This week, you're challenged to figure out what our theme is. I'll do my best to keep it suitably camouflaged.
(Suggestion: those of you who opt to post speculations here might want to do so in white type, so that anyone who wants to work on the puzzle alone can do so.)
Let the game begin!
temulent – drunken, intoxicated
– Columbia Spectator (a university newspaper), March 2, 2001
escarpment – a long, steep slope at the edge of a plateau or separating areas of land at different heights
[from Italian scarpa 'slope', though French]
Though an escarpment can be a large area (first quote), the second quote is the more typical usage.
– T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
At the foot of a towering escarpment, part of the rock had fallen into a loose tumble, overgrown by moss and lichen, small saplings jutting drunkenly from cracks in the rock.
– Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn
kinesthesia – the sense or perception that detects ones bodily position, weight, or movement
A similar term is proprioception, which stresses such perceptions from stimuli arising within the body.
Consider the task of a coxswain, the steersman who directs the rowers (typically eight of them) of a racing shell.
– Craig Lambert, Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing
The same roots are in "kinetic energy" (the energy of a body's motion) and "anesthesia".
By the way, "anesthesia" ("no-feeling") was coined in 1846 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, physician-poet (whose son, of the same name, became a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court). It was listed in Bailey's dictionary of 1721, but with a different meaning.
agnate – adj.: related on the father's side; noun: a person so related
– John L. Esposito, The Oxford History of Islam
Bailey was describing the impairment of sensations in the limbs of those suffering from paralysis, most commonly caused by strokes that affect both motor (paralysis) and/or sensory functions. But he certainly employed the word in a sense still in use. Proprioception and kinaesthesia were later terms applied to specific modalities of sensation, still in daily clinical use during neurological examinations.
General anaesthesia first was based on Ether, known since the 16th century as "sweet vitriol." W.T.G.Morton demonstrated its effects on 16th October 1846, in the Massachusetts General hospital. He showed that surgery could be performed painlessly when the patient was rendered insensible by ether. Its anaesthetic properties become known worldwide. The hospital room where this historic experiment was executed became known as "the ether dome." Chloroform was the next anaesthetic developed in general surgery.
Pearce, you must pop in a little more often. We've missed your excellent posts!
Indeed you must, Pearce. And will we be seeing you at Wordcraft 98?
mystagogue – one who initiates another into a mystery cult
Would this word serve as a derogatory alternative to "guru"?
– Jorge Luis Borges, The Sect of the Phoenix (translated; grammatical error corrected), in Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (New Directions paperbook)
internaut – one skilled in navigating and using the Internet; a netizen
– Carl A. Nelson, Import/Export: How to Get Started in International Trade
… public libraries are one of the few public meeting places that have continued to work. … Most public libraries … provide meeting rooms for community organizations … We hear much about virtual communities on the Internet, and such communities have their uses – but they do not replace physical gatherings. … Internauts eventually realize the need for more human contact and add real-world organizations to their virtual communities.
– Walt Crawford, Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change
It's time to reveal our theme this week. We've been presenting Camouflaged Animals: temulent, escarpment, kinesthesia (kine is an antique plural of cow), agnate, mystagogue, internaut, and today's word, nolens-volens.
nolens volens – whether willing or not [Latin "unwilling-willing"]
– Mary McCarthy, The Group
But take care using willy-nilly this way, for it has gained other meanings too. Will I, nill I could be taken to mean "I can't make up my mind," and willy-nilly was erroneously used in that sense too. (1883: "The willy-nilly disposition of the female in matters of love") With time it came to be an accepted meaning. Still later, willy-nilly evolved even further to also mean "without direction or planning; haphazardly."This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
I didn't even get close to guessing that.
Probably wouldn't have if you'd given me a hundred examples.
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
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Wordcrafter offers another nice distinction with "willy-nilly."
Same idea as "carrot and stick," which originally meant a carrot ON a stick, held in front of a donkey to motivate it. Today, it seems that most see "carrot and stick" as alternatives of reward and punishment.
Even "nice" itself offers an original sense of fine or subtle, while today being reduced to the bland niceness of "nice."