Sunday, January 24, 2016

Selections from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary: “X, Y, Z”

Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Remedial Lexicography, Assistant Snowboarding Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Valiant Valetudinarian; the Olney Community College Press.

Art direction by rhoda penmarq for penmarqitron studios™ (pencils, inks, colors and layout by roy dismas; lettering started by eddie el greco and completed by roy dismas).

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


X is a letter, which, though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.


Yare.  Ready; dextrous; eager.

I do desire to learn, Sir; and I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your turn, you shall find me yareShakespeare.


To Yarr.  To growl or snarl like a dog.


Yell.  A cry of horrour.


Others in frantick mood

Run howling through the streets; their hideous yells

Rend the dark welkin.  Philips.


Yellowhammer.  A bird.


To Yelp.  To bark as a beagle-hound after his prey.


Yesterday.  On the day last past.


Young.  Being in the first part of life; not old.

      I firmly am resolv'd
Not to bestow my youngest daughter,
Before I have a husband for the elder.  Shakespeare


Yule.  The time of Christmas.


Zany.  One employed to raise laughter by his gestures, actions and speeches; a merry Andrew; a buffoon.


Zealot.  One passionately ardent in any cause. Generally used in dispraise.


Zed.  The name of the letter z.

Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter.  Shakespeare.


Zenith.  The point over head opposite to the nadir.

Fond men! if we believe that men do live

Under the zenith of both frozen poles,

Though none come thence, advertisement to give,

Why bear we not the like faith of our souls?  Davies. 


Zephyr.  The west wind; and poetically any calm soft wind.

            They are as gentle

As zephyrs blowing below the violet.  Shakespeare's Cymbeline.


Zest.  The peel of an orange squeezed into wine.


Zodiack.  The track of the sun through the twelve signs; a great circle of the sphere, containing the twelve signs.

The golden sun salutes the morn,

And having gilt the ocean with his beams,

Gallops the zodiack in his glist'ring coach.  Shakespeare. 


Zoophorick Column.  A statuary column, or a column which bears or supports the figure of an animal.


Zootomy.  Dissection of the bodies of beasts.


(Our illustrated abridgement of Boswell’s Life of Johnson will resume next Sunday as usual. Classix Comix is made possible in part through the continuing assistance of the Bob’s Bowery Bar© Endowment for the Arts and Humanities: “Ready to venture forth into the snowbound cityscape after the so-called ‘Blizzard of the Century?’ Why not strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and make your way to the northwest corner of Bleecker and the Bowery, and avail yourself of the warm and toasty hospitality of Bob’s Bowery Bar,

open for business as usual – and featuring, for as long as the ‘state of emergency’ persists: Bob’s famous ‘Hot Yukon Grog’ at the risibly low price of four bits – yes, that’s two quarters, .50¢ American – a pint! (Sorry, my fellow bibulous poets, only four pints per customer, but I think you’ll find that four is more than enough!)” Horace P. Sternwall, host of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents Horace P. Sternwall’s Tales of the Klondike, Sundays at 9pm, broadcast live from Bob’s Bowery Bar, exclusively on the Dumont Radio Network.

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