in Doctor Thorne

Chapter 38 – De Courcy Precepts and De Courcy Practice

she saw at once that the fiat had gone against her

Fiat in Latin, “Let it be.”  In English, a command or decree.  Augusta is writing to Lady Amelia De Courcy, asking for Amelia’s approval of her proposed marriage to Mr. Gazebee, a lawyer.  Lady Amelia is a mentor of sorts for Augusta in situations such as these, and as such it is well within her authority to make such fiats.  Sadly for Augusta, Lady Amelia does not approve of the lawyer’s blood and means and so speaks out against such a match.  (Ironically, Lady Amelia herself ends up marrying Mr. Gazebee.)  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.



From Latin plebeius, pertaining to the plebs, the commoners of Rome.  Taken out of Classical usage it comes to mean “lacking noble birth or status, common” often with a disparaging connotation.  Augusta has tried to make Lady Amelia see her love interest, Mr. Gazebee, as at least a little above plebeian status, but has failed.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.



Referring to the noble blood of the De Courcys.  See the gloss in the commentary for Chapter 2.  [JM]