To all these words which Don Quixote said, a certain Biscaine squire, that accompanied the coach, gave ear; who, seeing that Don Quixote suffered not the coach to pass onward, but said that it must presently turn back to Toboso, he drew near to him, and, laying hold on his lance, he said, in his bad Spanish and worse Basquish: ‘Get thee away, knight, in an ill hour. By the God that created me, if thou leave not the coach, I will kill thee, as sure as I am a Biscaine.’

In chapter eight of the translation of Don Quixote that I am currently reading, a squire says to Quixote, "Get thee away, knight, in an ill hour."

I have an idea of what is meant by in an ill hour, but at looking further for a definition of the phrase, although I am able to find its use many times, often within quotations, I am not able to find its specific meaning or from where it comes.

Although this may not be relevant for this board, the original Spanish text translation has "Anda, caballero que mal andes", which, as I understand it, roughly translates to "Go, knight, that exists in evil" / "... that walks an evil path"

  • 1
    That looks like a translation made soon after the book's publication. Nowadays 'ill' as an adjective just means 'sick', but in the past it meant 'bad' or 'evil', so an 'ill hour' is a bad moment, an unfortunate time. Oct 28, 2018 at 9:24
  • This may definitely be the answer; I've just seen it several places in quotations and didn't know if it was being pulled from a text with which I'm not familiar.
    – QMord
    Oct 29, 2018 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


It means an unfortunate time, and may be shortened from 'ill-fated' or 'ill-omened' hour.

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