Archive for January, 2009



CAVILLA’TION. n.s. [from cavil.] The disposition to make
captious objection; the practice of objecting.
I might add so much concerning the large odds between the
case of the eldest churches, in regard of heathens, and ours, in
respect of the church of Rome, that very cavillation itself should
be satisfied. Hooker, b. iv. § 7.

To CABA’L. v.n.


To CABA’L. v.n. [cabaler, Fr.] To form close intrigues; to
intrigue; to unite in small parties.
His mournful friends, summon’d to take their leaves,
Are throng’d about his couch, and sit in council:
What those caballing captains may design,
I must prevent, by being first in action. Dryden’s D. Sebast.


BY-COFFEEHOUSE. n.s. A coffeehouse in an obscure place.
I afterwards entered a by-coffeehouse, that stood at the upper
end of a narrow lane, where I met with a nonjuror.
Addison. Spectator, No 403.

To BRUIT. v.a.

To BRUIT. v.a. [from the noun.] To report; to noise abroad;
to rumour. Neither the verb nor the noun are now much
in use.
[For fear yt we like rogues
shd be reputed
and for ear-marked
beasts be bruited.
His death,
being bruited once, took fire and heat away
From the best temper’d courage in his troops. Shak. Hen V.
It was bruited, that I meant nothing less than to go to Gui-
ana. Raleigh’s Essays.

To BRO’WBEAT. v.a.


To BRO’WBEAT. v.a. [from brow and beat.] To depress with
severe brows, and stern or lofty looks.
It is not for a magistrate to frown upon, and browbeat those
who are hearty and exact in their ministry; and, with a grave,
insignificant nod, to call a resolved zeal, want of prudence.
What man will voluntarily expose himself to the imperious
browbeatings and scorns of great men? L’Estrange.
Count Tariff endeavoured to browbeat the plaintiff, while he
was speaking; but though he was not so imprudent as the
count, he was every whit as sturdy. Addison.
I will not be browbeaten by the supercilious looks of my ad-
versaries, who now stand cheek by jowl by your worship.
Arbuthnot and Pope’s Mart. Scriblerus.



BRE’AKPROMISE. n.s. [from break and promise.] One that
makes a practice of breaking his promise.
[^If you break one jot of your promise,] I will think you the most atheistical
breakpromise, and the most hollow lover. Shakesp. As you like it.

To BO’RDRAGE. v.n.


To BO’RDRAGE. v.n. [from border.] To plunder the borders.
Long time in peace his realm established,
Yet oft annoyed with sundry bordragings,
Of neighbour Scots and foreign scatterlings. Fairy Q. b. ii.

BOPE’EP. n.s.


BOPE’EP. n.s. [from bo and peep.] To look out, and draw back
as if frighted, or with the purpose to fright some other.
Then they for sudden joy did weep,
And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bopeep,
And go the fools among. Shakesp. King Lear.
That serve instead of peaceful barriers,
To part th’engagements of their warriours,
Where both from side to side may skip,
And only encounter at bopeep. Hudibras, p. iii c. iii.
There the devil plays at bopeep, puts out his horns to do mis-
chief, then shrinks them back for safety. Dryden’s Span. Friar.



BOOKLE’ARNED. adj. [from book and learned.] Versed in books,
or literature: a term implying some slight contempt.
Whate’er these booklearn’d blockheads say,
Solon’s the veri’st fool in all the play. Dryden’s Persius.
He will quote passages out of Plato and Pindar, at his own
table, to some booklearned companion, without blushing. Swift.

BE’ZOAR. n.s.


BE’ZOAR. n.s. [from pa, against, and zabar, poison, Persick.]
A medicinal stone, formerly in high esteem as an antidote, and
brought from the East Indies, where it is said to be found in
the dung of an animal of the goat kind, called pazan; the
stone being formed in its belly, and growing to the size of an
acorn, and sometimes to that of a pigeon’s egg. Were the
real virtues of this stone answereable to its reputed ones, it
were doubtless a panacea. Indeed its rarity, and the peculiar
manner of its formation, which is now supposed to be fabu-
lous, have perhaps contributed as much to its reputation as its
intrinsick worth. At present, it begins to be discarded in the
practice of medicine, as of no efficacy at all. There are also
some occidental bezoars brought from Peru, which are reckon-
ed inferiour to the oriental. The name of this stone is also ap-
plied to several chymical compositions, designed for antidotes,
or counter-poisons; as mineral, solar, and jovial bezoars.
Savary. Chambers.