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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/219

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10 s. XIL AUG. 28, 1909.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



The Oxford English Dictionary. Ribaldric Romanite. By W. A. Craigie. (Oxford, Cla- rendon Press.)

THE great ' Dictionary ' continues to make steady advance with a regularity which deserves the highest praise. Few can realize the amount of care and research which goes to the making of even a small section. There is so much, indeed, in this wonderful storehouse of language that it is danger- ous to point out omissions without making a very thorough search. The arrangement and analysis of meanings are as good as they could be, but even so those who use the ' Dictionary ' often fail to realize its resources, and accuse it unjustly of deficiencies. These misconceptions, however, cannot affect the reputation of a work of which every English scholar is proud, and which has no equal in any country. It is pleasant to think that the combined erudition of ' N. & Q.' has played its part in filling some of the gaps which Inevitably confront the most careful workers and collectors in so immense a field.

The total number of words recorded here is 3,161, and the quotations reach 17,677. These figures are, it is needless to say, far in advance of those of the best previous dictionaries. " Riband," " ribband," and " ribbon " are all similar in meaning, the second having a specialized sense In shipbuilding. " Bicardian " and " Richard - sonian " are derived from a famous economist and novelist. " Rich " has a long article which shows the elaborate and skilful analysis of mean- Ings which is one of the leading features of the ' Dictionary.' The figurative quotation of 1638 under section 8, " study without a rich veine," is obviously a mere translation of Horace's " studium sine divite vena," 'Ars Poet.,' 409. There is a curious diversity of opinion as to the origin of the word "rickets." " Rickle "= clatter, rattle, a Cheshire word, is said to be used in Urquhart's translation of Rabelais through copying from Cotgrave, who was a Cheshire man. Quotations for " riddled " by bullets, &c., are given only from inferior authority, but many military histories of good repute would easily have fur- nished a good instance of the word. ' Ride " (verb) is a long and elaborate piece of work. In the sense of " riding " a boundary for the purpose of maintaining or reviving a clear knowledge of it we get under " Riding " a reference to Johnson, but Boswell's ' Life,' ed. B. Hill, i. 36, gives a more extended notice of the word. It was Johnson's father who "rode" at Lichfield ^ and did the ceremony handsomely. " Rider " in the mathematical sense does not seem to occur earlier than 1851. The " Ridotto," which was a feature of England in the eighteenth century has now disappeared from the language except In the works of antiquarian novelists. Under " Rifleman" might have been noticed Tennyson's ' Riflemen, Form ! ' first published in The Times in 1859 before the Volunteer movement began, as a note to his works recalls. A pleasant addition to the quotations for " rig " (frolic) would be

Max, proudly your Aryans pose,

But their rigs they undoubtedly ran, which occurs in the ' Envoy ' of Mr. Andrew Lang's

' Double Ballade of Primitive Man ' in his ' Ballades in Blue China.' " Right " in various senses is very thoroughly explained and analyzed. The ' Dictionary ' condescends . even to slang, including such phrases as "To rights " and " Right you are!" The " right bank " of a river, as to which some people may, like ourselves, have been In doubt before now, is " that on the right of a person facing down the stream." To get out of bed on the right side, i.e. in a good temper, is as old as 1562. " Rigmarole " is said to be apparently a colloquial survival and alteration of ' Ragman Roll,' which went out of use about 1600. " Riley " is an instance of the United States words which the ' Dictionary ' gathers into its all-inclusive net. It means " turbid r muddy," or " angry." We are pleased to see Tennyson's " fall Of diamond rillets musical " quoted. He possibly derived the word, which Is rare, from a passage of Keats's ' Endymion/ " Rime " in the versifier's sense begins with a statement concerning spelling which will be of interest to many of our readers. " Rimose "" means full of chinks, but it is not recorded in the figurative sense of " blabbing," which it clearly bears in Lord Hobhouse's ' Recollections of a Long Life,' ii. 136, recently published: "Sid- mouth was very loose and rimose in his talk." This use is, we doubt not, derived from Horace,. ' Sat.' ii. 6, 46 :

quse rimosa bene deponuntur in aure.

" Ring " in various usages is another instance of laborious and successful analysis. The quota- tions for " riot " (a violent disturbance of the peace) would have been lightened by a reference to the proceedings of Mr. Nupkins and his clerk against Mr. Pickwick. ' ; Rip " may, it appears, be an abbreviated form of " reprobate." The description in ' The Tempest ' of Trinculo as " reeling ripe " is duly noted, and we may add to it Tennyson's reminiscence in ' Will Water- proof's Literary Monologue ' :

Head-waiter honoured by the guest

Half -mused or reeling ripe.

" Rise " (verb) occupies well over three pages, " Road " and its derivatives will repay perusal ; indeed, this section is rich in common words used in many ways. " Robin Hood " is now under suspicion as a real person, though he is at any rate a fiction that dates from 1377. " Roc " recalls the ' Arabian Nights,' and also chess, for we believe that the rook or castle is the same word. " Roger de Coverley " was " Roger of Coverly " in early usage, but Addison brought in the newrr form. " Roky "= " misty, foggy," is quoted from Tennyson's ' Last Tournament.' Lord Tenny- son explains in his Eversley Edition of his father's poems that the poet was thinking here of ' Mac- oeth,' III. ii. 51 :

Light thickens,

And the crow makes wing to the rookie wood. Such is the spelling of the First Folio, but both it and the meaning seem uncertain. Perhaps, when the ' Dictionary ' reaches " rooky," it will decide in favour of " misty " for the meaning here, " or inhabited by rooks." " Roman Catholic " is prefaced by a note explaining the use of the term, winch is, from time to tim-', the subject of controversy in the press. That " romance " which has been rediscovered for us by Mr. Kipling, Mr. Chesterton, and other writers is difficult to