Devil-may-care to Devil's Current

Devil loves Holy Water (As the). That is, not at all. The Roman Catholics teach that holy water drives away the Devil. The Latin proverb is, "Sicut sus amaricinum amat" (as swine love marjoram). Lucretius, vi. 974, says "amaricinum fugitat sus."

Devil-may-care (A). A reckless fellow.

Devil must be Striking (The) (German). Said when it thunders. The old Norse Donar means Thor, equal to Jupiter, the god of thunder, and donner is the German for thunder or Devil, as may be seen in the expression, "The runaway goose is gone to the Devil" (donner).

Devil on the Neck (A). An instrument of torture used by persecuting papists. It was an iron winch which forced a man's neck and legs together.

Devil rides on a Fiddlestick (The). Much ado about nothing. Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare, and others, use the phrase. "Fiddlesticks!" as an exclamation, means rubbish! nonsense! When the prince and his merry companions are at the Boar's Head, first Bardolph rushes in to warn them that the sheriff's officers are at hand, and anon enters the hostess to put her guests on their guard. But the prince says, "Here's a devil of a row to make about a trifle" (or "The devil rides on a fiddlestick") (1 Henry IV., ii. 2), and hiding some of his companions, he stoutly faces the sheriff's officers and browbeats them.

Devil Sick would be a Monk (The). "Dæmon languebat, monachus bonus esse volebat; Sed cum convaluit, manet ut ante fuit."

"When the Devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;
When the Devil got well, the devil a monk was he."
   Said of those persons who in times of sickness or danger make pious resolutions, but forget them when danger is past and health recovered.

Devil to Pay and no Pitch Hot (The). The "devil" is a seam between the garboard-strake and the keel, and to "pay" is to cover with pitch. In former times, when vessels were often careened for repairs, it was difficult to calk and pay this seam before the tide turned. Hence the locution, the ship is careened, the devil is exposed, but there is no pitch hot ready, and the tide will turn before the work can be done. (French, payer, from paix, poix, pitch.)
    The Devil to Pay is the name of a farce by Jobson and Nelly.
   Here's the very devil to pay. Is used in quite another sense, meaning: Here's a pretty kettle of fish. I'm in a pretty mess; this is confusion worse confounded.
   Cheating the devil. Mincing an oath; doing evil for gain, and giving part of the profits to the Church, etc. It is by no means unusual in monkish traditions. Thus the "Devil's Bridge" is a single arch over a cataract. It is said that his Satanic Majesty had knocked down several bridges, but promised the abbot, Giraldus of Einsiedel, to let this one stand, provided the abbot would consign to him the first living thing that crossed it. When the bridge was finished, the abbot threw across it a loaf of bread, which a hungry dog ran after, and "the rocks re- echoed with peals of laughter to see the Devil thus defeated." (Longfellow: Golden Legend, v.)
    The bridge referred to by Longfellow is that over the Fall of the Reuss, in the canton of the Uri, Switzerland.
   Rabelais says that a farmer once bargained with the Devil for each to have on alternate years what grew under and over the soil. The canny farmer sowed carrots and turnips when it was his turn to have the under- soil share, and wheat and barley the year following. (Pantagruel, book iv. chap. xlvi.)
   Give the devil his due. Give even a bad man or one hated like the devil the credit he deserves.
   Gone to the devil. To ruin. The Devil and St. Dunstan was the sign of a public house, No. 2, Fleet Street, at one time much frequented by lawyers.

"Into the Devil Tavern three booted troopers strode."
   Pull devil, pull baker. Lie, cheat, and wrangle away, for one is as bad as the other. (In this proverb baker is not a proper name, but the trade.)

"Like Punch and the Deevil rugging about the Baker at the fair." - Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap.xxxviii.
   Talk of the devil and he's sure to come. Said of a person who has been the subject of conversation, and who unexpectedly makes his appearance. An older proverb still is, "Talk of the Dule and he'll put out

  By PanEris using Melati.

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