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Sunday Word: Dyspeptic

dyspeptic [dis-pep-tik ]

1 Having dyspepsia (indigestion) or a consequent air of bad temper

2 gloomy, pessimistic, and irritable

a person subject to or suffering from dyspepsia


I was not dyspeptic; I had fasted and would have eaten if they had given me milk, as I requested. (Mary Huestis Pengilly, Diary Written in the Provincial Lunatic Asylum)

In every midterm with a dyspeptic electorate, their anger has been aimed in one direction. (Jeff Greenfield, The Coming Midterm Collapse)

We're to have two kinds of jelly, red and yellow, and whipped cream and lemon pie, and cherry pie, and three kinds of cookies, and fruit cake, and Marilla's famous yellow plum preserves that she keeps especially for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake, and biscuits as aforesaid; and new bread and old both, in case the minister is dyspeptic and can't eat new. (L M Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)

We are some ways a dyspeptic, nervous set: anything which will repair such losses may be regarded as a blessing to the race. (Walt Whitman, 'Sports for a Dyspeptic Race', from Intimate With Walt: Whitmans Conversataions With Horace Traubel)

By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter - one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. (E M Forster, 'The Machine Stops')


1690s, 'causing dyspepsia' (a sense now obsolete); by 1789 as 'pertaining to dyspepsia;' by 1822 as 'suffering from dyspepsia;' from Greek dyspeptos 'hard to digest,' from dys- 'bad, difficult' + peptos 'digested,' from peptein 'to digest' (from PIE root pekw- 'to cook, ripen'). Also 'characteristic of one suffering from dyspepsia' (depressed, pessimistic, misanthropic), by 1894; dyspepsical in this sense is by 1825. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Friday word: Lodestar

lodestar, noun
lode·​star | \ ˈlōd-ˌstär

1: archaic : a star that leads or guides especially : north star
2: one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide

Did You Know?

The literal, albeit archaic, meaning of "lodestar" is "a star that leads or guides; especially : the North Star." (The first half of the word derives from the Middle English word "lode," meaning "course.") Both the literal and the figurative sense ("an inspiration or guide") date back to the 14th century, the time of Geoffrey Chaucer. The literal sense fell out of use in the 17th century, and so, for a while, did the figurative sense - but it appeared again 170 years later, when Sir Walter Scott used it in his 1813 poem The Bridal of Triermain.


Social Note

Lady, lady, should you meet
One whose ways are all discreet,
One who murmurs that his wife
Is the lodestar of his life,
One who keeps assuring you
That he never was untrue,
Never loved another one . . .
Lady, lady, better run!

(Dorothy Parker)

And more from Merriam-Webster:

The idea of public service has been a lodestar for her throughout her life.

...a society seemingly with unbridled greed as its only lodestar

Economists typically treat rational self-interest as the lodestar of human behaviour. — The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 2019

An important truth, and the lodestar of Harry Jaffa’s life. — Mike Potemra, National Review, "Born on the Fourth of July," 4 July 2019

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


Middle English lode sterre, from lode course, from Old English lād

Wednesday Word: Natant

Natant - adjective.

I first encountered natant years ago while reading a book that referenced a natatorium--that is, a building containing a swimming pool. Natant is a perhaps obscure way of saying swimming or floating on water.

Tuesday word: Digress

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019

Digress (verb)
di·gress [dih-gres, dahy-]

verb (used without object)
1. to deviate or wander away from the main topic or purpose in speaking or writing; depart from the principal line of argument, plot, study, etc.
2. Archaic. to turn aside.


di·gress·er, noun
di·gress·ing·ly, adverb
re·di·gress, verb (used without object)

meander, swerve, depart, ramble, veer, drift, divagate, roam, wander

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. ramble, stray.

1. See deviate.

Origin: 1520–30; < Latin digressus, past participle of digredi to go off, depart, digress, equivalent to di- di- + -gredi, combining form of gradi to go; cf. grade

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Sunday Word: Breviloquent

breviloquent [bre-vil-uh-kwuhnt ]

1 (of a person, speech, or style of writing) using very few words; concise.

2 marked by brevity of speech


This article provides a breviloquent biography of Fanon's life to afford insight to the development of his theories, and furnishes a review of his relevant literature. (Frantz Fanon and Colonialism: A Psychology of Oppression, Semantic Scholar)

A breviloquent tragedy of the American Dream from the perspective of a sensitive middle-aged office janitor, the tale displays the preternatural empathy that was to distinguish all of West's work to come. (Emma Garman, Feminize Your Canon: Dorothy West, the Pris Review)


Mid 19th century Latin breviloquent-, from brevis 'short' + loquens 'speaking'. (Oxford English Dictionaries)

(Somehow, it is totally fitting that this post is by necessity rather... breviloquent itself :)

Friday word: Gilravage

(via The Grandiloquent WOTD calendar)

gilravage, intransitive verb
gil·​rav·​age | \ gə̇lˈravij\

1 chiefly Scottish a : to live riotously and intemperately especially : to practice intemperate eating and drinking
                            b : to be noisy and boisterous in merrymaking
2 chiefly Scottish : gad, gallivant

gilravage, noun

chiefly Scottish
: uproar, commotion

Origin: unknown

Wednesday Word: Senescence

Senescence - adjective. Senescence happens to all living things - it's a word to describe aging or growing old. It can also refer to, in biology, the inability of a cell that is still alive but no longer able to divide.

Painting by Octavio Ocampo

Painting by Octavio Ocampo

Tuesday word: Indistinct

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019

Indistinct (adjective)
in·dis·tinct [in-di-stingkt]

1. not distinct; not clearly marked or defined: indistinct markings.
2. not clearly distinguishable or perceptible, as to the eye, ear, or mind: He heard an indistinct muttering.
3. not distinguishing clearly: After the accident he suffered from indistinct vision and faulty hearing.

in·dis·tinct·ly, adverb
in·dis·tinct·ness, noun

bleary, confused, dark, dim, doubtful, faint, fuzzy, hazy, ill-defined, inaudible, inconspicuous, indefinite, indeterminate, indiscernible, indistinguishable, inexact, misty, muffled, murky, shadowy

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. blurred, clouded, dim.

Origin: 1520–30;  < Latin indistinctus. See in- , distinct

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Sunday Word: Accoutrements

accoutrements [uh-koo-truh-muh nt], also US alternative accouterment

1a Equipment, trappings, specifically a soldier's outfit usually not including clothes and weapons
1b accessory items of clothing or equipment

2 identifying and often superficial characteristics or devices

3 archaic : the act of accoutring (providing with equipment or furnishings)

More commonly used plural of accoutrement


In the late 1960s his mother’s dog, Cimi, was fed cheap dog food and table scraps, and had just two accoutrements: a blanket and a leash. (Pet-ownership is booming across the world, The Economist)

Examining these heirloom fabrics has become a yearly ritual for my mother and me, a moment alone spent marveling over the handiwork, and ensuring that each garment is stored with its matching accoutrements: a choli (blouse) and petticoat. (Leah Bhabha, Something Borrowed: How I Turned a 100-Year-Old Sari Into My Wedding Veil, Vogue)

We have been turned out, for some purpose, and are standing in line with our guns and accoutrements on. (Lawrence Van Alstyne, Diary of An Enlisted Man)

Just before dark they had been close enough for us to plainly distinguish that they were green Martians, and all during the long night we distinctly heard the clanking of their accoutrements behind us. (Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars)


Mid 16th century from French, from accoutrer 'clothe, equip' (Oxford English Dictionaries)

Accoutrement and its relative 'accoutre,' a verb meaning 'to provide with equipment or furnishings' or 'to outfit,' have been appearing in English texts since the 16th century. Today both words have variant spellings - 'accouterment' and 'accouter.' Their French ancestor, accoutrer, descends from an Old French word meaning 'seam' and ultimately traces to the Latin word consuere, meaning 'to sew together.' You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that 'consuere' is also an ancestor of couture, meaning 'the business of designing fashionable custom-made women's clothing.' (Merriam-Webster)

Friday word: Presbycusis

Presbycusis (also spelled presbyacusis, from Greek presbys "old" + akousis "hearing"[1]), or age-related hearing loss, is the cumulative effect of aging on hearing.

It is a progressive and irreversible bilateral symmetrical age-related sensorineural hearing loss resulting from degeneration of the cochlea or associated structures of the inner ear or auditory nerves.
The hearing loss is most marked at higher frequencies.

Hearing loss that accumulates with age but is caused by factors other than normal aging (nosocusis and sociocusis) is not presbycusis, although differentiating the individual effects of distinct causes of hearing loss can be difficult.

(Source: Wikipedia)


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