Spiritual Mother to Spread-eagle Oratory
Spiritual Mother So Joanna Southcott is addressed by her disciples. (1750-1814.)
Spiritualism or Spiritism. A system which started up in America in 1848. It professes that certain living persons have the power of holding communion with the spirits of the dead. Nineteenth century spiritualism probably owes its origin to Andrew Jackson Davis, the seer of Poughkeepsie.
Spirt or Spurt. A sudden convulsive effort (Swedish, spruta; Danish, sprude, Icelandic, spretta, to start; our spout, to throw up water in a jet).
Spitalfields (London). A spital is a charitable foundation for the care of the poor, and these were the fields of the almshouse founded in 1197 by Walter Brune and his wife Rosia.
Spite of His Teeth (In) In spite of opposition though you snarl and show your teeth like an angry dog.
Spitfire An irascible person, whose angry words are like fire spit from the mouth of a fire-eater.
Spitting for Luck Boys often spit on a piece of money given to them for luck. Boxers spit upon their
hands for luck Fishwomen not unfrequently spit upon their hansel (i.e. the first money they take) for
luck. Spitting was a charm against fascination among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny says it
averted witcheraft, and availed in giving to an enemy a shrewder blow.
Thrice on my breast I spit to guard me safe
Spittle or Spital. An hospital.
A spittle or hospital for poore folks diseased; a spittle, hospitall, or lazarhouse for lepers. Baret: Alveaire (1580).Spittle Sermons Sermons preached formerly at the Spittle in a pulpit erected expressly for the purpose. Subsequently they were preached at Christchurch, City, on Easter Monday and Tuesday. Ben Jonson alludes to them in his Underwoods, ap. Gifford, viii. 414.
Splay is a contraction of display (to unfold; Latin, dis-plico). A splay window is one in a V-shape, the external opening being very wide, to admit as much light as possible, but the inner opening being very small. A splay-foot is a foot displayed or turned outward. A splay-mouth is a wide mouth, like that of a clown.
Spleen was once believed to be the seat of ill-humour and melancholy. The herb spleenwort was supposed to remove these splenic disorders.
Splendid Shilling A mock-heroic poem by John Philips. (1676-1708.)
Splice To marry. Very strangely, splice means to split or divide. The way it came to signify unite is this: Ropes' ends are first untwisted before the strands are interwoven. Joining two ropes together by interweaving their strands is splicing them. Splicing wood is joining two boards together, the term being borrowed from the sailor. (German, spliessen, to split.)
Spoke (verb). When members of the House of Commons and other debaters call out Spoke, they mean that the person who gets up to address the assembly has spoken already, and cannot speak again except in explanation of something imperfectly understood.
Spoke (noun). I have put my spoke into his wheel. I have shut him up. The allusion is to the pin or
spoke used to lock wheels in machinery
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