Page images

The value of this Dictionary is greatly enhanced by the complete and voluminous Index which is appended, by the aid of which a passage may be readily found where only two or three words of a quotation have been caught by the ear or remain upon the memory. Without this addition the utility of such a work is limited to the occasions on which an entire quotation is sought for.

The abbreviations Gr. Lat. Fr. Ital. Ger. Span. Port. and Prov. stand respectively for Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Proverb.





A barbe de fou, on apprend à raire. Fr.-"Men learn to shave on the chin of a fool."-They like to make experiments at the expense hers.


"By trimming fools about the gill,

A barber's 'prentice learns his skill."


A bas. Fr.-"Down, down with." With audacious and fearful sincerity do these hungry hordes inscribe on their banners two watchwords, de tructive alike of domestic and political society, A bas la famille, Down with family! and La propriété est un vol, Property is robbery!"

A beau jour beau retour. Fr.-"One good turn deserves another." N.B. This must be understood ironically in English, as the French proverb is said when one has, has had, or is likely to have, an opportunity of resenting an injury.

A beau mentir qui vient de loin. Fr. prov.—“Travelers have the privilege of lying." "It would be difficult to find a more striking proof of the truth of this proverb, A beau mentir qui vient de loin: that is to say, He who comes from afar may lie with impunity, without fear of contradiction, as he is sure of being listened to with the utmost attention. Travelers, they say, often draw the long bow [indulge in exaggeration].”

A bis et à blanc. Fr. prov.-"By fits and starts."

A bolza vazia, e a casa acabada, faz o home sesudo, mas

tarde. Port. prov.- "An empty purse, and a new house, make a man wise, but too late."

A bon appetit il ne faut point de sauce. Fr. prov.-"A good appetite needs no sauce; hunger, or a good stomach, is the best sauce."

A bon chat bon rat. Fr.-"To a good cat a good rat; tit for tat; set a thief to catch a thief." The parties are well matched, well met.

A bon chien il ne vient jamais un bon os. Fr. prov.-"A good bone does not always come to a good dog." Merit seldom meets with its reward.


A bon demandeur bon refuseur. Fr. prov.-"Shameless craving must have shameful nay."

A bon entendeur il ne faut que demie parole. Fr. prov.-“ A word is enough to the wise;" literally, "To one of quick apprehension half a word is sufficient." The Italians say, "A buon intenditor poche parole,” which has about the same meaning.

A bon entendeur peu de paroles, or, A bon entendeur salut. Fr. prov.—“To a good, an attentive, hearer, but few words are necessary." A word to the wise.

A bon vin il ne faut point de bouchon. Fr. needs no bush."

prov.-"Good wine

A brebis tondue, Dieu mesure le vent. Fr.-"God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."

A cade va, chi troppo alto sale. Ital. prov.-"Hasty climbers have sudden falls."

A capite ad calcem. Lat.-"From head to foot." Thoroughly, completely. From the beginning to the end.

A causa persa parole assai. Ital. prov.-"When the cause, lawsuit, is lost, there has been enough of words, enough has been said." Do not discuss what has already been decided-settled.


[blocks in formation]

'Every bird thinks its own nest, finds its own nest, beautiful." See "Ad ogni uccello," &c.

A chi consiglia, non duole il capo. Ital. prov.-"He who gives advice is not often troubled with a headache."

A cœur jeûn. Fr.-"Fasting."

A cœur ouvert. Fr.-"Openly; open-heartedly; with the most perfect candor, or unreservedness."

A contre cœur. Fr.-"Against the grain; against one's will; with a bad grace."

A cuspide corona. Lat.-"A crown from the spear." Honor! earned by military exploits: in other words, by legally blowing one's fellow-creatures' brains out, or running them through. "If Christian nations," said SOAME JENYNS, were nations of Christians, there would

be no wars."


“War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,

Kings could not play at."-COWPER.

"The worse the man, the better the soldier; if soldiers be not corrupt, they ought to be made so."-BONAPARTE.

"I abominate war as unchristian. I hold it the greatest of human crimes. I deem it to involve all others-violence, blood, rapine, fraud; every thing that can deform the character, alter the nature, and debase the name of man."-LORD BROUGHAM.

On the subject of Honor there is more philosophy in FALSTAFF's soliloquy, than many casual readers have discovered:


'Well, 'tis no matter; Honor pricks me on. Yea, but how if Honor prick me off, when I come on? how then? Can Honor set a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honor hath

What is

no skill in surgery, then? No. What is Honor? A word. that word Honor? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it-therefore, I'll none of it! Honor is a mere scutcheon; and so ends my catechism."—First Part of Henry IV.


A facto ad jus non datur consequentia. Lat. Law maxim.— The inference from the fact to the law is not allowed." A general law is not to be trammeled by a specific or particular precedent.

A fome he boa mostarda. Port. prov.-" Hunger is the best sauce." Literally, "Hunger is capital, good, mustard.”

A fortiori. Lat.-"With stronger or greater reason." If a weak man be dangerous, it follows, a fortiori, that a weak and bad man must be more dangerous.

A fronte praecipitium, a tergo lupi. Lat. prov.-"A precipice in front of you, and wolves behind you, in your rear." Go forward, and fall: go backward, and mar all.


A gorge déployée. Fr.-"Immoderately, to or in an immoderate degree." A poor pleasantry, by the help of some ludicrous turn, or expression, or association of ideas, may provoke cachinnation [roars of laughter] à gorge déployée," that is, sufficient to split the sides.

A goupil endormi rien ne tombe en la gueule. Old Fr. prov.— A close mouth catcheth no flies."

A grands frais. Fr.-" At great expense; very expensively." Sumptuously.

A grand seigneur peu de paroles. Fr. prov.-"In addressing a man of distinguished rank, express yourself in few words, as briefly as possible."

A gusto. Ital.- -"To one's heart's content."

A haute voix. Fr.-"Loudly, openly."

A l'abri. Fr.-" Sheltered, under cover."

A l'aise marche à pied qui mène son cheval par la bride. Fr. prov.-""Tis good to go on foot when a man hath a horse in his hand.” A l'antique. Fr.- "After or according to the old way or fashion." A l'impossible nul n'est tenu. Fr. prov.-"There is no flying without wings; there is no doing impossibilities."

A l'improviste. Fr.-" Unawares; on a sudden; unexpectedly." A l'ongle on connait le lion. Fr.-"The lion is known by his paw." A la barba de pazzi, il barbier impara a radere. Ital. prov.— "A barber learns to shave by shaving fools."

A la belle étoile. Fr.-"In the street, in the open air."

A la bonne heure! Fr.-"Well and good; very well; so be it; be it so !"

A la dérobée. Fr.-" By stealth; stealthily; on the sly; secretly; privately."

A la faim il n'y a point de mauvais pain. Fr. prov.-"With hunger no bread is nasty." Hungry dogs will eat dirty puddings.

A la française. Fr.-“ After or according to the French fashion."

A la immortalidad el alma asida. Span. LOPE DE VEGA.—“The soul aspires to immortality."

A la lettre. Fr.-" Word for word, literally."

A loisir. Fr.-“ At leisure; leisurely; at one's own convenience."
A la mode. Fr.-"In fashion; in the fashion; fashionably."

A longue corde tire qui d'autrui mort désire. Fr. prov."He who is anxious for the death of another has a long rope to pull." He that waits for dead men's shoes may go long enough barefoot.

A los osados ayuda la fortuna. Span. prov.-" Fortune helps, assists, the daring." Faint heart never won fair lady.

A main armée. Fr.-"Armed; in arms; with open force; by force of arms."

A mensa et thoro. Lat.-"From table and bed, or, as we say in English, from bed and board." A sentence of divorce, or separation of man and wife, issuing from the Consistorial Court, on account of acts of adultery which may have been substantiated against either party.

A merveille. Fr.-" Admirably well; wonderfully well; wondrous well." He executed his part à merveille.

A mon avis. Fr.-"In my opinion."

A multo fortiori. Lat.-"On much stronger grounds; with much stronger or greater reason."

A numine salus. Lat.-"Salvation, health of body or mind, protection, is from the Deity, from on high." LORD MANSFIELD, being told of the above motto on the carriage of a very noted quack, thus translated it: "GOD help the patient!"

A outrance. Fr.—“To the utmost; with tooth and nail; with might and main; out and out; with desperation." "A champion has started up, not only to avouch the purity of her general morals, but also to maintain à outrance her innocence of the great offense:" that is to say, to the utmost, in the strongest terms, the most decided terms or manner, her innocence, &c. N.B. Instead of à outrance, as above, or, à toute outrance, which is a stronger form, the incorrect form à l'outrance is nearly always used by English writers.

A pas de géant. Fr.-“With a giant's stride." This is a phrase of exaggeration not uncommon with our continental neighbors. They will say, for instance, "We have hitherto advanced with a slow pace, but slowly; but now we shall proceed à pas de géant [with gigantic steps], and come sturdily and fairly to the purpose.'

[ocr errors]

A peu près. Fr.-"Very nearly; almost; thereabouts." produce is à peu près a seventh less."

A pied. Fr.-" On foot."


A la portée de tout le monde. Fr.-"Within reach of every one, attainable by everybody." "We may be laughed at for our passion for these old etiquettes, but, like MILTON, we cannot separate the monarchy from its trappings; the hoop was, it is true, a mere court ceremony,--useless, expensive, inconvenient, as an ordinary dress, but is it not the essence of a ceremony to be all that? If a thing be useful, economical, and convenient, it is for every-day wear,-ceremonies ought not to be quite à la portée de tout le monde: if hoops are abolished for the ladies, why are

« PreviousContinue »