euphonious \yoo-FOH-nee-uhs\ (adjective) - Pleasing or sweet in sound; smooth-sounding.
"At twelve-zero-zero Greewich time I had already been introduced to the Director of the British Museum, whose euphonious and idiotic name was something like Sir Silage Corn." -- Venedikt Erofeev, 'Moscow to the End of the Line'
Euphonious comes from Greek ...Read more
termagant \TUR-muh-guhnt\ (noun) - A scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; a shrew.
(adjective) - Overbearing; shrewish; scolding.
"For you are the witch Magrit, the horrid harridan, the repulsive termagant, the fustigant fury, the execrable harpy, the verminous virago, the loathsome she-wolf." -- Eric Flint, 'Forward the Mage'
Termagant ...Read more
contradistinction \kon-truh-dis-TINK-shuhn\ (noun) - Distinction by contrast; as, "sculpture in contradistinction to painting."
"The balloon, for the twenty-two days of its existence, offered the possibility, in its randomness, of mislocation of the self, in contradistinction to the grid of precise, rectangular pathways under our feet." -- by ...Read more
palimpsest \PAL-imp-sest\ (noun) - 1 : A manuscript, usually of papyrus or parchment, on which more than one text has been written with the earlier writing incompletely erased and still visible. 2 : An object or place whose older layers or aspects are apparent beneath its surface.
"A palimpsest obscures what lies beneath. To build Pakistan it ...Read more
constitutional \kon-stih-TOO-shuhn-uhl; -TYOO-\ (noun) - A walk taken for one's health.
"A wise physician does not simply give a tonic for a diseased limb, or a high fever; the patient might be dead before the constitutional remedy could become effective." -- Charles Waddell Chesnutt, 'The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories'
A constitutional ...Read more
acrid \AK-rid\ (adjective) - 1 : Sharp and harsh, or bitter to the taste or smell; pungent. 2 : Caustic in language or tone; bitter.
"It sizzled and sparked, and sent its acrid odor up everyone's nostrils; Jennifer thought of hellfire." -- Richard Janssen, 'The Evil I Do'
Acrid comes from Latin acer, "sharp."
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."
"I could inveigh against someone who denied his Jewishness, who played at being a goy." -- Michael Brodsky, 'Detour'
Inveigh is from Latin invehi, "to attack with words," passive...Read more
defenestrate \dee-FEN-uh-strayt\ (transitive verb) - To throw out of a window.
"You can't defenestrate every man who proposes to Nefret. It would take too much of your time." -- Elizabeth Peters, 'The Falcon at the Portal'
Defenestrate is derived from Latin de-, "out of" + fenestra, "window." The noun form is defenestration.
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The Zen of Poetry – A beginner’s guide to sensory writing with authentic meaning and story. How to Write Poetry provides a quick series of lessons for weekend workshops and individuals at home. It's intentionally concise, although extra tips are freely available on ...
edacious \i-DAY-shus\ (adjective) - Given to eating; voracious; devouring.
"Occasionally the road must be set back, and once the lighthouse was moved back from the cliffs, eaten away by the edacious tooth of the sea." -- Henry White Warren, 'Among The Forces'
Edacious is from Latin edax, edac-, gluttonous, consuming, from edo, edere, to eat.
aberrant \a-BERR-unt; AB-ur-unt\ (adjective) - Markedly different from an accepted norm; Deviating from the ordinary or natural type; abnormal.
"Another factor the court had to consider was whether the crime was part of a single period of aberrant behavior." -- Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, 'Sullivan's Evidence'
That which is aberrant is literally ...Read more
aggrandize \uh-GRAN-dyz; AG-ruhn-dyz\ (transitive verb) - 1 : To make great or greater; to enlarge; to increase. 2 : To make great or greater in power, rank, reputation, or wealth; -- applied to persons, countries, etc. 3 : To make appear great or greater; to exalt.
"He only wanted to aggrandize and enrich himself; and if Miss Woodhouse of ...Read more
supererogatory \soo-puhr-ih-ROG-uh-tor-ee\ (adjective) - 1 : Going beyond what is required or expected. 2 : Superfluous; unnecessary.
"I shall attempt no such supererogatory task as a description of Paris." -- James Weldon Johnson, 'The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man'
Supererogatory comes from Latin supererogare, "to spend over and above,"...Read more
ennui \on-WEE\ (noun) - A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction arising from lack of interest; boredom.
"The day at Swampscott passed in ennui, the lack of activity causing the three attorneys to make constant calls to their offices in the hopes that someone wanted their services..." -- Robert Ludlum, 'The Road to Omaha'
Ennui is from the ...Read more
blandishment \BLAN-dish-muhnt\ (noun) - Speech or action that flatters and tends to coax, entice, or persuade; allurement -- often used in the plural.
"The woman was temptation personified, and every blandishment she offered contained a challenge, I thought, to my ultimate moral strength." -- Jack Whyte, 'The Singing Sword'
Blandishment ...Read more
sojourn \SOH-juhrn; so-JURN\ (intransitive verb) - To stay as a temporary resident; to dwell for a time.
(noun) - A temporary stay.
"At times during this interminable sojourn, I might disappear for hours on end; Sita would wake from her fitful slumber and find herself alone..." -- Ashok Mathur, 'The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar'
Sojourn ...Read more
bombast \BOM-bast\ (noun) - Pompous or pretentious speech or writing.
"Sain Flint decided not to run Amelia Lowell's bombast on the front page. Instead, he put it on page three." -- Richard S. Wheeler, 'Flint's Truth'
Bombast comes from Medieval French bombace, "cotton, hance padding," from Late Latin bombax, "cotton."
sardonic \sar-DON-ik\ (adjective) - Scornful, mocking; disdainfully humorous.
"The young man stood looking down at her with sardonic contempt, a cowed self-conscious look on his thick, pale face." -- D.H. Lawrence, 'Women in Love'
Sardonic comes from French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Greek sardonios, sardanios, "derisive."
perspicacity \pur-spuh-KAS-uh-tee\ (noun) - Clearness of understanding or insight; penetration, discernment.
"Such a horse gives its rider discernment and perspicacity, if not clairvoyance. It will save you from being surprised by your enemies." -- Sudhin N. Ghose, 'Folk Tales and Fairy Stories from India'
Perspicacity comes from Latin ...Read more
Q: I am really bothered by the modern abbreviation "who's next," as in "May I help who's next?" I take it to be a shortened form of "May I help the person who is next in line?" Does this abbreviation bother you? Why or why not? -- Deborah Griesbach, Watertown, Conn.
A: Ah, yes. We all know this purgatory well: You're one of 10 customers ...Read more
hauteur \haw-TUR; (h)oh-\ (noun) - Haughty manner, spirit, or bearing; haughtiness; arrogance.
"She was unremarkable in every way save for the hauteur with which she regarded him." -- Karen Robards, 'Scandalous'
Hauteur is from the French, from haut, "high," from Latin altus, "high." It is thus related to altitude.