26 March 2014

Vocab 3/25/14

absolve (v) -- to pronounce clear of guilt or blame

indefatigable (adj.) -- incapable or seemingly incapable of being fatigued; tireless

abject (v) -- brought low in condition or status

24 March 2014

Vocab 3/24/14

ineffable (adj.) -- incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable

intrepid (adj.) -- resolutely courageous; fearless

limpid (adj.) -- characterized by transparent clearness; pellucid

pellucid (adj.) -- admitting the passage of light; transparent or translucent: the pellucid glass pane of her train car's upper wall out of which Martha stared on the day of her arrival to Buxton

luculent (adj.) -- easily understood; clear or lucid

negligible (adj.) -- not significant or important enough to be worth considering; trifling

trifling (adj.) -- of slight worth or importance

23 March 2014

Vocab 3/23/13

agminate (adj.) -- gathered in clusters

scullion (n) -- a servant employed to do menial tasks in a kitchen

agnail (n) -- a hangnail

polyconic projection (n) -- a conic map projection having distances between meridians along every parallel equal to those distances on a globe--the central geographic meridian is a straight line, whereas the others are curved and the parallels are arcs of circles

agnate (adj.) -- related on or descended from the father's or male side

aggravate (v) -- to make worse or more troublesome; to make more of a burden
Usage Note: aggravate is incorrectly used to mean irritate or annoy; the incorrect usage has been found to exist since the 1600's. You should avoid this in formal writing. 

megalomania (n) -- a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence

aver (v) -- to assert formally as fact

fortuitous (adj.) -- happening by accident or chance

proliferate (v) -- to grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring

preen (v) -- to take pride or satisfaction in (oneself); gloat

22 March 2014

Vocab 3/22/14

mutagenesis (n) -- formation or development of a mutation

pecuniary (adj.) -- of or pertaining to money

agglutinate (v) -- to join together by causing adhesion, as with glue

akimbo (adj./adv.) -- with the hands on the hips and the elbows bowed outward

licentious (adj.) -- lacking moral discipline or sexual restraint

atrium (n) -- an open central court, esp. in ancient Roman houses

lenticular (adj.) -- shaped like a biconvex lens: the lenticular black-and-white stones resting on the intersections of Macey's old goban, game frozen in movement and time

atonic (adj.) -- not accented; pertaining to, caused by, or characterized by atony

atony (n) -- insufficient muscular tone

lycanthrope (n) -- a werewolf

21 March 2014

Vocab 3/21/14

Gorgonzola (n) -- a pungent, blue-veined, pressed Italian cheese made of cow's milk

gratuitous (adj.) -- unnecessary or unwarranted; unjustified

bemuse (v) -- to cause to be bewildered; confuse

apostrophe (n) -- a digression in discourse, esp. a turning away form an audience to address an absent or imaginary person.

discourse (n) -- verbal expression in speech or writing

anthropomorphism (n) -- the attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena

cyclothmia (n) -- a form of manic-depressive psychosis characterized by alternating periods of activity and excitement with periods of inactivity and depression

cycloid (adj.) -- resembling a circle

cuspidate (adj.) -- having a cusp

auriculate (adj.) -- having ears or earlike parts or extensions

assuage (v) -- to make less burdensome or painful; ease

Amy Wallace speaks about her brother David Foster Wallace


At moments heart-wrenching, this account of David Foster Wallace's
relationship with his sister (Amy Wallace-Havens), told by herself,
illustrates some of the more lovably goof-ball characteristics he held
to himself during his life.

20 March 2014

Vocab 3/20/14

galvanize (v) -- to stimulate or shock with an electric current

hyperbole (n) -- a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect

evince (v) -- to show or demonstrate clearly; manifest

implacable (adj.) -- impossible to placate or appease

placate (v) -- to allay the anger of, especially by making concessions; appease

pertinent (adj.) -- having logical precise relevance to the matter at hand

incisive (adj.) -- penetrating, clear, and sharp, as in operation or expression

benevolent (adj.) -- characterized by or suggestive of doing good

intrepid (adj.) -- resolutely courageous; fearless

trenchant (adj.) -- forceful, effective and vigorous: the trenchant men and women bustling together in a crowd of yellow porters, rain forming artificial eyeliner tears in their eyes, which look down from their faces as they scream at one another

enfilade (n) -- gunfire directed along the length of a target, such as a column of troops

parquetry (n) -- inlay of wood, often of different colors, that is worked into a geometric pattern or mosaic and is used especially for floors

mosaic (adj.) -- of or relating to Moses or the laws and writings attributed to him
             (n) -- a picture or decorative design made by setting small colored pieces, as of stone or tile, into a surface

19 March 2014

Vocab 3/19/14

coruscate (v) -- to give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter

vicarious (adj.) -- felt or undergone as if one were taking part in the experience or feelings of another: the vicarious feeling of death's impending presence Rupert felt in reading The Thin Red Line by James Jones

incarnate (adj.) -- invested with bodily nature and form 

usurp (v) -- to seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force or without legal authority

aphorism (n) -- a tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage

terse (adj.) -- brief and to the point; effectively concise

verboten (adj.) -- forbidden; prohibited

cathartic (adj.) -- inducing catharsis; purgative
              (n) -- an agent for purging the bowels, especially a laxative

catharsis (n) -- a purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience

17 March 2014

Vocab 3/18/14

vertiginous (adj.) -- turning about an axis; revolving or whirling

immaculate (adj.) -- impeccably clean; spotless: Martha's immaculate yellow-gray counter top

glottal (adj.) -- relating to or articulated in the glottis

glottis (n) -- the opening between the vocal cords at the upper part of the larynx

hegira (n) -- a journey especially when undertaken to escape from a dangerous or undesirable situation; exodus

spangle (n) -- a small sparkling object, drop, or spot: some harsh unfocused spangles of hard light the sun casts as it leaves you through the ebbing orange of the end of everything visible in the spatial world

ebb (v) -- to fall away or back; decline or recede

spatial (adj.) -- of, relating to, involving, or having the nature of space

chastise (v) -- to punish, as by beating

censure (n) -- an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism 
             (v) -- to criticize severely; blame  
             
dint (n) -- force or effort; power: a seismic dint of unabashed movement coming into the ankles of her feet from some innate proclivity to be rough when all around her is very gentle

seismic (adj.) -- of, subject to, or caused by an earthquake or earth vibration

unabashed (adj.) -- not disconcerted or embarrassed; poised

disconcerted (v) -- to upset the self-possession of; ruffle

proclivity (n) -- a natural propensity or inclination; predisposition

propensity (n) --  an innate inclination; a tendency

predispose (v) -- to make (someone) inclined to something in advance

Vocab 3/17/14

mutable (adj.) -- capable of or subject to change or alteration

tactile (adj.) -- perceptible to the sense of touch; tangible: ". . . a close tactile blemish-scan." (David Foster Wallace)

ascetic (adj./n) -- leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement; one who does this

beguile (v) -- to deceive by guile; delude: the beguiled entrepreneur, holding fast to his belief that everyone is backing his idea when, in fact, no one can understand it--his own greatest fear

guile (n) -- treacherous cunning; skillful deceit

flush (adv.) -- so as to be even, in one plane, or aligned with a margin

salient (adj.) -- projecting or jutting beyond a line or surface; protruding

putative (adj.) -- generally regarded as such; supposed

austere (adj.) -- severe or stern in disposition or appearance; somber and grave

crass (adj.) -- so crude and unrefined as to be lacking in discrimination and sensibility

crude (adj.) -- being in an unrefined or natural state; raw

lassitude (n) -- a state or feeling of weariness, diminished energy, or listlessness

muse (v) -- to think on reflectively

lethargy (n) -- a state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy 

16 March 2014

Jonathan Franzen Reads from The Corrections



Franzen, Wallace's friend, is talented at writing fiction so vivid it's practically edible, as the food in this passage is. The Corrections is a supposedly riveting book about a family, to cut it very short. I recently found a secondhand hardback with the Opra's Book Club insignia on it (I really would have preferred the National Book Award medal instead.), and I'll be reading it soon.

Vocab 3/16/14

portend (v) -- to serve as an omen or a warning of; presage

laissez faire (adj./n) -- noninterference in the affairs of others

oration (n) -- a formal speech, especially one given on a ceremonial occasion 


erudition (adj./n) -- deep, extensive learning; erudite


incursion (n) -- an aggressive entrance into foreign territory; a raid or invasion

appropriate (v) -- to set apart for a specific use

antipodal (adj.) -- diametrically opposed; exactly opposite: the antipodally pleasant sound of the the water crashing down on him with the strength of a Cross River gorilla

diametrically (adj.) -- of, relating to, or along a diameter

pesage (n) -- an indication or warning of a future occurrence; an omen

15 March 2014

Vocab 3/15/14

aggregate (adj.) -- constituting or amounting to a whole; total: the aggregate members of Jubal Paper Cup Co., Mindora, IN, Branch, whom the up-and-ups regard with subtle cringes in rare conversations pertaining to the small office's constituents.

antipathy (n) -- a strong feeling of aversion or repugnance

aversion (n) -- a fixed, intense dislike; the cause or object for such a feeling: Martha's aversion to cats, which was caused by a deep-seated memory of a picnic gone awry with rabid felinity

repugnance (n) -- extreme dislike or aversion

temperament (adj.) -- the manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person 

refrigerant (adj.) -- cooling or freezing; refrigerating

abrasion (n) -- the process of wearing down or rubbing away by means of friction 

felicity (n) -- great happiness; bliss

contiguous (adj.) -- touching; in contact

corporal (adj.) -- of or relating to the body

14 March 2014

Vocab 3/14/14

profundity (n) -- great depth (as of intellect, feeling, or meaning)

abstruse (adj.) -- difficult to understand; recondite

recondite (adj.) -- not easily understood

kowtow (v) -- to kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China

replete (adj.) -- abundantly supplied; abounding

magnanimous (adj.) -- courageously noble in mind and heart

rhapsody (n) -- exalted or excessively enthusiastic expression of feeling in speech or writing

formicary (n) -- a nest of ants; an anthill

oblong (adj.) -- deviating from a square, circular, or spherical form by being elongated in one direction

lillipution (adj./n) -- very small--diminutive; one who exudes this quality

diminutive (adj.) -- extremely small in size; tiny

isomorphic (adj.) -- having a similar structure or appearance but being of different ancestry

cloy (v) -- to cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet; surfeit

surfeit (v) -- to feed or supply to excess, satiety, or disgust

satiety (n) -- the condition of being full or gratified beyond the point of satisfaction

13 March 2014

David Foster Wallace - Suicide as a Sort of Present



One of the most haunting short writings of David Foster Wallace's career, located near the end of his book Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (get it, it's genius), this is him reading Suicide as a Sort of Present. Down to the final five words, it both breaks my heart and fills me with something no other writer has been able to make me feel before at the same time.

Vocab 3/13/14

anamnesis (n) -- a recalling to memory; recollection

parlance (n) --  a particular manner of speaking; idiom

parley (n/v) --  a discussion or conference, especially one between enemies over terms of truce or other matters; to take part in this

auxiliary (adj.) -- giving assistance or support; helping

autochthonous  (adj.) -- originating where found; indigenous: autochthonous flamingos of the lower Saharan river valley

convoluted (adj.) -- having numerous overlapping coils or folds; intricate or complicated

recumbent (adj.) -- lying down, especially in a position of comfort or rest; reclining

congeal (v) --  to solidify by or as if by freezing; coagulate

alible (adj.) -- having nutrients; nourishing

albescent (adj.) -- becoming white or moderately white; whitish

rubicund (adj.) -- inclined to a healthy rosiness; ruddy

desiccate (v) -- to dry out thoroughly; the desiccated coagulation of Martha's scabbing scars

commensurate (adj.) -- of the same size, extent, or duration as another

chakra (n) -- one of the seven centers of spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy

subaltern (adj.) -- lower in position or rank; secondary

askew (adj.) -- to one side; awry: the askew cuckoo-clock, whose bird leaps out lopsidedly

obsequious (adj.) -- full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning

12 March 2014

Vocab 3/12/14

subtext (n) -- the underlying or implicit meaning, as of a literary work

mitigate (v) -- to moderate (a quality or condition) in force or intensity; alleviate

effete (adj.) -- depleted of vitality, force, or effectiveness; exhausted

felicitous (adj.) --  admirably suited; apt: the random question which was not felicitous, obviously, to the forum's conversation

gingivitis (n) -- inflammation of the gums, characterized by redness and swelling, in response to bacterial biofilms (AKA plaque)

pathogenic (adj.) -- capable of causing disease

ossuary (adj.) -- a container or receptacle, such as an urn or a vault, for holding the bones of the dead

paisley (adj.) -- made of a soft wool fabric with a colorful, woven or printed and swirled pattern of abstract curved shapes; marked by this pattern

recrudesce (v) -- to break out anew or come into renewed activity, as after a period of quiescence

quiescent (adj.) -- being quiet, still, or at rest; inactive

alias (n) -- an assumed name: The Baron Montague IV was Hornsby's primal alias

poignant (adj.) -- profoundly moving; touching

itinerant (adj./n) -- traveling from place to place, especially to perform work or a duty; one who does this

pulchritudinous (adj.) -- characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal

volatile (adj.) -- tending to vary often or widely, as in price

wendigo (n) --  from Algonquian: an evil spirit or cannibal

chauvinistic (adj.) -- militant devotion to and glorification of one's country; fanatical patriotism

siriasis (n) -- sudden prostration due to exposure to the sun or excessive heat

prostrate (adj./v) --  lying face down, as in submission or adoration; to cause to do this

importunate (adj.) -- troublesomely urgent or persistent in requesting; pressingly entreating: an importunate madam in search of her lost cockatoo

11 March 2014

Don DeLillo Reads from Mao II



Here we see one of the most prosaically prolific, stylistically keen, and all around skilled authors of all time reading excerpts from his book. I feel, in reading even the shortest excerpts of modern popular fiction (some is really alright) that authors nowadays have lost the love for language and rhetoric and intentionally unique, possibly solecistic, prose formats which many before and fewer current found the bravery to render from pedantic rule and forge into something new for the sake of what the words on the page were telling beyond themselves--as a whole. Many of the authors who embellish their writings with elementary or unremittingly blunt and simple syntax, lacking sustenance of any kind, (I feel) cannot even hold a candle up to Don DeLillo or any of his literary works. He is my goal, in some manner, ultimately--he and David Foster Wallace.

Vocab 3/11/14

m├ętier (n) -- a profession or trade, esp. that to which one is well suited

antecedent (adj.) -- going before; preceding

embroil (v) -- to involve in argument, contention, or hostile actions

extemporize (v) -- to do or perform (something) without prior preparation or practice

empirical (adj.) -- relying on or derived from observation or experiment 

resplendent (adj.) -- splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant

belligerent (adj.) -- inclined or eager to fight; hostile or aggressive 

circuitous (adj.) -- being or taking a roundabout way of doing something; marked by indirection

adjunct (adj./n) -- added or connected in a subordinate or auxiliary capacity; something that does this

auxiliary (adj.) -- giving assistance or support; helping  

deference (n) -- submission or courteous yielding to the opinion, wishes, or judgment of another

10 March 2014

Vocab 3/10/14

polyphiloprogenitive (adj.) -- extremely prolific

prolific (adj.) -- producing offspring or fruit in great abundance; fertile

botheration (n) -- an exclamation of dismay or annoyance

matriarch (n) --  a woman who rules a family, clan, or tribe

larapin (adj.) -- exceptionally delicious in a home-cooked sort of way

inscrutable (adj.) -- without apparent emotion

crocus (n) -- a spring flower

A.M. (adj.) -- ante meridiem; before noon

P.M. (adj.) -- post meridiem; after noon