Hogmanay \hog-muh-NEY\, noun:
- 1. a gift given on New Year's Eve.
- 1. New Year's Eve in Scotland.
- Farther on, Gib Dempster's dame, Kate, is at her door, with the bottle in her hand, to give another menagerie of maskers their "hogmanay," in the form of a dram; and Gib is at her back, eyeing her with a squint, to count how many interlusive applications of the cordial she will make to her own throat before she renounce her opportunity.-- Alexander Leighton, Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume 17
- The children who went about on December 31 asking for their "hogmanay" were really asking for a Scottized French word for a cake.-- "A changed meaning," The Glasgow Herald, 1947
dithyrambic \dith-uh-RAM-bik\, adjective:
- 1. Wildly enthusiastic.
- 2. Wildly irregular in form.
- 3. Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a dithyramb.
- "I didn't know anyone could ever become dithyrambic about algebra," said Dick. -- Joseph A. Altsheler, The Tree of Appomattox
- This was the dithyrambic exaltation they had ardently waited for.-- Bret Harte, A Protegee of Jack Hamlin's and other Stories
engram \EN-gram\, noun:
You shut it away, but it has left a mark-an engram, like an inscription on your brain.-- David Bilsborough, A Fire in the North
- 1. The supposed physical basis of an individual memory in the brain.
- 2. A presumed encoding in neural tissue that provides a physical basis for the persistence of memory; a memory trace.
- What I found was that I did not retain a single specific engram of tying a shoe, or a pair of shoes, that dated from any later than when I was four or five years old, the age at which I had first learned the skill.-- Nicholson Baker, Mezzanine
gambrinus \gam-BRAHY-nuhs\, noun:
A mythical Flemish king, the reputed inventor of beer.
- As a bit of amusing anachronism it may be mentioned that there is a poetical apotheosis of Gambrinus, which elevates that personage to the dignity of a heathen god, alongside of Bacchus.-- George Ehret, Twenty-five years of brewing: with an illustrated history of American beer
- Gambrinus, the mightiest of Germans, not only did nothing else - he owes his greatness to that fact.-- Julian Hawthorne, "Saxon Studies - of Gambrinus," The Living Age, 1896
eschatological \es-kuh-tl-OJ-i-kuhl\, adjective:
- 1. Regarding last, or final, matters, often of a theological nature.
- 2. Regarding any system of doctrines concerning theological endings, such as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc.
- Those chill forests, quietly throbbing with ancient vitality, seemed to refute the firmest eschatological convictions.-- Tom Robbins, Skinny legs and all
- He's first seen running in a panic that resembles Tom Cruise in "The Firm" but that turns out to be a flash-forward, projecting the viewer into a crisis that is part sci-fi apocalypse, part eschatological reverie and part movie-musical.-- Armond White, "Black Sheep Vs. Black Swan," http://www.nypress.com, November, 2010
powwow \POU-wou\, verb:
1. To confer.
- 1. A ceremony, esp. one accompanied by magic, feasting, and dancing, performed for the cure of disease, success in a hunt, etc.
- 2. A council or conference of or with Native Americans.
- He had a more detailed phone conversation with the outgoing Paterson to begin hashing out the logistics of taking over. They agreed to powwow in person soon, sources said.-- Kenneth Lovett, "Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo chats with President Obama, Gov. Paterson one day after triumph," New York Daily News, November, 2010.
- Okay, why don't you boys pull up a seat, let's powwow on this.-- James Howard Kunstler -, World Made by Hand
eleemosynary \el-uh-MOS-uh-ner-ee\, adjective:
An author ought to consider himself, not as a gentleman who keeps a private or eleemosynary treat, but rather as one who keeps a public ordinary, at which all persons are welcome for their money.-- Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
- 1. Of or for charity; charitable; as, "an eleemosynary institution."
- 2. Given in charity; having the nature of alms; as, "eleemosynary assistance."
- 3. Supported by or dependent on charity; as, "the eleemosynary poor."
- We also need to revive the great eleemosynary institutions through which compassionate people serve those in need with both greater flexibility and discipline than government agencies are capable.-- Clifford F. Thies, "Bring back the bridewell", The World & I, September 1, 1995
chaffer \CHAF-er\, verb:
1. To bargain; haggle.
- 1. Bargaining; haggling.
- 1. To bandy words; chatter.
- 'Ours was a place where profit-seeking Phoenician master mariners would come to chaffer the ten thousand gewgaws in their ships: also my father had a Phoenician woman among his bond-maids.-- Homer, The Odyssey
- Joy came to bear to it the offering of its thanksgiving and to vow sixpenny bits to the Lord, prosperity came in a high hat to chaffer for the holy privileges, and grief came with rent garments to lament the beloved dead and glorify the name of the Eternal.-- Israel Zangwill, Children of the Ghetto: a study of a peculiar people
zenith \ZEE-nith\, noun:
This performance, this zenith of consummate operatic staging, dramatic force, and perfected vocal artistry, had been frozen for all time.-- Philip K. Dick, The World Jones Made
Blackpool could not be in better shape for the visit of Manchester United this week, given their manager Ian Holloway's claim that the performance at the Reebok Stadium represented the zenith of his stewardship.-- Richard Gibson, "Ian Holloway talks up Blackpool as Bolton throw caution to the wind," http://www.guardian.co.uk, November, 2010
- 1. A highest point or state; culmination.
- 2. The point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. Opposite of nadir.
lagniappe \LAN-yap\, noun:
- 1. A small gift given with a purchase to a customer, for good measure.
- 2. A gratuity or tip.
- 3. An unexpected or indirect benefit.
- And it filled her with agreeable excitement to go to the French market, where the handsome Gascon butchers were eager to present their compliments and little Sunday bouquets to the pretty Acadian girl; and to throw fistfuls of lagniappe into her basket.-- Kate Chopin, A night in Acadie
- The lady at the bakery gave Myrtle a free petit-four, either as lagniappe or to shut her up.-- Michael Griffith, Bibliophilia: a novella and stories
caliginous \kuh-LIJ-uh-nuhs\, adjective:
Misty; dim; dark.
- Finally the smell of smoke grew strong and I came hurriedly round a corner to find a synagogue on fire, smoke boiling up into a caliginous sky.-- William H. Gass, The tunnel
- I could continue my observations of solar obfuscation, and prove that a caliginous vapor arises from the planet.-- Victor Hugo, The man who laughs
ferret \FER-it\, verb:
1. To search out, discover, or bring to light.
- 1. Domesticated, usually red-eyed, and albinic variety of the polecat.
- 1. To drive out by using or as if using a ferret.
- 1. A narrow tape or ribbon, as of silk or cotton, used for binding, trimming, etc.
He told us that he .had a list of all the robbers in the country, and meant to ferret out every mother's son of them ; he offered us at the same time some of his soldiers as an escort.-- Washington Irving, The Alhambra
A shame-just have to ferret out the book's message on their own.-- Philip K. Dick, The man in the high castle
- 1. To harry, worry, or torment.
Nth \ENTH\, adjective:
- 1. Being the last in a series of infinitely decreasing or increasing values, amounts, etc.
- 2. (Of an item in a series of occurrences, planned events, things used, etc., that is thought of as being infinitely large) being the latest, or most recent.
- Early in the evening, when the rush hour was on, he used to - we were working on the nth floor then - lift up the window, run his hand in his pocket and toss out every cent of silver he had.-- Richard Wright, The outsider
- Then, for the nth time, Dad was scandalized and furious at the cruelty of those who were attacking the city.-- Nenad Veličković, Celia Hawkesworth, Lodgers
replevy \ri-PLEV-ee\, verb:
To recover goods or chattels wrongfully taken or detained.
- Mrs. Squall, claiming the brood because her hen had spent three weeks of valuable time in warming them into existence, proceeded without delay to replevy them.-- Charles J Scofield, A Subtle Adversary; A Tale of Callitso County
- "You can't replevy everything to the Judgment Day and expect the Angel Gabriel to settle all your debts in gold coin at a discount and all your debts in gold coin at a discount and all interest waived."-- Robert Penn Warren, World enough and time: a romantic novel
horripilate \haw-RIP-uh-leyt\, verb:
A good example is the great but frequently wounded quote of Mark Twain's on writing, a quote that causes, when done right, my forearms to horripilate.-- Dick Cavett, Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets
- To produce a bristling of the hair on the skin from cold, fear, etc.; goose flesh.
- And he screamed it out as he lay against her breast, making her forget all about what might or might not be happening up in the Jefferson Tract, freezing her scalp to her skull and making her skin crawl and horripilate.-- Stephen King, Dreamcatcher: a novel
boondocks \BOON-doks\, noun:
- 1. A remote rural area (usually preceded by "the.")
- 2. An uninhabited area with thick natural vegetation, as a backwoods or marsh.
- His is the version we have all read, the version I read as a schoolboy in the boondocks some twenty years ago.-- Albert Camus, Matthew Ward, "Translator's note," The Stranger
- They keep passing him and he remains alone, blotted to the evening by velvet and buckskin-if they do see him his image is shunted immediately out to the boondocks of the brain where it remains in exile with other critters of the night.-- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's rainbow
brazen \BREY-zuhn\, adjective:
- 1. Shameless or impudent.
- 2. Made of brass.
- And she was so open, even brazen, about it - brazen in regard both to him and to the rest of the guests - that he had not known whether to be overjoyed or, in case it was a mark of disdain, upset.-- Thomas Mann, John E. Woods, The Magic Mountain
- Yet despite that, and a brazen, unconcealed admiration, there was not lacking kindliness and sympathy and good nature.-- Zane Grey, The border legion
prosopography \pros-uh-POG-ruh-fee\, noun:
- 1. A description of a person's appearance, career, personality, etc.
- 2. A study of a collection of persons or characters, esp. their appearances, careers, personalities, etc., within a historical, literary, or social context.
- See him deteriorate, I beg your pardon, demonstrate the grip, the stance, with all the zeal of prosopography, as he faces the pitcher, to demonstrate most unconvincingly, standing holding the bat limply in a fashion thought to be resolute, nothing deterred, just standing there facing the unseen pitcher. Perkins.-- Aidan Higgins, Flotsam & jetsam
- Beyond the exemplary tone of Pliny's account, the epistle suggests that the question at hand was not merely academic for all the parties involved: if the received prosopography of the participants is accurate, the exchange between the historian and his subject did not take place long after the facts.-- Ilaria Marchesi, The art of Pliny's letters: a poetics of allusion in the private correspondence
philter \FIL-ter\, noun:
- 1. A magic potion for any purpose.
- 2. A potion, charm, or drug supposed to cause the person taking it to fall in love, usually with some specific person.
- Tell me now, fairy as you are - can't you give me a charm, or a philter, or something of that sort, to make me a handsome man ? "-- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
- Mariamne had told him it was a love philter and promised a large reward if he would get me to drink it without my knowledge.-- Michel Tournier, Ralph Manheim, The Four Wise Men
fletcherize \FLECH-uh-rahyz\, verb:
The two extra months at sea gave him an insight into a great business, and he had the time to fletcherize his ideas.-- Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great: Volume 11
- To chew (food) slowly and thoroughly.
- "She ate half a sack of carrots, and knowing full well that she was eating forbidden fruit, she bolted them, and for her failure to Fletcherize - but speaking of Fletcherizing, did you dine aboard the train?"-- Peter Bernard Kyne, Valley of the giants
farouche \fa-ROOSH\, adjective:
I was for some reason reminded of Sillery dealing with some farouche undergraduate whom he wished especially to enclose within his net.-- Anthony Powell, A dance to the music of time
- 1. Sullenly unsociable or shy.
- 2. Fierce.
- Solitary and farouche people don't have relationships; they are quite unrelatable.
- If you and I were capable of being altogether house-trained and made jolly, we should be nicer people, but not writers.-- Elizabeth Bowen, Letter to the writer V. S. Pritchett
bespoke \bih-SPOHK\, adjective:
- 1. Made to individual order; custom-made.
- 2. Of the making or selling such clothes.
- 3. (Archaic:) Engaged to be married; spoken for.
- Because of this, he could barely read, and his writing - a bespoke system of hieroglyphics legible only to him - as good as determined his job on the factory line.-- Helen Walsh, Once upon a time in England
- Other efforts to commandeer cell signalling have tended to be "one-offs of bespoke engineering", he says, whereas Smolke's circuit can be used to tap into a wide range of biological pathways in different types of cells.-- Ewen Callaway, "Bespoke genetic circuits rewire human cells," Nature.com, November, 2010.
pogonip \POG-uh-nip\, noun:
An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western U.S.
- A pogonip freezes on trees, stones, and rooftops and then melts on the earth, wanner than the air.-- Rita Mae Brown, The Tell-Tale Horse
- The walls inside go as clear as December mornings on the Nevada plains, pogonip caking the dead weeds and fence posts scattered out into the desert void.-- Andy Mingo, East of Elko
hyaline \HAHY-uh-lahyn\, adjective:
1. Glassy or transparent.
- 1. In biochemistry, a horny substance found in hydatid cysts, closely resembling chitin.
- 1. Of or pertaining to hyaline.
- 1. In biochemistry, a transparent substance found in cartilage, the eye, etc., resulting from the pathological degeneration of tissue.
- Yet the great sun himself, when he pours his noonday beams upon some vast hyaline boulder, rent from the eternal ice-quarries, and floating toward the tropics, never warms it a fraction above the thirty two degrees of Fahrenheit that marked the moment when the first drop trickled down its side.-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, The professor at the breakfast-table
- Many of these were ripe and hyaline clear.-- Paulus Peronius Cato Hoek, The literature of the ten principal food fishes of the North Sea
scurf \SKURF\, noun:
- 1. The scales or small shreds of epidermis that are continually exfoliated from the skin.
- 2. Any scaly matter or incrustation on a surface.
- Diddy Shovel's skin was like asphalt, fissured and cracked, thickened by a lifetime of weather, the scurf of age.-- Annie Proulx, The shipping news
- His hands were large and the skin of them had a chalky scurf to it.-- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
divagate \DAHY-vuh-geyt\, verb:
- 1. To wander; stray.
- 2. To digress in speech.
- But, vague vagabond, you will seem to divagate, while in reality you will keep both eyes open and your ears pricked.-- Umberto Eco, William Weaver, The Island of the Day Before
- This tendency to explore, to divagate, means that I sometimes take a long time to get where I intended to go.-- Eric Kraft, At home with the Glynns
tristful \TRIST-fuhl\, adjective:
Full of sadness; sorrowful.
- It ran as follows: showing that he was at least an accomplished writer, and no mere boor, and what is more, was capable of the most tristful eloquence.-- Herman Melville, "The Hermit Oberlus," The Encantadas
- He brushed by a gaunt, cadaverous, tristful man in a black raincoat with a star-shaped scar in his cheek and a glossy mutilated depression the size of an egg in one temple. -- Joseph Heller, Catch-22: a novel
lilliputian \lil-i-PYOO-shuhn\, adjective:
- 1. Extremely small; tiny; diminutive.
- 2. Trivial.
- A low fence surrounded the gash, but given the length and width and depth of this trench, the fence seemed Lilliputian, feeble. -- Lewis Buzbee, The Haunting of Charles Dickens
- Fifty-to-one-hundred- foot-tall hoodoo rock formations towered above me as I scrambled around the sandstone and granite like a Lilliputian. -- Aron Ralston, 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place