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35

It is a punning reference to the phrase ‘trip the light fantastic’, which means (per The Phrase Finder) To dance, especially in an imaginative or 'fantastic' manner. The phrase seems to arise from the works of Milton, in Comus he wrote, as you have already seen, Come, knit hands, and beat the ground, In a light fantastic round. And in L’Allegro Come, ...


33

In-universe the "light fantastic" is an actual, factual thing. There was no real need for the torches. The Octavo filled the room with a dull, sullen light, which wasn’t strictly light at all but the opposite of light; darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it is simply its absence, and what was radiating from the book was the light that lies on ...


23

First off, this appears in an 1879 essay about the writer William Thackeray by Anthony Trollope. What it means is perhaps clearer in its original context: I hold that gentleman to be the best dressed whose dress no one observes. I am not sure but that the same may be said of an author's written language. Only, where shall we find an example of such ...


22

Here’s a bit more context from chapter 6: He [Frodo] turned round and listened, and soon there could be no doubt: someone was singing a song; a deep glad voice was singing carelessly and happily, but it was singing nonsense: Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo! ...


14

Mother Goose, in fact. Little Miss Muffet Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey; Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away. It has the spider, the fright, and being Mother Goose, the pop-cultural awareness for the reader to recognize.


12

TL;DR: A ‘daffy-down-dilly’ is a lawyer who engages in double dealing, that is, representation of both sides in a case, for his own advantage. The reference is to a case reported in Rolle’s abridgment of the Common Law: Si home dit al un Counceller del ley en le North, Thou art a Daffa-down-dilly. Action giſt ove averrment que les parols ſignifie que il eſt ...


12

The meaning of "up yourself" being "conceited" ("being up your own ass" or "up yourself") from @skooba and @Michael Finn is correct, but neither answer fully captures the particular context you have mentioned (Sorry Skooba, but I disagree with your interpretation): Why is it that: "They wouldn’t know if they were [conceited] if they didn’t have a ...


11

They were de jure (officially, supposedly, on paper, in theory) ruled over by the king. There are many terms to express this meaning. From Merriam Webster on "in name": used with a following statement to say that something is so by name or title but that is not the way things really are Nowadays, the Latin term de jure (as opposed to de facto meaning "...


11

Elrond is saying it was not chance but Providence that brought them all together. To expand on Glorfindel's correct answer, let me explain the passage phrase by phrase. This is actually pretty important in terms of understanding Tolkien's theology of Middle-earth. That [what shall we do with the Ring] is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, ...


10

The full passage is ‘Cut along to the galley. Tell the cook to put all his dirty pans and coppers upside-down. Pullings, Babbington, stop the firing. Boom off, boom off. Back topsails. Mr Dillon, let the starboard watch black their faces in the galley as soon as I have spoken to them. It is a literal instruction. The men of the starboard watch are to ...


10

I've read the Wikipedia summary of the story and I'm sure your interpretation is the only likely one. After describing the violence and cruelty of the man, Mrs. Ronder is clearly not expressing regret at his leaving her alone. At first glance "deserted me for others" doesn't seem quite right, but I think it is a euphemism. She is simply saying 'he slept ...


10

TL;DR: ‘Helium’ is a misprint for ‘hellum’ which is a dialect spelling of ‘helm’. Let’s get the easier parts out of the way before we tackle ‘helium’. The Toad is a “sloop, of 8,825–10,000 registered tonnage”. I don’t really understand this description—a ‘sloop’ is normally a sailing vessel with a single fore-and-aft rigged mast, but a vessel of 10,000 ...


9

The context of the phrase here is that the phrase, "the humility of a charge too great for men", refers to the idea that someone has been given a very important task which they may not completely understand, but which they know they must complete. And so they are humble because it is the task that is great, not them. They are merely a tool being ...


8

Given the context, I propose an alternative meaning: LYSANDER: To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold Her silver visage in the watery glass, Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, (A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal,) Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal. HERMIA: And in the wood, where often you and I Upon ...


8

To "give the lie" is an English expression meaning to expose a lie, or show a thing is not true. It is still in use today. to show that something is not at all true These figures give the lie to the notion that people are spending less. Macmillan Dictionary to prove that something is not true: The fact that the number of deaths from cancer in ...


8

The light that Pratchett refers to is Octarine. This is defined in the Discworld books as the eighth colour of the spectrum and the colour of magic. "The Colour Of Magic" itself being a title of another book in the series. This is fantastic because its existence is part of the Discworld fantasy universe. Pratchett is very fond of such puns and ...


8

"Bar" means "except for," "with the exception of." "I guess I've not had enjoyment like this since I left Noo York. [Except for] a scrap with a French sailor at Wapping-an' that warn't much of a picnic neither." "Bar" in this sense is still widely used.


8

I am a cricket fan and it is popular in that field to say of both wicketkeepers and umpires that they have had a good game if you don't notice them. That is to say that you tend to only notice them if and when they make mistakes. The same is true of umpires and referees in most sports. Their jobs are so integral to the game that if they do them well it comes ...


8

It could be a reference to the classical nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet: Little Miss Muffet Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey; Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away. This was what immediately came to my mind on seeing "spider", "beside", and "frightened" in the same sentence. ...


7

In terms of literal description, the whiteness refers to the foaming of the sea water as it washes over the rock. The rock is first described when Ralph crosses the neck to the Castle Rock: Now he saw the landsman's view of the swell and it seemed like the breathing of some stupendous creature. Slowly the waters sank among the rocks, revealing pink tables ...


7

'Flowin bole' Literally 'Flowing bowl', but figuratively 'alcohol', as in the traditional folksong 'Come Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl'. Come landlord fill the flowing bowl Until it doth run over. Come landlord fill the flowing bowl Until it doth run over. For tonight we'll merry merry be For tonight we'll merry merry be For tonight we'll ...


7

Normally, if a door is open a crack, at the bottom of it you will see something dark. It might be the grass, or dirt, or whatever else is outside the door. Above that you will see whiteness. That whiteness isn't a thing - it's the absence of things, emptiness, daylight. That's "negative" space -- the lack of stuff to see. But in this case, surprisingly, the ...


7

"The Worst Crime in the World" was published in 1927 in the collection The Secret of Father Brown. At that time, cubism was roughly 20 years old. Some cubist painters depicted human bodies as made up of geometric shapes such as cones and cylinders. One can see examples of this in Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), below: Another ...


7

‘Breast’ is used here in the following sense: breast, n. 5.a. fig. and transf. The seat of the affections and emotions; the repository of consciousness, designs, and secrets; the heart; hence, the affections, private thoughts and feelings. (Commonly plural in Old English.) Oxford English Dictionary This is clear from the context: ALMERIA. Musick ...


7

This passage comes right after Bilbo's poem about Earendil the Mariner, the details of which came from Bilbo's familiarity with the story, and presumably his research into the history of the Elves (Earendil was Elrond's father). Before Bilbo sings it out, he goes to a corner with Aragorn to work on the poem together and polish it. After the reading, Bilbo ...


7

The full paragraph is: That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel ...


6

This sense of the word is not in the OED, but Eric Partridge has it: Poke. 1. Stolen property: from ca. 1850; ob. The Times, Nov 29, 1860; Baumann. Ex poke, a bag, pocket, etc. Eric Partridge (1923). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, fifth edition. p. 644. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. I don’t have access to the Times archive, but ...


6

The meaning of "lovers' food" is definitely not poison. Stanley Wells' edition of the play (New Penguin Shakespeare) glosses the phrase as "the sight of each other". This makes sense in the context of this speech, since Hermia says, Keep word, Lysander: we must starve our sight From lovers' food till morrow deep midnight. The gloss also makes sense ...


6

Shakespeare’s main sources for Julius Caesar were Plutarch’s biographies of Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, which he read in the 1579 English translation of Thomas North. The episode you are asking about appears in the biography of Brutus: His wife Porcia (as we have told you before) was the daughter of Cato, whom Brutus married being his cousin, not a ...


6

Dr. Valentine is a surgeon, so his "business"—what he does for a living—is or includes performing surgery. Surgical procedures are not without risk; if the procedure goes wrong, the patient can even die of the consequences. This is how a surgeon may unintentionally cause somebody's death. Cynically put, one may say that the surgeon's "business" or job has ...


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