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#120403 - 01/19/04 02:19 AM Old words  
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Jackie Offline
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I have just finished reading "The Reluctant Widow" by Georgette Heyer, and found several words/usages new to me. (It takes place in England, during the time of Bonaparte.) Can anyone explain any of the following?

-In the coach, she leaned back against the "squabs".
-When someone died, there was something called a "hatchment" put up over the front door.
-One of the servants was an "abigail".
-One of the (native to Sussex, I believe) servants said, "A dentical fine gentleman".
-Someone had gone to the "Peninsula".
-The old servant couple, fussing at each other, would say "Do-adone", or "Adone-do". (Hmm-be done with you?)
-I got that this meant telling a lie or a trick, but why "gammon"? (As in, "I'm not gammoning you.")
-What is a glass of "ratafia"?
-He wore very tight "inexpressibles" (no further hints).
-They had a "nuncheon" of cold meat, fruit and tea. I like this word! 'Minds me of "nuncle"!



#120404 - 01/19/04 03:00 AM Re: Old words  
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Dear Jackie: one definition of "squab" is a cushion:
See Def.#3 below:
Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Squab\, a. [Cf. dial. Sw. sqvabb a soft and fat body,
sqvabba a fat woman, Icel. kvap jelly, jellylike things, and
and E. quab.]
1. Fat; thick; plump; bulky.

Nor the squab daughter nor the wife were nice.
--Betterton.

2. Unfledged; unfeathered; as, a squab pigeon. --King.


\Squab\, n.
1. (Zo["o]l.) A neatling of a pigeon or other similar bird,
esp. when very fat and not fully fledged.

2. A person of a short, fat figure.

Gorgonious sits abdominous and wan, Like a fat squab
upon a Chinese fan. --Cowper.

3. A thickly stuffed cushion; especially, one used for the
seat of a sofa, couch, or chair; also, a sofa.

Punching the squab of chairs and sofas. --Dickens.

On her large squab you find her spread. --Pope.


\Squab\, adv. [Cf. dial. Sw. squapp, a word imitative of a
splash, and E. squab fat, unfledged.]
With a heavy fall; plump. [Vulgar]

The eagle took the tortoise up into the air, and
dropped him down, squab, upon a rock. --L'Estrange.


\Squab\, v. i.
To fall plump; to strike at one dash, or with a heavy stroke.
[Obs.]










#120405 - 01/19/04 03:02 AM Re: Old words  
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Abigail is a euphemism for a female servant. I think it is
from the Bible.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Ab"i*gail\, n. [The proper name used as an
appellative.]
A lady's waiting-maid. --Pepys.

Her abigail reported that Mrs. Gutheridge had a set of
night curls for sleeping in. --Leslie.





#120406 - 01/19/04 03:11 AM Re: hatchment  
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HATCHMENT
Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Hatch"ment\, n. [Corrupt. fr. achievement.]
1. (Her.) A sort of panel, upon which the arms of a deceased
person are temporarily displayed, -- usually on the walls
of his dwelling. It is lozenge-shaped or square, but is
hung cornerwise. It is used in England as a means of
giving public notification of the death of the deceased,
his or her rank, whether married, widower, widow, etc.
Called also {achievement}.

His obscure funeral; No trophy, sword, or hatchment
o'er his bones. --Shak.

2. A sword or other mark of the profession of arms; in
general, a mark of dignity.

Let there be deducted, out of our main potation,
Five marks in hatchments to adorn this thigh.
--Beau. & Fl.






#120407 - 01/19/04 03:14 AM Re: Old words  
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From the date,'Peninsula" would refer to Wellington's
campaign in Portugal and Spain against Napoleon's forces.
(of course Arthur Wellesley wasn't yet made a Duke at that time.)


#120408 - 01/19/04 03:16 AM Re: Old words  
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Gammon is slang for trick, deceit, deception.


#120409 - 01/19/04 03:21 AM Re: Old words  
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Ratafia (ra-ta-FEE-a), is, at Alexis Bailly, a fortified wine made by combining red wine with a long-steeped combination of spirits, oranges, and top-secret spices.


#120410 - 01/19/04 04:09 AM Re: Old words  
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inexpressibles = trousers or more likely at that time breeches. (Whether anyone actually used this term or whether it is read back from high Victorian prudery I'm not sure. And anyway somebody, I forget who (Dickens maybe) records avoidance of the word trousers as an American preference unknown in Britain).

nuncheon - what we would now call elevenses. Timing of meals was in a state of flux at this time with dinner moving later for the fashionable classes and luncheon and/or nuncheon being eaten at midday instead.

Bingley


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#120411 - 01/19/04 05:22 AM Abigail the Carmelite  
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"Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb." (1 Samuel 25:3 Authorized Version)





#120412 - 01/19/04 08:45 AM Re: Old words  
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Dr Bill has done most of the job, I can only add that:

"Do-adone", or "Adone-do" are shortenings of "Do have done" and "Have done, do" meaning "Please do stop" ... whatever you are doing or saying.

"A dentical fine gentleman" I can only guess at (but the context should help) as being a shortening of 'identical'.


#120413 - 01/19/04 09:15 AM Re: Old words  
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Jackie, you asked about the origin of 'gammon' in the sense of 'deceiving'. I have never heard, and cannot find anything about the origins of this but it occurs to me to wonder if it relates to the secret language of the Irish tinkers, Shelta, which was also called 'Gammon'. Since Shelta did serve the same purpose as cockney rhyming slang - in other words a kind of thieves' argot.

Here is a link to the subject:

http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/JPN-shelta.html


#120414 - 01/19/04 12:41 PM Re: Old words  
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and backgammon? game?
I suppose I should be looking this up...



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#120415 - 01/19/04 01:01 PM Re: Old words  
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OED2 has this as one of 8 (!) disparate entries for gammon:

slang or colloq.


1. Thieves' slang. In phrases to give gammon (see quot. 1720). to keep in gammon: to engage (a person's) attention while a confederate is robbing him.
1720 A. Smith Hist. Highwaymen III. 358 Give me Gammon. That is, to side, shoulder, or stand close to a Man, or a Woman, whilst another picks his, or her Pocket. 1821 D. Haggart Life 51 Going out at the door, Bagrie called the woman of the house, kept her in gammon in the back~room, while I returned and brought off the till. Ibid. 68, I whidded to the Doctor, and he gave me gammon.

2. Talk, chatter. Usually gammon and patter.
1781 G. Parker View Soc. I. 208, I thought myself pretty much a master of Gammon, but the Billingsgate eloquence of Mrs. PI not only exceeded me, but outdid all that I had ever known eloquent in that way. 1789 I Life's Painter (ed. 2) 186 Gammon and Patter, Jaw talk, etc. 1796 Grose's Dict. Vulgar Tongue, Gamon and Patter, commonplace talk of any profession; as the gamon and patter of a horse-dealer, sailor, etc.

3. Ridiculous nonsense suited to deceive simple persons only; ‘humbug’, ‘rubbish’.
1805 T. Harral Scenes of Life III. 105 ‘Come, come, none of your gammon!’ cried one, ‘tell us where the other black sheep is’. 1811 Lex. Balatron. s.v., What rum gamon the old file pitched to the flat. 1811 J. Poole Ham. Travestie 30 Come, that won't do, my lord;—now that's all gammon. 1837 Dickens Pickw. xxiv, Some people maintains that an Englishman's house is his castle. That's gammon. 1845 Disraeli Sybil (Rtldg.) 285 Morley has got round them, preaching moral force, and all that sort of gammon. 1870 H. Smart Race for Wife x, Come, old fellow, no gammon.

b. quasi-int. Humbug! Fudge!
1827 R. B. Peake Comfort. Lodg. i. iii, Sir H. (Aside) Gammon! 1855 Thackeray Rose & Ring xv, ‘Gammon!’ exclaimed his Lordship. 1885 F. A. Guthrie Tinted Venus 4 ‘Gammon!’ said Jauncey, ‘that isn't it’.



#120416 - 01/19/04 01:02 PM Re: Old words  
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and yes, eta, it has the previous entry:

1. The game of backgammon. Now rare.
1730–46 Thomson Autumn 528 Or the quick dice, In thunder leaping from the box, awake The sounding gammon. a1734 North Lives (1826) I. 17 Whatever games were stirring, at places where he retired, as gammon, gleek, piquet, or even the merry main, he made one. 1800 E. Hervey Mourtray Fam. III. 81 Mr. Chowles was above, playing at gammon with mistress. 1826 J. Wilson Noct. Ambr. Wks. 1855 I. 124 The tailor at Yarrow ford dang ye all to bits baith at gammon and the dambrod.

2. A term at backgammon, denoting a degree of victory which scores equal to two ‘hits’ or ‘games’ (see quots. 1844, 1868).
1735 Dyche & Pardon, Gammon+a Term in a Play called Back Gammon. 1778 C. Jones Hoyle's Games Impr. 165 Six and Five, a Man to be carried from your Adversary's Ace Point, as far as he can go, for a Gammon or for a Hit. 1800 Gentl. Mag. I. 163 And by quick taking off, a gammon win. 1844 Backgammon 47 If one combatant have not removed his first man before the other has removed his last, ‘a gammon’ is lost and won, which is equivalent to two games. 1868 Boy's Own Bk. 590 If you can bear all your men away before your adversary has borne off one man, you win the gammon+But if your adversary is able to bear one of his men, before you have borne all yours, then your victory is reduced to a hit.

3. Comb., as gammon-board, -player.
1814 Monthly Mag. XXXVII. 47 It may be inferred that he too was a gammon-player. 1851 ‘Nimrod’ The Road 17 You'll have the gammon-board all to yourself.


#120417 - 01/19/04 02:11 PM Re: Old words  
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"Do have done" and "Have done, do" Oh, thank you! No help from context on dentical, though: the servant had answered the door, and described the caller thus.

And thanks, all of you. Bingley, there was in fact a remark elsewhere in the book about what time supper would be served, since they did not keep the new, fashionable Town hours.

Dr. Bill, thanks for the squabs def.--I knew she couldn't have been leaning back against birds, which is the only def. I knew!

So--gammon, in that sense, was rhyming slang--or did I miss something? So, then, why is gammon another word for ham?


#120418 - 01/19/04 02:14 PM Re: Old words  
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thanks, mav.

ham
and Jackie, it's slang and it rhymes.



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#120419 - 01/19/04 02:18 PM Re: Old words  
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I have this feeling that gam(m)on is an old root somewhere out there for "ham." Look at the French word, for example.


#120420 - 01/19/04 02:19 PM Re: Oink  
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well, pigs do like to root about...



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#120421 - 01/19/04 02:21 PM Re: Old words  
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The game of backgammon

And the game on the other side of the board, often, and incorrectly, known as checkers or draughts, is properly known as frontgammon.


#120422 - 01/19/04 03:06 PM Re: Old words  
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properly known as frontgammon Faldage, are you pulling my gammon?




#120423 - 01/19/04 03:11 PM Re: Old words  
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better that than your bonsai...



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#120424 - 01/19/04 03:21 PM Re: Old words  
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In case you didn't know what AS was referring to:
Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Definition: \Gam"mon\ (-m[u^]n), n. [OF. gambon, F. jambon, fr. OF.
gambe leg, F. jambe. See {Gambol}, n., and cf. {Ham}.]
The buttock or thigh of a hog, salted and smoked or dried;
the lower end of a flitch. --Goldsmith.






#120425 - 01/19/04 04:07 PM Re: Old words  
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And the -on is the augmentative suffix I was discussing in another thread. Something like a big old leg, haunch. Our ham, OTOH, has more to do with the bone. It's cognate with Old Irish cnaim 'bone' and Greek kne:me: 'shinebone'.


#120426 - 01/19/04 04:18 PM Re: Old words  
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So--gammon, in that sense, was rhyming slang--or did I miss something? ~ Jackie

No, I didn't mean that the Irish language called Shelta (and also known as Gammon) *was rhyming slang, but that it had been developed for the same reason, i.e.: to deceive or confuse the unwanted listener.


#120427 - 01/19/04 04:30 PM Re: Old words  
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The dentical might be a word confused with another word dandiacal that fits the context you quote, Jackie:

of, relating to, or suggestive of a dandy : DANDIFIED <dandiacal elegance> <a dandiacal pose MW


#120428 - 01/19/04 04:52 PM Re: Old words  
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I bet you're right, WW--many thanks! I just love getting to the bottom of things. My apologies, dxb--there was indeed a clue in the context, but *I didn't get it. [bow] to Wordwind.


#120429 - 01/19/04 05:27 PM Re: Old words  
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Thanks, Dr Bill and jheem, for the augmentations!


#120430 - 01/19/04 05:40 PM Re: Old words  
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Jackie,

It was just a guess--and I could very easily be incorrect here. I'll Google a bit and see whether something identical--or dentical--turns up.


#120431 - 01/19/04 05:44 PM Re: take your pick  
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or it could be the most obvious one...

dentical, a.

Obs. rare.


[f. dens, dent- tooth + -ic + -al1.]
= dental a. 1b.

1776 ‘Courtney Melmoth’ Pupil of Pleas. II. 216 A Treatise on Toothpicking, wherein I show the precise method of holding, handling+and replacing the dentical instruments.


OED2


#120432 - 01/19/04 05:51 PM Re: take your pick  
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Presumably a 'dentical fine gentleman' was one who had all his teeth.


#120433 - 01/19/04 05:54 PM Re: take your pick  
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I'd think so. But there needs to be a better reason for me to read G Heyer... ;)


#120434 - 01/19/04 10:41 PM dentical  
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<i>dentical</i> in a servant's mouth would be an alteration or malapropism for something else. Though Jane Austen was never so cruel, Dickens was, constantly, so Georgette Heyer would be putting slang in their mouths that way.


#120435 - 01/23/04 03:20 PM Re: take your pick  
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there needs to be a better reason for me to read G Heyer... ;)

They are fun!... they let your brains rest while you have a pleasant read ! and you learn a lot of words to drop into conversation and baffle your friends with!

I like the word nuncheon - an early lunch?



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