Posts tagged ‘dictionary’

Word of the day: oblation

ob·la·tion /ɒˈbleɪʃən/

1. the offering to god of the elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist.
2. the whole office of the Eucharist.
3. the act of making an offering, especially to a deity.
4. any offering for religious or charitable uses.

1375–1425; late Middle English oblacion < Late Latin oblātion– (stem of oblātiō ), equivalent to oblāt ( us ) ( see oblate 2 ) + –iōn– -ion

—Related forms
ob·la·to·ry /ˈɒbləˌtɔri, -ˌtoʊri/
ob·la·tion·al, adjective


The noblemen and noblewomen ahead bowed or curtsied from horseback, and those oblations were deeper this time than they had been when meeting Elayne in her throne room.

Source: Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.

Quite apart from how it’s possible to curtsy from horseback, this apparent misuse of the word ‘oblation’ indicates to me how weak Brandon Sanderson’s English is.

Word of the day: prank

prank 2 /præŋk/

–verb (used with object)
1. to dress or adorn in an ostentatious manner: They were all pranked out in their fanciest clothes.

–verb (used without object)
2. to make an ostentatious show or display.

1540–50; akin to D pronken to show off, strut, pronk show, finery, MLG prank pomp

—Related forms
un·pranked, adjective


These alley-ways were pranked with little knots of folk, and Fuchsia believed that she could hear the far sound of their voices rising through the air.

Source: Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake.

Word of the day: shift

shift /ʃɪft/

–verb (used without object)
6. to manage to get along or succeed by oneself.
7. to get along by indirect methods; use any expediency, trick, or evasion to get along or succeed: He shifted through life.

22. an expedient; ingenious device.
23. an evasion, artifice, or trick.

bef. 1000; (v.) ME shiften to arrange, OE sciftan; c. G schichten to arrange in order, ON skipta to divide; (n.) ME: contrivance, start, deriv. of the v.

1. substitute. 22. contrivance, resource, resort. 23. wile, ruse, subterfuge, stratagem.


my companions forced me to land on this coast, and then left me to shift for my self.

Source: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

paddling out of the reach of their darts (being a calm day) I made a shift to suck the wound, and dress it as well as I could.

Source: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

Word of the day: caisson

cais·son /ˈkeɪsən, -sɒn/

1. a structure used in underwater work, consisting of an airtight chamber, open at the bottom and containing air under sufficient pressure to exclude the water.
2. a boatlike structure used as a gate for a dock or the like.
3. Nautical .
a. Also called camel, pontoon. a float for raising a sunken vessel, sunk beside the vessel, made fast to it, and then pumped out to make it buoyant.
b. a watertight structure built against a damaged area of a hull to render the hull watertight; cofferdam.
4. a two-wheeled wagon, used for carrying artillery ammunition.
5. an ammunition chest.
6. a wooden chest containing bombs or explosives, used formerly as a mine.
7. Architecture . coffer ( def. 4 ) .

1695–1705; < F, MF < OPr, equiv. to caissa box ( see case 2 ) + –on aug. suffix

—Related forms
caissoned, adjective


(2) thoracic: the rusting shells of U-boats beached in the cove at Tsingtao, near the ruined German forts where the Chinese guides smeared bloody handprints on the caisson walls;

Source: The Atrocity Exhibition by J G Ballard.

Word of the Day: riparian

ri·par·i·an /rɪˈpɛəriən, raɪ-/

1. of, pertaining to, or situated or dwelling on the bank of a river or other body of water: riparian villas.

2. Law . a person who owns land on the bank of a natural watercourse or body of water.

1840–50; < L
rīpāri ( us ) that frequents riverbanks ( rīp ( a ) bank of a river + –ārius -ary) + -an

—Related forms
adjective, noun


The northern border between Korea and China formed by the Yalu and Tumen rivers has been recognized by the world for centuries, much longer than comparable borders in Europe, and so one might think these rivers always constituted Korea’s northern limits. In fact, Koreans ranged far beyond these rivers, well into northeastern China and Siberia, and neither Koreans nor the ancient tribes that occupied the plains of Manchuria considered these riparian borders to be sacrosanct.

Source: Korea’s Place in the Sun by Bruce Cumings.


an·tis·tro·phe /ænˈtɪstrəfi/

1. the part of an ancient Greek choral ode answering a previous strophe, sung by the chorus when returning from left to right.
2. the movement performed by the chorus while singing an antistrophe.
3. Prosody . the second of two metrically corresponding systems in a poem. Compare strophe ( def. 3 ) .

1540–50; < Gk: a turning about. See anti-, strophe

—Related forms
an·ti·stroph·ic  /ˌæntəˈstrɒfɪk, -ˈstroʊfɪk/, an·tis·tro·phal, adjective
an·ti·stroph·i·cal·ly, adverb


It was already part of the story he heard and repeated, or that Berengar imagined, in his agitation and his remorse. Because there is, as antistrophe to Adelmo’s remorse, a remorse of Berengar’s: you heard it.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.


lem·u·res /ˈlɛmyəˌriz; Lat. ˈlɛmʊˌrɛs/

–plural noun Roman Religion .
the ghosts of the dead of a family, considered as troublesome unless exorcised or propitiated; larvae.

1545–55; < L; see lemur


I realized I was having a vision and that there was a damned soul before me, one of the lemures.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.


Balneary \Bal”ne*a*ry\, n. [L. balnearium, fr. balneum bath.]
A bathing room. –Sir T. Browne.


balneal or balneary (ˈbælnɪəl, ˈbælnɪərɪ)

— adj
rare of or relating to baths or bathing

[C17: from Latin balneum bath, from Greek balaneion ]


without difficulty we opened the door of the balneary, next to the infirmary.

Separated one from the other by thick curtains were some tubs, I don’t recall how many. The monks used them for their ablutions, on the days the Rule established, and Severinus used them for therapeutic reasons, because nothing can restore body and mind better than a bath. A fireplace in one corner allowed the water to be heated easily. We found it dirty with fresh ashes, and before it a great cauldron lay, overturned. The water could be drawn from a font in another corner.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.


ver·si·cle /ˈvɜrsɪkəl/

1. a little verse.
2. Ecclesiastical . a short verse, usually from the Psalms, said or sung by the officiant, after which the congregation recites a response. Compare response ( def. 3a ) .

1350–1400; ME < L versiculus. See verse, -i-, -cle 1


But after the responsory, the hymn, and the versicle, as the chanting of the Gospel began, I glimpsed just above the altar, beyond the windows of the choir, a pale glow that was already making the panes shine in their various colors, subdued till then by the darkness.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.


re·spon·so·ry /rɪˈspɒnsəri/

–noun, plural -ries. Ecclesiastical .
an anthem sung after a lection by a soloist and choir alternately.

1375–1425; late ME < LL respōnsōrium, equiv. to L respond ( ēre ) to respond + –tōrium -tory2 , with dt > s


But after the responsory, the hymn, and the versicle, as the chanting of the Gospel began, I glimpsed just above the altar, beyond the windows of the choir, a pale glow that was already making the panes shine in their various colors, subdued till then by the darkness.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.