A unisex cologne first introduced in the 18th century.
"bully for him"
Mid-century slang used when someone has said something undeserving of attention or admiration.
Pierre Cartier was a jeweler whose name was synonymous with wealth and elegance for most of the 20th century. "Cartier-formal" thus suggests an exaggerated, "Cartier-like" formality.
"planning a powder"
planning on disappearing
abbreviation of "razzamatazz", meaning a showman's routine
"smoke the pipe"
"the absolute finito"
"the absolute end"; ultimate or ideal
An Australian song written in 1895 by poet Banjo Paterson.
One who believes in the absolute abolishment of all forms of government. In the early decades of the 20th century, foreign anarchists were often accused of plotting terrorist activity against the United States.
An extensive mountain range in South America
A profound feeling of anxiety and apprehension
Knit socks containing a pattern of diamond shapes in various colors.
singing in a low key
a luxury department store in Midtown Manhattan
Berlitz Language School, a popular institution for adults who wish to learn foreign languages, with hundreds of franchises worldwide.
The Blue Ridge mountains, comprising part of the famous Appalachian mountain range that stretches across the Eastern U.S. from the Carolinas to New York State.
A large wild cat related to the American housecat
French phrase meaning "good journey".
French phrase for "close your mouth".
A linguistic system named after its inventor, Louis Braille in 1829, which provided an encoded tactile version of written language, thus enabling the blind to read and write.
A type of building characterized by the reddish-brown facing on the exterior. A common type of residence in New York that has come to be closely associated with the city.
lesbians; "masculine" lesbians
19th century American frontierswoman renowned for her military skills and expertise on horseback.
A bright, coarsely printed cloth
The act of surrendering
To drink liquor in excess
An essential oil often used to treat sunburn
An American composer who was very popular in the 1930s and 1940s.
A soprano specializing in ornate vocal music.
In a self-satisfied manner.
sick with consumption, a form of tuberculosis
Conforming to standard; not unusual or extreme.
derogatory slur for African-American
French word for "crisis"
David O. Selznick
A Hollywood producer, famous for his blockbuster Gone with the Wind.
depraved or corrupt
Fit skillfully together.
A small group of islands located at the end of the Florida Keys.
et pourquois pas
French phrase meaning "and why not?"
A person who achieves sexual gratification by engaging in sexual behavior in public. More figuratively, an exhibitionist is someone who enjoys publicizing the details of his or her private life.
A type of Portuguese folk music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics about the lives of seafarers and the poor.
An African-American spiritual leader who founded the International Peace Mission movement. Father Divine was the subject of public scandal when he declared he was God.
A soft, felt hat with a lengthwise crease down the center of the crown. While popular with many men in the early decades of the 20th century, the fedora was most often associated with mafia gangsters and private detectives.
A major thoroughfare in the center of the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City. A common symbol for American capitalist wealth.
Greta Garbo, a Swedish actress who became one of Hollywood's most popular and highly-paid stars in the first half of the 20th century.
Gilbert and Sullivan
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, a team who wrote and produced several highly popular operettas or "comic operas" in Victorian England.
A type of flower.
German word for "housewife".
The inheritor of an estate of a deceased person. Holly calls her unborn child "the heir" since he will inherit Jose's sizable estate.
Ernest Hemingway, one of the 20th century's most celebrated American authors.
hither and yonning
here and there
A chest in which young women store clothing and household goods in anticipation of marriage. Once a common tradition in Europe and North America, hope chests have fallen out of fashion.
Unbelievable; difficult to believe or imagine.
subjective; without concrete detail
severe or cruel
A period of warm, summer-like weather in the autumn season.
lack of motion; boredom
A very small amount.
Incense sticks often used in Chinese religious ceremonies.
A German composer of musical theatre and concert works who was very popular with U.S. audiences from the 1920s to the 1950s.
French word for "shit".
French slang meaning "African" or "black"
A carefree or spirited adventure.
The site of Joe Bell's bar, presumably near 70th street in New York City.
go-between or messenger
A company that produced popular records teaching Americans to speak foreign languages.
A European-Jewish actress who escaped to the U.S. during the holocaust.
An expensive clothing line from the early 1900s which introduced the strapless evening gown.
cocktail drinks named after the New York borough, consisting of vermouth, whiskey and an optional dash of bitters.
An American Broadway and film actress who was popular in the 1930s.
A popular Russian actress who achieved fame in Hollywood toward the end of her career.
A slang term meaning "homosexual" or "male prostitute".
A type of thin, dry cracker that is often served with cottage cheese.
One of the world's largest and most important art museums, located in Manhattan, New York.
French endearment meaning "a thousand tendernesses".
tall, slender towers attached to a mosque, often containing balconies for prayer
A division of Randolph House Publishers, founded in 1917. It's slogan was "The Modern Library of the World's Best Books."
temple for Muslim relgious services
A fictional town created by Capote, perhaps as an allusion to a gay resort or pick-up spot ("nancy" being a slang term for a submissive homosexual).
Jawaharlal Nehru, an important leader of the Indian Independence Movement and the Indian National Congress. Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India after the country's independence from Britain in 1947.
The fifth and final emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Rome. Nero was notorious for his decadent lifestyle and dissolute, untrustworthy nature.
Phrase meaning "to slobber"; plays on the derogatory attitude toward African-Americans in mid-century America
A western musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
One Touch of Venus
A popular musical written by Kurt Weill which ran on Broadway between 1943 and 1945.
A rhythmic bass accompaniment to brass band music.
A town in New York that contains Sing Sing prison
Our Gal Sunday
A radio soap opera that aired on CBS from 1937 to 1939.
French word for unconventional or bizarre.
The United States' largest fine-arts auction house. Parke-Bernet was purchased by Sotheby's in 1964.
antiquated term for record player
A brand of cigarettes produced in New Orleans until the 1960s. The Spanish word translates to "something of little value; a trifle."
An abbreviation of "pidgin-English". Pidgin is a hybridization of two languages that occurs when both languages share close geographic proximity.
A maneuver in which a target is attacked from two or more sides simultaneously.
Expressive of suffering or woe.
The popular acronym for Picture Magazine, a left-wing daily newspaper in New York City that ran from 1940 to 1948, when it was replaced by the New York Star.
deeply affecting one's feelings or emotions
A breed of "toy" dog with a soft, dense coat and an excitable personality.
a pot that uses steam under high pressure to cook food quickly
a kind of stitch used in knitting
A U.S. military decoration awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving in or with the U.S. military after April 5, 1917.
to populate with military troops
emotional and extravagant.
A central New York location owned by the wealthy Rockfeller family, in which an enormous Christmas tree is erected and decorated each year for the enjoyment of the city.
A racetrack in Arcadia, California
William Saroyan, an Armenian-American writer of plays and short stories that documented his life in an impoverished Armenian family.
German word for "sleep".
A barbituate drug used to treat epilepsy and insomnia. Because of its sedative properties, it was popular as a method of suicide.
A lawyer or politician who is professionally unscrupulous.
Georges Simenon, a Belgian author famous for his prolific output of naturalistic, psychologically objective novels.
A maximum-security prison in Ossing, New York.
In a reckless and haphazard manner.
A neighbourhood in northeastern Manhattan that has been populated by Hispanic-Americans for most of the 20th century.
A brief and sudden windstorm, often accompanied by rain or snow.
The patron saint of protection against lightning and pestilence. St Christopher is also considered the protector of archers, automobile drivers, and bachelors.
Light-weight hats, worn often in tropical countries as protection from the sun.
solid, earthy or bodily
a type of grain often used in desserts
Abbreviation for tuberculosis, a highly infectious lung disease whose severity is variable. A major cause of illness and death before the 1940s.
An electro-mechanical typewriter used to transmit messages across two locations via an electrial channel. Also known as a TTY, a teletypwriter, and a teleprinter.
an apartment building, often low-rent
A reptile turtle native to the U.S. that can live both in the water and on land.
The Story of Dr. Wassell
A 1944 film about WWII starring Gary Cooper and Cecil B. DeMille.
A jewelry company named after its founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany. Popular since its opening in 1837, Tiffany's is widely considered the finest jewelry store in the world and has locations in most major cities.
weight in tonnes
To wobble or rock unsteadily.
French phrase for "completely insane".
A glass cup typically used for serving alcohol.
A popular antacid tablet.
Mid-century slang for "one quarter".
An English supporter of fascism and Adolf Hitler's National Socialist Party during the 1930s. She attempted suicide when Britain declared war against Germany in 1939, and died shortly later of complications.
A passageway or room located between the outer door and the interior of a building.
W. Somerset Maugham
A British playwright, novelist, and short story writer. The highest paid writer of the 1930s.
A mixing machine made by Waring, the leading manufacturer of small appliances for home and industry in the U.S.
A silver-grey sporting dog originally developed for hunting.
A Republican candidate who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 U.S. presidential election.
William Randolph Hearst
American newspaper magnate who is credited with inventing "yellow journalism" in the late 19th century and was a leader of the democratic wing of the Democratic party from 1896 to 1935.
Walter Winchell, radio personality and the first gossip columnist. The narrator here is referring to Winchell's popular column, which he wrote for the New York Daily Mirror for over 30 years.
A chain of five-and-ten-cent discount stores popular across the U.S. in the 20th century.
A novel published in 1847 by Emily Bronte, widely considered one of the greatest masterpieces of literature. It was adapted for the screen in 1939 by director William Wyler.
A Germanic language spoken mostly by European Jews.
A neighbourhood in Upper East Side New York. During the 1930s it was the site of violent street battles between Nazi sympathizers and anti-Nazi demonstrators.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.