A-Z of Sherlockian Phraseology - Here are a couple of "E's"

Posted by Rahul Parihar on

An extract from 'The Adventure of the Wordy Companion: An A-Z guide to Sherlockian Phraseology' by Nicko Vaughan

Here are just five of the 'E's referenced in Nicko's Wordy Companion:

Ejaculate – Regardless of its modern meaning, the meaning of the word in the 1800s was shout out at something with shock or surprise. The word is peppered throughout the canon of stories but a few of my favourite examples are from The Sign of Four, “‘Thank God!’ I ejaculated from my very heart.”  The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, “Finally, he sprang down with an ejaculation of satisfaction.” And in The Adventure of the Naval Treaty, Percy Phelps ejaculates three times in quick succession. “‘Surely the gate was open!’ Ejaculated Phelps” “‘The key!’ ejaculated Phelps” “‘Joseph!’ ejaculated Phelps.”

Ennui - a feeling of listlessness arising resulting in a lack of purpose or excitement. Used by Holmes to describe how his life feels when he is not hot upon a case and how he starts to feel at the completion of The Adventure of the Red Headed League. “‘It saved me from ennui,’ he answered, yawning. ‘Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence.’”

 Enmity - the feeling of hatred or ill will with a mixture of some animosity. In part two of A Study in Scarlet this is used to describe the feelings of the Mormon church and their, possibly murderous, response to the betray of John and his daughter Lucy Ferrier as they attempt to escape their grasp. “They had seen no signs of any pursuers, and Jefferson Hope began to think that they were fairly out of the reach of the terrible organization whose enmity they had incurred”

Equanimity – a calmness and composure, especially in the face of danger or difficulty. Holmes speaks to Watson in The Final Problem about his achievements and the impact his work has had on the criminal community. “If my record were closed to-night I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence.”

Erysipelas - a type of severe bacterial infection which is usually found on the face, arms or legs. In The Adventure of the Illustrious Client, the newspapers are told of how Holmes had contracted this infection after his stitches had been removed following a murderous attack upon him. “On the seventh day the stitches were taken out, in spite of which there was a report of erysipelas in the evening papers. The same evening papers had an announcement which I was bound, sick or well, to carry to my friend.”


What would you buy in slop-shop? What would you put in your lumber room? And what on earth does the obliquity of the ecliptic actually mean? This A-Z of Sherlockian Phraseology can help you find out. A handy guide to those “wordy words” and references found within the pages of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books featuring the world’s only consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes.

This book gives explanations and definitions of the language and references used in all 60 of the original stories, a companion book, much like a paper Watson, following wherever the complete Holmes goes, dutifully explaining and narrating his meanings to the reader. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Sherlock Homes, completely new to the books or just somebody who enjoys learning new and interesting words, this book will guide you to some of the interesting language of the time.

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