Middle Ages to Milesian Fables

Middle Ages A term of no definite period, but varying a little with almost every nation. In France it was from Clovis to Louis XI. (481 to 1461). In England, from the Heptarchy to the accession of Henry VII. (409 to 1485). In universal history it was from the overthrow of the Roman Empire to the revival of letters (the fifth to the fifteenth century).

Middlesex The Middle Saxons- that is, between Essex, Sussex, and Wessex.

Midgard The abode of the first pair, from whom sprang the human race. It was made of the eyebrows of Ymer, and was joined to Asgard by the rainbow bridge called Bifrost. (Scandinavian mythology.)
   Asgard is the abode of the celestials.
   Utgard is the abode of the giants.
   Midgard is between the two- better than Utgard, but inferior to Asgard.

Midgard Sormen (earth's monster). The great serpent that lay in the abyss at the root of the celestial ash. (Scandinavian mythology.) Child of Loki.

Midi Chercher midi à quatorze heures. To look for knots in a bulrush; much ado about nothing; to explain prosily what is perfectly obvious.
    There is a variant of this locution: Chercher midi où il n'est qu'onze heures, to look for a needle in a bottle of hay; to give oneself a vast lot of trouble for nothing. At one time, hundreds of persons looked for the millennium and end of the world on fixed dates, and to them the proverb would apply.

Midlothian Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian is a tale of the Porteous riot, in which are introduced the interesting incidents of Effie and Jeanie Deans. Effie is seduced while in the service of Mrs. Saddletree, and is imprisoned for child-murder; but her sister Jeanie obtains her pardon through the intercession of the queen, and marries Reuben Butler.

Midnight Oil Late hours.
   Burning the midnight oil. Sitting up late, especially when engaged on literary work.
   Smells of the midnight oil. Said of literary work, which seems very elaborate, and has not the art of concealing art. (See Lamp.)

Midrashim (sing. Midrash). Jewish expositions of the Old Testament.

Midsummer Ale The Midsummer banquet. Brand mentions nine alefeasts: “Bride-ales, church-ales, clerk-ales, give-ales, lamb-ales, leet-ales, Midsummer-ales, Scot-ales, Whitsun-ales, and several more.” Here “ale” does not mean the drink, but the feast in which good stout ale was supplied. The Cambridge phrase, “Will you wine with me after hall?” means, “Will you come to my rooms for dessert, when wines, fruits, and cigars will be prepared, with coffee to follow?”

Midsummer Madness Olivia says to Malvolio, “Why, this is very midsummer madness” (Twelfth Night, iii. 4). The reference is to the rabies of dogs, which is generally brought on by Midsummer heat.

Midsummer Men The plants called Orpine or Live-long, one of the Sedum tribe. Stonecrop is another variety of the same species of plants. Orpine is the French word for stonecrop. Live-long, so called because no plant lives longer after it is cut. It will live for months if sprinkled once a week with a little water. Sedum means the plant sedens in rupibus (sitting or growing on stones). It is called midsummer men because it used to be set in pots or shells on midsummer eve, and hung up in the house to tell damsels whether their sweethearts were true or not. If the leaves bent to the right, it was a sign of fidelity; if to the left, the “true-love's heart was cold and faithless.”

Midsummer-Moon Madness 'Tis Midsummer-moon with you. You are stark mad. Madness is supposed to be affected by the moon, and to be aggravated by summer heat; so it naturally follows that the full moon at midsummer is the time when madness is most outrageous.

“What's this midsummer moon?
Is all the world gone a-madding?”
Dryden: Amphitryon, iv. 1.
Midsummer Night's Dream some of the most amusing incidents of this comedy are borrowed from the Diana of

  By PanEris using Melati.

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