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Perfidious Albion

England or Britain considered as treacherous in international affairs, in a rendering of the French phrase la perfide Albion, said to have been first used by the Marquis de Ximenès ...

perfidious Albion

perfidious Albion ([Hist.])   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Reference and Allusion (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
69 words

... Albion [Hist.] A phrase (translated from the French la perfide Albion ) first used by the French in the 18th century to denote English treachery. > England or Britain, when considered to be treacherous in international affairs Only 24 hours earlier, the European parliament had cheered an attack on Britain, denouncing perfidious Albion and its wicked plot to remake the continent in its own image. Guardian Unlimited ...

Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion   Reference library

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

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... Albion An English rendering of French la perfide Albion , referring to England’s alleged treacherous policy towards foreigners.The phrase is said to have been first used by the Marquis de Ximenès ( 1726–1817 ) (it is prefigured by Jacques Bénigne Bossuet ’s L’Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre (England, oh perfidious England), uttered in a sermon on the circumcision preached at Metz in 1652 ). It attracted no particular attention and next appears in 1809 in both a poem by Henri Simon and a song. Its later currency stems from its wide use in...

Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006

... Albion England or Britain considered as treacherous in international affairs, in a rendering of the French phrase la perfide Albion , said to have been first used by the Marquis de Ximenès ( 1726–1817 ). Both terms are recorded in English from the mid 19th...

Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion  

Reference type:
Overview Page
England or Britain considered as treacherous in international affairs, in a rendering of the French phrase la perfide Albion, said to have been first used by the Marquis de Ximenès (1726–1817). Both ...
Political Economy

Political Economy   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
5,138 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...and the extension to the world at large of the gains from the division of labour. For this very reason, the proposition was later to be subjected to a different interpretation by latecomers to the business of applying machinery to manufacture. It was to become the mark of ‘perfidious Albion’, a conclusion of the despised English ‘cosmopolitical economy’, as the German liberal Friedrich List ( 1789–1846 ) called it, that had laid the foundation for what was later to be known as ‘free trade imperialism’. Domestically, however, Ricardian logic pointed to the...

Albion

Albion   Reference library

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

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...and eventually reached this western isle where they duly married natives. New Albion See under new . Perfidious Albion See under perfidious...

Albion

Albion   Reference library

J. A. Cannon

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
79 words

... is a poetical personification for Britain. It was first used in classical literature in the 6th cent. bc and referred either to the Celtic name or to the white cliffs of Dover. Camden mentions that it had been related to Albion, son of Neptune. The phrase ‘perfidious Albion’ has been attributed to the marquis de Ximenes ( 1726–1817 ), though Bossuet in the 17th cent. had mentioned ‘L’Angleterre perfide’. It was soon superseded by Britannia . J. A....

perfidy

perfidy   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
138 words

...perfidy [L16th] This literary word for ‘deceitfulness’ came via French from Latin perfidia ‘treachery’, from perfidus ‘treacherous’, based on per - ‘to ill effect’ and fides ‘faith’. The adjective perfidious dates from the same period. The expression perfidious Albion is a translation of the French perfide Albion ; the phrase appears to have been first used by the Marquis de Ximenès (1726–1817) with reference to the British joining the allies who were already fighting France in 1793, but was popularized during a recruitment campaign under Napoleon...

Britain

Britain   Quick reference

Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Place Names (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

...names included Breoton, Breten, and Bryten. The epithet ‘Perfidious Albion’ was first used by Augustin , Marquis de Ximénèz ( 1726–1817 ), in his poem L’Ère des Français . It only became popular during the Napoleonic Wars, being used by Napoleon to describe Britain’s self-centred determination to maintain the balance of power in Europe and, in his view, its unscrupulous behaviour towards foreigners. Albion features in the name of some English football teams, notably West Bromwich Albion. See great britain...

Engelond

Engelond   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Chaucer

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005

...the joviality unconfined of the later ‘merrie’ England. Indeed, other contemporary proverbial remarks are less flattering: Englishmen are unstable (they ‘are born under the moon’), or ‘when they see their advantage they forget truces and good faith’ (this early version of ‘perfidious Albion’ is quoted by a Scottish chronicler), Englishmen are envious, Englishmen love ‘gift’. In fashion, the English are ‘the apes of every nation’, Englishmen have tails (a taunt much used by adversaries). Their soldiers were called by the French (for obvious reasons)...

Peninsular war

Peninsular war (1808–14)   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Military History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
History, Military History, Social sciences, Warfare and Defence
Length:
1,983 words
Illustration(s):
1

...Unable to overcome the Royal Navy's domination of the Channel and thus bring his military strength to bear directly against London, he was obliged to resort to other instruments of policy. Hoping to ‘conquer the sea by the power of the land’, he resolved to bring ‘Perfidious Albion’ to her knees through economic strangulation. Britain's war effort was ultimately founded on her prosperity, which, in turn, depended upon her overseas trade. Consistent with prevailing physiocratic and mercantilist thinking, Napoleon believed that the European mainland,...

Diplomacy

Diplomacy   Reference library

Oxford Companion to Australian Politics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
1,818 words

...rejected. Arthur Tange , the strongest personality among Australian diplomats, thought all British diplomats were ten feet tall until he learnt to laugh at them. The qualities of British diplomatic style, in the eyes of beholder Harold Nicolson , whom foreign critics of perfidious Albion would judge was being ironic, are to be ‘simple, straightforward, honest, truthful and benevolent’. Australia inherited those values when it was forced to step out on its own in the world during World War II , after an extraordinarily prolonged infancy. Australia also...

Napoleonic wars

Napoleonic wars (1803–15)   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Military History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
History, Military History, Social sciences, Warfare and Defence
Length:
3,134 words
Illustration(s):
2

...but it soon became clear that the Royal Navy would continue to bar his flotilla's path. Aware of the preparations that Austria and Russia were making for war, he resolved to strike at them and, thus, indirectly at Britain; he too realized that, without continental allies, ‘Perfidious Albion’ would be almost impotent. The Napoleonic wars : the Waterloo campaign, 1815. Accordingly, amidst conditions of great secrecy, he wheeled his forces, now dubbed the Grande Armée, towards the Rhine. Advancing at tremendous speed, they pounced before the Russians could reach...

perfide Albion

perfide Albion noun phrase   Reference library

The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
23 words

...Albion noun phrase M19 French (= perfidious Albion). England (with reference to its alleged habitual treachery toward other nations); an (untrustworthy)...

Albion

Albion   Reference library

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Language reference, Usage and Grammar Guides
Length:
102 words

...Albion . Partly because of its late appearance as an entry in the OED , speculation about the origin of the word Albion and of the phrase perfidious Albion was once rife. Albion was known already to the Old English translator of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History , and much earlier still to Pliny (in Latin) and to Ptolemy (in Greek). Etymologically, it answers ultimately to a reconstructed Indo-European form * albho - (cf. Latin albus white), the allusion being to the white cliffs of Dover. The French phrase la perfide Albion is believed to have been...

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz (1726–1817)   Quick reference

Oxford Essential Quotations (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Quotation
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Quotations
Length:
36 words

...Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz 1726 – 1817 French poet Attaquons dans ses eaux La perfide Albion! Let us attack in her own waters perfidious Albion! ‘L'Ère des Français’ (October 1793); see Bossuet perfidious Albion perfidious ...

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz (1726–1817)   Reference library

Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Quotation
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Quotations
Length:
34 words

...Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz 1726 – 1817 French poet Attaquons dans ses eaux La perfide Albion! Let us attack in her own waters perfidious Albion! ‘L'Ère des Français’ (October 1793) perfidious Albion perfidious ...

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz

Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz (1726–1817)   Reference library

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (8 ed.)

Reference type:
Quotation
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Quotations
Length:
44 words

...Augustin, Marquis de Ximénèz 1726 – 1817 French poet Attaquons dans ses eaux La perfide Albion! Let us attack in her own waters perfidious Albion! ‘L'Ère des Français’ (October 1793) in Poésies Révolutionnaires et contre-révolutionnaires (1821) vol. 1; see bossuet perfidious Albion perfidious ...

Albion

Albion noun   Reference library

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
33 words
Albion

Albion noun   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of English (3 ed.)

Reference type:
English Dictionary
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
English Dictionaries and Thesauri
Length:
83 words

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