The Professor's House

The Professor's House Glossary

All Souls’ day

Catholic holiday on November 2nd that commemorates the dead.


A sideboard-like piece of furniture named after the French word for “rag-gatherer.”


French for lunch.


French for dinner.

Ember day

Usually referred to in plural form, four separate sets of three days within the same week that fall during the four seasons of the year; Christian holy days set aside for fasting and prayer.


Ancient Greek playwright who composed scores of tragedies, including Medea, Alcestis, Trojan Women, The Bacchae, Cyclops, and Hippolytus.


French word for “son.”


French word signifying “crazy.”

Grama grass

Type of annual or perennial short prairie grass.

Il est toujours plus naïf

A French phrase used by the Professor to describe Lake Michigan signifying “It is always more naïve.”


French for Monday.


French word for “hope.”


A type of roof with two slopes on each of its sides; the slope of the upper part is less steep than that of the lower part, and the lower part is punctuated by dormer windows to create a garret or attic. It is associated with French architecture.

Matrimonio Segreto

Fully titled “Il Matrimonio Segreto” or “The Secret Marriage,” an opera by Domenico Cimarosa based on the play “The Clandestine Marriage” by George Colman and David Garrick. It hinges, as one might imagine, on a series of romantic misunderstandings and ends happily.

Maundy Thursday

Christian holiday that commemorates the Last Supper and falls on the Thursday before Easter.


A Greek mythological figure; the wife of the hero Jason who gets her revenge on him when he deserts her for Creon’s daughter Glauce.


French for Wednesday.


An opera written by Ambroise Thomas based on Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehjahre. The story is one of romantic entanglements and misplaced affection among gypsies, minstrels and showfolk, and has a happy ending.


Type of pine tree that grows in the southwestern United States.

Richard Plantagenet

More commonly known as Richard I of England or Richard the Lionheart, the King of England who led European forces during the Third Crusade against Saladin and the Muslims and who, despite other successes, failed to retake Jerusalem.

The Saladin

More commonly known as “Saladin,” a Kurdish Muslim who became the sultan of Egypt and Syria and who led Muslim forces during the Third Crusade against European Christians commanded by Richard I. At one point, he took over Jerusalem.


A type of beard characterized by the growth of a mustache and goatee, named for the Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck.