Set 16 – Five New Words For Nov 16

Theme: Words that have many unrelated meanings

1.mensal (MEN-suhl)

1. Monthly.
2. Relating to the table.

“I refer to your addled account of an exchange between you and Mike Butler relative to mensal checks from home.”
John Lewis-Stempel; Fatherhood; Simon & Schuster; 2001.

“Daphne was good at mensal ceremony; her each gesture and nibble, each sip from her tea bowl, was as graceful as a small ballet.”
John C. Wright; The Golden Age; Tor Books; 2003.

2. sconce (skons)

1. An ornamental bracket for holding candles or lights.
2. The head or skull.
3. Sense or wit.
4. A small fort or defensive earthwork to defend a bridge, castle-gate, etc.


“You’ll want to snap photos of wish-list pieces like wall sconces, fireplace grilles, and sculptures.”

“I shaved my head! My noggin, my sconce, my bean.”

3. mortify (MOR-tuh-fy)


verb tr.:
1. To humiliate, shame, or embarrass.
2. To discipline (one’s body) by self-denial, self-inflicted suffering, etc.

verb intr.:
1. To endure self-denial, self-inflicted pain, etc.
2. To become gangrened or necrosed.

“Kate Bannan is mortified by her son’s conviction for drink-driving.”
Keith McLeod; Barry Bannan’s Mum; Daily Record (Glasgow); Dec 23, 2011.

“You can only understand why he mortified himself and renounced all pleasures if you have lived a long time.”
Fanny Howe; Outremer; Poetry (Chicago); Sep 2011.

4. cloaca  (klo-AY-kuh)

1. An outhouse.
2. A sewer.
3. The common duct into which intestinal, urinary, and genital tracts open in birds, reptiles, most fishes, and some mammals.

“David Walsh has found that cloaca happens. Having spent $180 million establishing Museum of Old and New Art, the most famous exhibit being Cloaca, a complicated poo-producing machine, Mr Walsh is now involved in a legal stoush* with the Australian Tax Office.”
MONA founder in Tax Office sights; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); Jun 7, 2012.
* fight

“Anne had balked at hanging her mistress’s most beautiful clothes in the cloaca … because of the smell.”
Posie Graeme-Evans; The Anne Trilogy; Atria; 2002.

5. confabulate (kuhn-FAB-yuh-layt)

verb intr.:
1. To talk informally.
2. To replace fact with fantasy to fill in gaps in memory.

“Senior party leaders from across the state were expected to attend the meet and confabulate on issues pertaining to tribals in the state.”
Congress Takes a Diwali Break; The Indian Express (New Delhi); Oct 13, 2011.

“The majority of the subjects failed to notice the switch, and confabulated reasons why they chose the picture they had been given.”
Neil Levy; Are You Racist? You May Be Without Even Knowing It; The Bundaberg News-Mail (Australia); May 31, 2013.


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