subject to being revised, improved, or made more accurate: a corrigible theory.
It is curious that corrigible “subject to being revised, improved, or made more accurate” is much less common than its opposite, incorrigible. Corrigible ultimately comes from Medieval Latin corrigiblis, a derivative of Latin corrigere “to correct, amend, improve, rectify.” Corrigibilis does not occur in classical Latin, but incorrigibilis occurs in Seneca, the first-century a.d. Roman philosopher and man of letters. Corrigible entered English in the 15th century.
First, policy decisions demand closure, conclusiveness, and certainty. By contrast, science is by its nature cautious, contingent, and corrigible.
He cautioned against a colonizing mindset that too readily collapses the distance between one’s self and another; empathy, in Stein’s definition, is “corrigible, always something to be learned.”
a private social club that sponsors balls, parades, etc., as part of the Mardi Gras festivities, especially in New Orleans.
Krewe is a fanciful or archaized spelling of crew “a group of people engaged in a particular kind of work.” Crew comes from Middle French creue “increase” from Old French creu, past participle of the verb creistre “to grow.” Old French creistre develops from the Latin verb crēscere, the ultimate source of the words crescent and croissant. Krewe is first attested in English in 1857.
On the morning of Shrove Tuesday, families lined up on St. Charles Ave. to watch the main event of the Carnival—the parade of Rex, the second-oldest parading krewe.
Davis lovingly previewed the ritual of revelry: on the Friday before Fat Tuesday he and his krewe—some 500 strong—will gather for lunch and ribald jokes.
political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals.
Realpolitik still feels like a German word. It was coined by Ludwig von Rochau, a 19th-century German politician and journalist, in his Grundsätze der Realpolitik “Principles of Practical Politics” (1853). Real in German means “realistic, practical, objective,” and Realpolitik means “realistic politics, practical politics,” that is, politics based primarily on power, national interests, and material factors and not on explicit ideological or moral or ethical premises. Realpolitik entered English in the second half of the 19th century.
Throughout, Ms. Warren has kept one eye trained on policy and the other on realpolitik: protecting her aspirational brand of liberalism and robbing Republicans (and her Democratic rivals) of a potent talking point about middle-class taxes.
… the cynic also had not counted on how ruthless the man could be in attaching himself to cold realpolitik after building his entire campaign—nay, his entire political career—on a notion of political transcendence.
scurrilous; foulmouthed; grossly abusive.
The very rare adjective thersitical “scurrilous, foulmouthed, abusive” derives from the Greek personal name Thersítēs, itself a derivative of the adjective thersiepḗs “bold of speech.” Thersites appears in Book 2 of the Iliad in the assembly of the Achaeans. Homer describes Thersites as lame, bowlegged, with shoulders that sloped inward, and a pointy head covered with tufts of hair—the ugliest man at Troy. Thersites accuses Agamemnon of greed and Achilles of cowardice, for which Odysseus beats him severely about the head and shoulders to the great amusement of the rest of the Achaeans. Thersitical entered English in the mid-17th century.
… there is a pelting kind of thersitical satire ….
These he lists in language so richly thersitical that his English translator, likely Herring himself, must have strained his vocabulary to its limits to do it justice.
Chiefly Midland and Western U.S.
a usually short, heavy rainstorm.
Gullywasher, “a short, heavy rainstorm,” is a dialect and regional word in the U.S. Midwest and West. The first half of the word is a variant pronunciation of gullet “throat, esophagus,” from Middle English golet, gulet, from Old French goulet, from Latin gula “throat.” Gullywasher entered English in the early 20th century.
I used to have a country neighbor who during drouths would inevitably, when he saw a white rim of cloudiness on the easter horizon, prognosticate a gully-washer, a clod-melter, a frog-strangler within the week.
The rounds of rain and flash flooding Tuesday presented another reminder that 2018 has featured both gullywashers and full-day washouts.
something of very small value: I don't care a farthing for your opinion.
A farthing was formerly an English coin of the smallest denomination, worth a quarter of a penny. Originally the coin was made of silver, then of a copper alloy, and finally of bronze. The coin was discontinued in 1961. The Middle English name for the coin was ferthing, farthing (with still more variants), made of silver, and came from Old English fēorthing, fēorthung “a quarter, a fourth part, a farthing.” The Old English forms are derivatives of fēortha “fourth” and the noun suffix –ing “one belonging to, descended from,” sometimes used to form diminutives, as here. Farthing entered English before a.d. 1000.
… when he cares not a farthing for the general good, and will sell his vote for a dollar … then his vote becomes a public pest.
Most of the tunes are pegged to the show-within-the-show, which we couldn’t give a farthing about.
wisdom in determining ends and the means of attaining them.
Phronesis, “wisdom in determining ends and the means of attaining them, practical understanding, sound judgment,” comes from Latin phronēsis, from Greek phrónēsis, meaning “practical wisdom, prudence in government and public affairs” in Plato, Aristotle, and other heavy hitters. Phrónēsis is a derivative of the verb phroneîn “to think, be minded, be wise”; phroneîn in turn is a derivative formed from the noun phrēn (stem phren-), whose myriad meanings include “midriff, diaphragm, heart (as seat of the passions and bodily appetites), mind (seat of the mental faculties and perception).” Phronesis entered English in the 16th century.
… courage also requires us to apply what Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics calls “phronesis” or practical wisdom.
The best analysis of practical wisdom I know of occurs in the chorus of “The Gambler” … “You got to know when to hold ‘em / Know when to fold ‘em / Know when to walk away / Know when to run.”