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simarouba

Jan. 23rd, 2017 | 07:49 am

simarouba or simaruba (sim-uh-ROO-buh) - n., any of several South American trees (genus Simaruba, esp. S. amara) of the quassia family; the medicial bark from these trees.


So a subtype of quassia. The bark (typically taken from the roots) is bitter and, among other effects, stimulates the appetite. The name is via French from Carib simaruba.

---L.

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/635195.html
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fanfaron

Jan. 20th, 2017 | 07:42 am

fanfaron (FAN-fah-ron) - n., braggart, swaggerer, empty boaster.


Not as common as fanfaronade, the fanfaron's bluster, but still useful. Adopted around 1615 either through French or directly from Spanish fanfarrón, braggart, which is said to be imitative of the sounds of blustering but could possibly be from Arabic farfār, garrulous.

And that ends this week's boastful theme. It's been a YUGE week. Peace out, y'all.

---L.

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/634936.html
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rodomontade

Jan. 19th, 2017 | 08:22 am

1word1day: rodomontade

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/634828.html
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thrasonical

Jan. 18th, 2017 | 07:46 am

thrasonical (thray-SON-i-kuhl) - adj., boastful, vainglorious.


More literally, of, pertaining to, or resembling Thrasō(n), a braggart soldier in Terence's play Eunuchus (161 BC) -- who was in turn named from Greek thrasos, bold/spirited. Borrowed in 1564 and used, among other people, by Shakespeare in Love's Labors Lost.

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/634496.html
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gasconade

Jan. 17th, 2017 | 08:15 am

gasconade (gas-kuh-NAYD) - n., extravagant boasting, boastful talk. v., to boast extravagantly, bluster.


In France, the citizens of Gascony have a reputation for talking boastfully (thus the characterizations of D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers and Cyrano de Bergerac), which gave rise to the verb gasconner, literally to talk like a Gascon but used to mean to boast, with its noun instance form gasconade. We adopted the latter in 1709.

---L.

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/634177.html
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cockalorum

Jan. 16th, 2017 | 07:21 am

Theme week: boasting.


cockalorum (kok-uh-lawr-uhm) - n., a self-important little man; bragging talk, braggadocio.


Entered English in 1715 as a mock-Latinate word (when it was used to describe the Marquis of Huntly, a Highland scion also known as the Cock of the North), but it's uncertain whether the word that was given the genitive plural ending -ōrum was the English cock, being a very strutty bird, or obsolete Dutch/Flemish kockeloeren, to crow. Any possible application to current events is left to you.

---L.

Crossposts: http://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/634046.html. You can comment here or there.

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pleonasm

Jan. 13th, 2017 | 08:44 am

pleonasm (PLEE-oh-naz-uhm) - n., the use of more words than is strictly necessary to communicate the sense of an idea.


As in "black darkness" or "safe haven" -- typically used to provide emphasis, but can also be overapplied attempt at clarity. Adopted in the 1580s from Late Latin, from Greek pleonasmós, redundancy/surplus, derivative of pleonázein, to be/have more than enough, from pleíōn, more (from the same PIE root as plenty).

---L.

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mizzen

Jan. 12th, 2017 | 08:08 am

1word1day: mizzen

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shawm

Jan. 11th, 2017 | 08:14 am

shawm or shalm (SHAWM) - n. a medieval double-reed woodwind instrument with a conical bore.


Conical, so had a flaring bell. Double-reed, so sounded a lot like a loud oboe -- which indeed is a descendant. Arrived in Europe in the early 12th century from the Near East (similar instruments include the Greek/Byzantine aulos). In Middle English, there were three forms of the name, schallemele, s(c)halmys, and sc(h)almuse, from three Middle French forms, chalemel, chalemie, and chalemeaux, some of which are singular forms, some plural, and some pluralized from plurals taken to be singluar -- all of them from Latin calamus, reed, either directly or through the Vulgar Latin diminutive, calamellus, itself from Greek kálamos, reed. That reed thing.

---L.

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vitriol

Jan. 10th, 2017 | 08:23 am

vitriol (vi-TREE-uhl) - n., sulfuric acid (H2SO4); any of several metal sulfates, such as as green vitriol (iron sulfate), blue vitriol (copper sulfate), red vitriol (cobalt sulfate), and so on; something highly caustic, either physically like an acid or mentally like abusive criticism. v., to treat with or dip into dilute vitriol; to subject to bitter verbal abuse.


The chemical meanings are not in current use, but for sulfuric acid itself was still understood by chemists not too long ago. The metal sulfates are actually the original meaning, and get their name from their glassy appearance -- the root being Latin vitrum, glass, and the acid that created them was called vitriolum. First used in English in the 14th century, I'm guessing by either metallurgists or alchemists.

---L.

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