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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 definition or definitions.
  1. a fortiori – For a still stronger reason; all the more
  2. a-signifying – Incidentally meaningful semiotics; effective but not directly connected to intent, meaning or significance (e.g. purchase-history–based recommendations)
  3. abjure – To renounce or retract, esp. formally, solemnly, or under oath
  4. ablative – Related to removal through melting or evaporation
  5. abnegation – Self-denial; renunciation of your own interests in favor of the interests of others
  6. abrogation – To abolish or annul, esp. by an authority
  7. abstruse – Difficult to understand; obscure
  8. accidie – Spiritual sloth; apathy; indifference
  9. acidulous – Slightly acrid in taste or manner
  10. acnestis – On an animal, the point of the back that lies between the shoulders and the lower back, which cannot be reached to be scratched
  11. acrostic – Poem or text where the first letters of each line form a message
  12. adamant(n): Extremely hard substance
  13. adduce – To cite as an example or means of proof in an argument
  14. adenoidal – Nasal in tone
  15. adiabatic – Occurring without gain or loss of heat
  16. adjunct – Added or connected in a subordinate or auxiliary capacity
  17. adjuvant – A treatment that enhances an existing medical regimen, as a pharmacological agent added to a drug to increase or aid its effect.
  18. adumbrate – To give a sketchy outline
  19. advesperate – To approach evening
  20. aerostat – A lighter-than-air vehicle, like a balloon or dirigible
  21. aerumnous – Full of trouble
  22. aesculapian – Related to the art of medicine
  23. aesthete – A person who is unusually sensitive to beauty in art or nature
  24. aetiology – The philosophy or study of causation
  25. affray – A riot; a large group fighting
  26. aftosa – Another name for foot-and-mouth disease.
  27. aga – leader (civil or military) in the Ottoman empire
  28. agitprop – subversive writing; see samizdat
  29. agnatology – the study of culturally-induced ignorance
  30. agonistic – Argumentative; striving for effect; strained
  31. aiguillette – An ornamental cord worn on the shoulder of a military uniform
  32. akinesia – Loss of normal motor function, resulting in impaired muscle movement
  33. akrasia – Weakness of will; acting contrary to one’s moral values
  34. Albion – Britain or England
  35. aleatory – Dependent on chance
  36. alee – On the leeward side
  37. alembic – Distilling apparatus consisting of two vessels and a tube
  38. aliform – Shaped like a wing; alar
  39. amanuensis – An assistant
  40. ambuscade – An ambush
  41. amethyst – Purple or violet quartz
  42. amphisbaena – Mythical Greek ant-eating serpent with a head at each end
  43. anaclitic – Psychologically dependent on others
  44. anacoenosis – An appeal by the speaker to his opponents or to the audience for an opinion of the point
  45. anadem – A wreath or garland for the head.
  46. analysand – A person who is being psychoanalyzed
  47. anastomosis – Connection of parts of a branching system to form a network (e.g. blood vessels or rivers)
  48. andirons – A pair of metal supports used for holding up logs in a fireplace
  49. 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”)
  50. anhedonia – Inability to express pleasure
  51. anile – unable to think clearly or infirm because of old age
  52. anisotropic – Having properties that differ based on the direction of measurement (e.g. oval)
  53. anodyne – Uncontentious or inoffensive
  54. anoesis – Absence of thought (anoetic)
  55. anorak – A socially inept person with a hobby considered by most people to be boring
  56. anorectic – Marked by loss of appetite (anorexic)
  57. anserine – Goose-like
  58. anterior – Before or in front of; previously
  59. anthroponymy – The study of the names of human beings (syn: anthroponomastics)
  60. antimacassar – A protective and often decorative covering for the back or arms of a chair or sofa.
  61. antinomian – One who denies the fixed meaning or universal applicability of moral law
  62. antinomy – A contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox
  63. antipodes – Group of rocky island near New Zealand, almost directly opposite Greenwich, England
  64. apodictic – Logically certain; demonstrably true or false
  65. apophasis – Allusion to something by denying that it will be mentioned, as in I will not bring up my opponent’s questionable financial dealings
  66. apophenia – The tendency to perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things; confirmation bias
  67. aporia – A state of being at a loss; a statement to that effect
  68. Aposematic – Having bright, colorful markings that warn predators of poison
  69. apostasy – Abandonment of one’s religious faith, party or a cause
  70. apothegm – A maxim
  71. apotheosis – Deification; exaltation to divine rank (nirvana)
  72. apotropaic – Intended to ward off evil
  73. appanage – Provision (usually land) granted (usually to a family member) as a source of revenue
  74. apperception – Conscious perception with full awareness
  75. apposite – Appropriate or relevant
  76. approbation – Official approval
  77. appurtenance – 1. appendage; 2. gear
  78. arbalest – Crossbow-like missile launcher
  79. architrave – The lintel or beam lying across two columns
  80. arcology – A portmanteau of architecture” and “ecology”, a very densely populated habitat (page 231 of Reamde)
  81. arhat – One who has attained enlightenment.
  82. armamentarium – The complete range of materials available or used for a task
  83. armet – A late-medieval light helmet with a neck guard and movable visor
  84. armillary – Of or relating to the arm (e.g. bracelets)
  85. arquebus – A portable, long-barrelled gun, predecessor to the rifle
  86. arrant – Utter; out-and-out
  87. arras – A tapestry, wall hanging or curtain (usually Flemish)
  88. arreptitious – Snatched away; seized or possessed, as a demoniac; raving; mad; crack-brained
  89. artilect – A machine or robot possessing artificial intelligence
  90. asafetida – A plant common to Iran and Afghanistan; produces a brownish, strong-smelling resin
  91. aspirate – To draw in or remove by inhalation or suction, esp to suck (air or fluid) from a body cavity or to inhale (fluid) into the lungs after vomiting
  92. asseveration – A positive and emphatic declaration
  93. assignation – A tryst
  94. astragal – A molding that covers a gap (usually to prevent airflow)
  95. ataraxia – A calm of mind; serenity
  96. ataxic – Loss of the ability to coordinate muscle movement (Lucky Jim)
  97. Ativan – Tranquilizer; trade name for lorazepam
  98. atrabilious – Melancholy; peevish; surly
  99. attenuate – To become slender, fine or small
  100. auscultate – To listen to sounds produced by the body (e.g. heartbeat)
  101. autarky – Quality of being self-sufficient, as in a state or economy
  102. autoclave – A heavy vessel for sterilizing or cooking by means of steam under pressure.
  103. autochthonous – Local; native; indigenous
  104. autolatrous – Self-worshiping
  105. autopoiesis – A closed system capable of creating itself
  106. autotelic – Having a purpose in and justifying itself
  107. avariciously – Greedily, immoderately so
  108. aventurine – A form of quartz; green; translucent with a shimmering or glistening effect
  109. avulsion – The forcible tearing away of a body part; change in landscape due to flooding or riverbed changes
  110. baize – Coarse woolen cloth (used e,g, to cover snooker or billiard tables)
  111. balanitis – Inflammation of the glans penis, usually due to infection
  112. balboa – The official currency of Panama
  113. baldachin – A canopy of state over an altar or throne
  114. ballista – Medieval field weapon similar to a crossbow (heavy projectiles)
  115. bast – The phloem of a plant (bast fiber)
  116. bastinado – A beating on the soles of the feet
  117. Batavia – A former name for Jakarta
  118. bathetic – Portmanteau of bathos and pathetic (anticlimactic, banal, trite)
  119. batrachian – An amphibian, esp. a frog or a salamander
  120. baulk – Line from which croquet, snooker, billiard ball is put into play (or the area behind it)
  121. beadle – Church usher
  122. beignet – A square doughnut without a hole; a fritter
  123. beldam – A hag (also written as beldame)
  124. belie – To misrepresent
  125. benedicence – Benevolence in speech
  126. benthic – Of or pertaining to the bottom of a body of water
  127. besom – Twigs tied to a handle to make a broom
  128. bezique – A card game for two or more players with tricks similar to whist (or pinochle) but with additional points scored for honours and sequences: played with two packs with nothing below a seven
  129. bezoar – hard, indigestible mass food in the stomach or intestines
  130. bibelot – A small decorative object; a trinket
  131. bight – A loop in a rope; a wide bay characterized by a bend or curve
  132. bilious – Peevish; ill-humored
  133. biretta – Square hat worn by ecclesiastics, with three or four ridges on the brow
  134. bitts – A post on the deck of a ship to which ropes or cables are secured
  135. blackleg – 1. A livestock or plant disease, usually fatal. 2. A cardsharp
  136. blench – To draw back or shy away, as from fear; flinch
  137. bloater – A large mackerel or herring, salted, smoked and dried
  138. bodkin – A long needle or awl; a dagger or stiletto
  139. boffin – A person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field (Brit.; similar to wonk in Amer.)
  140. bolster – A long, narrow pillow or cushion
  141. boracic – Having no money; Brit. slang
  142. borage – Southern European bristly herb with blue or purplish, star-shaped flowers
  143. bothy – Small hut or cottage (Scot.)
  144. bourg – 1. A market town. 2. A medieval village, especially one situated near a castle.
  145. boustrophedonic – A script that is simultaneously left-to-right and right-to-left
  146. bowdlerize – To expurgate literary material; to censor
  147. boyar – A member of the nobility of Russia, before Peter the Great
  148. 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
  149. bradycardia – Slowness of the heart rate (usually less than 60BPM)
  150. brassica – Genus that includes cabbage, swede, rape and mustard
  151. breechclout – A loincloth
  152. breezeway – An enclosure joining two parts of a building (e.g. a house and its garage)
  153. brigandine – Flexible body armor covered in cloth
  154. bromidrosis – Body odor
  155. bruit – A din or clamor
  156. brume – Fog or mist
  157. burgeon – To begin to grow or blossom (to put forth buds)
  158. buskin – A thick-soled laced half boot worn by actors of Greek and Roman tragedies
  159. buttonholer – Someone who accosts or detains (a person) in conversation
  160. cabochon – A highly polished, convex-cut, unfaceted gem
  161. cadastral – A public register showing details of ownership of the real property in a district, including boundaries and tax assessments
  162. caduceus – A herald’s wand or staff (usually refers to the two serpents logo of Hermes’s staff used by the medical profession)
  163. cafard – A feeling of severe depression (from the French, literally hypocrite, cockroach)
  164. caique – A long narrow rowboat traditionally used on the Bosporus.
  165. caisson – A watertight structure for performing work or repairs under water
  166. caitiff – A despicable coward; a wretch
  167. caleche – A light two- or four-wheeled horse-draw carriage
  168. calenture – A tropical fever thought to be caused by heat; similar to sunstroke
  169. caliche – A mineral deposit of gravel, sand, and nitrates
  170. caliginous – Dark, misty and gloomy
  171. calk – 1. A spiked plate that is fixed on the bottom of a shoe to prevent slipping and preserve the sole.; 2. A pointed extension on the toe or heels of a horseshoe, designed to prevent slipping.
  172. callipygian – Relating to or having buttocks that are considered beautifully proportioned
  173. callow – Immature
  174. calque – To make a loan translation from (a word in another language)
  175. caltrop – Metal spikes thrown across a road
  176. calvados – A French brandy made from apples.
  177. canaille – The common people; the masses; the hoi polloi
  178. candlewick – A fabric resembling chenille, made with closely-spaced tufts of cotton and used primarily for bedspreads and robes
  179. canebrake – A piece of ground covered with a dense growth of canes
  180. canescent – Turning white or grayish; becoming hoary
  181. cannula – A tube inserted into a body cavity (e.g. a nose tube)
  182. cantrip – A deceptive move; a sham
  183. caoutchouc – Untreated rubber
  184. caparison – Fancy dress or ornamentation for a man or horse (or to make fancy by decorating in this way)
  185. capsid – A virus’s protein coat
  186. captious – Nitpicky; deliberately confusing; underhanded debating tactics
  187. caracole – A half-turn performed by a horse and rider (or to perform same)
  188. caravansary – An inn built around a large court for accommodating caravans (mostly in Asia)
  189. carnelian – A pale to deep red or reddish-brown variety of clear chalcedony, used in jewelry.
  190. casement – A window or part of a window set on a hinge so that it opens like a door
  191. casuistical – Specious reasoning intended to mislead
  192. castrum – An old Roman fortress or encampment
  193. catabolic – The metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often resulting in a release of energy.
  194. catafalque – A funeral bier
  195. catamite – A boy who has a sexual relationship with a man.
  196. catastasis – The part of a drama immediately preceding the climax
  197. catawampus – Skewed, twisted
  198. 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
  199. catechumen – A novice; one who is being instructed at an elementary level
  200. catenary – The curve formed by a cable suspended by its endpoints
  201. caudal – Situated beneath or on the underside; inferior; opposite of anterior
  202. cautery – The act or process or cauterizing (or an agent used to cauterize)
  203. cavil – To quibble
  204. cenotaph – A monument honoring a person buried elsewhere
  205. cernuous – Drooping, as the leaves of a plant
  206. chaff – Trivial or worthless matter; dry bracts of seeds, removed during threshing; metal bits emitted by a plane to foil radar
  207. chalcedony – A translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz
  208. chancel – The space around the altar of a church for the clergy and sometimes the choir, often enclosed by a lattice or railing.
  209. chancellery – The rank, position, office or department of a chancellor
  210. chandler – One that makes or sells candles
  211. chaparral – An area covered by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs
  212. charivari – An elaborate, noisy celebration, often mocking (page 508 of the Idiot)
  213. chary – 1. Very cautious; wary; 2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing
  214. chatelaine – The mistress of a castle or of a large, fashionable household; a hooklike clasp with chains for suspending small objects, as keys worn at the waist by women esp. in the 18th and 19th centuries
  215. chautauqua – A summer school or educational meeting held in the summer
  216. chiasmus – Reversal of the order of words in the second of two parallel phrases: he came in triumph and in defeat departs.
  217. chiaroscuro – The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation
  218. chiasmus – A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in “Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
  219. chicane – 1. An artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course; 2. To resort to tricks or subterfuges
  220. chilblain – An inflammation followed by itchy irritation on the hands, feet, or ears, resulting from exposure to moist cold
  221. chimerical – Highly improbable or illusory
  222. chine – 1. The backbone or spine, esp. of an animal; 2. a cut of meat containing same
  223. chintz – A printed and glazed cotton fabric, usually of bright colors
  224. Chiron – The wise centaur who tutored Achilles, Hercules, and Asclepius
  225. chiropodist – A podiatrist or foot doctor
  226. 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
  227. choad – a. A penis (esp. one that is wider than it is long); 2. Someone who is obnoxious or annoying
  228. chode – Past tense of chide
  229. cholecystitis – Inflammation of the gallbladder
  230. chyron – A graphic that is digitally superimposed over the lower portion of a broadcast television image, often scrolling or otherwise animated
  231. cimicine – Smelling like bugs
  232. circumvallate – Encircle as with a rampart
  233. cisalpine – Relating to, living on, or coming from the southern side of the Alps
  234. cislunar – Of or relating to the space between the earth and the moon
  235. clabber – Sour, curdled milk; to curdle
  236. clafoutis – A baked dessert composed of a layer of fresh fruit topped with a thick batter. Chiefly French.
  237. 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
  238. cloistered – Secluded or shut up from the world
  239. 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
  240. clyster – An enema
  241. 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
  242. coffle – A line of animals or slaves, chained together
  243. colliery – A coal mine together with its physical plant and outbuildings
  244. colloidal – A liquid within which very fine particles are evenly distributed so that they stay suspended
  245. colloquy – Written dialogue
  246. coloratura – Vocal music characterized by florid ornamental passages
  247. colporteur – A peddler of devotional literature
  248. colubra – A female snake
  249. colubrine – Serpentine
  250. Columbine – A flower from the buttercup family
  251. commensality – The act or practice of eating at the same table
  252. communard – One who lives in a commune
  253. compendious – Containing or stating briefly all the essentials of something; comprehensive and concise
  254. comprador – A person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation
  255. concessio – “A rhetorical stylistic tool in which one takes up the opponent’s argument, acknowledging it as correct while simultaneously weakening it. (E.g. “Yes. Günther has behaved immorally,
  256. but he can not be legally punished for it.”) See paromologia.”
  257. concomitant – Occurring or existing concurrently
  258. concupiscent – Lascivious
  259. condign – Deserved; adequate
  260. congeries – A collection
  261. conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge
  262. connubial – Of marriage or wedlock; matrimonial; conjugal.
  263. consilience – A chance happening or coincidence
  264. constult – To act stupidly together
  265. contemn – To view with contempt; despise
  266. contra mundum – Against the world; in defiance of all general opinion
  267. contretemps – 1. An inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation; 2. an argument or dispute
  268. contumacious – Anti-authoritarian
  269. contumely – Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence
  270. conurbation – A predominantly urban region including adjacent towns and suburbs; a metropolitan area
  271. convolvulus – Any typically twining herbaceous convolvulaceous plant of the genus Convolvulus, having funnel-shaped flowers and triangular leaves
  272. copula – The word or set of words that serves as a link between the subject and predicate of a proposition
  273. coracle – A small, rounded, primitive boat (stretched skin over wooden frame)
  274. corse – A corpse (archaic)
  275. corybantic – To dance in a fashion similar to rites for the Phrygian goddess Cybele, celebrated with music and ecstatic dances
  276. 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
  277. crepuscular – Resembling twilight; dim; active at twilight (from Reamde)
  278. cresset – A metal cup, often suspended on a pole, containing burning oil or pitch and used as a torch
  279. cretonne – A heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers
  280. crim – Short for criminal
  281. crotchet – An odd, whimsical, perverse or stubborn notion
  282. croupy – Characterized by respiratory difficulty and a hoarse, brassy cough
  283. cuirass – A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back, often consisting of two pieces fastened together
  284. cuirassier – A horse soldier in European armies whose equipment included the cuirass
  285. culverin – 1. An early, crudely made musket; 1. A long heavy cannon used in the 16th and 17th centuries
  286. cumbrously – In a cumbersome manner; difficult to handle because of size or weight
  287. cunctation – Procrastination; delay
  288. cupidity – Excessive desire, esp. for wealth; covetousness or avarice
  289. curate – 1. A member of the clergy employed to assist a rector or vicar; 2. To take charge of (a museum) or organize (an art exhibit); 3. To gather and present to the public
  290. curlew – Any of several brownish, long-legged shorebirds of the genus Numenius, having long, slender, downward-curving bills
  291. currycomb – A comb with plastic or rubber teeth, used for grooming horses.
  292. 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.
  293. cuspidor – spittoon; a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, esp. from chewing tobacco
  294. cutis – The dermis and epidermis of the skin together
  295. cynosure – Focal point of attention or admiration
  296. dacoit – A member of a robber band or gang in South Asia
  297. dag – Hanging fur matted with mud
  298. damask – 1. A rich patterned fabric of cotton, linen, silk, or wool; 2. the wavy pattern on Damascus steel
  299. davit – A small crane that projects over the side of a ship and is used to hoist boats, anchors, and cargo
  300. deadhead – To remove dead flowers from a bush
  301. debauch – To corrupt morally; to seduce
  302. debility – Being weak or infirm
  303. decoupage – The technique of decorating a surface with cutouts, as of paper, and finishing with layers of lacquer or varnish
  304. decrepicate – To make a crackling sound when roasted (crystals or salts)
  305. defalcation – Misuse of funds; embezzlement
  306. defeasance – The voiding of a contract or deed
  307. deflagrate – To burn or cause to burn with great heat and intense light
  308. deictic – Directly proving by argument
  309. delation – The act of conveying; carriage (obsolete)
  310. delator – An accuser; an informer
  311. 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
  312. demesne – An extensive piece of landed property; an estate
  313. demiurge – A powerful creative force or personality
  314. demob – Short for demobilization of armed forces
  315. demonym – Official designation for the inhabitant of a region (see gentilic)
  316. deoppilate – To clear a passage through
  317. descant – 1. An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme; 2. A discussion or discourse on a theme
  318. desideratum – Something considered necessary or highly desirable
  319. desquamate – To shed, peel, or come off in scales. Used of skin
  320. desuetude – A state of disuse or inactivity.
  321. dialetheia – True contradictions (true statements whose opposite is also true)
  322. diaphoresis – Copious perspiration; usu. a condition
  323. dieresis – Diacritical mark indicating a pronounced vowel
  324. diffident – Lacking or marked by a lack of self-confidence; shy and timid
  325. dilatory – Causing or intended to cause delay
  326. dioptric – Relating to optical refraction; refractive
  327. disembogue – Pour out; be disgorged in quantity
  328. disheveled – Being in loose disarray; unkempt, as hair or clothing
  329. dissimulate – To conceal one’s true feelings or intentions
  330. dissolute – Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices
  331. distaff – Women considered as a group; female
  332. dithyramb – 1. any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing 2. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus
  333. divagate – 1. To wander or drift about; 2. to ramble; digress
  334. doolally – Out of one’s mind; crazy
  335. doss – 1. Sleep; rest; 2. a crude or makeshift bed
  336. dovecote – A compartmental structure, often raised on a pole, for housing domesticated pigeons
  337. dowager – 1. A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband; 2. an elderly woman of high social station
  338. doxology – An expression of praise to God, esp. a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service
  339. draughts – The game of checkers
  340. dropsy – An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity; edema (obsolete)
  341. drupe – A fleshy fruit with a pit (e.g. peach, plum, cherry, etc.)
  342. duckboard – A board or boardwalk laid across wet or muddy ground or flooring
  343. dudgeon – 1. A sullen, angry, or indignant humor; 2. A dagger with a hilt made of this wood.
  344. dupatta – A long wide scarf often worn draped over the head or across the shoulders, chiefly by women in South Asia
  345. duumvirate – 1. A regime or partnership of two persons 2. A coalition of two people holding the same office, as in ancient Rome.
  346. dysarthria – Unclear articulation of otherwise normal speech
  347. dysphoria – An emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, or unease; the opposite of euphoria
  348. easement – 1. The act of anointing as part of a religion; 2. An ointment or oil; a salve
  349. 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”)
  350. ecclesial – Of or relating to a church, especially as an organized institution. Syn.: ecclesiastical
  351. echolalia – The uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person, esp. as associated with mental disorder.
  352. écorché – An anatomical representation of all or part of a human or animal body with the skin removed so as to display the musculature
  353. efflorescence – 1. A gradual process of unfolding or developing; 2. the point or time of greatest vigor; the culmination
  354. egregoric – Of or relating to the occult concept of a group mind, egregore
  355. eidolon – An image of an ideal. An apparition.
  356. eisegesis – Reading meaning into a text that is not there
  357. 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
  358. eleemosynary – 1. Of, concerned with, or dependent on charity; 2. Given as an act of charity
  359. elegiac – Of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past
  360. elozable – Readily influenced by flattery
  361. embonpoint – The plump or fleshy part of a person’s body, in particular a woman’s bosom.
  362. embouchure – The mouth of a river
  363. emolument – Payment for an office or employment; compensation
  364. empennage – The tail assembly of an aircraft (page 223 of Reamde)
  365. empyrean – Heavenly or sublime; the highest part of the (supposedly spherical) heavens, thought in ancient times to contain the pure element of fire and by early Christians to be the abode of God and the angels
  366. enantiodromia – The principle that a superabundance of a force produces its opposite
  367. enceinte – Pregnant (from the French)
  368. encomiast – A person who delivers or writes an encomium; a eulogist
  369. encomium – Warm praise
  370. endometriosis – The presence of endometrium elsewhere than in the lining of the uterus; causes premenstrual pain and dysmenorrhea
  371. endue – To provide with a quality or trait; endow
  372. enfeoff – To invest (a person) with possession of a freehold estate in land
  373. Ensor – Belgian expressionist painter, noted for his macabre subjects
  374. entelechy – Actuality as opposed to potentiality (from Aristotelian philosophy)
  375. entheogenic – Hallucinogenic, psychedelic, or mind-altering. It applies esp. to drugs or plants employed in mystical, religious, or spiritual ceremonies
  376. entrepôt – A warehouse; a market or trading center (page 648 of Reamde)
  377. enure – To toughen or harden by use or exposure; accustom; habituate (see inure)
  378. enuresis – The involuntary discharge of urine; urinary incontinence
  379. epeirogeny – Uplift or depression of the earth’s crust, affecting large areas of land or ocean bottom
  380. epenthesis – Insertion of a sound in a word
  381. epergne – An ornamental stand or dish for holding fruit, flowers, etc., used as a centerpiece
  382. epicurean – Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, esp. to the enjoyment of good food and comfort
  383. epideictic – Designed primarily for rhetorical display
  384. epigenetic – Denoting processes by which heritable modifications in gene function occur without a change in the sequence of the DNA
  385. epigone – A second-rate imitator or follower, esp. of an artist or a philosopher
  386. epigram – A concise, clever, often paradoxical statement (can be a poem); see Yogi Berra or Groucho Marx
  387. 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
  388. epiphenomena – 1. A secondary or additional phenomenon; by-product; 2. An unexpected or atypical symptom or occurrence during the course of a disease
  389. epistemology – Study of the nature of knowledge
  390. epistle – A literary composition in the form of a letter
  391. epistolary – Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters
  392. epitatic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  393. 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
  394. epizeuxis – The repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis
  395. equanimity – The quality of being calm and even-tempered; composure
  396. equerry – A personal attendant to the British royal household, generally responsible for the horses
  397. ergodic – Of or relating to the probability that any state will recur
  398. 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
  399. 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
  400. eschatology – The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind
  401. escutcheon – Shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms
  402. estaminet – A small café.
  403. estivation – Dormancy or torpor during the summer
  404. esurient – Hungry
  405. etiolate – 1. To cause to appear pale and sickly; 2. to make weak by stunting the growth or development of
  406. eudaemonic – Producing happiness and well-being
  407. euphonium – A brass instrument similar to the tuba but having a somewhat higher pitch and a mellower sound
  408. euphonious – Pleasing or agreeable to the ear.
  409. evanescent – Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor, ephemeral or transitory, passing out of sight; fading away; vanishing
  410. evection – Irregularity in the moon’s motion caused by perturbations of the sun and planets
  411. excrescent – Abnormal or excessive growth
  412. exegesis – Critical explanation or analysis
  413. exercitant – One who practices religious exercises
  414. exigent – Requiring immediate aid or action
  415. exiguous – Meager or extremely scanty
  416. exophthalmic – Characterized by the prominence of the eyeballs
  417. exordium – A beginning or introductory part, esp. of a speech or treatise
  418. extrorse – Botanical term for facing outward or turned away from the axis
  419. factotum – An assistant who takes on a wide range of tasks and responsibilities.
  420. fain – Happily; gladly (archaic)
  421. falchion – A short and slightly curved medieval sword broader towards the point
  422. fantail – Overhanging stern of a boat (esp. a warship)
  423. fard – To paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes
  424. farrago – An assortment or a medley; a hodgepodge
  425. fecundate – Fertilize; make fruitful
  426. felid – Sly, stealthy, or treacherous; belonging or pertaining to the cat family (related to canid for dogs)
  427. fiacre – A small four-wheeled carriage
  428. 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)
  429. finial – 1. An ornamental terminating part, as on a post or piece of furniture; 2. an ornament on top of a spire, gable
  430. firedamp – Methane
  431. firth – A long, narrow inlet
  432. fissiparous – Having a tendency to divide into groups or factions
  433. flews – The fleshy hanging upper lip of a bloodhound or similar dog
  434. flinder – 1. A butterfly. 2. To scamper about flutteringly 3. To break (something) into flinders (pieces)
  435. flocculent – Having a fluffy or woolly appearance; fleecy
  436. flyblown – 1. Tainted; corrupt; 2. dirty or rundown; squalid
  437. flyover – An overpass, as on a highway (chieflly British)
  438. fomes – Any inanimate or nonpathogenic substance or material, exclusive of food, which may act as a vector for a pathogen.
  439. fomites – Plural of fomes
  440. foolscap – A sheet of writing or printing paper measuring about 13 by 16 inches
  441. foxed – Marked with spots or discoloration, as from age
  442. frowsy – 1. Unkempt; slovenly; 2. ill-smelling; musty
  443. fubsy – Fat and squat
  444. fucus – A seaweed common to intertidal regions and typically having greenish-brown slimy fronds. See also wrack
  445. fulsome – Excessively flattering; obsequious
  446. fulsome – 1. Excessively flattering or insincerely earnest; sycophantic; 2. disgusting or offensive
  447. fungible – Interchangeable
  448. 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
  449. furbelow – 1. A ruffle or flounce on a garment; 2. piece of showy ornamentation
  450. furze – Gorse; spiny evergreen shrubs
  451. rustic – The wood of a large, tropical American tree, Chlorophora tinctoria, of the mulberry family, yielding a light yellow dye.
  452. gaff – Barbed spear; stick with a hook on it
  453. gaffer – An electrician in charge of lighting on a movie or television set
  454. 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
  455. Galicia – A region of east-central Europe on the north side of the Carpathians, now in SE Poland and Ukraine
  456. gallimaufry – A jumble; a hodgepodge
  457. gamelan – An Indonesian orchestra composed mainly of tuned percussion instruments such as bamboo xylophones, wooden or metal chimes, and gongs
  458. gastrocnemius – The largest, most prominent muscle of the calf of the leg, the action of which extends the foot and bends the knee
  459. 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)
  460. Gehenna – 1. A place or state of torment or suffering. 2. The abode of condemned souls; hell
  461. gentian – Any gentianaceous plant having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
  462. gentilic – Derived from a place name that depicts the residents of that place; see demonym
  463. ghat – Stairs or a passage leading down to a river (from the Hindi)
  464. gigue – A synonym for jig
  465. glaucous – 1. Of a pale grayish or bluish green; 2. covered with a bluish waxy or powdery bloom
  466. 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)
  467. gnomic – Marked by aphorisms; aphoristic
  468. godown – Warehouse (esp. in India)
  469. goffer – An iron used for pressing ridges or narrow pleats, or ridges or pleats produced in this manner
  470. gonfalon – A banner hung from a crosspiece, like in the Crusades
  471. gound – The gunk that collects in the corners of the eyes
  472. gowpen – A bowl formed by two hands (Scottish)
  473. 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
  474. gravamen – Material substance of a charge or complaint
  475. greaves – Shin armor/guards
  476. 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
  477. 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)
  478. grisaille – A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray
  479. grizzle – To make or become gray
  480. groat – An English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century
  481. groyne – Variant of groin
  482. gudgen – Pivot; hinge; small fish; one who is easily duped (page 86 of the Brothers Karamazov)
  483. guerdon – A reward; recompense
  484. gurn – To complain, snarl or grimace (also girn; from the Scottish)
  485. gyp – A fraud or swindle, or some who perpetrates same
  486. ha-ha – A wall or other boundary marker that is set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the landscape
  487. haecceity – The property that uniquely identifies an object
  488. hagridden – Tormented or harassed by nightmares or unreasonable fears
  489. halvah – A confection of Turkish origin, made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey
  490. hamartia – A tragic flaw; the flaw in character which leads to the downfall of the protagonist in a tragedy (e.g. Achilles’s heel)
  491. hapax legomenon – A word or form that occurs only once in the recorded corpus of a given language.
  492. hardtack – A hard biscuit or bread made with only flour and water. Also called sea biscuit, sea bread, ship biscuit
  493. haruspicy – Divination by natural means (e.g. lightning)
  494. hawse – The part of a ship where the hawseholes are located; The space between the bows and anchors of an anchored ship.
  495. hecatomb – A large-scale sacrifice or slaughter
  496. heliotrope – Any of various plants that turn toward the sun
  497. helotry – The condition of serfdom
  498. helve – A handle of a tool, such as an axe, chisel, or hammer.
  499. hendecagon – A polygon having eleven sides
  500. heresiarch – One who originates or is the chief proponent of a heresy or heretical movement
  501. hermeneutics – Theory of interpretation (esp. religious texts)
  502. heterachy – A formal structure (e.g. connected nodes) without any single permanent uppermost node
  503. heterophemize – To say something different from what you mean to say (e.g. as a false compliment)
  504. hierophant – An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge
  505. Hijri – The lunar calendar used by Muslims and reckoned from a.d. 622: the calendar year consists of 354 days and contains 12 months.
  506. hippocras – Wine flavored with spices
  507. horripilated – Having goosebumps from either fear or cold or excitement
  508. howdah – A seat for riding on an elephant’s back, esp. one with a canopy
  509. hoyden – Tomboy; a boisterous, high-spirited, saucy girl
  510. huckster – A person who sells small items door-to-door or from a stall
  511. hunker – To squat on one’s heels (a synonym from Bill Burr: Vietnamese gambler squat)
  512. hustings – A place where political campaign speeches are made (chiefly British)
  513. hyaline – Resembling glass, as in translucence or transparency; glassy
  514. hypaethral – Wholly or partly open to the sky
  515. hypertelorism – Abnormal distance between two paired organs, esp. the eyes
  516. iatrogenic – Unintentionally induced by a physician
  517. icteric – Related to jaundice (to be ill with or a treatment)
  518. idiolect – Unique linquistic pattern with a small group; mini-dialect
  519. illeism – Referring to oneself in the third person
  520. imbricate – To overlap in a regular pattern
  521. immanent – Inherent
  522. impecuniousness – The state of being poor; penury
  523. impetigo – A contagious bacterial skin disease characterized by the formation of pustules that develop into yellowish crusty sores
  524. impluvious – Wet with rain
  525. incalescent – Growing hotter or more ardent
  526. incarnadine – Of a fleshy pink color; blood-red
  527. incunabula – An artifact of an early period (artifact of an early period)
  528. indite – To set down in writing; to compose
  529. infundibulum – Any of various funnel-shaped bodily passages, openings, structures, or parts, esp. the stalk of the pituitary gland
  530. infusoria – Various microscopic organisms found in infusions of decaying organic matter
  531. ingenuous – Candid; lacking in guile
  532. inimical – Injurious or harmful in effect; adverse; unfriendly or hostile
  533. inspissate – To thicken, as by evaporation
  534. intarsia – A decorative inlaid pattern in a surface, esp. a mosaic worked in wood
  535. interpellate – To question (a member of the government) on a point of government policy, often interrupting the business of the day
  536. interpellation – An act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; see interpellate
  537. intransitive – An intransitive verb, on the other hand, describes an action that does not happen to something or someone
  538. inveigle – To obtain by cajolery; seduce
  539. inverter – Any device for converting a direct current into an alternating current
  540. invidious – Inciting ill will; troll-y; discriminatory; envious;
  541. invigilator – Monitor or proctor who watches examination candidates to prevent cheating
  542. irenic – Promoting peace; conciliatory.
  543. irredentism – A national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties.
  544. irrefragably – Admittedly; fairly
  545. jasper – An opaque cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown
  546. jejune – Naive, simplistic, or superficial
  547. jequirity – Indian liquorice seeds; used to make black rosary beads
  548. jouissance – Jollity; merriment
  549. kedgeree – 1. A dish of India containing rice, lentils, and spices. 2. a dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, cream, and seasonings
  550. kefir – A creamy drink made of fermented cow’s milk
  551. keloid – An abnormal proliferation of scar tissue, often pink, as on the site of a surgical incision
  552. 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
  553. kermess – A fair or church dedication
  554. kipper – A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked
  555. kirtle – 1. A man’s knee-length tunic or coat; 2. a woman’s dress or skirt
  556. knelling – The process of disassembling something and arranging its parts
  557. kulak – A prosperous landed peasant in czarist Russia, characterized by the Communists during the October Revolution as an exploiter
  558. kukri – A knife with a curved blade that broadens towards the point, esp. as used by Gurkhas
  559. kvass – A Russian fermented beverage similar to beer, made from rye or barley
  560. kwashiorkor – Severe malnutrition of infants and young children, esp. soon after weaning, resulting from dietary deficiency of protein (comes from the Ghanan)
  561. lability – The susceptibility to error or lapses of any kind, as a human failing
  562. laburnum – Any leguminous tree or shrub of the Eurasian genus Laburnum, having clusters of yellow drooping flowers: all parts of the plant are poisonous
  563. laconically – Marked by terseness or concision
  564. lacuna – An empty space or a missing part; a gap
  565. lagniappe – A small gift given with a purchase
  566. lahar – A mass of volcanic fragments, often mixed with water (e.g. rain), moving rapidly down the side of a volcano
  567. lambent – Flickering lightly (e.g. firelight); glowing with soft radiance, luminous
  568. lapidary – Polisher or dealer in precious stones
  569. lapillus – A small, solidified fragment of lava (pl. lapilli)
  570. lapis lazuli – An opaque to translucent blue, violet-blue, or greenish-blue semiprecious gemstone composed mainly of lazurite and calcite.
  571. larrikin – A person given to comical or outlandish behavior; an imp; a hooligan (chiefly Australian)
  572. lascar – An East Indian sailor, army servant, or artillery trooper during the era of European colonialism in Asia
  573. laterality – Preference in using one side of the body over the other.
  574. laterite – A red residual soil formed by the leaching of silica and by the enrichment with aluminum and iron oxides, esp. in humid climates
  575. latibulate – To hide oneself in a corner
  576. leal – Loyal and honest
  577. lenity – The condition or quality of being lenient; leniency
  578. Lepus – A constellation in the Southern Hemisphere near Orion and Columba
  579. letabund – Filled with joy
  580. Levallois – A filet-working technique in which a flint is trimmed so that a flake of predetermined size and shape can be struck from it
  581. 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
  582. lictor – A Roman functionary who carried fasces when attending a magistrate in public appearances
  583. lief – Beloved; ready or willing
  584. 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
  585. liminal – Intermediate between two states, conditions, or regions; transitional or indeterminate
  586. lisle – A fine, smooth, tightly twisted thread spun from long-staple cotton
  587. lithotomy – Surgery to remove one or more stones from an organ or duct
  588. litotes – Understating by negation: no mean feat”
  589. littoral – A coastal region; a shore; the region or zone between the limits of high and low tides.
  590. locus – A locality; a place
  591. longueur – 1. A tedious passage in a work of literature or performing art; 2. a period of time filled with boredom or tedium
  592. lorgnette – A pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses mounted on a handle
  593. louche – Disreputable or sordid
  594. lubricious – Overtly sexual; salacious
  595. ludic – Showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness
  596. lues – Any venereal disease (e.g. Syphilis); pestilence
  597. lumbago – A painful condition of the lower back, as one resulting from muscle strain or a slipped disk
  598. lyceum – A hall in which public lectures, concerts, and similar programs are presented
  599. 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)
  600. macrocarpa – A large coniferous tree of New Zealand, Cupressus macrocarpa, used for shelter belts on farms and for rough timber. Also called: Monterey cypress
  601. maculate(v): To spot, blemish, or pollute; (n): 1. Spotted, blotched, or stained. 2. Morally sullied or impure
  602. madding – Acting madly; frenzied
  603. maenad – 1. A frenzied woman; 2. a female member of the orgiastic cult of Dionysus
  604. majolica – Italian earthenware covered with an opaque glaze of tin oxide and usu. highly decorated
  605. malesuete – Accustomed to poor habits
  606. malversation – Misbehavior and esp. corruption in an office, trust, or commission; corrupt administration
  607. mandala – Any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
  608. mandamus – A writ issued by a court requiring a public official or entity to perform a duty associated with that office or entity
  609. manqué – 1. Unfulfilled; potential; would-be; 2. Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one’s ambitions or capabilities
  610. manumission – To free from slavery or bondage; emancipate
  611. manumit/manumission – To set free; release from slavery
  612. 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)
  613. mascon – Any of several lunar regions of high gravity
  614. matutinal – Of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early
  615. 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
  616. meretricious – Gaudy
  617. merkin – A pubic wig
  618. merlon – The solid portion between crenels
  619. mésalliance – A marriage with a person of inferior social position.
  620. metempsychosis – The theory of reincarnation
  621. metonym – A word used in metonymy
  622. metonymy – A synonym/metaphor; e.g. “brass” for upper officers or “plastic” for credit cards; see kenning
  623. mews – A group of buildings containing private stables that have been converted to residences
  624. mezzanine – A low story between two others in a building
  625. miasma – An unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
  626. micrognathia – Abnormally small jaw
  627. micturition – urination; also, micturate
  628. milt – The sperm-containing fluid of a male fish
  629. mimetic – Of or relating to an imitation; imitative
  630. minatory – Of a menacing or threatening nature; minacious
  631. Mindanao – Second largest of the Philippine islands, NE of Borneo
  632. mirabile dictu – Wonderful to relate; amazing to say
  633. misfeasance – Improper and unlawful execution of an act that in itself is lawful and proper.
  634. moidore – A former Portuguese gold coin
  635. moiety – One half
  636. Moloch – Something possessing the power to exact severe sacrifice; a Semitic deity to whom parents sacrificed their children
  637. mondegreen – Misinterpretation of song lyrics (e.g. Israeli Men” instead of “It’s Raining Men”)”
  638. Monophysite – A person who holds that there is only one nature in the person of Christ, which is primarily divine with human attributes
  639. monopsony – A situation in which the entire market demand for a product or service consists of only one buyer
  640. morbific – Causing disease; pathogenic
  641. morganatic – A marriage between nobility and lower rank, where titles and wealth are not shared
  642. morion – A crested metal helmet; black or blackish-brown smoky quartz
  643. morphetic – Of or relating to sleep or dreams
  644. mountebank – A flamboyant charlatan
  645. mucopus – A mucopurulent discharge; a mixture of mucous material and pus.
  646. mudra – Ritual hand movements in Hindu religious dancing
  647. mulct – 1. To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture; 2. to cheat or defraud
  648. mulga – The outback; bush
  649. mullein – Any of various Eurasian plants of the genus Verbascum of the figwort family, especially V. thapsus, naturalized in North America, having a tall spike of yellow flowers and leaves covered with dense woolly down.
  650. mullet – Freshwater, spiny-finned fish
  651. Munda – A family of languages spoken by scattered peoples throughout central India
  652. murine – A family of rodents that includes mice and rats
  653. murrain – Redwater fever, affecting livestock; a plague, epidemic or crop blight
  654. musquash – Another name for muskrat
  655. 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)
  656. mythopoeic – Serving to create or engender myths; productive in mythmaking
  657. naphthalene – A white crystalline volatile solid with a characteristic penetrating odour: an aromatic hydrocarbon used in mothballs and in the manufacture of dyes, explosives
  658. natant – Floating or swimming in water
  659. navvy – A laborer, esp. one employed in construction or excavation projects
  660. neep – A dialect name for a turnip, chiefly British
  661. nefandous – Too odious to be spoken of
  662. nepenthe – Something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain (mentioned in the Odyssey)
  663. nephrologist – Specialist in conditions related to the kidney
  664. nescience – Ignorance; absence of awareness
  665. 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
  666. netty – A lavatory, originally an earth closet (chiefly British)
  667. neuralgic – Sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves
  668. niello – A black metallic alloy (sulfur and copper, silver or lead
  669. nigrescent – Blackish; dark
  670. noctilucent – Luminous at night
  671. noddlen: The head or brains, chiefly British; v: to nod (the head), as through drowsiness
  672. noisome – 1. Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul; 2. Harmful or dangerous
  673. nonplused – Filled with bewilderment
  674. noosphere – The part of the biosphere that is affected by human thought, culture, and knowledge
  675. nosology – The science of classification of diseases
  676. numeraire – A unit or an item of commerce in which prices are measured
  677. numinous – awe-inspiring, mysterious or spiritual; supernatural
  678. nibble – Four bits; also semi-octet, quadbit, or quartet; Brit: nybble
  679. nystagmus – A persistent, rapid, involuntary side-to-side eye movement
  680. obeah – 1. A form of belief involving sorcery, practiced in parts of the West Indies, South America, the southern U.S., and Africa. 2. A fetish or charm used in practicing obeah.
  681. obganiate – To annoy by repeating over and over and over and over
  682. oblation – Any offering made for religious or charitable purposes (e.g. offering of the bread and wine of the Eucharist to God)
  683. obloquy – 1. calumny; detractive language; 2. ill repute
  684. obovate – Egg-shaped and flat, with the narrow end at the base
  685. obscurantist – Practicing deliberate vagueness
  686. obsidional – Relating to a siege
  687. occiput – Back of the head
  688. ocherous – Ocher in color (or a mineral used to make that color)
  689. octarine – The Color of Magic or the King Color, the eighth color of the Discworld spectrum, visible only to wizards and cats, a greenish purple yellow color.
  690. ofay – A derogatory term for a White person (see cracker, honky, peckerwood)
  691. 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)
  692. ogive – A diagonal rib or groin of a Gothic vault; 2. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative
  693. oligopsony – A market with only very few buyers
  694. omphalic – Of or relating to the navel
  695. omphaloskepsis – Literally, the contemplation of one’s navel, which is an idiom usually meaning complacent self-absorption
  696. oneiric – Dream-like
  697. ontology – The study of the essence of being
  698. opprobrium – Ignominy; cause of shame or disgrace
  699. optative – Indicating or expressing choice, preference, or wish
  700. orgulous – Haughty; proud (archaic)
  701. orison – A prayer, a devout petition to God or an object of worship
  702. orogenesis – The process of mountain formation, esp. by a folding and faulting of the earth’s crust
  703. orotund – Pompous and bombastic; resonant; booming
  704. orthography – The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage
  705. osculation – A kiss (page 332 of Doctor Sleep)
  706. osmically – Of or relating to odors or the sense of smell
  707. osteitis – Inflammation of bone or bony tissue
  708. ostler – Man who looks after horses at an inn
  709. otiose – Lazy; indolent; serving no useful purpose
  710. otoconia – Minute calcareous particles in the gelatinous membrane surmounting the macula in the inner ear; also statoconia, otoliths, or statoliths
  711. oviparous – Producing eggs lain outside of the body
  712. paillasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of palliasse)
  713. palimpsest – A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible.
  714. 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
  715. Palio – Italian Renaissance or Medieval festival
  716. Palladian – Of, relating to, or characterized by wisdom or study
  717. palliasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of paillasse)
  718. palp – Either of a pair of sensory appendages that arise from the mouthparts of crustaceans and insects
  719. panjandrum – A pompous self-important official or person of rank
  720. pap – 1. A teat or nipple (archaic); 2. material lacking real value or substance; 3. soft or semiliquid food, as for infants
  721. papillote – 1. A paper frill around cutlets; 2. cooked in oiled greaseproof paper or foil
  722. 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
  723. paraphilia – Any abnormal sexual behavior; sexual anomaly or deviation
  724. paregoric – An opium derivative used to treat diarrhea
  725. pareidolia – The perception of a recognizable image or meaningful pattern where none exists or is intended, as the perception of a face in the surface features of the moon.
  726. paresis – Slight or partial paralysis
  727. pareve – Prepared without meat, milk, or their derivatives and therefore permissible to be eaten with meat or dairy dishes according to dietary laws
  728. pari passu – At an equal pace; side by side
  729. parlous – full of danger or uncertainty
  730. paromologia – Admitting a weaker point in order to make a stronger one. (See concessio.)
  731. paronomasia – Pun; play on words
  732. parterre – A formally patterned flower garden
  733. parve – Containing neither meat nor milk products and so fit for use with either meat or milk dishes (from Judaism)
  734. passerine – An order of birds characterized by the perching habit: includes the larks, finches, crows, thrushes, starlings, etc.
  735. pastern – The part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and hoof
  736. pauldron – Shoulder protection in a suit of armor
  737. peaky – Wan, emaciated, or sickly
  738. peavey – An implement consisting of a wooden shaft with a metal point and a hinged hook near the end, used to handle logs.
  739. peccant – Sinful; guilty; corrupt
  740. 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”.)
  741. peculation – Embezzlement
  742. pecuniary – Relating to money
  743. pedlars – Persons who travel about the country with merchandise, for the purpose of selling it; salesmen
  744. 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
  745. pelf – Lucre; wealth or riches, esp. when dishonestly acquired
  746. pellucid – Transparent or translucent
  747. penectomy – Penis removal through surgery, generally for medical or personal reasons.
  748. pentimento – A visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas
  749. penurious – Poverty-stricken; stingy; meager
  750. percale – A closely woven cotton fabric used for sheets and clothing
  751. percipient – Perceptive
  752. perdurable – Enduring continuously; immortal
  753. perdure – To last permanently; endure
  754. peremptory – Subject to no further debate or dispute; final and unassailable
  755. perfervid – Extremely or extravagantly eager; impassioned or zealous.
  756. perfidy – Treachery; deliberate breach of faith
  757. periagua – Another name for pirogue; Also piragua; A canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk
  758. peripatetic – Mobile on foot; an itinerant
  759. peristalsis – The wavelike muscular contractions of the digestive tract or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening
  760. perseverate – To repeat a word, gesture, or act insistently or redundantly
  761. persiflage – Banter; small-talk
  762. perspicacious – Acutely perceptive or discerning
  763. perspicuous – Clearly expressed or presented; lucid
  764. pertinacious – Tenacious
  765. 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
  766. petecure – Modest cooking; cooking on a small scale; the opposite of epicure
  767. petitio principii – A form of fallacious reasoning in which the conclusion has been assumed in the premises; begging the question
  768. Petronius – Roman courtier who is credited with writing the Satyricon
  769. pettish – Ill-tempered; peevish (see shirty)
  770. phaeton – A light, four-wheeled open carriage, usually drawn by a pair of horses
  771. phalanstery – A self-sustaining cooperative community of the followers of Fourierism. Also called phalanx, or the buildings in such a community
  772. pharisaic – Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pharisees
  773. philippic – A verbal denunciation characterized by harsh, often insulting language; a tirade
  774. phillumenist – A person who collects matchbox labels
  775. philogynist – A lover or friend of women; one who esteems woman as the higher type of humanity; antonym of misogynist
  776. phimosis – An abnormal constriction of the foreskin that prevents it from being drawn back to uncover the glans penis.
  777. phlebotomy – The act or practice of opening a vein to let or draw blood as a therapeutic or diagnostic measure
  778. phlegmatic – Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional or apathetic
  779. Phoebus – The sun
  780. phthisis – A disease characterized by the wasting away or atrophy of the body or a part of the body (e.g. pulmonary tuberculosis)
  781. 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)
  782. piacular – Making expiation for sacrilege; wicked
  783. pilchard – A small, S European marine fish, Sardina pilchardus, related to the herring but smaller and rounder
  784. pillock – A stupid or annoying person (chiefly British)
  785. pinchbeck – Appearing valuable, but actually cheap and tawdry
  786. pinnace – Any of various kinds of ship’s tender or boat
  787. piquant – Pleasantly sharp taste
  788. pirogue – Any of various kinds of dugout canoes; also called piragua
  789. piscatorial – Of or relating to fish, fishing, or fishermen
  790. plangent – Loud and resounding
  791. 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
  792. 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)
  793. plenteous – Ample; abundant; copious
  794. pleonasm – A newly created word
  795. pleura – A thin serous membrane in mammals that envelops each lung and folds back to make a lining for the chest cavity
  796. pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, characterized by pain that is aggravated by deep breathing or coughing
  797. Plimsoll mark – A load line painted on the side of a cargo ship
  798. plinth – A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed
  799. plover – Any shore bird of the family Charadriidae, typically having a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings
  800. poetaster – A writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry
  801. 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
  802. poleyn – Knee protection in a suit of armor
  803. polygyny – The condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time
  804. polymath – A person of great or varied learning
  805. pomace – The pulpy material remaining after the juice has been pressed from fruit, such as apples or grapes. Also called marc
  806. poniard – 1. A small, slender dagger; 2. a dagger typically having a slender three- or four-sided blade
  807. posset – A drink of hot milk curdled with ale, beer, etc, flavoured with spices, formerly used as a remedy for colds
  808. potash – Potassium carbonate, esp. the crude impure form obtained from wood ashes.
  809. pothouse – A small tavern or pub (chiefly British)
  810. potsherd – A broken pottery fragment, esp. one of archaeological value
  811. prang – 1. An accident or crash in an aircraft, car, etc; 2. to bomb from the air
  812. prefatory – Of, relating to, or constituting a preface
  813. prelapsarian – Of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve
  814. premonitory – Giving premonition; serving to warn beforehand
  815. prepossession – A prejudice or bias, esp. a favorable one
  816. 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
  817. prescind – To separate in thought; abstract.
  818. preterite – A tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
  819. primus inter pares – Literally (in Latin), first among equals
  820. profligate – 1. Shamelessly immoral or debauched; 2. wildly extravagant or wasteful
  821. prolegomenon – A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity
  822. 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
  823. prolix – Tediously prolonged; wordy; longwinded
  824. prone – Lying flat or face downwards; prostrate
  825. propinquitous – Near; close in time, place or kinship (page 12 of Main Street)
  826. propitious – Favorable; auguring well; gracious or favorably inclined
  827. proprioception – Unconscious awareness of body movement, e.g. as the inner ear for balance (page 515 of Reamde)
  828. proscenium – The area of a modern theater that is located between the curtain and the orchestra.
  829. prosector – A person who prepares or dissects anatomical subjects for demonstration
  830. prosopagnosia – An inability to recognize faces
  831. prosopopoeia – Literary device involve an absent person speaking; personification; ascribing agency to an inanimate object or concept
  832. protasis – The dependent clause of a conditional sentence (i.e. the “if” part)
  833. 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”)
  834. psalmody – The act of singing psalms or hymns
  835. psephology – The study of political elections and polling
  836. psithurism – The whispering of leaves moved by the wind
  837. psittacosis – A rickettsial disease affecting birds of the parrot family, pigeons, and domestic fowl, caused by the chlamydia Chlamydia psittaci and transmissible to humans
  838. psychogenic – Having origin in the mind or in a mental condition or process
  839. ptosis – Ptosis is the term used for a drooping upper eyelid
  840. puericratic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  841. pugnacious – Combative in nature
  842. pulchritude – Beauty
  843. pullulate – To breed rapidly or abundantly
  844. punctilio – A fine point of etiquette
  845. purblind – 1. Slow in understanding or discernment; dull 2. Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind
  846. purdah – Muslim practice of screening women from other men or strangers
  847. purlieus – An outlying or neighboring area; outskirts; environs
  848. 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
  849. purulent – Containing, discharging, or causing the production of pus
  850. pusillanimous – Cowardly
  851. putto – A representation of a small child, often naked and having wings, used especially in the art of the European Renaissance. Pl.: putti
  852. pyaemia – Blood poisoning characterized by pus-forming microorganisms in the blood
  853. quadrille – A square dance in 6/8 or 2/4 time of French origin, composed of five sections and performed by four couples.
  854. quag – To shake (said of something that is soft or flabby)
  855. quern – A simple hand mill for grinding grain, typically consisting of two stones
  856. quiddity – 1. Essence of a thing; 2. a quibble
  857. quidnunc – Busybody; Yenta
  858. quiff – 1. A tuft of hair, esp. a forelock; 2. A woman regarded as promiscuous
  859. quintain – A rotating target used in jousting exercises
  860. quire – A set of twenty-four uniform sheets of paper
  861. quirt – A riding whip with a short, stiff handle and a lash made of two or more loose thongs
  862. 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)
  863. quoin – An exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry
  864. quokka – A short-tailed herbivorous marsupial (Setonix brachyurus) found in coastal areas of southwestAustralia
  865. quondam – Former
  866. 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.
  867. racketeering – A person who engages in an illegal business or other organized illegal activities
  868. raddled – Twisted together; interwoven
  869. radome – A domelike shell transparent to radio-frequency radiation, used to house a radar antenna
  870. raillery – Good-natured teasing or ridicule; banter
  871. ramose – Having many branches
  872. ravel – 1. To separate the fibers or threads of; to unravel; 2. To tangle or complicate
  873. rawboned – Having a lean, gaunt frame with prominent bones
  874. Reaumurarchaic: a temperature scale with the freezing point of water at 80º.
  875. rebarbative – Tending to irritate; repellent
  876. rebeck – Medieval instrument; a lute-like violin
  877. recondite – Obscure; abstruse
  878. recreant – 1. A faithless or disloyal person; 2. A coward
  879. recrudescent – To break out anew or come into renewed activity, as after a period of quiescence
  880. recumbentibus – A knockdown blow
  881. redolent – Suggestive
  882. reef – A vein of ore
  883. 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
  884. reliquary – A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics
  885. renascent – Becoming active or vigorous again
  886. repine – To be discontented or low in spirits; complain or fret; to yearn after something
  887. retromingent – One who urinates backwards
  888. retronym – A new word coined for an existing or older thing to distinguish it from something newer or more recent (e.g. analog watch or electric guitar)
  889. retropulsion – An abnormal tendency to walk backwards: a symptom of Parkinson’s disease
  890. revanchism – The act of retaliating, esp. by a nation or group to regain lost territory or standing; revenge
  891. revenant – 1. One that returns after a lengthy absence; 2. One who returns after death
  892. Rhadamanthine – Strictly and uncompromisingly just
  893. rhonchus – A snore or chest rattle
  894. riprap – Piled broken stones used as a foundation or to stabilize an easily eroded bank or slope
  895. risible – 1. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous 2. capable of laughing or inclined to laugh
  896. 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”)
  897. roman à clef – A novel in which actual persons, places, or events are depicted in fictional guise
  898. rosser – A bark-removing machine
  899. rota – A work schedule
  900. roué – A man who recklessly indulges in sensual pleasures; a rake
  901. roundel – A circular architectural or decorative element, such as a painted panel or a stained glass window.
  902. roundelay – A poem or song with a regularly recurring refrain (as much popular music)
  903. rumbustiousness – Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly
  904. 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
  905. rusk – A light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit
  906. sabine – A member of an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 bc.
  907. Sadhu – A person who dedicates themself to the pursuit of enlightenment through a life of isolation, self-deprivation, and feats of physical endurance.
  908. Saiva – One who worships Shiva
  909. 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
  910. salmagundi – A mixture; a potpourri
  911. saltire – A cross in heraldry
  912. saltpeter – Naturally occurring potassium nitrate, used in making fireworks, gunpowder
  913. salubrious – Wholesome
  914. salwar – Loose pajamalike pants, typically having a drawstring waist and legs that narrow at the bottom, usually worn with a kameez
  915. samizdat – Underground newspaper (from the Russian)
  916. samphire – An edible coastal plant (Crithmum maritimum) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia (see glasswort)
  917. samsara – The eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth (in Hinduism or Buddhism)
  918. sanguine – Cheerfully optimistic
  919. sapper – 1. A military engineer who lays, detects, and disarms mines; 2. a soldier who digs trenches
  920. Sapphism – Lesbianism
  921. sastrugi – A long wavelike ridge of snow, formed by the wind and found on the polar plains
  922. satori – A spiritual awakening sought in Zen Buddhism, often coming suddenly
  923. satrap – Governor of a province in ancient Persia
  924. satrapy – The territory or sphere under the rule of a satrap
  925. saturnine – Slow and gloomy; morose
  926. sawyer – A bobbing tree in a body of water
  927. scapular – A monk’s sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and sometimes has a cowl
  928. sciatheric – Belonging to a sundial
  929. sciolist – A pretentious attitude of scholarship; superficial knowledgeability
  930. scoria – Porous cinderlike fragments of dark lava. Also called cinders, slag
  931. scoriatic – Cinder- or slag-like; rocky, craggy
  932. scotophliic – Functioning best in darkness
  933. scourge – A whip or lash
  934. scramasax – A single-edged knife or sword used by the Anglo-Saxons
  935. scringe – To shrug the back or shoulders from cold
  936. scripturient – Having a strong urge to write
  937. scrouge – To inconvenience or discomfort a person by pressing against him or her or by standing too close
  938. searce – To sift (obsolete)
  939. sebum – The semifluid secretion of the sebaceous glands, consisting chiefly of fat, keratin, and cellular material
  940. secondment – Temporary transfer to another position or employment
  941. sedulously – Assiduous; constant in effort; persevering (from A very short history of driving while black)
  942. seigneur – A man of rank, esp. a feudal lord in the ancien régime
  943. seine – A fishing net or the act of using one (page 653 of Reamde)
  944. semiotics – The study of systems of communication
  945. sempiternal – Infinite; enduring forever
  946. sempstress – A rare word for seamstress
  947. seneschal – A steward or major-domo (in charge of servants)
  948. sepulchritude – Tomb-like; also, sepulchral
  949. sequacious – Unthinking and uncritical; slavish
  950. sequela – A secondary consequence or result; condition resulting from a disease
  951. serotype – A group of closely related microorganisms distinguished by a characteristic set of antigens
  952. sesquipedalian – Given to using long words
  953. shako – A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate or badge in front, a short visor, and a plume or pompom
  954. shibboleth – 1. An inappropriate or outdated custom; 2. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another
  955. shirty – Ill-tempered; angry
  956. shockheaded – Having a head of bushy or tousled hair
  957. shotcrete – Concrete conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.
  958. sibilent – Hissing sound
  959. sine qua non – An essential element or condition
  960. skittles – Nine-pin bowling
  961. slunk – A prematurely born calf or other animal
  962. snarge – A collision of an aircraft with a bird (or the remnants thereof)
  963. soca – A style of music, originating in the West Indies, that is a blend of soul and calypso
  964. sockdolager – Something outstanding; a final blow or remark, coup de grace
  965. sodality – Fellowship; fraternity; association; society
  966. sonic – Relating to or containing sodium
  967. soi-disant – Self-styled; so-called
  968. solastalgia – A form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change
  969. solecism – A grammatical error
  970. solon – A legislator
  971. somatically – Corporeal or physical; of, relating to, or affecting the body, esp. as distinguished from a body part, the mind, or the environment
  972. sommian – A volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone
  973. 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.
  974. 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
  975. spall – A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore
  976. sparge – 1. To spray or sprinkle; 2. To run additional water through (a partly or completely drained mash) to extract more fermentable sugars; 3. To introduce air or gas into (a liquid)
  977. spatchcock – To prepare for roasting or grilling by splitting open
  978. spathe – A leaflike bract that encloses or subtends a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit
  979. spatterdashes – Long leather leggings worn in the 18th century, as to protect from mud when riding
  980. spavined – Decrepit or worn out
  981. 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.
  982. spinel – A hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminum oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks
  983. spinet – A small, compact upright piano
  984. spitchcock – An eel split and grilled or fried; see spatchcock
  985. sporran – A leather or fur pouch worn at the front of the kilt in the traditional dress of men of the Scottish Highlands
  986. sprezzatura – Studied nonchalance; graceful conduct or performance without apparent effort
  987. 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
  988. squamous – Covered with or formed of scales; scaly
  989. staggers – Any of various diseases in animals, esp. horses, cattle, or other domestic animals, that are characterized by a lack of coordination in moving
  990. 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.
  991. stenosis – A constriction or narrowing of a duct or passage; a stricture.
  992. stochastic – Of, relating to, or characterized by conjecture; Involving or containing a random variable or process
  993. 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.
  994. stook – A group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field
  995. stot – To jump straight up with straight legs (e.g. antelope)
  996. stoush – A fight or brawl
  997. strabismus – The condition of being cross-eyed
  998. strath – A strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow
  999. Strega – The Italian word for witch
  1000. stridulate – To produce a shrill grating, chirping, or hissing sound by rubbing body parts together, as certain insects do
  1001. stroppy – Bad-tempered and argumentative
  1002. stylobate – The immediate foundation of a row of classical columns
  1003. suasion – Persuasion
  1004. subaltern – A person of inferior rank or position
  1005. succussation – Trotting, shaking
  1006. Suetonius – Roman historian whose major work, Lives of the Caesars, is an account of the lives of the first 12 Roman emperors
  1007. sui generis – Unique
  1008. Sukkot – A harvest festival commemorating the booths in which the Israelites resided during their 40 years in the wilderness
  1009. sumptuary – Laws or limits on private expenses
  1010. supererogation – Doing more than required
  1011. supernacular – First-rate
  1012. supernumerary – 1. One that is in excess of the regular, necessary, or usual number; 2. An actor without a speaking part, as one who appears in a crowd scene.
  1013. supine – Lying on the back or having the face upward
  1014. surfactant – A substance, such as detergent, that is added to a liquid to increase its ability to spread.
  1015. sweetmeat – A sweet delicacy, such as a piece of candy or crystallized fruit
  1016. swingeing – Extreme in effect; drastic
  1017. swot – To cram; derogatory term for a person who crams
  1018. syce – A stableman or groom, esp. in India
  1019. syenite – An igneous rock composed primarily of alkali feldspar together with other minerals, such as hornblende
  1020. syllepsis – See zeugma
  1021. sympatetic – A walking companion
  1022. 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.
  1023. synecdoche – A trope whereby a part is used as a label for the whole (e.g. “hand” for “sailor”); see metonymy
  1024. tabard – A tunic or capelike garment worn by a knight over his armor and emblazoned with his coat of arms
  1025. tabes – A wasting of a bodily organ or part
  1026. tacenda – Things not to be mentioned; matters that are passed over in silence
  1027. tallboy – A high chest of drawers made in two sections and placed one on top of the other; chest-on-chest
  1028. talmudic – Related to the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings constituting the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism
  1029. tamarisk – Any shrub or small tree having small scalelike or needle-shaped leaves and feathery racemes of small white or pinkish flowers
  1030. tangible – Discernible by the touch; palpable
  1031. tapotement – Rapid massage
  1032. 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)
  1033. tegument – A natural outer covering; an integument
  1034. Telemachus – The son of Odysseus and Penelope, who helped his father kill Penelope’s suitors
  1035. teleology – The philosophical interpretation of natural phenomena as exhibiting purpose or design
  1036. telluric – Of or relating to Earth; terrestrial
  1037. telos – End of a goal-oriented process
  1038. temerarious – In an audacious manner
  1039. tempera – A painting medium in which pigment is mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size or egg yolk
  1040. tendentious – Partisan; marked by or favoring a particular point of view
  1041. tenebrous – Dark and gloomy
  1042. tensegrity – An architectural technique that involves tensional integrity or floating compression (see Wikipedia)
  1043. tephra – Solid matter that is ejected into the air by an erupting volcano
  1044. tergiversate – To use evasions or ambiguities; to evade, to equivocate using subterfuge; to deliberately obfuscate.
  1045. Termagant – A scold; a shrew
  1046. thaumaturgic – The working of miracles or magic feats
  1047. theodicy – A vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil
  1048. theodolite – A surveying instrument
  1049. theophany – An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation
  1050. throstle – 1. Any of various thrushes, esp. a song thrush; 2. A machine formerly used for spinning fibers such as cotton or wool
  1051. thurible – A censer used in certain ecclesiastical ceremonies or liturgies
  1052. thylacine – Tasmanian tiger; an extinct or very rare doglike carnivorous marsupial
  1053. tipstaff – 1. A staff tipped with metal, formerly carried as a badge of office, as by a constable; 2. any official who carried such a staff
  1054. titivate – To decorate or spruce up
  1055. tittle – 1. A small diacritic mark, such as an accent, vowel mark, or dot over an i. 2. The tiniest bit; an iota
  1056. tocsin – An alarm sounded on a bell
  1057. tontine – A common fund with increasing annuity for each member’s death and the last living member gets everything
  1058. toothsome – Delicious, luscious, pleasant, attractive, sexually attractive or exciting
  1059. topolect – The language or speech of a particular place (e.g. Züridütsch)
  1060. torpid – Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic
  1061. torrid – 1. Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot; 2. Passionate; ardent
  1062. tosh – Rubbish; nonsense
  1063. tournure – Implement to expand a dress; a bustle
  1064. toxophily – Archery; toxophilite: A student or lover of archery
  1065. tracklement – Savory jelly served with meat
  1066. transducer – Any device, such as a microphone or electric motor, that converts one form of energy into another
  1067. tref – Unfit to be eaten; not kosher (corresponds to haram or not halal in Islam)
  1068. trenchant – Clear-cut; forceful or convincing
  1069. trepidation – A state of alarm or dread; apprehension
  1070. tressure – A narrow inner border on a shield, usually decorated with fleurs-de-lys
  1071. trews – Trousers; chiefly British
  1072. tripe – Something of no value; rubbish
  1073. trope – Metaphor or non-literal figure of speech
  1074. trow – To think or suppose
  1075. truckle – 1. A small wheel/caster; 2. to be servile
  1076. truckling – To be servile or submissive
  1077. trug – A shallow, usually oval gardening basket made with wide strips of wood
  1078. trypophobia – An intense, irrational fear of objects with small holes
  1079. tsuris – Problems or difficulties (Yiddish)
  1080. tumid – 1. Swollen; distended. Used of a body part or organ; 2. Of a bulging shape; protuberant; 3. Overblown; bombastic
  1081. tumulus – An ancient grave mound; a barrow (pl. tumuli)
  1082. turnkey – Supplied, installed, or purchased in a condition ready for immediate use, occupation, or operation
  1083. ukase – An authoritative order or decree; an edict
  1084. unction – Something that serves to soothe; a balm
  1085. unctuous – Excessively ingratiating or insincerely earnest; oily
  1086. undecillion – The cardinal number equal to 1036; British: 1066
  1087. undisonant – Making the sound of waves
  1088. usquebaugh – Whiskey
  1089. usufruct – Right to use the property of others
  1090. uxorious – Love of or submission to one’s wife
  1091. vade mecum – 1. A useful thing that one constantly carries about; 2. A book, such as a guidebook, for ready reference.
  1092. vair – Red-squirrel fur; often used a trimming
  1093. valetudinarian – 1. Chronically ailing; sickly; 2. Constantly and morbidly concerned with one’s health
  1094. vambrace – Forearm armor
  1095. vastation – Quick destruction; from the Italian vastare.
  1096. vatic – Of or characteristic of a prophet; oracular (see veridical)
  1097. vecturist – A collector of tokens used in buses and subways
  1098. veisalgia – A hangover (from the Norwegian for “suffering after debauchery”)
  1099. vellum – A fine parchment made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin and used for the pages and binding of books
  1100. venal – Open to bribery; mercenary
  1101. venery – The indulgence in or pursuit of sexual activity
  1102. venire – The panel of prospective jurors from which a jury is selected
  1103. venule – A small vein, especially one joining capillaries to larger veins.
  1104. 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
  1105. veridical – 1. Truthful; veracious; 2. Coinciding with future events or apparently unknowable present realities (see vatic)
  1106. verisimilitude – Believable; appearing to be true
  1107. vermilion – Brilliant or vivid red (also written vermillion)
  1108. vernacular – 1. The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language 2. Built in the local style of ordinary houses, rather than a grand architectural style
  1109. versipellous – Changeable, protean
  1110. vesicle – A sac or cyst, esp. one containing fluid
  1111. vespertine – Of, relating to, or occurring in the evening (e.g. active or blooming in the evening)
  1112. vetch – Any of several climbing plants of the legume family, bearing pea-like flowers
  1113. vicambulist – One who walks about in the streets
  1114. vicissitude – Alternation between opposite or contrasting things
  1115. 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
  1116. villein – One of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord
  1117. vinous – 1. Of, relating to, or made with wine; 2. Having the color of wine
  1118. violaceous – Of a violet color; reddish blue
  1119. virago – 1. A woman regarded as noisy, scolding, or domineering; 2. A large, strong, courageous woman
  1120. vitiate – Spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of
  1121. volvulus – Abnormal twisting of the intestine causing obstruction
  1122. wale – One of the heavy planks or strakes extending along the sides of a wooden ship
  1123. weeper – A hole or pipe in a wall to allow water to run off
  1124. whelm – To cover with water; submerge
  1125. whin – Any spiny European evergreen shrub having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers (also called gorse or furze)
  1126. whipping boy – Scapegoat; a boy formerly raised with a prince or other young nobleman and whipped for the latter’s misdeeds
  1127. white goods – Large appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines; compare to brown goods, which are TVs, radios, etc.
  1128. widdershins – In a contrary or counterclockwise direction
  1129. withe – Also withy; a tough, supple twig, used to bind
  1130. xenium – A gift given to a guest
  1131. yegg – A thief, especially a burglar or safecracker
  1132. yonic – Related the vagina, esp. religious rel. to Shakti
  1133. zazen – The primary form of meditation in Zen Buddhism, practiced while sitting cross-legged
  1134. zeugma – When a word applies to two others in jarringly different ways (e.g. John and his license expired yesterday.)
  1135. zoetrope – A mechanical device consisting of a rotating drum ringed with narrow apertures through which an animated image is viewed