Vocabulary Words

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

This is a running list of vocabulary words I’ve encountered in my reading over the last several years. I use the vocabulary-list feature on my Kindle to collect words, then export them from the Sqlite database with a simple SQL. From there, I have a text file with words that I combine with my existing list, deduplicate and then re-apply formatting to generate the text below.

I will occasionally update this list.

Where a word (e.g. “reef”) has a common definition, I’ve left it off, preferring to include the more-unusual or rarer definitions.
  1. Word – Definition
  2. a-signifying – Incidentally meaningful semiotics; effective but not directly connected to intent, meaning or significance (e.g. purchase-history–based recommendations)
  3. ablative – Related to removal through melting or evaporation
  4. abrogation – To abolish or annul, esp. by an authority
  5. accidie – Spiritual sloth; apathy; indifference
  6. acidulous – Slightly acrid in taste or manner
  7. acrostic – Poem or text where the first letters of each line form a message
  8. adamant(n): Extremely hard substance
  9. adenoidal – Nasal in tone
  10. adiabatic – Occurring without gain or loss of heat
  11. adjunct – Added or connected in a subordinate or auxiliary capacity
  12. adumbrate – To give a sketchy outline
  13. aerostat – A lighter-than-air vehicle, like a balloon or dirigible
  14. aesculapian – Related to the art of medicine
  15. aesthete – A person who is unusually sensitive to beauty in art or nature
  16. aetiology – The philosophy or study of causation
  17. affray – A riot; a large group fighting
  18. aga – leader (civil or military) in the Ottoman empire
  19. agitprop – subversive writing; see samizdat
  20. agnatology – the study of culturally-induced ignorance
  21. aiguillette – An ornamental cord worn on the shoulder of a military uniform
  22. akrasia – Weakness of will; acting contrary to one’s moral values
  23. Albion – Britain or England
  24. alee – On the leeward side
  25. alembic – Distilling apparatus consisting of two vessels and a tube
  26. amanuensis – Assistant
  27. amethyst – Purple or violet quartz
  28. amphisbaena – Mythical Greek ant-eating serpent with a head at each end
  29. anaclitic – Psychologically dependent on others
  30. analysand – A person who is being psychoanalyzed
  31. anastomosis – Connection of parts of a branching system to form a network (e.g. blood vessels or rivers)
  32. anfract – [definition unknown] (from Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before (“[…] following its rifts and anfracts, past corridors of chalk in which vinous harlequins were stuck”)
  33. anhedonia – Inability to express pleasure
  34. anile – unable to think clearly or infirm because of old age
  35. anisotropic – Having properties that differ based on the direction of measurement (e.g. oval)
  36. anodyne – Uncontentious or inoffensive
  37. anoesis – Absence of thought (anoetic)
  38. anorectic – Marked by loss of appetite (anorexic)
  39. anserine – Goose-like
  40. anterior – Before or in front of; previously
  41. antimacassar – A protective and often decorative covering for the back or arms of a chair or sofa.
  42. antinomian – One who denies the fixed meaning or universal applicability of moral law
  43. antipodes – Group of rocky island near New Zealand, almost directly opposite Greenwich, England
  44. apodictic – Logically certain; demonstrably true or false
  45. apophenia – Seeing patterns in randomness
  46. aporia – A state of being at a loss; a statement to that effect
  47. Aposematic – Having bright, colorful markings that warn predators of poison
  48. apostasy – Abandonment of one’s religious faith, party or a cause
  49. apothegm – A maxim
  50. apotheosis – Deification; exaltation to divine rank (nirvana)
  51. apotropaic – Intended to ward off evil
  52. appanage – Provision (usually land) granted (usually to a family member) as a source of revenue
  53. apperception – Conscious perception with full awareness
  54. apposite – Appropriate or relevant
  55. approbation – Official approval
  56. appurtenance – 1. appendage; 2. gear
  57. arbalest – Crossbow-like missile launcher
  58. architrave – The lintel or beam lying across two columns
  59. arcology – A portmanteau of architecture” and “ecology”, a very densely populated habitat (page 231 of Reamde)
  60. armamentarium – The complete range of materials available or used for a task.
  61. armillary – Of or relating to the arm (e.g. bracelets)
  62. arquebus – A portable, long-barrelled gun, predecessor to the rifle
  63. arras – A tapestry, wall hanging or curtain (usually Flemish)
  64. arreptitious – Snatched away; seized or possessed, as a demoniac; raving; mad; crack-brained
  65. artilect – A machine or robot possessing artificial intelligence
  66. asafetida – A plant common to Iran and Afghanistan; produces a brownish, strong-smelling resin
  67. asseveration – A positive and emphatic declaration
  68. assignation – A tryst
  69. astragal – A molding that covers a gap (usually to prevent airflow)
  70. ataraxia – A calm of mind; serenity
  71. ataxic – Loss of the ability to coordinate muscle movement (Lucky Jim)
  72. Ativan – Tranquilizer; trade name for lorazepam
  73. atrabilious – Melancholy; peevish; surly
  74. attenuate – To become slender, fine or small
  75. autarky – Quality of being self-sufficient, as in a state or economy
  76. autochthonous – Local; native
  77. autolatrous – Self-worshiping
  78. autopoiesis – A closed system capable of creating itself
  79. autotelic – Having a purpose in and justifying itself
  80. avariciously – Greedily, immoderately so
  81. aventurine – A form of quartz; green; translucent with a shimmering or glistening effect
  82. avulsion – The forcible tearing away of a body part; change in landscape due to flooding or riverbed changes
  83. baize – Coarse woolen cloth (used e,g, to cover snooker or billiard tables)
  84. balboa – The official currency of Panama
  85. baldachin – A canopy of state over an altar or throne
  86. ballista – Medieval field weapon similar to a crossbow (heavy projectiles)
  87. bast – The phloem of a plant (bast fiber)
  88. bastinado – A beating on the soles of the feet
  89. Batavia – A former name for Jakarta
  90. bathetic – Portmanteau of bathos and pathetic (anticlimactic, banal, trite)
  91. batrachian – An amphibian, esp. a frog or a salamander
  92. baulk – Line from which croquet, snooker, billiard ball is put into play (or the area behind it)
  93. beadle – Church usher
  94. beignet – A square doughnut without a hole; a fritter
  95. beldam – A hag
  96. belie – To misrepresent
  97. benthic – Of or pertaining to the bottom of a body of water
  98. besom – Twigs tied to a handle to make a broom
  99. bezoar – hard, indigestible mass food in the stomach or intestines
  100. bight – A loop in a rope; a wide bay characterized by a bend or curve
  101. bilious – Peevish; ill-humored
  102. biretta – Square hat worn by ecclesiastics, with three or four ridges on the brow
  103. bitts – A post on the deck of a ship to which ropes or cables are secured
  104. blackleg – 1. A livestock or plant disease, usually fatal. 2. A cardsharp
  105. bloater – A large mackerel or herring, salted, smoked and dried
  106. bodkin – A long needle or awl; a dagger or stiletto
  107. bolster – A long, narrow pillow or cushion
  108. boracic – Having no money; Brit. slang
  109. borage – Southern European bristly herb with blue or purplish, star-shaped flowers
  110. bothy – Small hut or cottage (Scot.)
  111. boustrophedonic – A script that is simultaneously left-to-right and right-to-left
  112. bowdlerize – To expurgate literary material; to censor
  113. bract – A leaflike or scalelike plant part, usually small, sometimes showy or brightly colored, and located just below a flower, a flower stalk, or an inflorescence
  114. bradycardia – Slowness of the heart rate (usually less than 60BPM)
  115. brassica – Genus that includes cabbage, swede, rape and mustard
  116. breechclout – A loincloth
  117. breezeway – An enclosure joining two parts of a building (e.g. a house and its garage)
  118. brigandine – Flexible body armor covered in cloth
  119. bromidrosis – Body odor
  120. bruit – A din or clamor
  121. brume – Fog or mist
  122. burgeon – To begin to grow or blossom (to put forth buds)
  123. buttonholer – Someone who accosts or detains (a person) in conversation
  124. cabochon – A highly polished, convex-cut, unfaceted gem
  125. cadastral – A public register showing details of ownership of the real property in a district, including boundaries and tax assessments
  126. caduceus – A herald’s wand or staff (usually refers to the two serpents logo of Hermes’s staff used by the medical profession)
  127. cafard – A feeling of severe depression (from the French, literally hypocrite, cockroach)
  128. caique – A long narrow rowboat traditionally used on the Bosporus.
  129. caisson – A watertight structure for performing work or repairs under water
  130. caitiff – A despicable coward; a wretch
  131. caleche – A light two- or four-wheeled horse-draw carriage
  132. calenture – A tropical fever thought to be caused by heat; similar to sunstroke
  133. caliginous – Dark, misty and gloomy
  134. callow – Immature
  135. calque – To make a loan translation from (a word in another language)
  136. caltrop – Metal spikes thrown across a road
  137. calvados – A French brandy made from apples.
  138. canaille – The common people; the masses; the hoi polloi
  139. canescent – Turning white or grayish; becoming hoary
  140. cannula – A tube inserted into a body cavity (e.g. a nose tube)
  141. cantrip – A deceptive move; a sham
  142. caoutchouc – Untreated rubber
  143. caparison – Fancy dress or ornamentation for a man or horse (or to make fancy by decorating in this way)
  144. capsid – A virus’s protein coat
  145. captious – Nitpicky; deliberately confusing; underhanded debating tactics
  146. caracole – A half-turn performed by a horse and rider (or to perform same)
  147. caravansary – An inn built around a large court for accommodating caravans (mostly in Asia)
  148. casuistical – Specious reasoning intended to mislead
  149. catafalque – A funeral bier
  150. catastasis – The part of a drama immediately preceding the climax
  151. catawampus – Skewed, twisted
  152. catechumen – A novice; one who is being instructed at an elementary level
  153. catenary – The curve formed by a cable suspended by its endpoints
  154. caudal – Situated beneath or on the underside; inferior; opposite of anterior
  155. cautery – The act or process or cauterizing (or an agent used to cauterize)
  156. cavil – To quibble
  157. cenotaph – A monument honoring a person buried elsewhere
  158. chaff – Trivial or worthless matter; dry bracts of seeds, removed during threshing; metal bits emitted by a plane to foil radar
  159. chalcedony – A translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz
  160. chancellery – The rank, position, office or department of a chancellor
  161. chandler – One that makes or sells candles
  162. chaparral – An area covered by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs
  163. charivari – An elaborate, noisy celebration, often mocking (page 508 of the Idiot)
  164. chary – 1. Very cautious; wary; 2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing
  165. chautauqua – A summer school or educational meeting held in the summer
  166. chiaroscuro – The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation
  167. chiasmus – A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in “Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
  168. chilblain – An inflammation followed by itchy irritation on the hands, feet, or ears, resulting from exposure to moist cold
  169. chimerical – Highly improbable or illusory
  170. chine – 1. The backbone or spine, esp. of an animal; 2. a cut of meat containing same
  171. chintz – A printed and glazed cotton fabric, usually of bright colors
  172. Chiron – The wise centaur who tutored Achilles, Hercules, and Asclepius
  173. chiropodist – A podiatrist or foot doctor
  174. chiton – 1. A mollusk that lives on rocks and has a shell consisting of eight overlapping calcareous plates. Also called sea cradle or coat-of-mail shell; 2. A tunic worn by men and women in ancient Greece
  175. cholecystitis – Inflammation of the gallbladder
  176. chyron – A graphic that is digitally superimposed over the lower portion of a broadcast television image, often scrolling or otherwise animated
  177. circumvallate – Encircle as with a rampart
  178. cisalpine – Relating to, living on, or coming from the southern side of the Alps
  179. cislunar – Of or relating to the space between the earth and the moon
  180. clabber – Sour, curdled milk; to curdle
  181. clapboard – 1. A long thin timber board with one edge thicker than the other, used in wood-frame construction by lapping each board over the one below; 2. a house made of same
  182. cloistered – Secluded or shut up from the world
  183. clotted cream – A thick cream made primarily in England by heating milk until a layer of cream forms on its surface that is then cooled and skimmed off
  184. clyster – An enema
  185. codon – A sequence of three adjacent nucleotides constituting the genetic code that determines the insertion of a specific amino acid in a polypeptide chain during protein synthesis or the signal to stop protein synthesis
  186. coffle – A line of animals or slaves, chained together
  187. colliery – A coal mine together with its physical plant and outbuildings
  188. colloidal – A liquid within which very fine particles are evenly distributed so that they stay suspended
  189. colloquy – Written dialogue
  190. coloratura – Vocal music characterized by florid ornamental passages
  191. colporteur – A peddler of devotional literature
  192. colubra – A female snake
  193. colubrine – Serpentine
  194. Columbine – A flower from the buttercup family
  195. communard – One who lives in a commune
  196. compendious – Containing or stating briefly all the essentials of something; comprehensive and concise
  197. concupiscent – Lascivious
  198. condign – Deserved; adequate
  199. congeries – A collection
  200. conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge
  201. consilience – A chance happening or coincidence
  202. contemn – To view with contempt; despise
  203. contra mundum – Against the world; in defiance of all general opinion
  204. contretemps – 1. An inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation; 2. an argument or dispute
  205. contumacious – Anti-authoritarian
  206. contumely – Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence
  207. conurbation – A predominantly urban region including adjacent towns and suburbs; a metropolitan area
  208. convolvulus – Any typically twining herbaceous convolvulaceous plant of the genus Convolvulus, having funnel-shaped flowers and triangular leaves
  209. copula – The word or set of words that serves as a link between the subject and predicate of a proposition
  210. coracle – A small, rounded, primitive boat (stretched skin over wooden frame)
  211. corse – A corpse (archaic)
  212. corybantic – To dance in a fashion similar to rites for the Phrygian goddess Cybele, celebrated with music and ecstatic dances
  213. cotise – A narrow stripe that usually occurs as one of a pair, with each stripe occurring on either side of a bend, fess, or other charge in heraldry
  214. crepuscular – Resembling twilight; dim; active at twilight (from Reamde)
  215. cresset – A metal cup, often suspended on a pole, containing burning oil or pitch and used as a torch
  216. cretonne – A heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers
  217. crim – Short for criminal
  218. crotchet – An odd, whimsical, perverse or stubborn notion
  219. cuirass – A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back, often consisting of two pieces fastened together
  220. cuirassier – A horse soldier in European armies whose equipment included the cuirass
  221. culverin – 1. An early, crudely made musket; 1. A long heavy cannon used in the 16th and 17th centuries
  222. cunctation – Procrastination; delay
  223. cupidity – Excessive desire, esp. for wealth; covetousness or avarice
  224. curlew – Any of several brownish, long-legged shorebirds of the genus Numenius, having long, slender, downward-curving bills
  225. cuspidor – spittoon; a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, esp. from chewing tobacco
  226. cutis – The dermis and epidermis of the skin together
  227. cynosure – Focal point of attention or admiration
  228. dacoit – A member of a robber band or gang in South Asia
  229. dag – Hanging fur matted with mud
  230. damask – 1. A rich patterned fabric of cotton, linen, silk, or wool; 2. the wavy pattern on Damascus steel
  231. deadhead – To remove dead flowers from a bush
  232. debauch – To corrupt morally; to seduce
  233. debility – Being weak or infirm
  234. decrepicate – To make a crackling sound when roasted (crystals or salts)
  235. defalcation – Misuse of funds; embezzlement
  236. defeasance – The voiding of a contract or deed
  237. deflagrate – To burn or cause to burn with great heat and intense light
  238. deictic – Directly proving by argument
  239. delation – The act of conveying; carriage (obsolete)
  240. delator – An accuser; an informer
  241. deliquesce – 1. To disappear as if by melting; 2. to dissolve and become liquid by absorbing moisture from the air; 3. to branch out into numerous subdivisions that lack a main axis, as the trunk of an elm
  242. demesne – An extensive piece of landed property; an estate
  243. demiurge – A powerful creative force or personality
  244. demonym – Official designation for the inhabitant of a region (see gentilic)
  245. deoppilate – To clear a passage through
  246. descant – 1. An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme; 2. A discussion or discourse on a theme
  247. desideratum – Something considered necessary or highly desirable
  248. desquamate – To shed, peel, or come off in scales. Used of skin
  249. desuetude – A state of disuse or inactivity.
  250. dialetheia – True contradictions (true statements whose opposite is also true)
  251. diaphoresis – Copious perspiration; usu. a condition
  252. dieresis – Diacritical mark indicating a pronounced vowel
  253. diffident – Lacking or marked by a lack of self-confidence; shy and timid
  254. dilatory – Causing or intended to cause delay
  255. dioptric – Relating to optical refraction; refractive
  256. disembogue – Pour out; be disgorged in quantity
  257. disheveled – Being in loose disarray; unkempt, as hair or clothing
  258. dissimulate – To conceal one’s true feelings or intentions
  259. dissolute – Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices
  260. distaff – Women considered as a group; female
  261. divagate – 1. To wander or drift about; 2. to ramble; digress
  262. doolally – Out of one’s mind; crazy
  263. doss – 1. Sleep; rest; 2. a crude or makeshift bed
  264. dovecote – A compartmental structure, often raised on a pole, for housing domesticated pigeons
  265. dowager – 1. A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband; 2. an elderly woman of high social station
  266. doxology – An expression of praise to God, esp. a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service
  267. dropsy – An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity; edema (obsolete)
  268. drupe – A fleshy fruit with a pit (e.g. peach, plum, cherry, etc.)
  269. duckboard – A board or boardwalk laid across wet or muddy ground or flooring
  270. dupatta – A long wide scarf often worn draped over the head or across the shoulders, chiefly by women in South Asia
  271. dysarthria – Unclear articulation of otherwise normal speech
  272. easement – 1. The act of anointing as part of a religious; 2. An ointment or oil; a salve
  273. eau-de-nil – A pale yellowish green color, supposedly that of the color of the Nile (taken from the French for “water of the Nile”)
  274. écorché – An anatomical representation of all or part of a human or animal body with the skin removed so as to display the musculature
  275. efflorescence – 1. A gradual process of unfolding or developing; 2. the point or time of greatest vigor; the culmination
  276. egregoric – Of or relating to the occult concept of a group mind, egregore
  277. eidolon – An image of an ideal. An apparition.
  278. eisegesis – Reading meaning into a text that is not there
  279. Elbrus – A peak, 5,643 m (18,513 ft) high, in the Caucasus Mountains of southwest Russia near the border of Georgia. It is the highest elevation in Europe
  280. eleemosynary – 1. Of, concerned with, or dependent on charity; 2. Given as an act of charity
  281. elegiac – Of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past
  282. embouchure – The mouth of a river
  283. emolument – Payment for an office or employment; compensation
  284. empennage – The tail assembly of an aircraft (page 223 of Reamde)
  285. enantiodromia – The principle that a superabundance of a force produces its opposite
  286. enceinte – Pregnant (from the French)
  287. encomiast – A person who delivers or writes an encomium; a eulogist
  288. encomium – Warm praise
  289. endue – To provide with a quality or trait; endow
  290. enfeoff – To invest (a person) with possession of a freehold estate in land
  291. Ensor – Belgian expressionist painter, noted for his macabre subjects
  292. entelechy – Actuality as opposed to potentiality (from Aristotelian philosophy)
  293. entheogenic – Hallucinogenic, psychedelic, or mind-altering. It applies esp. to drugs or plants employed in mystical, religious, or spiritual ceremonies
  294. entrepôt – A warehouse; a market or trading center (page 648 of Reamde)
  295. enure – To toughen or harden by use or exposure; accustom; habituate (see inure)
  296. enuresis – The involuntary discharge of urine; urinary incontinence
  297. epeirogeny – Uplift or depression of the earth’s crust, affecting large areas of land or ocean bottom
  298. epenthesis – Insertion of a sound in a word
  299. epergne – An ornamental stand or dish for holding fruit, flowers, etc., used as a centerpiece
  300. epicurean – Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, esp. to the enjoyment of good food and comfort
  301. epideictic – Designed primarily for rhetorical display
  302. epigenetic – Denoting processes by which heritable modifications in gene function occur without a change in the sequence of the DNA
  303. epigone – A second-rate imitator or follower, esp. of an artist or a philosopher
  304. epigram – A concise, clever, often paradoxical statement (can be a poem); see Yogi Berra or Groucho Marx
  305. epigraph – 1. An inscription, as on a statue or building; 2. a motto or quotation, as at the beginning of a literary composition, setting forth a them
  306. epistemology – Study of the nature of knowledge
  307. epistle – A literary composition in the form of a letter
  308. epistolary – Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters
  309. epitatic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  310. epithelium – Membranous tissue composed of one or more layers of cells separated by very little intercellular substance and forming the covering of most internal and external surfaces of the body and its organs
  311. equanimity – The quality of being calm and even-tempered; composure
  312. equerry – A personal attendant to the British royal household, generally responsible for the horses
  313. ergodic – Of or relating to the probability that any state will recur
  314. erysipelas – An acute streptococcal infectious disease of the skin, characterized by fever, headache, vomiting, and purplish raised lesions, esp. on the face. Also called: Saint Anthony’s fire
  315. Esau – In the Bible, the eldest son of Isaac and Rebecca who sold his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob, for a mess of pottage
  316. eschatology – The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind
  317. escutcheon – Shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms
  318. estaminet – A small café.
  319. estivation – Dormancy or torpor during the summer
  320. esurient – Hungry
  321. etiolate – 1. To cause to appear pale and sickly; 2. to make weak by stunting the growth or development of
  322. eudaemonic – Producing happiness and well-being
  323. euphonium – A brass instrument similar to the tuba but having a somewhat higher pitch and a mellower sound
  324. evanescent – Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor, ephemeral or transitory, passing out of sight; fading away; vanishing
  325. evection – Irregularity in the moon’s motion caused by perturbations of the sun and planets
  326. excrescent – Abnormal or excessive growth
  327. exegesis – Critical explanation or analysis
  328. exercitant – One who practices religious exercises
  329. exiguous – Meager or extremely scanty
  330. exophthalmic – Characterized by the prominence of the eyeballs
  331. exordium – A beginning or introductory part, esp. of a speech or treatise
  332. extrorse – Botanical term for facing outward or turned away from the axis
  333. fain – Happily; gladly (archaic)
  334. falchion – A short and slightly curved medieval sword broader towards the point
  335. fantail – Overhanging stern of a boat (esp. a warship)
  336. farrago – An assortment or a medley; a hodgepodge
  337. fiacre – A small four-wheeled carriage
  338. fillip – 1. A snap or light blow made by pressing a fingertip against the thumb and suddenly releasing it; 2. To stimulate or arouse (or something that does so)
  339. finial – 1. An ornamental terminating part, as on a post or piece of furniture; 2. an ornament on top of a spire, gable
  340. firedamp – Methane
  341. firth – A long, narrow inlet
  342. fissiparous – Having a tendency to divide into groups or factions
  343. flews – The fleshy hanging upper lip of a bloodhound or similar dog
  344. flocculent – Having a fluffy or woolly appearance; fleecy
  345. flyblown – 1. Tainted; corrupt; 2. dirty or rundown; squalid
  346. flyover – An overpass, as on a highway (chieflly British)
  347. foolscap – A sheet of writing or printing paper measuring about 13 by 16 inches
  348. foxed – Marked with spots or discoloration, as from age
  349. frowsy – 1. Unkempt; slovenly; 2. ill-smelling; musty
  350. fucus – A seaweed common to intertidal regions and typically having greenish-brown slimy fronds. See also wrack
  351. fulsome – Excessively flattering; obsequious
  352. fulsome – 1. Excessively flattering or insincerely earnest; sycophantic; 2. disgusting or offensive
  353. fungible – Interchangeable
  354. fungo – The act of tossing the ball upwards and hitting it as it descends, a ball hit in this manner or the light bat used to hit such balls
  355. furbelow – 1. A ruffle or flounce on a garment; 2. piece of showy ornamentation
  356. furze – Gorse; spiny evergreen shrubs
  357. gaff – Barbed spear; stick with a hook on it
  358. gaffer – An electrician in charge of lighting on a movie or television set
  359. Galen – Greek anatomist, physician, and philosopher. His theories, which emphasized maintaining a balance of the four humors, formed the basis of European medicine until the Renaissance
  360. Galicia – A region of east-central Europe on the north side of the Carpathians, now in SE Poland and Ukraine
  361. gallimaufry – A jumble; a hodgepodge
  362. gamelan – An Indonesian orchestra composed mainly of tuned percussion instruments such as bamboo xylophones, wooden or metal chimes, and gongs
  363. gastrocnemius – The largest, most prominent muscle of the calf of the leg, the action of which extends the foot and bends the knee
  364. gauleiter – A person in a position of petty or local authority who behaves in an overbearing authoritarian manner (from a provincial governor in Germany under Hitler)
  365. Gehenna – 1. A place or state of torment or suffering. 2. The abode of condemned souls; hell
  366. gentian – Any gentianaceous plant having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
  367. gentilic – Derived from a place name that depicts the residents of that place; see demonym
  368. ghat – Stairs or a passage leading down to a river (from the Hindi)
  369. gigue – A synonym for jig
  370. glaucous – 1. Of a pale grayish or bluish green; 2. covered with a bluish waxy or powdery bloom
  371. glean – To gather (something) slowly and carefully in small pieces (comes from the word for gathering useful remnants of a crop from a field after a harvest)
  372. gnomic – Marked by aphorisms; aphoristic
  373. godown – Warehouse (esp. in India)
  374. goffer – An iron used for pressing ridges or narrow pleats, or ridges or pleats produced in this manner
  375. gonfalon – A banner hung from a crosspiece, like in the Crusades
  376. gowpen – A bowl formed by two hands (Scottish)
  377. grace-and-favour – A house, flat, etc. owned by the sovereign and granted free of rent to a person to whom the sovereign wishes to express gratitude
  378. gravamen – Material substance of a charge or complaint
  379. greaves – Shin armor/guards
  380. greenmail – The practice of a company buying sufficient shares in another company to threaten takeover and making a quick profit as a result of the threatened company buying back its shares at a higher price
  381. griot – A member of a caste responsible for maintaining an oral record of tribal history in the form of music, poetry, and storytelling (chiefly in Western Africa)
  382. grisaille – A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray
  383. grizzle – To make or become gray
  384. groat – An English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century
  385. groyne – Variant of groin
  386. gudgen – Pivot; hinge; small fish; one who is easily duped (page 86 of the Brothers Karamazov)
  387. guerdon – A reward; recompense
  388. gurn – To complain, snarl or grimace (also girn; from the Scottish)
  389. gyp – A fraud or swindle, or some who perpetrates same
  390. ha-ha – A wall or other boundary marker that is set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the landscape
  391. haecceity – The property that uniquely identifies an object
  392. halvah – A confection of Turkish origin, made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey
  393. hardtack – A hard biscuit or bread made with only flour and water. Also called sea biscuit, sea bread, ship biscuit
  394. haruspicy – Divination by natural means (e.g. lightning)
  395. hecatomb – A large-scale sacrifice or slaughter
  396. heliotrope – Any of various plants that turn toward the sun
  397. helotry – The condition of serfdom.
  398. hermeneutics – Theory of interpretation (esp. religious texts)
  399. heterachy – A formal structure (e.g. connected nodes) without any single permanent uppermost node
  400. hierophant – An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge
  401. hippocras – Wine flavored with spices
  402. horripilated – Having goosebumps from either fear or cold or excitement
  403. howdah – A seat for riding on an elephant’s back, esp. one with a canopy
  404. hoyden – Tomboy; a boisterous, high-spirited, saucy girl
  405. hunker – To squat on one’s heels (a synonym from Bill Burr: Vietnamese gambler squat)
  406. hustings – A place where political campaign speeches are made
  407. hyaline – Resembling glass, as in translucence or transparency; glassy
  408. hypertelorism – Abnormal distance between two paired organs, esp. the eyes
  409. iatrogenic – Unintentionally induced by a physician
  410. icteric – Related to jaundice (to be ill with or a treatment)
  411. idiolect – Unique linquistic pattern with a small group; mini-dialect
  412. illeism – Referring to oneself in the third person
  413. imbricate – To overlap in a regular pattern
  414. immanent – Inherent
  415. impecuniousness – The state of being poor; penury
  416. impetigo – A contagious bacterial skin disease characterized by the formation of pustules that develop into yellowish crusty sores
  417. incalescent – Growing hotter or more ardent
  418. incarnadine – Of a fleshy pink color; blood-red
  419. incunabula – An artifact of an early period (artifact of an early period)
  420. indite – To set down in writing; to compose
  421. infundibulum – Any of various funnel-shaped bodily passages, openings, structures, or parts, esp. the stalk of the pituitary gland
  422. infusoria – Various microscopic organisms found in infusions of decaying organic matter
  423. ingenuous – Candid; lacking in guile
  424. inimical – Injurious or harmful in effect; adverse; unfriendly or hostile
  425. inspissate – To thicken, as by evaporation
  426. intarsia – A decorative inlaid pattern in a surface, esp. a mosaic worked in wood
  427. interpellate – To question (a member of the government) on a point of government policy, often interrupting the business of the day
  428. interpellation – An act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; see interpellate
  429. intransitive – An intransitive verb, on the other hand, describes an action that does not happen to something or someone
  430. inveigle – To obtain by cajolery; seduce
  431. inverter – Any device for converting a direct current into an alternating current
  432. invidious – Inciting ill will; troll-y; discriminatory; envious;
  433. invigilator – Monitor or proctor who watches examination candidates to prevent cheating
  434. irenic – Promoting peace; conciliatory.
  435. irredentism – A national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties.
  436. irrefragably – Admittedly; fairly
  437. jasper – An opaque cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown
  438. jequirity – Indian liquorice seeds; used to make black rosary beads
  439. kedgeree – 1. A dish of India containing rice, lentils, and spices. 2. a dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, cream, and seasonings
  440. kefir – A creamy drink made of fermented cow’s milk
  441. keloid – An abnormal proliferation of scar tissue, often pink, as on the site of a surgical incision
  442. kermess – A fair or church dedication
  443. kipper – A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked
  444. kirtle – 1. A man’s knee-length tunic or coat; 2. a woman’s dress or skirt
  445. knelling – The process of disassembling something and arranging its parts
  446. kukri – A knife with a curved blade that broadens towards the point, esp. as used by Gurkhas
  447. kvass – A Russian fermented beverage similar to beer, made from rye or barley
  448. kwashiorkor – Severe malnutrition of infants and young children, esp. soon after weaning, resulting from dietary deficiency of protein (comes from the Ghanan)
  449. lability – The susceptibility to error or lapses of any kind, as a human failing
  450. laburnum – Any leguminous tree or shrub of the Eurasian genus Laburnum, having clusters of yellow drooping flowers: all parts of the plant are poisonous
  451. laconically – Marked by terseness or concision
  452. lacuna – An empty space or a missing part; a gap
  453. lagniappe – A small gift given with a purchase
  454. lahar – A mass of volcanic fragments, often mixed with water (e.g. rain), moving rapidly down the side of a volcano
  455. lambent – Flickering lightly (e.g. firelight); glowing with soft radiance, luminous
  456. lapidary – Polisher or dealer in precious stones
  457. lapillus – A small, solidified fragment of lava (pl. lapilli)
  458. lascar – An East Indian sailor, army servant, or artillery trooper during the era of European colonialism in Asia
  459. laterite – A red residual soil formed by the leaching of silica and by the enrichment with aluminum and iron oxides, esp. in humid climates
  460. leal – Loyal and honest
  461. lenity – The condition or quality of being lenient; leniency
  462. Lepus – A constellation in the Southern Hemisphere near Orion and Columba
  463. leyden jars – An early form of capacitor consisting of a glass jar lined inside and out with tinfoil and having a conducting rod connected to the inner foil lining and passing out of the jar through an insulated stopper
  464. lictor – A Roman functionary who carried fasces when attending a magistrate in public appearances
  465. lief – Beloved; ready or willing
  466. limerence – Puppy love; a state of mind resulting from romantic attraction, characterized by feelings of euphoria, the desire to have one’s feelings reciprocated, etc
  467. liminal – Intermediate between two states, conditions, or regions; transitional or indeterminate
  468. litotes – Understating by negation: no mean feat”
  469. locus – A locality; a place
  470. longueur – 1. A tedious passage in a work of literature or performing art; 2. a period of time filled with boredom or tedium
  471. lorgnette – A pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses mounted on a handle
  472. louche – Disreputable or sordid
  473. lubricious – Overtly sexual; salacious
  474. lues – Any venereal disease (e.g. Syphilis); pestilence
  475. lumbago – A painful condition of the lower back, as one resulting from muscle strain or a slipped disk
  476. lyceum – A hall in which public lectures, concerts, and similar programs are presented
  477. machicolation – A projecting gallery at the top of a castle wall, supported by a row of corbels and having openings in the floor through which stones and boiling liquids could be dropped on attackers (machiolate: to construct machicolations)
  478. macrocarpa – A large coniferous tree of New Zealand, Cupressus macrocarpa, used for shelter belts on farms and for rough timber. Also called: Monterey cypress
  479. maculate(v): To spot, blemish, or pollute; (n): 1. Spotted, blotched, or stained. 2. Morally sullied or impure
  480. madding – Acting madly; frenzied
  481. maenad – 1. A frenzied woman; 2. a female member of the orgiastic cult of Dionysus
  482. majolica – Italian earthenware covered with an opaque glaze of tin oxide and usu. highly decorated
  483. malversation – Misbehavior and esp. corruption in an office, trust, or commission; corrupt administration
  484. mandala – Any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
  485. mandamus – A writ issued by a court requiring a public official or entity to perform a duty associated with that office or entity
  486. manqué – 1. Unfulfilled; potential; would-be; 2. Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one’s ambitions or capabilities
  487. manumission – To free from slavery or bondage; emancipate
  488. manumit/manumission – To set free; release from slavery
  489. martingale – Part of a bridle; half-belt on the back of a coat; doubling the stakes after each loss; stability rigging for the bowsprit or jib (see definition)
  490. mascon – Any of several lunar regions of high gravity
  491. matutinal – Of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early
  492. megatherium – A large, extinct ground sloth that lived from the Miocene through the Pleistocene Epochs, primarily in South America. It was as large as an elephant, had long curved claws, and ate plants
  493. meretricious – Gaudy
  494. merkin – A pubic wig
  495. merlon – The solid portion between crenels
  496. metempsychosis – The theory of reincarnation
  497. metonym – A word used in metonymy
  498. metonymy – A synonym/metaphor; e.g. brass” for upper officers or “plastic” for credit cards”
  499. mews – A group of buildings containing private stables that have been converted to residences
  500. miasma – An unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
  501. micrognathia – Abnormally small jaw
  502. minatory – Of a menacing or threatening nature; minacious
  503. mirabile dictu – Wonderful to relate; amazing to say
  504. misfeasance – Improper and unlawful execution of an act that in itself is lawful and proper.
  505. moidore – A former Portuguese gold coin
  506. moiety – One half
  507. Moloch – Something possessing the power to exact severe sacrifice; a Semitic deity to whom parents sacrificed their children
  508. mondegreen – Misinterpretation of song lyrics (e.g. Israeli Men” instead of “It’s Raining Men”)”
  509. Monophysite – A person who holds that there is only one nature in the person of Christ, which is primarily divine with human attributes
  510. monopsony – A situation in which the entire market demand for a product or service consists of only one buyer
  511. morbific – Causing disease; pathogenic
  512. morganatic – A marriage between nobility and lower rank, where titles and wealth are not shared
  513. morion – A crested metal helmet; black or blackish-brown smoky quartz
  514. morphetic – Of or relating to sleep or dreams
  515. mudra – Ritual hand movements in Hindu religious dancing
  516. mulct – 1. To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture; 2. to cheat or defraud
  517. mullet – Freshwater, spiny-finned fish
  518. Munda – A family of languages spoken by scattered peoples throughout central India
  519. murine – A family of rodents that includes mice and rats
  520. murrain – Redwater fever, affecting livestock; a plague, epidemic or crop blight
  521. musquash – Another name for muskrat
  522. mutatis mutandis – The necessary changes having been made (e.g. when applying a concept from one domain to another, e.g. maritime law to space travel)
  523. mythopoeic – Serving to create or engender myths; productive in mythmaking
  524. naphthalene – A white crystalline volatile solid with a characteristic penetrating odour: an aromatic hydrocarbon used in mothballs and in the manufacture of dyes, explosives
  525. natant – Floating or swimming in water
  526. navvy – A laborer, esp. one employed in construction or excavation projects
  527. neep – A dialect name for a turnip, chiefly British
  528. nepenthe – Something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain (mentioned in the Odyssey)
  529. nescience – Ignorance; absence of awareness
  530. Nestorianism – The doctrine that Christ was two distinct persons, divine and human, implying a denial that the Virgin Mary was the mother of God. It is attributed to Nestorius and survives in the Iraqi Church
  531. neuralgic – Sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves
  532. niello – A black metallic alloy (sulfur and copper, silver or lead
  533. nigrescent – Blackish; dark
  534. noctilucent – Luminous at night
  535. noddlen: The head or brains, chiefly British; v: to nod (the head), as through drowsiness
  536. noisome – 1. Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul; 2. Harmful or dangerous
  537. noosphere – The part of the biosphere that is affected by human thought, culture, and knowledge
  538. numinous – awe-inspiring, mysterious or spiritual; supernatural
  539. nystagmus – A persistent, rapid, involuntary side-to-side eye movement
  540. oblation – Any offering made for religious or charitable purposes (e.g. offering of the bread and wine of the Eucharist to God)
  541. obloquy – 1. calumny; detractive language; 2. ill repute
  542. obscurantist – Practicing deliberate vagueness
  543. obsidional – Relating to a siege
  544. occiput – Back of the head
  545. ocherous – Ocher in color (or a mineral used to make that color)
  546. ofay – A derogatory term for a White person (see cracker, honky, peckerwood)
  547. ogee – A double curve, resembling an S, formed by the union of a concave and a convex line (often a molding or arch in this shape)
  548. ogive – A diagonal rib or groin of a Gothic vault; 2. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative
  549. oligopsony – A market with only very few buyers
  550. omphalic – Of or relating to the navel
  551. omphaloskepsis – Literally, the contemplation of one’s navel, which is an idiom usually meaning complacent self-absorption
  552. oneiric – Dream-like
  553. ontology – The study of the essence of being
  554. opprobrium – Ignominy; cause of shame or disgrace
  555. optative – Indicating or expressing choice, preference, or wish
  556. orgulous – Haughty; proud (archaic)
  557. orison – A prayer, a devout petition to God or an object of worship
  558. orogenesis – The process of mountain formation, esp. by a folding and faulting of the earth’s crust
  559. orotund – Pompous and bombastic; resonant; booming
  560. orthography – The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage
  561. osculation – A kiss (page 332 of Doctor Sleep)
  562. osmically – Of or relating to odors or the sense of smell
  563. osteitis – Inflammation of bone or bony tissue
  564. ostler – Man who looks after horses at an inn
  565. otiose – Lazy; indolent; serving no useful purpose
  566. paillasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of palliasse)
  567. palimpsest – A hand-written document
  568. palingenesis – The doctrine of transmigration of souls; metempsychosis; the supposed repetition by an organism during its embryonic development of the stages in the evolution of its species, as asserted by the discredited biogenetic law
  569. Palio – Italian Renaissance or Medieval festival
  570. Palladian – Of, relating to, or characterized by wisdom or study
  571. palliasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of paillasse)
  572. palp – Either of a pair of sensory appendages that arise from the mouthparts of crustaceans and insects
  573. panjandrum – A pompous self-important official or person of rank
  574. pap – 1. A teat or nipple (archaic); 2. material lacking real value or substance; 3. soft or semiliquid food, as for infants
  575. papillote – 1. A paper frill around cutlets; 2. cooked in oiled greaseproof paper or foil
  576. pappus – A ring of fine feathery hairs surrounding the fruit in composite plants, such as the thistle; aids dispersal of the fruits by the wind
  577. paraphilia – Any abnormal sexual behavior; sexual anomaly or deviation
  578. paregoric – An opium derivative used to treat diarrhea
  579. pari passu – At an equal pace; side by side
  580. parlous – full of danger or uncertainty
  581. paronomasia – Pun; play on words
  582. parterre – A formally patterned flower garden
  583. parve – Containing neither meat nor milk products and so fit for use with either meat or milk dishes (from Judaism)
  584. pastern – The part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and hoof
  585. pauldron – Shoulder protection in a suit of armor
  586. peaky – Wan, emaciated, or sickly
  587. peccant – Sinful; guilty; corrupt
  588. peculation – Embezzlement
  589. pecuniary – Relating to money
  590. pedology – 1. The scientific study of soils, including their origins, characteristics, and uses; 2. the study of the physical and mental development and characteristics of children
  591. pelf – Lucre; wealth or riches, esp. when dishonestly acquired
  592. pellucid – Transparent or translucent
  593. penurious – Poverty-stricken; stingy; meager
  594. percale – A closely woven cotton fabric used for sheets and clothing
  595. percipient – Perceptive
  596. perdurable – Enduring continuously; immortal
  597. perfervid – Extremely or extravagantly eager; impassioned or zealous.
  598. perfidy – Treachery; deliberate breach of faith
  599. peripatetic – Mobile on foot; an itinerant
  600. peristalsis – The wavelike muscular contractions of the digestive tract or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening
  601. perseverate – To repeat a word, gesture, or act insistently or redundantly
  602. persiflage – Banter; small-talk
  603. perspicacious – Acutely perceptive or discerning
  604. perspicuous – Clearly expressed or presented; lucid
  605. pertinacious – Tenacious
  606. pessary – A device for inserting into the vagina, either as a support for the uterus or (diaphragm pessary) to deliver a drug, such as a contraceptive
  607. petitio principii – A form of fallacious reasoning in which the conclusion has been assumed in the premises; begging the question
  608. Petronius – Roman courtier who is credited with writing the Satyricon
  609. phaeton – A light, four-wheeled open carriage, usually drawn by a pair of horses
  610. phalanstery – A self-sustaining cooperative community of the followers of Fourierism. Also called phalanx, or the buildings in such a community
  611. pharisaic – Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pharisees
  612. phillumenist – A person who collects matchbox labels
  613. philogynist – A lover or friend of women; one who esteems woman as the higher type of humanity; antonym of misogynist
  614. phlebotomy – The act or practice of opening a vein to let or draw blood as a therapeutic or diagnostic measure
  615. phlegmatic – Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional or apathetic
  616. Phoebus – The sun
  617. phthisis – A disease characterized by the wasting away or atrophy of the body or a part of the body (e.g. pulmonary tuberculosis)
  618. phylactery – 1. A reminder or aid to remembering; 2. an amulet or charm (archaic); 3. either of the pair of blackened square cases containing parchments inscribed with biblical passages, bound by leather thongs to the head and left arm, and worn by Jewish men during weekday morning prayers (also called: Tefillah)
  619. piacular – Making expiation for sacrilege; wicked
  620. pilchard – A small, S European marine fish, Sardina pilchardus, related to the herring but smaller and rounder
  621. pillock – A stupid or annoying person (chiefly British)
  622. pinchbeck – Appearing valuable, but actually cheap and tawdry
  623. piquant – Pleasantly sharp taste
  624. pirogue – Any of various kinds of dugout canoes; also called piragua
  625. piscatorial – Of or relating to fish, fishing, or fishermen
  626. plangent – Loud and resounding
  627. plastron – 1. A metal breastplate worn under a coat of mail; 2. a quilted pad worn by fencers to protect the torso and side; 3. The front of a man’s dress shirt; 4. the ventral part of the shell of a turtle or tortoise
  628. pleach – To plait or interlace (branches or vines, for example), esp. in making a hedge or an arbor (similar to caning for making chairs from same)
  629. plenteous – Ample; abundant; copious
  630. pleonasm – A newly created word
  631. pleura – A thin serous membrane in mammals that envelops each lung and folds back to make a lining for the chest cavity
  632. pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, characterized by pain that is aggravated by deep breathing or coughing
  633. Plimsoll mark – A load line painted on the side of a cargo ship
  634. plinth – A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed
  635. plover – Any shore bird of the family Charadriidae, typically having a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings
  636. poetaster – A writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry
  637. poleaxe(n): An axe having a hammer face opposite the blade, used to slaughter cattle; v: To strike or fell with or as if with a poleaxe
  638. poleyn – Knee protection in a suit of armor
  639. polygyny – The condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time
  640. polymath – A person of great or varied learning
  641. pomace – The pulpy material remaining after the juice has been pressed from fruit, such as apples or grapes. Also called marc
  642. poniard – 1. A small, slender dagger; 2. a dagger typically having a slender three- or four-sided blade
  643. posset – A drink of hot milk curdled with ale, beer, etc, flavoured with spices, formerly used as a remedy for colds
  644. pothouse – A small tavern or pub (chiefly British)
  645. potsherd – A broken pottery fragment, esp. one of archaeological value
  646. prang – 1. An accident or crash in an aircraft, car, etc; 2. to bomb from the air
  647. prefatory – Of, relating to, or constituting a preface
  648. prelapsarian – Of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve
  649. premonitory – Giving premonition; serving to warn beforehand
  650. prepossession – A prejudice or bias, esp. a favorable one
  651. presbyopia – A progressively diminishing ability of the eye to focus, noticeable from middle to old age, caused by loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens
  652. preterite – A tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
  653. profligate – 1. Shamelessly immoral or debauched; 2. wildly extravagant or wasteful
  654. prolegomenon – A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity
  655. proleptic – 1. The anachronistic representation of something as existing before its proper or historical time, as in the precolonial United States; 2. the use of a descriptive word in anticipation of the act or circumstances that would make it applicable, as dry in They drained the lake dry
  656. prolix – Tediously prolonged; wordy; longwinded
  657. prone – Lying flat or face downwards; prostrate
  658. propinquitous – Near; close in time, place or kinship (page 12 of Main Street)
  659. propitious – Favorable; auguring well; gracious or favorably inclined
  660. proprioception – Unconscious awareness of body movement, e.g. as the inner ear for balance (page 515 of Reamde)
  661. prosector – A person who prepares or dissects anatomical subjects for demonstration
  662. prosopagnosia – An inability to recognize faces
  663. prosopopoeia – Literary device involve an absent person speaking; personification; ascribing agency to an inanimate object or concept
  664. protasis – The dependent clause of a conditional sentence (i.e. the “if” part)
  665. protodialectical – Definition unknown (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace) (dialectical means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments”)
  666. psalmody – The act of singing psalms or hymns
  667. psephology – The study of political elections and polling
  668. psittacosis – A rickettsial disease affecting birds of the parrot family, pigeons, and domestic fowl, caused by the chlamydia Chlamydia psittaci and transmissible to humans
  669. psychogenic – Having origin in the mind or in a mental condition or process
  670. ptosis – Ptosis is the term used for a drooping upper eyelid
  671. puericratic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  672. pugnacious – Combative in nature
  673. pulchritude – Beauty
  674. pullulate – To breed rapidly or abundantly
  675. punctilio – A fine point of etiquette
  676. purblind – 1. Slow in understanding or discernment; dull 2. Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind
  677. purdah – Muslim practice of screening women from other men or strangers
  678. purlieus – An outlying or neighboring area; outskirts; environs
  679. purslane – A trailing plant (Portulaca oleracea) native to Eurasia, having small yellow flowers, reddish stems, and fleshy obovate leaves that can be cooked as a vegetable or used in salads
  680. purulent – Containing, discharging, or causing the production of pus
  681. pusillanimous – Cowardly
  682. pyaemia – Blood poisoning characterized by pus-forming microorganisms in the blood
  683. quiddity – 1. Essence of a thing; 2. a quibble
  684. quidnunc – Busybody; Yenta
  685. quiff – 1. A tuft of hair, esp. a forelock; 2. A woman regarded as promiscuous
  686. quintain – A rotating target used in jousting exercises
  687. quirt – A riding whip with a short, stiff handle and a lash made of two or more loose thongs
  688. quit-rent – Payment for distinct rights that were connected with the full enjoyment of the land but not parceled up in the ownership of the land (mostly replaced with property taxes today)
  689. quoin – An exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry
  690. quokka – A short-tailed herbivorous marsupial (Setonix brachyurus) found in coastal areas of southwestAustralia
  691. quondam – Former
  692. racketeering – A person who engages in an illegal business or other organized illegal activities
  693. raddled – Twisted together; interwoven
  694. radome – A domelike shell transparent to radio-frequency radiation, used to house a radar antenna
  695. raillery – Good-natured teasing or ridicule; banter
  696. ramose – Having many branches
  697. rawboned – Having a lean, gaunt frame with prominent bones
  698. Reaumurarchaic: a temperature scale with the freezing point of water at 80º.
  699. rebarbative – Tending to irritate; repellent
  700. rebeck – Medieval instrument; a lute-like violin
  701. recondite – Obscure; abstruse
  702. recreant – 1. A faithless or disloyal person; 2. A coward
  703. recrudescent – To break out anew or come into renewed activity, as after a period of quiescence
  704. recumbentibus – A knockdown blow
  705. redolent – Suggestive
  706. reef – A vein of ore
  707. relict – 1. Something that has survived; a remnant 2. A species that inhabits a much smaller geographic area than it did in the past, often because of environmental change
  708. reliquary – A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics
  709. renascent – Becoming active or vigorous again
  710. retromingent – One who urinates backwards
  711. revanchism – The act of retaliating, esp. by a nation or group to regain lost territory or standing; revenge
  712. revenant – 1. One that returns after a lengthy absence; 2. One who returns after death
  713. Rhadamanthine – Strictly and uncompromisingly just
  714. rhonchus – A snore or chest rattle
  715. riprap – Piled broken stones used as a foundation or to stabilize an easily eroded bank or slope
  716. risible – 1. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous 2. capable of laughing or inclined to laugh
  717. Risorgimento – The period of or the movement for the liberation and political unification of Italy, beginning about 1750 and lasting until 1870 (from the Italian for “resurgence”)
  718. rota – A work schedule
  719. roué – A man who recklessly indulges in sensual pleasures; a rake
  720. roundelay – A poem or song with a regularly recurring refrain (as much popular music)
  721. rumbustiousness – Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly
  722. Ruritanian – Of or relating to an imagined European kingdom characterized by provincialism, nationalism, and political intrigue; used in discussions of international law or economic theory
  723. rusk – A light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit
  724. sabine – A member of an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 bc.
  725. Saiva – One who worships Shiva
  726. Salesian – Of or relating to St Francis of Sales or to the religious orders founded by him or by St John Bosco in his name
  727. salmagundi – A mixture; a potpourri
  728. saltire – A cross in heraldry
  729. saltpeter – Naturally occurring potassium nitrate, used in making fireworks, gunpowder
  730. salubrious – Wholesome
  731. salwar – Loose pajamalike pants, typically having a drawstring waist and legs that narrow at the bottom, usually worn with a kameez
  732. samizdat – Underground newspaper (from the Russian)
  733. samphire – An edible coastal plant (Crithmum maritimum) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia (see glasswort)
  734. sanguine – Cheerfully optimistic
  735. sapper – 1. A military engineer who lays, detects, and disarms mines; 2. a soldier who digs trenches
  736. Sapphism – Lesbianism
  737. sastrugi – A long wavelike ridge of snow, formed by the wind and found on the polar plains
  738. satori – A spiritual awakening sought in Zen Buddhism, often coming suddenly
  739. satrap – Governor of a province in ancient Persia
  740. satrapy – The territory or sphere under the rule of a satrap
  741. saturnine – Slow and gloomy; morose
  742. sawyer – A bobbing tree in a body of water
  743. scapular – A monk’s sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and sometimes has a cowl
  744. sciatheric – Belonging to a sundial
  745. sciolist – A pretentious attitude of scholarship; superficial knowledgeability
  746. scoria – Porous cinderlike fragments of dark lava. Also called cinders, slag
  747. scoriatic – Cinder- or slag-like; rocky, craggy
  748. scotophliic – Functioning best in darkness
  749. scourge – A whip or lash
  750. secondment – Temporary transfer to another position or employment
  751. sedulously – Assiduous; constant in effort; persevering (from A very short history of driving while black)
  752. seigneur – A man of rank, esp. a feudal lord in the ancien régime
  753. seine – A fishing net or the act of using one (page 653 of Reamde)
  754. semiotics – The study of systems of communication
  755. sempiternal – Infinite; enduring forever
  756. sempstress – A rare word for seamstress
  757. seneschal – A steward or major-domo (in charge of servants)
  758. sepulchritude – Tomb-like; also, sepulchral
  759. sequacious – Unthinking and uncritical; slavish
  760. sequela – A secondary consequence or result; condition resulting from a disease
  761. serotype – A group of closely related microorganisms distinguished by a characteristic set of antigens
  762. sesquipedalian – Given to using long words
  763. shako – A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate or badge in front, a short visor, and a plume or pompom
  764. shibboleth – Outdated custom
  765. shirty – Ill-tempered; angry
  766. shockheaded – Having a head of bushy or tousled hair
  767. shotcrete – Concrete conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.
  768. sibilent – Hissing sound
  769. sine qua non – An essential element or condition
  770. skittles – Nine-pin bowling
  771. soca – A style of music, originating in the West Indies, that is a blend of soul and calypso
  772. sockdolager – Something outstanding; a final blow or remark, coup de grace
  773. sodality – Fellowship; fraternity; association; society
  774. soi-disant – Self-styled; so-called
  775. solecism – A grammatical error
  776. solon – A legislator
  777. somatically – Corporeal or physical; of, relating to, or affecting the body, esp. as distinguished from a body part, the mind, or the environment
  778. sommian – A volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone
  779. soviet – One of the popularly elected legislative assemblies that were created after the Russian Revolution (1917) and existed at local, regional, and national levels in the former Soviet Union.
  780. spadix – A fleshy clublike spike bearing minute flowers, usually enclosed within a sheathlike spathe, characteristic of aroid plants such as the jack-in-the-pulpit
  781. spall – A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore
  782. spatchcock – To prepare for roasting or grilling by splitting open
  783. spathe – A leaflike bract that encloses or subtends a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit
  784. spavined – Decrepit or worn out
  785. speculum – 1. A mirror or polished metal plate used as a reflector in optical instruments; 2. An instrument for dilating the opening of a body cavity for medical examination; 3. A bright, often iridescent patch of color on the wings of certain birds, esp. ducks 4. A transparent spot in the wings of some butterflies or moths.
  786. spinel – A hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminum oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks
  787. spinet – A small, compact upright piano
  788. spitchcock – An eel split and grilled or fried; see spatchcock
  789. sporran – A leather or fur pouch worn at the front of the kilt in the traditional dress of men of the Scottish Highlands
  790. sprue – 1. The hole through which molten material is channeled into a mold; 2. The usually plastic rod or framework that secures molded objects, such as model parts
  791. squamous – Covered with or formed of scales; scaly
  792. staggers – Any of various diseases in animals, esp. horses, cattle, or other domestic animals, that are characterized by a lack of coordination in moving
  793. stele – An upright stone or slab with an inscribed or sculptured surface, used as a monument or as a commemorative tablet in the face of a building.
  794. stochastic – Describes something that was
  795. stolon – A long thin stem that usually grows horizontally along the ground and produces roots and shoots at widely spaced nodes, as in a strawberry plant. Also called runner.
  796. stot – To jump straight up with straight legs (e.g. antelope)
  797. stoush – A fight or brawl
  798. strabismus – The condition of being cross-eyed
  799. strath – A strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow
  800. Strega – The Italian word for witch
  801. stridulate – To produce a shrill grating, chirping, or hissing sound by rubbing body parts together, as certain insects do
  802. stroppy – Bad-tempered and argumentative
  803. stylobate – The immediate foundation of a row of classical columns
  804. suasion – Persuasion
  805. succussation – Trotting, shaking
  806. Suetonius – Roman historian whose major work, Lives of the Caesars, is an account of the lives of the first 12 Roman emperors
  807. sui generis – Unique
  808. sumptuary – Laws or limits on private expenses
  809. supererogation – Doing more than required
  810. supernacular – First-rate
  811. supine – Lying on the back or having the face upward
  812. swingeing – Extreme in effect; drastic
  813. swot – To cram; derogatory term for a person who crams
  814. syce – A stableman or groom, esp. in India
  815. syenite – An igneous rock composed primarily of alkali feldspar together with other minerals, such as hornblende
  816. syllepsis – See zeugma
  817. syncretic – Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, esp. when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous
  818. synecdoche – A trope whereby a part is used as a label for the whole (e.g. hand” for “sailor”)”
  819. tabard – A tunic or capelike garment worn by a knight over his armor and emblazoned with his coat of arms
  820. tabes – A wasting of a bodily organ or part
  821. tallboy – A high chest of drawers made in two sections and placed one on top of the other; chest-on-chest
  822. talmudic – Related to the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings constituting the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism
  823. tangible – Discernible by the touch; palpable
  824. tapotement – Rapid massage
  825. tarpon – Either of two large marine game fishes having a bluish-green back and silvery sides (Megalops cyprinoides of the Pacific and Indian Oceans or M. atlanticus of Atlantic coastal waters)
  826. tegument – A natural outer covering; an integument
  827. Telemachus – The son of Odysseus and Penelope, who helped his father kill Penelope’s suitors
  828. teleology – The philosophical interpretation of natural phenomena as exhibiting purpose or design
  829. telluric – Of or relating to Earth; terrestrial
  830. telos – End of a goal-oriented process
  831. temerarious – In an audacious manner
  832. tempera – A painting medium in which pigment is mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size or egg yolk
  833. tendentious – Partisan; marked by or favoring a particular point of view
  834. tenebrous – Dark and gloomy
  835. tensegrity – An architectural technique that involves tensional integrity or floating compression (see Wikipedia)
  836. tephra – Solid matter that is ejected into the air by an erupting volcano
  837. Termagant – A scold; a shrew
  838. thaumaturgic – The working of miracles or magic feats
  839. theodicy – A vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil
  840. theodolite – A surveying instrument
  841. theophany – An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation
  842. throstle – 1. Any of various thrushes, esp. a song thrush; 2. A machine formerly used for spinning fibers such as cotton or wool
  843. thurible – A censer used in certain ecclesiastical ceremonies or liturgies
  844. thylacine – Tasmanian tiger; an extinct or very rare doglike carnivorous marsupial
  845. titivate – To decorate or spruce up
  846. tocsin – An alarm sounded on a bell
  847. tontine – A common fund with increasing annuity for each member’s death and the last living member gets everything
  848. toothsome – Delicious, luscious, pleasant, attractive, sexually attractive or exciting
  849. topolect – The language or speech of a particular place (e.g. Züridütsch)
  850. torrid – 1. Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot; 2. Passionate; ardent
  851. tosh – Rubbish; nonsense
  852. tournure – Implement to expand a dress; a bustle
  853. tracklement – Savory jelly served with meat
  854. trenchant – Clear-cut; forceful or convincing
  855. trepidation – A state of alarm or dread; apprehension
  856. tressure – A narrow inner border on a shield, usually decorated with fleurs-de-lys
  857. tripe – Something of no value; rubbish
  858. trope – Metaphor or non-literal figure of speech
  859. trow – To think or suppose
  860. truckle – 1. A small wheel/caster; 2. to be servile
  861. tsuris – Problems or difficulties (Yiddish)
  862. trypophobia – An intense, irrational fear of objects with small holes
  863. tumid – 1. Swollen; distended. Used of a body part or organ; 2. Of a bulging shape; protuberant; 3. Overblown; bombastic
  864. turnkey – Supplied, installed, or purchased in a condition ready for immediate use, occupation, or operation
  865. ukase – An authoritative order or decree; an edict
  866. undecillion – The cardinal number equal to 1036; British: 1066
  867. unction – Something that serves to soothe; a balm
  868. unctuous – Excessively ingratiating or insincerely earnest; oily
  869. usquebaugh – Whiskey
  870. usufruct – Right to use the property of others
  871. uxorious – Love of or submission to one’s wife
  872. vade mecum – 1. A useful thing that one constantly carries about; 2. A book, such as a guidebook, for ready reference.
  873. vair – Red-squirrel fur; often used a trimming
  874. valetudinarian – 1. Chronically ailing; sickly; 2. Constantly and morbidly concerned with one’s health
  875. vambrace – Forearm armor
  876. vastation – Quick destruction; from the Italian vastare.
  877. vatic – Of or characteristic of a prophet; oracular (see veridical)
  878. vecturist – A collector of tokens used in buses and subways
  879. vellum – A fine parchment made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin and used for the pages and binding of books
  880. venery – The indulgence in or pursuit of sexual activity
  881. verdigris – A green patina or crust of copper sulfate or copper chloride formed on copper, brass, and bronze exposed to air or seawater for long periods of time
  882. veridical – 1. Truthful; veracious; 2. Coinciding with future events or apparently unknowable present realities (see vatic)
  883. verisimilitude – Believable; appearing to be true
  884. vermilion – Brilliant or vivid red (also written vermillion)
  885. versipellous – Changeable, protean
  886. vesicle – A sac or cyst, esp. one containing fluid
  887. vespertine – Of, relating to, or occurring in the evening (e.g. active or blooming in the evening)
  888. vicissitude – Slings and arrows
  889. vigorish – 1. A fee charged for the placement of bets by an illegal gambling broker or establishment; 2. Frequent and excessive interest payments charged by an illegal moneylender
  890. villein – One of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord
  891. vinous – 1. Of, relating to, or made with wine; 2. Having the color of wine
  892. violaceous – Of a violet color; reddish blue
  893. virago – 1. A woman regarded as noisy, scolding, or domineering; 2. A large, strong, courageous woman
  894. volvulus – Abnormal twisting of the intestine causing obstruction
  895. wale – One of the heavy planks or strakes extending along the sides of a wooden ship
  896. weeper – A hole or pipe in a wall to allow water to run off
  897. whin – Any spiny European evergreen shrub having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers (also called gorse or furze)
  898. whipping boy – Scapegoat; a boy formerly raised with a prince or other young nobleman and whipped for the latter’s misdeeds
  899. widdershins – In a contrary or counterclockwise direction
  900. withe – Also withy; a tough, supple twig, used to bind
  901. yonic – Related the vagina, esp. religious rel. to Shakti
  902. zazen – The primary form of meditation in Zen Buddhism, practiced while sitting cross-legged
  903. zeugma – When a word applies to two others in jarringly different ways (e.g. John and his license expired yesterday.)
  904. zoetrope – A mechanical device consisting of a rotating drum ringed with narrow apertures through which an animated image is viewed