High-Vocabulary Word of the Day

Endeavoring to contribute to your perspicacious lexicon.

  • Follow Daily

    You can follow High-Vocab WotD here, on Twitter

    You can follow High-Vocab WotD here, on Twitter

    And you can follow High-Vocab WotD, via our Facebook Page, here.

    And you can follow High-Vocab WotD, via our Facebook Page, here.

Archive for August, 2010

Sockdolager

Posted by kazvorpal on August 12, 2010


Sockdolager

A decisive blow or (by metaphor) remark, or something similarly powerful

Possibly a tent revival word, but reached popularity as a boxing term.

Examples:

Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, you sockdologising old man-trap
— Tom Taylor, Our American Cousin (the laugh line Boothe used as cover, to shoot Lincoln)

Every second or two there’d come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you’d see the islands, looking dusty through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in the wind; then comes a H-WHACK!-bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum=bum-bum-bum- and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit – and then RIP comes another flash and another sockdolager.
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

That’s a sockdolager of a skill set, ain’t it? Back then, the buldge on everybody.
— Brian D’Amato, Courts of the Sun (2009)

Jim restrained himself.
“Look, carrot-face, get the murerk, else I’ll fetch you a sockdolager what’ll lay you out till Christmas,” he said.
— Phillip Pullman, The Shadow of the North (1986)

Etymology:

Invented in the 19th century, “sock”, as to hit, plus perhaps a variation on “doxology”, which of course is a Christian term for praising God.

Advertisements

Posted in history, humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obsequious

Posted by kazvorpal on August 11, 2010


Obsequious

Fawning, submissively eager to please and agree

Examples:

Those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home.
— Washington Irving, Rip van Winkle

She what was honour knew,
And with obsequious majesty approv’d
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
I led her blushing like the morn; all heaven
And happy constellations on that hour
John Milton, Paradise Lost

Prison taught him the false smile, the rubbed hand of hypocrisy, the fawning, greased obsequious leer.
— Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orange

But it is hard to know them from friends, they are so obsequious, and full of protestations; for as a wolf resembles a dog, so doth a flatterer a friend.
— Sir Walter Raleigh, writing about flatterers, in The Voyage of the Destiny.

Etymology:

Latin: Ob = after and sequi = follow. Think “follower”, with sequi as “sequence”

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

Apodictic

Posted by kazvorpal on August 9, 2010


Apodictic

Absolutely certain, having been shown

In case it’s not obvious, we like to use real quotes that have working examples, but don’t necessarily endorse their contents…

Examples:

We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.
— Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang

But all these ideas, regardless of how convincing they may be for the individual, are submitted to the critical examination of this individual and hence to a fluctuating affirmation or negation until emotional divination or knowledge assumes the binding force of apodictic faith.
— Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

Etymology:

Greek, apo = “away”, dieknynai = “to show”

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

Dolorous

Posted by kazvorpal on August 6, 2010


Dolorous

Deeply sorrowful, or causing great sadness

Dolor is its own legitimate word, for sadness or pain, even physical pain

Examples:

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of
dolorous pitch
Thomas Hood, Song of the Shirt

He is not violent, nor tormented by immeasurable and dolorous conceptions; his painting is healthy, exempt from morbid questionings and from painful complications; he paints incessantly, without turmoil of the brain and without passion during his whole life.
Hippolyte Taine, writing about Renaissance artist, Titian

From time to time Sancho gave forth profound sighs and dolorous groans; and on Don Quixote asking him the cause of is sore anguish, he answered that from the end of his backbone to the nape of his neck he was aching, so that it drove him out of his senses.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote de la Mancha

Etymology:

Dolor is Latin for “pain, painful”

Posted in humor, poetry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Polymath

Posted by kazvorpal on August 5, 2010


Polymath

One with many skills or fields of knowledge; a renaissance man

Examples:

A Catholic sense of sin and a social sense of disaster, a fascination with the polymathic and polyglot artist and the strange and often gross and unbidden sources of art. Nor had Burgess taught languages or studied Joyce for nothing…
Malcolm Bradbury, The Modern British Novel (1993)

You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world.
Richard Dawkins, The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (1996)

Etymology:

A classical greek word, its parts are poly, many, and mathes, learned. The word “mathematics” does come from the same root word, as understanding numbers was once a sign of being educated.

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

Penumbra

Posted by kazvorpal on August 5, 2010


Penumbra

A vague, poorly defined area or idea

This usage comes from the euphemistic use of the word, which originally referred to actual, shadowed areas. Made infamous by judicial activists on the Supreme Court.

Examples:

Greetings traveller. Who am I? Perhap’ you have met me twixt sleep and wank, in the penumbra of uncertainty you call “unconsciousness”.
Garth Marenghi, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place

William James used to preach the “will to believe.” For my part, I should wish to preach the “will to doubt.” None of our beliefs are quite true; all at least have a penumbra of vagueness and error.
Bertrand Russel, Skeptical Essay

Stalking and martyrdom are acts that are seen, to their executors, to fall under the penumbra of “love”.
Kaz Vorpal

Etymology:

Paena is Latin for “almost”, umbra for “shadow”…an umbrella is a “little shade”

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

 
%d bloggers like this: