Back to index of "words and such" pages by Donald Sauter.

Words I Have Looked Up
In My American Heritage Dictionary

(Jump over the introduction to the words.)

Before we get started - a little challenge right here at the top to hopefully catch your interest. Which word in the list below brings good, ol' Eddie Haskell right to mind?

I bought a copy of the American Heritage Dictionary, second college edition, in 1987. As this was after the point in my life when I started highlighting everything I laid my hands on, it was only natural to make the decision to highlight every word I looked up in my new dictionary. The idea was that, by going to this extra effort, it would help burn the new word into my brain. As time went by, and totally unfamiliar words smeared with blue seemed to mock me from almost every page, I started to wonder if increasing my English word power at this point in my life was any more likely than learning Chinese.

Never saying die, I got the idea that maybe typing out these words and their definitions would get them to stick. Hmmm... I could even make a web page out of it. So what if it had no obvious value to anyone else in the world? You could avoid it as easily as billions of other, much glitzier, web pages.

After I got started, I thought of a few ways in which this web page might not be completely valueless. 1) You might be inspired to start keeping track of the words you look up, and (1a) actually make a point of always keeping a dictionary at hand when reading; 2) you might have fun testing your word power against this list of words collected from actual fiction and non-fiction writings, and (2a) maybe have a good laugh at my woful vocabulary; and 3) you might actually end up here looking for the meaning of one of these words.

In particular, direct your attention to words in boldface. You might have fun seeing if you can guess, or were aware of, the less common usages of these very common words. Scroll down to the index of words now to avoid more babbling from me.

Here's what we have. I haven't held back any word highlighted in my dictionary, so the list is an honest gauge of how stupid I am. Some words in the list I've always "sort of" known, and finally determined to look up the precise definition. Most embarrassing is "recumbent" - maybe I wasn't sure whether or not the word implies "supineness". (It doesn't.) Another example is "eulogy" - maybe I used to think such a thing applied only to a dead person. (It doesn't.)

Generally speaking, I only highlighted words found in my reading. O. Henry is an example of a writer who has given my dictionary a real workout. I don't highlight words looked up out of general curiosity, or words being argued with friends. I know that I must have looked up "chancel" even though it's not highlighted because I've noted the erroneous pronunciation American Heritage gives. They slipped up and provided the same pronunciation as for the word above, "chanceful." (Have you ever found a mistake in a dictionary? I remember a news item years ago when a youngster found a mistake in a Webster's dictionary, I think. For the word "gutter," the dictionary said something like, "the trough alongside a bowling alley that returns the ball." Good catch, kid!)

I look up words that are new to me even if I can guess the definition from the context. Some words I look up to check an odd-looking spelling. I only give the one definition that applies to the usage in the passage I was reading. Since I'm not trying to be a dictionary here, I occasionally shorten the given definition. For example, if it said, "of certain animals, esp. horses," I may have left it at "horses," period, figuring that if I remember that much I'm doing good. Plus, the passage I was reading may have been about horses.

I don't give the part of speech since it's always made clear by the definition itself. I don't provide any designations such as "slang", "offensive", "archaic" or "chiefly British". (If it's British or archaic, how come I'm reading it here and now?) A few words I looked up were not actually found as main entries, but shown in the fine print as a foreign word from which an English version is derived. (See calentura, Faltboot and gradalis.)

Here are some statistics. As of December 2001, there were 1014 highlighted words in my dictionary. Call it 15 years of highlighting, and that works out to 67.7 new words per year. There are 1344 pages of definitions in the dictionary, so 3 out of 4 pages, on the average, have a highlighted word. The biggest gap without a hit was 18 pages, between "unctuous" and "vade mecum". The record for number of different definitions looked up for the same word is held by "shoal", with 3 different hits. The record for the number of highlighted main entries in a row is 3 - "contumaceous", "contumacy", and "contumely". (A fourth, "contumelious", was also highlighted but doesn't count, being derived from "contumely".)

I like my American Heritage dictionary and would recommend it to anyone. It's got good pictures. (Hey, it's just occurring to me: the reason I chose the American Heritage over the others is because my buddy David's edition had a picture of the Beatles next to their entry in the main section. Gear! In this, the next edition, the biographical entries have been herded to their own section at the back - which I approve of, I guess - but there's no Beatle picture, waaah.)

I'm sure I talked up my dictionary in discussions with my buddy Brian. This must have been a jinx. In the middle 2001 we went to it three times to check up on words that came up in conversation - and three times it let me down.

Brian had me look up "cockles" as in "the cockles of my heart." It gave a definition for the idiom - "one's innermost feelings" - but hardly a clue as to what "cockles" means in that idiom. Cockles are mollusks or their shells. One obscure definition is "a wrinkle or a pucker." Maybe there are puckers at the center of the human heart? Couldn't prove it by me.

Brian must have been bugged one too many times by common, and apparently complete, sentences beginning, "Would that...", for example, "Would that I were a famous actor." I know I've wondered about that, too. So I looked up "would" and all we got was "past tense of will (def. 2.)" That shed absolutely no light, so everything now hinged on definition 2 of "will". I wasn't feeling very confident but thought maybe it would babble something about "subjunctive" (expressing hypothetical action.) Nope. Definition 2 of "will" is nothing more than "indicates likelihood or certainty," as in, "You will regret this." I did. Would that I didn't. Phooey.

The third one was the word of the month for September 2001 - and many months thereafter: "coward". Apparently, we were wondering how appropriately that word applied to certain people in the news at the time. I fully expected to find several definitions, the main one along the lines of "a fraidy cat who runs away", and definition 2 something like, "the attacker in an unprovoked fight in which the victim has little or no means of defense." The latter usage has always seemed queer to me, but I figured since "coward" gets used that way most of the time, dictionaries would recognize it. (Everybody spluttering "Cowards!" in the wake of the September attacks made me cringe with embarrassment. But that's another discussion.)

The American Heritage gave just one definition: "one who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain." Ok, so if definition 2 is not a definition, it's not a definition. Fine with me. But I was a little surprised to find that being a coward implies little, if anything, about behavior. Nothing about turning tail when there's a dangerous job to be done, possibly jeopardizing others even further by doing so. Live and learn. But what's this "ignoble" business??? I should have to look up "ignoble" to find out what a coward is? My good ol' American Heritage hasn't done that to me before. Ignoble: dishonorable. So now I know that a coward shows dishonorable fear. If he shows honorable fear, that would be ok? I'm not even sure I know the difference. If I'm afraid of being stung by a hornet, am I being honorable or dishonorable about it?

Brian! What did you do to my trusty dictionary???

*** UPDATE ***

It's now about a year later (January 2003) and I know you've been coming back here every few days, hankering for an update. To be honest, typing out all those words and definitions didn't work so well. I still find myself looking up some of the same old words (I'm sure I hold the all-time world's record for looking up "sardonic" - I had the hardest time getting it to stick!), and still see plenty of blue-smeared words on my dictionary pages which I might get right on a multiple-choice quiz, but please don't ask me to pull the definition out of thin air.

To make matters worse, I've added scads of newly highlighted words - this time in pink, in case I ever need to distinguish the second batch from the first. I'm still having a great time with the complete O. Henry, and I have him to thank for almost all of the pink words.

"But what's the point?" you cry. "It didn't do you much good with the blue words." Ah ha! I've come up with another plan - and this one has shown definite, positive results. On top of that, it's kind of fun, so I thought I'd toss it out there.

Very simply, I use a tape recorder. I do almost all of my reading at one table, where I can spread out my book, dictionary, one-volume encyclopedia, atlas (ok, that's half as big as my table, so it goes on my lap when needed) - and now a tape recorder. When I come to an unfamiliar word or name, I mark the beginning of that sentence with a little post-it sticker; look up the word or name in my dictionary or encyclopedia, whichever is appropriate; make the desired highlights; grab my mic; punch the record button; read aloud the sentence with the problem word; read aloud the definition from the dictionary or the information from the encyclopedia entry I want to hang onto; and hit the stop button on the recorder. If that sounds like a pain in the neck, I assure you it's no trouble at all.

When the tape is filled up, I'll play it a couple of times in my car. On the first playback, I'll be quite dismayed at how soon I've forgotten so many definitions. But on the second time around I can beat my recorded self at reciting the definitions to most of the words. That's a healthy sign, but the proof is in the puddin' - and by now I've had many successes upon meeting the same words again in further readings.

I wish I had been marking up books since childhood, and now I wish that I had started recording highlights years ago. I suggest that parents consider doing something like this with their children, especially if home-schooled, but also if attending a conventional school. Read all the books your child reads, and whenever you come across a word - or name, place, historical event, etc. - that you suspect your child might not know, quiz him. If it is new to him, have him grab the mic and read the original passage and the relevant part of the dictionary or encyclopedia entry. Then, whenever he does something bad, tie him to a chair and make him listen to his lousy tape for 8 hours at a stretch. Just kidding, JUST KIDDING! Calm down! I'm betting most kids would be really proud to have a batch of tapes they recorded themselves.

In school they teach certain things that we consider "fundamental." Basically, these are word and math skills. Everything else, I claim, falls into the category of "general knowledge." Obviously, you can't teach a student everything there is to be known - not if he went to school all of his life; not if he never forgot anything; not if he lived to be a million years old. There's simply too much to be known. So the question is, what "general knowledge" should be taught? And where do you start? Mythology? The Civil War? The solar system? Important explorers? The Bible? Funny animals in Australia? It would take forever just to list all the (currently recognized) subject areas. And you could spend a lifetime on any one of them.

So we obviously have to limit the number of subjects taught, and the depth we go into them. Even then, it's hit or miss. Maybe the student who was forced to learn a little about Magellan will never meet up with him again as he (the student) proceeds on his course through life. Maybe he would have been better off with a bigger dose of Pallas Athena, or Nebuchadnezzar, or Benjamin Butler, or Jim Jeffries...

What's nice about this "highlight and tape-record" self-education system is that what you study is precisely what you need to know, when you need it. There's no uncertainty as to whether it will be of value or not; it's immediately useful in understanding what you are currently reading. You can extract just the necessary essence of the new subject, or you might find yourself pulled into it and exploring it far beyond what you needed to make sense of the writer's passage.

In a way, this approach knocks down the wall between fiction and nonfiction. I often find myself putting a story on hold to read complete articles on a topic that the author brought up or briefly alluded to. Like my dictionary, my encyclopedia has highlighted passages sprinkled throughout (and much of that thanks again to O. Henry.) If there were a contest to see who reads a story the fastest, I'd lose by a country mile - but so what? It takes me longer, but I cover more territory. I certainly don't claim this method is for everyone, but I know that for me it's far more enjoyable, exciting and satisfying. Consider trying something like it yourself, and if not for yourself, with your child.


About that little post-it sticker: just grab the same one you're using as a bookmark, right?

About my highlighting methods, in case I didn't make it clear: what I do in dictionaries is highlight the entry, not the definition. (If the definition I'm after is number 3, I also highlight the "3".) But in my encyclopedia I highlight the parts of the article itself that I'd like to add to my knowledge base. I also check off the encyclopedia entry to show that it's been read, whether or not anything got highlighted. Check marks are quite handy to show what you've already read in books and periodicals that you don't read from beginning to end.

I have to put in a plug for the wonderful one-volume encyclopedia I use. It's the "Columbia Encyclopedia", Second Edition, 1950. To flip through it would scare a normal person half to death: 2203 pages of small print in three columns per page - without a picture or paragraph break in sight! But... it is actually very readable and understandable. It almost never fails to give me what I'm looking for. (Don't even talk to me about the "Web". Right now I'm looking at the entry for New Orleans, which serves up one interesting sentence after another - quadroon balls, and all. Can you imagine the mess you'd get by typing "new orleans" into Google?) The uniformity is almost unbelievable. It gives the impression of all coming out of one person's brain who just happens to know everything there is to know. I can't begin to imagine how such a thing could have been created in the first place - putting a man on the moon would seem like child's play in comparison. Anyhow, pick one up at a used book sale. If you're worried about anything new since 1950, I suppose you could also buy an up-to-date encyclopedia, in book or digital format.

About "sardonic": I finally got it down - "scornfully derisive". (My mnemonic: take the "rd" in "sardonic" and flip it around to get started on "derisive".) I think why I have such a hard time with sardonic is that I feel certain it's almost always used in a much lighter sense than the dictionary definition. It usually seems to go with light or playful digs, not mean and nasty put-downs.

I was being a tad oblique regarding "recumbent" and "supine" above. What I meant was that, according to my dictionary, "recumbent" just means lying down, while "supine" means lying on the back. Eagle-eyed Brian noticed an alternate definition of "supine" in my list below, and thought I was trying to get away with comparing the main definition of "recumbent" with an obscure definition of "supine" in order to put everybody down with, "See, and you all thought they were the same!" Nope, just that I learned that Aphrodite can be perfectly recumbent on her side.

An Eddie Haskell clue: look for him in the UUU's. ("Mrs. Cleaver, that is such a lovely dress you're wearing today!")


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The Words

(After clicking on a word, use your browser's "back" function to get back to this index.)

**AAAaaa** ablution. aconite. adamant. ad hoc. ad hominem. ad interim. adipose. adumbration. adventitious. aegis. Aesculapius. affiant. afflatus. affray. ague. alcalde. alfresco. algid. aliquot. amanuensis. amaranthine. ameliorate. amour-propre. Anabaptist. anathema. andiron. anent. anfractuous. angina. animadversion. anodyne. anomie. ante-. apocryphal. apostrophe. apostrophize. apotheosis. apse. aquavit. aquiline. argy-bargy. argle-bargle. aroint. arquebus. arras. arrogate. ascetic. ashlar. aspersive. asphodel. asseverate. assize. atavism. aught. auto-da-fe. avast. awhile. aye. **BBBbbb** badinage. bairn. balustrade. bandbox. bandolier. baronet. baronetcy. barratry. barrier. basilisk. bast. bastinado. bate. bawd. bay. beadle. beard. beggar. belay. belike. benedict. benign. besom. bete noir. betimes. better. bezique. billet-doux. bis. bishopric. blackamoor. blackguard. blackjack. blandishment. bleeding-heart. blockhouse. blue baby. bluebottle. bluecoat. bluestocking. bluff. bock beer. bole. bolero. bollard. bombazine. bonito. boon. Boreas. bosky. botheration. bourne. bourse. bowels. bower. boyar. brainpan. branch. breech. breech. breeks. breviary. brickbat. brigandage. brindle. bruit. Bucephalus. buckler. bulldoze. bumper. bursar. burthen. byre. **CCCccc** caber. caduceus. caitiff. calabash. calender. calentura. callipygian. callosity. callow. calomel. calumnious. calumny. calvarium. cambric. camelopard. canaille. canalize. caparison. caparison. caravansary. carbineer. carboy. careen. career. Carib. carmine. cartouche. caryatid. casemate. cashier. casuist. cataleptic. catarrh. catechize. cathexis. catty. caudel. cay. Cayuse. celerity. cellarer. censer. cerise. ceruse. chaffer. chafing dish. chamiso. champaign. chapter house. char. charabanc. charivari. chary. Charybdis. chevalier. chevalier. chilblain. chine. chinoiserie. chivy. chthonian. chuff. cinnabar. claiming race. clapboard. clodhopper. cloister. cloy. cob. cock-a-hoop. cockatoo. cognomen. cohort. colic. colocynth. colophon. commonplace. compleat. compline. con. con. condign. consubstantial. consul. coterminous. continence. contumacious. contumacy. contumely. contumelious. conventual. cope. copra. coprolitic. coquille. coracle. cornice. coruscate. cosmopolite. cot. couloir. courtesan. court plaster. cousin-german. cove. cowpea. cozen. craven. craze. creosote bush. cresting. cricket. crop. cropper. croup. crupper. cumbrous. in one's cups. curious. curtain. cuspidor. Cytherea. **DDDddd** dab. daw. deadeye. deadfall. deadline. deal. debenture. declivity. decollete. de facto. defile. de jure. delft. demagogue. demesne. demijohn. demirep. demob. depose. depradation. deracinate. desquamate. desuetude. desultory. devoirs. devolve. dewlap. diaphaneity. dibs. diddle. dilatory. diligence. dimity. dingbat. disquisition. distaff. divagation. doe. dogsbody. dolmen. donjon. dottle. dowager. dower. doxy. dragoon. dram. dreadnaught. droit. drouth. drummer. dub. duello. dumdum bullet. dun. dysgenic. **EEEeee** eatable. ebon. ebulition. edema. effendi. effete. electuary. eleemosynary. elodea. embassy. emetic. emolument. engross. enow. enteric. enuresis. epicene. epiphany. epistemology. equanimity. equipoise. ergot. errant. erstwhile. eugenics. eulogy. euonymous. eupeptic. euphonic. eventuate. excelsior. excrescence. exculpate. exigent. ex libris. **FFFfff** factotum. facultative. fair copy. faldstool. Faltboot. fame. fantasticate. farrier. fasces. fascicle. faun. febrile. feculent. fice. fichu. fifth column. filibuster. fissiparous. flageolet. flitch. floorwalker. Flying Dutchman. footpad. fop. foreshore. fosse. foulard. foundling. fourflush. four-in-hand. freehold. froe. frog. frowsty. fructify. fugacious. fulfil. fulgurant. fulness. fuller. fundament. fungible. funicular. fury. fustian. **GGGggg** gabardine. gainsay. gambado. garnish. garth. gaucherie. genius. genii. genome. gibbet. Gibson girl. gimcrack. gin. glace. gloaming. gloss. Gordian knot. gourmand. gradalis. grass widow. grazier. greenbelt. greensward. grogram. growler. gudgeon. guerdon. guinea. Gullah. gutter. guys. guy. gyre. gyve. **HHHhhh** halderdier. halt. handbook. handspike. hap. haridan. haslet. hawser. hecatomb. hegira. helot. heresiarch. Hibernian. hidalgo. hierarch. hinder. hobbledehoy. homunculus. hoopoe. hop. hoyden. hubris. hue and cry. hugger-mugger. humbug. hussar. **IIIiii** ikon. immanent. impuissance. impunity. inanition. incunabulum. Indiaman. indolent. ineffable. infra dig. ingulnal. insouciant. interne. invidious. involute. ipse dixit. irrefragable. irrupt. **JJJjjj** jackdaw. Jacksonian. Jacobean. jade. jejune. jerkwater. jess. jib. jointure. **KKKkkk** kakistocracy. kava. khedive. kid. kirtle. kist. kraal. krait. kraken. **LLLlll** lacewing. lacuna. ladybird. lag. lagniappe. lambent. lamia. lancers. lancet. langur. lapstrake. lassitude. lay. lay figure. lazar. league. leash. leash. lees. legate. lese majesty. lethean. levee. leveret. liana. libation. lickerish. liege. lingerie. lintel. list. lists. litoral. liveried. livery. lobo. locum tenens. loggia. logrolling. loofah. lucubration. Lucullan. **MMMmmm** magdalen. magnesite. magus. main. major-domo. malapropism. mandarin. mandragora. mandrel. mangle. manumit. marcel. maroon. marquee. marry. matelote. matins. matrilineal. matutinal. May Day. meed. meet. megrims. megrims. mendicancy. menstruum. mercer. mere. merry-andrew. mestizo. metier. mewl. Michaelmas. Michaelmas daisy. mickle. mignonette. mimetic. mingy. minium. minority. minx. miscegenation. mise en scene. miter. Mithraism. monisitic. moquette. mordant. morel. morphology. motile. motley. mott. mountain cow. muckamuck. mucous. mufti. mullion. muskie. mutuel. myrmidon. **NNNnnn** name day. napery. near. needle. Negrito. Nemesis. nerve. niblick. noesis. nota bene. notional. novice. nullifier. **OOOooo** oakum. obeisance. obi. obiter dictum. oblate. oblation. obloquy. obsequious. obtund. obviate. octoroon. odalisque. odds. off. officinal. okapi. oleograph. omnivorous. ordeal. ordinary. orrery. ort. orthography. ostler. otiose. otto. overweening. **PPPppp** packet. painter. paladin. palanquin. pale. paling. palladium. palmary. palmy. Panglossian. panjandrum. pannier. pap. papist. paraph. Parcae. paregoric. paresis. pari passu. parlous. Parsee. parterre. pasha. pasquinade. passementerie. past master. paternoster. patois. patriarchate. patrician. patten. peach. peculation. pediment. pelf. pelisse. pellucid. pens. pennon. peptonize. peradventure. perdu. peremptorily. pericardium. periwig. periwinkle. persiflage. perspicacity. petard. phenylketonuria. Phoebus. phylactery. physic. piacular. picaresque. picayune. piddle. pilchard. pink. pip. pipkin. pistole. plane tree. plangent. plat. playa. pleonasm. plunge. plus fours. poetaster. poltroon. polythene. pongee. poniard. popish. portcullis. portiere. portmanteau. postilion. pother. prate. preceptor. prescript. press. preternatural. prig. prink. privity. prokaryote. Procrustean. profligate. prolepsis. promiscuous. proscribe. prosit. prussic acid. puce. puissance. pule. punctilio. pung. purl. pusillanimous. puttee. **QQQqqq** quadrille. quartern. quidnunc. quid pro quo. quintain. quire. quiz. quotidian. **RRRrrr** racketeer. raconteur. ragout. rapine. rat. ratlin. rattan. rattan. rebozo. receipt. recherche. reclame. recondite. recreant. recrudescence. recumbent. redact. refectory. refractory. Regency. reification. repetend. retsina. revenant. Reynard. reata. rick. riding. rime. risible. riven. roe. rolfing. rotogravure. roue. rouleau. Roundhead. Rubicon. rubicund. rubricator. rugger. rusk. **SSSsss** sable. sabot. sacerdotal. sacque. saleratus. sally port. salmagundi. salver. samisen. samite. sanguinary. sanguine. sans-culotte. sapid. saprophytic. sardonic. sate. scansion. scapular. sciatica. scow. scrag. scullery. scurf. scut. between Scylla and Charybdis. sea elephant. sedge. sedulous. seidel. seine. sempiternal. seneschal. septicemia. serac. seraglio. sere. seriatim. session. seven-up. shako. shebeen. shibboleth. shiksa. shingle. shirttail. shivaree. shoal. shoal. shoal. shoddy. shofar. shooting stick. shotten. sibilant. sibyl. sigil. simple. simulacrum. sinecure. sisal. sistrum. skirl. Skivvies. slattern. sloe. slops. slyboots. smutch. snickersnee. solecism. solipsism. somewhat. sooth. sophistical. soporific. sorrel. soubrette. sough. soupcon. soutane. spandrel. spate. spavined. spill. spindrift. spleen. spleen. splenetic. sporting. sprat. spruce. sputum. squib. squill. stadtholder. stile. stollen. strake. stringhalt. suasion. sufferance. sui generis. suite. super. supernal. supernumerary. supine. surcease. surplice. suzerainty. sweetbread. sylph. syncretize. syringa. **TTTttt** table d'hote. tabula rasa. tahr. take a powder. tapir. tares. tarsier. tatterdemalion. taw. teleology. Templar. tenderloin. teredo. tete-a-tete. Thammuz. thanatopsis. thane. thrips. tirewoman. titivate. toilet. tomtit. toothsome. toper. topical. toplofty. tortuous. tosspot. tout. trace. traduce. trap. traps. trapan. travertine. treacle. trencher. trepan. trepan. triage. triskelion. troglodyte. troll. trollop. trope. troth. trotter. troublous. trousseau. trumpery. tule. tulle. tumbrel. tun. turtle. tussock. tutelary. twill. tympanum. tyro. **UUUuuu** ukase. ultimo. umber. umbilicus. unction. unctuous. **VVVvvv** vade mecum. vagary. van. vapors. variorum. varlet. venal. venality. vender. vernal. veronica. vet. viatic. vintager. vintner. virago. vocation. volley. **WWWwww** wainscot. wait. wait. walleye. walleyed. wallflower. Walloon. Walpurgis Night. wamble. Wandering Jew. wattle. weal. ween. welkin. wetback. whale. whicker. white lead. whitlow. wickiup. widgeon. wight. williwaw. withy. woful. woodbine. woolsack. wormwood. wristlet. **XXXxxx** xebec. **YYYyyy** yeoman of the guard. younker. **ZZZzzz** zest. zori.

The definitions:

ablution = a washing of the body
aconite = a dried, poisonous root of the monkshood, sometimes used to relieve pain or reduce fever
adamant = a legendary stone believed to be impenetrable
ad hoc = for a specific purpose
ad hominem = to the man; appealing to emotions rather than reason
ad interim = in the meantime
adipose = related to animal fat
adumbration > adumbrate = to give a sketchy outline of
adventitious = acquired by accident; added by chance
aegis = the shield of Zeus, lent him by Athena
Aesculapius = the god of medicine and healing
affiant = one who makes an affidavit
afflatus = a creative impulse; inspiration
affray = a noisy quarrel or brawl
ague = a fever like malaria
alcalde = the mayor of a Spanish town
alfresco = in the fresh air; outdoors
algid = cold; chilly
aliquot = pertaining to an exact divisor
amanuensis = one employed to take dictation or copy manuscript
amaranthine = eternally beautiful
ameliorate = to make better
amour-propre = self-respect
Anabaptist = a member of one of the radical movements of the Reformation of the 16th C. that insisted that only adult baptism was valid, etc.
anathema = a formal ecclesiastical ban or curse
andiron = one of a pair of metal supports for holding up logs in a fireplace
anent = regarding; concerning
anfractuous = full of twists and turns
angina = a disease in which spasmodic and painful suffocations or spasms occur
animadversion = hostile criticism
anodyne = able to soothe pain
anomie = the collapse of the social structures governing a given society
ante- = earlier; prior to
apocryphal = of questionable authenticity
apostrophe = addressing an absent or imaginary person
apostrophize = an address in apostrophe
apotheosis = exaltation to divine rank; deification
apse = a projection of a building, especially the altar or east end of a church
aquavit = a Scandanavian liquor distilled from potato or grain mash and flavored with caraway seed
aquiline = of or similar to an eagle
argy-bargy = a lively or disputatious discussion
argle-bargle > argle = to argue obstinately
aroint = begone
arquebus > harquebus = a heavy, portable matchlock gun invented during the 15th century
arras = a tapestry
arrogate = to claim for oneself without right
ascetic = a person who leads a life of austere self-discipline
ashlar = a squared block of building stone
aspersive = [not in dictionary]
asphodel = a plant of the Mediterranian region with clusters of white or yellow flowers
asseverate = to declare positively; affirm
assize = a session of a legislative body or court
atavism = the reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence
aught = anything whatever
auto-da-fe = the public announcement of the sentences imposed by the Inquisition and the public execution of these sentences
avast = to command to stop or desist
awhile = for a short time
aye = always, ever
badinage = light, playful banter
bairn = a child
balustrade = a rail and the row of posts that supports it, as along the edge of a staircase
bandbox = a cylindrical box used to hold small articles of apparel
bandolier = a cartridge belt worn across the chest
baronet = a British hereditary title of honor, ranking next below baron, held by commoners
baronetcy = the rank of a baronet
barratry = the offense of stirring up quarrels or groundless lawsuits
barrier = a movable gate that keeps racehorses in line before the start of a race
basilisk = a legendary serpent or dragon with lethal breath or glance
bast = the fibrous outer layer of the stems of such plants as flax and hemp
bastinado = a beating with a stick, esp. on the soles of the feet
bate = to lessen the force of; moderate
bawd = a woman who keeps a brothel
bay = the laurel
beadle = a minor parish official in an English church who keeps order and ushers
beard = to confront boldly
beggar = to exhaust the resources of
belay = to stop
belike = perhaps; probably
benedict = a newly married man who was considered a confirmed bachelor
benign = of a kind disposition
besom = a bundle of twigs attached to a handle and used as a broom
bete noir = someone or something that one particularly dislikes
betimes = early
better = bettor
bezique = a card game similar to pinochle
billet-doux = love letter
bis = again
bishopric = the office or rank of a bishop
blackamoor = a dark-skinned person
blackguard = an unprincipled person; scoundrel
blackjack = an oak tree of southeast U.S. having blackish bark
blandishment > blandish = to coax by flattery
bleeding-heart = a plant with nodding pink flowers
blockhouse = a military fortification constructed of concrete with loopholes for firing or observation
blue baby = a baby born with bluish skin due to inadequate oxygenation of the blood
bluebottle = a fly with bright metallic-blue body and breeding in decaying organic matter
bluecoat = policeman
bluestocking = scholarly woman
bluff = having a rough but not unkind manner
bock beer = a strong dark beer, the first that is drawn from the vats in springtime
bole = trunk of a tree
bolero = a very short jacket worn open in the front
bollard = a thick post on a wharf or ship, used for securing ropes
bombazine = a fine twilled fabric of silk and worsted or cotton, often black and used for mourning
bonito = a fish related to the tuna
boon = a favor or request
Boreas = the north wind
bosky = covered with bushes or trees; wooded
botheration = something that bothers
bourne = the endpoint of a trip or course of action; goal
bourse = the stock exchange of Paris
bowels = the seat of pity or the gentler emotions
bower = a shaded recess; arbor
boyar = a member of former Russian aristocratic order abolished by Peter I
brainpan = the part of the skull that contains the brain; cranium
branch = a small stream, creek or brook
breech = the part of a firearm to the rear of the bore
breech = to clothe with breeches
breeks = breeches
breviary = a book containing the hymns, offices, and prayers for the canonical hours
brickbat = a piece of brick used as a weapon or missile
brigandage > brigand = a robber; esp. one of a band of bandits
brindle = a brindled color (brindled = tawny or grayish with streaks or spots of a darker color)
bruit = to spread news of, repeat
Bucephalus = the war horse of Alexander the Great
buckler = a small round shield carried or worn on the arm
bulldoze = to coerce by intimidation; bully
bumper = a drinking vessel filled to the brim
bursar = the official in charge of funds at a college, treasurer
burthen = burden
byre = cowshed or barn
caber = heavy wooden pole heaved in a Scottish sporting contest
caduceus = winged staff with two serpents twined around it, carried by Hermes
caitiff = a despicable coward; wretch
calabash = a utensil, such as a dish or ladle, made from the fruit of a calabash
calender = a machine in which paper is made smooth and glossy by being pressed through rollers
calentura = Spanish for calendula = a plant having orange-yellow flowers
callipygian = having beautifully proportioned buttocks
callosity = hardheartedness; insensitivity
callow = immature; inexperienced
calomel = a white, tasteless compound used as a purgative
calumnious = slanderous; defamatory
calumny = a false statement maliciously made to injure someone
calvarium = the superior portion of the skull that lacks the lower jaw and facial parts
cambric = a finely woven white linen or cotton fabric
camelopard = giraffe
canaille = the masses of common people; rabble; riffraff
canalize = to channel in into a particular direction; provide an outlet for
caparison = an ornamental covering for a horse's saddle
caparison = to outfit with a caparison
caravansary = a large inn or hostelry
carbineer = a soldier armed with a carbine
carboy = a large bottle, usually in a protective case and often used to hold corrosive liquids
careen = to turn a ship on its side for repairing
career = to move at full speed
Carib = a group of peoples of American Indians of northern South America and the Lesser Antilles
carmine = a vivid red color
cartouche = a scroll-like tablet used to provide space for an inscription or for ornamental purposes
caryatid = a supporting column sculptured in the form of a woman
casemate = a fortified enclosure for artillery on a warship
cashier = to dismiss from a position of command or responsibility, esp. for disciplinary reasons
casuist = an expert in casuistry (determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience)
cataleptic > catalepsy = muscular rigidity and lack of response to external stimuli, often associated with epilepsy and schizophrenia
catarrh = an inflammation of mucous membranes, esp. of the nose and throat
catechize = to teach esp. the principles of a religious creed by means of questions and answers
cathexis = the concentration of emotional energy upon some object or idea
catty = stealthy
caudel = of, at or near the tail or hind parts
cay = small, low islet coposed largely of coral or sand
Cayuse = horse, esp. an Indian pony
celerity = swiftness of action
cellarer = person in a monastic community who is responsible for maintaining a supply of food and drink
censer = incense vessel
cerise = a deep purplish red
ceruse = white lead
chaffer = to bargain or haggle for
chafing dish = a dish set above a heating device; used to cook or maintain the warmth of the food at the table
chamiso = a shrub of California having clusters of small white flowers and forming dense thickets
champaign = level and open country; a plain
chapter house = the building in which the chapter of a monastery assembles
char = a fish related to the trout
charabanc = a large bus, often used for sightseeing
charivari = a noisy mock serenade to newlyweds
chary = very cautious; wary
Charybdis = whirlpool off the Sicilian coast, opposite the cave of Scylla
chevalier = a member of certain orders of knighthood
chevalier = a French nobleman of the lowest rank
chilblain = the inflammation followed by itchy irritation of the skin, resulting from exposure to moist cold
chine = backbone; spine
chinoiserie = the style in art reflecting Chinese influence through use of intricate patterns
chivy = to chase or harrass
chthonian = pertaining to the gods and spirits of the underworld
chuff = a rude, insensitive person
cinnabar = red mercuric sulfide used as a pigment
claiming race = a horse race in which each horse is available for purchase at a previously fixed price
clapboard = a long, narrow board with one edge thicker than the other, overlapped to cover the outer walls of frame houses
clodhopper = a clumsy, coarse person
cloister = a covered walk with an open colonade on one side, running along the inside walls of buildings that face a quadrangle
cloy = to provide with too much of something
cob = a thickset, stocky, short-legged horse
cock-a-hoop = in a state of elation
cockatoo = a parrot of Australia with a long, erectile crest
cognomen = family name; surname
cohort = one of the 10 divisions of a Roman legion, consisting of 300 to 600 men
colic = a severe abdominal pain in infants, usually resulting from accumulation of gas
colocynth = a Mediterranian vine bearing a small, bitter fruit
colophon = an inscription placed at the end of a book, giving facts pertaining to its publication
commonplace = a trite or obvious remark
compleat = characterized by a highly developed skill
compline = the last of the 7 canonical hours
con = to study or examine carefully
con = to direct the steering or course of (a vessel)
condign = deserved
consubstantial = having the same substance, nature or essence
consul = an official appointed by a government to reside in a foreign city and represent his government's commercial interests
coterminous = having a boundary in common; contiguous
continence = self-restraint; moderation
contumacious = obstinately disobediant or rebellious
contumacy = obstinate or contemptuous resistance to authority
contumely = rudeness or contempt in behavior or speech
contumelious > contumely [which see]
conventual = pertaining to a convent
cope = a long ecclesiastical vestment worn over the alb or surplice
copra = dried coconut meat from which coconut oil is extracted
coprolitic > coprolite = fossilized excrement
coquille = a scallop-shaped dish or a scallop shell in which seafood dished are browned and served
coracle = a small, rounded boat made o waterproof material stretched over a wicker or wooden frame
cornice = a horizontal molded projection that crowns a building or wall
coruscate = to give forth flashes of light; sparkle
cosmopolite = a cosmopolitan person
cot = a small house; cottage
couloir = a deep mountainside gorge or gully, esp. in the Alps
courtesan = a prostitute; esp. one associated with men of rank
court plaster = adhesive plaster used to cover cuts or scratches on the skin
cousin-german = cousin
cove = fellow
cowpea = a tropical vine bearing long, hanging pods and grown in the southern U.S. for soil improvement and as animal feed
cozen = to deceive by means of a petty trick or fraud
craven = a coward
craze = to produce a network of fine cracks in the surface or glaze of
creosote bush = a resinous shrub of western U.S. and Mexico, exuding an odor like that of creosote
cresting = an ornamental ridge, as on top of a wall or roof
cricket = a small, low wooden footstool
crop = a pouchlike enlargement of a bird's esophagus in which food is stored and partially digested
cropper = fiasco
croup = the rump of a horse
crupper = a leather strap looped under a horse's tail and attached to a harness or saddle to keep it from slipping forward
cumbrous = cumbersome
in one's cups = drunk
curious = accomplished with skill or ingenuity
curtain = an enclosing wall connecting 2 towers
cuspidor = spittoon
Cytherea = goddess Aphrodite
dab = an expert
daw = jackdaw [which see]
deadeye = a flat hardwood disk with a grooved perimeter, and 3 holes through which the lanyads are passed, used to fasten the shrouds
deadfall = a trap for large animals in which a heavy weight falls on and kills or disables the prey
deadline = a boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot
deal = a fir or pine board cut to standard dimensions
debenture = a certificate acknowleding a debt
declivity = a descending slope, as of a hill
decollete = wearing a garment with a low neckline
de facto = actually
defile = a narrow gorge or passage that restricts lateral movement
de jure = according to law; by right
delft = a style of blue and white glazed earthenware originally made in Delft, Netherlands
demagogue = a leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace
demesne = possession and use of one's own land
demijohn = a large narrow-necked bottle, usually encased in wickerwork
demirep = a demimondaine = a woman belonging to the demimonde (social class of those who are kept by wealthy lovers)
demob = to demobilize
depose = to declare under oath
depradation > depredate = to prey upon; plunder
deracinate = to pull out by or as if by the roots; uproot
desquamate = to shed, peel, or scale off (skin)
desuetude = the state of disuse
desultory = moving from one thing to another; disconnected
devoirs = an act or expression of respect or courtesy
devolve = to pass on or delegate to another
dewlap = a fold of loose skin hanging from the neck of certain animals
diaphaneity > diapahanous = of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent
dibs = money, esp. in small amounts
diddle = to cheat; swindle
dilatory = tending or intended to delay
diligence = a large public stagecoach
dimity = a sheer, crisp cotton fabric, usually corded or checked
dingbat = a small object, such as a stick or a stone, suitable for hurling at another object
disquisition = a formal discourse on a subject, often in writing
distaff = a staff that holds on its cleft end the unspun flax, etc., from which the thread is drawn in spinning by hand
divagation > divagate = to wander or drift about
doe = the female hare
dogsbody = one who does menial work
dolmen = a prehistoric megalithic structure consisting of two or more upright stones with a capstone, typically forming a chamber
donjon = the fortified main tower of a castle
dottle = the plug of tobacco ash left in the bowl of a pipe after it has been smoked
dowager = a widow who holds a title or property derived from her dead husband
dower = the part of deceased man's real estate alloted by law to his widow for her lifetime
doxy = a loose woman; prostitute
dragoon = a heavily armed trooper in some European armies of the 17th and 18th centuries
dram = a small draft
dreadnaught = a heavily armed battleship
droit = a legal right
drouth = drought
drummer = a traveling salesman
dub = an awkward person or player
duello = the art or rules of the duel
dumdum bullet = a small-arms bullet with a soft nose designed to expand upon contact, inflicting a gaping wound
dun = a color ranging from almost neutral brownish gray to dull grayish brown
dysgenic = causing the deterioration of hereditary qualities
eatable = edible
ebon = made of ebony
ebulition = the state of bubbling or boiling
edema = an excessive accumulation of serous fluid in the tissues
effendi = sir, used as a title of respect in Turkey
effete = no longer productive; infertile
electuary = a drug mixed with sugar and water or honey into a pasty mass suitable for taking orally
eleemosynary = pertaining to alms or the giving of alms
elodea = small aquatic herb
embassy = a mission to a foreign government headed by an ambassador
emetic = an agent that causes vomiting
emolument = compensation or payment from an office or employment
engross = to write in a large, clear hand
enow = enough
enteric = of or within the intestine
enuresis = involuntary urination
epicene = having the characteristics of both the male and female
epiphany = a comprehension by means of a sudden intuitive realization
epistemology = the division of philosophy that investigates the nature and origin of knowledge
equanimity = the quality of being calm; composure
equipoise = equality in distribution, as of weight, relationship, or emotional forces; equilibrium
ergot = fungus that infects various cereal plants and forms black sclerotia
errant = roving, esp. in search of adventure: knights errant
erstwhile = former
eugenics = the study of hereditary improvement by genetic control
eulogy = a laudatory speech or written tribute
euonymous = trees shrubs or vines of the genus Euonymous, cultivated for their decorative foliage or fruits
eupeptic = having good digestion
euphonic = pertaining to euphony (agreeable sound, esp. in the phonetic quality of words)
eventuate = to result ultimately
excelsior = slender, curved wood shavings used esp. for packing
excrescence = an abnormal growth or enlargement
exculpate = to clear of guilt or blame
exigent = requiring immediate attention; urgent
ex libris = a bookplate
factotum = an employee or assistant who serves in a wide range of capacities
facultative = pertaining to a mental faculty
fair copy = a copy of a document made after all corrections and revisions have been completed
faldstool = a folding or small desk stool at which worshippers kneel to pray
Faltboot = German for faltboat = a foldboat = a small boat consisting of rubberized canvas stretched over a collapsible frame
fame = rumor
fantasticate = to make fantastic
farrier = one who shoes horse or treats them medically
fasces = a bundle of rods bound together about an ax with the blade projecting, carried before magistrates of ancient Rome as an emblem of authority
fascicle = one of the parts of a book published in separate sections
faun = a rural deity having the body of a man and the horn, ears, tail, and sometimes legs of a goat
febrile = pertaining to fever; feverish
feculent = full of foul matter
fice = a small dog of mixed ancestry; mongrel
fichu = a woman's triangular scarf of lightweight fabric, worn over the shoulders and crossed or tied in a loose knot at the breast
fifth column = a clandestine subversive operation working within a given country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims
filibuster = an adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country
fissiparous = reproducing by biological fission
flageolet = a small flutelike instrument with a cylindrical mouthpiece, 4 finger holes, and 2 thumb holes
flitch = a salted and cured side of bacon
floorwalker = an employee of a department store who supervises sales personal and assists customers
Flying Dutchman = a legendary Dutch mariner condemned to sail the seas against the wind until Judgment Day
footpad = a highwayman or street robber who goes about on foot
fop = a man who is preoccupied with his clothes and manners
foreshore = the part of a shore covered at high tide
fosse = a ditch or moat
foulard = a lightweight twill or plain-woven fabric of silk or silk and cotton, usually having a small printed design
foundling = a child deserted by parents whose identity is not known
fourflush = to make a pretense; bluff
four-in-hand = a necktie tied in a slipknot with the ends left hanging and overlapping
freehold = an estate held in fee or for life
froe = a cleaving tool having a heavy blade set at right angles to the handle
frog = an ornamental looped braid or cord with a button or knot for fastening the front of a garment
frowsty = haing a stale smell; musty
fructify = to bear fruit
fugacious = passing away quickly
fulfil = fulfill
fulgurant = flashing like lightening
fulness = fullness
fuller = a person who fulls clothes (full = to increase the weight and bulk of (cloth) by shrinking and beating or pressing)
fundament = the buttocks
fungible = being of such nature that one part may be exchanged or substituted for another part to discharge an obligation
funicular = operated or moved by a cable
fury = an angry or spiteful woman
fustian = a coarse, sturdy cloth made of cotton and flax
gabardine = a worsted cotton or wool twill
gainsay = to declare false; deny
gambado = a low leap of a horse in which all 4 feet are off the ground
garnish = an unwarranted fee, as one extorted from a new prisoner by a jailer
garth = a grassy quadrangle surrounded by cloisters
gaucherie = an awkward or tactless action, manner, or expression
genius = the prevailing spirit or character, as of a place, person, time or group
genii = plural of genius = a tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or place
genome = a complete haploid set of chromosomes
gibbet = a gallows
Gibson girl = the American girl of the 1890s as idealized in sketches by Charles Dana Gibson
gimcrack = a cheap and showy object of little or no use; gewgaw
gin = a snare or trap for game
glace = coated with a sugar glaze; candied
gloaming = twilight; dusk
gloss = an extensive commentary, often accompanying a text or publication
Gordian knot = an intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and cut by Alexander the Great with his sword after hearing an oracle promising that whoever could undo it would be the next ruler of Asia
gourmand = a person who delights in eating well and heartily
gradalis = Latin for grail = the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and subsequently the object of many chivalrous quests
grass widow = a woman who is divorced or separated from her husband
grazier = a person who grazes cattle
greenbelt = a belt of recreational parks, farmland, or uncultivated land surrounding a community
greensward = turf on which the grass is green
grogram = a coarse, often stiffened fabric of silk, mohair, or wool, or a blend of these
growler = a small iceberg
gudgeon = someone who is easily duped
guerdon = a reward
guinea = an Italian or a person of Italian descent
Gullah = a black from the Sea Islands and coastal area of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida
gutter = to burn with a low flame; flicker
guys = persons of either sex
guy = to make fun of; mock
gyre = a ring or circle
gyve = a shackle or fetter, esp. for the leg
halderdier > halberd = a weapon of the 15th and 16th centuries having an axlike blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a long shaft
halt = lame; crippled
handbook = a book in which offtrack bets are recorded
handspike = a bar used as a lever
hap = fortune; chance
haridan = a vicious, scolding woman
haslet = the heart, liver, and other edible viscera of an animal, esp. hog viscera
hawser = a cable or rope used in mooring or towing a ship
hecatomb = in ancient Greece and Rome, a scrifice to the gods consisting originally of 100 oxen
hegira = a flight to escape danger
helot = a serf in ancient Sparta
heresiarch = the founder or chief proponent of a heresy
Hibernian = a native of Ireland
hidalgo = a member of the minor nobility in Spain
hierarch = one who occupies a position of authority in an ecclesiastical hierarchy
hinder = hind
hobbledehoy = a gawky adolescent boy
homunculus = a diminutive man
hoopoe = an Old World bird having distinctively patterned plumage, a fanlike crest, and a slender, downward-curving bill
hop = opium
hoyden = a high-spirited, often boisterous girl or woman
hubris = excessive pride; arrogance
hue and cry = the loud shout formerly used to announce the pursuit of a felon
hugger-mugger = disorderly confusion
humbug = to deceive or trick
hussar = a horseman of the Hungarian light cavalry organized during the 15th century
ikon = icon
immanent = existing withing; inherent
impuissance = lack of power or effectiveness; weakness
impunity = exemption from punishment, penalty, or harm
inanition = the quality of being empty
incunabulum = a book printed before 1501
Indiaman = a large merchant ship formerly used on trade routes to India
indolent = disinclined to exert oneself; inherently lazy
ineffable = beyond expression; indescribable or unspeakable
infra dig = beneath one's dignity
ingulnal = of, related to, or located in the groin
insouciant = blithely unconcerned; nonchalant
interne = intern
invidious = tending to arouse ill will, animosity, or resentment; offensive
involute = intricate; complex
ipse dixit = an unsupported assertion, usually by a person of standing
irrefragable = incapable of being refuted or controverted; indisputable
irrupt = to break or burst in
jackdaw = a Eurasian bird related to and resembling the crow
Jacksonian = pertaining to Andrew Jackson, his concepts of popular government, or his Presidency
Jacobean = pertaining to the reign of James I of England or his times
jade = a shrewish or disreputable woman
jejune = not interesting; dull
jerkwater = remote, small, and insignificant
jess = a short strap fastened around the leg of a hawk to which a leash may be fastened
jib = to stop short and turn restively from side to side (used of an animal)
jointure = an arrangement by which a man may set aside property to be used for the support of his wife after his death
kakistocracy = government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens
kava = the beverage made from a kava (an Australasian shrub whose roots are used to make an intoxicating beverage)
khedive = a Turkish viceroy ruling Egypt from 1867 to 1914
kid = an article made of kidskin
kirtle = a knee-length tunic or coat formerly worn by men
kist = cist = a Neolithic stone coffin
kraal = an enclosure for livestock in southern Africa
krait = venomous snake of southeastern Asia
kraken = a sea monster in Norwegian legend
lacewing = greenish or brownish insect having 4 gauzy wings, threadlike antennae, and larvae that feed on insect pests wuch as aphids
lacuna = an empty space or missing part; gap
ladybird = ladybug
lag = a convict
lagniappe = an extra or unexpected gift or benefit
lambent = flickering lightly over or on a surface
lamia = a monster represented as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman, reputed to prey upon humans and suck the blood of children
lancers = a form of quadrille, or the music for this dance
lancet = a surgical knife with a short, wide, double-edged blade
langur = a slender, long-tailed Asian monkey
lapstrake = built with each strake overlapping the one below
lassitude = a state of listless weakness or exhaustion
lay = a ballad [Hmmm... There was a time when I didn't know that?]
lay figure = mannequin = a jointed model of the human body used by artists, esp. to demonstrate the arrangement of drapery
lazar = a person afflicted with a loathsome disease, esp. leprosy
league = a unit of distance equal to 3 statute miles (4.83 km)
leash = a set of 3 animals, such as hounds
leash = a set of three
lees = sediment settling during fermentation, esp. in wine; dregs
legate = an official emissary, esp. an official representative of the pope
lese majesty = a crime committed against the ruler of a state
lethean > lethe = loss of memory
levee = a reception held by a monarch or other high-ranking person on arising from bed
leveret = a young hare, esp. one less than a year old
liana = high-climbing, usually woody vine common in the tropics
libation = the pouring of a liquid offering as a religious ritual
lickerish = lascivious
liege = entitled to the loyalty and services of vassals or subjects
lingerie = linen articles, esp. garments
lintel = the horizontal beam that forms the upper member of a window or door frame and supports part of the structure above it
list = to listen or listen to
lists = an arena for tournaments or other contests, esp. jousting
litoral = pertaining to a shore
liveried = wearing livery, esp. as a servant
livery = a distinctive uniform worn by the male servants of a household, as by footmen
lobo = the gray or timber wolf
locum tenens = a person, esp. a physician or clergyman, who substitutes for another
loggia = a roofed but open gallery or arcade along the front or side of a building, often at an upper level
logrolling = the exchanging of political favors, such as the trading of votes among legislators to achieve passage of projects of interest to one another
loofah = the dried, fibrous part of the loofah fruit, used as a washing sponge or as a filter
lucubration = pedantry (hang-up on details or rules) in speech or writing
Lucullan = lavish; luxurious
magdalen = a reformed prostitute
magnesite = a white, brown, or yellowish, usually crystalline mineral used in the manufacture of carbon dioxide
magus = a sorcerer; magician
main = the open ocean
major-domo = the head steward or butler in the household of a sovereign or great nobleman
malapropism = a ludicrous misuse of a word
mandarin = in imperial China, a member of any of the nine ranks of high public officials
mandragora = the mandrake = a Eurasian plant having purplish flowers and a branched root thought to resemble the human body
mandrel = a spindle or axle used to secure or support material being machined or milled
mangle = a laundry machine for pressing fabrics
manumit = to free from slavery; emancipate
marcel = a former hairstyle characterized by deep, regular waves made by a heated curling iron
maroon = a fugitive Negro slave in the West Indies in the 17th and 18th centuries
marquee = a large tent with open sides, used chiefly for outdoor entertainment
marry = interj. used as an exclamation of surprise or emphasis
matelote = a wine sauce for fish
matins = the office, along with lauds, that constitutes the first of the 7 canonical hours
matrilineal = relating to ancestral descent through the maternal line
matutinal = pertaining to the morning; early
May Day = the first day of May, marked by the celebration of spring
meed = a merited gift or wage
meet = fitting; proper
megrims = a caprice or fancy
megrims = depression or unhappiness
mendicancy > mendicant = depending upon alms for a living; practicing begging
menstruum = a solvent, esp. one used in extracting and preparing drugs
mercer = a dealer in textiles, esp. silks
mere = a small lake, pond, or marsh
merry-andrew = a clown
mestizo = a man of mixed European and American Indian ancestry
metier = an occupation, trade, or profession
mewl = to cry weakly; whimper
Michaelmas = a church festival celebrated on September 29 in honor of the archangel Michael
Michaelmas daisy = hybrid aster derived primarily from North American species
mickle = great
mignonette = a Mediterranean plant widely clutivated for its clusters of fragrant but inconspicuous greenish flowers
mimetic = pertaining to mimicry or imitation
mingy = small in quantity
minium = red lead [from which we ultimately get the word miniature]
minority = the state or period of being under legal age
minx = a pert, impudent, or flirtatious young girl
miscegenation = the interbreeding of what are perceived to be distinct human races
mise en scene = the arrangement of performers and properties on a stage for a theatrical production
miter = a tall, pointed hat with peaks in front and back, worn by bishops
Mithraism = a Persian religious cult that flourished in the late Roman Empire, rivaling Christianity
monisitic > monism = a metaphysical system in which reality is conceived as a unified whole
moquette = a heavy fabric with a thick nap, used for upholstery
mordant = bitingly sarcastic
morel = edible mushroom characterized by a brownish, spongelike cap
morphology = the biological study of the form and structure of living organisms
motile = moving or having the power to move spontaneously, as certain spores and microorganisms
motley = the professional attire of a court jester
mott = a copse or small stand of trees on a prairie
mountain cow = tapir [Not in my dictionary; definition gotten elsewhere.]
muckamuck = a person of importance
mucous = producing or secreting mucus [Mucous is an adjective only.]
mufti = civilian dress, esp. such clothing when worn by one who usually wears a uniform
mullion = a vertical strip dividing the panes of a window
muskie = the muskellunge = a large game fish similar to the pike, found in the cooler fresh waters of North America
mutuel = [Not in my dictionary. This is a racetrack word, right?]
myrmidon = a faithful follower who carries out orders without question
name day = the feast day of the saint after whom one is named
napery = table linen
near = stingy
needle = to increase the alcoholic content of (a beverage)
Negrito = a Negrillo = one of a group of Negroid people of Africa, including the Bushmen and the Pygmies, who are short in stature
Nemesis = the goddess of retributive justice or vengeance
nerve = to give strength or courage to
niblick = a nine iron
noesis = the cognitive process (the mental process by which knowledge is acquired)
nota bene = note well
notional = speculative rather than actual
novice = a person who has entered a religious order but has not taken final vows
nullifier = one who believes in nullification (the refusal of a state to recognize a U.S. law)
oakum = loose hemp or jute fiber, sometimes treated with tar, creosote, or asphalt, used chiefly for caulking seams in a wooden ships
obeisance = a gesture of the body, such as a curtsy, expressing deference
obi = a wide sash fastened in the back with a large flat bow, worn by women of Japan as a part of the traditional dress
obiter dictum = an opinion expressed by a judge that has only incidental bearing on the case in question
oblate = a lay person dedicated to a religious life
oblation = a charitable offering or gift
obloquy = abusively detractive language
obsequious = full of or exhibiting servile compliance
obtund = to make less intense; dull or deaden
obviate = to prevent by anticipating; make unnecessary
octoroon = a person whose ancestry is 1/8 Negro
odalisque = a female slave or concubine in a harem
odds = a ratio expressing the probability of an event or outcome. [Is that correctly stated? The given example is, "The odds of the champion winning are 3 to 2."]
off = on the right side of a draft team. "The off horse is lame."
officinal = designating a drug available without prescription
okapi = a ruminant forest mammal related to the giraffe but smaller and having a short neck. [Note, not "shorter" or "mid-length" neck.]
oleograph = a chromolithograph printed in imitation of an oil painting
omnivorous = taking in everything available, as with the mind
ordeal = a former method of determining guilt or innocence in which the accused was subjected to physically painful or dangerous tests, the result being regarded as divine judgment
ordinary = a judge or other official with immediate rather than delegated jurisdiction
orrery = a mechanical model of the solar system
ort = a small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed
orthography = the art or study of correct spelling
ostler = hostler = a person who takes charge of horses, as at an inn; stableman
otiose = having a lazy nature
otto = attar = perfume obtained from the petals of flowers, such as roses
overweening = overbearing
packet = a boat, usually a coastal or river steamer, that plies a regular route carrying passengers
painter = a rope attached to the bow of a boat, used for tying up
paladin = a paragon of chivalry; heroic champion
palanquin = an east Asian covered litter, carried on poles or on the shoulders of 2 or 4 men
pale = the area enclosed by a fence or boundary
paling = one of a row of upright, pointed sticks forming a fence
palladium = a sacred object having the power to preserve a city or state possessing it
palmary = outstanding; worthy of the palm [whatever that means]
palmy = prosperous; flourishing
Panglossian = blindly expecting a favorable outcome or naively dwelling on hopeful aspects
panjandrum = a muckamuck
pannier = one of a pair of baskets carried on either side of a pack animal
pap = a teat or nipple
papist = a Roman Catholic
paraph = a flourish made after or below a signature, originally to prevent forgery
Parcae = the Three Fates (goddesses who govern human destiny)
paregoric = camphorated tincture of opium, taken internally for the relief of diarrhea and intestinal pain
paresis = slight or partial paralysis
pari passu = with equal pace; side by side
parlous = perilous; dangerous
Parsee = a member of the Zoroastrian religous sect in India, descended from Persians
parterre = a parquet circle
pasha = a former title of honor placed after the name of Turkish military or civil officials
pasquinade = a lampoon posted in a public place
passementerie = ornamental trimming for a garment, such as braid, lace, or metallic beads
past master = a person who is thoroughly experienced and skilled in a particular craft
paternoster = the Lord's Prayer
patois = a regional dialect. illiterate substandard speech
patriarchate = the territory, rule, or rank of a patriarch
patrician = an aristocrat
patten = a wooden sandal, shoe, or clog
peach = to inform on someone
peculation > peculate = to embezzle or take for one's own use
pediment = a wide, low-pitched gable surmounting the facade of a building in the Grecian style
pelf = wealth or riches, esp. when dishonestly acquired
pelisse = a woman's loose, light cloak
pellucid = admitting the maximum passage of light; transparent
pens = pinions (a bird's wings)
pennon = a long, narrow banner or streamer borne upon a lance
peptonize = to dissolve (food) by means of a proteolytic enzyme
peradventure = chance or uncertainty
perdu = a soldier sent on a dangerous mission
peremptorily > peremptory = putting an end to all debate or action
pericardium = the membranous sac enclosing the heart
periwig = a wig
periwinkle = a small, edible marine snail having a thick, cone-shaped, whorled shell
persiflage = light, bantering style in writing or speaking
perspicacity = acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding
petard = a small, bell-shaped bomb used to breach a gate or wall
phenylketonuria = a hereditary disorder characterized by brain damage due to accumulation of toxic metabolic products
Phoebus = Apollo, the god of the sun
phylactery = small, leather box containing strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, and strapped to the forehead or left arm
physic = a medicine or drug
piacular = blameworthy
picaresque = involving clever rogues or adventurers
picayune = a Spanish-American half-real piece formerly used in parts of the southern U.S.
piddle = to urinate
pilchard = small marine fish related to the herrings
pink = the highest degree of excellence or perfection
pip = to break through (an eggshell) in hatching
pipkin = a small earthenware or metal cooking pot
pistole = an old gold coin, used in various European countries until the late 19th century
plane tree = a tree having ball-shaped fruit clusters and, usually, outer bark that flakes off in patches
plangent = striking with a deep, reverberating sound
plat = to plait or braid. [No definition relating to property.]
playa = the beach or bank of a river
pleonasm = the use of more words than are required to express an idea
plunge = to speculate or gamble extravagantly
plus fours = loose knickerbockers bagging below the knees, worn for sports
poetaster = an inferior poet
poltroon = a base coward
polythene = polyethylene = a polymerized ethylene resin, used esp. in the form of films and sheets for packaging or molded for a wide variety of containers, etc.
pongee = a soft, thin cloth of Chinese or Indian silk witha knotty weave
poniard = a dagger
popish = pertaining to the popes or the Roman Catholic Church
portcullis = a sliding grille of iron or wood suspended in the gateway of a fortified place in such a way that it can be quickly lowered in case of attack
portiere = a heavy curtain hung across a doorway
portmanteau = a large leather suitcase that opens into 2 hinged compartments
postilion = one who rides the near horse of the leaders to guide the horse drawing a coach
pother = a commotion; disturbance
prate = to talk idly and at great length; chatter
preceptor = a teacher
prescript = something prescribed, esp. a rule or regulation of conduct
press = an upright closet or case used for storing books, clothes, etc.
preternatural = out of the normal course of nature; differing from the natural
prig = a person regarded as overprecise, affectedly arrogant, smug, or narrow-minded
prink = to adorn (oneself) in a showy manner
privity = knowledge of something private or secret shared between individuals, esp. with the implication of approval or consent
prokaryote = a cellular organism, such as a bacterium or blue-green alga, whose nucleus lacks a limiting membrane
Procrustean = producing or designed to produce conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means (after Procrustes, a mythical Greek giant who stretched or shortened captives to make them fit his beds)
profligate = wildly extravagant
prolepsis = the anticipation and answering of an objection or argument before one's opponent has put it forward
promiscuous = consisting of diverse and unrelated parts; confused
proscribe = to denounce or condemn
prosit = used as a drinking toast to someone's health
prussic acid = hydrocyanic acid = extremely toxic, flammable aqueous solution of HCN, used in the manufacture of dyes, plastics, etc.
puce = a deep red to dark grayish purple
puissance = power, might
pule = to whine; whimper
punctilio = a fine point of etiquette
pung = a low box sleigh drawn by one horse
purl = to flow or ripple with a murmuring sound
pusillanimous = lacking courage; cowardly
puttee = a strip of cloth wound spirally around the leg from the ankle to knee
quadrille = a square dance of French origin composed of 5 figures an performed by 4 couples
quartern = one-fourth of something
quidnunc = a nosy person; busybody
quid pro quo = an equal exchange or substitution
quintain = a post, or a target on a post, to be tilted at by horsemen or footmen
quire = a set of 24 or sometimes 25 sheets of paper of the same size and stock, 1/20 of a ream
quiz = to poke fun at; mock
quotidian = recurring daily
racketeer = to engage in a racket
raconteur = a person who tells stories and anecdotes with skill and wit
ragout = a meat and vegetable stew
rapine = forcible seizureor another's property; plunder
rat = a pad of hair worn as part of a woman's coiffure to puff out the hair
ratlin = a small rope fastened horizontally to the shrouds of a ship and forming a ladder for going aloft
rattan = a climbing palm of tropical Asia, having long, tough, slender stems
rattan = the stems of the rattan, used to make wickerwork
rebozo = a long scarf worn over the head and shoulders chiefly by Mexican women
receipt = recipe
recherche = uncommon; rare
reclame = public acclaim
recondite = not easily understood
recreant = unfaithful or disloyal to a belief, duty, or cause
recrudescence > recrudesce = to break out anew after a dormant or inactive period
recumbent = lying down; reclining
redact = to draw up or frame (a proclamation, for example)
refectory = a room where meals are served
refractory = obstinate; unmanageable
Regency = relating to the style, esp. of furniture, prevalent during the regency of George, Prince of Wales (1811-20)
reification > reify = to treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete existence
repetend = the group of digits that repeats infinitely in a repeating decimal
retsina = a resinated (flavored with resin) Greek wine
revenant = one that returns after an absence
Reynard = a fox
reata = a lariat; lasso
rick = a stack of hay or straw; esp. when covered for protection from the weather
riding = a former administrative division of Yorkshire, England
rime = a frost or granular ice coating, as on grass and trees
risible = capable of laughing or inclined to laugh
riven > rive = to rend or tear apart
roe = the roe deer = a rather small, delicately formed Eurasian deer with a brownish coat and short, branched antlers in the male
rolfing = a technique of deep, often painful muscular manipulation and massage designed to relieve both bodily and emotional tension
rotogravure = an intaglio printing process using an etched copper cylinder
roue = a lecherous and dissipated man
rouleau = a small roll, esp. of coins wrapped in paper
Roundhead = a member or supporter of the Parliamentary or Puritan party during the English Civil War
Rubicon = a limit that when passed or exceded permits of no return
rubicund = inclined to a healthy rosiness; ruddy
rubricator > rubricate = to arrange, write, or print as a rubric (decorative red lettering, or otherwise distinguished lettering)
rugger = rugby
rusk = a light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit
sable = the color black, esp. in heraldry
sabot = a wooden shoe worn in several European countries
sacerdotal = of or pertaining to priests or the priesthood; priestly
sacque = sack = a short, loose-fitting garment for women and children
saleratus = baking soda
sally port = a gate in a fortification designed for sorties
salmagundi = a salad of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, and onions, often arranged in rows on lettuce and served with vinegar and oil
salver = a tray for serving food or drinks
samisen = a Japanese musical instrument resembling a banjo, having a very long neck and 3 strings played with a plectrum
samite = a heavy silk fabric, often interwoven with gold or silver, worn in the Middle Ages
sanguinary = bloodthirsty
sanguine = cheerfully confident; optimistic
sans-culotte = an extremely radical republican during the French Revolution
sapid = having flavor
saprophytic > saprophyte = a plant that lives on and derives its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter
sardonic = scornfully mocking and derisive
sate = past tense of sit
scansion = the analysis of verse into metrical patterns
scapular = a monk's sleeveless outer garment that hangs from the shoulders and sometimes has a cowl
sciatica = neuralgic pain in the area of the hip or thigh
scow = a large, flat-bottomed boat with square ends, used chiefly for transporting freight
scrag = to strangle
scullery = a room adjoining the kitchen for dishwashing and other kitchen chores
scurf = scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff
scut = a stubby, erect tail, as that of a hare
between Scylla and Charybdis = in a spot where avoiding one danger exposes a person to another
sea elephant = the elephant seal = a large seal having a trunklike proboscis
sedge = a plant resembling a grass but having a solid rather than hollow stem
sedulous = diligent; painstaking
seidel = a beer mug
seine = a large fishing net made to hang vertically in the water by weights at the lower edge and floats at the top
sempiternal = eternal; perpetual
seneschal = an official in a medieval noble household in charge of domestic arrangements and the adminstration of servants
septicemia = a disease affecting the entire body caused by pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood stream
serac = a large mass of ice broken off the main body of a glacier and remaining behind in a crevasse afer glacial movement or melting
seraglio = a sultan's palace
sere = withered; dry
seriatim = one after another
session = a court of criminal jurisdiction
seven-up = a card game requiring points to win
shako = a stiff, cylindrical military dress hat with a metal plate in front, a short visor, and a plume
shebeen = an unlicensed drinking establishment
shibboleth = a common saying or idea
shiksa = a non-Jewish girl
shingle = a stretch of shore or beach covered with coarse, smooth gravel
shirttail = distantly related (e.g., a shirttail cousin)
shivaree = charivari
shoal = a place in a body of water where the water is particularly shallow
shoal = a large group; crowd
shoal = a school of fish or other marine animals
shoddy = yarn, fabric, or garments made from or containing reclaimed wool fibers
shofar = a trumpet made from a ram's horn, blown for warning, summoning and ritual purposes by the ancient Hebrews
shooting stick = a stick pointed at one end and opening into a seat at the other, typically used by spectators at races
shotten = having recently spawned and thus being less desirable as food. Used of fish, esp. herring.
sibilant = producing a hissing sound, as the sound of "s" or "sh"
sibyl = a woman regarded as an oracle or prophetess by the ancient Greeks and Romans
sigil = a seal; signet
simple = a medicinal plant or the medicine obtained from it
simulacrum = an image or representation of something
sinecure = a position that requires little or no work but provides a salary
sisal = a fleshy plant of Mexico, widely cultivated for its large leaves that yield a stiff fiber for rope
sistrum = a percussion instrument of ancient Egypt consisting of metal rods or loops attached to a metal frame
skirl = to produce a shrill, piercing tone. Used of a bagpipe.
Skivvies = a trademark for underwear
slattern = an untidy woman
sloe = the blackthorn = a thorny Eurasian shrub having clusters of white flowers and bluish-black, plumlike fruit
slops = waste food used to feed pigs or other animals; swill
slyboots = a sly person
smutch = to soil or stain
snickersnee = a knife resembling a sword
solecism = a nonstandard usage or grammatical construction
solipsism = the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified
somewhat = something
sooth = real; true
sophistical = pertaining to sophists (thinkers skillful in devious argumentation)
soporific = tending to induce sleep
sorrel = a brownish orange to light brown
soubrette = a saucy, coquettish, or intriguing lady's maid in comedies and comic operas
sough = to make a soft murmuring or rustling sound
soupcon = a very small amount
soutane = a cassock worn by Roman Catholic priests
spandrel = the triangular space between the curve of an arch and the rectangular framework surrounding it
spate = a flash flood
spavined > spavin = a disease affecting the hock joint of horses
spill = a piece of wood or rolled paper used to light a fire
spindrift = wind-blown sea spray
spleen = melancholy
spleen = ill temper
splenetic = ill-humored and irritable
sporting = of or associated with gambling
sprat = a small marine fish of northeastern Atlantic waters
spruce = neat, trim, or dapper in appearance
sputum = expectorated saliva
squib = a firecracker, or a broken firecracker that burns but does not explode
squill = a bulbous plant of Eurasia, having narrow leaves and bell-shaped blue, white, or pink flowers
stadtholder = stadholder = the chief magistrate of the Netherlands
stile = a set or series of steps for crossing a fence or wall
stollen = a rich yeast bread containing raisins, citron, and chopped nut meats
strake = a single continuous line of planking or metal plating extending on a vessel's hull from stem to stern
stringhalt = lameness accompanied by spasmodic movements in the hind legs of a horse
suasion = persuasion
sufferance = tacit assent
sui generis = unique; individual
suite = a staff of attendants; retinue
super = an extra person, esp. a supernumerary actor
supernal = celestial; heavenly
supernumerary = a performer without a speaking part, as one who appears in a crowd scene
supine = indisposed to act or object; passive
surcease = to bring or come to an end; stop
surplice = a loose-fitting white gown with wide sleeves, worn over a cassock by some clergymen
suzerainty = the power or domain of a suzerain (a nation that controls another nation in international affairs but allows it domestic sovereignty)
sweetbread = the thymus gland of a young animal, used for food
sylph = an elemental being without a soul that was believed to inhabit the air
syncretize = to reconcile or attempt to reconcile (differing religious beliefs, for example)
syringa = the mock orange = a deciduous shrub having white, usually fragrant flowers
table d'hote = a communal table for all guests at a hotel or restaurant
tabula rasa = the mind before it receives the impressions gained from experience
tahr = a goatlike mammal of the mountainous regions of Asia, having curved horns and a shaggy coat
take a powder = to leave quickly
tapir = ungulate mammal or tropical America or southern Asia, having a heavy body, short legs, and a fleshy proboscis
tares = an undesirable element
tarsier = a small nocturnal primate of the East Indies, having large round eyes and a long tail
tatterdemalion = a person wearing ragged or tattered clothing
taw = the line from which a player shoots in marbles
teleology = the philosophical study of design or purpose in natural phenomena
Templar = a knight of a religious order founded at Jerusalem in the 12th century by the Crusaders
tenderloin = a city district notorious for its vice and graft
teredo = a shipworm
tete-a-tete = together without the intrusion of a third person
Thammuz = the tenth month in the Hebrew calendar
thanatopsis = a meditation upon death
thane = in Anglo-Saxon England, a freeman granted land by the king in return for military service
thrips = a small, often wingless insect, which is destructive to plants
tirewoman = a lady's maid
titivate = to make decorative additions to
toilet = dress; attire; costume
tomtit = a small bird, as a tit
toothsome = delicious; luscious
toper = a chronic drinker
topical = currently of interest; contemporary
toplofty = haughty; pretentious
tortuous = having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding
tosspot = a drunkard
tout = a person who obtains information on racehorses and their prospects and sells it to bettors
trace = a side strap connecting a harnessed draft animal to the vehicle it is pulling
traduce = to speak falsely or maliciously of
trap = a light two-wheeled carriage with springs
traps = personal belongings or household goods
trapan = trepan
travertine = a light-colored, porous calcite which forms the stalactites and stalagmites of caverns
treacle = molasses
trencher = a wooden board or plate on which food is cut or served
trepan = to bore (a shaft) with a trepan (a rock-boring tool)
trepan = to trephine = to operate on with a trephine (a surgical instrument having circular, sawlike edges, used to cut out disks of bone, usually from the skull)
triage = a system designed to provide the greatest benefit from limited treatment facilities for battlefield casualties by giving full treatment to those who may survive and not to those who have no chance of survival
triskelion = a figure consisting of 3 curved lines or branches or arms or legs, readiating from a common center
troglodyte = a prehistoric cave-dweller
troll = to sing heartily
trollop = a slovenly, untidy woman
trope = a figure of speech
troth = good faith; fidelity
trotter = a foot, esp. the foot of a pig or sheep prepared as food
troublous = full of truble; troubled; causing trouble
trousseau = the possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage
trumpery = showy but worthless finery
tule = a bulrush growing in marshy lowlands of the southwestern U.S.
tulle = a fine, often starched net of silk, rayon, or nylon, used esp. for veils, tutus, or gowns
tumbrel = a crude cart used to carry condemned prisoners to their place of execution
tun = a large cask for liquids, esp. wine
turtle = turtledove
tussock = a clump or tuft of growing grass or a similar plant
tutelary = serving as a guardian or protector
twill = a fabric with diagonal parallel ribs
tympanum = the recessed, ornamental space or panel enclosed by the cornices of a triangular pediment
tyro = an inexperienced person; a beginner
ukase = a proclamation of the czar having the force of law in imperial Russia
ultimo = in or of the month before the present one
umber = a shade of brown produced by umber (a natural brown earth) in its various states
umbilicus = the navel
unction = exaggerated earnestness; esp. in language
unctuous = characterized by exaggerated or insincere earnestness
vade mecum = a useful thing that a person constantly carries with him
vagary = an extravagant or erratic notion or action; flight of fancy
van = the vanguard; forefront
vapors = a hysterical or depressed emotional condition
variorum = an edition of the works of an author, with notes by various scholars or editors
varlet = an attendant or servant
venal = corruptible
venality = the quality of being open to bribery or corruption
vender = one that sells. [I must have looked this one up to check the spelling.]
vernal = fresh and young; youthful
veronica = a maneuver in bullfighting in which the matador stands immobile and passes the cape slowy before the charging bull
vet = to examine or appraise expertly
viatic = pertaining to traveling, a road, or a way
vintager = a producer or harvester of wine grapes
vintner = a wine merchant
virago = a noisy, domineering woman
vocation = an urge to undertake a certain kind of work; calling
volley = to strike (a tennis ball, for example) before it touches the ground
wainscot = the lower part of an interior wall when finished in a material different from that of the upper part
wait = one of a group of musicians employed, usually by the city, to play in parades or public ceremonies
wait = one of a group of musicians or carolers who perform in the streets at Christmastime
walleye = a freshwater food and game fish of North America, having large, conspicuous eyes
walleyed = having divergent strabismus (a visual defect in which one eye cannot focus with the other because of imbalance of the eye muscles)
wallflower = a widely cultivated European plant having fragrant yellow, orange or brownish flowers
Walloon = a French-speaking person of Celtic descent inhabiting southern Belgium and adjacent regions of France
Walpurgis Night = the eve of May Day, believed in medieval Europe to be the occasion of a witches' Sabbath
wamble = to move in a weaving, wobbling, wocking, or wolling manner
Wandering Jew = in medieval legend, a Jew condemned to wander until the Judgment Day for having mocked Christ on the day of Crucifixion
wattle = poles intertwined with twigs, reeds, or branches for use in construction, as of walls or fences
weal = a ridge on the flesh raised by a blow; welt
ween = to think; suppose
welkin = the vault of heaven; sky
wetback = a Mexican, esp. a laborer who crosses the U.S. border illegally
whale = to strike or hit repeatedly and forcefully; thrash
whicker = a whinny
white lead = a heavy white poisonous compound used in paint pigments
whitlow = an inflammation of the area of a finger or toe around the nail
wickiup = a frame hut covered with matting such as of bark or brush, used by the nomadic Indians of North America
widgeon = a European duck having brownish plumage
wight = a human being; creature
williwaw = a violent gust of cold wind blowing seaward from a mountainous coast
withy = a long flexible twig, as that of an osier (a willow)
woful = woeful
woodbine = a climbing vine, esp. an Old World honeysuckle having yellowish flowers
woolsack = a sack for wool [Hey, it may have been a sack made of wool, or something else entirely!]
wormwood = an aromatic European plant yielding a bitter extract used in making absinthe and in flavoring certain wines
wristlet = a bracelet
xebec = a small three-masted Mediterranian vessel with both square and triangular sails
yeoman of the guard = a member of a ceremonial guard attending the British sovereign and royal family
younker = a young man
zest = the outermost part of the rind of of an orange or lemon, used as flavoring
zori = a flat sandal with thongs, usually made of straw or leather