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A Modest Proposal | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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A Modest Proposal | Glossary


cottagers: (n) agricultural workers who live in cottages

dam: (n) female parent of an animal, especially a domestic animal

Formosa: (n) former name for Taiwan

gibbet: (n) another name for a gallows, where people are hung or executed

Laplanders: (n) inhabitants of Lapland, an area crossing Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula in Russia

Lent: (n) the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. This is a key period in the Catholic Church calendar.

mandarins: (n) high-ranking members of Chinese society

papist: (n) a disparaging term for members of Roman Catholic faith, referencing their spiritual leader, the pope

Pretender: (n) a nickname (in full, the Old Pretender) for James Francis Edward Stuart (1688–1766), the son of King James II, the Catholic former king of England deposed by William of Orange in 1688. He was called the Old Pretender for being an unsuccessful claimant to the crowns of both England and Scotland.

projectors: (n) people who propose solutions or alternatives, such as politicians or Swift

receipts: (n) alternate spelling for recipes

Salmanaazor: (n) Swift's spelling of the name Psalmanazar, a European who ran an extended hoax in which he pretended to be from Taiwan

shambles: (n) meat markets or slaughterhouses

Topinamboo: (n) the region where the Tupinamba lived. They were an indigenous people living on the east coast of Brazil when the Portuguese arrived.

vintner: (n) someone who makes or sells wine, such as a tavern keeper

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