Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Princess Ida

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Enter part of a term; e.g., "gill" for Gillow's.


Rime [of frost and rime]

Frost and rime mean essentially the same thing: frozen condensation.

Unanneal [That fear can unanneal]


Loth [Is loth to war with women]

Pronunciation: Rhymes with quoth.

Same as loath: meaning strongly disinclined.

Popinjays [these popinjays, these tufted jack-a-dandy featherheads]

Vain, empty-headed fops, decked out in ornamental finery. The word is an old name for a parrot, related to the Greek papagos, which may put you in mind of Mozart's Magic Flute. See also The Yeomen of the Guard.


A little fop (115).


This pertains to the gold tassels worn by peers' sons, as already mentioned above.

Malignity [black malignity]

Extreme hate.


An archaic term for a person and not necessarily from the Isle of Wight. Frequently some element of commiseration or contempt may be implied (229).

Lank [Oh, don't the days seem lank and long]

Austere, thin, and unexciting.

German bands

Bradley (48) explains that "German musicians were a common sight on the streets of Victorian London. They tended to wear uniforms and play marches and other stirring oom-pah-pah numbers."

Music stands

Those German bands were apparently in the habit of erecting music stands right in the street (48).


Pronunciation: VOGG-ner

The great German librettist and composer of interminable operas.

Bade [I bade them go]

Pronunciation: bad


Organ boys [The organ boys, they stopped their noise]
Sketch of Organ grinder

The reference is to a barrel organ, or what Americans call a grind organ

Hurdy-gurds [and grinning herds of hurdy-gurds]
Sketch of a Hurdy-gurd

This is Gilbert's abbreviated form of the word hurdy-gurdist. A hurdy gurdy is a mechanical, stringed musical device. The sounds are produced by turning a handle that rotates a rosined wheel across the strings, which are stopped by means of keys. The term has also come to mean a barrel organ.

Fads [they feed my fads]

Read: They pamper my whims.

Ring [ere you pitch your ring]

An area set aside for a conflict, e.g., a boxing ring.


Idle chatter or gossip.

Arrant [It's an arrant molly-coddle]



An effeminate person (115).