Black Friars to Black Sheep

Black Friars The Dominicans were formerly so called in England.

Black Friday December 6th, 1745, the day on which the news arrived in London that the Pretender had reached Derby.

Black Game Heath-fowl; in contradistinction to red game, as grouse. The male bird is called a blackcock.

Black Genevan (A ). A black preaching gown; once used in some Anglican churches, and still used by some Dissenters in the pulpit. So called from Geneva, where Calvin preached in such a robe.

“The Nonconformist divine leaves his vestry in his black Genevan, toadied by his deacons and elders.”- Newspaper paragraph, July 18th, 1885 (on Sunday bands).

Black-guards Those horse-boys and unmilitary folk, such as cooks with their pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils, which travel with an army, and greatly impede its march.
   Gifford, in his edition of Ben Jonson, says: “In all great houses there were a number of dirty dependents, whose office it was to attend the wool-yards, sculleries, etc. Of these the most forlorn were selected to carry coals to the kitchen. They rode with the pots and pans, and were in derision called the black-guards.”
   In the Lord Steward's office a proclamation (May 7th, 1683) begins thus: “Whereas ... a sort of vicious, idle, and masterless boyes and rogues, commonly called the Black-guard, with divers other lewd and loose fellows ... do usually haunt and follow the court.
   ... Wee do hereby strictly charge ... all those so called, ... with all other loose, idle ... men ... who have intruded themselves into his Majesty's court and stables ... to depart upon pain of imprisonment.”

Black Hole of Calcutta A dark cell in a prison into which Suraja Dowlah thrust 146 British prisoners. Next morning only twenty-three were found alive (1756).
    The punishment cell or lock-up in barracks.

Black Horse The 7th Dragoon Guards, or “the Princess Royal's D.G.” Their “facings” are black. Also called “Strawboots,” “The Blacks.”

Black Jack Black Jack rides a good horse (Cornish). The miners call blende or sulphide of zinc “Black Jack,” the occurrence of which is considered by them a favourable indication. The blende rides upon a lode of good ore.

Black Jack (A ). A large leather gotch for beer and ale, so called from the outside being tarred.

Black Joke An old tune, now called The Sprig of Shillelagh. Tom Moore has adapted words to the tune, beginning, “Sublime was the warning which Liberty spoke.”

Black Leg A swindler, especially in cards and races. Also, one who works for less than trade-union wages; a non-union workman.

“Pledging the strikers not to return to work so long as a single Black-leg was retained in the service.”- Nineteenth Century, February, 1891, p. 243.

Black Letter The Gothic or German type. So called because of its black appearance. The initial items of this book are now called “black letter,” sometimes called “Clarendon type.”

Black Letter Day An unlucky day; one to be recalled with regret. The Romans marked their unlucky days with a piece of black charcoal, and their lucky ones with white chalk.
   Black-letter dogs. Literary antiquaries who poke and pry into every hole and corner to find out black-letter copies of books.

“By fell black-letter dogs ...
That from Gothic kennels eager strut.”
Matthias: Pursuits of Literature.

Black Lists Lists of insolvency and bankruptcy, for the private guidance of the mercantile community. (See Black Books .)

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.