Archive for June, 2010

turpitude

tur·pi·tude /ˈtɜrpɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/

–noun
1. vile, shameful, or base character; depravity.
2. a vile or depraved act.

Origin:
1480–90; < L turpitūdō, equiv. to turpi ( s ) base, vile + –tūdō -tude

—Synonyms
1. wickedness, vice, vileness, wrongdoing.

Source: Dictionary.com.

“I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude.”

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

supererogatory

su·per·e·rog·a·to·ry /ˌsupərəˈrɒgəˌtɔri, -ˌtoʊri/

–adjective
1. going beyond the requirements of duty.
2. greater than that required or needed; superfluous.

Origin:
1585–95; < ML superērogātōrius. See supererogate, -tory

—Related forms
su·per·e·rog·a·to·ri·ly, adverb

Source: Dictionary.com.

“I willingly grant the scientist his three atoms,” said Ildefonse, “though in the strictest sense, two of these are supererogatory.”

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

belvedere

bel·ve·dere /ˈbɛlvɪˌdɪər, ˌbɛlvɪˈdɪər; for 3 also It. ˌbɛlvɛˈdɛrɛ/

–noun
1. a building, or architectural feature of a building, designed and situated to look out upon a pleasing scene.
2. a cigar, shorter and with thinner ends than a corona.
3. ( initial capital letter ) a palace in Vatican City, Rome, used as an art gallery.

Origin:
1590–1600; < It: fine view < L bellus fine + vidēre to see

Source: Dictionary.com.

He mounted to the control belvedere where he cast a spell of bouyancy upon the palace; it rose to drift on the morning breeze like pinnacled cloud.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

peregrine

per·e·grine /ˈpɛrɪgrɪn, -ˌgrin, -ˌgraɪn/

–adjective
1. foreign; alien; coming from abroad.
2. wandering, traveling, or migrating.

–noun
3. peregrine falcon.

Origin:
1350–1400; ME < L peregrīnus foreign, deriv. of peregrē abroad, lit., through (i.e., beyond the borders of) the field, equiv. to per– per- + –egr-, comb. form of ager field + –ē adv. suffix; see -ine

—Related forms
per·e·grin·i·ty /ˌpɛrɪˈgrɪnɪti/, noun

Source: Dictionary.com.

At rest upon the ground, Vermoulian’s wonderful peregrine palace, together with its loggias, formal gardens and entrance pavilion, occupied an octagonal site some three acres in extent.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

loggia

log·gia /ˈlɒdʒə, ˈloʊdʒiə; It. ˈlɔddʒɑ/

–noun, plural -gias, Italian -gie  /-dʒɛ/
1. a gallery or arcade open to the air on at least one side.
2. a space within the body of a building but open to the air on one side, serving as an open-air room or as an entrance porch.

Origin:
1735–45; < It; see lodge

Source: Dictionary.com.

At rest upon the ground, Vermoulian’s wonderful peregrine palace, together with its loggias, formal gardens and entrance pavilion, occupied an octagonal site some three acres in extent.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

captious

cap·tious /ˈkæpʃəs/

–adjective
1. apt to notice and make much of trivial faults or defects; faultfinding; difficult to please.
2. proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition: He could never praise without adding a captious remark.
3. apt or designed to ensnare or perplex, esp. in argument: captious questions.

Origin:
1350–1400; ME capcious < L captiōsus sophistical, equiv. to capti ( ō ) a taking, hence, sophism ( see caption) + –ōsus -ous

—Related forms
cap·tious·ly, adverb
cap·tious·ness, noun
non·cap·tious, adjective
non·cap·tious·ly, adverb
non·cap·tious·ness, noun
o·ver·cap·tious, adjective
o·ver·cap·tious·ly, adverb
o·ver·cap·tious·ness, noun
un·cap·tious, adjective
un·cap·tious·ly, adverb
un·cap·tious·ness, noun

—Synonyms
1. carping, nitpicking, niggling, picky, testy.

Source: Dictionary.com.

I would seem captious were I to complain.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

tantalum

tan·ta·lum /ˈtæntləm/

–noun Chemistry.
a gray, hard, rare, metallic element occurring in columbite and tantalite and usually associated with niobium: used, because of its resistance to corrosion by most acids, for chemical, dental, and surgical instruments and apparatus. Symbol: Ta; atomic weight: 180.948; atomic number: 73; specific gravity: 16.6.

Origin:
1795–1805; < NL; named after Tantalus

Source: Dictionary.com.

The semblance of Calanctus took form on the work table: first an armature of silver and tantalum wires built upon an articulated spinal truss, then a shadowy sheathing of tentative concepts, then the skull and sensorium …

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

brummagem

brum·ma·gem /ˈbrʌmədʒəm/

–adjective
1. showy but inferior and worthless.

–noun
2. a showy but inferior and worthless thing.

Origin:
1630–40; local var. of Birmingham, England (Compare Bromwichham, Bromecham (17th century), ME Burmingeham ); orig. in allusion to counterfeit coins produced there in the 17th cent.

Source: Dictionary.com.

“You seized a clutch of glass baubles. The Murthe took the true stones, including those owned by you and Rhialto, and left brummagem in their place.”

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

cantrap

Cantrap

Can”trap\, Cantrip \Can”trip\, n. [Cf. Icel. gandar, ODan. & OSw. gan, witchcraft, and E. trap a snare, tramp.] A charm; an incantation; a shell; a trick; adroit mischief. [Written also cantraip.] [Scot.]

Source: Dictionary.com.

He touched one of the scallops which adorned the edge of the tabouret and spoke a cantrap, to evoke the miniature of Gilgad in a construct of his near surroundings.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

cognomen

cog·no·men /kɒgˈnoʊmən/

–noun, plural -no·mens, -nom·i·na  /-ˈnɒmənə/
1. a surname.
2. any name, esp. a nickname.
3. the third and commonly the last name of a citizen of ancient Rome, indicating the person’s house or family, as “Caesar” in “Gaius Julius Caesar.” Compare agnomen ( def. 1 ).

Origin:
1800–10; < L, equiv. to co– co- + nōmen name, with –g– on model of nōscī: cognōscī; see cognition

—Related forms
cog·nom·i·nal  /kɒgˈnɒmənəl, -ˈnoʊmə-/, adjective
cog·nom·i·nal·ly, adverb

Source: Dictionary.com.

Her face, while lacking neither delicacy nor classic, showed a stillness from which all frivolity was absent. Rhialto, whose expertise in the field of calligynics had earned him his cognomen, found her beautiful but severe …

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.