Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small four-sided toy of the top kind, used by children in a very old game of chance. Formerly the four sides exhibited respectively the letters A, T, N, D. The toy is set spinning, and wins and losses are determined according to the letter that turns up when the tee-totum has ceased whirling: thus, A (Latin aufer, take away) indicates that the player who has last spun is entitled to take one from the stakes; D (depone, put down), a forfeiture or laying down of a stake; N (nihil, nothing), neither loss nor gain; T (totum, the whole) wins the whole of the stakes. In the modern tee-totum the D is commonly changed to P, and the reading also changed into English: thus, T (take up), P (put down), A (all), N (none).
- n. A similar toy used for spinning in the same manner, but circular or having an indefinite number of sides, and without the marks above described: used as a plaything or in different games by children.
“I took a random shot at the entire group just as it was making a masterly evolution; and a drake, evidently the general commanding, having ceased his quacking, and tumbling in tee-totum style to the water, sufficiently proved how correctly I had, for the first time, done my duty.”
“We are willing, in the spirit of that answer, to say that the Themis of Westminster Hall is the best fitted to preside over the administration of the larger, and more fertile country of beef and pudding; while she of the tee-totum”
“The town awakes; the great tee-totum is set up for its daily spin and whirl; all that unaccountable reading and writing, which has been suspended for a few hours, recommences.”
“In the same quarter a pigeon box, reared on a post, and resembling a huge tee-totum, is visible, and about its several doors and”
“I call him the tee-totum because, in fact, he was seized with the droll but not altogether irrational crotchet, that he had been converted into a tee-totum.”
“Boullard was a madman, and a very silly madman at best; for who, allow me to ask you, ever heard of a human tee-totum?”
“At the same moment, the man with the teetotum predilection, set himself to spinning around the apartment, with immense energy, and with arms outstretched at right angles with his body; so that he had all the air of a tee-totum in fact, and knocked everybody down that happened to get in his way.”
“For, tho 'like a tee-totum, I'm all in a twirl; --”
“Themis is worshipped in Westminster Hall, and that her adorers cannot be too zealous in her service; while she, whose image an ingenious artist has depicted balancing herself upon a _tee-totum_ on the southern window of the Parliament House of Edinburgh, is a mere idol, -- a Diana of Ephesus, -- whom her votaries worship, either because her shrine brings great gain to the craftsmen, or out of an ignorant and dotard superstition, which induces them to prefer the old Scottish”
“And then," said the friend who had whispered, "there was Boullard, the tee-totum.”
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