Primrose to Privy Seal

Primrose A curious corruption of the French primeverole, Italian primeverola, compounds of the Latin prima vera (first spring flower). Chaucer calls the word primirole, which is a contraction of the Italian primerola. The flower is no rose at all.

Primum Mobile, in the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, was the tenth (not ninth) sphere, supposed to revolve from east to west in twenty-four hours, carrying with it all the other spheres. The eleven spheres are: (1) Diana or the Moon, (2) Mercury, (3) Venus, (4) Apollo or the Sun, (5) Mars, (6) Jupiter, (7) Saturn, (8) the starry sphere or that of the fixed stars, (9) the crystalline, (10) the primum mobile, and (11) the empyrean. Ptolemy himself acknowledged only the first nine; the two latter were devised by his disciples. The motion of the crystalline, according to this system, causes the precession of the equinoxes, its axis being that of the ecliptic. The motion of the primum mobile produces the alternation of day and night; its axis is that of the equator, and its extremities the poles of the heavens.

“They pass the planets seven, and pass the `fixed' [starry sphere],
And that crystallin sphere ... and that `First-Moved.”'
Milton: Paradise Lost, iii. 482.
   Primum Mobile is figuratively applied to that machine which communicates motion to several others; and also to persons and ideas suggestive of complicated systems. Socrates was the primum mobile of the Dialectic, Megaric, Cyrenaic, and Cynic systems of philosophy.

Primus The archbishop, or rather “presiding bishop,” of the Episcopal Church of Scotland. He is elected by the other six bishops, and presides in Convocation, or meetings relative to church matters.

Prince The Latin principes formed one of the great divisions of the Roman infantry; so called because they were originally the first to begin the fight. After the Hastati were instituted, this privilege was transferred to the new division.
   Prince. (See Black.)
   Prince of alchemy. Rudolph II., Emperor of Germany, also called The German Hermes Trismegistus.
   Prince of gossips. Samuel Pepys, noted for his gossiping Diary, commencing January 1st, 1659, and continued for nine years. (1632-1703.)
   Prince of grammarians. (See Grammarians.)
   Prince of Peace. The Messiah (Isaiah ix. 6).
   Prince of the Power of the Air. Satan (Eph. ii. 2).
   Prince of the vegetable kingdom. So Linnæus calls the palm-tree.

Prince of Wales (The). This title arose thus: When Edward I. subdued Wales, he promised the Welsh, if they would lay down their arms, that he would give them a native prince. His queen having given birth to a son in Wales, the new-born child was entitled Edward, Prince of Wales; and ever since then the eldest son of the British sovereign has retained the title.
   Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards. The 3rd Dragoon Guards.

Prince Rupert's Drops Drops of molten glass, consolidated by falling into water. Their form is that of a tadpole. The thick end may be hammered pretty smartly without its breaking, but if the smallest portion of the thin end is nipped off, the whole flies into fine dust with explosive violence. These toys, if not invented by Prince Rupert, were introduced by him into England.

Prince's Peers A term of contempt applied to peers of low birth. The son of Charles VII. of France (afterwards Louis XI.), in order to weaken the influence of the aristocracy, created a host of riff-raff peers, such as tradesmen, farmers, and mechanics, who were tools in his hands.

Princox or Princocks. (Probably from prime and cock.) Capulet calls Tybalt a princox, or wilful spoilt boy. (Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.)

Prink She was prinked in all her finery. Adorned. Prink and prank. Dutch pronken, to make a show; German prangen, Danish prange, Swedish prunka.

Printer's Devil The newest apprentice lad in the press-room, whose duty it is to run errands, and to help the pressmen.
   Printing used to be called the Black Art, and the boys who assisted the pressmen were called imps. (See under Devil.)

  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.