Friday, October 28, 2016

Top Five Expressions from the Aubrey-Maturin Series

I am into the eighth book of the series, The Ionian Mission, and I am enjoying the series far more than I expected, and my hopes had been high. Accordingly, I am trying to balance how fast I read the books. One on hand I am trying to go slowly enough to really enjoy the language and the subtleties, while on the other, I am wanting to spread all canvas and fly onward to the next adventure.

One of the best things about these books are the subtle expressions that recur through the characters. For instance, one of Jack's standbys is that he often declaims "There's not a moment to lose!" And often, there isn't. The expressions are a interesting sort of blend of standard English from the early 1800s and the esoteric language of the British Navy in the age of fighting sail. Accordingly, I thought I would rank my top five favorite expressions, with the caveat that I am only slightly more than a third of the way through the entire series.

So here they are, a top five list, High Fidelity style, in order:

1. Wipe their eye for them. This means to defeat someone in a humiliating way, or to otherwise get the better of someone. I'm assuming this is because the person you've defeated has been made to cry, and they have to wipe their eyes. It's an excellent idiom, and I would try an use it in some context, except no one would have the foggiest idea what I meant.

2. I wish you the joy of… This is often repeated as a toast, or a congratulatory expression. In the Aubrey-Maturin series, naval officers are often wished "The joy of your victory, sir." from others. It's extremely malleable, and can be used in any context where you wish to congratulate someone.

3. There’s not a moment to lose! I like this expression party because it so seems to chafe Maturin who is chronically late, and has no care for the exigencies of the British Navy. 

4. The bottle stands beside you, sir. This expression is used when you're at a meal with someone, drinking, having a good time, and the bottle of alcohol needs to be passed your way. It's said in a good hearted familiar manner that men have when sharing a drink together. It's a way of expressing your desire to share a drink when there's not a moment to lose.

5. All ahoo This means that something is a disorganized mess. It's sloppy and not well put together. It could describe papers scattered chaotically over a desk, a poor outfit, or a ship that is not clean and trim.

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