What People Are
something gaudy and useless; trinket; bauble.
Gewgaw derives from Middle English giuegaue. It is a gradational compound of uncertain origin, perhaps akin to the Middle French and French term gogo, as in the adverb à gogo meaning “as much as you like; to your heart’s content; galore.” It’s been used in English since the late 12th century or the early 13th century.
The Star was proving particularly awkward … it was refusing to look like the resplendent gewgaw it was.
If nothing’s missing, if every handkerchief, knick-knack, piece of cut glass, every gewgaw is accounted for, we heave a great sigh of relief.
Archaic. joyous feeling; gladness.
Joyance “gladness, rejoicing,” a compound of the verb joy “to feel glad, rejoice” and the suffix -ance, used to form nouns from verbs, was coined by Edmund Spenser (c1552-99) in his Faerie Queene (1590). Ben Jonson (c1573-1637) and Samuel Johnson (1709-84) were not great fans of Edmund Spenser’s contrived, artificial diction, and joyance may be one of the reasons why. The word was rare until two of the Lake Poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and Robert Southey (1774-1843), resuscitated it in the late 18th century.
The rooms rang with silvery voices of women and delightful laughter, while the fiddles went merrily, their melodies chiming sweetly with the joyance of his mood.
… overhead the soaring skylark sang, as it were, to express the joyance of the day.
continually shifting from one set of relations to another; rapidly changing: the kaleidoscopic events of the past year.
Kaleidoscopic comes from Greek kalós “beautiful,” eîdos “shape,” and -scope, a combining form meaning “instrument for viewing.” The suffix -ic is used to form adjective from other parts of speech in Greek and Latin loanwords in English. Kaleidoscopic entered English in the 1840s.
The natural progress of her life, however, is fragmented in Hong’s kaleidoscopic fusion of reality and fantasy.
Things had happened, in the last few hours, with a kaleidoscopic rapidity–the whirl of events had left her mind in a dazed condition.
a person or thing that spoils or dampens the pleasure of others.
The Grinch was the misanthropic central character in the children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by “Dr. Seuss” (Theodor Seuss Geisel). The book was made into a TV special in 1966 and a feature film in 2000.
I’d prefer not to be a grinch, but it’s always been beyond me why people like to argue about literary prizes.
Every family has a grinch: the person who wants to sleep in instead of opening presents, refuses to sing Christmas carols, or eats a Twix instead of plum pudding.
to enliven; brighten; sharpen.
The English verb vivify comes from Old French vivifier, from Late Latin vīvificāre “to make alive, restore to life, quicken.” Vīvificāre breaks down easily to vīvus “alive,” from vīv(ere) “to live,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root with many variants: gwei-, gwī-, gwi-, gwiyō- “live” (gw- usually becomes v- in Latin). The Proto-Indo-European forms gwīwos and gwiwos “alive, life” become vīvus in Latin, bivus in Oscan (an Italic language spoken in southern Italy), bíos in Greek (from bíwos, from gwiwos). The Proto-Indo-European adjective gwigwos become kwikwaz in Germanic and ultimately English quick (in the archaic sense “alive,” as in the phrase “the quick and the dead”). The suffix -fy comes from Middle English -fi(en), from Old French -fier, from Latin -ficāre, a combining form for verbs of doing or making, from the adjective suffix -ficus, from the verb facere “to do, make,” from the very complicated Proto-Indo-European root dhē-, dho- (and many other variants) “put, place,” the same source for English do. Vivify entered English in the 16th century.
… he enlarged his sphere of action from the cold practice of law, into those vast social improvements which law, rightly regarded, should lead, and vivify, and create.
Faber vivifies the atmosphere and environment of the fictional planet, from its marked humidity to its insect life, with fascinating specificity.
to pray humbly to; entreat or petition humbly.
Supplicate comes directly from Latin supplicātus, past participle of the verb supplicāre “to sue for forgiveness or mercy, make a humble petition.” The Latin verb is a derivative of the adjective supplex (stem supplic-) “bringing peace, making humble petition.” Supplex and supplicāre come from the root plāk-, plak-, the source of Latin placēre “to please, be acceptable to” (source of English placebo “I shall please” and pleasant, via Old French), and plācāre “to conciliate, calm,” whose past participle plācātus is the source of English placate. Supplicate entered English in the 15th century.
Alas! on my knees I supplicate you to forbear–Will you leave me a prey to Frederic?
I ask you but to extend to one whose fault was committed under strong temptation that mercy which even you yourself, Lord King, must one day supplicate at a higher tribunal, and for faults, perhaps, less venial.
English luculent comes straight from the Latin adjective lūculentus, a derivative of lux (stem lūc-) “light,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root leuk-, louk-, luk- “light, bright.” (The suffixed form leuktom becomes leuhtan in Germanic, lēoht in Old English, and light in English.) Latin lūculentus and English luculent are not much used in their literal senses but have a metaphorical sense like splendid and the colloquial British brilliant. Luculent entered English in the 15th century.
The thundering acclamations, which greeted the close of that luculent and powerful exposition, the zeal with which the concourse hailed him unanimously Savior of Rome and Father of his country …
… now he would favour us with a grace … expatiating on this text with so luculent a commentary, that Scott, who had been fumbling with his spoon long before he reached his Amen, could not help exclaiming as he sat down, ‘Well done, Mr. George!”