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Sherlock Holmes and English
Posted: 08 October 2012 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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The US version is “queer as a three-dollar bill.”

The double-slang meaning never struck me before. Probably because I don’t hang around with that many counterfeiters.

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Posted: 08 October 2012 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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The double-slang meaning never struck me before

Same, but I feel richer for knowing this.

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Posted: 11 October 2012 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It is another Holmes parody that some of you might enjoy.

[ Edited: 12 October 2012 08:55 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 12 October 2012 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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"Deviltry”, says Holmes.

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Posted: 12 October 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Going back a bit in this thread:

O’clock,” I thought, simply meant “of the clock,” as in time of the clock, or “time of day.”

Q: “What time is it?”

A: “It is nine ‘o’[f the ]clock.’”

Doesn’t “o’clock"=time of day as read by a reader of the clock?

The OED’s first citation for of the clock is 1386, from the Canterbury Tales:  “Ten of the clokke it was tho as I gesse.”

Now, in his fascinating book The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century, Ian Mortimer remarks that at the beginning of the 14th century there was only a single experimental clock mechanism in the whole of England (at St Albans), so everyone told the time by the sun, either by eye or using an astrolabe. An ‘hour’ was defined as one-twelfth of the natural daylight or night, whatever the length of said daylight or night, and therefore was a constantly-varying span of time. But in the 1350s clocks started to be introduced, and by the end of the century most palaces, castles, religious foundations and prosperous parish churches had one. As they told time not by moving pointers round a dial but by striking bells (hence their name), a fair slice of the population - the urbanites, the religious, and the elite - could now function by clock time. But as the clock hour is, by its nature, a fixed span of time, except at the equinoxes it was never quite the same as the sun hour, and near the solstice it could be radically different. Therefore, when Chaucer was writing, if you wanted to make clear when you meant you had to specify either ‘ten of the clock’ or ‘ten by the sun’.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Interesting information, Syntinen Laulu, and the book indeed sounds fascinating.

An ‘hour’ was defined as one-twelfth of the natural daylight or night

This is a practice going back to ancient Greece --- (possibly further back - I wouldn’t know). Hence the expression “at the eleventh hour”, which we use figuratively for a last-minute occurrence. At the twelfth hour, the day was ended.

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Posted: 14 October 2012 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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At the eleventh hour comes specifically from Christ’s parable of the worker’s in the vineyard, Matthew 20:9. The phrase is in Jerome’s Vulgate, “undecimam horam.” I don’t know what the original Greek says.

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Posted: 14 October 2012 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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"Scotchman” is a term Doyle, or rather Holmes, uses that one is not likely to hear these days.

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Posted: 14 October 2012 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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ἐλθόντες δὲ οἱ περὶ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ὥραν ἔλαβον ἀνὰ δηνάριον.

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Posted: 14 October 2012 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Thanks.

FYI ἑνδεκάτην ὥραν = “eleventh hour”

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Posted: 14 October 2012 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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FYI ενδέκατη ώρα διάσωσης = eleventh hour bailout

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Posted: 19 October 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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He is a man of fifty, strong, active, with iron-gray hair, great bunched black eyebrows, the step of a deer and the air of an emperor

I suppose I don’t really know much about deer…

What is Conan telling us by saying this man had the step of a deer?

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Posted: 19 October 2012 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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I would take it as a graceful, confident, and relatively high-stepping gait. He doesn’t shuffle his feet or trudge along.

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Posted: 19 October 2012 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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In other contexts I might take it to mean “tentative and skittish”, but coupled with “air of an emperor” I get the same sense as Dave does.

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Posted: 25 October 2012 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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From The Cardboard Box

at a Jew broker’s in Tottenham Court Road

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