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Ring

If a lady or gentleman is willing to marry, but not engaged, a ring should be worn on the index finger of the left hand; if engaged, on the second finger; if married, on the third finger; but if either has no desire to marry, on the little finger. (Mme, C. de la Tour.)

A ring
worn on the forefinger indicates a haughty, bold, and overbearing spirit; on the long finger, prudence, dignity, and discretion; on the marriage finger, love and affection; on the little finger, a masterful spirit.

Ring given in marriage,
because it was anciently used as a seal, by which orders were signed (Gen. xxxviii. 18; Esther iii. 10-12); and the delivery of a ring was a sign that the giver endowed the person who received it with all the power he himself possessed (Gen. xli. 42). The woman who had the ring could issue commands as her husband, and was in every respect his representative.

“In the Roman espousals, the man gave the woman a ring by way of pledge, and the woman put it on the third finger of her left hand, because it was believed that a nerve ran from that finger to the heart.” —Macrobius: Sat. vii. 15.

Ring

The Ring and the Book. An idyllic epic by Robert Browning, founded on a cause célèbre of Italian history (1698). Guido Franceschini, a Florentine nobleman of shattered fortune, by the advice of his brother, Cardinal Paulo, marries Pompilia, an heiress, to repair his state. Now Pompilia was only a supposititious child of Pietro, supplied by Violante for the sake of preventing certain property from going to an heir not his own. When the bride discovered the motive of the bridegroom, she revealed to him this fact, and the first trial occurs to settle the said property. The count treats his bride so brutally that she quits his roof under the protection of Caponsacchi, a young priest, and takes refuge in Rome. Guido follows the fugitives and arrests them at an inn; a trial ensues, and a separation is permitted. Pompilia pleads for a divorce, but, pending the suit, gives birth to a son at the house of her putative parents. The count, hearing thereof, murders Pietro, Violante, and Pompilia; but, being taken red-handed, is executed.

Ring

(The). The space set apart for prize-fighters, horse-racing, etc. So called because the spectators stand round in a ring.

Ring

To make a ring. To combine in order to control the price of a given article. Thus, if the chief merchants of any article (say salt, flour, or sugar) combine, they can fix the selling price, and thus secure enormous profits.

Ring

It has the true ring- has intrinsic merit; bears the mark of real talent. A metaphor taken from the custom of judging genuine money by its “ring” or sound. Ring, a circlet, is the Anglo-Saxon hring; ring, to sound a bell, etc., is the verb hring-an.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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