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What does "jack-fool of a brother Ambrose" mean?

Example below

It is true also that I did lay my hands upon this jack-fool of a brother Ambrose, though, as you can see, I did him little scathe.
(The White Company, Arthur Conan Doyle)

My research:

scathe : (noun) The act of damaging something or someone.

Jack-fool: (noun) A fool

Ambrose : immortal

  • It's important to explain where you found the sentence. It's important to the meaning that we understand this is happening in an Abbey and Ambrose is a "brother" in the sense of being a monk, and not a sibling. – ColleenV parted ways Sep 14 '18 at 10:09
  • It was from Word-Of-The-Day email and word was "scathe" – SunMan Sep 15 '18 at 6:25
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The context of the story (How the black sheep came forth from the fold by Arthur Conan Doyle') helps here.

Firstly, the conversation is happening between a novice (new) monk and his abbot (the monk in charge). Monks are called 'brothers' so 'Brother Ambrose' is the name of another monk.

Jack-fool is an old expression for a fool.

The monk talking is in trouble for attacking Brother Ambrose because all the food and drink was gone when he returned from working in the fields.

He is admitting to hitting the other monk but says he didn't harm him much (did him little scathe).

'Jack fool of a brother' is similar to saying 'A giant of a man' grammatically.

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It means:

It is true also that I did lay my hands upon this jack-fool of a brother (of mine, whose name is) Ambrose, though, as you can see, I did him little scathe.

Or basically:

I hit my fool of a brother, named Ambrose, though I harmed him very little.

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