VI.

Famous Last Ones:

renege
Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract; Renounce or abandon (someone or something).

synchronous
Existing or occurring at the same time.

bight
A curve or recess in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature. / A loop of rope, as distinct from the rope’s ends.

desideratum
Something that is needed or wanted.

agonist
A substance that initiates a physiological response directly. Another term for “protagonist”.

agonistic
Combative; polemical.

polemical
Of, relating to, or involving strongly critical, controversial, or disputatious writing or speech.

antagonist
A substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another.

intercostal
Situated between the ribs.

paparazzo
[Pl. paparazzi] A freelance photographer who pursues celebrities to get photographs of them.

hysterics
[Mid 17th century via Latin from Greek husterikos ‘of the womb,’ from hustera ‘womb’, related to uterus.]

ides
A day falling roughly in the middle of each month (the 15th day of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of other months), from which other dates were calculated.

nones
In the ancient Roman calendar, the ninth day before the ides by inclusive reckoning, that is, the 7th day of March, May, July, and October, or the 5th of other months.

calends
The first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar. [Related to Latin calare and Greek kalein ‘call, proclaim.’]

accusative
Relating to or denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that expresses the object of an action or the goal of motion.

gaol
[Alternative spelling of jail.]

orchid
[From modern Latin Orchid(ac)eae, formed irregularly from Latin orchis, from modern Latin, based on Greek orkhis (with reference to the shape of its tuber), literally ‘testicle’.

moly
A mythical herb with white flowers and black roots, endowed with magic properties. / Short for molybdenum, the chemical element of atomic number 42, a brittle silver-gray metal of the transition series, used in some alloy steels.

procurator
An agent representing others in a court of law in countries retaining Roman civil law.

susurrus
(poetic/literary) Whispering, murmuring, or rustling.

shoal
(verb) Become shallower.

pox
Any of several viral diseases producing a rash of pimples that become pus-filled and leave pockmarks on healing.

cinque
The five on dice.

effervesce
Give off bubbles.

everlasting
A flower of the daisy family with a papery texture, retaining its shape and color after being dried, esp. a helichrysum. Also called “immortelle”.

Assumption
The reception of the Virgin Mary bodily into heaven. This was formally declared a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1950.

Dormition
(In the Orthodox Church) The passing of the Virgin Mary from earthly life.

duomo
An Italian cathedral.

duodecimal
Relating to or denoting a system of counting or numerical notation that has twelve as a base.

duodecimo
A size of book page that results from the folding of each printed sheet into 12 leaves (24 pages). Also called twelvemo.

duologue
A play or part of a play with speaking roles for only two actors.

duopoly
A situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service.

duotone
A halftone illustration made from a single original with two different colors at different screen angles.

sex someone up
(informal) Arouse or attempt to arouse someone sexually.

prolepsis
The anticipation and answering of possible objections in rhetorical speech; The representation of a thing as existing before it actually does or did so (ex: “He was a dead man when he entered.”).

prolegomenon
A critical or discursive introduction to a book.

patronize
[From Old French, from Latin patronus ‘protector of clients, defender,’ from pater, patr- ‘father.’]

matrimony
The state or ceremony of being married; marriage. [Via Old French from Latin matrimonium, based on mater, matr- ‘mother.’]

patrimony
Property inherited from one’s father or male ancestor. [From Old French patrimoine, from Latin patrimonium, from pater, patr- ‘father.’]

specious
Superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

desideratum
Something that is needed or wanted.

sophisticated
[Late Middle English (as an adjective in the sense “adulterated”, and as a verb in the sense “mix with a foreign substance”): from medieval Latin sophisticatus ‘tampered with’, past participle of the verb sophisticare, from sophisticus ‘sophistic’. The shift of sense probably occurred first in the adjective unsophisticated, from “uncorrupted” via “innocent” to “inexperienced, uncultured”.]

sophist (sophistic)
A paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece, associated in popular thought with moral skepticism and specious reasoning. [Via Latin from Greek sophistēs, from sophizesthai ‘devise, become wise,’ from sophos ‘wise.’]

sophism (sophistry)
(The use of) A fallacious argument, esp. one used deliberately to deceive. [From Old French sophime, via Latin from Greek sophisma ‘clever device’, from sophizesthai ‘become wise’.]

Eclectic
Denoting, or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected such doctrines as they wished from various schools.

Cistercian
An order founded in 1098 as a stricter branch of the Benedictines. The monks are now divided into two observances, the strict observance, whose adherents are known popularly as Trappists, and the common observance, which has certain relaxations.

Moresque
Moorish in style or design.

intrados
The lower or inner curve of an arch.

Mudéjar
A partly Gothic, partly Islamic style of architecture and art prevalent in Spain in the 12th to 15th centuries, during the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors.

rococo
Of or characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-century Continental Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork.

  • history.