15 terms

Allusions

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Terms in this set (...)

Sour Grapes
H: "The Fox and The Grapes" (a fable), a fox tries to reach some grapes dangling from a vine above him. He gave up and mutter that the grapes were probably sour anyway
D: Refers to the attitude of a person who has been disappointed or thwarted
Sold Down the River
H: 19 century America, wealthy homeowners would sell their house servants to plantation owners in the south. Thus servants were sold down the Mississippi River feeling betrayed
D: Be betrayed or misled, especially by someone trusted
Nemesis
H: Greek goddess of vengeance and retribution. She punished people for wrongdoing, especially for excessive pride
D: A person's "nemesis" is that which causes his or her downfall or the term can refer to the downfall itself
Pyrrhic Victory
H: Pyrrhus was a general in ancient Greece. After defeating the Romans in which he suffered great losses, he told those who wanted to congratulate him,"Such another victory and we are ruined"
D: One in which the winner's victory comes at such a great expense that it is scarcely better than losing
Fish in the Pan
H: Flintlock rifles had an ignition pan with gunpowder. If powder is lit, but the propelling charge was not, there was a flash in the pan, but the gun didn't fire
D: Something or someone that initially shows great promise, but soon fails to meet expectations
Scapegoat
H: Book of Leviticus, Day of Atonement, a priest would symbolically place the sins of the Israelites on a goat and send it into the wilderness, taking the sins of the people with it
D: A person who is blamed or punished for someone else's misdeeds. An entire race can become a scapegoat, such as the Jews during the Holocaust
Don Quixote/Tilting at Windmills
H: The hero in a romance, loses his wits from reading too many romances and sets off on his own knightly adventures. He attacks a group of windmills believing them to be giants
D: To be foolishly or impractically idealistic. "Tilting at the Windmills" refers to a naive attempt to be heroic
Benedict Arnold
H: Military leader during the American Revolution. Served with distinction, but later became traitorous. Needing money, he agreed to surrender a key fort to the British
D: Refers to a traitor
Delphic Oracle
H: Ancient Greece, Delphi was location of Temple of Apollo. People came with all types of questions, Apollo's priestess would deliver answers, often were difficult to interpret and riddle-like
D: A prediction or message is one that is ambiguous and difficult to interpret
Over a Barrel
H: When someone was rescued from drowning, he or she would he held over a barrel so water could drain from lungs. Person rescued was dependent on rescuers
D: When he or she is unable to act independently and must do the bidding of someone else
Shibboleth
H: Hebrew word for corn. In Old Testament, Isrealites used this as a password to prevent their enemies, who mispronounced the word "sibboleth" from infiltrating camp
D: Means a slogan or catchword used by, or associated with, a particular party, group, or sect
Doublespeak
H: 1984, George Orwell used term to refer to a type of propaganda which language is used ambiguously
D: Refers to the deliberate use of evasion or ambiguous language
Murphy's Law
H:Originating on the 1940s, as it follows: "If anything can go wrong, it will."
D: When something goes wrong and there is a sense of inevitability about it
Medusa
H: Famous of the Gorgons, three sisters in Greek mythology, who had snakes for hair and who turned anyone who looked at them to stone.
D: Refers to repulsive or terrifying woman. Also applied to extraordinary wild, unruly hair
Hoist with One's Own Petard
H: Weapon used in the medieval warfare. Filled with gunpowder, if petard exploded prematurely, person using it would be blown up
D: Refers to being caught in one's own trap or beaten at one's own game

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