Yes, this is long overdue…


[lahy-sen-shuh s]


1. sexually unrestrained; lascivious; libertine; lewd.

2. unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.

3. going beyond customary or proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules.


[free-sohn; French free-sawn]

noun, plural frissons

[free-sohnz; French free-sawn]

1. a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill:

The movie offers the viewer the occasional frisson of seeing a character in mortal danger.


[joo-vuh-nes-uh nt]


1. being or becoming youthful; young.

2. young in appearance.

3. having the power to make young or youthful:

a juvenescent elixir.

The thought of spring, when it did come, gave to Miss Freeling the same sort of halcyon, salutatory, juvenescent feeling that Richard had, and this made them seem like old friends.

— Sylvester Judd, Richard Edney and the Governor’s Family , 1850


Juvenescent is related to the word juvenile. It is from the Latin present participle of juvenēscere which meant “to become youthful.”




1. a person with a strong or irresistible propensity for fantasizing, lying, or exaggerating.


2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a mythomane.

“Having lived with a mythomane ,” she wrote, “I know they believe everything they say; they are not conscious liars, they invent to increase everything about themselves and their lives and believe it.”
— Nicholas Shakespeare, “A Life Less Ordinary,” Granta , 1998,


[rey-ahl-poh-li-teek, ree-]


1. political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals.

Alas, when one advances blindly across the boggy ground of realpolitik , when pragmatism takes up the baton and conducts the orchestra, ignoring what is written in the score, you can be pretty sure that, as the imperative logic of dishonor will show, there are still, after all, a few more steps to descend.

— José Saramago, Death with Interruptions , 2005


Realpolitik comes directly from the German word of the same spelling which means “politics of realism.” It emerged in English in the 1910s.


[ig-zig-yoo-uh s, ik-sig-]


1. scanty; meager; small; slender:

His exiguous nautical pension is hardly enough to pay for the one cockroach infested room which he inhabits in the slum area behind Tatwig Street…

— Lawrence Durrell, Justine , 1957


Exiguous is related to the term exigent and comes from the Latin word exiguus  meaning “scanty in measure or number.”



verb (used with object)
1. to confine in retirement; seclude.


1. a covered walk,especially in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade usually opening onto a courtyard.

2. a place of religious seclusion, as a monastery or convent.

3. any quiet, secluded place.


[thoh-nee-uh n]

adjective, Classical Mythology

1. of or relating to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.

Perhaps the smell of blood, dark and chthonian , at the precisemomentthat the bird screamed, awakened somethingdeepandintrinsic in what remained of Pan’s consciousness.

— Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume , 1984


Chthonian entered English in the 1840s from the Greek word chthṓn meaning “earth.”


[beyl-fuh l]


1. full of menacing or malign influences; pernicious.

2. Obsolete. wretched; miserable.

A few looked up to shoot quick baleful  glances at Padillo.

— Ross Thomas, Twilight at Mac’s Place , 1990


Baleful stems from the Old English word bealu-full meaning”dire, wicked, cruel.”


[krip-tuh s-thee-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh]

noun, Psychology

1. allegedly paranormal perception, as clairvoyance or clairaudience.

Some experts attribute the jerking of the rod to cryptesthesia , some to divine or devilish inspiration, others to unconscious muscular activity, “sympathy,” they call it, between the diviner and the object.

— Michael Knight, Divining Rod , 2010


Coined in the 1920s, cryptesthesia is a combination of crypt(o)- , meaning “hidden,” and esthesia referring to “capacity for sensation or feeling.”


[œ-vruh] French

noun, plural oeuvres

1. the works of a writer, painter, or the like, taken as a whole.

2. any one of the works of a writer, painter, or the like.

I am very fond of our body of work together, our oeuvre , even though logging 24-hour days for years on end for a band is not the easiest way to lead a life that could have been very creative in its own right.

— Ian Faith, interviewed by Chick Hadrian, “Spinal Tap: The Unauthorized Sequel,” Spy , July/August, 1992


Oeuvre comes to English by way of French and can ultimately be traced to the Latin word for “work,” opus . It entered English in the late 1800s.




1. a person who sees the gloomy side of things; pessimist.

Ordinarily Encore would have suggested, with amiable malice, that Gottlieb was a “crapehanger” who wasted time destroying the theories of other men instead ofmakingnewonesofhisown.

— Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith , 1925


Crapehanger is an Americanism with roots in the custom of hanging crepe paper as a sign of mourning. It came into popular usage in the1920s.

[uh-pok-ruh-fuh l]


1. of doubtful authorship or authenticity.

2. false; spurious:

He told an apocryphal story about the sword, but the truth was later revealed.

his dialogue is fictitious, apocryphal , and libellous, and also deeply immoral, it respects neither throne nor altar…

— José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero, Baltasar and Blimunda , 1987


[pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh s]


1. lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.

2. proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.

…in the intervals of their debauches of brutality they are oily and ingratiating, make favorites, offer pusillanimous apologies, protest humane intentions ,and allege absurd excuses for past outages.

— Julian Hawthorne, The Subterranean Brotherhood , 1914


Pusillanimous is derived from the Latin words pusillis meaning “small” and animus meaning “spirit.” It entered English in the late1500s.


[nos-tuh-mey-nee-uh, -meyn-yuh]


1. intense homesickness; an irresistible compulsion to return home.

The nostomania of Odysseus arose from a yearning for what he already knew, already possessed.

— Eric Ormsby, “The Dark Regime of Paradise,” David Solway: Essays on His Works , edited by Carmine Starnino, 2001


Nostomania shares a root with the word nostalgia in the Greek term nóstos , whichmeans “a return home.” It entered English in the mid-1800s.


[pab-yuh-luh m]


1. something that nourishes an animal or vegetable organism; food; nutriment.

2. material for intellectual nourishment.

He had two papers to provide for; papers diverse in character, papers published a hundred and fifty miles apart, papers to which expectant thousands looked for their weekly supply of mental pabulum .

— James Parton, The Life of Horace Greeley , 1868


Pabulum is derived from the Latin verb pāscere meaning “to feed.” The suffix -bulum is used in formation of instrumental nouns. Pabulum entered English in the mid-1600s.


[hoo t-spuh, khoo t-]

noun, Slang.

1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.

2. audacity; nerve.

That’s chutzpa ,” Levy said admiringly, “pure, unadulterated chutzpa .” “What’s chutzpa ?” “Yiddish for gall, nerve, arrogance—whatever…”

— Howard Fast, The Immigrants , 1977


Chutzpa came to English from Yiddish in the 1890s.




1. relationship by descent from a common ancestor; kinship (distinguished from affinity ).

2. close relationship or connection.

Simply there was Rip, perfectly amiable, soft hat, some sort of Government credentials; there was also a lanky whey-faced youth of 16, presence unexplained save by consanguinity .

— Ezra Pound, Indiscretions, or Une Revue de Deux Mondes , 1923


Consanguinity came to English in the 1300s. It is derived from Latin word sanguis meaning “blood.”


[koj-i-tey-shuh n]


1. concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation:

After hours of cogitation he came up with a new proposal.

2. the faculty of thinking:

She was a serious student and had a great power of cogitation.

3. a thought; design or plan:
to jot down one’s cogitations.

How could I suggest anything, do you think I know what I have in mind, the captain responded whimsically after long cogitation, shaking his head for emphasis.

— Péter Nádas, translated by Imre Goldstein, Parallel Stories , 2011


Cogitation is derived from the Middle English word cogitaciun . The suffix -ion denotes action or conditions, as in opinion .