.
Welsung, both Dietlieb and Sintram had a sword so called. Zuflagar, Ali's sword.
(The). At the death of Uter Pendragon there were many claimants to the crown; they were all ordered to assemble in “the great church of London,” on Christmas Eve, and found a sword stuck in a stone and anvil with this inscription: “He who can draw forth this sword, the same is to be king.” The knights tried to pull it out, but were unable. One day, when a tournament was held, young Arthur wanted a sword and took this one, not knowing it was a charmed instrument, whereupon he was universally acknowledged to be the God—elected king. This was the sword of Excalibar. (History of Prince Arthur, i. 3.)
The enchanted sword (in Amadis of Gaul). Whoever drew this sword from a rock was to gain access to a subterranean treasure. (Cap. cxxx. See also caps. lxxii. and xcix.)
Sword of God
(The). Khaled Ibn al Waled was so called for his prowess at the battle of Muta.
Sword of Rome
(The). Marcellus, who opposed Hannibal. (B.C. 216—214.)
Sword of the Spirit
(The). The Word of God (Eph. vi. 17).
(phrases and proverbs).
At swords' point. In deadly hostility, ready to fight each other with swords. Poke not fire with a sword. This was a precept of Pythagoras, meaning add not fuel to fire, or do not irritate an angry man by sharp words which will only increase his rage. (See Iamblichus Protreptics, symbol ix.)
To put to the sword. To slay.
Your tongue is a double—edged sword. You first say one thing and then the contrary; your argument cuts both ways. The allusion is to the double—edged sword out of the mouth of the Son of Man— one edge to condemn, and the other to save. (Rev. i. 16.)
Yours is a Delphic sword— it cuts both ways. Erasmus says a Delphic sword is that which accommodates itself to the pro or con. of a subject. The reference is to the double meanings of the Delphic oracles, called in Greek Delphike muchaira.
Sword and Cloak Plays
So Calderon called topical or modern comedies, because the actors wore cloaks and swords (worn by gentlemen of the period) instead of heraldic, antique, or dramatico—historic dresses, worn in tragedy
Gaming ran high at Bath, and frequently led to disputes and resort to the sword, then generally carried by well—dressed men. Swords were therefore prohibited by Nash in the public rooms; still they were worn in the streets, when Nash, in consequence of a duel fought by torchlight by two notorious gamesters, made the rule absolute— “That no swords should on any account be worn in Bath.”
“in the Old English law, were persons who by mutual oath covenanted to share each other's fortune.” (Burrill.)
Sworn at Highgate (See Highgate. )
(3 syl.). A self—indulgent person; a wanton. The inhabitants of Sybaris, in South Italy, were proverbial for their luxurious living and self—indulgence. A tale is told by Seneca of a Sybarite who complained that he could not rest comfortably at night, and being asked why, replied, “He found a rose—leaf doubled under him, and it hurt him.” (See Ripaille. )
“All is calm as would delight the heart
Of Sybarite of old.”
Thomson: Castle of Indolence, canto i.
Sybarite. The Sybarites taught their horses to dance to the sound of a pipe. When the Crotonians marched against Sybaris they began to play on their pipes, whereupon all the Sybarite horses drawn out in array before the town began to dance, disorder soon prevailed in the ranks, and the victory was quick and easy.
and Sycomore. Sycamore is the plane—tree of the maple family (Acer pseudo—platanus, or greater maple). The sycomore is the Egyptian fig—tree (Greek, sukomoros, sukos, a fig). The tree into which Zacchæus climbed (Luke xix. 4) to see Christ pass is wrongly called a sycamore or maple, as it was the sycomore or wild fig. The French have translated the word correctly— “[Il] montait sur un sycomore pour le voir. “
from the Greek suko—phantes, “fig—blabbers.” The men of Athens passed a law forbidding the exportation of figs; the law was little more than a dead letter, but there were always found mean fellows who, for their own private ends, impeached those who violated it; hence sycophant came to signify first a government toady, and then a toady generally.
“I here use `sycophant' in its original sense, as a wretch who flatters the prevailing party by informing against his neighbours, under pretence that they are exporters of prohibited flgs.”— Coleridge: Biography, vol. iii. chap. x. p. 286.
A witch, whose son was Caliban. (Shakespeare: The Tempest. )
A granite so called from Syene, in Egypt, its great quarry.
The five hexameter verses which contain the symbolic names of all the different syllogistic figures are as follow:—
“Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferioque, prioris.
Cesare, Camestres, Festino, Baroko, secundoe. Tertia, Darapti, Disamis, Datisi, Felapton,
Bokardo, Ferison, habet. Quarta insuper addit
Bramantip, Camenes, Dimaris, Fesapo, Fresison.
N.B. The vowel
A universal affirmative.
E universal negative.
I particular affirmative.
O particular negative.
Taking the first line as the standard, the initial letters of all the words below it show to which standard the syllogism is to be reduced; thus, Baroko is to be reduced to “Barbara,” Cesare to “Celarent,” and so on.
Sylphs according to Middle Age belief, are the elemental spirits of air; so named by the Rosicrucians and Cabalists, from the Greek silphe (a butterfly or moth). (See Gnomes. )
Sylphs. Any mortal who has preserved inviolate chastity may enjoy intimate familiarity with these gentle spirits. All coquettes at death become sylphs, “and sport and flutter in the fields of air.”
“Whoever, fair and chaste,
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embraced.” Pope: Rape of the Lock, i.
Sylvam Lignum Ferre
(In). To carry coals to Newcastle. The French say, “Porter de l'eau à la rivière. ” To do a work of supererogation; to paint the lily, or add another perfume to the violet, or perform any other superfluous or ridiculous excess.
(St.). The pope who converted Constantine the Great and his mother by “the miracle of restoring to life a dead ox.” The ox was killed by a magician for a trial of skill, and he who restored it to life was to be accounted the servant of the true God. This tale is manifestly an imitation of the Bible story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. (l Kings xviii.)
Supposed to be Coil the Good, a contemporary of Ausonius, who often mentions him; but not even the titles of his works are known. He was a British writer.
originally meant the corresponding part of a tally, ticket, or coin cut in twain. The person who presented the piece which fitted showed a “symbol” of his right to what he claimed. (Greek, sun ballo, to put or cast together.)
Symbols of Saints
Agatha Carrying her breasts in a dish.
Agathon A book and crozier.
Agnes A lamb at her side.
Anastasia A palm branch.
Andrew A saltire cross.
Anne A book in her hand.
Anthony A tau cross, with a bell at the end, and a pig by his side.
Apollonia A tooth and palm branch. She is applied to by those who suffer from toothache.
Asaph and Aydan A crozier.
Barbara A book and palm branch.
Barnabas A staff in one hand and an open book in the other; or a rake.
Bartholomew A knife; ora processional cross.
Blaise Iron combs, with which his body was torn to pieces.
Bridget A crozier and book.
Catherine An inverted sword, or large wheel.
Cecilia Playing on a harp or organ.
Christopher A gigantic figure carrying Christ over a river.
Clare A palm branch.
Clement A papal crown, or an anchor. He was drowned with an anchor tied round his neck; also a pot.
Crispin and Crispian Two shoemakers at work.
Cuthbert St. Osbald's head in his hand.
David A leek, in commemoration of his victory over the Saxons.
Holding his mitred head in his hand.
Carrying a basket of fruit.
Edward the Confessor
Crowned with a nimbus, and holding a sceptre.
St. John and the lamb at her feet.
Her head in her hand, and a flower sprouting out of her neck.
Francis A seraph inflicting the five wounds of Christ; or a lily on a trampled globe.
Arrayed in a long robe, praying and holding his beads in one hand.
A flower—pot full of lilies between him and the Virgin.
Mounted on horseback, and transflxing a dragon.
A hind, with its head in the saint's lap.
The monogram I.H.S. on the breast or in the sky, circled with a glory. Fairhold says
the mystery of the Trinity was thus revealed to him.
James the Greater
A pilgrim's staff; or a scallop shell.
James the Less A fuller's pole. He was killed by
Simon the fuller.
John Baptist A camel—hair garment, small rude cross,
and a lamb at his feet.
John Evangelist A chalice, out of which a dragon or
serpent is issuing, and an open book; or a young
man with an eagle in the background.
(Ezekiel vii. 1—10.)
A blue hat, and studying a large folio volume,
With a club or lance.
Ferrying travellers across a stream.
Lawrence A book and gridiron.
A king kneeling, with the arms of France
at his feet; a bishop blessing him, and a dove
descending on his head.
A crozier and hammer. He is the patron saint of smiths.
With a short staff in her hand, and the devil behind her; or with eyes in a dish.
Sitting at a reading—desk, beneath which appears an ox's head; or pictorially engaged
upon a Bambino. (Ezekiel vii. 1—10.)
Margaret Treading on a dragon, or piercing it with
A man seated writing, with a lion couchant at his feet.
On horseback, dividing his cloak with a beggar behind him on foot.
Mary the Virgin Carrying the child Jesus and a lily
is somewhere displayed.
Mary Magdalen A box of ointment.
Matthew With a halberd, with which Nadabar
killed him. As an evangelist, he holds a pen,
with which he is writing on a scroll. The most
ancient symbol is a man's face. (Ezekiel vii. 1—10.)
Michael In armour, with a cross, or else holding
scales, in which he is weighing souls.
Nicholas A tub with naked infants in it. He is patron saint
A sword and a book. Dressed as a Roman.
Keys and a triple cross; or a fish; or a cock.
A pastoral staff, surmounted with a cross.
He was hung on a tall pillar.
A wallet, and a dog with a loaf in its mouth sitting by. He shows a boil in his thigh.
Sebastian Bound to a tree, his arms tied behind
him, and his body transfixed with arrows.
Two archers stand by his side; sometimes presenting
a sheaf of arrows to the Lord.
Simon A saw, because he was sawn asunder.
Stephen A book and a stone in his hand.
Theodora The devil holding her hand, and tempting her.
Theodore Armed with a halberd in his hand, and with
a sabre by his side.
Thomas With a builder's rule, or a stone in his hand,
or holding the lance with which he was slain at
Thomas of Canterbury Kneeling, and a man behind him
striking at him with a sword.
Ursula A book and arrows. She was shot through with
arrows by the Prince of the Huns.
(See Apostles, Evangelists etc.)
Symbols of other sacred characters.
Abraham An old man grasping a knife, ready to strike
his son Isaac, who is bound on an altar. An angel
arrests his hand, and a ram is caught in the thicket.
David Kneeling, above is an angel with a sword.
Sometimes he is represented playing a harp.
Esau With bow and arrows, going to meet Jacob.
Job Sitting naked on the ground, with three
friends talking to him.
Joseph Conversing with his brothers. Benjamin is represented as a mere boy.
Judas Iscariot With a money bag. In the last supper he has knocked over the salt with his right elbow.
Judith With Holofernes' head in one hand, and a sabre in the other.
Noah Is represented as looking out of the ark
window at a dove, which is flying to the ark,
olive branch in its beak.
King Saul Is represented as arrayed in a rich tunic and crowned. A harp is placed behind him.
Solomon Is represented in royal robes, standing
under an arch.
Symbolism of Colours
whether displayed in dresses, the background of pictures, or otherwise:
Black typifies grief, death.
Blue, hope, love of divine works; (in dresses) divine contemplation, piety, sincerity. Pale blue, peace, Christian prudence, love of good works, a serene conscience. Gold, glory and power.
Green, faith, gladness, immortality, the resurrection of the just; (in dresses) the gladness of the faithful. Pale green, baptism.
Grey, tribulation. Purple, justice, royalty. Red, martyrdom for faith, charity; (in dresses) divine love. Rose—colour, martyrdom. Innocent III. says of martyrs and apostles, “Hi et illi sunt flores rosarum et lilia convallium. ” (De Sacr, alto Myst., i. 64.)
Saffron, confessors. Scarlet, the fervour and glory of witnesses to the Church. Silver, chastity and purity.
Violet, penitence. White, purity, temperance, innocence, chastity, faith; (in dresses) innocence and purity.
Symbolism of Metals and Gems
Amethyst typifies humility. Diamond, invulnerable faith. Gold, glory, power. Sardonyx, sincerity. Sapphire, hope.
Silver, chastity, purity.
Syrens of the Ditch
Frogs. So called by Tasso.
says Richardson, derives its name from Suri (a delicate rose); hence Suristan (the land of roses). The Jews called Syria Aram.
A quicksand. Applied especially to a part of the African coast (Greek syrtis.)