Friday word: Snollygoster

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:04 am
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Posted by med_cat

Snollygoster, n.


an unprincipled but shrewd person

About the word:

The story of its origin remains unknown, but snollygoster was first used in the nasty politics of 19th century America. One definition of the word dates to 1895, when a newspaper editor explained "a snollygoster is a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform or principles...."

Source: Merriam-Webster Online, Top 10 rare and amusing insults

Thursday words: chiasmus & synchysis

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 02:48 pm
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Posted by prettygoodword

chiasmus (kai-AZ-muhs) - n., a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases; any linguistic structure with an A-B-B-A pattern.

synchysis (SIN-ki-suhs) - n., a parallel structure in the order of words in two phrases; any linguistic structure with an A-B-A-B pattern; (rhet.) a confused arrangement of words in a sentence, such as an inversion taken to extreme.

I like chiasmus, for chiasmatic structures are likeable. "He knowingly led and we followed blindly." It's useful all sorts of way for binding phrases together and highlighting that they are bound. It's also capable of quite subtle effects, such as when used as a pattern of alliteration binding four key words together without being obvious about it by alliterating all four on the same sound. The name comes from the Greek letter chi, written Χ -- and why becomes clearer when you write the schema thus:
 A  B
 B  A 

The great variety of meanings for synchysis, which is the much more common structure, comes from a technical use in Latin poetry, where a line in the form adjectiveA-adjectiveB-verb-nounA-nounB (because case inflections have to match, it's clear which adjective has to go with which noun) is known as a golden line, which is a delicious device but does greatly deviate from standard word order.

Regardless, both are originally technical jargon from ancient Greek rhetoric.


Wednesday word: flounce

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 07:14 am
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Posted by trellia_chan

Sorry for the missed weeks!

flounce: [flouns]


1. To move or go in jerky, exhaggerated, bouncy motions, often out of anger.

2. To fling the body about, to flounder.


1. An act of flouncing, a flouncing movement.

2. A strip of materal pleated and attached at one ege with the other edge left loose and hanging, such as on a skirt, curtain, or slipcover.

Origin of the verb and first noun: First known use 1535-1545. Origin obscure, possibly from Norwegian, flunsa, to hurry.

Origin of the secound noun: First known use, 1665, from obsolete French frounce, to gather in folds.

Monday word: prolix

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 03:14 am
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Posted by ersatz_read

prolix (prō-lĭks′, prō′lĭks′), adj.
1. tediously prolonged; wordy
2. long-winded; tending to speak or write at excessive length

Etymology:  from Latin prolixus, extended, long

Friday word: Verisimilitude

Saturday, June 17th, 2017 02:29 am
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Posted by med_cat

verisimilitude, n. veri·si·mil·i·tude \ˌver-ə-sə-ˈmi-lə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Definition of verisimilitude

1: the quality or state of being verisimilar

2: something verisimilar

Definition of verisimilar

1: having the appearance of truth : probable

2: depicting realism (as in art or literature)

verisimilitudinousplay \ˌver-ə-sə-ˌmi-lə-ˈtüd-nəs, -ˈtyüd-; -ˈtü-də-nəs, -ˈtyü-\ adjective

Examples of verisimilitude in a Sentence

the novel's degree of verisimilitude is compromised by 18th-century characters who speak in very 21st-century English

Did You Know?

From its roots, verisimilitude means basically "similarity to the truth". Most fiction writers and filmmakers aim at some kind of verisimilitude to give their stories an air of reality. They need not show something actually true, or even very common, but simply something believable. A mass of good details in a play, novel, painting, or film may add verisimilitude. A spy novel without some verisimilitude won't interest many readers, but a fantastical novel may not even attempt to seem true to life.

Thursday word: coulter

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 04:58 pm
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Posted by prettygoodword

coulter (UK) or colter (US) (KOHL-ter) - n., a blade or sharp disc attached to the beam of a plow, used to cut the ground ahead of the plowshare.

An advance in agricultural technology that increased farm production in the middle ages -- the coulter loosens the earth, making it easier to turn the furrow with the plow proper.

Thanks Wikimedia Commons

The original coulter was the blade (#4 in the diagram) -- discs started to be used around 1900. From Middle English colter or culter, from Old English culter and Old French coltre, both from Latin culter, plowshare/knife. Spencer mentions in The Faerie Queene:

"a furrow ... which my coulter hath not cleft"


Monday word: pingo

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 03:01 am
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Posted by ersatz_read

pingo (pĭng′gō), noun
A hill of soil-covered ice pushed up by pressure in an area of permafrost.

Etymology:  Inuit, pingu, hill or mound.  The word was borrowed by Arctic botanist Alf Erling Porsild in 1938.

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