Learn English With Words From A Farewell to Arms


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.

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.


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