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8 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
firmament \FUR-muh-muhnt\,
1. The region of the air; the sky; the heavens.

2. The field or sphere of an interest or activity

But to judge by the twinkling summer stars that filled the firmament, the dawn was still far off.
--A. B. Yehoshua, A Journey to the End of the Millennium

Studying the firmament--the night vault that sparkles with thousands of flickering lights--is older than recorded history.
--William E. Burrows, This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age

The glossy magazines have branded her a rising star, shooting up into the firmament of mega fashion stardom.
--Hadley Freeman, "If I see one more black suit, I'll want to roll over and die," The Guardian, December 14, 2001
quidnunc \KWID-nuhngk\, noun:
One who is curious to know everything that passes; one who knows or pretends to know all that is going on; a gossip; a busybody.

What a treasure-trove to these venerable quidnuncs, could they have guessed the secret which Hepzibah and Clifford were carrying along with them!
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

Some wretched intrigue which had puzzled two generations of quidnuncs.
--L. Stephen, Hours in Library
sedulous \SEJ-uh-luhs\, adjective:
1. Diligent in application or pursuit; steadily industrious.
2. Characterized by or accomplished with care and perseverance.

He did not attain this distinction by accident but by sedulous study from the cradle forward.
--Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Al Gore: A User's Manual

This writing is clearly the product of sedulous art, but it has the flame of spontaneity and the grit of independence both as to mode and spirit.
--"The Wonder and Wackiness of Man," New York Times, January 17, 1954
fop \FOP\, noun:
A man who is overly concerned with or vain about his dress and appearance; a dandy.

I wear ties because I don't have to, because in an increasingly dressed-down, homogenized world, they can set you apart. I wear ties because they nurture the inner fop. Also the outer one.
--Abbott Combes, "Secrets and Ties," New York Times Magazine, November 14, 1999

He's swaddled in a heavy black wool overcoat and his shoes are silver-buckled with cap toes, the black leather well taken care of. He's a bit of a lounge lizard, a hip-hop fop.
--Po Bronson, The Nudist on the Late Shift
sublunary \suhb-LOO-nuh-ree\, adjective:
Situated beneath the moon; hence, of or pertaining to this world; terrestrial; earthly.

In Shakespearean drama, both tragic and comic, the storms and calamities that shake the sublunary globe are reflections of turmoil in the hearts of men.
--Pico Iyer, "The Philippines Midsummer Night's Dream," Time, July 21, 1986

It's hard to deny that finding oneself in an airless wooden box six feet underground, listening to the wriggling approach of what Poe called "Conqueror Worm," would be one of the worst possible ways to end one's existence in this sublunary sphere.
--Gary Kamiya, "Buried alive!" Salon, March 7, 2001
impecunious \im-pih-KYOO-nee-uhs\, adjective:
Not having money; habitually without money; poor.

Her father, Bronson, was a respected but impecunious New England transcendentalist who had "no gift for money making," according to Alcott's journal.
--"Blood and Thunder in Concord," New York Times, September 10, 1995

He had gotten to know Garibaldi during the impecunious soldier's last years and would send him woolen socks, underwear, and money.
--Tag Gallagher, The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini
abstemious \ab-STEE-mee-uhs\, adjective:
1. Sparing in eating and drinking; temperate; abstinent.
2. Sparingly used or consumed; used with temperance or moderation.
3. Marked by or spent in abstinence.

They were healthy and abstemious; their chief pleasure was reading and Oliver was a life member of the London Library.
--Sylvia Townsend Warner, The Music at Long Verney

For a man who trafficked in excess, he was surprisingly abstemious.
--Ralph Blumenthal, Stork Club
Pronunciation: k&-'pri-sh&s, -'prE-
Function: adjective
1 : governed or characterized by impulse or whim: as a : lacking a rational basis b : likely to change suddenly
2 : not supported by the weight of evidence or established rules of law —often used in the phrase arbitrary and capricious —ca·pri·cious·ly adverb —ca·pri·cious·ness noun