Theme: Words seen in their plural forms
1. auspices (AW-spi-seez) : Plural of auspice
1. Patronage, support, or sponsorship.
2. A favorable sign.
“In March, Serbian and Kosovo officials met under EU auspices for their first high-level face-to-face talks.”
2. paparazzi (pah-puh-RAT-see)
noun: Photographers who follow famous people to take their pictures for publication.
Plural of paparazzo, from the name of a photographer in Federico Fellini’s 1959 film La Dolce Vita. Fellini got the name via scriptwriter Ennio Flaiano who picked it from the 1901 travel book By the Ionian Sea. The book mentions a hotel owner named Coriolano Paparazzo. Fellini claimed at another time that the name Paparazzo suggested to him “a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging”.
“I wasn’t even in the same ballpark as most of the fathers, who were tripping over each other to record their progenies’ squeaky, off-key performances. It was worse than a restaurant full of drunken paparazzi realizing they’d caught the president.”
3. cognoscenti (kon-yuh-SHEN-tee, kog-nuh-)
noun: Those with informed appreciation of a particular topic, such as fine arts or literature.
Plural of obsolete Italian cognoscente, from conoscere (to know). Modern Italian form of the word, conoscente, means acquaintance — you want to use the word intenditore or conoscitore if you mean cognoscente.
“Some passages in Hergé, Son of Tintin seem directed at the cognoscenti. The excursions into prewar Belgian politics are not for everyone.”
4. mores (MOHR-ayz)
noun: Customs and conventions of a social group.
Plural of Latin mos (custom).
“The Diamond Jubilee has prompted a slew of new royal biographies, making familiar points about how the monarchy has shrewdly adapted to modern mores.”
5. antipodes (an-TIP-uh-deez)
1. Two places situated on the diametrically opposite sides of the earth.
2. The exact opposite of someone or something.
3. Australia and New Zealand.
“Tasmania’s most celebrated attraction now is the Museum of Old and New Art, outside Hobart. Everyone in the antipodes knows its titillating backstory.”
James Fallows; Tasmania: Maybe the Most Unforgettable Place Ever; The Atlantic Monthly (Boston); Jun 19, 2013.
“At no other time have the sensibilities of America’s Atlantic and Pacific cosmopolitan antipodes stood in sharper contrast.”
Peter Schjeldahl; Seeing and Disbelieving; The New Yorker; Jul 2013.