Prestige to Primrose

Prestige This word has a strangely metamorphosed meaning. The Latin præstig'iæ means juggling tricks, hence prestidigitateur' (French), one who juggles with his fingers. We use the word for that favourable impression which results from good antecedents. The history of the change is this: Juggling tricks were once considered a sort of enchantment; to enchant is to charm, and to charm is to win the heart.

Presto Quick. A name given to Swift by the Duchess of Shrewsbury, a foreigner. Of course, the pun is obvious: presto means swift (or quick).

Preston and his Mastiffs To oppose Preston and his mastiffs is to be foolhardy, to resist what is irresistible. Christopher Preston established the Bear Garden at Hockley-in-the-Hole in the time of Charles II. The Bible says he that employs the sword “shall perish by the sword,” and Preston was killed in 1709 by one of his own bears.

“... I'd as good oppose
Myself to Preston and his mastiffs loose.”
Oldham: III. Satyr of Juvenal.
Pretender The Old Pretender. James F. E. Stuart, son of James II. (1688-1766.)
   The Young Pretender. Charles Edward Stuart, son of the “Old Pretender.” (1720-1788.)

“God bless the king, I mean the faith's defender;
God bless- no harm in blessing- the Pretender.
Who that Pretender is and who is king-
God bless us all!- that's quite another thing.”
John Byrom.
   Pretenders. Tanyoxarkes, in the time of Cambyses, King of Persia, pretended to be Smerdis; but one of his wives felt his head while he was asleep, and discovered that he had no ears.
   Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, in the reign of Henry VIII.
   Otrefief, a monk, pretended to be Demetrius, younger son of Czar Ivan Basilowitz II., murdered by Boris in 1598. In 1605 Demetrius “the False” became Czar, but was killed at Moscow the year following, in an insurrection.

Pretext A pretence. From the Latin prætexta, a dress embroidered in the front worn by the Roman magistrates, priests, and children of the aristocracy between the age of thirteen and seventeen. The prætexta'tæ were dramas in which actors personated those who wore the prætexta; hence persons who pretend to be what they are not.

Prettyman (Prince), who figures sometimes as a fisherman's son, and sometimes as a prince, to gain the heart of Cloris. (Buckingham: The Rehearsal.)

Prevarication The Latin word varico is to straddle, and prævanicor, to go zigzag or crooked. The verb, says Pliny, was first applied to men who ploughed crooked ridges, and afterwards to men who gave crooked answers in the law courts, or deviated from the straight line of truth. (See Delirium.)

Prevent Precede, anticipate. (Latin præ-venio, to go before.) And as what goes before us may hinder us, so prevent means to binder or keep back.

“My eyes prevent the night watches.”- Psalm cxix. 148.

“Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings.”- Common Prayer Book.
Previous Question (See Question.)

Priam King of Troy when that city was sacked by the allied Greeks. His wife's name was Hecuba; she was the mother of nineteen children, the eldest of whom was Hector. When the gates of Troy were thrown open by the Greeks concealed in the Wooden Horse, Pyrrhos, the son of Achilles, slew the aged Priam. (See Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Æneid.)

Priamond Son of Agape, a fairy. He was very daring, and fought on foot with battle-axe and spear. He was slain by Cambalo. (Spenser: Faërie Queene, bk. iv.) (See Diamond.)

Priapus in classical mythology, is a hideous, sensual, disgusting deity, the impersonation of the principle of fertility. (See Baal Peor , etc.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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