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Today's Word "clemency"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "alpenglow"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "sacrosanct"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "tmesis"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "querulous"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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."

Today's Word "cynosure"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "paladin"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "parsimonious"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "somniferous"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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."

Today's Word "dilatory"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "parley"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "expatiate"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "tyro"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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."

Today's Word "prink"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

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

Today's Word "arriviste"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

arriviste \a-ree-VEEST\ (noun) - A person who has recently attained success, wealth, or high status but not general acceptance or respect; an upstart.

"Then Violet McKisco, whose prettiness had been piped to the surface of her, so that she ceased her struggle to make tangible to herself her shadowy position as the wife of an arriviste who had ...Read more

Today's Word "egregious"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

egregious \ih-GREE-juhs\ (adjective) - Conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible.

"Now, while I rigorously defend your right to be wrong, I feel I must address some of your more egregious utterances." -- Joy Fielding, 'Heartstopper - A Novel'

Egregious derives from Latin egregius, separated or chosen from the herd, from e-, ex-, out ...Read more

Dishing Up the Origins of 'Chafing'

Knowledge / The Word Guy /

I was serving as a "celebrity chef" at a recent fundraising event (despite my being neither a celebrity nor a chef). Suddenly one of my fellow c.c.'s (who actually WAS a celebrity) approached and asked why the device warming the scrumptious Coq au Vin he was serving was called a "chafing dish."

After all, he explained, there didn't seem to be...Read more

Today's Word "fallible"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

fallible \FAL-uh-bul\ (adjective) - 1 : Liable to make a mistake. 2 : Liable to be inaccurate or erroneous.

"You are human and fallible... The human and fallible should not arrogate a power with which the divine and perfect alone can be safely intrusted." -- Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre'

Fallible derives from Medieval Latin fallibilis, from ...Read more

Today's Word "intrepid"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

intrepid \in-TREP-id\, adjective) - Fearless; bold; brave; undaunted; courageous; as, an intrepid soldier; intrepid spirit.

"The French settlers' commander had seemed so intrepid. Why wasn't he intrepid enough to stick his head in the noose?" -- Harry Turtledove, 'Opening Atlantis'

Intrepid comes from Latin intrepidus, "calm," from in-, "not" ...Read more

Today's Word "turbid"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

turbid \TUR-bid\ (adjective) - 1 : Muddy; thick with or as if with roiled sediment; not clear; -- used of liquids of any kind. 2 : Thick; dense; dark; -- used of clouds, air, fog, smoke, etc. 3 : Disturbed; confused; disordered.

"In the very middle of those times was a Stickly- Prickly Hedgehog, and he lived on the banks of the turbid Amazon, ...Read more

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