Study Help Full Glossary for A Farewell to Arms


abbastanza bene (Italian) rather well.

Abruzzi a region of central Italy, on the Adriatic Sea.

Abyssinia former name for Ethiopia.

"Africana" song title.

Alpini (Italian) Alpine troops.

"Alto piano . . . but no piano" (Italian) "Upland plain . . . but no plain."

Amalfi a town in south Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno.

The American news was all training camps It is unclear whether this refers to spring training prior to the baseball season, to the training of newly-enlisted soldiers, or to both.

Antitetanus inoculation against tetanus, an acute infectious disease, often fatal, caused by the specific toxin of a bacillus which usually enters the body through wounds: it is characterized by spasmodic contractions and rigidity of some or all of the voluntary muscles, especially of the jaw, face, and neck.

Aosta the Valle d'Aosta, a region of northwest Italy.

The apple the fruit of knowledge, offered by the serpent to Eve. When she shared the apple with Adam, they were cast out of Eden by God.

Aquila town in the Abruzzi region of Italy.

Archbishop Ireland American archbishop, apparently, with whose case Henry is unfamiliar.

armoire a large, usually ornate cupboard or clothespress.

articulation a joint between bones.

Asti a wine from the city of the same name in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy.

Babbitting metal a soft white metal of tin, lead, copper, and antimony in various proportions, used to reduce frictions as in bearings.

Bacchus the Roman god of wine and revelry; identified with the Greek Dionysus.

Bainsizza plateau a plateau in present-day Slovenia.

"A basso gli ufficiali!" (Italian) "Down with the officers!"

battery an emplacement for heavy guns, or a fortification equipped with such guns.

bawdy house a house of prostitution.

bersaglieri (Italian) riflemen.

Béziers a city in south France.

big Skoda guns a type of artillery.

Black Forest a wooded mountain region in southwest Germany.

"Blow, blow, ye western wind . . . Christ, that my love were in my arms and I in my bed again. That my love Catherine. That my sweet love Catherine down might rain. Blow her again to me." Falling asleep in the cab of the ambulance, Lieutenant Henry recites to himself a garbled version of a poem from the sixteenth century, the author of which is unknown. The best-known lines from this poem are as follows: "O Western wind, when wilt thou blow,/That the small rain down can rain?/Christ, that my love were in my arms/And I in my bed again!" Note the portentous rain imagery.

bock a dark beer traditionally drunk in the early spring.

borghese (Italian) civilian clothes.

bread pudding with hard sauce a custard dessert made with pieces of bread, raisins, or other fruit, etc., served in this case with a sweet, creamy mixture of butter, powdered sugar, and a flavoring such as vanilla extract, rum, or brandy.

Brescia commune in Lombardy, north Italy, at the foot of the Alps.

brigata (Italian) brigade.

Brigata di Pace (Italian) Peace Brigade.

Brindisi a seaport in Apulia, southeast Italy, on the Adriatic.

Bulgaria Bulgaria too became allied with the Central Powers after the start of the war.

"But at my back I always hear/Time's winged chariot hurrying near" Lieutenant Henry quotes from "To His Coy Mistress," a lyric poem by Andrew Marvell (see below). The reference to the poem itself, about a woman who is sexually unavailable, is ironic, considering all of Henry and Catherine's premarital sexual activity. But the lines themselves are consistent with the sense of doom that pervades the novel.

Cadore region in the Carnac Alps, east of Cortina D'Ampezzo.

caisson a two-wheeled wagon for transporting ammunition.

camion a motor truck or heavy dray wagon.

Campoformio Campoformido, town in northeast Italy, south of Udine.

capitano (Italian) captain.

Caporetto village in present-day Slovenia, the scene of a battle in World War I in which the Italian army was defeated by Austro-German forces (1917).

Capracotta a village in the Abruzzi region.

Capri an island near the entrance to the Bay of Naples.

capri bianca an Italian white wine.

carabinieri (Italian) military police.

carbines rifles with a short barrel, originally for use by cavalry.

Carpathians the Carpathian Mountains, a mountain system in central Europe, extending southeast from south Poland through the Czech Republic and Ukraine into northeast Romania.

Caruso (1873-1921) Enrico, world-famous Italian operatic tenor.

Castagnola a town on the shore of Lake Maggiore.

catch crabs in rowing, to fail to clear the water on the recovery stroke accidentally, thereby unbalancing the boat or impeding its movement.

the cathedral Milan's famous cathedral, designed and built in the Gothic style. It is the second-largest church in Italy, after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Chalet a type of Swiss house, built of wood with balconies and overhanging eaves.

chamois a small goat antelope of the mountains of Europe and the Caucasus, having straight horns with the tips bent backward.

Cheery oh Dr. Valentini is trying to ingratiate himself with Catherine through the use of the British expression "cheerio." Hemingway's spelling indicates that his pronunciation isn't quite idiomatic.

Chernex, Fontanivent alpine villages.

chianti a dry red wine produced in the Tuscany region of Italy.

cholera any of various intestinal diseases; specifically, an acute, severe, infectious disease (Asiatic cholera) common in Asia, caused by bacteria and characterized by profuse diarrhea, intestinal pain, and dehydration.

choucroute (French) sauerkraut.

Ciaou (Italian) Hello.

Cinzano brand-name of an aperitif.

Cividale Cividale del Friuli, town in northeast Italy between Udine and the Isonzo River.

cloistered secluded or confined as in a cloister (a monastery or convent).

cognac a French brandy distilled from wine in the area of Cognac, France.

cogwheel railway a railway for a very steep grade with traction supplied by a central cogged rail that meshes with a cogwheel on the engine.

convoy a group of vehicles traveling together for mutual protection or convenience.

Cormons town west of Gorizia, in northeast Italy.

Corriere Della Sera (Italian) Evening Courier, a newspaper.

Cortina D'Ampezzo town in the Carnac Alps, in Italy due north of Venice.

coup de main a surprise attack or movement, as in war.

the Cova restaurant in Milan.

Croat a person born or living in Croatia, a country in southeast Europe that was at one time part of Austria-Hungary.

Croyant (French) believing.

cypress an evergreen, cone-bearing tree, with dark foliage and a distinctive symmetrical form.

dago (slang) a person, often dark-skinned, of Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian descent: a term of hostility and contempt.

demi demi-blonde beer.

Dent du Jaman mountain in the Alps.

Dent du Midi mountain in the Alps.

Dio te salve, Maria (Italian) God hail you, Mary.

"Does she — ?" The dash here takes the place of a vulgar term for a sexual act. Throughout the novel, Hemingway will substitute dashes for obscene expressions. (Ironically, A Farewell to Arms was nevertheless banned in Boston because of its supposed obscenity.)

dogfish any of various small sharks. Lieutenant Henry means to be insulting.

dolce (Italian) dessert.

dressing station a temporary hospital.

dressing-gown a loose robe for wear when one is not fully clothed, as before dressing or when lounging.

dugout a shelter, as in warfare, dug in the ground or in a hillside.

eggnog a thick drink made of beaten eggs, milk, sugar, and nutmeg, often containing whiskey, rum, wine, etc.

elastic barrier modern starting-gate.

Engadine the valley of the upper Inn River, east Switzerland: site of many resorts.

Evviva l'esercito (Italian) Long live the army.

fez a brimless felt hat shaped like a truncated cone, usually red, with a flat crown from which a long, black tassel hangs: the Turkish national headdress of men in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

fiasco (Italian) flask.

Fiat radiator the nose of a car or truck made by the Italian automobile manufacturer.

five against one (slang) masturbating.

four hundred twenty a 420-millimeter mortar.

franc the basic monetary unit of Belgim, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

Franz Joseph (d. 1916) emperor of Austria (1848-1916) and king of Hungary (1867-1916).

Frederico Enrico or Enrico Federico? Bassi wants to know if the Lieutenant's name is Frederic Henry or Henry Frederic. (It is the former.)

Free Mason a member of an international secret society having as its principles brotherliness, charity, and mutual aid.

the French will hog them all The major predicts, correctly, that most of the American troops will be sent to the Western Front.

fresa, barbera wines sampled by Henry and Catherine.

frescoes a painting made with watercolors on wet plaster.

Frisco (slang) San Francisco.

Gallarate town in Lombardy region of north Italy, between Milan and Lake Maggiore.

Garibaldi Giuseppe (1807-82); Italian patriot and general: leader in the movement to unify Italy.

gasoline park a station for refueling motor vehicles.

get excited become sexually aroused.

glühwein (German) mulled wine.

Gorizia a town in present-day northeast Italy, on the Isonzo River. At the time during which the story takes place, it lay within the boundaries of Austria-Hungary.

gout a hereditary form of recurrent, acute arthritis with swelling and severe pain, resulting from a disturbance of uric acid metabolism and characterized by an excess of uric acid in the blood and deposits of uric acid salts usually in the joints of the feet and hands, especially in the big toe.

grade the degree of rise or descent of a sloping surface.

Gran Sasso D'Italia literally, "Great Stone of Italy."

granatieri (Italian) Grenadiers.

Grappa an Italian brandy distilled from the lees left after pressing grapes to make wine.

grebe a diving or swimming bird with broadly lobed toes and legs set far back on the body.

Grenadier a member of a special regiment or corps.

grummet a ring of rope or metal used to fasten the edge of a sail to its stay, hold an oar in place, etc.

guardia di finanza (Italian) customs service.

gunwale the upper edge of the side of a ship or boat.

harlot prostitute.

He is the legitimate son of President Wilson The doctor is trying to encourage special attention for Lieutenant Henry.

Helvetia Switzerland.

hernia the protrusion of all or part of an organ through a tear in the wall of the surrounding structure; especially, the protrusion of part of the intestine through the abdominal muscles; a rupture.

horse ambulance an ambulance drawn by horses.

Hotel Cavour a fancy Milanese hotel.

"Hoyle" a book of rules and instructions for indoor games, especially card games, originally compiled by Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769), English authority on card games and chess.

Hugo's English grammar an English-language textbook.

Hun term of contempt applied to German soldiers, especially in WWI.

Hundred Years War series of English-French wars (1337-1453), in which England lost all of its possessions in France except Calais (lost to France in 1558).

"I did everything. I took everything but it didn't make any difference." Catherine has tried to prevent pregnancy with various forms of contraception that would now be considered unscientific and ineffective.

"I will never forget Romulus suckling the Tiber." According to legend, Romulus, founder of Rome, was said to have been suckled by a she-wolf. The Tiber is the river on which Rome was built. This is nonsensical, drunken talk.

Il Generale Cadorna Italian general.

I'll paint all this The doctor is offering to swab Lieutenant Henry's wounds with antiseptic.

Imola town in the Emilia-Romagna region of north Italy.

in the mill-race literally, in the channel in which the current of water that drives a mill wheel runs. A colloquialism meaning past the point of no return.

infantry that branch of an army consisting of soldiers equipped and trained to fight chiefly on foot.

Intra a town on the shore of Lake Maggiore.

Isola Bella an island in Lake Maggiore, on the Italian side of the border.

Isola Madre an island in Lake Maggiore.

the Isonze the Isonzo River, in northeast Italy. At the time during which the story takes place, it lay within the boundaries of Austria-Hungary.

the jaundice colloquial reference to a disease, usually hepatitis, causing the eyeballs, the skin, and the urine to become abnormally yellowish as a result of increased amounts of bile pigments in the blood.

the King here, meaning Victor Emmanuel III (d. 1947), King of Italy (1900-46).

kirsch a colorless alcoholic drink distilled from the fermented juice of black cherries.

Kuk a mountain in present-day Slovenia.

kümmel a colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seeds, anise, cumin, etc.

Lago Maggiore Lake Maggiore, which spans the border between Italy and Switzerland, northwest of Milan.

Lake Como lake in Lombardy, north Italy.

The Lancet medical journal.

Latisana town on the Tagliamento River in northeast Italy.

Lausanne a city in west Switzerland, on Lake Geneva.

"Le Feu" by a Frenchman, Barbusse . . . "Mr. Britling Sees Through It" contemporary novels.

letto matrimoniale (Italian) literally, "marriage bed"; a double bed.

L'heure du cocktail (French) cocktail hour.

lira the basic monetary unit of Italy.

Locarno a town in south Switzerland, on Lake Maggiore. Significantly, it would be the site of a peace conference in 1925.

Lom town near the border between present-day Bulgaria and Romania.

luge a small racing sled on which one or two riders lie face up with the feet forward.

Luino, Cannero, Cannobio, Tranzano . . . Brissago . . . Monte Tamara towns and villages along the shore of Lake Maggiore.

the Lyrico Milanese theater.

M.O.B. Montreaux Oberland Bernois railway.

maggiore (Italian) major.

Magyar a member of the people constituting the main ethnic group in Hungary.

mama mia (Italian) my mother.

marc the brandy distilled from the refuse of grapes, seeds, other fruits, etc. after pressing; the French counterpart to grappa.

margaux Chateau Margaux, a French wine.

marsala a dry or sweet, amber-colored fortified wine made in western Sicily.

Marvell Andrew Marvell (1621-78), English poet.

Mattarone Italian name for the Matterhorn, a mountain in the Pennine Alps, on the Swiss-Italian border.

mechano-therapy the treatment of disease, injuries, etc. by using mechanical devices, massage, etc.

Medaglia d'argento (Italian) silver medal.

mess a group of people who regularly have their meals together.

mess tins portable metal plates, bowls, and cups, for eating on the march or on the battlefield.

Mestre a town in northeast Italy, just northwest of Venice.

Metternich Prince von (1773-1859), Austrian statesman and diplomat.

minnenwerfer (German) literally, "mine-thrower."

Modena commune in Emilia-Romagna region of north Italy.

Monfalcone town in present-day northeast Italy, between the Isonzo River and the Gulf of Trieste. At the time during which the story takes place, it lay within the boundaries of Austria-Hungary.

monkey suit (slang) a uniform.

Montreaux a town in west Switzerland, on Lake Geneva.

mufti ordinary clothes, especially worn by one who normally wears, or has long worn, a military or other uniform.

Munich a city in southeast Germany, capital of the state of Bavaria.

Mürren alpine resort.

musette a small bag of canvas or leather for toilet articles, etc., worn suspended from a shoulder strap.

The News of the World a British tabloid newspaper.

Niagara Falls a large waterfall on the Niagara River, between New York State and Canada; a traditional honeymoon destination.

Normal school a school, usually with a two-year program, for training high school graduates to be elementary schoolteachers.

observation balloons During World War I, military observers often ascended in balloons to observe the battle preparations of the enemy from aloft.

on permission on leave.

Ospedale Maggiore (Italian) Great Hospital.

Othello with his occupation gone The hero of Shakespeare's tragedy Othello commands the Venetian forces who travel to Cypress to fight the Turks. Othello's wife, Desdemona, dies near the conclusion of the play.

Ouchy town near Lausanne, in west Switzerland.

paddock an enclosure at a racetrack, where horses are saddled.

Palermo a seaport and the capital of Sicily, on the north coast.

Pallanza a town on the shore of Lake Maggiore.

Pallanza town on Lake Maggiore.

pari-mutuel a system of betting on races in which those backing the winners divide, in proportion to their wagers, the total amount bet, minus a percentage for the track operators, taxes, etc.

pas encore (French) not really.

pasta asciutta (Italian) dry pasta.

petcock a small faucet or valve.

Piacenza commune in north Italy, in Emilia-Romagna, on the Po River.

pidgin a mixed language, or jargon, incorporating the vocabulary of one or more languages with a very simplified form of the grammatical system of one of these and not used as the main language of any of its speakers.

piste (Italian) tracks or trails.

plat du jour (French) special of the day.

Plava town on the Isonzo River, in present-day Slovenia.

pontoon bridge a temporary bridge supported by flat-bottom boats, or some other floating objects, such as hollow cylinders.

Pope Pope Benedict XV (d. 1922), pope from 1914-22.

Pordenone a town in northeast Italy, between the Piave and Tagliamento Rivers.

Porta feriti! (Italian) Take the wounded!

Porta Magenta one of the gates of the city of Milan.

Portogruaro a town in northeast Italy, just south of San Vito al Tagliamento.

purée de marron chestnuts ground or mashed until smooth.

Purissimo very pure.

puttees coverings for the lower leg, in the form of a cloth or leather gaiter, or cloth strips wound spirally.

quay a wharf, usually of concrete or stone, used for loading and unloading ships.

Rhone a river flowing from southwest Switzerland south through France into the Gulf of Lions.

riparto (Italian) division.

rivederci, a rivederla (Italian) until we meet again; goodbye: implies temporary parting.

sabre a heavy cavalry sword with a slightly curved blade. Swords were rendered largely ineffectual by the development of firearms, thus Catherine's reference is ironic.

a Saint Anthony a St. Anthony medal. St. Anthony of Padua is the Roman Catholic patron saint of miracles. He is also a patron saint of Italy.

"Saint Paul . . . was a rounder and a chaser and then when he was no longer hot he said it was no good. When he was finished he made the rules for those of us who are still hot." According the Book of Acts in the New Testament, St. Paul was originally a persecutor of Christians named Saul; he saw Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and was converted.

Saint Paul the Apostle Paul.

San Dona town on the Piave River, in Italy just east of Venice.

San Gabriele town near the present-day border between Italy and Slovenia.

San Siro a famous Milan racetrack.

San Vito San Vito al Tagliamento, a town to the west of the River Tagliamento in northeast Italy.

Savoia region in southeast France, on the borders of Italy and Switzerland: a former duchy and part of the kingdom of Sardinia: annexed by France (1860).

schutzen (German) marksmen.

screens of corn-stalk and straw matting and matting over the top used here as camouflage.

sergeant-adjutant a staff officer who serves as an administrative assistant to the commanding officer.

seventy-sevens shells fired by the Austrians.

sherry a Spanish fortified wine varying in color from light yellow to dark brown and in flavor from very dry to sweet.

sight draft a means of wiring money overseas.

Signor Tenente (Italian) Mr. Lieutenant.

signorino (Italian) young master.

smistimento (Italian) sorting or shunting place.

the snake of reason a reference to the serpent in the story of the Garden of Eden, from the Book of Genesis in the Bible.

some cylinders . . . a rubber mask attached to a tube apparatus for delivering nitrous oxide ("laughing gas").

the Somme a river in north France, site of brutal fighting between Allied and German forces during World War I.

Sorella (Italian) sister.

sotto-tenente (Italian) second lieutenant.

spaghetti course Sometimes called the primo piatto, or first course, it follows the antipasto in a traditional Italian meal and precedes the secundo piatto, or entrée.

spile a heavy stake or timber driven into the ground as a foundation or support.

Sporchissimo very dirty.

St. Estephe a type of wine.

stazione (Italian) station.

Strega an after-dinner drink.

Stresa town on Lake Maggiore.

strike the pull on the line by a fish seizing or snatching at bait.

synovial fluid the clear albuminous lubricating fluid secreted by the membranes of joint cavities, tendon sheaths, etc.

Tagliamento a river in the Venetia region of northeast Italy, to the west of Udine, that flows south to the Adriatic Sea.

tannic tasting of tannins absorbed from grape skins and seeds and from oak barrels; somewhat bitter or astringent.

tenente (Italian) lieutenant.

tenente-colonello (Italian) lieutenant-colonel.

Ternova ridge in present-day Slovenia.

There's no hole in my side a reference to Jesus Christ, wounded in the side by a Roman spear. Henry's sacrilegious joke is inspired by his blistered palms, which recall Christ's stigmata.

"They asked me if I would declare war on Turkey" Turkey became allied with the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) after the start of World War I in 1914.

three hundred fives 305-millimeter guns.

to the Crystal Palace, to the Cova, to Campari's, to Biffi's, to the galleria . . . the Gran Italia . . . the Scala Sites of interest around Milan. The galleria is the Victor Emmanuel Gallery, a glass-covered walkway lined with shops. La Scala is Milan's world-famous opera house.

"Tomorrow maybe we'll sleep in — " The dash replaces an obscenity.

Torino Italian name for Turin, commune in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, on the Po River.

Tosca title of Puccini opera.

tourniquet any device for compressing a blood vessel to stop bleeding or control the circulation of blood to some part, as a bandage twisted about a limb and released at intervals.

Treatments . . . for bending the knees, mechanical treatments, baking in a box of mirrors with violet rays, massage, and baths examples of mechano-therapy mentioned in Chapter XII.

trench a long, narrow ditch dug by soldiers for cover and concealment, with the removed earth heaped up in front. Protracted trench warfare was characteristic of World War I, especially on the Western Front, in France.

the Trentino region of north Italy.

Trieste seaport in present-day northeast Italy, on an inlet (Gulf of Trieste) of the Adriatic Sea. At the time during which the story takes place, it lay within the boundaries of Austria-Hungary.

"two other things; one is bad for my work and the other is over in half an hour or fifteen minutes." drinking and sex, presumably.

Udine a commune (that is, the smallest administrative district of local government) between the Tagliamento and Isonzo Rivers in the Venetia region of northeast Italy.

V.A.D. Volunteer Air Detachment.

V.E. soldiers troops fighting on the Italian side.

Ça va bien? (French) Are you doing well?

vermouth a sweet or dry, white fortified wine flavored with aromatic herbs, used in cocktails and as an aperitif.

Verona town in Veneto region of north Italy.

Vevey a town in west Switzerland, on Lake Geneva. Significantly, it is the setting at the start of Henry James's Daisy Miller, a story that ends with the tragic death of its heroine.

Via Manzoni a street in Milan.

Vicenza commune in north Italy.

Villa San Giovanni, Messina, Taormina various locales in Italy.

"Viva la Pace!" (Italian) "Long live peace!"

Vive la France (French) Long live France.

wallahs persons connected with a particular thing or function.

the war in Libya Libya was won by Italy from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.

"We may drink — " As before, the dash replaces an obscenity, in this case a slang reference to urine, most likely.

"We will get Nice and Savoia from the French. We will get Corsica and all the Adriatic coast-line." The major is alluding to territories held at one time or another by Italian city-states but not currently in their possession.

Wengen a winter resort.

"What are you eating meat for? . . . Don't you know it's Friday?" Traditionally, Roman Catholics refrain from eating meat on Friday.

"What if I have it. Everybody has it. The whole world's got it. First . . . it's a little pimple. Then we notice a rash between the shoulders. Then we notice nothing at all. We put our faith in mercury." A description of the symptoms and treatment of syphilis.

wistaria a twining woody vine or shrub of the pea family, with fruits that are pods and showy clusters of bluish, white, pink or purplish flowers.

woodcock a migratory European shorebird, with short legs and a long bill: it is hunted as game.

The Woolworth Building a New York skyscraper designed by Cass Gilbert and built in 1913; until 1931 it was the tallest building in the world. The Woolworth Building was known as the "cathedral of commerce," which makes Catherine's desire to go there vaguely ironic after her refusal to enter the actual cathedral in Milan.

wop (slang) an Italian or a person of Italian descent: an offensive term of hostility and contempt.

wound-stripes insignie, like the American Purple Heart, indicating that the wearer has been wounded in battle.

zabaione a frothy dessert or sauce made of eggs, sugar, and wine, typically Marsala, beaten together over boiling water.

Zona di Guerra (Italian) war zone.

Zurich capital of canton in north Switzerland, on the Lake of Zurich.