A growing assortment of words and definitions used in the Early Modern era. See the Guide for more information.
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A dandy, an exquisite of the late 18th century, who affected the fashions and tastes of continental society. The word grew fashionable from the Macaroni Club (1760), which took its name from the Italian food, then little eaten in England, hence highly esteemed by these young blades. For a somewhat different use, see circum- (circumforaneous). Horace Walpole in a letter to the Earl of Hertford (1764) spoke of: The Maccaroni Club (which is composed of all the travelled young men who wear long curls and spying glasses). The OXFORD MAGAZINE of June 1770 elaborated: There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately started up amongst us. It is called a macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion. Hence also, macaronism, macaronyish. See Macaronic.
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