The Worst Words?
See Them Now!
in spite of; notwithstanding.
The archaic preposition maugre “in spite of; notwithstanding” shows its origin in some of its other Middle English spellings, e.g., malgrie, malgre, from Old French maugré, malgré, mal gré, malgreit. The open compound mal gré shows the etymology of maugre: the Old French adjective mal “bad, wrongful” (from Latin malus “bad, unpleasant, evil”) and the noun gré, gred, gret “pleasure, goodwill, favor” (from Latin grātum “(something) pleasing,” a noun use of the neuter of the adjective grātus). Old French gré is the source of Middle English gre “goodwill, favor,” from which English has the archaic noun gree in the same sense. Maugre entered English at the end of the 13th century.
He had his faults; but maugre them all, I loved him.
In his only tender moment, [Shakespeare’s] Aaron promises: ” This before all the world do I prefer, This maugre all the world will I keep safe. “
youth; innocence; inexperience.
English viridity “greenness (as of vegetation); youth and inexperience,” comes via Old French viridité “greenness,” from Latin viriditās (stem viriditāt-) “greenness (as of vegetation); youth and inexperience” (a sense lacking in the French), a derivative of the adjective viridis “green, abounding in vegetation, unripe (vegetables and cereals), clear, fresh (of the air after rain).” Viridity entered English in the 15th century.
What intellectual viridity that exemplary creature possesses!
I preface the incident thus abruptly, from a desire to extenuate in some measure at the outset my dear parent’s viridity and trustfulness in the matter ….
verb (used without object)
to smile in a silly, self-conscious way.
The verb simper has an uncertain etymology. It may be related to the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Swiss dialect adjective semper “affected, coy,” German zimpfer “dainty, affected,” and to Middle Dutch zimperlijk “affected, coy.” Further etymology is unknown. Simper entered English in the 16th century.
But still she kept on singing, with twisted lips that strove to simper ….
I attended private parties in sumptuous evening dress, simpered and aired my graces like a born beau, and polked and schottisched with a step peculiar to myself—and the kangaroo.
a line drawn on a weather map or chart that connects points at which the barometric pressure is the same.
"Isobars are lines of constant pressure, and believe it or not, when you look at a bunch of them together, they can tell you a lot about the weather."
You may see an isobar on your TV screen or hear the word on your local weather channel and already know or deduce that an isobar is “a line drawn on a weather map connecting points where the barometric pressure is the same.” The prefix iso– is from the Greek combining form iso– “equal,” from the adjective ísos “equal (in number, size, weight, stature, etc.).” It is used mostly in technical terms, as in another meteorological term isotherm “a line on a weather map connecting points having equal temperature,” or in the geometric term isosceles, “(of a triangle) having two sides equal.” The suffix –bar is interesting: it is a derivative of the Greek noun báros, “weight, heavy weight, heaviness, oppressiveness.” Báros is related to the adjective barýs “heavy (in weight), low (in tone),” as in English baritone. Isobar entered English in the 19th century.
These are lines of equal pressure known as isobars, which reveal wind speed and direction and allow forecasters to spot features such as highs, lows, troughs and ridges that are associated with particular types of weather.
The isobars (lines of equal pressure) of a weather chart are much like the contour lines of a topo map.
passing the bounds of what is usual or considered proper; unconventional; bizarre.
Outré may bring smiles of recognition to fans of the American writer of horror stories H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937), it and nefandous being particular favorites of his. The very French-looking outré, “excessive, extreme, exaggerated,” is indeed a past participle of the French verb outrer “to push or go beyond the limits.” Outrer is a derivative of Old French oultre, ultimately from the Latin preposition and adverb ultrā “on the far side of, beyond.” Outré is also the root of Old French and English outrage, “an act of wanton cruelty.” Students of modern European history will be familiar with the phrase attaque à outrance “an attack to the bitter end, to death,” the ruinous, catastrophic French military policy of World War I. Outré entered English in the 18th century.
A kind of growing horror, of outré and morbid cast, seemed to possess him.
Since the dawn of the millennium, the outré has become ordinary in opera.
a fine, filmy cobweb seen on grass or bushes or floating in the air in calm weather, especially in autumn.
The etymology of English gossamer is a little clearer in the alternative Middle English spellings gossomer, gosesomer, gossummer “goose summer,” that is, a late, mild fall when roast goose was a favorite dish (German has the noun Gänsemonat “November,” literally “goose month”). But the etymology of gossamer does not fit its meaning, “a fine, filmy cobweb seen on grass or bushes or floating in the air in calm weather, especially in the fall.” It may be that the cobwebs resembled goose down, or that the cobwebs appeared in “goose summer,” and the name of the season was transferred to the spider webs. Gossamer entered English in the 14th century.
Small, viewless aeronaut, that by the line / Of Gossamer suspended, in mid air / Float’st on a sun beam …
When the early morning sun glints off droplets of dew on the gossamer strands of a spider web, it creates a visual masterpiece.
of, relating to, or involving acting.
The English adjective Roscian comes straight from the Latin proper adjective Rosciānus, coined by and used exclusively by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 b.c.) in honor of his older contemporary, mentor, friend, and client, the actor Quintus Roscius Gallus (ca. 126–62 b.c.). Acting was not a respected profession in Rome, but Roscius dignified it and devoted himself to elocution, gesture, and characterization. The Roman general, reactionary politician, and dictator Sulla (138–79 b.c.) even presented Roscius with a gold ring, a symbol of equestrian rank. Roscius instructed the young Cicero in elocution and delivery; Cicero successfully pleaded Roscius’ cause in a civil suit around 76 b.c. (Cicero’s speech Pro Quinto Roscio Comoedo survives); he and Roscius used to engage in friendly contests to see who could express emotion and character better, the actor or the orator. Roscian entered English in the early 17th century.
Because you grace the roscian sphere, / As great in Chalkstone as in Lear ….
I … found it to be a crumpled play-bill of a small metropolitan theatre, announcing the first appearance, in that very week, of “the celebrated Provincial Amateur of Roscian renown, whose unique performance in the highest tragic walk of our National Bard has lately occasioned so great a sensation in local dramatic circles.”