verb (used with object)
to assemble quickly or from whatever is at hand, especially for temporary use: to jury-rig stage lights using automobile headlights.
Jury-rig, “to assemble quickly with whatever is at hand, improvise, especially for temporary use,” is of obscure origin, but probably originally a nautical term, based on another, earlier nautical term jury-mast, “a temporary mast on a sailing vessel replacing a damaged or destroyed mast,” first recorded in 1617. Jury-rig is close enough in meaning and sound to jerry- in jerry-build (and its derivatives jerry-builder and jerry-built) “to build or make in a haphazard, slovenly fashion,” and the confusion of those terms resulted in the hybrid verb jerry-rig, first recorded about 1960. (There are people in south Jersey and Philadelphia who pronounce ferry as furry and color as keller.) But jerry-build and jerry-rig always imply flimsiness and shoddiness; jury-rig implies improvisation. Jury-rig entered English in the second half of the 18th century.
She told the school custodian that her bike handlebars were all screwed up and that she needed some duct tape to jury–rig it until she got home.
New problems arose all the time, and the engineers were forever improvising ways to jury-rig a component or bypass a system.
Chiefly British Informal.
very disorganized; messy or confused: I’ve had a shambolic year, the worst ever.
Shambolic, “disorganized; messy or confused,” is a colloquial adjective, used mostly by the British. The word is a combination of shambles and symbolic. Shambolic is a fairly recent coinage, entering English about 1970.
a programme to train thousands of contact-tracers to help control the spread of coronavirus has been described as shambolic and inadequate by recruits.
If democratic procedures start to seem shambolic, then democratic ideas will seem questionable as well.
of or like cheese.
The English adjective caseous derives from the Latin noun cāseus “cheese,” which in Latin comedy (Plautus), at least, is used as a term of endearment: molliculus cāseus “delicate cheese.” (Molliculus is a diminutive of the adjective mollis “soft.” Diminutives are characteristic of colloquial Latin, and therefore of comedy, and also exist in modern Romance languages, e.g., Italian orecchio “ear,” from auricula, a diminutive of auris “ear.”) The etymology of cāseus is unknown, but it may come from earlier, unrecorded kwātsos, meaning “something runny,” from the Proto-Indo-European root kwat- “to ferment; be, become, or make sour.” If that is so, cāseus may be related to Russian kvas “sour beer,” and Polish kwas “acid.” Caseous entered English in the mid-17th century.
Second, eat these little caseous balloons immediately—like topical plays, they lose value every couple of minutes.
I have no doubt but that in the process of churning the whole milk there is a large amount of lactic acid formed, and a much higher temperature attained, than in the churning of cream; consequently, the separation of caseous matter must be more perfectly effected in the former than in the latter case.
verb (used without object)
to look or stare with sullen dislike, discontent, or anger.
The verb glower, “to look or stare with sullen dislike,” comes from Middle English gloren, glouren “to shine, gleam, glow; stare, stare at fixedly.” The Middle English forms are mostly from the north (Yorkshire) and Scotland; the sense “to stare at fixedly” is Scottish. The source of gloren and glouren is obscure, but possibly Scandinavian, e.g., Icelandic glóra “to glow (like a cat’s eyes)” and Swedish and Norwegian dialect glora “to glow, stare.” The source of gloren, glouren may also be from Middle Low German glūren “to be overcast” or Dutch glueren “to leer, peep.” Glower entered English in the 15th century.
Alfred glowered at us as if he never could, or would, forgive the injury of that night.
Angela was dismayed: was she sure she knew the way back? Of course she knew it, Cecilia said, glowering. She wasn’t an idiot.
a painting or other object left as an offering in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude, as for recovery from an illness or injury.
Ex-voto, “out of a vow (fulfilled or undertaken),” refers to a painting or other artifact left as an offering in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude, e.g., for recovery from an illness or injury. Ex-voto being a Latin phrase, such offerings are therefore associated with Western Christianity, especially with Mediterranean Catholicism (Italy, Iberia, former Spanish colonies abroad). (The Greek Orthodox Church has a similar custom; the offerings in the Greek Church are called támata, plural of táma “a vow, an ex-voto offering.”) The custom antedates Christianity by many hundreds of years: In the Iliad Hector says he will hang the weapons of his foe in the temple of Apollo; the poet Hesiod dedicated the tripod he won in a poetry contest in Chalcis to the Muses on Mount Helicon. Miltiades, the general of the Athenians and their Plataean allies at the Battle of Marathon (490 b.c.), dedicated his helmet in the temple of Zeus in Olympia (where his helmet is on display on the archaeological museum). Even the witty, urbane Horace refers to “the sacred wall with its votive tablet [tabulā… vōtīvā] shows where I have hung my sodden garments in gratitude to the god of the sea” (for escaping the surely destructive shipwreck of a love affair). Ex-voto entered English in the first half of the 19th century.
Amid the fear and uncertainty of wartime, ex-votos doubled as a means of communication and thanksgiving between a human and her god and saints.
The purpose of the ex-voto is not only to record the individual experiences of Messer Zaneto de Friza and his sons but also to proclaim their experiences to a public audience.
showing or having a refined and graceful mind or wit.
Spirituel is a French adjective meaning not only “spiritual” (as in English), but also “displaying a refined and graceful mind or wit.” In French spirituel is the masculine singular form, spirituelle the feminine singular, a distinction not usually observed in English. Most of the English citations of spirituel refer to women or to a particular woman’s liveliness and acuity. Spirituel entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
It is a comedy in the sense that it is meant to make you laugh. The laughter is mostly spirituel: Cyrano is witty.
They are more than witty, they are spirituel; and they have more than talent, they have taste.
expressing sorrow or melancholy; mournful: a plaintive melody.
The English adjective plaintive “sorrowful, melancholic” comes from Middle English pleintif (also plaintive, plantif, and plantife), from the Old French adjective plaintif (masculine) and plaintive (feminine) “lamentable.” Plaintif derives from the noun plainte “mourning, lamentation,” and comes from the Medieval Latin noun plancta, from Latin planctus “the sound of a person striking their breast,” from the verb plangere “to beat, strike, mourn, bewail.” Old French plaintif is also the source of English plaintiff “one who brings suit in a court, complainant.” Plaintive entered English in the late 14th century.
A strain of plaintive music, played on stringed instruments and flutes, recalled my attention to the hidden shrine.
Thundercat’s new album feels particularly suited for this moment — filled with both celestial, futuristic escapism and plaintive grief, the strength of human resilience and an unstinting sense of frustration.