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Canary = quandary

Posted by ESC on June 18, 2004

In Reply to: 'long and short of it ' posted by ESC on June 18, 2004

: :
: : I need help with a couple of things:

: : i)the meaning of 'the short and the long of it'
: : ii) the meaning of 'canary'/'canaries'

: : this is the source:

: : 1) MISTRESS QUICKLY (to Falstaff)

: : Marry, this is the short and the long of it;
: : You have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis
: : wonderful. The best courtier of them all,
: : when thecourt lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary.

: : W. Shakespeare
: : (Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, scene 2)

: : thanks!

: THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT -- "In sum; the heart of the matter. If you have told it 'long' and told it 'short,' you have surely told it all. Sometimes it was reversed: 'the short and the long of it.' Robert Manning of Brunne wrote in his 'Langtoft's Chronicle' " 'To say longly or schorte, alle (that) arms bare.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

: Canaries I'm still looking for.

Looks like Meaning No. 3:

CANARY : a wine brought from the Canary Islands.

CANARY : lively Spanish dance.

CANARY : mistaken for "quandary" by Mrs. Quickly in Wiv. 2.2.61.


FYI -- I found another good site while looking. Cliff Notes Shakespeare glossary at