Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Jobbernowl, Johnson and Tory

Jobbernowl, Johnson and Tory

I thought you would find this interesting and hopefully fun. (Read to the end, and you’ll find some unrelated images.)
Up early as usual, sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea reading the online newspaper with the usual mix of outrage, hope and despair, and I started to wonder what my old friend Samuel Johnson has to say about his namesake. I only have a shortened version of his famous dictionary, and the word ‘Johnson’ doesn’t appear in it, but the nearest words to where it would be if it included are there, as is the word ‘Tory.’

Jobbernowl. (n) Loggerhead; blockhead.

Jogger (n) One who moves heavily and dully. (From Dryden: They, with their fellow joggers of the plough.)

Jotlhead (n) A dolt; a blockhead

I also looked in my copy of ‘The Vulgar Tongue’, a dictionary of old slang, but sadly, no Johnson. There was, however, a definition of ‘Tory’ which accords with Samuel Johnson’s:

Tory: (n) [A cant term, derived, I suppose, from an Irish word signifying a savage.] One who adheres to the ancient constitution of the state, and the apostolical hierarchy of the church of England, opposed to a whig.

That word comes between Torvous (aj) Sour of aspect, and Touchy (adj) Peevish; irritable; irascible. A low word.

At least Mr S Johnson knew what he was talking about and what he was doing. By the way, ‘The Vulgar Tongue’ has a slightly different take on the word ‘Tory’, describing it as meaning a vagabond, robber or rapparee.

In that dictionary, the word ‘Tory’ falls between:

Tormentor of catgut – a fiddler, and

Toss Off – manual pollution.

[Page 291 of the 2004 edition of ‘The Vulgar Tongue, Buckish Slang and Pickpocket Elegance’ if you don’t believe me.]

As a Ps: My name, Collins, can also be a noun. To write a ‘Collins’ was to write a thank you letter, but there’s no need for that.

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