beloved one; darling; sweetheart.
The common noun jo, “darling, sweetheart,” is Scots, a variant of joy. Jo occurs in many noted Scots authors, including Robert Burns’s “John Anderson my jo!,” Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Just twa o’ my old joes, my hinny dear” (“Just two of my old sweethearts, my honey dear”). Jo entered English in the first half of the 16th century.
… her ne’er-do-well jo had provided her with a rope-ladder during the forenoon service, by which she had descended into his arms when she believed the house to be all at rest …
John Anderson, my jo!
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 ….
to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in an attempt to impress onlookers: The senator doesn't hesitate to grandstand if it makes her point.
The noun grandstand, “the main seating area of a stadium, racetrack, parade route, etc.,” dates from the second half of the 18th century and was originally spelled as two words. The verb grandstand, “to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in order to impress onlookers,” was originally used in baseball and dates from the early 20th century.
The debt limit debate allows politicians to grandstand on fiscal responsibility.
He used his political platform to grandstand over Italy’s Catholic identity and repeatedly found ways to poke European Union officials in the eye.
the highest or culminating point, as of success, power, fame, etc.: the pinnacle of one's career.
English pinnacle comes from Middle English pinacle, pinnacle, penacle (and even more spellings) “upright architectural structure terminating in a gable or cone,” from Middle French, Old French pinacle, pinnacle “gable, top,” from Late Latin pinnāculum “peak (of a building), pinnacle.” Pinnāculum comes from pinna, a dialect variation of penna “feather, wing, raised part of a parapet,” and the usually diminutive suffix –(ā)culum. The figurative senses, such as “the highest point of success or power,” developed in the mid-15th century. Pinnacle entered English in the first half of the 14th century.
… the 13 tracks on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles’ eight years as recording artists.
That little golden statue, which will be handed out on February 9, represents the pinnacle of movie-making.
at full gallop: to ride tantivy.
Tantivy, whether in its sense as an adverb “at a gallop,” adjective “quick,” noun “a gallop or rush,” or interjection “a hunting cry when the chase is on,” has no reliable etymology. The only etymology suggested is that tantivy is onomatopoeic, supposedly representing the sound of horses galloping. Tantivy entered English in the 17th century.
He was of a nature to ride tantivy into anything that promised excitement or adventure.
… he supposes himself as a wolf actually to have been galloping tantivy over hill and dale, through forest and bosky dingle ….