Dictionary of Americanisms, by John Russell Bartlett. (NY: Bartlett and Welford, 1848)
TO LOBBY. To attempt to exert an influence on the members of a legislative body, by persons not members of such body. These are confined to the lobbies of the house, where they meet, the members, and by various means attempt to influence them or secure their votes for some favorite bill. So necessary has this business of lobbying now become, that when a petition is sent to a legislature, particularly for an act of incorporation, it is very common for one or more individuals to take it in charge for the purpose of lobbying it through.
There is a quarrel in Philadelphia about Mr. W----'s appointments. Some of the Loco-focos have come out to lobby against him.--N. Y. Trib.
A committee has gone to Albany to lobby for a new bank charter.--N. Y. Courier and Enquirer.
LOBBY-MEMBER. A person who frequents the lobby of a house of legislation.--Worcester.
TO LOCATE. To place; to set in a particular spot or position.--Pickering. Webster. This word is comparatively modern in England, and is not found in any of the dictionaries previous to Todd's. It is used among us much more frequently and in a greater variety of senses than in England.
Under this roof the biographer of Johnson passed many jovial, joyous hours; here he has located some of the liveliest scenes, and most brilliant passages, in his entertaining anecdotes of his friend Samuel Johnson.--Cumberland, Memoirs of Himself.
The archbishops and bishops of England can neither locate and limit dioceses in America, nor ordain bishops in any part of the dominions of Great Britain, out of the realm, by any law of the kingdom, or any law of the colonies, or by any canon law acknowledged by either.--John Adams, Letter to Dr. Morse.
A number of courts properly located will keep the business of any country in such condition as but few suits will be instituted.--Debates on the Judiciary, p. 51.
So too a town, a village, and even a piece of ground, is said to be located, i. e. placed, situated, in a particular position.
Baber refers to villages formerly located, as at the present day, on the plains, &c.--Masson's Travels in Afghanistan, Vol. III. p. 193.
When Port Essington was located, all these difficulties had to be suffered over again.--Stokes's Australia, Vol. I. p. 401.
A lot of earth so singularly located, as marks it out by Providence to be the emporium of plenty and the asylum of peace.--[London] Observer.
And hence arises the following American use of the word:
TO LOCATE. To select, survey, and settle the bounds of a particular tract of land, or to designate a portion of land by limits ; as, to locate a tract of a hundred acres in a particular township.--Webster.
Mistakes in locating land were often very serious--the purchaser finding only swamp or gravel, when he had purchased fine farming land.--Mrs. Clavers's Western Clearings.
It is also coming into use in the old country, as will be seen by the following example:
The banks of these rivers [the Macquarrie, &c. in New South Wales] are fast filling with settlements; those of the hunter, the nearest to the seat of government, being, we understand, entirely located.--Edinburgh Review.
TO LOCATE. Applied to persons, it means:
1. To place in a particular position.
The mate, having located himself opposite to me [at the table], began to expostulate upon the mode of sea travelling.--Gilliam, Travels in Mexico.
2. To place in a permanent residence; to settle.
The Asega-bok, the book of the judge, contains the laws of the Rustringian Friesians located around the gulf of the Jade.--Bosworth, Pref. to Anglo-Sax. Dic. p. 61.
The most unhealthy points are in the vicinity of mill-dams, and of marshes, near both of which the settlers take particular pains to locate.--Hoffman's Winter in the West, Vol. I.
3. As a technical term used by the Methodists, to settle permanently as a preacher. The word is needed by them, because they have many itinerant preachers who are not located.
Mr. Parsons, like most located and permanent pastors of a wooden country, received almost nothing for his services.--Carlton, New Purchase.
LOCATION, n. That which is located; a tract of land designated in place.--Webster. This application of the word is peculiar to the United States.
LOCK, STOCK, AND BARREL. The whole. A figurative expression borrowed from sportsmen, and having reference to a gun.
Look at [this carriage] all through the piece; take it, by and large, lock, stock, and barrel; and it's the dandy.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 19.
LOCO--FOCO. The name by which the Democratic party is extensively distinguished throughout the United States. This name originated in the year 1835, when a division arose in the party, in consequence of the nomination of Gideon Lee as the Democratic candidate for Congress, by the committee chosen for that purpose. This nomination, as was customary, had to be confirmed at a general meeting of Democrats held at Tammany Hall. His friends anticipated opposition, and assembled in large numbers to support him. "The first question which arose," says Mr. Hammond, "and which would test the strength of the parties, was the selection of Chairman. The friends of Mr. Lee, whom we will call Tammany men, supported Mr. Varian; and the anti-monopolists, Mr. Curtis. The Tammanies entered the hall as soon as the doors were opened, by means of back stairs; while at the same time the Equal Rights party rushed into the long room up the front stairs. Both parties were loud and boisterous; the one declaring that Mr. Varian was chosen Chairman, and the other that Mr. Curtis was duly elected the presiding officer. A very tumultuous and confused scene ensued, during which the gas-lights, with which the hall was illuminated, were extinguished. The Equal Rights party, either having witnessed similar occurrences, or having received some intimations that such would be the course of their opponents, had provided themselves with loco-foco matches and candles, and the room was re-lighted in a moment. The 'Courier and Enqiurer' newspaper dubbed the anti-monopolists, who used the matches, with the name of Loco-focos; which was soon after given to the Democratic party, and which they have since retained.--Hammond's Political History of New York, Vol. II. p. 491.
LOG. A bulky piece or stick of timber unhewed. Pine logs are floated down rivers in America, and stopped at saw-mills. A piece of timber when hewed and squared, is not called a log, unless perhaps in constructing log huts.--Webster.
TO LOG. To cut down and get out pine logs for sawing into boards, etc.
Once more at work, he employed his leisure time in the heavy and dangerous business of logging.--Mrs. Clavers's Western Clearings.
LOGGING SWAMP. In Maine, the place where pine timber is cut.
LOG-ROLLING. In the lumber regions of Maine it is customary for men of different logging camps to appoint days for helping each other in rolling the logs to the river, after they are felled and trimmed--this rolling being about the hardest work incident to the business. Thus the men of three or four camps will unite, say on Monday, to roll for camp No. 1--on Tuesday for camp No. 2--on Wednesday for camp No. 3--and so on, through the whole number of camps within convenient distance of each other.
The term has been adopted in legislation to signify a like system of mutual co-operation. For instance, a member from St. Lawrence has a pet bill for a plank road which he wants pushed through; he accordingly makes a bargain with a member from Onondaga who is coaxing along a charter for a bank, by which St. Lawrence agrees to vote for Onondaga's bank, provided Onondaga will vote in turn for St. Lawrence's plank road.
This is legislative log-rolling; and there is abundance of it carried on at Albany every winter.
Generally speaking, the subject of the log-rolling is some merely local project, interesting only to the people of a certain district; but sometimes there is party log-rolling, where the Whigs, for instance, will come to an understanding with the Democrats, that the former shall not oppose a certain Democratic measure merely on party grounds, provided the Democrats will be equally tender to some Whig measure in return. [J. Inman.]
We were compelled, for electioneering objects, to attend this summer several log-rollings.--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. I. p. 237.
It is to be feared that, through the pitiable system of log-rolling and personal favoritism that has ever cursed this city, there will be plenty of persons appointed as policemen who are utterly unfit for it.--N. Y. Com. Adv.
Another evil of our banking system arises from the very foolish rule, that a single director may reject any paper offered for discount, instead of making the fate of every application depend upon the decision of a majority of the board. This gives a power to individuals at variance with the interests of the community. It produces what is termed log-rolling in legislation, and makes good and liberal-minded men responsible for the conduct of individuals who look solely to self.--N. Y. Cour. and Enq.
Mr. Davis has the best prospect for speaker, without the fetters of a caucus. But with such a system of log-rolling, the one whose prospects are worse, or rather who has no prospects at all, has the best chance to come out successful.--N. Y. Tribune.
Mr. Ballou did not see the object of a postponement. If the delay was for the purpose of obtaining information for the House, he had no objections; if log-rolling was the motive, he opposed the postponement.--Providence Journal.
I doubt very much whether, with all their log-rolling, and caucusing, and whipping in refractory members, they will be able to carry the Annexation Bill.--Boston Paper.
LOGY. (Dutch, log, heavy, slow, unwieldy.) We have received this word from the Dutch, and apply it generally to men. He's a logy man, i. e. a slow-moving, heavy man. 'He is a logy preacher,' i. e. dull. The Dutch say, Een log verstand, a dull wit.
LONG AND SHORT. The end; the result; the upshot.
You see I should have bore down on Sol Gills yesterday, but she took it away and kept it. That's the long and short of the subject.--Dombey and Son, ch. 23.
The long and short of all this was, that the white man and Indian girl got married.--Simon Suggs, p. 71.
But the long and short of it is, that if he keeps growing stupid, I'll send him adrift.--J. C. Neal, P. Ploddy, p. 15.
Well, uncle, the long and short of the matter is, that whether you advise me or not, I am determined to be no longer a burden to mother.--My Uncle Hobson and I, p. 24.
BY A LONG SHOT. By a long way; by a great deal.
Mr. Divver offered a resolution summarily removing the superintendent, and was quickly told by the Recorder that he was going too fast by a long shot--that he was out of order.--Proceedings in the Case of Dr. Reese.
LONG KNIVES, or BIG KNIVES. A term applied to Europeans and their descendants, by the North American Indians. It signifies wearers of swords.
LOON. (Eolymbus glacialis. Wilson.) The common name for the Northern Diver. As straight as a loon's leg, is a common simile.
LOOSENESS. Freedom. A Western vulgarism, now becoming common at the East; as, 'He spoke with a perfect looseness.'
LOPE. A leap; a long step.--Webster.
A sulky ox refuses to move in the proper direction; off starts a rider, who catching the stubborn animal by the tail, it at once becomes frightened into a lope; advantage is taken of the unwieldy body by the hunter, as it rests on the fore feet, to jerk it to the ground.--Thorpe's Backwoods, p. 15.
The mustang goes rollicking ahead, with the eternal lope, such as amorous deer assumes when it moves beside its half galloping mate, a mixture of two or three gaits, as easy as the motions of a cradle.--Ibid. p. 13.
TO LOPE. To leap; to move or run with a long step, as a dog.--Webster.
LOT. In the United States, a piece or division of land; perhaps originally assigned by drawing lots, but now any portion, piece, or division.--Webster. This application of the word is peculiar to this country, and is universally used of a parcel of land, whether in town or country. Thus, we have city lots, town lots, house lots, meadow lots, &c. 'I have a fine lot of cleared land, with a wood lot adjoining;' meaning a portion of the forest on which the trees are left for fuel as required. 'In going to town, I left the road, and went across lots, to shorten the distance,' i. e. across the open fields or meadows. "In the first settlement of this country," says Mr. Pickering, "a certain portion or share of land was allotted to each inhabitant of the town; and this was called his lot. Both lot and allotment occur in our early laws."
LOT or LOTS. A quantity; a large number. A familiar expression common to England and America, but not in the dictionaries. Thus we hear it said, 'There was a lot of people at the mass-meeting to-day;' 'We shall have lots of folks at our house to-night," etc.
I showed my trunk to Patrick and then went and got into the omnibus, what took me, with a whole lot of other passengers, to the Charleston Hotel.--Maj. Jones's Travels.
My wife at home will warm us up Some broth of well picked bones for sup; There's lots of welcome in my house, &c.--Reynard the Fox, p. 46.
LOVIER. (A. Sax. lufian, to love.) A lover. A vulgarism, but no corruption, and nearer the Anglo-Saxon than the common word.--Forby's Vocabulary.
LUBBER. A sturdy drone; an idle, fat, bulky fellow.--Johnson. A name given by sailors to landsmen.--Grose, Dic.
LUCKS. Small portions of wool twisted on the finger of a spinner at the wheel or distaff. The same word as lock when applied to the hair, &c.--Forby's Norfolk Glossary. In New England this word is still in use.
Miss Gisborne's flannel is promised the last of the week. There is a bunch of lucks down cellar, bring them up.--Margaret, p. 6.
LUDDY MUSSY! Lord have mercy! an exclamation of surprise, common in the interior parts of New England.
Luddy mussy! can you read! Where do you live?--Margaret, p. 52.
LUMBER. Timber sawed or split for use; as beams, joists, boards, planks, staves, hoops, and the like.--Webster. The word in this sense, and the following ones derived from it, are peculiar to America.
LUMBERMAN.} A person employed in cutting timber and in getting out lumber from the forest.
LUMBERING. The business or occupation of getting out various kinds of lumber, such as timber, boards, staves, &c. 'To go a lumbering,' is the phrase used by those who embark in it.
LUMBERING. Strolling, lounging, walking leisurely. A vulgarism used in New York.
As I was lumbering down the street, down the street, A yaller gal I chanc'd to meet, etc.--Negro Melodies. The Buffalo Gal.
LUMBER-WAGGON. A waggon with a plain box upon it, used by farmers for carrying their produce to market. It is sometimes so arranged that a spring seat may be put in it, when it is very comfortable for riding in.
TO LUMP. Used in the vulgar expression, 'If you don't
like it, you may lump it,' i. e. you may help yourself if you can.
"Hoity--toity!" exclaimed Mrs. Pipehin, plucking up all the ogress within her. "If she don't like it, Mr. Dombey, she must be taught to lump it."--Dombey and Son, Ch. XI.
LYCEUM. A house or apartment appropriated to instruction by lectures or disquisitions. An association of men for literary purposes.--Webster.
In New England almost every town and village of importance has its lyceum, where a library is formed, natural and artificial curiosities collected, and before which public lectures are given. They have done a vast deal towards the dissemination of knowledge, particularly among those classes which have not had the advantages of a good education.
TO LYNCH. To condemn and execute in obedience to the decree of a multitude or mob, without a legal trial; sometimes practised in the new settlements in the south-west of the United States.--Worcester.
LYNCH LAW. An irregular and revengeful species of justice, administered by the populace or a mob, without any legal authority or trial.--Worcester.
MAD. Inflamed with anger; very angry; vexed. 'I was quite mad at him;' 'he made me mad.' In these instances mad is only a metaphor for angry. This is perhaps an English vulgarism, but it is not found in any accurate writer, nor used by any good speaker, unless when poets or orators use it as a strong figure, and to heighten the expression, say, 'he was mad with rage.'--Witherspoon, Druid. No.5.
Mad, in the sense of angry, is considered as a low word in this country, and at the present day is never used except in very familiar conversation.--Pickering.
This use of the word is provincial in various parts of England. See Halliwell, Grose, etc.
Indeed, my dear, you make me mad sometimes, you do.--Spectator.
The General began to get in a passion--and says he, "Major, I'm gettin'
Up stairs I went with them, as mad as thunder, I tell you, at being thought a humbug.--Field, Western Tales.
Jeeminy, fellows, I was so enormous mad that the new silk handkercher round my neck lost its color!--Robb, Squatter Life.
LIKE MAD. A common simile, in England and America.
A bear enrag'd at the stinging of a bee, ran like mad into the bee-garden and overturn'd all the hives.--L'Estrange.
Here's two boys a fishin,' and there a little girl a playin' with a dog, that's a racin', and a yelpin', and barkin' like mad--S. Slick in England.
MAD AS A MARCH HARE. A common simile, used alike in England and America.
The whole's to be fourpence a quart-- 'Odswinge! lad, there will be rare drinkin'; Billy Pitt's mad as ony March hare, And never was reet, fwook are thinkin'.--Westmoreland and Cumberland Poems, p. 220.
Because I would not let Ike Tapley have the lick of the tap [after drawing some rum], he was as mad as a March hare.--Margaret, p. 39.
MADAM. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, and in some neighboring places, it has been and still is the practice, to prefix to the name of a deceased female of some consideration, as the parson's, the deacon's or the doctor's wife, the title of Madam.--Kendall's Travels, Vol. II. p. 44. "This practice," says Mr. Pickering, "like that of giving magistrates the title of 'squire, prevails in most of the country towns of New England; but is scarcely known in the sea-port towns.--Vocabulary.
TO MAHOGANYIZE. To paint wood in imitation of mahogany.
MAILABLE. That may be mailed or carried in the mail.--Worcester. In a recent suit brought by the government against Adams & Co.'s Express, for carrying letters and papers, to the injury of the post office, Judge Betts stated in his charge to the jury that "any written communication between one individual and another comes within the term mailable matter, and no matter in what shape it is put, it is liable to postage as if carried by mail."
All mailable matter intended to reach its destination without delay, must be deposited with the mail agents, on board the Stonington boats, the regular and only line for carrying the Boston, or great Eastern mail.--A Newspaper Advertisement.
MAIZE. (W. Ind., maiz.) Indian corn. The name of the great staple of native American agriculture, adopted from the Carib language by the Spaniards, and thus imported into the languages of Europe. The earliest dictionary in which I find the word, is Florio's Worlde of Wordes (1598); the article there is Maiz, a kind of grain or wheat whereof they make bread in India." Its native country is not fully determined, although it is believed to be America. Bernal Diaz speaks of it in Mexico in 1517; and Acosta in 1570, when treating of the plants "peculiar to the Indies," says that "the most common grain found in the new world is mays, which is found in all the kingdoms of he West Indies, Peru, New Spain, Guatemala, and Chili." He adds, that in Castile they call it Indian wheat; and in Italy, Turkey grain; which seems to imply that the plant was also known in those countries.
TO MAKE FISH. To cure and prepare fish for commerce. A New England phrase.
MAKING MEAT, on the great Western prairies, consists in cutting into thin slices the boneless parts of the buffalo, or other meat, and drying them in the wind or sun. Meat thus prepared may be preserved for years without salt.--Scenes in the Rocky Mountains, p. 53.
TO MAKE A RAISE. A vulgar expression, meaning to raise; procure; obtain.
I made a raise of a horse and saw, after being a wood piler's prentice for awhile.--Neal, Sketches.
TO MAKE TRACKS. To leave; to walk away. A figurative expression of Western origin.
He came plaguy near not seein' of me, says I; for I had just commenced making tracks as you came in.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 20.
MARM. A corruption of the word madam or ma'am, often used in the interior of New England for mother.
Has your marm got that done?--Margaret, p. 39.
TO MARBLE. To move off; as, 'If you do that again, you must marble,' i. e. be off immediately. Used in Pennsylvania.--Hurd's Gram. Corrector.
MAROONING. To go marooning. An expression used in the Southern States. It means to make up a party and have a picnic. Such is called a marooning party. The difference between a marooning party and a picnic is, that the former is a party made up to pass several days on the shore or in the country; the latter is a party for a day.
MARVEL. A common corrupt pronunciation of marble.
MASKINONGE. (Genus, esox. Cuvier.) An immense fish of the Pike species, caught in the St. Lawrence and the great lakes. I have seen a specimen taken at Kingston upwards of four feet in length. Dr. Richardson, in his "Fauna Borealis Am.," says that he found none in the rivers which empty into Hudson's Bay or the Polar Sea.
The masquinoijé is to all appearance a large species of pike, and possesses the ravenous propensities of that fish.--Backwoods of Canada, p. 161.
Mass. The common abbreviation for Massachusetts.
MASS-MEETING. A large or general meeting called for some specific purpose. The word mass is prefixed with a sort of ad captandum intent, as O'Connell called his large meetings of Irishmen, "monster meetings." Mass-meetings were first talked of in the political campaign of 1840, when Harrison was elected President. The term is now applied to any large meeting without distinction of party.
MAY-APPLE. (Genus, podophyllum.) A plant, the root of which is medicinal, answering as a substitute for jalup.--Bigelow's Plants of Boston.
Md. The common abbreviation for Maryland.
MEADOW. In New England this word means exclusively grass land, which is moist or subject to being overflowed; and land which is not so, is called upland. In England, also, the term meadow is used among agriculturists in the limited sense above mentioned.--Pickering.
A tract of low land. In America, the word is applied
particularly to the low ground on the banks of rivers, consisting of a rich mould or alluvial soil, whether grass-land, pasture, tillage, or wood land; as, the meadows on the banks of the Connecticut. The word with us does not imply necessarily wet land. This species of land is called in the Western States, bottoms or bottom-land. The word is also used for other low or flat lands, particularly lands appropriated to the culture of grass.--Webster.
MEAN, for means. Many American writers, following the Scottish models, make use of mean instead of means. But the established practice among English writers, from the time of Addison to the present day, has been to use the plural means.
It was the best means of bringing the negotiation to a happy issue.--Marshall's Washington, Vol. V. p. 546.
MEECHIN. A person with a downcast look is said to look meechin. Used on Long Island.
MEETING. A congregation. Among Methodists and others in the United States, it is a universal practice to say, 'we are going to meeting,' when going to their church or place of worship.
Me. The common abbreviation for Maine.
MENHADEN. (Alosa menhaden. Storer, Massachusetts Report.) A fish of the herring kind abounding in the waters of New England, and as far south as Chesapeake Bay. It is also known by the names of Bony-fish, White-fish, Hardhead, Mossbonker, and Panhagen. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, they are called Menhaden; in New York, Mossbonkers and Skippaugs. They are caught in immense quantities and used as manure, chiefly for Indian corn. Dr. DeKay, in his report on the fishes of New York, states that he has known of an instance when "84 waggon-loads, or in other words, 168,000 of these fish were taken at a single haul" of the seine.--Nat. Hist. of New York.
One day last week, Messrs. Davidson and Russel drew in at a single haul, on Mr. Hallock's shore, west side of New Haven harbor, two millions of white fish, as nearly as could be estimated, weighing on an average about three quarters of a pound each. The total weight of the haul, therefore, was about 1,500,000 lbs. or 750 tons! It was the greatest haul of fish ever made in that harbor, and we suspect it will not
MET UP WITH, for overtook.--Sherwood's Georgia.
Mich. The common abbreviation fur Michigan.
MIDDLINGS. The coarser part of flour.--Webster.
MIDGET. The sand-fly; so called in Canada.
MIGHTILY. In a great degree; very much. A sense scarcely to be admitted but in low language.--Todd's Johnson.
An ass and an ape conferring grievances; the ass complained mightily for want of horns, and the ape for want of a tail.--L'Estrange.
MIGHTY. 1. Great; excellent; fine.
The old maid bridled and tossed her head, as much as to say that, in her opinion, the like of him was not so mighty a catch for ladies beyond their girlhood.--Chambers's Journal (Grandmoiher Hook).
2. In a great degree; very; as, 'mighty wise;' 'mighty thoughtful.--Webster.
She untied her hair, then began to twirl the ringlets round her fingers and play with them in a coquettish manner, which she seemed to think mighty killing, for she smiled in evident self-conceit.--London Zoist.
The Doctor's was a mighty fine house, fronting the sea.--Dickens, Dombey and Son, ch. XI.
His face is mighty little for his body.--Georgia Scenes, p. 184.
What mighty hard land it is on this road. The whole face of the earth is covered with stones, as thick as Kentucky land titles.--Crockett, Tour down East, p. 57.
You'll be mighty apt to get wet, said a thorough-bred Texan, who stood watching our movements.--Kendall's Santa Fé Expedition, Vol. I. p. 32.
But, sir, I were mighty weak, and couldn't tell a stump from an old he.--Porter's Tales of the South-west, p. 124.
A girl belonging to the hotel was shouting to the boys, who had been dispatched to the barn for eggs, to "quit suckin' them thar eggs, or the candidates would stand a mighty small chance for thar dinner.--Robb, Squatter Life, p. 80.
MILE. Often in the singular with a ntlnleral, instead of the plural miles. Mr. Hartshorne, in his Glossary, says its use is universal in England, where the vulgar never give it a plural.
"The custom," he adds, "seems to receive countenance from some of our early English poets.--Salopia Antiqata.
Start the horses together for a hundred and fifty mile.--Georgia Scenes.
MILEAGE is a very large and even extravagant allowance made to members of Congress, and some others of the favored, for travelling expenses--eight dollars for every twenty miles. [J. Inman.]
CONSTRUCTIVE MILEAGE is the same allowance for journeys supposed to be made, but not actually made, from and to the seat of Government. The allowance enures to members of the United States Senate once in every four years. When a new President comes into office, Congress adjourns, of course, on the 3d of March, the new President being inaugurated on the 4th. But the Senate is immediately called again into session, to act on the nominations of the new President; and though not a man of them leaves Washington, each is supposed to go home and come back again, in the course of the ten or twelve hours intervening between the adjournment and the re-assembling. For this supposed journey the Senators are allowed their mileage, just as though the journey was actually made; the sum being, in the case of Senators from distant States, from $1000 to $1500.
Many of the Senators, in 1845, when Mr. Polk was inaugurated, refused to pocket their constructive mileage, holding it to be an imposition on the public.
Constructive mileage is allowed when an extra session of Congress is called, whether the Senators and Members have actually gone to their homes or not, after the regular session. [J. Inman.]
The mileage is a still less excusable abomination. Texas sends hither two Senators and two Representatives, who receive, in addition to their pay, some $2,500 each every session for merely coming here and going away again (I would sooner pay them twice the money to stay away)--$10,000 in all for travelling expenses which are not actually $1000. Arkansas will take $6000 out of the Treasury this year merely for the travel of her Senators. When we come to have Senators and Representatives from Oregon and California, we shall have to negotiate a loan expressly to pay the mileage of their members.--Letter from H. Greeley. N. Y. Tribune, May 2, 1848.
MILK-SICKNESS. A fatal spasmodic disease, peculiar to the Western States. It first attacks the cattle, and then those who eat beef or drink milk.
A few miles below Alton, on the Mississippi, I passed a deserted village, the whole population of which had been destroyed by the milk-sickness.--Hoffman, Winter in ihe West, Let. 2.
MILLERITES. The name of a religious sect from its founder, William Miller.
The distinguishing doctrines of this sect are, a belief in the re-appearance of Jesus Christ on earth, "with all his saints and angels; that he will raise the dead bodies of all his saints, and change the bodies of all that are alive on the earth that are his; and that both these living and raised saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There the saints will be judged. While this is being done in the air, the earth will be cleansed by fire; the bodies of the wicked will be burned; the devil and evil spirits will be banished from the earth, shut up in a pit, and will not be permitted to visit the earth again until a thousand years. This is the first resurrection and first judgment. Then Christ and his people will come down from the heavens, and live with his saints on the new earth." After a thousand years, a second death, resurrection, and judgment take place; when the righteous will possess the earth forever." The judgment-day will be a thousand years in duration. The righteous will be raised and judged in the commencement, the wicked at the end of that day. The millennium is between the two resurrections and the two judgments."--Evans's Hist. Religions, American Ed.
Believing in the literal fulfilment of the prophecies, the Millerites first asserted that, according to their calculations, the first judgment would take place about the year 1843. Subsequently other periods were named; and so firm was the faith of many that the Saviour would descend from the heavens and take his followers up into the air, that they disposed of all their worldly treasures, provided themselves with 'ascension robes,' and waited with great anxiety for the sounding of the last trumpet, the signal for their aerial voyage. Many persons became insane In consequence of the
excitement and fear attending this delusion. Others have come to their senses, owing to their repeated disappointments in not being elevated according to Father Miller's promise; and at the present time the sect has happily dwindled down to an insignificant number.
MILLION. A vulgar corruption of the word melon; as, 'water-millions,' water-melons;' mush-millions, musk-melons.
TO MINCE. To diminish in speaking; to retrench, to cut off, or omit a part for the purpose of suppressing the truth; to extenuate in representation.--Webster.
And love doth mince this matter.--Shakspeare, Othello.
There was no mincing matters; it seemed as if Mr. Calhoun's presence had mesmerized the stoutest democrats into perfect agreement with himself.--N. Y. Tribune, Nov. 26, 1845.
TO MIND. To recollect; remember.
I was invited to dine out in Boston; but if I can mind the gentlemin's name, I wish I may be shot.--Crockett, Tour, p. 82.
TO MIND. To take care of.
Yes, said Margaret, I will keep Obed. I'll mind the beds when the birds are about.--Margaret, p. 20.
MISERY. Pain; as, misery in my head.--Sherwood's Georgia.
Miss. The common abbreviation for Mississippi.
TO MISSIONATE. To act as a missionary. Not well authorized.--Webster.
Mr. Pickering notices this absurd word, which he found in the Missionary Herald.
TO MISSTATE. To state wrong; to make an erroneous representation of facts; as, 'to misstate a question in debate.'--Webster.
MISSTATEMENT. A wrong statement; an erroneous representation, verbal or written; as, a misstatement of facts in testimony, or of accounts in a report.--Webster.
Not noticed by Johnson, Todd, or Richardson. Used by the London Quarterly Review, Oct. 1837.
MITTEN. When a gentleman is jilted by a lady, or is discarded by one to whom he has been paying his addresses he is said to have got the mitten.
Young gentlemen that have got the mitten, or young gentlemen who think they are going to get the mitten, always sigh. It makes them feel bad.--Neal's Sketches.
MITTS. A cover for the hand in which the fingers are unprotected.
TO MIZZLE. To run away; to abscond. A low word.
Mr. Buchanan was in the Senate Chamber when the Tariff was under discussion; but as soon as Mr. Bagby commenced speaking of the "odious law of 1842," the Secretary of State mizzled.--Cor. of N. Y. Herald.
A broker, named H. H. D. operated, in a financial way, day before yesterday, to the amount of $3000, and then mizzled.--N. Y. Tribune.
The Southern men will spend their last cent here; while the Northern men, if they had won, would have buttoned up their pockets and mizzled.--N. Y. Herald, May 14, 1845.
Mo. The common abbreviation for Missouri.
MOBEE. A fermented liquor made by the negroes in the West Indies, prepared with sugar, ginger, and snake-root. It is sold by them in the markets.--Carmichael's West Indies.
MOCCASIN,} Also often written and pronounced moggason. (Algonkin, makisin.) An Indian shoe, made of soft leather without a stiff sole, and commonly ornamented round the ancle.--Worcester.
MONETARY. Pertaining to money, or consisting in money.--Webster. A word of recent origin, not in Johnson or Todd, but inserted by Richardson in his dictionary.
MONSTROUS is much used by the vulgar for very, exceedingly.
Augustus is a monstrous pretty city; but it ain't the place it used to was, by a great sight. It seems like it was rotting off at both ends, and ain't growing much in the middle.--Maj. Jones's Sketches of Travel.
It's monstrous inconvenient and ridiculous.--Sam Slick in England.
He'll cut the same capers there he does here. He's a monstrous mean horse.--Georgia Scenes, p. 27.
MOONSHINE. A trifle; nothing.--Grose.
The story of the Queen of Spain's secret marriage to her cousin, appears to have been all moonshine.--N. Y. Com. Adv., Nov. 22, 1845.
MOOSE. An Indian name (Knistenaux, mooswah) of an animal of the genus Cervus, and the largest of the deer kind,
growing sometimes to the height of seventeen hands, and weighing 1200 pounds. This animal inhabits cold northern climates, being found in the forests of Canada and New England.--Encyclopedia.
MORMONS. The Mormonites, or Latter-day Saints, are a religious sect which derive their name from the 'Book of Mormon.'
This book was first published in the year 1830. Since that period its believers and advocates have zealously propagated its doctrines through every State in the Union, and in Canada. In England they have made some thousands of converts.
The Book of Mormon purports to be the record or history of a certain people, who inhabited America previous to its discovery by Columbus. This history, containing prophecies and revelations, was engraven (according to it), by the command of God, on small brass plates, and deposited in the hill Comora, in Western New York. These plates were discovered (the Mormons say) by Joseph Smith, in the year 1825; they contain certain hieroglyphics, in the Egyptian character, which Smith, guided by inspiration translated. It purported to give the history of America from its first settlement by a colony from the tower of Babel to the 5th century of our era. It stated that the Saviour made his appearance upon this continent after his resurrection; that he planted the gospel here--had his apostles, prophets, teachers, etc.; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; and that the last of their prophets wrote the Book of Mormon on the brass plates above named, "which he hid in the earth, until it should come forth and be united with the Bible, for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days."
Smith readily found many to believe his statements, and in 1830 organized his first church of Mormons in Manchester, Ontario county, New York. Other preachers sprang up, who "saw visions and prophesied, cast out devils and healed the sick, by the laying on of hands," and performed other miracles. New churches or societies were formed in other States,
until in a few years their number amounted to many thousands. They removed in a body to Missouri, where a most cruel and relentless persecution sprang up against them, which forced them to quit their homes and the State. They then sought a refuge in Illinois, where they founded a city called Nauvoo, in which they erected an immense edifice or Temple, which is thus described in an Illinois paper:
"This temple stands in a prominent position, and is visible from a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles. Viewed from the bank, it is grand and imposing. It is built of white limestone, which has been worked and faced down to a perfect surface. Its length is 128 feet, width 88 feet, height to the roof 77 feet. The walls are two feet thick; and on every side are rows of pilasters, crowned with elaborately carved capitals, showing a man's face and two hands grasping trumpets. The structure is lighted with four rows of windows, two of which are quadrilateral, and two circular. All the entrances are from the West, and the immense doorways we gained by flights of steps. The interior contains a basement, in the centre of which stands the celebrated baptismal font," an immense stone reservoir, resting upon the backs of twelve oxen, also cut out of stone, and as "large as life."
Persecution followed these poor people in Illinois. They were attacked by armed bodies of men by order of the State authorities, driven out by force, and compelled to abandon or sacrifice their property. Such as survived the persecution, after traversing the boundless prairies, the deserts of the far West, and the Rocky Mountains, finally found a resting place near the Great Salt Lake in Oregon, [sic] where some 20,000 of them are now forming a settlement.
NORTAL. Used in vulgar parlance adverbially for mortally; i. e. excessively.
It was a mortal hot day, and people actually sweated to that degree, it hid the dust.--Sam Slick, 3d ser. p. 102.
TO MOSEY. To be off; to leave; to sneak away. A low expression.
After I left you, or rather after you left me, when them fellows told you to mosey off before the boat went to sea.--N. Y. Family Companion.
MOSQUITO NET.} A net or curtain, which, in the Southern States and in the West Indies, is placed over the bed to protect a person from mosquitoes.
MOSSBUNKER. (Alosa menhaden, Storer.) See Menhaden.
TO MOTION. To move; to make a motion; as, 'I motion that the resolution pass.' An old English word rarely used, because unnecessary.
I want friends to motion such a matter.--Burton, Anat. Melancholy.
MOUGHT, for might. This old preterite is still heard among the illiterate, especially in country places.
TO MOUSE. 'To go mousing about,' is to go poking about into holes and corners.
TO MOVE, for remove. To change one's residence.
These are great moving times. The sovereigns of Europe are being moved, much against their will--and the sovereign people of New York are on the eve of moving, according to custom, which has made the day sports of this city a very peculiar feature. Could the sovereigns of Europe only move as easily as the sovereigns of New York do, from house to house, palace to palace, &c., they would be well content, and not complain--as many movers to-morrow will.--N. Y. Sunday Atlas, April 30, '48.
MUD-HEN. The common name of the Virginia Rail ornithologists. It inhabits small streams and marshes.
MUD-TURTLE. The popular name of a reptile common in all parts of the United States. Marsh Tortoise and Mud Terrapin are other names for the same. It is the sternothærus odorata of naturalists.--Holbrook, Am. Herpetology.
TO MULL. To soften and dispirit.--Johnson. The only authority cited by Johnson is from Shakspeare:
Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy,
Mull'd, deaf, sleepy, insensible.-- Coriolanus.
Used in New England.
There has been a pretty considerable mullin going on among the doctors ever sen the quack medicine came out.--Margaret, p. 170.
MULLEY COW. A name used for a cow chiefly among children, or by parents when speaking to children; as, 'the old mulley cow.' Provincial in England.
In travelling homeward, buy forty good crones,
And fat up the bodies of those seely bones:
Leave milking, and dry up old mulley thy cow; The crooked and aged to fatting put now.--Tusser, Husbandry.
MUMMACHOG. (Genus, fundulus. Lacépède.) The popular name of the Barred Killifish of naturalists. It is a small fish from two to four inches in length, and frequents the salt water creeks and the vicinity of the wharves. This Indian name is retained in Rhode Island.
MUSH. Indian meal boiled with water, and eaten with milk or molasses. It is often called hasty pudding, and is a favorite dish throughout the United States. In Hallamshire, England, to mush, means to crush, or pound very small. From this our word may have originated.
To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee mush!
On Hudson's banks, while men of Belgic spawn
Insult and eat thee by the name suppawn.--Barlow, Hasty Pudding.
MUSQUASH. The musk-rat among the traders in the Northern States is called the musquash.
TO MUSS. A corruption of to mess. To disarrange; disorder; put in confusion. Ex. 'I hate to ride in an omnibus, because it musses my clothes;' 'I'm all mussed up.' The word is much used in New York.
MUSS. A corruption of mess, a state of confusion; a squabble; a row. This vulgarism is also common in New York.
"My head aches," said he; "they have put my mind and body both in a confounded muss.'--Mrs. Child, Letters from New York, p. 129.
I saw the British flag a flyin' from the top of the mast, and my first notioin was to haul it down, and up with the stars and stripes; but I concluded I hadn't better say nothin' about it, for it might get the two nations into a muss, and then there would have to he a war.--Hiram Bigelow's Letter in Fam. Companion.
There is also an old English word muss, meaning a scramble; but it has evidently no connection with the above.
MUSTANG. The wild horse of the prairies, and the invariable companion of their inhabitants. Sparing in diet, a stranger to grain, easily satisfied whether on growing or dead grass, inured to all weather, capable of great labor, the mustang poney seems as peculiarly adapted to the prairies as the camel is to the desert.--Thorpe's Backwoods, p. 12.
TO MUZZLE. To loiter. In Yorkshire, England, they use the word muzlin, loitering, which seems to be the same; also, to muddle, to walk in a careless manner with the head down.--Craven Glossary.
The child mopes, she muzzles about in the grass and chips.--Margater.
TO NAIL. To fasten; to 'bind a person to a bargain. Ex. 'He offered the a dollar for this book, and I nailed him; 'i.e. I accepted the offer.--Grose.
MISS NANCY. A name given to an effeminate man.--Craven Glossary.
NANKEEN. (A Chinese word.) A species of light yellow or fawn-colored cloth, made from cotton of the same color (gossypium religiosum), which color is permanent. The article was formerly imported in large quantities from China; but since the cultivation of the raw material in the United States, nankeens have been manufactured here, in every respect equal to, and at a less cost than those from China.
NARY-ONE, for neither. A common vulgarism.
NATION. Very; extremely; as, nation good, very good. 'A nation long way.' This word is provincial in this sense in various parts of England.--Junius. Brocket.
There were a nation set o' folk at kirk.--Carr's Craven Gloss.
But no sense of a place, some think, Is this here hill so high; Cos there, full oft, 'tis nation cold, But that don't argufy.--Essex Dialect, Noakes and Styles.
You colony chaps are a nation sight too well off; so you be.--Sam Slick.
NATIVE AMERICANS. The name assumed by a political party which sprang up a few years ago, to advocate the rights and privileges of persons born in the United States, in opposition to those of foreigners. The principal measure advocated by them, was the extension of the time of residence required by law previous to naturalization, from seven to twenty-one years. The extreme lengths to which this party went, and the excesses produced in consequence of its
inflammatory appeals to vulgar prejudice, ensured its speedy defeat; and it may now be considered as, to all intents and purposes, extinct.
NEAR, for to or at; in these expressions--'The minister plenipotentiary near the Court of St. James's--near the United States,' &c. This Gallicisin was first used here in translations of the diplomatic correspondence between the French and American governments; and from the language of translations it has been adopted in many of our original compositions.--Pickering.
NETOP. "This Indian word," says Mr. Pickering, "is still used, colloquially, in some towns in the interior of Massachusetts, to signify a friend, or (to use a cant word) a crony." Roger Williams, in his Key to the Indian Language, says, "What cheer, netop? is the general salutation of all English towards the Indians."
NIGH UNTO. Nearly; almost. A vulgarism.
I nigh unto burst with madness!--I could feel every har on my head kindlin' at the eend.--Robb, Squatter Life.
NIGHTCAP. A glass of hot toddy or gin-sling taken before going to bed at night. When a second glass is taken, it is called 'a string to tie it with.'
Come, now, Squire, before we turn in, let us tie the nightcap.--Sam Slick in England, ch. 3.
NIMSHI. A foolish fellow, or one who habitually acts in a foolish manner. Local in Connecticut.
NINE-KILLER. The popular name of the Northern Butcher-bird (lanius) of ornithologists. In Canada and the Eastern States, it is sometimes called Mocking-bird. "The name of nine--killer," says Dr. DeKay, "is derived from the popular belief that it catches and impales nine grasshoppers in a day."--Nat. Hist. of New York.
TO NIP. To pinch close in domestic management.--Forby's Norfolk Glossary.
Mrs. H---- carded, spun, colored, and wove, for herself and others, nipped and beaked her husband, drank, and smoked.--Margaret, p. 14.
NIPPENT. Impudent; impertinent.--Hurd's Gram. Corrector.
TO NOMINATE. To name for an election, choice, or appointment; to propose by name, or offer the name of a person as a candidate for an office or place. This is the principal use of the word in the United States; as in a public assembly, where men are to be selected and chosen to office, any member of the assembly or meeting nominates, that is, proposes to the chairman the name of a person whom he desires to have elected.--Webster.
NOCAKE. An Indian word still used in some parts of New England.
If their imperious occasions cause the Indians to travel, the best of their victuals for their journey is nocake (as they call it), which is nothing but Indian corn parched in the hot ashes; the ashes being sifted from it, it is afterwards beaten to powder, and put into a long leathern bag, trussed at their back like a knapsack; out of which they take thrice three spoonfuls a day.--Wood's New England's Prospect, 1634.
NON-COMMITTAL. That does not commit or pledge himself to any particular measure. A political term in frequent use.
They call him [Mr. Van B----] non-committal too, and this is because he always looks before he leaps. They say he never gives the measure of his foot. Now how can this be, when it is shown that he speaks against the tariff at home, and votes for it in Congress; goes for internal improvement by the General Government in New York, but against it out of it; goes against the Bank at Philadelphia, but in favor of it at Utica; goes for all the candidates for President in turn, Jackson last, notwithstanding which they say he is in higher favor there now than those who began before him. Went for the war, but went against Madison; wanted to turn out Madison and put in Clinton, and then turn Clinton out from the little office he held in New York. Goes for gold and bard money, and has more rag money in his State than all the other States put together. Call you this non-committal? As well may you call the fingers of a watch non-committal, that go regularly around to every figure on its face.--Crockett, Tour, p. 211.
Extensive preparations were made [for a sketch of the Life and Times of Channing]. But experiment at length satisfied me that it was far more difficult than I supposed to shun the dishonesty of making my honored relative the exponent of my prejudices, without sinking into a tone of non-committal, yet more at variance with his character and with the truth.--Preface to the Life of Dr. Channing.
NON-COMMITTALISM. The practice or doctrine of not committing oneself.
Much of what Governor W---- says in his message is made feeble by diffuseness; and on many points he either avoids the expression of opinion, or expresses his opinion with so many qualifications as to subject himself to the charge of non-committalism.--N. Y. Commercial Adv.
He, being somewhat of a wag, handed me "Fearne on Contingent Remainders," which he remarked, with admirable non-committalism, was as interesting as a novel, after one got interested in it.--My Uncle Hobson and I, p. 20.
NON-ELECTION. Failure of election.--Webster.
NON-MANUFACTURING. Not carrying on manufactures; as, 'non-manufacturing States.'--Webster.
NON-PAYMENT. Neglect of payment. Webster.
NO ODDS. No difference; no consequence; no matter. A common expression in low language.
There is no great odds nor difference between these two sermons.--Bp. Latimer's Sermon before Edward VI.
I don't ax no odds of nobody, shouted Boss, smacking his fists together.--Chron. of Pineville, p. 52.
"Now, Major," says the General, "which eend shall we begin at first?" "It makes no odds," says I.--Maj. Downing's Letters, p. 44.
Oh! never mind it, Mister; it aint no odds no how, and I guess we can soon fix it.--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. I. p. 9.
NOODLEJEES. (Dutch.) Wheat dough rolled thin and cut into strings like maccaroni. It is used for the same purpose.
NOODLE-SOUP. Soup made of the above.
NOTCH. An opening or narrow passage through a mountain or hill.--Webster.
NOTICEABLE. That may be observed; worthy of observation.--Webster. Not in any English dictionary. Mr. Pickering gives the following example of its use:
The moon's limb exhibited very little of that rough or serrated appearance, which was so noticeable in 1806.--Mem. of the Amer. Acad. Vol. III.
TO NOTIFY. 1. To make known; to declare; to publish. 'The laws of God notify to man his will and our duty.'
2. To give information of. 'The allied sovereigns have notified the Spanish court of their purpose of maintaining legitimate government.'
3. To give notice to. 'The constable has notified the
citizens to meet at the City Hall.' 'The bell notifies us of the time of meeting.'
The first of these senses, as Dr. Witherspoon long ago observed (Druid, No.5), is the only one in which this word is employed by English writers. They use it simply in the sense of the Latin notificare, i. e. 'to make known,' as in the following examples from Richardson:
His [Duke Robert's] worthie acts valentlie and fortunately atchieved against the infidels, are notified to the world by many and sundrie writers.--Holinshed.
Such protest must also be notified, within fourteen days after, to the drawer.--Blackstone, Com.
The two significations, Nos. 2 and 3, in which the direct object of the verb is the person instead of the thing, is in accordance with the French use of the verb notifier. It is not improbable that they will yet be adopted in England; for the same transfer of the idea from the thing to the person took place in the Latin language itself, in which the word notus, known, was also used in the sense of informed of, knowing.
NOTHING TO NOBODY. Nobody's business. This singular expression is common in the language of the illiterate in some parts of the South.
But surely no lady drank punch? Yes, three of them did, ... and the way these women love punch is nothing to nobody.--Georgia Scenes.
NOTION. Inclination; in vulgar use; as, 'I have a notion to do that.'--Webster.
NOTIONS. Small wares or trifles.--Worcester. A word much used by the ingenious New Englanders.
"Can I suit you to-day, ma'am?" said a pedlar from New England, when offering his wares for sale in Michigan. "I've all sorts of notions. Here's fashionable calicoes; French work collars and capes; elegant milk pans, and Harrison skimmers and ne plus ultry dippers! patent pills--cure anything you like; ague bitters; Shaker yarbs; essences, wintergreen, lobely; tapes, pins, needles, hooks and eyes; broaches and bracelets; smelling bottles; castor ile; corn-plaster; mustard; garding seeds; silver spoons; pocket combs; tea-pots; green tea; saleratus; tracts; song-books; thimbles; baby's whistles; slates; playin' cards; puddin' sticks; baskets; wooden bowls; powder and shot. I shan't offer you lucifers, for ladies with such eyes never buys matches--but you can't ask me for anything I haven't got, I guess."--Mrs. Clavers's Forest Life, Vol. II. p. 113.
NUBBINS. Imperfectly formed ears of corn.
NURLY. A corrupt pronunciation of gnarly, i. e. gnarled.
Times are mopish and nurly.--Margaret, p. 314.
TO NULLIFY. (Lat. nullus.) To annul; to make void.--Todd's Johnson.
You will say, that this nullifies all exhortations to piety; once a man, in this case, cannot totally come up to the thing he is exhorted to.--South's Sermons.
NULLIFICATION. The act of nullifying; a rendering void and of no effect, or of no legal effect.--Webster. The political meaning of nullification is limited and special--at least in American politics. Some years ago, when the system of high protective duties on foreign imports was predominant in the national councils, the politicians of South Carolina--whose main article of export is cotton--were strongly desirous of free trade with England and France, the principal consumers of that article, believing that the consumption of it in those countries would be augmented by an augmentation of the import of their fabrics. Those politicians thought themselves aggrieved therefore by the protection given in the United States to the manufacture of fabrics coming into competition with those of England and France. But finding Congress resolute in adhering to the protective tariff, the South Carolina politicians became so exasperated that at last they proclaimed their intention to nullify the tariff--that is, to admit British and French goods into their ports free of duty, and not to permit the exercise of Custom House functions in their State. In other words, nullification, in the case of South Carolina, was simply an act, or at least a threat, of open rebellion.--[John Inman.]
Somebody must go ahead. and look after these matters to keep down nullification and take care of the Gineral [Jackson] when he gits into his tantrums, and keep the great democratic party from splitting in two.--Crockett, Tour, p. 218.
NULLIFIER. One who believes in or maintains the right of a State to refuse compliance with a law enacted by the legislature of the whole Union. [John Inman.]
OATS. To feel one's oats, is to feel one's importance.
You know you feel your oats as well as any one. So don't be so infarnal mealy-mouthed, with your mock-modesty face.--S. Slick in England.
OBLIGEMENT. This antiquated word ia still used by old people in New England.--Pickering.
OCELOT. The French popular name of a digitigrade carnivorous mammal of the cat kind.--Webster.
ODD FISH. A person who is eccentric or odd in his manners. The Knickerbocker Magazine, in a sketch of a learned professor of Tinnecum, says:
He was styled unanimously an odd fish, by those who knew him; nor did his appearance belie him, as he started forth on a geological excursion, making poems and tuning pianos by the way. On another occasion he won a foot race on the Union course for a hundred dollars, to enable him to pursue his studies for the ministry.--Vol. VI. p. 551.
ODD STlCK. An eccentric person; as, 'John Randolph was an odd stick.'
OF. An action of the organs of sense may be either involuntary or voluntary. Accordingly we say to hear, to see, to denote an involuntary act; and to look at, to hearken or to listen to, to denote a voluntary one. With regard to the other senses we are not so well provided with words; but some people, prompted apparently by a feeling of this deficiency, endeavor to supply it by construing the verbs to feel, to taste, to smell, with the preposition of, to signify a voluntary act. Hence, to feel, taste, smell of a thing, is to do so intentionally. This corruption is rarely met with in writing.
In the course of the forenoon, a few women came around our tent--felt of it--and peeped through the cracks, to see Mrs. Perkins.--Perkins's Residence in Persia, p. 103.
OFF AND ON. Vacillating, changeable, undecided; in which sense it is much used with us. In England it is also used.--Carr's Craven Dialect.
Be it so, that the Corinthians had no such contentions among them, as
OFFISH. A word applied to a person who is distant or unapproachable in his manners.
OFFSET. In accounts, a sum, account, or value set off against another sum or account, as an equivalent.--Webster.
This word is generally used in place of the English term set-off. Mr. Pickering says, "it is also very common in popular language, in the sense of an equivalent. None of the English dictionaries have the word in any sense except that of "shoot from a plant."
He avoided giving offence to any of the numerous offsets of Presbyterianism.--Lond. Quart. Rev., Vol. X. p. 498.
The expense or the frigates had been strongly urged; but the saving in insurance, in ships and cargoes, and the ransom of seamen, was more than an offset against this item.--Marshall's Washington.
Thanksgiving was an anti-Christmas festival, established as a kind of offset to that.--Margaret, p. 61.
TO OFFSET. To set one account against another; to make the account of one party pay the demand of another.--Webster.
OLD. Crafty; cunning. Used in vulgar language. When a person attempts to get the advantage of another, and is frustrated in the attempt by the sagacity or shrewdness of the other, the latter will say, 'I'm a little too old for you,' meaning that he is too cunning to be deceived by him.
OLD, for stale; in this expression, 'old bread.' New England.--Pickering's Vocab.
Mr. P. infers from the following extract, that this is also a Scotticism:
The Scotticism old bread, seems no way inferior to the Anglicism stale bread--Lond. Monthly Mag., April, 1800.
OLD COUNTRY. A term applied to Great Britain, originally by natives from that country, but now understood and used generally in the United States.
OLD COUNTRYMAN. A native of England, Scotland, Ireland, or Wales. The term is never applied to persons from the Continent of Europe.
OLD-WIFE, or OLD-SQUAW. The popular name of a brown duck, one of the most common throughout North America, the long-tailed Duck of Pennant.--Nat. Hist. of New York.
OLD-MAN. (Artemisia abrotanum.) A popular name for the Southern-wood plant.
OLDERMOST. Oldest. Used at the West.
Ain't that oldermost stranger a kinder sort a preacher?--Carlton, The New Purchase, Vol. II. p. 70.
OLYCOKE. (Dutch, olikoek, oil-cake.) A cake fried in lard. A favorite delicacy with the Dutch, and also with their descendants, in New York. There are various kinds, as dough-nuts, crullers, etc.
ONCE IN A WHILE. Occasionally; sometimes.
Scarcely a day passes in which from two to half a dozen of our paragraphs are not "appropriated" by others of the city papers, without any allusion to their origin, or any complaint from us. But once in a while, when the "appropriation "is of a column or more, we bear the act in mind and take the first convenient occasion to retaliate.--N. Y. Com. Adv.
ON HAND. At hand; present. A colloquial expression in frequent use.
The Anti-Sabbath meeting, so long talked of, has at length taken place in Boston. About 300 females were on hand.--N. Y. Express.
If our numerous subscribers and the public will be on hand about 5 o'clock this evening, we can give them the European papers by the America, containing doubtless the most critical intelligence ever transmitted to this country. So be ready.--Burgess, Stringer & Co., 222 Broadway.
ONPLUSH, for nonplus. The expression is used in the Southern States.
You know I tuck dinner at the Planters. Well, I was put a leetle to the onplush by that old nigger feller what waits on the table there. I did not know what to make of him.--Maj. Jones's Courtship, p. 63.
ONTO. A preposition used in some of the Northern States, but not peculiar to America.
When the stack rises two feet high to be conveniently forked onto from the ground.--Marshall, Rural Econ., Yorkshire, Vol. II. p. 144.
Mr. Pickering quotes the following as the only example he has seen in an American book:
Take all your cigars and tobacco, and in some calm evening carry them onto the common.--Dr. B. Waterhouse, Lecture on Tobacco.