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. a-signifying – Incidentally meaningful semiotics; effective but not directly connected to intent, meaning or significance (e.g. purchase-history–based recommendations)
  2. ablative – Related to removal through melting or evaporation
  3. abrogation – To abolish or annul, esp. by an authority
  4. accidie – Spiritual sloth; apathy; indifference
  5. acidulous – Slightly acrid in taste or manner
  6. acrostic – Poem or text where the first letters of each line form a message
  7. adamant(n): Extremely hard substance
  8. adenoidal – Nasal in tone
  9. adiabatic – Occurring without gain or loss of heat
  10. adjunct – Added or connected in a subordinate or auxiliary capacity
  11. adumbrate – To give a sketchy outline
  12. aerostat – A lighter-than-air vehicle, like a balloon or dirigible
  13. aesculapian – Related to the art of medicine
  14. aesthete – A person who is unusually sensitive to beauty in art or nature
  15. aetiology – The philosophy or study of causation
  16. affray – A riot; a large group fighting
  17. aga – leader (civil or military) in the Ottoman empire
  18. agitprop – subversive writing; see samizdat
  19. agnatology – the study of culturally-induced ignorance
  20. aiguillette – An ornamental cord worn on the shoulder of a military uniform
  21. akrasia – Weakness of will; acting contrary to one’s moral values
  22. Albion – Britain or England
  23. alee – On the leeward side
  24. alembic – Distilling apparatus consisting of two vessels and a tube
  25. amanuensis – Assistant
  26. amethyst – Purple or violet quartz
  27. amphisbaena – Mythical Greek ant-eating serpent with a head at each end
  28. anaclitic – Psychologically dependent on others
  29. analysand – A person who is being psychoanalyzed
  30. anastomosis – Connection of parts of a branching system to form a network (e.g. blood vessels or rivers)
  31. 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”)
  32. anhedonia – Inability to express pleasure
  33. anile – unable to think clearly or infirm because of old age
  34. anisotropic – Having properties that differ based on the direction of measurement (e.g. oval)
  35. anodyne – Uncontentious or inoffensive
  36. anoesis – Absence of thought (anoetic)
  37. anorectic – Marked by loss of appetite (anorexic)
  38. anserine – Goose-like
  39. anterior – Before or in front of; previously
  40. antimacassar – A protective and often decorative covering for the back or arms of a chair or sofa.
  41. antinomian – One who denies the fixed meaning or universal applicability of moral law
  42. antipodes – Group of rocky island near New Zealand, almost directly opposite Greenwich, England
  43. apodictic – Logically certain; demonstrably true or false
  44. apophenia – Seeing patterns in randomness
  45. aporia – A state of being at a loss; a statement to that effect
  46. Aposematic – Having bright, colorful markings that warn predators of poison
  47. apostasy – Abandonment of one’s religious faith, party or a cause
  48. apothegm – A maxim
  49. apotheosis – Deification; exaltation to divine rank (nirvana)
  50. apotropaic – Intended to ward off evil
  51. appanage – Provision (usually land) granted (usually to a family member) as a source of revenue
  52. apperception – Conscious perception with full awareness
  53. apposite – Appropriate or relevant
  54. approbation – Official approval
  55. appurtenance – 1. appendage; 2. gear
  56. arbalest – Crossbow-like missile launcher
  57. architrave – The lintel or beam lying across two columns
  58. arcology – A portmanteau of architecture” and “ecology”, a very densely populated habitat (page 231 of Reamde)
  59. armamentarium – The complete range of materials available or used for a task.
  60. armet – A late-medieval light helmet with a neck guard and movable visor.
  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; indigenous
  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. callipygian – Relating to or having buttocks that are considered beautifully proportioned
  135. callow – Immature
  136. calque – To make a loan translation from (a word in another language)
  137. caltrop – Metal spikes thrown across a road
  138. calvados – A French brandy made from apples.
  139. canaille – The common people; the masses; the hoi polloi
  140. canescent – Turning white or grayish; becoming hoary
  141. cannula – A tube inserted into a body cavity (e.g. a nose tube)
  142. cantrip – A deceptive move; a sham
  143. caoutchouc – Untreated rubber
  144. caparison – Fancy dress or ornamentation for a man or horse (or to make fancy by decorating in this way)
  145. capsid – A virus’s protein coat
  146. captious – Nitpicky; deliberately confusing; underhanded debating tactics
  147. caracole – A half-turn performed by a horse and rider (or to perform same)
  148. caravansary – An inn built around a large court for accommodating caravans (mostly in Asia)
  149. carnelian – A pale to deep red or reddish-brown variety of clear chalcedony, used in jewelry.
  150. casuistical – Specious reasoning intended to mislead
  151. catabolic – The metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often resulting in a release of energy.
  152. catafalque – A funeral bier
  153. catastasis – The part of a drama immediately preceding the climax
  154. catawampus – Skewed, twisted
  155. catechism – 1. A manual giving basic instruction in a subject, usually by rote or repetition; 2. A body of fundamental principles or beliefs, especially when accepted uncritically
  156. catechumen – A novice; one who is being instructed at an elementary level
  157. catenary – The curve formed by a cable suspended by its endpoints
  158. caudal – Situated beneath or on the underside; inferior; opposite of anterior
  159. cautery – The act or process or cauterizing (or an agent used to cauterize)
  160. cavil – To quibble
  161. cenotaph – A monument honoring a person buried elsewhere
  162. chaff – Trivial or worthless matter; dry bracts of seeds, removed during threshing; metal bits emitted by a plane to foil radar
  163. chalcedony – A translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz
  164. chancellery – The rank, position, office or department of a chancellor
  165. chandler – One that makes or sells candles
  166. chaparral – An area covered by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs
  167. charivari – An elaborate, noisy celebration, often mocking (page 508 of the Idiot)
  168. chary – 1. Very cautious; wary; 2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing
  169. chautauqua – A summer school or educational meeting held in the summer
  170. chiaroscuro – The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation
  171. chiasmus – A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in “Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
  172. chicane – 1. An artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course; 2. To resort to tricks or subterfuges
  173. chilblain – An inflammation followed by itchy irritation on the hands, feet, or ears, resulting from exposure to moist cold
  174. chimerical – Highly improbable or illusory
  175. chine – 1. The backbone or spine, esp. of an animal; 2. a cut of meat containing same
  176. chintz – A printed and glazed cotton fabric, usually of bright colors
  177. Chiron – The wise centaur who tutored Achilles, Hercules, and Asclepius
  178. chiropodist – A podiatrist or foot doctor
  179. 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
  180. cholecystitis – Inflammation of the gallbladder
  181. chyron – A graphic that is digitally superimposed over the lower portion of a broadcast television image, often scrolling or otherwise animated
  182. circumvallate – Encircle as with a rampart
  183. cisalpine – Relating to, living on, or coming from the southern side of the Alps
  184. cislunar – Of or relating to the space between the earth and the moon
  185. clabber – Sour, curdled milk; to curdle
  186. 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
  187. cloistered – Secluded or shut up from the world
  188. 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
  189. clyster – An enema
  190. 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
  191. coffle – A line of animals or slaves, chained together
  192. colliery – A coal mine together with its physical plant and outbuildings
  193. colloidal – A liquid within which very fine particles are evenly distributed so that they stay suspended
  194. colloquy – Written dialogue
  195. coloratura – Vocal music characterized by florid ornamental passages
  196. colporteur – A peddler of devotional literature
  197. colubra – A female snake
  198. colubrine – Serpentine
  199. Columbine – A flower from the buttercup family
  200. communard – One who lives in a commune
  201. compendious – Containing or stating briefly all the essentials of something; comprehensive and concise
  202. comprador – A person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation
  203. concupiscent – Lascivious
  204. condign – Deserved; adequate
  205. congeries – A collection
  206. conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge
  207. consilience – A chance happening or coincidence
  208. contemn – To view with contempt; despise
  209. contra mundum – Against the world; in defiance of all general opinion
  210. contretemps – 1. An inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation; 2. an argument or dispute
  211. contumacious – Anti-authoritarian
  212. contumely – Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence
  213. conurbation – A predominantly urban region including adjacent towns and suburbs; a metropolitan area
  214. convolvulus – Any typically twining herbaceous convolvulaceous plant of the genus Convolvulus, having funnel-shaped flowers and triangular leaves
  215. copula – The word or set of words that serves as a link between the subject and predicate of a proposition
  216. coracle – A small, rounded, primitive boat (stretched skin over wooden frame)
  217. corse – A corpse (archaic)
  218. corybantic – To dance in a fashion similar to rites for the Phrygian goddess Cybele, celebrated with music and ecstatic dances
  219. 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
  220. crepuscular – Resembling twilight; dim; active at twilight (from Reamde)
  221. cresset – A metal cup, often suspended on a pole, containing burning oil or pitch and used as a torch
  222. cretonne – A heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers
  223. crim – Short for criminal
  224. crotchet – An odd, whimsical, perverse or stubborn notion
  225. cuirass – A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back, often consisting of two pieces fastened together
  226. cuirassier – A horse soldier in European armies whose equipment included the cuirass
  227. culverin – 1. An early, crudely made musket; 1. A long heavy cannon used in the 16th and 17th centuries
  228. cunctation – Procrastination; delay
  229. cupidity – Excessive desire, esp. for wealth; covetousness or avarice
  230. curlew – Any of several brownish, long-legged shorebirds of the genus Numenius, having long, slender, downward-curving bills
  231. curtilage – The area considered legally part of a house or dwelling by virtue of its enclosure by a fence or habitual use in domestic activities.
  232. cuspidor – spittoon; a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, esp. from chewing tobacco
  233. cutis – The dermis and epidermis of the skin together
  234. cynosure – Focal point of attention or admiration
  235. dacoit – A member of a robber band or gang in South Asia
  236. dag – Hanging fur matted with mud
  237. damask – 1. A rich patterned fabric of cotton, linen, silk, or wool; 2. the wavy pattern on Damascus steel
  238. deadhead – To remove dead flowers from a bush
  239. debauch – To corrupt morally; to seduce
  240. debility – Being weak or infirm
  241. decrepicate – To make a crackling sound when roasted (crystals or salts)
  242. defalcation – Misuse of funds; embezzlement
  243. defeasance – The voiding of a contract or deed
  244. deflagrate – To burn or cause to burn with great heat and intense light
  245. deictic – Directly proving by argument
  246. delation – The act of conveying; carriage (obsolete)
  247. delator – An accuser; an informer
  248. 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
  249. demesne – An extensive piece of landed property; an estate
  250. demiurge – A powerful creative force or personality
  251. demonym – Official designation for the inhabitant of a region (see gentilic)
  252. deoppilate – To clear a passage through
  253. descant – 1. An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme; 2. A discussion or discourse on a theme
  254. desideratum – Something considered necessary or highly desirable
  255. desquamate – To shed, peel, or come off in scales. Used of skin
  256. desuetude – A state of disuse or inactivity.
  257. dialetheia – True contradictions (true statements whose opposite is also true)
  258. diaphoresis – Copious perspiration; usu. a condition
  259. dieresis – Diacritical mark indicating a pronounced vowel
  260. diffident – Lacking or marked by a lack of self-confidence; shy and timid
  261. dilatory – Causing or intended to cause delay
  262. dioptric – Relating to optical refraction; refractive
  263. disembogue – Pour out; be disgorged in quantity
  264. disheveled – Being in loose disarray; unkempt, as hair or clothing
  265. dissimulate – To conceal one’s true feelings or intentions
  266. dissolute – Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices
  267. distaff – Women considered as a group; female
  268. divagate – 1. To wander or drift about; 2. to ramble; digress
  269. doolally – Out of one’s mind; crazy
  270. doss – 1. Sleep; rest; 2. a crude or makeshift bed
  271. dovecote – A compartmental structure, often raised on a pole, for housing domesticated pigeons
  272. dowager – 1. A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband; 2. an elderly woman of high social station
  273. doxology – An expression of praise to God, esp. a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service
  274. dropsy – An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity; edema (obsolete)
  275. drupe – A fleshy fruit with a pit (e.g. peach, plum, cherry, etc.)
  276. duckboard – A board or boardwalk laid across wet or muddy ground or flooring
  277. dupatta – A long wide scarf often worn draped over the head or across the shoulders, chiefly by women in South Asia
  278. dysarthria – Unclear articulation of otherwise normal speech
  279. easement – 1. The act of anointing as part of a religious; 2. An ointment or oil; a salve
  280. 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”)
  281. echolalia – The uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person, esp. as associated with mental disorder.
  282. écorché – An anatomical representation of all or part of a human or animal body with the skin removed so as to display the musculature
  283. efflorescence – 1. A gradual process of unfolding or developing; 2. the point or time of greatest vigor; the culmination
  284. egregoric – Of or relating to the occult concept of a group mind, egregore
  285. eidolon – An image of an ideal. An apparition.
  286. eisegesis – Reading meaning into a text that is not there
  287. 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
  288. eleemosynary – 1. Of, concerned with, or dependent on charity; 2. Given as an act of charity
  289. elegiac – Of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past
  290. embouchure – The mouth of a river
  291. emolument – Payment for an office or employment; compensation
  292. empennage – The tail assembly of an aircraft (page 223 of Reamde)
  293. enantiodromia – The principle that a superabundance of a force produces its opposite
  294. enceinte – Pregnant (from the French)
  295. encomiast – A person who delivers or writes an encomium; a eulogist
  296. encomium – Warm praise
  297. endometriosis – The presence of endometrium elsewhere than in the lining of the uterus; causes premenstrual pain and dysmenorrhea
  298. endue – To provide with a quality or trait; endow
  299. enfeoff – To invest (a person) with possession of a freehold estate in land
  300. Ensor – Belgian expressionist painter, noted for his macabre subjects
  301. entelechy – Actuality as opposed to potentiality (from Aristotelian philosophy)
  302. entheogenic – Hallucinogenic, psychedelic, or mind-altering. It applies esp. to drugs or plants employed in mystical, religious, or spiritual ceremonies
  303. entrepôt – A warehouse; a market or trading center (page 648 of Reamde)
  304. enure – To toughen or harden by use or exposure; accustom; habituate (see inure)
  305. enuresis – The involuntary discharge of urine; urinary incontinence
  306. epeirogeny – Uplift or depression of the earth’s crust, affecting large areas of land or ocean bottom
  307. epenthesis – Insertion of a sound in a word
  308. epergne – An ornamental stand or dish for holding fruit, flowers, etc., used as a centerpiece
  309. epicurean – Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, esp. to the enjoyment of good food and comfort
  310. epideictic – Designed primarily for rhetorical display
  311. epigenetic – Denoting processes by which heritable modifications in gene function occur without a change in the sequence of the DNA
  312. epigone – A second-rate imitator or follower, esp. of an artist or a philosopher
  313. epigram – A concise, clever, often paradoxical statement (can be a poem); see Yogi Berra or Groucho Marx
  314. 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
  315. epistemology – Study of the nature of knowledge
  316. epistle – A literary composition in the form of a letter
  317. epistolary – Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters
  318. epitatic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  319. 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
  320. equanimity – The quality of being calm and even-tempered; composure
  321. equerry – A personal attendant to the British royal household, generally responsible for the horses
  322. ergodic – Of or relating to the probability that any state will recur
  323. 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
  324. 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
  325. eschatology – The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind
  326. escutcheon – Shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms
  327. estaminet – A small café.
  328. estivation – Dormancy or torpor during the summer
  329. esurient – Hungry
  330. etiolate – 1. To cause to appear pale and sickly; 2. to make weak by stunting the growth or development of
  331. eudaemonic – Producing happiness and well-being
  332. euphonium – A brass instrument similar to the tuba but having a somewhat higher pitch and a mellower sound
  333. evanescent – Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor, ephemeral or transitory, passing out of sight; fading away; vanishing
  334. evection – Irregularity in the moon’s motion caused by perturbations of the sun and planets
  335. excrescent – Abnormal or excessive growth
  336. exegesis – Critical explanation or analysis
  337. exercitant – One who practices religious exercises
  338. exiguous – Meager or extremely scanty
  339. exophthalmic – Characterized by the prominence of the eyeballs
  340. exordium – A beginning or introductory part, esp. of a speech or treatise
  341. extrorse – Botanical term for facing outward or turned away from the axis
  342. fain – Happily; gladly (archaic)
  343. falchion – A short and slightly curved medieval sword broader towards the point
  344. fantail – Overhanging stern of a boat (esp. a warship)
  345. farrago – An assortment or a medley; a hodgepodge
  346. fiacre – A small four-wheeled carriage
  347. 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)
  348. finial – 1. An ornamental terminating part, as on a post or piece of furniture; 2. an ornament on top of a spire, gable
  349. firedamp – Methane
  350. firth – A long, narrow inlet
  351. fissiparous – Having a tendency to divide into groups or factions
  352. flews – The fleshy hanging upper lip of a bloodhound or similar dog
  353. flocculent – Having a fluffy or woolly appearance; fleecy
  354. flyblown – 1. Tainted; corrupt; 2. dirty or rundown; squalid
  355. flyover – An overpass, as on a highway (chieflly British)
  356. foolscap – A sheet of writing or printing paper measuring about 13 by 16 inches
  357. foxed – Marked with spots or discoloration, as from age
  358. frowsy – 1. Unkempt; slovenly; 2. ill-smelling; musty
  359. fucus – A seaweed common to intertidal regions and typically having greenish-brown slimy fronds. See also wrack
  360. fulsome – Excessively flattering; obsequious
  361. fulsome – 1. Excessively flattering or insincerely earnest; sycophantic; 2. disgusting or offensive
  362. fungible – Interchangeable
  363. 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
  364. furbelow – 1. A ruffle or flounce on a garment; 2. piece of showy ornamentation
  365. furze – Gorse; spiny evergreen shrubs
  366. gaff – Barbed spear; stick with a hook on it
  367. gaffer – An electrician in charge of lighting on a movie or television set
  368. 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
  369. Galicia – A region of east-central Europe on the north side of the Carpathians, now in SE Poland and Ukraine
  370. gallimaufry – A jumble; a hodgepodge
  371. gamelan – An Indonesian orchestra composed mainly of tuned percussion instruments such as bamboo xylophones, wooden or metal chimes, and gongs
  372. gastrocnemius – The largest, most prominent muscle of the calf of the leg, the action of which extends the foot and bends the knee
  373. 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)
  374. Gehenna – 1. A place or state of torment or suffering. 2. The abode of condemned souls; hell
  375. gentian – Any gentianaceous plant having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
  376. gentilic – Derived from a place name that depicts the residents of that place; see demonym
  377. ghat – Stairs or a passage leading down to a river (from the Hindi)
  378. gigue – A synonym for jig
  379. glaucous – 1. Of a pale grayish or bluish green; 2. covered with a bluish waxy or powdery bloom
  380. 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)
  381. gnomic – Marked by aphorisms; aphoristic
  382. godown – Warehouse (esp. in India)
  383. goffer – An iron used for pressing ridges or narrow pleats, or ridges or pleats produced in this manner
  384. gonfalon – A banner hung from a crosspiece, like in the Crusades
  385. gowpen – A bowl formed by two hands (Scottish)
  386. 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
  387. gravamen – Material substance of a charge or complaint
  388. greaves – Shin armor/guards
  389. 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
  390. 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)
  391. grisaille – A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray
  392. grizzle – To make or become gray
  393. groat – An English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century
  394. groyne – Variant of groin
  395. gudgen – Pivot; hinge; small fish; one who is easily duped (page 86 of the Brothers Karamazov)
  396. guerdon – A reward; recompense
  397. gurn – To complain, snarl or grimace (also girn; from the Scottish)
  398. gyp – A fraud or swindle, or some who perpetrates same
  399. ha-ha – A wall or other boundary marker that is set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the landscape
  400. haecceity – The property that uniquely identifies an object
  401. halvah – A confection of Turkish origin, made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey
  402. hardtack – A hard biscuit or bread made with only flour and water. Also called sea biscuit, sea bread, ship biscuit
  403. haruspicy – Divination by natural means (e.g. lightning)
  404. hecatomb – A large-scale sacrifice or slaughter
  405. heliotrope – Any of various plants that turn toward the sun
  406. helotry – The condition of serfdom.
  407. hermeneutics – Theory of interpretation (esp. religious texts)
  408. heterachy – A formal structure (e.g. connected nodes) without any single permanent uppermost node
  409. hierophant – An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge
  410. hippocras – Wine flavored with spices
  411. horripilated – Having goosebumps from either fear or cold or excitement
  412. howdah – A seat for riding on an elephant’s back, esp. one with a canopy
  413. hoyden – Tomboy; a boisterous, high-spirited, saucy girl
  414. hunker – To squat on one’s heels (a synonym from Bill Burr: Vietnamese gambler squat)
  415. hustings – A place where political campaign speeches are made
  416. hyaline – Resembling glass, as in translucence or transparency; glassy
  417. hypertelorism – Abnormal distance between two paired organs, esp. the eyes
  418. iatrogenic – Unintentionally induced by a physician
  419. icteric – Related to jaundice (to be ill with or a treatment)
  420. idiolect – Unique linquistic pattern with a small group; mini-dialect
  421. illeism – Referring to oneself in the third person
  422. imbricate – To overlap in a regular pattern
  423. immanent – Inherent
  424. impecuniousness – The state of being poor; penury
  425. impetigo – A contagious bacterial skin disease characterized by the formation of pustules that develop into yellowish crusty sores
  426. incalescent – Growing hotter or more ardent
  427. incarnadine – Of a fleshy pink color; blood-red
  428. incunabula – An artifact of an early period (artifact of an early period)
  429. indite – To set down in writing; to compose
  430. infundibulum – Any of various funnel-shaped bodily passages, openings, structures, or parts, esp. the stalk of the pituitary gland
  431. infusoria – Various microscopic organisms found in infusions of decaying organic matter
  432. ingenuous – Candid; lacking in guile
  433. inimical – Injurious or harmful in effect; adverse; unfriendly or hostile
  434. inspissate – To thicken, as by evaporation
  435. intarsia – A decorative inlaid pattern in a surface, esp. a mosaic worked in wood
  436. interpellate – To question (a member of the government) on a point of government policy, often interrupting the business of the day
  437. interpellation – An act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; see interpellate
  438. intransitive – An intransitive verb, on the other hand, describes an action that does not happen to something or someone
  439. inveigle – To obtain by cajolery; seduce
  440. inverter – Any device for converting a direct current into an alternating current
  441. invidious – Inciting ill will; troll-y; discriminatory; envious;
  442. invigilator – Monitor or proctor who watches examination candidates to prevent cheating
  443. irenic – Promoting peace; conciliatory.
  444. irredentism – A national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties.
  445. irrefragably – Admittedly; fairly
  446. jasper – An opaque cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown
  447. jequirity – Indian liquorice seeds; used to make black rosary beads
  448. kedgeree – 1. A dish of India containing rice, lentils, and spices. 2. a dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, cream, and seasonings
  449. kefir – A creamy drink made of fermented cow’s milk
  450. keloid – An abnormal proliferation of scar tissue, often pink, as on the site of a surgical incision
  451. kenning – A conventional poetic phrase used for or in addition to the usual name of a person or thing, esp. in Old Norse and Old English verse, as wave traveler for boat; see metonymy
  452. kermess – A fair or church dedication
  453. kipper – A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked
  454. kirtle – 1. A man’s knee-length tunic or coat; 2. a woman’s dress or skirt
  455. knelling – The process of disassembling something and arranging its parts
  456. kukri – A knife with a curved blade that broadens towards the point, esp. as used by Gurkhas
  457. kvass – A Russian fermented beverage similar to beer, made from rye or barley
  458. kwashiorkor – Severe malnutrition of infants and young children, esp. soon after weaning, resulting from dietary deficiency of protein (comes from the Ghanan)
  459. lability – The susceptibility to error or lapses of any kind, as a human failing
  460. laburnum – Any leguminous tree or shrub of the Eurasian genus Laburnum, having clusters of yellow drooping flowers: all parts of the plant are poisonous
  461. laconically – Marked by terseness or concision
  462. lacuna – An empty space or a missing part; a gap
  463. lagniappe – A small gift given with a purchase
  464. lahar – A mass of volcanic fragments, often mixed with water (e.g. rain), moving rapidly down the side of a volcano
  465. lambent – Flickering lightly (e.g. firelight); glowing with soft radiance, luminous
  466. lapidary – Polisher or dealer in precious stones
  467. lapillus – A small, solidified fragment of lava (pl. lapilli)
  468. lascar – An East Indian sailor, army servant, or artillery trooper during the era of European colonialism in Asia
  469. laterite – A red residual soil formed by the leaching of silica and by the enrichment with aluminum and iron oxides, esp. in humid climates
  470. leal – Loyal and honest
  471. lenity – The condition or quality of being lenient; leniency
  472. Lepus – A constellation in the Southern Hemisphere near Orion and Columba
  473. 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
  474. lictor – A Roman functionary who carried fasces when attending a magistrate in public appearances
  475. lief – Beloved; ready or willing
  476. 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
  477. liminal – Intermediate between two states, conditions, or regions; transitional or indeterminate
  478. litotes – Understating by negation: no mean feat”
  479. locus – A locality; a place
  480. longueur – 1. A tedious passage in a work of literature or performing art; 2. a period of time filled with boredom or tedium
  481. lorgnette – A pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses mounted on a handle
  482. louche – Disreputable or sordid
  483. lubricious – Overtly sexual; salacious
  484. ludic – Showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness
  485. lues – Any venereal disease (e.g. Syphilis); pestilence
  486. lumbago – A painful condition of the lower back, as one resulting from muscle strain or a slipped disk
  487. lyceum – A hall in which public lectures, concerts, and similar programs are presented
  488. 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)
  489. macrocarpa – A large coniferous tree of New Zealand, Cupressus macrocarpa, used for shelter belts on farms and for rough timber. Also called: Monterey cypress
  490. maculate(v): To spot, blemish, or pollute; (n): 1. Spotted, blotched, or stained. 2. Morally sullied or impure
  491. madding – Acting madly; frenzied
  492. maenad – 1. A frenzied woman; 2. a female member of the orgiastic cult of Dionysus
  493. majolica – Italian earthenware covered with an opaque glaze of tin oxide and usu. highly decorated
  494. malversation – Misbehavior and esp. corruption in an office, trust, or commission; corrupt administration
  495. mandala – Any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
  496. mandamus – A writ issued by a court requiring a public official or entity to perform a duty associated with that office or entity
  497. manqué – 1. Unfulfilled; potential; would-be; 2. Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one’s ambitions or capabilities
  498. manumission – To free from slavery or bondage; emancipate
  499. manumit/manumission – To set free; release from slavery
  500. 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)
  501. mascon – Any of several lunar regions of high gravity
  502. matutinal – Of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early
  503. 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
  504. meretricious – Gaudy
  505. merkin – A pubic wig
  506. merlon – The solid portion between crenels
  507. metempsychosis – The theory of reincarnation
  508. metonym – A word used in metonymy
  509. metonymy – A synonym/metaphor; e.g. brass” for upper officers or “plastic” for credit cards; see kenning
  510. mews – A group of buildings containing private stables that have been converted to residences
  511. miasma – An unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
  512. micrognathia – Abnormally small jaw
  513. minatory – Of a menacing or threatening nature; minacious
  514. mirabile dictu – Wonderful to relate; amazing to say
  515. misfeasance – Improper and unlawful execution of an act that in itself is lawful and proper.
  516. moidore – A former Portuguese gold coin
  517. moiety – One half
  518. Moloch – Something possessing the power to exact severe sacrifice; a Semitic deity to whom parents sacrificed their children
  519. mondegreen – Misinterpretation of song lyrics (e.g. Israeli Men” instead of “It’s Raining Men”)”
  520. Monophysite – A person who holds that there is only one nature in the person of Christ, which is primarily divine with human attributes
  521. monopsony – A situation in which the entire market demand for a product or service consists of only one buyer
  522. morbific – Causing disease; pathogenic
  523. morganatic – A marriage between nobility and lower rank, where titles and wealth are not shared
  524. morion – A crested metal helmet; black or blackish-brown smoky quartz
  525. morphetic – Of or relating to sleep or dreams
  526. mudra – Ritual hand movements in Hindu religious dancing
  527. mulct – 1. To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture; 2. to cheat or defraud
  528. mullet – Freshwater, spiny-finned fish
  529. Munda – A family of languages spoken by scattered peoples throughout central India
  530. murine – A family of rodents that includes mice and rats
  531. murrain – Redwater fever, affecting livestock; a plague, epidemic or crop blight
  532. musquash – Another name for muskrat
  533. 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)
  534. mythopoeic – Serving to create or engender myths; productive in mythmaking
  535. naphthalene – A white crystalline volatile solid with a characteristic penetrating odour: an aromatic hydrocarbon used in mothballs and in the manufacture of dyes, explosives
  536. natant – Floating or swimming in water
  537. navvy – A laborer, esp. one employed in construction or excavation projects
  538. neep – A dialect name for a turnip, chiefly British
  539. nepenthe – Something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain (mentioned in the Odyssey)
  540. nescience – Ignorance; absence of awareness
  541. 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
  542. neuralgic – Sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves
  543. niello – A black metallic alloy (sulfur and copper, silver or lead
  544. nigrescent – Blackish; dark
  545. noctilucent – Luminous at night
  546. noddlen: The head or brains, chiefly British; v: to nod (the head), as through drowsiness
  547. noisome – 1. Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul; 2. Harmful or dangerous
  548. noosphere – The part of the biosphere that is affected by human thought, culture, and knowledge
  549. numeraire – A unit or an item of commerce in which prices are measured
  550. numinous – awe-inspiring, mysterious or spiritual; supernatural
  551. nystagmus – A persistent, rapid, involuntary side-to-side eye movement
  552. oblation – Any offering made for religious or charitable purposes (e.g. offering of the bread and wine of the Eucharist to God)
  553. obloquy – 1. calumny; detractive language; 2. ill repute
  554. obscurantist – Practicing deliberate vagueness
  555. obsidional – Relating to a siege
  556. occiput – Back of the head
  557. ocherous – Ocher in color (or a mineral used to make that color)
  558. ofay – A derogatory term for a White person (see cracker, honky, peckerwood)
  559. 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)
  560. ogive – A diagonal rib or groin of a Gothic vault; 2. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative
  561. oligopsony – A market with only very few buyers
  562. omphalic – Of or relating to the navel
  563. omphaloskepsis – Literally, the contemplation of one’s navel, which is an idiom usually meaning complacent self-absorption
  564. oneiric – Dream-like
  565. ontology – The study of the essence of being
  566. opprobrium – Ignominy; cause of shame or disgrace
  567. optative – Indicating or expressing choice, preference, or wish
  568. orgulous – Haughty; proud (archaic)
  569. orison – A prayer, a devout petition to God or an object of worship
  570. orogenesis – The process of mountain formation, esp. by a folding and faulting of the earth’s crust
  571. orotund – Pompous and bombastic; resonant; booming
  572. orthography – The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage
  573. osculation – A kiss (page 332 of Doctor Sleep)
  574. osmically – Of or relating to odors or the sense of smell
  575. osteitis – Inflammation of bone or bony tissue
  576. ostler – Man who looks after horses at an inn
  577. otiose – Lazy; indolent; serving no useful purpose
  578. paillasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of palliasse)
  579. palimpsest – A hand-written document
  580. 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
  581. Palio – Italian Renaissance or Medieval festival
  582. Palladian – Of, relating to, or characterized by wisdom or study
  583. palliasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of paillasse)
  584. palp – Either of a pair of sensory appendages that arise from the mouthparts of crustaceans and insects
  585. panjandrum – A pompous self-important official or person of rank
  586. pap – 1. A teat or nipple (archaic); 2. material lacking real value or substance; 3. soft or semiliquid food, as for infants
  587. papillote – 1. A paper frill around cutlets; 2. cooked in oiled greaseproof paper or foil
  588. 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
  589. paraphilia – Any abnormal sexual behavior; sexual anomaly or deviation
  590. paregoric – An opium derivative used to treat diarrhea
  591. pari passu – At an equal pace; side by side
  592. parlous – full of danger or uncertainty
  593. paronomasia – Pun; play on words
  594. parterre – A formally patterned flower garden
  595. parve – Containing neither meat nor milk products and so fit for use with either meat or milk dishes (from Judaism)
  596. pastern – The part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and hoof
  597. pauldron – Shoulder protection in a suit of armor
  598. peaky – Wan, emaciated, or sickly
  599. peccant – Sinful; guilty; corrupt
  600. peccary – A gregarious pig-like mammal that is found from the southwestern U.S. to Paraguay. (reference was “swarm […] like army ants on a drove of peccaries”.)
  601. peculation – Embezzlement
  602. pecuniary – Relating to money
  603. 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
  604. pelf – Lucre; wealth or riches, esp. when dishonestly acquired
  605. pellucid – Transparent or translucent
  606. penurious – Poverty-stricken; stingy; meager
  607. percale – A closely woven cotton fabric used for sheets and clothing
  608. percipient – Perceptive
  609. perdurable – Enduring continuously; immortal
  610. perfervid – Extremely or extravagantly eager; impassioned or zealous.
  611. perfidy – Treachery; deliberate breach of faith
  612. peripatetic – Mobile on foot; an itinerant
  613. peristalsis – The wavelike muscular contractions of the digestive tract or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening
  614. perseverate – To repeat a word, gesture, or act insistently or redundantly
  615. persiflage – Banter; small-talk
  616. perspicacious – Acutely perceptive or discerning
  617. perspicuous – Clearly expressed or presented; lucid
  618. pertinacious – Tenacious
  619. 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
  620. petitio principii – A form of fallacious reasoning in which the conclusion has been assumed in the premises; begging the question
  621. Petronius – Roman courtier who is credited with writing the Satyricon
  622. phaeton – A light, four-wheeled open carriage, usually drawn by a pair of horses
  623. phalanstery – A self-sustaining cooperative community of the followers of Fourierism. Also called phalanx, or the buildings in such a community
  624. pharisaic – Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pharisees
  625. philippic – A verbal denunciation characterized by harsh, often insulting language; a tirade
  626. phillumenist – A person who collects matchbox labels
  627. philogynist – A lover or friend of women; one who esteems woman as the higher type of humanity; antonym of misogynist
  628. phlebotomy – The act or practice of opening a vein to let or draw blood as a therapeutic or diagnostic measure
  629. phlegmatic – Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional or apathetic
  630. Phoebus – The sun
  631. phthisis – A disease characterized by the wasting away or atrophy of the body or a part of the body (e.g. pulmonary tuberculosis)
  632. 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)
  633. piacular – Making expiation for sacrilege; wicked
  634. pilchard – A small, S European marine fish, Sardina pilchardus, related to the herring but smaller and rounder
  635. pillock – A stupid or annoying person (chiefly British)
  636. pinchbeck – Appearing valuable, but actually cheap and tawdry
  637. piquant – Pleasantly sharp taste
  638. pirogue – Any of various kinds of dugout canoes; also called piragua
  639. piscatorial – Of or relating to fish, fishing, or fishermen
  640. plangent – Loud and resounding
  641. 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
  642. 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)
  643. plenteous – Ample; abundant; copious
  644. pleonasm – A newly created word
  645. pleura – A thin serous membrane in mammals that envelops each lung and folds back to make a lining for the chest cavity
  646. pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, characterized by pain that is aggravated by deep breathing or coughing
  647. Plimsoll mark – A load line painted on the side of a cargo ship
  648. plinth – A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed
  649. plover – Any shore bird of the family Charadriidae, typically having a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings
  650. poetaster – A writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry
  651. 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
  652. poleyn – Knee protection in a suit of armor
  653. polygyny – The condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time
  654. polymath – A person of great or varied learning
  655. pomace – The pulpy material remaining after the juice has been pressed from fruit, such as apples or grapes. Also called marc
  656. poniard – 1. A small, slender dagger; 2. a dagger typically having a slender three- or four-sided blade
  657. posset – A drink of hot milk curdled with ale, beer, etc, flavoured with spices, formerly used as a remedy for colds
  658. pothouse – A small tavern or pub (chiefly British)
  659. potsherd – A broken pottery fragment, esp. one of archaeological value
  660. prang – 1. An accident or crash in an aircraft, car, etc; 2. to bomb from the air
  661. prefatory – Of, relating to, or constituting a preface
  662. prelapsarian – Of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve
  663. premonitory – Giving premonition; serving to warn beforehand
  664. prepossession – A prejudice or bias, esp. a favorable one
  665. 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
  666. preterite – A tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
  667. profligate – 1. Shamelessly immoral or debauched; 2. wildly extravagant or wasteful
  668. prolegomenon – A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity
  669. 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
  670. prolix – Tediously prolonged; wordy; longwinded
  671. prone – Lying flat or face downwards; prostrate
  672. propinquitous – Near; close in time, place or kinship (page 12 of Main Street)
  673. propitious – Favorable; auguring well; gracious or favorably inclined
  674. proprioception – Unconscious awareness of body movement, e.g. as the inner ear for balance (page 515 of Reamde)
  675. prosector – A person who prepares or dissects anatomical subjects for demonstration
  676. prosopagnosia – An inability to recognize faces
  677. prosopopoeia – Literary device involve an absent person speaking; personification; ascribing agency to an inanimate object or concept
  678. protasis – The dependent clause of a conditional sentence (i.e. the “if” part)
  679. 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”)
  680. psalmody – The act of singing psalms or hymns
  681. psephology – The study of political elections and polling
  682. psittacosis – A rickettsial disease affecting birds of the parrot family, pigeons, and domestic fowl, caused by the chlamydia Chlamydia psittaci and transmissible to humans
  683. psychogenic – Having origin in the mind or in a mental condition or process
  684. ptosis – Ptosis is the term used for a drooping upper eyelid
  685. puericratic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  686. pugnacious – Combative in nature
  687. pulchritude – Beauty
  688. pullulate – To breed rapidly or abundantly
  689. punctilio – A fine point of etiquette
  690. purblind – 1. Slow in understanding or discernment; dull 2. Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind
  691. purdah – Muslim practice of screening women from other men or strangers
  692. purlieus – An outlying or neighboring area; outskirts; environs
  693. 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
  694. purulent – Containing, discharging, or causing the production of pus
  695. pusillanimous – Cowardly
  696. pyaemia – Blood poisoning characterized by pus-forming microorganisms in the blood
  697. quiddity – 1. Essence of a thing; 2. a quibble
  698. quidnunc – Busybody; Yenta
  699. quiff – 1. A tuft of hair, esp. a forelock; 2. A woman regarded as promiscuous
  700. quintain – A rotating target used in jousting exercises
  701. quirt – A riding whip with a short, stiff handle and a lash made of two or more loose thongs
  702. 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)
  703. quoin – An exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry
  704. quokka – A short-tailed herbivorous marsupial (Setonix brachyurus) found in coastal areas of southwestAustralia
  705. quondam – Former
  706. raceme – A flower cluster in which each flower grows on its own stalk from a common stem. The lily of the valley and snapdragon have racemes.
  707. racketeering – A person who engages in an illegal business or other organized illegal activities
  708. raddled – Twisted together; interwoven
  709. radome – A domelike shell transparent to radio-frequency radiation, used to house a radar antenna
  710. raillery – Good-natured teasing or ridicule; banter
  711. ramose – Having many branches
  712. rawboned – Having a lean, gaunt frame with prominent bones
  713. Reaumurarchaic: a temperature scale with the freezing point of water at 80º.
  714. rebarbative – Tending to irritate; repellent
  715. rebeck – Medieval instrument; a lute-like violin
  716. recondite – Obscure; abstruse
  717. recreant – 1. A faithless or disloyal person; 2. A coward
  718. recrudescent – To break out anew or come into renewed activity, as after a period of quiescence
  719. recumbentibus – A knockdown blow
  720. redolent – Suggestive
  721. reef – A vein of ore
  722. 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
  723. reliquary – A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics
  724. renascent – Becoming active or vigorous again
  725. retromingent – One who urinates backwards
  726. revanchism – The act of retaliating, esp. by a nation or group to regain lost territory or standing; revenge
  727. revenant – 1. One that returns after a lengthy absence; 2. One who returns after death
  728. Rhadamanthine – Strictly and uncompromisingly just
  729. rhonchus – A snore or chest rattle
  730. riprap – Piled broken stones used as a foundation or to stabilize an easily eroded bank or slope
  731. risible – 1. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous 2. capable of laughing or inclined to laugh
  732. 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”)
  733. rota – A work schedule
  734. roué – A man who recklessly indulges in sensual pleasures; a rake
  735. roundelay – A poem or song with a regularly recurring refrain (as much popular music)
  736. rumbustiousness – Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly
  737. 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
  738. rusk – A light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit
  739. sabine – A member of an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 bc.
  740. Saiva – One who worships Shiva
  741. 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
  742. salmagundi – A mixture; a potpourri
  743. saltire – A cross in heraldry
  744. saltpeter – Naturally occurring potassium nitrate, used in making fireworks, gunpowder
  745. salubrious – Wholesome
  746. salwar – Loose pajamalike pants, typically having a drawstring waist and legs that narrow at the bottom, usually worn with a kameez
  747. samizdat – Underground newspaper (from the Russian)
  748. samphire – An edible coastal plant (Crithmum maritimum) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia (see glasswort)
  749. sanguine – Cheerfully optimistic
  750. sapper – 1. A military engineer who lays, detects, and disarms mines; 2. a soldier who digs trenches
  751. Sapphism – Lesbianism
  752. sastrugi – A long wavelike ridge of snow, formed by the wind and found on the polar plains
  753. satori – A spiritual awakening sought in Zen Buddhism, often coming suddenly
  754. satrap – Governor of a province in ancient Persia
  755. satrapy – The territory or sphere under the rule of a satrap
  756. saturnine – Slow and gloomy; morose
  757. sawyer – A bobbing tree in a body of water
  758. scapular – A monk’s sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and sometimes has a cowl
  759. sciatheric – Belonging to a sundial
  760. sciolist – A pretentious attitude of scholarship; superficial knowledgeability
  761. scoria – Porous cinderlike fragments of dark lava. Also called cinders, slag
  762. scoriatic – Cinder- or slag-like; rocky, craggy
  763. scotophliic – Functioning best in darkness
  764. scourge – A whip or lash
  765. secondment – Temporary transfer to another position or employment
  766. sedulously – Assiduous; constant in effort; persevering (from A very short history of driving while black)
  767. seigneur – A man of rank, esp. a feudal lord in the ancien régime
  768. seine – A fishing net or the act of using one (page 653 of Reamde)
  769. semiotics – The study of systems of communication
  770. sempiternal – Infinite; enduring forever
  771. sempstress – A rare word for seamstress
  772. seneschal – A steward or major-domo (in charge of servants)
  773. sepulchritude – Tomb-like; also, sepulchral
  774. sequacious – Unthinking and uncritical; slavish
  775. sequela – A secondary consequence or result; condition resulting from a disease
  776. serotype – A group of closely related microorganisms distinguished by a characteristic set of antigens
  777. sesquipedalian – Given to using long words
  778. shako – A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate or badge in front, a short visor, and a plume or pompom
  779. shibboleth – Outdated custom
  780. shirty – Ill-tempered; angry
  781. shockheaded – Having a head of bushy or tousled hair
  782. shotcrete – Concrete conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.
  783. sibilent – Hissing sound
  784. sine qua non – An essential element or condition
  785. skittles – Nine-pin bowling
  786. soca – A style of music, originating in the West Indies, that is a blend of soul and calypso
  787. sockdolager – Something outstanding; a final blow or remark, coup de grace
  788. sodality – Fellowship; fraternity; association; society
  789. soi-disant – Self-styled; so-called
  790. solecism – A grammatical error
  791. solon – A legislator
  792. somatically – Corporeal or physical; of, relating to, or affecting the body, esp. as distinguished from a body part, the mind, or the environment
  793. sommian – A volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone
  794. 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.
  795. 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
  796. spall – A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore
  797. spatchcock – To prepare for roasting or grilling by splitting open
  798. spathe – A leaflike bract that encloses or subtends a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit
  799. spavined – Decrepit or worn out
  800. 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.
  801. spinel – A hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminum oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks
  802. spinet – A small, compact upright piano
  803. spitchcock – An eel split and grilled or fried; see spatchcock
  804. sporran – A leather or fur pouch worn at the front of the kilt in the traditional dress of men of the Scottish Highlands
  805. sprezzatura – Studied nonchalance; graceful conduct or performance without apparent effort
  806. 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
  807. squamous – Covered with or formed of scales; scaly
  808. staggers – Any of various diseases in animals, esp. horses, cattle, or other domestic animals, that are characterized by a lack of coordination in moving
  809. 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.
  810. stochastic – Describes something that was
  811. 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.
  812. stot – To jump straight up with straight legs (e.g. antelope)
  813. stoush – A fight or brawl
  814. strabismus – The condition of being cross-eyed
  815. strath – A strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow
  816. Strega – The Italian word for witch
  817. stridulate – To produce a shrill grating, chirping, or hissing sound by rubbing body parts together, as certain insects do
  818. stroppy – Bad-tempered and argumentative
  819. stylobate – The immediate foundation of a row of classical columns
  820. suasion – Persuasion
  821. succussation – Trotting, shaking
  822. Suetonius – Roman historian whose major work, Lives of the Caesars, is an account of the lives of the first 12 Roman emperors
  823. sui generis – Unique
  824. sumptuary – Laws or limits on private expenses
  825. supererogation – Doing more than required
  826. supernacular – First-rate
  827. supine – Lying on the back or having the face upward
  828. swingeing – Extreme in effect; drastic
  829. swot – To cram; derogatory term for a person who crams
  830. syce – A stableman or groom, esp. in India
  831. syenite – An igneous rock composed primarily of alkali feldspar together with other minerals, such as hornblende
  832. syllepsis – See zeugma
  833. syncretic – 1. Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, esp. when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous; 2. The merging of two or more originally different inflectional forms in linguistics.
  834. synecdoche – A trope whereby a part is used as a label for the whole (e.g. hand” for “sailor”)”
  835. tabard – A tunic or capelike garment worn by a knight over his armor and emblazoned with his coat of arms
  836. tabes – A wasting of a bodily organ or part
  837. tallboy – A high chest of drawers made in two sections and placed one on top of the other; chest-on-chest
  838. talmudic – Related to the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings constituting the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism
  839. tamarisk – Any shrub or small tree having small scalelike or needle-shaped leaves and feathery racemes of small white or pinkish flowers
  840. tangible – Discernible by the touch; palpable
  841. tapotement – Rapid massage
  842. 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)
  843. tegument – A natural outer covering; an integument
  844. Telemachus – The son of Odysseus and Penelope, who helped his father kill Penelope’s suitors
  845. teleology – The philosophical interpretation of natural phenomena as exhibiting purpose or design
  846. telluric – Of or relating to Earth; terrestrial
  847. telos – End of a goal-oriented process
  848. temerarious – In an audacious manner
  849. tempera – A painting medium in which pigment is mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size or egg yolk
  850. tendentious – Partisan; marked by or favoring a particular point of view
  851. tenebrous – Dark and gloomy
  852. tensegrity – An architectural technique that involves tensional integrity or floating compression (see Wikipedia)
  853. tephra – Solid matter that is ejected into the air by an erupting volcano
  854. Termagant – A scold; a shrew
  855. thaumaturgic – The working of miracles or magic feats
  856. theodicy – A vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil
  857. theodolite – A surveying instrument
  858. theophany – An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation
  859. throstle – 1. Any of various thrushes, esp. a song thrush; 2. A machine formerly used for spinning fibers such as cotton or wool
  860. thurible – A censer used in certain ecclesiastical ceremonies or liturgies
  861. thylacine – Tasmanian tiger; an extinct or very rare doglike carnivorous marsupial
  862. titivate – To decorate or spruce up
  863. tocsin – An alarm sounded on a bell
  864. tontine – A common fund with increasing annuity for each member’s death and the last living member gets everything
  865. toothsome – Delicious, luscious, pleasant, attractive, sexually attractive or exciting
  866. topolect – The language or speech of a particular place (e.g. Züridütsch)
  867. torrid – 1. Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot; 2. Passionate; ardent
  868. tosh – Rubbish; nonsense
  869. tournure – Implement to expand a dress; a bustle
  870. tracklement – Savory jelly served with meat
  871. trenchant – Clear-cut; forceful or convincing
  872. trepidation – A state of alarm or dread; apprehension
  873. tressure – A narrow inner border on a shield, usually decorated with fleurs-de-lys
  874. tripe – Something of no value; rubbish
  875. trope – Metaphor or non-literal figure of speech
  876. trow – To think or suppose
  877. truckle – 1. A small wheel/caster; 2. to be servile
  878. tsuris – Problems or difficulties (Yiddish)
  879. trypophobia – An intense, irrational fear of objects with small holes
  880. tumid – 1. Swollen; distended. Used of a body part or organ; 2. Of a bulging shape; protuberant; 3. Overblown; bombastic
  881. turnkey – Supplied, installed, or purchased in a condition ready for immediate use, occupation, or operation
  882. ukase – An authoritative order or decree; an edict
  883. unction – Something that serves to soothe; a balm
  884. unctuous – Excessively ingratiating or insincerely earnest; oily
  885. undecillion – The cardinal number equal to 1036; British: 1066
  886. usquebaugh – Whiskey
  887. usufruct – Right to use the property of others
  888. uxorious – Love of or submission to one’s wife
  889. vade mecum – 1. A useful thing that one constantly carries about; 2. A book, such as a guidebook, for ready reference.
  890. vair – Red-squirrel fur; often used a trimming
  891. valetudinarian – 1. Chronically ailing; sickly; 2. Constantly and morbidly concerned with one’s health
  892. vambrace – Forearm armor
  893. vastation – Quick destruction; from the Italian vastare.
  894. vatic – Of or characteristic of a prophet; oracular (see veridical)
  895. vecturist – A collector of tokens used in buses and subways
  896. veisalgia – A hangover (from the Norwegian for “suffering after debauchery”)
  897. vellum – A fine parchment made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin and used for the pages and binding of books
  898. venery – The indulgence in or pursuit of sexual activity
  899. 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
  900. veridical – 1. Truthful; veracious; 2. Coinciding with future events or apparently unknowable present realities (see vatic)
  901. verisimilitude – Believable; appearing to be true
  902. vermilion – Brilliant or vivid red (also written vermillion)
  903. versipellous – Changeable, protean
  904. vesicle – A sac or cyst, esp. one containing fluid
  905. vespertine – Of, relating to, or occurring in the evening (e.g. active or blooming in the evening)
  906. vicissitude – Slings and arrows
  907. 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
  908. villein – One of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord
  909. vinous – 1. Of, relating to, or made with wine; 2. Having the color of wine
  910. violaceous – Of a violet color; reddish blue
  911. virago – 1. A woman regarded as noisy, scolding, or domineering; 2. A large, strong, courageous woman
  912. volvulus – Abnormal twisting of the intestine causing obstruction
  913. wale – One of the heavy planks or strakes extending along the sides of a wooden ship
  914. weeper – A hole or pipe in a wall to allow water to run off
  915. whin – Any spiny European evergreen shrub having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers (also called gorse or furze)
  916. whipping boy – Scapegoat; a boy formerly raised with a prince or other young nobleman and whipped for the latter’s misdeeds
  917. widdershins – In a contrary or counterclockwise direction
  918. withe – Also withy; a tough, supple twig, used to bind
  919. yonic – Related the vagina, esp. religious rel. to Shakti
  920. zazen – The primary form of meditation in Zen Buddhism, practiced while sitting cross-legged
  921. zeugma – When a word applies to two others in jarringly different ways (e.g. John and his license expired yesterday.)
  922. zoetrope – A mechanical device consisting of a rotating drum ringed with narrow apertures through which an animated image is viewed