Saturday, November 27, 2010

Word 3049: Fipple

the mouthpiece of a recorder or similar wind instrument that is blown endwise, in which a thin channel cut through a block directs a stream of air against a sharp edge. The term has been applied to various parts of this, including the block and the channel

Word 3048: Fluvial

adjective chiefly Geology
of or found in a river

Word 3047: Plaint

noun Brit. Law
an accusation; a charge
chiefly poetic/literary a complaint; a lamentation

Word 3046: Cognoscenti

plural noun
people who are considered to be especially well informed about a particular subject

Monday, November 15, 2010

Word 3045: Tisane

an herbal tea, consumed esp. for its medicinal properties

Word 3044: Mansuetude

noun archaic
meekness; gentleness

Word 3043: Philistine

1. a member of a non-Semitic (perhaps originally Anatolian) people of southern Palestine in ancient times, who came into conflict with the Israelites during the 12th and 11th centuries BC.
According to the Bible, the Philistines, from whom the country of Palestine took its name, came from Crete and settled the southern coastal plain of Canaan in the 12th century BC
2. (usu. philistine) a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them

Word 3042: Gravamen

noun ( pl. -vamina) chiefly Law
the essence or most serious part of a complaint or accusation
• a grievance

Word 3041: Pyrite

a shiny yellow mineral consisting of iron disulfide and typically occurring as intersecting cubic crystals

Word 3040: Fig

noun (in phrase full fig)
smart clothes, esp. those appropriate to a particular occasion or profession

Word 3039: Éclaircissement

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

Word 3038: Coterie

noun ( pl. -ries)
a small group of people with shared interests or tastes, esp. one that is exclusive of other people

Word 3037: Pale

1. a wooden stake or post used as an upright along with others to form a fence
figurative a boundary
2. Heraldry a broad vertical stripe down the middle of a shield

Word 3036: Twee

adjective Brit., chiefly derogatory
excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental

Word 3035: Devoir

noun archaic
a person's duty
• ( pay one's devoirs) pay one's respects formally

Word 3034: Morganatic

of or denoting a marriage in which neither the spouse of lower rank nor any children have any claim to the possessions or title of the spouse of higher rank

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Word 3033: Funicle

noun Botany
a filamentous stalk attaching a seed or ovule to the placenta
Entomology a filamentous section of an insect's antenna, supporting the club

Word 3032: Middlebrow

(of art or literature or a system of thought) demanding or involving only a moderate degree of intellectual application, typically as a result of not deviating from convention

Word 3031: Infra dig

adjective [ predic.] informal
beneath one; demeaning

Word 3030: Barmecidal

adjective [ attrib.] rare
illusory or imaginary and therefore disappointing

Word 3029: Stile

an arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall

Word 3028: Hansel

a gift given for good luck at the beginning of the year or to mark an acquisition or the start of an enterprise
• the first installment of a payment

Word 3027: Diluvial

of or relating to a flood or floods, esp. the biblical Flood

Word 3026: Nepenthes

noun (also nepenthe) poetic/literary
a drug described in Homer's Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person's mind
• any drug or potion bringing welcome forgetfulness

Word 3025: Drey

noun ( pl. dreys)
the nest of a squirrel, typically in the form of a mass of twigs in a tree

Word 3024: Amerce

noun historical English Law
a fine

Word 3023: Schnorrer

noun informal
a beggar or scrounger; a layabout

Word 3022: Flivver

noun informal dated
a cheap car or aircraft, esp. one in bad condition

Word 3021: Ceilometer

a device for measuring and recording the height of clouds

Word 3020: Kvetch

noun informal
a person who complains a great deal
• a complaint

Word 3019: Abulia

an absence of willpower or an inability to act decisively, as a symptom of mental illness

Word 3018: Pangloss

a person who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances

Word 3017: Babbitt

noun dated
a materialistic, complacent, and conformist businessman

Word 3016: Roc

a gigantic mythological bird described in the Arabian Nights

Word 3015: Perpend

a vertical layer of mortar between two bricks

Word 3014: Gormandize

verb [ intrans.]
indulge in good eating; eat greedily

Word 3013: Apotheosis

noun ( pl. -ses) [ usu. in sing.]
the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax
• the elevation of someone to divine status; deification

Word 3012: Macédoine

a mixture of vegetables or fruit cut into small pieces and served as a salad
figurative a medley or jumble

Word 3011: Pis aller

a course of action followed as a last resort

Word 3010: Nonissue

a topic of little or no importance

Word 3009: Jackleg

noun informal
an incompetent, unskillful, or dishonest person

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Word 3008: Portière

a curtain hung over a door or doorway

Word 3007: Conventicle

noun historical
a secret or unlawful religious meeting, typically of people with nonconformist views

Word 3006: Gymkhana

a day event comprising races and other competitions between horse riders or car drivers

Word 3005: Ingurgitate

verb [ trans.] poetic/literary
swallow (something) greedily

Word 3004: Althorn

a musical instrument of the saxhorn family, esp. the alto or tenor saxhorn in E flat

Word 3003: Factum

noun ( pl. -tums or -ta) Law chiefly Canadian
a statement of the facts of a case

Word 3002: Demirep

noun archaic
a woman whose chastity is considered doubtful

Word 3001: Mandamus

noun Law
a judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty

Word 3000: Aide-de-camp

noun ( pl. aides-de-camp pronunc. same)
a military officer acting as a confidential assistant to a senior officer

Word 2999: Chela

noun ( pl. -lae) Zoology
a pincerlike claw, esp. of a crab or other crustacean

Word 2998: Demotic

denoting or relating to the kind of language used by ordinary people; popular or colloquial
• relating to or denoting the form of modern Greek used in everyday speech and writing
• relating to or denoting a simplified, cursive form of ancient Egyptian script, dating from c. 650 BC and replaced by Greek in the Ptolemaic period

Word 2997: Plume

1. [ intrans.] spread out in a shape resembling a feather
• [ trans.] decorate with or as if with feathers
2. ( plume oneself) chiefly archaic (of a bird) preen itself
figurative feel a great sense of self-satisfaction about something

Word 2996: Forswear

verb ( past -swore ; past part. -sworn) [ trans.] formal
agree to give up or do without (something)

Word 2995: Vagina dentata

the motif of a vagina with teeth, occurring in folklore and fantasy and said to symbolize male fears of the dangers of sexual intercourse, esp. of castration

Word 2994: Decrement

a reduction or diminution
• an amount by which something is reduced or diminished
Physics the ratio of the amplitudes in successive cycles of a damped oscillation

Word 2993: Solarium

noun ( pl. -lariums or -laria)
a room fitted with extensive areas of glass to admit sunlight
• a room equipped with sunlamps or tanning beds that can be used to acquire an artificial suntan

Word 2992: Lapsus calami

noun ( pl. same) formal
a slip of the pen

Word 2991: Dibble

a pointed hand tool for making holes in the ground for seeds or young plants

Word 2990: Pro rata


Word 2989: Opaline

another term for opalescent

Word 2988: Sequacious

adjective formal
(of a person) lacking independence or originality of thought

Word 2987: Farrow

a litter of pigs
• an act of giving birth to a litter of pigs

Word 2986: Anomie

lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group

Word 2985: Deism

belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind

Word 2984: Lunula

noun ( pl. -lae)
a crescent-shaped object or mark, in particular
• the white area at the base of a fingernail
Printing one of a pair of parentheses

Word 2983: Repine

verb [ intrans.] poetic/literary
feel or express discontent; fret

Word 2982: Doxology

noun ( pl. -gies)
a liturgical formula of praise to God

Word 2981: Troika

1. a Russian vehicle pulled by a team of three horses abreast
• a team of three horses for such a vehicle
2. a group of three people working together, esp. in an administrative or managerial capacity

Word 2980: Solatium

noun informal
a thing given to someone as a compensation or consolation

Word 2979: Exogenous

of, relating to, or developing from external factors
Biology growing or originating from outside an organism
chiefly Psychiatry (of a disease, symptom, etc.) caused by an agent or organism outside the body
• relating to an external group or society

Word 2978: Gynecoid

relating to or characteristic of a woman

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Word 2977: Pipkin

a small earthenware pot or pan

Word 2976: Supernal

adjective chiefly poetic/literary
of or relating to the sky or the heavens; celestial
• of exceptional quality or extent

Word 2975: Fief

1. historical an estate of land, esp. one held on condition of feudal service
2. a person's sphere of operation or control

Word 2974: Pseudocyesis

technical term for false pregnancy

Word 2973: Mullion

a vertical bar between the panes of glass in a window

Word 2972: Gnomon

1. the projecting piece on a sundial that shows the time by the position of its shadow
2. Geometry the part of a parallelogram left when a similar parallelogram has been taken from its corner

Word 2971: Apoptosis

noun Physiology
the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development

Word 2970: Neb

noun Scottish & N. English
a projecting part of something, in particular
• a nose or snout
• a bird's beak or bill
• the brim of a cap

Word 2969: Stein

a large earthenware beer mug

Word 2968: Bestir

verb ( bestir oneself)
make a physical or mental effort; exert or rouse oneself

Word 2967: Poultice

a soft, moist mass of material, typically of plant material or flour, applied to the body to relieve soreness and inflammation and kept in place with a cloth

Word 2966: Diathermy

a medical and surgical technique involving the production of heat in a part of the body by high-frequency electric currents, to stimulate the circulation, relieve pain, destroy unhealthy tissue, or cause bleeding vessels to clot

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Word 2965: Sejant

adjective [usu. postpositive] Heraldry
(of an animal) sitting upright

Word 2964: Preen

verb [ intrans.]
(of a bird) straighten and clean its feathers with its beak
• (of a person) devote effort to making oneself look attractive and then admire one's appearance
• ( preen oneself) congratulate or pride oneself

Word 2963: False friend

a word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person's native language, but a different meaning (for example English magazine and French magasin ‘shop’)

Word 2962: Buckshee

adjective informal chiefly Brit.
free of charge

Word 2961: Pumice

a very light and porous volcanic rock formed when a gas-rich froth of glassy lava solidifies rapidly
• (also pumice stone) a piece of such rock or a similar substance used as an abrasive, esp. for removing hard skin

Word 2960: Ahimsa

(in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain tradition) the principle of nonviolence toward all living things

Word 2959: Grimalkin

noun archaic
a cat (used esp. in reference to its characteristically feline qualities)
• a spiteful old woman

Word 2958: Bavardage

idle gossip; chitchat

Word 2957: Escalator clause

a clause in a contract that allows for an increase or a decrease in wages or prices under certain conditions

Word 2956: Mellotron

an electronic keyboard instrument in which each key controls the playback of a single prerecorded musical sound

Word 2955: Theism

belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures

Word 2954: Ecdysiast

noun humorous
a striptease performer

Word 2953: Polysemy

noun Linguistics
the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase

Word 2952: Hypogeum

noun ( pl. -gea)
an underground chamber

Word 2951: Lapsus linguae

noun ( pl. same) formal
a slip of the tongue

Word 2950: Subvent

verb [ trans.] formal
support or assist by the payment of a subvention

Word 2949: Limescale

noun chiefly Brit.
a whitish deposit on the inside of pipes, pots, and kettles, caused by minerals leeched from the water

Word 2948: Sudd

noun ( the sudd)
an area of floating vegetation in a stretch of the White Nile, thick enough to impede navigation

Word 2947: Goober

noun informal
1. (also goober pea) a peanut
2. often offensive a person from the southeastern U.S., esp. Georgia or Arkansas
offensive an unsophisticated person; a yokel

Word 2946: Froideur

coolness or reserve between people

Word 2945: Baseborn

adjective [ attrib.] archaic
of low birth or origin
• illegitimate

Word 2944: Pleasance

a secluded enclosure or part of a garden, esp. one attached to a large house

Word 2943: Fulguration

1. Medicine the destruction of small growths or areas of tissue using diathermy
2. poetic/literary a flash like that of lightning

Word 2942: Orthogonal

1. of or involving right angles; at right angles
2. Statistics (of variates) statistically independent
• (of an experiment) having variates that can be treated as statistically independent

Word 2941: Coot

noun informal
a foolish or eccentric person, typically an old man

Word 2940: Sisyphean

(of a task) such that it can never be completed

Word 2939: Lugger

a small sailing ship with two or three masts and a lugsail on each

Word 2938: Golden handshake

noun informal
a payment given to someone who is laid off or retires early

Word 2937: Disoblige

verb [ trans.]
offend (someone) by not acting in accordance with their wishes

Word 2936: Effloresce

1. [ intrans.] (of a substance) lose moisture and turn to a fine powder upon exposure to air
• (of salts) come to the surface of brickwork, rock, or other material and crystallize there
• (of a surface) become covered with salt particles
2. reach an optimum stage of development; blossom

Word 2935: Nebuly

adjective Heraldry
divided or edged with a line formed of deeply interlocking curves

Word 2934: Southpaw

a left-handed person, esp. a boxer who leads with the right hand or a baseball pitcher

Word 2933: Précis

noun ( pl. same)
a summary or abstract of a text or speech

Word 2932: Iterative

relating to or involving iteration, esp. of a mathematical or computational process
Linguistics denoting a grammatical rule that can be applied repeatedly
Grammar another term for frequentative

Word 2931: Heat haze

an obscuration of the atmosphere in hot weather, esp. a shimmering in the air near the ground that distorts distant views

Word 2930: Crosspatch

noun informal
a bad-tempered person

Word 2929: Hecatomb

(in ancient Greece or Rome) a great public sacrifice, originally of a hundred oxen
figurative an extensive loss of life for some cause

Word 2927: Felix culpa

noun Christian Theology
the sin of Adam viewed as fortunate, because it brought about the blessedness of the Redemption
• an apparent error or disaster with happy consequences

Word 2926: Spile

1. a small wooden peg or spigot for stopping a cask
• a small wooden or metal spout for tapping the sap from a sugar maple
2. a large, heavy timber driven into the ground to support a superstructure

Word 2925: Knacker

noun Brit.
a person whose business is the disposal of dead or unwanted animals, esp. those whose flesh is not fit for human consumption

Word 2924: Bush pilot

one who flies small aircraft into remote areas

Word 2923: Digitate

adjective technical
shaped like a spread hand

Word 2922: Porringer

noun historical
a small bowl, typically with a handle, used for soup, stew, or similar dishes

Word 2921: Dotty

adjective ( dottier, dottiest) informal
(of a person, action, or idea) somewhat mad or eccentric

Word 2920: Tapetum

noun Zoology
a reflective layer of the choroid in the eyes of many animals, causing them to shine in the dark

Word 2919: Exclusionary rule

a law that prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial

Word 2918: Snaffle

noun (also snaffle bit)
(on a bridle) a simple bit, typically a jointed one, used with a single set of reins
• (also snaffle bridle) a bridle with such a bit

Word 2917: Anosmia

noun Medicine
the loss of the sense of smell, either total or partial

Word 2916: Gentrify

verb [ trans.]
renovate and improve (esp. a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste
• [ usu. as adj.] ( gentrified) make (someone or their way of life) more refined or dignified

Word 2915: Kike

noun informal offensive
a Jewish person

Word 2914: Chador

a large piece of dark-colored cloth, typically worn by Muslim women, wrapped around the head and upper body to leave only the face exposed

Word 2913: Trichology

the branch of medical and cosmetic study and practice concerned with the hair and scalp

Word 2912: Holding pattern

the flight path maintained by an aircraft awaiting permission to land
• a state or period of no progress or change

Word 2911: Entropy

noun Physics
a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system. (Symbol: S)
figurative lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder
• (in information theory) a logarithmic measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message or language