"'She's certainly a manxome foe,'"
Illustration for the poem 'Jabberwocky' (1871)
Public DomainIllustration for the poem 'Jabberwocky' (1871) - Credit: John Tenniel

The phrase manxome foe is taken from a nonsense poem called 'Jabberwocky'. The poem was written by Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludwidge Dodgson) and appears in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

In the poem, which tells of the slaying of a monster called the Jabberwock, the phrase appears in the following lines:

 

                                   He took his vorpal sword in hand:

                                   Long time the manxome foe he sought -

                                   So rested he by the Tumtum tree,

                                   And stood awhile in thought.

 

Click here to read the full text.

The meaning of manxome may, of course, be decided by the individual reader. However, it has been suggested that it is a portmanteau word, made from manly and buxom.

Manxome Foe is also the title of a science fiction novel by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor, which was published in 2008.