26 June 2010

I've recently finished reading the Project Gutenberg edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Since, I was reading it on my oh so Convenient Kindle, annotation was quite easy. I ended up making a list words and phrases I needed to look up. Some of these words are still in common use in the British Isles, so be forewarned there's an American bias here.

  1. Pips - Small, hard seed in a fruit.
  2. Vesta - a short match with a shank of wax-coated threads; also : a short wooden match
  3. Mousseline de soie - A fine crisp fabric made of silk
  4. Gladstone Bag - a small portmanteau suitcase built over a rigid frame which could separate into two equal sections. They are typically made of stiff leather and often belted with lanyards. The bags are named after William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898)
  5. Frogged Jacket - Best described in this image
  6. Billycock - A felt hat with a low, rounded crown, similar to a derby.
  7. Assizes - The Courts of Assize, or Assizes, were periodic criminal  courts held around England and Wales until 1972.
  8. Disjecta Membra - Scattered parts or fragments, as of an author's writings ( or in the context of this Holmes story, the remnants of a recently eaten chicken).
  9. Carbuncle - An abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin. ( in the context of Holmes story, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, the Blue Carbuncle is in fact a Jewel).
  10. Gaol - Jail
  11. Wilton Carpet - A Wilton  carpet is a woven wool carpet noted for having up to, but never more than, five colors per pattern.
  12. Hasp - A clasp secured with a lock
  13. Tout - One who solicits customers brazenly or persistently
  14. Monomaniac - A type of paranoia in which the patient has only one idea or type of ideas.
  15. Fuller's Earth - Any non-plastic clay  or claylike earthy material that can be used to decolorize, filter, and purify animal, mineral, and vegetable oils and greases.
  16. Jezail - An Afghan matchlock  or flintlock  musket  fired from a forked rest.
  17. Epistle - A writing directed or set to a group of people.
  18. Tide Waiter - A customs officer who boards incoming ships at a harbor.
  19. Caltrops - An antipersonnel weapon  made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base
  20. Fess - In heraldry, a fess or fesse (from Middle English fesse, from Old French, from Latin fascia, "band")[1]  is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the centre of the shield.
  21. Sable - In heraldry, sable is the tincture black, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures, called "colours". In engravings  and line drawings, it is sometimes depicted as a region of crossed horizontal and vertical lines or else marked with sa. as an abbreviation.
  22. Distaff - As an adjective  the term distaff is used to describe the female side of a family.
  23. Danseuse - A woman who is a ballet dancer.
  24. London Season - The social season or Season has historically referred to the annual period when it is customary for members of the a social elite of society to hold debutante balls, dinner parties and large charity events. It was also the appropriate time to be resident in the city rather than in the country, in order to attend such events.
  25. Vestry - A storage room in or attached to a church or synagogue.
  26. Ulster - A long, loose overcoat made of rough material
  27. Coronet - A small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Unlike a crown, a coronet never has arches.
  28. Will-o'-the-wisp - A delusive or misleading hope.
  29. Dun - Marked by dullness and drabness
  30. Compositor - One that sets written material into type; a typesetter.
  31. Dog-cart - A dogcart is a light horse-drawn vehicle.
  32. Personate - Impersonate
  33. Locus Standi - The ability of a party to bring a lawsuit or participate  in a particular  case


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