High-Vocabulary Word of the Day

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Archive for October, 2009

Antidisestablishmentarianism

Posted by kazvorpal on October 24, 2009


Metric PopeAntidisestablishmentarianism

n. A political philosophy opposed to the separation of a religious group (“church”) and a government (“state”), esp. the belief held by those in 19th century England opposed to separating the Anglican church from the civil government.

A quick search produces no noteworthy quotations making use of this word for its actual function. Indeed, it’s not the word of the day because it could possibly be useful to you, but because it’s so commonly utilized by sesquipedalian-wannabes who haven’t the slightest idea what it means.

I’ll be back before you can say ‘Antidisestablishmentarianism‘.
Edmund Blackadder III

Extraordinary. There’s no other word for it. Antidisestablishmentarianism extraordinary, that is.
— Murphy, Rayman 3

I think we all know why. Anti-taco legislation! Disestablishmentarianism!
Turkatron, Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Etymology Pretty simple, really… Establishment, plus “dis” to end that establishment, plus “anti” to oppose ending it, and with -arianism to refer to it as a cohesive movement.

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Senescence

Posted by kazvorpal on October 24, 2009


Grasping ElderlySenescence

adj. Growing old; decaying with the lapse of time.

It is by a blend of lively curiosity and intelligent selfishness that the artists who wish to mature late, who feel too old to die, the Goethes, Tolstoys, Voltaires, Titians and Verdis, reach a fruitful senescence.
Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise (1938)

Senescence begins
And middle age ends
The day your descendents
Outnumber your friends.

Ogden Nash, Crossing The Border

Etymology
Latin senescere, easy to remember as the same origin as senile and senator.

Posted in poetry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Desideratum

Posted by kazvorpal on October 16, 2009


My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you but by the time I'm through I lose my desideratum. -- Fiona Apple

My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you but by the time I'm through I lose my desideratum. -- Fiona Apple

Desideratum

n. Something that is wished for, or considered desirable.

My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you but by the time I’m through I lose my desideratum.
Fiona Apple, To Your Love (1999)

A presumption of equality may be contrary to present fact, and yet not contrary to a desideratum. We are not as a fact all equally fit to live, equally responsible, or equally deserving of the protection of the law: but it will hardly be doubted that it would be desirable if we were.
William Ernest Hocking, Present Status of the Philosophy of Law and of Rights (1926)

Etymology
From Latin, desidaratus, same origin as the word “desire”.

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Epistolary

Posted by kazvorpal on October 13, 2009


Email_IconEpistolary

adj. Conducted or contained entirely in correspondence

The Screwtape Letters is C.S. Lewis’ most famous epistolary novel.

Today, our social life on Facebook may be centered around entirely epistolary friendships, fervently emailing people we’ve never actually met.

Etymology
Greek, epi: over or near, stol: send. People are more familiar with the noun “Epistle”.

Posted in Knowledge | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hobbledehoy

Posted by kazvorpal on October 11, 2009


ron3Hobbledehoy

n. An awkward boy, especially adolescent.

The son stayed with the third Professor for one more year, and when he came home again and his father asked, “My dimwitted hobbledehoy, what have you learnt?”
Lemony Snicket, Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Nothing but infantilism — the erotic visions of a hobbledehoy behind the barn.
— Henry Seidel Canby, “Mr. O’Hara and the Vulgar School”, a Saturday Review of Appointment in Samarra

Etymology
This is a very iffy one, with completely conflicting origins documented here and there. “hob” is a word used elsewhere to refer to a clown or troublemaker, as in hobgoblin. de hey translates as “of the hedge”, used to mean “wild or feral”. These may comprise some of its 16th century roots.

Note
On weekends, we may include more controversial or amusing words than during the week, but they should still be potentially useful in controversial or amusing situations.

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Concupiscence

Posted by kazvorpal on October 10, 2009


Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, an allegorical painting by Agnolo Bronzino (1545)

Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, an allegorical painting by Agnolo Bronzino (1545)

Concupiscence

Any ardent desire, but especially sexual desire; lust.

Good men seek it by the natural means of the virtues; evil men, however, try to achieve the same goal by a variety of concupiscences, and that is surely an unnatural way of seeking the good. Don’t you agree?
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy

Under a forehead roughly comparable to that of the Javanese or the Piltdown man are visible a pair of tiny pig eyes, lit up alternately by greed and concupiscence.
S. J. Perelman, The Best of S. J. Perelman, Introduction (1947)

Like the use of the word ‘concupiscence‘ in an earlier age to describe sexual desire, the use of the word ‘pollution’ to describe essential aspects of the productive activities of an industrial society represents an attempt to defame an entirely proper human capacity by means of using an evil sounding name for it.
George Reisman, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (1996)

Etymology
Neoclassical euphemism, adopted from Latin concupiscens, very desirous: com; an intensifier, and cupere, meaning “to long for”. Easy to remember, because Cupid comes from the same root.

Note
With the rise of sexual repression in Christianity, this word sometimes took on a pejorative connotation as a sexual euphamism, but is originally a poetic term for desire in general.

Posted in poetry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Apothegm

Posted by kazvorpal on October 9, 2009


Ben Franklin may be best known for the apothegms he printed in Poor Richard's Almanac, such as "A penny saved is a penny earned", and "haste makes waste".

Ben Franklin may be best known for the apothegms he printed in Poor Richard's Almanac, such as "apenny saved is a penny earned", and "haste makes waste".

Apothegm archaic sp: Apophthegm

n. A short witty instructive saying; an aphorism or maxim.

Ben Franklin may be best known for the apothegms he printed in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Julius Caesar did write a collection of apophthegms, as appears in an epistle of Cicero, so did Macrobius, a consular man…they are mucrones verborum, pointed speeches. “The words of the wise are as goads,” saith Solomon. Cicero prettily calleth them salinas, salt-pits, that you may extract salt out of, and sprinkle where you will. — Francis Bacon, “Apophthegms, New and Old” (1625) Etymology As these ten dollar words often are, this one has a neoclassical, Renaissance origin: “To speak plainly”, in Ancient Greek: apo: from; phthengesthai: to speak

Posted in Knowledge, rhetoric | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cosset

Posted by kazvorpal on October 8, 2009


Cucumber CossetingCosset

v. To coddle like a pet; to overly indulge; pamper

The things we call aristocracies and reigning houses are the last places to look for masterful men. They began strongly, but they have been too long in possession. They have been cosseted and comforted and the devil has gone out of their blood.
— John Buchan, The Path of the King (1921)

Etymology
From the same root as “kiss”, in Old English “Cossetung” meant “kissing”.

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Irrefragable

Posted by kazvorpal on October 7, 2009


We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs <b>irrefragable</b>, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power. -- John Adams

We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power. -- John Adams

Irrefragable

adj. Which cannot be refuted; indisputable, clearly right, incontrovertible.

We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power.
— John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson (11-13-1815)

Etymology
Neoclassical Latin, refragari means “to oppose or contest”, the Latin frag means to break, as in fragment and fraction. Same Indo-European root as “break”.

Posted in Knowledge, rhetoric | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sesquipedalian

Posted by kazvorpal on October 6, 2009


booked-on-phonics

That's why I've cremated this new program called "Booked on Phonics". I'll teach you how to testiculate my way. To computate how it works, I will intersects with a perverted deviant by using one of my own penal implants.

Sesquipedalian

n. A person who uses long words, or a long word, itself.

usage
A pseudointellectual often tries to be sesquipedalian, but is not sufficiently pedantic to know how the words should actually be used. (As with the famous Damon Wayans sketch, at right)

etymology
Roman poet Horace coined the term while mocking words “a foot and a half long”; sesqui – “half again”, pedi – “foot”. The full phrase was actually sesquipedalia verba.

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Hortatory

Posted by kazvorpal on October 5, 2009


Barry Goldwater, delivering a hortatory speech

Barry Goldwater, delivering a hortatory speech

Hortatory

adj. Giving exhortation or advice; encouraging; exhortatory; inciting; as, a hortatory speech.

Considering the avowed purpose of his work, which is rather hortatory than historical, we are fortunate indeed to be given so much first-hand information by this embittered preacher.
J N L Myres, in R G Collingwood and J N L Myres Roman Britain and the English Settlements (1937) p. 329

Etymology
15th century, neoclassical Latin, Hortati means “to exhort”, an intensified version of Horiri, “to urge”.

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Solecism

Posted by kazvorpal on October 4, 2009


Surely there is no fitter solecistic archetype than Huck Fin.

We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.

Solecism (plural Solecisms)

n. A grammatical mistake or absurdity, or even simply a non-standard language usage.

  • We don’t need no education! (Pink Floyd’s infamous double-negative self-refutation.)
  • This is just between you and I. (Hypercorrection to avoid the common, nonstandard “you and me” form in the subject of sentences…in this case, “me” would have been correct, the standard pronoun for the object of a preposition.)
  • Surely there is no fitter solecistic archetype than Huck Finn. (While fitter is a valid construction, the grammatical norm in English is to say “more fitting” — an example of how valid language can still be a solecism.)

Etymology:
In ancient Greece, the colony of Soli in Sicily spoke a very corrupted version of Greek, and came to be seen as a model of silly language usage.

Posted in Grammar / Syntax | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Autodidactic

Posted by kazvorpal on October 3, 2009


Leonardo da Vinci

We deliberated between da Vinci, Ben Franklin, and Samuel Clemens as the quintessential autodidact

Autodidact (plural: autodidacts)

n. A self-taught person; an automath.

Having taught himself more about the sciences than any teacher of his age already knew, Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the greatest autodidacts.

Etymology

Posted in Knowledge | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hello world!

Posted by kazvorpal on October 3, 2009


Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 
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