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 'I's referenced in Nicko's Wordy Companion:
Iconoclast - a person who criticises a person’s beliefs or attacks institutions and ideologies. In The Adventure of the Six Napoleons Lastrade and Holmes theorise as to the motivations of the unknown smasher of Napoleon busts. “ Considering how many hundreds of statues of the great Emperor must exist in London, it is too much to suppose such a coincidence as that a promiscuous iconoclast should chance to begin upon three specimens of the same bust.”
Idée fixe - An obsession with something or an idea or desire which dominates the mind and actions of a person. In The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, Watson flexes his medical muscles for Holmes and Lastrade. “There is the condition which the modern French psychologists have called the ‘Idée fixe,’ which may be triﬂing in character, and accompanied by complete sanity in every other way.”
Ignominious - to cause a public shame or to be disgraced. Holmes recounts his boxing prowess in The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist. “‘You are aware that I have some proficiency in the good old British sport of boxing. Occasionally it is of service. To-day, for example, I should have come to very ignominious grief without it.’”
Impecunious - having very little money or having no money at all. When Holmes tells Watson of the most Evil man in London, the venom cannot be held back from his speech in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton. “This fiend has several imprudent letters, imprudent Watson, nothing worse, which were written to an impecunious young squire in the country.”
Imperious - a person who is arrogant and domineering. In part two of A Study in Scarlet the young Jefferson Hope realises that he has fallen deeply in love with Lucy Ferrier and so starts a complicated love tangle. “The love which had sprung up in his heart was not the sudden, changeable fancy of a boy, but rather the wild, fierce passion of a man of strong will and imperious temper.”
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.