Hot answers tagged

58 votes
Accepted

Meaning of a 19 century joke printed in a newspaper, with punchline "Oh, mother, what a good job the cat’s a black one"

Your guess is correct; "How lucky it is that the cat is a black one" is an accurate restatement of the phrase. "good job" is a particularly British term for "lucky". So ...
  • 20.7k
17 votes

Meaning of a 19 century joke printed in a newspaper, with punchline "Oh, mother, what a good job the cat’s a black one"

The quotation says that the family “were discussing what mourning would be required”, where “mourning” is used in the sense: mourning, n. 6.a. The dress or customary clothes (in Western society ...
  • 42.4k
16 votes

Meaning of a 19 century joke printed in a newspaper, with punchline "Oh, mother, what a good job the cat’s a black one"

While the existing two answers are good ones that explain how to parse the phrase (as you guessed, "How lucky it is that the cat is a black one"), I think they are missing a bit of context ...
11 votes

What is a pisserroo?

"Pisseroo" or "Pisserroo" is a variant of "pisser", a slang term for something very bad. "Pisser" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "one that is inferior, ...
  • 683
6 votes

Sherlock Holmes: What does "woman's' hand" mean?

The word "hand" here means handwriting. It's an older usage of the word "hand", not seen much nowadays, but still listed in dictionaries (definition 10a in Merriam-Webster or 16 in ...
  • 65k
3 votes

What does "The Neck" mean in Herr Mannelig?

Here the neck means something like water-nymph or mermaid or some kind of spirit living in the water. In the Wikipedia page for Herr Mannelig, the following quote is linked to the page for "Neck (...
3 votes

Meaning of 'yellow down' in the sentence

How to swim with her is a translation from Spanish to English of the short story Anabela y el peñón by the Argentine writer Andrés Neuman. The text in question: her yellow down was guiding me to the ...
3 votes
Accepted

What does "The people know that and are waiting for it" mean?

Vares asked Has it – been elsewhere in the village? The responses are in relation to the village. There is nothing in Dr. Gheria's words which suggests that any putative vampire will leave the ...
  • 15.9k
2 votes

Explaining a pun or nick-name from a Manning Coles thriller

I don't see any immediate allusions that come to mind, Samuel being a common name, and Quint being somewhat uncommon but not unknown surname. In the game of piquet, the terms is sometimes used to ...
  • 8,307
1 vote

Difference between "emperor" and "living emperor" in Kafka's "The Great Wall of China"

The post of emperor is very important. It has influence and impact and power "throughout all the different levels of the world." Everything is done in the name of the emperor. This has ...
  • 4,794
1 vote

What's the meaning of the following lines from "Tristan and Isolde: The Love Sin"?

Here is my interpretation of those lines. To understand this poem, you have to know the myth of Trisan and Iseult. There are a number of versions, but most of them go as follows: Tristan takes Iseult ...
  • 8,378
1 vote

What does "To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life." mean?

In the first story in the Reginald collection, "Reginald," he teases an Anglo-Indian soldier for referring to the year 1876. The narrator comments, "Reginald ... never admits to being ...
  • 21
1 vote

What does "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely." mean?

Sargent was an extremely popular portraitist (and very good, too, as Reginald is admitting). Max Beerbohm has a caricature of people waiting outside his studio to be painted. http://sargentology.com/...
  • 21

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible