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23 skidoo – see skidoo

40 winks – see forty winks

400 – the term “the 400” is alphabetized under “four hundred”

a baculo – "by means of the rod" — used of an argument appealing to force rather than reason

aa – lava having a rough surface [Hawaiian, 'to burn']

ab ovo – from the beginning [Latin, 'from the egg']

abarcy – insatiableness [from Bailey's 1731 dictionary; may be erroneous]

abattoir – a slaughterhouse

abbey-lubber – old term of reproach for a lazy monk

abbozzo – a rough, preliminary sketch (not necessarily pictorial; could be a sketch of an opera)

abderian – given to laughter; particularly, inclined to foolish or incessant merriment

abecedarian – n. one who is just learning; a beginner; adj. elementary

abecedarian poem – a poem having verses beginning with the successive letters of the alphabet

abigail – eponym: a lady's maid

abishag – eponym: the child of a woman by a man married to someone else

abjure (also here) – to renounce under oath; forswear (also here)

ablution – the act of washing oneself (or another person), typically as part of a religious rite. (Typically used in the plural, as in performed his ablutions.)

abomasum – the fourth division of the stomach in ruminant animals (cows, sheep, and deer, which chew the cud), in which digestion takes place. The prior three portions are the rumen, the reticulum, and the omasum (also known as manyplies or psalterium). Fascinating, huh?

absquatulate – to make off hurriedly, decamp, abscond [with a guilty sense, as He absquatulated with the silver.]

abstemious – moderate and sparing, as in eating or in lifestyle

abysmal – of ocean depths below bathyal (4000 meters)

Acacia Avenue – Brit; facetious: any middle-class suburban street

acanthocephala – a type of intestinal worms

acarophobia – fear of mites, small insects or worms

acaudal – tailless

access – admission to sexual intercourse: During coverture, access of the husband shall be presumed, unless the contrary be shown. – Blackstone

accinge – to gird up one's loins [from L. for belt]

accipitrine – hawk-like (as, an accipitrine nose, like a hawk's beak)

acclimatization – the process of inuring to a new climate, or the state of being so inured

accoucheuse – midwife (accoucheur – male midwife; obstetrician)

accumbent – lying down, reclining (biology: leaning upon something)

accusative language – one where the form of a noun indicates whether it is subject, object etc. [contrast English, with uses word-order]

acedia – spiritual torpor and apathy; ennui. (also the formal name of one of the seven deadly sins)

aceldama – a field of blood; a bloody battlefield

acetabulum – the hip socket

Achilles' heel – eponym: a seemingly small but actually crucial weakness

achiote – a hard seed from the annatoo tree, achiote is pounded into a powder or made into a paste. It has a mild, earthy flavor.

aclastic – not refracting; applied to substances which do not refract the rays of light which pass through

acnestis – the part of a mammal it cannot reach to scratch

acolyte – a devoted follower or attendant

aconite – a poisonous plant bearing spikes of hooded pink or purple flowers. a/k/a monkshood, wolfsbane

across the board – covering all categories

ad hominem argument – countering an opponent's argument by attacking the opponent, rather than the argument he makes

ad infinitum – endlessly; forever [Latin, ‘to infinity’]

adamite – 1. a religious sect that worships in the nude, or a nudist a sect whose members, purporting to return to Adam's pure condition, cast off their clothing as part of worship. 2. Adam's descendant – as opposed inferior creatures descended from inferior men said to have created before Adam

addax – a long-horned desert antelope of North Africa

addlepated – befuddled; confused

adonis – eponym: a very handsome young man

adunation – a uniting; a union

adust – scorched or burn-darkened brown

aeolian harp – a wind harp: an open box over which are stretched strings that sound when the wind passes over them. [see eolian]

aeolipyle; aeolipile – a hollow ball that turns through steam escaping through valves

aeromancy – divination by the air [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

Aesir – the Norse gods

aesthete – one of excessive or affected pursuit and admiration of beauty. aestheticize – to depict in an idealized or artistic manner

afflatus – a strong creative impulse. lit. or fig.: born of divine inspiration

afterglow – 1. a glow seen when the illumination has gone (as just after sunset) 2. the lingering a feeling of a past, usually pleasant emotion

agalaxy – failure of lactation; failure of the due secretion of milk after childbirth quote?:

agelast – someone who never laughs

agenbite of inwit – the remorse of conscience

agitron – see squeans

aglet – the plastic sheath, on the end of a shoelace, to facilitate its passing through eyelet holes

agley – adv. off to one side; awry, out of kilter

agnate – adj.: related on the father's side; noun: a person so related

agnomen – see cognomen

agnostic – coinage: one believes that nothing can be known concerning the existence of God.

agraphia – inability to write (as a manifestation of brain-disease)

ahimsa – a Buddhist and Hindu doctrine expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and urging the avoidance of harm and violence

aileron – a hinged surface in the trailing edge of an aircraft’s wing

airball – (from basketball) a highly-visible total miss

akimbo – hand on hip position with elbow turned outward

alacrity – brisk eagerness or enthusiasm

alalaes – war-cries

alaudine – like a skylark

albatross – metaphorical: a burden or encumbrance, particularly a marker of guilt, etc. (literal: a very large white seabird with long narrow wings) [also, in golf: three under par on a hole;  compare a birdie and an eagle]

albedo – the spongy white tissue on the inside of the rind of citrus fruit (has further definitions)

albinism – whiteness due to absence of pigment; contrast leucism

alcedama – a battlefield; a place with dreadful associations (accent on second syllable. Aramaic – "field of blood")

alchemy – from the Greek word for the juices or infusions of plants

alcopop – a sweet fizzy alcoholic drink that tastes as if it does not contain alcohol

alectromancy – divination by cocks [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

alfonsin; alphonsin – eponym: a surgical instrument for extracting bullets from wounds

algetic – relating to or causing pain (opposite of analgesic)

algid – cold; chilly [much of its usage is metaphoric]

algorism – eponym: use of the Arabic number system (rather than, say, Roman numerals)

algorithm – eponym: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, often involving repetition of an operation

Alice blue – eponym: a pale grayish-blue color, supposedly the eye-color of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980)

Alice in Wonderland – eponym: illusory; unreal

alienist – a psychiatrist

alinea – the Ά sign (more commonly called pilcrow)

aliquot – dividing into exactly (e.g., 3 is an aliquot part of 12, but not of 13)

allelopathy – the release, by a plant, of chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants nearby

alliaceous – smelling (or tasting) like garlic or onions

alligator (etymology) – a large New-World reptile, akin to the crocodile

alligatoring – the cracking of paint, varnish etc. into a crazed pattern like alligator hide

alluvial – made of or relating to alluvium; that is, soil deposited by flowing water

alluvion – 1. same as 'alluvium' 2. the flow of water against a shore or bank 3. inundation by water; flood

alluvium – sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood plain, or delta

alpha male – a male in a pack of wolves, etc., to whom other members submit (in humans: dominant man; a man who controls the activities of a group and to whom others defer)

alphitomancy – divination by meal, flour, or bran [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

Alphonse and Gaston – eponym: two people who treat each other with excessive, often self-defeating deference

also-ran – a loser in a race or contest. (Wordcrafter note: tends to imply a unimportant and forgettable one, not close enough to be notable.)

alveolar – pertaining to the ridge just behind the teeth

amazon – eponym: a tall, aggressive, strong-willed woman

ambeer – chiefly Southern U.S. saliva colored by tobacco chewed or held in the mouth; tobacco juice. etymology – Alteration (influenced by beer, with reference to color and foam of the spittle) of amber (from its color)

ambrosia – something very pleasing to taste or smell (also, a dessert of oranges and shredded coconut)

amicus curiae – law: a person who, though not a party to a lawsuit, is permitted to file a brief because of his strong interest in the legal issue

ammunition (etymology) – 1. the material to charge firearms, cannon, etc.: shot, shell, powder 2. points used as to support in argument

amour propre; amour-propre – self-esteem; typically with sense of excessive pride; vanity. (literally, love of oneself) [also here]

ampersand – the & sign. Schoolboys recited the Latin meaning "and by itself is 'and'," (in Latin, "and per se and"), and the phrase became shortened to ampersand.

amphibology; amphiboly – an ambiguity which results from ambiguous grammar: nothing is good enough for you

amphigory – 1. (OED) a burlesque writing filled with nonsense; a composition without sense, as a Latin ‘nonsense-verse’ 2. (actual usage) rubbish, twaddle, poppycock, in writing or speech

amphiscian – same as ascian: an inhabitant of the tropics

Amphitryon – eponym: a generous entertainer; a good host

amplexus – the mating embrace of a toad or a frog. technical word with fine potential for figurative use: a woman must suffer much amplexus before she meets her Prince Charming

amuse-bouche (ah-mewz-BOOSH) or  amuse-gueule – a "palate teaser": a bite of food served before a meal to whet the palate; more whimsical than hors d'oeuvres, and smaller than appetizers, often bite-sized

anabasis – an advance, esp. a military one (contrast katabasis); also: the onset of a disease

anabatic – of or relating to rising wind currents (converse: katabatic)

anabolism – the metabolic process of building up tissues in the body (contrast catabolism)

anachorism – something set in the wrong place (compare anachronism)

anachronism – something set in the wrong time (e.g., a radio in a play set in ancient Greece) 2. the thing thus misplaced

Anacreontic – eponym: erotic; convivial; such a song or poem

anadromous – (see also here) migrating 'up', from the sea to fresh water, to spawn (e.g., salmon); contrast catadromous

anagapesis – a loss of feelings for one formerly loved

analects – selected miscellaneous written passages (often used as a title)

anamorphic projection – optical distortion which stretches or compresses an image in one dimension but not the other

ananias – eponym: a liar

anantapodoton – a rhetorical device in which the main clause is implied but not stated: If you think I'm going to sit here and take your insults …

ananym – a name written backwards as pseudonym or password

anapestic – see iambic

anaphora – 1. rhetoric: repeating at the beginning of successive parallel phrases: "But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground". (contrast epistrophe) 2. linguistics: using a pronoun, etc., to refer back, as the her in Anne asked Edward to pass her the salt. (contrast cataphora)

anatine – like a duck

anaxiphilia – the act of falling in love with the wrong person

ancien rιgime – a political or social system that has been replaced by a more modern one

anconeal – relating to the elbow

andropause – the male equivalent of menopause. (An alternate term is viropause.)

anguine – snake-like; serpent-like

anile – old-womanish; like a doddering old woman. (the feminine counterpart of senile)

anililagnia – sexual desire for older women (Mrs. Byrne's Dict. and on-line private dicts.)

ankh – a figure resembling a cross, with a loop or ring forming a handle instead of the upper arm. used in ancient Egyptian art as a symbol of life.

Annie Oakley – eponym: a free ticket or pass

annus mirabilis – a year notable for disasters or wonders; a fateful year

anorak  – a kind of heavy waterproof jacket, usually hooded

anorexic – of severe economy of style and expression [A rare use: in AHD but not in OED, MW, etc.; arguably the uses are as a metaphor, not as a word.]

anserine – goose-like

Anshauung – intuition; sense awareness or perception

Antaean – eponym: mammoth, or of superhuman strength

antagonym – a word that has two opposite meanings; a contronym

antalaphobia – fear of floods

antanaclasis – a form of pun: repeating a word but with a different meaning. (“Your argument is sound, nothing but sound.”)

antapology – a reply to an apology ('apology' in the old sense of 'a defense or justification')

antebellum – of the period preceding a particular war (but almost always used with reference to the U.S. Civil War; that is, pre-1861)

antediluvian – of the period before Noah's flood; also very antiquated, so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period; as, an antediluvian vehicle

antejentacular – before breakfast

antepenultimate – the third-to-last (note: ultimate means "the last", and penultimate means "the next-to-last")

anteric – seeking vengeance for slighted love

anthemion – a pattern of honeysuckle or palm leaves in a radiating cluster, used as a motif in Greek art

anthimeria – using a word of one class as if it were a another; typically using a noun as a verb

anthology – a collection of literary pieces, such as poems, short stories, plays

anthropic – of or belonging to a human being; of a human sort

anthropic principle – the principle that theories of the universe are constrained by the need to allow for man's existence in it as an observer

anthropocene – the epoch in which human activity has been shaping the earth

antibias – bias in the opposite direction

antimacassar – a cover for the back of a chair, to protect it from hair oil

antimony – a brittle, silvery-white elemental metal (contrast antinomy)

antinomian – of the rejection the moral law (note: not the adjective form of 'antinomy')

antinomy – a paradox in which two contradictory principles are both correct (contrast antimony)

antinopomancy – divination by the entrails of human beings [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

antipelargy – mutual kindness, esp. the kindness of an adult to his or her aged parent

antiphon – a verse or song to be chanted or sung in response

antipodes – literally, any two places on diametrically opposite sides of the earth. figuratively, something that is the exact opposite or contrary of another (from Greek antipodes, "people with feet opposite ours". anti- "opposite" + pous "foot")

antistrophe – 1. the repetition of words in reversed order 2. the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses

antonomasia – use of a descriptive epithet in lieu of the true name ("Her Majesty" for "Queen Elizabeth") or vice versa

apartheid – a condition of segregation, or a policy/practice of segregating. contrast ubuntu

apercu; aperηu – a discerning insight

aphasia – inability to use or understand language, due to brain injury

aphoristic – marked by aphorism (a tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage)

Apician – eponym: epicurean; peculiarly dainty in food

apikoros – (pl. apikorsim) a Jew who denies the fundamental tenets of the Jewish faith; a Jewish apostate. Not in dictionaries, but sometimes used. A Hebrew word, which came originally from Greek.

apocalyptic – 1. portending widespread devastation or ultimate doom 2. wildly unrestrained; esp. in exaggerated predictions of a disastrous outcome

apocryphal – of doubtful authenticity

apodyopsis – the act of mentally undressing someone (Grandiloquent Dict. on-line; not verifiable)

apogee – metaphoric: the culmination or highest point reached

apollo – a young man of great physical beauty

Apollonian – eponym: 1. characterized by clarity, harmony, and restraint 2. serenely high-minded; noble

apology – a formal justification; a defense (as in the sense of apologist)

apophoret – (very rare:) 1. a New-Year’s gift 2. a host’s gift for the guest to take home (in other words, a goodie bag?)

apoplexy (adj. apoplectic) – a fit of extreme anger; rage [also the name of a medical condition]

apostate – a person who renounces a belief or principle (verb: apostatize)

apostrophe – rhetoric: addressing an absent or imaginary person or thing: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

apothegm – a short pithy instructive saying; a maxim

apotheosis – a model example [compare epitome]

apotropaic – intended to ward off evil (an apotropaic amulet)

apparatchik – an unquestioningly loyal subordinate, especially in politics

appoggiatura – an embellishing musical note

apricot (etymology) – Arabic al ('the') became attached to the fruit's name birquq

apron (etymology) – a protective garment covering the front of one’s clothes and tied at the back

aprosexia – medical: an abnormal inability to focus one's attention

aptonym – an appropriate name, such as William Wordsworth, the poet, or Margaret Court, the tennis champion. Some sources insert a letter r after the t, which your lexicographer suggests is purposeless and violates the pattern of such words as homonym and synonym (we do not say "homornym" or "synornym").

aqueous cleaning – when an art-conservator uses spit to clean grime from a painting

aquiline – eagle-like (usually referring to a nose like an eagle’s beak)

arachibutyrophobia – fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth

arachnoid mater – see dura mater

arachnology – the scientific study of spiders and related organisms

Arcadia; arcadia – a region offering rural simplicity and contentment

arcanum (plural arcana) – 1. a secret; a mystery 2. specialized or mysterious knowledge

arch (adj.) – mischievous, roguish

architrave – see entablature

arκte – a sharp, narrow mountain ridge or spur

argosy – a large merchant ship, or a fleet of ships; also, a rich source or supply: an argosy of adventure lore

argus – eponym: a watchful guardian (Argus-eyed = vigilantly observant)

argy-bargy – Scottish: quarrelsome; or a lively or disputatious discussion

aristarch – eponym: a severe critic (adj. aristarchian)

arithmancy – divination by numbers [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

armalcolite – eponym: a mineral not of earth, found on the moon, named for astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins

arrant – utter; complete

arras – toponym: a tapestry wall hanging

arroyo – a deep and usually dry gully cut by an intermittent stream

artamesia – sexual dissatisfaction in a woman due to the premature climax of her partner

artesian – toponym; of a well or spring: with water rising spontaneously to the surface, due to underground pressure [as a result of the water-pocket lying at an angle]

arvo – Australian slang: afternoon

asanka – the number expressed as a 1 followed by forty-five zeros

ascian – an inhabitant of the tropics (where, twice a year, the sun is directly overhead, and so one casts no shadows)

asinine – like a donkey

aspergill – see aspergillum, below

aspergillum – an instrument, such as a brush or a perforated container, for sprinkling holy water

asperse – 1. to sprinkle 2. to spread false or damaging charges or insinuations against [more familiar is to cast aspersions]

aspersorium – 1. an aspergill 2. the basin or other vessel for holy water

asphodel – a flower of the lily family, with white, pink, or yellow flowers clusters of flowers

assanka – the number expressed as a 1 followed by sixty-three zeros; a vigintillion

assassin (etymology) – from Arabic hashishiyyin "hashish-users," after a fanatical Muslim sect reputed to murder opponents after intoxicating themselves with hashish

assiduity – constant or close attention to what one is doing (note: the adjective form, assiduous, is much more common)

assiduous – working with constant, persistent attention; unremitting

assimilation – a regular sound change where one sound in a word changes to match an adjacent sound. For example, sub + pose = subpose, which became suppose

assize – a session of a court

assonance – 1. rough similarity; approximate agreement. 2. repetition of vowel sounds, esp. in stressed syllables, an in tilting at windmills

asteism – genteel irony; polite and ingenious mockery

asthenia – marked loss of strength; weakness

asthenosphere – a zone of the earth's mantle that lies beneath the lithosphere and consists of several hundred kilometers of deformable rock

astragalomancy – divination by dice [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

asymptotic – a straight line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it, but forms its limiting value

asyndeton – omission of conjunctions, for rhetorical effect: I came, I saw, I conquered. Contrast polysyndeton

atavism – the return of a trait or behavior after a period of absence; throwback

atavistic – from atavism: pertaining to the return of a trait or behavior after a period of absence; throwback

ateliotic – relating to a form of infantilism, with childish face and voice and underdevelopment, not affecting intelligence

Athanasian wench [bizarre etymology] – a forward girl, ready to oblige every man that shall ask her (Grose) Also called quicunque vult

athenaeum – eponym: a place with print materials to read; or, an institution to promote learning (e.g. a literary or science club, or a library)

atlas (pl. atlantes) – a telamon (pl. telamones); that is, a figure of a man used as a supporting column (the female version, a caryatid, is much more common)

atlatl – a stick used to throw a spear faster, farther and harder than a man otherwise could

atomistic – consisting of many separate, often disparate elements: an atomistic culture

attic salt – same as attic wit, below

attic wit – dry, delicate wit [toponym: see atticism, below]

atticism – toponym: extreme elegance of speech. [from the district of Attica, where Athens is situated]

attrit – to lose by attrition

au courant (oh' koo-rahn') – up-to-date

au pair – a foreign girl employed to help with housework and childcare in exchange for board and lodging

auditory (noun) – archaic: an audience

augean – eponym: 1. exceedingly filthy from long neglect 2. requiring heroic efforts to clean or correct: the Augean task of reforming the bureaucracy. etymology: one of Hercules' twelve labors was to clean in one day the stables of King Augeas, which had not been cleaned for thirty years. Hercules cleaned them by diverting a river.

augerino – a large mythical corkscrew-shaped worm that burrows underneath the dry lands of the American southwest. It intensely dislikes water and therefore aggressively attacks watercourses, draining the water out of irrigation ditches and canals. Quite a nuisance to humans.

augery – divination by the flight or entrails of birds [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

aurorean – belonging to dawn, or resembling it in brilliant hue

auscultation – the act of listening

auspicious – literally, "bird omens", as used by the ancient Romans to forecast the future. avis = 'bird" and specere = 'to see'

autocide – the use of a vehicle to commit suicide

auto-da-fι – the burning of a heretic

autodidact – a self-taught person

autogenous – self-generated; produced independently. Medicine: originating with the subject's own body, as, an autogenous graft

autolatry – worship of oneself

autological – (of a word) self-descriptive; e.g., 'polysyllabic' is a polysyllabic word. Contrast heterological

automatism – mechanical, seemingly aimless behavior characteristic of various mental disorders

autosquop – tiddlywinks: to shoot a wink that ends up coming to rest under another wink, squopped (official definition from the North American Tiddlywinks Association. For more winks terms, see squidger.)

autovoxiphillia – love of one's own voice

availability bias – the tendency to judge the likelihood of an event by how readily examples can be brought to mind

avaricious – immoderately desirous of acquiring e.g. wealth

avian – like a bird

avuncular – of or like an uncle; hence kind and indulgent

axel – eponym: figure-skating jump; contrast, lutz, salchow.) skate forward on left foot on outside edge (thus curving left, into the spin); jump and spin. Do however many spins plus a half-spin, so that when you land you are going backward

axilla – the armpit

axinomancy – divination by saws [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

ayurvedic – pertaining to the ancient Hindu science of health and medicine: ayurvedic herbs

azygous – not one of a pair; single: the azygous muscle of the uvula