"Lions" Definition

Definitions for the word "Lions" from multiple English dictionaries.

1. slang
notabilities, either persons or sights worthy of inspection; an expression dating from the times when the royal lions at the Tower, before the existence of Zoological Gardens and travelling menageries, were a London wonder, to visit which country cousins and strangers of eminence were constantly taken. Visitors taken round at Cambridge to see the sights are, or were, called LIONS. The origin of the Tower collection was the three leopards sent by the Emperor Frederic to Henry III., as a living illustration of the royal arms of England. In the roll of John de Cravebeadell, constable of the Tower (_B. M. Top. Collections_, iii. p. 153), is a charge of 3_d._ per day “in support of the leopard of our lord the king.” Edward III., when Prince of Wales, appears to have taken great interest in the animals; and after he became king, there was not only the old leopard, but “one lion, one lioness, and two cat-lions,” says Stowe, “in the said Tower, committed to the custody of Robert, son of John Bowre.” The menagerie was only abolished in 1834; and the practice was to allow any person to enter gratis who brought with him a little dog to be thrown to the lions!—_Dr. Doran’s Princes of Wales._
Source: The Slang Dictionary, 1864

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