“Actor, n. One who peddles ready-made emotion, and who, despising us for the qualities on which he feeds, is by us despised for the unwholesome character of his diet.”
Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.
“A long poem (1997) by John Dryden (1631-1700). The annus mirabilis (wonderful year) was 1666, the year of the Fire of London and of continuing war with the Dutch. Queen Elizabeth II alluded to the phrase in a speech at the Guildhall, London, when she referred to 1992 and ‘annus horribilis’ (a coinage that had been suggested to her by a ‘sympathetic correspondent’); this was the year when fire caused extensive damage to the royal residence at Windsor Castle, Princess Anne was divorced, and the Duke of York separated from the Duchess of York, topless photos of whom appeared in the tabloids.”
Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.
“Double Negative: The use of two negatives in a sentence where one will suffice, e..g., ‘It doesn’t mean nothing’; reiterated denial that is tantamount to an affirmative of positive statement.
In substandard speech, however, double negatives often reinforce a strongly negative color in an assertion. ‘I don’t want nothing from nobody is a threefold declaration of independence, not a logical seesaw.” G.W. Turner, Stylistics“
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.
“Dyscalculia: Impairment of the ability to do arithmetic.
[From Greek dys– bad or abnormal + Latin calculare to count, from calculus diminutive of calx a stone + ia indicating a condition or quality]”
Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
“Being published by the Oxford University Press is rather like being married to a duchess: the honor is almost greater than the pleasure.”
G.M. Young (Quoted in Rupert Hart-Davis, Letter to George Lyttleton, 29 Apr. 1956)
Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
[This deals with the novel by Elinor Glyn.]
“All the men, married and single, make love to her in various ways, and she comments naively on their behavior, squeezing here arms, holding her hands, kissing her, etc…. At the end one has the uncomfortable feeling of having been a spectator of the operation of rubbing the bloom off a girl by a lot of worldly and more or less vulgar people.”
Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.