Scot. a lap dog; small pet dog.
The English noun messan “small dog, lap dog” comes from Scots Gaelic measan “small dog,” cognate with Irish Gaelic measán, both of which are diminutives of Gaelic mess “favored (one).” Messan entered English in the late 15th century.
They are good enough lads, Sholto and Laurence both, but they will be for ever gnarring and grappling at each other like messan dogs round a kirk door.
Here, sisters, here is my trusty and well-beloved Dame de Ste. Petronelle, who takes such care of me that she dogs my footsteps like a messan.
any call for help: We sent out an SOS for more typists.
SOS comes from the Morse code alphabet, in which three dots (or short clicks) represents the letter S and three dashes (or long clicks) represents the letter O.
When an SOS is heard, there is an immediate response by almost anyone who is in a position to be of assistance and a prayerful response by those are unable to assist.
SOS is not only a signal of despair, it is a larger symbol of hope.
to take an interest in or hope for a romantic relationship between (fictional characters or famous people), whether or not the romance actually exists: I’m shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!
The verb ship, originally meaning “to discuss or portray a romantic couple in fiction, especially in a serial” is a shortening of (relation)ship and dates only from 1996.
The characters are ‘shipped by enough people that the duo has a name: Reylo.
It’s a popular misunderstanding that one can only ship two characters who are not already romantically involved on a show. In fact, it’s perfectly appropriate to ship, for example, Jim and Pam from “The Office.”
conveying meaning by hint, euphemism, innuendo, or the like: In the candidate's Aesopian language, “soft on Communism” was to be interpreted as “Communist sympathizer.”
The English adjective Aesopian has multiple origins. The Latin adjective has the forms Aesōpīus and Aesōpēus, from Greek Aisṓpeios, derivative adjective of the proper name Aísōpos (Aesop). Aesop was a Greek slave who supposedly lived c620 b.c.–c560b.c. on the island of Samos and told animal fables that teach a lesson, e.g., “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Aesopian entered English in the late 17th century.
Gauss taught that past political thinkers wrote in a kind of code–an Aesopian language of double or multiple meanings–in order to avoid persecution in their own day and to communicate with contemporaries and successors who knew how to read between the lines, as it were.
By then, some Soviet writers had learned to use the Aesopian language, with its hints and euphemisms, to get their books into print.
something that triggers memories or nostalgia: in allusion to a nostalgic passage in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
The etymology of madeleine (in full, gâteau à la Madeleine), which is named after an 18th-century cook named Madeleine Paulnier or Paumier, is dubious. Madeleines (the small cakes) are popular today, but perhaps the word madeleine “something that evokes a memory or nostalgia” has more significance from the use of madeleine in this sense in Swann’s Way (1922), the first volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), also known in English as Remembrance of Things Past.
… thus temporarily bringing the sounds and smells of his dream world to him, a madeleine of the ever-postponed future.
To reread this is like scenting a Madeleine of the drama and struggle that once was.
Music. a cradlesong; lullaby.
Berceuse, not yet naturalized in English, still retains its French pronunciation or a semblance of it. Berceuse is an agent noun in French, meaning “girl or woman who rocks a cradle, lullaby,” the feminine of berceur “a cradle rocker.” In English, berceuse is restricted to “lullaby,” especially as a musical composition in 6/8 time, as, e.g., “Brahms’ Lullaby.” Berceuse entered English in the 19th century.
The berceuse is so soothing, it ought to send your husband to sleep …
I love soft songs that soothe me–something cradle-like–a Berceuse, you understand.
Informal. restlessly wandering.
Fiddle-footed was first recorded in 1945-50.
Instead, they just kept moving, a pair of fiddle-footed ramblers, following the wind, until that drifting brought them out here.
Being fiddle-footed was its own peculiar blessing and curse at the same time.