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Difference

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Opheʹlia says to the queen, “You may wear your rue with a difference.” In heraldry differences or marks of cadency indicate the various branches of a family.

(1) The eldest son, during the lifetime of his father, bears a label (or lambel), i.e. a piece of silk, stuff, or linen, with three pendants, broader at the bottom than at the top.

(2) The second son bears a crescent.

(3) The third, a mullet (or star with five points).

(4) The fourth, a martlet.

(5) The fifth, an annulet.

(6) The sixth, a fleur-de-lis.

(7) The seventh, a rose.

(8) The eighth, a cross-moline.

(9) The ninth, a double quatre foil.

Ophelia says both she and the Queen are to wear rue: the one as the affianced of Hamlet, eldest son of the late king; the other as the wife of Claudius his brother, and the cadet branch. The latter was to have a “difference,” to signify it was a cadet branch. “I [says Ophelia] shall wear the rue, but you [the Queen] must now wear it with a ‘difference.ʹ”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Die
Die
Die-hards
Diego (San)
Diēs Alliensis
Diēs Iræ
Diēs Non
Diēs Sanguinis
Dietrich
Dieu
Difference
Digest (The)
Diggings
Diggory
Digit
Dignitary (A)
Dignus Vindice Nodus (Latin)
Dii Penatēs (Latin)
Dilemma
Dilettantë (Italian)
Diligence

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