New Words to Me…

typewriter keys

  • Frabbit – peevish
  • Diaspason – a rich sound; entire range of an instrument or voice
  • Spermaceti – white wax found often in head cavities of sperm whale
  • Clemming – starving (mid-15th century-ish)
  • Alnaschar visions – a  character in Arabian Nights who destroys his livelihood by dreaming of riches
  • Deansgate – a main road through city of Manchester (UK) going N-S
  • Barage shawl – type of shawl but more details unknown
  • To “hoist the blue Peter” (ship)  – the Blue Peter flag is hoisted onboard a ship when it is ready to sail and is a signal to all to get onboard as quickly as possible (see below pics)
  •  “to be a “disgraced medical student of the Bob Sawyer class”  – from Mary Barton, but little available as to details. Presumably it’s a bad thing to be like this but who was Bob Sawyer and why was he a disgrace?
  • Lusis naturae – any creature who defied classification
  • Orisons – a prayer
  • Dessiatin – archaic land measurement used in Tsarist Russia
  • Dree – to suffer, to endure
  • Teagle – a hoisting apparatus or crane
  • Quid (tobacco?)  – a portion (in this case tobacco that is to be chewed but not swallowed). Eeeuw. It’s very common around here in Texas, but it’s still disgusting.
  • Helot – a serf or enslaved person
  • “Play with Queensberry rules”  – a code of generally accepted rules in boxing sport
  • Moue – to pout, to look discontent
  • Canaille – rabble or lowest class of people

(Mostly from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, but other various sources as well).

The nautical Blue Peter flag

The nautical Blue Peter flag

(real flag of boat which is hoisted in nautical worlds)

The logo of Blue Peter TV prog

This is what I expect most British kids from the 60’s and 70’s think of when they hear “Blue Peter”….

Above is the symbol of the BBC-TV Blue Peter TV program  and what a lot of kids think of when they hear “Blue Peter”  – most 1960’s/1970‘s UK kids would know this one. This was a mainstay of childhood in England when I was growing up: John Noakes, Peter Purvis, Valerie Singleton, and a dog called…? Saving stamps for charity and lots of sticky-back plastic and a soldier doll… And a Blue Peter badge if you were lucky.)


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