Page images
PDF
EPUB

refused it scornfully, peevishly. Hij taend op de noose; q. e. he was irritated at the nuisance; he became angry at the offence he felt from the offer. Taenen, tanen, tenen, to become (to wax) angry ; to feel offended; to be annoyed. Noose has been explained.

THE APPLE OF THE EYE,

Johnson tells you, is the pupil of the eye ; when you consult him under pupil of the eye, he tells you the phrase means, apple of the eye, implying, I suppose, that apple is here a travesty of pupil. The apple of this phrase, is the Dutch appel, in AngloSaxon happel, and the noun of happen, to lay hold of, to grasp, and so to take for use, to gather; and appel is that which is taken hold offer that purpose; and thus, as the use or service of that from which it is taken. As fruit, it is the use or produce of the tree, that which is grasped and so taken for use; custom alone has restricted the meaning to the fruit of one kind of tree, in which sense we now use the word. The Latin pomum is fruit in general, and apple in special. But apple, in the general sense, is still to be traced in our phrase service-apple, as the term for the produce [use, fruit] of the sorb-tree, now called service-tree, by the corruption of the Latin term sorbus into service, if the Latin term is not the corruption of service, which is the most likely case of the two. Apple, in that place, admits of no other meaning than the fruit (use, produce) of that tree. And, I have no doubt, it is in the sense of use (service) the word is employed in the phrase, apple of the eye, which would then be as the use of the eye; for in the apple resides the sight, which is the sole use (service) of that organ. The roundish ball which holds it has no more share in the sight of the eye than the socket, or in the meaning of the word, than tree has in that of fruit. The ball of the eye is still the same in meaning, although the apple should be destroyed [gone]. In some districts the service-apple is termed sour-apple, which is merely a different spelling of the Anglo-Saxon sorhappel. We say, as precious as the apple of the eye, in the sense of the sight, and thus all which is valuable in that organ; but we never say, as precious as the ball of the eye, or even, as precious as the eye. We can't say an apple of the eye; which shows the word is there in a general import.

I WILL PUT A SPOKE IN HIS WHEEL.

I will obstruct his going on in the way he does; I will be an obstacle to his career; I will prevent his progress in the business alluded to. Ei! wel put er spoke in 'es wiel; q. e. Aye! do put an end to the goings on of that troublesome spirit; do stop the violent going on of that mischievous sprite. Ei! (Eh!), sounds I. Put, the imperative of putten, to exhaust, to take from, to draw off. Put, in our sense of the word, is obselete in the Dutch. Wel, as an enforcing expletive. Er, there, now. Spoke, spoock, spook, spectre, haunting spirit, and thus a disquieting, disturbing phantom; and the same word, I have little doubt, with our Puck, the mischievous fairy (sprite) known by that name; and probably with our speck, as an indefinite appearance upon the object in view. 'Es, des, this, the present. Wiel, vortex, round, the metaphor of giddy (heedless) going on; we say, lost in the vortex of amusement, as the giddying round [whirl] of pleasure.

The expression is always used in the sense of menace, and applied to some intended attempt to stop an undue way of going on of the person in question.

TO CURRY FAVOUR.

To seek the good will of another by careful attention, by cautious observance, by obsequiousness, by attentive compliance with whatever

wished. I take the phrase to be our antiquated cury favel, as keurige fabel; [studied speech] put into a verb, and thus as studied (select, choice) discourse put in practice.

"And at astaunce she lovid hym wel, she toke hym by the

swere, As though he hadlernyd Ccry Favel of some old frere."

Chavcer.

Thatis, she was so pleased by his fine talk that in an extacy of delight, she put her arms. round his neck. Frere, friar. Keurig studiously choice, curiously nice. The monks and priests were once, in the eyes of the illiterate, the monopolizers of learning; so that to talk in a phraseology above their mark, was, with them, to have learned from a priest. To please, requires the being careful in what is said so as not to contradict, and to succeed implies the having been careful. The connection of fabel with fabula is evident. The Italian favellare is of the same stock, and though that verb has the general meaning of to discourse, yet it implies to talk in a deliberate, sententious, grave-faced manner; as when enouncing some apologue. Favellare has been characteristically discriminated by Minucci, in" a note on Lippi's Malmantile. Il tale non chiaccherava ne cicalava, ma Favellava e discorreva; doe par lava confondamento, regolarmente e seriamente. The Spanish hablar [to talk] is another pronunciation of the same verb. And Spanish talk may be considered as the beau ideal of grave sententious enunciation. In hablar we perceive the identity of the aspirates f and h; that is, their sound similarity; their natural affinity.

In My Books.

To be in favour with; to be a favourite of the person who uses the expression; to be in his good graces. In met puicks; ([. e. in amongst the select; one in the midst of the choice (chosen); belonging to those preferred to others. Puick, puik, prime, choice, and grounded inpicken, pikken, to fix upon, to pick up or out. We say to pick and chuse; in the sense of, to select: but the phrase is a travesty of te picken keus; q. e. to fix upon the choice; to nail the object of the selection you make; for to pick and chuse in the literal form is nonsense. J5 and p are convertible sounds. The Welchman pronounces plood for blood, as well as Taffy for David or Davy. Our to peck, to pick, and beak belong here, along with a host of other words both Latin and French.

SHATTER-BRAINED.

He is a shatter-brained fellow; he is a man of rambling, loose understanding; one who has no connected view of any subject, consequently one who talks in character with this state of mind. Schaeter beredent; q. e. possessed of a flux of words; a loose (diffuse) talker; one whose lungs are sounder than his brains. Schaeteren, schetteren, to scatter, to spread about, to diffuse, also to chatter, to burst forth suddenly with noise. Beredent, eloquent, facund, fluent in speech, the past participle of beredenen, redenen, to reason, to argfhe, to dissert, to go on speaking.

XINSEY-WOOLSEY.

As the well known stuff made of thread and wool interwoven equally. Linne 's hie, wolle's hie; q. e. flax is here, wool is here; and thus stuff consisting of both materials, and so neither linnen nor woollen, neither one nor the other. And where can there be a better token of a discourse of which you can make neither head nor tail. It is in this sense we say, the speech was mere linsey woolsey stuff, Linne, thread, line; lijn, flax, whence the Latin linum. 'S, is, is; hie, here. Wolle, wool, spelt by Chaucer ivol.

BEDRID.

Helpless state, inability to act for himself [to help himself]; motionless. Bedraeijd; q. e.. seized, held fast, arrested, prevented from motion, stopped altogether, paralyzed. Bedraeijd, the past participle of bedraeijen, to arrest, to seize, to lay hands upon, to stop the going on of; it has also the meaning of, to perplex, to confound, to put into a dilemma. But it is not in the last given sense that the above term has originated. Johnson tells you the -word is bed and ride! aud explains it as confined to bed by age or sickness. The spelling has misled the Sage into this whimsical etymology.

"Why say ye not the gospel in bouses of Bedrid, as ye do in rich mens, that mowe goe to church and here the goipell." —Jack Upland. Chaucer.

"Why wilt thou not beg for pore Bedrid men, that bin porer than any of your sect, that liggea and mowe not go about to help 'hemselfes."—Id. Eod.

EAVES-DROPPER.

A tell-tale listener, an ill-intentioned hearkener; one always on the watch to overhear the conversation of others for a bad purpose. Hij wie's daerop er; q. e. he who is therefore there; he who is there for the purpose; one who comes there for a purpose of his own, and thus a hearer or seeer for a purpose not known to the speaker. Johnson gives us to understand, the term is grounded in eaves and drop, and that it means a listener at the window. What can eaves have to do with window, or dropper with listener? Eaves is here the travesty of hie wie 's (he who is); but eaves, the drip of the house, is ois, oosie, oos, oose, an old term for water, and the same word at bottom, with the French eau, eaux, eaulx, with /sis, and with our ooze. Eaves is the ellipsis of eaves-drip, the drip or dropping of water from the roof of the house, and as oos-drup, in the course of use transformed

« PreviousContinue »