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[ brat-is ] [ ˈbræt ɪs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


any temporary wooden fortification, especially at the top of a wall.

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More about brattice

Brattice “a temporary wooden fortification” comes by way of Old French from Medieval Latin brittisca, which appears to be a Latin adaptation of Old English Bryttisc “British” because of the assumption that this type of fortification originated in Britain. The word British—as well as the related terms Breton, Britain, Brittany, and Brythonic—comes from a lost Celtic name that Greek writers recorded variously as Brettanoí and Prettanikḗ two millennia ago. An alternative proposal is that brattice is a compound of German Brett “board” and a common Romance element derived from Latin -iscus, which forms adjectives. Brattice was first recorded in English in the early 14th century.

how is brattice used?

In the middle of the pass was a brattice in which a man always stood guard. While they were yet a good distance away, the man in the brattice saw them and shouted loudly, “Enemy approaching! Enemy approaching!”

Chretien Troyes (c. 1160–1191), Arthurian Romances, translated by William W. Kibler, 1908

A constant thunk! of bolts and shafts echoed along the brattice now; points hitting wood and stone. Her body tensed against the searing rush of Greek Fire …. The hook of a scaling ladder thumped into another brattice, further along the wall; she had a bare second to see that the men with swords and axes beginning to swarm up it were not Visigoth auxiliary troops …

Mary Gentle, Ash: A Secret History, 1998
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[ myoo-zey-shuhs ] [ myuˈzeɪ ʃəs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


of or relating to the fruit of the tropical treelike plants of the banana family, especially bananas and plantains.

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More about musaceous

Musaceous “of or relating to the fruit of the banana family” comes from New Latin Musa, the name of the genus to which bananas belong, plus the suffixes -aceae “made of, resembling” and -ous “full of.” Musa is adapted from Arabic mawzah “banana” and, before that, perhaps Sanskrit mocaḥ. One interesting proposal is that Musa ultimately comes from an unidentified language once spoken in what is now Indonesia. In contrast, the English word banana comes via Portuguese or Spanish likely from a Niger-Congo language, much like the recent Words of the Day capoeira and mbira, though the specific origin is still uncertain. Musaceous was first recorded in English in the early 1850s.

how is musaceous used?

Now there grows among all the rooms, replacing the night’s old smoke, alcohol and sweat, the fragile, musaceous odor of Breakfast: flowery, permeating, surprising, more than the color of winter sunlight … so the same assertion-through-structure allows this war morning’s banana fragrance to meander, repossess, prevail.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 1973

Q-Jo put a plantain phalanx to your lips, issued a brief, derisive chortle .… She rapped the deck with the same musaceous digit she had employed to shush you. “A crystal ball, this is not, and you damn well ought to be glad about it.”

Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, 1994
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[ uh-men-duh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ] [ əˈmɛn dəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


serving to alter, improve, or rectify; corrective.

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More about amendatory

Amendatory “serving to alter” is an Americanism based on Late Latin ēmendātōrius, with the ē- swapped out with the a- from amend. The source of all these words is the Latin verb ēmendāre “to correct,” equivalent to ē (or ex) “out of, from” plus menda “blemish, fault, mistake.” Latin menda is also the source of three English words with a broad range of senses: mend “to make usable by repairing,” mendacious “telling lies” (via Latin mendāx “lying”), and mendicant “begging” (via Latin mendīcus “needy”). Amendatory was first recorded in English in the 1780s.

how is amendatory used?

I have been considering the understanding of the question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it; and, as I have already stated, the present frame of “the Government under which we live” consists of that original, and twelve amendatory articles framed and adopted since.

Abraham Lincoln, “Cooper Union Address,” New York, New York, February 27, 1860

Mr [Pat] Quinn thinks the bill is “excessive,” so may not go all in. But the state’s finances are down to the felt, with the deficit expected to hit $11 billion. Most likely, he would tweak the bill with an “amendatory veto,” taking out the elements he dislikes.

“Las Vegas of the Midwest,” The Economist, June 16, 2011
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