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i have been teaching a course in English Literature. i decided to use Fielding’s Modern Glossary as a representative work of satire from that period. i’ve included the entire glossary below with a few notes.

Fielding: A Modern Glossary (1752)

ANGEL. The name of a woman, commonly of a very bad one.

AUTHOR. A laughing-stock. It means likewise a poor fellow, and in general an object of contempt.

BEAR. A country gentleman; or, indeed, any animal upon two legs that doth not make a handsome bow.

BEAUTY. The qualification with which women generally go into keeping.

BEAU. With the article A before it, means a great favourite of all women.

BRUTE. A word implying plain-dealing and sincerity, but more especially applied to a philosopher.

CAPTAIN/ COLONEL { Any stick of wood with a head to it, and a piece of black ribband upon that head.

CREATURE. A quality expression of low contempt, properly confined only to the mouths of ladies who are Right honourable.

CRITIC. Like Homo, a name common to all human race.

COXCOMB1. A word or reproach, and yet, at the same time, signifying all that is most commendable.

DAMNATION. A term appropriated to the theatre; though sometimes more largely applied to all works of invention.

DEATH. The final end of man; as well of the thinking part of the body, as of all the other parts.

DRESS. The principal accomplishment of men and women.

DULLNESS. A word applied by all writers to the wit and humour of others.

EATING. A science.

FINE. An adjective of a very peculiar kind, destroying, or, at least, lessening the force of the substantive to which it is joined: as fine gentlemen, fine lady, fine house, fine clothes, fine taste;–in all which Fine is to be understood in a sense somewhat synonymous with Useless.

FOOL. A complex idea, compounded of poverty, honesty, piety, and simplicity.

GALLANTRY. Fornication and adultery.

GREAT. Applied to a thing, signifies bigness; when to a man, often littleness, or meanness.

GOOD. A word of as many different senses as the Greed word EXw, or as the Latin Ago: for which reason it is but little used by the polite.

HAPPINESS. Grandeur.

HONOUR. Dueling.

HUMOUR. Scandalous lines, tumbling and dancing on the rope.

JUDGE/JUSTICE. } An old woman.

KNAVE2. The name of four cards in every pack.

KNOWLEDGE. In general, means knowledge of the town; as this is, indeed, the only kind of knowledge ever spoken of in the polite world.

LEARNING. Pedantry3.

LOVE. A word properly applied to our delight in particular kinds of food; sometimes metaphorically spoken of the favourite objects of all our appetites.

MARRIAGE. A kind of traffic carried on between the two sexes, in which both are constantly endeavouring to cheat each other, and both are commonly losers in the end.

MISCHIEF. Fun, sport, or pastime.

MODESTY. Awkwardness, rusticity.

NOBODY. All the people in Great Britian, except about 1200.

NONSENSE. Philosophy, especially the philosophical writings of the ancients, and more especially of Aristotle.

OPPORTUNITY. The season of cuckoldom4.

PATRIOT. A candidate for a place at court.

POLITICS. The art of getting such a place.

PROMISE. Nothing.

RELIGION. A word of no meaning; but which serves as a bugbear to frighten children with.

RICHES. The only thing upon earth that is really valuable, or desirable.

ROGUE/RASCAL. } A man of a different party from yourself.

SERMON. A sleeping dose.

SUNDAY. The best time for playing at cards.

SHOCKING. An epithet5 which fine ladies apply to almost everything. It is, indeed, an interjection (if I may so call it) of delicacy.

TEMPERANCE. Want of spirit.

TASTE. The present whim of the town, whatever it be.

TEASING. Advice; chiefly that of a husband.

VIRTUE/VICE } Subjects of discourse.

WIT. Prophaneness, indecency, immorality, scurrility, mimickry, buffoonery6. Abuse of all good men, and especially of the clergy.

WORTH. Power. Rank. Wealth.

WISDOM. The art of acquiring all three.

WORLD. Your own acquaintance.


        1coxcomb: a conceited, foolish dandy; pretentious fop.

        2Knave: an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.

        3 Pedantry: excessive concern with minor details and rules.

       4Cuckoldom: the state or quality of being a cuckold. (Cuckold: the husband of an adulteress.)

       5Epithet: a word, phrase, or expression used invectively as a term of abuse or contempt, to express hostility, etc.

       6Buffoonery: acting in a course, rough, or undignified joking manner.


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