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caboodle – a crowd or collection

cabotage – 1. navigation in coastal waters 2. a country's exclusive right to operate air traffic within its territory

cacademics – (coinage; not recognized as a word) members of academia focused on minutia or bafflegab

cachinnate – to laugh loudly and immoderately (noun: cachinnation)

cack – excrement

cackhanded – UK; informal: ham-handed, clumsy, award

cacocallia – the state of being ugly but sexy

cacoepy – incorrect pronunciation (The antonym is orthoepy – correct pronunciation of words)

cacography – 1. bad handwriting (opposite of orthography) 2. bad spelling (opposite of calligraphy) [Greek kakos bad + graphos writing]

caconym – an erroneous name; a misnomer

cacophonous – having a harsh, unpleasant sound; discordant

cadge – to beg or sponge off of <cadge a free cup of coffee>

cadre – a nucleus of trained personnel around which a larger organization can be built. Typically used for a military or political group

caduceus (pl. caducei) – a herald's wand, often with serpents twined around it (used as a symbol of the medical profession)

caesar cipher – a cipher in which each letter is replaced by the one a fixed number of positions farther in the alphabet. (For example, one where A, B, C, D, etc. are respectively changed to J, K, L, M, etc.)

caesarism – government by imperial authority, recognizing no other law as a check upon the ruler’s will; political absolutism; dictatorship

caesious – pale blue with a hint of gray. Note:  the dictionaries conflict on this word: definitions give a kind of blue (with gray or green), a kind of gray (with blue or green), and a kind of green (with gray or blue)

cahoots – collusion; questionable collaboration

caitiff – despicably cowardly (noun: such a person; a wretch)

cake-hole – British slang: a person's mouth ("shut your cake-hole" = "shut up")

calaboose – a jail

calamus – the lowest part of shaft of a feather, bare of any 'side branches', also known as the quill

calcycle – a small cup-shaped structure (as a taste bud)

caldera – a crater formed by volcanic explosion or by collapse of a volcanic cone.

calenture – (in old writings): a distemper peculiar to sailors in hot climates, wherein they imagine the sea to be green fields, and will throw themselves into it

Caliban – eponym: a man of degraded bestial nature

calipash; calipee  – the fatty gelatinous substances attached to the shell of a turtle. The calipee is attached to the bottom shell and the calipash is attached to the top. A culinary delicacy.

callboy – one who calls actors when it is time for them to go on stage

calliope – eponym: a musical instrument of steam whistles

calliopean – eponym: piercingly loud: a calliopean voice

callipygous or callipygian – having shapely buttocks

callow – [in an adult role but] lacking full adult experience or sophistication [Wordcrafter note: the bracket words are not in the dictionary definition. I believe the dictionaries err in this; some readers disagree with me.]

calque – a loan translation; a term borrowed from another language with a translation of its parts  (e.g., Ger. άbermensch borrowed into Eng. as superman). taking foreign-language words having a non-standard sense, and using, in the same sense, the like words of your own tongue

caltrop – a simple but effective weapon against cavalry horses or pneumatic-tires cars.  small and shaped like a child's jacks toy – but with four points instead of six – so that, however tossed, one sharp point will be straight up.

calumniate – to make maliciously false statements about (noun: calumny – malicious falsehood made to injure another's reputation)

camarilla – a group of confidential, often scheming advisers; a cabal

camp bed – Brit. a cot

campanology – the art of ringing bells; campanologist

canary trap – a certain method, when an office has a leak, to find out who is the leaker (coined by Tom Clancy)

canine – like a dog

canities – whiteness of the hair

canny – shrewd. (The dictionary gives a second meaning: "cautious; esp. 'cautious in spending money,'" which is unfamiliar to me.)

canon – a clergyman living with others in a clergy-house, living per church rules

canoodle – to kiss and cuddle amorously (also, to win over by cajoling or flattering; wheedle)

canopic – toponym: relating to an ancient Egyptian jar, etc. used to hold the viscera of an embalmed body

canopy – originally, a screen against gnats or mosquitoes. (see also overstory) from Greek konops = "mosquito, gnat" and konopeion = "couch with mosquito curtains".

cantalope (etymology) – toponym: after the Pope's summer residence in Cantalupo

canthus – each of the corners where the top and bottom eyelids meet

cantle – a segment cut off or out of something; a part, piece or fragment. (also, the back part of a saddle)

cantonment – temporary living quarters specially built for soldiers

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

caparison – richly ornamented clothing; finery. verb: to outfit in such trappings or clothing

capercaillie – a wood grouse of northern Europe

capitation – a tax levied on the basis of a fixed amount per person; also, a payment or fee of a fixed amount per person [Note: can be either a charge to a person, or a payment made to or for him.]

capitulary – an ecclesiastical or civil ordinance, esp. those of Charlemagne

cappuccino – etymology: coffee with milk; white coffee, esp. as served in espresso coffee-bars, topped with white foam

caprine – like a goat

capriole – a playful leap or jump; a caper

captcha – a computer-generated test to distinguish human users from automated programs ("bots')
[Acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart]

captiousΉ,² – 1. fault-finding; quarrelsome eagerness to object 2. calculated to entrap through subtle argument

caracole; caracol – a half turn to right or left performed by a horse and rider (verb: to perform same)

carapace – the thick shell that covers the back of the turtle, the crab, and other animals. also, metaphorically: something likened to a shell that serves to protect or isolate from external influence.

cardigan – eponym: a knitted sweater or jacket that opens with buttons, etc. all the way down the front [a "Mr. Rogers" sweater]

carked it – Australian slang: died (e.g. the car carked it half way to the beach)

caron – the inverted caret above consonant, as in č ň š; also called a hαček

carotid – relating to the two large arteries carrying blood to the head and neck

carpetbagger – one who comes as an outsider and presumptuously seeks power

carry-in – regional: a potluck meal

cartel – an association of sellers formed to control prices and restrict competition

cartogram – a map showing statistical information graphically; e.g., countries are deliberately distorted so that the area of each is proportionate to its population

cartographer – a mapmaker

cartophily – the collection of trade cards (sometimes defined as "the collection of cigarette cards," which is the largest single category)

cartouche – 1. a drawn frame around of an engraving, etc. (esp. one in Egyptian hieroglyphics, inclosing royal or divine names or titles) 2. a heavy paper cartridge case

carval-built – (of a wooden ship) built with non-overlapping planks [contrast clinker-built]

caryatid – a figure of a woman used as a supporting column (the much rarer male-figure so used is a telamon or atlas [pl. telamones; atlantes])

Casanova – eponym: a promiscuous man; or a man amorously and gallantly attentive to women

Cassandra – eponym: one whose warnings of doom, though accurate, fall on deaf ears

castaneous – chestnut-colored (the chestnut tree is genus Castanea)

cast-off (knitting; also known as bind-off) – getting the loops off the needles at the end of a knitting process. There are myriad ways to cast-off, to achieve different effects (mainly stretchy or not).

cast-on (knitting) – verb: putting the original loops onto the needle at the beginning of your project. noun: the beginning row of loops. There are many ways to cast-on the yarn.

castrametation – the making or laying out of a camp

casus belli – an act or situation provoking or justifying war

cat (familiar, but listed for an anecdote comparing French and English)

catabasis; katabasis – a military retreat

catabolism – the metabolic process of breaking down tissues in the body (contrast anabolism)

catachresis – incorrect use of a word (either by error or deliberately)

catadromous – migrating 'down', from fresh water to the sea, to spawn (e.g., most eels); contrast anadromous

catamenia – menstrual flow

catamite – a boy kept by a pederast

catamount – a large wild cat of Western Hemisphere mountains, a/k/a mountain cat, panther, puma

cataphora – linguistics: using a pronoun, etc., to refer forward, as the him in Near him, John saw a snake. (contrast anaphora)

cataract – 1. a large waterfall 2. a medical condition in which the eye’s lens becomes progressively opaque, causing blurred vision

catatonia – an abnormal condition characterized by stupor and bay rigidity or extreme flexibility of the limbs

catawampus – askew

cat-bird seat – a position of power or prominence. Used in the phrase "in the catbird seat".

catchpole – a sheriff's officer, especially one who arrests debtors [also figurative]

catchpoll – same as catchpole

cathedral (etymology) – 1587, "church of a bishop," from phrase cathedral church (1297), translating L.L. ecclesia cathedralis "church of a bishop's seat," from Gk. kathedra "seat, bench," from kata "down" + hedra "a seat."

catherine wheel – eponym: a firework that forms a rotating, flaming wheel (a/k/a 'pinwheel')

catspaw (also here) – a person used by another as a dupe or tool (also, a light breeze that ruffles small areas of a water surface)

caudal – pertaining to a tail (Latin cauda, tail)

cause cιlθbre – an issue arousing widespread controversy

causerie – informal discussion or chat, esp. of an intellectual nature (also, a chatty piece of writing)

causeur – an easy talker, frequently witty, pleasant to hear

causeuse – formerly meant a female version of causeur; now means a small cozy sofa for two people to have a long chat

cava – Spanish and Italian for cave; often used for a wine cellar

caveat emptor – the principle that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before purchase

cavil – (trans. or intrans.) to quibble, detect flaws in, raise trivial objections

cay – a small, low island of coral or sand

celebreality – the real life of a celebrity; a TV show format of celebrities in real-life situations

celibate – unmarried. (Only in the 20th century did the word develop the additional meaning "abstaining from sexual intercourse.")

censer – a vessel in which incense is burned, esp. during religious services. related to incense. Not related to one who censors literature or who subjects misconduct to censure.

cephaleonomancy – divination by asses' heads [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

cerulean (also here) – pure, strong blue, the color of the cloudless sky [Source here says "sky-blue", but that definition rather begs the question, for a sky can range from light pale blue to rich strong blue. Which do we mean? There seems to be some confusion. Thus, One-look's "quick definition" is: "cerulean: noun: a light shade of blue; adjective: of a deep somewhat purplish blue color similar to that of a clear October sky".)

cervine – pertaining to deer (contrast cervisial)

cervisial – pertaining to beer (contrast cervine)

cervix (etymology) – from Latin for "the neck"

cesta – a scoop-shaped wicker basket, worn over the hand, used in the game of jai alai to catch and throw the ball

cetacean – pertaining to whales

ceteris paribus – other things being equal; if all other relevant factors remain unaltered

ceviche – a Peruvian dish of raw fish marinated in lemon juice with onions, chilis and seasonings, served especially as an appetizer

chacham – Yiddish: a wise man, a savant; usually used sardonically (chachma = wisdom)

chachka – see tsatske

chaconne – see passacaglia

Chadband – eponym: an oily, religious/moralistic hypocrite

chairwarmer – 1. an interim officeholder "keeping the chair warm" until the proper successor takes office; 2. one who, with only office experience (in his chair), meddles in practical matters 3. one who lounges long in a hotel lobby, etc.

chakra – a cycle, a wheel; also, any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy

chakram – flat steel ring with a sharpened outer edge used as a thrown weapon (thrown like a frisbee)

chalcedony (silent h; accent on 2nd syllable) – quartz in the form of micro-crystals, such as agate

champerty – an outsider assisting a litigant in return for a portion of the proceeds

chandler (also here) – [orig.: a candle-maker or candle-seller] chiefly Brit; usu. contemptuous?: 1. a small shopkeeper selling provisions, groceries, etc. 2. a retailer of specified goods or lines [typ. nautical], as, a ship chandler 3. a candle-maker or candle-seller

chandlery – a chandler's shop

chanticleer – eponym: a rooster

Charybdis – see Scylla and Charybdis

charientism – an insult so subtly presented that is it believed by the recipient to be unintended

charley horse – a muscle cramp, esp. in the upper leg, from a muscular strain or a blow

chartomancy – divination by writing in papers, and by Valentines [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

chartreuse – a pale yellowish apple-green color

chary – very cautious, wary; also, not giving/expending freely

chattering classes – articulate and educated people considered as a social group given to the expression of liberal opinions about society and culture

Chautauqua – toponym: an annual summer educational meeting providing public lectures, concerts, and dramas, usually in an outdoor setting

chauvinism – eponym: fanatical, exaggerated patriotism

cheap shot – an unfair or unsporting verbal attack that takes unfair advantage of a known weakness of the target. (from US football)

check – familiar meaning (to restrain, or to inspect for quality) evolved from the meaning in the game of chess (a threatened immediate capture of the opponent's king)

checkmate – noun: utter defeat. verb: to defeat completely (from game of chess: a check (see above) in which capture cannot be averted)

cherry pick – to unfairly select only the desired items

chesterfield – eponym: a type of sofa, large with upholstered arms

cheval mirror – standalone mirrors in a frame, that can be tilted easily

cheval-de-frise (pl. chevaux de ~) – 1. an obstacle of jagged glass, spikes, etc. set into the top of a wall 2. orig. military: a defensive line of spikes, etc., to block advance of the enemy (e.g., cavalry)

chevalet – the bridge of a stringed instrument

chevalier d'industrie – one who lives by his wits, specially by swindling [lit. "knight of industry"]

chiaroscuro (also here) – the interplay of light and shade in drawing and painting; a work stressing that interplay; fig. the like interplay of contrasting characters, moods, etc.

chiasmus (ky-AZ-mus) – a rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures: Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you

chicane – 1. chicanery 2. bridge (game): a holding of no trumps 3. motor traffic or racing: a sharp double bend [or other obstacle made to slow traffic?]

chichevache – mythical monster: an enormous cow that feeds on patient wives and virtuous women (compare bicorne)

Chicken Little – eponym: one who constantly warns that a calamity is imminent

chilblain – painful, itching swelling, on hand or foot, caused by poor skin circulation when exposed to cold

chili – chili con carne; that is, a Mexican stew of minced beef flavored with chili peppers

chili dog – a hot dog topped with a serving of chili con carne. 1948

chiliasm – doctrine that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years

chimerical – eponym: 1. fantastic; wildly or vainly conceived; also, given to unrealistic fantasies; fanciful
­­– 1. a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication 2. genetic research: an offspring combining two different species (contrast clone, a copy of a single individual) 

chinchona – eponym: the tree bark that yields quinine

Chinese wall – strict confidentiality rules within a securities firm, barring disclosure of certain information between departments

chip buttie – Brit: a chip sandwich (what USns would call french fries, placed between two slices of bread)

chirography – handwriting; penmanship (A previous word-of-the-day; see here.)

chiromancy – divination by the hands [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

chirr – a trilling vibrant sound, such as that made by crickets, grasshoppers, or cicadas (verb – to make that sound)

chitin (silent h) – the substance forming the exoskeleton of insects, etc.

chloasma – a patchy brown skin discoloration [particularly on a woman's face from hormonal changes of pregnancy]

chockie – Australian slang: chocolate

choleric – easily moved to anger

chook – Australian slang: chicken

chop logic – convoluted, contentious and deceptive argument

choropleth – a map using shading or color to show a trait; e.g., colors indicate altitude; or darker shading indicates more-dense population

chott; shott – a shallow brackish lake or marsh, usually dry in the summer and covered with salt

chouse – 1. a cheat; a swindler (verb: to dupe, cheat, trick or swindle)  2. to disturb or harry (cattle)

chrestomathy – a collection of literary passages selected to show a subject matter in breadth

chrysanthemum shell – a spherical burst firework, in which the stars leave a visible trail

chthonic – of the underworld; of the earth; dwelling in or under the earth

chuck – term of endearment (literally 'a chicken')

chucking-out time – slang: closing time at a pub

chukka – each of the periods into which a game of polo is divided [Sanskrit, 'circle' or 'wheel' [also; a kind of high shoe, resembling a polo boot]

churrigueresque – eponym: baroque architectural style characterized by elaborate surface decoration

chutzpah – utter nerve; effrontery

cicatrix – a scar

cicerone – eponym: a guide who conducts sightseers

cicisbeo – the young male lover/escort/admirer of a married woman. (counterpart of mistress) The definition is imprecise; the term covers a wide range of male admires, from hangers-on to full-fledged lovers. (Definition taken from Depraved English by Novobatzky and Shea (1999). The major dictionaries tend to be coy; e.g., Web. Rev. defines cicisbeo as "a professed admirer of a married woman".)

cimmerian – eponym: very dark or gloomy

cinchona [eponym] – the tree whose bark yields quinine

cinderella – eponym: one suddenly lifted from obscurity to honor or significance

cingulomania – a strong desire to hold a person in your arms

cipher – a method of transforming the letters of a text to conceal its meaning, either by transposing the letters or substituting (contrast code)

circadian – occurring regularly at 24-hour intervals (but applies only to biological processes; one would not speak of "the circadian motion of the sun") (compare diurnal, quotidian)

circean – eponym: pleasing, but noxious; as, a Circean draught (after the enchantress Circe of Homer's Odyssey, who first charmed her victims and then changed them to the forms of beasts)

circular argument – 1. using a premise to prove a conclusion that in turn is used to prove the premise 2. an argument that 'goes around in circles', making no progress 3. process: a 'self-reinforcing' process, where progress in one area both requires and stimulates progress in another

circumjacent – lying around; surrounding

circumlocution – 1. use of many words where fewer would do 2. evasion, in speech or writing 3. a roundabout expression

circumvallate – to surround with, or as with, a rampart

cirque – a bowl-shaped hollow (like an amphitheater), at the upper end of a mountain valley, esp. one an the head of a glacier or stream.  Also called a cwm (Wales), a coomb (England), a corrie (Scotland and Ireland)

cisatlantic – on this side of the Atlantic (the mate of transatlantic)

clamber – to climb awkwardly and laboriously

clapperdugeon – a beggar born; a whining beggar

claque – 1. a group of people hired to applaud or heckle a performer; a "rent-a-crowd" 2. a group of sycophantic followers (esp. in politics)

clarion – loud and clear (noun: a shrill war trumpet) [clarion call – a strongly expressed demand for action]

clart – to daub, smear, or spread, as with mud, etc.

claymore mine – an anti-personnel land mine that discharges blast fragments in a predetermined direction, set towards the enemy

cleavage (art restoration) – separation of paint layers (oil paintings; house paint, etc.)

clement – 1. of persons or behavior: tending to be lenient or merciful. 2. of weather: mild

clepe – to call; to name [yclept is the past participle]

clepsydra – a clock that marks time by the flow of water through a small opening (sometimes called a water glass)

clerihew – eponym: a witty verse, of two rhyming couplets, on a person named in one of the rhymes

clerisy – the well-educated elite class; the intelligentsia

clichι (etymology) – from the sound of a die striking a printing plate

climactic – adjective form of 'climax'

clinker – brick fused together by fire

clinker-built – (of a wooden ship) with outer planks overlapping each other [contrast carval-built]

cliometrics – eponym: the study of history using economic models and advanced mathematical methods of data processing and analysis

clochard – a tramp; a vagrant

cloche – [from the French for 'bell'] either of two bell-shaped covers:
1. woman's hat, close-fitting and bell-shaped
2. a cover, usually bell-shaped, to protect plants from frost

clock – the downy flower-head of a dandelion, etc. that has gone to seed [From the child's play of blowing away the feathered seeds to find 'what o'clock it is'.]

clodhopper – a clumsy, coarse person, esp. a rustic (also, a big heavy shoe)

clodpated – stupid; dull; doltish

cloisonnι (pronounced klwaazonay) – a kind of decorative enamelwork: areas are outlined by metal filaments mounted on a backing, and are then filled in with enamel of different colors

cloisters (etymology) – from the same Latin root as claustrophobic

cloud-cuckoo-land – someone is said to live in cloud-cuckoo-land when they seem optimistically out of touch with reality

clowder – a group or cluster of cats

cloyne – to act deceitfully or fraudulently, to cheat, deceive. hence cloyning – to have a secret understanding, to conspire. also: to take cunningly, furtively, or fraudulently; to grab.

cluricaune – akin to a leprechaun, but much worse. Leprechauns make shoes. A cluricaune drinks – and thus endangers the stock of any pub he inhabits. "A cluricaune is a walking thirst." – Spider Robinson

clyster – 1. a suppository or an edema 2. obsolete: a contemptuous name for a medical practitioner

cockaigne – in peasant legend of middle ages: an imaginary country of abundant food and of idle luxury. fig: a place of overflowing abundance. [apparently from older words for cook and cake]

cockatrice – a serpent, hatched from a cock's egg, having the power to kill by its glance.

cockerel – a young domestic cock

cockshy – the throw in a throwing contest, or the target aimed at

code – a system to transform a message by prearranged substitutions for words or phrases (contrast cipher, where substitution is for individual letters)

codex (pl. codices) – a manuscript (handwritten) volume, esp. of a classic work or of the Scriptures ('manuscript' in this sense means "handwritten")

codswallop – eponym: nonsense (Brit. slang)

coeval – of the same age or date of origin; contemporary (noun: a person of roughly the same age; a contemporary)

coffered panel – a decorative sunken panel in a ceiling, etc

cognitive dissonance – the mental discomfort of simultaneously holding incompatible attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, etc.

cognomen – 1. the family name of an of ancient Rome (the typical example is the "Caesar" in Gaius Julius Caesar); more generally, a surname 2. a descriptive nickname or epithet. Related terms as to ancient Roman names: prζnomen – equivalent to our first name.  nomen – name of the gens, the extended family or clan (the cognomen helped distinguish families within the gens). agnomen – a  fourth name given because of some remarkable exploit, or to distinguish two men whose names were otherwise identical.

coins and currency – see two bits; simoleon, greenback; trime; tanner; bob; tosherooon; joey; holey dollar; dump, loonie, twonie

colibri – hummingbird

collation – a light, informal meal (also, the act of collating)

Colonel Blimp – eponym: an elderly pompous reactionary

colophon – a publisher's emblem or trademark on the title page (originally, an end-of-book inscription giving facts about its publication)

colporteur – a hawker; specifically, one who travels about selling and distributing religious tracts and books.

colt – eponym: a type of revolver (firearms. trademark?)

coltish – with the enthusiastic awkwardness of youth (almost always applied to a young female, with implications of budding sexuality)

comely – pleasant to look at; attractive

comestible – adj. edible; suitable to be eaten. noun; usu. plural: something that can be eaten as food

commensal – biology: of a relation between two organisms that benefits one without damaging or benefiting the other. [Latin 'sharing a table'] (contrast parasitic; symbiotic; not to be confused with commensurate; incommensurable)

commensurate – of corresponding size or degree; proportionate (can also mean commensurable)

commercant – merchant, businessman, shopkeeper [not in dictionaries; found in Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2006]

comstockery – eponym: censorship on basis of immorality or obscenity (coined by George Bernard Shaw)

conation – the faculty of volition and desire; the mental processes directed toward action or change: impulse, desire, volition, and striving

concertina screen – a screen that folds up and has pleats like an accordion

concinnity – 1. harmony in arrangement of parts to a whole 2. studied elegance in expression

conclave – a confidential or secret meeting

concupiscence – sexual lust

condign – deserved; adequate (esp. of punishment); suitable to the fault or crime

coney – see hyrax

confabulate – [akin to fable]
1. to converse casually together; to chat
2. Psychology: to fill in gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts

conflate – 1. to bring together; meld or fuse 2. to combine (as two readings of a text) into one whole

congener – something akin to or resembling another (see conger; congeries)

conger – a large, scaleless marine eel (see congener; congeries)

congeries – a conglomeration; heap or mess (see congener; conger)

congress – 1. a coming together; meeting 2. sexual intercourse [among other meanings, of course]

conjunctivitis – inflammation of the eye-membrane (called the conjunctiva) that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelid. Popularly called pink eye

conk – to break down, give out, fail, or show signs of failing; to die, collapse, or lose

consanguinity – relationship by blood or common ancestry (as opposed to 'by marriage'); more generally, a close affinity or connection [com- "together" + sanguineus "of blood"]

consilience – the "jumping together" of knowledge; unification of knowledge across diverse disciplines

consistory – the council of cardinals; or, a church tribunal or senate; or (rare), a solemn assembly or council

conskite – to bespatter with dung

consmology – a account (whether scientific, philosophic or mythic) of the creation of the universe

constellation – astronomy: a formation of stars seen, in the sky, as forming a figure. metaphoric: a collection or gathering, usually of prominent persons or things

contesseration – the act of making friends [literally, “ breaking a tablet together”]

continental slope – the seabed where it gradually descends from continental shore. (A steeper descent typically begins at 200 meters depth.)

contrapposto – the position with hips and legs turned somewhat in a different direction from the shoulders and head; typically most of the weight is on one foot

contretemps – an unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things

contronym – a word that has two opposite meanings (e.g. to dust: “He dusted the table” ['to remove dust'] vs. “He dusted sugar onto the doughnuts”  ['to apply dust'])

contumely – insolent or insulting words or acts

cook’s tour – eponym: a quick tour or survey, with attention only to the main features

coomb – see cirque

cooper – a barrel-maker or barrel-repairer

coping – the course of brick on top of a wall (usually sloping)

copper-bottomed – Brit.: thoroughly reliable [from protective copper sheathing on the bottom of wooden ships]

coprolite – petrified dung

coprophagous – dung-eating (same as merdivorous)

copula – a connecting word, esp. a form of the verb be

coquelicot – poppy-colored: brilliant red with orange.

coquette – an insincerely flirtatious woman [adj. coquettish]. to coquet – 1. to trifle or dally in love 2. to deal playfully instead of seriously

coracle – an ancient type of boat, small, light, rounded and maneuverable, made of wickerwork covered with a watertight material, and used with a paddle

corinthian – 1.  a fashionable man about town; a bon vivant; esp. a wealthy amateur sportsman. 2. a debauched man devoted to the pursuit of pleasure.  adj: as or like such a man, of either sort [also has several other senses]

corm – see geophyte

corn – in England it means 'grain' of any sort, but in the United States it means the specific grain maize.  Why? In the US, when the Pilgrim colonists' wheat was devastated by a native fungal disease, the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to grow maize. Since maize was the only grain available in the colonies, the word 'corn' came to mean that specific grain in US speech.

cornu –  a horn-shaped anatomical part (as of the uterus)

cornucopia (etymology) – from L. cornu copiζ "horn of plenty," after the myth of Amalthea, who nurtured the infant Zeus. By one version of the myth, Zeus broke off a goat's horn and gave it to Amalthea, promising that it would supply whatever she desired in abundance – thus, the animal horn as a fertility symbol.

corpus – a large collection of writings of a particular kind or on a particular subject; esp., the complete works of an author (also other meanings)

corrie – see cirque

corrigible – capable of being corrected, reformed, or improved (contrast the familiar word incorrigible)

corroboree – a large noisy celebration, or, a great tumult; a disturbance

coruscating – 1. giving off bright beams or flashes of light; 2. exhibiting brilliant, sparkling technique or style [note: often misused to mean "corrosive" or "scathing"]

corvine – like a raven

corybantic – wild, frantic, frenzied

coryza – a runny nose, as with a cold (or more exactly, the inflamed nasal membrane that causes the runny nose)

cosmology – study of the the origin, evolution and structure of the universe

cosmos – the universe, the world, seen as a well-ordered whole

cosset – to care for over-indulgently

cotquean – a man who busies himself with women's work or affairs (also, a coarse masculine woman) disparaging. ASax; literally "house woman": cot = small house + quean = woman. The second syllable is pronounced to rhyme with 'when'

couloir – a deep mountainside gorge or gully, esp. in the Swiss Alps

coup – a sudden stroke (conveys promptness and force). (AHD: a brilliantly executed stratagem; a triumph)

coup de grβce – 1. a finishing stroke or decisive event 2. a deathblow delivered to end the misery of a mortally wounded victim

coup de graisse – death by chocolate (found on one site; doubtless with tongue in cheek)

coup de main – military: a sudden action undertaken to surprise an enemy

coup de soleil – sunstroke

coup de thιβtre – 1. a sudden dramatic turn of events in a play. 2. an unexpected and sensational event, esp. one that reverses or negates a prevailing situation

coup d'ιtat – the sudden overthrow of a government

coup d'oeil – a quick survey; a glance (literally, stroke of the eye)

courtesan – a prostitute, especially one with wealthy or upper-class clients

coven – an assembly of witches; usually 13 witches [earlier, a variant of 'convent']

Coventry – toponym: a state of ostracism or exile (“sent to Coventry”)

coverture – 1. a shelter; also, state of being concealed 2. law: the status of a married woman

coydog – the hybrid offspring of coyotes and feral dogs

coypu – a beaver-like aquatic rodent native to South America, valued for its fur (see nutria)

cozen – to cheat; to defraud; to beguile; to deceive

crack a mental – Australian slang: express extreme anger or rage

crack a fat – Australian slang: get a boner

cramble – to walk ill, as with corns on the feet; to hobble  [obsolete; from The Word Museum by J. Kacirk]

crannick; cronnick; cran – a tree or root killed or much weathered by wind, water or fire; piece of such wood gathered as fuel; small twisted fir or spruce

cranny – a small narrow opening or hole; a chink, crevice, crack, fissure

crapper (etymology) – a flush toilet

crapshoot – a risky enterprise

crapulous; crapulent – over-indulging in food or drink; also, sick from doing so drinking (from Greek for "drunken headache")

craquelure – fine cracks in surface of an old painting

craven – characterized by abject fear; cowardly (noun – a coward)

crepe-hanger – a gloomy pessimist; a kill-joy

crepitate – to make a crackling or popping sound; crackle, as salt in fire; burning leaves or twigs

crepuscular – resembling or relating to twilight

crevasse – a deep fissure or chasm

crib – a small abode; a tiny room; also, a saloon, 'dive', or brothel

critical path – the sequence of steps in an operation (as, building a house) which determines the time needed for the whole project

criticaster – a mean-spirited, contemptible, carping critic

croaker – a wellerism based on a punning verb [For example, “I'm dying," he croaked,” and "I've got a new game," mumbled Peg.] Term coined by Roy Bongartz.

crock – slang: something decrepit and worn out

croesus – eponym: a man of extreme wealth

cromulent – coinage: excellent; perfectly acceptable. (also here; coined on TV in The Simpsons)

croodle – to coo like a dove (also, to cower together, as from fear or cold; to snuggle, as a young animal with its mother)

croon – 1. to sing in a soft gentle tone 2. to weep and wail (a word with two apparently-contradictory meanings)

cruciverbalist – a composer of crossword puzzles; an enthusiast at solving those puzzles

cryptid – see cryptozoology

cryptonym – a code name; a name used to secretly refer to another

cryptozoology – the study of creatures, such as the Sasquatch, whose existence has not been substantiated [the creatures are called cryptids]

crystallomancy – divination by crystals [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

cubby-hole; cubbyhole – 1. a small box or compartment, such as a locker or a pigeon hole 2. a small room; sometimes used to mean such room used as a hideaway

cucking stool – a tool for punishing scolds and others. It was a chair (often with a hole like a toilet seat, suitable for that use). The victim was tied and either set out for public ridicule or ducked in a river or pond.
[cuck "to defecate" (may also include urinate)]
[Also known as a trebucket, but that term has further meanings.]

cuesta – a ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a cliff on the other; a gentle upward slope ending in a steep drop

culacino – the mark left on the table by a moist glass

cullet – broken glass for re-melting, recycling

cultivar – a plant variety produced in cultivation by selective breeding (the selection may be unintentional)

cumbent – recumbent

cumberbund; cummerbund – a broad waistband on men's dress clothes. from Persian kamar waist + band band

cummingtonite – toponym:a felicitously-named mineral first found in Cummington, Massachusetts, USA

cunabula – earliest abode: the cunabula of the human race

cunctation – procrastination; delay. (etymology suggests that the term is not pejorative, but rather means wise delay to gain advantage.)

cunctipotent – all-powerful, omnipotent (Note: The oriental goddess Cunti, or Kunda, is thought to be the source of many of our cun- words here, as well as of the four-letter word beginning with cun- which I will leave unstated.)

cunicle – a hole, cave or passage underground

cunicular – pertaining to underground passages; burrow-dwelling

cuniculate – penetrated by a passage

cuniculture – the agricultural practice of breeding and raising rabbits

cuniform; cuneiform – wedge-shaped; also, pertaining to writing with wedge-shaped characters (as on ancient clay tablets)

curate's egg – (chiefly British) something with both good and bad parts

Curie point – eponym: the temperature above which ferromagnetism becomes paramagnetism [after Pierre Curie]

curmudgeon – an ill-tempered person (typically old male), full of resentment and stubborn notions

curry – to groom [a horse]

curry favor – eponym: to seek to gain favor by flattery or attention [Note: 'curry' means 'to groom a horse'.]

curtain lecture – a wife’s private reprimand to her husband

cuspidor – a spittoon; a receptacle for spit (including the "receptacle" of a drinking fountain or in a dentist's office)

custom – esp. Brit. business patronage: If the store clerk is rude, take your custom elsewhere.

cwm (one of the few English words with none of the classic vowels) – synonymous with cirque; more discussion there

Cyber Monday – U.S.: the Monday after Thanksgiving holiday, when online retailers supposedly have a surge in purchases

cyberterrorism – not in dictionaries.  Per U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (paraphrased): political attack against computer systems, programs, and data, by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.  Unlike nuisance virus or simple denial of service, it is designed to cause physical violence or extreme financial harm to non combatants

cyborg – [cyber- + organism] a person [or animal] whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal limitations, [or are controlled,] by elements implanted into the body

cytokine storm – an overreaction by the immune system's first responders, running amok, killing not just virus-infected cells but healthy bystander cells as well