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secret, underhanded, or scandalous: backstairs gossip.
Backstairs was first recorded in 1635-45. It’s the adjectival extension of the noun back stairs.
I say to Lord Hartington before you all, not by any backstairs intrigue and not by any secret negotiations, but in the face of this great meeting held in this great town and before all of England … “Come over and help us!”
He would never believe it–it was a nasty piece of backstairs gossip!
clear in meaning, expression, or style: a pellucid way of writing.
English pellucid comes from the Latin adjective pellūcidus (the usual Latin spelling is perlūcidus) “very clear, transparent.” The Latin adjective lūcidus is thoroughly naturalized in English lucid, but the Latin prefix and preposition per- is worth explanation. In Latin per- is used to intensify adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, e.g., perbonus “very good, excellent,” perbrevis “very short,” perbene “very well,” perbellē “very charmingly,” and percelebrāre “to make thoroughly known.” The Greek prefix and preposition perí- serves the same purpose, as in Periklês (c495-429 b.c.), the Athenian statesman, from the adjective perikleês “very famous.” Pellucid entered English in the 17th century.
His art is highly complex, but its expression is so pellucid, so simple, that we can see only its body, never the mechanism of its body.
Trump’s ramblings about Vladimir Putin were positively pellucid in their clarity compared with his March 29 comments on the U.S.-South Korea trade deal …
to prepare (a house, car, etc.) so as to counteract the hot weather of summer: to summerize a house by adding air conditioning.
In the late 18th century, summerize meant “to spend the summer,” a sense rarely used nowadays. In the mid-19th century in the U.S. in colloquial usage, summerize acquired its usual meaning “to prepare for summer.”
Swap out the stiff white shirt for button-downs in mellower colors. “If you’re in finance, it’s hard to make a big fashion statement, but this is a good way to summerize your wardrobe,” says Coats.
The spark plugs don’t need to be changed for three years, and the motor can “summerize” itself by fogging the cylinders with oil when you put your machine away in the spring.
Biology. oriented growth of an organism in response to mechanical contact, as a plant tendril coiling around a string support.
Thigmotropism is a very rare word, restricted to biology, especially botany. All three of the components of the word come from Greek: thígma means “a touch”; trópos and tropḗ are both nouns meaning “a turning, turn”; and -ism comes from the Greek suffixes -ismós, isma, used to form nouns denoting the result of an action. Thigmotropism entered English in the early 20th century.
When touch is the stimulus, the response is thigmotropism. Positive thigmotropism occurs when a tendril touches an object and, by growing toward it, wraps around it.
Thigmotropism is what makes a vine curl around a stake or an epiphyte cling to a branch in the wild.
a connoisseur or lover of cheese.
Turophile a rare word not only in meaning but also in its spelling. The combining form -phile is very common in English, but the combining form turo- is unique: it comes from the Greek noun tȳrós, which is nearly always Romanized as tyro-, as in the technical term tyrosine (an amino acid). Tȳrós comes from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root tēu, tewe, teu, tū “to swell, coagulate, be or become thick”: for the Greeks cheese was “thickened milk.” The Latin word būtȳrum “butter” is a borrowing from Greek boútyron “butter,” literally “cow cheese.” Būtȳrum “butter” was adopted by the West Germanic languages, e.g., Old English butere, English butter, Dutch boter, Old High German butera, and German Butter. Turophile entered English in the 20th century.
For any New York turophile … there is irritation, frustration and dismay when visiting most of the town’s restaurants whether grand luxe or bistro. The cheeses, if available at all, are more often than not overripe or underaged, too cold or too few …
… as any turophile knows, microbes are the source of cheese’s vast diversity of flavors, textures, and smells.
a person who goes on a trip, especially an excursion, lasting all or part of a day but not overnight.
Day-tripper has been used in English since the mid-1800s.
… he seized on the word as if it might somehow help to plug him into German culture, rather like a day-tripper to Boulogne trying to convince himself that he has explored France.
Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book.
a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence: a paragon of virtue.
The English noun paragon comes from Middle French, from Old Italian paragone “touch stone,” a derivative of the verb paragonare “to test on a touchstone or whetstone.” The Italian words perhaps derive from Greek parakonân “to sharpen, whet,” formed from the prefix and preposition para-“beside, alongside” and akonân “to sharpen, whet,” a derivative of akónē “whetstone, bone.” Paragon entered English in the mid-16th century.
As that paragon of fatherhood Homer Simpson once told his brood, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family.”
He has variously been considered a military icon who won a total victory; a presidential model for overcoming his own considerable flaws and a tragic weakness for scoundrels to achieve fame and glory; a literary phenomenon who crafted the most famous deathbed writing in American letters; and a celebrity who was a paragon of humility and modesty.