Tag Archives: John Gower
jeopardy

jeopardy

  Jeopardy. This word is supposed to be derived from ‘j’ai perdu’, or ‘jeu perdu’. Skinner and Junius. Hazard; danger; Peril. A word not now in use. A Dictionary of the English Language (1785 edition), by Samuel Johnson (1709-84) There are two errors: the noun jeopardy is not from French j’ai perdu (I have lost) or jeu perdu […]

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loveday

loveday

  from Confessio amantis (The Lover’s Confession – around 1393), by John Gower (died 1408) – image: Luminarium: Anthology of English literature       A loveday is a day devoted to love. In Greenes mourning garment giuen him by repentance at the funerals of loue, which he presentes for a fauour to all young […]

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to eat someone’s salt

to eat someone’s salt

  Fluellen intimidating Pistol (circa 1850), by Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901)       Salt has strong symbolic connotations. The phrase the salt of the earth, which now denotes a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind, comes the gospel of Matthew, 5:13, where Jesus described his disciples and meant […]

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dog in the manger

dog in the manger

  The Dog in the Manger, from The Fables of Æsop selected, told anew and their history traced (1894), by Joseph Jacobs – illustrated by Richard Heighway       MEANING   A person who prevents others from having or using things even though he or she does not need them     ORIGIN   […]

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the crack of doom

the crack of doom

  Heinrich Füssli - Three Weird Sisters from Macbeth – 1783       The crack of doom is the end of the world.   The phrase refers literally to the peal of thunder or perhaps to the blast of the archangel’s trump of the Day of Judgement in the Book of Revelation (or Apocalypse).   […]

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Lollard

Lollard

    John Wycliffe   John Wycliffe, or Wyclif, (1330?-84) was an English religious reformer. He criticized the wealth and power of the Church and upheld the Bible as the sole guide for doctrine. Wycliffe instituted the first English translation of the complete Bible. His teachings, regarded as precursors of the Reformation, were disseminated by itinerant preachers, contemptibly called Lollards. The Lollards believed that […]

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Tom, Gib & Tib

Tom, Gib & Tib

      TOM   Thomas is derived via Greek from the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta’oma’) which meant twin.  Tom, a familiar shortening of Thomas, has often been used as a generic name for any male representative of the ‘common’ people. For example, Tom and Tib was used like Jack and Jill to mean lad […]

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tennis

tennis

  Jeu de paume – France – 17th century     Paulme: feminine. The paulme of the hand; also, a ball; (and hence) also, Tennis (play;) also, the Palme tree. from A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (1611), by Randle Cotgrave     Fourthly, the inside of the Uvea is black’d like the walls […]

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