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Two for the Price of One: captious; pica (pied, magpie, pie); fustian (fusty); palladian; trepan; wattle (wattle and daub); frottage

Eyesight, used figuratively: lyncean; purblind; strabismus; inveigle; tunnel vision; scotoma; myopic

Papal Election: scrutineer; conclave; consistory; plinth; novendial (novennial, novena); papabile; lapidary

Terms from French: louche; sobriquet; cap-a-pie; soubrette; beau ideal; volte face; amour propre



Two for the Price of One


Each word featured this week has two separate meanings, conveying two different concepts. Thus you get a double-benefit, "two for the price of one".

captious – 1. fault-finding; with a petty and quarrelsome eagerness to object, as a captious critic
            2. calculated to confuse, entrap and entangle through subtle argument
[from Latin for sophistical, insidious; ult. from L. capere, to seize]


Meaning 1: fault-finding
Writers as a class are irritable, temperamental, captious, and sensitive.
– Carl Van Vechten, The Tiger in the House

They that have grown old in a single state are generally found to be morose, fretful and captious; tenacious of their own practices and maxims; soon offended by contradiction or negligence; and impatient of any association but with those that will watch their nod, and submit themselves to unlimited authority.
– attrib Samuel Johnson

Meaning 2: entrapping into argument
A captious question, sir, and yours is one,
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
– William Cowper, Tirocinium


pica – 1. abnormal craving to eat inedible substances, such as chalk, ash, dirt
            2. a printer's measure, equaling 1/6 in. (in typewriters, a certain type-style of 10 char/in.)
The 'pica' craving is sometimes seen in pregnancy, and in certain nutritional deficiencies or mental disorders.
related terms: pie – a familiar kind of pastry
pied – patterned with separate colors (orig., black and white) in distinct patches


If your pet seems to have developed a craving for dirt or an uncontrollable urge to lick concrete, it may have pica. The possible cause: a nutritional deficiency, or maybe just plain boredom.
– Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 31, 2005


Interesting etymology: All this is from a common bird which chatters constantly, will eat almost anything, and is a thief and pilferer that will filch bright baubles and trinkets. Apparently these were seen as female qualities, for in Latin the bird's name is pica, the feminine of picus 'woodpecker'. In Old French this became pie, and Middle English used both names, pica and pie, for the bird.

This then evolved in several directions.

1. For the bird's name, English added its own feminine reference. In slang, Margaret, Meg and Mag were used to scorn supposed 'female' traits, especially idle chatter (e.g. Magge tales = tall tales, nonsense). Our chattery bird's name evolved from pie to magget the py to magot-a-pie to maggoty-pie to maw-pie. Today we call it the magpie.
2. The coloration of the pie bird – black and white patches – came to be called pied, much as an item with spots is called spotted.
3. Pica, a craving to eat inedibles is from the pica bird's willingness to practically anything.
4. Pica, a type-size: Both names of the bird, pica and pie, were later used for the intricate rules which the Church devised to calculate Saints' days each year, based on the changing dates of Easter, etc. (The rules were devised in the late 1400s, as best I can tell.) It's not clear why the rules were so named; Perhaps the rules in print – or as we say "in black and white" – recalled the coloring of the bird.
            'Pica' as a print style is thought to derive from these document, for many print styles (pica, canon, brevier, primer) track the names for ecclesiastical documents. However, there is no know copy of the pica rules printed in pica type.
5. Pie: a pastry-dish: Very soon pie was used to name the bird, it also came to be used for a food of multiple ingredients baked in pastry, like a chicken pot pie. (This later evolved to include today's fruit pies.) With such quick timing, it's thought that the pie food comes from the pie bird. (As a parallel, notice the similarity between haggis and haggess – haggis being another food of multiple meats, and haggess an old name for the magpie (from agace, its sometime-name in French).
            Why would the pastry be named for the bird? Perhaps, as some say, because it collects various items just as the bird has multiple colors and filches all sorts of trinkets. But I'd think that the more likely connection is that the bird eats all sorts of foods, indeed almost anything, and the pastry dish too can hold almost any miscellaneous leftovers the cook may have on hand.


fustian (noun; also used as adj.)
– 1. a strong cotton fabric, thick and twilled; includes courduroy.
– 2. bombastΉ; inflated, pompous language full of high-sounding words above the subject
[from Latin, or from El Fustat, a place in Cairo (or near Cairo, or an old name for Cairo]
ΉInterestingly, 'bombast' also originally had a fabric meaning: "raw cotton"


The traditional proletarian dress is fustian, as worn by countless Chartists and their leader Feargus O'Connor. If Tony Blair ever shows up in a fustian suit, it will be time to get worried.
– Keith Flett, New Statesman, Sept. 6, 2004

[Ambassador Minton] had a written speech with him – fustian and bombast, I imagine. But … he put the formal speech away. "I am about to do a very un-ambassadorial thing," he declared. "I am about to tell you what I really feel ." Perhaps Minton had inhaled too much acetone.
– Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Yossarian was unmoved by the fustian charade of the burial ceremony, and by Milo's crushing bereavement. The chaplain's voice floated up to him through the distance tenuously in an unintelligible, almost inaudible monotone, like a gaseous murmur
[and much later:] All he could ever see was Aarfy, with whose fustian moon-faced ineptitude he had finally lost all patience.
– Joseph Heller, Catch 22


Some writers confuse fustian with fusty – old-fashioned; also, smelling damp or stuffy; musty.


… to transform worn-out, traditional, old, fustian [fusty?] Britain into the exciting, modern, fun-filled, multicultural land he had dreamt up.
– Richard Mullen, Contemporary Review, April, 2000


The first meaning given seems quite useful, but is in fact very rarely used.

palladian – 1. relating to wisdom or study [from Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom]
– 2. of the neoclassical major architectural style that was extremely in 18th century Britain.
[after Andrea Palladio, 16th cent. architect from whom this style is derived. The U.S. White House is an example of Palladian architecture. See here, a picture being worth a thousand words.]


Yet even as Jefferson hailed "the great march of progress" and "general spread of the light of science," youthful critics spurned his generation's Masonic brotherhood and scorned its secure and palladian rationalism.
– William Strauss, The Fourth Turning


Once again, the first meaning given seems quite useful, but is in fact very rarely used.

trepan – 1. to ensnare or entrap (noun: a snare; or, a trickster)
            2. an old surgical instrument to cut into the skull to relieve pressure (or a like boring instrument for mining). (verb: to use a trepan; to bore.)


… had General Washington suffered you to command the open country above him, I think it a very reasonable conjecture that the conquest of Burgoyne would not have taken place, because you could, in that case, have relieved him. It was therefore necessary … to trepan you into a situation in which you could only be on the defensive, without the power of affording him assistance. The manoeuvre had its effect, and Burgoyne was conquered.
– Thomas Paine, To General Sir William Howe

You can void your warranty [if you] open your iPod. … external modifications can void your warranty to. For example, if you choose to trepan your iPod so as to screw a holder directly onto it, you would void your warranty.
– Guy Hart-Davis, How to Do Everything with Your iPod


wattle –  1. the red fleshy skin hanging at the throat of a turkey or chicken, or like neck-skin on other birds or on lizards  2. a framework of stakes with branches interwoven, to form a fence.
[wattle and daub – the same, overlaid with clay, as a construction material.]

The two meanings are probably unrelated etymologically.


The loose flesh of his neck shook like a cock's wattles.
– James Joyce, Ulysses

As soon as you had crossed the drawbridgetop of the village street – it had only one street – and this extended for about half a mile, with thatched houses of wattles and daub on either side of it.
– T. H. White, The Once and Future King


frottage [based on F. for 'rubbing'] –

– 1. in art, the technique of creating a design by rubbing soft charcoal, or the like, over paper which has been placed over an uneven surface

– 2. in life, the practice of rubbing against a clothed person for (ahem) gratification, as in a crowd

British newspapers, particularly The Independent, seem especially fond of 'frottage' in the latter sense.


… though their farewell hug sometimes came close to frottage, she had managed to escape without damage.
– Reginald Hill, Good Morning, Midnight

When Miranda denies an insurance claim by phone, she first consoles the would-be claimant with a free vocal massage (for male callers it's closer to a vocal frottage) … Miranda sounds as if she's ready to propose a dinner-date. Until she gets the information she needs to deny the claim, whereupon the telephone romance ends.
– Richard Dooling, Bet Your Life


As to 'frottage' as an art technique, the art-authorities disagree:


[Max] Ernst invented "frottage," a new method for generating surprising imagery. He placed a sheet of paper over rough surfaces like wood planks and rubbed with a soft pencil. He then elaborated on those patterns to produce fantastic, sometimes monstrous, imagery.
– Carol Strickland & John Boswell, The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History

Strindberg … invented frottage, the making of rubbings from other objects, half a century before Max Ernst incorporated them into his work.
– Tom Rosenthal, The Independent on Sunday, January, 2005



Eyesight, used figuratively


It is commonplace, almost automatic, to use 'seeing' as a metaphor. "Yes, I see," means, "I understand," and some people are are insightful while others are visionary. But some people 'can't see the forest for the trees,' and some things 'aren't worth a second look'.

This week we present sight terms with potential use as metaphor.

lyncean – pertaining to or like a lynx; keen-sighted.


the blue-blood astronomer Percival Lowell, who a century ago fired imaginations with his peremptory claim that "we may consider as certain" that "Mars is inhabited by beings." … In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had seen "canali," or channels, on Mars. With his 24-inch refractor, Lowell saw Schiaparelli's canali--and more. … "Not everybody can see these delicate features at first sight," admitted the lyncean Lowell. In fact, few astronomers not on Percival's payroll could see them.
– Bill Kauffman, My favorite Martian - astronomer Percival Lowell, American Enterprise, Jan-Feb, 1998


purblind – 1. partially sighted. 2. lacking in discernment or understanding.
[originally meant 'completely blind', from 'pure' + 'blind']


There are still thoughtless dilettante or purblind worldlings, who sometimes ask us: "What is it that Britain and France are fighting for?" To this I answer: "If we left off fighting, you would soon find out."
– Winston Chrurchill, March, 1940 broadcast, excoriating those waiting on the sidelines

An apparently technical debate is taking place on Europe, with much purblind stumbling among the small print, but great issues are at stake.
– Bruce Anderson, The Spectator, Nov. 2, 1996

"You drive much faster than my mummy, mister."
I slowed down from a blind seventy to a purblind fifty.
"Why do you think I have ceased caring for you, Lo?"
"Well, you haven't kissed me yet, have you?"
– Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita


Today's quotes struck me as especially enjoyable, so do forgive me for going on at length.

strabismus –
– 1. improper alignment of the eyes (e.g., cross-eye, lazy eye, etc.)
– 2. fig; rare: perversity of intellectual perception
[from Gk. strabizein ‘to squint’]


… she really was almost grotesquely lovely. … Orin's doubles partner – who as a strabismic was something of an expert on female unattainability – felt that this was the kind of hideously attractive girl you just knew in advance did not associate with normal collegiate human males.
– David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest: A Novel

A lawyer is a moral strabismic, who revels in sharked up reasons.
– Elbert Hubbard, Contemplations (1902), in Oxford Dict. of American Legal Quotations

... savage races can be brought to the knowledge of, and obedience to, an orderly civil community. The instruments of civilisation must vary with the various character of the life upon which they are to operate effectively. Yet there are strabismic monitors of African civilisation who, representing no high moral standard in themselves, have laid down a rule of conduct for the Congo Free State which disregards that principle. It has been this narrow view of a liberal civilising scheme that has caused so much mischievous mewling in Great Britain concerning alleged misrule in Central Africa.
– Henry Wellington Wack, The Story of the Congo Free State (1905)

[Agravaine is imprisoned in the castle.] It was a nice room, but to one in Agravaine’s state of suppressed suspicion a trifle too solidly upholstered. The door was of the thickest oak, studded with iron nails. Iron bars formed a neat pattern across the only window. … In the morning the strabismic plug-ugly with the red hair brought him food and drink, while in the evening the non-grunter did the honours. It was a peaceful life, but tending towards monotony, and Agravaine was soon in the frame of mind which welcomes any break in the daily round.
– P.G. Wodehouse, Sir Agravaine; A Tale of King Alfred’s Round Table, in The Man Upstairs


inveigle – to win over a person by deceitful coaxing, flattery, cajolery
This is a 'vision' word, for the root sense is 'to blind' the victim's judgment. From F. or M.Fr. aveugler 'to make blind', or some form of that term. This in turn is from late L. aboculus, from = ab without + occulus eye.

You may recognize one of our sample quotes, used last week for another word.


When Miranda denies an insurance claim by phone, she first consoles the would-be claimant with a free vocal massage (for male callers it's closer to a vocal frottage) because her voice is a delicate inveigling rasp textured by fifty-dollar bottles of wine, designer chocolates, and I imagined, other mysterious and intriguing bad habits. … Miranda sounds as if she's ready to propose a dinner-date. Until she gets the information she needs to deny the claim, whereupon the telephone romance ends.
– Richard Dooling, Bet Your Life

She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice
She was fair, she was sweet seventeen.
He was old, he was vile, and no stranger to vice
He was base, he was bad, he was mean.
He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps,
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
The wine, his cigar and the lamps:
"Have some madeira, m'dear."
- Flanders and Swann


We know the term tunnel vision - 1. inability to clearly perceive things unless they are close to the center of the field of view. 2. informal the tendency to focus exclusively on a limited view.


"A lot of entrepreneurs have tunnel vision," says Jeffrey Geibel, marketing consultant. "They believe if they build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to their door. This is arrogance. They should ask, 'What problem am I solving?' "
– Mark Henricks, Entrepreneur, April, 1996


The counterpart of "tunnel vision" would be a 'blind spot', the medical term for which is scotoma – an area of diminished vision within the visual field; a literal "blind spot". [Greek skotoma, from skotos darkness]

We previously noted that 'scotoma' would be suitable for figurative use. I can now such figurative use by Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Sacks's usage appears in a collection which states its theme thus: "Scientists and historians can cite many cases of scientific and technological claims, hypotheses, and proposals that, viewed in retrospect, have apparently taken an unaccountably long time to be recognized."


Oliver Sacks discusses examples of historical "scotoma," or the forgetting and neglect of earlier clinical observations subsequently recognized as of great importance.
- Jacket blurb for Prematurity in Scientific Discovery: On Resistance and Neglect (Ernest B. Hook, editor)

But scotoma involves more than prematurity, it involves the deletion of what was originally perceived, a loss of knowledge, a loss of insight, a forgetting of insights that once seemed clearly established. All the are surprisingly common in all fields of science. They raise the deepest questions about why such lapses occur. What makes an observation or a new idea acceptable, discussible, memorable? What may prevent it from being so, despite its clear importance and value?
– Oliver Sacks, Scotoma: Forgetting and Neglect in Science, in the above book


myopic – nearsighted; unable to see distant objects clearly; also fig.: lacking foresight; shortsighted

There is of course a counterpart medical term meaning farsighted: hyperopic. I find it interesting that we do not use that term figuratively. Our figurative has adopted only the negative term, not the praiseworthy one.


Those who run cricket in this country, especially at the domestic level, are for the most part a self-serving, pusillanimous and self-important bunch of myopic dinosaurs unable to take any but the shortest-term view of everything.
- Henry Blofeld, The Independent, 22 Sept. 2003. I understand that Mr. Blofeld is a cricket-commentator of some note.

… even today officially sanctioned discrimination is not a thing of the past. Against this background, claims that law must be "colorblind" … must be seen as aspiration rather than as description of reality. This is not to denigrate aspiration … Yet we cannot … let color blindness become myopia which masks the reality that many "created equal" have been treated within our lifetimes as inferior both by the law and by their fellow citizens.
– US Sup. Ct. Justice Brennan, in Regents of U. of Calif. v. Bakke (1978)



Papal Election


In recognition of momentous events happening this week, I am departing from my planned theme. Instead, we will share such words as I've been able to find in regarding the election of a new pope.

scrutineer – one who examines something closely and thoroughly. (Brit: one who takes or counts votes)


On the fourth ballot, the result was quasi-unanimous ... Cardinal Joseph Hφffner of Germany told the media there was no need to count the votes, because the only name read out by the scrutineer was Luciani [Pope John Paul I, elected 1978].
- John L. Allen Jr., How a Pope is Elected, National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 2005


A reader notes: In the UK a scrutineer is one who checks such things as cars or motorcycles prior to their being allowed onto a race-track or similar. This has led to a back-formation that has created the word "scrutineering" for the action of scrutinizing machinery in this way.


Habemus papam -- We have a pope.

conclave – a confidential or secret meeting
[from Latin clavis key; referring to 'a lockable room']

The earliest usage of the term was in reference to papal election: "The cardinals, that wolden save The forme of lawe in the conclave, Gon for to chese a new pope." (John Gower, 1393)


The papal conclave … is a process through which 115 temporary prisoners choose one among them to serve a life sentence.
– Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2005


consistory – the council of cardinals; or, a church tribunal or senate; or (rare), a solemn assembly or council
[from L. for 'place of assembly'; ult. from L for 'to stand together']


Paul VI elevated him to the rank of cardinal in the consistory of June 27, 1977.
– Biograhphy of new pope, in Asia News


plinth – an architectural base (as for a column or statue)

Pope Paul VI (1963-78), in his private notes, speaks of a pope's dreadful solitude and isolation:


I was solitary before, but now my solitariness becomes complete and awesome. Hence the dizziness, the vertigo. Like a statue on a plinth - that is how I live now. Jesus also was alone on the cross. I should not seek outside help to absolve me from my duty; my duty is too plain: decide, assume every responsibility for guiding others, even when it seems illogical and perhaps absurd. And to suffer alone. Me and God. The colloquy must be full and endless.
– quoted by John Cornwell in Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII

Television pictures showed the Pope's body lying on a plinth, his hands clutching a rosary and his pastoral staff under his arm.
– Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery Channel, April 4, 2005


A series of words today:
novennial – of a nine-year period
novendial – a religious ceremony lasting for nine days; a funeral ceremony on the ninth day after the burial
novena – a prayer service lasting nine days, or weekly for nine weeks


We may compare the novendial period of mourning for a pope.
– W. B. McDaniel (1924)

Theoretically, the cardinals are not supposed to discuss the papal succession, even among themselves, before the nine-day mourning period called the Novemdiaes.
– John L. Allen Jr., as cited above for 'scrutineer'


papabile – [pl. papabili] a viable candidate to be elected pope, or for other high office
[also used as adj; in other words, 'popeable'. The older adj. is papable.]

Many dictionaries are behind the times on this word. Of those in one-look, only Wikipedia has it, and there only in the literal papal sense and as an "unofficial" 20th century coinage.

But OED fully recognizes the word, and both its senses have a longer history. Indeed, the extended sense was used as early as 1754, by Pitt.


Under Hague, all things considered, the party is in good shape. Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine are now marginal figures … Chris Patten, who looked papabile a year ago … has already admitted that the game is up and Hague is boss.
– Paul Johnson, The Spectator, Sep. 19, 1998


Today's word is especially interesting in its figurative sense. The new pope used it in that sense, shorty before his election.

lapidary – 1. noun a gem-cutter, or the art of gem-cutting; adj. relating to gem-cutting
            [includes cutting polishing, cutting, engraving of gems and other stones]
            2. (of language) elegant and concise
[Latin lapidarius stonecutter, from lapis stone]


"Follow me. The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. "Follow me" – this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II.
– Card. Joseph Ratzinger, at funeral mass of Pope John Paul II; April 8, 2005 (English rendering taken from the Vatican's site)



Terms from French


Having fallen behind in the words of the day, we'll play a bit of catch-up. This week's theme is 'Terms from French', beginning with a word that would also fit our recent theme of 'Eyesight as Metaphor'.

louche – disreputable or dubious; shady – but in a rakishly appealing way
            [most dictionaries miss the qualification after the 'but']
[from F. meaning 'cross-eyed'; ult. from Latin luscus blind in one eye]


... the drama, the beauty, the louche charm and the brutality of horse racing.
– Deirdre Donahue, USA Today, Dec. 28, 2001, reviewing the book Seabiscuit

The late Pope was truly a man for the masses and no slave to the cultural fashions beloved of the louche Left of the West.
– Piers Akerman, Australia Daily Telegraph, April 12, 2005

Thanks to the famous Monte Carlo casino, Rainier maintained the aura of gambling as a high-rolling sport of dashing counts and louche playboys.
– Robin Givhan, The Washington Post, April 11, 2005


sobriquet – a nickname (pronounced 'sobrikay'; occas. spelled 'soubriquet')
[from M.Fr. soubriquet, meaning lit. "a chuck under the chin"]
[WC note: Though dictionaries do not say so, a sobriquet typically names a characteristic of the subject; that is, it is an epithet. For example, "Joe" is a nickname for Joseph, but wouldn't typically be called a sobriquet.]


Originally, nurses were appointed to schools as de facto public health pest control officers, combing through the heads of kids for infestations. Hence the sobriquet, Nit nurse, a term carrying a pejorative connotation.
– Hugh Reilly, The Scotsman, Apr 27, 2005

John Paul II's unique stamp on the papacy earned him the sobriquet of the "people's pope" due to his ability to connect with people of every faith.
– Kevin McElderry, AFP, April 20, 2005

Among his critics [the new Pope] has earned the sobriquet "God's rottweiler" but his supporters say he is a courteous, gentle man and an outstanding theologian with a deep sense of spirituality.
– Jonathan Petre, Bruce Johnston, 'God's rottweiler' is the new Pope, Telegraph, Apr 20, 2005


cap-a-pie – at all points
[literally, 'head to foot]


Book review by Jan Morris, in New Statesman, Jan. 12, 2004:
Its subject is the sea-rivalry between Britain and Germany that was a principal cause of the First World War. … a struggle between the two greatest navies of the day, the ancient Royal Navy of the British and the young, technologically brilliant Imperial Navy of the Germans.

Jutland dominates three chapters of this volume. … it was in the North Sea that the two great enemies finally faced one another cap a pie, gun to gun …


Don't confuse our recent word sobriquet (silent t) with soubrette, where the t is pronounced.

soubrette theater – 1. the role of a saucy, coquettish maidservant or like subordinate (also, the actress in that role) 2. a woman of the stage who, in real life, is that sort of flirty person

As I understand it, the soubrette is always a subordinate, not upper-crust, and is always a supporting role. That is, a lead character, even one so flirty as Scarlett O'Hara or any early Katherine Hepburn role, is not a soubrette.

On rare occasion, the term is used for such a female who is not in the world of theater, television etc. For example:


[Who] can resist the delights of a nice piece of French pastry? Just stop by Bernard Runo's Parisian bakery, Sweet Thang. One of his recent ads featured a photo of his shop framed by a pair of sleek feminine legs sporting stiletto heels and the proclamation, "The Best Cheap Tarts on North Avenue." The pastries are scrumptious, and … are delivered to your table by a smiling soubrette, one of the many beautiful French babes who work at Sweet Thang. Bernard says, "They give immediate credibility to my products."
– Mike Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times, May 25, 2003

For some reason, the task of explaining the birds and bees was not entrusted to our biology teacher but to a hectoring, sergeant-major type of a fellow from the PT department. … Worse … was his use of Scottish country dancing as a cruel and unusual punishment. … To add to the terror, … does teacher not pair you off with one Tizzi (at least I think that's how this soubrette's sobriquet was spelled) Malone, the most stupendously endowed girl of that or any other year.
– Tom Shields, The Sunday Herald, Nov. 16, 2003


beau ideal – the perfect type or model [French beau idιal ideal beauty]


[views of professor Martin Flaherty]
The Electoral College was designed [because] the framers ... had a certain distrust of direct democracy. "They wanted to sway the election to the man with the best character, not some demagogue," he says. George Washington, a man of great reputation without strong positions on the issues of his day, was their beau ideal.
– Dan Ackman and Lisa DiCarlo,, Nov. 27, 2001

I was the beau ideal of the morbid young aesthetical —
To doubt my inspiration was regarded as heretical —
Until you cut me out with your placidity emetical.
Sing "Booh to you — Pooh, pooh to you" — And that's what I shall say!
– Gilbert & Sullivan, Patience

George Fitzhugh defended slavery as a practical form of socialism that provided contented slaves with paternalistic masters, thereby eliminating harsh conflicts between employers and allegedly free workers. 'A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave ... is far happier, because ... he is always sure of support.'
– Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Emancipating the Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War


volte face – a complete and abrupt reversal of policy, position, etc.; an about-face


Not surprisingly, Moscow rejected an invasion of Iraq and opposed an American-sponsored draft UN resolution. But Washington persuaded Russia ... In the crucial UN vote Moscow not only dropped its objections but came out in favour of a new resolution that implied, though did not directly threaten, force. The volte face came at a price for Moscow; Baghdad abruptly cancelled a multi-billion-dollar oil-exploration contract with three Russian companies.
– Olivia Ward, New Internationalist, Jan-Feb, 2003


amour propre; amour-propre – self-esteem (typically with sense of excessive pride; vanity) [literally, 'love of oneself']


At 24, in 1951, the critic was engaged by Guinness as Player King in his second Hamlet. Guinness invested much amour propre in this production. Tynan called it "Hamlet with the pilot dropped" and said it was cast with "exuberant oddness". Its failure turned out to be a major factor in Guinness's move away from the classics and Shakespeare and into films, ultimately television, and new plays.
– Tom Sutcliffe, Aug. 7, 2000, in The Guardian, on the death of Sir Alec Guinness