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labile – liable to change; easily altered. (chemistry: easily broken down or displaced)

labret – an ornament worn in the upper or lower lip

labretifery – the practice of wearing labrets

labyrinth – something highly intricate or convoluted

lacerate – to irregularly tear or deeply cut flesh (also figurative, for mental pain)

lachrymose – weeping or weepy; tearful; also, causing tears

laconic – saying much in few words; pithy and brusque

lacustrine – relating to lakes

Laffer curve – a graph of tax revenue as a function of tax rate, illustrating the theory that beyond a certain point, higher rates will reduce the tax revenue received (by discouraging economic growth).

lagniappe – a gratuity given to a customer; a small gift

lahar – an mud-flow "avalanche" of volcanic ash and water, down the slopes of a volcano

lallation – a speech disorder involving faulty pronunciation or excessive use of the l-sound.

Lamarckism – eponym: theory that one passes his acquired physical traits to his descendants

lambada – a fast, rhythmical, erotic dance, from Brazil, with close physical contact (also, the music used)

lambdacism – faulty pronunciation or excessive use of the l-sound (underuse of it is paralambdacism; see entry at rhotacism)

lampadomancy – divination by candles and lamps [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

lanai – a veranda or roofed patio

langsuir – mythical creature: a female vampire that preys on newborns (Malaysia)

lapdog – literal: a small pampered pet dog; figurative: a person who is completely under the influence of another

lapidary – 1. noun a gem-cutter, or the art of gem-cutting; adj. relating to gem-cutting  2. (of language) elegant and concise

lapsus linguae – slip of the tongue

Laputan – eponym: absurdly impractical or visionary, especially to the neglect of more useful activity (from Gulliver's Travels)

lapwing – (etymology) a bird of the plover family

larrikin – Australian slang: a good-natured but independent or wild-spirited person, with little regard for authority, accepted values, etc. (The spirit of Australia?)

lascivious – 1. lewd, lustful 2. Tending to produce lewd emotions

lasering – group insurance: the practice of excluding, from coverage, a member of the insured group with a serious pre-existing condition

lask – to be afflicted with diarrhea. [From Depraved and Insulting English, by Novobatzky & Shea]

latibulize – to retire into a den, or hole, and lie dormant in winter; to retreat and lie hid

latitation – lying in concealment; hiding; lurking; latibulum – a concealed hiding place; a burrow; a lair; a hole

latitudinarian – adj: broadminded; permissive; undogmatic. (noun: such a person)

lavaliere – eponym: a pendant worn on a chain around the neck

lay – a short lyric or narrative poem intended to be sung

layabout – a person who habitually does little or no work

lazaretto – eponym: a hospital to treating contagious disease, esp. leprosy (or, a quarantine station)

Lazy Lawrence – an idler

lead-foot – a car-driver who drives too fast (also used as verb or adjective)

leal – chiefly Scottish: faithful; loyal; true

lecanomancy – divination by basins of water [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

lechery – excessive and offensive indulgence in sexual activity

lectica – a kind of litter or portable couch used by the ancient Romans

leeftail – in great demand; having a quick sale

leer – to look (at) with a sly, immodest, or evil expression (noun: the look itself)

left and right, in politics – [from a reader] after the French Revolution, the nobles in the French National Assembly were seated on the president's right and the Third Estate was seated on the president's left. The sides were referred to as left and right (in French); Great Britain borrowed this terminology, and the US then took it from Great Britain – though neither of those countries ever used the French seating arrangement.

legerdemain (also here) – 1. sleight of hand 2. trickery, deception, hocus-pocus

legman – 1. a reporter assigned to gather information 2. an assistant who performs subordinate tasks, as gathering information or running errands

lei – a Polynesian garland of flowers, esp. one worn around the neck

lek – an animals' "singles bar"; a place where animals gather to compete for mates (also: the gathering there; the competition there; and to lek: to so compete)

lekvar – a sweet spread or pastry filling made of prunes or apricots

leman – (archaic) a lover or sweetheart

lemmatize – (dictionaries) to determine the headings under which words are listed (e.g., had is under have)

lemniscate – the or "infinity" symbol

lenity – leniency; mercifulness due to being lenient or tolerant.

lenocinant – lewd, lascivious

leonine – of or like a lion [Also, Leonine verse (eponym) – verse in which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with a word at the end. This is a separate word, from Leonius, 12th-century canon of the church of St. Victor, in Paris, who used this form.

leporine – hare-like

lethologica – forgetfulness of words; inability to recall right word

lettre de cachet – a warrant issued for the imprisonment of a person without trial, at the pleasure of the monarch

leucism – insufficient pigment, resulting in paleness (contrast albinism)

Levis – named from manufacturer Levi Strauss

lewd – crude and offensive in a sexual way

lewisite – eponym: a poison gas developed for war use

Lexiphanes – user of bombastic phraseology (from title of one of Lucien’s dialogs)

liaise – to work closely with more than one group. from liaison; casually accepted, as a verb, in brit-speak

libation – the pouring of a drink as offering to a deity; the drink so poured. Humorous: an alcoholic drink

libertine – a man who acts without moral restraint, especially sexually (also used as an adjective)

licentious – 1. without the restraint of moral discipline (esp. in sex) 2. having no regard for accepted standards

lickerish – 1. lecherous, lustful, wanton 2. greedy; desirous

lickspittle – a fawning underling; a toady (but more commonly used as an adjective)

lido – toponym: a public open-air swimming pool or bathing beach

lief – willingly; readily [akin to love]

liffy – to seduce a woman with promises of fidelity, and then desert her

ligature – a character, such as ζ, combining two or more letters; something that ties or binds

light year – 1. astronomical: a certain huge measure of distance, used in measuring interstellar space. It is the distance light travels in a year. 2. metaphoric: a very large distance or figurative distance

Lilliputian – eponym: very small in size; also, of trifling importance (from Gulliver's Travels)

limerance – the initial exhilarating rush of falling in love; the state of "being in love". coined 1979 by Dorothy Tennov; it will be interesting to see if this word enters the vernacular.

limnology – the study of bodies of fresh water, including their biology and geology; contrast oceanography

limousine – toponym: a large luxurious car; esp. one with separate compartments for driver and for passengers

limpid – clear, transparent; as, a limpid stream; also, easily intelligible; clear: writes in a limpid style; also, calm, serene

lincture – another name for electuary, which see

line or reline (in art conservation) – see weave impression

lingam – a phallic object as a symbol of the Hindu god of reproduction

lingua – a language or 'lingo'

lingua franca – a common language used by speakers of different languages

lingual – of or produced by the tongue

linguaphile – a lover of languages and words.

linguicide – the extinction of a language (either by deliberate annihilation or unintentional death). Considered a threat to one's heritage, culture and nationality.

lintel – a horizontal support across the top of a door or window

lionize – to look treat (a person) as a celebrity

lipogram – a composition excluding words containing some selected certain letter or letters

liquor (not the name for a drink) – the water used for form the wort, in brewing

liripoop – the “tail” or tassel on the hat worn with graduation robes (also, obs.: a silly person)

lirp – obs. rare: a snap of the fingers; also verb: to snap with one's fingers

lissom – limber; supple; easily bent; able to move with ease

lister – a dyer (obsolete)

listerine – eponym: an antiseptic solution

literati – the literary intelligentsia

lithography – printing with a plate whose areas are chemically treated to retain or repel ink

lithomancy – divination by stones [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

litmus test – a test that relies on a single indicator ("Her litmus test for good breeding is whether you split infinitives.")

litotes – rhetoric: a deliberate, modest understatement (typically meant to imply the opposite): I have this tiny little tumor on the brain (compare meiosis).  One form is to negate the contrary: He is no fool.

Little-endian – see Big-endian

littoral – relating to the shore of non-flowing waters such as lakes, oceans, etc. Also used as a noun.

livanomancy – divination by the burning of incense [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

livid – 1. discolored, as a bruise; black-and-blue 2. ashen or pallid; dull grayish blue 3. extremely angry; furious

llano – an open grassy plain, treeless or nearly so

lobster Newburg – Delmonico's Restaurant in New York (1827-1923) created lobster ΰ la Wenburg to honor an esteemed client, Ben Wenburg. After a falling out, the restaurant re-ordered the initial letters, calling the dish Lobster Newburg.

locum; locum tenens – (pl. locum tenentes) a doctor or cleric standing in for another who is temporarily away

lodestar – one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide

loganamnosis – the obsession with recalling a certain word

logaoedic – a poem or line of verse in which different metrical feet are mixed to give an effect like speech or prose

logarithmancy – divination by logarithms [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

logastellus – a person whose love of words is greater than their knowledge of words

logocracy – rulership by words

logodaedalus – artificer in words (logodaedaly – verbal trickery or legerdemain)

logogogue – one practicing logology (the science of words)

logographer – one who writes speeches, or writes history in a condensed manner with short simple sentences.

logolept – a word maniac

logomachy – 1. a dispute about words 2. a dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words [logomachist, logomachize]

logomancy – divination by words or by speech

logomania – pathologically excessive (and often incoherent) talking

logomaniac – one insanely interested in words

logophile – a lover of words

logophobia – the fear of words

logorrhea – excessive talkativeness or wordiness; "verbal diarrhea"; (also: logomania)

logroll – 1. to engage in political logrolling 2. to birl (which see) logrolling – (N. Amer.) an exchange of favors between politicians: “You vote for my project and I’ll vote for yours”

lollygag – to fool around; to spend time aimlessly; to dawdle or dally. lollygagger – one who dawdles or putters around (verb: to lollygag)

longeron – a major structural part of aircraft fuselage, running front to rear

longneck – a glass beer bottle with an elongated neck

loofah – a scratchy bath-sponge, made from the fibrous insides of the fruit of the loofah plant (seems to be rather popular nowadays)

loonie – slang: the Canadian one-dollar coin

loquacious – given to much talking; very talkative

Lord Haw Haw – eponym: a traitor, particularly one who makes propaganda for the enemy

lorel – a good for nothing fellow; a vagabond

losel – a worthless person

lothario; Lothario – eponym: a seducer of women; a libertine; a lady-killer

lotus eater – a lazy person devoted to pleasure and luxury. lotus land – a place or state of languid contentment.  (Wordcrafter's note: in my judgment they connote a sense of drugged unreality, which the dictionaries have missed.)

louche – disreputable or dubious; shady – but in a rakishly appealing way

loudhailer – a megaphone

lour – (of the sky) to look dark and threatening (noun: such an appearance) [Also, unconnected with sky: a scowl; to scowl]

lousy – original definition: infected and/or covered with lice

loxodrome – the path of a ship or plane that maintains an unchanging compass direction. Also called a rhumb or rhumb line.

luau – a Hawaiian feast [lit. "young taro tops," which were served at outdoor feasts]

lubber – a big, clumsy, stupid fellow; esp. a lazy one; a lout

lubricious – 1. lewd; wanton; salacious 2. slippery smooth, with oil or grease; also, shifty or tricky (noun lubricity)

lucarne – a dormer window (OED says it includes any other window cut into a roof)

Lucifer – the Devil

lucullan – eponym: lavish, luxurious, opulent (e.g., a banquet)

Lucy Stoner – eponym: a married woman who keeps her maiden name

Luddite – eponym: one who opposes technological change

ludic – relating to undirected, spontaneous playfulness (pronounced as in 'ludicrous')

luferlang – mythical creature that can run in either direction; easily identified by the tail in the middle of its back. It bite is almost certain death; the biting season usually occurs on July 12. Avoid green clothing, which tends to arouse the creature further; conversely, a conspicuous orange-colored handkerchief will invariably afford full protection. Or, since the luferlang is terribly frightened of seeing itself, carry a big mirror so that in the event of luferlang attack you can hold that mirror in front of you.

luftmensch – an impractical dreamer, without business or income

Luger – eponym: semiautomatic pistol widely used by Germans in WWII (though introduced earlier). Some consider it to be the finest pistol ever produced.

lumpen – 1. adj. or noun: of the lumpenproletariat  2. degraded, stupid, boorish, and uninterested in improving (also, vulgar or common) 3. of persons (not necessarily low-class) cut off from their normal economic/social class  4. (perhaps influenced by 'lumpy'?) lumpy, heavy and misshapen

lumpenproletariat – 1. the lowest stratum of the proletariat (that is, of wage-slaves) 2. the most degraded underclass, on the margins of society: vagrants, street-criminals, prostitutes, the homeless [But see notes below.]

lunacy – (from L. lunaticus "moon-struck," from luna "moon") insanity, esp. when intermittently relieved by periods of clear-mindedness. by extension: great or wild foolishness; a wildly foolish act.  Lunatic fringe was apparently coined by Theodore Roosevelt (1913).

lunula (plural lunulae) – the white crescent-shaped part of the fingernail at the base of the nail

lupine – like a wolf

lust – intense or unrestrained sexual craving (also as verb)

lustrum – a period of five years

lutz – eponym: figure-skating jump (contrast axel, salchow): skate backward; jump off outside edge and spin

luxuria – (the formal name of one of the seven deadly sins) lust, in a sense not limited to sex: a driving force to do things that are harmful to you

lycanthrope – a werewolf; a human being fabled to have been changed into a wolf.  The first syllable is pronounced with a long-i sound.

lycιe – (vowels and accent as in 'repay") a French public secondary school that prepares students for the university

lyceum – 1. a public hall for lectures and concerts; an association for debate and literary improvement. [From Greek Lukeion, the school outside Athens where Aristotle taught]  2. a lycιe

lyncean – pertaining to or like a lynx; keen-sighted.

LYS (knitting) – Little Yarn Shop, or Local Yarn Shop

macabre – eponym: gruesome; having death as a subject; causing horror in the viewer

macadam – eponym: a common type of paving of roads

macarism – pleasure in another's joy

macerate – 1. to soften by soaking 2. to weaken, esp. by starvation

Mach number – eponym: speed, stated as ratio to speed of sound

macharomancy – divination by knives and swords [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

machiavellian – eponym: cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous

machination – a crafty scheme to an evil end

mackabroin; mackabroine – a disobliging woman (says one source); a hideous old woman (says another)

mackintosh – eponym: a raincoat

macron – the horizontal mark indicating the long pronunciation of a vowel, as in ā (see diacritical mark)

macrosmatic – having a supersensitive nose (The Word Lover's Dictionary)

maculate – stained; impure (less commonly, spotted or blotched) (contrast immaculate)

madefy­ ­– to make wet or moist

mae west – eponym: an inflatable life jacket, in the form of a collar extending down the chest

magazine (guns) – 1. a chamber holding a supply of cartridges to be fed automatically to the breech of a gun 2. a store for arms, ammunition, and explosives

magdalen; magdalene (also here) – eponym: a reformed prostitute; also, a refuge for such women or a reformatory for prostitutes

magenta – toponym: a deep purplish-red dye (chemical name: fuchsine); its color

maggotorium – a place where maggots are bred for use as bait by anglers

maggotry – foolishness, absurdity. Obsolete

Maginot line  (also here) – eponym: an expensive defense that seems impregnable, creates a false sense of security, but proves utterly ineffective (typically because it is static and thus cannot respond to other means of attack).

magma – hot fluid or semi-fluid rock within the earth’s crust

magpie (etymology)

Mahernia – a certain genus, named as a near-anagram of the related genus Hermannia.

maidenhead (etymology)

maieutic – a technique in which a teacher (rather than giving information) asks a series of questions to draw out, from the student, ideas previously latent in the student’s mind [A more common word for this is Socratic (eponym). A few sources also give hebamic as a rare word of the same meaning.]

mail slot – a slot or slit in a door (occasionally in a wall), through which mail can be delivered

Main Street – typical, average Americans (or, typical small-town Americans), taken as a group. [Note: a derogatory sense of "parochial, conservative" is common in the dictionaries but much less common in usage.]

maintenance ­– law: an outsider unjustifiably stepping in to assist a litigant

maisonette – Brit: a two-floor apartment in a larger building, often with its own entrance

majorette or drum majorette – a girl or woman who leads a marching band or accompanies it as a baton twirler

malaprop; malapropism – eponym: ludicrous misuse of a word, by confusing it with one of similar sound

malediction – a curse; calling a curse down upon

malingering – see Munchausen syndrome

malleable – easily controlled or influenced; tractable (also, able to adjust to changing circumstances; adaptable). In science, a malleable metal is one that can be hammered or pounded into thin sheets; contrast ductile

malt – grain (usually barley) that has been sprouted (to convert the seed’s starch into sugar) and then dried. The first step in brewing.

malversation – corruption by one in public office or a position of trust.

malware – malicious software, designed to damage or disrupt a system [see virus; Trojan; worm]

mamelon – a rounded hillock; a rounded elevation or protuberance

mamihlapinatapei (foreign) – a shared glance of longing between two people, each knowing the meaning and each wishing the other will initiate something where neither is quite willing to make the move. [from the Fuegian language of Tierra del Fuego]

mammothrept – a spoiled child [from Greek meaning "raised by one's grandmother"]

man Friday – eponym: a valued right-hand man

manciple – a person responsible for provisioning a group of people (more specifically, one who purchases provisions for a college, monastery, Inn of Court, etc.)

mancy – suffix meaning “divination; foretelling the future”. Divination forms include divination by the air:aero-;   cocks:alectro-;   meal, flour, or bran:alphito-;   human entrails:antinopo-;   numbers:arith-;   dice:astragalo-;   flight or entrails of birds:augery;   saws:axino-;   herbs:botano-;   asses' heads:cephaleono-;   writing in papers, and Valentines:charto-;   the hands:chiro-;   crystals:crystallo-;   rings:dactylo-;   devils and evil spirits:demono-;   sound of or marks upon the belly:gastro-;   earth:geo-;   circles:gyro-;   water:hydro-;   fishes:icthyo-;   idols, images, and figures:idolo-;   vessels of brass or other metal:kaltabo-;   smoke:kapno-;   looking-glasses:katoxtro-;   the melting of wax:kero-;   lots:klero-;   sieves:koseino-;   corn or grain:kritho-;   candles and lamps:lampado-;   basins of water:lecano-;   stones:litho-;   burning of incense:livano-;   logarithms:logarith-;   knives and swords:macharo-;   summoning the dead:necro-;   lees of wine:oino-;   the navel:omphelo-;   the nails:onchyo-;   dreams:oneiro-;   names:ono-;   birds:ornitho-;   feet:podo-;   soul, affections, or dispositions of men:psycho-;   fire:pyro-;   stars:roado-;   shadows:scio-;   skins, bones, &c:spatala-;   the elements:stareo-;   marks from the breast to the belly:sterno-;   figs:syco-;   ashes:tephro-;   Scriptures, or word of God:theo-;   beasts:therio-;   cheese:tyro-

mandala – an intricate design signifying the universe (Hinduism, Buddhism)

mandelbug – eponym: computer programming (software): bug that behaves in chaotic, seemingly random manner

mandrel – a core or rod around which material is shaped or formed

manhandling (noun) – rough handling

man-hating – hatred of the male sex; misandry

Manichean – viewing the world as a stark conflict between good and evil, “black vs. white”, with no shades of gray

mano-a-mano – (noun, adj., adv.) face to face confrontation; direct competition

manuduction – careful guidance (adj. manuductory). manuductor – an officer in the ancient church, who gave the signal for the choir to sing, who beat time and regulated the music

manumission – release from slavery

manustupration – masturbation [from Latin manus "hand" + stuprare "defile"]

manyplies – one of four parts of a cow's stomach; see abomasum

marcel – eponym: a deep soft wave made in the hair by the use of a heated curling iron

marge – border; margin; edge; verge

marginalia – notes made in the margins of a book

marmoreal; marmorean (also here) – of or suggesting of marble  (can emphasize smoothness, whiteness, hardness or coldness.)

maroon – an exploding firework that produces a loud bang

marplot – eponym: an officious meddler whose interference compromises the success of an undertaking

martial – eponym: of war or a warrior; also, warlike

martinet – eponym: a strict disciplinarian; also, a demander of absolute adherence to forms and rules

marver – glassblowing: a smooth, hard, flat surface on which softened glass is rolled [Fr. marbre = marble]

masjid; musjid – a mosque

mason jar – eponym: a wide-mouthed glass jar with a screw top, used for canning food

mass market – the market for goods produced in large quantities for the broad population

mass of maneuver – something held in reserve, to be used when and where the appropriate becomes clear (chiefly military, but available for metaphorical use)

mass producer – a manufacture producing in large quantities, typically by automated process

matronymic – adj. and noun: of a name derived from one's mother or maternal ancestor

matutinal – relating to the early morning, esp. the period just after waking

maudlin – eponym: with shallow, mawkish sentimentality; also, in the drunken state of tearful sentimentality and effusive affection

maulstick; mahlstick – a light stick on which a painter supports and steadies his brush hand, for detail work, without resting the hand on wet paint

mau-mau – informal: to attack or denounce vociferously, especially so as to intimidate

maunder – to move, talk, or act in a rambling or aimless manner

mausoleum – eponym: 1. a large stately tomb (or a building housing such tomb(s)) 2. a gloomy, usually large room or building

mawkish – sickly or excessively sentimental as to be nauseous; disgusting

mazarine – eponym: a deep blue color

mazy – like a maze, in design or complexity; labyrinthine

McJob – a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity

mea culpa – an acknowledgement that one is at fault

meadΉ – a meadow

mead² – an alcoholic drink of fermented honey and water

measly – original definition: infected with measles; also (of beef or pork) infected with larval parasites

mecca – toponym: a place which attracts many people of a particular group or with a particular interest

medicaster – a medical charlatan; a quack

medusa – eponym: the tentacled stage in the life cycle of a jellyfish. [a nice image, that!]

megalomania – mania for grandiose or extravagant actions; also, a mental disorder characterized by delusions of grandeur

meiosis – rhetoric: a litotes in which the understatement is by the name used, rather than by an adjective such as "tiny"; e.g., saying an amputated leg is "just a flesh wound." (compare litotes)

melancholy – adj.: sad or depressed. noun: deep, persistent sadness

melanism – excess dark pigment

meliorism – the belief that improvement of society depends on human effort. (meliorist; melioristic)

mellifluous – smooth and sweetly flowing (typically used of a voice or other sounds). from L for 'honey-flowing'

meme – an element of culture passed on by imitation or other non-genetic means [coined by Richard Dawkins, biologist; cross between an idea and a gene]

mememto mori – a reminder of mortality

mendicant – a beggar. adj: begging for a living

meninges (singular meninx) –  see dura mater

mensh – a person admirable for fundamental decency

mentor – eponym: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher; also, and v.intr. to serve as such a counselor or teacher, esp. in a job-setting. (1750, from Mentor, character in the Odyssey, who was often actually Athene in disguise)

menudo – a spicy Mexican soup

mephitic – foul smelling

mercer – a cloth merchant

mercerize – eponym: to treat cotton thread with lye, so as to increase its strength, luster and affinity for dye

mercurial – with shrewdness, eloquence, or thievishness; also, changeable in temperament or mood; volatile

merdivorous – dung-eating [same as coprophagous]

meretricious – 1. concerning prostitutes or prostitution 2.a. vulgarly attracting attention; gaudy b. specious; plausible but false or insincere

mesmerize – eponym: 1. to spellbind; enthrall 2. to hypnotize

mestizo – either a person of mixed ancestry (say some dictionaries) or specifically european/american-indian mix (say other dictionaries). see also mulatto

metallised (or metalled) road – a road that has been tarmacked

metamorphosis – a complete change in physical nature, as if by magic; also, striking change in appearance or character (the metamorphosis of the old house); also, the change in certain animals (e.g., a butterfly) from larva to adult.  metamorphic – relating to metamorphosis, particularly of rocks

metanalysis – creation of a new word by reinterpreting the form of an old one

meteor – the streak of light as a stone passes through the earth's atmosphere; also, the stone itself during that passage
meteoroid – a stone in interplanetary space, too small to be an asteroid
meteorite – the stone, formerly a meteor, after having come to rest on or in the earth
meteoric – of very sudden brilliance, swiftly rising and seemingly coming from nowhere.

metheglin – a drink of fermented honey and water (also called ‘mead’), esp. when spiced or medicated

Methuselah – eponym: a very old man. (by extension: 1. any plant or animal alive but extremely old for its kind or circumstances 2. pertaining to extremely long life-span.) Also: a certain large wine-bottle

metonymy – substituting one word or phrase for another with which it is closely associated, as Washington for the United States government. metonym

miasma – a noxious atmosphere (as from a swamp) or influence

Micawber – eponym: a kindhearted, but ineffective, incurable optimist

Mickey Finn – eponym: slang: knockout drops slipped into a drink; also, an alcoholic drink that has been deliberately adulterated with a strong sedative or purgative

Mickey Mouse – eponym: 1. unimportant, trivial: a Mickey Mouse operation 2. irritatingly petty: Mickey Mouse regulations

microburst – sudden, short-lived downdraft that creates strong wind shear

micropachycephalosaurus – a certain kind of dinosaur

micturate – to urinate

Midas touch – eponym: ability to make & keep huge sums money

midlist – a publisher's new or current books expected to have less popular appeal than the frontlist

midwife – (interesting etymology; see Archives)

midwife toad – a certain genus of toad of Western Europe, notable because the males carry the fertilized eggs

mien – bearing or manner, esp. as it reveals an inner state of mind: "He was a Vietnam veteran with a haunted mien." (James Traub)

milquetoast – eponym: a timid, meek, or unassertive person

mimbo – a male bimbo

minaret – a slender tower of a mosque, with a balcony from which a crier (the muezzin) calls Muslims to prayer

minerval – a gift given in gratitude by a pupil to a teacher; also a fee paid to a schoolteacher [Wordcrafter: presumably one which is called, with genteel tact, a 'gift'.]

mingy; mingey – British; antique: somewhat unpleasant - maybe unhelpful or tightfisted

miniature – a picture or decorative letter [not necessarily small] on an illuminated manuscript; also, a small painting, or more generally, something small of its class.

minimus – the little finger (or the little toe)

minion – 1. an obsequious follower or dependent; a sycophant 2. a subordinate official.

mirabilia – wonders

mirabiliary – a miracle worker

mis en scθne – the staging of a play; the stage setting

misandry – hatred of men

miscible – (of liquids) capable of being mixed together, in any proportion (In other words, like alcohol and water; not like oil and water.) The opposite is immiscible.

miscreant – behaving badly or unlawfully (noun: one who behaves that way)

mishmash – a confused mixture

misocapnist – person who hates tobacco smoke

misogyny – hatred of women

misoneism – dislike of novelty (So says OED, but I think of it as far stronger, an extreme fear or hatred of anything new, as in its very first usage.) also misoeist

misprision – 1. neglect or malperformance in office (not implying corruption) 2. misinterpretation, esp. undervaluing; also, contempt, scorn [noun form of misprize]

misremember – 1. to remember inaccurately 2. to forget entirely

Miss MacKenzie – a female who will "do it"; a young lady who is loved by all

missish – like a miss; prim; affected; sentimental

mithridatism (eponym) – tolerance or immunity to a poison, acquired by taking gradually larger doses of it. mithridate – an antidote against poison, especially a confection formerly held to be an antidote to all poisons. 

mixed message – action that gives confusingly contradictory signals

mizzle – mist and drizzle

mnemonic – adj. assisting the memory. noun – a device (as a rhyme) to aid memory

moating (in art conservation) – see weave impression

mocktail – [mock + cocktail] a cocktail with no alcohol

mohel (or moil, moyl or moyle) – in Judaism, one who performs the circumcision of a male child.

moiety – one of two roughly-equal parts; a half. Typically use of a deceased's estate.

moil – to work with painful effort; to toil; to drudge (noun: toil; hard work; drudgery); also, to churn or swirl about continuously (noun: confusion; turmoil)

moirologist – a hired mourner

mojo – 1. a magic charm or spell 2. a voodoo amulet 3. personal magnetism, charm

Molotov cocktail – eponym: makeshift incendiary bomb: flammable liquid in a breakable bottle, with rag wick lit just before hurling

mome – a blockhead or fool; a dull, silent person. However, Novobatzky & Shea define it as 'a nitpicking critic'; Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898), gives 'a Momus, find-fault, carping fellow', citing Cotgrave, and adds "from Momus, the [Greek] god of raillery".

Monday morning quarterback – from US football: a second-guesser; one who criticizes or passes judgment from a position of hindsight. (also used as a verb)

mondegreen – a series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric. For example, I led the pigeons to the flag for I pledge allegiance to the flag.

monkey wrench – eponym: US term for what Brits call a spanner

monkish – inclined to disciplinary self-denial

monkshood – see aconite

monoculture – the cultivation of only a single crop in a particular area

monologuize – synonym for soliloquize

monopsony – a market in which there is only one buyer

monotherapy – use of a single drug to treat a particular disorder

monotreme – [Greek for 'one-hole'] an order of primitive egg-laying mammals

Montgolfier – eponym: a hot-air balloon

moon – (etymology) from an Indo-European root meaning 'to measure"; a month is measured by the phases of the moon

moon dog – see parhelion

moon-calf –
originally: a misshapen mass in the uterus (thought to be caused by the baleful influence of the moon); a false pregnancy; also, from this: a monster
• more commonly: a born fool; a simpleton; or one given to absent-minded daydreaming (but coming to be used in the sense of "someone sentimentally love-sick")

mooreeffoc – the queerness of things which, previously trite, are suddenly seen from a new angle

moot – 1. subject to debate; arguable. 2. law: of no practical importance in the context of the case; irrelevant

moraine – a mass of rocks and sediment carried down and deposited by a glacier

mordacious (also here, and see mordant) – biting; caustic; sarcastic; capable of wounding (also biting in the literal sense)

mordant (or mordacious) – (especially of humor) caustic; biting; sharply sarcastic (also has noun senses)

morgan – unit of inferred distance between genes on a chromosome

morganatic – of or pertaining to a legal marriage between a person of royal or noble birth and a partner of lower rank, in which no titles or estates of the royal or noble partner are to be shared by the partner of inferior rank nor by any of the offspring of the marriage.

morganite – eponym: a rose-colored gem variety of beryl. [1911; after financier J. P. Morgan ]

morganizeΉ – eponym: says OED: to assassinate secretly in order to prevent or punish disclosures [Wordcrafter note: I believe the word includes "to kidnap" for the same purpose.]

morganize² – eponym: to acquire control of an entire industry, for profit [after financier J.P. Morgan]

morgen – a unit of measurement of land area, still in use in South Africa, equal to just over 0.85 hectare (2 acres)

morocco – fine flexible leather made (originally in Morocco) from goatskins tanned with sumac

moron – see idiot

morpheme – a unit of meaning that cannot be broken down into smaller such units. (It can have one or more syllables but isn't necessarilly a complete word.) A free morpheme can stand alone; a bound morpheme must combine with a free morpheme, which it modifies.  Thus the word attempting contains a free morpheme (attempt) and a bound morpheme ( -ing).

Morton’s Fork – eponym: the principle that "you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t"

mossback – a very old-fashioned person, one with ancient views or thinking; an old fogy

mot juste (French) – the precisely right word or expression

mother-in-law – Old and Bitter; that is, a mixture of Old Ale (heavy beer more commonly drunk in the winter) and Bitter (the most common type of English beer, usually quite hoppy in flavor)

motile – Biology: having the power to move spontaneously

mottle – verb: to mark with splotches or blots. noun: such a splotch or blotch; also, a variegated pattern, as on marble

moue – a little grimace; a pout

mouillι – a consonant sound that is softened and liquid, pronounced as a palatal sound

mouton enragι – a normally calm person who has suddenly become enraged or violent

move the goal posts – from US football: change the rules in the middle of the game; change what is required to win

mow – a grimace (some sources suggest the grimace of sticking out the lower lip)

muckender – a handkerchief

muggle – 1. people who are not wizards (Harry Potter books) – 2. old slang: a marijuana cigarette.

mugwump – one (esp. in politics) who acts independently or remains neutral (non-complimentary)

mulatto – a person half negro, half caucasian. Like terms are quadroon – Ό black; octoroon – ⅛ black;  sambo – Ύ black. As to mestizo, dictionaries differ: either "mixed ancestry" or "a European/American Indian mix". Ugh.

mulct – to fine someone; also, to cheat somebody out of something, esp. money

muleta – a short red cape, used by a matador to maneuver a bull during the final passes before a kill

muliebrity – the state of being a woman or of possessing full womanly powers; womanhood (correlate of virility)

mulligan – a second chance to play a golf shot; a "do-over" (see also mulligan stew)

mulligan stew or mulligan – a stew made with whatever's available (also fig: a mixture, jumble, hotchpotch) [hobo slang]

mulligrubs – depression for no apparent reason; melancholy

mumbo-jumbo; mumbo-jumbery – obscure or meaningless language or ritual; jargon intended to impress or mystify; nonsense

Munchausen syndrome – psychological disorder in which one repeatedly seeks medical attention for physical symptoms – knowing that he is fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms, or that they are self-inflicted

munchkin – eponym: a very small person, often endearing; a child; a minor official

mundungus – foul-smelling tobacco (also, apparently slang, in the Royal navy, for any useless or unwanted material, like gubbins, wiffen, etc.)

munge – to imperfectly transform information

Munich – toponym: shortsighted and often dishonorable appeasement of a tyrant

munificent – very liberal in giving or bestowing; very generous; lavish

munition; munitions – war material of any kind (weapons, equipment, stores, etc.), but especially weapons. (verb: to supply with munitions) Especially weapons, but not necessarily firearms. OED quotes show the term used for items from spears and pikes to atomic bombs.

murine – like a mouse

murmuration – a flock (of starlings)

Murphy game – eponym: any of various confidence games often having the services of a prostitute as a lure

Murphy’s Law – eponym?: if anything can go wrong, it will [No one is sure who “Murphy” was.]

murrain – originally, a pestilence or plague; now particularly a plague among domestic animals

murrey – dark red; dark purplish red. (from mulberry)

muscatel (etymology) – Italian for "wine with flies in it"

musjid – see masjid

musth – (of a male animal, esp. an elephant or camel:) in heightened aggression and unpredictable behavior, usually occurring annually in association with a testosterone surge (also noun: the such condition)

mutable – prone to change; inconstant; also, capable of change or of being changed (antonym: immutable)

mutatis mutandis – (when comparing two or more cases) making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point; with respective differences taken into consideration

Mutt and Jeff – eponym: a pair of comically mismatched people, esp. one tall and one short; also, a pair of lovable losers

muumuu – a long dress, loose and unbelted, hanging free from the shoulders

muzzy – 1. mentally confused; muddled 2. blurred; indistinct

mycotrophy – symbiosis between a fungus and a green plant

mydriatic – of or pertaining to pupil dilation

myopic – nearsighted; unable to see distant objects clearly; also fig.: lacking foresight; shortsighted

myriad – noun and adj. of a very great, but indefinite number: a myriad of stars or myriad stars

myrmidon – eponym: a subordinate officer who executes cruel orders of a superior without protest or pity

myrrh – an aromatic gum resin, used in perfumes and as incense

mystagogue – one who initiates another into a mystery cult