Below is an alphabetical list of words that have sent me hunting through a dictionary.
updated: 2 march 2015Jump to: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
abseilintr.v. To rappel.
accouchementn. A confinement during childbirth; a lying-in.
adumbratetr.v. 1. To give a sketchy outline of. 2. To prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow. 3. To disclose partially or guardedly. 4. To overshadow; shadow or obscure.
aesthete(also esthete) n. 1. One who cultivates an unusually high sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature. 2. One whose pursuit and admiration of beauty is regarded as excessive or affected.
[Back-formation from aesthetic.]
afflatusn. A creative impulse; an inspiration.
agitan. Acid indigestion.
amanuensisn. (amanuenses, plural) One who is employed to take dictation or to copy manuscript.
anapest(also anapaest) n. 1. A metrical foot composed of two short syllables followed by one long one, as in the word seventeen. 2. A line of verse using this meter; for example, 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house (Clement Clarke Moore).
animadversionn. 1. Strong criticism. 2. A critical or censorious remark.
anomien. 1. Social instability caused by erosion of standards and values. 2. Alienation and purposelessness experienced by a person or a class as a result of a lack of standards, values, or ideals. [French, from Greek anomia, lawlessness, from anomos, lawless: a-, without; + nomos, law]
ansiblen. 1. a hypothetical machine, capable of superluminal communication, i.e. the hypothetical process by which one might send information at faster-than-light speeds.
[coined by Ursula K. Le Guin in her 1966 novel, Rocannon's World]
antipodespl.n. 1. Any two places or regions that are on diametrically opposite sides of the earth. 2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Something that is the exact opposite or contrary of another; an antipode.
apodicticadj. Demonstrably true. (Also: apodeictic).
apotheosisn. 1. A model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal; paragon. 2. The elevation of a person to the status of a god.
appositeadj. Strikingly appropriate and relevant.
artificen. 1. An artful or crafty expedient; a stratagem. 2. Subtle but base deception; trickery. 3. Cleverness or skill; ingenuity. [French, from Old French, craftsmanship, from Latin artificium, from artifex, artific-, craftsman]
asceticn. A person who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion.
adj. 1. Leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement. See Synonyms at severe. 2. Pertaining to or characteristic of an ascetic; self-denying and austere: an ascetic existence.
attenuatev. tr. 1. To make slender, fine, or small: The drought attenuated the river to a narrow channel. 2. To reduce in force, value, amount, or degree; weaken: Medicine attentuated the fever's effect. 3. To lessen the density of; rarefy. 4. Biology. To make (bacteria or viruses) less virulent. 5. Electronics. To reduce (the amplitude of an electrical signal) with little or no distortion.
autochthonn. One of the earliest known inhabitants of a place; an aborigine.
auto-da-fén. 1. A judgment of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal condemning or acquitting persons accused of religious offenses. 2. An execution of such sentence, by the civil power, especially the burning of a heretic. It was usually held on Sunday, and was made a great public solemnity by impressive forms and ceremonies.
badigeonn. [French] A cement or paste (as of plaster and freestone, or of sawdust and glue or lime) used by sculptors, builders, and workers in wood or stone, to fill holes, cover defects, or finish a surface.
baldricn. 1. a belt, sometimes richly ornamented, worn diagonally from shoulder to hip, supporting a sword, horn, etc.
balletomanen. An ardent admirer of the ballet.
bantlingn. A young child. [Origin unknown.]
batrachianadj. Of or relating to vertebrate amphibians without tails, such as frogs and toads. n. A vertebrate amphibian.
beignet(also beigné) n. (Southern Louisiana) A square doughnut with no hole; a fritter.
belletristn. A writer of belles-lettres, i.e. literature regarded for its aesthetic value rather than its didactic or informative content (usually on literary or intellectual subjects).
boîten. A small restaurant or nightclub.
bollardn. 1. Nautical. A thick post on a ship or wharf, used for securing ropes and hawsers. 2. Chiefly British. One of a series of posts preventing vehicles from entering an area.
byren. British. A cow shed.
cachexian. Weight loss, wasting of muscle, loss of appetite, and general debility that can occur during a chronic disease. [Late Latin, from Greek kakhexia: kako-, caco- + hexis, condition]
campanilen. A bell tower, especially one near but not attached to a church or other public building.
cenotaphn. A monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere.
[from Greek kenotaphion: kenos, empty + taphos, tomb.]
chalcedonyn. A translucent to transparent milky or grayish quartz with distinctive microscopic crystals arranged in slender fibers in parallel bands.
charnel housen. A tomb, vault, cemetery, or other place where the bones of the dead are deposited; originally, a place for the bones thrown up when digging new graves in old burial grounds.
chiliasticadj. relating to or believing in the millennium of peace and happiness. (from chiliasm n. Christianity. The doctrine stating that Jesus will reign on earth for 1000 years.)
clepsydran. An ancient device that measured time by marking the regulated flow of water through a small opening. Also called water glass. [Latin, from Greek klepsudra : kleptein, kleps-, to steal + hudr, water]
colophonn. 1. An inscription placed usually at the end of a book, giving facts about its publication. 2. A publisher's emblem or trademark placed usually on the title page of a book. [Late Latin colophon, from Greek kolophon, summit, finishing touch.]
cordateadj. Having a heart-shaped outline.
costermongern. [Chiefly British] One who sells fruit, vegetables, fish, or other goods from a cart, barrow, or stand in the streets.
cravenadj. Characterized by abject fear; cowardly.
crepuscularadj. Of or like twilight; glimmering; imperfectly clear or luminous.
cressetn. A metal cup, often suspended on a pole, containing burning oil or pitch and used as a torch.
crucifern. 1. One who bears a cross in a religious procession. 2. Botany. Any of various plants in the mustard family (Cruciferae or Brassicaceae), which includes the alyssum, candytuft, cabbage, radish, broccoli, and many weeds.
culmn. 1. The stem of a grass or similar plant. 2. Waste from anthracite coal mines, consisting of fine coal, coal dust, and dirt. 3. Carboniferous shale.
deracinatetr. v. 1. To pull out by the roots; uproot. 2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.
desquamateintr.v. To shed, peel, or come off in scales. (Used of skin.)
desuetuden. A state of inactivity or disuse.
dialecticn. 1. The art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments. 2a. The process especially associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis. 2b. Hegel's critical method for the investigation of this process. 3. The contradiction between two conflicting forces viewed as the determining factor in their continuing interaction.
diametricadj. Exactly opposite; contrary.
dollymopn. Young and inexpensive prostitute.
ecumenicaladj. 1. Of worldwide scope or applicability; universal. 2a. Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church. 2b. Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.
eidolonn. A phantom; an ideal.
elidetr. v. 1. To omit or slur over (a syllable, for example) in pronunciation. 2. To strike out (something written). 3. To eliminate or leave out of consideration. 4. To cut short; abridge.
éminence grisen. A powerful adviser or decision-maker who operates secretly or unofficially. Also called gray eminence.
[French, the power behind the throne: éminence, power + grise, feminine of gris, gray, shadowy.]
enchiridionn. A handbook; a manual.
epiceneadj. 1. Having the characteristics of both sexes. 2. Effeminate; unmasculine. 3. Sexless; neuter. 4. (Linguistics) Having but one form of the noun for both the male and the female. n. 1. A person or thing that is epicene. 2. (Linguistics) An epicene word.
epigonen. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.
epiphyten. A plant, such as a tropical orchid or a staghorn fern, that grows on another plant upon which it depends for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Also called aerophyte, air plant.
epistolan. 1. A letter, especially a formal one. 2. A literary composition in the form of a letter.
eskern. A long, narrow ridge of coarse gravel deposited by a stream flowing in or under a decaying glacial ice sheet. Also called os. [Irish Gaelic eiscir, from Old Irish escir.]
etiolatev. 1. To cause to appear pale and sickly. 2. To make weak by stunting the growth or development of.
v. intr. Botany. To become blanched or whitened, as when grown without sunlight.
evanescentadj. Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor.v
excrescencen. 1. Something (especially something abnormal) growing out from something else. 2. A disfiguring or unwanted mark, part, or addition.
exegesisn. Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text (particularly the Bible).
[Greek exegesis, from exgeisthai, to interpret]
factotumn. 1. A person, as a handyman or servant, employed to do all kinds of work around the house. 2. Any employee or official having many different responsibilities.
fair dinkumadj. Australian slang. Genuine; honest; true.
fallowadj. 1. Plowed but left unseeded during a growing season. 2. Characterized by inactivity.
farragon. An assortment or a medley; a conglomeration.
febrileadj. Of, relating to, or characterized by fever; feverish. [From Latin febris, fever.]
fescuen. 1. A straw, wire, stick, etc., used chiefly to point out letters to children when learning to read. 2. Grass with wide flat leaves cultivated in Europe and America for permanent pasture and hay and for lawns.
fetorn. A strong offensive odor; stench. (Also: foetor).
fleamn. A sharp instrument used for opening veins, lancing gums, etc.; a kind of lancet.
frigorificadj. Causing coldness; chilling.
fructifyingv. Fruitful; productive.
fugn. A heavy, stale atmosphere, especially the musty air of an overcrowded or poorly ventilated room.
fuguen. 1. [Music] An imitative polyphonic composition in which a theme or themes are stated successively in all of the voices of the contrapuntal structure. 2. [Psychiatry] A pathological amnesiac condition during which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state. This condition, usually resulting from severe mental stress, may persist for as long as several months.
funicularadj. 1. Of, relating to, or resembling a rope or cord. 2. Operated or moved by a cable.
~ n. 1. A cable railway on a steep incline, especially such a railway with simultaneously ascending and descending cars counterbalancing one another.
fustiann. 1a. A coarse sturdy cloth made of cotton and flax. 1b. Any of several thick twilled cotton fabrics, such as corduroy, having a short nap. 2. Pretentious speech or writing; pompous language. adj. Pompous, bombastic, and ranting.
gaslightingv. [slang] To drive someone crazy. [more]
ghatn. A broad flight of steps leading down to the bank of a river in India, used especially by bathers.
giaourn. [Islam] A nonbeliever; an infidel.
gleetn. 1. Inflammation of the urethra resulting from chronic gonorrhea and characterized by a mucopurulent discharge. 2. The discharge that is characteristic of this inflammation.
gnomicadj. Sententious; uttering or containing maxims, or striking detached thoughts; aphoristic.
gobsmackedtr. v. [British slang] Utterly astonished; astounded. [Note: gob is an older slang term for mouth.]
Grand Guignoln. Drama that emphasizes the horrifying or the macabre.
[After Le Grand Guignol, a theater in Paris.]
haverintr. v. To vacillate. [Of uncertain origin.] In Hebrew, "haver" is a friend or companion. In Scotland and Northern England, it means to talk nonsense.
inanitionn. 1. Exhaustion, as from lack of nourishment or vitality. 2. The condition or quality of being empty.
incipientadj. Beginning to exist or appear; commencing; initial.
indurateadj. Hardened; without sensibility; unfeeling.
inimicaladj. 1. Injurious or harmful in effect; adverse. 2. Unfriendly; hostile.
[From Latin inimicus, unfriendly, adverse, hostile; enemy.]
inimitableadj. Defying imitation; matchless.
intaglion. 1. A printing process that uses an etched or engraved plate; the plate is smeared with ink and wiped clean, then the ink left in the recesses makes the print [syn: intaglio printing, gravure] 2. Glyptic art consisting of a sunken or depressed engraving or carving on a stone or gem (as opposed to cameo) [syn: diaglyph]
integumentn. 1. A natural outer covering or coat, such as the skin of an animal or the membrane enclosing an organ. 2. Botany. The envelope of an ovule.
jaspern. An opaque cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown.
jeremiadn. A literary work or speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom.
kanapl. n. Japanese syllabic writing. The characters are simplified kanji and are usually used with kanji primarily to write inflections, particles, and function words and to show the pronunciations of some kanji and of all foreign words.
kanjipl. n. A Japanese system of writing based on borrowed or modified Chinese characters.
karstn. An area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.
[German, after the Karst, a limestone plateau near Trieste.]
kinesiologyn. The study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans.
kittel(also kittle) v. t. To tickle.
lacunan. 1. A blank space or missing part. 2. An ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome. 3. [Anatomy] A cavity, space, or depression, especially in a bone, containing cartilage or bone cells.
lapidaryn. A person who works at cutting, polishing, or engraving gems.
adj. Engraved in stone; of an elegance suitable for inscription in stone.
lardoonn. A bit of fat pork or bacon used in larding.
loucheadj. Of questionable taste or morality; disreputable or indecent; dubious; shady.
lucubrateintr. v. 1. To write in a scholarly fashion; produce scholarship. 2. To elaborate, perfect, or compose, by night study or by laborious endeavor.
[Latin lucubrare, to work at night by lamplight.]
lugubriousadj. Mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree.
[From Latin lugubris, from lugere, to mourn.]
machicolationn. [Architecture] 1. an opening in the floor between the corbels of a projecting gallery or parapet, as on a wall or in the vault of a passage, through which missiles, molten lead, etc., might be cast upon an enemy beneath. 2. a projecting gallery or parapet with such openings.
manichaeanadj. Of or relating to Manichaeism; dualistic. [from Late Latin Manichaeus, from Late Greek Manikhaios, from Manikhaios Manes, the founder of the philosophy, a Persian of the third century A. D., who taught a dualism in which Light is regarded as the source of Good, and Darkness as the source of Evil.]
manquéadj. Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one's ambitions or capabilities: an artist manqué; a writer manqué.
mergansern. Any of various fish-eating diving ducks of the genus Mergus or related genera, having a slim hooked bill. Also called sheldrake.
mewsn. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) 1. A group of buildings originally containing private stables, often converted into residential apartments. 2. A small street, alley, or courtyard on which such buildings stand.
moietyn. 1. A half. 2. A part, portion, or share. 3. Anthropology. Either of two kinship groups based on unilateral descent that together make up a tribe or society.
monographn. A scholarly piece of writing of essay or book length on a specific, often limited subject.
muskegn. A swamp or bog formed by an accumulation of sphagnum moss, leaves, and decayed matter resembling peat.
naïfn. One who is artless, credulous, or uncritical.
ne plus ultran. 1. The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the ultimate. 2. The most profound degree, as of a condition or quality.
[From Latin meaning, no more beyond]
neriticadj. Of, relating to, or inhabiting the ocean waters between the low tide mark and a depth of about a hundred fathoms (200 meters).
[German neritisch, perhaps ultimately from Nereus.]
neurasthenicn. A person suffering a nervous breakdown.
nihilistn. An adherent of the philosophy of nihilism which is an extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence. One that holds that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. One who believes that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
noeticadj. Of, relating to, originating in, or apprehended by the intellect.
[Greek noetikos, from noesis, understanding.]
odalisque(also odalisk) n. A concubine or woman slave in a harem. [French, from Turkish odalik, chambermaid: odah, room + -lik, suffix expressing function.]
ogiven. 1. Statistics. 1a. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative. 1b. A frequency distribution. 2. Architecture. 2a. A diagonal rib of a Gothic vault. 2b. A pointed arch. ogival adj.
onusn. 1. A difficult or disagreeable responsibility or necessity; a burden or obligation. 2. A stigma. 3. Blame. 4. The burden of proof.
ostlern. One who is employed to tend horses, especially at an inn.
otioseadj. 1. Lazy; indolent. 2. Of no use. 3. Ineffective; futile. 4. Vain.
[Latin otiosus, idle, from otium, leisure.]
Panglossianadj. Blindly or naively optimistic.
[After Pangloss, an optimist in Candide, a satire by Voltaire.]
penetraliapl. n. 1. The innermost parts of a building, especially the sanctuary of a temple. 2. Hidden things or secrets; privacy; sanctuary.
peristalsisn. The wavelike muscular contractions of the alimentary canal or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening.
pettifogv. 1. To bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters. 2. To carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business. 3. To practice chicanery of any sort.
phlogistonn. A hypothetical substance formerly thought to be a volatile constituent of all combustible substances, released as flame in combustion.
[From Greek, neuter of phlogistos, inflammable, from phlogizein, to set on fire, from phlox, phlog-, flame.]
Note: This was supposed to be united with combustible (phlogisticated) bodies and to be separated from incombustible (dephlogisticated) bodies, the phenomena of flame and burning being the escape of phlogiston. Soot and sulphur were regarded as nearly pure phlogiston. The essential principle of this theory was, that combustion was a decomposition rather than the union and combination which it has since been shown to be.
phylacteriespl. n. 1. [Judaism.] Two small leather boxes, each containing strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, one of which is strapped to the forehead and the other to the left arm; traditionally worn by Jewish men during morning worship, except on the Sabbath and holidays. 2a. An amulet. 2b. A reminder.
pleonasmn. 1. The use of more words than are required to express an idea; redundancy. 2. A superfluous word or phrase.
pocosinn. (Chiefly South Atlantic U.S.) A swamp in an upland coastal region. Also called dismal.
polemicn. 1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine. 2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation; a disputant.
porraceousadj. Resembling the leek in color; greenish.
possetn. A beverage composed of hot milk curdled by some strong infusion, as by wine, etc.
promulgatetr.v. 1. To make known (a decree, for example) by public declaration; announce officially. See Synonyms at announce. 2. To put (a law) into effect by formal public announcement.
prosaicadj. 1a. Consisting or characteristic of prose. 1b. Matter-of-fact; straightforward. 2. Lacking in imagination and spirit; dull.
prurientadj. Inordinately interested in matters of sex; lascivious; salacious.
puissancen. Power; might.
[Middle English, from Old French, from poissant, powerful, present participle of pooir, to be able.]
putativeadj. Generally regarded as such; supposed.
Rabelaisianadj. 1. Of or relating to Rabelais or his works. 2. Characterized by coarse humor or bold caricature.
refulgentadj. shining brightly; radiant; gleaming
rheostatn. A continuously variable electrical resistor used to regulate current.
rhetoricn. 1. The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively. 2. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively. 3. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject. 3. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous. 4. Verbal communication; discourse.
riparianadj. Of, on, or relating to the banks of a natural course of water.
risibleadj. 1. Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter. 2. Eliciting laughter; ludicrous. 3. Capable of laughing or inclined to laugh. [Late Latin risibilis, from Latin risus, past participle of ridere, to laugh.]
roman-fleuven. pl. romans-fleuves ~ A long novel, often in many volumes, chronicling the history of several generations of a family, community, or other group and often presenting an overall view of society during a particular epoch. Also called saga novel.
[French: roman, novel + fleuve, river.]
rubricn. 1. A class or category; a title; a name. 2. A part of a manuscript or book, such as a title, heading, or initial letter, that appears in decorative red lettering or is otherwise distinguished from the rest of the text. 3. An authoritative rule or direction. 4. A short commentary or explanation covering a broad subject. 5. Red ocher.
samizdatn. 1. The secret publication and distribution of government-banned literature in the former Soviet Union. 2. The literature produced by this system. 3. An underground press. 4. Any less-than-official promulgation of textual material, especially rare, obsolete, or never-formally-published computer documentation.
[Russian, literally "self publishing"]
sangfroidn. Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.
sanguinaryadj. 1. Accompanied by bloodshed. 2. Eager for bloodshed; bloodthirsty. 3. Consisting of blood.
satrapn. 1. a governor of a province under the ancient Persian monarchy. 2. a subordinate ruler, often a despotic one.
satrapyn. the province or jurisdiction of a satrap
scotopian. The ability to see in darkness or dim light; dark-adapted vision. [Greek skotos, darkness + -opia.]
screedn. 1. A long monotonous harangue. 2. A long piece of writing.
scrutableadj. Capable of being understood through study and observation; comprehensible.
scurfn. 1. Scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff. 2. A loose scaly crust coating a surface, especially of a plant. 3. Anything like flakes or scales adhering to a surface.
sedulousadj. Diligent; painstaking; industrious.
seigneurialadj. Of, relating to, or befitting a seigneur (i.e. A man of rank, especially a feudal lord in the ancien régime.)
sepulchre(also: sepulcher) n. 1. a chamber that is used as a grave; burial chamber.
shambolicadj. [Chiefly British slang] Disorderly or chaotic.
shibbolethn. 1. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another. 2a. A word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword. 2b. A commonplace saying or idea. 3. A custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider.
sigiln. 1. A seal; a signet. 2. A sign or an image considered magical.
slumgullionn. A watery meat stew.
sortilegen. 1. The act or practice of foretelling the future by drawing lots. 2. Sorcery; witchcraft.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin sortilegium, from sortilegus, diviner: Latin sors, sort-, lot; Latin legere, to read]
soukn. 1. A market, or part of a market, in an Arab city.
spoliationn. 1. The act or an instance of plundering or despoiling. 2. Authorized plundering of neutrals at sea in time of war. 3. Law. The destruction or material alteration of a bill of exchange, will, or the like. 4. The act of spoiling or damaging something.
steampunkn. A genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power; also written steam-punk.
steganographyn. Secret communication by hiding the existence of message.
[From Greek stego- (cover) + -graphy (writing).]
sui generisadj. Being the only example of its kind; constituting a class of its own; unique.
[From Latin sui "of its own" + generis "kind".]
superannuatedadj. 1. Retired or ineffective because of advanced age. 2. Outmoded; obsolete.
synecdochen. A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).
synergyn. 1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. 2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect. [From Greek sunergia, cooperation, from sunergos, working together.]
syzygyn. 1. Astronomy. a) Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. b) Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. c) The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.
2. The combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody. 3. The intimately united and apparently fused condition of certain low organisms during conjugation.
tarbooshn. A felt cap (usually red) for a man, shaped like a flat-topped cone with a tassel that hangs from the crown; fez.
temerariousadj. Recklessly or presumptuously daring; rash.
tenebrificadj. 1. Serving to obscure or darken. 2. Gloomy; dark.
teratologyn. The biological study of birth defects.
termagantn. A quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew.
thanen. (also, thegn) 1. Early English History. a member of any of several aristocratic classes of men ranking between earls and ordinary freemen, and granted lands by the king or by lords for military service. 2. Scottish History. a person, ranking with an earl's son, holding lands of the king; the chief of a clan, who became one of the king's barons.
tourmalinen. Any of a group of silicate minerals of complex composition, containing boron, aluminum, etc., usually black but having various colored, transparent varieties used as gems.
toutn. 1. Chiefly British. One who obtains information on racehorses and their prospects and sells it to bettors. 2. One who solicits customers brazenly or persistently. 3. Chiefly Scots and Irish Slang. One who informs against others; an informer.
tropen. 1. A figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor. 2. A word or phrase interpolated as an embellishment in the sung parts of certain medieval liturgies.
[Latin tropus, from Greek tropos, turn, figure of speech.]
ukasen. 1. In imperial Russia, a published proclamation or order, having the force of law. 2. Any order or decree issued by an authority; an edict.
undinen. 1. In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being having water as its element. 2. One of a class of fabled female water spirits who might receive a human soul by intermarrying with a mortal. 3. Any of various water spirits.
verticiln. A circular arrangement, as of flowers, leaves, or hairs, growing about a central point; a whorl.
vicissituden. 1. A change or variation. 2. The quality of being changeable; mutability. 3. One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings. Often used in the plural.
vitrioln. Bitterly abusive feeling or expression.
viziern. A high officer in a Muslim government, especially in the Ottoman Empire.
wenn. A harmless cyst, especially on the scalp or face, containing the fatty secretion of a sebaceous gland.
zugzwangn. Chess. A situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect.
[Origin: 1900-1905; German, equiv. to Zug move + Zwang constraint, obligation]