king over the water
- obsolete Britisha Stuart pretender in exilePossibly used of Charles II and James II during their 17th-century absences from the throne, and certainly much in vogue after the Hanoverian kings took over after Queen Anne died in 1714:He so far compromised his loyalty, as to announce merely 'The King', as his first toast... Our guest... added, 'Over the water'. (W. Scott, 1824)Stuart supporters would normally pass their glass over a glass of water without venturing verbal amplification. Loyalty to the Stuarts, especially after 1715, also implied adherence to Roman Catholicism, which in turn involved civil disabilities if not prosecution.
How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. R. W. Holder. 2014.
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