A political Paul Pry, a pragmatical village politician; a political botcher or jobber. Quidnunc is the chief character in Murphy's farce of The Upholsterer, or What News? The words are Latin, and mean “What now?” “What has turned up?” The original of this political busybody was the father of Dr. Arne and his sister, Mrs. Cibber, who lived in King Street, Covent Garden. (See The Tatler, 155, etc.)
“Familiar to a few quidnuncs.” —The Times.
“The Florentine quidnuncs seem to lose sight of the fact that none of these gentlemen now hold office.” —The Times.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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