constitutional \kon-stih-TOO-shuhn-uhl; -TYOO-\ (noun) - A walk taken for one's health.
"A wise physician does not simply give a tonic for a diseased limb, or a high fever; the patient might be dead before the constitutional remedy could become effective." -- Charles Waddell Chesnutt, 'The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories'
A constitutional ...Read more
acrid \AK-rid\ (adjective) - 1 : Sharp and harsh, or bitter to the taste or smell; pungent. 2 : Caustic in language or tone; bitter.
"It sizzled and sparked, and sent its acrid odor up everyone's nostrils; Jennifer thought of hellfire." -- Richard Janssen, 'The Evil I Do'
Acrid comes from Latin acer, "sharp."
inveigh \in-VAY\ (intransitive verb) - To rail (against some person or thing); to protest strongly or attack with harsh and bitter language -- usually with "against."
"I could inveigh against someone who denied his Jewishness, who played at being a goy." -- Michael Brodsky, 'Detour'
Inveigh is from Latin invehi, "to attack with words," passive...Read more
defenestrate \dee-FEN-uh-strayt\ (transitive verb) - To throw out of a window.
"You can't defenestrate every man who proposes to Nefret. It would take too much of your time." -- Elizabeth Peters, 'The Falcon at the Portal'
Defenestrate is derived from Latin de-, "out of" + fenestra, "window." The noun form is defenestration.
edacious \i-DAY-shus\ (adjective) - Given to eating; voracious; devouring.
"Occasionally the road must be set back, and once the lighthouse was moved back from the cliffs, eaten away by the edacious tooth of the sea." -- Henry White Warren, 'Among The Forces'
Edacious is from Latin edax, edac-, gluttonous, consuming, from edo, edere, to eat.
aberrant \a-BERR-unt; AB-ur-unt\ (adjective) - Markedly different from an accepted norm; Deviating from the ordinary or natural type; abnormal.
"Another factor the court had to consider was whether the crime was part of a single period of aberrant behavior." -- Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, 'Sullivan's Evidence'
That which is aberrant is literally ...Read more
aggrandize \uh-GRAN-dyz; AG-ruhn-dyz\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To make great or greater; to enlarge; to increase. 2 : To make great or greater in power, rank, reputation, or wealth; -- applied to persons, countries, etc. 3 : To make appear great or greater; to exalt.
"He only wanted to aggrandize and enrich himself; and if Miss Woodhouse of ...Read more
supererogatory \soo-puhr-ih-ROG-uh-tor-ee\ (adjective) - 1 : Going beyond what is required or expected. 2 : Superfluous; unnecessary.
"I shall attempt no such supererogatory task as a description of Paris." -- James Weldon Johnson, 'The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man'
Supererogatory comes from Latin supererogare, "to spend over and above,"...Read more
ennui \on-WEE\ (noun) - A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction arising from lack of interest; boredom.
"The day at Swampscott passed in ennui, the lack of activity causing the three attorneys to make constant calls to their offices in the hopes that someone wanted their services..." -- Robert Ludlum, 'The Road to Omaha'
Ennui is from the ...Read more
blandishment \BLAN-dish-muhnt\ (noun) - Speech or action that flatters and tends to coax, entice, or persuade; allurement -- often used in the plural.
"The woman was temptation personified, and every blandishment she offered contained a challenge, I thought, to my ultimate moral strength." -- Jack Whyte, 'The Singing Sword'
Blandishment ...Read more
sojourn \SOH-juhrn; so-JURN\ (intransitive verb) - To stay as a temporary resident; to dwell for a time.
(noun) - A temporary stay.
"At times during this interminable sojourn, I might disappear for hours on end; Sita would wake from her fitful slumber and find herself alone..." -- Ashok Mathur, 'The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar'
Sojourn ...Read more
bombast \BOM-bast\ (noun) - Pompous or pretentious speech or writing.
"Sain Flint decided not to run Amelia Lowell's bombast on the front page. Instead, he put it on page three." -- Richard S. Wheeler, 'Flint's Truth'
Bombast comes from Medieval French bombace, "cotton, hance padding," from Late Latin bombax, "cotton."
sardonic \sar-DON-ik\ (adjective) - Scornful, mocking; disdainfully humorous.
"The young man stood looking down at her with sardonic contempt, a cowed self-conscious look on his thick, pale face." -- D.H. Lawrence, 'Women in Love'
Sardonic comes from French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Greek sardonios, sardanios, "derisive."
perspicacity \pur-spuh-KAS-uh-tee\ (noun) - Clearness of understanding or insight; penetration, discernment.
"Such a horse gives its rider discernment and perspicacity, if not clairvoyance. It will save you from being surprised by your enemies." -- Sudhin N. Ghose, 'Folk Tales and Fairy Stories from India'
Perspicacity comes from Latin ...Read more
hauteur \haw-TUR; (h)oh-\ (noun) - Haughty manner, spirit, or bearing; haughtiness; arrogance.
"She was unremarkable in every way save for the hauteur with which she regarded him." -- Karen Robards, 'Scandalous'
Hauteur is from the French, from haut, "high," from Latin altus, "high." It is thus related to altitude.
skulk \SKUHLK\ (intransitive verb) - 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.
(noun) - 1 : One who skulks. 2 : A group of foxes.
"You're too large to skulk about. They'd see you in an instant." -- Kinley MacGregor, Claiming the Highlander
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.
"But surely it would be desperate unkindness to add contumely to our self-protection, unless, indeed, we believe that ...Read more
doppelganger \DOP-uhl-gang-uhr\ (noun) - 1 : A ghostly double or counterpart of a living person. 2 : Alter ego; double.
"The doppelganger dropped Ray to the linoleum and whispered to the mirror." -- Steven Deighan, 'A Dead Calmness'
Doppelganger is from the German doppel, "double" + Gänger, "goer."
vituperate \vy-TOO-puh-rate, -TYOO-, vi-\ (verb) - To find fault with; to scold; to overwhelm with wordy abuse; to censure severely or abusively; to rate.
"The incensed priests...continued to raise their voices, vituperating each other in bad Latin." -- Sir Walter Scott, 'Ivanhoe'
Vituperate comes from Latin vitupero, vituperare, to scold, ...Read more
"Fake news." "Alternative facts."
It's nothing new. Creative and colorful terms for tall tales, fishy fibs and deceptive distortions slither like con men through American lingo. The origins of some of these expressions are, appropriately enough, unbelievable. Can you tell which one of these derivations is pure poppycock?
--Claptrap: ...Read more