The Scrips National Spelling Bee is "the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion," says its site. This annual spelling bee, for children up to 8th grade, has been given since 1925. This week will enjoy some of the words by which the winners have claimed their titles in various years.
spoliator – one who spoliates; a spoiler (spoliate: to plunder; to pillage; to despoil; to rob)
– Lyndel V. Prott and Patrick J. O'Keefe, Law and the underwater heritage - protection of cultural property, UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1987
haruspex – a priest in ancient Rome who practiced divination by the inspection of the entrails of animals
It was a haruspex who warned Julius Caeser, "Beware the Ides of March."
Think we today are too sophisticated for such things? Think again.
– Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays, The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters
From divination to dining: "auspex" is related to the classic trio -- piscator, venator, auceps, meaning fisherman, hunter, birder.
And I wonder if the most difficult job in ancient Rome was the "haru-au-spex," diviner of entrail, of birds.
The Romans felt that this was a loanword from Etruscan, but I've seen IE etymologies provided for it, but just can't remember them at the moment. The -spex part probably has something to do with specio 'to look (at, behold'. Cf. the -dex in judex 'judge' from dico 'to speak, say, tell'.
troche – (two syllables; rhymes with SHOW-me) a medicated lozenge used to soothe the throat
The same lozenge could also be called a pastille
– Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark
It most certainly does NOT rhyme with "SHOW-me." It rhymes with "Loki" (or "low-key"). If you want something to rhyme with "SHOW-me," try "homey."
Thanks for the clarification, Q - I was wondering about that.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
A very uncommon word today, but what a glorious quotation for it!
smaragdine– of or pertaining to emerald; resembling emerald; of an emerald green
Through sunless gorges of Cathay,
I became a little child,
By nameless rivers, swirling through
Chasms, a fantastic blue,
Month by month, on barren hills,
In burning heat, in bitter chills,
Tropic forest, Tartar snow,
See me --- led by some wise hand
That I did not understand.
Called on Him with mild devotion,
As the dewdrop woos the ocean.
– Aleister Crowley, Aha!
lyceum – a public hall for lectures and concerts; an association for debate and literary improvement. [From Greek Lukeion, the school outside Athens where Aristotle taught]
Another meaning of lyceum is a lycée, which is our bonus word:
lycée – (rhymes with 'repay") a French public secondary school that prepares students for the university
– Henry David Thoreau
David McCullough, Brave Companions:
(p. 23) The country was in the throes of an educational awakening. It was the heyday of the lyceum, the nationwide movement to increase "the general diffusion" of learning with public lectures. In Massachusetts alone there were well over a hundred local lyceums ...
(p. 50) She [Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin] was asked to give readings, to go on the lyceum, as the contemporary lecture circuit was called, like Robert Ingersoll, P T. Barnum, and the feminists. She needed the money, so at age sixty-one, having never made a public speech before, she embarked on a new career with its endless train rides, bad food, and dreary hotels.
What is this? Would anyone consider this a valid two lines of poetry?: "I had to return to repay/My tuition at the lycée."
Doggerel is as doggerel does. But follow the link to pronunciation at the following site:
pococurante – nonchalant; indifferent
An Italian word that merits more frequent use. To me, it seems to have a laid-back casual "whatever, man" sense, but the cites are too few to really be certain of the nuances.
– Thomas B. Macaulay, Critical and Historical Essays, Volume 2, essay on Samuel Johnson, Part II
Notwithstanding the Administrative Judge's perception of Williamson as pococurante about responding to the Acknowledgement Order, all indications are that Williamson intended to refile his appeal, that he took reasonable and good faith steps to do so, and that he intended to present evidence within the time frame permitted by the requested suspension.
– United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Williamson v. Merit Systems Protection Board, July 2, 2003
Only members of dictionary.com get to listen to sound bites.
You forgot "rhymes with 'lycée'."
Thanks, shufitz, for the note to free sound plays.
I actually had in mind the original link to the pronunciation, with text examples. That table shows the long a-bar sound, to rhyme with "pay."
Today's word leads us, after the quotes, to J.R. Tolkien's very interesting thoughts about his own work.
eudaemonic – of or producing a contented state of happiness and well-being
(eudaemonism – a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well-being
[alternate spellings: eudaim~ or eudam~. [Grk. eu- + daimon = "good or happy spirit]
– James Gardner, National Review, Dec. 7, 1998
Hollywood has attained impressive aesthetic successes with the happy ending. And where it works artistically, and is not simply a matter of convention, it seems to be related to eudaimonism, the moral philosophy positing that happiness has a solid ethical base, or some exposition of the good life, which is a major factor in the successful achievement of eucatastrophe.
– Christopher Garbowski, Mythlore, Sept. 22, 2002
This perception should not lead to ... Stoicism, admirable as that is. If it leads to anything at all, it is to an unillusioned recognition of reality, what is the case, whether we wish it so or no--together with an undiminished resolve to act without eudaemonic fictions.
– Frank L. Cioffi, An Interview with Ihab Hassan, Style, Sept. 22, 1999
One meaning of catastrophe is "the concluding action of a drama, resolving the plot". J.R. Tolkien coined the term eucatastrophe (used above), in analyzing his own work, meaning very roughly "happy ending". Here is his discussion (excerpted), in his essay Tree and Leaf; all highlighted words seem to be his coinages:
There's a book called The Eudaemonic Pie by Thomas A. Bass which is about some physicists who take on a roulette table at a Las Vegas casino. In the end they get greedy and get caught, but theirs is an interesting story.This message has been edited. Last edited by: jheem,
quote:The history of our English word "pococurante" shows that it in fact comes from the Voltaire character in Candide. There, Seignor Porocurante is simply a caricature of that "indifferent" attitude. (I won't summarize; enjoy the pleasure of reading this brief chapter yourself.) Our heros converse as they depart from their visit with him.