Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “K”

Edited by Dan Leo, Horace P. Sternwall Professor of Archaic Language, Texas Hold ‘em Club Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: A Visit to the Knocking Shop; the Olney Community College Press.

Illustrations by rhoda penmarq, with the assistance of roy dismas (inks) and eddie el greco (lettering); a penmarq studios™/danny thomas co-production.

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

Kalendar.  An account of time.

Let this pernicious hour

Stand as accursed in the kalendar. Shakespeare's Macbeth.

to Keelhale. To punish in the seamens way, by dragging the criminal under water on one side of the ship and up again on the other.


Ken. View; reach of sight.

Lo! within a ken, our army lies. Shakesp. Henry IV.


Kercheift. Dressed; hooded.

                    The evening comes 
Kercheift in a comely cloud, 
While racking winds are piping loud. Milton.


Kermes.  Kermes is a roundish body, of the bigness of a pea, and of a brownish red colour, covered when most perfect with a purplish grey dust. It contains a multitude of little distinct granules, soft, and when crushed yield a scarlet juice.

It is found adhering to a kind of holm oak, and till lately was generally understood to be a vegetable excrescence; but we now know it to be the extended body of an animal parent, filled with a numerous offspring, which are the little red granules. 


Kern. Irish foot soldier; an Irish boor.

Out of the fry of these rake-hell horseboys, growing up in knavery and villainy, are their kearn supplied. Spenser.


Kibe. An ulcerated chilblain; a chap in the heel caused by the cold.


Kick. A blow with the foot.

What, are you dumb? Quick, with your answer, quick, before my foot salutes you with a kick. Dryden.


Kine. Plural from cow.

A field I went, amid' the morning dew, To milk my kine. Gay.




1. A bird of prey that infests the farms, and steals the chickens.

2. A name of reproach denoting rapacity.

Detested kite! thou liest. Shakes. King Lear.

3. A fictitious bird made of paper. 


Knapsack. The bag which a soldier carries on his back; a bag of provisions.

If you are for a merry jaunt, I'll try for once who can foot it farthest: there are hedges in Summer, and barns in Winter to be found: I with my knapsack, and you with your bottle at your back: we'll leave honour to madmen, and riches to knaves, and travel 'till we come to the ridge of the world. Dryden's Spanish Fryar.


To knock. To affect or change in any respect by blows.

How do you mean removing him?
— Why, by making him incapable of Othello's place;
knocking out his brains. Shakespeare's Othello.


To know. Not to be ignorant.

Not to know of things remote, but know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom. Milton.


To Knubble. To beat


Knuff. A lout.

The Country knuffs, Hob, Dick, and Hick.
With clubs and clouted shoon,
Shall fill up Dussendale
With slaughtered bodies soon.  Hayward.


(Our illustrated adaptation of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. Classix Comix is made possible in part through the sponsorship of Bob’s Bowery Bar™, at the corner of Bleecker and the Bowery:

“What better way to escape the hustle and bustle of the alleged holiday season than to reward oneself with a visit to Bob’s Bowery Bar™ and a steaming tankard or two of Bob’s famous Hot Spiced Christmas Grog?” – Horace P. Sternwall, host of The Bob’s Bowery Bar Bible Stories Hour, exclusively on the Dumont Television Network, Sundays at 1pm, EST.)


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