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saber rattling – a show or threat of military power, esp. as used by a nation to impose its policies on other countries [often used with the implication that the threat is mere bluff and bluster]

sabkha – a flat depression that regularly floods and evaporates, leaving layers of clays and salts

sabot – a wooden shoe (of the sort associated with the Dutch), made from a piece of wood shaped and hollowed out to fit the foot

sabotage – destruction of property to interfere with another's normal operations; more broadly, deliberate subversion [akin to sabot]

saccade – a brief, rapid eye-movement from one position of rest to another, either voluntary (as in reading) or involuntary (OED adds: sudden, violent check of a horse, by drawing the reins suddenly; or, more generally, any “jerk or jerky movement” – whether “horsy” or not.

sacheverell (etymology) – a chamber-pot

sad sack – eponym: an inept person; esp. an inept soldier

safe harbor – law: a legal provision that affords clear protection for specific conduct, where standards might otherwise be unclear

sagacity – the quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom

sagittarian – archer-like

sailplane – see glider

salacious – appealing to or sexual desire; also, lustful; bawdy

salariat – the class or body of salaried persons usually as distinguished from wage earners. [presumably a take-off on proletariat]

salchow – figure-skating jump (contrast axel, lutz): skate backward on left foot inside edge (thus again curving left); jump and spin

saliant; salient – heraldry: leaping, springing.  See rampant, dormant, guardant for other heraldic terms.

Sally Lunn – eponym: a slightly sweetened tea cake

salmagundi – 1. a miscellaneous collection or mixture 2. original sense: a dish of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, onions with oil and condiments

salmonella – eponym: type of bacteria, often toxic

salubrious – health-giving; healthy

salutary – causing an improvement; also, favorable to health

salver – a tray, usually silver, for formal serving of food or drink

samaritan – one ready and generous in helping those in distress

sambo – offspring of a black and a mulatto; see mulatto

samizdat – an underground press (computer jargon – any unofficial promulgation of textual material, esp. computer documentation that is rare, obsolete, or never formally published)

samphire – a certain plant, growing on rocks by the sea, whose leaves are used in pickles

Samson – eponym: a man of great physical strength

sandhi – a change of pronunciation of a morpheme, based upon the one following. (E.g., in 'don't we' the t is pronounced, but in 'don't you' it shifts, becoming doan chew.)

sandhill perch – mythical fish that swims backwards through dry desert streams, to protect its eyes from dust. compare goofusbird, goofang <wink>

sandwich – eponym: two pieces of bread with a filling between them. (verb: sandwich between: to insert between two people or things)

sangfroid – self-possession or imperturbability, esp. under strain

sanguine – 1. cheerfully confident 2. blood-red, or of a healthy ruddy color: a sanguine complexion

sans culotte – 1. a lower-class Parisian republican in the French Revolution 2. an extreme republican or revolutionary

sansei – see issei

sapfu – see snafu

sapid – (chiefly N. Amer.) 1. flavorsome 2. pleasant or interesting

sapience – wisdom; sagacity

saponaceous – soapy; soaplike

sapphism – eponym: female homosexuality; lesbianism; adj. sapphic, sapphistical. (from Sappho, lyric poetess of isle of Lesbos c.600 B.C.E., whose erotic/romantic verse embraced women as well as men.)

sarcasm – etymology: from Greek meaning "to tear off flesh"

Sardanapalian – eponym: luxuriously effeminate

sardonic – toponym: disdainfully humorous; scornful and mocking

Sardoodledom – eponym: clever but trivial or immoral plays

Sassenach – Scottish & Irish; derogatory: an English person (adj. English

sastruga – (plural sastrugi) a long wavelike ridge of snow, formed by the wind, found on the polar plains

satrap – a subordinate official; implies one given to tyranny or of ostentatious display [also: a provincial governor in ancient Persia]

saturnine – 1. bitter or scornful; 2. melancholy; sullen; showing a brooding ill humor

satyriasis – excessive, desire in and behavior by a man (flip side of “nymphomania”)

saucy – lightly pert and exuberant; also, improperly forward or bold

saudade (Portuguese) – roughly, "sorrowful longing"; can have the sense of homesickness, yearning for someone, fond remembrance, melancholy and fond memories of gone-by days, lost love, and a general feeling of unhappiness

saurian – like a lizard

savoir faire – a polished sureness in social behavior

savvy – practical knowledge of something; being shrewd (adj: having savvy)

scacchic – pertaining to the game of chess

scalawag – a scamp, rascal, or rogue; an amusingly mischievous child

scapegoat – one made to bear the blame for others (verb: to make someone a scapegoat)

scapegrace – an incorrigible scamp; a rascal. (Often with the semi-complimentary sense of “a likeable rascal”.)

scarab – a large dung beetle, sacred in ancient Egypt; also, an ancient Egyptian gem in the form of a scarab beetle

scaramouche; scaramouch – eponym: a cowardly buffoon

scenario – an outline or model of an expected or supposed sequence of events

schadenfreude – a malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others. [from Ger. schaden damage + freude joy. Often capitalized, as it is in German]

schist – certain rocks easily split into flat parallel layers

schlemiel – a foolish simpleton, a hard-luck victim type, a born loser

schlep – slang: to carry with difficulty; to lug

schlimazel – a chronically unlucky person, for whom nothing seems to turn out well; a born "loser". [rhymes with "thin nozzle".]

Schlimmbesserung – German: a so-called improvement that makes things worse

schmaltz – informal 1. maudlin sentimentality. 2. liquid fat, especially chicken fat

schmendrick – a Caspar Milquetoast; a kind of schlemiel – but weak and thin

schmo – 1. a boob, a schlemiel; a hapless, clumsy, unlucky jerk 2. an average nobody, a man-in the street; "Joe Shmo" is a more colorful way to say "John Doe."

schnook – a timid schlemiel, a meek patsy; also: a Sad Sack, more to be pitied than despised

schoenobatist – a tight-rope walker

schooner – a large beer glass, generally holding a pint or more

schroedinbug – eponym: computer programming (software):  a bug that doesn't manifest until someone reading code or using it in an unusual way notices that it never should have worked, at which point the program promptly stops working for everybody until fixed.

Schuhplattler – a lively Bavarian and Austrian folk-dance, with slapping of the thighs and heels

sciamachy – see skiamachy

sciolto – loose

sciomancy – divination by shadows [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

sciurine – squirrel-like

sclera – the white of the eyeball

scofflaw – coinage: a contemptuous violator of laws, esp. of laws deemed silly or trivial

scolecology – a treatise on worms

Scotch egg – hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded, and then deep-fried

Scotch mist – mist and drizzle (named after the common weather in Scotland) [one of the few cases where "Scotch" is used in preference to "Scottish". Also Scotch whiskey, Scotch egg, Scotch woodcock.]

Scotch woodcock – scrambled eggs on toast, with anchovies

scotoma – a blind spot in the field of vision. (a medical term, but with potential figurative use; see here)

scrabble – 1. to proceed by clawing with the hands and feet; to scramble 2. to grope about frenetically with the hands 3. to grapple or struggle [among other meanings]

screwball – whimsically eccentric (noun: such a person) [from an oddly-behaving pitch in baseball]

scrip – doctor's order for prescription or for testing (heard regionally. Perhaps from scrip: 1. a written certificate, list, etc. 2. a small scrap, esp. of paper with writing on it.)

scriptophily – the collecting by hobbyists of old stock certificates and bonds of defunct companies, that have no intrinsic value other than their aesthetic appeal or relative rarity

scrofula – a tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes, esp. of the neck. Common in children; usually spread by unpasteurized milk from infected cows. (from Latin scrofa "breeding sow." )

Scrooge – eponym: a mean-spirited miserly person; a skinflint

scrophulariaceous – pertaining to the figwort family of plants: veronica, foxglove, snapdragon, etc.

scruff – the back of a person’s or animal’s neck; the nape

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

scud [verb] – to move fast in a straight line because or as if driven by the wind (noun, literary: clouds or spray driven fast by the wind)

scuffle – an unceremonious and disorganized struggle. verb: to so fight at close quarters

scullion – a household servant of the lowest rank; hence, a person of the lowest order

scurf – dandruff (or other skin-flakes formed as fresh skin develops below)

scut – a stubby erect tail, as on a hare, rabbit, or deer

scutch – to separate the valuable fibers from the woody parts (of flax, for example), by beating

Scylla – see Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla and Charybdis – eponym: between Scylla and Charybdis: in a position where avoidance of one danger exposes one to another danger (from Homer's Odyssey)

scytale – a cylinder for writing in cipher. One writes on strip of paper wrapped around the scytale, then unwraps the strip; the writing is read by one having a scytale of the same diameter

secular – concerning a long period of time, esp. long-term change

sedulous – showing dedication and diligence. (noun: sedulity)

see wood – publishing: to see a book before the release date; premature circulation

seel – to stitch shut the eyes of a falcon

seidel – a beer mug

seif dune – a sharp-crested sand dune with curved edges, often several miles long

selbstgesprδche fόhren – talking to oneself (lit. "to lead self-conversations")

self-consequence – self-importance; an exaggerated estimate of one's own importance

sell-through – percentage of wholesale purchases resold to consumers

semelfactive  – of a verb: expressing the sudden and single occurrence of an action, e.g. cough; sneeze; glimpse; flash; tap

semese – half-eaten

semidemiquaver – see quaver

semimonthly – semimonthly and semiweekly mean ‘twice a month/week’. For ‘every two months/weeks', bimonthly and biweekly should be used.

semiotics – the study of signs and symbols

semiweekly – see semimonthly

semordnilap – a word that spells a different word when reversed; e.g., desserts <> stressed, or a similarly reversible phrase or sentence. (Note: ' semordnilap' is 'palindromes' spelled backwards.)

sempiternal – enduring forever; eternal

senectitude (also here) – old age; elderliness   from the same root as senile and senior]

senescent – growing old; aging; decaying with the lapse of time

sennight – seven days and nights (half a fortnight)

sensei – 'teacher' in Japanese; a term of respect

sententious – characterized by maxims or pointed sayings – but often in the bad sense of 'addicted to pompous moralizing'

separatrix – the / sign. (for synonyms, see virgule)

sequoia – eponym: a huge species of coniferous tree, that can reach more than 300 feet tall

sιrac; serac – a pinnacle or sharp ridge of ice, among the crevasses of a glacier [Fr. sιrac, a kind of white cheese]

serendipity – the knack of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. Also, such a discovery.

serge – a woolen twill

serigraphy – silk-screening: ink forced through silk mesh, parts of which have been impermeably coated

serpentine – like a serpent

servile – meanly submissive; slavish; cringing; fawning

sesamoid – the small bones that develop in the capsule of a joint [cognate to "sesame seed"]

sesquipedalian – adj. 1. very long (of a word) 2. using very long words. noun: a very long word [literally, a foot and a half]

se-tenant – group of stamps differing in color or design, but printed next to each other on the same sheet

sexile – to banish one’s roommate from the dorm room, so that one have privacy there for sex with one's partner

shabti (or ushabti) – a figurine placed in an ancient Egyptian tomb to be a substitute for the deceased in any work he might be called upon to do in the afterlife

shagreen – an Eastern untanned leather with many small round protuberances, especially dyed green (also, shark-skin)

shallowpated – shallow-brained

shallow-water wave – a wave whose depth is a very small, in comparison to its wavelength

shambles – (interesting etymology; see Archives)

shambolic – chiefly British slang: disorderly or chaotic

shanachie (Irish?/Scottish?) – a person fond of telling the old tales and legends of the country

shandygaff or shandy – a drink made of beer or ale mixed with ginger beer, ginger ale, or lemonade

shanghai – to forcibly carry off, into servitude, a convenient victim. Figuratively: to entrap or commandeer someone into a job

Shangri-La – toponym: 1. an imagined paradise on earth 2. a distant hideaway, secluded, peaceful and beautiful

shatterpated – disordered or wandering in intellect

shellΉ – a small glass for beer

shell² – the most spectacular of fireworks comprising a lifting charge (to propel the shell into the air) and a bursting charge to eject stars or subassemblies in the air after a predetermined delay

sheltron; shiltron – a usually-circular formation of infantry, armed with very long lances, designed to thwart a cavalry charge

shepardize – eponym: to update a legal citation by finding later cases that cite that same citation

sheqel – Israeli currency: 100 agorot = 1 sheqel

sherbet, sherbert – Australian: an alcoholic beverage, esp. beer

Shermanesque (not in on-line dictionaries) – eponym: 1.  of an absolute, unequivocal refusal to run for office 2. brutally thorough (of a conquest)

sherry – toponym a certain type of wine (named from the place where it was originally produced)

shibboleth – 1. a custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider 2. a word or phrase that marks a particular group; a catchword

shikari – a big-game hunter, or a guide for one

shikse; shikseh – Yiddish, disparaging: a non-jewish woman or girl

shillelagh – an Irish cudgel

shiltron – see sheltron

shire – a district roughly equivalent to a county

Shirley Temple (or 'Shirley Temple cocktail') – eponym: a nonalcoholic drink, for children who want to have a "cocktail" with the adults

shirty – Chiefly British: ill-tempered; angry: “He saw how shirty she was about it” (P.G. Wodehouse).
AHD's etymology, a remarkable display of either innocence or prissiness, claims this is derived from "shirt", as in
keep one's shirt on.  I'd instead suggest that the "r" is "shirty" is epenthetic.

shive – a broad bung hammered into a hole in the top of a cask

shlepper – a drag, a drip, a jerk, a maladroit performer; also, someone unkempt, untidy, run-down-at-the-heels

shmatte – Yiddish: a ragged garment (literally "rag")

Shoah – the Holocaust of World War II

shoat – a young pig (just after weaning)

shoddy – badly made or done; also, vulgar and pretentious; also, amoral, sordid

shoo-in – a certain winner; one sure to succeed

short shrift – rapid and unsympathetic dismissal; curt treatment

short-short – an extremely brief short-story

shot-clog – the companion tolerated because he pays for the drinks

shower of shit, goes like a – Australian slang: really fast or impressive

shufti – UK; old-fashioned informal: a look, as: May I have a shufti at your paper?

shunamitism – rejuvenation of an old man by a young woman

shylock – eponym: offensive: a ruthless moneylender; a loan shark. verb: to lend money at exorbitant interest rates

shyster – eponym: an unscrupulous lawyer [tautological?]

sialagogue – something that promotes flow of saliva

sibyl – eponym: a female prophet

sic – Latin for 'so' or 'thus'.  Inserting [sic], into a quotation that has an error in it, indicates that the quoted material is being reproduced accurately, and that the error is in the words quoted rather than in mis-quotation.

sick puppy – orig. and chiefly U.S. 1. colloq.: a very ill person 2. slang: an abnormal, deviant, or deranged person

sierra – a range of mountains having an irregular or jagged profile

sight rhyme – see eye rhyme

sigmatism – defective pronunciation of s-sounds, sibilant sounds; intentional repetition of words with sibilant speech sounds, as in She sells sea-shells

silhouette  – eponym: a profile or shadow-outline of the human figure, filled in of a dark color

silver-tongued (also here) – with the power of fluent and persuasive speech; eloquent

simian – like an ape

simoleon – slang, old-fashioned: a dollar

Simon Legree – eponym: a brutal taskmaster

simony – eponym: the buying or selling of a church office, privilege or service; for example, accepting a fee for performing a baptism

simper – to smile in a silly, self-conscious, often coy manner

sinciput – the forehead (also, the upper half of the skull)

sine qua non – an indispensable condition

singerie – a painting showing monkeys in human clothes, engaged in human activities

single-varietal – beer made using just one variety of hop

SIP (knitting) – Sock In Progress

siren – eponym: a dangerously fascinating woman.  Usually used in the phrase siren song – an enticing plea or appeal, esp. one that is deceptively alluring. (after women in Homer's Odyssey, whose beautiful singing tempted sailors to sail toward them into dangerous, fatal waters.)

siriasis – sunstroke; sudden prostration from exposure to the sun or excessive heat. also, a sunbath

sise – the number 6 on dice

sistrum – an ancient percussion instrument (still used in Nubia) of metal rods or loops attached to a metal frame.

Sisyphean – eponym: endlessly laborious or futile

Sitzfleisch – the ability to endure or persist in some activity [Characteristically German?]

skean-dhu; sgian-dhu – a small black-hilted dagger tucked into the top of a man’s knee sock in Scottish Highland dress

skedaddle – to leave hastily; scram

skein – a flight of wild fowl

skep – an old-style beehive: dome-shaped, and made of straw or wicker

skerrick – Aus. informal: the smallest bit

skerry [pronounced like scary] – a rugged isolated sea-rock; a reef

skiagraphy – telling time by sundial

skiamachy (or sciamachy; sciomachy) – [The meanings in dictionaries and in actual usage are somewhat varied. E.g.:]
1. sham fighting; a mock contest
2. futile combat; “tilting at windmills”
3. futile “
argument” caused by misunderstanding of terms used
4. contentiousness; “argument for the sake of argument”, at least on one side

skibob – a vehicle for gliding downhill over snow. Resembles a bicycle on skis

skid row – a squalid city district, inhabited by derelicts, alcoholics. addicts and the homeless

skidoo (or 23 skidoo) – scram; leave quickly

skijoring – a sport in which cross-country skier is pulled (as by a horse, sled-dog or vehicle)

slam dunk – fig. a sure thing, a certainty; also adj. (verb: to defeat decisively)

slant; slash – the / sign. (for synonyms, see virgule)

slippery slope – a dangerous and irreversible course: the slippery slope from narcotics to prison. [Wordcrafter note: I do not think this definition is entirely accurate, but can find no better.]

slipstream – the airflow driven backward by an airplane’s propeller or jet (auto- and bicycle-racing: an area of reduced pressure produced by a fast-moving vehicle as it moves through air, thus reducing the resistance for the vehicle in back)

slough of despond – a state of extreme depression [From John Bunyan's allegory, Pilgrim's Progress]

sloughΉ – [rhymes with 'bough' or, in the US, with 'glue'] 1. a swamp or mire 2. a situation of lack of progress or activity

slough² – [rhymes with 'rough'] to cast off or shed skin or other outer layer; the item so shed [also fig.]

slough³ (rhymes with "glue") – a depression filled with deep mud or mire; a stagnant swamp; also, a state of deep despair or moral degradation

slubΉ – the greenish-black algal growth on wave- or tide-washed wharf pilings

slub² – to extend fibers and twist after carding (noun: a slight irregularity in yarn, from knotting or twisting, or including uneven lengths of fiber in spinning)

slubberdegullion – a slobbering or dirty fellow; a worthless sloven

sluggard – a lazy, sluggish person

smalt – deep blue

smaragdine – of or pertaining to emerald; resembling emerald; of an emerald green

smarmy – unpleasantly and excessively suave, ingratiating or earnest

smellfeast – an uninvited dinner guest; a parasite; a greedy sponger [once a very common word]

smeltΉ – 1. to extract metals from ore, by heating; to refine 2. (British form of) past tense and past participle of 'smell' 3. a small silvery fish (see separate entry)

smelt² – a small silvery food-fish (another meaning, as a verb: 'to melt or fuse ores')

smorgasbord – 1. a buffet meal featuring a variety of dishes. 2. a varied collection

snafu – slang: a chaotic or confused situation [Situation Normal: All F*Cked Up]. Similarly tarfu – Things Are Really F*cked Up; (ta)fumtu – (Things are) FU More Than Usual;  fubar – FU Beyond All Recognition; janfu – Joint Army-Navy FU; susfu – Situation Unchanged: Still FU; fubb – FU Beyond Belief; sapfu – Surpassing All Previous FU's; fujigmo – F-You, Jack; I Got My Orders

sneeze guard – the clear plastic or glass shield over salad bars, etc.

sniglet – a humorous coined “word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should”

snooker – a kind of billiards (or pool); popular in the UK. to snooker – to place in a bad position, with no obvious way out (implies tricking one into that situation); also, o fool; dupe

soapbox – verb; informal: to make an impromptu or unofficial public speech, often flamboyantly (noun: a temporary platform used while making that speech). But most often used in the idiom on (one's) soapbox – speaking one's views passionately or self-importantly.

Soapy Sam – eponym: disparaging nickname for any unctuous, oily person [not in dictionaries]

sobriquet; soubriquet [accent on 1st syllable] – 1. an affectionate nickname 2. an assumed name

sockdolager – a decisive, finishing blow

Socratic – eponym: see maieutic

sodality – brotherhood; community; a fellowship

Sodom – toponym: a place noted for extreme vice and corruption

soft day – Irish euphemism: a rainy day

soft money – political donations made in such a way as to avoid federal regulations or limits, as by donating to a party organization rather than to a particular candidate or campaign

soi-disant (swah-dee-ZAHN) – self-styled (one major dictionary erroneously adds "so-called" in its definition)

solander – eponym: a protective box shaped like a book, to hold botanical specimens, maps, etc.

solecism – 1. a word blunder 2. a social blunder (not to be confused with solipsism)

solfatara – a volcanic area that gives off sulfurous gases and steam

solferino – toponym: a bright crimson dye; its color

solidus – the / sign. (for synonyms, see virgule)

soliloquize – to utter a soliloquy; to talk to one's self. synonym monologuize

soliloquy – a speech of one’s thoughts when alone, or regardless of hearers, especially in a play

solipsism – the view that the self is all that exists (not to be confused with solecism)

solipsistic – of the view that the self is the only reality, or the only thing knowable

Solomon – eponym: a very wise person. [Wordcrafter note: I’d say this term often has the implication of “thinking outside the box,” finding a novel, creative solution. See next entry.]

Solomonic – eponym: having great wisdom or discretion in making difficult decisions; esp. by crafting compromise or by creatively "thinking outside the box"

solon – eponym: a wise lawgiver or legislator [often sarcastic]

somber – dark; gloomy; or fig.: melancholy; dismal (also, serious; grave)

sombrero – a broad-brimmed hat, of felt or straw, typically worn in Mexico and the south-western US

somnolent – sleepy; drowsy. also: somnolent – inducing drowsiness

sonnet – a verse-form of 14 lines with one of various permissible rhyme schemes.
(Note: I believe each line must be in iambic pentameter [5 metric feet], but cannot confirm this.)

sonorous – with a full, deep, or rich sound

sook – Australian slang: a ‘cry-baby’

sophism – a specious but fallacious argument, used either deliberately to deceive or mislead, or to display ingenuity in reasoning (contrast paralogism)

sophister – a sophist [also, oddly, a 2nd or 3rd year student at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Dartmouth; a 3rd or 4th year student at Trinity College, Dublin]

sophisticate (verb) – to adulterate commodities with some foreign or inferior substance; thus, to similarly corrupt a document, a person, etc., making it less genuine or honest

sophomania – unrealistic belief in one's own intelligence; delusion of super-intelligence.

sophomore (oxymoron) – a student in the second year of college (or of a 4-year secondary school)

sophomoric – conceited and overconfident, but exhibiting great immaturity and lack of judgment

soporific – 1. drowsy 2. inducing drowsiness or sleep (noun: a drug or other thing that makes one drowsy)

sordine – a damper or mute for musical instruments, esp. the cone-shaped mute for a trumpet

sorel – a male fallow deer in its third year

sorites – a chain of enthymeme [enthymeme – a "truncated syllogism" where one premises is left implicit, rather than stated explicitly]

sororal – like or befitting a sister; "sisterly kindness"; "sororal concern". (the feminine counterpart of fraternal')

sortie – 1.  an attack by troops breaking out of a defensive position; also, a flight by a military aircraft 2. an incursion into new territory

sottise – a silly remark or saying; a foolish action

sottisier – a collection of sottises, esp. a list of written stupidities

sotto voce – in soft tones, so as not to be overheard

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

sough – [pronounced SOW or SUF] noun or verb: a soft murmuring, rustling or sighing, as of the wind or a gentle surf

soupcon; soupηon – a very small quantity

sousaphone – eponym: a large brass wind instrument, much like a tuba but shaped so that weight will rest on a shoulder and it can be more easily carried in a marching band

spaewife – female fortune teller

spalpeen – Irish dialect: rascal; scamp

sparge – a sprinkle (verb: 1. to spray or sprinkle 2. to introduce air or gas into [a liquid]). beermaking: to spray malted barley with water to dissolve out the malt ready for fermentation

spatalamancy – divination by skins, bones, &c [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

spathe – a leaflike bract enclosing a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit and the calla

spathic – (geology; mineralogy) dividing well; having good cleavage (could be applied to women?)

spavined – old and decrepit; over-the-hill

specific performance – law: the remedy of having a contract enforced in accordance with its terms

speed camera – camera sited on the side of the road and takes pictures of passing cars. It uses radar to gauge their speed and if any are exceeding the speed limit their drivers get a ticket in the post

spell – verb: to carry a burden on one's shoulders, usually halting from time to time for a rest.  noun: (a) a short distance, especially that between the resting places of a man with a heavy burden on his back. (b) the burden itself

spelt – an ancient and hardy wheat, grown mostly in Europe

spencer – eponym: a type of short double-breasted overcoat for men; a type of women's jacket

spendthrift – one who spends money recklessly or wastefully

Spenglerian – eponym: relating to the views of Oswald Spengler, who held that all major cultures undergo similar cycles from birth to maturity to decay

spermologist – one who gathers seeds

sphallolalia – flirtatious talk that does not lead to amorous action

sphragistics – the scientific study of seals and signet rings

spick and span – neat, trim, and smart, as if quite new

spile – a small wooden bung (peg) to plug a cask’s hole or to regulate the flow [also, the same for the hole in a tree tapped for sap]

spindrift – windblown sea spray. Also called spoondrift.

spit-splice (knitting) – a method of joining a new ball of yarn into the project, when the old ball runs out

spiv – Brit: a flashily dressed man of disreputable dealings

splodge – a thick, heavy, or clumsy splotch

splog – (from spam blog): a fake blog, without meaningful content, set up to attract hits to generate advertising revenue or Google-ranking

spoliator – one who spoliates; a spoiler (spoliate – to plunder; to pillage; to despoil; to rob)

spondulicks – Brit. informal: money

spong – one who encounters great good luck, despite their own incredible stupidity or clumsiness. (spawny + mong )

spooge – slang: 1. semen 2. motorcycling: the black gunk that can run out of the silencer

spoom – a frothy, light type of sherbet

spoondrift – see spindrift

spoonerism – eponym: transposition of initial sounds of words (as in “tons of soil” for “sons of toil”)

sporran – large pouch of skin or fur, worn by Highlanders in front of the kilt

sport – a spontaneous mutation in a branch, which might be useful

sportive – playful; frolicsome (archaic: amorous or wanton); also, relating to or interested in sports

spotted dick – Brit: a steamed suet pudding. The "spots" are sultanas or raisins. Recipe

sprachgefόhl (literally, "language-feeling") – an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate; also, the character of a language

sprigging – planting sprigs of grass in shallow furrows, to make a lawn

sprog ­– Brit. & Austr. slang: a baby or young child. verb: to give birth

squeans – cartoons: the little bubbles that float above a character's head to show intoxication. briffits – those little clouds of smoke when some thing moves abruptly.  hites – lines showing forward/backward movement. agitrons – lines showing sideways movement. ALL NON-STANDARD; coined by Mort Walker

squib – 1. a small firework that hisses before exploding 2. a short piece of satirical writing

squick – vulgar slang: to gross out; to disgust

squidger – tiddlywinks; compare sqoup: the larger wink used to propel or flip a player's winks; the shooter (verb: squidge – to so propel) You try to pot it.
squidge-off  – use of the squidger to start the game
squopped – if a free tiddlywink lands on another wink, that wink is squopped

squiggle – a small wiggly mark or scrawl (verb: to squirm and wriggle)

squinchΉ – a small arch built across the interior angle between two walls

squinch² – v.trans: to squeeze the eyelids or face together [squint + pinch]. intrans: to squeeze up so as to fill less place; to crouch ("squinch down"; "squinch over")

squirrel (etymology) – from the ancient Greeks’ name for it, skiouros, which means “shadow-tail”. How apt!

squonk – creature of the Pennsylvania hemlock forests. It is extremely ugly and, aware of and upset by its terrible appearance, is is extremely reclusive. Can be tracked by the trail of the tears it constantly weeps over its sad fate. However, if bagged it will weep constantly within the sack, and literally dissolve in its own tears, leaving naught but a salty wet spot. Hence the formal scientific name, Lacrimacorpus dissolvens. <wink>

squop – tiddlywinks: to cover and immobilize (another's wink) with one's own (compare squidger)

SRO – 1. single room occupancy 2. standing room only

St. Elmo’s fire – eponym: visible electric discharge on a pointed object (ship's mast or airplane's wing) in an electrical storm

St. Martin’s summer – eponym: Indian summer in November

St. Vitus dance – eponym: nervous disorder marked by spasmodic movements

staggered board – a board (of directors) whose members’ terms are overlapping, not coincident, so that only some directors (not all) are elected in any single election

stakhanovite – eponym: a Soviet worker exceptional in increasing production. (I suggest that the word is not limited to Soviets, and means "an exceptionally hard worker" – with pejorative overtones of overzealousness.)

stalemate – a deadlock; a situation of opposing parties in which neither side can make further progress or take any further worthwhile action. verb: bring to stalemate. [term evolved from the game of chess]

stalking horse – a sham candidate put forward to conceal another's candidacy or to divide the opposition (or, generally, something used to mask a purpose)

stanchion – 1. an upright pole support 2. a framework of vertical bars used to secure cattle in a stall or feed trough

standing – law: a party's right a be the person bringing a legal claim

star chamber – characterized by secrecy and often being irresponsibly arbitrary and oppressive

stare decisis – law: the doctrine of precedent; the general rule of following earlier decisions

stareomancy – divination by the elements [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

stark-naked (etymology)

stash (knitting) – one’s supply of extra yarn. (The yarn in a knitter’s life tends to accumulate.)
stash enhancement – shopping and buying more yarn
stash diving – finding yarn in your stash for the new project instead of purchasing new yarn
souvenir stash – yarn you bought on vacation that reminds you of the place, but which you can’t knit because, well, it reminds you of your vacation

steatopygous – having extremely fat buttocks

steganography – secret writing by hiding the message in an apparently innocuous document or other matter

stemwinder – two completely different meanings: 1. a rousing political speech; but occasionally, 2. a speech so long and boring that it feels as though one needs to wind one’s watch before it ends

stentorian – eponym: extremely loud; a stentorian voice

Stepford – toponym: robotically conformist and compliant; attractive but without individuality, emotion, or thought

sternomancy – divination by the marks from the breast to the belly [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

sternutation – formal: the action of sneezing

stertorous – characterized by heavy snoring

Stetson – eponym: trademark for a broad-brimmed high-crowned felt hat

steward – (originally, pig-warden) one who manages property or other affairs for someone else

sthenia – marked bodily strength; vigor

stipple – to paint, etc. in dots or short strokes

stirrup-cup – a drink handed to a man already on horseback setting out; a parting glass. Also called deoch an doris, Gael. for 'drink at the door'.

stoat – an ermine (a small weasel-like carnivore), in its brown summer coat. ("The ermine … [has] a very high metabolic rate which makes it a very effective and agile hunter. However, its slim body shape dictates that it must eat often to survive.”)

stocious – irish slang: drunk

stockinette or stocking stitch (knitting) – a certain pattern that is very smooth and even; all of the “nubs” are on one side of the fabric. Tends to curl

stonking – Brit., colloquial: excellent, amazing; considerable, powerful

stovaine – eponym: the first successful substitute for cocaine as an anesthetic

strabismus – 1. cross-eye (or other improper alignment of the eyes) 2. fig; rare: perversity of intellectual perception

strangury – a condition of slow, painful urination, caused by muscular spasms of the “plumbing”

straw boss – a worker who acts as a boss or crew leader; an assistant to a foreman in charge of supervising small gang of workers

strident – 1. loud, harsh and grating 2. presenting a point of view in an excessively forceful way

stridulate – to make a shrill grating, chirping, or hissing sound by rubbing body parts together, as certain insects do. a stridulant sound; a stridulatory insect

striga – a type of witch that thrives on the life force of children, leaving its young victims prematurely aged and weak

stringer – a local journalist, paid by a news corporation to report on news from their area

strobotron – a gas-filled electron tube used esp. as a source of bright flashes of light for a stroboscope (1937)

strophe – 1. stanza 2. two or more lines repeated as a unit

struthionine – ostrich-like

studmuffin – a sexually attractive young man

stultify – 1. to cause to appear foolish or absurd 2. to render useless or ineffectual; cripple

stuprate – to deflower a virgin

stygian – toponym: pertaining to the river Styx; hence: hellish; infernal

stymie – to impede, obstruct, frustrate, thwart (a person, an activity, or a project) [from golf]

sub rosa – happening or done in secret (contrast  sub divo – in the open [lit. “under god” or, by transference, “under the sky])

subdolous – sly; crafty; cunning

subincision – the slitting of the underside of the penis, a puberty rite among some tribal peoples

subitize – to judge the number (of objects in a group) rapidly, accurately, and confidently without counting them

sublittoral – of ocean depths to about 200 meters; neritic

substitution cipher – secret writing, where the letters of the text are replaced by substitute letters, without transposing them

subtlist  (also subtilist) – one addicted to subtleties. subtilism – the quality or state of being subtle; subtlety (not necessarily positive)

succedaneum – a substitute. (can refer to persons or other items, particularly to medications; often seems to imply a substitute that is acceptable but inferior.)

succubus – an evil spirit who has sex with men they sleep. (see incubus)

succumbent – submissive; yielding

sufferance – absence of objection rather than genuine approval; patient endurance (esp. of pain or distress)

summoner – a petty officer who cites persons to appear in court

sunbeam – (interesting etymology; see Archives)

sundae – why is an 'ice cream sundae' named after a day of the week? The majority view cites old "blue laws" which forbade the sale on the Lord's Day of intoxicating sprits – including carbonated soda. So on Sunday an soda parlor had to remove the soda water from its sodas, serving only cream and syrup – the ice-cream sundae.

sunder – to split apart (implies by violence: to wrench apart)

sun-dog – see parhelion

superannuated – 1. ineffective, or sent out to pasture, because of old age. 2. outmoded; obsolete

superbia – unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem

superincumbent – lying upon and pressing down on. ventricumbent – lying face down; prone

supeter – armor for the feet [OED's only source is a 1611 dictionary]

supine – lying on one's back (contrast prone – lying on one's stomach)

suppletion – use of an unrelated word form in a linguistic paradigm: go/went; bad/worse

suppurate (also here) – to form or discharge pus (suitable for figurative use as an insult)

supralapsarian – one who holds that Adam and Eve's acts were fore-ordained; they could not have chosen otherwise

surcease – noun cessation. verb, trans. & intrans. to bring or come to an end; stop

surculigerous – biol: producing suckers

surreptitious – taken 'on the sly', secretly or furtively, with efforts to avoid detection

susfu – see snafu

suss – slang: to figure out; also, to size up; study

susurrus – a soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur

Svengali – eponym: a person who exercises a controlling influence on another, esp. for sinister purpose

swale – 1. moist or marshy low land (or: a shallow depression on a golf fairway or green) 2. a shallow trough-like depression (as along a roadside) that carries overflow water (or: a trough between ridges on a beach, paralleling the coastline)

sward – an expanse of grass turf (also, the upper soil layer of soil, esp. when grass-covered)

swarf – the fine metallic particles that accumulate from using a machine tool to grind, sharpen, or cut metal (from Old Norse sverfa, to file)

swashbuckler – a swaggering or daring soldier, swordsman, or adventurer;  or a novel or drama dealing with a such a character

swath – 1. a strip (from the specific sense: a mowing-path the width of a scythe-stroke, or the cut grass or grain in such a path). to cut a swath – to create a great stir, impression, or display

sweating – cooking foods over low heat without browning

sweetheart (etymology) –

SWI – Snowmobiling While Intoxicated. Term used in the law courts, akin to DWI

swidden – an area cleared for temporary cultivation by cutting and burning the vegetation

switch-hitter – baseball: one able to bat either right-handed or left-handed; "going both ways". slang: a bisexual person (also, the following meaning found in usage but not in dictionaries: person or software able to perform well at any of two or more functions)

swive – a synonym for the f-word. The latter first appears around 1500, and 'swive' (related to 'swivel') is the term previously used. The verb “to quim” may refer only to the female's role in the activity.

swivet – a tizzy; a state of extreme agitation

swizzle – UK noun: a swindle or a confidence trick; verb to swindle, con or cheat. Also, and chiefly US: an unshaken cocktail (cf. swizzle stick – a small stick used to stir a fizzy drink to cause the carbon dioxide to escape)

sword of Damocles – eponym: something that threatens imminent disaster

sybarite – a person devoted to pleasure and luxury; a voluptuary

sycomancy – divination by figs [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

syllepsis – a form of pun: using a word to relates to two others, in two different senses (“She stole my heart and my wallet”), as a literal sense and a figurative sense. (Note – some authorities say that one use must be illogical [“Jane murdered him, and you may too.”] or ungrammatical.)

sylph – 1. an imaginary spirit of the air (later: 2. a slender woman of light, graceful movement

sympatico – 1. likeable; congenial 2. of like mind or temperament; compatible

synapse – the gap between two neurons (nerve cells), across which impulses are transmitted

syncretism – 1. the amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought 2. linguistics: the merging of two or more originally different inflectional forms (e.g., thee and thou become you)

synecdoche – a type of metonym, where the smaller term is substituted for the larger (e.g., "hand" for worker) or vice versa (e.g., "the law" for a police officer)

synechthry – the state of living together in a loveless marriage

synesthesia – a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when hearing a sound produces the visualization of a color; or “tasting a sound”

synodical – relating to a church counsel, also, relating to a conjunction of celestial bodies

synoptic – 1. like a synopsis; taking a general overview 2. meteorology: of data obtained nearly simultaneously over a large area of the atmosphere

syntality – the consistent and predictable behavior of a social group

syntonic – highly responsive (emotionally) to the environment; having the responsive, lively type of temperament which is liable to manic-depressive psychosis. Most often seen in the phrase “ego-syntonic”.

syphilis [etymology] – definition unneeded.  origin: perhaps Greek mythology [click for detailed entry]

syzygy – the straight line configuration of 3 celestial bodies in a gravitational system