Archive for the ‘english’ Category

Word 300: Propitious

The invisible hand is similarly beguiling. It claims a propitious pattern for which no one is responsible, even while everyone participates.

propitious (adj) 1: presenting favorable circumstances; likely to result in or show signs of success – source: Sleight of the ‘Invisible Hand’

Word 299: Trice

When the company went out of business, Mr Fleenor bought all the test gear from Rollei of America and set up shop in Manhattan Beach, California—just 15 miles down the coast from where your correspondent resides. With camera in hand, he was round at Mr Fleenor’s repair shop in a trice.

trice (n) 1: a very short time (as the time it takes the eye to blink or the heart to beat) [syn: blink of an eye, flash, heartbeat, instant, jiffy, split second, twinkling, wink, New York minute] – source: Difference Engine: Digital disillusion

Word 298: Harum-scarum

The 1905 scene has a harum-scarum looseness and wit; the destructive action scenes in movies now are brought off with a kind of grim, faceless glee, an exultation in power and mass.

harum-scarum (adv) 1: in a wild or reckless manner (syn: pell-mell); (adj) 1: cheerfully irresponsible (syn: carefree, devil-may-care, freewheeling, happy-go-lucky, slaphappy); (n) 1: a reckless impetuous irresponsible person (syn: daredevil, madcap, hothead, swashbuckler, lunatic) – source: Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?

Word 297: Etiolate

Yacht rock was, in fact, pivotal in the etiolation of pop music in a time of cultural darkness, serving as a dialectical pole to progressive rock as well as to punk, postpunk and even proto-postpunk, spurring drastic retrenchments.

etiolate (adj) 1: (especially of plants) developed without chlorophyll by being deprived of light [syn: etiolate, etiolated, blanched] (v) 1: make weak by stunting the growth or development of 2: bleach and alter the natural development of (a green plant) by excluding sunlight 3: make pale or sickly – source: The Birth of the Uncool: Yacht Rock and Libidinal Subversion

Word 296: Emolument

But staff members look askance at the editor’s emoluments, and those of other senior managers, when their salaries are barely keeping up with inflation and, after staff reductions, mainly through voluntary redundancies, their workloads increasing.

emolument (n) 1: compensation received by virtue of holding an office or having employment (usually in the form of wages or fees) – source: Alan Rusbridger: the quiet evangelist

Word 295: Vigorish

Apple demanded a 30 percent vigorish on all single-copy sales through its iTunes store. Profit margins in single-copy sales are thinner than 30 percent; publishers were thus paying Apple to move issues.

vigorish (n) 1: an exorbitant or unlawful rate of interest [syn: usury] 2: a percentage (of winnings or loot or profit) taken by an operator or gangster [syn: rake-off] – source: Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps

Word 294: Oleaginous

Instead, the dropped names of artists, aristocrats, writers and fashion designers ooze from the pages in a great oleaginous gloop of reflected glory.

oleaginous (adj) 1: unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech [syn: buttery, fulsome, oily, smarmy, unctuous] 2: containing an unusual amount of grease or oil [syn: greasy, oily, sebaceous] – source: Letters from Bruce Chatwin

Word 293: Bivouac

He is frequently the victim of faulty wiring in the hotels in which we bivouac; a surprising number of times this phenomenon has caused fires.

bivouac (n) 1: temporary living quarters specially built by the army for soldiers [syn: camp, encampment, cantonment] 2: a site where people on holiday can pitch a tent [syn: campsite, campground, camping site, camping ground, encampment, camping area] – source: Please Allow Me To Correct a Few Things

Word 292: Priapic

We didn’t know better; we were priapic jackals ourselves, fucking even one another’s girlfriends if they got left, as it were, unattended.

priapic (adj) 1: overly concerned with masculinity and male sexuality; 2: resembling or being a phallus [syn: phallic] – source: Please Allow Me To Correct a Few Things


I’m still experiencing NYC aftershocks.

First of all there’s the jetlag, which is worse than the last time. I keep waking up at 3–4 AM, try to talk in English with my girlfriend and have trouble separating dreams from reality. Not exactly nightmares, but a loss of bearings.

Then there’s the more positive side – an afterglow, if you like.

It’s what happens when you get used to a city of eight million people. I feel invicible, like nothing in Helsinki could hurt me. Everything’s so small and peaceful. I know I can communicate with these people, I know how to act. It’s like living abroad has granted me superpowers.

Don’t know how long that one will last. Hopefully longer than the English dreams.