65

I found an explanation of yellow card in Peter Hays, The Critical Reception of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (2011): But on the subject of Parisian whores, [the critic Michael] Reynolds makes an important correction. At the bal musette Georgette flashes her yellow card, her license as a prostitute, a license that necessitated regular examinations for ...


57

If it's mild, but witty, it's simply word-play. If it's humorously argumentative, it's repartee. or perhaps verbal tennis (I made that one up). They are trading ripostes. if they try to outdo one another with their words, they are having a battle of wits or a battle of words. if they insult one another, they are trading barbs or trading insults. They are ...


51

It's a betting term. Win — first place. Place — second or first place. Show — third, second or first place. Source: oddsshark.com (among others). Suggesting England would "win," France would finish second and Russia third. That is, someone was setting odds on the outcome of the war.


42

Did you check any of your Ngram results? The early hits are mostly false drops from typographical and OCR considerations, so the tail on the distribution continues to the left. Prudishness and censorship combined to make it ʃucking impossible to get the word published until "modern" times. Now no one cares about the word when the internet is dedicated to ...


40

It's not correct according to traditional grammar It might depend on what you mean by "proper English". Based on the context, I'm assuming the clause is meant to express the same idea as "You already know me." The traditional prescriptivist answer would be that the quoted sentence is not "proper English". This kind of word order (Object-Subject-Verb, or ...


38

It means: you've got the better of me. "You has the wind of me" (dialect for: "You have taken the wind from me") refers to the nautical trick of "stealing" another boat's wind. In the days of wind-powered boats (and in modern-day sailing competitions), if you can place your own boat between another boat and the on-coming wind, you can slow the other boat ...


36

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, third edition (1979), has a number of instances, as well. Hans Christian Andersen, "The Emperor's New Clothes": 'But the Emperor has nothing on at all!' cried a little child. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869): But that vast portion, lastly, of the working-class which, raw and half-developed, has long ...


35

It's a variant on stick at nothing {ODO}: PHRASE Allow nothing to deter one from achieving one's aim, however wrong or dishonest. Here, it's used as a compound premodifier. The verbal form is used by Thomas Ward in England's Reformation: A Poem, in Four Cantos as early as 1845 : Besides, the king, tho' dear he buy it, Will stick at naught ...


35

Rhumatis is almost certainly a colloquialism for rheumatism. In the era that Uncle Tom's Cabin was written, rheumatism was a catch-all term for what modern medicine recognizes as distinct conditions and disorders of the joints and muscles. It is no longer in professional or academic use because, like ague, grippe, catarrh, and so on, the causes and ...


33

How about flyting? It was a fairly commonly-practised activity in Shakespeare's time. Essentially it was the equivalent of a rap battle, in which it was not unusual for participants to insult the virility of their opponent, or suggest that their mothers were... promiscuous.


33

It strikes me that this is an attempt by butterfly to sound more formal, in deference to the great wizard. Just like people often confuse "I" with "me" when attempting to sound better educated, and achieve the opposite. I would not put it past Terry Pratchett to lightly satirise such deference to perceived superiors.


30

The suffix -een does exist as a suffix in English, but it is not a very common one, and it is not really productive outside Ireland. Even in Ireland, it enjoys only limited productivity.   In Irish The suffix comes from the Irish Gaelic diminutive suffix -ín, which does indeed indicate that something is small and endearing. Like Romance languages, ...


29

Examples from Tolkien’s Legendarium For my own demonstrative examples, I’ve chosen just one “great writer”, so that some measure of frequency of this phenomenon within a single writer’s works can be taken. Across The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien began sentences with these seven (potential) conjunctions the ...


28

The basic answer to your question of whether he used archaic language to emulate the Bible is no, of course not. There is one specific exception, however, which I explain further on. The Lord of the Rings is composed entirely in Modern English using all manner of style and register. This is deliberate. (I will exempt Éomer’s “Westu Théoden hál!” taken ...


27

In my youth (the 1960s and 1970s) AC/DC was a euphemism for bisexual. As far as I recall AC meant heterosexual and DC meant homosexual (derived from Alternating current and Direct current) and I suspect that Heinlein is using it in this way as the book dates from that period.


26

It looks like what Andrew Leach and deadrat pointed out are very keen observations. I checked about 50 links of books before 1820 times, but nowhere have I found the word "fuck" (almost everywhere it is a misreference of Long S (f without the crossbar) , as in ſuck (suck), ſucked (sucked), ſuck'd (suck'd), ſucking(sucking) and other variations). This ...


23

welcome to EL&U. It's a long time since I read Treasure Island but to me this piece of dialogue sounds like the castaway Ben Gunn. If it isn't him then it's another of the pirates. This means that the dialect is the rather strange "Cornish" one that Stevenson put into the mouths of the pirates. Having passed through TV adaptation in the late 1950's this ...


22

No, the line didn't say that 'people were concerned about (for) money'. It said that the solutions advanced to solve people's unhappiness concerned money. In other words, the author is making the comment that the suggestions did not address people directly, but were centred on money, as though money, if properly manipulated, would make people happy. So, it'...


21

You can paraphrase the proverb as: Where there does not lack will, a way opens. or: Where there is no lack of will, a way opens. Both want and not call for a little explanation. want The verb want can mean “lack or be short of something desirable or essential”.¹ This is an archaic sense of want, and Tolkien was a language expert and fond of ...


21

Dickens is applying what is known as eye dialect, in which a writer uses non-standard spellings to indicate and draw attention to a nonstandard pronunciation. This is to be distinguished from so-called newspaper respelling, as it is not intended to represent someone's pronunciation or usage accurately. Rather, it is a caricature that brings attention to the ...


19

Yet makes an exception to the hopelessness: despite his grim fate, the narrator takes comfort in his lack of panic. For introduces an explanation of why this would be comforting. But contrasts what he did not do with what he did. A similar usage of but: “The Patagonian mara is not an ungulate but a rodent.” These three conjunctions do not bear any ...


18

A "cock of the game" in this instance is a metaphor. It is saying that Cutio is a cock bred for fighting, so is strong and vicious. Wikipedia has an entry for gamecock that explains the literal meaning. Euphues, on the other hand, is craven. The OED quotes this very passage, saying that this use of craven means "A cock that ‘is not game’"1. So Euphues is ...


18

"my reason could no longer entertain the slightest unbelief" means "I could no longer doubt". He was convinced that he would never again see the light of day. He goes on to say that he was pleased with himself that he could accept this terrible turn of events with equanimity. The prose style is deliberately impenetrable.


17

The works you cite are wholly fictional. Being well-researched and more plausible than, say, a sci-fi yarn or Harry Potter doesn't change that. If you were looking to invent a term, some that might apply include gritty (generally implies more realism than average, although that wouldn't apply to a well-researched comedy book), or even realistic. Semi-...


16

Perhaps he's heard of the King James Bible? It may be hard to read now but it's been called one of the greatest works of the English language. I recommend starting on the first page: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon ...


14

The full lines are: The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! The phrase rare device means that it (in this case, the "pleasure-dome") was uniquely devised. In other words, it is an ...


14

A league is a unit of distance, having many definitions. In the time of Christopher Columbus, the legua or Spanish league was around three or four nautical miles. The phrase they made 27 leagues indicates that the ship travelled 27 leagues in distance that day. You may have heard of Jules Verne's 19th Century science fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues ...


12

It's definition 4b(a) in the full OED... A ship, boat, or other vessel. (Now chiefly historical.) ...but that's behind a paywall for most, so here's dictionary.com's definition 8... (in literary or commercial contexts) a boat or ship. I imagine the usage arose by extension from earlier bottom = the keel or lower part of a ship's hull (OED definition ...


11

It's supposed to represent 19th century Cockney, a working-class London dialect. I don't know if Cockneys actually switched v's & w's like this; it seems more likely to me they pronounced both letters in the same way, perhaps like a v but not quite touching the lips to the teeth, /ʋ/.


11

From ODO's definition of Martha: (in the New Testament) the sister of Lazarus and Mary and friend of Jesus (Luke 10:40). (as noun a Martha) a woman who keeps herself very busy with domestic affairs. Wikipedia's page has more information on Martha (of Bethany). It includes an excerpt from The Catholic Encylopaedia: The familiar intercourse between ...


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