High-Vocabulary Word of the Day

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Posts Tagged ‘big words’

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.

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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 »

Evanescent

Posted by kazvorpal on July 22, 2010


Evanescent

adj. Something that is disappearing, or that only happens for moments; ephemeral

Yes, it sounds like the name of that band…but many people don’t know what the actual word means.

Examples:

Human life, with all its unreal ills and transitory hopes, is as a dream, which departs before the dawn, leaving no trace of its evanescent lines.
Percy Shelley, Essay on Christianity (1859)

It was a dark world; it was full of preventable disorder, preventable diseases, and preventable pain of harshness and stupid unpremeditated cruelties; but yet, it may be even by virtue of the general darkness, there were moments of a rare and evanescent beauty that seems no longer possible in my experience.
H. G. Wells, In the Days of the Comet (1906)

He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments.
James Joyce, Stephen Hero (1944)

Our knowledge of physics only takes us back so far. Before this instant of cosmic time, all the laws of physics or chemistry are as evanescent as rings of smoke.
Joseph Silk, The Infinite Cosmos (2006)

Etymology: Easier than it sounds: Latin, “ex” (out of) and vanescere, which also forms the word “vanish”

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

Defenestrate

Posted by kazvorpal on July 15, 2010


Defenestrate

v. To throw out of a window, or by simile for throwing out, or a lack of windows

A term made famous by the Defenestrations of Prague, the start of a growing tradition of throwing bad politicians out of windows when ousting them from power.

Now, I don’t want to go on a rant here, but America’s foreign policy makes about as much sense as Beowulf having sex with Robert Fulton at the first Battle of Antietam. I mean, when a neo-conservative defenestrates, it’s like Raskolnikov filibuster deoxymonohydroxinate.
— Dennis Miller, our honorary solecistic sesquipedalian, on The Family Guy

Apple lost its opportunity to defenestrate Windows
Nick Farrell (2007)

All of this gets defenestrated (right out the window) if we find we cannot trust the Bible regular, day-to-day, earthly information.
Cliff Walker, March 31, 2008

Etymology: This is a back-construction from the word “fenestrated”, meaning “to have windows”, originating with the original, 17th century Defenestration of the Prague.

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

Osculation

Posted by kazvorpal on July 13, 2010


Osculation

v. To kiss, or come into contact with something or someone in a way that could be referred to as kissing by simile

This may not be the most romantic way to say “kiss”, but it’s certainly among the most interesting

All animals copulate but only humans osculate. Parakeets rub beaks? Sure they do, but only little old ladies who murder schoolchildren with knitting needles to steal their lunch money so that they can buy fresh kidneys to feed overweight kitty cats would place bird billing in the realm of the true kiss.
Tom Robbins, Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005)

He kissed the plump mellow yellow smellow melons of her rump, on each plump melonous hemisphere, in their mellow yellow furrow, with obscure prolonged provocative melonsmellonous osculation.
— James Joyce, Ulysses (1923)

According to a famous Yale professor
Osculation
is a sensation that is nice”
— Dean Martin, Tonda Wanda Hoy (1951)

Greetings, Gate. Let’s osculate.
— Daffy Duck, The Wise Quacking Duck (1943)

Etymology: From the Latin osculum, literally “little mouth”

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

 
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