Tag Archives: London
green man

green man

  This character, which is that of a wild or savage man, was very common in the pageants of former times, and seems to have been very popular. from The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, by Joseph Strutt (edited by William Hone – 1838)       PAGEANTS   In Tudor and […]

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sedan

sedan

  image: Dictionnaire illustré latin-français (1934) – Félix Gaffiot     The Romans used forms of litters, called basterna and lectica, which were portable beds or sofas adapted for a reclining posture. They had however a third type of litter, named sella gestatoria, which was a portable chair adapted for a sitting posture. The feminine […]

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‘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, […]

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clink

clink

  Winchester House (from a view by Hollar, 1660)         MEANING   prison     ORIGIN   The Clink was the name of a prison in Southwark, London. A Svrvay of London. Conteyning the Originall, Antiquity, Increase, Moderne estate, and description of that City, written in the yeare 1598, by Iohn Stow […]

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cockpit

cockpit

  THE BOREL HYDROPLANE. One of the first hydro-monoplanes adopted by the Government. Driven by an 80 h.p. Gnome engine mounted in front of the fuselage on double bearings. Floats sprung at the rear on rubber shock absorbers. Chassis built of streamlined steel tubes. Pilot and passenger in separate cockpits arranged tandem fashion. A small […]

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to vamoose

to vamoose

  frontispiece for Every Night Book; or, Life after Dark (1827), by William Clarke       MEANING   To depart hurriedly     ORIGIN   The verb to vamoose is an adaptation of the Spanish vamos, let us go, first person plural of the present subjunctive of the verb ir acting as imperative. It has […]

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cockney

cockney

  Cheapside and Bow Church – 1837 image: FamilySearch/Nathan W. Murphy       MEANING   The noun cockney was thus defined by Nathan Bailey in An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1731 edition): A Nick-name given to one who is born and bred in the City of London, or within the Sound of Bow Bell*; […]

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to blackball

to blackball

  Mary Delany (née Granville) – 1782 – by John Opie photograph: National Portrait Gallery         MEANINGS   – To reject a candidate applying to become a member of a club or other society by means of a secret ballot. – To exclude someone from society, a profession, etc.; to ostracise.   […]

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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 […]

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Twelfth cake

Twelfth cake

    Twelfth Day is the twelfth day after Christmas, 6th January, on which the festival of the Epiphany is celebrated. It was formerly observed as the closing day of the Christmas festivities. (The Epiphany, from Greek epiphainein meaning reveal, is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.) Twelfth Night […]

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