Friday, January 19, 2007


prevaricate (vi)

1. To shift or turn from the direct course, or from truth; to evade the truth; to waffle or be (intentionally) ambiguous.

2. To speak with equivocation; to shuffle; to quibble.

3. To collude, as where an informer colludes with the defendant, and makes a sham prosecution.


mountebank (n)

1. One who sells dubious medicines.

2. One who sells by deception; a con artist; a charlatan.

mountebank (vi)

1. To act as a mountebank.


pontificate (n)

1. The state or term of office of a pontiff or pontifex.

pontificate (vi)

1. To preside as a bishop, especially at mass.

2. To act like a pontiff; to be pompous, or express one's position as if it is absolutely correct.

3. To speak in a patronizing, supercilious or pompous manner, especially at length.


verisimilitude (n)

1. The property of seeming true, of resembling reality; resemblance to reality, realism.

2. A statement which merely appears to be true.


supinate (vt)

1. (anatomy): To twist the forearm so as to turn the palm of the hand towards the body or forwards, thereby contracting the biceps brachii.

2. (anatomy): To twist the foot so the weight is on the outer edge.

supinate (vi)

1. To become supinated.


tremulous (adj)

1. Trembling, quivering or shaking.

2. Timid or unconfident.


noesis (n)

1. The consciousness side to duality of noesis and noema.


orthogonal (adj)

1. (geometry) Pertaining to right angles; perpendicular (to).


2. Of two functions, linearly independent; having a zero inner product.

3. Of a square matrix that is the inverse of its transpose.

4. Of a linear transformation that preserves angles.

5. (statistics) Statistically independent, with reference to variates.

6. (software engineering) Able to be treated separately.


nefarious (adj)

1. Infamous for being wicked.


to ululate (vi)

1. To howl loudly or prolongedly in lamentation or joy.


reconnoiter (vt)

1. To survey something (generally an enemy's land and position).


omnific (adj)

1. Capable of making or doing anything; all-creating.


yonder (adj)

1. In an indicated place; over there.


zeitgeist (n)

1. The spirit of the age; the taste, outlook, and spirit characteristic of a period.

2. A phenomenon based on fate where something simultaneously happens everywhere at a certain time.


doctrinaire (adj)

1. Stubbornly holding on to an idea without concern for practicalities or reality.


pedagogue (n)

1. A teacher or instructor of children; one whose occupation is to teach the young.

2. A pedant; one who by teaching has become formal or pedantic in his or her ways; one who has the manner of a teacher.

3. (archaic) A slave who led the master's children to school, and had the charge of them generally.


pedantic (adj)

1. Like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.

2. Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner.

3. Often used to describe a person who emphasizes his/her knowledge through the use of vocabulary; ostentatious in one’s learning.

4. Being finicky or picky with language.


stochastic (adj)

1. Random, randomly-determined.

vade mecum

vade mecum (n)

1. A referential book such as a handbook or manual.

2. A useful object, constantly carried on one's person.


uxoricide (n)

1. A man who kills his wife.

2. The killing of one's wife.


sycophant (n)

1. One who uses compliments to gain self-serving favor or advantage from another.

2. One who seeks to gain through the powerful and influential.


trudge (vi)

1. To walk wearily with heavy, slow steps.


reticent (adj)

1. Keeping one's thoughts and opinions to oneself; reserved or restrained.


quaternary (adj)

1. Of fourth rank or order.

2. Of a mathematical expression containing e.g. x^4.


synecdoche (n)

1. A metaphor by which an inclusive term stands for something included, or vice versa; A metaphor in which a part is spoken of as the whole (hand for laborer) or vice-versa (the court for the judge).


puissant (adj)

1. Powerful, mighty, having authority.


myrmecology (n)

1. (zoology): The study of ants.


nemorous (adj)

1. (rare) Forested; full of trees, dark with shady groves.


mollify (vt)

1. To ease a burden; make less painful; to comfort.

2. To appease.


hyperbole (n)

1. Extreme exaggeration or overstatement; especially as a literary or rhetorical device.

2. Deliberate exaggeration.

3. An instance or example of this technique.

4. (obsolete) A hyperbola.


inchoate (adj)

1. Recently started but not fully formed yet; just begun; only elementary or immature.

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limpid (adj)

1. Clear, particularly transparent or bright.


kabuki (n) (often capitalized)

1. A form of Japanese theatre in which elaborately costumed male performers use stylized movements, dances, and songs in order to enact tragedies and comedies.


jingoism (n)

1. Excessive patriotism or aggressive nationalism esp. as regards foreign policy.


eponym (n)

1. A person whose name has become identified with a particular object or activity.

2. A word formed from a person’s name, e.g. stentorian after the Greek herald Stentor.

3. The hero of a book, film etc. having the character’s name as its title, e.g. Robinson Crusoe.

4. (healthcare) A condition, disease or disorder named after a particular clinician or patient, e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, named after the neurologist Alois Alzheimer.


defatigable (adj)

1. (obsolete) Easily tired or wearied; capable of being fatigued.


exiguous (adj)

1. Extremely scanty; meager.


flocculent (adj)

1. Flocculated, resembling bits of wool, woolly.

2. Covered in a woolly substance; downy.

3. Flaky.


masticate (vt)

1. To chew (food).

2. To grind or knead something into a pulp.


brobdingnagian (n)

1. A creature from Brobdingnag (a country in Jonathan Swift's novel entitled Gulliver's Travels).
2. (figuratively) A giant.

brobdingnagian (adj)

1. Of or pertaining to Brobdingnag.

2. Enormous, huge, far larger than is customary for such a thing.


hermeneutics (n)

1. The study or theory of the methodical interpretation of text, especially holy texts.

Gordian knot

Gordian knot (n)

1. The legendary knot tied to a pole near the temple of Zeus in Gordium.

2. (by extension) Any intricate and complex problem.


avolition (n)

1. Lack of initiative or goals; one of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.


kinesthesia (n)

1. Sensation or perception of motion.

2. (physiology) The perception of the movement of one's own body, its limbs and muscles etc.

3. (performing arts) A spectator's perception of the motion of a performer, or, the effect of the motion of a scene on the spectator.

4. Proprioception or static position sense; the perception of the position and posture of the body; also, more broadly, including the motion of the body as well.


mellifluous (adj)

1. Flowing like honey.

2. Sweet and smooth; generally used of a person's voice, tone or writing style.

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guffaw (n)

1. A boisterous laugh.

guffaw (vi)

1. To laugh boisterously.


halcyon (adj)

1. Pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher.

2. Calm, undisturbed, peaceful, serene.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


crapulous (adj)

1. Surcharged with liquor; alcoholism; sick from excessive indulgence in drinking or eating; drunk; given to excesses.

2. Characterized by excessive eating or drinking; debauched; intemperate.

3. Having a stomach upset by too much drinking.


rodomontade (adj)

1. Pretentiously boastful.

rotomontade (n)

1. Vain boasting; a rant; pretentious behaviour.

rotomontade (vi)

1. To boast, brag or bluster pretentiously.

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winnow (vi)

1. To free or separate grain or the like from chaff or refuse matter, usually by means of wind.

2. To move about with a flapping motion, as of wings; to flutter.

3. To fan; set in motion by means of wind; specifically, to expose (grain) to a current of air in order to separate and drive off chaff, refuse particles, etc.

winnow (vt)

1. To blow upon; to toss about by blowing.

2. To separate, expel, or disperse by or as by fanning or blowing; to sift or weed out; to separate or distinguish, as one thing from another.

3. To set in motion or vibration; to beat as with a fan or wings.

4. To wave to and fro; to flutter; to flap.

5. To pursue or accomplish with a waving or flapping motion, as of wings.

6. Figuratively, to subject to a process analogous to the winnowing of grain; to separate into parts according to kind; to sift; to analyze or scrutinize carefully; to examine; to test.