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A, F. Morrison 









1 How did such and such a country, city, 
town, street, river, natural curiosity, or 
world-renowned edifice obtain its name? 
Whence arose a particular sobriquet, nick- 
name, byword, epithet, or slang term ? 
What was the origin of the thousand- 
and-one phrases and expressions engrafted 
upon our vocabulary which would appear 
to have no meaning whatever? These 
things are worthy of investigation ." 








Few words are necessary to introduce this work to the reader. 
It partakes of the nature of an encyclopedia, with the saving 
clause that the information it sets forth is confined to a plain 
statement of facts. Verbal embellishments have been studiously 
avoided. Those who seek for additional intelligence may easily 
obtain it from ordinarily available sources. To account for the 
origin of popular phrases and names has been the author's sole 
design. To the best of his knowledge , no other work of the kind 
exists. From the stores of his own knowledge, acquired through 
many years of omnivorous reading, patient inquiry, and investi- 
gation, he has been enabled to bring together an Olla podrida 
which should go far towards supplying a want. 

The origin of place-names is interesting in that it opens up the 
history of peoples and the civilising influences, if so one might 
term it, of conquest. London street-names, in particular , convey 
i? i one word to a person of antiquarian tastes as much meaning 
as " a volume of forgotten lore." As to phrases and expres- 
sions, the author has made a special study of the subject. A 
great many Americanisms have been included, but as the 
number is daily increasing it would require a monthly publica- 
tion of such home-made phrases to keep fully abreast with the 
times. That nothing should be wanting in the way of ex- 
haustiveness , it has been thought advisable to incorporate in the 


vi Preface 

text a number of slang terms and expressions which daily assail 
one's ears. To the author the compilation of this volume has 
been a pleasant recreation in the intervals of more exacting 
literary labours. If it be found to contain a plethora of good 
things y the reader willy of course, take them out in small 

T. H. J. 

London, 1906. 

Phrases and Names 

Al. An expression meaning "first-rate." Derived from 
Lloyd's " Registry of Shipping," in which letters denote 
the quality of a ship's hull, and figures that of its 
equipment. A vessel registered Ai is of the first class 
in all respects. 

Abbey Laird. An insolvent debtor who in former times 
sought the sanctuary of the precincts of Holyrood 
Abbey against arrest. 

Abbey Road. From the ancient abbey of the Holy Virgins 
of St John the Baptist in St John's Wood. 

Abbotsford. The name given by Sir Walter Scott to his 
residence on the banks of the Tweed, from the poetical 
assumption that the abbots of Melrose must have 
forded the stream hereabouts in olden times. 

A. B.C. Girls. Waitresses at the depots of the Aerated Bread 
Company Limited. 

Aberdeen. From the Celtic aber, estuary, confluence j the 
town at the mouth of the Dee. 

Abernethy Biscuits. From the name of the baker who 
introduced them. Their connection with Dr Aber- 
nethy was repudiated by the great physician himself. 

Aberystwith. The town at the mouth of the Ystwith. 

Abigail. The generic name for a waiting-maid, in allusion 
to the handmaid who introduced herself to David 
(i Sam. xxv. 23). Its popularity during the second 
half of the seventeenth century may be accounted for 

2 Abingdon — According to Gunter 

by the fact that the maiden name of Mrs Masham, the 
waiting-woman of Queen Anne, was Abigail Hill. 

Abingdon. A corruption of Abbendon, the town of abbeys, 
being a place famed for religious houses far back in 
Anglo-Saxon days. 

Abingdon Street. From the ancient town residence of the 
. . . r .Earls o.f .Abingdon. 

Ab^ej P&rk: .'.lErom Abney House, now a Conservative 
'Club,' the 'residence of Sir Thomas Abney, Lord Mayor 
;• i§f£phxk>h. jDr. Is"aac Watts passed away at Abney 
• : .fifaSe 'iji :i.%4&* »\ ., / 

Abode of Love. See " Agapemonites." 

Abolitionists. The party sworn to the total and im- 
mediate abolition of slavery in the United States. 

Above Board. Open, not playing an underhanded game. 
The owners of the gaming-tables on a race-course un- 
suspectedly regulated the issue of the spinning hand 
on the board by means of a treadle. 

Abraham Newlands. Bank of England notes, so called 
from the signature they bore early in the last century. 

Absinthe. From the Greek apsnithion^ wormwood. 

Absquatulate. A Far- West Americanism. A squatter 
who suddenly left his claim was said to have absquatu- 

Abyssinia. The country of the Abassins, or " mixed races." 

Academy. From the garden of Academus, where Plato 
taught his disciples ; called on this account the Aca- 
demics, or Academic School of Philosophy. 

According to Cocker. Strictly correct. After Edward 
Cocker of Paul's Chain, who published a most popular 

According to Gunter. An expression much used in 
America for anything done properly and systematically. 
The allusion is to Edmund Gunter, the celebrated 
mathematician, who invented a chain and scale for 

Achilles Tendon — Actors' Day 3 

Achilles Tendon. The tendon reaching from the calf of 
the leg to the heel. See " Heel of Achilles." 

Acknowledge the Corn. An Americanism of extremely 
popular application. Its origin is thus given by The 
Pittsburg Commercial Advertiser \ " Some years ago a 
raw customer from the upper country determined to 
try his fortune at New Orleans. Accordingly he pro- 
vided himself with two flat boats — one laden with corn 
and the other with potatoes — and down the river he 
went. The night after his arrival he went up town to 
a gambling-house. Of course, he commenced betting, 
and, his luck proving unfortunate, he lost. When his 
money was gone he bet his ' truck ' ; and the corn and 
potatoes followed the money. At last, when evidently 
cleaned out, he returned to his boats at the wharf, 
where the evidences of a new misfortune presented 
themselves. Through some accident or other the flat 
boat containing the corn was sunk, and a total loss. 
Consoling himself as well as he could he went to sleep, 
dreaming of gamblers, potatoes, and corn. It was 
scarcely sunrise, however, when he was disturbed by 
the 'child of chance,' who had arrived to take posses- 
sion of the two boats as his winnings. Slowly awaken- 
ing from his sleep, our hero, rubbing his eyes and 
looking the man in the face, replied : ' Stranger, I 
acknowledge the corn — take 'em \ but the potatoes you 
can't have, by thunder ! ' Since that time it has be- 
come customary for a man who frankly admits having 
been hoaxed or beaten to say: 'I acknowledge the 

Acropolis. From the Greek akros, highest, and poll's, city. 
A citadel or fortress overlooking a city, as at Athens. 

Acton. Anglo-Saxon for " Oak Town," built in the neigh- 
bourhood of a great oak forest. 

Actors' Day. A day — the third Thursday in October — set 
apart for a performance in all the theatres of the 
United Kingdom in aid of the various theatrical 
charities — actors being pledged to give their services, 
dramatic authors to forego their fees, and managers to 
devote the entire receipts to the good cause. 

4 Adam Street — Adrianople 

Adam Street. After the Brothers Adam, who built the 
streets collectively styled the "Adelphi." 

Adam's Needle. A plant so called from its long, pointed 
leaves. Whether he and his spouse strung their aprons 
together by its means is doubtful. 

Adam's Wine. Drinking water, because Adam knew not 
the fermented juice of the grape. 

Ada Rehan. This American actress is of Irish extraction, 
her name being " Regan," but on entering the dramatic 
profession she changed it to " Rehan." 

Addison of the North. The literary sobriquet of Henry 
Fielding, author of " The Man of Feeling," on account 
of the purity and elegance of his style. 

Addison Road. After the great English essayist, who, 
having married the Dowager Countess of Warwick, 
lived and died at Holland House, Kensington. 

Addled Parliament. A memorable session during the 
reign of James I., which, though it lasted from 5th 
April 1614 to 7th June 1615, passed no new measure 

Adelaide. The capital of South Australia, an island, and 
also a noted hostelry on Haverstock Hill, named in 
honour of the consort of William IV. 

Adelphi. The collective name for several streets and a 
noble terrace on the south side of the Strand, built by 
the Brothers Adam. Adelphi is Greek for " brothers." 

Adieu. Originally a popular commendation to the care of 

God— A Dieu ! 
Adonis. The name given to a beautiful youth, and also to 

the anemone, after Adonis, who was beloved by Venus. 

The flower is said to have sprung from his blood when 

he was gored to death by a wild boar in the chase. 

Admirable Crichton. The designation of one accomplished 
in all the arts. "Admirable" Crichton was a noted 
Scottish prodigy of the sixteenth century. 

Admiral. From the Arabic emir-el-bahr, Lord of the Sea. 

Adrianople. The city founded by the Emperor Hadrian. 

Adriatic Sea — Agar Street 5 

Adriatic Sea. After the Emperor Hadrian. 

Adullamites. Those who in 1866 seceded from the Reform 
Party. John Bright said they had retired to the Cave 
of Adullam, there to gather around them all the dis- 
contented. The allusion was to David's flight from 
Saul (1. Sam. xxii. 1, 2). 

Ad valorem. A Customs term for duties levied according 
to the stated value of goods imported. The duty on 
various qualities of the same goods may therefore 

JEdiles. Civil officers of Rome who had the care of the 
streets and cedes, or public buildings. 

JEolian Harp. A lute placed in the trees for the zephyrs 
to play upon, so called after ^iolus, the god of the 

^sculapius. The generic term for a physician, after the 
one of this name mentioned by Homer, who was 
afterwards deified in the Greek mythology. 

Afghanistan. Pursuant to the Persian start, the country of 
the Afghans. 

Africa. From the Phoenician afer, a black man, and the 
Sanskrit ac, earth, land, country. This great continent 
is the natural home of the blacks — the negroes of North 
America and the West Indian Islands being descended 
from the slaves carried thither from the west coast of 
Africa since the time of the original slave trader, Sir 
John Hawkins, in 1562. 

Agapse. Love feasts of the Romans, from the Greek 
agape, love. 

Agapemonites. An old term which has newly come into 
vogue in our day. Agapemone is Greek for "abode of 
love." There was such a retreat early in the nineteenth 
century at Charlynch, Somerset, the seat of the 
Agapemonists or Agapemonites, followers of Henry 
James Prince, an ex-Churchman. 

Agar Street. After William Agar, a wealthy lawyer, who 
resided in it. See "Agar Town." 

6 Agar Town — A la Guillotine 

Agar Town. A now vanished district covered by St 
Pancras Railway Station, the lease of which was ac- 
quired by William Agar in 1840 for building purposes. 

Agate. From Achates, the Greek name of a Sicilian river, 
in the bed of which this gem was found in abundance. 

Agnostic. From the Greek a, without, and gnomt, to 
know. One who professes a belief only in what he 
knows or can discover for himself. Literally a ''know- 

Agony Column. At first this newspaper column was con- 
fined to distressful inquiries for missing relatives and 
friends. Latterly it has become a tacit means of com- 
munication between persons who, for various reasons, 
cannot exchange letters sent through the post. 

Ahoy. From Aoi, the battle cry of the Norsemen as they 
ran their galleys upon the enemy. 

Aigrette. A French word, denoting the tall white plume 
of a heron. From a feather head-dress the term has 
now come to be applied to an ornament of gems worn 
by a lady on the crown of her head when in full 
evening dress. 

Air of a Gentleman. In this sense the word "air" is 
synonymous with " manner " and " deportment." 

Air Street. When laid out and built upon in 1659 this 
was the most westerly street in London. The allusion 
to fresh air is obvious. 

Aix-la-Chapelle. The Aquis Granum of the Romans, 
famous for its baths. Hence the German name 
Aachen, expressive of many springs. The place is also 
noted for its many churches; the cathedral, which grew 
out of the original chapel, contains the shrine of 

Alabama. Indian for " here we rest." 

A la Guillotine. The name given in France after the 
Revolution to the fashion of wearing the hair very 
short, in memory of friends and relatives who had 
fallen victims to the " Guillotine." 

A la Watteau — Alderney 7 

A la Watteau. The name given to a stage ballet in which 
the pretty rustic costumes are after the style of those 
ever present in the pastoral paintings of Antoine 
Watteau, the famous French artist. Reproductions of 
his pictures frequently also figure on expensive furniture 
— screens in particular. 

Albania. From the Latin albus, white, "the country of 
snowy mountain ranges." 

Albany. A commodious range of bachelor chambers in 
Piccadilly, at one time the residence of Frederick, son 
of George III., created Duke of York and Albany. 

Albany Street. After the Duke of York and Albany, temp. 

George III. 
Albemarle Street. In the West End street of this name 

resided Christopher Monk, second Duke of Albemarle. 

The other, in Clerkenwell, was built upon when General 

Monk, the first Duke of Albemarle, was at the zenith 

of his popularity. 
Albert. After the Prince Consort, to whom the jewellers of 

Birmingham presented a short gold watch-chain on the 

occasion of his visit to that city in 1849. 

Albert Gate. After Prince Albert, the consort of Queen 

Victoria. The Albert Bridge, Albert Memorial, and 

Royal Albert Hall likewise perpetuate his name. 
Albigensis. Christian heretics of the twelfth century, drawn 

from the Albigeois, whose capital was Albi, in 

Albion. The name given to Britain by the Romans on 

account of its (a/bus) white cliffs, as approached from 

the sea. 
Alcantara. From the Arabic Al-kantarah, "the bridge," 

referring to the fine stone bridge built by Trajan. 
Alcove. From the Arabic El-kauf, through the Spanish 

alcoba, a tent. 
Aldermanbury. The bury or enclosed place in which stood 

the first Guildhall prior to the reign of Henry IV. 
Alderney. In French Aurigny, from the Latin Aurinia, 

Isle of Light. 

8 Aldersgate Street — Allahabad 

Aldersgate Street. From the ancient city gate near which 
grew several fine alder-trees. 

Aldgate. From the Auld Gate of Saxon London, the 
earliest of the city gates. 

Aldine Editions. Early editions of the classics produced 
and given to the world by Aldo Manuzio, the celebrated 
printer of Venice, in the sixteenth century. 

Aldwych. An old name for a magnificent new thorough- 
fare which has taken the place of quaint, out-of-date 
Wych Street, anciently described as Auld Wych, leading 
as it did to the old village, whose parish church was 
that of St Giles's in the Fields. 

Ale-stake. The pole anciently set up in front of an ale- 
house. This was at first surmounted by a bush, in 
imitation of a wine bush ; later it became exchanged 
for a sign. 

Ale-wife. An old name for the wife of a tavern keeper. 

Alexandra Limp. When our present Queen, as Princess 
of Wales, having sustained an injury to her knee, was 
walking lame, it became the fashion to imitate her 

Alexandria. The city founded by Alexander the Great, 
b.c. 332. 

Aleutian Islands. From the Russian aleut, " bald rock." 

Alfreton. Properly Alfred's Town, identified with Alfred 
the Great. 

Algiers. From the Arabic Aljezair, " the peninsula." 

Alhambra. From the Arabic Kal-at-al-hamra, "the red 

Alibi. Latin for " elsewhere." 

A Little too Previous. An Americanism for being in too 
great a hurry ; rushing at conclusions ; saying or doing 
a thing without sufficient warranty. 

All Abroad. Provincial for scattered wits; "all over the 

Allahabad, Arabic and Persian for " City of God." 

All Bosh— All Souls' College 9 

All Bosh. The introduction of the term " Bosh " into our 
vocabulary must be accredited to James Morier, in 
whose Oriental romances, "The Adventures of Haiji 
Baba of Ispahan " and " Ayesha," it frequently appears. 
Bosh is Persian and Turkish, signifying rubbish, 
nonsense, silly talk. 

Alleghany. A corruption of Alligewi, the name of an 
Indian tribe. 

Allemanni. Teutonic for " All Men " ; expressing a con- 

All-fired. An Americanism for "great" — e.g. "He came 
in an all-fired hurry." 

All-hallowe'en. The vigil of " All-hallows' Day." 

All-hallows'-Barking. This ancient church, dedicated 
to All the Saints, belonged to the Abbey at Barking, 

All-hallows' Day. The old-time designation of All Saints' 
Day, from Anglo-Saxon ha/ig, holy. 

All Moonshine. As the light of the moon is reflected from 
the sun, so an incredible statement received at second 
hand is said to be "all moonshine." 

All my Eye and Betty Martin. A corruption of Ah mihi^ 
beate Martine (Woe to me, Blessed Martin), formerly 
used by beggars in Italy to invoke their patron saint. 
The story goes that a sailor who wandered into a 
church in that country, hearing these words, afterwards 
told his companions that all he could make out from 
the service was : "All my eye and Betty Martin." 

All Saints' Bay. Discovered by Amerigo Vespucci on the 
Feast of All Saints, 1503. 

All Saints' Day. The day set apart by the Church for the 
invocation of the whole body of canonised saints. 

All Serena. From the Spanish serena, used by sentinels as 
a countersign for "All's well." 

All Souls' College. Founded at Oxford by Henry Chichely, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, for the perpetual offering 
up of prayers on behalf of the souls of those who fell 
in the wars of Henry V. in France. 

io All Souls' Day— Amadeus 

All Souls' Day. The day of special prayers for the libera- 
tion of the suffering souls in Purgatory. The French 
people make it a point of duty to visit the graves of 
their deceased relatives on this day. 

All the Go. Originally a drapers' phrase, meaning that 
a certain line of goods is " going " fast and will soon 
be gone. A publisher, too, thinks a book should " go " 
with the reading public. 

All There. An Americanism expressive of one who has 
all his wits about him. 

Almack's. Fashionable assembly-rooms in King Street, St 
James's, opened 12th February 1765 by MacCall, a 
Scotsman, who inverted his name to remove all sus- 
picion of his origin. The next proprietor called them 
Willis's Rooms, after himself. In 1890 they were con- 
verted into a restaurant. 

Almighty Dollar. For this expression we are indebted to 
Washington Irving, who in his sketch of " The Creole 
Village" (1837) spoke of it as "the great object of 
universal devotion throughout our land." 

Alnwick. The wick, or village, on the Alne. 

Alpaca. Cloth made from the wool of the Peruvian sheep 
of the same name, akin to the llama. 

Alps. From the Latin albus, white, the mountains eternally 
capped with snow. 

Alsace. Teutonic for "the other seat," being the abode of 
their own people west of the Rhine. With the Celtic 
suffix the name became " Alsatia." 

Alsatia. Anciently the district of Whitefriars, which, being 
a sanctuary for law-breakers, received the name of the 
Rhine province notorious as the common refuge of the 

Alter Ego. Expresses the Latin for "my other self" or 
" double." 

Amadeus. The family name of the House of Savoy, from 
its motto : " Love God," 

Amain — America 1 1 

Amain. A nautical phrase meaning suddenly, at once — 
e.g. "Strike amain," " Lower amain." 

Amateur Casual. The literary sobriquet of Mr James 
Greenwood, who in 1866 spent a night in Lambeth 
Workhouse, and wrote his experiences in The Pall 
Mall Gazette. Within the last few months he has 
undertaken a similar up-to-date commission for The 

Amati. A violin of rare excellence made by Andrea Amati 
of Cremona. 

Amazon. The Spaniards first called this river the Orellana, 
in honour of their countryman who navigated it, but 
after hearing accounts of the fighting women on its 
banks they gave it the name of the fabled African 
tribe of warlike women who cut or burnt off the right 
breast in order the better to steady the bow. The 
word Amazon is Greek, from a, without, and maza, 

Ambrosian Chant. Ascribed to St Ambrose, Bishop of 
Milan in the fourth century. 

Ambuscade. From the Italian imboscata, concealed in a 

Amen. Hebrew for " Yea," " Truly," " So be it." 

Amen Corner. Old Stow tells us this lane was suddenly 
stopped up in his time, so that people said " Amen " 
on finding they had to turn back again. There may be 
something in this j but the greater likelihood is that it 
was here where the monks finished the recital of the 
Paternoster before they took up the Ave Maria while 
on their way in solemn procession to St Paul's at the 
great Church festivals. 

America. After Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine adventurer, 
who chanced to be at Seville when Columbus was pre- 
paring for his second voyage to the West. With 
Ojeda, Vespucci embarked upon an independent ex- 
pedition. Subsequently he made further voyages in 
Portuguese ships, and discovered the Bay of All Saints. 
His remaining days were spent in the service of the 

12 American Indians — Ampthill Square 

King of Spain, preparing charts and prescribed routes 
to the New World. Although these official publica- 
tions bore his signature, Vespucci never claimed to 
have discovered the great Western Continent. A 
wonderful narrative of his voyages, however, purporting 
to have been written by Vespucci, found its way into 
the hands of Martin Waldseemuller of Freiburg, Baden. 
This he translated, and caused it to be published by a 
bookseller at St Die in Lorraine in 1507. In his 
preface to the work Waldseemuller suggested that the 
newly discovered country should be called America, 
after the author, who had visited it. Hence the name 
really originated in Germany. 

American Indians. See " Indians." 

Americanism. A coined word or phrase in the United 
States which, freely repeated, tickles the popular ear 
and soon becomes engrafted upon the national vo- 
cabulary. Many Americanisms are now as common in 
England as in the land of their origin. The term may 
also be applied to such American deviations from 
British custom, as the substitution of " Depot " for 
Railway Station, " News-stand " for Bookstall, " On the 
street " for " In the street," etc. etc. 

Amiens. From the Latin amh'ens, surrounded by water. 
Three branches of the River Somme run through the 

Ammonites. The descendants of Ben-ammi, the son of Lot 
(Gen. xxix. 38). 

Among the Gods. At the time when the expression first 
came into use, the ceiling of Drury Lane Theatre was 
embellished with classical deities disporting themselves 
among the clouds in an azure sky. 

Among the Missing. An Americanism for an absentee. 
When a person wishes to be " out " to a visitor, he tells 
the servant that he prefers to be "among the missing." 

Amorica. The country of the Armorici, " dwellers on the 

Ampthill Square. From Ampthill Park, Bedfordshire, one 

Amsterdam — Angelic Doctor 13 

of the seats of the ground landlord, the Duke of 
Amsterdam. The town built on the dam of the Amstel. 

Amwell Street. After one of the wells in Hertfordshire, 
whose waters were drawn upon by Sir Hugh Myddleton 
for the New River. 

Anabaptists. Conformably to the Greek ana, twice, the 
designation of the original Baptists, who, having been 
baptised at birth, went through the ceremony a second 
time on reaching maturity. 

Anacreon Moore. The sobriquet of Thomas Moore, who 
translated the Odes of Anacreon, and constructed his 
own verses on the same classic model. 

Anatolia. The Turkish and Greek description of Asia 
Minor, from anatolie, east — i.e. of Constantinople. 

Ancient. Iago is described as Othello's " ancient." Even 
in Shakespeare's day this word was a corruption of 
ensign, or standard-bearer. , 

Ancient Lights. After having enjoyed the light of a 
window on his premises for twenty years uninterruptedly 
a person may, subject to displaying the notice "ancient 
lights," prevent that light from being intercepted by 
any other building. 

Ancona. From the Greek agkon, elbow, relative to its 
position on an angle of the coast. 

Andalusia. Properly Vandalusia, the country of the 

Andes. From the Peruvian anta, copper. 

Andrea Ferrara. A world-famous Italian sword blade 
made by Andrea of the city of Ferrara. 

Angel. An inn sign, originally the " Angel and Salutation," 
depicting the visit of the angel who announced to the 
Virgin that she was to be the mother of the Redeemer. 

Angelic Doctor. One of the sobriquets of St Thomas 
Aquinas, universally regarded as "The Angel of the 
Schools." He is said also to have written much on 
the nature of angels. 

1 4 Anglesea — Apothecary 

Anglesea. Properly Anglesey, expressing, from the point of 
view of the Celtic inhabitants of Wales, the ey, or 
island of the Angles. 

Anglesea Morris. After William Morris, who caught this 
species of fish off the Isle of Anglesea. 

Angola. Wool brought from Angola on the West Coast of 

Angostura Bitters. Prepared from the celebrated medicinal 

bark discovered by Capuchin monks in the Venezuelan 

city Angostura, which name signifies a strait. 
Anguilla Island. West Indian for "Little Snake," from 

its shape. 
Anisette. A cordial prepared from aniseed. 
Annunciator. An Americanism for bell or gong. 
Antarctic Ocean. That situate anti, opposite to, the 

Arctic Ocean. 
Antelope State. Nebraska, from the number of antelopes 

found there. 

Anthem. A hymn sung by the entire congregation, as 
distinguished from Antiphone, which term expresses 
a series of choral responses. 

Antigua. Expresses the Spanish for an ancient city. 

Antwerp. In French Anvers, the Antverfiia of the 

Any. An Americanism for "at all" — e.g. " It didn't 
trouble me any." 

Apache State. Arizona, the scene of many bloodthirsty 
encounters with the wild Apaches. 

Apennines. The Pennine Alps, from the Celtic ben, which 
is the same as the Welsh pen, summit or mountain 

Apollinaris Water. Brought from the famous mineral 

spring in the valley of the Ahor of the Rhine province. 

The ruins of a temple of Apollo gave the name to the 

Apothecary. The old name for a dispenser of medicines. 

The Greek word really implies a storehouse or de- 

Appian Way — April Fool 15 

pository ; it is compounded out of apo, to put away, and 
tkeke, chest, box. Differing from modern chemists and 
druggists, licentiates of the Apothecaries' Company may 
visit the sick and prescribe for them, as well as make 
up physicians' prescriptions. 

Appian Way. The construction of this famous road lead- 
ing from Rome to Capua was commenced by Appius 

Apostle of Temperance. Father Mathew, the inveterate 
enemy of tipplers in the Emerald Isle of his time. 

Apostles' Creed. The whole summary of Christian Faith, 
according to the Apostles. 

Apostolic Fathers. Those early doctors of the Church 
who, living in the first century after Christ, received 
their teaching from His disciples, if they did not 
actually enjoy personal communion with the Apostles. 

Apricot. From the Latin prcecoqus, early ripe. 

April. The month in which the buds begin to shoot, 
from aperio, to open. 

April Fish. The French equivalent of " April Fool," since, 
like a fish, the unsuspecting victim of a practical joke is 
easily caught. 

April Fool. The custom of April Fooling originated in 
France, which country took the lead in shifting the 
New Year from what is now Lady Day to the ist of 
January. This occurred in 1564. From the earliest 
periods of history people bestowed gifts upon their 
neighbours at the New Year, but as the 25th of March 
so often fell in Holy Week, even on Good Friday 
itself, the Church uniformly postponed the cele- 
bration of the New Year until the octave — viz. the ist 
of April. When, therefore, New Year's Day had been 
transferred to the ist of January, people paid mock 
visits to their friends on the ist of April with the 
object of fooling them into the belief that matters 
remained as they were. The like custom was intro- 
duced into England on the alteration of our calendar 
in 1762. April Fools' Day is supposed to be over at 

1 6 Apsley House — Argentine Republic 

twelve o'clock, since the New Year's visitation and 
bestowal of gifts always took place before noon. 

Apsley House. The residence of the Duke of Wellington, 
built by Henry Apsley, Lord Chancellor, afterwards 
Lord Bathurst. 

Aquarians. A Christian sect of the fourth century who 
substituted water for wine in the Communion. 

Aqua Tofana. A colourless poison invented by a Sicilian 
woman named Tofana towards the close of the 
seventeenth century. So extensive was her secret 
traffic with this liquid among young married women 
who were anxious to rid themselves of their husbands 
that when, at a great age, Tofana was dragged from 
the convent where she had taken refuge, and executed, 
she admitted to having caused the deaths of 600 

Arabia. The country of the Arabs, or " men of the desert." 

Arbor Day. A day set apart in America for planting trees. 

Arbroath. Originally Aberbrothockwick, the village at the 
mouth of the Brothock. 

Arcadian. An ideal farmer or a rustic scene; after the 
Arcadians, who were essentially a pastoral race. 

Arcadian Poetry. Pastoral poetry, in allusion to the 

Archangel. A town in Russia which derived its name 
from a great monastery of St Michael the Archangel. 

Archer-fish. A fish endowed with the power of shooting 
water at insects, which thus become an easy prey. 

Archway Road. Leads to the modern successor of the 
famous Highgate Archway opened in 18 13. 

Arctic Ocean. From the Greek arktos, bear, having 
reference to the great northern constellation. 

Ardennes. The great forest on the heights. 

Argand Lamp. After its inventor, Aime Argand. 

Argentine Republic. The modern name of Argentina, 
through which runs the La Plata, or River of Silver. 

Argosy — Artemus Ward 17 

While preserving their original designation of the river, 
the Spaniards Latinised that of the country. 

Argosy. A vessel laden with rich merchandise, from the 
Argo, in which Jason and his fellow-adventurers, the 
Argonauts, sailed to Colchis in quest of the Golden 
Fleece, b.c. 1263. 

Argyll. From Garra Ghaidhael, the country of the West 

Argyll Street. From the old town mansion of the Dukes 
of Argyll. The celebrated Argyll Rooms, now the 
Trocadero Restaurant, were a far cry from the other 
extreme of Regent Street. 

Argus-eyed. After the fabled Argus, who had a hundred 

Arians. The followers of the first Christian heretic, Arius, 
a presbyter of the Church of Alexandria in the fourth 

Arizona. Indian for " sand-hills." 

Arkansas. The same as Kansas, " smoky water," with the 
French suffix arc, a bow. 

Arkansas Toothpick. The Far-West designation of a 
" Bowie Knife," the blade of which, as used by the 
people of this state, shuts up into the handle. 

Arlington Street. From the town mansion of Henry 
Bennett, Earl of Arlington. 

Arminians. The anti-Calvinists of Holland, led by James 
Harmensen under the Latinised name of Jacobus 

Arras. Mediaeval tapestry, for the production of which 
the town of Arras, in the French Netherlands, was 

Arrowroot. So called because the Indians of tropical 
America regarded the root of the plant as efficacious 
against arrow wounds. 

Artemus Ward. The pseudonym of Charles Farrar 
Browne, the American humorous lecturer. This was, 


1 8 Artesian Well — As Poor as a 

however, the actual name of an eccentric showman 
whom he had encountered on his travels. 

Artesian Well. From Artois, where such wells were first 

Arthur's Seat. Said to have derived its name from King 
Arthur, but how his association with the city of 
Edinburgh arose no man can tell. 

Artichoke. From the Arabic ardischauki, earth thorn. 

Artillery Lane. Stands on part of the site of the practis- 
ing ground of the London Artillery Company, temp. 
Henry VIII., and later of the Tower Gunners, when 
all the land towards the north hereabouts was open 

Arundel. The dale of the River Arun. 

Arundel Street. That in the Strand from the town 
mansion and extensive grounds of the Howards, Dukes 
of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel and Surrey. That in 
the Haymarket after the ground landlord, Lord 
Arundel of Wardour. 

Ascension Island. Discovered by the Portuguese on the 
Feast of the Ascension, 1501. 

As Cross as Two Sticks. Two sticks held together in the 
centre like the letter X form a cross. 

Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The home among the ash-trees of the 
De La Zouches. By expresses the Anglo-Saxon for a 

Asia. From the Sanskrit Ushas, " land of the dawn." By 
the Western nations Asiatics were anciently styled 
11 the people of the sun." 

Asia Minor. Lesser Asia, called by the Turks and Greeks 
" Anatolia." 

Aspasia. A flower named after Aspasia of Miletus, the 

mistress of Pericles. 
As Poor as a Church Mouse. A church is one of the very 

few buildings that contain neither kitchen nor larder. 

Church mice, therefore, have a hungry time of it. 

As Rich as a Jew — Auburn 19 

As Rich as a Jew. The Jews in England were the first 
usurers, bankers, and bill-brokers. They only had the 
command of ready money, the wealth of the nobility 
consisting in the possession of broad lands. 

Assumptionists. A modern religious Order, founded fifty 
years ago, whose full title is the Augustinians of the 

Astoria. From the fur-trading station established in 1811 
by John Jacob Astor of New York. 

Astrakhan. Fur brought from Astrakhan, which name 
signifies the country or district ruled by a khan of the 
Tartar or Mogul Empire. 

Asturia. From the Basque asta, rock, and ura, water, 
denoting a region of mountains and estuaries. 

Atlantic Ocean. Called by the Greeks Atlantikos pelagos, 
from the Isle of Atlantis, imagined by Homer and 
Plato to be beyond the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Athanasian Creed. Opinions affecting the doctrine of the 
Trinity, ascribed to St Athanasius of Alexandria, 
adopted and formally compiled by St Hilary, Bishop 
of Aries in the fifth century. 

Athens. From the Temple of Athene, or Minerva, the 
tutelary goddess of the city. 

Athens of America. The city of Boston, considered the 
chief seat of learning in the New World. 

Athens of the South. Nashville, Tennessee, on account of 
the number of its scholastic institutions. 

Athelney. The "Royal Island" or "Isle of the Nobles," 
where Alfred the Great founded a Benedictine 

Atlas. Since the publication of " Mercator's Projections," 
with the figure of Atlas bearing the globe on his 
shoulders as a frontispiece, in 1560, all books of maps 
have received this name. 

At Loggerheads. See "Loggerhead." 

Auburn. From the Anglo-Saxon Auld Bourne, old bourn, 
or stream. 

20 Auckland — Autocar 

Auckland. The capital of New Zealand, named in honour 
of Lord Auckland, a famous politician of his time, 
who became Governor-General of India, and after his 
retirement was elected President of the Asiatic Society. 
His ancestor, the first Lord Auckland, took his title 
from Auckland in Durham, which name was originally 

Audley Street (North and South). Perpetuate the memory 
of Hugh Audley, a barrister of the Middle Temple, 
whose landed estates hereabouts were computed at his 
death in 1662 to be worth a million of money. 

Augsburg Confession. The Lutheran Confession of faith 
drawn up by Melancthon, and presented by Martin 
Luther to Charles V. during the sitting of the German 
Diet at Augsburg in 1530. 

August. After Augustus Caesar, who regarded this as his 
lucky month. Its original name was Sextilis, the 
sixth month of the Roman year. 

Augustan Age. The best literary age of any country, 
because Rome in the time of Augustus Caesar pro- 
duced the finest examples of Latin literature. 

Augustin Friars. The religious Order said to have been 
founded by St Augustine, the first Archbishop of 
Canterbury. See " Austin Friars." 

Auld Reekie. The name given to the old part of Edin- 
burgh, from the cloud of reek or smoke which usually 
caps it. 

Austin Friars. Part of the site of the priory of the 
Augustin Friars, whose church still remains. 

Australasia. Southern Asia. 

Australia. From the Latin Australis, southern. 

Austria. From Oesterreich, or Eastern Empire, as dis- 
tinguished from the Western Empire founded by 

Autocar. The name first given to a motor car ; incorrectly, 
however, since so far from being automatic such a 

Autun — Backgammon 2 1 

one, like all mechanically propelled vehicles, requires 

a guiding intelligence. 
Autun. The Augustodunum, or Town of Augustus, of the 

Auvergne. From the Auverni, who overran it in the time 

of the Caesars. 
Avoca. Gaelic for "the meeting of the waters." 

Ave Maria Lane. Where the monks of old chanted 
the "Ave Maria" on their way to St Paul's. See 
"Amen Corner." 

Avon. From Arfon, the Celtic for river or stream, which 
enters into many place-names. 

Axminster. The monastery town on the Axe. 

Ayah. Hindustani for waiting-woman or nurse. 

Aye-Vye. An animal found in Madagascar, so called from 
its cry. 

Aylesbury Street. From the town house and garden of 
the Earls of Aylesbury. 

Azores. The Portuguese named this group of islands 
Acores, the plural of acor> hawk, on account of the 
great number of hawks there. 

Azov. A Russianised form of Asak, the name given to it 
by the Tartars. 


Bacchanalia. Roman festivals in honour of Bacchus, the 

god of wine. 
Bacchus Verses. Verses witten in praise or dispraise of 

Bacchus, and affixed to the doors of the College at 

Eton on " Collop Monday." 

Bachelor Girl. One who lives in her own rooms, belongs to 
a woman's club, and considers herself superior to what 
is called home influence — a distinctly modern creation. 

Backgammon. From the Saxon Bac and gamen, " back- 
game," because the pieces have at times to go back 
and be moved up afresh. 

22 Back a Man — Balaklava 

Back a Man. To have full confidence in him. From 
backing or endorsing a bill on another's behalf. 

Badajoz. Called by the Moors Beledaix, " Land of Health." 

Bad Egg. A man who is commercially or morally unsound, 
and therefore fit only to be shunned. 

Badger State. Wisconsin, from the name given to the 
early miners, who made for themselves winter habita- 
tions in the earth, like a badger. 

Badminton. A drink of spiced claret, and also a game of 
tennis played with shuttlecocks instead of balls, intro- 
duced by the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton, his 
country seat. 

Baffin's Bay. After William Baffin, the pilot of an expedi- 
tion sent out to explore this region in 1616. 

Bagatelle. From the Italian bagetella^ a conjurer's trick. 

Baggage. A term often applied to a woman, because the 
wives of soldiers taken on foreign service go with the 
stores and baggage generally. In the United States 
this word is an equivalent for the English " Luggage." 

Bagman. The old name for a commercial traveller, who 
carried his samples in a bag. 

Bag o' Nails. A popular corruption of the ancient inn sign, 
"The Bachannals," referring to Pan and the Satyrs. 

Bag 0' Tricks. In allusion to the large bag in which an 
itinerant conjurer carried his tricks. 

Bakers' Dozen. In olden times, when bread was sold in 
open market instead of shops, women took up the 
trade of selling bread from door to door. They re- 
ceived from the bakers thirteen loaves for the price of 
twelve, the odd one constituting their profit. 

Baker Street. After Sir Edward Baker, a great friend of 
the Portmans of Dorsetshire, the ground landlords. 

Bakshish. A Persian word for " gratuity." 

Balaklava. When settled by the Genoese, they gave it the 
name of Bella-chiava^ or "Fair Haven." 

Balearic Islands — Bandy Words 23 

Balearic Islands. From the Greek ballein^ to throw, 
expresses the Island of Slingers. 

Ball. A dancing party received this name primarily from 
the curious ancient Ball Play in Church by the Dean 
and choir boys of Naples during the " Feast of Fools " 
at Easter. While singing an antiphon the boys caught 
the ball thrown by the Dean as they danced around 
him. At private dancing parties the dancers always 
threw a ball at one another as, to the sound of their 
own voices/ they whirled around in sets, the pastime 
consisting in loosening hands in time to catch it. 
Afterwards the ball was discarded, but the dance time 
received the name of a Ballad, from the Latin ballare, 
to dance. 

Ballad. See "Ball." 

Ballet. Expresses the French diminutive of bal, a dance. 
See "Ball." 

Ball's Pond. From an inn, the "Salutation," kept by 
John Ball, whose dog and duck sports in a large pond 
attracted a great concourse of visitors in former days. 

Balsover Street. From Balsover, Derbyshire, the seat of 
the Fitzroys, Dukes of Grafton, the ground landlords. 

Baltic Sea. A sea of belts or straits. Bait is Norse for 

Baltimore. After Lord Baltimore, the founder of the 

neighbouring state of Maryland. 

Baltimore Bird. Though found almost everywhere in the 
United States, it is said to have received its name 
from the correspondence of its colours with those 
distinguished in the arms of Lord Baltimore, the 
Governor of Maryland. 

Bancroft Road. After Francis Bancroft, the founder of 
the Drapers' Almshouses, in this road. 

Bandana. The Hindu term for silk goods generally, but 
now applied to cotton pocket-handkerchiefs with 
white or yellow spots on a blue ground. 

Bandy Words with You. From the old game of Bandy, in 

24 Bangor — Barber-surgeons 

which the ball was struck or bandied to opposite 

Bangor. From Ban-choir, "The White Choir " of the 
Abbey, founded by St Cungall in the sixth century. 

Banjo. Properly Bandore, from the Greek Pandoura, a 
stringed instrument named after Pan. The word was 
introduced into North America from Europe. 

Banker Poet. Samuel Rogers, author of " The Pleasures 
of Memory," who was a banker all his life. 

Banshee. From the Gaelic bean si'd/ie, woman fairy. 

Bantam. A species of fowl said to have been introduced 
to Europe from Bantam in Java. 

Banting. After William Banting, a London cabinetmaker, 
who in 1863 reduced his superfluous fat by a dietic 
system peculiarly his own. 

Bar. In old days, when a counter did not obtain, and 
drinking vessels had to be set down on the benches or 
barrel ends, a bar separated the frequenters of a tavern 
from the drawers or tapsters. Similarly, at the Courts 
of Law the Bar was a rail behind which a barrister or 
counsel had to plead his client's cause. 

Barbadoes. From the streamers of moss, resembling a 
beard, suspended from the tree branches. 

Barbarians. The name universally applied by the Romans 
to wandering or warlike tribes who were unkempt and 

Barbarossa. The sobriquet of Frederick the First of 
Germany, on account of his red beard. 

Barbary. The land of the Berbers, the Arabic description 
of the people of this region prior to the Saracen 

Barber. From the Latin barba, a beard. 

Barber-surgeons. Hairdressers who, down to the sixteenth 
century, also practised " cupping " or blood-letting, a 
relic of which is the modern Barber's Pole. The red and 
white stripes around the pole denoted the bandages, 

Barbican — Bartholomew Close 25 

while in place of the gilt knob at the end there origin- 
ally hung the basin affixed under the chin of the 
patient operated upon. 

Barbican. That portion of the Roman wall round the city 
of London where there must have been a watch-tower 
looking towards the north. Barbacana is a Persian 
word for a watch-tower in connection with a fortified 

Barcelona. Anciently Barcino, after Hamilcar Barca, the 
father of Hannibal, who refounded the city. 

Baring Island. Named by Captain Penny after Sir Francis 
Baring, first Lord of the Admiralty. 

Barley Mow. An old sign for a tavern in connection with 
the Mow or house where the barley was stored for 
brewing. Mowe is Saxon for " heap." 

Barmecide's Feast. An illusory banquet. From the story 
of the Barber's Sixth Brother, in " The Arabian Nights." 
Barmecide invited a starving wretch to a feast, but 
gave him nothing to eat. 

Barnsbury. Anciently Berners' Bury, the manor of which 
was held by Lady Berners, abbess of St Albans. 

Barnstormer. A strolling actor. In the old days, away 
from the regular circuits, there were no provincial 
theatres or halls licensed for stage plays whatever. 
The consequence was a company of strolling players 
obtained permission to perform in a barn. Edmund 
Kean admitted, when in the zenith of his fame, that he 
had gained his experience " by barnstorming." 

Barrister. See "Bar." 

Barrow Eoad. This, with Barrow Hill Place, marks the site 
of a barrow or sepulchral mound of the Britons and 
Romans slain in battle. 

Barry Cornwall. The anagrammatic pseudonym of Bryan 
Waller Procter, the poet. 

Bar Tender. An Americanism for barman or barkeeper. 

Bartholomew Close. The site of the ancient cloisters of 
St Bartholomew's Priory, connected with the neigh- 
bouring church, which is the oldest in London. 

26 Bartholomew — Battle of Nations 

Bartholomew Fair. The famous fair which for centuries 
survived the mediaeval mart that had given rise to it in 
the neighbouring street, still known as Cloth Fair. It 
was held on the Feast of St Bartholomew. 

Barton Street. A street in Westminster built by Barton 
Booth, the eminent actor of Drury Lane Theatre. 

Bashaw. Properly " Pashaw." See " Pasha." 

Basinghall Street. From the mansion and grounds of the 
Basings, whose ancestor, Solomon Basing, was Lord 
Mayor of London in 1216. 

Bassano. The better known, indeed to most people the 
only proper, name of the famous Italian artist, Jacopa 
da Ponte, who signed all his pictures "II Bassano," 
having been born at Bassano in the state of Venice. 

Bass's Straits. Discovered by Matthew Flinders. These 
straits were named by him after a young ship's 
surgeon, who, with a crew of only six men, in a small 
vessel, accompanied him on the expedition. 

Bath Chair. First introduced at Bath, the great health 
resort of a bygone day. 

Bath Street. From a Bagnio, or Turkish Bath, established 
here in the seventeenth century. 

Battersea. Anciently Patricesy, or St Peter' s-ey, the 
manor belonging to the abbey of St Peter's, West- 
minster. The suffix ey implied not only an island, but 
also a creek. 

Battle-born State. Nevada, because admitted into the 
American Union during the Civil War. 

Battle Bridge Road. In this neighbourhood the Icem\ 
under Boadicea, sustained their total defeat at the 
hands of the Romans, a.d. 61. 

Battle of all the Nations. The battle of Leipsic, 16th to 
1 8th October 18 13, so called because it effected the 
deliverance of Europe from the domination of Napoleon 

Battle of the Giants— B. D. V. 27 

Battle of the Giants. That of Marignano, in which 1200 
Swiss Guards, allies of the Milanese, were defeated, 
13th September 15 15. 

Battle of the Herrings. From the sortie of the Orleaners 
to cut off a convoy of salted herrings on its way to the 
English, besieging their city, 12th February 1429. 

Battle of the Standard. From the high crucifix borne as 
a standard on a waggon by the English at Northallerton, 
29th August 1 138. 

Battle of the Spurs. That of Guinnegate, 16th August 
15 13, when the French were utterly routed in conse- 
quence of a panic; they used their spurs instead of 
their weapons of defence. 

Battle of the Spurs of Gold. From the enormous number 
of gold spurs picked up on the field after the defeat of 
the French knights at Courtray, nth July 1302. 

Bavaria. The country of the Boii, anciently styled 

Baynard's Castle. See " Bayswater." 

Bayonet. Not from the town of Bayonne, but because a 
Basque regiment in the district of Bayonnetta in 1647, 
surprised by the Spaniards, stuck their knives into 
the muzzles of their muskets, and, charging, drove off 
the enemy with great slaughter. 

Bay State. Massachusetts, from the original denomination 
of this colony in the New England Commonwealth — 
viz. Massachusetts Bay. 

Bayon State. Mississippi, from the French bayon, water- 
course, touching its great river. 

Bayswater. Originally described as " Baynard's Watering," 
being a manor built by Ralph Baynard, one of the 
favourites of William the Conqueror, the owner of 
Baynard's Castle, in what is now Thames Street, 
destroyed in the Great Fire of London. 

B. D. V. A tobacco advertisement which stands for " Best 
Dark Virginia." 

28 Beak — Beauchamp Tower 

Beak. The slang term for a magistrate, on account of the 
beag or gold collar that he wears. 

Beak Street. This name has a sportive reference to the 

magistrate at the neighbouring police court in Great 

Marlborough Street. 
Beanfeast. From the Bean-goose (so called from the 

similarity of the nail of its bill to a bean) which was 

formerly the invariable dinner dish. 
Bear. Wherever this enters into the name of a tavern 

sign (with the single exception of that of "The Bear 

and Ragged Staff") it denotes a house that had 

originally a bear garden attached to it. 

Bear and Ragged Staff. A common inn sign in Warwick- 
shire, from the heraldic device of Warwick the King 

Bear Garden. This name at the corner of Sumner Street, 
Southwark, recalls the old Paris Garden, a famous bear- 
baiting establishment founded by Robert de Paris as 
far back in English history as the reign of Richard I. 
A " Bear Garden " is in our time synonymous with a 
place of resort for roughs or rowdies. 

Bear State. Arkansas, from the Western description of 
the character of its people. " Does Arkansas abound 
with bears that it should be called the Bear State ? " a 
Western man was once asked. "Yes, it does," was 
the reply; "for I never knew a man from that state 
but he was a bar, and, in fact, the people are all barish 
to a degree." 

Bearward. The custodian of the bear at public and 
private bear-baiting gardens. Most English towns 
anciently retained a bearward. See " Congleton 

Beats a Philadelphia Lawyer. An American expression 
implying that the lawyers of Philadelphia are noted 
for shrewdness and learning. 

Beauchamp Tower. After Thomas de Beauchamp, Earl of 
Warwick, whom Richard II. caused to be imprisoned 
here for inciting the barons to remove the King's 
favourite, Sir Simon de Burley. 

Beauclerc — Beguines 29 

Beauclerc. The surname of Henry I., on account of his 
accomplishments in an age when learning was rare. 

Beckenham. The home in the vicinity of becks or brooks. 
The Saxon terminal en expresses the plural. 

Bedad. An Irishman's exclamation, derived from the 
English " Begad " or " By Gad." 

Bedford. From the Anglo-Saxon Bedican-ford, the pro- 
tected ford over the Ouse. 

Bedfordbury. The bury or enclosed land of the Duke 
of Bedford. Bedford Street and Bedford Square like- 
wise point to the great ground landlord. 

Bedlam. Short for Bethlehem Hospital, a " Lazar House " 
in South London which in 1815 was converted into 
an asylum for lunatics. See " Bethlehem." 

Bedouins. From the Arabic badawiy, "dwellers in the 

Beech Street. Said to have been the property of Nicholas 
de la Beech, Lieutenant of the Tower, temp. Edward III. 

Beefeaters. Although it has been proved that the word 
Buffetier cannot be met with in any old book, the 
Yeomen of the Guard instituted by Henry VII. 
certainly waited at the royal table, and since this 
monarch was largely imbued with French manners, 
his personal attendants must after all have received 
their nickname from the Buffet^ or sideboard. 

Beer Bible. From the words "the beer" in place of 
" strong drink " (Isaiah xxiv. 9). 

Before the Mast. The for'ard part of a ship, where, in 
the forecastle, the sailors have their quarters. Hence 
a common seaman is said to "Serve before the Mast." 

Begad. See "By Gad." 

Begorra. An Irish form of the English corrupted oath 
Begad or " By Gad." 

Beguines. An order of nuns in France, from the French 
beguin, a linen cap. These nuns are distinguished by 
their peculiar head covering. 

30 Begum — Benedict 

Begum. A lady of high rank in the East, a princess in 
India, or the wife of a Turkish beg (generally corrupted 
into bey) or Governor. 

Beldame. From the French Belle-dame, " fine lady." The 
meaning has now been corrupted from a lady entitled 
to the utmost respect on account of age or position to 
an ugly old woman. 

Belgium. From the Belgce, the name given by Caesar to the 
warlike people who overran this portion of Gaul. 

Belgravia. The fashionable district of which Belgrave 
Square is the centre, after one of the titles of the Duke 
of Westminster, the ground landlord. 

Bell. A tavern sign, originally denoting a haunt for the 
lovers of sport, where a silver bell constituted the 

Bell, Book, and Candle. The instruments used by the 
Church in carrying out a sentence of excommunication. 
The bell apprised all good Christians of what was 
about to take place, the dread sentence was read out of 
the book, while the blowing out of the candle symbolised 
the spiritual darkness in which the excommunicated 
person would in future abide. 

Belleisle. French for " beautiful isle." 

Beloochistan. Pursuant to the Persian sfan, the country of 
the Belooches. 

Below Par. Not up to the mark in point of health. The 
allusion is to Government stock not worth its nominal 
;£ioo value. 

Belvedere. A public-house sign, derived from the Italian 
word for a pavilion built on a house-top commanding 
a fine prospect. 

Ben. Theatrical slang for "benefit." 

Bench. The primitive seat of judges and magistrates 
before the modern throne-like chair was introduced. 
Barristers of the Inns of Court are styled "Benchers" 
from the wooden seats formerly provided for them. 

Benedict. A confirmed bachelor, after St Benedict, who 

Benedictine — Bernardine Hospice 31 

unceasingly preached the virtues of celibacy. Also 
a newly-married man who, like Benedick in Much 
ado about Nothing, after having long forsworn 
marriage, at length succumbed to the grand passion. 

Benedictine. A liqueur made at the Benedictine monastery 
at Fecamp. 

Benedictines. The monastic Order founded by St Benedict 
in the sixth century. 

Bengal Tigers. The Leicester Regiment, which as the old 
17 th Foot rendered good service in India at the com- 
mencement of the last century, and received a royal 
tiger as a badge. 

Bennett Street. From the town mansion of Henry Bennett, 
Earl of Arlington. 

Bentinck Street. After William Bentinck, second Duke of 
Portland, the ground landlord. 

Bergen. From the Danish bierg, mountain, the port 
nestling at the foot of high hills. 

Berkeley Square. The whole district hereabouts comprised 
the land of Lord Berkeley of Stratton, one of the 
officers of Charles I. 

Berkeley Street (Upper and Lower). After Edward 
Berkeley Portman, the ground landlord. There is a 
Berkeley Street too in Clerkenwell, on the site of which 
stood the residence of Sir Maurice Berkeley, the 
standard-bearer of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and 

Berkshire. The Beoric, or " forest shire," of the Saxons. 

Berlin. From the Slavonic Berk, denoting its situation in 
the midst of a sandy plain. 

Bermondsey. The ey t or creek land, belonging to the 
Saxon lord Beomund. 

Bermuda Islands. After Juan Bermudas, who discovered 
them in 1522. 

Bernardine Hospice. This noble institution on the Alpine 
heights was not founded by St Bernard, nor has it ever 

32 Bernardines — Big Ben 

been served by the monks of his Order. It takes its 
name from Bernard de Menthon, a wealthy Savoyard, 
who in 962 established this house of refuge for the 
pilgrims crossing the Alps on their way to the Holy 
Land. The monks who serve the Hospice are 

Bernardines. The monastic Order founded by St Bernard 
in 1 1 15. 

Berne. From the German Baren, which expresses the 
plural for bear. The figure of a bear is conspicuous 
on the public buildings, fountains, etc. 

Berners Street. After Lady Berners, the original owner of 
the land hereabouts. 

Best Man at a Wedding. A survival of feudal times, when 
the particular friends of the " Bridegroom " undertook 
to frustrate the designs of a rival sworn to carry off the 
bride before the nuptials could take place. In Sweden 
weddings formerly took place under cover of night. 
Behind the high altar of the ancient church at Husaby, 
in Gothland, a collection of long lances, with sockets 
for torches, may yet be seen. These were served out 
to the groomsmen on such occasions, both for defence 
and illumination. These groomsmen were the bravest 
and best who could be found to volunteer their services. 

Bethlehem. Hebrew for "house of bread." Hence 
Bethlehem Hospital, the original name for a lazar or 
poor house. 

Bethnal Green. Anciently Bednal Green, but corrupted 
from the family name of the Bathons, who resided here, 
temp. Edward I. 

Bevis Marks. Properly Bury's Marks, from the posts 
to define the limits of the ground belonging to the 
town house of the Abbots of Bury. 

Bideford Postman. The sobriquet of Edward Capern, the 
poet, who was a letter-carrier at Bideford in Devon. 

Big Ben. After Sir Benjamin Hall, Bart., M.P., one of the 
designers of the New Houses of Parliament, and Chief 
Commissioner of Works. 

Big Bend State — Birmingham 33 

Big Bend State. Tennessee, which name expresses the 
Indian for "river of the great bend." 

Bilbo. The old name for a Spanish sword blade made at 

Bilboes. The irons with which mutinous sailors are 
manacled together. From Bilboa, Spain, their place 
of origin. 

Bilker. A corruption of Ba/ker, one who balks or outwits 
another. In our day one hears mostly of the "Cab 
bilker" ; formerly the "Tavern bilker" was an equally 
reprehensible character. 

Billingsgate. After Belin, a Saxon lord, who had a resi- 
dence beside the old Roman water-gate on the north 
bank of the Thames. 

Billiter Street. A corruption of Belzettar, the name of 
the first builder on the land hereabouts. 

Billycock. The slang term for a " bowler " hat always worn 
by William Coke at the Holkham shooting parties. 

Bingham's Dandies. One of the nicknames of the 17th 
Lancers, after their Colonel and their smart uniforms. 

Bioscope. Moving or living pictures thrown on a screen, 

so called from the Greek dios, life, and skopein, to 

Birchin Lane. Properly Birchover Lane, after the name of 

the builder. 
Birdcage Walk. From the Royal Aviary of the Restoration, 

located along the south wall of St James's Park. 

Bird of Passage. A hotel phrase applied to a guest who 
arrives at stated seasons. 

Bird's Eye Tobacco. So called from the oval shape of the 
stalks when cut up with the leaf. 

Birkbeck Institute. The premier Mechanics' Institute, 
established by Dr Birkbeck in 1824. 

Birmingham. Called Bremenium by the Romans and 
Birmingeham in Domesday Book. This being so, it 
cannot be corrupted from "Broom-place town," as 
some authors say. 


34 Birrell— Blackguards 

Birrell. To write, speak, or do anything after the manner 
of Mr Augustine Birrell, M.P., President of the Board 
of Education. 

Birrelligion. A word coined by Dr Casterelli, Roman 
Catholic Bishop of Salford, who, speaking on Mr 
Birrell's New Education Bill, said it was not one exactly 
of irreligion, but of Birrelligion, acceptable to no party 
or denomination. 

Bishopsgate Street. From the ancient city gate rebuilt by 
Bishop Irkenwald, the son of King Offa, and repaired 
by Bishop William in the time of the Conqueror. 

Biz. Theatrical slang for " business " or stage by-play. 

Black Brunswickers. A celebrated regiment of seven 
hundred volunteers raised in Bohemia in 1809 by 
Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick, who took up 
arms against Napoleon because the latter had ob- 
structed his succession to his father's dukedom. Their 
uniform was black, in token of mourning for the de- 
ceased Duke. Finding they could not bear against the 
power of France, they enlisted in the English service. 
Thus it came to pass that the Black Brunswickers 
fought at the Battle of Waterloo, where their gallant 
leader met his death. Afterwards they were heard of 
no more. 

Black Bull. An inn sign derived from the heraldic device 
of the House of Clare. 

Black Country. The name given to the great coalfield 
in the Midlands. It extends from Birmingham to 
Wolverhampton on one side and from Lyle Waste to 
West Bromwich on the other. 

Black Friars. The Order of the Dominicans, so called 
from their habits. In the district of Blackfriars stood 
the great monastery. 

Blackguards. A derisive nickname given originally to the 
scullions of the Royal Household, touching their 
grimy appearance, as contrasted with the spruceness 
of the Guards of Honour. 

Blackheath — Blankets 3 5 

Blackheath. A corruption of Bleak Heath. 

Blackleg. After sporting men of a low type, who invariably 
wore black gaiters or top-boots. 

Blackmail. Originally a tax or tribute paid to robbers or 
freebooters as a compromise for protection. " Black " 
implied the Gaelic for security, while mal was Anglo- 
Saxon for tribute. 

Black Maria. Slang for a prison van. Many years ago a 
negress of powerful build and strength, named Maria 
Lee, kept a sailor's lodging-house at Boston. Everyone 
dreaded her, and she so frequently assisted the police 
of that day to pin down a refractory prisoner before he 
could be manacled that "Send for Black Maria!" 
became quite a common exclamation among them. 
Hence the earliest vehicles for the conveyance of 
offenders against law and order, especially since they 
were painted black, were named after her. 

Black Museum. The collection of criminal relics preserved 
at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police at New 
Scotland Yard. 

Black Prince. The sobriquet of Edward, Prince of Wales, 
son of Edward III., not because he wore black armour, 
as is generally supposed, but, according to Froissart, 
"by terror of his arms," and again, Strutt, "for his 
martial deeds." 

Black Sea. From its many black rocks, which render 
navigation dangerous. 

Blackwall. A corruption of Bleak Wall. 

Black Watch. Soldiers first appointed to watch the 
Highlands of Scotland. They received the name 
from their black tartans. 

Blandford Square. From Blandford, Dorsetshire, near 
Bryanstone, the seat of the great ground landlord, 
Viscount Portman. 

Blankets. First made by the Brothers Blanket, of Bristol, 
in 1337. 

36 Blarney — Bloomers 

Blarney. Suave speeches intended only to gain time. When 
Cormack Macarthy was besieged by the English in 
Blarney Castle in 1662 he concluded an armistice, with 
the object of surrendering after a few days J but instead 
of doing so he sent out soft, evasive speeches, until Lord 
Carew and his soldiers were forced to admit that they 
had been duped. Hence the expression : " None of 
your Blarney." 

Blenheim Oranges. First cultivated at Blenheim, the seat 
of the Duke of Marlborough. 

Blenheim Street. In compliment to the Duke of Marl- 
borough after the battle of Blenheim. 

Blind Man's Buff. So called because if any one of those 
taking part in the game allowed the blind man to buff 
up against him he had to be blindfolded in his place. 

Blood. See " Penny Blood." 

Bloody. The addiction of the vulgar to the use of this 
adjective on all occasions has made it low and repre- 
hensible. Anciently, however, it was employed in a 
most reverential sense, relative to the Blood of Christ 
— e.g. the " Bloody Sacrifice of the Mass." 

Bloody Assizes. Those held by Judge Jeffreys in 1685 f° r 
the punishment of all who had taken part in the Duke 
of Monmouth's rebellion. Three hundred persons were 
executed, and more than a thousand transported to the 

Bloody Butcher. The sobriquet of the Duke of Cumber- 
land, son of George II., owing to his wholesale 
slaughter of the adherents of Prince Charles Stuart, 
the Young Pretender, after the battle of Culloden. 

Bloody Eleventh. The nth Foot, in memory of the terrible 
slaughter inflicted on this regiment at Salamanca. 

Bloody Tower. Where the infant Princes were murdered 
at the order of their uncle, Richard, Duke of Glo'ster. 

Bloomers. After Mrs Ann Bloomer of New York, who 
introduced the original nondescript style of "New 
Woman " in 1849. 

Bloomsbury — Blue Law State 37 

Bloomsbury. A corruption of " Lomesbury," the name of a 
manor house and grounds which stood on the site of 
the present square. "Lomesbury village" sprang up 
around the ancient church of St Giles's in-the- Fields. 

Bluchers. After Field-Marshal von Blucher, who affected 
this style of military half-boot. 

Blue. An indecent story is said to be "blue" because 
harlots in the ancient Bridewell, and in more modern 
houses of correction or penitentiaries, were habited in 
blue gowns. 

Blue Boar. An inn sign derived from the heraldic device 
of Richard III. 

Blue Grass State. Kentucky, from the character of the 
orchard grass in this fertile limestone region. 

Blue Hen's Chickens. A nickname for the people of 
Delaware. The Delaware State Journal thus accounts 
for its origin : " At the beginning of the Revolutionary 
War there lived in Sussex county of that colony a 
gentleman of fortune named Caldwell, who was a 
sportsman, and breeder of fine horses and game-cocks. 
His favourite axiom was that the character of the 
progeny depends more on the mother than on the 
father, and that the finest game-cocks depended on 
the hen rather than on the cock. His observation led 
him to select a blue hen, and he never failed to hatch 
a good game-cock from a blue hen's egg. Caldwell 
distinguished himself as an officer in the First Dele- 
ware Regiment for his daring spirit. The high state 
of its discipline was conceded to its exertions, so that 
when officers were sent on recruiting service it was 
said that they had gone home for more of Caldwell's 
game-cocks j but as Caldwell insisted that no cock 
could be truly game unless its mother was a blue hen, 
the expression Blue Herts Chickens was substituted for 

Blue Law State. An old name for Connecticut, whose 
original settlers shared with the Puritans in the mother 
country a disgust of the licentiousness of the Court 

38 Blue Noses — Bobby 

of the Restoration, and on this account were said to 
advocate " Blue " Laws. 

Blue Noses. A nickname bestowed upon the Nova 
Scotians, from the species of potato which they pro- 
duce and claim to be the best in the world. 

Blue Peter. The flag hoisted at the mast head to give 
notice that a vessel is about to sail. Its name is a 
corruption of the French "Bleu Partir," or blue de- 
parture signal. 

Blue Pig. An inn sign, corrupted from the " Blue Boar." 

Blue Stocking. From the famous club of literary ladies 
formed by Mrs Montague in 1840, at which Benjamin 
Stillingfleet, who habitually wore blue stockings, was 
a regular visitor. Blue stockings, therefore, became the 
recognised badge of membership. There was, how- 
ever, such a club of ladies and gentlemen at Venice 
as far back as 1400, called Delia Calza, from the colour 
of stockings worn. 

Blunderbuss. A corruption of the Dutch donderbus, 
"thunder tube." 

Board of Green Cloth. The steward of the Royal House- 
hold presides over this so called court, which has a 
green cover on its table. 

Boar's Head. The sign of the ancient tavern in Eastcheap 
immortalised by Shakespeare. This, like all others of 
the same name, was derived from the heraldic device 
of the Gordons, the earliest of whom slew a boar that 
had long been a terror of the forest. 

Bob Apple. A very old boyish pastime. Standing on 
tiptoe, with their hands behind them, they tried to 
catch in their mouths an apple as it swung to and fro 
at the end of a piece of string suspended from the 
ceiling. A variant of the same game consisted in lying 
across a form and plunging their heads into a large tub 
of water, at the bottom of which was the apple. 

Bobby. The nickname of a policeman, after Sir Robert 

Bobs— Bolivia 39 

Peel, to whom the introduction of the modern police 
system was due. 

Bobs. The popular nickname of Lord Roberts during the 
South African War. He is also called "Lord Bobs." 

Boer. Expresses the Dutch for a farmer. Synonymous 
with the English "boor," an uncultivated fellow, a 
tiller of the soil. 

Bogtrotter. An Irishman, from the ease with which he 
makes his way across the native bogs, in a manner 
astonishing to a stranger. 

Bogus. In reporting a trial at law The Boston Courier in 
1857 gave the following authoritative origin: — "The 
word Bogus is a corruption of the name of one Borghese, 
a very corrupt individual, who twenty years ago or 
more did a tremendous business in the way of supply- 
ing the great west, and portions of the south-west, 
with counterfeit bills and bills on fictitious banks. 
The western people fell into the habit of shortening 
the name of Borghese to that of Bogus, and his bills, 
as well as all others of like character, were universally 
styled by them 'bogus currency.'" So that the word 
is really American. 

Bohea. Tea of the poorest quality, grown in the hilly dis- 
trict of Wu-i ; pronounced by the Chinese Vooy. 

Bohemia. From the Bohii, the ancient inhabitants of the 

Bohemian. One who leads a hand-to-mouth existence by 
literary or other precarious pursuits, who shuns the 
ordinary conventions of society, and aspires to that only 
of his fellows. The term originally meant a " Gipsy," 
because the earliest nomadic people who overran 
Western Europe did so by way of Bohemia. 

Boiled Shirt. An Americanism, originally from the 
western states, for a starched white shirt. 

Bolivia. After General Simon Bolivar, surnamed " The 
Liberator of Peru." 

40 Bologna — Boot-jack 

Bologna. A settlement of the Boii, after whom the Romans 
called it Bononia. 

Bomba. The sobriquet of Ferdinand, King of Naples, on 
account of his bombardment of Messina in 1848. 

Bonanza State. Nevada, on account of its rich mines, 
styled Bonanza mines. Bonanza is Spanish for 
" prosperity." 

Bond Street (Old and New). Built on the land owned 
by Sir Thomas Bond, Comptroller of the Household 
of Charles I. 

Bone of Contention. In allusion to two dogs fighting over 
a bone. 

Bone-shaker. The original type of bicycle, with wooden 
wheels, of which the rims consisted of small curved 
pieces glued together. Compared with a modern 
machine it was anything but easy riding. 

Boniface. The popular name for an innkeeper — not that 
St Boniface was the patron saint of drawers and tapsters, 
but because one of the Popes of this name instituted 
what was called "St Boniface's Cup," by granting an 
indulgence to all who toasted his health, or that of 
his successors, immediately after saying grace at meals. 

Booking Office. In the old coaching days passengers had 
to book their seats for a stage journey several days in 
advance at an office in the innyard whence the coaches 
set out. When railways came in the name was re- 
tained, though no "booking" was ever in evidence. 
Nearly all the old coaching innyards have been con- 
verted into railway goods and parcels receiving depots. 

Bookmaker. From the way in which be adjusts his clients' 
bets, so that, ordinarily, he cannot lose on the issue of 
a day's racing. 

Boot-jack. A wooden contrivance by which the wearer 
could help himself to take off his high-legged boots 
without the aid of a servant. Hence it was called a 
jack, which is the generic term for a man-servant or boy. 

Border Eagle State— Botany Bay 41 

Border Eagle State. Mississippi, on account of the Border 
Eagle in the arms of the state. 

Bore. This name was first applied by the " Macaronies " to 
any person who disapproved of foppishness or dandy- 
ism. Nowadays it implies one whose conversation is 
uninteresting, and whose society becomes repugnant. 

Borneo. A European application of the Sanskrit boorni, 

Born in the Purple. Since purple was the Imperial colour 
of the Caesars and the Emperors of the East, the sons 
of the reigning monarch were said to be born in it. 
This expression had a literal truth, for the bed furniture 
was draped with purple. 

Born with a Silver Spoon in his Mouth. In allusion to 
the silver apostle spoon formerly presented to an infant 
by its godfather at baptism. In the case of a child 
born lucky or rich such a gift of worldly goods was 
anticipated at the moment of entering life. 

Borough. The Burgh or town which arose on the south side 
of Old London Bridge, long before the City of London 
became closely packed with streets and houses. 

Borough English. A Saxon custom, whereby the youngest 
son of a burgher inherited everything from his father, 
instead of the eldest, as among the Normans. 

Bosh. See "All Bosh." 

Bosphorus. From the Greek bos-fiorus, cow strait, agree- 
ably to the fable that Io, transformed into a white cow, 
swam across it. 

Boss. A term derived from the Dutch settlers of New 
York, in whose language baas (pronounced like the a 
in all), expressed an overseer or master. 

Boston. Short for St Botolph's Town. "The stump" of 
the church is seen from afar across the Boston Deeps. 

Botany Bay. So called by Captain Cook on account of the 
variety of, to him, new plants found on its shores. 
This portion of New South Wales was the first British 

42 Botolph Lane— Box Office 

Convict Settlement ; hence Botany Bay became a 
term synonymous with penal servitude. 

Botolph Lane. From the church of St Botolph, situated 

in it. 
Bottle of Hay. A corruption of "bundle of hay," from 

the French botte, a bundle, of which the word bottle 

expresses the diminutive. 

Bottom Dollar. An Americanism for one's last coin. 

Bovril. An adaptation of bovis, ox, and vril, strength — the 
latter being a word coined by Lord Lytton in "The 
Coming Race.". 

Bow. From the ancient stone bridge over the Lea, which 
was the first ever built in this country on a bow or 

Bow Church. Properly the church of St Mary-le-Bow, 
Cheapside, the first in this country to be built on bows 
or arches. 

Bowdlerise. In the year 1818 Thomas Bowdler brought 
out an expurgated edition of Shakespeare's Plays ; 
hence a "Bowdlerised Edition" of any work is one 
of which the original text has been unwarrantably 
tampered with. 

Bowie Knife. After Colonel Jim Bowie, a famous fighter 
of the western states, who first armed himself with 
this weapon. 

Bow Street. From its arc shape when first laid out. 

Bow Street Runners. Primitive detectives sent out from 
their headquarters in Bow Street in highwayman days. 

Bowyer Tower. Anciently the residence of the Tower 
bowyer or bowmaker. Here, according to tradition, 
the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a butt of 
" Malmsey." 

Boxing Day. See " Christmas-box." 

Box Office. At one time only the private boxes at a theatre 
could be booked in advance ; hence the term. 

Box the Compass— Brazil 43 

Box the Compass. To be able to repeat all the thirty-two 
degrees or points of the mariner's compass ; a mental 
exercise all round the compass-box. 

Boycott. To ostracise a man. This word came into use 
in 1 88 1, after Captain Boycott of Lough Mark Farm, 
co. Mayo, was cut off from all social and commercial 
intercourse with his neighbours for the crime of being 
an Irish landlord. 

Boy King. Edward VI., who ascended the throne of 
England in his tenth, and died in his sixteenth, year. 

Boz. Under this nom de plume Charles Dickens published 
his earliest " Sketches " of London life and character 
in The Morning Chronicle. He has told us himself 
that this was the pet name of a younger brother, after 
Moses Primrose in "The Vicar of Wakefield." The 
infantile members of the family pronounced the name 
"Bozes," and at last shortened it into "Boz." 

Bradford. From the Anglo-Saxon Bradenford, "broad 

Braggadocio. After Braggadochio, a boasting character in 
Spenser's " Faery Queene." 

Brahma Fowl. Originally from the district of the Brahma- 
pootra River in India. Pootra is Sanskrit for Son ; 
hence the river name means " The Son of Brahma." 

Brandy. From the German Brantwein y burnt wine. A 
spirituous distillation from wine. 

Brazenose College. The brazen nose on the college gate 
notwithstanding, this name was derived from the fact 
that here stood an ancient brasenhuis, or "brew- 
house." Oxford has always been famous for the 
excellent quality of its beer. 

Bravo. In Italy one who is always boasting of his courage 
and prowess \ generally a hired assasin. 

Brazil. From braza, the name given by the Portuguese to 
the red dye-wood of the country. 

44 Bread Street— Bride Lane 

Bread Street. Where the bakers had their stalls in con- 
nection with the Old Chepe, or market. 

Break Bread. To accept hospitality. In the East bread 
is baked in the form of large cakes, which are broken, 
never cut with a knife. To break bread with a stranger 
ensures the latter personal protection as long as he 
remains under the roof of his host. 

Breakfast. The morning meal, when the fast since the 
previous night's supper is broken. 

Break the Bank. Specifically at the gaming - tables of 
Monte Carlo. With extraordinary luck this may be 
done on occasion ; but the winner's triumph is short- 
lived since, the capital of the bank being unlimited, 
if he continues to play after fresh stores of gold have 
been produced, he must lose in the end. 

Brecon. See " Brecknock." 

Brecknock. The capital (also called Brecon) of one of the 
shires of Wales, originally Breckineauc, after Brychan, 
a famous Welsh prince. Brecknock Road takes its 
name from Lord Camden, Earl of Brecknock, the 
ground landlord. 

Breeches Bible. From the word " breeches " for " aprons " 
(Genesis iii. 7). 

Brentford. The ford over the Brent. 

Breviary. The name given to an abridgment of the daily 
prayers, for the use of priests, during the Seven 
Canonical Hours, made by Pope Gregory VII. in the 
eleventh century. 

Brevier. The style of type originally employed in the 
composition of the Catholic " Breviary." 

Bridegroom. The word groom comes from the Gothic and 
Anglo-Saxon guma, man, allied to the Latin homo, 
man. It still expresses a man-servant who grooms 
or attends to his master's horse. 

Bride Lane. From the church of St Bride or Bridget. 

Bride of the Sea— Brixton 45 

Bride of the Sea. Venice, in allusion to the ancient 
ceremony of " The Marriage of the Adriatic." 

Bridewell. The name anciently given to a female peni- 
tentiary, from the original establishment near the well 
of St Bride or Bridget in the parish of Blackfriars. 
The name is preserved in Bridewell Police Station. 

Brigadier. The commanding officer of a brigade. 

Bridge. Twenty years ago two families at Great Dalby, 
Leicestershire, paid each other a visit on alternate 
nights, for a game of what they called Russian whist. 
Their way lay across a broken bridge, very dangerous 
after nightfall. "Thank goodness, it's your bridge 
to-morrow night ! " they were wont to exclaim on part- 
ing. This gave the name to the game itself. 

Bridge of Sighs. The bridge forming a covered gallery 
over the Canal at Venice between the State prisons on 
the one hand and the palace of the Doges on the other. 
Prisoners were led to the latter to hear the death 
sentence pronounced, and thence to execution. No 
State prisoner was ever known to recross this bridge ; 
hence its name. 

Bridgewater Square. From the town house of the Earls of 

Brief. A brief summary of all the facts of a client's case 
prepared by a solicitor for the instruction of counsel. 

Bristol. Called by the Anglo-Saxons " Brightstow" or 
pleasant, stockaded place. 

Britain. This country was known to the Phoenicians as 
Barat-Anac, " the land of time." The Romans called 
it Britannia. 

British Columbia. The only portion of North America 
which honours the memory, as a place name, of Chris- 
topher Columbus. 

Brittany. The land anciently possessed by the kings of 

Brixton. Anciently Brigestan, the bridge of stone. 

46 Broadside — Bucephalus 

Broadside. A large sheet printed straight across instead 
of in columns. 

Broker. From the Anglo-Saxon brucan^ through the Old 
English brocour, to use for profit. 

Brompton. Anciently Broom Town, or place of the broom 

Brook Street. From a stream meandering through the fields 
from Tyburn. 

Brooke Street. From the town house of Fulke Greville, 
Lord Brooke. In this street the boy poet Chatterton 
poisoned himself. 

Brother Jonathan. After Jonathan Turnbull, the adviser 
of General Washington in all cases of military emerg- 
ency. " We must ask Brother Jonathan " was the 
latter's invariable reply to a suggestion made to him. 

Brougham. First made to the order of Lord: Brougham. 

Brought under the Hammer. Put up for sale by public 
auction. The allusion is, of course, to the auctioneer's 

Bruce Castle. The residence of Robert Bruce after his 
defeat by John Baliol in the contest for the Scottish 

Bruges. From its many bridges. 

Brummagem. The slang term for cheap jewellery made 
at Birmingham. In local parlance this city is 
"Brummagem," and its inhabitants are "Brums." 

Brunswick Square. Laid out and built upon at the acces- 
sion of the House of Brunswick. 

Bruton Street. From the seat of the Berkeleys at Bruton, 

Bryanstone Square. From the seat, near Blandford, Dorset, 
of Viscount Portman, the ground landlord. 

Bucephalus. A horse, after the famous charger of Alexander 
the Great. 

Buckeye State— Bullion State 47 

Buckeye State. Ohio, from the buckeye-trees with which 
this state abounds. Its people are called "Buckeyes." 

Buckingham. The Anglo-Saxon Boccenham, or " beech-tree 

Buckingham Palace. After the residence, on this site, of 

John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. 
Buckingham Street. From the older mansion of John 

Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. The water-gate is 

still in evidence. 

Buckle to. An expression descended from the days of 
chivalry, when a knight buckled on his armour for the 

Bucklersbury. Anciently the bury or enclosed ground of 
a wealthy grocer named Buckle or Bukerel. 

Budge Row. From the vendors of " Budge " or lambskin 
fur who congregated here. 

Bug Bible. From the word " bugges " — i.e. bogies — in place 
of " the terror " (Psalm xci. 5). 

Buggy. From baghi, the Hindustani for a one-horse 

Bull. A papal edict, so called on account of the bulla, or 

Bull and Gate. An inn sign, corrupted from " Boulogne 

Gate," touching the siege of Boulogne and its harbour 

by Henry VIII. in 1544. 

Bulgaria. A corruption of Volgaria, the country of the 

Bull-dog. A dog originally employed in the brutal sport of 
bull-baiting. The name is also given to one of the 
two attendants of the proctor at a university while 
going his rounds by night. 

Bullion State. Missouri, after Thomas Hart Benton, who, 
when representing this state in Congress, merited the 
nickname of " Old Bullion," from his spirited advocacy 
of a gold and silver currency instead of " Greenbacks " 
or paper. 

48 Bullyrag— Burlington Street 

Bullyrag. See " Ragging." 

Bullyruflian. A corruption of the Bellerophon, the vessel 
on which Napoleon surrendered after the battle of 

Bungalow. From the Bengalese bangla, a wooden house 
of one storey surrounded by a verandah. 

Bunhill Fields. Not from the Great Plague pit in Finsbury, 
but from the cart-loads of human bones shot here when 
the charnel-house of St Paul's Churchyard was pulled 
down in 1549. 

Bunkum. Originally a Congressman's speech, "full of 
sound and fury, signifying nothing." An oratorial flight 
not intended to carry a proposal, but to catch popular 
applause. The representative for Buncombe, in North 
Carolina, occupied the time of the house at Washing- 
ton so long with a meaningless speech that many 
members left the hall. Asked his reason for such a 
display of empty words, he replied : "I was not 
speaking to the House, but to Buncombe." 

Bureau. French for a writing-desk, from buro, a drugget, 
with which it was invariably covered. 

Burgess Roll. See " Roll Call." 

Burgundy. A wine produced in the French province of 
the same name. 

Burke. To stop or gag — e.g. to burke a question. After 
an Irishman of this name, who silently and secretly 
took the lives of many peaceable citizens by holding a 
pitch plaster over their mouths, in order to sell their 
bodies to the doctors for dissection. He was hanged 
in 1849. His crimes were described as " Burking." 

Burleigh Street. From the residence of Lord Burleigh in 
Exeter Street, hard by. 

Burlington Street (Old and New). After Richard Boyle, 
Earl of Burlington and Cork, from whom Burlington 
House, refronted by him, also received its name. 

Burmah — By Jingo 49 

Burmah. From the natives, who claim to be descendants 
of Brahma, the supreme deity of the Hindoos. 

Burton Crescent. After the name of its builder. 

Bury St Edmunds. A corruption of the Borough* of St 
Edmund, where the Saxon king and martyr was crowned 
on Christmas Day, 856. Taken prisoner and killed 
by the Danes, he was laid to rest here. Over the site 
of his tomb Canute built a Benedictine monastery. 

Bury Street. Properly Berry Street, after its builder. 

Bury the Hatchet. At a deliberation of war the hatchet 
is always in evidence among the Indians of North 
America, but when the calumet, or pipe of peace, is 
being passed round, the symbol of warfare is carefully 

Busking. Theatrical slang for an al fresco performance to 
earn a few coppers. To " go busking on the sands " is 
the least refined aspect of a Pierrot Entertainment. 
See " Sock and Buskin." 

Buy a Pig in a Poke. A man naturally wants to see what 
he is bargaining for. "Poke" is an old word for a 
sack or large bag, of which pocket expresses the 

By Gad. A corruption of the old oath " By God." 

By George. Originally this oath had reference to the 
patron saint of England. In more modern times it 
was corrupted into "By Jove," so that it might have 
applied to Jupiter ; then at the Hanoverian Succession 
the ancient form came in again. 

By Hook or by Crook. The final word here is a corruption 
of Croke. More than a century ago two eminent 
K.C.'s named Hook and Croke were most generally 
retained by litigants in action at law. This gave rise 
to the saying : " If I can't win my case by Hook I will 
by Croke." 

By Jingo. An exclamation traceable to the Basque 
mountaineers brought over to England by Edward I. 
to aid him in the subjection of Wales at the time when 


50 By Jove— Cadiz 

the Plantagenets held possession of the Basque pro- 
vinces. " Jainko " expressed the supreme deity of these 
By Jove. See "By George." 

By the Holy Rood. The most solemn oath of the crusaders. 
" Rood," from the Anglo-Saxon rod, was the Old English 
name for Cross. 

By the Mass. A common oath in the days of our Catholic 
ancestors, when quarrels were generally made up by the 
parties attending Mass together. 

By the Peacock. See " Peacock." 

By the Skin of my Teeth. An expression derived from 
Job xix. 20 : " My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my 
flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth." 

Byward Tower. A corruption of Bearward Tower, the 
residence of the Tower " Bearward." The bear-house 
at our national fortress in the time of James I. is 
mentioned in NichoFs " Progresses and Processions." 

Gab. Short for "Cabriolet," or little caperer, from cabriole, 
a goat's leap. See " Capri." 

Cabal. A political term formed out of the initials of the 
intriguing ministry of 1670 — thus: Clifford, Ashley, 
Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale. 

Cabinet. The designation of Ministers of State, who first 
conducted their deliberations in a cabinet, from the 
Italian gabtnetto, a small room. A picture or photo- 
graph of this size received its name from the apartment 
for which it was best suited. 

Cabin Girls. Waitresses at the "Cabin "Restaurants Limited. 

Cablegram. An Americanism for telegram. 

Cadiz. Called Gades by the Romans, from the Phoenician 
Gadir, enclosed, shut in. 

Cadogan Square— Cambridge 51 

Cadogan Square. From the Earl of Cadogan, the lord of 
the manor of Chelsea. 

Cahoot. An Americanism for partnership or company, 
derived from the French capute, hut, cabin. Men who 
share a cabin or shanty are said to be " in cahoot." 

Caitiff. An old term of contempt for a despicable person, 
derived from the Latin captivis, a captive, slave. 

Caius College. The name given to Gonville College, 
Cambridge, after its refoundation by Dr Caius by 
royal charter in 1558. 

Cake Walk. A musical walking competition round a cake, 
very popular among the negroes of the southern states. 
The couple adjudged to walk most gracefully receive 
the cake as a prize. 

Calcutta. From Kalikutta, "the village of Kali," the 
goddess of time. 

Caledonia. The country of the Caels or Gaels ; Gadhel in 
the native tongue signified a " hidden cover." 

Caledonian Road. From the Royal Caledonian Asylum for 
Scottish orphans, now removed. 

Calico. First brought from Calicut in the East Indies. 

California. Called by Cortez Caliente Fornalla, or "hot 
furnace," on account of its climate. 

Caliph. From the Arabic Khalifah, a successor. 

Called over the Coals. A corruption of " Hauled over the 

Camberwell. From the ancient holy well in the vicinity of 
the church of St Giles, the patron saint of cripples. 
Cam is Celtic for "crooked." 

Cambria. The country of the Cimbri or Cymric who 
finally settled in Wales. 

Cambric. First made at Cam bray in Flanders. 

Cambridge. From the bridge over the Cam, or " crooked " 
river. See " Cantab." 

52 Camden Town— Cannucks 

Oamden Town. After the Earl of Camden, the ground 

Camellia. Introduced into Europe by G. J. Camelli, the 
German missionary botanist. 

Camera Obscura. Literally a dark chamber. 

Cameron Highlanders. The Scottish regiment of infantry 
raised by Allan Cameron in 1793. 

Camisard. A military term for a night attack, after the 
Camisards, Protestant insurgents of the seventeenth 
century, who, wearing a camise, or peasant's smock, 
conducted their depredations under cover of night. 

Camomile Street. From the herbs that grew on the waste 
north of the city. 

Campania. An extensive plain outside Rome, across which 
the "Appian Way" was constructed. The word 
comes from the Latin campus, a field. 

Campden Square. From the residence of Sir Baptist Hicks, 
created Viscount Campden. 

Canada. From the Indian kannatha, a village or collection 
of huts. 

Canary. Wine and a species of singing bird brought from 
the Canary Islands, so called, agreeably to the Latin 
cam's, on account of the large dogs found there. 

Candia. Anciently Crete, called by the Arabs Khandce, 
" island of trenches." 

Candy. An Americanism for sweetmeats. The Arabic 
quand, sugar, gave the French word candu 

Canned Meat. An Americanism for tinned meat. 

Cannibal. See " Caribbean Sea." 

Cannon Row. The ancient residence of the Canons of 
St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. 

Cannon Street. A corruption of Candlewick Street, where 

the candle-makers congregated. 
Cannucks. See " K'nucks." 

Canonbury— Capri 53 

Canonbury. From the manorial residence of the priors of 
St Bartholomew Church, Clerkenwell, of which the 
ancient tower remains. 

Cant. After Alexander and Andrew Cant, a couple of 
bigoted Covenanters, who persecuted their religious 
opponents with relentless zeal, and at the same time 
prayed for those who suffered on account of their 
religious opinions. 

Cantab. Of Cambridge University. The River Cam was 
anciently called the Granta; hence the Saxon name 
of the city Grantabrycge, or the bridge over the Granta, 
softened later into Cantbrigge. 

Canterbury. The fortified place or chief town of "Kent." 

Canterbury Music Hall. This, the first of the London 
music halls, opened in 1848, grew out of the old-time 
popular "free-and-easy," or "sing-song," held in an 
upper room of what was until then a tavern display- 
ing the arms of the city of Canterbury, and styled 
the " Canterbury Arms." 

Cantlowes Road. See " Kentish Town." 

Canvas Back. A species of sea-duck, regarded as a luxury 
on account of the delicacy of its flesh. So called from 
the colour of the plumage on its back. 

Cape Finisterre. Adapted by the French from the Latin 
finis terras " land's end." 

Capel Court. The Stock Exchange, so called from the 
residence of Sir William Capel, Lord Mayor in 1504. 

Cape of Good Hope. So called by John II., King of 
Portugal, after Diaz had touched this point of Africa, as 
a favourable augury for the circumnavigation of the 

Cape Horn. Named Hoorn, after his birthplace, by 
Schouten, the Dutch navigator, who first rounded it. 

Capri. From the Latin caper, a he-goat, expresses the 
island of wild goats. 

54 Capuchin Friars— Carpenter 

Capuchin Friars. From the pointed cowl or capuce worn 
by them. 

Carat Gold. So called because gold and precious stones 
were formerly weighted against carat seeds or seeds 
of the Abyssinian coral flower. 

Carbonari. Italian for charcoal-burners, in whose huts 
this secret society held its meetings. 

Carburton Street. From the Northamptonshire village on 
the ducal estate of the ground landlord. 

Cardiff. From Caer Taff, the fort on the Taff. 

Cardigan. After Ceredog, a famous chieftain. 

Caribbean Sea. From the Caribbs, which West Indian 
designation signifies "cruel men." Corrupted through 
the Spanish Caribal, we have derived the word 
" Cannibal," for one who eats human flesh. 

Carlton House Terrace. From Carlton House, built by 
Lord Carlton, later the residence of Frederick, Prince 
of Wales, the father of George III. 

Carmagnole. A wild song and dance which came into 
prominence during the French Revolution. It re- 
ceived its name from Carmagnolas, a town in Piedmont, 
whence the Savoyard boys carried the tune into the 
south of France. 

Carmarthen. A corruption of Caer-merlin, or the fortress 
built by Merlin, in the neighbourhood of which he 
was born. 

Carmelites. White Friars of the order of Mount Carmel. 

Carnarvon. The fortress on the Arfon, or water. 

Carolina. After Carollus, the Latinised name of Charles 
II., who granted a charter of colonisation to eight of 
his favourites. 

Caroline Islands. In honour of Charles I. of Spain. 

Carpenter. Originally one who made only the body or 
wooden portion of a vehicle. So called from the Latin 

Carpet Knight— Cat and Wheel 55 

carpentum^ waggon. An ordinary worker in wood 
was, and still is in the English provinces, a joiner. 

Carpet Knight. A civilian honoured with a knighthood 
by the sovereign. One who has not won his spurs on 
the field, like the knights of old. 

Carry Coals to Newcastle. To do that which is altogether 
superfluous. It would be ridiculous to take coals to a 
place where they are found in abundance. 

Cartaret Street. After John Cartaret, Earl of Granville, 
Secretary of State, and one of the most popular 
ministers of the reign of George II. 

Carte de Visite. Photographs received this name because 
the Due de Parma in 1857 had his likeness printed on 
the back of his large visiting-cards. 

Carthage. From the Phoenician Karth-hadtha, New Town. 

Oarthagena. From Carthago JVbvo, or New Carthage. 

Carthusians. Monks of La Chartreuse, near Grenoble. 
This name is also given to former scholars of the 
"Charter House." 

Carthusian Street. Although some distance to the west 
of it, this street leads to the " Charter House." 

Caspian Sea. From the Caspii, who peopled its shores. 

Castile. In Spanish Castilla, from the castles or forts set 
up for defence against the Moors. 

Castle. An inn sign denoting a wine-house, from the 
castle in the arms of Spain. 

Catacombs. Italian Catacomba, from the Greek kata, 
downward, and kumbe, a hollow, a cavity. 

Cat and Fiddle. A corruption of "Caton le Fidele," the 
faithful Caton, Governor of Calais, whose name was 
honoured by many an inn sign. 

Cat and Wheel. A corruption of the old inn sign the 
" Catherine Wheel," the instrument of the martyrdom of 
St Catherine. 

56 Cat Call— Chaff 

Cat Call. A corruption of Cat Wail. When a theatre or 
music-hall audience is dissatisfied with the performance, 
and impatient for it to be brought to an end, the 
" Gods " indulging in " Mewing " like a chorus of cats 
on the roof by night. 

Catch a Weasel asleep. No one ever caught a weasel 
napping, for the simple reason that he hides himself in 
a hole away from the sight of man. 

Catchpenny. Short for "Catnach Penny," from the penny 
dying speeches and yard of songs printed by James 
Catnach in Seven Dials, and hawked about the streets. 
The " Catnach Press " was as great a power in that 
day as the trashy " Bits " literature is in our own. 

Cathedral. From the Greek kathedra, a seat — i.e. the 
chair of a bishop. See " City." 

Caucus. From the Caulkers of Boston, U.S., who shortly 
before the Revolution came into open conflict with the 
British soldiery. Meetings were held in the calk 
houses, and a Caulkers' Club was formed. Since 
that time a political meeting of American citizens has 
been styled a Caucus. 

Cavalier. From the French chevalier, a horseman. 

Cavendish. Tobacco pressed into plugs for chewing, from 
the name of the first maker. 

Cavendish Square. After Henrietta Cavendish, second 
wife of Lord Harley, the ground landlord. 

Centennial State. Colorado, admitted into the American 
Union one hundred years after the Declaration of 

Ceylon. Called by the Portuguese Selen, an abbreviation 
of the Sanskrit Sinhaladwipa, " Island of Lyons." 

Chadwell Street. After the name of the source of the 
New River in Hertfordshire. The well was anciently 
dedicated to St Chad. 

Chaff. A corruption of chafe, to make hot with anger, as 
heat may be produced by friction. 

Chalk Farm— Charlatan 57 

Chalk Farm. Originally "Chalcot Farm," a noted resort 
for duellists of a past day. 

Chalk it up. In allusion to the drink score chalked on a 
slate against a customer at a country ale-house. 

Champagne. A light wine, from the French province of 
the same name, which expresses a plain, from the 
Latin campus, field. 

Champs de Mars. Expresses the large open space or " Plain 
of Mars," in Paris, set apart for military reviews. 

Chancery Lane. A corruption of " Chancellor's Lane," 
from the town house of the Bishops of Chichester, 
afterwards the residence of the Lord High Chancellor 
of England. 

Chandos Street. From the residence of James Bridges, 
Duke of Chandos. 

Chap. Originally short for " Chapman," one who sold his 
wares at a chepe, or market. 

Chap Book. A small book or tract sold by chapmen. See 

Chapel. A printers' meeting held in the composing-room, 
so called because Caxton set up the first English press 
in a disused chapel of Westminster Abbey. The pre- 
siding workman is styled "The Father of the Chapel." 

Chapel of Ease. An auxiliary place of worship, for the 
convenience of those who resided at a great distance 
from the parish church. 

Charing Cross. The idea that this spot received its name 
from the " good Queen " Eleanor, whose bier was set 
down here for the last time on its way to Westminster 
Abbey has been exploded. It was even then called 
the village of Charing, in honour of La Che~re Reine, 
the Blessed Virgin, this being the usual halting-place 
between London and the venerable Abbey. 

Charlatan. From the Italian ciarlatano, a quack, a babbler, 
a loquacious itinerant who sold medicines in a public 

58 Charles Martel— Cherry Gardens Pier 

Charles Martel. See " Martel." 

Charles Street. Built upon in the reign of Charles II. 

Charlies. The old night watchmen reorganised by Charles I. 
These were the only civic protectors down to the intro- 
duction of the modern police system by Sir Robert Peel. 

Charlotte Street. After the queen of George III. 

Charter House. A corruption of La Chartreuse, one of the 
English houses of the Order of monks of the place of 
the same name in France. 

Chartreuse. The liqueurs prepared at the monastery of 
La Chartreuse, near Grenoble. 

Chauffeur. The French term for a motor-car driver ; it has 
no English equivalent. 

Cheap Jack. A modern equivalent for " Chap-man." Jack 
is a generic name for man-servant or an inferior person. 

Cheapside. The High Street of the city of London, 
consequently abutting on the chepe, or market-place. 

Cheese it. A corruption of " Choose it better," or, in 
other words, " Tell me something I can believe." 

Chef. French for head or master. Employed alone, the 
word expresses a head man cook. 

Chelmsford. The ford over the Chelmer. 

Chelsea. Anciently " Chevelsey," or "Shingle Island." 
See "Chiswick." 

Chequers. An inn sign derived from the arms of the 
Fitzwarrens, one of whom had the granting of vintners' 

Cherry Bob. An old summer pastime for boys. A bunch 
of cherries suspended from a beam or tree-branch was 
kept swinging to and fro, while the boys, with their 
hands behind them, tried to catch the fruit with their 

Cherry Gardens Pier. A name reminiscent of a popular 
resort of bygone days in connection with the 

Cherry Pickers— Chippendale 59 

"Jamaica" in front of which rum, newly arrived from 
the West Indies, was landed. 

Cherry Pickers. The nth Hussars, because, when captured 
by the French during the Peninsular War, some men 
of the regiment were robbing an orchard. 

Chesapeake. Indian for " great waters." 

Chester. The city built on the Roman castra, or camp. 

Chestnut. Edwin Abbey, the painter of the Coronation 
picture, is said to have been responsible for the term 
"Chestnut" as applied to a stale joke. While a 
member of a club at Philadelphia he always told a 
story about a man who had a chestnut farm, but made 
nothing out of it because he gave his chestnuts away. 
Abbey invariably began this story differently, so that 
his follow clubmen would not recognise it, but they 
soon interrupted him by exclaiming " Chestnuts ! " 

Chestnut Sunday. The first Sunday in June, when the 
chestnut-trees in Bushey Park at Hampton Court are 
in bloom. 

Cheyne Walk. After Lord Cheyne, lord of the manor of 
Chelsea in the seventeenth century. 

Chicago. Indian for " wild onion." 

Chichester. The Roman camp town taken by Cissa, King 
of the South Saxons, thenceforth called Cissanceaster. 

Chichester Rents. The site of the town mansion of the 
Bishops of Chichester. 

Chili. Peruvian for " land of snow." 

China. After Tsin, the founder of a great dynasty. Earth- 
enware of a superior quality was first made in China ; 
hence the name. 

Chin Music. An Americanism for derisive laughter. 

Chip off the Old Block. A saying in allusion to the 
" Family Tree." 

Chippendale. Furniture of elegant design, named after its 
famous maker. 

60 Chiswick— Cicerone 

Chiswick. Anciently " Cheoselwick," or village of shingles, 
from the Anglo-Saxon ceosal, sand, gravel. 

Chocolat-Menier. The perfection of chocolate, intro- 
duced by M. Menier of Paris, who died in 1881. 

Choke Him off. The allusion is to grip a dog by the throat 
in order to make him relax his hold. 

Christiania. Rebuilt by Christian IV. of Denmark. 

Christian Scientists. A modern offshoot of the Peculiar 
People, or Faith Healers, who believe that sickness 
and pain can be cured by faith and prayer without 

Christmas-box. A relic of Catholic days, when a box was 
placed in all the churches to receive Christmas alms 
for the poor. These were distributed on the day 

Christmas Island. Captain Cook landed here on Christmas 
Day, 1777. 

Christ's College. Founded at Cambridge by Lady Margaret, 
Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., for a 
master and twelve fellows, corresponding to Christ and 
His apostles, to whom it was dedicated. 

Christy Minstrels. After Charles Christy, who introduced 
the Negro Minstrel Entertainment to England. 

Church Ale. Specifically the ale brewed by the church- 
wardens for merrymakers on the village green at Whit- 
suntide and other high holidays. Later the assemblage 
itself came to be styled a " Church Ale." 

Chute. The French for " a fall," applied by the Americans 
to a declivity of water. The exciting diversion of 
boating on such a waterfall is styled " Shooting the 

Cicerone. After Cicero, the prince of speakers. The 
comparison between the celebrated orator and the 
" Roman Guide " befooled by Mark Twain is rather 

Cigar — Clarendon 61 

Cigar. From the Spanish Cigarro, the original name of a 
particular kind of Cuban tobacco. 

Cinderella Dance. Because it is brought to an end at 
twelve o'clock, in allusion to the heroine in the fairy 

Circumlocution Oifi.ce. A term first applied to the shuttle- 
cock methods in vogue at our public offices by Charles 
Dickens in "Little Dorrit." 

Cistercians. An Order of monks established at Cistercium, 
or Citeau, near Dijon. 

City. The proper and historic distinction between a city 
and a town lies in the fact that the former is the seat 
of a bishop, and accordingly contains a cathedral. In 
modern times many burghs or towns have been ad- 
vanced to the dignity of a city on account of their 
commercial importance. These are, however, cities 
only in name. 

City Fathers. Aldermen of the city of London. 

City Golgotha. Old Temple Bar, from the heads of rebels 
spiked on its top. Golgotha is Hebrew for " the place 
of skulls." 

Claim. A squatter's term for a piece of land which he has 
marked off and settled upon pending its legal acquisi- 
tion from the Government. During the gold fever the 
name also came to be applied to the land parcelled out 
to each digger. 

Clare Market. The site of Clare House, the residence of 
the Earl of Clare. 

Clarence. A carriage named after the Duke of Clarence, 
afterwards William IV. 

Clarges Street. From the mansion of Sir Walter Clarges, 
afterwards taken over by the Venetian ambassador. 

Clarendon. The black type first used at the Clarendon 
Press, Oxford, which owed its foundation to the profits 
of Lord Clarendon's " History of the Rebellion," 
presented to the University. 

62 Claude Lorraine— Coblentz 

Claude Lorraine. The assumed name of the celebrated 

landscape painter Claude Galee, who was a native of 

Cleaned Out. Pockets emptied of cash. The allusion is to 

a saucepan or other domestic cooking utensil which is 

cleansed after use. 

Clerkenwell. The holy well beside which the parish clerks 
performed their miracle plays on festival days. 

Clifford Street. After Elizabeth Clifford, wife of the Earl 
of Burlington. 

Closure. A modern parliamentary term signifying the 
right of the Speaker to order the closing of a useless 
debate. The Closure was first applied 24th February 

Cloth Fair. The great annual mart for the sale of cloth 
brought over by Flemish merchants. 

Club. From the German kleben^ to adhere, cleave to, 

Clyde. The strong river, from the Gaelic clyth> strong. 

Coast is Clear. Originally a smugglers' phrase relative to 

Coat of Arms. During the days of chivalry, when a knight 
was completely encased in armour and the vizor of his 
helmet was drawn over his face, his sole mode of 
distinction was by the embroidered design of his 
armorial bearings on a sleeveless coat that he wore in 
the lists at tournaments. In warfare the coat was 
dispensed with, but he was known to his comrades by 
another device on the crest of his helmet. 

Cobbler. An American drink of spirits, beer, sugar, and 
spice, said to have been first concocted by a Western 

Coblentz. From the Latin name, Confluentia, being 
situated at the confluence of the Rivers Rhine and 

Cockade — Coke Hat 63 

Cockade. From the party badge originally displayed on a 
cocked hat. See " Knocked into a Cocked Hat." 

Cockade State. Maryland, from the brilliant cockades 
worn by the brave Old Maryland Regiment during the 
War of Independence. 

Cockney. From "Cockayne," a Fools' Paradise, where 
there is nothing but eating and drinking, described in 
a satiric poem of the thirteenth century. The word 
was clearly derived from coquere, to cook, and had 
reference to London, where the conduits on occasion 
ran with wine, and good living fell to the lot of men 

Cock-penny. A penny levied by the master on each of the 
boys for allowing the brutal sport of cock-throwing 
in school on Shrove Tuesday formerly. The master 
himself found the bird. 

Cocktail. Tradition has it that one of Montezuma's 
nobles sent a draught of a new beverage concocted by 
him from the cactus plant to the Emperor by his 
daughter Xochitl. The Aztec monarch smiled, tasted 
it, gulped it down with a relish, and, it is said, after- 
wards married the girl; thenceforward this drink be- 
came the native tipple, and for centuries it bore the 
softened name of Octel. The corruption of Octel into 
Cocktail by the soldiers of the American Army when, 
under General Scott, they invaded Mexico, about sixty 
years ago, was easy. 

Coger. A slang term derived from the members of the 
celebrated Cogers' Club in Salisbury Court, Fleet 
Street. They styled themselves " Cogers " from the 
Latin cogito, to think deeply. 

Cohees. Natives of Western Pennsylvania, owing to their 
addiction to the phrase " Quoth he," softened into 

Coin Money. To make money as fast as it is turned out 
at the Mint. Few men are so fortunate. 

Coke Hat. After William Coke, who popularised it. See 

64 Coldbath Fields— Commonwealth 

Coldbath Fields. A district of Clerkenwell now long built 
over, but famous for a cold bath ; the site is marked 
by the present Bath Street. 

Colchester. The camp town on the Colne. 

Coldstream Guards. The regiment raised by General 
Monk at Coldstream, Berwickshire, in 1660. 

Coleman Street. Said to have been built upon by one 
Coleman; but long before his time the coalmen or 
charcoal merchants congregated here. 

Colleen. Irish for girl. "Colleen Bawn" expresses a 
blonde girl. 

College Hill. From a collegiate foundation of Sir Richard 
Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London. 

College Port. Inferior port served up to the older students 
at college. It is said to be specially prepared for this 

Collop Monday. The day preceding Shrove Tuesday, 
when housewives cut up all their meat into large 
steaks or collops for salting during Lent. 

Cologne. The Colonia Agrifipina of the Romans, so called 
after the mother of Nero, who was born here. 

Colonel. A Far- West title of courtesy bestowed upon any- 
one who owns a stud horse. 

Colorado. The Spaniards gave this name to the state in 
allusion to its coloured ranges. 

Colosseum. Greek for " great amphitheatre." 

Combine. An Americanism for " Combination." Applied 
in a financial or commercial sense, this term is now 
well understood in our own country. 

Come up to the Scratch. A prize-fighting expression. A 
line was scratched on the ground with a stick, and the 
combatants were expected to toe it with the left foot. 

Commonwealth. In theatrical parlance, a sharing out of 
the proceeds of the week's performances after all 
expenses have been deducted. This generally happens 

Compton Street — Constitution Hill 65 

when the manager has decamped with the entire 
takings, and left his company stranded. 

Compton Street (Old and New). Built upon by Sir 
Richard Compton and Bishop Compton respectively. 

Conduit Street. From a conduit of spring water set up 
here before the land was built over. 

Confidence Man. An Americanism for one who in this 
country is known to extract money from strangers by 
the "confidence trick." 

Confounded Liar. Literally one who is covered with 
confusion on being brought face to face with the 

Congleton Bears. A nickname given to the people of 
Congleton, Cheshire. Local tradition has it that the 
bear intended for baiting at the holiday sports died, 
and, to procure another, the authorities appropriated 
the money collected for a new Church Bible. 

Congregationalists. Independent Nonconformists, who are 
neither Baptists nor Wesleyans, and claim the right to 
"call" their own ministers, each congregation manag- 
ing its own affairs. 

Connecticut. From the Indian Quinnitukut, "country of 
the long river." 

Conscience Money. Money sent anonymously to the 
Treasury in respect of Income-Tax after the thought 
of having defrauded the Revenue has pricked the 
individual conscience. 

Constance. Founded by Constantine, the father of 
Constantine the Great; one of the oldest cities of 

Constantinople. The city of Constantine. 

Constitution HiU. Where John Sheffield, Duke of Buck- 
ingham, took his daily constitutional walk while re- 
siding at Buckingham House, built by him in 1703. 
On the site of this mansion George IV. erected the 
present edifice, Buckingham Palace, in 1825. 


66 Cook your Goose— Corner 

Cook your Goose. An old chronicler thus explains this 
saying : " The Kyng of Swedland coming to a towne 
of his enemyes with very little company, his enemyes, 
to slyghte his forces, did hang out a goose for him to 
shoote, but perceiving before nyghte that these fewe 
soldiers had invaded and sette their chief houlds on 
fire, they demanded of him what his intent was, to 
whom he replied, ' To cook your goose.'" 

Coon. Short for racoon, an American animal much prized 
on account of its fur. 

Cooper. A publican's term for half ale and half porter. 
See " Entire." 

Copenhagen Street. From Copenhagen Fields, where stood 
a noted tea-house opened by a Dane. 

Copper. A policeman, from the thieves' slang cop, to 
take, catch. 

Copperheads. A political faction of North America 
during the Civil War, regarded as secret foes, and so 
called after the copperhead serpent, which steals upon 
its enemy unawares. 

Cordeliers. Franciscan Friars distinguished from the 
parent Order by the knotted waist-cord. 

Corduroy. In French Cord du Roy, " King's cord," 
because ribbed or corded material was originally worn 
only by the Kings of France. 

Cordwainer. The old name for a shoemaker, because the 
leather he worked upon was Cordwain, a corruption of 
Cordovan, brought from the city of Cordova. 

Cork. From the Gaelic corroch, a swamp. 

Cork Street. From the residence of Lord Cork, one of 
the four brothers of the Boyle family. 

Corncrackers. The Kentuckians, from a native bird of the 
crane species called the Corncracker. 

Corner. The creation of a monopoly of prices in respect 
of naturalproduce or manufactured goods. The allusion 

Cornhill — Court of Arches 67 

here is to speculators who agreed in a quiet corner, at 
or near the Exchange, to buy up the whole market. 

Cornhill. The ancient city corn market. 

Cornwall. Pursuant to the Saxon Wahl, the horn of land 

peopled by foreigners. 
Corpus Christi College. At Cambridge, founded by the 

united guilds or fraternities of Corpus Christi and the 

Blessed Virgin. 

Corsica. A Phoenician term for " wooded isle." 

Cossack. The Russian form of the Tartar term kasake^ a 

Costa Rica. Spanish for " rich coast." 

Costermonger. In Shakespeare's time a Costardmonger, 
or trader in a famous species of apple so called. 

Cottonopolis. Manchester, the city identified with English 
cotton manufacture. 

Cotton Plantation State. Alabama, from its staple 

Cotton to. An Americanism meaning to cling to a man 

as cotton would cling to his garments. 

Counter-jumper. The derisive nickname of a draper's 
assistant, on account of his agility in leaping over the 
counter as a short cut from one department to another. 

Country Dance. A corruption of the French contre danse, 
from the opposite positions of the dancers. 

Coup de Grace. The merciful finishing stroke of the exe- 
cutioner after a criminal had been tortured by having 
all his bones broken on a wheel. One blow on the 
head then put him out of his misery. 

Court Cards. Properly Coat Cards, on account of their 
heraldic devices. 

Court of Arches. The ecclesiastical Court of Appeal for 
the Archbishopric of Canterbury which in ancient 
times was held in the crypt of St Mary-le-Bow, or St 
Mary of the Arches at Cheapside. See " Bow Church." 

68 Court Plaster— Cravat 

Court Plaster. The plaster out of which ladies of the 
Court fashioned their decorative (?) face patches. 

Covenanters. Those who entered into a Solemn League 
or Covenant to resist the religious and political 
measures of Charles I. in 1638. 

Covent Garden. A corruption of Convent Garden, the 
site of which was converted into a market, temp. 
Charles II. The convent and garden belonged to 
the Abbey at Westminster. 

Coventry. A corruption of Conventry — i. e. Convent town. 
Before the Reformation it was far famed for the 
number of its conventual establishments. The suffix 
try is Celtic for "dwelling." 

Coventry Street. From the residence of Henry Coventry, 
Secretary of State, temp. Charles II. 

Cowcross Street. Where the cattle crossed the brook in 
days when this now congested neighbourhood was 
pleasant pasture land watered by the " River of Wells." 

Coxcomb. A vain, empty-pated individual. So called from 
the cock's comb worn on the cap by the licensed 
jesters, because they were allowed to crow over their 

Cracker. Although the origin of this term when applied to 
a juvenile firework would appear to be self-evident, it 
is really a corruption of Cracque, the Norman descrip- 
tion of " Greek Fire." 

Crackers. The people of Georgia, owing, it is said, to the 
unintelligibility of their speech. 

Cranbourn Street. From the long, narrow stream of this 
name, when the whole district hereabouts was open 

Crank. One whose notions of things are angular, eccentric, 
or crooked. His ideas do not run in a straight line. 

Cravat. Introduced into Western Europe by the Cravates 
or Croatians in the seventeenth century. 

Craven Street— Cross Keys 69 

Craven Street. From the residence of Lord Craven prior 
to his removal to Drury House in Drury Lane. 

Cream City. Milwaukee, from the cream-coloured bricks 
of which its houses are built. 

Credit Draper. The modern designation of a " Tallyman.' ' 

Cree Church. See "St Katherine Cree." 

Creed Lane. Where the monks recited the Credo in pro- 
cession to St Paul's. See "Ave Maria Lane." 

Cremorne Gardens. Laid out on the site of the mansion 
and grounds of Thomas Dawson, Lord Cremorne. 

Creole State. Louisiana. In New Orleans particularly 
a Creole is a native of French extraction. 

Crescent City. New Orleans, built in the form of a 

Crimea. From the Kimri or Cymri who settled in the 

Cripplegate. From the city gate around which gathered 
cripples begging for alms, the neighbouring church 
being dedicated to St Giles, their patron. 

Crokers. Potatoes, because first raised in Croker's Field 
at Youghal, Ireland. 

Cromwell Road. From the mansion and grounds of 
Richard Cromwell, son of the Lord Protector. 

Crop Clubs. Clubs formed to evade Mr Pitt's tax on hair 
powder. The Times thus noticed one of the earliest 
in its issue of 14th April 1795 : "A numerous Club 
has been formed in Lambeth called the ' Crop Club,' 
every member of which is obliged to have his hair 
docked as close as the Duke of Bridgewater's old bay 
horses. This assemblage is instituted for the purpose 
of opposing, or rather evading, the tax on powdered 

Cross Keys. A common inn sign throughout Yorkshire, 
from the arms of the Archbishop of York. 

70 Crowd — Cutpurse 

Crowd. Theatrical slang for members of a company 

Crow over him. A cock always crows over a vanquished 
opponent in a fight. 

Crutched Friars. Friars of the Holy Trinity, so called 
from the embroidered cross on their habits (Latin, 
cruciati, crossed). Their London house was located 
in the thoroughfare named after them. 

Cuba. The native name of the island when Columbus 
discovered it. 

Cully. A slang term applied to a man, mate, or com- 
panion. Its origin is the Romany cuddy, from the 
Persian gudda, an ass. 

Cumberland. The land of the Cymri. 

Cupboard. See "Dresser." 

Curacoa. A liqueur first prepared at the West Indian island 
of the same name. 

Currants. First brought from Corinth. 

Cursitor Street. From the Cursitors' Office that stood 
here. The Cursitors were clerks of Chancery, but 
anciently choristers, just as the Lord Chancellor 
himself was an ecclesiastic. 

Curtain Road. From the "Curtain Theatre," where Ben 
Jonson's "Every Man in his Humour " was put on 
the stage. 

Curzon Street. From George Augustus Curzon, created 
Viscount Howe, the ground landlord. 

Cuspidor. The American term for a spittoon, derived from 
the Spanish escupidor, a spitter. 

Cut me to the Quick. The quick of one's fingers when cut 
into is most alive or sensitive to pain. See " Quick- 

Cutpurse. A thief who, in days before pockets came into 
vogue, had no difficulty in cutting the strings with 
which a purse was suspended from the girdle. 

Cut the Line — Damascus 71 

Cut the Line. A printer's expression for knocking off 
work. Formerly compositors finished the line they 
were composing ; nowadays Trades Unionism has 
made them so particular that they leave off in the 
middle of a line on the first stroke of the bell. 

Cypress. A tree introduced to Western Europe from the 
island of Cyprus. 

Cyprus. From kupras, the Greek name for a herb which 
grew on the island in profusion. 


Dachshund. German for " badger-dog." 

Daffodil. An English corruption of the French cT Asphodel. 

Dagonet. The pseudonym of Mr George R. Sims in The 
Referee, after the jester at the Court of King Arthur. 

Daguerreotype. An early process of photography dis- 
covered by L. J. M. Daguerre. 

Dahlgreen Gun. After its inventor, an officer in the United 

States Navy. 

Dahlia. Introduced to Europe from Mexico in 1784 by 
Andrew Dahl, the Swedish botanist. 

Daisy. From the Anglo-Saxon dceges\eye, or "day's eye," 
on account of its sunlike appearance. 

Dakota. From the Dacoits, a tribe of Indians found there. 

Dale Road. From the residence of Canon Dale, poet, and 
Vicar of St Pancras. 

Dalmatian. A species of dog bred in Dalmatia. 

Dalston. The town in the dale when the north of London 

was more or less wooded. 
Damage. See " What's the Damage ? " 
Damascenes. From Damascus, famous for its plums. 

Damascus. From the Arabic name of the city, Dimiskesh- 

72 Damascus Blade— Dartmouth 

Damascus Blade. From Damascus, a city world famous for 
the temper of its sword blades. 

Damask. First made at Damascus in Syria. 

Damask Rose. Introduced to Europe from Damascus. 

Damassin. A Damask cloth interwoven with flowers of 
gold or silver. 

Dame School. The old name for a girls' school taught by a 
spinster or dame. 

Damsons. Properly Damascenes, from Damascus. 

Dancing Chancellor. Sir Christopher Hatton so pleased 
Queen Elizabeth by his dancing at a Court masque 
that she made him a Knight of the Garter; subse- 
quently he became Lord Chancellor of England. 

Dandelion. A corruption of the French dent de /ion, from 
its fancied resemblance to a lion's tooth. 

Dandy. From the French dandin, silly fellow, ninny. 

Dantzic. Expresses the town settled by the Danes. 

Danvers Street. From Danvers House, in which resided 
Sir John Danvers, to whom the introduction of the 
Italian style of horticulture in England was due. 

Darbies. A pair of handcuffs, in allusion to Darby and 
Joan, who were inseparable. 

Dardanelles. After the city on the Asiatic side founded by 
Dardanus, the ancestor of Priam, the last king of 

Dark and Bloody Ground. Kentucky, the great battle- 
ground of the Indians and white settlers, as also that 
of the savage tribes amongst themselves. 

Darmstadt. The stadt, or town, on the Darm. 

Dartford. From the Saxon Darentford, the fort on the 

Dartmoor. The moor in which the River Dart takes its 

Dartmouth, On the estuary of the River Dart, 

Dauphin— Deadheads 73 

Dauphin. The title borne by the eldest son of the King of 
France until 1830, from the armorial device of a 
delphinus, or dolphin. 

Davenport. After the original maker. 

Da vies Street. After Mary Davies, heiress of the manor of 
Ebury, Pimlico. 

Davis Strait. After the navigator who discovered it. 

Davy Jones's Locker. Properly " Duffy Jonah's Locker." 
Duffy is the ghost of the West Indian Negroes ; Jonah, 
the prophet cast into the sea ; and " locker," the ordinary 
seaman's chest. 

D. D. CeUars. See " Dirty Dick's." 

Dead as a Door Nail. The reflection that, if a man were 
to be knocked on the head as often as is the " nail " on 
which a door knocker rests, he would have very little 
life left in him, easily accounts for this saying. 

Dead Beat. Prostrate from fatigue, incapable of further 
exertion. Also the name of an American drink of 
whisky and ginger-soda after a hard night's carousal. 

Deadheads. In America persons who enjoy the right of 
travelling on a railway system at the public expense ; 
in this country actors and pseudo "professionals," 
who pass into places of amusement without paying. 
The origin of the term is as follows : — More than sixty 
years ago all the principal avenues of the city of 
Delaware converged to a toll gate at the entrance to the 
Elmwood Cemetery Road. The cemetery having been 
laid out long prior to the construction of the plank 
road beyond the toll gate, funerals were allowed to 
pass through the latter toll free. One day as Dr Price, 
a well-known physician, stopped to pay his toll he 
observed to the gatekeeper : " Considering the benevo- 
lent character of the profession to which I have the 
honour to belong, I think you ought to let me pass toll 
free." "No, no, doctor," the man replied; "we can't 
afford that. You send too many deadheads through 
here as it is ! " The story travelled, and the term 
"Deadheads" became fixed. 

74 Dead Reckoning — Demijohn 

Dead Reckoning. Calculating a ship's whereabouts at sea 
from the log-book without aid from the celestial bodies. 

Dead Sea. Traditionally on the site of the city of Sodom. 

Its waters are highly saline, and no fish are found 

in them. 
Dean Street. After Bishop Compton, who, before he became 

Dean of the Savoy Chapel, held the living of St Anne's, 


Dean's Yard. Affords access to the residence of the Dean 
of Westminster, which, with the cloisters, belonged to 
the abbots prior to the Reformation. 

Death or Glory Men. The 17th Lancers, from their badge, 
a Death's head superposed on the words " Or Glory." 

De Beauvoir Town. From the manorial residence of the 
De Beauvoirs. 

Deccan. From the Sanskrit Dakshina, the south, being that 
portion of Hindustan south of the Vindhya Mountains. 

December. The tenth month of the Roman Calendar 
when the year was reckoned from March. 

Decemvir. One of the ten legislators of Rome appointed 
to draw up a code of laws. 

Decoration Day. 30th May, observed in the United States 
for decorating the graves of the soldiers who fell in the 
struggle between the North and South. 

Deemster. See " Doomster." 

Dehaley Street. From the residence of the Dehaleys. 

Delaware. After the Governor of Virginia, Thomas 
West, Lord Delaware, who died on board his vessel 
while visiting the bay in 16 10. 

Del Salviati. The assumed name of the famous Italian 
painter Francesco Rossi, in compliment to his patron, 
Cardinal Salviati, who was born in the same year as 

Demijohn. A corruption of Damaghan, in Persia, a town 
anciently famous for its glass-ware. 

Democracy — Devil to Pay 75 

Democracy. From the Greek demos, people, and kratein, 
to rule. Government by the people. 

Denbigh. From Dinbach, the Celtic for "a little fort." 

Denmark. Properly Danmark, the mark or boundary of 
the land of the Danes. 

Depot. The American term for a railway station. 

Deptford. The deep ford over the Ravensbourne. 

Derby. Saxon for " deer village." The Derby stakes at 
Epsom were founded by Edward Smith Stanley, Earl 
of Derby, in 1780. 

Derrick. The old name for a gibbet and now for a high 
crane. So called after a seventeenth-century hangman 
at Tyburn. 

Deny Down. The opening words of the Druidical chorus 
as they proceeded to the sacred grove to gather 
mistletoe at the winter solstice. Derry is Celtic for 
" grove." 

Dessborough Place. From Dessbrowe House, in which 
resided the brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell. 

Detroit. French for " strait." 

Deuteronomy. A Greek word signifying the second giving 
of the Law by Moses. 

Devereaux Court. See " Essex Street." 

Devil's Sonata. One of Tartini's most celebrated com- 
positions. He dreamt that the Evil One appeared to 
him playing a sonata on the violin. At its conclusion 
his visitor asked: " Tartini, canst thou play this?" 
Awaking with his mind still full of the grotesque 
music, Tartini played it over, and then recorded it 
permanently on paper. 

Devil to Pay. When money was lost by unsuccessful 
litigation it passed into the hands of lawyers, who were 
thought to spend it where they spent much of their 
time — viz. at the Devil Tavern in Fleet Street. The 
money, therefore, went to the Devil. 

76 Devizes — Dine with Duke Humphrey 

Devizes. From the Latin Devisee^ denoting the point where 
the old Roman road passed into the district of the 

Devon. After a Celtic tribe, the Damnonii. 

Devonshire House. The town house of the Duke of 

Devonshire Square. From the mansion of William 

Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire, who died here in 1628. 

Diamond King. The late Mr Alfred Beit, the South 
African financier, whose wealth rivalled that of the 

Dickey. A shirt front, which often has to do duty for a 
clean shirt. So called from the German decken, to hide. 

Diddler. A schemer, an artful dodger. After Jeremy 
Diddler, the chief character in the old farce, "Raising 
the Wind." 

Die Hards. The 57th Foot. When the regiment was 
surrounded at Albuera, their Colonel cried : " Die hard, 
my lads ; die hard ! " And fighting, they died. 

Digger Indians. Tribes of the lowest class who live 
principally upon roots. They have never been known 
to hunt. 

Diggings. A Bohemian term for "lodgings." Not from 
the Californian gold diggings, as generally supposed, 
but from the Galena lead miners of Wisconsin, who 
called both their mines and their underground winter 
habitations "diggings." 

Dime. A ten-cent piece, from the French dixme, or dime, 
tenth — i.e. of a dollar. 

Dimity. First brought from Damietta, Egypt. 

Dine with Duke Humphrey. An old saying of those who 
were fated to go dinnerless. When the " Good Duke 
Humphrey," son of Henry IV., was buried at St 
Albans, a monument to his memory was to be 
erected in St Paul's Cathedral. At that time, as for 
long afterwards, the nave of our national fane was 

Dining-room Servant — Dizzy 77 

a fashionable promenade. When the promenaders 
left for dinner, others who had no dinners to go to 
explained that they would stay behind in order to 
look for the Good Duke's monument. 

Dining-room Servant. An Americanism for waiter or 
male house servant. 

Diorama. See " Panorama." 

Dirty Dick's. The noted tavern in Bishopgate, said to have 
been associated with Nathaniel Bentley, the miser, 
who never washed himself. As a matter of fact, Dirty 
Dick was an ironmonger in Leadenhall Street. After 
his death his effects were bought and exhibited at the 
Bishopgate tavern, together with his portrait as a 

Dirty Shirts. The ioist Foot, who were hotly engaged at 
the battle of Delhi in their shirt sleeves. 

Dissenters. Synonymous with the Nonconformists. Those 
who dissented from the doctrines of the Church of 
England and those likewise who, at a later period, 
separated from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. 

Distaffs' Day. The old name for 7th January, when, 
Christmas being over with Twelfth Night, women 
returned to their distaffs or spindles. 

Divan. A Turkish word signifying a Council of State, 
from the fact that the Turkish Council Chamber has 
low couches ranged round its walls, plentifully supplied 
with cushions. The name has been imported into 
Western Europe specifically to imply a low-cushioned 
sofa or couch. 

Dixie's Land. The Negroes' paradise in slavery days. 
Dixie had a tract of land on Manhattan Island. He 
treated his slaves well, but as they increased sold many 
of them off to masters further afield. They always 
looked back to Dixie's Land as an ideal locality, 
associated with heaven, and when one of them died 
his kith and kin said he had gone to Dixie's Land. 

Dizzy. The nickname of Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards 

7% ' Doctor— Dolly Shop 

Earl of Beaconsfield, the great political opponent of 
Mr Gladstone. 

Doctor. There are three kinds of Doctors — of Law, Physic, 
and Divinity. The first and the last are essentially 
University degrees, with which the vulgar orders of the 
people have little or no acquaintance. They know 
only of one "Doctor," the medical practitioner, and 
since he wears a frock coat and a silk hat he is 
entitled to all the respect that they can pay him. 

Doctors' Commons. Anciently a college for Professors of 
Canon and Civil Law, who dined in common on certain 
days in each term, similar to students at the Inns of 
Court before they are called to the Bar. 

Dog and Duck. A tavern sign indicative of the old sport of 
duck hunting by spaniels in a pond. 

Dog-cart. Originally one in which sportsmen drove their 
pointers and setters to the field. 

Dog his Footsteps. To follow close to his heels like a dog. 

Dog in the Manger. From the old story told of the dog 
who did not require the hay for himself, yet refused to 
allow the ox to come near it. 

Dog Rose. From the old idea that the root of this rose-tree 
was an antidote for the bite of a mad dog. 

Dog Watch. A corruption of "Dodge Watch," being a 
watch of two hours only instead of four, by which 
dodging seamen gradually shift their watch on successive 

Dolgelley. Celtic for " dale of hazels." 

Dollar. From the German Thaler, originally Joachims- 
Thaler, the silver out of which this coin was struck 
having been found in the Thai or Valley of St Joachim 
in Bohemia. 

Dollars and Dimes. An Americanism for money gener- 
ally. See " Dime." 

Dolly Shop. The old name for a rag shop which had a 

Dolly Varden— Don't care a Dam 79 

black doll over the door for a sign. At one time old 
clothes were shipped to the Negroes in the southern 
states of America. 

Dolly Varden. The name of a flowered skirt, answering to 
the description of that worn by Dolly Varden in 
Dickens's " Barnaby Rudge." This dress material 
became very popular after the novel was published. 
It also gave rise to a song, of which the burden was : 
" Dressed in a Dolly Varden." 

Dolphin. A gold coin introduced by Charles V. of France, 
also Dauphin of Vienne. 

Dominica. Expresses the Spanish for Sunday, the day on 
which Columbus discovered this island. 

Dominicans. Friars of the Order of St Dominic; also 
called Black Friars, from their habits. 

Dominoes. A game invented by two French monks, who 
amused themselves with square, flat stones marked 
with spots. The winner declared his victory by recit- 
ing the first line of the Vesper service : " Dixit Dominus 
Domino Meo." When, later, the game became the re- 
creation of the whole convent, the Vesper line was 
abbreviated into " Domino," and the stones themselves 
received the name of " Dominoes." 

Don. A corruption of the Celtic tain, river. 

Donatists. A sect of the fourth century, adherents of 
Donatus, Bishop of Numidia. 

Doncaster St Leger. The stakes at Doncaster races 
founded by Colonel Anthony St Leger in 1776. 

Donegal. Gaelic for the "fortress of the west" — viz. 
Donegal Castle, held by the O'Donnels of Tyrconnel. 

Donet. The old name for a Grammar, after Donatus, the 
grammarian and preceptor of St Jerome. 

Donkey. An ass, from its dun colour. 

Don't care a Dam. When this expression first obtained 
currency a dam was the smallest Hindoo coin, not 
worth an English farthing. 

80 Don't care a Jot — Douro 

Don't care a Jot. See " Iota." 

Doomster. The official in the Scottish High Court who 
pronounced the doom to the prisoner, and also acted as 
executioner. In Jersey and the Isle of Man a judge is 
styled a " Deemster." 

Dope Habit. An Americanism for the morphia habit. 
"Dope" is the Chinese word for opium. This in the 
United States is now applied to all kinds of strong 
drugs or bromides prepared from opium. 

Dorcas Society. From the passage in Acts ix. 39: "And 
all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the 
coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was 
with them." 

Dorchester. The Roman camp in the district of the Dwr- 
trigs or water dwellers. See " Dorset." 

Dorset. The Anglo-Saxon Dwrset, or water settlement, so 
called from the British tribe the Dwr-trigs, "water 
dwellers," who peopled it. 

Dorset Square. After Viscount Portman, the ground land- 
lord, who, before he was raised to the peerage, was for 
many years Member for Dorsetshire. 

Dorset Street. From the mansion and grounds of the Earl 
of Dorset of the Restoration period. Here stood also 
the Dorset Gardens Theatre. 

Doss. Slang for a sleep, a shakedown. From the old 
word dossel, a bundle of hay or straw, whence was 
derived Doss, a straw bed. 

Doss-house. A common lodging-house. See " Doss." 

Douay Bible. The Old Testament translation of the Latin 
Vulgate printed at the English College at Douay, 
France, in 1609. 

Doublet. So called because it was double lined or wadded, 
originally for purposes of defence. 

Douglas. From its situation at the juncture of the two 

streams, the Dhoo, black, and Glass, grey. 
Douro. From the Celtic Dwr y water. 

Dover House — Drapers' Gardens 81 

Dover House. The residence of the Hon. George Agar 
Ellis, afterwards Lord Dover. 

Dover Street. After Henry Jermyn, Lord Dover, who died 
at his residence here in 1782. 

Dowager. The widow of a person of high rank, because 
she enjoyed a substantial dower or dowry for her 
maintenance during life. 

Dowgate. From the Celtic Dwr, water. Hence a water 
gate on the north bank of the Thames. 

Downing Street. From the mansion of Sir George 
Downing, M.P., of the Restoration period. 

Down with the Dust. A gold miner's expression in the 
Far West, where money is scarce and necessary com- 
modities are in general bartered for with gold dust. 

Doyley. From the Brothers Doyley, linen drapers in the 
Strand, who introduced this species of table napery. 

Do your Level Best. This expression means that, while 
striving to the utmost you must also act strictly 

Drachenfels. German for "dragon rocks." Here Siegfried, 
the hero of the Niebelungenlied, slew the dragon. 

Draft on Aldgate Pump. A punning phrase for a worthless 

bill or cheque. 
Draggletail. A slovenly woman who allows her skirts to 

draggle or trail in the mire of the street. 

Dragoman. From the Turkish drukeman, an interpreter. 
A dragoman is in the East what a " Cicerone is in 
Italy and elsewhere in Western Europe. 

Dragoons. From the ancient musket called a dragon, or 
" spitfire." The muzzle was embellished with a 
representation of a dragon. 

Draper. One who dealt in cloth for draping only, as 
distinct from a mercer, milliner, or mantle-maker. 

Drapers' Gardens. The property of the Drapers' Company, 
whose hall is situated here. 


82 Drat it— Druid 

Drat it. A corruption of " Odd rot it," from the old oath, 
" God rot them/' 

Drawer. The old name for an inn or tavern keeper's 
assistant, who drew the beer from the casks. 

Drawing-room. Originally " Withdrawing-room " to which 
the ladies withdrew after dinner while the gentlemen 
sat over their wine. 

Draw it mild. Originally a tavern phrase, when anyone 
preferred ordinary ale to hot spiced liquor. 

Draw the Long Bow. In allusion to the exaggerated skill 
of the English archers prior to the introduction of 

Dress Circle. That portion of a theatre which, before the 
introduction of stalls, was set apart for the superior 
sections of the audience. 

Dressed up to the Knocker. To the extreme height of his 
resources. Before the establishment of the modern 
police system door knockers were placed as high as 
possible to prevent them from being wrenched off by 
sportive wags after nightfall. 

Dresser. The kitchen sideboard, on which the meat was 
dressed before serving it up in the dining-chamber. 
The collection of cups, plates, and dishes which dis- 
tinguishes a dresser originally had a place on a wide 
shelf or board over this meat dresser ; hence cup- 

Drinks like a Fish. Ready to swallow any quantity of 
liquor that may be offered. A great many fish have 
their mouths wide open whilst swimming. 

Drive a Bargain. An expression meaning to knock down 
the original price asked, in punning allusion to " driv- 
ing" a nail. 

Drop o' the Crater. See " Mountain Dew." 

Druid. In the Celtic Derwydd> derived from dewr, oak, 
and gwydd, knowledge. A priest who worshipped and 
offered sacrifices under an oak. 

Drum — Ducking-Stool S3 

Drum. The name for a fashionable evening party of bygone 
days, from the noise made by the card players. 

Drummers. An Americanism for commercial travellers, 
who are engaged in beating up trade. 

Drunkard's Cloak. A large wooden crinoline that hung 
from a drunkard's neck to the ground, causing every 
bone in his body to ache owing to the weight resting on 
his shoulders. The instrument resembled an inverted 
flower pot, having a hole in the top for his head to be 
thrust through. Under this drastic treatment he soon 
became sober. 

Drunk as a Fiddler. The fiddler was generally incapable 
of discoursing further music half way through the 
night's jollification, because the dancers freely plied 
him with drink. 

Drunk as a Lord. When George the Third was King, and 
long afterwards, the fine old English gentleman acted 
up to his character by using strong language and 
imbibing strong potations. To be " drunk as a lord " 
was the surest mark of gentility, and a "three bottle 
man " a pattern of sobriety. After dining it was con- 
sidered no disgrace to roll helplessly under the table. 

Drury Lane. From Drury House, the residence of Sir 
William Drury, temp. William III. 

Dublin. From Dubh-linn, " black pool." 

Dub Up. An expression derived from the very general 
custom of dubbing or touching a man on the shoulder 
when arresting him for debt. 

Ducat. Duke's money, anciently struck in the Duchy of 
Apulia, Sicily. 

Duchess Street. After Lady Cavendish, who became the 
wife of the second Duke of Portland. 

Ducking Stool. An instrument for the punishment of 
scolding wives. This public ducking in a pond 
effectually served to cool their temper for the time 

84 Duck's Foot Lane — Dumping 

Duck's Foot Lane. Properly "Duke's Foot Lane," the 
footway leading from the town house of the Earls of 
Suffolk down to the Thames. 

Dude. An American name for a fop, derived from a very 
old English word, " dudes," whence we have the slang 
term " Duds," for clothes. 

Dudley. From the castle built by Dodo, a Saxon prince, 
and fey, " meadow.' ' 

Duds. See " Dude." 

Dug-out. A Far West Americanism for a boat or canoe 
hewn out of a large tree log. 

Dukeries. That portion of Nottinghamshire distinguished 
for the number of ducal residences, of which Welbeck 
Abbey is perhaps the most admired. 

Duke Street. In Aldgate, after the Dukes of Norfolk. 
Near Smithfield, the ancient property of the Dukes 
of Brittany. In Grosvenor Square, after the Duke of 
Cumberland. Off Langham Place, after the Duke 
of Portland. Near Manchester Square, after the Duke 
of Manchester. In the Strand, after George Villiers, 
Duke of Buckingham. 

Dulwich. The corruption of Dalewich^ the village in the 

Duma. Russian for Parliament or popular representation. 

Dumb Ox. One of the sobriquets of St Thomas Aquinas, 
from the silence with which he pursued his studies. 
His master, Albertus Magnus, however, predicted that 
" this dumb ox will one day fill the world with his 

Dumping. A word which has come into prominence relative 
to Mr Chamberlain's Fiscal Policy. In various forms 
the verb dump may be met with in Teutonic and 
Scandinavian tongues, meaning to "pitch down," 
" throw down in a lump," etc. etc. A " Dump Cart " 
in America is one that tilts up in front, and so 
"dumps" its load behind. 

Dun — East Anglia 85 

Dun. A persistent creditor. After Joe Dun, a noted bailiff, 
who never failed to bring a debtor to book. People 
used to say : " Why don't you Dun him for the debt ? " 
meaning they would send Joe Dun to make him pay or 
arrest him. 

Dunce. From John Duns Scotus, who, it is said, gave 
no proof of his remarkable attainments in his early 
scholastic days. 

Dundee. A corruption of Duntay, the hill fort on the 

Dunedin. See " Edinburgh." 

Dungeness. A corruption of Danger Ness, the Headland 
of Danger. 

Dunkirk. Expresses the " Church in the Dunes," or sand- 
hills, built by St Eloi in the seventh century. 

Durham. A corruption of Dunholm, from its situation on 
a hill surrounded by the river. 

Dusseldorf. The village on the Dussel. 

Dutchman. A contemptuous epithet applied to our phleg- 
matic enemies during the wars with Holland. 

Dyers' Buildings. The site of an ancient almshouse of the 
Dyers' Company. 

Eagle. An inn sign, the cognisance of Queen Mary. 

Earl Street. After Charles Marsham, Earl of Romney. 

Earl's Court. From the Earl of Warwick, whose estate it 
was until, by the marriage of the Dowager Countess of 
Warwick with Lord Holland, it passed into her 
husband's family. 

East Anglia. A name still popular as defining the eastern 
counties. This was one of the seven divisions or 
petty kingdoms of England under the Angles or 

86 Eastcheap — Ecuador 

Eastcheap. The eastern chepe, or market, of the city of 


Easter. From the Teutonic Ostara, goddess of light or 
spring; rendered by the Anglo-Saxons Eastre. This 
great spring festival lasted eight days. 

Easter Island. The name given to it by Jacob Roggevin 
when he visited the island on Easter Sunday, 1722. 

East Sheen. A name reminiscent of the original designa- 
tion of " Richmond." 

Eat Dirt. An Americanism for a confession of penitence 
or absolute defeat in an argument. 

Eat Humble Pie. In the days of sumptuous banquets of 
venison the lords of the feast reserved to themselves 
the flesh of the deer. The huntsmen and retainers 
had to be content with the heart, liver, and entrails, 
collectively called the "umbles," which were made 
into monster pies. 

Eat my own Words. To take them back again, to retract 
a statement. 

Eaton Square. From Eaton Hall, near Chester, the seat 
of the Duke of Westminster, the ground landlord. 

Eau de Cologne. A scent prepared at Cologne. The 
city itself is not sweet to the nostrils ; it has been said 
that forty different smells may be distinguished there. 

Eavesdropper. A corruption of Eavesdripper, one who, 
listening under the eaves of a house, caught the drips 
from the roof when it chanced to be raining. 

Ebro. After the Iberi % who spread themselves over the 
country from the banks of this river. See " Iberia." 

Ebury Square. From the ancient manor of Eabury Farm, 
inherited by Mary Davies, and which, by her marriage, 
passed into the possession of the Grosvenor family. 

Eccleston Square. From Eccleston, Cheshire, the country 
seat of the Grosvenors. 

Ecuador. Expresses the Spanish for Equator. 

Edgar Atheling — Eisteddfod 87 

Edgar Atheling. Signifies " Edgar of noble descent." 

Edinburgh. The fortress or burgh built by Edwin, King of 
Northumbria. The Scots called it Dunedin. 

Edinburgh of America. Albany, in the state of New York, 
so called on account of its magnificent public buildings 
and its commanding situation. 

Edmonton. In Anglo-Saxon days Edmund's Town. 

Edmund Ironside. So called from the suit of chain mail 
that he wore. Notwithstanding this protection he was 
treacherously murdered after a reign of nine months 

Edward the Confessor. The title bestowed upon the King 
of the Anglo-Saxons at his canonisation, on account 
of his remarkable asceticism, since, although he made 
the daughter of Earl Godwin his queen, he denied 
himself what are styled conjugal rights. 

Edward the Martyr. Murdered at the instance of his 
stepmother at Corfe Castle after having reigned 
scarcely three years. 

Eel Pie Island. From the invariable dinner dish served 
up to river excursionists. 

Effra Road. At Camberwell, from the little river of the 
same name, now converted into a sewer. 

Egalite\ The name assumed by Philippe, Due d' Orleans, 
the father of Louis Philippe, King of France, when, 
siding with the Republican Party in 1789, he accepted 
their motto : " Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality." Four 
years later he met his death by the guillotine. 

Ehrenbreitstein. Expresses the German for "Honour's 
Broad Stone." The castle stands on a precipitous 
rock, which well merits the description of the " Gibraltar 
of the Rhine." 

Eisteddfod. Celtic for a gathering of Welsh bards, from 
eistodd, to sit. As of old, the annual " Eisteddfod" is 
held for the encouragement of national music. 

88 Eldorado— Ely Place 

Eldorado. California. Eldorado expresses the Spanish for 
'* golden region." 

Electic Philosophers. Those who, agreeably to the Greek 
ek-lego, to pick out, selected what was best in the 
different schools or systems, and so built up one of 
their own. 

Elephant and Castle. The famous landmark in South 
London derived its sign from the arms of the Cutlers' 
Company. A tavern in St Pancras parish took its sign 
from the skeleton of an elephant, beside which was 
a flint-headed spear, dug up in the neighbourhood. 
The connection between these and the battle fought by 
the followers of Queen Boadicea against the Roman 
invaders was unmistakable. 

Elephant stepped on his Purse. An Americanism implying 
that a creditor or some unlucky speculation has 
squeezed all the money out of a man. 

Elgin Marbles. Brought from Greece by the seventh 
Earl of Elgin. Acquired by the nation for the British 
Museum in 1816. 

Elia. The pseudonym of Charles Lamb for his " Essays " 
contributed to The London Magazine. This was the 
name of a gay, light-hearted foreigner, who fluttered 
about the South Sea House at the time when Lamb 
was a clerk there. At the moment of penning his 
signature to the first essay he bethought himself of 
that person, and substituted the name of Elia for his 

Eltham. Anciently Ealdham, "the old home." Here 
Anthony Bee, the " Battling Bishop of Durham," built 
himself a palace midway in the thirteenth century. 
After his death it fell to the Crown, and became a 
Royal residence, until the time of James I. The 
original Banqueting-Hall, used in modern days as a 
barn, may yet be seen. 

Ely Place. Marks the site of the residence of the Bishops 
of Ely. 

Ember Days — Englishman's House 89 

Ember Days. This term has no connection with embers 
or sackcloth and ashes as a penitential observance. 
The Saxons called them Ymbrine dagas, or " running 
days," because they came round at regular seasons of 
the year. 

Emerald Isle. Ireland, from its fresh verdure, due to its 
shores being washed by the warm waters of the "Gulf 

Empire Day. May 24th, formerly the Queen's Birthday. 
In the last days of Victoria the British Empire was 
consolidated through the assistance lent by the 
Colonies to the Mother Country in the South African 
War. When, therefore, King Edward VII. came to 
the throne, the former Queen's Birthday was invested 
with a greater significance than of old. 

Empire State. New York, which, owing to position and 
commercial enterprise, has no rival among the other 
states of the Union. 

Empire State of the South. Georgia, in consequence of 
its rapid industrial development. 

Ena Road. In honour of Princess Ena, the consort of the 
young King of Spain. 

Encore. From the Latin hauc horam, till this hour, still, 

Encyclopaedia. A book containing general or all-round 
instruction or information, from the Greek enkylios, 
circular or general, and paideia, instruction. An 
epitome of the whole circle of learning. 

Endell Street. After the name of the builder. This is 
one of the few streets in London that has preserved its 
old characteristics, steadfastly j refusing to march with 
the times. 

England. In the time of Alfred the Great our country was 
styled jEnga/and, or the land of the Engles or Angles, 
who came over from Jutland. 

Englishman's House is his Castle. By the law of the land 
a bailiff must effect a peaceable entrance in order to 

90 Ennis — Erie 

distrain upon a debtor's goods ; therefore the latter is, 
as it were, sufficiently secure in his own fortress if he 
declines to give the enemy admittance. 

Ennis. Expresses in Ireland, like fnnis, the Celtic for an 
island. Both these words enter largely into Irish place- 

Enniskillen. The kirk town on an island, the Celtic ktl, 
originally implying a hermit's cell, and later a chapel. 

Ennismore Place. After Viscount Ennismore, Earl of 
Listowel, the ground landlord. 

Enough is as good as a Feast. Because at no time can a 
person eat more than enough. 

Enrol. See " Roll Call." 

Entente Cordiale. Expresses the French for cordial good 

Entire. A word still to be met with on old tavern signs. 
It meant different qualities of ale or beer drawn from 
one cask. 

Entries. French for entries or commencements. Those 
made dishes are served after the soups, as an intro- 
duction to the more substantial portions of the repast, 
the joints. 

Epicure. After Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, who taught 
that pleasure and good living constituted the happiness 
of mankind. His followers were styled Epicureans. 

Epiphany. From the Greek Epiphaneia^ an appearance, a 
showing ; relative to the adoration of the Magi, who 
came from the East twelve days after the birth of the 

Epsom Salts. From the mineral springs at Epsom. 

Equality State. Wyoming, where, first among the com- 
munities of the world, women were accorded the right 
to vote. 

Erie. Indian for " Wild Cat," the fierce tribe exterminated 
by the Iroquois. 

Escurial — Evacuation Day 91 

Escurial. Properly Escorial, Spanish for "among the rocks." 
King Philip II. built this superb convent and palace 
after the battle of St Quentin, in the course of which 
he had been obliged to bombard a monastery of the 
Order of St Jerome. He dedicated it to St Lawrence. 
He caused the structure to be in the form of a gridiron, 
the symbol of the Saint's martyrdom. 

Esk. A river name derived from the Celtic uisg, water. 

Esquimaux. An Alonquin Indian term signifying "eaters 
of raw flesh." 

Essex. The kingdom of the East Saxons under the Hept- 

Essex Street. From the mansion of Robert Devereaux, 
Earl of Essex, the Parliamentary General in Cromwell's 

Ethelred the Unready. From his incapacity and unwilling- 
ness to accept rede, or counsel. 

Ethiopia. From the Greek aithein, to burn, and ops, the 
face. Hence "the country of the blacks." 

Etiquette. A French word for " label." Formerly a ticket 
or card of instructions was handed to visitors on cere- 
monial occasions. Nowadays such rules as pertain to 
deportment or decorum are supposed to enter into the 
education of all well-bred persons. 

Etna. From the Phoenician attuna, a furnace. 

Eton. The Anglo-Saxon Eyton, "island town." 

Ettrick Shepherd. The literary sobriquet of James Hogg, 
the poet, of Ettrick, Selkirkshire. 

Europe. From the Greek euros, broad, and ops, the face ; 
literally " the broad face of the earth." 

Euston Road. From the seat of the Earl of Euston at 
Thetford, Norfolk, the ground landlord. 

Evacuation Day. November 25 th, observed in the United 
States as commemorating the evacuation of New York 
city by the British after the War of Independence, 1 783. 

92 Evangelist — Eye-Opener 

Evangelist. From the Greek euanggelion^ "good news." 
One of the four writers of the Gospels of the New 

Evelyn Street. From the residence of John Evelyn, the 
diarist. One of his descendants, the Rev. W. J. Evelyn, 
of Wolton, built the church of St Luke, Deptford, 
in 1872. 

Everglade State. Florida, from its tracts of land, covered 
with water and grass, called Everglades. 

Ex. Another form of the Celtic uisg, water. 

Exchequer. The table of this Court was formerly covered 
with checkered cloth, so called from the Old French 
eschequier, chess board. 

Executive City. Washington, which contains the White 
House, the official residence of the President of the 
Republic, the House of Representatives, and the Senate 

Exellers. The 40th Foot, from the Roman numerals XL. 

Exeter. Called by the Saxons Exancester^ or the Roman 
camp town on the Exe. 

Exeter College. Founded at Oxford by Walter Stapleton, 
Bishop of Exeter and Lord Treasurer of England, 
in 1316. 

Exeter Street. From the mansion and grounds of the 
Earl of Exeter, the eldest son of the great Lord 

Exhibition Road. This wide thoroughfare formed the 
eastern boundary of the plot of ground purchased by 
the Commissioners for the Great Exhibition of 1862. 

Exodus. The Scriptural narrative of the departure of the 
Israelites from the Land of Bondage. 

Eye. Expresses the Anglo-Saxon for island. The river 
Waveney surrounds the town. 

Eye-opener. An American drink of mixed spirits as a 
remedy for drowsiness. 

Face the Music — Falernian 93 

Face the Music. To bear the jeers and taunts of those 
who laugh at us. 

Factory King. Richard Oastler of Bradford, the promoter 
of the " Ten Hours' Bill." 

Fag. Slang for a cigarette, derived from the fag end — i.e. 
fatigued or spent end — of a cigar. Also a small boy 
who acts as a drudge in the service of another at a 
public school, so called from the Anglo-Saxon fcege, 
weak, timid. 

Fair Cop. Thieves' slang for a smart capture by the 
police. Whereas another would say "The game's 
up ! " a thief admits that he has been fairly caught by 
the expression " It's a fair cop." See "Cop." 

Fair Maid of Kent. Joan, the beautiful and only daughter 
of the Earl of Kent, who became the wife of Edward 
the Black Prince. 

Fair Street. A name left us as a reminder of a once 
celebrated fair on the Southwark bank of the Thames. 

Faith Healers. A sect which upholds the doctrine of heal- 
ing the sick by prayer and anointing with oil in the 
name of the Lord, as set forth in James v. 13-15. 

Faix. An Irishman's exclamation for " Faith " or " In 

Fake. To make-believe or cheat. An actor is said to 
" fake up " an article of costume out of very sorry 
materials, which at a distance looks like the real thing. 
A photographer can " fake " a spirit photo by means 
of two distinct plates. Food also is largely " faked." 
The word is derived from " Fakir." 

Fakir. From the Arabic fakhar, poor. 

Falcon Square. From an ancient hostelry, " The Castle 
and Falcon," hard by in Aldersgate Street. 

Falernian. A celebrated wine, extolled by Horace, Virgil, 

94 Fall — Farthing 

and other Latin authors, prepared from grapes grown 
in the district of Falernicum. 

Fall. An Americanism for autumn, in allusion to the fall 
of the leaves. 

Fallopian Tubes. Said to have been discovered by Gabriel 
Fallopius, the eminent Italian anatomist of the 
sixteenth century. They were, however, known to the 

Falls City. Louisville, in the state of Kentucky, because it 
overlooks the falls of the Ohio River. 

Falmouth. A seaport at the mouth of the Fale. 

Family Circle. This expression had a literal meaning in 
the time of the Normans, when the fire occupied the 
centre of the floor, and the smoke found its vent 
through a hole in the roof. In Germany and Russia 
the domestic apartments are economically warmed by 
an enclosed stove in the centre. Amongst ourselves 
the phrase "sit round the fire" only conveys a half- 

Fancy Drink. An Americanism for a concoction of 
various spirits, as distinguished from a Straight Drink 
of one kind. 

Fandago. Spanish for a "lively dance." 

Farmer George. George III., on account of his dress, 
manners, and bucolic sporting inclinations. 

Farm Street. From an old farm, on the land of Lord 
Berkeley of Stratton in the time of Charles I. 

Faro. So called from a representation of Pharaoh on one 
of the cards originally. 

Farringdon Road. After William Farrindon, citizen and 
goldsmith, who, for the sum of twenty marks, in 1279 
purchased the Aldermanry of the ward named after 

Farthing. From the Anglo-Saxon feorthling, a little fourth. 
In olden times penny pieces were nicked across like a 

Farthingale — Feast of Tabernacles 95 

Good Friday bun ; so they could be broken into halves 
and fourths as occasion required. 

Farthingale. A corruption of Verdingale, from the French 
vertugarde, a guard for modesty. Queen Elizabeth is 
said to have introduced this hooped petticoat in order 
to disguise her figure. 

Farthing Poet. The sobriquet of Richard Home, who pub- 
lished his chief poem, " Orion," at one farthing, so that 
it should not want for buyers. 

Fastern's E'en. The Scottish description of Shrove 
Tuesday, being the eve of the Lenten Fast. 

Father of Believers. Mohammed, because he established 
and promulgated the faith of the Moslem, or "true 

Father of the Music Halls. The late William Morton, 
manager of the Palace Theatre of Varieties, and 
founder of the earliest London Music Hall, "The 
Canterbury," in the Westminster Bridge Road, which 
dates from the year 1848. 

Fathers of the Church. The great doctors or theological 
writers of the period from the first to the seventh 
centuries of Christianity. See "Apostolic Fathers." 

Faugh-a-Ballagh Boys. The 87th Foot, from their battle 

Feast of Lanterns. A Chinese festival which occurs on 
the fifteenth day of the first moon of the year. Walk- 
ing by the side of a beautiful lake one night the 
daughter of a mandarin fell in, and was drowned. 
When her father heard of the accident he, attended 
by all his household, carrying lanterns, rushed to the 
spot. On the anniversary he caused fires to be lighted 
beside the lake, and invited all the people of the 
country round about to offer up prayers for the safety 
of her soul. In course of time the solemn character 
of the gathering was forgotten, and the day has ever 
since been observed as a national holiday. 

Feast of Tabernacles. Commemorative of the forty years' 

96 Feather in my Cap — Fetter Lane 

wandering of the Israelites in search of the Promised 
Land, during which long period they dwelt in temporary 
huts or tabernacles, formed of tree branches covered 
with leaves. Even at the present day the Jews at 
least take their meals in temporary structures covered 
with leaves throughout the nine days of the festival. 

Feather in my Cap. An expression derived from a custom 
of the North American Indians, who stuck a fresh 
feather in their head-dress for every one of their 
enemies slain in battle. 

Feathers. An inn sign originally, when the painted device 
appeared in place of the mere name, signifying the 
" Plume of Feathers," or " Prince of Wales's Feathers," 
the crest of Edward the Black Prince. 

February. From the Latin februare, to purify, this being 
the month appointed by the Romans for the festival 
of the Februalia of purification and expiation. 

Federal States. During the American Civil War the 
Treaty States of the North, which resisted the Separatist 
or Confederate States in the South. 

Feel Peckish. See " Keep your Pecker up." 

Fellah. Arabic for agriculturist or peasant. In the 
plural, " El Fellahin," the term is specifically applied 
to the labouring population of Egypt. 

Fenchurch Street. From an ancient church in the fens or 
marshy ground through which ran the Lang Bourne 
from Beach Lane to the Wall brook behind the Stocks 
Market, where the Mansion House now stands. 

Fenians. Said to express the Gaelic for "hunters," but 
the greater likelihood is that this secret society took the 
name of the Finna Eirinii,.axi ancient organisation of 
Irish militia, so called after Fion MacCumhal, the 
hero of legendary history. 

Fetter Lane. A corruption of " Fewters Lane," from the 
Norman-French faitoar, an evil-doer, on account of the 
idle vagabonds who infested it in days when this lane 
led to some pleasure gardens. 

Feuilleton — Filibuster 97 

Feuilleton. Expresses the French for a small leaf. Like 
the serial stories nowadays in many English newspapers, 
articles of a non-political character were introduced in 
the French Journal des Debates as long ago as the 
commencement of the nineteenth century, these being 
separated from the news by a line towards the bottom 
of each page. 

Fez. From Fez in Morocco, whence this red cap of the 
Turks was introduced into the Ottoman Empire. 

F. F. V. Initials well understood in America, implying 
the " First Families of Virginia." 

Fiddler's Money. A threepenny piece. Originally it was 
a small coin paid by each of the dancers to the fiddler 
at a merry-making. 

Fifth Monarchy Men. Religious fanatics of the time of 
Charles I. who proclaimed the second coming of Christ 
to establish the fifth monarchy, or millennium. The 
four previous great monarchies of the world were the 
Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman. 

Fifty Club. A social club founded in 1899 by G. C. 
Paterson, incidentally for the entertainment of its 
members on the attainment of their fiftieth birthday. 

Fighting Fifth. The 5th Foot, on account of their prowess 
during the Peninsular War. 

Fighting Fitzgerald. George Robert Fitzgerald, a noted 
gamester and duellist of the eighteenth century, with 
whom no one ever picked a quarrel without falling by 
his hand. A sure shot and an expert swordsman, he 
was a man to be feared by all. 

Fight Shy. Originally a prize-fighting expression, when one 
of the combatants betrayed a lack of courage. 

Filberts. After St Philibert, on whose feast day, 22nd 
August, the nutting season commenced. 

Filibuster. A Spanish and French corruption of the 
German freibeter, derived from the Dutch vlie-boot^ or 
fly-boat, a small clipper vessel. This was introduced 


98 Finality John — First Gentleman 

into England during the wars with the Low Countries. 
The word Freebooter claims the same origin. 

Finality John. The sobriquet of John Russell, afterwards 
Earl Russell, from his conviction that the passing of the 
Reform Bill of 1832 would be a finality to the universal 
Suffrage Question. 

Finch Lane. Properly Finke Lane, after Sir Richard 
Finke, who resided in it, and rebuilt the church of St 
Bennet on the site of the present Royal Exchange. A 
tradesman in Cheapside rejoices in the possession of 
the full name of this vanished church, St Bennet-Finke. 

Fingal's Cave. That of Fion MacCumhal, abbreviated into 
Fingal, a celebrated legendary hero. 

Finland. Properly FenZand, the land of lakes and marshes. 
The native name of the country is Suomesimaa^ the 
watered land of the Suomes. 

Finsbury. From the Anglo-Saxon Fensbury, the town 
among the fens or marshes. 

Finsbury Pavement. The first London thoroughfare where 
the paving of the side walk with flagstones was in- 

Fire dogs. These adjuncts to an old-fashioned fireplace 
received their name from the small dog that was 
anciently imprisoned in a wheel at one end of the spit. 
Three hours of this canine exercise were required to 
prepare the roast beef of Old England for the table. 
If the dog refused to exert himself a live coal was put 
inside the wheel to accelerate his movements. 

Fire Water. The North American Indian designation of 
rum, and ardent spirits generally. 

Fire Worshippers. The Parsees, who worship the sun as the 
symbol of the Deity. 

First Gentleman of Europe. The complimentary 
sobriquet of George IV., owing to his rank, personal 
attractions, and the ability, as became a gentleman of 
the period, of telling good stories well. 

Firth of Forth — Fleet Road 99 

Firth of Forth. Firth expresses the Gaelic for an estuary 
or arm of the sea. Forth is the name of the river. 

Fish Street Hill. From the fishmongers who first con- 
gregated here in the reign of Edward I. The Hall 
of the Fishmongers' Company stands at the foot of 
London Bridge. 

Fit-up. In theatrical parlance the entire appurtenances of a 
stage, excepting the floor only, carried from town to 
town, and fitted up in Town Halls, Assembly-rooms, 
and Corn Exchanges. 

Fitzroy Square. . From one of the family names of the 
ground landlord. 

Fives. An old game at ball, usually played by five on each 
side. The " court " consists of a roomy space with a 
high wall at one end. 

Fixings. An Americanism for dress ornaments or acces- 
sories; house, hotel, or theatre embellishments and 
decorations generally. 

Flamingo. From the bright red colour of this tropical 

Flanders. From the native name Vlandergau, the country 

of the Vlander, who from the earliest period of their 

history were ruled by counts. 

Flannelled Fools. An opprobrious epithet bestowed upon 
the English people on account of their all-pervading 
sport of cricket by Rudyard Kipling. It gave rise to 
much acrimony at the time, and tended to lessen his 
popularity as a writer. 

Flash Jewellery. Spurious, not what it pretends to be. 
Like a flash of fire, its brilliance is only fleeting. 

Flask Walk. In this pleasant lane stands the old hostelry 
"The Flash." 

Fleet Road. All that is left us to remind one of the clear 
stream which coursed through the meadows down to 
Holborn (the Old Bourne) and Clerkenwell, emptying 
itself into the Thames in what is now Bridge Street, 

ioo Fleet Street— Flunkey 

Fleet Street. The River Fleet, which in old days was 
navigable from the Thames as far as what is now 
Ludgate Circus. The old English word Fleot expressed 
a tidal stream deep enough for vessels to float in. 

Fleetwood Road. Here stood Fleetwood House, the 
residence of Charles Fleetwood, the Parliamentary 

Fleshly School of Poetry. That of the sensuous order, 
popularised by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Swinburne, and 

Flint. From the flint or quartz which abounds in this 

Floralia. A Roman festival in honour of Flora, commenc- 
ing 28th April and terminating 2nd May. It was said 
to have been instituted at the command of an oracle 
with a view of obtaining from the goddess the pro- 
tection of blossoms. 

Florence. Expresses " The City of Flowers." 

Florida. Named by Ponce de Leon from the twofold cir- 
cumstance of his landing upon it on Pascua Florida^ or 
Easter Sunday, and the luxuriance of its vegetation. 

Florin. A silver coin of the value of two shillings, originally 
struck at Florence. It still bears on its reverse side 
a representation of a lily, symbolical of " The City of 

Flower Sermon. An annual observance at the Church of 
St Katherine Cree, Leadenhall Street, inaugurated by 
the rector, the Rev. Dr Whittemore, in 1853. The 
flowers of the earth form the text ; the pulpit is richly 
adorned with flowers ; and every member of the congre- 
gation brings a bouquet. The idea of the flower 
service, if not the sermon, has been largely copied in 
various parts of the country. 

Flunkey. From the French flanquer, the henchman or 
groom who ran at the flank or side of his mounted 

Fly— Forecastle 101 

Fly. Provincial for a hansom cab. When one looks at 
such a hackney carriage it suggests a sedan-chair 
on wheels. Such a vehicle, introduced at Brighton 
for invalids, was a great favourite with George IV. 
when Prince of Wales, who often requisitioned it for a 
night frolic. Called by him on account of its lightness 
a "fly-by-night," its name became abbreviated into a 

Fly Posting. A showman's phrase for small bills posted 
hurriedly in all possible conspicuous places under 
cover of night. 

Fly-up-the-Creeks. The people of Florida, who were wont 
to disappear on the-approach of strangers. 

F. M. Allen. The pseudonym of Mr Edward Downey at 
the time when he was also a publisher. F. M. Allen 
was his wife's maiden name. 

Foley Street. After the town house of Lord Foley. 

Fontagne. A wire structure for raising the hair of ladies, 
introduced by the Duchesse de Fontagne, one of the 
mistresses of Louis XIV. of France. 

Fontinalia. Roman festivals in honour of the nymphs of 
wells and fountains. It was from these that the 
English and French custom of "Well Dressing" in 
the month of May found its origin. 

Foolscap. A size of paper which from time immemorial 
has had for its watermark a fool's cap and bells. 

Footpad. Originally a thief or highway robber who wore 
padded shoes. 

Fop. From the German and Dutch foJ>J>en, to jeer at, make 
a fool of. This word must be very old, since Vanbrugh 
gave the name of Lord Foppington to a conceited 
coxcomb in this comedy "The Relapse," 1697. 

Forecastle. The quarters apportioned to the seamen in the 
fore end of a vessel. Anciently the whole forward 
portion bore the name of Aforecastle on account of 
" The Castle " or State Cabin erected in a castle-like 
form in the centre. 

ic* Forefathers' Day — Four Hundred 

Forefathers' Day. December 21st, commemorated in the 
New England States on account of the landing of the 
Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. 

Forest City. Cleveland (Ohio) and Portland (Maine), on 
account of the trees which characterise their beautiful 

Forest Gate. The district which in modern times has 
sprung up south of the old gate leading into Epping 
Forest. A representation of the gate appears on the 
curtain of the local public hall, or, as it is now styled, 
"The Grand Theatre." 

Forest Hill. A name reminiscent of days when this portion 
of South London as far as Croydon was forest land. 

Fore Street. The street in front of the London Wall, the 
Barbican or watch-tower, and Cripple Gate. 

Forget-me-not. A flower emblematical of friendship or a 
keepsake. The story goes that a German knight, 
walking on the banks of the Danube with his lady, 
undertook, at her request, to gather a tuft of Mysotis 
palustris, growing in the water. Encumbered by his 
armour, he was carried away by the stream, and sank, 
after having thrown the flowers to his mistress, exclaim- 
ing : " Verges s mein nicht ! " 

Forlorn Hope. From the German verloren, lost. A 
company of soldiers ordered upon such a perilous 
enterprise, that there is small hope of their return. 

Formosa. A Portuguese word signifying " beautiful." 

Fortino. A clipped phrase in several of the states of 
North America, from " For aught I know." 

Foster Lane. From the Church of St Vedast, the name 
of a Bishop of Arras. How Vedast came to be 
Anglicised into Foster is not explained. 

Foul-weather Jack. Commodore John Byron, the circum- 
navigator of the eighteenth century. Whenever he 
put out to sea he was sure to experience foul weather. 

Four Hundred. The Select or " Smart " Society of New 
York city. 

Fourteen Hundred — Freak Dinner 103 

Fourteen Hundred. The cry raised when a stranger is 
discovered in the Stock Exchange, whereupon he is 
immediately hustled out. This had its origin in the 
circumstance that for a great many years the recog- 
nised full membership on 'Change was 1399. 

Fourth Estate. The Press. Edward Burke referred to 
the Reporters' Gallery as more powerful than the 
three great estates of the realm — viz. the Lords 
Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, and the Commons. 

Fox in the Hole. An inn or tavern sign contiguous to the 
hunting field. 

Frame House. The American term for a house built of 
timber. Chinatown, or the Chinese quarter of the 
city of San Francisco, was entirely constructed of 
"frame houses." 

Franc. A silver coin of Franconia or France. 

France. Anciently Franconia, the country of the Franks, 
so called from the franca, a kind of javelin with which 
they armed themselves when this people effected the 
conquest of Gaul. 

Franciscans. Friars of the..Qrder of St Francis of Assisi. 
Originally the Grey Friars, their habits are now brown. 
One of the rules laid down by their pious founder was 
that the brethren should always be clad like the poorest 
of the poor. He selected the loose sack of grey, undyed 
wool, bound round the waist by a cord of the Umbrian 
Shepherds. Towards the close of the fifteenth century 
the better classes affected gaudy colours, and the 
poorer orders, imitating them so far as the use of dyed 
materials was concerned, took to wearing garments of 
sober brown. Hence the change in the colour of the 
Franciscan habit. 

Frankincense. Incense brought to the East from "Fran- 

Freak Dinner. A latter-day term, arising out of the 
examples set by American millionaires to outdo all 
previous attempts in the way of sumptuous banquets, 

1 04 Freebooter — Freemasons 

There have been dinners costing ;£ioo per head. To 
please the eye, champagne has been made to flow 
wastefully from a fountain. The name is, however, 
more correctly applied to the scenic embellishments, 
as when the banqueting-chamber of the Gaiety 
Restaurant was converted into a South African mining 
tent, and real Kaffirs were the waiters, to remind the 
diners of the mode by which they had acquired their 

Freebooter. See "Filibuster." 

Free Church of Scotland. The adherents of Dr Chalmers, 
who separated from the Scottish Presbyterian Church 
to establish an independent community, 18th May 

Free House. A public-house,of which the landlord, being 
his own master, is at full liberty to change his brewer 
if the quality of the liquor supplied to him does not 
give complete satisfaction. See " Tied House." 

Free-lance. An unattached journalist who sends out his 
literary wares on approval. The term has been derived 
from those roving companies of knights who, at the 
close of the Wars of the Crusades, were ready to enlist 
under any banner for a monetary consideration. Like 
the mercenaries of the Carthaginians and Romans, 
these were the first paid soldiers. 

Free List. A list kept by theatrical managers of Men 
about Town, barristers, medical men, and others, who 
can be relied upon to "dress the house" at short 
notice when business is bad, and so give it an air of 
prosperity. These are not " Deadheads " in the 
ordinary sense, because they render the management a 
service; but being well able to pay for seats at all 
times they are apt to be obnoxious in their demands 
when the entertainment really draws good houses. 
Hence the notice " Free list entirely suspended " at 
such times. 

Freemasons. A brotherhood of masons who in the 
Mediaeval Ages built the cathedrals which are even 

Freeze on to him — Frobisher Strait 105 

now lasting mementoes of their skill. They travelled 
from one city to another, always employed in the 
same devoted work, and, to prove that they were 
master craftsmen, invented various symbols, by which 
they could be recognised. Everywhere these masons 
enjoyed immunity from taxation and military service. 
Hence they received the name of "free-masons." 

Freeze on to him. To cling to a man as hoarfrost clings 
to wood in winter. 

Freight Train. An Americanism for goods train. 

Freshman. An undergraduate in his first year at a 

Friar. Agreeably to the Latin fratre, brother. This term 
signifies a member of a religious community as dis- 
tinguished from a monk (Greek, monas, alone), who 
was originally a hermit, and, except when at meals or 
at prayers in the monastery, spends his time in a cell. 

Friar Street. Marks the eastern boundary of the monastery 
of the Dominicans or Black Friars anciently located 
south of Ludgate Hill. 

Friar Tuck. So called because, like that of all friars, his 
habit was tucked or drawn up round the cord that 
encircled his waist. 

Friday. In the Scandinavian mythology this day of the 
week was set apart for the worship of Frigga, the wife 
of Odin. 

Friday Street. The fish market of Old London, so called 
from the weekly fast day, when it must have been 
particularly thronged. 

Friendly Islands. So called by Captain Cook on account 
of the peaceable disposition of the natives. 

Friesland. Anciently Friesia, the country of the Frisii. 

Frisco. An American abbreviation of San Francisco. 

Frith Street. Originally Fryth Street, after the name of 
the builder upon the land in 1680. 

Frobisher Strait. Discovered by Sir Martin Frobisher, 1576. 

106 Frognal— Gaffer 

Frognal. That portion of Hampstead once graced by 
Frognal Priory, built by " Memory-Corner Thompson." 

From Pillar to Post. This had reference in olden times to 
the hooting crowds who followed a public offender 
from the pillory to the whipping-post. The "post," 
however, was more usually a "cart's tail." 

Fuchsia. After Leonard Fuchs, the distinguished German 

Fudge. A word derived from the sound produced by 
the nasal expression of contempt, futsch I among the 
Germans and Dutch. 

Fulham. The Fullenhame of Anglo-Saxon days, expressing 
the home or habitation of water-fowl. 

Funeral. Specifically a torchlight procession, from the 
Latin /urn's, a torch. In ancient times burials always 
took place by night. 

Furnival Street. A name left to remind us of Furnival's 
Inn, on the opposite side of Holborn, and where 
Charles Dickens wrote his " Pickwick Papers." 
Anciently this was the " Inn " or town mansion of the 
Lords Furnival, a title which became extinct in the 
reign of Richard II. 

Fusiliers. Because originally armed with a light musket 
styled a fusil. 

Fye Foot Lane. A corruption of Five Foot Lane, the 
width of this narrow thoroughfare when it led down 
to the Thames side. 

Gad-about. The word "Gad" is Gaelic, signifying "to 

Gaelic. See " Caledonia." 
Gaff. See" Penny Gaff." 

Gaffer. Provincial for an old man; a corruption of 

Gag — Garden Town 107 

Gag. An actor's interpolation of catch phrases at his own 
sweet will. Originally, however, gagging was a device 
to disconcert or stop the mouth of another actor by 
the unexpected employment of words not in the text 
of the play. 

Gallivanting. An old English word for "doing the agree- 
able." Its derivation is clearly traceable to "gallant" 
and " gallantry." 

Galoshes. From the Spanish galocha^ a patten or wooden 

Galvanism. After Luigi Galvani, the eminent physician of 
Bologna in the eighteenth century, the discoverer of 
electrical currents produced by chemical agency. 

Gamboge. Brought from Cambogia in Siam. 

Gamp. After Mrs Gamp in " Martin Chuzzlewit," who 
never went abroad without her fat, pawky umbrella, 
and when at home gave it an honoured position by 
the side of the fireplace. Charles Dickens must have 
had the town of Guingamp in his mind when he in- 
vented Mrs Gamp. See "Gingham." 

Gander Party. An Americanism for a social party com- 
posed of men only. 

Ganges. The sacred river of the Hindoos, thought by 
them to flow through Gang, the earth, to heaven. The 
name they gave to it, therefore, was Ganga. 

Garden of England. The Isle of Wight. The mildness of 
the climate and the luxuriance of the vegetation be- 
speak a perpetual summer. 

Garden Spot. The fertile centre of Kentucky, whence the 
Indians, after many a sanguinary encounter, were 
banished by the white settlers. 

Garden State. New Jersey, from the fertility of its soil. 

Garden Town. The name bestowed upon both Cheltenham 
and Leamington in virtue of their spas, public gardens, 
and promenades tastefully laid out. 

108 Gargantuan— Gave him a Roland 

Gargantuan. Anything out of all reasonable limits. We 
speak of a "Gargantuan Feast," a " Gargantuan Thirst," 
to express a capacity for enormous consumption. The 
word is derived from Gargantua, the hero of Rabelais's 
famous satire of this title. 

Garlick Hill. Where garlic was anciently brought to land 
at Queenhithe. 

Garrick Street. From the Garrick Club, the premier 
rendezvous of the leading members of the dramatic 

Garrotters. Street marauders of the latter part of the last 
century who gripped their victim tightly round the 
neck while accomplices rifled his pockets. Their 
designation was derived from the Garrotte, with which 
malefactors are strangled in Spain. 

Gas Bag. An Americanism for one who is always boasting 
of his own importance. 

Gasconade. To boast. The people of Gascony had an 
unenviable reputation for boasting. 

Gate. This old English word does not in all cases express 
a city gate, as in London, but a road, street, or passage 
— e.g. Canongate, the way past the House of the 
Canons of Holyrood Abbey at Edinburgh ; Lowgate, 
Whitefriargate, etc., at Hull; Harrowgate, the passage 
through the hills ; and Boulogne Gate, or entrance to 
Boulogne Harbour. 

Gatling Gun. Named after R. J. Gatling, its inventor. 

Gaul. The Gallia of the Romans, from the Celtic name 
of the country, Gal, " western." 

Gave him a Baker's Dozen. As much as he merited, and 
one blow over as a finishing stroke. A drubbing that 
he little expected. 

Gave him a Roland for an Oliver. Exactly what he gave 
me himself; a tit for tat. Roland and Oliver were 
two knights in the train of Charlemagne. Both were 
equally accomplished; what the one did the other 
essayed also with success. In the matter of fighting 

Gave Cold Shoulder — Gentleman 109 

too they were exactly on a par, since, after having 
been put to the test in single combat, for a long time 
neither of them gained the least advantage. 

Gave him the Cold Shoulder. Received him with scant 
ceremony. The allusion is to the fare generally set 
before an unexpected visitor who has not dined. 

Gave him the Grand Shake. An Americanism for finally 
breaking off an acquaintance. 

Gavelkind. A custom among the Anglo-Saxons whereby 
all the sons of a family inherited alike. Lord Coke 
traces it from the Teutonic gif eal cyn, and translates 
it literally " give all kinde." Inheritance by Gavelkind 
obtained in Kent long after the Norman Conquest; 
indeed, it is said that some Kentish lands are still held 
by this ancient tenure. 

Gavotte. A dance familiar to the Gavots in the French 
province of Dauphiny. 

Gay Lothario. A seducer. From the leading character 
in Nicholas Rowe's "The Fair Penitent," produced 
in 1703. 

Gazette. From the Italian Gazzetta, the name of a 
Venetian coin valued at about f d. of English money, 
which was charged for the individual reading, from 
hand-to-hand, of a written sheet at Venice containing 
news of the war with Soliman II., temp, sixteenth 

Geneva Gown. The habit of Low Churchmen, so called 
from its resemblance to the gown worn by the Calvinists 
of Geneva. 

Genre Painting. One on a pastoral subject, with figures, 
that does not properly come under the definition of a 
landscape. The word is French for a kind, a sort. 

Gentleman in Black. A chimney-sweep, who, like a 
clergyman, was formerly saluted out of respect for 
"the cloth." 

Gentleman Jack. John Bannister, a favourite actor of 

1 10 Gentleman Smith — Gerrymandering 

Drury Lane Theatre, respected by all for his integrity 
even more than for his histrionic accomplishments. 

Gentleman Smith. William Smith of Drury Lane, the 
beau ideal of a gentleman on the stage. 

Gentleman Turkey. The Far Western description of a 
turkey cock. 

George. An inn sign in honour of the patron saint of 
England. After the Hanoverian Succession, by which 
time pictorial signs had for the most part disappeared, 
and the name alone stood for a sign, the omission of 
the " St " made the sign complimentary to the reigning 
monarch. Reading of the execution of Charles I., we 
are told that the ill-fated King handed his " George " 
to Juxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who attended 
him on the scaffold. This was the badge of the Order 
of the Garter, representing St George on horseback 
piercing the fallen dragon with his lance. 

George and Dragon. See " George." 

George Ranger. H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, who was 
appointed Ranger of the Royal Parks. 

Georges Sand. This literary pseudonym of Mademoiselle 
Dupin, afterwards Madame Dudevant, arose out of her 
attachment to a young student named Jules Sandeau, 
with whom she collaborated in the production of her 
first novel, " Rose et Blanche." 

Georgia. In compliment to George II., the reigning 
monarch when this state was colonised. 

German Silver. See "Sterling Silver." 

Germany. Called by the Romans Germama, from a 
Gaulish or Celtic word meaning " neighbours." 

Gerrard Street. After the family name of the Earl of 
Macclesfield, the ground landlord, when it was first 
built upon at the close of the seventeenth century. 

Gerrymandering. An American political term for sub- 
dividing a constituency in such a way as to give one 
party an unfair advantage over all others. Its adoption 

Get there all the same — Giaour 1 1 1 

was due to Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts. 
When a map of this new electoral distribution was 
shown to an artist he remarked that it looked very 
much like a salamander. "A salamander, you say? 
Why not a Gerrymander ! " was the reply. And a 
Gerrymander the name of the scheme remained. 

Get there all the same. An Americanism meaning to 
succeed in any enterprise, despite all obstacles or 

Ghost. One employed by an author or an artist to do his 
work for him, so called because, his name and per- 
sonality being withheld from the public, he is kept in 
the shade. In other words, he is a mere shadow of his 
master. Originally, however, the term had reference 
to the friend who had inspired or suggested the work. 

Ghost walking. A theatrical phrase. Actors assembling 
at the theatre for their weekly salaries generally put 
the question among themselves : " Is the ghost walk- 
ing?" While those about to accept an engagement 
with a manager of whom they know nothing ask : 
"Does the ghost walk?" Its origin is as follows: — 
Many years ago a manager of the Bogus type had in 
his company a self-willed actor whose strong part was 
the Ghost in "Hamlet." If his salary was not forth- 
coming on a Saturday morning he exclaimed : " Then 
the ghost won't walk to-night." Indispensable actor 
as he was, the manager invariably acceded to his 
demands. Sometimes it happened that he received 
only a portion of his salary, with a promise of the 
remainder in the course of the performance, in which 
case he refused to go on until the money was actually 
paid. It is said that the other members of the 
company would wait on a Saturday morning about the 
time for ' ■ Treasury " until they received word by a 
messenger that the ghost would walk. 

Giaour. From the Arabic kiafir, "unbeliever." The Turks 
bestow this name on all European Christians, enemies 
of the Mohammedan faith. Readers of Lord Byron's 

ii2 Gibberish — Gimnal Ring 

poem " The Giaour " may require to be informed of 
its meaning. 

Gibberish. After Geber, an Arabian alchemist of the 
eleventh century, who employed an unintelligible 
jargon to mystify the ecclesiastics, lest by plain speak- 
ing he might be put to death as a sorcerer. 

Gibraltar. From the Arabic designation, fe6e/-a/-Tarik, the 
Mountain of Tarik, in honour of Ben Zeyad Tarik, 
a Moorish General, to whose prowess the conquest of 
Spain in the eighth century was due. 

Gibraltar of America. The city of Quebec, from its com- 
manding and impregnable position on the heights. 

Gibson Girl. A new type of womanhood popularised in 
America by the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson, 
and introduced to London by Miss Camille Clifford. 

Gibus. An opera or crush hat, so called after its inventor. 

Gift of the Gab. " Gab " is a very old word ; it was 
used by the Anglo-Saxons for speech. The Scots 
employed it to describe the mouth; hence to 
"gabble." The French had it too in the forms of 
"gaber," to boast or talk wildly. 

Gig. A term claiming the same origin as "Jig" — i.e. the 
French gigue, a lively dance — because this vehicle 
moves lightly. 

Gilbertines. An English religious Order of the twelfth 
century, founded by St Gilbert of Sempringham, 

Gilly flower. A corruption of July flower, from the month 
when it blossoms. 

Giltspur Street. Said to have received its name from the 
gilt spurs of the knights riding to the tournaments 
in Smithfield. The greater probability is that the 
makers of gilt spurs congregated in this street. 

Gimnal Ring. A love token of bygone days, so called 
from the Latin gemellus, joined. This ring was 
composed of two separate bands fitted into each 

Gin — Give him Beans 113 

other with little teeth. When lovers were betrothed 
it was divided, only to be put together again at the 
nuptial ceremony. 
Gin. Short for Geneva. Not after Geneva in Switzerland, 
because this is the national spirituous drink of the 
Dutch, called at first by them giniva, from the French 
genievre, juniper. Juniper berries were originally 
employed to flavour the spirit distilled from unmalted 
rye. The native name for Dutch gin is now Schiedam, 
after the town where it is made. Dutch gin brought 
to England is called Hollands. 

Ginger. Red-haired people are said to be ginger because 
Guinevre, the Queen at the Court of King Arthur, 
had red hair. 

Gingham. A corruption of Guingamp in Brittany, where 
the cotton stuff brought from Java, there called 
gingang, was dyed and made into umbrella covers 
before silk and alpaca came into use for this purpose. 
Hence the slang term for an umbrella. See " Gamp." 

Gin Sling. An American drink composed of equal parts 
of gin and water. See "Sling." 

Gipsies. A corruption of Egyptians, because, when first 
heard of in Europe, they spread themselves over 
Bohemia, and were thought to have arrived there by 
way of Egypt. 

Giraldus Cambrensis. The Latinised pen name of Gerald 
de Barri, Archbishop of St David's, and historian of 
Cambria or Wales. 

Girasole. The Italian name of the sunflower, from the 
Latin gyara, to turn, and sol, the sun. 

Girondists. Deputies from the Department of the Gironde 
who formed the Moderate Republican Party in the 
French Revolution. 

Girton Girl. A student of Girton College, Cambridge. 

Give him Beans. An expression derived from a French 
proverb : " If he gives me peas I will give him beans" 
— i.e. I will be quits with him. 

ii4 Give him plenty of Rope — Gloucester 

Give him plenty of Rope. Let him do just what he thinks 
is best, and everything will come out right in the end. 
Following in your train, and, metaphorically, attached 
to your rope, the longer the rope the wider will be the 
sweep he can command ; he can always be pulled in 
when it becomes necessary to check his movements. 

Given Name. An Americanism for a Christian or fore- 

Gives himself Airs. One who assumes a manner out of 
keeping with his social position. " Air " was formerly 
synonymous with deportment. 

Give up the Ghost. Literally to yield up the Spirit. 

Gladiator. From the Latin g/adius, a sword. A slave 
trained to defend himself with a short sword in the 
mortal combats of the Roman arena for the amuse- 
ment of the Emperors and the populace. 

Glad Rags. An Americanism for holiday clothes or festive 

Gladstone Bag. So called in compliment to Mr W. E. 
Gladstone when, as leader of the Liberal Government, 
his name was " familiar in men's mouths as household 

Glamorgan. From Gwlad-Margam^ " the territory of Mar- 
gam," a Welsh chieftain of the tenth century. His 
name is correctly preserved in Margam Abbey. 

Glenlivet. Whisky distilled in the Vale of Glenlivet in 

Globe. An inn sign, the name of which was derived from 
the arms of the King of Portugal. 

Globe Trotter. A tourist, a traveller in foreign lands. 

Glorious Fourth of July. Another name for " Independ- 
ence Day." 

Gloucester. The Gloicastra of the Romans, in honour of 
Gloi, son of the Emperor Claudius, who was born here. 

Gloucester Road— Go Marooning 115 

Gloucester Road. From Oxford Lodge, the one-time resi- 
dence of the Duchess of Gloucester. 

Go ahead. From the nautical phrase "The wind's ahead " 
— i.e. blowing from the stern towards the vessel's head. 

Goat and Compasses. A corruption of the Puritan motto 

" God encompass us." 
Goatee. An Americanism for the typical Yankee chin 

tuft, in allusion to the beard of a goat. 

Gobelin Tapestry. Made under royal patronage in the 
house originally occupied by Jean Gobelin, a wool 
dyer in Paris, temp, seventeenth century. 

God help you. Anciently an invocation on behalf of a 
person subjected to the Ordeal of Fire. 

Godstone. A corruption of " Good Stone," relative to the 
excellence of the stone quarried here. 

Goggles. Shaded spectacles, so called in allusion to gig 

Go in for Banting. See " Banting." 

Gold Coast. The coast of Guinea, West Africa, where 
gold was found. 

Golden Cross. The device of the Crusaders, extensively 
adopted as an inn sign. 

Golden Gate. The entrance to San Francisco Harbour. 
This name had been bestowed upon it by the Spaniards 
centuries before the outbreak of the gold fever in 1847, 
from their own knowledge that this was the gate to 
the Land of Gold. 

Golden Lane. A corruption of "Golding Lane," after the 

Golden Square. Properly " Gelding Square," from an old 
inn of this name. 

Go Marooning. A southern state American expression 
for a picnicking party on the shore or up country which 
is to last for several days. See "Maroons." 

n6 Gone over — Gone up the Country 

Gone over to the Majority. A Parliamentary phrase 
equally, if more generally, applied to one who has 
passed from the scene of his life's labours to the spirit 
world. Ancient and modern authors contain passages 
in the latter connection. The Rev. Robert Blair in 
"The Grave" says: "'Tis long since Death had the 

Gone to Pot. Vanished possessions. The reference is 
to the metalliferous melting pot. 

Gone to Rack and Ruin. A corruption of " wreck and 

Gone to Texas. An American expression for one who has 
decamped leaving debts behind him. It was (and is) 
no unusual thing for a man to display this notice, 
perhaps only the initials " G.T.T. " on his door for 
the information of callers after he has absconded. 

Gone to the Devil. From the twofold circumstance that 
money lost through lawyers would surely be spent by 
them at their regular resort, the celebrated "Devil 
Tavern," hard by Temple Bar, and the not unusual 
answer tendered by a subordinate to a caller at a 
place of business in Fleet Street that his master had 
"gone to the 'Devil.'" 

Gone to the Dogs. Money that has been squandered 
uselessly, as the remains of a feast in Eastern 
countries are thrown to the dogs instead of being 
given to the poor. A vicious man is said to have 
gone to the dogs because in the East social outcasts 
are often worried by ravenous dogs that prowl about 
the streets by night. 

Gone under. One who has sunk in the social scale ; never 
recovered from financial embarrassments ; who found it 
impossible to "keep his head above water." The 
allusion is, of course, to drowning. 

Gone up the Country. An expression implying that a 
person is insolvent; originally introduced into 
England from the Colonies. When a man could not 

Gong Punch— Good Wine 117 

make ends meet in the coast cities he went pro- 
specting up the country. 

Gong Punch. The American term for the bell ticket punch 
used by conductors on tramcars. 

Gonville College. The original name of Caius College, 
Cambridge, founded by Edmund Gonville in 1348. 

Good enough Morgan. An American phrase for an im- 
position, or any person or thing likely to pass muster 
for the reality. This originated during the Anti- 
Masonic riots in the state of New York, when it was 
alleged that the Freemasons had drowned a man called 
Morgan for having betrayed their secrets. A body 
was actually found in the river near near Fort Niagara, 
and identified by Morgan's wife chiefly on account 
of a missing tooth. It was, however, proved that 
the whole story had been trumped up for political 
ends. A prominent politician who had a hand in the 
affair indeed confessed that, when reminded that the 
body would never pass for Morgan's, he declared : " It's 
a good enough Morgan." Hence the phrase. 

Goodge Street. After the name of the builder. 

Goodman's Fields. After the owner of the lands upon 
a portion of whose farm the Prioresses or Nuns of St 
Clare built their priory. This name recurs in the " Life 
of David Garrick," who established his fame at the old 
Goodman's Fields Theatre before he migrated to 
Drury Lane. 

Good Old Town of Hull. A name originally bestowed upon 
the "Third Port" by tramps and beggars, who, in 
common with the deserving poor, fared exceeding 
well out of the bounty of the Dominican and Carmelite 
Friars. The streets Blackfriargate and Whitefriargate 
fix the locality of these conventual establishments. 

Good Time. An Americanism for a very pleasurable or 
festive time. See " High Time." 

Good Wine needs no Bush. An ivy bush was in former 
times displayed at the end of a stake wherever wine 

n8 Goodwin Sands — Gotham 

was sold, the ivy being sacred to Bacchus. Travellers 
who had once tasted good wine took careful stock 
of the place before leaving it; consequently they 
needed no bush to direct them when next they visited 
the neighbourhood. 

Goodwin Sands. At the time of the Norman Conquest 
this comprised the estate of Earl Godwin, from whom 
it was filched and bestowed upon the Abbey of St 
Augustine at Canterbury. Neglect of the repair of the 
sea-wall caused the waves to rush in and overwhelm the 

Go off the Handle. To lose one's head or go insane. The 
allusion is to the head of an axe flying off the handle. 

Go one better. Originally a sporting expression, meaning 
that by jumping farther a contestant would make a 
scratch on the ground beyond the one just scored. 

Goose. The tailor's smoothing iron, from the resemblance 
of its handle to the neck of a goose. 

Gooseberry. A corruption of Gorseberry, rough or coarse, 
on account of the hairs or diminutive prickles which 
distinguish this berry. 

Gordon Hotels. Established by the late Frederick Gordon, 
a solicitor of Bloomsbury. These middle-class hotels 
have supplied a long-felt want in London and else- 

Gordon Square. In compliment to Lady Georgina Gordon, 
wife of the sixth Duke of Bedford, the ground landlord. 

Gospel. From the Anglo-Saxon God-spell, " good news." 

Gospel Oak. From the oak-tree marking the juncture of 
St Pancras and Hampstead parishes, beneath which 
the Gospel was annually read. 

Goswell Road. From an ancient spring, styled "God's 
Well," discovered in this neighbourhood. 

Gotham. The city of New York. Washington Irving first 
gave it this name in his " Salmagundi." Its people in 
his time were anything but fools, yet he may not have 

Go the whole Hog — Go to Bath 1 19 

appreciated the singular wisdom attributed to them. 
By referring to the city as Gotham he made a playful 
allusion to Gotham in Nottinghamshire, England, 
which for centuries had merited a reputation for being 
a town whose inhabitants did and said the most foolish 

Go the whole Hog. An expression derived from Cowper's 
poem entitled " Of the Love of the World reproved," 
in which he discusses the eating of pork by the 
Turks : 

" But for one piece they thought it hard 
From the whole hog to be debarred." 

Got my Back up. In allusion to cats, which set up their 
backs on being confronted by their own species or by 
a ferocious dog. 

Got my Dander up. The word dander here is a corrup- 
tion of dandruff, which, though it means only the scurf 
on the head, has come to be curiously applied to the 
hair itself; as when the fur of enraged animals is 

Got the Bullet. Suddenly discharged from one's occupa- 
tion ; " fired out," as it were. 

Got the Push. Ousted from one's place of employment. 
Metaphorically to have been pushed off the premises. 

Got the Sack. An expression derived from the sack in 
which mechanics and artisans generally carried their 
own tools. When engaged to work the tools were 
assigned to a proper place in the workshop, while the 
master took possession of the sack. On discharging 
his men he returned them the sack. 

Go to. An Old English expression which leaves something 
to the imagination. Originally it must have implied a 
place where there is much caloric. In its popular 
acceptation it meant simply " Get along with you ! " 

Go to Bath. An expression signifying that a person 
is talking nonsense. When the west of England 
was the fashionable health resort silly and slightly 

1 20 Go to Bungay — Gracechurch Street 

demented folk were recommended to "Go to Bath, 
and get your head shaved." 

Go to Bungay. The curt answer received by persons who 
asked where they could get the once fashionable leather 
breeches. Bungay, in Suffolk, was the only place 
where they were made. This expression travelled 
over to New England with the first emigrants, and is 
still common in that portion of the United States. 

Go to Jericho. Jericho was the name given by Henry VIII. 
to the Manor of Blackmore, near Chelmsford, whither 
he often retired quite suddenly from affairs of State. 
At such times his courtiers suspected some fresh freak 
of gallantry, and said he had " gone to Jericho." More- 
over, when in a testy mood, his Queen would tell him 
to " go to Jericho ! " 

Go to Putney. A very old expression, tantamount to con- 
signing a person beyond the pale of London society or 

Got out of Bed the wrong Way. From the old super- 
stition that planting the left foot on the ground first 
on rising in the morning was a harbinger of ill luck 
for the day. 

Government Stock. The origin of the word Stock is inter- 
esting. Down to the year 1782, when the practice 
was abolished, public money invested in Government 
securities was acknowledged on the two opposite ends 
of a piece of wood called a stock, from the Anglo- 
Saxon stocc, a trunk. The stock was then cut in two, 
one portion being handed to the investor and the 
other consigned to the Tally Office. 

Gower Street. After the name of the builder on this por- 
tion of the Bedford estate. 

Gowk. The Scottish equivalent for an "April Fool," 
signifying a foolish person. 

Gracechurch Street. From the herb market anciently held 
around the Church of St Benet, called the Grass 
Church. This edifice has in modern times been 

Gramercy— Grass Widow 121 

pulled down, and the money realised for the site de- 
voted to the erection of a new St Benet's in the Mile 
End Road. 
Gramercy. From grand merci^ "great thanks," a phrase 
introduced when French was the language of the 

Granby Street. In honour of John Manners, Marquis of 
Granby, whose name is also perpetuated by many a 
tavern sign. 

Grand Hotel. Not in the sense of magnificence, but true 
to the French meaning of the word " great " ; hence 
Grand Theatre, the Grand Tour, and the Grand Canal 
at Venice. 

Grand Old Man. The name applied by Mr Labouchere to 
Mr W. E. Gladstone on the occasion of Mr Bradlaugh's 
expulsion from the House after his election for Nor- 
thampton because he refused to take the oath in the 
prescribed manner. Referring to a conversation in 
the tea-room Mr Labouchere said : "I told some 
friends that before I left Mr Gladstone came to me, 
and that grand old man, with tears in his eyes, took 
me by the hands, and said : ' Mr Labouchere, bring me 
Mr Bradlaugh back again.' " 

Grand Tour. More than a hundred years ago each of the 
sons of gentlemen in their turn made the Grand or 
Extended Tour through France, Germany, and Italy, 
just as nowadays daughters are presented at Court as 
a preliminary to moving in fashionable society. 

Grange Road. Marks the situation of an old mansion called 
" The Grange." The word Grange expresses the French 
for a barn or granary. 

Granite State. New Hampshire, from its staple product. 

Grapes. An inn or public sign, denoting that the house 
contained a vinery. 

Grass Widow. A married woman separated from her 
husband, but not divorced. In the eyes of the world 
she passes for a widow by grace of courtesy. The 

122 Grays — Great Queen Street 

correct description is, therefore, a "Grace Widow." 
The corruption came about quite easily. 

Grays. Anciently the estate of the noble family who gave 
their name to Gray's Inn, their town mansion. Lady 
Jane Grey came of this stock. 

Gray's Inn. The Inn or mansion of the Earls Gray, made 

over to the law students, temp. Edward III. See 

Gray's Inn Road. From Gray's Inn, the eastern wall of 

which it skirts. 
Great Bear Lake. On account of its situation under the 

northern constellation of the Great Bear. 

Great Belt. The great strait leading to the Baltic Sea. 

Both these names are derived from the Norse bait, 

Great College Street. At the southern extremity of this 

thoroughfare in Camden Town stands the Royal 

Veterinary College. 
Great Coram Street. From the Foundling Hospital built 

and endowed by Captain Thomas Coram in 1739. 

Great Dover Street. The London portion of the old 
Roman highway to Dover. 

Great George Street. Stands on the site of the stable-yard 

of a famous old coaching inn, "The George and 

Great Marlborough Street. In honour of the Duke of 

Marlborough, the people's idol after the victory of 

Great Ormond Street. After the British General, James 

Butler, second Duke of Ormond. 

Great Peter Street. Contiguous to Westminster Abbey, 
dedicated to St Peter. 

Great Portland Street. The business thoroughfare on the 
Duke of Portland's estate. 

Great Queen Street. First laid out across the fields in the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, and named after her. 

Great Russell Street— Green Dragon 123 

Great Russell Street. In honour of the ill-fated Lord 
William Russell, whose wife, Rachel, was the daughter 
of the Duke of Bedford, the great ground landlord. 

Great St Helen's. Occupies the site of the ancient priory 
of St Helen's, of which the church remains. 

Great St Thomas Apostle. Marks the site of a vanished 
church of this name. 

Great Stanhope Street. From the mansion of Philip Stan- 
hope, Earl of Chesterfield. 

Great Suffolk Street. After Suffolk House, in which re- 
sided George Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. 

Great Sutton Street. Perpetuates the memory of Thomas 
Sutton, the founder of the Charter House. 

Great Titchfield Street. After the Duke of Grafton and 
Marquis of Titchfield, father of the Earl of Euston, the 
ground landlord. 

Great Winchester Street. From Winchester House, the 
residence of the first Earl of Winchester. 

Great Windmill Street. A couple of centuries ago, when 
this district was open fields, a large windmill stood 

Greece. Called Grcecia by the Romans, after the Graikoi^ 
a tribe of settlers in Epiros. 

Greek Street. At one time a colony of Greek merchants 
who contributed to the erection of a Greek church 

Greenaway Gardens. After the late Miss Kate Greenaway, 
the lady artist, who resided in its vicinity. 

Greenbacks. The paper currency of the United States, 
printed in green and with a device of the same colour 
on the back. Mr Chase, Secretary of the Treasury in 
1862, claimed the honour of having added this word 
to the American vocabulary. 

Green Dragon. In inn sign anciently depicting the combat 
of St George with the dragon. 

1 24 Greengage — Grenadiers 

Greengage. The greenish plum introduced to England by 
Lord Gage from the monastery of La Chartreuse in 

Greengrocer. See "Grocer." 

Greenhorn. A raw, inexperienced youth. The allusion 
here is to the undeveloped horns of a young ox. 

Green Horse. The nickname of the 5th Dragoon Guards, 
from their green facings. 

Greenland. From the moss which grows abundantly in 
this otherwise sterile region. Iceland or Greenland 
moss is said to be very efficacious in the treatment of 

Green Man. An inn sign denoting that the house was 
kept by a retired gamekeeper of the lord of the 
manor. Mediaeval gamekeepers always dressed in 
green. See " Inn." 

Green Man and Still. A tavern sign pointing to the ex- 
istence on the premises of a still where cordials were 
distilled from green herbs. In this case the house 
was not kept by a gamekeeper, but by a herbalist. It 
may, however, have belonged to an innkeeper or a 
" Green Man " further afield on the same estate. 

Green Mountain State. Vermont, as its name implies. 

Green Park. On account of its delightful grassy surface. 

Green-room. From the green-coloured walls of the room 
set apart by David Garrick behind the scenes of Drury 
Lane Theatre for members of the company in the 
intervals of playing their parts. This colour was 
chosen as a relief to the eye after the glare of the 
stage lights. 

Green Sea. From the aspect of its waters looking towards 
the shores of Arabia. 

Greenwich. Expresses the Saxon for " green village." 

Grenadiers. Anciently a company of soldiers who marched 
in front of every regiment of foot, it being their 

Gresham Street — Groggery 125 

function to throw hand-grenades into the ranks of the 

Gresham Street. After Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of 
the Royal Exchange. His residence in Old Broad 
Street, on the site of the present Gresham House, was 
converted by him into a college, which in 1843 was 
removed into Gresham Street. The word Gresham 
comes from the German Grassheim, "grass home"; 
hence the grasshopper on the summit of the Royal 

Greville Street. Marks the site of the mansion of Fulke 
Greville, Lord Brooke, one of the ministers of 
James I. 

Grey Friars. See "Franciscans." 

Greyhound. An inn sign derived from the badge of Henry 
VII. The dog of this name originally came from 
Greece, and was accordingly styled a graihund, after 
the Graikoi) the people of that country. 

Gripsack. An Americanism for a travellers' hand-bag, 
corresponding to an English carpet bag. 

Grisette. A generic name for a Parisian shop or work 
girl, from the gris, or grey cloth, which was at one 
time generally worn by the inferior classes in France. 

Grocer. A term derived from the same root as Gross, " the 
great hundred," and applied to a provision dealer who 
in former times was the only trader rejoicing in the 
monopoly of dealing in large quantities. 

Grocery. An Americanism for a grocer's store or shop. 
Also used in the plural sense for commodities dealt in 
by a grocer; corresponding to our "groceries." 

Grog. The name originally given by the sailors under 
Admiral Edward Vernon to the rum diluted with water 
he served out to them on board ship. They called 
him " Old Grog " because he always appeared on deck 
in a long grogram cloak when the weather was " dirty." 

Groggery. An Americanism for a "grog shop" where 

1 26 Grosvenor Sq. — Gulf of Carpentaria 

spirituous liquors only are purveyed ; answering to our 
"Gin Palace." 

Grosvenor Square. The centre of the London estate of 
the Grosvenor family. Sir Richard Grosvenor was 
Grand Cup-bearer to George II. The word Grosvenor 
is Norman-French — i.e. Le Gros Veneur, " the chief 

Groundlings. The common spectators at the plays referred 
to by Hamlet in his "Advice to the Players." The 
earliest London playhouses were the inn-yards, whose 
galleries corresponded to our box tiers, while the yard 
itself was given up to the audience generally. 

Growler. A four-wheeled cab, so called from the surly 
manners of the driver. Since the advent of the 
M Hansom " his vehicle is rarely in request, save when 
the "fare" has much luggage to convey to a railway 
station or when a patient is being driven to the 

Guadalquiver. From the Arabic Wad-al-Kebir, "great 

Guildford Street. After Francis North, Lord Keeper, who 
resided in it. 

Guildhall. The Hall of the City Guilds. The old word 
Guild expressed the fee paid for membership in an 
association of artisans; from the Anglo-Saxon gild, 
money, giidan, to pay. 

Guinea. A West African term for "abounding in gold." 
The English coin of this name was first struck in 
1663 out of gold brought from the coast of Guinea. 

Guinea Fowl. Originally brought from Guinea, West 

Guinea Pig. A South American rodent, somewhat re- 
sembling a pig. Its name is a corruption of Guiana 

Gulf of Carpentaria. Discovered by Captain Carpenter, a 
Dutch navigator, in 1606. 

Gulf States — Haberdasher 127 

Gulf States. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
and Texas — all bordering on the Gulf of Mexico. 

Gulf Stream. The warm equatorial waters of the Amazon 
River, which, after coursing round the coasts of South 
America and the Gulf of Mexico, make their way 
across the Atlantic, direct for the British Isles and 
Norway. This ocean stream, never less than forty 
miles in breadth, is distinguished by a deep indigo 

Gunnersbury. The name of a Saxon village, after the Lady 
Gunylda, a niece of King Canute, who took up her 
residence here while England was under the sway of 
the Danes. 

Gutta-percha. A Malay term, gutta, gum, and percha, the 
tree which provides it. 

Gutter Lane. A corruption of " Gutheron Lane," from a 
Danish burgher who resided in it. 

Guy's Hospital. The generous benefaction of Thomas 
Guy, a wealthy Lombard Street bookseller, in 1722. 
His large fortune was chiefly due to the buying up, at 
a large discount, of seamen's prize-money tickets, and 
investing the proceeds in South-Sea Stock. 

Gyp. The college servitor at Cambridge, so called be- 
cause he subsists on the perquisites of those whom he 
waits upon. Gyp expresses the Greek for a vulture. 


Haberdasher. Anciently one who sold Hapertas cloth, 
a mixture of silk and wool. In modern times a 
haberdasher is a vendor of smallwares, such as 
handkerchiefs, neckties, tapes, etc. The origin of 
the word Hapertas has been traced to the Anglo- 
Saxon Habihr das : " Will you buy this ? " a trader's 
exclamation similar to that of the London 'prentice of 
a later period : " What do you lack ? " However this 
may be, the German tauschen stands for sale, ex- 
change, barter. 

128 Hack Author— Half-and-half 

Hack Author. See " Hackney Coach." 

Hackney. The whole of this district originally belonged 
to a Danish Chief named Hacon. The suffix ey 
expresses an island — i.e. land intersected by rivu- 
lets (in this case of the Lea) — or low, marshy ground. 
The suggestion that coaches were first let out for hire 
in this neighbourhood is not correct. See "Hackney 

Hackney Coach. One let out for hire. In France a 
coche-a-haquenee expresses a coach drawn by a hired 
horse. Originally the word haquenee meant any kind 
of horse but a thoroughbred. The Dutch hakkenei 
means hack horse, an ambling nag. From the French 
haquenee we have derived the term hack author, or 
literary hack, one whose services are hired for poor 
pay by a bookseller. 

Haggerston. A Saxon village called " Hergotstein? "Our 
God's Stone." The stone is believed to have had 
relation to a miraculous well, beside which an altar 
was set up. 

Hague. Properly, according to the Dutch name of the 
place, Gravenhaag, the ancient seat of the Gravs or 
Counts of Holland. 

Hail. An exclamation of greeting derived from the 
Anglo-Saxon heel, "health." The Scandinavian heill 
expressed the same sentiment. See "Wassail." 

Halberd. From two Teutonic words, hild^ battle, and bard, 

Halcyon Days. Days of peace and tranquillity. This was 
the name anciently given to the seven days before and 
after the shortest day, because, according to fable, 
there were always calms at sea during this period 
while the halcyon or kingfisher birds were breeding. 

Half-and-half. Originally a mixture in equal proportions 
of strong ale and small beer. In modern days it 
consists of half ale and half porter. See " Entire" and 

Half Moon Street — Hallelujah Victory 1 29 

Half Moon Street. After an ancient tavern, " The Half 
Moon," which stood in this neighbourhood. This 
sign was derived from the crescent or ensign of the 

Halfpenny. The original penny pieces were deeply in- 
dented crosswise, so that halfpennies and farthings 
(or fourthlings) could easily be broken off, as occasion 

Half Seas Over. A nautical phrase applied to a drunken 
man staggering along, who is in danger of falling to 
the ground at any moment. When a ship has all her 
sails spread a sudden change in the direction of the 
wind often threatens to lay her on her side. 

Halifax. A corruption of the Saxon " Haligfock," from 
halig, holy, and fock, people. For what reason the 
inhabitants of this place were considered more saintly 
than people elsewhere local tradition does not say. 
Halifax in Nova Scotia was named, on the foundation 
of the city in 1749, by the Hon. Edward Cornwallis, 
after the Earl of Halifax. 

Halifax Gibbet Law. An ancient enactment for the pro- 
tection of the local woollen manufacture. Owing to the 
systematic theft by the employees in the trade of 
material supplied to them, it was found that the fabric 
lacked body and weight. To put a stop to this pilfer- 
ing a law was passed, making the theft of anything 
whatsoever, to the value to thirteen pence halfpenny, 
subject to the death penalty. On conviction before a 
magistrate the thief was publicly executed on the 
next market day. The mode of execution was not by 
hanging, but by beheading, the instrument used being 
a kind of guillotine. Taylor, the Water Poet, speaks 
of this 

" Jyn that wondrous quick and well, 
Sends thieves all headless into heaven or hell." 

Hallelujah. From the Hebrew ka/elu, "praise ye," and 
Iah, "Jehovah." 

Hallelujah Victory. That gained by the newly baptised 

130 Hall Mark — Hampstead 

Bretons under Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, in 429. 
As they marched to the attack they cried " Hallelujah ! " 

Hall Mark. The test mark of Goldsmiths' Hall stamped 
upon gold and silver plate as a guarantee of its purity. 

Hamiltonian System. A novel method of teaching lan- 
guages, invented by James Hamilton, a merchant, 
whose death took place at Dublin, 1831. The 
peculiarity of this system was that it dispensed with 
the initiatory grammatical stages. 

Hamilton Place. After Colonel James Hamilton, Ranger 
of Hyde Park, temp. Charles II. 

Hammer and Scourge of England. The sobriquet of Sir 
William Wallace, the Scottish warrior patriot. 

Hammer and Tongs. A corruption of "Hammer and 
Tongues." A wordy warfare is well described as a 
hammering of tongues; hence the saying: "They 
went at it hammer and tongs" (tongues). 

Hammer-cloth. It has been suggested that this is the 
covering for the box-seat of a coach that contained 
the hammer, bolts, nails, etc., useful to remedy a 
breakdown on a journey. The true meaning of the 
term is, however, that it is properly "Hammock-cloth," 
the driver's seat being formed of stout straps or 
webbing stretched upon crutches, after the fashion 
of a sailor's hammock. 

Hammered. A stockbroker is said to be "hammered" 
when he is driven out of the Stock Exchange on 
account of his failure to meet his liabilities. 

Hammersmith. Originally Hammer schmiede, literally Saxon 
for blacksmith's shop. In the early periods of its 
history this village had a great number of smithies. 

Hampshire (or Hants). The shire of the Hamptune, 
Hantone, or Anton, which river gives its name to the 
county town and "Southampton Water." 

Hampstead. From " Homestead," signifying the enclosed 
property — i.e. farm buildings — of a rural mansion. 

Hampton— H andyman 1 3 1 

Hampton. From the Saxon heim, home, to which ton or 
town was added. "Hampton Wick" expresses the 
village home on a creek. 

Hampton Court. In the thirteenth century the manor of 
Hampton belonged to the Knights of St John 
of Jerusalem. Cardinal Wolsey built himself a 
sumptuous palace here, and lived in luxurious style. 
Eventually he presented it to Henry VIII., since 
whose time Hampton Court has remained Crown 
property. The last monarch who resided here was 
George II. 

Hand in your Checks. An Americanism for dying, giving 
up the ghost ; meaning properly to make your will and 
settle your earthly affairs. All over the United States 
it is the custom at German restaurants to give a certain 
amount of credit to known regular patrons, who now 
and again are asked to hand in their checks or 
vouchers for settlement. 

Handkerchief. Anciently a kerchief, which term was a 
corruption of " Coverchef," from the French couvrir, to 
cover, and chef, the head, reserved for hand use in 
wiping the face, and carried in the left sleeve of the 
garment. At a later period, until the reign of Elizabeth, 
when pockets came into vogue, the handkerchief 
found a place in the pouch worn on the left side of 
the girdle. 

Handsel Monday. The first Monday in the New Year, 
when handsels or gifts were bestowed upon servants. 
The word "Handsel" is Anglo-Saxon, meaning the 
delivery of something into another's hands ; also the 
first instalment of a series of payments as an earnest 
of good faith. 

Handyman. The modern designation of a bluejacket or 
man-of-war's-man. Since 1882, when, after the bom- 
bardment of Alexandria, he was sent ashore to co- 
operate with our troops in Egypt, he has proved 
himself not only an expert fighting man with the 
cutlass and musket, but an agile auxiliary to the 
artillery — in short, a handy man in all respects. 

132 Hangbird — Hanway Street 

Hangbird. The Baltimore oriole, which suspends its nest 
from a tree branch. 

Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered. The former capital 
sentence for treason. The criminal was drawn to the 
place of execution upon a hurdle, hanged, and his body 
was hewn into four quarters, each being spiked in a 
public place as an example to the multitude. This 
quartering was substituted, in the fifty-fourth year of 
the reign of George III., for the disembowelling of the 
hanged criminal while he was yet alive. 

Hang of the Thing. An Americanism for the mechanism 
or the understanding of a thing — e.g. " I can't get the 
hang of the thing nohow." 

Hanover Square. In honour of the Hanoverian Succession, 
because laid out and built upon in the reign of 
George I. 

Hansards. Parliamentary debates and papers, so called 
because they were printed by Luke Hansard and his 
successors from the year 1752 until comparatively 
recent days. 

Hanse Towns. Those towns of Northern Germany em- 
braced by the Hansa or Hanseatic League, as long ago 
as the thirteenth century, for the protection of com- 
merce against pirates at sea and marauders on land. 
The word Hansa is Gothic for a league, society, 

Hans Place. After Sir Hans Sloane, the original ground 
landlord. See " Sloane Square." 

Hansom Cab. The "Safety Cab" patented in 1883 by 
Joseph Aloysius Hansom. This was not so much an 
improvement upon the Four-Wheeler as a horse-drawn 
adaptation of the invalids' chair introduced at Brighton 
at the commencement of the century. See " Fly." 

Hants. See " Hampshire." 

Hanway Street. Here resided Jonas Hanway, the founder 
of Magdalen Hospital, who, newly arrived in England 
from Persia, and in delicate health, excited much 

Happify — Harley Street 133 

ridicule because he was the first male pedestrian to 
carry an umbrella through the London streets as a 
protection against the rain. Hackney coachmen were 
especially wrath at this innovation, foreseeing that 
their business would be ruined if it caught on with the 

Happify. An Americanism for to make happy — e.g. "One 
ought to try to happify mankind." 

Hapsburg. The name of the Imperial family of Austria, 
derived from Habichtsburg, or " Hawk's Castle," built 
by Werner, Bishop of Strasburg, on the right bank of 
the Aar, in the Swiss canton of the Aargau — i.e. country 
of the Aar River. 

Hard pushed. See " Hard up." 

Hard-shell Baptists. The American term for the hard and 
strait-laced sect of Baptists; corresponding to that 
which in England is designated the "Particular 

Hard up. The allusion is to being pushed hard by circum- 
stances into a tight corner. 

Harem. Expresses the Arabic for "Sacred Spot." 

Harewood Square. From the town house of the Earls of 

Harlequin. From the Italian arkchino, a satirist, a jester. 

Harlequinade. The comic scenes of a pantomime. In the 
original form of this entertainment the Harlequinade 
was by far the longer portion, and the principal 
character was Harlequin, the lover of Columbine. 
To his ingenuity in evading the clown and pantaloon, 
and confusing them by wondrous changeful tricks 
brought about by his magic wand, the success of the 
good old English pantomime was due. Speaking 
clowns did not come into existence before the days of 

Harley Street. After Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford and 
Mortimer, the ground landlord. 

134 Harmonium — Harvest Festival 

Harmonium. From the sustained harmonies produced on 
this wind instrument by means of the keys and 

Harold Harefoot. Harold L, the Saxon King of England, 
surnamed " Harefoot " because he was fleet of foot as 
a hare. 

Harpsichord. An old form of pianoforte, so called because 
it was a harp encased longitudinally, and its chords 
were produced by the player on a key or finger board. 

Harpur Street. After Sir William Harpur, Lord Mayor in 
1562, the owner of a considerable estate in this 

Harrier. A dog specially suited for hunting the hare owing 
to his keen scent; also one who engages in a foot 
race according to the rule that each individual contest- 
ant makes for the goal by a different route. 

Harringay. Expresses a neighbourhood or district abound- 
ing in hares. 

Harrington Square. The property of one of the Earls of 
Harrington, whose daughter married the seventh Duke 
of Bedford. 

Hart Street. Both these thoroughfares, in Bloomsbury 
and off Drury Lane, received their names from an 
adjacent inn sign, "The White Hart." 

Harum-scarum. One who is such a fright that he scares 
all beholders; causing them to fly from him with the 
swiftness of a hare. 

Harvard Uuiversity. The foundation and endowment 
of the Rev. John Harvard at Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1638. 

Harvest Festival. This distinctly religious observance by 
way of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth really 
originated in or grew out of the Harvest Supper which 
landlords were accustomed to give their tenants after 
the harvest had been gathered in, because what was 
the ancient " Lammas Day " fell into abeyance at the 

Harz Mountains — Hawkeye State 135 

Harz Mountains. Both these mountain ranges are for the 
most part forest clad. Harz is Old Saxon for wood, 

Hasn't a Leg to stand on. A figurative expression applied 
to one whose argument has no support or firm basis. 

Has the true Ring. A phrase generally applied to poetry, 
in allusion to the common test of genuine or debased 
coin by " ringing " it on a board or table. 

Hatton Garden. Laid out across the extensive grounds 
attached to Hatton House, in which resided Sir 
Christopher Hatton, the Chancellor of Queen 

Hauled over the Coals. An expression dating back to the 
Ordeal by Fire, where persons accused of a crime were 
made to walk barefooted over red-hot iron shares or 
glowing embers. If they did so unharmed that was 
considered a proof of their innocence. 

Hautboy. From the French hautbois, literally " high wood," 
being a high-toned reed instrument. 

Havelock. The white cloth forming part of the military 
cap as a protection against the scorching rays of the 
sun, introduced by General Havelock during the 
Indian Mutiny. 

Haversack. Provincial English for Oatsack, derived from 
the German habersack. The word ha/re, oats, is 

Haverstock Hill. From a stockaded dwelling among the 
oats. See " Haversack." 

Havre. Originally " Le Havre de Notre Dame de Grace," 

the Harbour of Our Lady of Mercy, afterwards 

shortened into " Havre de Grace." 
Hawker. From the German hoken^ to carry on the back. 

A pedlar who carried his wares in a sack over his 


Hawkeye State. Iowa, owing to the sanguinary conflicts 
with the savage tribe led by the chief "Hawkeye." 
Its people are called " Hawkeyes," 

1 36 Hawthorn — Heathen 

Hawthorn. Expresses the Anglo-Saxon for " hedge thorn." 

Haydon Square. After the ground landlord, John Heydon, 
Alderman of the city of London towards the close of 
the sixteenth century. 

Hay Hill. Marks the situation, together with Hill Street 
and Farm Street, of an old farm on the lands of John, 
Lord Berkeley of Stratton, temp. Charles I. 

Haymarket. Where hay was sold in open market prior to 
January 1831. 

Hayti. West Indian for "mountainous country." 

Hazing. An Americanism for a mad sport or frolic. 
Specifically it expresses the tricks played upon, and 
the ignominious treatment meted out to, an unpopular 
comrade in the army and the Military Schools ; what 
in our own country is called " Ragging." Like most 
other Americanisms, the word cannot be explained on 
etymological grounds. 

Hear, Hear. A modern form of the ancient parliamentary 
exclamation "Hear him!" to enjoin silence while a 
Member was addressing the House. 

Hearse. From the French herse and German hirsch. Both 
these terms expressed a harrow or triangular candle- 
stick set at the head of a coffin at a funeral service in 
church. At a later period they implied a sepulchral 
mound temporarily distinguished by a triangular stake 
setting forth a number or other identification mark. 
The modern application of the term to a vehicle speci- 
ally designed for the conveyance of a body to the grave 
was an easy transition. 

Heart-breakers. Artificial ringlets formerly worn by ladies 
to enhance their beauty. It is said that the most in- 
veterate woman-hater was not proof against the attrac- 
tion of these Heart-breakers. 

Heathen. Literally a dweller on a heath in the open 
country. The Romans applied the term to those who, 
having no communion with the dwellers in cities, were 
cut off from all knowledge of their complicated system 

Heaven-sent Minister — Hector 137 

of mythology. When Rome became converted to 
Christianity the untutored inhabitants of the country 
at large were the last to receive the Gospel. A heathen 
nation therefore, in a religious sense, is one far re- 
moved from civilisation, which offers a fruitful field for 
missionary work. 

Heaven-sent Minister. William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham, 
one of the most eminent statesmen that England has 
ever possessed. His intense love of his own country 
prompted him to measures which made the success of 
British arms pre-eminent. Had his colleagues during 
the later portion of his career been actuated by the 
same patriotism as himself, and heeded his warnings, 
our American colonies might never have separated 
from the Mother Country. 

Heavy Hill. Holborn Hill, because the hearts of those 
riding in the fatal cart to the place of execution at 
Tyburn were heavily laden. 

" He " Bible. The first edition of the Authorised Version, 
containing a typographical error in Ruth iii. 15 : "And 
he went into the city." The subsequent edition, pub- 
lished in the same year, in which the passage was recti- 
fied, became known as "The 'She' Bible." 

Hebrews. Said to be descendants of Eber, the great- 
grandson of Shem, one of the ancestors of Abraham. 
The greater probability, however, is that the term has 
been derived from the native ebher^ the region on the 
other side — i.e. of the Euphrates. 

Hebrides. Expresses the " Western Isles " of the Nor- 

Hector. To swagger, bully, treat with insolence, after 
Hector, the celebrated Trojan warrior. From the 
known character of this hero of antiquity it is not easy 
to conceive that he could ever have been a braggart. 
The inference is rather that this word in its accepted 
sense was derived from the brutal manner in which 
Achilles treated the body of Hector after he had 
slain him in single combat. 

138 Hedge Priest — Hellespont 

Hedge Priest. Specifically in Ireland an itinerant cleric 
unattached to any mission j one admitted to Holy 
Orders without having studied theology. 

Hedge School. An open-air school in the poor rural dis- 
tricts of Ireland beside a hedge. 

Heel of Achilles. When Thetis, the mother of Achilles, 
dipped her son in the River Styx to make him invul- 
nerable the water laved every portion of his body 
save that by which she held him. It was according- 
ingly in the heel that he received his mortal wound. 

Heir Apparent. The rightful heir to the crown, whose 
succession is beyond a doubt provided he survives 
the reigning monarch. 

Heir-Presumptive. The presumed heir to the crown pro- 
vided no child in the direct line of succession is born 
to supersede his claim. 

Heligoland. Danish for "Holy Land," which name was 
bestowed upon it after the conversion of its people 
by St Willibrod in the seventh century. A great many 
conventual establishments sprang up on the soil, but 
the encroachments of the sea had swept them away by 
the seventeenth century. Prior to their conversion 
the Anglii were wont to repair to this isle from the 
opposite mainland for the worship of the goddess 
Hertha, also known as Foseta, of whose temple it is 
said some ruins yet remain. 

Heliotrope. From the Greek helios, sun, and tropos, to turn. 
The flowers of this plant are said always to turn 
towards the sun. 

Hello Girls. A nickname popularly bestowed upon the 
telephone girls in the Post Office Department at 
St Martin' s-le-Gr and. 

Hellespont. The older name of the " Dardanelles," where 
Helle in fleeing from her stepmother was drowned. 
This occurred at the point where Xerxes with his 
army had crossed the strait on a temporary bridge. 

Hell Kettles — Heroic Verse 139 

Hell Kettles. Three very deep pits full of water at Oxen- 
hall, Durham. The people of the neighbourhood 
declare them to be bottomless. They are really dis- 
used coal pits, the water in which cannot be drained 

Helmuth the Taciturn. The sobriquet of Count Von 
Moltke, Field Marshal of the German Empire, on 
account of his habitual reserve. 

Helot. The name given by the Spartans to a slave from 
the Greek town of Ife/os, whose inhabitants they 
reduced to slavery. 

Henbane. A plant which is poisonous to poultry. 

Henchman. A corruption of " Haunchman," the groom or 
servant who out of doors was in constant attendance 
upon his master at the flank or haunches of his horse. 
See "Flunkey." 

Heneage Lane. After the residence of Sir Thomas Hene- 
age, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the 
sixteenth century. 

Henrietta Street. In Covent Garden, after Henrietta 
Maria, Queen of Charles I. On the north side of 
Oxford Street, after Henrietta Cavendish, who, by her 
marriage, carried not only a goodly portion of the 
Cavendish estate, but also that of her father, Lord 
Holies, into the Harley family. 

Henry Irving. See "Irving." 

Heptarchy. The Saxon division of England comprising 
Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Essex, East Anglia, Mercia, 
and Northumbria, each having originally its own 

Herculaneum. The foundation of this buried city was 
by the Romans traditionally ascribed to Hercules. 

Hereford. Expresses the Saxon for " army ford " over the 
River Wye. During the Heptarchy this was the military 
headquarters of Mercia. 

Heroic Verse. That usually selected for epic poetry, since 

1 40 H ertford — H essian 

the exploits of Achilles at the siege of Troy were set 
forth by Homer in hexameters. 

Hertford. Originally " Hartford," being the ford of the 
River Lea crossed by harts. 

He's a Brick. This expression, if not quite as old as the 
hills, carries us back to the time of Plutarch, who in 
his " Lives " gives the following account of its origin : — 
" On a certain occasion, an ambassador from Epirus 
paid a visit to Argesilaus, King of Sparta, on a mission 
of diplomatic importance. By that monarch he was 
shown over the capital. But the ambassador failed to 
see any massive walls reared to defend the city, and 
openly expressed his astonishment to the King. ■ Sire ! ' 
he said, ■ I have visited most of your principal towns, 
and find no walls reared for defence. Why is this ? ' 
1 Indeed, Sir Ambassador,' Argesilaus replied, ' thou 
canst not have looked carefully. Come with me to- 
morrow, and I will show thee the walls of Sparta.' On 
the following morning the King conducted his guest 
out upon the plains, where his army was drawn up 
in full battle array, and, proudly pointing to the serried 
host, he exclaimed : ' There, Sir Ambassador, thou 
beholdest the walls of Sparta — ten thousand men, and 
every man a brick ! ' " 

He's joined the Majority. See "Gone over to the 

Hessel Street. The recent change from Morgan Street to 
Hessel Street in Stepney is accounted for by the 
discovery that here a celebrated character, in the 
person of Phcebe Hessel, was born. For many years 
she served as a private soldier in the Fifth Regiment of 
Foot, and fought at the Battle of Fontenoy, in which 
engagement she was wounded. A long inscription on 
her tombstone in Brighton churchyard would have us 
believe that she was at the time of her death, 21st 
December 182 1, no less than one hundred and eight 
years of age. 

Hessian. An Americanism for a hireling, a fighter for pay, 

Hessian Fly — Highgate 141 

a mercenary politician. The Hessian soldiers have 
always been ready to enlist in a foreign service for 
Hessian Fly. An insect which has caused the utmost 
destruction among young wheat in North America, so 
called because it was said to have been introduced by 
the Hessian troops in their horse straw during the 

Hetman. The Russian title of the general or headman of 
the Cossacks, derived from the Tartar Ataman. This 
too supplies the origin of the German Hauptmann^ 
captain, chief, or headman of a village. 

Hibernia. See " Ireland." 

Hickory. See " Old Hickory." 

Hicksite Friends. An American offshoot of the Society of 
Friends or Quakers under Elias Hicks in 1827. 

Highbury. From the bury or enclosed land belonging to 
the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in Clerkenwell. 
In 1271 they built a priory here, of which the barn 
remained standing until modern days. Compared with 
the low-lying district round about, this was elevated 

Highbury Barn. Originally a cake and ale house con- 
tiguous to the ancient barn of the Clerkenwell Priory. 
This place of public resort developed into a theatre in 
1865 ; subsequently it degenerated into a dancing 
saloon, and was finally abolished in 1875. 

Highfalutin. A corruption of "high-flighting." This 
word originated in the western states of North 

Highgate. The village that sprang up around the ancient 
toll gate on the road from London to Barnet. The 
tolls levied here were for the benefit of the Bishop 
of London. Even in our time this elevated situation 
commands a good view of London. The absurd cere- 
mony of " swearing on the horns " was formerly imposed 
on all travellers passing through the gate. 

142 High Seas— Hoboken 

High Seas. The great ocean highways out of sight of 
land and common to mariners of all nations. 

High Tea. A substantial meat tea towards the close of 
the day in place of the fashionable set dinner. This 
is the invariable custom in Germany. In English it is 
usual to designate such a meal asa" Knife and Fork 
Tea." See "High Time." 

High Time. A phrase employed in the same sense as High 
Street, High Seas, Highway, etc. — i.e. great. The 
German word for wedding is JTochzeit, literally a " high 
time." In America the expression for a festive occa- 
sion or a pleasurable trip is " a good time." 

Hilary Term. In law the sittings of the Courts from 
nth to 13th January, so called from the festival of 
St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, on the latter date. 

Hill Street. See " Hay Hill." 

Himalaya Mountains. From the Sanskrit hima, snow, and 
a/aya, abode. 

Hinde Street. After James Hinde, a speculative builder, 
who more than a century ago laid out many of the 
streets now covering what was the estate of Maryle- 
bone Park. 

Hindustan. Agreeably to the Persian stan, the country 
traversed by the Hindu or Indus ; both terms are de- 
rived from the Sanskrit Sindhu, "great river." 

Hippodrome. Expresses the Greek for a race-course, from 
hippos, a horse, and dromos, a course. 

Hippocras. A cordial of spiced wine, so called by the 
apothecaries because it was supposed to have been 
made from the prescription of Hippocrates, the 
Father of Medicine. 

His Nibs. A corruption of " His Nobs " ; used ironically 
for " His Highness " in reference to a parvenu or a 
conceited upstart. 

Hispania. See " Spain." 

Hoboken. Indian for the "smoke pipe," or pipe of peace. 

Hobson's Choice — Hocus-pocus 143 

This was the place where the chiefs first met the white 
settlers, and while passing round the calumet entered 
into a friendly treaty. 

Hobson's Choice. In the seventeenth century Tobias 
Hobson kept a livery stable at Cambridge. When the 
students at the University wished to hire a horse for the 
day he led out the occupant of the first stall. If they 
demurred, he said abruptly: "It's this one or none." 
So Hobson's choice settled the question. 

Hock. The general name for Rhenish wines, but properly 
that made at Hockheim on the Maine. 

Hockey. Expresses the diminutive of hook, the club used 
in this game being only slightly hooked at the end. 

Hocking. See " Hock Tuesday." 

Hockley. Anglo-Saxon for a miry field. Clerkenwell was 
at one time called " Hockley-in-the-Hole," after a bear 
garden dating from the Restoration period. 

Hock Tuesday. Anciently a high festival throughout 
England, in commemoration for the final expulsion 
of the Danes, who had ravaged the eastern portions 
of our country for more than two centuries. This 
occurred on Easter Tuesday 1074. Most of the 
Danes were slaughtered off-hand by first hamstringing, 
or cutting their hams or houghs, which prevented 
them from making for their boats ; hence the term 
Hock for the festival. The English landlords levied 
what was called "Hock Money" on this day from 
their tenants, in return for which they treated them to 
a good supper. In modern times people stopped 
pedestrians in the streets with ropes, and declined to 
release them until they had parted with hock money. 

Hocus-pocus. The gibberish of a conjurer when performing 
his tricks ; said to have been derived from one Ochus 
Bochus, a celebrated wizard of Northern Europe, three 
centuries ago. The early conjurers were thought to use 
these words as an invocation to this magician. Nowa- 
days our sleight-of-hand professors dispense with words, 
and fire off a pistol, doubtless to prove that they can 
do the trick in a crack. 

144 Hodge — Holies Street 

Hodge. The generic name for a farm labourer j a corrup- 
tion of Hedger. 

Hoist with his own Petard. Caught in his own trap, 
blown up with his own engine of destruction. The 
petard was an ancient infernal engine filled with gun- 
powder; he who fired it stood in great danger of 
sacrificing his own life. 

Holborn. Anciently spelt "Holeburne," the bourn or 
stream in a hollow. This was the River Fleet, which 
had an outlet into the Thames. Further north, in 
Clerkenwell, it was called "the River of Wells." 

Holborn Bars. The western limits of the city of London. 

Hold hard. This exclamation, when the advice really 
means to stop or "leave go," sounds ridiculous. It 
originally meant, as it still does in the Emerald Isle, 
to keep a firm hold with both hands on the back rail 
of an Irish jaunting car lest the rider might be thrown 
out of it. 

Hole in the Wall. A tavern sign, derived from the fact 
that this house was originally approached either 
through an opening made in the ancient city wall 
or else through another house that stood in front 
of it. 

Holiday. The modern form of "Holy Day," expressive of 
a great feast in the Church calendar. 

Holland. From the Danish ollant, "marshy ground." The 
linen cloth of the same name was first made in 

Holland Road. From Holland House, the residence of 
Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, temp. Charles I. By 
his marriage with the Dowager Countess of Warwick, 
widow of Lord Holland, in 1710, Joseph Addison 
became nominally master of this noble mansion, and 
here he died. 

Hollands. See " Gin." 

Holies Street. In the West End, after John Holies, the 

Hollo way — Holy rood Palace 145 

last Duke of Newcastle, whose only daughter by her 
marriage carried the entire estate hereabouts into the 
possession of the Harleys. In Drury Lane, the name 
given by Gilbert, Earl of Clare, whose house stood 
in what became Clare Market, in honour of his uncle, 
Denzil, Lord Holies, temp. Charles I. 

Holloway. At one time a miry highway in a hollow 
between Highbury and Highgate. 

Holloway College. Founded in 1883 for the higher 
education of women at Egham, Surrey, by Thomas 
Holloway, the pioneer of modern advertising on a 
lavish scale. 

Hollyhock. A species of mallow, called by the Anglo- 
Saxon hoc, and first brought to Europe from the Holy 
Land. Hence holy-hoc. 

Holly Village. A modern settlement at Highgate founded 
by the Baroness Burdett Coutts-Bartlett but a short 
distance removed from her rural retreat known as 
Holly Lodge. 

Holy Boys. The regimental nickname of the 9th Foot, 
because they sacked monasteries and sold Bibles in 
the street during the Peninsular War. 

Holy Cross Day. Otherwise the " Feast of the Exalta- 
tion of the Cross," 14th September, commemorates, 
the restoration of the Cross of Christ to Jerusalem, 
a.d. 628. 

Holy Land. Palestine, the scene of the birth, life 
labours, and death of the Redeemer. 

Holy Maid of Kent. The name given to Elizabeth 
Barton, a poor Kentish servant girl, who, subject to 
trances, foretold events, and afterwards entered a 
convent at Canterbury. Her fame as a religious 
enthusiast increased, until, for pronouncing sentence 
against the divorce of Queen Catherine of Aragon, 
she, in company with five monks, was hanged at 

Holyrood Palace. This residence of the ancient kings of 

146 H oly well — H oney moon 

Scotland grew out of the Abbey of the Holy Rood 
built by David I. as the permanent abode of the 
Black Rood, brought to Scotland by St Margaret in 
1070. This precious relic was a piece of the true 
cross set in gold and ebony. It fell into the hands 
of the English at the battle of Neville's Cross in 1344, 
after which all trace of it was lost. James II. was 
born at Holyrood; here too he was buried. The 
foundations of the new palace were laid by James IV. 
in 1500. 

Holywell. From the miraculous well of St Winifred in 
Flintshire, the scene of her martyrdom. 

Holywell Lane. Here, in Shoreditch, stood an ancient 
Priory of Nuns of St John the Baptist, in the grounds 
of which a " sweet, holy well " was discovered. 

Holywell Street. This now vanished thoroughfare, east of 
the Strand, received its name from a Holy Well close 
to the Church of St Clement Danes. That in 
Westminster marks the site of the town house of the 
Grosvenors, whose rural estates lay around " Holy- 
well " in Flintshire. 

Homely. An Americanism for " plain," "ugly;" applied 
to persons only. 

Home Office. The official department of the Secretary for 
Home — i.e., internal, Affairs. 

Homerton. A corruption of "Heimathton," which ex- 
pressed the town that grew out of the Saxon village 
styled Heimath) "home" or "native country." 

Honduras. Spanish for " deep water." 

Honey Lane. In this lane stood an ancient market-house 
or hall for the sale of honey. Owing to the dearness 
of sugar prior to the discovery of America and the 
colonisation of the West Indies, honey was in general 

Honeymoon. From the custom of the Scandinavians, who 
drank Hydromel, or diluted honey, for thirty days 
after a marriage feast. 

Honiton Lace — Hooter 147 

Honiton Lace. A superior kind of " Pillow Lace " made at 
Honiton in Devonshire. This industry was introduced 
into England by the Lollards, temp. Elizabeth. 

Honor Oak. From the famous boundary oak beneath 
which Queen Elizabeth once dined. Prior to that 
event it bore the name of Gospel Oak, under whose 
shade, in common with all other parish boundary oaks, 
the Gospel was read there once a year. 

Hoodlum. A street rough, originally a product of San 
Francisco, but now common in New York and most 
cities of the American Union. The origin of the term 
was thus accounted for by The Congregationalism 
26th September 1877: "A newspaper man in San 
Francisco, in attempting to coin a word to designate a 
gang of young street Arabs under the beck of one 
named ' Muldoon,' hit upon the idea of dubbing them 
Noodlums — that is, simply reversing the leader's name. 
In writing the word the strokes of the N did not 
correspond in height, and the compositor, taking the 
N for an H, printed it Hoodlum. ' Hoodlum ' it is, 
and probably ever will be." 

Hoodman Blind. The ancient form of the game of "Blind 
Man's Buff." Instead of being bandaged the Blind 
Man had the hood, which everyone wore, drawn over 
his eyes. 

Hook it. A variant of " Sling your Hook." 

Hook of Holland. From the Dutch hoek, a cape, a corner. 
The same perverted designation obtained in all the 
early Dutch settlements of New York State, notably 
"Sandy Hook." 

Hooligan. A London rough. This term is of quite modern 
date, and clearly an adaptation of that which has 
become common all over the United States. See 

Hooter. A United States corruption of iota. The people 
of New York State in particular are addicted to the 
saying : " I don't care a hooter whether I do or not." 
"This note isn't worth a hooter," etc. 

148 Hoosier State— Horse Marines 

Hoosier State. Indiana, from the nickname given to its 
people. "Hoosier" is really a corruption of Husher, 
touching the power of a bully to silence a stranger. 
The Hoosiers are noted for their brusque manners. 
The state is also called " Hoosierdom." 

Hopkinsians. An American Calvinistic sect named after 
their founder, Samuel Hopkins of Connecticut. 

Hornbill. A bird distinguished for a horny excrescence on 
its bill. 

Horn Book. A primitive text-book for children. It was 
really no book at all, but a piece of paper containing 
the alphabet, the nine digits, and at times the Lord's 
Prayer, mounted on a small flat board, over which was 
stretched a transparent sheet of horn; below was a 
handle to hold it by. 

Hornpipe. A lively sailor's dance, which had its origin in 
the west of England to the accompaniment of a Welsh 
musical instrument of the same name composed of a 
wooden pipe with a horn at each end. 

Hornsey. A corruption of " Harringsey," a watered 
meadow of hares. 

Horse Chestnut. Some say this term is a corruption of 
" Coarse Chestnut," in contradistinction to the edible 
chestnut; others that these chestnuts were formerly 
ground up and given to horses for food. 

Horseferry Road. Where horses were conveyed across the 
Thames on a ferry boat in bygone times. 

Horse Latitudes. A portion of the Atlantic distinguished 
for its tedious calms, where old navigators were wont 
to throw overboard the horses they had to transport 
to the West Indies in order to lighten the ship. 

Horsleydown. A corruption of " Horsadown " ; formerly a 
down or hilly ground used for grazing horses. 

Horse Marines. There can be no Horse Marines ; but 
the 17 th Lancers were at one time made to bear this 
opprobrious nickname from the circumstance that two 

Horse Shoe — Houndsditch 149 

men of this regiment had originally served as Marines 
on board the Hermione in the West Indies. 

Horse Shoe. A large public-house at the Oxford Street end 
of Tottenham Court Road, this sign being derived from 
the trade mark of Messrs Meux's brewery adjoining. 

Hose. From the Icelandic hosa, stocking. 

Hosier Lane. From the hosiers who congregated in it. 

Hospice. From the Latin hospes, a stranger, guest. This 
term is now confined to an Alpine retreat for the re- 
ception of travellers. Elsewhere the French word 
Hospital obtains for any establishment set apart for 
the temporary accommodation of the poor. Formerly, 
however, it implied a lazar-house or a refuge for fallen 
women ; in its modern sense a hospital is exclusively 
an institution for the sick poor. 

Hospice of St Bernard. See " Bernardine Hospice." 

Hospital. See " Hospice." 

Hostelry. From the old French hostellerie, an inn, through 
the Latin kospes, a stranger, a guest. The modern 
French form is "Hotel," which implies not only an 
establishment for the entertainment of travellers, but 
also a superior house or palace. 

Hotel. See "Hostelry." 

Hotel des Invalides. A magnificent establishment in Paris, 
originally designed as an asylum for invalided and 
disabled soldiers by Henry IV. in 1596. Prior to 
that time no provision existed for warriors who had 
spent their best energies in their country's service save 
the charity of the monastic institutions. 

Hotspur. The surname of Harry Percy, on account of his 
mad courage when mounted on his charger. A man 
of fiery, ungovernable temper is said to be " a regular 

Houndsditch. The dry ditch outside the city wall which 
was made the receptacle for all kinds of refuse, and 
dead dogs in particular. 

150 Houp la — Hudibrastic Verse 

Houp la. This exclamation on the part of a circus ring- 
master as the signal for an equestrienne to leap over 
horizontal barriers or through paper hoops has been 
derived from the Californian stage drivers' ejaculation 
to their horses. 

Housemaids' Knee. Housemaids are specially liable to 
this affection of the sac under the knee-pan through 
kneeling on hard or damp floors. 

House of Keys. The Representative Council of the Isle 
of Man, so called from the Manx Kiare-as-feed, four 
and twenty, this being the number appointed by 
statute to form the " Court of Tynwald." Tynwald is 
an artificial mound in the centre of the island whence 
a new law has from time immemorial been promulgated. 

Housewarming. The name given to a party or reception 
of guests on taking possession of a newly built mansion. 
This was of old a winter function, when the lighting of 
large fires in all the rooms for the occasion proved 
serviceable in drying the plastered walls and ceilings. 

Howard Street. From the town house and grounds of the 
Howards, Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel and 
Surrey, that stood on the large plot of ground now 
covered by the four streets bearing these names. 

Howitzer. A German cannon, properly called a haubitze, 
from the Bohemian term haufnice, a sling. 

Hoxton. Little more than a hundred years ago this district 
bore the name of Hogsdon on account of the great 
number of pigs bred here. Hog Lane still exists off 
the High Street. 

Hub. The proud pet name of the city of Boston, the social 
centre of the United States, in the same sense as the 
hub is a centre for a wheel. The origin of the term is 
ascribed to Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes who, in one of 
his books spoke of the State House at Boston as " the 
hub of the solar system." 

Hudibrastic Verse. That which is in imitation of the 
measure and doggerel style of Samuel Butler's 
" Hudibras." 

Hudson River — Humbug 151 

Hudson River. After Captain Henry Hudson, who dis- 
covered it in 1609. A year later, when searching for a 
north-west passage, he navigated the bay and the 
strait named in his honour. 

Huggin Lane. After Hugan, a wealthy citizen who resided 
here, temp. Edward I. 

Huguenots. The name borne by the adherents of the 
Reformation in France, after Hugh, a Genevese 
Calvinist, their leader, and the German eidgenossen, 

Hull. From the river upon which it stands. Its ancient 
name was Kingston-upon-Hull, a town founded by 
Edward I. in 1299. 

Hull Cheese. A strong ale for which the " Good Old 
Town of Hull " was at one time famous. To " eat 
Hull cheese " was to get incontinently drunk. 

Hull, Hell, and Halifax. In olden times, before Kingston- 
upon-Hull could be approached direct from the 
Humber, the River Hull was navigable, as now, only 
at high water, and even then it required very skilful 
pilotage on account of the many sandbanks at its 
mouth ; it was therefore dreaded by seafaring men. 
Taylor, the Water Poet, wrote : " From Hull, Hell, and 
Halifax, good Lord, deliver us ! - The reference to 
Halifax arose out of the knowledge that in his day a 
man could be executed there for stealing property to 
the value of thirteen pence halfpenny. See "Halifax 
Gibbet Law." 

Humanitarians. Those who believe in the complete 
humanity of Christ, namely — that He was capable of 
committing sin like any other mortal. 

Humble Bee. A corruption of "Humming Bee." 

Humbug. The old mode of expressing approbation of a 
speech or at the play was by humming, but since the 
sincerity of this form of applause could not always be 
relied upon, intermingled as it may have been with 
suppressed murmurs of disapproval, the word Hum 

152 Humming Bird — Huntingdon 

came to be applied to mock admiration or flattery, in- 
tended only to deceive. Hence the saying : "That's 
all hum." The added word Bug is very old, signifying 
a frightful object, a thing to be shunned. To humbug 
is to deceive ; to prefer candour to humbug is to be 
proof against flattery. 

Humming Bird. So called from the sound caused by the 
rapid motion of its wings in flight. 

Hummums. A hotel in Covent Garden built on the 
site of a Persian or Turkish sweating bath so called in 
the seventeenth century. The name is Arabic. 

Hundred. A Saxon subdivision of the English shires said 
to have been introduced by Alfred the Great. Each 
hundred comprised a colony of "ten times ten "families 
— that is to say, ten divisions of ten freeholders and 
their dependents in each. In all then there were one 
hundred champions to defend the common cause. In 
legal and ecclesiastical documents relative to lands 
such property is still said to be situate in a particular 
" hundred " as well as parish. 

Hungary. The country of the Huns, who swarmed over 
from Asia and expelled the Goths from this portion of 
Europe in the fourth century. When first heard of in 
China, about a hundred years previous, the natives 
designated them Hiong-nu, signifying " Giants." These 
Huns were really the Mongolian race still known as 
the Kalmucks. The suffix gary is a Western modifica- 
tion of the Teutonic gau, district or country. 

Hungary Water. A perfume, properly called "The Queen 
of Hungary's Water " from the circumstance that the 
recipe had been given by a hermit to one of the queens 
of Hungary. 

Hung on Wires. An American expression for one suffer- 
ing from "nerves," a nervous or fidgety person. 

Huns. See " Hungary." 

Huntingdon. Expresses the shire most favoured for hunt- 
ing, this being anciently a vast deer forest. 

Hurly Burly — Hussites 153 

Hurly-burly. An expression derived from the tumult of 
ancient warfare, with especial reference to the hurling 
of spears and battle-axes. The witches in Macbeth say : 

" When the hurly-burly's done, 
When the battle's lost and won." 

Huron. This lake was so called by the French settlers on 
account of the profusion of hair of the Indian tribe, 
the Wyandots, whom they encountered on its shores. 
Hure is French for "head of hair." 

Hurrah. This exclamation is from the Scandinavian 
Hurra, said to have been originally Thor-aie, an 
invocation to the god Thor for aid in battle, just as 
the battle cry of the Normans was Ha-Rou, in honour 
of Rollo. 

Hurricane. From the West Indian urican, "a violent 
wind." The word was introduced to Europe by sea- 
men, and so became incorporated in various languages. 

Hurry up. An exclamation derived, both in England and 
America, from the custom of eating-house keepers 
anxious to expedite the service from the kitchens 
below stairs. 

Husbands' Boat. The steamboat by which city men and 
others go down to Margate for the week-end holiday 
in order to join their families who are staying there 
for the season. 

Hussar. Expresses the Hungarian for a "twenty-paid 
soldier" — husz meaning twenty, and ar the price of. 
When Matthias Corvinus ascended the throne of the 
Magyars he decreed that, in order to provide a regular 
cavalry, each twenty families must enrol and equip one 
mounted soldier free of all cost to the State. An 
interesting point in connection with the uniform of 
the Hussar regiments everywhere was that they 
always allowed the right sleeve of the upper jacket to 
hang loose on their backs. This was only in keeping 
with the general custom of the Magyar peasantry, who 
had the right arm free on all occasions. 
Hussites. The Protestants of Bohemia, after John Huss, 
the Reformer. 

154 Hussy — Iberia 

Hussy. A corruption of "housewife." The epithet now 
implies a slatternly sort of woman. 

Hustings. The ancient name for the Court of Aldermen 
in the city of London. In modern days it came to 
imply the platform from which candidates for election 
delivered their addresses to the populace. The word 
Hus ting expressed the Anglo-Saxon for a council-house: 
from the Scandinavian hus, house, and things an as- 

Hustler. An Americanism for a smart, energetic trades- 
man, more especially a caterer or restaurateur, who 
hustles about and never keeps his customers waiting. 
The word "Hustle" comes from the Dutch hutselen, 
to shake together or to and fro. 

Hyacinth. According to the Greek fable this flower 
sprang from the blood of the beautiful youth Hya- 
cinthus, who, having aroused the jealousy of Zephyr, 
received his death-blow at her hands by casting 
Apollo's quoit at his head. 

Hyde Park. Anciently described as the Hyde Manor 
belonging to the Abbots of St Peter's, Westminster. 

Hyde Park Corner. Of old the western extremity of 
London, denned by a toll gate. 

Hydro. Short for a hydropathic establishment. 

Hythe. From the Anglo-Saxon hit he, a haven. 

Iambic Verse. Poetical satires written in Iambics, or two- 
syllable foot measure, were originally so called after 
Iambe, an attendant upon one of the queens of Sparta, 
who kept a commonplace book of lively, free, and 
satirical pieces. 

Iberia. The ancient name of Spain, from the Iberi, its 
original inhabitants. These were maritime adven- 
turers from Phoenicia who penetrated the country by 

Iceland — II Furioso 155 

way of the River Ebro. When in course of time the 
Celts descended upon them from the Pyrenees, they 
spread themselves to the south and west. On reach- 
ing the sea at the farthest limit of their wanderings 
they imagined themselves at the end of the world, and 
so gave the name of Iber, a Phoenician word of that 
import, to the country. Its principal eastern river, the 
Ebro, retains the original name. 

Iceland. So called because its north and west coasts are 
generally blocked with ice that has drifted down from 

Iceland Moss. A lichen indigenous to Iceland and Green- 
land which is said to be very efficacious in the 
treatment of consumption. 

Ice Plant. Found in South Africa, and so called on 
account of its glittering, watery vesicles which give it 
the appearance of being covered with ice. 

Ich Dien. German for " I serve." The motto assumed by 
Edward the Black Prince after he found it under the 
plume of John, King of Bohemia, slain by him at the 
battle of Cressy. 

Iconoclast. An image breaker, from the Greek eikon, image, 
and klazo, I break. 

Idolater. From the Greek eidolon, a figure, and latres, 
worshipper. The root of this word, eidein, to see, 
furnishes the key to its true meaning. An idolater 
is one who worships that which he sees, not on 
account of its intrinsic worth, but because it is a 
visible representation, or it may be merely a symbol, 
of the deity that he is taught to venerate. 

Idol Lane. Said to be a corruption of Idle Lane, because 
this was perhaps the only thoroughfare in the neigh- 
bourhood not given up to business — i.e. either as a 
market or a hive of industrious artisans. 

II Bassano. See "Bassano." 

II Furioso. The sobriquet of Jacopo Robusti, better known 

156 Iliad— In Clover 

as "Tintoretto," owing to the rapidity with which he 
turned out his wonderful paintings. 

Iliad. The title of Homer's epic treating of the destruc- 
tion of Troy ; originally called Illium, after I/os, the 
founder of the city. 

I'll be through directly. An Americanism for " I'll be 
ready very soon," or " I'll have it finished directly." 

Illinois. The Indian Mini, men, with the French suffix 
oix, a tribe. 

Ill take my Davy on it. The word "Davy" is a corrup- 
tion of "affidavit." 

II Perugino. The better-known name of the celebrated 
Italian artist Pietro Vanucci, who, born at Citta della 
Pieve in Umbria, established himself and remained 
all his life in the neighbouring city of Perugia. 

II Tintoretto. See "Tintoretto." 

Imperial. The name given to the once fashionable chin 
tuft, after Napoleon III., who was the first to wear his 
beard in this diminutive fashion. 

In a Crack. Done instantly, in no more time than it takes 
for a gun to go off. 

In a Jiffy. The word "jiffy" is a corruption of the now 
obsolete gliff—i.e. a mere glance. 

Inch of Candle. In some parts of the country land is still 
disposed of at auction by inch of candle. This was 
the ancient form of auctioneering. Candles of inch 
length were provided, and when the candle went out 
the bidding was closed. 

Inchcolm. Expresses the inch or isle of St Columba, who 
dwelt here while labouring to convert the Picts to 

In Clover. In a contented frame of mind because pro- 
vided with everything necessary for the time being. 
Cattle always make for the clover when turned out to 

Incog. — Indians of North America 157 

Incog. Short for Incognito, an Italian word signifying ' ' not 
known." Royal personages desirous of avoiding 
ceremony often travel incogs or under an assumed 

Independence Day. The fourth of July, in commemora- 
tion of the American Declaration of Independence, 

Independents. The same as " Congregationalists." 

India. From the Indus or Hindus, a Persian corruption 
of the Sanskrit Sindhu, "great river." By the Greeks 
this river was known as the Hindus, which with the 
Persian suffix stan gave the name " Hindustan " to the 
whole country. In the time of Columbus, and long 
afterwards, the Asiatic continent east of the Ganges 
was generally styled India. This accounts for such 
names as "Indian Ink," etc., products really of the 
Far East. 

Indiana. From the great number of Indians that overran 
this state in the early days of its history. 

Indianapolis. The capital of the state of Indiana. Potts 
is Greek for city. 

Indian Corn. Maize, brought fom the West Indies. 

Indian File. A march in single file, as is the custom of 
the North American Indians. 

Indian Gift. A reclaimed present. When a North 
American Indian gives anything he expects a gift 
equivalent in value, or else his own back again. 

Indian Ink. Originally brought from China, but now 
made from lamp-black and animal glue in England. 
See "India." 

Indian Liquor. See " Indian Whisky." 

Indian Reservation. A considerable tract of land on the 
plains reserved for the Indian tribes. 

Indians of North America. When Columbus discovered 
the "New World" he was under the impression that 
he had happened on that vast tract of country east of 

158 Indian Summer — Infante 

the Ganges vaguely known as India. This shows 
that, sailing westward as he did, he must have re- 
garded the earth as a globe. 

Indian Summer. The equivalent of what is called St 
Martin's Summer in England. The North American 
Indians always avail themselves of the pleasant weather 
during the early part of November for harvesting their 
corn ; they say there is an unfailing nine days' second 
summer just before the winter sets in. 

Indian Whisky. The name given to specially adulterated 
whisky for sale to the Indians of North America. 

India Paper. A special kind of paper, made of vegetable 
fibre in China and Japan, on which the first impres- 
sions, called India proof, of engravings are taken. 
See " India." 

India Proof. See " India Paper." 

India-rubber. Caoutchouc, first imported from China, 
but now found elsewhere. See " India." 

India-rubber Railway Sandwich. The typical refreshment- 
room sandwich, the bread slices of which are as a rule 
so stale that they defy hasty mastication. 

Indigo. A blue dye prepared from the Indicus, or Indian 

Industrial Schools. Also known as Ragged Schools, of 
which the scholars are waifs and strays brought to- 
gether for the acquirement of some useful industry. 

Infra. Latin for below, beneath. A word very generally 
met with in library catalogues: "See Infra." It is 
the antithesis of Supra, above. 

Infra Dig. Short for Infra Dignitatem, which expresses 
the Latin for "beneath one's dignity." 

Infant. In law, any person under the age of twenty-one. 

Infanta. The title of princesses of the royal blood in 
Spain and Portugal, except the heiress-apparent. 

Infante. The corresponding title of the sons of the kings 
of Spain and Portugal. 

Infant Roscius— Innocents' Day 159 

Infant Roscius. William Henry Betty, the celebrated boy 
actor, named after the greatest historian of antiquity. 
His public career was brief— viz. five years only, 1803- 
j8o8 — but during that period he became the rage j so 
much so, that while at Covent Garden, where he re- 
ceived a salary of fifty guineas a night, the military 
had to be called out to maintain order. 

Infantry. Foot soldiers, so called, not because, like 
children, they have to be trained to walk, but for the 
reason that one of the Infantes of Spain collected a 
body of armed men, unmounted, to rescue his father, 
the King, from captivity at the hands of the Moors. 
Afterwards foot soldiers in Spain and Italy received 
the name of Enfanteria. 

Infirmary. The older and more correct description of an 
institution for the sick and infirm. See " Hospice." 

Inn. The Anglo-Saxon word Inne expressed a mansion. 
The Inns of Court were originally the town houses of 
noble families, whose name they still bear — e.g. Gray's 
Inn. Our first inns set apart for the entertainment 
of travellers were in all cases the mansions of the 
nobility left in charge of the trusted servant, the 
gamekeeper, during the prolonged absence, either in 
the wars at home or in the Crusades abroad, of their 
owners. The family arms served as a sign. After 
the return of his master the servant, now an inn- 
keeper, set up an inn of his own contiguous to the 
original, and adopted the same sign. Here we have 
an explanation of such grotesque inn signs — now that 
their names have taken the place of the painted device 
— as the Blue Boar, the Red Lion, etc. At times 
the innkeeper preferred the sign of the "Green Man." 

Innocents' Day. December 28th, commemorating the 
massacre of the Holy Innocents by Herod. Anciently 
children were soundly whipped in their beds before 
rising on this day. Being undeserving of such 
punishment, they were taught to suffer pain for 
Christ's sake. 

160 Inns of Court — In the Soup 

Inns of Court. See " Inn." 

In Quad. This is not altogether thieves' slang, though 
the gipsy word for prison is quaid. Boys at our public 
schools say they are "in quad" when they are con- 
fined to their own quadrangle. The phrase became 
popular in connection with a prison when debtors 
were confined in the Fleet, the Marshalsea, and White- 
cross Street, because they were free to receive visitors 
in the exercise court or quadrangle. 

Insect. From the root seco, to cut, because this tiny species 
of the animal world is, as it were, cut deeply into three 
distinct parts : the head, thorax, and abdomen. 

Interlaken. The Swiss village situated "between the 
lakes " Brienz and Thun. 

In the Jug. Slang for "in prison." The term is derived 
from the Scottish Joitg, a kind of iron yoke or pillory 
for the head designed for the punishment of rogues 
and vagabonds. When at a later period a round 
house of stone was set up in the market-place for such 
offenders, this earliest prison was popularly called 
"The Stone Jug." 

In the Nick of Time. This expression originated in the 
nicks or notches made in a piece of wood called a 
Tally, both as an acknowledgment of money paid 
and by way of registering a person's arrival at a place 
of assembly. If, in the latter case, he arrived late, his 
tally would not be nicked, as evidence of having put 
in an appearance. 

In the Odour of Sanctity. The ancient idea was that the 
bodies of saints after death emitted a peculiar fragrant 
odour. This originated in the profuse employment of 
incense at the administration of the last solemn rites 
of the Viaticum. 

In the Soup. An Americanism for "out of the running." 
This had reference originally to the hunting field when 
a rider was pitched into a ditch of foul water after 
leaping a hedge. 

In the Stone Jug — Inverary 161 

In the Stone Jug. See " In the Jug." 

In the Straw. An expression denoting that a woman has 
been brought to bed with a child. Straw was the 
usual stuffing of a bed formerly among the poorer 
orders of the people. 

In the Suds. An Americanism for being unprepared to 
receive visitors. The allusion is to a washerwoman 
with her hands in the soapsuds. 

In the Swim. To be admitted to a certain professional or 
financial clique. River fish generally keep together, 
and an angler's object is to get what he calls " in the 
swim." By. so doing he may hook fish after fish 
without difficulty. 

In the wrong Box. The origin of this expression is simply 
this : When Vauxhall, Cremorne, Ranelagh, Highbury 
Barn, and similar alfresco resorts were in existence, 
they had rows of cosy hutches or boxes all around for 
the benefit of those who wished to do their courting 
in private, while they could at the same time listen to 
the music and see the illuminations. It was no easy 
matter for anyone to find his own box again among 
the many if he left it; consequently on returning to 
his partner after sallying forth, he rendered his presence 
obnoxious to strangers by suddenly finding himself in 
the wrong box. 

Intrepid Fox. A historic tavern in Soho named after 
Charles James Fox, the great Whig Minister. At the 
time of the famous election of 1784 the redoubtable 
Sammy House, the landlord, served all customers free, 
and also entertained several notable Whigs. 

Invention of the Cross. The name of this Church festival, 
3rd May, commemorative of the finding of the True 
Cross by those sent in quest of it by St Helena, sounds 
peculiar, but the word "invent" is really from the 
Latin invenire, to find, discover, come upon. 

Inverary. The county town of Argyleshire, "at the 
mouth of" the River Aray. 

1 62 Inverness — Iron Chancellor 

Inverness. Situate at the mouth of the River Ness. 

Invincibles. See " Irish Invincibles." 

Ionia. The ancient name of Asia Minor, settled by 
the lonians, so called after Ion, the son of Apollo 
according to Greek fable. 

Ionic. The style of architecture so called was peculiar to 
Ionia in Greece. The earliest of the Greek philoso- 
phers so called too were all natives of Ionia. 

Iota. From the name of the smallest letter of the Greek 
alphabet. " Jot " is a softened form of this word. 

Iowa. Indian for " the sleepy-ones " ; applied by the Sioux 
to the Pahoja or Graysnow tribe. 

Ireland. From lerne, Gaelic for "western isle." The 
Greeks, who heard of it through the Milesians, called 
this remote land of the west /ernis, and the Romans 

Ireland Yard. This property in Blackfriars was made over 
by its owner, William Ireland, to Shakespeare, as 
appears in the deed of conveyance now preserved in 
the Guildhall Library. 

Irish Invincibles. A secret society whose members made 
it their boast that they defied extermination. Carey, 
the informer, openly declared that their mission was 
"the making of history by killing tyrants." The 
Phcenix Park murders were the work of the "In- 

Irishman's Crossing. An Americanism for the mode of 
many people anxious to cut off corners by crossing 
and recrossing the street, by which process one's way 
is actually made longer. 

Irish Stew. So called because among the Irish peasantry 
the beef is generally absent, the stew consisting wholly 
of onions and potatoes. 

Iron Chancellor. The sobriquet of Prince Bismarck, Chan- 
cellor of the German Empire, on account of his iron 

Iron City — Isis 163 

Iron City. Pittsburg, world renowned for its ironworks. 

Iron Devil. An inn sign corrupted from " The Hiron- 
delle," or swallow. 

Iron Duke. The Duke of Wellington, distinguished for his 
unbending will. 

Ironmonger Lane. Where the artificers in iron congregated 
during the reign of Edward I. Later they removed 
into Thames Street. 

Ironside. The surname of the Anglo-Saxon king, Edmund 
II., on account of the iron armour that he wore as 
a preservative against assassination. 

Ironsides. The name given to the Cromwellian soldiers on 
account of their heavy armour and iron resolution. 

Irrawaddy. Hindoo for "the father of waters." 

Irving. The patronymic of the late Sir Henry Irving was 
Brodribb. When he went on the stage he took the 
name of Irving, out of his admiration of the writings 
of the American author, Washington Irving. Half-a- 
century ago no one ever thought of entering the 
dramatic profession under his own name. Now that 
the stage has become fashionable actors need no 
longer be actuated to select a tiom de theatre out of 
regard to family pride. 

Irvingites. The followers of the Rev. Edward Irving, who 
maintained the sinfulness of Christ's nature in common 
with that of ordinary mankind. Deposed from his 
living by the Presbytery of the Church of Scotland in 
1830, he founded the "Apostolic Catholic Church." 

Isabel. The name given to a yellowish brown colour from 
the circumstance that at the memorable seige of 
Ostend in 1601 Isabella, the wife of the Duke of 
Austria, vowed she would not change her linen until 
the town was taken. Unhappily for her, it held out 
nearly three years. Rash vows are always followed 
by leisurely repentance. 

Isis. From the Celtic uisg, water. The word enters into 

1 64 Islam — Italy 

many English river names, notably the "Thames." 
The University of Oxford is called Isis from the river 
upon which it stands. 

Islam. From the Arabic islama, to bend. This term 
expressed an entire submission or resignation to the 
will of God. By the Mohammedans "Islam" is 
described as the true faith. 

Isle of Bourbon. A French settlement named in compli- 
ment to the House of Bourbon. 

Isle of Desolation. When discovered by Captain Cook 
this island was utterly devoid of animal life. 

Isle of Dogs. A corruption of " Isle of Ducks," owing to 
the great numbers of water-fowl settled on the marshes. 
In our time it might well be described as the " Isle 
of Docks." 

Isle of Man. Properly "Mona Isle," from the Celtic mcen, 
a stone; hence "Isle of Rocks." 

Isle of St Helena. Discovered on the Feast of St Helena, 

Isleworth. Expresses a manorial dwelling beside the river. 
Sion House, in which Lady Jane Grey resided for a 
time, was built upon the ruins of an ancient nunnery. 
It is now the property of the Duke of Northumberland, 
who removed thither the famous lion on the top of the 
demolished Northumberland House at Charing Cross. 
The popular belief that when this lion heard the clock 
of St Martin's Church strike it would wag its tail and 
turn round was on a par with that of the washing of 
the Tower lions on the first of April. 

Islington. The family settlement of the Islings. 

Is the Ghost walking? See " Ghost walking." 

Italics. Thin sloping types, altogether different from the 
older Roman, first used in an edition of Virgil by 
Aldo Manuzio, the celebrated printer of Venice, in 

Italy. The modern form of the Roman description of the 

Ivan the Terrible— Jack Ketch 165 

country, Latium, or "broad plain." This resulted 
in the designation of all the tribes of the conquered 
districts as Latini i or the Latins. 

Ivan the Terrible. Ivan IV., son of the founder of the 
Russian Empire, who rose to power from the position 
of Grand Duke of Moscow. This second Ivan, at the 
age of fourteen, during the regency of his mother, had 
the triumvirate put to death; whereupon he assumed 
the title of Czar. His reputation for cruelty soon 
began to assert itself. In the space of six weeks he 
caused to be put to death no less than 25,000 (some 
authorities say 60,000) persons at Novogorod, from 
the idea that they were plotting to deliver up that city 
to the King of Poland. To crown all, in a fit of 
passion he killed his own son. 

Ivory Black. A pigment originally obtained from calcined 
ivory, but now from bone. 

Ivy Lane. From the ivy-covered houses of the pre- 
bendaries attached to St Paul's Cathedral. 

Jackanapes. Properly " Jack-of-apes," an impudent fellow 
who apes the manners of his social superiors. 

Jackass. The male ass. 

Jack-boots. When first worn by cavalry these high leather 
boots were covered with metal plates as a protection 
for the leg. The term Jack is derived from the Norman- 
French jacque^ a leathern jerkin worn over a coat of 
mail. At a later period the jacque itself was made 
sword-proof by metal plates on its under side. 

Jacket. Expressed originally the diminutive of the Jacque — 
viz. a short or sleeveless coat of leather. See " Jack- 

Jack Ketch. The name formerly given to the common 
hangman, after Richard Jacquett, who owned the 

1 66 Jack-knife — Jag 

manor of Tyburn, where malefactors were executed 
previous to 1783. 

Jack-knife. The name formerly given to a large folding 
pocket-knife, and now used by sailors, in contra- 
distinction to a "Penknife." See "Jack Tar." 

Jackson. The name of a river and several towns of the 
United States, after General Andrew Jackson, the 
seventh President. 

Jack Straw's Castle. A noted hostelry at Hampstead, said 
to have been built on the spot where Jack Straw, one 
of the leaders in Wat Tyler's insurrection, made his 
habitation on the hillside. 

Jack Tar. A sailor, because he wears tarpaulins in " dirty 
weather." Jack is a generic name for a man or servant. 

Jacobins. The French designation of the Black Friars or 
Dominicans, from the situation of their earliest convent 
in the Rue St Jacques, Paris, 12 19. 

Jacobites. The Catholic adherents of James II. and his 
lineal descendants after the accession to the English 
throne of William III. Jacobus was the Latinised form 
of the King's name. 

Jacobus. The Scottish sovereign, valued at 25s., which 
became current in England also at the union of 
the two crowns in the person of King James I. 

Jacquard Loom. After its inventor, Marie J. Jacquard 
of Lyons, who died in 1834. 

Jacquerie. The name given to an insurrection of French 
peasants in 1358. Jacques is the generic name for a 
member of the artisan class in France, owing to the 
jacque, or sleeveless white cotton jacket, worn by 
them. The leader of this insurrection called himself 
Jacques Bonhomme, being of the artisan class himself. 

Jag. An Americanism for drunkenness. The word is 
employed in a variety of ways : " He's got a jag on " — 
"He's on a drinking bout"; "He's on his jags" — "He 
knows how it is to have the jags "; " He has the jags 
just now," etc. etc. 

Jail Bird— Janissaries 167 

Jail Bird. So called because the earliest kind of prison in 
this country was an alfresco iron cage. 

Jailed. An Americanism for being put in jail, sent to 

Jalap. From Jalapa in Mexico, whence the root of this 
plant was first brought to Europe for medicinal 
purposes in 1610. 

Jamaica. From the West Indian Caymaca, signifying "a 
country abounding in springs." 

Jamaica Road. See " Cherry Gardens Pier." 

James Bay. After James I., in whose reign this arm of 
Hudson's Bay was completely explored. 

James River. After James I., in the fourth year of whose 
reign it was navigated, and the English settlement 
called Jamestown, thirty-two miles inland, formed. 

James Street. In Covent Garden, in compliment to the 
Duke of York, afterwards James II. That on the south 
side of the Strand received the Christian name of one 
of the Brothers Adam, builders of the Adelphi. 

Jamestown. See "James River." 

Jamie Duff. The Scottish designation for a mourner or 
weeper at a funeral. So called after an Edinburgh 
eccentric of this name ; nothing pleased him better 
than to attend a funeral, perhaps because he enjoyed 
the ride in the coach. 

Jane Hading. This famous French actress was christened 
Jeanne, but, appearing on the stage while she was quite 
a child, her parents habitually called her Jane, because, 
as she has herself explained, being shorter, it would 
admit of the family name appearing in larger letters on 
the playbill. 

Janissaries. A militia of Turkish footguards originally 
composed of the sons of Christian subjects, this being 
the tribute levied upon the parents for allowing them 
to live in peace and safety. The native term is Jem- 
askari, new soldier. 

1 6& Janitor — Jefferson 

Janitor. The American description of a caretaker or door- 
keeper. This term has long been obsolete in England ; 
it was derived from the Latin Janua, door. 

Jansenists. A religious sect headed by Cornelius Jansen, 
Bishop of Ypres, France, early in the seventeenth 

January. Called by the Romans Januarius, after Janus, 
the sun god, who presided over the beginnings of 
things. In the temple of Janus the figure of this god 
had two faces : one supposed to look on the past, the 
other on the future. 

Japan. A Western corruption, through the Portuguese 
Gepuen, of the native name JViphon, or " land of the 
rising sun." The brilliant black varnish called 
"Japan" was first made by the people of the Far 

Jarvey. A cabman or car driver, so called after the name 
of a hackney coach driver who was hanged. 

Jaunting Oar. The characteristic light vehicle in Ireland 
in which the people enjoy a jaunt or excursion. 
English folk newly arrived in the Emerald Isle do not 
always appreciate it. See " Hold hard." 

Java. A Malay word meaning " the land of nutmegs." 

Jayhawker State. Kansas, from the nickname borne by the 
soldiers of Colonel Jennison of New York, who, being a 
jovial fellow, was called a " Gay Yorker," afterwards 
corrupted into " Jayhawker." The people of this state 
in process of time came to be styled " Jayhawkers." 

Jedburgh. A royal burgh situate at the confluence of the 
Rivers Tefy and Jed. The ancient form of justice 
meted out here of hanging a man first and trying him 
afterwards is frequently alluded to as "Jedwood"or 
"Jeddart" justice. 

Jefferson. The name of a river, a city, and a mount in the 
United States, after Thomas Jefferson, the third 

Jeffreys Street— Jerusalem Chamber 169 

Jeffreys Street. After one of the family names of the 
Earl of Brecknock, Marquis of Camden, the ground 

Jehu. A cabman, in allusion to Jehu, the son of Nimshi, 
who, we are told in 2 Kings ix. 20, drove furiously. 

Jeremiad. A tale of woe, a doleful story. So called after 
the Prophet Jeremiah, who wrote the "Book of 

Jerked Meat. Dried meat, more particularly beef dried 
in the open air. The term is derived from the Chilian 
charqui, appled to dried beef throughout Spanish 

Jerkin. Expresses the diminutive of the Dutch jurk, coat, 
frock j hence a short coat or jacket. 

Jermyn Street. From the town house of Henry Jermyn, 
Earl of St Albans. 

Jerry Builder. A speculative builder who runs up whole 
streets of houses as cheaply as possible in order to sell 
them. The word "Jerry," derived from the French 
jour, day, is a corruption ofjoury, meaning temporary, 

Jersey. From Czar's-ey, or " Caesar's Isle," so called by the 
Romans in honour of Julius Caesar. The close-fitting 
rowing shirt and female bodice received the name of 
a Jersey because it was first worn by the inhabitants 
of this isle. 

Jersey Lily. The punning pet name of Mrs Langtry, 
when, as a society star, she first adopted the stage as 
a profession. Her Christian name is Lillie, and she 
was born in Jersey. 

Jerusalem. Expresses the Hebrew for "habitation of 

Jerusalem Artichoke. A corruption of " Girasole Arti- 
choke," from the resemblance of the leaf and stem of 
this flower to the "Girasole," or sunflower. 

Jerusalem Chamber. This apartment of Westminster 
Abbey, in which Henry IV. died, received its name 

170 Jesuits — Jimpson Weed 

from the pictures of the Holy Land, in connection 
with the Crusades, that adorned its walls. 

Jesuits. The members of a powerful missionary order 
styled " The Society of Jesus " which was founded in 
1534 by Ignatius Loyola, on a military basis, having 
himself been a soldier. 

Jesuits' Bark. Another name for the Peruvian or Cinchona 
Bark, because discovered by the Jesuit missionaries in 

Jewin Street. The ancient burying ground of the Jews 
while they were permitted to reside within the city 
walls — viz. in the Old Jewry. The]suffix in is a corrupt 
form of the Anglo-Saxon en, expressing the plural, as in 
Clerken or clerks' well. 

Jewry Street. All that remains of the old name given 
collectively to the Jewish quarter of London after this 
oppressed race had been driven eastward of the city 
proper. This street was the Jews' later burial ground. 
The suffix ry denotes a place or district. 

Jews' Harp. A corruption of "Jaws' Harp," because it is 
held between the teeth. 

Jezebel. A daring, vicious woman, so called after the wife 
of Ahab, King of Israel. 

Jig. From the French gigue, a lively dance, and the Italian 
gt'ga, a romp. 

Jilt. From the Scottish gillet, a giddy young woman. 
This word expressed the diminutive of Jill or Julia, a 
name used in a contemptuous sense after Julia, the 
daughter of Augustus Caesar, who disgraced herself by 
her dissolute conduct. 

Jimmy. A crowbar used by house burglars. The word is 
not so much thieves' slang as a corruption of Jenny, 
expressing the diminutive of gin or engine, the 
general term formerly for a machine or mechanical 

Jimpson Weed. Properly "Jamestown Weed," from the 
place in Virginia where it was introduced. 

Jingo— John Bull 171 

Jingo. See "By Jingo." 

Jingoes. The British war party during the Russo-Turkish 
struggle of 1877-8, when there was grave likelihood of 
this country interfering. The term became popular 
through the refrain in G. H. Macdermott's famous 
song : 

" We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do, 
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too." 

For a time the Jingo Party was in the ascendant. 

Joachims-Thaler. See " Thaler." 

Jockey. The diminutive of Jock, which is the Scottish 
form of Jack or John, expressive of a servant. The 
first jockeys engaged in horse racing were boys, on 
account of their light weight ; hence the term. 

Joe Miller. A stale joke, corresponding to the modern 
" Chestnut." Joe Miller was a witty comedian whose 
sayings were compiled by John Mottley in the reign 
of James II. Until about a hundred years ago this 
was the only book of jests extant, and everyone who 
wished to "set the table in a roar" freely drew 
upon it. 

Joey. The popular nickname of Mr Joseph Chamberlain, 
of Fiscal Policy fame. 

Johannis. From Johannisberg, near Wiesbaden. This 
name is literally "John's Rock," on which stands the 
famous castle. 

John Audley. An old showman's phrase, which still obtains 
in what is called a portable theatre. As soon as a 
sufficient crowd for another "house" has collected 
outside, the money-taker, or the showman himself, 
calls out at the door "John Audley!" (originally it 
was the question "Is John Audley here?") as a hint 
to the performers to finish quickly and dismiss the 
audience. This, it is said, was the invention of 
Shorter, the comedian, while he was playing in booths 
at country fairs. 

John Bull. The Representative Englishman, bluff, long- 

172 John Carpenter St.— Johnson's Court 

suffering, and open-hearted. This national nickname 
was derived from a satire of the same title published 
by Dr John Arbuthnot in 1721. 

John Carpenter Street. After the founder of the City of 
London School, which occupies one side of this modern 
thoroughfare, having been removed hither from Bow 
Lane in 1882. John Carpenter was town clerk of the 
city of London in the reigns of Henry V. and VI. 

John Chinaman. Ever since the outbreak of the gold fever 
in California a Chinaman in that part of the United 
States has been addressed as "John," the Transatlantic 
generic name for a man-servant, corresponding to the 
old English Jack. 

John Doe and Richard Roe. Fictitious names, which prior 
to 1852, when they were abolished, appeared in every 
legal process of ejectment in place of the names of the 
real parties. 

John Dory. The name of this fish is a corruption of the 
French Jaune-doree, yellow, golden, relative to the 

Johnnies. Overdressed, empty -pated scions of good 
families who spent their surplus cash upon burlesque 
actresses, and hung about for them at the stage door 
when the "sacred lamp of burlesque " burned brightly 
at the Gaiety Theatre. Since "Jack " was the generic 
name for a man or servant, so one distinguished for 
the possession of more money than brains was, and is 
still, dubbed a "Johnnie." 

John of Gaunt. Properly of Ghent, his birthplace, in 

John 0' Groat's House. Formerly the most northern habi- 
tation on the mainland of Scotland, said to have been 
that of Johnny Groat, for the accommodation of 
travellers who wished to cross the ferry to the Orkney 
Isles. Its site may now be recognised by a green 

Johnson's Court. Although the great lexocographer, Dr 
Johnson, spent ten years of his life in this Fleet 

John Street— Judd Street 173 

Street court, it was not named after him, but after 
another Johnson, whose property it was, and who also 
resided in it. 

John Street. In the Adelphi, after the Christian name of 
one of the brothers Adam. In Piccadilly, after one 
of the family names of the Berkeleys, the ground 

Joiner. The provincial term for one who in London is 
called a "Carpenter." Literally a joiner of wooden 
building materials. 

Joint Ring. Another name for a " Gimnal Ring." 

Joint-Stock Company. So called because the stock is 
vested jointly in many persons. 

Jonathan's. The original name of the Stock Exchange, 
after a coffee-house keeper whose house was the 
rendezvous of the earliest dealers in stock. 

Jollies. The sailors' nickname for the Marines, because 
they are about as useful to a ship as the "Jolly Boat " 
which floats behind it. 

Jolly Boat. A corruption of " Jawl boat," from the Danish 
jolle, a small boat. 

Jordan. Expresses the Hebrew for "the flowing." 

Journeyman. An artisan who hires himself out to labour, 
conformly to the French jour, day, a day labourer. 

Juan Fernandez. After the navigator, who discovered it in 
1567. On this isle Alexander Selkirk was the sole 
inhabitant from September 1704 until February 1707. 
Daniel Defoe made this adventurer the hero of his 
celebrated story "Robinson Crusoe." 

Jubilee Plunger. The sobriquet of Ernest Benzon, who 
lost ^250,000 on the turf in two years after embark- 
ing upon his betting career in 1887, the Jubilee year 
of Queen Victoria's reign. 

Judd Street. The property of Sir Andrew Judd, Lord 
Mayor of London in 155 1. By his will he bequeathed 

174 Judges' Walk— Jungfrau 

it to the endowment of a school at Tonbridge, his 
native place. 
Judges' Walk. So called because a number of judges and 
barristers of the King's Bench made themselves tem- 
porary habitations in tents on this breezy height of 
Hampstead during the Great Plague. 

Jug. Thieves' slang for prison. See " In the Jug." 

Juggins. A fool, a reckless fellow, so called after a noted 
character of this name, who about twenty years ago 
squandered his whole fortune by reckless betting on 
the turf. 

Juggler. From the French jougleur, a jester or miscel- 
laneous entertainer who was the invariable companion 
of a troubadour during the Middle Ages. 

Julep. An American spirituous beverage, also a pre- 
paration to make medicines less nauseous. The word 
is derived from the Arabic julab, rose-water. 

July. In honour of Julius Caesar, who was born in this 

Jump a Claim. A Far West expression meaning to deprive 

another of his lawful claim ; literally to jump into his 

diggings and take possession. 

Jump on it with both Feet. The Transatlantic mode of 
saying " I'll denounce it to the utmost of my power." 

Jump the Game. An Americanism for running away from 
one's creditors. 

June. The sixth month of the year j that of growth, agree- 
ably to the Latin juvenis, young. The Romans dedi- 
cated it to the " Juniores," or young soldiers of the 

Jungfrau. Two reasons are assigned for the name (German, 
"The Maiden " ) given to this, one of the highest peaks 
of the Bernese Alps. Firstly, because of the unsullied 
purity and dazzling whiteness of the snow with which 
it is eternally clad j secondly, owing to the fact that, its 
summit being inaccessible, no man has ever conquered 
or ravished this mountain maiden. 

Junk— Kaaba 175 

Junk. A seaman's term for rope ends and also the salt 
beef served out on board ship. The word is derived 
from the Latin /uncus, a bulrush, out of which ropes 
were anciently made. In the second sense of the term 
the toughness of the meat is sarcastically implied. 

Jury. From the Latin jurare, to swear. 

Jury Mast. Properly "Joury Mast," from the French jour, 
day, because it is only a temporary mast put up to 
replace one carried away by stress of weather. 

Justice is Blind. An expression derived from the alle- 
gorical representation of Justice, who, holding the 
scales, is blindfolded. See " Scales of Justice." This 
really had its origin in the custom of the ancient 
Egyptians, who conducted their trials in a darkened 
chamber, in order that the prisoner, the pleader, and 
the witnesses being alike unseen, the judges could not 
be moved to undue sympathy, and their judgment 
might be the more impartial. 

Justice Walk. In this portion of Chelsea resided a London 
magistrate whose name has not been handed down to 

Juteopolis. The name given to Dundee on account of its 
staple industry. 

Jutland. The land of the Jutes. 

Juveniles. In theatrical parlance the lovers' parts. The 
principal stage lover's part, such as Romeo, is called the 
"juvenile lead." Other young men's parts, that do 
not call for love making on the stage, are styled 
" walking gentlemen." 

N- k 

Kaaba. The stone building inside the great Mosque at 
Mecca ; said to have been erected over the spot where 
Adam first worshipped after his expulsion from the 
Garden of Eden. The name is Arabic for "square 

176 Kaffraria— Keep it Dark 

Kaffraria. The country of the Kaffirs or "unbelievers," 
from the Mohammedan standpoint. This term was 
applied not only to the natives south of Abyssinia and 
the desert regions of Africa, but also to the people 
of a country in Central Asia east of the Hindu Cush 
known accordingly as Kaflristan. Kaifer is Arabic for 
"infidel," and the suffix stan expresses the Persian 
for " country." 

Kailyard. Scottish for cabbage garden. 

Kaisar. The German form of the title of the Roman 
Emperors, "Caesar." 

Kalmucks. A Western corruption of the native Khalmick, 
or " Apostates," the name given to this large family of 
the Mongolian race because they rejected the doc- 
trines of Buddha. It was these Kalmucks who, under 
the name of "Huns," descended upon Europe in the 
fourth century. 

Kamptulicon. From the Greek Kampto, to bend. 

Kansas. The Indian name for the river, signifying " smoky 
water " j afterwards applied also to the state. 

Keble College. A memorial college at Oxford of the Rev. 
John Keble, author of " The Christian Year," whose 
death took place in 1866. 

Keelhaul. To haul under the keel of a vessel from stem 
to stern by means of ropes on either side. This was 
the most dreaded, because the most dangerous, punish- 
ment meted out to seamen or apprentices by tyrannical 
captains in former times. Readers of Captain Marry at's 
"Snarleyyow, or the Dog Fiend" will recollect what 
that meant to the hapless victim. 

Keeping Crispin. An old phrase for the shoemakers' annual 
holiday on the Feast of St Crispin, their patron saint, 
25th October. In some parts of the country we hear 
of it in connection with what passes elsewhere under 
the name of "Cobblers' Monday." 

Keep it Dark. The reference was originally to treasure 
kept in a place of concealment. 

Keep on Pegging at it— Kensington 177 

Keep on Pegging at it. See " Peg Away." 

Keep the Ball Rolling. An expression derived from the 
game of Bandy, in which the two sets of players, 
armed with hooked sticks, continually sent the ball 
rolling to opposite goals. 

Keep the Pot Boiling. The antithesis of a hand-to-mouth 
existence; meaning the command not only of some- 
thing for the stock pot but also needful fuel. 

Keep the Wolf from the Door. By paying one's way 
others will prosper likewise, and ravenous creditors 
clamouring at the door for their just demands will be 
non-existent. The wolf is represented by a greedy 
landlord hungering for his rent, or, failing that, the 
household goods. 

Keep your Nose to the Grindstone. To continue hard 
at work without cessation. If a tool is not held close 
to the grindstone the stone will go round all the same, 
but the tool does not get sharpened. So a man may 
loiter over his work, but the actual accomplishment is 

Keep your Pecker up. Have courage, and hold your 
head erect. Pecker is slang for the mouth, in allusion 
to fowls which peck their food — in other words, they 
strike at it with the beak. 

Keep your "Weather Eye open. Be on a sharp look-out 
in the right direction. A sailor looks towards the 
wind in order to forecast the weather. 

Kendal. Expresses the dale of the River Ken. 

Kendal Green. Green cloth made at Kendal in West- 
moreland, for which this town was long famous. The 
cloths produced here still bear the name of " Kendals." 

Kennington. The town which grew up in the king's 
meadow. Henry VIII. had a rural retreat erected 

Kensington. Described in Anglo-Saxon records as Kynsing- 
ton^ or king's meadow town. 


178 Kensington Gore — Kew 

Kensington Gore. After Gore House, the residence of 
the Countess of Blessington, that occupied part of the 
site of the Royal Albert Hall. 

Kent. Called by the Romans Caesar Cantium after the 
Cantii, who peopled this Ken?i t headland or corner, of 
Albion's Isle. 

Kentish Fire. The name given to rapturous volleys of 
cheers, such as that which distinguished the Kentish 
men when they applauded the " No Popery " orators 
in 1828-9. 

Kentish Man. A native of the county of Kent, west of 
the Medway. 

Kentish Town. A corruption of "Kantelowes Town," 
built upon the manor of the same name. The modern 
spelling of this family name is "Cantlowes," which is 
that given to a street on the south side of Camden 

Kent Street. Leads out of London to the great Kentish 
highway to Dover. At one time the landlords in this 
street took away the front doors of tenants who were 
more than a fortnight in arrears of paying their rent. 
This, styled a " Kent Street Ejectment," was found 
effectual in getting rid of unprofitable tenants. 

Kentucky. Indian for " long river." 

Keppel Street. From the " Admiral Keppel " at the corner 
of this street and Fulham Road. 

Kerchief. See " Handkerchief." 

Kersey. From Kersey, in Suffolk, once famed for its 
woollen manufacture. 

Kettledrum. A rounded drum, so called from its shape ; 
also the name given to a tea party, both on account 
of the noise made by the guests, and because the 
hostess metaphorically beats them up at the time of 
sending out her invitations. See " Drum." 

Kettle of Fish. See ''Pretty Kettle of Fish." 

Kew. Styled in ancient documents Kay-hoo, meaning a 

Keystone State — Kildare 179 

quay on a hoo or oe, which expressed the Danish for an 
island ; also a spit of land at the mouth of a river or 

Keystone State. Pennsylvania, geographically considered 
as seventh among the thirteen original states of the 

Khaki. Expresses the Hindoo for " colour of cow dung." 
This term came into prominence during the South 
African War, when all British uniforms were made of 
materials of this hue, so as to make our troops less 
conspicuous to the enemy. 

Kahn. Expresses the Persian, from a Tartar word, for a 
lord or prince. 

Khedive. From the Persian khidiw, a king. In the 
Turkish khadiv the title expresses a ruler one grade 
removed from a Sultan. 

Kicker. An Americanism for one who at a public meet- 
ing objects to a proposal. 

Kick the Bucket. An expression derived from the 
primitive mode of a man hanging himself by standing 
on a bucket, and then kicking it aside. The " drop " 
in this case could not have been a long one. 

Kidnap. Not only is this word accepted English in the 
absence of a more refined equivalent, but it is also 
made to do service in the case of an adult taken away 
against his will. Kid, of course, expresses a young 
goat, and is slang for a child. The second portion of 
the term is likewise slang, from nab> to steal. 

Kidney Bean. The coarse bean shaped like a kidney. 

Kiel. From the Danish keol, a ship. 

Kilbride. The church of St Bride or Bridget. 

Kilburn. Expresses the kil % or cell, of " one Godwynne, a 
holy hermit," beside the bourn t or brook. 

Kildare. From the Celtic kildara^ the cell or hermitage 
among the oaks. A monastery was founded here by 
St Bridget towards the close of the fifth century. 

180 Kilkenny— King's Arms 

Kilkenny. The kt/ t or church, of St Kenny or Canice in 

connection with the ancient abbey dedicated to St 

Killarney. A corruption of " Killeaney," from the church 

of the Dominican monastery on the banks of the 

River Leane. 

Kindergarten. Expresses the German for a children's 
garden or playground. The system of juvenile 
education so called aims at self-tuition by means of 
toys and games. 

Kinetoscope. The name originally given to our modern 
"living pictures," from the Greek kinetikos^ "putting 
in motion." See "Mutoscope." 

King Charles Spaniel. The small species of "Spaniel" 
which was such a favourite with Charles I. 

King Edward's Grammar School. A superior academical 
institution founded and endowed for the tuition of 
Latin and Greek grammar by Edward VI. 

King Edward Street. After Edward VI., the " Boy 
King," founder of Christ's Hospital, or Blue Coat 
Grammar School, hard by. 

Kingfisher. The king of fisher birds that dive into water 
for their prey, so called on account of its gay plumage. 

King James's Bible. The Authorised Version ordered to 
be prepared and given to the people by James I. 

King-maker. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, so 
called because he was instrumental in placing both 
Edward IV. on the Yorkist and Henry VI. on the 
Lancastrian side on the throne after espousing their 
individual cause. 

King of Bath. The sobriquet of Richard Nash, also 
known as Beau Nash, who for more than half-a-century 
was Master of Ceremonies at the fashionable Assembly 
Rooms of Bath. 

King's Arms. An inn sign, originally representing the 
counterfeit presentment or royal arms of an individual 

King's Bench— King's Own Men 181 

sovereign, but now a mere name, which must have 
done duty alike in honouring a long line of monarchs. 

King's Bench. Anciently the superior Court of Law 
presided over by the King in person, when he sat on 
an oaken bench. Wherever he went in state this 
Court followed him. Judges and magistrates are 
still said to occupy the Bench. 

King's College. At Cambridge, founded in 1441 by 
Henry VI. In London, the foundation by a royal 
charter of George IV. in 1828. 

King's County. In honour of Philip of Spain, the husband 
of Queen Mary. The original name was Ossaly. 

King's Cross. So called from a statue of George IV. 
set up here at the accession of that monarch, and 
taken down in 1842 to make way for the Great 
Northern Railway terminus. It is highly probable 
that an ancient cross stood on the same spot, since, 
quite apart from the fact that Queen Boadicea was 
defeated by the Romans at Battle Bridge hereabouts, 
it was in this neighbourhood too that King Alfred 
waged a sanguinary conflict with the Danes. 

King's Evil. The name given to scrofula, from the old 
superstitious idea that it could be cured by the touch 
of a king or queen. 

Kingsgate Street. So called from the gate through which 
James I. passed across the meadows to Theobalds 
in Hertfordshire, his favourite hunting seat. 

King's Head. See " King's Arms." 

Kingsland. This district marked the southern limits of the 
ancient royal domain of Enfield Chase. 

King's Lynn. Anciently called "Lynn Episcopi," being 
the property of the Bishop of Norwich. At the 
dissolution of the monasteries Henry VIII. sequestered 
this estate, and gave the town the name of Lynn Regis, 
or King's Lynn. The word Lynn is Celtic for "pool." 

King's Own Men. The 78th Foot, so called from their 
Gaelic motto : "Cuidichr Rhi" (Help the King). 

1 82 King's Road — Kirschwasser 

King's Road. In compliment to Charles II., who caused 
this highway between Chelsea and Fulham Palace to 
be made passable. 

Kingston. The capital of Jamaica, after William III., in 
whose reign (1693) it was founded. 

Kingston-on-Thames. From the ancient stone on which 
seven of the Anglo-Saxon kings were crowned. This 
interesting relic is now enclosed with iron railings near 
the Town Hall. 

Kingstown. Originally "Dunleary,"the name was changed 
in honour of the visit of George IV. in September 

King Street. That in Covent Garden, after Charles I., 
in whose reign it was laid out. In St James's, after 
James I. In Cheapside, in honour of Henry IV., 
who passed down it to open the new Guildhall. At 
Westminster, because this was the direct road between 
the Court and the Abbey. 

Kingsway. The name given by the London County 
Council to the new thoroughfare from Holborn to the 
Strand opened by King Edward VII. in 1905. 

King William Street. In the city, after William IV., who 
performed the inaugural ceremony of declaring the 
London Bridge open for traffic, 1st August 1831. 
The street of the same name west of the Strand was 
newly laid out in his reign as a direct thoroughfare to 
Leicester Square. 

Kirkcudbright. Expresses the Celtic for "the Church of 
St Cuthbert." 

Kirkdale. The church in the dale or vale of Pickering. 

Kirke's Lambs. The nickname bestowed upon the 2nd 
Foot, under the command of Captain Kirke, during 
the " Bloody Assizes," and having for their badge the 
Paschal Lamb. 

Kirschwasser. German for " Cherry Water," this beverage 
being distilled from the juice of the black cherry. 

Kiss-me-Quick — Knapsack 1 83 

Kiss-me-Quick. The name of a small bonnet popular in 
England midway during the last century. Though 
of the "coal scuttle" pattern it did not extend beyond 
the face, and was chiefly worn by ladies going to parties 
or the play. 

Kiss the Place and make it better. The expression, 
commonly employed by mothers and nurses to pacify 
children when they have hurt themselves, is a survival 
of the days of the sorcerers, who pretended to cure a 
disease by sucking the affected part. 

Kiss the Scavenger's Daughter. See "Scavenger's 

Kit. A soldier's outfit, which he carries on his person 
when on the march. The name is derived from 
the Dutch kitte> a wooden beer-can strapped on the 
soldier's belt. 

Kit-Cat. The name given by artists to a three-quarter 
length portrait, and also to a canvas measuring 28 by 
36 inches, in allusion to the portraits of uniform size, 
and all painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, to suit the 
dimensions of the apartments occupied by the famous 
Kit-Cat Club. This club was long held at the house 
of a pastrycook called Christopher Cat in Shire Lane, 
Fleet Street (now Serle's Place), after whom, familiarly 
styled " Kit-Cat," it took its name. His own mutton 
pies were the staple refreshment, from which circum- 
stance such pies were until quite modern times also 
called "Kit-Cats." 

Kleptomania. The name given to an impulsive desire 
to steal or appropriate that which is ready to hand ; so 
called from the Greek kkptes, thief, and mania^ 

Knacker. From the Icelandic knakkr^ a saddle; hence 
a dealer in and slaughterer of old horses. 

Knapsack. From the Dutch and German knappen, to 
bite or chew, and zak, a sack. Like the original 
German and Dutch forms of this receptacle for a 

184 Knave — Knightrider Street 

soldier's necessaries on the march, the Swiss still 
carry a bag made of goatskin. 

Knave. From the German knabe, a boy. The tricks 
peculiar to a boy no doubt caused this term to be 
applied to a deceitful or otherwise reprehensible 
fellow. The knave in a pack of cards represents, of 
course, the knight or servant to the king and queen. 

Knife-board. The advertisement-board on either side of 
an omnibus roof, so called on account of its fancied 
resemblance to the domestic knife-sharpener. On the 
old-fashioned omnibuses the roof passengers sat back 
to back, with their feet touching the "knife-board," 
and it was facetiously said they thereon sharpened 
their wits. 

Knife and Fork Tea. See " High Tea." 

Knight. From the Saxon knicht, a servant, which is the 
origin also of the modern German knecht, a man-servant. 

Knight Bachelor. One who in the days of chivalry 
forswore marriage until he had performed some feat 
of valour, and so merited renown. 

Knight Banneret. A knight hastily created on the field 
of battle in recognition of signal bravery. This was 
done by tearing off a streamer from a banner and 
handing it to him as a token of investiture. 

Knight Errant. One who went forth in quest of adven- 
tures, more particularly to win the admiration of fair 
ladies, by rescuing them, in common with the weak 
and oppressed, from the feudal lords whose rapacity in 
those barbarous ages knew no bounds. The word 
errant, like its modern equivalent errand, was derived 
from the Latin errare, to wander. It was in ridicule 
of this system of knight-errantry that Cervantes wrote 
his immortal romance " Don Quixote." 

Knight of the Yard Stick. An Americanism for a 
draper's assistant or a retail dry-goods salesman; 
what in England people often style a "Counter 

Knightrider Street. The place of assembling of the 

Knightsbridge— Knickerbockers 185 

knights of old on their way in procession to the 
Smithfield tournaments. 

Knightsbridge. Tradition has it that two knights who 
went to receive a blessing from the Bishop of London 
at Fulham Palace suddenly quarrelled, and fought a 
deadly combat on the bridge which anciently spanned 
the Westbourne where now stands Albert Gate. A 
public-house close by, demolished within the last three 
years, bore the sign of "The Fulham Bridge." 

Knights Hospitallers. The Second Order of Knights of 
the Crusades, who founded and protected the hospital 
at Jerusalem for the accommodation of pilgrims to the 
Holy Places. When at a later period they erected 
a larger hospital in connection with the church 
dedicated to St John the Baptist, they assumed the 
title of " Knights of St John of Jerusalem." 

Knights of Malta. The Knights Hospitallers who, hav- 
ing taken Rhode Island, were at length expelled there- 
from by the Turks, and took up their establishment 
permanently at Malta. 

Knights of St John of Jerusalem. See "Knights 

Knights of the Road. Highwaymen, who were always 
good horsemen. 

Knights Templars. The military Order of Knights of the 
Crusades, styled "Soldiers of the Temple." Their 
aim was to wrest the Holy Sepulchre from the hands 
of the Saracens, and maintain it through futurity. 

Knights Teutonic. An independent Order of Knights of 
the Crusades composed of nobles from the cities of 
Bremen and Lubeck for the protection of German 
pilgrims to the Holy Land. 

Knickerbockers. The people of the city of New York. 
When Washington Irving wrote his "History of New 
York " he assumed the name of Diedrich Knicker- 
bocker, in allusion to the wide breeches worn by the 
early settlers of the colony, then called by them New 
Amsterdam ; hence the application of the term 

1 86 Knocked into Cocked Hat— Kops 

"Knickerbockers" to knee-breeches generally. New 
York is known as "The Knickerbocker City." 

Knocked into a Cocked Hat. Prostrated or completely 
flattened out like a cocked hat, which, as its name 
implies, could be cocked or carried under the arm. 

Know-nothings. A secret society in the United States 
pledged to the checking of foreign immigration and 
political influence by foreigners which came into 
existence about the year 1848, and finally split upon 
the slavery question in i860. When asked what its 
party or political aims were, all the members merely 
replied : "I don't know; I know nothing." 

Knows the Ropes. Said of one who thoroughly under- 
stands his calling. A naval phrase, since a sailor must 
know all the ropes belonging to his ship. 

K'nucks. In Canada the name given to French Canadians ; 
elsewhere to Canadians generally. It has been stated 
on the authority of an intelligent French Canadian, 
by way of accounting for the origin of this term, 
that " the word ' Cannuck ' is a corruption of ' Con- 
naught,' the name we usually apply to the Irish, who 
are mostly emigrants from that province of Ireland." 

Kohinoor. A famous diamond which came into the 
possession of Queen Victoria on the annexation of the 
Punjaub in 1849. Its name expresses the Hindoo for 
" Mountain of Light." 

Kolis. The nickname of the 51st King's Own Light 
Infantry, from the initials of their regimental name. 

Koordistan. Pursuant to the Persian stan, the country of 
the Koords, " fierce, strong." 

Kopeck. A Russian copper coin of the value of three- 
eights of an English penny. So called from kqpye, the 
native term for a lance, because this coin originally had 
upon it the representation of a lancer on horseback. 

Kops Ale. A non-alcoholic ale brewed from the best 
Kentish hops, and not to be distinguished by appear- 
ances from the intoxicant. The name was chosen as 
a near approach to Hops Ale. 

Koran — Kyrle Society 187 

Koran. Properly Al Koran> Arabic for "the book," "the 
reading," or "the thing to be read." 

Koumiss. A Mongolian term for an intoxicating beverage 

made by the Kalmucks from camels' or mares' milk 

by fermentation and distillation. " Koumiss " is 

the popular Russian beverage. 
Kraal. The Kaffir term for a collection of huts shaped 

like a beehive and arranged in circular form, a native 

South African village. 
Kremlin. The citadel of Moscow, so called from the 

Russian krem, a fortress. 
Krems White. A pigment extensively produced at Krems 

in Austria. 

Kreuzer. A copper coin of Germany conspicuous for a 
kreuz, or cross, on its reverse side. Its value was the 
sixtieth part of a gulden or florin. 

Krupp Gun. After its inventor, and made at the famous 
Krupp Steel works at Essen in Germany. 

Kiimmel. The German name for a beverage, expressive 
of "Carraway," from the seeds of which it is made. 

Kummerbund. A Hindoo term for waistband. It became 
current in England two or three years ago during the 
excessively hot weather, when waistcoats were dis- 
carded, and the trouser tops concealed by a brilliant 
blue or scarlet sash. 

Kurdistan. See " Koordistan." 

Kursaal. A place of entertainment at Southend-on-Sea. 
The name is German, literally "Cure-hall," expressive 
of the public assembly-room at a "Kurhaus," or 
hydropathic establishment, corresponding to the 
pump-room at a west of England health resort. 

Kyrle Society. A modern society having for its aims the 
improvement of the homes of the poorer orders. It 
originated with the Misses M. and O. Hill in 1875, 
and was formally inaugurated by Prince Leopold a 
couple of years later. The title of the society was 
derived from John Kyrle of Ross, Herefordshire, 

1 88 Labadists — Lacrosse 

whose artistic tastes and benevolent disposition con- 
tributed to the happiness and well-being of the people 
on his estate and all the country round about. 

Labadists. A sect of Protestant mystics founded in the 
seventeenth century by Jean Labadic of Bourg, 

La Belle Sauvage Yard. The yard of the famous coach- 
ing inn of the same name. The history of this sign 
was curious. Kept by Isabelle Savage, it bore the 
name of "The Bel Savage"; but its sign was a bell 
suspended within an iron hoop at the top of the usual 
"Ale Stake." Hence its proper name was "The Bell 
in the Hoop." When in the year 1616 John Rolfe 
brought his Virginian bride Pocohontas to London, the 
story of his remarkable adventures had anticipated his 
arrival, and people spoke of this Indian heroine as 
"La Belle Sauvage." It was odd that these strangers 
within our gates should put up at the "Bell Savage," 
and the association resulted in the change of title 
on their account. 

Labrador. Called by the Portuguese navigators Tierra 
Labrador^ " cultivatable land." 

Lackland. The surname of King John, who, owing to his 
thriftlessness, was left entirely without provision at the 
death of his father, Henry II. 

Laconics. Terse and pithy replies, so called from the 
Lacons, which was the name applied to the Spartans, 
from the country whence they came. When Philip of 
Macedon sent this message to the Spartan magistrates : 
" If I enter Laconia I will level Lacedaemon to the 
ground," the reply was briefly : " If." 

Lacrosse. This name was given to the game by Charlevoix, 
who, seeing it played by some Alonquin Indians with a 
stick between Quebec and Three Rivers, called it le 
jeu de la Crosse. 

Ladbroke Grove — Laid in Lavender 189 

Ladbroke Grove. This, with the square of the same name, 
was built upon by the Ladbroke family, who acquired 
the lease of the land for the purpose. 

Lad Lane. A name frequently met with in connection 
with the old coaching inn, "The Swan with Two 
Necks." It was a corruption of "Our Lady Lane," 
so called from a statue of the Virgin. 

Ladrones. Expresses the Spanish for "thieves," the name 
given to those islands by Magellan because the natives 
made off with the stores he had landed. 

Ladybird. A pretty species of beetle resembling a bug, 
and anciently called "Our Lady's Bug." Bug is the 
accepted American term for a beetle. 

Lady Day. The Feast of Our Lady, otherwise of the 
Annunciation to the Virgin (25th March). Prior to 
1752 this was also the first day of the New Year; now 
it figures as Quarter Day, when rents and taxes have 
to be paid. 

Lady Freemason. The Hon. Elizabeth St Leger, niece of 
Sir Anthony St Leger, who founded the stakes named 
after him at Doncaster Races, and daughter of Lord 
Doneraile of Dublin. Chancing to overhear the pro- 
ceedings at a Lodge held at her father's mansion she 
was discovered, and, as the only way out of an un- 
precedented dilemma, initiated to the craft. No other 
female has ever been made a " Freemason." 

Lager Beer. The German " lager bier " is simply stock 
beer, the liquor being kept in a lager> or cellar, until it 
is sufficiently ripened for consumption. All over the 
United States the demand for " Lager" is enormous. 

Laid on the Shelf. A phrase implying that one's period 
of usefulness has been passed. The allusion is to 
books read and clothes laid aside as of no further 

Laid up in Lavender. Something put away very carefully, 
as a good housewife preserves linen strewn with 

190 Lake Erie — Lammas Day 

lavender in a press against moths. At times we hear 
the expression allusive to an article put in pawn. 

Lake Erie. See " Erie." 

Lake Huron. See " Huron." 

Lake Ontario. See " Ontario." 

Lake School of Poets. A term applied by The Edinburgh 
Review to the imitators of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and 
Southey, who communed with Nature in the Lake 
District of Cumberland and Westmoreland. 

Lake Superior. The uppermost and principal of the five 

great lakes of North America. 
Lake Winnipeg. See " Winnipeg." 
La Marseillaise. See " Marseillaise." 

Lambeth. A corruption of " Lamhithe," the Anglo-Saxon 
for mud haven, or a muddy landing-place. 

Lambeth Palace. The historic residence of the Arch- 
bishops of Canterbury. 

Lamb's Conduit Street. After William Lambe, a wealthy 
cloth worker, who at his own cost built "a faire 
conduit and standard " in the fields here off Holborn 
in 1577. 

Lamb's Wool. A rural beverage of roasted apple juice 
and spiced ale. It received its name from the Saxon 
La Mces Ubhal % or " Feast of the Apple Gathering." 
From lammas ool its further corruption was easy. 

Lame Duck. The name given to a member of the Stock 
Exchange who cannot meet his liabilities on settling 
day. Instead of walking erect, like a man of strict 
integrity, he ducks his head, and waddles off, well 
knowing that he has been black-boarded and struck 
off the list of members. 

Lammas Day. The ancient name for the first of August, 
when every parishioner brought to church a loaf made 
of new wheat. The name expresses the Anglo-Saxon 
for "loaf mass," and the bread was a gift of first-fruits 
to the clergy. Its modern equivalent is the "Harvest 

Lamp-black — Land of Steady Habits 191 

Lamp-black. So called because this pigment was at first 
obtained by burning resinous matter over the flame 
of a lamp. 

Lancaster. The Roman Lunecastra y or fortified camp on 

the Lune. 
Lancaster Gun. After the name of its inventor. 

Lancastrians. During the Wars of the Roses the partisans 
of the House of Lancaster in the contest for the crown 
of England as opposed to the House of York. 

Lancers. This dance received its name from a company 
of Lancers who went through the evolutions of a 
quadrille on horseback about the year 1836. 

Landau. After Landau in Germany, where it was first 

Landes. Expresses the French for heaths. The people 
of this marshy and, in parts sandy, district walk on 
long stilts. 

Landgrave. The Anglicised form of the German landgraf> 
count, a ground landlord. 

Land o* Cakes. Scotland, which has always been cele- 
brated for its oatmeal cakes. 

Land of Green Ginger. A square at Hull where, as 
popularly thought, green ginger was anciently landed 
from the river and sold in open market. The name 
is, however, a corruption of "Greenhinger," being the 
land owned by Moses Greenhinger, a boat builder, who 
lived in Whitefriargate in the seventeenth century. 
This is proved by a letter of Sir Willoughby Hickman, 
a candidate for the borough in 1685. Therein he 
states that a coach took him from the waterside to 
the George Inn, " at the corner of the land of Moses 

Land of Promise. The name of a short street in Hoxton, 
so called, sarcastically no doubt, because it leads to 
the workhouse. 

Land of Steady Habits. Connecticut, so called on ac- 
count of the excellent moral character of the people. 

192 Land of Sundown Seas — Lascar 

Land of Sundown Seas. Alaska. "Sundown" is an 

Americanism for sunset, just as " Sun-up " is for 

Land o' the Leal. The Scottish heaven, or "Dixie's 

Land"; according to the Baroness Nairne's ballad 

the word Leal means faithful. 
Land of the Midnight Sun. Norway. 

Landscapes Local slang in the eastern counties for a 

tramp, vagrant, or " Loafer." 
Land Shark. The name given by sailors to a boarding- 
house keeper in a seaport town who preys upon them 

by systematic overcharges. 
Landwehr. The German equivalent for our volunteers, 

or soldiers for land defence. The term wehr means 

bulwark, defence. 
Lane. Actors refer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, as 

"The Lane," the playhouse of London par excellence 

since the palmy days of the Drama. 

Langbourn Ward. From the long bourn or stream, of 
which now no trace remains. 

Langholm Place. After the mansion and grounds of Sir 
James Langham, which occupied what is now the 
street of the same name. 

Laodicea. This ancient city was so called after Laodice, 
the queen of Antiochus Theos, who founded it. 

Lap Dog. One literally nursed in the lap of luxury. 
Mothers of families are strangers to such pets. 

Lapsus Linguae. Latin for " a slip of the tongue." 

Largess. From the Latin largitso, to give freely, through 
the French largesse. This word meant originally a fee 
or present bestowed upon a butler or head servant by 
a departing guest. In its modern acceptation it is a 
distribution of money amongst a number rather as a 
matter of policy or necessity than from choice. 

Lascar. The generic name for an East Indian seaman, 
though it really expresses the Persian for a soldier, 

Lasso — Laugh in your Sleeve 193 

from lashkari, a camp-follower. Lascars were first 
employed hy the East Indiamen homeward bound. 
Nowadays all Asiatic sailors, of whatever nationality, 
are called Lascars. 

Lasso. From the Spanish lazo, a noose. 

Latakia. A Turkish tobacco, so called from the place 
(the ancient Laodicea) where it is produced. 

Latch-string is always out. An Americanism for a hearty 
welcome at all times, without need for a formal 
invitation. The allusion to the latch-string means : 
11 You have only to walk in, like any member of the 

Lath. A subdivision of land while certain portions of 
Eastern England were held by the Danes, so called 
from the Norse "Lathing," a law assembly. 

Latins. See " Italy." 

Latin Vulgate. The Roman Catholic Bible authorised 
by the Council of Trent in 1546. This translation of 
the Scriptures was made by St Jerome from the Greek 
into the Latin or vulgar tongue a.d. 405. 

Latitudinarians. The opposers of the High Church party, 
and also of the Puritans, during the Restoration 
period. Modern Latitudinarians are those who hold 
very broad views in regard to orthodox doctrine. 

Laugh and grow Fat. In allusion to Democritus, " The 
Laughing Philosopher," who waxed fat, and lived to be 
109 years old. 

Laughing Philosopher. Democritus of Abdera, from his 
habit of humorously exposing the absurdities of his 
countrymen, whose stupidity, he declared, was pro- 
verbial ; the feeble powers of mankind, contrasted with 
the forces of nature, likewise aroused his contempt. 

Laugh in your Sleeve. Anciently the sleeves of all outer 
garments were very wide, and when a person covered 
his face with his hand there was always a suspicion 
that he was making merry at someone else's dis- 


194 Laugh on the — Lawrence Lane 

Laugh on the wrong Side of your Face. A person 
may preserve a grave countenance while listening to a 
story, and at the same time wink significantly to 
a bystander on the opposite side of the speaker. 
The expression means that if, for his insolence, he 
received a castigation, both his eyes would be made 
to wink or blink. 

Laundress. The exclusive designation of a housekeeper 
or caretaker of bachelor chambers in the Temple. 
This is because during the Crusades a great many 
women of the town followed in the train of the Knights 
Templars to the Holy Land for the purpose of washing 
their linen. It afterwards transpired that, as a rule, 
they acted also as mistresses to the Knights, and had 
tents set apart for them even within sight of Jerusalem. 
Historians tell us too that, though a religious Order, 
the Templars did not scruple to introduce these 
women into their London house after their return from 
the seat of warfare, and this irregularity, in fact, led to 
their suppression by Edward II. in 13 13. 

Laundried. An Americanism for " washed," in relation 
to household or personal linen. This, when one 
comes to look into the word, is correct English, 
meaning lawn dried. 

Lavender. From the Latin verb lavare, to wash, because 
this shrub yields an essential oil employed in medicine 
and perfumery. Laundresses also use it for preserving 
newly washed linen against moths. 

Lavender Water. A scent produced from the essential oil 
of lavender, spirits of wine, and ambergris. 

Lawing. An Americanism for "going to law." 

Lawless Parliament. See "Parliament of Dunces." 

Lawn. The finest linen, which has been bleached on a 
lawn instead of the usual drying ground. The green- 
sward called a lawn received its name from the Celtic 
allawnt, a smooth, rising ground. 

Lawrence Lane. From the Church of St Lawrence, at 
its foot, in Gresham Street. 

Law Sakes — Leading Article 195 

Law Sakes. An American corruption of the phrase 
" For the Lord's sake ! " which, current among the 
Puritans of New England, found its way in this new 
form into neighbouring states. 

Laws, Laws-a-me. A corruption of " Lord, have mercy on 

Lawyer. From the old English Lawwer^ literally "law- 
man " j the suffix is allied to the Latin vir 9 man. 

Lawyer's Treat. A phrase implying that each shall pay 
for his own drinks. A lawyer never treats his clients 
at a refreshment bar; they defray the cost between 

Lay-by. The name given to an article, generally clothing, 
purchased on the weekly instalment system, and laid 
by on a shelf until the whole amount has been paid off. 

Lazar-house. The old name for a poor-house, in allusion 
to Lazarus, who picked up the crumbs under the 
table at the mansion of Dives. On the Continent such 
an institution is styled a " Lazaretto." 

Lazarists. An Order of missionaries founded by St Vincent 
de Paul, so called from their headquarters in Paris, the 
Priory of St Lazare, between 1632 and 1792. 

Lazzaroni. The beggars of Naples, and originally all the 
poorest people of that city who had no regular habita- 
tion save the streets. Their name was derived from 
the common refuge, the Hospital of St Lazarus. 

Leadenhall Street. After the edifice known as the Leaden- 
hall, the first in London ever roofed with lead, built in 
1419 by Sir Simon Eyre, and presented to the city for 
the purposes of a granary in time of scarcity. 

Leading Article (or Leader). There are three reasons 
for this term applied to a large-type newspaper article. 
It is supposed to be written by the chief of the literary 
staff, the editor ; it leads off the foreign and all other 
important news on the inside pages of the paper ; 
and it is intended to lead public opinion according to 
the party views maintained by the journal in question. 

196 League of the Cross — Leg Stretcher 

League of the Cross. The title of a modern crusade among 
the Roman Catholics for the total suppression of 

Leamington. The town in the meadow on the banks of 
the Leam. 

Leap Year. That which every fourth year leaps to the 
total of 366 days by adding a day to the month of 

Leather Lane. From "The Old Leather Bottle," now 

modernised, at the corner of this lane and Charles 

Leave some for Manners. A dinner-table phrase, which 

had its origin in the ancient custom of making an 

offering of a portion of the viands to the gods. 
Lebanon. From the Hebrew laban, white ; expresses " the 

white mountain." 
Lee. A variant of the Anglo-Saxon lea and ley, " meadow " 

or " pasture land." This word enters into many river 

and place-names. 
Leech. The old name for a medical man in the days when 

bleeding the patient, no matter what his ailment might 

be, was the common practice. 

L. E. L. The literary pseudonym, formed from the initials 
of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, the poetess. 

Leg and Star. A corruption of "The Star and Garter." 
This, of course, arose when a painted device, instead 
of a mere title, served as an inn and tavern sign. 

Legend. An Americanism for a written or printed notice. 
The term has latterly come into use in England 
relative to a tradesman's shop announcement. 

Legitimate Drama. That which is dependent upon its 
intrinsic literary and constructive merits, quite apart 
from scenic effects. 

Leg Stretcher. A Far Western expression for a drink. 
This arose from the common travellers' exclamation 
while the stage coach was waiting for the mails : " I'll 
get off a bit, and stretch my legs." 

Leicester— Let the Cat out of Bag 197 

Leicester. The Leirecastra of the Romans, being the 
fortified camp on the Leire, now called the Soar. 

Leicester Square. Originally Leicester Fields, from the 
town mansion built on its east side by Robert Sidney, 
Earl of Leicester, in 1636. 

Leipsic. Expresses the Slavonic for linden or lime tree 
town, from lipa, lime-tree. 

Leman Street. Properly " Lemon Street," from a wharf 
at the Thames side, where, before the construction 
of the docks, lemons were landed and sold. 

Lemon Sole. The species of sole found on the south 
coast of England ; really a mud sole, from the Latin 
lima,) mud. 

Lent. From the Anglo-Saxon lenctcn, the spring. The 
word has the same origin as "lengthen," since at this 
season of the year the lengthening of the days be- 
comes perceptible. 

Lent Crocking. A popular old-time diversion of the 
schoolboys on Shrove Tuesday. The ringleader, 
having knocked at a house door and recited a garbled 
set of verses, to the effect that he had come a-shroving^ 
his companions kept up an incessant din with old 
saucepans and kettles until they were paid to go away. 

Leonine Verses. Those which rhyme both in the middle 
and at the end of each line, so called after Leoninus, 
a canon of St Victor in Paris midway in the twelfth 

Let the Cat out of the Bag. To disclose a trick un- 
wittingly. The illusion is to a very old device at 
country fairs of selling a cat for a sucking pig. One 
pig only was exposed to view; all the others were 
supposed to be ready tied up for carrying away. If, 
on occasion, a purchaser insisted on untying the sack 
before paying for it, the cat leapt out, and the fraud 
was discovered. As to the other victims who had 
taken away theirs on trust, they were forced to admit, 
because their sack contained no sucking pig, that they 
had been "sucked in." 

1 98 Levant — Liberator 

Levant. An Italian term for the Orient or East — i.e. all 
those parts of the Mediterranean eastward of Italy. 
The word is also used in the sense of to depart, and a 
defaulter was said to have levanted, or gone to the 
Levant. This was in allusion to the "Grand Tour" 
which all scions of the nobility were expected to make 
on reaching their majority. 

Levee. A French word applied to a royal reception, from 
lever, arising, because in former times such a function 
took place in the King's bed-chamber at the hour of 

Levellers. The primitive Radicals or Socialists of the time 
of Charles I. and long afterwards ; their plea was that 
all men should be on a common level in regard to 
office-seeking. Also the original name of the " White 
Boys " in Ireland, who commenced their agrarian out- 
rages by levelling the hedges and fences on enclosed 

Leviticus. That book of the Old Testament which sets 
forth the laws pertaining to the priests or Levites, the 
descendants of Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah. 

Lewisham. From Leesham, the home or family settlement 
in the meadow. See " Lee." 

Leyden. Originally Lugdunum, the Latinised form of the 
Celtic llwch, a morass, and dun, a hill, fortress. 

Leyton. The town in the lea or meadow. 

Leytonstone. A corruption of "Leytonstowe," the stock 
or wooded place in the vicinity of a meadow. 

Lhassa. A Tibetan word for "full of gods." 

Liberal. The modern designation of the Progressive or 
"Whig" Party. This arose out of Lord Byron's 
political magazine, The Liberal, in 1828, though the 
name was not formally assumed until the agitation for 
the Reform Bill in 1831. 

Liberator. The surname of Simon Bolivar, who established 
the independence of Peru. 

Liberia — Lincoln 1 99 

Liberia. An independent republic of free Negroes on the 
west coast of Africa. The word is derived from the 
Latan fiber, free, and the Celtic suffix ia, country. 

Library. From the Latin librarium, a bookcase, through 
liber, a book. 

Lifting. This technical term in the printing trade, 
because type is lifted out of the columns prior to 
distribution, or, as may happen in a newspaper, to be 
held over until the next issue for want of space, has 
come to be applied by journalists to literary theft. 
Facts, anecdotes, or jokes stolen from a contribution 
submitted to an editor on approval are said to have 
been "lifted." One newspaper, too, often "lifts" 
matter from another without acknowledgment. 

Light. A journeyman printer's term for "credit." 
Derived from the old saying : " He stands in a good 
light with his neighbours." The boast : " My light is 
good," has about it little to find fault with. 

Lignorians. Another name for the Redemptorists or 
Preachers of the Redemption, an Order founded by 
St Francis Liguori in 1732. 

Like a Thousand of Brick. An Americanism for very 
heavily, as if a waggon-load of bricks had been 
dumped down on one. 

Lille. Properly Lisle, the island. 

Lima. A Spanish corruption of the Peruvian Rima, the 
name of the river on which it is situated. 

Limavady. From the Irish Leim-a-madha, "The Dog's 

Limehouse. A corruption of Limehurst, or wood of lime- 

Lime Street. Where lime was sold in ancient times. 

Limoges. Anciently called "Lemovica," from the 
Lemovices, the people who settled in this portion of 

Lincoln. Originally Llyn-dun, the Celtic for " Pool hill," 

200 Lincoln College — Lion Comique 

or the town built on the eminence overlooking the 
Swanpool, which was not drained until the eighteenth 
century. When the Romans established themselves 
here they called it Lindum Colonia, or the colony 
beside the pool. Of this name, therefore, Lincoln is 
a softened abbreviation. 

Lincoln College. Founded at Oxford by Richard Fleming, 
Bishop of Lincoln, in 1427. 

Lincoln's Inn. Anciently the town mansion of the Earls of 
Lincoln, built by Henry de Lacey, Earl of Lincoln, in 
the fourteenth century. 

Line of Business. A theatrical phrase for the special 
kind of parts in which an actor is experienced. One 
who plays the "Juveniles" would not be entrusted 
with an "Old Man's" part, and so forth. 

Liner. A steamship belonging to a regular line or service 
of fast sailers — e.g. the Cunard Line. 

Lingo. Slang for language, derived from the Latin 
lingua, the tongue. 

Lingua Franca. A common language along the Medi- 
terranean shores, being a mixture of French and 
Italian. See " Lingo/' 

Linoleum. A floorcloth, into the manufacture of which 
linseed oil enters largely. 

Linseed Lancers. The nickname of the Army Medical 

Lion. An ancient inn sign derived from the heraldic 
device of a particular monarch, or it might be, the 
Lord of the Manor. According to the colour of the 
animal in that device, so the name of the inn, after a 
mere name was substituted for the painted represen- 
tation, came to be designated. Hence "Red Lion," 
" Black Lion," etc. 

Lion and Key. A corruption of "The Lion on the 
Quay," by way of distinguishing an inn or tavern from 
other Lions in the same seaport. 

Lion Comique. The name bestowed upon George 

Lionise — Little John 201 

Leybourne and other music-hall vocalists of his class 
in days when comic singing was very different to what 
it is now. The modern type of vocal comedians is, 
happily, not "lionised" in the strict sense of the 
Lionise. See " Lion of the Season." 

Lion of the Season. A distingushed musical executant 
or other celebrity, generally a foreigner, at whose 
shrine society metaphorically worships while his fame 
is at its zenith. The expression is the outcome of the 
anxiety of the country folk in former days to see the 
"London Lion " at the Tower. Hence to "lionise," 
make the most of a " stranger within our gates." 

Lion Sermon. This is delivered once a year at the 
Church of St Katherine Cree in commemoration of 
Sir John Gayer's miraculous escape from death by a 
lion when he found himself separated from his com- 
panions in the African desert. He bequeathed the 
sum of ^200 a year to the poor on condition of this 
sermon being annually preached. 

Lisbon. Anciently Olisipo or Ulyssippo, after Ulysses, 
who, visiting Portugal with Lucus, is traditionally 
stated to have laid the foundations of the city. 

Lisson Grove. Formerly Lidstone Green, a corruption of 
" Ossulton Green," the name of a Hundred cited in 
Domesday Book. Ossulton Street in the Euston 
Road preserves the name in the original form. 

Litany. See "Rogation Days." 

Little Bit of All Right. A popular expression meaning 
"Just the thing I wanted," or "It couldn't have hap- 
pened better." 

Little Britain. From the ancient residence of the Dukes 
of Brittany. 

Little Corporal. The name bestowed upon Napoleon I., 
at the commencement of his military career, from his 
rank and low stature. 

Little John. The real name of this Sherwood forester 

202 Little Man — Lloyd's 

was John Little, but Robin Hood playfully inverted it 
because its owner was a tall, strapping fellow. 

Little Man. The affectionate sobriquet of the late Mr 
Alfred Beit, the " Diamond King," on account of his 
diminutive stature. 

Little Mary. A modern euphonism for the stomach, 
popularised by J. M. Barrie's successful comedy of 
this title. 

Little too Thick. The antithesis of a " thin " story ; one 
so crowded with extraordinary statements that it is 
hard to grasp or credit. 

Little Turnstile. The lesser turnstile on the north side 
of Lincoln's Inn Fields, set up to prevent sheep from 
straying into Holborn. 

Live like Fighting Cocks. From the days of the Greeks 
down to comparatively modern times game-cocks were 
fed luxuriantly, so as to increase their pugnacity; 
hence the application of the phrase to good living. 

Live Man. An Americanism for an energetic agent or 

Liverpool. From an extinct bird, somewhat resembling 
the heron, and called the liver, that made the/00/on 
which this city was built its home. 

Liverpool Landseer. The sobriquet of William Huggins, 
who acquired an equal celebrity for animal painting in 
his native place, as Sir Edwin Landseer in the country 
at large. 

Liverpool Street. After Lord Liverpool, one of the most 
popular members of the Ministry at the accession of 
George IV. There is another Liverpool Street named 
after him at King's Cross. 

Liverymen. Freemen of the city of London who on 
great special occasions wear the distinctive livery of 
the companies to which they belong. 

Llandaff. Properly Llan Tqf, the church on the Taff. 

Lloyd's. After Edward Lloyd, a coffee-house keeper in 

LL Whisky — Loco-Focos 203 

Abchurch Lane, whose premises were first used by 
merchants and shippers as a sort of club. 

LL Whisky. That distilled by Messrs Kinahan of 
Dublin. When the Duke of Richmond was Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland between 1807 and 18 13 he in 
the former year sent to various distilleries for samples 
of good whisky, and preferring that tendered by 
Messrs Kinahan, he ordered a large vat of the same 
quality to be exclusively reserved for him. This vat 
had LL painted on it, denoting " Lord-Lieutenant 

Lo. An American term for an Indian. This originated 
in Pope's " Essay on Man," a couplet of which reads : 

" Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutored mind 
Sees God in clouds or hears Him in the wind." 

Loaded. An Americanism for intoxicated or "primed." 
Loafer. This word is neither Dutch nor German, as 
generally stated ; it is distinctly Spanish-American. 
The early settlers of Mexico and Texas gave the name 
oigallofo to a vagrant, who, like the lazzaroni of Naples, 
hung about the churches begging for alms. From the 
western states this word travelled to New York, and 
in the process became changed into " Loafer." 

Loan. An Americanism for "lend." 

Lock-out. When artisans have struck for an advance of 
wages, and afterwards decide to return to work on the 
former scale, the masters retaliate by shutting them 
out of the works altogether and employing fresh hands 
from elsewhere. 

Lock, Stock, and Barrel. A sportsman's phrase for the 
whole of a thing, in allusion to the three parts of a 
gun. In the modern sense it is used to imply the 
complete discomfiture of an adversary in argument 
or of one utterly outwitted in his schemes. 

Loco-Focos. The American term for lucifer matches. By 
a patent dated 16th April 1834 John Marck, a store- 
keeper of Park Row, New York, brought out a self- 

204 Loft — Lollards 

lighting or friction cigar, which he called a Loco-Foco. 
The first portion of this name was taken from the 
newly introduced locomotive, which people generally 
thought to mean self-moving; the latter half was a 
euphonism of his own. When friction or self-firing 
matches came in they received the same designation. 
The Democratic Party of the United States received 
the name of "Loco-Focos" from the circumstance 
that at a great general meeting held in Tammany Hall 
to confirm the nomination of Gideon Lee as the 
Democratic candidate for Congress, a tumult arose, 
and the lights were turned out; whereupon the 
adherents of the candidate, who had provided them- 
selves with loco-focos and candles, relighted the hall 
in a moment. 

Loft. An Americanism for storey. In the United States 
it is usual to say a house contains so many "lofts" 
instead of storeys. 

Logger. One employed in the North American forests 
cutting down trees and sawing them into logs. 

Loggerhead. A dull, stupid fellow with no more sense 
in his head than a "logger" or lumberman. These 
loggers often quarrel for no visible cause ; hence the 
expression to be "at loggerheads." 

Log-rolling. Primarily a political term descriptive of 
mutual co-operation on the part of individuals for 
the furtherance of a general cause. It means : " You 
help me and I'll help you " ; " If your party further my 
Bill through Congress I'll pledge my party to push 
yours along too." The expression obtains also in a 
social and journalistic sense: "If I propose a testi- 
monial for you I expect you to do the same for me" ; 
"I'll write you up in the Press if you engage to 
return the compliment." For the origin of the term 
we must look to the lumber regions of the state of 
Maine, where the loggers of different camps assist one 
another by turns to roll their logs down to the river. 

Lollards. Originally an association of pious people in 
Germany at the commencement of the thirteenth cen- 

Lombard Street— London Lion 205 

tury banded together for the purpose of burying the 
dead. They were so called on account of the solemn 
dirges they sang, from the Low German lollen, to sing 
softly. After a time the same title was assumed by 
the followers of one Walter Goilard, a dissolute priest, 
who was burned for heresy at Cologne in 1322. The 
Wycliffites assumed this name still later, and some 
of these it must have been who were imprisoned in 
the "Lollards' Tower," Lambeth Palace. 

Lombard Street. From the Jews of Lombardy, who here 
set up banks and money-lending establishments, at the 
instance of Pope Gregory IX., as a means of assisting 
the people of England to raise money for the payment 
of their taxes early in the thirteenth century. 

Lombardy. Called by the Romans Longobardi after its 
people, whom they subdued. This name was not 
derived from their long beards, as generally stated, 
but from the longis bardis, or long battle-axes, with 
which they were armed. 

London. This name claims the same origin as " Lincoln," 
the first rude habitations beside the Thames being 
situated on the rising ground now known as Tower 

London Bridge was built on Woolpacks. This expres- 
sion had its origin in the fact that, when the construc- 
tion of Old London Bridge was stopped for want of 
funds, Henry II. expedited its completion by imposing 
a tax upon wool. 

Londonderry. The town built by a company of London 
adventurers, to whom it, with the county of the same 
name, was granted by a royal charter of James I. 
Derry is Celtic for a grove or oak forest. 

London Lion. An expression derived from the Royal 
Menagerie at the Tower of London ere the metropolis 
rejoiced in a Zoological Gardens, and when travelling 
menageries were unheard of. Country visitors up in 
town for a few days never failed at that period to feast 
their eyes upon a real live lion, and on returning to 
their homes boasted of having seen the London Lion. 

206 London Stone — Look Daggers 

London Stone. Marked the centre of Roman London, 
from which all the great roads through the country 

London Wall. From the Roman wall which here denned 
the northern limits of the city. A portion of this old 
wall may yet be seen in Cripplegate Churchyard. 

Lone Star State. Texas, from the single star in her flag. 

Long Acre. The Anglo-Saxon acer, like the modern 
German acker, expresses a field. This was anciently 
a path across the fields between Lincoln's Inn and 
"Lomesbury Village," or the manor now known as 
Bloomsbury in the parish of St Giles's-in-the-Fields. 

Long Friday. The old name for Good Friday, both on 
account of the length of the Church service and the 
long fast imposed on all good Catholics. 

Longford. The long ford on the River Camlin. 

Long Island. So called from its shape. 

Long Lane. This was a long, narrow lane extending from 
Barbican to Farringdon Road before the greater por- 
tion of its one side was cleared for the Smithfield 

Long Lane that has no Turning. An expression mean- 
ing that sooner or later a turn of fortune must come, 
since no lane, however long, exists that has no turning. 

Long Peter. This name was merited by the celebrated 
Flemish painter, Peter Aartsen, by reason of his 
abnormal stature. 

Long Parliament. That which was dissolved by Oliver 
Cromwell after it had lasted more than twelve years. 

Longshanks. The surname of Edward I. on account of 

his spindle legs. 
Longshoreman. Properly " Along-shoreman " — namely, a 

wharfinger, or one employed in loading and unloading 


Look Daggers. A phrase used when two persons look 
fixedly at each other as if their eyes were dagger 
points ready to make a fatal thrust. 

Loosen your Purse Strings — Louvre 207 

Loosen your Purse Strings. See "Purse Strings." 

Lord Bobs. The later nickname of Lord Roberts since 
the close of the South African War. 

Lord's Cricket Ground. After Thomas Lord, the founder 
of the earliest private Cricket Club in London, in 1780. 
First in Dorset Square, and eventually on its present 
site — his own landed property — he set up a private 
pitch for genteel folk far from the haunts of the city 
apprentices and other enthusiasts of the game. 

Lord's Day. The name given to Sunday by the Quakers. 

Lordship Lane. From the Lord of the Manor of Dulwich. 

Loretto. Called by the Romans Lauretana after Laureta, 
the lady to whom the country villa, and a large tract of 
land on which the town was afterwards built, belonged. 

Lorraine. Anciently Lotharingia, the duchy of Lotbarius 
II., grandson of the Emperor Lewis I. 

Los Angeles. Originally called by the Spaniards " Pueblo 
de los Angeles," the city of the angels, on account of 
its delightful situation and climate. 

Lo Spagnoletto. The surname of Guiseppe Ribera, the 
celebrated Spanish painter. It means " Little Spaniard." 

Lothbury. A corruption of "Lattenbury," where the 
workers in latten ware, a species of bronze, had their 
shops in the Middle Ages. In the modern sense 
latten is a kind of sheet brass. 

Loudoun Road. After the name of the builder on the 

Louis d'Or. A gold coin first struck in the reign of 

Louis XIII. of France. The name means a " Louis of 

Louisiana. The name bestowed upon this State by 

M. de la Sale in 1682 in compliment to Louis XIV. 

of France. 

Louvre. An adapted French word, from Pouvert, "the 
opening," which expressed a kind of turret on the roof 
of a building by way of a chimney to let out the smoke. 

208 Lower Berkeley Street — Luddites 

A rude contrivance of this kind distinguished the 
ancient hunting seat of Dagobert, on the site of which 
Francis I. commenced the famous Parisian palace of 
this name in 1528, completed twenty years later by 
Henry II. A louvre window partakes of the same 
Lower Berkeley Street. See " Berkeley Street." 
Lower Thames Street. The eastern portion of Thames 
Street, from London Bridge to the Tower. 

Lowndes Square. After the ground landlord, lineally 
descended from William Loundes, secretary to the 
Treasury, temp. Queen Anne. 

Low Sunday. Not only was this Sunday at the bottom of 
the Lenten or Easter Calendar, but prior to the altera- 
tion of New Year's Day it was frequently also the last 
Sunday of the year. 

Luciferians. A sect of Christians in the fourth century, 
under Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia, who 
separated from the Orthodox Church on the ground 
that the reconverted "Arians" should not again be 
admitted to the fold. 

Lucifer Matches. Early friction matches, so called from 
the Latin lucis, light, and ferre, to bring. 

Lucullus Feast. A sumptuous banquet, so called after 
Licinius Lucullus, a famous Roman general, who in 
the days of his retirement was no less distinguished for 
the costly suppers he gave to the greatest men of the 
Empire. The sums expended on those entertainments 
were enormous. As an epicure he was unrivalled ; he 
could also be a glutton on occasion. There is a story 
told that after the feast had been prepared no guests 
arrived. " Lucullus will sup to-night with Lucullus " 
was the explanation of the host. 

Lud-a-massy. A corruption of the old exclamation " Lord, 
have mercy ! " 

Luddites. A name borne by the wilful destroyers of 
machinery in the manufacturing disticts ; said to have 
been adopted from Ned Lud, an imbecile of Leicester, 

Ludgate Hill— Lurid Waistcoat 209 

who being, chased by boys, took refuge in a house, and 
there broke a couple of stocking frames. These rioters 
caused great havoc during the second decade of the 
last century. 

Ludgate Hill. The testimony of Old Stow notwithstand- 
ing, there is grave doubt whether King Lud, the re- 
puted builder of the western gate of the city, ever 
existed. In much greater likelihood this gate received 
its name from its situation near the River Fleet, and 
meant simply Flood Gate. See " Fleet Street." 

Lug. Northern and Scottish for " ear." In England gener- 
ally this word is regarded as slang except when em- 
ployed in connection with " Lugger" and " Luggage." 

Luggage. So called because it is lugged about in transit 
by the handles, as a Lancashire man would pull 
another by the lug or ear. 

Lugger. A small craft having lugs, or drooping sails, like 

a dog's ear. 
Lumber. An Americanism for timber sawn into logs and 

sent floating down the rivers for eventual shipment. 

Lumber-room. One set apart for odds and ends of no 
practical utility. The name is derived from "Lombard 
Room," in which the Lombards, who were the first 
goldsmiths and money-lenders in England, stored the 
articles pledged with them. 

Lunatic. From the Latin luna, the moon. The Romans 
persistently cherished the idea that a person's mind 
was affected at the several changes of the moon. 

Lupercalia. A Roman festival in honour of Lupercus, 
the god of fertility. This occurred on the 15th of 

Lupus Street. This keeps alive the name of Henry Lupus, 

first Earl of Chester, from whom the Grosvenors, the 

ground landlords, are descended. 
Lurid Waistcoat Banquet. The latest style of "Freak 

Dinner " in America, each guest disporting himself in 

a waistcoat of startling hue and design. 

210 Lutherans — Lynch Law 

Lutherans. After Martin Luther, the German Reformer. 

Luxembourg. This celebrated palace of the French 
capital stands on the site of that purchased and 
enlarged in 1583 by the Duke of d'Epinay, Luxem- 
bourg. The title of the Dukes of Luxembourg is very 
ancient, having been derived from a beautiful chateau 
called Luici durgum, which was acquired by Siegfried, 
Count of Ardennes, in 963. 

Lyceum Theatre. Opened in 1834 as the English Opera 
House. This was originally a lyceum or academical 
establishment connected with the Society of Arts. 
The word Lyceum was correctly applied in this case 
from the academy formed by Aristotle in the temple 
of Apollo Lyceus, near the River Illissus. 

Lych-G-ate. A large gateway at the entrance to the church- 
yard where the coffin can be set down while the 
mourners await the arrival of the clergyman to lead 
the funeral service. The word comes from the Gothic 
leik, and German leiche, a corpse. 

Lyddite. So called because experiments with this ex- 
plosive were first made at Lydd in Kent. 

Lying around Loose. An Americanism for being out of 
a situation, lounging about the town. 

Lyme Regis. This little Dorsetshire seaport on the River 
Lym was honoured with a royal charter and the title 
of Regis because it furnished Edward III. with three 
ships to aid in the siege of Calais in 1346. 

Lynch Law. The summary justice meted out to public 
offenders in the western states of North America. 
This term was derived from James Lynch, a farmer 
of Piedmont on the western frontier of Virginia. 
There being no Court of Law for many miles around 
he was always appealed to in cases requiring a legal 
decision, and his judgments were so sound and im- 
partial that the people gave him the name of Judge 
Lynch. The death sentence was by hanging at the 
nearest tree. To "lynch a man," however, in the 

Lynn Regis— Macclesfield Street 2 1 1 

modern sense is to dispense with legal formalities 

Lynn Regis. See " King's Lynn." 
Lyon King at Arms. The principal at Heralds' College 

in Scotland, so called from the lion rampant on the 

armorial bearings of the Scottish kings. 

Lyre Bird. So called from the resemblance of the sixteen 
feathers of its tail when spread erect to a lyre. 


Ma'am. An Americanism for mother. See " Madam." 

Ma'am School. The American term for a young ladies' 
seminary, or an infants' school kept by a woman. 

Macadamised Road. This system of road-making by 
means of broken stones pressed down by a heavy 
roller was introduced by John Loudon Macadam, a 
Scotsman, appointed Surveyor of Public Roads in 1827. 

Macaroni. From the Italian macare^ to crush, to bruise, 
through Macarone^ a mixture, a medley. This con- 
fection originally consisted of cheese and bread paste 
squeezed into balls. 

Macaronies. Fashionable dandies first heard of in London 
after the accession of George III. Their leaders 
hailed from France and Italy, where Macaroni Clubs 
abounded. These clubs arose out of Dilettante 
Societies, formed for the cultivation of what was styled 
Macaronic Verse, after a poetical rhapsody entitled 
" Liber Macaronicorum," a jumble of Latin and other 
languages published by a monk of Mantua in 1520. 
Subsequently everything in dress or taste received the 
name of Macaroni. 

Macaroon. A biscuit the name of which has the same 
etymology as " Macaroni." 

Macassar Oil. So called because it was first exported 
from Macassar, the Dutch capital of Celebes Island. 

Macclesfield Street. After the Earl of Macclesfield, the 
landlord of the estate when it was laid out in 1697. 

212 Macedonians — Mad Poet 

Macedonians. A fourth century sect of Christians founded 
by Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Machinaw. A heavy blanket worn by Indians, and also 
nowadays in the western states used as a travelling 
rug and bed pallet. The term is derived from 
Machinac (pronounced Machinaw), the chief trading 
station with the Indians formerly. Western settlers 
also describe an overcoat as a Machinaw. 

Machine. A bicycle is called a machine because it is a 
V more or less complicated piece of mechanism made up 

of many parts. In the United States the term machine 
is applied both to a locomotive and a fire engine. 

Mackenzie River. After Alexander Mackenzie, by whom 
it was first navigated in 1789. 

Mackerel. From the Danish mackreel, "spots." 

Mackintosh. After the Scotsman who invented water- 
proofing material for over-garments. 

Macklin Street. After Charles Macklin, the celebrated 
actor of Drury Lane Theatre. His name was really 
Maclaughlin shortened into Macklin. 

Macmillanites. An ofTshoot of the Presbyterians under 
John Macmillan; also styled the "Reformed Pres- 

Madagascar. A corruption of the native name Malagasay, 
the island of the Malagese or Malays. 

Madam. In New England the term applied to the de- 
ceased wife of a person of local distinction, such as 
the parson, doctor, etc. In the southern states it 
expresses the mistress or master's wife universally 
among the Negroes. Elsewhere it is either Madam or 
Ma'am for a mother. 

Mad Cavalier. Prince Rupert, so called on account of 
his n sh courage and lack of self-control. 

Mad Dog. A skull cap, from the old idea that keeping 
the head impervious to air was a remedy against the 
bite of a dog. 

Mad Poet. Nathaniel Lee, who wrote some of his finest 

Mad as a Hatter — Maffiking 213 

pieces while confined during four years at Bethlehem 

Mad as a Hatter. A corruption of " Mad as an after." 
Atter expressed the Saxon for a viper or adder. 
The word " Mad " was anciently used in the sense 
of venomous; hence this expression really meant 
" venomous as a viper." 

Mad as a March Hare. Being their rutting season, hares 
are very wild in March. 

Made a bad Break. An Americanism for having made a 
silly slip of the tongue, a sad mistake, or a great 
blunder. The expression is, of course, derived from a 
game of billiards. 

Made his Pile. Although a Californian phrase for having 
amassed a fortune, this originated at the gaming-tables 
throughout the States generally. 

Madeira. Expresses the Portuguese for " timber." This 
island was at the time of its discovery covered with 
forests. Also the name of a rich wine imported there- 

Madeleine. The church at Paris dedicated to Mary Mag- 
dalen or Mary of Magdala. 

Maddox Street. After the name of the builder upon the 
land in 1720. 

Madras. From the Arabic Madrasa, "university." Orig- 
inally Madrasa Pattan, the name expressed " Univer- 
sity town." Pattan is Sanscrit for town. 

Madrid. In the tenth century this was simply a Moorish 
fortified outpost of Toledo, as expressed by its Arabic 
name, Majerit. 

Maelstrom. Expresses the Norwegian for an eddy or 
whirlpool; literally " whirling stream." 

Maffiking. A word used to denote the madness which 
may seize upon an entire community on an occasion 
of great public rejoicing, as happened when news of 
the relief of Mafeking, during the South African War, 
reached England. Staid citizens — bankers, stock- 

214 Magazine — Mahogany 

brokers, and others — assembled in front of the Man- 
sion House, cheering wildly, and losing all control 
over themselves to such a degree that they threw their 
hats high in the air. For the remainder of that day 
and far into the night all London went mad with joy. 

Magazine. From the Arabic Makhzan, a depository for 
stores. In a literary sense this originally expressed a 
periodical whose contents were made up of elegant 
extracts from the best authors. 

Magdalen Hospital. The old name of a penitentiary for 
fallen women, so called after Mary Magdalen. The 
French form of this name is Madeleine. 

Magdalen Smith. The famous Dutch portrait painter, 
Gaspar Smitz, is usually known by this name on 
account of his many " Magdalens," in which he ex- 
Magdeburg. German for "town on the plain." 
Magenta. This colour was so called because first produced 
after the battle of Magenta in 1859. 

Magic City of the South. Birmingham in the state of 
Alabama. Since its foundation by the Elyton Land 
Company in 187 1 it has bidden fair to rival Pittsburg 
as the Birmingham of America. 

Magnolia. In honour of the eminent French botanist, 
Pierre Magnol. 

Mahala. The Californian term for an Indian squaw, de- 
rived from the Spanish muger (pronounced muher), a 

Mahatma. A Hindoo term for a Buddhist gifted with 
what appear to be supernatural powers, as the result of 
the very highest intellectual development. 

Mahogany. A vulgar term very frequently heard in the 
Midland counties for a man's wife. This arose from 
the fact that the wood of the Mahogany-tree (West 
Indian Ma/iogan, but botanically Swietenia Mahogani) 
was for many years at first used exclusively for the 
manufacture of domestic dining - tables ; hence a 

Mahrattas— Maid of Orleans 2 1 5 

man would say : " I'll discuss it with my wife over the 
Mahogany." Eventually the phrase was corrupted 
into "I'll talk to the Mahogany about it," and so the 
term came to denote the man's wife. 

Mahrattas. The Hindoo term for "outcasts." Although 
devout worshippers of Buddha, this powerful Hindoo 
family does not recognise that fine distinction of 
caste which obtains elsewhere. 

Maida Vale. After the victory of Maida, 4th July 1806. 

Maiden. An ancient instrument of capital punishment 
made in the form of a woman, the front of which 
opened like a door, and, the victim being imprisoned, 
sharp steel spikes pierced his body on every side. 
This name was also given to an early species of guillo- 
tine in Scotland. To be executed by its means was 
to " Kiss the Maiden," because she clasped him in a 
death embrace. 

Maidenland. A Virginian term for the land which comes 
to a man by marriage on his wife's side, and which 
passes from him at her decease. 

Maiden Assize. So called when there are no charges 
for the jury, which in the event of conviction merit 
capital punishment or the death sentence. On such 
an occasion the sheriffs present a pair of white gloves 
to the judges as the emblems of innocence. 

Maiden Lane. Anciently skirting the garden of the Con- 
vent. This thoroughfare had at its western corner a 
statue of " Our Lady " let into the wall. 

Maid Marian. So far from having any connection with 
Robin Hood and his merry men in Sherwood Forest, 
this term is derived from the "Morris Dance," in 
which five men and a boy took part. On account of 
his antics and the ill-fitting morione, or helmet, that 
this boy wore, he came to be styled as the "Mad 
Morion," of which Maid Marian was an easy corrup- 

Maid of Orleans. Joan of Arc, who led her countrymen 

2 1 6 Maid of Saragossa — Make Tracks 

against the English, and effected the capture of the 
city of Orleans, 29th April 1429. 

Maid of Saragossa. Augustina Zaragossa, who distin- 
guished herself in the herioc defence of the city of 
Saragossa during its eight months' siege by the French 
in 1808-9. 

Maidstone. From the Anglo-Saxon Medwcegeston, the 
town on the Medwcege, or Medway, which river runs 
through the middle of the county of Kent. 

Mail. The American term for " post " — i.e. a letter. This 
word is, of course, derived from the mail bag in which 
letters are transmitted. 

Mail Stage. The American form of " Stage-coach." 

Maine. The name given to the French settlement in the 
New World after the city so called in the Mother 
Country. Maine, from the Celtic man^ expresses a 
district or region. 

Majorca. Expresses the Latin for Greater, relative to the 
11 Balearic Islands." 

Make Bricks without Straw. To make something with- 
out the needful materials. In the East bricks are 
made out of straw and mud dried in the sun. The 
expression comes from the burdens laid upon the 
Israelites in Egypt as related in Exodus v. : " Go 
therefore now, and work ; for there shall no straw be 
given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks." 

Make Money out of a Shoe-string. An Americanism 
for a capacity to make money out of nothing — that is, 
without working capital. 

Make the Raise. An Americanism for to " raise the 

Make the Sneak. An Americanism for to sneak or run 

Make Tracks. Originally a Far West expression when a 
squatter deserted his claim and set out to explore an 
unknown region. 

Make Trade hum — Manitoba 217 

Make Trade hum. An Americanism for whipping up 
business by advertising or extraordinary energy. 

Malaga. From the Phoenician malaca, salt. The wine of 
the same name is imported from this city of Spain. 

Malmsey. Wine from Malvasia, an island in the Mediter- 
ranean historically famous for its vineyards. 

Malta. From the Phoenician Melita, "a place of refuge." 

Mamelukes. From the Arabic mamluc, a. slave. The 
original standing army of Egypt, composed of boy 
slaves purchased by the Sultan from the Tartar Khan 
in the Caucasus in the thirteenth century. 

Mamma. Latin for " breast " j hence all animals that 
are suckled by the mother belong to the class of 
" Mammals." 

Mammon. From the Syriac mamona, "riches." 

Manchester. Expresses the Anglo-Saxon for a common 
on the site of a Roman camp. The Friesic man in 
this sense enters into many place names also on the 

Manchester Square. After the Duke of Manchester, the 
owner of the estate. 

Manchuria. The territory of the Manchus, the founders 
of the present ruling dynasty of China. 

Mandarin. Although this title is borne by officers of 
every grade in China the word is really Portuguese, 
mandar, to command. It was applied by the early 
settlers of Macao to the Chinese officials of that 
colony, and has remained a European designation for 
a Chinaman of rank ever since. 

Manhattan. From the Indian munnohatan^ "the town on 
the island." 

Manicure. The American mode of " Manicurist," which, 
from the Latin manus, hand, literally means one who 
undertakes the care of the finger-nails. 

Manitoba. After Manitou, the "Great Spirit" of the 
Alonquin Indians. This name is pronounced Mani- 
Xobar, not ManiM>ar. 

218 Man in the Street— Man-of- War 

Man in the Street. A metaphorical expression for the 
average man, with no more than a superficial knowledge 
of matters in general. Not belonging to a club, he 
has small means of adding to his own store of know- 
ledge by daily communion with those better informed 
than himself. 

Manlius Torquatus. The Roman Consul Manlius re- 
ceived his surname "Torquatus" through having 
wrested the golden torque or collar from his adversary 
on the field of war. 

Mannheim. German for " the home of men." Until the 
Elector Palatine Frederick IV. built a castle here, and 
a town grew up around it in the seventeenth century, 
this was a village of refugees from religious persecu- 
tion in the Netherlands. 

Man of Kent. A native of the county of Kent east of 

the Medway. 
Man of Ross. The name given by Pope to John Kyrle 

of Ross, Herefordshire. See "Kyrle Society." 

Man of Straw. One who, having nothing to lose, descends 
to mean practices for gain, well knowing that his 
victims rarely go to the expense of entering a prosecu- 
tion against him, since they cannot obtain damages. 
This term was derived from the hangers-on at the 
Westminster Law Courts, who were ready to swear 
anything at the instruction of counsel for a bribe. 
They were known by displaying a wisp of straw in 
their shoes. If another witness was required while a 
case was being heard, counsel generally sent out to 
look for "a pair of straw shoes." 

Man-of-War. This term is a popular abbreviation of 
man-of-war ship — i.e. the floating home of a man-of- 
war's-man. Our national prestige has from time im- 
memorial been dependent on the supremacy of the 
seas, therefore an English sailor, more than a soldier, 
was regarded by our ancestors as a fighting man. Since 
the introduction of ironclads, however, it has become 
the custom to speak of a floating battery as a war 
vessel or battleship, and a sailor as a bluejacket. 

Mansard Roof— Marigold 219 

Mansard Roof. After its inventor, Francois Mansard, 
the French architect of the seventeenth century. 

Mansfield Street. From the town mansion of the Earls 
of Mansfield, which stood here. 

Mansion House. Expresses the "house of houses," the 
official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, the 
representative in the city of the King, whose flag 
proudly waves in the breeze from the roof. 

Mantua. A lady's cloak or mantle, originally introduced 
from the Italian city of this name. 

Maoris. The aborigines of New Zealand. In the native 
tongue this means " indigenous." 

Maraboo Feathers. Those plucked from the underside of 
the wings of the stork of the same name. The stork 
being held sacred by the Mohammedans, as it was by 
the ancient Egyptians, its name has the same meaning 
as that of the " Marabuts." 

Marabuts. The priestly order of the Arabs in North 
Africa; those who attend the mosques and call the 
people to prayers. Their name is derived from the 
Arabic Marabath, sacred or devoted to God. 

Maraschino. A liqueur distilled from delicate and finely 
flavoured cherries, called Marazques, cultivated at 
Zara in Dalmatia. 

March. In honour of Mars, the Roman god of war. 

Marconigram. A wireless telegram, so called after Marconi, 
the inventor of the system. 

Margate. From the Anglo-Saxon Mare, the sea ; expresses 
the road or entrance to the Thames estuary from the 
sea. See " Gate." 

Margaret Street. After Lady Margaret Cavendish, wife 
of the second Duke of Portland, landlord of the estate. 

Marigold. This, golden flower, indigenous to Mexico, was 
dedicated by the Spaniards to the Virgin. What are 
called " Marigold Windows," having these flowers re- 
presented on them, appear in Lady Chapels. 

220 Marine Store — Marquis of Granby 

Marine Store Dealer. The legal description of what is 
now a rag and bone merchant in a small way, because 
at one time old ships' iron and cables were not allowed 
to be disposed of in any other manner save to such a 
registered dealer. 

Market Street. The site of an ancient market on which 
at a later period the annual May Fair was held. This 
district is now one of the most fashionable in the West 
End of London. 

Mark Lane. A corruption of u Mart Lane," in which an 
ancient annual fair or mart of Flemish merchants was 

Mark Twain. The literary pseudonym of Samuel Lang- 
home Clemens, reminiscent of his early life as a pilot 
on a Mississippi steamboat. " Mark Twain " in 
nautical phraseology means "mark two fathoms of 

Marlborough House. This, the residence of H.R.H. the 
Prince of Wales, was built by Sir Christopher Wren 
for John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, in 1709 at 
a total cost of a million of money. 

Marlborough Road. This, like the square of the same 
name off the Fulham Road, was so called after the 
" Duke of Marlborough " at one end of it. At Peck- 
ham, after the one-time residence of John Churchill, 
Duke of Marlborough, before he removed to Pall Mall. 

Maroons. Revolted Negroes in South America and the 
West Indies. The term was derived from the Morony 
River, between Dutch and French Guiana, where great 
numbers of these fugitives found a place of safety. 

Marquee. Originally the tent of a marchioness. 

Marquis. From the Italian and French Marchese, pursuant 
to the root mark, a boundary. Anciently expressive 
of an officer who had the guardianship of the marches 
or boundaries of a duchy. At a later period the 
owner of a slice of land bestowed upon him out of a 
duchy. Nowadays the title next below that of duke. 

Marquis of Granby. A tavern sign in honour of John 

Marry — Martel 221 

Manners, the British general during the Seven Years' 
War in Germany, a soldier beloved by his men and 
esteemed by his country. 

Marry. A perverted form of the oath "By Mary" in 
days when people were wont to swear by the Virgin. 

Marsala. A light wine exported from Marsala in Sicily. 
This name was bestowed upon the town by the Arabs, 
Marsa Alia, "Port of God," on account of its de- 
lightful situation. 

Marseillaise. This was the composition of Rouget de 
Lisle, an artillery officer stationed with the French 
garrison at Strasburg. First sung at a banquet given 
by the mayor of that city, it became immensely 
popular; and when in 1792 the Marseilles volunteers 
were summoned to Paris, they sang it as they ap- 
proached and entered the capital. The words and 
music at once struck the popular ear, so that " La 
Marseillaise " became the national war song. 

Marshal. From the Teutonic mare, horse, and schalk, 
servant. This term, through the French marechal, orig- 
inally signified the groom of the horse ; now it means 
in a civil sense the master of the horse and head of 
the ceremonies in devising pageants and processions. 
The Duke of Norfolk, as Earl Marshal of England, 
takes precedence over all other noblemen. 

Marshal Forward. General Blucher, on account of his 
eagerness to make a dash in the campaign which 
terminated in the victory of Waterloo. 

Marshalsea. The old Debtors' Prison in Southwark, so 
called because the Court of the Knight Marshal, for 
the settlement of disputes between members of the 
Royal Household, was held within its walls. This 
edifice was demolished in 1842. 

Marsham Street. From the ground landlord, Charles 
Marsham, Earl of Romney. 

Martel. The surname of Charles, the son of Pepin 
d'Heristal, who signalised himself in battle against 
the Saracens when, according to the chronicler, " he 

222 Martello Tower — Mason and Dixon 

knocked down the foe and crushed them between his 
axe, as a martel or hammer crushes what it strikes." 
This exploit occurred during the attempted Saracenic 
invasion of France a.d. 732. 

Martello Tower. Originally built near the sea as a watch- 
tower for protection of merchandise against pirates. 
The term arose from the custom of the sentry striking 
a bell with a martel, or hammer, as often as he discerned 
a pirate ship out at sea. 

Martin. The common wall-swallow, corrupted from its 
Latin name Murten, from murus, a wall. 

Martinet. From the name of a strict officer under 
Louis XIV. of France; hence the phrase "a regular 

Martin's Lane. From St Martin's Church in this lane. 

Martlemas. A corruption of "Martinmas," or Feast of St 
Martin, 4th November, the usual time for the hiring of 
servants in the rural districts of England. 

Maryland. The name given by Lord Baltimore to the 
colony founded by him, in honour of Henrietta Maria, 
queen of Charles I. 

Maryland End. An Americanism for the hock of the 
ham, as distinguished from the other, the "Virginia 

Marylebone. A corruption of "St Mary of the Bourn " — 
i.e. the parish church of St Mary beside the bourn or 
stream which descended from near the hermitage at 
"Kilburn" to "Tyburn." 

Masaniello. The name of the leader of the Neapolitan 
insurrectionists of the seventeenth century was Tom- 
maso Aniello, of which Masaniello is a corruption. 

Masher. From the Romany or gipsy Masha, "to fascinate 
the eye." Whether the overdressed fop, so designated 
in our day, really possessed this enviable quality is 
open to question. 

Mason and Dixon's Line. An American expression 
for the old-time boundary between the slave and the 

Massage — May 223 

free states. This line was defended between Pennsyl- 
vania and Maryland and Virginia by two English 
surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, in 
Massage. A Frenchised Hindoo word for rubbing. A male 
and female practitioner of this new curative mode of 
friction treatment are respectively styled a masseur 
and masseuse. 

Mattan Diamond. This, the largest in the world, weighing 
367 carats, is the property of the Rajah of Mattan in 

Maudlin. A word expressive of sentimentality or an 
inclination to shed tears, more especially when in a 
state of intoxication. Old painters always represented 
Mary Magdalen with swollen eyes, the result of 
penitential tears; hence a corruption of "Magdalen." 

Maund. The Saxon for an alms-basket employed in the 
distribution of bread to the poor by the Lady of the 

Maundy Thursday. So called from Maunde, the French 
form of Mandatum, the first word in the New Com- 
mandment or mandate given by our Lord to His 
disciples after washing their feet at the Last Supper. 
The essence of this mandate was to love one another ; 
hence the washing of feet of poor persons and dis- 
tribution of doles by the reigning sovereign on this day. 
See "Maund." 

Mauritius. A Dutch colony named in honour of Maurice, 
Prince of Orange. 

Mausoleum. After the magnificient sepulchral monument 
erected by his widow, Artemisia, to Mausolus, King of 
Caria, at Halicarnassus, 353 B.C. 

May. The budding or shooting of plants in this month 
caused the Romans to give it the name of Magius, 
afterwards shortened into Mains, from the Sanskrit 
mah, to grow. Eventually this month was held sacred 
to Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom sacrifices 
were offered on the first day. 

224 Maydew Cheeries — Melodrama 

Maydew Cheeries. A corruption of Medoc cherries, from 
the district in France where they are cultivated. 

Mayfair. On the site of this fashionable district Edward III. 
established a six days' fair in the month of May for 
the benefit of the leper hospital of St James the Less, 
where St James's Palace now stands. 

May Meetings. The annual meetings of the many religious, 
missionary, and philanthropic bodies of the United 
Kingdom are held in London, generally at Exeter Hall, 
during the month of May. 

Mazarin Bible. A very rare edition of the Scriptures, being 
one of the earliest printed by Gutenberg with separate 
metal types, between 1450 and 1455. It received this 
name from the fact that a copy was discovered in the 
library of Cardinal Mazarin. 

Mecklenburg Square. One of the many names about 
London which, when new streets were built upon, 
complimented the Hanoverian Succession. 

Medina. Expresses the Arabic for " City." Its full name 
is Medinat al JVa&i, " City of the Prophet." 

Mediterranean Sea. The sea " in the middle of the earth " 
is that between the two great continents, Europe and 

Medway. See " Maidstone." 

Meerschaum. Expresses the German for "sea foam," the 
fine white clay out of which pipes are made being at 
one time thought to be the petrified scum or foam of 
the sea. 

Meistersingers. Literal German for "Master Singers"; 
master craftsmen who in the Middle Ages revived 
the national minstrelsy, which had been allowed to 
fall into decay. 

Melbourne. In honour of Lord Melbourne, the Prime 
Minister in 1837, when this Australian colony was 

Melodrama. Modern drama, distinguished by incidental 
music as an accompaniment to the action. 

Memorial Day — Merrimac 225 

Memorial Day. The United States mode of expressing 
a great commemorative occasion, such as Independence 
or Decoration Day. 

Memorial Hall. This building, in Farringdon Road, 
commemorates the issue of the famous "Act of Uni- 
formity," whereby 2000 ministers of the Church of 
England were deprived of their livings on 24th August 
1662. The site was formerly occupied by the old 
Fleet Prison. 

Memory-Corner Thompson. The name borne by John 
Thompson of the parish of St Giles's-in-the-Fields. 
Seated in a corner of a coffee-house, he was wont for 
the amusement of regular habitues to display his 
astounding powers of memory in regard to the topo- 
graphy of London. 

Memory Woodfall. The sobriquet of William Woodfall, 
brother to the reputed author of the celebrated 
"Letters of Junius." His mnemonical powers differed 
from that of " Memory-Corner Thompson " in that, 
after listening to a debate, Parliamentary or otherwise, 
overnight, he could repeat it word for word the next 

Mentor. A "guide, philosopher, and friend," so called 
after Mentor, the faithful friend and counsellor of 


Mercenaries. From the Latin mercer, wages, reward. 
These hired soldiers of antiquity figured largely in 
the Punic Wars. 

Mercer. The old name for a dealer in silks and woollen 
fabrics, so called from the Latin mercis, wares, 
merchandise. Nowadays such a one styles himself 
a "Draper." 

Merino. A fabric of wool from the sheep of the same 
name, which expresses the Spanish for an inspector of 
sheep walks. 

Merioneth. After Merion, an early British saint. 

Merrimac. Indian for "swift water." 

226 Merry Andrew — Mexico 

Merry Andrew. A buffoon or clown, said to have been so 
called after Andrew Borde, a noted physician of the 
time of Henry VIII., whose witticisms were on a par 
with his medical skill. His sayings were widely 
repeated, and since it happened that Andrew was then 
the most common name for a man-servant, facetious 
fellows came to be dubbed Merry Andrews. 

Merry Monarch. Charles II., who from the time of coming 
to the throne never knew care, but made his life one 
round of pleasure. 

Mesopotamia. The ancient description of the region 
situate between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The 
name is Greek, from mesos t middle, and potamos^ 

Messe Rouge. Expresses the French for "Red Mass." 
At the resumption of their duties at the Law Courts 
after the Long Vacation all the Catholic judges and 
barristers attend a Mass of the Holy Ghost to invoke 
the Spirit for the gift of wisdom. Like the masses of 
the Feast of the Holy Ghost, the vestment worn by 
the officiating priest is red, in allusion to the tongues 
of fire that descended upon the Apostles on Whit 

Methodists. This name was first given by a fellow- 
student of Christ Church, Oxford, to the Brothers 
Wesley and a few friends who were in the habit of 
meeting on certain evenings for religious conversation. 
They also visited the inmates of Oxford Jail at stated 
times, always faithfully kept their engagements, and 
acted up to their Christian principles in a strictly 
methodical manner. The new sect was afterwards 
styled by John Wesley "The First Methodist 

Metz. This city was styled by the Romans Mettis^ from 
the Medio matrici, the people of the country, whom 
they conquered. 

Mexico. Expresses the seat or place of Mexitli, the 
Aztec god of war. 

Michaelmas Day— Milking the Street 227 

Michaelmas Day. The feast of St Michael, prince of the 
heavenly host, and patron saint of the Catholic Church. 
This is properly described as "St Michael and all 
Angels " (29th September). 

Michaelmas Goose. Stubble geese being at their best 
about this time, the rural tenantry always brought their 
landlords a goose with their Michaelmas rent. Since 
the latter usually received more geese than they could 
consume themselves, they passed them over to friends, 
and thus the goose became a standing Michaelmas 

Michigan. Indian for "a weir for fish." 

Middlesex. Expresses the territory of the Middle Saxons, 
situate between that of the East and West Saxons 
under the Heptarchy. 

Middling. North of England, and also American, for 
medium or passable in the sense of feeling well. 

Mignonette. Expresses the diminutive of Mignon, the 
French for " darling." 

Mildmay Park. The estate of the Mildmays, whose 
ancestor, Sir Henry Mildmay, came, by marriage, into 
possession of Mildmay House and its park in the 
time of Charles I. 

Mile End Gate. From a toll gate which at this point of 
the highroad marked the eastern limits of London 
town and the parish of Whitechapel, distant one mile 
from the city boundary at Aldgate. 

Miles Lane. After Miles Coverdale, a famous preacher 
at the Weigh-House Chapel hard by in former days. 

Milford Lane. From an old mill that stood here in the 
fields. The lane itself led to a ford across the river 
at low water. 

Milking the Street. An Americanism for the operations 
of stockbrokers who, by alternately raising and depres- 
sing shares, capture all the floating money in the 
market. The allusion is, of course, to Wall Street, the 
financial centre of New York city. 

228 Milk St— Mind your Fs and Qs 

Milk Street. The ancient milk and butter market in 
connection with Cheapside. 

Millbank. From an old mill that stood on the Thames 
bank, on the site of which the Grosvenors built a 
mansion, subsequently displaced for the gloomy prison 
of the same name. 

Millerites. An American religious sect, whose founder, 
William Miller, prophesied the millennium or first 
judgment of the world by Christ and His angels to 
take place on 23rd February 1843. Many of his 
followers went mad through excitement as this date 
approached. Subsequent days assigned for the ful- 
filment of the prophesy proved alike misleading. 

Milliner. A corruption of Milaner, after the city of Milan, 
which at one time set the fashion throughout Europe 
for elegance and taste not only in matters of dress, 
but of art. A milliner is one who deals in hats, 
feathers, and ribbons. See "Mercer." 

Mill Street. From a mill that stood hereabouts when the 
scene was one of peaceful rusticity. 

Milton Street. After the author of " Paradise Lost," who 
resided here for a time, and was buried in the parish 
church of St Giles's, Cripplegate. This was the 
famous Grub Street of tradition. 

Milwaukee. Indian for "rich land." 

Mincing Lane. A corruption of " Mynchen Lane," denot- 
ing the property of the Minchery, the Saxon term for 
a nunnery of St Helen's in Bishopsgate Street. 

Minden Boys. The 20th Foot, so called from the con- 
spicuous bravery displayed by them at the battle of 

Mind your P's and Q's. This had reference originally 
to the pints and quarts chalked up against a rustic at 
the village alehouse. When his score threatened to 
become too disproportionate to his prospective wages, 
the alehouse-keeper generally administered a timely 
warning in these set terms. It was a polite way of 

Miniature — Mint 229 

saying he would very soon decline to serve him with 
more until the next settling day. 

Miniature. So called because this early species of hand- 
painted portraiture originated in the head of the 
Madonna or of a saint that formed the initial letter of 
the beautifully illuminated rubrics produced by the 
monks styled the " Miniatori," because their paints 
were made out of minium, or red lead. 

Minnesingers. Expresses the Old German for "love 
singers," the troubadours of the Fatherland in the 
Middle Ages. 

Minnesota. Indian for " smoky water." 

Minorca. Expresses the lesser of the " Balearic Islands." 

Minories. This thoroughfare was laid out across the 
lands belonging to the Minoresses or Nuns of St 
Clare after their priory had been demolished at the 
Reformation. The Order of the Minoresses corre- 
sponded to the Friars Minor of the Franciscans 
founded by St Francis de Paula. 

Minster. The distinction between a minster and a cathe- 
dral lies in this : the former is the church in connec- 
tion with a monastery, whereas the latter contains the 
kathedra, or chair, of a bishop. 

Minstrel Boy. A favourite page whose duty it was to 
attend a knight in peace and war. On his return from 
"feats of arms" he recited the doughty deeds of his 
master to the accompaniment of a lute, harp, or lyre 
in the banqueting-hall. In times of peace his theme 
was the bravery of the knight in the lists at tournaments 
or his prowess in defence of fair maidens. 

Minstrel of the Border. The name bestowed upon 
William Wordsworth by Sir Walter Scott. 

Mint. On the spot where Manlius Capitolinus had built 
himself a sumptuous residence the Romans set up a 
temple to Juno Moneta, or "The Monitress," since 
Manlius had been apprised of the Gallic invasion 
through the cackling of the sacred geese. Subse- 

230 Mint Street— Moet and Chandon 

quently this temple of Moneta was converted into an 
establishment for the coinage of money. Both mint 
and money therefore come from Moneta. 

Mint Street. From the old mint established at Suffolk 
House by Henry VIII. when that property was se- 
questered to the Crown. 

Minuet. So called from the Latin minutus, small, on 
account of the short, graceful steps which distinguish 
this dance. 

Miserere. The name given to a mediaeval choir stall of 
which the seat could be turned up so as to form a 
ledge for the support of the aged monks while kneel- 
ing. Its name, miserere^ " Have mercy," was singularly 

Misluck. An Americanism for misfortune or ill luck. 

Misses' Tailors. An Americanism for " Ladies' Tailors." 

Mississippi. Indian for " great and long river." 

Missouri. Indian for M muddy water." 

Mitre. An inn sign most generally to be met with in a 
cathedral city, having reference, of course, to the 
mitre worn by a bishop. 

Mitre Court. So called after an ancient Fleet Street 
tavern hard by. 

Mitre Square. From an old inn, "The Mitre." 

Mob. From the Latin mobile viilgus, "the vulgar crowd." 

Mobtown. The name given to the city of Baltimore on 
account of the lawlessness of a certain section of its 

Mocha. Coffee brought from the district of the same 
name in Arabia. 

Mocking Bird. A species of thrush that mocks or imitates 
the notes produced by other birds. 

Moet and Chandon. A favourite brand of champagne 
from the vineyards of the French firm trading under 
the name of " Moet et Chandon." 

Molasses — Monday 231 

Molasses. The American term for syrup or treacle, 
derived from the French me/asse, the root of which is 
the Latin me His, honey. 

Money. See "Mint." 

Mohair. From the Arabic Mukhayyar, "goatskin hair," 
through the French moire, the fine silken hair of the 
Angora goat. 

Mohawks. Night marauders who in the days of the "Old 
Charlies" terrorised peaceable London citizens, self- 
styled after the fierce Indian tribe of the same name. 
"Mohawk" means "man-eater" or "live-eater," this 
term being applied to the Iroquois by the eastern 
Indians of North America. 

Moire Antique. The French description of watered silk 
worked in the style of the olden times. See 

Moldavia. The country traversed by the River Moldau. 

Moleskin. A superior fabric of fustian or strong cotton 
distinguished for a smoothness like the hair of the 

Molly Maguires. An Irish Secret Society in the United 
States, more especially Pennsylvania, composed of 
young men dressed in women's clothes, and with 
blackened faces, who did not hesitate to murder in 
connection with the agrarian outrages that they 
committed. The execution of ten of the ringleaders 
in June 1877 at length put an end to their reign 
of terror. 

Monastery. From the Greek monos, alone. This term 
expresses an establishment of monks, secluded from 
one another in cells except when at prayers or at 
meals; recluses who never go into the outer world 
at all. A Friary, on the contrary, is a convent whose 
inmates live in community and go forth to preach 
among the people. 

Monday. A term derived from Scandinavian mythology 
when, after the first day of the week given up to sun- 

232 Money makes Money — Mont Blanc 

worship, the second was set apart for the worship of 
the moon. 

Money makes Money. This is a truism which it were 
vain to deny. Without capital a man cannot possibly 
set up in business for himself, even as a costermonger. 
The command of money makes its possessor doubly 

Monger. This word enters into various designations of 
the trading community, such as Fishmonger, Coster- 
monger, being derived from the Anglo-Saxon mongere^ 
"one who trades." 

Monk. From the Greek monackos, " one who lives alone." 
See " Monastery." 

Monkey. From the Italian monicchio, the diminutive of 
monna y an ape. This word is often used as a verb 
— e.g. "Don't monkey about on there," meaning 
" Don't play about or be up to monkeyish pranks." 

Monkey Board. The platform at the back of an omnibus, 
so called on account of the capers usually indulged in 
by the conductor. On a vehicle of the old-fashioned 
kind this platform was so small that he had to jump off 
it in order to allow a passenger to enter or alight. 

Monk Lewis. The sobriquet of Matthew Gregory Lewis 
after he had published his celebrated novel, "The 
Monk," in 1795. 

Monmouth. The mouth of the Mon, the ancient descrip- 
tion of which was Mynwy, "the border river." 

Montague Place. This, like the street close by, received 
its name from Montague House, the town mansion of 
the Dukes of Montague, in which the treasures of the 
British Museum were at first deposited pending the 
erection of the present edifice. 

Montague Square. Like the street of the same name, this 
was designated in compliment to Mrs Montague of 
the "Blue Stocking Club," who after the death of her 
husband resided in Portman Square. 

Mont Blanc. French for "white mountain," because it 
is eternally snow-clad. 

Montenegro— Moravians 233 

Montenegro. Literally " black mountain." 

Montepulciano. A famous Italian wine produced at the 
ancient city of the same name. 

Montgomery. After Roger de Montgomery, Earl of 
Shrewsbury, who obtained forcible possession of the 
castle erected on the height by the Lord of the Marshes 
in the time of William the Conqueror. 

Montreal. So called from the admiring exclamation of 
Jacques Coutier, when in 1534 he viewed the sur- 
rounding country from its summit. The name is 
French for "Royal Mount." 

Montserrat. Expresses the Latin for a mountain serrated 
or jagged like a saw. 

Monumental City. Baltimore, so called on account of its 
one hundred and four churches, the obelisk, etc., 
which it contains. 

Moonshiners. The name given in the western states of 
America to illicit whisky distillers. 

Moonshine Whisky. American whisky distilled under 
cover of night by "Moonshiners." 

Moorfields. See " Moorgate Street." 

Moorgate Street. From the postern gate in the Roman 
Wall leading to the moor beyond the fen lands or 
marshes of Finsbury known as Moorfields. 

Moors. From the Latin mauri^ and Spanish moros, 
"black." Elsewhere denominated " Saracens," these 
Arab conquerors of the peninsula were called by the 
Spaniards "Moriscoes." 

Mop Fair. The name given to a fair held a few days 
after the periodical Statute Fair for the hiring of farm 
servants. The dregs of the Statute Fair are then 
mopped or swept up. 

Moravia. From the Morava, which name expresses a 
marsh or boundary river. 

Moravians. The followers of John Huss, driven out of 
Bohemia and Moravia by religious persecutions early 
in the eighteenth century. 

234 Morgan Horse — Moscow 

Morgan Horse. A favourite breed of American sporting 
horse descended from the animal owned by Justin 
Morgan, a schoolmaster of Randolph, Vermont, nearly 
a hundred years ago. 

Morgue. So far from denoting a mortuary, this term 
really means the inner wicket of a prison, where the 
identification marks of new arrivals are taken before 
they have their cells and tasks assigned to them. It 
is therefore not incorrectly applied to the place of 
public examination and identification of the unknown 

Morisonians. A religious sect which separated from the 
Scottish Presbyterians in 1841, under the leadership of 
James Morison. 

Mormons. A sect whose founder, Joseph Smith, claimed 
to have received a new revelation in "The Book of 
Mormon," written on gold plates by the angel Mormon, 
the last of the Hebrew line of prophets, in 1827. 

Mornington Crescent. After the Earl of Mornington, 
Governor-General of India, the brother of the Duke 
of Wellington. 

Morocco. The territory of the Moriscoes or " Moors." 

Morris Dance. An ancient military dance of the Moris- 
coes or Moors of Spain introduced to England by John 
of Gaunt after his return from that country, temp. 
Edward III. Hence the companions of the "Jack in 
the Green " at the May Day festival always blackened 
their faces, and disported themselves in extravagant 
costumes, imitative of the flowing robes of the original 
dancers. See " Maid Marian." 

Mortimer Street. After Edward Harley, Earl of Wigmore 
and Mortimer, landlord of the estate in 17 17. 

Mosaics. So called because such inlaid work of stones 
was originally employed in the pavements of the 
temples of the Muses. The word is French mosaique, 
derived from the same Greek root as Museum. 

Moscow. From the River Moskwa, on which the city was 

Moselle— Mother Red Cap 235 

Moselle. Wines produced at the vineyards on the banks 
of the French river of the same name. 

Moslem. From the Arabic Muslim, "true believer," 
through Salama, "to submit." This term expresses 
the plural of " Mussulman " among the Persians. By 
the Turks "true believers" are styled "Moslemin." 
There is no such word as " Mussulmen " or " Mussul- 

Mosquito. From the Spanish mosca, a fly. 

Mosquito Coast. A territory in Central America which, 
on account of its climate and the swampy nature of 
the land, is infested by mosquitoes. 

Mothering Sunday. The Sunday in Mid-Lent when the 
members of a family in domestic service visit their 
parents and enjoy "Mothering Cakes" for tea. 
These cakes had their origin in offerings made to the 
" Mother Church " on the afternoon on this day. 

Mother Black Cap. A public-house sign in Camden 
Town set up in opposition to the " Mother Red Cap" 
over the way. There never was a noted character of 
this name. 

Mother of Believers. The name bestowed by Moham- 
medans upon Ayesha, the favourite wife of "The 
Prophet," styled "The Father of Believers." Moham- 
med himself declared that Ayesha was the only member 
of his family who cherished the slightest faith in his 
mission. His preference for his second wife, therefore, 
can be readily understood. 

Mother of Presidents. Virginia, on account of the many 

Presidents which this state has given to the American 

Mother of South-Western Statesmen. Tennessee, from 

the seventeen eminent Congressmen which this state 

has given to the Union. 

Mother of States. Virginia, the pioneer British colony in 

the New World. 
Mother Red Cap. An omnibus stage in Camden Town, 

236 Mother Shipton — Muff 

the sign of which perpetuates the memory of a notorious 
London poisoner during the Commonwealth. 

Mother Shipton. A noted hostelry at Haverstock Hill, 
built when the prophecies of this Welsh sorceress were 
the common talk of the day. Some of her less baneful 
predictions were actually verified ; notably those as to 
ships ploughing the ocean without sails and vehicles 
careering along the road without horses. Is it 
possible that she had the motor car in her mind ? 

Moulin Rouge. Expresses the French for " Red Mill." 

Mound City. St Louis, on account of the numerous 
artificial mounds occupying its site at the time when 
the city was built. 

Mountain. The extremists of the Democratic party in 
France during the Reign of Terror, so called because 
they occupied the elevated benches in the House of 

Mountain Dew. An Irishman's term for whisky, because 
it was often secretly distilled among the mountains in 
order to escape excise duty ; hence the expression : 
11 A drop o' the cratur." 

Mount Street. On a natural mound the Parliamentary 
forces here erected a fort or bastion when the Royalists 
were expected to make an attack upon London from 
the west. 

Mrs Grundy. A term expressive of the prudishness of the 
English character. It arose out of the line: "What 
will Mrs Grundy say ? " in Thomas Morton's drama, 
"Speed the Plough," produced in 1798. 

Mudlarks. The nickname of the Royal Engineers, whose 
function it is to throw up entrenchments. 

Muff. This term was at first applied to an effeminate 
dandy who at one time, like the ladies, carried a muff 
to keep his hands warm in winter. This incapacitated 
him from defending himself with his sword against 
an unexpected attack at the hands of a street bully, and 
hence, as now, a muff was easily taken advantage of, 
or likely to become a prey to the sharp-witted. 

Muff Dogs— Munster Road 237 

Muff Dogs. Small dogs carried by ladies in their muffs 
during the seventeenth century. A " muff dog " 
figures in an engraving by Hollar. 

Mug. Slang for a man's face. This arose out of the rude 
portraiture of Lord Shaftesbury or some other political 
celebrity which from the time of the Restoration to the 
middle of the eighteenth century adorned the yellow 
chinaware beer mugs at an alehouse, or Mug-House 
as it was called. These Mug-Houses were the first 
political clubs ; out of them sprang the popular " Free 
and Easies " of modern times, and more recently the 
Music Halls. 

Muggletonians. A religious sect headed by Ludovic 
Muggleton, a tailor, who proclaimed himself a prophet, 
in 1651. 

Mugwump. An Indian word for " wise chief." The Mug- 
wumps of North America are the Democrats, whose 
political aims are above cliques or parties ; therefore 
they refuse to be influenced by a " Caucus." 

Mulatto. From the Spanish mulato, a mixed breed, through 
mulo, a mule, the offspring of a white and a Negro. 

Mumm. A strong German beer named after Christian 
Mumme, who first brewed it. 

Mummer. Slang for an actor. This old English term, 
derived from the German mumme, a mask, was applied 
to the performers in a Christmas masque or buffoonery. 

Mummock. An Americanism for handle, disarrange, or 
play with — e.g. " Don't mummock things about." The 
word is really obsolete provincial English for " maul." 

Munich. From the German monchen, monks. On the spot 
where the city stands some monks built a warehouse for 
the salt which they obtained in the neighbourhood. 
In the twelfth century Henry the Lion made this 
Villa Minichen, as it was then called, into a mint, and 
a town grew up around it. 

Munster Road. From Munster House, the residence of 
Melesina Schulenberg, created Duchess of Munster 
by George II. 

238 Munster Square — Mutoscope 

Minister Square. In honour of the eldest son of William 
IV., created Earl of Munster. 

Murphies. Potatoes, the chief articles of consumption 

among the Irish peasantry. This term is current also 

in America. 
Muscadel. French and Italian win^;, so called from the 

Italian muscado, musk, nutmeg. Variants of this name 

are Muscatel and Muscadine. 

Muscatels. Raisins exported from Muscat in the Gulf of 
Oman, Arabia. 

Muscovy Duck. A corruption of " Musk duck," a species 
larger than the common duck. 

Mush. An Americanism for an umbrella. 

Musical Comedy Artiste. The new pet name for a 
chorus girl. 

Musical Small-Coal Man. The lifelong sobriquet of 
Thomas Britton of Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell, 
where was his coal shed. He inaugurated Thursday 
evening concerts, that attracted fashionable enthusiasts 
from the West End. This worthy, though he earned 
his livelihood by crying small coals in the street, was a 
scholar, a musician, and a companion of gentlemen. 

Muslin. Called by the French Mousse/ine, from Mosul in 
Asiatic Turkey, whence during the Middle Ages this 
fabric was sent to supply all the markets of Europe. 

Muss. An Americanism for "mess," used in the sense of 
a confusion or disorder. It is used also to imply a 
squabble or a reprimand — e.g. " I got into a dreadful 
muss this morning." 

Mussulman. See "Moslem." 

Muswell Hill. Properly "Mustwell Hill," from the Latin 
mustus, fresh. On this hill there was discovered an 
ancient well of clear, fresh water, that belonged to the 
prior of St John's Clerkenwell and Highbury, who had 
a dairy farm hereabouts. 

Mutes. See "Undertaker." 

Mutoscope. A modern peep show, in which the figures 

Myddleton Square — Nanny Goats 239 

move; living pictures, so called from the Latin 
mutatis, to change, and the Greek skopein, to view. 

Myddleton Square. After Sir Hugh Myddleton, who at 
his own cost embarked upon the ruinous enterprise of 
constructing the New River from Chadwell in Hertford- 
shire, nearly forty miles distant, to London. One of 
the reservoirs occupies the enclosed portion of this 

My Eye. An exclamation signifying "You dazzle me," 
"You make me blink with astonishment." Its 
American equivalent is briefly " My ! " 

My Lady Nicotine. The pretty name now generally 
applied to tobacco since the republication in book 
form of J. M. Barrie's essays on smoking which 
originally appeared in the St James's Gazette. See 
" Nicotine." 

Mythology. From the Greek muthos, a fable, and logos, a 
discourse. This was essentially a religion built upon 

My Uncle. The popular designation of a pawnbroker. 
See " Uncle." 


Nailed. Slang for "caught," in allusion to being pinned 
down by the captors. Also a thing seized and made 
off with ; a punning reference to " driving " a nail. 

Naked Possessor. The Far West description of the 
possessor of a piece of land for a long period without 
a legal title to it. He is the naked possessor because 
his title is not clothed in a set form of words recog- 
nised by the Courts of Law. 

Nankeen. Cotton stuff originally made at Nankin, in 

Nankin. Expresses the Chinese for "Southern Capital." 

Nanny Goats. The nickname of the 23rd Foot on 
account of their regimental pet goat. 

240 Nantes — Neckerchief 

Nantes. A native brandy exported from Nantes in 
Brittany. The name is the Celtic for "valley." 

Nap. A game of cards, originally named after Napoleon I. 

Naples. Called by the Greeks Neapolis, "New City." 
The ancient name is better expressed when speaking 
of the inhabitants as "Neapolitans." 

Napoleon. A gold coin of France issued during the 
Consulate of Napoleon Bonaparte. This superseded 
the "Louis d'Or." 

Narcissus. This flower is fabled to have sprung up on the 
spot where the beautiful Grecian youth so called died 
of love-sickness. 

Naso. The nickname given to Ovid on account of the 
length of his nose; hence "Ovidius Naso." 

Nassau Street. After the royal House of Nassau, to which 
William III., as Prince of Orange, belonged. 

Natal. So called because the Portuguese navigator Vasco 
di Gama landed upon its shores on Christmas Day, or 
the Feast of the Nativity, 1498. 

Nation. An Americanism for "damnation." 

National Democrats. Those in the United States whose 
principles are national as opposed to sect or party. 

Navvy. Originally the name of a labourer employed in 
the construction of canals for inland navigation. An 
alehouse set up beside one of the earliest canals bore 
the sign of the "Navigation Inn," and those who fre- 
quented it were called Navigators. This term soon 
became shortened into Navvies. 

Nazarenes. Semi-converted Jews who, while nominally 
Christians, believed "Jesus of Nazareth" to be the 
long-promised Messiah, and still conformed to the rites 
and ceremonies prescribed by the Jewish law. 

Nebraska. Indian for " water valley." This fertile region 
is traversed by several shallow rivers. 

Neckerchief. A kerchief for the neck. See " Handker- 

Neckwear — New Brunswick 241 

Neckwear. An American term for neckties, scarves, or 

Needle in a Bottle of Hay. See " Bottle of Hay." 

Needle's Eye. The postern gate in the wall of an Eastern 
city, so called because with some difficulty a camel is 
able to thread its way through it. 

Negus. Hot spiced wine, originally concocted by Colonel 
Negus in the reign of Queen Anne. 

Nemesis. From the goddess of vengeance, who bore this 

Nepaul Paper. India paper made in the district of 

Nepaul, Northern India. The original India paper 

came from the Far East. 

Nest Egg. The nucleus of a banking account, so called 
because if a china egg be placed in a hen's nest it is 
an inducement for her to lay eggs of her own there. 
When a person has a trifle put by he is anxious to 
increase it. 

Nestorians. A sect of heretics of the fifth century under 
Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Netherlands. Literally the Low Countries, now comprised 
in the kingdom of Holland. 

Netop. Indian for "my friend." In saluting a friendly 
Indian a white in North America always makes use 
of this word. 

Nevada. Spanish for "snowy," in allusion to the snow- 
clad mountain ridges of this state. 

New Amsterdam. The name given by the Dutch settlers 
to their colony at the mouth of the Hudson River, 
now " New York." 

New Bond Street. See " Bond Street." 

New Bridge Street. Leads to Westminster Bridge, 
opened in 1862. This name was chosen in contra- 
distinction to Bridge Street, Blackfriars. 

New Brunswick. On assuming its independence of Nova 
Scotia in 1784 this British colony was named after the 
House of Brunswick. 


242 New Burlington St. — Newgate St. 

New Burlington Street. See " Burlington Street." 

Newcastle-under-Lyme. The name of the river on which 
the town stands is the Lyne, not the Lyme. To take 
the place of an ancient castle at Chesterton-under- 
Lyne a new castle was built in this neighbourhood, 
but of such a stronghold no vestige now remains. 

Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Originally Moncaster or Monk- 
chester, so called from a colony of monks on the site 
of a Roman camp. Robert, Duke of Normandy, the 
son of William the Conqueror, built a castle here for 
the defence of the town against the incursions of the 
Scots. This castle was afterwards rebuilt by William 
II. ; whereupon the town assumed the title of New- 

New Cavendish Street. See " Cavendish Square." 

New Compton Street. See "Compton Street." 

New Christians. Portuguese Jews of the fifteenth cen- 
tury who, having embraced Christianity under com- 
pulsion, secretly conformed to the Mosaic rites and 

New Cross. The district which grew up around an old 
coaching-house, " The Golden Cross," afterwards re- 
built, and renamed "The New Cross." 

New England. The collective name given to the six 
eastern states of the American Union — Maine, New 
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 
and Connecticut — because the people are descended 
from the Puritans of England and Scotland, and 
therefore may be regarded as the only true " Yankees." 

Newfoundland. The name bestowed by Sebastian Cabot 
upon all the new land that he discovered, but now con- 
fined to this British possession. 

Newfoundland Dog. A native breed of dog from New- 

Newgate Street. From the newest of the city gates, first 
alluded to in history in 1207. The gateway having 
for centuries been used for the confinement of debtors, 

New Hampshire — New Spain 243 

it gave its name to the prison erected on its south side. 
The gloomy edifice which has been demolished within 
the last few years dated from 1782, after the burning 
of its predecessor by the Gordon rioters in 1780. 

New Hampshire. This state having been granted to 
Captain John Mason, he in 1629 named it after his 
native county in England. 

New Holland. The name given to what is now Australia 
by its Dutch settlers in 1606 after their Mother 

Newington. Expresses the new settlement in the meadow. 
Newington Butts. The site of the archery butts in South 

London corresponding to those of Moorfields in the 


Newington Causeway. This was the first road or causeway 
across the swampy fields of South London beyond the 

New Jersey. In honour of Sir George Cartaret, the 
gallant defender of Jersey Island against the Parlia- 
mentary forces in 1664. 

Newman Street. After the builder on the site. 

New Orleans. The name given to the French settlement 
in the New World after the city in the Mother Country. 

New Pye Street. See " New Way." 

New Scotland Yard. The new headquarters of the 
Metropolitan Police, occupying a site which has not 
the slightest connection with its name, and devoid 
of all historic interest further than that its foundations 
were laid for a Metropolitan Opera House, the building 
of which went no further. With the transference of 
the Police Department from " Scotland Yard " the old 
name was retained. 

New Southgate. The modern residential district in the 
vicinity of the entrance to the enclosed hunting 
ground extending northward to Enfield, anciently 
known as Enfield Chase. 

New Spain. The name given by Cortes to " Mexico." 

244 News-stand — Nicotine 

News-stand. An Americanism for a railway bookstall. 

New Way. A modern extension of Old and New Pye 
Streets, named after Sir Robert Pye, who had his resi- 
dence on its site. 

New Woman. A term which came into vogue during the 
early days of the modern bicycling craze. The New 
Woman disported herself abroad in knickerbockers, 
and generally made herself ridiculous in the eyes of 
all sensible men. Latterly she has returned to the 
obscurity whence she sprang. 

New York. Originally New Amsterdam. When taken 
from the Dutch in 1664 it received the name it now 
bears in compliment to the Duke of York, afterwards 
James II. 

New Zealand. Named by the Dutch after their native 
Zeeland, or "Sea-land," of the Low Countries. 

Niagara. From the Indian On-aw-garah> " the thunder of 

Nicaragua. So called by Gil Gonzales de Avila in 152 1, 
after a Haytian chief called Nicaro, who gave him a 
friendly reception on the shores of the lake, which also 
bears this name. 

Nicholas Lane. After the wealthy banker, Sir Nicholas 
Throgmorton, who also gave his name to Throgmorton 

Nickel. An American five-cent piece, so called because it 
is coined out of nickel silver. 

Nick of the Woods. The first word in this American 
designation is a corruption of "neck," denoting a 
settlement or habitation in the wooded regions of the 
south-western states. 

Nicotiana. The tobacco-producing regions of the United 
States. See " Nicotine." 

Nicotine. After Jean Nicot, who introduced tobacco, 
which he had purchased at Lisbon, into France in 

Nigger — Nine Tailors make a Man 245 

Nigger. A corruption of Negro, which term is derived 
from the Latin niger, " black." 

Nightcap. Since everyone in the days of our grand- 
fathers wore a nightcap, and fancied he could not 
go to sleep without one, so the modern substitute is 
a glass of spirits just before retiring, with a view to 
making him feel drowsy ; hence such a drink is 
called a " nightcap." 

Nightingale. Literally a bird that sings in the night. 

Nihilist. Originally a member of a Russian society whose 
members recognised no law save their own happiness. 
They sought to annihilate all ideas of God and 
government, as also of the rights of property. These 
ultra-Socialists sprang into existence in 1848. 

Nimrod. Charles James Apperley, the sporting con- 
tributor to The Quarterly Review, and author of "The 
Chase, The Turf, and The Road," adopted this 
pseudonym after Nimrod, the son of Cush, who is 
mentioned in Genesis x. 9 as the "mighty hunter 
before the Lord." 

Nincompoop. A dull-witted person, so called from the 
Latin phrase non compos mentis, "of unsound mind." 

Nine Days' Wonder. Puppies and kittens remaining 
blind for nine days after birth, they are during this 
period a subject of much wonder to the young members 
of the household. A sensational event or a piece of 
public scandal arouses uncommon interest for a few 
days, and then it gradually subsides. 

Nine Elms. From nine fine elm-trees on this portion 
of the south bank of the Thames. 

Nine Tailors make a Man. The second word in this 
expression is a corruption of Tellers. A " Teller " 
was in olden times a stroke of the "passing bell" of 
the parish church. Three tellers gave warning of the 
death of a child, six of a woman, and nine of a man. 
As the parishioners counted the strokes they would 
say : " Nine tellers make a man." 

246 Ninny — No Hat Brigade 

Ninny. Short for "Nincompoop." In America this term 
is generally thought to be derived from " Pickaninny." 

Niphon. The native name of "Japan." 

Nipped in the Bud. While a flower is in the bud it may 
be destroyed by a mere nip of the fingers. Afterwards 
its leaves would have to be plucked separately. To 
curb mischief or a bad habit at the very commence- 
ment is therefore the easier plan. 

Nipper. Originally in thieves' slang a boy trained to 
pick purses and pockets, and nip off unobserved; 
hence the expression " A Young Nipper." 

Nitrate King. The sobriquet of the late Colonel J. T. 
North, who amassed a fortune by the nitrate industry 
in South America. 

Nob. Short for " noble " or " nobleman." From University 
slang the term has come to imply among the vulgar 
anyone of aristocratic pretensions. 

Noctes Ambrosianse. A characteristic feature of Black- 
wood 's Magazine in its early days. This, " The Am- 
brosial Nights," was contributed as a regular series by 
Professor Wilson, being for the most part the actual 
conversations of the author, John Gibson Lockhart, 
and Mr Blackwood at a small Edinburgh tavern kept 
by one Ambrose. Although Hogg, the Ettrick 
Shepherd, also figured in those dialogues, he was not 
present at the meetings. 

Nocturne. A quiet, dreamy species of musical composition, 
suggestive, as its name denotes, of peaceful night. 

Noddy. A kind of jaunting car peculiar to Dublin, so 
called because its jolting motion makes its riders nod 
their heads. 

No Flies on me. An Americanism expressive of in- 
dividual energy. The meaning is : "I am so active 
that no flies can ever settle on me." 

No Hat Brigade. Modern faddists who walk abroad bare- 
headed and shelter themselves against the elements 
under an umbrella. 

Nonconformists — North Britain 247 

Nonconformists* Those ministers of the Church of 
England who refused to subscribe or conform to the 
"Act of Conformity," and thereby lost their livings. 
The term is now generally applied to all Dissenting 

No Quarter. When the battle cry of "No Quarter," 
consequent on an order, goes forth, no lives are spared 
by the victors. To give quarter means to spare the 
vanquished. This had its origin in ancient European 
warfare, when, by way of earning prize-money, a soldier 
refrained from dealing the death blow to a fallen foe 
on condition of receiving a quarter of the latter's pay. 

Norfolk. The northern of the two districts or counties on 
the east coast settled by the Angles, the north folk 
and south folk respectively. 

Norfolk Howards. An excess of refinement has caused 
this term to be substituted for bugs. This originated 
in the action of Joshua Bugg of the Swan Tavern, 
Norwich, who by deed poll, as advertised in The Times 
26th June 1862, changed his name to Norfolk 
Howard. In America all beetles are commonly 
styled bugs. 

Norfolk Street. From the town house and grounds of 
the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel 
and Surrey. 

Norland Square. Built on the site of Norland House, the 
residence of one of the Drummonds, bankers of 
Charing Cross, temp. William IV. 

Normandy. The country peopled by the Northmen or 

Northampton. Anciently described as "Northavontown," 
having been built on the north of the River Avon, 
now called the Nen. 

North Audley Street. See M Audley Street." 

North Britain. Scotland. In conjunction with England 
and Wales it becomes Great Britain. 

248 North Pole— Nosey 

North Pole. A tavern sign in Wardour Street up at the 
time when Captain Parry's Arctic Expedition was the 
common topic of interest. 

North Star State. Minnesota, so called on account of its 
northern situation in the Union and the motto on its 
arms: "L'Etoile du Nord." 

Northumberland. The north-east portion of that vast 
tract of land described as " Northumbria," because 
situated north of the River Humber under the 

Northumberland Alley. This name in Fenchurch Street 
is reminiscent of the original town house of the Dukes 
of Northumberland before they took up their residence 
at Charing Cross in 1607. 

Northumberland Avenue. From Northumberland House, 
the town mansion of the Dukes of Northumberland, 
demolished in 1874 to make way for this fine broad 

Norton Folgate. A corruption of "Northern Falgate"; 
expressive of the fine barred gate leading from Bishops- 
gate without the city limits into the open fields. 

Norway. Called in the native tongue Nordrike^ "the 
north kingdom." This country was long thought to be 
wholly surrounded by water, on which account it re- 
ceived the name of Nordee^ " north island." This the 
Saxons modified in JVbrea, and later Norway. 

Norwich. So called from the castle erected by the East 
Anglian kings asa" North wic," or northern fortified 
village, relative to Caistor, to resist the invasion of the 

Norwood. This was formerly the northern portion of the 
vast wooded district situated between London and 

None of my Funeral. An American mode of saying 
11 Nothing to do with me," or " It's no affair of mine." 
Being an Americanism, the expression is devoid of 

Nosey. The nickname borne by Cervetto, the violoncellist 

Nothing succeeds— Not worth a Rap 249 

of Drury Lane Theatre, and John Wilson, the painter, 
both of whom had exceptionally long noses. The 
Duke of Wellington was also popularly referred to 
under this name by his soldiers on account of his 
Roman nose. 

Nothing succeeds like Success. When a man is success- 
ful the world bows before him. Each fresh enterprise 
is crowned with success, because there is an abiding 
public faith in the man who has made money or hit 
the popular taste. His intrinsic merits may be no 
greater than those of the poor devil who has syste- 
matically failed ; yet what he lacks himself he readily 
finds in his subordinates, whom he can afford to pay, 
while the credit is all his own. 

Notions. An Americanism for small wares or trifles in 
regard to dress. 

Not much. An Americanism for "of no consequence." 

Not quite the Cheese. A saying which originated with 
those who insisted on being served with prime Stilton 
or double Glo'ster. 

Nottingham. Called by the Anglo-Saxons Snottengaham, 
"a place of caves." The name is partly Celtic, and 
little doubt exists that the Britons made their habita- 
tions in the caverns with which this county abounds. 

Nottingham Place. After the county estates of the Duke 
of Portland, the great ground landlord. A goodly 
portion of Sherwood Forest is included in this ducal 

Notting Hill. Properly " Knolton Barn Hill," the ancient 
description of a manor of the De Veres, which in the 
time of Henry VIII. was held by Robert Fenroper, an 
alderman of the city of London. 

Not worth a Dam. See " Don't care a Dam." 

Not worth a Rap. A rap was an Irish copper coin 
issued early in the eighteenth century to supply a long- 
felt need for very small money. Nominally worth a 
halfpenny, its metal was so thin and base that it 

250 Not worth a Song — Nutcrack Night 

never passed for more than a farthing. Its infinitesimal 
value consequently gave rise to this expression. 

Not worth a Song. A song is worth nothing at all after 
its popularity has waned. The good old songs live on 
account of their intrinsic merits, but they were not 
pushed into public favour by adventitious methods at 
the time of publication. Those of our day are ground 
out of street pianos and sung everywhere for a brief 
season, then heard no more. 

Nova Scotia. This name, expressive of " New Scotland," 
was bestowed upon the island by Sir William Alexander, 
a Scotsman, to whom James I. granted a charter of 
colonisation in 162 1. 

Nova Zembla. From the Slavonic Nowaja Zemlja^ "new 

November. From novem, nine, the ninth month of the 

Roman calendar when the year commenced with 


Noyau. Expresses the French for the stone or nut of a 
fruit; hence the name given to a cordial flavoured 
with the kernel of the bitter almond or peach stone. 

Nun. From the Italian nonna, a grandmother. Those 
who retired into convents originally were aged women. 
It was only in modern times that seminaries for girls 
were established in convents ; this opened the way to 
maidens becoming deeply imbued with religious ideas 
and secluding themselves from the world by taking the 

Nunhead. From a tea garden and holiday resort known 
to Londoners as " The Nun's Head " ever since the 
days of James I. 

Nutcrackers. The 3rd Foot, so called because they 
boasted of having broken the heads of the Polish 
Lancers at the battle of Albuera. 

Nutcrack Night. Another name for All Hallows' Eve, 
when nuts are laid on the fire bars to crack, as a relic 
of an ancient kind of divination. 

Nutmeg State— Octroi 251 

Nutmeg State. Connecticut, whose people were believed 
to manufacture wooden nutmegs for exportation. 

Oak Apple Day. Another name for Royal Oak Day 
(29th May), when people formerly wore oak leaves or 
oak apples in their hats to commemorate the manner 
in which the partisans of Charles II. welcomed his 
return to England on his birthday, 1651. This was, of 
course, in allusion to his concealment in an oak-tree 
near Boscobel House, Shropshire, after the battle of 
Worcester, on 3rd September previous. 

Oakley Square. After Oakley House, near Bedford, one 
of the country seats of the Duke of Bedford, the 
ground landlord. 

Oaks Stakes. So called from a Lodge or Club-House 
built among the oaks by the Hunters' Club, and 
afterwards converted into an inn, known as " Lambert's 
Oaks," after the name of its landlord. 

Obiter Scripta. Latin for a thing written in passing, a 
note by the way. 

Observants. The name borne by those monastic orders 
whose members adhere to the strict rule laid down by 
their pious founders in contradistinction to others 
styled " Conventuals," who, like the secular clergy, take 
upon themselves the performance of parochial duties. 

Obstropulous. A corruption of the word " obstreperous," 
inclined to quarrelling. 

Ocean Greyhound. A fast Atlantic steamer belonging to 
one of the great lines. 

Octavo. A sheet of printing paper which, when folded and 
cut, makes eight leaves or sixteen pages. 

October. The eighth month of the Roman calendar when 
the year began with March. 

Octroi. The name given to a toll or tax levied upon 

252 Odder— Off the Hooks 

market produce passing through the gates of a town. 
It comes from the Latin auctoritas^ authority. 

Odder. Colloquial for one who obtains a livelihood by 
doing odd jobs. 

Oddfellows. This friendly society originated with five 
Manchester shoemakers who in 1812 were accustomed 
to meet after the day's work. It having occurred to 
one of them how his family would fare if, through 
sickness, he should be unable to follow his occupation, 
and thinking it would be wise to make some provision 
against such a contingency, he proposed that each of 
them should subscribe a few pence weekly towards a 
common sick fund. The idea was at once t^ken up. 
They called themselves Oddfellows because they num- 
bered five. Others soon joined the little society, and 
from these humble beginnings it grew into a powerful 

Odd rot it. A perversion of the Crusaders' curse : " God 
rot them!" meaning the Saracens, the enemies of 

Odds Bodkins. A perversion of " God's Body," in 
allusion to the Eucharist. This oath was not con- 
sidered profane during the Ages of Faith. 

Odds Fish. A favourite exclamation of Charles II. It 
was a corruption of "God's Flesh," or the Body of 

Odds Splutter. A corruption of the Dutch oath Gofs 
plut, " God's Blood," introduced into England during 
the reign of William III. 

Odd Zounds. A corruption of "God's Wounds." See 

Off Colour. To look pale and sickly. 

Off the Hooks. An expression meaning "beyond hope 
of requisition for further service," " completely done 
for," whether on the score of chronic ill health, lunacy, 
or old age. This originally had reference to the 
Maypole stored away in Shaft Alley, Leadenhall Street, 
and perhaps other Maypoles elsewhere of post-Reforma- 

Ohio— Old Catholics 253 

tion days. As long as it rested " on the hooks " there 
was a likelihood of its being once more called into 
service. See " St Andrew Undershaft." 

Ohio. Indian for " beautiful." 

O.K. This arose out of an Irishman's endorsement for 
goods passed by him, as he would have spelt out the 
words "Orl Korrect." 

Old Bags. The nickname of Lord Eldon, because he 
always carried about with him, in separate brief bags, 
the cases on which he had to pass judgment. 

Old Bailey. From the Latin balUum, a rampart, through 
the French bailie. The term "Bailey" expressed the 
open space or court between a castle and the em- 
battlements. Seeing that Lud Gate stood in line with 
this street at its southern extremity, there must have 
been a keep or fortification behind the Roman Wall 
where the Sessions House came to be built. The name 
was therefore retained after the wall was demolished. 

Old Bold Fifth. The 5th Fusiliers, which regiment has 
distinguished itself for valorous deeds in many cam- 

Old Bond Street. See " Bond Street." 

Old Broad Street. With the exception of Cheapside, 
this was the widest thoroughfare in Old London, all 
the others being similar to what Old Change is at the 
present day. During Elizabeth's reign Old Broad 
Street constituted the residence of the wealthiest 

Old Buffer. The colloquial term for a short, thick-set 
elderly man, whose big paunch suggests a railway 

Old Bullion. See " Bullion State." 

Old Burlington Street. See " Burlington Street." 

Old Carthusians. Old scholars of the " Charter House." 

Old Catholics. The followers in Germany of the late 
Dr Dollinger, who separated from the Roman Catholic 

254 Old Cavendish Street — Old Hickory 

Communion after the promulgation of the dogma of 
Papal Infallibility in 1870. 

Old Cavendish Street. See " Cavendish Square." 

Old Change. So called from "The King's Exchange," 
where the bullion was anciently stored prior to being 
sent to the shearers or clippers at the neighbouring 
Mint. See "Sermon Lane." 

Old Charlies. See " Charlies." 

Old Christmas Day. Twelfth Day, because, according to 
the old style calendar, Christmas Day fell on what is 
now 6th January. 

Old Compton Street. See "Compton Street." 

Old Dominion. Virginia, on account of its documentary 
description, " the Colony and Dominion of Virginia." 

Old England. This term was first applied to the Mother 
Country after the colonisation of New England in 
North America. 

Old Fogey. A term derived from the Danish fjog, a stupid 

old man, one in his dotage. 
Old Fox. The sobriquet of Marshal Soult on account 

of his strategic cunning. 
Old Grog. The nickname of Admiral Edward Vernon, 

who always wore a grogram clock in foul weather. 

Old Harry. A corruption of " Old Hairy," as applied to 

the Devil. 
Oldham. Expresses the old home or settlement. 

Old Hat. A country tavern sign which must have been 
the original when the same premises was devoted to 
some other business, in days characterised by the 
display of signs by tradesmen generally. 

Old Hickory. "Hickory" is an Americanism used ad- 
jectively for anyone who is tough, obstinate, or hard, 
after the tree of the same name. General Andrew 
Jackson merited the nickname of " Old Hickory " from 
his own soldiers on account of his tough, unyielding 
disposition. Its origin is thus explained by Parton, 

Old Jewry — Old Quebec Street 255 

the author of the President's " Life" : "The name of 
' Old Hickory ' was not an instantaneous inspiration, 
but a growth. First of all, the remark was made by 
some soldier, who was struck with his commander's 
pedestrian powers, that the General was tough. Next 
it was observed that he was as tough as hickory. Then 
he was called 'Hickory.' Lastly, the affectionate 
'Old' was prefixed, and the General thenceforth 
rejoiced in the completed nickname, usually the first- 
won honour of a great commander." 

Old Jewry. The original Jewish quarter of the city of 
London. See " Jewin Street." 

Old Kent Road. The South London portion of the 
Roman highway to Dover. 

Old Lady of Threadneedle Street. The popular name of 
the Bank of England. There is a tradition that towards 
the end of the eighteenth century a demented old lady 
wandered up and down Threadneedle Street day by day 
for a long period until she suddenly disappeared. It 
was generally assumed that this old lady of Threadneedle 
Street must have been waiting for someone who had 
passed into the Bank, and, according to her idea, 
never came out again. When, therefore, in 1797 the 
Bank threatened a temporary stoppage of payment, and 
one-pound notes were issued, John Gilray, the artist, 
published a caricature entitled "The Old Lady of 
Threadneedle Street in Danger." Since that time the 
Bank has been colloquially referred to by this title. 

Old Line State. Maryland, whose famous regiment, the 
Old Maryland Line, saved the prestige of the army 
when Lord Cornwallis's Grenadiers broke the 
American lines at Loughland. 

Old North State. North Carolina, from its relative 
position to South Carolina. 

Old Paulines. Old scholars of St Paul's School. 

Old Pye Street. See " New Way." 

Old Quebec Street. Laid out and built upon soon after 
the capture of Quebec by General Wolfe in 1759. 

256 Old Rep— Oof 

Old Rep. Short for " Old Reprobate." 

Old Rowley. A sobriquet of Charles II., from the name 
of his favourite race-horse. 

Old Rye. A United States term for old whisky distilled 

from rye. 
Old Salt. An old sailor who has sniffed the brine of the 

ocean from his youth. 

Old Scotland Yard. See " Scotland Yard." 

Old Soldiers. An Americanism for cigar-ends, because 
they are the remnants of the originals that have done 
good service. 

Old Sport. An Americanism for a broken-down gambler. 

Old Tom. The name first given to gin by Thomas 
Norris, who, after having long been employed in the 
distillery of Messrs Hodges, opened a gin palace in 
Covent Garden, and perpetuated the affectionate name 
of " Old Tom Chamberlain," his former master. 

Old Toughs. The nickname of the 103rd Foot, merited 
during the Indian Mutiny. 

Old Woman. In stage parlance an actress who plays old 
women's parts. A fine distinction is, however, drawn 
between "old women" and what are called "Aristo- 
cratic Old Women." 

On the Tapis. Tapis is French for a carpet; expressive 
also of the cloth or kind of tapestry which covered the 
table in the Council Chamber when French was the 
language spoken at the English Court. 

On the Tenterhooks. To have one's curiosity fully 
aroused; on the tiptop of expectation. The phrase 
has been derived from the mode of tentering or 
stretching cloth upon hooks after it is woven. 

On the Tiptoe of Expectation. A phrase derived from 
the crowds awaiting a public procession. As soon as 
the music is heard everyone stands on tiptoe, and 
looks in the direction whence the sounds proceed. 

Oof. A slang term for " money " ; derived from the 

Olive Branches — Orange Peel 257 

legendary " Oof Bird," which from the Latin, ovum, an 
egg, traces its origin to the goose with the golden eggs. 

Olive Branches. A man's children are so designated from 
the Biblical simile in Psalm cxxviii. 3 : " Thy wife shall 
be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house : thy 
children like olive plants round about thy table." 

011a Podrida. A Spanish term for a mixture of meat and 
vegetables collected in a common pot for cooking as 
required. In a literary sense it signifies a miscellany 
of short productions. The French equivalent for the 
term is pot-pourri, which is also employed figuratively. 

Omnibus. The dative Latin plural of omnes, all. In a 
public vehicle of this kind there is room for many, 
without class distinction. 

One-horse. A term used adjectively for anything mean or 
insignificant. This figure of speech is derived from 

Oneida. Indian for " people of the beacon stone." 

Ontario. From the Indian Onontae, which expresses "the 
village on the mountain," whence the tribe of the 
Onondagas derive their name. 

On this Side of Jordan. An Americanism for "in this 

life" or "in this world." 
Opal. From the Sanskrit opula, through the Latin opa/us, 

a precious stone. 

Oporto. Portuguese for " the harbour." 

Orange Lilies. The 35th Foot, so called on account of 
the facings on their uniform. 

Orangemen. The Protestants in the northern provinces 
of Ireland, so called on account of their adherence 
to William III., Prince of Orange, in opposition to 
the " Jacobites " or the adherents of the Stuart king, 
James II. 

Orange Peel. One of the nicknames of Sir Robert Peel, 
owing to his strong anti-Catholic spirit. See " Orange- 


258 Orange River — Oriel College 

Orange River. This, the largest river in South Africa, 
received its name from the colour of its waters when 
in flood. 

Orange River Free State. This name was given by the 
" Boers " to what is now British territory in South Africa 
because its early settlers were also emigrants from the 
principality of Orange in Holland. Its new title is 
the Orange River Colony. 

Orange Street. In compliment to William III., Prince of 

Orator Henley. The sobriquet of John Henley, an 
English divine who in 1726 attracted large and 
fashionable congregations in a so-called "Oratory "or 
chapel in Newport Market. 

Oratorio. A term derived from the fact that the first 
sacred musical dramas or cantatas were performed in 
the Church of the Oratorians, which religious Order 
was founded by St Philip Nero at Rome in 1540. 

Orchard Street. Off Portman Square, after Orchard Port- 
man, one of the country seats of the Portmans in 
Somersetshire. At Westminster, from the ancient 
orchard belonging to the Abbey. 

Orchestra. A Greek term applied to the place in the 
theatre allotted to the chorus of the dancers. Among 
the moderns it expresses the place assigned to the 

Orchid. From the Greek orchis, a testicle, which the root 
of this plant resembles. 

Oregon. From the Spanish Oregano, "wild majorum," 
which grows abundantly in this state. 

Orellana. The original name of the "Amazon" River, 
after its navigator. 

Oriel College. This college at Oxford was built in 1326 
by Adam de Brome, the Almoner of Edward II., and 
called by him St Mary's College. A few years later 
Edward III. added to its revenues a rich messuage hard 

Orinoco — Ouida 259 

by known as "Le Oriel," from which circumstance the 
foundation received the name which it now bears. 

Orinoco. Indian for " coiling snake." 

Orion Home. One of the sobriquets of Richard Home, 
author of " Orion," which acquired an exceptional 
notoriety on account of its being published at the low 
price of one farthing. 

Orkney Isles. Under the name of Orcades these are 
mentioned by the ancient geographers. Orkney is 
Gaelic for "Isle of Whales." 

Orleans. A corruption of Aureliani, after the Roman 
Emperor Aurelian. 

Orloff Diamond. This gem, weighing 194 carats, and 
purchased by Catherine II. of Russia in 1775, P re ~ 
serves the family name of that Empress. 

Orme Square. After the name of a printseller of Bond 
Street who bought the land and built upon it. 

Orrery. After the Earl of Orrery, who first caused one to 

be made. 
Osnaburg Street. Named in compliment to Frederick, 

Duke of York and Albany, the last sovereign-bishop 

of Osnaburg in Hanover. 
Ossulton Street. See "Lisson Grove." 
Ostend. Literally the east end of Flanders in Belgium. 
Ostler. From the French hostelier, an innkeeper. 

Oswestry. A corruption of Oswaldstry, the "place of 
Oswald," where Oswald, King of Northumbria, was 
slain in 642. Evidence of this is afforded by the 
original name of Oswald's Well, which yields a spring 
of pure water. 

Ottawa. Expresses the Indian for " traders." 

Ottoman Empire. That of the Turks, founded by Othman 
I. at the commencement of the fourteenth century. 

Ouida. The pseudonym of Louise de la Ram£e. This 
was suggested to her at the very commencement of 
her literary career by the infantile perversion of Louise 
into "Ouida." 

260 Ouse — Oyster Part 

Ouse. From the Celtic uisg, water. 

Out of Collar. Out of harness and the working habit. 
A horse has the collar slipped over its neck when 
put to work. 

Out of Sorts. A technical phrase in the printing trade. 
"Sorts" are the different sizes and kinds of type used 
by a compositor. At times he runs short of " sorts," 
so that the composition of the particular work in hand 
has to be suspended until the required sorts are 
obtained, either by distributing old matter put up in 
paper or sending to the typefounder's for a new 
supply. Hence a person indisposed for work con- 
fesses to being " out of sorts." 

Ovidius Naso. See"Naso." 

Oxford. Cited in Domesday Book as Oxeneford. Liter- 
ally a ford for the passage of oxen across the River 

Oxford Blues. The Royal Horse Guards, from their dark 
blue uniforms and the circumstance that this regiment 
of horse was first raised by Aubrey, Earl of Oxford, 
soon after the Restoration. 

Oxford Movement. The great Catholic revival in England, 
which, midway in the last century, resulted in the 
passing over of many of the most eminent Oxford 
scholars to the Church of Rome. 

Oxford Street. After Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford 
and Mortimer, landlord of the estate north of this 
principal thoroughfare. 

Oyez, Oyez. The old French ceremonial exclamation 
(" Hear ye, hear ye ! ") to enjoin silence. This 
obtained in our own country when French was the 
language of the Court. In modern times it has been 
corrupted by Court criers and town bellmen into 
"Oyes, Oyes." 

Oyster Part. In theatrical parlance a part which contains 
only one line or speech; like an oyster, the actor 
opens his mouth but once. 

Pacha — Pagan 2 6 1 

Pacha. See " Pasha." 

Pacific Ocean. So called by Magellan, who, after a 
tempestuous passage through t(he straits which bear 
his name, enjoyed a cruise of three months and twenty- 
one days across this ocean in continuous fine weather, 
and with the advantage of favourable winds. 

Pack Horse. An inn sign denoting that the establishment 
provided accommodation for "Packmen," and also 
that pack horses were let out on hire. 

Packmen. The old name for commercial travellers, whose 
goods or samples were carried in packs or sacks fastened 
to the saddle of a pack horse. 

Paddington. The ancient description of this parish was 
" Padynton," the settlement of the Paedings. Another 
branch of the same family gave its name to " Paden- 
dene " — i.e. the wooded valley of the Paedings in Surrey. 

Paddington Street. Originally a narrow lane leading 
northward on to the common known as Paddington 

Paddle your own Canoe. Originally a Western phrase 
for self-reliance. A canoe is an Indian boat affording 
room for one person. If he cannot paddle it himself 
no one else is in a position to help him. The ex- 
pression became extremely popular in England through 
a song of this title thirty years ago. 

Paddy. The common name for an Irishman, being short 
for " Pat," after St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. 

Pagan. This term had at first not the slightest connection 
with religion. Derived from the Latin pagus> the 
country, a paganus denoted a peasant or villager. 
Removed from the refinement of the cities such a one 
had, of course, very little acquaintance with the com- 
plicated system of Roman mythology. On this account 

262 Page Green — Palmetto State 

only could it be said that those who remained uncon- 
verted to Christianity were Pagans. 

Page Green. See " Seven Sisters' Road." 

Painted Hall. The picture gallery of Greenwich Hospital 
received this name on account of its superbly painted 

Painter. The rope by which the "Jolly Boat" or any 
other is attached to a vessel, so called from the Latin 
panther ; through the French pantier^ a drag net. 

Paint the Town. An Americanism for a night's drunken 
frolic ; the allusion is to a drunkard's red nose. 

Palace Car. An Americanism for a "Pullman" or Saloon 

Palaver. From the Portuguese palavra, "a talk." 

Pale Faces. The name popularly bestowed upon the 
whites by the North American Indians. 

Palestine. From the Hebrew Palcestina, " the land of 
strangers." This was the ancient Philistia, the country 
of the Philistines, a term derived like that of Palestine 
from the root phalash, to emigrate or wander. 

Pall Mall. From a species of croquet, called Paille Maille^ 
introduced by Charles II. after his involuntary exile 
in France, and played by him and his courtiers here 
when the thoroughfare was open to St James's Park. 

Palmer. The name bestowed upon a " Pilgrim " returning 
from the Holy Land who carried a palm branch, 
usually affixed to his head-gear, as a proof that he had 
actually accomplished his self-imposed task. On 
arriving at the place whence he had set out he repaired 
to the church or chapel, and offered the palm to the 
parish priest, who laid it on the altar on his behalf. 

Palmetto City. Augusta, the capital of the Palmetto 

Palmetto State. South Carolina, from the palmetto-tree 
in her arms. During the Civil War the soldiers of 
this state bore the name of " Palmetto Boys." 

Palm it off— Pancake Tuesday 263 

Palm it off. A phrase derived from the usual procedure 
of a conjurer, who is an adept at concealing in the palm 
of his hand that which he pretends to have " passed " 

Palm Oil. A bribe placed in the hand of a servant makes 
him the more willing to throw open the apartment of 
the great man to whom one wishes to gain access. 

Palm Sunday. From the palms distributed to the con- 
gregation by the Catholic Church in commemoration 
of Christ's entry into the city of Jerusalem, when the 
populace strewed palm branches and leaves in His 

Palmy Days of the Drama. The days of our greatest ex- 
ponents of the Drama, so called because, had such 
celebrated histriones as Garrick, Mrs Siddons, the 
Keans, and the Kembles lived in the time of the 
Romans, they would have been awarded a palm branch 
in recognition of their genius. 

Palsgrave Place. In honour of Frederick, King of Bo- 
hemia, Palsgrave of the Rhine, married to the Princess 
Elizabeth, daughter of James I. 

Pam. The popular name of Lord Palmerston. 

Pamphlet. After Pamphilia, a Greek lady who kept a 
commonplace book for the collection of anecdotes and 
literary memoranda. 

Panama. Expresses the Carribean for " mud fish," with 
which the shores of this isthmus abound. 

Panama Hat. A corruption of " Palmata Hat," from the 
primitive head covering in equatorial South America 
made out of the large leaf of the Cardulavia palmata 

Pancake Tuesday. From the pancakes eaten on this day. 
The custom arose in Catholic days with a view to using 
up the eggs and lard that were interdicted during Lent ; 
also because pancakes were an excellent stay to the 
appetite while the faithful had to wait long hours in 
church to be shrived by the priest in the confessional. 

264 Pancras Road — Pantheon 

Pancras Road. From Old St Pancras parish church. 
New St Pancras church is situated in the Euston Road. 

Panel Den. An Americanism for a brothel, in which the 
rooms are panelled off into small compartments. 

Pan-Handle State. West Virginia, on account of its shape, 
rising up like a wedge between Pennsylvania and 

Panorama. Expresses the Greek for "a view of the 
whole," as would be obtained from a monument or a 
natural eminence. This is the correct description of 
a picture exhibited in a circular building, where the 
spectators are placed in the centre ; not at all of an old 
form of picture entertainment at one end of a hall, which 
approximates to a Diorama, because conformably to di, 
through, it is viewed through the darkness. 

Pantaloon. One of the characters of the Italian comedy or 
"Pantomime," so called because he was typical of the 
Venetians, wearing, like them, originally a close-fitting 
garment made all in one piece, known as a pantaleone. 
The Venetians were nicknamed Pantaleone ("all 
lion ") from their common patron, St Mark, whose 
symbol was a lion j hence the application of the term 
pantaloons to tight-fitting knickerbockers or trousers. 

Pantaloonery. An Americanism for trouser material. See 
" Pantaloon." 

Pantechnicon. A Greek word compounded out of pan, 
all, and techne, art. The large vehicle of this name 
was first used exclusively for the conveyance of 
pictures and art treasures to exhibitions. 

Pantheism. From the Greek pan, all, and theos, God; the 
religion which recognises the Spirit of God moving 
throughout all the processes, works, and glories of His 
creation. The single doctrine expressed by Pantheism 
is that "God is everything, and everything is God." 

Pantheon. The Roman temple erected in honour of the 
gods collectively, so called from the Greek pan, all, 
and theos, god. 

Pantomime — Parachute 265 

Pantomime. In the modern sense a pantomime is an 
entertainmeut in which current events or fashionable 
foibles are introduced by way of burlesque. Formerly 
it denoted a performance of Italian comedy in which 
the action took place in dumb show, so called from 
the Greek pantomimos, an imitator of all or everything. 
The Roman mimes or mimi were not theatrical per- 
formers, but mutes at funerals, whose function it was 
to imitate the characteristic actions of the deceased 
— e.g. the virtue of generosity. 

Panton Street. After a noted gamester, Colonel Thomas 
Panton, whose daughter became connected by mar- 
riage with the family of the ground landlord, Lord 
Arundel of Wardour. 

Pants. Short for "pantaloons," an Americanism for 
trousers. See "Pantaloon." 

Panyer Alley. This was an alley behind an ancient 
church facing Cheapside, where the bakers stood with 
their bread paniers. The word "panier" is French 
for a bread basket. 

Pan's Pipes. The primitive reed instrument named after 
Pan, the god of shepherds. 

Pansy. From the French "penseeV' which in the Lan- 
guage of Flowers means " thoughts." 

Papa. See "Pope." 

Papal Bull. So called on account of the bulla, a seal 
embellished with the symbol of St Peter. 

Paper. From the Greek papyros, the Egyptian plant out of 
the reeds of which the earliest writing material was made. 

Paper King. John Law, the projector of the Mississippi 
Scheme, whose prospectus promised fortunes that were 
never realised by the luckless speculators. 

Papua. Expresses the Portuguese for "frizzled." This 
name was bestowed upon the natives of New Guinea 
on account of their enormous heads of frizzled hair. 

Parachute. From the Greek para, "beyond," and the 
French chute, "a fall." 

266 Paraquay — Parliamentarians 

Paraquay. Expresses the Brazilian for the country of the 
Para, or "great river." 

Parasol. This term is now obsolete, having been superseded 
by " Sunshade." Derived through the Italian parasole, 
from the Greek para, beyond, and sol, the sun, its 
meaning was synonymous with that of its modern 

Parchment. From the Greek pergamenos, through the 
French parchemin, so called after Pergamos, the city 
of Asia Minor where, consequent upon Ptolemy's 
prohibition of the exportation of the Egyptian papy- 
rus, dried goatskins were first utilised for a writing 

Paris. Called by the Romans Lutetia Parisiorum, a name 
signifying the collection of mud huts inhabited by the 
Parisii, a Gallic tribe conquered by them. 

Paris Garden. A notorious bear-baiting establishment in 
South London for several centuries, so called after 
Robert de Paris in the reign of Richard I. The en- 
trance thereto is fixed by what bears the name of 
Bear Garden at the corner of Sumner Street, Borough. 

Park Lane. Originally a narrow lane skirting the east 
side of Hyde Park ; it is now one of the most fashion- 
able streets in the West End of London. 

Park Street. Leads westward from Camden Town to 
Regent's Park. 

Parker Street. In honour of Archbishop Parker, who 
founded two fellowships and five scholarships at 
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in addition to pre- 
senting it with a valuable library of ancient manu- 
scripts. This street was at one time called Bennet 
Street, after the original name of the college, from 
the adjacent church of St Benedict. 

Parliament. From the French parlerment, founded on the 
Latin verb park r, to speak. See "Parlour." 

Parliamentarians. The forces under the Parliament of 

Parliamentary Whip — Pasha 267 

the Commonwealth under Cromwell during the Civil 
War with Charles I. and the Royalists. 

Parliamentary Whip. One whose duty it is to hunt up 
Members of the House of Commons when questions 
of grave import are being put to the vote. 

Parliament of Dunces. That convened at Coventry by 
Henry IV. in 1404 because it did not number among 
its members a single lawyer. Sir Edward Coke styled 
this the "Unlearned" and also the "Lawless 

Parlour. Originally the apartment reserved for visitors 
where conversation could be indulged undisturbed. 
See "Parliament." 

Parnellites. The Home Rule party in Ireland during the 
lifetime of their political leader, Charles Stewart 

Parry Islands. Discovered by Rear-Admiral Sir William 
Parry in the course of his search for the North- West 

Parsees. The modern designation of the Zoroastrians or 
Fire Worshippers in Persia and India. The Parsees 
were the original inhabitants of Persia, a wild Ayrian 
family called the Parsa, meaning " The Tigers." By 
the Greeks the territory they overran was styled 
Perseus, on account of their chief stronghold, Persipolis, 
" the city of the Parsa," the ruins of which may yet be 
seen. The modern Parsees are therefore descendants 
of those who refused to embrace Mohammedanism. 

Parsons Green. Prior to the year 1740 the parsonage of 
Fulham Parish Church stood facing this green. On 
its roof was a cross which bore the name of " Parson's 
Cross," afterwards corrupted into "Percy Cross." 

Partridge Day. The first of September, when partridge 
shooting commences. 

Pasha. A Western corruption of the Turkish "Pashaw," 
from the Persian bdshd, a governor or ruler of a 
province under the Shah or King. 

268 Passenger Pigeon — Passover 

Passenger Pigeon. So called on account of its migratory 
habits. This species is found chiefly in America. 

Passing Bell. That rung at the parish church to announce 
publicly that the soul of a parishioner has just passed 

Passion Flower. The traditional reverence for this 
favourite flower is due to a fancied resemblance of 
its tints and various parts to the instruments of 
Christ's Passion; also because it remains open for 
three days, corresponding to the period between the 
Last Supper and the Resurrection. 

Passionists. A missionary Order founded by St Francis 
de Paulo, otherwise " St Paul of the Cross," for the 
preaching of " Christ's Passion and Him Crucified." 

Passion Play. An alfresco sacred drama based upon the 
incidents of Christ's Passion and Death ; that per- 
formed every tenth year at Oberammergau is world 

Passion Sunday. Although this should properly be the 
first day of what is called Passion Week, Palm Sunday 
is in a sense a feast day, in allusion to the triumphant 
entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The Sunday previous 
is therefore set apart for a general commemoration of 
the Passion — all crosses, statues, and paintings in the 
churches being draped in purple, with a view to con- 
centrating the attention of the worshippers on the 
sufferings of the Redeemer. 

Passion Week. The week in which Good Friday occurs, 
in commemoration of Christ's Passion. 

Passive Resister. One who in our own day passively 
resists the imposition of the Education Rate by 
allowing his goods to be seized or going to prison 
instead of resorting to active measures of violence. 

Passover. The great Jewish festival commemorative of 
the Destroying Angel having passed over or spared 
the houses of the Israelites whose doorposts were 
sprinkled with the blood of the lamb slain overnight 

Pastoral Letter— Pawn 269 

by Divine command. The Hebrew term for this 

festival is Pesach, whence "Pasch" has been derived. 
Pastoral Letter. One addressed by a bishop to his 

flock. As his title implies, he is an overseer, and his 

crook is symbolical of a shepherd. 
Pat. See " Paddy." 

Patagonia. This name, from the Spanish patagon, a 
large, clumsy foot, was given by Magellan to the 
country because, seeing the impressions of the great 
shoes worn by the natives, he imagined them to be 

Paternoster Row. Two reasons are assigned for this 
designation. The Row was the locale of the makers 
of " Pater Nosters," or rosary beads, so called from the 
name of the first large bead, and the sellers of re- 
ligious texts and prayer-books. Also because on great 
festival days the monks went in solemn procession to 
St Paul's, the recital of the Pater Noster being com- 
menced at the eastern corner of the lane, outside the 
churchyard, and concluded at the western extremity, 
where the Ave Maria was then taken up. See " Amen 

Pathfinder. The surname of General John Charles 
Fremont, the leader of four exploring expeditions across 
the Rocky Mountains. 

Patricians. See " Plebeians." 

Paul's Chain. This lane, on the south side of the Paul's 
Churchyard, formerly had a chain drawn across it 
during divine service ; hence its name. 

Paul Veronese. The better -known name of the cele- 
brated Italian painter Paulo Cagliari, who was born 
at Verona. 

Pawn. In relation to the game of chess. The ordinary 
piece or "man" bears this name from the French 
peon, a walker or foot soldier, the superior pieces 
being kings, queens, knights, castles, and bishops. 
An article left in the charge of a pawnbroker is called 
a pawn, from the French pan, a pledge. 

2 jo Pawnbroker — Peeler 

Pawnbroker. See " Pawn " and " Broker." 

Peabody Buildings. After George Peabody, the American 
philanthropist, who left a huge fortune in trust for the 
building of " model dwellings " for the poorer classes. 
His statue, at the back of the Royal Exchange, was 
unveiled 23rd July 1869. 

Peach. A schoolboy term for to inform against another. 
In allusion to the fruit of this name, it means to turn 
soft-hearted, and betray. In American the word is 
used to denote a pretty woman or anything soft and 

Peacock. An inn sign dating from the Crusades, when, 
the flesh of the peacock being deemed incorruptible, 
this bird was adopted by many a knight as a crest, 
typical of the Resurrection. " By the peacock " was a 
common oath in those days. 

Pearl Bible. So called from the name of the printing 
type employed in its composition. 

Peckham. A corruption of Beckham, a home or settlement 
among the becks or brooks. 

Peckham Rye. In its application to a common, the word 
"Rye" comes from the Anglo-Saxon ree, a watercourse. 

Peculiar People. Originally those who believed that 
disease was the direct consequence of sin, and that by 
prayer alone could it be removed. See "Faith 

Pedlar. An itinerant trader, so called in conformity with 
the Latin pedes, the feet. 

Pedro the Cruel. The surname of the King of Castile 
and Leon, who, midway in the fourteenth century, 
murdered his two brothers and poisoned his queen. 
How he meted out punishment to those outside his 
own family may be guessed. 

Peeler. The old name for a policeman, after Sir Robert 
Peel, to whom the introduction of the modern system 
of Watch and Ward was due. 

Peep O'Day Boys — Penny Blood 271 

Peep O'Day Boys. Irish insurrectionists who broke into 
the houses of the people at peep of day in search of 
arms. They were not averse to carrying off other 
plunder at the same time. 

Peewit. This bird is so called from its characteristic notes. 

Peg Away. Originally a camping phrase. When a tent 
is being put up it is necessary to secure its ropes to 
the ground on all sides before the work can be left, 
lest the whole structure, caught by the wind, should 
be blown down. 

Pekin. Chinese for " northern capital." 

Pelican State. Louisiana, from the pelican in her arms. 

Pembroke. Called by the Welsh " Penbroshire," signifying 
the pen or head of the bro or country ; literally the 
Land's End. 

Pembroke College. Founded at Cambridge in 1348 by 
the widow of Aylmar de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. 

Peninsula State. Florida. 

Penitentiary. The modern name for a "Magdalen Hospital," 
designed as a home or refuge for fallen women who 
are penitent. This term was adopted also by the 
Quakers of Philadelphia in 1786 for a prison. 

Penknife. A small pocket-knife intended primarily for 
cutting quill pens. Though quills are no longer in 
fashion, save among lawyers and bankers, and the 
penknife is serviceable only for trimming one's finger 
nails, its original name survives. 

Pennsylvania. From the Latin sy/va, a wood; expresses 
the colony in the wood founded by William Penn. 

Penny. From the Danish pennig and German pfennig, a 
copper coin of full value. This was originally nicked 
across to admit of being broken into halves and 

Penny Blood. The modern substitute for the " Penny 
Dreadful." The term "Blood" is short for a blood- 
curdling relation. 

272 Penny Gaff— Pentonville 

Penny Gaff. The term applied to a low-class theatre, in 
allusion to the first Drury Lane Theatre, built on the 
site of a famous cockpit. Gafwas but another name 
for a cockpit, expressing as it did in various languages 
the iron hook, fork, or spur with which the cocks 
were goaded when they showed a reluctance to fight. 

Penny Wedding. One to which all the villagers are 
invited, each contributing his or her quota to the ex- 
penses of the feast amounting to less than a shilling, 
while children uniformly bring a penny. 

Pennyweight. Anciently, before standard weights came 
into use, the weight of a Norman silver penny. 

Penrith. A corruption of "Perith," from Perith Hill, at 
the foot of which the town is situated. The name is 
Celtic for "red hill," in allusion to the red stone 
quarried on the spot. 

Pensioner Parliament. That of Charles II., which, though 
it lasted sixteen years and a half, was more remarkable 
for the bestowal of pensions upon the adherents of 
the King than for the framing of new laws. 

Pentateuch. A Greek word compounded out of ftenta, five, 
and teuchos, an implement, tool. This name was 
given to the first five books collectively of the Old 
Testament, its second portion being applicable in the 
sense of an instrument of direct communication be- 
tween God and His people. 

Pentecost. From the Greek pentekoste, the fiftieth day ; 
relative to the gift of the Law to the Israelites fifty 
days after their deliverance out of the Land of 
Bondage. This great festival, corresponding to the 
Whitsuntide of the Christians, is celebrated by the 
Jews on the fiftieth day after the " Passover." 

Penton Street. See " Pentonville." 

Pentonville. Prior to 1 7 7 3 the whole of this neighbourhood 
north of the New Road was open fields. It was then 
acquired for building purposes by Henry Penton, M.P., 
one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and received its 

Penzance — Peru 273 

name from "Penton Villa," his residence, on the site 
of what is now Penton Street. 

Penzance. Expresses the Celtic for " Saint's Headland," in 
allusion to St Michael's Mount. 

People's Friend. The surname of Dr William Gordon of 
Hull, merited by his kindly disposition and unfailing 
generosity. When he died in 1849 tne whole town 
followed his body to the grave, and the name by which 
he had always been known was subsequently chiselled 
on his tombstone. 

Percy Cross. See "Parsons Green." 

Pere La Chaise. This, the principal cemetery of Paris, 
originally constituted the land attached to a beautiful 
mansion built by a grocer named Regnault. After 
his death the property passed into the hands of a lady, 
who made it over to the Jesuits of the Rue St Antoine. 
Thenceforth the Maison Regnault became the recog- 
nised seat of the Jesuits. In 1705 Pere La Chaise, 
the confessor of Louis XIV., was made Superior to the 
Order, and by the King's desire the house received 
his name. The eventual suppression of the Order 
caused the property to be sold and the land converted 
into a cemetery. 

Perfectionists. An American sect of religionists who, 
relying on the gift of the Spirit, dispense with civil 
laws so far as their own community is concerned. 

Peripatetics. The school of philosophy founded by 
Aristotle, who taught his disciples in the colonnade 
or covered walk (styled the perifiatos, from fieriftatem, 
to walk) in the garden of Lyceus at Athens. 

Pernambuco. Expresses the Spanish for "the mouth of 
hell," so called on account of the violent surf, which is 
such an impediment to the safe navigation of the 
mouth of its chief river, the San Francisco. 

Persia. The country of the Parsa. See " Parsees. 

Peru. From its principal waterway, the Rio Paro, on the 
banks of which the ancient city of Paruru is situated. 

274 Perugino — Petticoat Lane 

All these names are modifications of the native Para, 
water or river. 

Perugino. See "II Perugino." 

Peter. A word employed in America for running up the 
prices at an auction. It is derived from the Dutch 
pethur, to run, to hurry. The common name for a 
confederate of the auctioneer at a mock auction is a 
" Peter Funk," that of the fictitious person to whom 
the goods are knocked down. 

Peter Boat. One built alike at both ends, so that it can 
be run out quickly. See "Peter." 

Peterborough. From the great Benedictine monastery 
built and dedicated to St Peter by Oswy, King of 
Northumbria, in the seventh century. 

Peterhouse College. Founded at Cambridge in connec- 
tion with a hospital dedicated to St Peter by Hugh 
de Balsham in 1280. 

Peterloo Massacre. The name given to the dispersal of 
Lancashire operatives assembled to discuss Parlia- 
mentary reform in St Peter's Field, Manchester, by an 
armed force, 10th July 18 19. In this melee many 
were wounded and several killed. The term was a 
fanciful one, suggested by the battle of Waterloo of 
five years previous to this event. 

Peter's Pence. An annual contribution throughout the 
Roman Catholic world for the upkeep of the vast 
establishment of the Vatican and the Papal Court. 
Since the loss of the Papal States in Italy this con- 
stitutes the sole revenue of the Pope. Anciently it 
was a tax of a silver penny in respect of every member 
of a household. 

Petrel. See " Stormy Petrel." 

Petticoat. A smaller or shorter coat, which was the 
ancient description of a woman's outer garment; de- 
rived from the Norman cotte. 

Petticoat Lane. Another name for " Rag Fair," the old 

Petty— Philistines 275 

clothes mart of the Jews in the East End. Its modern 
name is Middlesex Street. 

Petty. Provincial for an out-house, because its accommo- 
dation is restricted to one person; also called a 
"Privy," short for private. 

Petty Sessions. A criminal court for the disposal of petty 
or lesser felonies, as distinguished from the usual 
" Quarter Sessions," where all graver charges, short 
of those meriting capital punishment, are dealt with. 

Phaeton. A name derived from the Phaeton of ancient 
mythology, who, having received permission to drive 
the sun car of Helios, his father, for a day, had the 
ill fortune to cause it to be overturned, and thereby 
almost set the world on fire. 

Pharmacist. An Americanism for a chemist ; derived, of 
course, from "Pharmaceutist," one who keeps a phar- 
macy or drug store. 

Pharisees. Those of the Jews who affected a greater 
degree of holiness than their neighbours, and were 
consequently regarded as a separate people. The 
word is from the Hebrew pharash, "separated." 

Philadelphia. Expresses the Greek for " city of brotherly 
love." This name was happily chosen by William 
Penn for the capital of his Quaker colony in the New 

Philippe Egalite\ See " EgaliteV' 

Philippi. A ruined city of Macedonia, named after 
Philip II. of Macedon, who conquered it. It was to 
the Philippians, the people of this city, that St Paul 
addressed one of his Epistles. 

Philippic. A powerful invective or denunciation. So 
called from a famous oration of Demosthenes against 
Philip of Macedon with a view of arousing the Athen- 
ians to repel his ambitious designs. 

Philippine Islands. Discovered by Magellan in 15 21, he 
named them in honour of Philip II. of Spain. 

Philistines. The inhabitants of ancient Philistia, or 

276 Philistinism—Piccadilly 

"Palestine." Because these were continually at war 
with the Jews, the term has been applied by univer- 
sity students to the citizens generally, and to the 
preservers of law and order more particularly. "A 
battle with the Philistines" is but another name for 
"a town row." By the people of Norfolk too, police- 
men and bailiffs, likewise earwigs and such tiny 
tormentors, are called Philistines. 

Philistinism. The name given to that cynicism which 
sneers at religion. This arose out of the scorn with 
which the Philistines of Palestine regarded the rites 
and ceremonies of the Israelites. 

Phiz. Slang for the face; derived from " Physiogomy." 

Phoenicia. Called by the Greeks Phoinike, from phoinos, 
purple, which colour was discovered by the Tyrians 
and manufactured by them for the supply of all the 
then known Eastern nations. 

Photograph. From the two Greek words photos, light, 
and graphein, to write. Accordingly a picture ob- 
tained by the action of light and transferred to paper 
chemically prepared. 

Phyrric Dance. The famous war dance of the ancient 
Greeks, so called after Phyrrichos, a flautist of great 
skill and renown. 

Pianoforte. A modern development of the old harpsi- 
chord and clavichord, so called because it was the 
first musical instrument which, by means of pedals, 
admitted the alternations of piano, soft, and forte, 

Piccadilly. After "Piccadilla Hall," a once famous mart 
for the sale of "piccadilly lace," having pica, or spear- 
like points. Of this pica, the word piccadilly expressed 
the diminutive. So fashionable was this lace during 
the time of Elizabeth that when in the succeeding 
reign of James I. the high ruff came into vogue, it 
bore the name of a piccadilly, though shorn of its lace 
edging. "Piccadilla Hall" must have stood some- 

Pickaninny — Piggott Diamond 277 

where about the modern circus of the same name, 
since there were no houses further afield. 

Pickaninny. From the Spanish pegueno m'no, a little child. 

Pick-me-up. A stimulating beverage or a medicinal 
tonic as a remedy for languor or lowness of spirits. 

Pick up. An Americanism for a cold dinner composed 
of the fragments of the previous day's joint. Some- 
times such a one is called a " Pick-up Dinner." 

Picts. The Lowlanders of Scotland, called by the Romans 
picti, or painted men, because, they stained their skins 
with woad. 

Pie Corner. It has been considered curious that the 
Great Fire of London should have broken out in 
" Pudding Lane " and ended at Pie Corner. Scarcely 
less curious was it that this Pie Corner was an eating- 
house. Its sign was "The Pie," a corruption of 

Piedmont. Expresses the French for "mountain foot." 

Pierrot. French for "Little Peter." 

Pig and Whistle. A tavern sign corrupted from " Piggen 
Wassail." Piggen expressed the Anglo-Saxon for a 
milking pail, of which pig was the diminutive. When 
a large party frequented the alehouse the liquor was 
set before them in a piggen, each helping himself from 
it with his pig, or mug. "Wassail" was, of course, 
the Anglo-Saxon Was heel ("Be in health"). See 

Pigeon English. That employed by the Chinese in their 
commercial relations with Europeans. The word 
pigeon is a native corruption of "business," which it 
seems impossible for a Chinaman to pronounce 
correctly. Their business English is therefore a 
jargon of many languages heard by him in the " Open 

Pig in a Poke. See " Buy a Pig in a Poke " and " Let the 
Cat out of the Bag." 

Piggott Diamond. One of the smaller diamonds of 

278 Pigtails — Pimlico Walk 

celebrity, weighing 82J carats. This was brought to 
England from India by Lord Piggott in 18 18, when 
it passed into the hands of Messrs Rundell & Bridge. 

Pigtails. The European nickname for the Chinese on 
account of their shaven heads and braided pigtails. 

Pikes. The name given in California to the poor southern 
whites, most of whom came from Pike County, 
Missouri. See "Pukes." 

Pilgrim. From the Italian fiellegrino, "a visitor to foreign 
lands." Since the days of Peter the Hermit and the 
Crusades this term has been confined to one who 
travels on foot to worship at a holy shrine, whether 
he be a Christian, Mohammedan, or Buddhist. See 
" Palmer." 

Pillow Lace. So called because produced by twisted 
threads around rows of pins arranged on a cushion 
or pillow. 

Pilot Jack. The name given to the "Union Jack" when 
flown from the mast-head in the merchant service as a 
signal for a pilot. 

Pimlico. This was originally a district of tea gardens for 
holiday folk, with a specialite for nut-brown ales. It 
received its name from Ben Pimlico, the owner of a 
noted resort in Hoxton on the site of what is now the 
Britannia Theatre. The nut-brown ale was first 
popularised by this worthy, who could not have re- 
garded the application of his name to ales purveyed 
elsewhere with much favour. From "Pimlico Ales," 
the neighbourhood itself soon came to be known as 

Pimlico Walk. It is hard to believe that this was once a 
regular holiday promenade for the citizens of London. 
On Sundays and on week-day evenings it was thronged, 
skirting as it did the famous tea gardens of Ben 
Pimlico, in whose retired arbours courting couples 
softly murmured " sweet nothings." This resort was to 
Londoners of a bygone day what Rosherville is in our 

Pinafore — Pitcairn Island 279 

own time. From a tea garden it developed into what 
was styled a " saloon," and eventually into a regular 

Pinafore. Literally an apron pinned on the bosom and at 
the hips of the wearer. The modern example of a 
pinafore with armholes is pinned or buttoned behind. 

Pinchbeck. A mixture of copper, zinc, and tin, out of 
which metal watch cases and cheap jewellery were 
formerly made. So called after its inventor, Christopher 
Pinchbeck of Fleet Street. 

Pindaric Verse. A style of verse, irregular in regard to 
metre, imitative of the Odes of Pindar, the Roman 

Pine-tree State. Maine, from the pine-tree distinguished 
in her arms, symbolical of her glorious forests. 

Pin Money. The allowance made by a husband to his 
wife in order to purchase pins for the current year. 
Such articles were at one time neither abundant nor 

Pin your Faith on it. An expression derived from the 
days of feudalism, when all the dependents of a baron 
or feudal lord displayed his badge pinned on the sleeve. 
Sometimes while on a predatory expedition of their 
own these vassals exchanged the badge for another 
to prevent recognition. This gave rise to the saying : 
" You may wear the badge, but I cannot pin my faith 
on your sleeve. I require some further evidence 
whence you came." 

Pipeclay. The fine white clay out of which clay pipes are 

Pistol. From Pistoja in Italy, where this kind of small 
firearm was first introduced in 1545. 

Pit. The floor of a theatre bears this name because the 
original Drury Lane Theatre was built by Killigrew on 
the site of the famous cockpit in Drury Lane. 

Pitcairn Island. Discovered by Captain Cartaret in 1767, 
and named by him after one of his officers. 

2 80 Pitchfork — Plantagenet 

Pitchfork. A fork for pitching hay ; also one for determin- 
ing the correct pitch of a musical note. 

Pitt Diamond. After Thomas Pitt, grandfather of the 
first Lord Chatham, who, while Governor of Fort St 
George in India, purchased it for ^24,000. On 
coming to England he sold this gem, weighing 136! 
carats in its cut state, to the Duke of Orleans, Regent 
of France, for ;£i 30,000, on which account it bears 
the name also of the "Regent Diamond." It decor- 
ated the sword hilt of Napoleon I., and after the battle 
of Waterloo passed into the hands of the Prussians. 

Pittsburg. This city was built on the site of the French 
Fort Duquesne. When, after a sanguinary engagement, 
it was taken from the allied French and Indians in 
1758 by General Forbes, he gave it the name of Fort 
Pitt, after the English statesman, William Pitt, Earl of 

Pius X. The Vatican Journal Voce Delia Verita recently 
gave an authorised explanation as to why the present 
Pope chose to be styled " Pius the Tenth." It said : 
11 The Holy Father preferred a name that would em- 
phasise the undying struggle of the Holy See against 
the Revolution. From the very beginning Pius has 
been the name of predilection assumed by our most 
illustrious Pontiffs. His present Holiness, whose 
Pontificate opens under a hostile Government, and at 
a time when both Pope and State are the victims of 
imperious revolution, was determined to adopt the 
title of 'Pius the Tenth.'" 

Plain. The name given to the Girondist party on the 
floor of the French House of Assembly during the 
Revolution, as opposed to the " Mountain " party. 

Plantagenet. The family name of the House of Anjou, 
which succeeded to the throne of England at the 
extinction of the Norman dynasty. It was assumed 
by Fulke Martel, the first of this line, as a perpetual 
reminder of the incident of having allowed himself to 
be scourged by two attendants with branches of the 
genista^ or broom plant, while on a pilgrimage to the 

Platonic Affection— Plunger 281 

Holy Sepulchre, as an atonement for his murder of the 
Earl of Brittany. 
Platonic Affection. The kind of mutual esteem between 
persons of opposite sexes free from carnal desires or 
love in an earthly sense, as advocated by Plato and his 
school of philosophers. 

Platonists. The disciples of Plato. See "Academy." 

Play Fast and Loose. An expression derived from a 
very old cheating game called "Pricking the Belt," 
which in the modified form of "Prick the Garter," 
may yet be met with at fairs and race meetings. The 
victim was invited to stick a skewer through a folded 
belt so as to pin it to the table ; whereupon the other, 
taking the two ends, proved that the belt had not been 
made fast at all; hence to "play fast and loose with 
a man." 

Playhouse Yard. Marks the site of the "Fortune Theatre," 
the second regular playhouse opened in the city of 

Please the Pigs. A corruption of "Please the Pixies," or 
woodland fairies, still common in many rural districts. 

Plebeians. The ordinary citizens among the Romans, so 
called from plebs, the people, as distinguished from 
the " Patricians," or fathers of the State. 

Plough Monday. The first Monday after the Epiphany, 
when, the Christmas festivities having come to an end, 
farm labourers were supposed to return to the plough. 
Instead of which they dragged a plough round the 
parish, begging for "plough money" from door to 
door, and spent the evening at the alehouse. 

Plume and Feathers. An inn sign, corrupted from "The 
Plume of Feathers," in allusion to the plume of ostrich 
feathers adopted as his crest by Edward the Black 
Prince. See " Ich Dien." 

Plunger. A gambler who^ plunges into bets without con- 
sidering the risks he incurs. Recklessness is his 
characteristic. To retrieve his losses he plays for 

282 Plymouth— Poland Street 

high stakes, which make or break him in a very short 

Plymouth. The seaport town at the mouth of the Plym. 

Plymouth Brethren. A sect which sprang into existence 
at Plymouth in 1830. It has extended far and wide, 
both on the Continent of Europe and in America. Its 
chief tenet is the utter rejection of priestly or ministerial 

Pocket Borough. An old Parliamentary term for a borough 
in which the votes at an election could generally be 
commanded by one influential person. 

Poet Laureate. The officially appointed poet of any 
nation, so called from the Roman custom of crowning 
a favourite poet with laurel, symbolical of Apollo, the 
god of poetry. 

Pogrom. Expresses the Slavonic for " devastation " or 
" desolation." The word is allied to grom, thunder, 
thunder clash, and gromit, to thunder, batter down, as 
with a thunderbolt ; utterly overthrow, destroy without 

Pointer. This dog is so called on account of its remark- 
able instinct for pointing out or indicating to sportsmen 
the presence of game. 

Point Lace. So called because it is worked with the 
point of a needle. 

Poke Bonnet. One which poked out beyond the face 
on all sides. See "Kiss-me-Quick." 

Poland. From the Slavonic poln, " a country of plains.'* 
Its original settlers were a tribe called the Polnali^ 
" men of the plains." When this country was an 
independent kingdom it bore the name of " Polska," 
and its people "Polacks." Shakespeare mentions 
"the sledded Polacks on the ice" in Hamlet 
Act i. sc. i. 

Poland Street. From the Polish refugees who congregated 
in it soon after this street was built. 

Police — Poole 283 

Police. The appropriate designation of civil guardians of 
the peace, from the Greek polls, city. 

Polka. Originally a Bohemian dance, so called from the 
native word pulka, a half, on account of the half step 
peculiar to it. 

Polynesia. Greek for "many islands." 

Polytechnic. An institute or academy of the Arts, so 
called from the Greek polys, many, and techne, art. 

Pompeii. So called by the Romans in honour of Pompeius 
Magnus, or Pompey the Great. 

Pomeranian. A valuable breed of dog from Pomerania 

in Prussia. 
Pomeroy. From pomme roi\ expresses the French for 

" King's Apple." 

Pommery. After Madame Pommery, mother of the 
Duchess de Polignac, and owner of the estate near 
Rheims where this fine brand of champagne is 

Pompadour. Both the puce colour and the dress material 
of this name were first popularised by Madame le 
Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV. 

Pompadours. The nickname of the 56th Foot on account 
of their claret or Pompadour facings. 

Pontac. From the town of the same name in the south 
of France. 

Pontefract. Literally " broken bridge." The popular 
corruption of this name is " Pomfret." 

Pontiff. The Pope of Rome bears this name conformably 
to the Latin pons, bridge, and facere, to make, because 
the earliest bridge over the Tiber was constructed at 
the sole cost of the High Priest of the Romans. 

Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard. The first regiment of 

Foot, the oldest in the service. 
Poole. From the pool or inlet of the sea on which this 

Dorsetshire port is situated. 

284 Pope — Portsoken Ward 

Pope. From the Greek papas, and Latin papa, father. 

Poplar. From the poplar-trees formerly abounding in this 

Poppin's Court. A corruption of "Poppingay Court"; 
originally, in the reign of Elizabeth, "Poppingay 
Alley," so called because it marked the -site of an 
ancient inn or mansion owned by the Abbots of 
Cirencester, and displaying the sign of "the Poppin- 
jaye " or parrot. 

Pop the Question. A corruption of "Propose the 
question of marriage." 

Porkopolis. The nickname of Chicago and Cincinnati, 
both world-renowned cities in relation to the pork- 
packing industry. 

Port. The native wine of Portugal, shipped from Oporto. 

Porte. The official designation of the Government of 
Turkey, because anciently justice was administered at 
the, porta, or gate, of the Sultan's palace. 

Porter. Another name for "Entire," which was first 
retailed at "The Blue Last" in Curtain Road, 
Finsbury. Finding that it was in great request by 
the porters who frequented that house of call, the 
publican dropped the name of "Entire" and called 
it "Porter." 

Portland Place. After William Bentinck, second Duke of 
Portland, the owner of the estate. 

Portman Square. After Edward Berkeley Portman, Vis- 
count Portman of Bryanstone, Dorsetshire, the great 
ground landlord. 

Portmanteau. From the French porter, to carry, and 
manteau, a cloak ; literally a receptacle for a cloak on a 

Porto Rico. Express the Spanish for " rich port." 

Portsmouth. The seaport town built at the mouth of the 

Portsoken Ward. One of the wards of the city of London, 

Portugal— Pot Luck 285 

so called because anciently the thirteen knights styled 
the " English Knighten Guild," claimed the soken, or 
franchise, at the porta, or gate, to their ward in return 
for services rendered to King Edgar by their ancestors. 

Portugal. From the ancient name of the capital city, 
Portus Cale, "the gate of Gaul." 

Portugal Street. In compliment to Catherine of Braganza, 
queen of Charles II. 

Portuguese Hymn. The "Adesta Fidelis," so called from 
the erroneous assumption of the Duke of Leeds that it 
was part of the regular service in Catholic Portugal, 
since he first heard it sung in the private chapel of the 
Portuguese Ambassador in London. 

Portway. The name given to that portion of a great 
Roman highway in this country wherever it was 
crossed by an arch or within sight of a walled city ; 
horn porta, gate. 

Poser. A corruption of " Opposer " ; derived from collegiate 
argumentative examinations. 

Poses Plastiques. French for " statuesque attitudes." 

Poster. So called because auction, play, and other public 
announcments were first exhibited on the posts separat- 
ing the roadway from the side walk. Being stuck on 
these posts, the bills were said to be "posted." 

Post Paper. So called from the original watermark, a 
post horn, which it bore. 

Pot Boilers. Specifically pictures painted by a poor artist 
for ready sale to a dealer in order to " Keep the pot 
boiling." The term is also employed by authors and 
journalists in the same sense. 

Pothooks. The nickname of the 77th Foot, owing to the 
fancied resemblance of these two figures to pothooks. 

Pot Luck. Anything ready at hand for a meal. The 
allusion is to the primitive stock pot, into which meat 
and vegetables were thrown at any time for boiling up 
as required. 

286 Potomac — Pretty Kettle of Fish 

Potomac. Indian for "place of the burning pine." 

Poultry. Where the scorchers and stuffers of poultry in 
connection with the old Stocks Market on the site of 
the Mansion House had their shops. 

Pouter Pigeon. So called on account of its pouting or 

bulging breast. 
Powis Place. Marks the site of the town house of William 

Herbert, Marquis of Powis, temp. Charles I. 

Prairie State. Illinois, which for the most part consists of 
prairie lands. 

Praise-God Barebone. A fanatical leader of the time of 
the Commonwealth, and a prominent member of the 
"Barebone Parliament," who was addicted to praising 
God and damning his neighbours. This kind of 
hypocrisy was characteristic of the Puritans. 

Pratt Street. After one of the family names of the Earl 
of Brecknock, Marquis of Camden, landlord of the 

Presbyterians. From the Greek presbuteros^ an elder. 
The National Church of Scotland is governed not by 
prelates, as in England, but by elders, equal in office 
and power. 

Press Yard. The open courtyard between the Sessions 
House and Newgate Prison. Those who refused to 
plead when put upon their trial were pressed to death 
with heavy weights. 

Preston. A corruption of "Priests' Town," so called on 
account of its many ancient monastic establishments. 

Pretoria. In honour of Pretorius, the first President of 
the Boer Republic in South Africa. 

Pretty Kettle of Fish. Save that the second word should 
be " Kiddle," expressive of a basket placed in a river 
for catching fish, this expression is very old. During 
the time of the Plantagenets the warder of the Tower 
claimed the right of trapping fish outside Traitors' 
Gate in this way for his own benefit ; but the citizens 
of London systematically made a raid upon his kiddles, 

Primitive Methodists — Printing 287 

and destroyed them. "A pretty kiddle of fish 
indeed ! " he was wont to exclaim to the Beefeaters 
on discovering the damage done to his preserves. 

Primitive Methodists. The original Methodists, those 
who resort to open-air preaching and singing, after 
the style of Wesley and Whitfield. On account of their 
" Camp Meetings " they are styled also Ranters. 

Primrose. So far from expressing the first or spring rose, 
the term is a corruption of the Italian primerola^ the 
first spring flower. 

Primrose Day. The 19th of April bears this name because 
it is the anniversary of the death of Lord Beaconsfield, 
1 88 1. When the body of this great statesman was 
laid to rest his coffin was adorned by a wreath sent by 
Queen Victoria, and superscribed " His favourite 
flower." This gave rise to the formation of the 
Primrose League and the annual decoration of the 
Beaconsfield Statue at Westminster with a wreath of 
primroses on this day. 

Prince of Wales's Feathers. See "Plume and Feathers." 

Prince of Wales Island. Named in compliment to the 
Prince Regent, afterwards George IV. 

Princes Street. Laid out on the site of the old Westminster 
Mews, and so named on account of its proximity to 
King Street. 

Printer's Devil. When Caxton introduced printing into 
England many people regarded it as an invention of 
the devil. This idea was also fostered by his boys, 
whose hands and faces were besmeared with ink. They 
were accordingly called " Imps " and " Devils." Since 
his day the boys engaged in feeding the printing press 
have not improved in their personal appearance. 
Young devils they are, and young devils they will 
remain until the end of time. 

Printing House Square. This, the courtyard of The Times 
office, was formerly covered by the King's Printing 
House, where King James's Bible was printed, and 
which for centuries had the monopoly of turning out 
Bibles for the people. 

288 Priory— Pymmes Park 

Priory. This term denoted a lesser house or branch 
establishment of an abbey, under the control of a 
Prior or Prioress, who had the prior claim to election 
as Abbot or Abbess of the mother community. 

Private Boxes. The idea of these adjuncts to a theatre 
auditorium was derived from Spain, where plays were 
formerly performed in a public square, the ordinary 
spectators being accommodated on the ground, while 
the grandees looked on from the windows of the 

Privy. See " Petty." 

Pro- Cathedral. The beautiful Catholic Church in High 
Street, Kensington, erected as a provisional cathedral 
at the time when the present Westminster Cathedral 
was first mooted. 

Profile. The outline of a side view, so called from the 
Italian profilo, and Latin filum, a thread. 

Protectionist. One who advocates the protection of home 
industries by levying imposts on foreign merchandise. 

Protestants. Those who, with the Lutherans of Germany, 
protested against the decree of the Emperor Charles V. 
This decree was ostensibly to invoke the aid of the 
German princes against the Turks, but really to restore 
peace and order after the disturbances caused by 
Martin Luther's opposition to the Church of Rome. 
From this protest the Reformers received the name 
of "Protestants." 

Prussia. A Western corruption of Porussia, which ex- 
presses the Slavonic for " near Russia." 

Prussian Blue. After its inventor, Diesbach of Berlin, 

in 1 710. 
Prussic Acid. Originally the acid of " Prussian Blue," but 

nowadays obtained from cyanide of iron. 

Pye Street (Old and New). See " New Way." 

Pymmes Park. This new suburban "lung" at Edmonton 
comprised the grounds in connection with the lordly 

Pythagoreans — Pull up Stakes 289 

mansion built by William Pymme, which was mentioned 
in 1593 as the residence of the great Lord Burleigh, 
and in 1612 as that of Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. 

Pythagoreans. The school of philosophy founded by 

Public-house. A house of public resort for refreshment 
and conviviality. It may be either an inn or a tavern 
in the modern sense. 

Pudding. From Stow's description of " Pudding Lane " it 
would seem that the puddings of his day were scarcely 
edible productions. The word is derived from the 
Celtic poten> a bag, and was applied originally in the 
sense of a modern hog's pudding or black pudding — to 
wit, a sausage. 

Pudding Lane. Whether or not the Great Fire of London 
broke out in the house of the King's baker, as generally 
stated, the lane did not receive its name from the 
royal bakery. Old Stow tells us it was so called 
" because the butchers of Eastcheap have their scald- 
ing-house for hogs there, and their puddings with other 
filth of beasts are voided down that way to their dung 
boats on the Thames." 

Pudding-time. The old name for "dinner-time," because, 
as still is the custom in some parts of the country, the 
pudding was served before the meat. 

Pueblo Indian. One who in the western states has been 
brought under Catholic influences, and lives in a village, 
where he subsists by agriculture. The word Pueblo is 
Spanish for village. 

Pukes. A corruption of Pikes, generally applied to the 
natives of Missouri, who originally settled in Pike 
County of that state. 

Pullman Car. After its inventor, Pullman of Chicago. 

Pull up Stakes. An Americanism for to pack up one's 
belongings and remove elsewhere. The expression 
has, of course, reference to dismantling a tent among 
a mining community. 

290 Pumps — Purse Strings 

Pumps. Dancing shoes bear this name in allusion to 
the fashionable assemblies in the pump-room at the 
Western Spas when Beau Nash, styled " King of Bath," 
presided over the ceremonies. 

Punch. From the Hindoo panch, five, this beverage 
being composed of five ingredients : spirit, sugar, 
lemon juice, spice, and water. 

Punch and Judy. A hybrid form of entertainment evolved 
out of an old mystery play, Pontius cum Judazis 
("Pontius Pilate and the Jews"). 

Punic Wars. Those waged between Rome and Carthage. 
By the Romans the Carthaginians were called the 
Punt, a corruption of Phceni, in allusion to their 
descent from the Phoenicians. 

Punitive Expedition. A petty war with the set purpose of 
inflicting a well-merited punishment upon a rebellious 
tribe. The word " punitive " is derived from the Latin 
poena, penalty. 

Punjab. Expresses the Persian for " five rivers." 

Punkah. From the Hindoo pankha, a fan. 

Puritans. Those who affected a greater degree of holiness 
or purity than their neighbours. They were to the 
Anglicans and Roman Catholics of the time of Charles 
I. and the Commonwealth what the Pharisees were to 
the Jews. 

Purple. This dye, in which the people of Tyre excelled, 
was discovered in the following manner : — One day a 
favourite dog of Hercules of Tyre ate a species offish 
known to the ancients by the name of purpura, and 
on returning to his master his lips were found to be 
tinged with the colour, which, after a few experiments, 
Hercules successfully imitated. 

Purse Strings. In the days of our grandfathers, when hasp 
and clasp purses were unknown, the only kind of purse 
was a small money bag secured round its mouth by a 
tape or string. To " tighten one's purse strings " was 

Putney— Quarantine 291 

therefore to be proof against almsgiving or money- 

Putney. Described in ancient documents as Puttaney^ or 
" Putta's Isle." 

Quack. The name borne by an itinerant trader, who makes 
a great noise in open market, quacking like a duck in 
his efforts to dispose of wares that are not genuine; 
hence anyone nowadays who follows a profession 
which he does not rightly understand. A "Quack 
Doctor " was formerly styled a Quack Salver^ from the 
salves, lotions, and medicines he dispensed to the 
crowd at the street corners. 

Quadragesima Sunday. The first Sunday of Lent, express- 
ing in round numbers forty days before Easter. 

Quadrant. The Piccadilly end of Regent Street, so called 
because it describes a quarter of a circle. 

Quadrille. Expresses the French for "a little square," in 
allusion to the positions taken up by the dancers. 

Quadroon. A Mulatto being half-blooded, like a mule, the 
offspring of such a woman by a white man is black- 
blooded to the degree of one-fourth. 

Quaker City. Philadelphia, the seat of the Quaker colony 
founded by William Penn. 

Quaker Poet. The sobriquet of Bernard Barton. 

Quakers. The origin of this designation of the " Society 
of Friends " is thus given by George Fox, the founder 
of the sect in his Journal-. " Justice Bennet of Derby 
was the first to call us ■ Quakers,' because I bade him 
quake and tremble at the word of the Lord." This 
occurred in 1650. 

Quarantine. Agreeably to the French quarantaine, the 
period of a ship's detention outside a port in the 
circumstances of infectious disease should be forty 

292 Quarter Sessions— Queen City 

Quarter Sessions. See "Petty Sessions." 

Quarto. In the printing and stationery trades this term 
expresses a sheet of paper which, when folded into 
quarters, makes four leaves or eight pages. 

Quassia. A tonic obtained from the bark of a tree of 
South America, the virtues of which were discovered 
by a Negro of this name. 

Quatemala. When the Indians who accompanied 
Alvarado into this region discovered the ruins of 
an ancient palace of the kings beside an old worm- 
eaten tree they assumed this to be the centre of the 
country, and gave it the name of Quahtemali, "a 
decayed log of wood." 

Quebec. Indian for "take care of the rock." 

Queen Anne's Bounty. A perpetual fund raised by the 
augmentation of the tithes and first-fruits at the 
instance of Queen Anne for the benefit of the poor 
clergy whose incomes are insufficient for their proper 

Queen Anne's Square. Like the gate and the street 
further west of the same name, this was built during 
the reign of Queen Anne. 

Queen Charlotte Island. In honour of Queen Charlotte, 
the consort of George III. 

Queen City of the Lakes. Buffalo, in the state of New 
York, situated at the junction of the Erie Canal with 
Lake Erie. 

Queen City of the Mountains. Knoxville (Tennessee), 
admirably situated on the hills overlooking the Upper 
Tennessee River. 

Queen City of the Plains. Regina, in the north-western 

Queen City of the West. Cincinnati (Ohio), so called in 
virtue of its fine situation, beautiful parks, and noble 
architectural features. Also styled " The Queen City " 
and " Queen of the West." 

Queen Elizabeth— Queen's Pipe 293 

Queen Elizabeth's Walk. In compliment to Queen 
Elizabeth, who often visited the Earl of Leicester when 
he resided in this portion of Stoke Newington. 

Queenhithe. So called because the tolls collected at this 
htthe t or wharf, were appropriated by Eleanor, Queen of 
Henry II., for her pin money. 

Queen of Hearts. Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, the 
daughter of James I., who by her amiable disposition 
endeared herself to all hearts. 

Queen of Watering-places. Scarborough. 

Queen's College. At Oxford, founded by Robert de 
Eglesfield, the confessor of Philippa, queen of 
Edward III., in her honour. At Cambridge, founded 
by Margaret of Anjou, queen of Henry VI. 

Queen's Hall. Built on the site of the Langham Hall, 
and opened in 1893, this high-class concert hall was 
named after the late Queen Victoria. 

Queen's Head Street. From the ancient inn, "The 
Queen's Head," now modernised, at its juncture with 
Essex Road. Queen Elizabeth is said to have slept at 
this hostelry on several occasions. 

Queensland. This portion of Australia received its name 
in honour of Queen Victoria, when in 1859 it became 
an independent colony. 

Queen's Square. After Queen Anne, in whose reign it 
was laid out. 

Queen Street. In Cheapside, from a permanent wooden 
balcony situated between Bow Church and this corner 
for the accommodation of the reigning queen and her 
ladies when jousts and tournaments were held here. 
In Mayfair, after the queen of Charles II., in whose 
reign it was built. 

Queen's Tobacco Pipe. The name given to the furnace 
at the London Docks where contraband tobacco was 
formerly consumed. This custom obtained down to 
within the last few years of the reign of Queen 

294 Queenstown — Quill-Driver 

Queenstown. Originally styled "The Cove of Cork," this 
Irish seaport received its present name on the occasion 
of the visit of Queen Victoria in 1850. 

Queen's Weather. Throughout the long reign of the late 
Queen Victoria it was remarkable that, whenever she 
appeared abroad on the occasion of a public function, 
glorious weather favoured her invariably; hence the 
expression " Queen's Weather " came to be applied to 
a fine day for a summer outing. 

Queen Victoria Street. A modern thoroughfare, named 
after the late Queen Victoria. 

Queue. Expresses the French for a tail, like that of a 
periwig or peruke. In the sense of a line of people 
waiting outside the doors of a theatre the term has 
latterly become popular on both sides of the English 

Quick Lunch. An American stand-up luncheon served 
with expedition. 

Quicksilver. Living or moving silver. Quick is old 
English for "living"; hence "The Quick and the 

Quidnunc. One who is always inquiring after news. 
"What news?" is the literal interpretation of the term. 
As a personal designation, it originated in the name of 
the chief character in Murphy's farce, "The Up- 
holsterer, or What News ? A kind of political 
Paul Pry. 

Quid of Tobacco. A corruption of "Cud," because it is 
used for chewing. The allusion is to the cud chewed 
by ruminating animals. 

Quids. The slang term for cash, properly restricted to 
gold. A sovereign is called a " Quid " in allusion to 
the Latin phrase, Quid pro quo, something of equal 
value, which change for a sovereign truly is. 

Quill-driver. The popular designation of a clerk. Quill 
pens having been supplanted by those of steel, it is 
scarcely appropriate in our time. 

Quinquagesima Sunday— Radnor 295 

Quinquagesima Sunday. The name given in the Church 
calendar to the Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday or 
the commencement of Lent ; approximately fifty days 
before Easter. 

Quit Rent. A rental anciently paid by a tenant to a 
baron with a view of being relieved or quit of feudal 

Quod. The slang term for prison; also "Quad." See 
"In Quad." 


Rabbi. The title of a Jewish expounder of the Law. The 
word is Greek for " My Master," through the Hebrew 
rabi, from the root rab, lord, chief. 

Rack. From the Saxon wrocan and German recken y to 
stretch. The word is therefore correctly applied to 
the instrument of torture of former days. 

Rack Rent. A term expressing the actual full annual value 
of land as paid from the earliest times, not modified 
by circumstances. See " Rack." 

Radcliffe Library. Founded at Oxford by the celebrated 
physician, Dr John Radcliffe, in Radcliffe Square, also 
named after him. 

Radicals. That advanced section of the Liberal party, 
whose set purpose it is to root out the evils, according 
to their view, of our constitutional system which are 
systematically maintained by the Conservatives. The 
term first came into notice in 1818, when a strenuous 
effort was made to institute a radical change in the 
Parliamentary representation of the country. This 
paved the way for the Reform Act of 1832. 

Radnor. The modern form of Rhiadnwr-Gwy, signifying 
" The Cataract of the Wye." This is in reference to the 
beautiful cascade, with a fall of seventy feet, called 
" The Water-break-its-Neck," the great natural feature 
in the vicinity of the county town. 

296 Rag— Rag Time 

Rag. Theatrical slang for the curtain, having originally 
reference to the green baize. Also military slang for 
the national flag, and the members' colloquial term for 
the Army and Navy Club. 

Rag Fair. The name given to the old clothes mart in 
Petticoat Lane, now Middlesex Street, Aldgate, on 
Sunday mornings. 

Ragged Regiment. Dilapidated waxen effigies of several 
English monarchs and persons of note that were borne 
through the streets at the obsequies of the subjects 
represented. They are located in Islip's Chapel, 
Westminster Abbey. 

Ragging. In military parlance this word expresses the 
system of persecution by which an unpopular man 
suffers indignities at the hands of his comrades. It 
has the same meaning as the North Country " Rag," 
to enrage or make angry, and " Bullyrag," to administer 
a severe scolding. The latter, however, of which the 
former is an abbreviation, has not been derived from 
the Dutch bulderen, to scold or bully, as is generally 
supposed, but from the custom of the Spanish bull- 
fighters of waving a red cloak in front of the bull in 
order to excite him to fury. This is the rag referred 
to. The corresponding United States term for 
"ragging" is "Hazing." 

Rag Money. American slang for paper money. 

Rag Time. An Americanism for a dancing frolic of the 
"go-as-you-please" order, in which musical time and 
rhythm are, as it were, torn into shreds j a ragged, loose, 
disconnected, unconventional time. The term has 
been well explained by an authoritative writer in The 
Referee as follows : — " Rag time is the outcome of 
1 Rag Speech,' a speech that casts tradition, balance, 
beauty, elegance, and refinement to the winds, and 
that believes that more effect can be made by punch- 
ing certain syllables into the brain of the listener. 
Technically speaking, 'Rag Time' shifts the strong 
accent from the first to the second beat of the bar. 
Against this there is a cross-rhythm with a kind of 

Railroad City — Ram and Teazle 297 

halting contrapuntal ornamentation in the accompani- 
ment, which sometimes brings a stress on to the fourth 
beat of the bar. The result of this irregularity and 
false quantity is to destroy the rhythm to an extent that 
often makes it difficult to say whether the music is in 
duple or triple measure. The musical consequence is 
the breaking down of symmetrical form, and the 
tendency is to reduce the organised structure to its 
component parts." 

Railroad City. Indianapolis, a junction of the great trunk 

Railway King. The sobriquet of George Hudson, Chair- 
man of the Midland Railway Company, who amassed 
a huge fortune by successful speculations in the early 
days of railway enterprise. 

Rains Cats and Dogs. This expression is traceable to 
two distinct sources — popular superstition and 
Scandinavian mythology. Witches who rode the 
storm on broomsticks were believed to have the power 
of transforming themselves into cats at will, while the 
dog or wolf is represented as the attendant of Odin, 
the Storm King of the northern nations. 

Rainy Day Smith. John Thomas Smith, the antiquary, 
whose chatty volume, "A Book for a Rainy Day," 
brought him more money and reputation than all his 
other works put together. 

Raise your Screw. This expression arose out of the 
custom of masters paying their employees' wages 
screwed up in a tiny paper of uniform size. The 
more money it contained the less tightly the paper 
could be screwed ; hence an advance of wages im- 
plied metaphorically giving the screw one turn back- 

Rake the Pot. An American gambling phrase meaning 
to seize the stakes. 

Ram and Teazle. A tavern sign common to the woollen 
manufacturing districts, this being the device of the 
Clothworkers' Company. 

298 Ranch— Rat Hole 

Ranch. From the Spanish ra?tcho i a hut of posts, covered 
with branches or thatch, in which herdsman or farm 
labourers in the western states of North America 
lodge by night. 

Rand. Expresses the Dutch, specifically in South Africa, 
for a mining district. 

Ranelagh Gardens. This fashionable public resort, now 
built over, occupied the site of Ranelagh House and 
its grounds, owned by an Irish peer, whose title it bore. 

Ranters. Another name for the "Primitive Methodists." 

Rape. The name given to a division under the Danes 
of the county of Sussex, from the Norse repp, a 

Rapier. This species of sword being eminently adapted 
for rapid thrusting and withdrawing, its name, from 
the Latin rapere, to snatch away, is appropriate. 

Rappahannock. Indian for "quick-rising waters." 

Rapparee. The name given to an Irish plunderer, because 
he was armed with a rapera, or half pike. 

Rascal. From the French racaille, "the scum of the 

Ratcliff Highway. Originally a manor belonging to the 
parish of Stepney, this highway for sailors ashore, 
where they found lodgings and entertainment of a low 
class in days prior to the provision of "Seamen's 
Homes," received its name from the multitudes of 
water rats that congregated on the Thames wall by 
night. On account of the evil reputation which this 
neighbourhood bore in former days, its name was 
changed to "St George's in the East." 

Rathbone Place. After Captain Rathbone, its builder, 
in 1718. 

Rat Hole. A printers' term for a non-society house. 
Since rats are known to desert a sinking ship, so a 
journeyman who refuses to take advantage of a trades 
union is stigmatised as a " Rat," because he forsakes 

Rationalism — Rector 299 

the general cause of his craft. Hence also the term 
" Rattening," by which is meant the taking away of or 
destroying a workman's tools consequent upon his 
desertion of the union or accepting work in a house 
opposed to its principles. 

Rationalism. The kind of religion (if it deserved such 
a name) set up during the French Revolution, when 
Reason took the place of Faith. The worship of the 
" Goddess of Reason," in the person of an actress 
installed in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, was a fitting 
illustration of the unreasoning tenet that public worship 
was opposed to the natural instincts of mankind. 

Rattening. See "Rat Hole." 

Ray Street. After the victim of an old-time Clerkenwell 
sensation, Miss Ray, who, on becoming the mistress 
of Lord Sandwich, was shot by her jilted lover, 

Ready. Short for ready money, cash always on hand, 
in readiness for emergencies. 

Rechabites. The name borne by total abstainers in the 
United States, after the followers of Jonadab, the son 
of Rechab, who lived in tents and abstained from the 
use of wine. 

Reckon without your Host. When putting up at an inn 
the cost is often greater than the traveller anticipates ; 
therefore it is always wise to be well prepared with 
funds, lest, when the host presents his bill, discom- 
fiture may arise. 

Recluse. From the Latin rec/usus, shut up; one who 
voluntarily cuts himself off from communion with his 
fellow-men, a solitary. 

Rector. A clergyman who enjoys a living in his own 
right, as distinguished from a "Vicar," who holds the 
appointment at the pleasure of the Lord of the Manor. 
The former also receives the tithes direct, whereas 
the latter passes them on to a layman, a college, or 

300 Red Cent — Red Rose 

a chapter, by whom he is paid a proportion thereout 
as a stipend. 
Eed Cent. An Americanism for a copper coin. 

Redcross Street. From the red stone cross anciently set 
up by the Knights Hospitallers to define the limits 
of the land belonging to them in the direction adjacent 
to that of the Knights Templars, indicated by a white 
cross of stone in what is now " Whitecross Street." 

Red Dragon. An inn sign, complimenting Henry VII., 
whose device it was. 

Redemptorists. Also called "Redemptorist Fathers." See 

Red Eye. The Far West term for fiery new whisky, which 
is well calculated to make the eyes of the toper look 

Red-hot Time. An Americanism for a jolly time, because 
the proceedings were conducted with the utmost 

Red-Letter Day. A phrase used to express a pleasurable 
event in one's past life. This had its origin in the old 
calendars and almanacks, in which high Church 
festivals were printed in red ink, and all the other 
days in black. 

Red Lion Court. After an ancient tavern, "The Red 

Red Lion Square. After a famous old coaching-house, 
"The Red Lion." 

Red Republicans. The extreme Republican party of the 
French Revolution, which adopted the red cap, the 
Roman symbol of Liberty. The lower orders of the 
people, to whom the cap meant everything, were like- 
wise only too ready to follow the behest of their leaders, 
and steep their hands in the blood of the aristocrats. 

Red Skins. The name first given by the white settlers to 
the Indians of North America. 

Red Rose. An inn sign, in compliment to the Lancas- 
trians during the Wars of the Roses. 

Red Sea— Regius Professor 301 

Red Sea. Three reasons are assigned for the name of this 
sea : the red sandstone which forms its bottom, the 
red rocks which in some parts border its shores, and 
the colouring imparted to its waters by coral reefs, 
animaculae, and sea-weed. 

Red Tape. That leisurely officialism which refers a matter 
from one department to another, until at length the 
highest authority is reached to take it in hand. The 
term has been derived from the red tape with which 
all legal and official documents are tied together. 

Reel. A whirling dance by a single person, peculiar to 
the Scots, so called in allusion to the winding of 
cotton on a reel. 

Reformed Presbytery. See " Macmillanites." 

Reform School. An Americanism for an institution for 
the reformation of juvenile offenders. 

Refresher. The legal term for an extra fee paid to a 
barrister by a client while the latter's case is pending, 
in order to refresh the former's memory concerning 
the interests at stake. 

Regent Diamond. See "Pitt Diamond." 

Regent's Park. Part of the general scheme of John Nash, 
the royal architect, when he projected the building of 
Regent Street, was to provide a magnificent palace for 
his patron, the Prince Regent, in the park named after 
him. This was not realised, and the site of the 
intended palace was appropriated to the Zoological 

Regent Street. In honour of the Prince Regent, after- 
wards George IV. 

Regiomontanus. The name assumed by Johann Miiller, 
a celebrated German mathematician of the fifteenth 
century, being a Latinised rendering of " Konigsberg," 
his native place. 

Regius Professor. The professorial chair in various 
departments of learning at Oxford and Cambridge 
Universities founded by Henry VIII. 

302 Regular Brick — Rhodes 

Regular Brick. See " He's a Brick." 

Regular Clergy. Those who in the Catholic Church are 
attached to monasteries and friaries, living by rule; 
in contradistinction to the " Secular Clergy," who are 
appointed to parochial work by a bishop, and move 
among the people. 

Regular Zantippe. See "Zantippe." 

Rehan. See "Ada Rehan." 

Rendezvous. Literally an individual haunt or resort, and 
in no sense a place of public meeting. The word is 
French for " betake yourself." 

Republican Marriage. The name given by the Red 
Republicans during the French Revolution to their 
atrocious procedure, instigated by Jean Baptiste 
Carrier, of tying a young man and woman together 
and drowning them. 

Resurrection Men. Body snatchers, who "resurrected," as 
the Americans say, bodies from the graves in order to 
sell them to the medical faculty for dissection. Since 
the general institution of public hospitals, the last 
refuge of so many "unknowns," whose dead bodies 
are never claimed, the demand for subjects snatched 
from the grave has entirely ceased. 

Revolver. The modern type of pistol, in which the breach 
which contains the cartridges revolves. In the earlier 
stage of this invention it was the barrel that revolved. 

Rheims. The capital of the Remi t a Gallic people referred 
to by Caesar. 

Rhine. From the Celtic rhe, "rapid." This name was 
given by the Swiss to rivers generally. 

Rhinoceros. Greek for "nose-horned." 

Rhode Island. A corruption of "rood," red, the name 
given to it by the Dutch settlers on account of its 
reddish appearance. 

Rhodes. From the Greek rhodon, a rose; expresses "the 
isle of roses." 

Rhododendron— Rile 303 

Rhododendron. From the two Greek words rhodon, rose, 

and dendron, tree. 
Rhody. The American designation of Rhode Island on 

account of its limited area; also called "Little 


Rhone. Derived from the same root as " Rhine." 

Ribbonmen. The name borne by the members of a 
Catholic political association in Ireland early in the 
last century on account of the distinctive badge or 
ribbon worn in the button-hole. The Ribbonmen were 
violently opposed to the "Orangemen." 

Ribston Pippins. The name given to a fine species of 
Normandy apple grown at Ribstone, Yorkshire, from 
pips originally planted on his estate by Sir Henry 

Richmond. When Edward I. built himself a sumptuous 
palace on the south bank of the Thames he gave it 
the name of Sheen, the Saxon for " resplendent." 
This being consumed by fire in 1479, Henry VI., rebuilt 
it, and then called it Richmond, after the beautiful seat 
in Yorkshire whence he took the title of his earldom. 
Richmond signifies a rich prospect from the hill occu- 
pied by its ancient castle. 

Riding. A Danish division of the county of Yorkshire 
corresponding to the Lincolnshire Trithing, of which 
it is a corruption, signifying a third part. 

Riff-raff. Expresses the Anglo-Saxon, from the Danish 
rip-raps, for "sweepings"; hence the scum of society. 

Right off the Reel. To do a thing without stopping until 
it is finished. The allusion is to unwinding the entire 
length of cotton off a reel or bobbin. 

Right Foot Foremost. A phrase derived from the old 
Roman superstition that if a visitor crossed the thres- 
hold with the left foot foremost he would be certain to 
bring ill luck upon the household. 

Rile. A provincial corruption of "Rail," to anger or 

304 Ring — Robert Street 

Ring. A professional term for a charmed circle — e.g. " The 

Dramatic Ring." 
Ring him up. A telephone phrase, really borrowed from 

the theatrical profession, in which the prompter's 

" Ring up" and " Ring down " — i.e. the curtain — have 

obtained favour since the " Palmy Days of the Drama." 
Rink. An American variant of "Ring." In the sense 

of a skating rink the term has become popular in 

Rio de Janeiro. This city takes its name from the river 

discovered by Alfonso de Sousa on the Feast of St 

Januarius, on which it stands. 

Rio de la Plata. Spanish for " river of silver." 

Rio Grande. Spanish for " great river." 

Rip. A corruption of " Rep." See " Old Rep." 

Ritualists. The extreme High Church party, who for 
many years past have revived the ancient ritual to 
such a degree that they may be said to be Roman 
Catholics in everything save in name. 

Riviera. Literally "coast," "sea-shore." 

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul. An expression derived from 
the following circumstance : — By Royal Letters Patent, 
dated 17th December 1540, the abbey church of St 
Peter, Westminster, was constituted a cathedral, with a 
resident bishop. Ten years afterwards this order was 
revoked, the diocese of Westminster being united to 
that of St Paul's Cathedral, and its revenues were 
granted towards the repairs of the city fane; hence 
what was taken away from St Peter's went to benefit 
St Paul's. 

Robert. The generic name for a policeman, after Sir 
Robert Peel, who introduced the modern constabulary 

Robert Street. In the Adelphi, after the Christian name of 
one of the three brothers Adam, its builders. In 
Camden Town, after one of the family names of the 
Marquis of Camden, the ground landlord. 

Robert the Devil — Roger de Coverley 305 

Robert the Devil. The surname of the first Duke of 
Normandy, the father of William the Conqueror, 
merited by his outrageous cruelty and daring in war. 

Robin Hood. The proper name of this renowned leader 
of the Sherwood Foresters was Robert Fitzooth. The 
first he euphonised into Robin and the second into 
Hood, leaving out the Fitz, which is Norman for " son," 
altogether, since having been declared an outlaw, he 
was not unwilling to renounce his claims to Norman 
descent. Whether or not he was really Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon, as some historians assert, cannot be proved. 

Robinson. The French popular name for an umbrella, in 
allusion to Robinson Crusoe. 

Rob Roy. The popular name of the Scottish outlaw 
Robert Macgregor, meaning simply " Robert the 
Red" on account of his beard. 

Rochester. From Hrofoceaster, after Hrop, a Saxon chief- 
tain, who built a castle on the site of a castra, or Roman 

Rochester Row. A name which recalls the fact that, prior 
to the time of George III., the Deanery of Westminster 
was included in the Bishopric of Rochester. 

Rock Day. Another ancient name for " Distaffs' Day," 
7th January, the word rock being the Anglo-Saxon for 
a distaff. 

Rogation Days. So called from the Latin rogare, to beseech, 
and also from the Greek /itaneia, supplication. These 
being the three days preceding the Feast of the Ascen- 
sion, the Litany of the Saints is chanted by way of 
preparation and supplication for the joyful event. 

Rogation Sunday. That which ushers in the "Rogation 

Roger de Coverley. The correct description of this sur- 
name is Roger de Cowley, or Roger of Cowley, near 
Oxford. The dance of this name was invented by an 
ancestor of the country squire, Sir Roger de Coverley, 
mentioned by Addison in The Spectator. 

306 Rogues' Gallery — Romney Street 

Bogues' Gallery. The name given to the collection of 
criminals' photographs in the State Prison of New York. 

Roland for an Oliver. See " Gave him a Roland for an 

Roll Call. The list of names called out in the army. The 
term "Roll" is a survival of those far-off days when 
not only a list, but writing of all kinds, was set forth on 
one long roll of paper. We still speak of a " Burgess 
Roll," while to belong to any society is said to be 
" enrolled " among its members ; hence also the phrase 
" Roll of Honour." 

Rolls Chapel. This ancient edifice, now incorporated in the 
New Record Office, was built by Henry III. for a 
number of Jewish rabbis who, had been converted to 
Christianity. Into it Edward III. caused all the ac- 
cumulated rolls or records to be stored, and there they 
remained in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, 
until in more modern days they were overhauled and 

Roman Catholic Church. The ancient original fold of 
"The Holy Catholic Church," which acknowledges 
the authority of the Pope of Rome. The recognised 
head of the English Catholic Church is the King, re- 
presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury, just as 
that of "The Greek Catholic Church" in Russia is 
the Czar, represented by the Metropolitan of St 

Rome. After Romulus, its mythical founder. 

Romeo Coates. Robert Coates was a fashionable amateur 
actor during the early part of the last century; sur- 
named Romeo Coates on account of his very many 
appearances in the character of the ill-fated hero in 
Romeo and Juliet. 

Romford. The ford over the Bourne, anciently called the 
Rom, this being the Roman highway between London 
and Colchester. 

Romney Street. After Charles Marsham, Earl of Romney, 
the owner of the estate. 

Rood Lane — Rouge et Noir 307 

Rood Lane. From an ancient holy rood or cross, on 
which was a figure of the dying Saviour, that stood in 
this thoroughfare as a boundary mark of the landed 
property of the nuns of St Helen's. See "Mincing 

Rosary. A string of beads, and also the prayers said in 
connection therewith, so called because the Virgin 
appeared in a vision to St Dominic, who instituted this 
Catholic devotion, holding out to him a garland of red 
and white roses. The ancient rosaries, or "pater- 
nosters " as they were called, bore an impression of 
a rose on each bead. 

Rose. An inn and tavern sign which, as a painted device, 
red or white, displayed a partisanship for the Lan- 
castrians or the Yorkists. After the union of the two 
royal houses nothing was easier to quench the former 
partiality for either the red or white rose than to ex- 
hibit in place of the coloured design the name of " The 
Rose," as a general compliment to the Crown. 

Rose and Crown. This inn and tavern sign symbolised 
the cessation of the Wars of the Roses by the marriage 
of Henry VII. to Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV. 

Rosebery Avenue. After Lord Rosebery, the erstwhile 
leader of the Liberal party in our time. 

Rosoman Street. Perpetuates the memory of Mr Rosoman, 
who converted Sadler's Musick House into a regular 
theatre in 1765. 

Rosslyn Hill Park. From Rosslyn House, the residence 
of Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of Rosslyn, and Lord 
Chancellor of England. 

Rotherhithe. Properly Roth-hithe, the Anglo-Saxon for 
" red haven." See " Rutland." 

Rotten Row. This name is a survival of the days when 
French was the language of the Court. Properly 
route du roi, it is literally "route of the King," and 
meant the King's drive across the park. 

Rouge et Noir. French for " red and black," the alternate 

308 Roughriders— Royal Maunds 

colour of the diamonds that distinguish the spaces on 
the gaming-table. 

Roughriders. The name borne by expert horsemen in 
Natal, who dispense with saddles. 

Roulette. Expresses the French for " a little wheel." 

Roumania. As its name implies, this was anciently a 
Roman province. 

Roumelia. A Turkish corruption of Roumania, "the 
country of the Romans." 

Roundheads. The Parliamentary soldiers under Cromwell, 
so called from the custom of the Puritans of cropping 
the hair close to the head, as opposed to that of the 
Cavaliers, who wore it long. 

Rouser. An Americanism for what we in this country 
style a "Pick-me-up." 

Rout. A fashionable assembly, so called from the German 
rotte and Celtic "rhauter," a crowd. The name is 
now never heard, but what are called "Rout Seats," 
generally requisitioned for such gatherings, are still let 
out on hire. 

Rowton Houses. The name given to large blocks of 
tenements exclusively designed for the accommodation 
of unmarried clerks and others employed in the city. 
The foundation of the late Lord Rowton. 

Roxburgh. From the Celtic ross, a headland, the castle 
on the promontory. 

Roxburghe. A superior style of bookbinding, so called 
from that uniformly adopted by the Roxburghe Club, 
a society established for printing rare books, and 
named after John, Duke of Roxburghe, a famous 
collector of works of art and literature. 

Royalists. The adherents of Charles I. in the Civil War. 

Royal Maunds. The name given to doles of money 
corresponding to the years of life attained by the 
reigning monarch to the poor on " Maundy Thursday." 

Royal Oak — Russell Square 309 

This custom has been in vogue ever since the time of 
Edward III. 
Royal Oak. An inn sign which had its origin during the 
Restoration period, in compliment to Charles II. See 
" Oak Apple Day." 

Royal Oak Day. Another name for "Oak Apple Day." 

Rufus. The surname of William II. on account of his 
florid complexion j rufus is the Latin for " ruddy." 

Rugby. A corruption of the Saxon Rothby^ "red village," 
in allusion to its soil. 

Rum. A West Indian word for spirit distilled from cane 

Run. An Americanism used as a verb for "finance," 
whether in relation to a person or a business enter- 
prise. "Who's running him?" means who is it that 
keeps him going, or on his feet ? 

Run Amuck. To run foul of a person or thing. The 
phrase is derived from the Malays, who, while under 
the influence of opium, rush through the streets with 
drawn daggers, crying : Amog I amog I (" Kill ! kill ! "), 
and threaten the lives of everyone they encounter. 

Running Footman. A tavern sign in Mayfair, reminiscent 
of the days when running footmen, carrying a short 
staff of office, preceded the carriages of the wealthy. 
The object of this custom was to give timely notice of 
the impending arrival of their masters. The tavern in 
question, situated in Hayes' Mews, was formerly the 
regular resort of running footmen and sedan chair- 

Rupert's Land. After Prince Rupert, one of the founders 
of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Rupert Street. After Prince Rupert, who introduced his 
invention of Prince Rupert's Drops," or glass bubblers, 
into England. 

Russell Square. After Lord William Russell, the patriot, 
whose wife, Rachel, was the daughter of Thomas 
Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, Marquis of Tavi- 

310 Russell Street — Sacramentarians 

stock, Duke of Bedford, the ancestor of the present 
great ground landlord. The several streets of the 
same name are included in the estate. 

Russell Street. In Bermondsey, after Richard Russell, 
a noted benefactor to the parochial chanties during 
his life, and after his death in 1784. For other streets 
so denominated on the Bedford estate see "Russell 

Russia. The country of the Rus$ t the tribe that first 
overran it. 

Rutland. A corruption of the Anglo-Saxon Rothland, 
" red land," so called on account of the colour of its 

Rutland Gate. After the town mansion of the Dukes of 

Rye Lane. Leads to " Peckham Rye." 

Ryot. A Hindoo peasant or cultivator of the soil, so 
called from the Arabic raaya, to pasture. 

Sabbatarians. The followers of Brabourne, a Baptist 
minister, who held that the real Sabbath was the 
seventh day of the week, as enunciated in the Book 
of Genesis. This sect arose in 1628. Also known as 
" Seventh Day Baptists." 

Sabeans. The first idolaters, worshippers of the sun, moon, 
and stars as the visible representations of the Deity ; 
so called after Sabi, the son of Seth. 

Sack. A dry wine of great repute in Elizabethan times, 
so called from the French sec, dry. 

Sackville Street. Built upon in 1679 — that is, twenty years 
after "Air Street" — this thoroughfare was named in 
honour of Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset, one of 
the favourites of Charles II. 

Sacramentarians. The designation of the Calvinists, 

Sacrilege— St Bees 311 

or those who denied the Real Presence in the 

Sacrilege. Literally the act of despoiling that which is 

Sadler's Wells Theatre. Originally a " Musick House" 
in connection with a Spa opened by Mr Sadler, who, 
after digging for gravel in his garden in 1683, dis- 
covered an ancient " holy well " that had been stopped 
up since the Reformation. 

Saffron Hill. From the saffron which grew abundantly 
in the grounds attached to Ely House, the town man- 
sion of the bishops of Ely. 

Sahara. Expresses the Arabic for " desert." 

Sailor King. William IV., who, having been bred to the 
sea in his youth, worked up his way from a midship- 
man to the position of Lord High Admiral. In his 
case promotion was no doubt easy. 

St Albans. The scene of the martyrdom of St Alban, a.d. 
297, in honour of whom Offa, King of Mercia, founded 
a Benedictine abbey. 

St Andrew Undershaft. The Church of St Andrew in 
Leadenhall Street, so called from the tall shaft or 
Maypole which, bedecked with garlands on high festi- 
vals, stood within a few yards of its door. Since this 
shaft towered high above the steeple the church was 
said to be "under the shaft." After the Reformation the 
shaft was taken down and kept in an adjacent alley, 
now called "Shaft Alley." Thirty-two years later the 
popular voice declared it to be a relic of superstition, 
whereupon it was "raised off the hooks," sawn into 
pieces, and burnt. 

St Andrews. After St Andrew, the patron saint of 
Scotland, whose bones are enshrined in the Cathedral. 

St Andrew's Hill. From the church of St Andrew, at its 
south-western extremity. 

St Bees. From an ancient nunnery founded in the seventh 
century by an Irish saint named Bega. Partly destroyed 
by the time of Henry I., it was then reconstituted 

312 St Bride Street— St George's Sq. 

as a priory by Randulp, Earl of Cumberland. This 
village is known chiefly on account of its college, the 
foundation of Dr Law, Bishop of Chester in 1806. 

St Bride Street. From the neighbouring parish church 
of St Bride or Bridget. 

St Clement Danes. Dedicated to St Clement, this 
parish church received the bones of Harold I. and 
many of his countrymen during the Danish occupation 
of England. 

St David's Day. The birthday (1st March) of St David, 
the patron saint of Wales, who when archbishop 
advised his countrymen to wear a leek in their caps, 
to distinguish them from their foes. In consequence 
of the precaution they won a decisive victory over the 
Saxons on this day, and the leek became the national 

St Ethelburga's. This, one of the most ancient churches in 
the city, was dedicated to St Ethelburga, the daughter 
of King Ethelbert, and a paragon of all the Christian 

St Ethelreda's. This beautiful city chupch in Ely Place, 
after having gone through many vicissitudes since the 
Reformation, is now once more a Roman Catholic place 
of worship. St Ethelreda was the daughter of Ethel- 
red, King of the East Angles ; her name is often 
corrupted into St Audrey. See " Tawdry." 

St George and Dragon. An inn sign after the patron 
saint of England. 

St George's Hall. This place of entertainment, now occu- 
pied by Messrs Maskelyne & Devant, was opened in 
1867 as St George's Opera House, so called on account 
of its location in the parish of St George, Hanover 

St George's in the East. The modern designation of 
" Ratcliff Highway," from the parish church dedicated 
to St George, patron saint of England. 

St George's Square. After the neighbouring church, 
dedicated to St George. 

St Grouse — St Katherine's Docks 313 

St Grouse's Day. The jocular term for the twelfth of 
August, when grouse shooting begins. 

St Helena. This island was discovered on the Feast of 
St Helena, 1502. 

St Helen's Place. From the adjacent church of St 
Helen's, dedicated to St Helena, the mother of 
Constantine. Thirty years later in 1 180, William Fitz- 
william, a wealthy goldsmith, founded a priory of nuns 
in connection therewith. 

St James's Palace. Stands on the site of an ancient 
hospital for lepers dedicated to St James the Less, 
Bishop of Jerusalem. The original palace was built 
by Holbein for Henry VIII. 

St James's Square. Like the street of the same name, 
after St James's Palace. 

St John's Gate. The last vestige of the ancient priory of 
St John of Jerusalem, the English seat of the Knights 
Hospitallers. The gateway now forms the headquarters 
of the St John's Ambulance Association. Here 
William Cave, the printer, projected and published 
The Gentleman's Magazine. 

St John's Wood. From the ancient " Abbey of the Holy 
Virgins of St John the Baptist," which nestled among 
the now vanished woods in this neighbourhood. 

St Katherine Coleman. Dedicated to St Katherine, this 
city church received its second name on account of 
its location in the garden of one Coleman, the builder 
of the street called after him. 

St Katherine Cree. Originally a chapel dedicated to 
St Katherine in the parish of Holy Trinity (in the 
Minories). This on the abolition of the neighbouring 
benefices of Christ Church, St Mary Magdalen, and 
St Michael was made into a separate parish of 
Christ Church, and, while retaining the old name, came 
to be known as "St Katherine Christi," of which 
11 Cree " is a corruption. 

St Katherine's Docks. From an ancient hospital of St 

3H St Kitt's— St Michael's Mount 

Katherine, displaced when these docks were con- 
structed in 1828. 

St Kitt's Island. Discovered by Columbus, it was named 
by him after St Christopher, his patron saint. 

St Lawrence. The gulf of this name was first entered, and 
the navigation of the great river embarked upon, on 
the Feast of St Lawrence, 1500. 

St Lawrence Jewry. The church dedicated to St Lawrence 
in the Jewry. See " Old Jewry." 

St Leger Stakes. See " Doncaster St Leger." 

St Lubbock. The popular nickname of Lord Avebury, 
formerly Sir John Lubbock, to whom our countrymen 
are indebted for the introduction of legalised Bank 

St Margaret Pattens. This church received its name 
from the gilt spots, or patines, with which its roof was 
anciently decorated. A 'paten is the circular gold dish 
which covers the chalice at the altar. 

St Martin's Lane. From the parish church of St Martin 
in the Fields. 

St Martin' s-le-Grand. The official [designation of the 
buildings collectively comprised in the headquarters of 
the General Post Office. This is because the original 
edifice occupies the site of an ancient college church 
dedicated to St Martin-le-Grand, the foundation of 
Within, King of Kent in 750, and invested with the 
privilege of sanctuary under a charter of William the 

St Mary-Axe. From a vanished church of St Mary that 
stood opposite to a shop which had an axe for its 
sign. Originally " St Mary-by-the-Axe." 

St Mary-le-Bow. See " Bow Church." 

St Mary Woolnoth. Dedicated to the Virgin ; this church 
was so called because it stood nough, or nigh, to the 
ancient wool beam or staple. 

St Michael's Mount. Anciently the seat of a religious 

St Olave's-St Stephen's 315 

house, to the monks of which, as tradition states, St 
Michael once appeared on the crag, where in later 
years a castle was built, the exact spot being indicated 
by a stone lantern, since known as " St Michael's 
St Olave's. A corruption of " St Olaf's," this church 
having been dedicated to Olaf, King of Norway, who 
Christianised his country, and at the invitation of 
Ethelred came over to England to render aid in the 
work of expelling the Danes. 

St Pancras. This parish takes its name from the ancient 
church in Old St Pancras Road dedicated to the boy 
saint who was martyred by Diocletian. A representa- 
tion of this youth being attacked by wild dogs may 
be seen on the stone bridge over the Regent's Canal, 
which serves as a boundary mark to the parish. 

St Partridge's Day. A popular nickname for " Partridge 

St Paul of the Cross. See " Passionists." 

St Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great, and dedi- 
cated to St Peter, whose church is situated within the 

St Sepulchre's. The foundation of this church was the 
outcome of the Crusades, in honour of the Holy 
Sepulchre at Jerusalem. Appropriately enough, the 
bell of the modern edifice gave warning to the un- 
happy inmates of the condemned cell in Newgate 
Prison over the way of their approaching last hour. 

St Sophia. This beautiful mosque at Constantinople, 
although originally a Christian cathedral, so far from 
having been dedicated to any St Sophia, was called 
Hagia Sopia, " Holy Wisdom " — i.e. the eternal wisdom 
of God manifested in the Second Person of the Trinity. 

St Stephen's. The House of Commons bears this name 
because, in the absence of a separate building, its 
members held their sittings in the Chapel of St 
Stephen's, Westminster Abbey, until that edifice was 
burned down, 16th October 1834. 

316 St Swithin's Day — Salisbury Square 

St Swithin's Day. The day of the attempted reinterment 
(15th July) of the body of St S within, preceptor of 
King Ethelwulf and Bishop of Rochester, whose death 
took place 2nd July 862. Not regarding himself 
worthy to be "laid" within the sacred edifice, he 
requested that he might be buried just outside the 
door in the churchyard, so that the faithful would 
walk over his grave. Although they acceded to this 
last wish, the monks decided afterwards to lay him 
inside the church ; but their design was frustrated for 
forty successive days by a pouring rain, until at last 
they desisted from the attempt. This circumstance 
gave rise to the saying that " If it rains on St Swithin's 
day it will rain for forty days." 

St Valentine's Day. The connection between St Valen- 
tine and the poetical epistles that were formerly inter- 
changed between young lovers on the 14th of February 
is somewhat remote. On this day the good Christian 
Bishop was beheaded at Rome in the year 278. Long 
before this, however, Roman youths and maidens had 
followed the custom of selecting a lover for the year 
by shaking up the names of their favourites, written 
on separate tablets, in a box. This arose out of the 
old notion that birds begin to pair on the 14th of 
February. The martyrdom of Bishop Valentine on 
this day therefore actuated the Christians to style 
their selected lover their Valentine, and the presents 
they exchanged in modern times bore the same name. 

Salic Law. The ancient Frankish law by which females 
were excluded from the throne. This was originally 
confined to what were called "Salic Lands," either, as 
some say, from the satte, or hall of the owner, or, 
according to others, from the Salian Franks, those 
bordering on the Sale or Yssel River ; the enactment 
eventually applied to the heritage of the Frankish 

Salisbury Square. This, like the street and court of the 
same name, marks the site of the town mansion and 
grounds of the bishops of Salisbury. 

Salop— Sand wiches 3 1 7 

Salop. See " Shropshire." 

Salt Lake City. The hot-bed of the Mormons, founded 
on the borders of the Great Salt Lake, so called on 
account of the saline character of its waters. 

Salutation. An inn sign in honour of the Salutation of 
the Virgin. 

Salviati. See " Del Salviati." 

Salzburg. The fortified town on the Salza River. 

Samaria. After Shemer, the owner of the hill which, as 
we are told in i Kings xvi. 24, Omri bought for two 
talents of silver, " and built on the hill, and called the 
name of the city which he built, after the name of 
Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." 

Sambo. The generic name of a North American Negro ; 
derived from the native Zambo^ the offspring of a black 
and a Mulatto. 

Sanci Diamond. One of the great gems of the world, 
weighing 106 carats, originally the property of a French 
nobleman of this name, and purchased in 1835 by tne 
Czar of Russia for half-a-million roubles. 

Sandbaggers. A modern street terror in American cities 
while the police are looking the other way, so called 
because they stun their victims with elongated bags of 
hard, wet sand, and then rob them at leisure. 

Sandhillers. A name given in America to the descendants 
of the white labourers, who, ousted from their employ- 
ment when slavery came in, sought the sand-hills amid 
the pine forests of Georgia and South Carolina. 

Sandow Girl. A physical culture girl trained at the Aca- 
demy of Eugene Sandow, or at home by means of appli- 
ances advertised in connection therewith. Also known 
as the "Symmetrion Girl" from the name on the 
familiar posters. The Sandow or Symmetrion Girls 
proved a great attraction in the Athletic Scene of The 
Dairymaids at the Apollo Theatre. 

Sandwich. The sand village. 

Sandwiches. After John Montague, Earl of Sandwich, 

318 Sandwich Islands— Santa Fe 

whose chief claim to celebrity lay in the fact that he 
was an inveterate gamester. It is on record that he 
often remained engrossed in play for thirty hours at a 
stretch without partaking of a meal. From time to 
time, however, he would ask the waiter to bring him 
a slice of meat between two pieces of bread, as a stay 
to the appetite. The waiter called this improvised 
meal a "Sandwich," and by that name it has ever 
since been known. 

Sandwich Islands. Named by Captain Cook in honour of 
Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, at the 
time when they were discovered by him. 

Sandy. The nickname of a Scotsman, being short for 
Alexander, the most common Christian name to be 
met with in North Britain. 

San Francisco. Dedicated to St Francis, this Spanish- 
American city really received its name from a coast 
settlement of missionaries styled "San Francisco de 
Costa Dolores" as far back as September 1776. 

Sankey's Horse. The regimental nickname of the 39th 
Foot. This was merited in India, when they were 
called upon to do temporary service on horseback 
under Colonel Sankey. 

Sansculottes. The lowest orders of the people during the 
French Revolution. This, literally " without breeches," 
was the scornful title at first bestowed by the aristocrats 
upon the Democratic party on account of their neglect- 
ful attire. A little while later the Red Republicans 
accepted it with pride as the password for patriotism. 

San Salvador. This being the first land sighted in the 
New World by Columbus, he honoured it with the name 
of the "Holy Saviour," as a perpetual expression of 

Sans Souci. This, the French for "free and easy," or 
" without care," was the name borne by a famous 
place of amusement originally built by Dibdin as a 
bijou theatre in Leicester Square. 

Santa Fe. Spanish for " Holy Faith." 

Santa Cruz — Sardinia 319 

Santa Cruz. Spanish for " Holy Cross." 

Santiago. From the cathedral (in the city of Spain so 
named) containing the bones of St Jago, or James the 
Less, the national patron saint. 

Saraband. After Zarabanda, a celebrated dancer of Seville, 
who invented it. 

Saracens. From the Arabic sharkeyn, " eastern people " ; 
originally the designation of the Bedouins of Eastern 
Arabia. By the Crusaders it was applied to the 
Mohammedans generally. See " Moors." 

Saracen's Head. An inn sign of the time of the Crusades. 
Lest it might be thought that this was complimentary 
to the enemies of Christianity, mention may be made 
of the fact that the head of the Saracen was represented 
as severed. 

Saragossa. A corruption of the Roman name Ccesarea 

Saratoga. Indian for "miraculous waters from the rock," 
touching the famous mineral springs. 

Saratoga Trunk. The popular type of travelling trunk in 
the United States, so called because it was first used 
by visitors to Saratoga Springs. 

Sarcophagus. A Greek compound of sarkos, flesh, and 
phargO) to eat. The term was originally applied to a 
receptacle for the dead, because the early examples 
were made out of a kind of limestone which was 
thought to possess the property of consuming a corpse 
in a very short time. 

Sardines. From Sardinia, in the waters of which island 
the true species of this fish abound. 

Sardinia. Called Sandaliotis by the Greeks on account of 
its resemblance to a human footprint ; this name was 
changed by the Romans to Sardo. At a later period 
the island was called Sardonion, from a poisonous 
herb, transplanted from Sardis in Asia Minor, which 
brought about a twitching of the muscles of the face 

320 Sardinia Street — Savoy Street 

resembling laughter; hence the phrase to "Smile 

Sardinia Street. From the Sardinian Chapel built in 1648 
in connection with the residence of the Sardinian 
Ambassador at the time when the island of Sardinia 
was nominally a kingdom, but really in the possession 
of Spain. 

Sardonic Smile. See "Sardinia." 

Sarsenet. A fine silk originally of Saracenic manufacture. 

Saturday. This, the seventh day of the week, was dedi- 
cated by the Romans to Saturn. As, however, all the 
other week-days were named by the people of Northern 
Europe in accordance with Scandinavian mythology, 
one must incline to the opinion that this was named 
after Sseter, a water deity. Its Anglo-Saxon designation 
was Sczterdceg. 

Saturnalia. The great winter festival of the Romans in 
honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. 

Saunders Blue. An easy corruption of the French Cendres 
bleuSy "blue ashes," calcined bluestone being the sub- 
stance from which this pigment is obtained. 

Sauterne. A French wine produced at the place of the 
name, in the department of Gironde. 

Saved my Bacon. This expression originated during the 
Civil War, when housewives took extraordinary measures 
to save the bacon stored up for winter consumption 
from the greedy appetites of soldiers on the march. 

Savile Row. After Dorothy Savile, who, marrying into the 
Burlington family, received this portion of the estate 
as her separate property. 

Savoy. A cabbage originally introduced from the French 
department of this name. 

Savoy Street. From the Savoy Chapel, the original of 
which, prior to its destruction by fire, 7th July 1864, 
was the only remaining portion of the ancient Savoy 
Palace built by Peter of Savoy, uncle to the queen of 
of Henry III., in 1249. 

Sawney — Scavenger's Daughter 321 

Sawney. A variant of " Sandy." 

Saxons. From the seax, the short crooked knife with 
which this tribe were armed. Sahs is the Old German 
for knife. Since the days of Daniel O'Connell Irish 
patriots have been fond of referring to the English 
people as Saxons, the natural enemies of the Celts. 

S'Blood. A trooper's corruption of " His Blood," or the 
precious blood of the Redeemer. This species of pro- 
fanity survives in the vulgar swear- word " Bloody." 

Scales of Justice. The ancient Egyptians believed that 
the good deeds of a soul after death would be weighed 
against his evil deeds. The Koran likewise teaches 
that the merits and demerits of departed souls are 
balanced in the scales of the Archangel Gabriel ; 
hence the phrase now popular all the civilised world 

Scalper. An Americanism for one who speculates in rail- 
road tickets, and consequently obtains them at a 
reduction of their top prices. 

Scaramouch. A character in the old Italian comedy, the 
prototype of the modern clown, so called from 
scaramuccia, a skirmish. 

Scarborough. The fortified scar or precipitous cliff, so 
called on account of the castle built about 1136. 

Scarborough Warning. A warning given too late to be 
taken advantage of. In 1557 Thomas Stafford seized 
Scarborough Castle before the townsfolk had the least 
intelligence of his approach. After taking possession 
he advised them to fly from the town and leave their 
Scarlet. From the Persian sakarlat, " bright red." 
Scavenger's Daughter. A corruption of Skevington's 
Daughter, this instrument of torture being the in- 
vention of William Skevington, Lieutenant of the 
Tower, temp. Henry VIII. He called it his daughter 
because it emanated from his own brain. Those 
who were fated to suffer by it sadly consented, as 
the saying was, to " Kiss the Scavenger's Daughter." 

322 Schaffhausen— Scotia 

Schaffhausen. Literal German for "sheep-houses" or 

Schiedam. Another name for Hollands, or Dutch gin, from 
the place where this native spirit is distilled. 

Schooner. This kind of vessel received its name from the 
exclamation of a spectator at the time when its earliest 
example was launched : " Look, she schoons ! " 

Schottische. Expresses the German for a Scottish dance, 
a variation of the polka, in three-quarter time. The 
Scots, however, repudiate its invention. It is not 
improbable that a Scotsman, sojourning in the Father- 
land, blundered into this step through his inability to 
dance the polka correctly. ^ 

Scilly Isles. After the name of one of the smallest, in 
proximity to a very dangerous rock similar to that of 
Scylla in Sicily which, according to Homer, was the 
abode of a monster so denominated. 

Scissors-tail. A South American bird which in the course 
of its flights opens and shuts its tail for the purpose of 
entrapping the flies that constitute its prey. 

Scorching. A bicycling term which, curiously enough, only 
came into vogue after the possibility of realising it 
had been removed. In the days of the old "Bone- 
shaker," before rubber tyres were heard of, there would 
have been great likelihood of setting the wooden 
machine on fire by furious riding on the part of an 

Scotch Reel. See " Reel." 

Scot-free. A phrase derived from the old legal exaction 
"Scot and Lot," the former being derived from the 
Anglo-Saxon sceat, pay, and the latter meaning a tribute 
allotted to every man according to his means. It was 
rare indeed that anyone got off "Scot-free" in ancient 

Scotia. From the Celtic scot, wanderer, with the suffix m, 
country; the ancient designation of the Highlands, 
now, with the Lowlands, called " Scotland." 

Scotists — Scroll of Fame 323 

Scotists. Those who accepted the doctrine of John Duns 
Scotus relative to the Immaculate Conception, in 
opposition to the "Thomists." 

Scotland. See "Scotia." 

Scotland Yard. On the site of the original Scotland Yard 
stood an ancient palace appropriated to the Scottish 
kings, who were required to pay homage once a year 
to the English sovereign at Westminster Abbey. The 
last Scottish monarch so accommodated was Margaret, 
the sister of Henry VII. 

Scots. See " Scotia." 

Scottish Covenanters. See " Covenanters." 

Scottish Hogarth. The surname of David Allan of Alloa, 
whose portraits and historical paintings occupy a high 
position in the esteem of his countrymen. 

Scottish Presbyterians. The successors of the Scottish 
Covenanters, and founders of the Established Church of 
Scotland. See " Presbyterians." 

Scowerers. Eighteenth-century rakes who scoured the 
streets of London by night, overturning the "Old 
Charlies" in their boxes, and molesting peaceable 

Scratched Horse. One that has its name struck out of the 
final list of runners in a race. Those who have 
backed their money on it swear a little, but no one 
else cares a jot for their discomfiture. 

Screw. Colloquial for "wages." See "Raise your 

Screwed. Drunk. This is simply a play on the word 

Screw of Tobacco. So called because it is screwed up 
in a paper. 

Scriptures. Expresses the plural of the Latin scriptura, 
a writing, from the verb scribere, to write. The Bible 
is a collection of books or writings. 

Scroll of Fame. The word "Scroll" is a corruption of 

324 Scullery — Seething Lane 

" Roll," relative to paper, although from " scroll " we 
have derived the term " Schedule." See " Roll Call." 

Scullery. The annexe to a kitchen, where the dishes and 
pots are washed up, so called from the Norman- 
French esculle, a porringer or dish. The man-servant 
or boy whose work lay in the scullery was in former 
days called a "Scullion." 

S'Death. A softened form of the profane oath "His 
Blood," in reference to the Saviour. 

Sea of Marmora. From the Latin marmor^ marble, 
which for centuries has been quarried on a small 
island at its western extremity. 

Sebastopol. From the Greek Sebastopolis, "august city." 

Secretary Bird. A South African bird distinguished by a 
tuft of feathers on each side of its head which form 
a fanciful resemblance to quill pens stuck behind the 

Sectarians. The general name for Dissenters attached to 
any one of the numerous sects or denominations out- 
side the Established Church. 

Secular Clergy. See "Regular Clergy." 

Secularist. From the Latin seculum, an age, a generation ; 
one who advocates the happiness or well-being of the 
community during the present life, leaving the future 
completely out of count. 

Sedan-chairs. First made at Sedan, France. 

See how it pans out. Originally a miners' phrase in 
the Far West. To separate the gold grains from the 
earth in which they are found a pan of water is brought 
into service ; when the pan is shaken the gold collects 
at the bottom. 

Seekers. The original designation of the Quakers, because 
they sought the truth with the solicitude of Nicodemus, 
the Jewish ruler (John iii. 1-2 1). 

Seething Lane. A corruption of Sidon Lane, after the 
name of the first builder on the land. 

Selkirk's Island — Sermon Lane 325 

Selkirk's Island. Also called the isle of "Juan Fer- 

Seltzer Water. A corrupted spelling of "Seltsers," the 
name of a village near Limburg in Prussia famous for 
its mineral springs. 

Senate. The Upper House of the United States Congress. 
The term properly implies an elder, from the Latin 
senis, an old man. 

Senegambia. The territory situated between the Senegal 
and Gambia Rivers. 

Sent to Coventry. As its name implies, Coventry was in 
olden times a great centre of religious life, touching 
the number of its conventual establishments. Soldiers 
sent to the garrison there soon discovered that no 
woman would speak to them. Hence to be sent to 
Coventry was a great hardship, since it meant being 
cut off from "life" in every form, and female inter- 
course particularly. 

Separatists. Another name for the Home Rulers during the 
lifetime of Mr Parnell. It implied virtual separation 
from English rule. 

Sepia. Greek for "cuttle-fish," from the inky secretion 
under the glands of which this pigment is obtained. 

September. The seventh month of the Roman year, 
counting from March. 

Serjeants' Inn. Anciently the inn or mansion of the 
" Freres Serjens," a brotherhood of Servitors to the 
Knights Templars hard by. It was these who per- 
formed the ordinary household duties in the Temple. 

Serle Street. After Henry Serle of Lincoln's Inn, the 
owner of considerable property in this neighbourhood 
when the parish of St Clement Danes was very different 
to what it is now. 

Sermon Lane. Anciently " Sheremoniers' Lane," so 
called from the money shearers or clippers' office 
adjacent to the first London Mint. 

326 Serpentine — Seven Sisters' Road 

Serpentine. An artificial winding lake formed out of the 
pools and the Tyburn in Hyde Park in 1733. See 
" Bayswater." 

Servia. The country of the Suevi, a people driven by the 
Romans into that portion of Germany now called 
"Suabia," until after further migrations northward 
they settled in Sweden. 

Servites. This religious Order grew out of the pious 
example of seven Florentine merchants who in 1283 
assembled each evening for devotional exercises in 
a lady chapel and styled themselves " The Religious 
Servants of the Holy Virgin." The London house of 
the Community is in the Fulham Road. 

Set her Cap at him. With the coquetry peculiar to her 
sex, a female always put on her most becoming cap to 
attract the male visitor whom she favoured. Now that 
caps are no longer worn she resorts to other devices, 
but the old expression survives. 

Set the Thames on fire. A " temse " was the old name 
for a sieve, agreeably to the French tamis and the 
Italian tamiso, which terms express the same imple- 
ment. A sifter would require to work very hard 
indeed to ignite his sieve. Accordingly a bystander 
often said to him touching his apparent laziness : 
"You'll never set the temse on fire!" Its punning 
application to the River Thames is perhaps pardonable. 

Seven Dials. A once notorious thieves' neighbourhood, 
which received its name from a stone column present- 
ing seven dials or faces, from which the same number 
of streets radiated. This, originally set up to mark the 
limits of St Giles's and St Martin's parishes, was 
removed in 1763, owing to the erroneous idea that 
a large sum of money lay buried beneath it. 

Seven Sisters' Road. This long road, extending from 
Holloway to Tottenham, received its name from seven 
trees planted in Page Green in the latter parish by the 
Sisters Page. Local tradition has it that one of these 
was a cripple, and the tree planted by her grew up 

Seventh Day Baptists — Sheen 327 

Seventh Day Baptists. See "Sabbatarians." 

Saxagesima Sunday. Approximately the sixtieth day before 

Seymour Place. After one of the family names of the 
Portmans, owners of the estate. 

Seymour Street. Far removed from Seymour Place, this 
has no connection with the Portman family, having 
received its name from the first builder on the land. 

Shadwell. A corruption of St Chad's Well," a reputed 
holy well discovered hereabouts in ancient days. 

Shaft Alley. See "St Andrew Undershaft." 

Shaftesbury Avenue. After Anthony Ashley Cooper, 
seventh Earl of Shaftsbury, who performed the opening 
ceremony of this new thoroughfare shortly before his 
death in 1885. 

Shah Diamond. A gem weighing 86 carats, long the 
property of Chosroes I., Shah of Persia, who, dying in 
579, presented it to a Khan of the Tartars, from whom 
it descended to Ivan III., the grandfather of Ivan the 
Terrible, the first Czar of Russia. 

Shakers. An American sect, first heard of in 1774, at 
Albany in the state of New York, so called from the 
convulsive movements of the hands and arms as part 
of their peculiar form of worship. Its founder was 
Ann Lee, self-styled " Mother Ann," of Manchester, 
who, receiving little encouragement for her religious 
tenets in her native land, emigrated with a few 
disciples to the New World. 

Shalloon. Originally manufactured at Chalons in France. 

Shanty. This term for a hut or cabin first obtained 
currency in Canada, having been derived from the 
French settlers, who gave the name chantier to a hut 
erected in a dockyard under construction. 

Shattered Prices. An Americanism for " reduced prices." 

" She " Bible. See " ' He ' Bible." 

Sheen. See "Richmond." 

328 Sheet Anchor— Sherry Cobbler 

Sheet Anchor. A corruption of "Shote Anchor," an 
extra heavy one, that can be expeditiously shot out for 
the greater security of a vessel under stress of weather. 
To act as a sheet anchor to a man is to be his 
mainstay or chief dependence. 

Sheffield. From the River Sheaf, on the confluence of 
which and the Don the town stands. 

Shekel Day. The day (27th May) set apart every year 
throughout the Jewish world for the collection of a 
shekel — a shilling, franc mark, half rouble, or " quarter," 
according to the currency of the individual country 
— in support of the Zionist Movement for the re-co- 
lonisation of Palestine. The word "shekel" is from 
the Hebrew shekal, to weigh. 

Shepherdess Walk. A name reminiscent of the days when 
the entire district between Finsbury and "Merrie 
Islington " was open fields. 

Shepherd's Bush. Pleasantly pastoral as the name is, this 
district is now wholly built over. A " Shepherd's bush " 
was a hillock covered with soft vegetation on which he 
reclined while tending his flocks. 

Shepherd's Market. The site of a former weekly market, 
the land of which, like that of Market Street and 
Shepherd Street, was owned by a person of this name. 

Shepperton. A corruption of "Shepherd's Town"; 
whether derived from the name of the landowner, or 
because the district was originally given up to sheep- 
folds, is not known. 

Sherbet. The national beverage in Arabia, so called from 
shariba, to drink, because it is taken at a single 
draught; hence the same name applied to effervesc- 
ing liquors in this country. 

Sherry. An English corruption of "Sherris," a dry wine 
exported from Xeres in Spain. 

Sherry Cobbler. An American drink which, in addition 
to the ordinary ingredients of a "Cobbler," contains a 
dash of sherry. 

Shetland Isles — Shoe Lane 329 

Shetland Isles. Anciently described as Hyaltland, the 
Norse for "Viking Land," the name was softened into 
Zetland, and finally as we now have it. 

She Wolf of France. A name that will ever cling to the 
memory of Isabella, the queen of Edward II., whom 
she caused to be murdered most foully through the 
instrumentality of her paramour, the Earl of Mortimer. 
This monster of iniquity lies buried in Christ Church, 
Newgate Street. 

Shift. An old name for a chemise, denoting a shift or 
change of linen ; also an industrial term for a change of 
men at certain hours, so that work can be carried on 
uninterruptedly by day and night. 

Shillelagh. A oaken sapling fashioned into a cudgel 
for self-defence, so called from a wood in Ireland 
celebrated for its oaks. 

Shilling. This silver coin was of considerable value to 
our ancestors, who always sounded it as a test of its 
genuineness. Hence, as the " ringing coin," the 
Anglo-Saxons gave it the name of sailing, which, like 
the modern German schilling, is derived from the verb 
schallen, to sound. 

Shinplaster. An Americanism for a bank-note. During 
the Civil War paper money was so much depreciated 
in value that its possessors could not easily negotiate 
it at any price. Finding this to be his own case, an 
old soldier philosophically used his bank-notes as 
plasters for a wounded shin. 

Ship. A tavern sign commemorative of the circumnaviga- 
tion of the globe by Sir Francis Drake ; also a technical 
term in the printing trade for the compositors working 
together in a particular room or department, being 
an abbrevation of " Companionship." 

Shire. A portion of land scired or sheared off under the 
Saxon Heptarchy for the creation of an earldom. 

Shoe Lane. This name has no connection with shoe- 
makers, or cordwainers as they were anciently called. 
As an offshoot of Fleet Street, the great thoroughfare 

330 Shooter— Sick 

of taverns, this was anciently " Show Lane," lined 
with booths and shows like a country fair. 

Shooter. An Americanism for a revolver. 

Shooters' Hill. A corruption of "Suitors' Hall," so 
called from the suitors or place hunters who came this 
way when Henry VIII. had his Court at Greenwich. 

Shooting Iron. A Far West term for a rifle. 

Shop. Theatrical slang for an engagement. 

Shop-lifting. This phrase for abstracting goods from a 
shop counter had its origin in the printer's technical 
term " Lifting." 

Shoreditch. All other suggested derivations notwith- 
standing, this district really received its name from the 
manor of Sir John Soerditch, a wealthy citizen, and a 
favourite of Edward the Black Prince, by whose side 
he fought at Crecy and Poitiers. 

Show. Theatrical slang for a performance. 

Shrewsbury. See " Shropshire." 

Shropshire. This name expresses in a roundabout way 
the shire of Shrewsbury, the Anglo-Saxon Scrobbes- 
burgh that grew up around an ancient castle among 
the scrubs or shrubs, softened by the Normans into 
Sloppesbury^ which lent its name to what is now 
"Salop," and finally corrupted into Shrewsbury. 

Shrove Tuesday. A corruption of " Shrive Tuesday " when 
all good Catholics confessed their sins in preparation 
for receiving the blest ashes on the following morning. 

Siberia. The country ruled from the ancient town of 
Sibir, the capital of the Tartars, and which contained 
the palace of the renowned Kutsheen Khan, the ruins 
of which are still visible. 

Sicily. From the Sicu/i, a tribe who became masters of 
the island, expelling the Sicanii, its ancient inhabitants. 

Sick. A word uniformly used throughout the United 
States in the place of "ill," as in our own country. 
This is not an Americanism, but good honest English, 
having been introduced to the New World by the 
Pilgrim Fathers who sailed in the Mayflower. Both 

Sidmouth Street— Simple Life 331 

in the Bible and in Shakespeare sick, not ill, is 

employed. This is one of the few instances in which 

the Americans have preserved a word true to its 

original meaning. 
Sidmouth Street. After Lord Sidmouth, a popular 

Minister at the accession of George IV., when this 

street was first built upon. 
Side Walk. An Americanism for the English " pavement " 

and the Scottish " causeway." 
Siedlitz Powders. From Siedlitz in Bohemia, whence, like 

the celebrated mineral waters of the same name, they 

are obtained. 
Sienna. A pigment obtained from the native Terra di 

Sienna in Italy. 
Sign on. An industrial phrase for signing one's name in a 

book on arriving to commence the day's work. The 

like procedure at the day's close is styled "Sign off." 

Silhouette. After Etienne de Silhouette, Comptroller of 
Finance under Louis XV., who was the first to have 
his features outlined from a side view on black paper. 

Sillery. A champagne produced from the extensive vine- 
yards of the Marquis de Sillery. 

Silver Captain. The sobriquet of Admiral Sir Henry. 
Digby from the large haul he on 15th October 
1799 made by the capture of a Spanish treasure 
ship laden with dollars, his own share of the prize 
money amounting to ^40,730, 18s. This he attri- 
buted to a fortunate dream, in which he repeatedly 
heard a voice exclaim : " Digby ! Digby ! steer to the 
northward ! " 

Silver-tongued Sylvester. John Sylvester, the translator of 
Du Barta's " Divine Week and Works," so styled on 
account of his harmonious verse. 

Simple Life. A term which has come into vogue, both in 
England and America, since the publication of the Rev. 
Charles Wagner's remarkable book " The Simple Life," 
in advocacy of plain living, three or four years ago. 

332 Single-speech Hamilton — Skinner St. 

Single -speech Hamilton. The sobriquet of William 
Gerard Hamilton, Chancellor of the Exchequer in 
Ireland. He delivered on 1 3th November 1775a speech 
which electrified the House, but after that memorable 
first effort he never spoke again. 

Sing Small. A corruption of "Sink Small," meaning to 
be lowered in the estimation of those to whom one 
has made a vain boast. 

Sinking Fund. One that provides for the annual reduction 
of a National Debt. 

Sinner-saved Huntingdon. William Huntingdon, the 
theologian and preacher, who, having led a wild life 
in his youth, made amends for these delinquencies in 
the full vigour of manhood. 

Sirree. A vulgar American corruption of " Sir," corre- 
sponding to the old English " Sirrah.". Originating 
at New York, it is now quite a common thing for 
people in the States generally to answer : " Yes, sirree," 
and "No, sirree." 

Sise Lane. A corruption of St Osyth's Lane, after an 
ancient church in it, now removed. 

Sixteen String Jack. Jack Rann, the highwayman, hanged 
in 1 79 1, so called from the sixteen tags he wore on 
the knees of his breeches. 

Six-shooter. An Americanism for a six-chambered re- 

Skagerrack. Expresses the crooked strait between the 
Skagen, the plural of the Gothic skaga, a promontory, 
between Jutland and Norway. 

Skald. An ancient northern bard or minstrel. The word 
is Scandinavian for "poet." 

Skied. An artists' term for a picture hung on the highest 
row, just under the ceiling, at any exhibition, where no 
one can look at it closely. 

Skinner Street. Stands on land belonging to the Skinners' 

Skylarking — Sloane Square 333 

Skylarking. Originally an American seaman's term for 
rough sport among the ship's rigging and tops. 

Sky Parlor. An Americanism for an attic. 

Sky Pilot. An American naval expression for a ship's 
chaplain. The allusion is obvious. 

Sky-scraper. The name given in the United States to a 
building of lofty proportions, often running to as many 
as thirty storeys. Viewing these from Brooklyn 
Bridge it would really seem as if the New Yorkers 
were anxious to scour the heavens out of their top 

Sky Sign. A structure on the roof of a house of business 
for the purposes of a bold advertisement. This 
Transatlantic innovation has within the last few years 
been interdicted by order of the London County 

Slacker. An Eton term for one who never takes part in 
games; he cannot be coerced, and declines to exert 
himself in any way. 

Slate Club. Originally a parochial thrift society whose 
members met in the schoolroom, their contributions 
being pro tem entered on slates, conveniently at hand. 

Slick into it. To do a thing right away, never pausing 
until it is finished. As a variant of " Polish it off" 
this expression is rightly employed, slick being derived 
from the German schlicht, polished, clean. 

Sling. An American mixed drink, so called on account of 
the different ingredients slung into it. 

Sling your Hook. Originally an abbreviated angler's 
phrase : " Sling your hook a little farther along, and 
then we shall both have more room." 

Slipper. A shoe into which the foot is easily slipped, more 
particularly among the Orientals, who dispense with the 
back leather clasping the heel. 

Sloane Square. After Sir Hans Sloane, the original owner 
of the estate, whose daughter became by marriage the 
first Countess of Cadogan. 

334 Slope — Snow Hill 

Slope. To run away with expedition, as it were down the 
slope of a hill. 

Smile. An Americanism for a "drink." Unlike the 
common run of Americanisms, there is warranty for 
the term. When drinking their native beverage, 
"pulque," the Mexicans look at one another, and 
smile. This custom has obtained with them ever 
since Montezuma gulped down this tipple offered to 
him by the hand of his daughter. See " Cocktail." 

Smithfield. A corruption of " Smoothfield," a fine tract 
of meadow land on which mediaeval tournaments were 
held, likewise horse races. 

Smith of Antwerp. Quentin Matsys, the celebrated 
painter, who began life as a blacksmith. 

Smalls. In theatrical parlance "the small towns." 

Smart Set. Originally an Americanism for the exclusive 
fashionable set of Boston society. The term has 
latterly travelled over to these shores, and the Smart 
Set of West End London does not appear to be beloved 
by Father Bernard Vaughan. 

Snapshot. An Americanism for a photograph taken 
instantaneously with a portable camera. " Snap " is, 
however, a good old English word. We speak of a 
person being " snapped off" by disease — i.e. carried off 

Sneesh-box. Scottish for a snuff-box. 

Snob. This term arose out of the expressions on the part 
of the vulgar whenever a conceited person who aped 
gentility was encountered: "He's a nob," "He's not 
a nob," or " He wants to make people believe he's a 
nob," until they resulted in the simple exclamation 
" Snob." Such a word having once been established 
as the antithesis of " Nob," a shoemaker merited the 
description of a Snob because his work was confined 
to the pedal extremities instead of the person's head. 

Snow Hill. A corruption of " Snore Hill," so called 
because travellers by the stage-coach from Guildford 

Soaker— Soho 335 

were generally snoring by the time they reach their 
destination at the hill foot, "The Saracen's Head." 

Soaker. Both in England and America this term denotes 
a habitual drunkard, soaked in liquor. 

Soane Museum. This magnificent but little known collec- 
tion of works of Art was acquired by Sir John Soane, 
the antiquary, at his residence in Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
where, subject to certain seasonal restrictions, it may 
be visited by anyone. 

Sociable. An open carriage with two seats, thus admitting 
of its riders being face to face. 

Socialists. A term of wide meaning, but according to its 
modern acceptation synonymous with "Levellers," the 
adopted name of the malcontents of the time of Charles 
I., who sought to reduce society to a common level. 

Society Islands. Named by Captain Cook in compliment 
to the Royal Society. 

Society of Jesus. See " Jesuits." 

Socinians. The followers of Lselius Socinus, an Italian 
theologian of the sixteenth century. They held the 
same views as the modern " Unitarians." 

Sock and Buskin. The drama, alluding to the low and 
high shoe or sandal worn respectively by comic and 
tragic actors in the theatre of the ancients. The soccus 
was a simple shoe, whereas the brossquin, a term re- 
motely derived from the Greek bursa, a hide, extended 
to the knee, and was, moreover, two or three inches 
thick in the sole to increase the height of the performer. 

Sod. A north country term for a mean, ignorant fellow, 
no better than a lout or clodhopper, in allusion to the 
sod of agriculture. 

Soft Soap. Flattery, because, unlike the ordinary kind, 
soft soap is easily rubbed in. 

Soho. A name pleasantly recalling the days when, prior 
to the sixteenth century, the whole of London west- 
ward of Drury Lane was open country. So ho was the 

336 Soiree — Southgate 

cry of the huntsmen when a hare broke cover, expres- 
sing the Norman-French for " See ! Hie ! (after him)." 

Soiree. A sociable evening party, so called from the 
French sot'r, evening. 

Soldier of Fortune. A soldier without fortune who seeks 
to make one by enlisting in any service which holds 
out the prospect of good pay. 

Solid Straight. Another name for a "Straight Drink." 

Somerset. Described in Anglo-Saxon days as Suthmorset, 
the "South Moor Settlement." 

Somerset House. Covers the site of the palatial residence 
of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, the Lord 
Protector of Edward VI. On the sequestration of his 
estates in 1552 this passed to the Crown, and became 
a virtual royal residence. Here the body of James I. 
lay in state; here too the queens of Charles I. and 
Charles II. took up their abode. The present edifice 
dates from 1766. 

Somers Town. From Lord Somers, the owner of the 

Sorbonne. After its founder Robert de Sorbon, a canon 

ofCambraiin 1252. 

Souchong. A species of black tea called by the Chinese 
se-ou-ckong, " small, good quality." 

Soudan. Properly "Suden," from the Arabic Belad-ez- 
Suden, "district of the blacks." 

Southampton. The south town on the Ant or Hantone. 
See " Hampshire." 

Southampton Buildings. Marks the site of Southampton 
House, in which lived and died the last Earl of South- 
hampton, Lord Treasurer of Charles II. 

Southampton Street. After one of the family titles of the 
Duke of Bedford, the great ground landlord. 

South Audley Street. See " Audley Street." 
Southgate. See " New Southgate." 

South wark — Spaniards 337 

Southwark. A name which points to the Danish rule in 
England. The earliest London bridge of wood having 
been built in 1014, or two years before Canute seized up- 
on the throne, this monarch took up his residence on 
the south bank of the Thames, and holding his Court 
there, styled it Sydrike, the Norse for "South King- 
dom." His successors also affected the Surrey side ; 
as we know, Hardicanute died of a surfeit at Lambeth. 
By the Anglo-Saxons under Edward the Confessor 
the Danish Sydrike was rendered Suthwerk, or South 
Fortification, whence we have derived the name in its 
present form. 

Southwick Crescent. After Southwick Park, the country 
seat of the Thistlewaytes, at one time joint lessees of 
the manor of Paddington. 

Sovereign. So called because when first struck, in the reign 
of Henry VIII., this gold coin had upon it a represen- 
tation of that sovereign in his royal robes. 

Sovereign Pontiff. The superior title of the Pope. See 
" Pontiff." 

Spa. From the town of the same name (which expresses 
the Flemish for "fountain") in Belgium, the fashion- 
able Continental resort during the seventeenth century. 

Spa Fields. From an ancient public resort known as 
the "London Spa," in connection with a medicinal 
well discovered during the thirteenth century. An 
account of the " Spa Fields Chapel," originally a 
theatre, purchased by the Countess of Huntingdon, the 
name has survived to our own time. 

Spagnoletto. See " Lo Spagnoletto." 

Spain. Called by the Cathaginians "Hispania," from the 
Punic span, rabbit, on account of the wild rabbits 
which abounded in the peninsula. See "Iberia." 

Spaniards. This famous "house of call" for pedestrians 
across Highgate Heath was originally the private resi- 
dence of the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of 
James I. 

338 Spaniel — Spelling Bee 

Spaniel. From Hispaniola, the old name of Hayti Island, 
in the West Indies, whence this breed of Spanish dog 
was introduced to Europe. 

Spanish Main. The ancient designation of the waters 
around the West Indian Islands in the Caribbean Sea 
that rightly belonged to Spain. 

Spanish Place. From the residence of the Spanish 
Ambassador during the eighteenth century. The 
private chapel attached to this mansion formed the 
nucleus of the present Catholic church. 

Sparking. An Americanism for "courting." There may 
be warranty for this in relation to "the spark of 

Spa Eoad. From a long-forgotten spa or mineral ^well in 
this portion of Bermondsey. 

Spa Water. Natural mineral waters drawn from a " Spa " 
or well. 

Speaker. The official designation of the President of 
the House of Commons, to whom technically, the 
Members address themselves, though as a matter of 
fact, they address the country at large through the 
medium of the Press. Since he never speaks him- 
self, except to rule a point of order, his title is a 

Spencer. A short overjacket introduced by the Earl of 
Spencer. This nobleman made a wager that he would 
set a new fashion by appearing abroad in any style of 
garment, however hideous it might be. He won his 
bet, for " Spencers " became popular. 

Specs. Short for "spectacles." 

Spelling Bee. The name given to a competitive examina- 
tion, in spelling in American schools, and later 
introduced in the cities as a fashionable pastime. 
From the States it reached England about a quarter of 
a century ago. The term "Bee" is essentially Trans- 
atlantic, being employed in the sense of a "hive" for 
any assemblage of workers — e.g. "a Sewing Bee." 

Spindle City— Spouting 339 

Spindle City. Lowell in Massachusetts, so called on ac- 
count of its numerous cotton factories. 

Spinet. An early form of pianoforte, so called because it 
was played upon exclusively by unmarried females, as 
a relaxation from the labours of the spindle. 

Spinster. A maiden lady, so called from the distaff or 
spindle, the regular occupation of an unmarried female. 

Spiritualist. One who cherishes a belief in the power of 
communicating with departed spirits through the in- 
strumentality of a Medium. 

Spitalfields. The derivation of this name is generally 
given as from an ancient priory of "St Mary of the 
Spittle." This is wrong. There may have been such 
a priory, but if so, like the present parish church, its 
designation arose out of the "spital," or hospital in 
the sense of an almshouse, founded in the fields for 
the poor by Walter Brune and his wife during the 
reign of Richard Coeur de Lion. 

Spithead. This famous roadstead, so eminently adapted 
for naval reviews, received its name from being 
situated at the head of the " spit " or sandbank which 
extends along the coast for three miles. 

Spitzbergen. Danish for "sharp -pointed mountains," 
relative to the mountain peaks in these islands. 

Spook. Expresses the Dutch for "ghost." Introduced 
to the United States by the early settlers of New 
York, this term has obtained currency on both sides 
of the Atlantic in connection with Spiritualism. 

Spooning. This word is a play on "billing and cooing." 
Courting couples in the act of whispering "soft 
nothings " have their mouths in such close contact 
that it resembles the manner of a mother bird feeding 
her young brood. 

Sporting Women. An Americanism for "gay women." 

Spouting. Colloquial for public speaking, because the 
orator indulges in a constant flow of rhetoric, like water 
issuing from a pump spout. 

340 Sprat Day — Staines 

Sprat Day. 9th November, the opening of the London 
sprat-selling season. 

Spread Eagle. An inn sign adopted from the arms of 
Germany, indicative of the fact that the wines of that 
country were to be had on the premises. 

Spreads himself. Said of one in America who makes an 
ostentatious display of self-conceit. The allusion is 
to a peacock spreading its tail feathers to their utmost 

Spring Gardens. So called because at this north-eastern 
entrance to St James's Park unwitting pedestrians 
were suddenly drenched by a spray of water through 
stepping on a hidden spring. This was considered 
fine sport for the gallants who looked on during the 
Restoration period. 

Spring Heel Jack. The sobriquet of the eccentric 
Marquis of Waterford, who about a century ago 
cultivated the habit of frightening people after night- 
fall by springing upon them out of obscure corners and 
alleys. It was said that terror of the streets had steel 
springs fitted to his heels for the purpose. 

Square Meal. An Americanism for a full meal, which can 
only be enjoyed at the table, in contradistinction to a 
snack at a luncheon bar. 

Squatter. Literally one who squats down on land to 
which he has no legal title. 

Squaw. Alonquin for an Indian woman. 

Stafford. The county town of the shire derived this name 
from the ancient mode of fording the River Sow, upon 
which it stands, by means of staves or stilts. 

Stage-coach. So called from the stages or degrees of the 
whole journey, at each of which the coach pulled up 
to change horses and refresh the travellers. 

Staines. From the Saxon stane, stone, the boundary mark 
set up beside the Thames, bearing date 1280, and the 
inscription : " God preserve the City of London." 

Stand Sam— Stationer 341 

This defined the western limits of jurisdiction claimed 
by the Thames Conservancy or Water Board. 

Stand Sam. An Americanism for to " stand treat," which 
originated among the soldiers during the Civil War. 
When billeted upon the people they demanded liquor 
by wholesale, saying that " Uncle Sam " would pay for 
it, and it was everyone's duty to stand Sam. See 
" Uncle Sam." 

Stanhope. An open carriage named in compliment to the 
Earl of Stanhope, author and politician. 

Stanhope Gate. This entrance to Hyde Park, in Park 
Lane, received its name from Philip Stanhope, Earl of 
Chesterfield, residing at Chesterfield House close by. 

Staples Inn. Properly "Staplers' Inn," the ancient Hall 
of the Woolstaplers, styled Merchants of the Staple. 

Star and Garter. An inn or tavern sign commemorative 
of the institution of the Order of the Garter by 
Edward III. 

Star Chamber. This historic court received its name not 
from the stars decorating the ceiling, as generally 
stated, but because it was the ancient depository of the 
Starra, or Jewish records, at the order of Richard I. 

Start your Boots. An Americanism for "Be off!" 

Starvation Dundas. The sobriquet of Henry Dundas, 
created Lord Melville, owing to his constant repetition 
of the word " Starvation " in the course of a debate on 
American affairs in 1775. 

State of Spain. New Jersey. After the battle of 
Waterloo Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of 
Napoleon I., fled to New Jersey, and, settling on an 
estate at Borderstown, gathered so many Frenchmen 
and Spaniards around him that the Philadelphians 
regarded the people of this state generally as Spaniards 
and foreigners. At this time Joseph Bonaparte was 
nominally King of Naples and of Spain. 

Stationer. This term was not derived from " Stationery,'' 

342 Steelyard — Stick a Pin there 

since the latter grew out of the former. Ancient so- 
called booksellers were of two kinds : the itinerants, 
and the stallholders in open market. Both dealt in 
such books as were known at the time — hornbooks and 
the like — but principally in writing materials, and as the 
stationery booksellers had a more varied assortment 
than the pedlars, pen, ink, and paper eventually 
received the name of " stationery," and their vendors 
that of "stationers." 

Steelyard. The name given to a weighing machine on 
which a single weight is moved along a graduated 
beam. This has no reference to a " yard " measure, 
but to the ancient Steelyard near London Bridge, 
where the German merchants of old landed, weighed, 
and sold their fine steel. 

Steeplechase. This term originated in a race by a party of 
unsuccessful fox hunters, who agreed to run a race to 
the village church, the steeple of which was visible a 
couple of miles away, the one who touched its stones 
with his whip first being declared the winner. 

Stepney. A corruption of " Stebenhithe," after the owner 
of a hithe or wharf on this portion of the Thames bank 
in Anglo-Saxon days. 

Sterling Money. That originally coined in this country by 
the "Esterlings," the name given to the people of the 
Hanse Towns in the eastern portion of Germany, at 
the invitation of King John. The purity of the 
Esterling coinage was above reproach, whereas that of 
England anterior to the mission of the Hansa mer- 
chants to reform it had long become debased. 

Sterling Silver. Genuine silver in its natural purity as 

opposed to "German Silver," an alloy of copper, 

nickel, and zinc first made in Germany. See 
" Sterling Money.' 

Stick a Pin there. An Americanism for " make a note of 
it as a reminder." Dressmakers always stick a pin to 
mark the place where material is to be stitched or 
taken in. 

Stiletto — Stormy Petrel 343 

Stiletto. Expresses the diminutive of the Italian stilo> a 

Stingo. See " Yorkshire Stingo." 

Stock. This flower received its name from the circumstance 
that it was largely sold in the Stocks Market (so 
called on account of a pair of stocks that stood there), 
on part of the site of which the Mansion House was 
erected in 1737. 

Stock Exchange. For the application of the term " Stock " 
to money, see " Government Stock." 

Stockwell. From an ancient well discovered in a stoke or 

Stoke Newington. Expresses the new town in the 
meadow adjacent to a stoke, or wood, in reference to 
" Enfield Chase." See " New Southgate." 

Stonecutter Street. From the lapidaries who congregated 
here in ancient days. 

Stone Jug. See "In the Jug." 

Stones End. See "Stony Street." 

Stonewall Jackson. This sobriquet of General Jackson 
originated with General Lee during the American 
Civil War. Rallying his troops after the battle of 
Bull Run, he exclaimed, pointing in the direction with 
his sword : " There is Jackson, standing like a stone 

Stony Street. So called from the nature of this portion 
of the great Roman highway to Dover, in continuation 
of "Watling Street," north of the Thames. 

Store. An Americanism for a shop or warehouse. 

Storey's Gate. Marks the site of the residence of Edward 
Storey, keeper of the royal aviary of Charles II. in 
that portion of St James's Park known as Birdcage 

Stormy Petrel. A sea-bird, the appearance of which is 
regarded as a portent of storms. Its Italian name, 
Petrillo, expresses the diminutive of Peter, in allusion 

344 Storthing — Stratton Street 

to St Peter, who walked on the sea, because, instead of 
flying in the air, this bird habitually skims on the 
surface of the water. 

Storthing. From the Norse stor, great, and things court, 
the Norwegian and Swedish House of Assembly. 

Stout. This black aleoholic beverage is so called because 
it contains more body and nourishment than ale or 

Stradivarius. A violin made by the celebrated Antonio 
Stradivari of Cremona; generally abbreviated into 

Straight Drink. An Americanism for a drink of pure, 
undiluted spirit. 

Strand. The name given to the north bank of the 
Thames (from the Norse strond, shore, border) in 
days when, with the exception of a few princely houses 
dotted here and there, the whole of this portion of 
London was open country. 

Straphanger. A term which has come into vogue 
since the introduction of electrified railways, the 
trains being so crowded in the morning and 
evening that straps are provided for standing 
passengers to cling to en route. 

Strasburg. This name was first heard of in the fifth 
century, expressing the German for a fortified town on 
the strass or strata, the great Roman highway into 

Stratford. From the Latin strata, road, way ; that portion 
of the old Roman highway where the River Lea had to 
be forded. In Chaucer's time this little town, situated 
a long distance out of London, was described as 
" Stratford-a-te-Bow," in allusion to "Bow Bridge." 

Stratford Place. After Edward Stratford, the second 
Lord Aldborough, who leased the ground for building 
purposes from the Corporation of the City of London 
in 1775. 

Stratton Street. After Lord Berkeley of Stratton, the 

Strenuous Life — Subtle Doctor 345 

owner of the district now comprised in Mayfair, temp. 
Charles I. 

Strenuous Life. The antithesis of the " Simple Life." 

Stuarts. This dynasty received its name from the fact that 
Walter, the Lord High Steward of Scotland, married 
the daughter of King Robert the Bruce. Since this 
Walter was the sixth of his line honoured with such a 
position, he was said to belong to the Stewards, which, 
eventually corrupted into "Stuarts," resulted in a 
family name. 

Stumped. To have no money left. See "Stump up." 

Stump Orator. One who harangues a crowd from the 
stump of a tree. 

Stump Speech. A term popularised in this country 
through the minstrel entertainment, being an ex- 
tempore speech delivered to the Negroes of the 
southern states from the stump of a tree. 

Stump the Country. Colloquial for an electioneering 
campaign, derived from the practice of political agents 
in the United States addressing the people at large 
from a convenient tree stump. 

Stump up. Originally an Americanism for "put down 
your money." After delivering a speech for a benevo- 
lent object the " Stump Orator " stepped down, and 
the people around laid their contributions on the tree 

Suabia. See "Servia." 

Sub. Short for "subsidise," or to draw something in 
advance of one's salary. 

Sub Rosa. " Under the Rose" — i.e. strictly between our- 
selves. It was the custom of the Teutons when they 
assembled at a feast, to suspend a rose from the ceiling 
as a reminder that whatever might be said concerning 
their absent friends should not be repeated. 

Subtle Doctor. Duns Scotus, the schoolman and prince 
of metaphysicians, whose subtlety of reasoning has 
never been equalled in ancient or modern times. 

346 Sucked in— Sunflower 

Sucked in. An expression derived from U Buying a pig 
in a poke." See " Let the Cat out of the Bag." 

Sucker State. Illinois, so called from the Galena lead 
miners, who disappeared during the winter and returned 
to Galena in the spring, when the sucker-fish in the 
Fevre River abounded. The people of this state are 
accordingly styled " Suckers." 

Suffolk. A corruption of "South Folk," the inhabitants of 

the southern division of East Anglia. 
Suffolk Lane. From the ancient town house of the Dukes 

of Suffolk. 

Suffolk Street. From Suffolk House, the residence of the 
Earls of Suffolk in former days. 

Suffragette. If this latter-day term possesses any etymo- 
logical significance whatever, it expresses the diminu- 
tive of one who claims the suffrage or the right, from 
the Latin suffragio, to vote. A suffragette is, in brief, 
a woman who ought to know better. Eager to take 
upon herself the responsibilities of citizenship on a 
common footing with the male orders of creation, she 
cannot but shirk those which rightly belong to her 
own state. 

Sulky. A two-wheeled carriage for a single person, so 
called from the popular idea at the time of its intro- 
duction that anyone who wished to ride alone could not 
be otherwise than morose and sulky in his disposition. 

Sumatra. From the Arabic Stmafra, "happy land." 

Sumner Street. After Dr Sumner, Bishop of Winchester, 
one of the last occupants of Winchester House in this 

Sun. An inn sign after the heraldic device of Richard II. 

Sunday. The first day of the week, dedicated in the 
Scandinavian mythology to sun-worship. 

Sun-down. An Americanism for " sunset." 
Sunflower. So called from the form and colour of its 
flower. See " Heliotrope." 

Sunnites— Swan with two Necks 347 

Sunnites. The orthodox Mohammedans, who accept the 
Sunna, or collective traditions, equally with the Koran. 

Sunset Land. Arizona, on account of its glorious sunsets. 

Supers. In theatrical parlance short for "supernumer- 
aries," those who form the stage crowds, but have no 
individual lines to speak. 

Supper. A term which has survived the changes of time. 
We still invite a friend to "sup" with us, but the 
repast is more or less a substantial one. Anciently 
the last meal of the day consisted only of soup. 

Surrey. From the Anglo-Saxon Suth-rey, south of the 
river — i.e. the Thames. 

Surrey Street. After the town mansion and grounds of the 
Howards, Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel 
and Surrey. 

Suspenders. An Americanism for trouser braces. 

Sussex. The territory of the Suth-seaxe, or South Saxons, 
under the Heptarchy. 

Sutton Place. After Thomas Sutton, founder of the 
Charter House, whom the good folk of Hackney were 
proud to number among their residents on this spot. 

Swallow Street. It is difficult to imagine that this once 
merited the name of "Slough Street," on account 
of its miry condition j but such is the fact. 

Swan Alley. From the ancient town house of the Beau- 
champs, whose crest was a swan. 

Swan-Upping. The name given from time immemorial 
by the Vintners' Company to their annual up-Thames 
visitation of the swans belonging to them for the 
purpose of marking their bills with two nicks, by way of 
distinguishing them from the royal swans, that have 
five nicks. 

Swan with two Necks. An ancient London inn sign, 
corrupted from "The Swan with two Nicks," in 
compliment to the Vintners' Company. See "Swan- 

348 Sweating — Sworn Brothers 

Sweating. A word used in the original Biblical sense, 
and applied to the unhealthy conditions which obtain 
among the denizens of the East End of London, 
specifically the Jewish tailors, numbers of whom work 
together in the foetid atmosphere of a single small 

Swedenborgians. The followers of Emmanuel Swedenborg, 
the Swedish mystic. Prior to 17 19, when his family 
became ennobled, his real name was Svedborg. 

Swedish Nightingale. Jenny Lind Goldschmidt, the rage 
of musical London, who died in 1887. 

Sweepstake. Money staked on a race by different persons, 
the fortunate winner among whom takes the whole 
amount, literally at one sweep. 

Sweetbriar. Expresses a " fragrant thorn." 

Sweetheart. A corruption of " Sweetard," the suffix ard 
expressing the intensitive in many class names, such 
as "Dotard," "Bastard," etc. 

Swell. Slang for one of the upper classes, no doubt 
suggested by the phrase: "The bloated aristocracy." 
Also applied to an overdressed person puffed out with 
the idea of his own importance. 

Switches. An Americanism for ladies' hair curlers, fringes, 
and other hirsute appendages. 

Switzerland. The English form of the Austrian Schwyz 
and German Schweitz, originally the name of the 
three forest cantons whose people threw off the Austrian 
yoke and asserted the independence of the whole 

Switzerland of America. West Virginia, so called on 
account of its mountains. 

Sworn Brothers. An ancient legal phrase signifying that 
two friends had entered into a solemn compact to lend 
mutual aid and protection and share each other's 
fortunes. This custom was of Scandinavian origin. 

Sydenham — Take a Rise out of Him 349 

Sydenham. Expresses the home or family settlement in 

the south. 
Symmetrion Girl. See " Sandow Girl." 

Tabard. The famous inn sign in Southwark immortalised 
by Chaucer's "Canterbury Pilgrims," from the ancient 
tunic with wide flap sleeves still worn by the heralds. 

Tableaux Vivants. French for "living pictures," specifi- 
cally the realisation of a celebrated painting or a 
scene from history by a group of persons. 

Table d'H6te. Most people are under the impression 
that this term means a dinner as served at a hotel. 
This is erroneous. Its literal signification is "the 
table of the host." Until quite modern days a traveller 
who desired to be served with a meal at an inn had to 
take it with the landlord at his own table. 

Taboo. Strictly speaking, there is no such word as 
" tabooed," yet we generally find it employed in the 
place of " taboo." The latter is the European render- 
ing of the Polynesian tapu, signifying a thing reserved 
or consecrated to the use of one person. For a South 
Sea Islander to exclaim tapu when he sees anything 
that he fancies, is tantamount to saying " I claim this 
thing ; anyone else who touches it shall die." Amongst 
ourselves a subject which is taboo must not be 

Taffy. The generic name for a Welshman, corrupted 
from Davy, which is short for David, the most common 
Christian name of the country, in honour of St David. 

Tagus. The Phoenician for " river of fish." 

Tailor. From the French tailleur^ based upon the verb 
tailler, to cut. 

Take a Back Seat. An Americanism for "You have 
outdone me; I'll retire from the front row." 

Take a Rise out of Him. To take an undue advan- 

350 Takes the Cake— Tammany Ring 

tage, to benefit by a mean action. This originated in 
fly-fishing ; when a fish sees the fly held out of the 
water it rises to seize the coveted prey, and is caught 

Takes the Cake. An expression derived from the Cake 
Walking competitions of the Negroes in the southern 
states of the American Union. A cake is placed on 
the ground, and the competitors, male and female, walk 
around it in couples. Those who disport themselves 
most gracefully take the cake as their prize. 

Take your Hook. See " Sling your Hook." 

Talbot. An inn sign in compliment to the Earls of 

Talbotype. A process of photography, by means of the 
Camera Obscura, invented by Fox Talbot in 1839. 

Talking Shop. The nickname for the House of Commons. 
See " Parliament." 

Tally Ho! From the Norman hunting cry Taillis au 
("To the coppice"), raised when the stag made for its 
native place of safety. 

Tallyman. One who supplies goods on the weekly instal- 
ment system, so called originally from the acknowledg- 
ments for payments that he gave to his customers 
having to "tally" or agree with the entries in his 
book. Why such a one should be ashamed of his old- 
time designation, and now style himself a "Credit 
Draper," can only be explained on the ground that the 
tallyman is in bad odour with the husbands of the 
guileless women whom he systematically overcharges. 
See " Government Stock." 

Tammany Ring. The name given to certain officials of 
the Democratic party in New York who in 187 1 were 
punished for having during a long series of years 
plundered the people wholesale. Tammany Hall 
was the place where they held their meetings. This 
was originally the headquarters of a benevolent society, 
but it degenerated into a political club. By way of 

Taming the Alps — Tart 351 

accounting for the designation, it may be added that 
Tammany or Tammenund was the name of a famous 
Indian chief of the Delaware tribe, greatly beloved by 
his people. 

Taming the Alps. A phrase which has lately come into 
vogue through the popular solicitude to prevent in- 
trepid amateurs from climbing the Alps without the 
assistance of local guides. 

Tantalise. A word based upon the fable of Tantalus, a 
son of Jupiter, who, because he betrayed his father's 
secrets, was made to stand up to his chin in water, 
with branches of luscious fruit over his head, but 
when he wished to drink or to eat the water and the 
fruit receded from him. 

Tapestry. From the French tapisserie, based on the 
Latin tapes , a carpet. 

Tapster. The old name for a tavern-keeper or his assistant, 
applied in days when taps were first fitted to barrels 
for drawing off liquor. 

Tarantella. A dance invented for the purpose of inducing 
perspiration as a supposed remedy for the poisonous 
bite of the Tarantula spider, which received its name 
from the city of Taranto in Italy, where its baneful 
effects were first noted. 

Tarlatan. From Tarare in France, the chief seat of the 

Tar Heels. The nickname of the people of South Caro- 
lina, relative to the tar industry in its lowland forests. 

Tarragona. Called by the Romans Tarraco^ after the 
name given to the city by the Phoenicians, Tarchon, 

Tarred with the same Brush. This expression originated 
in the custom of marking the sheep of different folds 
formerly with a brush dipped in tar, but nowadays 
more generally in red ochre. 

Tart. A punning abbreviation of " Sweetheart." 

352 Tasmania— Teignmouth 

Tasmania. After Abel Jansen Tasman, the Dutsh navi- 
gator, who discovered it in 1642. 

Tattersall's. After Richard Tattersall, who established his 
famous horse repository near Hyde Park Corner in 
1786; on 10th April 1865 it was removed to its pre- 
sent locale at Knightsbridge. 

Taunton. The town on the River Tone. 

Tavern. From the Latin taberna, a hut of boards. 

Tavistock. The stockaded place on the Tavy. 

Tavistock Street. After the ancestor of the present great 
ground landlord, Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of 
Southampton, Marquis of Tavistock, and Duke of 
Bedford, the father of the celebrated Rachel who 
became the wife of Lord William Russell, beheaded in 
1683. The square and place similarly designated are 
included in the ducal estate. 

Tawdry. A word derived from the cheap, showy lace 
anciently sold at the annual fair of St Audrey in the 
Isle of Ely. This was called St Audrey's lace, after- 
wards corrupted into Tawdrey. The name of St 
Audrey itself was a corruption of St Ethelreda. 

Tay. From the Celtic tain, river. 

Tearless Victory. Plutarch in his " Lives " gave this name 
to the great victory won by Archimandus, King of 
Sparta, over the Arcadians and Argives, B.C. 367, with- 
out the loss of a single Spartan soldier. 

Teetotaler. This designation of a total abstainer arose 
out of the stammering address at Preston in September 
1833 of one Richard Turner, who concluded by 
saying : " Nothing but t-t-t-t-total abstinence will do — 
that or nowt ! " 

Teetotum. A coined term for a Working Man's Total 
Abstinence Club, suggested by the word " Teetotaler." 

Teignmouth. Situated at the mouth, or in the estuary 
of, the Teign, which name is a variant of the Celtic 
tain, river. 

Tell that to the Marines — Thames 353 

Tell that to the Marines. In the old days, before the 
bluejackets proved themselves as good fighting men 
on land as at sea, the Marines were an indispensable 
adjunct to the Navy, but as time hung heavily upon 
their hands they were always ready to listen to a story. 
Finding that they were easily gullible, the sailors loved 
to entertain them with the most extraordinary yarns, 
and, while on shore, if they heard a wonderful story 
themselves they made up their minds to "tell that to 
the Marines." 

Temple. The seat of the "Knights Templars" in this country 
down to the time of the dissolution of their Order by 
Edward II. in 131 3. 

Temple Bar. The ancient gateway, at the western 
extremity of Fleet Street, defining the " liberty " of the 
city of London on that side, and originally set up as 
the ordinary entrance to the London house of the 
Knights Templars. Taken down in 1878, the "Bar" 
now adorns the park of Sir Henry Meux at Theobalds, 
Cheshunt, Herts. 

Tenement House. An Americanism for a dwelling-house 
let off to different families. 

Tennessee. Indian for " river of the great bend." 

Tent Wine. A corruption of vinto tinto, the Spanish for a 
white wine coloured. 

Terpsichorean Art. After Terpsichore, one of the Nine 
Muses, who presided over dancing. 

Terra-cotta. Italian for " baked earth" — i.e. clay. 

Texas. Indian for "the place of protection," where a 
colony of French refugees were kindly received 
in 1817. 

Thaler. Originally called a Joachims-Thaler, because this 
German coin was struck out of silver found in the 
thai, or dale, of St Joachim in France about 15 18. 
From this "Thaler" the term "Dollar" has been 

Thames. To assert that this name has been derived from 

354 Thames St. — Threadneedle St. 

the Latin (?) Thamesis, "the broad Isis," or that it 
expresses the conjunction of the Thame and the Isis, 
is ridiculous. The word is wholly Celtic, from tam y 
smooth, and esis, one of the many variants of the 
original uisg, water. It is quite true that that portion 
of our noble river which flows past Oxford is called 
the Isis, but the name is scholastic only, and cannot 
be found in any ancient charter or historical document. 
Thames simply means smooth water, or, if we care to 
admit it, " the smooth Isis." 

Thames Street. Runs parallel to the river on the north 

Thanet Place. This cul de sac at the eastern end of the 
Strand received its name from the Earl of Thanet, the 
owner of the land prior to 1780. 

Thavie's Inn. A range of modern buildings on the site of 
an ancient appendage to Lincoln's Inn, so called by 
the Benchers in honour of John Thavie, an armourer, 
who when he died in 1348 left a considerable amount 
of property to the parish church of St Andrew. 

Theobalds Road. So called because James I. was wont 
to pass along it on the way to his favourite hunting- 
seat at Theobalds in Hertfordshire. See " Kingsgate 

Thespian Art. After Thespis, the Father of the Greek 

Thirteen Cantons. A tavern sign off, Golden Square, 
complimentary to the Cantons of Switzerland, at a 
time when Soho was as much a Swiss colony as it is 
now French. 

Thomas Street. In honour of Thomas Guy, the founder 
of the Hospital, also named after him. 

Thomists. Those who accepted the teaching of St Thomas 
Aquinas, in opposition to that of John Duns Scotus 
relative to the Immaculate Conception. 

Threadneedle Street. A corruption of, first, " Thridneedle," 

Three Chairmen — Thursday 355 

and later " Three-Needle " Street, so called from the 
arms of the Needlemakers' Company. 

Three Chairmen. A tavern sign in Mayfair, this house 
being the regular resort of gentlemen's servants in the 
days when sedan-chairs were fashionable. 

Three Exes. The nickname of the 30th Regiment of 
Foot (XXX). 

Three Kings. An inn sign derived from the Magi or 
Three Wise Men who came to adore the new-born 
Saviour at Bethlehem. 

Three Men Wine. The name borne by a very bad wine 
which requires two men to hold the victim, while a 
third pours it down his throat. 

Three Nuns. A tavern sign in Aldgate, reminiscent of the 
neighbouring priory of the Nuns of St Clare in ancient 

Three Suns. An inn sign derived from the device of 
Edward IV. as King of England. 

Throgmorton Street. After the wealthy London banker, 
Sir Nicholas Throgmorton. 

Throw up the Sponge. Originally a boxing expression. 
When a prize-fighter had been badly bruised in the 
first round he often declined the sponge offered to 
him by his second, or, in a sudden fit, threw it up in 
the air, declaring he had had enough of it j hence to 
"throw up the sponge" is to acknowledge oneself 

Thundering Legion. The name ever afterwards borne 
by that Roman legion which, a.d. 179, overthrew the 
power of the Alemanni by defeating them during a 
thunderstorm, which was thought to have been sent to 
them in answer to the prayers of the Christians. 

Thurlow Place. After Lord Chancellor Thurlow, whose 
residence was in Great Ormond Street, close by. 

Thursday. The day of Thor, the God of Thunder, in the 
Scandinavian mythology. 

356 Tied House— Toff 

Tied House. A public-house owned or financed by a firm 
of brewers, with the result that the nominal landlord 
is not allowed to replenish his stock from any other 

Tierra del Fuego. Spanish for " land of fire," so called 
from a volcano on the largest island which throws up 
flame and smoke visible a very great distance out at 

Tight. Intoxicated, because a person in this state generally 
clutches tight hold of a street lamppost or a con- 
venient railing when unable to walk home after a 

Tighten your Purse Strings. See " Purse Strings." 

Tilbury. The ancient form of the name of the village two 
miles west of Tilbury Fort was Tillaburgh^ after one 
Tilla, a Saxon, of whom, however, nothing is now 
known. A small two-wheeled gig without a cover is 
called a Tilbury, after a London sportsman who 
introduced it nearly a century ago. 

Tinker. A corruption of " tinner," or tin-worker. This 
has given rise to the verb " to tinker," which meant 
originally to hammer lightly at a thing after the style 
a tinman, without being able to repair it in a 
thoroughly workman-like manner. 

Tintoretto. The better known name of the famous Italian 
painter, Jacopo Robusti, because his father was a 
tintore, or dyer. 

Tobacco. From tobaco i the inhaling tube of the North 
American Indians. By the Spaniards alone has the 
original spelling of the name, now given universally to 
the fragrant weed itself, been preserved. 

Tobago Island. So called by Columbus on account of its 
resemblance to the inhaling tube of the Indians, the 

Toddy. From the Hindoo (audi, a stimulating beverage 
made from the juice of various palm-trees. 

Toff. A vulgar corruption of the University term " Tuft," 

Toggery — Tontine 357 

a young nobleman who pays high fees and is dis- 
tinguished by a golden tuft or tassel on his cap. 

Toggery. A term derived from the same source as 

Togs. Slang for clothes, but originally derived from toga, 
the characteristic male garment of the Romans. 

Tokay. An excellent white wine produced in the district 
of the same name in Upper Hungary. 

Tokenhouse Yard. Marks the site of the ancient Token- 
House, which came into existence through the in- 
sufficiency of small copper coinage. A number of 
Nuremberg "tokens" having been introduced into this 
country, tradesmen imported large quantities of them 
for purposes of small (halfpenny and farthing) change, 
but instead of being kept in circulation such tokens 
were afterwards exchanged by the inhabitants of the 
city for their face value at the Token-House. About 
the same time various municipalities throughout the 
country manufactured their own tokens. The London 
Token-House was swept away by the Great Fire and 
never rebuilt. 

Toledo. From the Hebrew ITtoledoth^ "generations," 
"families," relative to the Jewish founders of the city. 

Tom Folio. The sobriquet of Thomas Rawlinson, the 

Tommy Atkins. This general designation of an English 
soldier arose out of the hypothetical name, "Thomas 
Atkins," which at one time figured in the Paymaster- 
General's monthly statement of accounts sent to the 
War Office. So much money claimed by "Thomas 
Atkins " meant, of course, the regular pay for the rank 
and file. 

Tom Tidier' s Ground. A corruption of " Tom the Idler's 

Tontine. The name given to a system of reducing 
the State Loans in France in 1653 after Lorenzo 
Tonti, a Neapolitan protege of Cardinal Mazarin, its 

358 Tooley St. — Tottenham Court Road 

projector. According to this system, when one sub- 
scriber dies, the money accredited to him passes to 
the others, until the last survivor inherits the whole 

Tooley Street. Originally "St OlarT Street" after the 
parish church dedicated to St Olaff or Olave. This 
thoroughfare was in the time of the Commonwealth 
known as " St Tulie Street," of which its modern 
name is an easy corruption. 

Toothpicks. A nickname borne by the people of Arkansas 
on account of the Bowie Knives carried by the early 

Topaz. From topazios, after Topazos, the Greek name of 
an island in the Red Sea where this gem was anciently 

Tories. Originally, during the Restoration period, the 
nickname betowed by the Protestants on their religious 
and political opponents. This was in derisive allusion 
to a band of outlaws that infested the bog districts of 
Ireland, the word toree being Gaelic for a robber. 

Toronto. Indian for "oak-trees beside the lake." 

Torquatus. See " Manlius Torquatus." 

Torres Strait. After the Spanish navigator, L. N. de 
Torres, who discovered it in 1606. 

Torrington Square. After the family name of the first 
wife of John, the sixth Duke of Bedford, the ancestor 
of the great ground landlord. 

Tothill Street. A name which recalls the ancient manor 
of Tothill, properly Toothill — i.e. beacon hill. Wherever 
toot or tot appears in a place-name, it points to the 
one-time existence of a beacon. 

Totnes. A corruption of " Toot Ness," the beacon on the 

Tottenham. From "Totham," a corruption of Toot ham, 

the house or hamlet by the beacon. 

Tottenham Court Road. So called ever since the days of 

Touched him — Transylvania 359 

Elizabeth because it then led to "Tottenham Court." 
This was an ancient manor, originally belonging to 
St Paul's, and held in the reign of Henry III. by 
William de Tottenhall. 

Touched him on the Raw. Reminded him of some- 
thing which hurt his feelings. This expression arose 
out of an ostler's solicitude to avoid a sore place on a 
horse while grooming him. 

Toulon. The Telonium of the Romans, so called after 
Telo Martius, the tribune who colonised it. 

Tractarians. Those Oxford men who assisted Dr Pusey 
with the composition of the famous " Tracts for the 
Times," as well as those who accepted the opinions 
expressed therein. 

Trafalgar Square. From the Nelson Column, set up in 
1843, tw0 years before the square itself was laid out as 
it now exists. 

Traitors' Gate. The riverside entrance to the Tower of 
London reserved for State prisoners convicted of high 

Tramway. An abbreviation of "Outram way," after 
Benjamin Outram of Derbyshire, who was the first 
to place his sleepers end to end the whole length 
of the rails, instead of crosswise, as on our railways. 
Long before this, however, the word "Tram " had been 
applied to a coal waggon or truck in the colliery 
districts, while the rails on which a vehicle ran bore the 
name of a " Tramroad." 

Transformation Scene. So called because in the good old 
days of Pantomine the Fairy Queen was at this 
juncture of the entertainment supposed to transform 
the chief characters of the "opening" into Clown, 
Pantaloon, Harlequin, Columbine, and Policeman. 

Transvaal. Expresses the territory beyond the Vaal 

Transylvania. From the Latin trans, beyond, and sylva % 

wood ; this name was given by the Hungarians to the 

country beyond their wooded frontier. 

360 Trappists — Trinity Sunday 

Trappists. A strict Order of Cistercian Monks, so called 
from their original home at La Trappe in Normandy, 
established during the twelfth century. 

Treacle Bible. A rare version of the Scriptures, so called 
on account of the rendering of the passage (Jeremiah 
viii. 22) : " Is there no balm in Gilead ? " as " There is 
no more traicle at Gilead." 

Trent. Celtic for " winding river." 

Tried in the Balance and Found Wanting. An expres- 
sion founded on the belief of the ancient Egyptians 
that the souls of men were weighed after death. 

Trilbies. Colloquial for feet, because Trilby in the novel 
and the play named after the heroine appears in bare 

Trilby. A soft felt hat of the kind popularised by the 
heroine of the famous Haymarket Theatre play, 
Trilby, founded upon the late George du Maurier's 
equally famous novel of the same title. 

Trinidad Island. The name given to it by Columbus as an 
emblem of the Trinity, relative to its three mountain 
peaks which, when seen from afar, he at first imagined 
rose from three different islands. 

Trinitarians. Those who accept the doctrine of the Holy 
Trinity as opposed to the Unitarians ; also the 
original designation of the " Crutched Friars," or Friars 
of the Holy Trinity. 

Trinity House. This had its origin in an ancient guild 
incorporated in 1529 under the title of "The Master- 
Wardens and Assistants of the Guild, or Fraternity, or 
Brotherhood, of the Most Glorious and Undivisible 
Trinity, and St Clement, in the parish of Deptford, 
Stroud, in the County of Kent." The present building 
dates from 1795. 

Trinity Sunday. That which follows Whitsunday, pursu- 
ant to the good old Catholic custom of allowing religious 
exercises, specifically the partaking of the Holy Com- 
munion, to be performed within the octave, or eight 
days, of a great feast. 

Tristan d'Acunha — Turnagain Lane 361 

Tristan d'Acunha. After the Portuguese navigator who 

discovered this island in 165 1. 
Trithing. See " Riding." 

Trump Street. After the makers of trumpets, who, in the 
days of public pageants and processions, here had 
their workshops. 

Trust. Another word for a "Combine" or "Corner," 
with this difference that its members are pledged to 
stand by one another, and faithfully maintain the 
high prices their action has brought about. 

Tudors. This royal house received its name from Owen 
Tudor, a Welsh soldier, who while stationed at Windsor, 
contracted a secret marriage with Catherine, the 
widowed queen of Henry V. 

Tuesday. In the Scandinavian mythology the day set 
apart for the worship of Tiw, the God of War. 

Tuft. See "Toff." 

Tulle. From the French town of the same name, where this 
fabric was first made. 

Tumble to it. This phrase is a vulgar perversion of 
"stumble upon it" — i.e. the meaning or comprehen- 
sion of a thing. 

Tunis. Anciently Tunentum, after the Tunes, who peopled 
the country. 

Turin. Called by the Romans Augusta Taurisonum, the 
capital of the Taurini. 

Turkestan. Conformably to] the Persian stan, the country 
of the Turks. 

Turkey. From " Turkia," the Celtic suffix expressing the 
country of the Turks. The bird of this name was 
long thought to be a native of Turkey ; it was, however, 
introduced to Europe from North America early in 
the sixteenth century. 

Turnagain Lane. So called because it ends at a high 
brick wall, and the pedestrian has no alternative but to 
retrace his steps. 

362 Turnmill Street — Tyne 

Turnmill Street. A name which recalls the days when an 
old mill, whose sails turned with the wind, stood in 
the pleasant meadow. 

Turpentine State. North Carolina, from the turpentine 
found in its great pine forests. 

Turquoise. From Turkey, the country where this precious 
stone was first found. 

Tuscany. The territory of the Etruscans. 

Tweed. It is perfectly true that this cloth is fabricated in 
the vicinity of the River Tweed, but the name is 
really a corruption of "Twill," which word, in an 
invoice sent to James Locke in London, being blotted, 
looked like "tweed," and the customer thought the 
cloth might as well be called by that name as by its 

Twelfth Night. That which brought the Christmas holi- 
days and festivities to a close in former days. In the 
morning the people went to church to celebrate the 
Feast of the Epiphany, afterwards they gave themselves 
up right merrily to indoor amusements. 

Twickenham. When Pope resided in this pretty up-river 
village its name was "Twitnam" for short, but it 
meant the same as of yore, a hamlet located between 
two rivulets of the Thames. The word is Anglo- 
Saxon, cognate with the modern German zwischen, 
between, and heim, a home. 

Twill. From the German zwillick, "trellis work," so 
called from the diagonal ribs distinguished on the sur- 
face of this cloth. 

Two Fours. The 44th Regiment of Foot. 

Two Sevens. The 77th Regiment of Foot. 

Two Twos. The 22nd Regiment of Foot. 

Tyburn. A corruption of Twa-burne, "two streams," the 
one from Bayswater, the other from Kilburn, which 
met on the spot where the public executions formerly 
took place and the Marble Arch now stands. 

Tyne. Another variant of the Celtic tain^ river. 

Uisquebaugh— Uncle Sam 363 

Uisquebaugh. From utsge, water, and beatha, life, the 
national drink of the Irish people. Out of this we 
have derived the English term " Whisky." 

Ukase. From the Russian ukasat, to speak. 

Ukraine. Expresses the Slavonic for a "frontier 

Ultramarine. Another name for " Saunders Blue," intro- 
duced to England from beyond the sea. 

Umber. From Umbria in Italy, where this pigment was 
first obtained. 

Umbrella. From the Latin umbra, a shade. The 
original function of such an article was to act as a 
shelter against the scorching rays of the sun, similar 
to those monster white or coloured umbrellas one 
sees in a Continental market-place. It was Jonas 
Hanway who first diverted it from its proper use. 
See " Hanway Street." 

Uncle. How this name came to be applied to a pawn- 
broker was as follows : — Before the " spout " was 
introduced all those pledges which consisted of 
clothing were attached to a very large book, or uncus 
as it was called, conformably to the Latin description 
of the article, since the Lombards were the earliest 
pawnbrokers of history. When this uncus could 
accommodate nothing more, the rope from which it 
depended was unslung from the ceiling, and laid 
across the shoulders of an assistant, who then carried 
the whole collection to the store-rooms overhead. 
Hence an article which had been pledged was said to 
have "Gone to the Uncus," or, as the modern phrase 
has it, " Gone to my Uncle's." 

Uncle Sam. The national nickname of the United States. 
This arose out of the initials "U.S.," which the 
Government caused to be painted or branded on all 
its stores just as the Government property in this 

364 Uncle Sams Ice-box — Union Jack 

country is marked with a broad arrow. Since it 
happened that the official whose duty it was to see 
this marking properly carried out was known among 
his numerous acquaintance as "Uncle Sam,"the general 
impression obtained that the letters really applied to 
him, as evidence that the goods had passed through 
his hands. In this way "Uncle Sam" bequeathed 
his name to a great nation. 

Uncle Sam's Ice-box. Alaska, so called on account of 
its northern situation. Prior to the year 1867 this 
territory belonged to Russia. 

Undertaker. Specifically one who in former days under- 
took to be responsible for the custody of a corpse 
until the moment that it was lowered into the grave. 
This was the raison d'etre of the two "mutes" 
stationed by him at the door of the house by day 
and by night as guards. 

Underwriter. One who accepts the responsibility of 
insuring a vessel or its merchandise by signing his 
name at the foot of the policy. 

Unionists. Those who are opposed to Home Rule for 
Ireland ; now identified with the Conservative Party. 

Union Jack. The first part of this name has, of course, 
reference to the Union of England and Scotland in 
the person of James I., but the application of the 
word " Jack " to our national flag is not so easily 
disposed of. Nevertheless, reference to our note on 
"Jack -boots" will afford the reader a key to the 
question. Twenty-six of such " Jacques," emblazoned 
with the arms of St George, were ordered by Edward 
III. for one of his warships. Designed primarily for 
the defence of his soldiers when in fighting array, 
they were placed in a row along the low bulwarks 
while the vessel was sailing, just as the Romans and 
the hardy Norsemen disposed of their shields at sea. 
After this statement it should not be difficult to see 
how the Cross of St George displayed on a jacque 
lent its name at first to the staff from which the 
English flag was flown, and later to the flag itself. 

Unitarians — Up the Spout 365 

Unitarians. Those who are opposed to the doctrine of 
the Trinity, denying, as they do, the Godhead or 
divinity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. This 
tenet was promulgated by Laelius Socinus, an Italian 
theologian, in 1546. 

United Brethren. Another name for the religious sect 
styled the " Moravians." 

University. From the Latin universitatis, the whole. This 
word expresses the various distinct colleges and halls 
at Oxford, Cambridge, and elsewhere, incorporated by 
a royal charter as one great educational centre. 

Unlearned Parliament. See " Parliament of Dunces." 

Unready. See " Ethelred the Unready." 

Up a Tree. Completely cornered, yet defiant ; the allusion 
is to the refuge of a tree-branch against the attack of 
a bull stationed beneath it. 

Upper Berkeley Street. See " Berkeley Street." 

Upper Crust. A modern term for the aristocracy, because 
it was formerly considered a mark of high honour to 
allow the most distinguished guest to cut off the top 
of the loaf at table. 

Upper Seymour Street. After the Seymours, from whom 
the Portmans, owners of the estate, are descended. 

Upper Ten. Short for "The Upper Ten Thousand," 
which, at the time when N. P. Willis first made use of 
the term, was the approximate number of fashionables 
or really well-to-do in the city of New York. 

Uppertendom. An Americanism for the aristocracy. 

Upper Thames Street. The western portion of Thames 
Street between London and Blackfriars Bridges. 

Up the Spout. This expression requires no elucidating. 
Nevertheless, there was a time when a pawnbroking 
establishment had not the convenience of a "spout," 
and because this was so, the matter-of-fact tradesman 

366 Up to Snuff— Vamoose 

earned for himself the endearing title of " My Uncle." 
See " Uncle." 

Up to Snuff. Said of one who has a keen scent for reckon- 
ing up his neighbours. 

Uraguay. Expresses the Brazilian for " the golden water." 

Ural. A Tartar word for " belt." 

Usher. From the old French huisher, door, signifies a 

Usk. A variant of the Celtic m'sg, water. 

Ursulines. An Order of nuns named after St Ursula, who 
suffered martyrdom at Cologne in the tenth century. 

Utah. After an Indian tribe, the Yuta or Utes, en- 
countered in the region so named. 

Utilitarianism. A word implying "the happiness of the 
greatest number." In this sense it was first popularised 
by John Stuart Mill, after Jeremy Bentham had pro- 
mulgated a similar ethical religion under the style of 

Utopia. From the Greek ou, not, and topos, place, this 
compound term signifies "nowhere," "no such place." 
Ideas and Systems are said to be " Utopian " when 
they cannot be accepted by the average reasoning mind. 


Valance. From Valencia in Spain, where bed drapery 
was at one time made for the supply of the world's 

Valencias. Raisins grown in the Spanish province of 
Valencia, which name, relative to the capital city, 
means "powerful, strong." 

Valenciennes. Lace made at the French town of the same 

Valentines. See " St Valentine's Day." 
Valparaiso. Expresses the Spanish for " Vale of Paradise." 
Vamoose. An Americanism for "decamp," "run along," 

" be off." This had its origin in the Spanish vamos, 

"let us go." 

Vanbrugh Castle — Venezuela 367 

Vanbrugh Castle. This castellated mansion at Blackheath 
was built by Sir John Vanbrugh in 171 7. 

Vancouver Island. Discovered by Captain Vancouver 
while searching for an inlet on the west coast of North 
America in 1792. 

Van Diemen's Land. The name first given by Tasman, 
its discoverer, in 1642, to what is now "Tasmania," in 
compliment to the daughter of the Dutch Governor of 

Vandyke. A pointed lace collar, always distinguished in 
the portraits painted by Sir Anthony Vandyck. Also 
a peculiar shade of brown colour used by him for his 

Vassar College. Founded in the state of New York by 
Matthew Vassar in 1861 for the higher education of 
women. This might be said to constitute the Girton 
College of the New World. 

Vaudeville. The name given to a short, bright dramatic 
piece interspersed with songs set to familiar airs, after 
Vaudevire, a village in Normandy, where Olivier 
Basselin, the first to compose such pieces, was born. 
The Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand was built for 
entertainments of this class. 

Vauxhall. After Jane Vaux, the occupant of the manor 
house in 16 15. This name, however, would seem to 
have been corrupted in modern times, since the manor 
was originally held soon after the Norman Conquest 
by Fulka de Breante. The manor house might con- 
sequently have been in those far-off days described as 

Venerable Bede. The Saxon historian merited the sur- 
name of "Venerable" because he was an aged man 
and also an ecclesiastic. 

Venezuela. Finding that the Indian villages in this 
country were uniformly built upon piles in the water, 
the Spaniards gave it their native term for " Little 

368 Venice — Vienna 

Venice. After the Veneti, the early inhabitants of the 

Vernier. After Pierre Vernier, the inventor of the instru- 

Vere Street. After the De Veres, owners of the estate 
before it passed to the Harleys. 

Verger. From the French verge, a. rod, the name borne 
by the custodian of a cathedral or minster, because 
in common with official attendants, he formerly carried 
a rod or staff of office. 

Vermicelli. Italian for " little worms." 

Vermont. A corruption of " Verd Mont," in allusion to 
its green mountains. 

Vermuth. The white wine tinctured with bitter herbs 
appropriately bears this name derived from the Anglo- 
Saxon wermod, wormwood. 

Verulam Buildings. This portion of Gray's Inn was 
named in honour of Lord Bacon, created Baron 
Verulam and Viscount St Albans. 

Veto. This word is Latin for " I forbid." 

Vicar. From the Latin vicarius, in place of another. See 

Vichy Water. So called because drawn from the cele- 
brated springs at Vichy in France. 

Victoria. The carriage of this name was introduced in 
1838, the coronation year of the late Queen Victoria. 
Much about the same time the Australian colony so 
designated in her honour was first colonised. 

Victoria Regia. So called because it was brought to Eng- 
land from Guiana soon after the accession of Queen 

Victoria Street. After Queen Victoria, in the early years of 
whose reign it was cut through and built upon. 

Vienna. From a small stream, the Wien, from which the 
city received its German name. 

Vignette — Vintry 369 

Vignette. Expressing the French for a "little vine," this 
name was given to an early style of photograph, and 
also to a book engraving that faced the title-page, on 
account of the vine leaves and tendrils that surrounded 

Vigo Street. In honour of the capture of Vigo by Lord 
Cobham in 17 19, shortly before this street was built 

Viking. From the Icelandic vik, a creek, the usual lurking- 
place of the northern pirates. 

Villain. Although signifying originally a mean, low fellow, 
but by no means one of reprehensive morals as now, 
this term was applied to a labourer on a farm or a 
country seat. To argue this point with the humble day- 
labourer who trims the shrubs at a suburban villa in 
our own time, would serve no useful purpose. 

Villiers Street. One of the group of streets the names of 
which perpetuate the memory of George Villiers, Duke 
of Buckingham, whose town mansion hereabouts was 
approached from the river by the old water gate, still 
in existence. 

Vinegar. From the French vinaigre^ "sour wine." 

Vinegar Bible. So called from the substitution of the word 
"vinegar" for "vineyard" in the headline to Luke xx., 
printed at the Clarendon Press in 17 17. 

Vinegar Yard. Wherever this corrupted term is met with 
in London it points to a "vineyard" originally be- 
longing to a religious order. That in Clerkenwell was 
attached to the Priory of the Knights of St John of 
Jerusalem, that adjoining Drury Lane Theatre to St 
Paul's Convent in what is now Covent Garden. 

Vine Street. Recalls the existence of a vineyard at West- 
minster and off Piccadilly, anciently held by the abbots 
of the venerable pile of St Peter's at Westminster. 

Vintry. This ward of the city of London was anciently 
the "place of" the vintners, or wine merchants who 
came from Bordeaux. 


370 Virginals — Waldenses 

Virginals. An early example of keyed musical instrument 
resembling the pianoforte. Also this was played upon 
with some degree of skill by Queen Elizabeth, the so- 
called " Virgin Queen," and is said to have given her 
name to the instrument. It was, however, well known 
long before her time, having been used by nuns in con- 
vents to accompany hymns to the Virgin. 

Virginia. Named by Sir Walter Raleigh in honour of 
Elizabeth, the "Virgin Queen." 

Virginia Bible. A translation of the Scriptures into the 
native tongue of the Indians of the state of Virginia, 
first printed in 1661. Copies are said to be worth at 
least ^200. 

Virgin Mary's Body Guard. The 7th Dragoon Guards, 
because this regiment once served under Maria Theresa 
of Austria. 

Voltaire. The anagrammatic literary pseudonym of Francois 
Marie Arouet, formed as follows: — "Arouet 1. j." (le 

Volume. From the Latin volvo, I roll. The earliest 
documents or writings consisted of long rolls of the 
Egyptian papyrus, and when these were rolled up each 
one corresponded to what the moderns called a volume. 
See " Roll Call." 


Wadham College. Founded at Oxford by Nicholas 
Wadham in 16 13. 

Walbrook. From a pleasant stream of clear water which, 
after skirting the wall of St Stephen's Church, behind 
where the Mansion House now stands, ran southward, 
to empty itself into the Thames at Dowgate. 

Waldenses. The followers of Peter Waldo, a merchant 
of Lyons, who towards the end of the twelfth century 
had the four Gospels translated for the benefit of the 
people, and was unsparing in his denunciation of the 

Wales — Wal tham 3 7 1 

clergy. With the Albigenses of Languedoc these 
people, who entered with their leader into the valleys 
of Dauphine and Piedmont, may be regarded as the 
earliest of the Reformers. 

Wales. This Celtic territory, which was never even pene- 
trated by the Anglo-Saxons, received the name of 
"Wallia," signifying the country of the Wahlen or 
Wahls, foreigners. 

Walham Green. The original spelling of this name 
" Wahlheim," expressed from the Anglo-Saxon point 
of view a home or settlement of the Wahls or 

Walk a Virginia Fence. An American phrase applied to 
a drunken man. In Virginia the rail fences are con- 
structed in a zig-zag manner, whence they are also 
called "worm fences." 

Walking Gentlemen. In theatrical parlance, one who 
plays the part of a gentleman or noble on the stage ; 
he may not have much to say, but his bearing must be 
above reproach. The plays of Shakespeare abound in 
parts of this kind. 

Walk the Chalk. An Americanism for to act straight or 
keep in the right path. 

Wallop. In the year 15 14 the French fleet ravaged the 
coast of Sussex, and burned Brighthelmstone, now 
Brighton, whereupon Sir John Wallop, one of the 
best naval commanders of his time, was sent by Henry 
VIII. to make reprisals. In this he succeeded only 
too well; he burned twenty-one French coasting 
villages, demolished several harbours, and thrashed 
the enemy to his heart's content. His men, however, 
proud of the achievement, declared that they had 
Walloped the French j and thus it was that a new 
synonym for "thrash" came to be incorporated into 
the English language. 

Waltham. From the Anglo-Saxon Waldheim^ the home or 
settlement in the wood. 

372 Waltz— Water Lane 

Waltz. From the German "Waltzer," the name of the 
dance, and waltzen, to roll, relative to the revolutions 
made by the pairs of dancers. 

Walworth. Originally a settlement of the Wak/s, or 
foreigners, descendants of the Danes (see " South- 
wark "). This district became in Anglo-Saxon days a 
worthy or manor, from which Sir William Walworth, 
the Lord Mayor who slew Wat Tyler, derived his 
family name. 

Wandsworth. Anciently described as " Wandlesworth," 
the manor watered by the River Wandle. 

Wapentake. Expresses the Saxon for "a touching of 
arms." This territorial division, which obtained in 
Yorkshire in the time of the Anglo-Saxons, and corre- 
sponded to the " Hundred " elsewhere, received its 
name from the periodical meeting of the champions 
of each hundred to touch spears and swear to defend 
the common cause. 

Wardour Street. After Wardour Castle, the seat of the 
ground landlord, Lord Arundel of Wardour. 

Wardrobe Terrace. Marks the site of the ancient 
"Wardrobe," when our sovereigns resided in what 
was styled "Tower Royal" hard by. 

Warwick. From the Anglo-Saxon Wcerwic, " war town," 
so called on account of its permanent garrison of 

Warwick Lane. From the town mansion of the Beau- 
champs, Earls of Warwick. 

Warwick Road. After the Earls of Warwick, owners of 
the Earl's Court estate before it passed to the Holland 

Washington. Laid out under the superintendence of 
George Washington, the first President of the United 
States. This seat of the Government was honoured 
with his name. 

Water Lane. Prior to the construction of Victoria Street 
this winding lane led down to the Thames. 

Waterloo Bridge — Wednesday 373 

Waterloo Bridge. So called because it was declared open 
1 8th June 1817, the anniversary of the battle of 

Waterloo Park. After Sir Sidney Waterloo, who presented 
it to the public. 

Waterloo Place. So called as a military set-off to Trafalgar 
Square when the Duke of York's column was erected 
by public subscription in 1833. The statues of 
famous British generals around this open space are 
quite in keeping with the design. 

Water Poet. The literary sobriquet of John Taylor, who 
was a Thames waterman. 

Watling Street. A corruption of Vitellina Strata, "the 
road of Vitellius," so called because this great Roman 
highway from Dover to Cardigan in Wales was pro- 
jected by the Emperor Vitellius, and those portions of 
it in London and elsewhere were constructed during 
his reign. 

Watteau. See " A la Watteau." 

Way Down. An Americanism for " down the way to " 
e.g. — " Way down the lone churchyard." 

Wayzgoose. A printers' summer outing, so called from the 
wayz or stubble goose which , when the outing took 
place later in the season, was the invariable dinner 
dish. The term wayz is from the Dutch wassen and 
German waschen, to grow; hence a goose that has 
fattened among the stubble after the harvest has been 

Wedding Breakfast. The nuptial banquet had in Catholic 
days a real significance, when, having fasted from mid- 
night, the entire party attended Mass, and partook of 
the Communion. At the close of the marriage 
ceremony the priest regaled them with wine, cakes, 
and sweetmeats in the church porch by way of 

Wednesday. In the Scandinavian mythology this was 
"Wodin's Day," or that set apart for the worship of 

374 Wedgwood Ware— Wesleyans 

Odin or Wodin, the god of magic and the inventor of 
the Arts. 
Wedgwood Ware. The style of pottery invented or intro- 
duced by Josiah Wedgwood in 1775. 

Weeping Cross. A cross set up on the way to a church- 
yard where the coffin was rested for a brief space while 
prayers were offered up for the soul of the deceased. 
The wailing of the women generally interrupted the 

Weeping Philosopher. Heraclitus of Ephesus, who volun- 
tarily embittered the declining years of his existence 
by weeping over the folly of mankind. 

Wedlock Street. After Welbeck Abbey, the seat of the 
Duke of Portland, the great ground landlord. 

Wellingborough. Anciently "Wellingbury," on account of 
the medicinal wells or springs which abound in its 

Wellington. This province and capital city of New 
Zealand received the name of the Duke of Wellington. 

Wellington Boots. After the Duke of Wellington. 

Wellington Street. In honour of the Duke of Wellington, 
because it leads to Waterloo Bridge. 

Wells Street. A corruption of " Well Street," after Well in 
Yorkshire, the seat of the Strangeways family, from 
whom Lady Berners, owner of the estate, was descended. 

Welsher. The name borne by an absconding bookmaker 
on a race-course was originally a "Welshman," in 
allusion to the old ditty: "Taffy was a Welshman, 
Taffy was a thief." 

Welsh Rabbit. A popular corruption of "Welsh Rare- 

Wesleyan Methodists. The name borne by that portion 
of the Methodist sect which worship in chapels and 
so-called churches, which was far from the intention 
of their founder. See "Primitive Methodists." 

Wesleyans. The followers of John Wesley, or " Methodists " 
in general. 

Wessex — Whigs 375 

Wessex. The great kingdom of the West Seaxe, or West 
Saxons, under the Heptarchy. 

Westbourne Park. The district formerly traversed by 
the west bourne or stream between " Kilburn " and 

West Indies. Those islands in the Caribbean Sea, which 
Columbus imagined to form part of the great unknown 
India, as approached from the west. 

Westminster. This name has been from time immemorial 
given to the district of which the ancient fane tauto- 
logically styled "Westminster Abbey" is the centre. 
One does not speak of " York Minster Abbey " or 
" Lincoln Minster Abbey." A minster is a great 
church in connection with a monastery. Since the 
Reformation the abbeys have been swept away, the 
Minsters remain. The earliest mention of "the 
West Minster " occurs in a Saxon charter of 785, in 
contradistinction to " the East Minster " that stood in 
those days somewhere on Tower Hill. All trace of 
this has been lost, yet it is possible that St Katherine's 
Hospital, now displaced by the docks of the same 
name, grew out of it. 

Westmorland. The land peopled by the Westmorings, or 
those of the Western moors. 

Weymouth Street. After Lord Weymouth, the son-in-law 
of the ground landlord, the Duke of Portland. 

What's the Damage? This expression arose out of the 
damages awarded to a successful litigant in the Law 

Whig Bible. So called owing to the substitution of the 
word " placemakers " for "peacemakers." 

Whigs. An abbreviation of " Whigamores," first applied 
to the Scottish Covenanters in consequence of a 
rising among the peasantry among the Lowland 
moors called the "Whigamore Raid," and finally to 
that political party which strove to exclude the Duke 
of York, James II., from the throne because he was a 
Catholic. The term " Whigamore " arose out of the 

376 Whisky — White Queen 

twin-syllabic cry " Whig-am ! " of the teamsters and 
ploughmen of those districts of Scotland to drive 
their horses. 

Whisky. An English form of the Irish "Uisquebaugh." 

Whitby. So called by the Danes when they took possession 
of this abbey town on the cliffs, literally " white 

Whitebait. On account of its silvery whiteness and because 
it was at one time used exclusively for baiting crab and 
lobster pots. 

Whiteboys. A band of Irish insurgents who wore white 
smocks over their ordinary garments. 

Whitechapel. As in the case of Westminster, this name 
now expresses a district, and " Whitechapel Church " 
sounds ridiculous. Its ancient designation was the 
" White Chapel of St Mary." 

Whitecross Street. See " Redcross Street/ 

Whitefriars Street. In olden days this was the western 
boundary of the Carmelite or White Friars' Monastery, 
built in 1245. 

Whitehall. The central portion of the wide thoroughfare 
between Charing Cross and Westminster. This 
received its name from the Banqueting-hall of white 
stone, originally part of a palace designed by Cardinal 
Wolsey for the London house of the Archbishop of 
York, and now the United Service Museum. 

White Hart. An inn sign from the device of Richard II. 

White Hart Street. After an ancient inn, "The White 
Hart," removed during the reign of George I. 

White House. The official residence of the President of 
the United States at Washington, so called because it 
is built of freestone painted white. 

White Quakers. An offshoot of the Quaker sect, about 
1840, who adopted white clothing. 

White Queen. Mary Queen of Scots, who appeared in 

White Lion — Wilburites 377 

white mourning for her murdered husband, Lord 

White Lion. An inn sign from the badge of Edward IV. 
as Earl of March. 

White Sea. So called because during six months out of 
each year it is frozen over and covered with snow. 

White Swan. An inn sign complimentary to Edward III. 
and Henry IV., whose badge it was. 

Whit Sunday. A corruption of " White Sunday," so called 
from the earliest days of Christianity in England 
because the catechumens or newly baptised attended 
Mass, and received the Sacrament dressed in white, on 
the Feast of Pentecost. 

Whittington Avenue. After Sir Richard Whittington, 
thrice Lord Mayor of London, who resided in this 

Whittington Stone. The name of a tavern on Highgate 
Hill, opposite to which is, according to tradition, the 
identical stone on which Dick Whittington, the future 
Lord Mayor of London, rested while listening to the 
bells of Bow Church chiming across the pleasant 

Wicked Bible. Wilfully or otherwise the word "not" is 
omitted from this edition of the Scriptures, so that the 
passage in Exodus xx. 14. reads : " Thou shalt commit 

Wide-awake. The slang term for a soft felt hat, because, 
having no nap, it must always be wide awake. 

Widow Bird. A corruption of " Why daw Bird," from the 
country in West Africa where it is found. 

Wigmore Street. In common with several neighbouring 
streets, this perpetuates one of the titles of Edward 
Harley, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, who in 171 7 was 
created Baron Harley of Wigmore in Herefordshire, the 
ground landlord. 

Wilburites. The othordox or strict members of the Society 

37% William the Lion— Windmill Street 

of Friends in America under John Wilbur, as opposed 
to the " Hicksite Friends." 

William the Lion. The surname of this King of the Scots 
was due to his selection of a lion rampant for his crest. 

Willis's Rooms. See " Almack's." 

Will Scarlet. A euphonism invented by Robin Hood 
for William Scathelocke, the real name of one of his 
merry men. 

Wilton. See "Wiltshire." 

Wiltshire. A corruption of " Wiltonshire," or the Shire 
of Wilton, which name in its original form, "Willy 
Town," expressed the town on the River Willy. 

Wimbledon. Originally Wibbadon, expressing the Celtic 
for a low-lying meadow or common belonging to one 

Wimpole Street. After the country seat of the Harleys 
on the Herefordshire and Cambridgeshire border. 

Winchester Yard. From Winchester House, the ancient 
town mansion of the Bishops of Winchester. 

Windermere. Expresses the Anglo-Saxon for "clear 
water lake." 

Winchester. Inhabited by the Belgce, this stronghold, 
called by them Ccer-Gwent, "fortified enclosure on 
the plain," was after the Roman invasion made a 
great centre of military activity under the Latinised 
name of Venta Belgarum, which the West Saxons 
changed into Wintanccestre^ "the camp town of the 
Winte," whence its modern name has been derived. 

Windmill Street. A name suggestive of peaceful rusticity. 
The thoroughfare in Finsbury so denominated marks 
the site of three windmills that were erected on a 
mound formed by the deposition of a thousand cart- 
loads of human bones from the Charnel-house of St 
Paul's Cathedral by order of the Lord Protector 
Somerset in 1549. 

Windsor — Woolsack 379 

Windsor. Anciently described as a Windlesora," the 
winding shore. 

Wine Office Court. From an ancient office where wine 
licences were issued. 

Winnipeg. Indian for " lake of the turbid water." 

Wirepuller. In allusion to the manipulators of the 
figures at a marionette show. 

Wisconsin. Indian for "wild-rushing channel." 

Within an Ace. Since the ace in a pack of cards is the 
unit of pips, he who accomplishes anything by the 
merest shave does so within a single mark. 

Wizard of the North. Sir Walter Scott, so called on 
account of the enchantment which, through his novels, 
he exercised over the inhabitants of North Britain. 

Woburn Square. After Woburn Abbey, the ancestral 
seat of the Duke of Bedford. 

Woke up the Wrong Passenger. An Americanism for 
having made a mistake in the individual. This 
originated in the Mississippi steamboats, the stewards 
on board of which often call up the wrong passenger 
at the stopping-places by night. 

Wolverhampton. Anciently "Wulfrune's Hampton," so 
called from the church and college of St Peter founded 
by Wulfrune, the sister of King Edgar, in 996. 

Wolverine State. Michigan, on account of the prairie 
wolves which formerly infested this region. Its people 
are called " Wolverines." 

Wood Green. In old days this was a glade in Hornsey 

Wood Street. In this locality congregated the turners of 
wooden cups, dishes, and measures of olden times. 

Woolly Heads. An Americanism for the Negroes of the 
southern states. 

Woolsack. The seat reserved for the Lord Chancellor in 
the House of Lords, being a large sack stuffed with 

380 Woolwich — Wych Street 

wool, and covered with scarlet cloth, its object being 
to keep him in constant reminder of the great im- 
portance of the woollen manufacture in England. 

Woolwich. Anciently described as Hylwich, " hill town." 

Worcester. Known to the Anglo-Saxons as Hwicwara 
ceaster^ "the stronghold of the Huiccii." The latter 
portion of the name, however, proves that this must 
have been a Roman encampment ; the Huiccii were a 
Celtic tribe. 

Worcester College. Originally known as Gloucester Hall, 
this Oxford foundation was in 17 14 enlarged and en- 
dowed as a college by Sir Thomas Cooksey of Astley, 
Worcestershire, who, not desiring his name to be 
handed down to posterity, called it after his native 

Work a Dead Horse. A journeyman's phrase implying 
that he has to set to work on the Monday morning 
upon that for which he has already been paid on the 
previous Saturday. 

World's End. A famous house of entertainment during 
the reign of Charles II., so called on account of its 
immense distance in those days out of London. Like 
many other places of outdoor resort, it exists now only 
as a public-house. 

Wormwood Street. From the bitter herbs which sprang 
up along the Roman Wall in ancient times. 

Worsted. After a town in Norfolk of the same name 
where this fabric was of old the staple industry. 

Writes like an Angel. Dr Johnson said of Oliver Gold- 
smith : " He writes like an angel and talks like a fool." 
The allusion was to Angelo Vergeco, a Greek of the 
sixteenth century, noted for his beautiful hand- 

Wych Street. This now vanished thoroughfare was 
anciently Aidwych, "Old Town," so called because 
it led from St Clement Danes Church to the isolated 
settlement in the parish of St Giles's-in-the-Fields, 

Wye — Yankee Jonathan 381 

which in our time is known as Broad Street, Blooms- 

Wye. From the Welsh gwy, water. 

Wyndham College. The joint foundation at Oxford of 
Nicholas and Dorothy Wyndham of Edge and Mere- 
field, Somersetshire, in 1611. 

X Ale. The original significance of the X mark on beer 
barrels was that the liquor had paid a ten shilling-duty. 
Additional X's are simply brewers' trade marks, de- 
noting various degrees of strength over that of the 
first X. 

XL'ers. See " Exellers." 

XXX's. See "Three Exes." 

Yale University. After Elihu Yale, formerly Governor of 
the East Indian Company's settlement at Madras, 
whose princely benefactions to [the Collegiate School 
of the State of Connecticut, founded by ten Con- 
gregational ministers at Killingworth in 1701, 
warranted the removal of that seat of learning to New 
Haven fifteen years later. 

Yang-tse-Kiang. Chinese for " great river." 

Yankee. A term popularly applied at first to one born in 
the New England states of North America owing to 
the fact that Yankees, Yangktes and similar pepretrations 
were the nearest approaches to the word " English." 
which the Indians of Massachusetts were capable of. 
Afterwards it came to be applied to the people of the 
continent generally. 

Yankee Jonathan. The nickname of Jonathan Hastings, a 
farmer of Hastings, Mass., on account of his addiction 

382 Yankee State — Yokohama 

to the word " Yankee," used adjectively for anything 
American. Thus he would say "a Yankee good 
cider," " a Yankee good horse," etc. 

Yankee State. Ohio, so called by the Kentuckians on 
account of its many free institutions. 

Yarmouth. The port situated at the mouth of the Yare. 
See " Yarrow." 

Yarn. A spun-out story bears this name in allusion to the 
thread out of which cloth is woven. 

Yarrow. From the Celtic garw, rough, rapid. 

Yeddo. Japanese for " river entrance." 

Yellow Book. A French Government report, so called 
from its yellow cover. 

Yellow Boy. Slang for a sovereign. 

Yellow Jack. A yellow flag which is flown from a vessel 
in quarantine and from naval hospitals as a warning of 
yellow fever or other contagious disease on board. 
See " Union Jack." 

Yellow Press. By this term is meant that section of the 
Press which is given up to creating a scare or sensation. 
It has been derived from what in the United States 
bears the name of "Yellow-covered Literature," con- 
sisting of trashy sensation novels, published chiefly for 
railway reading. 

Yellow Sea. From the tinge imparted to its waters by the 
immense quantities of alluvial soil poured into them 
by the Yang-tse-Kiang River. 

Yendys. The literary sobriquet of Sydney Dobell, being 
simply his Christian name reversed. 

Yeoman's Service. Originally that rendered to the State 
in time of war by volunteers of the Guilds or City 
Companies. The term " Yeoman " is derived from the 
German gemein, common, and applied in the sense of 
enlistment for the common good. 

Yokohama. Japanese for " Cross Shore." 

York— Yuletide 383 

York. The Eboracum of the Romans, a Latinised render- 
ing of the British Eurewic (pronounced Yorric), "a 
row of houses on the Eure," which river is now called 
the Ouse. 

York and Albany. An omnibus stage in Camden Town 
named after Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, the 
second son of George III. 

York Gate. The water gate, still standing, built for York 
House, of which no other vestige remains. 

York Road. This long road, parallel to the Great Northern 
Railway at King's Cross, owes its designation to the 
circumstance that the line in question was origin- 
ally styled the " London and York Railway." 

Yorkshire Stingo. A public-house sign indicating that the 
celebrated ale of this name, due to the sting or sharp- 
ness of its taste, is sold on the premises. 

York Street. In Covent Garden, after James, Duke of 
York, the second son of Charles I., and brother of 
Charles II., subsequently James II. In Westminster, 
from the erstwhile residence of Frederick, Duke of 
York and Albany, son of George III. 

Young Buffs. The 31st Foot, whose uniforms were very 
similar to those of the Buffs, or 3rd Foot — viz. scarlet 
coats faced and lined with buff, and the remainder 
wholly of buff-coloured material. Soon after their 
formation in 1702 they distinguished themselves 
greatly in action, whereupon the General rode up, ex- 
claiming : "Well done, old Buffs!" "But we are 
not the Buffs," some of the men replied, "Then, 
well done, young Buffs," was the retort, and the name 
stuck to them ever after. 

Young Nipper. See " Nipper." 

Yucatan. From Yuca tan, "What do you say?" which 
was the only answer the Spaniards were able to obtain 
from the aborigines when they asked them the name of 
the country. 

uletide. Christmastide, from the Norse juul, Christmas. 

384 Zadkiel— Zuyder Zee 

Zadkiel. The literary sobriquet of Lieutenant Richard 
James Morrison, author of "The Prophetic Almanack," 
after the angel of the planet Jupiter in the Jewish 

Zantippe. After the wife of Socrates, whose name has 
become proverbial for a bad-tempered spouse. 

Zanzibar. A European inversion of the Arabic Ber-ez-Zuig, 
the coast of the Zangis, or Negroes. 

Zeeland. Expresses the Dutch for " Sea-land," land re- 
claimed from the sea. 

Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas. Duluth, so called 
from its picturesque situation at the western extremity 
of the Great Lakes. 

Zoroastrianism. The religious system of the " Parsees " or 
Fire- worshippers, introduced into Persia by Zoroaster 
circa B.C. 500. 

Zounds. A corruption of "His Wounds," or the Five 
Sacred Wounds on the Body of the Redeemer. This 
oath was first employed by John Perrot, a natural son 
of Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth was much addicted 
to the exclamation "His Wounds," but the ladies of 
her Court softened it into "Zounds" and "Zouterkins." 

Zurich. From the Latin Thuricum, in honour of Thuricus, 
the son of Theodoric, who rebuilt the city after it had 
been destroyed by Attila. 

Zuyder Zee. Properly Zuider Zee, the Dutch for "Southern 
Sea," relative to the North Sea or German Ocean. 





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