Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Posted 08 Jan 11 by Tatyana in Vocab

I used to write vocab entries, motivated by me venturing into the world of crossword puzzles. I’m proud to report that I now know most of the words I encounter in puzzles (and don’t do as many crossword puzzles). However, the Economist still baffles me sometimes. So here are some fun words which I could not define:

     
  1. Homunculus – a little man;a miniature adult that in the theory of preformation is held to inhabit the germ cell and to produce a mature individual merely by an increase in size.
  2.  
  3. Boondoggle – a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide, hatband, or ornament; a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft.
  4.  
  5. Aubergine – eggplant (British).
  6.  
  7. Tendentious – marked by a tendency in favor of a particular point of view; biased.
     
  8.  
  9. Irredenta – a territory historically or ethnically related to one political unit but under the political control of another.
  10.  
  11. Irredentism – a political principle or policy directed toward the incorporation of irredentas within the boundaries of their historically or ethnically related political unit.
  12.  
  13. Aught – anything; all, everything.



Posted 24 Jul 10 by Tatyana in Vocab

I haven’t posted fun vocab words in a while, partly because I’ve been doing less crosswords, partly because I know more words, and partly because I got lazy. But here’s the latest installment of weird/cool words I didn’t know:

     
  1. Langlauf: "cross-country running or racing on skis”
  2.  
  3. Colleen: "an Irish girl”
  4.  
  5. Banger: "a forceful and aggressive athlete” or (British): sausage, firecracker, jalopy
  6.  
  7. Jalopy: "a dilapidated old vehicle (as an automobile)”
  8.  
  9. Turpentine: "an oleoresin obtained from various conifers (as some pines and firs)”
  10.  
  11. Natty: "trimly neat and tidy”
  12.  
  13. Druthers: "free choice, preference” (Comes from "I’d rather”, actually!)

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster’s Online.



Posted 29 Jul 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

I can’t believe I keep finding words that I don’t know, especially since they seem common enough…

     
  1. Ret – "to soak (as flax) to loosen the fiber from the woody tissue” (ok, that one’s not so common!)
  2.  
  3. Pylon – "a post or tower marking a prescribed course of flight for an airplane” (it has a LOT of other meanings, but this is the one from the crossword puzzle)
  4.  
  5. Newel – "an upright post about which the steps of a circular staircase wind”
  6.  
  7. Campestal – "of or relating to fields or open country”, rural
  8.  
  9. Argot – "an often more or less secret vocabulary and idiom peculiar to a particular group”
  10.  
  11. Awn – "one of the slender bristles that terminate the glumes of the spikelet in some cereal and other grasses”
  12.  
  13. Schlemiel – "an unlucky bungler”, chump
  14.  
  15. Paradiddle – "a quick succession of drumbeats slower than a roll and alternating left- and right-hand strokes in a typical L-R-L-L, R-L-R-R pattern” (I like this one!)
  16.  
  17. Tantara – "the blare of a trumpet or horn”
  18.  
  19. Coot – "a harmless simple person”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.



Posted 07 Jun 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

I’ve still been solving crossword puzzles religiously – at least one a day. I’ve just been lazier about noting the words I didn’t know. And I now know slightly more words :) Enjoy!

     
  1. Chancel – "the part of a church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir”
  2.  
  3. Flimflam – "deceptive nonsense, deception, fraud”
  4.  
  5. Bugbear – "an imaginary goblin or specter used to excite fear”
  6.  
  7. Teetotalism – "the principle or practice of complete abstinence from alcoholic drinks”
  8.  
  9. Druthers – "free choice”, "preference”
  10.  
  11. Wimple – "cloth covering worn over the head and around the neck and chin especially by women in the late medieval period and by some nun”, "a crafty turn” (Scottish)
  12.  
  13. Ungulate – "having hooves”
  14.  
  15. Farrier – "a person who shoes horses”
  16.  
  17. Cruse – "a small vessel (as a jar or pot) for holding a liquid (as water or oil)”
  18.  
  19. Palliate – " to reduce the violence of (a disease) ; also: to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.



Posted 28 Mar 09 by Tatyana in Vocab
     
  1. Cryosurgery – "surgery in which usually diseased or abnormal tissue (as of a tumor or wart) is destroyed or removed by freezing (as by liquid nitrogen)”
  2.  
  3. Jabberwocky – "meaningless speech or writing” (invented by Lewis Carroll!)
  4.  
  5. Schuss – "to ski directly down a slope at high speed”
  6.  
  7. Pontificate – "to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way”
  8.  
  9. Cloister – "a monastic establishment”
  10.  
  11. Shirr – "to bake (eggs removed from the shell) until set”
  12.  
  13. Auger – "any of various tools or devices having a helical shaft or member that are used for boring holes (as in wood, soil, or ice) or moving loose material (as snow)”
  14.  
  15. Persnickety – "fussy about small details”, "having the characteristics of a snob”
  16.  
  17. Clink – jail or a prison cell (slang)
  18.  
  19. Corpulent – "having a large bulky body”, obese
  20.  
  21. Pauchy – "having a potbelly”
  22.  
  23. Creedal – same as "creed”
     

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster’s online. Please note that some of these words have more than one meaning – I just pick the more fun/interesting one.



Posted 09 Mar 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

Two vocabulary posts in a row – a sign of how hectic my life has become! So many exciting things happening that I don’t even have time to write about them.

     
  1. Mudder – "A racehorse that runs well on a wet or muddy track” (American Heritage Dictionary)
  2.  
  3. Palliate – " to reduce the violence of (a disease) ; also: to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease”, "to cover by excuses and apologies”
  4.  
  5. Marl – "a loose or crumbling earthy deposit (as of sand, silt, or clay) that contains a substantial amount of calcium carbonate”
  6.  
  7. Chalcedony – "a translucent variety of quartz of various colors and waxy luster”
  8.  
  9. Odium – "hatred and condemnation accompanied by loathing or contempt”
  10.  
  11. Betel – "a climbing pepper (Piper betle) of southeastern Asia whose leaves are chewed together with betel nut and mineral lime as a stimulant masticatory”
  12.  
  13. Wherry – "any of various light boat” (see M-W for more!)
  14.  
  15. Abattoir – slaughterhouse
  16.  
  17. Proscription – "an imposed restraint or restriction”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online dictionary



Posted 02 Mar 09 by Tatyana in Vocab
     
  1. Pismire – ant
  2.  
  3. Emmet – ant
  4.  
  5. Cozen – "to deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd tricker”
  6.  
  7. Amole – "a plant part (as a root) possessing detergent properties and serving as a substitute for soap”
  8.  
  9. Hautboy – oboa
  10.  
  11. Delft – "tin-glazed Dutch earthenware with blue and white or polychrome decoration” (or something that looks like it)
  12.  
  13. Viand – "an item of food ; especially: a choice or tasty dish”
  14.  
  15. Roil – "to stir up”
  16.  
  17. Chukker – "a playing period of a polo game”
  18.  
  19. Quiver – "a case for carrying or holding arrows”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster’s online



Posted 22 Feb 09 by Tatyana in Vocab
     
  1. Celerity – "rapidity of motion or action”
  2.  
  3. Macabre – "having death as a subject , comprising or including a personalized representation of death”, "dwelling on the gruesome”
  4.  
  5. Yen – craving
  6.  
  7. Dipsomania – "an uncontrollable craving for alcoholic liquors”
  8.  
  9. Trocar – "a sharp-pointed surgical instrument fitted with a cannula and used especially to insert the cannula into a body cavity as a drainage outlet”
  10.  
  11. Cannula – "a small tube for insertion into a body cavity or into a duct or vessel”
  12.  
  13. Greenhorn – "an inexperienced or naive person”, "a newcomer (as to a country) unacquainted with local manners and customs”
  14.  
  15. Beelzebub – devil, "a fallen angel in Milton’s Paradise Lost ranking next to Satan”
  16.  
  17. Ted – "to spread or turn from the swath and scatter (as new-mown grass) for drying”
  18.  
  19. Skinflint – "a person who would save, gain, or extort money by any means”, miser
  20.  
  21. Aspersion – "a sprinkling with water especially in religious ceremonies”, " a false or misleading charge meant to harm someone’s reputation”
  22.  
  23. Tala – "one of the ancient traditional rhythmic patterns of South Asian music”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online



Posted 05 Feb 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

I have a nagging sense that I may have already published some of these. But since I didn’t remember the definitions when I looked them up, I decided that repetition can be good.

     
  1. Bindlestiff – "hobo, one who carries his clothes or bedding in a bundle”
  2.  
  3. Timbre – "the quality given to a sound by its overtones”
  4.  
  5. Loll – "to hang loosely or laxly, droop”, "to act or move in a lax, lazy, or indolent manner, lounge”
  6.  
  7. Umiak – "an open Eskimo boat made of a wooden frame covered with hide”
  8.  
  9. Scow – "a large flat-bottomed boat with broad square ends used chiefly for transporting bulk material (as ore, sand, or refuse)”
  10.  
  11. Earwig – "any of numerous insects (order Dermaptera) having slender many-jointed antennae and a pair of cerci resembling forceps at the end of the body” (Just the name makes me cringe!)
  12.  
  13. Krait – "any of a genus (Bungarus) of brightly banded extremely venomous nocturnal elapid snakes of Pakistan, India, southeastern Asia, and adjacent islands”
  14.  
  15. Moppet – child
  16.  
  17. Nudnik -  "a person who is a bore or nuisance”
  18.  
  19. Sapid – flavorful
  20.  
  21. Swami – "a Hindu ascetic or religious teache”
  22.  
  23. Nave – "the main part of the interior of a church”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.



Posted 29 Jan 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

For those who haven’t seen these before, this is the result of me solving crossword puzzles online. Every time, there is at least one word I don’t know or have forgotten (and usually many more). I decided to keep track of the more amusing/interesting ones. And pardon the formatting – something didn’t go quite as planned.

  1. Pastiche – "a literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of previous work.”
  2. Mohel – "a person who performs ritual Jewish circumcisions.”
  3. Presbyopic – "a visual condition which becomes apparent especially in middle age and in which loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye causes defective accommodation and inability to focus sharply for near vision.”
  4. Willemite – "a mineral of varying color consisting of a silicate of zinc and occurring especially in massive or granular forms.”
  5. Dank – "unpleasantly moist or wet.”
  6. Pieta – "a representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the dead body of Christ”
  7. Ditty – "an especially simple and unaffected song”
  8. Pooh-bah – "a person holding many public or private offices”, "a person in high position or of great influence”
  9. Keen – "to lament, mourn, or complain loudly” (so much for the other meaning of the word!)
  10. Scag – slang for "heroin”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster’s online.