St. John de Crèvecœur, after the portrait by Vallière, 1786 MEANING a period of unusually calm dry warm weather, often accompanied by a hazy ...
Spree at Melton Mowbray. Larking at the Grantham Toll-Gate. Or Coming in for the Brush. A Society of Distinguished Painters, Who Hunt with Fox Hounds, Live Splendidly and only Paint at Night. date: unknown – by Henry Thomas Alken (1785-1851) The colloquial phrase to paint the town red means to enjoy oneself flamboyantly, to go on […]
Charles Macklin (circa 1792), by John Opie image: National Portrait Gallery MEANING a place or state of utter confusion and uproar ORIGIN In Paradise Lost (1667), the English poet John Milton (1608-74) invented the word Pandæmonium, with a capital P, as the name for the capital of Hell, containing the […]
cover of The Great Panjandrum Himself (1885), a picture book based on the text attributed to Samuel Foote, by the English artist and illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846-86) – photograph: Aleph-Bet Books MEANING a pompous self-important official or person of rank ORIGIN The word is supposed to have been […]
photograph: javi.velazquez MEANING a heavy cotton pile fabric with lengthways ribs ORIGIN: UNKNOWN The original form of this noun, in the late 18th century, was corderoy. The earliest use of the word that I could find is in The Manchester Mercury (Lancashire) of Tuesday 7th April 1772: Manchester, March 23, 1772. STOLEN. From […]
Phonetically and semantically similar to milliner, the French word midinette was defined as “a milliner’s female assistant, especially in Paris” in the 1933 Supplement to the New English Dictionary (as the Oxford English Dictionary was known). However, while milliner literally means a Milanese, a native or inhabitant of Milan, midinette is a portmanteau word, composed of midi, midday, and dînette, light dinner, […]
A Morning Ramble, or The Milliners Shop (1782) image: The British Museum A milliner is a person (generally a woman) who makes or sells women’s hats. But a Milliner was originally a native or inhabitant of Milan, a city in northern Italy. The word is first recorded in this sense in an Act of Parliament in 1449: That every Venician, Italian, Januey, […]