transmogrify \trans-MOG-ruh-fy\ (transitive verb) - To change into a different shape or to transform, often with bizarre or humorous effect.
"Jennie suddenly felt suspicious; it wouldn't be Camille's fault, but grief could transmogrify that forgiveness at any moment..." -- Nancy Woodruff, 'Someone Else's Child'
Transmogrify is perhaps a ...Read more
aficionado \uh-fish-ee-uh-NAH-doh\ (noun) - An enthusiastic admirer; a fan.
"He cautiously descended a dark, narrow stairway to a cool room with a smooth floor and every sort of treasure an art aficionado could imagine." -- Tamara Sneed, 'All the Man I Need'
Aficionado derives from Spanish aficionar, "to induce a liking for," from afición, "a...Read more
billingsgate \BIL-ingz-gayt; -git\ (noun) - Coarsely abusive, foul, or profane language.
"These are the people who make life a burthen to the tourist. Their tongues are never still. They talk forever and forever, and that is the kind of billingsgate they use. -- Mark Twain, 'The Innocents Abroad'
Billingsgate is so called after Billingsgate, a...Read more
choleric \KOL-uh-rik; kuh-LAIR-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Easily irritated; inclined to anger; bad-tempered. 2 : Angry; indicating or expressing anger; excited by anger.
"My father says he is a bit choleric and it is better to drop papers off sometimes than to see him in person." -- Jon Mango, "Seven Mile Bridge
Choleric is the adjective form of ...Read more
sedulous \SEJ-uh-luhs\ (adjective) - 1 : Diligent in application or pursuit; steadily industrious. 2 : Characterized by or accomplished with care and perseverance.
"Eating and sleeping; hearing grave, sedulous men read out of grave, sedulous book what we have heard a hundred times." -- Mary Webb, 'Gone to Earth'
Sedulous is from Latin sedulus,...Read more
clemency \KLEM-uhn-see\ (noun) - 1 : Disposition to forgive and spare, as offenders; mercy. 2 : An act or instance of mercy or leniency. 3 : Mildness, especially of weather.
"If the buccaneers surrendered, he would give them clemency -- if they did not he would sail to Maracaibo and would destroy the bucsaneers utterly." -- Shirlee Busbee, '...Read more
alpenglow \AL-puhn-gloh\ (noun) - A reddish glow seen near sunset or sunrise on the summits of mountains.
"I had seen light similar to this in Switzerland, where it was known as alpenglow. But this was no ordinary alpenglow." -- Paul Watkins, 'The Ice Soldier'
Alpenglow is a partial translation of German Alpenglühen, from Alpen, "Alps" + glü...Read more
sacrosanct \SAK-roh-sankt\ (adjective) - Sacred or inviolable.
"The public's right to know is sacrosanct, and it is our sacrosanct duty as journalists to respect this right. Otherwise we could no longer proudly call ourselves journalists in the public service." -- Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli, 'The Patience of the Spider'
Sacrosanct ...Read more
Good Morning New Year!Jerry T. Johnson
“Good Morning New Year” is a poetry chapbook that focuses on a few of my reflections made at the beginning of 2015. Those reflections spoke of the conditions of oppression in the world that depressed me, the conditions of my own personal flaws and my outlook ...
tmesis \TMEE-sis\ (noun) - In grammar and rhetoric, the separation of the parts of a compound word, now generally done for humorous effect; for example, "what place soever" instead of "whatsoever place," or "abso-bloody-lutely."
"As an example of a tmesis, Franklin was wont to quote Shakespeare from Richard II, :If on the first, how heinous e'...Read more
querulous \KWER-uh-luhs; -yuh\ (adjective) - 1 : Apt to find fault; habitually complaining. 2 : Expressing complaint; fretful; whining.
"For a younger man, he suddenly sounded like a querulous uncle. Or how she'd imagined a querulous uncle would sound." -- Anne Bishop, 'Belladonna'
Querulous comes from Latin querulus, from queri, "to complain."
cynosure \SY-nuh-shoor; SIN-uh-shoor\ (noun) - 1 : Anything to which attention is strongly turned; a center of attraction. 2 : That which serves to guide or direct. 3 : [Capitalized]. The northern constellation Ursa Minor, which contains the North Star; also, the North Star itself.
"They would be the cynosure of all eyes. What was a cynosure ...Read more
paladin \PAL-uh-din\ (noun) - 1 : A knight-errant; a distinguished champion of a medieval king or prince; as, the paladins of Charlemagne. 2 : A champion of a cause.
"I did not want to be a paladin. My mother and father wanted it for me. I did not work against my parents, but the priests saw my lack of inner motivation." -- Roby Ward, 'Heroes ...Read more
parsimonious \par-suh-MOH-nee-uhs\ (adjective) - Sparing in expenditure; frugal to excess.
"What was it but a rather pointless, long-drawn-out affair, in the true Russian style, about a moujik who was inordinately parsimonious, even as moujiks go." -- Henry Miller, 'Moloch: Or, This Gentile World'
Parsimonious is the adjective form of ...Read more
somniferous \som-NIF-uhr-uhs\ (adjective) - Causing or inducing sleep.
"The wine which had exerted its somniferous influence over Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. Winkle, had stolen upon the senses of Mr. Pickwick." -- Charles Dickens, 'The Pickwick Papers'
Somniferous comes from Latin somnifer, "sleep-bringing," from somnus, "sleep" + ferre, "to bring."
Trick question: If it's "quarter of four in Boston," what time is it in Seattle? Answer: "Twelve forty-five."
People in New England usually say "quarter of" and "quarter after" when telling time, but Pacific Coasters tend to say the number of minutes.
The fascinating book "Speaking American -- How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk" by Joel ...Read more
dilatory \DIL-uh-tor-ee\ (adjective) - 1 : Tending to put off what ought to be done at once; given to procrastination. 2 : Marked by procrastination or delay; intended to cause delay; -- said of actions or measures.
"We are dilatory, we bears, dilatory and slow by nature, and hate to make up our minds, and dread the severing consequences of ...Read more
parley \PAR-lee\ (noun) - A conference or discussion, especially with an enemy, as with regard to a truce or other matters.
"To the Cid who in good time girt brand my greeting do I send, And let us hold the parley when three weeks are at an end." -- Cid, 'The Lay of the Cid'
arley comes from Old French parlée, from parler, "to speak," from ...Read more
expatiate \ek-SPAY-shee-ayt\ (intransitive verb) - 1 : To speak or write at length or in considerable detail. 2 : To move about freely; to wander.
"I will not expatiate upon her beauty. I will not expatiate upon her intelligence, her quickness of perception, her powers of memory, her sweet consideration..." Charles Dickens, 'George Silverman's ...Read more
tyro \TY-roh\ (noun) - A beginner in learning; a novice.
"There could be no doubt in anyone's mind: this young man was a tyro, sent here for some mysterious reason but certainly not to gain any new information." -- Ian Rankin, 'Witch Hunt: A Novel'
Tyro is from Latin tiro, "a young soldier, a recruit," hence "a beginner, a learner."
prink \PRINGK\ (transitive verb) - To dress up; to deck for show.
(intransitive verb) - To dress or arrange oneself for show; to primp.
"Richard and Peg's back room held an excellent double bed with thick linen curtains drawn about it from rails connecting its four tall posts, several chests for clothing, a cupboard for shoes and boots, a ...Read more