Theme: Words from fencing
1. A minor weakness or an idiosyncrasy in someone’s character.
2. The weaker, upper part of a sword blade.
“Despite all our faults and foibles, human beings are apparently pretty good at sharing and cooperating.”
2. forte (fort, FOHR-tay)
1. A strong point: something in which a person excels.
2. The stronger, lower part of a sword blade.
Used in music direction (FOHR-tay)
adjective: 3. Loud.
adverb: 4. In a forceful manner.
“Peter Mandelson made blunders in the very dark arts that were supposed to be his forte.”
3. elan (ay-LAHN*)
*this syllable is nasal in French
noun: A combination of energy, enthusiasm, and style.
“‘Margaret Whitlam was seldom afraid to speak her mind and she spoke it with elan and wit,’ John Robertson said.”
4. riposte or ripost (ri-POST)
noun: 1. A quick, clever reply. 2. In fencing, a quick return thrust.
verb tr.: To make a quick, clever reply.
verb intr.: In fencing, to make a quick return thrust.
“Asked about the situation, Rodriguez delivered a particularly pointed riposte that embodied his mature response to the entire situation.”
5. touché (too-SHAY)
1. Used as an acknowledgment of a valid or clever point made by another.
2. In fencing, an acknowledgment of a hit by an opponent.
“A New Jersey teacher wrote: ‘I am tired of people who have never taught a roomful of 34 high school students telling me I am doing it wrong.’ Touché.”