Questions tagged [allusion]

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What does "a sort of Hercules in strength and weakness" mean? [closed]

It says in Great Expectations, "Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, and with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got ...
yogazefish's user avatar
39 votes
3 answers

The phrase "do the lions"

I was recently reading an account of Zola's exile in England after the Dreyfus affair and I came across a phrase I couldn't quite parse: That gentleman, as I had surmised, was a trifle astonished at ...
ConfusedInParis's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers

What is the literary device when a character takes part in a real play in the story?

In the story, one of the characters acts in a play. This play also exists in real life, and it has a symbolic meaning to the story. Would this be an example of intertextuality or would it be a ...
Jonathan's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer

Origin of the "white feather as a symbol of cowardice"

I’m researching the origins of the white feather as a symbol of cowardice. The earliest reference I can find is in Francis Grose’s 1785 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Does anyone know of any ...
StirlingM's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers

Idiomatic meaning or allusion of "twirl a mustache" [duplicate]

“I have a mustache but I have not started to twirl it yet” What is the implication of having a mustache, but not yet twirling it?
Igor 's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer

Is the "Secret Policeman's Ball" an allusion to bribery?

The Secret Policeman's Ball were a series of benefit shows. However, is the phrase "buying a ticket to the Secret Policeman's Ball" an allusion to paying a bribe?
StuperUser's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers

What does "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" mean?

The sub-title of Dr. Strangelove is "or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" and it's used as a very common snowclone in other contexts. But what does the sub-title actually mean? What ...
Dai's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer

What types of indirect references are and aren't allusions?

In school I learned that allusions are indirect references. Often my teachers would give examples in the form of references to well-known literary works. If I say "I can read the writing on the wall"...
Duncan Malashock's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers

Origin of the phrase "barking mad"

Can anyone nail down the origin and first usage of the phrase... “barking mad” (also, just "barking")? Basic research shows two possible answers: Barking, England supposedly had a mental ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

How do I reference Billy Bragg in the following instance?

Billy Bragg has an album entitled, 'Talking with the Taxman about Poetry'. I want to entitle an essay, 'Talking with the Gasman about Yoga'. What is this called, and what is the best way to give ...
Irene Max's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer

Looking for origins of "craney-crow"

I'm looking for the origin of the term or nick-name "Craney-Crow." There are other spellings, but this turns up as the name of a character in the "Uncle Remus" stories. I'm wondering if it originated ...
susieb's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer

What does the "Swiss heroes" phrase allude to?

While translating an article about innovative design tools, I came across the "Swiss heroes" phrase. I'm pretty much sure it isn't used literally and the author refers to some well-known object or ...
Tatiana Zhukova's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers

When did jaybirds start "going to Hell on Friday"?

I have been re-reading Faulkner´s Snopes trilogy, and came across this passage from Dilsey 1928. Luster went to the woodpile. The five jaybirds whirled over the house, screaming, and into the ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

In “Member Berries”, is “member” just short for “remember”?

I enjoy watching South Park on current events. In its tense twentieth season, Member Berries play a crucial role. While I’m afraid of not grasping the overarching concept entirely, I’d like this ...
dakab's user avatar
  • 607
1 vote
1 answer

What are allusions? [closed]

I do not understand how allusions 'indirectly' mention something. I have looked at examples of allusions, and the allusions I have seen seem to directly mention something. The site below: http://www....
GFD1998's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer

Etymology of "butthurt"

What is the etymology of the term butthurt? This link suggests an allusion to victims of anal rape. But the reference is not explicitly described as etymological, but merely suggestive. And the ...
user0939's user avatar
  • 799
1 vote
1 answer

Context and meaning of " cloak myself in the mantle of Voltaire ..."?

This is from an old story about a publisher backing off from publishing a book after having made an initial contract with the author, because of some of the latter's controversial views. Chris ...
user2277550's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer

Allusion in the quotes or not?

Between 1980 and 1983, the government had imprisoned and executed so many high-school and college students that we no longer dared to talk politics. [The Iranian National Anthem] had been forbidden ...
sds's user avatar
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20 votes
8 answers

A Pyrrhic defeat?

Is there a word, phrase or allusion which represents the opposite of a Pyrrhic Victory: a tactical defeat which led to a strategic victory, either accidental or intended? After all, there must be one ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 4,554
15 votes
5 answers

Is there a term for when an allusion to a source becomes more well-known than the source itself?

I’m looking for a word or phrase to describe when Source B quotes or references Source A, and then Source B becomes so much more well-known than Source A that people attribute the source of the quote ...
Nicole's user avatar
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