I.

Helping You Define Life, Love, And The Rest:

didactic
Intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive.

verile
Having strength, energy, and a strong sex drive.

perlocution
An act of speaking or writing that has an action as its aim but that in itself does not effect or constitute the action (ex: persuading, convincing).

illocution
An action performed by saying or writing something (ex: ordering, warning, promising).

punctuated equilibrium
The hypothesis that evolutionary development is marked by isolated episodes of rapid speciation between long periods of little or no change.

sentient
Able to perceive or feel things.

eponymous
Named after a particular person. / Giving their name to something.

phantasmagoria
A sequence of real or imaginary images like that seen in a dream.

homeostasis
The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements.

caustic
Able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action; Formed by the intersection of reflected or refracted parallel rays from a curved surface. / Sarcastic in a scathing and bitter way.

vociferious
Vehement or clamorous.

obstreperous
Noisy and difficult to control.

prelapsarian
Characteristic of the time before the Fall of Man; innocent and unspoiled.

onanism
Masturbation; Coitus interruptus (sexual intercourse in which the penis is withdrawn before ejaculation).

detente
The easing of hostility or strained relations

Menshevik
A member of the non-Leninist wing of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, opposed to the Bolsheviks and defeated by them after the overthrow of the tsar in 1917.

denude
Make bare.

vellum
Fine parchment made originally from the skin of a calf.

indelible
Making marks that cannot be removed.

sepal
Each of the parts of the calyx of a flower, enclosing the petals and typically green and leaflike.

genus
A grouping of things having common characteristics distinct from those of other such groupings.

palliative
Relieving pain or alleviating a problem without dealing with the underlying cause.

exhort
Strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something.

seminal
Strongly influencing later developments. (From semen ‘seed.’)

trammel
A restriction or impediment to someone’s freedom of action.

socialism
A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

proletariat
Workers or working-class people, regarded collectively.

Bolshevik
A member of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party/ Communist Party; A person with politically subversive or radical views; a revolutionary.

congenital
Having a particular trait from birth or by firmly established habit.

predilection
A preference or special liking for something; a bias in favor of something.

misogynist
A man who hates women. (Why can’t it apply to women who hate women?)

lugubrious
Looking or sounding sad and dismal.

puritanical
Practicing or affecting strict religious or moral behavior.

joule
Unit of work or energy.

sedulous
Showing dedication and diligence.

lachrymose
Tearful or given to weeping.

humanism
An outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters…

satanism
The worship of Satan, typically involving a travesty of Christian symbols and practices.

individualism
The habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant./ A social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.

solipsism
The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.

heliotrope
A plant of the borage family, cultivated for its fragrant purple or blue flowers, which are used in perfume.

macerate
Soften or break up (something, esp. food) by soaking in a liquid.

foment
Instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action).

polyphony
The style of simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with each other.

gestalt
An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

repudiate
Refuse to accept or be associated with; deny the truth or validity of.

i.e.
(From Latin id est, ‘that is’.)

succinct
Briefly and clearly expressed.

de facto
In fact, whether by right or not.

de jure
According to rightful entitlement or claim; by right.

paean
A song of praise or triumph.

surcease
Cessation; relief or consolation.

craven
Contemptibly lacking in courage.

nepenthes
A drug described in Homer’s Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person’s mind.

ameliorate
Make better.

obsequious
Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree.

dissimulate
Conceal or disguise (one’s thoughts, feelings, or character).

epoch
A period of time in history or a person’s life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.

dissertation
A long essay on a particular subject (esp. one written as a requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy degree).

sequester
Isolate or hide away; take forcible possession of.

transitive
(Mathematics.) Such that, if it applies between successive members of a sequence, it must also apply between any two members taken in order.

intransigent
Unwilling or refusing to change one’s views or to agree about something.

limpid
Free of anything that darkens; completely clear.

objectivism
The tendency to lay stress on what is external to or independent of the mind; the belief that certain things, esp. moral truths, exist independently of human knowledge or perception of them.

caesura
A break between words within a metrical foot; any interruption or break.

anachronism
A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists.

art nouveau
A style of decorative art, architecture, and design characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.

chiaroscuro
An effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly or from a particular direction on something.

seraglio
The women’s apartments (harem) in a Muslim palace; a Turkish palace.

odalisque
A female slave or concubine in a harem.

stereoscope
A device by which two photographs of the same object taken at slightly different angles are viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity.

leitmotif
A recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea or situation.

binary
Relating to, using, or expressed in a system of numerical notation that has 2 rather than 10 as a base; relating to, composed of, or involving two things.

elucidate
Make (something) clear; explain.

deconstruction
A method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary language that emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression.

charter
A written grant by a country’s legislative/ sovereign power, by which an institution is created and its rights and privileges defined.

bromide
A trite and unoriginal idea or remark, typically intended to soothe or placate.

tryst
A private, romantic rendezvous between lovers.

agnostic
Believing that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.

lingam
Symbol of divine generative energy, fertility or potency, esp. a penis, esp. when erect; worshiped as a symbol of Shiva.

patronage
Financial support or business provided by paying customers; the power to grant political favors, as to those who have supported one’s party; condescension.

gratis
Free; gratuitous.

languet
Something, e.g. a part in a machine or instrument, that is shaped like a tongue.

auld lang syne
“Old long since”; old times, or times long gone.

sanguine
In medieval physiology, having blood as the dominant humor and therefore characterized by a ruddy complexion and a courageous, optimistic, and romantic temperament.

moratorium
A temporary prohibition of an activity.

puerile
Childishly silly and trivial.

pica
A tendency or craving to eat substances other than normal food.

condign
Appropriate to the crime or wrongdoing; fitting and deserved.

incontrovertible
Not able to be denied or disputed.

ostentatious
Characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice.

splenetic
Bad-tempered; spiteful.

svengali
A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another.

autodafe
Judgment of the Inquisition condemning persons accused of religious offenses.

ephemera
Printed matter of passing interest.

pantheist
A doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena.

charlatan
A flamboyant deceiver.

revenant
One that returns after a lengthy absence; One who returns after death.

diffident
Lacking confidence in one’s own ability, worth, or fitness.

acrimonious
Marked by strong resentment or cynicism.

  • history.