excessively decorative and sentimental, as the pictures or designs on some boxes of chocolate candy; prettified: decorous, chocolate-box paintings of Victorian garden parties.
The compound noun chocolate box dates from around 1865 and has the literal meaning “a package, box, or tin filled with chocolates.” Such packages or boxes are typically decorated in a showy, gaudy, sentimental style. By the end of the 19th century, the compound noun acquired the function of an attributive adjective, hyphenated as chocolate-box, meaning “excessively decorative and sentimental.”
It works best when everyone stops worrying about conjuring a chocolate-box version of the past and allows the duo’s raw talent to shine through.
But if it’s verdant folds, chocolate-box villages and a taste of eternal England that you want, try East Kent ….
the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing.
Quiddity, with its conflicting senses, “the essential nature of a thing” and “a trifling nicety of subtle distinction,” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin noun quidditās (stem quidditāt-), literally “whatness,” formed from the Latin interrogative pronoun quid “what” and the abstract noun suffix –itās, the source via Old French –ité of the English suffix –ity. Quiddity entered English at the end of the 14th century.
… that gift for creating idioms may be a clue to the quiddity of his genius.
If, argues he, we could only find out exactly what humour is ‘in its quiddity,’ we could keep ourselves humorous, or at any rate bring up our children to be so.
verb (used without object)
to shrink; flinch; quail: an unsteady eye that blenched under another's gaze.
The history of the verb blench is complicated. The uncommon Old English verb blencan “to cheat, deceive” is the direct source of Middle English blenchen, blenken, blinchen, blinken “to move suddenly, dodge, avoid, mislead, deceive.” The various Middle English forms yield both English blench “to shrink, flinch” and blink “to wink the eyes, be startled.”
But art historians should not blench at the sight of dreadful paintings, any more than doctors should blench at the sight of blood.
… the actor blenches as he reads the instruction ….