parvenu \PAR-vuh-noo; -nyoo\ (noun) - 1 : One that has recently or suddenly risen to a higher social or economic class but has not gained social acceptance of others in that class; an upstart.
(adjective) - 1 : Being a parvenu; also, like or having the characteristics of a parvenu.
"That was the luxury that Goirot's daughter had loved too well...Read more
esurient \ih-SUR-ee-uhnt; -ZUR-\ (adjective) - Hungry; voracious; greedy.
"Paul, whose stomach suffered no pangs, regarded the fellow with esurient eyes, the eyes of an avid curiosity." -- Carl Van Vechten, 'Firecrackers'
Esurient comes from the present participle of Latin esurire, "to be hungry, to desire eagerly," from edere, "to eat."
tutelage \TOO-tuhl-ij; TYOO-\ (noun) - 1 : The act of guarding or protecting; guardianship; protection. 2 : The state of being under a guardian or tutor. 3 : Instruction, especially individual instruction accompanied by close attention and guidance.
"Thomas began his formal instruction by his father at the age of twelve and was released from ...Read more
exegete \EK-suh-jeet\ (noun) - A person who explains or interprets difficult parts of written works.
"Haunted by the mystery of my patron saint, I stumbled for a long time over an enigma which no exegete has yet cleared up." -- Michel Tournier, 'Gemini'
Exegete is from Greek exegetes, from the verb exegeisthai, "to interpret," and is related ...Read more
pugnacious \puhg-NAY-shuhs\ (adjective) - Inclined to fight; combative; quarrelsome.
"After tolerating Patrick's pugnacious daughter, Kane would be ready to swear off women for the rest of his life." -- Carol Finch, 'Moonlight Enchantress'
Pugnacious comes from Latin pugnare, "to fight," from pugnus, "fist."
plenary \PLEE-nuh-ree; PLEN-uh-ree\ (adjective) - 1 : Full in all respects; complete; absolute; as, plenary authority. 2 : Fully attended by all qualified members.
"The first plenary session held at the conference was organized to define its theme. Two important papers presented at this plenary helped set its tone." -- Lalithambika Antherjanam...Read more
expropriate \ek-SPROH-pree-ayt\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To deprive of possession. 2 : To transfer (the property of another) to oneself.
"You never know when some tinhorn general's going to expropriate your property as national patrimony." -- Douglas Preston, 'The Codex'
Expropriate comes from Medieval Latin expropriatus, past participle of ...Read more
nuptial \NUHP-shuhl; -chuhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Of or pertaining to marriage; done or used at a wedding; as, "nuptial rites and ceremonies." 2 : Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the mating season.
(noun) - Marriage; wedding; nuptial ceremony; -- usually used in the plural.
"...On the one day of their triumph when, like Kitty, they had stood ...Read more
imbue \im-BYOO\, transitive verb: 1. To tinge or dye deeply; to cause to absorb thoroughly; as, "clothes thoroughly imbued with black." 2. To instill profoundly; to cause to become impressed or penetrated.
"Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the ...Read more
denizen \DEN-uh-zuhn\ (noun) - 1 : A dweller; an inhabitant. 2 : One that frequents a particular place. 3 : [Chiefly British] An alien granted certain rights of citizenship. 4 : An animal, plant, etc. that has become naturalized.
"She should cross now, she knew, but a daredevil curiosity gripped her and kept her there -- the urge to see, albeit...Read more
turgid \TUR-jid\ (adjective) - 1 : Swollen, bloated, puffed up; as, "a turgid limb." 2 : Swelling in style or language; bombastic, pompous; as, "a turgid style of speaking."
"George Lane had left the turgid discussion that had been the Naval Armament committee meeting and was relaxing back in his office in the House." -- Colin Peck, ' Enrico ...Read more
paragon \PAIR-uh-gon; -guhn\ (noun) - A model of excellence or perfection; as, "a paragon of beauty; a paragon of eloquence."
"Old Roland, that paragon of acceptable standards, viewed the world with a thoroughly jaundiced, nearly blind eye." -- Samara Al-Darraji , 'Eclipse'
Paragon comes from Middle French, from Old Italian paragone, literally...Read more
cerebration \ser-uh-BRAY-shuhn\ (noun) - The act or product of thinking; the use of the power of reason; mental activity; thought.
"He neglected his family; his existence was taken up more with cerebration and preoccupied with the following, as he called them, philosophical questions." -- by Nikolaĭ Vasil'evich Gogol', 'Dead Souls'
bedaub \bih-DOB\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To smudge over; to besmear or soil with anything thick and dirty. 2 : To overdecorate; to ornament showily or excessively.
"Am I, your kinsman and benefactor, a fit person to be juggled out of my commendation and eulogy, and brought to bedaub such a whitened sepulchre as the sophist Milton?" -- Sir ...Read more
impassible \im-PASS-uh-buhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Incapable of suffering; not subject to harm or pain. 2 : Unfeeling or not showing feeling.
"After we discovered this, we never went into ecstacies any more -- we never admired any thing -- we never showed any but impassible faces and stupid indifference in the presence of the sublimest wonders a ...Read more
wraith \RAYTH\ (noun) - 1 : An apparition of a living person seen before death; hence, an apparition; a specter; a ghost. 2 : A shadowy or insubstantial form, appearance, or representation of something.
"I could almost believe that it was the wraith of Hendrika doomed to keep an eternal watch over the bones of the woman her jealous rage had ...Read more
When a severe ice storm delayed the start of an NFL playoff game in January, a reporter wrote in a game preview, "Weather already has played a factor in the Steelers-Chiefs divisional-round AFC-playoff game."
"Has played a factor"? Something about that phrase sounded odd. But why?
Certainly "has played a role" or "has played a part" would be...Read more
cadre \KAD-ree; -ray; KAH-dray; -druh\ (noun) - 1 : A core or nucleus of trained or otherwise qualified personnel around which an organization is formed. 2 : A tightly knit and trained group of dedicated members active in promoting the interests of a revolutionary party. 3 : A member of such a group. 4 : A framework upon which a larger entity ...Read more
matutinal \muh-TOOT-n-uhl\, adjective) - Relating to or occurring in the morning; early.
"You must make a little excursion one of these fine spring days...Some morning, the earlier the better. But I dare say your habits are not very matutinal, Signora?" -- Thomas Adolphus Trollope, 'A Siren'
Matutinal is from Late Latin matutinalis, from Latin...Read more
visage \VIZ-ij\ (noun) - 1 : The face, countenance, or look of a person or an animal; -- chiefly applied to the human face. 2 : Look; appearance; aspect.
"The waiter, a faceless and fawning creature whose visage was lost in the clouds of smoke that eddied, now here, now nervously there, suggested the 'speciality' of the 'house'..." -- Gilbert ...Read more