Touch At to Tracy

Touch At (To). To go to a place without stopping at it.

“The next day we touched at Sidon.”- Acts xxvii. 3.

Touch Bottom (To). To know the worst. A sea-phrase.

“It is much better for the ministry to touch bottom at once and know the whole truth, than to remain any longer in suspense.”- Newspaper paragraph, January, 1886.

Touch Up (To). To touch a horse with a whip for greater speed. To touch up a picture, etc., is to give it a few touches to improve it.

Touch and Go (A). A very narrow escape; a very brief encounter. A metaphor derived from driving when the wheel of one vehicle touches that of another passing vehicle without doing mischief. It was a touch, but neither vehicle was stopped, each went on its way.

Touchet When Charles IX. introduced Henri of Navarre to Marie Touchet, he requested him to make an anagram on her name, and Henri thereupon wrote the following:- Je charme tout.

Touchstone A dark, flinty schist, called by the ancients Lapis Lydius; called touchstone because gold is tried by it, thus: A series of needles are formed (1) of pure gold; (2) of 23 gold and 1 copper; (3) of 22 gold and 2 copper, and so on. The assayer selects one of these and rubs it on the touchstone, when it leaves a reddish mark in proportion to the quantity of copper alloy. Dr. Ure says: “In such small work as cannot be assayed ... the assayers; ... ascertain its quality by `touch.' They then compare the colour left behind, and form their judgment accordingly.”
    The fable is, that Battus saw Mercury steal Apollo's oxen, and Mercury gave him a cow to secure his silence on the theft. Mercury, distrustful of the man, changed himself into a peasant, and offered Battus a cow and an ox if he would tell him the secret. Battus, caught in the trap, told the secret, and Mercury changed him into a touchstone. (Ovid: Metamorphoses, ii.)

“Gold is tried by the touchstone, and men by gold.”- Bacon.
   Touchstone. A clown whose mouth is filled with quips and cranks and witty repartees. (Shakespeare: As You Like It.) The original one was Tarlton.

Touchy Apt to take offence on slight provocation. Ne touchez pas, “Noli me tangere,” one not to be touched.

Tour The Grand Tour. Through France, Switzerland, Italy, and home by Germany. Before railways were laid down, this tour was made by most of the young aristocratic families as the finish of their education. Those who merely went to France or Germany were simply tourists.

Tour de Force A feat of strength.

Tourlourou Young unfledged soldiers of the line, who used to be called “Jean-Jean.”

“Les Tourlourous sont les nouveaux enroles, ceux qui n'ont pas encore de vieilles moustaches, et qui flanent sur les boulevards en regardant les images, les paillasses, et en cherchant des payses.”- Paul de Kock: Un Tourlourou, chap. xiii.

Tournament or Tournay. A tilt of knights; the chief art of the game being so to manoeuvre or turn your horse as to avoid the adversary's blow. (French, tournoiement, verb, tournoyer.)
   Tournament of the Drum. A comic romance in verse by Sir David Lindsay; a ludicrous mock tournament.
   Tournament of Tottenham. A comic romance, printed in Percy's Reliques. A number of clowns are introduced, practising warlike games, and making vows like knights of high degree. They ride tilt on cart-horses, fight with plough-shares and flails, and wear for armour wooden bowls and saucepan-lids. It may be termed the “high life below stairs” of chivalry.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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