Sunday, August 23, 2015

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “S”

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D.,Associate Professor of Remedial Spelling, Assistant Bocce Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Sophistical Slubberdegullion; the Olney Community College Press.

Art and layout by rhoda penmarq (inks by roy dismas; lettering by eddie el greco); a rhoda penmarq intercosmic™ joint.

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S. has in English the same hissing sound as in other languages, and unhappily prevails in so many of our words that it produces in the ear of a foreigner a continued sibilation.


Sabbath.  A day appointed by God among the Jews, and from them established among Christians for publick worship; the seventh day set apart from works of labour to be employed in piety.


Sable.  Fur.

Sable is worn of great personages, and brought out of Russia, being the fur of a little beast of that name, esteemed for the perfectness of the colour of the hairs, which are very black. Hence sable, in heraldry, signifies the black colour in gentlemen’s arms.  Peacham on Blazoning.


Saccade.  A violent check the rider gives his horse, by drawing both the reins very suddenly: a correction used when the horse bears heavy on the hand.


Sack.  A kind of sweet wine, now brought chiefly from the Canaries.

Please you drink a cup of sackShakespeare.  


Sackcloath.   Cloath of which sacks are made; coarse cloath sometimes worn in mortification.

To augment her painful penance more,

Thrice every week in ashes she did sit
And next her wrinkled skin rough sackcloath wore.  F. Queen.


Slubberdegullion.   A paltry, dirty, sorry wretch.

Quoth she, although thou hast deserv'd,
Base slubberdegullion, to be serv'd
As thou did'st vow to deal with me,
If thou had'st got the victory.  Hudibras.


To snuggle. To lie close; to lie warm.


Something.  Not nothing, though it appears not what; a thing or matter indeterminate.

You'll say the whole world has something to do, something to talk of, something to wish for, and something to be employed about; but pray put all these somethings together, and what is the sum total but just nothing.  Pope's Letters.


Sonorous.  High sounding; magnificent of sound.

The Italian opera, amidst all the meanness and familiarity of the thoughts, has something beautiful and sonorous in the expression.  Addison on Italy.


Sophistry.  Fallacious ratiocination.

His sophistry prevailed; his father believed.  Sidney.


Sordid.  Foul; gross; filthy; dirty.

There Charon stands

A sordid god, down from his hoary chin

A length of beard descends, uncomb’d, unclean.  Dryden


Sororicide.  The murder of a sister.


Stentorophonick. [from Stentor, the Homerical herald, whose voice was as loud as that of fifty men]  Loudly speaking or sounding.


To Suggilate.  To beat black and blue; to make livid by a bruise.


Sword.   A weapon used either in cutting or thrusting; the usual weapon of fights hand to hand.

Old unhappy traitor, the sword is out

That must destroy thee.  Shakesp. King Lear.


(Our illustrated version of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next week. Classix Comix is made possible in part through a generous endowment from the Bob’s Bowery Bar™ Charitable Trust: “Feeling the pinch of the recent stock market downturn? Allow me to recommend Bob’s Bowery Bar’s ‘Bob’s Mom’s Free-Range Squirrel Stew’,

served with crispy Uneeda Biscuits, and a ‘steal’ at .99¢ a bowl! Goes swell with Bob’s world-renowned ‘basement-brewed’ house bock!” – Horace P. Sternwall, host of Bob’s Bowery Bar’s Presents Horace P. Sternwall’s Tales of the Bowery, exclusively on the Dumont Television Network, Wednesdays at 9pm, EST.)


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