Sunday, 17 June 2012

Entry: eminence grise (n.)

In context: "Pemulis's chairlegs shriek and make red-skin peanuts spill out in a kind of cornucopic cone-shape and he's up in his capacity as a sort of eminence grise of Eschaton and ranging up and down just outside the theater's chain-link fencing, giving J.J. Pen the very roughest imaginable side of his tongue."

Definition: A term originally applied to Père Joseph (1577–1638), the confidential agent of Cardinal Richelieu; now extended to describe one who wields real though not titular control.

Other: I'd think chairlegs calls for, at the last, a hyphen.

The term translates as 'grey eminence'.  This from Wikipedia is helpful:  In 1612 he began those personal relations with Richelieu which have indissolubly joined in history and legend the cardinal and the original éminence grise, relations which research has not altogether made clear. He was so nicknamed for the grey friar's cloak that he wore over his habit, and because eminence is a title deferred upon cardinals.

SNOOT score: 4
Page: 333

Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia   

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