I recently started reading a strange little book from 1929 called Breaking Priscian's Head, or English as She Will Be Spoke And Wrote, by a Scotsman named J. Y. T Greig. In a passage about how some words drop out of the language because the things they describe are no longer in use, Greig mentions the words "hansom", "four-wheeler", and "D.O.R.A.", expressing considerable happiness at the disappearance of that last one.

So, it turns out that Greig was absolutely correct about the disappearance of "D.O.R.A", and I haven't the faintest clue what it could possibly mean. A quick Google search yields nothing that seems applicable to the 1920s. Do any of you have any ideas?

Here's a picture of that page, by the way: enter image description here

  • I’m confused. We still have four-wheelers today, but did we in the 1920s?
    – Naomi
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


What did you put in your Google search? I typed D.O.R.A. and found the Defence Of the Realm Act.

Seems to have been finally repealed in 1927. Looks right to me. I think this question will be closed for insufficient research, it took me two minutes to find out what it was and another five to find out when it was repealed. (The UK parliamemt website not being keen to tell me that, perhaps it's a state secret)

  • Oh! I saw that, but I could've sworn it was repealed in 1921. At least, that's what this article seemed to imply: cdnc.ucr.edu/…
    – WiJaMa
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 1:40
  • If you read the item in your link carefully it refers to an "order in council". That is not a proper parliamentary repeal, it's a sort of short cut. According to the New York Times from 26th July 1927 it didn't get taken off the statute book until the Lords killed it properly sometime after that.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 1:55
  • Even if it was repealed in 1921 it would still be well remembered in 1929, though by then disappearing from the language. I wasn't born until 1951 but I knew instantly what the initials stood for, though I couldn't have told you any details of the Act. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 7:07
  • 3
    You are, of course, aware that everyone doesn't get the same search results? Defence of the Realm Act was not in my first two pages of results.
    – bof
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 7:40
  • 2
    Yes, I included the dots. The first hit was the (Colorado) Department of Regulatory Agencies, followed by Dora the Explorer. Anyway, it's commom knowledge that Google search results are "personalized". By the way, Defence of the Realm Act is the 13th hit at acronymfinder.com.
    – bof
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 11:07

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