Word of the Week: contumely (KŎN-təm-lē) Definition (Noun) Insolent reproach or abuse; insulting or offensively contemptuous language or treatment; despite; scornful rudeness; now, especially such contemptuous treatment as tends to inflict dishonor and humiliation. In Context "It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovations must survive before being allowed to enter the human race." Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, [...]
Word of the Week: nabob (NĀ-bŏb) Definition (Noun) In extended use: a wealthy, influential, or powerful landowner or other person, especially one with an extravagantly luxurious lifestyle. In Context "Richard Croker retired after some years as Tammany leader in New York with $18,000,000 and is now living like a nabob on a beautiful estate just outside of Dublin, where he disgraces the United States flag by flying it night and day from his battlements." "Political Woodsawing," Los Angeles Times, November 22, 1905.
Word of the Week: insipid (ĭn-SĬP-ĭd) Definition (Adjective) Wanting the qualities which excite interest or emotion; uninteresting, lifeless, dull, flat. In Context "Like some other theorists such as Schoenberg, Henry saw that music history's forward march had brought more and more overtones into use, causing composers to regard earlier, simpler overtone ratios as insipid and dull." Joel Sachs, Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music, 2012.
Word of the Week: risible (RĬZ-ə-bəl) Definition (Adjective) Capable of provoking laughter; laughable, ludicrous, comical. In Context "In the first few months of its existence the circulation of the Daily News had been stuck at a risible 26,000." Gavin Mortimer, The Great Swim, 2008.
Word of the Week: liminal (LĬM-ə-nəl) Definition (Adjective) Characterized by being on a boundary or threshold, especially by being transitional or intermediate between two states, situations, etc. In Context "Biologically and culturally, for the child-apprentice it was a liminal moment as he encountered the challenges of puberty at the same time that he abandoned (and was abandoned by) his natural family in order to enter an adoptive one." Steven Laurence Kaplan, The Bakers of Paris and the Bread Question: 1700-1775, 1996.
Word of the Week: sere (sîr) Definition (Adjective) Dry, withered. In Context "In high mountains night visibility is intermediate between that of the humid coast and the sere desert." Raymond B. Cowles, Desert Journal: A Naturalist Reflects on Arid California, 1977.
Word of the Week: soupçon (sōōp-SÔN) Definition (Noun) A suspicion, a suggestion, a very small quantity or slight trace, of something. In Context "And to this he must add more than a soupçon of luck, plus a heavy seasoning of pure nerve." Ernest K. Gann, Fate Is the Hunter, 1961.
Word of the Week: nebulous (NĔB-yə-ləs) Definition (Adjective) Vague, indistinct, formless, ill-defined. In Context "Creativity is a rather nebulous concept encapsulating all these human characteristics and skills – seen by some as innate and by others as learned – that involve the ability to see things in a new way; to invent new ideas, concepts, and objets; and to provide new associations between existing entities." Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska, Life after New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process, 2012.
Word of the Week: mawkish (MÔ-kĭsh) Definition (Adjective) Imbued with sickly, false, or feeble sentiment; overly sentimental. In Context "To commercial filmmakers, the bromides suggested by OWI propagandists – wordy soliloquies about freedom, boring discussions of the war's meaning, mawkish dramatizations of unity – seemed destined to be box office poison." M. Todd Bennett, One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II, 2012.
Word of the Week: polyglot (PŎL-ē-glŏt) Definition (Adjective) Of a person: that speaks, writes, or understands a number of languages. In Context "The mood of the sessions was probably leavened by the presence of amiable, polyglot General Vernon A. Walters, the American ambassador known for his affinity for easing conversation with a good anecdote." Stanley Meisler, United Nations: A History, 2011.