Return of the Native

Return of the Native Glossary

"from Nebuchadnezzar to the Swaffam tinker"

a British idiom, referring to any phrase or situation that references or includes both the highest and lowest classes of society

"make a round 'O'"

a British expression meaning to write clearly

Ahasuerus the Jew

Known as the "wandering Jew," Ahasuerus was condemned to wander the earth without rest.


prehistoric burial mound



cima recta/cyma recta

an architectural term referring to the curve formed by two arcs with parallel ends; also known as ogee


bundle of sticks or branches, bound together to use for fuel


very spiny and dense evergreen shrub with fragrant golden-yellow flower

heath croppers

wild ponies

Lammas tide

a harvest festival


an actor involved in masked performances, especially of a type associated with Christmas and popular in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries


a Dorsetshire horned devil mask, often been linked to witchcraft


wooden overshoes

pis aller

a French idiom, meaning the last resort

Scyllaeo-Charybdian position

an idiom derived from Greek mythology, indicating any situation in which both options spell potential doom or loss

skimmity ride

a public parade mean to mock or humiliate an unfaithful or nagging spouse

slittering maid

a young woman of marriagable age



Tartarean situation

an expression meaning a dreadful or hellish predicament; refers to the place that Zeus imprisoned the Titans in Greek mythology


peevish, put out