Friday, February 27, 2015

word of the day: desultory

The word of the day is desultory:

1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful
2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random
Latin dēsultōrius pertaining to a dēsultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), equivalent to dēsul-, variant stem of dēsilīre to jump down ( dē- de- + -silīre, combining form of salīre to leap) (

"Jacaranda, a fresh-air fiend, installed herself in a desultory compartment of the train, pulled off her stockings (under the latest edition of Der zaftig Tagblut), rotated her head gracefully, propped her feet up on the knees of the passenger snoring opposite her, and broke out the oscillating fan she'd last used during one of Beau Romano's incandescent tantrums."

 - Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Out of the Loud Hound of Darkness: A Dictionarrative

I guess she's using it to mean "random"?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

word of the day: incarnadine

The word of the day is incarnadine:

1. blood-red; crimson.
2. flesh-colored; pale pink.  
Middle French, feminine of incarnadin flesh-colored < Italian incarnatino, equivalent to incarnat (o) made flesh (

"General Ludovic had effected many momentous decisions on the battlefield, but none left so deep or incarnadine a mark on his name or history as the carnage at Bluttenbad."

 - Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Out of the Loud Hound of Darkness: A Dictionarrative

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

word of the day: calcareous

The word of the day is calcareous:

of, containing, or like calcium carbonate; chalky
Latin calcārius of lime (

"SHUT UP, said Death.  He beckoned Keli with a calcareous forefinger."

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

word of the day: postern

The word of the day is postern:

1. a back door or gate.
2. a private entrance or any entrance other than the main one.
Middle English posterne < Old French, variant of posterle < Late Latin posterula, diminutive of postera back door, noun use of feminine of posterus coming behind.  (

"He ducked down, skidded down the ladder to the cobbles and legged it back to the main hall with the skirts of his robe flapping around his ankles.  He slipped in through the small postern in the great door and ordered the guards to lock it, then grabbed his skirts again and pounded along a side passage so that the guests wouldn't notice him."

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)

Monday, February 23, 2015

word of the day: boniface

The word of the day is boniface:

1. Saint (Wynfrith) a.d. 680?–755? English monk who became a missionary in Germany.
2. a jovial innkeeper in George Farquhar's The Beaux' Stratagem.
3. (lowercase) any landlord or innkeeper.
4. a male given name: from a Latin word meaning “doer of good.”. (

"Albert strutted along the row, poking the occasional paunch with his staff.  His mind danced and sang.  Go back?  Never!  This was power, this was living; he'd challenge old boniface and spit in his empty eye."

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)

No, I don't get it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

word of the day: gimlet

The word of the day is gimlet:

able to penetrate or bore through
late Middle English < Old French guimbelet < Germanic; compare Middle Dutch wimmel wimble  (

"'As the bursar of this university I must say that we've always encouraged a good neighbor policy with respect to the community,' mumbled the wizard, trying to avoid Albert's gimlet stare."

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

word of the day: sarny

The word of the day is sarny:

English slang for a sandwich. (Urban Dictionary)

"Harga looked around the steamy cafe.  No one was watching him.  He was going to get to the bottom of this.  He rapped on the hatch again.
"'Alligator sandwich,' he said.  'And make it sna-'
"The hatch shot up.  After a few seconds to pluck up enough courage, Harga peered under the top slice of the long sarny in front of him.  He wasn't saying that it was alligator, and he wasn't saying it wasn't."

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)