What Does That Mean?

Estimated Time: 10 minutes

Mary Poppins was written in the early 20th century by a British woman named Pamela L. Travers. Throughout the book, she uses words and phrases that are a bit unusual to some of us today. Let's take a look at a few of these.

By Your Leave

By your leave means to give permission. You can read more about it below.

'Without so much as a by your leave' - the meaning and origin of this phrase

What's the meaning and origin of the phrase 'Without so much as a by your leave'?

Lay the Tables

Today we might say, "set the table." It means to put out the plates and utensils on the dining table.

Drawing Room

A drawing room is a room specifically to host guests. Learn more in the article below.

What Is a Drawing Room?

When you hear the phrase " drawing room", do you picture fancy draperies, formal sofas and fine collectibles? What distinguishes the drawing room from the other rooms of the house? When I was growing up, my best friend had a drawing room in her home.


Barley water is a concoction made of simmering barley, water and occasionally sugar, orange, and lemon. It is consumed like hot tea and was often given to children like a daily dose of vitamins.


A muffler is a scarf that is worn in cold weather.

Sigi Schmid Crew.jpg
By The original uploader was Late1 at English Wikipedia. - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Cptnono using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

A Bottle of Scent

A bottle of scent is a bottle of perfume or cologne.

Cake of Sunlight Soap

A "cake" is a bar of laundry soap.

Sunlight Laundry Bar

Sunlight Laundry Bar is suitable for delicate fabrics & stains. It even removes grease from pots, leaving a lasting, sparkling shine. Mild and gentle on skin.

Bathing Cap

A bathing cap is a cap worn while swimming. It is usually tight fitting and made of rubber.

Children. Montreal High School Kindergarten BAnQ Vieux-Montréal P48S1P08738.jpg
By Conrad Poirier - This file has been scanned and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons with the gracious permission and cooperation of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Wikimedia Canada under the Poirier Project., Public Domain, Link

Folding Camp-Bedstead

This is what we would call a cot today.

American Army Folding Bed-WWII.jpg
By Rosenman. Original uploader was ROSENMAN424 at he.wikipedia - Transferred from he.wikipedia (Original text : עצמי), Attribution, Link


Eiderdown is a duvet or quilt that is made using feathers from the Eider duck.

Did you find any other words or phrases that were new to you?

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