Entry By: CJ Cooney
Smash illiteracy! Email This Word To A Friend:
|a dictionary of words and phrases on the verge of extinction — updated daily — for the word obsessed!|
impute ideolect thaumaturgy post hoc, ergo propter hoc irredenta unicity riant stolid à volonté wondermonger ante bellum sub rosa black sanctus Barathrum trebuchet predestination dirigiste anthropophagus post meridiem nóesis mouflon comestible effete magniloquent bedad boulevardier gravitas lentissimo je ne sais quoi peccavi galumph
to attribute to something or someone; responsibility or guilt credited to something or someone, often wrongly1830The Life of Lord ByronHe formed his plan of travelling upon different reasons from those which he afterward gave out, and which have been imputed to him. 1920For the Salt He Had EatenYou, a mere subaltern, a puppy just out of his 'teens, an insignificant jackanapes with two twelve-pounders in your charge, daring to impute disloyalty to Mahommed Khan!—your impudence!1999Into the Thinking KingdomsYou impute to your fellow humans a greater dignity than they deserve.
the speech of an individual or group that constitutes a distinct linguistic pattern in relation to other speakers of the language or dialect1995Blue Mars...Earth seemed to Nirgal an explosion of idiolects, no two persons employing the same tongue.1999I'm A Stranger Here Myself...noting a steady and seemingly terminal decline in the fragile idiolect.
performing something amazing; performing miracles1876Among My BooksThe men who walked in Cornelius Agrippa's visionary gardens had probably no more pleasurable emotion than that of a shallow wonder, or an equally shallow self-satisfaction in thinking they had hit upon the secret of the thaumaturgy…1897CyropaediaIt has its analogy in the admission of thaumaturgy on the part of religious teachers, and no doubt a good deal can be said for it.
post hoc, ergo propter hoc
POST hok aer-go PROP-tur hok
fallacious argument attributing cause for a second event because of a first event, especially when there is no logical connection between events, e.g. Every time I wear my lucky shirt, my team wins. Therefore, my shirt must make the team win.1883Medical EssaysThe post hoc ergo propter hoc error: he got well after taking my medicine; therefore in consequence of taking it.1913Napoleon's Campaign in Russia Anno 1812When a Russian peasant had overloaded his stomach and some harmless mixture or decoction given him by some of the pseudo physicians had had a good effect—post hoc ergo propter hoc—the medicine man who had come from far away was highly praised and highly recommended.1982ClandestineLogical fallacies. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc: after this, therefore because of this.
a geographic area or ethnic group related politically to one group but controlled politically by another group1882New Arabian NightsWell,' said he, 'here is a toast in the meantime: 'Italia Irredenta!''1915The War and DemocracyAll that still remained to be won was Venice, which Austria ceded in 1866; Rome, which the French had occupied in the name of the Pope, and were forced to evacuate in 1870; and the Italia Irredenta of to-day, viz. the Trentino, Trieste, and Istria, which may be recovered as a result of the present war.1922Public OpinionThe only part of them that could possibly procure allied sympathy was that which would recover the genuine Italia Irredenta.
to be one; to be united; to be unique1998Digital FortressThey spoke of stream ciphers, self-decimated generators, knapsack variants, zero knowledge protocols, unicity points.
Labels: Dan Brown
cheerful; displaying mirth1834RookwoodAll was riant and rejoicing—all, save her heart.1888November BoughsFrom such deep-down elements sprout up, in very contrast and paradox, those riant utterances of which a superficial reading will not detect the hidden foundation.1975Doorways in the SandBehold the riant anthropoid, beware its crooked thumbs!
unemotional; impassive; like a rock1866The GamblerIn the same way, I saw our General once approach the table in a stolid, important manner.1967The Dark Side of the StreetHis partner, O'Brien, a tall, stolid Irishman, loosened the crowbar he was holding with easy strength and straightened, a frown on his face.1979The Right Stuff...'carrier suitability tests'—a stolid phrase that covered a multitude of ways for a test pilot to expire.
at will; as you wish1918The Garden of SurvivalBaudelaire, of course, meant God and Heaven, instead of 'genius' when he said, 'Le genie n'est que l'enfance retrouvee a volonte. . . .'
Labels: Algernon Blackwood
gawkers, usually rude gawkers; a person who promises miracles1847Varney the Vampire: The Feast of BloodThis news spread like wildfire, awaking no end of speculation, and giving rise to the most exaggerated rumours, so that a number of persons came to the inn on purpose to endeavour to get a look at the baron; but he did not stir from his apartments, so that these wondermongers were disappointed, and even forced to go away as wise as they came; but in the majority of cases they made up their minds that in the morning they should surely be able to obtain a glimpse of him, which was considered a great treat, for a man with an immense income is looked upon in England as a natural curiosity.
Labels: Thomas Peckett Prest
period of American history before the Civil War (before 1866)1938Pigions from HellThe old deserted house stimulated their imagination with its suggestion of antebellum splendor and ultimate decay.1992Introduction to: Outlaws of the Old WestIn many respects the Old West is like the ante-bellum South. It is a civilization gone with the wind.1999Southern CrossThe governor's antebellum mansion needed new plumbing and wiring.2002The SummonsThe house next door to the east was another relic occupied by a family of spinsters who'd been dying off for decades. It was also an antebellum but without the vines and weeds, and it was completely shadowed by five of the largest oak trees in Clanton.
in confidence; secretly; covertly1927Elmer GantryWhatever worldly expressions he might use in sub rosa conversations with the less sanctified theological students…1962Satan BugYou will remember that there was nothing sub rosa about Gregori's arrival in this country…2000The Hades FactorFrom the great shuttered embassy, they handled passport questions, reported on local media, and occasionally passed sub-rosa messages between Washington and Baghdad.
a rude, comedic or mocking hymn1819IvanhoeThe nearer the church the farther from God.—-And by my cockscomb,'' he added, 'I think it be even so—-Hearken but to the black sanctus which they are singing in the hermitage!''1821Kenilworth'Doth he say so, the mincing, hypocritical miser?' vociferated Lambourne. 'Why, then, he shall come down and receive my commands here, this blessed night, under my uncle's roof! And I will ring him such a black sanctus, that he shall think the devil hath him by the skirts for a month to come, for barely hearing me.'
Labels: Sir Walter Scott
a bottomless hole; an abyss; a name for hell or the underworld in Greek mythology1600Every Man In His HumourLOR. JU. Opinion, O God, let gross opinion sink and be damn'd As deep as Barathrum,1837Athens: Its Rise and FallIt had been a saying of Aristides, 'that if the Athenians desired their affairs to prosper, they ought to fling Themistocles and himself into the barathrum.' But fortune was satisfied at this time with a single victim, and reserved the other for a later sacrifice.1876Pausanias, the SpartanInstead of ostracising me, they should have cast both myself and Themistocles into the Barathrum.
a medieval artillery for hurling large stones or other objects during sieges1960The High CrusadeThe boat carried several of these-also a disassembled trebuchet which his artisans had constructed.1976Dark CrusadeKane's trebuchets are smashing the outer walls to powder.2003White DeathHe's a medieval weapons buff, so he developed a gadget similar to a trebuchet that had a surprising range.
the idea that all things are preordained; destiny1984Thinner'You might be surprised.' Billy felt a sense of deep calm and predestination - not deja vu but real predestination.1995Rapture In DeathDeliberately, she swiveled in her chair, watching the air traffic clog the sky outside her window. Predestination. Fate. Genetic imprint. If she were to believe in any of that, what was the point of her job—or her life, for that matter? If there was no choice, no changing, why struggle to save lives or stand for the dead when the struggle failed?1998The Big Bad City'Are we about to get into a discussion of free will?' | 'I hope not.' | 'Determinism? Predestination?' | 'That's not what ...' | 'Double predestination? Calvinism? Am I back at the seminary?'
a centrally planned economy; opposite of the market economy2004Cyclopedia of EconomicsThe employed wish to defend their monopoly and form 'labour cartels'. This is especially true in dirigiste Europe.2004The Guardian (Tuesday November 23, 2004)It is an absolutely essential challenge to the dirigiste, public-sector culture…
one who consumes human flesh; a cannibal1859The Professor at the Breakfast TableI have been worried to know whether this was owing to some innate depravity of disposition on my part, some malignant torturing instinct, which, under different circumstances, might have made a Fijian anthropophagus of me, or to some law of thought for which I was not answerable.1965Bill: The Galactic HeroFine sentry, an anthropophagus from Dapdrof, eat you in an instant if you don't give the right password for the day.
after noon; source of abbreviation PM which signifies the hours of the day between noon and midnight; literally: after the sun has crossed the line (of the sundial)1846The Privateersman We then took our leave, promising to be back by dinner-time, and I went with Philip to fit him out in a more creditable way; and having made my purchases and given my orders, (it being then almost two o'clock post meridiem,) we hastened to Mr Trevannion's, that we might be in time for dinner.1991The Road To OmahaI hereby determine that the hour of our conference will take place post meridiem, the specific time to be mutually agreed upon with later communication by telephone.
intellectual process; cognitive process1835Alexandria and Her Schools Had he not mapped out all heaven and earth, things seen and unseen, with his entelechies, and energies, and dunameis, and put every created and uncreated thing henceforth into its proper place, from the ascidians and polypes of the sea to the virtues and the vices—yea, to that Great Deity and Prime Cause (which indeed was all things), Noesis Noeseon, 'the Thought of Thoughts,' whom he discovered by irrefragable processes of logic, and in whom the philosophers believe privately, leaving Serapis to the women and the sailors? 1871CratylusFor Athene we must turn to the allegorical interpreters of Homer, who make the name equivalent to theonoe, or possibly the word was originally ethonoe and signified moral intelligence (en ethei noesis).1913The Catholic EncyclopediaIn the 'Metaphysics' he takes the stand that the actual is of its nature antecedent to the potential, that consequently, before all matter, and all composition of matter and form, of potentiality and actuality, there must have existed a Being Who is pure actuality, and Whose life is self-contemplative thought (noesis noeseos).
a European mountain sheep1894The Mountains of CaliforniaThey are classified by different naturalists under from five to ten distinct species or varieties, the best known being the burrhel of the Himalaya ( Ovis burrhel, Blyth); the argali, the large wild sheep of central and northeastern Asia ( O. ammon, Linn., or Caprovis argali ); the Corsican mouflon ( O. musimon, Pal.); the aoudad of the mountains of northern Africa ( Ammotragus tragelaphus ); and the Rocky Mountain bighorn ( O. montana, Cuv.).1909Orpheus in Mayfair and Other Stories'Yes,' said Stewart, 'I think they are mouflon, but I don't think the island is inhabited all the same.'1980Clan of the Cave BearTo absorb moisture and soft milky stools, any of several materials were packed around them: fleece from wild sheep gathered from thorny shrubs when the mouflon were shedding, down from birds' breasts, or fuzz from fibrous plants.
edible food and drink1915Dear EnemyWe are henceforth to buy a part of our shoes and drygoods and drug store comestibles from local shops…1995EarthfallIf they can eat your enemies, Elya, how long before they decide that you are also a comestible?2001The Fiery CrossNormally, he paid attention only to such vegetation as was immediately comestible by horse or man…
infertile; not virile; weak; decadent; effeminate1914At the Earth's CoreUncouth, perhaps, and brutal, too, if judged too harshly by the standards of effete twentieth-century civilization, but withal noble, dignified, chivalrous, and loveable.1969The Andromeda StrainManchek disliked Jaggers, who was effete and precious.1992Fire In the MistThe smoke cleared to reveal an old, battered, downtrodden saje; a portly, effete scholar; and a muscular young redhead who had Medwind licking her lips.
bombastic and pompous speech; boastful1851Moby DickThough in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title 'Lord of the White Elephants' above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion…1866Charles LambLamb's verses were always good, steady, and firm, and void of those magniloquent commonplaces which so clearly betray the immature writer.1914DublinersHe was a suave, elderly man who balanced his imposing body, when at rest, upon a large silk umbrella. His magniloquent western name was the moral umbrella upon which he balanced the fine problem of his finances. He was widely respected.1922The Expansion of EuropeAn impressionable, domineering and magniloquent prince, inflated by the hereditary self-assurance of the Hohenzollerns, and sharing to the full the modern German belief in German superiority and in Germany's imperial destiny, William II. became the spokesman and leader of an almost insanely megalomaniac, but terribly formidable nation.
an exclamation of surprise, amazement, or displeasure1854Roughing it in the BushFirst, thin, sir, I come from the township of D—-and want a masther; and next to that, bedad! I want something to ate.1890About IrelandThere is no check and no verification. Pat and Tim and Mike give their accounts of this and that, bedad! and tell their piteous tales of want and oppression.1901The Ghost Ship'Here I am, bedad!' he exclaimed, shoving past Master 'Conky,' to whom he had a strong dislike, though 'Garry,' as we all called him, was friendly with every one with whom he was brought in contact, and was, himself, a great favorite with all the hands on board.1904The Gold Bat'A very sensible and temperate letter from Sir Eustace Briggs', they called it, but bedad! if that was a temperate letter, I should like to know what an intemperate one is.
a wealthy man; a popular socialite1904Nostromo As a matter of fact, he was an idle boulevardier, in touch with some smart journalists, made free of a few newspaper offices, and welcomed in the pleasure haunts of pressmen. 1922Right Ho, Jeeves ...the Bertram Wooster who eventually toppled off at the door of Kingham Manor was a very different Bertram from the gay and insouciant boulevardier of Bond Street and Piccadilly.1970Jailbird Clyde's and Fender's faces, however, were mirrors enough to tell me that I was something less than a gay boulevardier on the order of, say, the late Maurice Chevalier.
respectable demeanor; substance; formal bearing; to have dignity1989The Mummy or Ramses the DamnedThere was something about Plutarch which made him think of old men gossiping as they gathered on benches in public squares. No gravitas to the history.1999Winter Warriors'Dignity is much overrated,' she said, at last. 'It is a concept, I think, devised by men to add gravitas to their strutting.'2004Unfairenheit 9-11 (Slate.com, 21 June 2004)Perhaps vaguely aware that his movie so completely lacks gravitas, Moore concludes with a sonorous reading of some words from George Orwell.
at a slow pace; musical notation for playing a passage at a gentle pace1929— & CoHer playing, like her handwriting, was devoid of those glissandos, those ral-lentissimos, those die-away pianissimos which make the music of young ladies resemble a graceful ride upon a swing.1988The Lyre of Orpheus...it all had to be done lentissimo e languidamente…
je ne sais quoi
zhuh nuh say KWAW
an unexplainable certain something; the 'it' factor1838Scenes from a Courtesans LifeNotwithstanding these defects, notwithstanding her board-like carriage, she had by birth and education a grand air, a proud demeanor, in short, everything that has been well named le je ne sais quoi, due partly, perhaps, to her uncompromising simplicity of dress, which stamped her as a woman of noble blood.1929Partners In Crime'On the contrary,' said Tuppence, 'there is a feminine subtlety about my conversation, a je ne sais quoi, that no gross male could ever attain to.…'1998Homebody...you bring a special je ne sais quoi to the discussion of plumbing fixtures.
the acknowledging or admission of sin1841The QuadrooneBut bid him defend himself wi' his sword, and he will cry peccavi, and show thee naught but an arrant Aragonese coward hath been this braggadocio.1972Tied Up In Tinsel'Peccavi, peccavi,' cried Hilary, putting his hands together and after a moment, with a decisive air, 'Well! The sooner it's over the better…2001Death of the WestNapier is remembered for having sent back to his commanders the coded message 'Peccavi'—Latin for 'I have sinned.'
a clumsy or plodding walk; to do something in an ad-hoc or shoddy way1951The Caine MutinyThe port bandersnatch got fouled in the starboard rath when we tried to galumph the cutting cable so as not to trip the snozzle again.1990G is for GumshoeThe bathwater cooled to lukewarm and I let it galumph away…