Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “H”

Edited by Dan Leo, Horace P. Sternwall Professor of Unread Classics, Canasta Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Return of the Inebriate Lord; the Olney Community College Press.

Illustrations by the rhoda penmarq conglomerated™ studios.

to begin selections from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, click here

for previous selection from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, click here

to begin at the beginning of Boswell's Life of Johnson, click here

for previous chapter of Boswell's Life of Johnson, click here

H is in English, as in other languages, a note of aspiration, sounded only by a strong emission of the breath, without any conformation of the organs of speech, and is therefore by many grammarians accounted no letter. The h in English is scarcely ever mute at the beginning of a word, or where it immediately precedes a vowel; as house, behaviour: where it is followed by a consonant it has no sound, according to the present pronunciation: but anciently, as now in Scotland, it made the syllable guttural; as right, bought.

To Haggle. To be tedious in a bargain; to be long in coming to the price.

To Hang. To choak and kill by suspending by the neck, so as that the ligature intercepts the breath and circulation.

He hath commission from thy wife and me
To Hang Cordelia in the prison
.  Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Happiness. Felicity; state in which the desires are satisfied.

The various and contrary choices that men make in the world, argue that the same thing is not good to every man alike: this variety of pursuits shews, that every one does not place his happiness in the same thing. Locke.

Hell. The place of the devil and wicked souls.

For it is a knell

That summons thee to heaven, or to hell.
Shakes. Macbeth.

Hell-black. Black as hell.

The sea, which such a storm as his bare head 
In hell-black night endur'd, would have boil'd up,
 And quench'd the stelled fires.    Shakesp. King Lear.

Helminthick. Relating to worms.

Here. In this place.

Before thy here approach, 
Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men, 
All ready at appoint, was setting forth.  Shakesp. Macbeth.

Heretick. One who propagates his private opinions in opposition to the Catholick church.

When a Papist uses the word hereticks, he generally means Protestants; when a Protestant uses the word, he means any persons willfully and contentiously obstinate in fundamental errours.   Watt’s Logick.

Heteroscians.Those whose shadows fall only one way, as the shadows of us who live north of the Tropick fall at noon always to the North.

Hiation. The act of gaping.

Hog. The general name of swine.

This will raise the price of hogs, if we grow all to be porkeaters.   Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

Horse. A neighing quadruped, used in war, and draught and carriage.

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!   Shak. R. III.

To Humectate. To wet; to moisten.

The Nile and Niger do not only moisten and contemperate the air by their exhalations, but refresh and humectate the earth by their annual inundations.    Brown's Vulgar Errours.

Hysterical. Troubled with fits; disordered in the regions of the womb.

Many hysterical women are sensible of wind passing from the womb.  Floyer on the Humours.

(Our adaptation of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. We wish to acknowledge the continuing sponsorship of Bob’s Bowery Bar™, at the northwest corner of Bleecker and the Bowery: “How often, in those early days of my writing career, did I gladly respond to the siren call of Bob’s Bowery Bar,

where a couple of dollars could fill my stomach with Bob’s famous basement-brewed bock and generous lashings of 'Bob’s Mom’s' soul-warming corned-beef hash?” – from Horace P. Sternwall’s A Cold-Water Flat on the Bowery: Memories of a World Now Sadly Gone.)


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