arcane \ar-KAYN\ (adjective) - Understood or known by only a few.
"Gustav had no skills in the arcane art himself, a fact he had bitterly regretted as a child, having mistakenly imagined that magic could solve all his problems, ease all his griefs, make everything right." -- Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, 'Guardians of the Lost'
Arcane is ...Read more
raillery \RAY-luh-ree\ (noun) - 1 : Good-humored teasing or banter. 2 : An instance of such good-humored teasing; a jest.
"But as matter for ridicule is always ready to hand, and as most men are only too fond of fun and raillery, even buffoons are called witty and pass for clever fellows; though it is clear from what has been said that wit is ...Read more
congeries \KON-juh-reez\ (noun) - A collection; an aggregation.
"But if the congeries of past events, if congeries it was, could be separated from its usual partnership with sentiment, it cannot have been too much to cheer Lolita on in her wholehearted attempt." -- Gilbert Sorrentino, 'Pack of Lies'
Congeries is from Latin congeries, meaning "...Read more
peripatetic \pair-uh-puh-TET-ik\ (adjective) - 1. Of or pertaining to walking about or traveling from place to place; itinerant. 2 : Of or pertaining to the philosophy taught by Aristotle (who gave his instructions while walking in the Lyceum at Athens), or to his followers.
(noun) - 1 : One who walks about; a pedestrian; an itinerant. 2 : ...Read more
dotage \DOH-tij\ (noun) - Feebleness of mind due to old age; senility.
"Jess, you told me you would never wear that particular bonnet unless you were in your dotage or wished to bewitch the man of your dreams..." -- Elizabeth Thornton, 'Bluestocking Bride'
Dotage comes from the verb to dote, meaning "to be weak-minded, silly, or foolish; to ...Read more
Can Americans double or even triple their incomes this year? With no special skills and no investment you could go out and start earning income online today with a new program..... Read more
trencherman \TREN-chuhr-muhn\ (noun) - A hearty eater.
"Dr. Zollner was arranging his large lunch in front of him with the expertise of a real trencherman." -- Nelson DeMille, 'Plum Island'
Trencherman is from trencher, "a wooden board or platter on which food is served or carved" (which itself is from Medieval French trencheoir, from Old ...Read more
galvanic \gal-VAN-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Of, pertaining to, or producing a direct current of electricity, especially when produced chemically. 2 : Affecting or affected as if by an electric shock; startling; shocking. 3 : Stimulating; energizing.
"I can feel in my face that I have turned either bright red or ghost white, with the same galvanic ...Read more
idyll \EYE-dl\ (noun) - 1 : A simple descriptive work, either in poetry or prose, dealing with simple, rustic life; pastoral scenes; and the like. 2 : A narrative poem treating an epic, romantic, or tragic theme. 3 : A lighthearted carefree episode or experience. 4 : A romantic interlude.
"For the sake of our idyll I did not take her remark as ...Read more
putative \PYOO-tuh-tiv\ (adjective) - Commonly thought or deemed; supposed; reputed.
"Having washed her hands and face, tidied her hair, and powdered her nose, she set out to find her hostess, the putative mistress of this anything but ordinary household." -- Carola Dunn, 'Mistletoe and Murder'
Putative comes from Late Latin putativus, from ...Read more
equivocate \ih-KWIV-uh-kayt\ (intransitive verb) - To be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or to avoid committing oneself to anything definite.
"A woman does not thrill, blush, equivocate, and faint for nothing; especially such a woman as Miss Leavenworth." -- Anna Katharine Green, 'The Leavenworth Case'
To equivocate is ...Read more
benefaction \BEN-uh-fak-shuhn; ben-uh-FAK-shuhn\ (noun) - 1 : The act of conferring a benefit. 2 : A benefit conferred; especially, a charitable donation.
"On my side, I could have cursed the kindness that conferred upon me this benefaction, but I kept my vexation under the surface for policy's sake, and did with I could to let on to be glad." ...Read more
malcontent \mal-kuhn-TENT; MAL-kuhn-tent\ (noun) - 1 : One who is discontented or dissatisfied. 2 : A discontented subject of a government; one who opposes an established order.
(adjective) - Discontented; uneasy; dissatisfied.
"I was excited, but something, the malcontent perhaps, was keeping me from displaying my enthusiasm." -- Chuck ...Read more
plangent \PLAN-juhnt\ (adjective) - 1 : Beating with a loud or deep sound, as, "the plangent wave." 2 : Expressing sadness; plaintive.
"He let the plangent memory of the music fill his head and flow down his arms and fill his fingers." -- Terry Pratchet, 'Soul Music'
Plangent derives from the present participle of Latin plangere, to beat, to ...Read more
superannuated \soo-pur-AN-yoo-ay-tid\ (adjective) - 1 : Discharged or disqualified on account of old age; retired from service, especially with a pension. 2 : Old; no longer in use; no longer valid; outmoded.
"The worthy man was hale and hearty, not exceeding three score and seven, and had never dreamt of being superannuated." -- John Galt, '...Read more
pablum \PAB-luhm\ (noun) - Something (as writing or speech) that is trite, insipid, or simplistic.
"'It's not all pablum for the masses, you know!' I let out my breath. He was probably just embarrassed to be caught enjoying the pablum of the masses." -- Jacqueline Girdner, 'Murder Most Mellow'
Pablum is derived from Pablum, a trademarked ...Read more
puerile \PYOO-uhr-uhl; PYOOR-uhl\ (adjective) - Displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity; juvenile; childish.
"Hal cleared his throat to out-spit Leroy, then swallowed hard, laughing at his puerile urge." - Evelyn Cole, 'For The Sake Of All Others'
Puerile comes from Latin puerilis, from puer, "child, boy."
effulgence \i-FUL-juhn(t)s\ (noun) - The state of being bright and radiant; splendor; brilliance.
"The moment Sri Caitanya appeared, His beauty and effulgence transfixed everyone." -- N. S. Narasimha, 'The Way of the Vaisnava sages'
From Latin ex, "out of, from" + fulgere, "to shine." The adjective form of the word is effulgent.
Don't get me started on the misuse of "nonplussed." In fact, don't even put the key in the ignition ... or swipe the fob, or press the button or whatever they're doing to start cars these days.
After all, here was this nice, wholesome word "nonplussed" -- a good kid, raised on a farm (well, OK, a French farm), but still, as I said, a good kid...Read more
quondam \KWAHN-duhm; KWAHN-dam\ (adjective) - Having been formerly; former; sometime.
"It is time for me to speak of Patrick Quilly, my quondam catamite, cook and general housekeeper." -- John Banville, 'The Untouchable'
Quondam comes from the Latin quondam, "formerly," from quom, "when."
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.
(noun) - A long word.
"Because my father was a professor, I early picked up a sesquipedalian way of speaking." -- Damon Knight, 'A Science Fiction Argosy'
Sesquipedalian comes from Latin ...Read more