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Solecism   Listen
noun
Solecism  n.  
1.
An impropriety or incongruity of language in the combination of words or parts of a sentence; esp., deviation from the idiom of a language or from the rules of syntax. "A barbarism may be in one word; a solecism must be of more."
2.
Any inconsistency, unfitness, absurdity, or impropriety, as in deeds or manners. "Caesar, by dismissing his guards and retaining his power, committed a dangerous solecism in politics." "The idea of having committed the slightest solecism in politeness was agony to him."
Synonyms: Barbarism; impropriety; absurdity.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Solecism" Quotes from Famous Books



... Froissart's age may very easily be formed; and it is almost amusing to contrast with Chaucer's generally liberal notions of manners, severe views of etiquette like that introduced by him at the close of the "Man of Law's Tale," where he stigmatizes as a solecism the statement of the author from whom he copied his narrative, that King Aella sent his little boy to invite the emperor to dinner. "It is best to deem he ...
— Chaucer • Adolphus William Ward

... of nightingales are said to sing among them, but it was not the season for hearing them from the train; and we made what shift we could with the strawberry and asparagus beds which we could see plainly, and the peach trees and cherry trees. One of these had committed the solecism of blossoming in October, instead of April or May, when the nobility came to ...
— Familiar Spanish Travels • W. D. Howells

... and live in debauchery,[415] and yet be vexed at the condition of his oil-flask or strigil if out of order; or as if the schoolmaster scolded a boy about his tablet and pen, but paid no attention to a solecism or barbarism. The flatterer is like a man who should make no comment on the speech of a silly and ridiculous orator, but should find fault with his voice, and chide him for injuring his throat by drinking cold water; or like a person bidden to read some wretched ...
— Plutarch's Morals • Plutarch

... the incendiary to a school-house where ignorant colored children, in charity's sweet name, were being nurtured into nobler manhood and womanhood. This act of inhumanity, clearly inspired if not wholly sanctioned by a majority sentiment in the community, is not a solecism in history. In 1832-3, Prudence Crandall taught a successful school for girls in Canterbury, Conn., to which she admitted a colored girl, an intelligent church member, who desired to prepare herself to teach children of her ...
— The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 2, February, 1886. - The Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 2, February, 1886. • Various

... instanced—the essential identity of Nuisance and Waste. Nearly all the physical annoyances we are subjected to, and nearly all the influences that are operating actively for our hurt, are simply the exponents of some chemical solecism, which we are, through ignorance or indifference, committing or permitting. There is here a double evil—a positive and a negative. When the Londoner groans at the smokiness of his streets, and the particles of soot he finds spread ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 435 - Volume 17, New Series, May 1, 1852 • Various

... enlightened him. She drew off her gloves with an air. She did not laugh once. She did not chat to the waiter. She did not hurry in, nor demand the wine-list, nor call him Solomon. She did not commit one single Colonial solecism at table, as Peter had hated himself for half thinking that she might. Yet she never had looked prettier, he thought, and even there he caught glances which suggested that others might think so too. ...
— Simon Called Peter • Robert Keable

... fortune and wrote the petition which furnished the grounds for advising Her Most Gracious Majesty to extend her royal clemency to the deserving young man. The result of my petition by no means surprised me, for I was always confident that an English gentleman could never be guilty of the solecism against English customs implied by keeping in prison a young gentleman who could perform so meritorious an act as to fall heir to many bags of gold and sixteen thousand acres of cotton land ...
— Bidwell's Travels, from Wall Street to London Prison - Fifteen Years in Solitude • Austin Biron Bidwell

... the Crusades, by-the-way, illustrates very emphatically this position of the Church in the Middle Ages. The foundation of that strange feudal kingdom of Jerusalem, whose very coat of arms was a solecism in heraldry, whose king had precedence, in virtue of his place as lord of the centre of Christianity, over all other kings and princes; the orders of men-at-arms vowed to poverty and chastity, like the Templars and ...
— Signs of Change • William Morris

... medium through which he is looking? Is there a sudden play of light that warms, and, through this warmth, illuminates the object before him? Few of those just quoted, put to such test, could be called more than conventionally poetical—if this be not a solecism. To illustrate one sensuous object by another does not animate the mind enough to fulfill any one of the above conditions. Such similitudes issuing from intellectual liveliness, there is through them no steeping of intellectual perception in emotion. They ...
— Essays AEsthetical • George Calvert

... caresses. Under this treatment, nevertheless, she recovered perhaps as quickly as under any which the faculty might have prescribed. She was, still, however, much more distressed than mere consciousness of the grave solecism she had committed could explain. But I had no other clue to her trouble, and could only hope that in repudiating this she would ...
— Across the Zodiac • Percy Greg

... Martial included, in his picture of a domestic menage, "a wife not too learned..." She is not willing to lose a woman's birthright of love and devotion, but is not quite sure how far it might be affected by her ability to detect a solecism. Hence, she offers a great deal of subtle flattery to masculine self-love. With curious ...
— The Women of the French Salons • Amelia Gere Mason

... means: and however I may deserve from master Would-be, yet T'have one fair gentlewoman thus be made The unkind instrument to wrong another, And one she knows not, ay, and to persever; In my poor judgment, is not warranted From being a solecism in our sex, If not ...
— Volpone; Or, The Fox • Ben Jonson

... English critics alike could not but protest against the solecism; for in poetry absolute precision of utterance is clearly indispensable. But in everyday speech a certain amount of colloquialism is inevitable. Let him whose own enunciation is chemically free from localism or slovenliness cast the first stone ...
— America To-day, Observations and Reflections • William Archer

... what he had done, he was overwhelmed with remorse. He apologized profusely to Stirling for having committed such a solecism. ...
— Gordon Keith • Thomas Nelson Page

... conversation their ideas are somehow huddled into sense; but in the intervals of thought, leave a great gap between. Montesquieu said, he often lost an idea before he could find words for it: yet he dictated, by way of saving time, to an amanuensis. This last is, in my opinion, a vile method, and a solecism in authorship. Horne Tooke, among other paradoxes, used to maintain, that no one could write a good style who was not in the habit of talking and hearing the sound of his own voice. He might as well have said that no one could relish a good style without reading it aloud, ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... their riding in carriages of any kind, and is still a little tenacious on this point. He often rails against the universal use of carriages, and quotes the words of honest Nashe to that effect. "It was thought," says Nashe, in his Quaternio, "a kind of solecism, and to savour of effeminacy, for a young gentleman in the flourishing time of his age to creep into a coach, and to shroud himself from wind and weather: our great delight was to outbrave the blustering Boreas upon ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... to press the subject any further." His eyes were fixed upon me with the same cold, snake-like smile. "I will not be guilty of such a solecism. Your family affections, my dear young lady, are strong, I should suppose. ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... offense against good use, an impropriety, is the use of a proper word in an improper sense. In many cases an offense against good use may be called a barbarism, an impropriety, or a solecism, since the fields covered by the three terms somewhat overlap one another. Many improprieties have their origin in the similarities in sound, spelling or meaning of words. The following exercises deal with a number of common improprieties resulting from the ...
— Practical Grammar and Composition • Thomas Wood

... to eat fish only at the commencement of the dinner. Fish and soup are generally served up alone, before any of the other dishes appear, and with no vegetable but potatoes; it being considered a solecism in good taste to accompany them with any of the other productions of the garden except a little horseradish, ...
— Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches • Eliza Leslie

... fact could not come home to him with the force and absorbing effect it came to Ben-Hur. He was an Arab, whose interest in the consequences was but general; on the other hand, Ben-Hur was an Israelite and a Jew, with more than a special interest in—if the solecism can be pardoned—the truth of the fact. He laid hold of the circumstance with a purely ...
— Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ • Lew Wallace

... any of these received canons of etiquette is to commit a decided solecism and to discover an utter unfitness for the desired social rank. Fortunately, there is no need, even for those not to the manor born, of displaying any ignorance in this matter when the simple consultation of a standard work on social etiquette will give the needed information and save ...
— Social Life - or, The Manners and Customs of Polite Society • Maud C. Cooke

... me—because I 'managed to behave very pleasantly' to my fellow-passengers, was how he put it—I could follow the thought in his mind, and knew his compliment to be such as we pay foreigners on their proficiency in English. I dare say this praise was given me immediately on the back of some unpardonable solecism, which had led him to review my conduct as a whole. We are all ready to laugh at the ploughman among lords; we should consider also the case of a lord among the ploughmen. I have seen a lawyer in the house of a Hebridean fisherman; and ...
— Essays of Travel • Robert Louis Stevenson

... with rhetoric, the Stoics subdivided dialectic into the part which dealt with the meaning and the part which dealt with the sound, or as Chrysippus phrased it, concerning significants and significates. Under the former came the treatment of the alphabet, of the parts of speech, of solecism, of barbarism, of poems, of amphibolies, of metre and music—a list which seems at first sight a little mixed, but in which we can recognise the general features of grammar, with its departments of phonology, accidence, ...
— A Little Book of Stoicism • St George Stock

... was dying, he reprimanded his nurse for making use of a solecism in her language; and when his confessor represented to him the felicities of a future state in low and trite expressions, the dying critic interrupted him:—"Hold your tongue," he said; "your wretched style only makes me out ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... disaster. The town is gay and spruce, bright as a new pin; the people are outrageous. I suppose that the hat turned down at the precise point at which, according to Gorcum's canons of taste, it should have turned up. Whatever it did was unpardonable, and we had to be informed of the solecism. We were informed in various ways; the men whistled, the women sniggered, the girls laughed, the children shouted and ran beside us. The same hat had been disregarded by the sweet-mannered friendly Middelburgians; it had raised no smile at Breda. At Dordrecht, it is true, eyes had been ...
— A Wanderer in Holland • E. V. Lucas

... thing apart from all relation, and devoid of all properties or qualities, we do not acknowledge any such thing. A thing apart from all relation, and devoid of all qualities, is simply pure nothing, if such a solecism may be permitted. With such a definition of Being in se, the logic of Hegel is invincible, "Being and Nothing ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... her ear. Sir Victor was congratulated, sincerely by the men, with an under-current of pity and mockery by the women. Then they were all at dinner—the bride in the place of honor—running the gauntlet of all those eyes on the alert for any solecism of ...
— A Terrible Secret • May Agnes Fleming

... inexpressibly minute possibility that, in these two texts, the word might have been used with a different meaning from that which it bore in all the others, coupled with the assumption that the meaning was this or that, is self-evident: it is not so much a religious error as a philological solecism; unparalleled, so far as I know, in any other science ...
— On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... actual peerage aside, the question is important, whether the pictures in fiction—particularly in drama—of what one may call Belgravia or Mayfair are correct. We critics hardly know; and it may be a solecism to suggest that the same applies to the studies of the Faubourg St Germain. Perhaps that famous faubourg has lost ...
— Our Stage and Its Critics • "E.F.S." of "The Westminster Gazette"

... parsimony; but who, with fear of running into profuseness, never arrives to the magnificence of living. This kind of genius writes indeed correctly. A wary man he is in grammar, very nice as to solecism or barbarism, judges to a hair of little decencies, knows better than any man what is not to be written, and never hazards himself so far as to fall, but plods on deliberately, and, as a grave man ought, is sure ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Volume 5 (of 18) - Amboyna; The state of Innocence; Aureng-Zebe; All for Love • John Dryden

... withholding them. If a government depends on other governments for its revenues; if it must depend on the voluntary contributions of its members, its existence must be precarious. A government that relies on thirteen independent sovereignties for the means of its existence, is a solecism in theory, and a mere nullity in practice. Is it consistent with reason, that such a government can promote the happiness of any people? It is subversive of every principle of sound policy, to trust the safety of a community with a government totally destitute of the means of protecting ...
— American Eloquence, Volume I. (of 4) - Studies In American Political History (1896) • Various

... English, commonly called cases of "bad grammar" or "false syntax": as, "She invited Mrs. Roe and I to go driving with her." "Solecism" is derived from Soli, the name of a Greek tribe who lived in Cilicia and spoke ...
— Practical Exercises in English • Huber Gray Buehler

... head. Motherhood had been too strong for her; in her maternal flutter she had committed the solecism of touching in so many ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also.... A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government." But Marshall was mighty and his view prevailed, though from time to time other men, clinging to Jefferson's opinion, likewise opposed the exercise by the Courts of the high power ...
— History of the United States • Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

... purism, euphuism, euphuist, euphuistic, euphuize, euphemism, euphemistic, euphemize, charism, locution, provincial, provincialism, localism, solecism, solecistical, barbarism, vulgarism. ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... solecism in the printed Flores Historiarum I find that a MS. in the Chetham Library agrees, the abbreviative mark used in the Hundred Rolls of Edward I. for the terminations us and er having been affixed to ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 65, January 25, 1851 • Various

... from the embarrassment of much self-defence, or a painful admission of their error—and not only satisfied them that Tom was honest and unselfish, but modest and forbearing. It is true, that an occasional act or solecism of manner, somewhat at variance with the conventional usages of polite society, and an odd vulgarism of expression, were slight blemishes which might be brought to his charge, and would probably have told against any one else. But it was ...
— The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... could poor Louis do? Abdicate, and wash his hands of it,—in favour of the first that would accept! Other clear wisdom there was none for him. As it was, he stood gazing dubiously, the absurdest mortal extant (a very Solecism Incarnate), into the absurdest confused world;—wherein at lost nothing seemed so certain as that he, the incarnate Solecism, had five senses; that were Flying Tables (Tables Volantes, which vanish through the floor, to come back reloaded). ...
— The French Revolution • Thomas Carlyle

... results, their causes, and their immediate and probable effects, his mind's eye will be irresistibly drawn, not to spitting-boxes, tobacco, two-pronged forks, or other conventional bagatelles, the particulars of each of which, as a solecism in polite manners, can be corrected and canvassed by any waiter from the London Tavern, Ludgate Street, and by every grisette from America Square to Brompton Terrace, who may choose to display their acquired ...
— Impressions of America - During The Years 1833, 1834, and 1835. In Two Volumes, Volume II. • Tyrone Power

... reflection, however, sufficed to save the ingenuous young man from the pitfall of so serious a social solecism. It would be fatal to accost him. For, mark you, no matter how gentlemanly and well-tailored a stranger may look, you can never be sure nowadays (in these topsy-turvy times of subversive radicalism) whether he is or is not really ...
— The British Barbarians • Grant Allen

... you full of strange contrasts. Your garb and manner were restricted by rule; your air was often diffident, and altogether that of one refined by nature, but absolutely unused to society, and a good deal afraid of making herself disadvantageously conspicuous by some solecism or blunder; yet when addressed, you lifted a keen, a daring, and a glowing eye to your interlocutor's face: there was penetration and power in each glance you gave; when plied by close questions, you found ready and round answers. Very soon you seemed to get used to me: I believe you ...
— Jane Eyre - an Autobiography • Charlotte Bronte

... money to spend. It added nothing to him if he had much, it took nothing from him if he had little.' A sharp fellow who worked, and a stupid fellow who was idle, were both of them in good odour enough, but a stupid boy who presumed to work was held to be an insufferable solecism.[25] ...
— The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 1 (of 3) - 1809-1859 • John Morley

... it seems that this very expression, god of the sky, god of the cloud, is so entire an anachronism that we could not even translate it into Vedic Sanskrit without committing a solecism. It is true, no doubt, we must use our modern ways of speaking when we wish to represent the thoughts of the ancient world; but we cannot be too much on our guard against accepting the dictionary representative of an ancient word for its real counterpart. Deva, no doubt, means ...
— India: What can it teach us? - A Course of Lectures Delivered before the University Of Cambridge • F. Max Mueller

... opera-hat—one of those tall and striking contraptions that you can shut up by pressing gently but firmly upon the human midriff and looking unconscious, but which is apt to open with a resounding report if you're not careful... I am glad to be able to report that Roland failed to commit the solecism of wearing a red string tie; his tie was a sober black, firmly knotted at the factory. I'm glad too, for the sartorial honour of Radville, that Roland knew how to wear such fixin's: that is to say, with an expression ...
— The Fortune Hunter • Louis Joseph Vance

... seen what is requisite in the man who would be respected in the Presidency, and has so unreservedly devoted his life to its attainment, that in protracted conversations with him I heard only a single solecism, ("a'n't you" for "aren't you,") and saw not one instance of breeding which would ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 78, April, 1864 • Various

... not to be taught by general rules, but by special precedents; and in examining whether Addison has been with justice accused of a solecism in ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... Carnatic, has the Company's troops in all his garrisons. Policy and public safety absolutely require it. What state could exist that allowed its inferior members to hold forts and garrisons independent of the superior administration? It is a solecism in ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... unsheathed the busk. Had you seen the faces of some of the English ladies of the party, you would have been like me, almost convulsed; while Madame remained perfectly unconscious that she had committed any solecism on la decence Anglaise. Poor Madame de Stael verified the ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. 20, Issue 561, August 11, 1832 • Various

... the word desire, therefore, includes both the action and the object or motive; for the object and motive of desire are the same thing. Hence to desire without an object, that is, without a motive, is a solecism in language. As if one should ask, if you could eat without food, or ...
— Zoonomia, Vol. I - Or, the Laws of Organic Life • Erasmus Darwin

... mother's satisfaction did not greatly comfort Ebbo, for he was of the age to feel more ashamed of a solecism than a crime. Christina perceived that this was one of his most critical periods of life, baited as he was by the enemy of his race, and feeling all the disadvantages which heart and conscience gave him ...
— The Dove in the Eagle's Nest • Charlotte M. Yonge

... had been "Armstrong" and "Gordon" when they addressed each other, or "ole man" when Gordon lapsed into the semi-affectionate. To the adjutant's Southern sense of military propriety "ole man" was still possible. "Armstrong" would be a soldierly solecism. ...
— Found in the Philippines - The Story of a Woman's Letters • Charles King

... I would not be any longer a Methodist preacher. A Methodist pastor is a solecism; Methodism is a moving evangelism. When it settles down for a life pastorate it ...
— The Hallam Succession • Amelia Edith Barr

... before him is not whether some are elected to eternal life on account of their works or not; and hence, if he had quoted a prophecy(207) from the Old Testament to establish that position, he would have been guilty of a gross solecism, a non sequitur, as plain as could ...
— A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory • Albert Taylor Bledsoe

... a desire to exist in the future, except a very strong fear that that state would be awfully miserable. To be thankful to God, and to rejoice in his goodness, and at the same time feel no desire to continue in the enjoyment of such favour is to me a complete solecism, ...
— A Series of Letters In Defence of Divine Revelation • Hosea Ballou

... Baronet; "how a young woman of Lady Juliana's rank and fashion should be guilty of such a solecism in good breeding." ...
— Marriage • Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

... text would be looked for as a matter of course; palographical accuracy would be exacted to the minutest turn of a letter. Now, to vary a text so as to furnish a different recension without betraying ignorance or solecism requires scholarship of no mean order, while it is very far from an easy thing to write currently in an archaic and unfamiliar character in such a manner as to deceive experts in palography. But the fabricator of these fragments, if fabricated they are, has attempted and accomplished a good ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 401, September 8, 1883 • Various

... a mortal could name. God's Word, as the Puritan prophets of that time had read it: this was great, and all else was little to him. To call such a man 'ambitious,' to figure him as the prurient windbag described above, seems to me the poorest solecism. Such a man will say: "Keep your gilt carriages and huzzaing mobs, keep your red-tape clerks, your influentialities, your important businesses. Leave me alone, leave me alone; there is too much of life in me already!" Old Samuel Johnson, the greatest ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... be no such thing; but the whole of this is poor, and spun out.—Gifford. The solecism, if such it be, was repeated in Marino Faliero, act iii. sc. I, ...
— The Works Of Lord Byron, Vol. 3 (of 7) • Lord Byron

... attached to Lord Etherington, should find him bodily indeed at St. Ronan's, but, so far as society was concerned, on the road towards the ancient city of Coventry; and his banishment thither, incurred by that most unpardonable offence in modern morality, a solecism in the code of honour. Though sluggish and inert when called to action, the Baronet was by no means an absolute coward; or, if so, he was of that class which fights when reduced to extremity. He manfully sent for Captain MacTurk, who waited upon him with ...
— St. Ronan's Well • Sir Walter Scott

... different nature. Her landlord would have willingly retained his excellent tenant, but not on the terms on which she then held the land, which had not varied for fifty years; so that poor Mrs. Sally had the misfortune to find rent rising and prices sinking both at the same moment—a terrible solecism in political economy. Even this, however, I believe she would have endured, rather than have quitted the house where she was born, and to which all her ways and notions were adapted, had not a priggish steward, as much addicted to improvement and reform as she was to precedent and established ...
— Our Village • Mary Russell Mitford

... change is shown in that trifling piece of etiquette! By-and-by, after the proper interval, the ladies enter in morning costume, not a stray curl allowed to wander from its stern bands, nature rigidly repressed, decorum—'Society'—in every flounce and trimming. You feel that you have committed a solecism coming on foot, and so carrying the soil on your boots from the fields without into so elegant an apartment Visitors are obviously expected to arrive on wheels, and in correct trim for company. A remark about the crops falls on barren ground; ...
— Hodge and His Masters • Richard Jefferies

... [110] This solecism is found in the Irish as well as in the Scottish Gaelic translation. The Manks translation has avoided it. In the Irish version and in the Scottish Gaelic version of 1767, a similar instance occurs in Acts, ii. 20, ...
— Elements of Gaelic Grammar • Alexander Stewart

... were unanswered and unanswerable; but nothing could stay the prevailing impatience of Congress for speedy legislation looking to the early return of the rebel districts to their places in the Union. The bill was a legislative solecism. It did not abrogate the existing Rebel State governments. It left the ballot in the hands of white Rebels, and did not confer it upon the black loyalists. It sought to conciliate the power it was endeavoring to coerce. It ...
— Political Recollections - 1840 to 1872 • George W. Julian

... mercy on them here. 'Very bunglers in sensuality, who know not her laws, and confound her ordinances, flinging down their souls to be trampled beneath the heels of luxury! As the play has it, Door or window, all is one to them. Such pleasures are rank solecism.' One observation of his in the same spirit fairly caps the famous censure of Momus. Momus found fault with the divine artificer for not putting his bull's horns in front of the eyes. Similarly, ...
— Works, V1 • Lucian of Samosata

... have not hitherto been successful in finding original Irish bulls in language, we must now look for them in conduct. A person may be guilty of a solecism without uttering a single syllable—"That man has been guilty of a solecism with his hand," an ancient critic said of an actor, who had pointed his hand upwards when invoking the infernal gods. "You may act a lie as well as speak one," says ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. IV • Maria Edgeworth

... before. The one invaded Irving's premieres at the Lyceum. The other sang paeans in praise of the Bancrofts. The French plays, too, were the feigned delight of all the modish world. Not to have seen Chaumont in Totot chez Tata was held a solecism. The homely mesdames and messieurs from the Parisian boards were 'lionised' (how strangely that phrase rings to modern ears!) in ducal drawing-rooms. In fact, all the old prejudice of rank was being ...
— The Works of Max Beerbohm • Max Beerbohm

... come very early in life by saying, in regard to the degree to which the subject of it enjoys the attention of the public, that no American painter has hitherto won himself such recognition from the expert; but I find myself pausing at the start as on the edge of a possible solecism. Is Mr. Sargent in very fact an American painter? The proper answer to such a question is doubtless that we shall be well advised to pretend it, and the reason of this is simply that we have an excellent opportunity. Born in Europe, he has also spent his life in ...
— Picture and Text - 1893 • Henry James

... all pleas that a reasonable being can set up:—that any one should claim four by virtue of holding cards of the same mark and colour, without reference to the playing of the game, or the individual worth or pretensions of the cards themselves! She held this to be a solecism; as pitiful an ambition at cards as alliteration is in authorship. She despised superficiality, and looked deeper than the colours of things.—Suits were soldiers, she would say, and must have a uniformity of array to distinguish ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... on the transfer of Genoa, to which Lord Castlereagh did not deign an answer, and which another Honourable Member called "a finical speech." It was a most able, candid, closely argued, and philosophical exposure of that unprincipled transaction; but for this very reason it was a solecism in the place where it was delivered. Sir James has, since this period, and with the help of practice, lowered himself to the tone of the House; and has also applied himself to questions more congenial to his habits of mind, and where the success would be more likely to be proportioned ...
— The Spirit of the Age - Contemporary Portraits • William Hazlitt

... authorities, it seems unlikely that the assembled princes of Europe should have adjudged to Godfrey a coat armorial so much contrary to the general rule, if such rule had then existed; at any rate, it proves that metal upon metal, now accounted a solecism in heraldry, was admitted in other cases similar to that in the text. See Ferne's "Blazon of Gentrie" p. 238. Edition 1586. Nisbet's "Heraldry", vol. ...
— Ivanhoe - A Romance • Walter Scott

... Laws be supreme & controul the whole, the Idea of Sovereignty in these States must be lost. Indeed I think, upon such a Supposition, those Sovereignties ought to be eradicated from the Mind; for they would be Imperia in Imperio justly deemd a Solecism in Politicks, & they would be highly dangerous, and destructive of the Peace Union and Safety of the Nation. And can this National Legislature be competent to make Laws for the free internal Government of one ...
— The Original Writings of Samuel Adams, Volume 4 • Samuel Adams

... than in the other, in the obligations of ultimate decision there can be no difference. In the language of the Constitution, "all the legislative powers" which it grants "are vested in the Congress of the United States." It would be a solecism in language to say that any portion of these is not included in ...
— United States Presidents' Inaugural Speeches - From Washington to George W. Bush • Various

... said, she was taking in to Sergeant Briggs and Corporal Turner that was shot at the Elk, and she couldn't bear to see me all alone out there in the cold." But Six said he dasn't take the wine. He got six months "blind" once for a similar solecism, and, mindful of the major's warning (this was diplomatic) Six swore he had sworn off, and had to refuse the repeated requests of the lady. He suspicioned her, he said, because she was so persistent. ...
— A Daughter of the Sioux - A Tale of the Indian frontier • Charles King

... one of them or wait till another time to play, for in England to pay in gold is a solecism only pardonable in a stranger. Perhaps you noticed ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... the Romans, that democracy cannot exist anywhere in the world; as a Government it is an impossibility that it should be continued, and he goes on proving that in his own way. I do not ask you all to follow him in his conviction (hear); but it is to him a clear truth that it is a solecism and impossibility that the universal mass of men should govern themselves. He says of the Romans that they continued a long time, but it was purely in virtue of this item in their constitution—namely, that they had all the conviction in their ...
— On the Choice of Books • Thomas Carlyle

... is not whether it is ever right to do wrong, which is a solecism; nor is the question whether it is ever right to lie; but rather what ...
— A Lie Never Justifiable • H. Clay Trumbull

... so is your comely face Touch'd every where with such diffused grace, As that in all that admirable round, There is not one least solecism found; And as that part, so every portion else Keeps line ...
— A Selection From The Lyrical Poems Of Robert Herrick • Robert Herrick

... and our treating as an independent nation, are very well founded. It will serve too, Sir, to show that your suspicions on another point are groundless. To suppose that France would go to war for our independence, and yet not wish to see that independence recognised, is a solecism in politics. Surely every acknowledgment of this kind raises our hopes and depresses those of the enemy, and places the justice of the war, both on the part of France and of us, in a fairer point ...
— The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII • Various

... in villainy for every scoundrel who could write his name. Under this plea, felons of the worst kind might claim, till this time, to be taken out of the hands of the law judges, and to be tried at the bishops' tribunals; and at these tribunals, such a monstrous solecism had Catholicism become, the payment of money was ever welcomed as the ready expiation of crime. To prevent the escape of the Bishop of Rochester's cook, who was a "clerk," parliament had specially interfered, and sentenced him without trial, ...
— The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) • James Anthony Froude

... once determine. In the short space it took to cover the road between the path from Hamilton's shop and the first plank of the Combermere Bridge I had thought over half a dozen people who might have committed such a solecism, and had eventually decided that it must have been singing in my ears. Immediately opposite Peliti's shop my eye was arrested by the sight of four jharnpanies in "magpie" livery, pulling a yellow-paneled, cheap, bazar 'rickshaw. ...
— The Works of Rudyard Kipling One Volume Edition • Rudyard Kipling

... SOLECISM, the name given to a violation of the syntax or idiom of a language, as well as to an incarnate absurdity of any kind, whether in mind ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... the action of those overpowering forces which so determined the case. Slavery itself, strange as it now may seem, failed to impair the theory however it may have imported into the practice a hideous solecism. No hardier republicanism was generated in New England than in the Slave States of the South, which produced so many of the ...
— Prose Masterpieces from Modern Essayists • James Anthony Froude, Edward A. Freeman, William Ewart Gladstone, John Henry Newman and Leslie Steph

... the same law holds with regard to ladies. It often is so felt; but we are inclined to say that it never produces half the discomfort or half the feeling of implied inferiority that is shown by a great man who desires his visitor to be seated while he himself speaks from his legs. Such a solecism in good breeding, when construed into English means this: "The accepted rule of courtesy in the world require that I should offer you a seat; if I did not do so, you would bring a charge against me in ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... difficulties in princes' business are many and great; but the greatest difficulty, is often in their own mind. For it is common with princes (saith Tacitus) to will contradictories, Sunt plerumque regum voluntates vehementes, et inter se contrariae. For it is the solecism of power, to think to command the end, and yet not ...
— Essays - The Essays Or Counsels, Civil And Moral, Of Francis Ld. - Verulam Viscount St. Albans • Francis Bacon

... is he bound to pronounce the law of God itself manifestly unjust and iniquitous. For that law as clearly recognizes the right of property in man as it could possibly be recognized in words. But it nowhere commits the flagrant solecism of supposing that this right of the master annuls or excludes all the rights of the slave. On the contrary, the rights of the slave are recognized, as well as those of the master. For, according to the law of God, though "a possession," and an "inheritance," and "a bondman forever," ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... from what one might have expected.—Well, I am well rid of her. Do we not pray to be liberated from temptation? Yet that she should have erred so much in estimation of her own situation and mine, as to think of defraying the reckoning! I would I saw her once more, but to explain to her the solecism of which her inexperience hath rendered her guilty. And I fear," he added, as he emerged from some straggling trees, and looked out upon a wild moorish country, composed of a succession of swelling lumpish hills, "I fear I shall soon ...
— The Monastery • Sir Walter Scott

... answered Pepperill laconically, indulging in his only frequent solecism, "that you wouldn't offer to plead to manslaughter unless you felt pretty sure your client was going to ...
— By Advice of Counsel • Arthur Train

... official and unofficial, English, Spanish, French, and Venetian. No higher criminality has been discovered in him than that he may have been aware of the project of an acquaintance to influence by means of Spanish gold the King's policy. If he were guilty of worse than this, it is a solecism in the history of treasons that in the course of three centuries not a tittle of evidence of it should ...
— Sir Walter Ralegh - A Biography • William Stebbing

... through coloured glasses, but his vision is not the less penetrating. The vulgar satirist is such a one as Hazlitt somewhere mentioned who called Wordsworth a dunce. Hazlitt was quite incapable of such a solecism. He knew, nobody better, that a telling caricature must be a good likeness. If he darkens the shades, and here and there exaggerates an ungainly feature, we still know that the shade exists and that the feature is not symmetrical. De Quincey reports the saying of some ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... neighbouring church clock broke off our dialogue. He took out his diamond watch, compared it with the time, found that to delay a moment longer would be a solecism which might lose him a smile or be punished with a frown; repeated a couplet on the pangs of parting with friends; and with an embrace, in the most glowing style of Paris, bounded across the street, and was lost in the crowd which blocked up ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 54, No. 337, November, 1843 • Various

... didn't say Barkley," observed Francesca cuttingly; "she would have been sure to commit that sort of solecism." ...
— Penelope's Progress - Being Such Extracts from the Commonplace Book of Penelope Hamilton As Relate to Her Experiences in Scotland • Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

... am speaking to you, sister. The least solecism one makes in speaking irritates you; but you make strange ones in conduct. Your everlasting books do not satisfy me, and, except a big Plutarch to put my bands in [Footnote: To keep them flat.], you should burn all this useless lumber, and leave ...
— The Learned Women • Moliere (Poquelin)

... without beauty of language, or variety of numbers. Instead of the justness of the original, they say there is absurdity and extravagance. Instead of the beautiful language of the original, there is solecism and barbarous English. A candid reader may easily discern from this furious introduction, that the critics were actuated rather by malice than truth, and that they must judge with their eyes shut, who can see no ...
— The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753),Vol. V. • Theophilus Cibber

... and likeness. We have been absorbed in one half of reality, identifying man with nature, prating of his self-sufficiency, seeing divinity almost exclusively as immanent in the phenomenal world. Thus we have not merely been dealing with only one half of the truth, but that, to use a solecism, the lesser half. ...
— Preaching and Paganism • Albert Parker Fitch

... said Glossin, beginning to fear lest the firm expostulation of Bertram should make some impression on Sir Robert, who would almost have died of shame at committing such a solecism as sending a captain of horse to jail—"This is all very well, sir; but is there no person nearer whom you could ...
— Guy Mannering • Sir Walter Scott

... and is not to be accused of artificiality, but to be credited with a true sincerity of selection in juxtaposing his soft corals and carnations and gleaming topaz, amethyst, and sapphire hues. The most exacting literalist can hardly accuse them of solecism in their rendering of nature, true as it is that their decorative sense is so strong as to lead them to impose on nature their own sentiment instead of yielding themselves to absorption in hers, and thus, in harmonious and sympathetic ...
— French Art - Classic and Contemporary Painting and Sculpture • W. C. Brownell

... bravest effect. I shall never forget the impression of majestic chastity that I received from the great nave of the building on my former visit. I then decided to my satisfaction that every church is from the devotional point of view a solecism that has not something of a similar absolute felicity of proportion; for strictly formal beauty seems best to express our conception of spiritual beauty. The nobly serious character of San Zenone is deepened by its single picture—a ...
— Italian Hours • Henry James

... any more intimate conversation, and Richard had certainly committed a solecism in giving Cicely's letter the precedence over the Earl's. The Queen, however, had recalled her caution, and inquired for the health of the Lord and Lady, and, with a certain sarcasm on her lips, ...
— Unknown to History - A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland • Charlotte M. Yonge

... foreign language. We don't care how faulty the accent, or how incorrect the idiom, in which we talk nothings; but if we utter any of the poetry within us, we shudder at the risk of the most trifling solecism. ...
— Ernest Maltravers, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... But, malice and partiality set apart, let any man, who understands English, read diligently the works of Shakespeare and Fletcher, and I dare undertake, that he will find in every page either some solecism of speech, or some notorious flaw in sense[1]; and yet these men are reverenced, when we are not forgiven. That their wit is great, and many times their expressions noble, envy itself ...
— The Works Of John Dryden, Volume 4 (of 18) - Almanzor And Almahide, Marriage-a-la-Mode, The Assignation • John Dryden

... —vos!—using, say the original relator and the repeaters of the story, a form of address, the second person plural, which in the Spanish language is expressive of contempt. Now it is true that vos, applied to an equal, would have been a solecism; but it is also true that it was the invariable form employed by the sovereign, even when addressing a grandee or a prince of the Church. (See the Papiers d'Etat de Granvelle, passim.) Moreover, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 15, January, 1859 • Various

... many different precincts of appeal. The Two Orphans of Dennery and The Misanthrope of Moliere aim to interest two different types of audience. To say that The Two Orphans is a bad play because its appeal is not so intellectual as that of The Misanthrope would be no less a solecism than to say that The Misanthrope is a bad play because its appeal is not so emotional as that of The Two Orphans. The truth is that both stand within the boundaries of approbation. The one makes a primitive appeal to the emotions, without, however, grieving the judicious; and the other makes ...
— The Theory of the Theatre • Clayton Hamilton

... adjutant's office. Then came Major Plume, with quick and nervous step. There was a two-minute conference on the piazza; then both officers vanished within, were gone five minutes, and then Plume reappeared alone, went straight to his home, and slammed the door behind him, a solecism rarely known at Sandy, and presently on the hot and pulseless air there arose the sound of shrill protestation in strange vernacular. Even Wren heard the voice, and found something reminiscent in the sound of weeping and wailing ...
— An Apache Princess - A Tale of the Indian Frontier • Charles King

... moderate expectations of a few. Above all it is difficult for me, for the fame I have already won and your own kindly anticipation of my skill will not permit me to deliver any ill-considered or superficial utterance. For what man among you would pardon me one solecism or condone the barbarous pronunciation of so much as one syllable? Who of you will suffer me to stammer in disorderly and faulty phrases such as might rise to the lips of madmen? In others of course you would pardon such lapses, ...
— The Apologia and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura • Lucius Apuleius

... former. Yet so it is; such is the unequal measure, if I may be allowed the expression, which we deal out to God, and to each other. It would justly and universally be thought false confidence in the religious thief or the religious adulterer, (to admit for the sake of argument such a solecism in terms) to solace himself with the firm persuasion of the Divine favour: but it will, to many, appear hard and precise, to deny this firm persuasion of Divine approbation to the avowedly irreligious man ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offense against the whole Union. To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States is not a nation; because it would be a solecism to contend that any part of a nation might dissolve its connection with the other parts, to their injury or ruin, without committing any offense. Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity ...
— Key-Notes of American Liberty • Various

... spring out of the bosom of a world of fine sentiments, a world of admirable sayings and foul practices, of good maxims and bad deeds; whose darker passions are not only restrained by custom and ceremony, but hidden even from itself by a veil of beautiful sentiments. This terrible solecism has existed in all ages. Romish sentimentalism has often covered infidelity and vice; Protestant straightness often lauds spirituality and faith, and neglects homely truth, candor, and generosity; and ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... African school, nor the chaster and more polished style of Cyprian, but rather renews the inferior and slovenly manner of the earlier antiquarians and encyclopedists. A free use of the rhetorical figures goes side by side with a general want of finish and occasional lapses into solecism. His literary gift is so small, and his knowledge of the religion he professes to defend so slight and so excessively inaccurate, that theologians and men of letters for once agree that his main value consists ...
— Latin Literature • J. W. Mackail

... contributor to the "London Magazine") has much that is characteristic of the writer. In it he plays—as he does in other letters to distant friends—on the way in which "this confusion of tenses, this grand solecism of two presents" renders writing difficult; in it he airs his fondness for a pun and enlarges upon the fugacity of that form of fun, its inherent incapacity for travel; and in it, too, he gives some indication—we ...
— Charles Lamb • Walter Jerrold

... singular verb bara (the Elohim creates). The reason is that after the Babylonish captivity the unity of the Supreme Being was the prevailing opinion of the Jews; it was therefore thought proper to introduce a pious solecism in language, which it is evident had no existence before Moses; thus in the names of the children of Jacob many of them are compounded of a plural verb, to which Elohim is the nominative case understood, as Raouben (Reuben), they ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... evangelistic policies carried on at Amoy, the one by the Mission, and the other by the Classis? Or is the Classis first to come over to the Synod, and so get to the Board in order to carry on the work around? Instead of this new plan being the settled policy of our Church, we believe it to be a solecism. When a Church is established among the heathen after our order, then is the true policy of our Church carried out. Let the present relations of the Missionaries to the Board and to their several Classes remain, and there will ...
— History and Ecclesiastical Relations of the Churches of the Presbyterial Order at Amoy, China • J. V. N. Talmage

... should forever give the lie to our professions, why is the great constitutional compact so guardedly silent on the subject of human servitude? If state necessity demanded this perpetual violation of the laws of God and the rights of man, this continual solecism in a government of freedom, why is it not met as a necessity, incurable and inevitable, and formally and distinctly recognized as a settled part of our social system? State necessity, that imperial tyrant, seeks no disguise. In the language of Sheridan, "What he does, he dares avow, and ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... tennis called fifteen. At the next justling turn you may readily amend that fault, and so complete your reckoning of sixteen. Is it so, quoth Panurge, that you understand the matter? And must my words be thus interpreted? Nay, believe me never yet was any solecism committed by that valiant champion who often hath for me in Belly-dale stood sentry at the hypogastrian cranny. Did you ever hitherto find me in the confraternity of the faulty? Never, I trow; never, nor ever shall, for ever and a day. I do the feat like a goodly friar or ...
— Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. • Francois Rabelais



Words linked to "Solecism" :   bloomer, flub, faux pas, gaucherie, boner, slip, gaffe, bungle, botch



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