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Old buffer redux

A few clarifications, following up on yesterday's poll.

"Lord X was an old buffer."

This is an ambiguous statement.
The author clearly means Lord X was a clownish or mocked old man.
The author clearly means Lord X was an old petty officer.
Other, to be explained in a comment.

What is the difference between an old duffer and an old buffer, with respect to human beings? (the_alchemist asked, I'd love to know too.)

Also on the subject of language recently: C wasn't familiar with the phrase "to phone in a performance". major_clanger assures me it's an Americanism.

I'd never encountered "the subject in hand" before, only "the subject at hand"; yet, from online discussions, the former is apparently much more widespread and more multinational than the latter.


Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
Also, if there is a recorded example of a peer of the realm who was also a petty officer in the navy I'd be curious to know when, where and how. At least after about 1830. I can just see a very young peer being rated Midshipman or Master's Mate before that date.