Quidnuncs to Quotem

Quidnuncs, a name given to the ancient members of certain political clubs, who were constantly inquiring, “Quidnunc? What news?”

This the Great Mother dearer held than all
The clubs of Quidnuncs, or her own Guildhall.

   —Pope: The Dunciad, i. 269 (1728).

Quidnunkis, a monkey which climbed higher than its neighbours, and fell into a river. For a few moments the monkey race stood panic-struck, but the stream flowed on, and in a minute or two the monkeys continued their gambols as if nothing had happened.—Gay: The Quidnunkis (a fable, 1726).

The object of this fable is to show that no one is of sufficient importance to stop the general current of events or cause a gap in nature. Even kings and kaisers die, having climbed, like Quidnunkis, somewhat higher than their kin, but when they fall into the stream Flattery scrawls Hic jacet on a stone, but no one misses them.

Quildrive , clerk to old Philpot “the citizen.”—Murphy: The Citizen (1761).

Quilp (Daniel), a hideous dwarf, cunning, malicious, and a perfect master in tormenting. Of hard, forbidding features, with head and face large enough for a giant. His black eyes were restless, sly, and cunning; his mouth and chin bristly with a coarse, hard beard; his face never clean, but always distorted with a ghastly grin, which showed the few discoloured fangs that supplied the place of teeth. His dress consisted of a large high-crowned hat, a worn-out dark suit, a pair of most capacious shoes, and a huge crumpled dirty white neck-cloth. Such hair as he had was a grizzled black, cut short but hanging about his ears in fringes. His hands were coarse and dirty; his finger-nails crooked, long, and yellow. He lived on Tower Hill, collected rents, advanced money to seamen, and kept a sort of wharf, containing rusty anchors, huge iron rings, piles of rotten wood, and sheets of old copper, calling himself a ship-breaker. He was on the point of being arrested for felony, when he was drowned.

He ate hard eggs, shell and all, for his breakfast, devoured gigantic prawns with their heads and tails on, chewed tobacco and water-cresses at the same time, drank scalding hot tea without winking, bit his fork and spoon till they bent again, and performed so many horrifying acts, that one might doubt if he were indeed human.—Ch. v.

Mrs. Quilp (Betsy), wife of the dwarf, a loving, young, timid, obedient, and pretty blue-eyed little woman, treated like a dog by her diabolical husband, whom she really loved but more greatly feared.—Dickens: The Old Curiosity Shop (1840).

Quinapalus, the Mrs. Harris of “authorities in citations.” If any one quotes from an hypothetical author, he gives Quinapalus as his authority.

What says Quinapalus: “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”—Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, act i. sc. 5 (1614).

Quinbus Flestrin [“the man-mountain”]. So the Lilliputians called Gulliver (ch. ii.).—Swift: Gulliver’s Travels (“Voyage to Lilliput,” 1726).

Quince (Peter), a carpenter, who undertakes the management of the play called “Pyramus and Thisbê,” in Midsummer Night’s Dream. He speaks of “laughable tragedy,” “lamentable comedy,” “tragical mirth,” and so on.—Shakespeare: Midsummer Night’s Dream (1592).

Quinones (Suero de), in the reign of Juan II. He, with nine other cavaliers, held the bridge of Orbigo against all comers for thirty-six days, and in that time they overthrew seventy-eight knights of Spain and France.

Quintanona, the duenna of queen Guinever or Ginebra.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, II. ii. 6 (1615).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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