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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Euphemism   Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:17 pm

Word of the Day: Euphemism


Euphemism (yū’fə-mĭz’əm) is a polite or agreeable word that is used to replace a possibly offensive or harsh one. It can also refer to a word or expression that under estimates the real state of things.


"But after the September 11th attacks, its Self-Defence Forces (SDF is a euphemism for its armed forces that gets round its pacifist-sounding constitution) have been deployed in much more determined fashion." (The Economist)


"The British have some rather wonderful euphemisms. Try “one sandwich short of a picnic” for “crazy” or “NQOCD” instead of “not quite our class dear.” And how about “sugar on your strawberries,” meaning that senility may be just around the corner?" (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day - Noisome   Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:49 pm

Word of the day - Noisome

\NOY-sum\DEFINITIONadjective

1: noxious, harmful
2a : offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell b : highly obnoxious or objectionable
EXAMPLES"The streets were narrow and very dirty, the air smoky and noisome, the people mostly wretched." — From Ken Follett's 1982 novel The Man From St. Petersburg

"The old photo shows the project in its last stages, when there remained nothing much but some noisome mud and a 20- to 30-foot spillway…." — From a photo caption on Providence Journal's Time Lapse blog, August 9, 2013
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Boggle   Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:27 pm

Word of the Day: Boggle


Boggle (bŏg’əl) means to hesitate or shy away. It can also refer to a situation where something is overcome by fright or astonishment; hence why people say “it boggles the mind.”


"Aside from the equivalence between abortion and Nazi death camps, the idea that Roe v. Wade is responsible for immigration — the mind boggles." (NY Times)


"IBM and a Swiss team are undertaking a project that will boggle the mind, literally. The teams plan on creating the world’s first computer-based model of the human brain, an effort that will require a supercomputer capable of functioning at more than one teraflop." (USA Today)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Teraflop   Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:28 am

Word of the Day: Teraflop


The word teraflop combines tera, which is a prefix from the International System of Units used to denote one trilion (1,000,000,000,000), with flop, which is an acronym of Floating Point Operations Per Second.

You can make an analogy with the number of instructions per second that can be handled. Flops are mainly used to measure the performance of supercomputers. IBM’s BlueGene/P, one of the fastest in the world, is capable of processing over 1,000 teraflops.


"IBM’s prototype was benchmarked at 70.72 trillion calculations per second, or teraflops, using the Linpack benchmark, which puts the system through a series of mathematical calculations." (PC Woirld in 2005)


"To get to a teraflop it will be necessary to harness tens of thousands of microprocessor chips in parallel into a reliable supercomputer and to add a phenomenal amount of memory." (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fuzzy   Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:50 am

Word of the Day: Fuzzy


Fuzzy (fŭz’ē) is an adjective. While it can also mean covered with fuzz, it is more widely used to indicate something that is not clear, confused or not coherent.

"The fuzzy logic, for example, is a branch of mathematics that deals with computational representation of inexact values."


Yet innovation remains a frustratingly fuzzy notion." (The Econmist)


"With its pigment black ink, the X7170 printed dark text, but characters appeared fuzzy, as if they were casting shadows." (PC World)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dislodge   Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:33 pm

Word of the Day: Dislodge


Dislodge (dĭs-lŏj’) means to remove someone or something from a previously occupied position. You could put your feet on the table, for instance, dislodging the papers that were present there.


"Republicans agreed Thursday to let Democrats push debates on overtime pay and other economic priorities in an effort to dislodge a stalled tax cut for American manufacturers." (USA Today)


"Robert Green is ready to resume his quest to dislodge Paul Robinson as England’s first-choice goalkeeper." (The Guardian)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Egalitarian   Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:34 pm

Word of the Day: Egalitarian

Egalitarian (ĭ-găl’ĭ-târ’ē-ən) refers to systems or societies where people are treated equally and have the same political, civil, economic and social rights. The word comes from the French égalité, which means equality.


"Japan is one of the most egalitarian of the world’s rich societies, yet it now has one of the largest shares of “working poor”—people who have jobs but can barely make ends meet." (The Economist)


"It is egalitarian to put anyone who can float in a swimming gala, but it is not fair to those who can swim and want to compete." (Daily Mail)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Effusive   Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:21 pm

Word of the Day: Effusive


Effusive (ĭ-fyū’sĭv) is an adjective used to describe someone expressing his emotions excessively or enthusiastically. Such emotions could be gratitude, approval, praise, pleasure and so on. The opposite of effusive is restrained.


"Some would dismiss Mr. McGreevey’s ever-effusive enthusiasm as political self-promotion." (NY Times)


"Front-running Democrat Hillary Clinton, a New York senator seeking to be the first female president, won an effusive welcome at a mainly black Baptist church in snowy Waterloo, Iowa." (Reuters)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Knack   Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:56 pm

Word of the Day: Knack

A knack (năk) is a specific talent or ability. It can refer both to natural and acquired capabilities. Some dictionaries also propose that a knack usually is a talent “difficult to explain or teach.”


"She’s an irreverent columnist with a knack for getting people off the couch and into the gym." (Washington Post)


"The FA Cup still has that wonderful knack of planting a custard pie in the faces of the big clubs, but rarely can a team have tripped so spectacularly over its own ego as Manchester City at Bramall Lane." (Daily Mail)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Anachronism   Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:44 pm

Word of the Day: Anachronism


Anachronism (ə-năk’rə-nĭz’əm) is the placing of a person or thing out of its natural chronological or historical time. Putting a written book in a prehistoric movie, therefore, would be considered an anachronism. Notice that in poetry and other arts anachronisms can appear both deliberately and accidentally.


"The filibuster, which seems more and more an anachronism in the age of television, grew out of the practice of virtually unlimited debate that early members of Congress designed to prevent majorities from silencing minority voices." (NY Times)


"At a party once I was quite fiercely attacked by a don’s wife on the theme of “the women’s page is an anachronism.”" (The Guardian)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Stigma   Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:42 am

Word of the Day: Stigma

Stigma (stĭg’mə) is a scar or mark. Often times said mark has a negative connotation, as in a mark of disgrace and infamy. In ancient times, for instance, slaves and criminals used to get stigmas marked on their skins with burning iron. The plural of this noun can also be stigmata.


"Overweight children are stigmatized by their peers as early as age 3 and even face bias from their parents and teachers, giving them a quality of life comparable to people with cancer, a new analysis concludes." (USA Today)


"Web companies have shaken off the stigma associated with the Nasdaq crash of 2000 and are attracting big buyers from both the on- and offline worlds." (Business Week)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Flabbergast   Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:37 am

Word of the Day: Flabbergast


Flabbergast (flăb’ər-găst’) means to overwhelm with wonder or surprise. If you are flabbergasted, you are astonished with something.


"I’m flabbergasted — never has my flabber been so gasted!" (Frankie Howerd)


"You, too, can make turkey chops at home and flabbergast your guests, but first you have some obstacles to overcome." (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Zeitgeist   Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:13 pm

Word of the Day: Zeitgeist


Zeitgeist is a German term that means “spirit of the time.” It is commonly used to illustrate the trends and characteristics of a period or generation. Google, for instance, releases monthly and annual reports with the most popular search queries, and they call those reports Google Zeitgeist.


"“In France and Germany the cultural zeitgeist seems to be moving towards healthier lifestyles and away from alcohol consumption,” said Hanna Kivimaki, a senior consumer analyst at Mintel." (Telegraph.co.uk)


"The era’s scribbling classes promptly realized that to praise the dead consort was to celebrate the living one, and duly spilled copious amounts of ink in lauding Marie Antoinette’s hyper-decorated, rococo femininity — so fundamental to the Eugénie persona — as a prime cultural virtue. Once again, the queen’s posthumous rehabilitation both reflected and shaped the zeitgeist." (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Uncanny   Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:07 pm

Word of the Day: Uncanny


Uncanny (ŭn-kăn’ē) is an adjective used to describe things that are strange and disturbing, to the point that they appear to have a supernatural origin. One informal synonym is spooky.


"Spinoza was uncanny, both personally and philosophically. He wore a signet ring reminding him to be cautious, in contrast to the flamboyant Shelley, whose own ring proclaimed that the good time would come." (NY Times)


"Apple is at it again — making TV ads that bear an uncanny resemblance to music videos." (Wired.com)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gothic   Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:06 pm

Word of the Day: Gothic


Gothic (gŏth’ĭk) is an adjective with several meanings. First of all it used to describe things related to the Goths, or things that have a Germanic origin. Some people broadened this definition to encompass anything related to the Middle Ages. Finally, Gothic can also be related to a very specific architectural style that was present in Western Europe until the 15th century.


"The graphics flit between cheerfully normal school backdrops to the unnerving fountains of blood and gothic masks, keeping you on edge and constantly awaiting the next horror." (USA Today)


"There are many meanings of the term “gothic”. To some, it might refer to the novels of Mary Shelley or the rather less demanding oeuvre of Anne Rice." (The Telegraph)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Paramour   Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:32 pm


Word of the Day: Paramour

Paramour (păr’ə-mʊr’) is sometimes used as simply a synonym for “lover,” but it usually carries the connotation of an illicit lover, “one taking the place without the legal rights of a husband or wife.”


"The locale [of The Kiss Before the Mirror] is Vienna, and in an opening scene Lucie, wife of Dr. Walter Bernsdorf, is perceived stealing through a garden on her way to her paramour’s abode." (New York Times)


"Tila Tequila blames the media and her paramour’s interest in self-promotion for her breakup, and says she was much more guarded during her second “Shot at Love” on MTV." (Associated Press)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Avatar   Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:23 pm

Word of the Day: Avatar


Avatar [ă'vətär'] is a religious term that signifies a deity that has taken an earthly form. For example, Krishna is an avatar of the god Vishnu. In popular Western culture, the word has come to have secular meanings: 1. another version of someone or something; 2. an icon representing an Internet screen identity; 3. a person who symbolizes something.


"And it is with the Karen that Rambo, once roused from his weary cynicism, throws in his lot. No longer the bloody avatar of wounded American pride, he seems more inclined toward humanitarian intervention — a one-man N.G.O. with a machete. Will he show up in Darfur next?" (NY Times)


"A player — or resident, in Second Life parlance — navigates this space through an avatar, a digital persona whose features can be adjusted to suit almost any whim (pointy chin, neon-green irises, the thick and full head of hair I remember having for a split-second in 11th grade)." (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fundamentalism   Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:34 am

Word of the Day: Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism (fŭn’də-mĕn’tl-ĭz’əm) in a religious sense is an effort to return to “fundamentals,” or founding principles. It was first applied in the early 20th century to an American militant conservative Protestant movement that rejected the new science of textual criticism, insisting instead upon a literal interpretation of the Bible. The term is now used to describe anti-modernist elements in any religion.


"In the first statement of principles in its 143-year history, the Conservative movement of Judaism resoundingly rejects fundamentalism – be it Christian, Moslem or Jewish – and steers a moderate course that favors loyalty to tradition ”without resigning from the 20th century.”" (New York Times)


"What is usually called “Hindu fundamentalism” in India has been influenced more by nationalism than by religion, in part because Hinduism does not have a specific sacred text to which conformity can be demanded." (Encyclopedia Britannica)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Abyss   Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:35 am



Word of the Day: Abyss


An abyss [ə-bĭs'] is a deep hole, so deep as to seem bottomless. “The Abyss” refers to the infernal regions that include the abode of the dead, the home of evil powers, and the place of punishment of the wicked. The adjective is abysmal.


"If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


"“We must be getting close,” Ms. Wicks said, tying into an anchor at the top of the 11th pitch. A dizzying abyss, wide and windy, expanded out, up, down and side to side from the climbers’ stance." (NY Times)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Apocalypse   Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:42 am

Word of the Day: Apocalypse


Apocalypse [ə-pŏk'ə-lĭps'], with the definite article, means “the end of the world.” Apocalyptic writings–prophecies of the end of the world couched in symbolic language–were a popular genre with Jewish and early Christian writers between 200 B.C.E. and C.E. 150. The best known is the Revelation of St. John in the Christian New Testament.


"“Apocalyptic [themes] emphasize a certain sense of futility and human frailty in response to forces seeming supernatural or otherwise out of human control,” says John Grayson Nichols, director of film studies at Christopher Newport University in Newport, Va." (Chicago Tribune)



"Many historians trace the apocalyptic world view back to the Persian prophet Zoroaster, who spoke of a cosmic battle between good and evil ending in a new, perfect world for humanity. The Zoroastrian tradition survives today in Iran and as the basis of Parsiism in India." (pbs.org)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bankruptcy   Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:22 pm

Word of the Day: Bankruptcy


Bankruptcy (băngk’rŭpt’si) in a financial sense means a state of being unable to pay one’s debts. There are two kinds: liquidation, in which the debts are wiped out or discharged, and reorganization, in which the debtor provides the court with a plan for repayment. Figuratively, bankruptcy can mean a lack of some non-material value, such as “moral bankruptcy.” The adjective is bankrupt.


"A $32 billion segment of Canada’s debt market was placed under bankruptcy protection on Monday after a committee established to restructure the troubled debt missed a settlement deadline." (New York Times)


"Last week Medievalist Cram’s good New England name was in the news as the most noteworthy of 29 signed to a declaration that “Protestantism, once the religion of by far the greater part of the American people, is bankrupt ethically, culturally, morally and religiously. Its driving force, negative at best, has exhausted itself, and it has ceased to attract or to inspire." (Time)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bombast   Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:52 pm

Word of the Day: Bombast

Bombast (bŏm’băst’) means loud-mouthed, inflated speech. Bombast was cotton stuffing used to pad some types of clothing. The adjective is bombastic.


"No, really – rent it [V or Vendetta] tonight, adjust your mental filter so you’re expecting a parody of bombastic posturing guff, and I guarantee you’ll be roaring with laughter at least eight times." (The Guardian)


"“300” is about as violent as “Apocalypto” and twice as stupid. Adapted from a graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, it offers up a bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal, rendered in images that might have been airbrushed onto a customized van sometime in the late 1970s." (NY Times)
]
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bourgeois   Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:08 pm

Word of the Day: Bourgeois


Bourgeois (bʊr-zhwä’) is an adjective that refers to people who own property. The collective noun for such people is bourgeoisie. In the terminology of economics, the bourgeoisie is the opposite of the proletariat which is made up of the laboring class. In popular usage bourgeois describes a conservative attitude towards life that values conformity to the status quo.


"We are all intrinsically fascinated by property. John Galsworthy’s The Man of Property, the first installment of The Forsyte Saga, recognised property as the sine qua non of the true bourgeois." (The Australian)


"Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their involuntary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." (Karl Marx)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bromide   Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:35 pm

Word of the Day: Bromide


Bromide (brō’mīd’), a compound of bromine, is a sedative. Used figuratively it can mean a dull person or a trite saying.


"Yes, I said, I now realized that CBS had a duty not to disturb the public blandness. ”What I don’t understand, though, is why CBS News tells everybody it’s in the news business,” I said. ”The business of the news business is irritating people. And yet CBS muzzles Rooney because he irritated people. CBS seems to think its real business is not news, but providing the public with a warm bath and a bromide.”"


"The sign in Jon Tenuta’s office reads “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish as long as he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” Notre Dame will test that bromide this season." (Chicago Tribune)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dystopian   Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:49 am

Word of the Day: Dystopian


Dystopian [dĭs-tō'pē-ən] (or dystopic) is the adjective form of dystopia, a place in which people live in misery. It derives from the literary invention of Utopia, an imaginary place in which human misery has been eliminated. The terms are common in film criticism.


"The end is nigh in Children of Men, the superbly directed political thriller by Alfonso Cuarón about a nervously plausible future. Based in broad outline on the 1992 dystopian novel by P. D. James about a world suffering from global infertility, the film pictures a world that looks a lot like our own, but darker, grimmer and more frighteningly, violently precarious." (New York Times)


“Fictional dystopias are almost always cautionary tales – warnings of where our political, cultural and social surroundings are taking us. The novels here all share common motifs: designer drugs, mass entertainment, brutality, technology, the suppression of the individual by an all-powerful state – classic preoccupations of dystopian fiction. These novels picture the worst because, as Swift demonstrated in his original cautionary tale, Gulliver’s Travels, re-inventing the present is sometimes the only way to see how bad things already are.” (The Guardian guardian.co.uk)
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