300 New Words!
(used to express impatience, dismissal, etc.)
Fiddlesticks originally was the plural of fiddlestick, “the bow used to play a violin or fiddle,” which dates to the first half of the 15th century. By the second half of the 18th century, the phrase fiddlestick’s end meant “nothing” (a fiddlestick ends in a point); fiddlestick’s end, reduced also to fiddlestick and fiddlesticks, was used as an expression of mild annoyance or dismissal.
Otho would have been Bilbo’s heir, but for the adoption of Frodo. He read the will carefully and snorted. It was, unfortunately, very clear and correct (according to the legal customs of hobbits, which demand among other things seven signatures of witnesses in red ink). “Foiled again!” he said to his wife. “And after waiting sixty years. Spoons? Fiddlesticks!”
In her nineties, flying into Washington on the president’s private airplane on Mother’s Day, she took in the crowd of well-wishers at the airport and announced, “Oh, fiddlesticks, if I’d known there was going to be all this fuss, I wouldn’t have come.”
bursting apart; bursting open.
Dissilient, “bursting apart or open,” is primarily a botanical term referring to ripe pods or capsules of some plants bursting apart. Dissilient comes from Latin dissiliēns (inflectional stem dissilient-), the present participle of dissilīre, “to leap apart,” a compound of the prefix dis– “apart, asunder, away” and –silīre, a derivative of the simple verb salīre “to leap, jump, spurt.” Dissilient entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
Dissilient as milkweed, deprived of cohesion, I am a blown surface.
The court was dissilient, generationally fractured, mannered (as it were) by an increasingly impatient and acquisitive nobility.
of, relating to, or resembling rogues.
The English adjective picaresque, “pertaining to or resembling rogues,” is modeled on Spanish picaresco “pertaining to or resembling a pícaro” (i.e., a rogue or vagabond), which first appears in print in Spanish in 1569. Picaresque in the sense “pertaining to a kind of narrative fiction” first appears in print in English in 1810; Spanish picaresco in the same sense appears in 1836. The etymology of pícaro is contested: it may come from the verb picar “to prick, pierce,” from Vulgar Latin piccāre, and be related to Latin pīcus “woodpecker.” Pícaro first appears in print in Spanish in the first half of the 16th century in the phrase pícaro de cozina “kitchen knave”; it was not a literary term. Pícaro in the sense “hero of a genre of novel” first appears in English in the first half of the 17th century.
Ronnie Cornwell was a picaresque, forceful, charming, world-class con man, and he is the obsession of his famous son to this day.
The author … has composed meticulous biographies of each of the complete Gutenberg Bibles that have come down to us. Many have led picaresque lives. Harvard’s copy was briefly stolen, in 1969, by a troubled young man who smashed its glass encasement, took the book, climbed out a window, and knocked himself unconscious when he fell to the ground.