Set 49 – Five New Words For Feb 18

Theme: Verbs

1. subsume

MEANING:
verb tr.: To include or incorporate under a more comprehensive category.

USAGE:
“David Cameron’s dream is an authentically British dream — of a multiethnic United Kingdom, close to but not subsumed by Europe, allied with but not subservient to the United States.”

2. discomfit

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To confuse or embarrass.
2. To thwart the plans of.

USAGE:
“Berlusconi accuses politically motivated prosecutors of leaking details of investigations to discomfit him.”

3. begrudge

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To envy or resent someone’s good fortune.
2. To be reluctant to give.

USAGE:
“We do not begrudge Bill Gates or Warren Buffett their billions.”
“We’d always been an exclusive pair, she never begrudging me with her secrets.”

4. avulse (uh-VUHLS)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To pull off or tear away.

USAGE:
“The dog caught his paw in the grates and lacerated his paws and avulsed his nails.”

“[The Hoh River] chews, it gnaws and jumps around, avulsing in a tantrum of energy to new channels, taking anything in its way right along with it.”

5. machinate (MAK-uh-nayt, MASH-)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.: To plot or scheme.

USAGE:
“Most storylines in The Bold and the Beautiful revolve around characters who manipulate and machinate for love and money.”

Set 48 – Five New Words for Feb 17

Theme: French words that are now anglicized

1. alley-oop (al-ee-OOP)

MEANING:

interjection: Used as an exhortation or to signal the start of an activity. For example, when coordinating efforts to lift something heavy.

noun: A basketball move in which a player throws the ball to a teammate near the basket who leaps to catch it in mid-air and then puts it in the basket before returning to the floor.

ETYMOLOGY:
Phonetic respelling of French allez-hop or allez-oop, cry of a circus performer about to leap. From French allez, imperative of aller (to go) + hop/oop (an expressive word).

USAGE:
“You couldn’t haul bodies without a partner and you needed to be able to talk, even if it was only to say alley-oop.”

“Jawanza Poland soared to the basket and flushed home an alley oop.”

2. kickshaw (KIK-shaw)

noun:
1. A fancy dish; delicacy.
2. A trinket.

ETYMOLOGY:
From phonetic respelling of French quelque chose (something) as kickshaws which was treated as a plural and turned into the singular kickshaw.

USAGE:
“I assume it’s a gloriously handsome affair … slices of homemade seed cake and other toothsome kickshaws.”

“A more sophisticated eye might cringe at the odd little kickshaws displayed about the room, but I appreciated the whimsy.”

3. toot sweet (toot sweet)

MEANING:
adverb: Quickly; immediately.

ETYMOLOGY:
Phonetic respelling of French tout de suite (at once, straight away).

USAGE:
“Martinson called the cops and told them to get a patrol car to her house toot sweet.”

4. parry (PAR-ee)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To ward off or evade.
noun: A defensive movement or an evasive answer.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French parez (ward off), imperative of parer (to ward off), from Latin parare (to set or prepare).

USAGE:
“In the way Ryan Gosling parried questions with polite, self-deprecating charm, you could still see the Canadian in him.”

5. Mayday or mayday (MAY-day)

MEANING:
noun: A distress signal; a call for help.

ETYMOLOGY:
Mayday is an international radio distress signal used by ships and aircraft to call for help. It’s a phonetic respelling of French m’aider, from venez m’aider (come and help me), from venir (to come) + me (me) + aider (to help).

USAGE:
“Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter flew to the aid of a yachtsman who made a mayday call this morning off the coast of Raglan.”

“Rooms [at Hotel Bel-Air are] so high-tech I felt like a 747 pilot. Helpful techies arrived promptly no matter how often I radioed Mayday.”

Set 47 – Five New Words for Feb 16

Theme: Words of nautical origins

1. doldrums (DOHL-druhmz)

MEANING:
noun
1. A state or period of stagnation or slump.
2. A region of the ocean near the equator marked by calms and light variable winds.

ETYMOLOGY:
In the olden days when a sail-powered vessel hit a calm region of the ocean, it could be stuck there for days. Sailors called that area the doldrums.

USAGE:
“While the US stock market roared ahead, Europe was left in the doldrums.”

2. scupper (SKUP-uhr)

MEANING:
noun: An opening for draining water, as on the side of a ship.
verb tr.: 1. To prevent from succeeding. 2. To overwhelm, disable, or destroy.

USAGE:
“Three possible misfortunes could scupper recovery.”

3. scuttlebutt (SKUT-l-but)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Rumor, gossip.
2. A drinking fountain or a cask of drinking water on a ship.

NOTES:
The word arose from the sailors’ habit of gathering around the scuttlebutt on a ship’s deck. Things haven’t changed much with time. Now we have watercooler gossip in modern offices.

USAGE:
“Here’s a roundup of iPad 3 rumors, with a little context as to whether you should believe the scuttlebutt or not.”

4. bonanza (buh-NAN-zah, boh-)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A source of sudden wealth or profits.
2. A very large amount.
3. A rich mine or pocket of ore.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Spanish bonanza (calm sea, hence good luck or prosperity), from Latin bonus (good).

USAGE:

“Belfast residents hope the Titanic exhibition will spur a tourism bonanza.”

“We feel we have a major discovery here, with bonanza-type grades of silver, and even the gold values are very high as well.”

5. groundswell

MEANING:
noun:
1. A surge of opinion or feeling about someone or something.
2. A broad deep swell of the ocean, caused by a distant storm or an earthquake.

ETYMOLOGY:
Groundswell was the term sailors used for a swelling of the ocean. Why ground? Originally, ground referred to the bottom of anything, especially an ocean.

USAGE:
“A nationwide general strike fuelled by a groundswell of anger brought parts of Spain to a halt yesterday.”

“Waves along the coasts may get as high as 23 feet this weekend due to two significant groundswells.”

Set 46 – Five New Words for Feb 15

Theme: Words that have meanings in multiple parts of speech

1.  paragon (PAR-uh-gohn)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A model of excellence or perfection.
2. A match or an equal.
3. A perfect diamond weighing 100 carats or more.
4. A very large round pearl.
5. A type size of 20 points.
verb tr.:
To compare, parallel, rival, or surpass.

USAGE:
“Mom, a paragon of manners, stresses the importance of offering sincere gratitude before asking for more.”

“The Cavaliere … paragoned her in his song to all the pagan goddesses of antiquity.”

2.  countenance (KOUN-tuh-nans)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
To tolerate or support.
noun:
1. Appearance, especially the facial expression.
2. The face.
3. Composure.
4. Approval or support.

USAGE:
“President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the United States ‘will not countenance’ Iran developing a nuclear weapon.”

“Thomas has long possessed a fierce countenance known to intimidate.”

3.  gloze (glohz)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
To minimize or to explain away.
verb intr.:
1. To use flattery.
2. To make an explanation.
3. To shine brightly.
noun:
1. A comment.
2. Flattery.
3. A pretense.

USAGE:
“When Anthony Blunt was exposed 20 years ago, there were some who tried to gloze his conduct.”

“From the pyramid’s apex 42.3 billion candlepower’s worth of white light shines, glozes, fulgurates, burns.”

4.  tarry (TAIR-ee, TAHR*-ee)
* for adjective

MEANING:
verb intr.: To delay, stay, or wait.
verb tr.: To wait for.
noun: A short stay; a sojourn.
adjective: Of, like, or smeared with tar.

USAGE:
“Although they’ve been criticized for tarrying, county officials say work is progressing.”

“The story of Jesus’s three-day-long tarry with the elders of the temple becomes, in Ms. Rice’s hands, a fever dream.”

“Otters are mainly detected by their characteristic spraints ( = otter dung), which have a tarry smell.”

5.  bluff (bluhf)

MEANING:
verb tr., intr.: 1. To mislead or deceive, especially by a false display of confidence.
noun: 2. An instance of bluffing; also one who bluffs.
adjective: 3. Good-naturedly direct in speech or manner.
noun: 4. A broad, steep cliff or promontory. 5. A grove or clump of trees.

USAGE:
“Answer with authority and they’ll believe the bluff. How many of us love that advertisement where the dad tells the kid that the Great Wall of China was built to keep the rabbits out?”

“Kip Hawley, the man who runs the TSA, is a bluff, amiable fellow who is capable of making a TSA joke. ‘Do you want three ounces of water?’ he asked me.”

“Record snowfall of more than 16 feet on the bluff has chased moose to the lower elevations.”

Set 45 – Five New Words for Feb 14

Theme: Homonyms

A homonym is a word that has the same spelling and pronunciation as another word, but a different meaning.

1. quiff

MEANING:
noun:
1. A tuft of hair brushed up above the forehead.
2. A woman considered as promiscuous.

USAGE:
“Posters of the intrepid boy reporter with the quiff and funny pants plastered the city.”
“A certain party got the quiff pregnant.”

2.  gird (guhrd)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To encircle or bind with a belt or band.
2. To surround.
3. To prepare for action (especially as “to gird one’s loins”).

verb tr., intr.: 4. To jeer.
noun: 5. A sarcastic remark.

USAGE:
“Metallic rings girded the weapon’s shaft.”

“Both sides have been unwilling to compromise, and their supporters appear to be girding for more violence by forming militias and armed gangs.”

“Falstaff: Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me: the brain of this foolish-compounded clay, man, is not able to invent any thing that tends to laughter.”

3.  mew (myoo)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A cage for hawks, especially while molting.
2. A place for retiring or hiding.
3. In the UK, as mews, stables with living quarters. Also, a row of apartments converted from stables.

verb tr.: 4 To confine.
verb intr.: 5. To molt.

noun:
6. The high-pitched sound of a cat.
7. The characteristic sound of a gull.
8. A seagull (Larus canus).

USAGE:
“They set him free the last day of October, after he had been mewed up for a month.”

“Up above two falcons were mewing against the brilliant blue of the sky.”

4. feral (FEER-uhl, FAYR-)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Wild or untamed.
2. Having reverted from domestication to the wild state.
3. Ferocious.
4. Deadly.
5. Relating to the dead; gloomy.

USAGE:
“The infamous beer-guzzling feral pig who died two months ago could get a plaque at a West Australian rest stop commemorating his unusual life.”

“Coffin wondered if the coyotes were congregating in the cemetery, waiting for full dark to sing their feral song.”

5. bole bohl

MEANING:
noun:    1. The trunk of a tree.
2. Any of various kinds of soft fine clays typically of a reddish color.
3. A reddish brown color.

USAGE:
“In the midst of each room and hall, a living tree grows and holds up the roof, and its bole is hung with trophies and with antlers.”

“Rub off some gold to let the red bole show through.”

Set 44 – Five New Words for Feb 13

Theme: Words to describe people

1. tractable

MEANING:
adjective: Easily handled, managed, or controlled.

USAGE:
“‘I don’t want to go there,’ said Sharina, who was normally such a tractable child.”

2. bombastic

MEANING:
adjective: Pompous or pretentious (in speech or writing).

USAGE:
“Mr. Satya Nadella is a leader with a low-key style that differs from Mr. Ballmer’s bombastic manner.”

3. impecunious

MEANING:
adjective: Having little or no money.

USAGE:
“The children have no mother, and their father is impecunious, so they have embarked on a series of adventurous money-making schemes.”
“Discounts for the clever or impecunious greatly reduce the sticker price at many universities.”

4. petulant (PECH-uh-lent)

MEANING:
adjective: Bad-tempered; cranky.

USAGE:
“Idol, like the petulant child who can’t understand that her antics have ceased to be entertaining, kept trying to sell it.”

5. incorrigible

MEANING:
adjective: Incapable of being corrected or reformed.

USAGE:
“I’m an incorrigible scavenger. I’ve been known to climb into dump trucks because I’ve seen an interesting table leg sticking out of the rubbish. I’ve furnished whole apartments from things I’ve found on the street.”

Set 43 – Five New Words For Feb 12

Theme: Words coined after Shakespearean characters

1. Dogberry (DOG-ber-ee, -buh-ree)

MEANING:
noun: A pompous, incompetent, self-important official.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Dogberry, a constable in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, in which he goes about his blundering ways while mouthing malapropisms. Earliest documented use: 1801.

USAGE:
“Why doesn’t he do something, then? Ignorant Dogberry! Useless bumpkin! Calls himself a copper and doesn’t even know where to start!”
Edmund Crispin; The Glimpses of the Moon; Gollancz; 1977.

“The mayor of Bangor, Maine, vetoed a time-altering resolution passed by its city council … for which Railway Age lampooned him in an editorial that began ‘A Dogberry who holds the office of mayor.'”
Jack Beatty; Age of Betrayal; Knopf; 2007.

2. Portia (POR-shuh, -shee-uh)

MEANING:
noun: A female lawyer.

USAGE:
“‘Listen sister…law isn’t the only subject I’ve mastered!’ snaps Betty, … ‘I may be a Portia, but my middle name’s Dempsey!'”

3. Timon (TY-muhn)

MEANING:
noun: One who hates or distrusts humankind.

USAGE:
“My soul was swallowed up in bitterness and hate … I saw nothing to do but live apart like a Timon.”

4. Romeo

MEANING:
noun: A man who is a passionate lover or seducer.

USAGE:
“The square’s scribes were once famous as stand-in Romeos, writing love letters. Sometimes, the same scribe would find himself handling both sides of the correspondence for a courting pair.”

5. Prospero

MEANING:
noun: Someone who is capable of influencing others’ behavior or perceptions without their being aware of it.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan and a magician, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Earliest documented use: 1785.

USAGE:
“Melliora is the Prospero who engineers a return to social order entirely in accord with her desires.”