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Sawbuck

Sawbuck   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...In US usage a $10 bill. A sawbuck is a sawing-horse used for cutting up firewood, the legs at each end of which are crossed and bolted in an X-shape. Before note issue became a monopoly of the Federal Reserve Bank, many had an X instead of a 10 to show the denomination. A double sawbuck is a $20...

Querno

Querno   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...Camillo Querno of Apulia, hearing that Pope Leo X ( b.1475 , 1513–22 ) was a great patron of poets, went to Rome with a harp in his hand and sang a poem called Alexias , which had 20,000 verses. He was introduced to the pope as a buffoon, but was made poet laureate and became a constant frequenter of the pope’s table. Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit, Thron’d on seven hills the Antichrist of...

T

T   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...The 20th letter of the alphabet, representing Semitic and Greek tau , which meant ‘a sign’ or ‘a mark’. Roman T is a modification of the earlier form, X. See also tau . As a medieval numeral T represents 160, and T̄ 160,000. Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s, To See under dot . Marked with a T, To be See under mark 1 . To a T Exactly. The allusion is to the use of a T-square for the accurate drawing of right-angles, parallel lines and so...

Shilling

Shilling   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...Germanic skel -, ‘to resound’, ‘to ring’, or skil -, ‘to divide’) The shilling coin dates from 1504 , was originally made with a deeply indented cross, and could be easily divided into halves and quarters. Before decimalization, a shilling (1s) was worth 12 pence (12 x 1d), and there were 20 shillings in a pound (£1). After decimalization, the shilling coin was replaced by the 5p piece ( see decimal currency ). Shilling shocker See penny-dreadful . Cooing and billing, like Philip and Mary on a shilling See under cooing . Cut off with a shilling See...

July

July   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...gift’), corresponding to the period 20 June to 19 July. Until the 18th century ‘July’ was accented on the first syllable. Even as late as 1798 William Wordsworth wrote: In March, December, and in July, ’Tis all the same with Harry Gill; The neighbours tell, and tell you truly, His teeth they chatter, chatter still. July Monarchy, The That of Louis Philippe, also called the Orleanist monarchy. See also july revolution . July Revolution, The The French revolution of 1830 (17–29 July) that overthrew Charles X and gave the throne to Louis Philippe,...

Sortes

Sortes   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...king, suggested this kind of augury , and the king hit on IV, 615–20, the gist of which is that ‘evil wars would break out, and the king lose his life’. Falkland, to laugh the matter off, said he would show his Majesty how ridiculously the ‘lot’ would foretell the next fate, and he hit on XI, 152–81, the lament of Evander for the untimely death of his son Pallas . Soon after, King Charles mourned over his noble friend who was slain at Newbury ( 1643 ). In Rabelais ( Pantagruel , III, x ( 1532 )), panurge consults the Sortes Virgilianae et Homericae on...

Modernism

Modernism   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...was also a movement in the roman catholic church that sought to interpret the ancient teachings of the church with due regard to the current teachings of science, modern philosophy and history. It arose in the late 19th century and was formally condemned by Pope Pius X in 1907 in the encyclical Pascendi , which stigmatized it as the ‘synthesis of all heresies’. The term has been additionally applied to liberal and radical critics of traditional theology in other churches. The Modern Churchmen’s Union was founded in 1898 and was strongly critical...

Elephant

Elephant   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...that he could walk only with a stick. His disorder was long thought to be neurofibromatosis, but research in the late 20th century concluded that he had suffered from the extremely rare disease known as the Proteus syndrome. He died of accidental suffocation in hospital at the age of 27. Elephant paper Before metrication, a large-sized drawing paper measuring 23 x 28in (584 x 711mm). Double Elephant was a size of printing paper 27 x 40in (686 x 1016mm). The name is probably from an ancient watermark. Elephant trunk See teddy boy . Order of the Elephant, The...

Crown

Crown   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...the reign of Charles II . Silver crowns were struck from 1551 . The name derives from the French gold coin ( couronne ) first issued by Philip of Valois in 1339 , which bore a crown on the obverse. In the paper trade, crown was a standard size of printing paper measuring 15 x 20in (before metrication). It was so called from an ancient watermark. Crown Jewels, The The crown and regalia worn by the monarch at coronations and certain other important occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament. The priceless gems include the First and Second Stars of...

Star

Star   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...Conference in 1897 and is the symbol on the flag of Israel. It is found as early as the 3rd century but is not mentioned in the Bible or the talmud . Jews were made to wear such a cloth star under the nazi regime and, to show his disapproval of this affront, King Christian X of Denmark ( r.1912–47 ) wore a Star of David during the German occupation of his country. Star of India, The A British order of knighthood, the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1861 . Its motto is ‘Heaven‘s Light our Guide’, and it was a...

Day

Day   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...stone or a piece of chalk to mark their lucky days on the calendar. Unlucky days were marked with charcoal. See also red-letter day . Days of grace Strictly, the three days over and above the time stated in a commercial bill. Thus, if a bill is drawn on 20 June and is payable in one month, it is due on 20 July, but three ‘days of grace’ are added, bringing the date to 23 July. Days of the week The names of these days are of Anglo-Saxon origin while those of the months are derived from the Romans. See the individual entries for sunday , monday and so on,...

Kiss

Kiss   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...the bride’ comes from the Salisbury rubric concerning the pax . In billiards (and bowls) a kiss is a very slight touch of one moving ball on another, especially a second touch.The term was also formerly used of a drop of sealing wax accidentally let fall beside the seal. The sign ‘X’ to signify a kiss, as at the end of a letter, probably represents the meeting of two pairs of lips. Kissagram A greetings service for a party or celebration, in which a person is hired to come and kiss the celebrator. The word is a blend of ‘kiss’ and ‘telegram’. Kiss and make up ...

London

London   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...gentleman. London pride A name applied to various flowering plants. In the 17th century it chiefly denoted the sweet william , whose flowers were reportedly very much sought out by Londoners for their beauty, but nowadays it is the little red-and-white flowering plant Saxifraga x urbium , also called ‘none-so-pretty’ and ‘St Patrick’s cabbage’. The precise source of the name is uncertain. Bishop Walsham How ( 1823–97 ) once wrote a poem addressed to the flower, rebuking it for possessing the sinful attribute. A lady called his attention to the fact that...

Black

Black   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...a black hole is a very large, unexplained and often concealed gap, especially a financial one (as in ‘a black hole in the company’s accounts’). Black Hole of Calcutta, The Siraj-ud-Dawlah, Nawab of Bengal, reputedly confined (on 20–21 June 1756 ) 146 British prisoners in the small prison – 18 x 14ft 10in (5.5 x 4.5m) – of the East India Company’s Fort William , after its capture. Only 23 people escaped suffocation. A military punishment cell or guardroom is often nicknamed the Black Hole, and dark, stuffy places are sometimes said to be ‘like the...

Cross

Cross 1.   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

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2013

...tails . Marriage is worse than cross I win, pile you lose. Cross as a mystic emblem, The There are four basic types: The Greek cross, found on Assyrian tablets, Egyptian and Persian monuments, and on Etruscan pottery. The crux decussata , generally called St andrew’s cross, an X-shaped cross, found fairly commonly in ancient sculpture. The Latin cross or crux immissa . This symbol is found on coins, monuments and medals long before the Christian era. The tau cross or crux commissa . A very old cross. It is also the cross of St anthony of egypt . The tau...

Browne, Noël

Browne, Noël (1915–97)   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase & Fable

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2011

... and appointed minister for health in the Interparty Government on his first day in the Dáil. He successfully implemented the previous government's white paper on tuberculosis, helped by the development of new drugs. He also introduced free testing for the disease, in the mass x-ray scheme. In 1950 he supported the implementation of the Mother and Child Scheme , which was opposed by the Catholic Church, and as a consequence he resigned as minister in 1951 . Browne maintained a presence in Irish politics until 1982 , serving as TD for most of the period...

Drag

Drag   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

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Current Version:
2011

.... Female dress worn by men; transvestite clothes. The allusion is probably to a long dress, which drags along the ground. The term originated as theatrical slang in the early 20th century. You would never have the fag Of dressing up in drag, You'd be a woman at the weekend. john osborne : The World of Paul Slickey , II, x ( 1959...

Generation X

Generation X   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

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Current Version:
2011

...jobs in the service industry’. They are Generation X – resigned to insecure working and wanting a flexible lifestyle, which they see as incompatible with homebuying. The Observer ( 10 May 1998 ) The formula was later satirically amended to ‘Generation XL’, alluding to the late 20th-century boom in overweight children and young adults (‘XL’ in clothing-size nomenclature being ‘extra large’). The term Generation Y has subsequently been adopted to refer to the generation born in the last two decades of the 20th century, and following them are so-called...

Full quid, The

Full quid, The   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011

...slang, someone described as ‘not quite the full quid’ is not in full possession of his or her faculties (a ‘quid’ is a pound, but in this case there are less than 20 shillings). The expression, which dates from the 1930s, is of a piece with other characterizations of eccentricity or madness as the lack of a full (mental) complement, such as ‘not all there’ and the multiple variations on the ‘X short of a Y’ formula ( see Two sandwiches short of a picnic...

Modernism

Modernism   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011

...due regard to the current teachings of science, modern philosophy and history. It arose in the late 19th century and was formally condemned by Pope Pius X in 1907 in the encyclical Pascendi , which stigmatized it as the ‘synthesis of all...

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