Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Word of the day: tsuris

The word of the day is tsuris:
  1. trouble; woe.

"Really, why go through the trouble of leaving home, battling T.S.A. lines, enduring delayed flights, and all the other travel tsuris when you can just stay where all the tourists want to be anyway, in N.Y.C.?"

 - Bob Mankoff, "The Cartoon Lounge: No Place Like Home", 27 July 2016 (

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Word of the day: regnant

The word of the day is regnant:
  1. reigning; ruling (usually used following the noun it modifies)
  2. exercising authority, rule, or influence.
  3. prevalent; widespread.

"Though the term is only used three times in the full body of his work, the invisible hand has become the regnant image of Smith’s philosophy."

 - John Paul Rollert, "Of Morals and Markets", Spring 2016 The University of Chicago Magazine (

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Word of the day: nuncio

The word of the day is nuncio:
  1. a diplomatic representative of the pope at a foreign court or capital: equal in status to an ambassador.
papal envoy, 1528, from It. nuncio (now nunzio), from L. nuntius "messenger," from PIE base *neu- "to shout" (cf. Gk. neuo "to nod, beckon," O.Ir. noid "make known").


"When an American general arrived to confer with the papal nuncio, the U.S. Army blared music from loudspeakers to prevent journalists from eavesdropping."

 - Alex Ross, "The sound of hate", 4 July 2016 The New Yorker (

Word of the day: inveigh

The word of the day is inveigh:

to protest strongly or attack vehemently with words; rail (usually followed by against)

1486, "to introduce," from L. invehi "to attack with words," originally "carry oneself against," from passive inf. of invehere "bring in, carry in," from in- "against" + vehere "to carry" (see vehicle). Meaning "to give vent to violent denunciation" is from 1529.


"Most important, if Bush’s faith gave him certainties that became overweening and dangerous during his Presidency, why did they not so manifest themselves while he was on the road to Damascus fifteen years earlier, or when he was inveighing against nation-building in 2000?"

 - Thomas Mallon, "W is for why", 4 July The New Yorker (

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Word of the day: mentation

The word of the day is mentation:
  1. mental activity.
1850, from L. ment- "mind" (see mental) + -ation.


"Unlike Foster's emphasis on the mentation of his beasts, Thwaites is focused on achieving the physicality of the goat."

 - Carolyn Ristau, "Wild Things", 17 June 2016 Science (

Friday, July 01, 2016

Word of the day: sclerosed

The word of the day is sclerosed:
  1. hardened or indurated, as by sclerosis.

"The swift's minute filoplumes would convey essential information on feather orientation to its brain; Foster's body hair ruffles empathetically.  The urban fox engenders his deep respect: choosing to hunt, even though it could survive on pizza scraps.  In contrast, humans seem 'sclerosed superspecialists.'"

 - Carolyn Ristau, "Wild Things", 17 June 2016 Science (

No, I don't get it.  In those examples, aren't the swifts and foxes specialized?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Word of the day: blue-sky

The word of the day is blue-sky:

Not limited by conventional notions of what is practical or feasible; imaginative or visionary


"Although Europe funds ancient DNA work as basic research, it is beginning to pay medical and technological dividends.  For example, by sequencing the Neandertal genome—a blue skies project if there ever was one—researchers have discovered a host of Neandertal immune and other genes in living people that profoundly affect risks of disease (Science, 12 February, p. 648)."

 - Ann Gibbons, "Ancient DNA Divide", 17 June 2016 Science

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Word of the day: egest

The word of the day is egest:
  1. to discharge, as from the body; void (opposed to ingest ).

"By the end of the movie, Refn has toyed with cannibalism, lesbian necrophilia, the egestion of an eyeball, and other minor sports, all of them filmed in lavish taste."

 - Anthony Lane, "Pet Peeves", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (

Word of the day: solecism

The word of the day is solecism:

  1. a nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was.
  2. a breach of good manners or etiquette.
  3. any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.
1577, from M.Fr. sol├ęcisme, from L. soloecismus "mistake in speaking or writing," from Gk. soloikismos "to speak (Greek) incorrectly," from soloikos "ungrammatical utterance," prop. "a speaking like the people of Soloi," from Soloi, Athenian colony in Cilicia, whose dialect the Athenians considered barbarous.


"The waitresses seemed harassed and incompetent, teen-age girls with untidy hair.  'Enjoy,' one of them said.

“'An expression I deplore for its being a grammatical goofball,' Floyd said.  And to Jonty, 'A solecism, as you might put it.'”

 - Paul Theroux, "Upside-Down Cake", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (

Word of the day: thewy

The word of the day is thewy:
  1. Usually, thews. muscle or sinew.
  2. thews, physical strength.

“'My favorite was the al-dente pasta,' Rose said. 'With the Bolo sauce.'

“'Both were thewy and farinaceous,' Floyd said, tearing at a piece of bread. 'And what was that witches’ brew we had on Saturday nights, with the crunchy undercooked onion? And the fatty meat—that was the best part!'”

 - Paul Theroux, "Upside-Down Cake", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (

Word of the day: blesbok

The word of the day is blesbok:
  1. a large antelope, Damaliscus albifrons, of southern Africa, having a blaze on the face.


"The high veldt rolled away, in shades of coffee and wheat.  We passed blesbok, oryx, wildebeest."

 - Paige Williams, "Digging for glory", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (

Word of the day: calcrete

The word of the day is calcrete:

calcretealso called Hardpancalcium-rich duricrust, a hardened layer in or on a soil. It is formed on calcareous materials as a result of climatic fluctuations in arid and semiarid regions. Calcite is dissolved in groundwater and, under drying conditions, is precipitated as the water evaporates at the surface. Rainwater saturated with carbon dioxide acts as an acid and also dissolves calcite and then redeposits it as a precipitate on the surfaces of the soil particles; as the interstitial soil spaces are filled, an impermeable crust is formed.


"The bones may be more than ten thousand years old, the scientists decide; a prominent brow ridge on one skull compounds the sense that the creature had an 'almost freakish' appearance.

"The brow bone, however, turns out to be a calcrete deposit often found in caves."

 - Paige Williams, "Digging for glory", 27 June 2016 The New Yorker (