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50 Cards in this Set

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gordian (GOR-dee-uhn) adjective
Highly intricate; extremely difficult to solve.

[In Greek mythology, King Gordius of Phrygia tied a knot that defied all who tried to untie it. An oracle prophesied that one who would undo this Gordian knot would rule Asia. Alexander the Great simply cut it with his sword. Hence "to cut the Gordian knot" means to solve a difficult problem by a simple, bold, and effective action.]
Allusion
mammon (MAM-uhn) noun
1. Wealth; money.

2. The personification of wealth and of inordinate desire for it; the material wealth considered having an evil influence.

[From Middle English, from Late Latin mammona, from Greek mammonas, from Aramaic mamona (riches). Mammon was personified as a false god in the New Testament.]
From Aramaic
Allusion
gorgonize or gorgonise (GOR-guh-nyz) verb tr.
To paralyze, petrify, or hypnotize.

[After Gorgon, any of the three monstrous sisters Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa in Greek mythology, who had snakes for hair. They turned into stone anyone who looked into their eyes.]
Eponym
cain (kayn) noun
A murderer.

[After Cain, a Biblical character, the first son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel out of jealousy.]
Eponym
To raise Cain
1. To become angry; to reprimand someone angrily.

2. To behave in a boisterous manner; to create a commotion.

[After Cain, a Biblical character, the first son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel out of jealousy.]
Eponym
phoenix (FEE-niks) noun
1. A person or thing of unparalleled beauty or excellence.

2. A person or thing that has regenerated or rejuvenated after a great misfortune.

[After a fabulous bird of great beauty in Egyptian mythology. It lived to 500 years and burned itself on a funeral pyre to be born again from the ashes.]
delitescent (del-i-TES-uhnt) adjective
Hidden; latent.

[From Latin delitescent-, stem of delitescens, present participle of delitescere (to hide away).]
From Latin
comedogenic (kom-i-do-JEN-ik) adjective
Causing or aggravating acne.

[From New Latin comedo, from Latin comed (glutton, from the worm-shaped pasty mass that can be squeezed from the hair follicles; from the name formerly given to worms which feed on the body), from comedere (to eat up),
from com- + edere (to eat) + -genic (producing), from Greek -gens (born).]
From Latin
provender (PROV-uhn-duhr) noun
1. Dry food used as livestock feed.

2. Food or provisions.

[From Middle English provendre, from Old French, alteration of provende, from Medieval Latin provenda, alteration of praebenda.]
From Latin
bindlestiff (BIN-dl-stif) noun
A hobo who carries a bundle of bedding and other possessions.

[From English bindle (bundle) + stiff (tramp).]
From English
persiflage (PUR-sih-flazh) noun
Light-hearted or flippant treatment of a subject; banter.

[From French persiflage, from persifler (to banter), from per- (thoroughly) + siffler (to whistle or hiss), from Old French, from Late Latin sifilare, an alteration of Latin sibilare (to hiss).]
From French
abigail (AB-i-gayl) noun
A lady's maid.

[After Abigail, an attendant in The Scornful Lady (1610), a play by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. She was probably named after the Biblical character Abigail the Carmelitess, who often called herself a handmaid. The name Abigail derives from Hebrew Avigayil meaning "father's joy".]
Eponym
Gresham's law (GRESH-ums law) noun
The theory that bad money drives good money out of circulation.

[Coined by economist Henry Dunning Macleod in 1858 after Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579), financier and founder of the Royal Exchange in London. Gresham, a financial adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, wrote to her "good and bad coin cannot circulate together."]
Eponym
Rubenesque (roo-buh-NESK) adjective
Full-figured; rounded; voluptuous,

[After Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) known for depiction of plump female figures in his paintings.]
Eponym
Apgar score (AP-gar skor) noun
A method of assessing a newborn's health.

[After anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) who devised it.]
Eponym
Lady Bountiful (LAY-dee BOUN-ti-ful) noun
Someone, especially a woman, known for charity and generosity.

[After Lady Bountiful, a character in the 1707 comedy Beaux' Stratagem by the playwright George Farquhar (1678-1707).]
Eponym
fustilugs (FUS-ti-lugs) noun
A fat and slovenly person.

[From Middle English fusty (smelly, moldy) + lug (to carry something heavy).]
From Middle English
rampallion (ram-PAL-yuhn) noun, also rampallian
A ruffian or scoundrel.

[Of unknown origin.]
effete (i-FEET) adjective
1. Worn out; no longer fertile or productive.

2. Weak, ineffectual.

3. Marked by decadence or self-indulgence.

4. Effeminate.

[From Latin effetus (worn out from bearing), from ex- + fetus (bearing young).]
From Latin
sudoriferous (soo-duh-RIF-uhr-rus) adjective
Sweaty or sweat producing.

[From Late Latin sudorifer, from Latin sudor sweat, from sudare (to sweat).]
From Latin
scut (skut) noun
1. A worthless, contemptible fellow. This term often appears in the form "scut work".

2. A short erect tail, especially of a hare, rabbit, or deer.

[Or uncertain origin, 1. perhaps from scout.]
bravura (bruh-VYOOR-uh, -VOOR-) noun, plural bravuras, bravure
1. A musical piece or performance involving great skill and a display of flair and brilliant style.

2. A display of spirit, daring, or boldness.

[From Italian bravura (bravery), from Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros (barbarous).]
From Italian
bravura (bruh-VYOOR-uh, -VOOR-) adjective
Marked by display of flair, spirit, style, boldness, etc.

[From Italian bravura (bravery), from Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros
(barbarous).]
From Italian
crescendo (kri-SHEN-do) noun, plural crescendos, crescendi
1. A gradual increase in loudness, intensity, or force.

2. The peak or climax.

[From Italian crescendo (growing), present participle of crescere (to increase), from Latin crescere (to grow).]
From Latin
crescendo (kri-SHEN-do) adjective, adverb
With a gradual increase in loudness.

[From Italian crescendo (growing), present participle of crescere (to increase), from Latin crescere (to grow).]
From Latin
crescendo (kri-SHEN-do) verb intr.
To grow in force, loudness, intensity, etc.

[From Italian crescendo (growing), present participle of crescere (to increase), from Latin crescere (to grow).]
From Latin
gamut (GAM-uht) noun
The complete range of something.

[From Medieval Latin, contraction of gamma ut, from gamma (Greek letter), used to represent the lowest tone + ut, from the notes ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si (ut and si later do and ti). Gamma + ut contracted to gamut and the meaning expanded to denote all notes. The names of the notes are derived from the initial syllables of a Latin hymn.]
From Medieval Latin
coda (KO-duh) noun
1. The concluding passage of a piece of music added to bring it to a satisfactory close.

2. An additional section at the end of a piece of literature, serving to summarize it or to add related information.

3. Any concluding part.

[From Italian coda (tail), from Latin cauda (tail), the source of other words such as queue, coward, French queue (tail) and Spanish cola (tail).]
From Latin
finale (fi-NAL-ee) noun
The last section of a piece of music, the final scene of a drama, or the concluding part of a performance or event.

[From Italian, from Latin finalis (last), from finis (end) that's also the source of such words as final, finish, finance, define, and fine.]
From Latin
terete (tuh-REET, ter-EET) adjective
Smooth-surfaced, cylindrical, and tapering at the ends.

[From Latin teret-, stem of teres (round).]
From Latin
hodiernal (ho-di-ER-nuhl) adjective
Of or pertaining to the present day.

[From Latin hodiernus, from hodie (today).]
From Latin
oligopsony (ol-i-GOP-suh-nee) noun
The market condition where a few buyers control the market for a product.

[From Greek oligo- (few, little) + opsonia (purchase).]
From Greek
peccavi (pe-KAH-vee) noun
An admission of guilt or sin.

[From Latin peccavi (I have sinned), from peccare (to err).]
From Latin
agio (AJ-ee-o) noun
1. The charge for exchanging currency.

2. The premium or percentage when paying in a foreign currency to compensate for the exchange cost.

3. Foreign exchange business.

[From Italian agio (ease, convenience).]
From Italian
spruik (sprook) verb intr.
To make an elaborate speech, especially to attract customers.

[Of unknown origin.]
Slang
hubba-hubba (HUB-uh HUB-uh) interjection
Used to express approval, enthusiasm, or excitement. Also, akin to wolf whistle.

[Of unknown origin.]
Slang
spondulicks also spondulix (spon-DOO-liks) noun
Money; cash.

[Of unknown origin.]
Slang
shellac (shuh-LAK) verb tr.
1. To coat or treat with varnish.

2. To defeat easily or decisively.

3. To strike repeatedly; batter.

[From shell + lac (translation of French laque en ecailles: lac in thin plates).]
Slang
shellac (shuh-LAK) noun
1. Purified lac (a resinous substance secreted by the lac insect) in the form of thin sheets.

2. Varnish made by dissolving this in a solvent.

3. A '78 rpm' phonograph record made of this substance.

[From shell + lac (translation of French laque en ecailles: lac in thin plates).]
Slang
mopery (MO-puh-ree) noun
1. Violation of a trivial or imaginary law, for example, loitering, used to arrest someone when no other crime can be charged.

2. Mopish behavior: to have pouted face, be gloomy or disappointed.

[From mope, from mop, of uncertain origin.]
Slang
kleptomaniac (klep-tuh-MAY-nee-ak) noun
A person having an obsessive urge to steal, driven by emotional disturbance rather than material need.

[From Greek klepto-, from kleptes (thief) + -mania (madness).]
From Greek
dissemble (di-SEM-buhl) verb tr., intr.
To hide true feelings, motives, or the facts.

[By alteration of Middle English dissimulen, from Latin dissimulare,
from simulare, from similis (similar).]
mendacious (men-DAY-shuhs) adjective
Telling lies, especially as a habit.

[From Latin mendac-, stem of mendax (lying), from mendum (fault or defect) that also gave us amend, emend, and mendicant.]
resolute (REZ-uh-loot) adjective
Determined; firm; unwavering.

[From Middle English, from Latin resoltus, past participle of resolvere
(to resolve), from re- + solvere (to untie or loosen).]
pandemonium (pan-duh-MO-nee-uhm) noun
1. Wild uproar.

2. A place marked by disarray, noise, chaos, confusion, etc.

3. Hell.

[From Pandaemonium, the capital of hell in Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674).]
caliginous (kuh-LIJ-uh-nuhs) adjective
Dark, gloomy, obscure, misty.

[From Latin caliginosus (misty, dark).]
From Latin
quotha (KWO-thuh) interjection
Indeed.

[From quoth a, an alteration of quoth he (said he).]
cark (kark) verb tr., intr.
To worry.

[From Middle English carken (to load or burden), from Norman French carquier, from Latin carricare.]
From Middle English
cark (kark) noun
A worry or care.

[From Middle English carken (to load or burden), from Norman French carquier, from Latin carricare.]
From Middle English
crasis (KRAY-sis) noun
1. Composition; constitution; blending.

2. Contraction of two vowels into one long vowel or into a diphthong.

[From Greek krasis (mixture, blend), from kerannynai (to mix).]
From Greek