What does hiding an uneasy conscience with a judicial air mean? I've quoted it from Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.

  • 1
    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 15:40
  • judicial: of, by, or appropriate to a court or judge.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Higgins is using "a judicial air" to hide his "uneasy conscience." The broader context can be seen here; Higgins' housekeeper has scolded him for swearing and he claims that he has never used a certain word. When she stares at him he adds, "hiding an uneasy conscience with a judicial air, 'Except perhaps in a moment of extreme and justifiable excitement.'" In other words, he was uneasy because he knew he has used that word, and hid his guilty conscience by adopting an "air"—an attitude—that Shaw describes as "judicial," having to do with judges or legal pronouncement.

There is intentional irony, since Higgins is adopting a "judge-y" tone to cover the fact that he himself is guity.

  • In common parlance, a reference something like judiciously chosen examples doesn't always (maybe not even usually) imply showing good judgement in any kind of absolute sense. In my experience, judiciously chosen examples usually implies cherry-picked examples - "good" from the perspective of whoever chose those examples, because they support whatever case he's making. But other people who don't agree with the line being presented might well say those examples were deviously / misleadingly selected. I think it's that implication GBS intends. Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 16:47
  • @FumbleFingers But as Kate points out, I hastily misread; the original is judicial, not judicious. Editing... Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 17:19
  • thanks alot , but what was the certain word excatly mrs perece asked hegens not to use the word begins with the same letteras bath Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 19:35
  • @MoustafaSaad "Bastard" seems the most likely choice, given the character and setting. Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 20:39
  • @MoustafaSaad More likely "Bloody" We know Eliza uses this word because she later says "Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi”. And that line caused a scandal. Such swearing hadn't previously been heard on the London stage. Also "bastard" is an insult, and Eliza had no reason to insult anyone because the water was hot. But "bloody" is an intensifier. Eliza wouldn't call Mrs Pearce a bastard; Eliza is coarse, but not rude. Note that for the musical, "Bloody" was still too strong, and it became "blooming"
    – James K
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 23:03

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