Samuel Johnson WOTD: UMBREL

UMBREL (UMBRE’L) UMBRELLA (UMBRE’LLA) n.s.[from umbra, Lat.] A skreen used in hot countries to keep off the sun, and in others to bear off the rain.

I can carry your umbrella, and fan your ladyship. Dryden.

Good housewivesDefended by th’ umbrella’s oily shed,Safe through the wet on clinking pattens tread. Gay.


Samuel Johnson WOTD: UPRIGHTLY @davidpriess

I have a little script that sends me a random definition from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary every day. Today’s was very apropos.

UPRIGHTLY (U’PRIGHTLY) adv.[from upright.] 1. Perpendicularly to the horizon. 2. Honestly; without deviation from the right.

Men by nature apter to rage than deceit; not greatly ambitious, more than to be well and uprightly dealt with. Sidney.

Princes in judgment, and their delegate judges, must judge the causes of all persons uprightly and impartially, without any personal consideration. Taylor.

To live uprightly then is sure the best,To save ourselves, and not to damn the rest. Dryden.

Backseat driving Samuel Johnson: LIFT

Today’s Dose of Samuel Johnson

LIFT (LIFT) n.s.[from the verb. ]The act of lifting; the manner of lifting.

In the lift of the feet, when a man goeth up the hill, the weight of the body beareth most upon the knees. Bacon.

Ouch. Boring example.

In races, it is not the large stride, or high lift, that makes the speed. Bacon’sEssays.

Incorrect. See: Usain Bolt.

The goat gives the fox a lift, and out he springs. L’Estr.

Vivid! Best sentence of the three.

2.[In Scottish.]The sky: for in a starry night they say, How clear the lift is?

Excellent. I need to work this one in!

3. Effect; struggle. Dead lift is an effort to raise what with the whole force cannot be moved; and figuratively any state of impotence and inability.


Myself and Trulla made a shift To help him out at a dead lift. Hudibras,p. i.

Who the heck is Hudibras.

Mr. Doctor had puzzled his brains In making a ballad, but was at a stand.For you freely must own, you were at a dead lift. S wift.

“You were at a dead lift” is a nice alternative to “you were at an impasse” or “you were at a standstill”.

4. Lift, in Scotland, denotes a load or surcharge of any thing; as also, if one be disguised much with liquor, they say, He has got a great lift.


5. Lifts of a sail are ropes to raise or lower them at pleasure.

Samuel Johnson WOTD: PROBOSCIS

PROBOSCIS (PROBO’SCIS) n.s.[proboscis, Lat.]A snout; the trunk of an elephant; but it is used also for the same part in every creature, that bears any resemblance thereunto.

The elephant wreath’d to make them sport His lithe proboscis. Milton.

Your poem sunk, And sent in quires to line a trunk:If still you be dispos’d to rhyme, Go try your hand a second time. Swift.5.  [Trompe, Fr.]The proboscis of an elephant, or other animal.

It hath a rose-shaped flower, consisting of several leaves, which are placed circularly; out of whose cup arises the pointal, ending in a proboscis, which afterwards turns to a roundish fruit, which is channelled, generally umbellated, and consisting of five cells, which are commonly full of small seeds. Miller.

Samuel Johnson WOTD is SWEARER (with bonus: OBTEST)

SWEARER (SWE’ARER) n.s.[from swear.] A wretch who obtests the great name wantonly and profanely.

And must they all be hang’d that swear and lie? ———— Every one. ———— Who must hang them? ———— Why, the honest men. —— Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang them up.Shak.

Take not his name, who made thy mouth, in vain:It gets thee nothing, and hath no excuse: Lust and wine plead a pleasure, avarice a gain; But the cheap swearer through his open sluice Lets his soul run for nought. Herbert.

Of all men a philosopher should be no swearer; for an oath, which is the end of controversies in law, cannot determine any here, where reason only must induce. Brown.

It is the opinion of our most refined swearers, that the same oath or curse cannot, consistently with true politeness, be repeated above nine times in the same company by the same person. Swift’s Polite Conversation.