Sunday, November 29, 2009

Word 165: Jump cut

(in film or television) an abrupt transition from one scene to another

Word 164: Quittance

noun poetic/literary
a release or discharge from a debt or obligation
• a document certifying this; a receipt

Word 163: Uraeus

noun ( pl. uraei)
a representation of a sacred serpent as an emblem of supreme power, worn on the headdresses of ancient Egyptian deities and sovereigns

Word 162: Theodolite

a surveying instrument with a rotating telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles

Word 161: Palimony

noun informal
compensation made by one member of an unmarried couple to the other after separation

Word 160: Klatsch

a social gathering, esp. for coffee and conversation

Word 159: Vomer

noun Anatomy
the small thin bone separating the left and right nasal cavities in humans and most other vertebrates

Word 157: Omophagy

the eating of raw food, esp. raw meat

Word 156: Seppuku

ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practiced in Japan by samurai as an honorable alternative to disgrace or execution

Word 155: Latrine

a toilet, esp. a communal one in a camp or barracks

Word 154: Halyard

a rope used for raising and lowering a sail, spar, flag, or yard on a sailing ship

Word 153: Remuage

the periodic turning or shaking of bottled wine, esp. champagne, to move sediment toward the cork

Word 152: Effleurage

massage in circular stroking movements made with the palm of the hand

Word 151: Worm's-eye view

a view as seen from below or from a humble position

Word 150: Crèche

a model or tableau representing the scene of Jesus Christ's birth, displayed in homes or public places at Christmas

Word 149: Ylem

noun Astronomy
(in the big bang theory) the primordial matter of the universe, originally conceived as composed of neutrons at high temperature and density

Word 148: Imprest

a fund used by a business for small items of expenditure and restored to a fixed amount periodically
• an advance of money made to someone engaged in some business with the state, enabling them to carry out the business
• a sum of money advanced to a person for a particular purpose

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Word 147: Scrag

verb [ trans.] informal
kill, esp. by strangling or hanging

Word 146: Batterie de cuisine

the apparatus or set of utensils for serving or preparing a meal

Word 145: Dashiki

noun ( pl. -kis)
a loose, brightly colored shirt or tunic, originally from West Africa

Word 144: Gage

a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith
• a pledge, esp. a glove, thrown down as a symbol of a challenge to fight

Friday, November 27, 2009

Word 143: Millefiori

a kind of ornamental glass in which a number of glass rods of different sizes and colors are fused together and cut into sections that form various patterns, typically embedded in colorless transparent glass to make items such as paperweights

Word 142: Fons et origo

the source and origin of something

Word 141: Adaptogenic

(in herbal medicine) a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes

Word 140: Netsuke

noun ( pl. same or -kes)
a carved buttonlike ornament, esp. of ivory or wood, formerly worn in Japan to suspend articles from the sash of a kimono

Word 139: Prosopagnosia

noun Psychiatry
an inability to recognize the faces of familiar people, typically as a result of damage to the brain

Word 138: Zygodactyl

(of a bird's feet) having two toes pointing forward and two backward

Word 137: Tummler

a person who makes things happen, in particular a professional entertainer whose function is to encourage an audience, guests at a resort, etc., to participate in the entertainments or activities

Word 136: Gnosis

knowledge of spiritual mysteries

Word 135: Legman

noun ( pl. -men)
a reporter whose job it is to gather information about news stories at the scene of the event or from an original source
• a person employed to do simple tasks such as running errands or collecting information from outside their workplace

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Word 134: Noli me tangere

a warning or prohibition against meddling or interference

Word 133: Formication

a sensation like insects crawling over the skin

Word 132: Consuetude

an established custom, esp. one having legal force

Word 131: Petitio principii

noun Logic
a fallacy in which a conclusion is taken for granted in the premises; begging the question

Word 130: Éclaircissment

noun poetic/literary
an enlightening explanation of something, typically someone's conduct, that has been hitherto inexplicable

Word 129: Vis medicatrix naturae

the body's natural ability to heal itself

Word 128: Rentier

a person living on income from property or investments

Word 127: Yantra

a geometric diagram, or any object, used as an aid to meditation in tantric worship

Word 126: Nidus

noun ( pl. -di or -duses)
a place in which something is formed or deposited; a site of origin
Medicine a place in which bacteria have multiplied or may multiply; a focus of infection

Word 125: Xeroderma

any of various diseases characterized by extreme dryness of the skin, esp. a mild form of ichthyosis

Word 124: Mahout

(in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia) a person who works with, rides, and tends an elephant

Word 123: Shakuhachi

oun ( pl. -chis)
a Japanese bamboo flute, held vertically when played

Word 122: Woopie

noun ( pl. -ies) informal
an affluent retired person able to pursue an active lifestyle

Word 121: Hidrosis

noun Medicine

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Word 120: Ocarina

a small egg-shaped wind instrument with a mouthpiece and holes for the fingers

Word 119: Battue

the driving of game toward hunters by beaters

Word 118: Ignotum per ignotius

the action of offering an explanation that is harder to understand than the thing it is meant to explain

Word 117: Ex libris

used as an inscription on a bookplate to show the name of the book's owner

Word 116: Tonsure

a part of a monk's or priest's head left bare on top by shaving off the hair

Word 115: Milk-and-water

adjective [ attrib.]
lacking the will or ability to act effectively

Word 114: Newel

a post at the head or foot of a flight of stairs, supporting a handrail

Word 113: Zakat

obligatory payment made annually under Islamic law on certain kinds of property and used for charitable and religious purposes

Word 112: Mariage blanc

noun ( pl. mariages blancs)
an unconsummated marriage

Word 111: Jactitation

noun Medicine
the restless tossing of the body in illness

Word 110: Daven

verb [ intrans.]
(in Judaism) recite the prescribed liturgical prayers

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Word 109: Premier cru

noun ( pl. premiers crus)
(chiefly in French official classifications) a wine of a superior grade, or the vineyard that produces it

Word 108: Grubstake

noun informal
an amount of material, provisions, or money supplied to an enterprise (originally a prospector for ore) in return for a share in the resulting profits

Word 107: Anhedonia

noun Psychiatry
inability to feel pleasure

Word 106: Chicken hawk

noun informal
an older man who seeks young boys as sexual partners

Word 105: Foley

relating to or concerned with the addition of recorded sound effects after the shooting of a film

Word 104: Ombré

(of a fabric) having a dyed, printed, or woven design in which the color is graduated from light to dark

Monday, November 23, 2009

Word 103: Ecbolic

adjective Medicine
inducing contractions of the uterus leading to expulsion of a fetus

Word 102: Mediocracy

noun ( pl. -cies)
a dominant class consisting of mediocre people, or a system in which mediocrity is rewarded

Word 101: Ad rem

adverb & adjective formal
relevant to what is being done or discussed at the time

Word 100: Houri

noun ( pl. -ris)
a beautiful young woman, esp. one of the virgin companions of the faithful in the Muslim Paradise

Word 99: Wet-nurse

verb [ trans.]
act as a wet nurse to
• informal look after (someone) as though they were a helpless infant

Word 98: Impasto

noun Art
the process or technique of laying on paint or pigment thickly so that it stands out from a surface

Word 97: Congé

an unceremonious dismissal of someone

Word 96: Lewis

a steel device for gripping heavy blocks of stone or concrete for lifting, consisting of three pieces arranged to form a dovetail, the outside pieces being fixed in a dovetail mortise by the insertion of the middle piece

Word 95: Vinify

the conversion of grape juice or other vegetable extract into wine by fermentation

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Word 94: Nootropic

(of a drug) used to enhance memory or other cognitive functions

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Word 93: Jeu d'esprit

noun ( pl. jeux d'esprit)
a lighthearted display of wit and cleverness, esp. in a work of literature

Word 92: Froe

a cleaving tool with a handle at right angles to the blade

Word 91: Kludge

verb [ trans.]
use ill-assorted parts to make something

Word 90: Nef

an elaborate table decoration in the shape of a ship for holding such things as table napkins and condiments

Word 89: Epergne

an ornamental centerpiece for a dining table, typically used for holding fruit or flowers

Word 88: In flagrante delicto

in the very act of wrongdoing, esp. in an act of sexual misconduct

Word 87: Zorbing

a sport in which a participant is secured inside an inner capsule in a large, transparent ball that is then rolled along the ground or down hills

Word 86: Douceur de vivre

a way of living that is pleasant and free from worries

Word 85: Nixie

a misaddressed or illegibly addressed piece of mail, therefore undeliverable

Word 84: Hypnopompic

adjective Psychology
of or relating to the state immediately preceding waking up

Word 83: Lichen

a simple slow-growing plant that typically forms a low crustlike, leaflike, or branching growth on rocks, walls, and trees

Word 82: Bier

a movable frame on which a coffin or a corpse is placed before burial or cremation or on which it is carried to the grave

Word 81: Prim

verb [ trans.]
purse (the mouth or lips) into a prim expression

Word 80: Gavage

the administration of food or drugs by force, esp. to an animal, typically through a tube leading down the throat to the stomach

Word 79: Cloud seeding

the dropping of crystals into clouds to cause rain

Word 78: Neoteny

noun Zoology
the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal

Word 77: Sitz bath

a bath in which only the buttocks and hips are immersed in water

Word 76: Agave

a succulent plant with rosettes of narrow spiny leaves and tall flower spikes, native to the southern US and tropical America

Friday, November 20, 2009

Word 75: Memento mori

noun ( pl. same)
an object serving as a warning or reminder of death, such as a skull

Word 74: Jalousie

a blind or shutter made of a row of angled slats

Word 73: Vigorish

noun informal
the percentage deducted from a gambler's winnings by the organizers of a game

Word 72: Akrasia

noun chiefly Philosophy
the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will

Word 71: Maw

the jaws or throat of a voracious animal

Word 70: Shame culture

noun Anthropology
a culture in which conformity of behavior is maintained through the individual's fear of being shamed

Word 69: Sherwani

noun ( pl. -nis)
a knee-length coat buttoning to the neck, worn by men from the Indian subcontinent

Word 68: Wigwam

a dome-shaped hut or tent made by fastening mats, skins, or bark over a framework of poles, used by some North American Indian peoples

Word 67: Ingravescent

adjective Medicine
(of a condition or symptom) gradually increasing in severity

Word 66: Hagridden

afflicted by nightmares or anxieties

Word 65: Kanji

a system of Japanese writing using Chinese characters

Word 64: Jardinière

an ornamental pot or stand for the display of growing plants

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Word 63: In vino veritas

under the influence of alcohol, a person tells the truth

Word 62: Zygoma

noun ( pl. -mata) Anatomy
the bony arch of the cheek formed by connection of the zygomatic and temporal bones

Word 61: Mahlstick

a light stick with a padded leather ball at one end, held against work by a painter or signwriter to support and steady the brush hand

Word 60: Hakim

a physician using traditional remedies in India and Muslim countries

Word 59: Scullion

a servant assigned the most menial kitchen tasks

Word 58: Wake

a trail of disturbed water or air left by the passage of a ship or aircraft

Word 57: Hophead

noun informal
a drug addict

Word 56: Madrasa

a college for Islamic instruction

Word 55: Esker

noun Geology
a long ridge of gravel and other sediment, typically having a winding course, deposited by meltwater from a retreating glacier or ice sheet

Word 54: A posteriori

relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge that proceeds from observations or experiences to the deduction of probable causes

Word 53: Lithotomy

surgical removal of a calculus (stone) from the bladder, kidney, or urinary tract

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Word 52: Credenza

a sideboard or cupboard

Word 51: Entr'acte

an interval between two acts of a play or opera

Word 50: Letter bomb

an explosive device hidden in a small package and sent to someone with the intention of harming or killing them

Word 49: Wicket door

a small door or gate, esp. one beside or in a larger one

Word 48: Bouquet garni

noun ( pl. bouquets garnis)
a bunch of herbs, typically encased in a cheesecloth bag, used for flavoring a stew or soup

Word 47: Pergola

an archway in a garden or park consisting of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants

Word 46: Leechcraft

the art of healing

Monday, November 16, 2009

Word 45: Zoonosis

noun ( pl. -ses)
a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals

Word 44: Serape

a shawl or blanket worn as a cloak in Latin America

Word 43: Etrier

noun Climbing
a short rope ladder with a few rungs of wood or metal

Word 42: Retroussé

(of a person's nose) turned up at the tip, esp. in an attractive way

Word 41: Prisoner's dilemma

(in game theory) a situation in which two players each have two options whose outcome depends crucially on the simultaneous choice made by the other, often formulated in terms of two prisoners separately deciding whether to confess to a crime

Word 40: Vitrine

a glass display case

Word 39: Wolf whistle

a whistle with a rising and falling pitch, directed toward someone to express sexual attraction or admiration

Word 38: Marionette

a puppet worked from above by strings attached to its limbs

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Word 37: Jumar

noun Climbing
a clamp that is attached to a fixed rope and automatically tightens when weight is applied and relaxes when it is removed

Word 36: Qibla

noun [ in sing.]
the direction of the Kaaba (the sacred building at Mecca), to which Muslims turn at prayer

Word 35: Reiki

a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being

Word 34: Urolagnia

a tendency to derive sexual pleasure from the sight or thought of urination

Word 33: Jouissance

noun formal
physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy

Word 32: Étagère

noun ( pl. étagères)
a piece of furniture with a number of open shelves for displaying ornaments

Word 31: Kettledrum

a large drum shaped like a bowl, with a membrane adjustable for tension (and so pitch) stretched across

Word 30: Caster

each of a set of small wheels, free to swivel in any direction, fixed to the legs or base of a heavy piece of furniture so that it can be moved easily

Word 29: Ogee

adjective Architecture
having a double continuous S-shaped curve

Word 28: Tombolo

noun ( pl. -los)
a bar of sand or shingle joining an island to the mainland

Word 27: Ventail

noun historical
the lower movable front of a medieval helmet

Word 26: Tilak

a mark worn by a Hindu on the forehead to indicate caste, status, or sect, or as an ornament

Word 25: Wyvern

noun Heraldry
a winged two-legged dragon with a barbed tail

Friday, November 13, 2009

Word 24: Pot-valiant

(of a person) courageous as a result of being drunk

Word 23: Sitzfleisch

noun informal
a person's buttocks
• power to endure or to persevere in an activity; staying power

Word 22: Nooner

noun informal
an event that occurs in the middle of the day, esp. an act of sexual intercourse

Word 21: Inverted snobbery

noun derogatory
the attitude of seeming to despise anything associated with wealth or social status, while at the same time elevating those things associated with lack of wealth and social position

Word 20: Compte rendu

noun ( pl. comptes rendus pronunc. same)
a formal report or review

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Word 19: Clevis

a U-shaped or forked metal connector within which another part can be fastened by means of a bolt or pin passing through the ends of the connector

Word 18: Neuston

noun Biology
small aquatic organisms inhabiting the surface layer or moving on the surface film of water

Word 17: Kazachok

a Slavic dance with a fast and typically quickening tempo, featuring a step in which a squatting dancer kicks out each leg alternately to the front

Word 16: Mammon

wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It was taken by medieval writers as the name of the devil of covetousness, and revived in this sense by Milton

Word 15: Soutane

a type of cassock worn by Roman Catholic priests

Word 14: Clerical collar

a stiff upright white collar that fastens at the back, worn by the clergy in some churches

Word 13: Transom

a strengthening crossbar, in particular one set above a window or door

Word 12: Vernix

noun ( in full vernix caseosa)
a greasy deposit covering the skin of a baby at birth

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Word 11: Lex talionis

the law of retaliation, whereby a punishment resembles the offense committed in kind and degree

Word 10: Agogo

a small bell made of two metal cones, used as a percussion instrument in African and Latin music

Word 9: Dieback

a condition in which a tree or shrub begins to die from the tip of its leaves or roots backward, owing to disease or an unfavorable environment

Word 8: Nebulizer

a device for producing a fine spray of liquid, used for example for inhaling a medicinal drug

Word 7: Thremmatology

the science of breeding animals and plants

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Word 7: Hypnopedia

the act or process of learning during sleep by listening to recordings repeatedly

Monday, November 9, 2009

Word 6: Feu de joie

noun ( pl. feux de joie)
a rifle salute fired by soldiers on a ceremonial occasion, each soldier firing in succession along the ranks to make a continuous sound

Word 5: Booboisie

noun informal
stupid people as a class

Word 4: Massé

noun [ usu. as adj.] Billiards
a stroke made with an inclined cue, imparting swerve to the ball

Word 3: Shoji

noun ( pl. same or -jis)
(in Japan) a sliding outer or inner door made of a latticed screen covered with white paper

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Word 2: Havelock

a cloth covering for a military cap that extends downward to protect the neck from sun and weather

Word 1: Grass Widow

a woman whose husband is away often or for a prolonged period