gainsay \gayn-SAY; GAYN-say\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To deny or dispute; to declare false or invalid. 2 : To oppose; to contradict.
"Owing to the company's cynical policy of inaction, suppression and hoping the problem would go away, there was nothing to gainsay from the stock's sudden and rapid decline."
Gainsay comes from Middle English ...Read more
inveterate \in-VET-uhr-it\ (adjective) - 1 : Firmly established by long persistence; deep-rooted; of long standing. 2 : Fixed in habit by long persistence; confirmed; habitual.
"Normally an invterate drinker of Scotch, the party seemed to be engulfed by a hushed silence when Alan walked in with an open
Inveterate is from the past participle ...Read more
fop \FOP\ (noun) - A man who is overly concerned with or vain about his dress and appearance; a dandy.
"Churchill was a walking example of the fine line that often lies between being a sharp dresser and an out-and-out fop."
Fop comes from Middle English fop, foppe, "a fool." The adjective form is foppish.
sinecure \SY-nih-kyur; SIN-ih-\ (noun) - An office or position that requires or involves little or no responsibility, work, or active service.
"With layoffs looming due to an alleged decrease in attendance, Ronald was puzzled as to why none of the sinecures who peppered the top of the company's rank structure in the role of 'vice-presidents' ...Read more
frisson \free-SOHN\ (noun) - A moment of intense excitement; a shudder; an emotional thrill.
"While Carol loved the frisson of watching movies where hapless ladies became victims through no fault of their own, she hated to think about what she might do should she actually find herself in such a situation."
Frisson comes from the French, from ...Read more
affable \AF-uh-buhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Easy to speak to; receiving others kindly and conversing with them in a free and friendly manner. 2 : Gracious; benign.
"An affable, gregarious sort, Jason was everyone's best friend, even while he plotted to betray them to their worst enemies."
Affable is from Latin affabilis, from affari, "to speak to,"...Read more
voluble \VOL-yuh-buhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Characterized by a ready flow of speech. 2 : Easily rolling or turning; rotating. 3 : (Botany) Having the power or habit of turning or twining.
"Everyone agreed that Judith was such a voluble speaker that she would be well-advised to go into politics."
Voluble derives from Latin volubilis, "revolving, ...Read more
legerdemain \lej-ur-duh-MAIN\ (noun) - 1 : Sleight of hand. 2 : A display of skill, trickery, or artful deception.
"Frank and Ernst's legerdemain at the blackjack table and roulette wheel were the stuff of legend, earning them accolades from the like-minded as well as a comfortable living."
Legerdemain is from Old French leger de main, ...Read more
Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual FamilyKatherine Agranovich
When Katherine hypnotizes her daughter Jessica to pass a math quiz, the teenager reports seeing two angels who give her sage advice. With that, the gates of consciousness fly open and the realm of spirit bursts through, propelling the Agranovich clan on a rollercoaster ride full of mystical ...
aesthete \ES-theet\ (noun) - One having or affecting great sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.
"Steve was an aesthete with a connoisseur's eye for anything designed with a modern twist or a contemporary bent."
Aesthete is from Greek aisthetes, "one who perceives," from aisthanesthai, "to perceive."
flout \FLOWT\ (transitive verb) - To treat with contempt and disregard; to show contempt for.
(intransitive verb) - To mock, to scoff.
(noun) - Mockery, scoffing.
"Franklin and Sheba were completely mystified by Frida's determination to flout as many social conventions as she could."
Flout comes from Middle English flouten, "to play the ...
bellwether \BEL-weth-uhr\ (noun) - A leader of a movement or activity; also, a leading indicator of future trends.
"Before the election in question, the state's proud citizens had fancied their state to be a sort of bellwether, feeling that as they went, so went the nation."
Bellwether is a compound of bell and wether, "a male sheep, usually ...Read more
torpid \TOR-pid\ (adjective) - 1 : Having lost motion or the power of exertion and feeling; numb; benumbed. 2 : Dormant; hibernating or estivating. 3 : Dull; sluggish; apathetic.
"After careful observation Ralph came to the conclusion that some animals became torpid in winter while others were torpid in summer."
Torpid comes from Latin ...Read more
sobriquet \SO-brih-kay; -ket; so-brih-KAY; -KET\ (noun) - A nickname; an assumed name; an epithet.
"Due to an intellect seemingly encompassing the World Book and going well beyond, Jake had been lauded with the sobriquet of 'Walking Encyclopedia.'"
Sobriquet is from the French, from Old French soubriquet, "a chuck under the chin, hence, an ...Read more
numismatics \noo-miz-MAT-iks; -mis-; nyoo-\ (noun) - The collection and study of money (and coins in particular).
"Before engaging on a spree of printing counterfeit bills on his new inkjet printer, Charles first consulted a variety of numismatics websites to ensure that he would have all of the details correct."
Numismatics ultimately derives...Read more
antediluvian \an-tih-duh-LOO-vee-uhn\ (adjective) - 1 : Of or relating to the period before the Biblical flood. 2 : Antiquated; from or belonging to a much earlier time.
(noun) - 1 : One who lived before the Biblical flood. 2 : A very old (or old-fashioned) person.
"The company's antediuluvian management team seemed unable to comprehend the ...Read more
chagrin \shuh-GRIN\ (noun) - Acute vexation, annoyance, or embarrassment, arising from disappointment or failure.
(transitive verb) - To unsettle or vex by disappointment or humiliation; to mortify.
"Chagrined to find that her current boyfriend has become best pals with her ex-boyfriend Bill, Jeanette went and talked to him about it."
metier \met-YAY; MET-yay\ (noun) - 1 : An occupation; a profession. 2 : An area in which one excels; an occupation for which one is especially well suited.
"No matter a person's metier, Ty seemed to want to push everyone into doing sales, feeling that greater profits were certain to follow."
Metier is from the French, ultimately from Latin ...Read more
facile \FAS-uhl\ (adjective) - 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."
"As everyone was quick to notice, the quarterly report was a very facile...Read more
perforce \pur-FORS\ (adverb) - By necessity; by force of circumstance.
"Should it actually come to pass, even those who followed every twist and turn of the process will perforce rub their eyes, incredulous that such a man could be elected to such a high office."
Perforce comes from French par force, "by force."
Q: I'm trying to figure out whether the preposition "from" is needed after the verb "forbear." Is it "he will forbear from growling at him," or "he will forbear growling at him"? -- Peter Hufstader, Avon, Conn.
A: There's no need for growling here, for this is one of those delightful situations in which either choice is correct. So we can say...Read more