A Guide for the Perplexed

Translations of All Non-English Phrases in Patrick O'Brian's Sea-Tales

 

 

1st Classic Book-by-Book Edition


edited by

Anthony Gary Brown

 

© 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014   (10th March 2014)

 


Click Here for the New Alphabetic Version of Perplexed

and

Click Here for a Free Download of Alphabetic Perplexed in Printable Word Processor Files

 


The Chief Translators

The work of translating has been a cooperative effort, and relatively little is the work of a single hand. The translators, with their special expertises, are:

David Bird
Latin, Greek

Gary Brown
French, Italian, Latin; Editor

Anna Ravano
Italian, Latin, French, Spanish

and

Francis Miles
a multi-linguist who contributed extensively to the 2002 revision of the 1996 original

In addition, the 2002 revision could not have proceeded without the extensive research help of the following:  E.K.B., Jeffrey Charles, Susan Wenger, Isabelle Hayes, Bruce Trinque, Adam Quinan, Rowen84, Lois Montbertrand, and Samuel Bostock


Introduction

If you've ever been perplexed by Patrick O'Brian's flow of Latin, French, Irish, Greek, and Spanish (not to talk of Catalan, Turkish, Polynesian and a few other tongues) then here, we hope, is your essential vade mecum. Accurate translations of all - well, almost all - the 'foreign' in O'Brian, easy as kiss-my-hand.

The entries are arranged in strict alphabetic order (so all groups of words are treated as if spelled as one:  hence afflatus precedes a fortiori) and are given as written by O’Brian (so la garce is in the ‘l’ section, not under ‘g’).  The page references are all to the Norton first USA editions (which are identical to all but the earliest UK Collins / Fontana first editions). We've included all 20 Aubrey / Maturin books, from Master and Commander through to Blue at the Mizzen, and added the early sea-tales The Golden Ocean and The Unknown Shore at the end.

Our General Guidelines:

  • We have attempted literal, even pedantic, accuracy rather than literary elegance (which we happily leave to O'Brian). We believe that whilst O'Brian's readers may occasionally need assistance with the words themselves, they seldom need assistance with the wider meaning. To this end we have tried to provide English translations that follow the word order of the foreign original, even at the risk of some stiffness of expression.  However we have occasionally made notes on the context of the phrase where a literal translation either remains obscure or has proved impossible
  • We have omitted most medical and botanical terms, where literal translation is so often unhelpful even when possible. Kerry Webb maintains an informative and enjoyable guide - Maturin's Medicine -  to all the medical terms found in O’Brian.
  • We have omitted most single 'foreign' words that can be found in a decent English dictionary

  • Almost all ‘foreign looking’ words that you cannot find here in ‘Perplexed’ are in fact archaic English and can thus be found in decent dictionaries
  • We have translated even those passages that O'Brian himself translates, in these cases being particularly literal in our contribution
  • Where we don't know the meaning for sure, we have tried to avoid guesswork. We rely on you to help us out!
  • We have not attempted to draw attention to every single typo in the published novels, although they are common in the 'foreign'. However many of Aubrey's errors are, of course, both deliberate and witty on O'Brian's part - we have usually drawn attention to these. Also, note that O'Brian's French is often highly idiomatic, with the spelling itself capturing how everyday, rapid and casual French is spoken.  [Note: Larry Breed has started a new project identifying slips and typos in the printed O’Brian works:  Errata in the Aubrey / Maturin Canon.  Larry welcomes contributions from readers.]

If you want even more information or discussion than we've provided in our Guide for the Perplexed, then you can find civilized, witty and erudite conversation about O'Brian's finer points in the Patrick O'Brian Archive . And if you want to know how to pronounce the Latin in the Roman rather than the English Style, and perhaps even learn a little about how Latin is constructed, then mure hic stimulate precor .

There are also other entertaining and informative web sites relating to Patrick O'Brian that you may care to visit: Gibbons Burke hosts pages that are a virtual cornucopia of POBiana , including one detailing all the many musical references in the Aubrey / Maturin series; Ian Rowan hosts an excellent non-fiction bibliography of works pertaining to sailing, warfare and the early 19th century.  Anna Ravano has added a fun site – POB’s Riches – listing all the various literary quotations in O’Brian.  Enjoy!


Abbreviations

L ..........Latin
F .........French
E .........English
S .........Spanish
It .........Italian
Ir .........Irish Gaelic
Scots...Scots Dialect
Gk .......Greek
Lit: …...Literally

 

The Books

M&C                      Master and Commander  (1969)
PC                          Post Captain  (1972)
HMS                       HMS Surprise   (1973)
TMC                       The Mauritius Command  (1977)
DI                            Desolation Island  (1978)
FW                          The Fortune of War  (1979)
SM                          The Surgeon’s Mate  (1980)
IM                           The Ionian Mission  (1981)
TH                           Treason’s Harbour  (1983)
FSW                       The Far Side of the World  (1984)
RM                          The Reverse of the Medal  (1986)
LM                          The Letter of Marque  (1988)
TGS                        The Thirteen Gun Salute  (1989)
NC                          The Nutmeg of Consolation  (1991)
C/T                         Clarissa Oakes (UK title) / The Truelove (USA title)  (1992)
WDS                       The Wine Dark Sea  (1993)
COM                      The Commodore  (1994)
YA                           The Yellow Admiral  (1996)
HD                          The Hundred Days  (1998)
BM                          Blue at the Mizzen  (1999)
’21’                         21: The Final Unfinished Voyage (2004 fragment)

 

GO                          The Golden Ocean  (1956)
US                           The Unknown Shore  (1959)


Don't forget that most net browsers have a 'find' or 'search' option on the menu bar. So you can just look up particular phrases or words that are just rattling round in your minds or which you've heard on the several complete audio recordings of O'Brian, for example those produced by Books on Tape .

There are certain to be omissions and errors in our work; these are undoubtedly due to the sloth, ignorance, fecklessness and misspent youth of your Editor. But please do let me know of any gaps in our labours. If you are genteel enough to pretend that you are pointing out a very mere slip of pen or attention, then you will be entered on the 'Roll of Honour' of those who have helped better the final document. We intend to publish revised editions from time to time, so contributions are always welcome. Don't forget: even if you have no idea what a 'foreign' phrase we've missed out means in English, please send it to us for translation and inclusion.

If you have comments, please e-mail me direct.


Folks Who Have Helped Out:  Roll of Honour

(Occasional Contributors, Correctors and Omission-Spotters, in random order)

Gibbons Burke (with especial thanks for his expertise and labour in attending to the HTML code for this site); Cathal O'Brien; Richard Ellis; Ed Kane; Allan Janus; Jack Merton; Randy Johnson; Deborah Whitman; Scott Powell; Philip Anderson; Adam Quinan; Richard Benedict; Elisabeth Shields; Gerry Strey; Eldad Ganin; Rafael Landin; Ema Nemes; Tim Sterrett; Don Goyette; Donal O'Sullivan; Richard Ward; Alex Frakt; Eric Raymond; David Van Baak; Roger Giner-Sorolla ; Richard Ward; Bob Frewen; Andy Evans; Pierangelo Celle; Mary Stolzi; Chris Moseley; Francis Miles; Bob Bridges; Juan Francisco Castilla Conejo; Don Seltzer; Lindsay Hubert; John Blumel; Jim Whiting; Brian Tansy; Patrick Cullinan; Patrick McGinness, Guy Déragon.

**In addition, the following helped out greatly with the 2002 revision of the site; indeed Your Editor could not have proceeded without them – E.K.B., Jeffrey Charles, Susan Wenger, Isabelle Hayes, Bruce Trinque, Adam Quinan, Rowen84, Lois Montbertrand, Samuel Bostock, Bill Nyden.


 

MASTER AND COMMANDER

 

DEDICATION

Mariae lembi nostri duci et magistrae do dedico
I present and dedicate [this book] to Mary, the commander and mistress of our yacht (L)

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE

J'ai pris mon bien là où je l'ai trouvé
I've taken my riches from anywhere I found them (F; often attributed in this form to the 17th C. playwright Jean-Baptiste Molière, but it was also the motto of the Pleiade school of French poets of the 16th century.)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p12
teniente
Lieutenant (S)

p 14
manger
to eat (F)

mangiare
to eat (It)

pollo
chicken (It / S)

vino
wine (It / S)

désirer
want, desire (F)

cosare
sew (bad S; correct = coser)

teniente
lieutenant (S)

capitan
captain (S)

p 16
Bello soleil
beautiful sun (bello=It; soleil=F)

tramontana
north wind (It)

p 24
douceurs

lit: sweeteners; small bribes or tips (F)

p 32
aliquid amari

something bitter (L; from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura: medio de fonte leporum surgit aliquid amari quod in ipsis floribus angat, = 'from the very centre of a fountain of delights arises something bitter that chokes us in our prime [lit: in our very flowering])

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 34
visage de porco

pig's face (F + It)

cinco platos
five courses (S)

p 35
Putain
prostitute (F)

Patois
local dialect (F)

jabalí
wild boar (S)

sengler
wild boar (Cat.)

cepas
a mushroom (Catalan; known as the cèpe in F, the 'penny bun' in E, and funghi porcini in It and American English)

boletus edulis
edible fungus (L; a mushroom known as the cèpe in F, the 'penny bun' in E, and funghi porcini in It and American English )

p 36
raptores

birds of prey (F)

lepidoptera
lit: dainty wings; i.e. butterflies and moths (Gk)

p 39
vice

in place of (L)

p 41
philosophe

a learned man (F)

p 42
res angusta
constrained means (L; usually as res angusta domi = ‘limited wealth at home’, from Juvenal Satires III)

p 54
Christe eleison, kyrie eleison
Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy (Gk; from the Latin Mass)

p 67
Libellus de Natura Scorbuti
A Pamphlet on the Characteristics of Scurvy (L)

p 76
Deh vieni
Do come (It; sung by Susanna in Act IV of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 110
libeccio

south-west wind (It)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 138
stertor

heavy breathing (L)

dura mater
lit: hard mother (L = the outer coating of the brain)

p 144
a luggit corpis sweenie
(perhaps Scots, but perhaps simply an O'Brian joke: many correspondents have hazarded translations – usually involving ears, epaulettes, bodies and pigs – but AGB remains unconvinced by their admittedly inspired guesswork)

what's yon snotty bairn a-greeting at?
what's that grubby child crying about (Scots)

p147
possibilissima
perfectly possible (It)

'Possibile è la cosa, e naturale,
E se Susanna vuol, possibilissima'

'The matter is possible, and natural; and if Susanna wants to, then very possible indeed.'
(It; sung by Figaro in Act II of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 174
Non amo te, Sabidi
I do not love you, Sabidius (L; Martial, Epigrammata I; continues - '..I cannot tell you why. I can say this though, I certainly don't love you.' A famous 17th century translation, by Thomas Brown, begins, 'I do not love thee, Dr Fell..'. Brown was threatened with expulsion from Oxford by Dr John Fell, Dean of Christ Church, but was offered a chance to redeem himself if he could translate the Martial epigram impromptu; which he did.)

p 175
raison d'être
reason for existence (F)

p 176
mens rea

a guilty mind (L)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 180
hortus siccus

dried garden (L = a collection of dried plants)

p 181
quaere
consider, find out, query (L)

persona
mask (L = character)

p 204
Cacafuego

shit-fire (S; quite often used as an actual ship's name by the Spanish)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 217
pénétré
earnest (F; can literally = 'wounded')

Domestique, monsieur
Your (domestic) servant, Sir (F. Aubrey's approximate French leads him to choose the wrong one of two words for servant; polite 18th C. usage was Votre serviteur)

p 221
merci
thank you (F)

p 224
Vou' savez faire
Do you know how to... (F)

Eh, pardi
You don't say! (F, colloquial; cf Alexandre Dumas' use of this phrase as a common exclamation)

p 229
creta alba

white chalk (L)

p 232
Non fui, non sum, non curo
I didn't exist; I don't exist now; I care not. (L; a common tomb inscription with the sense of 'I came from nowhere, and now I've gone - what does such a fleeting life matter anyway?'; see also Post Captain, p 376)

p 233
regrediar
I shall return (L)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 251
Missa Brevis
lit: The Short Mass; often trans. as The Low Mass (L)

p 255
ruse de guerre
a trick in warfare (F)

p 260
Danneborg

The Danish flag (Danish)

p 263
que vengan

let them come (S)

p 265
copito; aguardiente

large glass; 'burning water', i.e. brandy (S)

p 266
querido

my darling (S)

felix
happy (L; he means 'feliz', S)

p 270
indisposée

indisposed (F = a reference to her period)

p 275
facies

face, i.e. outward appearance (L)

mammothrept
brought up by a grandmother (Gk = 'mummy's boy')

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 296
taula d'en Xatart

Mr Xatart's tablet (Catalan)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 302
flocci-nauci-nihili-pilification
setting something at a minimal value (English but based on L, following a humorous literary practice of long, compound words.
Flocci = pieces of straw; nauci = trifles; nihil = nothing; pili = pieces of hair; fication based on L facere = to make)

Deh vieni
Do come (It; sung by Susanna in Act IV of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

p 319
requies Nicholai

Nicholas' relief (L; mentioned in Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621 as a ‘last refuge’ sleep-aid, possibly an opium-based bolus; the origin of the name is obscure.)

p 331, 332
otros cincuenta

fifty more (Sp)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 341
diga me
tell me (S)

bona creatura
pretty creature (Minorcan Catalan dialect)

p 342
sangria colda
sangria = wine punch (S; Calda = hot (It); fresca = cold (It)!)

soif
thirst (F)

recompenso de tua tia
a reward for your aunt (combined, and approximate, S and L)

y aquí
and here (S)

p 342
regalo para vous
a present for you (the words are It+S, S, F respectively)

p 344
fenum habent in cornu
lit: they have hay on the horn (L; Horace, Satires 1. The hay was used on oxen inclined to gore people, as both a padding and visible 'danger sign'; Horace uses the phrase (with the singular habet) to mean 'he's a dangerous man'. Maturin's use of this quotation is also a clever pun on the 'cuckold's horn' in respect of Admiral Harte.)

p 345
membrum virile
virile limb (L = penis)

Mr Richards, bach
Mr Richards, my dear (Welsh bach = lit. 'little')

p 347
outré

showy, extreme (F)

p 349
gregale

north east wind (It)

p 352
utile
useful (L)

p 361
Eratosthenes redivivus
Eratosthenes come back to life (L; Maturin is saying that the Latin author Strabo had merely copied the subsequently lost works of the Greek philosopher Eratosthenes)

p 363
relievo
tang, or savor (It; rilievo lit= 'relief; prominence; remark')

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

p 379
Specimen Animalium
Evidence of Animal Life (L)

p 380
quaere
consider (L)



Return to Contents Page


POST CAPTAIN

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 52
mésalliance
a socially mis-matched marriage (F)

p 55
béguin
a fancy (F)

tendre
loving feeling (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 57
quo me rapis
where are you carrying me off to?
(L: alludes to Horace Odes III.25.1-2, "Quo me, Bacche, rapis tui
plenum
" = "Where, O Bacchus, are you carrying me off to, so full [of your wine]?")

quaere
consider, investigate; a query (L)

p 58
furor uterinus
lit: frenzy of the uterus (L)

p 84
solis deprivatio
a lack of sunshine (L)

p 85
adieux

goodbyes (F)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 90
langouste

spiny lobster (F)

court-bouillon
lit: short broth (F; a light fish or vegetable stock, with herbs)

gigot en croûte
lit: leg of lamb in a [pastry] crust (F)

p 91
Domestique, monsieur
Your (domestic) servant, Sir (F. Aubrey's approximate French leads him to choose the wrong one of two words for servant; polite 18th C. usage was Votre serviteur)

Je préserve - j'ai - le plus vivid rémembrance de vos combatte à Ushant à bord le Pong, en vingt-quatre neuf
I guard - I have - the most 'vivid' reorganisation of your fight off Ushant on board the Peacock, in twenty-four nine (very bad F; 'vivid' is not a F word at all; we read 'Pong' as an attempt at F Paon; quatre-vingt neuf would be correct F for [17]89)

p 91
livré
an attempt by Aubrey at 'booked' (F; livrer = delivered / surrendered / betrayed; also livrer la bataille = 'to join battle'; Aubrey is thinking of livre = 'a book')

p 92
chance
luck (F)

p 93
Capitaine de Vaisseau
Captain of Vessel, i.e. Post-Captain (F; the French edition of 'Post Captain' is titled Capitaine de Vaisseau)

p 95
darse

a sheltered dock (F)

p 96
coq au vin
cock / chicken in wine (F)

sole normande
sole, Normandy style (F)

p 104
monsieur le sergent
Sergeant, sir
Eh bien
Oh well (F)

p 105
En route, en route, les prisonniers!
On our way, on our way, prisoners! (F)

N'oubliez pas l'ours, messieurs-dames
Don't forget the bear, ladies and gents (F)

p 107
causse

limestone ridge (F)

p 109
satietas vitae
a loathing of / boredom with life (L)

p 110
boletus
fungus / mushroom (L)

p 114
douanniers

customs men (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 118
pooja
a Hindu act of propitiation or worship, in which a small sacrifice of food is made to a phallic object (Sanscrit = pujah)

p 122
buldoo-panee
?-water (Hindi pani / panee = 'water'; buldoo looks like a Tamil word)

p 123
neeps

turnips or swedes (Scots and North English dialect)

p 140 / 153
chasse-marées
lit: chase-tides; usually coastal privateers, often rigged as a luggers, but can just refer to similar fishing vessels (F)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 145
messiers les prisonniers
you gentlemen prisoners (F)

p 153
O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, agricolas
O how extremely happy could farmers be, if only they would count their blessings [lit: understand their possessions]! (L; Virgil, Georgics II)

p 154
agricolas

farmers (L)

p 156
cacothymia

bad spirit, malevolence (Gk)

p 159
flambeaux

flaming torches (F)

p 165
bar mitzvah
lit: Son of the Commandment - the ceremony marking the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy (Hebrew)

p 173
cognoscento
a person of discernment (It, properly cognoscente)

outré
showy, excessive (F)

p 180/1
pediculus vestimenti
clothes' louse (L)

pediculus capitis
head louse (L)

p 196
shebeen

illicit liquor store (Anglo-Irish)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 198
quod volunt credere
that which they want to believe (L)

gnosce teipsum
know yourself (L; translates the Greek gnothi seauton which was famously inscribed upon the temple of Apollo at Delphi)

p 214
melée
general fight (F)

p 225

protégé
favorite (F)

p 244
posse navitatum
The posse comitatus (L; lit: 'the force of the county') was the Sherriff's militia. Aubrey presumably means to say 'ship's militia', which would be posse navis in L. However he has nearly said posse navitatis (L; = lit: 'a force of zeal') which would be a reasonable, if somewhat awkward, phrase in the circumstances.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 255
arma virumque cano
Of war (lit: weapons) and the man I sing (L; the opening line of Virgil's Aeneid)

p 268
falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus
false in one instance, [therefore] false in every instance (L)

p 270
sotto i pini
beneath the pine trees (It; sung by Susanna and the Contessa in Act III of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

p 280
'Le monsieur est touché.
Mauvaisement blessay?
Sais pas, commandant. Il parle plus: je crois bien que c'est un macchabée à présent. Y a du sang partout. Vous voulez pas me faire passer une élingue, commandant?'

'The gentleman is hit.
Badly wounded?
Don't know, skipper. He's stopped talking: I'm pretty sure he's a stiff now. There's blood everywhere. Won’t someone pass me a line, skipper?' (F; a mix of colloquial and bad)

Eh, parlez ....
So, call for.... (F)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 301
epocha
a fixed moment in time, or 'turning point' (Gk)

p 302
carte, tierce, sagoon
Parries and thrusts in fencing (Technical: from old F)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 330
pis aller
a stop-gap; can also = a last resort (F)

p 335
gummata
lesions, usually associated with syphilis (L)

sequelae
long-term symptoms (L)

p 337
sans revanche
without a return game (F)

rouleaux
a roll (F)

nagin
perh. ‘a half-pint’ (Ir. where it is literally a disagreeably small bottle of spirits, and figuratively ‘a person low down in the pecking order, of little consequence’.  The suggested English slang is probably a more generous quantity of liquid!)

p 341
ruse de guerre
lit: trick of warfare (F)

p 344
Arabia Felix
Fortunate Arabia (L; the ancients knew of the bountiful coasts and inland oases of the Arabian peninsular. These days the phrase usually applies to modern Yemen)

p 350
flora and fauna
plants and animals (L)

p 358
cannonières
gunboats (F)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 375/6
'Rendez-vous!
Jé mé rendre .... Parola!'
'Capitaine, cessez effusion sang. Rendezvous. Hommees desertés. Rendezvous!
Jamais monsieur!'
'Capitaine, en bas, dessous, s'il vous plaît.
Toutes officiers dessous.'
'
Surrender!
I give up ... I give my word of honour [correct I,F = Parole]!'
'Captain, stop flow blood. Give up. Men have deserted. Give up!
Never, Sir!'
'
Captain, below, beneath, please. All officers beneath.'
(Mostly rather bad F)

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

p 386
non omnia possumus omnes
we can't all do everything (L; Virgil Eclogues)

p 387
Venerem omitte
lit: avoid Venus; i.e. 'no sex' (L)

p 390
ruse de guerre
lit: a trick of warfare (F)

p 394
ca'hoopit
?
(Scots)

p 411
protégé
favorite (F)

p 419
Anan
?

Say again? (Archaic English slang)

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

p 433
déjà-vu
lit: already seen (F)

p 436
bistouries
lancets (F)

p 447
acushla
lit: pulse, heart-beat; = darling (Ir)

p 449
fui non sum non curo
I did exist; I don't exist now; I care not.
(L; [nb should probably be non fui = 'I didn't exist': see Master and Commander, p 196] a common tomb inscription [in the non fui version] with the sense of 'I came from nowhere, and now I've gone - what does such a fleeting life matter anyway?')

tranquillitas animi et indolentia corporis
peace of mind and insensibility of body (L)

p 458
bagnio
bath-house or Turkish Bath (It; correct = bagno)

hummums
Turkish baths (E, from Arabic hammam = hot)

p 461 / 462
deus ex machina
A God from the Overhead Crane (L; refers to the practice in ancient drama of all problems being finally resolved by the appearance of a God, lowered in on a crane [Gk = mechane] from what we now call the Fly Tower, or Flies, above the visible stage area.

p 464
casus belli

the opportunity / justification for war (L)

p 466
Le Astutzie Femminili
Women's Wiles (It)

p 467
main forte
brute force (F; lit: 'strong hand')

p 469
Le Astuzie Femminili
Women's Wiles (It)

p 475
pro hac vice
for this purpose / mission (L)

tace
be quiet (L;  the phrase ‘tace is Latin for a candle’, meaning ‘keep it quiet’ is obscure in origin, but relatively common in 19th century English literature. The correct word in Latin for a candle is candela;  tace is the imperative tense of the usual verb for ‘be silent’)

p 485
Tir nan Og
lit: The Land of Youth; = 'Paradise' (Ir)

p 492
'Monsieur, j'ai l'honneur de introduire une amie, le Dr Maturin: Dr Maturin, l'espagnole capitaine, don Garcio...'
Sir, I have the honour to introduce a girlfriend, Doctor Maturin: Dr Maturin, the Spanish lady captain, don Garcio....' (bad F)

Vino, chocolato, aguardiente
wine, chocolate, brandy (S)


Return to Contents Page


HMS SURPRISE

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 5
omnium gatherum

a gathering of everyone (dog Latin)

p 7
Belle Poule
Pretty Hen (F; poule also = 'a racy girl')

p 10
aegis

patronage (Gk)

p 20
ruse de guerre

a trick of war (F)

p 26
ex gratia

out of grace, without obligation (L)

CHAPTER TWO

p 37
in posse

potentially (L)

p 39
haut relievo
a good tang or savor (F+I; lit= 'high relief')

p 41
bonne mot

good word, witticism (F; should be bon mot)

p 53
Honneur and Patier

F: intended to be 'honneur and patrie', i.e. honour and the fatherland

p 50
bannière
de partance

departure flag; ie the 'Blue Peter' (F)

pavillion de beaupré
bowsprit flag (F)

misaine
foremast (F)

hunes de perroquet
lit: tops of the topgallants (F; presumably the cross-trees at the junction of the topmast and topgallant masts; perroquet is literally ‘little parrot’, but is a t’gallant in nautical parlance)

p 54
Deh vieni, non tardar
O come, do not delay. (It; sung by Susanna in Act IV of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 65
Parlez-vous français?

Do you speak French? (F)

hijos de puta
sons of a whore (Sp)

Ohé, de la barca
Ahoy, in the boat (S)

p 69
cuatro groupos, cinco minutos

four groups, five minutes (S)

foch
fire (Catalan)

p 71
J'arrive, mon capitaine.
I'm coming, Captain. (F)

Qu'est-ce que ce remue-ménage?
What's this commotion? (F; lit: 'household-disturbance')

Vous êtes un officier anglais, monsieur?
Are you an English Officer, Sir? (F)

p 72
Chez le Colonel.
At the Colonel's house / with the Colonel (F)

p 72
En Maragall, valga'm Deu
Maragall, Sir, my God! (Catalan)

p 73
cochons
pigs (F)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 76
sequelae
consequences, symptoms (L)

baraka
an innate, God-given, spiritual force (Arabic)

p 80
engouement
sudden passion (F)

ancien régime
the old system (ie: pre-revolutionary France) (F)

p 81
les agissements néfastes de Sir Blaine
the wicked machinations of Sir Blaine (F)

le perfide Sir Blaine
the faithless Sir Blaine (F)

p 84
Swiving Monachorum

A convincing-looking English placename, but in fact meaning 'Fucking of the Monks' (Old E + L)

p 93
au courant
up to date (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 100
aqua regia

royal water (L = a 50-50 mix of nitric and sulphuric acids)

sequi me
follow me (L)

p 114
Erin go bragh
Ireland for Ever (Ir)

p 119
carcinoma, lupus, sarcoma

malignant tumour, skin disease (lit.
'wolf'), tumour (L, L, Gk)

p 120
summum bonum
the highest good (L)

p 121
protégés
favourites (F)

p 126
lingua franca
a common tongue (ie: a common language based on a mixture of many different ones) (L)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 139
magma

thick ointment (Gk)

p 154
tes moeurs crapuleuses
your sordid morals / habits (F)

tu cherches à corrompre mon paresseux
you are trying to corrupt my sloth (F)

va donc, eh, salop
come on then, you bastard (F)

espèce de fripouille
you silly cad (F; espèce = lit: 'type', but espèce d'idiot = 'silly idiot')

p 155
ad captandum vulgus
to deceive the rabble (L)

p 156
hauteur

haughtiness (F)

p 158
Belle Poule
Pretty Hen (F; poule also = 'a racy girl')

p 184
arcus senilis

old man's ring (L;  the pale ring that appears around the eye’s iris in the elderly)

p 185
syncope
stroke
(Gk)

p 188
'Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo....
Hyssopo et super nivem dealbabor.'
Full quote: Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
'Sprinkle me with the hyssop twigs, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.' (L; Psalms 51:7)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 193
parama-hamsa
lit: supreme soul; an ascetic of utmost sanctity (Hindi)

p 194
gymnosophist
naked sage (Gk)

fibula
lit: a brooch or clasp;  here meaning that a fastener has been used to close Dil’s sexual organs, to ensure her chastity  (L)

bhang
hasish (Hindi)

menarche
onset of menstruation (Gk)

garçon manqué
would-be boy; a 'tom-boy' (F)

p 195
bonus nullius
a piece of property belonging to no-one (L)

p 199
ménage

household (F)

p 204
outré
showy (F)

p 206
Autres pays, autre merde
Other countries, other shit (F; Aubrey intends ... autres moeurs = 'other customs'.)

p 209
topi-wallah
lit: 'hat man'; generally means 'a European' (Hindi)

p 213
syce

groom (Anglo-Indian, from Arabic saa'is)

p 215
pandit

scholar (Hindi)

p 214
bahadur
sir / lord (Hindi)

p 217
chit

a piece of paper (Hindi)

p 220
glacis
a sloping apron built at the foot of a fort wall (F, Eng)

p 221
lapis lazuli
lit: stone of azure (L)

dulce loquentem, dulce ridentem
Full quote: dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo dulce loquentem, 'I shall love Lalage, who laughs and talks so sweetly' (L; Horace, Odes I)

bidpai chhatta
? (Hindi; chaat is a term for various types of spicy appetizers, eg aloo chaat - potato, murgh chaat, chicken)

p 224
punkah

ceiling fan (Hindi)

p 227
trompe-couillon
lit: cheat-the-testicles (F; = a trick to take in 'suckers'; couillon being a vulgar term for 'a gullible fool')

p 238
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae
now and at the hour of our death (L; nostrate in some editions is a typo; from the Catholic Ave Maria / 'Hail Mary' prayer)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 262
roi de trente-six parapluies, et très illustre seigneur de mille éléphants
King with thirty six umbrellas, and illustrious Lord of a thousand elephants (F)

p 263
un gentilhomme est toujours gentilhomme

a gentleman is always a gentleman (F)

p 264
placebo
lit: I shall be pleasing / acceptable (L; = a drug whose effects are psychological rather than physiological)

p 265
Heautontimoroumenos
The Self-Tormenting One (Gk; the title of a Latin play by Terence, an adaptation of an earlier Greek work)

p 266
Io triumphe
Hurrah for the Triumph! (L; the phrase chanted by the principal celebrant - known as The Triumph - of the religious procession commemorating past victories)

p 279
outré

showy (F)

pianissimo
as quietly as possible (It)

p 285
haud crede colore
don't trust the colour (L)

p 310
Te Deum

To you, God (L)

p 317
reculing pour mew sauter

drawing back to make a better leap (bad F - correct is reculer pour mieux sauter)

p 319
ghee

clarified butter (Hindi)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 338
compassé

formal or stiff (F)

p 346
sub deo
under God ['s protection] (L)

peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere
I have sinned beyond measure in thought, word and deed (L; part of the Roman Catholic confession)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 253
brawly feckit
bravely done (Scots)

p 359
arma virumque cano.

Of war (i.e. weapons) and the man I sing (L; the opening line of Virgil's Aeneid)

p 360
... ast illi solvuntur frigore membra
vitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras

...but his limbs became numb with the cold
and his life, distaining to bear this, fled down into the shadows with a sigh.
(L; the final two lines of Virgil's Aeneid)

p 362
testudo aubreii
Aubrey's tortoise (L)

p 368
absit, o absit omen
Let it not, O let it not be an omen! (L)

p 372
Camara de Lobos

Chamber of Wolves (Portuguese)

p 374
ataraxy

indifference (Gk)



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THE MAURITIUS COMMAND

Return to Contents Page

 

DEDICATION

pron: 'glauk eis Athenas'.
An Owl to Athens (Gk; The phrase means 'an insignificant addition to an already great amount', rather like the English saying, 'Carrying Coals to Newcastle'). See also The Hundred Days, p197 for a reference to this phrase.

CHAPTER ONE

p 22
blanquette de veau

veal in white sauce (F)

p 41
tenesmus

chronic, painful constipation, both vesical and rectal (Gk)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 52
lieutenant de vaisseau
First
Lieutenant (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 91
corpus vile
foul / dirty body (L; often means 'the body as a mere object', derived from the early Christian equation of physicality with filth.)

fons et origo
the spring and the source (L)

p 92
sensu stricto
in the strict sense

p 100
pénétré
earnesty grateful (F)

p 102
au courant
up to date (F)

p 104
ex Africa surgit semper aliquid novo,_ novi
There's always something new coming from Africa (L; Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis 5. Novi is correct.)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 132
à bas, Buonaparte
down with Buonaparte (F)

salaud
the shit / the bastard (colloquial F)

p 137
coup de main
lit: blow of the hand; = 'a decisive, or knock-out, blow' ; or perhaps = 'a surprise attack' (F)

p 140
désolé
lit: desolated; usually = 'very sorry' (F)

p 141
peccatum illud horribile inter Christianos non nominandum
That wretched sin, which must not be called by name amongst Christians (L; the usual legal euphemism for sodomy)

p 159
faute de mieux
for lack of anything better (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 162
bonne bouche
lit: good mouth; = 'final touch / little extra' (F)

p 165
sedes libera
free seat (L)

francus bancus
free seat (dog L)

dum sola et casta fuerit
while she will have been alone and chaste (L)

p 169
tormina
colic or the gripes (L)

sudor insignis
exemplary sweat (L)

p 170
élan

dash, enterprise (F)

p 189
gummata
a tumor (L; small benign tumors, a sign of tertiary syphilis)

p 193
carpe diem
use / enjoy the day (L; Horace, Odes I. The sense in Horace is not 'Seize the Moment!' [or 'Go For It!'] but rather, 'Make the Best Use of Today, for who knows what the Heavens have planned for our Tomorrow’.)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 203
nonpareil
has no equal (F)

p 210
in terrorem
in fear (L)

a fortiori
even more so (L)

p 223
bonjour, mademoiselle
good day, Miss (F)

p 226
mêlée
general fight (F)

p 232
demi-lune

half- moon (F = a detached outwork built by a besieged army)

chamade
a drum call for a parley (F)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 241
tête-à-tête
lit: head to head; an intimate meeting (F)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 327
chimaera
a fabled monster (L + Gk - originally meant a she-goat)

fait accompli
a done deed (F)

p 334
stupor mundi

wonder of the world (L)



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DESOLATION ISLAND

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 23
amour

love-affair (F)

p 30
rouge et noir

red and black (F)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 55
sans souci
without a care (F)

p 57
égards
special considerations (F)

p 60
raison d'être
reason for its existence (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 75
rara avis in mara, maro

a rare bird at sea (L; should be mare; reflects rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno = 'a rare bird on earth, just like the black swan', from Juvenal, Satires VI)

p 85
Tractatus de Novae Febris Ingressu
A Treatise on the Early Stages of a New Fever

Hôtel Dieu
Mansion of God (F = hospital)

de ossibus
concerning bones (L)

p 90
vade retro
get back / behind;  get behind me, Satan  (L;  Vade retro / Retro vade, Satanas are words Jesus uses to repel the temptations of  Satan [Luke, 4:8] and Peter [Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33], both of whom are offering the possibility of his avoiding his destiny on earth)

p 104
sensu stricto
in the strict sense (L)

p 106
bitchady pawdle

sent across the sea (Romany)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 119
dégagé
loose-limbed (F)

p 124
lizardi percalidi
Aubrey's attempt at 'very hot lizards' (L; percalidus could certainly mean 'very hot'; a lizard is lacerta in L: hence lacertae percalidae would have been more accurate)

p 128
quaere
consider, investigate; a query (L)

p 130
prodromi
advance signs (L+Gk)

latibule
hiding place (L)

p 131
festino lento
make haste slowly (L; should be festina lente, Suetonius Divus Augustus)

p 141
billets doux
lit: sweet notes; love letter (F)

p 142
pizzicato

pinched (It = plucked note on a string instrument)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 153
quackeens

little quack doctors (Anglo-Irish)

p 155
sequelae
symptoms (L)

p 160
Jupiter Tonans

Jupiter / Jove the Thunderer (L)

p 164
tendre
a soft spot (F)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 178
lues venera
the plague of Venus (L = syphilis)

serricunnium
chastity belt (medieval L)

p 179
lacuna

gap (L)

p 180
legato arpeggio
a smoothly connected chord played as a 'run' (It)

p 192
lapsus linguae
a slip of the tongue (L)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 206
Io triumphe
Hurrah for the Triumph! (L; the phrase chanted by the principal celebrant - known as The Triumph - of the religious procession commemorating past victories)

p 215
delirium tremens
The shaking fever (L; medical term for the effects of withdrawal from chronic alcoholic poisoning)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 244
novena
a devotion of prayers said on nine successive days (Church L)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 267
lictor

a Roman official armed with a ceremonial rod (L)

p 273
tête-à-tête
head-to-head / fact-to-face (F)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 314
is minic Gall maith
There's usually some good in a foreigner (Ir)

p 321
à propos
with particular regard to (F)

p 322
tantum religio potuit suadere malorum
Religion can induce such a degree of wickedness [in people]. (L; Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, I)

p 324
aurora australis

the southern lights (L)



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THE FORTUNE OF WAR

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Physiologie du Goût
The Physiology of Taste (F)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 11
koekjes
little cakes (Dutch)

p 16
flèche
arrow (F)

p 21
Arabia Felix
Arabia the Fortunate (L; usually refers to modern Yemen with its fertile coast and many oases)

p 23
fragilis ratis
a fragile craft (L; Horace, Odes passim)

p 28
billets doux
lit: sweet notes; = love letters (F)

p 35
en clair
in clear / uncoded [language] (F)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 49
Histoire Générale des Voyages
A Complete History of Voyages (F)

j'ai failli attendre
I nearly had to wait (F)

p 52
travail de Bénédictin
the work of a Benedictine (F; Benedictine monk scholars were, and are, famous for the length and thoroughness of their works)

absit omen
let it not be an omen (L)

p 53
intermissa, Venus diu, rursus bella moves
Venus, again you provoke wars long since abandoned (L; Horace, Odes VI. Nb: the comma after diu is misplaced, and should instead follow Venus. See also The Surgeon's Mate, p 176)

p 54
arcades ambo
[they are] both Arcadians (L; Virgil, Eclogues, VII, where it is famously used to describe two perfect, almost identical youths from the idealised rustic province of Arcadia, sometimes known as the 'Greek Switzerland'. The phrase came to mean 'much of a muchness'.)

p 61
As a wee bairn McLean first skelpit a mickle whaup his daddie has whangit with a stane, and then ilka beastie that came his way
As a young boy McLean first skinned a whimbrel his father had hit with a stone, and then any creature that came his way (Scots: a whimbrel is a small bird; skelpit usually means 'hurried' but O'Brian presumably thinks it a word for 'scalped'.)

scoutie-allen
? (presumably Scots)

p 64
thon southron loons didna ken cleanliness ... a puir wombly set of boggerts
those southern idiots don't understand cleanliness ... a poor unfortunate set of scarecrows (Scots; boggerts can just mean 'fellows'.)

p 98
a fortiori
even more so (L)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 128
nepenthe

antidote to grief (Gk)

p 128
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior
The entire poem is:
"Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requieris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior."
I hate and I love. Why should I do this, perhaps you ask.
I don't know, but I feel it happening and I am racked with pain. (L; Catullus Carmina LXXXV)

p 132
hein
eh?, what? (F)

p 137
côq au vin
chicken in wine (F; usually no accent over the 'o')

râble de lièvre
saddle of hare (F; usually no accent over the 'a')

p 139
katno aiss' vizmi
(Well.... it might be Iroquois!)

p 148
folie circulaire
recurring madness (F = manic depression)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 172
storgé

parental love (Gk)

p 175
râle
rasp
, rattle (F; often a 'death rattle')

p 179
remue-ménage
commotion (F; lit: 'household-disturbance')

p 180
souviens-toi
remember (F)

p 181
agent provocateur

a spy who encourages [others to perform illegal acts] (F)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 189
petits fours
lit: small ovens; little baked biscuits / cakes (F)

tu
you (F; the intimate form of ‘you’ in contrast to the more formal ‘vous’)

p 199
intermittance de coeur
irregular heartbeat (F)

p 204
rivière
necklace, especially one set with many jewels (F)

bisque de hommard
a rich lobster soup (F)

p 206
éclat
outburst (F)

p 213
mariage blanc
lit: white marriage; a marriage in name alone (F)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 219
tace
be quiet (L;  the phrase ‘tace is Latin for a candle’, meaning ‘keep it quiet’ is obscure in origin, but relatively common in 19th century English literature. The correct word in Latin for a candle is candela;  tace is the imperative tense of the usual verb for ‘be silent’)

p 224
hic, haec, hoc
this (L; masculine, feminine and neuter inflexions, respectively.
A common piece of early rote learning.)

p 224
drabogues

sluts, whores (Ir)

p 231
aide-memoire
a memory aid (F)

p 233
nocturna versate manu, versate diurna
turn over [the pages] by night and by day (L; a quote from Horace's Art of Poetry where he advises close study of Greek verses)

p 239
le voilà
there he is (F)

p 240/1
Vite, vite, à gauche.
Tu l'attraperas.
quick, quick, to the left. You'll trap him (F)
Allez, allez!
go, go! (F)
fouette
crack the whip!
Fouette, toujours
keep whipping (F)
arré
= the word used to get a horse moving (F; usually = arrí)
A gauche, je te dis
to the left, I tell you (F)
A droit
to the right (F)

p 245
contre-coup
lit: repercussion (F; in English medical usage, this refers to brain damage on the opposite side to where an injury occurred, caused by the impact of the moving brain tissue on the inside of the hard skull)

p 246
rivière
necklace (F)

p 247
la garce
the bitch (F)

p 248
fait accompli
a done deed (F)

p 249
Tu es là, Jean-Paul?
Are you there, Jean-Paul (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 224
coup de main
punch, slap; a decisive blow (F; lit: blow of the hand)

p 263
Marlbrouk s'en va-t-en guerre, mironton, mironton, mirontaine
Marlbrouk ne revient plus

Marlborough is off to war, mironton etc
Marlborough is never coming back (F; mironton is a nonsense word, perhaps imitating a drum-roll; apparently sung to the tune of 'For he's a jolly good fellow'.)

p 284
qui ferox bello tamen inter arma
sive iactatem religarat udo
litore navim

et Lycum nigris oculis nigroque
crine decorum

[The poet is addressing his lyre - a musical instrument - and Broke / Maturin skip over some lines crucial for the overall sense]
[It was Alcaeus the stout patriot from Lesbos who tuned his lyre,]
when he had just been in the fighting at war,
or had anchored his storm-tossed ship on the damp shore.
[He sang of the Muses, of Bacchus and fair Venus,
and of Cupid, still her pageboy]
and also to Lycus, with back eyes and black
hair adorned.
(L; Horace Odes I)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 299
Mac na h'Oighe slan
Hail to the Son of the Maiden (Ir)

p 303
rencontre
an encounter, or duel (F)



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THE SURGEON'S MATE

 

DEDICATION

Mariae Sacrum
Dedicated to Mary (L)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 33
merde d'oie
lit: goose shit (F; =a bronze green/brown colour)

Madam Chose
Mrs Thing / What's-her-name (F)

p 34
rivière

necklace (F)

p 35
Institute de France
The Institute of France

p 41
accoucheur
a male midwife,
or obstetrician (F)

p 42
facies
character (L; literally: face and expression)

caruncula lachrymalia
lit: the tear-like little pieces of flesh (L; the protrusion of the tear-ducts in the inner corner of the eye)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 47
désolée
extremely sorry (F)

outré
showy (F)

p 58
passade

passing fancy (F)

rivière
necklace (F)

p 59
ragots
gossip (F)

finis
end (L)

p 61
tumor, rubor, dolor
swelling, redness, pain (L)

scoliosis
curvature of the spine (Gk)

p 63
gnosce teipsum
know yourself (L; translates the Greek gnothi seauton which was famously inscribed upon the temple of Apollo at Delphi)

p 69
conjugo

I join (L = the key word in the Latin marriage ceremony)

p 77
peccavi

I have sinned (L; the sense of 'to cry peccavi' in English is 'to ask for mercy')

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 117
nata mecum consule Buteo
Born with me, under Bute's consulate (L; Romans referred to past dates, such as birth-years, by the name of the Consul who had served his one year term at that time - eg, Horace, Odes III: nata mecum consule Manlio, addressed, as in O'Brian's text, to a bottle of wine. John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Bute, was Prime Minister for 12 months in 1762-3.)

p 123
éclaircissement
elucidation
(F)

p 130
'Coll'astuzia, coll'arguzia
col giudizio, col criterio ....
Con un equivoco, con un sinonimo
qualche garbuglio si troverà'

'With cunning, with wit,
with judgment, with discernment...
With a quibble, with a well chosen word [lit: 'synonym']
I'll be able to concoct some sort of plot.'
(It; Dr Bartolo in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro Act I)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 137
Ile des Cygnes
Island of Swans (F)

marelle
hopscotch (F)

p 138
faubourg

suburb (F)

p 139
Hôtel

mansion / hall (F)

p 141
accoucheur
obstetrician (F)

p 142
omnium

of everything (L = capital assembled from several sources, rather like a mutual fund or unit trust)

p 147
duces tecum
bring it with you (L; a writ ordering a party to 'bring with you' a document at the next court hearing)

p 150
agent provocateur
one who acts to provoke (F; a secret agent who induces his enemies to commit an illegal or revealing act)

p 153
rivière
necklace (F)

le pork inentamé
the pig not yet cut up (F)

p 157
savants

learned men (F)

p 158
ossements fossiles
fossilised bones (F)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 162
ruse de guerre
a trick in war (F)

tête-a-tête
lit: head to head; an intimate meeting (F)

p 176
vixi puellis nuper idoneus
Recently I led a life congenial to girls (L; Horace, Odes III)

lustra decem
ten five-year religious cycles (L; = 50 years)

parce, precor, precor
spare me, I beg, I beg (L; Horace Odes IV. The line immediately follows that quoted in The Fortune of War, p 53)

p 180
en flute
in the manner of a flute (F = with few or no guns [in order to free up deck space], so that, like the keys of a flute, the gunports have only air behind them)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 249
pediculus vestimenti
clothes' louse (L)

pediculus capitis
head louse (L)

pediculo vestimento
clothes' louse (bad L)

pediculo capito
head louse (bad L)

p 254
Salve Regina

Hail to the Queen [of Heaven] (L)

p 258
padri
godfather (Catalan)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 263
permettez-moi de présenter
allow me to present (F)

p 265
non olet
it doesn't stink (L. Refers to an argument between the Emperor Vespasian and his son Titus. Vespasian imposed a tax on public urinals; Titus protested, accusing him of being excessively grasping. Vespasian thrust a coin under Titus' nose and asked whether it nauseated him. When he replied that it did not, the Emperor growled, pecunia non olet atque e lotio est - 'this money doesn't stink, but it comes from piss!' Suetonius Lives of the Caesars)

p 268
hapax phenomenon
a unique event (Gk)

p 278
bon cop de falç
a good stroke of the sickle (Catalan; forming part of the refrain of the Catalan national anthem Els Segadors [The Reapers]: bon cop de falç, bon cop de falç, defensors de la terra [a good stroke of the sickle .... defenders of the land.)

p 289
festino lente
make haste slowly (L; should be festina lente. Suetonius Divus Augustus)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 314
chienne

bitch (F)

p 315
foie gras
lit: fat liver; the liver of force-fed geese (F)

gratin
a cooked cheese topping (F)

p 316
blateroon

a blow-hard (Anglo-Irish)

aetat
at the age of (L)

p 317
grande nation
a great nation (F)

p 321
pharmacopoeia
a 'receipe book' for medical preparations; a stock of drugs (L, from Gk)

p 322
secret du roi
lit: the King's secret; the King's private intelligence force (F)

p 330
accoucheur
obstetrician (F)

Hôtel Dieu
Mansion of God (F = hospital)

p 331
veuve
widow (F)

p 332
cuisine bourgeoise
home cooking (F)

civet de lapin
rabbit stew (F)

poule au pot
lit: chicken in a pot; chicken stew (F)

Rue des Neuf Fiancées
Street of Newly Engaged (F)

p 334
ampullae
little glass bottle (L)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 339
amor vincit omnia
love conquers everything (L; properly omnia vincit amor, Virgil Eclogues)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 352
louis d'or
a golden louis [coin] (F)

napoléon
a napoleon [coin] (F)

agent provocateur
one who acts to provoke (F; a secret agent who induces his enemies to commit an illegal or revealing act)

p 361
Poupette

Little Doll (F)

p 363
soupe anglais
Lit: English soup (F; if it is the same as the It. zuppa inglese, it is a kind of trifle)

p 374
à propos
exactly to the point (F)



Return to Contents Page


THE IONIAN MISSION

 

DEDICATION

Mariae Sacrum
Dedicated to Mary (L)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 14
Acushla
lit: pulse or heartbeat; i.e. 'Darling' (Ir)

chéri
my dear (F)

p 19
bisque

thick soup (F)

p 20
fortunatos nimium.....
Lit: 'happy to an excessive degree...'. (L; full quote is O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, agricolas = 'O how very happy farmers could be, if only they would count their blessings [lit: know their possessions]! (L; Virgil, Georgics II)

p 21
bombe glacée
lit: iced bomb; a bomb-shaped ice cream pudding (F)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 48
sotto voce
in a soft voice (It)

p 54
defecator

impurity-remover (L)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 73
est summum nefas fallere
it is the most wicked thing to deceive (L)

p 80
bonny-clabber

sour cream (Anglo-Irish)

p 96
epocha
fixed moment, turning point (Gk)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 109
opisthotonos
head drawn back, spine curved (Gk; refers to the effects of tetanus)

trismus
lock-jaw (Gk)

risus sardonicus
the mocking smile (L; refers to strained grin due to facial spasms)

p 110
volto sciolto, pensieri stretti
open face, concealed thoughts (It; lit: sciolto = untied; stretto = tied up. Sir Henry Wooton [1568-1639] attributed a similar phrase - pensieri stretti, viso sciolto - to the courtier Alberto Scipioni. In O'Brian's version it is taken from the late 18th C. Letters of Lord Chesterfield.)

p 111
raison d'État
[justified by] reasons of State (F)

anno domini
in the year of the lord; = advancing age (L)

p 120
bon mot
lit: a good word; a witticism (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 132
suave mare magno
[it is] pleasant [to watch] in a great sea
Full quote:
"Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis,
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem
."
= "It is pleasant to watch from the land the great struggle of another in a
sea made great by rushing winds..."
(L; Lucretius De Rerum Natura II.1-2. The quote is not intended to express delight in the suffering of others, but rather compares the position of those secure in the truth of philosophy to that of those who are not.)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 154
partita
an alternative word for a musical 'suite' (It)

p 155
chaconne
a slow dance (F; orig. Basque)

sonata
a musical piece for instruments alone [as opposed to the cantata for voices] (It)

lingua franca
a common tongue (L; an everyday mix of F, S, It and other Mediterranean languages)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 198
Els Set Dolors
The Seven Sorrows (Catalan; ie the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary)

p 200
la casa
the house (It, S, Catalan)

p 201
capitan manyac
Captain Sweetheart (Catalan)

p 208
liquor ammoniae acetatis
solution of ammonium acetate

afflatus
a breeze, or 'inspiration' (L)

p 219
Halte là. Qui vive?
Le docteur Ralph.
Stop there. Who is it [lit: who lives]?
Doctor Ralph (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 228
sequelae
consequences / symptoms (L)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 261
fait accompli
a done deed (F)

vali
the civil governor of a Turkish province (Turkish)

iradé
A written decree from the Sultan (Arabic-Turkish)

firman
an edict issued by the Sultan of Turkey (Persian)

p 269
habeas corpus
lit: you may have the body; a writ releasing somebody from custody (L)

nunc dimittis
Now you are releasing (L; from the Catholic Mass, and ultimately from the hymn of Simeon in Luke II: nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine secundum verbum tuum in pace ...; = "Now Lord, in keeping with your word, you are releasing you servant in peace ...")

p 273
afflatus
lit: a breeze; can also = inspiration (L)

p 287
virgoes intactoes
intact virgins (sort of L; Correct L would be virgines intactae: the singular is virgo, whence Aubrey's error. In his Latin attempts, Aubrey generally tries to achieve the necessary agreement of the parts of speech by making the endings identical.)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 293
Bonnehomme
chap, fellow (F)

no porco, pas porco
no pig, no pig (several languages combined)

p 312
lingua franca
a common tongue; a simple mixture of several different languages (L)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 327
matins and lauds
morning and praise
prime
first hour
terce
third hour
sext
sixth hour
nones
ninth hour
vespers
evening
compline
final
(All derived from Latin and French: the cycle of monastic daily prayer as laid down by
the rule of St Benedict)

p 328
a fortiori
even more so (L)

p 330
ultima ratio regum
the final argument of Kings (L; from the tag 'War is the final argument of Kings'.)

p 336
iradé
A written decree from the Sultan (Arabic-Turkish)

La Sublime Porte
The Heavenly Gate [the centre of Turkish administration in Constantinople] (F)

p 340
bashi-bazouk

wild head (Turkish)

p 341
tsarfetim
?
(Turkish)

p 344
fortissimo
as loudly as possible (It)

p 364
rendre
to give up (F; rendez-vous = 'surrender!')



Return to Contents Page


TREASON'S HARBOUR

 

DEDICATION

Mariae Sacrum
Dedicated to Mary (L)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 11
crackit gaberlunzie
a half-witted beggar (Scots; gaberlunzie carries the slightly affectionate sense of 'a ne'er-do-well')

p 12
heuch, ablins
well, perhaps (Scots)

p 27
memorate
commit to memory (bad English: Italian would be mandare a memoria)

trapassato remoto
the pluperfect tense (It; eg: 'she had kissed')

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 59
Agnus
Lamb (of God) (L)

dona nobis pacem
give us peace (L)

posse
potential (L)

pax romana
Roman peace (L)

Garde impériale
Imperial Guard (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 63
stare
to be; to stay (It)

p 65
corpo di Baccho
By the Body of Bacchus! (It; correct would be Bacco)

p 74
wee glippet
little / quick glance (Scots)

listie
little list (Scots)

heuch
well (Scots)

neeps hackit with balmagowry
swedes / turnips mashed up with ?curdled milk (Scots)

p 75
coup de filet
round up (F; lit: cast of the net)

p 76
soirée
an evening party (F)

p 77
calor, rubor, dolor
heat, redness, pain (L)

p 78
flauto d'amore

lit: flute of love (It)

p 81
adagio
slow (It; musical term)

p 82
tesoro
treasure, darling (It)

p 83
dénouement
outcome (F)

p 84
fiamme
flames (It)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 101
Nix Mangiare

nothing to eat (colloquial Maltese / Italian; taken from the cry of beggars meeting the crews of incoming ships)

p 113
hortus siccus
dry garden (L; ie, a collection of dried plants)

p 116
sopor, coma, ..... , carus
sleepiness, unconsciousness, .... , my dear.... (L)

p 130
monophysite

of a single nature (Gk)

homoiousian ... homoousian
of like essence ... of similar essence (Gk)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 146
vi et armis
with force and weapons (L)

p 164
transiens per medium illorum ibat
[Jesus] departed, passing though the middle of them (L; Luke 4:30)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 189
hammam
Turkish bath (Arabic)

bagnio
bath-house or Turkish Bath (It; correct = bagno)

siriasis
sun-stroke (Gk)

p 203
urinator

a diver (L)

p 209
merde à celui qui le lit
a turd on whoever reads this (F)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 224
Te Deum
To you, God (L; The start of the hymn of praise and thanksgiving beginning "We praise you, God.")

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 228
précis
a summary (F)

p 223
point device
very properly dressed (E, from Old F  à point devis = 'to the point arranged' ; see also Shakespeare's Rosalind in As You Like It, III, iii)

Pas gin. Niente debaucho
No gin.
No debauchery. (approximate F, Eng., It)

p 237
amitié amoureuse
a loving friendship (F)

p 245
munera navium saevos inlaqueant duces
Gifts may ensnare the savage leaders of ships (L; Horace Odes III)

p 249
Ave Maria

Hail Mary (L)

p 253
litera scripta manet
the written word endures (L)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 273
promotides
raised upwards (Aubrey's Greek invention)

capitano
captain (It)

pas morto
not dead (F + bad It)

elevato in grado
raised in rank (It)

p 278
levator anguli scapulae
lit: the raiser of the corner of the shoulder-blades (L)

p 279
Persian apparatus

Persian dishes (a reference to Horace Odes I – ‘persicos odi puer apparatus’, "I don't like fancy Persian food, boy".)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 299
Nix Mangiare
nothing to eat (colloquial Maltese / It; taken from the cry of beggars meeting the crews of incoming ships)

navium duces
lit: leaders of ships (L)

Strada Reale
Royal Street (It)

p 303
Città Vecchia
Old Town (It)

p 308
faldetta
a hooded black cape worn by Maltese women (Maltese)

p 326
à-Dieu-va
lit: go to God (F)

p 331
pourparlers

negotiations (F)



Return to Contents Page


THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 14
force majeure

lit. = superior force;  usually means that usual arrangements are overridden by more compelling circumstances or orders  (F)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 52
quo me rapis?

where are you carrying me off to?
(L: alludes to Horace Odes III.25.1-2, ‘Quo me Bacche rapis tui
plenum
..’ = "Where, O Bacchus, are you carrying me off to, so full [of your wine]?")

p 61
hic, haec, hoc

this (L; masculine, feminine and neuter inflexions, respectively.
A common piece of early rote learning.)

p 63
iris
rainbow (Gk)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 103
pot au noir

lit.
= pot / jug for black stuff  (F)

p 108 / 9
hic, haec, hoc

this (L; masculine, feminine and neuter inflexions, respectively.
A common piece of early rote learning.)

p 109
autos, autee, auto ... kyrie eleison
he, she, it (Gk; beginning of a declension learned quite early in Greek study) +
Lord, have mercy (Gk; the most common snippet of ecclesiastical Greek in the
Latin Mass)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 141
molter vivace
in a very lively style (It; correct = molto vivace)

p 151
les plus sages
the most wise [people] (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 160
acullico

a chewed up wad of coca leaves  (Sp)

p 206
vox et praeterea nihil
a voice, and nothing else (L; Plutarch Apophthegmata Laconica)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 220
que no haya novedad
may no new things arise (S)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 249
volto sciolto, pensieri stretti
open face, concealed thoughts (It; lit: sciolto = untied; stretto = tied up. Sir Henry Wooton [1568-1639] attributed a similar phrase - pensieri stretti, viso sciolto - to the courtier Alberto Scipioni. In O'Brian's version it is taken from the late 18th C. Letters of Lord Chesterfield.)

De Consolatione Philosophiae
On the Consolation of [provided by] Philosophy (L; a work by Anicius Manlius
Severinus Boethius, c. 480-524 CE; one of the most popular works during
the Medieval period.)

p 250
pravum est cor omnium

above all else the heart is perverse  (L;  from the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 17)

p 252
ochone … begar

alas … by God  (Ir.;  Anglo-Irish slang)

p 256
helot
a serf (from L and Gk; specifically, the peasant class among the
Spartans who had absolutely no rights.)

p 274
wahu
tahu wahu wai is often given in English as a Hawaiian war chant, but I’m far from sure this is how it is understood by native speakers.

patoo-patoo
a war-club  (Hawaiian;  the term is commonly found in the journals of Captain James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks, though it may in fact refer to the material out of which the club was made, a dense hardwood from the far southern Polynesian islands)

p 276
taboo
forbidden by religious law (Polynesian)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 298
il faut souffrir pour être beau

one must suffer in order to be beautiful  (F)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 338
ruses de guerre

tricks of war  (F)

p 361
de jure

from a legal point of view (L)




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THE REVERSE OF THE MEDAL

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 22
anno domini
lit: in the year of the Lord; advancing age (L)

p 36
M’puta
far away (various west African languages; N.b., the word only appears as the surname of the young Jack Aubrey's sometime lover Sally, and as the later surname of their son, Sam Panda)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 40
Nossa Senhora das Necessidades
Our Lady of the Necessities  (Portuguese)

p 41
Salve Regina
Hail to the Queen  [of Heaven]  (L; a hymn especially associated with sailors from Catholic nations)

p 48
honi soit qui mal y pense
shame to him who thinks evil of it (old F; the motto of the English Order of the Garter)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 107
Familles Naturelles des Plantes
The Natural Families of Plants (F)

p 108
Omnia perdidimus, tantummodo vita relicta est,
praebeat at sensum materiamque mali.

We have lost everything, and to the extent that life is left,
it should offer just the sense and substance of evil.
(L; Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV.xvi.49-50)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 130
in omnium
in total (L; should be in omnia)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 147
beau
lit: fine, handsome; = an admirer, boyfriend (F)

p 153
sancta simplicitas
holy simplicity  (L)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 179
quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus dominus, tu solus altissimus
since you alone are holy, you alone are the lord, you alone are the highest (L; from the Gloria of the Latin sung Mass)

p 180
cholera morbus
the deadly plague cholera (L)

lucus a non lucendo
[called] a grove for being unlit (L; more or less impossible to translate, but meaning 'a contradiction in terms, often with facetious intent';  often attributed to Quintilian, who quotes the phrase as already well-known)
The word lucus (= 'a grove', i.e. that part of a wood where dappled sunlight breaks dimly through) is derived from the verb lucere, 'to light', from which lucendo is also derived. The force of the phrase is "it is called 'a bright place', though usually pretty dark", or in the O'Brian, "it is called a rose garden though it usually has no roses".

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 216
septième

seventh (F)

huitième
eighth (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 239
pulvis
dust, powder (L)

p 241
quasi pannus menstuate
like a menstrual cloth (L)

p 251
de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem est ratio
our reasoning is identical as regards what does not appear and and what does not exist
(L)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 258
deus ex machina
A God from the Overhead Crane (L; refers to the practice in ancient drama of all problems being finally resolved by the appearance of a God, lowered in on a crane [Gk = mechane] from what we now call the Fly Tower, or Flies, above the visible stage area.)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 272
cicindelidae

tiger beetles  (L)

duodecimpunctatus
twelve-spotted  (L)

p 273
Si la personne qui s'intéresse au pavillon de partance voudrait bien donner rendez-vous en laissant un mot chez Jules, traiteur à Frith Street, elle a aurait des nouvelles.
If the person who has an interest in the 'departure flag' would like to arrange a meeting by leaving a word with Jules, the caterer located in Frith Street, he or she will receive some news. (F)



Return to Contents Page


THE LETTER OF MARQUE

[for an explanation of Marque, see entry at p 57 below]

 

 

DEDICATION

Mariae Duodecies Sacrum
Dedicated Twelve Times Over to Mary (L; Letter of Marque is the 12th book of the series)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 17
coitus interruptus
interrupted copulation  (L; interrupted by male withdrawal)

p 26
Tic Douloureux

unhappy twitch  (F; a type of exceptionally painful facial neuralgia)

p 27
Boreas

the north-east wind (Gk; Boreas is often depicted as a horse)

p 30
sale comme un peigne

dirty as a comb (F)

à-Dieu-va
may you go with God  (F)

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 37
penetralia
inner sanctuary  (L)

p 44
hemi-demi-semi

half-half-half  (the prefixes all occur in various Greek and Latin derived forms)

grosso modo
in a general way  (It)

p 46
raison d’état

justification on state grounds  (F)

p 55
hemicrania

severe headache, migraine  (Gk /L)

pharmacopoeia
the battery of known medicines  (Gk)

p 57
marque

mark, sign of authority  (F;  originally, privateers’ enabling documents were known either as ‘letters of marque [authority]’ or ‘letters of reprisal’, ie a document enabling seizure of enemy vessels.  Gradually the document became known as a ‘Letter of Marque and Reprisal’, a somewhat unhandy phrase that incorrectly suggests that ‘marque’ and ‘reprisal’ are two different paths of action.)

p 60
filibeg
little kilt (Gaelic)

p 63
Scylla / Charybdis
Scylla was a great sea-monster, stationed at the foot of the cliffs opposite Charybdis, a fearsome whirlpool  (Gk / L;  we assume Aubrey was attempting some more flattering comparison)

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 73
vol-au-vent

fly-in-the-wind  (F; a very light, small pastry case)

p 80
psychopannychia
sleep of the soul  (Gk;  ‘sleep’ here implies a state halfway between wakefulness and death.  The concept, popular with the 16th century Anabaptist sect, is more usually associated with John Calvin, who wrote a book of the same title arguing against the belief, than with Dr John Gauden)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 112
pelisse
an outer robe, often of fur-lined silk  (F)

p 116
raparee
a bandit or thief  (usually rapparee, from Ir rappaire, a pike carried by irregular soldiers)

chasse-marées
lit: 'chase-tides', = coastal privateers, usually rigged as luggers (F)

p 119
menus plaisirs
small pleasures (F)

p 124
coleoptera

beetles  (L)

p 122
coup d'état
lit: 'blow against state'; an overthrow of the government (F)

p 129 / 130
Debellare Superbos
To Tame the Proud (L; Virgil Aeneid, VI 853)
The reference is to public duty:
"Remember, Roman, these will be your arts:
to teach the ways of peace to those you conquer,
to spare defeated peoples, to tame the proud." (as translated by Allen Mandelbaum)

p 130
epergne

an elaborate dining-table center-piece, often fitted with dishes for fruits and sweets (F)

p 130
bandito

a bandit / outlaw (It)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 146
shoneen
a pretend gentleman (Ir)

p 152 / 153
pilaff
a seasoned rice dish, always with added fat or oil, and usually with chopped vegetables or meats (Persian, lit. ‘cooked rice’)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 167
bouillabaisse
a rich fish stew  (F)

p 168
croutons

small pieces of bread, fried or rosated to a crisp (F; also just means ‘bread-crusts)

p 178
peripateia / péripétie

ups and downs of life  (Gk / F)

p 179
Poetica

The subject of poetry (Gk, L)

p 183
salle d'armes
lit: room of weapons; a fencing-room (F)

Nunc Est Bibendum
Now is the Time for Drinking (L; Horace Odes I.37.1;  see also The Unknown Shore, p 283)

Riposte; counter-riposte; parry; tierce
counter-stroke following a parry; an attack following the parry of a riposte; a defensive movement with one’s own blade enganging that of the attacker; a form of parry [the third / tierce of the standard modes] (Old F)

p 192
Ohé, du bâteau.
Ohé, La Diane, où ce qu'elle se trouve à présent?
Au quai toujours, nom de Dieu. T'es Guillaume?
Non. Etienne.
Ben. Je m'en vais. Qu'est-ce que tu as là?
Des galériens.
Ah, les bougres. Bon. Au plaisir, eh.
Au plaisir, et je te souhaite merde, eh?

Ahoy, the boat.
Ahoy: The Diane, where's she at the moment?
At the dock, as usual, in God's name. Are you William?
No, Stephen.
OK. I must be off. What have you got there?
Galley-slaves.
Ah, those poor fellows. OK. Goodbye, then.
Goodbye, and I wish you shit, eh?
(colloquial F)

p 194
Mais, qu'est-ce qui se passe?
But, what's going on?
(F)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 208
lèse-majesté

high treason  (F; lit. ‘encrochment upon royal authority’)

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 240
Le Nozze di Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro (It; the title of an opera by Mozart)

Contessa, perdono, perdono
Countess, forgive
me, forgive me (It; Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

Ah, tutti contenti saremo cosí
Ah, then we shall all be happy (It; the final chorus of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

p 254
Dies Irae
The Day of Wrath (L; title and opening of Mediaeval Latin hymn on Judgment Day; see also The Hundred Days, p 139)

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 260
jeune fille en fleur
a young girl in bloom (F)

p 261
catastrophié

devastated  (F)

p 265
akvavit

’water of life’  (Danish; distilled liquor)

p 266
Contessa perdono
Countess, forgive me (It; Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

p 270
menstruum

fluid suspension  (scientific L)

pharmacopoeia
the array of available drugs (Gk)

p 279
mari complaisant

an indulgent husband (F)

p 284
Ah tutti contenti saremo cosí
Ah, then we shall all be happy (It; the final chorus of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)



Return to Contents Page


THE THIRTEEN GUN SALUTE

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 28
Heisa, heisa
vorsa, vorsa
vou, vou

A chant from a sea-shanty (perhaps Old E or Norse; the words may be meaningless - a mid-16th century version, heard by a lowland Scot being sung on an English vessel, runs: “heisa, heisa; vorsa, vorsa; vou, vou; one long pull, more power, young blood, more mud.....”. However, the words also bear some similarity to colloquial Italian, issa, issa; forza, forza; su, su, which means “heave, heave; come on, come on; up, up”)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 96
quorum
lit: of whom; = the number required to be present to constitute a meeting (L; is a very shortened form of a phrase such as 'there shall be 10 members of the committee, of whom six must be present to constitute a meeting'.)

p 110
La Clemenza di Tito
Tito's Mercy (It; Mozart's last opera)

Journal des Sçavans
The Scholars' Journal (F; sçavans is an old spelling of savants; a journal of the humanities and sciences founded in 1665)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 135
remigium alarum
the beating of wings, or the rowing of oars (L; a cleverly turned phrase containing both these meanings at once, found in Vergil Aeneid I)

p 136
viva voce
in his or her own live voice (L)

p 138
lapsus calami
a slip of the pen (L)

p 163
andante
at a walking pace (It; musical term)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 176
Vous l'avez voulu, George Dandin
You asked for it, George Dandin (F; from Molière's Georges Dandin, ou le Mari Confondu of 1668. The peasant Dandin marries above his station and, cuckolded out of his pretty young wife, repeatedly mutters this phrase. It has become a way of saying, 'you've only got yourself to blame for what you're complaining about'.)

p 189
force hypermécanique
lit: a beyond-mechanical force (F; the ‘vital force’ of the 18th century ‘Vitalists’, a force existing beyond both mind, body and spirit)

p 216
désolé
extremely sorry (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 249
Quelle connerie

what a piece of damned stupidity  (F)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 273
zeta
the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, which sounds and looks like English Z.
(Gk. Aubrey means he started to learn the alphabet, which at first proceeds in a way
parallel to the English alphabet: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon; but then zeta. Many a neophyte Greek scholar has stopped at this point, confused, though glad, that the Greek alphabet seems so very short.)

upsilon
Greek letter equivalent to 'u' or 'y'. (Gk; because Greek does not have a separate letter for H, upsilon is the first letter of hybris)

hybris
overweening pride (Gk; often transcribed as 'hubris')

p 274
septième
seventh (F)

huitième
eighth (F)



Return to Contents Page


THE NUTMEG OF CONSOLATION

 

DEDICATION

Mariae Sacrum
Dedicated to Mary (L)

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 12
babirussa
boar-deer  (Malay; a wild boar with a pair of horn-like tusks)

p 13
gralloch

the guts; to eviscerate  (Ir; Scots Gallic)

p14
Sor Luisa
Sister Louise (Cat.)

crubeens
pig’s feet, cooked or pickled  (Ir)

p16
ductus choledocus communis

common bile duct  (L; choledochus is more usual)

p 23
saline enemata

salt water enema  (English derived from Latin; Gk)

p 26
krees

a dagger, often with a wavy edge and wavy (ie damascene) decoration  (Malay; often seen as kris)

p 26
dyak

a native of Borneo (Malay; lit. = ‘untamed’)

proa
a sailing vessel with a lateen sail and an outrigger  (Malay)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p  34
kapok

fibrous surround of the seeds of the kapok tree  (Malay)

p 35
mêlée

a general fight  (F)

gingall
a big musket or small cannon, swivel-mounted on a portable rest  (Hindi; also gingal, jingal)

p 48
medang

a type of tree (Malay;  used for a large variety of species, with the meaning depending on location)

dudong
a sea-cow  (Malay)

p 54
malleolus

the protruding ankle bone (L; lit. = a small hammer, or the tongue of a shoe buckle)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 55
attaché

lit. = attached;  a member of a diplomatic staff  (F)

p 58
nicht
thochtpairson
night … thought … person  (Scots dialect)

why you had crackit yon wee bairn’s leg. 
Heuch, heuch, you must have thocht me a puir slow witted gowk

… why you had broken  that little child’s leg. 
Well, well, you must have thought me a poor slow witted fool  (Scots dialect)

naevus
a mole, blemish or spot  (L)

abune
above  (Scots dialect)

collops
thick slices of meat, cut across the grain;  usually veal or venison  (Scots dialect;  derived from F escallope)

faukit
perhaps intended as Scots pronunciation of ‘fucking’?

p 59
canty

lively (Scots and Nth English dialect)

p 63
Dato

tribal chief  (Malay)

p 69
quietus

rest;  usually means ‘death’ in English  (L)

p 72
hemi-demi-semi

a very small part  (Gk, F, L, each meaning ‘half’;  in music a hemi-demi-semiquaver is a 64th note)

p 73
coup d'état
lit: 'blow against state'; an overthrow of the government (F)

boreen
a country lane  (Ir)

p74
flora and fauna
plants and animals (L)

p 75
Buidhe Connail
The Connail Yellow (Ir;  usually translated as ‘the yellow plague’, but more properly meaning ‘the yellowness that came from Tir-Connail’, i.e. modern Donegal)

gratis pro Deo
free, for the sake of God (L)

p 76
Ramadan

lit. = the hot month  (Arabic; the ninth month of the Moslem year, in which the faithful fast during daylight)

p 78
paternoster

our father (L; the beginning of the Christian Lord’s Prayer)

p 80
Kesegaran mawar, bunga budi bahasa
Rose of Delight, Flower of Courtesy (Malay; these translations are given in The Thirteen Gun Salute, though it is not there clear which English refers to which Malay phrase. In The Nutmeg of Consolation p 29 the female Dyak warrior is called Kesegaran)

hiburan buah pala
The Nutmeg of Consolation (Malay; as translated by Maturin)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 85
douceurs

lit: a sweetener; a bribe or gratuity (F)

p 88
testudo aubreii
Aubrey's tortoise (L)

tangalung
a Java civet cat  (Malay)

p 92
aides-de-camp

lit.
= camp aids;  officers serving as an assistant to a senior (F)

p 93
âge ingrat
that awkward age (F)

p 95
tuan

lord, sir  (Malay)

p 96
décolletés

lit. = without collars;  dresses cut low to reveal neck and shoulders  (F)

p 98
tromba marina

lit: marine trumpet  (L;  In fact, not any sort of trumpet at all, but a form of single-stringed dulcimer. The origin of the name is both obscure and disputed, but seems likely to derive from the instrument’s distinctive tone.)

p 105
generale

the general call to arms  (It)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 114
Nil Desperandum
There's Nothing to Cause Despair (L; note: 'Never Give Up' = Nunquam Desperate)

p 118
exulans

wandering, exiled  (L)

p 119
continuo

continuous  (It.; abbreviation of basso continuo, continuous bass, an improvised accompaniment around a simple written bass line.  It can be played on a variety of instruments)

p 121
Don … Cosí

Lord / Sir … Cousin  (Sp. … Catalan)

p 133
rigor mortis

the stiffness of death  (L)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 157
impostumes

cysts, abscesses  (Old F, Medical Eng)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 167
scrutoire

writing desk  (Eng. adaptation of F escritoire)

p 186
membrum virile
the virile limb; = penis  (L)

p 191
sus barbirussa; sus barbatus
the red-bearded pig; the bearded pig (L)

p 192
tapirus americanus
the American tapir (L)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 199
tapirus indicus
the East Indian tapir

p 202
taro

an edible root of the arum family (Tahitian)

p 216
skillygallee

oatmeal and boiling water  (Ir., Scots Gallic.  Also skilligalee and variants.  N.B., in the USA skilligalee is understood as fried fat-pork with crumbled hard biscuit)

p 223
pizzicato

plucked  (It., string instruments played by plucking rather than bowing)

p 227
primo secundo tertio

firstly secondly thirdly  (L)

p 237
vis-à-vis

face to face, opposite;  compared to  (F)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 247
Eupator Ingens

lit. = the great / distinguished Eupator; ie, some sort of beetle  (Eupator is a Greek noble surname; ingens is L)

p 250
shebeen

unregulated liquor outlet  (Ir., Scots Gallic)

p 256
la bêtise c'est de vouloire conclure
It's stupid to want to bring things to a conclusion (F; from Gustav Flaubert’s Correspondence)

p 269
douceur
lit: a sweetener; a bribe or gratuity (F)

p 274
jackeens

talkative, pretentious fools  (Anglo-Ir. slang;  now used almost exclusively as a phrase of mild contempt  for Dubliners, some of whom take pride in the appellation and contrast themselves with the culchies (country bumpkins) living beyond the capital city.)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 297
Conn Céad Cathach
Conn of the Hundred Battles (Ir; an ancient Irish king after whom County Connaught is named.)

p 302
patella

knee-cap  (L)

p 313
mammalia

the class of mammals



Return to Contents Page


CLARISSA OAKES / THE TRUELOVE

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 16
pharmacopoeia
the available drugs  (Gk, L)

p 17
cogit amare jecur
the liver knows how to love (L; for the Romans the liver was the seat of affections and emotions, Lactantius Divine Institutes)

p 28
taedium vitae
weariness of / disgust with life (L)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 44
banyan
meatless  (naval expression derived from Hindi Banyan / Banian, a name for a sect of vegetarian traders)

p 45
tace
be quiet (L;  the phrase ‘tace is Latin for a candle’, meaning ‘keep it quiet’ is obscure in origin, but relatively common in 19th century English literature. The correct word in Latin for a candle is candela;  tace is the imperative tense of the usual verb for ‘be silent’)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 74
tertii in tabulatum mali
to the upper floor of the third mast (L)

nodi decem
a ten knot [breeze] (L)

p 75
il faut que le prêtre vive de l'autel
The priest must live off his altar (F; ie, 'a priest should be provided for by his parishioners'.)

p 76
de lue venera
concerning Venus' plague (L; ie, syphilis)

fluor albus
the white flux (L)

p 77
solanum anthropophagorum
the “cannibal’s tomato”, a red tuber native to Fiji  (L)

p 88
sotto i pini
beneath the pine trees (It; sung by Susanna and the Contessa in Act III of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro)

fas and nefas
right and wrong (L)

p 89
histiophori pulchellus
the beautiful little marlin

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 94
bas blue
a blue-stocking (F)

p 99
embarras de choix
an embarrassment [surfeit] of choice (F)

p 110
non sum qualis eram
I am not what I used to be (L; Horace Odes VI)

sebi confectio discolor
a mottled concoction of suet (L)

p 114
ace and trey;  deuce and cinque

one and three;  two and five  (from Old F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 138
Vive L'Empereur
[Long] Live the Emperor (F)

p 143
confectio Damocritis

Damocritis’ preparation  (L;  the reference is obscure)

p 144
sal ammoniac
ammonium chloride  (L / Eng)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 154
muc
pig  (Irish)

p 157
Ho aia-owa
?


p 158
pootoo-pootoo
?

p 163
qua
[purely] as (L)

p 165
emigrés
emigrants (F; refers generally to supporters of the former Royalist regime who left France)

foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas
there is a dirtiness in copulation, and [only] a quick pleasure (L; Petronius Carmina)

p 167
ménage-a-trois

a threesome household  (F)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 178
scoriae;  lapilli
dross or slag;  pebbles  (L)

p 192
vis-à-vis

face to face; immediately opposite  (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 200
'sic erimus cuncti postquam nos auferet Orcus
ergo vivamus dum licet esse, bene.'

Thus we will all be, after Orcus [god of the underworld] bears us off.
Therefore let us live well, for so long as it is allowed.
(L; Oakes speaks Clarissa's translation of this on p 194:
'So long as we may, let us enjoy this breath
For naught doth kill a man so soon as death.'
Petronius Satyricon)

cingulum
lit: a belt (L;  medical for a tightly-wound bandage)

p 211
fianna Eirion

the forces of the Nation of Ireland (Ir)

p 216
appropriatissimo
very apt, very appropriate (It)

mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
my fault, my grievious fault  (L; from the Roman Catholic Act of Confession)

p 218
automata
self-moving machines (Gk, E)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 229
puuhona
place of refuge (Hawaiian)

p 230
taboo
prohibited by religious law (Polynesian)

p 241
kava

the root of a Polynesian plant, made into a relaxing drink (Polynesian)

p 248
qui venit
Who has come (L; probably the phrase 'Blessed is he who has come in the
name of the Lord'.)

p 253
hula
a folk dance (Hawaiian)

 

Return to Contents Page


THE WINE-DARK SEA

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 2
gratis pro Deo
free, for the sake of God (L)

p 20
andante

at a walking pace (It; musical term)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 25
scoriae

metal dross / slag  (L)

p 30
Monsieur, je prends le commandement de ce vaisseau

Sir, I take command of this ship  (F)

Bien, Monsieur
Very well, Sir  (F)

p 43
filioque

and the son  (L; the reference is to the profound and continuing argument between Roman and Orthodox Christians as to whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from God the Father and his son Jesus considered as a single divine entity [the Roman position] or whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from God the Father alone, as does His son Jesus [the Orthodox position])

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 43
vis-à-vis

face to face  (F)

p 46
auctor
author, originator (L)

modicum
a small amount (L)

p 49
lignum vitae
lit: wood of life (L; an exceptionally dense hardwood, black in colour)

p 61
adagio

lit. = at ease; musically, a slow pace  (It.)

p 63
Hôtel-Dieu

lit. = Mansion of God;  always means ‘hospital’  (F)

allegro
lit. = merry; musically, quick and lively  (It)

p 64
tête-à-tête
lit: head to head; an intimate meeting (F)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 76
Murias hydrargi corrosivus
the corrosive solution of mercury (L)

p 77
éclat

a burst of noise or light; an outburst or sharp disturbance  (F)

p 80
les bout-dehors des bonnettes du petit perroquet

lit: the extreme outside ends of the little caps of the little parrot  (F;  Maturin is absolutely correct in his use of these marine French terms-of-art:  bout-dehors  = boom; bonnette = stun’sail; petit perroquet = t’gallant sail)

p 84
vae victis
woe to the vanquished  (L; a relatively common phrase in Latin histories that became chillingly famous when it was supposedly uttered by the Gaul Bennus when he captured Rome)

p 87
furcula
carinaramusscapularami
lit: a forked prop … keel-like part … a branching part … shoulder blade … branching parts

p 89
Devin du Village
The Village Soothsayer  (F; a short opera written by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, first performed in 1752)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 95
homo hominis lupus

man is a wolf to man  (L;  a common proverb, often given in this form though strictly hominis should be homini)

kreng
carcass (Dutch)

p 118
mêlée

a general fight (F)

p 116
Christe eleison ... kyrie eleison
Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy (Gk; from the Latin Mass)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 121
adieux
farewells (F)

ipso facto
by that fact itself (L)

p 132
llipta

a hard paste of burnt bone, herbs and spices, often mixed with sugar or salt  (Sp)

p 140
shebeen
illicit liquor store (Anglo-Irish)

p 143
Casa de la Inquisición

House of the Inquisition  (Sp)

p 146
Calle de los Mercadores
Street of the Merchants  (Sp)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 168
fait accompli

a done deed  (F)

p 170
philosophe

philosopher, learned man  (F)

p 175
nunc dimittis

Now you are releasing (L; from the Catholic Mass, and ultimately from the hymn of Simeon in Luke II: nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine secundum verbum tuum in pace ...; = "Now Lord, in keeping with your word, you are releasing you servant in peace ...")

borda
shepherd’s hut (Basque, but common in Sp and French)

shieling
shepherd’s hut (Old Norse, but common in Scots and Northern Eng.)

p 176
maté

herb tea  (South Am. Sp., from local Quichua language term for the gourd from which it is traditionally drunk)

puna
high grasslands (South Am. Sp., from local Quichua language)

p 177
guacharo

the oilbird  (Sp)

p 181
huachua

Andean goose (Sp / Quichua)

quinua / quinoa
South American staple grain  (Sp / Quichua)

p 185
Te Deum
To you, God (L; The start of the hymn of praise and thanksgiving beginning "We praise you, God.")

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 189
Marrano
pig (Sp; usually a reference to Jews who adopted Christianity either under duress or for commercial convenience)

herético pálido
pale heretic (Sp)

p 201
Flora Peruvianae et Chilensis
The Flowers of Peru and Chile (L)

p 204
altiplano

the high plateau  (Sp; land above c. 12,000 ft)

p 205
scriptorium
a writing room (L)

p 208
quipu

knots in cords (Quichua)

p 210
viscacha

a burrowing rodent  (Quichua)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 222
balsa

raft  (Sp)

p 223
escota

sheet  (Sp; i.e., nautical term for a rope attached to the bottom of a sail)

p 224
viento blanco

white wind  (Sp)

 

p 228
allegro vivace

lively and merry  (It; musical term for a brisk and lively beat)

p 242
Qué barca está

What ship is that?  (Sp)

 




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THE COMMODORE

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 7
pistole;  mohur;  ducat;  louis d’or;  joes
a Spanish gold coin (Sp.; a double pistole was called the doubloon);  a Persian / Indian gold coin (Persian);  a Venetian gold coin (It.);  ‘golden Louis’, a French gold coin named for Kings of that country (F);  a Portuguese gold coin, the Johannes, named for Kings of that country (L / Port.).

p 9
Examen de Pyrrhonisme
An Investigation of Scepticism (F; Phyrrho of Elis, a contemporary of Aristotle, founded the sceptical school of philosophy)

p 10
singula de nobis anni praeduntur euntes
eripuere jocos, Venerem, convivia, ludum
.

The years, slipping by us one at a time, are robbers,
snatching away jokes, Venus [ie sexual love], good company, fun.
(L; Horace, Epodi II)

p 12
bistouries

small surgical knives, often folding (F)

p 16
cloisonné
partitioned off (F)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 30
Eupator Ingens

lit. = the great / distinguished Eupator; ie, some sort of beetle  (Eupator is a Greek noble surname; ingens is L)

p 34
douceurs

lit. ‘sweeteners’;  bribes

p 36
clo-, clo-, clo
Presumably an English stammer – ‘close’ – rather than an Irish one for Padeen in this case

p 37, 39
petits fours

’little oven-cooked things’;  small, sweet cakes (F)

p 39
hemi-demi
half-half (Gk, L and assorted Romance-influenced languages)

p 49
protégées
favourites
, dependents (F)

p 53
Les hommes, c'est difficile de s'endormir sans
Men!
It's difficult to fall asleep without them (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 59
sotto voce
in a quiet voice (It)

p 60
crim. con.
’criminal
conversation’, an English legal term for an illicit sexual relationship

outré
showy (F)

p 61
hortus siccus
a dried garden (L; ie a collection of dried plants and flowers)

p 62
a haon, a dó, a trí, a ceathir, a cúig, a sé, a seacht, a horcht, a naoi, a deich, a haon déag, a do dhéag
numbers 1 - 12 (Ir)

p 65
leanaí sídhe
child fairies (Ir)

p 74
fornicatores
fornicators (L)

p 76
dilletanto
an art lover (It; correct = dilettante)

p 86
gluteus maximus
the largest buttock-muscle (L)

p 102
raison d'état
lit: reason of State (F; ie 'state security')

stratum
layer, level  (L)

p 105
protégés
favorites or dependents (F)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 107
vade retro, satanas
get back / behind;  get behind me, Satan  (L;  Vade retro / Retro vade, Satanas are words Jesus uses to repel the temptations of  Satan [Luke, 4:8] and Peter [Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33], both of whom are offering the possibility of his avoiding his destiny on earth)

p 109
régime

ruling faction  (F)

p 127
Platina

Platinum  (L)

p 129
Symphonie Funèbre
Funeral Symphony
(F)

p 140
skillygallee

oatmeal porridge (Scots;  the word later came to connote a rather different dish, crumbled hard biscuit, fried in pork fat and sweetened with sugar or molasses)

p 142
Sidheán na Gháire
The fairies of laughter (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 148
mêlée

a general fight  (F)

p 160
aiguillettes
slivers (F)

p 163
Peccavi
I have sinned (L)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN


p 171
tace
be quiet (L;  the phrase ‘tace is Latin for a candle’, meaning ‘keep it quiet’ is obscure in origin, but relatively common in 19th century English literature. The correct word in Latin for a candle is candela;  tace is the imperative tense of the usual verb for ‘be silent’)

p 179
qua
[purely] as a  (L)

p 188
bhang;  betel;  qat

cannabis (Hindi);  a nut, mildly stimulative when chewed  (Hindi);  a mildly stimulative leaf, very commonly chewed in Yemen  (Arab.)

p 189
sí, señor
yes, sir (S)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 201
ju-ju
magical or spiritual practices or atmosphere  (various West African languages)

p 210
Académie des Sciences

The Academy of Sciences  (F)

p 216
calculus

a build up of minerals, producing a stone or surface film  (L)

p 219
mutatis mutandis
by changing what needs to be changed (L; a technical device in presenting an argument, which indicates that one situation differs from another only in points of detail)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 225
praecordia
(also p 230)
the sac surrounding the heart  (L)

radix serpentariae Virginianae
root of Virginia creeper (L)

p 226
stadium
stage (L)

p 238
de situ orbis
Concerning the Description of the Globe (L; a work by Pomponius Mela, a 1st c. AD geographer)

p 245
rencontre
duel
, encounter (F)

viscera
guts  (L)

p 255, 257
harmattan

a hot wind, originating in the deserts of northern West Africa  (Arab.)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 264
mêlée
a general fight

p 265
adagio
slow movement (It; musical term)

p 270
fu-fu
a glutinous preparation of crushed roots, either yam, plantain or cassava  (Ghanaian)

p 279
mors in olla, vir Dei: mors in olla
death in the pot, o man of God: death in the pot (L; 2 Kings 4)



Return to Contents Page


THE YELLOW ADMIRAL

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 3
protégé

a favourite (F)

p 10
arbutus

the wild strawberry bush (L; not related to the edible strawberry)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 24
datura stramonium
the toxic ‘jimsonweed’  (L)

p 25
amo amas amat
I love, you love, s/he loves (L; often the first words of Latin learned at school)

p 27
platina

platinum metal (Sp, also archaic Eng)

p 31
turlough

a seasonal lake (Ir)

p 32
consuetudo loci est observanda
the custom of the place must be observed (L)

p 35 / 37
droit de seigneur

the right of the lord (F;  usually means the mythical right to copulate with local brides on the wedding day)

p 39
acuisle

my dear, darling (ir; lit. ‘pulse / heartbeat’)

p 41
horchata

a drink made from water and chufa (tiger) nuts in Spain or water, rice and nuts in South America (Sp)

p 46
sortie

an expedition  (F)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 67
melée

general fight  (F)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 97
larvae … calliphora

grub … fly (L … Gk)

  

CHAPTER FIVE

p 108
Droits de l'Homme
The Rights of Man (F)

p 113
ciotóg
a left-hander (Ir)

p 116
rendezvous
meeting (F)

terminus a quo and a terminus ad quem
a point from which and a point to which (L)

p 123
tourniquet

a twisted bandage  (F; lit. any form of turning mechanism, such as a turnstile, an axle)

spica
a ear of wheat  (L; in medical terms means an interwoven bandage)

gastrocnemius
belly-leg  (Gk;  the bulging calf muscle)

ratafia
ground almonds, or almond oil (F)

p 127
adagio

at ease, slow (It)

rondo
round  (It.; properly rondó; musically = a form in which a section is periodically repeated)

p 128
superiores priores
'senior officers first' (bad L)

p 129
tabor

a drum (perh.
Persian in origin)

p 132
rendezvous

a meeting  (F)

p 135
ni vu ni connu
neither seen nor known about (F)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 159
Les Deux Frères
The Two Brothers (F)

p 164
rendezvous

a meeting

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 168
rendezvous

a meeting

  

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 190
bonheur du jour

a small dressing-table with many compartments and folding mirrors)   (F; lit. ‘good fortune / bliss / happiness of the day’)

p 193
aviso

a small messenger boat (It)

p 196
hydropericardium

fluid in the cavity around the heart (mixed Gk and L)

oedema
a fluid-based swelling (Gk)

post mortem
after death (L)

p 197
digitalis purpurea

purple foxglove (L)

p 199
bisque

crayfish soup 
(F)

p 201
adieu
goodbye (F; lit: 'to God')

sequelae
consequential symptoms (L)

p 204
Rem facias, rem
si possis, recte, si non, quocumque modo, rem

Make money. Make money fairly if you can; but if not, make money any way possible. (L; Horace Ars Poetica)

p 206
quietus
final rest; i.e., death (L)

  

CHAPTER NINE


p 210 / 223
mocha

high grade coffee (Arabic, from the Yemeni port of Mocha)

p 213
grego

a hooded jacket  (Portuguese, derived from ‘Greek’, the supposed origins of the garment)

p 218
sortie

expedition (F)

p 226
digitalis

foxglove  (L)

p 231
Priorato

A wine producing area in Catalonia (Sp / Cat.; lit. = ‘Priory’)

  

CHAPTER TEN

p 252
pelisse

a fur coat or jacket (F)

p 260
calidarium

the hot bath room  (L; also caldarium)



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THE HUNDRED DAYS

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 8
tulle

a fine silk netting, named after the town of Tulle (F)

p 10
crux

a cross;  fig. trouble or torment;  an important or puzzling point  (L)

p 11
heugh

well (Scots)

p 12
ye thrawn ill-feckit gaberlunzie

you twisted, ill-made ne’er do well  (Scots)

p 16
placebo

lit: I shall be pleasing / acceptable (L; = a drug whose effects are psychological rather than physiological)

p 21
bashi-bazouks

soldiers in an irregular unit  (Turkish)

fedais
the devoted ones (Arabic)

p 32
horchata

a drink made from water and chufa (tiger) nuts in Spain or water, rice and nuts in South America (Sp)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 79
tori

lit.: knots / rounded edges; = a circular moulding at the base of a column  (L)

p 85
athesphatos oinos

wonderful wine  (Gk;  Homer Odyssey)

p 88
Ricercare

lit: to seek out; = musical term for an elaborate contrapuntal composition  (It)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 101
ruse de guerre

a trick of war  (F)

p 104
formatge duro

hard cheese (Minorcan Catalan)

p 144
levee

in French, a morning assembly;  but in English an afternoon assembly for men only hosted by the Sovereign or a Prince  (F)

p 117 / 119
lingua franca

a common tongue (L; an everyday mix of F, S, It and other Mediterranean languages)

p 119
Anan

Again (archaic English)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 127
Vive l’Empereur!

Long Live the Emperor!  (F)

p 128
Messieurs les Anglais … tirez les premiers

English gentlemen  … 
you fire the first [shots]  (F;  as said by General d’Anterroche to General Hay at the Battle of Fontenoy, 1745)

p 139
solvet saeculum in favilla

the world will dissolve into ashes  (L; Thomas of Celano  Analecta Hymnica;  the line follows Dies irae, the Day of Wrath;  see also The Letter of Marque p 254)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 155
houario

a type of ship (Arabic)

p 160
crapula

in Greek usually a hangover-headache;  in Latin usually severe drunkenness (Gk, L)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 189
le club des lions

the lion’s club  (F;  a ‘den’ is repaire)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 209
sirocco

a hot wind that blows from north Africa across the Mediterranean  (Sp;  from Arabic sharaqa, that which rises)

p 217
lingua franca

a common tongue (L; an everyday mix of F, S, It and other Mediterranean languages)


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BLUE AT THE MIZZEN

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 30
protégés

favorites (F)

p 34
supressio veri

suppression of the truth (L)

p 49
ethos

character, or the distinctive spirit of a community  (Gk)

p 50
senhor

Sir (Portuguese)

porco
pig  (Portuguese)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 70
chasse-marées

lit: chase-tides; coastal privateers, usually rigged as a luggers (F)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 88
jalap

a laxative (Sp, from xalapa, a name given to several plants with roots suitable for preparation of the drug)

p 89
ipecacuanha

an emetic prepared from plant roots (Quichua)

similia similibus
usually similia similibus curantur, similar things are cured by similar things  (L)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 122
ju-ju

a charm or fetish; or a general magical or spiritual atmosphere  (West African)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 143
doldrums

depression / dullness;  a weather depression  (Eng; probably based on ‘dull’ and mimicking ‘tantrum’)

le pot au noir
lit.
= pot / jug for black stuff  (F)

p 150
aid de con

an attempt at aide de camp, lit: an assistant in the camp, the assistant to a senior officer  (F;  as written it’s rather impolite, as con used to = idiot, but now more usually means ‘cunt’)

p 157
megrims

depression (Archaic Eng. slang)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 165
état d’âme

state of mind [lit.
soul’]  (F)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 189
guano

naturally composted excrement, usually of birds or bats (Quichua / Sp)

p 193
junta

a ruling council or committee (Sp)

p 194
mate

herb tea  (South Am. Sp., from local Quichua language term for the gourd from which it is traditionally drunk)

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 200
septum

the bone and cartilage between the nostrils  (Medical L; lit: ‘a separated thing’)

p 203
sardana

the traditional dance-music of Catalonia (Cat.)

p 208
olla podrida

a stew of mixed meats  (Sp; lit ‘rotten pot’;  can also = figuratively ‘a literary miscellany’)

p 210
Director Supremo

Supreme Director  (Sp)

p 214
guerilleros

irregular warriors  (Sp)

p 220
demonios

devils  (Sp)

p 225
aguardiente

brandy  (sp; lit. ‘burning water’)

 

INTERCHAPTER

p 232
aegis

shield  (L; originally only refers to the shield of either Jupiter or one of the other gods)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p  235
basso profundo

lowest bass  (It)

p 252
excellentissimo

most excellent (haphazard Sp)

 

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21: THE FINAL UNFINISHED VOYAGE OF JACK AUBREY

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 32
casus belli
an opportunity / justification for war (L)

p 34
Exanthematici; critici; phlogistici; dolorosa; quietales; motorii; suppressorii; evacuatorii; deformes; vitia.

skin eruptions; critical cases / symptoms; inflammations; pains; corpses; convulsions; men under restraint; vomiters; cripples; degenerates / sodomites (medical L)

p 38
nuncio

lit. a messenger (church L [classical L would be ‘nuntio’]; the Pope’s spiritual and political ambassador to a designated sovereign state).

sanbenitos
sack-cloth robes with a cross painted on, worn by heretics about to be burned (Sp)

p 43
ita, missa est
go, it has been sent forth (L; the final words of the priest to his congregation at the end of the mass indicating that the divine work has been published to the world once more, with the word ‘mass’ itself often being said to derive from the phrase)

p 44
ju-ju
a charm;  magical or spiritual practices / atmosphere (various West African languages)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 36
Mputa
far away (various west African languages; N.b., the word only appears as the surname of the young Jack Aubrey's sometime lover Sally, and as the later surname of their son, Sam Panda)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 78
davy

affidavit (English slang for legal Latin)


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THE GOLDEN OCEAN

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 13
T'anam an Dial, omadhaun
Your soul to the Devil, you fool! (Ir.)

p 14
renegado

an outlaw  (Sp)

p 15
Tuatha De Danaan
The Children of Danu  (Ir.;  Danu was the mother of the legendary tribe that led the fifth of the twelve waves of invaders found in Irish mythology)


podarkees Achilles
swift-footed Achilles (Gk; Homer Iliad)

hic, hac, horum
this [masc], this [fem], of these (L)

p 19
claddach

perhaps a drained and cleared peat-bog  (Ir., Scots Gaelic)

p 23
craubeen

a pig’s foot  (Ir., usually crubeen)

p 24
ceilidhe

a country dance party (Ir.)

shebeens
an unlicensed tavern  (Ir.)

p 25
a gradh

my dear (Ir.)

p 26
gombeen-man

middle-man, or local moneylender  (Ir.; often means a local trader who controls both the supply and distribution of necessary goods, and thus the price)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 34
curraghs

a very small fishing boat  (Ir.)

a gradh
my dear (Ir.)

Wisha
?Well  (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 47
poteen

illegal potato liquor  (Ir.)

p 49
a gradh
my dear (Ir.)

p 54
Illi robur et aes triplex
circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
commisit pelago ratem
primus __

there was both oak and a triple layer of bronze around the heart of he who first launched a frail craft on the savage open sea (L; Horace Odes 1). See also The Hundred Days, p 86 for a reference, in English, to this verse.

p 56
kilaggen

?
  (?Ir.)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

p 66, 73
curragh

a very small fishing boat (Ir)

p 71
squireen

a man who is half-farmer, half-squire [i.e., land-owner] (Anglo-Ir.)

p 73
firbolgs

in myth, the original inhabitants of Ireland (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

p 81
a gradh

my dear (Ir.)

p 83
owlers

a wool-smuggler  (archaic Eng.; presumably because owls and smugglers work at night)

p 91
T'hanam an Dial
Your soul to the Devil! (Ir)

p 92
An, si quis atro dente me petiverit
inultus ut flebo puer?

If someone attacks me with malevolent ill-will [lit: 'black tooth'],
shall I wail like a frustrated child? (L; Horace Epodi 1)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 105
croagh

crag, mountain  (Ir)

p 106
ganger

a foot-traveler  (archaic Eng.)

p 109
musha

O dear!  (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

p 124
Angustam, amici, pauperiem pati
Robustus acri militia puer
Condiscat
My friends, let a robust young man thoroughly learn to endure gripping poverty by means of  keen military service (Horace  Odes III)

p 133
alley-tor

a marble, the children’s game of marbles  (archaic Eng.;  perhaps derived from ‘alabaster’ of which ‘marbles’ may once have been made)

p 134
moidores

a Portuguese gold coin  (Port.)

p 137
pro.
tem.
abbrev. of pro tempore, for the time being  (L)

p 140
omadhaun

a fool  (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

p 153
a gradh

my dear

 

CHAPTER NINE

p 161
bothies
cottages  (Ir.)


Tir na 'nOg

lit: The Land of Youth; = 'Paradise' (Ir.)

cithogue
?

p 171
moidores

a Portuguese gold coin  (Port.)

p 173
al fresco

outdoors; lit: in the fresh air  (It)

p 174
Qué nave?
… Que entregue en seguida – somos Ingleses
What ship is that?  Surrender immediately – we are English  (bad Sp.)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 178/9
Mala soluta navis exit alite
ferens olentem Maevium__
ut horridus utrumque verberes latus
auster, momento fluctibus
-niger rudentes Eurus, inverso mari,
fractosque remos differat....


O quantos instat [navitis] sudor tuis
tibique pallor luteus
et illa non virilis ejulatio
preces et adversum ad Jovem


An evil, winged omen is unleashed,
and the ship bearing the foul Maevius sets out.
O South Wind, make sure you pound her on both her sides with savage waves!
May the black North Wind, with the sea in a turmoil,
carry away her rigging and smashed oars!

[4 couplets omitted]

Oh, what a sweat there will be on your sailors!
For you what a bilious-yellow pallor
and such an unmanly yowl,
with prayers to the hard-hearted Jupiter!

(L; Horace Epodi 10. Maevius was a wretched poetical contemporary of Virgil. In line 3 O'Brian's horridus should = horridis; in line 7 the word navitis is missing; in the final line adversum = lit 'unregarding'.)

 

p 186
Sassenach

lit: a Saxon; i.e.  English  (Scots Gallic)

p 190
los perros Ingleses
the English dogs  (Sp)

p 193
a cuishle

lit: pulse / heartbeat; = darling  (Ir)

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

p 197 / 199
a gradh

my dear
(Ir)

Wisha
?Well  (Ir.)

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

p 212
pattarero

a small cannon  (Sp; usually paterero)

p 218
uishge beatha
aqua vitae
eau-de-vie
the water of life (Ir, L, F respectively; a common way of referring to strong distilled liquors, eg, Irish whiskey, Swedish aquavit, French clear grape spirit)

p 231
tace
be quiet (L;  the phrase ‘tace is Latin for a candle’, meaning ‘keep it quiet’ is obscure in origin, but relatively common in 19th century English literature. The correct word in Latin for a candle is candela;  tace is the imperative tense of the usual verb for ‘be silent’)

p 244
Slainte

To your health  (Ir)

a gradh
my dear (Ir)

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

p 267
aviso

a small messenger-boat  (Sp)

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

p 277
patereros

small cannon (Sp)



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THE UNKNOWN SHORE

 

CHAPTER ONE

p 20
sal volatile

volatile salt, ie, smelling salts, or ammonium carbonate  (L)

p 24
fait accompli

a done deed (F)

p 26
Ultima Thule
Furthest Thule (L)

 

CHAPTER TWO

p 51
farden skiff

a farthing skiff; i.e. a small river boat that can be hired for a farthing  (Archaic Eng.)

 

CHAPTER THREE

p 66
dégagée
free moving (F)

p 69
pronator radii teres
a muscle in the forearm; lit: the smooth, bowed part belonging to the forearm bone (L)

 

CHAPTER SIX

p 136
Procellaria gigantean of Mumpsimus
the giant wind-borne one of Mumpsimus  (L; Mumpsimus is a joke name)

p 138
cartilago ensiformis … pectoralis major
the sword-shaped cartilage … the larger chest muscle (L)

p 139
cingulum colchicum

lit.: a bandage made of a poisonous plant (L; either invented or facetious)

 

CHAPTER TEN

p 194
Expeditio in Sinas
Expedition to Sinae (L)

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

p 234
más mató la cena que curó Avicena
the supper-table killed more men than Avicena ever cured (S; Avicenna was an 11th C Arab physician and philosopher)

calculi
stones (L)

phthisis
a shrinking or wasting (Gk)

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

p 264
protégés
favorites (F)

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

p 283
nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus

Now is the time for pounding the floor with a wild foot (Horace Odes 1;  see also The Letter of Marque, p 183 where the preceding line of the couplet is quoted)

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

p 308
terminus a quo

the point from which (L)


 







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