Saturday, February 27, 2010


Hoardings: A hoarding is a temporary wooden structure such as a fence around a construction site or a roof over castle ramparts to deflect flaming arrows. In the UK, hoardings also refers to billboards. Note: Hoardings does not shares its etymology with hoard.
The whole area behind the hoardings was like this - rides in pieces, towers of fiberglass detritus sandwiched between layers of aerogel.
A Book for Today: Makers by Cory Doctorow

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Viridian: Viridian shares its etymology with verdant and means green.
He was used to sh*tkickers and tourists gawping at his shock of black hair with its viridian green highlights.
A Book for Today: Makers by Cory Doctorow

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Agitprop: A combination of agitation and propaganda (but the Russian words which sound similar), agitprop is political performance art, usually associated with the left, and often used with negative connotation.
It's the goddamned fatkins agitprop games.
A Book for Today: Makers by Cory Doctorow

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Franken-: This is a prefix indicating something (monstrous) made of alien/scavenged/inappropriate parts. Refers to Frankenstein - more the popular culture movie character than the character in the Mary Shelley novel: Frankenstein
They drove over at speed, Suzanne wedged into Lester's frankensmartcar, practically under his armpit, and Perry traveling with Francis.
A Book for Today: Makers by Cory Doctorow

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sybaritism (Hedonism, Dionysian)

Sybaritic: The ancient Greeks must have lived in wonderfully pleasurable times. They've given us three words to dedicated to lives of pleasure. First is Hedonism, from the Greek word for pleasure, as the doctrine that pleasure is the most important thing in life. The next is Dionysian to describe any person, party, or group dedicated to pleasure, named for the Greek god of wine. Finally, we have sybaritic, an adjective denoting luxury and pleasure. Sybaritic derives from a Greek colony in southern Italy named Sabyris. This colony was famous for luxurious decadence.
They were attractive enough, but the monotonic fatkins devotion to sybaritism was so tiresome.
Lester seemed to like bragging about the meltdowns they experienced, each one an oddity of sybaritic fatkins culture to boast about.
A Book for Today: Makers by Cory Doctorow

Sage popped a fat, juicy strawberry into her mouth and chewed with sybaritic enthusiasm.
A Book for Today: Texas! Lucky by Sandra Brown

Your father admitted that when he handed over to me and went off to the Chateau du Four in Grimaud for a well-earned and sybaritic retirement.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Shoal: One meaning of shoal shares its etymology with shallow and refers to a shallow place in a deeper body of water. A shoal might be formed by a sandbar.

An independent meaning of shoal is a crowd or large group. The etymology of school of fish comes from shoal and is separate from school of students which share its etymology with scholar.
His wife and daughters, however, made much of me, and introduced me to their friends, who came in shoals to call upon me.
A Book for Today: Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Friday, February 12, 2010


Mulct: Penalty or fine.
The tribute of respect was thus paid to the deceased, the public sculptures were not mulcted, and the rest of the public suffered no inconvenience.
A Book for Today: Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Desuete: Unused. Desuete shared its etymology with insuete (a synonym) and mansuete (tame).
There has been no Act to repress statues [monuments, not laws] that are intended for private consumption, but as I have said, the custom is falling into desuetude.
The last alternative was so little to the taste of the Erewhonians, that laws against the killing of animals were falling into desuetude.
A Book for Today: Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Contumacious, Contumely

Contumacious: Stubborn, rebellious.
Contumely: Insolent, arrogant.
Even in England a man on board a ship with yellow fever is held responsible for his mischance, no matter what his being held in quarantine may cost him. He must take his chance as other people do; it would be desperate unkindness to add contumely to our self-protection, unless, indeed, we believe that contumely is one of our best means of self protection.
A Book for Today: Erewhon by Samuel Butler

The main problem from my perspective is that you are so god damned contumacious.
A Book for Today: Contagion by Robin Cook

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Bibelot: Trinket.
Sandy, no doubt, found the need for secrecy strange, but he'd assumed the cross was merely a bibelot, and Billy eccentric.
The piece sat incongruously among priceless bibelots on the top of Mrs. Houghton's bureau.
A Book for Today: One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bugle Bead

Bugle Bead: Bugle beads are cylindrical beads.
Schiffer had already picked out a dress - a short white sheath covered in silver bugle beads - which Oprah held up for the cameras.
A Book for Today: One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

Monday, February 1, 2010


Spume: Spume is a foam or froth. Spume shares its etymology with foam and spumoni.
Marshall maneuvered the Sno-Cat as g quickly as he dared through the spume of snow and ice.
A Book for Today: Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child