not to be disputed or contested.
Irrefragable, “not to be disputed or contested,” comes from Late Latin irrefragābilis, literally “unable to be broken back,” and an easy word to break down into its components. The prefix ir– is the variant that the Latin negative prefix in– (from the same Proto-Indo-European source as English un-) takes before r-. The element re– means “back, back again,” thoroughly naturalized in English; here re– forms part of the verb refragārī “to oppose (a candidate); resist; militate against” (fragārī is possibly a variant of frangere “to break”; refragārī means “to break back”). The suffix –ābilis is formed from the connecting vowel –ā– and the adjective suffix –bilis, which shows capability or ability, and is the source of English –able. Irrefragable entered English in the first half of the 16th century.
The court often assumes that a federal agency acted properly unless an employee offers “irrefragable proof to the contrary.”
The Senate committee cited this as one of many issues on which the court had misinterpreted the law and the intent of Congress. “By definition,” it said, “irrefragable means impossible to refute. This imposes an impossible burden on whistleblowers.”
Physical science magnifies physical things. The universe of matter with its irrefragable laws looms upon our mental horizon larger than ever before, to some minds blotting out the very heavens.
Celerity, “swiftness; speed,” comes via Middle French célérité from Latin celeritās (inflectional stem celeritāt-) “swiftness, quickness, speed,” a derivative of the adjective celer. Celer comes from the Proto-Indo-European root kel– “to drive, incite to quick motion” and the suffix –es– (Old Latin keles– regularly changes to Classical Latin celer-). The Latin adjective celeber, also celebris “busy, crowded, frequented” (source of English celebrate, celebrated) is also formed from kel-. The root also appears in Greek kélēs “runner, racer, racehorse, fast ship.” Celerity entered English in the second half of the 15th century.
At both forms of interview, the majority are not attending and taking notes because a court stenographer is doing it for them. With breathtaking celerity—within ten minutes—transcripts of both the flash interviews and the longer interviews are produced, reproduced, machine-stapled, never proofread, and placed in wall racks, where they are collected by the journalists.
Minutes after my delayed arrival Schneier had with characteristic celerity packed himself and me into a taxi.
verb (used with or without object)
to chew (food) slowly and thoroughly.
Fletcherize, “to chew (food) slowly and thoroughly so as to extract its maximum nutrition,” is named after Horace Fletcher (1849-1919), a self-taught U.S. nutritionist and author. During his lifetime Fletcher was known as the “Great Masticator” for his insistence that food be chewed until liquefied before swallowing and for his slogan “Nature will castigate those who don’t masticate.” Other food reformers of the 19th century include Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), who inspired the graham cracker. Herman Melville refers to graham crackers in his novel Pierre; or The Ambiguities (1852): “They went about huskily muttering the Kantian Categories through teeth and lips dry and dusty as any miller’s, with the crumbs of Graham crackers.” And John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) was a U.S. physician and nutritionist best known today for his invention of corn flakes. Fletcherize entered English in the early 20th century.
Ottla always said how kind and gentle her brother was … and how the Kafka family worried about his digestion and how boring it was to sit and watch him Fletcherize his food.
Yet one reason “The Voyeur’s Motel” is gripping is that Mr. Talese doesn’t fletcherize his material. He lays out what he knows and does not know in sentences that are as crisp as good Windsor knots.
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