New Words to Me…


  • Sanhedrim – Biblical ref. This was a special council of 23-71 men appointed in every city in Israel. They had power over the people and were commanded by God to do actions.
  • Fourflusher (type of person) – ref: to a poker hand where you are one card short of being a full flush. A fourflusher is one who empty boasts or bluffs.
  • Hohenzollerns – A German dynastic family from which came royalty of Prussia and German Emperors.
  • You are an upas tree. Your shadow is poisonous.” A deciduous tree of tropical Africa and Asia with a sap that has been used as a poison arrow.
  • Prehensile – a tail that has adapted to be able to grasp or hold objects.
  • Causeries du Lundi – A series of informal literature-related essays by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve published over the course of 20 years from 1849-1869. Also, the name of the oldest women’s literary society in the US still existing today.
  • Sainte Beuve – See above.
  • Fane – a temple or a shrine
  • By the bones of Tauchnitz! – name of family of German printers and publishers. Though copyright laws between nations did not exist in 19th century, Tuachnitz paid authors for their work and agreed to limit their sales of English-lang books to the European continent. Authors had other agreements for sales of works in Great Britain. (Not sure why this was used as a curse of sorts…)
  • Cozening – tricking or deceiving.
  • Limner – illuminator of manuscripts.
  • Apotheosis – the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax. Elevation of someone to divine status.
  • Hierophant – an interpreter of sacred mysteries and principles.
  • Febrifuge – a medicine used to reduce fever. (Makes sense with its connection with “febrile” etc.)
  • The weal of humanity” – Weal is a word relating to the welfare of the community or the general good.
  • Ratiocination – the process of logical reasoning.
  • Blandishing – to make white by extracting color or bleaching.
  • Noctes – plural of nocte (Latin) which means “night.”
  • Boccacio – Italian writer and poet (1313-1375).
  • Nostrums – a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value.
  • Fructifying – to make something productive or fruitful.
  • Coles Phillips – an American artist and illustrator (1880-1927).

And in one memorable sentence, Morley describes eggs as “hen fruit” which just cracked me up for some reason.

(Taken from The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919).)

coles phillips

Example of work by Coles Phillips.

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