Friday, March 25, 2016

Word of the day: maar

The word of the day is maar:
  1. a circular volcanic landform resulting from explosive ash eruptions.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/maar)


"All around St. Michael was an extensive volcanic field, with more than fifty cones, craters, and maar lakes pocking the surrounding tundra."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of the Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Word of the day: sough

The word of the day is sough:
  1. to make a rushing, rustling, or murmuring sound: the wind soughing in the meadow.
  2. Scot. and North England. to speak, especially to preach, in a whining, singsong voice.
"to make a moaning or murmuring sound," O.E. swogan, from P.Gmc. *swoganan (cf. O.S. swogan "to rustle," Goth. gaswogjan "to sigh"), from PIE imitative base *(s)wagh- (cf. Gk. echo). The noun is c.1381, from the verb.


"Seawater steadily lapped at the undersides of the floes, creating a soughing sound that was comforting in its constancy, like the flutter of a million insect wings."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: davit

The word of the day is davit:
  1. any of various cranelike devices used singly or in pairs for supporting, raising, and lowering especially boats, anchors, and cargo over hatchway or side of ship.
also david, "crane-like structure used to lower things down off a ship, etc.," late 15c., apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (cf. jack, jenny, jimmy).

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/davit)


"Cole and Sweetman, operating the davits, swung the cutters and one of the whaleboats onto the ice."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: the Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: cyclopean

The word of the day is cyclopean:
  1. of or characteristic of the Cyclops.
  2. (sometimes lowercase) gigantic; vast.
  3. (usually lowercaseArchitecture, Building Trades. formed with or containing large, undressed stones fitted closely together without the use of mortar: a cyclopean wall.
1640s, from L. cyclopeus, from Gk. kyklopeios, from kyklopes (see cyclops).


"Warmth and water brought the foretaste of freedom...  'We knew that the important moment was coming,' Danenhower said, 'when the Jeannette would be liberated from her cyclopean vise.'"

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: Fata Morgana

The word of the day is Fata Morgana:
  1. Meteorology. a mirage consisting of multiple images, as of cliffs and buildings, that are distorted and magnified to resemble elaborate castles, often seen near the Straits of Messina.
1818, lit. "Fairy Morgana," mirage especially common in the Strait of Messina, Italy, from Morgana, the "Morgan le Fay" of Anglo-Fr. poetry, sister of King Arthur, located in Calabria by Norman settlers. Morgan is Welsh, "sea-dweller." There is perhaps, too, here an infl. of Arabic marjan, lit. "pearl," also a fem. proper name, popularly the name of a sorceress.


"It was just a vision in the distance, maybe fifty miles off, a nub of gray standing proud of the hummocks and pressure ridges.  For several days, Captain De Long studied this curiosity, wondering if it might be an illusion—a refraction of light, perhaps, a fata morgana."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: purulent

The word of the day is purulent:
  1. full of, containing, forming, or discharging pus; suppurating: a purulent sore.
  2. attended with suppuration: purulent appendicitis.
  3. of the nature of or like pus: purulent matter.
1597, from M.Fr. purulent, from L. purulentus "full of pus," from pus (gen. puris) "pus" (see pus).

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/purulent)


"The procedure was a partial success, but over the next six months, Ambler would have to operate, again and again, to drain the 'purulent matter' off the eye."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Word of the day: roister

The word of the day is roister:
  1. to act in a swaggering, boisterous, or uproarious manner.
  2. to revel noisily or without restraint.
1582, from an obsolete noun roister "noisy bully" (1551), from M.Fr. ruistre "ruffian," from O.Fr. ruste "rough country fellow," from L. rusticus (see rustic).

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/roister)


"This was the season when the ships from San Francisco arrived, when hundreds of Indians and Eskimos camped outside the fort to meet with representatives of the fur companies, to trade pelts and skins and dried fish for calico and guns and rum...  It was a time of roistering and wrestling and tug-of-war contests under the midnight sun, a time of 'mallemaroking,' as the whalers called their drunken sprees."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: theodolite

The word of the day is theodolite:

  1. Surveying. a precision instrument having a telescopic sight for establishing horizontal and sometimes vertical angles. Compare transit (def 6).

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theodolite)

"Stevedores hauled the Jeannette's weapons on deck...  Next came the navigational and scientific equipment: chronometers, hydrometers, ozonometers, magnetometers, aneroid barometers, transits, sextants, pendulums, zenith telescopes, microscopes, test tubes, Bunsen burners, theodolites."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: aneroid barometer

The word of the day is aneroid barometer:

  1. a device for measuring atmospheric pressure, often specially calibrated for use as an altimeter, consisting of a box or chamber partially exhausted of air, having an elastic top and a pointer to indicate the degree of compression of the top caused by the external air.

Compare mercury barometer

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aneroid+barometer)


"Stevedores hauled the Jeannette's weapons on deck...  Next came the navigational and scientific equipment: chronometers, hydrometers, ozonometers, magnetometers, aneroid barometers, transits, sextants, pendulums, zenith telescopes, microscopes, test tubes, Bunsen burners, theodolites."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Phrase of the day: pro forma

The phrase of the day is pro forma:
  1. according to form; as a matter of form; for the sake of form.
  2. Commerce. provided in advance of shipment and merely showing the description and quantity of goods shipped without terms of payment: a pro forma invoice.
  3. Accounting. indicating hypothetical financial figures based on previous business operations for estimate purposes: a pro forma balance sheet.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pro+forma)


"The De Longs' meeting with President Hayes was largely a pro forma affair.  'He knew nothing about Arctic exploration,' Emma said, 'and was only doing his duty in having us.'"

 - Hampton Sides: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: mansard

The word of the day is mansard:
  1. Also called mansard roof. a hip roof, each face of which has a steeper lower part and a shallower upper part. Compare French roof.
  2. the story under such a roof.
1734, from Fr. mansarde, short for toit à la mansarde, named for Fr. architect Nicholas François Mansart (1598-1666).


"It was a six-story establishment with a mansard roof and a continental restaurant that served such delicacies as 'broiled redhead duck with currant jelly sauce.'"

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: cooper

The word of the day is cooper:
  1. a person who makes or repairs casks, barrels, etc.
"craftsman who makes wooden vessels," attested from 1176 as a surname, either from O.E. (unattested) or from a Low Ger. source akin to M.Du. cuper, E.Fris. kuper, from Low Ger. kupe (Ger. Kufe) "cask," cognate with M.L. cupa (see coop)."A dry cooper makes casks, etc., to hold dry goods, a wet cooper those to contain liquids, a white cooper pails, tubs, and the like for domestic or dairy use." [OED]The surname Cowper (pronounced "cooper") preserves a 15c. spelling.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cooper)


"Each morning, the bell announced the start of the shift, and the crews of tradesmen—carpenters and coppersmiths, tinsmiths and teamsters, plumbers and painters, caulkers and coopers—went about their smoky, cacophonous work."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: strake

The word of the day is strake:
  1. Nautical. a continuous course of planks or plates on a ship forming a hull shell, deck, etc.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/strake)


"Captain De Long scrutinized his weather-beaten ship in the golden California light, going over every valve and fitting, every strake of her long hull."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: passerine

The word of the day is passerine:
  1. of, belonging, or pertaining to the order Passeriformes, comprising more than half of all birds and typically having the feet adapted for perching.
1776, from L. passerinus "of a sparrow," from passer "sparrow," possibly of imitative origin. The noun is 1842, from the adj.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/passerine)


Read more about Passeriformes here: http://www.nhptv.org/wild/Passeriformes.asp


"Later in the morning, a pair of songbirds that evidently had blown in on the storm circled the ship and landed on the deck.  They were probably from Brazil, two beautiful passerine birds of a species no one aboard recognized."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Monday, March 21, 2016

Word of the day: hachuring

The word of the day is hachuring:
noun
  1. one of a series of short parallel lines drawn on a map to indicate topographic relief.
  2. shading composed of such lines; hatching.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hachuring)


"Petermann greeted Bennett in the drafting room of his institute, where teams of apprentice cartographers sat hunkered over their tilted tables, working with compasses and horsehair paintbrushes and hachuring pens."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Word of the day: rime

The word of the day is rime:

noun

  1. Also called rime ice. an opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles, caused by the rapid freezing of supercooled water droplets on impact with an object. Compare frost(def 2), glaze (def 17).

verb (used with object), rimed,rim·ing.

  1. to cover with rime or hoarfrost.
"hoarfrost," O.E. hrim, from P.Gmc. *khrima- (cf. O.N. hrim, Du. rijm, Ger. Reif). O.Fr. rime is of Gmc. origin. Rare in M.E., surviving mainly in Scottish and northern Eng., revived in literary use late 18c.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rime)


"They were enveloped in a dense freezing fog, and all the rigging became rimed in ice."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: meerschaum

The word of the day is meerschaum:
  1. a mineral, hydrous magnesium silicate, H 4 Mg 2 Si 3 O 1 0 , occurring in white, claylike masses, used for ornamental carvings, for pipe bowls, etc.; sepiolite.
  2. a tobacco pipe with a bowl made of this substance.
1789, "tobacco pipe with a bowl made of meerschaum," a type of soft white clay, from Ger., lit. "sea-foam," so called from its frothy appearance, translation of L. spuma maris, from Pers. kef-i-darya.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meerschaum)


"Whenever he had a moment to sit, he could usually be found smoking a meerschaum pipe, his head buried in a book."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Word of the day: barkentine

The word of the day is barkentine:
  1. a sailing vessel having three or more masts, square-rigged on the foremast and fore-and-aft-rigged on the other masts.
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/barkentine)


"On a misty morning in late April 1873, the Tigress, a steam barkentine out of Conception Bay, Newfoundland, was pushing through the loose floes and bergs off the coast of Labrador, heading for the seasonal seal-hunting grounds."

 - Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Word of the day: altricial

The word of the day is altricial:
  1. helpless at birth or hatching and requiring parental care for a period of time (opposed to precocial )
(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/altricial)


"The classic anthropological hypothesis known as the 'obstetrical dilemma' is a well-known explanation for human altriciality, a condition that has significant implications for human social and behavioral evolution.  The hypothesis holds that antagonistic selection for a large neonatal brain and a narrow, bipedal-adapted birth canal poses a problem for childbirth; the hominin 'solution' is to truncate gestation, resulting in an altricial neonate."

 - Holly M. Dunsworth et al., "Metabolic hypothesis for human altriciality", PNAS 109:15212 (September 18, 2012)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Word of the day: kinesics

The word of the day is kinesics:

  1. the study of body movements, gestures, facial expressions, etc., as a means of communication.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/kinesics)

"After conducting fieldwork together in New Guinea, Bateson and Mead coproduced ethnographic films and photodocumentation of Balinese kinesics."

- Montgomery McFate, "Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship", March - April 2005 Military Review

Word of the day: sisal

The word of the day is sisal:
noun
  1. Also called sisal hemp. a fiber yielded by an agave, Agave sisalana, of Yucatán, used for making rope, rugs, etc.
  2. the plant itself.

"While Morley and company found no German submarine bases, he did produce nearly 10,000 pages of intelligence reports documenting everything from navigable shoreline features to the economic impact of sisal production."

- Montgomery McFate, "Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship", March - April 2005 Military Review

Word of the day: subaltern

The word of the day is subaltern:

  1. lower in rank; subordinate: a subaltern employee.
  2. British Military. noting a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
  3. Logic.
    1. denoting the relation of one proposition to another when the first proposition is implied by the second but the second is not implied by the first.
    2. (in Aristotelian logic) denoting the relation of a particular proposition to a universal proposition having the same subject, predicate, and quality.
    3. of or pertaining to a proposition having either of these relations to another.

noun

  1. a person who has a subordinate position.
  2. British Military. a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
  3. Logic. a subaltern proposition.

"subordinate," c.1400 (implied in subalternal), from M.Fr. subalterne, from L.L. subalternus, from L. sub "under" + alternus "every other (one), one after the other" (see alternate). The noun meaning "person of inferior rank" is attested from 1605; as the designation of an army officer, from 1690.

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subaltern)


"Rejecting anthropology's status as the handmaiden of colonialism, anthropologists refused to 'collaborate' with the powerful, instead vying to represent the interests of indigenous peoples engaged in neocolonial struggles.  In the words of Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, anthropologists would now speak for the 'subaltern.'" 

- Montgomery McFate, "Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship", March - April 2005 Military Review

Word of the day: epistemology

The word of the day is epistemology:

  1. a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.
"theory of knowledge," 1856, coined by Scot. philosopher James F. Ferrier (1808-64) from Gk. episteme "knowledge," from Ionic Gk. epistasthai "know how to do, understand," lit. "overstand," from epi- "over, near" + histasthai "to stand." The scientific (as opposed to philosophical) study of the roots and paths of knowledge is epistemics (1969).

(http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epistemology)


"One of the central epistemological tenets of anthropology is cultural relativism—understanding other societies from within their own framework."

 - Montgomery McFate, "Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship", March - April 2005 Military Review