Tag Archives: books-magazines-newspapers
passéist

passéist

  list of the Manifestes du Mouvement futuriste, from L’Antitradition futuriste: Manifeste-synthèse (29th June 1913) — image : Bibliothèque nationale de France/gallica.bnf.fr     MEANING   – (adjective): having an excessive regard for the traditions and values of the past – (noun): a person, especially a writer or artist, with excessive regard for the traditions and […]

Continue Reading
Ruritania

Ruritania

  illustration by Charles Dana Gibson for the 1898 Macmillan edition of The Prisoner of Zenda – image: The Silver Whistle        Ruritania was originally the name of the fictional kingdom in central Europe which provides the setting of the adventure novels The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) and Rupert of Hentzau (1898), by […]

Continue Reading
comrade

comrade

        In Spanish, from the noun cámara (from Latin camera), meaning a chamber, a room, was derived the collective feminine noun camarada, a military term attested in the mid-16th century in the sense of chambered or cabined (company). (The French feminine noun chambrée, from chambre, room, has the same meaning.) In Spanish, […]

Continue Reading
a stiff upper lip

a stiff upper lip

  first edition cover of Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963), by the English author P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) – image: Goldsboro Books     MEANING   a quality of uncomplaining stoicism     ORIGIN   The word lip occurs in phrases referring to certain actions regarded as indicative of particular states of feeling. For example, […]

Continue Reading
‘pleb’

‘pleb’

  MEANING   informal and derogatory: an ordinary person, especially one from the lower social classes     ORIGIN   The noun pleb, which appeared in the late 18th century, is a shortened form of plebeian. The plural plebs, meaning the common people, dates back to the late 16th century. It is from Latin plebs/plebis, […]

Continue Reading
in someone’s good books – blacklist

in someone’s good books – blacklist

  The Black Book of the Exchequer photograph: The National Archives/History of government         The earliest black books were record books or ledgers usually relating to finance or administration, and the adjective seems to have had no other significance than to indicate the colour of the binding. For example, in a letter […]

Continue Reading
picayune

picayune

  front page of The Daily Picayune, 21st September 1909, New Orleans, after a hurricane – photograph: nola.com       Originally, in southern United States, especially Louisiana, a picayune was a Spanish half-real, and in later use a 5-cent piece or other coin of little value. In his diary, on 4th November 1804, the […]

Continue Reading
Grub Street

Grub Street

  Grub Street – John Rocque’s 1746 map of London     MEANING   The noun Grub Street denotes the world or class of literary hacks. As an adjective, also spelt Grubstreet, it means having the nature of literary hack-work.     ORIGIN   In A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Samuel Johnson gave […]

Continue Reading
dogsbody

dogsbody

            A dogsbody is a person who carries out menial tasks for others.   Originally, dog’s body was contemptuous naval slang for a pease-pudding boiled in a cloth.   The author of Life in an Indiaman, in Chambers’s Papers for the People (1851), explained: Peas-pudding (alias dog’s body) is often […]

Continue Reading

Unblog.fr | Créer un blog | Annuaire | Signaler un abus