characterized by melodious language, clarity, and forcefulness of presentation, as in the style of Cicero: Ciceronian invective.
The adjective Ciceronian comes from Latin Cicerōniānus “pertaining to Cicero,” an adjective coined by the Stoic author and philosopher Seneca. The Roman orator, statesman, and man of letters Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 b.c.) made Roman oratory the equal of Greek, especially of Demosthenes, the last great Athenian orator, as Greek rhetoricians themselves admitted. Ancient critics said of the styles of Demosthenes and Cicero that Demosthenes was so lean and spare that nothing could be taken away, that Cicero was so full and ample that nothing could be added. For as long as Latin was the chief cultural language of Western civilization (up to the 18th or 19th century), Cicero in prose (like Vergil in poetry) was held up as a model to be imitated or an idol to be cast down. There are still several million former teenagers who after a martini or two can recite from memory the opening sentence of Cicero’s First Oration Against Catiline from their junior year in high school: Quō ūsque tandem abūtēre, Catilīna, patientiā nostrā? (“How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?”) Ciceronian entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
… those who could not follow her reasoning were nonetheless able to enjoy her Ciceronian eloquence. “She spoke like an angel,” one of the Frenchmen commented.
Its rhetoric was powerful, even Ciceronian, I thought, with the grand sweep of its opening line: “Great triumphs and great tragedies can redirect the course of a people’s destiny.”
contained in or carried on by letters: an epistolary friendship.
English epistolary comes from the Latin adjective epistulāris (also epistolāris), a derivative of the noun epistula (epistola) “a letter, a dispatch, a written communication, an epistle (as in the New Testament).” Epistula comes from Greek epistolḗ, which has the same meanings. An epistolary novel is one that is composed in a series of documents, usually (private) letters, but also diary entries, newspaper articles, and other documents. Such novels were especially popular in the 18th century, e.g., in England, Pamela by Samuel Richardson (1740); in France, Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (1782); and in Germany, The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774). Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel Dracula, published in 1897, and continuously in print ever since, has attained a kind of immortality. Epistolary entered English in the 17th century.
Her imaginative epistolary novel opens with Johanna’s engagement to Theo in 1888 and winds its way through the avant-garde Paris art scene ….
Their disagreement lay dormant for nearly two decades, during which time their epistolary friendship flourished ….
verb (used with object)
to perform hastily or carelessly.
Slubber is an older, infrequent verb that means “to perform (something) hastily or carelessly.” Earlier senses include “to smear; smudge” and “to sully (a reputation, etc.).” Slubber comes from Low German slubbern “to do work carelessly” and appears to be related to slabber and the more familiar slobber “to let saliva run from the mouth,” with an earlier sense of “to eat in a hasty, messy manner”—an unfastidious trio of terms forming one “sloppy” family. Slubber entered English in the early 1500s.
Slubber not business for my sake, Bassanio …
It must be “slubber’d o’er in haste,”—its important preliminaries left to the cold imagination of the reader—its fine spirit perhaps evaporating for want to being embodied in words.
the Japanese art of arranging flowers.
Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, comes from the Japanese verb ikeru “to keep alive, make alive, arrange” and –bana, a variant used as a combining form of hana “flower.” Ikebana dates to the 6th century when offerings of flowers were placed at altars; later, flowers were also displayed in tokonomas (alcoves in private homes). Ikebana entered English at the beginning of the 20th century.
… were you to consider the philosophy at the core of ikebana, grounded as it is in Japan’s ancient polytheism and its Buddhist traditions, you might find something quite relevant to the times we live in: an art that can expand your appreciation of beauty.
One must surpass and transcend concepts of traditional use and discover a “new face” in the material, and this “new face” is the primary focus of contemporary ikebana.
to cherish; foster.
The verb embosom “to cherish, foster,” is a compound formed from the prefix em– meaning “to make (someone or something) be in (a place or condition),” a borrowing from Old French, from Latin in-, and the noun bosom (the variant imbosom is formed directly from the Latin prefix in-). Bosom comes from Old English bósm and has certain relatives only within Germanic, e.g., Old Frisian bósm, Old Saxon bósom, Old High German buosam, German Busen. The verb is poetic and rare, first appearing in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590).
The more thoroughly she is recognized in any University, and made to embosom the minds trained in it, interpenetrating with her Divine force all resources of Science, the more will she make that, in no common-place sense but truly, royally, the cherished mother of its students.
When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty.
extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted: the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.
The adjective rarefied “elevated, lofty, exalted,” only first appears in this sense in English in the second half of the 17th century. In origin, rarefied is the past participle of the Middle English verb rarefien “to reduce the density of, thin, soften,” first recorded at the end of the 14th century. Rarefien comes from Old French rarefier, from Medieval Latin rārēficāre, from Latin rārēfacere “to make less solid, rarefy,” a Latin technical term occurring first and only in Lucretius’s Dē Rērum Nātūrā, a long Epicurean didactic poem aimed at freeing human beings from the scourge of superstition, religion, and the fear of death.
The country gentry of old time lived in a rarefied social air: dotted apart on their stations up the mountain they looked down with imperfect discrimination on the belts of thicker life below.
In his 30s, breathing rarefied air, Mr. Coppola made two decisions that changed his career’s trajectory.
Chirography, an expensive word for “handwriting, penmanship,” comes from Greek cheirogaphía “written report, testimony in writing.” The first element, cheiro-, is a combining form of the noun cheír “hand,” which has many dialect forms (chérs, chḗr, chérr-). Cheír comes from the uncommon Proto-Indo-European root ghesor-, ghesr– “hand,” the source of Hittite kessar, Armenian jeṙ-, and Tocharian tsar, all meaning “hand.” The combining form –graphy, naturalized in English, is a derivative of the verb gráphein “to write,” from a Proto-Indo-European root ghrebh-, ghrobh– “to scratch, dig, bury,” the source of English grave (burial place), grub (to dig), and groove. Chirography entered English in the 17th century.
Miss Kate S. Chittenden’s hand is bold, fearless, and masculine, and there are decided indications that her temperament resembles her chirography in these respects.
“Three hours of hand-shaking is not calculated to improve a man’s chirography,” he [Lincoln] said later that evening.