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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. absquatulate – To depart in a hurry; abscond
  8. abstruse – Difficult to understand; obscure
  9. accidie – Spiritual sloth; apathy; indifference
  10. acidulous – Slightly acrid in taste or manner
  11. 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
  12. acrostic – Poem or text where the first letters of each line form a message
  13. adamant(n): Extremely hard substance
  14. adduce – To cite as an example or means of proof in an argument
  15. adenoidal – Nasal in tone
  16. adiabatic – Occurring without gain or loss of heat
  17. adjunct – Added or connected in a subordinate or auxiliary capacity
  18. adjuvant – A treatment that enhances an existing medical regimen, as a pharmacological agent added to a drug to increase or aid its effect.
  19. adumbrate – To give a sketchy outline
  20. advesperate – To approach evening
  21. aerostat – A lighter-than-air vehicle, like a balloon or dirigible
  22. aerumnous – Full of trouble
  23. aesculapian – Related to the art of medicine
  24. aesthete – A person who is unusually sensitive to beauty in art or nature
  25. aetiology – The philosophy or study of causation
  26. affiant – One who makes an affidavit.
  27. afflatus – A strong creative impulse, especially as a result of divine inspiration.
  28. affray – A riot; a large group fighting
  29. aftosa – Another name for foot-and-mouth disease.
  30. aga – leader (civil or military) in the Ottoman empire
  31. agitprop – subversive writing; see samizdat
  32. agnatology – the study of culturally-induced ignorance
  33. agonistic – Argumentative; striving for effect; strained
  34. aiguillette – An ornamental cord worn on the shoulder of a military uniform
  35. ailurophobia – Extreme or irrational fear of cats.
  36. akinesia – Loss of normal motor function, resulting in impaired muscle movement
  37. akrasia – Weakness of will; acting contrary to one’s moral values
  38. Albion – Britain or England
  39. aleatory – Dependent on chance
  40. alee – On the leeward side
  41. alembic – Distilling apparatus consisting of two vessels and a tube
  42. aliform – Shaped like a wing; alar
  43. amanuensis – An assistant
  44. ambuscade – An ambush
  45. amethyst – Purple or violet quartz
  46. amphisbaena – Mythical Greek ant-eating serpent with a head at each end
  47. anaclitic – Psychologically dependent on others
  48. anacoenosis – An appeal by the speaker to his opponents or to the audience for an opinion of the point
  49. anadem – A wreath or garland for the head.
  50. analysand – A person who is being psychoanalyzed
  51. anamnesis – 1. A recalling to memory; recollection; 2. the case history of a patient
  52. anastomosis – Connection of parts of a branching system to form a network (e.g. blood vessels or rivers)
  53. andirons – A pair of metal supports used for holding up logs in a fireplace
  54. 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”)
  55. anhedonia – Inability to express pleasure
  56. anile – unable to think clearly or infirm because of old age
  57. anisotropic – Having properties that differ based on the direction of measurement (e.g. oval)
  58. anodyne – Uncontentious or inoffensive
  59. anoesis – Absence of thought (anoetic)
  60. anorak – A socially inept person with a hobby considered by most people to be boring
  61. anorectic – Marked by loss of appetite (anorexic)
  62. anserine – Goose-like
  63. anterior – Before or in front of; previously
  64. anthroponymy – The study of the names of human beings (syn: anthroponomastics)
  65. antimacassar – A protective and often decorative covering for the back or arms of a chair or sofa.
  66. antinomian – One who denies the fixed meaning or universal applicability of moral law
  67. antinomy – A contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox
  68. antipodes – Group of rocky island near New Zealand, almost directly opposite Greenwich, England
  69. aperçus – A discerning perception; an insight.
  70. apodictic – Logically certain; demonstrably true or false
  71. apophasis – Allusion to something by denying that it will be mentioned, as in I will not bring up my opponent’s questionable financial dealings
  72. apophatic – Of or relating to the belief that God can only be described by a process of negation
  73. apophenia – The tendency to perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things; confirmation bias
  74. aporetic – A doubt, real or professed, about what to do or say
  75. aporia – An insoluble contradiction or paradox in a text’s meanings.
  76. Aposematic – Having bright, colorful markings that warn predators of poison; a doubt, real or professed, about what to do or say
  77. apostasy – Abandonment of one’s religious faith, party or a cause
  78. apothegm – A maxim
  79. apotheosis – Deification; exaltation to divine rank (nirvana)
  80. apotropaic – Intended to ward off evil
  81. appanage – Provision (usually land) granted (usually to a family member) as a source of revenue
  82. apperception – Conscious perception with full awareness
  83. apposite – Appropriate or relevant
  84. approbation – Official approval
  85. appurtenance – 1. appendage; 2. gear
  86. arbalest – Crossbow-like missile launcher
  87. architrave – The lintel or beam lying across two columns
  88. arcology – A portmanteau of architecture” and “ecology”, a very densely populated habitat (page 231 of Reamde)
  89. arhat – One who has attained enlightenment.
  90. armamentarium – The complete range of materials available or used for a task
  91. armet – A late-medieval light helmet with a neck guard and movable visor
  92. armillary – Of or relating to the arm (e.g. bracelets)
  93. arquebus – A portable, long-barrelled gun, predecessor to the rifle
  94. arrant – Utter; out-and-out
  95. arras – A tapestry, wall hanging or curtain (usually Flemish)
  96. arreptitious – Snatched away; seized or possessed, as a demoniac; raving; mad; crack-brained
  97. artilect – A machine or robot possessing artificial intelligence
  98. asafetida – A plant common to Iran and Afghanistan; produces a brownish, strong-smelling resin
  99. 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
  100. asseveration – A positive and emphatic declaration
  101. assignation – A tryst
  102. astragal – A molding that covers a gap (usually to prevent airflow)
  103. ataraxia – A calm of mind; serenity
  104. ataxic – Loss of the ability to coordinate muscle movement (Lucky Jim)
  105. Ativan – Tranquilizer; trade name for lorazepam
  106. atrabilious – Melancholy; peevish; surly
  107. attenuate – To become slender, fine or small
  108. auscultate – To listen to sounds produced by the body (e.g. heartbeat)
  109. autarky – Quality of being self-sufficient, as in a state or economy
  110. autoclave – A heavy vessel for sterilizing or cooking by means of steam under pressure.
  111. autochthonous – Local; native; indigenous
  112. autolatrous – Self-worshiping
  113. autopoiesis – A closed system capable of creating itself
  114. autotelic – Having a purpose in and justifying itself
  115. avariciously – Greedily, immoderately so
  116. aventurine – A form of quartz; green; translucent with a shimmering or glistening effect
  117. avulsion – The forcible tearing away of a body part; change in landscape due to flooding or riverbed changes
  118. baize – Coarse woolen cloth (used e,g, to cover snooker or billiard tables)
  119. balanitis – Inflammation of the glans penis, usually due to infection
  120. balatron – Jester or buffoon
  121. balboa – The official currency of Panama
  122. baldachin – A canopy of state over an altar or throne
  123. ballista – Medieval field weapon similar to a crossbow (heavy projectiles)
  124. basque – A woman’s close-fitting bodice.
  125. bast – The phloem of a plant (bast fiber)
  126. bastinado – A beating on the soles of the feet
  127. Batavia – A former name for Jakarta
  128. bathetic – Portmanteau of bathos and pathetic (anticlimactic, banal, trite)
  129. batrachian – An amphibian, esp. a frog or a salamander
  130. battement – 1. In dance, a kicking movement done with a lifted leg. 2. A beating; striking; impulse.
  131. baulk – Line from which croquet, snooker, billiard ball is put into play (or the area behind it)
  132. beadle – Church usher
  133. beignet – A square doughnut without a hole; a fritter
  134. beldam – A hag (also written as beldame)
  135. belie – To misrepresent
  136. benedicence – Benevolence in speech
  137. benthic – Of or pertaining to the bottom of a body of water
  138. besom – Twigs tied to a handle to make a broom
  139. 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
  140. bezoar – hard, indigestible mass of food in the stomach or intestines
  141. bibelot – A small decorative object; a trinket
  142. bidonville – A shantytown on the outskirts of a city, especially in France or North Africa.
  143. bight – A loop in a rope; a wide bay characterized by a bend or curve
  144. bilious – Peevish; ill-humored
  145. biretta – Square hat worn by ecclesiastics, with three or four ridges on the brow
  146. bitts – A post on the deck of a ship to which ropes or cables are secured
  147. blackleg – 1. A livestock or plant disease, usually fatal. 2. A cardsharp
  148. blench – To draw back or shy away, as from fear; flinch
  149. bloater – A large mackerel or herring, salted, smoked and dried
  150. bodkin – A long needle or awl; a dagger or stiletto
  151. boffin – A person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field (Brit.; similar to wonk in Amer.)
  152. bolster – A long, narrow pillow or cushion
  153. bombilate – To make a certain noise or sound. To buzz.
  154. boracic – Having no money; Brit. slang
  155. borage – Southern European bristly herb with blue or purplish, star-shaped flowers
  156. bothy – Small hut or cottage (Scot.)
  157. bourg – 1. A market town. 2. A medieval village, especially one situated near a castle.
  158. boustrophedonic – A script that is simultaneously left-to-right and right-to-left
  159. bowdlerize – To expurgate literary material; to censor
  160. boyar – A member of the nobility of Russia, before Peter the Great
  161. 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
  162. bradycardia – Slowness of the heart rate (usually less than 60BPM)
  163. brassica – Genus that includes cabbage, swede, rape and mustard
  164. breechclout – A loincloth
  165. breezeway – An enclosure joining two parts of a building (e.g. a house and its garage)
  166. brigandine – Flexible body armor covered in cloth
  167. bromidrosis – Body odor
  168. bruit – A din or clamor
  169. brume – Fog or mist
  170. burgeon – To begin to grow or blossom (to put forth buds)
  171. burgoo – Any of several thick stews, originally an oatmeal porridge.
  172. burbot – A freshwater food fish (Lota lota) of northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere, closely related to and resembling the cod and having a long barbel on the chin. Also called cusk, eelpout.
  173. buskin – A thick-soled laced half boot worn by actors of Greek and Roman tragedies
  174. buttonholer – Someone who accosts or detains (a person) in conversation
  175. cabochon – A highly polished, convex-cut, unfaceted gem
  176. cadastral – A public register showing details of ownership of the real property in a district, including boundaries and tax assessments
  177. caduceus – A herald’s wand or staff (usually refers to the two serpents logo of Hermes’s staff used by the medical profession)
  178. cafard – A feeling of severe depression (from the French, literally hypocrite, cockroach)
  179. caique – A long narrow rowboat traditionally used on the Bosporus.
  180. caisson – A watertight structure for performing work or repairs under water
  181. caitiff – A despicable coward; a wretch
  182. caleche – A light two- or four-wheeled horse-draw carriage
  183. calenture – A tropical fever thought to be caused by heat; similar to sunstroke
  184. caliche – A mineral deposit of gravel, sand, and nitrates
  185. caliginous – Dark, misty and gloomy
  186. 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.
  187. callipygian – Relating to or having buttocks that are considered beautifully proportioned
  188. callow – Immature
  189. calque – To make a loan translation from (a word in another language)
  190. caltrop – Metal spikes thrown across a road
  191. calvados – A French brandy made from apples.
  192. canaille – The common people; the masses; the hoi polloi
  193. candlewick – A fabric resembling chenille, made with closely-spaced tufts of cotton and used primarily for bedspreads and robes
  194. canebrake – A piece of ground covered with a dense growth of canes
  195. canescent – Turning white or grayish; becoming hoary
  196. cannula – A tube inserted into a body cavity (e.g. a nose tube)
  197. cantrip – A deceptive move; a sham
  198. caoutchouc – Untreated rubber
  199. caparison – Fancy dress or ornamentation for a man or horse (or to make fancy by decorating in this way)
  200. capsid – A virus’s protein coat
  201. captious – Nitpicky; deliberately confusing; underhanded debating tactics
  202. caracole – A half-turn performed by a horse and rider (or to perform same)
  203. caravansary – An inn built around a large court for accommodating caravans (mostly in Asia)
  204. carnelian – A pale to deep red or reddish-brown variety of clear chalcedony, used in jewelry.
  205. casement – A window or part of a window set on a hinge so that it opens like a door
  206. casuistical – Specious reasoning intended to mislead
  207. castrum – An old Roman fortress or encampment
  208. catabolic – The metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often resulting in a release of energy.
  209. catafalque – A funeral bier
  210. catamite – A boy who has a sexual relationship with a man.
  211. cataphract – A defensive armor, often made of link mail, used for the entire body (also covering a horse in cavalry)
  212. catastasis – The part of a drama immediately preceding the climax
  213. catawampus – Skewed, twisted
  214. 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
  215. catechumen – A novice; one who is being instructed at an elementary level
  216. catenary – The curve formed by a cable suspended by its endpoints
  217. caudal – Situated beneath or on the underside; inferior; opposite of anterior
  218. caudillo – A leader or chief, especially a military dictator.
  219. cautery – The act or process or cauterizing (or an agent used to cauterize)
  220. cavil – To quibble
  221. cenotaph – A monument honoring a person buried elsewhere
  222. cernuous – Drooping, as the leaves of a plant
  223. chaff – Trivial or worthless matter; dry bracts of seeds, removed during threshing; metal bits emitted by a plane to foil radar
  224. chalcedony – A translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz
  225. chancel – The space around the altar of a church for the clergy and sometimes the choir, often enclosed by a lattice or railing.
  226. chancellery – The rank, position, office or department of a chancellor
  227. chandler – One that makes or sells candles
  228. chaparral – An area covered by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs
  229. charivari – An elaborate, noisy celebration, often mocking (page 508 of the Idiot)
  230. chary – 1. Very cautious; wary; 2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing
  231. 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
  232. chautauqua – A summer school or educational meeting held in the summer
  233. chiasmus – Reversal of the order of words in the second of two parallel phrases: he came in triumph and in defeat departs.
  234. chiaroscuro – The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation
  235. chiasmus – A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in “Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
  236. chicane – 1. An artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course; 2. To resort to tricks or subterfuges
  237. chilblain – An inflammation followed by itchy irritation on the hands, feet, or ears, resulting from exposure to moist cold
  238. chimerical – Highly improbable or illusory
  239. chine – 1. The backbone or spine, esp. of an animal; 2. a cut of meat containing same
  240. chintz – A printed and glazed cotton fabric, usually of bright colors
  241. Chiron – The wise centaur who tutored Achilles, Hercules, and Asclepius
  242. chiropodist – A podiatrist or foot doctor
  243. 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
  244. choad – a. A penis (esp. one that is wider than it is long); 2. Someone who is obnoxious or annoying
  245. chode – Past tense of chide
  246. cholecystitis – Inflammation of the gallbladder
  247. choropleth – A symbol or marked and bounded area on a map denoting the distribution of some property
  248. chronophagy – Something that wastes (or “eats”) time.
  249. chyme – Semi-fluid mass of partly digested food/bolus in the stomach
  250. chyron – A graphic that is digitally superimposed over the lower portion of a broadcast television image, often scrolling or otherwise animated
  251. cimicine – Smelling like bugs
  252. circumvallate – Encircle as with a rampart
  253. cisalpine – Relating to, living on, or coming from the southern side of the Alps
  254. cislunar – Of or relating to the space between the earth and the moon
  255. clabber – Sour, curdled milk; to curdle
  256. clafoutis – A baked dessert composed of a layer of fresh fruit topped with a thick batter. Chiefly French.
  257. 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
  258. clepsydra – An instrument designed to measure time by the fall or flow of a quantity of water; also called a “water clock”
  259. cloistered – Secluded or shut up from the world
  260. 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
  261. clyster – An enema
  262. 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
  263. coffle – A line of animals or slaves, chained together
  264. coir – The fiber obtained from the husk of a coconut
  265. colliery – A coal mine together with its physical plant and outbuildings
  266. colloidal – A liquid within which very fine particles are evenly distributed so that they stay suspended
  267. colloquy – Written dialogue
  268. coloratura – Vocal music characterized by florid ornamental passages
  269. colporteur – A peddler of devotional literature
  270. colubra – A female snake
  271. colubrine – Serpentine
  272. Columbine – A flower from the buttercup family
  273. commensality – The act or practice of eating at the same table
  274. communard – One who lives in a commune
  275. compendious – Containing or stating briefly all the essentials of something; comprehensive and concise
  276. compossible – Able to exist with another thing; consistent.
  277. comprador – A person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation
  278. 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,
  279. but he can not be legally punished for it.”) See paromologia.”
  280. concomitant – Occurring or existing concurrently
  281. concupiscent – Lascivious
  282. condign – Deserved; adequate
  283. congeries – A collection
  284. conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by redness and often accompanied by a discharge
  285. connubial – Of marriage or wedlock; matrimonial; conjugal.
  286. consilience – A chance happening or coincidence
  287. constult – To act stupidly together
  288. consubstantiality – Participation of the same nature; coexistence in the same substance.
  289. contango – A situation where the futures price of a commodity is higher than the spot price
  290. contemn – To view with contempt; despise
  291. contra mundum – Against the world; in defiance of all general opinion
  292. contretemps – 1. An inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation; 2. an argument or dispute
  293. contumacious – Anti-authoritarian
  294. contumely – Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence
  295. conurbation – A predominantly urban region including adjacent towns and suburbs; a metropolitan area
  296. convolvulus – Any typically twining herbaceous convolvulaceous plant of the genus Convolvulus, having funnel-shaped flowers and triangular leaves
  297. copula – The word or set of words that serves as a link between the subject and predicate of a proposition
  298. coracle – A small, rounded, primitive boat (stretched skin over wooden frame)
  299. corse – A corpse (archaic)
  300. corybantic – To dance in a fashion similar to rites for the Phrygian goddess Cybele, celebrated with music and ecstatic dances
  301. 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
  302. crepuscular – Resembling twilight; dim; active at twilight (from Reamde)
  303. cresset – A metal cup, often suspended on a pole, containing burning oil or pitch and used as a torch
  304. cretonne – A heavy unglazed cotton, linen, or rayon fabric, colorfully printed and used for draperies and slipcovers
  305. crim – Short for criminal
  306. crotchet – An odd, whimsical, perverse or stubborn notion
  307. croupy – Characterized by respiratory difficulty and a hoarse, brassy cough
  308. cuirass – A piece of armor for protecting the breast and back, often consisting of two pieces fastened together
  309. cuirassier – A horse soldier in European armies whose equipment included the cuirass
  310. culverin – 1. An early, crudely made musket; 1. A long heavy cannon used in the 16th and 17th centuries
  311. cumbrously – In a cumbersome manner; difficult to handle because of size or weight
  312. cunctation – Procrastination; delay
  313. cupidity – Excessive desire, esp. for wealth; covetousness or avarice
  314. 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
  315. curlew – Any of several brownish, long-legged shorebirds of the genus Numenius, having long, slender, downward-curving bills
  316. currycomb – A comb with plastic or rubber teeth, used for grooming horses.
  317. 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.
  318. cuspidor – spittoon; a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, esp. from chewing tobacco
  319. cutis – The dermis and epidermis of the skin together
  320. cynosure – Focal point of attention or admiration
  321. dacoit – A member of a robber band or gang in South Asia
  322. dag – Hanging fur matted with mud
  323. damask – 1. A rich patterned fabric of cotton, linen, silk, or wool; 2. the wavy pattern on Damascus steel
  324. davit – A small crane that projects over the side of a ship and is used to hoist boats, anchors, and cargo
  325. deadhead – To remove dead flowers from a bush
  326. debauch – To corrupt morally; to seduce
  327. debility – Being weak or infirm
  328. decoupage – The technique of decorating a surface with cutouts, as of paper, and finishing with layers of lacquer or varnish
  329. decrepicate – To make a crackling sound when roasted (crystals or salts)
  330. defalcation – Misuse of funds; embezzlement
  331. defeasance – The voiding of a contract or deed
  332. deflagrate – To burn or cause to burn with great heat and intense light
  333. deictic – Directly proving by argument
  334. dekko – A look; a glance; view. E.g. Take a dekko at.
  335. delation – The act of conveying; carriage (obsolete)
  336. delator – An accuser; an informer
  337. 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
  338. demesne – An extensive piece of landed property; an estate
  339. demiurge – A powerful creative force or personality
  340. demob – Short for demobilization of armed forces
  341. demonym – Official designation for the inhabitant of a region (see gentilic)
  342. deoppilate – To clear a passage through
  343. descant – 1. An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme; 2. A discussion or discourse on a theme
  344. desideratum – Something considered necessary or highly desirable
  345. desquamate – To shed, peel, or come off in scales. Used of skin
  346. desuetude – A state of disuse or inactivity.
  347. dialetheia – True contradictions (true statements whose opposite is also true)
  348. diaphoresis – Copious perspiration; usu. a condition
  349. diegesis – The world that is depicted in a work of narrative art, especially a film.
  350. diegetic – Existing or occurring within the world of a narrative rather than as something external to that world (i.e. narration or soundtrack music in a film is non-diegetic)
  351. dieresis – Diacritical mark indicating a pronounced vowel
  352. diffident – Lacking or marked by a lack of self-confidence; shy and timid
  353. dilatory – Causing or intended to cause delay
  354. dimity – A sheer, crisp cotton fabric with raised woven stripes or checks, used chiefly for curtains and dresses.
  355. dioptric – Relating to optical refraction; refractive
  356. disembogue – Pour out; be disgorged in quantity
  357. disheveled – Being in loose disarray; unkempt, as hair or clothing
  358. dissimulate – To conceal one’s true feelings or intentions
  359. dissolute – Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices
  360. distaff – Women considered as a group; female
  361. dithyramb – 1. any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing 2. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus
  362. divagate – 1. To wander or drift about; 2. to ramble; digress
  363. doolally – Out of one’s mind; crazy
  364. doss – 1. Sleep; rest; 2. a crude or makeshift bed
  365. dovecote – A compartmental structure, often raised on a pole, for housing domesticated pigeons
  366. dowager – 1. A widow who holds a title or property derived from her deceased husband; 2. an elderly woman of high social station
  367. doxastic – Of or relating to belief
  368. doxology – An expression of praise to God, esp. a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service
  369. draughts – The game of checkers
  370. dropsy – An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity; edema (obsolete)
  371. drupe – A fleshy fruit with a pit (e.g. peach, plum, cherry, etc.)
  372. duckboard – A board or boardwalk laid across wet or muddy ground or flooring
  373. dudgeon – 1. A sullen, angry, or indignant humor; 2. A dagger with a hilt made of this wood.
  374. dupatta – A long wide scarf often worn draped over the head or across the shoulders, chiefly by women in South Asia
  375. duumvirate – 1. A regime or partnership of two persons 2. A coalition of two people holding the same office, as in ancient Rome.
  376. dysarthria – Unclear articulation of otherwise normal speech
  377. dysphoria – An emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, or unease; the opposite of euphoria
  378. easement – 1. The act of anointing as part of a religion; 2. An ointment or oil; a salve
  379. 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”)
  380. ecclesial – Of or relating to a church, especially as an organized institution. Syn.: ecclesiastical
  381. echolalia – The uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person, esp. as associated with mental disorder.
  382. écorché – An anatomical representation of all or part of a human or animal body with the skin removed so as to display the musculature
  383. ecumene – A nuclear area of high culture to which neighboring regions stand in a relation of cultural backwardness or dependence
  384. efflorescence – 1. A gradual process of unfolding or developing; 2. the point or time of greatest vigor; the culmination
  385. egregoric – Of or relating to the occult concept of a group mind, egregore
  386. eidolon – An image of an ideal. An apparition.
  387. eisegesis – Reading meaning into a text that is not there
  388. ekphrastic – In the style of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise.
  389. 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
  390. eleemosynary – 1. Of, concerned with, or dependent on charity; 2. Given as an act of charity
  391. elegiac – Of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past
  392. elozable – Readily influenced by flattery
  393. emanant – Flowing, issuing, or proceeding from something else; becoming apparent by an effect.
  394. embonpoint – The plump or fleshy part of a person’s body, in particular a woman’s bosom.
  395. embouchure – The mouth of a river
  396. emolument – Payment for an office or employment; compensation
  397. empennage – The tail assembly of an aircraft (page 223 of Reamde)
  398. 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
  399. enantiodromia – The principle that a superabundance of a force produces its opposite
  400. enantiomorphic – To be chemically identical crystals that are mirror images of each other
  401. enceinte – Pregnant (from the French)
  402. encomiast – A person who delivers or writes an encomium; a eulogist
  403. encomium – Warm praise
  404. endometriosis – The presence of endometrium elsewhere than in the lining of the uterus; causes premenstrual pain and dysmenorrhea
  405. endonym – The name for themselves, their homeland, or their language of a people or social group
  406. endue – To provide with a quality or trait; endow
  407. enfeoff – To invest (a person) with possession of a freehold estate in land
  408. Ensor – Belgian expressionist painter, noted for his macabre subjects
  409. entelechy – Actuality as opposed to potentiality (from Aristotelian philosophy)
  410. entheogenic – Hallucinogenic, psychedelic, or mind-altering. It applies esp. to drugs or plants employed in mystical, religious, or spiritual ceremonies
  411. entrepôt – A warehouse; a market or trading center (page 648 of Reamde)
  412. enure – To toughen or harden by use or exposure; accustom; habituate (see inure)
  413. enuresis – The involuntary discharge of urine; urinary incontinence
  414. epeirogeny – Uplift or depression of the earth’s crust, affecting large areas of land or ocean bottom
  415. epenthesis – Insertion of a sound in a word
  416. epergne – An ornamental stand or dish for holding fruit, flowers, etc., used as a centerpiece
  417. epicortical – On top of the bark (botanical)
  418. epicurean – Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, esp. to the enjoyment of good food and comfort
  419. epideictic – Designed primarily for rhetorical display
  420. epigenetic – Denoting processes by which heritable modifications in gene function occur without a change in the sequence of the DNA
  421. epigone – A second-rate imitator or follower, esp. of an artist or a philosopher
  422. epigram – A concise, clever, often paradoxical statement (can be a poem); see Yogi Berra or Groucho Marx
  423. 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
  424. epiphenomena – 1. A secondary or additional phenomenon; by-product; 2. An unexpected or atypical symptom or occurrence during the course of a disease
  425. epistemology – Study of the nature of knowledge
  426. epistle – A literary composition in the form of a letter
  427. epistolary – Of or associated with letters or the writing of letters
  428. epitatic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  429. 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
  430. epizeuxis – The repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis
  431. equanimity – The quality of being calm and even-tempered; composure
  432. equerry – A personal attendant to the British royal household, generally responsible for the horses
  433. ergodic – Of or relating to the probability that any state will recur
  434. 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
  435. 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
  436. eschatology – The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind
  437. escutcheon – Shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms
  438. estaminet – A small café.
  439. estivation – Dormancy or torpor during the summer
  440. esurient – Hungry
  441. etiolate – 1. To cause to appear pale and sickly; 2. to make weak by stunting the growth or development of
  442. eudaemonic – Producing happiness and well-being
  443. euphonium – A brass instrument similar to the tuba but having a somewhat higher pitch and a mellower sound
  444. euphonious – Pleasing or agreeable to the ear.
  445. evanescent – Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor, ephemeral or transitory, passing out of sight; fading away; vanishing
  446. evection – Irregularity in the moon’s motion caused by perturbations of the sun and planets
  447. excrescent – Abnormal or excessive growth
  448. exegesis – Critical explanation or analysis
  449. exegete – A person skilled in exegesis
  450. exercitant – One who practices religious exercises
  451. exigent – Requiring immediate aid or action
  452. exiguous – Meager or extremely scanty
  453. exonym – A name by which one people or social group refers to another and by which the group so named does not refer to itself.
  454. exophthalmic – Characterized by the prominence of the eyeballs
  455. exordium – A beginning or introductory part, esp. of a speech or treatise
  456. extrorse – Botanical term for facing outward or turned away from the axis
  457. factotum – An assistant who takes on a wide range of tasks and responsibilities.
  458. fain – Happily; gladly (archaic)
  459. falchion – A short and slightly curved medieval sword broader towards the point
  460. fantail – Overhanging stern of a boat (esp. a warship)
  461. fard – To paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes
  462. farrago – An assortment or a medley; a hodgepodge
  463. faute-de-mieux – For lack of something better
  464. fecundate – Fertilize; make fruitful
  465. felid – Sly, stealthy, or treacherous; belonging or pertaining to the cat family (related to canid for dogs)
  466. fiacre – A small four-wheeled carriage
  467. 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)
  468. finial – 1. An ornamental terminating part, as on a post or piece of furniture; 2. an ornament on top of a spire, gable
  469. firedamp – Methane
  470. firth – A long, narrow inlet
  471. fissiparous – Having a tendency to divide into groups or factions
  472. flews – The fleshy hanging upper lip of a bloodhound or similar dog
  473. flinder – 1. A butterfly. 2. To scamper about flutteringly 3. To break (something) into flinders (pieces)
  474. flocculent – Having a fluffy or woolly appearance; fleecy
  475. flyblown – 1. Tainted; corrupt; 2. dirty or rundown; squalid
  476. flyover – An overpass, as on a highway (chieflly British)
  477. fomes – Any inanimate or nonpathogenic substance or material, exclusive of food, which may act as a vector for a pathogen.
  478. fomites – Plural of fomes
  479. foolscap – A sheet of writing or printing paper measuring about 13 by 16 inches
  480. foxed – Marked with spots or discoloration, as from age
  481. fritinancy – A chirping or creaking, as of a cricket.
  482. frowsy – 1. Unkempt; slovenly; 2. ill-smelling; musty
  483. fubsy – Fat and squat
  484. fucus – A seaweed common to intertidal regions and typically having greenish-brown slimy fronds. See also wrack
  485. fulsome – Excessively flattering; obsequious
  486. fulsome – 1. Excessively flattering or insincerely earnest; sycophantic; 2. disgusting or offensive
  487. fungible – Interchangeable
  488. 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
  489. furbelow – 1. A ruffle or flounce on a garment; 2. piece of showy ornamentation
  490. furze – Gorse; spiny evergreen shrubs
  491. rustic – The wood of a large, tropical American tree, Chlorophora tinctoria, of the mulberry family, yielding a light yellow dye.
  492. gaff – Barbed spear; stick with a hook on it
  493. gaffer – An electrician in charge of lighting on a movie or television set
  494. 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
  495. Galicia – A region of east-central Europe on the north side of the Carpathians, now in SE Poland and Ukraine
  496. gallimaufry – A jumble; a hodgepodge
  497. gamelan – An Indonesian orchestra composed mainly of tuned percussion instruments such as bamboo xylophones, wooden or metal chimes, and gongs
  498. gastrocnemius – The largest, most prominent muscle of the calf of the leg, the action of which extends the foot and bends the knee
  499. 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)
  500. gavage – Introduction of nutritive material into the stomach by means of a tube.
  501. Gehenna – 1. A place or state of torment or suffering. 2. The abode of condemned souls; hell
  502. gentian – Any gentianaceous plant having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
  503. gentilic – Derived from a place name that depicts the residents of that place; see demonym
  504. ghat – Stairs or a passage leading down to a river (from the Hindi)
  505. gigue – A synonym for jig
  506. glaucous – 1. Of a pale grayish or bluish green; 2. covered with a bluish waxy or powdery bloom
  507. 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)
  508. glymphatic – A functional waste clearance pathway for the vertebrate central nervous system.
  509. gnomic – Marked by aphorisms; aphoristic
  510. godown – Warehouse (esp. in India)
  511. goffer – An iron used for pressing ridges or narrow pleats, or ridges or pleats produced in this manner
  512. gonfalon – A banner hung from a crosspiece, like in the Crusades
  513. gound – The gunk that collects in the corners of the eyes
  514. gowpen – A bowl formed by two hands (Scottish)
  515. 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
  516. gravamen – Material substance of a charge or complaint
  517. greaves – Shin armor/guards
  518. 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
  519. 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)
  520. grisaille – A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray
  521. grizzle – To make or become gray
  522. groat – An English silver coin worth four pennies, taken out of circulation in the 17th century
  523. groyne – Variant of groin
  524. gudgen – Pivot; hinge; small fish; one who is easily duped (page 86 of the Brothers Karamazov)
  525. guerdon – A reward; recompense
  526. gurn – To complain, snarl or grimace (also girn; from the Scottish)
  527. gyp – A fraud or swindle, or some who perpetrates same
  528. ha-ha – A wall or other boundary marker that is set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the landscape
  529. haecceity – The property that uniquely identifies an object
  530. hagridden – Tormented or harassed by nightmares or unreasonable fears
  531. halvah – A confection of Turkish origin, made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey
  532. hamartia – A tragic flaw; the flaw in character which leads to the downfall of the protagonist in a tragedy (e.g. Achilles’s heel)
  533. hapax legomenon – A word or form that occurs only once in the recorded corpus of a given language.
  534. hardtack – A hard biscuit or bread made with only flour and water. Also called sea biscuit, sea bread, ship biscuit
  535. haruspicy – Divination by natural means (e.g. lightning)
  536. haustorium – A specialized structure of a parasitic fungus or plant, used to absorb nutrients and water from the host plant.
  537. hawse – The part of a ship where the hawseholes are located; The space between the bows and anchors of an anchored ship.
  538. hebephrenic – A type of schizophrenia characterized by disorganized speech and behavior, flat or inappropriate affect, and sometimes silly or inappropriate mannerisms.
  539. hecatomb – A large-scale sacrifice or slaughter
  540. heliotrope – Any of various plants that turn toward the sun
  541. helotry – The condition of serfdom
  542. helve – A handle of a tool, such as an axe, chisel, or hammer.
  543. hendecagon – A polygon having eleven sides
  544. heresiarch – One who originates or is the chief proponent of a heresy or heretical movement
  545. hermeneutics – Theory of interpretation (esp. religious texts)
  546. heterachy – A formal structure (e.g. connected nodes) without any single permanent uppermost node
  547. heterophemize – To say something different from what you mean to say (e.g. as a false compliment)
  548. hierophant – An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge
  549. Hijri – The lunar calendar used by Muslims and reckoned from a.d. 622: the calendar year consists of 354 days and contains 12 months.
  550. hippocras – Wine flavored with spices
  551. homoeomery – The state or quality of being homogeneous in elements or first principles; likeness or identity of parts. (also Homoeomery)
  552. horripilated – Having goosebumps from either fear or cold or excitement
  553. howdah – A seat for riding on an elephant’s back, esp. one with a canopy
  554. hoyden – Tomboy; a boisterous, high-spirited, saucy girl
  555. huckster – A person who sells small items door-to-door or from a stall
  556. hunker – To squat on one’s heels (a synonym from Bill Burr: Vietnamese gambler squat)
  557. hustings – A place where political campaign speeches are made (chiefly British)
  558. hyaline – Resembling glass, as in translucence or transparency; glassy
  559. hypaethral – Wholly or partly open to the sky
  560. hypertelorism – Abnormal distance between two paired organs, esp. the eyes
  561. iatrogenic – Unintentionally induced by a physician
  562. icteric – Related to jaundice (to be ill with or a treatment)
  563. idiolect – Unique linquistic pattern with a small group; mini-dialect
  564. illeism – Referring to oneself in the third person
  565. imbricate – To overlap in a regular pattern
  566. immanent – Inherent
  567. impecuniousness – The state of being poor; penury
  568. impecunity – The state of being poor; penury
  569. impetigo – A contagious bacterial skin disease characterized by the formation of pustules that develop into yellowish crusty sores
  570. impluvious – Wet with rain
  571. incalescent – Growing hotter or more ardent
  572. incarnadine – Of a fleshy pink color; blood-red
  573. incunabula – An artifact of an early period (artifact of an early period)
  574. indite – To set down in writing; to compose
  575. infundibulum – Any of various funnel-shaped bodily passages, openings, structures, or parts, esp. the stalk of the pituitary gland
  576. infusoria – Various microscopic organisms found in infusions of decaying organic matter
  577. ingenuous – Candid; lacking in guile
  578. inimical – Injurious or harmful in effect; adverse; unfriendly or hostile
  579. inspissate – To thicken, as by evaporation
  580. intarsia – A decorative inlaid pattern in a surface, esp. a mosaic worked in wood
  581. indendant – An administrative official (such as a governor); director or manager in German
  582. interpellate – To question (a member of the government) on a point of government policy, often interrupting the business of the day
  583. interpellation – An act of delaying or interrupting the continuity; see interpellate
  584. intransitive – An intransitive verb, on the other hand, describes an action that does not happen to something or someone
  585. inveigle – To obtain by cajolery; seduce
  586. inverter – Any device for converting a direct current into an alternating current
  587. invidious – Inciting ill will; troll-y; discriminatory; envious;
  588. invigilator – Monitor or proctor who watches examination candidates to prevent cheating
  589. irenic – Promoting peace; conciliatory.
  590. irredentism – A national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country by reason of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties.
  591. irrefragably – Admittedly; fairly
  592. jasper – An opaque cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown
  593. jejune – Naive, simplistic, or superficial
  594. jequirity – Indian liquorice seeds; used to make black rosary beads
  595. jouissance – Jollity; merriment
  596. katabatic – Of or relating to the downward flow of cold dense air
  597. keck – To retch or feel nausea; to feel or express disgust
  598. kedgeree – 1. A dish of India containing rice, lentils, and spices. 2. a dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, cream, and seasonings
  599. kefir – A creamy drink made of fermented cow’s milk
  600. keloid – An abnormal proliferation of scar tissue, often pink, as on the site of a surgical incision
  601. 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
  602. kermess – A fair or church dedication
  603. kipper – A herring or salmon that has been split, salted, and smoked
  604. kirtle – 1. A man’s knee-length tunic or coat; 2. a woman’s dress or skirt
  605. knelling – The process of disassembling something and arranging its parts
  606. kulak – A prosperous landed peasant in czarist Russia, characterized by the Communists during the October Revolution as an exploiter
  607. kukri – A knife with a curved blade that broadens towards the point, esp. as used by Gurkhas
  608. kvass – A Russian fermented beverage similar to beer, made from rye or barley
  609. kwashiorkor – Severe malnutrition of infants and young children, esp. soon after weaning, resulting from dietary deficiency of protein (comes from the Ghanan)
  610. kyriarchy – A social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission (used in feminist theory)
  611. lability – The susceptibility to error or lapses of any kind, as a human failing
  612. laburnum – Any leguminous tree or shrub of the Eurasian genus Laburnum, having clusters of yellow drooping flowers: all parts of the plant are poisonous
  613. laconically – Marked by terseness or concision
  614. lacuna – An empty space or a missing part; a gap
  615. lagniappe – A small gift given with a purchase
  616. lahar – A mass of volcanic fragments, often mixed with water (e.g. rain), moving rapidly down the side of a volcano
  617. lambent – Flickering lightly (e.g. firelight); glowing with soft radiance, luminous
  618. lapidary – Polisher or dealer in precious stones
  619. lapillus – A small, solidified fragment of lava (pl. lapilli)
  620. lapis lazuli – An opaque to translucent blue, violet-blue, or greenish-blue semiprecious gemstone composed mainly of lazurite and calcite.
  621. larrikin – A person given to comical or outlandish behavior; an imp; a hooligan (chiefly Australian)
  622. lascar – An East Indian sailor, army servant, or artillery trooper during the era of European colonialism in Asia
  623. laterality – Preference in using one side of the body over the other.
  624. laterite – A red residual soil formed by the leaching of silica and by the enrichment with aluminum and iron oxides, esp. in humid climates
  625. latibulate – To hide oneself in a corner
  626. leal – Loyal and honest
  627. lenity – The condition or quality of being lenient; leniency
  628. Lepus – A constellation in the Southern Hemisphere near Orion and Columba
  629. letabund – Filled with joy
  630. 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
  631. 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
  632. lictor – A Roman functionary who carried fasces when attending a magistrate in public appearances
  633. lief – Beloved; ready or willing
  634. 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
  635. liminal – Intermediate between two states, conditions, or regions; transitional or indeterminate
  636. lisle – A fine, smooth, tightly twisted thread spun from long-staple cotton
  637. lithotomy – Surgery to remove one or more stones from an organ or duct
  638. litotes – Understating by negation: no mean feat”
  639. littoral – A coastal region; a shore; the region or zone between the limits of high and low tides.
  640. locus – A locality; a place
  641. longueur – 1. A tedious passage in a work of literature or performing art; 2. a period of time filled with boredom or tedium
  642. lorgnette – A pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses mounted on a handle
  643. louche – Disreputable or sordid
  644. lubricious – Overtly sexual; salacious
  645. ludic – Showing spontaneous and undirected playfulness
  646. lues – Any venereal disease (e.g. Syphilis); pestilence
  647. lumbago – A painful condition of the lower back, as one resulting from muscle strain or a slipped disk
  648. lupanarian – Pertaining to a brothel or prostitution; characteristic of illicit sexual desire or activity. (Also, lupinarian)
  649. lyceum – A hall in which public lectures, concerts, and similar programs are presented
  650. 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)
  651. macrocarpa – A large coniferous tree of New Zealand, Cupressus macrocarpa, used for shelter belts on farms and for rough timber. Also called: Monterey cypress
  652. maculate(v): To spot, blemish, or pollute; (n): 1. Spotted, blotched, or stained. 2. Morally sullied or impure
  653. madding – Acting madly; frenzied
  654. maenad – 1. A frenzied woman; 2. a female member of the orgiastic cult of Dionysus
  655. majolica – Italian earthenware covered with an opaque glaze of tin oxide and usu. highly decorated
  656. malesuete – Accustomed to poor habits
  657. malversation – Misbehavior and esp. corruption in an office, trust, or commission; corrupt administration
  658. mandala – Any of various designs symbolizing the universe, usually circular
  659. mandamus – A writ issued by a court requiring a public official or entity to perform a duty associated with that office or entity
  660. manqué – 1. Unfulfilled; potential; would-be; 2. Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one’s ambitions or capabilities
  661. manumission – To free from slavery or bondage; emancipate
  662. manumit/manumission – To set free; release from slavery
  663. 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)
  664. mascon – Any of several lunar regions of high gravity
  665. matutinal – Of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early
  666. 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
  667. meretricious – Gaudy
  668. merkin – A pubic wig
  669. merlon – The solid portion between crenels
  670. mésalliance – A marriage with a person of inferior social position.
  671. metempsychosis – The theory of reincarnation
  672. metonym – A word used in metonymy
  673. metonymy – A synonym/metaphor; e.g. “brass” for upper officers or “plastic” for credit cards; see kenning
  674. mews – A group of buildings containing private stables that have been converted to residences
  675. mezzanine – A low story between two others in a building
  676. miasma – An unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
  677. micrognathia – Abnormally small jaw
  678. micturition – urination; also, micturate
  679. milt – The sperm-containing fluid of a male fish
  680. mimetic – Of or relating to an imitation; imitative
  681. minatory – Of a menacing or threatening nature; minacious
  682. Mindanao – Second largest of the Philippine islands, NE of Borneo
  683. mirabile dictu – Wonderful to relate; amazing to say
  684. misfeasance – Improper and unlawful execution of an act that in itself is lawful and proper.
  685. moidore – A former Portuguese gold coin
  686. moiety – One half
  687. Moloch – Something possessing the power to exact severe sacrifice; a Semitic deity to whom parents sacrificed their children
  688. mondegreen – Misinterpretation of song lyrics (e.g. Israeli Men” instead of “It’s Raining Men”)”
  689. Monophysite – A person who holds that there is only one nature in the person of Christ, which is primarily divine with human attributes
  690. monopsony – A situation in which the entire market demand for a product or service consists of only one buyer
  691. morbific – Causing disease; pathogenic
  692. morganatic – A marriage between nobility and lower rank, where titles and wealth are not shared
  693. morion – A crested metal helmet; black or blackish-brown smoky quartz
  694. morphetic – Of or relating to sleep or dreams
  695. mountebank – A flamboyant charlatan
  696. mucopus – A mucopurulent discharge; a mixture of mucous material and pus.
  697. mudra – Ritual hand movements in Hindu religious dancing
  698. mulct – 1. To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture; 2. to cheat or defraud
  699. mulga – The outback; bush
  700. 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.
  701. mullet – Freshwater, spiny-finned fish
  702. Munda – A family of languages spoken by scattered peoples throughout central India
  703. murine – A family of rodents that includes mice and rats
  704. murrain – Redwater fever, affecting livestock; a plague, epidemic or crop blight
  705. musquash – Another name for muskrat
  706. 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)
  707. myrmidon – Soldier or a subordinate civil officer who executes orders of a superior without protest or pity; – sometimes applied to bailiffs, constables, etc.
  708. mythopoeic – Serving to create or engender myths; productive in mythmaking
  709. naphthalene – A white crystalline volatile solid with a characteristic penetrating odour: an aromatic hydrocarbon used in mothballs and in the manufacture of dyes, explosives
  710. natant – Floating or swimming in water
  711. navvy – A laborer, esp. one employed in construction or excavation projects
  712. neep – A dialect name for a turnip, chiefly British
  713. nefandous – Too odious to be spoken of
  714. nepenthe – Something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain (mentioned in the Odyssey)
  715. nephrologist – Specialist in conditions related to the kidney
  716. nescience – Ignorance; absence of awareness
  717. 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
  718. netty – A lavatory, originally an earth closet (chiefly British)
  719. neuralgic – Sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves
  720. niello – A black metallic alloy (sulfur and copper, silver or lead
  721. nigrescent – Blackish; dark
  722. noctilucent – Luminous at night
  723. noddlen: The head or brains, chiefly British; v: to nod (the head), as through drowsiness
  724. noisome – 1. Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul; 2. Harmful or dangerous
  725. nonplused – Filled with bewilderment
  726. noosphere – The part of the biosphere that is affected by human thought, culture, and knowledge
  727. nosology – The science of classification of diseases
  728. numeraire – A unit or an item of commerce in which prices are measured
  729. numinous – awe-inspiring, mysterious or spiritual; supernatural
  730. nibble – Four bits; also semi-octet, quadbit, or quartet; Brit: nybble
  731. nystagmus – A persistent, rapid, involuntary side-to-side eye movement
  732. 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.
  733. obganiate – To annoy by repeating over and over and over and over
  734. oblation – Any offering made for religious or charitable purposes (e.g. offering of the bread and wine of the Eucharist to God)
  735. obloquy – 1. calumny; detractive language; 2. ill repute
  736. obovate – Egg-shaped and flat, with the narrow end at the base
  737. obscurantist – Practicing deliberate vagueness
  738. obsidional – Relating to a siege
  739. occiput – Back of the head
  740. ocherous – Ocher in color (or a mineral used to make that color)
  741. 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.
  742. ofay – A derogatory term for a White person (see cracker, honky, peckerwood)
  743. 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)
  744. ogive – A diagonal rib or groin of a Gothic vault; 2. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative
  745. oligopsony – A market with only very few buyers
  746. omphalic – Of or relating to the navel
  747. omphaloskepsis – Literally, the contemplation of one’s navel, which is an idiom usually meaning complacent self-absorption
  748. oneiric – Dream-like
  749. onomastics – The study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names
  750. ontology – The study of the essence of being
  751. opprobrium – Ignominy; cause of shame or disgrace
  752. optative – Indicating or expressing choice, preference, or wish
  753. orgulous – Haughty; proud (archaic)
  754. orison – A prayer, a devout petition to God or an object of worship
  755. orogenesis – The process of mountain formation, esp. by a folding and faulting of the earth’s crust
  756. orotund – Pompous and bombastic; resonant; booming
  757. orthography – The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage
  758. osculation – A kiss (page 332 of Doctor Sleep)
  759. osmically – Of or relating to odors or the sense of smell
  760. osteitis – Inflammation of bone or bony tissue
  761. ostler – Man who looks after horses at an inn
  762. otiose – Lazy; indolent; serving no useful purpose
  763. otoconia – Minute calcareous particles in the gelatinous membrane surmounting the macula in the inner ear; also statoconia, otoliths, or statoliths
  764. oviparous – Producing eggs lain outside of the body
  765. paillasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of palliasse)
  766. 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.
  767. 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
  768. Palio – Italian Renaissance or Medieval festival
  769. Palladian – Of, relating to, or characterized by wisdom or study
  770. palliasse – A straw-filled mat or mattress (var. of paillasse)
  771. palp – Either of a pair of sensory appendages that arise from the mouthparts of crustaceans and insects
  772. panjandrum – A pompous self-important official or person of rank
  773. pap – 1. A teat or nipple (archaic); 2. material lacking real value or substance; 3. soft or semiliquid food, as for infants
  774. papillote – 1. A paper frill around cutlets; 2. cooked in oiled greaseproof paper or foil
  775. 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
  776. paraphilia – Any abnormal sexual behavior; sexual anomaly or deviation
  777. paregoric – An opium derivative used to treat diarrhea
  778. 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.
  779. paresis – Slight or partial paralysis
  780. pareve – Prepared without meat, milk, or their derivatives and therefore permissible to be eaten with meat or dairy dishes according to dietary laws
  781. pari passu – At an equal pace; side by side
  782. parlous – full of danger or uncertainty
  783. paromologia – Admitting a weaker point in order to make a stronger one. (See concessio.)
  784. paronomasia – Pun; play on words
  785. parterre – A formally patterned flower garden
  786. parve – Containing neither meat nor milk products and so fit for use with either meat or milk dishes (from Judaism)
  787. passerine – An order of birds characterized by the perching habit: includes the larks, finches, crows, thrushes, starlings, etc.
  788. pastern – The part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and hoof
  789. pauldron – Shoulder protection in a suit of armor
  790. peaky – Wan, emaciated, or sickly
  791. peavey – An implement consisting of a wooden shaft with a metal point and a hinged hook near the end, used to handle logs.
  792. peccant – Sinful; guilty; corrupt
  793. 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”.)
  794. peculation – Embezzlement
  795. pecuniary – Relating to money
  796. pedlars – Persons who travel about the country with merchandise, for the purpose of selling it; salesmen
  797. 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
  798. pelf – Lucre; wealth or riches, esp. when dishonestly acquired
  799. pellicle – A thin skin or membrane; film; scum
  800. pellucid – Transparent or translucent
  801. penectomy – Penis removal through surgery, generally for medical or personal reasons.
  802. pentimento – A visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas
  803. penurious – Poverty-stricken; stingy; meager
  804. percale – A closely woven cotton fabric used for sheets and clothing
  805. percipient – Perceptive
  806. perdurable – Enduring continuously; immortal
  807. perdure – To last permanently; endure
  808. peremptory – Subject to no further debate or dispute; final and unassailable
  809. perfervid – Extremely or extravagantly eager; impassioned or zealous.
  810. perfidy – Treachery; deliberate breach of faith
  811. periagua – Another name for pirogue; Also piragua; A canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk
  812. peripatetic – Mobile on foot; an itinerant
  813. peristalsis – The wavelike muscular contractions of the digestive tract or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening
  814. perseverate – To repeat a word, gesture, or act insistently or redundantly
  815. persiflage – Banter; small-talk
  816. perspicacious – Acutely perceptive or discerning
  817. perspicuous – Clearly expressed or presented; lucid
  818. pertinacious – Tenacious
  819. 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
  820. petecure – Modest cooking; cooking on a small scale; the opposite of epicure
  821. petitio principii – A form of fallacious reasoning in which the conclusion has been assumed in the premises; begging the question
  822. Petronius – Roman courtier who is credited with writing the Satyricon
  823. pettifogging – 1. Dishonest or unethical in insignificant matters; meanly petty; mean; quibbling; 2. to engage in legal chicanery
  824. pettish – Ill-tempered; peevish (see shirty)
  825. phaeton – A light, four-wheeled open carriage, usually drawn by a pair of horses
  826. phalanstery – A self-sustaining cooperative community of the followers of Fourierism. Also called phalanx, or the buildings in such a community
  827. pharisaic – Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Pharisees
  828. philippic – A verbal denunciation characterized by harsh, often insulting language; a tirade
  829. phillumenist – A person who collects matchbox labels
  830. philogynist – A lover or friend of women; one who esteems woman as the higher type of humanity; antonym of misogynist
  831. phimosis – An abnormal constriction of the foreskin that prevents it from being drawn back to uncover the glans penis.
  832. phlebotomy – The act or practice of opening a vein to let or draw blood as a therapeutic or diagnostic measure
  833. phlegmatic – Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional or apathetic
  834. Phoebus – The sun
  835. phthisis – A disease characterized by the wasting away or atrophy of the body or a part of the body (e.g. pulmonary tuberculosis)
  836. 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)
  837. piacular – Making expiation for sacrilege; wicked
  838. pilchard – A small, S European marine fish, Sardina pilchardus, related to the herring but smaller and rounder
  839. pillock – A stupid or annoying person (chiefly British)
  840. pinchbeck – Appearing valuable, but actually cheap and tawdry
  841. pinnace – Any of various kinds of ship’s tender or boat
  842. piquant – Pleasantly sharp taste
  843. pirogue – Any of various kinds of dugout canoes; also called piragua
  844. piscatorial – Of or relating to fish, fishing, or fishermen
  845. plangent – Loud and resounding
  846. 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
  847. 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)
  848. plenteous – Ample; abundant; copious
  849. pleonasm – A newly created word
  850. pleura – A thin serous membrane in mammals that envelops each lung and folds back to make a lining for the chest cavity
  851. pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, characterized by pain that is aggravated by deep breathing or coughing
  852. Plimsoll mark – A load line painted on the side of a cargo ship
  853. plinth – A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed
  854. plover – Any shore bird of the family Charadriidae, typically having a round head, straight bill, and large pointed wings
  855. poetaster – A writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry
  856. 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
  857. poleyn – Knee protection in a suit of armor
  858. polygyny – The condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time
  859. polymath – A person of great or varied learning
  860. pomace – The pulpy material remaining after the juice has been pressed from fruit, such as apples or grapes. Also called marc
  861. poignard – See poniard
  862. poniard – 1. A small, slender dagger; 2. a dagger typically having a slender three- or four-sided blade
  863. posset – A drink of hot milk curdled with ale, beer, etc, flavoured with spices, formerly used as a remedy for colds
  864. postillion – A person who guides a horse-drawn coach or post chaise while mounted on the horse or one of a pair of horses. By contrast, a coachman controls the horses from the vehicle itself.
  865. potash – Potassium carbonate, esp. the crude impure form obtained from wood ashes.
  866. pothouse – A small tavern or pub (chiefly British)
  867. potsherd – A broken pottery fragment, esp. one of archaeological value
  868. prang – 1. An accident or crash in an aircraft, car, etc; 2. to bomb from the air
  869. precatory – Relating to or expressing entreaty or supplication. Relating to prayer.
  870. prefatory – Of, relating to, or constituting a preface
  871. prelapsarian – Of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve
  872. premonitory – Giving premonition; serving to warn beforehand
  873. prepossession – A prejudice or bias, esp. a favorable one
  874. 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
  875. prescind – To separate in thought; abstract.
  876. preterite – A tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
  877. primus inter pares – Literally (in Latin), first among equals
  878. profligate – 1. Shamelessly immoral or debauched; 2. wildly extravagant or wasteful
  879. progeria – A rare genetic disorder of childhood that is characterized by rapid onset of the physical changes typical of old age, usually resulting in death before the age of 20
  880. prolegomenon – A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity
  881. 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
  882. prolix – Tediously prolonged; wordy; longwinded
  883. prone – Lying flat or face downwards; prostrate
  884. propinquitous – Near; close in time, place or kinship (page 12 of Main Street)
  885. propitious – Favorable; auguring well; gracious or favorably inclined
  886. proprioception – Unconscious awareness of body movement, e.g. as the inner ear for balance (page 515 of Reamde)
  887. proscenium – The area of a modern theater that is located between the curtain and the orchestra.
  888. prosector – A person who prepares or dissects anatomical subjects for demonstration
  889. prosopagnosia – An inability to recognize faces
  890. prosopography – 1. description of a person’s life and career; 2. A study, often using statistics, that identifies and draws relationships between various characters or people within a specific historical, social, or literary context
  891. prosopopoeia – Literary device involve an absent person speaking; personification; ascribing agency to an inanimate object or concept
  892. protasis – The dependent clause of a conditional sentence (i.e. the “if” part)
  893. 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”)
  894. psalmody – The act of singing psalms or hymns
  895. psephology – The study of political elections and polling
  896. psithurism – The whispering of leaves moved by the wind
  897. psittacosis – A rickettsial disease affecting birds of the parrot family, pigeons, and domestic fowl, caused by the chlamydia Chlamydia psittaci and transmissible to humans
  898. psychogenic – Having origin in the mind or in a mental condition or process
  899. ptosis – Ptosis is the term used for a drooping upper eyelid
  900. puericratic – [definition unknown] (from Oblivion by David Foster Wallace)
  901. pugnacious – Combative in nature
  902. pulchritude – Beauty
  903. pullulate – To breed rapidly or abundantly
  904. punctilio – A fine point of etiquette
  905. purblind – 1. Slow in understanding or discernment; dull 2. Having poor vision; nearly or partly blind
  906. purdah – Muslim practice of screening women from other men or strangers
  907. purlieus – An outlying or neighboring area; outskirts; environs
  908. 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
  909. purulent – Containing, discharging, or causing the production of pus
  910. pusillanimous – Cowardly
  911. putto – A representation of a small child, often naked and having wings, used especially in the art of the European Renaissance. Pl.: putti
  912. pyaemia – Blood poisoning characterized by pus-forming microorganisms in the blood
  913. quadrille – A square dance in 6/8 or 2/4 time of French origin, composed of five sections and performed by four couples.
  914. quag – To shake (said of something that is soft or flabby)
  915. quern – A simple hand mill for grinding grain, typically consisting of two stones
  916. quiddity – 1. Essence of a thing; 2. a quibble
  917. quidnunc – Busybody; Yenta
  918. quiff – 1. A tuft of hair, esp. a forelock; 2. A woman regarded as promiscuous
  919. quintain – A rotating target used in jousting exercises
  920. quire – A set of twenty-four uniform sheets of paper
  921. quirt – A riding whip with a short, stiff handle and a lash made of two or more loose thongs
  922. 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)
  923. quoin – An exterior angle of a wall or other piece of masonry
  924. quokka – A short-tailed herbivorous marsupial (Setonix brachyurus) found in coastal areas of southwestAustralia
  925. quondam – Former
  926. 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.
  927. racketeering – A person who engages in an illegal business or other organized illegal activities
  928. raddled – Twisted together; interwoven
  929. radome – A domelike shell transparent to radio-frequency radiation, used to house a radar antenna
  930. raillery – Good-natured teasing or ridicule; banter
  931. ramose – Having many branches
  932. ravel – 1. To separate the fibers or threads of; to unravel; 2. To tangle or complicate
  933. rawboned – Having a lean, gaunt frame with prominent bones
  934. Reaumurarchaic: a temperature scale with the freezing point of water at 80º.
  935. rebarbative – Tending to irritate; repellent
  936. rebeck – Medieval instrument; a lute-like violin
  937. recondite – Obscure; abstruse
  938. recreant – 1. A faithless or disloyal person; 2. A coward
  939. recrudescent – To break out anew or come into renewed activity, as after a period of quiescence
  940. recumbentibus – A knockdown blow
  941. redolent – Suggestive
  942. reef – A vein of ore
  943. 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
  944. reliquary – A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics
  945. renascent – Becoming active or vigorous again
  946. repine – To be discontented or low in spirits; complain or fret; to yearn after something
  947. retromingent – One who urinates backwards
  948. 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)
  949. retropulsion – An abnormal tendency to walk backwards: a symptom of Parkinson’s disease
  950. revanchism – The act of retaliating, esp. by a nation or group to regain lost territory or standing; revenge
  951. revenant – 1. One that returns after a lengthy absence; 2. One who returns after death
  952. Rhadamanthine – Strictly and uncompromisingly just
  953. rhonchus – A snore or chest rattle
  954. rhotacism – Difficulty pronouncing r sounds
  955. riprap – Piled broken stones used as a foundation or to stabilize an easily eroded bank or slope
  956. risible – 1. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous 2. capable of laughing or inclined to laugh
  957. 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”)
  958. roman à clef – A novel in which actual persons, places, or events are depicted in fictional guise
  959. rosser – A bark-removing machine
  960. rota – A work schedule
  961. roué – A man who recklessly indulges in sensual pleasures; a rake
  962. roundel – A circular architectural or decorative element, such as a painted panel or a stained glass window.
  963. roundelay – A poem or song with a regularly recurring refrain (as much popular music)
  964. rumbustiousness – Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly
  965. 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
  966. rusk – A light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit
  967. sabine – A member of an ancient people of central Italy, conquered and assimilated by the Romans in 290 bc.
  968. Sadhu – A person who dedicates themself to the pursuit of enlightenment through a life of isolation, self-deprivation, and feats of physical endurance.
  969. Saiva – One who worships Shiva
  970. 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
  971. salmagundi – A mixture; a potpourri
  972. saltire – A cross in heraldry
  973. saltpeter – Naturally occurring potassium nitrate, used in making fireworks, gunpowder
  974. salubrious – Wholesome; healthy
  975. salwar – Loose pajamalike pants, typically having a drawstring waist and legs that narrow at the bottom, usually worn with a kameez
  976. samizdat – Underground newspaper (from the Russian)
  977. samphire – An edible coastal plant (Crithmum maritimum) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia (see glasswort)
  978. samsara – The eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth (in Hinduism or Buddhism)
  979. sanguine – Cheerfully optimistic
  980. sapper – 1. A military engineer who lays, detects, and disarms mines; 2. a soldier who digs trenches
  981. Sapphism – Lesbianism
  982. sastrugi – A long wavelike ridge of snow, formed by the wind and found on the polar plains
  983. satori – A spiritual awakening sought in Zen Buddhism, often coming suddenly
  984. satrap – Governor of a province in ancient Persia
  985. satrapy – The territory or sphere under the rule of a satrap
  986. saturnine – Slow and gloomy; morose
  987. sawyer – A bobbing tree in a body of water
  988. scapular – A monk’s sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and sometimes has a cowl
  989. sciatheric – Belonging to a sundial
  990. sciolist – A pretentious attitude of scholarship; superficial knowledgeability
  991. scordatura – The technique of altering the normal tuning of a stringed instrument to produce particular effects.
  992. scoria – Porous cinderlike fragments of dark lava. Also called cinders, slag
  993. scoriatic – Cinder- or slag-like; rocky, craggy
  994. scotophliic – Functioning best in darkness
  995. scourge – A whip or lash
  996. scramasax – A single-edged knife or sword used by the Anglo-Saxons
  997. scringe – To shrug the back or shoulders from cold
  998. scripturient – Having a strong urge to write
  999. scrouge – To inconvenience or discomfort a person by pressing against him or her or by standing too close
  1000. searce – To sift (obsolete)
  1001. sebum – The semifluid secretion of the sebaceous glands, consisting chiefly of fat, keratin, and cellular material
  1002. secondment – Temporary transfer to another position or employment
  1003. sedulously – Assiduous; constant in effort; persevering (from A very short history of driving while black)
  1004. seigneur – A man of rank, esp. a feudal lord in the ancien régime
  1005. seine – A fishing net or the act of using one (page 653 of Reamde)
  1006. semiotics – The study of systems of communication
  1007. sempiternal – Infinite; enduring forever
  1008. sempstress – A rare word for seamstress
  1009. seneschal – A steward or major-domo (in charge of servants)
  1010. sententious – Given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner
  1011. sepulchritude – Tomb-like; also, sepulchral
  1012. sequacious – Unthinking and uncritical; slavish
  1013. sequela – A secondary consequence or result; condition resulting from a disease
  1014. serotype – A group of closely related microorganisms distinguished by a characteristic set of antigens
  1015. sesquipedalian – Given to using long words
  1016. shako – A stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate or badge in front, a short visor, and a plume or pompom
  1017. shibboleth – 1. An inappropriate or outdated custom; 2. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another
  1018. shirty – Ill-tempered; angry
  1019. shockheaded – Having a head of bushy or tousled hair
  1020. shotcrete – Concrete conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.
  1021. shufti – A quick look around
  1022. sibilent – Hissing sound
  1023. sine qua non – An essential element or condition
  1024. singultus – A hiccup
  1025. skittles – Nine-pin bowling
  1026. slunk – A prematurely born calf or other animal
  1027. snarge – A collision of an aircraft with a bird (or the remnants thereof)
  1028. soca – A style of music, originating in the West Indies, that is a blend of soul and calypso
  1029. sociolects – A language variety that is associated with a specific social group (e.g. a profession-specific argot)
  1030. sockdolager – Something outstanding; a final blow or remark, coup de grace
  1031. sodality – Fellowship; fraternity; association; society
  1032. sonic – Relating to or containing sodium
  1033. soi-disant – Self-styled; so-called
  1034. solastalgia – A form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change
  1035. solecism – A grammatical error
  1036. solon – A legislator
  1037. somatically – Corporeal or physical; of, relating to, or affecting the body, esp. as distinguished from a body part, the mind, or the environment
  1038. sommian – A volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone
  1039. 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.
  1040. 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
  1041. spall – A chip, fragment, or flake from a piece of stone or ore
  1042. spanandry – Scarcity of males in a population.
  1043. 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)
  1044. spatchcock – To prepare for roasting or grilling by splitting open
  1045. spathe – A leaflike bract that encloses or subtends a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit
  1046. spatterdashes – Long leather leggings worn in the 18th century, as to protect from mud when riding
  1047. spavined – Decrepit or worn out
  1048. 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.
  1049. spinel – A hard, glassy mineral composed of magnesium-aluminum oxide found in metamorphosed limestones and many basic and ultrabasic igneous rocks
  1050. spinet – A small, compact upright piano
  1051. spitchcock – An eel split and grilled or fried; see spatchcock
  1052. sporran – A leather or fur pouch worn at the front of the kilt in the traditional dress of men of the Scottish Highlands
  1053. sprezzatura – Studied nonchalance; graceful conduct or performance without apparent effort
  1054. 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
  1055. squamous – Covered with or formed of scales; scaly
  1056. staggers – Any of various diseases in animals, esp. horses, cattle, or other domestic animals, that are characterized by a lack of coordination in moving
  1057. 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.
  1058. stenosis – A constriction or narrowing of a duct or passage; a stricture.
  1059. stochastic – Of, relating to, or characterized by conjecture; Involving or containing a random variable or process
  1060. 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.
  1061. stook – A group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field
  1062. stot – To jump straight up with straight legs (e.g. antelope)
  1063. stoush – A fight or brawl
  1064. strabismus – The condition of being cross-eyed
  1065. strath – A strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow
  1066. Strega – The Italian word for witch
  1067. stridulate – To produce a shrill grating, chirping, or hissing sound by rubbing body parts together, as certain insects do
  1068. stroppy – Bad-tempered and argumentative
  1069. stylobate – The immediate foundation of a row of classical columns
  1070. suasion – Persuasion
  1071. subaltern – A person of inferior rank or position
  1072. succussation – Trotting, shaking
  1073. Suetonius – Roman historian whose major work, Lives of the Caesars, is an account of the lives of the first 12 Roman emperors
  1074. sui generis – Unique
  1075. Sukkot – A harvest festival commemorating the booths in which the Israelites resided during their 40 years in the wilderness
  1076. sumptuary – Laws or limits on private expenses
  1077. supererogation – Doing more than required
  1078. supernacular – First-rate
  1079. 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.
  1080. supersedure – Replacement of an old or diseased queen bee with a new one.
  1081. supine – Lying on the back or having the face upward
  1082. surfactant – A substance, such as detergent, that is added to a liquid to increase its ability to spread.
  1083. sweetmeat – A sweet delicacy, such as a piece of candy or crystallized fruit
  1084. swingeing – Extreme in effect; drastic
  1085. swot – To cram; derogatory term for a person who crams
  1086. syce – A stableman or groom, esp. in India
  1087. syenite – An igneous rock composed primarily of alkali feldspar together with other minerals, such as hornblende
  1088. syllepsis – See zeugma
  1089. sympatetic – A walking companion
  1090. 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.
  1091. synecdoche – A trope whereby a part is used as a label for the whole (e.g. “hand” for “sailor”); see metonymy
  1092. tabard – A tunic or capelike garment worn by a knight over his armor and emblazoned with his coat of arms
  1093. tabes – A wasting of a bodily organ or part
  1094. tacenda – Things not to be mentioned; matters that are passed over in silence
  1095. tallboy – A high chest of drawers made in two sections and placed one on top of the other; chest-on-chest
  1096. talmudic – Related to the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings constituting the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism
  1097. tamarisk – Any shrub or small tree having small scalelike or needle-shaped leaves and feathery racemes of small white or pinkish flowers
  1098. tangible – Discernible by the touch; palpable
  1099. tapotement – Rapid massage
  1100. 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)
  1101. tegument – A natural outer covering; an integument
  1102. Telemachus – The son of Odysseus and Penelope, who helped his father kill Penelope’s suitors
  1103. teleology – The philosophical interpretation of natural phenomena as exhibiting purpose or design
  1104. telluric – Of or relating to Earth; terrestrial
  1105. telos – End of a goal-oriented process
  1106. temerarious – In an audacious manner
  1107. tempera – A painting medium in which pigment is mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size or egg yolk
  1108. tendentious – Partisan; marked by or favoring a particular point of view
  1109. tenebrous – Dark and gloomy
  1110. tensegrity – An architectural technique that involves tensional integrity or floating compression (see Wikipedia)
  1111. tephra – Solid matter that is ejected into the air by an erupting volcano
  1112. tergiversate – To use evasions or ambiguities; to evade, to equivocate using subterfuge; to deliberately obfuscate.
  1113. Termagant – A scold; a shrew
  1114. thaumaturgic – The working of miracles or magic feats
  1115. theodicy – A vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil
  1116. theodolite – A surveying instrument
  1117. theophany – An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation
  1118. throstle – 1. Any of various thrushes, esp. a song thrush; 2. A machine formerly used for spinning fibers such as cotton or wool
  1119. thurible – A censer used in certain ecclesiastical ceremonies or liturgies
  1120. thylacine – Tasmanian tiger; an extinct or very rare doglike carnivorous marsupial
  1121. tilth – 1. Tilled earth; 2. The fitness of soil for cultivation, as measured by its structure and composition.
  1122. tippet – A scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn over the shoulders
  1123. 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
  1124. titivate – To decorate or spruce up
  1125. tittle – 1. A small diacritic mark, such as an accent, vowel mark, or dot over an i. 2. The tiniest bit; an iota
  1126. tocsin – An alarm sounded on a bell
  1127. tontine – A common fund with increasing annuity for each member’s death and the last living member gets everything
  1128. toothsome – Delicious, luscious, pleasant, attractive, sexually attractive or exciting
  1129. topolect – The language or speech of a particular place (e.g. Züridütsch)
  1130. torpid – Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic
  1131. torrid – 1. Parched with the heat of the sun; intensely hot; 2. Passionate; ardent
  1132. tosh – Rubbish; nonsense
  1133. tournure – Implement to expand a dress; a bustle
  1134. towhee – A strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feathered in bold black and warm reddish-browns
  1135. toxophily – Archery; toxophilite: A student or lover of archery
  1136. tracklement – Savory jelly served with meat
  1137. transducer – Any device, such as a microphone or electric motor, that converts one form of energy into another
  1138. tref – Unfit to be eaten; not kosher (corresponds to haram or not halal in Islam)
  1139. trenchant – Clear-cut; forceful or convincing
  1140. trepidation – A state of alarm or dread; apprehension
  1141. tressure – A narrow inner border on a shield, usually decorated with fleurs-de-lys
  1142. trews – Trousers; chiefly British
  1143. tripe – Something of no value; rubbish
  1144. trope – Metaphor or non-literal figure of speech
  1145. trow – To think or suppose
  1146. truckle – 1. A small wheel/caster; 2. to be servile
  1147. truckling – To be servile or submissive
  1148. trug – A shallow, usually oval gardening basket made with wide strips of wood
  1149. trypophobia – An intense, irrational fear of objects with small holes
  1150. tsuris – Problems or difficulties (Yiddish)
  1151. tumid – 1. Swollen; distended. Used of a body part or organ; 2. Of a bulging shape; protuberant; 3. Overblown; bombastic
  1152. tumulus – An ancient grave mound; a barrow (pl. tumuli)
  1153. turnkey – Supplied, installed, or purchased in a condition ready for immediate use, occupation, or operation
  1154. ukase – An authoritative order or decree; an edict
  1155. ultracrepidarianism – The habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge or competence.
  1156. unasinous – Sharing the same amount of stupidity; displaying ignorance or foolishness by all.
  1157. unction – Something that serves to soothe; a balm
  1158. unctuous – Excessively ingratiating or insincerely earnest; oily
  1159. undecillion – The cardinal number equal to 1036; British: 1066
  1160. undisonant – Making the sound of waves
  1161. usquebaugh – Whiskey
  1162. usufruct – Right to use the property of others
  1163. uxorious – Love of or submission to one’s wife
  1164. vade mecum – 1. A useful thing that one constantly carries about; 2. A book, such as a guidebook, for ready reference.
  1165. vair – Red-squirrel fur; often used a trimming
  1166. valetudinarian – 1. Chronically ailing; sickly; 2. Constantly and morbidly concerned with one’s health
  1167. vambrace – Forearm armor
  1168. vastation – Quick destruction; from the Italian vastare.
  1169. vatic – Of or characteristic of a prophet; oracular (see veridical)
  1170. vecturist – A collector of tokens used in buses and subways
  1171. veisalgia – A hangover (from the Norwegian for “suffering after debauchery”)
  1172. vellum – A fine parchment made from calfskin, lambskin, or kidskin and used for the pages and binding of books
  1173. venal – Open to bribery; mercenary
  1174. venery – The indulgence in or pursuit of sexual activity
  1175. venire – The panel of prospective jurors from which a jury is selected
  1176. venule – A small vein, especially one joining capillaries to larger veins.
  1177. 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
  1178. veridical – 1. Truthful; veracious; 2. Coinciding with future events or apparently unknowable present realities (see vatic)
  1179. verisimilitude – Believable; appearing to be true
  1180. vermian – Resembling or of the nature of a worm; of or relating to worms.
  1181. vermilion – Brilliant or vivid red (also written vermillion)
  1182. 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
  1183. versipellous – Changeable, protean
  1184. vesicle – A sac or cyst, esp. one containing fluid
  1185. vespertine – Of, relating to, or occurring in the evening (e.g. active or blooming in the evening)
  1186. vetch – Any of several climbing plants of the legume family, bearing pea-like flowers
  1187. vicambulist – One who walks about in the streets
  1188. vicissitude – Alternation between opposite or contrasting things
  1189. 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
  1190. villein – One of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord
  1191. vinous – 1. Of, relating to, or made with wine; 2. Having the color of wine
  1192. violaceous – Of a violet color; reddish blue
  1193. virago – 1. A woman regarded as noisy, scolding, or domineering; 2. A large, strong, courageous woman
  1194. vitiate – Spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of
  1195. volvulus – Abnormal twisting of the intestine causing obstruction
  1196. wale – One of the heavy planks or strakes extending along the sides of a wooden ship
  1197. weeper – A hole or pipe in a wall to allow water to run off
  1198. whelm – To cover with water; submerge
  1199. whin – Any spiny European evergreen shrub having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers (also called gorse or furze)
  1200. whipping boy – Scapegoat; a boy formerly raised with a prince or other young nobleman and whipped for the latter’s misdeeds
  1201. white goods – Large appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines; compare to brown goods, which are TVs, radios, etc.
  1202. widdershins – In a contrary or counterclockwise direction
  1203. withe – Also withy; a tough, supple twig, used to bind
  1204. xenium – A gift given to a guest
  1205. yegg – A thief, especially a burglar or safecracker
  1206. yonic – Related the vagina, esp. religious rel. to Shakti
  1207. zazen – The primary form of meditation in Zen Buddhism, practiced while sitting cross-legged
  1208. zeugma – When a word applies to two others in jarringly different ways (e.g. John and his license expired yesterday.)
  1209. zoetrope – A mechanical device consisting of a rotating drum ringed with narrow apertures through which an animated image is viewed