constitutional \kon-stih-TOO-shuhn-uhl; -TYOO-\ (noun) - A walk taken for one's health.
"Every morning, beginning at precisely 6 am, Thomas could be seen out walking, taking the air, engaging in his daily constitutional; each day wearing the same outfit consisting of shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes, regardless of the weather."
A ...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 from the first moment for the slow-paced ...Read more
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"; as, "to inveigh against character, conduct, manners, customs, morals, a law, an abuse."
"He, too, was a keen gardener and had been known to inveigh against the weather in his time...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.
"My inability to prove that I did not equivocate does not always stop me from acquiring knowledge by means of the argument in question. A proof that I did not equivocate might merely...Read more
gesticulate \juh-STIK-yuh-layt\ (intransitive verb) - To make gestures or motions, especially while speaking or instead of speaking.
(transitive verb) - To indicate or express by gestures.
"Nearing the end, the man in black began to gesticulate wildly, raising his arms and shaking his fists." -- Nigel Deed, 'Waiting for the Tomorrow Man'
dolorous \DOH-luh-ruhs\ (adjective) - Marked by, causing, or expressing grief or sorrow.
"Through the silence of the great forest there came a swishing, whistling sound, mingled with the most dolorous groans, and the voice of a man raised in a high quavering kind of song." -- Arthur Conan Doyle, 'The White Company'
Dolorous derives from Latin ...Read more
myriad \MIR-ee-uhd\ (adjective) - 1 : Consisting of a very great, but indefinite, number; as, myriad stars. 2 : Composed of numerous diverse elements or aspects.
(noun) - 1 : The number of ten thousand; ten thousand persons or things. (Chiefly in reference to the Greek numeral system, or in translations from Greek or Latin). 2 : An immense ...Read more
bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\ (noun) - Construction or something constructed by using whatever materials happen to be available.
"Some professor snotgristle described coyote as a bricoleur, a mythic handy-man who cobbles reality in the form of a bricolage out of the available material, which is quite everything when you think about." -- ...Read more
malodorous \mal-OH-duhr-uhs\ (adjective) - Having a bad odor.
"We were prepared for some unpleasantness, for as we were opening the door a faint, malodorous air seemed to exhale through the gaps, but none of us ever expected such an odour as we encountered." -- Bram Stoker, 'Dracula'
Malodorous is from Latin mal-, "bad" + odorus, from odor, "...Read more
pied-a-terre \pee-ay-duh-TAIR; pyay-dah-TAIR\ (noun) - A temporary or second place of lodging.
"Hay Hill is just a pied-a- terre, they like to say, a pied-a-terre with a dining room and drawing room, a library (for him) and a little study (for her)." -- Giles Waterfield, 'The Hound in the Left-hand Corner'
Pied-a-terre is from French, ...Read more
epicene \EP-uh-seen\ (adjective) - 1 : Having the characteristics of both sexes. 2 : Effeminate; unmasculine. 3 : Sexless; neuter. 4 : (Linguistics) Having but one form of the noun for both the male and the female.
(noun) - 1 : A person or thing that is epicene. 2 : (Linguistics) An epicene word.
"Kitsch must include more than the golden-...Read more
perquisite \PUR-kwuh-zit\ (noun) - 1 : A profit or benefit in addition to a salary or wages. 2 : Broadly: The benefits of a position or office. 3 : A gratuity or tip for services performed. 4 : Anything to which someone has or claims the sole right.
"Yourself you've fixed the ransom of this couple at twenty thousand pieces, and, as I gather, ...Read more
exigency \EK-suh-jun-see; ig-ZIJ-un-see\ (noun) - 1 : The quality or state of requiring immediate aid or action; urgency. 2 : A case demanding immediate action or remedy; a pressing or urgent situation. 3 : That which is demanded or required in a particular situation -- usually used in the plural.
"You came for another purpose, we were speaking...Read more
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.
"I think my mother felt a child of wealth deserved undistracted tutelage, but my father finally ...Read more
succinct \suhk-SINGKT\ (adjective) - Characterized by compressed precise expression with no wasted words; brief; concise.
"From the brilliant -- but succinct -- description my friend gave, I imagined a kind of illuminated angel. I imagined something with the brightness of a chandelier." -- Jose Eduardo Agualusa, 'The Book of Chameleons'
ineffectual \in-ih-FEK-choo-uhl\ (adjective) - Not producing the proper effect; without effect; weak; useless; futile; unavailing.
"Surely we have enough on our plates with one badly burned, utterly ineffectual member without risking more and possibly worse setbacks." -- Brian Lumley, 'The Touch'
Ineffectual ultimately comes from Latin in-, ...Read more
pugilist \PYOO-juh-list\ (noun) - One who fights with the fists; especially, a professional prize fighter; a boxer.
"For his part, the pugilist merely smiled offensively and contemptuously at the word 'boxing', not deigning to enter into an open discussion, but occasionally displaying, silently and as though by chance, a thoroughly native ...Read more
discursive \dis-KUR-siv\ (adjective) - 1 : Passing from one topic to another; ranging over a wide field; digressive; rambling. 2 : Utilizing, marked by, or based on analytical reasoning -- contrasted with intuitive.
"In our time, I don't see how you could disagree. It is a discursive age. Now, music itself is known both by acquaintance and ...Read more
Put some schoolin' in your yule-in' this holiday season with one of these new books about words and language.
"Breezy" and "entertaining" aren't words usually associated with grammar, but they aptly describe "Making Sense -- The Glamorous Story of English Grammar" (Oxford, $24.95) by renowned linguist David Crystal. Instead of scrabbling ...Read more
pukka \PUHK-uh\ (adjective) - 1 : Authentic; genuine. 2 : Good of its kind; first-class.
"Thinks he can cauk the dam in a fortnight. Look at his marginal sketches -- aren't they clear and good? I knew he was pukka, but I didn't know he was as pukka as this." -- Rudyard Kipling, 'The Day's Work'
Pukka comes from Hindi pakka, "cooked, ripe," ...Read more