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Feb 25, 2021
This week’s theme
Toponyms

This week’s words
Queenborough mayor
borstal
Poplarism
Shrewsbury clock
Scarborough warning

Shrewsbury clock
A Shrewsbury railway station clock

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Shrewsbury clock

PRONUNCIATION:
(SHROZ/SHROOZ-bree/ber-ee/buh-ree klok)

MEANING:
noun: Something precise or exact.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Shrewsbury, a town in west UK. Earliest documented use: 1598.

NOTES:
In Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 John Falstaff claims that he and Hotspur “fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock” in the Battle of Shrewsbury. The term Shrewsbury clock here refers to a public clock as most people didn’t have clocks at the time. The idiom by a Shrewsbury clock has come to imply exactly or precisely, sometimes with a hint of exaggeration or irony.

USAGE:
“Virginia would be with them, [Roger A Pryor, a secessionist] promised. ‘Give the old lady time! She’s a little rheumatic! ... But as sure as tomorrow’s sun, once the first gun is fired, Virginia will be in the Southern Confederacy in an hour by a Shrewsbury clock!”
Ben Williams; House Divided; Houghton & Mifflin; 1947.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To be capable of embarrassment is the beginning of moral consciousness. Honor grows from qualms. -John Leonard, critic (25 Feb 1939-2008)

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