Vocabulary Lovers

Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 08:45 am
There are some words that everyone knows, and some words that no one knows which are useable about once a century, but other words that we do hear in use, but don't quite know the meaning of.

I would like each post in this thread to be a definition and examples of the used of one such word. I will start:

excoriate -verb

(1) to wear off the skin of; abrade
(2) to censure scathingly; denounce

Examples: (1) Almost three decades later, some environmentalists continue to treat the annual event as a time to excoriate others for shameful neglect or destructive greed.
(2) He used the occasion to excoriate the broadcast community for its abject failure in this area.
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Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 09:32 am
Here's one, though I'm not sure how obscure it is. I like its derivation:

Pronunciation: 'äb-f&-"skAt; äb-'f&s-"kAt, &b-
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
Etymology: Late Latin obfuscatus, past participle of obfuscare, from Latin ob- in the way + fuscus dark brown -- more at OB-, DUSK
1 a : DARKEN b : to make obscure
- ob·fus·ca·tion /"äb-(")f&s-'kA-sh&n/ noun
- ob·fus·ca·to·ry /äb-'f&s-k&-"tOr-E, &b-, -"tor-/ adjective
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Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 03:29 pm
onerous - adj

(1) involving, imposing, or constituting a burden : TROUBLESOME (an
onerous task)
(2) Law: entailing obligations that exceed advantages (onerous

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French onereus, from Latin onerosus, from oner-, onus burden; akin to Sanskrit anas cart

(1) On September 23 Canada's governing party announced that in a few years time, it would begin freeing the citizens of its country from an onerous debt.
(2) But while Queensland Labor figures fall victim to strict party rules requiring local branch members to live locally, the Liberals are not encumbered by such an onerous standard.
(3) To have the local governments bear the costs of expanding public transit, let alone just maintaining the status quo is onerous.
(4) Before becoming adept at using a computer and a word processing program, writing was an onerous task, because editing and rewriting meant, more or less, having to "type the whole thing over."
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Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 04:53 pm
I guess we're the only two playing this game, Brandon. So be it...


Pronunciation: ji-'jün
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin jejunus empty of food, hungry, meager
1 : lacking nutritive value <jejune diets>
2 : devoid of significance or interest : DULL <jejune lectures>
3 : JUVENILE, PUERILE <jejune reflections on life and art>
synonym see INSIPID
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Reply Thu 6 Oct, 2005 08:23 am

adj - supposed or apparent. The emphasis is on the fact that it is apparent, not proven.

Example: (1) The newspaper, despite its well earned reputation as scandal sheet, was forced, as a putative seeker of truth, to give the appearance of impartiality.
(2) Although several people witnessed the robbery, none was able to identify the putative culprit.
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Reply Thu 6 Oct, 2005 08:25 am
good stuff y'all
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Reply Sat 25 Mar, 2006 09:11 am

eu·phe·mism [ yfə mìzzəm ] (plural eu·phe·misms)



1. less offensive synonym: a word or phrase used in place of a term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive

2. use of inoffensive words: the use of a word or phrase that is more neutral, vague, or indirect to replace a direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive term

[Late 16th century. < Greek euphēmismos < euphēmizein "speak with pleasing words" < phēmē "speech"]

eu·phe·mis·tic [ yfə místik ]adj
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Reply Sat 25 Mar, 2006 12:52 pm
defenestration - de·fen·es·tra·tion

a throwing of a person or thing out of a window

(May 23, 1618)

Incident of Bohemian resistance to Habsburg authority.

In 1617 Catholic officials in Bohemia closed Protestant chapels in violation of the religious-liberty guarantee of 1609. At an assembly called by the Protestants, the imperial regents were found guilty of violating the guarantee and were thrown from the windows of the council room of Prague Castle. Though the victims were not seriously hurt, the incident sparked the Bohemian revolt against Emperor Ferdinand II and led to the Thirty Years' War.
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Reply Sat 25 Mar, 2006 12:52 pm
I might add that fenestra is latin for window
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