Claudian - characteristic of emperors who belonged to patrician gens (Tiberius, Caligula, Nero and Claudius) + Claudius - Roman emperor (41-54); studied Etruscan and introduced into the Latin alphabet three new letters, including F for the consonantal V.

worthwile - being worth the time spent

thorought - everywhere in, in every part of

papyrus - an ancient manuscript or document written on papyrus

revise - Typog. A revised or corrected form of proof-sheet; a further proof submitted by the printer after having made the required corrections, alterations, or additions.

stalk - to walk cautiously or furtively, to pursue (as game) stealthily and often under cover for the purpose or killing.

broods - 3d. sing of brood - to ponder, think anxiously or moodily upon.

verbiage - abundance of words without necessity or without much meaning; excessive wordiness.

gaunt - abnormally lean, as from hunger; haggard-looking; tall, thin, and angular in appearance.

diapered - having the surface or ground diversified and adorned with a diaper (lines crossing diamond-wise) pattern + Joyce's note: 'diaper' Sullivan, The Book of Kells 39: 'Diaper work is occasionally introduced to brighten small spaces lying between the larger designs'.

window - a transparent panel on envelope, through which the contents can be seen.

margin - the space on a page between the extreme edge and the main body of written or printed matter, often partly taken up with notes, references, illuminations, or the like.

basque - the continuation, formerly of a doublet or waistcoat, now only of a lady's bodice, slightly below the waist, forming a kind of short skirt.

byleaf - dried leaf of laurel (used in cooking)

aflutter - in a flutter, agitated

fling - to throw, cast, toss, hurl

inhibit - to have inner hinderance to conduct or activity + Joyce's note: 'inhibited' Crépieux-Jamin: Les Éléments de l'Écriture des Canailles 188: 'inhibition and its graphological expressions'.

shoestring - a string or tie used to fasten or lace a shoe

= [letter] S (cyrilic C) reversed; a critical mark placed in a MS before a verse which is to be transposed; antisigma (gr) + Sullivan, The Book of Kells 10: 'The symbol... known in Irish MSS. as "head under the wing" or "turn under the path"... indicates that the words immediately following it are to be read after the end of the next full line' (the symbol looks like a vertically-stretched capital C).

protoparent - forefather

ipsissima verba - the precise words used by a writer or speaker + Sullivan, The Book of Kells 41: 'Thus a branch of foliage is frequently seen to evolve from between the open jaws of a nondescript, while at the same time the tail of the beast presents the appearance of a trefoil or lance-shaped leaf'.

nondescript - something not hitherto described + (notebook 1924): 'nondescript ferntail'.

arbutus - deep pink to purplish pink color + (notebook 1924): 'arbutus caithne 2 years Cainapple' Freeman's Journal 9 Jan 1924, 8/5: 'By the Way': 'The arbutus tree is now displaying its beauty in its native districts of Cork and Kerry... The tree is one of Nature's curiosities, yielding leaf, flower, and fruit at the same time. "Caithne," its Irish name, suggests two years old, and may have reference to the fact that the fruit takes two years to develop... The "Cainapple," as it is termed locally, has not a very palatable taste'.


paleography - ancient alphabet

leak - to let (water, etc.) in or out through a leak

thatch - straw or similar material with which roofs are covered

James Joyce: The Mirage of the Fisherman of Aran: 'He... wears a big black hat with a wide brim'.

Joyce's note: 'whispering'

ARAN ISLANDS - Islands off Galway Bay: Inishmor, Inishmaan, Inisheer.

keen - to utter the keen, or Irish lamentation for the dead; to wail or lament bitterly.

kin - kindred, related

high pitched - of high pitch acoustically, of lofty tone or character

distorted - twisted out of shape

aich - "h"

droll - unintentionally amusing; queer, quaint, odd, strange, 'funny'

jaywalk - to cross a street carelessly or at an inappropriate place + (notebook 1922-23): 'jaywalker'.

eye - the enclosed space in the letters d, e, o, etc.

plough - to furrow as by ploughing; to gash, tear up

halve - half

principial - initial, primary, original, standing at the beginning

medial - middle; (of a letter, etc.) occurring in the middle of a word

jim - a pound, a pound note + jimjams - delirium tremens + jimjams (Slang) - fidgets + jim - name of Arabic letter 'j'.

sahib - sir, master + Ranji ("Jam Sahib") - Rajput cricketer, played for England, made over 3,000 runs. 

pipless - having no pips, seedless

threadworm - a worm of threadlike form, parasitic in the human rectum, chiefly in children.

frank - not practising concealment; ingenuous, open, sincere

capricious - guided by whim or fancy rather than by judgement or settled purpose

underlining - a lining placed under something

serpentine - something (as a line) that winds sinuously; a representation of a serpent esp. as a symbol or an ornament + Sullivan, The Book of Kells 56: 'The frequently recurring presence of serpentine forms all through the decorations of the manuscript has given rise to the suggestion that these forms are in some way connected with the worship of ophidian reptiles'.

banish - to send or drive away, expel, dismiss imperatively

waterhead - a body of water kept at a height for supplying a mill, etc.; the height of such a body of water, or the force of its fall (estimated in terms of the pressure on a unit of area). Sometimes, the bank or dam by which such water is kept up + Wetter (ger) - weather.

righthead - rightness + righthanded - having the right hand or arm stronger or more useful than the left.

don - to dress (a person) in a garment; refl. to dress oneself + on

cockhorse - something (as an adult’s knee or a hobbyhorse) on which a child may sit astride as if on  a horse + nursery rhyme 'Ride a Cock Horse, to Banbury Cross, See a fair lady, upon a white horse'.

insolence - impertinently insulting behaviour

morosity - the state or quality of being morose (sour-tempered, sullen, gloomy, and unsocial).

uncoil - to unwind, to take out of a coiled state

spirally - in a spiral manner + Joyce's note: 'spiral'

lacertine - resembling a lizard [Joyce's note: 'lacertine']

Joyce's note: 'pressure' Crépieux-Jamin: Les Éléments de l'Écriture des Canailles 188: 'Energy manifests itself in writing by the quickness of the movements and the pressure of the hand'.

ungainly - awkward, clumsy, ungraceful

sculpt - to carve, to sculpture

selfsounding - sounding by itself, creating its own sound + lit. Selbslaut (ger) - vowel.

black art - The art of performing supernatural acts by intercourse with the spirits of the dead or with the devil himself, magic, necromancy; burglary (thieves' slang.)

podatus - the tenor in medieval choral music

dumbfounder = dumbfound - to strike dumb; to confound, confuse; to nonplus.

uproarious - characterized by uproar, noisy

skelter - to dash along, hurry, rush, scurry + fugue - a polyphonic composition constructed on one or more short subjects or themes, which are harmonized according to the laws of counterpoint, and introduced from time to time with various contrapuntal devices.

studious - giving careful attention, heedful + Sullivan, The Book of Kells 27: (of the unknown date of The Book of Kells) 'the page that should have told its story is unfortunately no longer there').

copyst - one whose occupation is to transcribe documents

grasp - to become completely cognizant of or acquainted with, to comprehend.

restraint - a means of restraining or checking persons from a course of action, or of keeping them under control; an instance of restraining or of being restrained.

lubricous - slippery, smooth; slimy; oily

conjugation - the action of joining together or uniting + Matthew 19:30: 'And many that are first shall be last: and the last shall be first'.


mate - to join suitably with; to associate, couple; to pair (animals, esp. birds) for the purpose of breeding.

grave digging - epithet of certain insects

secondbest - one that is below or after the best

bun - a sort of cake + beds; puns

interpolation - to alter or enlarge (a book or writing) by insertion of new matter; esp. to tamper with by making insertions which create false impressions as to the date or character of the work in question.

cod[ex] (l) - book made of bound pages (not a scroll): abbreviation used in scholarly textual studies.

pap[yrus] (l) - a papyrus MS: abbreviation used in scholarly textual studies + pap (Dutch) - porridge.

brek[fast], lun[ch], dinn[er], sup[per] - imitations of abbreviations used in scholarly textual studies

scholiast - one who writes explanatory notes upon an author; esp. an ancient commentator upon a classical writer.

hungrily - in a hungry manner; with hunger or craving; longingly; greedily.

mishear - to hear wrongly

deadman - corpse + deadman (Slang) - baker.

toller - one who tolls a bell + toll

muffin bell - a bell rung by a seller of muffins [(notebook 1924): 'muffinbell']