sunder - to dissolve connexion between two or more things, to separate one from another.

binomial theorem - the general algebraic formula, discovered by Newton, by which any power of a binomial quantity may be found without performing the progressive multiplications (a + b) = a + ab + b, etc. + binomial - a name consisting of 2 terms + diorama (gr) - a clear view through.

Punic Wars - the three wars between the Romans and Carthaginians waged between 264 and 146 b.c.

Ingoldsby, Thomas - name under which Barham wrote The Ingoldsby Legends

rure - fall, ruin + de rure (l) - concerning the countryside.

rule of thumb - a method or procedure derived entirely from practice or experience, without any basis in scientific knowledge; a roughly practical method +  hoop (Dutch) - crowd. 

lessons + blesser (fr) - to wound.

expedience - haste, speed, dispatch + experience

jus - law, a legal principle, right of power

judicate - to judge, decide + judicans (l) - judging

Pontius Pilate - the Roman procurator of Juda concerned in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

manuscript - a book, document, or the like, written by hand

boke - retching, vomiting, belch

cunning - knowledge, learning, wit, wisdom

conning - studying or learning esp. by repetition, scaning, scrutinizing + Budge: The Book of the Dead xxxvi-xxxvii: 'the LXIVth Chapter... version of it... is entitled "The Chapter of Knowing the Chapters of Coming Forth [by Day] in a Single Chapter"... it was believed to contain the essence of the Book of the Dead'.

muccius (l) - snotty

preprocess - to subject to a preliminary processing + procession - a litany, form of prayer + praeprocessio (l) - a pre-advance.

pro - - prior + precession - a going forward, advance, procession + propraecessio (l) - something for or to take place of a going-before or a preceding.

duplicity - the state of being numerically or physically double or twofold, doubleness + dupliciter (l) - doubly, in a twofold manner.

diplous (gr) - twofold, double

promulgate - to make known by public declaration; to publish

ipso facto - by the very nature or the case, by the fact itself + ipso facto (l) - by the same fact.

Sadko - rich merchant in the Novgorod cycle, a sad contrast to the heretic or raskol'nik (Raskolnikov) as in the story of Dives and Lazarus + sed contra (l) - but on the contrary, but against. 

raskol - dissent from an established orthodoxy

griphus (l) = griphos (gr) - a riddle, enigma + gripos (gr) - a haul of fish.

all but

secede - to withdraw from taking part + succeeded

monopolize - to obtain exclusive possession or control of + monophysism - doctrine that human and divine in the person of Jesus Christ constitute only one nature + monophysikos (gr) - of one nature: sectarian belief that Jesus had only one nature, not two (human, divine).

insubordinate - one who is insubordinate (not obedient to the orders of superiors) + suborior (l) - to spring up + sobor (Russian) - cathedral.

semen - the impregnating fluid of male animals; the seed or sperm + semeion (gr) - mark by which a thing is known; sign from the gods + semeiosis (gr) - sign, indication + nous (gr) - mind, intelligence. 

sarx (gr) - flesh

combinate + bucca (l) - cheek, face + combuccino (l) - to blow a trumpet with + buccinare (it) - blow (the trumpet).

solus ipse (l) - self alone

aspill - to spill, waste; to destroy, kill + aspello (l) - to drive away, to remove + aspilates (gr) - a precious stone of Arabia.

hagion pneuma (gr) - the holy spirit, the Holy Ghost

synthesize - to put together or combine into a complex whole; to make up by combination of parts or elements + syn- (gr) - with- + erethizo (gr) - to challenge, to provoke + synerethizo (gr) - to with-challenge, to with-provoke.

ovum (l) - egg + svyatogo dukha (Russian) - 'Holy Ghost'.

saccularius (l) - cut-purse, pickpocket

at variance (with) - in a state of disagreement or difference; conflicting, differing.

synodal - a synodal decision, constitution, or decree (obs.); a synodal book + synodus (l) = synodus (gr) - a college of priests, an ecclesiastical assembly.

sympoleo (gr) - to sell together; to confirm a sale + sympylion (gr) - a little gateway + pooly (Slang) - urine.

nepos (l) - grandson + nepogreshimost (Russian) - 'infallibility'.

get the hook - to be removed or discharged + This difficult theological passage is paraphrased in the 'Skeleton Key': But though the Gripes had, time and time again, sought to teach his own flock how to trumpet forth the double meanings of his doctrines, his pastors were found to be at loggerheads and at variance with the constitutions of his provincial creed, and so he got the hoof; he having wished to follow the Eastern rather than the Roman interpretation of the relation of the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost.

philequus (l) - horse-lover + Filioque (l) - and from the Son (phrase in Creed, source of the Great Schism (1054) between Western and Eastern Churches: does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father only, or from the Father and from the Son).

efter - after + efter (Danish) - after.

yaw - a movement of deviation from the direct course, as from bad steering + years

con - acknowledge, regard or examine closely; with

sheepskin - the skin of a sheep; parchment, diploma

yow - you

blind (Slang) - drunk

essay - to make an attempt + encyd (Welsh) - space.

Pius - "Dutiful": name of twelve popes; also epithet for Vergil's Aeneas.

yores - yours (obs.) + years

Amse (ger, dial.) - ant + answered + amser (Cornish) = amser (Welsh) - time.

gregary - ordinary, undistinguished + Gregorius (l) - "Herdsmanly (?)": name of sixteen popes.

Machamete = Mohammed (the founder of the religion of Islam)


brother + bothered (Anglo-Irish) - deaf (from Irish bodhar).

electress - a female elector

Valhalla - In Old Northern mythology, the hall assigned to those who have died in battle, in which they feast with Odin + vale (l) - farewell.

par (l) - equal

unicum - a thing unique in its kind, a sole existing exemplar; unparalleled

alleluia - an exclamation meaning 'Praise the Lord,' which occurs in many psalms and anthems + elegiacus (l) - elegiac, written in the elegiac meter.

tabulary - a place where the public records were kept in ancient Rome; hence, in other places + stabulum (l) - dwelling, tavern.

Robey, George (1869-1954) - English music-hall comedian + Ross, Robert ("Robbie") - faithful friend of Oscar Wilde's. He is said to have told Arthur Ransome that he and not Lord Alfred Douglas was "Oscar's real mistress." 

fall for - to yield to the attractions of, to be captivated or carried away by


nasal - rel. to the nose

Yardley's - brand of English soap and toilet articles

BOND STREET - In London's West End; synonymous with expensive fashion. Dublin's Bond Street is undistinguished. 

straight cut - cut in straight lines; honest, respectable

brokenarch - a decorative arch with a gap at the apex + to break one's back - to overpower, render nugatory, crush.


limply - in a limp manner; suitable, appropriate

oust - to eject or expel from any place or position, turn out + us

fortitude - strength

weightiness - the fact of being of much weight, importance, or consequence; grave or serious character.

mear = mare + mear (mer) (gael) - finger.

unsight - to prevent from seeing + lit. unsichtbar (ger) - invisible.

embouchure - the mouth of the river + ambusher

relentless - incapable of relenting, pitiless

haleine (fr) - breath