Words New to Me…


(Mostly from Patricia Brent, the Spinster – Herbert Jenkins)

  • The mantle of Mrs. Grundy – a figurative name for an extremely conventional person who worries about being different
  • The Grand Guignol – a Parisian theater that opened in 1897
  • The qui vive of expectation – Que vive? Is a question: Who goes there? To be on the alert, suspicious.
  • Carlyle on the Dutch (who was who and who did what?) – Carlyle was Scottish writer/philosopher in nineteenth century who wrote social/political criticism. Not sure about the Dutch reference. Any ideas?
  • Cassandra could have looked more gloomily prophetic – Cassandra was the royal daughter at the time of the Trojan War. She rejected Apollo’s advances and in retaliation, he made it so no one would believe what she said. (Perhaps “gloomily prophectic” due to this?)
  • A veritable colossus of negation – “colossus” was a huge ancient statue on the Greek island of Rhodes, so perhaps this refers to how immovable negativity is when people espouse it strongly
  • Fox (re: pity?) – not sure about this one.
  • Bib and tucker (clothing) – refers to one’s best clothes; first used in 18th century. “Bibs” were similar to current day baby bibs, except these were worn by adults over their clothes (mostly women). Made of lace and fitted over the bodice; sometimes called “pinners” or “modesty pieces”. “Tucker” were bibs that were tucked in. (Pinners/Bibs were pinned and tuckers were tucked.) Linked with “pinafore”, “pin-a-fore”: a pin/bib that’s pinned on the front of clothing.



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