Tag Archives: G. B. Shaw
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 […]

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jejune

jejune

      The primary sense of the Latin adjective jejunus was fasting, hungry, abstinent. Figuratively, it meant dry, barren, unproductive, and scanty, insignificant in quantity. It was especially used in the following senses: – poor, barren, powerless – insignificant, trifling, contemptible, mean, low – of speech: meagre, dry, feeble, spiritless – destitute of, without, […]

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to take the biscuit

to take the biscuit

    MEANING   To take the biscuit (or, chiefly in American English, the cake), often used ironically or as an expression of surprise, means to rank first.     ORIGIN   The phrase originally alluded to biscuit or cake in the sense of a dainty, a delicacy.   To take the cake is first […]

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