King's English

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Alternative forms[edit]


King's English (uncountable)

  1. (often preceded by the) Especially in England, spoken or written English which is standard, characterised by grammatical correctness, proper usage of words and expressions, and (when spoken) formal British pronunciation.
    • c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iv], page 42, column 1:
      What, Iohn Rugby, I pray thee goe to the Caſement, and ſee if you can ſee my Maſter, Maſter Docter Caius comming: if he doe (I’faith) and finde any body in the houſe; here will be an old abuſing of Gods patience, and the Kings Engliſh.
    • 1823, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 13, in The Pioneers:
      "Spake it out, man," exclaimed the landlady; "spake it out in king's English; what for should ye be talking Indian in a room full of Christian folks?"
    • 1921, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 14, in The Efficiency Expert:
      I venture to say that in a fifteen-minute conversation he would commit more horrible crimes against the king's English than even that new stable-boy of yours.
    • 2006 November 5, James Gleick, “Cyber-Neologoliferation”, in New York Times, retrieved 15 Aug. 2010:
      The O.E.D. is unlike any other dictionary. . . . It wants every word, all the lingo: idioms and euphemisms, sacred or profane, dead or alive, the King’s English or the street’s.

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