Merry-andrew

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Merry-andrew One whose business is to make sport for others; a buffoon; a zany; especially, one who attends a mountebank or quack doctor.☞ This term is said to have originated from one Andrew Borde, an English physician of the 16th century, who gained patients by facetious speeches to the multitude.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n merry-andrew One whose business it is to make sport for others by jokes and ridiculous posturing; a buffoon; a clown.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Merry-andrew one who makes sport for others: a buffoon: one who goes round with a mountebank or a quack doctor—also Merr′yman
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. merg, from the Celtic, as in Gael. and Ir. mear, merry, Gael. mir, to sport.

Usage

In literature:

In spite of the fact that it was raining at intervals, Merry-Andrew, Pantaloon and Clown persisted.
"Les Misérables Complete in Five Volumes" by Victor Hugo
Whereupon they left me, and in a little time I was told by the bluff-looking Merry-andrews I was at liberty to depart.
"Lavengro The Scholar, The Gypsy, The Priest" by George Borrow
For one of the merry cotillions before supper Prince Andrew was again her partner.
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
Attributing this to his own remarkable figure, the doctor increased their enjoyment by assuming the part of a Merry Andrew.
"Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas" by Herman Melville
At noon to the 'Change, and brought home Mr. Andrews, and there with Mr. Sheply dined and very merry, and a good dinner.
"Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1665" by Samuel Pepys
As he did so he ran against a merry-andrew who thrust a long printed sheet in his hand.
"The Valley of Decision" by Edith Wharton
What people call a Merry Andrew.
"He Knew He Was Right" by Anthony Trollope
Next I will shave my head, that they may play Merry Andrew to my Clown.
"Fiesco or, The Genoese Conspiracy A Tragedy" by Friedrich Schiller
The very street-boys would hunt me through the market-place for a merry-andrew!
"Love and Intrigue A Play" by Friedrich Schiller
Is it necessary for our comfort, that the men who do our work in stable or household should be dressed like Merry-Andrews?
"The Newcomes" by William Makepeace Thackeray
His business is jibes and jests, and this is the first time that I ever saw Merry Andrew arrested.
"Vivian Grey" by Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
But this proves to be the note of Paillasse, a merry-andrew.
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction." by Various
The merry-andrews and mountebanks of Tarrinzeau Field were aghast at Gwynplaine.
"The Man Who Laughs" by Victor Hugo
He was in a sedan-chair, accompanied by a number of merry-andrews and dwarfs.
"The Story of Versailles" by Francis Loring Payne
But how does your dignity like turning Merry Andrew, Japhet?
"Japhet, In Search Of A Father" by Frederick Marryat
Merry, Mr. Andrew, 120.
"The Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent" by S.M. Hussey
Another colonel had been a merry-andrew.
"Servia, Youngest Member of the European Family" by Andrew Archibald Paton
Plays for Merry Andrews.
"Contemporary American Literature" by John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert
Whereupon they left me, and in a little time I was told by the bluff-looking Merry Andrews I was at liberty to depart.
"Lavengro the Scholar - the Gypsy - the Priest" by George Borrow
Merriest of Merry Andrews, he is ever welcome!
"Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844" by Various
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In news:

There's a delightful mathematical moment in the movie Merry Andrew, when Danny Kaye, playing schoolmaster Andrew Larabee, breaks into song to teach the Pythagorean theorem.
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