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64 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
effluvium
n.:a vapor which smells bad; a waste
product; the gas given off by decaying material
popinjay
n.:a vain person who talks a lot
throttlebottom
n.:a useless vice president
grand guignol
n.:a type of drama that emphasizes the
macabre
spoonerism
n.:a transposition of the consonant sounds
in two words, esp. if the resulting words have some sort of comic
effect
quisling
n.:a traitor who betrays his own country by helping
an enemy who occupies his country
strappado
n.:a torture in which a
person has his hands tied behind his back and is lifted and then dropped
with all the weight on the tied hands
lickspittle
n.:a toady, sycophant
soupçon
n.:a tiny bit, a trace, a hint, a suspicion
tincture
n.:a tiny bit of something, a hint v.:to dye; to
infuse with some characteristic
septum
n.:a thin dividing wall that separates two cavities or
areas of soft tissue in an organism
fustian
n.:a thick, twilled cloth (e.g. corduroy); pompous
speech or writing; adj.:made of such cloth; pompous
meliorism
n.:a theory that holds the world can be
improved with well-directed human action.
occam's razor
n.:a theory in science and philosophy
that when presented with two or more theories, the simplest should be
considered the best, and that any new, unknown phenomenon can only be
understood through that which is already understood
solipsism
n.:a theory in philosophy
that only the self can be known to exist; extreme focus on the self as
opposed to relationships with others
proclivity
n.:a tendency or inclination,
predisposition
donnybrook
n.:a tempestuous brawl
deconstruction
n.:a system of literary criticism
in which a work of art is examined to extract hidden meanings that may
not have been the author's intention
toady
n.:a sycophant, one who flatters someone for his own
purposes v.:to fawn or act in a servile manner
tumescence
n.:a swelling; swelling fullness
gamin
n.:a street urchin
dither
n.:a state of nervous indecisiveness; v.:to act with
confusion or indecision
lassitude
n.:a state of lethargy, weariness or
listlessness
desuetude
n.:a state of being unused or abandoned
picayune
n.:a Spanish coin worth about six
cents and used in the Southern U.S. in the nineteenth century;
something of the least value adj.:paltry, trivial; petty
dingle
n.:a small, wooded valley
bodkin
n.:a small, but sharply pointed tool for making holes
in leather or fabric; a long hairpin. In England, bodkin is used
figuratively to describe a person squished tightly between two others.
truckle
n.:a small wheel used to make it easier to move
heavy furniture, a caster v.:to be subservient or servile
boîte
n.:a small restaurant, a joint
cockalorum
n.:a small man with a big opinion of
himself
codex
n.:a volume in manuscript, esp. an ancient one
panjandrum (pan JAN druhm)
n.:a self-important person
camorra (kuh MAWR ruh
n.:a secret Neapolitan society organized in the
1820s similar to the Mafia; any secret group
pedagogue (PED uh gahg)
n.:a schoolmaster, a teacher of children
pastiche
n.:a satirical, dramatic, literary, or musical
piece that imitates, usually deliberately, the works of others with
sardonic intent; a farrago, a hodgepodge from different sources
pasquinade (pas kwuh NAYD)
n.:a satire that ridicules a specific person,
traditionally posted in public v.:to ridicule through posting a satire
nabob (NAY bahb)
n.:a ruler in India during the Mogul Empire; a person
of great wealth or prominence
pantheon (PAN thee ahn)
n.:a Roman temple built in 27 B.C. that is
circular and meant to honor all of the gods; all the gods of a people; a
group of people who are considered major contributors to a field
cortege (KAWR tezh)
n.:a retinue; a group of attendants
patois (PA twah)
n.:a regional dialect of a language that differs from
standard speech; the language used by a particular group; jargon
fusillade (FYOO suh layd)
n.:a rapid or simultaneous discharge of many
firearms or a firing squad; by extension, a rapid outburst in quick
succession
riposte (ri POHST)
n.:a quick counterthrust given after parrying an
opponent's attack in fencing; a retaliatory action, a quick retort v.:to
make such a retaliatory action
termagant (TUHR muh guhnt)
n.:a quarrelsome woman, a shrew, a nag
ziggurat (ZIG uh rat)
n.:a pyramid constructed by the ancient Assyrians
and Babylonians
rebus (REE buhs)
n.:a puzzle in which pictures or symbols are used to
represent words
paronomasia (par uh noh MAY zyuh)
n.:a pun or punning
satrap (SAY trap)
n.:a provincial governor in ancient Persia, any
governor of a larger power; one with authority; a henchman
voir dire (vwahr dihr)
n.:a preliminary questioning process to determine
the suitability of prospective witnesses or jurors
mugwump (MUH gwuhmp)
n.:a politician who acts independently or
neutrally; one who can't make up his mind
miasma (mye AZ muh or mee AZ muh)
n.:a poisonous vapor that was supposed
to rise out of decaying material and cause malaria; any poisonous
atmosphere or influence
threnody (THREH noh dee)
n.:a poem or song of mourning, a dirge
phenomenology (fi nawm uh NAWL oh jee)
n.:a philosophical theory based
on the idea that phenomena should only be experienced subjectively
through intuition, that any attempt at rational analysis of facts can get in
the way of understanding
dasein (DAH zyen)
n.:a philosophical term for existence or being
epistemology (uh PIS tuh muh law jee)
n.:a philosophic study of the
origin, nature and methods of knowledge, esp. concerned with limits and
validity
cassandra (kuh SAN druh)
n.:a person whose predictions or prophecies go
unheeded
vassal (VA suhl)
n.:a person who in return for his obedience, took care
of the land of and received protection from a feudal lord; a slave; a
subordinate
arriviste (a ree VEEST or A ree veest)
n.:a person who has achieved a
high position through unscrupulous means; one who seeks such a position;
a social climber
cenobite (SEN uh byet)
n.:a person who belongs to a convent (also
coenobite)
groak (GROHK)
n.:a person or animal that hangs around watching hopefully
for some food
absinthe (AB sinth or AB suhnth)
n.:a perennial herb called Wormwood
(Artemisia absinthium) found in Europe; a green liquor, with a high
percentage of alcohol
penumbra (pi NUHM bruh)
n.:a partially shaded area in an eclipse
(usually) between full sun and full shade; an area where something exists in
an uncertain degree, fringe
amicus curiae
n.:a non-involved participant in a court case
recusant
n.:a non-conformist; used in English history to
refer to a Catholic who would not worship in the Church of England
adj.:refusing to conform or submit to authority; refusing to attend the
Church of England
borborygmus (bawr buh RIG muhs)
n.:a noise made by one's stomach when
gas moves through the intestine