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Archive for June, 2013

From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Piece-work garment maker, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka

Piece-work garment maker, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: james_gordon_losangeles)

Job: a short piece of work, a prospect of employment. Johnson describes Job as a low word, without etymology. It is, and was, however a cant word, and a Job, two centuries ago, was an arranged robbery. Even at the preset day it is mainly confined to the streets, in sense of employment for a short time. Amongst undertakers a Job signifies a funeral; “to do a Job,” conduct any one’s funeral; “by the Job,” i.e., piece-work, as opposed to time-work. A Job in political phraseology is a Government office or contract, obtained by secret influence or favouritism.

(Interesting that a Job in terms of a robbery is two hundred years older than a Job in terms of employment and still in use today. )

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Gangulphus

Gangulphus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jingo: “by Jingo,” a common form of oath, said to be a corruption of  St. Gingoulph. – Vide Halliwell.

(I always learn such interesting, and mostly useless things when I look these words up. Although I would consider visiting the town below.

Saint-Gingolph is a small town situated on the south bank of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). It sits at the FrancoSwiss frontier, and is administratively divided into Saint-Gingolph, Switzerland (Switzerland) and Saint-Gingolph, Haute-Savoie (France). Its name is derived from the eighth-century saint Gangulphus, who is said to have lived as a hermit in this region.

And here is the legend of St. Gangulphus:

Born to one of the most illustrious families of Burgundy, his education was provided by his parents, who were virtuous Christians. As a youth, Gangulphus was known for his great honesty, chastity, and propriety, and visited churches and read religious texts, avoiding the company of libertines. When his parents died, he became a model landowner, taking care of the household economy with ease and industry and also providing for the churches and the poor on his land. When it came time to marry, he chose a woman who did not share his virtues.

As an important nobleman, Gangulphus participated in the wars of the time, but also dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel in Frisia.

On a journey back to Burgundy, he found a property at Bassigny upon which stood a fountain that issued fresh and good water. Gangulphus bought the property. However, his friends mocked him because this property’s fountain would not serve back at home. However, when Gangulphus returned home, he pushed a stick into the soil. The next day, he instructed his servant to pull the stick out of the soil. Out of the soil emerged a new fountain, from which gushed fresh water.

During his absence, his wife had committed adultery with a priest. His wife protested her innocence, but Gangulphus wished her innocence to be judged by God. Thus, he had her dip her hand into the very same source of water he had created on his property. His wife’s hand was completely and miraculously scalded by the water. Gangulphus was fairly lenient: he forbade his wife from ever sharing his marriage bed and also ordered the priest to go abroad.

Gangulphus meanwhile withdrew to his castle at Avallon, near Vézelay, performing works of penance and charity.

However, his wife soon had her lover return. Hurrying back, the priest, wishing to decapitate Gangulphus, attacked the saint as he slept. However, the priest missed and injured Gangulphus’ thigh. The wound, however, proved to be fatal and Gangulphus received the Last Sacraments on May 11, 760.

The priest fled the country with Gangulphus’ wife. Purported miracles soon took place at Gangulphus’ tomb. Both his wife and the priest soon suffered illnesses and died.)

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Hi Friends,

Blue Train Books Historical Fiction Section

Blue Train Books Historical Fiction Section (Photo credit: Blue Train Books)

I just read a cute article I found on the Historical Fiction Daily. It’s called Wait, historical fiction is doomed? When did this happen? In it the author quotes an article she read that says that we should just let historical fiction die.

Hmmm. You can try I suppose. But like the author says, a good story is a good story no matter what time or place it’s set in.

To be honest, I didn’t set out to write a historical fiction. That was the last thing on my mind. I love pirates. After all, they’re the rock stars of their time. And I loved reading about Sir Francis Drake and his adventures.  I had a story to tell and I told it, and people have suggested I put it in the historical fiction genre after the fact. If you took away the historical fiction genre then it would be an action/adventure. Although it could be young adult. And it has a love triangle so you could call it a romance.  The film version of LADY BLADE is an action/adventure since there is no real historical fiction genre. I suppose you could call the movie script a period piece, but those tend to be a bit slower moving. Personally I like the term swashbuckler. So where is the bookstore section for swashbucklers?

I think we do a disservice to readers by forcing books into narrow categories. Although, I  admit, I don’t have a better suggestion on how readers are going to find what they’re looking for in the bookstore. Still, curtailing or shoehorning a story to fit a genre can diminish a story and books that cross too many genre lines often have trouble attracting a publisher, no matter the merit of the story. I’ve run into that myself.

I suppose that is the beauty of self-publishing. You can cross all the genre lines you like without being punished or ignored. Readers can find you by keywords on-line instead of by genre in the bookstore. But with so many self-published books to sift through, how do they find you at all?

Anyway, I hope historical fiction isn’t quite dead yet. I’ve still got a story or two to tell and they include tall ships, swords, and cannons.

C. J.

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

donkey foal

donkey foal. What a cutie! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerusalem Pony: a donkey.

(I looked up the origins and some think it’s a bible reference to Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Certainly seems possible. Another source said that it was a particular large species of donkey. Also sounds possible.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Moonshine Still

Moonshine Still (Photo credit: PunkToad)

Jigger: a secret still, illicit spirits. Scotch.

Jiggered: “I’m Jiggered if you will,” a common form of mild swearing. See Snigger.

Jigger: a door; “dub the Jigger,” shut the door. Ancient cant, Gyger. In billiards the bridge on the table is often termed the Jigger.

Jigger-Dubbers: term applied to jailors and turnkeys.

(Yet another changeable word! I guess context is everything. So, if a jailor showed you his secret still and wanted you to close the door, the Jigger-Dubber would show you his Jigger and tell you to dub the Jigger. Well, I’ll be Jiggered.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Tall Ships 2005

Tall Ships 2005 (Photo credit: dkodigital)

Jib: the face, or a person’s expression; “the cut of his Jib,” i.e. his peculiar appearance. The sail of a ship, which in position and shape corresponds to the nose on a person’s face. See Gib. Sea.

Jib or Jibber: a horse that starts or shrinks. Shakespeare uses it in the sense of a worn out horse.

Jibb: the tongue. Gipsy and Hindoo.

(The first one is definitely still in use. And a fun one.  )

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Jessie: to “give a person Jessie,” to beat him soundly. See Gas.

Gas: “to give a person Gas,” to scold him or give him a good beating. Synonymous with “to give him Jessie.”

(Yet more words for beatings. I wonder if the Jessie who lent his name to the practice was the beater or the beatee.

I still maintain that there is no such thing as a “good” beating. But it seemed very prevalent back in the day.)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

English: Jeroboam was the first king of the no...

English: Jeroboam was the first king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the ten northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam that put an end to the United Monarchy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerry: a beer house.

Jerry: a fog.

Jerry: a chamber utensil, abbreviation of Jeroboam. Swift. Jerry-Come-Tumble, a water closet.

(Another three-fer. And another changeable word. I was curious what chamber utensil they were referring to and after a little investigation discovered they were talking about a chamber pot. The precursor to the toilet which was taken outside and emptied. That had to be a nasty job.

Originally, Jeroboam was the first king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel from 922 to 901 BC. One source suggest that the modern British slang term John for a restroom might also come from Jeroboam. One wonders if this historical figure may have been the one to invent the chamber pot and therefore lent his name to bathrooms ever since.

Also, at some point in history, wine makers named different sized wine bottles after Biblical kings and historical figures – don’t ask me why. So a Jeroboam is also a large wine bottle having a capacity of about four ordinary bottles or 3 liters (3.3 qt.)

I have no idea how the word went from an Old Testament character to any of the three slang meanings. But it would be fun to find out. Anyone got any ideas?)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Eliza Haywood was one of the four bestselling ...

Eliza Haywood was one of the four bestselling authors of the first half of the eighteenth century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jemmy: a crowbar.

Jemmy: a sheep’s head. See Sanguinary James.

Jemmy Jessamy: a dandy.

(Now that’s one changeable word! You certainly wouldn’t want to get those meanings mixed up.

I looked up Jemmy Jessamy and there is a novel by a woman writer, Eliza Haywood, from 1753 called The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy. Apparently it is a depiction of marriage and courtship among the leisure class of the mid-eighteenth century. I can’t tell, however, if the slang word is something she used or if the character in her novel inspired the slang word.

I wonder…)

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From the Dictionary of Nautical, University, Gypsy and Other Vulgar Tongues first published in 1859.

Corvette 383

Corvette 383 (Photo credit: Brett Levin Photography)

Jehu: old slang term for a coachman, or one fond of driving.

(I like it. I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce it, but I like it. So my husband is a Jehu – in the sense that he loves driving his sports-car.  He has a corvette. A corvette was a small, fast, agile  ship originally. I’d rather have one of those, though I suppose then you need a crew to man it. )

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