Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

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Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:37 am

Below you will find definitions of Mortdecai Colloquialisms. They are organized by chapter with the page number following the term.

There is another post which is a glossary of colloquialisms organized in alfpha order.


Welkin (8) - The vault of the sky; the celestial abode of God or the gods (heaven); the upper atmosphere.

Counterpane (9) - A bedspread.


Eldritch (12) – Weird; eerie; sinister.

Sabine (12) - Of, relating to, or denoting an ancient Oscan-speaking people of the central Apennines in Italy, northeast of Rome, who feature in early Roman legends and were incorporated into the Roman state in 290 BC. From the Urban Dictionary: One of the most talented women you will ever meet.

Jeremiad (13) - A long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes.

Excrescence (15) - A distinct outgrowth on a human or animal body or on a plant, especially one that is the result of disease or abnormality (growth, lump, swelling, nodule; an unattractive or superfluous addition or feature (eyesore, blot on the landscape, monstrosity).

Jeou-P’ou-T’ouan (16) – Written by Li-Wu in 1640, this is one of the most famous Chinese erotic novels.


Collimation (18) - The accurate adjustment of the line of sight of a telescope.

Puissance Trials (19) - A competitive test of a horse's ability to jump large obstacles in show jumping.

Mors communis omnibus (20) – A Latin phrase meaning death is common to all men.


Warden (at Oxford) (26) - The Head of House at All Souls College, Keble College, Merton College, New College, Nuffield College, St Antony’s College and Wadham College…..and also Scones (which is fictional). The Head of House is: The head of a college, known variously as the Dean (Christ Church), the Master (Balliol, Pembroke, St Catherine’s, St Cross, St Peter’s and University College), the President (Corpus Christi, Kellogg, Magdalen, St John’s, Trinity and Wolfson); the Principal (Brasenose, Green Templeton, Harris Manchester, Hertford, Jesus, Lady Margaret Hall, Linacre, Mansfield, St Anne’s, St Edmund Hall, St Hilda’s, St Hugh’s and Somerville), the Provost (Oriel, Queen’s and Worcester), the Rector (Exeter and Lincoln), and the Warden (All Souls, Keble, Merton, New, Nuffield, St Antony’s and Wadham).


Dentine (30) - Hard, dense, bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth beneath the enamel (usually known as dentin).

Jehu-like driving (30) - A king of Israel noted for his furious chariot attacks;
a fast driver; the driver of a cab or coach.

Don (30) - A professor, lecturer or Fellow at a college in Oxford or Cambridge.

Turl (30) – An historic street in Oxford.

Loth (32) – A variant of loath: reluctant; unwilling.

Thieves’-cant (33) - Thieves' cant or Rogues' cant, also known as peddler's French, was a secret language (a cant or cryptolect) which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in Great Britain and to a lesser extent in other English-speaking countries.

Argot (33) - The jargon or slang of a particular group or class.

Sponge Joyeuse (33) – A frequent character of P.G. Wodehouse is Uncle Fred (aka Lord Ickenham). This is a quote from the book Utterly Uncle Fred: “ ‘I can lend you a razor and my great sponge, Joyeuse’. Lord Ickenham turned to Elsie bean.”

Master of Balliol (33) – The Head of House at Balliol College, Pembroke College, St Catherine’s College, St Cross College, St Peter’s College and University College. Balliol is not fictional, unlike Scones. And it appears that this post would be the equivalent of a Warden.

Vale of Tears (33) – The phrase vale of tears (Latin valle lacrimarum) is a Christian phrase referring to the tribulations of life that Christian doctrine says are left behind only when one leaves the world and enters heaven. The term "valley of tears" is also used sometimes.

Niffy (33) – Malodorous, unpleasant-smelling. Opposite of fragrant.

Nub (33) - Essence, point or gist.

Nolle prosequi (34) – Legal jargon and a Latin legal phrase meaning "be unwilling to pursue," a phrase amounting to "do not prosecute." It is a phrase used in many common law criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges either before trial or before a verdict is rendered.

Nutshell-mongers (34) – From Don Wells: "A humorous extension of the metaphorical nutshell into which CM wants to put his refusal of Dryden's request. He treats the metaphorical nutshell as a real one then invents a trade to supply it."

Pomade Hongroise (34) - The famous Hungarian STERN ointment cream for keeping the shape of a moustache at night while sleeping.


Post-prandial (35) - During or relating to the period after dinner or lunch.

Bed-cord (38) - A rope drawn from one side of a bedstead to another to support a mattress.

Bob (40) – A shilling

Senescence (41) – Biologically and mentally growing old.

Kangaroo (41) –
You’ll like this…..The word "kangaroo" derives from the Guugu Yimithirr word gangurru, referring to grey kangaroos. The name was first recorded as "kanguru" on July 12, 1770 in an entry in the diary of Sir Joseph Banks; this occurred at the site of modern Cooktown, on the banks of the Endeavour River, where HMS Endeavour under the command of Lieutenant James Cook was beached for almost seven weeks to repair damage sustained on the Great Barrier Reef. Cook first referred to kangaroos in his diary entry of August 4. Guugu Yimithirr is the language of the people of the area. A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that "kangaroo" was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for "I don't understand you." According to this legend, Cook and Banks were exploring the area when they happened upon the animal. They asked a nearby local what the creatures were called. The local responded "Kangaroo", meaning "I don't understand you", which Cook took to be the name of the creature. This myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.

Sobriquet (43) – Nickname.


Force majeure (44) – Unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract; irresistible compulsion or greater force.

Nonce (44) – The one, particular, or present occasion, purpose, or use; the time being.

DC-7 (47) - The Douglas DC-7 is an American transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston-engine powered transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. Seventeen DC-7s remained on the U.S. registry in 2010,[8] used mainly for cargo and as airtankers. Due to its engine problems, the DC-7 has not had the same longevity as the DC-6, which is still used by a number of commercial operators.

Timorous (47) – Timid; fearful.

Hogarth or Rowlandson (49) – William Hogarth (1697 –1764) was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. Thomas Rowlandson: 1756 – 1827) was an English artist and caricaturist.

Freshet (49) - The flood of a river from heavy rain or melted snow; a rush of fresh water flowing into the sea.

Piggy-wig (49) – Pig in the poem by Lewis Carroll, “The Owl and the Pussycat:”

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


Water-bailiff (56) - An official responsible for enforcing laws on river management and fishing

Whitehall lackey (56) - Whitehall is a main thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, in central London, which forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. Recognized as the center of Her Majesty's Government, the street is lined with government departments and ministries; the name "Whitehall" is thus also frequently used as a metonym for overall British governmental administration, as well as being a geographic name for the surrounding area. Lackey is servant or “yes” man.

“abominations of Moab” (56) - From the Bible, Chemosh was the primary god of the Moabites. The worship of Chemosh was considered to be "the abomination of Moab," because it was an inexcusable sin, as was the worship of any deity other than Yahweh. From 1 Kings 11:7: “Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.”

DCI (56) – A senior rank in the Police Force - Detective Chief Inspector. (Thanks, Pizzaros Pies, for providing this definition)

Bunged into the tower (56) – From Don Wells: "thrown into the Tower of London, used as a prison since 11th C, reserved for those accused of the most heinous crimes, e.g. treason, and for those of high rank."

Jackanapes (56) – Monkey on a leash; impertinent person.

Massy (56) - Consisting of a large mass; bulky; massive.

Leaf-curl (56) - A plant condition distinguished by the presence of curling leaves, caused by environmental stress or disease.

Warrant-card (57) - Proof of identification and authority carried by police officers. The term is normally used only within the United Kingdom and in current and former Commonwealth countries.

Rotter (57) - A British term for a cruel, stingy, or unkind person.

Senior Common Room (SCR) (57) – In some universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland — particularly collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, Durham, York and Lancaster— students and the academic body are organized into common rooms. These groups exist to provide representation in the organization of college or residential hall life, to operate certain services within these institutions such as laundry or recreation, and to provide opportunities for socializing. Typically, though there are variations based on institutional tradition and needs. Generally, a Senior Common Room is an association of tutors and academics associated with a college.


Scout (59) - From Don Wells: "In this context, specifically a college servant."

Au fait (60) – Having a good or detailed knowledge of something.

Ukase (60) – An edict of the Russian government; an arbitrary command.

Ditty-bag (60) - A receptacle for odds and ends, especially one used by sailors or fishermen.

Nick (63) – Informal British for prison.

Corpus delictibus (63) - A term from Western jurisprudence referring to the principle that a crime must have been proven to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.


Sui generis (66) – A Latin phrase, meaning "of its own kind/genus" and hence unique. The term is widely used to refer to more esoteric entities in a number of disciplines, including philosophy (when a concept is not available), biology (when a species does not fit into a genus which includes other species), law (when a special and unique interpretation of a case or authority is found to be necessary), intellectual property rights (where there is no defining characteristic, politics and societal norms (where there is no real authority perceived), and creative arts (where an artistic work goes beyond conventional genre boundaries).

Veriest (66) - Utmost; of the highest degree.

Stay (67) - A device used as a brace or support; a corset made of two pieces laced together and stiffened by strips of whalebone.

Gobbet (68) - A piece or lump of flesh, food, or other matter.

Chink (68) - A small cleft, slit, or fissure; a weak spot that may leave one vulnerable; a narrow beam of light shining through a chink.

En clair (68) - In ordinary language; not written or sent in code or cipher.

Abwehr (70) - The German high-command service for espionage, counter intelligence, and sabotage during World War II.

PPK (70) – May refer to Walther PPK, a handgun made popular by its use by the title character in the James Bond series of films.

Recked (70) – To have regard for; mind; heed.

Ditto (72) - A similar thing; a duplicate. From Don Wells: In this case, "a similar person, i.e., a senior inspector."

Ogden Nash-like poem (72) – Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, The New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry." Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972. I’m guessing this would refer to a poem that is unconventional and droll, like the poems of Ogden Nash.


Balliol (74) – From the Oxford website: The oldest Oxford college continuously on one site, co-founded by a woman, Balliol is home to young people from many different backgrounds who have come to study with world-class academics. In this large, close-knit community right in the centre of Oxford, Balliol generates ideas and educates people who will change the world for the better.

Junior Dean (75) - The Junior Dean acts as a key liaison figure between staff and students, assisting the Dean and other College Officers with particular regard to maintaining discipline amongst student members and holding a role within the College’s welfare team. The Junior Dean may be required to follow up on issues referred by the Dean, other Officers or relevant professionals, as appropriate. NOTE: I could not find “Junior Dean-wards” but will assume that means the wards (residence halls) over which Junior Deans are responsible.

Booby (75) – A stupid or childish person.

Blepharism (75) - Spasm of the eyelid.

Solitary Vice (75) - To engage in autoeroticism when alone.

Interleave (77) - Insert pages, typically blank ones, between the pages of (a book).

Wiffled (78) - To veer or toss about irregularly.

Anon (79) – Soon, shortly.

Dean of Degrees (80) – At Oxford graduation ceremony, Fellows who present the students from each respective college.

Michaelmas Term (80) – The first term of the academic year at Oxford, which begins in October and ends in December.

Vice-Chancellor (80) - The senior officer of the University. The role of the Vice-Chancellor is to provide strategic direction and leadership to the collegiate University, and to position and represent the University internationally, nationally and regionally. The Vice-Chancellor chairs Council and other major University bodies, and nominates deputies to chair others. He or she works closely with the colleges to ensure a coherent vision across all the constituent parts of the University, and with Council, Congregation, the academic divisions, and the Conference of Colleges to ensure that the governance, management and administration of the collegiate University are efficient and effective.

Relict (82) - a thing that has survived from an earlier period or in a primitive form.

F.X.K (82) – F. Xavier Kleiglight University of S. Wichita does not appear to exist. However there is a St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and a University of Saint Francis Xavier in Bolivia.

Esquimaux (82) – Esquimau (usually spelled without the x) is French for Eskimo.


Gulbenkian Professor (83) – The Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies lectures and gives instruction in Armenian Studies at Oxford University. It falls under the Oriental Institute at Pembroke College. Professor Emeritus Robert W. Thomson (appointed to the post in 1992, but now retired) could be the inspiration for the character. Thomson Thomson has translated into English several Old Armenian, Syriac and Greek texts as well as having written two textbooks on the Armenian language.

Trumpery gewgaws (83) – Those which are showy but worthless.

Ulpia Victrix (84) – Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix was a Roman legion levied by the Emperor Trajan in 100 for the Dacian Wars. The legion was active until disbandment of the Rhine frontier in the beginning of the 5th century. Their emblems were the gods Neptune and Jupiter and the Capricorn. Ulpia is Trajan's own gens (Ulpia), while the cognomen "Victrix" means "victorious", and was awarded after the valiant behavior in the Dacian wars.

Faeces (85) – Just what you thought it was…..the British spelling for feces. I’m familiar with many of the differences in spelling, but wasn’t aware of this one.

Detritus (85) - Waste or debris of any kind.

Postilla (85) – A commentary or annotation (usually of a Bible passage).

Formicating (88) - To swarm with ants or other crawling things. (NOTE: the other terms on this page refer to alcoholic beverages, which will be covered in a tidbit specifically on that topic)


Pate - The human head, especially the top of the head.

Yeoman - An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household. From Don Wells: "The word is seldom used now, except to give a flavour of antiquity. It tends to mean a countryman or small farmer and can be used as an adjective meaning reliable, sound, uncomplicated. 'Yeoman stock' could be the equivalent of 'good ol' country boys.'"

Bene nati, bene vestiti et modice docti (91)– Latin for: well born, well dressed and moderately learned.

Sluicing (92) – Draining, flushing.

Phalanx (92) – Compact or close-knit body of people.

Plimsoll-line (92) – Water line/level on a ship, load line.

Boggle (92) – I’m sure that you are aware of the meaning of this word in terms of surprise or astonishment. But it is also used to refer to alarm or to hesitate or be evasive with confronted with a problem or fear. I believe this is the way it is used in this case.

Dirk Bogarde (93) - Sir Dirk Bogarde (28 March 1921 – 8 May 1999) was an English actor and writer. Initially a matinée idol in such films as Doctor in the House (1954) and other Rank Organisation pictures, Bogarde later acted in art-house films such as Death in Venice (1971). In a second career, Bogarde wrote seven best-selling volumes of memoirs, six novels and a volume of collected journalism, mainly from his articles in The Daily Telegraph. Interestingly, he starred in The Mind Benders (1963), a film in which Bogarde plays an Oxford professor conducting sensory deprivation experiments at Oxford University.

Bouton of my Legion d’honneur (fifth class) (96) – Appears to be an award for induction into the French Legion of Honor. But I could not find “fifth class.” I imagine he’s making a joke I don’t get.

Bondieuseries (96) - Church ornaments or devotional objects, especially of little artistic merit.

‘Tierced in pairle reversed’/Haldermanstettens/argent/blazonry/bend sinister (97) – All of these terms refer to heraldry (the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms). It’s lost on me, but if you’d like to read up on it, look here

Wilily (97) – Adverb form of wiles. Describing a cunning or crafty way of doing the action.

Set (98) - a group or collection of things that belong together, resemble one another, or are usually found together. Synonyms: group, collection, series; assortment, selection, compendium, batch, number; arrangement, array. So I’m thinking, in this case Bronwen’s set is her set of rooms.


Raiment (101) – Clothing

Zizz (103) – Doze

Greek epigraphy (104) – Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions, and more specifically, the deciphering of ancient inscriptions (in this particular case, Greek).

Cypriot lift-boy (104) - A person who operates a lift, esp. in large public or commercial buildings and hotels. In this case the person comes from Cyprus.


Aeroflot (112) – Aeroflot is a Russian airlines founded in 1923 and still in existence today.


Protobibliothecarius (121) – Bibliothecarius is Latin for Librarian. Protobibliothecarius was the unique post of Principal Librarian at Cambridge University created for Conyers Middleton in 1721. He was appointed to that post by his supporters over a political dispute among the fellows at Trinity College at a certain Richard Bentley. In 1828 this post was merged with that of Bibliothecarius.

N’Gorongoro country (122) - The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area, is recognized by one private organization as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

Donegal tweed (122) - A hand woven tweed manufactured in County Donegal, Ireland. While the weavers in County Donegal provide a number of different tweed fabrics, including herringbone and check patterns, the area is best known for a plain-weave cloth of differently-colored warp and weft, with small pieces of yarn in various colors woven in at irregular intervals to produce a heathered effect. Such fabric is often labeled as "donegal" (with a lowercase "d") regardless of its provenance.

Cavalry Club (124) - The Cavalry Club was a London gentlemen's club established in 1890. In 1975, it merged with the Guards' Club, and became the Cavalry and Guards Club.

Readies (125) - From Don Wells: "Cash, ready money."

Up-market (125) – Upscale

Crushed Morocco (125) - Goatskin that has been pressed with polished plates to create a smooth, ungrained surface; popular for luxury bookbinding in the late 19th century. See example.

Rexine (125) - The registered trademark of an artificial leather leathercloth fabric produced in the United Kingdom by Rexine Ltd of Hyde, near Manchester, England. It was made of cloth surfaced with a mixture of cellulose nitrate, camphor oil, pigment and alcohol, embossed to look like leather.


Dominoes Saturnalia (128) - Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on the 17th of December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to the 23rd of December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. I’m guessing “dominoes” refers to gambling.

Sotto voce (129) – In a low voice.

Smackerel (129) – A taste, a very small amount of; a snack, small bit of food.


Pignut (139) - A curse word used by Shakespeare. An ugly tuber (a rounded swelling or protuberant part).

Thermic lance (140) - Also known as a burning bar or thermal lance, it is an industrial tool that uses the oxidization of iron to generate very high temperatures (7000 to 8000°F, or 3,871 to 4,426°C) for cutting through just about anything, including rock. The temperature generated is greater than the melting point of any known substance - with diamond having the highest at 3,547°C or 6,416°F.

Old Bailey (141) - The Old Bailey is the chief court exercising criminal jurisdiction in London; the Central Criminal Court of England. It’s named for the street on which it stands.

Old Bill (140) – Nickname for the London police. "Old Bill" might also refer to Bill Bailey of the music hall song 'Won't You Come Home...?' used in conjunction with a pun on the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey.

Norfolk Broads (141) - The Broads are a network of mostly navigable rivers and lakes in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The lakes having been formed by the flooding of peat workings. The Broads, and some surrounding land, were constituted as a special area with a level of protection similar to a national park by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988. The total area is 303 square kilometers (117 sq mi), most of which is in Norfolk, with over 200 kilometers (120 mi) of navigable waterways. There are seven rivers and 63 broads, mostly less than 4 meters (13 ft) deep. Although the terms Norfolk Broads and Suffolk Broads are used to identify specific areas within the two counties respectively, the whole area is frequently mistakenly referred to as the "Norfolk Broads."

Gum-boot (141) - The Wellington boot is a tall rubber boot based upon leather Hessian boots. They were worn and popularized by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The "Wellington" boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the British aristocracy in the early 19th century, but also in the trenches of WWI and WWII. Also referred to on pg. 144 as “flatties in muddy wellies.”

Memento moria (142) – Strictly translated from Spanish: Memento memory.

Catarrh (144) - excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane.

Superintendent at Prince’s Risborough (145) - Superintendent of police in the small town of Princes (without the apostrophe) Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England. The rank of Superintendent in the police force is senior to chief inspector and junior to chief superintendent.


Equine mud-lark (148) – A mudlark is a racehorse that runs well on a wet or muddy course.

Botts (148) – Bots is a disease of mammals, especially cattle and horses, caused by infestation of the stomach or intestines with botfly larvae.

Glanders (148) - A contagious, usually fatal disease of horses and other equids, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei and characterized by swollen lymph nodes, nasaldischarge, and ulcers of the respiratory tract and skin. The disease is communicable to other mammals, including humans.

Stifles (148) - the joints in the hind legs of a horse, dog, etc, between the femur and tibia.

Spavins (148) - A disease of the hock joint of horses in which enlargement occurs due to collected fluids, bony growth, or distention of the veins.

Decocting (148) – To extract the essence of.

Untergang des Abendlandes (148) – German for “the decline of the West.”

Potation (148) – A beverage (usually the alcoholic kind).

Nourrie dans le sérail (149) – French for “nourished in the seraglio.” Seraglio is the women's apartments (harem) in an Ottoman palace; or a Turkish or Ottoman palace, especially the Sultan's court and government offices at Constantinople.

Charvet dressing-gown (149) – A robe from Charvet Place Vendôme, a high-end men’s shirtmaker in Paris. Charvet has quite a list of notable customers such as Prince Charles, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Claude Monet and Ernest Hemingway.

Baveuse (151) - is a French cooking term meaning moist, juicy, just a bit runny or undercooked. It is most used to describe a desirable state of doneness for omelettes or baked custards.

Petit male (152) - A petit mal (note male) seizure is the term given to a small seizure, commonly called an absence seizure. It looks like a staring spell. It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Pongid (152) - A primate of a family ( Pongidae ) that comprises the great apes (e.g. gorilla).

Abstemious (154) - Characterized by abstinence or moderation.

Argol (154) - Crude potassium hydrogentartrate, deposited as a crust on the sides of wine vats

Bucks. flatties (144 & 154) – Buckinghamshire policemen. Bucks. is an abbreviation for Buckinghamshire and flatty is slang for policeman.

Sodding (154) - “Sod off” is used in the imperative to dismiss someone angrily, kind of like “damn.” I’m thinking this is meant to be an expletive.

Ethiop’s ear (155) – A reference from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Romeo says of Juliet: “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear,” (NOTE: Again, it’s spelled differently.)


Barrage-balloon (163) – Blimp.

Dead cert (163) - To be certain to happen or to be certain to achieve something (as in an RIBA gold medal).

RIBA gold medal (163) - The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual's or group's substantial contribution to international architecture. It is given for a distinguished body of work rather than for one building, and is therefore not awarded for merely being currently fashionable.

Shinning (163) - To climb by holding fast with the hands or arms and legs and drawing oneself up.

Montessori (165) – A private (as opposed to public) international education program beginning in pre-school and continuing through middle school in some locations.

Cairngorms (166) – A mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland closely associated with the mountain of the same name— Cairn Gorm.


Wrack (173) – wreck; wreckage; ship wreckage; the violent destruction of a structure, machine, or vehicle.

Cartago delenda est (173) – Actually spelled “Carthago” it is a Latin oratorical phrase which was in popular use in the Roman Republic in the 2nd Century BC during the latter years of the Punic Wars against Carthage, by the party urging a foreign policy which sought to eliminate any further threat to the Roman Republic from its ancient rival Carthage, which had been defeated twice before and had a tendency after each defeat to rapidly rebuild its strength and engage in further warfare. It represented a policy of the extirpation of the enemies of Rome who engaged in aggression, and the rejection of the peace treaty as a means of ending conflict. The phrase was most famously uttered frequently by the Roman senator Cato the Elder (234–149 BC), as a part of his speeches.

Sahib - A name of Arabic origin meaning "holder, master or owner." It has passed on to several languages including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Pashto, Turkish, Marathi and Kannada. It has also entered English, as a loanword especially associated with British rule in India; a term of respect used, especially during the colonial period, when addressing or referring to a European.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:38 am

Just noticed a term I missed......

post-prandial, Chapter VI, pg. 35

It is relating to the period after dinner or lunch.
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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:13 pm

Liz, I just wanted to say thanks so much for putting this list together! :rosegirl: I'm reading the book now and it has been extremely helpful! :ok:

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:10 am

I'm glad it's helped. :mortdecaiheart:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:40 am

Btw the use of the word sodding, its used in an irritated way or when annoyed and possibley you can't find another word to use except a very bad expletive :lol:

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Don Wells » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:16 pm

Hi, Liz
A learned list, indeed.
If you will allow an Englishman to add some enlightenment from my life-long and long life acquaintance with the intricacies and oddities of the English language as spoken in my corner of the world, please accept them in the spirit of furthering Anglo-American understanding.
P. 34 "Nutshell-mongers" is merely a humorous extension of the metaphorical nutshell into which CM wants to put his refusal of Dryden's request. He treats the metaphorical nutshell as a real one then invents a trade to supply it.
Whoops! I've just been reminded by the missus, the trouble and strife, the old woman, that I'd better get a wiggle on or I'll be late for my tai chi class. Will continue this lesson in Brit-speak when I return.

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Don Wells » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:46 pm

To continue:
"Bunged in to the Tower." thrown into the Tower of London, used as a prison since 11th C, reserved for those accused of the most heinous crimes, eg treason, and for those of high rank.
"Scout" p. 59 In this context, specifically a college servant.
"Ditto" p. 72. Yes, a similar person, ie, a senior inspector
"Yeoman"The meanings you found are mostly historical or archaic. The word is seldom used now, except to give a flavour of antiquity. It tends to mean a countryman or small farmer. and can be used as an adjective meaning reliable, sound, uncomplicated.
"Yeoman stock" could be the equivalent of "good ol' country boys."
"Readies". p.125. Cash, ready money.

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:59 pm

Thank you, Don. We much appreciate the enlightenment. I recognize that in a lot of cases, only a countryman can really define these terms from the Brit point of view. :cool:

I will amend my lists to reflect the proper meanings.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Don Wells » Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:09 pm

A further word (or maybe 250 or so) on "Nutshell-mongers". I think readers would have got the joke if Bon had remembered to "set it up". Ask any comedian. Many jokes, wordy or physical, even going back to the old slapstick, need to be set up so that the reader/audience is ready to get the most out of them.
Sorry, Bon old mate, but you missed your chance here. There was no mention of "nutshell" before you rang for Jock to fetch one, nor anywhere in the preceding 12 pages. I checked.
Another point to make is that dear old Jock would not have the wit (apologies to all Jock fans) to invent the phrase "nutshell-mongers".
I dare to put before you now my version of the end of Chapter V on p.34:

'Cowardice, be thou my friend' would be my watchword for the day.

5. It was clear I was in dire need of a nutshell. I could then gather the essence of my well-considered apologia into one devastating refusal that would leave Dryden bereft of argument.

I pressed the bell and when Jock appeared I asked him for a nutshell. He said that there was no such thing in the house. I was about to send him out for one when I realized there would be no point since all honest nutshell-mongers would by now be caressing their wives behind shuttered shop-windows. It was therefore a merely notional nutshell into which I compressed the word 'NO'.

OK, I have now "set myself up" for a tirade of abuse from every Bonfiglioli aficionado/aficionada in the world. I shall retire into my bomb shelter. Do your worst!

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Re: Mortdecai Tidbit #1b - Mortdecai Colloquialisms by Chapter

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:42 pm

You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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