Interested in Language
I am not certain if I understand properly the phrase give oneself grand airs; does it reffer to an arrogant and haughty behaviour; or does it mean pretence?
The young man keenly felt the intended insult, and his eyes flashed dangerously.
"You old dog--you insult me thus!" he cried. "Grand airs, these, you give yourself! Virtuously indignant, old murderer, you! Don't want my money, eh? When a man comes to you himself and wants it done, you may fly into a passion and spurn his money; but let an enemy of his come and pay you, and you are only too willing. How many such jobs have you done in this miserable old hole? It is a good thing for you that the police have not run you down, and brought spade and shovel with them. Do you know what is said of you? Do you think you have kept your windows so closely shut that no sound has ever penetrated beyond them? Where do you keep your infernal implements?"
W.C.Morrow, The Monster-maker, 1897
In this instance it also includes the meaning that the surgeon is trying to take the moral high ground. The paragraph previous to this one is where the surgeon expresses his indignation at what the young man wants him to do.
The young man responds by saying in effect "How dare you try to take the moral high ground in such a haughty way, since you are already such a well established murderer!".
Last edited by Eckaslike; 03-Aug-2015 at 13:54. Reason: Adding a missing "t".
(BrE first language speaker.)