John-a-Dreams to John o Groat

John-a-Dreams A stupid, dreamy fellow, always in a brown study and half asleep.

"Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing."
Shakespeare: Hamlet, ii. 2.
John-a-Droynes A foolish character in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra (1578). Being seized by informers, he stands dazed, and suffers himself to be quietly cheated out of his money.

John-a-Nokes [or Noakes (1 syl.)]. A simpleton.

"John-a-Nokes was driving a cart toward Croydon, and by the way fell asleepe therein. Meane time a good fellow came by and stole away his two horses. [John] awakening and missing them, said, `Either I am John-a-Nokes or I am not John-a-Nokes. If I am John-a-Nokes, then I have lost two horses; and if I am not John-a-Nokes, then I have found a cart."' - Copley: Wits, Fits, and Fancies (1614).
John Anderson, my Jo This song, like "Green Sleeves and Pudding Pies," "Maggy Lauder" and some others, were invectives against the Catholic clergy about the time of the Reformation. The first verse refers to their luxurious habits: -

"John Anderson, my Jo, aim in as ze gae bye,
And ze sall get a sheip's heid weel baken in a pye;
Weel baken in a pye, and the haggis in a pat.
John Anderson, my Jo, cum in, and ze's get that."
   Another verse refers to the seven sacraments or "Seven bairns of Mother Church."

John Audley Is John Audley there? Get done as soon as possible, for there are persons sufficient for another audience. John Audley was a noted showman and actor; when his platform was full, he taught the ticket collector to poke his head behind the green curtain, and cry out: "Is John Audley there?" This was a signal to the actors to draw their piece to a close, and clear the house as quickly as possible. Audley taught this trick to Richardson.

John Bull The national nickname for an Englishman, represented as a bluff, kindhearted, bull-headed farmer. The character is from a satire by Dr. Arbuthnot. In this satire the Frenchman is termed Lewis Baboon, the Dutchman Nicholas Frog, etc.
   John Bull. A comedy by George Colman. Job Thornberry is the chief character.

John Chinaman Either a Chinese or the Chinese as a people.

John Company Colonel Harold Malet, in Notes and Queries, August 6th, 1892, p. 116, says that "John" is a perversion of "Hon.," and John Company is the Hon. Company. No doubt Hon., like Hans, may be equal to John, but probably John Company is allied to the familiar John Bull. The Company was abolished in 1857, in consequence of the Indian Mutiny.

"In old times `John Company' employed four thousand men in its warehouses." - Old and New London, ii. 185.
John Doe At one time used in law pleadings for an hypothetical plaintiff; the supposititious defendant being "Richard Roe." These fictions are not now used.

John Dory is technically called Zeus faber, common in the Mediterranean Sea and round the south- western coasts of England. A corruption of jaune adorée = the adorable or sacred yellow fish.
   The only interest of this creature in a work like the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is the tradition that it was the fish from which St. Peter took the stater. Hence it is called in French le poisson de St. Pierre, and in Gascon, the golden or sacred cock, meaning St. Peter's cock. Like the haddock, it has a remarkable oval black spot on each side, said to be the finger-marks of St. Peter, when he held the fish to extract the coin. As neither the haddock nor dory can live in fresh water, of course this tradition is only an idle tale.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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