Word of the Week: surreptitious (sûr-əp-TĬSH-əs) Definition (Adjective) Taken, obtained, used, done, etc. by stealth, secretly, or "on the sly"; secret and unauthorized; clandestine. In Context "Nixon acknowledged in a statement issued May 22 that the plan contained a provision for surreptitious entry by federal agents but said he rescinded his approval of the plan five days after ordering it put into operation." "Nixon Approval for 'Illegal' Snoop Plan," The Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 7, 1973.
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Word of the Week: intransigent (ĭn-TRĂN-sə-jənt) Definition (Adjective) That refuses to come to terms or make any compromise (in politics); uncompromising, irreconcilable. In Context "In his presummit assessment in August 1978, Samuel Lewis, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said it was impossible to decide in the abstract whether Begin's firmness was that of 'an intransigent hardliner' or just 'a tough bargainer,' but the White House preferred to assume the latter." David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings That Shaped the Twentieth Century, 2007.
Word of the Week: vainglory (VĀN-glôr-ē) Definition (Noun) Glory that is vain, empty, or worthless; inordinate or unwarranted pride in one's accomplishments or qualities; disposition or tendency to exalt oneself unduly; idle boasting or vaunting. In Context "Though there always will be soldiers and sailors 'seeking the bubble reputation, even in the cannon's mouth,' it seems that the vainglory of individual commanders has lately become less dangerous in war, as improvements in the technology of communications and surveillance have increased the ability of senior commanders to control subordinate officers." Steven Weinberg, Lake Views: This World and the Universe, 2009.
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.
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.