Hey! Randy

words to know

Posted by heyrandy on January 5, 2008

This collection of words has been compiled through my reading.  I have discovered some of them by looking up the definitions of others.

accusative of the direct object
affiance vt uh fi ens to pledge or betroth in marriage
agonistic adj. combative, struggling to overcome in argument; strained, contrived
alarum any noisy, confused situation
albedo ratio of radiation hitting the earth to that reflected from the earth
aleatoric depending on chance or luck
allusive dealing in allusions, indirect
anomie rootless, lacking values
Antaeus mythical giant wrestler who was invincible as long as he touched his mother earth
aperient a laxative
apostil n. marginal note
apothegm n. ap uh them short, pithy remarks; aphorism
appetence n. ap’ i tens intense natural craving; instinctive affinity for or inclination to
appose vt uh pose to place side by side, apposition
apposite suitable
appurtenance uh pert n ance an adjunct
ashram Indian mystic’s enclosed courtyard where he does his teaching
asyndetic omitting a conjunction
aureole a halo
autarchy self-sufficiency
autolyze to break down cells of your tissue with your own enzymes
badinadoes blows to the bottom of the feet (used in Turkish prisons)
bagnio ban’ yo a brothel
baleful adj. full of menacing influence, pernicious
Bayeux tapestry tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of England
bedizened bee die zen to decorate
benthic of the bottom of the sea
bien-pensant right thinking
bourn (born) 1 bound or limit 2 goal, destination 3 realm or domain
brachial of or like an arm
breviary n. R Cath. the book containing the daily prayers,etc that allow the priest to recite the daily divine office
brilliantine an oily hair dressing
Brobdingnag n. an island inhabited by 60 ft tall giants
brumal adj. wintry
brume n. mist or fog
brummagem adj. showy buy worthless
burnoose n. a hooded robe or cloak worn by Arabs
cadastral public record of land for tax purposes
caesura a break in a line of verse
callet n. a prostitute
calque the transfer of specialized words to another language by the literal translation of their parts
Cambridge change a change that is only apparent and not real
caparison n the decoration on the tack of a horse or the clothing of a person vi to dress richly
carminative n. a drug causing gas to be expelled from the bowel or stomach
carrack n. Mediterranean merchant vessel of the 15th and 16th cent.
carrefour a crossroad, intersection, public square
catachresis adj. catachresis n. the strained or misuse of words
celerity n. swiftness, speed
cenote n. a rainwater filled hole in limestone, common in central america
chanson a song
Chartism n. principles of a group of English social reformers of 1838-43
chary adj. wariness
chillum a clay pipe used in India
clepsydra n. a devise to measure time by the flow of water through an orifice, a water glass
clerisy n. the intellectuals as group
climacteric n. the change in a woman’s life ending in menopause; critic stage in a person’s life when change takes place
clitic n. a word that must be attached to another word e.g. ’em in tell ’em what is said
concessive adj. tending to concede 2 Gram. expressing concession as the English conjunction though
congeries a heap
contretemps an inopportune occurrence
conurbation a large densely populated city with its suburbs
coprolite n. petrified feces
coruscation to give off sudden bright light, to sparkle
corvee forced, unpaid labor of serf by a lord on his estate
Corybante a follower of the goddess Cylebe with dancing and orgies
cosset (kas’ et) n. a pet; vi. to make a pet of, fondle, pamper
coxcomb a silly, vain, foppish fellow
crenate adj. having the edge notched or scalloped to form a rounded tooth
crepitate to make a crackling sound
crepuscular adj. pertaining to twilight, dim, indistinct
crescive growing
crosier bishop’s staff
cynosure person of thing that is the center of attention

dative of the indirect object
declaim vi to speak in a pompous or affected manor
declamations to engage in passionate or pompous speech
decorticate to remove the husk or peel
decussate vt, vi dee kus’ ate to form a x shape
demerara a coarse, light brown sugar
demersal found at or near the bottom of a lake, sea, etc.
demimonde a woman who has lost social standing because of sexual promiscuity
demotic adj. pertaining to the people, popular
deracinate to up root, make homeless
descry vt to make out something indistinct by careful discernment
desinence of an ending, a termination, an inflection
dey ruler of one of the Barbary states
diliquesce vi del a kwes’ to melt away
dirigisme dee ree zhees m gov’t interference in the economy; dirigiste adj. directed by a central authority
donmeh n. a Jew who overtly converts to Islam, yet secretly still observes Jewish ritual
Dormition n. the taking up of the virgin Mary celebrated in Gk. Orthodox and Roman Catholic on Aug. 15
dragoman official guide or interpreter
eidolon eye doe’ len 1 image without existence, phantom 2 an ideal person
eleemosynary of charitable organizations
elentic a method of argument in which a proposition is shown to be true by disproving its opposite
embosk vi to hide something in or with foliage; also imbosk
eminence grise gray eminence, the power hanging over something; a powerful, secret advisor
empyrean of heaven or the sky
emunctory adj. of the intestinal tract, dealing with the digestion of food
enclitic n. a clitic that is attached to the end of another word
endogenous being generated or created from the inside
epigone an inferior follower
Erastian advocation the supreme authority of the state in church matters
eristic of or provoking controversy, or given to sophistry or specious reasoning
esculent edible
estival of summer
excrescence an abnormal outgrowth
exogenous being generated or created from the outside
exordium n. the beginning part
extravasate to flow out from normal vessels into surrounding tissue also used to indicate the flow of lava from a fissu
factitious adj artificial or contrived
factitive adj of verbs taking direct object and objective complement indicating consequence: made in they made him king
farrago confused medley
fasciate vi to bind with bands fasciation
Fenris wolf a wolf like monster
ferrule a rod to whack the hands of kids
flack n. a press agent vi to act as a press agent vi to promote flackery
flagitious extremely evil or barbaric
flechette n. a steel dart shot from a gun
forfend 1 to forbid 2 to ward off, prevent
frisson (free son) n. a shudder or shiver
Fronde n. a series of unsuccessful rebellions during the minority of Louis XIV
frontispiece n. fron tis peas an illustrated leaf before the title page
fustian adj. outmoded, old fashioned
fustigate vt. to beat with a stick, cudgel
fusty adj. moldy, stale ; old and out of date
gibbet n. the arm of a gallows displaying the bodies of the executed criminals
glebe n. soil, field
gnomic using allusions
gomerel a fool, simpleton
gratulation n. the felling of joy, the expression of joy
gudgeon n. a socket for a pintle, a trunnion vi to dupe or cheat
guerdon n. gur’ den a literary prize vi to reward with a guerdon
Guernica Basque town bombed by Nazis
halakic from the Jewish oral (Talmudic) law
hastate adj. spear shaped
hebdomadal adj. weekly
hebdomad n. a week or group of seven
hebetude n. dullness, lethargy
hebitate vt. to make blunt
hierophant an interpreter of esoterica
homunculus a dwarf
houri Islam: the virgins promised the faithful in heaven
imperium n. supreme power
impost a tax
inamorata a woman as a lover, a sweetheart
inanition n. exhaustion from starvation
inappetence n. lack of appetite
interstitial of or forming the interstice- a small crevice or space between parts
intussuscept vt n tus sa sept to invaginate
inunction the process of rubbing ointment on to the skin
irruption n. a violent bursting forth or breaking in 2. a sudden increase in animal population
jabot falling ruffle of lace worn about the neck
janissary a very loyal or submissive follower
jollification n. jolly merry making
jussive expressing a command
Kali the Hindu goddess that gives and destroys life
ken n. range of knowledge v. to know
khanate the domain of a khan
knight-errant a knight sent on a mission
kundalini Hindu concept of a reservoir of divine energy located at the base of the spine and released by yoga
Lamarckism the idea that acquired characteristics are inherited
lebensraum land taken for political expansion
lenitive n. softening or smoothing as in medicine
lineaments n. distinguishing characteristics
lissome moving gracefully, lithe
litotes n. lite’ auh teas an understatement esp in negation: “with not a few regrets”
lateen a triangular sail on such a ship
loggia a balcony facing a open square
lumpen n. the disaffected
lungi Indian loin cloth
Maecenas n. generous patron of the arts
mandala a circular design with images of deities that symbolize the universe
manque adj short of or frustrated in one’s life fulfillment (a poet manque)
Marrano a Jew who outwardly converts to Christianity but secretly is still a Jew, an offensive term for a converso
matryushka Russian dolls that fit inside each other
maunder to speak drivel
messaline a luxurious silk cloth
metonymy n. the use of one object or concept for another to which it is related
micturate to urinate
miliary of a millet seed 2. of a type of tuberculosis that has millet seed sized tubercles
mimesis imitation
modus vivendi n. a temporary agreement
morpheme n. smallest meaningful unit of a language
mortmain 1. transfer of property to a corporation such as a church for perpetual ownership 2. the offensive influence of the past
mummery n. empty ritual
mutatis mutandis with all due adjustments and modifications having been made
myrmidon n. a servant that obey without question
natatorium a swimming pool
Negus title of ruler of Ethiopia
nociceptive no’ sa cep tive adj. of, causing, or reacting to pain
nolens volens whether one wishes it or not
nubilous adj. cloudy, not clear
nuncupative oral, not written
obtest vt. to invoke as a witness, 2 to beseech with fervor
obvert vi. to turn to show a different side
obvolute adj. rolled or turned in
oeuvre (French) a writer’s or artist’s body of work taken as a whole
officialism n. excessive attention to rules and regulations 2. officials in general
olio n. a dish of many ingredients
palfrey n. a riding horse as distinguished from a war horse
Palladian adj. pertaining to the god Pallas; pertaining to wisdom
Palladian of the god Athena of wisdom
Palladium n. anything believed to provide safety of safeguard
pannier woven baskets used on pack animals to transport goods
parricide parent murder
passible adj. that can feel or suffer
pastiche a hodge-podge collection of literary pieces
peculate to embezzle
pelf wealth regarded with contempt
pentimento the fading of oil paint to reveal previous hidden layers of a painting
percipient perceiving keenly
perdu/perdue adj. hidden, obscure
perduration enduring, imperishable
per fervid ardent
perfuse vt to overspread
pergola n. an arbor supported by columns
peripety in literature a sudden turn or reversal of events or action
periphrastic adj. gram. the use of two or more words having the same syntactic function: son of john, john’s son
pertinacity stubborn or obstinate
philippic n. a harsh denunciation of someone
pillion n. pil’ yen extra saddle behind driver’s on a motorcycle
pilose adj. to be covered with hair, especially soft hair
pilpul n. method of rabbinical interpretation of Talmudic lit. that draws especially fine distinctions
pistareen adj pis tuh reen’ of little value or worth
pleonasm to use more words than necessary, to be redundant
pleroma n. fullness from the Greek of Col 2:9
pluvial of rain
pococurante n. indifferent person, v. indifference, nonchalant
pomade perfumed hair dressing
portmanteau a word that is made from parts of two other words
piscine adj. pis’ een of or resembling a fish
precis a summary
prelection n. a lecture or discourse prelect v.
prepossess vt to impress favorably from the beginning
prescripts n. laws
preternatural beyond the natural, superhuman
priapic concerned with virility
priapus the penis
propinquity adj. proximity, nearness, similarity
provenance origin
puck a mischievous sprite
punctate covered with dots or tiny spots
purdah curtain dividing the house in women’s sections and men’s sections
purlieu purl’ you 1 an outlying bound of a city; 2, a place of habitual haunt
purlieus a place outside the boundary. limits, environs, or haunts
pythonic of a divining spirit
quoins overlapping stones at the corner of a building
quondam adj. former
rebarbative repellent, unattractive, grim
recension n. an editorial revision of a text
rechauffe n. ray’ show fay reheated leftovers, any rehashed mtl
rescript an official order
ressentiment frustrated rage
riant adj. rye’ ant to be happy, merry, cheerful
sapid having a taste, especially a pleasing one 2. agreeable to the mind, interesting
saponify v. to change a fat into soap by treating it with an alkali
saporific adj. imparting flavor or taste
sapor n. the substance that gives flavor or taste
saporous adj. flavorful
saprogenic adj. sap roe gen ic producing putrefaction or decay
scansion the act of analyzing poetry by its rhythmic components
scapegrace an unprincipled fellow, a rogue
Schadenfraude glee at another’s misfortune
scrivener notary
seminivorous feeding on seeds
semiology the signs and symbols of a language
semiotics of signs
semi palmate half webbed feet
senescent adj. growing old
shadoof n. water bucket on weighted rod used to raise water
Shavian of G.B. Shaw or his work
Shrievalty of the sheriff
shtetl a Jewish community of eastern Europe
simulacrum 1 image, likeness 2 a vague representation 3 a sham, a pretense
Solon a legislator, especially a wise one
sonorous high sounding
spoilate to rob, plunder
starets  Russian orthodox ch: spiritual advisor
stochastic adj. conjectural; statical meaning contains random variables
strophe n. stro’ fe a stanza
subsidiary coin coin of less than standard unit value
subvention n. 1 a grant of money by a government or other agency to underwrite a project 2 aid or relief
sumptuary pertaining to reduce expenditure or control personal behavior
supervene vi to take place or occur as something additional
suppletion to rotate the arm to have the palm up
suppurative generating pus
surcease an end or cessation
syllepsis n. the use of one word with two syntactic functions
sylph a slender graceful young woman
syndetic adj serving to connect
syndicalism an economic system where the means of production are given to the workers
synecdoche n. a metonymy
tabescent adj tuh bes’ ent to be emaciated or wasted away
Tantra n. books of esoteric Hindu ritual
Tartuffe n. a hypocrite, especially a religious one
telamon n. a supporting column carved in the shape of a man, aka atlas
tendentious of or to promote a perticular view
theophoric name n. the embedded name of a deity in a person’s name
theroid adj. having animal tendencies, brutish
thersitical adj. scurrilous, foul mouthed, abusive
tiffin lunch
tocsin an alarm
topos in literature a repeated theme
traduce vt to defame, malign
trull n. a woman prostitute
trumpery something of no value
twaddle, r n. silly talk, one who use twaddle
ukase an arbitrary decree
unciform hook shaped
Uniate of eastern churches that are under the see of Rome but have their own liturgy and customs
urticaria hives
urticate to sting with nettles
usufructs n. the use and benefit of something without ownership
veld, veldt grassland
velitation hostile encounter
vertiginous adj. whirling, spinning
viands n. items of food
viridian blue-green
volant adj to have the power of flight
volitation n. the act or power of flight
volplane vi. to glide in an airplane
votary one under a vow
white shoe a company that usually deals only with w.a.s.p clients
zeugma n. the use of one word with two objects e.g. wage war and peace

inter se between us

plangent adj. loud and resounding

eruct to belch violently, a volcanic eruption

garboil n. a commotion

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