E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Fenris. The wolf that scatters venom through air and water, and will swallow Odin when time shall be no more.
Sköll. The wolf that follows the sun and moon, and will swallow them ultimately. (Scandinavian mythology.)
The Wolf. So Dryden calls the Presbytery in his Hind and Panther.
Unkennelled range in thy Polonian plains,
A flercer foe the insatiate Wolf remains.
She-wolf of France. Isabella le Bel, wife of Edward II. According to a tradition, she murdered the king by burning his bowels with a hot iron, or by tearing them from his body with her own hands.
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
That tearst the bowels of thy mangled mate.
Gray: The Bard.
Between dog and wolf. In Latin, Inter canem et lupum; in French, Entre chien et loup. That is, neither daylight nor dark, the blind mans holiday Generally applied to the evening dusk.
Dark as a wolfs mouth. Pitch dark.
He has seen a wolf. Said of a person who has lost his voice. Our forefathers used to say that if a man saw a wolf before the wolf saw him he became dumb, at least for a time.
Vox quoque Mrin
Jam fugit ipsa; lupi Mrin videre priores.
Virgil: Bucolica, eclogue ix.
Our young companion has seen a wolf, said Lady Hameline, and has lost his tongue in consequence.Scott: Quentin Durward, ch. xviii.
To see a wolf is also a good sign, inasmuch as the wolf was dedicated to Odin, the giver of victory.
He put his head into the wolfs mouth. He exposed himself to needless danger. The allusion is to the fable of the crane that put its head into a wolfs mouth in order to extract a bone. The fable is usually related of a fox instead of a wolf. (French.)
Holding a wolf by the ears. So Augustus said of his situation in Rome, meaning it was equally dangerous to keep hold or to let go. Similarly, the British hold of Ireland is like that of Augustus. The French use the same locution: Tenir le loup par les oreilles.
To cry Wolf! To give a false alarm. The allusion is to the well-known fable of the shepherd lad who used to cry Wolf! merely to make fun of the neighbours, but when at last the wolf came no one would believe him.
In Chinese history it is said that Yëuwâng, of the third Imperial dynasty, was attached to a courtesan named Pao-tse, whom he tried by various expedients to make laugh. At length he hit upon the following: He caused the tocsins to be rung as if an enemy were at the gates, and Pao-tse laughed immoderately to see the people pouring into the city in alarm. The emperor, seeing the success of his trick, repeated it over and over again; but at last an enemy really did come, and when the alarm was given no one paid attention to it, and the emperor was slain. (B.C. 770.) (See AMYCLÆAN SILENCE.)
To keep the wolf from the door. To keep out hunger. We say of a ravenous person He has a wolf in his stomach, an expression common to the French and Germans. Thus manger comme un loup is to eat voraciously, and wolfs-magen is the German for a keen appetite.