Sunday, May 10, 2015

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “P”

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Assistant Professor of Sesquipedalian Studies, Associate Advisor of Student Advisors, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Importunate Perturbatour; the Olney Community College Press.

Illustrations and design by rhoda penmarq; inks by roy dismas; lettering by eddie el greco; a penmarq studios™/gower gulch™ 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

Pander. A pimp; a male bawd; a procurer.

Let him with his cap in hand,
Like a base pander, hold the chamber door
Whilst by a slave
His fairest daughter is contaminated.  Shakesp. Hen. V.



1. The blissful regions, in which the first pair was placed.

2. Any place of felicity.

If ye should lead her into a fool’s paradise,
It were very gross behavior.  Shakesp. Romeo and Juliet.


Patron. One who countenances, supports or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery.


Pauciloquy. Sparing and rare speech. 


Peccadillo. A petty fault; a slight crime; a venial offence.

He means those little vices, which we call follies and the defects of the human understanding, or at most the peccadillos of life, rather than the tragical vices to which men are hurried by their unruly passions.  Dryden.


Pedantry. Awkward ostentation of needless learning.

From the universities the young nobility are sent for fear of contracting any airs of pedantry by a college education.  Swift.


Peevish. Petulant; waspish; easily offended; irritable; irascible; soon angry; perverse; morose; querulous; full of expressions of discontent; hard to please.

If thou hast the metal of a king,

Being wrong'd as we are by this peevish town,

Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,

As we will ours, against these saucy walls.  Shakesp.


Perturbatour.  A raiser of commotions.


Pie. Any crust baked with something in it.

Mincing of meat in pies saveth the grinding of the teeth, and therefore more nourishing to them that have weak teeth.  Bacon's Natural History.


Pigsney. A word of endearment to a girl.


Pony. [I know not the origin of this word.] A small horse.


Princox. A coxcomb; a conceited person, a pert young rogue.

You are a saucy boy;

This trick may chance to scathe you I know what;

You must contrary me! you are a princox, go.  Shakesp.


Privado. A secret friend.

The lady Brampton, an English lady, embarked for Portugal at that time, with some privado of her own.  Bacon.


To Procrastinate. To be dilatory.

I procrastinate more than I did twenty years ago, and have several things to finish, which I put off to twenty years hence.  Swift to Pope.


Pshaw. An expression of contempt.

A peevish fellow has some reason for being out of humour, or has a natural incapacity for delight, and therefore disturbs all with pishes and pshaws. Spectator, № 438.


Pus. The matter of a well digested sore.


Pyx. The box in which the Romanists keep the host.


(Our illustrated adaptation of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. Classix Comix is sponsored by Bob’s Bowery Bar™, at the corner of Bleecker and the Bowery: “One of my favorite items on the Bob’s Bowery Bar menu (and a staple in my early and impecunious days in this great city) is ‘Bob’s Mom’s Hotdog Deluxe’

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