Saturday, April 25, 2015

Word of the day: miasma

The word of the day is miasma:

  1. noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
  2. a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.

from Gk. miasma (gen. miasmatos) "stain, pollution," related to miainein "to pollute" (<a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/miasma"></a>)

"Now staff and volunteers—mostly children and spouses of medical workers who had sought shelter at the hospital—hunched over the infirm, dispensing sips of water and fanning the miasma with bits of cardboard."

 - Sheri Fink, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (2013)



Friday, April 03, 2015

Word of the day: bathymetry

The word of the day is bathymetry:

  1. the measurement of the depths of oceans, seas, or other large bodies of water.
  2. the data derived from such measurement, especially as compiled in topographic map.  (<a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bathymetry">dictionary.com</a>)

"Also sensitive to sea floor roughness are the internal waves in oceans that bring up deep, cold, nutrient-rich waters to the surface and carry dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide to ocean depths.  'Knowing the sea floor bathymetry better would definitely improve the mixing models that we use," says Steven Jayne, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts."

 - Eric Hand, "New satellite radar could find 100,000 underwater mountains", 20 March 2015 <a href="http://news.sciencemag.org/earth/2015/03/new-satellite-radar-could-find-100000-underwater-mountains">Science</a>

Friday, March 06, 2015

word of the day: wanhope

The word of the day is wanhope:

Want of hope; despair; also, faint or delusive hope; delusion. (thefreedictionary.com)


"'The predominant mood at Count Ghastly's house these days is a triple-layered wanhope frosted with a fitful gloom,' explained the village pastry chef to a tea shop of quidnuncs and gossips whose schadenfreude was snapping up crumbs of rueful news."

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

Thursday, March 05, 2015

word of the day: minatory

The word of the day is minatory:

menacing; threatening.
Latin minātōrius, equivalent to Latin minā () to menace (dictionary.com)


"Jonquil's practical grasp of geography was elevated by a searing sense of majesty that led her onto trails of ill repute and through mountains of minatory majesty."

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

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) (dictionary.com)




"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 (dictionary.com)




"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 (dictionary.com)

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

 - Terry Pratchett, Mort (1987)