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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
    The criminalization of uncoerced sexual intercourse as rape … undermines the gravity of true rapes. … Drew Douglas was once a student at Harvard University … He was expelled from Harvard and convicted in a court of law for having failed to understand – in his state of severe inebriation – what she might have said in her equally temulent condition.
    – Columbia Spectator (a university newspaper), March 2, 2001
 
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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.
    In this group of oases lay the true centre of Arabia, the preserve of its native spirit, and its most conscious individuality. The desert lapped it round and kept it pure of contact. ... South of the oases it appeared to be a pathless sea of sand, stretching nearly to the populous escarpment of the Indian Ocean shore, shutting it out from Arabian history, and from all influence on Arabian morals and politics.
    – 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
 
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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.
    … sight is secondary; an experienced cox steers mostly by feeling, by kinesthesia. The hull of a rowing shell is only one-sixteenth of an inch thick or even thinner; it is a skin, a membrane through which the coxswain senses the river and its response to the boat. The water talks to the coxswain through the hull. Through specific touch points – backside on the seat, feet on the hull, hands on the rudder ropes – the steersman feels. … any shift in the set, pitch, or heading of the boat reaches the cox instantly. The coxswain reflexively balances these inputs … . Reason is too blunt a tool for steering; you steer an eight by instinct.
    – Craig Lambert, Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing
Etymology: Greek kinein to move + esthesia feeling; sensation.
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.
 
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agnateadj.: related on the father's side; noun: a person so related
    Male agnates … are often entitled to a share of the inheritance, even if there are closer female relatives, under Sunni law, but they are likely to be excluded from inheritance under Shiite law.
    – John L. Esposito, The Oxford History of Islam
 
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quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:

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.


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.
 
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Pearce, you must pop in a little more often. We've missed your excellent posts!
 
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Indeed you must, Pearce. And will we be seeing you at Wordcraft 98?


Richard English
 
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mystagogue – one who initiates another into a mystery cult

Would this word serve as a derogatory alternative to "guru"?
    This secret … is transmitted from generation to generation, but good usage prefers that mothers should not teach it to their children, nor that priests should; initiation into the mystery is the task of the lowest individuals. A slave, a leper or a beggar serves as mystagogue.
    – Jorge Luis Borges, The Sect of the Phoenix (translated; grammatical error corrected), in Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (New Directions paperbook)
 
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internaut – one skilled in navigating and using the Internet; a netizen
    The Internet knows no international boundaries. Internauts are logging on from Bangkok to Broadway.
    – 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
 
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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"]
    The nurses … disapproved, she knew (except the student), of her breast–feeding Stephen. They thought Sloan and her obstetrician, Dr. Turner, were balmy. But they too were impressed, nolens volens, by the evidence of the scales. The child was growing,
    – Mary McCarthy, The Group
Nolens-volens is Latin for "unwilling-willing". There was a similar English phrase, will I, nill I, with "nill" being an antique word meaning "will not; unwilling". And this will I, nill I became shortened to a single term willy-nilly, with the same meaning as nolens-volens.

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,
 
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I didn't even get close to guessing that.
Probably wouldn't have if you'd given me a hundred examples.
 
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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."


RJA
 
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