something unusually large for its kind.
The noun lunker has two meanings: something large and unruly, and a large game fish, especially a bass. It was originally an Americanism, and its etymology is obscure: lunk, lunkhead, and clunker have all been suggested. Lunker entered English in the second half of the 19th century.
Do black holes, such as the lunker in our own Milky Way Galaxy … drive the evolution of galaxies around them; or do galaxies naturally nurture the gravitational gobblers at their centers … ?
As sure as I’m standing here, ten pounds; what a little lunker for a first baby.
green growth; verdure.
Greenth, “green growth,” was coined by the English author and politician Horace Walpole, who also coined blueth and gloomth. Greenth, blueth, and gloomth all entered English simultaneously in the mid-18th century.
I found my garden brown and bare, but these rains have recovered the greenth.
Imagine a rambling, patchy house … the mellow darkness of its conical roof surmounted by a weather-cock making an agreeable object either amidst the gleams and greenth of summer or the low-hanging clouds and snowy branches of winter …
verb (used with object)
to confuse (someone); make (someone) muzzy.
It is only fitting that the etymology of the verb muzz “to confuse,” is itself obscure. Most authorities connect muzz with the adjective muzzy “confused, lazy, mentally dull,” but muzzy itself has no reliable etymology. Other authorities connect muzz with the verb muse “to think or meditate in silence.” Muzz entered English in the 18th century.
I must have sufficiently muzzed you with my singular critique upon poor, injured, honest John.
With a very heavy cold on me, which muzzed my head, and a mass of work by day … I have been very far from comfortable.
the tuning of a stringed instrument in other than the usual way to facilitate the playing of certain compositions.
The musical term scordatura comes, as many musical terms do, from Italian. In English and Italian, scordatura is the tuning of a stringed instrument in an unusual way to facilitate the playing of certain compositions. Italian scordatura is a derivative of scordato “out of tune,” past participle of the verb scordare “to be out of tune.” Scordare is a somewhat reduced form of Latin discordāre “to be at variance, quarrel, disagree,” formed from the prefix dis- “apart, asunder” and cord-, the stem of the noun cor “heart.” Scordatura entered English in the second half of the 19th century.
The alternative tuning, known as scordatura, is not some minor technical detail. Each new configuration is a secret key to an invisible door, unlocking a different set of chordal possibilities on the instrument, opening up alternative worlds of resonance and vibration.
Scordatura in some violin concertos provides additional evidence for Vivaldi’s tendency to extend the advantages of playing on open strings to additional keys.
(of pie or other dessert) served with a portion of ice cream, often as a topping: apple pie à la mode.
In French the phrase à la mode “in the current fashion” is a shortening of à la mode de “in the style of (X),” a meaning extant in U.S. English. But to most Americans à la mode means a dessert, typically a wedge of pie, topped with ice cream, a meaning that has been current in U.S. English since the early 1890s but not in British English. À la mode entered English in the 17th century.
If your server mentions apple-and-caramel pie a la mode, don’t hesitate.
You can find a hotel, convenience store, and pay-per-use showers there; more important, though, you can find blueberry pie a la mode.
something causing superstitious fear; a bogy.
Hobgoblin is a compound of the nouns hob and goblin. Hob (also Hobbe), a pet form or nickname of Robin or Robert, was used as early as the 15th century as a shortened form of Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a. Puck (as in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and a.k.a. Hobgoblin (i.e., the common noun used as a personal name). Goblin comes from Middle English gobelin goblin, gobolin “a devil, incubus, fairy,” from Middle French gobellin. Further etymology is uncertain and speculative: The French forms may come from Medieval Latin gobelīnus, from an unrecorded Late Latin gobalus, cabalus “domestic sprite,” from Greek kóbalos “malicious knave, mischievous genie.” The Latin suffix –īnus and French suffix –in complete the word. Hobgoblin entered English in the first half of the 16th century.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
The enemy was very real, literally an existential foe … not just the hobgoblin of alleged McCarthyite paranoia.
a fine point, particular, or detail, as of conduct, ceremony, or procedure.
The English noun punctilio comes via Italian puntiglio “minor point (of detail or behavior),” from Spanish puntillo “a dot, minute point, point of honor” a diminutive of punto “point, spot, dot.” The Spanish and Italian noun punto comes from Latin punctum “small hole, puncture,” a noun use of the past participle punctus from the verb pungere “to pierce, prick, sting (of insects).” The c in Latin punctum is the source of c in English punctilio. Punctilio entered English in the late 16th century.
I omitted not the least punctilio, and was surprised that in these matters I should know without ever having learned. I arranged all my papers, and regulated all my affairs, without the least assistance from any one.
This version of the dance gets a shortened title, “Errand” — a punctilio that the deviations from the original seem too minor to justify.