capacious \kuh-PAY-shuhs\ (adjective) - Able to contain much; roomy; spacious.
"Reuben was astonished. He'd had a friend in high school who could stuff his own fist all the way into his mouth. But Ponter's mouth went back so far and was so capacious, he probably could have stuffed in not just his fist but a third of his forearm as well." -- ...Read more
presage \PRES-ij; pri-SEYJ\ (noun) - 1 : An indication or warning of a future event; an omen. 2 : A feeling or intuition of what the future holds. 3 : Prophetic significance. 4 : [Archaic] A prediction; a prognostication.
(transitive verb) - 1 : To indicate or warn of beforehand; to foreshadow. 2 : To have a presentiment of. 3 : To predict; to ...Read more
ablution \uh-BLOO-shun\ (noun) - 1 : The act of washing or cleansing; specifically, the washing of the body, or some part of it (as in a religious rite). 2 : The water used in cleansing.
"He went straight to the loo to begin his usual ablutions, soaping his cheeks and neck." -- Brooks Hansen, 'Perlman's Ordeal'
Ablution comes from Latin ...Read more
triskaidekaphobia \tris-ky-dek-uh-FOH-bee-uh\ (noun) - Fear or a phobia concerning the number 13.
"Despite NASA's seemingly ingrained case of triskaidekaphobia, which forced managers to impose the bizarre, '13-free' numbering system on its flights, the crew of perhaps the most important Shuttle mission to date clearly were unsure if STS-41C was...Read more
lionize \LY-uh-nyz\ (transitive verb) - To treat or regard as an object of great interest or importance.
"I had only met her once before, but she took it into her head to lionize me. I believe some picture of mine had made a great success at the time, a least had been chattered about in the penny newspapers, which is the nineteenth-century ...Read more
supplicate \SUP-luh-kayt\ (intransitive verb) - To make a humble and earnest petition; to pray humbly.
(transitive verb) - 1 : To seek or ask for humbly and earnestly. 2 : To make a humble petition to; to beseech.
"With this impression in your favour, it is my advice, that you endeavour to see and supplicate the Baron for your release from ...Read more
palindrome \PAL-in-drohm\ (noun) - A word, phrase, sentence, or verse that reads the same backward or forward.
Madam, I'm Adam. (Adam's first words to Eve?)
A man, a plan, a canal -- Panama! (The history of the Panama Canal in brief.)
Able was I ere I saw Elba. (Napoleon's lament.)
Palindrome comes from Greek ...Read more
alfresco \al-FRES-koh\ (adverb) - In the open air; outdoors.
(adjective) - Taking place or located in the open air; outdoor.
"All of his guests would be gathered at the river for her alfresco, at which time he could send a servant with his regrets that he had been called away and to proceed without him." -- Pamela Aidan, 'These Three Remain: A...Read more
redivivus \red-uh-VY-vuhs; -VEE-\ (adjective) - Living again; brought back to life; revived; restored.
"'He's Saint-Germain redivivus.' 'He can't be redivivus if he's never died,' Diotallevi said. 'Sure he's not Ahasuerus, the wandering Jew?'" -- Umberto Eco, 'Foucault's Pendulum'
Redivivus comes from Latin, from the prefix red-, re-, "again" ...Read more
gaucherie \goh-shuh-REE\ (noun) - 1 : A socially awkward or tactless act. 2 : Lack of tact; boorishness; awkwardness.
"I went to our table, looking straight before me, and immediately paid the penalty of gaucherie by knocking over the vase of stiff anemones as I unfolded my napkin." -- Daphne Du Maurier, 'Rebecca'
Gaucherie comes from the ...Read more
debouch \dih-BOWCH; -BOOSH\ (intransitive verb) - 1 : To march out (as from a wood, defile, or other narrow or confined spot) into the open. 2 : To emerge; to issue.
(transitive verb) - To cause to emerge or issue; to discharge.
"The Brigadier, sitting upon a rock overlooking the valley, would watch the battle unrolled at his feet The Fore and...Read more
neologism \nee-OLL-uh-jiz-um\ (noun) - 1 : A new word or expression. 2 : A new use of a word or expression. 3 : The use or creation of new words or expressions. 4 : (Psychiatry) An invented, meaningless word used by a person with a psychiatric disorder. 5 : (Theology) A new view or interpretation of a scripture.
"Each elf tried to think of a ...Read more
opportune \op-uhr-TOON; -TYOON\ (adjective) - Suitable for a given purpose or occasion; timely.
"O lesson opportune, O how I welcome thee!" -- Walt Whitman, 'Leaves of Grass'
Opportune is from Latin opportunus, from ob portum, "toward port." For travelers at sea who wish to return to land, it's a welcome wind that blows toward the port.
Can a girl or woman be a "junior"?
That question arose recently with the passing of Frank Sinatra's first wife, Nancy Sinatra. During the 1960s, when her daughter, Nancy Sinatra, began rising to prominence as a singer, media outlets needed to distinguish between the two.
So they began referring to the mother and daughter as "Nancy Sinatra Sr...Read more
multifarious \muhl-tuh-FAIR-ee-uhs\ (adjective) - Having great diversity or variety; of various kinds; diversified.
"...I was occupied by exploded systems, mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories, and floundering desperately in a very slough of multifarious knowledge, guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning, ...Read more
beneficence \buh-NEFF-i-suhns\ (noun) - 1 : The practice of doing good; active goodness, kindness, or charity. 2 : A charitable gift or act.
"From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper. From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character. From my mother, piety and beneficence and ...Read more
trammel \TRAM-uhl\ (noun) - 1 : A kind of net for catching birds, fish, etc. 2 : A kind of shackle used for making a horse amble. 3 : Something that impedes activity, progress, or freedom, as a net or shackle. 4 : An iron hook of various forms and sizes, used for handing kettles and other vessels over the fire. 5 : An instrument for drawing ...Read more
clarion \KLAIR-ee-uhn\ (noun) - 1 : A kind of trumpet having a clear and shrill note. 2 : The sound of this instrument or a sound similar to it.
(adjective) - 1 : Sounding like the clarion; loud and clear.
"His voice and laugh, which perpetually re-echoed through the Custom-House, had nothing of the tremulous quaver and cackle of an old man's ...Read more
gubernatorial \GOO-ber-nuh-TOR-ee-uhl\ (adjective) - Of or pertaining to a governor.
"In 1780 John Hancock was elected the first governor of Massachusetts under its new constitution and thereafter was easily reelected whenever he chose to run. His gubernatorial career was marked by his inability to prevent a fiscal and currency crisis in the ...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