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the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing.
Quiddity, with its conflicting senses, “the essential nature of a thing” and “a trifling nicety of subtle distinction,” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin noun quidditās (stem quidditāt-), literally “whatness,” formed from the Latin interrogative pronoun quid “what” and the abstract noun suffix –itās, the source via Old French –ité of the English suffix –ity. Quiddity entered English at the end of the 14th century.
… that gift for creating idioms may be a clue to the quiddity of his genius.
If, argues he, we could only find out exactly what humour is ‘in its quiddity,’ we could keep ourselves humorous, or at any rate bring up our children to be so.
verb (used without object)
to shrink; flinch; quail: an unsteady eye that blenched under another's gaze.
The history of the verb blench is complicated. The uncommon Old English verb blencan “to cheat, deceive” is the direct source of Middle English blenchen, blenken, blinchen, blinken “to move suddenly, dodge, avoid, mislead, deceive.” The various Middle English forms yield both English blench “to shrink, flinch” and blink “to wink the eyes, be startled.”
But art historians should not blench at the sight of dreadful paintings, any more than doctors should blench at the sight of blood.
… the actor blenches as he reads the instruction ….
to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in an attempt to impress onlookers: The senator doesn't hesitate to grandstand if it makes her point.
The noun grandstand, “the main seating area of a stadium, racetrack, parade route, etc.,” dates from the second half of the 18th century and was originally spelled as two words. The verb grandstand, “to conduct oneself or perform showily or ostentatiously in order to impress onlookers,” was originally used in baseball and dates from the early 20th century.
The debt limit debate allows politicians to grandstand on fiscal responsibility.
He used his political platform to grandstand over Italy’s Catholic identity and repeatedly found ways to poke European Union officials in the eye.