The signification of this word is restrained, or extended, according to the occasions, and the person who employs it.
At least, madam, grant me… means in petto, “There is no coming to my point but by degrees. Neglecting one step may set one back twenty: this slight favour I now sue for will bring on others. My play is to disguise the danger. I petition now, that I may get into a condition of giving laws hereafter.”
A lover resembles Sinon, the introducer of the Trojan horse: he puts on the air of a captive: an humble wretch who fears death, makes a moving speech: the enemy relents, pities his complaint, unties his hands, and grants, what not? Then, if he has but a lucky impudence to assist his treachery, the town before it is aware of its danger, admits the insidious conqueror, that will surprize it, whilst all its guards are asleep.
A Dictionary of Love (1795)