MRS GRUNDY, the name of an imaginary English character, who typifies the disciplinary control of the conventional "proprieties" of society over conduct, the tyrannical pressure of the opinion of neighbours on the acts of others. The name appears in a play of Thomas Morton, Speed the Plough (1798), in which one of the characters, Dame Ashfield, continually refers to what her neighbour Mrs Grundy will say as the criterion of respectability. Mrs Grundy is not a character in the play, but is a kind of "Mrs Harris" to Dame Ashfield.
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This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
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