coquette \koh-KET\ (noun) - A woman who habitually trifles with the affections of men; a flirt.
"Lola was an energetic woman, always singing and dancing, a coquette whose flirtatiousness infuriated my brother."
Coquette is the feminine form of French coquet, "flirtatious man," diminutive of coq, "rooster, cock." The adjective form is ...Read more
irrefragable \ih-REF-ruh-guh-buhl\ (adjective) - Impossible to refute; incontestable; undeniable; as, an irrefragable argument; irrefragable evidence.
"Juan had the most irrefragable evidence of the absolute truth and soundness of the principle upon which his invention was based."
Irrefragable derives from Late Latin irrefragabilis, from Latin...Read more
atelier \at-l-YAY\ (noun) - A workshop; a studio.
"Philip's atelier was the headquarters of a lively little cottage industry in the creation of costume uniforms."
Atelier comes from French, from Old French astelier, "carpenter's shop," from astele, "splinter," from Late Latin astella, alteration of Latin astula, itself an alteration of assula,...Read more
rapport \ra-POR; ruh-\ (noun) - A relation, especially one characterized by sympathetic understanding, emotional affinity, or mutual trust.
"While the new guidance counselor felt that he had a good rapport with the students, in reality they thought him a clueless stiff."
Rapport comes from French, from Old French, from raporter, "to bring back...Read more
manse \MAN(T)S\ (noun) - 1 : A large and imposing residence. 2 : The residence of a clergyman (especially a Presbyterian clergyman).
"That Carmela was a certified divorcee was one of many facts about her which failed to fit, along with her still living with her adopted daughter in her eerie gothic Victorian manse."
Manse comes from Medieval ...Read more
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 ...Read more
cormorant \KOR-mur-unt; -muh-rant\ (noun) - 1 : Any species of Phalacrocorax, a genus of sea birds having a sac under the beak; the shag. Cormorants devour fish voraciously, and have become the emblem of gluttony. They are generally black, and hence are called sea ravens, and coalgeese. 2 : A gluttonous, greedy, or rapacious person.
inveigle \in-VAY-guhl; -VEE-\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To persuade by ingenuity or flattery; to entice. 2 : To obtain by ingenuity or flattery.
"Once a soft touch for those who inveigled her into sparing them her change, Jhenna began to cross the road, begging for some change in her circumstances."
Inveigle comes from Anglo-French enveogler, ...Read more
schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\ (noun) - A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.
"That the report of Franklin's grave illness might also have been tinged with Schadenfreude appears not to have crossed Albert's mind."
Schadenfreude comes from the German, from Schaden, "damage" + Freude, "joy." It is often capitalized, ...Read more
monomania \mon-uh-MAY-nee-uh; -nyuh\ (noun) - 1 : Pathological obsession with a single subject or idea. 2 : Excessive concentration of interest upon one particular subject or idea.
"Jenn's monomania regarding the popular television program was such that all other activities, including work, were shoved aside once the new season began."
ribald \RIB-uhld; RY-bawld\ (adjective) - Characterized by or given to vulgar humor; coarse.
(noun) - A ribald person; a lewd fellow.
"The play's most memorable character delights you with his own delight in his silly, ribald jokes (most of which are unprintable here)."
Ribald derives from Old French ribaud, from riber, "to be wanton," from ...Read more
bootless \BOOT-lis\ (adjective) - Unavailing; useless; without advantage or benefit.
"I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide."
-- Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III
Bootless is from Old English bot, "advantage, profit" + -less, from Old English from leas, "without."
rebarbative \ree-BAR-buh-tiv\ (adjective) - Serving or tending to irritate or repel.
"Over the several hours of the party a lot of rebarbative, ulcerated and embittered people had been working hard at bedding their resentments down in sensory-deprivation tanks full of alcohol."
Rebarbative comes from French rebarbatif, "stern, surly, grim, ...Read more
afflatus \uh-FLAY-tuhs\ (noun) - A divine imparting of knowledge; inspiration.
"The miraculous spring that nourished the poet's afflatus seems out of reach of today's writers, whose desperate yearning for inspiration only indicates the coming of an 'age of exhaustion.'"
Afflatus is from Latin afflatus, past participle of afflare, "to blow at ...Read more
espy \ih-SPY\ (transitive verb) - To catch sight of; to perceive with the eyes; to discover, as a distant object partly concealed, or not obvious to notice; to see at a glance; to discern unexpectedly; to spy; as, to espy land; to espy a man in a crowd.
"The seamen espied a rock within half a cable's length of the ship."
Espy is from Old ...Read more
gimcrack \JIM-krak\ (noun) - 1 : A showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw.
(adjective) - 1 : Tastelessly showy; cheap; gaudy.
"There was something cheap and sentimental about the device the writer used to get his characters together and it seemed aesthetically gimcrack."
The origin of gimcrack is uncertain. It is perhaps an ...Read more
propinquity \pruh-PING-kwih-tee\ (noun) - 1 : Nearness in place; proximity. 2 : Nearness in time. 3 : Nearness of relation; kinship.
"Janice was stunned by the propinquity of her best friend winning the lottery, having never previously even had an acquaintance who'd won so much as a sweepstakes."
Propinquity derives from Latin propinquitas, ...Read more
parsimony \PAHR-suh-moe-nee\ (noun) - Closeness or sparingness in the expenditure of money; -- generally in a bad sense; excessive frugality.
"While Jenny never spent more than was necessary on anything, her economy wasn't so much a sign of parsimony but an almost instinctive sense of measure."
Parsimony comes from Latin from Latin parsimonia,...Read more
mendacious \men-DAY-shuhs\ (adjective) - 1 : Given to deception or falsehood; lying; untruthful; as, a mendacious person. 2 : False; untrue; as, a mendacious statement.
"While Jason's writings, speeches, and decisions supplied crucial evidence they also contained mendacious elements, gaps, and camouflage."
Mendacious is from Latin mendax, ...Read more
Call it political names-manship.
Commentators have been whacking away at Donald Trump's last name as if it were a big, fat pinata, and they've gleefully relished the nefarious meanings spilling out: to "trump up" means to fabricate; "trumpery" refers to worthless junk; "trump" may be a source of "strumpet"; and, in British slang, "to trump" ...Read more