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119 Cards in this Set

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: 1. Shooting out or up; projecting.
2. Forcing itself on the attention; prominent; conspicuous; noticeable.
3. Leaping; springing; jumping.

1. An outwardly projecting part of a fortification, trench system, or line of defense.
2. A projecting angle or part.
Latin salire, to leap. Other words deriving from salire are sally, to leap forth or rush out suddenly; and perhaps salmon, the "leaping" fish.
: 1. Apparently right; superficially fair, just, or correct, but not so in reality; as, "specious reasoning; a specious argument."
2. Deceptively pleasing or attractive.

None of those alleged crises really is. They all rest on specious claims about financial abstractions, on scare stories about impending bankruptcy.
-- James K. Galbraith
from Latin speciosus, from species, "appearance," from specere, "to look at."
: 1. Extending to a great length; unnecessarily long; wordy.
2. Tending to speak or write at excessive length.
from Latin prolixus, "poured forth, overflowing, extended, long," from pro-, "forward" + liquere, "to be fluid."
: to accept or consent passively or without objection -- usually used with 'in' or 'to'.
from Latin acquiescere, "to give oneself to rest, hence to find one's rest or peace (in something)," from ad, "to" + quiescere, "to rest, to be or keep quiet."
: Marked by lighthearted unconcern or indifference; carefree; nonchalant.
from the French, from in-, "not" + souciant, "caring," present participle of soucier, "to trouble," from Latin sollicitare, "to disturb," from sollicitus, "anxious." The noun form is insouciance.
\\SUR-sees; sur-SEES\\
: Cessation; stop; end.

Listening to academics going on about desire is a profound anti-aphrodisiac treasure for those of us seeking surcease from worldly temptations.
-- Ron Rosenbaum
from Old French sursis, past participle of surseoir, "to refrain," from Latin supersedere, "to sit above, to sit out," from super, "above" + sedere, "to sit."
: Refusing to change one's ideas, behavior, etc.; stubborn; obstinate.

In fact, I'm a word nerd. I get a kick out of tossing a few odd ones intomy column, just to see if the pervicacious editors will weed them out.
-- Michael Hawley
from Latin pervicax, pervicac-, "stubborn, headstrong," from root pervic- of pervincere, "to carry ones point, maintain ones opinion," from per-, "through, thoroughly" + vincere, "to conquer, prevail against" + the suffix -ious, "characterized by, full of."
small beer
1. Weak beer.
2. Insignificant matters; something of little importance.
adj: Unimportant; trivial.

Call me a geek, but for biologists, marvels like the parasitic flatworm are on tap every day, making the reveries of Hollywood seem like small beer.
-- Jerry A. Coyne
vade mecum
\\vay-dee-MEE-kuhm; vah-dee-MAY-\\
1. A book for ready reference; a manual; a handbook.
2. A useful thing that one regularly carries about.

Roget's Thesaurus, which had come into being as a linguistic example of the Platonic ideal, became instead a vade mecum for the crossword cheat.
-- Simon Winchester
from Latin, literally meaning "go with me."
1. Tending to make or become worse.
2. Tending to disparage or belittle.
noun: 1. A belittling or disparaging word or expression.

Welfare state is now, even for the Labour party whose grand historic achievement it was, obscurely shameful. A pejorative for our times.
-- John Sutherland
from the past participle of Late Latin pejorare, "to make worse, to become worse," from Latin pejor, "worse."
verisimilitude \\ver-uh-suh-MIL-uh-tood; -tyood\\
1. The appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true.
2. Something that has the appearance of being true or real.

In an attempt to create verisimilitude, in addition to the usual vulgarities, the dialogue is full of street slang.
-- Wilborn Hampton
from Latin verisimilitudo, from verisimilis, from verus, "true" + similis, "like, resembling, similar." The adjective form is verisimilar
: Understood or known by only a few.
from Latin arcanus, "shut, closed, secret," from arca, "chest, box."
: To overwhelm by argument; to refute conclusively; to prove or show to be false.

Having settled in Rome in 1486, he proposed 900 theses and challenged any scholar to confute them, agreeing to pay his expenses.
-- David S. Katz and Richard H. Popkin
from Latin confutare, "to check the boiling of a liquid; to put down; to silence."
: The act of persuading; persuasion.

As in the 1960s, violence converged with dynamism in American life, but unlike that subsequent period of protest, the militancy of the 1930s was restrained by the long arm of an American political tradition that favored reform by moral suasion.
from Latin suasio, from suadere, "to present in a pleasing manner," hence, "to advise." It is related to suave, "gracious or agreeable in manner."
: To howl, wail, or lament loudly.
: To be inherent; to belong, as attributes or qualities.

The authority that belongs to someone as former secretary of state does not inhere in the person, but in the relation between the person and his former office.
from Latin inhaerere, from in-, "in" + haerere, "to stick, to hang."
: Of or pertaining to the bank of a river or stream.

Along its serpentine course, the Charles River widens and narrows, and its riparian sounds swell to crescendos in places or relax to the low purr of a river at peace.
from the Latin, ripari-us + -an, from Latin ripa, the bank of a river.
\fan-fair-uh-NAYD; -NOD\,
1. Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.
2. Fanfare.

George Manahan made his debut this week as music director of New York City Opera, and it is difficult to imagine someone laying claim to a major podium with less of a fanfaronade.
from Spanish fanfarronada, from fanfarrón, "braggart," from Arabic farfar, "garrulous."
: Peevish; testy; irritable.

Waugh's tetchy and combative personality made him a difficult companion at arms.
from Middle English tecche, "a bad habit," from Old French tache, teche, "a spot, stain, blemish, habit, vice."
: 1. Characterized by clearness or transparency; clear; as, "a limpid stream."
2. Calm; untroubled; serene.
3. Clear in style; easily understandable.

Claire's large eyes are a limpid, liquid blue that reflect the ambient world.
from Latin limpidus, "clear."
: 1. Lacking liveliness and spirit; unanimated; spiritless; dull; as, "a vapid speech."
2. Flavorless; lacking taste or zest; flat; as, "vapid beer."

One year he was writing vapid and sentimental mediocrities, and the next he was turning out one of the best poems of our century.
Latin vapidus, "spiritless, spoiled, flat."
: \truh-DOOS; -DYOOS\, transitive verb:
To expose to contempt or shame by means of false statements or misrepresentation; to represent as blamable; to vilify.

Sir Edward rang twice to stress that he had no business relationship with the family other than his consultancy, but also to vouch for the fact that they were "splendid people" who should not be traduced.
from Latin traducere, "to lead across, to lead along, to display, to expose to ridicule," from trans-, "across, over" + ducere, "to lead."
1. A model or pattern to be copied or imitated.
2. A typical or standard specimen.
3. An ideal model or type.
4. A copy of a book or text.

What charmed me was the idea of a boy too young to understand the lecture but not too young to recognize the eminent man on the platform as his model, the exemplar of what would become his own life work.
from Latin exemplum, "example," from eximere, "to take out," from ex-, "out" + emere, "to take."
: Polished and smooth in manner; polite, refined, and elegant.

Taylor comes across as an intelligent man, suave and urbane, articulate and smooth as butter.
from Latin urbanus, "of a city," hence "refined, polished," from urbs, "city." The noun form is urbanity.
1. Characterized by fullness, clarity, strength, and smoothness of sound.
2. Pompous; bombastic.

I have been cursed to stalk the night through all eternity, he went on, his voice orotund, carrying all across the playground.
from Latin ore rotundo, "with a round mouth," hence "clear, loud," from os, oris, "the mouth" + rotundus, "round." It is related to oral.
1. Transparent; clear; not opaque.
2. Easily understandable.

The prevailing atmosphere as one cruises Kukulcan Boulevard, the busy strip where most of Cancun's 122 hotels are clustered, remains that of an Orlando or a Las Vegas dropped intact next to pellucid Caribbean waters.
from Latin pellucidus, "shining, transparent," from pellucere, "to shine through," from per-, "through" + lucere, "to shine."
: 1. Lacking in nutritive value.
2. Displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity; childish.
3. Lacking interest or significance; dull; meager; dry.

Were I to make this public now, it would be dismissed as the raving of a mind at the end of its tether, unable to distinguish fiction from reality, real life from the jejune fantasies of its youth.
from Latin jejunus, "fasting, hence hungry, hence scanty, meager, weak."
: A natural inclination; predisposition.

New York City is full of people like Mr. O'Neal -- life-long bibliophiles with a proclivity for accumulation, holed up in compact spaces in the intimate company of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of books.
from Latin proclivitas, from proclivis, "inclined," from pro-, "forward" + clivus, "a slope."
prima facie
: \PRY-muh-FAY-shee; -shuh\, adverb:
1. At first view; on the first appearance.

1. True, valid, or adequate at first sight; as it seems at first sight; ostensible.
2. Self-evident; obvious.
3. (Law) Sufficient to establish a fact or a case unless disproved.

Rather, they are the product of considerable artistry in the analysis and exposition of statistical data, giving the conclusions a prima facie credibility.
from the Latin phrase meaning "at first appearance."
: Disdainfully arrogant; haughty.

The girl has a supercilious expression, and seems to be looking down her nose at the camera.
from Latin superciliosus, from supercilium, "an eyebrow, arrogance," from super, "over" + cilium, "an eyelid."
: 1. Offensive to the taste or sensibilities.
2. Insincere or excessively lavish; especially, offensive from excess of praise.

He recorded the event in his journal: "Long evening visit from Mr. Langtree--a fulsome flatterer."
from Middle English fulsom, from full + -som, "-some."
: To have force or influence.

In our current era of politics, many factors militate against changes in policies.
from Latin militatus, past participle of militare, "to serve as a soldier," from miles, milit-, "a soldier."
: 1. Affected with vertigo; giddy; dizzy.
2. Causing or tending to cause dizziness.
3. Turning round; whirling; revolving.
4. Inclined to change quickly or frequently; inconstant.

But up close the building is impossibly steep, vertiginous, hostile.
from Latin vertigo, "a turning round, a whirling round; giddiness," from vertere, "to turn." Related words include reverse, "to turn back (re-) or around"; subvert, "to undermine" (from sub-, "under" + vertere -- at root "to turn from under, to overturn"); and versus, "against" (from versus, "turned towards," hence "facing, opposed," from the past participle of vertere).
: To stop the flowing of; to check in its course; also, to stop the flowing of blood from; as, "to stanch a wound."

Otherwise Stalin might have feared that President Harry Truman would stanch any North Korean invasion by threatening to use atomic weapons.
from Old French estancher, "to stop a liquid from flowing."
: 1. Disgrace; infamy; reproach mingled with contempt.
2. A cause or object of reproach or disgrace.

Typically academic, they disdainfully observed about many university press books--"too dry, too specialized, too self-absorbed for us." In their world, the word "academic" was as much a term of opprobrium as the word "middlebrow" was in mine.
from Latin opprobrare, "to reproach," from ob, "in the way of" + probrum, "reproach." The adjective form is opprobrious.
Lacking foresight or forethought; not foreseeing or providing for the future; negligent or thoughtless.

Elizabeth's husband . . . had been a reckless, improvident man, who left many debts behind him when he died suddenly of a consumption in September 1704.
from Latin improvidens, improvident-, from im- (for in-), "not" + providens, provident-, present participle of providere, "to see beforehand, to provide for," from pro-, "before, forward" + videre, "to see."
: Steady or sedate in character; sober; composed; regular; not wild, volatile, or fanciful.

After the founders have left or died, after the excitement has moved elsewhere along with the best employees, after the company's products and logo and image have grown synonymous with staid and predictable.
from obsolete staid, past participle of stay.
: Comfortably or conveniently spacious; roomy; as, a commodious house.

Then there are the trousers, black check or blue check, with commodious pockets.
from the Latin commodus, "conforming to measure, hence convenient or fit for a particular purpose," from com-, "with" + modus, "measure."
: Represented or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so.

The credibility of the energy-trading sector has been severely damaged by disclosures of sham transactions in energy trading, designed to build up ostensible sales and profits and therefore share prices of the trading companies.
from Medieval Latin ostensibilis, from the Latin verb ostendere, "to show," and is related to ostentatious, "showy."
: Stubbornly resistant to and defiant of authority or restraint.

If they lingered too long, Clarice hurried them along in the same annoyed way she rushed recalcitrant goats through the gate.
from Latin recalcitrare, "to kick back," from re-, "back" + calcitrare, "to strike with the heel, to kick," from calx, calc-, "the heel."
swan song
: 1. A beautiful legendary song said to be sung by a dying swan.
2. A final or farewell appearance, action, or pronouncement.
Swan song is from the belief that the swan sings as it dies.
: Knowing or anticipating the outcome of events before they happen.

Despite Carroll's unfamiliarity with military matters he had an astonishingly prescient view of how the war for independence would be fought and won.
derives (via French) from the Latin præsciens, præscient-, present participle of præscire "to know before": præ-, "before" (see pre-) + scire, "to know." It is related to science.
: Incapable of being subdued or overcome; unconquerable.

Now, late in his career, when he could no longer pull off all of the individual moves that had once set him apart, it had become increasingly obvious that what had distinguished him was his indomitable will, his refusal to let either opposing players or the passage of time affect his need to win.
from Latin indomitabilis, from in-, "not" + domitare, from domare, "to tame."
: show to be false; contradict: His trembling hands belied his calm voice. misrepresent: The newspaper belied the facts. act unworthily according to the standards of (a tradition, one's ancestry, one's faith, etc.).
4.Archaic. to lie about; slander.

—Related forms
be‧li‧er, noun

—Synonyms 1. refute, disprove, controvert, repudiate, confute, gainsay. 1, 2. See misrepresent.
—Antonyms 1. prove, verify, support.
[Origin: bef. 1000; ME belyen, OE belēogan. See be-, lie1]
1. Constant in application or attention; devoted; attentive.
2. Performed with constant diligence or attention; unremitting; persistent; as, "assiduous labor."

I can scarcely find time to write you even a Love Letter, Samuel Adams, an assiduous committeeman, wrote his wife in early 1776.
from Latin assiduus, "constantly sitting near; hence diligent, persistent," from assidere, "to attend to," from ad-, "towards, to" + sedere, "to sit."
: 1.rigorously binding or exacting; strict; severe: stringent laws.
2.compelling, constraining, or urgent: stringent necessity.
3.convincing or forcible: stringent arguments.
4.(of the money market) characterized by a shortage in money for loan or investment purposes; tight.

—Related forms
strin‧gent‧ly, adverb

—Synonyms 1. restrictive. See strict. 3. forceful, powerful, effective.
—Antonyms 1. flexible.
[Origin: 1595–1605; < L stringent- (s. of stringēns), prp. of stringere to draw tight; see -ent]
: –adverb Archaic.
(now used in derision or to express disbelief) in truth; in fact; indeed.
[Origin: bef. 900; ME forsothe, OE forsōth. See for, sooth]
: To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

Anyone who has ever spent an idle morning watching the Washington talk shows has probably wondered: how did these people become entitled to earn six-figure salaries bloviating about the week's headlines?
from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.
: 1. Anxiety or deep unease proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain.
2. A sting of conscience or a twinge of uneasiness; a qualm; a scruple.

Not only were tears one means of prayer, according to Benedict, they were the only pure form: "We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words."
from Late Latin compunctio, compunction-, "sting or pricking of conscience," from the past participle of compungere, "to prick severely," from com-, intensive prefix + pungere, "to prick."
: 1. Given to joking or jesting.
2. Characterized by joking; playful.

He had not been a jocular man, and occasionally, while she was laughing with Bob, she had caught him studying her, covertly, as if she were of some alien, and slightly frightening, species.
from Latin jocularis, from joculus, diminutive of jocus, "joke."
: Hatred; ill will; hostile or unfriendly disposition.

I learned, of course, . . . that the flames of infatuation can quickly become ashes of enmity and contempt.
from Old French enemistié, ultimately from Latin inimicus, "an enemy," from in-, "not" + amicus, "friend," from amare, "to love."
: 1.a command or directive. earnest or strongly worded request.
: Having the guardianship or charge of protecting a person or a thing; guardian; protecting; as, "tutelary goddesses."

For the first time in history, a republic welcomed, perhaps even required, the release of the individual from tutelary powers, and in particular from religious authority.
from Latin tutelaris, from tutela, protection, guardianship, from tutus, past participle of tueri, to look at, to regard, especially to look at with care or for the purpose of protection. It is related to tutor, to have the guardianship or care of; to teach; to instruct.
: 1. To raise trivial or frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason.

transitive verb:1. To raise trivial objections to.

noun:1. A trivial or frivolous objection.
from Latin cavillari, "to jeer, to quibble," from cavilla, "scoffing."
: \SUH-kuhr\, noun:
1. Aid; help; assistance; especially, assistance that relieves and delivers from difficulty, want, or distress.
2. The person or thing that brings relief.

transitive verb:
1. To help or relieve when in difficulty, want, or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; to relieve.

In Asakusa, a crowd sought succor around an old and lovely Buddhist temple, dedicated to Kannon, goddess of mercy.
from Latin succurrere, "to run under, to run or hasten to the aid or assistance of someone," from sub-, "under" + currere, "to run."
sui generis
: \soo-eye-JEN-ur-us; soo-ee-\, adjective:
Being the only example of its kind; constituting a class of its own; unique.

This man, in fact, was sui generis, a true original.
from Latin, literally meaning "of its own kind": sui, "of its own" + generis, genitive form of genus, "kind."
: \EE-jis\, noun:
1. Protection; support.
2. Sponsorship; patronage.
3. Guidance, direction, or control.
4. A shield or protective armor; -- applied in mythology to the shield of Zeus.

It is this ideal of the human under the aegis of something higher which seems to me to provide the strongest counterpressure against the fragmentation and barbarization of our world.
from the Greek aigis, the shield of Zeus, from aix, aig-, "a goat," many primitive shields being goatskin-covered
: 1. An act or instance of depriving.
2. The state of being deprived of something, especially of something required or desired; destitution; need.

The late Georges Bernanos complained that the isolated labor of writing deprived novelists of essential human contacts. This is, indeed, a bitter and painful privation, even if it is in some instances a temperamental preference of novelists.
from Latin privatio, from privatus, past participle of privare, "to strip, to deprive of," originally, "to separate from, to put aside, to exempt," from privus, "single, private."
: 1. Circuit or compass.
2. The boundaries or limits of a district or place.
3. An area in which something acts, operates, or has power or control; extent; sphere; scope.

There was little to suggest his future eminence until he came within the ambit of the Vienna Circle, the renowned group of philosopher-scientists whose mission was to replace traditional metaphysics with the clean worldview of modern science.
from Latin ambitus, "circuit," from ambire, "to go around," from amb-, "about, around" + ire, "to go."
: One who habitually frequents a place.

"Or as one jaded habitue of El Casbah observes when an unfamiliar face appears in the club: "She's new to cafe society."
from the past participle of French habituer
\PUR-uh-rayt\, intransitive verb:
1. To conclude or sum up a long discourse.
2. To speak or expound at length; to declaim.

These people don't talk, they perorate, pontificate, bombast.
from Latin perorare "to speak at length or to the end," from per-, "through, throughout," + orare, "to speak."
\brag-uh-DOH-see-oh; -shee-oh; -shoh\, noun:
1. A braggart.
2. Empty boasting.
3. A swaggering, cocky manner.
from Braggadocchio, a boastful character in Spenser's Faerie Queene.
: 1. [Archaic] To pray against, as an evil; to seek to avert by prayer.
2. To disapprove of strongly.
3. To belittle; to depreciate.

Although Stalin at times deprecated his cult, he also tolerated and perhaps covertly encouraged it.
from the past participle of Latin deprecari, "to avert by prayer, to deprecate," from de-, "from" + precari, "to pray."
: 1. To dance and skip about in play; to frolic.

1. A skipping or leaping about in frolic.

I've been told dolphins like to gambol in the waves in these waters, and that sighting them brings good luck.
earlier gambolde or gambalde, comes from Medieval French gambade, "a leaping or skipping," from Late Latin gamba, "hock (of a horse), leg," from Greek kampe, "a joint or bend."
Stubbornly resistant to and defiant of authority or restraint.

If they lingered too long, Clarice hurried them along in the same annoyed way she rushed recalcitrant goats through the gate.
from Latin recalcitrare, "to kick back," from re-, "back" + calcitrare, "to strike with the heel, to kick," from calx, calc-, "the heel."
: 1. Noisily and stubbornly defiant; unruly.
2. Noisy, clamorous, or boisterous.

He began standing up to the Orderlies, talking back, openly obstreperous.
from Latin obstrepere, "to make a noise, to clamor at or against; hence, to disturb, to interrupt by clamor," from ob-, "toward, against" + strepere, "to make a loud noise."
\CHOCH-kuh\, noun:
A trinket; a knickknack.

The rare tchotchke aside, our antiquing journeys mainly amounted to wishful foraging, in the spirit of a more roomy and prosperous someday we somehow never really articulated.
from Yiddish tshatshke, "trinket," ultimately of Slavic origin. It is also spelled tsatske.
\kuhn-SIN-uh-tee\, noun:
1. Internal harmony or fitness in the adaptation of parts to a whole or to each other.
2. Studied elegance of design or arrangement -- used chiefly of literary style.
3. An instance of concinnity.

He has what one character calls "the gifts of concinnity and concision," that deft swipe with a phrase that can be so devastating in children
from Latin concinnitas, "elegance; harmony of style," from concinnus, "well put together; pleasing, on account of harmony and proportion."
: 1. Coming from or existing on the outside.
2. Introduced from an outside source.
3. Not essential or intrinsic; foreign.
4. Not pertinent to the matter at hand; irrelevant.

I conclude with a somewhat technical description of the testing procedures and rigorous controls I used to determine what my parrot had learned and to ensure that his responses were based on his understanding of the questions and concepts and not on extraneous cues.
from Latin extraneus, "that is outside," hence "foreign, strange," from extra, "outside," from ex, "out of." The word strange is derived from the same Latin root as extraneous, but it came into English via Old French estrange (modern French étrange) rather than directly from the Latin. Stranger and estrange share the same origin.
: 1. Easily done or performed; not difficult.
2. Arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth; as, "too facile a solution for so complex a problem."
3. Ready; quick; expert; as, "he is facile in expedients"; "he wields a facile pen."

The colt supplying that evidence was Rock of Gibraltar, who recorded yet another facile victory at Group One level.
from Latin facilis, "easy."
1. Having a pale or sickly hue; pale; pallid.
2. Lacking vitality, as from weariness, illness, or unhappiness; feeble.
3. Lacking in intensity or brightness; dim or feeble.

. . .some wan heroine in a Gothic romance, keening over a faithless lover, trembling before a murderous stalker, falling into the arms of her rescuers.
from Old English wann, "gloomy, dark."
: Of or pertaining to fever; indicating fever or derived from it; feverish.

Instead of being weakened by the consumption she contracts in a dank Yankee prison, Adair seems fired from within; she glows -- flushed, febrile and passionate.
from Late Latin febrilis, from Latin febris, "fever."
1. love of or taste for fine objects of art.
2. Productions of art (especially fine antiques).
3. Artistic quality.

Divans, Persian rugs, easy chairs, books, statuary, articles of virtu and bric-a-brac are on every side, and the whole has the appearance of a place where one could dream his life away.
from Italian virtù "virtue, excellence," from Latin virtus, "excellence, worth, goodness, virtue."
1. Firmly established by long persistence; deep-rooted; of long standing.
2. Fixed in habit by long persistence; confirmed; habitual.

In Montpelier, where this prison stands, the inveterate prejudice against prisoners has been swept away.
from the past participle of Latin inveterari, "to grow old, to endure," from in- + vetus, veter-, "old." It is related to veteran, "one who is long experienced in some activity or capacity; an old soldier of long service; one who has served in the armed forces." The noun form is inveteracy or inveterateness.
: A relation, especially one characterized by sympathetic understanding, emotional affinity, or mutual trust.

He established a tremendous rapport with younger patients and routinely skipped classes and missed tests to take children to the circus or for rides in his convertible, often stopping for ice cream at Frank Monaco's drugstore on the South Side.
from French, from Old French, from raporter, "to bring back," from re-, "back, again" (from Latin) + aporter, "to bring" (from Latin apportare, from ad-, "to" + portare, "to carry").
1. Perception; understanding; knowledge.
2. The range of vision.
3. View; sight.

He was to make several important discoveries, the most significant being that infantile paralysis was caused not by germs, as cerebrospinal meningitis had been, but by a mysterious agent just then emerging into the ken of science.
from Middle English kennen, from Old English cennan, "to declare, to make known."
1. Subordinate; subsidiary.
2. Auxiliary; helping.

1. Something that is subordinate to something else.

The dining room, never used except as an ancillary larder, a cool place in which to set jellies and store meat, eggs and fish for the cat, is unchanged in essentials since I first came here in 1945.
from Latin ancillaris, from ancilla, "female servant."
\PUR-fuh-dee\, noun:
The act of violating faith or allegiance; violation of a promise or vow; faithlessness; treachery.

Having just fought a war to get rid of a king, the framers had "the perfidy of the chief magistrate" clearly in their sights when they included broad grounds for impeachment.
from Latin perfidia, from perfidus, faithless, treacherous, false, from per-, through (perhaps connoting deviation or infringement, or perhaps explicable by qui per fidem decipit, "who through faith or trust deceives") + fides, faith.
1. Suitably applied or expressed; appropriate; apt.
2. Happy; delightful; marked by good fortune.

We do this sort of thing most weekends anyway, said a lean rebel with gunpowder smudges on his face and the felicitous name of Troy Cool.
from Latin felicitas, "fertility, hence success, happiness," from felix, "fertile, successful, happy."
1. Manifesting or expressing care or concern.
2. Full of anxiety or concern; apprehensive.
3. Extremely careful; meticulous.
4. Full of desire; eager.

He does not appear to have suffered from homesickness, although the suspicion that this might have been due to the unsatisfactory nature of his 'home' life seems belied by the tone and content of his letters; he makes frequent and solicitous inquiries after not only Mabel and his mother but also his father.
from Latin sollicitus, "thoroughly or violently moved, disturbed, or agitated," hence "anxious, uneasy, worried," from sollus, "whole, entire" + citus, past participle of ciere, "to move, to stir."
1. Sideways.
2. In a cautiously indirect manner.

Atwood moves crabwise through such questions as the place of moral or ideological content in art, the conflict between artistic purity and commercial necessity, and the nature of the relationship between writer, text and reader.
: 1. (Bible) Pertaining to the Apocrypha.
2. Not canonical. Hence: Of doubtful authority or authenticity; equivocal; fictitious; spurious; false.
from Greek apokruphos, "hidden (hence, spurious)," from apokruptein, "to hide away," from apo-, "away, from" + kruptein, "to hide."
1. A snap of the finger forced suddenly from the thumb; a smart blow.
2. Something serving to rouse or excite; a stimulus.
3. A trivial addition; an embellishment.

transitive verb:
1. To strike with the nail of the finger, first placed against the ball of the thumb, and forced from that position with a sudden spring; to snap with the finger.
2. To snap; to project quickly.
3. To urge on; to provide a stimulus, by or as if by a fillip.

If any one in Mirgorod gives him a neckerchief or underclothes, he returns thanks; if any one gives him a fillip on the nose--he returns thanks then also.
Fillip is probably of imitative origin.
: To depart from or evade the truth; to speak with equivocation.

Journalism has a similar obligation, particularly with men and women suddenly transferred to places of great power, who are often led to exaggerate and prevaricate, all in the name of a supposedly greater good.
from the past participle of Latin praevaricari, "to pass in front of, or over, by straddling; to walk crookedly; to collude," from prae, "before, in front of" + varicare, "to straddle," from varicus, "straddling," from varus, "bent."
1. A speech addressed to a large public assembly.
2. A noisy or pompous speech; a rant.

transitive verb:
1. To deliver a harangue to; to address by a harangue.

intransitive verb:
1. To make a harangue; to declaim.

His emissaries, had attended the Priest's convocation of the people, and, without delaying to hear more than the main point of the harangue, hurried back with their intelligence to the rebel camp.
from Medieval French arenge, from Old Italian aringa, from aringare, "to speak in public," from aringo, "a public place for horse racing and popular assemblies," ultimately of Germanic origin.
: KOPS\, noun:
A thicket or grove of small trees.

A lit window shone from between the trees below them, then vanished again as the car dipped over a ditch and passed through a copse.
from Old French copeiz, "a thicket for cutting," from coper, couper, "to cut." It is related to coupon, at root "the part that is cut off."
1. To darken or render indistinct or dim.
2. To make obscure or difficult to understand or make sense of.
3. To confuse or bewilder.

Yet little has been written of him (he obfuscated details of his life in interviews), and his art is little recalled.
from Late Latin obfuscatus, past participle of obfuscare, "to darken," from Latin ob- + fuscare, "to darken," from fuscus, "dark." The noun form is obfuscation.
uh-GRES-tik\, adjective:
Pertaining to fields or the country; rural; rustic.

The funniest and most agrestic of all his paintings were, undoubtedly, the cows.
from agrestis, from ager, "field." It is related to agriculture.
KON-juh-reez\, noun:
A collection; an aggregation.

As the great French historian Fernand Braudel pointed out in his last major work, The Identity of France (1986), it was the railroad that made France into one nation and one culture. It had previously been a congeries of self-contained regions, held together only politically.
from Latin congeries, "a heap, a mass," from congerere, "to carry together, to bring together, to collect," from com-, "with, together" + gerere, "to carry." It is related to congest, "to overfill or overcrowd," which derives from the past participle of congerere.
pair-uh-puh-TET-ik\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to walking about or traveling from place to place; itinerant.
2. Of or pertaining to the philosophy taught by Aristotle (who gave his instructions while walking in the Lyceum at Athens), or to his followers.

1. One who walks about; a pedestrian; an itinerant.
2. A follower of Aristotle; an Aristotelian.

Nevertheless, the attachment which in later life he developed towards Charleston suggests that his peripatetic childhood had left unsatisfied his need for a permanent home.
from Greek peripatetikos, from peripatein, "to walk about," from peri-, "around, about" + patein, "to walk."
TUR-jid\, adjective:
1. Swollen, bloated, puffed up; as, "a turgid limb."
2. Swelling in style or language; bombastic, pompous; as, "a turgid style of speaking."

The famous Faulkner style was more than many could put up with. Its marathon sentences, its peculiar words used peculiarly, its turgid incoherence and its thick viscosity repelled.
from Latin turgidus, from turgere, to swell.
ab ovo
From the beginning.

The performers do not have to discover these techniques and processes ab ovo; they learn them from the previous generation, who learned them from their predecessors, and so on.
:Commonly thought or deemed; supposed; reputed.

Certainly, to have even a putative ancestor commemorated by Shakespeare is something about which to boast.
from Late Latin putativus, from Latin putare, "to cleanse, to prune, to clear up, to consider, to reckon, to think." It is related to compute, "to calculate" (from com-, intensive prefix + putare); dispute, "to contend in argument" (from dis-, "apart" + putare); and reputation, "the estimation in which one is held" (from reputatio, from the past participle of reputare, "to think over," from re-, "again" + putare).
in-EK-sur-uh-bul; in-EKS-ruh-bul\, adjective:
Not to be persuaded or moved by entreaty or prayer; firm; determined; unyielding; unchangeable; inflexible; relentless.
from Latin inexorabilis, from in-, "not" + exorabilis, "able to be entreated, placable," from exorare, "to entreat successfully, to prevail upon," from ex-, intensive prefix + orare, "to speak; to argue; to pray."
\PYOOL\, intransitive verb:
To whimper; to whine.

The first lady initially flourished as a wronged wife precisely because she endured her humiliation so stoically; she did not whine or pule or treat her pain as license to behave badly.
from French piauler, "to whine, to pule," ultimately of imitative origin.
olla podrida
\ol-uh-puh-DREE-duh; oy-uh-\, noun;
plural olla podridas /-DREE-duhz/ or ollas podridas:
1. A stew of highly seasoned meat and vegetables.
2. A mixture; a hodgepodge.

This complex, Byzantine, at times long-winded work, which spent more than 60 weeks on Spain's best sellers list, throws together mystery, romance, and crime into one big mix like an olla podrida.
from the Spanish, literally "rotten pot," from olla, "pot" (from Latin olla) + podrida, feminine of podrido, "rotten," from Latin putridus.
1. Affectedly or ostentatiously learned; pedantic.

1. A small bottle of horn or other material formerly used for holding ink.

. . .the widespread use of what were called (dismissively, by truly learned folk) "inkhorn terms."
from the name for the container formerly used (beginning in the 14th century) for holding ink, originally made from a real horn. Hence it came to refer to words that were being used by learned writers and scholars but which were unknown or rare in ordinary speech.
\ap-ruh-BAY-shuhn\, noun:
1. The act of approving; formal or official approval.
2. Praise; commendation.

The speech struck a responsive chord among many and won him much approbation.
from Latin approbatio, from approbare, "to approve or cause to be approved," from ap- (for ad-), used intensively + probare, "to make or find good," from probus, "good, excellent, fine."
1. To change into bone; to become bony.
2. To become hardened or set in a rigidly conventional pattern.

transitive verb:
1. To change into bone; to convert from a soft tissue to a hard bony tissue.
2. To harden; to mold into a rigidly conventional pattern.

It was a case of fresh, consistent dogmatism against ossified, utilitarian dogma.
from Latin os, oss-, "bone" + -fy, from Latin -ficare, akin to facere, "to make."
Uniting and blending together different systems, as of philosophy, morals, or religion.

Trinidad Carnival is a syncretic popular form, drawing on Christian tradition and pagan ritual, fused in the vortex of plantation society.
the adjective form of syncretism, from Greek synkretismos, "federation of Cretan cities," from sunkretizein, "to unite against a common enemy, in the manner of the Cretan cities," from syn-, "with, together" + Kres, Kret-, "Cretan."
Extremely observant; watchful; sharp-sighted.

Yet other eyes were on me, and Kat, my Argus-eyed defender, never failed to notice them.
One who is Argus-eyed is as observant as Argus, a hundred-eyed monster from Greek mythology.
\in-TUR-stuhs\, noun;
plural interstices \in-TUR-stuh-seez; -suhz\:
1. A space between things or parts, especially a space between things closely set; a narrow chink; a crack; a crevice; an interval.
2. An interval of time.

Out in the harbor, boats are gridlocked: who knows how they got there, or how they will get away? The filthy water is barely visible in the interstices of smokestack, hull, and sail.
from Late Latin interstitium, "a pause, an interval," from Latin intersistere, "to stand still in the middle of something," from inter, "between" + sistere, "to cause to stand."
1. Of or relating to a tailor or to tailoring.
2. Of or relating to clothing, or style or manner of dress.
3. [Anatomy] Of or relating to the sartorius muscle.

His sartorial style runs toward jeans, Hawaiian shirts and cowboy boots, and he favors the grizzled, haven't-shaven-in-days look.
from Latin sartor, "a patcher, tailor," from sartus, past participle of sarcire, "to patch, to mend."
\RIZ-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Capable of laughing; disposed to laugh.
2. Exciting or provoking laughter; worthy of laughter; laughable; amusing.
3. Relating to, connected with, or used in laughter; as, "risible muscles."

All twelve selected are thoughtful, small and funny in both senses of the word: odd and risible.
from Late Latin risibilis, from the past participle of Latin ridere, "to laugh, to laugh at." The noun form is risibility.
1. An authoritative statement; a formal pronouncement.
2. Law) A judicial opinion expressed by judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case, and are not involved in it.

I have taken to heart Francis Bacon's dictum that "truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion".
literally "a thing said," from the past participle of Latin dicere, "to say."
1. To hide, or get out of the way, in a sneaking manner; to lurk.
2. To move about in a stealthy way.
3. To avoid responsibilities and duties.

1. One who skulks.
2. A group of foxes.

When not rummaging under bushes, Mr Sculley can often be seen skulking in the woods or prowling along the shore.
from Middle English skulken, ultimately of Scandinavian origin.
\mack-uh-NAY-shuhn; mash-\, noun:
1. The act of plotting.
2. A crafty scheme; a cunning design or plot intended to accomplish some usually evil end.

He was telling me how he could have married the royal princess as a reward for his bravery in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was an infantryman in the Kaiserliche und Konigliche Austro-Hungarian army, but for the machinations of the evil Archduke somebody-or-other.
derives from Latin machinatio, "a contrivance, a cunning device, a machination," from machinari, "to contrive, to devise, especially to plot evil." It is related to machine, from Latin machina, "any artificial contrivance for performing work." To machinate is to devise a plot, or engage in plotting. One who machinates is a machinator.
\dih-BOWCH; -BOOSH\, intransitive verb:
1. To march out (as from a wood, defile, or other narrow or confined spot) into the open.
2. To emerge; to issue.

transitive verb:
1. To cause to emerge or issue; to discharge.

When the mill hands hassled Pete at the Manchester Cafe, he took off his apron, debouched from behind the counter and beat them senseless.
from French déboucher, from dé- (for de), "out of" (from Latin de) + bouche, "mouth" (from Latin bucca, "cheek, mouth"). The noun form is debouchment.
1. Of, pertaining to, or producing a direct current of electricity, especially when produced chemically.
2. Affecting or affected as if by an electric shock; startling; shocking.
3. Stimulating; energizing.

Reading the epic known to us as the Iliad is vastly different from the preliterate experience of hearing and seeing it performed. In place of the bard's galvanic flow of sound and image, the reader beholds a mute tome, the size of longish novel.
derived from Luigi Galvani, a professor of physiology at Bologna, whose experiments established the presence of bioelectric forces in animal tissue.
fait accompli
\fay-tah-kom-PLEE; fet-ah-\, noun;
plural faits accomplis \same or -PLEEZ\:
An accomplished and presumably irreversible deed or fact.

In 1991, with German reunification a fait accompli and the European Community striding toward full political and economic integration, the future had seemed extraordinarily bright.
from the French, literally meaning "accomplished fact": fait, from Latin factum, "a thing done," from factus, past participle of facere, "to make or do" + accompli, past participle of accomplir, from Latin ad- + complere, "to fill up, to complete," from com- + plere, "to fill."
Acuteness of perception or vision; sharpness.

Horses tend to shy a lot because the construction of their eyes is optimized for a near 360-degree field of view, useful for spotting danger, but the price the horse pays for that is relatively poor acuity and some out-of-focus spots that can cause objects within the field of view to suddenly sail into sharp focus.
from Latin acutus, "sharpened, pointed, acute," past participle of acuere, "to sharpen."
:Evenness of mind; calmness; composure; as, "to bear misfortunes with equanimity."

I think one person can hardly understand why another has conducted his life in such a way, how he came to commit certain actions and not others, whether he looks upon the past with mostly pleasure or equanimity or regret.
from Latin aequanimitas, "impartiality, calmness," from aequanimus, "impartial, even-tempered," from aequus, "even" + animus, "mind, soul."
:Construction or something constructed by using whatever materials happen to be available.

The Internet is a global bricolage, lashing together unthinkable complexities of miscellaneous computers with temporary lengths of phone line and fiber optic, bits of Ethernet cable and strings of code.
from the French, from bricole, "trifle; small job."
\eye-REN-ik; -REE-nik\, adjective:
Tending to promote peace; conciliatory.

With an irenic spirit they join the debate, at times ugly and vicious, about the historicity of the Bible (by which they mean the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament).
rom Greek eirenikos, from eirene, "peace."
\WAH-sul; wah-SAYL\, noun:
1. An expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to someone.
2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse.
3. The liquor used for a wassail; especially, a beverage formerly much used in England at Christmas and other festivals, made of ale (or wine) flavored with spices, sugar, toast, roasted apples, etc.

1. Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl.

transitive verb:
1. To drink to the health of; a toast.

intransitive verb:
1. To drink a wassail.

Christmas often means plum pudding, fruitcake, roast goose and wassail.
rom the Middle English expression of festive benevolence, wæs hæil!, be well!, from Old Norse ves heill, be (ves) well (heill).
1. Devoid of or unsusceptible to emotion.
2. Showing no sign of emotion or feeling; expressionless.
from Latin in-, "not" + passivus, "subject to emotion," from passus, past participle of pati, "to suffer."
1. Inclined to keep silent; reserved; uncommunicative.
2. Restrained or reserved in style.
3. Reluctant; unwilling.

His wispy eyebrows sit above eyes undimmed by more than forty years of serious scholarship; a tight-lipped smile suggests that there are many things he will not say about himself or his accomplishments. Indeed, he is almost painfully reticent about what most scholars now consider to be a monumental achievement in the field.
from the present participle of Latin reticere, "to keep silent," from re- + tacere, "to be silent."
\op-uhr-TOON; -TYOON\, adjective:
Suitable for a given purpose or occasion; timely.

There is a war on. It's not the most opportune of times to distract the president with a phony political scandal.
from Latin opportunus, from ob portum, "toward port." For travelers at sea who wish to return to land, it's a welcome wind that blows toward the port.
\muh-LAYZ; -LEZ\, noun:
1. A vague feeling of discomfort in the body, as at the onset of illness.
2. A general feeling of depression or unease.

The first sign of illness is a malaise no worse than influenza.
from the French, from Old French mal, "bad, ill" + aise, "comfort, ease."