a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence: a paragon of virtue.
The English noun paragon comes from Middle French, from Old Italian paragone “touch stone,” a derivative of the verb paragonare “to test on a touchstone or whetstone.” The Italian words perhaps derive from Greek parakonân “to sharpen, whet,” formed from the prefix and preposition para-“beside, alongside” and akonân “to sharpen, whet,” a derivative of akónē “whetstone, bone.” Paragon entered English in the mid-16th century.
As that paragon of fatherhood Homer Simpson once told his brood, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family.”
He has variously been considered a military icon who won a total victory; a presidential model for overcoming his own considerable flaws and a tragic weakness for scoundrels to achieve fame and glory; a literary phenomenon who crafted the most famous deathbed writing in American letters; and a celebrity who was a paragon of humility and modesty.
incessant: a stanchless torrent of words.
English stanchless is an awkward, uncommon word. Its meaning is obvious: “unable to be stanched.” Stanch comes from the Old French verb estanchier “to close, stop” and is probably from an unattested Vulgar Latin verb stanticāre, equivalent to Latin stant- (stem of stāns, the present participle of stāre “to stand”) and the causative suffix -icāre; stanticare means “to make stand or stop.” Stanchless entered English in the 17th century.
The flow of his language was slow, but steady and apparently stanchless.
The machine can only repeat, and if we repeated we should be machines and untrue to the stanchless creative mystery of the life within us.
resembling nacre or mother-of-pearl; lustrous; pearly.
The English adjective nacreous is a derivative of nacre “mother-of-pearl.” Nacre comes from Middle French nacre, from Medieval Latin nacchara, nacara, nacrum. Other Romance languages have similar forms: Old Italian nacacra, nacchera, Catalan nacre, and Spanish nácar, all meaning “mother-of-pearl.” The further origin of nacre is uncertain: the most common etymology is that it comes from Arabic naqqāra “small drum,” or from Arabic naqur “hunting horn,” a derivative of the verb nakara “hollow out,” from the shape of the mollusk shell that yields mother-of-pearl. Nacreous entered English in the 19th century.
Nacreous pearl light swam faintly about the hem of the lilac darkness; the edges of light and darkness were stitched upon the hills.
It should not have surprised them to find the angel in that preserved condition. The fingernails, nacreous as the inside of an oyster shell …
a system of signaling, especially a system by which a special flag is held in each hand and various positions of the arms indicate specific letters, numbers, etc.
Semaphore came into English from French sémaphore, a device for making and transmitting signals by line of sight. From the point of view of a purist or pedant, semaphore is a malformed word. The Greek noun sêma means “mark, sign, token,” and its combining form, which should have been used in semaphore, is sēmat-, which would result in sematophore. The combining form -phore comes from the Greek combining form -phoros “carrying, bearing,” a derivative of the verb phérein “to carry, bear.” Semaphore entered English in the 19th century.
The gymnasts were like the diagrams to illustrate the semaphore alphabet, arms thrust firmly out in precise positions, a flag in each hand, the little figures in naval uniform like her brother, Ben, drawn over and over.
His younger brother admired his speed and what looked like his precision, though semaphore signals were a closed book to the major.
lopsided or at an angle; out of alignment.
Antigodlin is an adjective used chiefly in the American South and West. The origin of the word is unclear, but it may be a combination of the familiar prefix anti- “against, opposite” and godlin or goglin, a variant pronunciation of goggling, the present participle of goggle, in the archaic sense “to squint” and originally meaning “twisted to one side, cockeyed.” The form godlin may also be reinforced by the folk etymology “against God.” Antigodlin entered English in the early 20th century.
This was moved so as to make it set, as the witness expressed it, “antigodlin.” … we suppose he meant that it was set diagonally to the window after being moved so as to permit the party to pass between the side of the box and the window.
When the ecology of the environment is out of sorts (“anti-godlin” as my mountain neighbors might say, referring to anything that is out of balance or out of plumb or that goes against God and the laws of nature), we also see symptoms …
the process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.
Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. Blamestorming entered English in the 1990s.
Unfortunately, the common behavior exhibited many businesses is to have a meeting “the morning after” for a “blamestorming” session. This is where the CEO or manager sits around with their team and figures out who is to blame for the company’s latest failure.
And as long as we’re blamestorming here, how about the developers who turned the Rollman property into McMansions in the early 1990s?
a person who investigates.
English scrutator comes straight from the Latin noun scrūtātor “searcher (after something or someone hidden),” a derivative of the verb scrūtārī“ to probe, examine closely,” originally “to sort through rags.” Scrūtārī itself is a derivative of the (neuter plural) noun scrūta “discarded items, junk.” Scrutator entered English in the late 16th century.
Mistrust, assuming the ascendency, commenced its regency, and the observations of so indefatigable and eagle eyed a scrutator produced a conviction of the blackest perfidy.
I did not find him to be a thinker, and much less a scrutator …