Word of the Week: frowzy (FROU-zē) Definition (Adjective) Ill-smelling, fusty, musty; having a "close" unpleasant smell from being dirty, unwashed, ill-ventilated, or the like. In Context "Those London lodgings, -- I should have to live in lodgings in London, poor lodgings, because they are cheap and I am cheap, -- frowzy lodgings, savored with frying, garnished at intervals with a slatternly landlady and a little slavey." "The Contributors' Club," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1904.
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Word of the Week: jackanapes (JĂK-ə-nāps) Definition (Noun) One who is like an ape in tricks, airs, or behavior; a ridiculous upstart; a pert, impertinent fellow, who assumes ridiculous airs; a coxcomb. Also, playfully, a pert forward child, a "monkey." In Context "'God, what's the Navy coming to, when warrants are given to young jackanapes who couldn't keep their noses clear with a marlin-spike!'" C. S. Forester, Commodore Hornblower, 1945.
Word of the Week: reify (RÉ-ə-fī) Definition (Verb) To make (something abstract) more concrete or real; to regard or treat (an idea, concept, etc.) as if having material existence. In Context "One should not reify the concept of family or the generalizations about families to the extent that they become 'the family' in a particular culture or society." Charles B. Hennon and Stephan M. Wilson, Editors, Families in a Global Context, 2008.
Word of the Week: chauvinism (SHŌ-və-nĭz-əm) Definition (Noun) Exaggerated patriotism of a bellicose sort; blind enthusiasm for national glory or military ascendancy; the French quality which finds its parallel in British "Jingoism." In Context "The fires of antiforeign chauvinism, long fanned by the bureaucracy, were raging." Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation, 1997.
Word of the Week: confluence (KŎN-flōō-əns) Definition (Noun) A flowing together; the junction and union of two or more streams or moving fluids. In Context "The middle reaches of the Mississippi stretch for around 200 miles (330 kilometers) between St. Louis and the river's confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois." Rob Bowden, Settlements of the Mississippi River, 2005.
Word of the Week: insouciant (ĭn-SŌŌ-sē-ənt) Definition (Adjective) Careless, indifferent, unconcerned. In Context "I looked in disbelief at the photos of my slim, young self, hair down to my waist, cigarette in insouciant hand, eyes bigger because the skin around them was tauter." Kim Moritsugu, The Restoration of Emily, 2006.
Word of the Week: frangible (FRĂN-jə-bəl) Definition (Adjective) Capable of being broken, breakable. In Context "I sat there and every few minutes felt myself on the verge of tears, felt uncomfortably frangible and brittle." John Dufresne, Requiem, Mass.: A Novel, 2008.
Word of the Week: panjandrum (păn-JĂN-drəm) Definition (Noun) (A mock title for) a mysterious (frequently imaginary) personage of great power or authority; a pompous or pretentious official; a self-important person in authority. In Context "During several months, hardly a week passed that Louis did not have occasion to greet some panjandrum alighting at a railroad depot and lead him in military pomp to the Tuileries Palace, where gala after gala preempted other, more banal affairs of state." Frederick Brown, For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus, 2010.
Word of the Week: ludic (LŌŌ-dĭk) Definition (Adjective) Of or pertaining to undirected and spontaneously playful behaviour. In Context "Postmodernism creates a wonderland where each thing can morph into another, a ludic world free of conventions, rules, and traditions." Lubomír Doležel, Possible Worlds of Fiction and History: The Postmodern Stage, 2010. This word was suggested by Julie Mellby in the Princeton University Library.
Word of the Week: intrinsic (ĭn-TRĬN-zĭk) Definition (Adjective) Belonging to the thing in itself, or by its very nature; inherent, essential, proper; "of its own." In Context "In the environmental sphere, debate hinges on whether elements of nature – trees, animals, rivers – have intrinsic value which transcends human interests, or whether our motivation for caring for them should spring from the many ways that they are valuable for us." Charles R. Warren, Managing Scotland's Environment, 2002.