Sunday, March 12, 2017

Meaning, please; silicosis

SILICOSIS: Travis McGee explains to someone about various maladies that people can get, and he's talking about miners getting silicosis (which I'd never seen before).

Meaning: lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica.

POLYMATH: You'd assume this would have something to do with mathematics. It does, in a way; but everything else is included.

Meaning: a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.

MISCEGENATION: I just found this in a Spenser: For Hire book. It means interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types. Spenser was talking about himself and Hawk; it was a joke about something Susan Silverman had said.

AMATIVE: I won't write the sentence here, but it's from a famed Jack London book called The Sea Wolf. Protagonist Humphrey van Weyden is thinking about women, so I assumed love had something to do with it.

Meaning of amative: adjective, relating to or inclined toward love, especially sexual love; amorous.

VELLICATIONS: Wolfe observed the vellications with a frown and poured his second beer.

It was obvious that Wolfe's guest was wiggling and squirming around.

Meaning: (plural) the act of twitching or of causing to twitch; also : a local twitching of a group of muscle fibers

INTERLOCUTION: As I related to Mr. Goodwin in our interlocution, Hale had his share of ... calumniators.

This sentence actually has two jaw-breaking words. An interlocution (which spellcheck doesn't like) is simply a "conversation, discussion, or dialogue." To calumniate is " to utter maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about."

PEREGRINATION: "Confound it, I don't want to hear about your peregrination at this moment."

It's from the same novel as three words above. It looks like a peregrine, a powerful falcon, but it's not.

Meaning: a journey, especially a long or meandering one.

SOLIPSISM: This solipsism was on display Saturday and Sunday morning, as Trump, at Mar-a-Lago and far from the strictures and structures of the White House, unleashed his most aggressive and scattered tweetstorm in some time.

I couldn't guess the meaning from context.

Meaning: the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.


 I heard this word online, but I wasn't sure of the meaning.

not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.

INVEIGHING: That represents a shameless about-face by the Republicans, who spent the eight years of the Obama Administration inveighing against deficit spending.

Of course the Republicans were railing against deficit spending.

Meaning of inveigh: speak or write about (something) with great hostility.

Yes, that sounds like the Republicans.

NASCENT: This should come as no surprise for the millions of people who came together last year in the nascent days of Trump’s administration to rally against what was largely viewed of a rejection of women’s power in Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss and an embrace of an alleged sexual predator as the nation’s leader. 

I assume nascent means early. Let's see:

Meaning of nascent: coming or having recently come into existence.

It looks like I was right. By the way, that sentence is way too long.

IDIOSYNCRATIC: I'd heard this word before, but I wasn't sure the meaning when I just heard it on TV.

Meaning of idiosyncratic: peculiar or individual.

Using idiosyncrasy in a sentence: While my father had many peculiar habits, his biggest idiosyncrasy was collecting his own toenail clippings. (from

HAVER: I heard the word havered on TV and wondered what it means; I'd never heard it.

Meaning of haver: talk foolishly; babble. In England: act in a vacillating or indecisive manner.

Interestingly, spellcheck doesn't like haver or havered.

MENDACIOUS: We have never had a president so ill-informed about the nature of his office, so openly mendacious, so self-destructive, or so brazen in his abusive attacks on the courts, the press, Congress (including members of his own party), and even senior officials within his own administration.

I didn't remember mendacious, so I looked it up.

Meaning: not telling the truth; lying.

CHOLERIC: Bannon is a choleric figure who once described himself as a “Leninist” who wanted to “destroy the state” and “bring everything crashing down”.

I'd never heard of a "choleric figure" before, so I decided to look it up. It means bad-tempered or irritable.

CALUMNY: The public calumny from that reaction was so bad that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to claim that Trump was being sarcastic.

Meaning: the making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone's reputation; slander.

Calumny looks a little like calamity, but the meaning is far different.

SOLIPSISM: He has demonstrated an egotism that borders on solipsism.

Meaning: the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.

Yes, that sounds about right.

TAUTOLOGOUS: “Royal regalia” is therefore tautologous, and “the regalia of a bishop” is contradictory.

I'd never heard of this word before. Tautology involves "needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in "widow woman."

It sounds like tautology involves "beating a dead horse" verbally.

PERSPICACIOUS: This is another word I've seen before but wasn't sure about it. It means "having a ready insight into and understanding of things."

I'd say that Perry Mason was a perspicacious kinda guy.

AVERRED: "Mostly so," Chan averred.

This is from the first Charlie Chan book by Earl Derr Biggers. Aver means to state positively, so he might have use said instead of averred.

IMPLACABLE: Decent little beggars individually, but, as a mob, just pitiless and implacable.

I'd heard of implacable before, but I needed to check the meaning. It means relentless, unstoppable.

LAGNIAPPE: ESPN likes to schedule games with a little bit of lagniappe as they say in New Orleans. A little something extra.

I'd never heard of lagniappe before. As that second sentence says, it means "something given as a bonus or extra gift." Interestingly, it's pronounced LAN-yap.

EGALITARIAN: If you listen to Nick Saban, it's easy to understand why he didn't stay in the NFL. Didn't like league's egalitarian, restrictive framework.

I'd seen the word egalitarian before, but I wasn't sure of the exact meaning.

According to an online dictionary, it means "relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities."

Abraham Lincoln would have approved.

AGITPROP: Just now, I found the word agitprop in an article about political misinformation. I'd never seen the word before.

As expected, agitprop means "political (originally communist) propaganda, especially in art or literature."

I loved it when the writer talked about Der Chef’s reign of error. It's hard to beat that turn of phrase.

EUPHEMISM: Yesterday, I found the word "euphimism" in an online story. The writer, of course, meant euphemism, and the editors didn't catch it (or they had no editors).

I know the word, but I thought I'd look it up. Here's what it said online:

euphemism is a polite expression used in place of words or phrases that otherwise might be considered harsh or unpleasant to hear.

If you called someone slow instead of stupid, that would be a euphemism.

CHARIVARI: The charivari had no effect on the Siamese.

I'd never seen the word charivari before, so I looked it up.

It's a noun that means "a noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person" or "a series of discordant noises."

I doubt I'd ever use that word in a sentence.

ORTHOGRAPHIC: The sight was like a B-12 shot to one who had won all the spelling bees in grade school and had become an orthographic snob ever since.

I'd never seen orthographic before, and the internet only explains it in terms of orthography, which tells me nothing. It involves spelling.

One web site defines orthography as "t
he art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling."

I doubt I'd use orthographic in a sentence, either.


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