Tooth and Egg to Touch

Tooth and Egg A corruption of Tutanag, a Chinese word for spelter, the metal of which canisters are made, and tea-chests lined. It is a mixture of English lead and tin from Quintang.

Tooth and Nail In right good earnest, like a rat or mouse biting and scratching to get at something.

Top (See Sleep. )

Top-heavy Liable to tip over because the centre of gravity is too high. Intoxicated.

Top Ropes A display of the top-ropes. A show of gushing friendliness; great promise of help. The top- rope is the rope used in hauling the top-mast up or down.

“This display of the top-ropes was rather new to me, for time had blurred from my memory the `General's' rhapsodies.”- C. Thomson: Autobiography, p. 189.

Top-sawyer A first-rate fellow. The sawyer that takes the upper stand is always the superior man, and gets higher wages.

Topham Take him, Topham. Catch him if you can; lay hold of him, tipstaff. Topham was the Black Rod of the House of Commons in the reign of Charles II., very active in apprehending “suspects” during the supposed conspiracy revealed by Titus Oates. “Take him, Topham,” became a proverbial saying of the time, much the same as “Who stole the donkey?” “How are your poor feet?” and so on.

“Till `Take him, Topham' became a proverb, and a formidable one, in the mouth of the people.”- Sir Walter Scott: Peveril of the Peak, chap. xx.

Tophet A valley near Jerusalem, where children were made to “pass through the fire to Moloch.” Josiah threw dead bodies, ordure, and other unclean things there, to prevent all further application of the place to religious use. (2 Kings xxiii. 10, 11.) Here Sennacherib's army was destroyed. (Isaiah xxx. 31-33.) The valley was also called “Gehinnom” (valley of Hinnom), corrupted into Gehenna; and Rabbi Kimchi tells us that a perpetual fire was kept burning in it to consume the dead bodies, bones, filth, and ordure deposited there. (Hebrew, toph, a drum. When children were offered to Moloch, their shrieks were drowned by beat of drum.)

Topic This word has wholly changed its original meaning. It now signifies a subject for talk, a theme for discussion or to be written about; but originally “topics” were what we call commonplace books; the “sentences” of Peter Lombard were theological topics. (Greek, topikos, from topos, a place.)

Topsy A slave-girl, who impersonates the low moral development but real capacity for education of the negro race. Her reply to Aunt Opthelia, who questioned her as to her father and mother, is worthy Dickens. After maintaining that she had neither father nor mother, her solution of her existence was “I 'spects I growed.” (Mrs. Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom's Cabin.)

Topsy-turvy Upside down. (Anglo-Saxon, top side turn-aweg.) As Shakespeare says, “Turn it topsy- turvy down.” (1 Henry IV., iv. 1.) (See Half-Seas Over. )

Toralva The licentiate who was conveyed on a cane through the air, with his eyes shut. In the space of twelve hours he arrived at Rome, and lighted on the tower of Nona, whence, looking down, he witnessed the death of the constable de Bourbon. The next morning he arrived at Madrid, and related the whole affair. During his flight through the air the devil bade him open his eyes, and he found himself so near the moon that he could have touched it with his finger. (Cervantes: Don Quixote, pt. ii. bk. iii. chap. v.)

Torne'a A lake, or rather a river of Sweden, which rises from a lake in Lapland, and runs into the Gulf of Bothnia, at the town called Torne'a or Tornë.

“Still pressing on beyond Tornea's lake.”
Thomson: Winter

  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.