Word of the Week: cornucopia (kôr-nə-KŌ-pē-ə) Definition (Noun) The horn of plenty; a goat’s horn represented in art as overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn. In Context “The rim of each plate hosted a cornucopia of fall vegetables and in the center there was a proud colorful turkey in a country setting.” Suzanne Beecher, Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (If Disorderly) Life, 2010.
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Word of the Week: innuendo (ĭn-yōō-ĔN-dō) Definition (Noun) An oblique hint, indirect suggestion; an allusive remark concerning a person or thing, especially one of a depreciatory kind. In Context "The Grimms' transformation of a tale replete with sexual innuendo into a prim and proper nursery story with a dutiful daughter is almost as striking as the folkloric metamorphosis of frog into prince." Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, Second Edition, 2003.
Word of the Week: pergola (PÛR-gə-lə) Definition (Noun) An arbour; a covered walk or shelter (usually in a garden), especially one formed of growing plants trained over a (usually wooden or metal) framework; this framework itself. Also: a small open-sided shelter or sunshade usually consisting of a roof supported on columns. In Context "At the end of the garden there was a place – a pergola dense with briar rose, and behind it a fir where there would be shade from the hot yellow light." Paul Scott, The Day of the Scorpion, 1968.
Word of the Week: prescient (PRĔSH-ənt) Definition (Adjective) Having foreknowledge or foresight; foreseeing. In Context “In 1984, written in 1948, George Orwell left a prescient description of the sort of totalitarian architecture that would soon dominate the Communist bloc, imposing and hideous: the Ministry of Truth, an ‘enormous, pyramidal structure of white concrete, soaring up terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the air . . .’” Ben Macintyre, “Look on Those Monuments to Megalomania, and Despair,” The Times, March 30, 2007.
Word of the Week: inchoate (ĭn-KŌ-ĭt) Definition (Adjective) Just begun, incipient; in an initial or early stage; hence elementary, imperfect, undeveloped, immature. In Context “In black America, cultural conservatism takes the form of an inchoate xenophobia (e.g., against whites, Jews, and Asians), systemic sexism, and homophobia.” Cornel West, Race Matters, 1993.
Word of the Week: tatterdemalion (tăt-ər-dĭ-MĀL-yən) Definition (Noun) A person in tattered clothing; a ragged or beggarly fellow; a ragamuffin. In Context "Whenever his name was mentioned, she had a vague impression of a bearded tatterdemalion like Ben Gunn in Treasure Island, leading a lonely existence on some bleak, salty islet, his pants in rags and his wristwatch corroded from the seawater." Donna Tartt, The Little Friend, 2002.
Word of the Week: screed (skrēd) Definition (Noun) A long roll or list; a lengthy discourse or harangue; a gossiping letter or piece of writing. In Context "The first article ever penned by Thomas Paine was a powerful screed against slavery." Carl M. Cannon, The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War, 2004.
Word of the Week: polymath (PŎL-ē-măth) Definition (Noun) A person of great or varied learning; a person acquainted with many fields of study; an accomplished scholar. In Context "Possibly the last true polymath, von Neumann made a brilliant career – half a dozen brilliant careers – by plunging fearlessly and frequently into any area where highly abstract mathematical thought could provide fresh insights." Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994, 1998.
Word of the Week: misanthrope (MĬS-ən-thrōp) Definition (Noun) A hater of mankind; a person who distrusts and avoids other people. In Context "To be introduced to Jennings and not be taken with his affability, his earnest good nature, you would have to be a misanthrope." Mark Singer, Funny Money, 1985.
Word of the Week: bonhomie (bŏn-ə-MĒ) Definition (Noun) Good nature; the quality of being a good fellow. In Context "Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress emerged from their first budget meeting with President Obama at the White House at midday Friday and, in a rare show of bipartisan bonhomie, jointly expressed confidence that the two parties will reach an agreement before the end of the year to avert economy-rattling tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts." Jackie Calmes, "At White House, Top Lawmakers Say They Expect Budget Deal," The New York Times, November 16, 2012.