deliquium: chemically, dissolution into air or liquid. otherwise, a swooning or faint mood
ebullition: boiling up or pouring out, either emotionally, physically, or linguistically
peripety: corruption of peripeteia, a sudden turn of events, usually in literature
bruit: (noun) a din or loud noise. (verb) to voice loudly or spread rumor
trumpery: showy, deceptive, or nonsensical (from tromper, to deceive)
voluptuary: a person devoted to luxury and sensual pleasure
maunder: to talk or move about aimlessly or confusedly
insouciant: carefree, indifferent, or nonchalant
dulia: a theological term signifying the honor paid to the saints (as opposed to god)
lazaret: a small ship, room or building used for quarantine (or simply set aside)
disseizin: wrongful dispossession of one in the possession of real property
surplice: a loose-fitting garment with fabric crossing diagonally in front
quillon: one of the two protrusions forming the crossbar of a sword
opetide: early spring, when flowers’ buds are beginning to open
omnisubjugant: one to whom everyone else is subject (clearly)
anchorite: a hermit or one who has otherwise isolated himself
propinquity: nearness or similarity in time, place, or nature
gallimaufry: a medley or jumble (originally a food term)
legerdemain: sleight of hand (French: “light of hand”)
dandiacal: of or pertaining to dandies; foppish
aureate: gold, brilliant, or ornate in style
apposite: relevant, apt, or well-suited
guerdon: a reward or compensation
pleach: to interweave or braid
portreeve: a port warden
anacreontic: after the style of Anacreon, a Greek poet fond of women and drinking
tholus: a circular building with a conical or vaulted roof (Greek)
architrave: the lowermost molding at the top of a colonnade
gonfalon: a standard or banner hung from a crossbar
caique: a rowboat or small sailing ship
fiacre: a small, four-wheeled carriage
pardine: a leopard or panther
nigrescent: not quite black
hypallage: a reversal of an expected phrasing (i.e. doing well -> well doing)
renversé: a French term, meaning something performed with a bent waist
toise: an old French unit of length equivalent to 6.4ft (almost exactly 2m)
quinsy: an outdated term for some forms of tonsil-related disease
obliquity: divergent – mathematically, astronomically, or mentally
iracundulous: a redundant addition to iracund (prone to anger)
tunicle: a garment worn by certain religious functionaries
meseraick: an anatomical term relating to the humors
eleemosynary: pertaining to or supported by charity
prolegomena: an introductory essay or preface
whilom: formerly or at one time
From Ten Thousand A-Year
pomatum: a perfumed unguent for the scalp (it’s pomade)
bedizen: to ornament or dress in a showy or pompous manner
opprobrious: expressing (or bringing) reproach or scorn
champerty: sharing the proceeds of a lawsuit by an outside party who has encouraged the
litigation. Used to be illegal, is now the standard
animadversion: a critical or reproachful remark
jackanapes: an impudent person, especially a young man or child
fustian: a stout fabric of cotton and flax, or unnecessarily turgid language
virago: a strong and forward woman, or critical and scolding woman
palaver: to talk profusely or idly
From Glaucus; or, The Wonders of the Shore
congener: an organism belonging to the same class or group as another organism
coracle: a small boat made of wicker and a treated or waterproof material
sciolism: superficial knowledge, or a pretentious attitude of scholarship
tyro: a beginner or novice
metempsychosis: belief in reincarnation (as animals and plants included)
teraphim: household gods, worshiped by early Hebrews via idols
eidolon: a phantom, apparition, or idol
From the last hundred pages or so of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:
obtruncate: to deprive of a limb (makes sense).
indissoluble: perpetual or incapable of being dissolved or destroyed. I love double negatives within words.
oedematous: of or pertaining to the edema (obviously). Edema: interstitial cellular fluid.
sententious: given to pithy or moralizing sayings.
ratiocination: the process of logical reasoning.
aposiopetic: (aposiopesis) breaking off a sentence in the middle, as if unable to proceed
parallelogramical: parallelogram-shaped (clearly; I just liked the word).
radix: the base of a numerical system, or the root of a plant (interesting).
jactitation: a boast that causes harm to another, also extreme restlessness in bed?
delectation: enjoyment (knew it).
saturnine: sluggish, melancholy, or bitter in temperament.
farthingal: hoops used to expand women’s skirts at the time of the book.
palfry: (palfrey) a woman’s saddle, smaller and softer.
placket-hole: the hole that goes into a pocket (!).
concupiscence: sexual lust, or more generally, passion.
windlass: a sort of crank-based lifting machine (no idea).
costive: constipated, slow to act, or stingy (very versatile word!).
impuissance: (impuissant) weak, feeble.
captious: of a disposition to point out faults, or ensnaring and perplexing when referring to argument.
farrago: a mixture or medley.
pannier: a basket or bag (i.e. breadbasket), or again hoops to expand skirts.
basilicon: an ointment made of wax, pitch, resin, and oil or lard.
ecliptic, trine, and sextil: all terms to do with astrological positions.
argute: shrewd or subtle (I assume it has roots in the hundred-eyed god Argus).
It never occurred to me that the above oath, so benign and absurd in sound, is actually a corruption of “God’s hooks,” a euphemism for the nails in the cross. Gadzooks indeed!
From Burton’s translation of the 1001 Nights.
grammarye: corruption of “grammary” or vice versa. General knowledge or erudition.
nenuphar: the “great white water lily of Europe.” Okay…
carnelian: a type of red chalcedony made into jewelry. Was a descriptor for some lady’s lips.
wot: know. Variation of “wit.”
lout: bend or stoop low out of courtesy. (I know what the other lout is)
wassail: to drink someone’s health or revel in general with drink.
sworder: swordsman or fighter.
eyne: archaic plural of “eye.” Really now, you could just say eyes.
hent: to seize or grab.
garth: a courtyard or garden.
syce: a groom or stable boy.
viaticum: supplies for a journey – also when the Eucharist is given to one near death.
gugglet: see guglet > see goglet > a long-necked earthenware container for water or liquid.
dight: to dress or adorn.
limn: to portray or illuminate – originally to literally illuminate.
meseemeth: it seems to me. Obviously… but come on.
Did you ever notice that “broadcast,” when broken down, essentially means to “throw in a wide pattern?” Neither did I. And yet it makes so much sense. Start looking closely at everything about you and you find this sort of thing everywhere.