This week presents a more loosely connected group of words, spreading our net wider – and perhaps hinting at the flavor of a historic time. We take our words from Chapter III of The First Salute by historian Barbara Tuchman, who twice won the Pulitzer Prize.
Tuchman tells of the rise of the Dutch as a commercial power, and struggle for independence from Spain. England supported the Dutch, piquing Phillip of Spain to retaliate by sending his vast Armada against England. The Armada's disaster marked the end of Spain as an international force.
Tuchman argues that Phillip was so heavy-handed as to practically force the quarreling Dutch states into union, strengthening them – and that Great Britain repeated that imprudence when dealing with its American colonies two centuries later. An interesting thesis.
argosy - a large merchant ship, or a fleet of ships;
also, a rich source or supply: an argosy of adventure lore
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Apr 28th, 2003 at 13:05.]
quote:odious – hateful; unequivocally detestable
rectitude – moral uprightness; righteousness
Would we say that rectitude is not an entirely complimentary term?
From Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey [my favorite murder mystery of all time - although it isn't really a murder mystery at all]:
(uttered by an ambitious plotter to the person he proposes to wreak his mischief for him, wanting only a promise to be paid part of the fraudulently-obtained inheritance when the deed is accomplished - as an explanation of why he wants no more than a promise)
"No one with your Ashby looks could be a double-crosser. The Ashbys are monsters of rectitude."
So no, I guess rectitude isn't completely a complimentary term. It has some of the connotation of self-righteousness, as compared to plain ordinary righteousness.
(If anyone cares - the quote is on p.22 of the 1956 Dell paperback edition)
[This message was edited by haberdasher on Tue Apr 29th, 2003 at 15:00.]
"Rectitude" is used in a similar way to "Liberal"; it is no insult when used approvingly, but, depending on the tone of voice and/or other words used, it can indeed be an insult.
quote:inveterate – Firmly and long established; deep-rooted; also persisting in an ingrained habit
[The dictionary lists these as two separate definitions. Question: how do they differ?]
sagacity – the quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom
A longish quotation today; please pardon.
welter – a confused muddle; a chaotic jumble
hegemony – the domination of one state over its allies
(note: accent on either first or second syllable; the latter seems to be winning out)
fractious – apt to break out in trouble; unruly (often in the sense of "resistant to authority")
We've seen abjure before, but the quotation is too delicious to forego.
quote:machination – a crafty scheme to an evil end
labyrinth – something highly intricate or convoluted
abjure – to renounce under oath; forswear; to recant solemnly; repudiate
obdurate – stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; also; showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings
imbue – to inspire or influence thoroughly; pervade; (also, to stain or dye deeply)
Note: Tuchan uses the former meaning of obdurate, but I think the latter is more common. As to the latter: compare callous, hardened. Callous denotes a deadening of the sensibilities; as. a callous conscience. Hardened implies a general and settled disregard for the claims of interest, duty, and sympathy; as, hardened in vice.. Obdurate implies an active resistance of the heart and will aganst the pleadings of compassion and humanity.
Now I feel just as sure as I'm sure that my name
Isn't "Willow, tit-willow, tit-willow"
That 'twas blighted affection that made him exclaim
"Oh willow, tit-willow, tit-willow!"
And if you remain calloused and obdurate, I
Shall perish as he did, and you will know why!
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die,
"Oh willow, tit-willow, tit-willow!"
-- Koko to Katisha, Mikado, Act II
[This message was edited by haberdasher on Sat May 3rd, 2003 at 21:01.]
Haberdasher, do I perchance sense a fellow Gilbert and Sullivan admirer?
Wordcrafter, regarding machinations, do you recall what may have been my first post on this board way back on July 13?
quote:enmity – deep-seated hatred
vainglorious – boastful self-importance; "too big for his britches"; "having a swelled head"
canny – shrewd. (The dictionary gives a second meaning: "cautious; especially 'cautious in spending money,'" which is unfamiliar to me.)
...Res ipse loquitur
(translation: "The thing speaks for itself")
Surely you've seen the phrase "a canny Scot"?
Arnie uses a phrase which could be seen as being politically incorrect.
He can't get away with that, canny?
quote:haberdasher, I hope you saw wordcrafter's Gilbert and Sullivan thread. As you can see I posted my all-time favorite song, "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General".
OED2 (1.b) says: Hardened, or hardening oneself, against persuasion, entreaty, the sentiment of pity, etc.; stubborn, obstinate, unyielding, inflexible, relentless, hard-hearted, inexorable.
I'd be inclined to look at it in this context as meaning stubborn, unyielding, relentless and inexorable.
It's "callous and obdurate". Otherwise it'd be "callused and obdurate".
Right you are: "callous" it is. I plead too-fast and careless typing. Shame on me. [chagrin-e]
Because mear is the Spanish slang word for "orinar," ("to urinate") a certain naughty Mexican dictionary defines mea culpa as "Confesión de haberse orinado."
I think in this case I'll take the Latin over the Latino