What People Are
a casual gathering of people, especially for refreshments and informal conversation: a sewing klatsch.
You usually associate klatsch “a casual party” with coffee klatsch “a casual gathering for gossiping and drinking coffee.” Coffee klatsch is a partial rendering of German Kaffeeklatsch (in English kaffee klatsch or kaffee klatch). Coffee and Kaffee need no explanation. Klatsch is informal German for “gossip, gossiping,” from the verb klatschen, of imitative origin. In German Klatsch also means “a slap, a crack (as of a bat), a clap (of the hands).” Klatsch (klatch) entered English in the 1950s.
Maybe they didn’t have anything in common and that was the point, was the thing that made the klatsch interesting, hearing the various perspectives people had.
At coffee-break time, Billy made a nice addition to our little klatsch.
dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery.
Skulduggery was originally an Americanism, a variant of Scottish sculduddery “fornication, lewd conduct, obscenity.” In American usage, skulduggery has cleaned up its act and means only “dishonorable dealings, trickery.” Neither sculduddery nor skulduggery has a reliable etymology. Sculduddery entered English in the first half of the 18th century, skullduggery in the second half.
corporate malfeasance is too often hidden in quarterly reports and harder for most people to follow. Political skulduggery is done in the open—and on C-Span—and is easier to portray.
the club was a renowned haunt of maverick sea captains, wily eccentrics, and semi-alcoholic miscreants up to their necks in all manner of skulduggery.
of or relating to the sense of smell.
Osmatic, “relating to the sense of smell or to animals with a keen sense of smell,” is a borrowing from French osmatique, which was coined by the 19th-century French surgeon and anthropologist Paul Broca in 1878. Osmatique derives from the Greek noun osmḗ (also odmḗ) “smell, odor, scent” and the French adjectival suffix -atique, from the same source as the English suffix –atic. Osmḗ is the classical Attic form of earlier and dialectal odmḗ, from a root od- “to smell” and is closely related to Latin odor “a smell, odor, whiff, hint.” Osmatic entered English in 1880.
Each of our senses diminish their acuity at a slightly different rate as we fall off to sleep. Our auditive, osmatic, thermal, and tactile responses become seemingly dormant …
Osmatic messages permit recognition of others as individuals or as members of a social category, or signal a certain emotional state.
verb (used with object)
to attach; bind.
The rare verb alligate comes from Latin alligātus, the past participle of alligāre “to tie, tie up, tie together,” especially in the combination or mixture of elements of different qualities or values. Alligate entered English in the 16th century.
light weight of truth, spun out to cob-web tenuity, might be alligated with fancies and spangled with glittering fallacies, the whole bearing the name of homeopathy …
We are not, dear sisters, called to go into the field of battle and expose our lives to the devouring sword; but we are alligated by every principle of religion and virtue to mourn the sins which render these calamities necessary …
a very rich man.
Croesus comes from Latin Croesus, from Greek Kroîsos (the name has no further etymology). Croesus, who lived from about 595 b.c. to 546 b.c., was the last king of fabulously wealthy Lydia, an ancient kingdom that occupied much of modern western Turkey. (Croesus issued the first gold coins of standardized quality and weight, and the Greeks adopted coinage from the Lydians). For the ancient Greeks (e.g., for the poet Sappho), Sardis, the capital of Lydia, was the equivalent of the Paris of today, elegant and stylish. Croesus was also remarkable for the Greeks because of his philhellenism: he embellished Greek temples in Ionia and made many offerings to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The death of Croesus, possibly burnt alive on a pyre on the orders of Cyrus the Great, was profoundly shocking to the Greeks: how could a man of such piety come to such a brutal end? Croesus entered English at the end of the 14th century.
Apple’s share price fell by 8% yesterday, wiping more than $40bn off its value in a few hours. Is the world falling out of love with the Croesus of Cupertino?
One of our countrymen, Mr. Cockerell, appears to be considered the manufacturing Croesus of these parts, and his name is that which is generally mentioned by the obsequious valets-de-place ….
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.