Word of the Week: piebald (PĪ-bôld) Definition (Adjective) Chiefly derogatory. Composed of differing or incongruous parts; motley, mixed. In Context "He was surveying the piebald capital of terminal Communism, a place where the glorious swirl and stripe of St. Basil's Cathedral seems increasingly exceptional as the bureaucrats make a colorless theme park of the city." Francis X. Clines, "Architect's Lament: Moscow So Drab," The New York Times, March 18, 1990.
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bunkum (BŬNG-kəm) Definition (Noun) Empty clap-trap oratory; "tall talk"; humbug. In Context "I heard of some interesting cases of bunkum, by which is signified the bringing forward of a sham proposal, in order to catch popular applause." William Chambers, Things As They Are in America, 1854.
Definition (Verb) To deviate from straightforwardness; to speak or act in an evasive way; to quibble, equivocate. In Context "If a crisis nevertheless occurred then the appropriate course of action was to prevaricate, to avoid drawing lines in the sand, and to seek a compromise solution that would permit both sides to step back from the brink with honour intact." John Stone, Military Strategy: The Politics and Technique of War, 2011.
Definition (Adjective) Of or belonging to a feast or banquet; characterized by feasting or jovial companionship; such as befits a feast, festive. In Context "Voltaire was particularly attracted by the fact that the Fontaine-Martel house was a convivial establishment, in which she would often invite her lodgers to eat and drink together, at suppers which were apparently long and gay." Ian Davidson, Voltaire: A Life, 2010.
Word of the Week: canard (kə-NÄRD) Definition (Noun) An extravagant or absurd story circulated to impose on people's credulity; a hoax, a false report. In Context "The news of the awful calamity of Johnstown, Pa., with all its horrors, appalled us; and so frightful and improbable were the reports, that it required twenty-four hours to satisfy ourselves that it was not a canard." Clara Barton, The Red Cross in Peace and War, 1898.
Word of the Week: absquatulate (ăb-SKWŎCH-ə-lāt) Definition (Verb) To abscond, make off. In Context "Residents of the Gulf States coined the term 'absquatulate' to describe men who left the state to avoid their debts in order to 'squat' in the new republic." Scott Reynolds Nelson, A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters, 2012.
Word of the Week: vatic (VĂT-ĭk) Definition (Adjective) Of or pertaining to, characteristic of, a prophet or seer; prophetic, inspired. In Context "In 1990, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn emerged from his isolation in Cavendish, Vermont, and issued a vatic manifesto entitled 'How to Revitalize Russia.'" David Remnick, "Putin's Pique," The New Yorker, March 17, 2014.
Word of the Week: crèche (krĕsh) Definition (Noun) A representation of the infant Jesus in the manger, with attending figures, often displayed at Christmas. In Context “Later that evening we pulled up to my brother’s house, which demonstrated its sincere commitment to the Christmas season with a tornado of twinkle lights and a crèche on the lawn.” Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, 2009.
Word of the Week: flâneur (flä-NÛR) Definition (Noun) A lounger or saunterer, an idle "man about town." In Context "All in all, and with his days as a dilettante and a flâneur far behind him, he looked set upon pursuing a professional career as a responsible married man." Patrick Gardiner, Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction, 2002.
Word of the Week: gallivant (GĂL-ə-vănt) Definition (Verb) To gad about in a showy fashion, especially with persons of the other sex. In Context "I thought it a bit weird that people wanted to gallivant around hunting a fox, but having read my Trollope I understood it is a part of our history." Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life, 2010.