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nacelle – the streamlined outer casing of an aircraft engine.

nadir – the lowest point: the nadir of their fortunes (opposite of zenith)

naοf; naοf – a naοve person, in either of two senses: 1. natural and unaffected; and 2. lacking the judgment to be aware of dangers) (technically “a naοve male”, but in practice the word is genderless)

namaste – a Hindu expression on meeting or parting, usually while holding the palms together vertically in front of the bosom

namby-pamby – eponym: weak, foolish or silly: She probably regarded us as a bunch of namby-pamby liberals.

nancy boy – an effeminate man

napier – a maker or seller of table linen; the servant in charge of the linen a great house (obsolete)

Napier's Bones – eponym: a set of graduated rods used to perform multiplication quickly. It was an early calculator. See here.

narcissism – eponym: excessive love or admiration of oneself

nares – nostrils

narrowcasting – the practice of "specialty" cable channels (or other media) geared to a specific group of viewers, such as physicians, businesspeople, or teenagers

nascent (also here) – coming into existence (or having recently come into existence), and beginning to develop

natant – floating or swimming in water [Wordcrafter note: I think it has the implication of 'lying flat'.]

nativity – a horoscope for the time of one's birth (among other meanings, of course)

natron – toponym: a mineral salt, consisting of hydrated sodium carbonate [baking soda]; used to desiccate bodies for mummification

navvy – a laborer in the excavation and construction of a road or railway

nebbish – an innocuous, ineffectual unfortunate; a "loser"

nebula – astronomy: a gas-mass or dust-mass within a galaxy. figurative: something ill-defined or insubstantial; a hazy mass or cloud.

necromancy (also here, here and here) – 1. witchcraft or black magic 2. predicting the future by communicating with the dead [Note: dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]
Interesting e
tymology:  from Greek necro = "dead". When the Latin word came to mean "black arts", the spelling changed to nigromantia (Latin niger "black,"), and came into Middle English with the nigro- "black" root. Modern spelling is from attempts to correct this back to the original "dead" meaning.

necropsy – an autopsy (some sources say one performed on an animal)

nectar – any delicious wine or other drink (now esp. a kind of sweetened fruit juice)

negative pregnant – a denial (negation) of one thing that implies (is pregnant with) affirmation of another: I don't still beat my wife

negus – eponym: wine and hot water with sugar and lemon juice and nutmeg

nelipot – one going barefoot (note: this 'word' is suspect)

nemesis – eponym: one who inflicts retribution or vengeance

neoconservative – of or advocating a new or revived form of conservatism

neologism – a newly coined word or expression; the act of so coining. (Also applies to coining new phrases or meanings)

neophobia – fear or dislike of anything new or unfamiliar [often used for a child’s refusal to try a new food, particularly vegetables!]

neophyte – (also here) – a person who is new to a subject or activity; a beginner, a novice (also, a novice in a religious order, or a newly ordained priest)

neoteny – the retention of juvenile features in an adult animal (or sometimes used to mean: the characteristic of having a relatively long period of development)

neoteric –
(of an author or other person): of recent times; modern; also, having a modern outlook
(of beliefs, practices, or other things): modern, recent, new
Also used as a noun. Not necessarily complimentary; “Freq. with disparaging connotations,” says OED; “objectionably novel, ‘newfangled’.

nepenthe – 1. a drug mentioned in the Odyssey as a remedy for grief; hence 2. something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain.

nephoscope – a grid-like instrument for measuring clouds' altitude, direction, and velocity of movement

neritic – of ocean depths to about 200 meters; sublittoral

Nero – eponym: a person resembling Nero, esp. in displaying cruelty, tyranny, or profligacy

nescient – lacking knowledge or awareness; ignorant

nestcock – obs. a househusband; a man who stays at home and manages the house while his wife goes to work

nestor; Nestor – eponym: a venerable and wise old man; a patriarch in a field

nettle – to goad or provoke, as by constant criticism; also, to annoy, disturb, esp. by minor irritations

neurasthenia – a psychological disorder characterized by chronic fatigue and weakness with vague physical symptoms (headache, muscle pain, etc.); originally attributed to weakness or exhaustion of the nerves. Now considered an outdated diagnosis – but is it anything other than what we now call “chronic fatigue syndrome”?

neuron – a nerve cell

New York minute (used only in the phrase in a New York minute) – immediately; at once; in a heartbeat

nexility – pithiness, compactness of speech

nickel-and-dime – involving only a small amount: a nickel-and-dime job; but more particularly: to destroy by underfunding

nickname (etymology) – an additional name given to a person. from eke-name

nictitate – to wink

nidgetty – trifling or fussy

nidicolous – remaining in the nest after hatching until grown or nearly grown

nidify; nidificate – to make a nest

niding – a coward; a dastard; a term of utmost opprobrium. (also written nithing)

niggardly – grudging and petty; meanly small: left the waiter a niggardly tip. (Though this word has nothing to do with the so-called "N-word," one does well to avoid it due to the ignorance of many readers or listeners.)

niggle – a small injury claimed by a sportsman

niggling ­– troublesome or irritating in a petty way

Nightingale – eponym: a nurse, esp. one of the older generation (Nightingale ward – a hospital ward with two long rows of beds and a central station for the nurse in charge)

nihil obstat – official approval [From usage in Roman Catholic church]

nihilism – (also nihilist; nihilistic) 1. doctrine that social institutions are so bad that destruction is desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program  2. rejection of all moral or religious values

nikkei – see issei

nimgimmer – a physician or surgeon, particularly those who cure venereal disease

nimiety – superfluity; excess

niminy-piminy – affectedly delicate or refined; mincing

nimmer – a pilferer; a petty thief

nimrodΉ – eponym: a mighty hunter

nimrod² [bizarre etymology] – slang: an silly or insensitive jerk who is a petty annoyance [from Bugs Bunny]

nimtopsical – drunk

ninety-nine – used by physicians to detect areas of the lungs that have become solidified, as from pneumonia. When the patient speaks or whispers, the sound is loudest in these areas, and the loudness can be noticed by stethoscope or by ‘a palm on the patient’s back.

ningimmer – a physician or surgeon, particularly those who cure the venereal disease

ninnyhammer – a simpleton; a silly person

nisei – see issei

niveous – resembling snow; snowy; also, snow-white. (Note: There's an odd schism in how the lexicographers handle this word.  AHD gives "resembling snow; snowy", but omits the specific definition as "white". Most on-line dictionaries are similar but the thesauri – even the one at AHD's site – consistently list niveous as a synonym for "white". )

nixie – a female water sprite of Germanic folklore (masc. = nix); also, an undeliverable letter, addressed wrong or illegibly.

no wuckers – Australian slang: a polite shortened form of the spoonerism ‘no wucking furries’

nob – Brit. informal: a person of wealth or high social position

nocent – 1. causing harm; 2. guilty

noeclexis – the practice of selecting a partner based on intelligence and character without regard for physical attractiveness

nolens volens – whether willing or not [Latin "unwilling-willing"]

nom de guerre – an assumed name under which a person engages in combat.

nom de plume – an author's pseudonym or pen-name

nombril – heraldry; more properly, 'nombril point': the center point of the bottom half of an escutcheon; that is, midway between the fesse point and the bottom point

nomen – see cognomen

non nobis – 1. interjection, expressing gratitude or thanksgiving (also 'non nobis, Domine'). from the next meaning 2. a hymn of that title, used in popular entertainment. (Each meaning often ironic.)

nonagenarian – a person between 90 and 99 years old (also adj.)

nonce word – a word created by the author for a specific occasion, not expecting it to be used again

nonpluss – to perplex; to bewilder; to put at a loss of what to do

nook – a secluded, sheltered spot; or, in the same vein, a small, separate section of a larger room (also, the inner corner formed by two meeting walls)

nook and cranny (as in every nook and cranny) – every part of something.

noop – Scot: the sharp point of the elbow

norks – Australian slang: breasts

normalcy – normality (note: this is a perfectly good word, not a coinage or misstatement)

nosology – the branch of medical science concerned with the classification of diseases
[nosos disease]

nothing but net – (from basketball) figurative: perfectly done; without even the permissible degree of error

nous – 1. chiefly British: good sense; shrewdness  2. philosophy: reason and knowledge as opposed to sense perception (in neo-platonism: the image of the absolute good) 

novena – a prayer service lasting nine days, or weekly for nine weeks

novendial – a religious ceremony lasting for nine days; a funeral ceremony on the ninth day after the burial

novennial – of a nine-year period

nuchal – of the nape of the neck

nudiustertian – pertaining to the day before yesterday (OED); the very latest, as fashion (Wordcrafter)

nugatory – 1. trifling; insignificant 2. of no force; inoperative or ineffectual

nullibiety; nullibicity – the state of being nowhere at all (contrast ubiety; see Archies)

nullipara – a woman who has never given birth

numerate (adj.) – able to think and express oneself effectively in quantitative terms (verb: to count; enumerate).  [counterpart of 'literate']

numinous – supernatural, mysterious; also, suffused the presence of a god; spiritual, divine; inspiring awe and reverence

nuncheon – a drink or snack taken between meals, esp. in the afternoon

nutation [from Latin for 'to nod'] astronomy: periodic increases and decreases in the "tilt" of an orbit. medical: uncontrolled nodding

nutria – the fur or skin of the coypu; also, the animal itself

obdurate – stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; also; showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings

obeisance – an attitude of deference or homage;  a gesture, such as a curtsy, expressing that attitude

objet d'art – a small decorative or artistic piece; a curio

objurgate – to scold or rebuke sharply; berate

oblation – the act of offering something to a deity; also, a charitable offering or gift.

obloquy (also here) – strong abusive public condemnation; the disgrace brought about by it

obnubilate – to becloud; to obscure

obol – a coin, of small amount, in ancient Greece and modern Greece until the euro

obreptitious – making false statement to obtain something

obscurant – 1. obscuring the vision (adj: tending to do so ) [contrast obscurantist 1)]. 2. one opposing new ideas or social or political reform (adj: so opposed)

obscurantist – 1.  deliberately written to be obscure to the understanding (adj: so written) [contrast obscurant 1)].  2. sense 2 of obscurant, above

obsequious – servilely obedient or attentive; fawning [One source say to think of ‘kiss-ass’.]

obsidian – eponym: a dark volcanic glass, formed by the rapid cooling of lava

obstipate – to constipate severely

obstreperous – 1. noisily and stubbornly defiant 2. aggressively boisterous

obtrude – (of a thought or a person) to thrust itself (or himself), unwelcome, upon a person's company or attention.

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

oceanology – (formerly synonymous with oceanography) the technology and economics concerned with human use of the ocean."

oche – the line behind which darts players stand when throwing

Ockham's razor; Occam's razor – eponym: general principle to prefer the simpler of two competing explanations

October surprise – an unexpected newsworthy act, or revelation, that is deliberately timed to hit the news just before an election so as to maximize its impact on the election

octoroon – offspring of a quadroon and a white [one-eighth black]. see mulatto

octothorpe – the # sign, as on the telephone

oculus – a round window, usually a small one (Latin oculus = eye)

oda – the dormitory of the sultan's seraglio

odds and sods – (UK; informal) miscellaneous items

odious – hateful; unequivocally detestable

odium – general or widespread hatred or disgust

odyssey – eponym: a long voyage (physical or spiritual) marked by many changes of fortune

oedipal – eponym: of the Oedipus complex: a boy's unconscious sexual desire for his mother

oersted – eponym: the unit in which magnetic-field intensity is measured

oeuvre – a writer's or artist's body of work

OG – brewing: original gravity. The specific gravity of wort before fermentation and thus a measure of the probable alcoholic content of the final drink

oinomancy – divination by the lees of wine [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

olamic ­– eternal; infinite [from the Hebrew olam, "world"]

oleaginous – greasy, oily; hence offensively ingratiating

olecranon – "The large process on the upper end of the ulna that projects behind the elbow joint and forms the point of the elbow."

oligarchy – a state governed by a small group of people; also, the group

olio – 1. a highly seasoned stew of meat, vegetables, and chickpeas 2. a miscellaneous mixture

olisbos – a dildo [from Greek 'to slip, glide']

olivander (more commonly, olivaster) – olive-colored (particularly as to complexion); with an easily-tanned or Mediterranean skin

Oliver's skull (etymology) – a chamber pot

olla-podrida –  see olio

omadhaun – a fool, an idiot, a mentally backward person [Irish]

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

omphalos – the navel; also, a central part or focal point

omphaloskepsis – meditation while gazing at one's navel

omphelomancy – divination by the navel [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

onanism – eponym: masturbation (also: coitus interruptus; an interesting pairing of meanings!)

onchyomancy – divination by the nails [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

oneiromancy – divination by dreams [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

onomancy – divination by names [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

onomasticon – 1. a list or collection of proper names 2. a list or collection of specialized terms, as those used in a particular field or subject area

onomastics – the study of names

onomatopoeia – formation of words in imitation of sounds they relate to, such as buzz or murmur. (adj. onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic)

oolong – a dark Chinese tea that has been partially fermented before drying

operculum – zoology: a lid or cover; also: the lid closing the aperture of various species of shells, such as the common whelk

ophidian – like a snake

ophiophagous – feeding on snakes

opitulation – act of helping

opposition – c.1395, as an astrological term for two heavenly bodies exactly across from one another in the sky. The meaning "contrast, antagonism" first attested 1581; sense of "political party opposed to the one in power" is from 1704.

orangeman – eponym: a Protestant Irishman

orangutan (etymology) – from Malay for "man of the forest". It may be that the Europeans misunderstood the term, and that the Javanese used it refer to savage human tribes living in the forests.

ordnance – 1. mounted guns; cannon 2. munitions; military supplies

orgulous – prideful; haughty

orifice – a hole opening into a bodily cavity

ornithomancy – divination by birds [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

orographic – relating to mountains; esp., associated with or induced by mountains: orographic rainfall

orotund – 1. (of the voice) resonant and impressive. 2. (of writing or style) pompous

Orphean – eponym: hauntingly beautiful or enchanting (literary)

orrery – eponym: a clockwork model of the solar system

ort – a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal

orthodoxy – beliefs, ideas or activities considered traditional, normal and acceptable by most people

orthoepy – correct pronunciation of words (The antonym is cacoepy – incorrect pronunciation)

orthography – the conventional spelling system of a language

Orwellian – eponym: evoking Orwell's picture of a future totalitarian state

Oscar – (eponym, and tradename) each of the annual movie awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

oscine – like a songbird

osculate – to kiss; also, to touch or contact (as geometric figures)

ossify (trans. or intrans.) – to make into bone; hence, to cease developing, and become rigidly set in conventional patterns

ossuary – a place for bones of the dead

ostler – see hostler

ostracize (also here) – to expel from a community or group; to cast out from social, political, or private favor

Othello – eponym: trade-name for a certain board game (generically, reversi), after the sudden reversals of fortune

otiose – 1. ineffective; futile 2. lazy 3. useless; serving no useful purpose

oubliette – a dungeon reached only by a trap door it its ceiling

outrι – conspicuously unconventional, eccentric, or bizarre  [pronounce the vowel sounds and accent as in 'today']

overpainting (in art conservation) – when the restorer gets carried away and paints on top of original paint passages, instead of just where a piece of paint is missing

overstory – the tallest trees in a forest, also called the canopy

ovine – like a sheep

owlish – 1. like an owl, especially in seeming solemn and wise 2. (of glasses or eyes) resembling the large round eyes of an owl

oxter – the armpit (oxter pipes – bagpipes)

oxymoron – a contradiction in terms [The term is itself an oxymoron:  oxy- “sharp” + moron, “stupid”]

oxythymous – quick-tempered; easily riled

oytser – from Yiddish: 1. a treasure, or 2. (ironic) far from a treasure. My child is an angel, an oytser to me. Her child? That brat. God save me from such an oytser!

Ozymandian – eponym: huge, grandiose, but ultimately devoid of meaning

pac man defense – a stratagem, to prevent a hostile takeover, by which the target company tries to acquire the bidder

pace (Latin) – with due deference to; used to acknowledge politely someone with whom the writer disagrees

pagan (etymology) – from Latin for villager, rustic.  Tied to "nature worship" because  conservative villagers clung to the old nature gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities. (alternate reason for that tie: 'villager' was Roman military-slang for an incompetent soldier, and the early church, with its military image, picked up this concept for "those outside the Church Militant".)

pahoehoe – lava with a smooth, glassy or rippled surface

paint-by-numbers – depreciative: merely mechanical or formulaic (rather than imaginative, original, or natural)

palace revolution – overthrow of a ruler by those who are already in the ruling group

palfrey – a docile horse ridden especially by women

palimpsest – a manuscript on which more than one text has been written atop an earlier one which, incompletely erased, is visible; also, an object or a place whose older layers or aspects are apparent beneath its surface

palindrome – a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward

palladianΉ,² – 1. relating to wisdom or study 2. of the neoclassical major architectural style that was extremely popular in 18th century Britain

palliate – 1. to mitigate 2. to extenuate [i.e., 1. to make (pain or disease) less severe 2. to make fault or crime seem less severe, with excuses and apologies]

pallid – 1. of abnormally pale or wan complexion 2. lacking intensity of color or luminousness 3. [metaphorically] lacking radiance or vitality; dull: pallid prose

palooka – slang: an incompetent or easily defeated athlete (esp. a prizefighter); also, a stupid or clumsy person.

palter – 1. to equivocate or prevaricate 2. (palter with) to trifle with.

paludal – 1. relating to swamps and marshes; palustrine. 2. malarial

palustrine – relating to swamps and marshes

panache – dashing or flamboyant in style

panama hat – toponym: (picture here) a man’s wide-brimmed hat of straw-like material

pandemic – affecting a large part of the population over a wide geographical area; epidemic over a wide geographical area (contrast endemic, epidemic)

pandemonium – 1. an utterly lawless, riotous place or assemblage; also, (by extension) wild uproar or noise. 2. the great hall or council chamber of demons or evil spirits. Coined by John Milton in "Paradise Lost" (1667) from Gk. pan- "all" + L.L. dζmonium "evil spirit". Transferred sense "place of uproar" is from 1779.

pandit – a wise or learned man in India (often used as an honorary title) [An alternative form is pundit.]

pandora's box – a source of many unforeseen troubles

panegyric (also here) – an oration or eulogy in praise of some person or achievement

Panglossian – eponym: blindly optimistic; of the view that “this is the best of all possible worlds”

panjandrum; grand panjandrum – an important person, or a pompously self-important person

panoply – a splendid or impressive array

Pantagruelian – eponym: coarsely and extravagantly satirical

pantile – a roofing tile with a S-shape; laid so that curves overlap

pantograph – a mechanical device for copying plans, diagrams, etc., on any desired scale. A stylus, tracing over the original, drives a pen that produces the copy.

papabile – [pl. papabili] a viable candidate to be elected pope, or for other high office

paparazzi (etymology) – from the surname of a character in Fellini's 1959 film "La Dolce Vita."

Papierkrieg – German: obsessively complicated paperwork, seemingly (or actually) designed to make you give up in frustration

parable (also here) – rhetoric: a story told to convey  moral or religious lesson; an allegory

parabola – a certain geometrical curve (a thrown ball travels in a parabola as it rises and then falls to the ground)

paradiddle – drumming: a pattern of four basic beats, alternating sticks. One of the 26 rudiments of drumming.

paradigmΉ – linguistic sense: a list of word forms (a nominal paradigm is usually called a declension and a verbal paradigm a conjugation)

paradigm² – something that serves as a model, example, or pattern

paralambdacism – a speech disorder involving underuse of the l-sound (contrast lambdacism)

paralogism – an illogical argument, a fallacy, esp. one which the reasoner is unconscious of or believes to be logical (contrast sophism)

paramagnetic – very weakly attracted by a magnet, but not retaining any permanent magnetism (contrast ferromagnetic; see Curry point)

paramo – a high, bleak plateau or district, with stunted trees, and cold, damp atmosphere, as in the Andes

paranoia – any unjustified, excessive fear of the actions or motives of others (medical sense: a persistent delusional system, usually on the theme of persecution or exaggerated personal importance)

paranymph – 1. a best man, or groomsman, or a bridesmaid (term is gender-neutral) 2. one who woos or solicits for another; an advocate, spokesman, or orator, who speaks in behalf of another.

paraphernalia – miscellaneous articles, especially the equipment needed for a particular activity

paraphilia – sexual perversions; sexual behavior generally considered unacceptable by society

paraplegia – paralysis of the legs, the lower body [The sufferer is a paraplegic.]

parapraxis – a Freudian slip; a minor error, such as a slip of the tongue, thought to reveal a repressed motive

paraschite (or pararschiste) – person hired to cut a body, for mummification

paraselene – see parhelion

parasite (etymology) – from Greek for "one eating at another's table"

paraverbal – being nonverbal communication

pardoner – one licensed to sell papal pardons (theoretically to raise funds for the church)

paresthesia – an abnormal sensation, as prickling, itching, etc.

Pareto Principle (eponym), or 80/20 rule – often, 80% of the result comes from 20% of the work or other input

parhelion – a bright spot in the sky, often in pairs on either side of the sun, thus forming a "triple sun". Caused by atmospheric ice crystals. (A parhelion is also called a sun-dog. The same phenomenon with the moon is called a paraselene or moon dog.)

parishion – parishioner; a member of a parish. This word died out in the 16th century, but it is an answer to the quiz, "Name 3 words ending in – shion: cushion, fashion, and ____." See also hushion, fushion.

Park Avenue – the world of those who are ultra-rich in both money and social standing

Parkinson's Law – eponym: the principle, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Parnassus – 1. the world of poetry or poets: a rhymester striving to enter Parnassus 2. a center of poetry or artistic activity 3. a collection of poems

parody – a literary composition imitating (and esp. one satirizing) another work. Also, by extension: a poor or feeble imitation; a travesty

paronomasia – punning. more specifically, the form of pun based on using two different words of same or similar sound. (contrast antanaclasis, syllepsis, zeugma)

parricide – the killing of [or the killer of] one’s own parent – usually the father – or other near relative

parsimonious – excessively sparing or frugal

parthenian – virginal

parthenogenesis – the ability of unfertilized eggs to develop into embryos without sperm. Very common in snails and water fleas, but not in higher vertebrates.

parturient – in labor; about to give birth (parturition – the action of giving birth; childbirth)

paruresis – "bashful kidney"

pashmina – mountain goats in the Himalayas; also, the fine wool from them, used for pashmina scarves and shawls

pasquinade – eponym: a satire or lampoon, esp. one ridiculing a specific person. verb: to ridicule with a pasquinade

passacaglia – an old Italian or Spanish dance tune in Ύ measure, like a chaconne but slower

passe-partout – a master key. by extension: something that allows one to pass or go at will

passerine – (of birds) with feet adapted to perching (technically, of a particular order of perching birds)

pasteurize – [eponym] to partially sterilize (esp. milk or other liquid) by heat to destroy germs without a major chemical change in the substance

pastille – a troche; that is, a medicated lozenge used to soothe the throat

pastinaceous – having to do with parsnips

patella – the bone on the knee [from Latin for "pan," its shape]

patent troll – a company that purchases a patent simply to sue another, claiming infringement

pathoctonus – the ebbing of passion; self-restraint (The Word Lover's Dictionary)

patois – a regional dialect, especially without a literary tradition

patronymic – adj. and noun: of a name derived from one's father or paternal ancestor

pavilion – (originally, a butterfly) a large and ornate tent. But more commonly applied structures of greater permanence, as a light roofed structure (picnic pavilion), a solid but temporary structure (a pavilion at the World's Fair), a sports/entertainment arena, or a building within a complex (as a hospital).

pavlovian – eponym: being or expressing a conditioned or predictable reaction; automatic

pavonine – with the iridescence of a peacock's tail. (also, "peacock-like", in the manner of such words as canine, feline, etc.)

pawl [pronounced like pall] – a hinged bar whose free end engages the teeth of a ratchet wheel, allowing it to turn in one direction only

pawn – a person without real power, used (manipulated) by others for their own purposes [term evolved from the game of chess]

paxwax – the neck tendon (properly, the nuchal ligament)

peccadillo – a small sin or fault

pecksniffian – eponym: hypocritically benevolent; sanctimonious.

peculation – embezzlement

pecunious – abounding in money; wealthy; rich

pedant – a person who overrates, or over-displays, book-learning or technical knowledge

pedantic – exaggeratedly, unseasonably, or absurdly learned

pedigree – literally "foot of a crane".  On a genealogical chart, the group of lines branching from a person to his or her descendants looks rather like the footprint of a crane.

peeping Tom – eponym: a voyeur

pelagic – relating to open ocean or sea

pellucid – transparently clear, either literally (as with glass) or figuratively (as with prose writing)

pelota – 1. the game of jai alai 2. the ball used

peloton – competitive cycling: a densely packed group of riders, sheltering in each others' draft. In a mass-start race, most riders ride in one large peloton for most of the race.

pendulous – hanging down; drooping

penetrance – the likelihood that a gene will lead to a trait or disease. (That is, the frequency with which a genotype will manifest itself in a phenotype.)

pensile – hanging loosely; suspended: pendulous; the pensile nest of the Baltimore oriole

pentimento – a visible trace of the artist’s earlier version, showing through when the upper layers of the paint have become translucent with age. (In effect, the “painting behind the painting”, showing where the artist “changed his mind” and changed his work.)

penultimate – next-to-last

penumbra – 1. a partial shadow (blocked from some but not all light sources and their parts) between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination
2. figurative extension:
a. an adjoining region in which something shades off into lessened intensely [the penumbra of the downtown]
      b. something that partially covers, surrounds, or obscures

peony shell – fireworks: a spherical burst firework, in which the stars do not leave a trail

perambulate – to walk or travel from place to place

percipient – adj.: 1. perceiving 2. having perception; discerning; discriminating (noun: one who receives a telepathic impulse or message)

perdurable – extremely durable and long-lasting; also, permanent; everlasting

perdure – to continue, endure; to persist; to last forever

peregrinate – to travel, esp. on foot. peregrination – travel, esp. by foot; a wandering

perfecta – a bet where the bettor must name the top two finishers, in order (also called exacta)

pergola – a frame structure with a latticework roof, to support climbing plants

periclitate – to endanger

periscian – an inhabitant of either of the polar regions

peristerophily – love of, or collecting of, pigeons [not in OED; in Mrs. Bryne and some other private dictionaries]

peroration – the concluding part of an oration; especially, a final summing up of an argument. perorate – to so conclude a speech; also, to speak at great length, esp. in a grandiloquent manner

perse – dark grayish blue

perseity – medieval philosophy: the quality of having substance independently of any real object

persiflage – friendly banter or frivolous conversation (persifleur – one who indulges in persiflage; a banterer)  [From French, but there it means to mock, to ridicule. The root is siffler, to hiss, akin to sibilant.]

perspicacious – having penetrating mental discernment, keen understanding (contrast perspicuous)

perspicuous – clearly expressed; easy to understand (contrast perspicacious)

peruse – to read thoroughly [but often misused to mean "to glance over; to skim"]

petcock – a small valve on the bottom (e.g., of an automobile radiator), to drain or relieve pressure

peter pan – eponym: an adult who hangs on to adolescent interests and attitudes

Peter Pan collar – eponym: a small, flat collar with rounded ends meeting in front

Peter Principle – eponym; coinage: the principle that those in a hierarchy are promoted until they reach the level at which they are no longer competent (at which point promotion ceases). Thus each position is eventually filled by an incompetent.

peterman – a safebreaker

petitio principii – the logical fallacy of assuming in the premises what one wishes to prove in the conclusion

petrel – a type of seabird

petticoat government – rule by, or undue predominance or influence of women in domestic, political, or public life

pettifoggery – quibbling; argument over petty points

phaeton – eponym: a touring car

phalacrosis – typical male pattern baldness

phantasmagoria – a fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as in a dreams; a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage

pharisee – a self-righteous or sanctimonious person

phat – excellent; first-rate: phat fashion; a phat rapper.  (AHD says, "origin unknown".  Wordcrafter humbly suggests that it is well understood to have arisen as an acronym for Pretty Hot and Tempting [or “Tasty”.)

phatic – relating to speech used to share feelings or to establish a sociable mood, rather than to communicate information or ideas.  "How are you? Lovely day, isn't it?"

phenotype – an organism's observable physical characteristics, as determined by both genes and environment influences. (contrast genotype)

philander – eponym: to carry on a love affair, without serious intentions (said of a male)

philippic (also here) – eponym: a bitter, violent speech of denunciation, scathing and insulting

philistine – a person hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts

phillumenist – a collector of matchbox or matchbook labels

philodox – a person fond of opinions, esp. his or her own

philography – the collecting of autographs, esp. those of famous persons

philology – the study of the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages

Philomel – eponym: a nightingale (But at least one good source says that in Ovid, Philomena became the swallow.)

philosophaster – a pretender to philosophy

philtre; philter – a love potion (some sources also say verb: to enchant with or as if with a philtre.)

philtrum – the vertical groove from the base of the nose to the upper lip

phlegm – 1. sluggishness of temperament 2. calm self-possession; equanimity (more common is the medical sense: thick, sticky, stringy respiratory mucus, as during a cold)

phlegmatic – calm and sluggish, showing little emotion

phocine – like a seal

phonotactics – the area of phonology (study of a language's sound system) concerned with analyzing the permitted sound sequences of a language

phreatic – of or relating to groundwater

phronesis – wisdom in determining ends and the means of attaining them

phryne – a spectacular legal stunt (Wordcrafter definition, as used by Ayn Rand; no dictionary lists this word)

phthisis – a progressively wasting or consumptive condition; esp. pulmonary tuberculosis

physic; physick – a medicine or drug, especially a cathartic (for constipation) (also, the art of medicine)