Sunday, March 15, 2015

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “N”

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Horace P. Sternwall Professor of Remedial English Composition, Women’s Volleyball Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: A Day-Trip to Tyburn; the Olney Community College Press.

Artwork and layout personally directed by rhoda penmarq; pencils, inks, and coloring by roy dismas; lettering by eddie el greco; a penmarq™/desilu™ co-production.

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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

Nail. The hard crust or horny substance at the ends of the fingers and toes.

My nails can reach unto thine eyes. Shakespeare.


Naked. Wanting cloaths; uncovered; bare.

A philosopher being asked in what a wise man differed from a fool? answered, send them both naked to those who know them not, and you shall perceive. Bacon, Apophth. 242.


Name. The discriminative appellation of an individual.
What is thy name?

Thou'lt be afraid to hear it.

No: though thou call'st thyself a hotter name

Than any is in hell.

My name's Macbeth.  Shakespeare's Macbeth.


Naumachy.  A mock sea fight.


Necromancer. One who by charms can converse with the ghosts of the dead; a conjurer; an inchanter.

I am employed like the general who was forced to kill his enemies twice over, whom a necromancer had raised to life.
Swift's Miscellanies.


Nincompoop. A fool; a trifler.

An old ninnyhammer, a dotard, a nincompoop, is the best language she can afford me.  Addison.


Nipple. The teat; the dug; that which the suckling young take into their mouths.

Tho' tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,

Have pluckt my nipple from his boneless gums.  Shakesp.


No. The word of refusal.

If you will not consider these things now, the time will shortly come when you shall consider them whether you will or no.
Calamy's Serm.


Noctambulo. One who walks in his sleep.


Nomenclator. One who calls things or persons by their proper names.

There were a set of men in old Rome called nomenclators; that is, men who could call every man by his name.  Addison's Guardian, №. 107.


Nonnaturals. Physicians reckon these to be six, viz. air, meat and drink, sleep and watching, motion and rest, retention and excretion, and the passions of the mind.

The six nonnaturals are such as neither naturally constitutive, nor merely destructive, do preserve or destroy according unto circumstance.  Brown's V. Err.


To nonplus. To be confound; to puzzle; to put to a stand; to stop.

        His parts were so accomplisht,

That right or wrong he ne'er was nonplustHudibras.


Novice. One not acquainted with any thing; a fresh-man; one in the rudiments of any knowledge.

Triple-win’d whore! ‘tis thou
Hast sold me to this novice.   Shakesp. Ant. ann Cleopat.  


Nullibiety. The state of being nowhere.


Nuzzle. To go with the nose down like a hog.

He charged through an army of lawyers, sometimes with sword in hand, at other times nuzzling like an eel in the mud.   Arbuthnot's John Bull.


Nymph. A goddess of the woods, meadows, or waters.

And as the moisture which the thirsty earth

Sucks from the sea, to fill her empty veins,

From out her womb at last doth take a birth,

And runs a nymph along the grassy plains.   Davies.


(Our illustrated adaptation of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. Classix Comix is sponsored in part through a generous endowment from the Bob’s Bowery Bar™ Foundation for the Furtherance of Excellence in the Visual and Literary Arts: “Yes, spring is just around the corner, and what better way to refresh oneself after a cracking good walk along the avenue than a visit to Bob’s Bowery Bar (conveniently located at Bleecker and the Bowery)

and a schooner or two of Bob’s justly-famed ‘basement-brewed’ house bock? This week’s lunch special: ‘Bob’s Mom’s Oyster Stew’(served with complimentary Uneeda Biscuits™), only .99¢ a bowl!” – Horace P. Sternwall, host of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents Horace P. Sternwall’s Campfire Yarns, exclusively on the Dumont Radio Network, Mondays at 11pm, EST.)


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