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John1 British & World English

(1165–1216), son of Henry II, king of England 1199–1216; known as John Lackland. He lost most of his French possessions, including Normandy, to Phillip II of France. In 1209 he was excommunicated for refusing to accept Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. Forced to sign Magna Carta by his barons (1215), he ignored its provisions and civil war broke out

John2 British & World English

The name of six kings of Portugal:

John, Augustus British & World English

(1878–1961), Welsh painter; full name Augustus Edwin John. Frequent subjects of his work are the Gypsies of Wales; he was also noted for his portraits of the wealthy and famous, particularly prominent writers. He was the brother of Gwen John

John, Barry British & World English

(B.1945), Welsh rugby union player. During his international career (1966–72) he played at half back and scored a record ninety points for his country

John, Gwen British & World English

(1876–1939), Welsh painter. The sister of Augustus John, she settled in France. In 1913 she converted to Catholicism; her paintings, noted for their grey tonality, often depict nuns or girls in interior settings

John, Sir Elton British & World English

(B.1947), English pop and rock singer, pianist, and songwriter; born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; full name Sir Elton Hercules John. His many hit songs include ‘Your Song’ (1970) and ‘Nikita’ (1985). His tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, ‘Candle in the Wind’ (1997), became the highest-selling single in history

John, St British & World English

An Apostle, son of Zebedee and brother of James; known as St John the Evangelist or St John the Divine. He has traditionally been credited with the authorship of the fourth Gospel, Revelation, and three epistles of the New Testament. Feast day, 27 December

John in Barrymore British & World English

An American family of film and stage actors, notably Lionel (1878–1954), his sister Ethel (1879–1959), and their brother John (1882–1942)

John in Cabot British & World English

John (circa 1450-circa 1498); Italian name Giovanni Caboto. He sailed from Bristol in 1497 in search of Asia, but in fact landed on the mainland of North America, the first European to do so

John in Robert British & World English

Robert III (circa 1337–1406), son of Robert II, reigned 1390–1406; born John. An accident made him physically disabled, resulting in a power struggle among members of his family

John in Tradescant, John British & World English

(1570–1638), English botanist and horticulturalist. He was the earliest known collector of plants and other natural history specimens, and took part in collecting trips to western Europe, Russia, and North Africa. His son John (1608–62) added many plants to his father’s collection, which was eventually bequeathed to Elias Ashmole

St John British & World English

An island in the Caribbean, one of the three principal islands of the US Virgin Islands

Ball, John British & World English

(D.1381), English rebel. Ball was a priest who preached an egalitarian social message. He was excommunicated and imprisoned for heresy, and following the Peasants' Revolt was hanged as a traitor

Blow, John British & World English

(Circa 1649–1708), English composer and organist. The organist of Westminster Abbey 1668–79 and 1695–1708, he wrote much church music and taught Henry Purcell. His masque Venus and Adonis (circa 1682) was a forerunner of English opera

Blue John British & World English

A blue or purple banded variety of fluorite found in Derbyshire

Cage, John British & World English

(1912–92), American composer, pianist, and writer; full name John Milton Cage. He was notable for his experimental approach, which included the use of aleatory music and periods of silence

Dean, John British & World English

(1938-), US political adviser; full name John Wesley III Dean. After serving as presidential counsel to Richard Nixon, he became the chief witness in the Watergate hearings 1973–74, was convicted of conspiracy, and served four months in prison. He wrote Blind Ambition (1976)

Dee, John British & World English

(1527–1608), English alchemist, mathematician, and geographer. He was Elizabeth I’s astrologer and in later life he absorbed himself in alchemy and acquired notoriety as a sorcerer

Ford, John1 British & World English

(1586-circa 1639), English dramatist. His plays, which include 'Tis Pity She’s a Whore (1633) and The Broken Heart (1633), explore human delusion, melancholy, and horror

Ford, John2 British & World English

(1895–1973), American film director; born Sean Aloysius O’Feeney. He is chiefly known for his westerns of which many, including Stagecoach (1939) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), starred John Wayne

Foxe, John British & World English

(1516–87), English religious writer. He is famous for his Actes and Monuments popularly known as The Book of Martyrs, which appeared in England in 1563. This passionate account of the persecution of English Protestants fuelled hostility to Catholicism for generations

Gay, John British & World English

(1685–1732), English poet and dramatist. He is chiefly known for The Beggar’s Opera (1728), a low-life ballad opera combining burlesque and political satire

Huss, John British & World English

(Circa 1372–1415), Bohemian religious reformer; Czech name Jan Hus. A rector of Prague University, he supported the views of Wyclif, attacked ecclesiastical abuses, and was excommunicated in 1411. He was later tried and burnt at the stake

Jay, John British & World English

(1745–1829) US chief justice 1789–95. With James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, he was the author of the Federalist 1787–88. He served as the first chief justice of the US and was responsible for Jay’s Treaty (1794–95), which settled outstanding disputes with Britain

John III British & World English

(1624–96), king of Poland 1674–96; known as John Sobieski. In 1683 he relieved Vienna when it was besieged by the Turks, thereby becoming the hero of the Christian world

John Bull British & World English

A personification of England or the typical Englishman, represented as a stout red-faced farmer in a top hat and high boots

John Crow British & World English

West Indian term for turkey vulture.

John Doe British & World English

An anonymous party, typically the plaintiff, in a legal action

John Dory British & World English

An edible dory (fish) of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, with a black oval mark on each side

John Hop British & World English

A police officer

Key, John British & World English

(B.1961), New Zealand National Party statesman, Prime Minister since 2008; full name John Phillip Key

Knox, John British & World English

(Circa 1505–72), Scottish Protestant reformer. Knox played a central part in the establishment of the Church of Scotland within a Scottish Protestant state, and led opposition to the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots when she returned to rule in her own right in 1561

Lyly, John British & World English

(Circa 1554–1606), English prose writer and dramatist. His prose romance in two parts, Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and his England (1580), was written in an elaborate style that became known as euphuism

Muir, John British & World English

(1838–1914), Scottish-born American naturalist, a pioneer of environmental conservation. Muir was largely responsible for the establishment of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California (1890)

Nash, John British & World English

(1752–1835), English town planner and architect. He planned the layout of Regent’s Park (1811–25), Trafalgar Square (1826-circa 1835), and many other parts of London, and designed the Marble Arch

Opie, John British & World English

(1761–1807), English painter. His work includes portraits and history paintings such as The Murder of Rizzio (1787)

Ray, John British & World English

(1627–1705), English naturalist. Ray was the first to classify flowering plants into monocotyledons and dicotyledons, and he established the species as the basic taxonomic unit. His systematic scheme was not improved upon until that of Linnaeus

Wain, John British & World English

(1925–94), English writer and critic; full name John Barrington Wain. One of the Angry Young Men of the early 1950s, he was later professor of poetry at Oxford (1973-8)

Adams, John British & World English

(1735–1826), American Federalist statesman, 2nd President of the US 1797–1801; father of John Quincy Adams. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence (1776)

André, John British & World English

(1750–80), British soldier. During 1779–80, he successfully negotiated with Benedict Arnold for the betrayal of West Point to the British. Captured while returning from West Point, he was tried and hanged as a spy

Aubrey, John British & World English

(1626–97), English antiquarian and author. He is chiefly remembered for Brief Lives, a collection of biographies of eminent people

Austin, John British & World English

(1790–1859), English jurist. His work is significant for its strict delimitation of the sphere of law and its distinction from that of morality

Barth, John British & World English

(B.1930), American novelist and short-story writer noted for complex experimental novels such as The Sot-Weed Factor (1960); full name John Simmons Barth

Blair, John British & World English

(1732–1800), US Supreme Court associate justice 1789–96. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention 1787 and signed the US Constitution. He favored a strong federal government

Braine, John British & World English

(1922–86), English novelist, famous for his first novel, Room at the Top (1957), whose opportunistic hero was hailed as a representative example of an ‘angry young man’; full name John Gerard Braine

Bright, John British & World English

(1811–89), English Liberal politician and reformer. A noted orator, Bright was the leader, along with Richard Cobden, of the campaign to repeal the Corn Laws. He was also a vociferous opponent of the Crimean War (1854) and was closely identified with the 1867 Reform Act

Brown, John British & World English

(1800–59), American abolitionist. In 1859 he was executed after raiding a government arsenal at Harpers Ferry in Virginia, intending to arm black slaves and start a revolt. He became a hero of the abolitionists in the Civil War

Bruton, John British & World English

(B.1947), Irish Fine Gael statesman, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) 1994-7; full name John Gerard Bruton

Buchan, John British & World English

1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875–1940), Scottish novelist. His adventure stories feature recurring heroes such as Richard Hannay. Notable works: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)


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