zugzwang \TSOOK-tsvahng\ (noun) - A position where one is forced to make an undesirable move.
"Alan's company suddenly found itself in zugzwang, where every move it made worsened its position against an invisible opponent."
From German Zugzwang, Zug (move) + Zwang (compulsion, obligation).
lollygag \LOL-ee-gag\ (verb intr.), also lallygag - 1 : To fool around, waste time, or spend time lazily. 2 : To neck.
"Bryan was wont to spend his days lollygagging around while surfing the Internet, accomplishing very little in the way of the actual work he was supposedly being paid for."
crabwise \KRAB-wyz\ (adjective) - 1 : Sideways. 2 : In a cautious or roundabout manner.
"Always cautious and slow to move in new directions, Esther's company was moving crabwise towards modernity."
From the sideways movement of crabs.
gadfly \GAD-fly\ (noun) - 1 : One who persistently annoys. 2 : Any of the various types of flies that bite livestock.
"Despite his stern image, Frederic loved gossip and bawdy, silly jokes and became close friends with noted gadfly Angela DeMauier."
From gad (a goad for cattle), from Middle English, from Old Norse gaddr.
debridement \di-BREED-ment, day-\ (noun) - Surgical removal of dead, infected tissue or foreign matter from a wound.
"Albert looked upon the latest round of company downsizing less as cost-cutting layoffs so much as necessary debridements, that is, until it was his job upon the chopping block.
From French debridement, from debrider (to ...Read more
generic \juh-NEHR-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Of or pertaining to a genus. 2 : Sold without a brand name. 3 : Relating to a whole group or class.
"In an effort to save money, Lois even started buying generic toilet paper that felt like sandpaper on her tender nether regions."
From French generique, from Latin gener-, genus kind, class.
myopic \my-OP-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Nearsighted; unable to see clearly objects at a distance. 2 : Shortsighted; lacking foresight; narrow-minded.
"Alvin's myopic business acumen was, all agreed, the reason that every one of his capitalistic ventures inevitably failed within a few months."
From New Latin, from Greek, myopia, from myop- ...Read more
anile \AN-yl, AY-nyl\ (adjective) - Of or like an old woman.
"Thirty-year-old Margaret was constantly cursing her prematurely anile bones, which kept her from doing many physical activites which she had previously taken great pleasure in."
From Latin anilis, from anus old woman.
The Mystery of Jessica BensonC.K. Laurence
Jessica Benson is hot, beautiful, bisexual and dead. Her life and death intersects the drama of a professional football team and the detectives who are on the case. The author has been a student of crime activity and weaves an exciting story of mystery and intrigue, ...
kickshaw \KIK-shaw\ (noun) - 1 : A fancy dish; delicacy. 2 : A trinket.
"Jenna could typically be easily identified by the many kickshaws, geegaws, and costume jewelry she would adorn herself in the hopes of attracting attention."
By folk etymology, from French quelque chose, something.
wiseacre \WIZ-ay-kuhr\ (noun) - One who obnoxiously pretends to be wise; smart-aleck; wise-guy.
"Jacob's wiseacre tendencies had caused him to lose many a friend, all of whom had been certain to bring him to task before abandoning him utterly."
From Middle Dutch wijsseggher, soothsayer, translation of Middle High German wissage, from Old High ...Read more
hacker \HACK-uhr\ (noun) - 1 : A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2 : One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3 : A ...Read more
moxie \MOK-see\ (noun) - 1 : The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. 2 : Aggressive energy; initiative. 3 : Skill; know-how.
"It was nothing more than pure moxie that allowed Clarice to come from dead last in the cheerleading competition to take the grand prize."
From Moxie, trademark for a soft drink.
iniquity \i-NIK-wi-tee\ (noun) - 1 : Gross immorality or injustice; wickedness. 2 : A grossly immoral act; a sin.
"Kenny detected an innate iniquity in the company, given that the top brass made in excess of millions of dollars while the hard-working employees all made significantly less than a living wage."
Middle English iniquite, from Old ...Read more
stripling \STRIP-ling\ (noun) - An adolescent youth.
"Jackson was hired by the company a mere stripling, inexperienced and unwise to its inner workings, yet he would go on to oversee it during its most profitable years."
Middle English, possibly from strip.
obeisance \o-BAY-sans, o-BEE-\ (noun) - 1 : A movement of the body expressing deep respect or deferential courtesy, as before a superior; a bow, curtsy, or other similar gesture. 2: Deference or homage.
"While Randy's personal rule of always showing obeisance before those senior to him had kept him out of trouble, it also guaranteed that he ...Read more
morose \mo-ROS\ (adjective) - Gloomy, sullen.
"A stylishly morose girl, Miranda had painted the walls of her room black with red heart highlights, the better to mirror her typical state of mind."
From Latin morosus, peevish, equivalent to mor-, mos, will, inclination + -osus, -ose.
Fletcherize \FLECH-uh-ryz\ (verb tr., intr.) - To chew food thoroughly.
"Dinner table conversation came to a halt once the meal was served, as all were advocates of Horace's program and were wont to Fletcherize."
From the practice of chewing food many many times as advocated by Horace Fletcher, U.S. nutritionist (1849-1919).
mondegreen \MON-di-green\ (noun) - A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase.
"For years Peter had questioned the sexual orientation of Hendrix, all due to the honest mondegreen of confusing ''Scuse me while I kiss this guy,' for ''Scuse me while I kiss the sky."
Coined by American author Sylvia Wright from the line "laid him...Read more
onychophagia \on-i-ko-FAY-juh, -jee-uh\ (noun) - The practice of biting one's nails.
"Such was the intensity of Courtney's onychopagia that, when added to her extreme flexibility, she was just as likely to chew on her toenails as those on her hands."
From Greek onycho, onyx, nail + -phagia, eating.
Q: When did the verb "to be" suddenly disappear from proper usage -- specifically, not using "to be" in phrases such as "That light bulb needs replaced"? In a TV commercial for Safelite AutoGlass a technician says, "When your windshield needs fixed, trust Safelight." -- Daniel Murphy, West Hartford, Conn.
Really? Yup. I checked this ad out on...Read more