Michael Lewis wrote this in Liar's Poker:

Still, the tale has a happy ending. Lehman Brothers eventually went belly up. A battle between the traders and the corporate financiers caused the firm to collapse in early 1984. The traders won, but what was left of the august house of Lehman wasn’t worth living in. The senior partners were forced to go hat in hand to Wall Street rival Shearson, which bought them out.

I'm not sure what "august house" means in the sentence. Wikipedia has this explanation of "august house":

"August House is an independent children's book publisher established in 1978 and currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. August House principally focuses on publishing children's folktales, picture books, early-grade chapter books, and storytelling resource materials."

But that explanation of "august house" doesn't make sense in the context of the sentence written by Michael Lewis.

Can someone help me?

closed as off-topic by Hellion, AmE speaker, Edwin Ashworth, Nigel J, user067531 Feb 10 '18 at 20:55

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  • 1
    The publisher's name is obviously derivative. 'August' is an adjective here; you should look it up. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 9 '18 at 21:46
  • @EdwinAshworth - sorry not sure what you mean by "publisher's name is obviously derivative". August means admiration. So is the author saying what was left of the inspiring Lehman wasn't worth staying for? – rds80 Feb 9 '18 at 21:50
  • I'd imagine the Atlanta publisher is pronounced like the month, named for Augustus Caesar. August, with stress on the second syllable, is also an English adjective dreived from the Latin. – KarlG Feb 9 '18 at 21:53
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    august: marked by majestic dignity or grandeur. Sometimes you've gotta look the words up individually, not as a phrase. – Hellion Feb 9 '18 at 22:05
  • +1 again. Incidentally the last sentence looks all wrong to an olde-fashionede English speaker here - should be to Wall Street rivals Shearson, who bought them out. – Will Crawford Feb 10 '18 at 0:14

"August" in this context refers to the adjective, not the month or proper noun.

According to Oxford Living Dictionaries, august means "respected and impressive."


Octavius Caesar bigged himself up by adopting the surname 'bigged up,' (augeo means increase, enlarge).

As a result emperors' wives were called 'Augusta,' and the month following Julius's new month added a day and was called 'August,' and many later Emperors added the surname. It is an honorary title like Majesty, the Honourable, His Highness, His Holiness.

The august House of Lehman is a wry use of the title.

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