Monday, December 11, 2006
invidious \in-VID-ee-uhs\, adjective:
1. Tending to provoke envy, resentment, or ill will.
2. Likely to cause unhappiness or be unpleasant, especially because unfair
Such a difficult choice placed her in an invidious position.
ennui \on-WEE\, noun:
A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction arising from lack of interest; boredom.
George was often sick or playing hooky and suffered from ennui, a mixture of listlessness and willful melancholy.
aberrant \a-BERR-unt; AB-ur-unt\, adjective:
Markedly different from an accepted norm; Deviating from the ordinary or natural type; abnormal.
The characters are so wild and aberrant they are close to appearing lunatics.
perspicacity \pur-spuh-KAS-uh-tee\, noun:
Clearness of understanding or insight; penetration, discernment.
His perspicacious grandfather had bought the land as an investment, guessing that there might be gold underground.
She was a woman of exceptional perspicacity.
edacious \i-DAY-shus\, adjective:
Given to eating; voracious; devouring.
The children had edacious appetites after winning the baseball game.
hugger-mugger \HUH-guhr-muh-guhr\, noun:
1. A disorderly jumble; muddle; confusion.
2. Secrecy; concealment.
I followed him to that hugger-mugger cabin he had hidden in the woods and hid behind the trees.
blandishment \BLAN-dish-muhnt\, noun:
Speech or action that flatters and tends to coax, entice, or persuade; allurement -- often used in the plural.
The president’s blandishments convinced the public to trust him to take care of the war.
polymath \POL-ee-math\, noun:
A person of great or varied learning; one acquainted with various subjects of study.
She is an old-fashioned polymath, curious about all branches of human learning.
supererogatory \soo-puhr-ih-ROG-uh-tor-ee\, adjective:
1. Going beyond what is required or expected.
2. Superfluous; unnecessary.
She found some supererogatory change lying on the dresser.
Monday, November 20, 2006
1. In an initial or early stage; just begun.
2. Imperfectly formed or formulated.
She had a child's inchoate awareness of language.
circumlocution \sir-kuhm-loh-KYOO-shuhn\, noun:
The use of many words to express an idea that might be expressed by few; indirect or roundabout language.
'Economical with the truth' is a circumlocution for 'lying'.
Politicians are experts in circumlocution.
wayworn \WAY-worn\, adjective:
Wearied by traveling.
These beautiful and verdant recesses, running through and softening the rugged mountains, were cheering and refreshing to the wayworn travellers.
-- Washington Irving, Astoria
potable \POH-tuh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Fit to drink; suitable for drinking; drinkable.
noun: 1. A potable liquid; a beverage, especially an alcoholic beverage.
The park had no showers or potable drinking water
crepuscular \kri-PUS-kyuh-lur\, adjective:
1. Of, pertaining to, or resembling twilight; dim.
2. (Zoology) Appearing or active at twilight.
The artist favored the strangely crepuscular effects created by the noxious London smog during the day.
doppelganger \DOP-uhl-gang-uhr\, noun:
1. A ghostly double or counterpart of a living person.
2. Alter ego; double.
Someone said they saw me skateboarding in the parking lot. It must have been my doppelganger since I was at a movie last night. A doppelganger is an interesting idea that everyone has an identical that lives somewhere in the world and is usually an evil version of one’s self that causes all sorts of trouble.
chimerical \ky-MER-ih-kuhl; -MIR-; kih-\, adjective:
1. Merely imaginary; produced by or as if by a wildly fanciful imagination; fantastic; improbable or unrealistic.
2. Given to or indulging in unrealistic fantasies or fantastic schemes.
a mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.
Is the ideal of banishing hunger throughout the world just a chimera?
sybarite \SIB-uh-ryt\, noun:
A person devoted to luxury and pleasure.
Sybaris \sib-ur-risan ancient Greek city noted for its wealth and luxury
After I won the lottery I became an utter sybarite. Because I didn’t have to worry about money anymore I devoted my life to luxury.
gourmand \goor-MAHND; GOOR-mahnd; GOOR-mund\, noun:
1. One who eats to excess.
2. A lover of good food.
Felicity was a gourmand; anybody could win her heart by feeding her expensive food.
animadversion \an-uh-mad-VUHR-zhuhn\, noun:
1. Harsh criticism or disapproval.
2. Remarks by way of criticism and usually of censure
This animadversion pales before those of other critics.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
1. Inclined to keep silent; reserved; uncommunicative.
2. Restrained or reserved in style.
3. Reluctant; unwilling.
unwilling to speak about your thoughts or feelings:
He is very reticent about his past.
Most of the students were reticent about answering questions.
legerdemain \lej-ur-duh-MAIN\, noun:
1. Sleight of hand.
2. A display of skill, trickery, or artful deception.
The card player’s legerdemain at the blackjack table was caught on closed-circuit television.
The incensed priests...continued to raise their voices, vituperating each other in bad Latin.
-- Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
foment \foh-MENT; FOH-ment\, transitive verb:
1. To nurse to life or activity; to incite; to abet; to instigate; -- often in a bad sense.
The song was banned on the grounds that it might foment racial tension.
contumely \kon-TYOO-muh-lee; -TOO-; KON-tyoo-mee-lee; -too-; KON-tum-lee\, noun:
1. Rudeness or rough treatment arising from haughtiness and contempt; scornful insolence.
2. An instance of contemptuousness in act or speech.
The peddlers find satisfaction for all contumelies in making good bargains.
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
philomath \FIL-uh-math\, noun:
A lover of learning; a scholar.
It is precisely for the philomaths that universities ought to cater.
-- Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies
aesthete \ES-theet\, noun:
One having or affecting great sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.
The ugliness of the city would make an aesthete like you shudder.
aesthetic, US ALSO esthetic
1 relating to the enjoyment or study of beauty:
The new building has little aesthetic value/appeal.
nefarious \nuh-FAIR-ee-uhs\, adjective:
Wicked in the extreme; iniquitous.
The director of the company seems to have been involved in some nefarious practices/activities.
proclivity \pro-KLIV-uh-tee\, noun:
A natural inclination; predisposition.
the sexual proclivities of celebrities
his proclivity for shapely blondes
flout \FLOWT\, transitive verb:
1. To treat with contempt and disregard; to show contempt for.
Many motorcyclists flout the law by not wearing helmets.
The orchestra decided to flout convention/tradition, and wear their everyday clothes for the concert.
sesquipedalian \ses-kwuh-puh-DAYL-yuhn\, adjective:
1. Given to or characterized by the use of long words.
2. Long and ponderous; having many syllables.
As a sesquipedalian, she can throw a word like 'eponymous" into a sentence with no difficulty.
eponym (eponymous): the name of a person for whom something is supposedly named; "Constantine I is the eponym for Constantinople"